ABC Film Challenge – Crime – Z – Zulu (2013)

Director: Jerome Salle

Writer: Julien Rappeneau, Jerome Salle (Screenplay) Caryl Ferey (Book)

Starring: Orlando Bloom, Forest Whitaker, Conrad Kemp, Inge Beckmann, Tinarie van Wyk Loots, Regardt van den Bergh

 

Plot: Policemen Ali Sokhela and Brian Epkeen investigate the brutal murder of a young white woman, apparently provoked by the availability of a new illegal drug and somehow connected to the disappearance of black street children.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gritty Crime Drama

 

Story: Zulu starts when a young woman is murdered, police officer Ali Sokhela (Forest) and his team that includes the washed up Brian Epkeen (Bloom) and rookie Dan Fletcher (Kemp) must start to investigate the case.

As the investigation deepens Brian must hold himself together while Ali must face his demons from his past which becomes deadly as they fall into an illegal drug dealing ring with a new devasting drug on the market.

 

Thoughts on Zulu

 

Characters – Brian Epkeen is a washed-up police officer, he is great at solving crimes, he tends to have a different woman every night, which has made him distant from his son. He never looks professional but will always do the right thing for his team. Ali Sokhela is scared by his childhood in the racial torn country, now he is a captain in the police force which sees him needing to forgive the men his father fought against to work in the same team, he does have connections which helps him through the city, with his own demons he must locate the killer. Dan is a rookie officer that is part of the team, his innocence isn’t ready to be in the field with the seasoned vets. Ruby is Brian’s ex-wife that hates him and that Brian hassle when he feels like it.

PerformancesOrlando Bloom does show us that he can still be a leading man, an edgy side to his character is a big plus too, we could happily watch more of his work here. Forest Whitaker is great too, he has the darker backstory which pushes him into his decisions and hits the accent. The rest of the cast don’t get as much screen time as he does, but you do feel like they hired a lot of local talent which helps make the film feel authentic.

StoryThe story follows two cops, one with a dark past because of his skin colour as a child, the other lives in darkness because of his addiction that must use their skills to solve a crime which starts simple enough until things get out of hand to a much bigger problem running through the city. This does feel gritty with how we investigate things, it doesn’t hold back with what happens to the characters and shows us just how far the criminal underworld will go to keep a secret. While this doesn’t rely on twists to get the final outcome, it does show us just how far these two would go to solve a crime and bring the criminals to justice.

CrimeThe crime world we enter here shows us just how both sides in a drug war are waging against each other, we get bodies piling up that will only increase the battle with a racial tension that just increases the tension between the twos.

SettingsThe film is set in South Africa, we get to see how difficult the drug war is with the racial tension still between the people in the city.


Scene of the Movie –
Brian’s escape plan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The scene where the head turns up, there is such a pointless line here.

Final ThoughtsThis is a gritty crime drama that shows us the harsh reality of the drug world, the two cops must overcome demons that will put them through a major test to get to the bottom of a crime.

 

Overall: Crime fans surprise.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action – Z – Zone Troopers (1985)

Director: Danny Bilson

Writer: Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo (Screenplay)

Starring: Tim Thomerson, Timothy Van Patten, Art LaFleur, Biff Manard, William Paulson, peter Boom

 

Plot: In Italy, during World War II some American soldiers find an alien UFO.


Tagline – They Take War To A New Dimension.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dated Cheesy B-Movie

 

Story: Zone Troopers starts by following an America troop in Italy during World War II, The Sarge (Thomerson) leads his men including Joey (Van Patten), Mittens (LaFleur) and new solider Dolan (Manard). The four men find themselves standard behind enemy lines.

Preparing their own escape, they learn that the German’s are not the only threat in the woods as they discover an alien ship with aliens running around the woods too.

 

Thoughts on Zone Troopers

 

Characters – The Sarge is the leader of the soldiers, he doesn’t make friends in the troop because of how many people he has lost before, he just wants to get his men home even if Dolan makes everything more difficult. Joey is the naïve member of the squad the youngster, but also the wheeler and dealer in search for the quick solution. Mittens is the tough member of the squad he will keep everything simple while doing the smarter decisions. Dolan is the newest member of the squad, which will see him try to get the story as he is a reporter.

PerformancesThe performances from the four leads play into the generic figures you would expect to see in any movie set during the war time, the actors do the best with what they get without making their characters feel like they need to standout.

StoryThe story follows four American soldiers that get caught behind enemy lines only to learn the Germans are investigating a spaceship that has crashed, the Americans and aliens team up to escape the situation, defeat the Germans for today. This is a simple story of how the Americans will be looking win the war against the Germany villains, easy enough formula just adding aliens into the mix. The story isn’t the deepest and doesn’t offer too much refreshing, only to easy to follow.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action involved in the film is all war based bullet flying without being that anything overly realistic, which does mix in with the sci-fi side of the film with the aliens being laser weapons in the action too.

SettingsThe film is set in the woods which shows the lower budget behind the film, it does show the war can put people into a situation they don’t know how to get out off.


Scene of the Movie –
The laser guns, cheesy as they come.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It hasn’t dated well.

Final ThoughtsThis is one hell of a cheesy fun action film that can just be enjoyed rather than studied.

 

Overall: Cheesy actioner.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – Z – Zorba the Greek (1964)

Director: Michael Cacoyannis

Writer: Michael Cacoyannis (Screenplay) Nikos Kazantzakis (Novel)

Starring: Anthony Quinn, Alan Bates, Irene Papas, Lila Kedrova, Giorgos Foundas, Sotiris Moustakas

 

Plot: An uptight English writer traveling to Crete on a matter of business finds his life changed forever when he meets the gregarious Alexis Zorba.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 22 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic That Hasn’t Dated Well

 

Story: Zorba the Greek starts when uptight English writer Basel (Bates) heads to Crete, on his journey he meets Alexis Zorba (Quinn) who shows him the sites around the island using his social skills which makes him on of the most welcoming people Basil will ever meet.

As the two become friends we learn how Zorba has his lady Madame Hortense (Kedrova) waiting for him and he pushes Basil to follow the sparks he has with the Widow (Papas of the town, life lesson will be taught here for both of the men.

 

Thoughts on Zorba the Greek

 

Characters – Alexis Zorba is the Greek that knows everyone, gets on with everyone and is a pleasant guy with a haunted past. He takes Basil under his wing in Crete showing him how to come out of his shell. Basil is the English writer that travels to Crete to focus on his next book, he is uptight until Zorba starts showing him where the real stories in life can come from. We have two different lonely women, one a widow and one that has had her heart broken too often they become the objects of their affections.

PerformancesThe performances from the main cast are good throughout with the heavyweights of Anthony Quinn and Alan Bates showing their talents in the leading roles.

StoryThe story shows us how an Englishman visits a new country and starts living his life to the fullest after meeting a stranger with a lust for life, this does the traditional new world, new way of life ideas which Basil must go through, but otherwise this story is way too long without much happening or make too much sense. I found myself stopping this movie a lot because nothing was happening and it just became a dated classic for storytelling.

ComedyThis is meant to be some sort of comedy, I guess I missed the funniest moments?

SettingsThe film is set in Crete which does help Basil see a new style of life and it does look lovely.


Scene of the Movie –
First meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not understand the gang mentality here.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the film that won big at the Oscars, but the truth is that it just doesn’t pull you in as much as it once did near its release.

 

Overall: Not one I enjoyed.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – Z – Zapped (2014)

Director: Peter DeLuise

Writer: Billy Eddy, Matt Eddy, Rachelle Skoretz (Screenplay) Leslie Margolis (Novel)

Starring: Zendaya, Chanelle Peloso, Spencer Boldman, Emilia McCarthy, Adam DiMarco, William Ainscough

 

Plot: When Zoey’s mom remarries, Zoey finds it hard adjusting to her new life – no longer the only kid in the family.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disney Movie 101

 

Story: Zapped starts when Zoey (Zendaya) moves after her mother remarries, she must get use to living with four guys suddenly, the school is different that she is used to with Rachel (Peloso) being the first to show her friendship and it doesn’t take her long to meet the school heartthrob Jackson (Boldman).

Zoey’s life changes after she downloads an app to try and control the family dog only for it to get amplified to being about to boys which she starts to use to her advantage to clean up the problems in her life.

 

Thoughts on Zapped

 

Characters – Zoey has lived a normal life with her mother, she must learn to change after her mother gets married and she must move in with his family which includes 3 boys. She must learn to adapt to her new school and turns to an app on her phone to control the men in her life. She is the typical new girl that doesn’t get the welcome she should from most, but soon learns her place in the school with her new app. Rachel is one of the few people that welcomes Zoey, she is an outsider nervous at times even if she is confident in herself. Jackson is the school heartthrob with mystery about him, he takes a shine to Zoey which only makes the other girls at the school jealous. Taylor is the dance team leader that doesn’t want to let Zoey be part of the team.

PerformancesZendaya takes the leading role and it is clear that this movie was built for her, she is good in the leading role showing both sides of her character. Chanelle Peloso gives us plenty of laughs in her role as the best friend. Spencer Boldman as the mysterious boy at school is good for the film. Emilia McCarthy does struggle to be the bad girl we need her to be, this is due to writing rather than acting though.

StoryThe story here shows how the new girl to a family and school struggles to deal with the boys in her life and when her phone gives her an app which can control them she uses it to make life easier, with the normal consequences. This teaches Zoey a life lesson that she must learn to change because not everything will go her way, no matter how much she wants to control things, it does show us how difficult starting a new school can be this almost shows how people can dream a way to move away from the struggle. We also learn about new family life, which is weird because the family on move in together after the wedding.

Comedy/Family/FantasyThe comedy in this film comes from how Zoey controls the guys and just what happens with different instructions. It is one the whole family can get a laugh out of because of the different moments of comedy with the fantasy side of the film coming from the idea a phone app can control people.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in and around high school which puts us through the normal locations we would imagine seeing problems taking place in.


Scene of the Movie –
Dance off.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Surely the family would have tried living together before getting married.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of those Disney channel movies that will hit the target audience perfectly, it knows the strengths and plays into them.

 

Overall: The target audience will enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Zoolander 2 (2016)

Director: Ben Stiller

Writer: Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller, Nicholas Stoller, John Hanburg (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penelope Cruz, Kristen Wiig

 

Plot: Derek and Hansel are lured into modelling again, in Rome, where they find themselves the target of a sinister conspiracy.


Tagline – Long time no Z.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painful to Watch

 

Story: Zoolander 2 starts by filling in the events between the two films, Derek Zoolander has been left complete shame after his school collapsed days after opening, killing his wife, he has lost his child and now lives alone.

When Derek receives an invitation to Rome by Alexanya Atoz (Wiig) he must make up with Hansel (Wilson) who has lost his looks in the same accident that took Matilda, to make the impact in the modelling world again. While Valentina Valencia (Cruz) is investigating while popstars are being murdered.

 

Thoughts on Zoolander 2

 

Characters – Derek Zoolander has been struggling after his career crashed, a recluse from the world, he is drawn out for a new case which brings him to Rome o stop a new model terrorist act. Hansel was left scarred after the accident, also out of the business, now he is out of hiding to work with Derek one last time. Valentina Valencia is the Interpol agent trying to figure out who is killing popstars. Mugatu is back after being locked up for the time between the movies.

PerformancesThis brings sadness to me, talking about these performances because the first film is one of the better comedies released to the world. The performances from the returning cast are parodies of their original work, with the additions being annoying and poor throughout.

StoryThe story is strange because nothing happens for the first hour of the film, it does turn into the same idea again, villain trying to take control while the idiotic model tries to save the day. The story feels like a parody of the previous film which never gets to the levels it needs to.

ComedyNo it just misses on most levels.

SettingsThe film is set in Rome, this works for fashion world only.


Scene of the Movie –
They killed Justin Bieber?

That Moment That Annoyed Me The rest of the film.

Final ThoughtsOh dear God this was terrible, why do people keep making awful sequels to good comedies, just stop, let the original stand alone.

 

Overall: Avoid at all costs.

Rating