Pierce Brosnan Weekend – After the Sunset (2004)

Director: Brett Ratner

Writer: Paul Zbyszewski, Craig Rosenberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson, Don Cheadle, Naomie Harris, Chris Penn, Troy Garity

Plot: The story of what happens after a master thief achieves his last big score, when the F.B.I. Agent who promised he’d capture him, is about to do just that.


Tagline – Who will walk away?

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Crime Heist

Story: After the Sunset starts as master thief Max (Brosnan) and his partner Lola (Hayek) get one over FBI agent Stan Lloyd (Harrelson) once again, stealing the diamonds he is transporting despite Stan’s fear of Max coming for them, escaping to tropical island, Max and Lola find themselves getting bored in retirement.

Stan heads down to the tropical island to watch over Max and Lola believing they will be trying to pull off another job, with a new potential diamond for Max to steal, Stan teams up with local cop Sophie (Harris) to try and catch him in the act. The island gang leader Henri Moore (Cheadle) wants the diamond and is pushing Max into doing the job, will he come out of retirement.

Thoughts on After the Sunset

Characters – Max Burdett is a famous diamond thief, he has managed to get away with the most difficult jobs and has always managed to find a way to have an alibi for when the robberies have taken place, he has retired with his partner until a new temptation and gang leader pushes him into one more job, while he uses his charm to stay one step ahead of the FBI agent tracking him. Lola is the partner of Max, she is used for distraction using her beauty to turn head, but she is keeping herself busy in the retirement life in which she is getting bored of. Stan is an FBI agent that has always found himself losing Max, he decides to follow him to the tropical island believing he is going after another job, hoping that he can catch him in the act this time around. The two men have a rival friendship which sees them needing to word their conversations correctly and even help each other with their relationship issues. Henri Moore is the island gangster, he has been turning the island into what he wants and wants Max to help him steal the diamond. Sophie is the local cop that doesn’t take anything from anyone and is the only one that is willing to tackle the gangster problem through the film. She works with Stan on the tracking of Max.

PerformancesPierce Brosnan is wonderful to watch as a confident thief, he is great in these styles of role and it shows here. Salma Hayek is always going to great to watch and this role shows her at her best, with Woody Harrelson also shining through this film, he knows how to hit the comedy needing for his role despite him having a serious side to him. Don Cheadle doesn’t really get that much screen time, while Naomie Harris shows us a strong performance through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a thief living in paradise after retirement, only to find himself followed by his nemesis FBI Agent and pushed into a new job by the island’s gangster. This is a story that plays out like the crime heist story, by having the five main parts each trying to stay ahead of each other, with plenty of twists and turns along the way as they each believe they have the upper hand. This does have the slick style needed in the story and does show that both men will find themselves getting into trouble with their personal lives, with the unlikely friendship being there to help each other out.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy comes from how Max and Stan keep their friendship with them getting into funny situations, all while keeping the criminal line between the two of them.

SettingsThe film is set on a tropical island which does give us the beautiful backdrop and shows this could be a place for thieves to retire in.


Scene of the Movie – Fishing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Could have more from Cheadle’s character.

Final Thoughts This is a fun heist movie with enjoyable characters and a slick style when it comes to deal with the relationship between thief and authority.

Overall: Enjoyable heist film.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – Q – The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (2004)

Director: Peter Winther

Writer: David N Titcher (Screenplay)

Starring: Noah Wyle, Sonya Walger, Bob Newhart, Kyle MacLachlan, Kelly Hu, David Dayan Fisher, Jane Curtin

 

Plot: A bookworm becomes the librarian. Same night a magical spear gets stolen and he’s off to get some real life experience around the globe on his quest for the spear – starting with being thrown off a plane over Amazonas by his cute helper.


Tagline – Intelligence can only get you so far when you have to save the world.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Adventure

 

Story: The Librarian: Quest for the Spear starts as 30-year-old student Flynn Carsen (Wyle) gets pushed out of his latest course, needing to find himself a job to move on with his life and get some life experience. Flynn lands on his feet quickly when he gets selected by Judson (Newhart) and Charlene (Curtin) to become the next Librarian, the keeper of the secrets from the history of man.

After the Library is broken into and part of the Spear of Destiny is stolen by former librarian Edward Wilde (MacLachlan), Flynn is set on his first quest to returning the missing pieces from around the world, join by Nicole Noone (Walger) in an adventure that Flynn could never have imagined in the Amazon rainforest.

 

Thoughts on The Librarian: Quest for the Spear

 

Characters – Flynn has spent his whole adult life being a student always looking for another degree he can achieve, he get forced out of classes to find his own job, which sees him selected as the new Librarian, a role he likes the sound off until it means he must go on quest which will see him facing life or death situations. He is a wealth of knowledge, but struggles with everyday life. Nicole Noone is the lady sent to help Flynn on his quest, she is the muscles and true adventurer of the pair, letting him use his brain, while she uses her knowledge of combat to keep them both alive. Judson is the man that selects Flynn to be the next librarian, he has seen people come before and is used to the new reactions from the people. Edward Wilde is the former librarian that has joined the serpent crew in search for a new power to terrorise the world.

PerformancesNoah Wyle in the leading role is fun to watch, he just about balances the ideas of being smart and awkwardly funny. Sonya Walger does work in the strong adventuring partner of Flynn, she gets go against plenty of the stereotypes of the adventure female character. Bob Newhart does everything he needs to in the mentor figure role, while Kyle MacLachlan seems to enjoy the villainous role without being anything we haven’t seen before.

StoryThe story here follows a man that would rather learn that get on with life that gets thrown into a new job role as a librarian, a keeper of secrets from history, he gets to go on his first adventure against the former librarian to discover what he was always meant to be doing for a living. This is the first adventure, so it plays out like an origin to the mysterious Librarian world Flynn goes into, the adventure does have plenty of puzzle that need to be solved, only they do seem very easy to solve, but this is just the first adventure, which makes it easy to watch without challenging us as an audience.

Action/Adventure/ComedyThe action in the film is simple combat, which even watch Bob Newhart beat people up will get you laughing, the adventure does take Flynn away from his comfort zone on an adventure around the world.

SettingsThe film takes Flynn from the big city where he has lived his whole life in, he does get to go to the Amazon and Himalayas which are covered in history.


Scene of the Movie –
We need to leave the plane now.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The puzzles do seem slightly easy.

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to watch adventure film, it does keep everything simple and gives us an easy way to enter this world.

 

Overall: Easy start for the franchise.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – P – Paparazzi (2004)

Director: Paul Abascal

Writer: Forry Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Cole Hauser, Robin Tunney, Dennis Farina, Daniel Baldwin, Tom Hollander, Kevin Gage, Tom Sizemore

 

Plot: A rising Hollywood actor decides to take personal revenge against a group of four persistent photographers to make them pay for almost causing a personal tragedy involving his wife and son.


Tagline – It’s time to settle the score.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Flashy Action Flick

 

Story: Paparazzi starts when rising star Bo Laramie (Hauser) has his break out action film, seeing him become an overnight sensation in Hollywood. This new fame brings more cameras on his life, with vultures known as the paparazzi, while most respect his privacy, one group led by Rex Harper (Sizemore) push the boundaries, trying to take photos of his family, Abby (Tunney) and son Zach.

When the vultures push Bo into a car chase, his family is injured in a car crash, turning Bo to the police trying to get them away from his family. The rivalry between Bo and Rex starts putting Bo’s new career in danger, forcing him to make his own plans to end the paparazzi following them.

 

Thoughts on Paparazzi

 

Characters – Bo Laramie is a rising star in Hollywood, he is about to have his first hit making him an overnight sensation, the talk of the town. He is also a family man off the screen, finding it difficult for him to balance the celebrity lifestyle and personal on. He gets targeted by the paparazzi, who want to bring him down, trying to hurt his family, he will do what needs to be done to keep his family safe against the paparazzi. Abby is the wife of Bo, she is a teacher and isn’t prepared for the gossip magazines that are showing the life of her family. Rex Harper is the leader of the paparazzi ring, he knows how the push the buttons of Bo to gather more stories and starts targeting him after he learns that he has triggered him.

PerformancesCola Hauser does give us a strong performance in the leading role, he look like a typical movie star which was needed for this role. Robin Tunney is the concerned wife, she does everything needed without doing too much difficult. Tom Sizemore does make for great pick for a seedy paparazzi reporter, you believe he is trying to make the life hard for Bo. Dennis Farina as the detective plays right into his wheelhouse as a former police officer.

StoryThe story follows a rising Hollywood star who becomes the target for the paparazzi who try to make his life a living hell, until they injury his family forcing him into his own revenge against them. This does fall into the revenge thriller which gets played along with a celebrity dealing with somebody trying to risk his family for a couple of photos in a magazine. The idea the celebrity is getting followed around by the paparazzi isn’t new, we do get cameos from actors that have had issues in the past too. This plays out just like you would imagine and will make you care about the characters motives being against the vulture like paparazzies.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is restrained because we can’t have anything over the top, it is mostly small fights and chases. The crime side of the film shows just how the life of the actor is being affected by the criminal actions of the paparazzi.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which is the place where you would see the most type of paparazzi behaviour like this.


Scene of the Movie –
Rex learns his fate.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The police would surely be able to offer more than they give Bo in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great look at how the paparazzi look to try and control the celebrities with photos and just how they will look to get revenge for risking their family.

 

Overall: Great action thriller.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – R – Ray (2004)

Director: Taylor Hackford

Writer: Taylor Hackford, James L White (Screenplay) James L White (Story)

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Regina King, Clifton Powell, Harry Lennix, Bokeem Woodbine

 

Plot: The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s


Tagline – The extraordinary life story of Ray Charles.

Runtime: 2 Hours 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Biopic

 

Story: Ray starts as Ray Robinson (Foxx) leaves his hometown to make it in the music industry, it doesn’t take long for him to make an impact in the industry, he does get walked over by managers who take advantage of the fact that he is blind, Ray also learns bad habits which includes his drug abuse.

When Ray finally gets his solo chance, he becomes Ray Charles, marries Della Bea (Washington) and his rise to stardom is in full flow. Ray continued to bring new sound in his music, though his addiction and women including backup singer Margie Hendricks (King) start making his life very difficult.

 

Thoughts on Ray

 

Characters – Ray Charles is the blind jazz musician, we see how he became blind at a young age, learned to use his ears to pick up music which made him know how to mimic the stars of the era. Ray starts out as part of a band and soon wants to become a solo star, which he does, only with his rise in fame, comes his addiction to heroin and the women, which leads to him nearly throwing away his marriage on the way to the legendary status we know him as today. Della Bea is the woman Ray fell in love with, she becomes his wife, though stays away from his musical career, she helps him when he needs it most and never leaves his side. Margie Hendricks is one of the backup singers that Ray has an affair with, she becomes his on tour girlfriend and what happens to her helps Ray learn about the chance he needs to make with his own life. Jeff Brown is one of the most loyal man that handles Ray’s money through his career.

PerformancesJamie Foxx is fantastic in the leading role he does give the performance of his career here. Kerry Washington and Regina King bring us wonderful supporting role that show two very different women in Ray’s life. If we look further into the cast we have great performances from everybody in the film.

StoryThe story here shows the rise of Ray Charles, one of the most famous musicians of the 1950s and 60s, we see how his talent made him the star, his ability to mimic the stars showed the world what he was capable of despite being blind, we get to see his own vices which nearly saw his career come crashing down before him. If you want to see how to make a biopic story that will show both the good and bad of a life this is one of the most important because Ray did make mistakes which could have derailed his career. We do also get a glimpse into how he helped with the end of the segregation laws in America which made him get banned in one state. The way the story is told gives us the information we need to learn about each moment of his career too.

Biopic/MusicThe biopic for musicians is always one of the most talked about things in the movie community, some only show the good, this was brave enough to show both sides of this man Ray Charles career. The music involved in a string of the hits the fans will enjoy watching being performed.

SettingsThe film recreates the settings for some of the most iconic performances of Ray’s career, to make us feel like audience member, while away from the stage we see how his life felt like it was separate with his wife at home and his on the road events.


Scene of the Movie –
The song performances.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not learning the truth about what happened between two friends.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best musical biopics you will see, the performances are brilliant, the ability to capture the moments through the career help move the story along feeling like we are learning the behind stories of Ray.

 

Overall: Biopic masterpiece.

Rating

 

 

Kinsey (2004)

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Bill Condon (Screenplay)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Chris O’Donnell, Peter Sarsgaard, Timothy Hutton, John Lithgow, Tim Curry, Oliva Platt

Plot: A look at the life of Alfred Kinsey, a pioneer in the area of human sexuality research, whose 1948 publication “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male” was one of the first recorded works that saw science address sexual behavior.


Tagline – Let’s talk about sex.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: History Lesson 101

Story: Kinsey starts as we meet Alfred Kinsey (Neeson) has started to teach his students about how to ask the neutral questions to their candidates, we dive into his past where his father Alfred Seguine Kinsey (Lithgow) didn’t want him going anywhere needed around science, which his son Alfred learns, he meets his wife Clara (Linney) and when they have their own sexual problems, it inspires Alfred to open up the idea of teaching sex in school.

Professor Kinsey starts a marriage class with Clyde Martin (Sarsgaard) becoming his assistant in the class, as the students and married couples learn more about how to open people can be sharing their sexual experiences and preference, changing how people study sex.

Thoughts on Kinsey

Characters – Alfred Kinsey Jr breaks his family traditions by heading into the field of biology, he soon sees his worked praised, but nothing coming from it, it is when his wife and himself struggle in the bedroom, that he learns not enough research has been done in the field of sexual activity which sees him change history and the field of its study. Clara is the wife of Alfred’s, it is their problem which opens up the eyes, as they work together to learn about sexual choices, she supports from home for the most part. Wardell, Paul and Clyde are three of the assistants that work with Alfred learning as they discover more about everything in the sexual world. We do meet the professors that will support Kinsey’s work along with the ones that go against him.

PerformancesLiam Neeson is wonderful in this leading role, he gets to follow through many years of Kinsey’s life which shows the different moments of success and struggles he faced trying to open the eyes of the world. Laura Linney is great in the supporting role showing the supportive side to Kinsey’s work, with the whole supporting cast being strong through the film not putting a foot wrong anywhere through the film.

StoryThe story does follow Professor Alfred Kinsey as he went to onto change the mindset of the educational system that has shied away from for years, he pushes the limits and educates the generation about sex. This is an interesting look at how the education system was used to open up the world of sex to a new generation, we get to see just how difficult the fight to get everything through a system that wouldn’t accept anything outside the traditions and wanted to put an end his research. For a history lesson this is interesting and well worth watching because the story does show different ages opening up in ways that we would consider almost normal now.

Biopic/RomanceWe do get to see most of Alfred Kinsey life and career, how his work changed research already the world and educated people to be safer when engaged in sexual activities. The romance is mostly about how Alfred and Clara are open to working together and show how they are going to exploring themselves along with others.

SettingsThe film is set through different times of history from how the small classroom to the full department being used for research.


Scene of the Movie – The first class.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t get to learn just how much he changed everything.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting history lesson that shows us just how sex was needed to be taught from everyone to everyone.

Overall: Interesting history lesson.