Ticker (2001)

Director: Albert Pyun

Writer: Paul B Margolis (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Sizemore, Dennis Hopper, Steven Seagal, Jaime Pressly, Nas, Rozonda ‘Chilli’ Thomas, Peter Greene

 

Plot: After a San Francisco detective’s partner is murdered by Northern Irish terrorists, the officer joins the bomb squad in order to bring them to justice.


Tagline – When the countdown hits zero, you’re dead.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks That Explosive Nature

 

Story: Ticker starts as Detective Ray Nettles (Sizemore) sees his partner killed in a routine investigation, this sees him join the bomb squad under Frank Glass (Seagal), who has been tracking explosives terrorist Alex Swan (Hopper) who was involved in the senator’s murder a year ago.

When Ray arrests Claire Manning (Pressly), Alex will do anything to get her out of the station, it means he will start playing games with the police forcing Frank to use he own knowledge to take down the terrorist.

 

Thoughts on Ticker

 

Characters – Detective Ray Nettles sees his partner killed in a routine investigation into open warehouse, he needs to try and put his career back together after a previous incident, this could be the case which sees him needing to work with the bomb squad to take down a terrorist. This will give him a redemption that he is determined to have. Alex Swan is the terrorist bomber that has been targeting the city, he ups his aggression once one of his people is taken by the police, he proves to be dangerous to everybody in the city. Frank Glass is the bomb expert that has years of experience taking down bombs, he has been working on this for years and wants his own redemption too. Claire Manning is the woman arrested, she has her own past with Alex that is planning on just being left as the target for Alex.

PerformancesTom Sizemore does his best in what is a poorly written film, he is the only one that looks like he is interested in being here. Dennis Hopper can’t keep his Irish accent up and it soon turns into a parody of what we know he can do. Steven Seagal was never really the star of acting, he doesn’t even get to do any action in this film though. Jaime Pressly does try too but we don’t get enough of her character in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a down on his luck and life detective that must work the bomb disposal unit to track down a terrorist who has been planting bombs around the city. This does complete the basic check list required for the cop needing to redeem himself after personal tragedy, learning to work with others again and dealing with a villain that will do anything to complete their job. The relationship between Ray and Frank is hard to watch because they don’t seem to actually be talking to each other, while the third act twist just doesn’t seem to come to anything satisfying when you think about it. It all falls into late night TV action story, nothing deep, but easy enough to watch.

Action/CrimeThe action we see in the film is mostly just explosions, they are shot for shock value over anything else, which is what the crime side of the film tackles with a terrorist trying to take control of the city.

SettingsThe film is set in San Francisco which gives us easy stock footage to use in the background to fill time, but for the most part you wouldn’t even know you were there.


Scene of the Movie –
Ray trying to disarm a bomb.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of chemistry between Ray and Frank.

Final ThoughtsThis is what you would have to call, a basic late night action movie that just doesn’t get going or give you anybody to be invested in.

 

Overall: Basic action.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – P – The Pledge (2001) Movie Review

Director: Sean Penn

Writer: Jerzy Kromolowski, Mary Olson-Kromolowski (Screenplay) Friedrich Durrenmatt (Book)

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Patricia Clarkson, Benicio Del Toro, Aaron Eckhart, Beau Daniels, Helen Mirren, Robin Wright, Vanessa Redgrave, Mickey Rourke

Plot: A retiring police detective pledges to catch the killer of a young child.


Tagline – He may have retired, but he’s still catching the killer

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Intense Thriller

Story: The Pledge starts as the body of a young girl who has been brutally raped and murdered is discovered, retiring detective Jerry Black (Nicholson) wants to help investigate under Stan Krolak (Eckhart), which includes breaking the news to the parents Margaret (Clarkson) and Duane (O’Keefe), making a promise to get the monster behind this crime.

What looks like a cut and dry case, mentally handicapped Toby Wadenah (Del Toro) admits to the crime, dying in police custody. Jerry continues on into retirement, only after another murder that looks similar, he starts to look into the case again, learning that the real killer might still be out there and wanting to solve the case, even without the help of his former colleagues.

Thoughts on The Pledge

Characters – Jerry Black is a detective on the verge of retirement, when the murder happens, he wants to help and after the solving of the case goes smoothly, he heads of into retirement sunset, until he learns about another murder, he wants to reopen the case to solve the a potential serial killer, putting him in the position where he thinks he will cross paths with the killer. When it comes to the rest of the characters, we have a string of police officers at different levels, a couple of parents, some who have seen their children killed, one suffering abuse, but most of this film is focusing on how Jerry is dealing with retirement.

PerformancesJack Nicholson is fantastic in this leading role, he brings us a veteran cop that has always been able to solve a case, and shows how retirement will leave a void in his life. We do have a very good supporting cast of actors here including Helen Mirren, Patricia Clarkson, Aaron Eckhart, Vanessa Redgrave, Benicio Del Toro, Robin Wright and Sam Shepard who all do well with their roles in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a retiring detective that gets involved in one last case, only for him to see it closed easily, but not being convinced the suspect was really the person, trying to continue solving the crime, which he believes is bigger. This is a very interesting story, it does show how crimes could easily be connected and how it could only be one that starts trying to solve the issues he has with the case, while deeper down it shows how one detective could be struggling with his retirement, not wanting to accept that he won’t have cases to solve. Having both of these ideas playing hand in hand is very interesting, which leads to us wondering which is true.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of the film does see a horrible murder being solved, with the mystery about whether it was really the person that was caught or not.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show how Jerry is trying to solve a murder, which could end up being a bigger crime going on, with him looking at potential locations.


Scene of the Movie – The parade.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is left too much to our own to decide the truth.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting thriller that does follow a detective who believes that a crime could still need solving, or he could just be making it up to keep him busy, this is interesting to see unfold with Jack Nicholson shining.

Overall: Brilliant Thriller.

Jack Black Weekend – Shallow Hall (2001) Movie Review

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Writer: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Sean Moynihan (Screenplay)

Starring: Gwyenth Paltrow, Jack Black, Jason Alexander, Joe Viterelli, Rene Kirby, Bruce McGill, Anthony Robbins

Plot: A shallow man falls in love with a 300-pound woman because of her inner beauty.


Tagline – True Love Is Worth The Weight!

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sweet Little Comedy

Story: Shallow Hal starts as we meet Hal (Black) who was given advice from his father to never settle always shot for the stars when trying to meet women. Now in adult life he is a nice guy but he only targets models, always striking out, even if his friends try to convince him to learn about the women first.

After getting trapped in an elevator with Anthony Robbins a television hypnotist, he pulls a trick on him to see women for their inner beauty, which sees him meeting Rosemary (Paltrow) seeing her as a beautiful women, when she is really a bigger women, somebody Hal would never give a second glance to, Hal’s best friend Mauricio (Alexander) is getting worried his friend has changed.

Thoughts on Shallow Hal

Characters – Hal saw his father die young giving him one piece of advice, never settle when it comes to the ladies. Keeping that in his mind he has only ever tried to date models, without much success. He gets hypnotised into seeing the inner beauty only which to meet Rosemary a bigger woman he only sees as a beautiful woman, which sees him learn the lesson in life that people are not just what the outside shows. Rosemary is the woman Hal sees as a beautiful model, but she is a bigger girl with a heart of gold, which under the spell that Hal is under he doesn’t see, she is reluctant to let Hal into her life, but eventually believes him to be good. Mauricio is the shallow best friend of Hal’s, they have both only tried to date the beautiful women, he sees something wrong with his friend and tries to fix it. Steve Shanahan is Rosemary’s father and Hal’s boss who sees the positives in Hal, but will protect his daughter at any cost.

PerformancesJack Black in the lead of a comedy like this works wonders, he can play both sides with ease being the charmer that isn’t afraid whether he strikes out or not. Gwyneth Paltrow is great too showing she can handle comedy without needing to be the one running with the jokes. Jason Alexander provides fun supporting role that shows his skills in comedy.

StoryThe story here follows a man Hal that believes he can only date models after being raised to never settle for less, when he gets hypnotised he learns to admire the inner beauty in women never seeing any of their outside flaws like the rest of the world, we are left to see if he can learn to just ignore everything once the spell wears off. This is an interesting look at romance, it shows us just how important trying to find love can be and getting to know a person is more important than anything else. This aside we do seem to have one flaw in the story and that is only some of the people change, while others remain completely the same, which does seem strange and it also only seems to show people that volunteer being less attractive, while the career driven women more than men are seen to be ugly inside. That aside we are focusing more on the struggles that Hal’s friend is facing with his change, more than Hal needing to learn about his changes.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy largely comes from Jack Black, while some of the lines seem awkward when we know the difference between the two Rosemary’s he delivers his comedy in such a confident way it shines through, with the romance being about how falling in love can happen with the person you least expect at times.

SettingsThe film is set in the big city and shows how people can be ignored at times, while other times they could be right there in your life.


Scene of the Movie – Leaving Party.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We do seem to imply that women who volunteer are beautiful on the inside, not career women.

Final Thoughts This is a comedy that hits most of its marks, it plays into Jack Black’s strengths proving that giving him the right material he can improve any movie.

Overall: Funny for the Most Part.

Ice Cube Weekend – Ghosts of Mars (2001) Revisited

Director: John Carpenter

Writer: John Carpenter, Larry Sulkis (Screenplay)

Starring: Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Jason Statham, Clea DuVall, Pam Grier, Joanna Cassidy, Richard Cetrone

 

Plot: In 2176, a Martian police unit is sent to pick up a highly dangerous criminal at a remote mining post. Upon arrival, the cops find that the post has become a charnel house.


Tagline – Terror is the same on any planet

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Silly Fun Action Horror

 

Story: Ghosts of Mars starts when the lone survive of a prison transfer Melanie Ballard (Henstridge) is recount the events of her mission. The mission was for Melanie, Jericho (Statham), Bashira (DuVall), Commander Helena (Grier) going to an outpost on Mars in the year 2176 to transfer Desolation Williams (Cube).

When the team arrives, they find the outpost abandoned, bodies hanging from the ceiling and the only breath people seemed to have become infected by something. This forces the team to work with Desolation to battle the infected people coming after them.

 

Thoughts on Ghosts of Mars

 

Characters – Melanie Ballard is one of the police officers sent to the outpost to transfer the prisoner, she does use drugs to relax her, she is the one telling the story of the events, where she must take control of the situation trying to get the people out alive. Desolation Williams is the prisoner they are meant to be transferring, he has been accused and cleared of murder numerous times, he will have to work with Melanie to get out of this situation, where he skills will help the people fight to survive. Jericho Butler is one of the more experienced soldiers that is the go-to guy for weapons and fixing problems. Bashira is the rookie on the squad, who must learn quickly as the situation becomes deadlier. We do have too many characters, which will lead to many blink and you miss it deaths.

PerformancesNatasha Henstridge does a strong job as the reluctant hero, she handles the combat well, while trying to be the tough figure. Ice Cube brings the type of character that we know he will bring to most of his roles. With the large cast, most of the rest of the cast struggle to make any real impact on the story.

StoryThe story follows a group of military police on Mars looking to transfer a prisoner for a trial, only for them to find themselves coming face to face with a mysterious evil that has taken over the locals turning them into crazed killing machines. This is simple concept for a sci-fi horror, we get both sides of the law needing to work together to get the job of survival done, we do get the explanation about where the evil has come from. The problem with the story is that we have way too many characters, we have somebody telling the story, which sees them seeing the story through multiply viewpoints which does become frustrating because at times you hear a scene on the radio, only to cut back to the scene happening, which makes it feel like filler, rather than parts of the story.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action here is plenty of bullets flying around, hand to hand combat and weapons which can see body parts flying off. The horror isn’t as strong as it could be because we don’t get the blood shed the film hints at, the sci-fi side of the film shows us how the colonies on Mars would operate.

SettingsThe film is set mostly on an outpost on Mars, it is remote, we know how long the team will be there before the transport returns, leaving us waiting to see how they could escape the situation.

Special EffectsThe special effects used in the film mostly from the body horrors the evil have been doing to themselves, it is strong use of make up but never feels terrifying like it should do.


Scene of the Movie –
Who is in charge now?

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of those silly fun action films in which you can enjoy without expecting anything to be overly serious, it might have plenty of flaws but watch with enjoyment you can laugh along.

 

Overall: Easy to watch action horror.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – A – Ali (2001)

Director: Michael Mann

Writer: Stephen J Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson, Eric Roth, Michael Mann (Screenplay) Gregory Allen Howard (Story)

Starring: Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jon Voight, Mario Van Peebles, Ron Silver, Jeffrey Wright, Mykelti Williamson

 

Plot: A biography of sports legend Muhammad Ali, focusing on his triumphs and controversies between 1964 and 1974.


Tagline – Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.

Runtime: 2 Hours 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Boxing Biopic a Must Watch

 

Story: Ali starts on the brink of Cassius Clay (Smith) first title match in 1964, a match he wins to become heavyweight champion of the world, with his place on top of the world ready, Cassius joins forces with Malcolm X (Peebles) becoming a Muslim in the process, changing his name to Muhammad Ali.

With the Vietnam war drafting men from America, Muhammad is drafted, but he refuses to go and fight which leads him to be stripped of the title and banned from fighting in certain states, Ali uses his to create one of the biggest fights in history, The Rumble in the Jungle.

 

Thoughts on Ali

 

Characters – Muhammad Ali is one if not the most famous boxers in the world, in the history of the sport, he help shape the sport to be what we know now, with his charisma and loud behaviour against his opponents, we follow just ten years of his life, from his first title win, through his religious change, the battle against the government about fighting in the Vietnam war, to being part of one of the biggest fights in boxing history. When we focus on the rest of the real-life people we get to see the loyal people in his life, reporter Howard Cosell that seemed to have a wonderful relationship which included banter between the two and the promoters that make the fight possible.

PerformancesWill Smith in the role of Ali is brilliant, this is easily his best performance of his career showing the world that he can have his wise cracking side mixed with the serious side. We have an unrecognizable Jon Voight who is shows us all that how easily he can morph into any role. The rest of the supporting cast are good without being fantastic or taking away anything from Smith in the leading role.

StoryThe story here takes us into Muhammed Ali’s life for ten years, we get to see from the night he first won the title till the famous Rumble in the Jungle match. We do see the obstacles he must overcome to remain the man he was which in itself is an incredible story during late 60s America. My issues with the story come from not seeing everything that Ali went through in this career, mostly the rise to the top, which could have been an even more interesting story. for the story to only cover 10- years is interesting because we could have seen so much more of the legal battle against the government, the religious battles he faced because of his stance on war and action with the women. The truth is, Ali lived an amazing life and there are so many story we could learn about him from his career any film just can’t cover them all.

Biopic/SportsTen years of one of the great boxers in the history of the sport, one of the men that changed the sport almost doesn’t give it enough justice. The sports side of the film comes from the boxing scenes which are incredibly real through the film we do get a couple and they do go on a long time.

SettingsThe film here takes us to the important locations in Ali’s life, the ring of course is the most important one while we get scenes away from the ring to as we look at his church and his personal life.


Scene of the Movie –
Rumble in the Jungle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have like to see more of his life and career

Final ThoughtsThis is one of those biopics which is great to watch and has wonderful scenes, only for it to be missing that big it factor about it. The fights do feel real which is key and the performances are flawless, we could only have learnt more.

 

Overall: Biopic to enjoy.

Rating