Ice Cube Weekend – Ride Along 2 (2016)

Director: Tim Story

Writer: Phil Hay, Matt Mandredi (Screenplay) Greg Coolidge (Characters)

Starring: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Tika Sumpter, Benjamin Bratt, Olivia Munn, Ken Jeong, Bruce McGill, Michael Rose

 

Plot: As his wedding day approaches, Ben heads to Miami with his soon-to-be brother-in-law James to bring down a drug dealer who’s supplying the dealers of Atlanta with product.


Tagline – The brothers-in-law are back.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Enjoyable Comedy Sequel

 

Story: Ride Along 2 starts when newly appointed rookie Ben Barber (Hart) ruins his soon-to-be-brother-in-law detective James Payton’s (Cube) latest bust. James must go to Miami to continue the case and reluctantly takes Ben to take him out of his sister’s Angela (Sumpter) hair while she plans the wedding.

In Miami the pair need to remain undercover, which soon seems them going into the world of drug land which sees them working with local detective Maya (Munn) to uncover the truth.

 

Thoughts on Ride Along 2

 

Characters – Detective James Payton is tough talking cop that is dealing with his brother-in-law that is a rookie on the force, he is getting tired of him not following instructions and uses the trip to Miami to hopefully expose his weaknesses to the Captain. He is a good cop that only wants to stop criminals. Ben Barber is the rookie on the force now, he is marrying James’ sister, he talks too much which often sees him getting into trouble. Angela is the sister of James, fiancée to Ben, she is planning the wedding that wants her to see Ben head off for a couple of days. Antonio Pope is the local drug lord who looks like one of the popular businessmen around, he has been making his move to become a bigger dealer in the business, but his action has seen attention drawn on him.

PerformancesIce Cube is always going to do the strong job in the tough guy cop figure, this is no different. Kevin Hart brings his fast talking routine which tends to be a hit or miss with his jokes, but he never relents on them. Tika Sumpter doesn’t get that much screen time which is disappointing really. Benjamin Bratt can give us the routine villainous businessman.

StoryThe story follows the unlikely partnership between a tough talking detective and his soon-to-be-brother-law and fast-talking rookie that investigate a drug dealer in Miami. This does continue to use the idea that the unlikely partnership stumble through case trying to solve the case in a way that shouldn’t be achieved. We know this genre, we know how easily it works the story doesn’t need to be made anything more, but it is hard to still see them fighting between each other.

Action/ComedyThe action in the film follows chases, which are mostly a way of adding the comedy due to the reactions of what is going on. The comedy mostly relies on the fast-talking Kevin Hart, which is hit or miss.

SettingsThe film takes the action away from Atlanta to Miami which brings more sun and sea to the location.


Scene of the Movie –
The video game chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Hart’s joke can become too much.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple and fun sequel that will get laughs, but doesn’t hit the levels of the first because it is often just more of the same.

 

Overall: Simple and fun.

Rating

 

 

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Matthew Fox Weekend – Vantage Point (2008)

Director: Pete Travis

Writer:  Barry L Levy (Screenplay)

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, Said Tahgmaoui, Zoe Saldana, Edgar Ramirez, Bruce McGill

 

Plot: The attempted assassination of the American President is told and re-told from several different perspectives.


Tagline –  If you think you’ve seen it all…Look Again

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Relentless Action Packed Film

 

Story: Vantage Point starts in Salamanca, Spain where the world leaders are meeting for President Ashton (Hurt) anti-terrorist agreement which would bring nations from around the world together. Rex Brooks (Weaver) is controlling the media side of the story, with Angie Jones (Saldana) on the grounds.

President Ashton surrounded by secret service agents including Thomas Barnes (Quaid) who has saved the President in the past and flanked by Kent Taylor (Fox). When the President in shot a bomb is set off outside the plaza leave many dead including our reporter Angie.

We rewind to follow the events from Thomas’s perspective, his struggle to suit up and put his life on the line for the President. We continue to follow different vantage points we learn the bigger picture of the events of this day.

 

Thoughts on Vantage Point

 

Characters – Thomas Barnes is a secret service agent, he has saved the President before and his mindset has been questioned before, but he is excellent at his job, he must act quickly to learn the truth about who tried to assassinate the President. Kent Taylor is a fellow secret service agent, the one that supports Barnes’ return to duty, he goes in pursuit off the suspect doing his duty for the President. Howard Lewis is a tourist that is having a difficult personal life and was using this trip as a break from his family, he is filming the events becoming a crucial witness to the events. Rex Brooks is the television news director, controlling her reporter on the stage, the cameras in the arena, she has a history with trying to get Barnes to talk about his lifesaving moment in the past. President Ashton is about to agree on the biggest counter-terrorist agreement in world history, he will be making history at this event. We continue to follow other people too including the mysterious woman Veronica that becomes one of the prime suspects.

PerformancesThe performances here are good throughout the whole cast, not a single person truly becomes the main character of the film so, no one takes centre stage. Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver and William Hurt to name the biggest names are able to show how to make an impact with limited time.

StoryThe story follows the panic which follows an attempted assassination attempt of the President, we follow the different viewpoints, we flashback to different points where each vantage point does take us to the next stage of the story, keeping us guessing on each moment of the events of the day. This story does show the pure panic that would follow an assassination attempt and bombs going of at such a public event. The real-time feeling gives us an extra dimension to this film which makes this a real edge of your seat story which keeps us guessing.

Action/CrimeThe action comes thick and fast in this film, we have a car chase through the tight streets and plenty of foot pursuits the drive the movie as we are left to figure out who committed the crime.

SettingsThe settings give us the opening feeling of hope for the world, this setting then shows us how perfect it would be for creating the chaos required for the terrorist actions.


Scene of the Movie –
Car chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Forest Whitaker’s jump, it doesn’t suit the running rescue.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most underrated action films if you want something that doesn’t make you think to much but does keep you guessing this is one for you. It is a relentless film that doesn’t give you too much time to breath.

 

Overall: Action fans just go and watch this.

Rating

 

 

Jeff Daniels Weekend – The Lookout (2007)

lookoutDirector: Scott Frank

Writer: Scott Frank (Screenplay)

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Matthew Goode, Isla Fisher, Carla Gugino, Bruce McGill

 

Plot: Chris is a once promising high school athlete whose life is turned upside down following a tragic accident. As he tries to maintain a normal life, he takes a job as a janitor at a bank, where he ultimately finds himself caught up in a planned heist.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Underrated Crime Thriller

 

Story: The Lookout starts as high school student Chris Pratt (Gordon-Levitt) trying to impress his girlfriend and friends, which leads to a tragic accident leaving him with memory problems where he struggles to do every day routine. Four years later he is still trying to recover where he lives with Lewis (Daniels) a blind man who is used to working through these issues. Chris works nights in a bank where he ends becoming a target of Gary Spargo (Goode) and his criminal friends.

Gary befriends Chris as a former friend from school as well as meeting Luvlee (Fisher) to give him a new romance in his life. Gary pushes Chris into helping him rob the bank he is working in using all the weakness that Chris has to play him into helping out. We are left to see if Chris follows through with this or not.

The Lookout is a thriller that shows us what it would be like to get bought into the world when you could easily be taken advantage of. While it all comes off nicely on that angle as we only see how much Chris gets to see his part of the crime. The best part of this film is looking at how Chris is going about his life and how his family and friends have dealt with the accident. We do get to see how difficult it would be for people who have been working with Chris would struggle too. This might not be a slick crime thriller but it is an emotional style film.

 

Actor Review

 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Chris Pratt is the once rising star of high school ice hockey but after his accident he finds himself struggling with every day routine. He works in a bank where he becomes the target of bank robbers who befriend him to help them rob the bank he works in. Joseph gives us a great performance in this role showing the difficult side of everything happening to the person with the problems.chris

Jeff Daniels: Lewis is the blind friend who lives with Chris, he is used to the disability life and always tries to guide Chris in the right direction, keeping calm when things don’t work out for Chris. Jeff is great in this supporting role where he takes everything in his stride.lewis

Matthew Goode: Gary Spargo is an old school mate of Chris, he sees him working in the bank and tries his hardest to befriend Chris where he offers him the chance to think for himself for once, he ends up using him to rob the bank but not everything goes to his plan. Matthew makes for a good villain through this film.gary

Isla Fisher: Luvlee is the friend of Gary that offers up a romantic angle for Chris, she sees what is happening but decides she wants out of the plan. Isla makes for a good romantic interest for our lead.

Support Cast: The Lookout has a good supporting cast that all look good for the roles they are in.

Director Review: Scott FrankScott does give us a wonderfully told story from start to finish.

 

Crime: The Lookout gives us a crime story involving a bank robbery which all comes off well.

Thriller: The Lookout keeps you guessing from start to finish as to what Chris will do.

Settings: The Lookout uses the small country settings well showing how easy it would have been to rob one of the banks.
Special Effects
: The Lookout uses very few effects but when needed all come off well.

Suggestion: The Lookout is one to have watched at least once and it will be enjoyed by crime fans. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Final moments.

Worst Part: Hard to find one.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: no

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $16 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline: Whoever has the money has the power

 

Overall: Great thriller that has real heart dealing with disability.

Ratingcard

Michael Mann Weekend – Collateral (2004)

collertalDirector: Michael Mann

Writer: Stuart Beattie (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo, Peter Berg, Bruce McGill, Javier Bardem

 

Plot: A cab driver finds himself the hostage of an engaging contract killer as he makes his rounds from hit to hit during one night in Los Angeles. He must find a way to save both himself and one last victim.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slick Thriller

 

Story: Collateral starts as we see stranger Vincent (Cruise) arriving in Los Angeles for a job. We also meet mild-mannered cab driver Max (Foxx) who knows all the streets in Los Angeles, the two end up on a collision cause as Max gets talked into taking Vincent around Los Angeles for the night, that is until Max learns that Vincent is a hitman.

Vincent forces Max into taking him around town as he completes his missions as he looks to avoid trouble, but also offers him a chance to teach him about standing up for himself and the morals about the murders he is committing. The two end up getting caught up in the middle of a cat and mouse chase around Los Angeles all in one night.

Collateral is a thriller that fills all the cat and mouse we love to see, nothing is overplayed and with everything taking place over one night we get a real feel for the timing side of the story. I do feel the supporting characters do get neglected which does end up working on both scales, we get more time with the leading two but doesn’t make us care about them. Overall this is a good slick story that all works for the genre.

 

Actor Review

 

Tom Cruise: Vincent is the hitman who has come to Los Angeles to complete a job over the course of one night, he ends up using Max as his taxi service for the night. He kills anyone who gets in the way but he also doesn’t want to kill anyone he doesn’t need too. He comes off like a good guy and is always good at his job. Tom gives us a great performance in this role as hitman.vinceent

Jamie Foxx: Max is the mild-mannered taxi driver who knows every single street in Los Angeles, he ends up picking up Vincent who puts him through the middle of the worst night of his life as he had to assist him on his killing spree or be killed. Jamie goes toe to toe with Tom which is always difficult for any big named actor.max

Jada Pinkett Smith: Annie is the hot shot lawyer that happens to be a passenger in Max’s cab before Vincent, the two get flirting and we get the potential love interest for Max in the future. Jada does a solid job but doesn’t get the screen time we would like to see.

Mark Ruffalo: Fanning is one of the cops hot the trail of what is happening on the night when one of his men went missing, he puts things together faster than the rest of the authorities. Mark does well in this supporting role but doesn’t make a big enough impact in the end.fanning

Support Cast: Collateral doesn’t get the supporting cast enough screen time to make much impact in the final outcome.

Director Review: Michael MannMichael brings his style to the hitman film which all works for the final cat and mouse between Max and Vincent.

 

Crime: Collateral has a good crime story going on with the bigger picture to what Vincent is up to.

Thriller: Collateral keeps you on the edge of your seat while you watch all interaction between Max and Vincent.

Settings: Collateral use the one night in Los Angeles for the story which all looks very cinematic throughout.
Special Effects
: Collateral has good effects with the kills but doesn’t turn to them too often.

Suggestion: Collateral is one to watch for all the crime thriller fans out there. (Watch)

 

Best Part: First kill reaction.

Worst Part: Lack of support character time.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 2 Oscars

Budget: $65 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours

Tagline: It started like any other night

Trivia: The seating of the two leads was crucial to certain scenes. For their more intimate exchanges, Cruise would sit directly behind Foxx, out of his peripheral vision and therefore making him more vulnerable and uncertain of his opponent.

 

Overall: Very enjoyable thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat as Cruise shines yet again.

Ratingcard

Run All Night (2015)

logoDirector: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: Brad Ingelsby (Screenplay)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman, Boyd Holbrook, Bruce McGill, Genesis Rodriguez, Vincent D’Onofrio, Lois Smith, Common

Plot: Mobster and hit man Jimmy Conlon has one night to figure out where his loyalties lie: with his estranged son, Mike, whose life is in danger, or his longtime best friend, mob boss Shawn Maguire, who wants Mike to pay for the death of his own son.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Non-Stop Action

Story: Run All Night starts Jimmy Conlon (Neeson) letting us know he was a bad man, he did bad things, but now he is just a drunk trying to keep everything together having to turn to his old bosses son Danny (Holbrook) for money. Mike Conlon (Kinnaman) is a boxer who is trying to teach a young student how to use his skills as well as trying to balance his own family life with his wife Gabriela (Rodriguez) and his kids. Shawn Maguire (Harris) runs the town but his son Danny wants to build his own legacy with a deal that goes bad. We see that Shawn and Jimmy have a relationship filled with respect from the years working together.

Jimmy is known for his body count that he has built up working for Shawn where Detective Harding (D’Onofrio) has spent his career trying to catch him. Mike works as a limo driver but his latest client just so happens to be involved with dealing with Danny’s deal. When Mike witnesses the Danny murder his client he ends up having to run for his life putting Jimmy & Shawn’s relationship when Jimmy kills Danny when he tries to kill Mike, what follows is Shawn calling in all his favours to get revenge and Jimmy and Mike having to run all night to survive.

Run All Night is easily one of the best action films this year, it keep the story very simple and does follow the same story ideas Road to Predation. The idea that the hit-man has to go up against his boss to look after his own son who witnesses a murder, getting a lone other hit-man to go after them, the comparisons continue too. I think the film taking time to build the characters in the first 20-30 minutes helps because it lets all the action do the talking in the final 3 thirds of the film. When you look at certain other films that Neeson has been making in the action genre this works out to be one of his best. (8/10)

Actor Review

Liam Neeson: Jimmy Conlon is the washed up former hit-man for the mob, he is distant from his son Mike but still has the respect of his former employer Shawn. When he hears about his son being involved with his former bosses son he ends up killing the young man Danny defending his own son leading to all strings being severed and him having to defend his son for one night against everything Shawn has to throw at him. Liam gives us one f his best action performances too date. (8/10)jimmy

Ed Harris: Shawn Maguire is the mod boss who runs the city, he is dealing with his son Danny’s problems when his last remaining friend becomes his enemy after killing Danny. Ed makes for a good villain every time but this time I do feel he gives us a generic mob boss character. (7/10)friendship

Joel Kinnaman: Mike Conlon is the son of Jimmy who has pushed him out his life to start his own clean life with his own family where he makes a clean living away from the criminal world. He life gets turned upside down when he witnesses Danny kill one of his clients leading to him having to run all night with his estranged father being the only one that can keep him alive. Joel continues to try and make a name for himself and he does a good job in this role. (7/10)mike

Boyd Holbrook: Danny Maguire is the son of mob boss Shawn, he keeps trying to prove himself to his father which leads to him getting involved with the wrong people. He ends up getting killed leading to the catalyst of all the events. Boyd does a good job in this role playing the hot headed young man well. (7/10)danny

Vincent D’Onofrio: Detective Harding is the one man who has been chasing down Jimmy his whole life but when the events of this night happen he becomes the only person Jimmy can trust. Vincent does a good job in the support role that seems to be one of the only other good characters in the film. (7/10)harding

Support Cast: Run All Night has a supporting cast that includes the henchman that Jimmy leaves laying as well as Common as the hit-man.

Director Review: Jaume Collet-SerraJaume does a good job giving us a great mix of action and early character development. (8/10)

Action: Run All Night has car chases, foot races (Yes Neeson Does Run), hand to hand fights and gun battles giving us everything you need in an action film. (9/10)

Crime: Run All Night puts us in the criminal underworld with one innocent family stuck in the middle. (8/10)

Thriller: Run All Night keeps you on the edge of your seat as soon as the action starts. (8/10)

Settings: Run All Night keeps all the action in locations that don’t have stand out locations making it all about the action rather than settings. (5/10)

Suggestion: Run All Night is one for all the action fans to action fans to sit and enjoy. (Action Fans Enjoy)

Best Part: Jimmy and Shawn sit down to talk, very tense scene.

Worst Part: Too similar to Road to Predation.

Action Scene Of The Film: Car Chase.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Road to Predation

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $50 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

Tagline: One night to settle the score.

Overall: Easily one of the best action films of the year

Rating Scorecard scorecard