ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – W – War Dogs (2016)

Director: Todd Phillips

Writer: Stephen Chin, Todd Phillips, Jason Smilovic (Screenplay) Guy Lawson (Article)

Starring: Miles Teller, Jonah Hill, Ana de Armas

 

Plot: Loosely based on the true story of two young men, David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli, who won a three hundred million dollar contract from the Pentagon to arm America’s allies in Afghanistan.


Tagline – Money, corruption and the American dream

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Crime Comedy

 

Story: War Dogs starts as we follow David Packouz’s (Teller) story, he was a massage therapist and lost his money in a bad investment, with his girlfriend Iz (Armas) pregnant, he is left with little ideas for money until his old friend Efraim (Hill) returns to town. Efraim is an arms dealer that has been finding a way to sell weapons in the war.

We follow the two young men as they find a way to get one of the biggest deals done, but is this going to take a toll on their personal lives.

 

Thoughts on War Dogs

 

Characters – David is a young man, he works hard with his massage therapist job while trying to make a business of his own. When this goes wrong he is saved by his old childhood friend that introduces him to the world of arms dealing, he is telling the story to us too. Efraim is the old school friend of David’s that brings him in as a partner, showing him the ropes and just how much money could be getting made in this industry. He has a reputation that doesn’t make him one to trust at the times, which could ruin deals and friendships.

PerformancesMiles Teller and Jonah Hill are both great in these roles, they have great chemistry between them and it shows in their moments together and gives them both the time in solo scenes to be their own characters.

StoryThe story shows the rise of two unlikely young men that became one of the biggest international arms dealers in recent American history and how the greed can take over even the strongest friendships. We are told this story through one of the two men involved, so we do only get to see their own point of view of everything, when you feel there might be more to certain moments in the film. This is an easy to watch film and plays out just like Lord of War which does feel slightly more entertaining though.

Comedy/Crime/WarThe comedy comes mostly from the idea of this feeling completely out of place watching these young men enter this world of crime during the war time of selling weapons.

SettingsThe settings show how the characters go from comfortable America to countries with less money that offer these men a chance of something massive, this is good for the clash of cultures idea.


Scene of the Movie –
The first deal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Only seeing it from one point of view.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good Todd Phillips style comedy that we all know how his style comes through, it does have good moments throughout and strong performances too.

 

Overall: Good crime comedy well worth watching.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – E – Exposed (2016)

Director: Gee Malik Linton

Writer: Gee Malik Linton (Screenplay)

Starring: Ana de Armas, Keanu Reeves, Christopher McDonald, Mira Sorvino

 

Plot: A police detective investigates the truth behind his partner’s death. The mysterious case reveals disturbing police corruption and a dangerous secret involving an unlikely young woman.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painfully Boring

 

Story: Exposed starts as we follow Isabel (Armas) go about her life as a teacher and girlfriend of small time gangsters who are all close, she starts seeing strange thing around town. We also meet Detective Galban (Reeves) who must investigate the murder of his partner after he was found to be investigating the gangs of Harlem.

We follow how Galban must deal with his own demons and Isabel must deal with her own miracle but it takes time for the two to cross paths an understand the meaning of the messages.

 

Thoughts on Exposed

 

Characters/PerformanceDetective Galban is he broken man, his wife has died, his child doesn’t live with him and now his partner has been murdered, he goes out to search for the people responsible, giving himself a chance to face his demons. Isabel is he young woman a teacher that has her boyfriend away in Iraq as she lives with the family in gang filled environment but a miracle changes how she sees the world.

Performance wise, Ana and Keanu are both fine in their roles without being anything up to the levels we know they can reach, most notable together in Knock Knock.

StoryThe story here is very messy, we spend too much time on separate paths which just leave us confused by the time we reach the main conclusion of the story, which is a mix of obvious and confusing.

Crime MysterySomeone got murdered, there is your crime story and mystery is who did it and for some reason we are trying to care about it all.

SettingsNone of the settings are used for the impact in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a mess of a film that just seems to end as the mess it has been created to be.

 

Overall: Avoid this messy film.

Rating

 

 

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Writer: Hampton Fancher, Michael Green (Screenplay) Philip K Dick (Characters)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Ana De Armas, Dave Bautista, Barkhad Abdi, Lennie James, Sylvia Hoeks

 

Plot: A young blade runner’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for thirty years.

 

Runtime: 2 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Breath-Taking Movie

 

Story: Blade Runner 2049 starts as we learn how the Nexus models of replicants are no more, Niander Wallace (Leto) has developed the new models to continue the slavery needed for humans but these all obey, Officer K (Gosling) is one of the models a new Blade Runner hunting down the original replicants that have been able to survive past their expire dates.

K’s latest case takes him to Sapper Morton (Bautista) living well off the grid as a quiet gardener, but he tells him about a miracle he will never understand. K starts to investigate the mystery with his Lieutenant Joshi (Wright) supporting the investigation but Niander Wallace has his best agent Luv (Hoeks) also looking for truth which involves searching for Rick Deckard (Ford)

 

Thoughts on Blade Runner 2049

 

Characters – Officer K is a replicant upgrade that tracks down the Nexus models, he is the smart figure that we need to see in an investigation movie but in his free time he has a relationship with his artificial life Joi. K gets drawn into an investigation to find the answers to what could be a miracle in the modern world and his cases takes him all over America. Niander Wallace is the man that has been making the new replicants that obey, his genius has saved the planet but when he learns about the miracle he knows it can take his creations to the next level. Luv is the main employee of Niander’s chasing down K looking to take advantage of the miracle, she is deadly killing anyone who gets in her way. Rick Deckard has the answers to what is behind the miracle but we don’t meet him until late into the movie. Joi the artificial intelligence that keeps K company who constantly is looking for a way to become real.

PerformancesRyan Gosling is fantastic in the leading role of this movie showing he can carry a blockbuster just as well as an indie movie. Harrison Ford returning gives us a chance to see him back at his best which is why him returning to his popular films is working in recent years, here to hope for a good Indiana Jones sequel. Jared Leto is great when we see him but I do wish we had more scenes with his character. Sylvia Hoeks is the true surprise package here and she is fantastic in all her scenes and being an actress, I hadn’t heard of before she proves she could be in many leading roles to come. Ana De Armas is also great in her role stepping away from the normal for what I know her for in horror to be the ones that wants to survive. The cast has plenty of big name actors from different years they are all great through this film.

StoryThe story here is an investigation into what happened after the original movie, yes, it is 30 years later but the moments we learn off from the investigation explain how this moment is the answer to the power struggle being played for by this investigation. We can look past just the investigation though because we have K’s quest to understand one of his memories, Joi’s desire to be real and Niander’s mission to hold the key to making replicants in a more efficient way. The positive if that the story is told in a linear pattern because we could have easily jump around the time line for this film but it is simple to follow as you are left to guess just what will be happening next.

Sci-FiIn a world of replicants, other worlds (though we don’t go or see them) where humans have all but destroyed Earth, this movie couldn’t be anymore sci-fi even if it wanted to, a near perfect use of the sci-fi elements.

SettingsThe world created is visually stunning, be it the tight compact living spaces or the open land destroyed by war, each setting will take you breath away with the visual look of everything.

Special EffectsThe special effects are easily the best any film will use this year, they are truly amazing whether it be the world creating or how Joi blends into each scene she is in. this is a treat on the eyes.


Scene of the Movie –
Deckard’s introduction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It feels very long.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best visual movie of the year, it has wonderful performances from everyone involved, a story that keeps you guessing, the only down side is the run time which you do feel even when you are engrossed into the story.

 

Overall: Stunning visual movie that will take your breath away.

Rating

 

 

Keanu Reeves Weekend – Knock Knock (2015)

knock knockDirector: Eli Roth

Writer: Eli Roth, Nicola Lopez, Guillermo Amoedo (Screenplay) Anthony Overman, Michael Ronald Ross (Story)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, Ana de Armas, Ignacia Allamand, Aaron Burns

 

Plot: When a devoted husband and father is left home alone for the weekend, two stranded young women unexpectedly knock on his door for help. What starts out as a kind gesture results in a dangerous seduction and a deadly game of cat and mouse.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Building Thriller

 

Story: Knock Knock starts as we meet Evan (Reeves) a devoted husband and father, his wife Karen (Allamand) and kids Jake & Lisa are going away for the weekend. With his family away Evan tries to get his work done before two beautiful young woman Genesis (Izzo) & Bell (de Armas) turn up on his doorstep during a storm soaked through looking for friend’s house.

Evan ever the gentleman offers the girls shelter and a way to their new location, but as the time together the girls try their best to seduce Evan as he does the best to resist all temptation. Evan eventually gives into the temptation leading to a wild threesome. When the morning comes Evan learns a shocking truth about the girls as he tries desperately to cover the night before.

Knock Knock is a film that I can say had me on edge from start to it finished which is always a good thing. We are drawn in to what will happen next, why these girls have targeted Evan, what their motives with their action. All of these really pull us in but the problem with this is that we don’t learn about what is going on, we don’t get any of these answers which I accept we do sometimes like a few loose ends but one answer would have been important. Finally, the bigger issues fall with that Evan is a good guy we don’t see anything bad about him through the film. I feel this story has so much potential if only it answered the questions.

 

Actor Review

 

Keanu Reeves: Evan Webber is the devoted husband and father who is spending his weekend alone to focus on his work. His time is interrupted by two girls seeking shelter from the rain. Evan tries his hardest to not give into temptation but the girls are too much for him to resist. The morning after he tries to get rid of them but the girls have plans for him. The best thing about Evan is how willing to turn the girls down over and over as we see how much of a good person he actually is. Keanu is good as we see him as a good guy lead astray by the girls.evan

Lorenza Izzo: Genesis is one of the girls who turns up on the door of Evan’s she is the leader of the two as she has more tricks up her sleeves to make Evan stay under their spell. Lorenza is good as one of the seductive woman.girls

Ana de Armas: Bell is the emotional weaker of the two girls who is happy to go along with the plan, she is more sex driven than Genesis as she likes to play the daddy card. Ana is also good in the seductive woman role.

Ignacia Allamand: Karen is the wife of Evan, she is architect and takes their kids away for the weekend. She is your typical wife and mother but we don’t get to see too much from her character. Ignacia doesn’t get enough time to really give us enough time on screen.

Support Cast: Knock Knock doesn’t have the biggest supporting cast with the only ones involved do a good enough job.

Director Review: Eli Roth Eli gives us most of a good thriller I just wish he would have given us an ending and answer some of the questions the film offers us.

 

Horror: Knock Knock gives us a twist on the home invasion horror.

Mystery: Knock Knock gives us plenty of questions but fails to answer all of them or any really.

Thriller: Knock Knock does keep us on edge from start to finish.

Settings: Knock Knock keeps the setting inside the home of Evan which shows the home invasion angle working.
Suggestion
: Knock Knock is one for the thriller fans to try because it is disappointing ending. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Tension building.

Worst Part: Unanswered questions.

 

Believability: It tries to make it feel real but sadly doesn’t come off enough.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline: One night can cost you everything

 

Overall: A great thriller that just seems to forget to answer the questions it asks.

Ratingcard