ABC Film Challenge – Action – F – Final Recall (2017) Movie Review

Director: Mauro Borrelli

Writer: Reggie Keyohara III, Sam Acton King (Screenplay) Mauro Borrelli (Story)

Starring: Wesley Snipes, RJ Mitte, Jedidiah Goodarce, Laura Bilgeri, Niko Pepaj, Hannah Rose May

Plot: When five friends vacation at a remote lake house they expect nothing less than a good time, unaware that planet Earth is under an alien invasion and mass-abduction.


Tagline – They’ve come to claim what’s theirs.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Weak Action Sci-Fi

Story: Final Recall starts as a group of friends, Brendan (Mitte), Charlie (Goodacre), Annie (Bilgeri), Rob (Pepaj) and Kara (May) head out of town to a lake house for a weekend away, they happen to clash with local Hunter (Snipes) who doesn’t welcome unwanted guests. With the group away from the world, there is a bigger issue in the world, an alien visit.

With a storm covering their arrival, it soon turns into a mass-abduction, where the five friends must turn to the Hunter to battle the aliens to survive, in a world that might not be there if they make it.

Thoughts on Final Recall

Characters – The Hunter was once an astronaut who is know living in the back woods, hunting for something unknown. He doesn’t take to the five friends, but has been planning for the visit of the aliens. He does fill in most of the holes in what is happening. The five friends are not given the deepest characters, with Brendan being the one that likes taking photos and uses the technology to see what is coming, Charlie is the broken young man that lost a girlfriend in the past, this is meant to be his grieving vacation, while maybe moving on with Annie who is here because of her best friend and has asthma (told you that don’t have much about them).

PerformancesWesley Snipes does play his character way over the top, this does make it hard to take him seriously. When it comes to the five young actors, they fill the generic side of the characters with ease.

StoryThe story here follows five friends that go to lake house only to find themselves clashing with a hunter, before finding themselves under attack from aliens, who have bigger plans for the species. This is a story that does try to play into one of the biggest alien conspiracies known to man, that aliens created man and will continue to experiment over the years visiting to check up on them, this is fine it works well through the story, only getting there is just a slug, we have such a basic idea behind the characters, that nothing really makes any sense before the attack and almost plays out like a parody of Predator at times. What seems like a story that just doesn’t get completed in the film, we could easily have seen this as an opening to television series that will offer even more answers.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film is weak, with mostly aimless chases through the woods, while any suspense filled moments finish instantly, which could be the same for the weak looking aliens used in the sci-fi elements of the film, along with the strange setting selected for the experiments.

SettingsThe film uses the random cabin in the woods locations, which doesn’t add anything to the film, in fact it makes it look like any other alien film, while the ship’s interior seems to big for what is meant to be going on within the walls.

Special EffectsThe effects are not good either, with most of the film looking very cheap when you think that we have an actor with a reputation of Snipes in the film.


Scene of the Movie – Wake up.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The aliens look bad.

Final Thoughts This is a low budget action sci-fi film that shows how weak the budget is, even though we have an actor in Snipes that could easily sell a movie.

Overall: Cheap looking throughout.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – E – The Equalizer 2 (2018)

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Writer: Richard Wenk (Screenplay) Michael Sloan, Richard Lindheim (Television Show)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Orson Bean, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo

 

Plot: Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed, but how far will he go when that is someone he loves?


Tagline – There will be consequences

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Slow Action Film

 

Story: The Equalizer 2 starts as we see how Robert McCall (Washington) driving around helping people when he learns they have been mistreated, just being a good guy around the neighbourhood. Robert still has his connection with the agency in Susan (Leo) who gives him the information to help with problems she can’t deal with.

After she is killed investigating a case, Robert reveals himself to his former partner Dave York (Pascal) who has believed he has been dead for years, to help get the people that killed their friend, all while trying to be a mentor to young man Miles (Sanders) who is being drawn into the gangster life.

 

Thoughts on The Equalizer 2

 

Characters – Robert McCall no longer works at Home Depot, he is a driver for hire around the town and he listens to the people’s stories and where he sees fit to step in to solve the problems. This time somebody makes it personal and he must come out from the shadows to get revenge. Dave York is the former partner of Robert’s who believed he was dead, he sees his new partner killed and is looking for answers to why his friend stayed away so long. Miles is a streetwise teenager on the brink of making a terrible decision to join a gang, Robert aims to guide him to make the right decision. Sam is an elderly client who Robert wants to help out, he is here to show just how good natured Robert is. Brian and Susan Plummer are the only connections with the agency Robert has, he will do anything to help them, as they help him with little matters he has.

PerformancesDenzel Washington is an actor that will always give us good performances, this is no different because we get to see the calm character and the deadly which he can switch between without blinking an eye. When we look at the rest of the cast, they are good without being anything overly memorable, with the villain being forgettable and the supporting arcs of the story not being given the time to truly focus on.

StoryThe story here continues to show how deadly, but fair Robert McCall can be, he wants to help people out, give them a chance to better their lives or admit to their mistakes. This time the story becomes personal after one of his friends in the agency is killed, sending him on a warpath against anybody involved. This side of the story is easy to watch, the more intense side of the story which is good to watch. The sentimental side of the story is interesting because we see how the problems in the world can be solved with moments of kindness which Robert shows different generations of people in his life, trying to teach people how to treat people, this is nice to watch, only for the two sides of the story struggling to connect to each other.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is good when we get it, the final sequences being the highlight of the action, the crime side shows how one man can use his connections to get a job done to clean up the streets.

SettingsThe film shows Robert operating in a normal big city, this shows us how stories can be found in most corners for most people.


Scene of the Movie –
The showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pacing between the serious side stories and the action heavy main story.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable action film that does everything you would imagine, it isn’t going to be one of the greatest just one you can enjoy without worrying too much about what is going on.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable action.

Rating

 

 

Heath Ledger Weekend – Ned Kelly (2003) Movie Review

Director: Gregor Jordan

Writer: John Michael McDonagh (Screenplay) Robert Drewe (Novel)

Starring: Heath Ledger, Orland Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, Naomi Watts, Joel Edgerton, Laurence Kinlan

Plot: An innocent man becomes one of the most wanted criminals the world has ever known.


Tagline – When the law tried to silence him a legend was born.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Biopic 101

Story: Ned Kelly starts in 1871 Australia where an Irish family the Kelly’s have settled in with the eldest son Ned (Ledger) ends up getting into trouble with the law, that has always targeted his family, seeing him placed in prison for a couple of years. Once out Ned does start to try and turn his family’s luck around with his friends Joseph Byrne (Bloom) and Aaron Sherritt (Edgerton), while working for an English family where Ned falls for Julia (Watts).

When Ned gets framed for assault by the constable that has always been out for his blood, his family gets targeted, but not the police are not going to stop until they have his head, forcing Ned to go on the run to protect his family, making him one of the most wanted criminals in the world.

Thoughts on Ned Kelly

Characters – Ned Kelly is a young Irish man that has always seen his family targeted by the law, he has gotten himself in trouble because of this, which sees him falsely accused and becoming a target. Ned refused to back down from the law needing to go on the run, leading to him becoming an outlaw taking from the rich inspiring the poor as he fights for what is right and his family’s pride. Joseph Byrne is Ned’s best friend, he will stand by his side through his battles, needing to do the right thing. Superintendent Francis Hare is the man charged with capturing the Kelly gang, he doesn’t want to hear the story, he just wants them gone. Julia Cook is an English woman that Ned was working for, she is one of the few that will help him seeing the good in his nature, but being held back by her own family.

PerformancesHeath Ledger does a great job here showing how he wanted to break his pretty boy image, this performance makes this happen with ease. Orlando Bloom in the supporting role is strong without being truly great, while Geoffrey Rush feels wasted, with him being involved but not getting too much screen time, same goes for Naomi Watts, she just doesn’t get enough time to shine.

StoryThe story here follows the innocent man that gets forced into become an outlaw who becomes the most wanted man in Australia. This story shows how settlers in other countries would always be unfairly targeted by the locals who saw them as threats, how people’s words could create outlaws because nobody would listen or understand the truths within a world. The story is only really told from Ned’s which will always make him look like the innocent man he was, but we do hear and see that most of the group have served time, so they might not be as innocent as they look (this is only from what the film shows, not what I know about the truth).

Action/Biopic/WesternThe action is everything you would expect from a western, we have seen the shooting like always. The biopic does only show one side of the story and it does feel like there is more to tell.

SettingsThe film utilises the location to show how Ned Kelly has to go into hiding and including the showdown.


Scene of the Movie – The showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does seem one sided.

Final Thoughts This is a by the book biopic that showed one of the most famous outlaws in Australia, though it doesn’t seem to reach an intensity level that it could have.

Overall: Nice biopic.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – D – Doctor Strange (2016) Revisited

Director: Scott Derrickson

Writer: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C Robert Cargill (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comics)

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg

 

Plot: While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.


Tagline – Open your mind. Change your reality

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning

 

Story: Doctor Strange starts as arrogant, brilliant neurosurgeon Dr Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) is involved in a reckless car accident, which was his own fault, loses the ability to use his hands on the same levels as he once could. Stephen learns about one patient that recovered from the injuries that he shouldn’t have recovered from and goes in search for answers.

Stephen searches for Kamar-Taj which should give the mind answers to healing himself through belief, with The Ancient One (Swinton) showing him the way. Here Stephen must train with Mordo (Ejiofor) and soon finds himself joining the fight against Kaecilius (Mikkelsen) who has been trying to gain the power the Ancient One has.

 

Thoughts on Doctor Strange

 

Characters – Doctor Stephen Strange is arrogant brilliant neurosurgeon, he always looks down on people who he sees not completing the operations he can, this has led him to become reckless in his personal life, which leads to his accident and loss of ability to operate. He learns that he could be cured, if he goes through certain mind training as he learns about multi verse which doesn’t need the physical body to get through or fight. Mordo is one of the oldest students un Kamar-Taj, he opens the doors to Stephen, working with him to teach him about what they will be fighting against. Dr Palmer is the only friend Stephen has at the hospital and she goes to him for advice when needed. Wong is the librarian that guards the books about power which the people there could learn from. Kaecilius is the villain of the piece, he has been trying to bring the dark universe to Earth’s and will stop and nothing to achieve this, he was once a student too, but turned evil once he learnt about the power. The Ancient One control the powers in Kamar-Taj, the oldest and most powerful of everyone there, she teaches Stephen the true meaning and powers he could control.

PerformancesBenedict Cumberbatch is better than I remembered in the leading role, it might be because I have gotten used to the character after Infinity War, he does make himself feel unlikeable through the film. Chiwetel Ejiofor is interesting in his role where he is designed to be conflict between everyone involved.  Rachel McAdams is however completely wasted in this role, she barely gets any screen time. Mads Mikkelsen as the villain is somebody we know we can trust, though we do wish we could have had more of his character, Benedict Wong is fun in the supporting role, while Tilda Swinton is always going to be the star of a film with her acting class.

StoryThe story here follows Dr Strange learn to give up everything he thought he knew from science and learn about the mystic arts that control universes. This is once again an origin film and Dr Strange is a brilliant, but unlikable man, he needs to learn that the world isn’t about him, its about the people if he is every going to make it in this new position. We do have the conflict between light and dark, which shows that he will need to learn the lines in this war, while others are fighting to be in control of this world. the story can look weak in places because we put so much time into the visuals of this film, but it does everything required to be an entertaining watch.

Action/FantasyThe action in this film comes from the world we see everybody fighting in, it plays hand in hand with the fantasy side of the film which just makes for some of the most visual fight sequences you will ever see.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to not only confuse the audience, but confuse Dr Strange, we see the different environments he must learn to adapt to with the laws of physics now longer being applied.

Special EffectsThe effects in this film are brilliant, it is like watching Inception in steroids when it comes to how the world folds in, moves and evolves.


Scene of the Movie –
The New York fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story isn’t as strong as it could be.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most visually brilliant movies in this universe, it gives us an origin story that is ready to branch in many different directions and prepares us for a new type of hero.

 

Overall: Stunning on the eyes.

Rating

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – C – Channeling (2013)

Director: Drew Thomas

Writer: Drew Thomas (Screenplay)

Starring: Taylor Handley, Kate French, Skyler Day, Dominic DeVore, Ryan Walker, Landon Ashworth, Alex Solowitz

Plot: A drama centered on people who seek validation by broadcasting their lives to as big an audience as possible.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Simple Look at the Next Gen of Entertainment

Story: Channeling starts by taking us into a world where people can have a camera in their eye, with people watching their lives, Wyatt Maddox (Handley) is one of these people and after he is killed with his channel watching, his soldier brother Jonah (DeVore) returns home, here he learns that his brother was murdered with Wyatt’s girlfriend Tara (French) filling in the gaps of what happened.

As Jonah starts to investigate, he teams up with Tara to find the person that killed Wyatt, he enters the world of street racing from stolen cars, where he pretends to be his brother, which only draws the same criminals that killed him.

Thoughts on Channeling

Characters – Wyatt is the popular in the virtual world, with his followers in his illegal stolen street cars getting him killed, he has been recording his life, which gives his brother something to search through. Jonah is the soldier brother of Wyatt, he has returned to learn what happened to his brother only to go undercover with his brother’s girlfriend to learn the truth about who killed his brother. Tara is the girlfriend of Wyatt’s, she was with him just before he was killed and now, she wants learn the truth, by showing Jonah how to enter the world. Ashleigh is the younger sister of the brothers, she has become popular with her own recordings which is more about fashion and daily life.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances we don’t get the best performances, this does work for the film because they are meant to be what we would consider YouTube stars in how they try to play to their audiences. The reality behind the acting is that it is simple enough and the characters are hard to see in the real world either.

StoryThe story here follows a brother that is trying to find out what happened to his brother after he is murdered during one of his special broadcasts, he goes undercover to learn more about the world, searching for answers. The most interesting way to look at this story, comes from seeing the world where the broadcasting has become so popular, this idea works very well because it reflects how the world is only interested in drama or crime, over any sort of real event. When we look at the actual story, it is a basic revenge like story and works as the surface of the film, it would have been nice to have felt like the villains were more threatening and the side story revolving around the little sister does seem just there to show a different side of the popularity of the equipment rather than adding anything to the main story.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film does follow a couple of car chases which as basic enough, but shot through the eyes which makes them difficult to watch. The sci-fi element does build on what we have seen in Black Mirror before which is a recording of life, it is nice touch and something we see happening more and more.

SettingsThe film shows the criminal world that Jonah must enter for answers, we have rough bars, dark alleyways and a remote penthouse apartment where his brother lived.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, this is focused on how the viewers of the people see the lives they are following, it does feel like shaky cam at times which isn’t helpful as a viewer experience.


Scene of the Movie – Bar of popularity.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not seeing enough of the villain.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at how the popularity of social media has become easier to access and become key to these people’s lives.

Overall: Entertaining, though flawed.