ABC Film Challenge – Crime – Z – Zulu (2013)

Director: Jerome Salle

Writer: Julien Rappeneau, Jerome Salle (Screenplay) Caryl Ferey (Book)

Starring: Orlando Bloom, Forest Whitaker, Conrad Kemp, Inge Beckmann, Tinarie van Wyk Loots, Regardt van den Bergh

 

Plot: Policemen Ali Sokhela and Brian Epkeen investigate the brutal murder of a young white woman, apparently provoked by the availability of a new illegal drug and somehow connected to the disappearance of black street children.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gritty Crime Drama

 

Story: Zulu starts when a young woman is murdered, police officer Ali Sokhela (Forest) and his team that includes the washed up Brian Epkeen (Bloom) and rookie Dan Fletcher (Kemp) must start to investigate the case.

As the investigation deepens Brian must hold himself together while Ali must face his demons from his past which becomes deadly as they fall into an illegal drug dealing ring with a new devasting drug on the market.

 

Thoughts on Zulu

 

Characters – Brian Epkeen is a washed-up police officer, he is great at solving crimes, he tends to have a different woman every night, which has made him distant from his son. He never looks professional but will always do the right thing for his team. Ali Sokhela is scared by his childhood in the racial torn country, now he is a captain in the police force which sees him needing to forgive the men his father fought against to work in the same team, he does have connections which helps him through the city, with his own demons he must locate the killer. Dan is a rookie officer that is part of the team, his innocence isn’t ready to be in the field with the seasoned vets. Ruby is Brian’s ex-wife that hates him and that Brian hassle when he feels like it.

PerformancesOrlando Bloom does show us that he can still be a leading man, an edgy side to his character is a big plus too, we could happily watch more of his work here. Forest Whitaker is great too, he has the darker backstory which pushes him into his decisions and hits the accent. The rest of the cast don’t get as much screen time as he does, but you do feel like they hired a lot of local talent which helps make the film feel authentic.

StoryThe story follows two cops, one with a dark past because of his skin colour as a child, the other lives in darkness because of his addiction that must use their skills to solve a crime which starts simple enough until things get out of hand to a much bigger problem running through the city. This does feel gritty with how we investigate things, it doesn’t hold back with what happens to the characters and shows us just how far the criminal underworld will go to keep a secret. While this doesn’t rely on twists to get the final outcome, it does show us just how far these two would go to solve a crime and bring the criminals to justice.

CrimeThe crime world we enter here shows us just how both sides in a drug war are waging against each other, we get bodies piling up that will only increase the battle with a racial tension that just increases the tension between the twos.

SettingsThe film is set in South Africa, we get to see how difficult the drug war is with the racial tension still between the people in the city.


Scene of the Movie –
Brian’s escape plan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The scene where the head turns up, there is such a pointless line here.

Final ThoughtsThis is a gritty crime drama that shows us the harsh reality of the drug world, the two cops must overcome demons that will put them through a major test to get to the bottom of a crime.

 

Overall: Crime fans surprise.

Rating

 

 

Paul Newman Weekend – The Color of Money (1986)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Richard Price (Screenplay) Walter Tevis (Novel)

Starring: Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Helen Shaver, John Turturro, Bill Cobbs, Forest Whitaker

 

Plot: Fast Eddie Felson teaches a cocky but immensely talented protégé the ropes of pool hustling, which in turn inspires him to make an unlikely comeback.


Tagline – The Hustler isn’t what he used to be, but he has the next best thing. A kid who is.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Smart Sequel

 

Story: The Colour of Money starts when cocky young pool player Vincent Lauria (Cruise) arrives in Fast Eddie Felson (Newman) bar hustling pool against his best player Julian (Turturro). Eddie takes a shine to Vincent and talks his girlfriend Carmen (Mastrantonio) into going on the road to hustle teaching him the ropes.

As Eddie and Carmen try to control Vincent, Eddie learns that Vincent’s flare will keep taking over as he constantly wants to show off, the game has changed too, but this does give Eddie the desire to make a comeback.

 

Thoughts on The Colour of Money

 

Characters – Fast Eddie Felson is now out of the pool game and moved onto the liquor business, when he see Vincent in a bar he wants to take him under his wing and show him the art of the hustle, he is strict with his instructions and gets dreams of a comeback one day, to a life he walked away. Vincent Lauria is the hot shot young pool player that shines in the 9-ball game, he is overly confident and doesn’t follow instructions given to him with his own decisions being his downfall at making the big money early on. Carmen is the girlfriend of Vincent, she understands the rules of the hustle and needs to learn to control Vincent to achieve the highest return on the investments.

PerformancesPaul Newman returns to the character of Fast Eddie Felson, he returns with a bang and shines from the opening scene to the closing as we see his character go through retirement to getting obsessed with a game that nearly ruined his life. Tom Cruise is great as the overly confident player, we see that he is going to be a big star with this role. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is great too, we see how the she can control her player and stand up and be counted in the mostly male world.

StoryThe story follows the return to Fast Eddie Felson, a man we met in The Hustler, we see how he is out of the game now and still making money in his field as a salesman. We see how he sees potential in a new player to help him get back on the road and hustle again, maybe not the playing side, but the investing side. We get to focus on a veteran returning to the sport he loved to prove he is still the best, proving at any age you can return to the sport you love. Seeing how the game has changed from the straight pool style we knew to the 9-ball is the biggest change.

SportsThe table is the same, the game has changed, the pool is now 9-ball a faster version of pool, one that is a lot harder to hustle in because of the increased lucky involved at times, this doesn’t get addressed enough for me because I know how this game can play out and I will admit there is skill involved, this isn’t as skilful as the straight pool we saw in the first film.

SettingsThe film shows us the different styles of pool halls where Eddie tries to teach Vincent, we get the feeling everyone is a local in the hall too.


Scene of the Movie –
The tournament.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Which I know more money can come from hustling, I never understood why Eddie doesn’t go pro.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great sequel to one of the best films of all time, Paul Newman showed us all that he will always be one of the coolest and best actors we ever had, while Cruise makes the big impact.

 

Overall: Strikes the right buttons all game long.

Rating

 

 

Matthew Fox Weekend – Vantage Point (2008)

Director: Pete Travis

Writer:  Barry L Levy (Screenplay)

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, Said Tahgmaoui, Zoe Saldana, Edgar Ramirez, Bruce McGill

 

Plot: The attempted assassination of the American President is told and re-told from several different perspectives.


Tagline –  If you think you’ve seen it all…Look Again

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Relentless Action Packed Film

 

Story: Vantage Point starts in Salamanca, Spain where the world leaders are meeting for President Ashton (Hurt) anti-terrorist agreement which would bring nations from around the world together. Rex Brooks (Weaver) is controlling the media side of the story, with Angie Jones (Saldana) on the grounds.

President Ashton surrounded by secret service agents including Thomas Barnes (Quaid) who has saved the President in the past and flanked by Kent Taylor (Fox). When the President in shot a bomb is set off outside the plaza leave many dead including our reporter Angie.

We rewind to follow the events from Thomas’s perspective, his struggle to suit up and put his life on the line for the President. We continue to follow different vantage points we learn the bigger picture of the events of this day.

 

Thoughts on Vantage Point

 

Characters – Thomas Barnes is a secret service agent, he has saved the President before and his mindset has been questioned before, but he is excellent at his job, he must act quickly to learn the truth about who tried to assassinate the President. Kent Taylor is a fellow secret service agent, the one that supports Barnes’ return to duty, he goes in pursuit off the suspect doing his duty for the President. Howard Lewis is a tourist that is having a difficult personal life and was using this trip as a break from his family, he is filming the events becoming a crucial witness to the events. Rex Brooks is the television news director, controlling her reporter on the stage, the cameras in the arena, she has a history with trying to get Barnes to talk about his lifesaving moment in the past. President Ashton is about to agree on the biggest counter-terrorist agreement in world history, he will be making history at this event. We continue to follow other people too including the mysterious woman Veronica that becomes one of the prime suspects.

PerformancesThe performances here are good throughout the whole cast, not a single person truly becomes the main character of the film so, no one takes centre stage. Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver and William Hurt to name the biggest names are able to show how to make an impact with limited time.

StoryThe story follows the panic which follows an attempted assassination attempt of the President, we follow the different viewpoints, we flashback to different points where each vantage point does take us to the next stage of the story, keeping us guessing on each moment of the events of the day. This story does show the pure panic that would follow an assassination attempt and bombs going of at such a public event. The real-time feeling gives us an extra dimension to this film which makes this a real edge of your seat story which keeps us guessing.

Action/CrimeThe action comes thick and fast in this film, we have a car chase through the tight streets and plenty of foot pursuits the drive the movie as we are left to figure out who committed the crime.

SettingsThe settings give us the opening feeling of hope for the world, this setting then shows us how perfect it would be for creating the chaos required for the terrorist actions.


Scene of the Movie –
Car chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Forest Whitaker’s jump, it doesn’t suit the running rescue.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most underrated action films if you want something that doesn’t make you think to much but does keep you guessing this is one for you. It is a relentless film that doesn’t give you too much time to breath.

 

Overall: Action fans just go and watch this.

Rating

 

 

How It Ends (2018)

Director: David M Rosenthal

Writer: Brooks McLaren (Screenplay)

Starring: Theo James, Kat Graham, Forest Whitaker, Kerry Bishe, Nicole Ari Parker, Grace Dove, Lanie McAuley

 

Plot: A desperate father tries to return home to his pregnant wife after a mysterious apocalyptic event turns everything to chaos.


Tagline –  No One Survives Alone

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Terrible Leading Character, Interesting Story

 

Story: How it Ends starts as we meet couple Will (James) and Samantha (Graham) who are trying to break the news to her father Tom (Whitaker) about wanting to get married, let alone that she is pregnant. With Will in New York to try and break the news Sam is left in Seattle.

The morning after an unknown event happens on the West coast of America, which leads to Will and Tom putting aside their differences to drive cross country to try and save Sam from whatever has happened.

 

Thoughts on How It Ends

 

Characters – Will is a lawyer I think, he has a job where he wants to start his own practise, he is dating Samantha and the two are now expecting a baby, when the event happens, he must travel across country with his potential new father-in-law, this character could well be the very worst of the year, he makes SOOOOOOOOOO many terrible decisions along the way, you will actually hate this character by the end of the film. Tom is the father of Samantha, he has spent years in the marines and seemingly is the only prepared for an event like this happening, he wants to keep things together on the journey, willing to do anything to save his daughter. Samantha is the daughter left to experience the event, we don’t know what she has gone through, she offers the motivation to go on the journey. Ricki is the engineer the guys pick up along the way, she offers moments of comedy in what is a serious film.

PerformancesTheo James is an actor that hasn’t struck much gold through the years, mostly because the characters he plays are awful, this is one of his better performances even if you hate his character. Forest Whitaker is good as the one prepared for everything, he gives us the calm persona we know him for. When we look at the rest of the cast we get solid enough performances with the actors doing the best they can with the time they are given.

StoryThe story here follows two men that must travel across America to save their daughter and girlfriend after an unknown event happens off the Western Coast of America. The side of the film that takes us to down the unknown mystery about what happened is the highlight of the story because we get filled with the speculation like you would imagine. As for the journey, well it is basic, travel, bump into group mostly likely trouble and have to figure out how to get out of the situation. This will pass for the fans of the potential end of the world films, even if it doesn’t address just what happened.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is by the book which is the odd chase and gun showdowns, we get to see the idea of an adventure of the two men travelling across the country. The sci-fi side of the film shows us just what would happen if an event could take out a whole coast in an instant.

SettingsThe film takes us on a road-trip after an unknown event, we get to see the back country between the two locations, nothing stands out as memorable even if the shots of the city look bleak.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are solid, they are never turned to, too often and when they do they come off short.


Scene of the Movie –
The visual of Seattle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not knowing what caused the incident.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good idea for a film that doesn’t hit the levels it could do.

 

Overall: Strong idea that just doesn’t hit the marks.

Rating

 

 

Black Panther (2018)

Director: Ryan Coogler

Writer: Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby (Comics)

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Andy Serkis, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Letita Wright, Sterling K Brown

 

Plot: T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.


Tagline – The Avengers have a new king.

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Specular Visual Superhero Movie

 

Story: Black Panther starts after the events of Civil War, T’Challa (Boseman) returns Wakanda to claim his throne as the king of Wakanda after his father’s death. going through the ceremony with the rest of the people including his ex-love Nakia (Nyong’o), most trusted general Okoye (Gurira), little sister Shuri (Wright) and leaders Ramonda (Bassett), Zuri (Whitaker) and W’Kabi (Kaluuya).

Being the new king of Wakanda his first mission is to track down former enemy Ulysses Klaue (Serkis) who is planning to sale a Wakanda weapon which brings back an old friend Everett Ross (Freeman) and a strange who believes he has the right for the throne in Erik Killmonger (Jordan), can this battle be the one that shows T’Challa his rightful place as the king and the Black Panther.

 

Thoughts on Black Panther

 

Characters – T’Challa is the new king of Wakanda, he wants to continue the calm peaceful reign like his father, but will need to face his father’s past to bring the new future for the technological advanced society. He has the expert combat skills, the calmness to be a leader and following rituals like the leaders of his past have. Erik Killmonger is a mercenary that knows he has a right to the throne and will go to any lengths to take the throne. He has an impresses kill count in battle which makes him a deadly enemy. Nakia is the former partner of T’Challa, she returns to support him and wants to see him open the technology of Wakanda to the world after her work as a spy around the world. Okoye is the greatest warrior in Wakanda, she must stay loyal to the throne regardless of if she believes in the leader of not. Shuri is the younger sister of T’Challa, she works on the weapons being the bubbly gadget lady that makes the most jokes and easily steals the scenes she is in. we have plenty of other characters with some being inside Wakanda, others being enemies and others being friends in waiting.

PerformancesChadwick Boseman is wonderful in this leading role, he bought us everything we got from Civil War and made us only want more from his character. Michael B Jordan gives us a great villainous performance that is as complex and he is deadly. Lupita is good in her role as she offers Chadwick a difficult set of decisions. Dania gives us the kick ass character and one we know she can play well. For me Letita Wright is the breakout star from this movie, being able to steal nearly every scene is something that will get people talking. In fairness the whole cast is great throughout the film.

StoryThe story here follows T’Challa and his rise to be the king and the next Black Panther, he must come to face the new challenges of being a leader, be it the conflict within or the conflict from the outside world. He must make the difficult decisions which could bring his people to a new stage to the world. This is a good introduction to this character and his world, which does have moments which you will have seen in other movies, but works enough to make this stand out on its own.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action sequences are wonderful to witness, we have brilliant camera work which will make one certain moment truly seem original and stand out. The adventure takes us to this new world, technology advanced from the rest of the world. The sci-fi world we enter isn’t like anything we could imagine seeing in the middle of the rain forest.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to make every location feel different from the last, this helps us enjoy the environments we are entering.

Special EffectsThe effects can’t be faulted once, they all look spectacular making this one of the best visual experience of the year so far.


Scene of the Movie –
South Korea fight sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I felt moments of comedy missed.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful addition to the MCU, we get to learn more about The Black Panther character and the world he is from, which only makes us want to see more of this in the future.

 

Overall: Brilliant addition that still stands out as one.

Rating