In Darkness (2018)

Director: Anthony Byrne

Writer: Anthony Byrne, Natalie Dormer (Screenplay)

Starring: Natalie Dormer, Emily Ratajkowski, Ed Skrein, James Cosmo, Joely Richardson, Neil Maskell

 

Plot: A blind musician hears a murder committed in the apartment upstairs from hers that sends her down a dark path into London’s gritty criminal underworld.


Tagline – Fear Blinds the Truth

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Complicated Thriller

 

Story: In Darkness starts blind pianist Sofia (Dormer) starts getting worried about her neighbour Veronique (Ratajkowski) who eventually gets murdered by Marc (Skrein) who sees that Sofia on the night he commits the murder, worried she could expose him, he starts to get close to her learning that she is blind and that she isn’t a threat.

Sofia does have her own secret though which dives into a much bigger conspiracy as to what is going on within the main suspects, will the truth come out or not.

 

Thoughts on In Darkness

 

Characters – Sofia is a blind pianist that makes the best of the surrounding sounds which is why she is so respected in the music industry, she hears the murder of her upstairs neighbour which leads her down a spiral of conspiracies which she is just as involved in. Veronique is the upstairs neighbour that has been worried about her life, she does stay honest with Sofia though, until she gets murdered, which sees her connection to everyone being the key to everything. Marc is the man that is sent to kill Veronique, he needs to tie up the loose ends which sees him starting to target Sofia until he learns her position in everything. Niall is the connection that Sofia has to her past, he will help where he can always willing to help her.

PerformancesNatalie Dormer does a great job in when it comes to the blind side of her character, it is when it comes to certain other sides, things start to show the weaker side of her performance. Emily Ratajkowski struggles like she always does in acting, while Ed Skrein and James Cosmo do as well as they can with their roles in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a blind woman that hears a murder only to find herself in the middle of a bigger conspiracy going on with the people involved in connection with the victim. The story plays out like a thriller that wants to be bigger than it actually is capable of being, trying to through in a twist in nearly every scene which just seems to make it out that the people involved here are a lot more trained and skilled than they are portrayed for the opening parts of the film. if we had just played most of this straight, we might have gotten away with certain twists along the way, but in the end we just try to over complicate for the sake of it.

MysteryThe mystery in the film seems like it gets revealed early on, it is more why it happened, which does try to keep us guessing only to keep throwing more twists in along the way.

SettingsThe film is set in London, which barely gets used to make an impact in the locations used.


Scene of the Movie –
The funeral.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many twists in the story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a mystery thriller that just makes things more complicated than it needs to be, this format would have played out better in a television series over a film.

 

Overall: Here is a twist, there is a twist, everywhere there is a twist.

Rating

 

 

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Donnie Yen Weekend – Iceman (2014)

Director: Wing-Cheong Law

Writer: Fung Lam, Mark Wu (Screenplay)

Starring: Donnie Yen, Baoqiang Wang, Shengyi Huang, Kang Yu, Simon Yam, Suet Lam

 

Plot: An imperial guard and his three traitorous childhood friends ordered to hunt him down get accidentally buried and kept frozen in time. 400 years later passes and they are defrosted continuing the battle they left behind.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Action, Weak Comedy

 

Story: Iceman starts when Ho Ying (Yen) gets awoken from a frozen sleep of 400-years in the modern time, he must look to adapt fast to a world different from his own. Ying isn’t the only one to make it to the modern time, his brothers Sao (Wang) and Niehu (Yu) arrive as they look to hunt him down after all these years after he is meant to of betrayed his emperor.

Ying must use the people willing to help him in May (Huang) to locate the Golden Wheel of Time, to prove that he is innocent to stop his brother’s from hunting him down.

 

Thoughts on Iceman

 

Characters – Ying was once one of the emperor’s most trusted imperial guards, he is betrayed and framed for treason before getting frozen in time. He gets defrosted in the modern time, where he must go in search for the Golden Wheel of Time to prove his true innocence and protect the world from his own brothers. Sao and San Ko are the two brothers that have also, they are causing more havoc in their hunt for Ying which has drawn more police presence. May is the young lady that takes Ying in, teaches him about the modern day unaware of the true danger that could come their direction. Cheung is running a military chase for Ying, he has learnt the power of the Golden Wheel of Time and believes that he can use it for his own good.

PerformancesDonnie Yen is the main attraction to this film, we know he can handle the action which is does with ease, it is when it needs to work on the comedy side of things when his performance goes downhill. Baoqiang Wang and Kang Yu are both entertaining enough in their roles, while Simon Yam brings much needed seriousness to the film. Shengyi Huang is the strongest part of the comedy in the film.

StoryThe story follows three brothers and former imperial guards in ancient China, find themselves waking up in the modern time, still at battle for the action that happened in the ancient times. This story is an ambitious idea and it does work for the idea of having the fish out of water situation created for the imperial guards. We do go through the idea of needing to figure out how survive in the new surrounding, which does work too and seeing the twists along the way with the flashbacks does fill in moments of blanks in the storyline. Parts of the storyline can come off confusing though because we do seem to have a lot going on and it does feel like if you blink you might miss something.

Action/ComedyThe action in this film is easily the highlight of it, we get to see Donnie Yen doing his fighting sequences which are always entertaining to watch. The comedy however falls flat resorting to fart jokes, May is the only one that gets proper laughs.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show how the ancient men must adapt to the modern world with the different type of locations they visit.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are good in places, but weak if others, when it comes to the roaring faces they particular look weak.


Scene of the Movie –
Bridge fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Fart Jokes.

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy watch action sci-fi film, if you want martial arts entertainment this will give you what you need.

 

Overall: Enjoyable action film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – I – I Am Wrath (2016)

Director: Chuck Russell

Writer: Paul Sloan (Screenplay) Yvan Gauthier (Story)

Starring: John Travolta, Christopher Meloni, Amanda Schull, Sam Trammell, Patrick St. Esprit, Rebecca De Mornay

 

Plot: A man is out for justice after a group of corrupt police officers are unable to catch his wife’s killer.


Tagline – I lay my vengeance upon them.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Old Man Action 101

 

Story: I Am Wrath starts as we learn the war on crime was getting out of hand, but the Governor has started winning against the gangs. Stanley (Travolta) returns home after a business trip meeting his wife Vivian (De Mornay) where the two are attack with Vivian murdered.

With the police not getting the suspects, Stanley turns to a previous life working his former partner Dennis (Meloni) as a black-ops soldier that will stop at nothing to extract revenge on the people who murdered his wife.

 

Thoughts on I Am Wrath

 

Characters – Stanley is a mile-mannered businessman working in the car industry. When is wife is murdered in a senseless crime, he returns to a former life on a warpath with the gang involved as the cold-hearted killer. Dennis is the former partner of Stanley’s that still has the connections in the underworld, he helps Stanley in his revenge mission, he supplies the weapons and details of who were responsible. Abbie is the daughter of Stanley that tries to be there for her father while continue on her adult life. Detective Gibson is the lead on the case, he is forced to let the suspect go believing he will get himself killed soon enough.

PerformancesJohn Travolta is solid enough in this leading role, we do get to see a large number of 50+ year old actors going into this action films, he isn’t the best, but he isn’t the worst. Christopher Meloni plays the best character in the film and is easily the one you want to see more of in this film. Amanda Schull is fine in her role, we need a figure that isn’t involved in the action and she offers it. The rest of the cast bring us the targets for the most part and give us generic bad guy performances.

StoryThe story follows one man that goes to war on the gangs of his city to learn who killed his wife and get revenge. When it comes to the story this isn’t the most original, it is extremely watchable for a time killing hour and half, it doesn’t test the audience and doesn’t have any twists along the way. This is one of those stories that is mostly forgettable over bad and checks all the boxes needed to make the audience watch.

Action/CrimeThe action is filled with old man action style that Liam Neeson made famous, it works for the film with Meloni getting the best sequence. The crime throws us into the world where gangs are controlling the streets with drug sales going through the roof and one man doing anything to get revenge.

SettingsThe film takes us to a city overrun by crime and shows us how people can be forced into actions to get revenge for the lost loved one.


Scene of the Movie –
Dennis versus the thugs in the shop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We have seen this before.

Final ThoughtsThis is a basic action film that will keep you entertained through the whole film without being anything overly original.

 

Overall: Easy to watch action film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – I – I Saw the Devil (2010)

Director: Jee-woon Kim

Writer: Hoon-jung Park (Screenplay) Jee-woon Kim (Adaptation)

Starring: Byung-hun Lee, Min-sik Choi, Joon-hyeok Lee, In-seo Kim, Ho-jin Chun, Bo-ra Nam

 

Plot: A secret agent exacts revenge on a serial killer through a series of captures and releases.


Tagline – Prey For Revenge

Runtime: 2 Hours 22 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Outstanding

 

Story: I Saw the Devil starts as Joo-yeon becomes the latest victim of serial killer Kyung-chul (Choi), we see how this killer operates with no remorse butchery his victims, but this victim happens to be the former Chief of police daughter and fiancée of agent Soo-hyeon (Lee), who swears revenge, even with having any leads.

Given a shortlist of four potential suspects, Soo-hyeon goes out to get answers from any crime these men have committed, as we continue to see Kyung-chul kill his victims. Once Soo-hyeon knows the truth, he enters into a dangerous game of capture and release against the killer.

 

Thoughts on I Saw the Devil

 

Characters – Soo-hyeon is a special agent, engaged to the love of his life with a baby on the way. When his fiancée is murdered, he will stop and nothing using his connection to get the equipment to track and torture the man responsible. He shuts his whole life out to make this man pay, doing unthinkable things to get his own revenge. Kyung-chul is a serial killer, he abducts woman before butchering them, he has it down to an art form in his head, but when he picks the wrong victim he finds the tables have been turned on him.

PerformancesByung-hun Lee is fantastic as the broken police officer, he shows the complete lack of emotion his character needs as he seeks revenge. Talking of emotionless performance, but with all the psychotic you need, we have Min-sik Choi as the serial killer, you can see him planning every movement his character is making.

StoryThe story follows a broken police detective that goes on his own path of vengeance against a serial killer which butchered his fiancée. This seems simple, but the detective will turn the tables the hunter becomes the hunted. This brings a new fresh take to the revenge genre, we are used to seeing a group picked off one by one, but going squarely head to head with the killer in this style shows just how far the revenge will go for this man. This is a story that keeps you on the edge from start to finish even being well over two hours long.

Action/Crime/HorrorThe action focuses on the violence that both killer and police detective get involved in against the victims or each other, this does dive into the crime side of the film which is the cat and mouse elements and what these two do fill out the disturbing horror quota.

SettingsThe film takes us around parts of South Korea as we see how the serial killer hunts his latest victims.

Special EffectsThe effects when it comes to the violence is brutally realistic for each blow any character takes.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While paced well, it does feel like certain moments seem skipped over.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best crime horror movies you will ever see, it takes revenge films to a new level making each blow as disturbing as possible and will test just how far you can watch these characters go.

 

Overall: Fantastic Brutal Revenge Thriller

Rating

 

 

I, Daniel Blake (2016)

Director: Ken Loach

Writer: Paul Laverty (Screenplay)

Starring: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Briana Shann, Dylan McKiernan, Kate Rutter, Sharon Percy, Kema Sikazwe

 

Plot: After having suffered a heart-attack, a 59-year-old carpenter must fight the bureaucratic forces of the system in order to receive Employment and Support Allowance.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Must Watch Movie

 

Story: I, Daniel Blake starts as we learn that Daniel (Johns) has suffered a heart attack and is on the mend, not ready to return to work as per doctor’s orders, only he financial support allowance has been taken away from him. Calming going through the processes to get it collecting again Daniel finds himself going round in circles.

When he meets and defends single mother Katie (Squires) who is new to the area trying to get signed up for her own allowances, the two become friends and offer to support each other in their battle to just keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables, it what is a shocking look at the benefit system.

 

Thoughts on I, Daniel Blake

 

Characters – Daniel Blake has worked his whole life, he lost his wife and suffered a heart attack while working, living on support allowance while recovering until the doctors clear him to work, he learns that he has lost his allowance and gets forced into a battle just to get enough money to live, getting sent round in circles to get an appeal date. Katie is a Londoner forced to move to Newcastle for a flat with her two children, working with Daniel she has her own battles to stay afloat putting her children first, seeing Daniel as the friend she needs to help her settle. Daisy is the eldest child of Katie that has been seeing the good in Daniel who is one of the only people outside of her family to help her. China is the neighbour of Daniel’s he offers to help if Daniel needed anything even if he is from a different generation or background.

PerformancesDave Johns steps in the first film role and is fantastic, giving us a performance, we truly sympathise with. Hayley Squires is strong through the film where we see how she has been beaten down by life and needs to remain strong for her children. The supporting cast are good and help Dave get the spotlight like he deserves.

StoryThe story gives us a shocking look at the benefit system in the UK, we follow Daniel who has worked his whole adult life until his heart attack meaning he can’t return to work, which leads to him to need to fight for benefits he is entitled to, but the government wouldn’t give him the benefits. The story shows us the flaws in the system which could leave people with nothing and even on the streets. This could easily be considered a warning to what people are going through without needing to ask for help and how the system can be considered for a new look to help.

SettingsThe film is set in Newcastle the northern city in England, one that has been known for harder times but unity between the people there.


Scene of the Movie –
Spray paint,

That Moment That Annoyed Me That this is a real problem.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the more important movies you will see, especially if you are UK based, it will give you a shocking look at the benefit system and just how flawed it is, while making you want to support the lead character in his battle for basic support.

 

Overall: Essential viewing for all.

Rating