Mosul (2019) Netflix Movie Review

Director: Matthew Michael Carnahan

Writer: Matthew Michael Carnahan (Screenplay)

Starring: Waleed Elgadi, Hayat Kamille, Thaer Al-Shayei, Suhail Dabbach, Adam Bessa

Plot: A police unit from Mosul fight to liberate the Iraqi city from thousands of ISIS militants.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Mosul starts as we meet a rookie police officer Kawa (Bessa) who along with his partner is cornered by the ISIS militant before getting rescued by Jasem (Dabbach) SWAT unit, Kawa gets recruited on the spot and gets to learn how this elite team operates within the city, looking to fight for the freedom they want their family to have.

We follow this unit as they work their way through the city in an attempt to eliminate the ISIS militant threat from the streets, leaving bodies behind, both the enemies and their own.

Thoughts on Mosul

Characters – Jasem leads the elite SWAT unit, he trusts his men to stand by him and fight, recruiting Kawa, knowing he will want to fight back against the people controlling the city, he is blunt, calm and isn’t afraid to challenge his men to be their best, creating the leadership skills in them all. Kawa is the young police officers thrown into this world after being recruited, he must learn on his feet if he is going to survive his time with the unit, learn the heart break of losing a fellow soldier and how to fight to the death to beat the relentless enemies. We do meet the other soldiers who are all fighting for something, they all follow the orders and know they can’t lose.

PerformancesSuhail Dabbach in the leading role is brilliant, showing his dominance on the unit, while keeping his character in control of every situation. Adam Bessa is the audience entry performance, which must go through the biggest evolution as the film unfold, going from rookie police officer, to relentless soldier. The rest of the supporting cast are strong too, without anyone looking out of place and the men looking like a unit.

StoryThe story here follows a group of Iraqi SWAT soldiers that are fighting the ISIS Militant who are controlling the city, we follow a rookie officer that gets to learn what the fight is for. This is a raw story that will show us just how much is at stake for the soldiers on the ground fighting an enemy that isn’t taking an prisoners, that will give up their own lives to take the innocence of others. The story does give us a character to help us understand how much this means to the men in Kawa, which will give us the questions needed to get us into the unit mindsets.

Action/WarThe action in the film is non-stop, with plenty of military fighting showing us the different position the men find themselves in during the ongoing war.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to create the war torn city that is realistic and shows us the destruction that has been happening for years, not just what has been happening during the recent conflict.


Scene of the Movie – The reveal of the mission.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing.

Final Thoughts Mosul is a truly relentless movie that will show us the truly costs of the conflict in Iraq for the soldiers looking to keep their family safe.



Maudie (2016) Movie Review

Director: Aisling Walsh

Writer: Sherry White (Screenplay)

Starring: Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett, Gabrielle Rose, Zachary Bennett

Plot: An arthritic Nova Scotia woman works as a housekeeper while she hones her skills as an artist and eventually becomes a beloved figure in the community.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Wonderfully Acted

Story: Maudie starts when a shy woman Maud (Hawkins) who finds her house sold and she is left feeling worthless, until she finds employment under outsider Everett (Hawke), who is demanding when it comes to his standards, until wealthy woman Sandra (Matchett) learns of her artistic talents.

Maud ends up involved in a relationship with Everett, as the two find happiness together, while Maud’s new artwork starts to attract attention from people around, with her positive use of colours through her designs.

Thoughts on Maudie

Characters – Maud has had a lonely life, one where she is left on her own through most days, where she paints to keep herself happy, she decides to become a housekeeper, which will see her movie in with outsider Everett, here she finds an unusual love, that her talent is loved by people and that she is important in life, no matter how many times she has been hurt through it. Everett is the outside in the town, he has chance most of his housekeepers away with his demands and behaviour, not wanting to be involved with many people’s lives, he holds everything inside, even though he has so much more going on than he is will to let people know. Sandra is the wealthy woman that first sees Maud’s work and wants to show the world, she offers her a friendship, unlike anything she has received before.

PerformancesWe do have two of the best actors of a generation here, with Sally Hawkins taking the leading role shining once again, Ethan Hawke working wonders in the supporting role too, where they help increase the talents of each other through the film.

StoryThe story here follows the life of Maud, from the time she meets Everett and started making art which mad her famous with the community, as she see the struggles the couple had being outsiders in their own right. This does look at the struggles that Maud when through in her life, though however talented she was, her life didn’t seem to be eventful enough to get a feature length story out off. This is because she did keep herself to herself along with her husband, not getting herself into any trouble, just letting herself live a quiet life.

Biopic/RomanceThe biopic side of this film does show us just how quiet Maud kept her life with a love life that was never flashy about their love.

SettingsThe film does show us just how away from the world the couple live, they are happy together and never look for more.


Scene of the Movie – The interview.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – However talented Maud was, her life doesn’t seem like enough for a feature film.

Final Thoughts This does show the quiet life the couple looked to live and how they found love with what kept them happy.

Overall: Biopic 101.

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – V – My Cousin Vinny (1992)

Director: Jonathan Lynn

Writer: Dale Launer (Screenplay)

Starring: Joe Pesci, Ralph Macchio, Marisa Tomei, Mitchell Whitfield, Fred Gwynne, Lane Smith, Austin Pendleton

Plot: Two New Yorkers are accused of murder in rural Alabama while on their way back to college, and one of their cousins–an inexperienced, loudmouth lawyer not accustomed to Southern rules and manners–comes in to defend them.


Tagline – Truth, Justice And The Gambini Way.

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Great Fun Comedy

Story: My Cousin Vinny starts when two college students Bill Gambini (Macchio) and Stan Rothenstein (Whitfield) are accused of murdering a local store clerk in Alabama, the two need to find a lawyer fast with the only family member they know in law Vinny Gambini (Pesci) a new lawyer in his first case ever.

As Vinny steps into court it becomes clear he doesn’t understand what is going on in a courtroom, getting on the bad side of the judge (Gwynne), he needs to learn quickly and to add more pressure onto him, his fiancée Mona Lisa (Tomei) wants to get married and she seems to be the best one when it comes to knowing the law.

Thoughts on My Cousin Vinny

Characters – Vinny Gambini is fresh out of law school called upon to help a family member on a murder trial, he isn’t used to being in a courtroom which is easy to see from the first visit, he gets on the judges bad side and his law experience isn’t like what the rest of the court is prepared for. He takes every hit coming his way, waiting for his chance to shine even after he just can’t get any sleep. Bill Gambini is one of the two students that gets accused of murder, he believes he has just being pulled over for forgetting to pay for some tuna and only finds himself needing his cousin to come and help him. Mona Lisa is Vinny’s fiancée, she is willing to support Vinny through the case believing he can win, while waiting for him to finally set a date for their wedding. Stan is the fellow suspect that isn’t so sure whether to trust Vinny or not.

PerformancesJoe Pesci is wonderful in this leading role, bringing his quick-talking style and show his ability to bring comedy to his character. Marisa Tomei makes her supporting performance wonderful making an impact when she gets her chance to shine. Ralph Macchio and Mitchell Whitfield are both strong enough in the supporting role without having to do much.

StoryThe story here follows a new fast-talking lawyer that must defend his cousin on a murder charge that he clearly didn’t do only to need to think fast when the case looks completely closed against them. This is a story that shows that family will come to help somebody in need and shows how certain laws could go quickly to answers instead of investigating the case. We see how law can be twisted to push people either way and end up just being a fun courtroom story to watch. Most of these types of movies we know the suspects are innocent and we just need to see how they can be saved which this one does keep us guessing to what happens.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy in this film comes solely from Joe Pesci for his troubles sleeping and his reaction to everything going on in this town. The crime side of the film shows just what the student have been accused of doing.

SettingsThe film is set in a small Alabama town who like to finish the case quickly without needing to look at potential options. It is clearly somewhere which Vinny would never live in.


Scene of the Movie – The courtroom car talk.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is slightly too focused on Vinny, with the opposite lawyer not being the evil that he could be.

Final Thoughts This is a fun courtroom comedy that focuses on the idea this lawyer isn’t ready for this size case and needs to prove himself.

Overall: Entertaining throughout.

Rating

Olga Kurylenko Weekend – Momentum (2015)

Director: Stephen S Campanelli

Writer: Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan (Screenplay)

Starring: Olga Kurylenko, Morgan Freeman, James Purefoy, Jenna Saras, Greg Kriek, Richard Lothian, Adam Marcus

 

Plot: Alex, a mysterious thief, is pulled in by her former partner for one last heist. She quickly finds it was never just about the diamonds. A brutal murder sparks a cat and mouse chase between Alex and a master assassin. Now she must uncover the lies behind the heist and discover the secrets behind the men who have made her a target.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Action 101

 

Story: Momentum starts as we see how Alexis (Kurylenko) operates her heist team and takes control when things go wrong, she finds herself needing an escape after her identity is revealed on the latest heist, this isn’t her only problem though, her team have take evidence that could bring down a Senator (Freeman) who has hired an assassin Mr Washington (Purefoy) to retrieve the video.

Alexis must stay ahead of Mr Washington who is relentlessly searching for information including going after the family of her former partner.

 

Thoughts on Momentum

 

Characters – Alexis is a master thief, she can put a team together to get any job done with a team even after trying to get out of the life. The latest job goes wrong and Alexis must stay ahead of an assassin that wants her latest score which could bring down a Senator. We see all her skills in evading capture and taking out enemies one at a time. Mr Washington is the assassin who is guiding a team in search of a drive for the Senator, he will do whatever he can to get information and isn’t afraid to kill anyone who gets in his way. The Senator is trying to cover up his own secrets using the assassination team.

PerformancesOlga Kurylenko is good in this leading role, she can handle the action well and can get the emotional moments down well enough. James Purefoy looks like he is enjoying the villainous role getting the speech moments while being the sadistic assassin. Morgan Freeman doesn’t need to do that much other than be a man on the other end of the phone. The rest of the cast don’t get too much to do either.

StoryThe story follows Alexis a thief that has been trying to get out of the business, when she completes one more job, she finds herself needing play cat-n-mouse with the assassin set to clean up the senator’s mistakes. This does follow the routine that we would imagine seeing from the action thriller genre with each encounter becoming more intense for the two sides involved. The story never tests us which is fine, any twists coming we would expect to see through the film, for the action genre we get everything we need to see.

Action/CrimeThe action is shooting, fighting and shows us just what Alexis is capable of when it comes to fighting to survive. The crime in the film shows how a routine robbery turns into a deadly game.

SettingsThe film doesn’t get any major settings to work with, the highlight being the station scene which keeps everything on edge during the end of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The station showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing is overly original.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple to watch action film, it keeps everything easy to watch for the action junkie without pulling us to the edge of our seats in the film.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – M – Mississippi Grind (2015)

Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

Writer: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Mendelsohn, Ryan Reynolds, Sienna Miller, Alfre Woodward, Yvonne Landry, Analeigh Tipton

 

Plot: Down on his luck and facing financial hardship, Gerry teams up with younger charismatic poker player, Curtis, in an attempt to change his luck. The two set off on a road trip through the South with visions of winning back what’s been lost.


Tagline – We can’t lose.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Shocking Look at Gambling Addiction.

 

Story: Mississippi Grind starts as down on his luck gambler Gerry (Mendelsohn) returns to his latest grind on the tables, this night he meets charismatic poker player Curtis (Reynolds) and the two become friends through the shared love of gambling.

Curtis enjoys the fun in gambling and knows when to walk away, he wants to work with Gerry, who just doesn’t know when to quit, which sees his addiction consume him as he leaves himself isolated from friends and family, even the only person that will give him a chance Curtis.

 

Thoughts on Mississippi Grind

 

Characters – Gerry is a gambling addict, it has cost him his wife, daughter and friendships. He keeps returning to the tables, where he can play, but he keeps blowing it on the first attempt he can on a longshot in a dog or horse race. Curtis sees his skills and wants to work with him to make some money, only for this to bring out an even worse side to him character. Curtis is a poker player and gambler who just enjoys the games, he knows when to walk away even if he is giving up his love to continue to move around to follow his own dream. When it comes to the rest of the characters we meet the people on the journey whose lives have been effected by their gambling actions.

PerformancesBen Mendelsohn gives us a wonderful look at a character that has become consumed by gambling addiction, he shows how he can come off helpless, but will do anything to get his latest fix. Ryan Reynolds brings the charming gambler to life here, which isn’t going to be difficult because this is the type of character he can play in his sleep. The supporting cast are strong when needed without getting too much screen time.

StoryThe story follows two gamblers at different stages of their addictions who go on a road trip in an attempt to complete one big score only to see just how they are going to get their latest fix. This shows us how easily the addiction can consume the victim and however hard they try, they will always be drawn back causing pain to their loved ones. We do have a couple of loose ends which don’t get added up together because certain elements in Curtis’s life just don’t feel complete. This does feel like it could have had a much darker because of the subject matter and by the end it does feel like the story falls slightly short.

ComedyThe comedy comes from just how Curtis handles everything, it isn’t a laugh out loud comedy, but one that you can see the positive vibes.

SettingsThe film takes us on a list of gambling locations on the road which shows how they know where to go for them.


Scene of the Movie –
The first game together.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not darker enough for me.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very strong look at gambling addiction and is one that should show how the addicts can ruin their lives with their actions.

 

Overall: Gambling the not so dark side.

Rating