Gary Oldman Weekend – Child 44 (2015)

Director: Daniel Espinosa

Writer: Richard Price (Screenplay) Tom Rob Smith (Novel)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman, Paddy Considine, Jason Clarke, Vincent Cassel, Fares Fares

 

Plot: A disgraced member of the Russian military police investigates a series of child murders during the Stalin-era Soviet Union.


Tagline – How many more must die before the truth is exposed?

Runtime: 2 Hours 17 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burner

 

Story: Child 44 starts as we see how Leo Demidov (Hardy) escaped an orphanage joining the military at a young age, he went on to become a war hero leading his men Alexei (Fares) and Vasili (Kinnaman), after the war he remains in the military making sure the Soviet Union isn’t compromised by anybody who could be against the country.

When one of Alexei’s children is murdered, the country covers it up as an accident, Leo reluctantly starts to investigate and after two more murders, Leo finds himself becoming an enemy of the country, exiled from the capital under General Mikhail Nesterov (Oldman), where the killings continue. Leo continues his investigation which only draws more attention to himself, as murder can’t happen in paradise.

 

Thoughts on Child 44

 

Characters – Leo Demidov was raised an orphan only to escape and become part of a military unit, he spent years within the Russian military rising up the ranks to become one of the most respected men in the military. He remains in the military where he helps keep traitors out of the capital, he soon learns about a string a child murders, which the country wants to cover up, which puts his reputation on the line as he looks to solve them exposing a killer in a country that doesn’t admit to murder. Raisa is the wife of Leo, she has started to become a target for country believing she is a traitor, she is tired of the life within the rules given and must soon start to lie to her husband to stay safe before working with him to solve the case. General Mikhail Nesterov is the man that Leo is sent to serve under, he does notice the trends in the murders and will send Leo out to solve the case. Vasili is one of the soldiers that served next to Leo, he was considered a coward during the war, but after the war he became stricter breaking the rules creating tension between the unit for his behaviour towards prisoners.

PerformancesTom Hardy in the leading role does everything asked of him, he handles each his characters actions, while giving us a solid enough Russian accent throughout. Noomi Rapace continued to grow her reputation as she shows that she can adapt to nearly every role placed on front of her. Gary Oldman brings the experience to the role, though he does fall into the supporting role for too long through the film. The rest of the supporting cast doesn’t make the impact required with their time.

StoryThe story here follows a Russian military man that starts investigating a string of child murders that grab the attention of the country who refuses to admit that murder can happen within it. While we get to see how the investigation becomes deeper with each and every turn, it is the trying to conduct an investigation in a country that simply won’t accept murder that piles on the pressure within the story, see how he must fight his country to stop a serial killer is interesting, even if it is slightly slow at times. We don’t get many suspects because we can’t completely investigate which can hold up that side of the film at times.

Crime/HistoryThe crime side of the film follows the serial killer taking the children, the other side of the crime story comes from how the country was treating people that didn’t follow their strict orders, this does show how the history of the country did hold it back at times.

SettingsThe film is set in Russia and Ukraine, showing how secretive the country was with how they didn’t want to admit anything going on wrong.


Scene of the Movie –
The first kidnapping is creepy as the film gets.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The over slow building.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow moving crime thriller that is more interested in showing the countries strict rules that focus on solving the crime.

 

Overall: Pacing just lets it down.

Rating

 

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – M – Man Down (2015)

Director: Dito Montiel

Writer: Adam G Simon, Dito Montiel (Screenplay) Adam G Simon (Story)

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Jai Courtney, Gary Oldman, Kate Mara, Tory Kittles, Clifton Collins Jr

 

Plot: In a post-apocalyptic America, former U.S. Marine Gabriel Drummer searches desperately for the whereabouts of his son, accompanied by his best friend and a survivor.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Confusing at Times

 

Story: Man Down starts in a post-apocalyptic America as we follow Gabriel Drummer (LaBeouf) and his best friend Devin Roberts (Courtney) searching for Gabriel’s son, we flash back to his marine training through his conversations with Counsellor Peyton (Oldman).

Through the film we learn how Gabriel handled himself in war when he lives his wife Natalie (Mara) and child Johnathan back in America, how he is prepared for this post-apocalyptic world that America is now and how far he would go to get his son back.

 

Thoughts on Man Down

 

Characters – Gabriel is a marine that believed he was fighting for the right thing but when the war came to America when he was away, he must search the destruction in hope of finding his son. Devin is the best friend and marine to Gabriel, he supports him through his missions and search for his son. Counsellor Peyton is the man learning about the mission that went wrong, as we learn that his mindset might not be as clean as we are led to believe.

PerformancesShia LaBeouf is good in this leading role showing a range we have questioned before. Jai Courtney is good in the supporting role showing us there is talent with the right material. Gary Oldman is great and that is how we like him calm and collective.

StoryThe story is told in four parts, as we follow Gabriel in his home life, war time, meetings with a counsellor and in the post-apocalyptic time, these timelines only confuse the story telling process as by the end of it we will find ourselves wondering just what actually happened to these men, what is real and what is not. By the end you will understand what happened but it does make certain parts feeling random, but the true message is important.

ThrillerThe thrilling side of the film does feel slow in places, it shows us certain moments only to make a complete switch in the final act.

SettingsThe settings do help keep us in the different location for each moment of the story, we can identify with each part of the story we are watching too.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act, and how it is shot is beautiful.

That Moment That Annoyed Me A lot of what we see is not as important.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard movie for the most part, it starts being confusing for the first hour but when it unfolds you will be taken back where this movie goes.


Overall: Slow and confusing nearly saved by a wonderful final act.

Rating

 

 

The Unborn (2009)

Director: David S Goyer

Writer: David S Goyer (Screenplay)

Starring: Odette Annable, Gary Oldman, Cam Gigandet, Meagen Good, Idris Elba, Jane Alexander

 

Plot: A young woman fights the spirit that is slowly taking possession of her.


Tagline – Evil will do anything to live.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Fast Paced Horror

 

Story: The Unborn starts when young woman Casey (Annable) starts seeing visions and getting warnings about someone wanting to be born, with her best friend Romy (Good) and her boyfriend Mark (Gigandet) Casey starts to investigate and learns that she did in fact have a twin brother who died in the womb.

When Casey turns to a friend of her mother’s she learns about a spirit that is trying to find his way into the real world and she must turn to Rabbi Sendak (Oldman) for answers and a potential cure from the possession.

 

Thoughts on The Unborn

 

Characters – Casey is a young woman that seems to have a normal life until one day she starts seeing visions, getting strange messages, she must research her past to protect her future, a past that is filled with pain and loss as well as a secret she would never be prepared for. We do follow Casey for most part of this film, the problem with her character is that we don’t learn anything about her before the unusual starts happening, is she a good or bad person, we learn nothing, it just starts with her being visited. Rabbi Sendak is the man Casey must turn to for help, he understands how the exorcizing would need to be done while offering the basic advice to Casey before stepping in himself. Mark is the boyfriend, that is about all we learn about him, he isn’t as supportive of the supernatural side of the events. Romy is the best friend, she will help on everything Casey is going through in an attempt to save her friend from the evil haunting her.

PerformancesOdette Annable is the perfect fit for the leading role, she is a beautiful woman whose life is falling apart, she has a good horror scream and you believe it when she is scared. Gary Oldman, well the guy needs to make money, he does bring class to the role even in his limited role. Cam Gigandet is fine without doing too much Meagan Good gives us the only laughs in the film without being anything great in the supporting role.

StoryThe story here follows one young woman that gets starts getting haunted by visions of a young boy and must figure out how to rid herself of this haunting. This story doesn’t take long to start with us going instantly into the first haunting and this pace doesn’t seem to let off, we are constantly going from moment of scares or explanation to what is causing the haunting. This hinders the story because we don’t get a chance to learn anything about the characters we are meant to be supporting, mostly Casey we know nothing about her or what her everyday life is, making it harder to support her. The story follows the horror genre with ease and is saved by a strong twist ending.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film comes from jump scares, well attempted jump scares, most of the horror happens in the dark and is a small child haunting Casey, it does the basics well, though it won’t get the hardcore horror fan to jump. The mystery is more interesting as we must learn the truth about the haunting which goes in direction you wouldn’t see coming.

SettingsThe film is set in Chicago which only adds to the horror because of the big city feeling to everything Casey is experience showing that even in the biggest crowd people could suffer possessional activity.

Special EffectsThe effects have good moments, we the body folding moments being the highlights of the effects which gives us more towards the horror in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Sofi’s last night.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not learning anything about who or what these people do in everyday life.

Final ThoughtsThis is a basic horror that gets the scares done simply, gives us weakly written characters and could pass the time simply enough.

 

Overall: Simple late night horror.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – C – Criminal (2016)

Director: Ariel Vromen

Writer: Douglas Cook, David Weisberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Ryan Reynolds, Jordi Molla, Gal Gadot, Michael Pitt, Amaury Nolasco, Alice Eve

 

Plot: In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative’s memories, secrets, and skills are implanted into a death-row inmate in hopes that he will complete the operative’s mission.


Tagline –  Take me to the Dutchman.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Moving Action Thriller

 

Story: Criminal starts when CIA agent Bill Pope (Reynolds) is working on bringing The Dutchman (Pitt) to America in exchange for closing the wormhole on the dark web that he has created, the problem is Xavier Heimdahl (Molla) also wants the Dutchman and kills Bill before getting the answers.

Turning to Dr Franks (Jones) for an experimental memory transfer Quaker Wells (Oldman) the head of the CIA operation uses death-row inmate Jerico Stewart (Costner) to learn where the vital information is, but letting a killer lose becomes harder to control than believed.

 

Thoughts on Criminal

 

Characters – Jerico Stewart is the dangerous death-row inmate, we don’t learn what he has done, but anyone that crosses him usually ends up in a body bag. He is forced into receiving Bill’s memories in a hope that he can save a major release of secure information, he doesn’t want to work with the CIA and is happier to operate in his own means. Quaker Wells is running the CIA operation which goes wrong, he will go at any lengths to get the answers he needs to stop the information leak, company man who does go too far. Dr Franks has been working on transferring memories for 18 years, this is his first human attempt which shows how he wants to help with the new memories. Important to the story but lacking the impact he should have on the story. Bill Pope is the family man and CIA agent, it is his memories which hold the answers after he is killed. Xavier Heimdahl wants to bring an end to governments across the world, he will go public with his speeches while also having his darker side coming out when getting what he wants.

PerformancesKevin Coster is in the middle of his recovery/mid-life crisis roles in action movies, he knows how to make his performance work keeping everything entertaining throughout. Gary Oldman as a company man CIA agent, well this always works as he never needs o do anything challenging. Tommy Lee Jones likewise does what he needs to without bringing anything unique to the role. Reynolds is hard to judge because of the smaller part in the film. Jordi Molla does make a good villain showing the calmness needed for the character to feel calculated. Gal Gadot is solid in her supporting role without needing to do much.

StoryThe story gives us the idea that vital information is about to be leaked by a hacker if he doesn’t get a passport and immunity, but things go wrong when the agent with the connection is killed. The experimental idea of transferring memories is put in motion as the candidate doesn’t follow orders the way they had hoped and different agencies from around the globe want the information. This plays out like an action film, but in reality it should have been a tense thriller with the characters we have here. It is an easy to watch and enjoy even if the premise does seem wildly over the top for a simpler idea.

Action/Crime/Mystery/Sci-FiWhen we look at the themes being used action gives us the shoot out we have seen before with a couple of car chases, nothing overly memorable though. The crime world we are placed into shows how the CIA are trying to protect the world from a new threat in London, it seems weird the British intelligence agency are not involved in this. The mystery in this film doesn’t work too well as the only thing needing to be solved is where the package was left. The sci-fi side of the film does come from the idea of transferring the memories, it is only used here though.

SettingsThe film is set in London and the surrounding area, it does feel weird that an American operation happens in England though.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well when needed without being over used for the action scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
Ambulance chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does have a tonal problem with the action and thriller side of things.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid easy to watch action thriller that doesn’t test the audience too much, throws in a wild sci-fi idea and big-name actors hoping it will be a classic.

 

Overall: Easy to watch.

Rating

 

 

Hunter Killer (2018)

Director: Donovan Marsh

Writer: Arne Schmidt, Jamie Moss (Screenplay) George Wallace, Don Keith (Novel)

Starring: Gerald Butler, Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardellini, Zane Holtz, Toby Stephens, Michael Trucco, Ryan McPartlin

 

Plot: An untested American submarine captain teams with U.S. Navy Seals to rescue the Russian president, who has been kidnapped by a rogue general.


Tagline – Courage Runs Deep

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Subline

 

Story: Hunter Killer starts when two submarines are destroyed in Russian waters, one Russian, one American. Captain Joe Glass (Butler) is assigned the captain an American submarine for the first time to investigate what happened. RA John Fisk (Common) is running other operations including sending a marine team to a Russian Naval base.

When the American’s learn the truth that the Russian President is being held captive by the Minister of Defence and the race to stop world war III starting is on, with the mission putting the soldier against the odds.

 

Thoughts on Hunter Killer

 

Characters – Captain Joe Glass is the untested submarine captain who has worked every role on the submarine before and must win over the crew. He gets put on the mission to locate the missing US submarine which takes the crew into enemy water. He must make the difficult decision which needs to stay ahead of the Russian minds while going on a mission that doesn’t have any text books to go to. CJCS Charles Donnegan is the man that wants to get the answer quickest, he doesn’t care if the American’s must go to war to get them, he just wants the situation sorted, he plays into the worse case scenarios for the most part. RA John Fisk is running the operation in search for the missing submarine, he selects Glass, her picks the marines and he makes the difficult decisions from back home, challenge Charles all the way. Jayne comes from the NSA she is willing to share the secrets to get the answers required to make this go away, she is wanting a peaceful resolve of the situation.

PerformancesGerald Butler is strong in the leading role of this film, he has been questioned with his accents in the past, if there are any faults it is barely noticeable. Gary Oldman gets to do a lot of shouting and screaming which is anyone can do well, he is the man who can pull it off without going too over the top. Common does a good enough job in his role, he needs to keep the straight face which doesn’t let him get much wrong. Linda Cardellini is good too, showing us a strong-minded member of the government. We do have a good cast here, we have a lot of actors that you will recognise, and this is one of the final roles for Michael Nygvist.

StoryThe story here follows an US submarine that must go across Russian waters to investigate the missing submarines that were being tracked, the idea of the Russian president is being held by his own people who are looking to start the war, giving the American’s the mission of saving the president before the war begins. This is a tense story to watch because any wrong move could be cataclysmic consequences with the start of World War III. It does have a weakness because it does paint the American’s as the savoir of the world yet again. We do have a lot of different angles showing the story unfolding from the war room, submarine, outside the naval base and inside the base. They do all add up and add to the tension.

ActionThe action in the film comes from different submarines battles and the land mission which shows us military operations.

SettingsThe film keeps us the settings where we need them, either the war room, the submarine or the Russian base, we don’t need to see the other settings which shows us just how the events unfolded.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are a mixed bag, the action scenes are good, it becomes weak for certain moments where you can see the green screen moment.


Scene of the Movie –
The mine field.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There are one too many, ‘just in time’ moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a surprise package of the year, it is a thriller that does keep us on edge waiting to see where things will go and can the world be saved.

 

Overall: Surprise hit of the year.

Rating