Blue Streak (1999)

Director: Les Mayfield

Writer: Michael Berry, John Blumenthal, Stephen Carpenter (Screenplay)

Starring: Martin Lawrence, Luke Wilson, Peter Greene, Dave Chappelle, Nicole Ari Parker, Graham Beckel

 

Plot: A former convict poses as a cop to retrieve a diamond he stole years ago.


Tagline – To cop the loot – he became one!

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Comedy

 

Story: Blue Streak starts when Miles (Lawrence) is committing a robbery when it goes wrong when his crew member Deacon (Greene) turns on the team, Miles stashes the diamond and ends up in prison for a couple of years. Once released he goes to pick up his diamonds only to learn the building has been turned into police station.

Miles decides to go undercover as a police officer and assigned rookie detective Carlson (Wilson) as he tries to blend in retrieve his diamond and get out quickly only to prove himself as a good cop that helps with major crimes.

 

Thoughts on Blue Streak

 

Characters – Miles Logan is a career thief that’s latest job goes wrong, when his crew turned on him, he stashes his loot. Once released Miles thinks he can just walk bac into the building and pick up his diamond, only to learn it is now a police station, he tries to go undercover as a pizza delivery guy before deciding police officer is the way to go. He turns out to be a great police officer helping with many cases which increase in nature including trying to take down a big drug lord. Carlson is the rookie detective struggling with his new role in the department, he gets assigned as the partner to Miles who teaches him how to take more chances when trying to solve crimes. Deacon is the one that turned on Miles and has waited for him to get out of jail to take what he thinks is his, the diamond and isn’t afraid to kill the people behind it anymore. Tulley is the idiot crew member who is used more for driving and has resorted to small time robbery after Miles ended up in jail.

PerformancesMartin Lawrence is good in this leading role, sure his career didn’t go in the same direction Will Smith did, but he still had the ability to lead the right role in the film. Luke Wilson is good, though his character is slightly basic when it comes to having too much to do. Most of the support performances focus on the actors reacting to what Lawrence gets up to.

StoryThe story follows a thief wanting to collect his stash after being released from prison, only to learn the building he put it in is now a police station, forcing him to go undercover to retrieve it. The story works for crime comedy genre because it puts our character in a position like the fish out of water and shows that criminals are better at catching thieves than the police as we see how he accidentally rises up the ranks through his time undercover. If we could have had more about the crew member turned bad during the search it would have added a little something more to the film as we spend nearly the whole film focusing on Miles journey to get his diamond back.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action is mostly saved for the final chase to Mexico which is simple enough action to watch. The comedy comes from how Miles seems to solve the crimes the cops couldn’t and we also get plenty of laughs from Tulley being the dumb criminal partner. The crime side of the film includes the opening robbery and how Miles helps solves different crimes along the way.

SettingsThe film is set in LA, though nothing is used to make it clear it is in that city, the idea of the settings play more into the idea that the diamond was hidden in a police station.


Scene of the Movie –
Working with the FBI.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not using the villainous crew member enough through the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable 90s action crime comedy, you can have a lot of fun watching this one without needing to take it too seriously.

 

Overall: Simple, Fun and Enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

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Blockers (2018)

Director: Kay Cannon

Writer: Brian Kehoe, Jim Kehoe (Screenplay)

Starring: Leslie Mann, John Cena, Ike Barinholtz, Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan, Gideon Adlon

 

Plot: Three parents try to stop their daughters from losing their virginity on prom night.


Tagline – Teens Out to Have Fun. Parents Out to Stop It.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Comedy

 

Story: Blockers starts as three parents Lisa (Mann), Mitchell (Cena) and Hunter (Barinholtz) whose children all start school the same day, making them become friends. When the three girls reach the prom age, Julie (Newton), Kayla (Viswanathan) and Sam (Adlon), the parents will need to face the biggest change in their lives.

Prom night arrives and the parents learn that their daughter all plan on losing their virginity on this night, leading the to parents working together to try and stop this happening.

 

Thoughts on Blockers

 

Characters – Lisa is the single mother of Julie, she has built the relationship with her daughter wanting to be part of every stage of her life. She doesn’t believe her daughter keeps any secrets, until this night as she must realizes she will see her daughter go off to college. Mitchell is the father of Kayla, he is a married man who has seen his daughter excel at sports, he is extra protective of his daughter much like the generic big father figure. Hunter is the deadbeat father that wants to make this night the best night of his daughter’s life, he isn’t liked because of his actions towards his wife and now he must join the fellow parents to stop the events of the night. Julie is the daughter of Lisa, she has been planning her prom night seemingly for her whole life wanting to movie version of losing her virginity. Kayla has been brilliant at sports her whole life, she is getting tired of this world and wants to start trying drugs and drink, she is more spontaneous than the other two girls. Sam is the daughter of Hunter, she is sexually confused as she doesn’t know how to come out to her friends, she seems to fold to the pressure of the losing of virginity on this night though.

PerformancesLeslie Mann has been hitting it out the park in comedy for years, this is no different, John Cena is brilliant here, showing he has comic timing even showing heart with certain scenes in the film. Ike Barinholtz gets strong laughs too even if his character does feel like just a third wheel. The three young actresses Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswananthan and Gideon Adlon all bring strong performances in the film.

StoryThe story follows three parents that learn their three daughters are going to lose their virginity on prom night and plan to stop them. That is the core side of the story, but we do address a lot of serious growing up situations, both from the girls point of view and the parents point of view. This must be praised because each side of the side story feels like the most important ones because parents will become scared when their children grow up. The whole race around does feel over the top with these parties all seeming like it would be too much for a prom.

ComedyThe comedy in the film comes from how the reactions of the parents as they try to stop things happening, each thing goes wrong with comical effects.

SettingsThe film takes us around the town, first the prom in a hotel (I think), then a random lake house which didn’t seem to be by a lake, before going to another massive hotel which is set for a big party. The settings do get used for laughs, though it does feel like too much for a prom night.


Scene of the Movie –
The hotel.

That Moment That Annoyed Me These kids can drink way too much for someone that age.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable comedy that will get plenty of laughs, sadly, it pointless goes into the drug references, but you will get a good laugh through the film.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy.

Rating

 

 

Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

Director: Drew Goddard

Writer: Drew Goddard (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Caliee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman, Chris Hemsworth

 

Plot: Seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption – before everything goes to hell.


Tagline – All Roads Lead Here

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderfully Stylish Movie

 

Story: Bad Times at the El Royale starts as a priest Daniel Flynn (Bridges), a singer Darlene Sweet (Erivo), a vacuum salesman Laramie (Hamm) and a woman on the run Emily (Johnson) all arrive at the El Royale, a hotel that sits on the state lines of California and Nevada, the manager Miles Miller (Pullman) does every job at the hotel and not everything is as it seems.

As the night unfolds the guest turn out to have their own secrets with on bringing along the psychopathic cult leader Billy Lee (Hemsworth) who only makes this worse for the guests at the El Royale.

 

Thoughts on Bad Times as the El Royale

 

Characters – Father Daniel Flynn is an ageing man whose memory just isn’t what is once was, he has selected the El Royale for his own reasons, which will become clear, he comes off like the calm presence you would imagine any priest, with a dark past. Darlene is a singer that is dreaming of her own big break, she uses the hotel as her halfway point in her latest gig, she is easily the most innocent resident at the hotel this night. Emily comes speeding into the hotel, on the run from someone, she is trying to help somebody and will do everything in her power to save them. Laramie is a vacuum salesman that has a secret, one we learn early on, he ends up being the catalyst for everything that happens at the hotel. Billy Lee joins the hotel late, he is the psychopathic leader of a cult that enjoys to torture and put people through games for his own pleasure. Rose is Emily’s sister who has been sucked into the cult, she will following Billy to the ends of the Earth for her devotion to him. Miles Miller is the hotel manager, well the only member of staff here, he has the secrets which will only make his come off shady, though he past will be the thing that sets him free.

PerformancesWe have a wonderful cast here with Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm giving us the performance we know from them, Chris Hemsworth continues to prove himself in a different genre once again. Newcomers Lewis Pullman, Cailee Spaeny and especially Cynthia Erivo who easily steals the scenes.

StoryThe story follows the group of strangers that end up at the El Royale hotel for one night, when the secrets of the characters comes out as the night unfolds which only gets placed in the middle of the battle with a cult leader who wants his members back. This story does keep you guessing and uses the different perspective of different scenes only adds to the story. We don’t seem to have a wasted moment here either which is important because the clues will be there ready for the completion of the film.

Mystery The mystery in this comes from learn each character’s motives for being in the hotel, we learn from each new revelation that, they have a different reason that will make them stronger and be able to twist what we first thought of the character’s actions.

SettingsThe film keeps nearly all the action in and around the hotel, the only time we leave is when we look at flashbacks to where the characters have come from. The hotel does have a stylish look which adds to the creepy nature of events within the hotel.


Scene of the Movie –
The roulette gang.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Could I find one? no.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful stylistic movie that has wonderful performances throughout, a story that keeps you guessing and even feels unique for a cinematic experience this year.

 

Overall: Must watch mystery thriller.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – K – BlacKkKlansman (2018)

Director: Spike Lee

Writer: Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee (Screenplay) Ron Stallworth (Book)

Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace

 

Plot: Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, CO, successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate who eventually becomes its leader. Based on actual events.


Tagline – Based on a true story

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliantly Entertaining

 

Story: BlacKkKlansman starts when Ron Stallworth (Washington) becomes the first black police officers in Colorado Springs, he starts in the record room before pushing for undercover work, which soon leads him to try and go undercover within the Ku Klux Klan, the problem is that he is black, meaning he needs to get a white cop to be him, Flip Zimmerman (Driver) steps into this position.

As the undercover job gets deeper into the Klan, Flip gets to communicate with David Duke (Grace), while Ron starts to date Patrice (Harrier) who is a major player in the Kwame Ture (Hawkins) movement.

 

Thoughts on BlacKkKlansman

 

Characters – Ron Stallworth was the first black police officer in the Colorado Springs department, he gets a plain records room job to start with before wanting to make an impact by going undercover, first within a black student union movement, before finding a way to get involved within the Ku Klux Klan, he uses he words to trick them into believing he is white, white using his partner to go along with the meetings. He wants to make a difference and sees his work as his best chance too. Flip Zimmerman is the detective that works with Ron on the undercover job, he becomes Ron when it comes to the meetings with the klan. Patrice is a woman that Ron meets in the black student union, one that do let Ron in believing him to be part of the movement. David Duke is the leader of the KKK, he is being challenged for leadership, while still be worshipped for his work in the movement

PerformancesJohn David Washington is brilliant in this leading role, showing his strength of his character while making his character feel cool in the what he is doing. Adam Driver shows us once again how talented of an actor he really is by stepping into this role and making it work with ease. Laura Harrier is everything we needed in her role, though we could have had a few more scenes with her in. Topher Grace is a strange choice on paper for David Duke, though he does work out to be a great choice for the role.

StoryThe story here follows a black cop going undercover within the Ku Klux Klan, well doing the talking on the phone before his white partner becomes the member using his name. This does show a law man being put in the middle of the two movements with the black student union group clashing with the KKK and just how he works within both sides to learn if they are going to be a threat to civilians, let alone each other. The story is based on the real man involved, which does put a slightly comical spin on how the action of the KKK plays out which does lighten the mood for a serious situation, which again works for the story which can be enjoyed by all with becoming too serious.

Biopic/CrimeThe biopic side of this film does show on Ron managed to trick the KKK into believing he was a white man that could join them even though he was a black undercover cop. The crime side of the film shows three main groups of people we have the KKK, we have the black student union and we have the police who were all causing problems on different scales during the time.

SettingsThe film keeps the action of the film in the correct looking location which helps with the realism of what we are seeing in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The photograph.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The propaganda in the final shots

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun story that brings a serious issue to the front and centre, it is wonderfully acted, but never preaches the problems like it could have easily done.

 

Overall: Important but laid back biopic.

Rating

 

 

Beautiful Boy (2018)

Director: Felix van Groeningen

Writer: Felix van Groeningen, Luke Davies (Screenplay) David Sheff, Nic Sheff (Book)

Starring: Steve Carell, Timothee Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Christian Convery, Oakley Bull, Kaitlyn Dever

 

Plot: Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years.


Tagline – Based on the Acclaimed Memoirs of David Sheff and Nic Sheff

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Performance Heavy Movie

 

Story: Beautiful Boy starts with David Sheff (Carell) asking about the addiction and cure behind crystal meth after his son has become addicted too it, we flashback to the earlier years between David and his son Nic (Chalamet) who has been in and out of rehab avoiding college before taking up a chance in college, where he is exposed to more drugs.

When everything gets out of hand, David turns to the experts to make sure he can finally get Nic clean, it isn’t going to be an easy road, but it is his son and he will do anything to cure his son from his addiction.

 

Thoughts on Beautiful Boy

 

Characters – David is the father that has seen his son spiral out of control in his addiction to drugs, he does his own research to help his son try to recover only for this to become more difficult each time, his relationship with his son will be pushed to the limits and only his love can get him through. Nic is the teenage son that had a wonderful future waiting for him, he started taking drugs which only took his life down a path of destruction which he can’t escape from, it will see him doing too many bad things with only his parents standing by him. Karen is the step mum that sees the suffering from both sides and is worried about the younger children, while Vicki is the mother on the other side of the country that seems to have lost more hope than his father.

PerformancesThis film relies on the quality in the performances, Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet are both fantastic showing us both the talent Steve can have and the talent Timothee continues to show. The supporting cast are strong showing the moments that are important in the film.

StoryThis is the story that follows a father son relationship when the son becomes addicted to drugs and however many times, they try to get him off the drugs, he falls off the wagon again. This is a story that many people go through, it is tragic how easily people can become addicted to drugs, this shows us just how important family is to try to cure the addiction. The story does seem to jump around the timeline too much for my liking and I feel the introduction moment would be important to help understand how easily Nic entered the drug world. The story here isn’t as strong as it should be to make a proper impact on the drug taking world.

BiopicThis is a mix of the two accounts of the event, David and Nic’s which does show us what is going on through two mindsets, the reality is this could be any father son or family involved with drugs, nothing seems that standout on this side of the film.

SettingsThe settings show us the different worlds Nic can be part off, the family that wants to be there for him and the one where the drugs take over.


Scene of the Movie –
The chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story isn’t the most interesting.

Final ThoughtsThis is a performance heavy movie that shows the consequences of taking too many drugs and becoming addicted and how one family stuck together to help cure the addiction.

 

Overall: Performances that wow, the story just falls flat.

Rating