ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – P – The Patriot (2000)

Director: Roland Emmerich

Writer: Robert Rodat (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs, Chris Cooper, Techeky Karyo, Rene Auberjonois

 

Plot: Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin is driven to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution when a sadistic British officer murders his son.


Tagline – Some things are worth fighting for. 

Runtime: 2 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long War Epic

 

Story: The Patriot starts where peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin (Gibson) sees the American Revolution coming towards his doorstep with his eldest son Gabriel (Ledger) fighting about the British. When the British reach his doorstep they end up killing one of his sons, Col William Tavington (Isaacs) makes an enemy he can’t prepare to fight against.

Benjamin prepares his own militia to fight back against the British, one that has experience fighting on this land, one that has already won a war, all this to get revenge on the man that took his son in a cowardly action.

 

Thoughts on The Patriot

 

Characters – Benjamin Martin was once a feared general in the military, now he is a quiet farmer looking after his children after his wife’s death. when the American Revolution comes to his home, he loses a son to a ruthless Colonel. Returning to the force he leads the militia in battle against the English showing all the tricks he has learnt through the years, in his mission for revenge. Gabriel is the eldest son of Benjamin’s he is the first to go into war and after it returns home, he will serve under his father to show the pride he has standing next to him. Charlotte is the sister-in-law that protects the children from the war while the men go off to fight. Col William Tavington is the man that kills Benjamin’s son in cold blood, he doesn’t want to give a calm peaceful end to the war and is willing to and wants to kill anyone against him.

PerformancesMel Gibson might well have a few personal demons, but when it comes to this style of film, he never looks out of place on the big screen, easily be the star of this film. Heath Ledger continued to show the world just how talented he was going to become with a wonderful supporting performance and Jason Isaacs gives us a villain from a war movie we are going to hate.

StoryThe story follows a once deadly war general who is forced back into battle after his son is killed during the American Revolution, this follows his revenge in the battle which does give us a fictional story to a real war that changed America at the time. Now this does have a reality in how the men would be losing family members to the ruthless British, though this does make out that the British were the worst of the worst when it came to battle. This is a movie designed to make the American audience feel extra patriotic and does show the two sides of war, the respectful way and the dirty tactics people will use to win.

Action/History/WarThe action is large scale war sequences, each one gets bigger with the number of bodies piling up as we go along. The historical side of the film focuses on the real war over the real people involved in the war which is fine, we only need the historical side as a backdrop for the personal battle.

SettingsThe film does make the realistic settings for the time the war took place in each location does play a key part in the film be it a battle, the moment which will leave people wanting revenge or safety.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Being overly patriotic.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the long war epics that is designed solely to make America look great, it does end up going down the revenge line which gives an edge to the battles, which will be the highlight of the film.

 

Overall: Patriotic 101

Rating

 

 

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Red Sparrow (2018)

Director: Francis Lawrence

Writer: Justin Haythe (Screenplay) Jason Matthews (Novel)

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker, Ciaran Hinds, Joely Richardson, Bill Camp, Jeremy Irons

 

Plot: Ballerina Dominika Egorova is recruited to ‘Sparrow School,’ a Russian intelligence service where she is forced to use her body as a weapon. Her first mission, targeting a C.I.A. agent, threatens to unravel the security of both nations.


Tagline –  I Know Your Secrets.

Runtime: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Espionage Movie

 

Story: Red Sparrow starts when CIA agent Nate Nash (Edgerton) blows his cover in Russia just as brilliant ballerina Dominika (Lawrence) breaks her leg during a performance, 3 months later her Uncle Vanya (Schoenaerts) offers to help with the new financial crisis her family would be facing, by bringing her into the Sparrow school.

The Sparrow program teaches the subjects to use their bodies to seduce the enemies of the Russia as Nate is forced back into the field as he is the only contact to a source within Russia. Dominika’s first assignment is to track down and seduce Nate bring stopping him from getting the security information he is after in Hungry, the cat-n-mouse chase is now on.

 

Thoughts on Red Sparrow

 

Characters – Dominika was once a brilliant ballerina, destine to be one of the top stars of the dancing world, after an accident her priorities change as she is desperately trying to keep the roof over her sick mother’s head. She is recruited to become a Sparrow, an agent that seduces the enemy in hopes of getting secrets, she isn’t like the other sparrows though, she has a way about getting the job done. Nate Nash is a CIA agent undercover in Russia, he does blow his cover landing him back home, but when his source will only talk to him he enters the field again, he uses his skills to get the information and stay ahead of Dominika. Vanya is the Uncle of Dominika, he recruits her with his government position believing that her family connection will help get results.

PerformancesJennifer Lawrence is good even if her accent comes in and out way too often for a consistent level required in the film. Joel Edgerton is good throughout, we can always count on his to give us strong performances throughout any film though. Matthias Schoenaerts is the best performer in the film in the supporting role and to say how many big names we have in the supporting roles we get to see some of the best actors in the industry here.

StoryThe story takes us into the espionage style movie where we follow a reluctant young Russian woman being forced into working for the Russian government and an American CIA agent looking to finish a case he should have been removed from. This does fall into the cat-n-mouse style story which will try to keep you guessing along the way and shows how both sides of the intelligence war are operating, leaving you to figure out who is the mole for the Americans. It should have higher levels of suspense for the subject matter, but just doesn’t suck you into the film on the levels you are expecting.

Mystery/ThrillerThe film uses the mystery side of the story to keep us guessing to who the contact in Russia is, what are the secrets that are being released and which side will get the upper hand, the Russians or the Americans. The film doesn’t feel like the highest tension level that it should though.

SettingsThe film does have some beautiful shots as we learn where the film is being set, we do move around Europe for the film though, which takes away moments of suspense we could receive.


Scene of the Movie –
The weapon of choice for the assassin.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It has slow pacing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow paced spy thriller, it does try to keep us guessing throughout only to end up failing to give us any suspense or use any of the sexual skills we are forced to watch the training side of things.

 

Overall: Thriller that just doesn’t hit the suspense levels required.

Rating

 

 

Event Horizon (1997)

logoDirector: Paul W.S. Anderson

Writer: Philip Eisner (Screenplay)

Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Richard T. Jones, Jack Noseworthy, Jason Isaacs, Sean Pertwee

 

Plot: A rescue crew investigates a spaceship that disappeared into a black hole and has now returned…with someone or something new on-board.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Closest To A Sci-Fi Horror Equal to Alien

 

Story: Event Horizon starts by filling us in on the time and events of the film, we are in 2040 where a Deep space research vessel called The Event Horizon has disappeared after passing past Neptune becoming one of the biggest disasters on record. 7 years later we see a devoid of gravity space craft that haunts Dr Weir (Neill) as he still struggles with the loss of his wife. We are on the Lewis & Clark the rescue mission to find the Event Horizon. Our team includes Captain Miller (Fishburne), Med Tech Peters (Quinlan), Lt Starck (Richardson), Cooper (Jones), Justin (Noseworthy), DJ (Isaacs) and Smith (Pertwee) each has their own specialist use on the mission. We get the simple hyper sleep idea for the long distance travelling which continues to feed the nightmares Weir is having.

The mission involved learning what really happened to the Event Horizon because it was part of a secret experiment to create a faster travelling system through space. Investigating the ship the crew find nothing but a ghost ship, with signs of a previous struggle with blood and body parts floating around. When an unexplained event happens the crew have to all move onto the Event Horizon while they try and fix their own ship. It isn’t long before the crew start seeing things around the ship which simply can’t be explained with rational science. The crew has 20 hours of air before they will end up dying to fix their ship and make it home.

Event Horizon is a sci-fi film that is nearly 20 years old and still feels like it could be considered fresh compared too many films that attempted and failed to reach the same level of atmosphere and pure horror. We get the deep space which instantly creates the idea that the characters are going to be alone. I will look at few negatives that got me, the first would be that they don’t discuss the mission until they are about to get there meaning there isn’t a way to go back. The second would be even after seeing this film a couple of times now I still don’t fully know what to believe about the Dr Weir character whether he is good or always bad. Overall this is a very good story and the negatives are really just nit picking instead of just praising the film. (9/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Laurence Fishburne: Captain Miller is the leader of the rescue mission, he will look out for every one of his crew and involve them all in the decision making process but will never leave one behind. Laurence does a good job in this leading role playing the strong but equal leader. (7/10)

 miller

Sam Neill: Dr William Weir is the creator of the Event Horizon who gets taken over by the life force inside the ship wanting to take advantage of the newly discovered machine. Sam ends up going through a brilliant and frightening transformation as this film rolls on and ends up being almost unrecognisable. (8/10)

weir

Kathleen Quinlan: Peters is the med tech who first starts getting vision showing her greatest fear. I do have issues with this character because she should be the most logical when it comes to seeing the vision because she off all the people should know it is only in their minds. Kathleen does a solid job with what she has to do, it’s not her fault her character makes bad decisions. (6/10)

 

Joely Richardson: Lt Starck is the member of the crew trying to uncover everything that happened to the original crew and along the way she learns the pure terror the crew will be in for. Joely does a solid job in this role but really doesn’t get as much screen time as the character should get. (7/10)

 

Richard T Jones: Cooper is one of the engineers who gets all the best lines while the mission is taking place, he also goes through the most including being blasted off the ship and having to find his own way back. Richard ends up playing the character you want to see on screen most because he is so funny. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: Event Horizon does have a couple more members of the crew that all end up becoming disposable characters as they rest try to escape the terror on the ship.

 

Director Review: Paul W.S. Anderson – Paul does a great job here and shows he knows how to pace a film to have enough scares and tension to keep us fully behind the film from start to finish. (8/10)

 

Horror: Event Horizon has to go down as one of the best horror films of the 90s but will always end up getting eclipsed by Alien. (9/10)

Sci-Fi: Event Horizon takes place in space and challenges scientific theory to make the story’s events unfold. (9/10)

Settings: Event Horizon works perfectly for horror as it creates isolation instantly and the crew have to find their own way to safety because no one can rescue them. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Event Horizon does have a small weakness because a lot of the gravity based effects have dated but the rest all look great consider how many years have passed. (6/10)

Suggestion: Event Horizon is one for all the horror fans to watch, it is easily one of the most enjoyable of recent years. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Weir’s Transformation is scary and frightening all mixed up to make it horrific.

Worst Part: Certain effects have dated.

Oh My God Moment: The footage showing what happened to the original crew.

Scariest Scene: The reveal of what has happened to Dr Weir.

Favourite Quote: Dr Weir ‘Where we’re going, we won’t need eyes to see.’

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Sunshine and Pandorum

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $26.6 Million

Budget: $50 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

Tagline: Infinite Space – Infinite Terror

Trivia: Paul W.S. Anderson’s initial cut of the film ran to 130 minutes and was quite graphically violent, so much so that both test audiences and the studio baulked at the finished product. Paramount ordered him to cut the film by 30 minutes and tone down some of the violence, a decision he now regrets.

 

Overall: Event Horizon is one of the most shocking sci-fi horrors of all time and a must watch for all the horror fans out there.

Rating 89

Maggie (2015)

logoDirector: Henry Hobson

Writer: John Scott 3 (Screenplay)

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin, Joely Richardson, Laura Cayouette, Amy Brassette, Denise Williamson, J.D. Evermore, Raeden Greer, Aiden Flowers, Taylor Murphy

 

Plot: A teenage girl in the Midwest becomes infected by an outbreak of a disease that slowly turns the infected into cannibalistic zombies. During her transformation, her loving father stays by her side.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Emotional Zombie Film

 

Story: Maggie starts when Maggie (Breslin) leaves a message for her father Wade (Schwarzenegger) warning him that she has gone to the city and not to come for her. The world has been infected with a zombie like disease being known as ‘The Turn’. Wade goes to his daughter who has been bitten but hasn’t turned yet, the turn takes time giving the two a chance to say their goodbyes as Wade takes her to the quarantine zone.

The two travel through abandoned cities with the devastating effects of the zombie outbreak before arriving home to Wade’s wife Caroline (Richardson) and other two children Molly (Flowers) and Bobby (Flowers). Wade takes his youngest children away to their Aunt Linda’s (Cayouette) for safety reasons. Wade knows the risk he has taken to bring her home but we see how he just couldn’t give up on his daughter.

We continue to see the bleak world now being lived in as two neighbours of Wade’s who have turned turn up on his property where he has to deal with the same way he knows he will have to deal with his daughter change. Wade ends up in the position of having to pick three options all resulting in her death 1, take Maggie to quarantine 2, give Maggie the cocktail that is given in quarantine so she can die with her family 3, make it quick.

Maggie is a film that really surprised me, you see the name Schwarzenegger and you would be thinking action you also add in the fact it is a zombie film you would expect to see all out action. The story ends up being a very bleak look into a zombie outbreak, instead of focusing on the early outbreak we see how the world has coped with slow turning.  In an era of zombie films coming out every week we see each film try to think of a unique zombie kill over an actual story. Maggie ends up giving us a tough story of how hard life will be when you know you will lose someone set in the world where a zombie has infected that said loved one. I will say the film does come off very slow and the trailer is slightly misleading but I do think it ends up being a pleasant surprise. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Wade is the loving father of Maggie who has travelled for two weeks to find Maggie. Wade wants to spend Maggie’s final weeks before she turns into a zombie with her before having to face the toughest decision of his life. it would be fair to say that this is Arnold’s best acting role because he doesn’t have to do any action material or silly one liners, a performance I didn’t think he was capable off. (8/10)

 wade

Abigail Breslin: Maggie is the teenage daughter of Wade’s who has been bitten by a zombie, she has only a couple of weeks to live before she finally turns, she gets to spend those final weeks with her family while slowly starting to get worse. Abigail continues he transformation from child star to young actress showing she still has the talent we saw first time we saw her. (8/10)

 maggie

Support Cast: Maggie has a supporting cast that is trying to help ease the pain, we see friends try to make Maggie enjoy one last time together, we see the family struggling with the idea of losing her, and we see the law side trying to make sure the infection doesn’t spread around the community. Each member of the cast shows how much the loss will be to them making the impact of each scene they turn up on Maggie.

 

Director Review: Henry Hobson – Henry gives us one of the best but most of all original ideas of a zombie film. (9/10)

 

Drama: Maggie has to be the best drama that involves zombies of all time. (9/10)

Horror: Maggie uses the idea of zombies but it would be hard to say this is a true horror film. (5/10)

Thriller: Maggie is a film that we know what will happen but we want to see how everything will unfold. (9/10)

Settings: Maggie uses bleak settings for nearly every scene making us know how dark the situation the characters are facing is going to be. (10/10)
Special Effects
: Maggie isn’t a film that relies on its special effects but we do get to see the slow transformation in Maggie come through very well. (9/10)

Suggestion: Maggie is one that has to be watch by horror fans to show them all we don’t need silly gore to make a zombie film interesting. It could also be enjoyed by everyone because you don’t need to be put off by the zombie idea. (Watch)

 

Best Part:  Emotional effects of a zombie outbreak.

Worst Part: It does feel slow at times.

 

Believability: The idea of losing someone within an amount of time is a real experience people go through but the zombie side isn’t. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: I think this could get a few tears. (3/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Very unlikely.

Budget: $4 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Trivia: Director Henry Hobson was also the director and designer for the title sequence of The Last of Us (2013), a survival horror video game.

 

Overall: Maggie is the best emotionally driven zombie film I have seen that has a constant sad feeling about every single scene.

Rating 80