The Big Take (2018)

Director: Justin Daly

Writer: Justin Daly (Screenplay)

Starring: James McCaffrey, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Zoe Bell, Robert Forster, Dan Hedaya, Bill Sage, Oksana Lada

 

Plot: Douglas Brown is a movie star who wakes up to find he is being blackmailed by someone he doesn’t know. He calls his agent Jack Girardi who calls Hollywood private detective Frank Manascalpo to sort things out. Frank does well, at first, but he finds the wrong man. He finds an aspiring writer/director Max O’Leary, who is under the mistaken impression that the sudden attention he is receiving might be because Douglas Brown wants to make his movie. He doesn’t. In the end, Max does get his big break in Hollywood. Unfortunately, he is going to have to kill someone to get it.


Tagline – It’s murder to make a movie

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Oozes Potential

 

Story: The Big Take starts when actor Douglas Brown (McCaffrey) gets drugged by Vic Venitos (Holmgren) into ding an action which he will want to keep quiet, to which Vic blackmails Douglas into making a movie for his writer friend Max O’Leary (Moss Bachrach).

Turning to his agent Jack (Sage) and fixer Frank (Hedaya) Douglas looks to clear up the mess before it gets exposed. Frank turns to his own fixer Edie (Bell) to get the results as she leads the investigation to what is going on.

 

Thoughts on The Big Take

 

Characters – Douglas Brown is an actor that does have pull in Hollywood, he is the one that gets drugged and blackmailed which sets of the events in the film, he just wants to keep his reputation together. Max O’Leary is the aspiring writer that believes he is about to get the big break when he learns Douglas Brown is interested in his script, along with his wife get put in the middle of the blackmailing incident with the people trying to expose the blackmailers. Edie is one of the fixers that is set to expose who is behind the blackmailing, she does take out the bad people leaving the innocent alone. Detective Aborn is the man caught up only getting small information about what is going on, he gets increasingly frustrated with what is going on.

PerformancesJames McCaffrey as the actor is solid enough in his role, we don’t get to see enough of his character to make us truly care about what happens. Ebon Moss-Bachrach is the best of the cast, this is because he is accidently playing dumb to the situation showing how easily he is to believe through each scene believing this is his chance to make it. Zoe Bell continues to show why Tarantino turns to her so often, in her few scenes we get to see that she can demand the centre screen. The rest of the cast is good taking advantage o the time on screen.

StoryThe story follows an actor that gets blackmailed as we are trying to see private investigators try to cover up the blackmailing as inspiring writer gets his moment to figure where he stands in this story. this is an clever idea for a story, it tries to have good twists along the way and does want to create a style which would give us a flashy unique story telling concept, only we find the story does feel too short in places, the scenes which would give the characters the fully flushed out moment just doesn’t come out like the masters of the trade would bring us. We can however see the potential in the storytelling ability here, because the design of the story feels positive and enjoyable.

ThrillerThis does keep us guessing to where things will be going throughout, each scene does seem to create more to the story which helps us wonder where the film will go next.

SettingsThe film does take place in and around LA which helps give us the idea of the different levels people involved are in fame wise.


Scene of the Movie –
How to hold a gun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The music choice.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that is filled with potential when it comes to storytelling, it does fall slightly short of this potential which is does disappoint even if the acting can’t be faulted.

 

Overall: This is a film that shows potential.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – H – The Hurricane (1999)

Director: Norman Jewison

Writer: Armyan Bernstein, Dan Gordon (Screenplay) Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter, Sam Chaiton Terry Swinton (Book)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Vicellous Shannon, Deborah Kara Unger, Liev Schreiber, John Hannah, Dan Hedaya, Debbi Morgan

 

Plot: The story of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a boxer wrongly imprisoned for murder, and the people who aided in his fight to prove his innocence.


Tagline – Based on the inspirational true story of a champion.

Runtime: 2 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Incredible Battle for Freedom

 

Story: The Hurricane starts as we see Rubin Carter (Washington) win his first boxing title, but not he is in prison for what he claims is a crime he never committed, a murder. In prison he has written a book to tell his side of the story and his life. When his book is published it goes through the system until 7-years later Lesra (Shannon) picks it up with his home tutors Sam (Schreiber), Terry (Hannah) and Lisa (Unger).

As Lesra reads more of the book he learns how hard the life of Rubin had been with a white cop constantly targeting him including the framing of the murders. Lesra becomes the one young man that will try to defend Rubin and over turn the charges given to him with a new case and a fair jury.

 

Thoughts on The Hurricane

 

Characters – Rubin ‘The Hurricane’ Carter was a champion boxer, he had to overcome the race discrimination that was still flowing through America, targeted by one cop who wants him behind bars. Found guilty of a murder he never committed having given up hope of ever getting released his book sheds new light on the case. When he becomes friends with Lesra and his guardians his hope of freedom is restored. Lesra is a young man that gets taken in by three Canadians who want to give him an education, he gets inspired by Rubin’s book and wants to help him become free for his wrongful imprisonment. Lisa, Sam and Terry are the three guardians of Lesra who end up investigating the case trying to shed new light on the evidence that has been put in the trials before. These characters are all based on real people, they show us just how hard the people worked to clear one man’s name when other wouldn’t or couldn’t.

PerformancesDenzel Washington received one of his Oscar nominations for this role, you can see why because he is fantastic in this leading role, having to go through a body transformation for only limited boxing time too, which shows his dedication to the role. Vicellous Shannon is the least known of this cast and he shows the enthusiasm to help his character see the bright future. Unger, Schreiber and Hannah are actors you know you will always get great performances from and this is no difference even if Hannah’s accent is questionable at times.

StoryThe story focuses on the real case of Rubin Carter, a wrongfully committed prisoner who is running low on options to find his freedom until young man and his guardians come to help with the case. This story shows the racial problems that America had during the 60’s and 70’s in a time where times were changing we still had victims to the old guard that didn’t want to change. It shows how hope could help guide one man to his freedom even after people had almost given up on him.

Biopic/SportsThe sports side of this film is a well-constructed boxing match, but this is only used once because it ruined the career of the fighter. The biopic shows how the life was changed by a wrongful conviction and needing to find a way to get out of prison.

SettingsThe settings show the different locations Rubin would be in out of prison, how confined he felt in jail and where the Lesra and his family have come from to help free him.


Scene of the Movie –
The trial.

That Moment That Annoyed Me John Hannah’s accent doesn’t work.

Final ThoughtsThis is a biopic that is very strong, it has brilliant performances from the whole cast, a story that is almost unbelievable to think it true becomes a reality for Rubin Carter.

 

Overall: Must watch for Biopic fans.

Rating

 

 

David Lynch Weekend – Mulholland Drive (2001)

Director: David Lynch

Writer: David Lynch (Screenplay)

Starring: Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux, Robert Forster, Ann Miller, Dan Hedaya

 

Plot: After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.


Tagline – A woman in search of stardom. A woman in search of herself – in the city of dreams. A key to a mystery – lies somewhere on Mulholland Drive.

Runtime: 2 Hours 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One Day I Will Understand This Gem

 

Story: Mulholland Drive starts as actress Rita (Harring) is involved in an accident but escaping the people trying to kill her. The apartment she takes shelter in is about to be taken up by aspiring actress Betty (Watts) who is staying in her Aunt’s apartment while trying to get on her feet. Director Adam (Theroux) is trying to get his next movie made but is being forced into casting Camilla Rhodes who no one can find.

Rita and Betty work together to find out the truth about who Rita is which brings them closer in an adventure across LA, while Adam is following a path to get his latest movie made and dealing with gangsters.

 

Thoughts on Mulholland Drive

 

Characters – Betty is the innocent young woman who arrives in LA hoping to making it in the acting world, but upon arriving she has an unexpected guest, she is kind natured and willing to help this stranger who ends up taking her to places she never thought she would go. Rita is the lady who has lost her memory, she is hiding out in the apartment that Betty is staying in and is helped along the way to regain her memory. Adam is a cocky director that believes he knows it all when it comes to making a film but he is pushed into making certain decisions which leaves him against what he wishes.

PerformancesNaomi Watts is great in the leading role working perfectly with Laura Harring as the two have great chemistry through the film. we get to see two different sides of the performance seeing how the two different sides of everything unfolds.

StoryWhat starts out as a simple idea of a mystery behind one woman’s amnesia takes a very different turn in the final act of the film which ends up throwing everything we thought we knew up in the air. Like a lot of David Lynch films you will need to watch the story a few times to understand everything putting the pieces together to make a film you can understand but that is why this is one for the brain to enjoy.

MysteryWe are left to figure out what happened, it does take time and I am sure on multiple viewings you will understand what happened.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which helps us understand the dreams and desires of the characters to succeed.

Special EffectsThe effects are only used a couple of times but the truth is they work very well through the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Hitman’s mistake adds comic moment to a serious film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain moments leave you wondering what was that.

Final ThoughtsThis is a mystery movie that I enjoyed so much because it just keeps you needing to rethink nearly every scene in the movie to understand what you just saw.

 

Overall: True mystery brain tester.

Rating

 

 

Alien: Resurrection (1997)

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Writer: Joss Whedon (Screenplay) Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett (Characters)

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon, Ron Perlman, Gary Dourdan, Michael Wincott, Kim Flowers, Dan Hedaya

 

Plot: Two centuries after her death, Ellen Ripley is revived as a powerful human/alien hybrid clone who must continue her war against the aliens.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mindless Action Aliens

 

Story: Alien: Resurrection starts as we arrive on a US space research facility where General Perez (Hedaya) is working on bringing back the aliens with clones of Ripley (Weaver), the latest number 8 shows incredible strength and development. Waiting for a delivery from Captain Elgyn (Wincott) and his crew Call (Ryder), Vriess (Pinon), Johner (Perlman) Hillard (Flowers) and Christie (Dourdan) a deal is agreed they can spend a couple of days’ rest on the research ship.

After Elgyn’s crew get involved in an altercation with the scientists they must escape but the xenomorphs have escaped onto the ship, joining up with Ripley the crew look for a way off the ship while staying alive.

 

Thoughts on Alien: Resurrection

 

Characters/PerformanceRipley is now a clone and the mother of the xenomorphs being created on the ship, she is stronger than before but becomes the best weapon against the xenomorphs. Call is the newest crew member of the pirates but she is harbouring a secret from the rest of the crew. The rest of the characters are your generic group of fighters, the tough one, the gunslinger, the smart one and the captain nothing original comes from these characters.

Performance wise, this isn’t the best Weaver alien performance but she is also brave enough to take it on with a different approach. Ryder is solid enough through the film. the rest of the cast are also solid with Ron Perlman giving his aggressive dick like performance on the good guys team.

StoryThe story might not be the greatest, but it does capture what is needed for an alien movie, we have the military wanting to study the aliens for their own good, this happens every single film, we also have the group of soldiers needing to fight them off, but this film does offer a chance to build the relationship between the xenomorphs and Ripley. The problem for a lot of this story telling it that it isn’t original and isn’t on the same levels as the earlier films.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is all mindless like you would expect from big budget style sequel too far down the line, the horror is now nearly all gone from the franchise but the sci-fi angle continues on strongly as we see how the aliens are now finding new ways to breed.

SettingsThe whole film is set upon the space facility craft which is good because it keeps everything within the one location which is all we want in these films.

Special EffectsThe special effects are good in this film and are one of the extra highlights within the film.

Final ThoughtsThe weakest part of the Weaver alien films but still a good enjoyable enough watch.

 

Overall: Enjoyable enough.

Rating

 

 

The Addams Family (1991)

addamDirector: Barry Sonnenfeld

Writer: Caroline Thompson, Larry Wilson (Screenplay) Charles Addams (Characters)

Starring: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Dan Hedaya, Elizabeth Wilson, Judith Malina, Carel Struycken, Dana Ivey, Paul Benedict, Christina Ricci, Jimmy Workman

 

Plot: Con artists plan to fleece an eccentric family using an accomplice who claims to be their long-lost uncle.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Family Comedy

 

Story: The Addams Family starts as we meet the family Morticia (Huston), Gomez (Julia), Lurch (Struycken), Wednesday (Ricci), Pugsley (Workman) and Thing (Hart) who have been trying to contact Uncle Fester after his disppearnce years before. Bring in Tully Alford (Hedaya) and his wife Margaret (Ivey) who want the Addams family fortune.

Tully and Abigail Craven (Wilson) use her son Gordon (Lloyd) to pretend to be Uncle Fester as he enters the house to find his share of the fortune but his adventure are nothing like he would expect as he has to deal with the unusual behaviour of the Addams family. It isn’t long before the family starts to question this Uncle Fester and soon begin to love the strange character even if he isn’t the man they thought he was.

The Addams Family is one of the true classic family comedy fantasy film that shows just how different we can see each person in our own family to be different. The interactions between the family are all twisted in a loving way where we could see others question while the interaction with the people outside the family all come off slightly awkward which sums up the family perfectly.

The con-artist side of the story comes off nicely as we can see how naïve a family can be but even with love people can change. The performances are all great with Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston have perfect chemistry as the father and mother of the family. The rest of the cast all give great performances that you can believe from start to finish with the uniqueness given to each character.

 

Overall: Underrated classic that hits on all of the unique style needed to make it truly stand out.

Ratingcard