ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – I – In Bruges (2008)

Director: Martin McDonagh

Writer: Martin McDonagh (Screenplay)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ciaran Hinds, Zelijko Ivanek, Clemence Poesy

 

Plot: Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hitman Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be.


Tagline – Shoot first. Sightsee later.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Comedy

 

Story: In Bruges starts when Ray (Farrell) and Ken (Gleeson) must leave London after a job goes wrong, they must head to Bruges where they must wait for instructions from their boss. Ray hates being in Bruges he sees it has a boring horrible place, while Ken is loving the idea of being a tourist.

When Harry (Fiennes) gives Ken the next job, which is to eliminate Ray for his error, while Ray gets involved with low level criminal Chloe (Poesy). Ken must give Ray the best send off before the difficult moment of his life happens.

 

Thoughts on In Bruges

 

Characters – Ray is a hitman that has made an error on the latest job when a stray bullet kills a little boy, he is filled with guilt for the death, he hates being in Bruges and always gets himself into trouble while trying to keep a low profile. We can see by his actions just how guilty he is feeling about what happened too. Ken is the partner to Ray, mentor if you like, he bought him into the world and is the connection to the boss, he loves the sightseeing in Bruges, he is put in the difficult position of needing to eliminate his partner and doesn’t want to go through with it. Harry is the boss that just wants loose ends cleaned up, seeing that Ray made a mistake, he ends up needing to get his hands dirty if he wants to get rid of the problems. Chloe is a dealer working around a movie set, she wins Ray’s heart giving him the only beacon of light in his life.

PerformancesColin Farrell shows us here just how good he can be in a mix of comedy and unsettling behaviour that he finds himself needing to put his character through. Brendan Gleeson is wonderful to watch too, while Ralph Fiennes proves once again that he can become a full-blown psychotic character with ease. The rest of the cast do add to the comedy we go through during the film.

StoryThe story follows two hitmen in hiding after a job goes wrong while their boss decides what to do next, which is kill Ray for his mistake. We get to see how mixed the two are about being in Bruges with one loving and other hating it which plays into the tourist vibes we are meant to feel with the trip. We get religious elements in this film too which play into just where the two will go once their lives are over and what punishment they should face if they are caught or killed. This is a clever story because it shows us just how each character plays an important part to the final outcome of the film too.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy in the film comes from the reactions of just being in Bruges, they we add in the reaction to seeing a dwarf not wanting to offend him and ends up making things worse. The crime side of the film shows us just the world the three main characters are from being hitmen.

SettingsThe film is set in Bruges which is a beautiful city, the setting shows us just how they can play into the comedy in the film because of the men’s reactions to the location.


Scene of the Movie –
The chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Canadian side of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun dark comedy that isn’t afraid to hold back on just where the jokes will come from.

 

Overall: Deliciously Dark Comedy.

Rating

 

 

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

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Daredevil (2003)

Director: Mark Steven Johnson

Writer: Mark Steven Johnson (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jon Favreau, Scott Terra, Ellen Pompeo

 

Plot: A man blinded by toxic waste which also enhanced his remaining senses fights crime as an acrobatic martial arts superhero.


Tagline – A man without hope, is a man without… fear.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Origin Film

 

Story: Daredevil starts when young Matt Murdock becomes blind through a freak accident only to see his other sense bring him new life and after his father’s death, he dedicates his life to help fight for the ones who need it. Now an adult Matt (Affleck) he has become a lawyer to help people the mob victimise, if he doesn’t get justice in a courtroom, he puts on the mask to become Daredevil and eliminates the threat.

The Kingpin (Duncan) runs the town and he keeps everyone working for him under control, tired of Daredevil causing problems, he hires Bullseye (Farrell). With a new love interest in warrior Elektra (Garner) the daughter of a billionaire, the sides all come together to give Matt his toughest battle yet.

 

Thoughts on Daredevil

 

Characters – Matt Murdock was blinded as a child and saw his father killed by the mob. He dedicates his life to stopping the mob in a courtroom and if that fails, he will take justice into his own hands. A trained warrior who uses sound to visualise his enemies believing that revenge in the best way to solve the problems. Elektra is the daughter of a billionaire who grabs Matt’s attention, she is trained to protect herself and after her father is killed, she sets out on her own mission for revenge. Bullseye is an assassin for hire, he never misses, well that is his skill, he can turn anything into a weapon and enjoys the competition. The Kingpin is the man that runs the neighbourhood’s crime ring, he will kill anyone that gets in his way and doesn’t care who he kills.

PerformancesBen Affleck in the leading role is good for what he needs to do, there might be a few questions over the blind scenes, but for the fights he can handle himself well. Jennifer Garner has the look and experience in the combat roles, she doesn’t have much to do outside of this though. Michael Clarke Duncan in a villainous role where he is bigger than his opponent is an easy and good choice, while Colin Farrell seems to love playing this role.

StoryThe story shows us how Daredevil rose up to take on the biggest crime boss in the city of New York, he does have to question where he lays in the battle, will he cross the lines the villains do and get revenge for his father’s death. this might seem like a pretty safe origin story which is all we want at times. We do keep most of the story around human enhancements over superpowers which is good to see to because at times we are facing anything from Gods to aliens. The way this story is told does make it feel like an adult Spider-man though.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is entertaining, we have a couple of close combat sequences bringing in an Eastern fight style to the Western heroes mentality which was different at the time compared to what the other comic book films were giving us.

SettingsThe film is set in New York city which is always known for the high crime levels which would make a vigilante believable.

Special EffectsThe effects are interesting because we get the idea of how Matt can see being the main use of effects which does feel unique in style and does add that little something to the fights.


Scene of the Movie –
I never miss.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The blind scenes don’t look natural.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that gets a lot more stick that it deserves if we are being honest, it is a simple to watch comic book movie that gets what it needs to right and doesn’t go wildly over the top.

 

Overall: Entertaining and watchable comic book movie.

Rating

 

 

Widows (2018)

Director: Steve McQueen

Writer: Gillian Flynn, Steve McQueen (Screenplay) Lynda La Plante (Based on Widows)

Starring: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Jacki Weaver, Carrie Coon, Robert Duvall, Liam Neeson

 

Plot: Set in contemporary Chicago, amidst a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.


Tagline – Left with nothing. Capable of anything.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thriller of the Year

 

Story: Widows starts when Harry Rawlings (Neeson) and his crew are killed on their latest heist, their widows, Veronica (Davis), Linda (Rodriguez), Alice (Debicki) and Amanda (Coon) are left to grieve alone, seeing the consequences of their husband’s actions. Veronica is confronted by political campaigner Jamal Manning (Henry) who is trying to challenge the Mulligan reign in their neighbourhood, with Jack (Farrell) following in his father’s Tom (Duvall) footsteps.

Jamal wants his money back which is forcing Veronica to bring the fellow widows together to complete a job which will solve all their financial problems. Can they complete this heist which will give them a life after their husbands?

 

Thoughts on Widows

 

Characters – Veronica is the wife of Harry, she has been in the teaching union for her life even though she knew of Harry activities. After his dies in the latest job she is broken trying to keep herself together until she is forced into the world her husband was on top of. She is tough and lacks the humour the fellow widows show to deal with her grief. She does have to keep the group together and does love her little Westie. Linda has been running her own company which after her husband’s death she loses because of his problems leaving her and her kids with money problems. She is welcomed to Veronica’s team even if she doesn’t bring as much as the rest. Alice has been living off her husband’s heist money even after dealing with abuse from him, she must learn to make her own money which she can be pushed in the wrong direction for, she does join Veronica’s team which will bring her out of her shell and she fast becomes the one on the biggest learning curve. Belle completes the team and though she isn’t a widow, she knows how hard you need to work for money and she will take her chance with the team. Jack Mulligan is the new political candidate following in his father’s footsteps, he knows how to get a deal done and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty along the way. Tom is the politician stepping down because of his health, his old way thinking has been holding back the district from remaining in his family name. Jamal Manning is the crime lord who has decide to run for office which would be is way to stay on the right side of the law, he still will get his hands dirty when he needs to and lets his brother do most of the dirty work. Jatemme is the brother of Jamal, he is a loose cannon, he will push whatever limits available to get what he wants full crazy mode for the most part. This is the eight main characters that you will understand each decision they will make.

PerformancesWhen he dive into the performances Viola Davis shines in the leading role, she must deals with emotional moments that others simply will never understand why. Michelle Rodriquez gives her best performance of her career here that is simply brilliant and Elizabeth Debicki gives one of the best supporting performances of the year. Colin Farrell continues to show he is one of the best actors out there and demands the screen either against Robert Duvall. Daniel Kaluuya does a fantastic job because each scene he is almost uncomfortable to watch because of his actions. Brian Tyree Henry is wonderful too, it is easily one of the best acted movies you will ever see.

StoryThe story follows an unlikely crew of robbers who are following in their husband’s footsteps in the crime world to give themselves finical security from the other people in the world their husband’s worked in. Each of the widows must face the reality of being alone and learn how to adapt which is important to see and with a shocking reveal you simply won’t see coming makes this enjoyable to watch. This is a story that doesn’t have a wasted frame, it will keep you on edge from start to finish while addressing how political can play the people to get what they want. This is a story that will keep you wanting more and deals with the real problems people will be facing in the world.

CrimeThe crime world we enter shows us just how out of place the widows are to start with and we see how they must learn quickly.

SettingsThe film is set in Chicago which shows us just how easily crime can take place with so much going on in the city, we see the divide between the higher class and lower class.


Scene of the Movie –
Performances fantastic.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Viola Davis doesn’t know how to walk a dog.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best movies of the year, it will keep you on edge throughout the whole film. It is easily a must watch and the performances are simply fantastic.

 

Overall: Must watch movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – W – A Winter’s Tale (2014)

Director: Akiva Goldsman

Writer: Akiva Goldsman (Screenplay) Mark Helprin (Novel)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe, William Hurt, Jennifer Connelly

 

Plot: A burglar falls for an heiress as she dies in his arms. When he learns that he has the gift of reincarnation, he sets out to save her.


Tagline – This is not a true story. This is true love.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Fantasy Romance

 

Story: A New York Winter’s Tale starts as we meet Peter Lake (Farrell) left an orphan in New York City to become one of the most notorious thieves in the city, working for Pearly (Crowe) their business agreement goes south and now he is after Peter, who is saved by a mysterious magical horse.

Needing to get out of town, the horse guides him to the sick Beverly Penn (Findlay) who changes his views on life, until he learns of his own powers that shine through in this world where fairy-tales are only on the surface.

 

Thoughts on A New York Winter’s Tale

 

Characters – Peter Lake is nothing more than a thief working in New York City, when he goes against the plans of his boss he becomes a wanted man on the run with only a mythical horse to guide him, this shows him the light and the power his possesses as he walks the world as an empty sole. Beverly Penn is an heiress that is going to be dying within the next year or so, she opens Peter’s heart to be the one thing he never thought he could steal, it is her that shows him where his life might go. Pearly is the man trying to stop any miracles happening in the world, part demon he controls the ability to have miracles happening with his gangster like persona.

PerformancesColin Farrell is good in this leading role, at it shows he can handle a role that isn’t in the stranger roles like he has headed towards in recent years. Jessica Brown Findlay is the least known of the big roles in this film and she is great opposite Farrell. Russell Crowe does make for great villain which is what we always like to see. We do have a great supporting cast performing that do work for the main roles.

StoryThe story gives us a blend of fairy tale ideas in a growing world, this is an interesting story of enteral love, meaning and placement on the Earth, which is something people can find themselves asking, their place in this world. This will give the romantic fans a happy story that will play on nearly every emotion and is one that does give you a feel good moment or two through the film.

Fantasy/Mystery/RomanceThe use of the fantasy in the growing world gives us hope that things could happen that surprise us, which is where the mystery comes from as we see where Peter ends up because of the love he once felt.

SettingsThe New York setting is used to show us that miracles could happen even in the biggest city in the world.

Special EffectsThe effects through the film are good without being overly used, even though certain moments do feel green screen heavy.


Scene of the Movie –
The miracle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While I think Russell Crowe is good in this film his accent seems to bounce around a lot.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good, feel good movies that will leave you with a smile, hope and enjoyment by the end of the film.

 

Overall: Fantasy feel good.

Rating