ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – W – World Trade Center (2006)

Director: Oliver Stone

Writer: Andrew Berloff (Screenplay) John McLoughlin, Donna LcLoughlin, William Jimeno, Allison Jimeno (True Story)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Michael Pena, Maria Bello, Jay Hernandez, Jon Bernthal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon

 

Plot: Two Port Authority police officers become trapped under the rubble of the World Trade Center.


Tagline – A True Story Of Courage And Survival

Runtime: 2 Hour 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Drama

 

Story: World Trade Center starts like every other day for police officers John McLoughlin (Cage) who sets the assignments for his department which include Will Jimeno (Pena) and Dominick Pezzulo (Hernandez). Today is going to change their lives, today is September 11th the day the World Trade Centers Twin Twos get hit by the planes, while being part of the rescue team the crew find themselves trapped.

When the dust settles Will and John are the only ones still alive with their loved ones Donna McLoughlin (Bello) and Allison Jimeno (Gyllenhaal) waiting to hear if they were in the towers when they went down. The two must support each other in hope that they would get rescued as New York and America comes together to rescue their own.

 

Thoughts on World Trade Center

 

Characters – All the characters in this film are based on real people, we have real victims from 9/11 being portrayed. John McLoughlin is the experience police officer that leads his men into the Twin Towers in a rescue attempt, he is a father of four which is one of his greatest motivations to survive once he becomes trapped in the rubble. Will Jimeno is the fellow officer that becomes trapped with John, he is a parent too with a second on the way, he is injured but uses the company of John to stay awake. We do have the wives and loved ones and fellow officers that helped in the rescues to being portrayed here showing the heroes involved on those days.

PerformancesNicolas Cage shows in this role that he still was a brilliant performer along with Michael Pena stepped to a leading role. We have fantastic performances from the whole cast if we are being honest.

StoryThe events of this day shocked the world like no other events, the stories of the survivors being found was a race for hope for anyone who might have had someone in the towers. We do focus on just two officers that became trapped as they fought to survive while waiting for rescue. Watching how the rescuers worked to save people trapped, the family waiting helplessly for news on their families, add this together and you get a powerful drama that showed the heroics during that tragic event.

History/ThrillerThe events of this movie are one of the most if not the most famous terrorist attack in modern history, seeing how the two officers just had to rely on hope to survive shows us just how the country was bought together to find a people which does make this edge of your seat waiting to see if they make it or not.

SettingsJohn and Will are trapped for the most part of this movie, it shows how hopeless the situation looked for the men, outside we see the aftermath of the attack.

Special EffectsThe effects used in the movie are fantastic to show the horror of the moment the towers came crashing down on the people inside to the surviving in the rumble and re-creation of the devastation.


Scene of the Movie –
For the visual the collapse is shocking to watch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is still hard to watch because of the shock of the event.

Final ThoughtsThis is a powerful drama that shows how the city came together during the time of need.

 

Overall: This is a must watch but it is hard to re-live those moments.

Rating

 

 

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Original v Remake Weekend – Quarantine (2008)

Director: John Erick Dowdle

Writer: John Erick Dowdle, Drew Dowdle (Screenplay) Jaume Balaguero, Luiso Berdejo, Pace Plaza (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Jennifer Carpenter, Steve Harris, Jay Hernandez, Johnathon Schaech, Columbus Short, Andrew Fiscella

 

Plot: A television reporter and her cameraman are trapped inside a building quarantined by the CDC, after the outbreak of a mysterious virus which turns humans into bloodthirsty killers.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Did We Need It?

 

Story: Quarantine starts as Angela Vidal (Carpenter) a reporter who assigned with her cameraman Scott (Harris) to follow a firefighter team around on one night. Learning how the men get through their time together, they finally get a call to an apartment building where it isn’t a fire they are tackling, it is a blood thirsty group of humans but to make things worse, the team find themselves quarantined within the building.

Angela continues to report from inside the building as the others look for a way out even though nearly all the outings are closed up but they now face a bigger threat from the inside as the dead are coming back from the dead and after human flesh.

 

Thoughts on Quarantine

 

Characters/PerformanceAngela is the reporter just looking to get a great story but finds herself on the edge of one of the biggest stories she could have ever imagined. It would be fair to say the rest of the characters are just people in the building, the cameraman and firefighters, none of which we learn too much about.

Performance wise, Jennifer Carpenter is good in the leading role but the problem with a ‘found footage’ film is that if you know the stars it loses the realism needed from when you have unknowns.

StoryThe story is simple enough, the new reporter and her cameraman get caught up in the middle of a quarantine of a potentially deadly infection spreading around which could kill everyone in the building, city and eventually the world. This doesn’t offer anything new from the original but does lose moments it needed to make it stand out.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror is simple enough and does work in places but not to the levels the original offered us. You are also not on the edge of your seat like you once might have been watching the first film.

SettingsMost of the film is set within the building, it has no escape and a virus spreading, this does work and is easily the strongest element of this film.

Special EffectsThis movie does have a bigger budget than the original and does use that on the special effects which come off very well when it comes to the zombie like infected characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a remake we didn’t need, the original has good sequels and this one offers nothing new to the idea which only disappoints for the audience.

 

Overall: Disappoint sequel that doesn’t hit all the heights of the original.

Rating

 

 

Bright (2017)

Director: David Ayer

Writer: Max Landis (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, Lucy Fry, Jay Hernandez, Edgar Ramirez, Ike Barinholtz

 

Plot: Set in a world where mystical creatures live side by side with humans. A human cop is forced to work with an Orc to find a weapon everyone is prepared to kill for.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Action Blast

 

Story: Bright starts as we enter a universe where humans live side by side with orcs, fairies and other fantasy creatures. Human cop Daryl Ward (Smith) is near his retirement after a new death moment recently, his partner is the only Orc on the force Nick Jakoby (Edgerton) in a world where people treat other species like different citizens.

With the tensions rising within the force to get rid of Jakoby, even Ward doesn’t want to work with him, but he doesn’t want to treat him as an equal unlike the rest of the force. When the Dark Lord is set to return with the help of Elf Liela (Rapace) a Bright and her dark magic, that is forbidden, Ward and Jakoby are going to need to put the tension and differences between them behind them and stop the end of the world.

 

Thoughts on Bright

 

Characters – Daryl Ward is a human cop, married with a daughter, he is returning to duty after being shot by an Orc, that his partner an Orc lost in pursuit. Ward is put to the test on this night, as the force turns against him after they get in possession of a wand that the police and criminals want. Nick Jakoby is an Orc cop, the first of his type to get the role, hated by both humans and orcs alike. He is an honest character and tonight we see how he will fight for any species of innocence. Liela is the Elf that wants her wand back, so she can bring the Dark Lord back to take over the world, she kills anyone who gets in her way with her two assassins by her side, she is the deadliest enemy that the cops will face, though she is a safe villain for this film.

PerformancesWill Smith is the best he has been for years now, he has part wise cracking, part all or nothing which he was always the best at in the late 90s. Joel Edgerton gives us a great performance too, he is the deadpan humour which connects for the film and his character. Noomi Rapace is good even if her villainous character is by the book, she does well with what she needs to do in her role. Lucy Fry does a great job and deserves praise because her role gets us a laugh with her reactions to what happens on the life or death battle.

StoryThe story does follow two cops battling for their lives to stop a wand getting into the wrong hands, the pair must do the right thing to save the world. This happens all over one night which keeps the story flowing smoothly, it does turn into a buddy cop feel to it without being a comedy, where two people from different backgrounds must put aside their difference to do the right thing.

Action/Crime/Fantasy There is plenty of action in this film, we have hand to hand combat, weapons, gun battles and even car chases, this is an action film you can enjoy. The crime world we take throws the fantasy characters into the generic gangs we would see the cops needing to face, this includes moments of talking about the histories of the species and the envy between the species.

SettingsThe film takes place in LA which shows the different environments that our characters have come from and dislike.

Special EffectsThe effects used to create the different species come off great as we see how each species fits into the world seamlessly through the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Pop-culture references don’t work and turning to a Mexicans being treated differently doesn’t seem to make sense in a world where it is species that discriminate over the human races.

Final Thoughts: This is a film that I had only heard bad things about, but I did find myself enjoying, the one night gives the film the edge of your seat feeling needed and this is easily the best I have seen Will Smith in years.

 

Overall: Great enjoyable ORIGINAL fantasy action movie.

Rating

 

 

Suicide Squad (2016)

squadDirector: David Ayer

Writer: David Ayer (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Common, Ezra Miller, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Cara Delevingne, Joel Kinnaman, Scott Eastwood

 

Plot: A secret government agency recruits a group of imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency, which inevitably leads to chaos.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Complicated

 

Story: Suicide Squad starts as we see Amanda Waller (Davis) putting together her elite squad of criminals with Deadshot (Smith) The Joker (Leto)’ girlfriend Harley Quinn (Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Courtney), Diablo (Hernandez), Killer Croc (Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Enchantress (Delevingne). After being green lighted the squad is ready to get to work.

With this team put together it is the Joker himself that starts to search down his love while the team sets out to try and clean the streets for Amanda Waller and stop a brand new evil from taking over the world.

Suicide Squad ends up being a film which just adds the comic book characters to the world of dysfunctional bad guys needing to do the good job. This adds comic book characters that only the diehard fans would know because even after playing the first Arkham game we only meet Killer Croc that is involved in this film. The evil is basic and levels with RIPD and the almost non-existence of the Joker sucks most of the excitement out of this film because Deadshot is such a generic anti-hero character. Harley Quinn is quirky but not as bonkers as we need her to be and most of all this just ends ups feeling like a piss poor attempt at The Raid with comic book names.

 

Overall: This film lacks the violence required it lacks the humour required and now I find myself wondering what is next for the DC Universe because this is yet another bland addition to the universe.

Rating45

 

 

Hostel: Part II (2007)

logoDirector: Eli Roth

Writer: Eli Roth (Screenplay)

Starring: Lauren German, Roger Bart, Heather Matarazzo, Bijou Phillips, Richard Burgi, Vera Jordanova, Jay Hernandez, Jordan Ladd

 

Plot: Three American college students studying abroad are lured to a Slovakian hostel, and discover the grim reality behind it.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: A Different Perspective

 

Story: Hostel Part II starts by right where the first film finished with Paxton (Hernandez) being woken up on the train before being taken to hospital and questioned by the police. Paxton recounts his story but only in dream form, we learn that Paxton is back home in America with his girlfriend hiding from the society but he soon finds out they never stop until they get their man.

We move across to meet our new group of friends studying art in Italy we have Beth (German), Lorna (Matarazzo) and Whitney (Phillips) the group are going to Prague for a trip away like all college students. The three are joined on the trip with by nude model Axelle (Jordanova) who talks them into going to Slovakia and we are back at the hostel. Here is where things start to go differently as we follow the staff at the hostel post the photos of the girls where the clients get a chance to bid for them. Todd (Burgi) and Stuart (Bart) win the bidding war and head to Slovakia where they get the best treatment because of their investment.

We watch how the girls have a good time partying around Slovakia while the boys scout the girls they have paid to kill waiting for their chance to take get what they paid for. After Lorna disappears Beth and Whitney enjoy the local spa while we see how sadistic the clients of the club can actually be. When the times comes can the two men kill these girls that is the only question left, but we also have time for a twist in the story.

Hostel Part II actually builds on what the first horror gave us which is always a good sign, we know the victims have been selected and how they get baited, so we don’t need to see another films just about that. We learnt late on how people buy the person to kill and with this we get to watch and learn how the buyers deal with the situation. This alone is why I think this is going in the right direction by letting us see more of the business side to the story. Part two also manages to keep up the idea of non-visual torture letting us only see the tease and the aftermath. I would have to say this could well be on the better sequels in the horror genre with a solid story. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Lauren German: Beth the down to Earth of the three girls who may well be rich but really wants to look out for her friends but doesn’t do a very good job. She ends up getting capture to be put into the game where Stuart has paid for her. Lauren gives a good performance with her shining through the final scenes. (7/10)

 lauren

Roger Bart: Stuart having a present bought for him by his friend Todd, he gets to go and take part in killing someone any means he sees fit. Stuart is kind of forced to go and is always playing the reluctant participant in the murdering. Roger gives a good performance because we get to see the reluctant side to him before he snaps. (7/10)

 

Heather Matarazzo: Lorna the wimpy of the girls who really just want to go home but after she gets drunk she ends up being the first victim in a way that is very historic even though it is disturbing. Heather does a solid job but never gets a chance to do too much. (5/10)

 

Bijou Phillips: Whitney the party girl who is enjoying her time too much and ends up having to go through the preparation for the kill. Bijou gives a basic performance and never really gets any screen time. (4/10)

 

Richard Burgi: Todd cocky guy who buys both the girls for them to kill who thinks this will make them both look like more of men. Richard does a good job and makes out as the ass of the piece very well. (7/10)

 

Vera Jordanova: Axelle the bait girl who pulls the girls to make the decision of Slovakia but we knew this upfront. Vera makes for good bait girl stepping in where the previous two left off. (6/10)

 

Support Cast: Hostel Part II has a support cast that shows how the company is run with the guards’ right up to who owns the place.

 

Director Review: Eli Roth – Eli continues to be able to put shock into his horror and managing multiply genres nicely. (8/10)

 

Horror: Hostel Part II following on from the first where we don’t see any of the actual torture which is all off camera making the horror that much realer. (8/10)

Settings: Hostel Part II uses the same settings so we know how things will play out. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Hostel Part II uses brilliant practical effects with the highlight being the cannibal killer. (10/10)

Suggestion: Hostel Part II has to be one for all the horror fans to enjoy. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: The potential client’s point of view.

Worst Part: Lack of originally with the girls.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has one more sequel

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $35 Million

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

Trivia: Eli Roth received some criticism from female Hostel (2005) fans over the excessive amount of female nudity in the first movie. Therefore, the first bit of nudity he included in this sequel was a brief shot of a fully naked man.

 

Overall: Hostel Part II really is just an expansion of what we got first time around, it is just now we are fully inside the twisted world and we see how things are really run.

Rating 75