Eaten by Lions (2018)

Director: Jason Wingard

Writer: David Isaac, Jason Wingard (Screenplay)

Starring: Antonio Aakeel, Jack Carroll, Asim Chandhry, Johnny Vegas, Vicki Pepperdine, Kevin Eldon, Sarah Hoare, Nitin Ganatra

Plot: When Pete and Omar lose their beloved Gran they go in search of Omar’s estranged father, confronting him on the day of his daughters engagement party.


Tagline – Two boys…three dads

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Enjoyable Comedy

Story: Eaten by Lions starts as we follow half-brothers Omar (Aakeel) and Pete (Carroll) who have just moved into a new foster home after their Gran passes away, asking that they both look after each other. Omar wants to go in search of his real father, which Pete isn’t going to let him do alone.

The boys head to Blackpool where Omar’s estranged father is meant to live confronting him at his daughter’s engagement party, Malik (Ganatra) only to learn that it his brother Irfan (Chaudhry) is the father and he isn’t ready to be one.

Thoughts on Eaten by Lions

Characters – Omar decides to go in search for his real father after his grandmother passes away, he learns that he is the son of a rebellious member of a big Indian family and does everything he can to help Pete through the days. Pete is the half-brother of Omar, they were raised together, he doesn’t let his disability get in his way and is happy to talk he way through each situation he finds himself. Irfan is the father of Omar, he is a laidback man that isn’t ready to be a father and only shows himself to be a bad example to the boys. The rest of the characters we meet are the family that Omar is sudden thrown into and the friendly local that helps the boys out when they need help.

PerformancesAntonio Aakeel does give us the reserved performance needed for his character being the straight-talking shy of the two brothers. Jack Carroll gets nearly all the laugh through his confident character, the two show excellent chemistry together. Asim Chaudhry gets laughs too showing us how he can play this role for laughs.

StoryThe story follows two half-brothers raised together and with different father with different culture backgrounds that decide to go in search for one of their real fathers, this sees them heading to Blackpool and meet his father and testing his loyalty to his half-brother. This does show how brothers can come from different parents and will always be there for them, you true family will always be willing to let you in and moving on from losing a parental figure can become very difficult. The way this story is told does give us plenty of laughs and gives both boys an adventure.

ComedyThe comedy in the film does get plenty of laughs with Pete and Irfan getting most of the laughs through the film.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in Blackpool, which does give us a chance to see the iconic boardwalk and tower.


Scene of the Movie – The party.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The awkward racism from the foster parents.

Final Thoughts This is a delightfully entertaining comedy that could be enjoyed by all and shows how cultures can clash with ease.

Overall: Fun and entertaining.

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Sylvester Stallone Weekend – The Expendables (2010)

Director: Sylvester Stallone

Writer: Sylvester Stallone, Dave Callaham (Screenplay)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin

 

Plot: A CIA operative hires a team of mercenaries to eliminate a Latin dictator and a renegade CIA agent.


Tagline – Every movie has a hero. This one has them all.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mindlessly Entertaining Action Film

 

Story: The Expendables starts as we get to see Barney Ross (Stallone) and his team Lee (Statham), Yin (Li), Gunner (Lundgren), Toll (Couture) and Hale (Crews) eliminate a threat, to show just how capable they are at dealing with international threats.

Once home Barney is given a new assignment, to take out General Garza (Zayas) and James Munroe (Roberts) who are controlling an asset the government require, this soon turns into the five-man army taking on a full army.

 

Thoughts on The Expendables

 

Characters – Barney Ross is the leader of the mercenaries, he does play by a rule book, which sees him needing make a difficult decision with one of his team. He takes the latest job once he realizes that sometimes the impossible can make a big difference being a better all-around combat asset. Lee Christmas is Barney’s second in command, the one that Barney will turn to most, during this story he finds himself having lady problems and shows a man what will happen if you beat one up, he is also the knife expert on the team. Yin is the smallest member of the team, he is the martial artist of the team and is always worried about enough money for his family. Gunner is the member of the team which gets kicked out because he wants too much brutality in the missions, he has a drug problem which needs to be cleaned up before he could ever be considered back on the team. Eric Roberts is the businessman that has taken over the island, he is paying for everything even if it makes enemies out of the locals, he will strike fear into them with fear. Paine is the strongest member of Munroe’s team, he has been waiting for a challenge which Barney and his team will offer him.

PerformancesThis movie does have an all-star cast of action heroes, Sylvester Stallone does take centre stage here and does what he knows how to be, a lead action star, Jason Statham does this too, with a little more subtle side to his outside the business performance. These two both get the best action moments in the film. Jet Li does well with the action, but gets wasted outside of these moments, while Dolph Lundgren does what he can with a character that does have plenty more to offer to this film. Eric Roberts fits the generic villainous role, he doesn’t get enough time to make his character as memorable as he could have been.

StoryThe story follows a group of mercenaries that are hired to solve the militant control of a small island in the Gulf of Mexico. When it comes to the story, we don’t need too much, this film is more designed to show of the action stars of the movie industry. By keeping everything on the simple side we get an enjoyable story to see unfold, though it would have been nice to get some sort of character development about the crew. This story is easy to watch without ever needing to test us.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is wildly over the top with a mix of guns, knives and hand to hand combat, all you would want from the cast we have here. The adventure side of the film does take our crew to a new island that they haven’t heard of before to make the events of the film happen.

SettingsThe film mixes the home that the men have back in America with the island that needs freeing, showing how they can and will adapt to any landscape they are placed in.


Scene of the Movie –
Fly by.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t get enough Jet Li.

Final ThoughtsThis is one movie that is purely for the action fans, it goes well over the top and deliveries you favourite action stars doing what they do best, shooting gun and fighting.

 

Overall: Fun Filled Action Film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – E – Edge of Darkness (2010)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: William Monahan, Andrew Bovell (Screenplay) Troy Kennedy-Martin (Original Television show)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Bojana Novakovic, Shawn Roberts, David Aaron Baker, Jay O Sanders

 

Plot: As homicide detective Thomas Craven investigates the death of his activist daughter, he uncovers not only her secret life, but a corporate cover-up and government collusion that attracts an agent tasked with cleaning up the evidence.


Tagline – Few escape justice. None escape vengeance.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Crime Thriller

 

Story: Edge of Darkness starts when Craven (Gibson) get to spend his daughter Emma (Novakovic) only for an unknown gunman killing her on his doorstep, Craven being a homicide detective isn’t allowed to investigate the case for legal reasons, so he decides to go against the law in his search for the murderer.

The early signs make it looks like Craven himself was the target, but it soon comes to light that it might be Emma’s work for a government company run by Jack Bennett (Huston) that might have made her the target and the deeper he digs the more he learns about his daughter.

 

Thoughts on Edge of Darkness

 

Characters – Craven is a respect homicide detective, everyone in the force knows just how capable of solving a murder he can be, but when his own daughter is murdered, he starts to go against the law to figure out who and why she was murdered. He will not stop at anything to locate the truth and take out the people that murdered his daughter. Jedburgh is an English man that will help Craven fill in the gaps, while trying to keep him away from the answers, he has been hired to make sure the investment stays safe, without building up a body count. Jack Bennett runs the company that Emma works for, he knows how to answer questions to keep the press happy, while keeping the shady operations under wraps. Emma is the daughter that Craven is delighted to spend time with once again, only she gets murdered and it is her life before this meeting that we get to see her in.

PerformancesMel Gibson might well have had his problems in Hollywood, but when it comes to crime thrillers, he is in his element always shining in these roles without ever looking out of place, and demanding the screen whenever he steps on screen. Ray Winstone is great in his role, which only seems to be around for the calmer or criminal sides of the film. Danny Huston is an actor that can play a villain in his sleep and this is no different, he brings the smug figure to life here. Bojana Novakovic is great in her smaller role which doesn’t need to get much more screen time to add to the story.

StoryThe story here follows a homicide detective that starts to investigate the murder of his daughter only to find himself in the middle of a much bigger conspiracy that puts his own life in danger. This story starts off looking like it is going to be a revenge like movie because of how the first murder happens only to become a big conspiracy movie that offers up plenty of miss-direction as we lead to the truth. Any story that can keep you guessing and let try to figure out the ending yourself is an entertaining watch, with the outcome not even needing to be spoon fed to us either. This might well be a remake of a television show, but it plays into the modern ideas and works with how the conspiracy could be relevant for today’s climate.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of the film starts by just looking like a murder, it soon dives into cover ups, conspiracy and secret groups which shows how the government might go about trying to cover up a secret. The mystery in the film comes from just how the conspiracy keeps managing to unfold to expose more truth about what Emma was involved in.

SettingsThe film uses the Boston setting to show how many crimes have been committed in this stricter state which does show us just how big of a conspiracy needs covering up.


Scene of the Movie –
Riverside meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It would have been nice to see more of Jedburgh.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderfully intense crime thriller that does keep you guessing throughout the film, we get strong performance throughout and a story that has been modernized without looking out of place.

 

Overall: Hugely entertaining crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – E – Errementari (2017)

Director: Park Urkijo Alijo

Writer: Park Urkijo Alijo, Asier Guerricaechebarria (Screenplay)

Starring: Kandido Uranga, Uma Bracaglia, Eneko Sagardoy, Ramon Agirre, Jose Ramon Argoitia, Josean Bengoetxea

 

Plot: An orphaned girl discovers that the reclusive Blacksmith is keeping a demon imprisoned in order to avoid paying his debt to the Devil.


Tagline – Not all tales always have a happy ending

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning Demon World

 

Story: Errementari starts when a group of soldiers were eliminated by the mysterious blacksmith Patxi (Uranga) who has a demon Sarteal (Sagardoy) help him in battles. Years later Alfredo (Agirre) comes to visit the local area on behalf of the government in search of the missing gold, where he learns the legend of the blacksmith.

When local orphaned girl Usue (Bracaglia) loses her doll in the Blacksmith’s garden, she must sneak in to retrieve it, here she learns about Patxi and the deal he made with the devil, one he isn’t paying, because he is keeping the demon trapped. To make things worse the whole village believes he is a monster and now they have come to rid the village of their monster.

 

Thoughts on Errementari

 

Characters – Patxi is the mythical blacksmith that is known for being deadly, he is a recluse keeping himself locked away from the world, when people try to enter his property, he will defend it. He has made a deal with the devil, on that he hasn’t repaid, he does only want the good for the locals. Usue is the orphaned girl living in the village, the is often bullied and isolated. She ends up learning about Patxi kind nature being the only one in the village that will see him in this light. Sartael is the demon that Patxi has held captive, he will perform tricks to get out, though his failure to take the soul has placed him in the bad books in hell itself. Alfredo is the government man that has arrived in the village, he wants the gold being held by Patxi after years of having it hidden away.

PerformancesKandido Uranga as the blacksmith does make for an imposing presence in the film which is needed for his character. Uma Bracaglia brings the innocence needed for her role in the film. Eneko Sagardoy makes the demon looks and act just as playful and evil as you would expect. Ramon Agirre fills the government role being a character you believe would be about greed.

StoryThe story does feel like a Spanish fairy tale, having a pact with the devil, a figure surrounded in mystery, an orphaned child and village that has been waiting to take out the so-called problem. This added together does make everything come together nicely to give us the darkly side to the fairy tale. We do get to see this style of fairy tale in other films like ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ which brings a young girl into a world she isn’t prepared for. You can see elements of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in how the blacksmith is treated and how he wants to be left alone in the world, while the idea of the pact never being complete adds to the complex side of the story.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy world we are entering is filled with demons in the real-world ready to take souls. The horror comes from how the blacksmith is portrayed to the villagers, the vision of hell and the traps around the house.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings in the small village and it surroundings including the remote house the blacksmith lives, the vision of hell is also a highlight because it makes the scenes felt relentless.

Special EffectsThe effects are used mostly for the demons and the vision of hell, they feel unique with this.


Scene of the Movie –
Pathway to hell.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The generic actions from the children in the village.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable fantasy horror that once again show the idea of Spanish fairy tales having a darker tone, it has strong visuals and a final sequence that will leave you wanting more.

 

Overall: Darkly enjoyable fairy tale.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Exorcist 2: The Heretic (1977)

Director: John Boorman

Writer: William Goodhart (Screenplay)

Starring: Linda Blair, Richard Burton, Louise Fletcher, Max von Sydow, Kitty Winn, Paul Henreid, James Earl Jones, Ned Beatty

 

Plot: A teenage girl once possessed by a demon finds that it still lurks within her. Meanwhile, a priest investigates the death of the girl’s exorcist.


Tagline – It’s four years later…what does she remember?

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Substandard Sequel

 

Story: Exorcist 2: The Heretic starts as we meet Regan (Blair) a couple of years after the events of her exorcism, she doesn’t have any memories on those events and with the help of psychologist Dr Gene Tuskin (Fletcher) they look to rid her mind of any lingering dreams. This is until Father Philip Lamont (Burton) charged with investigating the exorcism which cost the lives of Father Merrin (von Sydow) and Father Karres arrives to see if Regan can help confirm what happened that fateful night.

Father Lamont must travel to Africa to learn the origin of the demon that is still inside Regan in any hopes of stopping before it takes over once again.

 

Thoughts on Exorcist 2: The Heretic

 

Characters – Regan is now little bit older and getting back on with a normal life, she is still seeing a psychologist to keep everything under control, when she starts to get questioned by the church about the exorcism things soon start coming back to her, this time she is in control about where her character goes. Father Philip Lamont is sent by the church to learn the truth about the original exorcism, what he learns sends him on a journey to Africa to hopefully learn the origin of the demon living in Regan. Dr Gene Tuskin is the psychologist helping sick children, one of which is Regan, she has bold ideas that could bring about new ideas to helping children open up. Father Merrin is involved in a few dream sequences, it is his death that is being investigated by Lamont.

PerformancesLinda Blair does return for this outing and doesn’t reach the levels of the first film, mostly because we don’t have to deal with many possession sequences until late in the film. Richard Burton is solid though we know how talent he is and this doesn’t show his full range. Louise Fletcher was struggling to capture her skills too and hen we look at the non-existent involvement from Max von Sydow we don’t get anything better than solid in the performance area.

StoryThe story does start on the right path, the idea that Regan could still be possessed is acceptable because we are still trying to balance the line between actual possession and mental health. Where things go terribly wrong for this story, is when we start looking at an ancient demon that is controlling Regan which has caused the events. The investigation into the origin only confuses and lessen the impact of the original film. it becomes an even bigger mess as thing unfold and we are left wondering just what the hell we are watching.

HorrorThe horror in the film doesn’t come through in any way, nothing involving any of the possesses even remote will scare the audience.

SettingsWe have a new setting, New York I feel, which is fine, but the problems here come from have a large part of the story in Africa investigating the origin over having any possession sequences which should scare us.

Special EffectsThe effects in film are weak even for the time, that locust will have people laughing.


Scene of the Movie –
The first syncing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of possession time.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the weakest sequels to a true classic I have ever seen, it has weak performances, a boring storyline and effects which haven’t dated in any acceptable way.

 

Overall: Just terrible.

Rating