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

 

 

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

 

 

The Number 23 (2007)

numberDirector: Joel Schumacher

Writer: Fernley Phillips (Screenplay)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen, Logan Lerman, Danny Huston, Lynn Collins

 

Plot: Walter Sparrow becomes obsessed with a novel that he believes was written about him. As his obsession increases, more and more similarities seem to arise.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Interesting Thriller

 

Story: The Number 23 starts as we follow mild mannered animal controller Walter Sparrow (Carrey) who had just celebrated his birthday which has made things change, he has a wife Agatha (Madsen) and son Robin (Lerman) in what looks like an ordinary life.

Walter’s life is turned upside when one of his gifts if a book called The Number 23 which just so happens to tell the same story of a character called Fingerling who has the same childhood Walter remembers. The further Walter looks into the character we see how he becomes obsessed with the number 23 in everyday life but is this a message or a former life he once lived?

Th Number 23 is a mystery thriller that puts us on a rollercoaster of conspiracy or truth about Walter’s life. Everything really does keep us guessing from start to finish. Each answer is spoon-fed to us which does take away the shock in the final act but this still does enough to keep us on edge.

The cast all do a good job with Jim Carrey really shining in the none comedic role yet again, but the supporting performances from Virginia Madsen, Danny Huston and Logan Lerman all keep up with the star of the show.

 

Overall: One of Jim Carrey’s most underrated films of his career.

Ratingcard

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Bug (2006)

bugDirector: William Friedkin

Writer: Tracy Letts (Screenplay) Tracy Letts (Play)

Starring: Ashely Judd, Michael Shannon, Harry Connick Jr, Lynn Collins, Brian F O’Byrne

 

Plot: An unhinged war veteran holes up with a lonely woman in a spooky Oklahoma motel room. The line between reality and delusion is blurred as they discover a bug infestation.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just What is This?

 

Story: Bug starts with Agnes White (Judd) in a motel room getting phones from what she thinks is her ex Jerry (Connick Jr) but no one talks on the other end. When her friend R.C. (Collins) introduces her to Peter (Shannon) to just have a party in the motel where to two become friends even with their differences.

When Jerry turns up he comes threatening Agnes before leaving which leads to Peter and Agnes spending more time together where the two start to find themselves hunting down bed bugs that Peter believes are taking over the motel, but the question remains are they real or in their heads?

Bug tries to build a conspiracy like horror film about believing in bugs within the bodies of the victims. We also deal with the idea of loneliness that meeting others could offer that something missing in life. The problem with this is that is never pulls you in, you never care about the characters or never get a real answer to what is actually going on.

 

Actor Review

 

Ashley Judd: Agnes White is a desperate lady living in a motel where she drinks and gets high as she tries to avoid her ex-husband. When he gets released from prison he comes after her while she starts a new relationship with the damaged Peter. Ashley really is wasted in this role that should be better from an actress of her level.aggy

Michael Shannon: Peter Evans is the ex-soldier who ends up shacking up with Agnes where the two start a relationship but also go in search for the bugs in the motel room. He comes off very shy but also accepting of where he is in his life. Michael brings his style to the role but is wasted in this wild role.pete

Harry Connick Jr: Jerry Goss is the aggressive ex-husband of Agnes who fresh out of prison comes back into her life to try and take her back. Harry is not used enough in this supporting role.

Lynn Collins: R.C. is the best friend of Agnes who introduce her to Peter and is there to try and make her feel good whenever she is feeling down. Lynn doesn’t get used enough in this role.

Support Cast: Bug doesn’t really have much of a supporting cast with anyone else appearing only have an odd scene.

Director Review: William FriedkinWilliam doesn’t seem to capture any of the horror he once did all those years ago.

 

Horror: Bug tries to give us horror but most is not scary but most uses is for shock body violence.

Thriller: Bug doesn’t keep us guessing much at all.

Settings: Bug does keep most of the setting within the motel room which helps keeping the film attempted isolation.
Special Effects
: Bug uses solid effects to show the body torture given to the characters.

Suggestion: Bug is one to avoid because it just doesn’t have enough about it. (Avoid)

 

Best Part: Nope

Worst Part: Most of it.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $7 Million

Budget: $4 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

Tagline: Paranoia is contagious.

 

Overall: Terrible body torture film that really is painfully to watch

Ratingcard

 

Taylor Kitsch Weekend – John Carter (2012)

posterDirector: Andrew Stanton

Writer: Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, Michael Chabon (Screenplay) Edgar Rice Burroughs (Story)

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, Bryan Cranston

 

Plot: Transported to Barsoom, a Civil War vet discovers a barren planet seemingly inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians. Finding himself prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter Woola and a princess in desperate need of a savior.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Enjoyable

 

Story: John Carter starts by giving us the backstory of Barsoom known to us as Mars where a peaceful life is turned upside down. We move to 1880s where John Carter (Kitsch) is avoiding by captured but leaving his story to his nephew Edgar Burroughs (Sabara). In his story John tells how he was transported to Barsoom while avoiding his time in the army.

John finds himself captured by Tars Tarkas (Dafoe) and his barbarians as he finds himself in the middle of a war where Matai Shang (Strong) is leading Sab Than (West) in a quest to take over the planet. Sab has made a deal to marry the princess Dejah (Collins) to create peace between the opposing sides.

John Carter must lead the fight against Sab Than to save the princess and free the people of Barsoom from his terror bringing peace back to the planet once more.

John Carter is a film that I avoided for years having only heard negative things about it but now I have gotten around to watching it I found myself enjoying this one. I will say there are good and bad things about this story so we will start with the good. I liked how the story reflected the Earth story with Mars, we had a reluctant hero that learnt to stand up for himself proving he isn’t the coward the Earth through he was. On the bad side we do spend slightly too long building up to the transportation to Mars, we also do spend too much looking at the jumping ability Carter has. I did find the final twist very smart and fitting for the film ready for any sequel too. This is a very good story that can be enjoyed.

 

Actor Review

 

Taylor Kitsch: John Carter is from 1860s, he doesn’t want to get involved in the war going on in America only to find himself transported to Mars where his ability to jump and fight put him in the middle of a war on Mars. He must lead the people in a fight for peace. Taylor proves he is a good actor with this role that could have been a lot more successful.john

Lynn Collins: Dejah Thoris is the princess of Mars, she is forced to wed the evil tyrant taking over the planet but when she meets John Carter she learns that he could be the one to save her and her people. Lynn is good in this role without being too original in character.princess

Samantha Morton: Sola is the daughter of Tars, she has been disgraced by her species her only chance to redeem herself if to help John Carter on his mission to create peace on the planet. Samantha is good in this role even if we would have like to have seen more from the character.sola

Willem Dafoe: Tars Tarkas is the leader of the barbarians that first find John Carter, he believes John Carter has something different about him and uses him to help with his leadership even if it leaves him against his kind. Willem gives us the performance we have all come to know from the actor.

Support Cast: John Carter has a huge supporting cast that all give good performances when it comes to the final story.

Director Review: Andrew StantonAndrew gives us a good sci-fi action film that is all enjoyable without being too difficult to watch.

 

Action: John Carter has good action sequences throughout with most being massive battle scenes.

Adventure: John Carter puts our character John Carter on an adventure of a lifetime.

Fantasy: John Carter brings us into a fantasy world on Mars.

Sci-Fi: John Carter takes us to Mars and has an impossible travel idea for the sci-fi side of the story.

Settings: John Carter creates a beautiful looking setting for the story to take place in on Mars.
Special Effects
: John Carter has great effects to create the mixes of species involved in the story on Mars.

Suggestion: John Carter is one that should actually be tried by all. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Mars side of the story.

Worst Part: What is with all the jumping?

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: It could have one but poor Box Office returns means we won’t get one.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $263 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

Tagline:  Lost in Our World. Found in Another.

 

Overall: Enjoyable sci-fi adventure that comes off fresh

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