Ice Cube Weekend – Ride Along 2 (2016)

Director: Tim Story

Writer: Phil Hay, Matt Mandredi (Screenplay) Greg Coolidge (Characters)

Starring: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Tika Sumpter, Benjamin Bratt, Olivia Munn, Ken Jeong, Bruce McGill, Michael Rose

 

Plot: As his wedding day approaches, Ben heads to Miami with his soon-to-be brother-in-law James to bring down a drug dealer who’s supplying the dealers of Atlanta with product.


Tagline – The brothers-in-law are back.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Enjoyable Comedy Sequel

 

Story: Ride Along 2 starts when newly appointed rookie Ben Barber (Hart) ruins his soon-to-be-brother-in-law detective James Payton’s (Cube) latest bust. James must go to Miami to continue the case and reluctantly takes Ben to take him out of his sister’s Angela (Sumpter) hair while she plans the wedding.

In Miami the pair need to remain undercover, which soon seems them going into the world of drug land which sees them working with local detective Maya (Munn) to uncover the truth.

 

Thoughts on Ride Along 2

 

Characters – Detective James Payton is tough talking cop that is dealing with his brother-in-law that is a rookie on the force, he is getting tired of him not following instructions and uses the trip to Miami to hopefully expose his weaknesses to the Captain. He is a good cop that only wants to stop criminals. Ben Barber is the rookie on the force now, he is marrying James’ sister, he talks too much which often sees him getting into trouble. Angela is the sister of James, fiancée to Ben, she is planning the wedding that wants her to see Ben head off for a couple of days. Antonio Pope is the local drug lord who looks like one of the popular businessmen around, he has been making his move to become a bigger dealer in the business, but his action has seen attention drawn on him.

PerformancesIce Cube is always going to do the strong job in the tough guy cop figure, this is no different. Kevin Hart brings his fast talking routine which tends to be a hit or miss with his jokes, but he never relents on them. Tika Sumpter doesn’t get that much screen time which is disappointing really. Benjamin Bratt can give us the routine villainous businessman.

StoryThe story follows the unlikely partnership between a tough talking detective and his soon-to-be-brother-law and fast-talking rookie that investigate a drug dealer in Miami. This does continue to use the idea that the unlikely partnership stumble through case trying to solve the case in a way that shouldn’t be achieved. We know this genre, we know how easily it works the story doesn’t need to be made anything more, but it is hard to still see them fighting between each other.

Action/ComedyThe action in the film follows chases, which are mostly a way of adding the comedy due to the reactions of what is going on. The comedy mostly relies on the fast-talking Kevin Hart, which is hit or miss.

SettingsThe film takes the action away from Atlanta to Miami which brings more sun and sea to the location.


Scene of the Movie –
The video game chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Hart’s joke can become too much.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple and fun sequel that will get laughs, but doesn’t hit the levels of the first because it is often just more of the same.

 

Overall: Simple and fun.

Rating

 

 

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Cillian Murphy Weekend – Red Eye (2005) Revisited

Director: Wes Craven

Writer: Carl Ellsworth (Screenplay) Carl Ellsworth, Dan Foos (Story)

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox, Laura Johnson, Jayma Mays, Angela Paton

 

Plot: A woman is kidnapped by a stranger on a routine flight. Threatened by the potential murder of her father, she is pulled into a plot to assist her captor in offing a politician.


Tagline – Fear Takes Flight

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Thriller

 

Story: Red Eye starts with workaholic hotel manager Lisa (McAdams) is returning home after a family funeral, she meets a charming co-passenger Jackson Rippner (Murphy) for is heading to Miami for business. Once the flight is in the air, Jackson who just so happens to be seated next to Lisa reveals his business, the flight takes a twist for Lisa.

Jackson wants Lisa to move an incoming politician from one room to another, or he will kill her father Joe (Cox), Lisa is left in an impossible position of trying to stay ahead of Jackson’s plan and not leading a politician to their death.

 

Thoughts on Red Eye

 

Characters – Lisa is a workaholic hotel manager that is has a fear of flying, who is travelling home after a funeral, she has remarkable calmness through stress related issues in life, knowing how to deal with difficult clients the best way. She has full say on everything going on within the hotel with her regular clients trusting her completely. Jackson Rippner starts off a kind friendly man, willing to step up where gentlemen might not, he is seated next to Lisa on the plane, where he shows his true colours as part of a terrorists that need Lisa to move their target. He remains calm through each of her attempts to not follow through knowing just how to get the job done. Joe is the father of Lisa, he has been remodelling his home, always there to support her, he is just going about his evening through the film. Cynthia is the slightly ditsy receptionist that Lisa supports with the difficult decisions she is going through at the hotel.

PerformancesRachel McAdams in the leading role breaks away from the known romantic comedy roles she had been doing before this film, she proves she could be a genuine star in the thriller role, Cillian Murphy continued to make a name for himself in this role, where he plays the disturbing lead villain who becomes even more frightening within the final act. Brian Cox is one of the more underused talents in the film, while Jayma Mays brings quirkiness to her role.

StoryThe story is kept very simple, a man forces a hotel manager to change an appointment mid-flight and if she doesn’t, he will have her father killed, this becomes a cat-n-mouse style story about both trying to stay ahead of the other. This simplistic side of this story is what makes it standout because the stakes are placed on the table early and the idea that she has no easy escape proves just how difficult her job is going to be. It does keep you on the edge of your seat waiting to see just what will happen next and isn’t afraid show moments of brutal looking injury. The idea the target it a political figure helps increase the stakes too.

MysteryThis is a mystery that will keep us guessing to just how they will get out of the situation, how far Jackson is willing to go and if there is any other motivation in his plan.

SettingsMost of the film takes place onboard the plane, it shows just how difficult escape is going to be for Lisa and how she has little option to help Jackson.


Scene of the Movie –
The pen.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We could have had an idea to about who the political figure is meant to be, how much he could change certain issues in America.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most enjoyable thriller that you will see, it has two brilliant led performances and will keep you guessing through the film, just what will happen next.

 

Overall: Tense, atmospheric thriller.

Rating

 

 

Rocketman (2019)

Director: Dexter Fletcher

Writer: Lee Hall (Screenplay)

Starring: Taron Egerton, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard, Stephen Graham, Jamie Bell, Harriet Walter, Tate Donovan

 

Plot: A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years.


Tagline – The Only Way to Tell His Story is to live His Fantasy.

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Flamboyant Biopic

 

Story: Rocketman starts as we see how Elton John (Egerton) is checking himself into rehab after his years of abuse of alcohol, drugs and sex, in rehab Elton tells his story from when he was shy timid Reggie who was raised by his mother Sheila (Howard) and father who never encourage his talent to be able to pick up any musical sound he hears.

Reggie continues to follow his dreams, changing his name to Elton John where he is team with songwriter Bernie Taupin (Bell) which would see them rise to international fame, where Elton would turn to drink and drugs to cope with hiding his own sexuality from the world, which could see him lose his international fame.

 

Thoughts on Rocketman

 

Characters – Elton John is one of the most famous singers in the world, in this film we see how his timid upbringing would see him turn to music where his abilities have gone to show he can pick up any music and mimic it, as well as create his own sound. We see how he tries to make an impact, working with Bernie Taupin to turn his words into song that will define a generation. Elton has an ability to see how each song can be seen which shows how his drug filled fantasies made the performances easier for him to perform. Bernie Taupin is the best friend to Elton, he writes the songs which will see the stardom come to the pair, he performs to be away from the spotlight, which will see him being the only one that can find Elton a grounded base with his stardom. John Reid is one of the managers that was also a lover of Elton’s, he is controlling with how he makes Elton perform even when he isn’t in the mindset, John is the type of person that we see ruin careers of the best performers from around the war. Sheila is the mother of Elton, she doesn’t show the encouragement you would expect a mother to show towards their child with talents that Elton possess.

PerformancesTaron Egerton is fantastic in this leading role, you completely believe he is Elton John with each and every moment in the film, the serious sides to the performances. Jamie Bell is great too, bringing the calm side to the story which is important throughout. Richard Madden is truly wonderful because he brings this horrible person to life. Bryce Dallas Howard completes the great performance throughout the film which sees her show somebody that doesn’t support their child.

StoryThe story here follows the early years of Elton John to the time he finally is able to get over his addictions that could see his career being over before he has given us the legacy we know he has had. The story is told in the fantasy visions through each song, which is wonderful and the highlight of the story telling process, the career that Elton had was great to see unfold too. The biggest weakness in the story comes from the lack of timeline unless you know Elton’s song history, we do struggle to know just where things are set until you do the maths at the end of the film. the story to watch is pure fun to watch and enjoy.

Biopic/MusicThe biopic side of the film shows how Elton John did go from timid shy young boy to one of the most flamboyant performers in music history, we see his demons start to takeover showing his abilities are slowly heading in the wrong direction. The music side of film shows how the visions of the music come to life with each song having its own unique look.

SettingsThe film shows the different location that would see Elton go from small neighbourhood house, to the mansion he spends his time alone in, as well as the different levels of performances from bars to stadiums.


Scene of the Movie –
Your Song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me No timeline.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the mot flamboyant biopics you will ever see, it turns the songs of Elton into song and dance moments which will only entertain throughout.

 

Overall: Entertaining Biopic.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – R – Remember the Titans (2000)

Director: Boaz Yakin

Writer: Gregory Allen Howard (Screenplay)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris, Ryan Hurst, Donald Faison, Craig Kirkwood, Ethan Suplee

 

Plot: The true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Sports Drama

 

Story: Remember the Titans starts as a typically white American Football team gets assigned a new African American head coach Herman Boone (Washington) even though he is replacing highly successful coach Bill Yoast (Patton). The two have different approaches which involves bringing both the races together for a mixed Football team.

Julius Campbell (Harris) represents the black captain, while Gerry Bertier (Hurst) represents the white captain, the two must learn to put their racial differences behind them and accept themselves as equal and take the league by storm.

 

Thoughts on Remember the Titans

 

Characters – Coach Herman Boone has been breaking boundaries in the racial divided in American Football high school coaching career, not he comes to a white school to continue to break his boundaries bringing the two different races together to try to become champions. Coach Bill Yoast was the coach that ran the team who has championships behind him, but gets drop to assistant coach under Boone, he continues to show his skills running the defence side of the team and learns along with Boone to improve their coaching. Julius Campbell is the black captain that works with the white captain to get rid of the divide between the races to win his own championship. We have plenty of different characters in the team that have their own opinions on the racial divide between the players.

PerformanceDenzel Washington in the leading role is fantastic as the coach that inspires a team to put their differences aside to try and win a championship. Will Patton is great too standing toe to toe with Washington on the side lines with the powerful scenes when needed. The rest of the young cast are great too because we have a lot of stars who went onto have huge career too.

StoryThe story is based on the true story of the African American coach that overcame a racial divide in a sport to turn a team that clashed over their skin colour to become a unit and a force in the league. This story shows how the younger generation who were raised to believe one thing can be taught the right thing when it comes to treating other people, by using sports to put those differences behind them.

Biopic/SportsThe biopic shows the strength this team and coaches had to become fighters when everyone else wanted them to fail. The sports side gives us good moments of American Football, but nothing we haven’t seen before.

SettingsThe settings show us how America was still riddled with racial difficulties during the 70s and different states act differently towards everyone.


Scene of the Movie –
The night they played the titans.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The whole girlfriend of Gerry seems tacked on.

Final ThoughtsThis is another one of the brilliant inspirational story that shows sports can bring people together through the hard times.

 

Overall: Wonderful inspiring sports drama.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – R – RocknRolla (2008)

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Guy Ritchie (Screenplay)

Starring: Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, Mark Strong, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Karel Roden, Toby Kebbell

 

Plot: Lenny Cole, a London mob boss, puts the bite on all local real estate transactions. For substantial fees, he’s helping Uri Omovich, a Russian developer. As a sign of good faith, Omovich loans Cole a valuable painting, promptly stolen off Cole’s wall. While Cole’s men, led by the dependable Archie, look for the canvas, three local petty criminals, the Wild Bunch, steal money from the Russian using inside information from his accountant, the lovely Stella. Meanwhile, a local drug-addled rocker, Johnny Quid, is reported drowned, and his connection to Cole is the key to unraveling the deceits and double crosses of life in the underworld.


Tagline – A story of sex, thugs and rock ‘n roll.

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over Saturated Film

 

Story: RocknRolla starts when One Two (Butler) and Mumbles (Elba) learn the hard way how London mobster Lenny Cole (Wilkinson) operates, needing to collect a large amount of money. Lenny is in the middle of a big deal with a Russian Uri Omovich (Roden) that would be the biggest of his career.

When a piece of art gets stolen Lenny is put under pressure to return the art work to Uri, he turns to his right-hand man Archy (Strong) to get it back, turning to One Two for help as we see how the underworld coming together to get one up on each other.

 

Thoughts on RocknRolla

 

Characters – One Two is the leader of the Wild Bunch, he gets left owing a lot of money within the month and it soon becomes his connections that help with the mystery about where a painting is hiding as he plans to solve his own problems. Mumbles is the best friend in the Wild Bunch, he is the one that One Two turns to for advice through the problems. Lenny Cole is the mobster that runs London, he has everyone in his pocket to get what he wants, with his greed taking over when he can have a deal with a billionaire Russian, though his past could cause the trouble in this deal. Stella is the accountant that has each party doing her dealings, she knows how to have each side in the palm of her hands. Archy is the one telling the story, he has the right-hand man for Lenny and the go between all the different sides of the underworld. In this film we do get too many characters with so many different arcs going on through the film.

PerformancesThe acting in this film is good from the whole cast, we have a large cast which does hinder them from getting a true star turn in this film. Butler, Wilkinson, Newton, Strong, Elba, Hardy all show how they can become good at making moments of impact in shorter scenes.

StoryThe story here follows three levels of mobsters as they deal with a deal gone bad as they are trying to stay ahead of each other, in typical Ritchie storytelling we get thrown all over the place with the story telling and miss the most interesting action aspects of the film. when it comes to the criminal underworld side of the story, we don’t get anything new with generic characters who just go through the emotions that don’t always make us enjoy the characters we are enjoy watching.

Action/CrimeThe action is disappointing because we have scenes which should be good, only Ritchie’s style of shooting chops too much hiding the best parts. The crime world created is good because we see just how many different levels of the crime world we are entering.

SettingsThe film is set in London which is good for the film because if these type of deals are happening it would need to be in a busy city location like London.


Scene of the Movie –
Sporting goods fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The action editing.

Final ThoughtsThis is your typical British gangster film, it has its own flair which can help and hinder the film at times, we have too many characters to stay on top of which only disappoints with the storytelling process.

 

Overall: Typical mobster movie.

Rating