Russell Crowe Weekend – Broken City (2013)

Director: Allen Hughes

Writer: Brian Tucker (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper, Alona Tal

 

Plot: In a city rife with injustice, ex-cop Billy Taggart seeks redemption and revenge after being double-crossed and then framed by its most powerful figure: Mayor Nicholas Hostetler.


Tagline –  Proof Can Be a Powerful Weapon.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Long Feeling Crime Thriller

 

Story: Broken City starts as we see Bill Taggart (Wahlberg) who gets dismissed from his police duty by Mayor Hostetler (Crowe) after taking justice into his own hands. 7-years-later Billy is a private investigator catching cheaters with his assistant Katy Bradshaw (Tal), Billy gets a call from the Mayor who is on his latest campaign, who wants Billy to learn who Cathleen Hostetler (Zeta-Jones) is cheating on the Mayor with.

It isn’t long before Billy finds himself in the middle of a murder that looks to throw the election into turmoil, can Billy do the right thing and get the right man elected mayor?

 

Thoughts on Broken City

 

Characters – Billy Taggart was once a cop that went too far to make a criminal pay for a crime they committed, now just a private investigator he finds his latest case involving the Mayor a potential career ender, as he searches for the truth, while battling falling off the wagon. Mayor Hostetler has run the city for years now, he has used his place to get deals put through for his own profit keeping people in his pocket and never playing fair. He hires Billy to investigate who his wife Cathleen is cheating on him with. Cathleen Hostetler has been seeing someone behind her husband’s back only to be keeping a secret bigger than Billy can handle.

PerformancesMark Wahlberg does most of the leading in this movie, he is good through the film and at least he isn’t do his bad comedy routine in this one. Russell Crowe is great as the villainous mayor using his power to rule a city. Catherine Zeta-Jones is strong in her role too.

StoryThe story here follows a political thriller with conspiracies of what is and could be happening while people try to get in a position to change things in the right way. We have people that have suffered from other people’s greed, that are going to bring down the villainous mayor along the way. This does try the be one of those stories that tries to deal with greed in the human nature in a political world which has always been on edge, this continues as the film unfolds as we see what the big plan is.

CrimeThis is a crime thriller in a way that shows how the political criminals can stay in power by placing the right people in the right places.

SettingsNew York always makes for a brilliant setting and the scale of the city helps with the idea of a corrupt mayor.


Scene of the Movie –
The debate.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The alcoholic side seems just a tag on.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough crime thriller, it does keep us guessing along the way to who is working for who and who is in the right when it comes to running the city.

 

Overall: Solid crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Bowling for Columbine (2002)

Director: Michael Moore

 

Plot: Filmmaker Michael Moore explores the roots of America’s predilection for gun violence.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important Documentary

 

Story: Bowling for Columbine starts as Michael Moore explores the gun culture through America, we see how you can purchase guns through in a bank just by opening an account. We see how certain states encourage people to have guns which led to the main incident Michael is looking at.

When two high school kids went on a shooting rampage through their school of Columbine. We see how America reacted by blaming music, video games and movies while others want to tackle gun control.

 

Thoughts on Bowling for Columbine

 

DocumentaryThe investigating style of Michael Moore is always one sided and while this is about looking at the naivety of needing a gun, this does show how outlets can make things very one sided from the people involved but this is important to the people to realize how people can be miss-led.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most important documentaries you will see, it shows how America is still living in fear and guns are the excuse to defend themselves. We see how people can blame different sides of culture while the rest of the world has barely any gun crime, while I would have liked to have seen more of the personal effects to the main tragedy it is sold on but otherwise this does send the important message.

 

Overall: Important Documentary that still hasn’t has the message pushed through.

Rating

 

 

The Bill Murray Experience (2018)

Director: Sadie Katz

Writer: Sadie Katz (Screenplay)

Starring: Sadie Katz

 

Plot: At a crossroads in her life, actress Sadie Katz embarks on a year-long quest to have a magical experience with legendary comedian Bill Murray.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Documentary

 

Story: The Bill Murray Experience starts as actress Sadie Katz who has recently broken up from an engagement who on learns about the idea of a Bill Murray experience, a moment where Bill Murray turns up on random locations giving people a moment that will never be forgotten.

Sadie gets her friends and connections in the business in an attempt to have her own moment with Bill Murray, which involves research to where she could bump into him while balancing her own career, this is set in a documentary of this year long quest.

 

Thoughts on The Bill Murray Experience

 

Final ThoughtsThis documentary follows our actress Sadie Katz (who I most knew from Wrong Turn 6, one of the good ones in the franchise) that has become obsessed with have an experience with Bill Murray, a unique story that many people have been had through the years. This could easily go down as casual stalking, but it just about lands on the level of dream chasing for Sadie, to help inspire the next stage of her career. With everything going on we are left to wonder if this is worth it or not, we know what super fans can be like and this shows us how committed to meeting their idols.

 

Overall: If you are a documentary fan you will be enjoying this one.

Rating

 

 

Kurt Russell Weekend – Backdraft (1991)

Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Gregory Widen (Screenplay)

Starring: Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Robert De Niro, Donald Sutherland, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Scott Glen, Rebecca De Mornay

 

Plot: Two Chicago firefighter brothers who don’t get along must work together while a dangerous arsonist is on the loose.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too Slow

 

Story: Backdraft starts when a young Brian McCaffrey witness his firefighter father killed putting out the fire. 20 years later Brian (Baldwin) is desperate to follow in his father’s footsteps much like his brother Stephen (Russell). Passing his tests Brian joins Stephen’s unit, the strictest in town.

As the number of fires increase, the number of firefighters are being cut and with each fire brings the investigator Donald Rimgale (De Niro) who uses slow methods but gets results. When Brian becomes worried about the safety of his brother’s actions he agrees to work with Donald to track down an arsonist operating within the city.

 

Thoughts on Backdraft

 

Characters/PerformanceStephen is the tough firefighter who enjoys the job knowing he and his team can save as many lives as possible. Brian is the brother of Stephen, son of a firefighter who became the photo of a generation after witnessing his father’s death at a young age. He wants to follow in his father’s footsteps but finds himself having to turn on his brother to investigate arson rather than fight the fires. Donald is a grizzled veteran who has seen the worst in fighting fire, he now leads the investigations into the fires, he works with Brian to locate the arsonist and reckless behaviour being portrayed by the firefighters. The rest of the characters fill the loyal unit, the ex-wife and potential lover without being a major part in the film.

Performance wise, Russell is solid but never reaches the levels we know he can. Baldwin just doesn’t capture the level of performance you would see from other members of the family while De Niro is good in the supporting role.

StoryThe story shows the life of firefighters struggling with the demands placed upon them by dwindling resources, the lives get put at risk. We get to see the investigation into an arsonist but sadly this isn’t the focus of the story. the focus is on the broken relationship between the two brothers who have gone in different paths when it comes to following in their father’s footsteps. The story is fine but too long in my opinion.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe firefighting scenes are brilliant action set pieces without a doubt but the crime side which should be a major side just doesn’t get the focus required. The mystery also suffers because of this too.

SettingsThe settings are used wonderfully to show the intensity of the fires for the firefighters while outside the fires it just feels like a normal city which could be any.

Special EffectsThe special effects are stunning for the creating of the fires, using mostly practical effects which still look amazing today.

Final ThoughtsThe special effects in this movie do save it from being awful but in the end the story is just too flat for my liking.

 

Overall: Flat story, too long but amazing effects.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – B – Black Mass (2015)

Director: Scott Cooper

Writer: Mark Mallouk, Jez Butterworth (Screenplay) Dick Lehr, Gerard O’Neill (Book)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane

 

Plot: The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Story: Black Mass starts as Kevin Weeks (Plemons) wants to give up his life of crime recounting his story of how he found himself working for Jimmy Whitey Bulger (Depp). Jimmy is the Irish crime boss expanding around South Boston whose brother is now a Senator Billy (Cumberbatch) who gets the information that FBI agent and old friend John Connolly (Edgerton) has been given the greenlight to bring down the Mafia who also own the street in South Boston.

We see how Jimmy makes a deal with Connolly to create an alliance with the FBI to take down the other gangs in South Boston with only his most loyal worker Stephen Flemmi (Cochrane) knowing the truth. With the freedom to build his empire Jimmy takes advantage of the FBI letting him run amuck through South Boston the rise of Whitey Bulger becomes clear.

 

Thoughts on Black Mass

 

Characters/PerformanceJimmy, James ‘Whitey’ Bulger whichever name you want to call him by is the ruthless gangster that lived and reigned in South Boston through the 70’s and 80’s, he is loyal to anyone he trusts but once you betray his trust he will kill you. He becomes an informant for the FBI and uses this to his advantage. John Connolly is the FBI agent that uses his connections in Boston to build his own reputation by making the deal with Jimmy to help him bring down the other gangs in Boston. Billy Bulger is the brother of Jimmy and a senator that keeps his brother’s connection away from his professional life. The rest of the characters are all the different parts of the story be it within the FBI or within Jimmy’s gang.

Performance wise, Johnny Depp gives one of his best performances in year but still doesn’t reach the levels we know he can do, Joel Edgerton continues to build his career to be creditable leading man with Cumberbatch making his presence know when needed, the rest of the performances are all good without being able to find a weak point in any of them.

StoryThe story of a notorious gangster is something we have seen before just replace the gangsters name and we know how this will unfold. I personally didn’t know who Whitey Bulger was going into this film so this was a learning process but as I am not a fan of gangster films I just didn’t get pulled into the story because we just don’t get enough of the story of why Jimmy is motivated to become the gangster in the first place and we are dealing with flashbacks from all the major characters in jail.

Biography/CrimeLearning part of the life of Whitey Bulger is interesting enough to learn but we don’t understand how far up the reign of terror got, the crime side does all look good though.

SettingsThe settings show us the time in which the film takes place is fine they all fit the era.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good look into the process but sadly doesn’t give us enough about what happened as Whitey grew in reputation.

 

Overall: Has plenty going on but misses too many important moments.

Rating