The Hate U Give (2018)

Director: George Tillman Jr

Writer: Audrey Wells (Screenplay) Angie Thomas (Novel)

Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Anthony Mackie, Issa Rae, Common, Algee Smith, Sabrina Carpenter

 

Plot: Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right.


Tagline – Two worlds, one voice, no going back

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict The Biggest Eye Opener of the Year

 

Story: The Hate U Give starts as Starr (Stenberg) introduces us to everything in her life, her high school life away from the rough neighbourhood she is from, with her father Maverick (Hornsby) the former gangster and mother Lisa (Hall) who wants to get out of the neighbourhood too. She is the eldest of her siblings and has become a normal high student who is prepared for the worst.

Starr does find herself trapped between two worlds, the one where she grew up in and the one she is now growing up, this however changes for her forever, when a routine pull over by the police see her childhood friend Khalil (Smith) fatal shot. Starr in the aftermath must battle the social consequences of what happened with Starr being put in the middle of the investigation to what happened and putting her in the position to make her voice heard.

 

Thoughts on The Hate U Give

 

Characters – Starr is your normal high school student from so called wrong side of town, she lives in two worlds, one she grew up in with friends, the other is her escape with her high school giving her potential of a new life. When she becomes the only witness for her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer. Needing to keep her involvement secret she is dealing with the new wave of feelings and emotions that she must learn to control for the greater good. Everything we see is from her point of view which shows us just how a teenager can view what is going on within the neighbourhood. Lisa is Starr’s mother that wants to keep her daughter safe and out of the gangland mentality she sees around her family. Maverick is Starr’s father, he used to be part of the gangs and after his time behind bars, he escaped that life, being wise towards his family, preparing them for any incidents with the police. King is drug lord controlling the area, he has let Maverick out of his gang and this latest death brings his attention as his business will be put at risk.

PerformancesAmandla Stenberg in the leading role is fantastic, she is on another level to everyone else in the film as she must show her the problems she is facing and handles them all to help us understand her characters thought process. The whole cast are great in this film, Russell Hornsby gets the intense speech moments which grab our attention and for all the years we have questioned Common’s acting, here he shows that he has worked to improve himself and it is paying off.

StoryThe story here will give everyone who watches it a conversation they need to have, about how a death that never needed to happen. The story is told through the eyes of teenager Starr which helps us understand how she wants to see people seen as equals and how the divide between the black and white communities is massive. This story has so many talking points about what has been happening and it does use the correct characters to get points over with including a black police officer telling Starr the thought process of a police officer pulling over a car. Any story that give the audience questions to ask afterwards is an achievement in storytelling which should be praised, it is one that will stick with you long after it finishes.

CrimeThe movie starts with a major crime, the shooting of the high school student, it shows how the tension has risen with the crime that changed a neighbourhood.

SettingsThe film does an excellent job of showing the different neighbourhoods, the one Starr lives in and the one she attends school in, this reflects between the characters interactions.


Scene of the Movie –
The Hate We Give.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of a proper investigation.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most important films of the year, it has a message people need to learn about if they ever want to see change in the world.

 

Overall: Important eye opener.

Rating

 

 

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Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Writer:Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Jim Starlin, George Perez, Ron Lim, Steve Ditko, Joe Simon (Characters)

Starring: Josh Brolin, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Chadwick Boseman, Karen Gillan, Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Saldana, Sebastian Stan, Pom Klementieff, Letitia Wright, Tom Holland, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Pratt, Idris Elba, Benedict Cumberbatch, Danai Gurira, Dave Bautista, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Bettany, Benedict Wong, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle

 

Plot: The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe


Tagline – An entire universe. Once and for all.

Runtime: 2 Hours 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly a Game Changer

 

Story: Avengers: Infinity War starts as we see the power of Thanos (Brolin) collecting his second infinity stone leaving a path of destruction, with his power growing the Avengers must unit to fight and stop him getting the remaining Infinity Stones that will give him the power to eliminate half of any population with the click of his fingers.

The battle will take place in space, on distant planets and back home on Earth where we get to see unseen team ups and reunions between friends.

 

Thoughts on Avengers: Infinity Way

 

Characters – When we dive into characters we have so many to talk about, I will spend time talking Thanos because has been a villain waiting in the background for many films for, we know his is powerful and this is how you make a villain the powerful force we know and will remember because what he does in this film will make you remember within the first five minutes, but we do also see what drives him and that he has true belief in his cause. In the rest of the characters we know what we are getting from most, I was impressed with Doctor Strange as I wasn’t too interested in the solo film, Thor has a brilliant story arc that keeps his character in the tone we got in Ragnarok and the father son dynamic between Tony and Peter is still here. Drax gets the most laughs once more, while everyone around Steve Rogers is the more serious side of the film. the only negatives on the characters we meet would be the generals for Thanos, who are largely forgettable.

PerformancesThe performances like the characters we have way too many to talk about, Josh Brolin being the new comer makes a massive impact easily becoming the best villain in the MCU. The talent on the Avengers is fantastic and the people that stood out for me were Benedict Cumberbatch, Dave Bautista and Chris Hemsworth, while I don’t think anybody is close to being bad, I felt the actors on the Earth battle weren’t given enough to do to get to their best abilities.  

StoryThe story here is the build up for 18 movies, we have developed our heroes while learning little about the villain, this story shows just what Thanos is fighting for, what he will do to get it and what the heroes will need to do to stop him. For me this is the game changer in superhero movies, we manage to handle seeing separate groups work together to fight on different worlds in groupings you wouldn’t put together, this does however mean certain characters don’t meet in this story which might disappoint fans. The story also balances comedy with the Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy mostly and the serious side of what is coming with Captain America. This is easily what we as fans have deserved, but you might not get everything if you haven’t seen the other films.

Action/Adventure/Sci-fi/FantasyThe action is massive and takes us to different worlds for the battles which each are filled with peril because we know not everyone will make it out of this one. the adventure takes our characters to places they haven’t been before for their part in the story, which brings the sci-fi sides with large parts of the film being in space and different worlds that only could come from fantasies of comic books.

SettingsEach setting offers our characters a challenge they will need to face in battle, this shows how easily travelling through space can be if you know the ability to do so.

Special EffectsThese fight sequences, action sequences look breath taking and nearly everything is flawless except the routine space creatures in the final battle.


Scene of the Movie –
Thor meeting the Guardians.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We learn why a couple of characters are not in the film, but there are some that just seem missing which frustrates because they were interesting ones you would have liked to have seen fight.

Final ThoughtsThis is the biggest comic book movie of all time, it changes everything going forward and is a must see for anyone who is a fan of the genre.

 

Overall: Must See Brilliance.

Rating

 

 

Christmas Holiday Weekend – The Night Before (2015)

Director: Jonathan Levine

Writer: Jonathan Levine, Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Evan Goldberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, Jillian bell, Lizzy Caplan, Helene Yorke, Michael Shannon

 

Plot: On Christmas eve, three lifelong friends spend the night in New York City looking for the Holy Grail of Christmas parties.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Christmas Movie

 

Story: The Night Before starts as we learn why Ethan (Gordon-Levitt) lost his parents over Christmas in 2001, his two best friends Isaac (Rogen) and Chris (Mackie) spend every Christmas Eve together and getting drunk, but as time went by his friends started to move on with Chris becoming a sports star and Isaac starting his own family. With Ethan, still almost stuck in his slump with his life working as a Christmas Elf.

This year has been mutually agreed to be the last one they spend together and Ethan has finally got the ticket to the biggest Christmas Party in town, the one they have always been looking to attended but before that, the traditions need to be celebrated for the last time. How will this night turn out for the friends on what is meant to be their final adventure?

 

Thoughts on The Night Before

 

Characters/PerformanceEthan is a man that lost his family at Christmas, he asks only one thing and that is to spend it with his two best friends, he hasn’t been able to find his path in life while his friends have found success but he knows this is his last Christmas Eve with friends. Isaac is about to become a father which leaves him knowing that he won’t be able to party as often as he can so he gets the chance to party on the last time but can’t handle the trip. Chris is suddenly becoming the big sports star he dreamed off but he finds himself in the middle of making new friends or keeping the ones he loves like brothers.

Performance wise, Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a great job in the leading role playing a role he has made his own in comedy movies, Rogen is what you expect from him but his character is slightly questionable in places. Mackie shows that he can handle comedy on a regular level after Pain & Gain, he proves he can handle the supporting role.

StoryDeep down this story has a story of friendship and just how important it is over Christmas. We get to focus on moving forward in life remember never to forget the people who spent it with you, accepting responsibility for mistakes you have made and finding a way to be ready for parenthood. I think this does have plenty of Christmas message but sadly does get bogged down with the almost pointless drug based side story going on.

ComedyThe comedy does come thick and fast through the film even if certain parts of the film are based the drug usage going on through the characters.

SettingsThe film is set in New York city which shows the hustle and bustle of the town during the Christmas Eve events. It all works for everything going on through the story.

Final ThoughtsI did enjoy the deeper meaning behind this film as the part of the story Ethan goes through but I got slightly tired on the Rogen drug filled character.

 

Overall: This is a great Christmas film that is well worth a watch if you want something non-family based.

Rating

 

 

Detroit (2017)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Writer: Mark Boal (Screenplay)

Starring: John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, Jack Reynor

 

Plot: Fact-based drama set during the 1967 Detroit riots in which a group of rogue police officers respond to a complaint with retribution rather than justice on their minds.


Tagline –  It’s Time We Knew

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Intense Film

 

Story: Detroit starts in the 1960s Detroit, where African Americans are restricted to limited neighbourhoods that were enforced by strict and brutal white police force, the equality act is nowhere to be seen here, which has only risen the racial tension between the races. In 1967 the tension has reached new heights, the army has entered the city to try and cover the problems as the Detroit riots start, days of looting, we follow white police officer Krauss (Poulter) who use his power to control the streets with force leading to him finding himself in trouble with his superiors. We also follow black security officer Dismukes (Boyega) who is called to try and control the looting, to complete the main people we will be following is Larry (Smith) and Fred (Latimore) musicians whose big opportunity is taken from him when the riots require a curfew at night as the group must hide out in a hotel.

When Carl (Mitchel) sends shots into the night, he sparks the events of this night, as the military focus on the hotel in which Larry and Fred are staying, with Dismukes wanting to make things end peacefully but Krauss, well he sees it as a chance to continue his violent ways, how will the night turn out?

 

Thoughts on Detroit

 

Characters – Dismukes is a security officers trying to stop looting during the riots, he plays the man between the lines, the violent white officers don’t respect him, the fellow black prisoners in the siege don’t trust him. He is the only one that has the power to find a peaceful outcome. Krauss is the violent police officers, he is about to face murder charges after killing a looter by shooting him in the back, he takes charge of the siege on the hotel which gets him a chance to continue the violent behaviour to anyone who supports the black side of the riots. Larry and Fred are two musicians that get caught up in the middle of the siege on the hotel, they are nothing more than kids who are just wanting to make a living. Greene is a war veteran that gets caught in the middle of the siege that served his country and still gets treated the way he did, he remains strong during the incident. We also meet the two white young women who are believed to be involved in the shooting and the officers working for Krauss who are just as twisted as him.

PerformancesJohn Boyega continues to show he is one of the hottest properties in Hollywood right now, he is gives us an authentic accent, never seeming like he is riding the Star Wars fame. Will Poulter is hauntingly disturbing in this role, he shows us that he will be a main stay in Hollywood most likely in villainous roles until he wants to step away. The new kids on the block Algee Smith & Jacob Latimore are both great showing the fear they are going through. The rest of the cast are brilliant too showing what the characters are going through.

StoryThe story faces the reality of one of the most violent nights in the Detroit riots, the build up to why people were there and how the events went down, as well as the aftermath. We have snippets of real footage that showed us what was going on in the bigger picture to the events around this incident. This is an interesting way to tell the story, because the first 1 hour and a half is leading up to and showing the siege while the remaining time is focusing on the aftermath which at times can drag along because we know the events, we don’t need to see a court case recounting them for us again.

Crime/HistoryThis is an important moment of history in America, the crime was horrendous, the action are almost unbelievable the crimes we witness, if you know the events then you will know the outcome, which could become negative if you want to see where things will go.

SettingsThe settings keep us in Detroit which is where the film is set, well the title tells you that, we are transported back to the time with everything seeming authentic too.


Scene of the Movie –
The whole siege is edge of your seat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The film seems to keep going when it should have ended a lot earlier.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most intense thrillers of recent years, but then the thrilling side ends and the film just keeps rolling through details we didn’t need to see after what we have seen.

 

Overall: Such a strong movie for the most part.

Rating

 

 

Julianne Moore Weekend – Freedomland (2006)

freeDirector: Joe Roth

Writer: Richard Price (Screenplay) Richard Price (Novel)

Starring: Samuel L Jackson, Julianne Moore, Edie Falco, Ron Eldard, William Forsythe, Aunjanue Ellis, Anthony Mackie

 

Plot: A black police detective must solve a strange case of a kidnapped boy and deal with a big racial protest.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Crime Thriller

 

Story: Freedomland starts when a bloodied woman Brenda Martin (Moore) stumbles into an emergency room claim she was car jacked with her son still inside the car. Local cop Lorenzo Council (Jackson) who knows everyone in the troubled area takes the lead trying to find the car-jacker. With racial tension building within the neighbourhood and the fellow cop Danny Martin (Eldard) wanting to find his nephew we have to wait to see where Brenda’s story is really going.

When we learn Brenda is respected with in the neighbourhood containing all black members we see how Lorenzo starts questioning whether someone in the neighbourhood could actually be involved in the carjacking. We are left to see where the twists will be going in this story.

Freedomland is a crime thriller that has plenty of twists along the way with the background racial tension as the wrong person can get accused. We get to see the trauma of losing a child through the character of Brenda as well as having the lead detective having to stay neutral through the case which is filled with one too many questions for his own likely. This does have good elements for any crime thriller and does keep you guessing to where the story will be going next. We do get good performance from both Jackson and Moore in the leading roles as we see how they both deal with the characters they are playing.

 

Overall: Great crime thriller that shows consequences with one story.

Rating70