ABC Film Challenge – Horror – L – Lakeview Terrace (2008) Movie Review

Director: Neil LaBute

Writer: David Loughery, Howard Korder (Screenplay) David Loughery (Story)

Starring: Samuel L Jackson, Patrick Wilson, Kerry Washington, Ron Glass, Justin Chambers, Jay Hernandez, Regine Nehy

Plot: Based on a true story, a troubled and racist African-American L.A.P.D. Officer will stop at nothing to force out a friendly interracial couple who just moved in next door to him.

Tagline – What could be safer than living next to a cop?

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow Burning Thriller

Story: Lakeview Terrace starts when couple Chris (Wilson) and Lisa (Washington) move into their new home, one of their neighbours is widowed cop Abel Turner (Jackson) isn’t keen on having a mixed-race couple next door to him, starting by teasing Chris.

When Abel continues to clash with Chris, the games start to become more targeted, with damage to property and with Abel using his power of being on the side of the law, it makes it very difficult to deal with the neighbour from hell.

Thoughts on Lakeview Terrace

Characters – Abel is a widowed father and police officer, he has very strict rules for his children to follow, which is pushing them away from him, when he see the mixed-race couple move in next door, he doesn’t like them in anyway and always finds a way to get back at time, if they do something that he doesn’t like. His action and position of power make him feel like he could get away with anything. Chris the husband in the couple, being white he attracts the attention of Abel who takes an instant dislike towards him, his temper doesn’t help as when he clashes with Abel, he doesn’t handle it in the best way and his constant seeking approval from his wife father only adds pressure to him. Lisa is the wife that spends a lot more of the time in the home, she wants to be a good neighbour and be open for the children next door, only for her desire to start her own family being stronger desire to future. Harold is the father of Lisa that has always looked down on Chris, and wanted more for his daughter.

PerformancesSamuel L Jackson is very unsettling through this film, we see just how demanding he wants to be through the film. Patrick Wilson is always strong in his roles in film, this is no different, while Kerry Washington holds her own in the mix, even if her character does seem to just be woman at home.

StoryThe story here does follow a couple that finds themselves living next door to the neighbour from hell, who wants to torment them because he doesn’t believe in mixed race couples. This does focus on the slow build of a neighbourly rivalry before it starts getting completely out of hand. It does show how people in a position of authority can abuse their power to make other people’s a living hell, which is what we see with everything that happens in this film, the couple are left feeling powerless when it comes to dealing with the neighbour. The pacing is slightly weaker because it does seem to show us how one minute they get on the next they hate each other, which just doesn’t add up to everything going on.

CrimeThe crime side of the film follows the actions of the law enforcement officer that does seem to just do what he wants believing the law with support him.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings in the neighbourhood, where we see just how the two must learn to get on even though they live next to each other and don’t like each other.

Scene of the Movie – Incoming fire.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Lisa does just seem to be female character or wife, while she makes a point about her job, but never seems to go to work.

Final Thoughts This is a simple thriller that does push the limits on how you would or could treat your neighbour.

Overall: Simple thriller.

The Devil All the Time (2020) Netflix Movie Review

Director: Antonio Campos

Writer: Antonio Campos, Paulo Campos (Screenplay) Donald Ray Pollock (Novel)

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgard, Haley Bennett, Riley Keough, Harry Melling, Sebastian Stan, Mia Wasikowska

Plot: Sinister characters converge around a young man devoted to protecting those he loves in a postwar backwoods town teeming with corruption and brutality.

Tagline – Some people are just born to be buried.

Runtime: 2 Hour 18 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Devil All the Time starts as Willard Russell (Skarsgard) returns from war, in a place where he had to commit an action he will never tell anyone, losing his faith in God, the one thing that had driven him for years, until he returns home marries Charlotte (Bennett) and have their first child Arvin, even though his mother prayed to keep him safe to marry Helen (Wasikowska).

When Arvin (Holland) grows up, he decides he wants to protected his loved ones, including Lenora (Scanlen) his step-sister and when a new preacher, Preston Teagardin (Pattinson) arrives in the town, something doesn’t connect with the way he handles his community.

Thoughts on The Devil All the Time

Characters – Arvin is the son of a war veteran, he has been incredible pain through his childhood, this gave him the mentality to protect the people he loves, one that will see him commit violence towards the people who go against them. Preston Teagardin is the latest preacher to the area, he tries to make everyone feel welcomed to the town, even if he has a way about him, which is one that will cross the lines. Carl and Sandy spend years luring men into their own sadistic pleasure, while the film does have many more characters we meet who find themselves getting involved in something they shouldn’t.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are strong, with Tom Holland being the standout of the whole cast, Jason Clarke and Riley Keough work well together too and Robert Pattinson, keeps up his trend of giving us the unusual roles.

StoryThe story here follows a group of different people who are connected in a rural southern area, going through a different set of events, which will usually see them get involved in violence, while balancing the idea of God being involved in life. The story here is messy for the most part, we jump all over the place, we meet characters that don’t seem to have much point behind us needing to meet them and by the end of the film you will be left wondering what just happened. When we look into the messages in the film, it seems like we are meant to believe that things will catch up with you, if you are going against God’s will, which seems like it is trying to hard to just bump it on the nose for you.

CrimeThe film takes us into the crime world of seeing how different people will deal with problems or fantasies in their lives.

SettingsThe film is set in the Southern Rural area, which will show how people can get away with things, how people use the area to their advantage.

Scene of the Movie – Arvin meets Sandy and Carl.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too many characters not doing much.

Final Thoughts This is a crime thriller that deals us with too many characters that don’t seem to have much to do, while trying to connect the bigger picture for the most part, saved only by the performances being delivered.

Bulletproof (2019) Movie Review

Director: Joel Souza

Writer: Joel Souza (Screenplay)

Starring: Thomas Jane, Bridget Moynahan, David Krumholtz, Scottie Thompson, Luke Kleintank, Josh Hopkins

Plot: Follows one memorable night in the life of LAPD officer Ray Mandel while hunting two cop killers on the loose.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Bulletproof starts as rookie cop Nick Holland (Kleintank) gets his first shift with veteran LAPD Officer Ray Mandel (Jane), Ray shows him the basics of the night on duty, dealing with drunks and minor misdemeanours as the two look to get to know each other, with Nick needing to learn on the job.

As the night unfolds Ray shows his stricter side, which sees him looking to protect his ex-partner’s widow Tracy (Moynahan), all while trying to hunt down two cop killers still on the loose.

Thoughts on Bulletproof

Characters – Ray Mandel is the experienced cop, he has lost his partner and built himself into a routine where he does show the most common sense on the job, calmly booking minor criminals, understanding the difficulties the other cops face when they do something wrong. He is trying to pass on these lessons to the rookie on his first night on the job. Nick Holland in the rookie on his first night, he comes from a family of cops which will see him thinking this would be easier, he has a wife expecting their first child and his first night, he gets to experience the problems cops are going to be facing every night. Through the night we do meet other officers, some are honest just doing the job, while we do meet a hype up detective Jack that will push things too far leaving Nick to learn how to handle the behaviour. The different criminals are through a host of offences which will show how each night could be different.

PerformancesThomas Jane as the experienced cop brings us a very calm performance, which shows us a believable experienced man on the job, always in complete control of the situation. Luke Kleintank brings us the rookie role, where he looks so innocent when entering this world, with him slowly changing as the night unfolds.

StoryThe story here follows an experienced cop that is showing a rookie around the city on his first night on the job as he learns the best way to deal with the different crimes, starting with small ones that escalate through the night, giving us an insight into how things could change in one night. This is a story that gives us a more grounded look at police work, it might well be getting comparisons to Training Day or End of Watch, but this doesn’t go into the extremer levels of what a cop would go through, it shows how they must make decisions in the spot, ones that are in their eyes the right ones which will provide everyone involved with the most safety. It does have a slower pace, but it does help make us see how everyday the job could be for the cops involved.

Action The action doesn’t come thick and fast, it is all restrained from becoming an over the top action flick, the action only appears when required.

SettingsThe film is set in LA, which will always be one of the busiest cities in the world, this shows us what the cops will be up against during their everyday night and how quickly you can jump through different neighbourhoods.

Scene of the Movie – Saving the little girl.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not seeing the locking the criminals up at all.

Final Thoughts This is a drama that shows us how difficult a night as a cop could be, with small crimes being dealt with by a rookie on his first night, along with the more serious threats always around.

Signature Entertainment presents Bulletproof on Digital HD September 7th & on DVD September 14th

Watch List (2019) Movie Review

Director: Ben Rekhi

Writer: Ben Rekhi, Rona Lean Sales (Screenplay)

Starring: Arthur Acuna, Alessandra De Rossi, Jack Macapagal

Plot: After her husband is mysteriously killed in the drug wars of the Philippines, a widowed mother of three must confront her own darkness to protect her children from further harm.

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Hard Hitting

Story: Watch List starts as we meet a Filipino family father Hector and mother Maria (Rossi) along with their three kids, surrounding to a police state, trying to help the families stay clean, they have left the criminal world behind, with Hector looking to work hard for him family, only he gets mysterious murdered.

Maria must first deal with the grief of losing her husband, before needing to find a way to secure money for her children, this sees her needing to turn to the dangerous underground of drugs, as this is left to be her only option to keep her family safe, but with the reward, comes the risk she must take.

Thoughts on Watch List

Characters – Maria is left in a position where he needs to feed her children after her husband is murdered, she must turn to the people from a former life for help, taking her to a life of crime, one that will see her needing to learn to kill, something isn’t willing to do. She has no choice as it is the only way she can make money, but it left torn between the two lives. We do get to meet Maria’s kids wo are being swung towards the criminal life, the people who offer Maria a chance to make money for her family.

PerformancesAlessandra de Rossi in the leading role is excellent, she does show us the pain she is going through to get through her future with her kids, she shows us that it is them or no one. The rest of the cast is strong who letting Rossi shine through in the leading role.

StoryThe story here follows a mother left in a difficult position after her husband is murdered and she needs to find a way to support her three children. We are shown how desperate people will become when it comes to their family, how the life of crime might well be the only option available, we see how this world would operate and just how dangerous it will be, with dangers come from within it or from the people trying to stop it. It highlights how people could become causalities in the battle for power.

Crime/ThrillerThis film does show us the reality of the criminal world in the Philippines that gives people little chance to live an honest life with both sides of the world.

SettingsThe film takes us to the tight streets where everyone lives, showing us how the criminals and honest people can live hand in hand, as long as they don’t get in each other’s way.

Scene of the Movie – The training.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The lack of police action.

Final Thoughts This is a hard hitting drama that shows the struggles one mother would have to experience to make it through after losing her husband. Alessandra de Rossi is fantastic in the leading role.

Overall: Alessandra de Rossi is fantastic.

Jack O’Connell Weekend – This is England (2006) Movie Review

Director: Shane Meadows

Writer: Shane Meadows (Screenplay)

Starring: Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham, Jo Hartley, Andrew Shim, Vicky McClure, Joseph Gilgun, Rosamund Hanson

Plot: A young boy becomes friends with a gang of skinheads. Friends soon become like family, and relationships will be pushed to the very limit.

Tagline – Run with the crowd, stand alone, you decide.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Gritty, Hard Hitting Reality Check

Story: This is England starts as young boy Shaun (Turgoose) is struggling with the death of his father in conflict in 1983, he gets picked on at school, he doesn’t fit in, until a group of skinheads led by Woody (Gilgun) welcoming him into their circle of friends for an afternoon of trouble, while his mother Cynth (Hartley) isn’t completely happy with this group, she does see him being happy for the first time in years.

When the other leader of the group Combo (Graham) gets out of prisons, he brings a more aggressive nature to what the gang wants to be, despite Woody, just wanting it to be friends hanging out.

Thoughts on This is England

Characters – Shaun is a 12-year-old boy that has suffered with the loss of his own father’s death in the Falklands, he gets bullied by the other school kids and has always just been left feeling alone in the world. The only people that let him in are Woody and the gang of skin heads who just want to hang out and soon gets drawn into a darker side by the more aggressive leaders of the gang. Combo is the older leader of the gang that doesn’t hold back with his hatred to other races in his country, he will fight anybody who goes again his gang too, being a horrendous role model for Shaun. Cynth is the mother of Shaun, she wants to see her son enjoying his life more but is getting worried about his own life choices. Woody is the member of the skin head gang that invites Shaun into the gang, he wants to help him fight back against the bullies, by offering somebody to hang out with.

PerformancesThomas Turgoose in the leading role is fantastic as we see just how he is dealing with his own grief in all the wrong places. Stephen Graham steals the show with his hyper aggressive character, while the rest of the cast do make us feel like we are watching mates hanging out.

StoryThe story here follows a 12-year-old boy that ends up joining a skinhead gang after he struggles to find a way to deal with the grief in his life from his father’s death. The story does tackle just how difficult grief could be for the children of the victims of war, with Shaun having his school friends pick on him because of his father’s death, which in todays, not the 80s wouldn’t be acceptable in anyway, with everybody being more supportive. The idea of joining the gang and just how the gang soon starts to consume his life, effecting his behaviour shows how being given the wrong lines to follow will not make life any easier. We do see how the world has changed since the 80s and how the skinhead culture should never be forced onto anybody.

CrimeThe crime world we get placed into here it, involves the violent behaviour of the skinhead gangs to anybody that doesn’t fit into their profile.

SettingsThe film is set in the midlands of the UK which does show the neighbours that would have been struggling in the 1980s.

Scene of the Movie – The first day out with the gang.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – 12-year-old dating an 18-year-old seems weird.

Final Thoughts This film does show the violence being pushed onto people if they can’t deal with grief when they have nobody else in their lives.

Overall: Violent Drama.