Say Your Prayers (2020) Movie Review

Director: Harry Michell

Writer: Jamie Fraser, Harry Michell (Screenplay)

Starring: Harry Melling, Derek Jacobi, Anna Maxwell Martin, Roger Allam, Vinette Robinson, Tom Brooke

Plot: Two orphaned brothers turned radical Christian hitmen venture to rural Ilkley under the instruction of Father Enoch). Their mission: assassinate Professor John Huxley, famed atheist writer.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Say Your Prayers starts when two brothers Tim (Melling) and Vic (Brooke) arrive in a rural town to commit a murder for Father Enoch (Jacobi) who has turned the brothers into religious assassins. With Vic completing the first murder on the moors, Tim starts to meet people around town, while DCI Brough (Martin) and TI Hodge (Spencer-Longhurst) are investigating the first murder.

The brothers are here to assassinate Professor Huxley (Allam) an atheist who is the special guest at the festival, a man that has tried to bring the church down for years, can the brothers go through with the job, while Tim is looking to learn more about the world.

Thoughts on Say Your Prayers

Characters – Tim is the timid of the two brothers, he wants to meet people and explore the areas they are visiting, he befriends Imelda and gets his kind-nature notice around the town, while he is left in a position of needing to follow through. Vic is the more trigger happy of the two brothers, he will follow more of the religious side of what they are fighting for to the extreme limits and will jump into defend Tim whenever he doesn’t feel confident to follow through. Father Enoch raised the two brothers, he has assigned the men to commit the crime and will do anything to motivate them to follow through. Professor Huxley is the atheist that the church is looking to eliminate because of his thoughts about the church. DCI Brough is the blunt cop, while TI Hodge will look to solve the problems Brough puts them in. Imelda is the assistant to Huxley that befriends Tim along the time.

PerformancesHarry Melling is the best part of the performances here, he gives us such an innocent kind natured figure in the film. Roger Allam gives us the best speech through the film, where he does steal the scene, with the rest of the cast getting the laughs through the film.

StoryThe story here follows two brothers who are sent by the church to assassinate an atheist author that has been bad mouthing the church and we follow the events of their plan. This is a story which will look at how young men could have been brainwashed into believing whatever they are told is the right thing, with how they look to act towards people they see as wrong, with Vic being the most aggressive of the two. We do get to see how someone who was raised in one life could start to see the bigger problem between each sides. We will get to enjoy how the story is told, with the whole investigation coming off like an evening detective show.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy in the film does mix a few different styles, with the often deadpan delivered by Harry Melling, the blunt style of Anna Maxwell Martin and angry religious assassin in Tom Brooke.

SettingsThe film is set in a small rural village, which will show how they aren’t used to seeing the crimes, while everyone who is an outsider could look out of place.


Scene of the Movie – Huxley and Tim moment alone.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The singers seem random at times.

Final Thoughts This is a fun British comedy that will show the hapless assassins looking to follow through the church, with scenes that are among the best of the year.

Say Your Prayers will be released on demand 28th September, I-Tunes Pre-Order Here

ABC Film Challenge – 80s – Z – Above the Law (1988)

Above the Law is under Z because of the villain Zagon.

Director: Andrew Davis

Writer: Steven Pressfield, Ronald Shusett, Andrew Davis (Screenplay) Andrew Davis, Steven Seagal (Story)

Starring: Steven Seagal, Pam Grier, Henry Silva, Ron Dean, Daniel Faraldo, Sharon Stone

 

Plot: A former Special Operations Vietnam vet works as a Chicago cop, and uncovers C.I.A. wrongdoing.


Tagline – He was a covert agent trained in Vietnam. He has a master 6th degree black belt in Aikido… and family in the Mafia. He’s a cop with an attitude. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Seagal Action

 

Story: Above the Law starts when retired special operations solider turned cop Nico (Seagal) starts investigating his latest case with his partner Jacks (Grier). The case sees him tracking down a drug dealer which as is Nico’s way, sees him going above the law with how he handles his dealings.

When Nico get told to walk away from the case, it leads to him going against the rules once again, making him a target for the real criminal Zagon (Silva) that starts by targeting his personal life.

 

Thoughts on Above the Law

 

Characters – Nico Toscani travelled the world to learn martial arts, joined the special operations unit in Vietnam before returning to be Chicago to be a cop. His methods go against the normal for any cop and his family is the most important thin in his life, if you mess with them he will come for you. Jacks is the partner of Nico, she does try to guide him to stay within the law, even if she knows he is right with his actions. Kurt Zagon is the criminal mastermind, he has all the small town criminals in his pocket and isn’t happen when somebody starts causing him problems in his business. Sara is the wife of Nico that supports him and is the one person he will protect without a second thought.

PerformancesSteven Seagal is always going to be known for his action films, he is easy to watch with his style and this is one of his better ones before it became too routine for him. Pam Grier is a performer that we wish we could have seen more of because she does bring her supporting performance to life. Henry Silva is the much needed villain of the piece that does above the law with his action. Sharon Stone doesn’t get that much time on camra if we are honest, making it hard to judge her performance.

StoryThe story follows a harden cop that will do anything to get the criminals being forced to go against the law to make sure they are off the street even though his latest case will put a target on his back. This story does show us how a cop can walk into a bigger conspiracy going on which will see him needing to find a way out of the trouble he has stumbled into. Being a Seven Seagal movie, it clearly doesn’t need a very deep story which this one doesn’t offer in any way.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action in this film is here to give Seagal an chance to show off his fighting skills which is all it needs to really, this one does feel like one of the smoother ones though. The criminal world our cop enters shows how criminals can operate both sides of the law. The mystery is around whether Nico can solve the crime before it is too late.

SettingsThe film is set in Chicago which is one of the easy go to locations for any police drama.


Scene of the Movie –
The four on one stand off.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This isn’t the deepest story.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the early typical Seagal movies, we know the action is going to work for his style without being anything that we haven’t seen before.

 

Overall: Easy action.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – Y – Black Rain (1989) Movie Review

This is going under Y because of the involvement of the Yakuza.

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Craig Bolotin, Warren Lewis (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Ken Takakura, Kate Capshaw, Yusaku Matsuda, Shigeru Koyama

Plot: Two NYC cops arrest a Yakuza member and must escort him when he’s extradited to Japan.


Tagline – An American Cop in Japan. Their country. Their laws. Their game. His rules.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Gritty Drama

Story: Black Rain starts when bad boy cop Nick Conklin (Douglas) and his partner Charlie Vincent (Garcia) look to clean up their own problem, they stumble into a Yakuza gangster killing the godfather of the Japanese mafia.

Nick and Charlie find themselves needing to escort the killer, only for them to hand him over to an imposter, the pair need to work with the locals to try and recapture the killer in a country that has a battle between two deadly gangs.

Thoughts on Black Rain

Characters – Nick is the bad boy detective that doesn’t always play by the rules with how he gets the job done, this has landed him in trouble on countless times, his latest hearing ends up with his catching an international killer and needing to escort him back to Japan, only to find himself needing to investigate the gang war raging on in the country. Charlie is the by the book cop that knows how to keep Nick in line when he starts going too far, he is willing to be more open about the difference in culture, even if he doesn’t agree with everything, being the good cop to the bad cop attitude to Nick. Masahiro is the local Japanese cop that is assigned to show the detectives around, he ends up working with them to try and get deeper into the bigger case going on within the city. Joyce is an American living in Japan, she does fill in certain parts the locals don’t want to give up.

PerformancesMichael Douglas does do his best at trying to be more of a bad boy figure within the film, he has the attitude required for the role, Andy Garcia does bring a more relaxed approach which works well for the film, with the rest of the cast working well with what they need to bring to their roles.

StoryThe story here follows two New York detectives who travel across the world to escort a prisoner only to lose them and need to find themselves in the middle of a war for power in Japan, trying to understand the bigger picture. We are given a story here that shows how the change in culture will change how an investigation might well be addressed, it does seem to focus more on how Nick is more aggressive at times than he needs to, he is a shady cop. The investigation doesn’t seem to get into the intense level it should because we don’t focus on any of the criminal activities through the film though.

Action/CrimeThe action is simple enough, with most circulating around the motorbike usage of Nick and how controlled he is behind the world, with the criminal side of the film focusing on how everything will be different for the American cops in a new land.

SettingsThe film uses the Japan setting to show the cops with a new setting, which will operate in a different manner to what they are used to dealing with. It does show us how the world will feel darker to the criminal world they have come from.


Scene of the Movie – The motorbike riding sequences.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough focus on the criminal’s actions.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book crime drama, it has a cop that isn’t a smooth around the edges forced into a world he knows nothing about.

Overall: By the Book.

The Devil All the Time (2020) Netflix Movie Review

Director: Antonio Campos

Writer: Antonio Campos, Paulo Campos (Screenplay) Donald Ray Pollock (Novel)

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgard, Haley Bennett, Riley Keough, Harry Melling, Sebastian Stan, Mia Wasikowska

Plot: Sinister characters converge around a young man devoted to protecting those he loves in a postwar backwoods town teeming with corruption and brutality.


Tagline – Some people are just born to be buried.

Runtime: 2 Hour 18 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Devil All the Time starts as Willard Russell (Skarsgard) returns from war, in a place where he had to commit an action he will never tell anyone, losing his faith in God, the one thing that had driven him for years, until he returns home marries Charlotte (Bennett) and have their first child Arvin, even though his mother prayed to keep him safe to marry Helen (Wasikowska).

When Arvin (Holland) grows up, he decides he wants to protected his loved ones, including Lenora (Scanlen) his step-sister and when a new preacher, Preston Teagardin (Pattinson) arrives in the town, something doesn’t connect with the way he handles his community.

Thoughts on The Devil All the Time

Characters – Arvin is the son of a war veteran, he has been incredible pain through his childhood, this gave him the mentality to protect the people he loves, one that will see him commit violence towards the people who go against them. Preston Teagardin is the latest preacher to the area, he tries to make everyone feel welcomed to the town, even if he has a way about him, which is one that will cross the lines. Carl and Sandy spend years luring men into their own sadistic pleasure, while the film does have many more characters we meet who find themselves getting involved in something they shouldn’t.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are strong, with Tom Holland being the standout of the whole cast, Jason Clarke and Riley Keough work well together too and Robert Pattinson, keeps up his trend of giving us the unusual roles.

StoryThe story here follows a group of different people who are connected in a rural southern area, going through a different set of events, which will usually see them get involved in violence, while balancing the idea of God being involved in life. The story here is messy for the most part, we jump all over the place, we meet characters that don’t seem to have much point behind us needing to meet them and by the end of the film you will be left wondering what just happened. When we look into the messages in the film, it seems like we are meant to believe that things will catch up with you, if you are going against God’s will, which seems like it is trying to hard to just bump it on the nose for you.

CrimeThe film takes us into the crime world of seeing how different people will deal with problems or fantasies in their lives.

SettingsThe film is set in the Southern Rural area, which will show how people can get away with things, how people use the area to their advantage.


Scene of the Movie – Arvin meets Sandy and Carl.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too many characters not doing much.

Final Thoughts This is a crime thriller that deals us with too many characters that don’t seem to have much to do, while trying to connect the bigger picture for the most part, saved only by the performances being delivered.



ABC Film Challenge – 80’s Movies – R – Risky Business (1983) Movie Review

Director: Paul Brickman

Writer: Paul Brickman (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca De Mornay, Joe Panoliano, Richard Masur, Bronson Pichot, Curtis Armstrong

Plot: A Chicago teenager is looking for fun at home while his parents are away, but the situation quickly gets out of hand.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Teen Comedy

Story: Risky Business starts as we meet teenager Joel (Cruise) who is preparing for his college entry exams, feeling the pressure of not passing them, when he gets left home alone, his friends push him into having some more fun in his teenage life.

Joel ends up calling for an escort in Lana (De Mornay) who does give him the night of his life, only he finds himself in a bigger problem, when it turns out she is trying to escape her pimp Guido (Pantoliano), leading to him trying to clean up the mess before his parents get home.

Thoughts on Risky Business

Characters – Joel is a shy teenager worrying about his future and where he will end up going next for college, the pressure of the exams is showing on him, until his friends push him into having some fun, which starts with just having a call girl, only for him becoming more confident in his actions. Lana is the call girl that arrives, gives Joel the night of his life only to leave him in the middle of a world he never knew about, she helps him fix the money problems he might be facing as well as showing him his first love. Guido is the pimp that Lana works for, he seems like he has been mistreating her before she escapes from him, only to keep popping up when Joel least expects it.

PerformancesTom Cruise does grow into this role with ease, he does start by looking awkward, but once he can be the confident character he shines. Rebecca De Mornay is great as the call girl with a heart, we keeps her character filled with mystery about if she is honest or not well through the film. The rest of the cast are great filling in the for the typical 80’s stereotypes.

StoryThe story here followers a teenager that finds himself getting caught up in not worrying anymore about his college, after a call girl introduces him to a world of making money overnight. In the 80s we did see the building of teenagers getting caught up in something out that would get out of control, while trying to keep it secret from their parents. This does follow that idea, well, it shows the change in character when it comes to facing the real world too.

ComedyThe comedy in this film comes from seeing all the different situations Joel finds himself in and how he tries to get out of them, even if they continue to spiral out of control.

SettingsThe film uses Joel’s home as the main setting, it shows how he is meant to keep things normal, only to need to fix the problems that arise.


Scene of the Movie – Catch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – That first night together, please, come on.

Final Thoughts This is a fun 80s comedy that has stood the test of time better than most, Cruise does shine once he gets going and by the end of the film everything works out well.

Overall: Easy Watch.