Death Race 4: Beyond Anarchy (2018)

Director: Don Michael Paul

Writer: Tony Giglio, Don Michael Paul (Screenplay) Paul W.S. Anderson, Tony Giglio (Story)

Starring: Zach McGowan, Danny Glover, Danny Trejo, Velislav Pavlov, Lucy Aarden, Frederick Koehler

 

Plot: After an attack on inmate Frankenstein fails a Black Ops specialist enters the maximum prison to join the illegal Death Race and take down Frankenstein.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Action We Expect, The Thin Story We Expect

 

Story: Death Race 4: Beyond Anarchy starts as America has completely broken down, the one former hope Death Race is deemed illegal and has taken the dark web by storm as the prisoners have free roam of the arena formerly used as the prison. Frankenstein (Pavlov, voiced by Nolan North) runs this world, he isn’t like the Frank we have met before, he runs the city and the race.

The government are getting sick of the Death Race and want to bring it down, Baltimore Bob (Glover) runs the races and when new prisoner Connor Gibson (McGowan) is searching to be part of the race, in an attempt to bring down Frankenstein.

 

Thoughts on Death Race 4: Beyond Anarchy

 

Characters – Frankenstein rules the death race circuit from behind his mask, this is made clear that he can be replaced with ease and isn’t the same man that we have met in the previous film, this version of Frankenstein isn’t as good-natured or innocent as the previous ones, he is a killer, he will execute people who try to cross him and has created the chaos in the world they are living in. Connor Gibson is the man sent to the prison, he is sent there to take down Frankenstein in an attempt to regain control of the prison, he uses his skills to rise up the ranks to put himself in the position to race Frankenstein. Carley is the seductive and navigator that is on Frankenstein’s arm. Baltimore Bob runs the Death Race operation, he has the connections outside to the outside world and is willing to use them to create the most buzz about the event.

PerformancesZach McGowan gets the action sequences done well through the film, though when it comes to some of the talking moments he does struggle in places, though the script isn’t exactly anything notable. Danny Glover is getting too old for this shit now, he gives us the supporting role you would have come to expect from him now. Velislav Pavlov brings the physical look for Frankenstein, though Nolan North voice work makes the character feel more sinister.

StoryThe story here follows the now illegal death race which has become a dark web sensation in a crumbling American economy, one man gets sent into the prison to eliminate Frankenstein. Now this might be the first actual sequel in the franchise, I kind of got lost after 2 and 3, but if this is a sequel it does show us just how the world changed after what happened with Frankenstein’s escape, how the world continued to fall into disorder. When it comes to the Frankenstein figure, we know he can be replaced, which does explain the evil nature behind this version, though it goes against the need we have to support the underdog wrongfully placed in the prison system. The story is filled with unworthy showdowns with characters we barely know, we do also just resort to too many party scenes which are unrealistic and just want to show off nudity for no reason. The script is also poorly written just turning to explicit swearing insults which are here to sound edgy rather than making sense.

ActionThe action in the racing sequences is the highlight of the film, the final race being the best part of the movie, even if we have plenty of jump cuts.

SettingsThe film is set in the prison locations, the land might be larger now which does make sense for an ever growing environment that has become overrun.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film come from the explosion we see caused during the race itself.


Scene of the Movie –
The race.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the pointless parties.

Final ThoughtsThis is just another sequel that just doesn’t reach the levels of the previous films, it does have a fun race, though it does fall into the generic filler leading up to the race though.

 

Overall: Fun & Simple

Rating

 

 

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They Shall Not Grow Old (2018)

Director: Peter Jackson

 

Plot: A documentary about World War I with never-before-seen footage to commemorate the centennial of the end of the war.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Eye Opener

 

Story: They Shall Not Grow Old starts as the First World War begins as we follows through the stories of multiply men that lied about joining the army, followed their preparations before leaving for battle and learning how the men must learn how deadly the war was. We go through countless accounts of the life and experiences of the war, through clips that have been remastered to show the colour from the original black and white footage.

 

Thoughts on They Shall Not Grow Old

 

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best technical achievements in documentary film making, we get the see the footage that was only ever seen in black and white, restored to colour which shows us more of the harsh realities of war. Having the countless accounts from the former soldiers, where just weren’t prepared for going into war, seeing how almost pointless what they were doing was even after meeting the German soldiers too. This is an impress eye opening look at one of the biggest wars in history, the lives they were living both during and after the war which shows just how lost the generation could have been in this world.

 

Overall: This is easily one of the most important documentaries you will see.

Rating

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – Q – Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

Director: Bryan Singer

Writer: Anthony McCarten (Screenplay) Anthony McCarten, Peter Morgan (Story)

Starring: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilyn Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Mike Myers

 

Plot: A chronicle of the years leading up to Queen‘s legendary appearance at the Live Aid (1985) concert.


Tagline – The only thing more extraordinary than their music is his story

Runtime: 2 Hour 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Incredible Career, Poorly Told

 

Story: Bohemian Rhapsody starts as we see Freddie (Malek) working at the airport following an indie band around which has Brian May (Lee) and Roger Taylor (Hardy) in, who have just lost their lead singer, giving Freddie a chance to audition to take over and bring the band to a new level.

We follow the rise of Queen as the three joined by John Deacon (Mazzello) to rise through the ranks becoming one of biggest bands in the world, defining a generation of music makers. We mostly follow Freddie as he does deal with his own sexuality and mortality with his fame and musical genesis being tested.

 

Thoughts on Bohemian Rhapsody

 

Characters – Freddie Mercury is one of the biggest names in music history, we know his story, well how it ends anyway, we know the bands music. In this film we learn how he broke from his family traditions to become a Rockstar and bought a brand new meaning to entertaining the audience, we see his vices and how was only part of bands music history. Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon are the rest of the band and have their moments which show us just how the songs came about, they work well together questioning ideas. Mary Austin is the muse for Freddie, the first love even though she knows he is gay, she is one of the few people that never gives up on Freddie.

PerformancesRami Malek is great in the leading role as you believe he has become Freddie ready to perform to the audience, easily his best performance of his career. Diving into the rest of cast, they are all good and perform in the scenes they need to an impact.

StoryThe story follows the career of Freddie Mercury, from the day he joined the band, to the Live Aid performance which changed the concert. The film shows us the important moments, the times they made the big steps in the career, how certain songs came about and the personal demons Freddie was dealing with. Now the story is told poorly because we only focus on the good in the career, there aren’t any truly bad moments shown here even though we know how difficult and isolated Freddie was feeling. The career Queen had was amazing which should be respected and told in a smarter way.

Biopic/MusicThe biopic checklist is filled out nicely because we get to see the good from the career, the problem is, we don’t see enough of the weakness in the career. The music shows us just how entertaining Queen were and how legendary the songs are.

SettingsThe film shows us the settings that the band went through to become the icons that we know.


Scene of the Movie –
Live Aid.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We only see the good.

Final ThoughtsThis is a biopic that plays everything too safe, Malek is amazing and the songs are too with the performances we all know people enjoy.

 

Overall: Queen fans will love, even though the film has weaknesses.

Rating

 

 

Looking Glass (2019)

Director: Tim Hunter

Writer: Jerry Rapp (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Robin Tunney, Marc Blucas, Ernie Lively, Jacque Gray, Kassia Conway

 

Plot: A couple buy a desert motel where they find that strange, mysterious events occur.


Tagline – Seeing is deceiving.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Anti-Climatic

 

Story: Looking Glass starts when Ray (Cage) and Maggie (Tunney) take over a small motel to help then get over their own loss. With Ray working on the renovations of the motel, they have a soft opening, which sees them attract their first guests.

When Ray discovers secret corridors with windows into each room, which he becomes interested in watching through, then the mysterious events start happening, starting with a pig dumped in the swimming pool.

 

Thoughts on Looking Glass

 

Characters – Ray has just purchased the motel to try and start over with his wife, he is a handy man by trade, using his time to fix up the motel. He learns about secret windows watching through them, he sees strange events happening and wants to get to the bottom of the events going on around his motel. Maggie is the wife of Ray, she is happy to move away from their past, but struggles to trust Ray after his own past. Howard is the local sheriff that keeps visiting searching for the former owner, he is overly friendly too often for the couple. Tommy is a regular that uses the motel for his liaisons while on the road.

PerformancesNicolas Cage is having one of his weaker performances here, he just doesn’t make his character feel like it is one of the own Cage like ones. Robin Tunney does a solid job in the supporting role, as does Marc Blucas and Ernie Lively.

StoryThe story follows a couple that take over a motel only to start dealing with strange events surrounding something that happened before they got there. The story starts off feeling like a mystery about what once happened here which is interesting enough right, well it soon takes a turn down a path where seemingly nothing actually happens here, a woman goes missing, Ray becomes a peeping Tom and a nosey cop gets too involved with the motel, this story seems like a bad soap opera episode because it seems like we get a starting thread of a story only for it to go no where. We seem to just end the story without any real twists or investigations going on, it just felt like a bunch of random stuff happening.

MysteryThe mystery is presented, only we don’t spend any time watching what happens which only ends up leading us rather flat about what we have just watched.

SettingsThe film is mostly set at the motel which shows how you will never know what could happen in a motel.


Scene of the Movie –
The meeting in the desert.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Did you do it, did I do what? This scene lasts an awkward two minutes, it felt like a lifetime.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that ended up going in no particular direction and ends up feeling like just a bunch of stuff happens, instead of a storyline.

 

Overall: Messy, directionless and empty.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – E – 15:17 to Paris (2018)

This is under E for Eastwood in the directing chari.

 

Director: Clint Eastwood

Writer: Dorothy Blyskal (Screenplay) Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, Jeffrey E Stern (Book)

Starring: Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, Ray Corasani, Judy Greer, Jenna Fischer

 

Plot: Americans discover a terrorist plot on a Paris-bound train.


Tagline – The true story of a terrorist, a train, and three friends who became heroes.

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painfully Boring

 

Story: The 15:17 to Paris starts as we meet three lifelong friends, Alek (Skarlatos) Anthony (Sadler) and Spencer (Stone) who are on a train to Paris, we flashback to see how their friendship came out and follow Spencer as he is driven to join the military.

As the boys turn to men they go into different fields with Alek following Spencer into the military and while on a European holiday the event which will redefine their lives happens, as they look to deal with a terrorist on the train to Paris.

 

Thoughts on The 15:17 to Paris

 

Characters – Alek, Anthony and Spencer all grew up together, stayed friends even when they were separated, they went into the fields they wanted to, with seemingly Alek and Spencer’s choices being important to the events on the train. They sum the idea that we are going to be seeing heroes who have normal lives, normal struggles, they aren’t special in their action, only in their reaction to crisis.

PerformancesThis is one of the biggest flaws in this movie, we have the real men, playing versions of themselves, the problem is they are not actors, they can’t act, they are heroes don’t get me wrong, but watching them deliver lines is just part of the dullness in this movie.

StoryThe story here follows the lives of the real men that stopped a terrorist attack on a train in Paris, the story has become the stuff of legends like it should do. The way this story is told is so boring, we learn about the men’s lives, which only seems to cover two of the three, we deal with dull sequences which include trying to enjoy American football and by the time we get to the big event moment we have lost interest in this film.

BiopicThis does show a big moment in history, the problem is that it is only a quick moment that stopped the event and stretching these men’ normal lives out just drags on and on.

SettingsThe settings feel as pointless as the random trip around the Europe they take, we never feel like we are on location.


Scene of the Movie –
The incident.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of anything else happening.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the worst movies you will see about one of the biggest moments in recent heroism.

 

Overall: Just what was Eastwood thinking?

Rating