The Returned (2013)

Director: Manuel Carballo

Writer: Hatem Khraiche (Screenplay)

Starring: Emily Hampshire, Kris Holden-Ried, Shawn Doyle, Claudia Bassols, Melina Matthews, Barry Flatman, Olunike Adeliyi

 

Plot: In a post-zombie world, where the infected live normal lives, their retroviral drug is running out.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Smart Idea

 

Story: The Returned starts in a world which lost 100s of millions to a zombie outbreak, now however, there is a cure turning people into The Returned, who need to take a daily medication to remain human. Kate (Hampshire) work with the Returned searching for a longer term cure, but certain people in the world don’t want the zombies returned.

When the extremist groups start targeting The Returned, the race to find a cure intensifies and for Kate it becomes about saving her loved one Alex (Holden-Reid) one of the returned.

 

Thoughts on The Returned

 

Characters – Kate is one of the leading doctors in the field of searching for a complete cure for the Returned, her husband is one of them and she does believe that a cure is achievable if people work together, they problems comes when she gets targeted needing to go on the run. Alex is the husband to Kate, a guitar teacher that got infected trying to help somebody, he is one of the lucky ones that never turned, but he does need to stay on top of the medication to stop him from turning. He goes on the run with Kate while the storm passes over, though he is running low on his medication. We do have the couple that help Kate and Alex, the government figures that are trying to bring him down and the people who are just looking to survive.

PerformancesEmily Hampshire and Kris Holden-Reid do take the leading roles in this film, they are both solid enough in their roles with them both getting one or two scenes where they are great, but most is just seem basic scenes. The rest of the cast are basic too without anyone making any impact on the film.

StoryThe story here brings us into a new vision of a zombie world, one with a cure that has started to get back to normality, until the cure starts running out the world returns to chaos as the uninfected don’t want to be around people that could turn. Bringing this fresh look to a zombie story is interesting, it does borrow ideas from the Dead Rising video game, with the idea of a daily injection can keep the zombie virus at bay. The story does show the struggle between doing the right thing and doing the safe thing, because once the infected get out, there wouldn’t be a way to stop them. It does feel fresh, however it doesn’t play out as strongly as it should, the world seems to modern and undamaged from an outbreak which only disappoints.

Crime/Sci-FiThe crime side of the film shows us just how far people will go to survive in a world which is running out of resources of the cure to stop people turning into zombies. The sci-fi world shows us how people can be saved, though as mentioned it never feels lived in.

SettingsThe films biggest weakness is the settings, the city looks no different than our current one, but with 100s of millions of people dying from a zombie outbreak, the building wouldn’t look this clean and fresh.

Special EffectsTh effects are used to show the change, they are nothing new with most just being zombie turning make up which looks strong for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The zones created.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The city looks to untouched from a disaster.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good idea for a zombie movie, it changes weak elements others have shown to give us a smart look at how the problem could be addressed.

 

Overall: Smart even if it does fail in places.

Rating

 

 

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The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019)

Director: Gideon Raff

Writer: Gideon Raff (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Evans, Haley Bennett, Alona Tal, Michiel Huisman, Ben Kingsley, Michael Kenneth Williams, Alex Hassell, Alessandro Nivola, Greg Kinnear

Plot: Israel’s Mossad agents attempt to rescue Ethiopian Jewish refugees in Sudan in 1977.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Amazing True Story

Story: The Red Sea Diving Resort starts as Ari (Evans) an American Ari (Evans) working for the Israel Mossad agents rescues refugees from Ethiopia with his latest mission seeing Kabede (Williams) rescued. Ari does become grounded, but isn’t willing to let more innocent people murder, he comes up with an idea that could see thousands rescued.

Ari puts together a team including Rachel Reiter (Bennett), Jake (Huisman), Max (Hassell) and Sammy (Nivola) with the plan to lease a hotel known as the Red Sea Diving Resort to use it to get refugees out of Africa back to Israel. This is one of the riskiest rescue attempts tried and one that will bring history to life.

Thoughts on The Red Sea Diving Resort

Characters – Ari Levinson is leading an Israeli group of agent, who are trying to rescue Ethiopian refugees by taking them through Sudan, giving them their only hope to make it out alive. He is willing to risk everything to make it happen by taking a mission which will risk their own lives to lead them out to see, remaining calm through the operations which will see them become targets of the local generals. Rachel is one of the team, just by being a woman she is risking even more than the rest, though her language skills are key to the whole operation. Kabede Bimro is the connection with Ari that leads the refugees to him, he becomes one of the most wanted men because of his actions, but will risk everything for his own family. Ethan Levin is the one that tries to control Ari on his mission, he doesn’t agree with most of what he does, knowing if he was to get caught it could create an international incident.

PerformancesChris Evans takes his first major role since leaving the role as Captain America, he does show he can handle the serious side of acting even though his character does feel like branch of what Captain America stood for. Haley Bennett is strong throughout, in a world that her character shouldn’t feel safe in. Ben Kingsley does what you would expect in his authority role, while Michael Kenneth Williams is the most interesting character though we could have spent more time with his character.

StoryThe story here follows an Israeli agent that risked everything to try and rescue as many Ethiopian refugees as he could using a Sudanese hotel as a cover to hide them and move them through to safety despite heavy pressure from the military forces in the country. This is another incredible story of how somebody and their team would do the right thing for the human race that would be left facing a future which would see them killed or forced into slavery if they couldn’t get free. It should be seen to highlight the continuing problems in the world along with the incredible work that was done. We are kept waiting to see how many will get rescued and how they will overcome the obstacles placed in their way, though it would be fair it wouldn’t be a story if they had failed.

HistoryThis is a moment in history which showed a country reaching out to help in secret when another country would rather butcher their own people.

SettingsThe film creates the realistic settings that only make this feel like we are part of the era it is set in, we see how much was being risked in what could be considered a calm location of a hotel.


Scene of the Movie – Runway.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The fact that his behaviour actually still happens in the world.

Final Thoughts This is a highlight on just what was risked to save thousands of stranded refugees, it has top class acting and shows that we can achieve great things if we worked together.

Overall: Brilliant look at bravery.

Rating

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – R – Raising Arizona (1987)

Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, holly Hunter, Trey Wilson, John Goodman, William Forsythe, Sam McMurray, Frances McDormand

 

Plot: When a childless couple of an ex-con and an ex-cop decide to help themselves to one of another family’s quintuplets, their lives become more complicated than they anticipated.


Tagline – Their lawless years are behind them. Their child-rearing years lay ahead.

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Comedy

 

Story: Raising Arizona starts as we meet H.I. McDunnough (Cage) a petty thieve that has a habit of robbing convenience stores, he falls for police officer Ed (Hunter) and after his third spell in prison he decides to settle down with Ed and hope to start a family.

When the couple learn they can’t have children, their lives take a turn for the worse until rich businessman Nathan Arizona Sr (Wilson) has 5 babies, believing they can help, they steal one of the babies and the events of the film follows them trying to keep the baby and avoid the law.

 

Thoughts on Raising Arizona

 

Characters – H.I. McDunnough has been in and out of prison for the last decade each time getting closer to the arresting officer, deciding he wants to go clean he gets married and plans to start a family, only for his past to come back and haunt him forcing him to return to the life of crime. He is a character that has fallen into the life of crime and just can’t get out of it. Ed is a police officer that hasn’t had the best life, she falls for H.I. getting married and wanting to start a family. She learns she can’t have child, turning to a life of crime to get her own child. Nathan Arizona Sr is the father of the five babies willing to pay anything to get his son back legally or not. Gale is one half of criminal buddies pairing of H.I. that after breaking out of prison turns to his friend for help.

PerformancesNicolas Cage is wonderful in the leading role, where we see him show moments of his crazy level while giving a performance you will remember. Holly Hunter is great too where we see her create a performance where you feel for the pain and confliction her character goes through. When we look at the supporting cast we do get good performances from everyone that will give us enough to enjoy what we saw.

StoryThe story here follows an unlikely couple that decide to take a child because they couldn’t have one of their own. We follow the build up to their relationship and focus on how the couple’s life had the ups and downs before the incident.  By using a very real situation people could go through by not being able to have children and showing the fact the adoption process isn’t the fairest on the people that would offer a good home is important for the film. the hapless events the couple go through adds to the story and as with most of the Coen bothers movies we get lots of arcs that come together to add up to a final act which pts everything together.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy in the film comes from the events that the couple must go through, usually coming from H.I. actions in what is a crime world where he is a petty criminal taking any advantages he can.

SettingsThe film takes us to the open America where money would be tight leading to the mistakes being made by the people who are just desperate for anything to come their way.


Scene of the Movie –
The diaper chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The baby forgetting scenes.

Final ThoughtsThis is a classic crime comedy that shows us just how talented the Coen Brothers are, we get to see the best of Cage and a story which can be enjoyed by all.

 

Overall: Crime Comedy that is a must watch.

Rating

 

 

Harrison Ford Weekend – Regarding Henry (1991)

Director: Mike Nichols

Writer: J.J. Abrams (Screenplay)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Annette Bening, Bill Nunn, Mikki Allen, Donald Moffat

 

Plot: After being shot, a man loses his memory and must relearn speech and mobility, but he has a loving family to support him.


Tagline – His life was based on power, success, and ruthlessness. Until a bullet made him think again.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Drama

 

Story: Regarding Henry starts as we meet hotshot lawyer Henry Turner (Ford) he closes cases with ease and has the full trust of the partners in the firm, his strict behaviour does return home too with the way he controls his daughter Rachel (Allen), with his wife Sarah (Bening) dealing with reminding him of names at parties.

Henry’s life is turned upside down when he is shot in a head, leaving him with no memory, speech or mobility. Bradley (Nunn) his physical Therapist comes into this life to help teach him again as Sarah must adapt without the income that Henry once bought in. with Henry’s recovery going well, can a return home make him better, both in health and in his own personal standards of treating people.

 

Thoughts on Regarding Henry

 

Characters – Henry is a lawyer, he closes cases with ease, but doesn’t seem to be close to his family or friends, busy working for the most part of his life. When he gets shot in the head, he must learn to recover and learn everything again, this shows Henry a new way to look at life which will make him a better person. Sarah is the wife of Henry, she supports him through the tough time knowing he will remember his life in time. Bradley is the physical therapist that helps Henry break the first hurdles in his recovery.

PerformancesHarrison Ford gives a performance we wouldn’t know him for, he does well for the most part, but there are moments he doesn’t hit the performance like he should. Annette Bening is good in her role through the film with Bill Nunn adding the extra moments needed in this film.

StoryThe story here plays out like a fantasy film in places, we have one man that has a lift changing injury that makes him see life in a different point of view.  We see his recovery process which shows us how the people in his life can change their opinions on one person after an injury impairs their abilities. This does tell the recovery process and clearly shows the changes Henry goes though which are good to see through the film.

RomanceThe romance of the film is standard it shows the life both Henry and Sarah have had before and after the injury.

SettingsThe film is set mostly in New York city, which is great as I always say, which helps show how the busy life of Henry affected his life.


Scene of the Movie –
The rehab.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Moments Ford doesn’t hit the injury the way you believe.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good drama that shows how injuries can affect lives, not just the person that is injured but the people close to them too.

 

Overall: Good Film which shows Ford in different light.

Rating

 

 

The Runner (2015)

runner-scoreDirector: Austin Stark

Writer: Austin Stark (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Sarah Paulson, Peter Fonda, Connie Nielsen, Wendel Pierce, Bryan Batt, Christopher Berry

 

Plot: In the aftermath of the 2010 BP oil spill, an idealistic but flawed politician is forced to confront his dysfunctional life after his career is destroyed in a sex scandal.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Political Drama

 

Story: The Runner starts as Louisiana is dealing with the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, politician Colin Pryce (Cage) wants to supporting his state who are not getting supported after the spill which is take jobs from the good people. His fight gets national attention as he starts to fight for the people whose lives are being destroyed.

When it is made public that Colin has had an affair behind his wife Deborah’s (Nielsen) back the state turns on him forcing him to resign and come back stronger as he continues to fight for the people of Louisiana he could make a comeback unlike anyone in the political world.

 

Thoughts on The Runner

 

StoryThis is a very political drama story 101 job we have one man who was great for the people lose his role for affair and goes through tough tests before looking to make the comeback, you have nothing overly interesting going on here in what is a standard political drama.

ThrillerWhile this is more drama based you are kept wondering how Colin can bring his career back around by continuing to do the right thing.

Characters/PerformanceColin is based on a real person who does want to do the right thing for the people but isn’t the most morale correct when it comes to his personal life, this makes him an easy target in a political story. we do have other characters who are all part of the decision-making process that Colin goes through but none really make an impact. When you look at the performances they are all average without being any of the actor’s high points.

SettingsThe settings are all real to the Louisiana as we see the different levels of working classes all dealing with the same problem after the BP oil spill but none of the locations come off feeling memorable.

Final ThoughtsGrab your text books and you will see how to make this movie with ease adding nothing special within the film.

 

Overall: Not the best, not the worst just forgettable.

Ratingard