ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – W – The Walker (2007)

Director: Paul Schrader

Writer: Paul Shrader (Screenplay)

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lauren Bacall, Ned Beatty, Moritz Bleibtreu, Mary Beth Hurt, Lily Tomlin, Willem Dafoe

 

Plot: An escort who caters to Washington D.C.’s society ladies becomes involved in a murder case.


Tagline – Everyone loves a good scandal

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Mystery

 

Story: The Walker starts as high society walker Carter Page III (Harrelson) keeps the ladies of the Washington high society company, with Lynn Lockner (Thomas) being one of his most famous clients. When Lynn discovers a murder, Carter takes up a position to help her not ruin her name for being at this location, while the rest of the society Natalie Van Miter (Bacall), Jack Delorean (Beatty) try to learn his involvement in the murder.

As the case continues to grow, Carter becomes the prime suspect being targeted by the police and the high society that want somebody to take the blame away from their own circle.

 

Thoughts on The Walker

 

Characters – Carter Page III has made a career out of mingling around the women of high society, where he walks them in parties to keep them entertained, his actions never put the rumours in the air, until one of the ladies is involved in a murder, Carter sees the once always open doors closing around him, forcing him to uncover the truth to save his own reputation.  Lynn Lockner is one of the most frequent clients for Carter, they have a close friendship which is tested when she is involved in the murder of a man, did she discover the body or have something to do with it? Natalie Van Miter is another one of the high society that enjoys Carter’s company only she doesn’t always play fair with the others in the circle. Jack Delorean isn’t the biggest fan of Carter and certain members of the high society, he is always looking for dirt on them.

PerformancesWoody Harrelson is the highlight of the film with his engaging performance in an otherwise forgettable story. Kristin Scott Thomas, Lauren Bacall, Ned Beatty bring their big name presence to the film without making the impact to make you care about their characters.

StoryThe story takes us into the high society world where the rich believe they can get away with anything, we follow a walker that mingles with the ladies to keep the business with gossip etc, when a murder is committed, he becomes the prime suspect and must figure out how to clear his name before his reputation is ruined. This story is just like you would imagine, it is a series of conversations from people that are always looking down on people who just want to take each other of their high horses through the eyes of a man desperately trying to stay within the circle. This story could have been extended to give more development to the characters through a television series, which would have been a lot more interesting to watch.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of the film follows the aftermath of the murder which adds to the mystery as to who committed it and why, we do get plenty of suspects, but most people we meet seem to have a shady reason to be in the position they are in.

SettingsThe film is set in the Washington high society world, with flashy parties, massive apartments, everything you don’t see people in natural life.


Scene of the Movie –
Reporting the murder.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough time to address the real issues touched on within the story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story that had potential to be much bigger and more interesting only for it to become mostly forgettable with the slow pacing and weak character development.

 

Overall: Slow and disappointing.

Rating

 

 

Tomb Raider (2018)

Director: Roar Uthaug

Writer: Alastair Siddon, Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Screenplay) Evan Daugherty, Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Story)

Starring: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas, Derek Jacobi

 

Plot: Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared.


Tagline – Her legend begins.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Adrenaline Rush

 

Story: Tomb Raider starts as we meet Lara Croft (Vikander) a bike courier in and around London, she is independent and short of money. She learns a clue about her long time missing father Lord Richard (West) that shows Lara about the secret life he once lived as a treasure hunter.

Wanting answers Lara heads to Japan, the location of his case known case, the search for Himiko a story from Japanese legend, to learn the answers from the mysterious island, joined by Lu Ren (Wu) the son of the captain that also went missing with Richard, only to learn that her father wasn’t the only one after the legend, Mathias Vogel (Goggins) has his sights set on the tomb too. Lara will need to learn about her new identity before taking on the island and its secrets.

 

Thoughts on Tomb Raider

 

Characters – Lara Croft is the character we know from the video games, we had a couple of movies, but this is a fresh take on her. She is trying to be independent, she doesn’t live off the money her father has made, she isn’t even a treasure hunter, this is her origin into that life, her first adventure looking for her first treasure, the truth. We see a lot of Lara is action sequences, something we always want to see, we do see a vulnerable side to her too, which is important. Lord Richard Croft is Lara’s father, he made his fortune in business and loved his daughter, he has gone missing because of his secret life as a treasure hunter, he is the motivation for everything Lara does. Mathias Vogel is our villain, he is on the island searching for the same thing Richard did before Lara, stranded here until he gets what his employees are seeking, while he is a simple villain, he is never the leader of the people Lara is facing, just the general of this group. Lu Ren is a drunk captain that lost his father in the same mission that took Richard away from Lara, while has given up hope, Lara motivates him to go on an adventure to learn the truth.

PerformancesAlicia Vikander is great in this role, she has the look of Lara, she handles to vulnerable moments well and the action sequences on a level you wouldn’t have expected, but the accent does feel hit or miss at times. Dominic West is good in this role, he handles the mentor, father figure well through the film. Walton Goggins works very well in the villain role because he never over plays his character which he could easily have done. Daniel Wu brings us a fun supporting character that we would like to see in any further adventures too.

StoryThe story here follows Lara as she learns the truth about her father and his secret adventures, she is trying to hide away from the fact he is gone, but the clue she learns about sends her on the adventure that will kick start her love for treasure hunting. This is an origin story for Lara Croft, something the first films never gave us, this does work because we feel like she could get hurt or die at any moment, which isn’t always the case in a main character in peril situation. I do think the story plays out wonderfully for a video game adaptation because we learn about this life with Lara and are ready to follow her adventure.

Action/AdventureThe action sequences here are fantastic to watch, they all feel like you are playing the video game and wanting to help her jump, climb, hang on or whatever situation she finds herself in, each moment because increasingly more perilous for her too. This is what I would say is a perfect adventure fan movie, it has a reluctant character put into a situation of life or death and she thrives in it.

SettingsWe have wonderful use of setting here, I did worry at first because the London side of things didn’t interest for the start of the film, but once we hit the boat, it is everything you could imagine a treasure hunting movie would include.


Scene of the Movie –
The plane.

That Moment That Annoyed Me First arrival in Japan, I could never see a Lara who lives in London being so naïve about locals and security of property.

Final ThoughtsIf you want a video game movie that is fun, enjoyable and a blast, this one will be the one that gets it right, the action sequences are edge of your seat, the story is interesting and it keep everything so simple to follow.

 

Overall: The movie video game fans want.

Rating

 

 

Darkest Hour (2017)

Director: Joe Wright

Writer: Anthony McCarten (Screenplay)

Starring: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James, Ronald Pickup, Stephen Dillane, Nicholas Jones

 

Plot: During the early days of World War II, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Hitler, or fight on against incredible odds.


Tagline – Never give up. Never give in.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Historical Drama

 

Story: Darkest Hour starts as we come to London in 1940, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (Pickup) is forced into resignation to help unit the divided parties as they faced in impending Nazi invasion. Who to turn to next is the question, they turned to Winston Churchill (Oldman) a formerly disgraced government member who is known for never backing down.

Churchill takes the reigns in Britain’s darkest hour as they faced certain defeat or peace talks with Hitler, but Churchill isn’t taking into lying down as he comes up with a plan to rescue the stranded troops on the beaches in Dunkirk, even with fellow members of his office trying to push him into peace talks.

 

Thoughts on Darkest Hour

 

Characters – These are all based on real people, in a rea time of crisis, which would have changed Britain as we know it today. Winston Churchill is considered one of the greatest world leaders the Earth has ever seen, he we only follow around two weeks of his career, as people are using his past mistakes against him even after picking him to be the leader, he has always been honest, he doesn’t care if you didn’t like him and he will listen to the people when searching for answers in one of the most difficult times Britain ever faced. Cemmie is Winston’s wife and one of the few people that could control him and bring out his nice side, she proves an important part of his life during this tough time because she knows how long and hard he has worked to be Prime Minister. King George VI admits to Churchill he is scared of him, he didn’t want him, but will support him decisions if they are best for the country, he gives us the most important scene in the movie. Elizabeth Layton is the new typist for Churchill, she represents the everyday person that is concerned about what might be coming and her fear helps Churchill make the decisions he does.

PerformancesIt would be fair to say that Gary Oldman has the Oscar in the bag this year, any actor that can make you not realize it is him after 2 hours of watching him deserves all the praise in the world. Jumping into the supporting cast we have wonderful performances throughout, Kristin Scott Thomas, ben Mendelsohn and Lily James take their characters and make them shine.

StoryThe story focuses on two weeks of Winston Churchill’s life, starting the day Neville Chamberlain resigned to the moment Britain refused to surrender to the Nazi invasion heading our way. This is a huge moment in history and seeing the political divide between the people in office shows the terror, fear and panic the minds would have been going through during this horrendous time. The story does shine a spotlight on the idea that the public were not completely sure what was going on and had to trust the government to make the right decision too.

Biopic/History/WarChurchill was an inspiring leader, we have seen three versions of him in the last 12 months too, to show of him in this time is important too and a moment in history that will never be forgotten during our time of need World War II.

SettingsThe settings are well constructed, but at times the military view points seem added because no one knew how to describe the situations or didn’t trust the audience to understand the terms.


Scene of the Movie –
A Royal visit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The look up moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant look at how Churchill help guide Britain to victory during World War II, he stood up when no one else would to be the leader Britain needed to win.

 

Overall: Brilliant, Masterclass performance from Oldman.

Rating

 

 

Robert Pattinson Weekend – Bel Ami (2012)

bel amiDirector: Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod

Writer: Rachel Bennette (Screenplay) Guy de Maupassant (Novel)

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Christina Ricci, Colm Meaney, Philip Glenister, Holliday Grainger

 

Plot: A chronicle of a young man’s rise to power in Paris via his manipulation of the city’s wealthiest and most influential women.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Costume Fluff

 

Story: Bel Ami starts in Paris 1890 as we follow Georges Duroy (Pattinson) a man that starts at the bottom given a chance to have dinner with the upper classes the Forestier’s Madeleine (Thurman) and Charles (Glenister). On this dinner date he meets three members of the upper class Virginie (Thomas) Madeleine and Clotilde (Ricci) as Georges plan gets put into place.

Georges finds himself using this woman to get their husbands choice put in place with the first being Clotilde.  Georges is trying to climb the social ladder in Paris and with the women on his side he can go right to the very top.

Bel Ami is a film that is all about the ups and downs of a peasant trying to rise through society. It really all comes down to a lot of costume fluff that goes nowhere fast and ends up being plain. This is one for the fans for period piece films but if they are not your thing you will not enjoy.

 

Actor Review

 

Robert Pattinson: Georges Duroy is the peasant in France that get remembered for his time in the war, his new found fame leads him into entering the higher classes of Paris as he learns that woman control the decisions of their husbands. Robert is solid in this role but he doesn’t seem to nail an accent through the film.georges

Uma Thurman: Madeleine Forestier is the wife of the man that first brings Georges into the high society, she helps Georges with his education while becoming one of the ladies in his life. Uma does a basic job in this role but like Robert never really nails an accent.

Kristin Scott Thomas: Virginie Rousset is another member of the upper class in Paris, she takes a shine to Georges along the way up the classes. Kristen is solid but we don’t see enough of her character until later in the film.

Christina Ricci: Clotilde de Marelle is the first of the ladies to take up the adulteress ways with Georges as the two have a whirlwind affair behind her husband’s back. Christina is solid in the supporting role of this film being the only interesting character.

Support Cast: Bel Ami has a supporting cast that all end up being forgettable and mostly the husbands.

Director Review: Declan Donnellan, Nick OrmerodThe pair give us a basic period piece that will keep the fans happy without being memorable.

 

History: Bel Ami puts us in the 1890s for the film I don’t know how actuate the film is though.

Romance: Bel Ami shows plenty of sex but you never see any real romance.

Settings: Bel Ami puts us in the settings of the time in question without being anything special.

Suggestion: Bel Ami is one for the period piece fans to try but otherwise avoid it. (Period Piece Fans Try)

 

Best Part: Ricci is good.

Worst Part: Too political.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

Tagline: Possessed by love. Consumed by desire.

 

Overall: Period piece that lacks that punch.

Ratingcard

 

Mission: Impossible (1996)

logoDirector: Brian De Palma

Writer: David Koepp, Robert Towne (Screenplay) David Koepp, Steven Zaillian (Story) Bruce Geller (TV Creator)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Beart, Henry Czerny, Jean Reno, Ving Rhames, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vanessa Redgrave

 

Plot: An American agent, under false suspicion of disloyalty, must discover and expose the real spy without the help of his organization.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Impossible Made Possible

 

Story: Mission Impossible starts in Kiev where we watch an undercover mission trying to find out the next level of criminal, the mission run by Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is a success, this just is here to show how well a unit Hunt and his team are. Jim Phelps (Voight) the man in charge of the mission sets out his new mission to collect and stop a new suspect from getting their hands classified information. The mission goes as planned but the escape ends up causing problems when it appears they have become compromised leading to most of the unit getting killed and Ethan being the last man standing.

Ethan is being framed for the failed mission because it will lead the expose of the real crime going on and Ethan has been part of a team that has a mole within his unit. Kittridge (Czerny) the head of the agency believes Ethan to be the mole because he is the only one left standing which leads to Ethan having to prove his innocence and find out who the mole really is. Ethan discovers that Claire (Beart) also survived the attack and that it has something to do with an arms dealer Max (Redgrave). Ethan assembles a new team including Claire, Franz (Reno) and Luther (Rhames) to break into the CIA headquarters and steal what Max wanted in an attempt to prove his own innocence. When Ethan finds out who the mole is he is left shocked and has to take down this person.

Mission Impossible comes into the action genre when James Bond was starting to lose its sparkle and picks up the spy genre making it feel fresh again. We get the idea that we just don’t know who to trust in this team leaving Ethan to figure out what is going on. We don’t know who to trust or who the good guys actually are until the very end. what this Mission Impossible doesn’t do is give us too much double crossing and setting up it just plays out very simple, which is a good thing because today we do get too many films try and throw too many twists into the story and fail to get anything out of it. This will go down as a good introduction to the character Ethan Hunt before the series went to whole new levels which usually involved a massive stunt. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Tom Cruise: Ethan Hunt is the point man on Jim Phelps IMF team, he gets involved in all the missions but once his team is killed he must find out why and clear his name in a mission that can only be described as impossible. Tom Cruise gives this character what you need, the charm, the physical presence and most importantly he makes the spy game look cool. (9/10)

 hunt

Jon Voight: Jim Phelps is the leader of team who have been killed but he does seem to have alternative motives. Jon plays the shady character from early on but he always seems to end being the villain in films so his twist reveal doesn’t shock as much as it could have. (7/10)

jim

Henry Czerny: Eugene Kittridge is the head of the agency that is after the mole and sets his sights on Ethan spending most of the film trying to track him down. Henry plays the agency guy well and does play out his side like you would expect an agency guy to be. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: Mission Impossible has a good supporting cast that includes the first team, the second team and the mysterious Max. Each member of the cast helps with the motivation, building new loyalties for future films and showing the side that will always look to money.

 

Director Review: Brian De Palma – Brian does a great job directing giving us a fun filled action adventure spy film. (8/10)

 

Action: Mission Impossible has very well constructed action sequences that are also edge of your seat. (9/10)

Thriller: Mission Impossible keeps you guessing to what the next twist will be from start to finish. (8/10)

Settings: Mission Impossible uses very standard settings that as easy to understand where the action will take place. (7/10)

Suggestion: Mission Impossible is one for all the action junkies to watch as it will still be considered one of the best of a generation of spy films. (Action Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Break into CIA.

Worst Part: Comparing it to the latest films it is very basic.

Action Scene Of The Film: The final sequence.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: First of 5 Films

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Bond Movies.

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $457 Million

Budget: $80 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

Tagline: Expect the Impossible

Trivia: While filming the famous scene where Tom Cruise drops from the ceiling and hovers inches above the ground, Cruise’s head kept hitting the floor until he got the idea to put coins in his shoes for balance.

 

Overall: Mission Impossible is one of the freshest action spy films of its time and will easily be remember as one of the best.

Rating 80