ABC Film Challenge – Action – F – First Kill (2017)

Director: Steven C Miller

Writer: Nick Gordon (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Hayden Christensen, Ty Shelton, Megan Leonard, Gethin Anthony, William DeMeo, Deb G Girdler

 

Plot: A Wall Street broker is forced to evade a police chief investigating a bank robbery as he attempts to recover the stolen money in exchange for his son’s life.


Tagline – When you only have one shot, don’t miss.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Heist Gone Wrong Film

 

Story: First Kill starts as Wall Street broker Will (Christensen) decides to take his bullied son Danny (Shelton) on a hunting trip back in his own home town with his wife Laura (Leonard). The trip takes a sudden twist then Will and Danny stumble upon the bank thieves that hidden the money, force to take action Will must defend his son.

When Danny is kidnapped by one of the bank robbers, Will must use his experience of the land to locate the missing bank money and save his son, while eluding police chief Howell (Willis).

 

Thoughts on First Kill

 

Characters – Will is a big time Wall Street broker that takes his son back to his home town to try and make him stronger for the world, he knows how to survive in the woods and is forced to elude the cops to save his son, this whole movie is about his stupid decision. Howell is the police chief that knows Will from his childhood, he knows he is lying but doesn’t know who to trust. Laura is the wife and a doctor, that is her purpose in this movie, she doesn’t offer anything to the action sequences. Danny is the son that is kidnapped, he knows that he is in danger and tries his best to befriend his kidnappers.

PerformancesHayden Christensen is an actor that has been treated very unfairly in the acting world, he is the best part of this film, showing he is better than people give him credit for. Bruce Willis on the over hand is continuing his pay check level of performances where we could have gotten someone who actually cared about being in a film for less and to give a better performance. The rest of the cast are fine but don’t do too much to raise the level of this film.

StoryThe story follows one man that gets caught in the middle of bank heist gone wrong, forced to make difficult decisions to save his son from the robbers. There is a side story of Will wanting to teach his son a few life lessons before the events unfold, but strangely it is the kidnapper that teaches him more about life than his own dad. The story is a play by play of trying to throw twists into a story of an old town to whom someone returns to with secrets and past connections, we don’t find ourselves overly invested in the story after the poor decision Will makes early on in the film.

Action/CrimeThe action in this film is tame to say the least, it doesn’t do too much other than overly lengthy build to short shoot outs, the crime side of the film follows more of the aftermath of the crime that has happened.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town and mostly in the woods, this shows how people will be tempted to break the law and believe they can get away with things in the woods.


Scene of the Movie –
The first kill.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Will’s decision making is beyond stupid.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the books heist film gone wrong with an innocent man thrown into the middle of everything. it does bring Hayden Christensen back in the spotlight, though his performances can’t help the rest of the film.

 

Overall: Been here, seen this done better.

Rating

 

 

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Free Solo (2018)

Director: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

 

Plot: Alex Honnold attempts to become the first person to ever free solo climb El Capitan.


Tagline – Live Beyond Fear

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautifully Tense Documentary

 

Story: Free Solo starts as we learn about Alex Honnold’s life, what drove him to want to be involved in the free solo style of climbing, the style which involves no ropes, no safety, just the body climbing. He has completed over 1000 of the most dangerous mountain faces in the world and now he has a new target.

Alex wants to free solo El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, California. Alex is joined by his filmmaking friend Jimmy Chin that has filmed climbs across the world as they plan the most dangerous climb that has already cost many climbers lives.

 

Thoughts on Free Solo

 

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to anybody’s passion, you should never question what they are doing, as long as they are enjoying themselves, Free Solo is a perfect example of this, while most of us wouldn’t even consider this as remotely fun, for Alex this is his whole world. Seeing the preparation going on behind the climb shows us how this just isn’t just a basic climb, it is a calculated process, which shows where the risks will lay. We see how Alex’s mind operates, how climbing is the most important part of his life, even with a loving girlfriend, Alex must process just what is the most important to him.

Watching the moment when Alex finally goes for it, we watch on like the crew on the edge of our seat wondering if he will make it or will this be a documentary about his death. with some of the tenses scenes you will see from a documentary, this is one of the must watch ways to follow dreams.

 

Overall: Must watch documentary.

Rating

 

 

Free Trip to Egypt (2019)

Director: Ingrid Serban

 

Plot: A feature length documentary film following one man’s search for random Americans concerned about an Islamic threat and offering them a free trip to Egypt.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Change the View, Change the World

 

Story: Free Trip to Egypt starts when Tarek Mounib wants to figure out why Americans are concerned by the Islamic threat, he wants to meet Americans from different backgrounds, different beliefs and different views on how they view Egyptian culture.

Tarek will place each American with a different Egyptian person or family, to learn that they are live normal lives, believe in their own religious beliefs that are considered different to their own, with the plan to show, just because the country has a few bad apples, most of the people are honest as the Americans.

 

Thoughts on Free Trip to Egypt

 

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to documentaries, we do need to see a new understanding on how to view the world, we get to see how negative the American attitude towards what they have been made to believe Egypt to be, they see them as bad people because of a religion they don’t understand. We see how many people just rejected the idea of a trip to Egypt because of their negative thoughts.

Seeing how the selected Americans openly admit they were unsure of what Egypt really is like, is important because they need to learn how headlines don’t mean everyone is wrong. We can look at how this like life swap with Americans just being put with Egyptian families, instead of letting them truly learn how a purely unprepared relationship would be between the two nations. While I am more open minded, I have experienced spending time with a culture I knew nothing about through a wonderful family who was open and non-judgemental, showing I can relate to everything being experienced. This is an interesting documentary that shows we all need to become more accepting of different cultures from around the world, deep down we are just people that want to be in a family, have friends and follow our own dreams.

 

Overall: Wonderful & Important

Rating

 

 

Fisherman’s Friends (2019)

Director: Chris Foggin

Writer: Piers Ashworth, Meg Leonard, Nick Moorcroft (Screenplay)

Starring: Tuppence Middleton, James Purefoy, Daniel Mays, David Hayman, Christian Brassington, Sarah Winter, Dave Johns, Noel Clarke

 

Plot: Ten fisherman from Cornwall are signed by Universal Records and achieve a top ten hit with their debut album of Sea Shanties.


Tagline – The U.K’s number 1 Buoy Band

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Feel Good Start to the Summer

 

Story: Fisherman’s Friends starts when a stag-do heads to Cornwell, Danny (Mays) joined by his boss Troy (Clarke) head down to Port Isaac where they struggle to understand the traditional ways of the small fishing village. In the village the guys here the local’s fishermen singing the shanty songs.

Danny is forced to try and sign the band with lead member Jim (Purefoy) being the one that gives the final say so. Danny didn’t know that Troy was joking, once he learns this, he wants to prove him wrong and make the band an overnight sensation.

 

Thoughts on Fisherman’s Friend

 

Characters – Danny is a fast-talking record producer, he has success in this field and isn’t interested in any sort of responsibility in life. On a stag-do he gets pushed into signing a local band, this shows his skills in the deal. When he learns that it was a joke, he continues to try and sign the band, to make them a hit, while learning about a more traditional lifestyle. Jim is considered the leader of the band, in the decision-making process, if he says no, nothing happens. He is considered stubborn in his ways, which sees him believe in the traditions and friendship. Alwyn is the daughter of Jim’s, she runs the local bed-n-breakfast, where Danny ends up staying, where she gets involved in a relationship with after he shows a bond with her own daughter.

PerformancesDaniel Mays in the leading role is great, he has often been the supporting actor, but he shows he could lead here. James Purefoy brings his best to a role based on the real leader of the band, he makes him feel like a man you should never mess with. Tuppence Middleton might be in the unneeded romantic angle, but she does everything right to make us believe she knows the traditions of her town. The rest of the cast do all work very well to make us feel like we are going to be part of a community with the band.

StoryThe story follows a group of fishermen who become an overnight sensation when a music producer on a stag-do spots them and is forced into signing them for their label. The story is based on the real story of the bands rise to success, which in the modern era of music was a surprise, but it also plays into how people tend to follow different sounds. Everything about the band is excellent to watch, it shows that it is almost a different life down in their village. The weakness in the story comes from the romantic angle which does feel mostly just tacked on for added impact in Danny’s decision making process. It might work in places, but it does take away from the band’s story. overlooking that issue, we do have a truly fun, feel-good movie about success here.

Comedy/MusicalThe comedy in the film comes from just how the locals act towards outsiders, they have wonderful chemistry between them too. The music shows how this new sound could make an impact in the world.

SettingsThe settings show us a couple of main ones, first is the village, which shows the community feel between the band, when we are in the richer side of the world, we see the disconnect between the people.


Scene of the Movie –
London pub.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the romance story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a feel-good movie that will leave you with a smile and hope that anybody’s dream could become a reality.

 

Overall: British Feel-good

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – Y – Yorgos Lantimos – The Favourite (2018)

Director: Yorgos Lantimos

Writer: Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara (Screenplay)

Starring: Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, Nicholas Hoult

 

Plot: In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: For the Costume Lovers

 

Story: The Favourite starts as England is winning the war against the French in the early 18th century, Queen Anne (Colman) is happy to continue the war, while Lady Sarah (Weisz) her most trusted friend governs the country. When a cousin of Sarah’s Abigail (Stone) arrives searching for a job, she must first earn her spot.

When Abigail starts becoming a favourite of Lady Sarah, she is used to help care for Queen Anne, while dealing with the advances of Harley (Hoult), is she up to something or just a pawn in the game of the ladies.

 

Thoughts on The Favourite

 

Characters – Queen Anne is getting older and sicker, she has always turned to Lady Sarah for advice and help, even if she is tired of her stricter ways, she keeps rabbits which keep her occupied, while learns that Abigail is becoming a younger version who will keep her entertained. Lady Sarah has always been by the Queen’s side, she deals with the responsibilities the Queen doesn’t want to get through, she offers her cousin a chance to work in the mansion, only to become jealous of the relationship the two have. Abigail is the maid hired because of family connection, she shows her intelligence which makes her dangerous to anybody who crosses her. Harley is the son of one of the famous people working under the Queen, he will befriend Abigail to get closer to the Queen to learn about her decision-making process.

PerformancesFor the performances all I have seen is how wonderful the performances are from the three ladies, the performances from Colman, Weisz and Stone a great though we have seen better through the year.

StoryThe story follows a young maid as she tries to rise up through a royal household to reclaim her family name, she will do anything to push the rise through which sees her clashing with the Queen’s most loyal friend. This does feel like a game to stay ahead of the other which is fine for story, though it just tries to be too upper class with how everything unfolds and you can’t help but feel none of this remotely happened.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic side of this story does leave plenty of questions to be asked as you just don’t see any of these actually be possible. The comedy involved in the film is quirky and will only appeal to certain people.

SettingsThe settings in the film are easily the highlight of the film because everything looks completely authentic for the time.


Scene of the Movie –
Stop playing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me To stuck up for the most part.

Final ThoughtsThis is a quirky film from a director who is easily one that can split the audience, it is another film that will get wild praise and another one I just don’t get along with.

 

Overall: Quirky just not fantastic.

Rating