ABC Film Challenge – Random – H – The Hollow Point (2016)

Director: Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego

Writer: Nils Lyew (Screenplay)

Starring: Lynn Collins, Ian McShane, Patrick Wilson, John Leguizamo, James Belushi, Heather Beers, Michael Flynn

 

Plot: A new sheriff of a small town along the U.S. & Mexico border investigates a drug cartel deal that went horribly wrong.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Little Crime Thriller

 

Story: The Hollow Point starts in a border town that has two cousins ammunition smuggling across to Mexico, but when one gets killed by Sheriff Leland (McShane) and the other goes missing, the returning sheriff Wallace (Wilson) must investigate what they were up to.

When Wallace is attacked by Atticus (Leguizamo) his everyday life is change and now he must work with Leland to stop the cartel trafficking going on through their town.

 

Thoughts on The Hollow Point

 

Characters – Wallace has returned to his old town to become the Sheriff, where he must rebuild the burnt bridges with the town’s people but most importantly he must stop the smuggling going on through his town. Marla is the old flame of Wallace’s, he has a connection to the missing cousins but lives a life of wonder as she has always waited for Wallace to take her away. Leland is the other sheriff in town, he has always found himself getting close to the line which has gotten him in trouble before, but now we see he has always been on the right side of the law. Atticus is the man responsible for the body count, he will kill anyone that gets in his way and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.

PerformancePatrick Wilson does seem to be a go to man for leading roles in edgy films and he is good in these role, Ian McShane is good as the older sheriff who will take nonsense from anyone, while John Leguizamo is great as the deadly villain of the film. Lynn Collins is the weak link of the film as she just seems to lack the impact the character needs.

StoryThe story follows two sheriffs needing to protect their town from the cartel wanting to clean up loose ends when a deal goes wrong. This story is a by the book type of story, it doesn’t offer twists but it doesn’t hold back with shock value when it comes to certain things that happen. This is loosely based on the crime which are happening on the border too.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime is all about what has been happening along the borders in America, we have a smuggling gone wrong that needs investigating while the two sheriffs clean up the mess the town could face.

SettingsThe settings show us the small town that could become trapped by a cartel wanting them to do their dirty work with the smuggling, it shows it could be any town along the border too.

Scene of the Movie – Atticus introduction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Marla seems like a wasted side character just to have a female character in the story.

Final ThoughtsThis is an extremely watchable crime thriller that doesn’t hold back with the shocks being given to us, but it does follow a formula that we have seen before in the core of the story.

 

Overall: Crime thriller well worth watching.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – A – American Ultra (2015)

ultraDirector: Nima Nourizadeh

Writer: Max Landis (Screenplay)

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton, Walton Goggins, John Leguizamo, Bill Pullman

 

Plot: A stoner – who is in fact a government agent – is marked as a liability and targeted for extermination. But he’s too well-trained and too high for them to handle.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Comedy

 

Story: American Ultra starts as Mike Howell (Eisenberg) who must explain what has happened. We move back to see how Mike and his girlfriend Phoebe (Stewart) who live in a small dead-end town while enjoying getting stoned in their spare time. We also meet the government agents Adrian Yates (Grace) who is looking to close a project that Victoria Lasseter (Britton) has started.

When Adrian decides to terminate asset Mike Howell he becomes activated by Victoria and Mike learns all about a new set of skills that leaves a trail of bodies as Mike and Phoebe go on the run to learn the truth.

 

Thoughts on American Ultra

 

StoryThe story here is easy to follow and it is clear that this is designed to poke fun at the is he an agent or not sub-genre of action without being full parody. I think the story works and comes off original for the most part because you are left wonder where it could go next and we see how anything is possible too.

Action/ComedyThe action going on within this film is to make the extra comedy with how unique the kills and use of weapons that make things original throughout. While I don’t think, this is the best comedy the fact it doesn’t take itself too seriously helps make it feel light hearted throughout.

Characters/PerformancesMike is meant to be your everyday stoner who just gets by in life but what if he had been recruited by the government to be an undercover asset, well this is told through this character where he questions his own existence in the world. Phoebe does have a twist to her character with Yates being the typical over the top full of power government agent with Victoria being the elder member of the government team who wants to do the right thing. When you look at performances Eisenberg gets to have a lot of fun with his character and Stewart shows the talent she has but doesn’t always show in Twilight. Grave continues to be good at the over the top guy with the rest of the cast fitting the movie well.

SettingsThe settings are within the small town which shows just how the government can take control without needing to explain. It also gets fully explained by Mike hasn’t been able to leave under the program.

Special EffectsThe special effects are few and far between but all work for how the story is being told without having anything go wildly over the top like it could.

Final ThoughtsEnjoyable and fun is the best way to describe this because you know you are having something slightly light hearted going on throughout.

 

Overall: Fun and enjoyable action comedy that watched the right way can be enjoyed.

Ratingcard

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Land of the Dead (2005)

landDirector: George A Romero

Writer: George A Romero (Screenplay)

Starring: Simon Baker, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, Robert Joy, Eugene Clark, Joanne Boland, Tony Nappo, Jennifer Baxter

 

Plot: The living dead have taken over the world, and the last humans live in a walled city to protect themselves as they come to grips with the situation.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Addition to Franchise

 

Story: Land of the Dead starts us to a world where the zombies now control as we meet Riley (Baker), Charlie (Joy) and Cholo (Leguizamo) who go out at night to find supplies for the rich in the safely guarded city. On their nights out collecting supplies the humans uses Sky Flowers (fireworks) to distract zombies but one Big Daddy (Clark) has stopped being distracted and has started to lead the zombies in a new life with fragments of their previous one.

Riley has kept his nose to the ground to get his freedom from the runs while Cholo is always looking for a way to buy his freedom which means putting others at risk. The man they are both looking to for attention is Kaufman (Hopper) leader of the rich in the highest tower in the island.

When Cholo go goes rogue the city is torn apart by the smarter zombies who don’t get distracted that easily and it is Riley’s chance to be free of the city after making a deal with Kaufman to bring back Cholo and the weapons he has taken.

Land of the Dead is yet another great addition to the series, while it isn’t going to break any boundaries like the original trilogy did but solid action related zombie film. While it does follow the same formula, group of survivors are safe but soon their safe heaven is overrun by zombies leaving few alive we get to see it in a different light when it comes to number involved. The special effects have become a lot more realistic which I find takes away from the horror because the original was terrifying to see. The idea the zombies have continued to evolve is a huge plus because this seems to be the only franchise that accepts the idea that this could happen. On the negative we see the first film without the strong leading lady which has to be consider a step back for a franchise which has always had very strong leading characters both male and female.

 

Overall: Fun action horror film that is easy to watch

Rating70

 

 

The Fan (1996)

Director: Tony Scott

Writer: Phoef Sutton (Screenplay) Peter Abrahams (Book)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Wesley Snipes, Ellen Barkin, John Leguizamo, Benicio Del Toro, Patti D’Arbanville

 

Plot: An all star baseball player becomes the unhealthy focus of a down on his luck salesman.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Thriller

 

Story: The Fan starts as baseball MVP Bobby Rayburn (Snipes) joins to San Francisco Giants on a lucrative contract to be the highest paid player in the league. We also meet diehard baseball fan Gil Renard (De Niro) who is over the moon with the latest signing believing his team could go all the way this year but is on his last legs in his job as a salesman.

When Gil’s life starts crashing around him, he loses his job, gets a restraining order from his kid and even his beloved team isn’t performing he starts to reach into dark places. On the field, Bobby isn’t reaching to levels of expectation with Primo (Del Toro) outshining him in the games, with this we see how both men are not having the best time in their lives.

When Gil becomes obsessed with trying to help Bobby find his form, things take a dark turn with potentially deadly consequences.

 

Thoughts on The Fan

 

Characters/PerformanceGil is a true extreme diehard sports fan, he makes sport, in this case baseball the most important part of his life. He has been struggling with his job and family life which has pushed him over the edge. Bobby is the typical arrogant overpaid sports star who believes he can walk into any team and become the star attraction, when things don’t go his way, he struggles with the fan backlash when he hits a slump.

Performance wise, Robert De Niro is fantastic in this role with the final third of the film showing all of his skills on the psychotic levels. Wesley Snipes also brings the cocky sports persona from White Men Can’t Jump to the next level with his performance. The rest of the cast are all great, with always reliable performances from John Leguizamo and Benicio Del Toro.

StoryWe all know how certain fans can go to the extremes when it comes to supporting their team, we all know how the star player can sometimes find themselves getting the fans turn on them. So what happens when a fan goes too far, what happens when a star breaks his slump for his own change rather than because of the fan? Well this shows us just what could happen and in a very stylish way.

Action/SportsThe action is mostly based on the suspense of the film with the sports drama side coming from how the extreme fans can act.

SettingsSan Francisco is the most part for the setting which shows us how difficult it could be to get by, the difference between sports players and fans as well as the amount of people an average person could blend into.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most interesting twists on sports drama, seeing the extremes we could see a fan go to for a player and a team. This does start slightly slow but I do feel that helps build the characters for the final third of the film.

 

Overall: Great sports drama that has the intensity needed for the story.

Rating

 

 

John Leguizamo Weekend – Moulin Rouge! (2002)

moulinDirector: Baz Luhrmann

Writer: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, Garry McDonald

 

Plot: A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Flamboyant Musical Stunner

 

Story: Moulin Rouge starts as a young English writer Christian (McGregor) moving to Paris for dreams where he finds himself having to work on a play Spectacular Spectacular, but he needs to be passed off as a famous writer to impress Satine (Kidman).

When Christian gets mixed up with The Duke (Roxburgh) the two fall in love but when the Duke discovers them they must arrange a new play to prove they are just rehearsing for the latest play throwing Christian into the biggest show in town.

As The Duke becomes jealous he forces the director Harold Zidler (Broadbent) to sign a contract where he has exclusive rights to Satine and the Moulin Rouge, this throws the love between Satine and Christian up in the air because her chance to become the next big actress could be ruined.

Moulin Rouge is a flamboyant romantic musical that opens with all singing and dancing and never holds back from the over the topness of the songs being used. Going in completely blind I was left shocked with the choice of songs which include versions of Nirvana, The Sound of Music and David Bowie which all work apart from the creepy version of ‘Like a Virgin’. The setting is beautifully re-created with each performance embracing the location perfectly. The love story starts with the tragic ending which is against the normal as we are leading to find out what happened.

Kidman and McGregor are both brilliant in the leading roles but it is the supporting character which in places get left behind as The Duke comes off strange with the rest all coming off letting the main to shine in this performance. This is big, bold and breath-taking in places with anybody with the love for these songs finding a way to enjoy.

 

Overall: This is one of the most over the top style films with glorious use of music throughout.

Ratingcard