ABC Film Challenge – Action – N – The Negotiator (2018)

Director: Brad Anderson

Writer: Tony Gilroy (Screenplay)

Starring: Jon Hamm, Khalid Benchgra, Rosamund Pike, Dean Norris, Shea Whigham, Douglas Hodge

 

Plot: Caught in the crossfires of civil war, CIA operatives must send a former U.S. diplomat to negotiate for the life of a friend he left behind.


Tagline – The Americans want to keep their secrets. The Israelis want to raise the stakes. He only wants to save a life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes  

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Never Hits the Levels it Should

 

Story: The Negotiator starts as we see American Diplomat Mason Skiles (Hamm) involved in a tragic event in Beirut. Walking away from this career, he is dragged out of retirement when his old friend Cal (Pellegrino) is taken hostage by the Israelis.

Mason working with Sandy (Pike), Gary (Whigham) and Donald Gaines (Norris) must enter negotiations to free Cal without a body count in a high-tension situation in Beirut.

 

Thoughts on The Negotiator

 

Characters – Mason Skiles has been working in a diplomatic position for years, until a tragic event sees his wife killed in Beirut, he steps away from that world, living a business life back in America. He gets pushed back into the field when his friend is kidnapped and one of his former connections is the prime suspect to everything going on, he must use his connections to try and get a peaceful end to the situation. Sandy is the connection that must keep an eye on Mason, she is considered the skirt that will entertain the America to keep him there, she has her own connections though and will be the one that is happy to let Mason off his leash. Donald Gaines and Gary Ruzak are both involved in the operation with their own agendas coming through.

PerformancesJon Hamm in the leading role is the strongest part of the film as he has the most about his character who has been through the trauma and must use this mission to redeem himself.  Rosamund Pike struggles to make the impact you feel her character is meant to, while the rest of the cast just don’t get the time to make any sort of impact.

StoryThe story follows a negotiator that has walked away from the diplomatic position only to be forced back into the field to help his old friend who has become the latest kidnapping victim by terrorist group. This tries to create the same sort of atmosphere as the true events that went on during the Beirut problems with the Israeli terrorist groups that were at war with the Americans, we struggle to get sucked into the movie because the tension is never given to us enough to make us become interested in what is happening to the characters. the one that does have an arc is Mason which gets glanced over more than anything as we try to show him in the middle of a situation he knows how to play, though he isn’t meant to be in control of.

ThrillerThe thriller side of the film struggles to come through as strong as it should because of the lack of tension in the film, while the stacks are high, nothing seems in any way out of control.

SettingsThe film does keep the settings being used in the streets of Beirut which does show us how much trouble the city was in during the terrorist attacks.


Scene of the Movie –
The deal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The political side.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak tension based movie that just never hits the levels it should do like many of the films in this genre.

 

Overall: Just not on the strongest levels.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Nutty Professor 2- The Klumps (2000)

Director: Peter Segal

Writer: Barry W Blaustein, David Sheffield, Paul Weitz, Chris Weitz (Screenplay) Steve Oedekerk, Barry W Blaustein, David Sheffield, Jerry Lewis (Story/Characters)

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Janet Jackson, Larry Miller, John Ales

 

Plot: Scientist Sherman Klump’s inventions, his upcoming marriage to his pretty colleague Denise Gaines and his reputation are threatened by his evil clone Buddy Love.


Tagline – Eddie Murphy Is The Klumps

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Gets Worse

 

Story: Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps starts as Sherman (Murphy) has continued his work in genetics with new professor Denise (Jackson), what they are working on is ground breaking, the problem Sherman is facing is Buddy Love (Murphy) is trying to come back through Sherman with his attitude at first.

With Sherman arranging to marry Denise, Buddy Love finds a way to come back as a clone determined to destroy Sherman’s work to get his share of the money.

 

Thoughts on Nutty Professor 2 The Klumps

 

Characters – Sherman Klump is still the likeable professor at the university, he means well and is being haunted by his nightmares of becoming Buddy Love again. He is getting married now with the biggest breakthrough in his career, only after trying to extract the gene that Buddy is part of he starts to lose his intelligence. Buddy Love comes to life through a clone, he still wants to take Sherman’s career and he will go out of his way to make sure he remains a big part of he world. Denise is the fiancée to Sherman, a like minded scientist that has been working with him on the latest project. She doesn’t get too much to other than be the love interest.

PerformancesEddie Murphy taking on more roles here, well large moments as the family members which are just boring to watch, in the leading role he is fine much calmer and less fat joke related, even as Buddy he is harder to watch with the added dog switch. Janet Jackson is fine without her character being more than just a love interest with the rest of the actors not getting enough time to shine.

StoryThe story shows us just how Sherman has continued research which sees him wanting to rid his genes of Buddy with disastrous side effects. For the most part this once again tries to do the same storyline about accepting who you are over anything else which Sherman just won’t accept, there is a love angle again which is more serious and the awful amount of focus we must have on the rest of his family because of lack of main story involving Sherman. This is one of those pointless sequels that doesn’t ever have the deepest storylines and in fact it is mostly none existent storyline.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy does cut out moments of the fart jokes, but still doesn’t give us many funny jokes to enjoy. The romance side of the film is slightly more forward with Sherman in the relationship this time around.

SettingsThe film uses the similar settings with none of them being used for any moments in the comedy or romance.

Special EffectsThe effects have also taken a downturn for the worse with the different moments of practical effects or CGI moments.


Scene of the Movie –
Giant hamster.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The dog traits addition.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sequel that is actually even worse than the first film, it shows a lack of comedy and just ends up feeling boring.

 

Overall: Disappoint, boring and humourless.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Nutty Professor (1996)

Director: Tom Shadyac

Writer: David Sheffield, Barry W Blaustein, Tom Shadyac, Steve Oedekerk (Screenplay) Jerry Lewis, Bill Richmond (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Jada Pinkett Smith, James Coburn, Larry Miller, Dave Chappelle, John Ales

 

Plot: Grossly overweight yet good-hearted professor Sherman Klump takes a special chemical that turns him into the slim but obnoxious Buddy Love.


Tagline – Inside Sherman Klump, a party animal is about to break out.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Offensive Comedy

 

Story: The Nutty Professor starts as we meet likeable and overweight professor Sherman Klump (Murphy) who has been working on a formula to help people lose weight, he has had results on the test subject and after he is pushed too far he tries it on himself.

With the formula being a complete success and he loses all his weight becoming the obnoxious Buddy Love, the problem comes when Sherman was trying to romance Carla Purty (Pinkett) which becomes complicated with his new identity.

 

Thoughts on The Nutty Professor

 

Characters – Sherman Klump is an overweight professor, he is liked by his students and colleagues with his research searching for a cure for an overweight gene. After being roasted by a comedian he takes the formula to help him lose weight which transforms him into another man, he must balance an honest weight loss over a quick fix. Buddy Love is the thinner version of Sherman, he is obnoxious quick witted and most importantly to Sherman, thin. He starts to take over Sherman’s life with his attitude risking his future. Carla Purty is a new teacher on campus that Sherman takes a shinning to, she ends up torn between the two version of Sherman, one is sweet while the other is what she wants to look at.

PerformancesEddie Murphy gives us a mix of good and bad performances here, anytime he is in the fat shoot he is mostly insulting to watch, when he is Buddy he gets to show off his better side of his comedy skills. Most of the rest he is lazy fart jokes. Jada Pinkett Smith is solid enough in her role though her character isn’t the most difficult to play. James Coburn is good in his supporting role as the benefactor.

StoryThe story here follows an overweight professor that creates a formula which can make him thin only his thinner side is a lot different than the normal man he was. This does have an important message about accepting who you are or working towards improving yourself without a quick fix. The problem is we are to focused on Eddie Murphy trying to bring a host of characters to life that are mostly offensive in the wrong way, the generic fat people are only sweet with different generations being seen differently, the clumpy mistakes being made even though the scientist is brilliant. If we didn’t focus on fart or fat jokes we would have a very good story that really works with the right performers.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy is the film mostly offends because fart, fat jokes just don’t work for a smart audience it feels like most is bottom of the food chain comedy. The romantic angle is here, but doesn’t get touch on enough with most of it getting forgotten after a while.

SettingsWe have a university setting which is fine for a professor, the problems come when we leave here and tend to go in any location that Sherman wouldn’t for an extra attempted laugh.

Special EffectsThe effects for the most part are the best part of the movie, the use of the fat suit helps with the characters even if we don’t like them they don’t look out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
Comedy battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the jokes.

Final ThoughtsThis is n offensive comedy that misses a lot more than it hits, we have the once great Eddie Murphy wasting his time with lazy jokes and is only watchable as the villain of the story.

 

Overall: Lazy humourless comedy.

Rating

 

 

Never Steady, Never Still (2017)

Director: Kathleen Hepburn

Writer: Kathleen Hepburn (Screenplay)

Starring: Shirley Henderson, Theodore Pellerin, Mary Galloway, Nicholas Campbell, Jared Abrahamson, Hugo Ateo

 

Plot: A mother struggles to take control of her life in the face of advanced Parkinson’s disease, while her son battles his sexual and emotional identity amongst the violence of Alberta’s oil field work camps.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brave Look at Parkinson’s Suffering

 

Story: Never Steady, Never Still starts as we meet Judy (Henderson) a woman struggling with Parkinson’s, her husband Ed (Campbell) cares for her the best he can, while their son Jamie (Pellerin) heads off into the world to find a job before going off to college, he starts in the oil field work camps which leave him feeling out of place.

When Ed dies suddenly, Judy is left to care for herself with just the locals looking after her the best they can without interfering in her life. Jamie’s life isn’t going any better as he is struggling to learn about himself in the harsh working environment.

 

Thoughts on Never Steady, Never Still

 

Characters – Judy is suffering from advanced Parkinson’s she does seem to be in control for the most part, but when her bad moments happen, her husband is there to help, she goes to support groups to help cope with everyday issues, only for her husband to die and leaving her alone to deal with the problems she doesn’t want to ask for help and the snowy conditions only make her life more difficult. Jamie is her son that is being forced to work in the oil fields where he must learn quickly just to make enough money to support himself with any future with college, he is trying to learn about himself which makes his life decisions even more difficult. Kaly is the local shop assistant that helps Judy with delivers while waiting for her boyfriend to return to help her with her pregnancy. Ed is the father and husband that cares for Judy, he always helps her until he suffers a heart attack.

PerformancesShirley Henderson is great in the leading role showing us just how difficult everyday life can be with Parkinson’s she doesn’t overplay the illness, while showing us just how difficult it can be to live with. Theodore Pellerin is good too, though a lot of his scenes are about him not knowing his place in the world which takes away from the difficulties his mother is meant to be going through. Theodore Pellerin is strong in his role though he never gets to the levels of Shirley, which can be said for the rest of the supporting cast.

StoryThe story here follows a woman suffering from advanced Parkinson’s she has support from her husband and has been doing the best she can with the disease, we see how her struggle becomes more difficult when her husband dies and with her son away she must deal with the problems alone in condition that will not make her suffering any easier. This side of the story is the best side because it shows us a real problem that could be faced by people with small families who can’t give up days to support the sufferer. On the other side of the story we follow her son as he wants to figure out his own body while dealing with harsh working condition, this side of the story does drag and because of Judy’s problems we want to see her life rather than his.

SettingsThe film is set in Alberta which does put us in a place with harsh weather condition that the characters must work through, being away from easier support doesn’t help.


Scene of the Movie –
Discovering Ed.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of Jamie’s storyline.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow paced drama that does show us just how difficult living with Parkinson’s can be, it has a wonderful leading lady performance, but might not be for everyone.

 

Overall: Simple and Effective Drama.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – N – The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman (2013)

Director: Fredrik Bond

Writer: Matt Drake (Screenplay)

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Til Schweiger, Rupert Grint, James Buckley

 

Plot: While traveling abroad, a guy falls for a Romanian beauty whose unreachable heart has its origins in her violent, charismatic ex.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Story

 

Story: The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman starts as Charlie (LaBeouf) deals with his mother’s death which pushes him to take a trip to Romania, an idea that the ghost of his mother suggests. On route the Romanian passenger Victor (Caramitru) dies giving Charlie a reason to find his daughter Gabi (Wood).

Charlie meets to Brits Karl (Grint) and Luc (Buckley) who show him how to party in the hostel but the danger comes from Gabi’s estranged husband Nigel (Mikkelsen) a dangerous man in the city. Charlie finds himself in the middle of the cover up that puts his own life in danger.

 

Thoughts on The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman

 

Characters/PerformanceCharlie is a young man who travels to escape the grieving of his mother’s death, he wants to do the right thing but enjoys partying to, it would be fair to say his true motivations and character are never fully shown though. Gabi is the local Romanian girl that catches Charlie’s eye, she is also grieving the death of a parent but her life is a lot more complicated than he can imagine. Nigel is the ex-husband of Gabi that isn’t going to let her go without a fight which brings us to see how dangerous this man could be.

Performance wise, Shia is good in this role, I know people can slam the guy but this works for him. Evan Rachel Wood is also good throughout the film without trying to steal the movie while Mads Mikkelsen is always great in this type of role.

StoryThis story focuses on the one man looking for a moment to get away from his life to grieve, this is all good we have seen this before because it shows how this solo character finds themselves getting into trouble. The idea is basically ABC and it is simple enough to follow.

Comedy/RomanceThe film doesn’t feel too much like of a comedy and the romance side is basically just guy meets girl in new city but girl has background that makes things difficult for them to be together.

SettingsThe setting is good because not many film are set in Romania.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most average films you will see, there are better and worse that cover the same genre.

 

Overall: Not that impressive.

Rating