ABC Film Challenge – Action – V – Vertical Limit (2000)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: Robert King, Terry Hayes (Screenplay) Robert King (Story)

Starring: Chris O’Donnell, Bill Paxton, Robin Tunney, Scott Glenn, Temuera Morrison, Ben Mendelsohn, Alexander Siddig, Izabella Scorupco

 

Plot: A climber must rescue his sister on top of K2, one of the world’s biggest mountains.


Tagline – Hold Your Breath

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Edge of your Seat Thriller

 

Story: Vertical Limit starts with the personal climb tragedy that Peter (O’Donnell) and Annie (Tunney) go through, the siblings go their separate ways, three years later work brings them back together on K2, as Annie is part of billionaire Elliot Vaughn’s (Paxton) team planning to climb to the top for an advertising opportunity.

When the weather turns, the crew on the mountain gets thrown into a cave in the middle of the mountain with no escape, Peter will now lead a team to rescue his sister in a race against time and the weather.

 

Thoughts on Vertical Limit

 

Characters – Peter is the brother of Annie, he had to make a difficult decision which led to his father’s death becoming distant from his sister in the process, now a wildlife photographer in extreme conditions which reunites them on K2, when she becomes trapped, Peter puts together a team to rescue her before it is too late. Annie is the sister and just as experienced climber ass Peter, she works on K2 for the billionaire that arranges tours, she has records on climbing the mountain too. She is on the team which gets trapped on the mountain, needing to remain in control while the rest look to survive. Montgomery Wick is the expert climber that has spent years searching for his lost wife on the mountain, he doesn’t work with others unless it is a rescue mission, he will get Peter to his location at the quickest pace. Elliot Vaughn is the billionaire that climbs for money, this expedition is planned as a marketing campaign for his new airline, he doesn’t care about lives as much as the other people on the mountain.

PerformancesChris O’Donnell in the leading role is good, he shows the knowledge while the innocent panic one would have while trying to save a loved one, Robin Tunney shows the strength needed for her part spending most of the film opposite Paxton who once again showed why he could become any role in a film. Scott Glenn gets the strongest scenes because of his outside persona created by his character, which does need a moment of emotional strength.

StoryThe story here follows sibling mountain climbers that have become distant after a tragedy, now one must rescue the other one on one of the most dangerous mountains in the world K2. This is a survivor story which shows how dangerous in the first-place mountain climbing is and just how much more dangerous rescue mission can be. Each character in the film has their own reason for being on the mountain which gives us a reason to follow and support each character through the mission, though this does end up feeling strange when we see what happens to most of the rescue team. For the most part this is a simple to follow story that does the directions most survival movies go without needing to make anything complicated, showing us the good and bad in people.

Action/AdventureThe action sequences in this film are fantastic, clearly the highlight of the film, we see the climbers hanging on for dear life, avalanches and explosion which the teams must survive, which plays into the adventure of climbing one of the most dangerous mountains in the world.

SettingsThe settings in the film only make this more breath-taking, the views from the mountain, mixed with the locations the people are trapped or climbing show us just how dangerous this is.

Special EffectsThe effects are weak though, we have one moment with a helicopter where you can almost make out that it is shaking like a rodeo machine.


Scene of the Movie –
Learning about the explosives in the sun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The forced foreshadowing from the opening sequence.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable survival movie which will grab to the edge of your seat from the moment things go wrong until the gripping conclusion.

 

Overall: Survival Film at its best.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – S – Scent of a Woman (1992)

Director: Martin Brest

Writer: Bo Goldman (Screenplay) Giovanni Arpino (Novel)

Starring: Al Pacino, Chris O’Donnell, James Rebhorn, Gabriele Anwar, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Benture, Bradley Whitford

 

Plot: A prep school student needing money agrees to “babysit” a blind man, but the job is not at all what he anticipated.


Tagline – Col. Frank Slade has a very special plan for the weekend. It involves travel, women, good food, fine wine, the tango, chauffeured limousines and a loaded forty-five. And he’s bringing Charlie along for the ride.

Runtime: 2 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Special Drama

 

Story: Scent of a Woman starts as prep school student Charlie Simms (O’Donnell) takes a weekend job caring for blind veteran Lt Col Frank Slade (Pacino), with Charlie’s future on the line at school after a prank by the rich kids on the headmaster, he wants the weekend to help him focus.

Frank has other ideas, he wants to go to New York for one last weekend of living the highlife before killing himself, he needs Charlie to be his guide on this journey. This weekend will change Charlie’s life as he gets the guidance he needs to help him through his difficult time.

 

Thoughts on Scent of a Woman

 

Characters – Lt, Col, Frank Slade is a short tempered blind veteran, he loves a drink and can identify a woman’s fragrance with the slightest smell in the air. He knows the people in his life don’t care about him much anymore, but Charlie gives him the guide he needs for this one last adventure. Charlie Simms comes from a poor family of hard workers, he earnt his place in the school with a scholarship, this is now at risk if he covers for the rich kids, but his Thanksgiving job of looking after Frank gives him a life lesson he could never learn in a classroom. The rest of the characters we meet are people that Frank wants to see once more, Charlie’s classmates and the women that Frank believes he can impress.

PerformancesAl Pacino won his Oscar with this performance, he commits and convinces throughout this film, showing he can break out from the cop or gangster roles you could see him being known for. Chris O’Donnell is great here too showing he was one of the main young actors waiting to come in the early 90s. the rest of the performances are great through the film showing us that the host of talent knew how to make an impact in a small amount of screen time.

StoryThe story follows a school student that must look after a blind veteran who wants to commit suicide after one last weekend. This story gives Charlie life lessons that he needs as he approaches a dog eat dog world, but also shows Frank that not everyone has given up hope on him and the service he gave to his country. This shows us how one weekend can change lives, an adventure that is unlike anything Charlie could have imagined.

SettingsThe film takes our characters from a smaller town to the big apple, this as I say a lot if always a wonderful location for learning about life in a way you could never imagine.


Scene of the Movie –
Ferrari

That Moment That Annoyed Me Charlie doesn’t seem to have any real friends at school and you feel this should have been addressed.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful drama that deserved the praise it got, it has brilliant chemistry between the two leads as you understand both their problems in life. This is one of Pacino’s best performances and a must watch for any of his fans.

 

Overall: Must watch drama.

Rating

 

 

Max Payne (2008)

logoDirector: John Moore

Writer: Beau Thorne (Screenplay) Sam Lake (Video Game Characters)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Beau Bridges, Ludacris, Chris O’Donnell, Donal Logue, Amaury Nolasco, Kate burton, Olga Kurylenko

 

Plot: Three years ago, NYPD detective Max Payne (Wahlberg) wife and baby were murdered. Max gets himself transferred to the cold case office where he can continue searching for the killer who got away. He’s a loner, but two people reach out to him during a fateful week. Alex (Logue) his ex-partner who may have found a clue and BB (Bridges), the security chief at the pharmaceutical company where Max’s wife worked. Meanwhile bodies are piling up, some as a result of a drug on the street that is highly addictive and for many who take it brings hideous hallucinations. When one of the bodies is a woman Payne was the last to see alive her sister Mona (Kunis) comes looking for him armed to the teeth. Max must move fast.

 

Verdict: Video Game Action success?

Story: Having never played the games or even knowing anything about the games I could really see this fresh as an action fan. I was expecting some form of supernatural side to the story but I was wrong. It is just a revenge thriller that has lots of action and very little dialogue. Most of the support characters have very little development and are each only used to pass on a small part of the story. In the end as a standalone action film it is switch the mind of acceptable. (6/10)

 

Actor Review: Mark Wahlberg – Max Payne the determined cop who wants to truth who ends up getting caught up in something bigger than he could have ever imagined. Solid from Mark but the fans of the games will dislike what he does to the character. (7/10)

 max

Actor Review: Mila Kunis – Mona from the more underworld side of the city she ends up teaming up with Max to take down the people responsible for the death of their loved ones. I think this was a bit too early in her career, she looks a little bit out of place, and maybe she could return for a sequel and use what she has learned. (4/10)

mila

Actor Review: Beau Bridges – BB Hensley friend of Max who was also good friends with his wife, he tries to help but ultimately is the guy responsible for everything that has driven Max. Good but nothing special performance. (6/10)

 

Actor Review: Ludacris – Jim the internal affairs officer trying to figure out what the corruption in the Police could change how they look at crimes being committed in the town. Another guy who was in a role that is hard to believe too early in his acting career, he tries but it just doesn’t quite some off for him. (5/10)

 ludicrus

Actor Review: Chris O’Donnell – Jason a former work colleague of Max’s wife, knows more than he is letting on. Good supporting role that is good use for information only. (5/10)

 

Actor Review: Donal Logue – Alex ex-partner who tries to reconnect after discovering a new clue about Max’s wife’s murder. Only a small role but the look of a desperate friend works well. (6/10)

 

Actor Review: Amaury Nolasco – Jack a man that spends a lot of time watching what is going on with Max and Mona, but he does have a motive, but we never know what he final motive is. Good supporting role used well to create a target for Max. (6/10)

amruay

Director Review: John Moore – Simple direction used to create plenty of over the top action for the more casual fan to enjoy. (6/10)

 

Action: Plenty of gun fights throughout, I really don’t know how many bullets they must have used. (9/10)

Crime: Simple crime aspects used nothing truly original though. (6/10)

Thriller: Tries to pull of some thrills but doesn’t really succeed. (6/10)

Special Effects: Good special effects for the hallucination scenes and gun battles. (9/10)

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: Dark settings used to create a very dark world similar to the story they are in. (8/10)

 

Suggestion: This is really one to try I can’t say it is very original and like most video game films isn’t the most popular compared to the games. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Gun rights.

Worst Part: poor support character development.

Action Scene Of The Film: The office gun battle

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: Do to the poor box office it would be a no.

 

Overall: Video Game Action, You Know What You Are Getting

Rating 56

The Chamber (1996)

logoDirector: James Foley

Writer: William Goldman, Chris Reese (Screenplay) John Grisham (Novel)

Starring: Chris O’Donnell, Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway, Robert Prosky, Raymond Berry, Bo Jackson, Lela Rochon, David Marshall Grant

 

Plot: Having survived the hatred and bigotry that was his Klansman grandfather’s only legacy, young attorney Adam Hall (O’Donnell) seeks at the last minute to appeak the old man’s death sentence for the murder of two small Jewish boys 30 years before. Only four weeks before Sam Cayhall (Hackman) is to be executed, Adam meets his grandfather for the first time in the Mississippi prison which has held him since the crime. The meeting is predictably tense when the educated, young Mr. Hall confronts his venom-spewing elder, Mr Cayhall about the murders. The next day, headlines run proclaiming Adam the grandson who has come to the state to save his grandfather, the infamous Ku Klux Klan bomber. While the old man’s life lies in the balance, Adam’s motivation in fighting this battle becomes clear as the story unfolds. Not only does he fight for his grandfather, but perhaps for himself as well. He has come to heal the wound of his own father’s suicide, to mitigate the secret shame he has always help for the genetic fluke which made this man his grandfather and to bring closure, one way or another, to the suffering the old man seems to have brought to everyone he has ever known. But would mercy soften his grandfather’s heart?

 

Verdict: Race against time

 

Story:  A campaign to prove the innocence of a man on death row but not just any man a family member. Watching the youngest member of the family doing everything in his power to restore his family’s name. Like John Grisham’s books we get a very determined young lawyer who wants to win a case deemed too difficult. Watching everything unfold we get to see the corruption behind capital punishment and how it is handled, we also get to see that people will change if they have been bought up to learn the wrong ways. (8/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Chris O’Donnell: Adam Hall the young lawyer trying to prove his grandfather is not responsible for the deaths of two young children, he has to prove everyone wrong about his abilities and go into investigator mode. Good from Chris showing that in the 90s he was a great choice for a lead in a film. (9/10)

 chris

Gene Hackman: Sam the racist grandfather who was involved in a murder but was taking the blame for it, he was bought up to be part of the Ku Klux Klan. Good from Hackman showing he can play a full range of characters. (8/10)

gene

Faye Dunaway: Lee Cayhall, Sam’s daughter who wants nothing to do with him after what he had done, but always lives in horror of what she saw him do as a child. Good supporting role not giving too much during each scene. (7/10)

 

Director Review: James Foley – Good direction to create a thriller which will keep your attention from start to finish. (8/10)

 

Thriller: Good thriller that keeps your attention from start to finish. (9/10)

Settings: The jail makes a good setting showing the cage Sam has left himself in but most of the other scenes are not affected by the setting. (7/10)

Suggestion: This is one for the thriller fans out there, Grisham fans will enjoy, but don’t expect any action. (Thriller Fans)

 

Best Part: Sam and Adam final moments.

Worst Part: The real answer is only suggested.

Believability: People will protect the groups they are in. (3/10)

Chances of Tears: (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $22,540,359

Budget: $50 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

Tagline: Time is running out.

Trivia:This is John Grisham’s lest favourite film adaptation.

 

Overall: Strong Thriller

Rating 77