ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – H – Hustle & Flow (2005)

Director: Craig Brewer

Writer: Craig Brewer (Screenplay)

Starring: Terrence Howard, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning, Taraji P Henson, DJ Qualls, Ludacris, Paula Jai Parker

 

Plot: With help from his friends, a Memphis pimp in a mid-life crisis attempts to become a successful hip-hop emcee.


Tagline – The music will inspire them. The dream will unite them. This summer get crunk.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Insight to the Hip-Hop World

 

Story: Hustle & Flow starts as we see the everyday pimping life of Djay (Howard) forcing his prostitutes to do there thing with Nola (Manning) being he most requested girl, he has girls in the strip club too which Lexus (Parker) being the one he is closest too, he also has a pregnant one in his home with Shug (Henson) waiting to give birth.

When Djay meets an old friend Key (Anderson) he starts to have a craving to try and become a hip-hop star as the two work together to make song where he learns that Shug is the real talent in his household.

 

Thoughts on Hustle & Flow

 

Characters – Djay is a pimp going through a mid-life crisis, he is tired of struggling to make his girls collect his money and wants to try and new career as a hip-hop star, he must first shake his old ways though and accept criticisms for his vision. Key is a music producer for a local church, he comes from a very different background to Djay and is willing to give this music venture a chance. Nola is one of the prostitutes that is still working the streets she is his go to girl at the moment with the others out of the picture at the moment, she does get frustrated about being the only one on the streets though. Shug is the pregnant girl working for Djay, she shows herself to have real talent when it comes to singing which only brings the music alive for Djay.

PerformancesTerrence Howard in the leading role is great because we see his character’s full evolution through the story trying to find himself in the world. Anthony Anderson continues to show everyone he can be an great supporting performer while Taryn Manning and Taraji P Henson both show us they were going to go onto bigger projects.

StoryThe story shows us how a mid-life crisis can drive somebody to go down unusual paths with his Djay wanting to become a hip-hop star getting out of the pimping business. The story does break up into a couple of acts with the pimping business playing out like you would imagine, while the middle part of the film focuses for a long time on the making of the song which does go on longer than it needs too. With the third acting showing us just how difficult the industry is to get into. The idea that we can dream helps this movie out big time because it is important to see, though seeing just how far people will go for the dreams is the bleak side to things.

Crime/MusicThe crime world we see is just how the pimping world operates and how close to the line certain hip-hop stars can go to the law, this blends nicely with the music side of the film.

SettingsThe film is set in Memphis which shows us the difficult neighbourhood that Djay is operating in, it shows he tensions can fly and how the special want to get out of the place.


Scene of the Movie –
The club drinks.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too long spent recording the song.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story about dreams and just how far people will go to try and make dreams come true, whether you will go too far too.

 

Overall: Dreams Big or fail.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – E – Exit Wounds (2001)

Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak

Writer: Ed Horowitz, Richard D’Ovidio (Screenplay) John Westermann (Novel)

Starring: Steven Seagal, DMX, Isaiah Washington, Anthony Anderson, Michael Jai White, Bill Duke, Jill Hennessy, Tom Arnold

 

Plot: Orin Boyd, a tough cop in an inner-city precinct discovers a web of dirty cops and corruption.


Tagline – This Is Gonna Hurt

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Seagal Action 101

 

Story: Exit Wounds starts when tough police officer Orin Boyd (Seagal) prevents an assassination attempt on the Vice President against orders from his superiors and Secret Service. This loses him his job at his prescient and being sent to a rougher one where new Captain Annette Mulcahy (Hennessy) sends him anger management.

When Orin starts investigating a known gangster Latrell Walker (DMX) he is assigned a partner in George Clark (Washington) and the two only honest sounding cops trying to bring him down and uncover the dirty cops in the force.

 

Thoughts on Exit Wounds

 

Characters – Orin Boyd is a tough no nonsense cop that will always run in first to do the right thing for people in danger, he doesn’t like dirty cops or criminals or partners and will go all out to bring down the criminals. Latrell Walker is the criminal that Orin is tracking, he is a genius, but not everything about what we learn about him is what it seems on the outside. George Clark is the partner that gets forced onto him, he has a family and just wants to do the right thing but could easily be another one of the dirty cops. We do meet plenty of cops that are dirty through the film, we see many different clichés for the genre in our characters too.

PerformancesWe know what Steven Seagal is capable of as an actor, he can handle the fighting fine, but when it comes to the line delivery he isn’t the best, this is typical for what we know about him. DMX was trying to make an acting career and he does show promise in a time when all musicians seemed to want to get into acting. When we look at the rest of the cast they are what we need in the film without anyone standing out too much, Anthony Anderson gets the funniest moments in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a tough cop trying to bring down criminals and corruption from within the force. This does play into Seagal’s strengths where he gets to beat people up and be the good guy doing this. We have a big third act twist which does turn the film on its head and doesn’t really get implied early on which is nice. By the end this will have checked the boxes for a fun easy to watch action film and that is all we want from a story at times

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action is short fight sequences, shootouts and chases sequences which are fun to watch with plenty going on through them making the action all we want. The comedy is in small moments and does give a couple of laughs with Anderson being the one with the most. The crime world we enter is everything we know when it comes to corrupt cops which is fine for the film.

SettingsThe film brings us to Detroit with crime running through it, we know it is generic for crime world, so this works for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Seagal versus White sword fighting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The comedy works, but can takeaway from the main story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard Seagal action film, it is easy to watch and will keep you entertained throughout.

 

Overall: Simple to watch action film.

Rating

 

 

Me, Myself & Irene (2000)

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Writer: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Mike Cerrone (Screenplay)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Renee Zellweger, Anthony Anderson, Mongo Brownlee, Jerod Mixon, Chris Cooper, Richard Jenkins

 

Plot: A nice-guy cop with dissociative identity disorder must protect a woman on the run from a corrupt ex-boyfriend and his associates.


Tagline –  From gentle to mental

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Carrey Comedy

 

Story: Me, Myself & Irene starts as we meet highway control officer Charlie (Carrey) who is popular in his work and gets married only to discover that his wife has had triplets that are black, he does accept them as his own even after his wife leaves him, which loses him the respect of the town, but not of his kids Jamaal (Anderson), Lee (Brownlee) and Shonte Jr (Mixon).

When Charlie finally snaps it turns out he has a dissociative identity disorder creating a version of himself Hank that will do anything Charlie wouldn’t. to cover up the problem Charlie is set on an escorting job to take Irene (Zellweger) back to her home state to deal with an open warrant to her name, but Charlie finds it hard to keep Hank at bay.

 

Thoughts on Me, Myself & Irene

 

Characters – Charlie is a happy-go-lucky highway trooper that the town has always walked all over after his wife walked out on him, he tries to be good to everyone without realizing they are treating him bad. Hank is the loud abrupt version of Charlie that will say and do anything inappropriate and will fight where Charlie doesn’t. Irene is the woman that gets accused on crimes that Charlie must escort, only for it to turn out that she has involvement with a criminal out to stop her talking.

PerformancesJim Carrey gets to enjoy his double role here effortless swapping between the two through the film. Renee Zellweger does handle the comedy in this film well, while the more established names in the supporting roles do well with their roles.

StoryThe story follows one man that gets pushed too far which brings out his twisted darker side, he must help escort a wanted criminal across country only his darker side helps them out along the way when a mob boss and dirty cops are trying to kill her and Charlie along the way. This does have a road trip element along the way as Charlie goes to different states along the way.

ComedyThe comedy comes from Jim Carrey mostly he gets to play opposite characters and each work well, his sons also get good laughs too breaking stereotypes.

SettingsThe film takes across US states which unless you know certain locations you will be left wondering how far they are travelling.


Scene of the Movie –
First Hank appearance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villain isn’t that threating.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good Jim Carrey based comedy that gets plenty of laughs along the way, the road trip side of the film works even if the villains don’t.

 

Overall: Fun comedy showing Jim Carrey’s talents.

Rating

 

 

Jack Nicholson Weekend – The Departed (2006)

departedDirector: Martin Scorsese

Writer: William Monahan (Screenplay) Alan Mak, Felix Chong (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Anderson, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Corrigan, James Badge Dale

 

Plot: An undercover cop and a mole in the police attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Crime Thriller

 

Story: The Departed starts with the tradition introduction of all the characters starting with Frank Costello (Nicholson) who has been running Boston for years, we meet Colin Sullivan (Damon) who Frank has been grooming to become his connection inside the police force as we watch how fast he rises through the ranks. We also meet Billy (DiCaprio) who has come from the rough side of Boston but become one of the best cadets Queenan (Sheen) & Dignam (Wahlberg) have seen, who talk him into going undercover with the Costello.

We follow as Frank Costello and Queenan work with their informants as they each try to keep one step ahead of each other before all of the twists and turns are around every corner.

The Departed will go down as one of the greatest crime thrillers of all time, it is filled with plenty of twists and turns throughout. I am not usually a fan of the gangster genre but this one pulled me in from the start to finish because we never knew what would happen next. This was a remake of the trilogy of Infernal Affairs and I can safely say this squeezes all of the action from the three films into one. Each character is developed to keep on interested in all of them as we learn what the real motives are. I can safely say this deserved the Oscar praise it gained.

 

Actor Review

 

Leonardo DiCaprio: Billy is the special police trainee that gets recruited to go undercover in Frank Costello’s gang. He has come from the rough side of Boston but stayed out of trouble which makes him a prime candidate for this role. While undercover he gets pulled to levels he never thought he would have to go to get his mission complete and stay one step ahead of Sullivan who is tracing him. Leonardo is great in this undercover role showing how he needs to play both sides of the law throughout.billy

Matt Damon: Colin Sullivan is the man who has been working for Costello for nearly his whole life, he is put through the training to become his connection on the inside where he keeps Frank one step ahead of any activity against his men. He also has to track down the men who is undercover in the gang tracking keeping himself away from Billy’s attention. Matt shines in this role of the informant inside the department.colin

Jack Nicholson: Frank Costello is the gangster the authorities are after he runs Boston and keeps his men on the inside while never trusting too many people on the inside of his gang. Jack is wonderful as this gangster playing the role you expect from him and the freedoms he requires.frank

Mark Wahlberg: Dignam is one of the officers that is planting his undercover men in a desperate attempt to stop Costello once and for all. He is direct straight to the point but his temper could also be his weakness. Mark is great as the hot head authority character.didgna

Support Cast: The Departed has a huge supporting cast that all give brilliant performance in the plot filled twist filled story.

Director Review: Martin ScorseseMartin finally won his Oscar for this role and yes it is brilliant as he balances the stories from all three Infernal Affairs stories into one.

 

Crime: The Departed is a web of conspiracy between the cops and gangsters in the crime world.

Thriller: The Departed keeps us guessing from start to finish through the whole film.

Settings: The Departed uses the Boston setting for the film which shows the gritty side of the story.
Suggestion
: The Departed is a film that I feel everyone should have seen at least once. (Must Watch)

 

Best Part: Story keeping us gripped.

Worst Part: Nothing.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Won 4 Oscars including Best Picture

Budget: $90 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 31 Minutes

Tagline: Lies. Betrayal. Sacrifice. How far will you take it?

Trivia: The only remake of a foreign film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture.

 

Overall: Simply brilliant crime thriller that keeps us on edge throughout.

Ratingcard

 

Scream 4 (2011)

Director: Wes Craven
Starring: Lucy Hale, Anna Paquin, Kristen Bell, Brittany Robertson, Neve Campbell, Alison Brie, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Aimie Teegarden, Hayden Panettiere, Emma Roberts, Marielle Jaffe, Marley Shelton, Erik Knudsen, Rory Culkin, Nico Tortorella, Anthony Anderson, Adam Brody

Ten years has pasted since Sidney (Neve Campbell) survived the last murders. Sidney has since written a book about her experience. Sidney returns to Woodsboro for a book signing with her PR lady Rebecca (Alison Brie). Deputy Dewey is now Sheriff Dewey (David Arquette) he is also married to Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox).

Upon Sidney return two students are killed by Ghost Face. Sidney cousin Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts) with her two best friends Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) and Olivia (Marielle Jaffe) get the news along with Jill’s ex boyfriend Trevor (Nico Tororella). Video blogger Robbie (Erik Knudsen) and his partner Charlie (Rory Culkin) complete the school group line up.

With Sheriff Dewey in charge he has a new squad of deputies including his new partner Judy Hicks (Marley Shelton) an old school friend of Sidney. The other two we meet are Deputy Perkins (Anthony Anderson) and Deputy Hoss (Adam Brody).

Using the ‘Stab’ movies as their reference points to how to make it out the situation the Jill, Kirby, Sidney all stay at Kate Roberts Jill mother and Sidney Aunt. Having a squad car with Perkins and Hoss in are they going to be safe?

The list of suspects is good and will keep you guessing all the way.

  • Is it the reporter who can’t write anymore
  • The Deputy who was ignored at school
  • The mysterious boyfriend
  • The film geeks who film their lives
  • The one who wants to be center of attention

Anyone could be the villain and every corner pushes a different prime suspect before pulling that name straight back off the table.

This movie keeps in the same trend of the original trilogy never taking itself too serious and having little pops at all over remakes. Even giving us the updated rules of the ‘Remake’. Add in the clever opening sequences puts you on the edge of your seat from start to brilliant revelation on the Ghost Face is. If you like the original movies you will like this fourth as it is same sense of tension through out. Even if your new to the franchise this isn’t a bad place to start up from as the back story isn’t important and what is needed to be filled in gets done in the short filled conversations.

My Rating 82%