ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – R – Revenge of the Green Dragons (2014)

Director: Andrew Lau

Writer: Michael Di Jiacomo, Andrew Loo (Screenplay)

Starring: Justin Chon, Kevin Wu, Harry Shum jr, Eugenia Yuan, Leonard Wu, Jin Au-Yeung

 

Plot: Two best friends rise through the ranks of New York’s Chinese underworld in the 1980s.


Tagline – The true story of New York’s most notorious street gang.

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Crime Drama

 

Story: Revenge of the Green Dragons starts as we follow the two young boys that immigrated from China to America and New York City, in a neighbourhood that is run by the Chinese gang known as the Green Dragons.

Recruited at a young age Sonny (Chon) and Steven (Wu) have grown up as part of the Green Dragons under the leadership of Paul (Shum Jr) a businessman that uses the gang to get what he wants. We get to see how the two rise through the ranks in the Green Dragons that even grabs the attention of the FBI.

 

Thoughts on Revenge of the Green Dragons

 

Characters – Sonny is the quieter of the two friends that gets taken in by the gang, he is the one that would like a life outside the gang which isn’t as easy as it seems, even when he falls in love. Steven was built for the gang, even after he gets seriously injured in the battle between the gangs, he becomes the one that won’t hesitant to pull the trigger. Paul is the leader of the Green Dragons, a businessman on the outside, that uses his intelligence to make sure he can stay ahead of the game in the gang battle.

PerformancesThe performances in this movie are fine, nothing is great or bad, we get to see the different ranges of emotions that the two friends must face during their decisions. We don’t have any of the performances that stand out though.

StoryThe story follows the gangster storylines we have seen before, two young men or in this case boys get recruited to a rising gang to become big players in their gang in a war against another gang, until they step out of line. This time we follow Chinese immigrants in New York and it shows how they would never hold back on anybody of any age or gender. This does give us a brutality in the story, but in the end it is just more of the same.

Action/CrimeThe action is just gun battles and brutality to the people who get in the way of the crimes being committed by the Green Dragons, as we see how they try to stay off the radar while conducting their business

SettingsNew York will always be a great choice for settings for crime movies, this is unlike any other showing us how gangs had neighbourhoods and always want more.


Scene of the Movie –
Put the gun down, it brings a clever kill.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It offered nothing new to the genre.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book crime movie, it shows the rise of two in a gang and just where they would go onto be in the gang, but otherwise gives us nothing we haven’t seen before.

 

Overall: Been Here Seen This.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – L – Leviathan (2014)

Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev

Writer: Andrey Zvyagintsev, Oleg Negin (Screenplay)

Starring: Aleksey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova, Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Roman Madyanov, Anna Ukolova, Aleksey Rozin

 

Plot: In a Russian coastal town, Kolya is forced to fight the corrupt mayor when he is told that his house will be demolished. He recruits a lawyer friend to help, but the man’s arrival brings further misfortune for Kolya and his family.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Moving Drama

 

Story: Leviathan starts as hard working engineer Nikolay (Serebryakov) is facing the loss of his home and livelihood at the hands of the corrupt mayor, calling on lawyer Dmitriy (Vdovichenkov) to fight the law, he takes his first steps down the road to get what is his.

As the fight between the two parties continues, Dmitriy brings new information to the table, while Nikolay learns that his family isn’t as perfect as he once thought.

 

Thoughts on Leviathan

 

Characters – Nikolay is the hard-working man, he has earnt everything he has, his home, his workshop and his family, but now he must go against the town to keep what is his after they try to take it from him. Lilya is Nikolay’s wife, she is backing the decision against the town even if she has the one with a secret which could tear the family apart. Dmitriy is the big city lawyer that comes to take Nikolay’s case, he knows how to stay on step ahead of the mayor and will push back when needed.

PerformancesThe performances from the whole cast are great through the film, they commit to their roles with many of the drinking scenes including real drinking and reaction.

StoryThe story here stars by focusing on the idea of a singular town’s person fighting against the mayor to keep his home, but soon turns into a personal drama about his own battle to keep his family together through the struggles. The story does give us a good sense of community with how everything unfolds which makes us believe we are watching where the characters are going through life. The pacing of the story might however put people off as it moves at a slow pace.

CrimeThe crime side of the film deals with how the town want to just take a man’s home without him being able to fight them off, this does help show the descent the family will be going in.

SettingsThe film is set in a solo town which shows how united the characters can be during everything that happens.


Scene of the Movie –
The moment Roma gets along is beautiful shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pacing isn’t for me.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good drama that does have a few pacing issues, it deals with very real issues and leaves us feeling the way you are meant to by the end of the film.

 

Overall: Powerful drama

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – H – Honour (2014)

Director: Shan Khan

Writer: Shan Khan (Screenplay)

Starring: Aiysha Hart, Paddy Considine, Faraz Ayub, Shubham Saraf, Harvey Virdi, Nikesh Patel

 

Plot: A story centered on a young woman is targeted by her family for an “honour killing” and the bounty hunter who takes the job.


Tagline – Bound by tradition. Betrayed by blood.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Look at Shocking Culture

 

Story: Honour starts as a young Indian woman Mona (Hart) is looking to breakout of the family traditions of arranged marriage and certain religious expectations from her mother (Virdi). She meets Tanvir (Patel) a man who also is due to marry his family’s choice of bride as the two start an affair.

Mona looks to run away with the support of Adel (Saraf), but her brother Kasim (Ayub) and mother have other ideas, they hire a bounty hunter (Considine) to locate her, bringing her home, only the hunter is starting to question why he is gone down this road for his career.

 

Thoughts on Honour

 

Characters – Mona is a young woman, being forced into a marriage, following family traditions and religious beliefs. She meets a man that she wants to run away with, which only sees her have her family turn on her, meaning she will need to fight for her own life. The nameless bounty hunter is known for helping the Muslim community stop the breaks on the family traditions, he has gone too far in the past, which is why he isn’t happy for the work he is going through now. Kasim is the police officer brother of Mona, he is willing to break the law to make sure the family traditions are followed. Adel is the closest brother to Mona, he is the one she would turn to most for help even if he gets pushed into helping Kasim follow the family traditions.

PerformancesAiysha Hart in the leading role is strong, we get to see just how far her character must go to get away from the life, she makes us believe her desperation. Paddy Considine is one of the best performers here because he is torn between both sides of what he is doing. Faraz Ayub brings to light the horrific side of the culture that will see him make us hate him for his action.

StoryThe story follows the idea that we have the Indian Muslim culture turning on their family if they believe their traditions honour has been put in question. We see the extreme which sees a hit being put out on a daughter that goes against the family traditions and how she must look to escape. The story shows the clash of cultures because the bounty hunter isn’t willing to follow through as he learns she hasn’t done anything wrong. It shows how we need to start letting people make choices and not just expecting them to follow the old fashion culture. The bounty hunter’s storyline is interesting too because he learns that he hasn’t always been doing the right thing. The weakness with the story comes from the time between different times in the story, it doesn’t help make this as easy to follow.

ThrillerThe film uses the thriller side of the film to try to make us see just how dangerous the escape for Mona would be, how she must elude her own family for safety.

SettingsThe film is set in London, which shows the clash of culture in the city, we see how every corner could be dangerous too.


Scene of the Movie –
The rooftop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The way the story is told.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong thriller showing the culture problems the world is still experiencing and just how much will be risked escaping this type of life.

 

Overall: Thriller that is gripping throughout.

Rating

 

 

10,000 Days (2014)

Director: Eric Small

Writer: Eric Small (Screenplay)

Starring: John Schneider, Peter Wingfield, James Harvey Ward, Kim Myers, Lisa Pelikan, Kenneth Meseroll, Riley Smith

 

Plot: Ten thousand days ago, Comet 23 struck Earth with the magnitude of all the nuclear weapons in the world sending the planet into a deep freeze. Now, 27 years in the future, those who survived are locked in an epic battle of life or death.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Sci-Fi Bore Fest

 

Story: 10,000 Days starts as we enter the world 27-years after a comet struck Earth putting the survivors into a permanent ice age, we follow two groups of survivors, once together now at war, William Beck (Schneider) on one side, Remy Farnwell (Wingfield) on the other.

As the Beck’s discover moments of truth about the disaster and a potential cure, Remy is playing his attack to take their base, the race against time for human survival is on.

 

Thoughts on 10,000 Days

 

Characters – William Beck runs one of the clans in the frozen land, he has kept his people safe, always searching for the next way to survive, hopefully peacefully even against his enemy, he knew the world before the disaster and now he wants to return to it. Remy Farnwell leads the rival clan, living on the ice he fell out with the Beck’s wanting revenge for the betrayal as he sees it. He doesn’t mind killing people in the battle which he has made too personal. We do have a lot of characters in this film, William has three sons that all look exactly the same, we have the scientist figures which seems to be three different female characters, a pilot who failed to stop the comet who still lives with the nightmare. We get so many characters it truly is hard to keep up or invest in any of them.

PerformancesThe performances, well this is difficult because nearly all the actors and characters look the same, it is difficult to figure out who the lead is, nobody has any sort of emotional factor or strong moments to stand out.

StoryThe story is the end of the world happened, we are now in an ice age which could be coming to an end, but two war driven clans want control of the best location. This sounds interesting enough, you would be wrong, we have moments of discovery, moments of war, though this just never knows which one is the most important. Sadly, this only ends feeling boring, we don’t get invested in the characters and for some reason the film kind of just ends with a massive cliff hanger.

Sci-FiThe world has ended and now an ice-age has hit, well that is the sci-fi side of the film.

SettingsThe film give us generic location which include ice area or cold looking warehouse.

Special EffectsThe effects here are just terrible and look completely fake.


Scene of the Movie –
The concept should work.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Effects.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor sci-fi movie that just doesn’t become interesting at any point in the film.

 

Overall: Boring throughout.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – M – Mr Turner (2014)

mr-turnerDirector: Mike Leigh

Writer: Mike Leigh (Screenplay)

Starring: Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson, Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Baileey, Karl Johnson, Ruth Sheen

 

Plot: An exploration of the last quarter century of the great, if eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner’s life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Long and Boring

 

Story: Mr Turner starts as we enter the life of JMW Turner (Spall) a well-respected artist in 1800s England. Mr Turner gets to socialise with the high society as well as living his quiet life where it artwork is popular throughout England.

After his father dies JMW travels for his latest work as he makes relationship around the country to discover the latest pieces of work while dealing with his own grief of his father’s loss.

 

Thoughts on Mr Turner

 

Characters/PerformanceMr Turner is a famous painter but I just couldn’t find myself follow just who the other characters in this film were.

Spall is great in this role and everyone is fine it is just too many characters to figure out just who most of these people are portraying.stars

StoryThe story is long and very difficult to follow, we have to deal with such a long-time period that we don’t get a chance to see just how everything unfolds in the real time.

Biography/HistoryThis isn’t how you make a bio-pic, long dull and dealing with a group of characters that you just don’t seem to find interesting enough to want to learn about their history.

SettingsI will say the settings keep us understanding the time period that film is set in.genre

Final ThoughtsThis is way too long, way too dull and too much stuck-up Britishness for nearly 2 and half hours.

 

Overall: Not interesting enough what so ever.

Ratingrating