Franchise Weekend – Goal II: Living the Dream (2007)

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: Mike Jeffries, Adrian Butchart, Terry Loane (Screenplay) Mike Jefferies, Adrian Buchart (Story)

Starring: Kuno Becker, Stephen Dillane, Leonor Varela, Elizabeth Pena, Carmelo Gomez, Miriam Colon, Rutger Hauer, Alessandro Nivola, Anna Friel

 

Plot: When Newcastle United soccer star Santiago Munez is offered a spot with Real Madrid, he accepts, but the move – accompanied by big money and fame – tests his ties and loyalties to family, friends and business acquaintances.


Tagline – The Journey Continues…

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappointing Sequel

 

Story: Goal II: Living the Dream starts with Gavin Harris (Nivola) now playing for Real Madrid, noting having a good spell at the time. Santiago as continues to thrive in Newcastle planning to marry Roz (Friel), until Real Madrid come knocking for him.

Santiago signs for Real Madrid where he must learn to cope with added fame and fortune, a long-distance relationship with Roz and being in the headlines every night, let along a personal twist to his past.

 

Thoughts on Goal II: Living the Dream

 

Characters – Santiago has now been signed by the biggest club in the world, Real Madrid, the spotlight is now firmly on him, he has too much money for a young footballer, in another new country, he starts to become reckless, against the character Roz fell for, as well as making bad life decisions, much like what Gavin was doing. He must deal with learning about what happened to long lost family members in the most important stage of his career. He has taken a complete turn from the supportable young man trying to follow his dream in this film. Gavin Harris has made the move before Santiago, he has been struggling to make an impact in the new team, he has tried to turn his life around, he is in competition with Santiago for a place in the team. Roz is planning the wedding between the two, she struggles with the distance apart knowing it would difficult, she doesn’t enjoy the spotlight either. Rosa is the long-lost mother of Santiago, she can’t believe he has come to her town which has seen her raise a new family one with another gifted young footballer.

PerformancesKuno Becker does struggle with the character switch he goes through, he doesn’t know how to truly make us feel sympathetic to his characters decisions. Alessandro Nivola does get us plenty of laughs through the film. Anna Friel doesn’t get enough time to make impact like she did in the first film, while Elizabeth Pena does bring another dimension to the film.

StoryThe story follows Santiago in the next stage of his career, here he will play for the biggest club in the world and must learn to deal with new problems including fame and fortune, one that all new footballers will need to face at a younger age. This story does feel strange because we don’t see the time frame between the two movies, we don’t know how successful Santiago became at Newcastle, but it can only be a couple of seasons. The switch in character of the grounded Santiago is strange because he never wanted to cave the pressure and this time, he is doing everything recklessly. Add in the fact this is about reaching a cup final it just feels to cinematic to be a believable story, unlike the first film. the romantic side of the story does feel like it is just tagged on making little impact on the main story, it is the story of the long-lost mother and the truth about what happened that does make the biggest impact on the story.

SportsThe football success chasing is strong, but does feel too cinematic with the goals mostly being unrealistic.

SettingsThe film takes us to Spain and the elite living class of a footballer, we see how they can walk in anywhere to be known, but it does give weather to feel like home.


Scene of the Movie –
Meeting mum.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The goals scored are ridiculously fake.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing sequel, mostly because it changes the character, we got to know too much from the first film.

 

Overall: Sequel that doesn’t live up to the original.

Rating

 

 

The Commuter (2018)

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: Byron Willinger, Philip de Blasi, Ryan Engle (Screenplay) Byron Willinger, Philip de Blasi (Story)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, Sam Neill, Elizabeth McGovern, Killian Scott

 

Plot: A businessman is caught up in a criminal conspiracy during his daily commute home.


Tagline – Lives Are On The Line

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nicely Done Action

 

Story: The Commuter starts as hard working father and husband Michael MacCauley (Neeson) who commutes to and from New York city everyday for his job, only to get laid off five years from retirement. He was once a police office staying in contact with his former partner Alex Murphy (Wilson) who both don’t get on with the new Captain Hawthorne (Neill).

One his commute home, Michael is approached by Joanna (Farmiga) who makes him an offer to figure out who on the train doesn’t belong. Michael must race against time to solve the riddle with his child and wife in danger.

 

Thoughts on The Commuter

 

Characters – Michael MacCauley has commuted to work for years in New York City, close to retirement with his son about to go to college. His day isn’t going to go well, after getting fired, he is forced into figure out who a witness for a crime is on the train home, a train full of commuters. Michael is resourceful when it comes to getting the answers he needs and can handle himself in a fight. Joanna is the lady pulling the strings forcing Michael into completely the task, mostly used on the phone warning Michael about the rules. Murphy is the old partner of Michael, his connection in the force when he is trying to get help.

PerformancesWhen we go into the performances, this movie revolves around Neeson’s performance and he is great throughout the film do his older man action style we like to see. We do have a big name supporting cast that all do their job well through the film.

StoryThe story follows an everyday commuter that is left with using his knowledge of the same passengers to figure out just who is the stranger on the train, a witness for a big case. The idea of the stranger needing to figure out who is out of place on a train is a normal thing but having the regular commuter does make us more interesting because we don’t need to go through the whole interview every person idea. The bigger issues are good because we know as much as Michael and learn when it unfolds. The story is easy to follow and will be going to play along with as you are guessing along with Michael.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of this movie adds to the mystery because Michael is forced to help cover up a crime, while needing to figure out who is behind it.

SettingsThe film takes place on the train, this keeps the story contained through the whole film which is helping us know as much as Michael.

Special EffectsThe effects are saved for one full sequences which looks good when needed.


Scene of the Movie –
Crash sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The idea the we don’t learn enough about Michael’s past.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertaining action film that checks the boxes for the fans f the genre with ease.

 

Overall: Enjoyable action crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

The Shallows (2016)

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: Anthony Jaswinski (Screenplay)

Starring: Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada, Brett Cullen, Sedona Legge

 

Plot: A mere 200 yards from shore, surfer Nancy is attacked by a great white shark, with her short journey to safety becoming the ultimate contest of wills.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Shark Attack Movie

 

Story: The Shallows starts as we follow American tourist Nancy (Lively) who goes out alone for a day of surfing in what is beautiful coastal resort of Mexico. The holiday is for Nancy to recover in her own way over her mother’s death, Nancy is taking a small break from her medical school studies to figure out her own future much to her father’s (Cullen) concern.

Going out for one final wave Nancy finds the corpse of a whale drawing the attention of other sea life including a great white shark which attacks her, leaving a nasty bite mark up her leg. Nancy finds herself stranded close to shore but too far away to make it to safety.

 

Thoughts on The Shallows

 

Characters/PerformanceNancy is a tourist giving up time from her studies to experience the world after her mother’s death. She is a surfer at heart and this puts her into the position of needing to fight to survive once she gets attacked by a great white shark, sure it helps that he is studying medicine because she can ease her injuries.

Performance wise, this is one film carried by the solo actress with Blake Lively showing she can lead a survival against a shark by engaging us for the whole film.

StoryThe story here is very simple, it is one woman trying to survive after a shark attack with nowhere to swim, it is all simple and effective for the story telling process.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror is great because it puts us into a real-life situation of a surfer getting attacked by a shark and we are kept on edge through the whole film.

SettingsThe setting is also simple and works for the film, a small isolated location for our leading character who needs to fight for her life.

Special Effects – The effects when it comes to looking at the shark look fantastic and you would be left question if this was even a real or CGI shark throughout.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that shows just how simple you can make a movie making process, you need to create a simple idea of being stranded with a deadly threat that can keep us on edge throughout.

 

Overall: A Must watch shark attack movie.

Rating

 

 

Run All Night (2015)

logoDirector: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: Brad Ingelsby (Screenplay)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman, Boyd Holbrook, Bruce McGill, Genesis Rodriguez, Vincent D’Onofrio, Lois Smith, Common

Plot: Mobster and hit man Jimmy Conlon has one night to figure out where his loyalties lie: with his estranged son, Mike, whose life is in danger, or his longtime best friend, mob boss Shawn Maguire, who wants Mike to pay for the death of his own son.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Non-Stop Action

Story: Run All Night starts Jimmy Conlon (Neeson) letting us know he was a bad man, he did bad things, but now he is just a drunk trying to keep everything together having to turn to his old bosses son Danny (Holbrook) for money. Mike Conlon (Kinnaman) is a boxer who is trying to teach a young student how to use his skills as well as trying to balance his own family life with his wife Gabriela (Rodriguez) and his kids. Shawn Maguire (Harris) runs the town but his son Danny wants to build his own legacy with a deal that goes bad. We see that Shawn and Jimmy have a relationship filled with respect from the years working together.

Jimmy is known for his body count that he has built up working for Shawn where Detective Harding (D’Onofrio) has spent his career trying to catch him. Mike works as a limo driver but his latest client just so happens to be involved with dealing with Danny’s deal. When Mike witnesses the Danny murder his client he ends up having to run for his life putting Jimmy & Shawn’s relationship when Jimmy kills Danny when he tries to kill Mike, what follows is Shawn calling in all his favours to get revenge and Jimmy and Mike having to run all night to survive.

Run All Night is easily one of the best action films this year, it keep the story very simple and does follow the same story ideas Road to Predation. The idea that the hit-man has to go up against his boss to look after his own son who witnesses a murder, getting a lone other hit-man to go after them, the comparisons continue too. I think the film taking time to build the characters in the first 20-30 minutes helps because it lets all the action do the talking in the final 3 thirds of the film. When you look at certain other films that Neeson has been making in the action genre this works out to be one of his best. (8/10)

Actor Review

Liam Neeson: Jimmy Conlon is the washed up former hit-man for the mob, he is distant from his son Mike but still has the respect of his former employer Shawn. When he hears about his son being involved with his former bosses son he ends up killing the young man Danny defending his own son leading to all strings being severed and him having to defend his son for one night against everything Shawn has to throw at him. Liam gives us one f his best action performances too date. (8/10)jimmy

Ed Harris: Shawn Maguire is the mod boss who runs the city, he is dealing with his son Danny’s problems when his last remaining friend becomes his enemy after killing Danny. Ed makes for a good villain every time but this time I do feel he gives us a generic mob boss character. (7/10)friendship

Joel Kinnaman: Mike Conlon is the son of Jimmy who has pushed him out his life to start his own clean life with his own family where he makes a clean living away from the criminal world. He life gets turned upside down when he witnesses Danny kill one of his clients leading to him having to run all night with his estranged father being the only one that can keep him alive. Joel continues to try and make a name for himself and he does a good job in this role. (7/10)mike

Boyd Holbrook: Danny Maguire is the son of mob boss Shawn, he keeps trying to prove himself to his father which leads to him getting involved with the wrong people. He ends up getting killed leading to the catalyst of all the events. Boyd does a good job in this role playing the hot headed young man well. (7/10)danny

Vincent D’Onofrio: Detective Harding is the one man who has been chasing down Jimmy his whole life but when the events of this night happen he becomes the only person Jimmy can trust. Vincent does a good job in the support role that seems to be one of the only other good characters in the film. (7/10)harding

Support Cast: Run All Night has a supporting cast that includes the henchman that Jimmy leaves laying as well as Common as the hit-man.

Director Review: Jaume Collet-SerraJaume does a good job giving us a great mix of action and early character development. (8/10)

Action: Run All Night has car chases, foot races (Yes Neeson Does Run), hand to hand fights and gun battles giving us everything you need in an action film. (9/10)

Crime: Run All Night puts us in the criminal underworld with one innocent family stuck in the middle. (8/10)

Thriller: Run All Night keeps you on the edge of your seat as soon as the action starts. (8/10)

Settings: Run All Night keeps all the action in locations that don’t have stand out locations making it all about the action rather than settings. (5/10)

Suggestion: Run All Night is one for all the action fans to action fans to sit and enjoy. (Action Fans Enjoy)

Best Part: Jimmy and Shawn sit down to talk, very tense scene.

Worst Part: Too similar to Road to Predation.

Action Scene Of The Film: Car Chase.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Road to Predation

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $50 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

Tagline: One night to settle the score.

Overall: Easily one of the best action films of the year

Rating Scorecard scorecard

 

Non-Stop (2014)

logoDirector: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: John W. Richardson, Christopher Roach, Ryan Engle (Screenplay) John W. Richardson, Christopher Roach (Story)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianna Moore, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Nate Parker, Corey Stoll, Lupita Nyong’o, Omar Metwally

 

Plot: Bill Marks (Neeson) is a former cop who after dealing with his daughter’s death by drinking, is now an air marshal. While on a flight from London to New York, Mark gets a text telling him that unless 150 Million dollars is deposited to an off shore account within 20 minutes some will die. He tries to tell the other air marshal, Hammond but Hammond doesn’t believe him. Bill ends up going to extreme lengths to find the person responsible but the more he does the guiltier he looks.

 

Verdict: Intense Thriller

 

Story: With a thriller you need to be left guessing from start to finish and I literally don’t know how many times I changed my mind on who was involved. This is a huge plus for this film and having a ‘broken’ lead in Bill Marks works too. The tension growing through the film is also a big positive. Now the big negative the motive behind the action really disappoints and unlike anything we see before a hostage situation is usually very important to know the motive early and not having that works too, but after it finally gets revealed it is an anti-climax to a near perfect popcorn thriller. (8/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Liam Neeson: Bill Marks a former cop who has turned to the bottle because of the death of his young daughter, he does this job as a last resort for his skills. When he gets the message he starts to investigate, but comes off as the villain to the outside world when all he wants is the save everyone. Great performance grabbing the audience’s attention from start to finish. (9/10)

 neeson

Julianne Moore: Jen a fellow passenger who befriends Bill, but not giving too much away about who she really is just poses more questions for Marks. Good supporting performance but nothing truly special next too Neeson powerhouse performance. (7/10)

moore

Scoot McNairy: Tom another passenger on the plane that Bill turns to for explanations but like everyone else on the plane are they involved? Good supporting performance playing the maybe villain maybe innocent. (8/10)

 

Michelle Dockery: Nancy a trust air hostess that has known Marks for a few years, she tries to help but even she gets questioned by Marks. She didn’t look like she fitted in here. (5/10)

 michelle

Director Review: Jaume Collet-Serra – Creates a real guess who done it game here that will keep you guessing from start to finish. (8/10)

 

Action: Most action is restricted as it is hard to have a real fight on a plane, but the small combat fights are good. (7/10)

Mystery: You will be trying to solve this just as much as Marks. (10/10)

Thriller: Keeps you guessing from start to finish. (9/10)

Settings: Perfect setting for the story that shows how being trapped heighten tense from everyone. (10/10)
Special Effects
: Only has one use of effects and that looks good but the film doesn’t rely on the effects. (6/10)

Suggestion: I think this will surprise a few people out there, because the concept seems pretty simple and turns into a real thriller. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Neeson

Worst Part: Motive.

Action Scene Of The Film: Confrontation at the end.

Believability: Has elements of realism because the film focuses on the characters rather than the action and how each person would react to the situation. (4/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Could but doesn’t really need one.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $198,727,550

Budget: $50 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

Tagline: The Hijacking Was Just the Beginning

 

Overall: Brilliant Easy to Watch Thriller

Rating 88