Queen & Country (2014)

Director: John Boorman

Writer: John Boorman (Screenplay)

Starring: Callum Turner, Caleb Landry Jones, Pat Shortt, David Thewlis, Richard F Grant, Tamsin Egerton, Vanessa Kirby

 

Plot: In this sequel to Hope and Glory (1987), Bill Rohan has grown up and is drafted into the army, where he and his eccentric best mate, Percy, battle their snooty superiors on the base and look for love in town.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow, Dull and Boring

 

Story: Queen & Country starts as we follow Bill Rohan (Turner) drafted to the army to deal with the conflict in Korea, joined by Percy (Jones) who soon becomes his best friend. The two must deal with a by the book Sargeant Major Bradley (Thewlis) which only drives Major Cross (Grant) crazy.

We see how Percy keeps bring up plans while Bill starts to date a mysterious woman Opheila (Egerton), a woman with a past that only adds to her mystery.

 

Thoughts on Queen & Country

 

Characters – Bill lives on an island in the middle of the Thames, he is drafted the army which gets him to see more of the world, meet a mysterious woman and learn to stand up for himself. Percy is the loud best friend of Bill, who has done everything, he is the one that wants to get ahead of Bradley. Ophelia is the mysterious woman that comes into Bill’s life, she draws him but is keeping her secrets safe.

PerformancesCallum Turner is fine in this leading role but just doesn’t capture the levels to make us want to see his character too often. Caleb Landry Jones is the one we want to see the most, he is fun to watch but not the most interesting. The cast are fine but they just come off like posh Brits in roles.

StoryThe story is a sequel to a movie, I have never heard off, which is guess doesn’t help too much. We get to see a young man that goes into the armed forces that challenges his superiors while dealing with his own personal problems when it comes to tracking down a mysterious woman that can’t be with him. Nothing that interesting happens in this movie in the way you care enough to see where things go.

SettingsThe film takes us from the basic location which show the training camp, but it has our characters coming from the posh backgrounds.


Scene of the Movie –
Hard to find one.

That Moment That Annoyed Me That clock storyline.

Final ThoughtsThis is a boring movie that the more I think about things, the more I get bored about what I am thinking about it.

 

Overall: Nothing interesting happening here.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – A – American Made (2017)

Director: Doug Liman

Writer: Gary Spinelli (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Jesse Plemons, Caleb Landry Jones, Lola Kirke

 

Plot: The story of Barry Seal, an American pilot who became a drug-runner for the CIA in the 1980s in a clandestine operation that would be exposed as the Iran-Contra Affair.


Tagline – Based on a True Lie

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable

 

Story: American Made starts as Barry Seal (Cruise) a pilot gets offered a job by the CIA agent Monty Schafer (Gleeson) to fly over different parts of Northern and Southern America to take photos for the CIA, the job is exclusive but as his family grows with Lucy (Wright) having children, he needs more money.

When one if his flights takes him to South America he meets businessman Pablo Escobar (Mejia) and his partners who recruit him to smuggle drug into America. Before long Barry is getting pushed into other forms of smuggling both to and from America.

 

                            Thoughts on American Made

 

Characters – Barry Seal was a small-time cigar smuggling pilot before he gets recruited by the CIA to fly over other parts of the Americas to spy, soon he becomes involved in large scale smuggling across America both in and out, he believes he is working in the CIA but always seemed to be getting slightly in deeper than first thought. He struggles to keep his personal life together with his wife and children suffering his sudden changes in location. Monty is the CIA agent that recruits Barry to smuggle, he believes he is in control of the whole situation as he bails Barry out of trouble and gives him the instructions from the American side of the events. Lucy is the wife of Barry that must deal with his lifestyle but once there is a large amount of money involved she embraces the life of luxury for her family. We do have the drug dealing side of the characters that Barry deals with but we only see them in the dealing side of the story.

PerformancesThis is another Tom Cruise vehicle where he shows just how talent he is, this helps his credibility after the disaster which was The Mummy, this could be his best full ranged acting performance in years. Domhnall is great in his supporting role showing he can work in nearly any genre right now. Sarah Wright is good but we don’t get to see enough of her characters struggle or enjoyment of the money.

StoryThe story follows Barry Seal and how he went from small-time cigar smuggler into one of the most infamous drug and gun smugglers in modern American history. We follow the events from how he remembers them explaining how he just didn’t seem to know how things just kept falling his way but he went with the flow and how the government helped support the international gun trade. This was a lot more interesting that I could imagine showing us just how corrupt the government could be when it needed to be.

Action/Biopic/ComedyThe action comes from how Barry would get the job done, he has edge of the seat moments of when it comes to the flight sequences, the comedy is lightly toned into the story which sounds like a comedy over a real story but seeing the story of Barry Seal and his smuggling makes for an interesting biopic.

SettingsThe film does take us across difference parts America to show where Barry ends up going to which all look like the time being presented in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Emergency Landing

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does make the idea seem like a good thing rather than a criminal in action.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertaining biopic that shows how a smuggler ran a multi-million-dollar organisation that even the government supported.

 

Overall: Enjoyable movie all around.

Rating

 

 

The Florida Project (2017)

Director: Sean Baker

Writer: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch (Screenplay)

Starring: Brooklyn Prince, Bria Vinaite, Willem Dafoe, Valeria Cotto, Christopher Rivera, Caleb Landry Jones

 

Plot: Set over one summer, the film follows precocious six-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Disney World.


Tagline – Welcome to a magical kingdom

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Drama

 

Story: The Florida Project starts as we meet precocious 6-year olds Moonee (Prince), Scooty (Rivera) and Dicky (Malik) that cause problems in a motel next to the new Disney World, they go on their mixed adventures, while Halley (Vinaite) Moonee’s mother struggles to find herself a job.

Hotel manager Bobby (Dafoe) knows families like Halley’s don’t have anywhere else to go, so he allows the to stay long term, but the kids are starting to cause disruptions with the everyday business. We follow the summer vacation the kids have, needing to entertain themselves.

 

Thoughts on The Florida Project

 

Characters – Moonee is the 6-year-old girl that along with her friends is getting into mischief for the summer vacation where he mother lives in a motel. She must entertain herself and knows every guest in the motel, the good ones and the bad ones. Halley is the mother of Moonee, she struggles to get enough money to stay in the motel, but does everything she can to make sure that she can enjoy her childhood, letting her have the freedom. She is trying to find a job, but it isn’t as easy as it should be. Bobby is the manager at the hotel, he knows the kids are only keeping themselves entertained which gives them harmless with their behaviour, he supports the poor families that are staying there the best he can, while also making sure they don’t end up getting into illegal trouble.

PerformancesBrooklynn Prince is the Moonee and she gives one of the most genuine performances of the year filled with the innocence that her character is all about during this hard time. Bria Vinaite is fresh on the scene here and she is fantastic over the young mum trying her best while also not being prepared for the everyday job idea. Willem Dafoe is fantastic too being the biggest name in this movie you would expect this from the talent he and he plays this role so perfectly.

StoryThe story tells the struggles a mother and daughter are having to just keep a roof over their heads in Florida. It shows the mischievous adventures Moonee goes on while her mother does whatever it takes to make the money all over the summer vacation as the motel manager tries to do the best he can to support them. This is a story that shows us the struggles a single parent can have with money if they started with nothing, the kindness of people who try to support and the innocent adventures children can go on.

SettingsThe settings show the motel that Halley & Moonee must live in, not the best place to be raising a child, this is good, but the down side is not knowing just how much of a shadow Disney World has on this place without going into researching it ourselves.


Scene of the Movie –
Bobby deals with an unwanted guest.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not knowing the full scale of the situation between the motel and Disney World

Final ThoughtsThis is such a sweet story that is shot lovely, with two unknowns in the leads that are fantastic and Willem Dafoe shines. This might not be the biggest flowing story, but it does sum up the difficulties of single parenthood.

 

Overall: Wonderful moving movie

Rating

 

 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Director: Martin McDonagh

Writer: Martin McDonagh (Screenplay)

Starring: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Lucas hedges, John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage, Caleb Landry Jones

 

Plot: A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to catch the culprit.


Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Darkly Humorous

 

Story: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri starts as Mildred Hayes (McDormand) puts up three billboards in a quiet road questioning how Willoughby (Harrelson) hasn’t solved the case of her daughter’s rape and murder. Fellow officer Dixon (Rockwell) who has a chequered past is enraged by the signs, while officer Willoughby tries to clean up the situation and prove there isn’t enough to solve the case, but with his dying he does want to solve the case before he goes.

As the billboards stay up longer, the town starts to become divided on the support in catching the killer and Mildred does to extremes in her battle with Dixon to get the case solved.

 

Thoughts on Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

 

Characters – Mildred Hayes is a mother that has run out of patience when it comes to the police finding the killer off her daughter, she did have the full support of the town, but this stunt pushes the people away even if it could get her the killer to identify themselves. Willoughby is the lead investigator in the case, he has done everything he could to solve the case, but he is now facing his own battle with cancer, while keeping the peace in the town. Dixon is the hot-headed police officer that clashes with Mildred and anyone who supports her in finding out the truth.

PerformancesFrances McDormand shows us that she can reach the Fargo levels whenever the material is given to her, as she shines through as the best part of this movie. Woody Harrelson is great again this year, showing us he can step into any role and be great. Sam Rockwell is wonderful too as we see that this cast is filled with talent character performers.

StoryThe story shows the extremes of losing a child, the stress of noting being able to solve one of the worst cases in the town. This does turn into a character studio on the people involved and how their lives need to move on without a chance of every being able to. It is hard to describe this story in much more depth because it is interesting, it does have a lot going on that keeps us wanting to see where the film will go.

Comedy/CrimeThis does use dark humour throughout as we are seeing the effects of the crime on people’s lives, don’t expect to see an investigation though, we are focusing on the relationship between the mother of the victim and the police.

SettingsThe film takes place in this small town where everyone seems to know everyone, so they have all felt the effects of the crime, this helps when things start to get exposed.


Scene of the Movie –
Window smashing, it is a well shot single looking take.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The answer is frustrating.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dark humour that can be enjoyed by the fans of that genre, it does have a good subject matter but doesn’t get to a level in the story that I enjoyed watching.

 

Overall: Dark comedy through a serious subject matter.

Rating

 

 

God’s Pocket (2014)

Director: John Slattery

Writer: Alex Metcalf, John Slattery (Screenplay) Peter Dexter (Novel)

Starring: Christina Hendricks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eddie Marsan, Caleb Landry Jones, Jack O’Connell, John Turturro, Richard Jenkins

 

Plot: A blue collar worker tries to cover things up when his stepson is killed in a suspicious accident, but a local reporter senses that something’s amiss.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Drama

 

Story: God’s Pocket starts as we meet the different characters from this small town of God’s Pocket. We have Mickey (Hoffman) a meat salesman who works with Arthur (Turturro) stealing product before selling it as his own, his wife Jeanie (Hendricks) and her son Leon (Jones) along with reporter Richard Shellburn (Jenkins) who has been reporting on the town for 20 years.

When Leon is killed in a work accident the town surround the family with their sympathy. When Jeanie questions what happened it brings Richard to look deeper into the story as well as Mickey using his mob connection to try and learn the truth, but in this small town can secrets be kept?

 

Thoughts on God’s Pocket

 

Characters/PerformanceMickey is a man that finds a way to make ends meet either side of the law, when his step-son is killed he works on finding out the truth but must deal with his own problems with money. Jeanie is the grieving mother that demands the truth about her son’s death, she is also becoming distant from her husband Mickey. Richard is a journalist know all around the town, he has reported on the events of the town for years now and gets called into learn the truth of the events around the death. Arthur is Mickey’s connection to the underworld where the two work on robberies.

Performance wise, Hoffman is great in what was his final complete film, Hendricks is also good throughout the film with Jenkins giving us his best reporter like role. Turturro was also good throughout the film.

StoryThe story shows the three day events leading up to a funeral, we see everyday people dealing with a sudden death as they search for the truth, make their own mistakes and try to cover up their mistakes. This is a slow-moving film that tries to give us a real life series of events that follow the people involved but isn’t a casual watch.

CrimeThe crime side of the story comes from Mickey’s side along with the crime surround the accident. We have the crime world but otherwise this is more focused on the dramatic stories that characters live through.

SettingsWe like the small town setting which helps us see just how well the people of the town know each other.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good drama even if it is slightly slow in place, it is filled with good acting and a story that almost feels like it could come off as a comedy slightly better.

 

Overall: Good drama, good acting but nothing memorable.

Rating