Braven (2018)

Director: Lin Oeding

Writer: Thomas Pa’a Sibbett (Screenplay) Michael Nilon, Thomas Pa’a Sibbett (Story)

Starring: Jason Momoa, Garret Dillahunt, Jill Wagner, Stephen Land, Sasha Rossof, Sala Baker, Fraser Aitcheson


Plot: A logger defends his family from a group of dangerous drug runners.

Tagline – They threatened his world. He will destroy theirs.

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Action 101


Story: Braven starts as we meet everyday nice guy Joe Braven (Momoa) who is caring for his aging father Linden (Lang), while having a family of his own with wife Stephanie (Wagner) and daughter Charlotte (Rossof). In an attempt to help his father with a difficult decision, Joe takes him to their remote cabin, with Charlotte sneaking along.

Joe will have to defend his family however, after a drug transport goes wrong and the drug runners use his cabin to hide their merchandise. The kingpin behind the drugs Kassen (Dillahunt) arrives in town to clean up the mistake which sees him going face to face with Joe.


Thoughts on Braven


Characters – Joe is a good man, he has always looked after his family and worked hard, he is in need of making a difficult decision regarding his father, whose mental health is getting worse. With this moment being his main focus, it isn’t long before he learns his family is in danger from drug runners and his must defend them at any cost. Kassen is the leader of the drug runners, he isn’t afraid to kill anyone who gets in his way and shows that he is the brains of the operation. He doesn’t like to leave a mess behind. Stephanie is Joe’s wife, she is the only family member not at the cabin, while he is worried about what is happening once she learns their daughter has snuck away. Linden is Joe’s father, a war veteran whose memory is going, he gets himself in trouble around town because of this, but when conflict occurs, he will show not everything in his mind is gone.

PerformancesJason Momoa in the leading role is great, he has the physical presence required for this role, while also looking vulnerable when it comes to what is happening, to make his performance complete he gets to show the emotional impact while caring for his father. Garret Dillahunt is an actor that can play the twisted villain and always has been underused in this side of films, here he gets to shine once again. Jill Wagner doesn’t get as much to do in this film but what she does do is good, while Stephen Lang brings the experience required to the film.

StoryThe story here is very simple, it is a man trying to protect his family from drug runners, this is all we need for an action film at times, we do have a side story about how Joe is coping with his father’s mental state which is getting worse, which is one of the serious moments within the story. The idea that one man will take out a squad of drug runners is one we have seen before, it does work and is easy to watch from a story side of things.

ActionThe action comes from the use of environment to stay ahead of an enemy, while having the typical shootouts which we have become a custom to. Nothing is overly complicated with the fights and we do know how they will end though.

SettingsThe film takes place in and around a remote cabin in the snowy mountains, this provides the isolation in which a drug deal could take place, but we also get to use the environment to give Joe the advantage.

Scene of the Movie –
The final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The cops pretty useless.

Final Thoughts – This is an enjoyable simple to watch action film, it gets everything it needs to right without going over the top at any point.


Overall: Enjoyable action.




ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – J – Just Before I Go (2014)

Director: Courteney Cox

Writer: David Flebotte (Screenplay)

Starring: Seann William Scott, Olivia Thirlby, Garret Dillahunt, Kate Walsh, Kyle Gallner, Mackenzie Marsh


Plot: On the verge of giving up on life, a guy travels to his hometown to make amends.

Tagline – Ending it all was only the beginning.
Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Moving Story


Story: Just Before I Go starts as Ted Morgan (Scott) fills in the reasons why he returned home to kill himself, the average life he has been living and the recent break up, first he wants to return home to confront the people that pushed him back in his hometown, before he goes.

Staying with his brother Lucky (Dillahunt) and his family, he sets his plan in motion until he meets Greta (Thirlby) who wants to document this situation.


Thoughts on Just Before I Go


Characters – Ted Morgan was a dreamer in high school, but he was bullied and as soon as he was old enough he left town, he lived a normal life, in a normal employment role, but after his wife cheats on him, he decides he wants to confront his past before killing himself. Ted is the average man that never became the guy he thought he would, middle-aged and alone facing a reality he doesn’t want to be here anymore. Greta is a stranger to Ted, she wants to record document the motivation behind Ted’s choice and to try and help him find a direction. Lucky is the older brother that never put his arm around his younger brother when he was younger. This movie has wonderful characters that have affected Ted’s life in different ways.

PerformancesSeann William Scott is an actor I grew up watching his comedies, but he seemed to fade away, this performance seems to be a career highlight for him, he keeps everything calm through the film which is something that is important for this role and something new for him. Olivia Thirlby is great in the supporting role too which is the type of role we can see her doing a lot. Garret is an actor you can always find in good supporting roles and this is no different.

StoryThe story here follows one man who sees his life going nowhere and wants to face his past before killing himself, this is a simple side to everything, we end up dealing with a lot of everyday issues about treating people equally, dealing with the fine line between loneliness and emptiness, as well as showing that other people close to you will have their own problems. For me this is one of the most underrated stories I have seen and having been through elements of these issues I could relate to as well.

ComedyThe movie has moments of comedy, but doesn’t rely on the comedy which is something I was happy with, the drama was the main part of the film.

SettingsThe film takes our character back to his own home town which shows how many people might not leave and still make a life for themselves, the settings work for the going down memory lane.

Scene of the Movie –
On top of the world.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The sister-in-law is difficult to talk seriously and we don’t need her weakness.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that hit home hard for me, I can understand Ted’s mentality and difficulties which makes this a film I wish more people could see.


Overall: Must watch for anyone that has had a hard time.




Wheelman (2017)

Director: Jeremy Rush

Writer: Jeremy Rush (Screenplay)

Starring: Frank Grillo, Caitlin Carmichael, Garret Dillahunt, Wendy Moniz, Shea Whigman


Plot: A getaway driver for a bank robbery realizes he has been double crossed and races to find out who betrayed him.

Tagline – Think Fast. Drive Faster.

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Fun Real-Time Action Film


Story: Wheelman starts when the latest job for the man only known as Wheelman (Grillo), he gets to and from the robberies and is one of the best in the business. When the job is being done, Wheelman gets a phone call warning him that the crew will kill him after the job, forcing him to make the decision on whether to leave the crew or not.

Leaving the crew Wheelman is stuck in the middle of trying to figure out who he should trust, who to give the money to and how to stay alive this night.


Thoughts on Wheelman


Characters – Wheelman is our central character, he is every scene, we know he is an ex-con trying to keep some custody for his daughter, he is on his latest job, which doesn’t go as planned, leaving him needing to figure out what he has gotten himself into. Most of the characters come through phone calls, one being his connection, another being his daughter and two being either side of the arguments.

PerformancesFrank Grillo in the leading role carries the film, if he gave us a bad performance we would be seeing a very different movie, he feels like he could be a lead in any action crime film. the rest of the cast are mostly on the phone with the odd scene, so it is hard to judge their work.

StoryThe story is simple, a driver finds himself in the middle of a mob war when he is involved in a bank robbery, he must use his driving skills to keep ahead of the game as he looks to figure out who is the side to trust. This does keep us guessing along the way which does keep us invested in where things will go.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action is good car chases, we watch them unfold from the lead car which we stay in through the whole film, the shows us where the crime has taken place and the mystery surrounding who to trust.

SettingsThe film is set from with the car around the city, most views are car views of the city which is nice, we see what the driver sees.

Scene of the Movie –
Losing the tail.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It can feel like the same after seeing the first chase.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good action film to watch if you have the time, it won’t challenge you much, but will keep you entertained throughout.


Overall: Action film fans to enjoy.




Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Burning Bright (2010)

burningDirector: Carlos Brooks

Writer: Christine Coyle Johnson, Julie Prendiville Roux (Screenplay) David Higgins, Christine Coyle Johnson, Julie Prendiville Roux (Story)

Starring: Garret Dillahunt, Briana Evigan, Charlie Tahan, Peggy Sheffield, Mary Rachel Dudley


Plot: A thriller centered on a young woman and her autistic little brother who are trapped in a house with a ravenous tiger during a hurricane.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Best Trapped in a House with Tiger?


Story: Burning Bright starts as we see reckless spending step-father Johnny (Dillahunt) buy himself a tiger to start his own safari park. We also meet his step-daughter Kelly (Evigan) who is about to go off to college but first must find someone to care for her autistic brother Tom (Tahan) but her plan has gone out the window after Johnny spends all her money.

With an inbound hurricane Kelly is facing the reality of losing her scholarship to raise her brother but her day is only going to get worst when she finds herself boarded inside the house with her brother and the tiger. No escape available Kelly must do all she can to protect her brother for the night.

Burning Bright is one of those really easy to watch horror thrillers because it doesn’t get over complicated or bogged down on with too many characters. We have the traditional story of how far one person will have to go to survive which is important for the story. we get to see how difficult it is for Kelly because of her brother’s disability and we all know Briana Evigan has become a bit of a modern day horror actress this shows how far she has come.


Overall: Good Horror Thriller that is an easy watch for all the fans out there.




Jeff Daniels Weekend – Looper (2012)

looperDirector: Rian Johnson

Writer: Rian Johnson (Screenplay)

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo, Jeff Daniels, Garret Dillahunt


Plot: In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits – someone like Joe – who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by sending back Joe’s future self for assassination.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Best Modern Time Travel Thriller


Story: Looper starts with Joe (Gordon-Levitt) giving us the world he is living in, in the year 2044.  Joe is known as a Looper a man who is assigned to kill people sent back in time by the bosses in the future where time travel now exists. Joe along with his other Loopers including Seth (Dano) enjoy the life of parties, drinks, drugs and girls but they also know that when their time is up they will kill their future selves gaining a payday.

When Seth’s time comes to close his Loop he freezes and learns that a man known as the rainmaker is in the future closing all of the loops, but worse for Seth he lets his future self-escape and turns to Joe for help. Joe gets summoned to the crime boss Ade (Daniels) who is from the future to answer questions on Seth but this does leave Joe one of the remaining Loopers left.

Joe’s life is turned upside down when it is his turn to clean up his loop only for older Joe (Willis) to be ready for him and ready to escape, but he is hell bent on revenge for the criminals who killed his wife in the future and sent him back, cutting it all out at source as he looks for the child who would become the Rainmaker. Younger Joe has to hunt down his older self in order to fix everything only to himself hiding out with Sara (Blunt) and her child Cid (Gagnon) who happens to be one of the names on the list.

With all the angles set up we get to see how both Joe’s go about their plans with Ade and his hungry to impress hitman Kid Blue (Segan) trying to track them down.

Looper is a time travel film that manages to skip over all the techno talk giving us a personal story. We get a revenge story that pushes boundaries that you will have never seen before with the person out for revenge needing to kill a child. We also get a story about stepping out of the party life to grow up and see where the world is going. We also show how one mother will do anything to save her son along with a crime boss trying to keep everything covered up. Mixing these story elements together keep everything fresh from start to finish for the genre.


Actor Review


Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Joe is our leading looper, the youngest ever hired and the last to have his loop closed in the future. When he fails to kill his older self he is forced to track him down and help him discover who this Rainmaker really is while escaping from his criminal life. Joseph gives us a great performance in the leading role.joe

Bruce Willis: Old Joe is the man Joe doesn’t kill who has come back in time to kill the child version of the man who killed his wife in the future. He has to teach Joe how to stay alive while he completes his mission of revenge which is one of the darkest for a hero in film. Bruce gives us one of his best performance in recent years which is saying something.old joe

Emily Blunt: Sara is the mother of Cid, one of the children Older Joe has come back to kill, but this is the one that young Joe has come to protect. The two strike up an unlikely friendship to protect Cid. Emily shows here she is ready to become one of the strongest actresses in the action/sci-fi genre.sara

Jeff Daniels: Abe is the crime boss in the city that controls the Loopers, he will never hold back when it comes to dealing with mistakes and has all his men out looking for both versions of Joe. Jeff does give us a good performance in this supporting role, being dark when needed and friendly when the character requires it.abe

Noah Segan: Kid Blue is the wannabe hot shot working for Abe, he always makes a fool of himself but it determined to prove himself to Abe in the search for Joe. Noah gives us the funniest performance where his character just always seems to do something wrong.

Support Cast: Looper has a good supporting cast that all give us good performances with Paul Dano shinning in his role.

Director Review: Rian JohnsonRian continues to show he is a great director capable of creating his own style on each genre.


Action: Looper has great action when needed that is all built up well.

Crime: Looper puts us in a crime world where we see a new way of dealing with the problems they are having.

Sci-Fi: Looper enters the time travel genre which never gets over complicated which is a big plus in time travel genre.

Thriller: Looper keeps us guessing to what will happen next throughout.

Settings: Looper creates a future world that isn’t too farfetched which helps us see how things could change slowly.
Special Effects
: Looper uses great special effects when needed, with the highlight being the Seth chasing.

Suggestion: Looper is one of the must watch films for time travel fans. (Watch)


Best Part: Cid shows his powers.

Worst Part: Time Travel films always have slight plot hole problems.

Action Scene Of The Film: Older Joe meets Abe.

Oh My God Moment: Old Seth running out of time.

Favourite Quote: Older Joe ‘I don’t want to talk about time travel because if we start talking about it then we’re going to be here all day talking about it, making diagrams with straws.’


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

Tagline: Face your future. Fight your past.


Overall: Time Travel film with a slick style that will keep us wanting more