Aquaman (2018)

Director: James Wan

Writer: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Will Beall (Screenplay) Geoff John, James Wan, Will Beall, Mort Weisinger, Paul Norris (Story/Characters)

Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

 

Plot: Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and be a hero to the world.


Tagline – He’s not from around here.

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Blast

 

Story: Aquaman starts as we learn about Arthur’s (Momoa) parents, mother the Queen of Atlantis Atlanna (Kidman) and father a mortal lighthouse keeper Tom (Morrison), Atlanna had to leave Arthur on land after her failed attempt to escape the rulers of Atlantis. We see how Arthur is being pressured into going to Atlantis and claiming his throne by Mera (Heard) to stop his half-brother King Orm (Wilson) who wants a war with the land by uniting the armies underwater.

Arthur must go on the quest to unlock his own position in Atlantis to prevent a war which will have mass causalities, along the way he will learn the truth about the ways of the Atlanteans if he is going to take the throne.

 

Thoughts on Aquaman

 

Characters – Arthur is the Aquaman, not wanting to be a hero on either land or in the ocean, he has always been against Atlantis because of what they did to his mother, he does protect the water from the helpless, while not being as friendly as the other heroes in this universe. He must go on a quest to take on his half-brother and become the true king of Atlantis. He does try to give us plenty of one liners through all the film. Mera is the princess and daughter to King Nereus, she knows that Arthur is the right person for the throne, though she is arranged to marry King Orm, she does come off as the smarter of the two while on the quest. Vulko has trained both to be prepared for fights, he is the advisor to King Orm, even if he believes that Arthur is the rightful king. King Orm wants to go to war with the land, he believes and is tired of how the oceans are treated, he wants to unite the different factions even if it means by going with force. He will use both sides to his advantage to put himself in the position of power. Atlanna is the mother of both Arthur and Orm, killed for her actions, one of the few people that commanded respect from all kingdoms. We do have the kings from each kingdom being pushed into following King Orm and Manta who wants revenge for Arthur’s action, he is human and a pirate, even if he ends up looking like a Power Rangers villain.

PerformancesJason Momoa is great in the leading role, he looks like he is having fun at times, which feels important, while he can get serious when needed, he also looks the part too. Amber Heard is good in her role where she gets to fill in the gaps for the audience. Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman and Dolph Lundgren are good in the supporting roles which you could watch them play for days. Patrick Wilson deserves praise too because he is one of the best villains in the DC universe.

StoryThe story gives Aquaman his first solo adventure after his appearance in Justice League, where he must learn about Atlantis and take on his half-brother before a war between the land and the ocean starts. This is kind of an origin story, which seems to be the way DC are doing them, lets us meet them in a team up movie before moving into their own story, this is that movie. The idea that two half-brothers are fighting to power does seem to borrow from the Thor first movie, which does have a different game as Arthur is the one that doesn’t want to be king. The idea that one man must learn his place and stand up and be counted is a great hero story which is needed for Arthur.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe action in this film is good with the battle in Sicily being the highlight for me, we get a unique use of camerawork too for shooting the action. The adventure does take Arthur around the world in search for answers above or below the ocean. The fantasy world plays into the idea that Atlantis has been living under the ocean to make their own technology which again plays into the sci-fi elements being used in the film.

SettingsThe film does use the settings well, with Sicily being a new fight location, though the underwater sequences look fantastic to be absorb within.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are fantastic for the ambitious scale of the world needed to be created, there are a couple of shots which do look weaker than the rest though.


Scene of the Movie –
Sicily fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story does feel safe for an origin story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a blast for an origin film, we can have a lot of fun with everything happening in the film and we now have a character in the DC universe to make us excited that we don’t only have Wonder Woman.

 

Overall: Great fun to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

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Alpha (2018)

Director: Albert Hughes

Writer: Daniele Sebastian Wiedenhaupt (Screenplay) Albert Hughes (Story)

Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Johannes Haukur Johannesson, Marcin Kowalczyk, Jens Hulten, Natassia Malthe, Spencer Bogaert

 

Plot: In the prehistoric past, a young man struggles to return home after being separated from his tribe during a buffalo hunt. He finds a similarly lost wolf companion and starts a friendship that would change humanity.


Tagline – Leaders are born from survival.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Adventure

 

Story: Alpha starts as we meet Keda (Smit-McPhee) a young man and member of a prehistoric tribe, this is his chance to go on the hunt with the chief and his father Tau (Johannesson) to complete his path to manhood in the tribe, along with the other recruits, the week doesn’t end well for the young man when he becomes separated from his tribe.

Keda must find his tribe while dealing with the perils of the wilderness including the wolves, one of which he rescues making an unlikely friendship in the harsh world he is travelling through.

 

Thoughts on Alpha

 

Characters – Keda is the young man, the son of the chief of his tribe, he must go on his first hunt which only leaves him alone in the world. he must earn fast how to survive this environment with his caring nature showing with a wounded wolf that he nurses back to help. Alpha is the wolf that was hunting Keda, only to get wounded, she sticks around after being nursed back to health which brings her a new connection, one with a human. The two remain loyal to each other through the bitter winter which will test both of them. Tau is the chief of the tribe and father to Keda, he wants his son to follow in his footsteps showing strength to the rest of the tribe and wisdom to his son.

PerformancesKodi Smit-McPhee is fantastic in the leading role, he has to go through such a physical performance while balancing the emotion impact of believing he could be alone in the world. he does have to deal with most of the work in this film and the connect he has with the wolf. The supporting cast is good with what they need to do without having to do as much as Kodi.

StoryThe story follows one young man that gets separated from his tribe and must figure out how to get home, making a new friend along the way, a wolf. This does follow the survival story very clearly and the bond between man and animal starts coming through during the film. even with the formulaic storyline you are kept on edge through out as we want to see if Keda and Alpha can make it home. The connection between the two makes us see how humans and wolfs became one together. The simple story is what keeps us happy.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure takes Keda who is part of the tribe through the prehistoric world with threats that a solo man would be struggling to survive through. This does have moments that would be slightly too dark for the younger family audience.

SettingsThe world created is beautiful, we have the open plains to the snow filled background each condition becomes more difficult as we go on the adventure.

Special EffectsThe effects are strong for the most part, we do have moments that are not good but for the scale of the film should be applauded for the world we see.


Scene of the Movie –
The tiger attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not understanding the bison hunt.

Final ThoughtsThis is a visual treat for the audience with a connection between man and dog that is fantastic to see, the story might be generic but it works well.

 

Overall: Entertaining adventure

Rating

 

 

All the Devil’s Men (2018)

Director: Matthew Hope

Writer: Matthew Hope (Screenplay)

Starring: Milo Gibson, William Fichtner, Milo Gibson, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Elliot Cowan, Joseph Millson, Yavor Baharov

 

Plot: A battle-scarred War on Terror bounty hunter is forced to go to London on a manhunt for a disavowed CIA operative, which leads him into a deadly running battle with a former military comrade and his private army.


Tagline – The World is a Battlefield

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Late Night Action 101

 

Story: All the Devil’s Men starts as we meet the bounty hunter team working for CIA agent Leigh (Hoeks), we have Collins (Gibson), Brennan (Fichtner) and new member Samuelson (Akinnagbe), whose latest job was a success, now in London they start to investigate the latest mission.

When the team gets set up Collins must lead the remaining members of the team in an operation around London which puts him against an old military brother Deighton (Millson).

 

Thoughts on All the Devil’s Men

 

Characters – Collins is the seal that has been working as a bounty hunter for the CIA, he has a dark past with missions he has completed and knows to trust the team around him, he won’t give up till the mission is complete. Leigh is the one that runs the operations, she puts the team together and tends to be their eyes in the sky, though she is willing to do anything to close the deal for the good of the country. Brennan is the older member of the team and the member that Collins has worked with the longest, he knows how the system operates and who to bring in when needing extra hands. Samuelson is the newest member of the team, he doesn’t want to be known as a bounty hunter more of a shadow warrior, he does following instructions well, but talks more than Collins wants him too.

PerformancesMilo Gibson as the leading action man is solid, he doesn’t have too much to do that is overly difficult, few driving, shooting and ducking scenes, no real emotional moment required. Sylvia Hoeks was fantastic in Blade Runner 2049, which is a disappointment here because we know how great she can be, it feels like this wasted her talent. William Fichtner is solid enough which is here to give the biggest name for the film and Gbenga Akinnagbe gets laughs for the film when needed.

StoryThe story follows CIA bounty hunters that are tracking down suspects in London over one night before a major deal goes down, which could see weapons being giving to the wrong hands. The story gives us a chance to see how the unit uses their skills to track and try to stay ahead while also showing the villains planning for what happens next. For an action film the story is very simple, it doesn’t have anything overly complicated when it comes to twists and can be watched without needing to give the full attention. This is a late-night action film story which is all we want at times.

ActionThe action gives us set-up location for confrontations with bullets flying around, the fights are simple, though not shot the best with too many cuts. With the bang, bang and bodies falling it is easy to watch.

SettingsWe are mostly set in and around London at night, which is fine, we know London can be busy and full of deals going on, we do seem to stay on the outside of everything going on though.


Scene of the Movie –
Plane chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does waste Sylvia Hoeks full talents.

Final ThoughtsThis is good for a late-night action fans, it keeps everything very simple and could easily be put in the lists of any straight to DVD Seagal or Van Damme movies.

 

Overall: Simple actions film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – A – American Made (2017)

Director: Doug Liman

Writer: Gary Spinelli (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Jesse Plemons, Caleb Landry Jones, Lola Kirke

 

Plot: The story of Barry Seal, an American pilot who became a drug-runner for the CIA in the 1980s in a clandestine operation that would be exposed as the Iran-Contra Affair.


Tagline – Based on a True Lie

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable

 

Story: American Made starts as Barry Seal (Cruise) a pilot gets offered a job by the CIA agent Monty Schafer (Gleeson) to fly over different parts of Northern and Southern America to take photos for the CIA, the job is exclusive but as his family grows with Lucy (Wright) having children, he needs more money.

When one if his flights takes him to South America he meets businessman Pablo Escobar (Mejia) and his partners who recruit him to smuggle drug into America. Before long Barry is getting pushed into other forms of smuggling both to and from America.

 

                            Thoughts on American Made

 

Characters – Barry Seal was a small-time cigar smuggling pilot before he gets recruited by the CIA to fly over other parts of the Americas to spy, soon he becomes involved in large scale smuggling across America both in and out, he believes he is working in the CIA but always seemed to be getting slightly in deeper than first thought. He struggles to keep his personal life together with his wife and children suffering his sudden changes in location. Monty is the CIA agent that recruits Barry to smuggle, he believes he is in control of the whole situation as he bails Barry out of trouble and gives him the instructions from the American side of the events. Lucy is the wife of Barry that must deal with his lifestyle but once there is a large amount of money involved she embraces the life of luxury for her family. We do have the drug dealing side of the characters that Barry deals with but we only see them in the dealing side of the story.

PerformancesThis is another Tom Cruise vehicle where he shows just how talent he is, this helps his credibility after the disaster which was The Mummy, this could be his best full ranged acting performance in years. Domhnall is great in his supporting role showing he can work in nearly any genre right now. Sarah Wright is good but we don’t get to see enough of her characters struggle or enjoyment of the money.

StoryThe story follows Barry Seal and how he went from small-time cigar smuggler into one of the most infamous drug and gun smugglers in modern American history. We follow the events from how he remembers them explaining how he just didn’t seem to know how things just kept falling his way but he went with the flow and how the government helped support the international gun trade. This was a lot more interesting that I could imagine showing us just how corrupt the government could be when it needed to be.

Action/Biopic/ComedyThe action comes from how Barry would get the job done, he has edge of the seat moments of when it comes to the flight sequences, the comedy is lightly toned into the story which sounds like a comedy over a real story but seeing the story of Barry Seal and his smuggling makes for an interesting biopic.

SettingsThe film does take us across difference parts America to show where Barry ends up going to which all look like the time being presented in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Emergency Landing

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does make the idea seem like a good thing rather than a criminal in action.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertaining biopic that shows how a smuggler ran a multi-million-dollar organisation that even the government supported.

 

Overall: Enjoyable movie all around.

Rating

 

 

Viggo Mortensen Weekend – A History of Violence (2005)

Director: David Cronenberg

Writer: Josh Olson (Screenplay) John Wagner, Vince Locke (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Ashton Holmes, Peter MacNeill

 

Plot: A mild-mannered man becomes a local hero through an act of violence, which sets off repercussions that will shake his family to its very core.


Tagline – Everyone has something to hide.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Intense Unsettling Thriller

 

Story: A History of Violence starts as we meet mild-mannered Tom Stall (Mortensen) working in his local diner with his own family, wide Edie (Bello) and child Jack (Holmes) and Sarah. One evening two men arrive in his diner trying to rob and kill the people inside, Tom’s quick thinking kills the criminals making him a local hero.

The act of heroism brings gangster Carl Fogarty (Harris) to town who claims Tom is from the criminal underworld hiding out with his older brother Richie (Hurt) waiting for him to return back to the criminal world.

 

Thoughts on A History of Violence

 

Characters – Tom Stall is a quiet man, running a diner having a loving family, he steps up to protect his customers and friends makes him a local hero. Now he has drawn a target on his chest with his past coming back to haunt him. Edie is the wife of Tom, she works in law bring home the bigger pay checks, she supports Tom, until she learns the truth and must decide where she stands with him. Carl Fogarty is the mysterious stranger that arrives in town claiming to know Tom from a previous life, he brings the danger back into Tom’s life with the past he wanted to run away from. Richie is the crime boss and brother to Tom, he has been searching for his brother for years and now sees the chance for the connection.

PerformancesViggo Mortensen is outstanding in this leading role we see how he keeps his character perfectly calm in everyday life and how the switch can make him a deadly killer, this is an ability that not everyone can achieve. Maria Bello is strong in her role as a woman unsure who her husband really is. Ed Harris and William Hurt in the supporting role are fantastic both take over the screen with their presence adding much needed tension to everything.

StoryThe story here follows a mild-mannered man whose past comes back to haunt him after protect people he loves and cares about. This is almost like the story that follows up one of the gangster films where we see someone leave the life only to get drawn back years later against his will. The film like to use the idea of violence being the breaking point for relationships between husband & wife, father & son and two brothers which gets played out perfectly. There is an air of tension from start to finish in the film which leaves us only wanting to see where things would go next.

ThrillerThe film uses the tension to keep us feeling uneasy through nearly each moment in the film never knowing what would happen next.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town which Tom makes safe and happy, if would make sense for his character to be there too, it shows how media can expose anybody’s secret.


Scene of the Movie –
The first crime rescue.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The bullying side which isn’t the most important thing we see.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best modern thrillers you will see, you have four stunning performances and shocks around each corner.

 

Overall: Stunning thriller

Rating