Breaking the Bank (2014) Movie Review

Director: Vadim Jean

Writer: Roger Devlin (Screenplay)

Starring: Kelsey Grammar, John Michael Higgins, Tamsin Greig, Sonya Cassidy, Julie Dray, Doon Mackichan

Plot: With ruthless US and Japanese investment banks circling Tuftons, a struggling two-hundred-year-old, family-run British bank, can its bumbling, incompetent chairman, Sir Charles Bunbury, fend off the onslaught and save the bank?

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Breaking the Bank starts as incompetent bank chairman Charles (Grammar) finds himself needing to make a big decision with takeovers, being pushed into making an investment by Nick (Horne), one which backfires on him, leaving the family bank on verge of collapse and being kicked out by his wife Penelope (Greig).

After losing everything Charles needs to try and fix things before it is too late and he must use what little knowledge he has to turn the bank around, bringing it back to what it is meant to stand for, for the generations before him.

Thoughts on Breaking the Bank

ThoughtsBreaking the Bank is a comedy about a family run bank that gets tricked by the incompetent chairman into giving up everything. This is a comedy that does play into the fact Kelsey Grammar can play a pompous figure with ease. Outside of this side of the comedy, most of the film misses the comedy but a long way. The whole banking discussion side of the film does feel overly uninteresting, not capturing the magic other movies could have, with this coming off more like a plan and dull scheming movie over anything else.

Final Thoughts Breaking the Bank is a comedy that falls flat and ends up getting caught up focusing on banking way too often.

The Water Diviner (2014) Movie Review

Director: Russell Crowe

Writer: Andrew Knight, Andrew Anastasios (Screenplay)

Starring: Russell Crowe, Olga Kurylenko, Ylimaz Erdogan, Cem Yilmaz, Jai Courtney, Dylan Jett Georgiades, Steve Castoni, Isabel Lucas

Plot: An Australian man travels to Turkey after the Battle of Gallipoli to try and locate his three missing sons.


Tagline – To honour a promise. To find his sons. To make his peace.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict:

Story: The Water Diviner starts with the end of the battle for Gallipoli where the Turkish soldier won, 4-years later Australian Connor (Crowe) has still not learned the fate of the three children who fought in the battle believed to have died, but his wife still waits for them, before killing herself in grief. Connor gives up his whole life to travel to Turkey in search of his children to fulfil the final wish of his wife.

Once in Turkey, Connor finds only paperwork holding him back from finding his boys, turning to a local Ayshe (Kurylenko) who has her own hatred to anybody who came from the British Empire, but the unlikely union helps him go on the moment he needs to get complete closure in his life with the help of two sides that fought there, Major Hasan (Erdogan) and LT Colonel Hughes (Courtney).

Thoughts on The Water Diviner

Characters – Connor is a father of three from Australia, he has spent his time in his homeland discovering water in the deserts and after his three children are believed to have died in the battle of Gallipoli, he has seen his wife grieve slowly and painfully. He decides to travel to Turkey in search of his son’s remains where he gets to see and discover the truth about what happened in the battle. Ayshe is a local women in Turkey, she has seen her husband die in the war, but hasn’t told her son, she doesn’t like anyone from the British side of the war, only to learn it might be her own culture holding her life back after her own tragedy. Major Hasan led the enemy into battle, he was involved in countless deaths and now is helping identify the dead, he sees Connor’s story and will help him learn about the truth.

PerformancesRussell Crowe is brilliant here both on front and behind the camera, making us see the pain the war bought to a man that never went to war, but saw his sons die there, as well as the relief of learning the truth. Olga Kurylenko is the best she has been before, showing she has the talent to achieve much more in her career. Yilmaz Erdogan might be the only unknown for the casual fan and he shines through the film too.

StoryThe story here follows one man that travels across the world to learn what happened to his sons in the battle of Gallipoli in an attempt to get closure in his life, what he discovers only brings him new hope in the world, despite being trapped in a war torn country. This is based on a true story and shows just how much damage the battle did to one man’s family and multiply countries that lost men in the war. What will make this incredible story standout is the determination that Connor showed to learn the truth and just what it meant to him after losing his wife to grief. We can always talk about the heroes of war, but we will also struggle to face the truth that not everybody came back and the ones who lost people will be forever changed. This story shows us that despite being on opposite sides, they are all humans and death will leave a scar on the people left behind no matter what.

WarThe film does focus more on the consequences of war, showing us just how the lives have been changed and just because it is over, doesn’t it is over for the people who lost loved ones.

SettingsThe film does create beautiful settings as well as showing us the battlefields years after the war, this shows us that memories will always be left on this field.


Scene of the Movie – Cricket.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The war scenes are safe scenes, not edgy for the truth about what happened.

Final Thoughts This is an incredible story of one man desire to learn about his children, showing that even when the war is over, the truth could be different to what you expect.

Overall: Brilliant from Crowe.

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – T – Top Five (2014) Movie Review

Director: Chris Rock

Writer: Chris Rock (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, J.B. Smoove, Gabrielle Union, Romary Malco, Hayley Marie Norman

Plot: A comedian tries to make it as a serious actor when his reality television star fiancée talks him into broadcasting their wedding on her television show.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Top Five starts as comedian Andre Allen (Rock) is going on his press tour for his first serious acting role with journalist Chelsea Brown (Dawson) doing a personal story on Andre in a day in the life. Andre is also letting his reality fiancée Erica Long (Union) plan their wedding for a television show.

As the pair spend the day together, Chelsea gets one of the most personal insights into Andre Allen, showing the pressure to change his persona in the public light.

Thoughts on Top Five

Characters & Performances – Andre Allen is the comedian turned movie star that has started to see his career starting to get out of control, with people expecting too much from him, while he is trying to recreate his own career. He doesn’t know who to trust in the industry anymore, while still trying to keep his own fans happy. Chris Rock is great in this role, he gets to reflect what it is like to be put into one type of character in the view of the audience. Chelsea Brown is the journalist that is looking to write a story about Andre, getting to spend the day on his press tour, getting one of the most personal interviews with Andre. Rosario Dawson does well in her role in the film showing the grounded figure in the world filled with people who want things from Andre. Along the day we meet plenty of different people in Andre’s life who have help him, be it his lifelong friend, family, agency, co-stars or fiancée trying to put together the perfect wedding.

StoryThe story here follows a day in the life of comedian turned movie star that is trying to redefine his career before his big celebrity wedding, with a journalist looking to write a story about him. This story does feel like an intimate look at celebrity life, showing us the pressure put on the performer to keep their fans happy, while trying to make the most of their own time in the spotlight, how bad decisions will haunt them and addiction could hold up their life. This story is told in a way we haven’t seen much before, mixing the idea that we do get to see these personal interviews with a journalist spending a day with the celebrity, which explains how the film can do the flashback concepts too.

ThemesTop Five is a comedy that follows a stand up comedian turned actor, we will get plenty of jokes through the film, showing us just how Andre Allen can just hit jokes out of nowhere, we explore the New York setting, showing us different places that Andre has been to through his career too, each one will have its own story.

 

Top Five is a unique approach to a comedy, reflecting the demands placed upon celebrities who only want to same thing from them.

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – S – The Smuggler (2014) Movie Review

Director: Tony Mahony, Angus Sampson

Writer: Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Jaime Browne (Screenplay)

Starring: Hugo Weaving, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Ewen Leslie, Geoff Morrell, Georgina Haig, Noni Hazlehurst

Plot: After a trip to Thailand, a first-time drug mule finds himself in police custody, with his stomach crammed with narcotics. Now, he has to endure seven sphincter-clenching days to convince them of his innocence. Will nature take its course?


Tagline – It’s what’s inside that counts.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Crime Comedy

Story: The Smuggler starts when a small town football team honour Ray Jenkins (Sampson), with the prize being a trip to Thailand with Gavin (Whannell) using this trip as chance to smuggle drugs back to Australia.

Getting home turns out to be more difficult as Ray is detained and held by Detective Croft (Weaving) as they wait for him to unload the drugs he has been smuggling, refusing to give away the people he is working for as Gavin desperately searches for Ray and the drugs.

Thoughts on The Smuggler

Characters – Ray Jenkins is the good-natured man that has been playing for his local football team for years, he gets honoured for this and talked into joining the team on a tour of Thailand, he gets forced into helping the teammates smuggle drugs back into the country, only he gets caught and refuses to give up either the drugs or the people he is working for. Det Croft is the man watching over Ray, he wants the case closed quickly and will do anything to push Ray to him limits. Gavin is the vice-captain of the football team and is the one that pushes Ray into taking part in the smuggling, only needing to hunt him down once he is captured. We do get the criminal who are after their drugs, lawyers that want to support Ray and other detectives trying to get the truth.

PerformancesAngus Sampson is great in the leading role showing the slower side of his character, while dealing with the intense pain his character is going through. Hugo Weaving is always a class act in film with his character being everything he needs to be through the film, with the rest of the cast doing a strong job through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a good-natured man tricked into becoming a drug smuggler only to get caught and held by authorities waiting for him to empty out the drugs in a dangerous game of cat-n-mouse. This is based on a true story, it does show how people might well take advantage of people and how authorities will do anything to prove somebody is guilty. We see how Ray will do what he can to stay ahead of the game despite the pain he is going through and just how much damage is being done to the people. It does reflect how being held in custody can be questioned on how legal it all is.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy isn’t as strong as it could be through the film, while the crime side is often in the background to what Ray is going through.

SettingsThe film uses the hotel to show the containment Ray finds himself trapped in, this does work well, while the small town setting shows us just a small ring could operate in.


Scene of the Movie – Ray’s final move.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too much detail around one scene with Ray.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting crime film that does show us a story which would have seen an intense level of determination to not give up the material they have.

Overall: Silly Crime Comedy.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – K – Kajaki (2014) Movie Review

Director: Paul Katis

Writer: Tom Williams (Screenplay)

Starring: David Elliot, Mark Stanley, Scott Kyle, Benjamin O’Mahony, Bryan Parry, Liam Ainsworth

Plot: Kajaki Dam 2006. A company of young British soldiers encounter an unexpected, terrifying enemy. A dried-out river bed, and under every step the possibility of an anti-personnel mine. A mine that could cost you your leg – or your life.


Tagline – A film about bravery, courage, heroism and the ultimate sacrifice.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Intense

Story: Kajaki starts as we meet the British soldiers in Afghanistan, doing general patrols in the heat, we see how they don’t get along with the locals and on a routine patrol Stu Hale (O’Mahony) steps on a landmine blowing his leg off, with the rest of the unit needing to come together to keep him safe and prepare him for transfer.

As they tend to the injured solider, they discover they are in a minefield, with Mark Wright (Elliot), Stu Pearson (Kyle) getting hit next, leaving Tug Hartley (Stanley) to risk his own life to try and tend to their injuries.

Thoughts on Kajaki

Characters – The characters are based on the real soldiers, they don’t get anything to make them over the top, they all free grounded, which is important, we follow soldiers that are going about their duty and either get injured by landmines or must work to save the lives of the others, we get to see moments of heroic actions, but most of the film is following the characters needing to remain calm through the situation.

PerformancesThe performances during the film are strong, like the characters, the actors make the characters feel realistic, showing the pain suffered, with the reaction of the ones watching over.

StoryThe story follows a unit of soldiers that find themselves in the middle of a mine field with some injured, others needing to remain calm while treating the injured. This is based on real event, which saw the soldiers trapped. We do see this happen with a sudden impact, which is filled with shock for us, with the wounds looking as horrific are they were. While some of the story does go slowly because a lot of it is mostly waiting for rescue and just people needing to remain calm, which does slow down the intensity you would have imagined seeing them in the film.

Biopic/WarThe biopic side of the film shows just how the men were standard and used their skills to survive, while the war side of the film shows that danger that can be found around any corner.

SettingsThe film uses the setting to show how the one location could become a death trap, a place where they couldn’t survive with ease.


Scene of the Movie – The sudden blast one, it surprises us when it happens.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Most of the film suffers from lulls which shouldn’t be here.

Final Thoughts This is an important moment that shows how soldiers must remain calm through difficult situations and the real events are show in brutal realism.

Overall: Brutal, though Slow.