The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019)

Director: Gideon Raff

Writer: Gideon Raff (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Evans, Haley Bennett, Alona Tal, Michiel Huisman, Ben Kingsley, Michael Kenneth Williams, Alex Hassell, Alessandro Nivola, Greg Kinnear

Plot: Israel’s Mossad agents attempt to rescue Ethiopian Jewish refugees in Sudan in 1977.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Amazing True Story

Story: The Red Sea Diving Resort starts as Ari (Evans) an American Ari (Evans) working for the Israel Mossad agents rescues refugees from Ethiopia with his latest mission seeing Kabede (Williams) rescued. Ari does become grounded, but isn’t willing to let more innocent people murder, he comes up with an idea that could see thousands rescued.

Ari puts together a team including Rachel Reiter (Bennett), Jake (Huisman), Max (Hassell) and Sammy (Nivola) with the plan to lease a hotel known as the Red Sea Diving Resort to use it to get refugees out of Africa back to Israel. This is one of the riskiest rescue attempts tried and one that will bring history to life.

Thoughts on The Red Sea Diving Resort

Characters – Ari Levinson is leading an Israeli group of agent, who are trying to rescue Ethiopian refugees by taking them through Sudan, giving them their only hope to make it out alive. He is willing to risk everything to make it happen by taking a mission which will risk their own lives to lead them out to see, remaining calm through the operations which will see them become targets of the local generals. Rachel is one of the team, just by being a woman she is risking even more than the rest, though her language skills are key to the whole operation. Kabede Bimro is the connection with Ari that leads the refugees to him, he becomes one of the most wanted men because of his actions, but will risk everything for his own family. Ethan Levin is the one that tries to control Ari on his mission, he doesn’t agree with most of what he does, knowing if he was to get caught it could create an international incident.

PerformancesChris Evans takes his first major role since leaving the role as Captain America, he does show he can handle the serious side of acting even though his character does feel like branch of what Captain America stood for. Haley Bennett is strong throughout, in a world that her character shouldn’t feel safe in. Ben Kingsley does what you would expect in his authority role, while Michael Kenneth Williams is the most interesting character though we could have spent more time with his character.

StoryThe story here follows an Israeli agent that risked everything to try and rescue as many Ethiopian refugees as he could using a Sudanese hotel as a cover to hide them and move them through to safety despite heavy pressure from the military forces in the country. This is another incredible story of how somebody and their team would do the right thing for the human race that would be left facing a future which would see them killed or forced into slavery if they couldn’t get free. It should be seen to highlight the continuing problems in the world along with the incredible work that was done. We are kept waiting to see how many will get rescued and how they will overcome the obstacles placed in their way, though it would be fair it wouldn’t be a story if they had failed.

HistoryThis is a moment in history which showed a country reaching out to help in secret when another country would rather butcher their own people.

SettingsThe film creates the realistic settings that only make this feel like we are part of the era it is set in, we see how much was being risked in what could be considered a calm location of a hotel.


Scene of the Movie – Runway.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The fact that his behaviour actually still happens in the world.

Final Thoughts This is a highlight on just what was risked to save thousands of stranded refugees, it has top class acting and shows that we can achieve great things if we worked together.

Overall: Brilliant look at bravery.

Rating

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The Front Runner (2018)

Director: Jason Reitman

Writer: Matt Bai, Jay Carson, Jason Reitman (Screenplay) Matt Bai (Book)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons, Mark O’Brien, Molly Ephraim, Chris Coy, Alex Karpovsky,

 

Plot: In 1987, U.S. Senator Gary Hart‘s presidential campaign is derailed when he’s caught in a scandalous love affair.


Tagline – Gary Hart was going to be President. Instead he changed American Politics forever.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over-Populated Political Thriller

 

Story: The Front Runner starts after Gary Hart (Jackman) has missed out on the Vice-President position, four-years later in 1987, Gary is running for the Presidency, he is the clear favourite too, his team which includes Bill Dixon (Simmons) knows it is only a matter of time before he wins, while the opposition team is looking for weakness in his reputation.

Gary’s lead starts taking a hit when an early report of a potential affair emerges and before long every single newspaper in the country is trying to cover the story on different levels, some using it as a gossip column while others just want to question his own integrity. This will see Gary’s hope of becoming President come crashing down around him.

 

Thoughts on The Front Runner

 

Characters – These characters are based on real people, which will show certain ones in good and bad lights. Senator Gary Hart is running for Presidency, is has the whole campaign under complete control, which has all but guaranteed he would become the next President of the United States. Gary has the ability to spin any story that is placed on front of him, to show that he could bring America a brighter future. Gary however does have a secret with an affair which the press turn into a big story which sees him needing to try and recover from the spiralling situation he has created with his own wrong doing. Lee Hart is the wife of Gary, she has been part of a previous separation which made her suffer enough, she has however always stood by her man with strict rules for the future. Bill Dixon is the campaign manager for Gary, that wants to keep everything simple only this becomes difficult when the truth starts to come out. The Front Runner struggles with one big problem, we have such a large cast of characters it does make it hard to keep up with the almost nameless characters, we have three or four papers and their staff, the campaign team, the people involved in the potential affair, it just becomes completely keeping up with who is who.

PerformancesHugh Jackman is great to watch in the leading role, if he was given that one scene to try and make his character truly memorable it would have put him into a stronger respected performance for the year. Vera Farmiga does everything asked of her character which she doesn’t do anything wrong with. J.K. Simmons almost feels wasted in his role which should have been larger for what is going on. Most of the performances do seem to struggle for this reason.

StoryThe story here follows a presidential candidate whose life becomes filed with speculation after an alleged affair that both sides denied saw him going from a guarantee winner to needing to withdraw, changing the way politics are portrayed in the papers forever. This story does put the spotlight on the moment that saw a change in how politics and journalist operated, the film even points out in the fact that previous Presidents asked for heads to be turned about affairs, but this alleged one saw the country turn on any person that was willing to cheat. The story does show how the three weeks changed the whole race, only it does try to put way too many characters into the film which does make it hard to keep up with who each person is and what side of the story they really are on.

Biopic/HistoryWe follow a 3 week period in Gary Hart’s life, the three weeks that took him from being the next President to the moment he withdrew wanting to keep the false accusations about him out of the papers, this shows how quickly the public can turn on people and the media can make it happen, this plays into the history side of electing a President because we see how minds suddenly changed after how previous ones had acted.

SettingsThe film does use the authentic settings, show how the press would hide for a story, while Gary would use the public to put an end to the stories being made up.


Scene of the Movie –
Twisting the medias words.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story which does feel like it should be told to more people, only this version of the story is completely over-saturated be characters making it hard to keep up with.

 

Overall: Political Thriller that just doesn’t pack the punch.

Rating

 

 

Robert the Bruce (2019)

Director: Richard Gray

Writer: Eric Belgau, Angus Macfadyen (Screenplay)

Starring: Angus Macfadyen, Anna Hutchison, Zach McGowan, Diarmaid Murtagh, Gabriel Bateman, Talitha Bateman, Emma Kenney, Daniel Portman, Patrick Fugit, Merlora Walters, Shane Coffey, Brandon Lessard, Kevin McNailly, Jared Harris

 

Plot: The story of nobleman-turned-outlaw hero who was crowned king of Scots in the 14th century.


Tagline – He Empowered a People, He Fought for Freedom, To Defy An Empire.

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Scottish History Without the Battles

 

Story: Robert the Bruce starts after William Wallace is defeated, Robert the Bruce (Macfadyen) and John Comyn (Harris) are fighting for control of Scotland, with John coming up the winner, Robert isn’t willing to take this defeat laying down, with his loyal soldiers James Douglas (Murtagh) planning to take Scotland back.

With Robert injured, Morag (Hutchison) and her family discover him, nursing him back to health despite being in a heavily Comyn control area, with Brandubh (McGowan) hunting down anyone who supporting Robert the Bruce, he must regain his strength to take his rightful place on the throne of Scotland.

 

Thoughts on Robert the Bruce

 

Characters – Robert the Bruce is the man that was crowned king of Scotland after the English were defeated, he wasn’t everybody’s first choice, which sees him needing to fight for his place on the throne, which sees him being left for dead, while his opposition takes control of the land, eliminating anybody who supports him. John Comyn is the other man that believes he could be king of Scotland, he has taken control in the battle against Robert, which sees him continuing to use the connections with English, much to anger of the Scots. Morag is the single mother that saw her husband killed fighting for Robert, she must raise her children believing John is the rightful ruler, either if her stories tell of Robert’s bravery.  Brandubh is related to Morag, he is willing to kill anybody that doesn’t fight for his own country, which sees him trying to hunt down Robert the Bruce.

PerformancesAngus Macfadyen reprises his former role of Robert the Bruce, one he played in Braveheart, he brings us a wise leader performance through the film. Jared Harris might have a supporting role, but after this year, you want to pause and watch any scene this man is in. Anna Hutchison does bring us a stronger performance than you would expect from her, with her getting to show that she can handle a serious role. Zach McGowan does a lot of the heavy lifting in this film, he is the one that gets to handle the most action through the film, with him being the villain for large parts of the film which otherwise would involve less action.

StoryThe story here follows Robert the Bruce who became of the King of Scotland in the aftermath of the William Wallace battles against the English. Now this is set up to be some what of a sequel to Braveheart, which it is only in continuing a story, not in film story. we do play into the idea of how Scotland was left in the unknown after the battle, with two people fighting for the leadership, with the people left divided and calm required to make the land complete once again. The pacing of the story does come off slow in places which doesn’t help because, it is mostly a mother trying to prove to her children who should be king, and who they should tell people they respect more to remain safe. If you know your history the end of the film isn’t going to be a mystery to you and it does feel like there could have been a bigger impact with certain things that happen in this story.

HistoryThis is a history lesson to the people that wanted to know more historic accuracy behind Scotland’s independence from England, unlike what Braveheart did.

SettingsThe film does make us feel like we are in part of Scotland, we get to see how the condition made the events of the film difficult for the men fighting for the rightful cause.


Scene of the Movie –
The crown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is about 30 minutes too long for everything that is told in this story.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting look at the history of Robert the Bruce and his rise to become king of Scotland, seeing how he overcame odds to take his place on the throne. Everything is acted well, never looking out of place.

 

Overall: History lesson.

Rating

 

 

Night Crossing (1982)

Director: Delbert Mann

Writer: John McGreevey (Screenplay)

Starring: John Hurt, Jane Alxeander, Doug McKeon, Keith McKeon, Beau Bridges, Glynnis O’Connor

 

Plot: Two men want to escape from East Germany, but they will only go if they can take their families with them.


Tagline – The East German border: 836 miles of barbed wire walls, automated machine guns, armed guards, and deadly land mines. On September 15, 1979 two families tried to cross it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brave Story

 

Story: Night Crossing starts as we go to East Germany in 1979, The Strelzyk family, Peter (Hurt), Doris (Alexander), Frank (D.McKeon) and Fitscher (K.McKeon) who are getting tired of not being able to go to the west side of Germany, one they see as fairer. The friendship between this family and the Wetzel’s Gunter (Bridges) and Petra (O’Connor) keeps them strong, while they see the friends trying to escape getting killed.

When Peter comes up with up the idea to build a balloon with Gunter to escape, it will mean working in secret because getting caught will only see him killed. When Gunter leaves for family reasons, Peter must keep the idea within the family for the hope for their future.

 

Thoughts on Night Crossing

 

Characters – Peter is a father that has been living with his family in Eastern Germany, he is getting tired of the lack of change or unity with the Western side and decides he wants to risk his family’s life to escape, he plans to build a balloon which would fly over the borders in place. Doris is the wife of Peter, she is reluctant to help at first, but soon sees this being the only option. Gunter is the friend that wants to help build the balloon, only for his wife to push him into staying behind because of the young age of their children. Petra is Gunter’s wife that doesn’t want to risk their infant children with an escape plan so dangerous.

PerformancesJohn Hurt in the leading role is the strongest member of the cast, he shows that even a common man can have the hope required for his character. Jane Alexander and Glynnis O’Connor are both fitting the wife type of role which doesn’t get much else to do. Beau Bridges completes the cast with a performance that shows just how young men would have been affected in this world.

StoryThe story follows two families that work together to find a way to escape East Germany and get into West Germany in the late 70s, they must risk everything for this, which is failing would see them face certain death. this is a story of inspiration that showed us just how much people were willing to risk escaping a land they couldn’t live their natural life without being dictated too, it shows the patience to make it happen and how family can inspire you to risk everything.

Family/HistoryThis might be classed as a family film that is because of the families involved in trying to make this high risk situation happen, the history of their escape is one that could inspire many who were trapped in the land.

SettingsThe film is set in the harsh living conditions the families would have been living in and how secretive their plan would have been to make happen.


Scene of the Movie –
Are we in the West?

That Moment That Annoyed Me It could have been a lot darker.

Final ThoughtsThis is an inspiration story of two family’s determination to make it out of a life which didn’t offer them a true future.

 

Overall: True story that shows bravery and inspiration.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – W – Warsaw 44 (2014)

Director: Jan Komasa

Writer: Jan Komasa (Screenplay)

Starring: Jozef Pawlowski, Zofia Wichlacz, Anna Prochniak, Antoni Krolikowski, Maurycy Popiel

 

Plot: A story of love, friendship and the pursuit of adventure during the bloody and brutal reality of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong War Reality

 

Story: Warsaw 44 starts as we meet Stefan (Pawlowski) a young man living in Warsaw in 1944 during the war, he lives with his mother and younger brother bring the money back to the home, this changes when he meets a group of people similar to his age, they offer him a chance to go into the Polish army as they plan to fight back against the Germans.

As the Uprising starts to attack the Nazi’s Stefan learns the harsh reality of war up close and personal, with the love of his life Biedronka (Wichlacz) being the only one that will help him through the destruction.

 

Thoughts on Warsaw 44

 

Characters – Stefan is the honest hard working young man, he supports his family, protects his brother from the horrors of war, he is however led to join the Uprising in Warsaw against the Nazi’s, a move which will change his life, he will learn love and heartache as the war comes closer than he would imagine. Biedronka is the woman that Stefan falls for in the uprising, she fights alongside the men and will do everything to save lives. Kama is another woman in the uprising that shows love towards Stefan, we get plenty of characters in this film that are mostly following the ones in the uprising that will do anything to get their freedom back.

PerformancesJozef Pawlowski is good in the leading role, the charm he shows saying goodbye to his little brother could melt a heart and seeing his reaction to the war side of the film shows us how any young man would have been going through during the time. The rest of the cast is good, getting their moments to shine with the desperation needed through the war.

StoryThe story follows the young people of Poland setting up an uprising to take on the Nazis during World War II, it starts as a small fight and soon throws them into the true harsh reality of war. While seeing the realities of war isn’t anything new, we do know how destruction, devasting and brutal war is on the people involved and World War II could well have been the worse in modern history, these people didn’t have any hope and only wanted freedom, they were willing to lay die their lives to do so. The characters however are fictional which could hold back being truly connected to the real people that would have suffered through the events. The story isn’t an easy watch and does have parts we don’t need to see, mostly the romance.

History/Romance/WarThe history behind this film is true, we knew how bad the war was on the people and just how fighting back was the only way, these two parts of the film are shown near perfectly for what it could have cost people. The romance however just feels tacked on and unneeded for most of the film.

SettingsThe film makes us feel like we are there, feeling each explosion, moment of destruction with hauntingly created settings.


Scene of the Movie –
The graveyard battle, because it shows us what they will truly be battling.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The romance side of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a hard hitting war drama, it shows us just what people were willing to do through the war through the eyes of the young adults.

 

Overall: Hard-hitting war drama

Rating