ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – I – In the Line of Fire (1993)

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Writer: Jeff Maguire (Screenplay)

Starring: Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, Rene Russo, Dylan McDermott, Gary Cole, Fred Dalton Thompson, John Mahoney

 

Plot: Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan couldn’t save Kennedy, but he’s determined not to let a clever assassin take out this president.


Tagline – An assassin on the loose. A president in danger. Only one man stands between them…

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliantly Tense

 

Story: In the Line of Fire starts as we meet seasoned veteran of the secret service Frank Horrigan (Eastwood) who wants to get back in the field, granted he returns to protecting the President after getting a mysterious phone call from Mitch Leary (Malkovich) who is threatening to murder the President.

As Frank tries to stay ahead of Mitch, the game of cat-n-mouse starts to catch up with him, as Frank starts to see his career fall apart on political grounds and Mitch now has Frank exactly where he needs him.

 

Thoughts on In the Line of Fire

 

Characters – Frank Horrigan once worked on President Kennedy’s detail, now older he is reaching the age where his secret service work is usually behind the desk or in the field, not around the President, after receiving a threat towards the President he positions himself on the detail again, which puts his experience on the line to protect the president. Mitch Leary is the psychotic man who is threatening the President, he wants to play games with Frank as his master of disguise helps him blend into a crowd. He always believes he is ahead of the game with his planned calculated with each movement. Lilly Raines is the new agent that must work with Frank, she is mostly the question about female agents through the eyes of an older member of the community. Al is the current partner of Frank who has been struggling with the reckless behaviour he has been working with.

PerformancesClint Eastwood in the leading role is great because he is the perfect age for this movie which makes us understand that he is good man still trying his best for the President. John Malkovich is stunning as the villain as we believe each word and action his commits to this role, being haunting and calculated throughout. Rene Russo offers us the young agent role, she does well with what she has to do without taking from the spotlight shone upon the lead two. The rest of the cast are good and know how to make the most of their limited scenes.

StoryThe story here follows the aging Secret Service agent that is caught up in a cat-n-mouse assassination attempt from an anonymous criminal. The story gives Frank a backstory of regret as he was one the President Kennedy service team and he will forever deal with the pain that he couldn’t save him, this adds determination to his character and it also gives Mitch a motive to beat the man who would ne known to have failed twice. This story shows us how to make cat-n-mouse style story where the villain will do anything and will spend time mocking the hero when he fails to capture him. We do get a heavily influenced America is great theme though which in places can be annoying to see. The pacing and use of foreshadowing works well in the film too showing us just what we are waiting to see where things go.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is mixed because most of the scenes involves an aging actor that is meant to not be able to handle the physicality of the job anymore. The crime side of the film is where we get the most interesting side of everything which shows us just how far one man is willing to go to put his name in lights by killing the President.

SettingsThe film uses the settings show to us how compact any situation where the President would be attending can become with threats from nearly every corner.


Scene of the Movie –
The rooftop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too patriotic like no one else could have helped.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great crime thriller that shows us just how deadly a villain can be when they are completely set on completing a mission, we have two brilliant performances from Eastwood and Malkovich that will keep you on edge throughout.

 

Overall: Must watch crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Romance – B – Blind (2017)

Director: Michael Mailer

Writer: Diane Fisher, John Buffalo Mailer (Screenplay)

Starring: Demi Moore, Alec Baldwin, Dylan McDermott, Viva Bianca, Dorothy Lyman, Renee Willett

 

Plot: A novelist blinded in a car crash which killed his wife rediscovers his passion for both life and writing when he embarks on an affair with the neglected wife of an indicted businessman.


Tagline – Love… Unexpected.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Romantic Drama

 

Story: Blind starts as wife Suzanne (Moore) of businessman Mark (McDermott) finds her life shattered after his dealings, which leave her with community service, her time is work novelist and teacher Bill Oakland (Baldwin), blind after an accident that killed his wife.

As the two spend more time together they learn that they have a connection they could never imagine, but how will Mark take this from behind bars?

 

Thoughts on Blind

 

Characters – Suzanne is a happily married woman in the higher society of life in New York, her life is changed when Mark is placed in jail for his business activities, this means Suzanne must do community service for her part where she meets a man that changes her view on her life. Bill Oakland is a novelist who lost his wife and sight in an accident, he still teaches, but at times short-tempered, he lost he desire to write and now his life is open to new things and return to his writing. Mark is the husband of Suzanne, a businessman that has ben jailed for his activities, always staying one step of a situation, dirty as they come.

PerformancesDemi Moore is good in her role, she fits the role well for the age and the draw. Alec Baldwin is also good in his role, he plays the blind character without looking out of place. Dylan McDermott plays the creep well and this is no different.

StoryThe story here shows to unlikely people coming together, finding themselves connecting in a way that can’t be good for anything long term with one being married. The story doesn’t do enough to address the tragic side of Bill’s life, we get a glimpse, but this should be front and centre, until way too lat in the film. It is also hard to see this romance happening and when we get into a supporting character Gavin we need something more about this character’s story too.

RomanceThe romance in this film plays us along the lines of it never being too late to meet someone that will change your life forever,

SettingsThe setting for the movie is New York, which shows us how difficult and how modernised to make it a place that the blind could get around with ease compared to other locations.


Scene of the Movie –
Not over stating the idea he is blind.

That Moment That Annoyed Me He is just a short story, I am a novel, barf

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard romantic movie, it checks the boxes but never reaches any level of memorability.

 

Overall: Ticks the boxes and keeps between the lines.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Messengers (2007)

Director: Danny Pang, Oxide Chun Pang

Writer: Mark Wheaton (Screenplay) Todd Farmer (Story)

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Dylan McDermott, Penelope Ann Miller, John Corbett, William B Davis

 

Plot: An ominous darkness invades a seemingly serene sunflower farm in North Dakota, and the Solomon family is torn apart by suspicion, mayhem and murder.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Easily Forgettable

 

Story: The Messengers starts as Solomon family Roy (McDermott), Denise (Miller), daughter Jess (Stewart) and baby Ben move to a farm house which has been abandoned for years after a serious of horrific events.

It doesn’t take long before Jess discovers ghostly figures attracted to Ben but they are never around when her parents are around, turning to the farm hand Burwell (Corbett) she learns more about what could cause everything but just how much danger is the family in?

 

Thoughts on The Messengers

 

Characters/PerformanceRoy has struggled for work to supporting his family for a couple of years and will do everything to make this new home work for them, Denise is the wife that is struggling to connect with their daughter the way they once did. Jess is the teenage daughter that must live with an accident she caused but finds herself distant from her parents.

Performance wise, you can see here just how far Stewart has come because she does struggle in the leading role here but now she can give us powerhouse performances like Personal Shopper, the rest of the cast are fine but nothing more.

StoryThe story is simple, a family looking for fresh start must deal with their demons to bring the divide in the family back together while dealing with a supernatural presence in the new home. This isn’t very original and does get slightly stuck between supernatural and real events never giving us a reason why the supernatural side happens in the first place.

Horror/Mystery The horror is mostly stuff running around behind the characters and lazy jump scares, the mystery is mostly about what happened before and why is it happening again.

SettingsMost of the film or at least the horror elements take place on the farm house which I guess does work for the film.

Special EffectsThe special effects are mostly weak throughout leaving us to not believe too much of what we see.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple, easy to watch horror mystery, it doesn’t test you enough on the horror or mystery side of things though.

 

Overall: Lacklustre horror mystery.

Rating

 

 

Freezer (2014)

frezzerDirector: Mikael Salomon

Writer: Tom Doganoglu, Shane Weisfeld (Screenplay)

Starring: Dylan McDermott, Peeter Facinelli, Yuiya Snigir, Rafael Petardi, Markus Parilo

 

Plot: Robert is an ordinary man who is faced with extraordinary circumstances. He is locked in a meat freezer by Russian thugs who believe that he owes them 8 million dollars. Robert, who is in every frame of the film soon discovers that he is not alone in the freezer. Sam, a stranger, is also locked in with him, and it becomes a struggle to survive the cold and the forces that are against them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painfully Average

 

Story: Freezer starts when Robert (McDermott) wakes up tied inside a meat locker, trying to figure out why he is confronted by Alisa (Snigir) who works for the Russian mob claiming he has 8 million dollars of theirs. Trying to explain he is the wrong guy he must find a way out of the locker before it is too late with undercover Detective Sam Gurov (Facinelli) injured inside the locker too.

As the time counts down we are left to wonder who really has the money and what is Robert’s real involvement in this abduction.

 

Thoughts on Freezer

 

StoryThe story going on here is very thin and tries to use the idea of one man trapped in a small location which has been good in other ideas but in the end, has just turned into something that never really works because you would never see the Russian Mafia looking this weak, because this makes the look fully useless when it comes to looking after their money. The story is at least short which doesn’t let the tension side of the story slow down.

Action/ThrillerWe do get certain moments of well-built up tension but in the end each scene feels like it is leading to something but it ends up being small arguments and a punch here or there.

Characters/PerformancesRobert is not a likeable character which doesn’t help us to side with him, he comes off rash cocky and arrogant throughout the ordeal. The Russian’s are all made to be painfully generic with them being portrayed as pure thugs. The performances are nothing special either with nobody doing anything memorable through the film.

SettingsThe whole film is set inside the meat locker which does create the idea of the solo location needed as part of a torture to get the money. This works for the film but in the end is nothing on the level of what Saw or Buried achieved.

Special EffectsHas small use of effects which all work well for the moments they are needed.

Final ThoughtsAverage at best thriller that just doesn’t use the material it should with the levels it could have.

 

Overall: Thriller that just doesn’t know when to cut the twists out when it needs to.

Ratingcard

 

 

Automata (2014)

automataDirector: Gabe Ibanez

Writer: Gabe Ibanez, Igor Legarreta, Javier Sanchez Donate (Screenplay)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Dylan McDermott, Melanie Griffith, Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, Robert Forster, Tim McInnerny, Javier Bardem

 

Plot: Jacq Vaucan is an insurance agent of ROC robotics corporation who investigates cases of robots violating their primary protocols against altering themselves. What he discovers will have profound consequences for the future of humanity.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Automata starts in the future in the aftermath of solar storms that have wiped 99.7% of the world’s population from the Earth. The protect the remaining one robots known as automata are created to build walls to stop the solar rays, they are built with two conditions, one they can’t harm anything living and two they can’t alter their protocols.

In this world, we meet Jacq Vaucan (Banderas) who investigates insurances claims against the robots. Jacq whose wife is pregnant about to give birth wants to take on the easy jobs but soon gets a new assignment to uncover why this one automata was smuggling parts and self-improving himself.

Jacq teams up with short tempered police officer Sean Wallace (McDermott) to learn that the world isn’t going the way he thought with human altering the automatas for their own benefits but just how deep has this gone?

 

Thoughts on Automata

 

StoryThe story puts us into a dystopian world where human numbers are low but they live side by side with robots. We have the ideas that robots are starting to become smarter and evolving to become a threat to mankind. I liked how this story talks about the fine line between science with humans learning more about robots and what could be the start of change in power without turning into a mindless action film.

Action/Sci-FiWhen it comes to the action it isn’t non-stop which is just what the movie needs, the sci-fi side of the story works very well as we see how the humans work with the robots but could be about to raise their intelligence above our own, this poses good sci-fi related questions throughout.

Characters/PerformanceWhen it comes to the performances Banderas shines in the leading role with the good supporting performance all around mostly because the film isn’t afraid to shock with certain names. The characters all suit the world we find ourselves in, Jacq a family man tired of his job, a hot heated cop, smart scientist hidden from the world the concerned wife and the emotionless killer.

SettingsThe settings work perfectly for the world created showing us how bleak our future could be after a solar storm as well as how we would still divide ourselves for safety. The city looks worn down with the desert looking like it has been left for years with no one able to go to.

Special EffectsThe special effects all look fantastic with the robots looking like they could easily be part of our own world which is the main usage of the special effects in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis does turn into a very smart sci-fi which is happily asking us morale questions throughout as well as concluding by asking the questions about our own existence and what might become of us once we are gone.

 

Overall: This is a smart sci-fi even with moments that come off slow at times.

Ratingcad