Jessica Chastain Weekend – Lawless (2012)

Director: John Hillcoat

Writer: Nick Cave (Screenplay) Matt Bondurant (Novel)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jason Clarke, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Gary Oldman

 

Plot: Set in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a trio of bootlegging brothers are threatened by a new special deputy and other authorities angling for a cut of their profits.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Standard Historical Crime Story

 

Story: Lawless starts as we meet the three brothers Bondurant, youngster Jack (LaBeouf), Forrest (Hardy) and Howard (Clarke), the eldest two have a reputation of being indestructible, the three are bootlegging alcohol during the prohibition era in America. Business is great and their reputation keeps people away from.

This changes when Special Deputy Charlie Rakes (Pearce) arrives looking to clean up Franklin County, Virginia, this helps Jack learn how to be part of the business in the violent side of the business. This leas Jack to make a deal with the deadliest bootlegger Floyd Banner (Oldman) and the war begins between gangs and cops.

 

Thoughts on Lawless

 

Characters/PerformanceJack is the youngster brother, he has always looked up to his brothers to do the dirty work but now he wants to get out there and get his hands dirty, Forrest if the toughest member of the family, he the one conducting most of the business and he will also be the muscles when someone messes with them. Howard is the eldest member of the brothers, he survived the war and now looks for fights while drinking. Charlie Rakes is the man trying to shut down the bootlegging business, he will kill the people involved to send his message. Floyd Banner is the biggest name in the business and now he works with the brothers but will kill anyone who crosses him.

Performance wise, Shia is good in the leading role fitting the part of lead well, Hardy is the best performer where here as the ruthless member of the team, otherwise the rest of the cast are all good throughout the film all doing what you would expect from the genre.

StoryThe story follows the bootleggers during the prohibition era in America, we see the rise of one, the downfall of another an mostly just how things went down in the battle to be the men that get turned too for supplies. This isn’t the most interesting story as none of the characters are overly likeable.

Crime The throws us into a crime world of the prohibition era which shows us just what this would have been like for the men involved.

SettingsThe settings show us just how shady the operations were on the back-country roads on America.

Final ThoughtsThis is fine, nothing special movie that can easily be forgotten when it is all set and done.

 

Overall: Fine but nothing special.

Rating

 

 

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Black Mirror – Crocodile

Director: John Hillcoat

Writer: Charlie Brooker (Screenplay)

Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Andrew Gower, Kiran Sonia Sawar

 

Plot: A woman interviews various people using a device that allows her to access their memories.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Suspenseful Thriller

 

Story: Crocodile starts as Mia Nolan (Riseborough) is forced to cover up an accident by her then boyfriend, 15-year-later she has moved on with her life, married with a child and a good career. When her boyfriend from her past wants to spill the beans, and let his guilt go, Mia can’t afford to let this truth out.

Shazia Akhand (Sawar) on the other side of things in an insurance claim investigator, looking into an accident from outside the hotel this same night, she uses a device which can use the memories to build a case, when the paths cross Mia could be the key witness, but her activities in the hotel room could expose the truth.

 

Thoughts on Crocodile

 

StoryThis is one of the first stories here that splits into two for the first half, this is good because we get good development for both Mia & Shazia characters, we also get the idea of two career women, one that is going to always be haunted by her past, while the other is looking at the bright future with her new born child. This is a slow burning story that escalates into one that keeps you on edge till the final moments as you are left wondering just how far things can go.


Scene of the Episode –
The meeting of Mia and Shazia, is a wonderful tense moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There does seem to be a couple of moments which don’t fit the pace we are looking to get to.

Final ThoughtsThis is one episode which does start slow and finishes with you on the edge of your seat, with the suspense ramped up the max. I was thinking this was going put this down as a disappointment only for it have one of the best final 15 minutes so far.

 

Overall: Deliveries in the final third.

Rating

 

 

Triple 9 (2016)

triple 9

 

Plot: A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan the murder of a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet across town.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too Much Going On

 

Story: Triple 9 starts as we watch our criminal team of Michael (Ejiofor), Marcus (Mackie) Russell (Reedus), Gabe (Paul) and Franco (Collins Jr) who are working for a new Russian force run by Irina Vlaslov (Winslett). The job doesn’t go as smoothly as planned but we learn that these men are actually all cops. Jeffrey Allen (Harrelson) is the man trying to solve the robbery as his nephew Chris (Affleck) starts on the force partnering with Marcus.

When Michael thinks they are out he gets given one last job and to show how serious they are by killing one of the crew. The plan to complete the job is to kill a cop taking all of the police to the wrong side of town while they complete job, but not everything is as it seems.

Triple 9 is a crime thriller that does take away the twists we see too often in these films by instantly telling us we are dealing with corrupt cops. This is something I did like and mostly the only thing I really did like. The film has too many characters in that we are meant to want to follow, mostly all bad people too which doesn’t help us route for anyone to win. I think having too many big names doesn’t help either because we are expecting more scenes for them all. This really does come off as over complicated throughout.

 

Actor Review

 

Chiwetel Ejiofor: Michael is the corrupt cop leading the group of thieves, he has all the communication with Irina due to his relationship with her sister and the child they have together. He has to lead his crew on one final job that has the biggest score of their careers but if they don’t complete the job they will be killed. Chiwetel is good in this leading role showing that he could handle leading such a big cast.

Casey Affleck: Chris is fresh to the department a clean by the book officers with a family, he gets assigned to work under Marcus where the styles quickly clash. Chris finds himself trying to learn the new department only to discover the truth. Casey is good but suffers with lack on screen time for what should be one of the main characters.

Anthony Mackie: Marcus is the second in command still working on the force to keep face and connections in the crime world. He has to become the partner of Chris where he does want to make the unthinkable happen. Anthony is solid going against the Captain America character he has been playing recently.

Woody Harrelson: Jeffrey is the detective from the Major Crimes division that is trying to find the men in the crime team, his nephew is Chris which when he learns the truth proves just how desperate he is to solve the crime. Woody is his ever reliable self in this role without reaching his top levels.

Kate Winslet: Irina is running the crime family while her husband is in jail and this involved getting people to do her dirty work including Michael and his team. Kate is solid in this role but you just never believe her in this villainous role.

Support Cast: Triple 9 has a big supporting cast to go along with the main five, not everyone shines enough to make an impact but also nobody is bad. It was good to see Norman Reedus and Aaron Paul stepping up from the television screens.

Director Review: John HillcoatJohn tries to bring a fresh approach to the crime heist world but then gets everything just too over complicated.

 

Action: Triple 9 has a couple of good action sequences with the raid in the flats and the bank robbery coming off nice.

Crime: Triple 9 puts us in the middle of a crime boss, corrupt cop and honest cops trying to stay ahead of each other.

Thriller: Triple 9 tries to keep us on edge from start to finish but doesn’t keep us truly interested with all of the characters involved.

Settings: Triple 9 doesn’t have any iconic settings used in the film which doesn’t help to make anything memorable.
Special Effects
: Triple 9 has basic effects when it comes to the scenes that need them but again nothing special.

Suggestion: Triple 9 is one to wait till it appears on TV to watch. (TV Viewing)

 

Best Part: Bank robbery.

Worst Part: Too many characters.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $28 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

Tagline: Never forget what side you’re on

 

Overall: Overly complicated crime thriller

Ratingcard