ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – Y – The Blind Spot (2017)

This movie is under Y because of the directors surname.

Director: Nabil Ben Yadir

Writer: Nabil Ben Yadir, Laurent Brandenbourger (Screenplay)

Starring: Peter Van den Begin, Soufiane Chilah, Jan Decleir, David Murgia, Ruth Becquart, Jurgen Delnaet, Bert Haelvoet

 

Plot: Dode Hoek (Blind Spot) is the story of Jan Verbeeck, the uncompromising commissioner of the Antwerp drug squad. Known as Mr. Zero Tolerance, he is hugely popular with the people and the media. The country is thrown into commotion when he announces that he is leaving the police force just before the elections to join the extreme right party, VPV. On his last day as a policeman, he leads an investigation that takes him to Charleroi where a raid on a drug lab sets in motion a series of unforeseeable and fatal events.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow-Burn Thriller

 

Story: Blind Spot starts as police chief Jan Verbeeck (Begin) is about to step down from the force to lead a political career, he is known for his zero-tolerance approach to fighting crime. On his final night one of the detectives Dries (Chilah) approaches him about a potential bust of a massive drug case, which sees him take the front line on the bust.

When something goes wrong with the bust, Jan, no longer on the police force looks to clean up what happened, which sees him falling on the wrong side of the law, the events of that night might become fatal to his political career if he can’t figure out the truth.

 

Thoughts on Blind Spot

 

Characters – Jan Verbeeck is the zero-tolerance police chief that is stepping down and moving into a political career, before he leaves, he goes for one more bust, which sees something go wrong, leading to Jan needing to figure out how to cover up before his political career gets ruined. Dries is one of the most trust police officers under Jan, he will get the job done and it is his informant that the case is built on, he will need to decide where he stands after everything unfolds though. Axel is one of the prime suspects in the case, his true identity is a secret and uncovered through the film.

PerformancesPeter Van den Begin and Soufiane Chilah are both the highlights of the performances, they show how desperate the characters are and how they want to stay ahead of the game.

StoryThe story follows a police chief entering a political career where he needs to figure what went wrong with his final bust, which has put his future in danger. This is a story that shows how different career can see you life get turned on its head before you even get started. We are kept guessing to just where things will go and it will leave you wondering just where Jan stand on the moral compass. We do get to see how the Belgium cities are living with crime rate too.

Action/CrimeThe action comes from the police work going on, with the tactical bust going on through the events, which plays in the hands of the crime world that is trying to be cleaned up.

SettingsThe film is set in a couple of different cities in Belgium which shows how different groups can be located and operating within the city.


Scene of the Movie –
Final press conference.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly too much going on.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller on how to cover up mistakes that could change a career forever and keeps us guessing to just what happened.

 

Overall: Thriller that keeps you guessing.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Bad Boys II (2003) Movie Review

Director: Michael Bay

Writer: Ron Shelton, Jerry Stahl (Screenplay) Marianne Wibberley, Cormac Wibberley, Ron Shelton (Story)

Starring: Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Jordi Molla, Gabrielle Union, Peter Stormare, Theresa Randle, Joe Pantoliano, Michael Shannon

Plot: Two loose-cannon narcotics cops investigate the flow of Ecstasy into Florida from a Cuban drug cartel.

Runtime: 2 Hours 27 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Bigger, Badder, Ballsier

Story: Bad Boys 2 starts as Marcus (Lawrence) and Mike (Smith) are undercover with their latest job, with Marcus getting shot in the ass, with Marcus recovering, Mike has secretly started to date Marcus’s sister Syd (Union) a fellow officer from New York.

When Mike and Marcus find themselves in the middle of Syd case in Miami, they want to help out, which sees them trying to take down Cuban drug lord Hector Juan Carlos Tapia, known as Johnny (Molla) who has bought a new deadly drug to the streets.

Thoughts on Bad Boys 2

Characters – Marcus is suffering with middle-life crisis problems, he recently got hurt on duty, which has seen him milk the sympathy, he is worried about his sister on her case and will do anything to protect her, while always getting worried about Mike’s actions. Mike is still the smooth loose cannon, he has started dating Marcus’s sister in secret waiting for the chance to tell him, he is still caring about his car more than anything else, usually killing more of the suspects than he needs too. Hector is the Cuban drug lord who is making his major play to take over Miami, he will not take perfection from his men. Syd is the sister of Marcus, she has been working on a case in Miami, giving her a chance to spend more time with Mike, while proving herself as a top-level cop to her brother.

PerformancesWill Smith and Martin Lawrence do both continue to show their chemistry, though the characters do seem to have changed and become more exaggerated with Will Smith being more like the player persona his blockbusters have made, while Martin Lawrence does seem to bring us more of a whiny figure. Jordi Molla fills the generic villain without needing to do much more than say threating lines, while Gabrielle Union bought a different dimension to the film.

StoryThe story here follows the two narcotics detectives as they get involved with trying to take down the latest drug lord who has been working with Marcus’s undercover sister, bringing the fight to a new personal level for the two men. The story might well follow the same basic idea of the first film, it does make everything feel a lot bigger and making everything more personal only helps, the bigger the characters the two men have is noticeable here too. This one doesn’t really leave too much to the imagination but is sure a hell of a fun watch for the simplistic side to the story.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action in the film is much bigger than the first film, we have car chases, explosion and massive shoot outs, which become the set pieces. The comedy is all about how the two are always bickering, which does get laughs through the film, while we do dive into the world of drugs once again.

SettingsThe film does keep the Miami setting for the most part, while giving us an ending in Cuba for the final action set piece.


Scene of the Movie – The Cuba chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We do focus more on the action over the story, unlike the first film.

Final Thoughts This is a bigger and bolder action film that has massive set pieces, which is a great watch, with great chemistry between the leads.

Overall: Entertaining blitz.

Franchise Weekend – Bad Boys (1995) Movie Review

Director: Michael Bay

Writer: Michael Barrie, Jim Mulholland, Doug Richardson (Screenplay) George Gallo (Story)

Starring: Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Lisa Boyle, Theresa Randle, Joe Pantoliano, Tea Leoni, Tcheky Karyo

Plot: Two hip detectives protect a witness to a murder while investigating a case of stolen heroin from the evidence storage room from their police precinct.


Tagline – Whatcha gonna do?

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Wildly Entertaining

Story: Bad Boys starts as Fouchet (Karyo) and his crew pull of a heist that sees them rob the police lock up of all the seized drugs, Captain Howard (Pantoliano) turns to the two men that got the drugs in the first place Marcus (Lawrence) and Mike (Smith) to get them back before Internal Affairs look to put the blame on the force themselves.

After a second shooting, witness Julie Mott (Leoni) escapes turning to Mike for help, which sees her putting her life in the hands of the two cops, knowing she can’t trust anybody else, even though the men have to swap lives.

Thoughts on Bad Boys

Characters – Mike and Marcus are excellent cops they always get their suspects and are given the biggest case in the force, off duty, Marcus is married with kids, struggling to keep his marriage alive, while Mike has money, making him a womaniser who has women all around town waiting for his call. Even though the two must swap lives, they get to have fun living and understanding the complaints they are both suffering through. Julie is a witness to the thieve and murderer job that killer her friend, she doesn’t know who to trust except Mike, who isn’t around when they need to do the pickup, so she ends up meeting Marcus pretending to be Mike. Fouchet is the criminal that has arrange the heist, he has a perfect plan which only the problems being the people he has selected to help him, where he could have gotten away with everything smoothly if it wasn’t for their mistakes, he will do anything to clean up the mess left behind him.

PerformancesWill Smith and Martin Lawrence are perfectly cast in the leading roles, they play into Will Smith’s smooth style and Martin Lawrence constant panic filled comedy. Tea Leoni works well as the witness, while Tcheky Karyo as the villain is generic, but does fill the typical 90’s style of villain well.

StoryThe story here follows two Miami Cops that must protect a witness who can help them take down one of the biggest crimes against the police after the drugs from their lock up are stolen. When it came to the 90’s we knew how the action stories would unfold, we have one villain that does seem deadly that makes things very personal and the cops being conflicted at times, but needing to work together to solve the case. We do have elements of comedy in the story, with the whole life swapping, which does make things different to watch, taking away from certain moments of action too, which does keep everything feeling nice a fresh.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action in the film is held back, which is surprising for a Michael Bay film, we save most of the action until the later parts of the film, being full Bay, though it does work, the comedy comes from the partnership between the two cops and the lives they must swap to get the job done, all in a crime heavy world.

SettingsThe film uses the Miami setting to show us the fast paced lifestyles, the drugs culture around the nightclub scene and the different lives the two cops live.


Scene of the Movie – Final chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not as much action as I thought we would have.

Final Thoughts This is a wildly entertaining action comedy with two of the best leading performances in the genre, we have everything the 90’s would have given us showing the early signs of Michael Bay as an action director too.

Overall: Entertaining.

Barton Fink (1991) Movie Review

Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (Screenplay)

Starring: John Turturro, John Goodman, Judy Davis, Michael Lerner, John Mahoney, Tony Shalhoub, Jon Polito, Steve Buscemi

Plot: A renowned New York playwright is enticed to California to write for the movies and discovers the hellish truth of Hollywood.


Tagline – What’s in his head

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Coen’s at Their Best

Story: Barton Fink starts as New York playwright Barton Fink (Turturro) whose latest play has seen him get the most praise. Barton gets encouraged to head to California to write movies, which would cover him for years to come on the stages of New York. Barton put up in a small hotel, gets given his first assignment, a wrestling picture, something he knows nothing about.

Barton bonds with his insurance salesman neighbour Charlie Meadows (Goodman) who always seems to have inspiration for this story, while meeting authors he idolises, waiting for his big break in the industry, meeting different producers who shows him the hellish process Hollywood can be.

Thoughts on Barton Fink

Characters – Barton Fink is the latest praised playwright in New York, he knows he can be a success on the stage only he gets encouraged to head to the Hollywood boom to make serious money with his writing skills. Barton learns quickly that he isn’t prepared for the demands of writing script especially when he doesn’t know the material they want him to write about, he struggles to settle in the area and the cheap hotel they put him up in, he only makes one friend and sees how the people in the industry always say what you want to say. Charlie Meadows is the hotel neighbour and insurance salesman that befriends Barton, the two often spend the nights talking about life’s events, while Charlie pushes Barton to become more confident. Audrey Taylor is the wife of one of the most famous authors Barton meets, he wants to use her as his muse after seeing how badly she is abused by her partner. Jack Lipnick is the producer that hires Barton, he demands the work and unlike most writers that he hires, he keeps up on Barton’s work.

PerformancesJohn Turturro in the leading role is excellent, we can see him unravelling at the seams as he starts to lose his mind in the writing process. John Goodman is wonderful too as the friendly neighbour with a secret behind his kind-nature. When it comes to the rest of the cast we get some wonderful performance that send us into the era perfectly.

StoryThe story here sees a playwright trying his hand at writing movies in the booming industry, only to learn the level of control he really has on what he write and how much time he has to get the work done. This is a story about the movie making process, while we focus more on the writing side of the filmmaking, it is focused on how being locked away in a new city can drive somebody slightly crazy. It is the story arcs that happen around the writing which become most interesting as we see just how things are never quite as they seem, this is Coen Brothers are their best, spinning what could be a routine story that sees things turned on their head.

ComedyThe comedy is the black comedy type, where we see just how twisted the comedy ends up being, with John Goodman getting most of the laughs in the film.

SettingsThe LA setting shows what it would have been like in the early stages of the Hollywood boom, the era feels nature through the film.


Scene of the Movie – Flaming hallways.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The cops are too accusation heavy.

Final Thoughts This is a dark comedy that works very well, it hits the heights every time it needs to thanks to the leading performances from Turturro and Goodman that are outstanding through the film.

Overall: Brilliant Comedy.

Blood Quantum (2019) Movie Review (Now on Shudder)

Director: Jeff Barnaby

Writer: Jeff Barnaby (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Greyeyes, Elle-Maija Tailfeaters, Forrest Goodluck, Kiowa Gordon, Olivia Scriven, Stonehorse Lone Goeman

Plot: The dead are coming back to life outside the isolated Mi’gMaq reserve of Red Crow, except for its Indigenous inhabitants who are strangely immune to the zombie plague.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Never Holds Back

Story: Blood Quantum starts as we meet the Mi’gmag community, the sheriff Traylor (Greyeyes) with his family, ex-wife Joss (Tailfeathers) with their teenage sons Joseph (Goodluck) and Lysol (Gordon) who find themselves getting into trouble too often. One day people start getting out of control, becoming ravenous biting people, only for the community to find themselves immune to the infection.

6 months later, the community find themselves one of the last still standing, fighting of the zombies that come their way, not willing to let anyone coming into the community without proper tests, trying to keep the community together in a world where they are in control.

Thoughts on Blood Quantum

Characters – Traylor is the local sheriff of the Mi’gmag community, he has respect from the local people, only his two sons often find themselves in trouble, once the infected start heading towards the community reserve, Traylor brings the people together to start a community, which is fair and honest to keep people safe, while being willing to do the difficult decisions. Joss is the ex-wife of Traylor, she is the local doctor, her skills will help the community stay together and be vital going forward in this world. Joseph is the child of the two, he gets in trouble to keep up with his half-brother, with his good-natured always causing more conflict between the brothers. Lysol is the half-brother of Joseph, he is always in trouble with the law, which is why Joseph finds himself getting into trouble more, he thrives in the zombie filled world getting to let his angry intentions out.

PerformancesMichael Greyeyes leads the film with a great performance, which is echoed with the rest of the cast, they show us the struggles, the psychotic side to what they could become and how the good sides in their characters can come through strong.

StoryThe story here follows a Mi’gmag reserve as they must come to grips with being immune to a zombie outbreak even if they get bitten, they come together to deal with the new problems of the world as we see how one family gets torn apart by the actions in this new world. When it comes to zombie based stories, we do need to find something to make it stand out, this does bring us something new, by having a full group of immune people in a community together dealing with the threats coming from the outside. Seeing how the family starts to come to clash brings the human element to the story. Where the story can become stronger than other zombies, is with nothing seems to be off limits and you will have shock value to what happens.

Horror The horror in the film does focus on the fast moving zombies, we see a lot of blood splatter with a lot of shocking moments when it comes to seeing certain death moments.

SettingsThe film is set in a reserve, which shows us just how together the family and people are.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film focus on injuries and how ferocious they are.


Scene of the Movie – Home disturbance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The catalyst seems too safe, going against the creative ideas of the rest of the film.

Final Thoughts This is a blood filled zombie fest that does bring enough originality to the genre and doesn’t hold back on anything it does.

Overall: Blood Splattering Fun.