K-19 The Widowmaker (2002)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Writer: Christopher Kyle (Screenplay) Louis Nowra (Story)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Peter Saragaard,

 

Plot: When Russia’s first nuclear submarine malfunctions on its maiden voyage, the crew must race to save the ship and prevent a nuclear disaster.


Tagline – Fate has found its hero.

Runtime: 2 Hours 18 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Historical Thriller

 

Story: K-19: The Widowmaker starts in the height of the cold war between Russia and America, Russia has designed a new submarine which will contain enough nuclear weapons to destroyed the world twice over, Captain Mikhail Polenin (Neeson) must give up his leadership to strict Captain Alexei Vostrikov (Ford) who has been assigned to lead the submarine out for tests before advancing onto America.

While on the mission Alexei forces the crew through countless drills to see if they are the crew he is expecting, but when he starts pushing thing too far Mikhail starts to challenge him. The submarine then encounters problems which see the men being forced o put their differences aside to make sure they can make it home alive.

 

Thoughts on K-19: The Widowmaker

 

Characters – Captain Alexei Vostrikov is the strict captain that puts his new crew through drills at different hours of the day, he way to push the crew will bring added tension towards the crew, he demands the best and will risk the lives to make things work on the submarine. He will however risk lives when he doesn’t need believing it to be for the motherland. Captain Mikhail Polenin was the captain of this submarine, he has seen his crew struggle under the new standards and lack of ability to make the submarine to standards, he does clash with Alexei which is what is needed to help the decision making process which is important, he knows his role on this latest mission which will see his position tested between the rest of the crew. When it comes to the rest of the crew we have the normal figure that would be involved in this type of mission without anyone getting any true screen time.

PerformancesHarrison Ford and Liam Neeson bring their generic Russian accents into this film which works, it is more about their intensity which puts the two head and shoulders above the rest of the cast here.

StoryThe story here follows the events of the Russian submarine branded ‘The Widowmaker’ which saw its crew follow instruction on the mission only for things to go wrong and they must make the biggest decision of their lives. This does show us how two captains had different decisions and handling of their crew would make things tense between the crew. It does show us an historical moment in in submarine warfare that will put everyone involved, while it never gets overly involved in the main tensions of war and how countries would put underprepared crews out to sea because time is more important than safety.

History/WarThis historical event is left for many to read as they get to see just how the Russian submarine was left to be put into a massive decision that could have bought around a new World War, while we are see how they will do anything to stop the war happening, while preparing to one day start one.

SettingsThe film is set on the submarine, a closed claustrophobic position that the crew found themselves under.


Scene of the Movie –
Taking charge.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t seem to meet most of the supporting cast of this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a tense thriller such upon a submarine, it does show clash of styles between captains, only it falls short when it comes to introducing us to the supporting cast of the film.

 

Overall: Nice tense thriller.

Rating

 

 

Hotel Mumbai (2018) Movie Review

Director: Anthony Maras

Writer: John Collee, Anthony Maras (Screenplay)

Starring: Dev Patel, Armie Hammer, Nazanin Boniadi, Anupam Kher, Jason Isaacs

Plot: The true story of the Taj Hotel terrorist attack in Mumbai. Hotel staff risk their lives to keep everyone safe as people make unthinkable sacrifices to protect themselves and their families.

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Intense, Emotional and Heart-Breaking

Story: Hotel Mumbai starts on what was a normal demanding day at the luxury Taj Hotel in Mumbai, Arjun (Patel) is trying his hardest to keep his job with his wife due to have a baby any day now, the guest on this fateful day include Iranian-British heiress Zahra (Boniadi) and her husband David (Hammer) along with their new-born baby, Russian businessman Vasili (Isaacs).

This night is something nobody involved with ever remember, when a group of terrorists start causing mayhem through Mumbai, before getting into the Taj, to continue their rampage, leading to the staff needing to make sacrifices to try and keep the guest safe from the horrific action.

Thoughts on Hotel Mumbai

The Events in this film are based on the true events, any description given is solely on how the film presents the real people whose lives were affected by this tragic and horrific event.

Characters – Arjun is married with one child and another on the way, he is one of the many employees at the Taj hotel, he is portrayed as being a man that will work for anything to keep his family fed and safe, but one that could not always play by the rules at work, he begs for this shift and shows every of his guests and co-workers just how much he will risk for the right thing. Zahra is an Iranian Heiress that is considered one of the most important guests one who could make or break the reputation of the hotel. She is one person that gets trapped, waiting for her husband David to find their baby which was left with a nanny in the room, David will risk more by going out into the battlefield in a hope to get to the baby, where he becomes one of the top picks for a hostage, an American. Oberoi is head chef in the hotel, he does everything he can to keep the guests safe, letting the employees decide if they want to help or be with their own families. Vasili is a Russian businessman that seems like he will be loud and rude for most of his stay. He however proves to be one of the most important men during the hostage situation. We do get to meet the terrorists, who are doing this in the name of their God, they are young naïve and don’t seem to have any understanding just what they are doing, performing the acts with completely heartless manor.

PerformancesDev Patel, Nazanin Boniadi, Armie Hammer, Anupam Kher and Jason Isaacs are the biggest names in this film, their performances are faultless, we have one of the best all around cast performances too, from everyone involved.

StoryThe story here shows the guests and staffs point of view of the terrorist attack on the Taj hotel in Mumbai in 2008, it shows what they did to survive, how heartless the terrorists were and gives the many people who risked their lives a chance to show their story. There is no easy way to describe this story, it was one of the worst ground level terrorists in attacks in recent history, seeing how calculated the terrorists were in their actions in hard to watch, seeing how helpless the victims were, is heart breaking. We can see how horrific their actions were and just how heroic the staff at the hotel were, when it comes to helping the helpless.

History/ThrillerThe moment in history will always be one that shocked the world, it is one that you should have heard about and now you can hear the stories of the people involved. It is a film that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the film.

SettingsMost of the film is set within the walls of the Taj hotel, it showed us just how trapped the victims and survivors would have been.


Scene of the Movie – Lift sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – However hard this would be to portray everyone involved, it does feel like some of the characters and people don’t get enough of a story behind there events.

Final Thoughts This is easily one of the most intense films you will see and it shows just how horrific the events of the film were to the people involved.

Overall: Pure Intensity

Sam Neill Weekend – The Dish (2000)

Director: Rob Sitch

Writer: Santo Cilaruo, Tom Gleisner, Jane Kennedy, Rob Sitch (Screenplay)

Starring: Sam Neill, Kevin Harrington, Tom Long, Patrick Warburton, Genevieve Mooy, Tayler Kane, Billie Brown, Roy Billing

 

Plot: A remote Australian community, populated by quirky characters, plays a key role in the first Apollo moon landing.


Tagline – Man’s first step on the moon nearly stumbled on earth

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Look at the Apollo 11 Mission

 

Story: The Dish starts as a small town named Parkes which has the largest satellite dish in the south hemisphere is selected by NASA to communicate the Apollo 11 mission, the team is a four man operation run by Cliff Buxton (Neill) with his normal team, Ross ‘Mitch Mitchell (Harrington), Glenn Latham (Long) and NASA representative Al Burnett (Warburton).

With the news that Parkes has been selected the whole town gets a buzz with the Mayor (Billing) seeing this a chance to meet the Prime Minister (Brown) and gossip flying around, while the men deal with the added pressure of being part of one of the most important moments in human history.

 

Thoughts on The Dish

 

Characters – Cliff Buxton is the director of the facility, he remains calm for the additional pressure placed on him by this mission, he knows how to welcome a new member to the team and keep his loyal team showing the respect required, Cliff has been through his own personal tragedy which has given him extra motivation to be part of this moment in history. Mitch is the senior member of the team in Australia, he has worked with Cliff for years now and doesn’t take too keenly to Al, he must learn to accept his own mistakes and that everyone involved wants the same thing. Glenn is the youngest member of the team, he is nervous person in life and has a side story of whether he will ask a local woman out. Al is the representative from NASA, he is very much by the book figure and this does cause tension in places because he isn’t as laid back as the rest of the team, even though he does have the utmost respect for the team.

PerformancesSam Neill is brilliant in this film, he has always been one of the actors that can portray knowledge with ease and will always be engaging. Kevin Harrington, Tom Long and Patrick Warburton are all wonderful to watch, showing great chemistry throughout the film.

StoryThe story here follows the small team of satellite team in Australia that have been selected to be the link in communication for NASA for the Apollo 11 mission to be the first man to walk on the moon, we see how they team had to overcome their own problems to make sure they are part of history. When it comes to the moon mission, it has to go down as one of the biggest moments in human history and over the years we have seen many stories about the people involved in making this moment in history happen. By seeing how a small crew has operated to make this event visible for the world is entertaining. Seeing how things didn’t go to plan shows how they had to show their skills to adapt to the situation is interesting and the side story of the Mayor seeing how proud he is to be selected for this. This is a complete story that shows us just how wonderful this event was for the people involved.

Comedy/HistoryThe comedy involved in the film shows us just how the crew can make the events fee light-hearted with what happens, showing us how they can feel like they are can operate best with the laidback nature. This does circle around one of the biggest events in human history.

SettingsThe film uses a couple of main locations, first and most importantly is the dish which shows how contained the operation was and how the town came together to be remembered in history.


Scene of the Movie –
Rudy the security guard, he gets so many laughs it is brilliant.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing about this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most underrated movies involving the moon landing, it is one that is easy to enjoy with laughs and historical moments blend effortlessly.

 

Overall: Wonderful drama.

Rating

 

 

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

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