ABC Film Challenge – Crime – L – Live by Night (2016)

Director: Ben Affleck

Writer: Ben Affleck (Screenplay) Dennis Lehane (Novel)

Starring: Ben Affleck, Elle Fanning, Remo Girone, Brendan Gleeson, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana, Chris Cooper, Chris Messina

 

Plot: A group of Boston-bred gangsters set up shop in balmy Florida during the Prohibition era, facing off against the competition and the Ku Klux Klan.


Tagline – The American Dream has a price

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long & Complex

 

Story: Live by Night starts as we meet Joe Coughlin (Affleck) a former soldier in World War I, who returned to Boston to live the life of crime as an outlaw. When Joe gets blackmailed into killing his boss or risk having his boss learn about his secret affair with his girlfriend Emma (Miller) he finds himself in the middle of a battle he didn’t want a part of.

After the secret is revelled Joe is left for dead blamed for killing cops, after 3 years in jail he gets sent to Florida to track down Albert White, to stop his business and kill him for the new gangster running things in Boston.

With his being a success Joe ends up clashing with the Klux Klan while trying to continue to watch the money roll in to his bosses and even himself.

 

Thoughts on Live by Night

 

Characters – Joe Coughlin is our narrator our gangster, well reluctant gangster, forced into the world after his life as an outlaw gets him mixed up with the wrong people. We learn he is fantastic at handling himself in the meeting striking a deal and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. The other characters seem to just be in chapters of his life, Emma is in Boston being a love interest, while Graciela business partner and lover in Florida. Chief Figgis is the man that will let Joe conduct business and to be honest we don’t get to learn enough about them to care about.

PerformancesBen Affleck is the only lead performer in this movie, he is fine through the film, he doesn’t reach the levels we know he can. When you dive into the supporting cast we get a host of known names and even unknowns who get the same amount of time that are solid without anyone standing out.

StoryThe story follows Joe Coughlin as he starts out as a thief and becomes a gangster, this should work and I would have been fine with this, the problems build up as we see how many different situations Joe must solve to get the next chapter of the story through, because we don’t get enough time to see the problems he must overcome and everything just becomes glimpses into the gangster life without doing anything new.

Action/CrimeWe have plenty of shooting going on, though the final one does feel like a level of Grand Theft Auto. This does from us into a gangster heavy crime world where the prohibition is ongoing through America.

SettingsThe settings place us in the prohibition era America, be it Boston or Florida nothing does seem out of place with these locations.


Scene of the Movie –
Final shoot-out.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not giving us the time to know the supporting characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a messy gangster film, it has the moments of potential but in the end just jumps too fast to grab us to care about certain moments which do seem to have a bigger impact on the story.

 

Overall: Disappointing, ending Affleck’s streak behind the camera.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – P – The Patriot (2000)

Director: Roland Emmerich

Writer: Robert Rodat (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs, Chris Cooper, Techeky Karyo, Rene Auberjonois

 

Plot: Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin is driven to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution when a sadistic British officer murders his son.


Tagline – Some things are worth fighting for. 

Runtime: 2 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long War Epic

 

Story: The Patriot starts where peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin (Gibson) sees the American Revolution coming towards his doorstep with his eldest son Gabriel (Ledger) fighting about the British. When the British reach his doorstep they end up killing one of his sons, Col William Tavington (Isaacs) makes an enemy he can’t prepare to fight against.

Benjamin prepares his own militia to fight back against the British, one that has experience fighting on this land, one that has already won a war, all this to get revenge on the man that took his son in a cowardly action.

 

Thoughts on The Patriot

 

Characters – Benjamin Martin was once a feared general in the military, now he is a quiet farmer looking after his children after his wife’s death. when the American Revolution comes to his home, he loses a son to a ruthless Colonel. Returning to the force he leads the militia in battle against the English showing all the tricks he has learnt through the years, in his mission for revenge. Gabriel is the eldest son of Benjamin’s he is the first to go into war and after it returns home, he will serve under his father to show the pride he has standing next to him. Charlotte is the sister-in-law that protects the children from the war while the men go off to fight. Col William Tavington is the man that kills Benjamin’s son in cold blood, he doesn’t want to give a calm peaceful end to the war and is willing to and wants to kill anyone against him.

PerformancesMel Gibson might well have a few personal demons, but when it comes to this style of film, he never looks out of place on the big screen, easily be the star of this film. Heath Ledger continued to show the world just how talented he was going to become with a wonderful supporting performance and Jason Isaacs gives us a villain from a war movie we are going to hate.

StoryThe story follows a once deadly war general who is forced back into battle after his son is killed during the American Revolution, this follows his revenge in the battle which does give us a fictional story to a real war that changed America at the time. Now this does have a reality in how the men would be losing family members to the ruthless British, though this does make out that the British were the worst of the worst when it came to battle. This is a movie designed to make the American audience feel extra patriotic and does show the two sides of war, the respectful way and the dirty tactics people will use to win.

Action/History/WarThe action is large scale war sequences, each one gets bigger with the number of bodies piling up as we go along. The historical side of the film focuses on the real war over the real people involved in the war which is fine, we only need the historical side as a backdrop for the personal battle.

SettingsThe film does make the realistic settings for the time the war took place in each location does play a key part in the film be it a battle, the moment which will leave people wanting revenge or safety.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Being overly patriotic.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the long war epics that is designed solely to make America look great, it does end up going down the revenge line which gives an edge to the battles, which will be the highlight of the film.

 

Overall: Patriotic 101

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – # – Cars 3 (2017)

Director: Brian Fee

Writer: Kiel Murray, Bob Peterson, Mike Rich (Screenplay) Brian Fee, Ben Queen, Eyal Podell, Jonathon E Stewart (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talent) Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Nathan Fillion, Larry the Cable Guy, Armie Hammer

 

Plot: Lightning McQueen sets out to prove to a new generation of racers that he’s still the best race car in the world.


Tagline – One last chance, One last dream

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Sequel

 

Story: Cars 3 starts as Lightning McQueen cruising his way to titles with two close competitors until hot shot rookie Jackson Storm with a brand-new model that increases speed and ability over Lightning and his older models which slowly go out of the sport, before he loses his spot on the grid.

Needing a make over, Lightning sees his team taken over by Sterling who could bring Lightning a new training program with trainer Cruz Ramirez, all to get back on the track and prove he hasn’t lost it.

 

Thoughts on Cars 3

 

Characters – Lightning McQueen is now one of the top drivers in the world, experienced on the field, that is until the next generation model comes through taking his spot on the track, now an aging star, his time might be up. He must prove he still has the skills to race against the younger cars, following the footsteps of many sport stars. Cruz is a trainer for Lightning new team, she helps young drivers prepare for racing without ever getting the chance to go on the road. She does have her own dreams and Lightning will help her learn these dreams. Jackson Storm is the hot shot new racer ready to become the star of the sport, he acts like he respects Lightning, only to be the cocky arrogant new driver. Sterling is the new owner and big fan of Lightning, he wants to give him a chance, the problem comes from needing to win and Lightning just won’t give his team that.

StoryThe story here sees Lightning McQueen reaching the end of his career, seeing the younger drivers taken his spot in the sport he loves. He must improve to compete, while learning valuable life lessons about stepping away from the spotlight on top on his own accord rather than being pushed out and forgotten. This story puts Lightning in a position that Doc Hudson had been and missed out on, his mentor manages to show him from his career the mistakes he made. This does always feel like an aging sports star sticking around longer than they should and ends up getting the same ideas that we see in the later Rocky movies. This does feel like the right sequel to the original with the time spent between the films.

Adventure/Comedy/Family/Sport The adventure side of this film does take Lightning back to his roots to learn his next step in the driving world, the comedy comes from the events that happen to Lightning along the way, they will give you laugh when needed without being used to often. It would be fair to say the whole family can enjoy this one and get enjoyment from different moments of the story. the sports side of the film is big because it shows us just how a star of the game can be left behind too quickly.

SettingsThe film returns to older settings which show Lightning needing to go soul searching through different worlds away from the glitz and glamour of the normal racing world.

AnimationPixar are the leading team in visual animation, nothing in this movies look can be questioned as it looks perfect in every single shot.


Scene of the Movie –
The make it or break it race.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is a very safe sequel.

Final ThoughtsThis is a safe and enjoyable sequel to the much-loved franchise, it gets the story correct for the time between this and the first film which helps by forgetting the second film.

 

Overall: Enjoyable respect filled sequel.

Rating

 

 

Me, Myself & Irene (2000)

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Writer: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Mike Cerrone (Screenplay)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Renee Zellweger, Anthony Anderson, Mongo Brownlee, Jerod Mixon, Chris Cooper, Richard Jenkins

 

Plot: A nice-guy cop with dissociative identity disorder must protect a woman on the run from a corrupt ex-boyfriend and his associates.


Tagline –  From gentle to mental

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Carrey Comedy

 

Story: Me, Myself & Irene starts as we meet highway control officer Charlie (Carrey) who is popular in his work and gets married only to discover that his wife has had triplets that are black, he does accept them as his own even after his wife leaves him, which loses him the respect of the town, but not of his kids Jamaal (Anderson), Lee (Brownlee) and Shonte Jr (Mixon).

When Charlie finally snaps it turns out he has a dissociative identity disorder creating a version of himself Hank that will do anything Charlie wouldn’t. to cover up the problem Charlie is set on an escorting job to take Irene (Zellweger) back to her home state to deal with an open warrant to her name, but Charlie finds it hard to keep Hank at bay.

 

Thoughts on Me, Myself & Irene

 

Characters – Charlie is a happy-go-lucky highway trooper that the town has always walked all over after his wife walked out on him, he tries to be good to everyone without realizing they are treating him bad. Hank is the loud abrupt version of Charlie that will say and do anything inappropriate and will fight where Charlie doesn’t. Irene is the woman that gets accused on crimes that Charlie must escort, only for it to turn out that she has involvement with a criminal out to stop her talking.

PerformancesJim Carrey gets to enjoy his double role here effortless swapping between the two through the film. Renee Zellweger does handle the comedy in this film well, while the more established names in the supporting roles do well with their roles.

StoryThe story follows one man that gets pushed too far which brings out his twisted darker side, he must help escort a wanted criminal across country only his darker side helps them out along the way when a mob boss and dirty cops are trying to kill her and Charlie along the way. This does have a road trip element along the way as Charlie goes to different states along the way.

ComedyThe comedy comes from Jim Carrey mostly he gets to play opposite characters and each work well, his sons also get good laughs too breaking stereotypes.

SettingsThe film takes across US states which unless you know certain locations you will be left wondering how far they are travelling.


Scene of the Movie –
First Hank appearance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villain isn’t that threating.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good Jim Carrey based comedy that gets plenty of laughs along the way, the road trip side of the film works even if the villains don’t.

 

Overall: Fun comedy showing Jim Carrey’s talents.

Rating

 

 

Money Train (1995)

Director: Joseph Ruben

Writer: Doug Richardson, David Loughery (Screenplay) Doug Richardson (Story)

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Lopez, Robert Blake, Chris Cooper, Joe Grifasi

 

Plot: A vengeful New York transit cop decides to steal a trainload of subway fares; his foster brother, a fellow cop, tries to protect him.


Tagline – If you’re a criminal, Stay on the Train!

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Throughout

 

Story: Money Train starts as we follow two New York Transit Cops John (Snipes) and Charlie (Harrelson) foster brothers that work well together as they look to take on pick pocketers in the subway system. When they get a new member to their team Grace (Lopez) the two brothers argue over who gets first chance at hitting on her.

When one of the brothers is pushed too far, he ends up going against the law and the only person that can save him in his brother.

 

Thoughts on Money Train

 

Characters – John is one of the foster brother pairing, he is the responsible one that always has Charlie’s back and bails him out of the trouble he gets in. Charlie is the screw up of the brother pairing, he has drinking and gambling problems which have caused him to fall of the straight life. Grace is the rookie cop that joins the unit causing the brothers to bicker over who should hit on her first, this isn’t the strongest woman character because it implies that a new girl to a unit will become first one to be hit on and quite happy to go along with things, rather than be a free thinker, but she can handle herself in a fight.

PerformancesWesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson had fantastic chemistry during this time and it shows in their performances here as they nail the comedy and action required for the roles. Jennifer Lopez is good in her role filling the support role well.

StoryThe story follows two foster brothers that have overcome their upbringing to become good transit police, we see how the bicker and have big plans for life, but when one gets pushed too far the other must stop him making the biggest mistake of his life. While this is entertainment the film does lack from a true villain for the brothers needing to work together to overcome and when one turns he is only desperate over being a danger.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action is by the book with the final chase being the highlight of the film, the comedy is not thrown in too heavy and comes through Snipes and Harrelson’s chemistry. The crime side of the film shows how the two brothers must get their jobs done against the odds

SettingsNew York makes for a good setting for this to unfold because it shows the high crimes in the subway system. The subway tracks work for the big final chase too.


Scene of the Movie –
Train chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lack of a real villain.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action comedy that shows us that Harrelson and Snipes were fantastic pairing, most of the film is routine, but its lack of a true villain puts a spanner in any threat they face.

 

Overall: Fun, funny and enjoyable.

Rating