ABC Film Challenge – Action – E – The Equalizer 2 (2018)

Director: Antoine Fuqua

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

Starring: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Orson Bean, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo

 

Plot: Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed, but how far will he go when that is someone he loves?


Tagline – There will be consequences

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Slow Action Film

 

Story: The Equalizer 2 starts as we see how Robert McCall (Washington) driving around helping people when he learns they have been mistreated, just being a good guy around the neighbourhood. Robert still has his connection with the agency in Susan (Leo) who gives him the information to help with problems she can’t deal with.

After she is killed investigating a case, Robert reveals himself to his former partner Dave York (Pascal) who has believed he has been dead for years, to help get the people that killed their friend, all while trying to be a mentor to young man Miles (Sanders) who is being drawn into the gangster life.

 

Thoughts on The Equalizer 2

 

Characters – Robert McCall no longer works at Home Depot, he is a driver for hire around the town and he listens to the people’s stories and where he sees fit to step in to solve the problems. This time somebody makes it personal and he must come out from the shadows to get revenge. Dave York is the former partner of Robert’s who believed he was dead, he sees his new partner killed and is looking for answers to why his friend stayed away so long. Miles is a streetwise teenager on the brink of making a terrible decision to join a gang, Robert aims to guide him to make the right decision. Sam is an elderly client who Robert wants to help out, he is here to show just how good natured Robert is. Brian and Susan Plummer are the only connections with the agency Robert has, he will do anything to help them, as they help him with little matters he has.

PerformancesDenzel Washington is an actor that will always give us good performances, this is no different because we get to see the calm character and the deadly which he can switch between without blinking an eye. When we look at the rest of the cast, they are good without being anything overly memorable, with the villain being forgettable and the supporting arcs of the story not being given the time to truly focus on.

StoryThe story here continues to show how deadly, but fair Robert McCall can be, he wants to help people out, give them a chance to better their lives or admit to their mistakes. This time the story becomes personal after one of his friends in the agency is killed, sending him on a warpath against anybody involved. This side of the story is easy to watch, the more intense side of the story which is good to watch. The sentimental side of the story is interesting because we see how the problems in the world can be solved with moments of kindness which Robert shows different generations of people in his life, trying to teach people how to treat people, this is nice to watch, only for the two sides of the story struggling to connect to each other.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is good when we get it, the final sequences being the highlight of the action, the crime side shows how one man can use his connections to get a job done to clean up the streets.

SettingsThe film shows Robert operating in a normal big city, this shows us how stories can be found in most corners for most people.


Scene of the Movie –
The showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pacing between the serious side stories and the action heavy main story.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable action film that does everything you would imagine, it isn’t going to be one of the greatest just one you can enjoy without worrying too much about what is going on.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable action.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – F – The Fighter (2010)

Director: David O. Russell

Writer: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson (Screenplay) Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington (Story)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, Jack McGee, Melissa McMeekin, Bianca Hunter

Plot: Based on the story of Micky Ward, a fledgling boxer who tries to escape the shadow of his more famous but troubled older boxing brother and get his own shot at greatness.


Tagline – Every dream deserves a fighting chance.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Brilliant

Story: The Fighter starts as we meet Micky Ward (Wahlberg) as he is preparing to follow in his brother’s footsteps Dicky Eklund (Bale) with a camera crew following them around because this is meant to be Dicky’s big return to the boxing world after his famous win as Sugar Ray Leonard.

Micky is meant to have an easy win fight, but a surprise change leaves him defeated once again, he starts to date Charlene (Adams) a local bar maid, who pushes him into standing up to his pushy family of Dicky who is always at a crack house and his mother Alice (Leo) that always believes she knows what is right for Micky, can he still create his own chance or not.

Thoughts on The Fighter

Characters – Micky Ward is the uprising boxer who is preparing for a big fight, he is trained by his older brother who has his own addiction, Micky lets his family guide him, mostly down the wrong roads, he meets a new woman in Charlene that helps him push back to restore his family’s name. Dicky is the older brother and former boxer, he feel out of the spotlight with his drug addiction and is looking to bring his brother into the light by being his trainer, the problems start by the fact he can never arrive on time and is letting his drug addiction control his life, breaking the law to try and do the right thing. Charlene Fleming is barmaid that Micky falls in love with, she tries to help him go after his own path instead of letting his family hold him back. Alice Ward is the mother of the boxers, she is their manager, but doesn’t always have their best interest in mind

PerformancesMark Wahlberg gives one of his career best performances of his career here, he doesn’t turn to any of the wise cracking which is often his trademark either. Christian Bale once again proves he can adapt to any role which will see him do a body transformation. Amy Adams and Melissa Leo complete the brilliant performances in this film which shows us just how talented this cast truly is.

StoryThe story here follows Micky Ward the brother of a former professional boxer that is looking to make his way to the top in boxing too, he is being held back by his controlling mother and fame seeking crack addict brother, until his girlfriend comes along to help put him back on the right path. This is based on the real boxers from the mid-90s and how they had to overcome their own personal problems to make it in boxing, we do a follow more of the family drama behind everything, how Micky was torn between who to take help from and how Dicky was full of himself due to his addiction. This does show us just how family can take life in negative directions if you let them take over your own potential if you let them and finding your own path can make you a success.

Biopic/SportsThe biopic side of the film shows just how difficult it can be to live in the shadow of a former professional and follows the family who have been through a lot, meaning the fighting is now for family honour. The boxing is limited till the final fight which is the longest any fight last and shows just how realistic you can be on the body.

SettingsThe film uses the settings that the family is from a very close neighbourhood which idolises Dicky and want to be behind Micky on his rise, they help each other and support their local heroes.


Scene of the Movie – Title fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – You could have seen more from the recovery process for Dicky.

Final Thoughts This is an excellent fighting drama that shows how family can be the best and worst part of any boxer’s life when they are going to try and make history.

Overall: Brilliant drama.

Robert De Niro Weekend – Hide and Seek (2005)

Director: John Polson

Writer: Ari Schlossberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen, Elisabeth Shue, Amy Irving, Dylan Baker, Melissa Leo

 

Plot: As a widower tries to piece together his life in the wake of his wife’s suicide, his daughter finds solace, at first, in her imaginary friend.


Tagline – If you want to know the secret, you have to play the game.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Confusing Horror

 

Story: Hide and Seek starts when psychologist David (De Niro) loses his wife to a sudden suicide, to help his daughter Emily (Fanning) through the trauma he decides to move to a more remote location upstate of New York.

David is trying to settle in with Emily, who soon starts to have her own imagine friend named Charlie, David does turn to colleague Katherine (Janssen) for advice, while trying to move on with both their lives, only Charlie starts to show an evil side.

 

Thoughts on Hide and Seek

 

Characters – David is a psychologist in the big city of New York, he has a wife and daughter, only all his skills can’t help him see the depression his own wife is suffering through, needing to put his life back together with his daughter, he needs to  make sure Emily doesn’t fall into needing more help, while navigating learning to live in a new town. Emily is the daughter that became traumatised after the death of her mother, she uses her imaginary friend to get away with doing evil things around the house. Emily is a character that you can understand the acting against the normal because dealing with loss can be difficult for a child. Katherine is the colleague that specialises in helping children, she is the one that David turns to for added advice for helping his daughter. Elizabeth is a local divorced woman with a child the same age as Emily, David tries to build a friendship for both himself and Emily with her, Elizabeth shows that people can be patient when searching for new friendship.

PerformancesRobert De Niro stepping into the horror genre is something refreshing, he does show how difficult it could be for a father to keep everything together after losing a wife. Dakota Fanning as the traumatised daughter brings the fear required, while also being creepy through the film. Famke Janssen and Elisabeth Shue are both solid enough supporting the film, without needing to make that big of an impact in what is going on.

StoryThe story follows a recently widowed father taking his daughter to start a new life in a quieter neighbourhood, only for her to get a new imaginary friend that doesn’t like the people in her life. Now this story could and does start by showing the effects of a trauma on a young girl, after she witnesses her mother’s suicide, this could explain the actions she ends up causing through the film, the problem with the story comes from the fact the film sets this up, only to go in a direction which makes zero sense for anything we have seen in the first act. It also doesn’t help the fact we have five yes FIVE different endings too. This is a story that completely derails because of a simple choice and ends up just being difficult to watch.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film is confusing too, mostly because it is weak dream sequences before anything being remotely scary happening until the final third of the film which, does have strong moments, just doesn’t make sense to what we knew before. The mystery in the film comes from trying to figure out who Charlie is, because we get suggestions it could be a person with the number of people that get introduced around the new home, add in that it could be supernatural, we are left to figure out who they are.

SettingsThe film is set in upstate New York where the father and daughter are trying to start a new life away from the busy life that could have caused added stress in life. It does give the family an isolation factor which adds to the potential suspense in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Not interested in new friends.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The third act twist just confuses everything.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that was going in a smooth direction to be interesting only to take a twist which makes it frustrating by the end of the film.

 

Overall: Weak ending horror.

Rating

 

 

Joseph Gordon Levitt Weekend – Snowden (2016)

snowdenDirector: Oliver Stone

Writer: Kieran Fitzgerald, Oliver Stone (Screenplay) Anatoly Kucherena, Luke Harding (Book)

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nicholas Cage, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Shailene Woodley, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Olyphant, Scott Eastwood, Rhys Ifrans

 

Plot: The NSA’s illegal surveillance techniques are leaked to the public by one of the agency’s employees, Edward Snowden, in the form of thousands of classified documents distributed to the press.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important but Slow True Story

 

Story: Snowden starts as we follow documentary film maker Laura Poitras (Leo) and journalist Glenn Greenwald (Quinto) meet Edward Snowden (Gordon-Levitt) who is a private contractor for the NSA giving his interview to why he did what he did.

The story begins back when Snowden was training to be a soldier only to be discharged on medical grounds and entering a career into the CIA. We see how Snowden meet his love Lindsay (Woodley) but on the other side of this life he gets to see how the minds of different people inside the CIA work leaving him questioning each decision within before he went onto exposing all the secrets from around the world.

Snowden is the story of one of the biggest whistle-blowers in American history, he gave up his whole life to show the secrets of America and other intelligence communities. This is an important part of history we haven’t fully seen the effects of yet which makes this film almost feel too early. The film moves at a steady pace but can get complicated when certain technological talk going on.

Joseph gives his ever-reliable performance as Snowden without ever looking out of place in the role. When it comes to the reporters exposing the story they all come off great without shining or coming off badly. The rest of the government characters all work well too. The truth is no one lets the film down on performances it is another film that can get caught up on tech talk.

 

Overall: This is an interesting look at how one of the biggest leaks in intelligence history happened.

Rating

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London Has Fallen (2016)

london has fallenDirector: Babak Najafi

Writer: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast, Chad St John (Screenplay) Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt (Story)

Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Radha Mitchell, Jackie Earle Haley, Melissa Leo, Morgan Freeman

 

Plot: In London for the Prime Minister’s funeral, Mike Banning discovers a plot to assassinate all the attending world leaders.

 

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: 24 The Movie

 

Story: London Has Fallen starts in Pakistan as we learn that the terrorist movement has grown and the terrorists are planning their next move before being taken out. Move back to meet President Asher (Eckhart) and his chief bodyguard Mike Banning (Butler) as best friends.

When the British Prime Minster dies of natural courses all of the world leaders are heading to London for the funeral including Asher, Mike has to work on the security detail for his best friend.

With the begins of the funeral starting to take place all the world’s leaders have been targeted by a group of terrorists leaving many of them dead. Aamir Barkawi (Aboutboul) is the man behind the attack and al he wants is the President leaving VP Trumbull (Freeman) running the cabinet while Mike has to keep the President alive.

London Has Fallen is a sequel that really has nothing to do with the original other than bring back the characters from the original. The only thing that seems familiar is that we have a foreign terrorist. While watching all I could feel was this is how a 24 movie would go with the one man that will do anything to save president doing that to save him. I do feel it is an easy watch for all the fans out there who want an action film. In the end this is pretty much a standard action film with nothing overly special going on.

 

Actor Review

 

Gerard Butler: Mike Banning is the most trust bodyguard and head of security for the President, he has to travel to London for a state funeral only to discover that he is going to have to race to save the president one more time. Gerard is solid as the action hero but isn’t as strong as he should be.mike

Aaron Eckhart: Benjamin Asher is the President of the United States of America he has to travel to England for the funeral of the Prime Minster which turns into a trap as he must follow Banning to safety against a man who wants him dead. Aaron is basic in this role which I would have liked to see a lot more from him instead of being the almost damsel in distress.president

Morgan Freeman: VP Trumbull is left back home in America and when the attack happens he must work with the rest of the office to make the difficult decisions, to help the President or save the people. Morgan is basic supporting performance without doing too much.

Alon Aboutboul: Aamir Barkawi is the man behind the attacks, he has faked his death and now he uses this as his chance to get revenge on the Western world. Alon is a very generic villain without having to get his hands physical dirty.

Support Cast: London Has Fallen has a big supporting with big names doing very little.

Director Review: Babak NajafiBabak gives us certain great shots but also ends up giving us a very plain story throughout.

 

Action: London Has Fallen has plenty of mindless action sequences without being too much memorable.

Crime: London Has Fallen puts us into a terrorist world where the criminals are trying to take out the world leaders.

Thriller: London Has Fallen doesn’t really put you on edge because we know the two leads will not suffer any peril.

Settings: London Has Fallen is set in London but after the first attack nothing is truly memorable location in town.
Special Effects
: London Has Fallen has poor effects that you can see that CGI is on screen throughout.

Suggestion: London Has Fallen is one for you to switch off your brain and enjoy. (Brain Off Watching)

 

Best Part: Single take down the street.

Worst Part: CGI

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Hopefully not.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $60 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline: Prepare for bloody hell.

 

Overall: Sequel that loses the X-factor but is a simple action movie.

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