ABC Film Challenge – Random – U – Untraceable (2008)

untracDirector: Gregory Hoblit

Writer: Robert Fyvolent, Mark Brinker, Allison Burnett (Screenplay) Robert Fyvolent, Mark Brinker (Story)

Starring: Diane Lane, Billy Burke, Colin Hanks, Joseph Cross, Mary Beth Hurt, Peter Gray Lewis

 

Plot: FBI agent Jennifer Marsh is tasked with hunting down a seemingly untraceable serial killer who posts live videos of his victims on the Internet. As time runs out, the cat and mouse chase becomes more personal.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dark Thriller

 

Story: Untraceable starts as we meet a partnership within the FBI computer division where Jennifer Marsh (Lane) and Griffin Dowd (Hanks) search for cybercrimes. This is show as we see how good the pair are at tracking down and capturing the criminals.

The main story starts when Jennifer discovers a website called ‘Kill With Me’ showing a tortured cat that can’t be closed down. When the killer returns, he picks a human victim with brings in Detective Eric Box (Burke) to work with Jennifer to figure out the motive behind the killer’s actions.

 

Thoughts on Untraceable

 

StoryWe all like to see a good dark crime thriller and this story delivers on that, we get plenty of graphic murders happening by the killer as we are left to wonder just what his motives are. I do think we have a killer with good motives once we learn them and I also like how everything in circled around societies new obsession with the internet and viral videos. This is a crime story I would expect that fans of the genre to enjoy even if certain elements are slightly too dark for some.

Crime/Mystery/Thriller We get a crime story that is full of the everything you need for an intense thriller that shows just how dark crimes can be when you looking for why the crime is taking place. We do have the mystery side of the story as we have to figure out why the killer is committing these crimes.

Characters/PerformanceWhen it comes to the characters Jennifer Marsh is developed to be the solo parent who seems to be the only one smart enough to figure out how to stop the killer, well her and her partner Griffin. When you look at the Detective Box character you are left wondering how he was in that position because he has no clue about the crimes going on. The killer does have good motives but in the end we are left feeling he is defeated slightly too easily. I do think the performances are all good without being considered any of the best of that year.

SettingsI think the settings are solid because the killer wants it hard to find him but in the end, nothing feels like it is anything special to where the events of the film take place.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good dark thriller I do think people can enjoy even if it is too dark for the casual fans.

 

Overall: Deliciously dark crime thriller that tries to push boundaries with the killer.

Ratingcard

 

 

Advertisements

Original v Remake Weekend – Quarantine (2008)

Director: John Erick Dowdle

Writer: John Erick Dowdle, Drew Dowdle (Screenplay) Jaume Balaguero, Luiso Berdejo, Pace Plaza (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Jennifer Carpenter, Steve Harris, Jay Hernandez, Johnathon Schaech, Columbus Short, Andrew Fiscella

 

Plot: A television reporter and her cameraman are trapped inside a building quarantined by the CDC, after the outbreak of a mysterious virus which turns humans into bloodthirsty killers.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Did We Need It?

 

Story: Quarantine starts as Angela Vidal (Carpenter) a reporter who assigned with her cameraman Scott (Harris) to follow a firefighter team around on one night. Learning how the men get through their time together, they finally get a call to an apartment building where it isn’t a fire they are tackling, it is a blood thirsty group of humans but to make things worse, the team find themselves quarantined within the building.

Angela continues to report from inside the building as the others look for a way out even though nearly all the outings are closed up but they now face a bigger threat from the inside as the dead are coming back from the dead and after human flesh.

 

Thoughts on Quarantine

 

Characters/PerformanceAngela is the reporter just looking to get a great story but finds herself on the edge of one of the biggest stories she could have ever imagined. It would be fair to say the rest of the characters are just people in the building, the cameraman and firefighters, none of which we learn too much about.

Performance wise, Jennifer Carpenter is good in the leading role but the problem with a ‘found footage’ film is that if you know the stars it loses the realism needed from when you have unknowns.

StoryThe story is simple enough, the new reporter and her cameraman get caught up in the middle of a quarantine of a potentially deadly infection spreading around which could kill everyone in the building, city and eventually the world. This doesn’t offer anything new from the original but does lose moments it needed to make it stand out.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror is simple enough and does work in places but not to the levels the original offered us. You are also not on the edge of your seat like you once might have been watching the first film.

SettingsMost of the film is set within the building, it has no escape and a virus spreading, this does work and is easily the strongest element of this film.

Special EffectsThis movie does have a bigger budget than the original and does use that on the special effects which come off very well when it comes to the zombie like infected characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a remake we didn’t need, the original has good sequels and this one offers nothing new to the idea which only disappoints for the audience.

 

Overall: Disappoint sequel that doesn’t hit all the heights of the original.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – W – The Wrestler (2008)

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Writer: Robert D Siegel (Screenplay)

Starring: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Mark Margolis, Todd Barry, Wass Stevens

 

Plot: A faded professional wrestler must retire, but finds his quest for a new life outside the ring a dispiriting struggle.


Tagline – Love. Pain. Glory.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Modern Great

 

Story: The Wrestler starts as we follow Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson (Rourke) a once icon of the wrestling business, still working small events where he is the star attraction but struggling to make ends meet on the payment for his own trailer park home. Randy is close with the everyday people in his life and has his own go to stripper Cassidy (Tomei).

One night after another show stealing performance Randy suffers a heart-attack where he is warned not to continue wrestling or it will kill him. Randy tries to rekindle his broken relationship with his daughter Stephanie (Wood) while balancing the idea that he could have one final big payday, a rematch against his biggest rival.

 

Thoughts on The Wrestler

 

Characters – Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson was once the biggest name in wrestling, now he is nearing retirement where he still performs in small venues. His life is turned upside down after a heart attack where he must decide whether to step away from the limelight or continue performing and risking his health. As a wrestling fan this is an interesting character as it shows just how far someone with go to perform for their fans. Cassidy is the stripper that Randy has become friends with over the years, she keeps her personal life away from the clients but when Randy wants to make their friendship more it turns into a pivotal moment in her life too. Stephanie is the daughter of Randy, he was a terrible father when she grew up, but can she forgive him to start a fresh now, that is the question.

PerformancesMickey Rourke does give the performance of his career here, he breaks away from anything we would know him to make us feel everything we see him go through. Marisa Tomei is great as the stripper with a heart and Evan Rachel Wood continued to show us just how talented she was in her growing career of the time.

StoryThe story follows an aging star of a sport needing to face his own mortality or face losing everything. This is a subject which has always been a popular subject because it is icons who are the ones feel could never finish but once they are gone we miss them. Seeing it from the performers point of view works too because we learn what drives them in the one skill they always believed they had.

SportsThe wrestling sequences do give away secrets of the sport which are well known by now but at the time they were lesser known skills outside the business, but the fights feel as brutal as they seem.

SettingsThe settings show us just how far the once star has fallen from grace, he is now not the man he once was living in trailer park, fighting in small events over the big events he once did.


Scene of the Movie –
Pre-Match Speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me That ending.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the great movies of modern time, it shows the drive performers have to continue doing what they love when they shouldn’t anymore which is why this is a must watch for anyone who has a passion.

 

Overall: Must watch for all wrestling fans.

Rating

 

 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Weekend – Stop-Loss (2008)

Director: Kimberly Peirce

Writer: Kimberly Peirce, Mark Richard (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, Abbie Cornish, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Victor Rasuk, Timothy Olyphant, Ciaran Hinds, Rob Brown

 

Plot: A veteran soldier returns from his completed tour of duty in Iraq, only to find his life turned upside down when he is arbitrarily ordered to return to field duty by the Army.


Tagline – The bravest place to stand is by each other’s side.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Must Watch Movie

 

Story: Stop-Loss starts as we see the army unit that is touring in Iraq, they come under attack losing men, Brandon King (Phillippe) and Steve Shriver (Tatum) return home with their unit for a weekend of leave with Tommy (Gordon-Levitt) and Eyeball (Brown).

The weekend in Texas shows the effects on war has had on the soldiers, Steve becoming a violent drunk, while Tommy is suffering from losing his best friend on that last mission, Brandon tries to keep them in line while he is about to eave himself. Brandon gets stop-loss meaning he must return to Iraq, but he isn’t going to return, going on the run AWOL from the army with Michelle (Cornish), Steve’s girlfriend, as he wants to find a way to leave the army, while also showing the effects of the war on him.

 

Thoughts on Stop-Loss

 

Characters – Brandon King is the squad leader of his unit, he losses men on his latest tour of duty, but believes he is out with this latest tour, he must remain calm for his men back home while clearly suffering from PTSD from the events. He gets ordered to return to Iraq which he isn’t having leading him to go on the run, searching for answers to stop his return to war. Steve is Brandon’s best friend and fellow star of their home town, he returns home to get married, but his suffering is clearer to see and this puts his relationship with Michelle in the air. Michelle is Steve’s girlfriend, they are meant to be getting married, but when Brandon goes on the wrong, she supports him as her relationship with Steve get worse. Tommy is another member of the unit, he loses his best friend on tour and never recovers, he drinks to get through his nightmares which shows the PTSD he is suffering from, only Brandon can get through to him and with him on the run Tommy is a danger to everyone.

PerformancesRyan Phillippe gives his best performance of his career in this role, he shows the strength his character needs while the weaknesses inside are tearing him up. Channing Tatum broke away from the pretty boys roles first with this role and shows that he does have skills. Abbie Cornish is strong in her role through the film and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is fantastic in the supporting role as the PTSD in his character feels the most destructive.

StoryThe story follows the effects of war on three soldiers returning from a tour of duty in Iraq, they are all suffering from different levels of PTSD and shouldn’t be returning to duty, when one gets Stop-loss he goes on the run, ones behaviour stops him going back with this being the only thing he wants and the third who wanted out but decides he wants to return. While the story shows one man trying to get away from his duty, it shows the larger effects of soldiers that are returning with PTSD and how easily they can just break. This is an important story about treating soldiers with respect by not forcing them to return if they are not mentally capable off because of what they have seen, done or been involved in, and how to support them as they try to return to normal lives.

WarThe war side of this film is shown in what happened to these soldiers and the aftermath of what happens when they return without the support required.

SettingsThe settings show both the world they have been living in Iraq and the home back in Texas as they are in desperate search to get on with their life.


Scene of the Movie –
Brothers fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of support the soldiers get.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most impactful movies when it comes to tackle war, it shows how difficult life away from the tours can tear the soldiers apart in a war they didn’t need to be fighting. This has career best performances from the three lead actors and a story which could easily be a reality to any soldier returning from active duty.

 

Overall: Must watch war story.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – M – Milk (2008)

Director: Gus Van Sant

Writer: Dustin Lance Black (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, James Franco, Alison Pill

 

Plot: The story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California’s first openly gay elected official.


Tagline – His life changed history. His courage changed lives.

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important Figure in History

 

Story: Milk starts as we meet Harvey Milk (Penn) an openly gay man in the 1970s that moves to San Francisco with his boyfriend Scott Smith (Franco) to start a business, he soon becomes a leader for businesses who don’t decimate against homosexuals.

Tired of the abuse they are getting Harvey decides to run for office to help get equal rights for homosexuals, this gets him attention from the haters, who start targeting him. Soon he makes a movement to make gay right count across America.

 

Thoughts on Milk

 

Characters – Harvey Milk is telling us the story of how he rose the political ladder, being a gay man made this difficult because he is not fight just for his rights but for all homosexuals in America, he was a real man that helped change the civil rights in the 70s. Cleve Jones is one of the young men that Harvey takes in to help run the campaign, he has an ability to bring communities together in the movements they want to fight for. Dan White is one of the politicians that opposes Harvey, he doesn’t want to work with him because of his religious beliefs.

PerformancesSean Penn won an Oscar for his performance in this film, you can see why, he is fantastic in the leading role where he commands the screen. Emile Hirsch is unrecognisable in this role which shows us the talent he has but doesn’t always give us. Josh Brolin is good in his role, while the rest of talent is good through the film too.

StoryThe story follows Harvey Milk as he rose to political power in a civil rights movement for the homosexual people. This shows the struggles he must go through to help make this go through and the team that supported him in his battle for this civil right. This shows us how people have always fought for their rights the right way no matter what they must overcome.

Biopic/History/RomanceThe biopic side of this film shows us Harvey Milk and just how important he and his team were to the civil rights movement. It shows us how important this moment in history was for civil rights movements too. The romance side shows how difficult it was for Harvey to keep a relationship while running for office.

SettingsThe settings show how Harvey rose through he ranks, starting with just a street, before a district and moving onto political offices.


Scene of the Movie –
The rallying call.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is a frustration about why people acted like this holding people back.

Final ThoughtsThis is an important movie about how the civil rights movement was important for everyone involved, it needed to change, it did thanks to this man Harvey Milk at his beliefs.

 

Overall: Important drama for all to see.

Rating