Beast of Burden (2018)

Director: Jesper Ganslandt

Writer: Adam Hoelzel (Screenplay)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Grace Gummer, Pablo Schreiber, Robert Wisdom, Cesar Perez, David Joseph Martinez, Mark Smith

Plot: Sean Haggerty only has an hour to deliver his illegal cargo. An hour to reassure a drug cartel, a hitman, and the DEA that nothing is wrong. An hour to make sure his wife survives. And he must do it all from the cockpit of his Cessna.


Tagline – Lines are meant to be crossed.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Tensionless Thriller

Story: Beast of Burden starts with Sean (Radcliffe) flying his small plane from Mexico to America, he starts to receive a host of phone calls that explain why he is doing this mission, first it is his sick wife Jen (Gummer) to whom he is trying to get the money for her medical bills, we have the drug cartel of whose product he is carrying, the DEA agent Bloom (Schreiber) who believe he is carrying a package which will give him an new life and the mysterious Mallory (Wisdom) who is making sure the job is getting done.

AS Sean is flying the stakes get changed and he is left needing to try and make a decision, one he simply can’t make, needing to think fast can he figure out a way to save his wife and clear his name or will he just put one side of the mission above the rest?

Thoughts on Beast of Burden

Characters – Sean is an ex-military pilot, he has turned to doing illegal mission across the border, we see him on one of his missions which sees him trying to get out of this life, but needing to balance the authorities that are working with him, the cartel who want their product and his wife’s safety after she is held captive by a hitman. Sean only shows us his life through flashbacks as he is trapped in the plane needing to make his decision. The other characters only appear in flashbacks or over the phone, we have Jen who is Sean’s wife that has been through a tragic event with him, Bloom the DEA agent trying to give him a new life for some information and Mallory that has the same employer as Sean, making sure the job is done correctly.

PerformancesDaniel Radcliffe isn’t the most convincing in this film, he seems to struggle with his American accent and shows too much panic in a situation that a pilot should show calmer decision-making. The supporting cast barely get a look in which doesn’t give them a chance to show their acting skills.

StoryThe story here follows a pilot that is left with what seems like an impossible choice while on his latest mission, which as seen him working for the cartel and the DEA to try and give his wife a new life after they suffered a tragic event in their life. This story does try to capture the similar ideas of ‘Buried’ and ‘Locke’ which saw one character trying to sort out a difficult situation from a location they couldn’t just walk away from, only they stick in the flashbacks to show us everything that has happened, which only leaves us not needing to think about what his situation could be like and just spoon-feeding us how we are meant to feel.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is very basic, we don’t seem to get too involved with anything close up, leaving the action around the crime world that Sean has found himself in, which is cartels and agents battle over the drug trafficking.

SettingsIf the film had remained in the plane for the whole film without the flashbacks, we would have had a better use of setting for the film.


Scene of the Movie – Bye drone.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The flashbacks.

Final Thoughts This is a thriller that just doesn’t capture the magic in a bottle that other films with solo locations have used to their advantage in the past.

Overall: Disappointing thriller.

Rating

Jungle (2017)

Director: Greg McLean

Writer: Justin Monjo (Screenplay) Yossi Ghinsberg (Book)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Thomas Kretschmann, Alex Russell, Joel Jackson, Lily Sullivan, Joel Jackson

 

Plot: A group of friends join a guide for a trek into the Bolivian jungle, searching for an Indian village. The men soon realize that the jungle is a difficult place to be.


Tagline – Nature Has Only One Law – Survival

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brutal Adventure Story

 

Story: Jungle starts as we follow Israeli young men Yossi Ghinsberg (Radcliffe) as he spends a planned year travelling, finding himself in Bolivia meeting Marcus (Jackson) and Kevin (Russell) two fellow travellers. When they meet guide Karl (Kretschmann) he offers to guide them through the jungle, which the three accept as an experience they couldn’t refuse.

When Marcus becomes injured and unable to walk, the group must find another way out of the jungle, which involve heading down the river on a raft. This causes the group to split up with Karl taking Marcus back by foot, while Yossi and Kevin head off further into the jungle. Once the friends hit some strong rapids, the two becomes separate and now Yossi is alone in the jungle.

 

Thoughts on Jungle

 

Characters – Yossi is the Israeli backpacker that in Bolivia heads off into the jungle with newly found friends, when he gets separated we follow his epic battle to survive the wilderness in the harsh environment where he must learn to survive. Kevin is the American photographer that joins on the adventure through the jungle hoping to get some breath-taking shots, he does get them but does find himself alone once he gets split up from the rest of the group. Karl is the guide that knows he way through the jungle, he takes the injured Marcus back to safety leaving the other two to fend for themselves.

PerformancesDaniel Radcliffe is fantastic in this leading role, he continues to push himself away from the Harry Potter films with another challenging role which pushed to the limits. We have a good supporting cast who all perform well, but they don’t get much time to be anything but good.

StoryThe story follows Yossi incredible story of survival when he got lost in the Bolivian jungle. It starts out as an innocent trip in the jungle, but soon turns into a nightmare, this is based on the book by Yossi, so, well you know how it is going to end, but seeing what he goes through is hellacious to say the least. If you want to see a story of one man’s desperate battle to survive then this one will be for you to enjoy.

Action/AdventureThe action adventure side of the film shows just how much Yossi must do to survive the situation he finds himself in and just what he must do to survive.

SettingsThe film is set in the jungle, which makes perfect sense, we get to see just how real the experience would have been for Yossi, we even get the moments of beauty he was searching for.

Special EffectsWe have a mix of effects here, the practical ones that Radcliffe goes through, but the strange vision sequences don’t seem to click well enough.


Scene of the Movie –
Head Bug.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It needed more in the endurance.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that has a brilliant performance from Radcliffe who goes through a hell of a lot. It does feel slightly long in places though.

 

Overall: Radcliffe Shines.

Rating

 

 

Swiss Army Man (2016)

writtenDirector: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert

Writer: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert (Screenplay)

Starring: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Antonia Ribero, Timothy Eulich, Richard Gross, Marika Casteel

 

Plot: A hopeless man stranded on a deserted island befriends a dead body and together they go on a surreal journey to get home.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One Hell of a Strange Film

 

Story: Swiss Army Man starts as we meet Hank (Dano) stranded on a deserted island about to end his life before a dead body washes up. When Hank learns of the farting this body possess he goes on an adventure to safety with the dead body which he names Manny (Radcliffe).

As the adventure continues Hank starts having full conversations with Manny as the abilities that Manny possess become lifesaving chances for Hank to get back to the life he once lived.

Swiss Army Man is a film that is very difficult to describe what I just watched. The story is easy to follow as long as you switch off any sense on what is going on. The whole thing comes off very unique but I can see how certain people will look at this film and wonder just what the hell this really is about. This film will get a following but really it is just weird and not my cup of tea.

 

Overall: Slightly confusing and weird movie that is too much for even me.

Rating55

 

 

Now You See Me 2 (2016)

 now

Director: Jon M Chu

Writer: Ed Solomon (Screenplay) Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt (Characters)

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan, Jay Chou, Sanaa Lathan, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman

 

Plot: The Four Horsemen resurface and are forcibly recruited by a tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist yet.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Sequel

 

Story: Now You See Me 2 starts by going all Ocean’s Twelve on us by having Thaddeus Bradley (Freeman) wanting revenge on the Four Horsemen Daniel (Eisenberg), Merritt (Harrelson), Jack (Franco) and Lula (Caplan). Dylan (Ruffalo) brings the Horsemen back for their next job as they look to expose a new technology that will be stealing information.

With the Horseman being played and exposed they find themselves being handled by the puppet master Walter Mabry (Radcliffe) who wants the Horseman to steal a technology he helped create to make up for the money he had stolen by the Horseman a year before.

Now You See Me 2 gives us the sequel that plays out very much like Ocean’s Twelve where the robbed characters want revenge on the people that took their money. This plays out like something that has lost the elements of surprise which the first film had because the twist in the first film defines how clever the concept was but this time we lack that side of everything. This is easy to watch but in the end just doesn’t reach the full potential required in the film.

 

Overall: This is an unnecessary sequel to a fun film

Rating51

 

 

Imperium (2016)

imperuimDirector: Daniel Ragussis

Writer: Daniel Ragussis (Screenplay) Michael German (Story)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Toni Collette, Tracy Letts, Sam Trammell, Nestor Carbonell, Chris Sullivan, Seth Numrich, Pawel Szajda

 

Plot: Idealistic FBI agent Nate Foster goes undercover to take down a radical white supremacy terrorist group. The up-and-coming analyst must confront the challenge of sticking to a new identity while maintaining his real principles as he navigates the dangerous underworld of white supremacy.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Crime Thriller

 

Story: Imperium starts as we meet shy timid but excellent FBI agent Nate Foster (Radcliffe) who has a way to communicate with control. When fellow agent Angela Zamparo (Collette) is trying to track down missing chemicals she believes it will be white extremists within America and pushed Nate into going undercover as a neo Nazi to locate the chemicals and the leader Dallas Wolf (Letts).

The deeper Nate gets into the group the more diverse sections he discovers as he looks to find which party is likely to actually be the one to make the next big move in the race war they have created.

Imperium takes us into the world of Neo-Nazis which is always going to be a touchy subject, we get to see the reluctant agent go undercover to try and stop a potential terrorist attack which all works well. Where this film stands out is by showing how many different sub groups there are within because we see a thug like group, a preparation style group, a preacher and a slow planner each one gives Nate something different to figure out as he looks for the most dangerous of these people. Daniel Radcliffe shines in this leading role and a huge plus is the actual lack of violence needed in this film. This is one really worth watching this year.

 

Overall: Strong addition to the undercover agent genre of crime thrillers.

Rating75