Chinatown (1974)

Director: Roman Polanski

Writer: Robert Towne (Screenplay)

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, Perry Lopez, John Hillerman, Darrel Zwerling, Diane Ladd

 

Plot: A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption, and murder.


Tagline – The most highly acclaimed film of 1974!

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Mystery

 

Story: Chinatown starts when J.J. Gittes (Nicholson) gets hired by Evelyn Mulwray (Dunaway) to investigate her husband, it seems like a routine job, follow him around, until he ends up dead and Gittes must uncover what led to his death.

J.J. ends up learning about a bigger cover-up which involves the city’s water supply, the place where Hollis worked before his death, which sees him investigating Noah Cross (Huston) the former owner of the water department.

 

Thoughts on Chinatown

 

Characters – J.J. Gittes is a private investigator, he usually handles affairs and has a great track record. He is hired to learn whether Hollis Mulwray is having an affair, only to find himself digging into a bigger cover-up within the water supply after Hollis is found dead. Gittes is involved in every single scene of the film as we only learn the story from his point of view. Evelyn Mulwray is the one that hires Gittes to investigate her husband potential affairs, she soon learns the truth and wants Gittes to learn the truth about what happened to her husband. Noah Cross is the former partner of Hollis who between them owned the water, he seems interested in his own business. He is one of the prime suspects in what might have happened to Hollis. Escobar is the lead police detective that is trying to learn what happened, he doe shave a past with Gittes too.

PerformancesJack Nicholson in the leading role is wonderful as always, he is filled with the quick wit required and keeps us on edge as we work to follow the investigation unfold. Faye Dunaway shows us just how mysterious she can make her character. John Huston brings in the rich figure role well, while Perry Lopez shows us how we get the cop role done without any struggles.

StoryThe story follows a private investigator that start by looking into an affair only to find himself in the middle of a much bigger case which would bring him into a city-wide cover-up. When it comes to mystery stories we need to be kept guessing which is what this investigation does, we only get to see how everything unfolds through Gittes eyes which is helpful too because we learn the twists just as fast as he does. It does give us a story that does keep on taking twists along the way which like most detective stories too and shows us just how even a shady figure will do everything right to make sure the truth comes out.

MysteryThe mystery in this film comes from just who murdered Hollis, we get to see just how everything unfolds as we try to put the pieces together to learn the truth ourselves.

SettingsThe film is set in LA showing us just how the powers of the city will do anything to remain in control of the power.


Scene of the Movie –
Chinatown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The cops are all too similar.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the all time classic mystery movies, it shows how one person will do everything to learn the truth in the 1930’s LA where the corrupt rise to power with ease.

 

Overall: All time classic.

Rating

 

 

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The Clovehitch Killer (2018)

Director: Duncan Skiles

Writer: Christopher Ford (Screenplay)

Starring: Dylan McDermott, Charlie Plummer, Samantha Mathis, Madisen Beaty, Brenna Sherman, Lance Chantiles-Wertz, Emma Jones

 

Plot: A picture-perfect family is shattered when the work of a serial killer hits too close to home. Dylan McDermott stars in this chilling portrait of all-American evil.


Tagline – Every family, every man, has a secret.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Spin on the Serial Killer Movie

 

Story: The Clovehitch Killer starts as we head to a small town that has been living in the shadow of a serial killer branded Clovehitch because of his style of knot. We meet the picture-perfect family with Don (McDermott), Tyler (Plummer), Susie (Sherman) and Cindy (Mathis) who go to church every week.

When Tyler discovers a photo in his father’s car, he starts to think the killer could be closer to home than he first thought, he turns to the local Kassi (Beaty) who has been studying the killer for years to see if his father could be the town’s serial killer.

 

Thoughts on The Clovehitch Killer

 

Characters – Don is the father of the family, he has always helped his son with his boy scout assignments including knot tying, he helps around the neighbourhood too with his time in the church. He is hiding a secret that his son starts to figure out and does what he can to keep this from the rest of the world, Don is created in the same light as what we saw The Trinity Killer in Dexter. Tyler is the son that starts to think his father is the serial killer that scared the town, he tries to investigate which only makes things more difficult to one believe the truth and two keep a secret from his father. Cindy is the wife of Don, she is involved in the church believing they are living a happy life. Kassi is the estranged teenager in the town, she is considered an outsider because if her search for the Clovehitch killer, she is the one that Tyler turns to for help.

PerformancesDylan McDermott does give us a very disturbing performance which shows us just how easily a serial killer could operate in this world. Charlie Plummer gives us a strong performance as 2018 year was a fantastic year for him. Samantha Mathis is here and doesn’t get that much to do in the film, while Madisen Beaty brings the investigation figure to life well through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a teenager that starts to believe his father is the town’s serial killer and starts investigating whether this is true or not. This is an interesting spin on the serial killer film, we do go down the line that Dexter had with the character which is all good because we see how one operates and manages to keep things secret from their family. The idea that the son is trying to learn the truth keeps us on edge, but seeing the action unfolding we get an intense story that manages to keep nearly everything calm through the events of the film.

Horror/MysteryThe horror follows the idea of a serial killer being in the family, it gets to show us how they can seem like they are everyday people which only makes the serial killer coming off worse. The mystery of the film follows whether he is the killer or not, well it is meant to, only for it to give away everything way to early.

SettingsThe film uses the small town settings to make us believe just how the town has been in fear since the serial killer, it shows how one could operate without being looked at differently.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are very simple, we get to see just how he does the kills, only we don’t need to see anything graphic.


Scene of the Movie –
The newest victim.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It could have been slightly more mysterious or just given us that he is a killer early on, it just doesn’t commit either side.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror film that does take things in new direction which keeps us on edge even if it does miss a chance to commit to one side of the film.

 

Overall: Serial killer film with a twist.

Rating

 

 

Donnie Yen Weekend – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016)

Director: Woo-Ping Yuen

Writer: John Fusco (Screenplay) Du Lu Wang (Book)

Starring: Donnie Yen, Michelle Yeoh, Harry Shum Jr, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Jason Scott Lee, Eugenia Yuan, Roger Yuan

 

Plot: A story of lost love, young love, a legendary sword and one last opportunity at redemption.


Tagline – The past returns with a vengeance.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Sequel

 

Story: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny starts 18-years after Yu (Yeoh) saw her love die returns to safeguard the sword of destiny, after a warlord Hades Dai (Lee) goes in search for the sword believing it will give him the power to conquer the land.

Needing to protect the sword, Yu puts out a call for warriors to come and help defend it, which sees Silent Wolf (Yen) put together a five-person army, while Yu takes on a new student Snow Vase (Bordizzo) with skills advanced of her age.

 

Thoughts on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny

 

Characters – Yu has returned from her isolation and mourning after 18-years away only to stumble into the next attempt to steal the Sword of Destiny, here she must learn who to trust, reunite with an old ally and put herself in the teaching position. Silent Wolf has lived a life in isolation, where his loved ones believed him to be dead, he returns to help defend the sword for the greatest honour in his life. Wei Fang is a young warrior that is being forced into stealing the sword to protect his master, he learns about his past and along with Snow Vase who also has a decision of her own to make, provide the unsure future for Yu on who to trust. Snow Vase is the talented young fighter knowing skills beyond her age, she askes to be taught even if she isn’t as disciplined as she should be.

PerformancesMichelle Yeoh returns to this role, she brings the fight skills that made the first one fantastic and must play the role with an emotionless feeling of being broken, which she does with ease. Donnie Yen takes up the mysterious fighter role which is a role that he could take any day and never look out of place. it is the new comers that impress in the fighting side of things, where they struggle in places with the emotional factors at play in their characters.

StoryThe story here returns Yu back to the land she once fought for, where she must defend it from a new warlord that wants the sword which could bring power to control the land. This is a sequel that does well to return one of the favourites which also dives into her past to bring a new character, while also offer people that could become the new leads if the series was going to continue. When we break down the story it does play into tradition of being loyal and honour. It would have been nice to see more from the villain which only has a few moments which are just generic villain style, without seeing him do anything truly villainous.

Action/FantasyThe action in the film is the martial arts material we have enjoyed for years, we have the weightless effects which were famous from the first which add the style required to be unique. This does play into the fantasy of the action which goes against the physics of fighting.

SettingsThe film brings back the settings we knew and still look fantastic, with the final showdown being in a new location which is used to add to the fight.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to make the fights feel like they could be real, the weightless style is the best part of the fights.


Scene of the Movie –
Final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain moments of the Wei Fang and Snow Vase does drag at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun sequel to a much more superior original, it will entertain without being anywhere near the level original.

 

Overall: Entertaining for the fans.

Rating

 

 

Climax (2018)

Director: Gaspar Noe

Writer: Gaspar Noe (Screenplay)

Starring: Sofia Boutella, Romain Guillermic, Souheila Yacoub, Kiddy Smile, Claude-Emmanuelle Gajan-Maull, Giselle Palmer

 

Plot: French dancers gather in a remote, empty school building to rehearse on a wintry night. The all-night celebration morphs into a hallucinatory nightmare when they learn their sangria is laced with LSD.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: What The?

 

Story: Climax starts as we meet all the dancers in this gathering, Selva (Boutella) seems to be the one that is planning the big dance number that will give all of them a chance to show of their different styles and techniques, we see an early look at the project before seeing the dancers relaxing at a party, going through the social numbers.

The night takes a dramatic turn when somebody spikes the drink with LSD putting everybody into a hallucinatory nightmare bringing out the worst in them all.

 

Thoughts on Climax

 

Characters – We have so many characters that we meet in this film, nobody seems to be the main character, with most getting equal screen time, this doesn’t help the movie because it is hard to keep up with every single character, you get to see the names in the opening introduction only to forget them when you meet the next one, not many of them are that interesting either, they do all have one thing in common though, they want to be dancers.

PerformancesIt is hard to judge any of the performances in this film, the dancing side of everything is faultless, it is meant to look different, but because we don’t give enough time to the actors it is hard to give them time to shine in anyway through this film.

StoryThe story follows a group of dancers that are working on a project who look to celebrate only for the occasion to turn into a nightmare when the drink is spike. I am going to be honest, there really isn’t a story here, it is mostly just characters talking about who they want to have sex with, then getting high and running around like maniacs, that is all that happens.

Horror The horror in this film comes from just what these people end up doing to each other once the drugs have kicked in, it’s a lot of screaming and it does try to push the boundaries, the problem comes from us not getting to know these characters enough to care what they do.

SettingsThe film is set in one location, it has plenty of corridors along with a big party hall, which does make senses for everything happening in once location over one night.


Scene of the Movie –
The interview introductions do make sense for the number of characters we have to meet.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The first about 50 minutes is just boring.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that will have its fans, though it is just a complete art piece that is trying to push the boundaries more than give us a proper story with too many characters to keep up with.

 

Overall: Overly Arty Movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – C – CHIPS (2017)

Director: Dax Shepard

Writer: Dax Shepard (Screenplay)

Starring: Dax Shepard, Michael Pena, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rosa Salazar, Jessica McNamee, Adam Brody, Isiah Whitlock Jr

 

Plot: A rookie officer is teamed with a hardened pro at the California Highway Patrol, though the newbie soon learns his partner is really an undercover Fed investigating a heist that may involve some crooked cops.


Tagline – Chip Happens

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Insulting Comedy

 

Story: CHIPS starts as an undercover FBI agent Ponch (Pena) must joining the California Highway Patrol undercover with rookie officers Jon (Shepard) being his partner as Ponch must discover who is the dirty cop in the unit.

As the two are clearly complete opposites and Jon is the only one in the department that Ponch could trust to uncover the truth about the string of robberies.

 

Thoughts on CHIPS

 

Characters – Ponch is the FBI agent that is known for getting the cases closed even if the methods go across the lines, his latest case is becoming part of CHIPS to uncover a string of robberies that is believed to involve the members in the force. Joon is the former stunt man that wants to fix his marriage by joining the CHIPS team, he has had multiply injuries and will do anything to try and keep the job proving his worth to the force. These two are both very different and must put aside their difference to solve the crime. Ray Kruz is the main villain running the operation from within the force. We get plenty of different officers or agents from different levels of the police system which shows us who we will be dealing with through the film.

PerformancesThis is hard because saying anything bad about Michael Pena is upsetting, here he doesn’t hit the comedy we know he can and as for Dax Shepard we must be blaming him more because he wrote, directed and starred in this insulting comedy, we know he is good when given the right material, here he only lets us down. The rest of the cast just don’t get any moments to shine.

StoryThe story here follows two unlikely cops that must work together to uncover who is behind a string of crimes from within the force. This is the simple part of the film, the problems start mounting up easily and quickly, first the humour is insulting for anything that happens as the characters are left doing sex, poop and more lazy sexist jokes. Considering this was a popular TV shows, I feel the creator must feel insulted with what we are given, this fails on capturing any of the Starsky and Hutch or 21 Jump Street humour we enjoyed and just becomes boring quickly, not adding any mystery to who is behind the crimes either.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action in this film is lazy even if it is the only highlight of the film with a couple of the chases being the most interesting part of the film. the comedy is an insult to comedy while the crime world shows us only police corruption.

SettingsThe film is set in LA, I think mostly to use the sewer system for the chases otherwise it could have been any city.


Scene of the Movie –
Bike chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The comedy.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the comedy movies you really should never be watching, it doesn’t get any laughs and just ends up being left feeling insulting.

 

Overall: This is why we don’t have comedy hits anymore.

Rating