Max (2015)

Director: Boaz Yakin

Writer: Boaz Yakin, Sheldon Lettich (Screenplay)

Starring: Thomas Hayden Church, Josh Wiggins, Luke Kleintank, Lauren Graham, Robbie Amell, Mia Xitlali

 

Plot: A Malinois dog that helped American Marines in Afghanistan returns to the United States and is adopted by his handler’s family after suffering a traumatic experience.


Tagline – Best Friend. Hero. Marine.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Movie

 

Story: Max starts as we meet Kyle Wincott (Amell) an American Marine who works with a tracker dog Max, who helps locate dangers in Afghanistan. When Kyle is killed in action, his family, Ray (Church), Pamela (Graham) and little brother Justin (Wiggins) who is a gamer high school student get to meet Max for the first time and only see his aggressive nature, apart from around Justin.

They take Max home as he is suffering PTSD and the only person he will listen to and remain calm around is Justin, with a new friend in Carmen (Xitlali), Justin learns to take responsibility for the first time in his life.

 

Thoughts on Max

 

Characters – Max is the loyal marine trained dog that has served in Afghanistan locating potential threats for his soldiers. He sees his handler killed in action leaving him suffering with PTSD and now he needs a new owner, and the brother of his handler is the only one he will listen to. Justin is the younger brother of Kyle, he has spent more time on video games and illegal deals, not having responsibility needed like his brother. When Max enters his life, he learns about taking responsibility and following in his brother’s path. Ray is the father of the boys, he served before which has made him patriotic towards the cause while dealing with the grief of losing his son too.

PerformancesJosh Wiggins as the younger brother is good in this movie, we do see this sort of character a lot and he handles it well. Thomas Hayden Church is good in the supporting role, but if we are honest it is the dog that is the star of the show here.

StoryThe story here shows the effects war can have on a dog that has been trained to locate threats, but the aftermath of losing that handler with their connection. We see the loyalty shown by the dog and how he can teach responsibility to the next generation of family. This is the strongest part of the movie, the rest does feel like a version of a home alone sort of thing because we follow a story about Max knowing right.

Adventure/Family This does show the family needing to come together after their own tragedy which will give their youngster member a chance for an adventure.

SettingsWe get a small look at the war scenario that Max has been and how he must adjust to normal life, which is where the struggle comes.


Scene of the Movie –
Max search.

That Moment That Annoyed Me –  I feel there was more to the Reyes story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good movie, that should be seen by dog owners that understand loyalty that could be given to the owner.

 

Overall: Dog Owners dream film.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Queen of Earth (2015)

Director: Alex Ross Perry

Writer: Alex Ross Perry (Screenplay)

Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Katherine Waterston, Patrick Fugit, Kentucker Audley, Keith Poulson

 

Plot: Two women who grew up together discover they have drifted apart when they retreat to a lake house together.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull

 

Story: Queen of Earth starts as two friends Catherine (Moss) and Virginia (Waterston) spend time catching up in a lake house where they face their past, present and future, question their relationships and look to move onto with their lives.

 

Thoughts on Queen of Earth

 

Characters/PerformanceCatherine is a talent artist who is struggling with coping after the death of his inspiration and father. Virginia is more of a free spirit always wanting to relax through any troubles that come her way sing the trips as the escape required.

Performance wise, both Moss and Waterston are good through the film without being at their very best.

StoryThe story shows how friends can drift apart but will always come together when they need help, otherwise the story is mostly kind of boring with very little happening.

SettingsThe film is set entirely at the lake house which shows us how the friends want to get away from the world.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dull drama being sold as some form of thriller, nothing much happens, there seems to be no resolution to the reason why the characters are there in the first place.

 

Overall: Very uninteresting movie that does nothing for an hour and a half.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Creed (2015) Revisited

Director: Ryan Coogler

Writer: Ryan Coogler, Aaron Covington (Screenplay) Sylvester Stallone (Characters)

Starring: Michael B Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Andre Ward, Tony Bellew

 

Plot: The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.


Tagline – Your legacy is more than a name

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brutally Brilliant

 

Story: Creed starts as we see how Adonis was raised in the foster system, before being adopted by Apollo Creed’s wife Mary Anne (Rashad) to raise her late husband’s son, given chances of an education, Adonis (Jordan) is drawn to fighting wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps. With Mary Anne reluctant to see Adonis fight, she sends him to Philadelphia to train away from the streets of LA.

Adonis meets Rocky (Stallone) who gets talked into training Adonis and helping him make decisions that will help his career in an even more cutthroat world that boxing has become, when Light Heavyweight champion ‘Pretty’ Ricky Conlan (Bellew) and his manager Tommy Holiday (McTavish) learn of Adonis true identity, they want to make a mega payday, which leads to Adonis in his first major fight, while Rocky will face his next fight in life.

 

Thoughts on Creed

 

Characters – Adonis Johnson is the son of Apollo Creed from an affair that saw him being raised in the foster system which taught him how to be tough. Eventually he is adopted by Apollo’s widow who gives him a chance, where he makes a career for himself, however the desire to fight keeps him heading to Mexico for fights before deciding he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps. He heads to Philadelphia to learn from his father’s biggest enemy Rocky Balboa, where he learns about his own destiny in the sport. Rocky Balboa is still running his restaurant, he has no lost everyone in his life, with his loved ones passing on and his son moved away, he reluctantly agrees to train Adonis which brings a new spark to his life, only for him to get news about his own future giving him a new fight to take on. Bianca is the neighbour that Adonis meets, she is a musician on the verge of her own big break, with her own problems, they two get close as she becomes part of his own inspiration. Mary Anne is the wife of Apollo, she raised Adonis as her own giving him the chances he had never received, she doesn’t want him to fight because she knows what it does to a boxer, she does however know she isn’t going to win and sends him to Rocky.  

PerformancesMichael B Jordan gives us one of the best boxing performances ever, we believe his own struggles and he gives us belief he is raising up the ranks. Sylvester Stallone bought new life to his character of Rocky here, with a performance that is easily his best in his modern cinema run, he makes everything about his character believable like we caught up with him. Tessa Thompson comes onto the scene with this performance that turned heads, she is great through the film. The rest of the cast are good with Tony Bellew being an actual boxer adding realism to the rival for the fighting world.

StoryThe story here follows Apollo Creed’s son take his first steps in the boxing world, given the unlikely chance for a big fight which is only mean to be a publicity stunt for the champion, much like Rocky’s first big fight. We see how Rocky has made the transition from fighter to trainer with us getting a chance to meet the biggest fictional fighter in his latter years, showing us how life can catch up with everyone. The story could easily be a soft reboot of Rocky and manages to show us how the reboot sequel is working very well at the moment, returning old favourites to help guide the next generation. The side stories going on show us how everybody has their own stories going on, instead of focusing just on one person moment in the sun, which feels refreshing for the genre.

SportsThe boxing in the film is easily the most realistic that you will see in any film, the hit feel as brutal as they are meant to.

SettingsWe return to Philadelphia for most of the film, this shows us how places have changed and others are still the same, it is like stepping into a time capsule at times.


Scene of the Movie –
The big fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have liked an extra length of time at the press conference.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best in the Rocky franchise for a very long time, it has bought us the same story of becoming an overnight success with one chance to make it, with truly powerful performances from the cast.

 

Overall: Knockout Movie.

Rating

 

 

Sword of Vengeance (2015)

Director: Jim Weedon

Writer: Julian Unthank, Matthew Read (Screenplay)

Starring: Stanley Weber, Annabelle Wallis, Karel Roden, Ed Skrein, Dave Legeno, Edward Akrout

 

Plot: Vengeance is the driving force behind a shadow walker’s return to Norman conquered Saxon lands after the Battle of Hastings and a brutal repression of it’s people by a cruel lord.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Blood Splattered Action Mess

 

Story: Sword of Vengeance starts shortly after the Battle of Hastings (1066, if you don’t know your British history) Durant (Roden) has slaughtered the Saxons and strikes fear through the remaining citizens. Shadow Walker (Weber) has a score to settle against Durant, travelling around alone he finds himself working with Saxon warriors led by Anna (Wallis) wife of a former warrior, as the two forces look set for one final showdown for the land of British.

 

Thoughts on Sword of Vengeance

 

Characters – Shadow Walker is the mysterious stranger who travels alone for his own quest for vengeance, master of combat he can easily defeat multiple deadly foes at once, he ends up leading a Saxon fight back against the tyrant ruling the land. Anna is the leader of the Saxon group, she lost her husband in the battles and now she unites the other groups as they plan to fight back, she accepts Shadow Walker as their combat leader. Durant is the tyrant ruling the land, his armies have conquered and slaughtered villages, with his power showing just the force he has become, he isn’t afraid to get into the battles himself though.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the combat sequences Stanley Weber does look the part, this works in the film because he doesn’t get left to try any of the emotional scenes, just being emotionless is this guys strong point. Annabelle Wallis is strong also handling the fighting well, but does better with the emotional level of the film. Karel is a basic villain we know he can play this character well and this is no different.

StoryThe story follows Britain after the battle of Hastings, new conquerors control the land slaughtering the people and now we follow a lone walker seeking revenge only to find himself in the middle of the battle. This brings us into the idea of the reluctant hero needing to step into a battle for the same reasons he is involved to overcome the tyrant ruling the land. It is nothing new to the genre and can be easily watched without being difficult to watch.

ActionThe action is medieval style fighting swords and shields being used for combat.

SettingsThe settings leaves us in what could be any woodland area which are used for the fighting.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well for the combat injuries which are blood covered.


Scene of the Movie –
The first attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of interest in the villains.

Final ThoughtsThis has plenty of blood, weak story and strong combat sequences.

 

Overall: Easy to watching, but nothing special

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – R – Rock the Kasbah (2015)

Director: Barry Levinson

Writer: Mitch Glazer (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Leem Lubany, Arian Moayed, Scott Caan, Danny McBride

 

Plot: A down-on-his-luck music manager discovers a teenage girl with an extraordinary voice while on a music tour in Afghanistan and takes her to Kabul to compete on the popular television show, Afghan Star.


Tagline – Opportunity rocks when you least expect it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mostly Weak Comedy

 

Story: Rock the Kasbah starts as a former top draw music manager Richie Lanz (Murray) has only one major client who performs cover songs for him, learning the Afghanistan could put her on the map opening for a megastar, he takes Ronnie (Deschanel) to Afghanistan, where the world is different and Ronnie goes on the run.

Richie is joined by two Americans that have made a business in the country as he goes searching for Ronnie only to discovery Salima (Lubany) a brilliant singer living in Afghanistan, who he wants to make the next big star.

 

Thoughts on Rock the Kasbah

 

Characters – Richie Lanz was once a great music manager, now he is forced into conning people out of their money with his acts only being tribute bands, learning he could make money away in Afghanistan he heads over there, where a series of events lead him to meet the next biggest star in the music industry. This character is no different to any of the Bill Murray characters we know, he is mostly sleezy and uses his charm to get out of situations. Bombay Brian is one of the men that helps Ronnie escape, he however expects money from Richie in exchange. He seems to be a loose cannon which makes him unpredictable. Merci is a local prostitute that all the American soldiers go to for their needs. Ronnie is the singer that Richie takes with him, she decides to run away from gig and get back to America.

PerformancesBill Murray is just like every film he is in, he never looks completely involved, while being the centre of the film. Bruce Willis is fine in the support role without being one of his mailed in performances we have see of late. Kate Hudson and Zooey Deschanel are both good enough in their roles without needing to do too much.

StoryThe story follows a sleezy music manager that discovers a new talent in Afghanistan and he must fight for her to get a chance in a nation where women can’t perform. This tries to breakdown walls for equality in a country which doesn’t accept it, which is important to see, but sadly doesn’t work with who and how they approach it, we can’t just throw an American into a country to change their mindsets, we need them to learn themselves. This isn’t the most engaging storyline and will be forgotten quickly.

Comedy/Music/WarThe comedy in the film misses for the most part because we are dealing with too serious a subject for laughs. The music side of the film isn’t as interesting either because we could have had a lot more going on during the wartime situation.

SettingsThe film is set in Afghanistan which is never going to be the best setting for this type of movie because of the subject matter of everything we go on to see in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
First hearing the talent.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It just isn’t that engaging.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing and board line overly controversial idea for a movie that just doesn’t hit the marks it could have.

 

Overall: Not that appealing.

Rating