Mine (2016)

Director: Fabio Guaglione, Fabio Resinaro

Writer: Fabio Guaglione, Fabio Resinaro (Screenplay)

Starring: Armie Hammer, Annabelle Wallis, Tom Cullen, Clint Dyer, Geoff Bell, Juliet Aubrey

 

Plot: After a failed assassination attempt, a soldier finds himself stranded in the desert. Exposed to the elements, he must survive the dangers of the desert and battle the psychological and physical tolls of the treacherous conditions.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Intense Thriller

 

Story: Mine starts as sniper Mike (Hammer) and his spotter Tommy (Cullen) on an assassination mission but when Mike isn’t 100% sure that is his target is the required one, this leads to the position being giving away and the two on the run through the desert looking for rescue.

When the two stumbles across a mine field warning sign floating around the desert, Mike becomes worried while Tommy believes it could have come from anywhere, continuing their mission Tommy detonates a mine while Mike finds himself stood on one not being able to move.

With no GPS available and limited resources Mike’s only hope of survival is 52 hours away, now he must look for the best way to survive with a sandstorms, enemies and exhausting being his main threat.

 

Thoughts on Mine

 

Characters – Mike is the sniper on the mission, he doesn’t complete the mission due to too many variables from the source information and along with his spotter must retreat for evocation, things don’t go as planned once he finds himself stepping on a land mine, not being able to move, we are left to see his survival skills. Tommy is the spotter for Mike, he has been at war longer and has family back home, he is killed once he steps on a mine which leads to certain questions about the character being so naïve in a war environment. Jenny is the girlfriend of Mike’s back home, she is the main motivation for Mike to keep strong through his deadly situation.

PerformanceArmie Hammer is a guy that has taken a lot of stick through the years and this year his performances have shown us just how capable he is, Mine gives us a solo performance which shows he can carry a movie, Annabelle Wallis does well with her supporting performance without needing to do anything difficult and Tom Cullen is solid in the supporting role, he doesn’t do anything wrong as a performer even if the character seems naïve.

StoryThe story follows one man trapped on a landmine in the middle of the desert, we watch how he faces his potential death as he looks back through moments of his life where he stepped into situation he regretted as well as the moments that made him who he is. This does fall into the bracket of one man trying to survive in a film which is always an intense story to watch but looking into his past regrets and memories reflect that we all step on landmines through life at times.

Thriller/WarWe are kept on the edge of our seats through the film wanting to know is Mike can survive the situation he finds himself in which does revolve around the idea of what is left because of the war in the mines rather than focusing on the conflict.

SettingsThe middle of the desert does make for the fantastic setting for this movie, Mike has nowhere to go, battling the elements and little chance of success for the most part.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well through the film, the film doesn’t turn to them often but when needed they are effective.

Scene of the Movie – The last visit of the stranger, shows us the effect of the war on the innocent people too.

That Moment that annoyed me It could easily get people turned off with the pure number random visit Mike must face because we just get left wondering how many are real or not.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good intense thriller along the line of Buried and well worth a watch throughout, it might become slightly confusing by the end but you do get rewarded by the end.

 

Overall: Good thriller well worth watching.

Rating

 

 

Spooks: The Greater Good (2015)

Director: Bharat Nalluri

Writer: Jonathan Brackley, Sam Vincent (Screenplay)

Starring: Kit Harington, Peter Firth, Jennifer Ehle, David Harewood, Lara Pulver, Tim McInnerny, Tuppence Middleton

 

Plot: When a terrorist escapes custody during a routine handover, Will Holloway must team with disgraced MI5 Intelligence Chief Harry Pearce to track him down before an imminent terrorist attack on London.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Should Have Stayed on TV

 

Story: Spooks: The Greater Good starts when Harry Pearce (Firth) must make the impossible decision to release a known terrorist Hamza Ahmadi (Mallassi) to rescue civilians, this shows massive failure on behalf of MI5.

When Harry goes missing Geraldine Maltby (Ehle), Oliver Mace (McInnerny) and Francis Warrender (Harewood) bring in former spy Will Holloway (Harington) to locate him after he has faked his own disappearance.

Will finds himself playing the middle man working for Harry but under MI5 to work an operation to stop the terrorist from taking London into his own terror target.

 

Thoughts on Spooks: The Greater Good

 

Characters/PerformanceWill being the lead character is the guy who clearly wasn’t meant to be an agent because he is filled with terrible decisions. Harry does come from the TV version so I think if you wanted the show you would understand more but in this he just comes off shady. The rest of the characters do all come off feeling like generic spy TV show character.

Performance wise Harington does well but never reaches the performance levels that Keifer Sutherland, Matt Damon or any of the Bond actors give us. Peter Firth is fine but you can see he is better for TV than film.

StoryThe story feels like a poor version of an episode of 24, because if you haven’t seen the TV show you wouldn’t know the bigger picture going on. This story feels all over the place because the story never reaches the intensity level needed for a film of this subject. It also drags in most places as you just lose interest in what is going on.

Action/ThrillerThe action is simple and never tests with the thrilling side of the story not reaching any strong levels in the film.

SettingsLondon should be a great setting but everything happens too conventionally for how the story end up unfolding.

Special EffectsWe have few and they are fine without being a CGI heavy film.

Final ThoughtsIf you want to see this film watch the show first you might understand it more or just watch 24 because it works in my opinion on a better level.

 

Overall: Slow, confusing and just not reaching the levels it should.

Rating

 

 

Casey Affleck Weekend – Out of the Furnace (2013)

Director: Scott Cooper

Writer: Brad Ingelsby, Scott Cooper (Screenplay)

Starring: Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard

 

Plot: When Rodney Baze mysteriously disappears and law enforcement doesn’t follow through fast enough, his older brother, Russell, takes matters into his own hands to find justice.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gritty Crime Thriller

 

Story: Out of the Furnace starts as we meet the key character in this depressive downbeat town, we have aggressive new criminal Harlan DeGroat (Harrelson), the current crime boss John Petty (Dafoe), hardworking Russell (Bale) and his brother soldier Rodney (Affleck), Russell girlfriend Lena (Saldana) and Chief Wesley (Whitaker).

Russell looks out for Rodney but when he is involved in a manslaughter case he finds himself in prison, while away Rodney finds himself working for Petty owing him money. Rodney desperate to make the money quick forces John into booking a fight in Harlan territory, to make a large pay day.

When Rodney finds himself in more trouble, he vanishes after the fight for Harlan, leaving a note to Russell about the change he is going to make with his life. When Russell isn’t happy with the speed, the police are taking finding his brother and Harlan he takes matters into his own hands risking his own newly acquired freedom.

 

Thoughts on Out of the Furnace

 

Characters/PerformanceRussell is the everyday man who always looks out for his brother, works hard to make a living and start a family but his life is turned upside when he is involved in an accident landing him in jail. He shows that he will do anything to protect his own family. Harlan is you typical crime boss who believes he is toughest around, deadly when needed to be. Rodney is the easily led astray young man who feels like he doesn’t get what he deserves after his time in Iraq turning to underground fighting. Wesley is the basic cop we don’t see enough from, Lena is the girlfriend that only shows what could have been with John being a nice criminal if that makes sense.

Performance wise Bale shines in the leading role with Affleck showing all of his acting skills in the supporting role. Harrelson is good and creepy but also seems to enjoy this role slightly too much. Looking deeper into the cast Whitaker, Saldana and Dafoe are all good but could be replaced by another actor.

StoryThe story shows how the bleak desperate people will turn to illegal actions to make money. We have elements of the criminal underworld which all comes through as we see how the fighting takes place and we see how one brother seeks answers on a one man mission. I liked how this was just a body building count for Russell, he goes straight to the source of the problems. This also does feel like many films we have seen before with the huge issue I had was not knowing how long he was in prison for.

Crime/ThrillerThe criminal underworld fight scenes are great with the whole idea that the criminals control the town, we are kept on edge as we wonder just how far Russell will go.

SettingsEach setting shows us just how much of a struggle most days are for these people, giving the criminal life the only escape they can get.

Special EffectsWe don’t have many here, most are just well drawn out fight sequences and well placed gun shots.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dark gritty crime thriller that is a good watch, it does have a couple of plot holes but otherwise good addition to the genre.

 

Overall: Crime thriller fans enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Open Water 3: Cage Dive (2017)

Director: Gerald Rascionato

Writer: Gerald Rascionato (Screenplay) Gerald Rascionato, Stephen Lister (Story)

Starring: Joel Hogan, Josh Potthoff, Megan Peta Hill, Pete Valley, Mark Fell

 

Plot: Three friends filming an audition tape for an extreme reality show, take part in shark cage diving, only to be left in great white infested waters, turning their recording into life and death.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sinks Like the Boat

 

Story: Open Water 3: Cage Dive starts as rescue attempts have been put in place after a cage diving boat was hit by a freak wave in shark infested water, three American tourists are still missing and their camera has been discovered, we look back through this video.

As we look back we meet Jeff (Hogan) his brother Josh (Potthoff) and Megan (Hill) who are auditing for an extreme reality show, where they must prove they can work as a team with the ultimate goal to go cage diving with great white sharks. When they make it to the cage dive the three are inside the cage when the freak wave hits and they go crashing into the open water needing to survive shark infested waters.

 

Thoughts on Open Water 3: Cage Dive

 

Characters – Josh and Jeff are brothers who both love their extreme sports, they seem to have a strong bond and even with Jeff having his girlfriend as part of the team we get the side story that Josh has a thing with her two. Megan is the girlfriend of Jeff that is part of the team and also enjoys the extreme sports, other than that we don’t learn too much about them until the disaster hits.

PerformanceThe performances from the three actors are just what you expect, they do come off believable with their chemistry without overacting any of the distress scenes.

StoryThree friends trapped or lost at sea after a freak accident record the moments, this is by the book found footage. The biggest problem here is the film is shot like a report of what happened and the camera was found, so it kind of implies the direction the film is going. Another big problem is that the film is called Cage Dive which makes you believe they will be trapped in a cage under or in the water, we also fall into the terrible decisions being made by three characters that believe they could be experts.

Horror/ThrillerTrapped in the water surrounded by sharks, well this should work but loses all the tension by pointing out just how the film is being shown like a documentary into what happened.

SettingsThey are in the ocean, not a shark cage this just ends up being another re-hash of the original Open Water.

Special EffectsThe wave is the only need for major special effects which looks good as do the shark moments which I imagine are CGI.

Scene of the Movie – The wave moment looks panic filled and true.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Why did Megan become the stupid crazy character who doesn’t understand calm in the second half of the film, the group are meant to be together throughout not like this.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that is sold incorrectly, the only cage dive moment is in the calm, other than that it is just another Open Water movie of small group needing to survive potential shark attacks. Even though I disliked 47 Meters Down it is far superior.

 

Overall: How many times do we need to see survivors in water almost being eaten by sharks?

Rating

 

 

Mark Strong Weekend – The Guard (2011)

guardDirector: John Michael McDonagh

Writer: John Michael McDonagh (Screenplay)

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Mark Strong, Liam Cunningham

 

Plot: An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is partnered with an up-tight F.B.I. agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Darkly Comic Crime Comedy

 

Story: The Guard starts as we meet slacker but smart Irish small town police officer Gerry Boyle (Gleeson) who is happen just to clean up crime scenes than solve the crime when it comes to the petty ones. When his small village has a surprise murder and the number 5 and half written in blood on the wall.

This case brings FBI agent Wendell Everett (Cheadle) from America to track down the drug shipment that went missing and is believed to be in Ireland. This brings us the unlikely pairing of Gerry and Wendell from two different worlds trying to track down drug dealer Francis Sheehy-Skeffington (Cunningham) who is hiding out in the village.

 

Thoughts on The Guard

 

StoryIf you were to bottle down this story it is just an odd couple crime comedy tracking down drug smugglers which is all fine and an enjoyable watch throughout. I have said before I am happy with simple stories and this is just that we get good characters and fun moments and is one that can be enjoyed by all.

Comedy/Crime We get comedy from the odd couple crime story going on which has laughs from start to finish with mostly inappropriate comments from Gerry.

Characters/PerformanceGerry is a great addition to the comedic police officer genre that has many but this one is great fun to watch as you don’t know how inappropriate he will be with his latest comments. The FBI agent Wendell plans the straight honest character who is great at reacting to the comments. The bad guys are all played to be what we expect from the genre with the local drug dealer turned international drug smugglers.

Looking at the performance Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle make for a great partnership for comedy that you feel you could watch again and again, when you look at Cunningham and Strong they both enjoy taking the villainous roles.

SettingsHaving the film set in a small Irish village adds to the comedy between local and outsider from the FBI agent but this is a village not used to crime.

Final ThoughtsThis really is a darkly comic crime film that can be enjoyable by all.

 

Overall: Entertaining Irish crime comedy that will make you laugh at all the right points.

Ratingcard