ABC Film Challenge – Action – R – RocknRolla (2008)

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Guy Ritchie (Screenplay)

Starring: Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, Mark Strong, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Karel Roden, Toby Kebbell

 

Plot: Lenny Cole, a London mob boss, puts the bite on all local real estate transactions. For substantial fees, he’s helping Uri Omovich, a Russian developer. As a sign of good faith, Omovich loans Cole a valuable painting, promptly stolen off Cole’s wall. While Cole’s men, led by the dependable Archie, look for the canvas, three local petty criminals, the Wild Bunch, steal money from the Russian using inside information from his accountant, the lovely Stella. Meanwhile, a local drug-addled rocker, Johnny Quid, is reported drowned, and his connection to Cole is the key to unraveling the deceits and double crosses of life in the underworld.


Tagline – A story of sex, thugs and rock ‘n roll.

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over Saturated Film

 

Story: RocknRolla starts when One Two (Butler) and Mumbles (Elba) learn the hard way how London mobster Lenny Cole (Wilkinson) operates, needing to collect a large amount of money. Lenny is in the middle of a big deal with a Russian Uri Omovich (Roden) that would be the biggest of his career.

When a piece of art gets stolen Lenny is put under pressure to return the art work to Uri, he turns to his right-hand man Archy (Strong) to get it back, turning to One Two for help as we see how the underworld coming together to get one up on each other.

 

Thoughts on RocknRolla

 

Characters – One Two is the leader of the Wild Bunch, he gets left owing a lot of money within the month and it soon becomes his connections that help with the mystery about where a painting is hiding as he plans to solve his own problems. Mumbles is the best friend in the Wild Bunch, he is the one that One Two turns to for advice through the problems. Lenny Cole is the mobster that runs London, he has everyone in his pocket to get what he wants, with his greed taking over when he can have a deal with a billionaire Russian, though his past could cause the trouble in this deal. Stella is the accountant that has each party doing her dealings, she knows how to have each side in the palm of her hands. Archy is the one telling the story, he has the right-hand man for Lenny and the go between all the different sides of the underworld. In this film we do get too many characters with so many different arcs going on through the film.

PerformancesThe acting in this film is good from the whole cast, we have a large cast which does hinder them from getting a true star turn in this film. Butler, Wilkinson, Newton, Strong, Elba, Hardy all show how they can become good at making moments of impact in shorter scenes.

StoryThe story here follows three levels of mobsters as they deal with a deal gone bad as they are trying to stay ahead of each other, in typical Ritchie storytelling we get thrown all over the place with the story telling and miss the most interesting action aspects of the film. when it comes to the criminal underworld side of the story, we don’t get anything new with generic characters who just go through the emotions that don’t always make us enjoy the characters we are enjoy watching.

Action/CrimeThe action is disappointing because we have scenes which should be good, only Ritchie’s style of shooting chops too much hiding the best parts. The crime world created is good because we see just how many different levels of the crime world we are entering.

SettingsThe film is set in London which is good for the film because if these type of deals are happening it would need to be in a busy city location like London.


Scene of the Movie –
Sporting goods fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The action editing.

Final ThoughtsThis is your typical British gangster film, it has its own flair which can help and hinder the film at times, we have too many characters to stay on top of which only disappoints with the storytelling process.

 

Overall: Typical mobster movie.

Rating

 

 

Den of Thieves (2018)

Director: Christian Gudegast

Writer: Christian Gudegast (Screenplay) Christian Gudegast, Paul Scheuring (Story)

Starring: Gerard Butler, Pablo Schreiber, O’Shea Jackson Jr, 50 Cent, Meadow Williams, Maurice Compte, Brian Van Holt

 

Plot: A gritty crime saga which follows the lives of an elite unit of the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. and the state’s most successful bank robbery crew as the outlaws plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gritty Heist Movie

 

Story: Den of Thieves starts as we see how Merrimen (Schreiber) operates with his team, second in command Enson (50 Cent) and new comer driver Donnie Wilson (Jackson Jr) as they pull off their latest job, investigating this is major crimes officer Big Nick O’Brien (Butler) and his team, they don’t take prisoners, they take bodies.

After the opening heist the two sides know their enemy and Nick brings Donnie in to bring in to learn the plan, while Merrimen is planning the biggest heist ever heard off, the Federal Reserve Bank, will they manage to pull this off.

 

Thoughts on Den of Thieves

 

Characters – Big Nick is the leader of a major crime unit that is suffering with his own addiction, he goes outside the law to get answers and never plays by the rules, he is a good leader and seems to be the only cop in town that can think outside the box. Ray Merrimen is the leader of the heist team, former marine and prisoner that plans his heist down to perfection with his team, he will not go down without swinging. Donnie is the newest member of the team, hired for his driving skills, that he gets forced to work both sides by Big Nick or face jail for a third time.

PerformancesGerard Butler is on fine form here, this could easily be his best performance in years, yes this isn’t anything he can’t handle, but still he knows how to handle it. Pablo Schreiber is an actor I hadn’t heard off before, he does a good job opposite Butler, but his performance does feel like he needs to be a strong member of a team over the leader. O’Shea Jackson Jr is good in his role showing that he is going to be a name for years to come.

StoryThe story follows both sides of the law, the team preparing the heist and the police trying to figure out what the next target is. This work because we get to see both mindsets, but as both sides of the law are being painted as bad guy it makes it hard to support either side of them and this is affected with the opening sequence too. The twists that come in the story are going to be something that are not going to be too difficult to point out. This does however become an entertaining viewing experience.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action sequences are very good, even if they are mostly big gun battles in the busy streets. The crime side of the film is how the heist unfolds which does help with the mystery side of the film as we see how it all unfolds.

SettingsLA is the setting, which is meant to have the highest bank robbery rating in the country, this works for the busy streets and divide between the sides of the city.

Special EffectsThe effects are very good when it comes to showing off the bullet effects which are brutal as you could imagine.


Scene of the Movie –
The final heist, it might be long, but it is edge of you seat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The opening sequence ruins us caring about the thieves.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good gritty heist movie, it rolls past with an over two hour run time and keeps us guessing until the final scene.

 

Overall: Great action crime movie.

Rating

 

 

Butterfly on a Wheel (2007)

Director: Mike Barker

Writer: William Morrissey (Screenplay)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Maria Bello, Gerard Butler, Emma Karwandy, Claudette Mink

 

Plot: A perfect family’s dynamic is ruined by a kidnapper’s brutally efficient plot.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Thriller

 

Story: Butterfly on a Wheel starts as we meet successful business man Neil Randall (Butler) and his wife Abby (Bello) live their perfect little life where everything is comfortable for them, with Neil on the verge of a promotion to partner, the two head off the weekend.

The weekend takes a turn for the worse when Tom Ryan (Brosnan) holds the couple hostage with one of his partners keeping their daughter as a bargaining tool. Tom makes the two follow tasks around the city as we learn the motives of Tom’s ideas.

 

Thoughts on Butterfly on a Wheel

 

Characters/PerformanceNeil is an advertising man, family man but distant husband, he is about to get a promotion for all his hard work but once he is forced into playing the games we see his true nature unfold. Abby is the wife of Neil who has given up her career but with a new chance to start she finds herself being forced into playing the games. Tom is the man behind the games, he is forcing the couple to do everything he wants but the question remains why? This air of mystery makes him a very interesting character.

Performance wise, Brosnan is great as the cold-hearted man behind what is going on, Maria Bello is good too through the film showing she can be part of the leading lady in the film and Butler is strong throughout.

StoryThis story does follow the trends of the how far would you go to save your daughter routine, this does leave us with a good mystery about what we are expecting and happy to throw a twist or two our way. I feel the final twist is the saving grace of the film because we must rethink everything we have seen which is always a nice feeling with a film.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime side of this is kidnapping and abducting which work perfectly for the story and we are kept on edge through the film wondering just what are the motives.

SettingsEach setting unfolds to tell us the truth about what has been happening which works as we learn pieces of the puzzle.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller that went under the radar, it is a good watch and one well worth watching if you are a thriller fan.

 

Overall: Enjoyable thriller with plenty of twists.

Rating

 

 

Matthew McConaughey Weekend – Reign of Fire (2002)

reignDirector: Rob Bowman

Writer: Gregg Chabot, Kevin Peterka, Matt Greenberg (Screenplay) Gregg Chabot, Kevin Peterka (Story)

Starring: Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, Izabella Scorupco, Gerard Butler, Scott Moutter, David Kennedy, Alexander Siddig

 

Plot: A brood of fire-breathing dragons emerges from the earth and begins setting everything ablaze, establishing dominance over the planet.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fire Breathingly Good

 

Story: Reign of Fire starts when dragons come back from beyond the grave taking over the Earth once more and in the year 2020 Quinn (Bale) keeps a small group of survivor’s safe underground from the dragons with his trusted best friend Creedy (Butler).

When the times are getting tough a squad of American soldiers led by Denton Van Zan (McConaughey) who have been hunting dragons arrive on the scene and with the new information and weaponry we could see the end of the dragon problem the world is facing.

Reign of Fire takes us into a battle between humans and dragons and the dragons are winning this one at the moment. This is what the story is really about how the humans will need to fight back to win this one and continue in this world. We have seen this used in the alien genre and this one brings fresh breath to the idea that it is the dragons a creature of mystery that could be the threat. Everything is easy to watch without really challenging us.

 

Actor Review

 

Christian Bale: Quinn was the first person to see a dragon as a young boy and after luckily escaping he now leads a group of survivors who are just looking to survive the dragon controlled world. He thinks he always knows best and doesn’t want to risk anything in making the dragon numbers decrease. Christian is good in this role where he gets to see him as the hero of the piece.

Matthew McConaughey: Denton Van Zan is an American soldier who has been hunting dragons with his squad but knows the numbers are getting smaller on the human side, he wants to end the dragons once and for all and pushes Quinn into helping. Matthew plays a character fully out of character for himself where he does a good job in this role.

Izabella Scorupco: Alex is the pilot on Denton’s team she has learnt that there could only be one male dragon and killing this dragon could mean winning the war. Izabelle is solid in this role but doesn’t have that one scene for impact.

Gerard Butler: Creedy is the loyal friend to Quinn who has helped keep the community safe when Quinn let things get out of hand. He keeps the kids safe but isn’t the strongest in combat. Gerard is solid in this supporting role where he could easily be the lead if this was made now.

Support Cast: Reign of Fire has a supporting cast that doesn’t really offer too much to the main story with most just being introduced to die or give a few words of encouragement to Quinn.

Director Review: Rob BowmanRob gives us what I would like to consider a bit of a forgotten gem in the sci-fi fantasy genre.

 

Action: Reign of Fire has breath-taking action sequence when it comes to fighting the dragons.

Fantasy: Reign of Fire puts us square in the middle of a world where dragons are real and have taken over the world, bringing a fantasy character back from the land of myths.

Sci-Fi: Reign of Fire shows a world destroyed by an enemy the humans couldn’t fight without having to deal with destruction.

Settings: Reign of Fire has settings which looks like that have all be destroyed by fire during the war.
Special Effects
: Reign of Fire has great effects when it comes to the dragon attacks even if we do have a couple of moments that have dated the attacks look terrifying.

Suggestion: Reign of Fire is one for all the sci-fi fantasy fans to go back and visit. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Dragon attacks.

Worst Part: Denton’s actions are at times strange.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $60 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: They’re extremely intelligent. Highly evolved. And they don’t like sharing the planet.

 

Overall: Enjoyable dragon based ci-fi fantasy.

Ratingcard

 

 

The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

casting card

 

Plot: A young soprano becomes the obsession of a disfigured musical genius who lives beneath the Paris Opéra House.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Opera Adaptation

 

Story: The Phantom of the Opera starts at an auction at the theatre before we see Madame Giry (Richardson) flashback to the times when the mythical phantom turned up. We see the theatre being sold to Firmin (Hinds) and Andre (Callow) as well as them losing their star attraction Carlotta (Driver).

Facing huge financial loss on the first night they must find a replacement and Christine (Rossum) save the shows with her mesmerizing performance that even caught the attention of the Phantom (Butler). The Phantom takes Christine to his home under the theatre to confess his love for her ability while Raoul (Wilson) must wait another time to win her heart.

When Christine witness with the Phantom he starts demanding how the next show will be run or a disaster will fall on the theatre. While his obsession continues to grow their lives will clash to decide their own futures.

The Phantom of the Opera is one of the most classically loved operas of all time and this is an honest version to make it into a film style adding the effects you could never do on stage. This is one of the love stories that will always be put on the same levels as Romeo and Juliet which is always is one I would like to think people would have heard off. Having never seen but knowing the basic story I feel this does everything really well that people will enjoy.

 

Actor Review

 

Gerard Butler: The Phantom is running the theatre from the shadows demanding the managers follow his rules while becoming fascinated by the next big opera singer Christine and making her the star of the show. He is scared to come out of the shadows because of his disfigurement and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty to get what he wants. Gerard is great in this role even if part of the singing comes off  compared to the rest of the cast.phantom

Emmy Rossum: Christine is the ballet girl given the chance to become the lead in the opera where she stuns the crowd and the Phantom who demands she will always be the lead in the opera. She goes on to have a romance with her old friend Raoul which leads to an engagement but the Phantom has other ideas. Emmy is great in this role where she stands up against the more established stars.

Patrick Wilson: Raoul has returned to the city where he has fallen in love with the beautiful Christine and after he wins her heart he must find a way to stop the Phantom taking over the life. Patrick is great in this role showing he has musical side to his abilities.

Miranda Richardson: Madame Giry runs the ballet side of the theatre who has a past with the Phantom being the one that bought him into the theatre in the first place and it is her one of many looking back at the tragedy at the theatre. Miranda is good in this supporting role.

Support Cast: The Phantom of the Opera has brilliant supporting cast that make you are in the opera with the rest of the cast.

Director Review: Joel SchumacherJoel gives us some beautiful shot moments that bring this opera to life for us all as a treat.

 

Musical: The Phantom of the Opera is one of the most famous ever, and this does it all justice.

Romance: The Phantom of the Opera brings us into a romantic story where we see how obsession can become dangerous.

Settings: The Phantom of the Opera has stunning settings for everything to take place in making us feel like we are part of the film.
Special Effects
: The Phantom of the Opera has great effects to make everything happen through the film.

Suggestion: The Phantom of the Opera is one for all the musical fans to enjoy watching, if you are not of fan of musicals this will become hard to enjoy. (Musical Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Settings look fantastic.

Worst Part: Slightly long.

Romantic Moment: Final Act.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 3 Oscars

Budget: $70 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

Tagline: Listen to the Music of the Night

 

Overall: Spectacular musical

Ratingcard