ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – V – Voice from the Stone (2017)

Director: Eric D Howell

Writer: Andrew Shaw (Screenplay) Silvio Raffo (Novel)

Starring: Emilia Clarke, Marton Csokas, Caterina Murino, Remo Girone, Lisa Gastoni, Edward Bring, Duccio Camerini


Plot: Set in 1950s Tuscany, Voice from the Stone is the haunting and suspenseful story of Verena, a solemn nurse drawn to aid a young boy who has fallen silent since the sudden passing of his mother.

Tagline – Silence is calling

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Fizzles Out


Story: Voice from the Stone starts as we meet Verena (Clarke) a nurse that goes from house to house to try and help children that are struggling with problems, her latest job takes her to Tuscany to help Klaus (Csokas) with his son Jakob (Dring) who hasn’t spoken since his mother’s death.

When Verena learns that, Jakob believes he can still communicate with his mother, the case takes on a new direction for her, as she must learn to accept thinking outside of her believed reality for the answers to what is hold Jakob back.


Thoughts on Voice from the Stone


Characters – Verena is a nurse, she is an expert in helping children with problems, her latest job takes her to Tuscany to help a young boy who hasn’t spoken since the passing of his mother. She doesn’t believe in any of the afterlife but must now learn to accept it in this latest case. Klaus is the father of the boy, he an artist and grieving in his own way, hoping to get his son to talk once more. Malvina is the mother that has passed away, she hasn’t remained away though communicating with Jakob through the wall, holding him back, she must get pushed into the afterlife for the family to move on.

PerformancesEmilia Clarke is the biggest selling point of this movie, having one of the most beautiful women in the world, one of the most famous television characters, here she does get to show her serious side, but never reaches the levels we know she could. Marton Csokas is one of the good performers in the European mysterious men roles, here he is no different showing us why he is always picked.

StoryThe story here does get caught up in two minds, the first is just a young nurse trying to help a sick child get over the grieving process, this should be a good enough story, but we get thrown into a mystery about why his deceased mother is talking to him through a stone, while this does have a kicker of a twist and never reaches the true levels of mystery to make us satisfied with how it ended or how we got there either.

MysteryThe mystery does fall flat by the end of the film, because we get part of an answer but not the complete answer.

SettingsThe film does have beautiful settings outside of the house, we get to see moments of stunning scenery from the Tuscany location.

Scene of the Movie –
Pose for me?

That Moment That Annoyed Me The ending doesn’t seem to make sense.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow moving mystery thriller that does make you want to see where things go, but in the end things don’t click to make sense to where it should all be.


Overall: Mystery that lacks the punch.




ABC Film Challenge – Crime – D – Dark Crimes (2016)

Director: Alexandros Avranas

Writer: Jeremy Brock (Screenplay) David Grann (Article)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Marton Csokas, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kati Outinen, Vlad Ivanov, Robert Wieckiewicz


Plot: A murder investigation of a slain businessman turns to clues found in an author’s book about an eerily similar crime.

Tagline – It takes a dark mind to solve a twisted crime.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Terribly Boring


Story: Dark Crimes starts when Tadek (Carrey) still investigating the murder of a police officer, gets a new lead when Kozlov (Csokas) writes a new book which has an eerily similarity to the murder, leading him to take a dangerous road investigating the murder, which includes challenge the former girlfriend Kasia (Gainsbourg).

The investigation has plenty of ties to the secret sex club known as the cage, where the men get to do whatever they want to the women, Tadek must put his professional and person life on the line to get to the bottom of this investigations.


Thoughts on Dark Crimes


Characters – Tadek is a police officer, he is preparing for retirement (I think) only he wants to solve one final case, which involves the murder of a fellow officer, he goes down dangerous paths which put his career on the line, his marriage on the line, hoping to find the answers. Kozlov is an author that has written a book that sounds too similar to the unsolved case, he becomes the target of the investigation because of his history with the known sex club. Kasia is a former worker in the club, she does have a connection to Kozlov and the victim.

PerformancesJim Carrey is an actor that I like seeing him doing serious roles, sadly, this is one of his worst performances in a long time, he can keep the accent up jumping around all over the place. Marton Csokas usually does well in film, but because the character isn’t very interesting, he struggles to keep our attention. Charlotte Gainsbourg disappoints too, she does everything we expect her to without making the impact.

StoryThe story follows a detective that is investigating the murder of a fellow officer that could have found the confession inside a novel, which leads him to target the author in search for the truth. The problem here is we get slow moving conversations which don’t go anywhere, we don’t get into the evidence of the case, it just seems to be watching one man starting to go too far in his search. The case doesn’t seem long enough to make feature film story either.

CrimeThe crime side of the film follows the investigation into the murder of a police officer which might be opened up again, it never feels urgent either.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show how the club could be easily accessed without needing to be too far away.

Scene of the Movie –

That Moment That Annoyed Me The dragging story.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the worst crime stories because it just never feels like the case is that important.


Overall: Just a drag.




Jessica Chastain Weekend – The Debt (2010)

Director: John Madden

Writer: Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman, Peter Straughan (Screenplay) Assaf Bernstein, Ido Rosenblum (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Ciaran Hinds, Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, Sam Worthington


Plot: In 1965, three Mossad agents cross into East Berlin to apprehend a notorious Nazi war criminal. Thirty years later, the secrets the agents share come back to haunt them.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Strong Thriller


Story: The Debt starts in 1997 where Rachel Singer (Mirren), David Peretz (Hings) and Stephan Gold (Wilkinson) are about to have their life story about their time in the intelligence agency thirty years early helped take down a Nazi war criminal, but this event brings us David’s suicide.

We flashback to thirty years earlier where the younger version of the characters Rachel (Chastain), Stephan (Csokas) and David (Worthington) learn how they first meet and start to work together to take down the war criminal, but why is that effecting their lives in the modern day, well only time will tell.


Thoughts on The Debt


Characters – First we will look at the present-day versions of the characters, Rachel is now a grandmother and proud reason for her daughter’s book, Stephan is wheelchair bound that still on the job while David isn’t sure whether to trust Stephan anymore killing himself over just meeting with him.

In the past, we have junior agent Rachel that must first join her partners in the mission but learn about how the field works when it comes to taking on a war criminal. Stephan is the leader of the group, he pulls the strings in the mission as well as warning Rachel of any mistakes she makes. David is the quiet member of the group, he has taken things to a personal level and isn’t willing to let anyone into his life.

PerformanceWe have six great actors here, we have the two different generations which show us just how talented the newer generation are with Chastain, Huntington and Csokas compared to Mirren, Wilkinson and Hinds, they all give great performances throughout.

StoryThe story mixes the two times about the story, first we learn what is on the record about what happened in the 1960’s story, but then we learn the truth about the what happened. When you look at any secret mission going on we get to see how secretive it needed to be when being told about what really happened. We also see how things could be made to be true to cover up a mistake and how they will need to be fixed if things come to light.

ThrillerThis does keep us on the edge of our seat as we wait to see what happened to make this a difficult situation for the elder characters.

SettingsWe have the different times for each setting which shows us the different worlds our characters faced the same problem.

Scene of the Movie – The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The love triangle does feel forced.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good thriller that does keep us on edge through the film, we are left to guess just where it will all go and what was the truth from the past.


Overall: Good intense thriller but lacking the final punch




Franchise Weekend – XXX (2002)

casting card


Plot: An extreme sports athlete, Xander Cage, is recruited by the government on a special mission.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Action Film 101


Story: XXX starts as Agent Gibbons (Jackson) is bought into help with an operation where normal agents keep getting killed, his plan is to have criminals enter into the worlds. We go onto meet Xander Cage (Diesel) who is an extreme sportsman using his skills for campaigning.

We go through a training routine with Xander who ends up having to help Gibbons as an alternative looking agent in Czech Republic. Xander has to get close to Yorgi (Csokas) and his group Anarchy 99 which he finds to be an easy thanks to his extreme sports background but when he finds out what they have planned he has to find a way to save the day.

XXX is one of those films you can just sit back and enjoy, you have to suspended your disbelief to see what is going on and could easily be a video montage to make extreme sports popular again. We get a very average villain that would be something we have become used in 2002 with the weaker Bond films at the time. We know the story is easy so just enjoy.


Actor Review


Vin Diesel: Xander Cage is extreme sports man that has been breaking the law with his antics. He gets recruited to become an agent to get information from a terrorist group where he learns of a plan to build weapon and must use all his sports skills to save the day and the world. Vin is good in this leading role very much a performance you have come to expect from him in action film.

Asia Argento: Yelena is the lady who is up close and personal with Yorgi but we soon find that she isn’t completely like we thought as we learn her true nature in the situation. Asia is a good female lead but isn’t on the level we have come to know in modern cinema but only because of writing not her performance.

Marton Csokas: Yorgi is the criminal that Xander must get close to, he accepts Xander into his crime world because of his fame in the underground world but once we find out his real motives we see just how dangerous he really is. Marton is a good but simple villain which is only really one dimensional.

Samuel L Jackson: Agent Augustus Gibbons is the man who comes up with the idea of using criminals to take down the crime ring and his first recruit Xander Cage. This is a very easy authority role that we could see in many other films. Samuel is good for this role even if it never really tests his skills.

Support Cast: XXX has a supporting cast we have all come to know with a henchman, gadget guy and unlucky guys, thy all help the film really well in the film.

Director Review: Rob CohenRob gives us an easy to watch action film that works for what it is without being a classic.


Action: XXX is everything you want in an action film with extreme sports.

Adventure: XXX is great for an adventure side of the story which all works well.

Thriller: XXX keeps us on edge throughout without being full edge of the seat.

Settings: XXX uses the Czech Republic setting which does have good visual but never really feels in peril.
Special Effects
: XXX has good effects with everything that happens with avalanche scene having a few moments that you can see the CGI.

Suggestion: XXX is one for all the action fans to enjoy but don’t go in too seriously. (Action Fans Watch)


Best Part: Extreme sports scenes.

Worst Part: Isn’t the most original.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Has one, with another in the works.

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $70 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

Tagline: If you want someone to save the world, make sure it’s someone who likes the world as it is.


Overall: Enjoyable action film that is nothing too special




The Equalizer (2014)

logoDirector: Antoine Fuqua

Writer: Richard Wenk (Screenplay) Michael Sloan, Richard Lindheim (Television Show)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloe Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Haley Bennett, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo


Plot: A man believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by – he has to help her.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Modern Vigilantism


Story: The Equalizer starts by showing Robert McCall (Washington) going about his daily routine in his OCD ways. Robert works in a hardware factory called Home Mart where he is loved by the fellow employees. Robert has a very secretive past that the fellow workers try to figure out about Robert also has a friendship with prostitute Teri (Moretz) who he ends up meeting in a late night diner every night.

After Teri gets beaten up by her pimp Robert decides to take a stand by trying to save her, but when the deal doesn’t happen Robert takes matters into his own hands and making enemies with a Russian mob. The Russians send in Teddy (Csokas) a fixer to investigate what happened and after figuring out it wasn’t a rival gang they start looking elsewhere. Robert finds himself turning into a vigilante and trying to stop corrupt cops but the investigation that involves looking for Teri could put the Russians on a path with Robert. Robert having completed his two good deeds Robert goes onto returning to his normal life with little excitement.

Robert continues his good deeds after the store he works at is robbed but he is unaware that the Russian’s are looking for him. After he finds out about the Russian’s Robert decides to take them down along with the corrupt cops once and fall all using his connection with the agency.

The Equalizer takes us into a story that is easy to follow but hard to believe as we follow the one man crusade against a whole mob. The pace of the film comes off nicely as certain other films with a similar subject had slow patches which lost the intense level they could have had. This keeps everything running by showing both sides knowing and keeping Robert’s past hidden long enough to leave us wondering. My negative about this film is how Robert managed to take on all those people without suffering any injuries when we know how ruthless the Russian are. In the end this is an extremely watchable film that could be enjoyed by all the fans. (7/10)


Actor Review


Denzel Washington: Robert McCall quiet man who is loved by the people he works with but keeps everything about his personal life very secretive, but when he befriends a young prostitute he gets beaten up by her pimp and Robert returns to his former life taking out the Russians. Denzel gives a good performance in the leading role dominating the screen every time he is on it. (8/10)


Marton Csokas: Teddy ruthless fixer for the Russians who ends up entering into a cat and mouse battle for one up man ship against Robert. Marton makes for a good villain but in the end comes off very much generic. (6/10)


Chloe Grace Moretz: Teri prostitute who gets beaten up that leads to the start of Robert’s vigilante run against the Russians. Chloe does a good job in the supporting role but could have been used for a longer time. (6/10)


Support Cast: The Equalizer has a supporting cast of work colleagues who don’t know about Robert’s secret but who he keeps safe. It also has the corrupt cops working for the Russians who get what is coming to them.


Director Review: Antoine Fuqua – Antoine does a good job directing this vigilante thriller. (8/10)


Action: The Equalizer has good combat scenes that are more about flashy moves to win quickly. (8/10)

Thriller: The Equalizer pulls you in to what will happen next but slowly paced before big final fight. (7/10)

Settings: The Equalizer uses the settings well to show how each character enters into different worlds to their own normal one. (7/10)

Suggestion: The Equalizer is one for the action fans to enjoy. (Action Fans Watch)


Best Part: Final showdown.

Worst Part: Seems a bit too much for one man to do.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final showdown.


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $192 Million

Budget: $55 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

Tagline: What do you see when you look at me?

Trivia: Actress Chloe Grace Moretz fought for the role of Teri when she found out it was written for someone of the age of 24. She presented herself so well, the director immediately made the change.


Overall: Good Action Thriller

Rating 75