James Bond Month – Quantum of Solace (2008)

Director: Marc Forster

Writer: Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade (Screenplay)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench, Giancarlo Giannini, Gemma Arterton, Jeffrey Wright

 

Plot: James Bond descends into mystery as he tries to stop a mysterious organization from eliminating a country’s most valuable resource.


Tagline – Have Regrets. Get Revenge.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Sequel

 

Story: Quantum of Solace starts right after the events of Casino Royale, James Bond (Craig) is searching for the organization that was controlling the events of the previous film. James is teaming up with M (Dench) only to learn the true scale of the organizations reach.

James travels to Haiti where he meets Camille (Kurylenko) a woman working with Dominic Greene (Amalric) who has been planning making a fortune on his own desires within the organization, Bond does continue to break the rules pushing M to the limits of her acceptance.

 

Thoughts on Quantum of Solace

 

Characters – James Bond is filled with vengeance after what happened in Casino Royale, he wants to hunt down the people involved within in the organization, he starts to go rogue in the eyes of the people in MI6, which sees him killing people before getting the information desired. He will go above the duty to get the people involved. Camille is the lady dating Dominic Greene, she has her own reason for being close to him and ends up working with James to get her own revenge on the organization. Dominic Greene has been working within the organization, he has a plan which will see him gain control of the nature resource with the idea to hold a country to ransom for the resource. He isn’t the most interesting villain in the franchise becoming of the more forgettable. M continues to get a large role within the franchise, here she is trying to decide whether to keep James in the field or not, getting tired of him breaking the rules.

PerformancesDaniel Craig does continue to handle the action side of the film well, he could easily be an action spy without the big name slapped to his character. Olga Kurylenko is fine as a Bond girl, she doesn’t get to bring anything overly new to the role though. Mathieu Amalric doesn’t get enough to work with for his villainous role, he is largely forgettable, though this isn’t about his performance. Judi Dench has suddenly become the most interesting character in this franchise, which is strange and you do want to see all her scenes.

StoryThe story continues to follow the first mission from James Bond as he has unfinished business with how that ended, he must investigate the organization that happens to be bigger than MI6 even knew about. By having a continuing story both works in the films advantage and against it, because you wouldn’t be able to watch this one without seeing the previous one, though it is nice to see a word building process happening. Keeping James on his first mission does continue to make the story feel fresh because we are seeing just how many reckless decisions he will be making through the mission. When it comes to the villain, we get a largely forgettable motive and he never feels like a danger to James.

Action/AdventureThe action continues to be the highlight of the film, we a much more edge of your seat feeling to the chase sequences being used in the film, with the adventure side of the film continues to take James around the world.

SettingsThe settings in the film takes James around the world to investigate the organization.


Scene of the Movie –
Roof top running.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villain being forgettable.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sequel that works well for the franchise because it continues to show us how James is learning from his mistakes on the job.

 

Overall: Sequel that helps the franchise.

Rating

 

 

Jon Favreau Weekend – Iron Man (2008)

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Characters)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Leslie Bibb, Shaun Toub, Faran Tahir

 

Plot: After being held captive in an Afghan cave, billionaire engineer Tony Stark creates a unique weaponized suit of armor to fight evil.


Tagline – Heroes aren’t born. They’re built

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict:  Great Start to the Franchise

 

Story: Iron Man starts as billionaire engineer Tony Stark (Downey Jr) is captured on a routine weapon visit to Afghanistan showing off his latest weapon, his capturer wants him to build a new weapon, but Tony was injured and is in shock at the number of weapons from his company they have.

Tony builds a suit which he will use to escape and save his own life, one which could be used to fight evil, he becomes Iron Man. His long-time friend Rhodey (Howard) is impressed with his new toy, and his partner Obadiah Stane (Bridges) wants to use the weapon to continue the war effort. Tony will have to learn the position he is know in the world to learn to protect it.

 

Thoughts on Iron Man

 

Characters – Tony Stark is a billionaire playboy engineer who has been developing the latest weapons to defend the home land, he looks down on most the people he meets including the soldiers showing around the warzone. He gets captured and designs a weapon that sees him escape, he makes himself Iron Man which will keep him alive, which sees him looking at life through different eyes, where he doesn’t want to supply weapons in conflict. Rhodey is the military best friend of Tony’s he uses the weapons created to help his men, he can get tired of Tony’s partying lifestyle. Obadiah Stane ran Stark enterprise after Tony’s parents death, he has mentored Tony in business, but is left with a difficult decision after Tony’s decision to stop making weapons. Pepper Potts is Tony’s assistant, she handles the affairs while he gets on with his business.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr is fantastic in the leading role, we can believe his confidence and cocky nature that he is showing through the film. Terrence Howard is playing a more grounded character, he would go onto be replaced in this role, he just doesn’t have the complete opposite against that Robert brings. Jeff Bridges is strong as the villainous businessman who is controlled by greed. Gwyneth Paltrow does a solid job as Pepper, where she is going to become a character we get to know through the franchise.

StoryThe story shows us how Tony Stark went from businessman to Iron Man after learning the cost of his weapons which are being used on both sides of the war and must stop the man running his family’s company into the ground with these action. For origin stories we get to see the change in Tony’s mentality over the course of the story which is what will make somebody a hero. We don’t get the completely over the top destruction, with most of the fight scenes blending into the story where we see Tony learning how to control his suit. We get the first steps into the Marvel Cinematic Universe which brings the franchise to life with this just needing to give the hero an early villain that will make him a new hero in the world.

Action/Sci-Fi The action in this film comes war sequences and how Tony learns about his suits capabilities, the first mission shows what we are going to see in the future. The sci-fi elements in this film comes from how the suit is created to keep Tony alive and the new levels of technology involved.

SettingsThe film takes us to a couple of locations, Miami where Tony lives shows his playboy lifestyle, the Afghan locations show how the war is being fought with the two different sides and the same weapons.

Special EffectsThe effects used in this film show us the scale of what Tony will have do to survive, we have the idea of his heart that never looks out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
Iron Man’s first mission.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Rhodey isn’t the most interesting character in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful beginning to the franchise which would go onto change how cinema is experienced, it has the origin of an unknown character to the casual fans of comic book movies, which works for laughs and action, without being a comedy.

 

Overall: Fun, entertaining and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)

Director: Mark Waters

Writer: Karey Kirkpatrick, David Berenbaum, John Sayles (Screenplay) Tony DiTerlizzi, Holly Black (Book)

Starring: Freddie Highmore, Mary-Louise Parker, Nick Nolte, Sarah Bolger, Andrew McCarthy, Joan Plowright, David Strathairn

 

Plot: Upon moving into the run-down Spiderwick Estate with their mother, twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace, along with their sister Mallory, find themselves pulled into an alternate world full of faeries and other creatures.


Tagline – Experience Their World In IMAX

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Fantasy Adventure

 

Story: The Spiderwick Chronicles starts when a family mother Helen (Parker) and children, Mallory (Bolger), twins Jared & Simon (Both played by Highmore) move to a remote Spiderwick estate. Not long after arriving in the home Jared to rebellious of the twins starts investigating the home only to discovery a mysterious book from the former owner.

Once Jared reads the book, he unleashes a goblin army that has been after the book for years and Mulgarath (Nolte) will do anything to get his hands on the book.

 

Thoughts on The Spiderwick Chronicles

 

Characters – Jared is the out going of the twins, he is the one that reads the book and must convince the rest to fight back against goblins, his nature means people are less likely to believe him through any of his decisions though. Simon is the quieter and smarter brother that must look for the solution to the problems being caused. Helen is the mother that is dealing with raising the three children after her marriage has fallen apart and she needs to start a new life, one she isn’t prepared for. Mallory is the older sister that must be the warrior for the twins. Mulgarath is the goblin king that wants the book to kill any species in the surrounding area.

PerformancesFreddie Highmore takes twin roles here and handles them both very well showing how he can be the smarter kid and the adventurous one too. Mary Louise Parker in the parental role works well as we need her to bring the serious side to the story now. Sarah Bolger is strong too needing to be the strongest member of the children.

StoryThe story takes three siblings into a battle with goblins with fantasy creatures being used to guide the way in this battle. This will bring the broken family back together, well back to the level they are going to need to get used too. The scale of the book doesn’t give the story enough credit because it feels like this book has created a massive world only for us to get a snippet into everything. this story doesn’t re-invent the wheel because we can see the formula unfold without needing to guess to much on just how thing go on. We do deal with a big family change which should be the focal point through the film too.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure side of the film takes the family into battle against the creatures of the forest which are invisible to most of the world, this plays into the fantasy side too because of the creatures we see at war.

SettingsThe film takes the family to a new house that is in the middle of the forest, which shows us the finical change the family must take, as well as the adventures waiting in the forest for people to experience.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are strong for the most part because we get to see the different creation looking like they would fit in the normal world.


Scene of the Movie –
Come with me.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not getting a full grasp of the scale of the fantasy world.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun fantasy adventure that brings the characters into a world which will unite them as they deal with the biggest change of the children’s life.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

The Killing Death (2008)

Director: Ian Russell

Writer: Ian Russell (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeremy Dangerfield, Tyhr Trubiak, Neil Reimer, Darren Felbel, Stephen Washen, Veronica Ternopolski

Plot: Two Cops on the trail of a killer making the ultimate pizza.


Tagline – Terror by the slice!
Runtime: 1 Hour 5 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Micro Budget 101

Story: The Killing Death starts when two detectives Frank (Dangerfield) who is about to retire and Jimmy (Trubiak) who is on his first case, must figure out the connection between a string of murders, with the suspect Chicago Phil (Reimer) committing a string of murders around town, each suspect is introduced to give him a fresh kill.

The closer the detectives get to solving the case, the increased number of bodies that keep turning up, can they solve the case before it is too late.

Thoughts on The Killing Death

Characters – Frank is an aging detective that has always finished his cases, he is about to retire and now he wants to finish this last case before he goes, Jimmy is the rookie working his first case, he is learning from Frank too, proving he needs to solve the case to make it. Chicago Phil is a pizza delivery guy that has a habit of killing his clients, he is trying to make a perfect pizza along the way.

PerformancesThis is a hard film to criticise because of the fact it is micro budget, the problem with the acting comes from the fact that nothing feels natural in how things are delivered.

StoryThe story here follows two detectives trying to solve the case of a serial killer in their town. The outside of this story seems simple and one that could be enjoyed, only for it to come up very short in delivery, the killer and weapon of choice does seem to become random, even though we have a couple of scenes where it is clear choice, the detectives seem to just be making up their own story to make the case easy to close and apart from investigating the case, they never seen to search for answers. For a micro-budget story this does do what it needs to by laying out the format, only it just doesn’t come close to becoming easy to enjoy.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy in this film does come from how awkward the two detectives are when it comes to communication, it is very hard to see these jokes coming off. The horror is only around the kills, which are meant to show a serial killer at work.

SettingsThe film uses the different houses that could have a pizza delivery as the main locations, which work for the film.

Special EffectsThe effects for a micro budget are the strongest part of the film, they show how certain things can work in films.


Scene of the Movie – Take it easy.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Most of the comedy.

Final Thoughts This is a micro budget film that does try to give us something original even though it does miss for the most part on comedy, it is a film that looks like the people behind it enjoyed making.

Overall: Sometimes you just need to enjoy what you do.

Rating

The Bank Job (2008)

Director: Roger Donaldson

Writer: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows, Stephen Campbell Moore, Daniel Mays, James Faulkner, Alki David, Michael Jibosn

 

Plot: Martine offers Terry a lead on a foolproof bank hit on London’s Baker Street. She targets a roomful of safe deposit boxes worth millions in cash and jewelry. But Terry and his crew don’t realize the boxes also contain a treasure trove of dirty secrets – secrets that will thrust them into a deadly web of corruption and illicit scandal.


Tagline – Based on a true story

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Busy Heist Film

 

Story: The Bank Job starts when former lover Martine Love (Burrows) turns to Terry Leather (Statham) to do a bank job which can get him out of his debts and start a fresh life, Terry puts together a team including Kevin (Moore), Dave (Mays), Guy (Faulkner), Bambas (David) and Eddie (Jibson) for a Foolproof plan.

The job does seem easy, but Terry doesn’t know that Martine is working for the government who are trying to get condemning evidence back and that Terry is just a pawn in this game, can they get the job done without being caught?

 

Thoughts on The Bank Job

 

Characters – Terry Leather is a car salesman in London, he has amounted debts which will see his business go under if the loan sharks don’t get to him first. He has worked on small crimes before, but a former lover offers him a job he can’t turn down, one that can get him out of his problems once and for all. Martine is the former lover and model who has been assigned to steal the photos from the safety deposit box in exchange for charges being dropped, she picks Terry and his team to get the job done, not giving away her own side of the deal.  Kevin and Dave are two members of the team doing the robbery, the two closest to Terry which gives us the friendship being put on the line between the men.

PerformancesJason Statham as a wise talking Londoner this sounds like something he can do well, he looks the part, you could see him in the underworld without needing to use his muscles either. Saffron Burrows can make herself the model figure that uses her looks to get a job done. When we look at the supporting cast, they all handle their roles well through the film.

StoryThe story follows a group of Londoners that get offered a chance to commit a bank robbery to get out of the area only to find themselves in the middle of a much bigger operation to retrieve photos which can be used to bring down important political figures. This is a heist story which does have an extra edge because it isn’t just about the job, it is about the bigger picture which puts the rich and famous live into chaos. While we do have a lot going on, which is part of the idea because the chaos is meant to be getting out of control once the robbery is complete, though it does feel like we see too much to keep up on at times.

Crime/RomanceThe crime is set-up to work perfectly well and goes well, it is the aftermath which shows us just how chaotic the crime world can become for the people who commit the robbery or have been robbed.

SettingsThe film is set in London which shows us just how corrupt certain parts of the city can be at times and if you are the right person, you can get around like nothing is happening.


Scene of the Movie –
The robbery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too much going on post-robbery.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very busy heist movie, it does work with just how much is going on which is good, though it isn’t as relaxing as a lot of heist film can be.

 

Overall: Heist film that keeps everything going on.

Rating