Outlaw King (2018)

Director: David Mackenzie

Writer: Bathsheba Doran, David Mackenzie, James MacInnes (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Pine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Florence Pugh, Billy Howle, Paul Blair, Sam Spruell

 

Plot: A true David v Goliath story of how the great 14th Century Scottish ‘Outlaw King’ Robert The Bruce used cunning and bravery to defeat and repel the much larger and better equipped occupying English army.


Tagline – Based on the Untold True Story

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Brutality of War

 

Story: Outlaw King starts after William Wallace has been defeated and the English have taken over Scotland, accepting the surrounding kings and lords. Robert Bruce (Pine) is ready to take over his father’s role with King Edward I (Dilldane) controlling the land, with Elizabeth (Pugh) being married to Robert.

When Robert kills, he breaks the peace between the two nations with Scotland naming him King, England brand him the Outlaw king forcing him to build a new army to fight back against the English against all the odds.

 

Thoughts on Outlaw King

 

Characters – Robert Bruce is the son of his father’s name, next in line for royalty during a time of peace under English control, his action start a new war where he becomes King and must lead the fellow Scots in battle against the odds. He offers the people a chance to be by his side or against him without holding their decision against them, remaining fair to everyone in conflict. Elizabeth Burgh is the English lady that is forced to marry Robert, the two do get on which helps complete the peace, when the peace is broken she stands by his side and is used to bait Robert out of hiding. James Douglas joins the battle with Robert as he looks to regain the honour his family name deserves. Prince Edward is leading the English army in hunting down Robert and the rebels, he is doing this to impress his father with his place of King in his future.

PerformancesChris Pine gives us a wonderful performance showing us once again how he can adapt to any role given to him, never looking out of place playing a Scotsman. Florence Pugh continues her run in the period piece films, she shows us once again that she does have the talent for someone as young as she is. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is strong in the supporting role, he looks like the desperate man that he is meant to be playing. Billy Howle is strong too, we see how he can make his desire for power be the thing which drives his performance.

StoryThe story here shows us the story of Robert Bruce the Outlaw King of Scotland who fought against the odds to reclaim the kingdom of Scotland from the English. We know how ‘Braveheart’ has its own version of the battle which the English won, this story takes place in the aftermath of the real story which peace couldn’t be kept leading us to battle once again and showed us just how confrontational the two nations were. We get a lot of different titles which can become slightly confusing to keep up on who is what and in what line to become king of whichever nation they are fighting for.

Action/Biopic/HistoryThe action is massive scale battles which are shot in the same style of Game of Thrones, this being realistic is great for effect, but difficult to watch when it comes to see the horses getting slaughtered in the battle. The history lesson and biopic side of the film shows who Robert and his men were along with they would end up becoming.

SettingsThe film gives us locations that feel like they could be from the same time, we get the beauty of the Scottish countryside which only shows how they made their own advantage.


Scene of the Movie –
The battles.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Keeping on top of who is what ranking.

Final ThoughtsThis is a new brutal battle movie, it gives the history lesson needed and shows how people defined the future for people in the world.

 

Overall: Brutal history lesson.

Rating

 

 

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Siberia (2018)

Director: Matthew Ross

Writer: Scott B Smith (Screenplay) Stephen Hamal, Scott B Smith (Story)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Ana Ularu, Molly Ringwald, Pasha D Lychnikoff

 

Plot: When an American diamond trader’s Russian partner goes missing, he journeys to Siberia in search of him, but instead begins a love affair.


Tagline – This was not the plan.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre Thriller Waiting for a Sting

 

Story: Siberia starts when American diamond trader Lucas Hill (Reeves) loses contact with his partner Pyotr (Gulyarin) he must head to Russia to figure out just what went wrong, meeting with his client Boris Volkov (Lychnikoff) he has two days to locate the diamonds who face drastic consequences.

Lucas finds himself in a small town waiting for contact where he meets the locals including café owner Katya (Ularu) who takes a shine to him, Lucas starts to befriend the locals and Katya which makes him feel more welcome, though the job and his wife Gabby (Ringwald) keep his attention.

 

Thoughts on Siberia

 

Characters – Lucas Hill is a diamond trader based in America, his latest job goes wrong, forcing him to head to St Petersburg to figure out just what has happened, here he learns of multiply interested parties and his partner is nowhere to be seen. He gets romantically involved with a local woman putting his personal life in danger. His problems are mounting up which only leads him to make rash decisions. Katya is a café owner that gets romantically involved in an affair with Lucas, she knows he has a wife and still gets involved, helping him with his dealings. Boris Volkov is the criminal client that Lucas is trying to make happy with his diamonds, he isn’t happy that the deal isn’t going smoothly forcing Lucas to search with his threats. Gabby is Lucas’s wife back in America, she knows his business and that he will be away for long periods of time.

PerformancesKeanu Reeves does the basics well in this film, he doesn’t reach the levels he can and has been in recent years, but he does take a chance on another project which would be different. An Ulrau is solid too, she seems to have a difficult character to play with most of her scenes involving the relationship with Lucas. Pasha is fine in the generic villain role and Molly Ringwald is in this film, it is unfair to say anything bad about her, most of the question are around why we barely see her.

StoryThe story here follows a diamond trader that must travel to Russia to figure out what went wrong on the latest job only for him to get caught up in an affair with a local woman. The problems with this film comes from focusing too long on the affair and meeting the locals which takes up a large amount of the film, the dealings some late and are glossed over feeling like we have seen it all before. We even have a moment where we have the phone call with the wife and for some reason we show the wife who isn’t seen again. The story is the weakest part of the film and just gets confused with what it is trying to tell us.

Crime/RomanceThe crime world we enter shows Lucas conducting his diamond trades which never feels like it is as shady as it should be, you don’t get a full sense of how confrontational Lucas would be either. The romance angle in the film follows the basic affair one which would put our character in a position where he meets an unlikely person in his life.

SettingsThe film is set in Russia, well Siberia, look at the title of the film. none of the location stand out as anything new or original.


Scene of the Movie –
Learning the truth about the diamonds.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Hunting scene, not needing and barbaric.

Final ThoughtsThis is a lacklustre crime romance film that gets clogged down focusing on the certain sides of the film which makes you forget the other side of the film.

 

Overall: Crime thriller that just doesn’t hit home.

Rating

 

 

The Hate U Give (2018)

Director: George Tillman Jr

Writer: Audrey Wells (Screenplay) Angie Thomas (Novel)

Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Anthony Mackie, Issa Rae, Common, Algee Smith, Sabrina Carpenter

 

Plot: Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right.


Tagline – Two worlds, one voice, no going back

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict The Biggest Eye Opener of the Year

 

Story: The Hate U Give starts as Starr (Stenberg) introduces us to everything in her life, her high school life away from the rough neighbourhood she is from, with her father Maverick (Hornsby) the former gangster and mother Lisa (Hall) who wants to get out of the neighbourhood too. She is the eldest of her siblings and has become a normal high student who is prepared for the worst.

Starr does find herself trapped between two worlds, the one where she grew up in and the one she is now growing up, this however changes for her forever, when a routine pull over by the police see her childhood friend Khalil (Smith) fatal shot. Starr in the aftermath must battle the social consequences of what happened with Starr being put in the middle of the investigation to what happened and putting her in the position to make her voice heard.

 

Thoughts on The Hate U Give

 

Characters – Starr is your normal high school student from so called wrong side of town, she lives in two worlds, one she grew up in with friends, the other is her escape with her high school giving her potential of a new life. When she becomes the only witness for her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer. Needing to keep her involvement secret she is dealing with the new wave of feelings and emotions that she must learn to control for the greater good. Everything we see is from her point of view which shows us just how a teenager can view what is going on within the neighbourhood. Lisa is Starr’s mother that wants to keep her daughter safe and out of the gangland mentality she sees around her family. Maverick is Starr’s father, he used to be part of the gangs and after his time behind bars, he escaped that life, being wise towards his family, preparing them for any incidents with the police. King is drug lord controlling the area, he has let Maverick out of his gang and this latest death brings his attention as his business will be put at risk.

PerformancesAmandla Stenberg in the leading role is fantastic, she is on another level to everyone else in the film as she must show her the problems she is facing and handles them all to help us understand her characters thought process. The whole cast are great in this film, Russell Hornsby gets the intense speech moments which grab our attention and for all the years we have questioned Common’s acting, here he shows that he has worked to improve himself and it is paying off.

StoryThe story here will give everyone who watches it a conversation they need to have, about how a death that never needed to happen. The story is told through the eyes of teenager Starr which helps us understand how she wants to see people seen as equals and how the divide between the black and white communities is massive. This story has so many talking points about what has been happening and it does use the correct characters to get points over with including a black police officer telling Starr the thought process of a police officer pulling over a car. Any story that give the audience questions to ask afterwards is an achievement in storytelling which should be praised, it is one that will stick with you long after it finishes.

CrimeThe movie starts with a major crime, the shooting of the high school student, it shows how the tension has risen with the crime that changed a neighbourhood.

SettingsThe film does an excellent job of showing the different neighbourhoods, the one Starr lives in and the one she attends school in, this reflects between the characters interactions.


Scene of the Movie –
The Hate We Give.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of a proper investigation.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most important films of the year, it has a message people need to learn about if they ever want to see change in the world.

 

Overall: Important eye opener.

Rating

 

 

The Old Man & The Gun (2018)

Director: David Lowery

Writer: David Lowery (Screenplay) David Grann (Article)

Starring: Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, Tika Sumpter, Ari Elizabeth Johnson

 

Plot: Based on the true story of Forrest Tucker and his audacious escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 to an unprecedented string of heists that confounded authorities and enchanted the public.


Tagline – This Story is Mostly True.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Crime Comedy

 

Story: The Old Man & The Gun starts as we see how Forrest Tucker (Redford) would do his bank robberies, casually walk in and politely ask for the money before calmly walking out and escaping, only on this latest job he meets Jewel (Spacek) a widow who he wants to charm.

After another robbery that happened to have cop John Hunt (Affleck) who didn’t even see it happen, John decides to investigate Forrest robberies where he learns about the lifetime of crimes and the myth behind the man who escaped multiple prisons and returned to a life of crime, can he finally be caught for good?

 

Thoughts on The Old Man & The Gun

 

Characters – Forrest Tucker is a career criminal that has been committing robberies his hole life, he never hurts anyone and is always a gentleman about how he goes around his robberies. Even in his later years he still loves the crime, he does want a relationship with Jewel and sees her in the same lonely situation she is at times. John Hunt is a detective that starts to investigate the robberies after being in the bank when one of the heists goes down, he seems to enjoy the chase over the capture, giving his life new meaning. Jewel is a widow that has seen her children grow up and is living in a remote farm, she sees Forrest as a charmer who could bring her new zest for life and lets him into her life. Teddy and Waller are the partners in the crimes called in for the bigger jobs.

PerformancesRobert Redford is wonderful in the leading role which is meant to be his last and he goes out on top showing that his skills are permanently.  Casey Affleck gives us a good performance that is shows how withdrawn his character has become with his life. Sissy Spacek is great too showing us just how lonely she has become with her life. The supporting cast are good too all fitting the story very well.

StoryThe story follows the later robberies of Forrest Tucker one of the most notorious criminals in America, he escaped prison multiply times and continued to rob banks just to keep him entertained while never resorting to violence. We follow one cop that decides to investigate other robberies connecting the dots to learn who the man behind them really is. If you liked ‘Catch me if you Can’ the story is told in the same style which helps us find comedy in moments which could have been calm. The time jumps showing the pure number of robberies happening can be blink and you miss them and if you don’t know your American states you won’t be able to connect them quickly.

Comedy/CrimeThe film is told in a way that makes everything become light-hearted which helps make the crimes seem like they weren’t as bad as they were.

SettingsThe settings are the weakest part of the film if you don’t know where or how close cities and states are because we see so many robberies that just show us the place not saying how far away they are.


Scene of the Movie –
What Forrest did next.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does feel too similar to Catch Me If you Can.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good crime comedy that gets the fun comedy moments while telling a true story about how one man was addicted to robbing banks.

 

Overall: Fun true crime story.

Rating

 

 

Widows (2018)

Director: Steve McQueen

Writer: Gillian Flynn, Steve McQueen (Screenplay) Lynda La Plante (Based on Widows)

Starring: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Jacki Weaver, Carrie Coon, Robert Duvall, Liam Neeson

 

Plot: Set in contemporary Chicago, amidst a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.


Tagline – Left with nothing. Capable of anything.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thriller of the Year

 

Story: Widows starts when Harry Rawlings (Neeson) and his crew are killed on their latest heist, their widows, Veronica (Davis), Linda (Rodriguez), Alice (Debicki) and Amanda (Coon) are left to grieve alone, seeing the consequences of their husband’s actions. Veronica is confronted by political campaigner Jamal Manning (Henry) who is trying to challenge the Mulligan reign in their neighbourhood, with Jack (Farrell) following in his father’s Tom (Duvall) footsteps.

Jamal wants his money back which is forcing Veronica to bring the fellow widows together to complete a job which will solve all their financial problems. Can they complete this heist which will give them a life after their husbands?

 

Thoughts on Widows

 

Characters – Veronica is the wife of Harry, she has been in the teaching union for her life even though she knew of Harry activities. After his dies in the latest job she is broken trying to keep herself together until she is forced into the world her husband was on top of. She is tough and lacks the humour the fellow widows show to deal with her grief. She does have to keep the group together and does love her little Westie. Linda has been running her own company which after her husband’s death she loses because of his problems leaving her and her kids with money problems. She is welcomed to Veronica’s team even if she doesn’t bring as much as the rest. Alice has been living off her husband’s heist money even after dealing with abuse from him, she must learn to make her own money which she can be pushed in the wrong direction for, she does join Veronica’s team which will bring her out of her shell and she fast becomes the one on the biggest learning curve. Belle completes the team and though she isn’t a widow, she knows how hard you need to work for money and she will take her chance with the team. Jack Mulligan is the new political candidate following in his father’s footsteps, he knows how to get a deal done and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty along the way. Tom is the politician stepping down because of his health, his old way thinking has been holding back the district from remaining in his family name. Jamal Manning is the crime lord who has decide to run for office which would be is way to stay on the right side of the law, he still will get his hands dirty when he needs to and lets his brother do most of the dirty work. Jatemme is the brother of Jamal, he is a loose cannon, he will push whatever limits available to get what he wants full crazy mode for the most part. This is the eight main characters that you will understand each decision they will make.

PerformancesWhen he dive into the performances Viola Davis shines in the leading role, she must deals with emotional moments that others simply will never understand why. Michelle Rodriquez gives her best performance of her career here that is simply brilliant and Elizabeth Debicki gives one of the best supporting performances of the year. Colin Farrell continues to show he is one of the best actors out there and demands the screen either against Robert Duvall. Daniel Kaluuya does a fantastic job because each scene he is almost uncomfortable to watch because of his actions. Brian Tyree Henry is wonderful too, it is easily one of the best acted movies you will ever see.

StoryThe story follows an unlikely crew of robbers who are following in their husband’s footsteps in the crime world to give themselves finical security from the other people in the world their husband’s worked in. Each of the widows must face the reality of being alone and learn how to adapt which is important to see and with a shocking reveal you simply won’t see coming makes this enjoyable to watch. This is a story that doesn’t have a wasted frame, it will keep you on edge from start to finish while addressing how political can play the people to get what they want. This is a story that will keep you wanting more and deals with the real problems people will be facing in the world.

CrimeThe crime world we enter shows us just how out of place the widows are to start with and we see how they must learn quickly.

SettingsThe film is set in Chicago which shows us just how easily crime can take place with so much going on in the city, we see the divide between the higher class and lower class.


Scene of the Movie –
Performances fantastic.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Viola Davis doesn’t know how to walk a dog.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best movies of the year, it will keep you on edge throughout the whole film. It is easily a must watch and the performances are simply fantastic.

 

Overall: Must watch movie.

Rating