ABC Film Challenge – Crime – K – Kidnapping Freddy Heineken (2015)

Director: Daniel Alfredson

Writer: William Brookfield (Screenplay) Peter R de Vries (Book)

Starring: Jim Sturgess, Sam Worthington, Ryan Kwanten, Anthony Hopkins, Mark van Eeuwen

 

Plot: The inside story of the planning, execution, rousing aftermath and ultimate downfall of the kidnappers of beer tycoon Alfred “Freddy” Heineken, which resulted in the largest ransom ever paid for an individual.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Action Crime

 

Story: Kidnapping Freddy Heineken starts as we follow our five criminals Cor Van Hout (Sturgess), Willem (Worthington), Cat (Kwanten), Spikes (Eeuwen) and Brakes (Cocquerel) who have always been looking for a way to make money quickly instead of getting real jobs in Holland. Their latest plan is to kidnap beer tycoon Freddy Heineken (Hopkins) and collecting the ransom.

With the plan in place the kidnapping goes well the wait for the ransom is what takes the time and tests the strength of the kidnappers over the victims as we follow what could be the undoing of the men.

 

Thoughts on Kidnapping Freddy Heineken

 

Characters – Cor Van Hout is the leader of the gang, he brings his men together to complete the jobs with some failing and others not, he comes up with the latest job while his personal life is about to hit the highs a father could experience. Willem is the hot head of the group who will go past the marks to make the job get done and he could become the biggest problem involved. Freddy Heineken is the beer tycoon that has become the target of this men and he stays extremely calm through his ordeal trying to friend his kidnappers too.

PerformanceJim Sturgess is strong in the leading role of this film throughout feeling like the rest would listen to his every word. Sam Worthington is good in the loose cannon role too. Anthony Hopkins is as always the star of the show here as you want to see all of his scenes.

StoryThe story is based on the true story of what happened when a group of criminals kidnap the tycoon and how they were not completely sure things would work and how things could go wrong. This is good because it doesn’t go down a slick as the best heist movies but is also calm enough to feel like it is based on real people human errors through the heist.

Action/CrimeThere are a couple of good car chases through the film which do make up the action side of things while the whole story is about the crime being committed.

SettingsThe streets involved in Amsterdam show us how tight the car chases can be and escape routes by more than just road, we do feel like this is authentic with how everything unfolds during the crime.

Scene of the Movie – Freddy’s orders.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The clear choice for a problem is having some Dutch cast members but the leads are not.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the films that didn’t get much talk when it came out but I don’t understand why, it is an enjoyable and one film that is worth watching for all the heist fans out there.

 

Overall: Good heist film.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – The Mask of Zorro (1998)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: John Eskow, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio (Screenplay) Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Randall Jahnson, Johnston McCuulley (Story)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta Jones, Matt Letscher, Stuart Wilson, Tony Amendola

 

Plot: A young thief, seeking revenge for the death of his brother, is trained by the once great, but aged Zorro, who also pursues vengeance of his own.


Tagline – No one has seen his face….but everyone….knows this mark.

Runtime: 2 Hours 16 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Adventure Film

 

Story: The Mask of Zorro starts when the Spanish are trying to control Mexico, Don Diego (Hopkins) has created an alter ego Zorro who has become the hero in the eyes of the Mexicans, when he is finally tracked down by Don Rafael (Wilson) who locks up Diego and raises his baby as his own.

Twenty years later Diego escapes from prison to extract his revenge, only to learn the Elena (Jones) has remained by Rafael’s side and instead of getting revenge himself, he trains Alejandro (Banderas) to become the new Zorro and icon for a nation.

 

Thoughts on The Mask of Zorro

 

Characters – Alejandro grew up idolising the great Zorro that helped free Mexico, though he turned into a lowlife thief who sees his brother killed and turning to the bottle he is saved by Diego who offers him a chance to use his skills to become the new Zorro as Mexico needs a new hero. He does lack the calm that Diego had in his time as the masked icon. Don Diego helped free a nation before seeing his wife killed and child raised by another man while he is locked in prison, once freed he sets out to train a new Zorro to help get his revenge. Don Rafael was once the closest friend of to Diego until the night he wants to stop him being Zorro and take his wife, he has continued his greedy lifestyle which makes the people he controls his latest victims. Elena is the grown up daughter Diego didn’t know he had, raised by Rafael as his own, she is knows the better life until Alejandro shows her something different.

PerformancesAntonio Banderas in the leading role is good run to watch, we know he has the authentic background for the role too. Anthony Hopkins is solid enough in this role, even if we are not sure if she is meant to be British of Mexican. Catherine Zeta Jones on the other hand is poor throughout, her accent is all over the place throughout the film. Stuart Wilson is fine without being anything memorable in the villainous role.

StoryThe story here follows the legendary figure of Zorro that helped Mexico become free from Spain, only it takes a twist on a revenge when an older version of Zorro must train a new icon to help him get the revenge and lift the hopes of a nation again. This won’t bring anything new to the adventure genre and can be fun for the story, the problem with the story is the length of the film which does drag after a while. If we can be serious this does feel like Zorro is the Mexican version of Robin Hood which does entertain and show us how another country has an icon of hope.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Romance/WesternWe have a lot of genres that get touched on through this film, first the action the best part of the film because once we get into the sword fighting we get the best moments of the film. the adventure takes our heroes on the revenge mission, we do get a touch of comedy through the film with Alejandro getting the best parts of comedy. The romance does fall slightly short because we just don’t believe everything going on, with the western side of the film being fine and never the most believable.

SettingsThe film doesn’t use the settings to the best because you never truly believe we are at any of these locations.


Scene of the Movie –
Final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Zeta Jones’s accent.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple, but fun adventure film that you can enjoy without needing to remember it by the end.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominated – E – The Elephant Man (1980)

Director: David Lynch

Writer: Christopher De Vore, Eric Bergren, David Lynch (Screenplay) Frederick Treves (Book)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Freddie Jones

 

Plot: A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous façade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.


Tagline – I am not an animal! I am a human being! I…am…a man!

Runtime: 2 Hour 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Essential Viewing

 

Story: The Elephant Man starts when Victorian surgeon Frederick Treves (Hopkins) discovers a heavily deformed man John Merrick (Hurt) being used as a side-show freak by Bytes (Jones). Frederick sees the potential in searching for a cure and a break through in science by showing the fellow doctors that he can help John.

However, over time, Frederick learns that underneath all the deformities, John is an intelligent man that is no different than any other man in the world, but not everybody else in the city of London, wants John to have his freedom.

 

Thoughts on The Elephant Man

 

Characters – Frederick Treves is a surgeon that has the respect of London because of the incredible work he has achieved through the years. He learns of John and wants to help him, he soon learns that he is just like him, smart, educated and must learn to teach the world to accept John. John Merrick is the Elephant Man, a side-show freak to the man who hold shim captive, once rescued he learns that not everybody in the world is wanting to laugh or scream at him, some want to help him live a normal life, inside he is a kind sensitive man that only wants to live like any other man. Mrs Kendal is a celebrity in London who is the first to help John in the public light, showing the people just how gentle and intelligent John is.

PerformancesAnthony Hopkins in the leading role is fantastic, show the world that he could pick up the intelligent role perfectly while showing the kind nature behind his character. John Hurt is the true star of the film, he brings the kind nature to the man that others look at with fear, he shows the bravery to be different in the society that only looks down on people that were different. The rest of the cast are strong throughout the film, they show us the emotional impact the film would have on the people involved.

StoryThe story here follows the relationship between doctor Frederick Treves and John Merrick, we see how Frederick saves John from the life of misery, lets him be respected and shows him another side of life away from the freak shows in which he had been trapped in. the story shows us just how cruel the people of the Victoria era were towards people that looked different. Through the story we get to see a fine balance between the men that wanted to use John for financial profit and Frederick that was willing to have him at the forefront of his determination to be remembered for what he bought to science, this one does turn into friendship, but the first impression are clearly there.

BiopicWe follow the time between John Merrick and Frederick Treves as we see the men with similar education and desires in life are both in very different worlds, together they help show the world, just because John looked different, it didn’t make him a bad person, unlike the people that uses him for their own gain.

SettingsThe film is set in the Victorian era London, it shows the difference in class between the people and how the people would have been entertained by seeing someone different.


Scene of the Movie –
I am a human being.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The way John was treated.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful biopic, it shows how cruel the world was towards John Merrick and how the people that wanted a change showed the world he was just like them.

 

Overall: Must watch biopic.

Rating

 

 

Legends of the Fall (1994)

Director: Edward Zwick

Writer: Susan Shilliday, William D Wittliff (Screenplay) Jim Harrison (Novel)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond, Henry Thomas, Karine Lombard, Tantoo Cardinal

 

Plot: In the 1900s, three brothers and their father living in the remote wilderness of Montana are affected by betrayal, history, love, nature, and war.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Life Story

 

Story: Legends of the Fall starts in the wilderness of Montana, Col William Ludlow (Hopkins) moves his family away from the wars which cover America to raise his three sons in the early 1900s. His sons no grown up Tristian (Pitt) the gentle and kind one, Alfred (Quinn) the intelligent one and Samuel (Thomas) the one who has just returned with his wife to be Susannah (Ormond).

With the First World War raging over in Europe the three brothers volunteer to fight which leads to tragedy when Samuel getting killed in action, Alfred returns to his family but Tristian goes in search for answers. As the years pass by Alfred becomes a success in his field while Tristian finds his own success but the family will never be the same as they deal with the effects of the war.

 

Thoughts on Legends of the Fall

 

Characters/PerformanceTristian is the wild child, he keeps things to himself, prefer the quiet life that only he could enjoy. He travels to discover himself but knows his heart is back in Montana on the ranch. Col William is the father of the house, he was tired of the battle between the natives and modern Americans, he wants the best for his three children as long as they keep to the right morale paths. Alfred is the smartest of all the brothers, he uses his intelligence to become a political success, the opposite to Tristian. Susannah enters the life as the youngest brother’s wife to be but soon after he passes has feelings for them all.

Performance wise, Brad Pitt shows us here just how good of an actor he was going to be, he goes toe to toe with the always incredible Anthony Hopkins. Aidan Quinn, Julian Ormond and Henry Thomas all give fantastic performance too.

StoryWatching a film about this one family becomes very interesting, we have the brothers that go in different directions as the father is left waiting hoping they return the successes they plan. This is something that is a good watch that can be enjoyed by all the people, it does have slight issues when it comes to understand the full timeline but otherwise flows nicely.

Romance/WarThe romance side of this film is brilliant because we get to see how love can be broken when you must wait for it but you will always have the feelings for that person in your heart. The war side id brief but is the reason why everything goes in the direction it does for the two remaining brothers.

SettingsThe remote location is great to see which is why our characters are away from the world and the settings continue this trend as we see how the brothers go in directions which bring them into different worlds.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film with heavyweight performances, the powerful story and a look at one of the most difficult times that America faced.

 

Overall: Brilliant coming of age tale.

Rating

 

 

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Director: Taika Waititi

Writer: Eric Pearson (Screenplay) Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, Eric Pearson (Story)

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Karl Urban, Tessa Thompson, Idris Elba, Jaimie Alexander, Jeff Goldblum, Ray Stevenson

 

Plot: Imprisoned, the mighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thunderous Blast

 

Story: Thor Ragnarok starts as Thor (Hemsworth) is on a mission to stop a threat to Asgard but returning him he learns of a new threat in the disguise of his Brother Loki (Hiddleston) pretending to be Odin (Hopkins), but this has bigger problems as the brothers must locate their father to return him to his throne before Hela (Blanchett) Goddess of Death comes to claim Asgard for herself.

The adventure takes the two across the universe meeting Hulk (Ruffalo) fighting as a champion for powerful ruler The Grandmaster (Goldblum) but this only gives Thor the fuel he needs to build his team to head back to Asgard before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Thor Ragnarok

 

Characters – Thor we know now, the God of Thunder but after Hela arrives on the scene he must learn to control his true powers to once again save his people from their impending doom, showing the leader skills, his father was admired for. Loki is back exposed but Thor but joining him to save the people that raised him, he does try to use his tricks to say ahead in this mission but finds he isn’t up to the standard he once thought. Hela is the Goddess of Death, hell bent on destroying Asgard and everyone who will not follow her orders, this is a villain that isn’t afraid to fight as we see her killing anyone that gets in her way including whole armies alone, she is easily one of the better Marvel villains and shows this franchise produces the best villains, but don’t get me wrong this character only works in Thor.

For the secondary characters we have, Hulk who has found himself being a champion fighter after going missing from Earth and as Bruce he gets to explore the galaxy unlike he could imagine. Valkyrie who is a drinker but lethal bounty hunter collecting contenders for the fights but does have a connection to the Asgard history. Heimdall returns as the once all seeing guardian of the Bifrost the teleportation they use to get from different worlds, he is in hiding after what happened in the previous film but he will always fight for his people. We get a string of other character with Grandmaster being the powerful ruler of a planet people are forced to follow his entertainment of death matches from across the galaxy.

PerformancesChris Hemsworth as completely embraced this character as his own now, this is now one of the best performances from any actor in a superhero role. Tom Hiddleston continues to entertain as Loki, he does look like everything is ticking in his mind in every scene too. Cate Blanchett gives a great performance in a role you can see she is having a lot of fun playing. Idris Elba finally gets a kick ass character to play and is great too. Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster is fantastic to watch, part charismatic leader part psychopath. Tessa Thompson gives us a performance that could rival any female supporting character in any Marvel film, plus she is gorgeous in this role. Mark Ruffalo gets great moments, embraces the characters he is playing too. The whole cast is great even the small roles throughout the film.

StoryThe story bottles down to Thor needing to learn his powers to once again save Asgard, this has been the route for all the film in his side of the franchise but you know what, if it isn’t broke don’t fix it baby. This does increase the stakes to the threat but it isn’t only bringing Thor’s character around we also learn more about Loki, Hulk and even Heimdall while introducing us to new potential heroes in Valkyrie and Korg. This shows brilliant world building in preparation for Infinity Wars because you will feel by the end of it Thor will know his place in any battle that could come his way. We do also have a lot of distance between the heroes and villains which helps because we only get the one showdown fight which is kind of all we need too.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is great, we have hard hitting comic violence, hero versus hero and a villain that isn’t going to get beaten easily. The adventure takes Thor across the universe to work with new friends, old friends and family to defeat the enemy. Take Thor’s full story into space helps too, because we have only ever seen the Guardians in space, but this shows we can have a space hero without it being the star side of it all, instead new worlds, with new monsters.

SettingsThe settings all look fantastic, we do have a new world, that could be anywhere but have plenty of new species of aliens on it which Thor must navigate, Asgard of course and a moment or two on Earth but only 5 minutes or so.

Special EffectsAll the effects seem to hit the mark for me, from the opening battle Thor goes through to the final showdown between the characters.


Scene of the Movie –
Thor versus Hulk

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Trailers give too much away.

Final ThoughtsI love the Thor movies, I won’t deny this, I find enjoyment in them over most of the other Marvel films because I like the idea of ancient Gods. This does take things into a complete mix of Gods and Sci-Fi which works, the soundtrack beats out Guardians for fitting the scenes, the style is delicious to watch and for me this is the perfect last building block before Infinity War.

 

Overall: Fun, frantic, enjoyable superhero movie that will make you laugh more than you could imagine.

Rating