ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – D – District 13 (2004)

Director: Pierre Morel

Writer: Luc Besson, Bibi Naceri (Screenplay)

Starring: Cyril Raffaelli, David Belle, Tony D’Amario, Bibi Naceri, Dany Verissimo-Petit, Francois Chattot

 

Plot: Set in the ghettos of Paris in 2010, an undercover cop and ex-thug try to infiltrate a gang in order to defuse a neutron bomb.


Tagline – Welcome to District B13 Welcome to the future

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Quality Action

 

Story: District 13 starts in the near future well 2010 (it was the future when the film was made) Paris has blocked of ghettos which has only created more crime within the walls. Leito (Belle) is trying to fight a drug war himself against Taha Bemamud (Naceri) with his henchmen K2 (D’Amario) doing the leg work.

In an attempt to get back at Leito by taking his sister Lola (Verissimo-Petit) it only escalates the battle between the two. Trying to go to the cops, Leito is left locked up and Lola taken back, hooked up on the drugs by Taha who has taken over complete control of the district. Captain Damien Tomaso (Raffaelli) joins Leito to eliminate the threat after a neutron bomb is place in the middle of the district.

 

Thoughts on District 13

 

Characters – Captain Damien Tomaso is one of the best officers on thee force, he can go undercover to take down most criminals with his latest operation going perfectly, now he must work with Leito to return a stolen weapon which is due to explode within the day. Leito is a local resident of the district who has been trying to clean up the district, this ends him up in jail and being given a chance save his sister and end the war and get his freedom. The pair both uses their fighting and parkour skills to stay ahead of the game. K2 is the lead henchmen for Taha, he will confront any enemy before the fight even if he ends up looking like an idiot more often than not. Taha is the drug lord controlling the criminal activities in the district, he has an army that will not stop when it comes to following his instructions.

PerformancesCyril Raffaelli and David Belle are fantastic in the leading roles with their own style of parkour action which brings a new style of action to the already well know genre, we don’t have ropes or nets for most of the stunt work either. When we get to the supporting cast the villains are entertaining enough and give the heroes a chance to do what they do best.

StoryThe story is simple and does borrow from the likes of ‘Escape from New York’ by having the districts used to control criminals, while not everyone is a criminal, we see a cop and a rebel needing to take down the leader and stop a weapon being used on the richer side of the country. The film does focus on the action more than anything, which can take away any deepness in the story, though the simplistic idea keeps the action flowing for the audience.

Action/Crime/Sci-FiThe action is a mix of parkour and fighting which felt original at the time, certain stunt moments are fantastic to watch which feels like a breath of fresh air. The criminal world we are entering show us just how it can grow when the government give up on them and the sci-fi world shows us just how the future could become bleak when shutting people away.

SettingsThe film shows us the district have been built up to keep people in only to turn them against each other and the outside world, it creates great moments of parkour for the action to take place in.


Scene of the Movie –
The parkour escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not the deepest story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful action film that bought the audience parkour for the first time, something which has been used more famously in bigger movies since, while it doesn’t have the deepest story, it makes up for this with the action.

 

Overall: Action fans treat.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – K – Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Director: Stephen Chow

Writer: Stephen Chow, Kan-Cheung Tsang, Xin Huo, Man Keung Chan (Screenplay)

Starring: Stephen Chow, Xiaogang Feng, Wah Yuen, Zhihua Dong, Kwok-Kwan Chan

 

Plot: In Shanghai, China in the 1940s, a wannabe gangster aspires to join the notorious “Axe Gang” while residents of a housing complex exhibit extraordinary powers in defending their turf.


Tagline – A new comedy unlike anything you have seen before

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Funny Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: Kung Fu Hustle starts when hustler Sing (Chow) and his sidekick Bone (Lam) arrive in the slums in Shanghai, Sing wanting to become part of the notorious Axe Gang ends up calling them there to help him, only to discover the slums are filled with masters of kung fu.

To be welcomed into the gang Sing must prove he can kill someone which brings him back to Pig Sty Ally to get the deed done. Sing will now need to learn which side of the law he need to be on.

 

Thoughts on Kung Fu Hustle

 

Characters – Sing is a hustler that wants to be a gangster, this leads him to getting into the situations he finds himself in as he is drawn between the two different sides of the law. Bone is Sing’s sidekick, he doesn’t get things done playing the simple card too often. Brother Sum is the leader of the Axe gang, he must find a way to kill the kung fu masters.

PerformancesThe performances are good from the whole cast, Stephen Chow gets the most laughs, while letting the rest of the cast do most of the kung fu performances until the end sequence.

StoryThe story plays into the idea of gangster movies can be wildly over the top as one man needs to find his own place in the world with gangsters, kung fu masters and honest people. This works if you like gangsters movies because everything unfolds like you would expect and being wildly over the top.

Action/Crime/ComedyThe action is kung fu, but madly over the top which does play into the comedy which is good fun to watch, this plays into the crime side of gangs trying to take over.

SettingsThe settings shows the different worlds the gang and the masters live which is where the battle takes place.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to add to the comedy in this movie as we get slapstick and even cartoonish effects through the movie.


Scene of the Movie –
Final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Holding Stephen Chow back too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is one hell of a great fun comedy movie that checks off everything it needs to as it makes you laugh from nearly the opening sequence to the credits.

 

Overall: Enjoyable throughout.

Rating

 

 

Halloween Midnight Franchise – Saw (2004)

Director: James Wan

Writer: Leigh Whannell (Screenplay) Leigh Whannell, James Wan (Story)

Starring: Leigh Whannell, Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Ken Leung, Michael Emerson, Monica Potter

 

Plot: Two strangers awaken in a room with no recollection of how they got there or why, and soon discover they are pawns in a deadly game perpetrated by a notorious serial killer.


Tagline – How do you solve a puzzle with pieces missing?

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Horror

 

Story: Saw starts as Adam (Whannell) and Dr Lawrence Gordon (Elwes) awaken in a bathroom, with their ankles chained and a dead body between them. They both have a tape from notorious murderer Jigsaw that wants to play a game with them.

Dr Gordon fills in who Jigsaw is to Adam and us, as we learn the Detectives David Tapp (Glover) and Steven Sing (Leung) who have been hunting Jigsaw and even suspect Dr Gordon at one stage. It becomes an obsession for Tapp who believe Dr Gordon is Jigsaw leaving him to watch his home, but as Adam and Lawrence get to know each other the twists on the true identity of Jigsaw come to light.

 

Thoughts on Saw

 

Characters – Dr Gordon is one of the latest victims of Jigsaw, a respected doctor why would he be selected is a mystery but his personal life isn’t as clean as his medical career. Dr Gordon plays the vital role of filling in the blanks to who Jigsaw could be as he has been considered a suspect. Adam is the other victim in the room, he seems clueless to everything going on but we learn his reason for being selected and his connection to Dr Gordon. Detective David Tapp has been hunting Jigsaw, it nearly cost him his life and has now become an obsession for him. Detective Sing is the partner of Tapp that has been working on the case with him.

PerformancesCary Elwes and Leigh Whannell are both great in the leading roles of the film both show the desperate position they find themselves one being calm the other panicked with their responses. Danny Glover wasn’t too old for this shit, in fact he is good throughout in the supporting role of the film.

StoryThe story is a mystery of why the two are being locked in bathroom, the film opens the door to the bigger picture to who and why Jigsaw does what he does, the selecting the victim process and the concept of keeping us guessing to just who Jigsaw is. We have a nice number of twists that keep us guessing from early on in the film which only gives us more when we look back on second viewing. This is a brilliant start to what became a Halloween tradition in cinema.

Horror/Mystery The horror is what has happened to previous victims of the Jigsaw murders, we also have the idea of what could happen to our leads in the bathroom. The mystery comes from the idea of just who is behind the crimes as we watch the investigation unfold before us.

SettingsThe settings for the film are used perfectly, we have the games which are mine fields for the victims with the bathroom being the biggest of all of them, which is what makes this the icon film we know.

Special EffectsThe effects are practical which is good to see, we are left in shock with moments even if some of the film is based more of what has happened over forcing us to watch.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act

That Moment That Annoyed Me Part of Tapp’s storyline seems tagged on.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most iconic horrors of modern time, it has everything and most importantly took the horror genre to a much needed new direction.

 

Overall: Must watch horror film.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Before Sunset (2004)

Director: Richard Linklater

Writer: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke (Screenplay) Richard Linklater, Kim Krizan (Story)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

 

Plot: Nine years after Jesse and Celine first met, they encounter each other again on the French leg of Jesse’s book tour.


Tagline – What if you had a second chance with the one that got away?

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Character Piece

 

Story: Before Sunset starts as Jesse (Hawke) is in Paris on his book tour, the one telling his story from 9 years ago, meeting Celine. When Celine turns up at the store, the twos spark is still there and today they have only hours to catch up and answer the big question, did they meet up in Vienna.

The two have seen their lives fly by as we learn how their careers have gone in directions that make them happy and the natural catch up just relights the fire they had, only now they have more responsibilities now they are in their 30s.

 

Thoughts on Before Sunset

 

Characters – Jesse is now a best-selling author, his book is about the time he spent with Celine, he has still has unanswered questions about what happened with Vienna. Married he has moved on with his life. Celine has followed her career choice, seen more of the world and has been left wondering if Jesse has ever made it to Vienna, after she hadn’t. the chemistry between the two is still strong, as we get to learn what happened in the last 9 years of their lives.

PerformancesEthan Hawke and Julie Delpy are back carrying this movie, they are involved in every scene and the chemistry between the two still shines and is something you can barely see in any movie, while this isn’t as strong as the first film because they feel even more comfortable than before when there should be moments of awkwardness.

StoryThe story sets up to answer the big question the fans of the first film had, did they meet up 6 months later. We do learn this answer and how the two didn’t meet, we learn how they have lived their own lives, forever changed by their time together. This story is told in real-time as the two only get a couple of hours together, to learn if the life had gone the way they had planned and whether they still think about that time they spent together, which is both brilliant and heart-breaking to watch. This story gives everyone that has ever thought they met the one a chance to see how things could have gone for them with a second meeting.

RomanceThe romance shows us how that one moment with someone magical can affect your life for many years to come.

SettingsThis time we are set in Paris, yet again we have a beautiful backdrop to discussing life for the two characters.


Scene of the Movie –
Boat trip.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Partly knowing what happening with Vienna 6 months later.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful sequel, it gives hope to people that have had that one meeting with someone and it can happen again, but life is someone out there can change things.

 

Overall: Beautiful sequel.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – N – The Notebook (2004)

Director: Nick Cassavetes

Writer: Jeremy Leven, Jan Sardi (Screenplay) Nicholas Sparks (Novel)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner, Gena Rowlands, Sam Shepard, Joan Allen, James Marsden, Kevin Connolly,

 

Plot: A poor yet passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman, giving her a sense of freedom, but they are soon separated because of their social differences.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Date Night Sorted

 

Story: The Notebook starts as Duke (Garner) a positive thinking elderly man is getting ready to continue a story to Miss Hamilton (Rowlands) at the home, this story takes us back to Noah (Gosling) who meets the 17-year-old Allie (McAdams), both from different backgrounds, Noah poor and Allie rich.

When the two fall wildly in love Allie’s parent’s don’t want her to spend her life with what they call trash, leading to a break-up of the loving couple. Years fly by the two live their own lives away from each other where Allie falls in love with a man her family approve off. While the two cross paths again the love they felt will always be there, but life always gets in the way.

 

Thoughts on The Notebook

 

Characters – Noah came from the wrong side of town, the side with no money or prospects, he earns everything he has to prove that he can escape this world, he makes it through war but his love for Allie will never stop being there. Allie comes from the rich part of town, she accepts Noah for being different but her parents stop her from following the true love she felt for him, while she does fall in love with another man she will always have that flame for Noah. Duke is the man telling us the story to Miss Hamilton who is listening to the story, we learn that they are a bigger part of the story too.

PerformanceGosling and McAdams both shine in these roles which will always be considered two of their more popular roles of their careers. James Garner and Gena Rowlands are both great in the older roles too.

StoryThe story focuses on two people who fell in love, they face stumbling blocks along the way be it personal or otherwise but the love they feel will be what no other can give them. We do flash between the story unfolding as it is being told that does give us hints to who the elder characters are which at times can be frustrating because the final reveal is the one that plays on the heart strings. This is a fairy tale love story, which the likely hood of every happening seems unlikely, but it gives the audience hope of true love.

RomanceThe romance in this film does show how two people can fall in love and it last forever even through illness, war and everyday situations.

SettingsThe settings give us a clear difference in class the two come from and just how the love they feel can bring people together from different background

s.

Scene of the Movie – Swans and rain.

 

That Moment That Annoyed Me I think they give away a twist too early.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the all time most popular date night movies, you can see why because it does work on the love side of things.

 

Overall: This is a bitter sweet love story that plays for tears.

Rating