Denzel Washington Weekend – Roman J Israel Esq. (2017)

Director: Dan Gilroy

Writer: Dan Gilroy (Screenplay)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo, Lynda Gravatt, Amanda Warren, Hugo Armstrong, Sam Gilroy

 

Plot: Roman J. Israel, Esq., a driven, idealistic defence attorney, finds himself in a tumultuous series of events that lead to a crisis and the necessity for extreme action.


Tagline – All rise.

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Lawyer Heavy Movie

 

Story: Roman J Israel Esq starts as legal defence attorney Roman J Israel Esq (Washington) who doesn’t attend the courtroom and helps his partner win his cases with his legal mind. When his partner falls into a coma, George Pierce (Farrell) takes over the business, looking to close the firm, but he sees something in Roman, believing he could be hired to help with his own case load.

Roman agrees to help with a charity with young lawyers, run by Maya Alston (Ejogo), while needing to learn how to be part of a team, rather than using his knowledge to put people down, being one of the few people that wanted to be a lawyer for the right reasons.

 

Thoughts on Roman J Israel Esq

 

Characters – Roman J Israel Esq is a genius in the law field, he can memorise every case, knows how to solve the case with logic before getting into a courtroom, only he doesn’t go to court, he helps his partner do the lawyer side of the cases. This does make him come of anti-social at times too, he does want to help people when other people don’t listen to their voices. He goes through his own Epiphany which will see him changing, because of one incident, this will see him facing a conflict in his head about his future. George Pierce is the lawyer for the big firm assigned to close the small firm, he sees the skills Roman has, deciding to hiring him to help with his own cases. Maya runs a charity for people who can’t afford lawyers, she is happy to let Roman help out, she sees the good he has to offer people and in him.

PerformancesDenzel Washington was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in this film, he doesn’t really shine on the levels we know he could, he handles the character well though, considering he is in nearly every scene of the film. Colin Farrell as the lawyer for the rich firm is strong as always in the supporting role, while Carmen Ejogo completes the main cast well.

StoryThe story follows Roman J Israel an attorney that works for a small firm only to see that one close down and him getting a chance in a big law firm, where his own good natured mindset can be left behind when temptation comes his way. The problems with the story are clear, because we don’t get to see Roman doing any real courtroom lawyer work which seems like why he is hired, the mindset he has isn’t bought forward soon enough to see his change for enough of an impact either. We are meant to be dealing with one man going to far which just doesn’t end up being as interesting as it should be.

CrimeThe crime side of this film comes from what Roman does, leading up to his crime before showing us the consequences.

SettingsThe film is set in the locations you would expect to see a lawyer operate, we see the small firm, the big firm and the charity firm he could work for, where he is driven to make his own choices.


Scene of the Movie –
The homeless man.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We didn’t believe how good-natured Roman was meant to be.

Final ThoughtsThis an interesting if not slow moving lawyer based movie, it tries to do something different which should be praised, but it never reaches the potential it had.

 

Overall: Doesn’t hit the required marks.

Rating

 

 

Matthew Fox Weekend – Alex Cross (2012)

Director: Rob Cohen

Writer: Marc Moss, Kerry Williamson (Screenplay) James Patterson (Novel)

Starring: Tyler Perry, Edward Burns, Matthew Fox, Jean Reno, Carmen Ejogo, Cicely Tyson, Rachel Nichols

 

Plot: A homicide detective is pushed to the brink of his moral and physical limits as he tangles with a ferociously skilled hired killer who specializes in torture and pain.


Tagline – Don’t Ever Cross Alex Cross

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fox Shines

 

Story: Alex Cross starts with homicide detective Alex Cross (Perry) and his team Thomas (Burns) and Monica (Nichols) needing to show their skills when a new hired killer nicknamed Picasso (Fox) uses his torture and pain techniques while eliminating people.

When the team learns of the targets they must work with who they think is the main target Giles Mercier (Reno), but this has made his team the newest targets for Picasso, who makes the killings personal.

 

Thoughts on Alex Cross

 

Characters – Dr Alex Cross is a homicide detective, we have seen this character before, but this time we meet a younger version of him, before he becomes the FBI agent we know. Alex has a family and is on the way to making his big career decision, when Picasso comes into his life, Alex will need to balance his skills and rage to stop him. Picasso is a hired gun, he is one of the very best in the world, he enjoys the pain he gives and receives, he makes his mission personal and drives Alex to limits he has never been pushed before. Thomas is the partner of Alex, he is shorter tempered, but loyal to Alex. Giles Mercier seems to be the main target of Picasso mission, he is the rich man that gets what he wants.

PerformancesTyler Perry was considered a strange choice for the leading role in this movie, known mostly for comedy and taking over from Morgan Freeman, he just doesn’t reach his levels, but is good through the film. it is Matthew Fox that shines the most as the cold calculated killer that enjoys the pain. The commitment Fox showed to this role needs to be praised because of the physical change he put his body through makes him an unlikely looking threat. Edward Burn is good as the partner while not being anything special and Jean Reno will always be good in the role he takes.

StoryTo step into another Alex Cross story is always going to be interesting, picking up before he became an FBI agent helps us understand what drove him to be the determined man we know. Making the story personal for Cross shows how he can balance the law and revenge in his attempts to solve the crime. The story might not reach the level of intensity is could have for a personal story, it does everything we need for an entertaining crime mystery thriller.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action involved in the film is good, even if moments of the effects used are weak. The crime is an interesting one to watch unfold, but it takes away from the mystery because we are always on the same level of the cops, we are not feed anything to solve.

SettingsDetroit makes for a good setting, it always feels like it is a place known for the crime rates.


Scene of the Movie –
Picasso introduction fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Rocket effects.

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to watch crime thriller, it does everything it needs to do and is carried by a wonderful villain performance from Fox.

 

Overall: Crime fans watch.

Rating

 

 

It Comes at Night (2017)

Director: Trey Edward Shults

Writer: Trey Edward Shults (Screenplay)

Starring: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Riley Keough, Kelvin Harrison Jr, Griffin Robert Faulkner

 

Plot: Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, a man has established a tenuous domestic order with his wife and son, but this will soon be put to test when a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nerve Shredding Nail Bitter

 

Story: It Comes at Night starts in a world where a virus has crippled the population, Paul (Edgerton), Sarah (Ejogo) and their son Travis (Harrison Jr) live in the middle of the woods in a secure house with only one entrance also being the exit. When their home gets broken into by Will (Abbott) the family dynamic must figure out whether to believe his story, help him or let him go.

Once the family make the decision the family welcomes Will and his family Kim (Keough) and son Andrew (Faulkner) into their home as numbers could help against a threat, but how long can this peace last?

 

Thoughts on It Comes at Night

 

Characters/PerformanceWill is the strict father of the house, he has created a secure home with the rules that will keep his family safe, he will not go easy on anyone that comes into the life and does the clean up when anything needs to be done. Will is the stranger that is just as desperate to keep his family safe and stumbles into the wrong house, but he is good and gets to work with Paul to start a safer home. Sarah and Kim are both the weakest written characters mostly because they are just the wives, Sarah does have slightly more about her because she will be smarter about the bigger decisions the family must make. Travis is the most interesting character in the film, he is the son of Paul & Sarah, he is attached to the late grandfather and his dog, we get to see a lot of the film through his eyes and ears as well as most of the truly horrific moments come in his nightmares.

Performance wise, Joel Edgerton is brilliant in this leading role, being a man of little words but many facial expressions when not explain the rules. Christopher Abbott is also good in this role showing how desperate people could be. Carmen Ejogo and Riley Keough are both good but could have been written stronger. Kelvin Harrison Jr is the new star to watch after his performance in this film, which shows curiosity being stuck with strict rules.

StoryThe story follows a world that has had a virus wiping out the population, we don’t learn what caused this which you could see upset people but I didn’t find this a stumbling block because it adds to the mystery. The story focuses on how desperate people would act to survive in this situation, how easy things could go wrong and just how even the best of people could go do unthinkable things. The story is filled with tension and mystery that just keeps you on the edge of your seat, just wanting to know what will happen next.

Horror/MysteryThe horror comes from how the family must survive what could come from anything, the disease spreading around the country. The mystery is also tied into the horror as we are left to see what is happening and what could go wrong.

SettingsThe film is set in the middle of the woods, the house is off the grid and has no main roads nearby. We get an excellent use location which only adds the tension needed in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best horror films of the year, but it could easily divide the horror community, I feel this could be considered to be in the same league as 2016 The Witch and could have had stronger written female characters.

 

Overall: Must watch for the horror fans out there.

Rating

 

 

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: John Logan, Dante Harper (Screenplay) Jack Paglen, Michael Green, Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett (Story/Characters)

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett

 

Plot: The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Plain Bad

 

Story: Alien Covenant starts with the colony ship the Covenant heading towards a new planet, a crew of 15 and over 2000 colonist on board with just Walter (Fassbender) the android running the ship. When the ship encounters a freak storm in space leads the crew suffering loses they need to let the new captain Oram (Crudup) guide them through the damage to the systems.

When the repairs find a ghost transmission from a planet which appears perfectly habitable Oram goes against first mate Daniels’ (Waterston) opinion to continue their mission and takes a crew to this planet.

While on the planet the crew learn, this planet isn’t as safe as they had thought as they learn the deadly species waiting to be awoken along with a discovery which will give them answers about one of the mysterious of space.

 

Thoughts on Alien: Covenant

 

Characters/PerformanceWalter is the latest model of the androids that joins the mission to do the jobs humans can’t manage he is good natured and understands his mission. Daniels is the second in command after the early tragedy, she doesn’t want to investigate the new planet but soon becomes the one we must rout for once she decides to fight. Oram is your standard captain trying to take the role with his own stamp, also he is meant to be religious. The rest of the crew are what you expect.

Performance wise, well this is where things get interesting, Fassbender is fine but let’s face it he is wasting his talent in movies like these. Waterston struggles to follow in the strong leading action heroine footsteps with Crudup being easily forgettable. This does have known names but nothing that comes off truly memorable in the performances.

StoryThe story looks to follow up what happened after the Prometheus in what just feels like a complete rip off, of plenty of films, we have horribly written characters that just do panic instead of being professional in the role that would remain calm through each situation. This is a rinse, repeat film that ends up being one of the most predictable movies you have ever seen.

Horror/Sci-FiThere is little to no horror in a movie that has ALIENS in which is the whole point. The sci-fi side of the story is all what you have come to expect from the genre without being anything fresh.

SettingsThe film looks beautiful and stunning throughout but they also don’t have anything looking original though.

Special EffectsThe special effects show us the settings looking almost flawless, it is the aliens which come off weak in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor addition to the franchise of aliens, we barely see them and the science versus religion question doesn’t end up getting discussed enough.

 

Overall: Poor franchise addition that is weak in every single aspect.

Rating

 

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

fantsticDirector: David Yates

Writer: J.K. Rowling (Screenplay)

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller, Carmen Ejogo, Jon Voight, Ron Perlman

 

Plot: The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Best Family Film of the Year

 

Story: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them starts as Grindelwald had started to terrorise the wizard community around the 1920s as we move to meet Newt (Redmayne) as he travels to New York. We learn that something has be terrorising the streets of New York which has grab the attention of Graves (Farrell).

Getting to learn his away around New York Newt finds himself using her magic which effects the life Kowalski (Fogler) and fellow wizard detective Tina (Waterston). After a mixing up cases Kowalski ends up with the case full of fantastic beasts which Newt and Tina must track down before they cause any more problems in New York.

We continue to learn of the kind heart Newt has as he helps rescue these beasts from the edge of extinction but a darkness as all creatures have will look to take control of the beasts with a potential battle between no magics and the wizards just waiting to be unleashed on the world.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a visually stunning addition to the Harry Potter magical universe, while this is a prequel it works on all the levels it needs to because it is actually so distant from the original series. We have the 1920s New York settings that looks authentic throughout and the beasts all look truly fantastic.  Being set with adult characters help because we don’t have to deal with the learning process which often held back the early Potter films.

Eddie Redmayne gives us a brilliant performance that fully fits the character Newt but it is here where the brilliance finishes with the rest of the characters all looking greatly cast without being as memorable as Newt, Farrell takes the lead villain role but doesn’t really get the full chance to be as evil as he could well have been but this is designed for purpose to make the next villains more menacing. If you ever want to see what could well be the best family film this year I whole heartedly suggest this film that comes off original to the rest of the current market without being to heavy on the wizard ways.

 

Overall: Visually brilliant and purely fun film that can be enjoyed by all.

Ratingcard