Franchise Weekend – Goal II: Living the Dream (2007)

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: Mike Jeffries, Adrian Butchart, Terry Loane (Screenplay) Mike Jefferies, Adrian Buchart (Story)

Starring: Kuno Becker, Stephen Dillane, Leonor Varela, Elizabeth Pena, Carmelo Gomez, Miriam Colon, Rutger Hauer, Alessandro Nivola, Anna Friel

 

Plot: When Newcastle United soccer star Santiago Munez is offered a spot with Real Madrid, he accepts, but the move – accompanied by big money and fame – tests his ties and loyalties to family, friends and business acquaintances.


Tagline – The Journey Continues…

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappointing Sequel

 

Story: Goal II: Living the Dream starts with Gavin Harris (Nivola) now playing for Real Madrid, noting having a good spell at the time. Santiago as continues to thrive in Newcastle planning to marry Roz (Friel), until Real Madrid come knocking for him.

Santiago signs for Real Madrid where he must learn to cope with added fame and fortune, a long-distance relationship with Roz and being in the headlines every night, let along a personal twist to his past.

 

Thoughts on Goal II: Living the Dream

 

Characters – Santiago has now been signed by the biggest club in the world, Real Madrid, the spotlight is now firmly on him, he has too much money for a young footballer, in another new country, he starts to become reckless, against the character Roz fell for, as well as making bad life decisions, much like what Gavin was doing. He must deal with learning about what happened to long lost family members in the most important stage of his career. He has taken a complete turn from the supportable young man trying to follow his dream in this film. Gavin Harris has made the move before Santiago, he has been struggling to make an impact in the new team, he has tried to turn his life around, he is in competition with Santiago for a place in the team. Roz is planning the wedding between the two, she struggles with the distance apart knowing it would difficult, she doesn’t enjoy the spotlight either. Rosa is the long-lost mother of Santiago, she can’t believe he has come to her town which has seen her raise a new family one with another gifted young footballer.

PerformancesKuno Becker does struggle with the character switch he goes through, he doesn’t know how to truly make us feel sympathetic to his characters decisions. Alessandro Nivola does get us plenty of laughs through the film. Anna Friel doesn’t get enough time to make impact like she did in the first film, while Elizabeth Pena does bring another dimension to the film.

StoryThe story follows Santiago in the next stage of his career, here he will play for the biggest club in the world and must learn to deal with new problems including fame and fortune, one that all new footballers will need to face at a younger age. This story does feel strange because we don’t see the time frame between the two movies, we don’t know how successful Santiago became at Newcastle, but it can only be a couple of seasons. The switch in character of the grounded Santiago is strange because he never wanted to cave the pressure and this time, he is doing everything recklessly. Add in the fact this is about reaching a cup final it just feels to cinematic to be a believable story, unlike the first film. the romantic side of the story does feel like it is just tagged on making little impact on the main story, it is the story of the long-lost mother and the truth about what happened that does make the biggest impact on the story.

SportsThe football success chasing is strong, but does feel too cinematic with the goals mostly being unrealistic.

SettingsThe film takes us to Spain and the elite living class of a footballer, we see how they can walk in anywhere to be known, but it does give weather to feel like home.


Scene of the Movie –
Meeting mum.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The goals scored are ridiculously fake.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing sequel, mostly because it changes the character, we got to know too much from the first film.

 

Overall: Sequel that doesn’t live up to the original.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – F – Fighting Beat (2007)

Director: Piti Jaturaphat

Starring: David Bueno, Peerawat Herabat, Nattanun Jantarawetch, Andrew Koji, Nahatai Lekbumrung, Lex Luther, Than Thanakorn

 

Plot: A group of young Muay Thai experts led by David are forced to use their deadly training to protect themselves when the local extortionist threatens to kill their mentors daughter if he doesn’t give up his bar.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Muay Thai 101

 

Story: Fighting Beat starts as we meet Khem (Thanakorn) who lives in the area of Phi Phi Island, by day he with Aey (Herabat) work as guides for divers in the beautiful waters, by night the city comes to life as Khem entertains the fans in the local bar and fighting spots.

The happy little world is put to the test when David (Buneo) and his gang arrive in town wanting to uses their Muay Thai skills to intimidate the locals as they want to take over the bar, it is up o Khem to improve his skills to fight back and defend his own little part of paradise.

 

Thoughts on Fighting Beat

 

Characters – Khem was raised by a monk after his father was murdered, he has studied Muay Thai, living a life which sees him guide tourists to the best diving spots and entertain crowds in a local bar with his fighting skills, even if the results are fixed for the tourists to win. He will lead his friends in the fight back to stay in control of their local bar after a new gang tries to take over it, he must fight for everything he has in his life. David leads the attack on the bar which will see him turn to people who have a past that would be more of a threat in a fight. We have two sides in this fight, we have Khem’s friends that enjoy the life they live that will band together to fight back and David’s gang that will defend themselves with everything they have to put down the locals who are the only ones that fight back.

PerformancesThan Thanakorn is in the leading role which like most of the talent in this film sees to be trained in Muay Thai, everyone involved gets their moment to show their skills and the chemistry between the friends feels natural too.

StoryThe story is very simple it follows a group of locals that will fight to keep the local bar in the locals hands after a gang forces the owner into giving it up. We do get to see how one character, Khem does get to face the demons of his past in the defending the bar, only that is the biggest strain to take away from the two main gangs fighting. We are invested in the story by seeing how the locals do seem to be living in a paradise like world, where their friendship is what gives them added strength too.

ActionThe action is what we are here for, we get plenty of fighting sequences, which are entertaining, though you can see just how choreographed the sequences are.

SettingsThe film is set in the Phi Phil island which shows just how much of a paradise this location is.


Scene of the Movie –
Final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain fights feel overly hesitant.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple and enjoyable Muay Thai fighting action movie, it has an easy to follow story and will keep the martial arts fans happy.

 

Overall: Simple and Enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – W – War (2007)

Director: Philip G Atwell

Writer: Lee Anthony Smith, Gregory J Bradley (Screenplay)

Starring: Jet Li, Jason Statham, John Lone, Devon Aoki, Luis Guzman, Saul Rubinek, Ryo Ishibashi

 

Plot: An FBI Agent seeks vengeance on a mysterious assassin known as “Rogue” who murdered his partner.


Tagline – One wants justice, the other wants revenge.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Action Packed Twist Filled Film

 

Story: War starts when Crawford (Statham) and his partner Tom (Chen) are trying to locate the known assassin for hire Rogue (Li) the investigation takes a turn, when Tom and his family are murdered by Rogue. Joining a task force in hunt for Rogue, while watching over the two rival gangs the Triads and Yakuza, with Chang (Lone) and Shiro (Ishibashi) leading each side.

When Rogue starts playing both sides, Crawford sees the war coming, can Crawford finally get his hands on the man that killed his partner or will he become the latest victim of the mysterious assassin.

 

Thoughts on War

 

Characters – Rogue is the mysterious assassin that killed Tom’s whole family, he has been working for the Yakuza for years, but now he has switched sides to the Triads, he hasn’t been caught and is know for getting facial reconstruction to hide his identity. Rogue does have his own plans for his latest job which sees him going head to head with Crawford. Crawford is the FBI agent that is sees his partner murdered, he has been chasing Rogue for years and now he will do everything he can to final catch him and end his reign of terror, which has cost him his own wife. Chang is the leader of the Triads that has been able to keep business from persona life, he easily trust a former enemy though. Kira is running the operations for the Yakuza in San Francisco for her father being the only person he can trust.

PerformancesJet Li was in his prime during the mid-2000s, this shows he could be the cold-hearted killer, just as deadly with a gun than his fists. Jason Statham continued to make an impact on the action genre, he works well in this role being the detective we need for the film. John Lone, Devon Aoki and Ryo Ishibashi complete the supporting cast with effective ability doing what is needed for the film.

StoryThe story follows an FBI agent tracking a mysterious assassin who killed his partner, which sees him reappear when two rival gangs are about to go into full blown war. This does seem like a story that is going down one simple line, it is very busy with four different people planning their attacks to stay on top of the game. This is an action story that does get elevated by the final act which does turn everything on its head, making you want to go back and see if you can pick up on the clues being laid.

Action/CrimeThe action in War is combat based, be it the hand to hand fights or the gun flying around making the body count rise. We are completely in the criminal underworld of the Triad and Yakuza war.

SettingsThe film is set in San Francisco which shows us how America has become overrun by international gang wars looking to expand their businesses.


Scene of the Movie –
Shiro versus Rogue fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain flashbacks are annoying.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great action packed movie that is well worth a watch, it does have a killer twist which will make it stand out from the rest.

 

Overall: Wonderful action packed film.

Rating

 

 

Michael Rooker Weekend – Whisper (2007)

Director: Stewart Hendler

Writer: Christopher Borrelli (Screenplay)

StarringMichael Rooker, Josh Holloway, Blake Woodruff, Sarah Wayne Callies, Julian Christopher, Joel Edgerton, Dule Hill 

 

Plot: Sinister things begin happening to kidnappers who are holding a young boy for ransom in a remote cabin.


Tagline – The devil’s work is childs play

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Little Horror

 

Story: Whisper starts when a group of criminals Max (Holoway), Sidney (Rooker), Roxanne (Callies) and Vince (Edgerton) kidnap a young boy David (Woodruff) in an attempt to gain a large ransom, as they look to sort their lives out.

Once David is in their possession, the four criminals soon learn that they have bitten off more than they can chew, when it turns out David has some kind of power which he will use against them as he is pure evil.

 

Thoughts on Whisper

 

Characters – Max is the member of the gang that wants to go clean, he wants his own business, but doesn’t have the capital to achieve this, he take the job in hopes that it will give him the money required to get the business and seems to be the only one that can keep it together through the events of the kidnapping. David is the boy that has been kidnapped, he is shown to be a loner even at his own birthday party, but it soon becomes clear that he has some form of powers that even his mother is scared off, using them to trick the criminals. Roxanne is the girlfriend of Max’s she is the first one to fold and want to quit the job as the mother instincts start taking over. Sidney is the leader of the gang that is putting the job together, he knows who to pick which does make this easier for him, though he isn’t prepared for this job.

PerformancesThis is a strange one for performances because our leads are Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies who at the time were involved in two of the biggest television shows, they both do an acceptable enough job playing to their strengths. Michael Rooker brings the strength in his performance, while young Blake Woodruff makes for an evil child with ease.

StoryThe story here is interesting because it does take a different turn when it comes to the kidnapping genre, by adding the horror elements. It does seem like everything is going to be by the book, until we learn early on when David is pure evil and turns the tables on the kidnappers. Now this should all work well and for the most part is an enjoyable enough watch, only we get a third act twist which only leaves us question large parts of the first act along with certain characters decisions.

Crime/HorrorThe crime side of the film follows the kidnapping which seems to have gone smoothly for the criminals, the don’t get enough focus on the investigation though, which does feel like it could be an important part of the film. The horror side of the film focuses on the idea of the pure evil that David is and just how he uses his powers to make the people do the terrible things.

SettingsThe film has a couple of settings with the safehouse being the cabin in the woods away from any visitors, the small town just helps show how desperate the criminals are too.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, we get a true mixed bag because the film doesn’t seem to commit on the levels needed to create the scares required.


Scene of the Movie –
The final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The shower scene is shot badly.

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to watch horror that is all we ask for at times, this isn’t the scariest film you will see and by the end it does have enough surprises to turn heads.

 

Overall: Simple and easy to watch horror.

Rating

 

 

Emily Blunt Weekend – Wind Chill (2007)

Director: Gregory Jacobs

Writer: Joe Gangemi, Steven Katz (Screenplay)

Starring: Emily Blunt, Ashton Holmes, Martin Donovan, Ned Bellamy

 

Plot: Two college students share a ride home for the holidays, but when they break down on a deserted stretch of road, they are preyed upon by the ghosts of people who have died there.


Tagline – Catch Your Death

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Little Horror

 

Story: Wind Chill starts as a college student only known as Girl (Blunt) is looking to head to Delaware for Christmas, suggested the ride share, she gets a lift with Guy (Holmes) as the difficulties in the journey beginning with their lack of conversation.

When the journey starts to take an unexpected turn with the nature of the lift being offered, the two get caught up in an accident on a snowy highway, needing to survive the cold they wait for rescue until they start seeing people walking past only to not get any reply from them with the visits getting more haunting as the night rolls on.

 

Thoughts on Wind Chill

 

Characters – This is a strange film for trying to describe the characters, no one is named, so we have, Girl who is trying to get home for Christmas, she seems stuck up about everything and feels selfish for the most part. She does start to take the ride share guy for granted without wanting to give him the conversation desired. She does feel more streetwise through certain situations though. The Guy who offers the lift, seems simple enough to start with, only for his true motivation to come to light, as he has planned to use the lift to get to know the girl. The highway Patrolman is one of the more aggressive spirits haunting the highway, we learn more about his presence as the students learn about him.

PerformancesEmily Blunt is now one of the biggest names in the industry and like many young stars they start in a small horror movie, she is good in the leading role, showing all her potential for the world to see. Ashton Holmes is good in the supporting role and Martin Donovan makes for the creepy patrolman.

StoryThe story follows a couple of students that are travelling across country for Christmas, only to find themselves in a crash which leaves them stranded in the freezing condition which only becomes worse then the ghosts of the road start haunting them. This is a mix of survival story which shows how the girl must survive the conditions, while also doing the ghosts haunting to send a warning of what is coming. We do get a lot of sequences which you need to pay attention to certain elements and we do get foreshadowing being used that you will pick up on too. The story doesn’t need to be that complicated which is isn’t and you can follow along even with a twist along the way.

HorrorThe horror comes from first the location of being isolated after the accident, then the ghosts only make it worse because they learn what one of them will do if it gets its hands on them.

SettingsThe film puts our characters on the side of the snow-covered road over the night which is filled with freezing conditions which will only make rescue difficult for the characters.

Special EffectsThe effects are held off for when they are needed to make us understand the paranormal to reality moments.


Scene of the Movie –
The end of it?

That Moment That Annoyed Me One too many false moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice little horror that will get the jumps when needed and clever story telling on what could be going on.

 

Overall: Horror fans check this one out.

Rating