Four Lions (2010)

four-lionsDirector: Christopher Morris

Writer: Christopher Morris, Sam Bain, Jesse Armstrong (Screenplay)

Starring: Riz Ahmed, Arsher Ali, Nigel Lindsay, Kayvan Novak, Adeel Akhtar, Julia Davis, Craig Parkinson

 

Plot: Four incompetent British jihadists set out to train for and commit an act of terror.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Funny Comedy

 

Story: Four Lions starts as we meet four British Muslims working simple jobs in England, Omar (Ahmed), Barry (Lindsay), Waj (Novak) and Faisal (Akhtar) who want to going be Jihadists. Omar and Waj get the call to travel to Pakistan to go through the training with Barry keeping up the fight back in the UK recruiting Hassan (Ali).

When the group reunite, they plan their own terrorist attack in the UK but as things continue to go wrong with Barry’s extreme behaviour, while Omar wanting to be more calculated with his attack. When they finally put their difference behind them the group look to plan their attack with of course comical consequences.

 

Thoughts on Four Lions

 

Characters/PerformanceOmar is the calm leader who has the plan down perfectly and tries to do the right thing for his friend, Waj is the simple-minded character who is easily led astray by Barry and Omar. Barry is the true British extremist who enjoys the terrorist idea and wants to hurt as many people as he can, he is the true bad example of this whole film. we get to see the comic side of these hopeless characters who want to be terrorists.

Performance wise Riz Ahmed is brilliant in this role with Nigel Lindasy and Kayvan Novak being equally as entertaining through the whole film. I think the whole cast do a great job at how we can see the nativity behind the jihadists extremists.stars

StoryThe story shows us how naïve jihadists believe they can follow others into the terrorist’s idea when they are clearly just clueless about the whole situation. This is an advert about how people can be led astray by these extremist’s beliefs but never understand the true meaning of everything they are doing. The story is mostly parody which works all so well for the film.

Comedy/CrimeWe have laughs from start to finish in this film while the crime terrorist attack is being planned.

SettingsThe settings show how these men can come from everyday background to be the terrorists, we see whole London can be a target with the links to escape or find trapped.

Special EffectsThe special effects are only used in small places but they all work well for the film.genre

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to comedy this is by far one of the best you will see and I think everyone could enjoy even with a sensitive subject.

 

Overall: A must watch for all the comedy fans out there.

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Frost/Nixon (2008)

frostnixonDirector: Ron Howard

Writer: Peter Morgan (Screenplay) Peter Morgan (Play)

Starring: Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Sam Rockwell, Kevin Bacon, Matthew Macfadyen, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall, Toby Jones

 

Plot: A dramatic retelling of the post-Watergate television interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former president Richard Nixon.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Compelling and Fascinating Drama

 

Story: Frost/Nixon starts going through the historical events behind Richard Nixon’s resignation after Watergate. With his resignation, British journalist David Frost (Sheen) sees it as a chance for a rating winning interview by hosting an interview with Richard Nixon (Langella). We follow how Frost turns to John Birt (Macfadyen) to secure the interview with Nixon letting Swifty Lazar (Jones) handling it from his end.

Frost must find a way to get funding and the interview put on air with James Reston Jr (Rockwell) and Bob Zelnick (Platt) joining his team to make this happen as we see how this side understands just how important this interview could be for America.

We follow the lead up to the series of interviews that have been pre-agreed subjects with only one of the four being open to the Watergate incident, this becomes a battle between the two men to get the first punches in seeing how each other will react to either question or answer.

 

Thoughts on Frost/Nixon

 

Characters/PerformanceLooking at the characters in this story they are all based on real people with former President Nixon and David Frost being the ones we get to connect with most, the background staff on each side have different opinions on how the interviews and research goes is show brilliantly.

Performance wise Langella and Sheen give arguable two of the best in leading performances of any pairing of modern cinema, they carry this film with their compelling performances. When you dive into the supporting cast Rockwell, Bacon, Platt, Macfadyen or Hall they are all great too not overshadowing the lead pairing.stars

StoryConsidering this story we must look at the deeper story before the events of the film, you do need to understand the basics of the Watergate incident to understand just how important this interview actually was. The build-up itself to the interview shows how much is at risk and seeing how both sides tried to keep one step ahead of the other is captivating throughout.

Biography/HistoricalLooking at this pivotal moment in both Richard Nixon and David Frost’s lives is what makes this hit on every level because one risked everything to make the truth came out while the other risks everything to be put back in the positive light of the country.

SettingsEach setting used through the film make us feel like we are part of the theatre experiences which is how this story first got told, we do get to see how the time in question would have looked in each and every scene.genre

Final ThoughtsLooking at history this event is one of the most impactful moments in American history and this shows just how it was finally exposed.

 

Overall: This is a must watch for all the film fans out there.

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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.

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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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