ABC Film Challenge – Crime – K – Kidnapping Freddy Heineken (2015)

Director: Daniel Alfredson

Writer: William Brookfield (Screenplay) Peter R de Vries (Book)

Starring: Jim Sturgess, Sam Worthington, Ryan Kwanten, Anthony Hopkins, Mark van Eeuwen

 

Plot: The inside story of the planning, execution, rousing aftermath and ultimate downfall of the kidnappers of beer tycoon Alfred “Freddy” Heineken, which resulted in the largest ransom ever paid for an individual.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Action Crime

 

Story: Kidnapping Freddy Heineken starts as we follow our five criminals Cor Van Hout (Sturgess), Willem (Worthington), Cat (Kwanten), Spikes (Eeuwen) and Brakes (Cocquerel) who have always been looking for a way to make money quickly instead of getting real jobs in Holland. Their latest plan is to kidnap beer tycoon Freddy Heineken (Hopkins) and collecting the ransom.

With the plan in place the kidnapping goes well the wait for the ransom is what takes the time and tests the strength of the kidnappers over the victims as we follow what could be the undoing of the men.

 

Thoughts on Kidnapping Freddy Heineken

 

Characters – Cor Van Hout is the leader of the gang, he brings his men together to complete the jobs with some failing and others not, he comes up with the latest job while his personal life is about to hit the highs a father could experience. Willem is the hot head of the group who will go past the marks to make the job get done and he could become the biggest problem involved. Freddy Heineken is the beer tycoon that has become the target of this men and he stays extremely calm through his ordeal trying to friend his kidnappers too.

PerformanceJim Sturgess is strong in the leading role of this film throughout feeling like the rest would listen to his every word. Sam Worthington is good in the loose cannon role too. Anthony Hopkins is as always the star of the show here as you want to see all of his scenes.

StoryThe story is based on the true story of what happened when a group of criminals kidnap the tycoon and how they were not completely sure things would work and how things could go wrong. This is good because it doesn’t go down a slick as the best heist movies but is also calm enough to feel like it is based on real people human errors through the heist.

Action/CrimeThere are a couple of good car chases through the film which do make up the action side of things while the whole story is about the crime being committed.

SettingsThe streets involved in Amsterdam show us how tight the car chases can be and escape routes by more than just road, we do feel like this is authentic with how everything unfolds during the crime.

Scene of the Movie – Freddy’s orders.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The clear choice for a problem is having some Dutch cast members but the leads are not.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the films that didn’t get much talk when it came out but I don’t understand why, it is an enjoyable and one film that is worth watching for all the heist fans out there.

 

Overall: Good heist film.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – Z – Zombibi (Kill Zombie!) (2012)

Director: Martijn Smits, Erwin van den Eshof

Writer: Tijs van Marle (Screenplay)

Starring: Yahya Gaier, Mumoun Ouled Radi, Gigi Ravelli, Sergio Hasselbaink, Uriah Arnhem, Noel Deelen, Nadia Poeschmann

 

Plot: The bizarre story takes place in Amsterdam-West, where a virus turns people into bloodthirsty zombies. Although much blood is flowing and many limbs chopped off, there is a lot to laugh at in this bizarre horror comedy.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Horror Comedy

 

Story: Kill Zombie starts when hard working Aziz (Gaier) gets fired because of his brother’s Mo (Radi) party mentality, to make matters worse, they end up in jail after a party problem. That night something crash lands in Amsterdam, destroying parts of it and turning people into zombies.

Aziz is joined by his brother, police officer Kim (Ravelli), Nolan (Arnhem) and Jeffrey (Hasselbaink) as they look to rescue his love Tess from the building block where one of the strikes hit, can they make it through the zombies before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Kill Zombie!

 

Characters – Aziz is a man hat is happy enough to work in an office, hoping for one day the office crush will notice him. He gets fired because of his brother that has always gotten him in trouble. He now wants to do the right thing during the zombie outbreak to save the girl of his dreams, which means going against the fellow survivors. Mo is the brother of Aziz, who lets his mouth get him in and out of trouble, he keeps himself out of danger by usually thinking about himself over anybody else even his brother. Kim is the police officer that did arrest the group, she does join with them in an attempt to fight for survival, being the bad ass of the group. Jeffrey and Nolan are our comic relief, they come from the other side of the offence which finds them all in jail, they do get the funniest lines in the film.

PerformancesThe performances in the film know they are in a wacky comedy, Yahya Gaier in the leading role plays the more serious figure which give us a character the supporting stars to get the laughs from. Gigi Ravelli gets to bring us a strong female character to deal with, the rest of the cast get the laughs which is all we need them to do.

StoryThe story follows a group of unsuspecting residents of Amsterdam that awake to discover a zombie apocalypse has taken over the city, they must get to safety after saving ones fictional girlfriend from a crumbling building. This does follow all the traditional zombie outbreak storyline with everything going how we would imagine. The characters are being put through their own arcs to make sure they have an impact on the main story. This is a fun story to watch, it never takes things too seriously either.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy in the film get to see how the supporting characters deal with the zombie fights, certain jokes do go on one line too long, but for the most part they hit home. The zombie outbreak is the horror side of the film.

SettingsThe film is set in Amsterdam which does make for a good setting because it is a location we haven’t normally seen a zombie outbreak in.

Special EffectsThe effects are low budget and this does work for the film because it gets to through blood and guts at the characters which only adds to the comedy in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Video game fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does follow too many generic mistakes the characters will make.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun zombie comedy, it gets the jokes right and will keep the audience laughing from the action of the supporting cast.

 

Overall: Pure fun in Amsterdam.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – K – The King’s Choice (2016)

Director: Erik Poppe

Writer: Harald Rosenlow-Egg, Jane Trygve Royneland (Screenplay)

Starring: Jesper Christensen, Andrew Baasmo Christiansen, Karl Markovics, Tuva Novotny, Katharina Schuttler, Erik Hivju

 

Plot: On the 9th of April 1940, the German war machine arrive in the city of Oslo. The Norwegian King faces a choice that will change his country forever.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice History Lesson

 

Story: The King’s Choice starts in 1940 Norway, when the Germans start to invade, dragging the peaceful country into the war, King Haakon VII (Christensen) is left to see his country come under attack and communicate with his government on how to protect his people, Curt Brauer (Markovics) the German representative tries to play peacekeeper before Norway does something against the Germans.

As the Germans continue to advance in the country, King Haakon must make the difficult decision which will leave his country in their own position for the war that torn Europe apart.

 

Thoughts on The King’s Choice

 

Characters – King Haakon of Norway has kept his country at peace for years, now the war has come to his doorstep and he must be separated from his family while trying to keep his country together through the opening invasion, one they were not prepared for. Kronprins Olav is the son of Haakon who stands by his side through the difficult situation, he sees his children sent into hiding, knowing that their lives and his father lives will be put on the line against this enemy. Curt Brauer is the closest connection to the Germans in Norway, he tries to stop the bloodbath spreading. The characters in this film are based on the real people that has to make the difficult decisions during the war.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are strong throughout, Jesper Christensen in the leading role makes us understand every single struggle his character is going through. The rest of the performances let him take the starring role in the film.

StoryThe story here shows us just how Norway became involved in World War II, how they were first invaded by German and how the King made the difficult decision to help the country. This is a history lesson on another story from World War II, not knowing any of the Norwegian involvement, this made this much more interesting for me as I literally didn’t know what was going to happen in this story. if you do know the full history this will play it out for you nicely too.

Biopic/History/WarThe film uses both the history and biopic side of things to show us the couple of days from the first German invasion through any negotiations to keep the bloodshed down.

SettingsThe film keeps most of the film in the different locations the King went to during the first invasion, where he talks out any solutions the Norwegian people will need to make.


Scene of the Movie –
The speech to the cabinet.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is slower than it needs to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good history lesson about World War II which continues to give us new moments in film that we didn’t know unless we truly studied the time.

 

Overall: World War II history lesson.

Rating

 

 

Karate in Ontario: The Uphill Battle, The Cost of Raising a Champion (2016)

Director: Maria Morgunova

 

Plot: In 2015, production of this documentary began. The cause: a disappointing lack of karate tournaments in Ontario. Now, for the first time, we go behind the scenes on the difficult journey of creating karate champions in Ontario. Canadian Karate is based on dedication and enthusiasm of the instructors, coaches, judges, athletes and their parents. Ontario is a very special case in this story. Every day the best of the best are faced with difficulties and hardships created by under-funding, stringent rules and a complete lack of comprehension of higher ups in the fast paced world of Karate in Ontario. 14 Amazing Experts in One Documentary. Leading respected and well-known instructors, referees, and judges will share their experiences and the secrets to their success in this documentary. All of these people have experienced ‘The Uphill Battle’.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Struggles of a Lesser Known Athlete

 

Story: Karate in Ontario: The Uphill Battle, The Cost of Raising a Champion starts by showing us the history of karate in Ontario, through different dojos, gyms or school which have different methods from their teachers to teach karate to different levelled of skilled people athletes. We get to see the financial problems people or parents would face to just get started in the skill of karate, proving that it just isn’t going to be affordable for most families.

With the financial problems from just being able to train, comes the next big step, competition and just how difficult it is for the residents in Ontario, where the rules prevent competitive competition. With this documentary we get to look at how difficult a less pubic sport will face when it comes to raising the best of a generation because of lack of funding behind everything and the unrealistic pricing of being able to prove themselves as athletes.

 

Thoughts on Karate in Ontario: The Uphill Battle, The Cost of Raising a Champion

 

Final ThoughtsThis documentary does show us the frustration of the people involved in the karate community in Ontario, we see their passion to teach and see champions created, but how they are restricted by unfair rules and financial problems about supporting the sport. We get to see how the spotlight is shone upon a sport that doesn’t get the mainstream attention that football, cricket, golf or tennis have, which shows us just how difficult the encouragement of these athletes can be. The important side of this documentary is, that we don’t have a preaching nature which documentaries can fall into, we get a honest and open look at how this sport is being treated, just looking for a fair way to achieve finding the best athletes. One side of the documentary which would have been interesting, would be an inclusion of at least one karate bout, which we are trying to encourage people to support.

 

Overall: This is an important Documentary that shows us just how difficult being an athlete in a non-mainstream sport can be, with the rules and financial restrictions making it feel like they must jump through hurdles to compete.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – K – Kill the Messenger (2014)

Director: Michael Cuesta

Writer: Peter Landesman (Screenplay) Gary Webb, Nick Schou (Book)

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Oliver Platt, Michel Sheen, Andy Garcia

 

Plot: Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb. The film takes place in the mid-1990s, when Webb uncovered the CIA’s past role in importing huge amounts of cocaine into the U.S. that was aggressively sold in ghettos across the country to raise money for the Nicaraguan Contras’ rebel army. Despite enormous pressure not to, Webb chose to pursue the story and went public with his evidence, publishing the series “Dark Alliance”. As a result he experienced a vicious smear campaign fueled by the CIA. At that point Webb found himself defending his integrity, his family, and his life.


Tagline –  How the CIA’s crack-cocaine controversy destroyed journalist Gary Webb

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Investigation Journalism 101

 

Story: Kill the Messenger starts as reporter Gary Webb (Renner) has been investigating the handling of drug dealers who are fond not guilty in a court of law. This opens the door for Gary to a whole new story about how the CIA had been using drug trade to fund a war in Nicaragua.

The deeper Gary got into the story the more the CIA put pressure on him as he must regain his reputation after the CIA pulls the same tricks to disgrace him.

 

Thoughts on Kill the Messenger

 

Characters – The characters in this film are based on the real people, we are looking at their own decisions which would have put them in the position they find themselves in. Gary Webb is a reporter, he believes he has the biggest story of his career which puts his own family life and career on the line by trying to expose the CIA. Sue is the wife that sees her personal life become part of the sideshow in the press. We do have many other reporters, contacts, CIA agents, lawyers and even the drug dealers themselves who interact with Gary as the story comes to the light of day.

PerformancesJeremy Renner is the star of this film, he does a great job in the leading role dealing with the different situations he finds himself in. the film is filled with great performances from the characters actors we have seen in plenty of films through the years.

StoryThe story here shows us one man’s determination to try and bring a story to life, one that could expose the governments secrets. This brings him into a personal battle against the CIA who are trying to ruin his reputation and destroy his creditability. The is based on the real man and the real story which once again shows us just how governments can become corrupt for their own gain. Though this is based on the true story, it does feel like it is lacking something to truly bring us into the film, we find ourselves just on the side lines of the story which never reaches the levels it could do.

Biopic/Crime/MysteryThe biopic side of this film is the important part of the film, we focus on the man whose story turned people against him even though he was exposing a big crime within the government.

SettingsThe settings do take us around America and even through the North America countries as we see where the truth is being designed to send us to the different corners of the truth.


Scene of the Movie –
Speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Driving looked terribly fake.

Final ThoughtsThis is a biopic movie that does set out to show us the truth about the CIA using the drug trade to fund a war but quickly turns into the CIA trying to discredit the man behind it all, it doesn’t reach the highest levels we are hoping for even it Renner does shine through the film.

 

Overall: One for the biopic fans out there.

Rating