Cold Comes the Night (2013) Movie Review

Director: Tze Chun

Writer: Tze Chun, Oz Perkins, Nick Simon (Screenplay)

Starring: Alice Eve, Logan Marshall-Green, Bryan Cranston, Ursula Parker, Sarah Sokolovic, Robin Lord Taylor

Plot: A struggling motel owner and her daughter are taken hostage by a nearly blind career criminal to be his eyes as he attempts to retrieve his cash package from a crooked cop.

Tagline – Sometimes the fight of your life comes in the dead of night.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow Moving Crime Story

Story: Cold Comes the Night starts as we see struggling to make ends meet motel owner Chloe (Eve) who has been trying to raise her daughter against the states wishes in this location, her motel attracts the usual lowlifes that include drug dealers and prostitutes. When a mysterious criminal Topo (Cranston) is passing through, an incident happens inside the motel.

Topo sees his driver killed, now he wants his car back and is using Chloe to get the information about his car, which will see him hold her hostage waiting for her connection Billy (Marshall-Green) to get the car back, using this as her chance to get out of the troubles she has been facing.

Thoughts on Cold Comes the Night

Characters – Chloe is the motel owner that has been doing everything he can to make guest welcome and keep her daughter with a roof over her head, this doesn’t always happen with certain guests making her life difficult, social service worker wants take her daughter away and after a double murder on the premises, she gets forced into helping a criminal get their money back, hoping it would help get her out of problems she is facing. Topo is the mule that is just passing through town, he stays in the motel only to see his package go missing, needing to use Chloe to get it for him, he is a perfect shot despite being nearly blind, he was once the best man for the job too before stepping away before this latest job. Billy is a local cop that has been watching over and using the motel for his own benefits, he takes the money making him one the pair are trying to track down, but his greed is what will force him to make the worst decisions. Sophia is the daughter that does see her mum protect her from the world as much as she can.

PerformancesAlice Eve and Logan Marshall-Green are both strong enough in their roles through the film, they don’t get reach the full levels of other performers. Bryan Cranston is the true star of the show here, making his character as calmly calculated as you would imagine.

StoryThe story here follows a woman that has been struggling to make ends meet, who runs a motel and finds herself in the middle of a criminal incident that could help her escape this life she has for her daughter. This is a story that does keep everything the simple with how it unfolds, which doesn’t take too long to get going, while it does just follow the routine you would expect. It does pose the question of why somebody who does keep a roof over their daughters head, with food on the table would be getting investigated by the social services.

Crime The crime side of film starts with a murder, which soon sees people trying to keep money for themselves or getting a job complete.

SettingsThe film is set in Greene County New York, which shows that outside the big city life can be a lot tougher for the people trying to survive there.

Scene of the Movie – Topo’s perfect shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is too safe with how the story unfolds.

Final Thoughts This is a simple crime film, it doesn’t reach any of the levels of intensity that it could, while just getting the basics done easily.

Overall: Simple all along.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – T – Thumper (2017) Movie Review

Director: Jordan Ross

Writer: Jordan Ross (Screenplay)

Starring: Eliza Taylor, Pablo Schreiber, Daniel Webber, Ben Feldman, Lena Headey, Grant Harvey, Jazzy De Lisser

Plot: Teens in a low income neighborhood are lured into working for a violent and dangerous drug dealer. When a new girl harboring a dark secret arrives in town, their relationship jeopardizes everything.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Typical Crime Film

Story: Thumper starts as we meet high school student Beaver (Webber) who moves into the drug dealing to make some extra cash, he starts to become close to one of the girls Kat (Taylor) in his class, as we get to see just how many people in the school will be selling and using the drugs.

Kat has her own secret though, she is undercover, trying to crack the drug ring in the area, with her walking into the dealers with ease, she wants to take down the supplier Wyatt (Schreiber) who has his own way to solve problems in his business.

Thoughts on Thumper

Characters – Kat is an undercover narc officer in a high school, she gets close to the dealers, while trying to get higher up the ladder in search for the people behind the supply, she is also trying to balance a personal life which sees her being a separate mother, finding herself losing that part of her life. Wyatt is the supplier, a former military man who has turned to the life of crime, he controls the students to do his work, always out to eliminate any of the problems in his life. Beaver is the student Kat gets close to, he has his reasons for being part of the gang, he fits in within the group being one of the few places he feels comfortable in, though it always feels like somebody is taking advantage of him.

PerformancesEliza Taylor in the leading role is fine, she does show the pain of the separation, but struggles with the high school behaviour. Pablo Schreiber as the aggressive dominating drug dealer is the strongest part of the film, with Daniel Webber giving us a solid sympatric performance.

StoryThe story here follows a determined cop who is undercover with a high school drug ring trying to take down the problem which has been growing in the area, only she sees her own life start to fall apart. This story does follow every crime story of an undercover officer getting too close to one person just before the bust which will see the friendships shattered. The story will give us nothing new, we know how everything will unfold and by the end you will be left thinking we could find other films doing the same thing, only better.

CrimeThe crime world we are thrown into shows us just how drugs will consume people with power.

SettingsThe film shows us how the people who are involved in the drug world are more often than not from the poorer neighbourhoods and it is their only escape.

Scene of the Movie – The struggles Kat has away from the crime world.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is nothing original.

Final Thoughts This is a bland crime film that we have seen before and offers us nothing new to the genre.

Overall: Been here Seen it.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – S – Shot Caller (2017) Movie Review

Director: Ric Roman Waugh

Writer: Ric Roman Waugh (Screenplay)

Starring: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Omari Hardwick, Lake Bell, Jon Bernthal, Emory Cohen, Jeffrey Donovan, Evan Jones

Plot: A newly released prisoner is forced by the leaders of his gang to orchestrate a major crime with a brutal rival gang on the streets of Southern California.

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Crime 101

Story: Shot Caller starts when known gangster Money (Coster-Waldau) gets released from prison, returning to his gang with Frank (Bernthal) filling in the blanks of his time locked up, with Howie (Cohen) showing him around. Meanwhile Jacob a successful businessman gets involved in an accident which sees his best friend killed and him needing to take a plea to get a shorten prison sentence.

With Jacob being in prison, he builds up the reputation of a criminal, using his skills with money to gain the nickname becoming the big shot that everyone turns too, even though his parole officer Kutcher (Hardwick) is watching his every move once he is on the outside.

Thoughts on Shot Caller

Characters – Jacob was once a brilliant stockbroker until an accident leaves his best friend dead and him facing jail, he isn’t prepared for what he will be facing, until his skills become useful, he rising up the ranks of a gang becoming a man known as Money, who has respect and power, without the evil intentions behind the greed of the other gang members. Kutcher is the parole officer that has been dealing with the criminals, he knows how to get through the people, which unlike most sees him needing to take a stronger stand to get the best out of people. Kate is the wife that Jacob loses with his own mistake, she wants him to consider his options, knowing he is a good man inside, but doesn’t understand the man he has become. Frank is the man that takes Jacob into the criminal lifestyle, showing him the wrong path, which will only lead him to a world of darkness.

PerformancesNikolaj Coster-Waldau does give a strong performance in the leading role of the film, without being anything that we haven’t already seen in the crime world. Omari Hardwick does play an interesting character only we don’t get enough of his character. Lake Bell is the same, she doesn’t do anything wrong, only we could have seen more of her, this could well be the problem for most of the performance, not enough screen time for them.

StoryThe story here follows a stockbroker who is involved in a fatefully accident which sees him put in jail, where he slowly starts to rise up the ranks of a gang, finding herself as part of the big war for power. This story is told in a strange order, which just doesn’t make it easy to enjoy, it follows every single typical idea of how somebody would rise up the ranks of a gang, even if they come from a life where they wouldn’t be anyway near beforehand. We don’t seem to get anything new to the ideas and by the end we know what to expect.

CrimeThe crime side of this film focuses on how the world of crime and how somebody can climb the ranks by knowing how to play the system.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the prisons, showing how Jacob uses his imprisonment to get what he wants.

Scene of the Movie – Cage fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t seem to get the motivation that Jacob has.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book crime drama that focus on one man’s rise into the gang world after an accident puts his own life into ruins, it isn’t anything we haven’t seen before though.

Overall: By the Book.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – O – Out of Blue (2018) Movie Review

Director: Carol Morley

Writer: Carol Morley (Screenplay) Martin Amis (Novel)

Starring: James Caan, Patricia Clarkson, Toby Jones, Aaron Tveit, Mamie Gummer, Jackie Weaver, Jonathan Majors

Plot: When Detective Mike Hoolihan is called to investigate the shooting of leading astrophysicist and black hole expert, Jennifer Rockwell, she is affected in ways she struggles to comprehend.

Tagline – Can you explain your place in the Universe?

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow Thriller

Story: Out of Blue starts with the death of astrophysicist Jennifer Rockwell (Gummer), this brings in detective Mike Hoolihan (Clarkson) who has the reputation of being able to solve any case placed on front of her.

As Mike starts looking into Jennifer’s life, she starts learning about her childhood in a famous family under Colonel Rom Rockwell (Caan) a war veteran and hero and potential suspects within the faculty, keeping Mike on her own toes.

Thoughts on out of Blue

Characters – Detective Mike Hoolihan is a brilliant detective that always gets the case closed, she does have her own person demons and isn’t afraid to push people to the new limits to get the truth, which doesn’t always help the case in her favour. She is the only one that will put more of the puzzle together to learn the truth. Colonel Tom Rockwell is the victim’s father, a war hero after spending years in a prisoner of war camp, he has gone onto make a fortune, wanting to know the truth about his daughter’s death. Prof Ian Strammi is one of the fellow lectures on the campus, one of the main suspects even though he has an alibi for the crime. We do get other suspects, be it partners or family, which are around to keep us guessing.

PerformancesPatricia Clarkson is great in the leading role, showing the determination and troubles in her life, while James Caan, Toby Jones and Jacki Weaver give us strong supporting performances through the film.

StoryThe story here follows the sudden death of a brilliant astrophysicist whose death has brings in the detective that can solve any case, which sees her needing to dig into the life of the victim, one that isn’t just a what if, but dives into the greater scientific meaning of life and why we are here. Where this mystery gets lost in the story comes from trying to explain everything like it is some sort of greater meaning to what happened, rather than getting to the great cause of what happened, it seems to bypass the death and focus on the cosmos reason for life and being around, which doesn’t make it the most interesting idea for a story.

Crime/MysteryThe crime in the film comes from the death, which leads us to the mystery about just what has happened, something that gets deeper into the ideas of the universe than studying the actual crime.

SettingsThe film does use the different locations to show us the world that Jennifer was living in, showing the different environments they grew up in and now work in.

Scene of the Movie – The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too much cosmos stuff going on.

Final Thoughts This is a mystery thriller that offers up something bigger, only to spend more time dealing with the greater impact in the universe.

Overall: Bogged down thriller.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – I – I’m A Killer (2016) Movie Review

Director: Maciej Pieprzyca

Writer: Maciej Pieprzyca (Screenplay)

Starring: Miroslaw Haniszewski, Arkadiusz Jakubik, Agata Kulesza, Magdalena Poplawska, Piotr Adamczyk

Plot: Inspired by true events from the 1970s, the story revolves around a young detective who becomes the head of a police unit focused on catching a rampant serial killer of women, nicknamed ‘The Silesian Vampire’.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Crime Thriller

Story: I’m a Killer starts when detective Janusz Jasinski (Haniszewski) gets sent to lead the investigation into a serial killer dubbed the ‘The Silesian Vampire’ for the relentless number of kills and styles of kills of random women and constant mocking of the police in the letters being sent.

The police are forced to up the investigation when one of the nieces of first secretary is murdered, which sees them looking for people to give information, with Wieslaw Kalicki (Jakubik) becoming one of the main suspects.

Thoughts on I’m a Killer

Characters – Janusz Jasinski is the lead detective placed on the case to bring fresh eyes to the murders, he leads the fellow officers in the investigation, which sees him trying to think outside the box more, he gets a prime suspect, which leaves him waiting for the rest of his team to believe it is the person he believes it is, all while he starts to see his own personal life spiral out of control with an affair. Wieslaw Kalicki is the prime suspect, he does confuse with Janusz with a plan that together would see him look to plan for insanity, he isn’t left with many choices with all the evidence pointing at him. Lidia and Teresa are the long suffering wives of both of detective and killer that deal with their consequences of their actions.

PerformancesMiroslaw Haniszewski is the best of the performers in this film, showing us just how his character must take charge, while seeing things in his own life get out of control. The rest of the cast are all fine without being truly brilliant or bad.

StoryThe story here follows the investigation into a serial killer in Poland that has been killing a range of women, making it difficult for anybody to put the killings into a bracket, within a country that isn’t willing to accept that type of sexual predator on the streets. The story picks up with a new detective trying to break the case, which would make sense, seeing new eyes being put on it, but it does end up giving us the problem where we are once again focusing on a country that wouldn’t accept anything outside their perfect views on the world being a potential killer, where they would rather wrap up the truth than solve the crimes in question. This isn’t the most engaging investigation, because it focuses more on the idea of getting the story out of the papers, than solving the crime.

CrimeThe crimes that have been committed are murder of women in a sexual manner, we don’t see any of the crimes, just the remains and the attempts to get the case closed.

SettingsThe film does take us back to the 1970s Poland where the film takes place, using the environment to make us feel like we are part of this movie.

Scene of the Movie – Punch heard around the office.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The music choice makes it feel like a heist movie.

Final Thoughts This is a crime thriller that doesn’t get the right ideas through, it focuses more on the idea of cleaning up the case, than actually solving it, making it less engaging to learn about the truth.

Overall: Crime thriller that just shuts down the case.