ABC Film Challenge – Action – B – The Ballard of Lefty Brown (2017)

Director: Jared Moshe

Writer: Jared Moshe (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Pullman, Peter Fonda, Stephen Alan Seder, Kathy Baker, Joseph Lee Anderson, Tyson Gerhardt, Jim Caviezel

 

Plot: A thrilling and action-packed Western, The Ballad of Lefty Brown is a story about loyalty, friendship, and the relentless pursuit of justice.


Tagline – He never wanted to be the hero.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Western

 

Story: The Ballard of Lefty Brown starts when Edward Johnson (Fonda) is heading to senate wanting to leave his loyal friend Lefty Brown (Pullman) in charge of his ranch. When Edward is murdered, Lefty wants to do his friend justice by hunting down the men that killed his friend and is joined by US Marshall Tom Harrah (Flanagan).

On the journey to learn who was behind the murder, Lefty and Tom leave fellow friend Jimmy Bierce (Caviezel) with Edward’s wife Laura (Baker) as we learn the bigger picture of just who was behind the murder.

 

Thoughts on The Ballard of Lefty Brown

 

Characters – Lefty Brown is the slacker best friend of the senator, he has often been bailed out by his friend which has built trust between the two, he is going to be left to look after the ranch only for Edward to be killed, Lefty wants to hunt down the killer, only he becomes the prime suspect, can he solve his friend’s murder before it is too late. Edward is the senator about to go on a trip wanting to leave his old friend in charge of his land, he has always been the one person to stick up for Lefty through his difficult times. Laura is the wife of Edward that has doubted Lefty’s abilities for a long time falling for the bigger plan in play. Jimmy is the older friend of the two, he has become a US Marshall that will do what he wants to put himself in play for the position he wants.

PerformancesBill Pullman does the best he can with the character which strangely does feel like a character David Arquette would normally be playing. He does give the strongest performance in the film, this is mostly because the rest of the cast don’t get enough time to shine rather than they are bad.

StoryThe story follows a character named Lefty Brown who is considered the weakest member of the team that most have given up on that must figure out who murdered his friend, the one that remain support him, along the way he must prove he wasn’t involved and that he can uncover the truth which is close to home. Now in classic western style we get to follow Lefty as he learns how things unfold and shows that every dog can have his day. It does have twists along the way which you can see coming because we don’t get enough time to be misled along the way. We have a slow pace which does work for the film as we get to learn from the young man Lefty meets about his past which inserts us into the story.

Action/WesternThe action in the film is tame, we get the basic gun firing which for the time the film is set makes sense because we can’t have endless bullets flying, though it isn’t the most gripping. There is a western theme through the whole movie which does make work for the film without being anything overly deeper than it needs to be.

SettingsThe film does have the western theme running through it with the locations being used helping it easier to identify the time the film is set in.


Scene of the Movie –
Lefty gets the truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pace is too slow for me.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow moving western, it does try to recreate the classic tone which just didn’t click on the ways it once did, Pullman is the standout of an average cast with a story that is mostly forgettable.

 

Overall: Western that never really gets going.

Rating

 

 

The Runner (2015)

runner-scoreDirector: Austin Stark

Writer: Austin Stark (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Sarah Paulson, Peter Fonda, Connie Nielsen, Wendel Pierce, Bryan Batt, Christopher Berry

 

Plot: In the aftermath of the 2010 BP oil spill, an idealistic but flawed politician is forced to confront his dysfunctional life after his career is destroyed in a sex scandal.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Political Drama

 

Story: The Runner starts as Louisiana is dealing with the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, politician Colin Pryce (Cage) wants to supporting his state who are not getting supported after the spill which is take jobs from the good people. His fight gets national attention as he starts to fight for the people whose lives are being destroyed.

When it is made public that Colin has had an affair behind his wife Deborah’s (Nielsen) back the state turns on him forcing him to resign and come back stronger as he continues to fight for the people of Louisiana he could make a comeback unlike anyone in the political world.

 

Thoughts on The Runner

 

StoryThis is a very political drama story 101 job we have one man who was great for the people lose his role for affair and goes through tough tests before looking to make the comeback, you have nothing overly interesting going on here in what is a standard political drama.

ThrillerWhile this is more drama based you are kept wondering how Colin can bring his career back around by continuing to do the right thing.

Characters/PerformanceColin is based on a real person who does want to do the right thing for the people but isn’t the most morale correct when it comes to his personal life, this makes him an easy target in a political story. we do have other characters who are all part of the decision-making process that Colin goes through but none really make an impact. When you look at the performances they are all average without being any of the actor’s high points.

SettingsThe settings are all real to the Louisiana as we see the different levels of working classes all dealing with the same problem after the BP oil spill but none of the locations come off feeling memorable.

Final ThoughtsGrab your text books and you will see how to make this movie with ease adding nothing special within the film.

 

Overall: Not the best, not the worst just forgettable.

Ratingard

 

 

Easy Rider (1969)

Director: Dennis Hopper

Writer: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Terry Southern (Screenplay)

Starring: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Antonio Mendoza, Phil Spector, Jack Nicholson

 

Plot: Two counterculture bikers travel from Los Angeles to New Orleans in search of America.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Cultural Event

 

Story: Easy Rider starts as our two hippies Wyatt (Fonda) and Billy (Hopper) pick up their parcel in LA, which leaves them to set out on their adventure to New Orleans for Mardi Grad. Along the way they spend time with fellow hippies before finding themselves in jail.

George Hanson (Nicholson) the town drunk lawyer gets them out of jail and gets invited along to New Orleans with the two and as they continue their journey they must deal with being treated differently.

 

Thoughts on Easy Rider

 

Characters – Wyatt is one of the two friends travelling, he is the more laid back of the two keeping Billy in line when he starts to question moments and never finding himself too out of it on the drugs. Billy is the friend that just wants to get the job done, though when he stops he takes more grass than he needs to have. George Hanson is a lawyer that has a drinking problem, he helps the two get out of jail and joins them on their adventure across country enjoying the drugs for the first time.

PerformancesThe performances from Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper are both great, they completely embrace their characters with their own unique look to defying the hippie era. Jack Nicholson in the supporting role is great too showing just the talent he was going to show us all.

StoryThe story here shows us two hippies travelling across America, which for the time of release would have been one of the truest movies you could see in a story, but not it feels like a glimpse into the past events in America, which once again shows us how American can’t treat people equal. If you have never studied the hippie era you won’t understand most of the story if I am being honest because it is an moment that doesn’t connect to all.

AdventureThe adventure the two friends go on does take them across America, but it is hard to figure out which state they are in for the most part.

SettingsThe settings are hard to tell about in this film, the only one I could pick out was the airport in LA at the beginning.


Scene of the Movie –
The first night the three are together.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not understand the direction of their trip.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that was cultural relevant for the time of release, it hasn’t dated by the best standard and now leaves us watching a time that if you never lived through you wouldn’t understand.

 

Overall: One of the culture books.

Rating

 

 

Ghost Rider (2007)

logoDirector: Mark Steven Johnson

Writer: Mark Steven Johnson (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Peter Fonda, Brett Cullen, Wes Bentley, Eva Mendes, Sam Elliott

Plot: Stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze gives up his soul to become a hellblazing vigilante, to fight against power hungry Blackheart, the son of the devil himself.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Just For Fun

Story: Ghost Rider starts by telling us the legend of the Ghost Rider who has to collect souls for the Devil but one Ghost Rider decided to go against the Devil and run, but enough about legends and stories for now. It is time to meet a young Johnny Blaze (Long) a young stunt bike rider getting taught about the trade by his father Barton (Cullen). Young Johnny gets a visit from Mephistopheles (Fonda) offer Johnny a deal to save his fathers life. Naively Johnny signs the contract which will give Mephistopheles his soul when he is ready for it, but we know the Devil always plays games and it is only a day before Mephistopheles cashes in his debt threatening to come back for Johnny in the future after he kills Barton. Johnny has to leave everything including his love Roxanne and start his own life alone.

Johnny (Cage) now a world famous stunt rider who has been cheating death every time he gets on his bike as he waits for Mephistopheles to come back and cash in. Mack (Logue) is Johnny’s best friend and only person who Johnny will remotely listen to about advice and when Johnny plans his next jump Mack has to try to talk Johnny out of it. Blackheart (Bentley) turns up from nowhere heading right for a biker bar but Blackheart just so happens Mephistopheles son who has plans to take over the world betraying Mephistopheles.

When Johnny meets the grown up version of Roxanne (Mendes) he goes for his first interview before trying to rekindle his romance with her at the same time Mephistopheles decides to cash in his contract turning Johnny into the Ghost Rider. Mephistopheles wants Johnny to stop his son Blackheart’s plan to take over the world, as Johnny ends up having to learn how to control both sides of his new persona as the Rider only appears at night fighting crime and taking no prisoners.

Ghost Rider is a film that I only ever heard for bad things about this one so I went in with very little expectation. I was slightly surprised with the final outcome of this film, I found this an interesting fun film but just not to expect one of the overall spectacle that other comic book films. I liked the idea of the origin story for a comic book character I know nothing about but I did find the overall story slightly clichéd and very safe. This could be an easy watch and I do feel like it gets wrongly slammed, this is just fun nothing more nothing less. (5/10)

Actor Review

Nicolas Cage: Johnny Blaze is the world famous stunt rider who as a teenager sold his soul to save his father only be betrayed, after his father dies he goes onto become the icon he is but Mephistopheles has been waiting to cash in turning Johnny into the Ghost Rider. As the Ghost Rider Johnny must fight crime and stop Blackheart from taking over the world. Nicolas does give us a solid performance in a role he wanted to play. (6/10)jhnny

Wes Bentley: Blackheart is the son of Mephistopheles who has come from hell to try and take over the world, he goes up against the Ghost Rider who is sent to stop him. Calm and articulated he wants to talk his opponent to death but is equal as tough when it comes to combat. Wes gives us a standard performance but doesn’t reach the levels you would expect from his ability. (5/10)blackheart

Eva Mendes: Roxanne Simpson is a ghost from Johnny’s past and now a reporter trying to find out about the mysterious deaths happening around Texas, she tries to rekindle her romance with Johnny but his new identity cause problems with that happening. Eva gives a solid supporting role but ends up being the clichéd supporting comic book character. (5/10)roxanne

Peter Fonda: Mephistopheles is the devil himself who makes deals so he can have Ghost Riders take the evil souls that make deals with him, when his son tries to escape from hell he has to send his new Ghost Rider in search for his son and stop him from taking over his world. Peter makes a solid devil character but doesn’t get the most screen time. (5/10)mephitophelse

Support Cast: Ghost Rider has a supporting cast that includes Johnny’s stunt team, Blackheart’s side demons and The Caretaker (Sam Elliott) who advices Johnny through his transition.

Director Review: Mark Steven JohnsonMark gives us a solid entry into the world of comic book films, it isn’t on the level of Nolan but sure just gives us a good fun film. (6/10)

Action: Ghost Rider has very generic action scenes where the fights all work but give us nothing memorable. (6/10)

Fantasy: Ghost Rider brings us into the fantasy world of devils and demons along with a mythical Ghost Rider, it all works well but never giving us anything special. (7/10)

Thriller: Ghost Rider doesn’t give us much to wonder about because we know this is an origin story and they won’t pull too many surprises here. (5/10)

Settings: Ghost Rider keeps everything very simple in the settings side of the story but nothing that is used to make any scene memorable. (5/10)
Special Effects: Ghost Rider has solid effects with the creations of Ghost Rider and Blackheart most are clear CGI but they all would have been very difficult to achieve practical effects wise. (6/10)

Suggestion: Ghost Rider is one for the comic book fans to try, I feel they will enjoy the fun side of the story rather than the new serious side of comic book levels. (Comic Book Fans Try)

Best Part: First transformation.

Worst Part: Not the most original with the storyline.

Action Scene Of The Film: The Rider chases up the side of a building.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has one sequel.

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $115 Million

Budget: $110 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

Tagline: His Curse Will Become His Power

Trivia: Nicolas Cage had to have his Ghost Rider tattoo covered with make-up to play Johnny Blaze.

Overall: Fun but not breathtaking addition to the comic book film.

Rating 55

Trailer Alert – The Harvest

Plot – A couple who keeps their sick son in a secluded environment find their controlled lives challenged by a young girl who moves in next door.

Release Date: Non Set for UK

Stars:

  • Samantha Morton (In America)
  • Michael Shannon (Take Shelter)
  • Natasha Calis (The Possession)
  • Charlie Tahan (I Am Legend)
  • Peter Fonda (Easy Rider)

 

Director: John McNaughton (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer)

Highlight of the Trailer: Mystery is still kept like that.

What Looks Good? Concept looks interesting without giving everything away.

What Looks Bad? It was made in 2013 what is the hold up?

Summary: Any film that gets it’s released delayed really puts a big question mark over how good it really will be. I do like the idea that looks like it is filled with twists and turns that will keep us guessing.

Questions:

Will I Be Watching? Yes

Will You Be Watching?

My Anticipation Rating – 70%

My Guess Rating – 60%

Will It Be Number One In UK? – No