The Hate U Give (2018)

Director: George Tillman Jr

Writer: Audrey Wells (Screenplay) Angie Thomas (Novel)

Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Anthony Mackie, Issa Rae, Common, Algee Smith, Sabrina Carpenter

 

Plot: Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right.


Tagline – Two worlds, one voice, no going back

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict The Biggest Eye Opener of the Year

 

Story: The Hate U Give starts as Starr (Stenberg) introduces us to everything in her life, her high school life away from the rough neighbourhood she is from, with her father Maverick (Hornsby) the former gangster and mother Lisa (Hall) who wants to get out of the neighbourhood too. She is the eldest of her siblings and has become a normal high student who is prepared for the worst.

Starr does find herself trapped between two worlds, the one where she grew up in and the one she is now growing up, this however changes for her forever, when a routine pull over by the police see her childhood friend Khalil (Smith) fatal shot. Starr in the aftermath must battle the social consequences of what happened with Starr being put in the middle of the investigation to what happened and putting her in the position to make her voice heard.

 

Thoughts on The Hate U Give

 

Characters – Starr is your normal high school student from so called wrong side of town, she lives in two worlds, one she grew up in with friends, the other is her escape with her high school giving her potential of a new life. When she becomes the only witness for her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer. Needing to keep her involvement secret she is dealing with the new wave of feelings and emotions that she must learn to control for the greater good. Everything we see is from her point of view which shows us just how a teenager can view what is going on within the neighbourhood. Lisa is Starr’s mother that wants to keep her daughter safe and out of the gangland mentality she sees around her family. Maverick is Starr’s father, he used to be part of the gangs and after his time behind bars, he escaped that life, being wise towards his family, preparing them for any incidents with the police. King is drug lord controlling the area, he has let Maverick out of his gang and this latest death brings his attention as his business will be put at risk.

PerformancesAmandla Stenberg in the leading role is fantastic, she is on another level to everyone else in the film as she must show her the problems she is facing and handles them all to help us understand her characters thought process. The whole cast are great in this film, Russell Hornsby gets the intense speech moments which grab our attention and for all the years we have questioned Common’s acting, here he shows that he has worked to improve himself and it is paying off.

StoryThe story here will give everyone who watches it a conversation they need to have, about how a death that never needed to happen. The story is told through the eyes of teenager Starr which helps us understand how she wants to see people seen as equals and how the divide between the black and white communities is massive. This story has so many talking points about what has been happening and it does use the correct characters to get points over with including a black police officer telling Starr the thought process of a police officer pulling over a car. Any story that give the audience questions to ask afterwards is an achievement in storytelling which should be praised, it is one that will stick with you long after it finishes.

CrimeThe movie starts with a major crime, the shooting of the high school student, it shows how the tension has risen with the crime that changed a neighbourhood.

SettingsThe film does an excellent job of showing the different neighbourhoods, the one Starr lives in and the one she attends school in, this reflects between the characters interactions.


Scene of the Movie –
The Hate We Give.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of a proper investigation.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most important films of the year, it has a message people need to learn about if they ever want to see change in the world.

 

Overall: Important eye opener.

Rating

 

 

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Hunter Killer (2018)

Director: Donovan Marsh

Writer: Arne Schmidt, Jamie Moss (Screenplay) George Wallace, Don Keith (Novel)

Starring: Gerald Butler, Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardellini, Zane Holtz, Toby Stephens, Michael Trucco, Ryan McPartlin

 

Plot: An untested American submarine captain teams with U.S. Navy Seals to rescue the Russian president, who has been kidnapped by a rogue general.


Tagline – Courage Runs Deep

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Subline

 

Story: Hunter Killer starts when two submarines are destroyed in Russian waters, one Russian, one American. Captain Joe Glass (Butler) is assigned the captain an American submarine for the first time to investigate what happened. RA John Fisk (Common) is running other operations including sending a marine team to a Russian Naval base.

When the American’s learn the truth that the Russian President is being held captive by the Minister of Defence and the race to stop world war III starting is on, with the mission putting the soldier against the odds.

 

Thoughts on Hunter Killer

 

Characters – Captain Joe Glass is the untested submarine captain who has worked every role on the submarine before and must win over the crew. He gets put on the mission to locate the missing US submarine which takes the crew into enemy water. He must make the difficult decision which needs to stay ahead of the Russian minds while going on a mission that doesn’t have any text books to go to. CJCS Charles Donnegan is the man that wants to get the answer quickest, he doesn’t care if the American’s must go to war to get them, he just wants the situation sorted, he plays into the worse case scenarios for the most part. RA John Fisk is running the operation in search for the missing submarine, he selects Glass, her picks the marines and he makes the difficult decisions from back home, challenge Charles all the way. Jayne comes from the NSA she is willing to share the secrets to get the answers required to make this go away, she is wanting a peaceful resolve of the situation.

PerformancesGerald Butler is strong in the leading role of this film, he has been questioned with his accents in the past, if there are any faults it is barely noticeable. Gary Oldman gets to do a lot of shouting and screaming which is anyone can do well, he is the man who can pull it off without going too over the top. Common does a good enough job in his role, he needs to keep the straight face which doesn’t let him get much wrong. Linda Cardellini is good too, showing us a strong-minded member of the government. We do have a good cast here, we have a lot of actors that you will recognise, and this is one of the final roles for Michael Nygvist.

StoryThe story here follows an US submarine that must go across Russian waters to investigate the missing submarines that were being tracked, the idea of the Russian president is being held by his own people who are looking to start the war, giving the American’s the mission of saving the president before the war begins. This is a tense story to watch because any wrong move could be cataclysmic consequences with the start of World War III. It does have a weakness because it does paint the American’s as the savoir of the world yet again. We do have a lot of different angles showing the story unfolding from the war room, submarine, outside the naval base and inside the base. They do all add up and add to the tension.

ActionThe action in the film comes from different submarines battles and the land mission which shows us military operations.

SettingsThe film keeps us the settings where we need them, either the war room, the submarine or the Russian base, we don’t need to see the other settings which shows us just how the events unfolded.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are a mixed bag, the action scenes are good, it becomes weak for certain moments where you can see the green screen moment.


Scene of the Movie –
The mine field.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There are one too many, ‘just in time’ moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a surprise package of the year, it is a thriller that does keep us on edge waiting to see where things will go and can the world be saved.

 

Overall: Surprise hit of the year.

Rating

 

 

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

john-wick-2Director: Chad Stahelski

Writer: Derek Kolstad (Screenplay)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Common, Claudia Gerini, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne

 

Plot: After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Sequel

 

Story: John Wick Chapter 2 starts as we see John Wick (Reeves) continuing he revenge mission against Abram (Stormare) the brother of Viggo from the first film, Abram only has his car but Wick the ruthless hitman cleans out his operation in the style on John Wick can do. This opening sequences fills in blanks if you missed the first one and show just how deadly John can be.

Continuing the story John wants to put this life behind him for good now and enjoy the retirement once more. Just when John thinks he is out, Santino (Scamarcio) visits him requesting him to do a job for him now John refuses the marker for the job, leading to Santino to push John back out of retirement as a hitman is never allowed to reject a marker. John must travel to Italy to eliminate Santino’s own sister because only the ghost like abilities of John Wick can get the job done.

When John gets this job done he finds himself betrayed and now Santino has placed a bounty on his head with all of the best hitmen coming to kill John Wick.

 

Thoughts on John Wick Chapter 2

 

Characters/PerformanceJohn Wick is the character that took the world by storm first time around and now he is just as emotionally broken and deadly with a weapon as ever. Santino is a similar villain to the first one, but this time Santino did know what he was getting into which was good. Ares is a very interesting hitwoman that I think we would have liked to have seen a lot more from. Winston does return in a similar vein as last time too.

Performance wise this is what Keanu was born to be as he shines once again as this ruthless, emotionless killer. Ricardo does a good job in the villainous role and doesn’t play the character over the top like he o could have. Ruby Rose once again this year I playing a bad ass character and is worryingly becoming the new Michelle Rodriguez because of this. Everyone else fits the film perfectly.stars

StoryThe story does continue from the first one with the idea now John has resurfaced he can be hired once more. The story works well because John just wants out of this life but he just keeps getting dragged deeper into the world he is trying to escape. Being a sequel a lot of people could worry the story will be flat, but this time we go bigger learning more about the overall world of the hitmen living among us.

Action/Crime/ThrillerThe action does feel similar but you can’t really take the style of John in another direction without taking away from the character, he just isn’t going to be jumping from helicopters or planes in action sequences, he is going to shoot people in the head. We are kept wondering how big this crime world is and that plays into the crime and thriller side of this film.

SettingsWe have some action in Rome the rest in New York and of course we do like to see the iconic locations being used to the most which I feel they do because the look of the hotels the hitmen can stay in always make for an interesting setting in these big cities.

Special EffectsThe special effects are mainly used to show the effects of the gunshots which all look brutally real.genre

Final ThoughtsSequels can go either way in action with Taken is went bad, with John Wick it went well, great watch for all.

 

Overall: Great sequel you can truly just enjoy if you are an action film fan.

Ratingrating

 

 

Suicide Squad (2016)

squadDirector: David Ayer

Writer: David Ayer (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Common, Ezra Miller, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Cara Delevingne, Joel Kinnaman, Scott Eastwood

 

Plot: A secret government agency recruits a group of imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency, which inevitably leads to chaos.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Complicated

 

Story: Suicide Squad starts as we see Amanda Waller (Davis) putting together her elite squad of criminals with Deadshot (Smith) The Joker (Leto)’ girlfriend Harley Quinn (Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Courtney), Diablo (Hernandez), Killer Croc (Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Enchantress (Delevingne). After being green lighted the squad is ready to get to work.

With this team put together it is the Joker himself that starts to search down his love while the team sets out to try and clean the streets for Amanda Waller and stop a brand new evil from taking over the world.

Suicide Squad ends up being a film which just adds the comic book characters to the world of dysfunctional bad guys needing to do the good job. This adds comic book characters that only the diehard fans would know because even after playing the first Arkham game we only meet Killer Croc that is involved in this film. The evil is basic and levels with RIPD and the almost non-existence of the Joker sucks most of the excitement out of this film because Deadshot is such a generic anti-hero character. Harley Quinn is quirky but not as bonkers as we need her to be and most of all this just ends ups feeling like a piss poor attempt at The Raid with comic book names.

 

Overall: This film lacks the violence required it lacks the humour required and now I find myself wondering what is next for the DC Universe because this is yet another bland addition to the universe.

Rating45

 

 

Run All Night (2015)

logoDirector: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: Brad Ingelsby (Screenplay)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman, Boyd Holbrook, Bruce McGill, Genesis Rodriguez, Vincent D’Onofrio, Lois Smith, Common

Plot: Mobster and hit man Jimmy Conlon has one night to figure out where his loyalties lie: with his estranged son, Mike, whose life is in danger, or his longtime best friend, mob boss Shawn Maguire, who wants Mike to pay for the death of his own son.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Non-Stop Action

Story: Run All Night starts Jimmy Conlon (Neeson) letting us know he was a bad man, he did bad things, but now he is just a drunk trying to keep everything together having to turn to his old bosses son Danny (Holbrook) for money. Mike Conlon (Kinnaman) is a boxer who is trying to teach a young student how to use his skills as well as trying to balance his own family life with his wife Gabriela (Rodriguez) and his kids. Shawn Maguire (Harris) runs the town but his son Danny wants to build his own legacy with a deal that goes bad. We see that Shawn and Jimmy have a relationship filled with respect from the years working together.

Jimmy is known for his body count that he has built up working for Shawn where Detective Harding (D’Onofrio) has spent his career trying to catch him. Mike works as a limo driver but his latest client just so happens to be involved with dealing with Danny’s deal. When Mike witnesses the Danny murder his client he ends up having to run for his life putting Jimmy & Shawn’s relationship when Jimmy kills Danny when he tries to kill Mike, what follows is Shawn calling in all his favours to get revenge and Jimmy and Mike having to run all night to survive.

Run All Night is easily one of the best action films this year, it keep the story very simple and does follow the same story ideas Road to Predation. The idea that the hit-man has to go up against his boss to look after his own son who witnesses a murder, getting a lone other hit-man to go after them, the comparisons continue too. I think the film taking time to build the characters in the first 20-30 minutes helps because it lets all the action do the talking in the final 3 thirds of the film. When you look at certain other films that Neeson has been making in the action genre this works out to be one of his best. (8/10)

Actor Review

Liam Neeson: Jimmy Conlon is the washed up former hit-man for the mob, he is distant from his son Mike but still has the respect of his former employer Shawn. When he hears about his son being involved with his former bosses son he ends up killing the young man Danny defending his own son leading to all strings being severed and him having to defend his son for one night against everything Shawn has to throw at him. Liam gives us one f his best action performances too date. (8/10)jimmy

Ed Harris: Shawn Maguire is the mod boss who runs the city, he is dealing with his son Danny’s problems when his last remaining friend becomes his enemy after killing Danny. Ed makes for a good villain every time but this time I do feel he gives us a generic mob boss character. (7/10)friendship

Joel Kinnaman: Mike Conlon is the son of Jimmy who has pushed him out his life to start his own clean life with his own family where he makes a clean living away from the criminal world. He life gets turned upside down when he witnesses Danny kill one of his clients leading to him having to run all night with his estranged father being the only one that can keep him alive. Joel continues to try and make a name for himself and he does a good job in this role. (7/10)mike

Boyd Holbrook: Danny Maguire is the son of mob boss Shawn, he keeps trying to prove himself to his father which leads to him getting involved with the wrong people. He ends up getting killed leading to the catalyst of all the events. Boyd does a good job in this role playing the hot headed young man well. (7/10)danny

Vincent D’Onofrio: Detective Harding is the one man who has been chasing down Jimmy his whole life but when the events of this night happen he becomes the only person Jimmy can trust. Vincent does a good job in the support role that seems to be one of the only other good characters in the film. (7/10)harding

Support Cast: Run All Night has a supporting cast that includes the henchman that Jimmy leaves laying as well as Common as the hit-man.

Director Review: Jaume Collet-SerraJaume does a good job giving us a great mix of action and early character development. (8/10)

Action: Run All Night has car chases, foot races (Yes Neeson Does Run), hand to hand fights and gun battles giving us everything you need in an action film. (9/10)

Crime: Run All Night puts us in the criminal underworld with one innocent family stuck in the middle. (8/10)

Thriller: Run All Night keeps you on the edge of your seat as soon as the action starts. (8/10)

Settings: Run All Night keeps all the action in locations that don’t have stand out locations making it all about the action rather than settings. (5/10)

Suggestion: Run All Night is one for all the action fans to action fans to sit and enjoy. (Action Fans Enjoy)

Best Part: Jimmy and Shawn sit down to talk, very tense scene.

Worst Part: Too similar to Road to Predation.

Action Scene Of The Film: Car Chase.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Road to Predation

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $50 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

Tagline: One night to settle the score.

Overall: Easily one of the best action films of the year

Rating Scorecard scorecard