Monster Trucks (2016)

Director: Chris Wedge

Writer: Derek Connolly (Screenplay) Matthew Robinson, Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger (Story)

Starring: Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Thomas Lennon, Barry Pepper, Rob Lowe, Danny Glover, Amy Ryan, Holt McCallany

 

Plot: A young man working at a small town junkyard discovers and befriends a creature which feeds on oil being sought by a fracking company.


Tagline – On January 13, meet Creech

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Film

 

Story: Monster Trucks starts as we see how the oil company run by Reece Tenneson (Lowe) has an accident on one of their sites which see three creatures discovered underground, where one escapes. We meet Tripp (Till) a high school student that struggles to concentrate, who works at the local scrapyard to stay away from his step-father Sheriff Rick (Pepper).

When Tripp finds the creature in the scrapyard the two become friends as it hides in his truck, with fellow student Meredith (Levy) trying to explain the biological side to the creature, while Reece is trying to figure out how to solve a potential problem to the eco-system and his oil drilling.

 

Thoughts on Monster Trucks

 

Characters – Tripp is a high school student, living with his mother and step-father, he comes off like a slacker with dreams of leaving the small town. He works at the scrapyard working on his escape with the truck he has been building, when he befriends the unknown creature he gets to go on an adventure to save the new species. Meredith is a fellow student that works with Tripp to understand the creature but her character plays out with the idea of being a damsel in distress.  Jim works for the oil company, he learns of the intelligence the creatures have and wants to help make them free not destroying their environment. Sheriff Rick is the step-father of Tripp who must try to keep up with Tripp without letting him get in trouble, he isn’t a direct enemy of Tripp’s though. Reece Tenneson is the oil tycoon that is losing money with the creatures being alive and now he will do anything to get rid of them.

PerformancesLucas Till is good in this leading role even though himself and Jane Levy both feel too old for the high school role as we have seen both in more adult roles. Thomas Lennon makes good for the extra comic relief even though most of his jokes miss, Rob Lowe is a good businessman villain too.

StoryThe story follows an undiscovered creature being found in an oil drilling location, making it a battle to see whether the oil company can be bought down before destroying the creatures home. This works for the story, it may not be the most original idea but it brings us the character we can relate too who want to do right and the ones that don’t with their greed. We get good moments of unlikely friendships coming through different locations too.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Fantasy/Sci-FiWe hit a lot of genres here, the action comes from the chase sequences that are pure fun once you switch your brain off, the adventure takes Tripp on a journey he never imagined he would be going on. The comedy is hit or miss though but the fantasy elements are part fantasy and part a potential reality because you never know about new species. This is designed well for a family film though.

SettingsThe film takes part in and around a small town in North Dakota, this idea is that you might not make it out of this town and this shows what could happen for the characters.

Special EffectsThe effects work well enough for the film without being the absolute best because with the budget the film has you would expect better.


Scene of the Movie –
The final chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Meredith could have been written stronger.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun film, don’t expect greatness but just something you could enjoy with ease.

 

Overall: Enjoyable family film.

Rating

 

 

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John Leguizamo Weekend – The Infiltrator (2016)

infiDirector: Brad Furman

Writer: Ellen Sue Brown (Screenplay) Robert Mazur (Book)

Starring: Bryan Cranston, John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger, Daniel Mays, Amy Ryan, Jason Isaacs, Michael Pare,

 

Plot: A U.S. Customs official uncovers a money laundering scheme involving Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Crime Drama

 

Story: The Infiltrator starts as we meet Robert Mazur (Cranston) who has been working as an undercover US Custom officer who has just taken down a drug ring which for the time offers him a chance to walk away from field work. When one of Robert’s co-workers Emir Abreu (Leguizamo) comes to him with information of a Colombian drug lord Robert must decide whether to follow the lead.

Robert takes the job where he must go undercover as a banker for the Colombian drug lord where he must work with Abreu who he sees as a loose cannon to take down Pablo Escobar. The further Robert goes undercover the deeper he finds himself wondering just how far he will get pushed by the drug lords.

The Infiltrator gives us what seems to be just another look at a brave man who goes undercover to bring down a crime lord. We do have heavyweight performance from Cranston yet again that could easily get Oscar attention. I also think we get a great supporting performance from Leguizamo. The film gives us plenty of focus on the effects of going undercover on the personal life as well as the professional side of everything but it does sadly feel like just another story we have seen similar before.

 

Overall: Great performances to a crime story it feels we have seen before.

Rating70

 

 

Central Intelligence (2016)

centralDirector: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Writer: Rawson Marshall Thurber, Ike Barinholtz, David Stassen (Screenplay)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan, Danielle Nicolet, Jason Bateman, Aaron Paul, Ryan Hansen

 

Plot: After he reconnects with an awkward pal from high school through Facebook, a mild-mannered accountant is lured into the world of international espionage.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hilarious Comedy

 

Story: Central intelligence starts as we Bob Stone an overweight school student getting embarrassed on front of the whole school while Calvin Joyner is getting all the praise and is the only one who sticks up for him. Move forward 20 years later and Calvin (Hart) works in a dead end job instead of the success he was meant to be.

When Bob (Johnson) makes contact with Calvin he turns up a changed man built like Hercules and after a night out he learns that he is in the CIA. When Agent Harris (Ryan) turns up claim Bob is a dangerous and a threat to the government. Calvin finds himself having to work with Bob to clear Bob’s name however resistant Calvin is.

Central Intelligence is a buddy comedy that gives us a new comedy powerhouse couple with Johnson and Hart. We get what is a simple crime story where the agent brings in someone from outside to solve the case does bring in the comedy throughout without having to make the crime story way to series. The story does get balanced though where we don’t get too many pointless jokes taking away from the action in the story. overall the story flows nicely and can’t help but say how enjoyable it all was.

 

Actor Review

 

Dwayne Johnson: Bob Stone is a former bullied high school student who has changed his life to become a CIA agent that reaches out to Calvin to help him on his latest case. Bob is skilled combat expert but also eccentric in all of his action. Dwayne nails this comedy perfectly and works with Kevin to a new level of comedy.

Kevin Hart: Calvin Joyner was voted most likely be a success in high school but now he works as an accountant but when Bob turns up in his life the excitement returns to his life once again. Calvin also has to balance his 20-year marriage with this secret mission. Kevin is great in this role showing brilliant chemistry with Dwayne.

Amy Ryan: Agent Pamela Harris is tracking down Bob and wants to use Calvin as the bait but as we continue the story we lean towards it either being her or Bob as the actual Black Badger. Amy is good in this role that lets the leads steal all of the spotlight.

Danielle Nicolet: Maggie is the wife of Calvin and the two are high school sweethearts who is trying to keep the marriage feeling fresh before they start they own family. Danielle is good in this supporting role.

Support Cast: Central Intelligence has a good supporting cast that all help with the comedy going on through the film.

Director Review: Rawson Marshall ThurberRawson gives us one of the comedies of the year where we see a new comedy force born in Johnson and Hart.

 

Action: Central Intelligence has great comedy action throughout even though most is just generic for the style of film.

Comedy: Central Intelligence has brilliant comedy between the two leads who nail nearly every single joke through the film.

Crime: Central Intelligence has a crime story that is going on in the background which help direct all the comedy and action going on.

Chemistry: Central Intelligence has brilliant chemistry between Hart and Johnson throughout.

Settings: Central Intelligence puts our characters into the locations to create the trouble they find themselves in which can be used for the comedy involved.

Suggestion: Central Intelligence is one for all the comedy fans to go and watch this year. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Johnson and Hart brilliant chemistry.

Worst Part: You know where the story is going.

Action Scene Of The Film: Office space.

Funniest Scene: Doctor time.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel:

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $50 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

Tagline: Saving the world takes a little Hart and a big Johnson

Trivia: When Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson’s characters first meet, Kevin Hart makes a reference to Dwayne looking like Hercules, Dwayne Johnson played Hercules in the film “Hercules” in 2014.

 

Overall: One of the best buddy comedy movies this year and one of the best in recent years.

Ratingcard

 

 

Goosebumps (2015)

goosebmpsDirector: Rob Letterman

Writer: Darren Lemke (Screenplay) Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski (Story) R.L. Stine (Books)

Starring: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, Ryan Lee, Amy Ryan, Jillian Bell, Ken Marino, Halston Sage

 

Plot: A teenager teams up with the daughter of young adult horror author R. L. Stine after the writer’s imaginary demons are set free on the town of Madison, Delaware.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure Nostalgia Fun

 

Story: Goosebumps starts when Gale (Ryan) her son Zach (Minnette) move to a new house from the busy city lifestyle. Zach doesn’t take long to meet the neighbour Hannah (Rush) and her father Stine (Black) who instantly bans him from seeing his daughter. Zach has to start a new school where he meets Champ (Lee) while his mum is the new vice-principal.

When Zach believes Hannah to be in danger he breaks in with Champ and they discover all of the R.L. Stine books locked on the shelf but once they open one the creature from the book comes to life, but it is Slappy from another book that unleashes all of the creatures from Stine’s books upon the town leaving it up to Stine, Zach, Hannah and Champ to save the town from all of the horrors.

Goosebumps is part of my childhood when I watched all of the stories and seeing this clever way of changing this bringing it into a modern era. We could have just had a movie based on just one of the creation but making an original story looking at the idea that the author really creating monsters will keep the fans happy because every creature makes an appearance. This is one of the most fun films I have seen this year and if you are a fan of the original material this will be one you enjoy.

 

Actor Review

 

Jack Black: R.L. Stine is now a recluse author that keeps his daughter Hannah away from the outside world. When his work is unleashed upon the town he must go fight against Slappy his smartest creation who releases all of his nightmare creations. Jack fits this character perfectly getting to use his comedian ability without just being a silly character which this could have fallen into.stine

Dylan Minnette: Zach is the new kid in town, he has recently lost his father so this move is his family’s chance at a new start, he takes a shine to his new neighbour Hannah and while trying to find out about her, he accidently releases her father’s creations from the books he has written. Zach is a very typical new boy in town character where he ends up looking like a loser to the high schoolers early on but has to make himself a hero by the end. Dylan is good in this role even if he does look slightly too old for high school.

Odeya Rush: Hannah is the daughter of Stine who is home schooled but just wants to make friends, she sees Zach as a chance to make a friend and escape her prison like home. Odeya is good in this role fitting the typical high school crush for our lead.

Ryan Lee: Champ is the geeky school friend of Zach, he becomes the typical sidekick character stating the obvious throughout the film even though he does have his own entertaining side story with the gorgeous girl Taylor. Ryan is good in tis comical sidekick role through the film.

Support Cast: Goosebumps has a good supporting cast that all helps add comedy to the overall story without being over the top, letting our leading character take the most part of the story.

Director Review: Rob LettermanRob gives us a film that understands the source material and builds on everything we all know and love about the books.

 

Adventure: Goosebumps gives us a great adventure for our leading characters that will keep you guessing from start to finish.

Comedy: Goosebumps has good comedy moments through the film that all work without taking away from the overall story.

Fantasy: Goosebumps brings us into a fantasy world filled with creations from one of the most iconic horror authors.

Horror: Goosebumps brings us a string horror creations through the film.

Settings: Goosebumps uses a small town as the setting keeping us knowing that the creatures need to be stopped before they spread.
Special Effects
: Goosebumps has great effects to create the creatures keeping them in a style that we would like to see in the style of the film.

Suggestion: Goosebumps is one for fans of the original work to love and everyday audience to enjoy. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Having a story that bounces with any story you would have seen with Stine’s work.

Worst Part: While we do get a couple popular characters and see most, certain ones could have been popular and not given the same time as others.zach

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Left open for one.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $58 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

Tagline: The stories are alive

 

Overall: Brilliant fantasy childhood walk down memory lane for all fans

Ratingcard

 

Bridge of Spies (2015)

bridge of spiesDirector: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda, Amy Ryan, Austin Stowell, Billy Magnussen, Michael Gaston

 

Plot: During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Espionage Thriller

 

Story: Bridge of Spies starts by giving us the tension between US and Soviet States in 1957 over nuclear weapons and how both side deployed spies to investigate the other. We start by meeting Rudolf Abel (Rylance) living in Brooklyn an artist by nature before being arrested by the US government. James B Donovan (Hanks) is an insurance lawyer who gets requested to defend Abel to show America is willing to give anyone a fair trial.

America is running their own spy mission on the other side of the world with pilot Francis Gary Powers (Stowell) being the main pilot involved after a string of tests. When Donovan loses his case he takes a drastic idea to keep Abel alive in case they ever needed to trade if one of the American spies is captured which becomes the case when Francis Gary Powers ends captured by the Soviets. Donovan has to play the part of negotiator in the acceptance of the spy trade.

Bridge of Spies is a real life true story about one man trying to go against all the odds trying to get the spies back to the home sides. We get to see all the tension between the three side not wanting to work together as they look to find a way to make the trade happen. Yet again I found myself enjoying a film that I knew very little about the history behind it which doesn’t help and I found that this film could find people wondering more about why the tension is truly so high but is a brilliant watch.

 

Actor Review

 

Tom Hanks: James B Donovan is the insurance lawyer who ends up having to defend a potential spy against America only to find the nation turning on him as he tries to give this man an honest trial, once he loses the CIA continues to use Donovan on a mission to trade an American spy for Abel. Tom gives a brilliant performance in this role that he gives us his best without even trying.donovan

Mark Rylance: Rudolf Abel is the man living in America who is accused of being a Soviet spy, Donovan defends him against the American states. He remains calm throughout his trial and conviction. Mark gives us a stunning performance that really shows he will be a great star for future performances.

Alan Alda: Thomas Watters Jr is the boss of Donovan who puts him on the case before turning on him once he wants to defend Abel. Alan gives us a small supporting performance without really doing too much.

Austin Stowell: Francis Gary Powers is the American pilot who gets captured by the Soviet states, he is trained to be a spy but fails to destruct his plane, he becomes a pawn in the game between the two countries. Austin is good in the supporting role without getting too much screen time.

Support Cast: Bridge of Spies has a big and good supporting cast that all play their part in the story.

Director Review: Steven SpielbergSteven shows he still has the brilliant ability to show how to make the thriller that keeps you guessing from start to finish.

 

Biographical: Bridge of Spies gives us a magnificent look at the people involved and how much they had to risk to make a difference.

Thriller: Bridge of Spies keeps us on the edge of the seat from start to finish.

Settings: Bridge of Spies creates the realistic settings for the story to take part in.
Special Effects
: Bridge of Spies has good effects when needed mostly with the plane crash.

Suggestion: Bridge of Spies is one for all the film fans to watch mainly for part history lesson and part thriller. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Hanks performance.

Worst Part: If you don’t know the history it is just a thriller.

 

Believability: Based on the real events.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Nominated for one Golden Globe

Oscar Chances: Unlikely but outside shot.

Box Office: $70 Million

Budget: $40 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

Tagline:  In a world on the brink the difference between war and peace was one honest man.

 

Overall: Thriller that has to be watched even if only for the history lesson.

Ratingcard