Alan Tudyk Weekend – Tell (2014)

Director: J.M.R. Luna

Writer: Timothy Williams (Screenplay)

Starring: Milo Ventimiglia, Katee Sackhoff, Jason Lee, Robert Patrick, Alan Tudyk, John Michael Higgins, Faizon Love

 

Plot: Ethan Tell is a small time crook who makes a big-time score when he steals 1 million dollars. Ironically, his life radically changes for the worse when he discovers that stealing the money was the easy part and he now must keep his partner, his wife, his parole officer, and two corrupt detectives from stealing it from him.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Con-man Playbook Passed

 

Story: Tell starts as a robbery Tell (Ventimiglia) is trying to get out off organised by Ray (Lee) his wife’s Beverly (Sackhoff) brother goes wrong, with Tell locked up for three years, with two cops Ashton (Patrick) and Morton (Tudyk) trying to get their hands on the money along with the parole officer Dwight (Love) as Tell is released from prison.

Out of prison Tell tries to get on with his life, but soon the familiar faces return to his life, Ashton, Morton, Beverly and Ray as he needs to stay one step ahead of them as he looks to collect the money before it is gone for good.

 

Thoughts on Tell

 

Characters – Tell is your standard crook, he always talks about having a normal life, but wants to steal his way to it. He isn’t likeable in anyway and even after getting shot and serving time in prison he still needs to stay ahead of the people that want the money he is meant to have taken. Beverly is the ex-wife of Tell that remarried when he was locked up to help raise their child, she wants to money because she dreams of the life of luxury. Ray is the partner in crime and brother to Beverly, he is left for dead at the crime scene and now has returned for the money, he feels like a loose cannon with crazy ideas. Ashton and Morton are the two cops that are hounding Tell for the money from the robbery.

PerformancesThe performances are mixed because of allowed screen time. Milo doesn’t give us a likeable character and feels like he is cruising through the film for the most part, Katee Sackhoff is solid enough as the wife figure, always after the money, for me it was Jason Lee who shines the best in this film as we just never know what he is going to do next. Patrick and Tudyk both seem to enjoy playing the crooked cops which is good to see.

StoryThe story follows a crook that is trying to collect the money from his previous heist though he has people from the heist, cops and an ex-wife that also want the money. This story follows the heist gone wrong paths well and the whole released from prison people will want what was never recovered, while never addressing the bigger issue, that Tell wants to live a normal life after his time in prison. This isn’t the most engaging story, be it the generic characters, by the books story or overly slow pacing.

Action/CrimeThe action we see in the film is a couple of shoot outs mixed with the punch or strike to get someone’s attention, the crime side of the film shows how the characters are mixed up in a world they shouldn’t be involved in.

SettingsThe film never uses the settings enough to make us understand where we are and even the backgrounds of the characters involved.


Scene of the Movie –
What happens after the opening sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It offers nothing new to the genre of the heist movies.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard by the book heist film, it checks the boxes without being anything you will remember enough to suggest this to heist fans.

 

Overall: Heist movie that falls slightly flat.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – U – Underdog (2007)

Director: Frederik Du Chau

Writer: Adam Rifkin, Joe Piscatella, Craig A Williams (Screenplay) W Watts Biggers (Television Series)

Starring: (Voice Talent) Jason Lee, Peter Dinklage, Jim Belushi, Patrick Warbuton, Alex Neuberger

 

Plot: A Beagle must use his newly-bestowed superpowers to defend Capitol City from mad scientist Simon Barsinister.


Tagline – One Nation, Under Dog.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Little Movie

 

Story: Underdog starts as we meet the beagle on the police force that fails his training, only to be left homeless a stray in the city. Taken by Dr Simon Barsinister (Dinklage) who wants to perform an experiment on the strays of the city.

When the experiment goes wrong the beagle becomes Underdog a crime fighting super dog, but Simon isn’t finished with Underdog yet.

 

Thoughts on Underdog

 

Characters – Underdog is a simple beagle kicked off the police force and forced into becoming part of an experiment which gives him super powers, now he must make a choice between a family that is willing to welcome him in or saving the city from evil. Dr Simon Barsinister is the genius scientist that have been coming up with a formula to create genetically enhanced animals to fight crime, but when things go wrong he uses his creation for evil. Dan Unger is the former cop that adopts Underdog for his son to keep him company.

PerformancesJason Lee as the voice of Underdog works well because he knows how to handle the comedy required. Peter Dinklage is a great villain and has wonderful chemistry with Patrick Warburton as his assistant. Jim Belushi is good but mostly under used in his role.

StoryThe story is nice and simple a dog becomes superpowered after being involved in an experiment to take on an evil scientist that wants to destroy the city. We do have a deeper story about being accepted into a family for a dog. Overall this is a by the book family film too.

Adventure/Family/Sci-FiThe adventure side of the film is where the dog goes to fight crime, this does have a message for family and welcoming a dog into the family. The sci-fi side of the film looks at how the experiment could create superpowered dogs.

SettingsThe settings keep us in New York which plays into the idea of parodying the superhero genre.

Special EffectsThe effects are hit or miss throughout because of the flying moments do seem strange.


Scene of the Movie –
The final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is pretty short.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple fun enjoyable family movie that never pushed the limits.

 

Overall: Simple enough.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – I – The Incredibles (2004)

Director: Brad Bird

Writer: Brad Bird (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L Jackson, Jason Lee, Dominique Louis

 

Plot: A family of undercover superheroes, while trying to live the quiet suburban life, are forced into action to save the world.


Tagline – Save The Day

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pixar Perfect

 

Story: The Incredibles starts in a world overrun by superheroes, only for the public to turn on them forcing Mr Incredible and Elastigirl needing to settle down away from the life of fighting crime. 15-years-later the two have three children, Violet who can become invisible, Dash who has incredible speed and Jack Jack who is only a baby.

When Mr Incredible loses his job, he takes a secret job on a remote island where he gets to use his powers again, only to discover Syndrome a kid that idolised Mr Incredible has turned evil and now his whole family is now in danger, but together they use their powers to help the public once again.

 

Thoughts on The Incredibles

 

Characters – Mr Incredible was one of the biggest superheroes in America, he is forced into retirement after being sued and now he lives a simple life, growing frustrated with the lack of adventure he is living on, he sneaks around behind his family’s back to fight a new supervillain. Elastigirl is the wife of Mr Incredible, since the retirement she has gone into full mum mode, putting the children first over any idea of fighting crime anymore. She only uses her abilities to keep the kids in order. Syndrome is the villain, he idolised Mr Incredible and after being shunted by him turns to a life of crime, where he uses he gadgets to defeat former superheroes in his quest to become the biggest hero in the world. Dash is the hyperactive kid that has super speed which is causing him to get in trouble at school. Violet is the teenage daughter that has the invisible ability which shows what she would be like when not fitting in the school. Frozone is the best friend to Mr Incredible that is also tired of the life of hiding.

StoryThe story follows a family of superheroes that must come out of retirement once a new threat starts targeting fellow superheroes. Even after 14-years this movie feels even more relevant because of the number of superhero movies we are witnessing as it does show how the heroes can become abused by people looking for a quick pay day in legal terms and how thy will suffer the lack of satisfaction in normal life after starting a family. The story shows us how a family will be stronger than an individual superhero too.

Action/Adventure/FamilyThe action comes at us thick and fast, playing into all the abilities of the heroes involved to give us a fresh moment throughout the film, the adventure sends our family on an adventure that will let them use their powers for the first time as a unit.

SettingsThe settings for the movie fill the right boxes for any superhero movie, first the island for the villain to prepare and then the big city for the battles to save people, nothing is out of place here.

AnimationThe animation is from Pixar and never looks off, this is why they make the best American animated movies, visually.


Scene of the Movie –
Costume Fitting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The van landing drive sequences is too generic.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderfully enjoyable Pixar film, it has great pacing, brilliant characters and a villain which suits the world perfectly.

 

Overall: Pixar at their very best.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – V – Vanilla Sky (2001)

Director: Cameron Crowe

Writer: Cameron Crowe (Screenplay) Alejandro Amenabar, Mateo Gil (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Kurt Russell, Jason Lee, Noah Taylor, Timothy Spall, Tilda Swinton, Michael Shannon

 

Plot: A self-indulgent and vain publishing magnate finds his privileged life upended after a vehicular accident with a resentful lover.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Trippy Fantasy Thriller

 

Story: Vanilla Sky starts as we meet David Aames (Cruise) a playboy publishing mogul that inherited this from his father. He sleeps with beautiful women including actress Julie Gianni (Diaz) but always finds time for his best friend Brian Shelby (Lee). But, his life has been shattered thanks to a car accident which has left him disfigured hiding behind a mask in jail.

While waiting for his hearing David recounts the events which led up to his charges to McCabe (Russell). We learn how David meets Sofia Serrano (Cruz) the woman of his dreams but Julie shows her jealous side causing a car crash which leaves him broken and living between reality and dreams, needing to face his new life.

 

Thoughts on Vanilla Sky

 

Characters/PerformanceDavid lived a life where he could have any women living the life of luxury until this lifestyle catches up with him, leaving him disfigured and in jail, recounting the events between the two moments. Sofia is the new love that David falls for, she has all the chemistry he requires for something different being the motivation for David to fix himself. Julie is the jealous former lover that causes the accident, she is an actress that is filled with self-confidence but all that isn’t everything we have come to know.

Performance wise, Tom Cruise is great in the leading role, not being afraid to make himself slightly disfigured for this role. Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz are both are both also great in the roles of the two women in David’s life.

StoryIn a story that leaves you questioning nearly everything going on even after you believe you have just worked everything out, well this story will keep you all over the place. I do think this does enough to keep us guessing without becoming tiring and will completely satisfied by the end.

Fantasy/Mystery/RomanceThe fantasy world created comes through in the end and it will leave you shocked with the outcome of the film, getting to this stage we are left with a big mystery into just what has been happening with the romance being how David falls in love with Sofia.

SettingsEach setting is used well, but the truly special moment in the New York being empty looks fantastic.

Special EffectsThe effects that are used to create the disfigured looking David all come off great with the other effects all doing the required effect in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis film will test your mind which is always something we like to see in films, yes, it is a remake or reimagination but still it looks fantastic.

 

Overall: This was a true mind bender of morale decision making.

Rating

 

 

Monster House (2006)

Director: Gil Kenan

Writer: Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab, Pamela Pettler (Screenplay) Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talens) Steve Buscemi, Fred Willard, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Lee, Spencer Locke, Mitchel Musso, Catherine O’Hara

 

Plot: Three teens discover that their neighbor’s house is really a living, breathing, scary monster.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great but Dark Family Film

 

Story: Monster House starts as we meet DJ a boy who lives opposite the neighbourhood crazy old man Nebbercracker who terrorizes anyone who comes into his yard. When his parents go away for the weekend, DJ and his best friend Chowder find themselves trying to retrieve a lost ball only for Nebbercracker to have a heart attack.

With Nebbercracker away from the house DJ, Chowder and local girl Jenny start seeing the house coming to life but with no adult believing them, the three start to investigate. The three find themselves inside the house learning the truth about the house and the monster that is inside it.

 

Thoughts on Monster House

 

Characters DJ and Chowder are you typical best friends that are reaching the age where they need to look to grow up, DJ is ready to take that step while Chowder isn’t, the two work well as a team. Jenny plays into the idea that a girl can come between best friends and is the brains of the trio. Nebbercracker represents the neighbourhood crazy that once you get to know has a good reason for being like they are. The adults are always looking down on the children which is fine as for the story the children need to learn to grow up. The characters here, while not special all help tell the story well.

StoryThe story that plays into children’s imaginations to a new level, we all know children can create stories of the crazy person in their town and this takes that story and runs with it. It shows that the stories could be real but also have a reason for the stories that you should learn about a person’s past. There is also a story about children reaching the age to grow up which is greatly told for the kids.

Comedy/Family/FantasyWe have plenty of laughs from how the children see the adults, the family side works because we can see the whole family can enjoy with the fantasy side of the story coming from the idea that a house can come to life.

SettingsThe film is set all within a small town with it coming off as all in one day within one street as kids can come and play. This works for the house’s reputation within the neighbourhood.

Animation The animation is very impressive having it’s own style compared to other animated films around the same time.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good family film that can be enjoyed by all, it does have moments of darkness but comes off original which is very important.

 

Overall: Good film to be enjoyed by all.

Rating