Million Dollar Arm (2014)

millionDirector: Craig Gillespie

Writer: Tom McCarthy (Screenplay)

Starring: Joe Hamm, Aasif Mandvi, Alan Arkin, Lake Bell, Tzi Ma, Bill Paxton, Suraj Sharma, Madhur Mittal

 

Plot: A sports agent stages an unconventional recruitment strategy to get talented Indian cricket players to play Major League Baseball.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: What Sports is All About

 

Story: Million Dollar Arm starts JB (Hamm) a sports agent trying to make his own company reach new levels with his partner Aash (Mandvi) only to find himself stuck behind the higher-level competition. Losing the star client to the competition the two search for a new potential income as they search for new clients in new fields.

JB new idea is to bring over Indian cricket players and turn them into baseball pitchers within a year and recruiting pitching coach Tom House (Paxton) now he needs to find a scout to travel with him to find the best prospect.

JB must work with Vivek (Jariwala) to get his equipment retired scout Ray (Arkin) and Amit (Pitobash) a baseball coach in India who wants to work him for free. The search for the Million Dollar Arm is on sweeping through India. With the competition in full flow they find two players Rinku (Sharma) and Dinesh (Mittal) to take back to America.

As the two boys struggle with the new culture JB must keep the business together while the two players must learn to improve their skill in 6 months can it be done and the seemingly impossible risk can become sports new miracle.

 

Thoughts on Million Dollar Arm

 

StoryThe story follows the true story of how one sports agent takes the chance to bring Indian crickets to America to become baseball pitchers. On the surface this is a marketing campaign but the story itself gather heart because of the bond between JB and the boys. This is an underdog sports story with glimpses of the clash of culture between both sides of the world. This shows you can succeed with the effort and determination of the people who support you and that you could find success in any story.

Sports/DramaThe sports drama is very interesting because baseball isn’t a sport I have any interest in watching but the scouting and training in any sport do interest me a lot, this had my full attention as we see how it can be the personal life that cane make you a better athlete when it comes to competing because having the people supporting you can make you succeed.

Characters/PerformanceJon Hamm as the selfish sports agent that takes a risk with a new investment but his character never seems to support the boys he takes the risk on once they are back in America. Jon Hamm give us a great performance stepping up from television to the big screen. Sharman, Mittal, Pitobash, Mandvi and Jariwala all give great performances in their roles as we see the characters must deal with a new culture as well as new sport in what is a once in a life time opportunity. Alan Arkin has a small role but gets good laughs as the retired scout.

SettingsThe settings are used excellently with to show the different cultures being used through the film as we see the American fast forward glamorous lifestyle while India shows how together the people are with the religious beliefs going on there.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very interesting and compelling sports drama about showing how you can achieve what seems impossible to others by just take the chance, I feel everyone who likes a success story will enjoy this one even if you are not a baseball fan.

 

Overall: Delightful sports drama that can be enjoyed by all.

Ratingcard

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Charlie’s Farm (2014)

charliesDirector: Chris Sun

Writer: Chris Sun (Screenplay)

Starring: Tara Reid, Nathan Jones, Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, Genna Chanelle Hayes, Allira Jaques, Madeleine Kennedy, Dean Kirkright

 

Plot: In an effort to do something different, four friends head into Australia’s outback to explore Charlie’s Farm, the site where a violent family met their end at the hands of an angry mob. Despite all warnings, they persist in their horror-seeking adventure.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hmmmmm

 

Story: Charlie’s Farm starts as we see four friends Natasha (Reid), Melanie (Jaques), Jason (Kirkright) and Mick (Coward) looking for a new adventure in Australia going in land to the infamous Charlie’s Farm. Here we know how the blonde lead, the slutty brunette friend, the caring boyfriend and the comic relief who is way out of his league with the friend.

When the friends find the farm it isn’t long before strange things start happening before they learn the truth about Charlie’s Farm when they come face to face with the deranged killer Charlie (Jones) and have to fight to survive.

Charlie’s Farm is a very basic slasher film that offers nothing new to the genre in fact it actually takes the genre backwards because we get a killer that is inconstant when it comes to his kills, a group of friends you really just don’t care about which all leads to a slow build and wham bam thank you mame to finish the film. We have the inclusion of two horror icons in Kane Hodder and Bill Moseley which are wasted in these roles. This film really ends up being slightly insulting to all the slasher fans out there because we all know where it will be going.

 

Overall: Another pointless slasher film giving us nothing new.

Rating20

 

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Hangar 10 (2014)

hangarDirector: Daniel Simpson

Writer: Adam Preston, Daniel Simpson (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert Curtis, Abbie Salt, Danny Shayler

 

Plot: 33 years after the infamous Rendlesham Forest UFO incident, three metal detector enthusiasts hunting for Saxon gold in the same region, capture incredible footage of UFO’s whilst filming their expedition. As night falls and with their navigation equipment failing, they find themselves facing a terrifying encounter with an unforgiving alien presence.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: How Not to Make Found Footage

 

Story: Hangar 10 starts as we meet Gus (Curtis), Sally (Salt) and Jake (Shayler) who are travelling around the countryside with their metal detectors, they just so happen to be near the Rendlesham Forest the location of one of the most famous UFO sightings.

When the friends have an encounter with something they can’t explain they find themselves wandering around the forest with either aliens or military tracking them down.

Hangar 10 is a perfect example of how found footage films are being made incorrectly. We get teased of the real events in the Rendlesham Forest which is all good work with it but no we just get the we are looking for gold so I accept the use of the cameras for that as the friends want to record what they find. Once the alien encounter happens the cameras should be put away and escape is the only thing that matters but no they decide to give us all motion sickness with shaky cams for no apparent reason. This idea works if the friends are investigating the Rendlesham Forest story but otherwise they have no reason to film anymore, we get nothing fresh to the sub-genre and because we are using the term found footage we don’t need good special effects which are used for the crafts.

 

Overall: This just sums up how found footage gets its bad name.

Rating15

 

 

Forbidden Kingdom (2014)

forbiddenDirector: Oleg Stepchenko

Writer: Aleksandr Karpov, Oleg Stepchenko (Screenplay) Nikolai Gogol (Story)

Starring: Jason Flemyng, Andrey Smolyakov, Aleksey Chadov, Adnia Ditkovskite, Yuriy Tsurilo, Olga Zaytseva

 

Plot: An 18th century English cartographer, Jonathan Green, sets out on a journey to map the uncharted lands of Transylvania, only to discover the dark secrets and dangerous creatures hidden in a cursed, fantastical Ukrainian forest.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: I Gave Up

 

Story: Forbidden Kingdom starts as we meet English cartographer and womanizer Jonathan Green (Flemyng) who escapes the reaches of the father of the woman. We move to Ukraine where we see a girl taken by the Viy spirit that terrorises the people.

Ok I am going to be honest here, I really just got completely lost watching this film, not sure if it is the terribly dubbing going on or awful wigs.

Forbidden Kingdom is the first film that I abandoned this year because it really just became unwatched after only thirty minutes. I also thought it was going to be the Jackie Chan and Jet Li film.

 

Overall: Just total garbage.

Rating N/A

 

 

John Travolta Weekend – The Forger (2014)

forgerDirector: Philip Martin

Writer: Richard D’Ovidio (Screenplay)

Starring: John Travolta, Christopher Plummer, Tye Sheridan, Abigail Spencer, Anson Mount, Marcus Thomas, Jennifer Ehle

 

Plot: A thief works with his father and son to forge a painting by Monet and steal the original. Together, they plan the heist of their lives.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Easy to Watch

 

Story: The Forger starts as Raymond Cutter (Travolta) puts together a deal to get out of prison early, returning to his father’s Joseph’s (Plummer) home who has been looking after his son Will (Sheridan). Raymond makes a deal with Keegan (Mount) to help him get out early but the deal is that Raymond must use his skills to forge a painting or he will put Raymond back in jail.

Raymond is also having to deal with the tragic story of his son’s cancer treatment explaining why he would risk everything to get out of jail early. Raymond must keep everything together as he works on the highly risky job but also trying to help his son fulfill his dying wishes.

 

Thoughts on The Forger

 

StoryThe story going on through this story is very interesting, I have only heard bad things about this film and I found the story between Raymond and Will touching as we see how Raymond knows what is coming to his own son and posing a question to us all, how much would we give up for the final weeks/months of our son’s life. The crime story while is key to his release is just in the way of what could be a very impressive story, but the two do end up working well in parallel to each other.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime thriller side of this film all feels very generic and if you look past that to the personal side of the story you will find this interesting but the crime story is just there really.

Characters/PerformanceThe three generations of Cutter family all make for good characters with each member giving a good performance but the crime characters all end up feeling like we have seen them all before with the plucky cop background only making it hard to judge the performance.

SettingsThe settings are all what you would call generic for the style of film without being anything special or iconic for any of the scenes.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that I only ever heard bad things so going in I wasn’t expecting too much, but in the end I found myself enjoying the personal element of the film between the family but struggled to enjoy the crime side of the film.

 

Overall: Solid but forgettable movie about family.

Ratingcard