Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Director: Sidney Lumet

Writer: Frank Pierson (Screenplay) Leslie Waller (Book)

Starring: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Penelope Allen, Charles Durning

 

Plot: A man robs a bank to pay for his lover’s operation; it turns into a hostage situation and a media circus.


Tagline – This movie was not dreamed up by a screenplay writer. It couldn’t have — not with all the bizarre things that actually happened that day in a real bank, with real hostages and with Sonny Wortzik – the most unreal person who ever wanted to rob a bank

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tension Biopic

 

Story: Dog Day Afternoon starts as Sonny (Pacino) and Sal (Cazale) attempt to rob a bank, they are polite with how they handle everything not wanting to hurt anybody in the process. What seemed like a simple bank robbery takes a turn when officer Moretti (Durning) calls to negotiate a peaceful outcome.

With Moretti trying to keep Sonny calm we learn just how unprepared Sonny is, as the hostage situation soon turns into a media circus spiralling out of control. We soon learn Sonny’s motivation for the robbery which gains him the support of the public leaving us to wonder how it will end.

 

Thoughts on Dog Day Afternoon

 

Characters – Sonny has planned the bank robbery, but he has only planned for the robbery not a hostage situation, he is working to stay in control as he befriends the hostages never get violent enjoying the media circus that surrounds the situation. His motivations are good and over the course of the movie we start to support his actions. Sal is the partner in the robbery, he doesn’t want to hurt anyone, he is a man of few words and doesn’t seem like he is completely all there in the head. Sylvia is the head cashier, she doesn’t want to leave her girls behind becoming the voice of reason at times between the two sides.

PerformancesAl Pacino is fantastic in this role, he showed everybody just how talented he is, the career he was about to have and how he can control, dominate a 2-hour movie. John Cazale is great in the supporting role, he shows must of his feelings in expressions which is what his character requires. Penelope Allen is strong too, while only being a supporting role she is strong throughout the film.

StoryThe story starts with the robbery starting and finishes with the outcome, we have no build up no aftermath which is what we needed for the film. while I know it isn’t real time it does feel like real time as we follow the events as Sonny and Moretti try to stay one step ahead of each other. This is based on a real event which was the circus event shown in the movie, this is one of the stories that drags you in and makes you want to see where things will go.

Biopic/CrimeThis is a biopic that shows one event on Sonny’s life, this is the only part we need to see because it is the event that changes his life. The crime is a bank robbery which goes from simple to complicated for Sonny quickly.

SettingsThe whole film is set at the bank, this is the only setting we need because it shows how the situation could get out of hand because Sonny has been backed into a corner.


Scene of the Movie –
Attica, Attica.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I couldn’t find one.

Final ThoughtsThis is an acting masterclass from Pacino, this is his best performance of his career, it shows a story that was based on the real events which keep us on edge throughout the film. This is easily one of the best movies of all time.

 

Overall: Brilliant Thriller that stands the test of time.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Darkness Reigns (2018)

Director: Andrew P Jones

Writer: Andrew P Jones (Screenplay)

Starring: Zachary Mooren, Linara Washington, Casper Van Dien, Peter Mayer, Ford Fanter, Jennifer Wenger, James Packard

 

Plot: A film crew is ravaged by a demon, who is hell bent on cashing in on a deal he made with someone on set who was seeking fame and fortune.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Twist on the Found Footage

 

Story: Darkness Reigns starts when Daniel (Mooren) is releasing his new documentary on the events that happened on the film set one year ago. Daniel is working as the cameraman filming the behind the scene footage for a brand new low budget horror movie starring Casper Van Dien. The film is set in a haunted hotel and we get to meet the cast and crew of the movie.

When the hotel turns out to be truly haunted by a demon, the cast and crew face a race to survive against a demon that enjoys playing towards the weakness of its victims.

 

Thoughts on Darkness Reigns

 

Characters – Daniel is the cameraman working on the behind the stage footage, he dreams of becoming the next big director in the world with this being his first steps in the film world. We have him holding the camera which does make sense for the use of the found footage camera work style. Vanessa is the make up artist on the set, she is one of the people needing to find a way to survive. Casper Van Dien is playing a version of himself, he plays the biggest star on set which gets to play out like he is the most important part of the film. we do have the remaining of the cast and crew involved in the horror movie, it would have been nice to meet a few other characters though.

PerformancesZachary Mooren is the lead in the movie, he does make us believe his character has been on edge through the film because we know he makes it out. Linara Washington is good, but we don’t believe her pain when she gets put through the horror moments. Casper Van Dien does play his character role and does look like he is enjoying his role. Where the film is set as a behind the scene filming, we do get to see the performers look like they are trying to avoid the camerawork which makes us understand why they look at act nervous.

StoryThe story here follows the events of a film production that gets taken over by a demonic presence, while Daniel has turned the events into a documentary, we learn this in the opening scene. This is shot like a found footage because it follows the behind the scenes shooting for the extras on the DVD. We learn elements of how a low budget horror movie gets worked on and even having Casper Van Dien playing the most important actor in the movie. There isn’t the deepest story, but I did like how we didn’t go through the ‘set up’ of a found footage film and just jump into the horror when it starts, it is a sudden moment which doesn’t let go.

HorrorThe horror uses demonic presence haunting a film set with a twist that comes late in the film. we keep the horror moments happening mostly off camera and the ones we do see are creepy imagines.

SettingsThe film is set in the abandoned hotel, we learn that most of the doors are blocked off which means the exits are not where they should be, which helps when the endless running to escape because there isn’t an easy way out.

Special EffectsFor the effects we get a mix of CGI and practical, the practical clearly is good, while the CGI looks weak in places.


Scene of the Movie –
The first encounter with the demon.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not meeting enough of the film crew.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid horror thriller that brings us a fresh approach to the found footage idea and gives us some secret to how a low budget horror gets made.

 

Overall: Horror fans to watch.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – D – Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Directors: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin, Eric Guillon

Writer: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gairer, Steve Coogan, Julie Andrews

 

Plot: Gru meets his long-lost charming, cheerful, and more successful twin brother Dru who wants to team up with him for one last criminal heist.


Tagline – Oh brother.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Substandard Threequel

 

Story: Despicable Me 3 starts when Gru and Lucy get fired from the Anti-Villain League after letting 80s based supervillain Balthazar Bratt escape from his latest heist. This gives Gru more time and he learn that he has a twin brother Dru.

When Dru wants Gru to show him the ways of villain which leave Gru on a tipping point for a career as Balthazar is tacking over the mantel of best supervillain and Lucy is learning how to be a better mother.

 

Thoughts on Despicable Me 3

 

Characters – Gru now part of the Anti-Villain League trying to stop the villains he once competed against. Fired after failing he learns of a long lost twin brother that wants to tempt him back into the life of crime. Dru is the twin brother of Gru that doesn’t have the same abilities when it comes to being a supervillain even after being raised by their father, he invites Gru to help him. Lucy is Gru wife that is trying to become a better mother to the kids, which is a boring side story in this film. Balthazar Bratt was once an 80s television star that had his show cancelled which drove him to a life of crime with 80s style about him (it is really hard to take this character seriously as he is being voiced by Trey Parker of South Park and I can only see Randy in this character). The minions are not in the movie are much as previous film, but still annoying.

StoryThe story follows the hapless Gru as he must face a new villain and his own family to follow his own destiny. We have lots of side stories going on here which only just take away from the main story’s flaws. The villain is interesting but never feels like a threat and the idea that Gru must face a moral dilemma about which side to fight for doesn’t get the true focus it deserves. The whole story just feels like it was designed to be a television episode if we are being honest.

Action/Comedy/FamilyThe action is not as big as the original two even if it does play into the comedy of the movie, the comedy is a complete mixed bag, moments hit well the others just annoy, with the kids being the only ones that will be truly entertained by this one.

SettingsThe film takes us to new locations which will see Gru fight and new enemy and dealing with new family members.

AnimationThe animation, just like the previous films is very good throughout, easily being the highlight of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The opening heist gets the most laughs.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The random side stories, Lucy trying to be a mother to Margo and Agnes’ unicorn hunt.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak entry into the franchise that could easily be better instead of just giving us too much of the same when it comes to dealing with the side stories.

 

Overall: Animation 101

Rating

 

 

Justin Long Weekend – Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Director: Sam Raimi

Writer: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi (Screenplay)

Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao, David Paymer, Adriana Barraza

 

Plot: A loan officer who evicts an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point.


Tagline – Even nice people can go to hell.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Scary Filled Horror

 

Story: Drag Me to Hell starts where we meet mild manner loan officer Christine (Lohman), trying for the vacant assistant managers job, dating a professor Clay (Long) and generally just being a nice timid person. Christine’s day seems routine enough, but when Mrs Ganush (Raver) comes to her for an extension on the loan she must reject it.

Mrs Ganush begs and pleads for an extension, before being shamed, this forces her to put a curse on Christine, one that causes nightmares, day terrors and the need to solve this before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Drag Me to Hell

 

Characters – Christine Brown is one of the best modern horror characters, she does an honest job, she isn’t rude, pushy or arrogant, she just makes a living the best she can. She has worked her way up to a potential assistant manager role. She is filled with innocence it adds to the horrors we see her having to experience after she gets cursed. Clay is the supportive boyfriend, a professor of psychology, he doesn’t believe in the supernatural even being the annoying rude figure to a fortune teller. Mrs Ganush is the gypsy that has seen her loan go bad, she needs an extension again which Christine much reject, we feel little sympathy towards her and the motivation for putting the curse on Christine.

PerformancesAlison Lohman is brilliant in this role, we truly believe that she is the character of innocent nature. Alison is the true star of this movie, she goes through the most too. Justin Long is good in his role even if he is only the supportive boyfriend. Lorna Raver is great as the gypsy woman as you are filled with fear watching her.

StoryThe story follows one young woman that is doing her job and she gets cursed by a vengeful customer. While this story does follow the traditions with its linear idea of woman needs to find away to lift curse as the hauntings are getting worse each time she is haunted. We get to look into curses and how they can have people attempt to lift them while haunting continue to get worse. It could easily be thrown into the idea of one woman dealing with guilt.

HorrorThe horror in this movie is almost none stop, when it hits we do know when things happen and each moment becomes more terrifying.

SettingsThe film does keep us in a normal American city, it shows how the everyday life of Christine is routine until the curse gets thrown on her, this takes us to more horror related location.

Special EffectsThe effects are mixed for the most part, we have great horror effects when it comes to practical, but hits us with weak CGI moments only draw us back.


Scene of the Movie –
Prepare the goat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Clays behaviour to the fortune teller, way to generic.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best modern horror movies out there, we have terrifying scenes which are built up perfectly for the horror.

 

Overall: Must watch horror movie.

Rating

 

 

Deadpool 2 (2018)

Director: David Leitch

Writer: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Ryan Reynolds (Screenplay) Rob Liefeld, Fabian Nicieza (Comics)

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Zazie Beetz, Brianna Hildebrand, Bill Skarsgard, T.J Miller, Terry Crews

 

Plot: Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy of supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling mutant, Cable.


Tagline – Prepare for the second coming.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh a Minute Comedy

 

Story: Deadpool 2 starts when Deadpool (Reynolds) gets forced into helping Colossus back at Xavier’s mansion, his first mission to calm Russell (Dennison) a tortured mutant about to cause chaos with his fire ability. When things go south Deadpool ends up needing to protect Russell from the time travelling warrior Cable (Brolin) that has come from the future to kill Russell, along the way Deadpool puts together a team, the X-force with Domino (Beetz) using her ability to help in ways Deadpool doesn’t understand.

 

Thoughts on Deadpool 2

 

Characters – Deadpool has gone international with his crime fighting ways now, but when he suffers a life changing moment he goes in search of a purpose, he spends most of the film trying to save Russell from Cable with one liners coming out his mouth in nearly every scene. Cable has come from the future in search of a mutant that has killed his family, he will use his technology advances to get to him and fight to stop the mutant before he could clash with his family in the future. He is the opposite to Deadpool, cold hearted killer, but broken too. Vanessa is back and gives Deadpool all the motivation he needs to complete his tasks. Domino is the new-comer most people will enjoy, her ability is luck, she is super laid back and everything just seems to fall her way. Russell is the teenager with fire ability, he has been abused at the home for mutants, which has made him the enemy when he wants to kill the people that abused him. When it comes to the rest of the characters we get good moments with them throughout the film, but none of them become the centre of attention.

PerformancesRyan Reynolds shines once again in the role he was destining to play. Josh Brolin makes for an excellent Cable, they even throw the short jokes about him not matching the comic book Cable’s size in too. Zazie Beetz is the breakout star of the movie, having never seen her in anything, she handles this laid-back role very well. Julian Dennison, you might remember him from the Hunt for the Wilderpeople, he brings that level of performance here which adds to the comedy in the film. The rest of the returning cast do a good job as the new faces, but none reach the level of the previous mentioned performers.

StoryThe story here does follow similar path to the original Deadpool, where Deadpool must take on a villain using the friends both old a new while adding comedy into the revenge premise. This keeps everything simple, gets to poke fun at the genre of superheroes and does bring a turning point for the Deadpool character and his actions. There are shocks in the storyline, but I felt like I was watching a superhero version of Looper for the most part.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Sci-FiThe action gives us plenty of fights between the characters, we get to see how the director has used his past experience in the John Wick films to make the action scenes feel more intense, the inclusion of the Cable character gives us more sci-fi elements with the time travel and weaponry. It is the comedy that we have come here for though, it would be fair to say barely any jokes miss, and while some are reference heavy, the target audience should understand them all.

SettingsThe film gives us settings like a Fast and Furious movie, we have point A for one action sequence, point B for the next and part C for the final act, it is by the book and for the most part they check off action picks well.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film look brilliant too, even when they is a reference to a CGI battle, it works for the film and makes you laugh along the way.


Scene of the Movie –
Healing time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain characters don’t get as much screen time as you feel they should.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful sequel that brings us more laughs, more enjoyment and great new characters.

 

Overall: Funniest film of the year.

Rating