ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – B – Blood Father (2016)

Director: Jean-Francois Richet

Writer: Peter Craig, Andrea Berloff (Screenplay) Peter Craig (Novel)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna, Michael Parks, William H Macy

 

Plot: An ex-con reunites with his estranged wayward 17-year old daughter to protect her from drug dealers who are trying to kill her.


Tagline – A Father Makes His Own Justice

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Easy to Watch Action Film

 

Story: Blood Father starts as John Link (Gibson) who has recovered from his own substance abuse problems to be a tattooist while being parole. He has been searching for his daughter for years but when Lydia (Moriarty) calls him in need of help he races to her aid.

Link finds out that Lydia is in over her head which leads him into going on the run breaking his parole to protect her and locate the people who are trying to kill his daughter, using old connections along the way.

 

Thoughts on Blood Father

 

Characters – John Link is a former alcoholic convict, he has cleaned himself up but when his daughter finds herself in trouble he must go back into the routes that left him in prison, he must go after the men trying to kill his daughter, while stopping himself going off the bandwagon. Lydia is the teenager daughter runaway, she finds herself in too deep with the drug cartels but now she needs to trust her father to keep her safe. Jonah is the boyfriend of Lydia that she believes she killed cause the effects of the film. Preacher is one of the people Link turns to for help while Kirby is his support while trying to stay off the drinks.

PerformancesMel Gibson might have had troubled times recently but he shows us here the talent he holds to lead a movie in the action genre. Erin Moriarty is good in this film too because she shows us a street wise character beyond her years. Diego Luna is solid as the villain but we just don’t get enough from his character. This is a problem through the film, we don’t give the support characters enough time.

StoryThe story is good, as it follows a distant father daughter relationship needing to rebuild after she finds herself in trouble with the law. This works for the story because we know how the aging hero is the new thing now, as an actor that can easily be the new one that saves his child and this gives us everything we want, we have moments of comedy as the two come from difference backgrounds but overall this is everything you would expect it to be

Action/Crime The action is fire fights between Link and anyone that gets in his way, this does work well as the crime side of the story takes us into.

SettingsThe settings show us the underworld that works for the hiding from potential trouble using no iconic landmarks which makes this fully believable.


Scene of the Movie –
Showdown

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t learn enough about the villains.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good action film that is enjoyable, short sweet and gives you everything you want.

 

Overall: Action film 101.

Rating

 

 

Ron Perlman Weekend – The Book of Life (2014)

Director: Jorge R Gutierrez

Writer: Jorge R Gutierrez, Doug Landgale (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Ron Perlman, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube

 

Plot: Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart, embarks on an adventure that spans three fantastic worlds where he must face his greatest fears.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Magical

 

Story: The Book of Life starts with a school trip being told the story of two Gods Xibalba and La Muerta making a wager to see who gets to rule the land of the living and the land of the dead, their bet follows two young Mexican boys Manolo and Joaquin betting on who will marry Maria.

Manolo is from a bullfighting family and wants to be a musician, while Joaquin becomes General known for fighting off bandits. When everything gets out of hand in the battle between Manolo and Joaquin, Manolo ends up in the land of the dead to save Maria.

 

Thoughts on The Book of Life

 

Characters – Manolo is from a family of bullfighters, he is expected to follow in his ancestor’s footsteps even though he dreams of being a musician. He is part of the bet, he has the better heart trying to win her heart through music, he travels through three worlds to win her heart. Joaquin is the brave fighter, he has been selected by the evil to win Maria’s heart given the medal of everlasting life meaning he can’t die, this adds to his confidence he possesses. Maria is the woman the two are fighting over, she is independent as they come willing to lead her people without needing a husband by her side.

StoryThe story does seem to follow what we saw in Coco in places, this one did come first. We have the central character of Manolo that is expected to follow on path not allowing him to follow his own dream of music. We have the travel through the land of the living, the dead and the forgotten. Where we go to be different is by including Gods that can make a bet to keep them entertained. This story does feel magical from start to finish.

Adventure/Comedy/Fantasy/MusicalThe adventure that Manolo goes on is wonderful to see through the different lands of Mexican culture, this does have good comedy going on through the whole film mostly from the side characters. The fantasy world of the land of the dead and forgotten look beautiful to be travelling through. The songs are delightful to listen to even if some are remixes of famous songs.

SettingsThe settings takes us to Mexico, as we follow the culture of the land, both past and present.

AnimationThe animation looks fantastic, different and what we are used to seeing too, the colours stand out and the different lands have a unique look.


Scene of the Movie –
Forgive song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I had just watched Coco a few weeks again and knowing that movie just stole most of the ideas annoys me.

Final ThoughtsThis is a magical animation that leaves you with a happy thought about what you have just seen.

 

Overall: Magical and beautiful.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – M – Milk (2008)

Director: Gus Van Sant

Writer: Dustin Lance Black (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, James Franco, Alison Pill

 

Plot: The story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California’s first openly gay elected official.


Tagline – His life changed history. His courage changed lives.

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important Figure in History

 

Story: Milk starts as we meet Harvey Milk (Penn) an openly gay man in the 1970s that moves to San Francisco with his boyfriend Scott Smith (Franco) to start a business, he soon becomes a leader for businesses who don’t decimate against homosexuals.

Tired of the abuse they are getting Harvey decides to run for office to help get equal rights for homosexuals, this gets him attention from the haters, who start targeting him. Soon he makes a movement to make gay right count across America.

 

Thoughts on Milk

 

Characters – Harvey Milk is telling us the story of how he rose the political ladder, being a gay man made this difficult because he is not fight just for his rights but for all homosexuals in America, he was a real man that helped change the civil rights in the 70s. Cleve Jones is one of the young men that Harvey takes in to help run the campaign, he has an ability to bring communities together in the movements they want to fight for. Dan White is one of the politicians that opposes Harvey, he doesn’t want to work with him because of his religious beliefs.

PerformancesSean Penn won an Oscar for his performance in this film, you can see why, he is fantastic in the leading role where he commands the screen. Emile Hirsch is unrecognisable in this role which shows us the talent he has but doesn’t always give us. Josh Brolin is good in his role, while the rest of talent is good through the film too.

StoryThe story follows Harvey Milk as he rose to political power in a civil rights movement for the homosexual people. This shows the struggles he must go through to help make this go through and the team that supported him in his battle for this civil right. This shows us how people have always fought for their rights the right way no matter what they must overcome.

Biopic/History/RomanceThe biopic side of this film shows us Harvey Milk and just how important he and his team were to the civil rights movement. It shows us how important this moment in history was for civil rights movements too. The romance side shows how difficult it was for Harvey to keep a relationship while running for office.

SettingsThe settings show how Harvey rose through he ranks, starting with just a street, before a district and moving onto political offices.


Scene of the Movie –
The rallying call.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is a frustration about why people acted like this holding people back.

Final ThoughtsThis is an important movie about how the civil rights movement was important for everyone involved, it needed to change, it did thanks to this man Harvey Milk at his beliefs.

 

Overall: Important drama for all to see.

Rating

 

 

Original v Remake – Flatliners (2017)

Director: Niels Arden Oplev

Writer: Ben Ripley (Screenplay) Peter Filardi (Story)

Starring: Nina Dobrev, Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Keifer Sutherland, James Norton, Kiersey Clemons, Beau Mirchoff

 

Plot: Five medical students, obsessed by what lies beyond the confines of life, embark on a daring experiment: by stopping their hearts for short periods, each triggers a near-death experience – giving them a firsthand account of the afterlife.


Tagline – Cross the line. Death will follow you back.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Full Blown Flatliner

 

Story: Flatliners starts as medical student Courtney (Page) wants to push the boundaries of science by seeing if there is an afterlife using fellow students Jamie (Norton) and Sophia (Clemons) to bring her back, but when it goes wrong Ray (Luna) and Marlo (Dobrev) get involved.

When Courtney seems to have increased memory pulling ability Jamie, Marlo and Sophia all go under the flatliner procedure. Soon after they have all gone under the start getting haunted by a previous mistake and must learn how to deal with their sin.

 

Thoughts on Flatliners

 

Characters – Courtney is the student that has planned the idea of flatlining, she has her own reasons for this which we learn in the opening sequences, as her haunting is her own sister that died in a car accident. Ray is the best doctor of the students, he has the experience to handle the emergency world of being a doctor but he never goes under the flatliner, he helps bring the others out and helping them solve their problems. Marlo comes off as the nervous student struggling to believe her own abilities which becomes clear when we see her mistake, where she must learn to make up for her errors. Jamie is the slacker rich boy student that gets by using other skills to keep him in school. Sophia comes from the hardest background, her mother has been pressure into this career by her mother meaning she will lose everything her mother has put into this career. The biggest problem with these characters is that they have zero chemistry between them.

PerformancesThe performances here are pretty bad, it doesn’t help that the characters are written terribly, we do have big names here but they just can’t capture the magic the original film performances had.

StoryThe story here focuses on trying to discover is there is an afterlife by flatliner for minutes to go on that journey, this is still an interesting concept because technology has come along way since the original and we still don’t know the answer. The problem is we rush the flatlining which seems to turn the characters into what feels like addicts on the rush of their lives. We then get the 4 characters that have done something wrong being haunted but we ruin the biggest question mark about Courtney’s in the opening sequence and the rest just seem too much ‘boo there is a spirit’ not using the reason of the sin as the haunting like the original. This is why remakes fail so badly.

Horror/Sci-fiThe horror is the most basic of jump scares you will see, none of them hit. The sci-fi side starts promising but then the film seems to forget there is a sci-fi element after the researching goes on.

SettingsWe are in a generic hospital which for some reason you can run the length of within a minute, you drive to anywhere within a minute and geographical doesn’t make sense, we also are filled with flaws surrounding the settings.

Special EffectsThe effects can look great in the flatlining stage of the film but soon end up being the same nonsense light effects.


Scene of the Movie –
First trip into the flatlining.

That Moment That Annoyed Me How do they get everywhere so quickly?

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: Don’t think so.

Award Nominations: This could easily be a leading Razzie contender.

Final ThoughtsThis is an horrendous remake of a loved original, it turns into a basic poorly made exercise in how to not do jump scares with characters that have zero chemistry and a plot that is rushed together.

 

Overall: Failure in the remake world.

Rating

 

 

Rogue One (2016)

rogueDirector: Gareth Edwards

Writer: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy (Screenplay) John Knoll, Gary Whitta (Story)

Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen

 

Plot: The Rebel Alliance makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Franchise Filling

 

Story: Rogue One starts Galen Erso (Mikkelsen) and his family hiding on a planet from the Empire with Orson Krennic (Mendelsohn) hunting them down. Jyn (Jones) rescued by Saw Gerrera (Whitaker) grows up to be captured by the imperial guards.

With Jyn broken out of an Imperial labour prison by the rebels who want to use her to find her father who could be working on the Deathstar. Cassian Andor (Luna) is leading an attempt to stop the final preparation of the Deathstar with the connection with Saw Gerrera being important to finding her father.

What follows is the adventure before the saga begins, as the unlikely rebels must steal the plans for the Deathstar to stop the empire from rising to complete power in the universe.

 

Thoughts on Rogue One

 

StoryThis is the prequel to the loved trilogy that is actually a sequel to the disliked trilogy. We only get a snippet into the world of Star Wars with mentions of the force but nothing much going on around the force which is a good plus. This is does feel like a darker story to anything we have seen before with it feeling like a gritter side to the battle rather than the lightsabre action we are used too. Now I don’t want to be a negative person but if this was the first story in the saga I feel it wouldn’t be up to scratch with where the franchise goes, but if this was just a standalone space film it would feel empty of the final impact needed.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is all grand and what you would expect from the Star Wars universe with the adventure being something we are also used to seeing. The sci-fi world is all fine even though the film tries hard to stay serious and down to Earth throughout.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters do all feel like they are from the middle of a rebel fight all coming from different worlds to fight which is all good, the lead character Jyn well she is strong but she is no Rey so don’t go in there expecting a character that strong. The most annoying character to me was voiced brilliantly so nothing against Alan Tudyk but the robot character felt like it had been stolen from Interstellar’s Tars.  When it comes to the performances everyone does a good job throughout so I can’t complain or criticise them in anyway.

SettingsThe settings do all feel gritter making us feel like we are in the war without the force powers going on later in the saga but we do have too many planets to keep on top of which are relevant to later chapters in the story.

Special EffectsYou can’t fault any of the special effects because it is all brilliant like you would expect from a film of this reputation.

Final ThoughtsStretching the universe once more filling in the gaps that didn’t need filling to cover up the wait until the next chapter in the main saga. This is an easy watch but in the end, will struggle to make the top 3 of any Star Wars fans list.

 

Overall: Franchise filler that didn’t need to be made that doesn’t capture the spirit of this franchise.

Ratingcard