Mine (2016)

Director: Fabio Guaglione, Fabio Resinaro

Writer: Fabio Guaglione, Fabio Resinaro (Screenplay)

Starring: Armie Hammer, Annabelle Wallis, Tom Cullen, Clint Dyer, Geoff Bell, Juliet Aubrey

 

Plot: After a failed assassination attempt, a soldier finds himself stranded in the desert. Exposed to the elements, he must survive the dangers of the desert and battle the psychological and physical tolls of the treacherous conditions.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Intense Thriller

 

Story: Mine starts as sniper Mike (Hammer) and his spotter Tommy (Cullen) on an assassination mission but when Mike isn’t 100% sure that is his target is the required one, this leads to the position being giving away and the two on the run through the desert looking for rescue.

When the two stumbles across a mine field warning sign floating around the desert, Mike becomes worried while Tommy believes it could have come from anywhere, continuing their mission Tommy detonates a mine while Mike finds himself stood on one not being able to move.

With no GPS available and limited resources Mike’s only hope of survival is 52 hours away, now he must look for the best way to survive with a sandstorms, enemies and exhausting being his main threat.

 

Thoughts on Mine

 

Characters – Mike is the sniper on the mission, he doesn’t complete the mission due to too many variables from the source information and along with his spotter must retreat for evocation, things don’t go as planned once he finds himself stepping on a land mine, not being able to move, we are left to see his survival skills. Tommy is the spotter for Mike, he has been at war longer and has family back home, he is killed once he steps on a mine which leads to certain questions about the character being so naïve in a war environment. Jenny is the girlfriend of Mike’s back home, she is the main motivation for Mike to keep strong through his deadly situation.

PerformanceArmie Hammer is a guy that has taken a lot of stick through the years and this year his performances have shown us just how capable he is, Mine gives us a solo performance which shows he can carry a movie, Annabelle Wallis does well with her supporting performance without needing to do anything difficult and Tom Cullen is solid in the supporting role, he doesn’t do anything wrong as a performer even if the character seems naïve.

StoryThe story follows one man trapped on a landmine in the middle of the desert, we watch how he faces his potential death as he looks back through moments of his life where he stepped into situation he regretted as well as the moments that made him who he is. This does fall into the bracket of one man trying to survive in a film which is always an intense story to watch but looking into his past regrets and memories reflect that we all step on landmines through life at times.

Thriller/WarWe are kept on the edge of our seats through the film wanting to know is Mike can survive the situation he finds himself in which does revolve around the idea of what is left because of the war in the mines rather than focusing on the conflict.

SettingsThe middle of the desert does make for the fantastic setting for this movie, Mike has nowhere to go, battling the elements and little chance of success for the most part.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well through the film, the film doesn’t turn to them often but when needed they are effective.

Scene of the Movie – The last visit of the stranger, shows us the effect of the war on the innocent people too.

That Moment that annoyed me It could easily get people turned off with the pure number random visit Mike must face because we just get left wondering how many are real or not.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good intense thriller along the line of Buried and well worth a watch throughout, it might become slightly confusing by the end but you do get rewarded by the end.

 

Overall: Good thriller well worth watching.

Rating

 

 

New Jack City (1991)

Director: Mario Van Peebles

Writer: Thomas Lee Wright, Barry Michael Cooper (Screenplay)

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Allen Payne, Chris Rock, Mario Van Peebles, Michael Michele, Bill Nunn, Judd Nelson

 

Plot: A crime lord ascends to power and becomes megalomaniacal while a maverick police detective vows to stop him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Addition to Gangster Genre

 

Story: New Jack City starts in New York City as the drug war is sky high with drug maverick Nino Brown (Snipes) has a plan to dominate the cities drug trafficking process. When Nino gets complete control over an apartment building where he produces the product holding the resident’s prisoners.

Two years have passed and now Detective Stone (Peebles) wants Appleton (Ice-T) and Nick Peretti (Nelson) to lead an investigation to take down Nino. Hiring former dealer Pookie (Rock) to go undercover due to his tight connection with Nino we are left to see how they plan on taking down Nino.

 

Thoughts on New Jack City

 

Characters/PerformanceNino is what you would call a brilliant drug kingpin that fully controls the operation and a threat to the city, he will kill anyone that gets in his way. Scotty is the cop that pushes the limits too often making this battle against drugs personal. Nick is the disgraced cop from another town but doesn’t fit into the neighbourhood but is also just as committed to bringing down Nino.

Performance wise, Snipes does shine in this leading role getting to have a lot of fun with his performance, Ice-T is good but not as convincing to this world, with Judd Nelson giving us as good supporting role. Chris Rock should get praise for his performance which I believe was one of his first roles.

StoryThe story bottles down to the rise and fall of Nino Brown or any other generic crime boss, this is because we have him start his operation and facing enemies from police and other drug bosses. This isn’t the most original story but is a good watch for anyone who is a fan of the genre.

Action/CrimeThe action when needed is mostly wild gun battles that show the chaos the drug wars can cause. The crime side of the story comes from the idea that we are dealing with drugs circulating around the big city.

SettingsNew York City is a great choice for the setting because it shows the different sides of the tracks the people can all come from in this war.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to the drug related films I am not the biggest fan but this one is an easy watch for the fans of the genre.

 

Overall: This is a good addition to the genre that has its place in the gangster history.

Rating

 

 

Spooks: The Greater Good (2015)

Director: Bharat Nalluri

Writer: Jonathan Brackley, Sam Vincent (Screenplay)

Starring: Kit Harington, Peter Firth, Jennifer Ehle, David Harewood, Lara Pulver, Tim McInnerny, Tuppence Middleton

 

Plot: When a terrorist escapes custody during a routine handover, Will Holloway must team with disgraced MI5 Intelligence Chief Harry Pearce to track him down before an imminent terrorist attack on London.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Should Have Stayed on TV

 

Story: Spooks: The Greater Good starts when Harry Pearce (Firth) must make the impossible decision to release a known terrorist Hamza Ahmadi (Mallassi) to rescue civilians, this shows massive failure on behalf of MI5.

When Harry goes missing Geraldine Maltby (Ehle), Oliver Mace (McInnerny) and Francis Warrender (Harewood) bring in former spy Will Holloway (Harington) to locate him after he has faked his own disappearance.

Will finds himself playing the middle man working for Harry but under MI5 to work an operation to stop the terrorist from taking London into his own terror target.

 

Thoughts on Spooks: The Greater Good

 

Characters/PerformanceWill being the lead character is the guy who clearly wasn’t meant to be an agent because he is filled with terrible decisions. Harry does come from the TV version so I think if you wanted the show you would understand more but in this he just comes off shady. The rest of the characters do all come off feeling like generic spy TV show character.

Performance wise Harington does well but never reaches the performance levels that Keifer Sutherland, Matt Damon or any of the Bond actors give us. Peter Firth is fine but you can see he is better for TV than film.

StoryThe story feels like a poor version of an episode of 24, because if you haven’t seen the TV show you wouldn’t know the bigger picture going on. This story feels all over the place because the story never reaches the intensity level needed for a film of this subject. It also drags in most places as you just lose interest in what is going on.

Action/ThrillerThe action is simple and never tests with the thrilling side of the story not reaching any strong levels in the film.

SettingsLondon should be a great setting but everything happens too conventionally for how the story end up unfolding.

Special EffectsWe have few and they are fine without being a CGI heavy film.

Final ThoughtsIf you want to see this film watch the show first you might understand it more or just watch 24 because it works in my opinion on a better level.

 

Overall: Slow, confusing and just not reaching the levels it should.

Rating

 

 

Keanu (2016)

Director: Peter Atencio

Writer: Jordan Peele, Alex Rubens (Screenplay)

Starring: Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Tiffany Haddish, Method Man, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Jason Mitchell

 

Plot: When an L.A. drug kingpin’s kitten unexpectedly enters the life of two cousins, they will have to go through gangs, hitmen and drug dealers who claim him in order to get him back.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Comedy

 

Story: Keanu starts when down on his luck Rell (Peele) finds a kitten on his doorstep he names it Keanu. His cousin Clarence (Key) arrives to try and help cheer him up the two find themselves needing to go into a world they are not used to after Keanu is taken from Rell’s apartment.

The two must take their suburban backgrounds and hide them from the drug kingpin Cheddar (Method Man) who recruits them to sell his product and show the rest of his dealers how to get the deal done, all just to get Keanu back.

 

Thoughts on Keanu

 

Characters/PerformanceRell is the heartbroken stoner that hasn’t achieved much in his life, he life is turned around by the kitten Keanu but when Keanu is taken he finds himself needing to use what knowledge he has to survive the drug scene. Clarence is the married cousin who is known for being safe, he finds a new personality within himself as he works with his cousin to rescue Keanu. Hi-C is one of the dealers that Rell and Clarence must teach how to be heartless when dealing with clients. Cheddar is the drug kingpin that has the cat, he is ruthless and impressed by the guts the two have.

Performance wise, Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key show the chemistry their television is known for, but as I have never seen that I could see just how capable this pairing could be. Tiffany Haddish is good throughout as well as method Man and all the cameos going on through the film.

StoryThe story follows to outsiders of a drug world that find themselves in the middle of a drug war trying to rescue a cat, this all works for the comedy of the film as we see how different worlds collide to teach each other life lessons.

Action/Comedy The action side of the film is all what we know without being overly risky and in parts does add to the comedy. The comedy is the highlight here with the well placed jokes not taking over the film which is important for any comedy.

SettingsThe settings is mostly LA which we see the different worlds the characters come from to learn and teach the characters through the film.

Final ThoughtsOne of the good comedies of recent years and one everyone could enjoy.

 

Overall: Great comedy and one of the best in recent years.

Rating

 

 

Casey Affleck Weekend – Out of the Furnace (2013)

Director: Scott Cooper

Writer: Brad Ingelsby, Scott Cooper (Screenplay)

Starring: Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard

 

Plot: When Rodney Baze mysteriously disappears and law enforcement doesn’t follow through fast enough, his older brother, Russell, takes matters into his own hands to find justice.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gritty Crime Thriller

 

Story: Out of the Furnace starts as we meet the key character in this depressive downbeat town, we have aggressive new criminal Harlan DeGroat (Harrelson), the current crime boss John Petty (Dafoe), hardworking Russell (Bale) and his brother soldier Rodney (Affleck), Russell girlfriend Lena (Saldana) and Chief Wesley (Whitaker).

Russell looks out for Rodney but when he is involved in a manslaughter case he finds himself in prison, while away Rodney finds himself working for Petty owing him money. Rodney desperate to make the money quick forces John into booking a fight in Harlan territory, to make a large pay day.

When Rodney finds himself in more trouble, he vanishes after the fight for Harlan, leaving a note to Russell about the change he is going to make with his life. When Russell isn’t happy with the speed, the police are taking finding his brother and Harlan he takes matters into his own hands risking his own newly acquired freedom.

 

Thoughts on Out of the Furnace

 

Characters/PerformanceRussell is the everyday man who always looks out for his brother, works hard to make a living and start a family but his life is turned upside when he is involved in an accident landing him in jail. He shows that he will do anything to protect his own family. Harlan is you typical crime boss who believes he is toughest around, deadly when needed to be. Rodney is the easily led astray young man who feels like he doesn’t get what he deserves after his time in Iraq turning to underground fighting. Wesley is the basic cop we don’t see enough from, Lena is the girlfriend that only shows what could have been with John being a nice criminal if that makes sense.

Performance wise Bale shines in the leading role with Affleck showing all of his acting skills in the supporting role. Harrelson is good and creepy but also seems to enjoy this role slightly too much. Looking deeper into the cast Whitaker, Saldana and Dafoe are all good but could be replaced by another actor.

StoryThe story shows how the bleak desperate people will turn to illegal actions to make money. We have elements of the criminal underworld which all comes through as we see how the fighting takes place and we see how one brother seeks answers on a one man mission. I liked how this was just a body building count for Russell, he goes straight to the source of the problems. This also does feel like many films we have seen before with the huge issue I had was not knowing how long he was in prison for.

Crime/ThrillerThe criminal underworld fight scenes are great with the whole idea that the criminals control the town, we are kept on edge as we wonder just how far Russell will go.

SettingsEach setting shows us just how much of a struggle most days are for these people, giving the criminal life the only escape they can get.

Special EffectsWe don’t have many here, most are just well drawn out fight sequences and well placed gun shots.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dark gritty crime thriller that is a good watch, it does have a couple of plot holes but otherwise good addition to the genre.

 

Overall: Crime thriller fans enjoy.

Rating