Braveheart (1995)

Director: Mel Gibson

Writer: Randall Wallace (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Catherine McCormack, Patrick McGoohan, Angus Macfadyen, Brendan Gleeson, James Cosmo, Brian Cox

 

Plot: When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.


Tagline – Every man’s spirit is free. Not every man has the courage to follow it.

Runtime: 2 Hours 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long Biopic

 

Story: Braveheart starts when young William Wallace see his father and brother killed fighting for the independence of the land, taken in by his Uncle Argyle (Cox) he is raised to be a fighter. King Edward I (McGoohan) is trying to take control of the whole of Britain planning on leading the pressure on the Scots to fold, his son Prince Edward (Hanly) marries Princess Isabelle (Marceau) to unite with France.

William (Gibson) wants a life of peace which sees him marry Murron (McCormack) in secret after seeing what happens to the brides on their wedding night. When an English soldier tries to rape Murron, she fights back, only for this to lead to her execution. William is now ready for war and will lead the Scottish into battle against the English.

 

Thoughts on Braveheart

 

Characters – William Wallace saw his family die at war, raised in the peaceful land, wanting a peaceful life, his life if turned upside down when his wife is executed by the English. William becomes thee general for the Scottish army in the fight for freedom, becoming a leader put into legend. Princess Isabelle is from France, married to the Prince of England, she doesn’t like the conflict, turning to William to help him in the time of need. King Edward I is driven by war, he wants to conquer Scotland using his armies to try and keep them in order. Robert the Bruce is torn between keeping the peace or joining William’s war, he comes from the royal bloodline knowing his choice will be seen by the people. Murron is the common woman that William marries and sees killed for defending herself.

PerformancesMel Gibson in the leading role is strong for the most part even if he can’t manage to pull off the accent to a high enough standard, add in his age isn’t on the right scale required for this man. Sophie Marceau gets the strongest female role in the film, while the rest of the performance come off strong without anybody becoming overly memorable.

StoryThe story here shows a fictionalised version of the battle between William Wallace as he led the Scottish in battle with the English after the king tried to take control of the land, taking their freedom. While the scale of this story is massive, the reality it that most of the historical side of the film just doesn’t live up to the reality of what really happened, you can use the internet yourselves to learn the truth. For an inspirational hero of war leading a nation this is everything you want though. We do see how both sides prepare for the battles and just how they believe they are in the right, with both sides having people that don’t back what the leaders are doing to each others.

Biopic/History/WarThis is where we must look at how you read the movie, for a history lesson that is wrong this is easy to watch, it does everything to make it feel like a realistic version of events, but not the complete truth. The war between the English and the Scottish was real, was bloody and this film shows us just how brutal the wars of this time would have been.

SettingsThe film shows us just how large scale the battles were, when it comes to the pure numbers involved in the battles, we get the beauty of the highlands too which show us just how beautiful the land would have been for fighting for.


Scene of the Movie –
The battles.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The length of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a historically incorrect movie that can be watch for the pure scale of the epic battle between the nations, with have strong performance, wonderful directing when it comes to the battle scenes too.

 

Overall: Brutal at times, long at others.

Rating

 

 

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Cillian Murphy Weekend – Red Eye (2005) Revisited

Director: Wes Craven

Writer: Carl Ellsworth (Screenplay) Carl Ellsworth, Dan Foos (Story)

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox, Laura Johnson, Jayma Mays, Angela Paton

 

Plot: A woman is kidnapped by a stranger on a routine flight. Threatened by the potential murder of her father, she is pulled into a plot to assist her captor in offing a politician.


Tagline – Fear Takes Flight

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Thriller

 

Story: Red Eye starts with workaholic hotel manager Lisa (McAdams) is returning home after a family funeral, she meets a charming co-passenger Jackson Rippner (Murphy) for is heading to Miami for business. Once the flight is in the air, Jackson who just so happens to be seated next to Lisa reveals his business, the flight takes a twist for Lisa.

Jackson wants Lisa to move an incoming politician from one room to another, or he will kill her father Joe (Cox), Lisa is left in an impossible position of trying to stay ahead of Jackson’s plan and not leading a politician to their death.

 

Thoughts on Red Eye

 

Characters – Lisa is a workaholic hotel manager that is has a fear of flying, who is travelling home after a funeral, she has remarkable calmness through stress related issues in life, knowing how to deal with difficult clients the best way. She has full say on everything going on within the hotel with her regular clients trusting her completely. Jackson Rippner starts off a kind friendly man, willing to step up where gentlemen might not, he is seated next to Lisa on the plane, where he shows his true colours as part of a terrorists that need Lisa to move their target. He remains calm through each of her attempts to not follow through knowing just how to get the job done. Joe is the father of Lisa, he has been remodelling his home, always there to support her, he is just going about his evening through the film. Cynthia is the slightly ditsy receptionist that Lisa supports with the difficult decisions she is going through at the hotel.

PerformancesRachel McAdams in the leading role breaks away from the known romantic comedy roles she had been doing before this film, she proves she could be a genuine star in the thriller role, Cillian Murphy continued to make a name for himself in this role, where he plays the disturbing lead villain who becomes even more frightening within the final act. Brian Cox is one of the more underused talents in the film, while Jayma Mays brings quirkiness to her role.

StoryThe story is kept very simple, a man forces a hotel manager to change an appointment mid-flight and if she doesn’t, he will have her father killed, this becomes a cat-n-mouse style story about both trying to stay ahead of the other. This simplistic side of this story is what makes it standout because the stakes are placed on the table early and the idea that she has no easy escape proves just how difficult her job is going to be. It does keep you on the edge of your seat waiting to see just what will happen next and isn’t afraid show moments of brutal looking injury. The idea the target it a political figure helps increase the stakes too.

MysteryThis is a mystery that will keep us guessing to just how they will get out of the situation, how far Jackson is willing to go and if there is any other motivation in his plan.

SettingsMost of the film takes place onboard the plane, it shows just how difficult escape is going to be for Lisa and how she has little option to help Jackson.


Scene of the Movie –
The pen.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We could have had an idea to about who the political figure is meant to be, how much he could change certain issues in America.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most enjoyable thriller that you will see, it has two brilliant led performances and will keep you guessing through the film, just what will happen next.

 

Overall: Tense, atmospheric thriller.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – E – Exit Humanity (2011)

Director: John Geddes

Writer: John Geddes (Screenplay)

Starring: Brian Cox, Mark Gibson, Dee Wallace, Bill Moseley, Stephen McHattie, Jordan Hayes

 

Plot: A young man’s struggle to survive in the aftermath of a deadly undead outbreak during the American Civil War.


Tagline – History has a violent way of repeating itself.

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow, But Enjoyable Zombie Movie

 

Story: Exit Humanity starts during the civil war, where Edward Young (Gibson) battled but the war bought the rise of the undead which Edward has battled successfully until they get his family, looking to get across country to spread his son’s ashes he sets out alone.

Along the way he meets a fellow survivor who has been battling General Williams (Moseley) and his men including Medic Johnson (McHattie) who believe they can control the undead, so know teaming with Isaac (Seybold) he sets out on helping him defeat these evil men, all while being narrated but Malcolm Young (Voiced by Cox).

 

Thoughts on Exit Humanity

 

Characters – Malcolm Young is our narrator, he tells the story like he is writing it in a book, Edward Young is the man who fought in the Civil War but now lives in an undead infested land where he loses his family but now he fights the undead in a quest to put his son’s ashes to rest. Eve is a lone woman living in the woods, she is believed to be a witch which built her reputation for the locals, she opens her doors to Edward and his party. General Williams is the man that believes there is a cure, but his evil ways lead to them experimenting on the living to find it. Medic Johnson is Williams’ doctor who performs these experiments.

PerformancesThe performances from the cast are good, we have the horror icons in Dee Wallace, Bill Moseley and Stephen McHattie that give us good performances throughout. Brian Cox narrating is engaging throughout while Mark Gibson as our lead is good with all the bigger named actors.

StoryThe story here is a zombie one, which we have seen plenty off, but it does take place in a Civil War era, which is an original spin on it. We have the journey our hero goes on, a villain that would end it and as always someone looking for a cure. The story is also told in chapter as if it was read from a book and strangely the narration side of the story being told in more interesting than the acting side of everything unfolding.

HorrorThe horror is a zombie world where the humans seem to be the bigger enemy, which works but isn’t on the scary factor.

SettingsThe film is set in the Civil War era, so we don’t have big strong structures for safety we are in the woods with our characters needing to find a way to survive without the ammunition the modern zombie films would have.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well which is mostly practical as we see how the zombies are created to fit the time.


Scene of the Movie –
I liked how the opening was narrated to us.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does feel like a long movie, with the muted action sequences.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting take on the zombie genre, it places us into a different era with the same threat but does feel at times like it is being told as something one of the great poets would have written in the era.

 

Overall: This is an interesting if take on the genre even if slightly too slow.

Rating

 

 

 

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – K – Kite (2014)

kiteDirector: Ralph Ziman

Writer: Brian Cox (Screenplay) Yasuomi Umetsu (Original Film)

Starring: India Eisely, Callan McAuiffe, Samuel L Jackson, Carl Beukes

 

Plot: When her cop father is killed, a young woman tracks the murder with the help of his ex-partner.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: What a Mess

 

Story: Kite starts as Sawa (Eisley) a young woman out for revenge on the gang that killed her parents, she works with Lieutenant Aker (Jackson) as they are targeting the Thornhill’s gang. The deeper Sawa gets the more dangerous is becomes but her bloody quest for revenge isn’t going to stop until the last one pays for what they did.

 

Thoughts on Kite

 

StoryThis story seems to be a blend of Hit Girl and Hanna without anything to make it interesting, we have the revenge story we have seen before and an unlikely hero with the girl working with police officer to take down gang, yay this is just what it is and forgettable at that.

Action/Crime/ThrillerWe do get mindless action and the traditional crime story of trying to take down a gang but it doesn’t feel fresh.

Characters/PerformanceSawa is this new young woman hit girl that takes on the bigger men in a revenge mission, the cop character is also something you have seen before giving nothing fresh to this idea. The performances here are all pretty bad with what feels like dreadful dubbing in place too.

SettingsWe get the typical gang locations all designed to give Sawa a new weapon of chance for a kill or two.

Special EffectsWell finally something that we can have positives about and that is the special effects which are all good enough for the film we are watching which must be over the top and in places pulled from an anime story.

Final ThoughtsThis was a terrible film that is an insult to the anime to live action genre.

 

Overall: Just avoid this mess.

Rating15

 

 

Crime Thriller Weekend – Zodiac (2007)

Director: David Fincher

Writer: James Vanderbilt (Screenplay) Robert Graysmith (Book)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, Brian Cox, John Carroll Lynch

 

Plot: In the late 1960s/early 1970s, a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree.


Tagline – There’s more than one way to lose your life to a killer

Runtime: 2 Hours 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great But Too Long of a Thriller

 

Story: Zodiac starts as the infamous Zodiac killer strikes in San Francisco before demanding his code be printed in the newspaper, the Chronicle, where Paul Avery (Downey Jr) is getting the letters and works with cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Gyllenhaal) who has a knack for cracking codes. As the body count continues to grow Inspector David Toschi (Ruffalo) and Inspector William Armstrong (Edwards) investigate the crimes as the people of San Francisco start to panic throughout the spree.

With time passing by Avery uses the press the play with the Zodiac, making David’s job difficult as it draws out all the people who want to be known as the Zodiac, while Robert becomes obsessed with cracking the codes being left in letters and solving the case.

 

Thoughts on Zodiac

 

Characters – When looking at the characters you must remember these are based on real people, Robert Graysmith is a cartoonist working for the Chronicle newspaper that becomes obsessed with cracking the Zodiac codes while working with writer Paul Avery. Paul Avery is the writer at the Chronicle that is receiving the letters from the Zodiac killer, he is willing to take a risk to get the story and potentially making himself famous. Inspector David Toschi is the lead investigator working on the Zodiac case, he must overcome derestriction nightmares while tracking any clues, suspects or letters that come his way.

PerformancesJake Gyllenhaal is brilliant in this leading role showing how a man out of his field can become a conspiracy driven man. Mark Ruffalo shows here that he will always be a shining light in an ensembled cast. Robert Downey Jr was always skilled enough to be a great character actor and this one started to show he could return to the top of the industry. The supporting cast through the film are also great with their roles.

StoryThe mystery of the Zodiac killer is one of the most famous unsolved serial killings in history. Most of the film follows Robert’s spiral into conspiracy theorist that is searching for the Zodiac killer, which does work and become the most interesting part of the film. the problem I am facing looking at this movie is that the first half seems to mix who the main character is trying to solve the case while the enjoyable part is all Robert and of course we don’t know the complete truth on these murders either.

Crime/Mystery/ThrillerThe crime is one of the most famous in modern history, one that is unsolved which does play into the mystery side to everything we are watching too.

SettingsThe timelines we follow give us authentic settings for everything as the film does span over two decades.


Scene of the Movie –
Robert’s face to face with a potential suspect.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The film itself is too long.

Budget: $65 Million

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting look at one of the most interesting unsolved murder mysteries, it gives us a detailed look at three main men involved in investigating the crime all with different motives from different backgrounds.

 

Overall: Detailed but overly long look at the Zodiac case.

Rating