Good Time (2017)

Director: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie

Writer: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Benny Safdie, Barkhad Abdi, Buddy Duress

 

Plot: After a heist goes awry, a bank robber tries to free his brother from Rikers Island, all in one night.


Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Contender for Film is the Year

 

Story: Good Time starts as we meet two brothers Connie (Pattinson) and the simple-minded Nick (Safdie) who commit a bank robbery, Connie has planned for escape but not everything goes to plan as Nick is captured.

Connie refusing to leave his brother behind sets out to find a way to get him out of jail as well as getting the money he stole, so the two can move away from the big city, using his contacts including Corey (Leigh) and teenager Crystal (Webster) to get away with it.

 

Thoughts on Good Time

 

Characters – Connie Nikas is the brains between the two brothers, he has planned the robbery with an escape which should be able to get him out of the problems that come their way. Once his brother ends up captured, he will do anything to get his brother out of jail. Nick is the simple-minded brother of Connie, he will follow his brother in any crime, but doesn’t get the treatment he requires for his problems, even after he gets captured after the robbery. Corey is one of Connie’s friends that helps him in his time of need. Crystal is the teenager that finds herself willingly helping Connie in his attempts to get his brother out of jail, she does seem to have a lack of authority figure in her life.

PerformancesRobert Pattinson is getting a lot of buzz about his performance and you can see why, this is easily his best performance of his career and he deserves all the praise he is receiving. The rest of the cast is fantastic too with the supporting roles.

StoryThe story follows the bank heist gone wrong with the Connie needing to rescue his brother from jail in one night. This is a gripping story to watch, we are kept waiting to see where things will go as everything unfolds and having the rescue attempt happening in one night helps give it a real time feel. The connection between the two brothers is shown too with just how far Connie will go to save his brother and how Nick will follow Connie through with anything.

CrimeThe crime side of the film starts with a heist that goes wrong but soon ends up in a rescue attempt to save the captured brother. We only see how Connie can use his criminal side to get through the night.

SettingsThe settings show how Connie must work around to survive against the background of the big city who are hunting him.


Scene of the Movie –
The heist escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have like to see more about Corey character.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most impressive movies of the year. It is filled with tension from the opening to the finish with a powerhouse performance from Pattinson.

 

Overall: Must watch for the year.

Rating

 

 

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Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Writer: Michael Green (Screenplay) Agatha Christie (Novel)

Starring: Daisy Ridley, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kenneth Branagh, Olivia Colman, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Lucy Boynton, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi

 

Plot: A lavish train ride unfolds into a stylish & suspenseful mystery. From the novel by Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express tells of thirteen stranded strangers & one man’s race to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again.


Tagline – Everyone is a suspect

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Drawn Out Mystery Thriller

 

Story: Murder on the Orient Express starts as we meet the great Hercule Poirot (Branagh) as he solves another mystery but is summoned back to England for another mystery, where he catches the Orient Express from Istanbul. On the train we have a host of character, Miss Mary Debenham (Ridley), Dr Arbuthnot (Odom Jr), Bouc (Bateman), Marquez (Garcid-Rulfo), Pilar (Cruz), Hector (Gad) Ratchett (Depp), Masterman (Jacobi), Count Andrenyi (Polunin), Countess Andrenyi (Boynton), Mrs Hubbard (Pfeiffer), Princess Dragomiroff (Dench), Higegarde (Colman) and Gerhard (Dafoe).

Half way through the trip one of the passengers is murdered leading to Poirot needing to get to the bottom of this mystery, that looks unsolvable with every passenger a potential suspect, this could be his greatest case yet.

 

Thoughts on Murder on the Orient Express

 

Characters – Poirot is considered the greatest detective in the world, he solves the unsolvable but has a quirky side to him too, he needs order in his life. He uses his skills to figure out the truth about the suspects in solving the murder. To be honest I found this character annoying, and I like quirky detectives, Monk was one of my favourites but the style he presents himself just didn’t click for me. As for the passengers we have the people from different walks off life which makes them all suspects in their own way but until the end we don’t learn enough about any of them, which is guess is the point as we only learn what Poirot is learning.

PerformancesKenneth Branagh takes the roles as Poirot and for me he doesn’t deliver, he isn’t quirky enough to be quirky but is proper enough to feel proper, he just seems plainly odd. Much like with the characters it is hard to say anything bad about the cast which is an all-star cast, nobody stands out and nobody seems out of place, they are just fine.

StoryThe story is considered one of the greatest novels of all time, well it might be and I am sure when you read it, you will be left on the edge of your seat not wanting to put it down. The problem is that is doesn’t work on screen because we are trying to over play the eccentric sides of these characters in a mystery that when you stop and think about it and how it is shot doesn’t add up by the end. I am not saying the novel is bad, just how this movie tells the story.

Crime/MysteryThe mystery is who murdered someone on a train, this works I like a good mystery but the final outcome while great in its own way, doesn’t work for someone who likes to try and solve the mystery as they go along.

SettingsOnce we get to the train it is all plain sailing for the settings which work for the audience knowing the killer would have nowhere to run.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain parts don’t add up.

Final ThoughtsHere is a classic case of trying to make a classic novel into a movie and failing, the style the film is shot it doesn’t click, the performances are just average, while the mystery doesn’t add up once you get to the final reveal.

 

Overall: Disappointing adaptation of the classic novel.

Rating

 

 

Julia Roberts Weekend – Secret in Their Eyes (2015)

secretDirector: Billy Ray

Writer: Billy Ray (Screenplay) Juan Jose Campanella, Eduardo Sacheri (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Dean Norris, Alfred Molina, Joe Cole, Michael Kelly

 

Plot: A tight-knit team of rising investigators, along with their supervisor, is suddenly torn apart when they discover that one of their own teenage daughters has been brutally murdered.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre Thriller

 

Story: Secret in Their Eyes starts as we see Ray Kasten (Ejiofor) meeting his old team and now DA Claire Sloane (Kidman) Chief Investigator Jessica Cobb (Roberts) and fellow political roles Reg Seifert (Kelly). We flash back to when they were a team of investigators with Bumpy Willis (Norris) when they are tracking terrorists only for one of their own daughters Carolyn Cobb (Graham) being murdered next to their investigation.

Ray has spent the last 13 years of his life searching for the killer and now he believes he has figured out the person responsible and wants the case re-opened between the old team.

 

Thoughts on Secret in Their Eyes

 

StoryThis is an American remake of the Oscar winning movie that has a very bland story which should be a very intense story, the scenes all flow so slowly you just don’t believe this is a case unfolding and the jumps in time are too often leaving us all over the place in the end.

Crime/MysteryThe crime story should be one of the most intense ones we have seen, but it doesn’t work out that way because the film spends way too much time balancing the murder case with a potential terrorist investigation without even giving us the mystery to try and solve ourselves.

Characters/PerformanceThe team are all believable as a unit but as solo characters you just don’t feel the desperation in Ray, the power in what should be a power-hungry role in Claire but you do like get to feel the grief through Jess’s character.

Ejiofor, Kidman and Roberts are all solid but just don’t reach the ability we know all three are capable off. The rest of the performances are all solid without stealing the scene.

SettingsWe have the setting in and around LA without managing to use any settings which are easy to help us identify where the film is set.

Final ThoughtsFor the talent involved this is a very slow, poorly acted thriller that lacks any suspense to the levels it could have got too.

 

Overall: This will always be forgettable in the arena of remakes.

Ratingcard

 

 

Near Dark (1987)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Writer: Kathryn Bigelow, Eric Red (Screenplay)

Starring: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, Tim Thomerson

 

Plot: A small-town farmer’s son reluctantly joins a traveling group of vampires after he is turned by a beautiful drifter.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Underrated Vampire Film

 

Story: Near Dark starts as young country man Caleb (Pasdar) meets a beautiful woman Mae (Wright) one night and after spending the night seeing different locations Mae leaves Caleb with a strong hicky.

What Caleb discovers is that Mae is in fact a vampire and she has turned him into on too, joining her group of vampires including Jesse (Henriksen), Severen (Paxton), Diamondback (Goldstein) and Homer (Miller) he finds himself drawn into a world of crime while his family worry about him.

As the group travels around America at night Caleb needs to prove his worth to the group and learn to kill but when he doesn’t he must fight to survive against the vampire while learning the cure for this new disease.

 

Thoughts on Near Dark

 

Characters/PerformanceCaleb is just an everyday small town American young man who spends his nights looking to meet women and this time he meets a woman that will change his life, one that will turn him into a vampire as he must learn to adjust to this new life. Mae is the woman that attracts Caleb who does want out of this life or at least have someone else by her side. Jesse controls the group keeping them all in order not wanting to carry any dead weight. Severen is the character you will remember most because he is over the top and enjoys the kills.

Performance wise, Adrian Pasdar is fine but you can see he isn’t going to make it as a charismatic leading actor, Jenny Wright is also fine but doesn’t pull us into the whole stunning beautiful leading lay, with Lance Henriksen doing what you all know he can, be a good villain. Bill Paxton is the star of the show as we do remember nearly everything he does through the film.

StoryThe story follows one man as he is turned into a vampire as he needs to learn to kill to survive while on the run with a villainous group of vampires. This takes a new approach the vampire genre showing the family feel to a group, a new look at the transformation and even introducing the idea of a full cure. I like this and believe it is fresh feeling to the vampire genre.

Action/Crime/HorrorThe action is very simple and what we have come to expect, with the crime side of the story being how the vampires hunt feels very criminal in style with the horror being with what happens to the vampires meet sunlight.

SettingsThe settings make this feel like a western in places as the group travel from town to town hunting.

Special EffectsThe effects are all practical and they all look great when it comes to how the vampires are being affected by the sunlight.

Final ThoughtsThis may well not be the first film that comes to mind when you think vampires but when you look at the greats this doesn’t come too far off being on their level.

 

Overall: Enjoyable, gritty and dark vampire thriller.

Rating

 

 

1922 (2017)

Director: Zak Hilditch

Writer: Zak Hilditch (Screenplay) Stephen King (Short Story)

Starring: Thomas Jane, Molly Parker, Dylan Schmid, Kaitlyn Bernard, Brian D’Arcy James, Neal McDonough

 

Plot: A simple yet proud rancher in the year 1922 conspires to murder his wife for financial gain, convincing his teenage son to participate.


Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Plain & Boring

 

Story: 1922 starts as Wilfred James (Jane) is about to lose part of his property to his wife Arlette (Parker), Wilfred doesn’t want to lose the farmland he has raised his son Henry (Schmid) on and wants to come up with a way to keep all the land.

Wilfred’s plan is to get his son to help him murder Arlette, to get the financial gain of taking ownership of the property. The guilt of what he did only ends up driving Wilfred crazy here as the mental state start to unfold.

 

Thoughts on 1922

 

Characters – Wilfred is a farmer and father that doesn’t want to leave his farm, he designs a plan to get that as he looks to stay but soon his mind starts slipping into insanity. Arlette is the wife that wants to move away but has to overcome the husband’s decision not to, only to find herself murdered and visiting him in ghost form. Henry is the son that helps with the cover up, but soon goes out on his own to learn the harsh reality of the world.

PerformancesThomas Jane does give us a good performance in this film, but the rest of the cast are just ok, none of the performances drag us into the film in any way to see where it will end up going.

StoryThe story was hard to follow, I think the idea is that one man loses everything because of killing his wife, the problem is that this is an incredibly slow-moving film that doesn’t seem to go very far or have any redeemable qualities. Is gets caught in the middle of a breakdown and a supernatural movie without being set on one that could make either feel stronger.

Crime/Horror/MysteryThere was a crime as it leads to a cover up of a murder which leads to the horror involved in the story as the past comes to haunt Wilfred.

SettingsThe settings do fit the time in question which is fine but nothing stands out as the best of the best.

Special EffectsThe effects are good when used but the film doesn’t just turn to effects to make things happen.


Scene of the Movie –
Final Scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It was so so so so slow.

Final ThoughtsWell this is one of the dullest movies of the year, it has nothing happening for the most part and for a Stephen King spin it only disappoints.

 

Overall: Boring is being polite.

Rating