Cartel 2045 (2017)

Director: Chris Le

Writer: Chris Le (Screenplay)

Starring: Danny Trejo, Alexander P Heartman, Brad Schmidt, Blake Webb, Jay Whittaker, Kyler Steve Fisher


Plot: Its the year 2045. War on drugs in Mexico has escalated as a ruthless drug Cartel use robots to enforce their operations.


Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Robot Drug Wars


Story: Cartel 2045 starts as the war against drugs in Mexico looked like it was going to get cleaned up by the introduction of robots, but when the Cartel get their hands on the robots, drug lord Angel Malvado (Trejo) takes over the war. In the latest attempt to tackle the war former US Marine Carson Wright (Schmidt) is assigned to a team to take down Estevan Flores only for Angel to become the bigger threat.


Thoughts on Cartel 2045


Characters – Angel Malvado is the ruthless drug lord that controls the trade in Mexico with his robot bodyguards that will do any of his dirty work, he knows how to get the honest people to work for him and is smart enough not to waste a resource before their worth to him. Carson Wright is the former US Marine, being placed in jail, he gets offered a chance for freedom to be with his family by going on this latest mission, he has a past in battle and isn’t fond of the technology being used in battle.

PerformancesDanny Trejo is the biggest draw for this movie we know he can play the drug lord role with ease and this is no different. Brad Schmidt is good in the leading hero role looking just like any other soldier.

StoryThe story in this movie is the Mexican drug war with robots included, they are similar style to what we had in Chappie, we have the secret mission version the criminal drug lord that will stop at nothing to stay ahead in the game. The story is by the book and easy to follow, it is the other sides of the film which feel overly ambitious for the budget available.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is basic shooting between human guns and robots with the robots not always looking convincing enough. The sci-fi side of everything feels very ambitious for the budget the film had because the robots seem placed into the scenes over the being part of it.

SettingsThe film does have a generic Mexican town which could be anywhere in the country.

Special EffectsThe effects for the most parts are not the strongest because everything feels too ambitious.

Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The robots don’t seem to be very effective with their shooting.

Final ThoughtsThis is an ambitious movie, that doesn’t always hit the marks because it gets held back by the budgets the film has.


Overall: Try this sci-fi film.





Chimera (2018)

Director: Maurice Haeems

Writer: Maurice Haeems (Screenplay)

Starring: Henry Ian Cusick, Kathleen Quinlan, Erika Ervin, Jenna Harrison, Karishma Ahluwalia, Jennifer Gjulameti


Plot: A brilliant but disturbed scientist freezes his children alive, while he races to cure their deadly genetic disease by decoding the DNA of the immortal Turritopsis jellyfish.

Tagline – Do you want to live forever?

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Ambitious Sci-Fi Film


Story: Chimera starts as scientist Quint (Cusick) fails to save his wife from a genetic disease that he has been searching for a cure for years. Now in a desperate attempt to save his children, he freezes them while conducting experiments in a hope to find a cure.

The problem is that Quint is facing pressure from one of his financers Masterson (Quinlan) who believes his experiment will creating immortality to fix her loved one and former partner Charlie (Harrison) who does want to help with their previous work together. We are left to see the moral questions about being able to cure generic diseases and just how far you should be going in your search for answers.


Thoughts on Chimera


Characters – Quint is a desperate scientist that has spent years searching for a cure for a generic disease which has taken away his wife and will take away his children. He makes deals with people, one on his side, one searching for a similar answer, he will do anything possible to get this answer. Masterson is searching for a cure which would bring immortality in her mind, she is funding the research to make sure she gets the results required. Charlie is the former partner of Quint that has been working to find a cure in a more authorised manor.

PerformancesHenry Ian Cusick a man we know from ‘Lost’ he is the lead in this film and we see how his makes his character be as desperate to find the answers as he is, his performance makes us support him and understand his decisions. Kathleen Quinlan is good too as the easy to understand villain through the film and Jenna Harrison comes into her own during the runtime of the film.

StoryThe story here does keep us guessing as we are left wondering just whether there will be a cure, we are asked ethical questions which is always a plus in storytelling.  This does have twists along the way which will surprise us, but it does become overly ambitious at times because when you go into the scientific side of things, certain discussion can easily go over your head. This would be a good and bad thing because we do like increased intelligence in our films but could push the casual viewer away. I do think this is one for the sci-fi fans to see as the story will give you the questions to ask yourself.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi side of the film focuses on the idea of what we could achieve in science, when it comes to battling diseases and the process scientists go through, we are in the future for the methods uses, but it would be the near future.

SettingsThe film shows us the different locations Quint is performing his off the grid experiments, we see the labs that Charlie is involved in which look cleaner better funded and the shady areas for the meetings with Masterson.

Special EffectsThe effects are used very few times in the film, certain moments are to focus on how the characters are feeling during moments.

Scene of the Movie –
The final act unfolding.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This does feel like a film that could have been longer to add moments of scientific discussion.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting and ambitious sci-fi film, it will be one the fans of the genre will enjoy even if the casual fan might miss moments of the sci-fi discussion points.


Overall: Smart and ambitious sci-fi.




Calvary (2014)

Director: John Michael McDonagh

Writer: John Michael McDonagh (Screenplay)

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran


Plot: After he is threatened during a confession, a good-natured priest must battle the dark forces closing in around him.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Strong Drama That Misses The Point at Times


Story: Calvary starts as mid-mannered priest Father James (Gleeson) gets a warning from one of his worshippers that he will kill him in one week on the beach during confession. Father James daughter Fiona (Reilly) comes to visit as we see how Father James goes about his normal routine with the locals.

As the week goes by we see how Father James deals atheist doctor Drank Harte (Gillen), butcher Jack Brennan (O’Dowd), rich member of the village Michael Fitzgerald (Moran) and many others, but he leads to the end of the week questioning his own existence and whether the man can go through with it.


Thoughts on Calvary


Characters – Father James is a well-liked priest that receives a threat during confession, but he doesn’t take it too seriously as he continues to show how respected he is around the village even with the people with no faith. Fiona Lavelle is Father James’ daughter from his time when he was married, she is having her own problems but know the two are all they have after her mother’s death. Jack is the local butcher that has gone through a separation with his wife but getting on with his life for the most part, he doesn’t have full faith but does have some faith.

PerformanceBrendan Gleeson is fantastic in this leading role as the priest who gets on with everyone and must face is own place in the world. Kelly Reilly is good in her role but like the rest of the cast they do all play second fiddle to Gleeson. Chris O’Dowd is good too but he does fall into the crowd of the supporting cast.

StoryShowing a week in the life of a priest in a small community is interesting through the story side of everything, we are left to see him learn about himself as he does question parts of his faith while staying strong for the people who need him. This story does keep you engaged throughout the film even if it feels like not much is happening.

ComedyThe comedy is all dark comedy take a darker look at a small village community as they get to question their faith.

SettingsThe small town community helps this movie shine as we are left to see how Father James deals with his potential impending death at the hands of one of the locals.

Scene of the Movie – Dr Frank’s scenes get the most laughs.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The idea could have been strong to the point of everything.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong dark comedy that does want to address a serious issue but doesn’t cover it in enough time, instead focusing on other parts of the community.


Overall: Good drama well worth watching.




ABC Film Challenge – Random – C – Captive (2015)

Director: Jerry Jameson

Writer: Brian Bird (Screenplay) Ashley Smith, Stacy Mattingly (Book)

Starring: Kate Mara, David Oyelowo, Elle Graham, Michael Kenneth Williams, Jessica Oyelowo, Mimi Rogers, Leonor Varela


Plot: A single mother struggling with drug addiction is taken hostage in her own apartment by a man on the run who has broken out of jail and murdered the judge assigned to his case.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Basic Thriller


Story: Captive starts as we meet Ashely Smith (Mara) a drug addict who has lost her child due to her addiction and is desperately struggling to get clean. On the other side of the story we find Brian Nichols (Oyelowo) a criminal who breaks out of his trial hearing leaving bodies on the way.

Lt John Chestnut (Williams) and Sgt. Sandoval (Varela) lead the manhunt for Brian as we learn how this minor criminal has escalated to murder to get freedom. Brian breaks into Ashley apartment holding her hostage inside her own home. Ashley must spend the night trying to stay alive when this clearly mentally unstable man Brian pushes her to the limits.


Thoughts on Captive


Characters/PerformanceAshley is a recovering drug addict who is about to become clean and get her daughter back, she must stay one step ahead of Brian to make this happen. Brian is a criminal about to be judge on a rape case he believes he is innocent off. He escapes and kills the judge going on the run before taking Ashely hostage. He constantly believes he is innocent of all the crimes he is being accused off. The cops on the other hand are all the generic ones you would imagine they would be.

Performance Wise, Kate Mara is good in the leading role showing given the right material she can be a leading lady, David Oyelowo is as always great in yet another film he clearly is the best part off.

StoryThis is a story that is based on real events, this is just another hostage story though, we have the bonding between the criminal and victim which is nothing fresh, as well as watching the manhunt for him. This all works but doesn’t come off as original, because this is based on a real event it would have been more interesting to see more about the real case that Brian believes he is innocent off.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime side of this film happens early on as most of the film is hunting down the criminal who has gone to extreme lengths to get his freedom. The thriller ide doesn’t keep us on edge for long enough.

SettingsThe apartment shows how Ashely has become trapped with Brian but we also deal with the idea that we are watching a manhunt too.

Final ThoughtsThis was a slow-moving thriller that doesn’t reach the levels it needs to, mostly because this is based on a real event too.


Overall: Slow and disappointing thriller.




The Captive (2014)

Director: Atom Egoyan

Writer: Atom Egoyan, David Fraser (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Greenwood, Mireille Enos, Kevin Durand


Plot: Eight years after the disappearance of Cassandra, some disturbing incidents seem to indicate that she’s still alive. Police, parents and Cassandra herself, will try to unravel the mystery of her disappearance.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Intenseless Thriller


Story: The Captive starts as we see the teenage Cassandra (Fast) locked in a room by her kidnapper Mika (Durand), she hasn’t left this room for 8 years. She gets to watch over her parent’s life in this twisted game Mika plays.

Flashback 8 years and we see the events leading up to this event of her disappearance as her father Matthew (Reynolds) is left feeling helpless as she is taken from the car, his wife Tina (Enos) blames him and the detectives Nicole (Dawson) and nearly appointed officers Jeffrey (Speedman) start looking into the case.

We then get to follow how Tina, Matthew, Nicole and Jeffrey have spent the next 8 years with the yearly arrival to meet and see if any clues have come up regarding her whereabouts, can the truth come out and the family know the truth or will they be left in the unknown forever.


Thoughts on The Captive


Characters/PerformanceMatthew is the father of the missing girl, he searches on every journey making sure any young girl he sees is safely returned home while also checking they are not his long-lost daughter. Tina has continued to work with the police as they search for clues to what happened, all while trying to continue her own life. Nicole is the lead detective working on searching for children who are put in danger and trying to shut down paedophile rings. Jeffrey is the new detective to the case but has been working on it for the full amount of time as he goes overboard at times. Mika is the one that has Cassandra, we learn this in the opening sequences so not spoilers with this information, but he is the one involved if the bigger picture.

Performance wise, Ryan Reynolds is good in this role because you can believe him as the desperate father, Rosario Dawson also is good in her role as we see how both known for light-hearted roles performing very well. Speedman is fine through the film without being likable and Mireille Enos does control to show she can be a leading role in a film. it is Kevin Durand however that is the true star of the show, being creepy throughout.

StoryThe story is told with a mix of flashbacks and current time events which can be very difficult to keep up on, it also doesn’t help that the film does follow a similar idea of parents and police officers searching for a missing child which is clearly much more intense in Prisoners. By jumping around all over the time line we are left just feeling lost following a story that should be intense from beginning to end.

Crime/MysteryThe crime story is something that is very dark which should be one of the more intense and shocking crime stories of recent times but the storytelling process loses that but we are kept wondering how big the mystery is behind everything going on.

SettingsThe snow filled setting shows us just how hopeless the search for a missing child would be during the winter and how easy it would be to hide people too.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that should have been a classic but in the end, it doesn’t reach all its potential because of the awful storytelling process.


Overall: Missed on too many marks.