Hostiles (2017)

Director: Scott Cooper

Writer: Scott Cooper (Screenplay) Donald E Stewart (Manuscript)

Starring: Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Jesse Plemons, Stephen Land, Rory Cochrane

 

Plot: In 1892, a legendary Army Captain reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous territory.


Tagline – We are all… Hostiles.

Runtime: 2 Hour 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tension Riddled Western

 

Story: Hostiles starts in 1892 when Army Captain Joseph J Block (Bale) is assigned to escort Cheyenne Chief Yellow Hawk (Studi) and his family back to their land so he can die in his home territory, he is reluctantly to do this mission because of his battles with the Cheyenne, but threaten with court martial, he puts a unit together including Master Sgt Thomas Metz (Cochrane), Corp Henry Woodson (Majors), Lt Rudy Kidder (Plemons) and others.

Along the way the party stumbles upon Rosalee Quaid (Pike) whose family was butchered by a tribe leaving her three children including a baby dead, Joseph offers to take her on the journey as she has nothing left. The journey will take them through dangerous territories where Joseph must learn that the battle between man isn’t as simple as he once thought it was.

 

Thoughts on Hostiles

 

Characters – Captain Joseph J Blocker is a legendary soldier that’s reputation is respected, he is assigned a mission he has no interest in, being forced to escort a Cheyenne Chief home or face consequences including losing his pension. He is the best translator and knows the best paths, making him the best man for the job which will see him face his toughest mission yet. Rosalee Quaid saw her whole family butchered by a tribe invading her home, broken she is alone until the party discover her and take her on the journey. She learns that not both sides of the party are evil, just the human kind. Chief Yellow Hawk is one of the leaders of the Native American people, he is known for his blood lust, but near his death bed he shows Joseph are not as evil as the people believe showing he is against some of the natives and their actions too. We do get to meet plenty of different soldiers with different opinions on the mission which only make things more difficult along the way.

PerformancesChristian Bale in the leading role is brilliant showing he can take on nearly any role, he has the permanent look of reluctance on his face while showing us he can make his character do the right thing. Rosamund Pike is wonderful too as the grief-stricken mother and widow that gets to learn to live again on the journey. Wes Studi continues to show us just how us just he is the go-to guy for any Native American character. The whole cast is great through the film without putting a place a foot wrong.

StoryThe story shows us how the two rivals through a war that must put their difference aside to go through dangerous territory where people from both sides can come to kill them. This story shows how the battles through America built divides that caused extreme behaviour and just how being more restrictive could be a smarter answer. The journey shows how the two sides learns to work together and that they do want the same thing in life and the blood shed isn’t the best answer. The pace is surprisingly great because it will never go too slow for the 2 and half hour runtime. We learn a lot about how to treat people here as we are nearly the same.

Adventure/WesternThe adventure takes the party across America which shows the different style of mindset across the country. The western themes are heavy through the film which brings back the old way of life in America.

SettingsThe settings look beautiful which show us how the countryside in America was one of the most amazingly visual location in the time.


Scene of the Movie –
Final Showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not fully understand the distance needed to be travelled.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good modern era western that shows the final few moments on the old west where differences needed to a side their problems to make the future.

 

Overall: Enjoyable western.

Rating

 

 

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The Hate U Give (2018)

Director: George Tillman Jr

Writer: Audrey Wells (Screenplay) Angie Thomas (Novel)

Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Anthony Mackie, Issa Rae, Common, Algee Smith, Sabrina Carpenter

 

Plot: Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right.


Tagline – Two worlds, one voice, no going back

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict The Biggest Eye Opener of the Year

 

Story: The Hate U Give starts as Starr (Stenberg) introduces us to everything in her life, her high school life away from the rough neighbourhood she is from, with her father Maverick (Hornsby) the former gangster and mother Lisa (Hall) who wants to get out of the neighbourhood too. She is the eldest of her siblings and has become a normal high student who is prepared for the worst.

Starr does find herself trapped between two worlds, the one where she grew up in and the one she is now growing up, this however changes for her forever, when a routine pull over by the police see her childhood friend Khalil (Smith) fatal shot. Starr in the aftermath must battle the social consequences of what happened with Starr being put in the middle of the investigation to what happened and putting her in the position to make her voice heard.

 

Thoughts on The Hate U Give

 

Characters – Starr is your normal high school student from so called wrong side of town, she lives in two worlds, one she grew up in with friends, the other is her escape with her high school giving her potential of a new life. When she becomes the only witness for her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer. Needing to keep her involvement secret she is dealing with the new wave of feelings and emotions that she must learn to control for the greater good. Everything we see is from her point of view which shows us just how a teenager can view what is going on within the neighbourhood. Lisa is Starr’s mother that wants to keep her daughter safe and out of the gangland mentality she sees around her family. Maverick is Starr’s father, he used to be part of the gangs and after his time behind bars, he escaped that life, being wise towards his family, preparing them for any incidents with the police. King is drug lord controlling the area, he has let Maverick out of his gang and this latest death brings his attention as his business will be put at risk.

PerformancesAmandla Stenberg in the leading role is fantastic, she is on another level to everyone else in the film as she must show her the problems she is facing and handles them all to help us understand her characters thought process. The whole cast are great in this film, Russell Hornsby gets the intense speech moments which grab our attention and for all the years we have questioned Common’s acting, here he shows that he has worked to improve himself and it is paying off.

StoryThe story here will give everyone who watches it a conversation they need to have, about how a death that never needed to happen. The story is told through the eyes of teenager Starr which helps us understand how she wants to see people seen as equals and how the divide between the black and white communities is massive. This story has so many talking points about what has been happening and it does use the correct characters to get points over with including a black police officer telling Starr the thought process of a police officer pulling over a car. Any story that give the audience questions to ask afterwards is an achievement in storytelling which should be praised, it is one that will stick with you long after it finishes.

CrimeThe movie starts with a major crime, the shooting of the high school student, it shows how the tension has risen with the crime that changed a neighbourhood.

SettingsThe film does an excellent job of showing the different neighbourhoods, the one Starr lives in and the one she attends school in, this reflects between the characters interactions.


Scene of the Movie –
The Hate We Give.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of a proper investigation.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most important films of the year, it has a message people need to learn about if they ever want to see change in the world.

 

Overall: Important eye opener.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – H – Hot Pursuit (2015)

Director: Anne Fletcher

Writer: David Feeney, John Quaintance (Screenplay)

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Sofia Vergara, Matthew Del Negro, Michael Mosley, Robert Kazinsky, Richard T Jones

 

Plot: An uptight and by-the-book cop tries to protect the outgoing widow of a drug boss as they race through Texas pursued by crooked cops and murderous gunmen.


Tagline – Armed and sort of dangerous.

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laughless Comedy

 

Story: Hot Pursuit starts as the up-tight career driven police officer Cooper (Witherspoon) that doesn’t get to leave the station much because of a previous misunderstanding. Now a massive case to take down a cartel boss, calls for Cooper to go out into the field and help escort Daniella Riva (Vergara) the wife of one of the key witnesses.

When the husband of Daniella and the FBI agent working with Cooper are both killed, Cooper must prove herself as a police officer as she needs to learn who she can trust to bring the cartel boss down.

 

Thoughts on Hot Pursuit

 

Characters – Cooper has been riding in the back of police cars for years now, following in her father’s footsteps to be a police officer, she is currently behind a desk after a mistake, called into the field for what should be a routine escort of a witness job, she is forced to show her skills to keep the witness alive and bring her family name back to the positive spotlight. Daniella Riva is the feisty wife of the witness in question, she needs to be protected and shows all the stereotypes about Latin women, while she is loud, fast talking. The two clash because they are very different from different backgrounds which plays into everything we see in the film. everyone else we meet are police officers and cartel members that are after Danielle.

PerformancesReese Witherspoon was once one of the biggest names in comedy, though she doesn’t managed to get this to work on any level, this is mainly because of the lack of chemistry between the two leads, Sofia Vergara sure looks sexy, but she doesn’t handle the comedy in anyway.

StoryThe story follows the unlikely cop that must transport a witness that is completely different to her, in what is an attempted buddy comedy. We have seen the outline of this before with different types of people trying to capture or kill the person being transported. The weaknesses are heavy here because the villains are almost non-existent. The idea is too basic and offers nothing new with nearly everything turning into an argument about not understanding the fast talking Latino or look she is short.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action is a couple of car chases and basic shoot outs doing nothing fancy, the comedy is the same joke on repeat which just doesn’t work which gives us the crime world we enter, which is drug cartel needing to be kept quiet.

SettingsThe film takes us across Texas though this doesn’t feel like it at all.


Scene of the Movie –
You have been Coopered.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The comedy gets boring quickly.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak comedy that just doesn’t hit any times which only leaves us feeling bored through the most part of the film.

 

Overall: Mainly boring.

Rating

 

 

Halloween (2018)

Director: David Gordon Green

Writer: David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, Jeff Fradley (Screenplay) John Carpenter, Debra Hill (Characters)

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle, Haluk Bilginer, Will Patton

 

Plot: Laurie Strode comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago


Tagline – Face Your Fate

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Another Sequel

 

Story: Halloween starts 40 years after the events of the original Halloween, Michael Myers is still locked up in a mental home, Laurie (Curtis) still lives in fear of what happened to her friends all that time ago, she has been twice divorced lost her child Karen (Greer) because of her paranoia Michael will return. Karen with a daughter of her own Allyson (Matichak) about to graduate high school wants to reconnect with her grandmother rebuilding the relationship.

When Michael is being transferred on Halloween for some reason, he escapes and goes on his killing spree, where Laurie must protect her family from the man she has been waiting to finally kill.

 

Thoughts on Halloween

 

Characters – Laurie Strode is the icon we know from horror, she is now living in fully secure house prepared for the day Michael gets out, believing it would happen, this has cost her, her family but the moment Michael escapes she is the only one prepared to take on the killing machine. Karen is the daughter of Laurie who has become distant from her mother, she has her own family, though she had been prepared for a moment of crisis, even if she doesn’t believe it will ever happen. Allyson is the youngest member of the family, the teenage daughter that is going through the high school with the modern day problems. The shape, Michael Myers is killing machine, killing anyone he wants to.

PerformancesJamie Lee Curtis is back and she is good enough in the leading role, you understand how the character is meant to be thinking which is the important part of the character. Judy Greer is fine, she doesn’t get too much to do, Andi Matichak is good with her role trying to make herself the new scream queen in Halloween. The rest of the cast are fine without being overly memorable.

StoryThe story here is a sequel to the original only, everything else is gone from the history books and Michael isn’t even related to Laurie. 40 years later Michael escapes an goes on another killing spree, where he ends up going face to face with Laurie who has been waiting for this day. This is slasher film done basic, there is no other way to describe it, the sad reality it we get to see an interesting storyline about a victim who never go over the attack in Laurie which should have been address a lot more over a couple of random killing scenes. We get moments in the story that pay respect to the original, then we get scenes which just seem to copy what the sequels did. The tone of the film is also all over the place with the comedy with the babysitter being way too funny for what is meant to be a serious film. this does feel like just another sequel that didn’t do much for the franchise.

HorrorWhen Michael is killing people we get some brutal kills, there is no doubt about this, they look real, but the tense seems to have been sucked out of the film.

SettingsWe return to Haddonfield here, which is fine it is the iconic location for Michael, we get nothing new and the one location that is important will only annoy you.

Special EffectsThe kills we see do look brutal and are the best part of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Babysitter banter.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It offers little new to the franchise.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sequel that just doesn’t seem to get anywhere new with anything that we want to see, it is passable for the franchise but didn’t need to reset the clock.

 

Overall: Simple sequel.

Rating

 

 

Hunter Killer (2018)

Director: Donovan Marsh

Writer: Arne Schmidt, Jamie Moss (Screenplay) George Wallace, Don Keith (Novel)

Starring: Gerald Butler, Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardellini, Zane Holtz, Toby Stephens, Michael Trucco, Ryan McPartlin

 

Plot: An untested American submarine captain teams with U.S. Navy Seals to rescue the Russian president, who has been kidnapped by a rogue general.


Tagline – Courage Runs Deep

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Subline

 

Story: Hunter Killer starts when two submarines are destroyed in Russian waters, one Russian, one American. Captain Joe Glass (Butler) is assigned the captain an American submarine for the first time to investigate what happened. RA John Fisk (Common) is running other operations including sending a marine team to a Russian Naval base.

When the American’s learn the truth that the Russian President is being held captive by the Minister of Defence and the race to stop world war III starting is on, with the mission putting the soldier against the odds.

 

Thoughts on Hunter Killer

 

Characters – Captain Joe Glass is the untested submarine captain who has worked every role on the submarine before and must win over the crew. He gets put on the mission to locate the missing US submarine which takes the crew into enemy water. He must make the difficult decision which needs to stay ahead of the Russian minds while going on a mission that doesn’t have any text books to go to. CJCS Charles Donnegan is the man that wants to get the answer quickest, he doesn’t care if the American’s must go to war to get them, he just wants the situation sorted, he plays into the worse case scenarios for the most part. RA John Fisk is running the operation in search for the missing submarine, he selects Glass, her picks the marines and he makes the difficult decisions from back home, challenge Charles all the way. Jayne comes from the NSA she is willing to share the secrets to get the answers required to make this go away, she is wanting a peaceful resolve of the situation.

PerformancesGerald Butler is strong in the leading role of this film, he has been questioned with his accents in the past, if there are any faults it is barely noticeable. Gary Oldman gets to do a lot of shouting and screaming which is anyone can do well, he is the man who can pull it off without going too over the top. Common does a good enough job in his role, he needs to keep the straight face which doesn’t let him get much wrong. Linda Cardellini is good too, showing us a strong-minded member of the government. We do have a good cast here, we have a lot of actors that you will recognise, and this is one of the final roles for Michael Nygvist.

StoryThe story here follows an US submarine that must go across Russian waters to investigate the missing submarines that were being tracked, the idea of the Russian president is being held by his own people who are looking to start the war, giving the American’s the mission of saving the president before the war begins. This is a tense story to watch because any wrong move could be cataclysmic consequences with the start of World War III. It does have a weakness because it does paint the American’s as the savoir of the world yet again. We do have a lot of different angles showing the story unfolding from the war room, submarine, outside the naval base and inside the base. They do all add up and add to the tension.

ActionThe action in the film comes from different submarines battles and the land mission which shows us military operations.

SettingsThe film keeps us the settings where we need them, either the war room, the submarine or the Russian base, we don’t need to see the other settings which shows us just how the events unfolded.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are a mixed bag, the action scenes are good, it becomes weak for certain moments where you can see the green screen moment.


Scene of the Movie –
The mine field.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There are one too many, ‘just in time’ moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a surprise package of the year, it is a thriller that does keep us on edge waiting to see where things will go and can the world be saved.

 

Overall: Surprise hit of the year.

Rating