ABC Film Challenge – Action – J – Jane Got a Gun (2015)

Director: Gavin O’Connor

Writer: Brian Duffield, Anthony Tambakis, Joel Edgerton (Screenplay) Brian Duffield (Story)

Starring: Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Ewan McGregor, Noah Emmerich, Boyd Holbrook, Rodrigo Santoro

 

Plot: A woman asks her ex-lover for help in order to save her outlaw husband from a gang out to kill him.


Tagline –  Strength, justice, power, vengeance

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow and Boring

 

Story: Jane Got a Gun starts when Jane’s (Portman) husband returns home shot up on deaths door, she nurses him back to health while preparing or the Bishop boys led by John (McGregor) to come and finish off the job, she turns to her ex-lover and soldier Dan Frost (Edgerton) to assist her in the battle.

We watch how the two look back on a life they once had and prepare the ranch for attack with traps as they know they will be facing large numbers when they finally arrive.

 

Thoughts on Jane Got a Gun

 

Characters – Jane is the wife that needs to look into her past to keep her husband and child safe from outlaws that are not afraid to kill anyone that gets in their way. Even though the film is titled after Jane, we don’t learn too much else about her. Dan Frost however is her ex-lover and former soldier, one with stories behind his time in the war, he drinks too much while reluctantly helping Jane defend herself against the outlaws. John Bishop is the leader of the gang, he is conducting the business of taking women one of which was Jane, now he wants to clean up his loose ends which includes Jane and her husband Bill, he is ruthless and demanding of his men and wants to be treated like a true authority over them. Bill Hammond is the husband of Jane’s that returns home shot, he was part of the gang, but left once things got too far.

PerformancesNatalie Portman is fine, though it just doesn’t reach the levels we know from her through the years. Joel Edgerton is solid enough and seemingly just about the best performer in the film. Ewan McGregor did need more screen time for his character which was meant to be psychotic business man in the wild west. The rest of the performers are fine, but no one stands out.

StoryThe story follows a reluctant wife that will do anything to protect her house, husband and future from a gang of outlaws who want him dead, we see the set up, the build up and the flashbacks to how everything ended up where we are now before finally getting to see the showdown. Most of this involves a lot of talking about where the former lovers could have gone after crossing paths. The pace of the story telling is very slow and focusing on the talking for such a large period of time, doesn’t give us the character development needed for any of the three main characters. this is one that could easily be missed because it doesn’t offer anything new to the western genre either.

Action/WesternThe action is left for one final showdown with bullets flying, though placing it in complete darkness makes it hard to see everything going on. The film does have a western feel with the use of setting, weapons and storytelling, though it just doesn’t stand close to the levels of the good ones, let alone the great ones.

SettingsMost of the film is set on he isolated farmhouse Jane lives on, the setting up for the defence of the home, this however slows the film down and when we leave it just becomes worse too because they are generic locations.

Special EffectsThe effects are solid enough with the bullets flying around with the impacts showing the blood splatter.


Scene of the Movie –
The showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pacing is so slow.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow paced western that just doesn’t deliver the way it should, it had potential only it doesn’t make Jane a strong enough character with her being the title one.

 

Overall: Slow, pace less and boring.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action – B – Black Hawk Down (2001)

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Ken Nolan (Screenplay) Mark Bowden (Book)

Starring: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, William Fichtner, Ewen Bremner, Sam Shepard, Gabriel Casseus

 

Plot: 160 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard Hitting Military Movie

 

Story: Black Hawk Down starts as we learn about why the Americans are in Somalia during the conflict within the country in 1993. We meet the host of different soldiers with different ranks with the main focus on the squad leader Eversmann (Hartnett) on his first mission as leader, with experienced squad leader Hoot (Bana). The mission is simple extract to captured soldiers from the middle of the militant controlled town.

When one of the helicopters is shot down the mission changes and know the soldiers must fight the militants in the city to save as many men as possible.

 

Thoughts on Black Hawk Down

 

Characters/PerformanceGoing through the characters may take a while, it would be fair to say we barely learn anything about our characters outside of this combat, of the main focal ones we have on the day promoted to leader Eversmann who is good and being fair to his men which includes the desk soldiers Grimes who has never been in conflict before. McKnight is the vet that gives the orders from the ground. Hoot has been in conflict many times and takes the similar role to Eversmann as gives the loose advice on how to command a small unit. Sanderson is like the super soldier that runs into conflict knowing it will be the best defence against the enemy. The soldiers do all get their own small stories of the conflict, with Nelson Twombly being one of the most memorable.

Performance wise, we have a cast which plays out like a who’s who of Hollywood starts or stars to be, not a single person gives us a bad performance and each member of the cast could be believable as a soldier through the film.

StoryThe story is how one mission turned into a massive conflict for control of the city as the American soldiers must overcome the Somalian militant. This story is more about the action and as always does only show the American’s being the good guys even if they don’t understand the conflict they are walking into, while with that statement I am not saying I side with the Somalian’s either. The story could be considered thin because it does only show one long conflict but that does mean we get the extended look at each member of the unit in their own battle to survive.

History/WarThis is one of the many battles America has faced in the 90’s yes, it is only one battle but it shows just how this battle went down in one of the biggest battles of modern warfare.

SettingsThe city shows us just how difficult conflict would be for both sides, we see how vantage points could leave soldier exposed but also how difficult it could be to stay safe.

Special EffectsAll of the effects put us right in the middle of the battle showing us how brutal, deadly and horrific the battle was.

Final Thoughtsif you want to see one of the best modern warfare movies, this is the best conflict showing film out there, it has an amazing cast that would go onto bigger projects in Hollywood too.

 

Overall: Must watch war movie.

Rating

 

 

Christopher Robin (2018)

Director: Marc Forster

Writer: Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy, Allison Schroeder (Screenplay) Greg Brooker, Mark Steven Johnson, A.A. Milne, Ernest Shepard (Story/Characters)

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael, Mark Gatiss, Oliver Ford Davies, Ronke Adekoluejo

 

Plot: A working-class family man, Christopher Robin, encounters his childhood friend Winnie-the-Pooh, who helps him to rediscover the joys of life.


Tagline – Out of the Wood. Into the City.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Absolute Delight

 

Story: Christopher Robin starts when Christopher Robin leaves the 100 Acre Wood as he grows up, saying goodbye to Winnie the Pooh and friends, promising never to forget about them, the years flyby and soon Christopher (McGregor) is married to Evelyn (Atwell) with a daughter Madeline (Carmichael), he goes to and returns from war, becoming a businessman needing to make difficult decisions.

When Christopher is facing the most difficult time in his life, with his professional career facing dismissing staff and his personal life showing how distant he is becoming from his family, Winnie ends up paying him a visit in London, as he searches for his own friends from 100 Acre Wood.

 

Thoughts on Christopher Robin

 

Characters – Christopher Robin is now grown up, not the child we know from the Winnie the Pooh adventures, he is married with his own child and his own responsibilities, he is struggling to balance the two lives showing how his imagination is losing out to the real world. being visited by Winnie, he must look at his life and decide just what is right for him, his family or his career. Evelyn is his wife that has supported him through all his decisions, she is growing tired of Christopher’s actions, deciding what is best for their daughter, Madeline is the daughter that is being pushed down a path that Christopher never did, one with discipline and no imagination. Winnie the Pooh is the lovable bear that loves his honey, he visits Christopher to try and save him from his own misguidance.

PerformancesEwan McGregor is fantastic in this leading role, he shows us just how difficult life can be with the balance as we see how he will show the struggle to be a family man or a businessman. Hayley Atwell is good without having to do that much in her role. Bronte Carmichael gives us a good child actor performance.

StoryThe story shows what happens to Christopher Robin once he grows up and starts to make the same mistakes his own father would make for him. This is a story about needing to learn how to balance a career and personal life to make sure that you enjoy the most part of your own life, bring back the popular figures from the Winnie the Pooh world, it all comes together to make you leave the film with a true smile on your face. This story will connect to people of all ages and play into the love for the Winnie the Pooh characters.

Adventure/Comedy/FantasyThe adventure takes Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh and the rest of the gang on the biggest adventure, one that is important to life, not just enjoyment. The comedy connects well through the film, you will be laughing a lot in this film even with it having serious moments in. the fantasy side of the film shows how these colourful characters are real in this world.

SettingsThe film is set in two main locations, first is London showing how far away from the boy from the 100 Acre Wood has go, the second is the 100 Acre Wood to which will bring the boy out of Christopher.

AnimationThe animation focuses on just bring the animals into the real world and it does hit very well never looking out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
The adventure to work.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a delightful film to watch, it is one of the film that will leave you smiling with pleasure and true enjoyment.

 

Overall: Wonderful.

Rating

 

 

Brassed Off (1996)

Director: Mark Herman

Writer: Mark Herman (Screenplay)

Starring: Pete Postlethwaite, Tara Fitzgerald, Ewan McGregor, Stephen Tompkinson, Jim Carter, Philip Jackson, Peter Martin

 

Plot: The coal mine in a northern English village may be closing, which would also mean the end of the miners’ brass band.


Tagline – Fed up with the system. Ticked off at the establishment. And mad about… each other.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Comedy Drama

 

Story: Brassed Off starts as we head to the small Yorkshire coal mining village, Danny (Postlethwaite) conducts a brass band for the locals which is designed to keep spirits high even with the economic changes in the village. Danny is leading his band into the semi-final, with his son Phil (Tompkinson) and granddaughter of band hero Gloria (Fitzgerald) back in town, the bad is given new life.

With the threat that the mining pit might be closing, the town is filled with tension and the band is pushed to their limits, Danny does everything he can to keep the band together even while battling his own illness, to show that coming together can bring hope to a struggling town.

 

Thoughts on Brassed Off

 

Characters – Danny is the conductor of the band, he has kept the band going for years now and has always used it to keep the community together. He wants to one day play at the Royal Albert Hall, with this potentially being his last chance because of an illness he is battling. Gloria returns to her hometown working for the management that is looking at the closure of the mine, she joins the band because of her grandfather’s legacy and soon finds herself being shafted because of her role in the potential closure of the mine. Andy is the youngest member of the mining team and band, he grow up with Gloria and gets caught in the middle of the two sides. Phil is the son of Danny, he suffered the most during the last strike and now he must do everything he can to keep his family together when his past starts to catch up with him.

PerformancesPete Postlethwaite is fantastic in this leading role, he was always great in these type of roles, where he can be calm while hiding something from everyone. Tara Fitzgerald and Ewan McGregor are both good in their roles, while it is Stephen Tompkinson is the real surprise package with his well-rounded character.

StoryThe story shows us the struggles a mining community in England became the latest victim of the economy change that swept the land, they are held together by a brass band as we see the financial struggles on the outside. This is a good glimpse as the change in culture that went through England and showed that communities can come together for the people suffering most. The environment does however feel similar to the Billy Elliott environment, which I know was later, but is easily more well known. We get the good moments even if a love story does feel thrown in for the sake of it.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy through this film does work and does feel like everyday situational comedy. The romance in the film is the weakest pat of the film as it mostly feels thrown in.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the small mining town in Yorkshire, the heart of mining land that relies on one source of income to keep the community together.


Scene of the Movie –
Hospital performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The romantic story mostly gets boring.

Final ThoughtsThis is a British film that may have been forgotten through the years, it has great performances and a story which would have affected thousands with the economic side of things.

 

Overall: British brilliance.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – V – Valiant (2005)

Director: Gary Chapman

Writer: Jordan Katz, George Webster, George Melrod (Screenplay) George Webster (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais, Tim Curry, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, John Cleese, John Hurt

 

Plot: Set in 1944, Valiant is a woodland pigeon who wants to become a great hero someday. When he hears they are hiring recruits for the Royal Homing Pigeon Service, he immediately sets out for London. On the way, he meets a smelly but friendly pigeon named Bugsy, who joins him, mainly to get away from clients he cheated in a game of find-the pebble, and helps him sign up for the war.


Tagline –  Some pigeons eat crumbs, others make history.

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Film

 

Story: Valiant starts as small young pigeon Valiant wants to help out during World War II by joining the Royal Homing Pigeon Service, taking his chance a heading to London he meets hustler pigeon Bugsy as the pair con their way into the recruitment process.

Going through the recruitment process the pigeons are sent on their first mission with the danger of the falcons with the evil Von Talon waiting for any pigeons that try to cross the ocean.

 

Thoughts on Valiant

 

Characters – Valiant is a plucky young pigeon that wants to be a hero of war by becoming a carrier pigeon for the royal homing pigeon service, he has the guts even if he doesn’t have the build for it, he will risk his life to save his country. Bugsy is a cowardly con artist pigeon that uses joining the service to escape magpies, only to try to get out of it on a constant basis. Von Talon is the evil falcon that has been hunting the pigeons trying to return home, he is the typical foreign villain for this film.

StoryThe story follows an unlikely group of homing pigeons that must deliver secrets back to the soldiers in England during World War II. This gives you everything you want to enjoy in an animated story, the idea of a character overcoming his weaknesses to become the strongest part of a team, even if this does make light of the war itself, even when it is trying to tell the importance of the animals in the war.

Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe adventure out pigeons go on is life or death and a real one pigeons would have gone on during the war, the comedy does hit well for the British audience which is nice to see with a string of British comedies offering the laughs. This will be one the whole family could enjoy too, having moments that all ages will understand.

SettingsThe settings play into the idea that the animals will be involved in the war and just how they will be seeing the biggest moments too, while also decreasing the scale of everything.

AnimationThe animation looks great in the foreground, while the backgrounds have been scaled down, which is fine, but doesn’t show the busyness around the big cities.


Scene of the Movie –
The crossing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I personally didn’t like how small London seemed to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun animation that can be enjoyed by everyone, though it does have a very British core, certain jokes might miss for a more international audience.

 

Overall: Enjoyable and fun.

Rating