Keanu (2016)

Director: Peter Atencio

Writer: Jordan Peele, Alex Rubens (Screenplay)

Starring: Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Tiffany Haddish, Method Man, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Jason Mitchell

 

Plot: When an L.A. drug kingpin’s kitten unexpectedly enters the life of two cousins, they will have to go through gangs, hitmen and drug dealers who claim him in order to get him back.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Comedy

 

Story: Keanu starts when down on his luck Rell (Peele) finds a kitten on his doorstep he names it Keanu. His cousin Clarence (Key) arrives to try and help cheer him up the two find themselves needing to go into a world they are not used to after Keanu is taken from Rell’s apartment.

The two must take their suburban backgrounds and hide them from the drug kingpin Cheddar (Method Man) who recruits them to sell his product and show the rest of his dealers how to get the deal done, all just to get Keanu back.

 

Thoughts on Keanu

 

Characters/PerformanceRell is the heartbroken stoner that hasn’t achieved much in his life, he life is turned around by the kitten Keanu but when Keanu is taken he finds himself needing to use what knowledge he has to survive the drug scene. Clarence is the married cousin who is known for being safe, he finds a new personality within himself as he works with his cousin to rescue Keanu. Hi-C is one of the dealers that Rell and Clarence must teach how to be heartless when dealing with clients. Cheddar is the drug kingpin that has the cat, he is ruthless and impressed by the guts the two have.

Performance wise, Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key show the chemistry their television is known for, but as I have never seen that I could see just how capable this pairing could be. Tiffany Haddish is good throughout as well as method Man and all the cameos going on through the film.

StoryThe story follows to outsiders of a drug world that find themselves in the middle of a drug war trying to rescue a cat, this all works for the comedy of the film as we see how different worlds collide to teach each other life lessons.

Action/Comedy The action side of the film is all what we know without being overly risky and in parts does add to the comedy. The comedy is the highlight here with the well placed jokes not taking over the film which is important for any comedy.

SettingsThe settings is mostly LA which we see the different worlds the characters come from to learn and teach the characters through the film.

Final ThoughtsOne of the good comedies of recent years and one everyone could enjoy.

 

Overall: Great comedy and one of the best in recent years.

Rating

 

 

Karate Kill (2016)

Director: Kurando Mitsutake

Writer: Kurando Mitsutake (Screenplay)

Starring: Hayate, Mana Sakura, Katarina Leigh Waters, Rene Wiesner, Asami, David Sakurai, Kirk Geiger

 

Plot: When a mysterious loner and Karate master Kenji’s little sister goes missing in Los Angeles, whoever stands in his way of finding her will face the wrath of a lethal KARATE KILL!

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Blood Soaked Action Horror Delight

 

Story: Karate Kill starts when Kenji (Hayate) travels to America in search his sister Mayumi (Sakura) who he hasn’t heard from for weeks. Arriving in America Kenji learns that she had been doing well but has been abducted by a crazed cult known as Captain Messiah, an internet group that produce snuff, torture videos on the black market.

Kenji must travel to Hooper, Texas, the base for the cult to use his karate to eliminate the Captain Messiah group led by Vendenski (Geiger). Kenji teams up with a former victim of the cult Keiko (Asami) as they prepare to eliminate Vendenski and his best soldiers Simona (Waters) and Benning (Voss) ending their reign of terror.

 

Thoughts on Karate Kill

 

Characters/PerformanceKenji is one man on a mission, to save his sister, he is an expert in his own form of karate, one that can kill, he has trained to defend himself from all threats and now he puts his own life on the line to save Mayumi. Keiko was once going to be a victim of the cult but escaped with only serious injury, now she has waited for someone to help her fight back. Mayumi is the sister looking for a life in America first as a student but that dream is taken away when she is taken by the cult. Vendenski is the psychotic leader of the Captain Messiah cult, he is preforming the torture and murder on film to make money on the black market, this is a great villain and one that isn’t just a man in a suit, he will get you to follow him or kill for him.

Performance wise, Hayate is great for the fighting scenes but with this character we don’t get enough time for the emotional moments. Asami is good for the partner in this battle showing the strength in fight scenes. Kirk Geiger is the star of the show here because this villain is easily one of the most entertaining this year.

StoryThe story is an easy one to follow, whittled down it is one man searching for his sister against a cult of enemies that outnumber him. We know how it will go and sure we have a couple of twists along the way but this story is everything it tries to be, fun.

Action/HorrorWe have wonderfully gory fight sequences that take martial arts in a direction of violence over to kicking someone’s ass which is enjoyable to watch.

SettingsThe settings start by following what you would say are by the books, starting in clubs but when it turns into the cults arena we see a different side to the settings showing the down and dirty battles Kenji will face off in.

Special EffectsThe effects used fit the budget this movie had, it also shows us you can pull of the crazy over the top style needed with everything you need it too.

Final ThoughtsThis will only be for the select audience, there is no lying about that, this will be for the fans of the violent action movies that never wanted to hold back with what we see, with a great villain that works to perfection in the genre.

 

Overall: Enjoy the action carnage.

Rating

 

 

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Joby Harold, Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram (Screenplay) David Dobkin, Joby Harold (Story)

Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana, Aidan Gillen, Freddie Fox

 

Plot: Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy – whether he likes it or not.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gangster Fantasy Film

 

Story: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword starts with backstory, yay, in this we get to see how King Uther (Bana) has waged war against Mages showing he is keeping him people safe at Camelot. After the latest victory, Uther finds his kingdom under attack from within racing to save his son Arthur from his corrupted brother Vortigern (Law). With Arthur safe we get a flash into how Arthur and Vortigern spend the next years before we start our main story.

Arthur (Hunnam) now a gangster like figure in Londium crosses paths with King Vortigern and learns his own destiny within the world as he is the only man to be able to remove the sword from the stone. With King Vortigern needing to hunt down and kill Arthur who begins his own resistance movement against the new evil ruler with a mix of loyal men to his father and his own friends.

 

Thoughts on King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

 

Characters/PerformanceArthur is the boy raised in the gutter that was destine to become king, we follow his journey from small time street hustler to warrior and then king, this isn’t too much in the field of original in the character design. The Mage is the guide into the fantasy world for Arthur mostly in riddles. Vortigern is the evil king looking to gain the power of magic through the sacrifices he is willing to make, he hasn’t plenty of chances to kill Arthur but wants to do it in display style. The rest of the characters all help with the characters through the film without being that memorable.

Performance wise, Charlie Hunnam does struggle in the leading role which does leave you wondering how he keeps getting potential franchise lead roles, Jude Law does give us a very mixed performance, one minute you feel like it is good then it comes off cheesy. Astrid Berges-Frisbey does seem to struggle throughout, it seems part is the language barrier because it feels like she is just reading the script with no idea how to add any impact to her lines. The rest of the stars are better and handle their supporting role well.

StoryKing Arthur is a story that has been told plenty of times and building the idea of a fantasy world should work, but you do have plenty of things going wrong here, first it uses the explaining the action scene while it is unfolding way too often, I think it was about 5 times through the film. we also have dialogue which feels like we are watching a gangster film. the story does end feeling very long and misses the chances for the best action sequences for extra talking scenes.

Action/Adventure/FantasyAction sequences are all cut chopped and edited down losing the scale we would like to have seen, the adventure side of the story is forgettable but it is difficult to make this original. The fantasy world is what is interesting but we do get large scale scenes which just feel like a film trying to be bigger than it is.

SettingsThe settings are all fine but none of them can become iconic enough.

Special EffectsThe special effects look good throughout but in the end, are used in places just to be big.

Final ThoughtsThis is an awkward mix of gangster and fantasy film that doesn’t quite click with the film missing too many chances to give us a truly memorable action sequence.

 

Overall: This is a forgettable fantasy gangster film.

Rating

 

 

The Killing Fields (1984)

killingDirector: Roland Joffe

Writer: Bruce Robinson (Screenplay)

Starring: Sam Waterston, Haing S Ngor, John Malkovich, Julian Sands, Craig T Nelson, Spalding Gray

 

Plot: A journalist is trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot’s bloody “Year Zero” cleansing campaign, which claimed the lives of two million “undesirable” civilians.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important Moment in History

 

Story: The Killing Fields starts in Cambodia 1973 when New York reporter Sydney Schanberg (Waterston) arrives in the war-torn country to meet his representative and friend Dith Pran (Ngor) who shows him around the country. When the war gets to a new level of danger the American’s are leaving the country but Sydney wants to stay to cover the atrocities going on in the country but Dith refuses to leave his side even after Sydney gets his family out of the warzone.

Staying behind Sydney, Dith, Al Rockoff (Malkovich) and Jon Swain (Sands) continue to report the atrocities around Cambodia for the news around the world where they will end up having to experience things no one on Earth should ever have to get through.

 

Thoughts on The Killing Fields

 

StoryThe story mostly shows how on local had to survive to get out of the Cambodia before he becomes a victim of the war between Cambodia and Vietnam. We do also have a look at how the reporters are seeing what is going on but they get safe leading to the American’s wanting to help their friends while he survives what is going on. This is shocking story that will leave you in shock, fear and moments of tears in the final outcome.

Biography/History/WarThis film is very important because of what happened in Cambodia and how the people were treated, with this we get to see a time in history which will need to be seen to understand what they went through.

Characters/PerformanceWith each character based on the real people it is hard to look at what we think of the character’s action they take and experiences they must go through. Looking at the performances you can see just how brilliant they all were through the film with Ngor stealing the show.

SettingsEach setting shows us just how horrific the situation in Cambodia was and how if effected anyone involved in the devastation of the war.

Final ThoughtsThis is a hard film to get through because of the subject matter and I can see plenty of people not wanting to see it but this is also essential viewing for any historical film fans.

 

Overall: One of the hardest films to watch but also one of the greatest films to see.

Ratingcard

 

 

World Cinema Weekend – King of Devil’s Island (2010)

kingDirector: Marius Holst

Writer: Dennis Magnusson, Eric Schmid (Screenplay) Mette M Bolstad, Lars Saabye Christensen (Story)

Starring: Benjamin Helstad, Trond Nilssen, Stellan Skarsgard, Kristoffer Joner, Magnus Langlete, Morten Lovstad

 

Plot: Norwegian winter, early 20th century. On the boys home Bastoy, a new inmate leads the boys to a violent uprising against a brutal regime. How far is he willing to go to attain freedom?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Performance Heavy Drama

 

Story: King of Devil’s Island starts Erling C-19 (Helstad) and Ivar C-5 (Langlete) arrive on Devil’s Island a young offenders prison run by Bestyrer Hakon (Skarsgard). We see how both the boys learn to deal with the new surrounding C-5 the quiet, shy one gets taken advantage of as he can’t handle the physical work involved while C-19 fails to follow the rules as he looks desperately for an escape from the reign of Bestyrer and Husfar Brathen (Joner). With C-1 (Nilssen) trying to teach the rules it is only a matter of time before C-19 gets what he wants, his freedom by forcing the boys to up rise against the men running the prison.stellen

 

Thoughts on King of Devil’s Island

 

StoryThe story here is showing just how disciplining young men can be a fine line between putting them in their place or only driving them further away from the right path. We see how the boys have come from different worlds but must learn to work together to make the right choice and how these boys were made to suffer at the hands of the discipline heavy authority they found themselves under. This is a hard story to watch but it well worth seeing.

Action/DramaWhen it comes to the action it is mostly from the different levels of discipline our characters find themselves facing as well as the fighting, it all seems to be just what the film needs without being overly violent or just for the sake of it. The drama comes from seeing the situation the boys must go through with the consequences they face for what happens.

Characters/PerformancesThe characters are all brilliantly defined to show their pat present and future with our main five showing their weaknesses as well as their strengths. The performances are all wonderful with Skarsgard being powerful as ever, Joner showing all the shines his character represents. The younger cast also give powerful performances with Helstad, Nilssen and Langlete showing they will be names to follow in Nordic cinema.

SettingsWith the whole film being set on the island we get to see that these boys were prisoners we get to see just how extreme the weather condition are when it comes to the punishment these boys have to go through that is becomes it very own character in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very powerful film that has truly powerhouse performances from the lead stars that tells a very important true story.

 

Overall: Very intense and powerful drama that is a must for all fans of the prison uprising films.

Rating

 80