Toy Story 4 (2019)

Director: Josh Cooley

Writer: Andrew Stanton, Stephany Folsom (Screenplay) John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Josh Cooley, Valerie LaPointe, Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Martin Hynes, Stephany Folsom (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Keanu Reeves, Annie Potts, Joan Cusack, Tony Hale, Madeleine McGraw

 

Plot: When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.


Tagline – On The Road Of Life, There Are Old Friends, New Friends, And Stories That Change You

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Cash Grab Sequel

 

Story: Toy Story 4 starts as we see how the toys are now living with Bonnie, Woody is starting to get ignored more with her enjoyment of Jessie getting stronger, with Bonnie starting Kindergarten Woody goes against orders of the room to help her in class, where she builds a new toy called Forky out of trash.

Forky becomes her favourite toy and Woody wants to do everything he can to stop him running away, when the family goes on a road trip, Forky escapes forcing Woody to rescue him once again, on the rescue attempt Woody finds himself investigating an antique store which could have an old friend in Bo Peep in, only to find the toy living in the store Gabby Gabby searching for something, forcing Woody to team up with Bo and new friends to save Forky and get back to Bonnie in time.

 

Thoughts on Toy Story 4

 

Characters – Woody is struggling with not being in control of the room anymore, he still wants to help make Bonnie happy, which sees him acting selfishly, he does try to fix his own mistakes which will see him facing a second chance, meeting an old friend and distancing himself from his current friends. Woody is the key figure in this film, this is very much his story. Forky is the newly created toy out of a spork and is learning everything as it unfolds even though he believes he is trash. Buzz Lightyear is trying to step up when Woody goes off, he does feel like a bigger idiot than we are used to, using his voice commands to help him, which seems like a huge step back on his character. Bo Peep coming back to the franchise is fun, she shows Woody a new life away from kids, where she helps toys, she is Woody’s big love in life too, kick ass fighter too. Gabby Gabby is an older toy like Woody, she has been damaged and is searching for something to hope she can be taken home one day, she is painted as the villain, though she is the weakest villain in the franchise. Duke Caboom is the best addition to the film a stuntman that has failed as a toy, he is always up for trying something new and is filled with confidence.

StoryThe story here follows Woody trying to find himself a place in the world after becoming a smaller part in the life of his new owner Bonnie, he gets too involved and spends most of the story trying to make up for his mistake of letting Bonnie create a new toy, caught in the middle saving the day or breaking free. Now this is the 4th part of the franchise which did tie up nicely after the third one. The supporting characters do take a big back burner in the story which even sees Buzz getting less screen time, this is a full Woody story trying to figure out where his life is going on next. We do try to play on the heart strings, though it just doesn’t get to the levels it could have and has been there before. The new characters to bring the bright spark to the story, but we do end up going down the road, where this is becoming too unbelievable that these toys are acting like this.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure side of this film comes from the idea that Woody will need to go on a new adventure to save Forky, only to see Buzz on his own adventure which does cross paths with Woody, only his feels like a simple side to everything. the comedy from the new characters hits very well, its just old character seem to fall short.

SettingsHaving the film use an Antique story is great idea because we get to see known toys that could add comedy in places, the carnival also adds potential new characters too.

AnimationThe animation is Pixar at its very best, it looks perfect like we know they are used to bring us, bringing us larger scale environment to everything going on.


Scene of the Movie –
Duke Caboom.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Buzz seems to be dumber.

Final ThoughtsThis does end up feeling like a cash grab sequel, it doesn’t have the heart the previous films do and fails to use the original characters well enough.

 

Overall: By the books sequel.

Rating

 

 

John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum (2019)

Director: Chad Stahelski

Writer: Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, Marc Abrams (Screenplay)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Ian McShane, Jason Mantzoukas, Said Taghmaoui, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne, Anjelica Huston, Mark Dacascos

 

Plot: Super-assassin John Wick is on the run after killing a member of the international assassin’s guild, and with a $14 million price tag on his head – he is the target of hit men and women everywhere.


Tagline – If you want peace, prepare for war

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brutally Brilliant

 

Story: John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum starts right where the last film ended, John Wick (Reeves) has one hour before the bounty on his head becomes live reluctantly by Winston (McShane), John searches for a way to escape which sees him turning to old connections including The Director (Huston) and Sofia (Berry).

With John searching for safety or redemption, The Adjudicator (Dillon) is set to punish the people that helped John commit the kill in the previous film, with her chosen assassin Zero (Dacascos) proving to be one of the toughest enemies John has ever faced.

 

Thoughts on John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum

 

Characters – John Wick is the world known assassin that broke the codes put in place, this sees him become the target this time with everybody wanting to hunt him down and cash in on his bounty. John does have connections which will see him stay ahead of the problems before he needs to make his own stand against the table. Sofia is from John’s past, she is the manager of another hotel who will help John because of what he did for her in the past, she is just as deadly of an assassin working hand in hand with her dogs, she is a character we want to see more of even if it is her own movie. Winston is the manager of the hotel in New York, he has run the place for 40 years and is reluctant to put the hit out on John, his delay will see him facing consequences of his action, but he is calm and always has a plan. Bowery King is a character we met last film, he has the ears of on the streets, left needing to honour the decision to go for the hit on John, he will also need to face actions for his decision to help John. Zero is the new assassin chosen to lead the battle against anybody that has help John, he has waited for this chance to get his hands on John to prove himself in combat. The Adjudicator has arrived to clean up the mess which led to John being able to kill inside the walls of the hotel, she is sent to punish anyone that helped John with the kill. Charon is the loyal member of the hotel that welcomes the guests and gets to step up when needed. The Director is one of the people John turns too, she does have a connection to his past which will be key to his escape.

PerformancesKeanu Reeves is fantastic once again in this role, he has made this character truly iconic in the action genre, with the effortless ability to step into the countless fight sequences. Halle Berry enters the franchise and gets one of the most memorable sequences, only wanting to see more from her character. Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne and Lance Riddick continue to excel in the supporting roles, while Anjelica Huston adds to this list with ease. Mark Dacascos is a wonderful fighting villain, he even gets moments of comedy that don’t feel forced in anyway. Asia Kate Dillon is arguable the least known star in this film, she brings the a-game to shining in this role which shows authority and calmness through the film.

StoryThe story does pick up right where the last one left, showing us what happens next to John Wick when he becomes the target for all the fellow assassins in the world. This does continue to build the world that we have seen growing, showing how people can operate within the world. the story does follow John Wick facing endless amounts of enemies, connect to former contacts hoping they will honour their loyalty over the code, hoping to find a way to end the waves of enemies heading his way. The story does show how other characters have been affected by the actions in the previous film too, while also bringing in new characters with ease.

Action This is one of the purest, most brutal action films you will ever see, the fight sequences are breath-taking and you will see each and every blow giving out.

SettingsThe film uses the settings wonderfully, be it the New York, the hotel and even outside the city where John must visit for help.

Special EffectsThe effects are brutal as you end up seeing the wounds inflicted through the film, some even might make you wince that little bit.


Scene of the Movie –
John & Sofia double team fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me John getting a taxi in New York at half five and being confused about the traffic.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the greatest third instalments in any action film, it is a must watch for fans of the originals and makes the trilogy feel complete.

 

Overall: Must Watch Action Film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – M – Man of Tai Chi (2013)

manDirector: Keanu Reeves

Writer: Michael G Cooney (Screenplay)

Starring: Tiger Hu Chen, Keanu Reeves, Karen Mok, Jai Yu, Qing Ye, Simon Yam

 

Plot: A young martial artist’s unparalleled Tai Chi skills land him in a highly lucrative underworld fight club.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Martial Arts Film

 

Story: Man of Tai Chi starts as Inspector Suen Jing Si (Mok) looks to have finally tracked down underground street fighter boss Donaka mark (Reeves) only for him to kill his latest fighter after learning of his connection with the Inspector. Donaka must search for a new fighter with Inspector Si needing to drop the case.

We move on to meet young fighter Tiger Chen Lin Hu (Chen) who is giving all his effort into learning of Master Yang (Yu) who is about to enter the national combat championships using his art tai chi. His performances grabs Donaka attention and now he can look to recruit his latest fighter.

Accepting the job for Donaka, Tiger enters the world of underground fighter against his Master’s wishes but it isn’t long before Tiger finds himself face tougher and tougher opposition which leads to him having to Donaka other business outside of underground fighting, this will be where he meets him limits.

 

Thoughts on Man of Tai Chi

 

Characters/PerformanceTiger is a naïve young fighter who has spent his life looking after the people he loves and wanting to show his skills in his form of tai chi. He is led a stray by Donaka going against his beliefs, style and tradition. Donaka is the ruthless owner of the underground fighting scene, he pays for what he wants, flaunts that he can get away from it all to the Inspector chasing him and most importantly we don’t see him in combat so we are unsure of his fighting skills. Inspector Si is a strong officer that wants to do anything to take down Donaka because she knows his threat.

Tiger Hu Chen dos well to show off his skills in tai chi in this leading role but this is more about his fighting ability over his acting ability. Keanu steps behind the camera for double duty here and does look like he enjoys the villainous role but does have a couple of strange moments through the film. Karen Mok is good in the supporting role in all her what feel like limited scenes.stars

StoryThe story is naïve fighter gets drawn into an underworld of the sport he loves to make enough money to save the people he loves from losing everything they have earnt. Yes, this has been done before and has been done better and worse but this is still a good watch and easy to enjoy.

ActionWe have plenty of fight sequences going on through the film that all hugely entertaining but you don’t ever feel like Tiger will lose.

SettingsThe fights all take place in new arenas the deeper Tiger finds himself getting drawn into. Otherwise everything is what you would expect to see in any martial arts films.genre

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy martial arts film to watch, you don’t ever see Tiger losing, but I did really like the fact we never see Donaka fight until the final fight.

 

Overall: Easy to watch, nice relaxing average martial arts film.

Ratingrating

 

 

Siberia (2018)

Director: Matthew Ross

Writer: Scott B Smith (Screenplay) Stephen Hamal, Scott B Smith (Story)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Ana Ularu, Molly Ringwald, Pasha D Lychnikoff

 

Plot: When an American diamond trader’s Russian partner goes missing, he journeys to Siberia in search of him, but instead begins a love affair.


Tagline – This was not the plan.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre Thriller Waiting for a Sting

 

Story: Siberia starts when American diamond trader Lucas Hill (Reeves) loses contact with his partner Pyotr (Gulyarin) he must head to Russia to figure out just what went wrong, meeting with his client Boris Volkov (Lychnikoff) he has two days to locate the diamonds who face drastic consequences.

Lucas finds himself in a small town waiting for contact where he meets the locals including café owner Katya (Ularu) who takes a shine to him, Lucas starts to befriend the locals and Katya which makes him feel more welcome, though the job and his wife Gabby (Ringwald) keep his attention.

 

Thoughts on Siberia

 

Characters – Lucas Hill is a diamond trader based in America, his latest job goes wrong, forcing him to head to St Petersburg to figure out just what has happened, here he learns of multiply interested parties and his partner is nowhere to be seen. He gets romantically involved with a local woman putting his personal life in danger. His problems are mounting up which only leads him to make rash decisions. Katya is a café owner that gets romantically involved in an affair with Lucas, she knows he has a wife and still gets involved, helping him with his dealings. Boris Volkov is the criminal client that Lucas is trying to make happy with his diamonds, he isn’t happy that the deal isn’t going smoothly forcing Lucas to search with his threats. Gabby is Lucas’s wife back in America, she knows his business and that he will be away for long periods of time.

PerformancesKeanu Reeves does the basics well in this film, he doesn’t reach the levels he can and has been in recent years, but he does take a chance on another project which would be different. An Ulrau is solid too, she seems to have a difficult character to play with most of her scenes involving the relationship with Lucas. Pasha is fine in the generic villain role and Molly Ringwald is in this film, it is unfair to say anything bad about her, most of the question are around why we barely see her.

StoryThe story here follows a diamond trader that must travel to Russia to figure out what went wrong on the latest job only for him to get caught up in an affair with a local woman. The problems with this film comes from focusing too long on the affair and meeting the locals which takes up a large amount of the film, the dealings some late and are glossed over feeling like we have seen it all before. We even have a moment where we have the phone call with the wife and for some reason we show the wife who isn’t seen again. The story is the weakest part of the film and just gets confused with what it is trying to tell us.

Crime/RomanceThe crime world we enter shows Lucas conducting his diamond trades which never feels like it is as shady as it should be, you don’t get a full sense of how confrontational Lucas would be either. The romance angle in the film follows the basic affair one which would put our character in a position where he meets an unlikely person in his life.

SettingsThe film is set in Russia, well Siberia, look at the title of the film. none of the location stand out as anything new or original.


Scene of the Movie –
Learning the truth about the diamonds.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Hunting scene, not needing and barbaric.

Final ThoughtsThis is a lacklustre crime romance film that gets clogged down focusing on the certain sides of the film which makes you forget the other side of the film.

 

Overall: Crime thriller that just doesn’t hit home.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – E – Exposed (2016)

Director: Gee Malik Linton

Writer: Gee Malik Linton (Screenplay)

Starring: Ana de Armas, Keanu Reeves, Christopher McDonald, Mira Sorvino

 

Plot: A police detective investigates the truth behind his partner’s death. The mysterious case reveals disturbing police corruption and a dangerous secret involving an unlikely young woman.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painfully Boring

 

Story: Exposed starts as we follow Isabel (Armas) go about her life as a teacher and girlfriend of small time gangsters who are all close, she starts seeing strange thing around town. We also meet Detective Galban (Reeves) who must investigate the murder of his partner after he was found to be investigating the gangs of Harlem.

We follow how Galban must deal with his own demons and Isabel must deal with her own miracle but it takes time for the two to cross paths an understand the meaning of the messages.

 

Thoughts on Exposed

 

Characters/PerformanceDetective Galban is he broken man, his wife has died, his child doesn’t live with him and now his partner has been murdered, he goes out to search for the people responsible, giving himself a chance to face his demons. Isabel is he young woman a teacher that has her boyfriend away in Iraq as she lives with the family in gang filled environment but a miracle changes how she sees the world.

Performance wise, Ana and Keanu are both fine in their roles without being anything up to the levels we know they can reach, most notable together in Knock Knock.

StoryThe story here is very messy, we spend too much time on separate paths which just leave us confused by the time we reach the main conclusion of the story, which is a mix of obvious and confusing.

Crime MysterySomeone got murdered, there is your crime story and mystery is who did it and for some reason we are trying to care about it all.

SettingsNone of the settings are used for the impact in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a mess of a film that just seems to end as the mess it has been created to be.

 

Overall: Avoid this messy film.

Rating