ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – L – Lost in the Sun (2016)

Director: Trey Nelson

Writer: Trey Nelson (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh Duhamel, Josh Wiggins, Lynn Collins, Emma Fuhrmann, Al Hayter, Larry Jack Dotson

 

Plot: The story of John, a small-time crook, who finds an unlikely accomplice in Louis, a newly-orphaned teenage boy. As their open-road adventure progresses and John drags the kid on a string of robberies, the pair forge an unexpected and powerful bond.


Tagline – How far can one man go?

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Action Coming of Age Film

 

Story: Lost in the Sun starts as small-time crook John (Duhamel) visits a funeral of a young mother, her son Louis (Wiggins) is being sent to live with his grandparents, John sees this and volunteers to drive him across America, where he decides to use Louis to help him settle a couple of debts.

As the time together continues John pushes Louis into helping him commit the crimes as the two get to know each other as over the week.

 

Thoughts on Lost in the Sun

 

Characters – John is a crook, he seems to be freshly out of prison needing to payback debts for protection in prison, he offers to take Louis to his grandparents and starts using him to help pay of the debts, showing him the life of crime, it is clear early on that he does have a connection to Louis, we are left to see what that connection is. Louis is the teenager that has been left orphaned when his mother dies, he reluctantly joins John in the cross-country trip where he gets to learn certain things he wouldn’t have before, including how to drive and how to shoot a gun. We do only meet characters along the way, some help and most are the people they are robbing.

PerformancesJosh Duhamel is good in the leading role, it is one of his better performances as she shows how conflicted his character is and just how desperate he is to clear his debts, while trying to guide the teenager. Josh Wiggins is great in his role of the film, he gets to show moments of grief and moments of moving on with life as he is the one that needs to learn the biggest life lessons. The rest of the cast are solid without needing to do that much.

StoryThe story here comes down to one man trying to make up for his own mistakes in life by helping a young teenage boy across country to live with his grandparents only along the way we see him teach him life lessons which could one day prepare him for the real-world. This gives us a chance to see a redemption story while also giving us a coming-of-age chapter in Louis’s life, this isn’t going to break any ground in the genre and does everything it needs to do for the characters. We do get moments of questioning moments of what Louis is forced to do and for the most we don’t get enough time to look at the crimes that have left John where he is in life.

ActionThe action in the film is simple, we get a couple of weak chases and robberies, they are easy to watch and barely break into a sweat.

SettingsThe film takes us across America, we don’t hit any landmarks which just shows us small town after small town or open roads.


Scene of the Movie –
The final moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Boys don’t just want to drive cars and shoot guns.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple coming of age film, it checks the boxes well without doing anything we haven’t seen before.

 

Overall: Coming-of-age 101

Rating

 

 

You’re Not You (2014)

Director: George C Wolfe

Writer: Shana Feste, Jordan Roberts (Screenplay) Michelle Wildgen (Book)

Starring: Hilary Swank, Emmy Rossum, Josh Duhamel, Stephanie Beatriz, Jason Ritter, Julian McMahon, Ali Larter, Andrea Savage

 

Plot: A drama centered on a classical pianist who has been diagnosed with ALS and the brash college student who becomes her caregiver.


Tagline – Let go of who you were, and discover who you’re meant to be.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Drama

 

Story: You’re Not You starts on Kate’s (Swank) 35th birthday, a classic pianist that notice something isn’t right with her body, 18 months later Kate is in need of care, even with her husband Evan (Duhamel) needing to work, while finding a new carer to help with ALS care.

That new carer is college student Bec (Rossum) who parties every night and doesn’t come with an off switch. Bec is the only person Kate want to care for her as she is the only one that treats her like a person not a patient and after Kate learns Evan has been having an affair, it leaves Kate and Bec together to handle the caring and living the remaining time with the disease.

 

Thoughts on You’re Not You

 

Characters – Kate was a successful pianist, happily married and wonderful party host, she soon starts to get the first symptoms of ALS which comes on strong, she now needs constant caring, but is tired of the nurses that treat her like a patient, she chooses Bec who offers her friendship, while also offering Bec life advice in a time where she could be going with no direction. Bec is a directionless brash college student who gets given a chance to care of Kate, she becomes the biggest challenge of her life, teaching her responsibility and helping guide her in the right direction. Evan is the husband of Kate, he has tried to care for her the best he can, but can’t give up his job which has put a distance between the two, causing him to have had an affair.

PerformancesHilary Swank has two Oscars to her name, this performance here shows the talent she has once again, she is fantastic as the victim of the ALS disease. Emmy Rossum has made a name for herself on television, but here you feel she should have broken out because her performance is great to. Josh Duhamel is good as the character we want to hate through the film.

StoryThe story throws the spotlight on ALS, we follow one person suffering from the disease who knows the sacrifices people will have to make to care for her, we see how people who are sick do want to be treated like people rather than just patients and giving them, this treatment will make their remaining time worthwhile. We do have a story about how the older (but not old) woman helps give the lost student a direction for her life. This is a story about the battle against a disease which is taking people everyday, how the people around them need there for them to make the remain time in their lives positive.

SettingsThe settings in this film show the different lives both Kate and Bec have come from, how they are joined together in the same battle to support each other. I feel the settings help us understand the disease making made by the characters in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Enjoying a drink or two together.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The only thing I feel we would have liked more of would be the medical side of what could have been done to try and help as we have plenty of talks about experimental treatments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very good drama, we get to see how one person’s suffering could impact many people and how helpless they will feel while fighting it.

 

Overall: Powerful, heart-breaking and inspiring.

Rating

 

 

Love, Simon (2018)

Director: Greg Berlanti

Writer: Elizabeth Berger, Isaac Aptaker (Screenplay) Becky Albertalli (Novel)

Starring: Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Logan Miller, Keiynan Lonsdale

 

Plot: Simon Spier keeps a huge secret from his family, his friends, and all of his classmates: he’s gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and come to terms with his identity.


Tagline – Everyone deserves a great love story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Must Watch Film of the Year

 

Story: Love, Simon starts as we meet Simon (Robinson) a normal high school kid, he isn’t the most popular, but has a close knit of friends in Leah (Langford), Abby (Shipp) and Nick (Lendeborg Jr), he acts like most high schoolers, only he has a secret, one he can’t tell anyone.

When he learns about another schoolmate has come out anonymously, he sees a friend he can talk to about his homosexuality, without the school learning his secret. As Simon tries to figure out who the mysterious Blue is even after getting blackmailed by a fellow student.

 

Thoughts on Love, Simon

 

Characters – Simon is the average high school student, he is holding in his own secret, he is gay, he doesn’t know how to come out because if the ridicule that could come his way. He connects with a fellow closest student and spends the year trying to figure out who the student is, until his secret becomes known he must try to keep it from coming out. Emily and Jack are the parents of Simon that have their own way to react to events with one being scientific and the other always trying to turn things into a joke. Leah, Abby and Nick are the three best friends that slowly become victims of the secret however hard Simon tries to keep things undercover, they would always support him.

PerformancesNick Robinson is fantastic in this role, this is a true breakout performance for the young actor, as we truly understand his characters mindset throughout. The rest of the cast know exactly how to bounce off Nick’s performance to make his and theirs better.

StoryThe story follows the graduation years for Simon as he battles to understand how to come out as gay to his friends, family and the school. Seeing how difficult this moment is for the young man is such an interesting story, watching how he wants to figure out who his romantic anonymous interest is from little moments of their conversations is fascinating to see unfold. The story shows us just how difficult this moment could be for anyone going through the same situation and wanting to see people act like nothing changed.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy blends perfectly with drama of high school life and the romance just makes you feel like you want to see the happy ending.

SettingsThe gives us the high school environment for the settings which shows us how the students act towards each part of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Ferris wheel.

That Moment That Annoyed Me How do these high school kids have time for coffee before school?

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most important movies of the year, because it shows that whichever sexuality you choose to be, be it, don’t be worried what people will think. The story is told in such a charming way that will only leave you with a smile on your face.

 

Overall: Beautiful and important film.

Rating

 

 

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

Director: Michael Bay

Writer: Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan (Screenplay) Akiva Goldsman, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan (Story)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, Laura Haddock, Santiago Cabrera, Isabela Moner, Stanley Tucci

 

Plot: Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Mad Action Film

 

Story: Transformers: The Last Knight starts as we learn about the ancient battles the English had where the Transformers helped Merlin (Tucci) win the battle. The world has now banned from most places on the Earth but in Cuba they are still welcomed. Optimus Prime is gone and the Transformers continue to arrival. Cade Yeager (Wahlberg) continues to protect the Transformers with Colonel William Lennox (Duhamel) refuses let the good Autobots from being captured but the impending return of Megatron brings the threats to Earth.

Meanwhile in England Sir Edmund Burton (Hopkins) is preparing for the final battle, Vivian Wembley (Haddock) doesn’t believe in the legends of King Arthur and her tours prove what it could be. On Cybertron Optimus Prime wants to rebuild his home planet which means returning to Earth to find an ancient Staff giving to Merlin.

Cade finds himself teaming up with Vivian in the middle of the battle between the Decepticons, Autobots and the Government as Cybertron heads towards Earth which would cause the end of the world.

 

Thoughts on Transformers: The Last Knight

 

Characters/PerformanceCade Yeager is now an outlaw hiding the Autobots in a junkyard, here he lives a quiet life but when a new threat heads toward Earth he finds himself being selected as the Last Knight that can fight to save the Earth. Sir Edmund Burton is the guardian of the secrets of the Transformers, he fills in all the gaps as to what is happening as well as bringing together the team. Vivian Wembley is an anti-believer in the history of King Arthur but when she learns she is the last descendant of Merlin she must work with Cade to save the Earth. Vivian is added for a new love interest for Cade and the high educated between the two.

We have the military characters which includes the returning Colonel Lennox, who just do military stuff and mostly get in the way. The King Arthur and Merlin figure who just re-tell the story we know. We have the comic relief with Izabella, Jimmy and many of the Transformers but we never get too close to any of the characters.

The performances are what you have come to expect, Wahlberg is good in the leading role even if he can look lost at times he has the charisma to lead the films, Laura Haddock adds class with her performance by not only being the stunning woman but a smart one, and Anthony Hopkins enjoys the chance to have fun in a mega blockbuster.

StoryThe Transformers storylines are never the most in detail stories, we know this by now on film number 5. We mix into the Transformers story King Arthur legend, well it is new and does continue to world build and it is as nonsense as you expect for a Transformers film because if we are being honest the story isn’t the most important part of the film.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is massive once more with Transformer battles in a giant scale and the city-wide battles and even ocean size battles being a massive experience. The adventure takes across the world again to save the world from not only Megatron but Cybertron this time. The sci-fi side does bring us into a world of giant robots that can be vehicles in a giant space battle.

SettingsWe have a couple of settings, we see how Chicago still devastated by the effects of the previous films, the hidden locations of Cade at the Autobots, we also have London being used for the chase sequences and while this isn’t anything new it is a fun watch, but in the end, we just use locations of iconic landmarks.

Special EffectsThe effects for the battles are great throughout the film bring us into the story to enjoy the massive over the top battles.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that always gets criticized because it doesn’t have the most intense storyline but the reality is this is one franchise that is all about the massive action sequences that take away of beliefs needed for the world of Transformers.

 

Overall: Bonkers, Enjoyable, nonsense action film

Rating

 

 

Safe Haven (2013)

Director: Lasse Hallstrom

Writer: Dana Stevens, Gage Lansky (Screenplay) Nicholas Sparks (Novel)

Starring: Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, Cobie Smulders, Mimi Kirkland, David Lyons

 

Plot: A young woman with a mysterious past lands in Southport, North Carolina where her bond with a widower forces her to confront the dark secret that haunts her.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks That Spark Needed

 

Story: Safe Haven starts as we see Katie (Hough) running from her past with Tierney (Lyons) fast on her tail, but for now Katie finds herself in Southport North Carolina. Katie looks to make her own life away from her past with a new job in a diner and a place of the radar.

In this new town, Katie makes a friend in Jo (Smulders) as well as striking up a new potential relationship with widowed father of two Alex (Duhamel) who has been raising his two kids Josh (Lomax) and Lexie (Kirkland). As the romance blossoms Alex’s kids have a different reaction to their father meeting a new woman but does Katie want to get involved in a relationship when she might have to run if anybody from her past finds her?

 

Thoughts on Safe Haven

 

Characters/PerformanceKatie is a character that is all too familiar in modern relationships, a victim of domestic abuse who is trying to make a fresh start away from her abusive husband. She tries to keep to herself but is drawn to the kindness in a stranger. Alex is the loving father and widow who is trying to do the right thing for his kids as well as grieving for his own wife’s death. He is a good man full of acts of kindness to the community. The Tierney character is the one hunting down Katie, he is a drunk and a police officers that is filled with twists to the outcome. Jo is the friend Katie makes in the town that helps her with the hard decisions.

Performance wise Julianna Hough and Josh Duhamel struggle to carry this film as well of not having the best chemistry in this film. David Lyons does well with his limited time and does Cobie Smulders who shows she could easily be the star of this movie.

StoryThe story is 101 of Nicholas Sparks story, we have a damaged person going to a new location and falling in love with a broken person as we wait for the past to catch up with them. Nothing feels too fresh in the movie but it will work for the fans of the style of the movie.

Romantic/ThrillerWe have all the romantic story that will work for the fans but doesn’t have much that comes of realistic throughout. There is a thriller side of works in places but you never feel on edge until the final act.

SettingsThe small town is a good setting for the runaway to start new life but it could easily be just any town which should make her hard to find.

Final ThoughtsWhen you look at this film the leads lack that chemistry need for the lead roles, it also has a selection of terrible decisions which would only make things worst with a twist that will only work for certain people.

 

Overall: The fans of Sparks will enjoy but others will find this too much.

Rating