James Bond Weekend – Die Another Day (2002)

Director: Lee Tamahori

Writer: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade (Screenplay)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, Rosamund Pike, Rick Yune, Judi Dench, John Cleese

 

Plot: James Bond is sent to investigate the connection between a North Korean terrorist and a diamond mogul, who is funding the development of an international space weapon.


Tagline – Events don’t get any bigger than..

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Weakest of Brosnan’s Bonds

 

Story: Die Another Day starts as James Bond (Brosnan) is captured by the North Korean army, he is tortured for 14 months before getting traded back for brother of man he was training to capture Zao (Yune). Taken off duty, James goes solo in search for Zao, which sees him meet Jinx (Berry) who is on her own secret mission against Zao.

The investigation leads James towards the diamond trade, with Gustav Graves (Stephens) becoming the main focus of the investigation, Gustav has a huge reputation and soon James gets close to learn what his master plan is all about.

 

Thoughts on Die Another Day

 

Characters – James Bond finds himself captured in this outing, tortured for months for information, never giving up any secrets. Once he is traded, he is taken off active duty, but wants to go in search of the man traded for him, it shows him working more covertly trying to take down Gustav, who he believes will lead him to his target. Jinx is the mysterious stranger that James meets on his mission, she is on her own mission against Zao. Gustav Graves is a diamond mogul that has risen to fame with a brand-new secret project in the works, this has captured the attention of James who is in search of his secret. Miranda Frost is the PR woman for Gustav, she is also undercover from MI6 one of her first missions.

PerformancesPierce Brosnan does everything right in his role, he never looks out of place in what would be his final outing. Halley berry brings us a much strong American performance which was needed after the last film. Toby Stephens makes for a basic Bond villain, he does have to play a slightly more complicated role than we have seen before. Rosamund Pike does the best she can with her role, she does get a fight sequence though.

StoryThe latest adventure of James Bond takes things to a darker tone than before, because we see how he is captured and held for a long period of time, no easy escape meaning he will need to figure out how to get his payback once he is released, which sees him hunting down a diamond mogul. This does continue our trend of James needing to work with someone to stop the villainous plan, everything tends to play out as you would imagine, with the only part that feels fresh being the idea that James isn’t easily freed from his captive state.

Action/AdventureThe action here is mixed to say the least, when we have the practical action this is entertaining and even the best scenes in the movie, when we get to the CGI moments it is horrible to watch.

SettingsThe film does return to the exotic location with Cuba and Iceland being the stand out locations of the film.

Special EffectsThis is the first Bond film where the effects need to be discussion because we have some of the worst you will ever see in any film, the tidal wave scene and the invisible car just look pathetic.

Scene of the Movie – Ice car chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me That Tidal Wave.

Final ThoughtsThis is another film in he Bond franchise that just doesn’t deliver, it has some entertaining action sequences, but the CGI moments almost make moments laughable.

 

Overall: Disappointing Another Day

Rating

 

 

John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum (2019)

Director: Chad Stahelski

Writer: Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, Marc Abrams (Screenplay)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Ian McShane, Jason Mantzoukas, Said Taghmaoui, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne, Anjelica Huston, Mark Dacascos

 

Plot: Super-assassin John Wick is on the run after killing a member of the international assassin’s guild, and with a $14 million price tag on his head – he is the target of hit men and women everywhere.


Tagline – If you want peace, prepare for war

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brutally Brilliant

 

Story: John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum starts right where the last film ended, John Wick (Reeves) has one hour before the bounty on his head becomes live reluctantly by Winston (McShane), John searches for a way to escape which sees him turning to old connections including The Director (Huston) and Sofia (Berry).

With John searching for safety or redemption, The Adjudicator (Dillon) is set to punish the people that helped John commit the kill in the previous film, with her chosen assassin Zero (Dacascos) proving to be one of the toughest enemies John has ever faced.

 

Thoughts on John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum

 

Characters – John Wick is the world known assassin that broke the codes put in place, this sees him become the target this time with everybody wanting to hunt him down and cash in on his bounty. John does have connections which will see him stay ahead of the problems before he needs to make his own stand against the table. Sofia is from John’s past, she is the manager of another hotel who will help John because of what he did for her in the past, she is just as deadly of an assassin working hand in hand with her dogs, she is a character we want to see more of even if it is her own movie. Winston is the manager of the hotel in New York, he has run the place for 40 years and is reluctant to put the hit out on John, his delay will see him facing consequences of his action, but he is calm and always has a plan. Bowery King is a character we met last film, he has the ears of on the streets, left needing to honour the decision to go for the hit on John, he will also need to face actions for his decision to help John. Zero is the new assassin chosen to lead the battle against anybody that has help John, he has waited for this chance to get his hands on John to prove himself in combat. The Adjudicator has arrived to clean up the mess which led to John being able to kill inside the walls of the hotel, she is sent to punish anyone that helped John with the kill. Charon is the loyal member of the hotel that welcomes the guests and gets to step up when needed. The Director is one of the people John turns too, she does have a connection to his past which will be key to his escape.

PerformancesKeanu Reeves is fantastic once again in this role, he has made this character truly iconic in the action genre, with the effortless ability to step into the countless fight sequences. Halle Berry enters the franchise and gets one of the most memorable sequences, only wanting to see more from her character. Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne and Lance Riddick continue to excel in the supporting roles, while Anjelica Huston adds to this list with ease. Mark Dacascos is a wonderful fighting villain, he even gets moments of comedy that don’t feel forced in anyway. Asia Kate Dillon is arguable the least known star in this film, she brings the a-game to shining in this role which shows authority and calmness through the film.

StoryThe story does pick up right where the last one left, showing us what happens next to John Wick when he becomes the target for all the fellow assassins in the world. This does continue to build the world that we have seen growing, showing how people can operate within the world. the story does follow John Wick facing endless amounts of enemies, connect to former contacts hoping they will honour their loyalty over the code, hoping to find a way to end the waves of enemies heading his way. The story does show how other characters have been affected by the actions in the previous film too, while also bringing in new characters with ease.

Action This is one of the purest, most brutal action films you will ever see, the fight sequences are breath-taking and you will see each and every blow giving out.

SettingsThe film uses the settings wonderfully, be it the New York, the hotel and even outside the city where John must visit for help.

Special EffectsThe effects are brutal as you end up seeing the wounds inflicted through the film, some even might make you wince that little bit.


Scene of the Movie –
John & Sofia double team fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me John getting a taxi in New York at half five and being confused about the traffic.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the greatest third instalments in any action film, it is a must watch for fans of the originals and makes the trilogy feel complete.

 

Overall: Must Watch Action Film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – F – Frankie & Alice (2010)

Director: Geoffrey Sax

Writer: Cheryl Edwards, Marko King, Mary King, Jonathan Watters, Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse (Screenplay) Oscar Janiger, Philip Goldberg, Cheryl Edwards (Story)

Starring: Halle Berry, Stellan Skarsgard, Phylicia Rashad, Chandra Wilson, Alex Diakun, Joanne Baron

 

Plot: A drama centered on a go-go dancer with multiple personality disorder who struggles to remain her true self and begins working with a psychotherapist to uncover the mystery of the inner ghosts that haunt her.


Tagline – Inspired by an amazing true story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Drama, Lacking Casual Appeal

 

Story: Frankie & Alice starts as we meet go-go dancer Frankie (Berry) the most popular girl in the club who starts having strange episodes in her life, moments when she starts to believe she is a white woman. Oz (Skarsgard) a psychologist takes Frankie in and starts to try and figure out what is going on inside Frankie’s head.

Losing her job and finding herself in trouble with the law, Frankie must turn to Oz to help her by checking her in for 30-days to start with and soon they start to get to the bottom of everything.

 

Thoughts on Frankie & Alice

 

Characters – Frankie is a stripper that is the most popular girl in the club, she can have any guy she wants and usually gets them. One day she starts getting black outs where we see she becomes a different person, which only leaves who losing her job and running out of money. Seeking help, she learns she has multiple personality disorder and now she needs help to understand how to get this under control. Oz is the psychologist that is sees the problems in Frankie’s head and works against the trends to help her even if the rest of the doctors don’t believe things are real.

PerformancesHalle Berry is great in this leading role, she takes on the 3 personalities and makes each one feel unique for the difference in their characteristics. Stellan Skarsgard in a doctor role, he is always going to be one of the great doctor figures on the big screen. When we look at the rest of the cast we don’t get too many performers that standout in anyway.

StoryThe story here follows one woman that starts to lose her mind when the multiple personalities in her head start taking over, one doctor will try to help her unlock the past she has locked up to create these personalities. This is based on a real woman and doctor that worked together and it shows us just how committed doctors can be to solve a problem which others will dismiss, we get to see how misdiagnosis can cause bigger problems in life, but once you learn the truth you can put everything together to live a happy life. We knew this going in, this was never going to have an unhappy ending, but we should face the reality that certain people would have not made it through this. This story does show an important sign to help deal with mental health which could see people struggle through different times in life and tells us all we shouldn’t be afraid to get help.

BiopicThis shows us two real people, Frankie is an incredible and tragic story which has been hidden behind the personalities created in her mind and the doctor that would do anything to help her control them.

SettingsSet in the late 60’s we get an authentic feel for every scene of the movie, the divides in the neighbourhoods and the class difference between the rich and poor.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This isn’t going to be for a causal movie fan.

Final ThoughtsThis is an important look at deal with mental health in the 60s how certain doctors would push it aside while others tackled it head on, the story of Frankie shows us how we could understand a person going through such horrors could create these personalities.

 

Overall: Important and brave message.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Flintstones (1994)

Director: Brian Levant

Writer: Tom S Parker, Jim Jennewein, Steve E de Souza (Screenplay)

Starring: John Goodman, Elizabeth Perkins, Rick Moranis, Rosie O’Donnell, Kyle MacLachlan, Halle Berry, Elizabeth Taylor

 

Plot: In this live-action feature of the cartoon show, Fred Flintstone finally gets the job he’s always wanted, but it may just come at a price.


Tagline – Yabba-dabba-doo it!

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Film

 

Story: The Flintstones starts as we jump into Bedrock the place we loved as the cartoon, Fred Flintstone (Goodman) helps out his best friend Barney Rubble (Moranis) adopt Bam Bam their first child, in return Barney secretly swaps test scores with Fred leading to Fred getting a promotion to vice President.

Fred finds himself in a role he isn’t prepared for as he is being used by Cliff Vandercave (MacLachlan) who wants to use Fred to get away with stealing from the company and leaving Fred to take the blame, it isn’t long before the two families friendship put to the test.

 

Thoughts on The Flintstones

 

Characters – Fred Flintstone is the loveable idiot with a heart of gold, he works in the quarry, enjoys bowling and always has Barney for company, in this adventure he ends up in a role he can’t handle and his friendship being tested. Barney Rubble is the best friend of Fred’s that helps Fred get a promotion only to suffer the consequences, he wants to keep it a secret which will ruin the friendship. Wilma and Betty are the wives that support in the places with Cliff Vandercave being the typical business minded villain.

PerformancesJohn Goodman in the role of Fred work wonderfully because he first looks the part and secondly knows how to handle comedy. Rick Moranis handles the side comedy wonderfully while the rest of the cast are good without being overly interesting.

StoryThe question here was how do you turn the much loved cartoon into a functional feature length film, the story here does show us how Fred gets himself into a position he can’t handle and shows how Barney is the one to help him out of the position. It does feel like a feature length episode of the show which works well for the story even if it does have a couple of more serious sides to the story. the story is what we have seen in other comedies and won’t be overly testing on the audience.

Comedy/Family/FantasyThe film uses the comedy much like the cartoon does, things feel over the top and do get the laughs required, the whole family can enjoy moments of this film which does know how to offer comedy for all ages.

SettingsThe look of the Bedrock look great and pays the respect to the cartoon where we see the different dinosaurs living with the humans. Everything looks and seems to be practical too.

Special EffectsThe effects show us how practical effects can be used to create a world where the human dinosaur relationship works for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The quarry showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough Dino.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun family film that can be enjoyed by the fans of the original show, it has the jokes and references to what we know.

 

Overall: One for the family.

Rating

 

 

Kidnap (2017)

Director: Luis Prieto

Writer: Knate Lee (Screenplay)

Starring: Halle Berry, Sage Correa, Chris McGinn, Lewis Temple, Jason George

 

Plot: A mother stops at nothing to recover her kidnapped son.


Tagline – They messed with the wrong mother.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thrilling Thrill-Ride

 

Story: Kidnap starts as single mother Karla (Berry) who works as a waitress is shown working her ass off just to get time to spend with her son Frankie (Correa) which the afternoon offers her. The trip takes a turn when a moment of dealing with her ex’s demands leads to her son getting kidnapped but unknown people and the glimpse of the captures leads to a high speed chase down the freeways.

How far with Karla go to rescue her son but just what is the motives of the kidnappers, that is the questions we are left to wonder about.

 

Thoughts on Kidnap

 

Characters – Karla is the waitress that works extra hard to keep everything together for her son Frankie, in one of those moments of looking after her son she finds herself distracted with a phone call and finds herself chasing down the kidnappers. We get to see the determination she is to save her son through the film showing that he is the only important part of her life. Frankie is the son that has been kidnapped. Margo is one of the kidnappers who has taken Frankie for seemingly money, I do feel like we needed to learn more about their motivation.

PerformancesHalle Berry is strong in her role in the film, she doesn’t have the look of someone who would win in a physical battle which is why she makes a great opponent for the kidnappers, the other performances are good without getting enough time to make the full impact in the film.

StoryThe story is single parent has child taken and will not stop until they get their child back. This has always been entertaining but we are used to seeing a father in the role who would win in a fight, having a waitress shows how she must use her brain to win this but also use her surroundings in the car. Outside of the chase you are left wondering why no one seems to be reporting the car chases through the highways and not learning too much about the kidnappers does take something away because you are left wondering why they would risk so much for a child for only a little money, but I guess this does play into the idea we only see things from Karla’s point of view.

ThrillerWe are kept on the edge of our seats in this movie because we know Karla can’t do too much once she catches the kidnappers, because it could mean hurting her own son. The idea of waiting to see how far things will go is interesting and edge of your seat.

SettingsThe film keep the location on the move which works because it is mainly a chase with the final act in one location showing us the underworld that has been created.


Scene of the Movie –
New car to chase showing the goodness in Karla.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The kidnappers seem to make rash decisions which should only get them caught.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice intense easy to watch thriller, sure it has flaws but not every film needs to be perfect sometimes you just need to be entertained.

 

Overall: Fun easy to watch thriller.

Rating