Abigail Breslin Weekend – August: Osage County (2013)

osageDirector: John Wells

Writer: Tracy Letts (Screenplay)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Margo Martindale, Sam Shepard, Dermot Mulroney, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch

 

Plot: A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Actors Dream

 

Story: August: Osage County starts when Beverly (Shepard) goes missing causing his cancer striken wife Violet (Streep) to get the family back together to help find him, this brings Barbara (Roberts), Bill (McGregor), Jean (Breslin), Charlie (Cooper), Mattie Fae (Martindale) and Ivy (Nicholson) which helps expose all the problems between the family.

When Beverly’s body is discovered the rest of the family Karen (Lewis) her new boyfriend Steve (Mulroney) and Little Charles (Cumberbatch) return home for the funeral as more of the family secret come out

 

Thoughts on August: Osage County

 

Characters/PerformanceThe characters in this film are all different aged members of one big dysfunctional family with their own problems, they all have their own secrets that will be getting exposed through the time together.

The acting performances in this film are all top notch with the stars all giving brilliant performances where they can all show their abilities throughout.stars

StoryThe story is about how the family are forced to go through the good and bad moments from life that get exposed over one week from the moment the father goes missing, through the funeral and the aftermath. There are plenty of stories going on through the film which draw you into want to know what is happening with this family.

DramaThis is a drama through and through where we see how the family have been through all sorts through the years with everything getting exposed in one week when they are bought back together.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in and around the one house where the family must return too, we get to see how the memories come back for the characters involved.genre

Final ThoughtsThis is an actors dream to watch, you get fine performance from everyone but this isn’t going to be for the casual film fans.

 

Overall: A film for aspiring actors to watch.

Ratingrating

 

 

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Russell Crowe Weekend – Broken City (2013)

Director: Allen Hughes

Writer: Brian Tucker (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper, Alona Tal

 

Plot: In a city rife with injustice, ex-cop Billy Taggart seeks redemption and revenge after being double-crossed and then framed by its most powerful figure: Mayor Nicholas Hostetler.


Tagline –  Proof Can Be a Powerful Weapon.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Long Feeling Crime Thriller

 

Story: Broken City starts as we see Bill Taggart (Wahlberg) who gets dismissed from his police duty by Mayor Hostetler (Crowe) after taking justice into his own hands. 7-years-later Billy is a private investigator catching cheaters with his assistant Katy Bradshaw (Tal), Billy gets a call from the Mayor who is on his latest campaign, who wants Billy to learn who Cathleen Hostetler (Zeta-Jones) is cheating on the Mayor with.

It isn’t long before Billy finds himself in the middle of a murder that looks to throw the election into turmoil, can Billy do the right thing and get the right man elected mayor?

 

Thoughts on Broken City

 

Characters – Billy Taggart was once a cop that went too far to make a criminal pay for a crime they committed, now just a private investigator he finds his latest case involving the Mayor a potential career ender, as he searches for the truth, while battling falling off the wagon. Mayor Hostetler has run the city for years now, he has used his place to get deals put through for his own profit keeping people in his pocket and never playing fair. He hires Billy to investigate who his wife Cathleen is cheating on him with. Cathleen Hostetler has been seeing someone behind her husband’s back only to be keeping a secret bigger than Billy can handle.

PerformancesMark Wahlberg does most of the leading in this movie, he is good through the film and at least he isn’t do his bad comedy routine in this one. Russell Crowe is great as the villainous mayor using his power to rule a city. Catherine Zeta-Jones is strong in her role too.

StoryThe story here follows a political thriller with conspiracies of what is and could be happening while people try to get in a position to change things in the right way. We have people that have suffered from other people’s greed, that are going to bring down the villainous mayor along the way. This does try the be one of those stories that tries to deal with greed in the human nature in a political world which has always been on edge, this continues as the film unfolds as we see what the big plan is.

CrimeThis is a crime thriller in a way that shows how the political criminals can stay in power by placing the right people in the right places.

SettingsNew York always makes for a brilliant setting and the scale of the city helps with the idea of a corrupt mayor.


Scene of the Movie –
The debate.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The alcoholic side seems just a tag on.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough crime thriller, it does keep us guessing along the way to who is working for who and who is in the right when it comes to running the city.

 

Overall: Solid crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Evidence (2013)

Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi

Writer: John Swetnam (Screenplay)

Starring: Torrey DeVitto, Caitlin Stasey, Harry Lennix, Stephen Moyer Nolan Gerard Funk, Radha Mitchell

 

Plot: A detective hunts down a killer using video footage shot by the victims of a massacre at an abandoned gas station.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Shocking Murder Mystery

 

Story: Evidence starts as a massacre has happened at a gas station, detectives Reese (Moyer) and Burquez (Mitchell) must look through all potential video evidence to figure out what happened. We follow along with this investigation as we see the film about aspiring actress Leann (DeVitto) being made on a bus trip with friends and strangers along the way.

As the recordings continue to show events unfold we see how a killer started picking off the members of the bus tour as they hide out in an abandoned gas station and the team are having to watch the graphic murders.

 

Thoughts on Evidence

 

Characters – Detective Daniel Reese is the depressed cop that refused to take no as an answer while working on this case and now he must use his skills to prove he is capable to get the job done after his own personal heart ache. Detective Alex Burquez is leading the investigation knowing the pressure she is facing to get killer before the case can spiral out of control. Leann is the aspiring actress that is having her life film in case she can become a famous star. We also have the camerawoman for the most part of the film that of course lasts till near the end and the generic disposable characters.

PerformanceMoyer and Mitchell are the big names in this film which is also the draw but it is hard to say they were at their best as they are only part of the film that is watching the other part, they keep the straight faces well but otherwise don’t get a chance to shine. Torrey DeVitto as the main character from the victims is fine throughout but it is also hard to judge through a found footage film.

StoryThe story is split between the people who are getting picked off or already have if you like and the detectives trying to figure out just what has happened. Watching how the police would analyse the crime is an interesting switch to the story as we have seen the jumping around before and we have seen the story being told, but only using the video footage makes it all feel original. Saying that it does just bottle down to a murder mystery with a serial killer on the lose that needs to be captured but you do want to see who the killer is.

Crime/Mystery The crime side of story is shown in aftermath only first as we see what has happened we watch how it all went down through footage on phones and cameras. The mystery behind it all looks at who was behind it all which does keep us guessing through the film.

SettingsThe settings are split between two, the gas station where the crime takes place and the police station where the investigation is happening.

Special EffectsThe effects used for the kills are graphic as they come making everything come off shocking when you see it.

Scene of the Movie – Final reveal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We know it is designed to show little parts but it does get frustrating watching certain moments of shaky cam.

Final ThoughtsThis is a shocking film that is one that does get rewards if you watch it until the end.

 

Overall: Great ending.

Rating

 

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – N – Night Moves (2013)

Director: Kelly Reichardt

Writer: Jonathan Raymond (Screenplay)

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard, Alia Shawkat, Logan Miller, Kai Lennox, Katherine Waterston

 

Plot: Three radical environmentalists look to execute the protest of their lives: the explosion of a hydroelectric dam.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Slow

 

Story: Night Moves starts as we follow Josh (Eisenberg) and Dena (Fanning) who are environmentalists looking to find a way to change the world before it gets destroyed. Tired of the peaceful protests the couple head off to meet radical Harmon (Sarsgaard) who has a plan for a true statement the world will take notice off.

We watch how the three bring together the equipment to send their message and we are left to wonder if they will go through with it and what impact it could have on the environment.

 

Thoughts on Night Moves

 

Characters/PerformanceJosh and Dena are young idealistic environmentalists that are out on a mission to work with the radical Harmon they sum up the frustrated generation of how the world get mistreated and want to change it in their own way. Harmon is full left field, he wants to enjoy seeing the world change because of what they do.

Performance wise, we know how capable all three actors are, but sadly through this film we don’t get to see just how talented they are. I feel it is the script which holds most of this back really.

StoryThe story shows how environmentalists can push things to the extremes but must deal with the consequences of those action. The story is incredibly slow paced never pulling you into care about these characters or their actions and by the end everything all feels very flat indeed.

ThrillerYou simply don’t get sucked into this story or what is happening because of the poor pacing within the movie.

SettingsThe settings show the nature that these characters want to see live on, we also get to see just what has been happening with the human impact, so this does help us understand the situation the characters find themselves in, in a weird way.

Final ThoughtsThis was a very slow movie, it has a story that doesn’t drag you in and most disappointingly the film really doesn’t go anywhere.

 

Overall: Disappointing and slow film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – J – Joe (2013)

Director: David Gordon Green

Writer: Gary Hawkins (Screenplay) Larry Brown (Novel)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan, Gary Poulter, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Adriene Mishler

 

Plot: An ex-con, who is the unlikeliest of role models, meets a 15-year-old boy and is faced with the choice of redemption or ruin

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Drama

 

Story: Joe starts as we meet ex-con Joe (Cage) who hires down on their luck people of a small town to help him kill trees for his employer, he expects them to work and they will get paid, he treats them all with respect through this questionable job. When he gets approached by 15-year-old Gary (Sheridan) a homeless boy from a family of drifters who wants work. Joe gives him a chance and he doesn’t disappoint.

When Joe sees the abuse, Gary receives from his alcoholic father Wade (Poulter) he gets put in a difficult situation, where he must decide whether defend Gary and become the person he had hoped to escape or do nothing, either option will define his future.

 

Thoughts on Joe

 

Characters/PerformanceJoe is a former criminal that has put his life together to offer other down on their luck men a job killing trees. He is good natured to the people who work for him and takes a look at what is happening to Gary and decides to help him find his way. Gary is a boy that is never been given a chance in life, so he makes his own chances by getting a job working for Joe, he learns from Joe which are important lessons for life. The rest of the cast show us what is going on in both the lives and what could change the ones they are living.

Performance wise, Nicolas Cage is good in this role and you can see why people believe it could have been one that turned his career around. Tye Sheridan does a great job and shows why he had an ever-growing potential in his career with these types of roles. the rest of the cast all do a great job throughout the film.

StoryThe story is a trademark of the indie style of films, it shows one man needing to question what he is doing with his life for the sake of a teenager who is struggling. This isn’t the most original but does everything you need for an indie film, telling the story and offering redemption for our leading man.

SettingsWe have a small-town setting in what looks like economy depressed town with struggles, this helps us understand what it would be like for all the characters in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis film shows us just what Cage is capable of great performances with the right material and can keep us watching until the end of the film. Everything comes together nicely but is unlikely to be a re-watchable film.

 

Overall: Well-acted, good strong drama but slow in places.

Rating