ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – K – Kill the Messenger (2014)

Director: Michael Cuesta

Writer: Peter Landesman (Screenplay) Gary Webb, Nick Schou (Book)

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Oliver Platt, Michel Sheen, Andy Garcia

 

Plot: Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb. The film takes place in the mid-1990s, when Webb uncovered the CIA’s past role in importing huge amounts of cocaine into the U.S. that was aggressively sold in ghettos across the country to raise money for the Nicaraguan Contras’ rebel army. Despite enormous pressure not to, Webb chose to pursue the story and went public with his evidence, publishing the series “Dark Alliance”. As a result he experienced a vicious smear campaign fueled by the CIA. At that point Webb found himself defending his integrity, his family, and his life.


Tagline –  How the CIA’s crack-cocaine controversy destroyed journalist Gary Webb

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Investigation Journalism 101

 

Story: Kill the Messenger starts as reporter Gary Webb (Renner) has been investigating the handling of drug dealers who are fond not guilty in a court of law. This opens the door for Gary to a whole new story about how the CIA had been using drug trade to fund a war in Nicaragua.

The deeper Gary got into the story the more the CIA put pressure on him as he must regain his reputation after the CIA pulls the same tricks to disgrace him.

 

Thoughts on Kill the Messenger

 

Characters – The characters in this film are based on the real people, we are looking at their own decisions which would have put them in the position they find themselves in. Gary Webb is a reporter, he believes he has the biggest story of his career which puts his own family life and career on the line by trying to expose the CIA. Sue is the wife that sees her personal life become part of the sideshow in the press. We do have many other reporters, contacts, CIA agents, lawyers and even the drug dealers themselves who interact with Gary as the story comes to the light of day.

PerformancesJeremy Renner is the star of this film, he does a great job in the leading role dealing with the different situations he finds himself in. the film is filled with great performances from the characters actors we have seen in plenty of films through the years.

StoryThe story here shows us one man’s determination to try and bring a story to life, one that could expose the governments secrets. This brings him into a personal battle against the CIA who are trying to ruin his reputation and destroy his creditability. The is based on the real man and the real story which once again shows us just how governments can become corrupt for their own gain. Though this is based on the true story, it does feel like it is lacking something to truly bring us into the film, we find ourselves just on the side lines of the story which never reaches the levels it could do.

Biopic/Crime/MysteryThe biopic side of this film is the important part of the film, we focus on the man whose story turned people against him even though he was exposing a big crime within the government.

SettingsThe settings do take us around America and even through the North America countries as we see where the truth is being designed to send us to the different corners of the truth.


Scene of the Movie –
Speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Driving looked terribly fake.

Final ThoughtsThis is a biopic movie that does set out to show us the truth about the CIA using the drug trade to fund a war but quickly turns into the CIA trying to discredit the man behind it all, it doesn’t reach the highest levels we are hoping for even it Renner does shine through the film.

 

Overall: One for the biopic fans out there.

Rating

 

 

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Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Writer:  Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Jim Starlin (Comics)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Josh Brolin, Danai Gurira

 

Plot: After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe.


Tagline – Avenge the fallen.

Runtime: 3 Hours 1 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Cinematic Masterpiece

 

Story: Avengers: Endgame starts in the aftermath of the actions a Thanos (Brolin) in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, the remaining Avengers and the world are dealing with the consequences of the snap. The Avengers, Ironman (Downey Jr), Captain America (Evans), Hulk (Ruffalo), Thor (Hemsworth), Black Widow (Johansson), War Machine (Cheadle), Nebula (Gillan), Rocket are joined by Captain Marvel (Larson) and Hawkeye (Renner) to go face to face and look to undo Thanos actions.

 

Thoughts on Avengers: Endgame

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie I just don’t want to get into any more details about the story, or characters action through the film. This is however one of the greatest achievements in cinema history, to be able to bring us the 22nd film in a franchise and have the stakes on this high of a level, you are just left stunned by the spectacle of this movie. We easily get the best performances from many of the big cast members including Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans.

We do get one of the finest, most breath-taking scenes in the whole franchise that will bring the emotional factor to a level unlike anything we have see before. This does help us because of the factor of the emotional effect of the snap that we see not just the Avengers, but how the world is dealing with them.

This is one that I want to revisit for a lengthy review, which could include spoilers.

 

Overall: The Cinematic Event that we were Promised.

Rating

 

 

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) Revisited

Director: Joss Whedon

Writer: Joss Whedon (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, Jim Starlin (Comics)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Samuel L Jackson

 

Plot: When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program called Ultron, things go horribly wrong and it’s up to Earth’s mightiest heroes to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plan.


Tagline – A new age begins

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Action-Packed Sequel

 

Story: Avengers Age of Ultron starts as the full team, Iron Man (Downey Jr), Thor (Hemsworth) Hulk (Ruffalo), Captain America (Evans) Black Widow (Johansson) and Hawkeye (Renner) leading an assault on a secret Hydra base in search for Loki’s sceptre.

Tony recruits Bruce to help him use the sceptre to help create an artificial intelligence that could guard the Earth, making the Avengers be able to rest. When Ultron (Spader) takes control of what Tony is searching for, he becomes the latest enemy to the Avengers as he looks to bring world peace to the planet, using the Maximoff twins Pietro (Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda (Olsen) who has the ability to control their minds.

 

Thoughts on Avengers Age of Ultron

 

Characters – Tony Stark wants to create an artificial intelligence to defend Earth from visitors, he does this with Bruce without telling the rest of the team. He is desperate to find a way to save people however much of a risk is going to be, showing that is still struggling to work as a team. Bruce Banner is reluctantly helping Tony, hoping that once he creates this intelligence it would stop him needing to bring out the Hulk. Steve Rogers still believes he is doing the best for mankind, he will see the good in other people including the Maximoff twins who have sided with Ultron, he understands war can push people to the sides at first. Thor is sadly underused in this film because most of his story got cut from the film, most of his story involves him needing to stop the end of the world coming to his own world. Natasha gets a glimpse into the past she has been trying to forget and she has control over Hulk to return Bruce back into control. Hawkeye has been keeping a secret, this will show just what he is fighting for each time he becomes part of the Avengers. Nick Fury gives us the motivation that the team requires. Ultron is the artificial intelligence that Tony unleashes, he is designed to create peace, which in his eyes is complete destruction. Pietro is one of the twins, he has superspeed and like his sister Wanda who has he ability to control minds has been waiting for a chance to confront Tony for the death of their parents.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner all return hitting the levels you would expect when they do get less screen time. We have James Spader mostly voicing the villain with his tone helping make him feel like the threat he is, while Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen both add to the grand scale of this film.

StoryThe story follows how the Avengers are being tested with their action by wanting to experiment on things they have discovered, idea which only end up bringing a new self-created villain to the world. this story does show us how heroes could easily become villains with their actions which is something we haven’t looked at before, we have an artificial intelligence being the villain here shows how quickly it could spread to be a threat for everybody it come sin contact with and losing the human element can leave it make decision which is sees as the only option. Having the minor conflict between the Avengers is important because it does show the clash of beliefs they will be showing through the years together. This story does only build on just where everything will end up going after the action involved in this film too.

Action/Sci-FiThe action involved here is large scale battle sequences, chase sequences and most notable the final act fight which goes on for an age. The sci-fi side of the film turns to the idea of artificial intelligence become the new threat for the Avengers.

SettingsThe film shows us a couple of different settings which will see the heroes needing to save a city which is literally being lifted out of the ground to be used as a weapon.

Special EffectsThe effects in this film do for the most part seem flawless yet again, the ability to have scenes on these scales is unbelievable.


Scene of the Movie –
Chase sequences.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Thor needed more scene time.

Final ThoughtsThis is the second joint venture for the heroes and this time they must fight their own problems, it is entertaining and deserves the attention of the world building involved.

 

Overall: Entertaining as they come.

Rating

 

 

The Avengers (2012) Revisited

Director: Joss Whedon

Writer: Joss Whedon (Screenplay) Zak Penn, Joss Whedon (Story)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr,  Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson

 

Plot: Earth’s mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fantastic

 

Story: The Avengers starts as Nick Fury (Jackson) is leading the investigation on how to operate the tesseract, which ends up summoning Loki (Hiddleston) who steals it, taking Hawkeye (Renner) and Dr Selvig (Skarsgard) under his control. This leads to Nick Fury bringing the Avengers Tony Stark (Downey Jr), Steve Rogers (Evans), Bruce Banner (Raffalo) and Natasha Romanoff (Johansson) for their first mission together.

When Thor (Hemsworth) joins the group, they must learn why Loki is on Earth this time and stop is master plan of unleashing an alien invader on Earth.

 

Thoughts on The Avengers

 

Characters – Steve Rogers is till adapting to the modern day, he is still as patriotic as he was, he will provide the middle ground between Thor and Tony as he is looking to solve the problem in the simplest possible outcome. Tony Stark is reluctant at help to start with, but learning he could get more information from SHIELD he steps up to help defeat Loki. Thor arrives in hope of bringing Loki back to Asgard to face punishment for his action, he must learn about the other Avengers and how to become closer to the humans he is meant to be protecting. Bruce Banner comes out of hiding to help with the scientific side, only he will need to unleash the Hulk to stay in the fight. Natasha Romanoff will show more of her skills as the agent of SHIELD, we see how she can play people to get the answers required. Nick Fury brings the heroes together to fight Loki after his own experiment goes wrong, he isn’t honest with them which only drives them away. Loki has returned to Earth for the tesseract which he will use to bring an alien invading army to take over Earth. Hawkeye is an agent of SHIELD who gets turns by Loki’s power, he is turned into one of his super soldiers with his deadly accuracy with an arrow.

PerformancesWe have the returning cast from the origin films, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hiddleston and Samuel L Jackson all return continuing to grow into their roles, Mark Ruffalo does make for a great replacement as Bruce, with his more human feel to the character and Jeremy Renner brings us another agent of SHIELD we want to get behind.

StoryThe story here brings the characters from their solo movies together to fight Loki who is planning on taking over the Earth with his alien invaders. This story works wonderfully because we have seen the major heroes Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk have their own movies to introduce us to them, show their strengths and weaknesses, so, stepping into this world we know how each hero knows of to use their strengths to their advantage to help each other in the battle and learn just how far they would go to save the world when the time comes. The bigger inclusion of SHIELD is great too, because we see how the mortal side of the people in the battle will do, what they can to help. Loki as the villain does work well, he always desired power and to rule which is the reason behind his appearance. To achieve the story telling that can reference previous films and eras, to give us a way to bring the superhero unit together for the first time is done to perfection here.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is the large scale battle sequences which include the jet base and the New York battle which shows each of the heroes using their strengths to win. We have the sci-fi side of the world by having the idea of aliens coming to invade Earth at the control of a high power.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well, we have the scattered intro, the base which seems undetectable and New York being the key to the final battle, yes, we have seen New York used in a lot of movies, but it still works for impact and the worlds eyes to see.

Special EffectsThe effects seem flawless through the film, the pure scale of the battles makes this even more impressive, when we see just how all the different powers are used to fight the good fight.


Scene of the Movie –
New York battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You might miss certain references if you have seen the other films.

Final ThoughtsThis is the benchmark for any superhero team up movie now, this film showed us just how it can be done and how done correctly you will be left wanting more.

 

Overall: Must watch superhero movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – T – Tag (2018)

Director: Jeff Tomsic

Writer: Rob McKittrick, Mark Steilen (Screenplay) Russell Adams (Article)

Starring: Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb, Hannibal Burgess

 

Plot: A small group of former classmates organize an elaborate, annual game of tag that requires some to travel all over the country.


Tagline – Based on a True Story. We’re Not Kidding.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Funny

 

Story: Tag starts in the month of May, the same month five friends Hoagie (Helms), Bob (Hamm), Chilli (Johnson), Sable (Buress) and Jerry (Renner) always play a game of ‘Tag’ the problem is they have normal lives and for the 30 years of playing they have never managed to tag Jerry. This year he wants to retire from the game, which brings the other four out to bring their best game.

The four are joined by Hoagie’s wife Anna (Fisher) who takes things too seriously and reporter Rebecca Crosby (Wallis) who believes this could be a major story as they all head home for the wedding.

 

Thoughts on Tag

 

Characters – Hoagie is one of the gang, the one that still takes the game of tag the most serious willing to take fake jobs to get his friends, he joins his wife who keeps him determined to get Jerry this year. Bob now in a successful businessman who is being interviewed at the time of the beginning of the game this year and now his story will help bring the game to the life of the public. Chilli is the stoner of the group, his life hasn’t gone well with his marriage, business and career not going well. Sable seems to be the guy trying to put his life back together, we don’t learn too much about his life away from the gang, but he does get plenty of laughs. Jerry is the one from the group that has never been caught, he has turned the whole game into a mission to prove he can escape and plan ahead of anybody who comes for him. Rebecca Crosby is the reporter that is writing a story on Bob, only to get learn of the game of tag that makes for a much bigger story. Anna is Hoagie’s competitive wife who would be the be the best player in the game if she was allowed to play.

PerformancesEd Helms, Jake Johnson, Jon Hamm and Hannibal Buress have great chemistry which shows in their performances, we get laughs from all of them without one getting more than the others. Isla Fisher is the strongest actress in the film because the characters are not used to the full amounts in the film. Jeremy Renner is the highlight in the film because he goes against the typecast we know and hits the comedy moments throughout.

StoryThe story here follows the story of five friends that have been spent 30-years playing tag once a year for a month and this time the four are determined to get the one that has never been caught. This is clearly and early message about brotherhood and remaining friends for a lifetime, it gave the guys an excuse to just go and see their friends. We do get moments that I feel do go too far when it comes to getting involved in the game, but the idea of the game is just as crazy as it sounds. I did like the fact this story showed us how life can get in the way of friendship the older we get and this gives us a reason to keep in contact with them, brining a moment of happiness to a life that could be going in a bad direction.

ComedyThe comedy in the film is great, though it easily has moments that will upset people because certain jokes could be slightly too offensive, the chases will get the most laughs.

SettingsThe film takes the friends in their home town which shows the important message behind the game which gives us a nice feeling.


Scene of the Movie –
The concept of friendship.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain moments are too dark.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great comedy that people will enjoy the most part of the message of friendship, it has great performances from everyone involved too.

 

Overall: Must watch comedy.

Rating