Cocktail (1988)

Director: Roger Donaldson

Writer: Heywood Gould (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Bryan Brown, Elisabeth Shue, Lisa Banes, Laurence Luckinbill, Kelly Lynch, Gina Gershon

 

Plot: A talented New York City bartender takes a job at a bar in Jamaica and falls in love.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Barely Dated a Day

 

Story: Cocktail starts a Brian Flanagan (Cruise) returns from the services and heads to New York looking to walk into a successful job on wall street, he gets rejected everywhere due to his lack of qualifications. Finding a job in a bar as a bartender where he learns the art of the cocktail from Doug Coughlin (Brown). While studying he finds, himself failing once again but his cocktail reputation grows.

When Brian and Doug decide, they want to go into business together and open their own cocktail bar, but their friendship is broken and Brian goes out on his own to Jamaica to make the money to have his own cocktail bar. Falling in love with Jordan (Shue) he decides to let her go to following in Doug’s footsteps and marry a rich woman, but love will have control over him.

 

Thoughts on Cocktail

 

Characters/PerformanceBrian is an ex-service man that finds it hard to get a job without qualification, wow if this isn’t a relatable character or what? Brian finds to make money as a cocktail bartender but his friendship and romantic personality changes his path. Doug is the teacher to Brian, he teaches the tricks of the trade and how to get away with everything. Jordan is the woman that Brian falls for but only finds a way to make a mess of it.

Performance wise, Tom Cruise is good in this leading role showing that he was always going to be a big star for years to come. Bryan Brown is good in his role with Elisabeth Shue doing a good job through the parts of the film she is in.

StoryThe story here isn’t the most important thing going on here as it isn’t the most interesting part of the film. The part of the story that does stick out is the fact we see how hard it is to find a job without qualifications. There is a romantic angle which is fine without being anything stand out in the film and the success the guy faces also works well.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy is light in places but nothing fancy, the romantic side is something we have seen before but is mostly about a guy that screws up and gets a second chance somehow.

SettingsThe settings all work for the film showing the New York setting, the Jamaica setting as well as the high life and lower life the characters find themselves in.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun and enjoyable movie that has poor scores everywhere but it is hard to find anyone that doesn’t like it.

 

Overall: Enjoyable film.

Rating

 

 

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Chasing the Dragon (2017)

Chasing the Dragon is coming to DVD on the 22nd of January 2018.

 

Director: Jason Kwan, Jing Wong

Writer: Jing Wong (Screenplay)

Starring: Donnie Yen, Andy Lau, Philip Keung, Kang Yu, Kent Cheng

 

Plot: An illegal immigrant from Mainland China sneaks into corrupt British-colonized Hong Kong in 1963, transforming himself into a ruthless and emerging drug lord.


Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brutal Gangster Movie

 

Story: Chasing the Dragon starts as we follow Ho (Yen) as he illegal immigrates from China to the British-colonized Hong Kong in the early 60s. we see how two different gangs are trying to take over Hong Kong while the British will go to any force to stop them. Police Detective Lee Rock (Lau) has been rising the ranks of the force for years now, he sees what Ho has to offer and helps him for his own personal corrupt reasons.

When Ho and Lee make a move to take over the troubled neighbourhood, Ho gets wounded taking away his fighting abilities, while Lee is lucky to walk away. The pair refuse to take this backing down and come up with their own plan to be the ruthless crime lords in Hong Kong, showing how far they will go against anyone that gets in their way.

 

Thoughts on Chasing the Dragon

 

Characters – Ho starts as a young man immigrating illegal to Hong Kong, he gets involved in fights and petty crimes before climbing up to more serious offences, his combat skills strike fear into his enemies, after he is crippled in an attack, he changes, he becomes psychotic with his behaviour killing, injuring anyone who gets in his way or disobeys his orders. Lee Rock is a detective that has risen in the Hong Kong force even though he has been against the British involvement in the country, he works with Ho to become a force that could take on the British, but with the corruption investigation in the force, he must step away from the light. He always seems to be thinking one step ahead of anyone he is working with. We do meet rival gangs, the British officers that abuse their power.

PerformancesDonnie Yen is known the world over for his combat skills in any movie, he has shown us year after year he could be the best combat actor in the industry today. In this role he has that skill removed and must show us his acting chops, he impresses big time here showing he is more than just a combat actor. Andy Lau on the other hand is an actor we know for his more serious roles in the Infernal Affairs movies being the most notable for the Western audience, he is great as this shady cop figures and this is no different.

StoryThe story follows two men either side of the law that rose to power in the drug battle in Hong Kong, one a petty criminal, the other a cop, the partnership took them to new heights and controlling the streets that the British have been taking over. The story shows how both use their skills and go after the people that cross them. If you want a gangster movie based on real people and see people outside of the normal American related gangsters.

Action/Biopic/Crime/HistoryThe action in the film does mix the start has more hand to hand combat before jumping into gun battles which entertain throughout. Diving into the biopic side of things, we only focus on the time in Hong Kong which focuses on the crime world for that moment in history.

SettingsThe settings show us the compact setting of Hong Kong which shows how the tensions will be rising during the drug war going on.


Scene of the Movie –
The final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Brits are painted well in this.

Final ThoughtsThis movie flows nicely, it has a pace which increases to the explosive conclusion and offers us the story of one of the more notorious gangsters in the history of Hong Kong.

 

Overall: Must watch for gangster movie fans.

Rating

 

 

Casino (1995)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Nicholas Pileggi, Martin Scorsese (Screenplay) Nicholas Pileggi (Book)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, James Woods, Don Rickles, Alan King, Kevin Pollak

 

Plot: Greed, deception, money, power, and murder occur between two best friends: a mafia underboss and a casino owner, for a trophy wife over a gambling empire.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Long Crime Drama

 

Story: Casino starts as we see the rise of mobsters Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein (De Niro) and Nicky Santoro (Pesci) two friends that get involved in the casino industry, Ace is the calm face of the operation keeping the casino in order with the money going to the people it needs to, Nicky does the dirty work beating down the people who go against the casino.

As Ace runs the casino smoothly along with his new wife Ginger (Stone), he keeps the casino clean making more money than he would with other the books work. Nicky continues to do the dirty work as he wants to make as much money as possible from the casinos but his methods brings in the attention of the authorities, getting himself banned from every casino in Vegas.

Over the time the two clash over business as Nicky style flashes the spotlight on Ace, leading to the two friends becoming strained and broken.

 

Thoughts on Casino

 

Characters/PerformanceAce is sent to Vegas to run the books through a casino for the mob, he keeps the business going well but when his friend Nicky interrupts the business, Ace finds himself needing to defend himself through the trial. Nicky is the hot head that joins the casino industry to keep an eye on Ace’s back but soon he finds himself trying to take over Vegas by force which leads to the problems between the two.

Performance wise, De Niro and Pesci both give great performance in what is easily their strengths the crime world, the rest of the cast do great jobs through the whole film.

StoryThe story does balance both the stories of Ace and Nicky but you can’t help but feel this is very long, the film is nearly 3 hours long and is a giant flashback because we see Ace killed in the opening scene. This is a crime story you feel we have seen before and it was nice to see the balance between the violent and the calm reasons for running the businesses.

CrimeWatching how the crime world is run from the calm front and the violent front does come off interesting in places but is slightly rinse repeat.

SettingsVegas always makes for a wonderful setting for a crime story because we all know the vices within the city through the 70s and 80s.

Final ThoughtsThis is too long for the story being told, yes the performances are good but it in the end the drawn out story feels forced throughout.

 

Overall: Long crime drama.

Rating

 

 

Classic Franchise – Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

Director: J Lee Thompson

Writer: John William Corrington, Joyce Hooper Corrington (Screenplay) Paul Dehn, Pierre Boulle (Story/Characters)

Starring: Roddy McDowall, Claude Akins, Nathalie Trundy, Severn Darden, Lew Ayres, Paul Williams

 

Plot: Ten years after conquering the Earth, ape leader Caesar wants the ruling apes and enslaved humans to live in peace. But warring factions of apes led by a militant gorilla general as well as various human groups threaten the stability.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Conclusion to the Franchise

 

Story: Battle for the Planet of the Apes starts with a 5-minute flashback to what has happened through the previous films. We move into the near future, where Caesar’s uprising has seen the apes learned to talk and are still being taught with humans living as slaves.

Caesar looking for answers about his parents arranged to travel back to the destroyed cities but in his absence the gorilla General Aldo (Akins) tired of the humans being welcomed leads his own uprising against Caesar as we are left to see who has control of the planet of the apes now with Governor Kolp (Darden) till fight on behalf of the humans too.

 

Thoughts on Battle for the Planet of the Apes

 

Characters/PerformanceCaesar now leading his colony of apes, still wants answers from his past about the future but now he must deal with a battle from within as well as a battle against man. He is a strong leader, looking for answers that don’t mean war but peace between all kinds. General Aldo is the inpatient leader of the gorilla army that wants to end the peace and exterminate all humans, he challenges Caesar on every opportunity. Lisa is the wife of Caesar who tries to guide him in the peaceful path rather than returning to the fighting world.

Performance wise, Roddy McDowall does continue to do a good job in the leading role, with Claude Akins doing a good job in this villainous ape role. The rest of the performance are good before working for what the film needed.

StoryThe story continues on the story of Caesar and his uprising against humans, we get to fill in part of the blanks into why the planet was now run in apes in the first film. the film takes on three sides of the battle the ape that wants peace, the humans that want their planet back and the general who wants blood to rule the land. I think this all comes together how you would imagine the apes took power of Earth.

Action/Sci-FiThe action sequences are all generic to how you would expect them to be with the future world not at the levels you would expect it to be, this far down the timeline.

SettingsThe settings are pretty much just fields, they could be set up to be anywhere in the world.

Special EffectsThe effects are simple enough when needed only.

Final ThoughtsI like how the story has been writing the history we could once have been heading towards, I think this is smart story telling in the long run.

 

Overall: This is a nice ending to the franchise even if it isn’t the strongest member of the franchise.

Rating

 

 

The Condo (2017)

Director: James Cullen Bressack

Writer: Bill Dumas, Bill Morroni (Screenplay)

Starring: Baron Jay, Trae Ireland, Michael Joseph, Chris Sapone, Tracy Mcnulty, Viet Wilcots, Aria London, Jackie Moore

 

Plot: Four married friends buy a condo to share as a bachelor pad, a place to bring their mistresses, until the wives and girlfriends bust the cheating spouses.


Tagline – Four married men. Four Mistresses. One Condo. Endless possibilities.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Rom Com

 

Story: The Condo starts as four friends Duke (Jay), Ron (Ireland), Tom (Joseph) and Juan (Sapone) use a mansion that Duke can’t sell as a bachelor pad to escape their wives, girlfriends and partners. While it all seems to be going smoothly for the guys even with their partners getting suspicious of their behaviour.

Duke’s mistresses on the side Sunday (Moore) has problems that Duke wasn’t prepared for and now he finds himself dealing with those problems that could become violent. Can the guys keep everything together and keep their good thing quiet or will they lose the freedom created.

 

Thoughts on The Condo

 

Characters – Duke is the man that is trying to sell the house, he is married and starts using the house for an affair with Sunday. He knows he can trust his friends to help him cover for him while making sure he can keep Sunday from becoming her dangerous alter ego. Ron D is a stand-up comedian who wife is his business manager, he can easily start his own affair on the side and even uses it on his own routine. Tom is the quiet honest married man who has a crush on he hair stylist, when the condo becomes available he goes to break the traditions he seems so keen to keep. Juan is dance instructor who is in a relationship with Robert, but he is seeing women on the side, he is driving his partner crazy with his actions.

PerformancesThe four males leads show their skills at handling the material, Baron Jay with his quick thinking, Trae Ireland shows us his stand-up skills, Michael Joseph shows us the likeable under achiever and Chris Sapone shows us the strong charisma to get the women. The rest of the cast all perform well throughout the film too.

StoryThe story follows of four friends want to use a mansion as a bachelor pad, so they can cheat on their loved ones, as things start to fall apart with their secrets. This shows how people shouldn’t take their partners for granted and that you will always get caught in the end. The story does well to show us the four characters motivation for acting the ways they do, the story does bounce around as we meet at one moment which if you pick up at certain points you might feel lost following.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy follows the characters as they get themselves into trouble with the loved ones, while trying to follow their own romantic ideas.

SettingsThe film mostly is set in the mansion which shows the life the characters want to be living.


Scene of the Movie –
Learning about Sunday and Duke’s reaction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Once I learnt about Sunday’s character, you wanted to see where things would go.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun comedy showing how men can get themselves into trouble wile trying to chase women.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy.

Rating