Kill the Irishman (2011)

Director: Jonathan Hensleigh

Writer: Jonathan Hensleigh, Jeremy Walters (Screenplay) Rick Porrello (Book)

Starring: Ray Stevenson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, Linda Cardellini, Tony Darrow, Robert Davi

 

Plot: The true story of Danny Greene, a tough Irish thug working for mobsters in Cleveland during the 1970’s.


Tagline – Based on the true story of Danny Greene the man the mob couldn’t kill

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Gangster Biopic

 

Story: Kill the Irishman starts in Cleveland 1975 where somebody tries to kill Irish thug Danny Greene (Stevenson) where detective Joe Manditski (Kilmer) fills in the past relationship between the two. We learn how Danny rose from smart worker to take over the union and begin ties with the Mafia John Nardi (D’Onofrio).

As Danny builds his reputation through Cleveland becoming somewhat of a Robin Hood figure, as he tries to leave the life behind even with his connections still strong, it soon becomes the challenge that no one could find a way to kill Danny.

 

Thoughts on Kill the Irishman

 

Characters – Danny Greene is a working man in Cleveland, he makes the connections within the Mafia he becomes one of their thugs before leaving the life to become a real businessman until he crosses them and becomes the target for a bounty on his head. John Nardi is the connection within the Mafia, that one that befriends Danny and offers the guidance he needs. Joe Manditski is the detective that is trying to keep everything in order and with his previous relationship with a younger Danny, he knows the character of Danny better than anyone. Shondor Birns is one up the next step up in the ladder of the Mafia that trusts Danny, only a business deal goes wrong and he puts the first hit out on Danny.

PerformancesRay Stevenson is great in this leading role, this is easily he best leading man performances of his career. Vincent D’Onofrio is good in the supporting role as are the whole supporting cast including Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken and a host of faces we are used to seeing in gangster movies.

StoryThe story here follows the rise through the Mafia of Irishman Danny Greene through Cleveland through the 1970s, his story become big news for the area and some people saw him as a hero, others a criminal. We see how the gangster world is unfolded when the lines between right and wrong are crossed and the self-destruction from within will be their biggest weakness. This does follow most of what we do know from the genre and being based on a real person shows how the world can be easy to become the latest victim off. The time jumps in the storytelling are annoying because we don’t truly get to see just how much success he is having in the film.

Biopic/CrimeThe crime world we enter is what we know, gangster who will kill anyone that crosses them. The biopic is everything we need to see as we learn about Danny Greene.

SettingsThe film keeps us in and around Cleveland with a 70s feeling throughout the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Danny knows what is happening.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Vinnie Jones’ Irish accent.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good look at one of the members of the gangster that’s story helped change thing how the Mafia too.

 

Overall: Good biopic on the Irishman.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Oliver Platt Weekend – One More Time (2015)

Director: Robert Edwards

Writer: Robert Edwards (Screenplay)

Starring: Christopher Walken, Amber Heard, Kelli Garner, Hamish Linklater, Ann Magnuson, Henry Kelemen, Oliver Platt

 

Plot: A New York City crooner plots his comeback.


Tagline – The hardest act to follow is your father’s.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Finding Yourself Movie

 

Story: One More Time starts as an aspiring young music Jude (Heard) returns home to her successful father Paul (Walken) one of the biggest musicians that has faded away. We go through the family dynamics as we learn what has caused problems between them before.

When Pau gets his chance to make his comeback he grabs it and as he is taking his chance he is trying to push his daughter Jude into letting the world see her talent, the talent he thinks the world would love.

 

Thoughts on One More Time

 

Characters – Paul Lombard was once the biggest name in music, he drew crowds from around the world, now his light has faded and he wants to re-create himself once again, the ability he has shown through the years, he is terrible when it comes to dealing with the women in his life and tries to push his talented daughter to follow in his footsteps. Jude is the daughter of Paul, she has the talent but isn’t willing to let the world see her talent, she doesn’t want to take the chance and be branded his daughter, she is lost in life never really knowing where to go next. Corinne is the daughter that has her head screwed on running a business starting a family the complete opposite to Jude. Alan is the long time manager of Paul that has always had his best interests at heart, close friends to the family and even trying to help Jude with her career.

PerformancesChristopher Walken would have jumped at this role with the music side letting him show us his talents, he is good through the film even showing both sides of his character. Amber Heard is good as the lost musician that is trying to find herself. Kelli Garner is strong too as we see the distant her character needs to have from the Paul and Jude relationship. Oliver Platt is good in his supporting role which is one we always like to see him in.

StoryThe story here follows two different musicians from different generations, the father who made his name and lost his fame and his daughter that is trying to figure out her place in the world. we get to go through the family dynamics about sounds they could both have and how they need to put personal problems behind them to make sure they can be the best they could be, but by the end of the film it doesn’t feel like anything was truly resolved with the problems with either Paul or Jude knowing their place in the music world now.

Comedy/MusicThe comedy in the film doesn’t seem to be very effective in anyway, it is here but it doesn’t seem to hit, the music is the strongest part of the film as here different sounds through the film.

SettingsThe settings are used well, but don’t help the film because Paul has the money to support Jude’s dream, it would have been more interesting if he had hit hard times too and they do need to work as well as playing the music.


Scene of the Movie –
Editing the Wikipedia page.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing overly original.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough finding yourself movie, it does help that the family has money behind them so the struggle never feels desperate in anyway, though the music works well.

 

Overall: Solid enough

Rating

 

 

Tim Burton Weekend – Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Director: Tim Burton

Writer: Kevin Yagher, Andrew Kevin Walker (Screenplay) Washington Irving (Story)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, Jeffrey Jones, Richard Griffiths, Michael Gough, Christopher Walken, Christopher Lee

 

Plot: Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the decapitations of 3 people with the culprit being the legendary apparition, the Headless Horseman.


Tagline – Who will it come for next?!

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Fantasy Horror

 

Story: Sleepy Hollow starts in 1799 when forward thinking constable Ichabod Crane (Depp) is set from New York City to the small farming community of Sleepy Hollow, where a series of murders have been happening by a headless horseman, who takes the heads of his victims.

Requested by Baltus Van Tassel (Gambon), Ichabod gets to use his forward-thinking ideas to investigate the crimes and learn about the town’s people with their strong male hierocracy that controls business, until he teams up with Baltus daughter Katrina (Ricci) to unlock the truth about the legend of the headless horseman.

 

Thoughts on Sleepy Hollow

 

Characters – Ichabod Crane is a constable who wants to start using the science to solve crimes instead of the torture techniques being adopted for the time. He becomes the fish out of water in the farming community trying to solve a crime that is surrounded by supernatural, he must use his skills to solve who is behind the supernatural events, using his quirky ways. Katrina is the daughter of the Van Tassel’s who is looking for husband, she takes a liking towards Ichabod and helps learn the truth. Hessian Horseman is the legend that slaughtered many before being defeated and beheaded, now he has risen from the dead to take the heads of the community. Lady Van Tassel is the wife of Baltus, she has a secret from him and for the most part enjoys the new life she is living. Baltus is the man that called for Ichabod to help solve the murders, he is one of the few that will stand up for Ichabod to get the truth. We do get plenty of different town’s people to meet that fill the gaps to help us understand the hierarchy of the community.

PerformancesJohnny Depp was truly making his name at time of this release and we knew he was capable of the quirky, this shows him balance the act perfectly in one of his more underrated roles. Christina Ricci is good, though she doesn’t seem to need to do more than be the damsel in distress. Miranda Richardson does a good job n her role showing her experience of how to handle the period piece films. Christopher Walken does give us a delightful dark character though I do know he doesn’t do a lot of the headless scenes in the film. if you look at the rest of the cast we have some of the great British actors mixed with Casper Van Dien who at the time was hot property after Starship Troopers.

StoryThe story is based on the legend of the headless horseman, which in its own right is an interesting fantasy horror. We keep to the time where science was first trying to get pushed in the crime world and still looked down upon, we also get the idea that science is meant to solve crime until the supernatural is thrown into the mix throwing everything out the window. The story does give us a serial killer to try and see stopped which can keep the detectives in the audience happy and the pace things unfold give us enough time for the twists to have effect in the story.

Fantasy/Horror/MysteryThe fantasy side of the film comes from the horseman coming back from the dead to take the heads of the community. This does play into the horror elements of the film too because we see how the community become scared of whether they will be next, this does also give us the blood and the creepy atmosphere before his arrival. The mystery gives us the questions about who is behind the horseman and his return, this does give us twists along the way too.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to the best levels as we get to see the excellent built sets to make us feel like we are in 1799 farming community.

Special EffectsThe effects use mostly excellent practical effects with the lost heads, the CGI moments do work well too when used mostly with the re-creation of the horseman from the skeleton to human again.


Scene of the Movie –
Horseman vs Ichabod & Brom, excellent fight sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The science does get forgotten in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun fantasy horror that gives us an iconic killer with a crime to solve around why he has targeted the farming community.

 

Overall: Fun horror with Burton’s token quirks.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – W – Welcome to the Jungle (2003)

Director: Peter Berg

Writer: R.J. Stewart, James Vanderbilt (Screenplay)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Rosario Dawson, Christopher Walken, Ewen Bremner, Jon Gries

 

Plot: A tough aspiring chef is hired to bring home a mobster’s son from the Amazon but becomes involved in the fight against an oppressive town operator and the search for a legendary treasure.


Tagline – Bulls, guns, whips, gold and one sacred cat

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Blast!

 

Story: Welcome to the Jungle starts as we meet debt collecting enforcer Beck (Johnson) that is working to get buy his own restaurant. Getting pushed to his limits he gets offered one last job, he must travel to the Amazon to bring back his bosses son Travis (Scott) and his dream of chasing El Dorado.

In Brazil Beck finds Travis and believes this job is going to be easy until the owner of the land Hatcher (Walken) that wants the information Travis has in his head, which leads Travis and Beck needing to put their differences a side to make it out alive.

 

Thoughts on Welcome to the Jungle

 

Characters – Beck is a debt collector, he can find anyone and handles himself in a fight, being able to take on multiple enemies, he does want out of this world and dreams of having his own restaurant, he must do one final job which will put his outside his comfort zone and taking on an army forcing him to resort to guns, the weapon he doesn’t want to be using. Travis is the son of the boss that employees Beck, he has been treasure hunting in Brazil in the middle of a battle between ruler Hatcher and the rebels looking for freedom, he is wise cracking which has lead to him finding himself in trouble more often than not. Beck and Travis work well as they are different on many levels with their bickering offering the laughs, but they are both dreamers in their own way too. Mariana is the bar tender in the town, she keeps both sides in peace while watching as her town gets pushed around. Hatcher is the owner of the town, well he claims to be, he is working the residents into slavery searching for gold that he can make money, he will do anything to make his fortune.

PerformancesDwayne Johnson was still making his first few steps in movies with this role and you can see all the potential he had in the action genre, he shines like always in the fight sequences and while moments of his performance were still in need of work, you can see what he was working towards. Seann William Scott was fresh off the American Pie franchise and one of the hottest comical actors, this showed us that he knew the moments to go that little bit crazy and the moments to hold back, he does have great chemistry with Johnson too. Rosario Dawson is good in her role, but it does end up not being as strong of a character as it should have been while Christopher Walken enjoys his role as the villain, where he gets to break loose and have some fun.

StoryThe story here plays out like one we have seen before, an enforcer for a criminal wants to do one last job before leaving the business behind, only this time it will be the most dangerous one of his career. This is a by the book story it works and plays into the comedy needed between the lead two characters while also offering us the fish out of water routine for the organised professional. We have elements of a treasure hunt which are fun to watch too. It would be fair to say this story is an easy to follow film that gets the kicks it needs without being anything too complicated.

Action/Adventure/ComedyThe action plays into the hands of Dwayne Johnson’s talents, plenty of combat sequences and the use of weapons to increase the peril level, the adventure takes Beck out of his comfort zone to deal with the battle he is about to face. The comedy for the film comes from the bickering between Travis and Beck.

SettingsThe film takes place in Brazil for the most part, the Amazon to be more exact, this proves to be uncomfortable for Beck that is used to being in the cities, this adds comedy and unexpected moments to the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well, not needed often but the team creates good moments when needed.


Scene of the Movie –
Final showdown

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain parts are not subtitled, which is annoying.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good fun action blast that puts Dwayne Johnson in the position of action hero, a position he will carry for years to come, it had good laughs throughout and action sequences that are fun to watch.

 

Overall: Action movie fans will enjoy this one.

Rating

 

 

Christopher Walken Weekend – Last Man Standing (1996)

Director: Walter Hill

Writer: Walter Hill (Screenplay) Ryuzo Kikushima, Akira Kurosawa (Story)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Bruce Dern, William Sanderson, Christopher Walken, David Patrick Kelly, Karina Lombard

 

Plot: A drifting gunslinger-for-hire finds himself in the middle of an ongoing war between the Irish and Italian mafia in a Prohibition era ghost town.


Tagline – In a town with no justice, there is only one law… Every man for himself.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoy the Simple Film

 

Story: Last Man Standing starts as the lone gunslinger John Smith (Willis) rolls up in the small Texan town of Jericho, it two battle gangs the Irish and the Italian during the prohibition era, they are at peace for now but both sides are trying to get the upper hand, trying to recruit John to work for them.

As the battle between the mobs intensifies we are left to see what the motives of John are as he continues to keep one step ahead of the mobs even after the must deadlier player in the game Hickey (Walken) arrives in town.

 

Thoughts on Last Man Standing

 

Characters – John Smith is the unknown gunslinger that rolled into Jericho, he makes an instant impact by taking out a high ranking member of one of the mobs but his motives remain a mystery to us all. Sheriff Galt turns a blind eye while taking a little something on the side to keep quiet about anything going on. Joe Monday is the bar tender in the middle of the battle, he is simple-minded which keeps him in the neutral zone for the mobs. Hickey is the deadliest member of either mob, he has the shortest temper and is considered a myth with his stories of what he has done to people.

PerformancesBruce Willis is good in this role, we get to see part of what he went on to use again in Hartigan for Sin City but he isn’t all one liners like we have seen in the Die Hard films too. Bruce Dern gives us a reserved performance as the sheriff, while William Sanderson add the only moments of light humour in the film. Christopher Walken is the star of the show here as we see just how calculated his character is.

StoryThe story follows to waring gangs that have a mysterious man come into the middle of the war only to intensify the war as he seems to be in business for himself. This is an action story, so we are left a guessing upon just what the motives behind John are which entertains, while the gangs are painfully generic on how they are treated. If you like a battle between gangs with a lone man being the biggest problem in the peace breaking process this is one for you.

Action/CrimeThe action is plenty of shoot them up moments, we see bullets flying, bodies falling and punches thrown in the crime world we enter following the two rival gangs.

SettingsThe small town of Jericho gives the film isolated feeling it requires for the illegal activities going on, it gives the film a modern western feel too.


Scene of the Movie –
New in town.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You might feel let down for Smith’s motives in the end.

Final ThoughtsThis is a tidy action crime thriller, the shooting scenes are intense but otherwise this is easily one film you would have seen elements of before, it is fun though.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable action crime thriller.

Rating