ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – W – War Dogs (2016)

Director: Todd Phillips

Writer: Stephen Chin, Todd Phillips, Jason Smilovic (Screenplay) Guy Lawson (Article)

Starring: Miles Teller, Jonah Hill, Ana de Armas

 

Plot: Loosely based on the true story of two young men, David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli, who won a three hundred million dollar contract from the Pentagon to arm America’s allies in Afghanistan.


Tagline – Money, corruption and the American dream

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Crime Comedy

 

Story: War Dogs starts as we follow David Packouz’s (Teller) story, he was a massage therapist and lost his money in a bad investment, with his girlfriend Iz (Armas) pregnant, he is left with little ideas for money until his old friend Efraim (Hill) returns to town. Efraim is an arms dealer that has been finding a way to sell weapons in the war.

We follow the two young men as they find a way to get one of the biggest deals done, but is this going to take a toll on their personal lives.

 

Thoughts on War Dogs

 

Characters – David is a young man, he works hard with his massage therapist job while trying to make a business of his own. When this goes wrong he is saved by his old childhood friend that introduces him to the world of arms dealing, he is telling the story to us too. Efraim is the old school friend of David’s that brings him in as a partner, showing him the ropes and just how much money could be getting made in this industry. He has a reputation that doesn’t make him one to trust at the times, which could ruin deals and friendships.

PerformancesMiles Teller and Jonah Hill are both great in these roles, they have great chemistry between them and it shows in their moments together and gives them both the time in solo scenes to be their own characters.

StoryThe story shows the rise of two unlikely young men that became one of the biggest international arms dealers in recent American history and how the greed can take over even the strongest friendships. We are told this story through one of the two men involved, so we do only get to see their own point of view of everything, when you feel there might be more to certain moments in the film. This is an easy to watch film and plays out just like Lord of War which does feel slightly more entertaining though.

Comedy/Crime/WarThe comedy comes mostly from the idea of this feeling completely out of place watching these young men enter this world of crime during the war time of selling weapons.

SettingsThe settings show how the characters go from comfortable America to countries with less money that offer these men a chance of something massive, this is good for the clash of cultures idea.


Scene of the Movie –
The first deal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Only seeing it from one point of view.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good Todd Phillips style comedy that we all know how his style comes through, it does have good moments throughout and strong performances too.

 

Overall: Good crime comedy well worth watching.

Rating

 

 

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Only the Brave (2017)

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Writer: Ken Nolan, Eric Warren Singer (Screenplay) Sean Flynn (Article)

Starring: Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Connelly, James Badge Dale, Taylor Kitsch, Andie MacDowell

 

Plot: Based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group of elite firefighters who risk everything to protect a town from a historic wildfire.


Tagline – It’s Not What Stands In Front Of You, It’s Who Stands Beside You

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Man Versus Natural Story

 

Story: Only the Brave starts as we meet Eric Marsh (Brolin)a mountain hotshot firefighter superintendent with his trusted second lieutenant Jesse Steed (Dale) who get their chance to step up to the next level as the prepare for the wildfires which could take homes.

When Eric’s connection Duane (Bridges) gives his new which includes loud mouth Christopher (Kitsch) and recovering junkie Brendan (Teller) trying to prove his value to the team, they get their opportunity to prove their quality to the fire department as they end up battling one of the biggest wildfires in history.

 

Thoughts on Only the Brave

 

Characters – Eric Marsh is the leader of the group of firefighters, he has fought to get his team the chance to become a force known as hotshots, which means on the frontline, he will give everyone a chance to prove themselves, even if his own ideas could cause problems with their chances. His leadership skills make him the inspiration the unit needs. Jesse Steed is the second in command, providing the much-needed answers to questions he might be facing and advice to the crew. Amanda is the wife of Eric, the two have an understanding that shows she is prepared for him to not make it home one day, as she shows the independence needed as she works with helping horses which have been mistreated. Brendan is a young junkie, he becomes a parent and wants to turn his life around by joining the unit, this gives him the direction, mentorship and responsibility he had never focused on before in his life, this is shown with his relationship with Eric and with Christopher, the loud mouth of the unit that is willing to push Brendan as far as he needs to be pushed.

PerformancesJosh Brolin in the leading role fantastic, proving he can keep his performance reserved while showing he is the true leader of the group. James Badge Dale is always great in the supporting roles and this is clear once again. Jennifer Connelly also proves to be a great supporting performer here, even though part of her storyline isn’t as interesting as the firefighting. Miles Teller does continue to build up a reputation for giving good and different performances through the film. Taylor Kitsch also continues to rebuild his career after the reputation he once get branded with.

StoryThe story follows a mountain firefighting unit that prepare to become the next level, before they start battling the wildfires with each one giving them a new task to overcome. This is based on the real crew which became a close unit as they got closer to the action to try and protect the loved ones. This does show a lot of training, battling and preparing for a big fire and shows the bravery these men showed when it came to try to protect their town.

BiopicThe men involved in the firefighting unit are real, they risked their lives to save people and their homes. These men needed their story told and this gives them that.

SettingsThe settings used in the film show us the positions people will find themselves in when it comes to needing to protect their homes, we feel the intensity of the fires they are facing.


Scene of the Movie –
The final 20 minutes are must watch performance work.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is an amazing movie, I wasn’t expecting too much from this movie, but I was left drawn to the screen for the remaining of the film with the final 20-30 minutes being must watch.

 

Overall: Brilliant movie, a must watch for all.

Rating

 

 

Divergent: Allegiant (2016)

alligentDirector: Robert Schwentke

Writer: Noah Oppenheim, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage (Screenplay) Veronica Roth (Novel)

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Jeff Daniels, Zoe Kravitz, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Daniel Dae Kim, Maggie Q

 

Plot: After the earth-shattering revelations of Insurgent, Tris must escape with Four beyond the wall that encircles Chicago, to finally discover the shocking truth of the world around them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just End It Please

 

Story: Divergent: Allegiant starts with Evelyn (Watts) closing the walls, has something to do with the last one. Tris (Woodley) and Four (James) are on the outskirts and Four is going to try and change the mind of Evelyn. When Evelyn starts acting the same as the former leader Tris and Four along with the other friends Caleb (Elgort), Christina (Kravitz) and Peter (Teller) plan their escape.

Over the wall they only find destruction before being rescued by David’s (Daniels) people the Bureau of Genetic Welfare who created the world they started in. This time Tris gets the chance to save the world not just a city, but can she trust everyone around her this time?

Divergent: Allegiant is the third instalment of the franchise with at least one more to go, great. This time we meet yet another group of people who want control of the city that Tris ends up having stop. The plan seems very familiar oh yeah it is the basic plot of Batman Begins, wanting to spread gas in a city to kill/infect everyone. I am getting tired of these because what happens is they hire a well-respected actor only to make them the BAD GUY yet again. Simply put this is nothing new.

 

Actor Review

 

Shailene Woodley: Tris having opened the box to the outside world last time escapes the city only to learn that the city is part of an experiment to find genetic perfection which is why they search for the Divergent in the first place. Tris is the most powerful Divergent, purest if you like that must represent the success of the experiment.  Shailene is working her way through the contract where we know she can do better.tris

Theo James: Four for is the boyfriend, fellow Divergent and son of the new dictator of Chicago. When he escapes he finds himself being separated from Tris for not being pure finding it hard to adjust to the change. Theo improves from last time out but let’s face it his body got him this role.

Naomi Watts: Evelyn is the new dictator in Chicago that has continued in the ways the ruler before had, she is ready to fight anyone who goes against her. Naomi is wasted in this role where you would expect to see a lot more from her.

Jeff Daniels: David the running the Bureau of Genetic Welfare who have been watching Chicago for years, he sees Tris as the first case of purification to come out of the city proving their experiment has been working at last. Jeff is the star of the show without being too impressive.david

Support Cast: Divergent: Allegiant has a big supporting cast with some returning and a few more added but it is hard to keep up with who is work with who.

Director Review: Robert SchwentkeRobert gives us some very good shots but the story is very bland.

 

Action: Divergent: Allegiant has very basic action sequence you would expect to see now in the young adult genre.

Adventure: Divergent: Allegiant continues an adventure I guess.

Mystery: Divergent: Allegiant add mystery to where everything is going but really is milking it now.

Sci-Fi: Divergent: Allegiant brings us into a sci-fi of the future but too bright for the bleakness.

Thriller: Divergent: Allegiant doesn’t really keep us on the edge like it should have done.

Settings: Divergent: Allegiant continues to expand the world in this universe without really giving us enough.
Special Effects
: Divergent: Allegiant has some good effects without being anything breath taking.

Suggestion: Divergent: Allegiant does improve on Insurgent but still going the wrong way, skip. (Skip)

 

Best Part: Peter is so funny.

Worst Part: More of the same.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Hunger Games Mockingjays.

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

Tagline: Break the boundaries of your world

 

Overall: Yet another bland sequel to a franchise which has gone on too long.

Ratingcard

 

 

Fantastic Four (2015)

lgoDirector: Josh Trank

Writer: Simon Kinberg, Jeremy Slater, Josh Trank (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby (Characters)

Starring: Miles Teller, Michael B Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E Cathey, Tim Blake Nelson

Plot: Four young outsiders teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe which alters their physical form in shocking ways. The four must learn to harness their new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Dark Origin Story Stuck Behind the Established Heroes

Story: Fantastic Four starts with a young Reed Richards dreaming of being the first person to teleport people. We continue to meet the young Fantastic Four with Ben Grimm also inside in Reed’s class who is from a dysfunctional family whoo helps Reed with his teleporter. Move forward 7 years and Reed (Teller) and Ben (Bell) have been working on improving the teleporter looking to improve upon the design.

Reed and Ben impress enough to get a full scholarship to the Baxter academy under Dr Franklin Storm (Cathey) where they meet his daughter Sue (Mara). Franklin calls to his former mastermind who started the idea Victor Von Doom (Kebbell) who would need to work with Reed to make this teleporter work. Franklin also has a son Johnny (Jordan) who has been pushing away from the idea. We know have the Fantastic Five, wait that isn’t the name of the film.

When the invention works Reed, Ben, Johnny and Victor decide to use the device on themselves with only Sue running the controls, what the boys discover could be the biggest discovery in history but disaster strikes when Victor gets killed with the imploding planetary discovery.

The four surviving members of the team come back the learn they have new abilities, Reed gains stretching abilities, Sue can become invisible, Johnny becomes a human torch and Ben becomes the Thing. While Reed escapes the remaining members are used by the military as they look to learn more about the planet they visited.

When the team return to the planet they find Victor still alive but evolved into Dr Doom who decides to make the battle against the human race personal as they keep invading his own world and it is up to the Fantastic Four to save the say.

Fantastic Four is a film that all I have heard was bad things about but as I know nothing about the comic books and skip the first couple of outings the film tried I decided to give it a go. I was surprised that I actually enjoyed the most part of the film, I liked how the story was darker than the most of the Marvel Universe. With the start of the positive I will have to look at the negative too, I do feel like the ending was rushed and from what I understand Dr Doom is meant to be one of the big villains who got beaten way too easily. In the end this was an origin story to the next chapter of their story that has issues but isn’t as bad as it is being made out to be. (6/10)

Actor Review

Miles Teller: Reed Richards is the mastermind who gets the final details to teleportation down leading to him getting a chance to work for an institute. He stays loyal to his best friend but when he tests his own machine with his newly formed team he gains a new ability he can stretch. Miles gave a performance that could be talked about for years in Whiplash but this just feels very average from the young starlet. (5/10)reed

Michael B Jordan: Johnny Storm is the brash son of the man giving the men a chance to work on the teleportation devices, he ends up working with his engineering skills, but after going on the trip he turns into the human fireball. Michael gives a solid performance but he just doesn’t get the screen time he needed. (6/10)johnny

Kate Mara: Sue Storm is working on the teleportation idea but doesn’t go on the mission into the teleporter, but she still gets effected by the consequences when she gains the ability to become invisible. Kate gives an average performance but I feel they make her character very plain giving her little to work with. (5/10)sue

Jamie Bell: Ben Grimm/The Thing is the engineer best friend from childhood of Reed who helps working on the teleporter but after the experiment he ends up becoming the Thing when the rocks become part of his structure. Jamie does a solid job but we don’t learn enough about him even though he is in the story from the very start. (6/10)thing

Toby Kebbell: Victor Von Doom/Dr Doom as Victor he works with the rest on the teleporter, but when he gets killed on the mission it isn’t the end of his story as he returns only to have evolved to, but he is a killing machine hell bent on revenge against the human race. Toby is fast turning into the go to guy for villains in franchises and I liked his version of Dr Doom, but we don’t see enough of it. (6/10)

Support Cast: Fantastic Four has a very comic book central military supporting cast that is easily forgettable.

Director Review: Josh TrankJosh gives us a good build but too quick of a finish, but with all the talk about the troubles it is hard to give him a rating. (NA/10)

Action: Fantastic Four really doesn’t have much action until final fight which mostly feels rushed. (5/10)

Sci-Fi: Fantastic Four has a lot of technical talk which mostly goes over the head but it does work for the fields the characters are in. (7/10)

Settings: Fantastic Four has pretty much only a couple of settings, the lab and the random planet they end up going too, these actually work for how the film unfolds. (7/10)
Special Effects: Fantastic Four does improve on the special effects from the original, well the clips I have seen, the stand out here has to be The Thing creation looking very good. (7/10)

Suggestion: Fantastic Four is one for the comic book fans to try, as I am getting tired of the superhero genre it was nice seeing a dark film. (Comic Book Fans Try)

Best Part: It feels darker than most superhero films around.

Worst Part: Ends to quick.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Left open for one but people have been slamming the film.

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Tagline: Change is coming.

Overall: Solid Comic Book Film That is Darker than Marvel.

Rating 65

Insurgent (2015)

lgoDirector: Robert Schwentke

Writer: Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman, Mark Bomback (Screenplay) Veronica Roth (Novel)

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslett, Jai Courtney, Mekhi Phifer, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Cynthia Barrett, Justice Leak, Lyndsi LaRose, Charlie Bodin, Naomi Watts

Plot: Beatrice Prior must confront her inner demons and continue her fight against a powerful alliance which threatens to tear her society apart with the help from others on her side.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Maze Runner – Science Edition

Story: Insurgent starts with Jeanine (Winslett) with a news report about what happened in the first film making all the Divergent people the villains while the other factors have to follow her. We see Tris (Woodley), Four (James), Caleb (Elgort) and Peter (Teller) searching for help after escaping oh wait dream sequence.

The Divergent people are now living of the land and face a brand new threat when Jeanine finds the message that can bring down the system, Four’s father Marcus (Stevenson) tries to warn Tris and Four and what could happening lead to us to the next battle. With Jeanine’s army after the Divergent Eric (Courtney) the nemesis of Four seems t be leading the pack and showing a higher level of intelligence than the rest.

When the Faction-less lead by Four’s mother Evelyn (Watts) who will try to unite the forces to take down Jeanine and take back over the city and uncover the truth.

Insurgent manages to bring us to the conclusion of the training film which we saw the first time, we now end up coming up with the beginning of the war which I am glad we didn’t get only the build up. But when it comes to the end it was just a joke because it is yeah we won now we see the prize. This feels like such a forced battle that really doesn’t really just go nowhere but has a couple of solid action sequences. (4/10)

Actor Review

Shailene Woodley: Tris is the teenage girl leading the revolution against Jeanine but first she must regroup and find allies in her battles where the truths of the first film will come back to haunt her. Shailene does seem to lower her level because we know just how good see really can be. (4/10)tris

Theo James: Four is the partner of Tris who has to help drive the force to combine the factions, he shows his combat skills in every battle but refuses to make the right decision for the good of the battle. Theo is basically the eye candy for the ladies, he is no leading man. (3/10)four

Kate Winslett: Jeanine is the leader of her faction trying to take over, she has hunted down equipment to add themselves an advantage in the battle but she has to find Tris to unlock that power. Kate brings the best performance to the film even if it is only a supporting character in a villainous role, she does also give the feel she is the teacher to the kids. (6/10)jeaine

Jai Courtney: Eric is the leader henchman for Jeanine who has a personal vendetta against Tris and Four but when he starts taking things too far he ends up falling fowl to his own tricks. Jai does his typical character who should be great but Jai makes it weak. (4/10)

Miles Teller: Peter is the back stabbing friend who betrays Tris, Four and Caleb to guarantee his own safety from the rest, but is it just an undercover job being played by him? Miles was in Whiplash and was incredible but this is such a small supporting role that you know where the character are going. (5/10)

Naomi Watts: Evelyn is Four’s mother who has been waiting for her time to raise the faction-less people in the war against Jeanine. Naomi does a solid job but I think we will see a lot more from her character in the second outing. (5/10)everlyn

Support Cast: Insurgent has a large supporting role that includes all of the factions and the people trying to figure out what is going on and who to side with.

Director Review: Robert SchwentkeRobert gives us a disappointing outing that ends up being just another training video with too many dream sequences. (4/10)

Adventure: Insurgent is adventure, are you sure? (0/10)

Sci-Fi: Insurgent brings us into a world we have destroyed with fancy technology with the lone survivors. (5/10)

Thriller: Insurgent doesn’t keep you guessing because you know Tris will last until the end and you don’t care about the rest of the characters. (4/10)

Settings: Insurgent creates a generic setting for the style of film but nothing stand out. (3/10)
Special Effects: Insurgent uses great effects for the dream sequences and tests. (8/10)

Suggestion: Insurgent is one to watch if you are a fan of the genre but otherwise you will be disappointed. (Fans Watch)

Best Part: Test sequences.

Worst Part: Dream sequences.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Will have one

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $130 Million

Budget: $110 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

Tagline:  One Choice Can Destroy You

Overall: This might as well be technology version of Maze Runner

Rating 30