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

 

 

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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

Devil’s Knot (2013)

devils knotDirector: Atom Egoyan

Writer: Paul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson (Screenplay) Mara Leveritt (Book ‘Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three’)

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth, Alessandro Nivola, James Hamrick, Seth Meriwether, Kristopher Higgins, Amy Ryan, Robert Baker, Mireille Enos,  Dane DeHaan

 

Plot: Based on the true story of the West Memphis Three where three young boys were savagely murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas in 1993. Spurred on by the demand from a grieving town, the local police act quickly to bring three “devil-worshipping” teenagers to trial. With their lives hanging in the balance, investigator Ron Lax is trying to find the truth between the town’s need for justice and the guilt of the accused.

 

Verdict: Interesting

 

Story: We get to follow the final known steps of the three young children followed by the search for them. We then have to go through the who might have done it which leads to the three suspects. We get to meet the investigator who follows the case from a distance to start with but moves closer when he starts to think not everything is right. We go through the court case but much like real life we don’t get any answers.

Based on the real story of the tragic killings and how the case has never officially be solved (Which I didn’t know go into). Everything put together seems very real to how things sounded like they went rather against the law book through the court case. If that was how the case went it does seem really hard to believe an outcome was true. I do like how the story showed the faults in the handling of the case and offered potential suspects that never got looked into. I do think this could have just be a television special though, because of its lack of conclusion it makes the Hollywood treatment seem too much. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Reese Witherspoon: Pam Hobbs mother of one of the victims who has to deal with the loss of a child, the invading media asking her the same old questions and suffer through a court case. She does start to doubt the suspects during the court case and seems to have uncovered something. Good performance from Reese who plays the grieving mother perfectly. (8/10)

 reese

Colin Firth: Ron Lax private investigator who takes an interest in the case, he doesn’t want to see any more children killed with the potential outcome being tried for. He tries to uncover a potential larger story but always get shot down and anything he brings to the case seems to get dismissed. Great performance from Colin, who portrays the American accent to fit in perfect. (9/10)

colin

Alessandro Nivola: Terry Hobbs husband of Pam who is in grieving but just wants to see the people reasonable pay. Good performance in a role where he gets to add a bit of mystery to his character. (8/10)

 terry

James Hamrick, Seth Meriwether, Kristopher Higgins: Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley the three suspects who go through a court case given no chance to be found no guilty. All three do a good job as three young men about to see their futures taken away from them (7/10)

 

 damienjasonjesse

 

 

 

 

Support Cast: With the support cast we have the Police force who start off looking very professional but as the court case unfolds seem to have missed important information. We have both sides of the lawyers who want to win but struggle as well as the other families and how they are struggling through. Each supporting cast member helps the story continue and does a good job with the time they get. (8/10)

 

Director Review: Atom Egoyan – Does a solid job to show how the story of the case is still incomplete and how it was treated so one sided. (8/10)

 

Crime: Looking at the real crime that never seemed to get solved. (9/10)

Drama: Solid drama showing the effect the crime had on the people and how they dealt with it. (8/10)

Thriller: Lacks the thrills it could have because we are not left to guess what will happen. (4/10)

Settings: The settings all look very authentic for the time and all play into the effects of how the story unfolds. (8/10)

Suggestion: This is one to try, it is a real story about an unsolved crime so you will know it will leave you feeling slightly empty. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Colin Firth performance

Worst Part: Court Case was a shambles

Believability: Based on a real event. (10/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Unlikley

Budget: $15 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

Tagline: They say the crimes were satanic. The truth may be scarier.

 

Overall: Solid Drama Based on Real Event

Rating 71