John Leguizamo Weekend – The Infiltrator (2016)

infiDirector: Brad Furman

Writer: Ellen Sue Brown (Screenplay) Robert Mazur (Book)

Starring: Bryan Cranston, John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger, Daniel Mays, Amy Ryan, Jason Isaacs, Michael Pare,

 

Plot: A U.S. Customs official uncovers a money laundering scheme involving Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Crime Drama

 

Story: The Infiltrator starts as we meet Robert Mazur (Cranston) who has been working as an undercover US Custom officer who has just taken down a drug ring which for the time offers him a chance to walk away from field work. When one of Robert’s co-workers Emir Abreu (Leguizamo) comes to him with information of a Colombian drug lord Robert must decide whether to follow the lead.

Robert takes the job where he must go undercover as a banker for the Colombian drug lord where he must work with Abreu who he sees as a loose cannon to take down Pablo Escobar. The further Robert goes undercover the deeper he finds himself wondering just how far he will get pushed by the drug lords.

The Infiltrator gives us what seems to be just another look at a brave man who goes undercover to bring down a crime lord. We do have heavyweight performance from Cranston yet again that could easily get Oscar attention. I also think we get a great supporting performance from Leguizamo. The film gives us plenty of focus on the effects of going undercover on the personal life as well as the professional side of everything but it does sadly feel like just another story we have seen similar before.

 

Overall: Great performances to a crime story it feels we have seen before.

Rating70

 

 

Headhunters (2011)

headhunterDirector: Morten Tyldum

Writer: Ulf Ryberg, Lars Gudmestad (Screenplay) Jo Nesbo (Novel)

Starring: Aksel Henniee, Synnove Macody Lund, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Eivind Sander, Julie R Olgaard

 

Plot: An accomplished headhunter risks everything to obtain a valuable painting owned by a former mercenary.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Crime Thriller

 

Story: Headhunters starts as we meet Roger (Hennie) a strict thief that has survived with his rules even if he has been struggling to make ends meet for his beautiful wife Diana (Lund) a gallery manager. Roger’s style gets the job done clean, quick and from victims that would never notice.

When Roger meets one of the guests at Diana’s gallery opening Clas Greve (Coster-Waldau) he learns that he owns a painting worth potential hundreds of millions, the kind of job that can help him leave that profession for good and finally offer his wife the children she so desperately wants.

This job takes a turn when Roger learns about the military past of Clas and with plenty of twists along the way this job could easily be the hardest of Roger’s career as the two end up in a deadly cat and mouse chase across the country.

 

Thoughts on Headhunters

 

Characters/PerformanceRoger is strong leading character with his skills in his art of thievery, hidden from his business life and married life, he knows how to handle himself in all the situations he finds himself. Clas is a great ruthless killer that has plenty of secrets behind his action.

When you look at the performances Hennie and Coster-Waldau are both fantastic in these roles with Hennie having the desperate but confident look with Coster-Waldau looking deadly from the moment you first meet him.

StoryThe story here comes from what looks like a basic heist movie before taking a turn into a cat and mouse chase across the country for survival. This keeps you guessing from start to finish and you simply just don’t know the motivation Clas has for his action, as it could be a range of reasons. The story does bring you in and never let you go.

Crime/ThrillerThis is a true crime cat and mouse story following two men who are breaking laws but one as a thief the other as a hired killer, we have no idea where this film will go and the twists keep us guessing until the final conclusion.

SettingsWith our character on the run we get to see a mix of hidden locations and busy locations show how the difference between the hidden world of the crimes mix with the businessman who Roger is.

Final ThoughtsThis is the crime thriller that could easily be one of the best we have seen

 

Overall: A true great thriller that everyone should be watching and enjoying.

Rating90

 

 

Soylent Green (1973)

Director: Richard Fleischer

Writer: Stanley R Greenberg (Screenplay) Harry Harrison (Novel)

Starring: Charlton Heston, Leigh Taylor-Young, Chuck Connors, Joseph Cotton, Brock Peters, Paula Kelly

 

Plot: In the world ravaged by the greenhouse effect and overpopulation, an NYPD detective investigates the murder of a big company CEO.

 

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Shocking

 

Story: Soylent Green starts in the year 2022 where Soylent Red and Yellow have been the main food source for the over-populated New York City that has people sleeping in stairs, barely any space to move and huge unemployment. There is now a new product called Soylent Green from the deepest part of the ocean offering everything the human body needs for an affordable price.

When the rich socialite William Simonson (Cotten) is murdered, Detective Thorn (Heston) is assigned to solve the murder with the Furniture a woman that comes with the apartment named Shirl (Taylor-Young) being one of the main suspects, along with the bodyguard Tab Fielding (Connors).

As Thorn continues his investigation he learns that this murder seems to be more of an assassination and the deeper he digs the more shocking the truth is that he discovers.

 

Thoughts on Soylent Green

 

Characters/PerformanceDetective Thorn is assigned to solve the murder of one of the richest men in New York City. He is poor but does just about have his own apartment, whenever he visits one of the high sociality people he takes the luxuries he doesn’t have, he won’t give up on solving the case however big the cover up he is taking on. Shirl is the ‘Furniture’ that lives in the apartment of the victim, she services the owners needs whenever the desire and come as part of the apartment, she becomes the love interest for Thorn. The rest of the characters are involved in what could be the cover-up, work with Thorn or know it is better to keep their mouths shut.

Performance wise, Charlton Heston is great in the leading role, we all know he was a dominating force for the time and this is no different. Leigh Taylor-Young is good as Shirl but mostly is just used for bit of eye candy. The rest of the cast are all good even if there are a couple of overacted fight sequences.

StoryThe story focuses on the future where people have over-populated the world, food supplies run low and the rich still stay well above the poor. The social side of the film is brilliant seeing how the rich believe they can get away with anything to make sure they stay rich even stepping on the poor. The ending is one most people will know now but must be considered as one of the most shocking of the time as well as playing out as a warning to the ever-increasing number people living on the planet.

Crime/Mystery/Sci-FiThe crime side of the film is the murder and potential cover up being exposed, this also plays into the mystery of the film. the sci-fi side of everything shows us just how bleak a potential future could become.

SettingsNew York City is always known for the crowds of people, this film uses this as the setting to show us just how bad it could get it the population boom never slowed down.

Final ThoughtsThe ending is what made this film so famous even today, you can see why too because this does have a shocking ending that will leave in shock even to this day.

 

Overall: One of the most shocking sci-fi films ever made.

Rating

 

 

Original v Remake Weekend – The Hitcher (2007)

casting card

 

Plot: A serial killer pins his crimes on two college students who gave him a ride.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bad Remake

 

Story: The Hitcher starts as we follow college sweethearts Grace (Bush) and Jim (Zachary) traveling cross country for vacation. The trip gets interrupted when they clash with John Ryder (Bean) a hitchhiker that enjoys killing people, luckily they escape him for a while only to find themselves being chased across the dessert like environment.

When the two start getting framed by John they find themselves on the run not only from him but from the State Police run by Lt Esteridge (McDonough) who believes they are involved with killing all of the police officers. The game of cat and mouse leads to final showdown between the four.

The Hitcher is a remake that isn’t able to do anything original with the idea. It feels like it wanted just to do a shot for shot remake but then tried to do a fresh spin that didn’t create anything. The fact the film is incredibly short doesn’t help because nothing gets built up enough to make us care. I don’t understand the remake happening when he has an interesting sequel a few years before.

 

Actor Review

 

Sean Bean: John Ryder is the Hitcher looking for a ride, but what he really wants is to go on a killing spree. When Grace and Jim refuse to stop to help him he takes everything personally and starts targeting them and he just won’t give up. Sean is one of the good things in this movie as you believe he will be this crazy throughout the film.

Sophia Bush: Grace is our leading lady of the college student couple that always needs a pee break, she has to wait for instructions and is written to be plain as stupid. Sophia tries her best with such a badly written character.

Zachary Knighton: Jim is the boyfriend of Grace that is preparing to meet her friends on their cross country journey. He wants to help John but doesn’t get involved because Grace says no, he then has to try and keep her safe through the experience against John. Zachary is ok but you will soon forget about his character.

Neal McDonough: LT Esteridge is the state police officers trying to bring everything to an end, he doesn’t believe Grace and Jim are involved but has to follow the evidence. Neal is a standard police officer authority figure you will forget too.

Support Cast: The Hitcher has only a disposable supporting cast with barely any of the ones you meet actually making it to the end of the film.

Director Review: Dave MeyersDave gives us a simple horror film that has one brilliant scene but otherwise is forgettable.

 

Crime: The Hitcher puts us in a crime battle between good and evil as the couple battle the hitchhiker.

Horror: The Hitcher has easy horror elements that just don’t get the point over because of lack of tension aiming for just a body count.

Settings: The Hitcher keeps most of the film set in the dessert showing how alone the couple are but they always seem to find somewhere to hide.
Special Effects
: The Hitcher has a mix of good and bad effects, with the CGI coming off terrible but the truck scene look great.

Suggestion: The Hitcher is one I think you could easily just watch the original. (Watched Original)

 

Best Part: Truck scene.

Worst Part: Grace is written so badly.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

Overall: Poor remake that loses the horror elements needed.

Ratingcard

 

 

Neruda (2016)

NERUDA is available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital from 10th July.

Director: Pablo Larrain

Writer: Guillermo Calderon (Screenplay)

Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal, Luis Gnecco, Mercedes Moran, Emilio Gutierrez Caba, Diego Munoz

 

Plot: An inspector hunts down Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, who becomes a fugitive in his home country in the late 1940s for joining the Communist Party.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Edge of your Seat Historical Thriller

 

Story: Neruda starts in the years following World War II, Senator Pablo Neruda (Gnecco) and Nobel Prize-Winning poet going against the President of Chile, he gets called a communist and must face jail or life on the run. Pablo choices to go on the run while still fighting for his beliefs with Inspector Oscar Peluchonneau (Bernal) assigned to ruin him.

We see how Neruda used his abilities as a poet to stay one step ahead of the police with people happy to open their door to a man they considered a great man, with this Inspector Oscar learns how Neruda can be staying in hiding and learning to follow the clues about this man wondering if he is as much of a criminal as the President makes him out to be.

 

Thoughts on Neruda

 

Characters/PerformancePablo Neruda is a brilliant poet, famous throughout Chile, he was a senator but must give up his limelight life once he is accused of being a communist but he remains on the run with the connection that still respect him for his work. Oscar Peluchonneau is the man that is tracking Neruda, handpicked by the President as he stays calm during his pursuit as he learns more about the man he is tracking.

Performance wise, Gael Garcia Bernal is good through the film as the inspector tracking down Neruda. Luis Gnecco is the star of this film effortless stepping into the shoes of the poet.

StoryThe story of the cat and mouse between Neruda and Oscar is an interesting watch, because we do learn about the man hunt for an accused communist who was respected by too many people to be turned on by them all. We see both sides of the hunt too, if you hadn’t heard of this poet and his battle to stay free, then you will get to see how he achieved this now.

Biography/CrimeLooking into the life of Pablo Neruda is an interesting view point because now we can see how this man was considered a criminal having to live a life on the run when he didn’t commit any crimes.

SettingsThe settings show us how Neruda could stay hidden for so long and how he kept his reputation through this time.

Final ThoughtsFor all the history fans out there, this is a film you will be enjoying learning about a nationwide man hunt that is well known through Chile.

 

Overall: This is an interesting historical drama learning about a great poet that escaped the country.

Rating