99 Homes (2014)

Director: Ramin Bahrani

Writer: Ramin Bahrani, Amir Naderi (Screenplay) Ramin Bahrani, Bahareh Azimi (Story)

Starring: Michael Shannon, Andrew Garfield, Laura Dern

 

Plot: A recently unemployed single father struggles to get back his foreclosed home by working for the real estate broker who is the source of his frustration.


Tagline – Greed is the only game in town.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Powerful & Intense.

 

Story: 99 Homes starts with hard working young man Dennis Nash (Garfield) trying to keep his family home from being reclaimed by the bank, but he is unsuccessful as real estate broker Rick Carver (Shannon) evicts him from his home with his mother Lynn (Dern) and son Connor.

Desperate for money Dennis turns to Rick who offers him a job involving his construction skills, with this job Dennis starts to learn the trade rising the ranks to become the very person he despised in Rick when he was losing his home.

 

Thoughts on 99 Homes

 

Characters – Dennis Nash is the hard-working construction worker, he works to keep the roof over his family home but when he loses his home he goes to all ends to get a job to regain his home. This means Dennis works for the man who evicts him where he learns the trade to make sure he can his home back become the man he once hated. Rick Carver is a real estate broker, he has been evicting for the bank for years now, he doesn’t believe he is doing anything wrong, but he is following the law. He has made a lot of money in this world and takes Dennis under his wing to follow in his footsteps.

PerformancesAndrew Garfield is fantastic in this leading role, this guy is constantly giving us performances that we are left seeing just how talented this guy it. Michael Shannon is the always brilliant star of most movies, he is calm through every single scene which could have himself getting pushed to the limits. Laura Dern is good too in the supporting role as Dennis mother that questions his work.

StoryThe story here shows one man’s struggle to keep his family home but needing to turn to the enemy to make the money. We see how far he must go just to make a difference, but can he cope with becoming the man he hates. The story gives us hard to watch scenes as we see people losing their homes showing us a darker side to real estate in America. This is one story that is a good watch, he can be hard at times, but the story is rewarding.

SettingsThe settings show us the housing market and how people can be a community when supporting someone’s miss fortune.


Scene of the Movie –
Seeing Dennis question his decision.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We get a lot of law discussion, but a lot can go over your head.

Final ThoughtsThis is a powerful drama that shows how difficult life could be for the people who lose their homes to the people looking just to make the money by taking them.

 

Overall: Strong, powerful drama.

Rating

 

 

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Fahrenheit 451 (2018)

Director: Ramin Bahrani

Writer: Amir Naderi, Ramin Bahrani (Screenplay) Ray Bradbury (Novel)

Starring: Michael B Jordan, Michael Shannon, Sofia Boutella, Lilly Singh, Khandi Alexander, Keir Dullea

 

Plot: In a terrifying care-free future, a young man, Guy Montag, whose job as a fireman is to burn all books, questions his actions after meeting a young girl…and begins to rebel against society.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull and Uninspiring

 

Story: Fahrenheit 451 starts in the future where books have become illegal and firefighters job is to burn books, Captain Beatty (Shannon) and Guy Montag (Jordan) are our two lead firefighters, with Beatty about to get promoted. The Eels (the people behind the books) continue to fight for the true history with their identity being erased if they get caught with books.

When one of the investigations goes in a direction they can’t control, Guy starts to question the decisions to burn the books, learning from Clarisse (Boutella) about the culture that came before and fighting back against the system.

 

Thoughts on Fahrenheit 451

 

Characters – Guy Montag is the charismatic firefighter, one of the faces of the movement which burns the books, he starts to question his decisions about burning the books and the history being left behind, he could become the big part of the change needed. Captain Beatty is the mentor of Guy, the partner in firefighting, he is cold hearted through every action he does, truly believing in what he is working for. Clarisse is one of the victims of the burning, deleted from the records she is the connection for Beatty as he looks to eliminate other pockets of Eels.

PerformancesThe movie here has three of the best actors in the business today in, they struggle here, Michael B Jordan doesn’t give us any of the charisma we know he is capable off, just becoming background for the most part. Michael Shannon does the best work in the film as the man leading the firefighters, while Sofia Boutella is solid without being great.

StoryThe story here takes us to a world where books are bad and if you were to be caught with them, you become burned, this is a remake of a film I have never seen, but it also feels like it should be called Equilibrium because the similarities are striking.  We know how this type of story will go as the once great firefighter now wants to work for the other side questioning everything he has been doing. It doesn’t come off as original, it has poor pacing throughout and the story ends up feeling boring.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi world we enter seems interesting, but we never get to explore why the books became banned and how the movement came about.

SettingsThe film seems to be set in a modern looking world, which shows how efficient things are meant to be, but we never get to explore the different classes in this world.

Special EffectsThe effects are solid enough, even if we don’t turn to them too often.


Scene of the Movie –
The moment Guy starts to question everything.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too slow.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow moving movie that does ask a big question, we never get to focus on everything needed to make this interesting.

 

Overall: Slow moving throughout.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – V – Vanilla Sky (2001)

Director: Cameron Crowe

Writer: Cameron Crowe (Screenplay) Alejandro Amenabar, Mateo Gil (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Kurt Russell, Jason Lee, Noah Taylor, Timothy Spall, Tilda Swinton, Michael Shannon

 

Plot: A self-indulgent and vain publishing magnate finds his privileged life upended after a vehicular accident with a resentful lover.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Trippy Fantasy Thriller

 

Story: Vanilla Sky starts as we meet David Aames (Cruise) a playboy publishing mogul that inherited this from his father. He sleeps with beautiful women including actress Julie Gianni (Diaz) but always finds time for his best friend Brian Shelby (Lee). But, his life has been shattered thanks to a car accident which has left him disfigured hiding behind a mask in jail.

While waiting for his hearing David recounts the events which led up to his charges to McCabe (Russell). We learn how David meets Sofia Serrano (Cruz) the woman of his dreams but Julie shows her jealous side causing a car crash which leaves him broken and living between reality and dreams, needing to face his new life.

 

Thoughts on Vanilla Sky

 

Characters/PerformanceDavid lived a life where he could have any women living the life of luxury until this lifestyle catches up with him, leaving him disfigured and in jail, recounting the events between the two moments. Sofia is the new love that David falls for, she has all the chemistry he requires for something different being the motivation for David to fix himself. Julie is the jealous former lover that causes the accident, she is an actress that is filled with self-confidence but all that isn’t everything we have come to know.

Performance wise, Tom Cruise is great in the leading role, not being afraid to make himself slightly disfigured for this role. Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz are both are both also great in the roles of the two women in David’s life.

StoryIn a story that leaves you questioning nearly everything going on even after you believe you have just worked everything out, well this story will keep you all over the place. I do think this does enough to keep us guessing without becoming tiring and will completely satisfied by the end.

Fantasy/Mystery/RomanceThe fantasy world created comes through in the end and it will leave you shocked with the outcome of the film, getting to this stage we are left with a big mystery into just what has been happening with the romance being how David falls in love with Sofia.

SettingsEach setting is used well, but the truly special moment in the New York being empty looks fantastic.

Special EffectsThe effects that are used to create the disfigured looking David all come off great with the other effects all doing the required effect in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis film will test your mind which is always something we like to see in films, yes, it is a remake or reimagination but still it looks fantastic.

 

Overall: This was a true mind bender of morale decision making.

Rating

 

 

The Shape of Water (2017)

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor (Screenplay) Guillermo del Toro (Story)

Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Doug Jones

 

Plot: At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.


Tagline – Based on an idea by Daniel Kraus And Guillermo del Toro

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Spectacularly Beautiful

 

Story: The Shape of Water starts as we follow lonely mute woman Elisa (Hawkins) who works as a janitor in a secret government facility with her trusted friend Zelda Fuller (Spencer), Elisa’s silence helps the government know the secrets won’t get released with only her neighbour Giles (Jenkins) being anyone outside of work for her.

When a new creature Amphibian Man (Jones) is bought in with strict security officer Richard Strickland (Shannon) as the facility looks to experiment on the creature. When Elisa strikes up a friendship with the creature, she will do anything to make sure he stays alive and safe once the facility decides they want to examine his organs.

 

Thoughts on The Shape of Water

 

Characters – Elisa is a mute lonely woman that works as a janitor and only has one friend in her personal life. When a creature gets bought into her facility she sees the loneliness he is feeling and wants to save him, believing it to be her purpose. Amphibian Man is a creature taken from his home to be experimented on by the Americans, he is lonely and finds communication from Elisa comforting in his captivity, even though he is highly dangerous to anyone who gets too close. Richard Strickland is the man in charge of the operation with the creature, he wants to do harm and tries to intimidate the people who don’t want to follow his orders. Giles is the trusted neighbour that Elisa turns to for help, he is similar to him with his loneliness in the world too, while Zelda is the one co-worker that Elisa has to turn to and the one that translates her sign language. Dr Hoffstetler is the man that doesn’t want to see the creature hurt, for science and his true alliance in the world.

PerformancesSally Hawkins is fantastic in this role, her emotions are shown in every movement and expression on her face in a role with no words. Doug Jones has spent his career performing the odd roles being able to transform himself, this is his biggest and easily his best role to date. Michael Shannon in the villainous role shines just like we know he can every time. Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer and Michael Stuhlbarg complete the casting wonderfully playing the supporting roles just how they need to be.

StoryThe story follows unusual attraction, finding someone that accepts you to make you feel safe and how government will do anything to learn from an unknown creature. This is both magical, tragic and special from start to finish. Each side of the story shows how different people didn’t fit in during the early 60s and just how love truly works. This is an original story that plays on as many different emotions as it possible can.

Adventure/Fantasy/RomanceThis is an adventure like never before, it shows the risk taken to do the right thing for love, which helps play into this unlikely love story that captures you from the first moment, showing just how love can change you in a second. The fantasy elements are full blown what you would have come to expect from a del Toro movie now, both magical and fantastical.

SettingsThe settings keep everything safe, we have a faceless city with a secret facility which works because we wouldn’t have this facility in a big city.

Special EffectsThe effects used through the film keep everything looking fantastic through the film, nothing seems to look out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
Bathroom flood.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I actually think this is flawless.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most perfect movies I have ever seen, if has heart in every scene and just makes you feel on edge to just where it will go.

 

Overall: Brilliant, stunning and fantastic.

Rating

 

 

12 Strong (2018)

Director: Nicolai Fuglsig

Writer: Ted Tally, Peter Craig (Screenplay) Doug Stanton (Book)

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Pena, Navid Negahban, Trevante Rhodes, Geoff Stults, Thad Luckinbill

 

Plot: 12 Strong tells the story of the first Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11; under the leadership of a new captain, the team must work with an Afghan warlord to take down for the Taliban.


Tagline – The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Pulse Pounding Action Film

 

Story: 12 Strong starts on the day of 9/11, Captain Mitch Nelson (Hemsworth) witnesses the horrors of the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, returning to his military base, he wants to lead her unit into battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Once receiving permission and earning the right, Mitch is joined by Hal Spencer (Shannon) and his 10 other trusted soldiers that head into Afghanistan to work with the Afghan Warlord General Dostum (Negahban) as they unleashes the first attack in retaliation after the 9/11 attack.

 

Thoughts on 12 Strong

 

Characters – These soldiers are real people, Mitch Nelson is the unexperienced combat Captain that takes his driven man into battle, he must use his own smarts to be given the opportunity to be the first in the retaliation, he uses his knowledge to work with General Dostum as the two different cultures and ideas must come together for the battle. Hal Spencer is the second in command of the unit, he is older and offers the advice he soldier needs to get himself to the right answers. The rest of the unit all have their moments through the story and by the end you will believe you are watching a real unit.

PerformancesChris Hemsworth in the leading role is fantastic, he keeps himself looking like the star even though he needs to work with a unit to get the right answers, showing he can handle the serious roles once again. Michael Shannon in the supporting role shines even though it is strange seeing him in a good guy role after his recent run as a villain. The rest of the cast are great, they all have wonderful chemistry which the unit needs to pull this off.

StoryThe day of 9/11 shocked the world, America the most and this shows the plan to retaliate after the attacks, the first men to go into combat against the Taliban as they risked everything to get a strike back and prevent what was believed to be another big attack. This is a true story, this could easily have been a fictional story because after the mission starts, you are pulled into seeing just what the men will do to get the job done and of course it is an against the odd style mission.

Action/History/WarThe action sequences are shot in a brutal style that doesn’t hold back with what happens, we are left shocked by certain moments and on the edge of our seats the next because of the war time battle sequences.

SettingsThe settings look the part, we are mostly just in and around caves and canyons which is where the Taliban would be hiding and preparing.

Special EffectsThe effects for the battle sequences are flawless, looking brutal and the stunt team need praise for the work they have put into this movie.


Scene of the Movie –
The final surge, wonderfully shot moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is ‘we are America, we are great’

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best war movies or recent years, it shows the brutally of the war, the thin line between good and evil between the Afghan units and just how bringing together two cultures can unit for a same enemy.

 

Overall: Must watch action movie.

Rating