ABC Film Challenge – Action – I – In a Valley of Violence (2016)

Director: Ti West

Writer: Ti West (Screenplay)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, Taissa Farmiga, James Ransone, Karen Gillan, Toby Huss

 

Plot: A mysterious stranger and a random act of violence drag a town of misfits and nitwits into the bloody crosshairs of revenge.


Tagline – Keep Your Finger on the Trigger

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: John Wick the Western

 

Story: In a Valley of Violence starts when lone drifter Paul (Hawke) rides into a remote town with his trusty dog Abby, trying to keep to himself he gets the town drunk Gilly (Ransone) gets involved in a fight, which Paul wins with one punch. This grabs the attention of the Marshal (Travolta) and father of Gilly, who gives him a chance to walk away no questions asked, no more trouble.

When Gilly and his men comes for Paul in the dead of night, they leave him with nothing and now he swears to break his promise of no more killing, one last time.

 

Thoughts on In a Valley of Violence

 

Characters – Paul is the former soldier, he has lost everything while in battle and is heading to Mexico with his horse and dog. When this is taken from him, this former soldier will go on to show his skills by tracking down the men in an act of revenge. Marshal is trying to keep the peace in the town even after his son’s actions, he gets caught in the middle of follow the law and protecting his son. Mary-Anne is one of two sisters in this town, she is one of the few people in town that is vocal of her dislike to Gilly and offers Paul a reminder of his own daughter.

PerformancesEthan Hawke is wonderful in this leading role, he gives us a performance we can believe as the lone drifter with skills that can leave any town running red. John Travolta is strong in his scenes which are seem rare but are a major part of the film. Taissa Farmiga is good even if her character doesn’t get enough to do out of the typical girl in the west.

StoryThe story does bottle down to a simple revenge movie, think John Wick the western and you have the story set up. We have the lone trained killer that takes out the people that have don him wrong. This is a simple and enjoyable style of storytelling, the pace makes the film fly by and will leave you wanting more.

Action/Crime/WesternThe gun slinging action is all good and fits the western style the film is taking on, we get a simple crime story which works for the film.

SettingsThe film takes place in just one singular location in this remote town in the wild west which keeps things contained for the story.

Special EffectsThe effects are used with the kills and are done nicely without being over the top.


Scene of the Movie –
The main street shoot out.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The women characters are written bland.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good, blood filled action western film that is well worth watching, this is a good watch and has a strong performance from Hawke.

 

Overall: Good addition to the western genre.

Rating

 

 

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: Infinity War (2018)

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Writer:Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Jim Starlin, George Perez, Ron Lim, Steve Ditko, Joe Simon (Characters)

Starring: Josh Brolin, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Chadwick Boseman, Karen Gillan, Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Saldana, Sebastian Stan, Pom Klementieff, Letitia Wright, Tom Holland, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Pratt, Idris Elba, Benedict Cumberbatch, Danai Gurira, Dave Bautista, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Bettany, Benedict Wong, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle

 

Plot: The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe


Tagline – An entire universe. Once and for all.

Runtime: 2 Hours 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly a Game Changer

 

Story: Avengers: Infinity War starts as we see the power of Thanos (Brolin) collecting his second infinity stone leaving a path of destruction, with his power growing the Avengers must unit to fight and stop him getting the remaining Infinity Stones that will give him the power to eliminate half of any population with the click of his fingers.

The battle will take place in space, on distant planets and back home on Earth where we get to see unseen team ups and reunions between friends.

 

Thoughts on Avengers: Infinity Way

 

Characters – When we dive into characters we have so many to talk about, I will spend time talking Thanos because has been a villain waiting in the background for many films for, we know his is powerful and this is how you make a villain the powerful force we know and will remember because what he does in this film will make you remember within the first five minutes, but we do also see what drives him and that he has true belief in his cause. In the rest of the characters we know what we are getting from most, I was impressed with Doctor Strange as I wasn’t too interested in the solo film, Thor has a brilliant story arc that keeps his character in the tone we got in Ragnarok and the father son dynamic between Tony and Peter is still here. Drax gets the most laughs once more, while everyone around Steve Rogers is the more serious side of the film. the only negatives on the characters we meet would be the generals for Thanos, who are largely forgettable.

PerformancesThe performances like the characters we have way too many to talk about, Josh Brolin being the new comer makes a massive impact easily becoming the best villain in the MCU. The talent on the Avengers is fantastic and the people that stood out for me were Benedict Cumberbatch, Dave Bautista and Chris Hemsworth, while I don’t think anybody is close to being bad, I felt the actors on the Earth battle weren’t given enough to do to get to their best abilities.  

StoryThe story here is the build up for 18 movies, we have developed our heroes while learning little about the villain, this story shows just what Thanos is fighting for, what he will do to get it and what the heroes will need to do to stop him. For me this is the game changer in superhero movies, we manage to handle seeing separate groups work together to fight on different worlds in groupings you wouldn’t put together, this does however mean certain characters don’t meet in this story which might disappoint fans. The story also balances comedy with the Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy mostly and the serious side of what is coming with Captain America. This is easily what we as fans have deserved, but you might not get everything if you haven’t seen the other films.

Action/Adventure/Sci-fi/FantasyThe action is massive and takes us to different worlds for the battles which each are filled with peril because we know not everyone will make it out of this one. the adventure takes our characters to places they haven’t been before for their part in the story, which brings the sci-fi sides with large parts of the film being in space and different worlds that only could come from fantasies of comic books.

SettingsEach setting offers our characters a challenge they will need to face in battle, this shows how easily travelling through space can be if you know the ability to do so.

Special EffectsThese fight sequences, action sequences look breath taking and nearly everything is flawless except the routine space creatures in the final battle.


Scene of the Movie –
Thor meeting the Guardians.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We learn why a couple of characters are not in the film, but there are some that just seem missing which frustrates because they were interesting ones you would have liked to have seen fight.

Final ThoughtsThis is the biggest comic book movie of all time, it changes everything going forward and is a must see for anyone who is a fan of the genre.

 

Overall: Must See Brilliance.

Rating

 

 

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Director: Jake Kasdan

Writer: Chris McKenna, Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg, Erik Sommers (Screenplay) Chris Van Allsburg (Book)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas

 

Plot: Four teenagers discover an old video game console and are literally drawn into the game’s jungle setting becoming the adult avatars they chose.


Tagline – The game has evolved.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Blast

 

Story: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle starts as we follow four teenage high school students the geek Spencer (Wolff), the social media diva Bethany (Iseman), the start American football player Fridge (Blain) and the hard-working studier Martha (Turner) who are all sentenced to detention for different reasons. While in detention they find an old video game, an evolved version of Jumanji, to which they all get sucked into.

In the game the students become the characters they selected, Spencer becomes Dr Smolder Bravestone (Johnson), Fridge becomes Moose Finbar (Hart), Bethany becomes Professor Shelly Oberon (Black) and Martha becomes Ruby Roundhouse (Gillan). Each character they are playing as is completely different to their human characters and now they must use their newly found strength to save Jumanji and return home.

 

Thoughts on Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

 

Characters – The students first Spencer is a geek, loner who has lost his once friendship with Fridge because of how they went different direction, he does try to help Fridge with his studies and is a video game expert. Fridge is the star American football player of the school, we don’t learn too much about him other than he is struggling with his studies. Bethany is the diva of the school, she is glued to her phone, not caring about anybody else in the world. Martha is a student that is desperate to succeed in her studies, adding unneeded pressure on herself to achieve as much as she can.

The players, Dr Smolder Bravestone is a born adventurer, strong, fast and full of smouldering intensity, this gives Spencer the physical strength he never had against Fridge. Ruby Roundhouse helps turns Martha into a bad ass fighter, this gives Martha a chance to break out of her shell. Professor Shelly Oberon becomes a nightmare for Bethany, an overweight middle-aged man, a true teenage nightmare. Shelly is the only one that can guide them through Jumanji, this gives Bethany a chance to realize there are people outside of her phone. Moose Finbar is a zoologist, that shows Fridge what life is like from the point of view of someone without muscles, this is one of the only weak points in the movie, that is because we haven’t learnt enough about Fridge before hand and now he isn’t on the same learning level the other three are.

PerformancesThe performances of the four in the game are great, Dwayne Johnson continues to show us why we love him as an actor, he can step into any fun role and make it his own. Karen Gillan had to spend time defending her characters wardrobe, but for the character shows that she is one of the action-packed actresses to watch out for. Kevin Hart is entertaining, but he is too different from his human character. Jack Black is the true star of the show here, he gets the best lines and is the best performance of a teenage girl you will see this year.

StoryThe story does play out much like the original only we enter the game because it has evolved into a video game. We have a Breakfast Club feel to why the characters are in detention and needing to learn that however different they may seem on the outside, inside they are similar in many ways. The story does get plenty of escapes too by being a video game, we have built in characters who only have certain responses because of programming over the idea of poorly written characters, we have lots of fun with how it all unfolds with each stage becoming more difficult as they go on.

Action/Adventure/ComedyThe action does feel like a video game which is fine because it entertains throughout, this plans into the adventure through the jungle for our characters. The film is set with a comic tone which likes to poke fun at body-swapping, which does become a fine balance through the film.

SettingsThe high school settings is what we have seen before, but the jungle becomes a character of its own with the beauty of the landscapes out characters will find themselves in.

Special EffectsThe effects are good for the most part, though we do see the green screen moments and CGI animals too often.


Scene of the Movie –
Introduction to Shelly Oberon and the reaction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I do feel that Moose is written for Kevin Hart rather than to be an opposite to Fridge.

Final ThoughtsThis movie is a lot of fun from start to finish, you can forget this is a remake sequel because of the nods to the original, you will find yourself enjoying nearly everything in this fun movie.

 

Overall: Truly fun adventure movie.

Rating

 

 

The Circle (2017)

Director: James Ponsoldt

Writer: James Ponsoldt, Dave Eggers (Screenplay) Dave Eggers (Novel)

Starring: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Bill Paxton, Karen Gillan, Ellar Coltrane, Glenne Headly

 

Plot: A woman lands a dream job at a powerful tech company called the Circle, only to uncover an agenda that will affect the lives of all of humanity.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Technology Warning

 

Story: The Circle starts as Mae (Watson) a bright young woman gets a dream opportunity to work for a tech company named The Circle thanks to her friend Annie (Gillan), the company has been creating technology that could give the world a one-use password for everything in their lives, with full security. Bailey (Hanks) runs the company is about to unleash the latest technology that analyse anything in filmed on a camera.

Mae learns that she is required to attended social events as the employees are meant to create their own circles depending on their interest through a social media account which they are meant to share through their employment. When Ty (Boyega) the original creator of the technology shows Mae the truth behind the technology and the threat it could hold to the human race comes through the battle between privacy or lack there off.

 

Thoughts on The Circle

 

Characters – Mae is a smart young woman that gets an opportunity of a lifetime to work for the biggest technology company in the world, at first she doesn’t fit in but soon she becomes the star new employee, even if she does step on the people who don’t want to be part of a social media world, we see how she was made for this world but also learns what the bigger picture could be. Bailey is the face of the Circle, he keeps everything feeling fresh when it comes to offering up new ideas to the technology world, he is open to an idea and discussion about improving to the next level. Ty is the creator of the technology that has been off the grid since it went too far for his own design, but he watches over it. Annie is the best friend that gets Mae the job but soon sees her potential and the danger the job has created. We do have the rest of the cast which work well as we have a blend of the people who do and don’t want to be involved in the technology side of the world around them.

PerformanceEmma Watson is good in the leading role but I do feel she doesn’t have the emotional range for certain roles including this one, this does frustrate because she has the look of a leading lady.

Tom Hanks is good as the Steve Jobs like character whose ambitious will drive his own greed but can give a speech we want to see unfold.

John Boyega is good in the supporting role but I do wish we had seen more from his character.

The rest of the cast is good throughout the film with each person giving their character the justice required throughout the film.

StoryThe story focuses on the ever growing idea of technology in the world, the Circle company is about trying to break boundaries even if the ideas are illegal and against the privacy laws. Most of the story focuses on Mae needing to question the moral reasoning behind technology because one side could be considered good while the other side could be considered wrong but the disappointment from the story comes the fact it doesn’t hit extremes it needs too.

Sci-Fi/ThrillerThe sci-fi element of the film comes from the new technology being unlocked which does come off looking fantastic but we are never on edge wondering what could happen next.

SettingsThe settings show us the Circle would all be within one facility but opens the doors to anybody in the world. Nothing comes off that great in the end though.

Special EffectsSeeing how the technology is shown is where the effects come into play as they are used well because we can’t see how workings of the technology in places.

Scene of the Movie – The Search for Mercer because it is the turning point in the story.

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment Emma Watson lacking the emotional range needed for this role.

Final ThoughtsThis is a warning movie about social networking and even going into the next level of surveillance. The idea is great but it doesn’t reach the potential or the darkness it should reach too.

 

Overall: Lacks the final conviction to hit home.

Rating