ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – S – Stealth (2005)

Director: Rob Cohen

Writer: W.D. Richter (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx, Sam Shepard, Richard Roxburgh, Joe Morton, Ian Bliss

 

Plot: Deeply ensconced in a top-secret military program, three pilots struggle to bring an artificial intelligence program under control before it initiates the next world war.


Tagline – Fear The Sky

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long Sci-Fi Actioner

 

Story: Stealth starts as we meet the three elite pilot squad leader Lt Ben Gannon (Lucas), risk assessment calm team member LT Kare Wade (Biel) and hotshot Lt Henry Purcell (Foxx) who under Captain George Cummings (Shepard) control have become the leading choice in aerial combat.

When the three person team get assigned a fourth member, an artificial intelligence unit things don’t go to plan, when the AI is studying plans it gets the idea to go on its own mission which could bring on World War III, now the human pilots must stop this from happening before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Stealth

 

Characters – The three pilots do have their own personalities, Ben Gannon is the leader that struggles to follow orders, but will die for his crew, Kara Wade is the one that assess the danger the crew might find themselves getting into. Henry Purcell is the hotshot that will show off for any excuse just to do so. Captain Cummings runs the operations trying to do the right thing for his country. We don’t really learn too much more about these characters other than they are considered the elite of the elite of pilots, they should have made Kara a much stronger character than what we get with her.

PerformancesJosh Lucas trying his luck in a leading role, well this didn’t work, be is such an average and forgettable leading man, saying this I do feel if you had swapped him and Jamie Foxx around the performances would have been better because Josh is better at cocky support over leading man. Jamie Foxx can pull off all three of the male roles in this film and is the only one that seems like he is doing a good job. Jessica Biel is written to be strong, but she must show her damsel in distress for the second half of the film, which isn’t her fault though.

StoryThe story follows Americans best pilots needing to fight against an AI unit which was meant to be supporting them but has turned to their programming for answers. This is another be careful what you ask for when it comes to technology film which will soon become one story that doesn’t hold much weight and is all about the explosions, aerial duals and quick cuts.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is shot in such a bad way it is nearly impossible to keep up with, because the planes are going at such velocity it is like watching blurs on the screen at times, this is a side effect of having the ultrafast planes involved in dogfights. The adventure side of the film shows what Ben must go through to win, the sci-fi side of the film shows us how the technology in the planes could bring the next level of aerial combat, the way they would look to stay ahead of the radar and enemy weapons.

SettingsThe most part of the film takes place in the skies with an American crew above their enemy nations, Russia, North Korea which shows how deadly the combat it going to be.

Special EffectsThe effects beings used in the film are for the most part weak, this is because the action sequences have terrible camerawork and feel like we are just watching them in a greenscreen.


Scene of the Movie –
Well this is awkward, to pick anything I did enjoy.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The action scenes.

Final ThoughtsThe is all action, badly shot and no substance behind everything going on, it is too long to get away with this mad action to keep us interest and turns into a bog standard AI turning on humans.

 

Overall: Bog standard.

Rating

 

 

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Any Given Sunday (1999)

Director: Oliver Stone

Writer: John Logan, Oliver Stone (Screenplay) Daniel Pyne, John Logan (Story)

Starring: Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, Jams Woods, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, Matthew Modine

 

Plot: A behind-the-scenes look at the life-and-death struggles of modern-day gladiators and those who lead them.


Tagline – that women would eat her own children

Runtime: 2 Hours 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Football Movie

 

Story: Any Given Sunday starts as we follow a Miami franchise American Football team going through a losing streak, coach Tony D’Amato (Pacino) is now considered old school and after losing his star quarterback Jack ‘Cap’ Rooney (Quaid) to injury he is facing the pressure coming from the owner Christina Pagniacci (Diaz).

Turning to his third-choice quarterback Willie Beamen (Foxx) who struggles at first but soon becomes an overnight sensation as he changes his mind set when it comes to the fame. With the team’s form turned around, Tony is left with the difficult decision as the play-offs approach on whether to have his leader Rooney or the loose cannon Willie, along with the rest of the difficult decisions that goes around being a coach.

 

Thoughts on Any Given Sunday

 

Characters – Tony D’Amato is the coach of the Miami Sharks, he has been for years and has won plenty of trophies, now he is being tested and questioned about his ability as the game continues to evolve. He is given difficult decisions like any coach to make it through the season, the one which could be his last. Christina Pagniacci is the owner of the club, she has gained power after her father’s death and is determined to make her team great again, she is ruthless in business and challenges Tony unlike her father did. Jack Rooney is the legendary quarterback of the team, he does get injured which leaves him questioning his own decision to stay in the game. Dr Mandrake has been keeping injuries quiet from Tony putting the players heath and even lives at risk. Willie becomes the overnight sensation as the replacement quarterback, he starts as the hard working nervous player but thrown into the limelight he thinks he is the real deal turning his back on his loved ones not being able to handle the fame. Julian is a known mercenary player, he will work for the money but not harder than he needs to. We have such a big cast, we can’t go into all of them though, the characters all fit into the American Football world.

PerformancesAl Pacino was already an Oscar winner here so we know he is one of the best in the business, here he shows us why as he is brilliant in the desperate aging coach role. Cameron Diaz shows us all that she is a talent actress in this role where she gives us a dominate performance as the owner. Dennis Quaid is good in his role as the aging star. James Woods plays the role you could imagine him playing in this film style. Foxx makes for a great egotistical player that struggles to handle the fame. The whole cast looks like the person they are aiming to play in the film.

StoryThe story follows a fictional American Football team as they are aiming for the play-offs to regain the status as one of the elite teams in the league. We have the small details about what has been going on in the club, the coach questioning where he stands in the game, the new owner desperate to become a powerhouse in the game, the cocky player the aging veteran and even the medical question marks about what has been putting players lives in danger. This is a unique way of telling the story, it is one man changing the team, but instead we see how the team must come together to become legends in their own right.

SportsThe American Football sequences are the heart and soul of the action in the film, they are as brutal as the game is led to believe to be.

SettingsThe film takes us around the high life of the American Football scene, seeing how they go from quiet moments and the wild parties.


Scene of the Movie –
Pre-Game Speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many cuts.

Final ThoughtsIf you want to see how American Football world operates, this could easily be one of the most important version of the world.

 

Overall: A Must watch American Football Movie.

Rating

 

 

Baby Driver (2017)

Director: Edgar Wright

Writer: Edgar Wright (Screenplay)

Starring: Ansel Elgort, John Bernthal, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx

 

Plot: After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: So Much Fun

 

Story: Baby Driver starts as we get to see just how skilled behind the wheel Baby (Elgort) is, as he completes the job while listening to his trademark tunes for Griff (Bernthal), Buddy (Hamm), Darling (Gonzalez) for their boss Doc (Spacey). We learn more about why Baby listens to music, because of his medical condition and that he owes Doc one more score to settle a debt.

Baby lives with is deaf foster dad Joseph (Jones) that tries to keep him on the straight and narrow because he sees the error in his ways and the beautiful waitress Debora (James) that Baby has fallen for, gives him a glimmer of light away from the world of crime.

When his final score is settle Baby believes it is time to walk away, but he would be wrong, Doc won’t let him and this next score with Buddy, Darling and loose cannon Bats (Foxx) pushes Baby to his limits, can he escape this world he has become stuck in and live the life he wants with music and the open road?

 

Thoughts on Baby Driver

 

Characters/PerformanceBaby is the young man with brilliant driving skills, killer tunes but his innocent nature and slight mental handicap means he is taken advantage of by the criminal world, he wants to live an honest life and he will have to go and show off his skills to escape this world. I would like to point out that his relationship with Joseph is very similar to what we saw in ‘The lookout’ where two handicapped people live together and the elder tries to guide the younger. Doc is the crime boss that uses Baby because he knows he is the best, he won’t use the same unit twice but Baby is the one he will always turn too. I have mixed feelings for this character because I feel he never leans one way or the either to evil or good, he almost feels businessman like. Buddy is the most interesting of the other criminals because we always see him calm but we are warned about his darker side, which we wait to see unleashed. Darling is the sexy girlfriend of Buddy, he turns heads and will kill anyone looking at her wrong. Bats is a character I felt got old quick, he is meant to be the loose cannon and that is fine, but things all turn into him trying to say something so out there it feels like forced laughter. Debora is the light at the end of the tunnel for Baby, she helps him realize he could get away from crime.

Performance wise, Ansel is great through this film as we get to see how he can blend with the music and action. Kevin Spacey is always good in a villainous role and this is no different. For me Jon Hamm is the best because he just captures you wanting to see what he will do next. Lily James is good too through the whole film. Jamie Foxx at times does seem to be trying too hard to be funny which can get hard to watch and is the only weak point in this film.

StoryThe story is something we have seen before, a person drawn to the criminal world wants out but now must fight against his former partners in crime to be free. The twists in the story come in the character of Baby who has the handicap which requires him to listen to music to stay focus and block out the noise in his head. We do have style in the story which works perfectly for the tone even if parts dip in the middle, but otherwise this is just fun action comedy. One more plus point is that every scene is seen through Baby’s point of view as he is the only person to be in every single scene as certain times we hear the music like he would and the conversations with his head phone in too, this made the film even more enjoyable

Action/CrimeThe car chases are all great and certain parts do all feel fresh too, this is a huge plus for the film. the opening sequence is one that we will all remember too, the crime world shows us just how different the people can be doing the jobs which is also a good plus point.

SettingsThe car chase are used most to show off the settings with most of them offering us new tighter situations to Baby to get out off behind the wheel.

Final ThoughtsThis is just such a fun movie, with brilliant music, wonderful car chase sequences and is one that fans of Edgar Wright will enjoy all the more.

 

Overall: Foot down, music on, play loud.

Rating

 

 

Sleepless (2017)

Director: Baran bo Odar

Writer: Andrea Berloff (Screenplay) Frederic Jardin, Nicholas Saada, Olivier Douyere (Original Film)

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Michele Monaghan, Scoot McNairy, Dermot Mulroney, T.I., David Harbour, Gabrielle Union

 

Plot: A cop with a connection to the criminal underworld scours a nightclub in search of his kidnapped son.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Forgettable Actioner

 

Story: Sleepless starts in Las Vegas as dirty cops Vincent (Foxx) and his partner Sean (T.I.) are taking down their latest score from the mob in the city. Things don’t go as planned which brings in Internal Affairs pairing Bryant (Monaghan) and Dennison (Harbour) to look at the case.

Vincent’s day continues to get worse as he once again lets down his ex-wife Dena (Union) and his son Thomas (Johnson) before casino boss Rubino (Mulroney) has Thomas kidnapped, promising to hand him over to Novak (McNairy) the drug lord if the product isn’t returned in three-hours.

We are left to see how Vincent tries to clean up the mess he finds himself in, he must deal with the drug lord, the casino owner, the internal affairs agents and his angry ex-wife all in one night inside the casino.

 

Thoughts on Sleepless

 

Characters/PerformanceVincent is the dirty cop that has been stealing from criminals for his own personal gain, this has left his personal life in ruins and now he has one night to save his career and his relationship with his son. Bryant is Internal Affairs that has recently found herself assaulted with everyone trying to nurse her back into her job even though she is ready to return. Novak is a drug lord reluctantly working with casino boss, he is ruthless like you would expect him to be. Rubino is the casino who has everything but has dived into the drug world to keep his guest happy. The rest of the characters are also who you expect without being anything special.

Performance wise, Jamie Foxx is good enough in the leading role without being a great action star, with Michelle Monaghan doing a good job in here role, being the star of the film. Scoot McNairy gets to have a lot of fun in the villainous role which he always delivers in. some of the supporting roles are left questioning how capable the stars really are though. With Gabrielle Union doing all she can with the generic concerned mother that only moans a lot role.

StoryThe story is fine, it has twists and turns along the way as you must figure out who is good, bad, dirty or criminal all while seeing how a drug bust can go wrong. This does have plenty going on and if you blink you might miss a beat but otherwise it doesn’t leave too much to the imagination.

Action/CrimeThe action is always going to be hard to find anything new or original which is why the action turns out slightly flat. The crime world created is solid enough though.

SettingsNearly the whole film is set inside the casino which does show things happening near real time.

Final ThoughtsThis is fine action film, it isn’t great or bad it is just average.

 

Overall: Average film that is easy to watch but never pushes the boundaries.

Rating

 

 

Michael Mann Weekend – Collateral (2004)

collertalDirector: Michael Mann

Writer: Stuart Beattie (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo, Peter Berg, Bruce McGill, Javier Bardem

 

Plot: A cab driver finds himself the hostage of an engaging contract killer as he makes his rounds from hit to hit during one night in Los Angeles. He must find a way to save both himself and one last victim.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slick Thriller

 

Story: Collateral starts as we see stranger Vincent (Cruise) arriving in Los Angeles for a job. We also meet mild-mannered cab driver Max (Foxx) who knows all the streets in Los Angeles, the two end up on a collision cause as Max gets talked into taking Vincent around Los Angeles for the night, that is until Max learns that Vincent is a hitman.

Vincent forces Max into taking him around town as he completes his missions as he looks to avoid trouble, but also offers him a chance to teach him about standing up for himself and the morals about the murders he is committing. The two end up getting caught up in the middle of a cat and mouse chase around Los Angeles all in one night.

Collateral is a thriller that fills all the cat and mouse we love to see, nothing is overplayed and with everything taking place over one night we get a real feel for the timing side of the story. I do feel the supporting characters do get neglected which does end up working on both scales, we get more time with the leading two but doesn’t make us care about them. Overall this is a good slick story that all works for the genre.

 

Actor Review

 

Tom Cruise: Vincent is the hitman who has come to Los Angeles to complete a job over the course of one night, he ends up using Max as his taxi service for the night. He kills anyone who gets in the way but he also doesn’t want to kill anyone he doesn’t need too. He comes off like a good guy and is always good at his job. Tom gives us a great performance in this role as hitman.vinceent

Jamie Foxx: Max is the mild-mannered taxi driver who knows every single street in Los Angeles, he ends up picking up Vincent who puts him through the middle of the worst night of his life as he had to assist him on his killing spree or be killed. Jamie goes toe to toe with Tom which is always difficult for any big named actor.max

Jada Pinkett Smith: Annie is the hot shot lawyer that happens to be a passenger in Max’s cab before Vincent, the two get flirting and we get the potential love interest for Max in the future. Jada does a solid job but doesn’t get the screen time we would like to see.

Mark Ruffalo: Fanning is one of the cops hot the trail of what is happening on the night when one of his men went missing, he puts things together faster than the rest of the authorities. Mark does well in this supporting role but doesn’t make a big enough impact in the end.fanning

Support Cast: Collateral doesn’t get the supporting cast enough screen time to make much impact in the final outcome.

Director Review: Michael MannMichael brings his style to the hitman film which all works for the final cat and mouse between Max and Vincent.

 

Crime: Collateral has a good crime story going on with the bigger picture to what Vincent is up to.

Thriller: Collateral keeps you on the edge of your seat while you watch all interaction between Max and Vincent.

Settings: Collateral use the one night in Los Angeles for the story which all looks very cinematic throughout.
Special Effects
: Collateral has good effects with the kills but doesn’t turn to them too often.

Suggestion: Collateral is one to watch for all the crime thriller fans out there. (Watch)

 

Best Part: First kill reaction.

Worst Part: Lack of support character time.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 2 Oscars

Budget: $65 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours

Tagline: It started like any other night

Trivia: The seating of the two leads was crucial to certain scenes. For their more intimate exchanges, Cruise would sit directly behind Foxx, out of his peripheral vision and therefore making him more vulnerable and uncertain of his opponent.

 

Overall: Very enjoyable thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat as Cruise shines yet again.

Ratingcard