Freezer (2014)

frezzerDirector: Mikael Salomon

Writer: Tom Doganoglu, Shane Weisfeld (Screenplay)

Starring: Dylan McDermott, Peeter Facinelli, Yuiya Snigir, Rafael Petardi, Markus Parilo

 

Plot: Robert is an ordinary man who is faced with extraordinary circumstances. He is locked in a meat freezer by Russian thugs who believe that he owes them 8 million dollars. Robert, who is in every frame of the film soon discovers that he is not alone in the freezer. Sam, a stranger, is also locked in with him, and it becomes a struggle to survive the cold and the forces that are against them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painfully Average

 

Story: Freezer starts when Robert (McDermott) wakes up tied inside a meat locker, trying to figure out why he is confronted by Alisa (Snigir) who works for the Russian mob claiming he has 8 million dollars of theirs. Trying to explain he is the wrong guy he must find a way out of the locker before it is too late with undercover Detective Sam Gurov (Facinelli) injured inside the locker too.

As the time counts down we are left to wonder who really has the money and what is Robert’s real involvement in this abduction.

 

Thoughts on Freezer

 

StoryThe story going on here is very thin and tries to use the idea of one man trapped in a small location which has been good in other ideas but in the end, has just turned into something that never really works because you would never see the Russian Mafia looking this weak, because this makes the look fully useless when it comes to looking after their money. The story is at least short which doesn’t let the tension side of the story slow down.

Action/ThrillerWe do get certain moments of well-built up tension but in the end each scene feels like it is leading to something but it ends up being small arguments and a punch here or there.

Characters/PerformancesRobert is not a likeable character which doesn’t help us to side with him, he comes off rash cocky and arrogant throughout the ordeal. The Russian’s are all made to be painfully generic with them being portrayed as pure thugs. The performances are nothing special either with nobody doing anything memorable through the film.

SettingsThe whole film is set inside the meat locker which does create the idea of the solo location needed as part of a torture to get the money. This works for the film but in the end is nothing on the level of what Saw or Buried achieved.

Special EffectsHas small use of effects which all work well for the moments they are needed.

Final ThoughtsAverage at best thriller that just doesn’t use the material it should with the levels it could have.

 

Overall: Thriller that just doesn’t know when to cut the twists out when it needs to.

Ratingcard

 

 

Harvey Keitel Weekend – From Dusk till Dawn (1996)

fromDirector: Robert Rodriguez

Writer: Quentin Tarantino (Screenplay) Robert Kurtzman (Story)

Starring: George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin

 

Plot: Two criminals and their hostages unknowingly seek temporary refuge in an establishment populated by vampires, with chaotic results.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best Vampire Movies Ever

 

Story: From Dusk till Dawn starts as we meet the Gecko Brothers Set (Clooney) and Richard (Tarantino) who are on the run after a bank robbery on the run to Mexico and safe haven. Also on the road is a priest Jacob (Keitel) who has lost his faith travelling with his children Kate (Lewis) and Scott (Liu) who are on the road after their mother and wife’s death.

When the Gecko’s lose their latest hostage, they find themselves take Jacob and his family hostage as they make it over the border into Mexico to the biker bar known as the Titty Twister where the Gecko’s have arrange to have their meet but they group have to spend the night in this bar with seductive dances and dangerous bikers.

The night takes a twist for the worse when they learn the club is filled with bloodthirsty vampires and all the customers are just their latest victims.

 

Thoughts on From Dusk till Dawn

 

StoryWhen you go into a vampire movie the story doesn’t always need to be all gothic sometimes it can be wildly over the top. This story keeps everything simple by having thieves on the run and a religious man who has lost faith ending up in a shady bar having to spend one night fighting vampires. There isn’t much more to this and that is why it is all so enjoyable.

Action/HorrorWe have plenty of over the top action in the second half of this movie as the survivors take on the new image from horror in the vampires. We can enjoy the action horror throughout this film.

Characters/PerformanceThe Gecko Brothers are strong anti-hero characters and having Jacob as the faithless priest suits the vampire genre. We do get a scene stealing moment from a sexy dancer who becomes one of the vampires.

When you look at the performances Clooney does shine and is one of the most different he ever took on in his career. Keitel is also a good in this role but with the weak point as often is Tarantino’s acting which doesn’t reach the levels of the rest of the cast.

SettingsThe settings are used very well with the travelling sequences in the first half but the Titty Twister bar has become one of the most iconic bar in film history and having the characters trapped there also helps them must work together against the vampires.

Special EffectsThe special effects here are great as you believe each and every one of the kills, fights and attacks the vampires are involved in.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most fun you will have with any vampire movie because when it was released it took the vampire genre in a new direction.

 

Overall: Enjoy the bloody filled vampire classic.

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Fruitvale Station (2013)

fruitDirector: Ryan Coogler

Writer: Ryan Coogler (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael B Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer, Kevin Durand, Chad Michael Murray, Ahna O’Reilly

 

Plot: The story of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard Hitting Drama

 

Story: Fruitvale Station starts with the start of Oscar Grant’s (Jordan) day disagreements with his girlfriend Sophina (Diaz) but covering it up for their daughter Tatiana (Neal) who he does everything he can to be a wonderful father to. The day is New Year’s Eve and Oscar’s mother’s Wanda (Spencer) birthday that he goes out of his way to make today special for her.

As the day continues we get to see the sort of life Oscar has been living, fresh out of jail but recently losing his job trying to escape a criminal lifestyle which could pay for everything his family needs.

Finishing the parties and everything Oscar joins his friend’s on celebrating the new year stuck on a train but making the most of everything but this is only the beginning of this night for Oscar.

 

Thoughts on Fruitvale Station

 

StoryWhen you look at this true story you will know the outcome of what will hit hard, the story of the day in the life of Oscar a young man whose life has been tough with not everything going smoothly but this day shows how he could be turning the corner and cleaning up his act becoming fully responsible. Now to get into the overall problem with the big incident in the film, which only happens because chaotic scenes after a small scuffle which caused all the protests in the aftermath, if these guys where innocent they should have co-operated and not being all riled up causing the chaotic scenes which followed and then this tragic story would never have happened.

Biography/RomanceShowing the events of this day of Oscar shows how he wasn’t the squeaky-clean character which is important but one whose life decisions has put him on the wrong side of the laws eyes. This is important because we sympathise with the character but also know he hasn’t always walked the straight line.

PerformancesMichael B Jordan gives a truly wow performance here showing he is the star we know he is now, while he is the true star of the film the supporting performance are all brilliant too throughout.

SettingsEach setting shows us just where Oscar was in his life how he didn’t have everything just wanting to make sure his family had a roof over their heads and food on their table which comes through in every single scene.

Final ThoughtsThis is a hard-hitting drama that shows just how difficult the divide between citizens and police is in certain parts of the world.

 

Overall: This is important to see just to see how tragic the story is

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Fast & Furious 8 (2017)

Director: F Gary Gray

Writer: Chris Morgan (Screenplay) Gary Scott Thompson (Characters)

Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, Kristofer Hivju, Helen Mirren, Scott Eastwood

 

Plot: When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of terrorism and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Watchable Fun

 

Story: Fast & Furious 8 starts as Dom (Diesel) and Letty (Rodriguez) travelling through Cuba finding themselves in a new location for a street race. Making new friends and preparing for the next stage of their lives, Dom finds himself approached by a mysterious woman Cipher (Theron) telling him they have crossed paths and she wants him to work for her giving him no choice.

Hobbs (Johnson) gets his latest off the record mission and calls upon Dom and the team, Letty, Roman (Gibson), Tej (Ludacris) and Ramsey (Emmanuel) to get the job done. With the mission complete and escape assured Dom turns rogue on his team leaving Hobbs to be captured and locked up.

Mr Nobody (Russell) and his latest rookie Little Nobody (Eastwood) offer Hobbs an easy way out but Hobbs refuses finding himself needing to share a prison with Deckard Shaw (Statham), but Mr Nobody has a plan to break them both out to create a new team to track down Dom and learn why he is working with cyber terrorist Cipher.

 

Thoughts on Fast & Furious 8

 

Characters Dom the man who lives for his family turns on them for what seems like an unknown reason but it soon becomes clear why, he tries to keep his morals but finds himself being pushed to the limits. Hobbs becomes the leader of the team, replacing Dom if you like as they hunt down Dom, he is all intensity and being forced to work with Deckard means we get plenty of insults between the two. Deckard joins the team to get his own revenge on the person truly behind what happened to Owen, he is easily the most skilled within the team both in combat and behind the wheel, making him a great addition and one that works for the film. Letty is by far the strongest character in this film, she never gives up on Dom, knowing there must be a reason behind everything, we also see her at her strongest in combat. Cipher is a great villain, emotionless, bigger threat and ruthless when pushed, that is until the final act and she just loses control which does disappoint. Mr Nobody is good once again, not giving too much away about who he works for but being there to fill in all the blanks. Little Nobody is clearly added to the franchise to offer us a replacement to Brian while Roman and Tej continue their chemistry. Ramsey is the biggest disappointment when it comes to character, I feel there is a lot more potential in her character but all we see is a passenger who does the same as Tej.

Performance – This is solely about what I think of the performance not the character. I felt Vin Diesel did lack the range for the motivation behind his character, he just looked sulky for the most part and continues to show he hasn’t been improving on the levels Johnson and Statham have. Talking Johnson, he is good, this isn’t his best outing in the film but he does the job well. Statham looks like he is enjoying this franchise a lot, almost like he has found his own new franchise for the Expendables. Rodriguez gives us what I think is her best performance in the franchise to date. Theron is good in the lead villain role. Eastwood is good but you feel he will always get compared to Paul Walker. The rest of the cast all have fun in the film without being their best performances in the franchise.

StoryThe story does work for the franchise, in fact it does feel like the newest season of your favourite TV where the previous bad guys are good and the good guys have gone bad. Yes, this does sound almost negative but we all knew the stories couldn’t maintain the levels from the previous outings. The darker tone comes through in places but the jokes do seem to miss at times. I do also think the picky fans will be able to pick holes from within the film.

Action/Crime/Thriller The action is big like you would expect but truly I found the scenes shot slightly uncomfortably, the crime side of the story is what you would also come to expect, let’s get the weapon of mass destruction before the villain uses it.

SettingsWe continue to be placed in settings which are designed to add to the bigger picture, Cuba, Berlin, New York and Russia, they are all fine and used creatively for the action.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all used for the over the top action sequence going on through the film, nothing comes off bad apart from the zombie cars.

Final ThoughtsI do have a few issues with parts of this film, I didn’t like how the action sequences were shot and I feel there is a lot of cloak and dagger attempts at twists to complete the story. I also feel some of the characters seem less relevant and small moments from the previous films have been forgotten. When it comes to mindless action you can’t go wrong here though.

 

Overall: This does what you expect, it isn’t great, it is fun though.

Rating

 

 

The Founder (2016)

founderDirector: John Lee Hancock

Writer: Robert Siegel (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Linda Cardellini, B.J. Novak, Laura Dern, Patrick Wilson

 

Plot: The story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who turned two brothers’ innovative fast food eatery, McDonald’s, into one of the biggest restaurant businesses in the world with a combination of ambition, persistence, and ruthlessness.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: McDonalds Advert

 

Story: The Founder starts in 1954 as milkshake machine salesman Ray Kroc (Keaton) is performing his sales pitch around the diner scene. His luck is about to change when Dick (Offerman) and Mac (Lynch) the McDonald brothers order eight machines which grabs Ray’s attention as he visits to hear the story of the first ever McDonald’s and how the service revolutionary idea behind 30 seconds’ food service.

Seeing the operation Ray wants to franchise the idea against the brother’s wishes. When Ray finally gets his way he makes McDonalds the fastest growing business in America but the backlash falls when the brother’s want their share of the business they created leading to a law case getting everything messy between the two sides.

 

Thoughts on The Founder

 

StoryThis is an interesting story of where McDonalds came from which is fine but my issue is the lack of a real-time scale of the events, I also didn’t like how the end credits show certain important elements of the story which barely get touched on in the film. in the end the story is just another story about a ruthless business man who took advantage of the real brains behind the idea.

Biography/HistoryThis is a good look back at how McDonald’s is founded and it shows part of the history where a business man took advantage of the real workers.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all based on real people with Ray Kroc coming off as the ruthless businessman who just doesn’t give up, while thee brother’s being portrayed as the suckers who wouldn’t believe his business mind. The rest of the characters are all only bit parts in the film with them only being part of Ray’s life.

Performance wise Keaton does shine with Offerman and Lynch both being great as brother’s, it is hard to say a bad thing about any of the performances in this film.

SettingsThe settings used all reflect the time the film is set in, with the iconic McDonald’s logo being the most iconic moment in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is could easily have been just a documentary that would have been a lot more interesting as an all-round story.

 

Overall: We have seen this before and in the end it brings very little new.

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