Will Smith Weekend – Collateral Beauty (2016)

Director: David Frankel

Writer: Allan Loeb (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Smith, Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Michael Pena, Helen Mirren, Naomie Harris, Keira Knightley, Jacob Latimore

 

Plot: Retreating from life after a tragedy, a man questions the universe by writing to Love, Time and Death. Receiving unexpected answers, he begins to see how these things interlock and how even loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.


Tagline – Connect to the beauty of life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Dramatic Study of Grief

 

Story: Collateral Beauty starts as Howard’ (Smith) business is flying, but tragedy hits his life, when his daughter dies. 2 years later, Whit (Norton), Claire (Winslet) and Simon (Pena) the partners in the business are facing difficult decision as Howard still can’t make decisions and won’t make decisions and his business is suffering.

To try to help Howard, the three partners hiring three actors Brigitte (Mirren), Amy (Knightley) and Raffi (Latimore) to visit Howard to answer the letters her has written to ‘Love’ ‘Death’ and ‘Time’ each while dealing with their own problems. Can this idea fix the problems in Howard’s life to help him move on and accept the truth.

 

Thoughts on Collateral Beauty

 

Characters – Howard is a successful businessman, he is on top of the world, until his daughter dies. Now he spends his time at work building domino structures avoiding human contact and writing letters to Love, Death and Time, hoping for answers to help him deal with his grief. Whit is one of the business partners with Will, though he gave up part of his share in the couple because of his own mistakes in love, as he must pay off his ex-wife. Claire is another member of the business that int fully behind the idea, though we rarely learn anything else about her. Simon is the final member of the three that hire the actors, he does have his own questions to ask about life. Brigitte, Amy and Raffi are the actors that take the job of playing Love, Death and Time, each shows the character that Howard must talk to, to understand the grief he is going through. Madeline runs a support group for parents that have lost children, much like herself, she does try to get through to Howard in a simpler way compared to the friends.

PerformancesThis is a film that is hard to criticise the performances from any of the actors, the questions come from the amount of screen time certain actors are given. Will Smith gives up his normal charismatic performance to make us believe us that a man that would be filled with confidence could feel after losing everything. Edward Norton, Kate Winslet and Michael Pena show the sacrifices people would have made in business. Helen Mirren does look like she is enjoying her role the most, while Keira Knightley and Jacob Latimore show they are great at rounding off this cast. Naomie Harris’ performance can’t be overlook either with the impact in the final scene.

StoryThe story here shows us how one man has struggled with the grief of losing his daughter with his business partners needing to find a way to push him out of the hole he has created. This does pose the question of just what is time, love and death mean when you lose a loved one, it may well have too many side arcs because each of the partners has a story that need to be addressed which don’t get enough time to make the impact needed, compared to the story that Howard is going through. The way grief is shown in this film is strong because people would create barriers in life which would only push people away in the time you most need someone around you.

RomanceWhile romance might be the wrong genre for most of the film, it does show us how love can be ruined when a tragedy strikes.

SettingsThe film is set in New York which is used very well because it shows us just how many different people you could run into along your day.


Scene of the Movie –
Christmas Eve.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Each of the partners has a problem in their life, which only gets skipped over.

Final ThoughtsThis is an overly dramatic story of grief which wants to take focus on the idea that people have closed off from life.

 

Overall: Grief shown strongly.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – A – Ant-Man (2015)

Director: Peyton Reed

Writer: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comics)

Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Anthony Macke, Michael Pena

 

Plot: Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.


Tagline – No shield. No armor. No problem.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Heist Movie

 

Story: Ant-Man starts when Scott Lang (Rudd) gets released from prison, he wants to try and go straight to rebuild his relationship with his daughter, but is struggling. When his best friend Luis (Pena) offers him a score which could fix the problem he jumps at the chance. the job is to break into a house and open a safe, which he does finding a suit.

The suit is the Ant-Man suit which Dr Hank Pym (Douglas) invented and planned to keep secret, until his student Darren Cross (Stoll) has learnt of the technology and has been looking to create his own form of it. Hank wants Scott to use the suit to stop Darren from using the technology that could be dangerous in the right hands.

 

Thoughts on Ant-Man

 

Characters – Scott Lang is a cat-burglar that is freshly out of prison searching for a job, so he can rebuild his relationship with his daughter, who still loves him. He can’t get employment, which sees him return to a life of crime, which sees him get an opportunity to work for Hank Pym that see him use his skills to help him steal his own technology back before it gets in the wrong hands. Scott can see this as a chance for redemption. Dr Hank Pym created the shrinking technology that made Ant-Man, he has seen the danger involved in it and has been gone into business for himself, he needs somebody to make sure his technology doesn’t get sold into the wrong hands, he doesn’t want his daughter to do the job because he knows the danger involved in it. Hope is the daughter of Hank, she has remained in the company watching over Darren’s research, reporting to her father if thing go wrong. She wants to go on the mission no matter how risky it could be. Darren Cross was mentored by Hank, he has always been waiting to step out of the shadow and after learning the secret about technology involved in creating the shrinking technology.

PerformancesPaul Rudd does get to bring us a fun character that has been left with nothing and still remains positive and isn’t the smartest person in the room. Michael Douglas fits his role perfectly as the inventor figure. Evangeline Lilly is strong in her role, even if she does a lot better in the sequel. Corey Stoll does make for a strong villain which is needed in this film.

StoryThe story here follows a former criminal that gets recruits to steal a piece of equipment from his own office that could one day create a new army becoming a threat to mankind. This story does go in a different direction to the previous outings of creating a new superhero, most before hand had been experiments or self-created heroes. Scott is given a chance to improve his life to step into a suit that was once just an experiment. We also have a heist going on which is always entertaining to watch as we do get the colourful characters involved in the film. this might get references for previous Avengers movies which shows how Ant-Man will be part of the universe too.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Sci-FiThe action in this film has a unique look because it deals with the ideas of most of the fighting happening within the miniature world. the film does target plenty of laughs which with the supporting cast come off regularly and once again we see how the sci-fi side of the film is used for the technology being used in the film.

SettingsThe film is set in San Francisco which does bring us to a new city for a superhero movie which is refreshing to see.

Special EffectsThe effects in this movie are amazing when you think of the world that is created with the ant army being used.


Scene of the Movie –
Training the ants.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We needed more of Luis.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun heist movie with a superhero spin on it which lightens the mood the previous films might have had.

 

Overall: Entertaining Superhero movie.

Rating

 

 

The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017)

Director: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan

Writer: Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Jared Stern, John Whittington (Screenplay) Hilary Winston, Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jackie Chan, Dave Franco, Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Pena, Abbi Jacobson

 

Plot: Shunned by everyone for being the son of an evil warlord, a teenager seeks to defeat him with the help of his fellow ninjas.


Tagline – Find Your Inner Piece

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good for the Kids

 

Story: The Lego Ninjago Movie starts in the city of Ninjago, where evil genius Garmadon is always putting the city through terror as he is looking to rule the city with his attacks, stopping him are a group of mysterious ninja, whose identity is revealed early on to be Lloyd, the son of Garmadon and his school friends, looking to keep the peace in the city.

With the guidance of Master Yu, Lloyd must learn his place in the world after Garmadon’s latest attack leaves the city in ruin because Lloyd was planning to make a move against his own father Garmadon, now Lloyd must make up for his own mistake and save the city.

 

Thoughts on The Lego Ninjago Movie

 

Characters – Master Yu is the leader of the ninjas trying to protect the city, he has trained them for years because of his own connection to the evil Garmadon. Lloyd is the teenager trying to fit in the world, he wants to get to know his father Garmadon whose action cause him to get hated in the land, he is fighting back with his close friends trying to teach him how he needs his father. Garmadon is the evil villain that wants control of the city, he always thinks of new ideas and always seems to fail, he is Lloyd’s father though he has never been around for him. Lloyd has a group of friends which are fellow ninjas that help defend the city.

StoryThe story here takes us to a new Lego world, one with ninjas, as we follow a son seeking acceptance from his father who is trying to conquer the city his son lives in. this does have a message about a father son relationship, getting over the regrets of the past and learn about people’s flaws. This does feel like a safe with a villain trying to conquer a city and the reluctant heroes trying to stop him. It does have glimpses of Megamind and just lacks the magic of the original Lego movie.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe action is large scale battles between the Lego figure which is simple and works for each location our characters find themselves on this adventure to save their world. the comedy is basic at best which disappoints through the film and it wouldn’t be appealing to the whole family, with the younger audience getting much more than the older out of this.

SettingsThe film puts us in another Lego setting with the outskirts being any location we have seen in most Asian cinema of forests of the unknown perils.

AnimationThe animation is good for the most part, though it does struggle the mix the animation between the real life cat involved in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The true purpose of life discovery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The cat reminds me too much of the South Park guinea pig episode.

Final ThoughtsThis is one that the kids could enjoy easily even though it doesn’t come close to the levels of the Lego Movie.

 

Overall: Kids will be entertained.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – C – CHIPS (2017)

Director: Dax Shepard

Writer: Dax Shepard (Screenplay)

Starring: Dax Shepard, Michael Pena, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rosa Salazar, Jessica McNamee, Adam Brody, Isiah Whitlock Jr

 

Plot: A rookie officer is teamed with a hardened pro at the California Highway Patrol, though the newbie soon learns his partner is really an undercover Fed investigating a heist that may involve some crooked cops.


Tagline – Chip Happens

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Insulting Comedy

 

Story: CHIPS starts as an undercover FBI agent Ponch (Pena) must joining the California Highway Patrol undercover with rookie officers Jon (Shepard) being his partner as Ponch must discover who is the dirty cop in the unit.

As the two are clearly complete opposites and Jon is the only one in the department that Ponch could trust to uncover the truth about the string of robberies.

 

Thoughts on CHIPS

 

Characters – Ponch is the FBI agent that is known for getting the cases closed even if the methods go across the lines, his latest case is becoming part of CHIPS to uncover a string of robberies that is believed to involve the members in the force. Joon is the former stunt man that wants to fix his marriage by joining the CHIPS team, he has had multiply injuries and will do anything to try and keep the job proving his worth to the force. These two are both very different and must put aside their difference to solve the crime. Ray Kruz is the main villain running the operation from within the force. We get plenty of different officers or agents from different levels of the police system which shows us who we will be dealing with through the film.

PerformancesThis is hard because saying anything bad about Michael Pena is upsetting, here he doesn’t hit the comedy we know he can and as for Dax Shepard we must be blaming him more because he wrote, directed and starred in this insulting comedy, we know he is good when given the right material, here he only lets us down. The rest of the cast just don’t get any moments to shine.

StoryThe story here follows two unlikely cops that must work together to uncover who is behind a string of crimes from within the force. This is the simple part of the film, the problems start mounting up easily and quickly, first the humour is insulting for anything that happens as the characters are left doing sex, poop and more lazy sexist jokes. Considering this was a popular TV shows, I feel the creator must feel insulted with what we are given, this fails on capturing any of the Starsky and Hutch or 21 Jump Street humour we enjoyed and just becomes boring quickly, not adding any mystery to who is behind the crimes either.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action in this film is lazy even if it is the only highlight of the film with a couple of the chases being the most interesting part of the film. the comedy is an insult to comedy while the crime world shows us only police corruption.

SettingsThe film is set in LA, I think mostly to use the sewer system for the chases otherwise it could have been any city.


Scene of the Movie –
Bike chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The comedy.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the comedy movies you really should never be watching, it doesn’t get any laughs and just ends up being left feeling insulting.

 

Overall: This is why we don’t have comedy hits anymore.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – W – World Trade Center (2006)

Director: Oliver Stone

Writer: Andrew Berloff (Screenplay) John McLoughlin, Donna LcLoughlin, William Jimeno, Allison Jimeno (True Story)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Michael Pena, Maria Bello, Jay Hernandez, Jon Bernthal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon

 

Plot: Two Port Authority police officers become trapped under the rubble of the World Trade Center.


Tagline – A True Story Of Courage And Survival

Runtime: 2 Hour 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Drama

 

Story: World Trade Center starts like every other day for police officers John McLoughlin (Cage) who sets the assignments for his department which include Will Jimeno (Pena) and Dominick Pezzulo (Hernandez). Today is going to change their lives, today is September 11th the day the World Trade Centers Twin Twos get hit by the planes, while being part of the rescue team the crew find themselves trapped.

When the dust settles Will and John are the only ones still alive with their loved ones Donna McLoughlin (Bello) and Allison Jimeno (Gyllenhaal) waiting to hear if they were in the towers when they went down. The two must support each other in hope that they would get rescued as New York and America comes together to rescue their own.

 

Thoughts on World Trade Center

 

Characters – All the characters in this film are based on real people, we have real victims from 9/11 being portrayed. John McLoughlin is the experience police officer that leads his men into the Twin Towers in a rescue attempt, he is a father of four which is one of his greatest motivations to survive once he becomes trapped in the rubble. Will Jimeno is the fellow officer that becomes trapped with John, he is a parent too with a second on the way, he is injured but uses the company of John to stay awake. We do have the wives and loved ones and fellow officers that helped in the rescues to being portrayed here showing the heroes involved on those days.

PerformancesNicolas Cage shows in this role that he still was a brilliant performer along with Michael Pena stepped to a leading role. We have fantastic performances from the whole cast if we are being honest.

StoryThe events of this day shocked the world like no other events, the stories of the survivors being found was a race for hope for anyone who might have had someone in the towers. We do focus on just two officers that became trapped as they fought to survive while waiting for rescue. Watching how the rescuers worked to save people trapped, the family waiting helplessly for news on their families, add this together and you get a powerful drama that showed the heroics during that tragic event.

History/ThrillerThe events of this movie are one of the most if not the most famous terrorist attack in modern history, seeing how the two officers just had to rely on hope to survive shows us just how the country was bought together to find a people which does make this edge of your seat waiting to see if they make it or not.

SettingsJohn and Will are trapped for the most part of this movie, it shows how hopeless the situation looked for the men, outside we see the aftermath of the attack.

Special EffectsThe effects used in the movie are fantastic to show the horror of the moment the towers came crashing down on the people inside to the surviving in the rumble and re-creation of the devastation.


Scene of the Movie –
For the visual the collapse is shocking to watch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is still hard to watch because of the shock of the event.

Final ThoughtsThis is a powerful drama that shows how the city came together during the time of need.

 

Overall: This is a must watch but it is hard to re-live those moments.

Rating