Pierce Brosnan Weekend – The Matador (2005)

Director: Richard Shepard

Writer: Richard Shepard (Screenplay)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Hope Davis, Adam Scott, Philip Baker Hall

 

Plot: A globetrotting hitman and a crestfallen businessman meet in a hotel bar in Mexico City in an encounter that draws them together in a way neither expected.


Tagline – A hitman and a salesman walk into a bar…

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Crime Comedy

 

Story: The Matador starts as we meet womanising lonely hitman Julian Noble (Brosnan) and upstart business man Danny Wright (Kinnear), the two are both in Mexico for work and meet in the hotel bar, where the two bond.

When the two go their separate ways, 6 months later Julian facing a crisis of conscience the normal couple of Danny and his wife Bean (Davis) find themselves in the middle of a battle they weren’t ready for.

 

Thoughts on The Matador

 

Characters – Julian Noble is the womanising hitman, he travels around the world for work, getting a woman in any city and enjoying way too many drinks. On his latest assignment he learns that it is his birthday which makes him reflect on his lonely life putting his career and reputation on the line. Danny Wright is a rising businessman about to close a deal which will put his company on the map, he befriends Julian as a new form of excitement in his life and now he just can’t get rid of him. Bean is Danny’s wife, we only see her interest in the stories of Julian. Mr Randy is the handler of Julian’s he sets up the jobs through the film.

PerformancesPierce Brosnan is great in this leading role, he gets to have a lot of fun with a character that could do anything with his next action. Greg Kinnear is good in his role as we know this style of comedy is well within his strength, the supporting cast are good even though they don’t get too much do.

StoryThe story follows a hitman that is going off his game and a businessman that is at a big crossroads in his life that meet and strike up the unlikely friendship to help themselves find the best part of their lives. It does play out part buddy movie and part serious, showing everything that friends can be made from the unlikely places. The story does have good twists along the way and some great scenes that give us moments or laughter and sadness.

Action/Crime/ComedyThe action here is the weakest part of the film because well there isn’t enough or barely any. The comedy comes from just what Julian will do next, because certain times it is hilarious other times strange and the extra laughs come from just how Danny will react to moments. The crime side of the film shows us the world the Julian works in.

SettingsThe film starts in Mexico which works for the new friendship, then we go across to different locations around the world which don’t work as well.


Scene of the Movie –
Swimming pool entry.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough from the supporting characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun crime comedy that gets the best of out Brosnan who steals every single scene.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy

Rating

 

 

The Contender (2000)

Director: Rod Lurie

Writer: Rod Lurie (Screenplay)

Starring: Gary Oldman, Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Christian Slater, Sam Elliott, William Petersen, Saul Rubinek, Philip Baker Hall

 

Plot: Senator Laine Hanson is a contender for US Vice President, but information and disinformation about her past surfaces that threatens to de-rail her confirmation.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Political Thriller

 

Story: The Contender starts as President Jackson Evans (Bridges) is in search for a new Vice-President after the death of the previous one. When senator Jack Hathaway (Petersen) witnesses a car crash but is unsuccessful in rescuing the victim, this eliminates him from the race for the Vice-President role because it will show failure in his character.

President Jackson selects who he wants in Senator Laine Hanson (Allen). It isn’t long before Shelly Runyon (Oldman) the judge of the committee of the confirmation procedure and young upstart Reginald Webster (Slater) to try and expose the secrets of Laine so they can select Hathaway as Vice-President.

As the confirmation committee continue their questioning Laine’s personal life is opened for all to see, leaving her to find herself folding on her own morals or fight back against the people exposing her life’s decisions.

 

Thoughts on The Contender

 

Characters/PerformanceLaine is a senator who gets thrust into the public spotlight as the lead contender to be Vice-President, she has led a life that does have secrets but nothing illegal, she wants to stand by her morals if she is given the role even though she is going to get her past exposed. Shelly is the man trying to plan his own decision on who will be the next Vice-President, he has been planning to get one over the President’s choice.  President Jackson is a strong man, a leader who keeps his cards close to his chest but also knows how to keep the people he is scouting near him to learn their motives. The rest of the characters are all great throughout to work within their roles in how the events will unfold.

Performance wise, Joan Allen is fantastic in the lead role of this movie showing all the integrity needed for a Vice-Presidential candidate. Gary Oldman as always is fantastic in his role that you barely even know it is him. Jeff Bridges even in a supporting role is gripping to see as we do just want to see where his performance will take us. Each and every supporting performance is great through this film and completely worth watching as one of their best.

StoryA story that focuses on the ideas of what would make a good Vice-President, we see how events in their lives are not important to where they are now, we also see how their beliefs shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to making the right decisions for the country. We see how the contenders can go out of their way to make something happen but most importantly we see how they can be honest when it comes to making the right choices.

ThrillerThe film does keep us on edge throughout the story unfolding as we are looking to see what the next secret could be and if it could damage the campaign.

SettingsThe settings all come off how you would expect with the story unfolding, we have the White House, the courtroom and her own personal home where each detail is learnt about.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to political thrillers this is easily one of the best you will see, it is a must watch for the fans of the genre and the heavyweight performances show us this.

 

Overall: Political masterclass of a film.

Rating

 

 

Jason Bateman Weekend – Bad Words (2013)

badDirector: Jason Bateman

Writer: Andrew Dodge (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, Rohan Chand, Philip Baker Hall, Allison Janney, Ben Falcone, Steve Witting, Beth Grant

 

Plot: A spelling bee loser sets out to exact revenge by finding a loophole and attempting to win as an adult.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Comedy

 

Story: Bad Words starts as we meet Guy Trilby (Bateman) a 40-year-old man who has decided to enter into the national spelling-bee for children. He finds a loop-hole for his entry and working with Jenny Widgeon (Hahn) his national sponsor to take on the authorities.

After qualifying for the national championships Guy gets frowned upon while making friends with Chaitanya (Chand) a contender whose parents leave him alone. Jenny tries to learn the story behind Guy’s decision to enter the tournament.

Bad Words is a comedy that takes on the spelling bee culture going around America and how if you study rules you can make any tournament eligible for entry. We get to see a sad back story which has driven Guy to act the way he does which is all good for why he is taking part in the spelling bee. The unlikely friendship also works because Guy sees himself in Chaitanya making him change over time. But on the negative the subject matter isn’t going to be for everyone and in the end could turn people away.

 

Actor Review

 

Jason Bateman: Guy Trilby is a 40-year-old man who wants to enter a spelling-bee for kids after finding a loop-hole. He doesn’t care who he offends by entering this tournament and is a terrible example for all the kids involved. Jason gets to use all his comedy chops here

Kathryn Hahn: Jenny Widgeon is a reporter trying to write a story about Guy’s story of entering the spelling-bee. She is also his sponsor for the tournament with her news outlet funding his journey. Kathryn is solid in this supporting role.

Rohan Chand: Chaitanya Chopra is a young Indian boy who is also entering the spelling-bee who befriends Guy along the way he is the only person that shows Guy any sort of light on his dark path. Rohan is great and working opposite Jason.

Philip Baker Hall: Dr Bowman is running the bee and takes an instant dislike towards Guy but he does try to keep everything together in difficult tournament. Philip works well in this role.

Support Cast: Bad Words has a supporting cast which do all help the way the story eventually ends up going.

Director Review: Jason BatemanJason does well directing this easy to watch film with the comedy being where needed.

 

Comedy: Bad Words has good moments that do get laughs without being full blown laugh out loud moments.

Settings: Bad Words keeps the settings in and around the spelling bee without having anywhere too iconic.
Suggestion
: Bad Words is one to try that does have moments of enjoyment but might not be for everyone. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Jason and Rohan have good chemistry.

Worst Part: Certain racial jokes which miss the target.

Funniest Scene: Final showdown.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

Tagline: The end justifies the mean.

 

Overall: Enjoyable but not memorable comedy.

Rating

 card

 

Rush Hour (1998)

logoDirector: Brett Ratner

Writer: Jim Kouf, Ross LaManna (Screenplay) Ross LaManna (Story)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Tom Wilkinson, Tzi Ma, Chris Penn, Ken Leung, Rex Linn, Elizabeth Pena, Philip Baker Hall, John Hawkes

 

Plot: Two cops team up to get back a kidnapped daughter.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Entertainment

 

Story: Rush Hour starts by showing Officer Lee (Chan) closing a big case for his boss Consul Han (Ma) who is leaving the city in the hands of Griffin (Wilkinson). Moving to Los Angeles we meet Carter (Tucker) an undercover officer who shows he is all talk but capable of completing the job. Consul Han starting his new job in Los Angeles when his daughter is kidnapped, with the FBI involved Han wants his own man involved. This brings Lee over but when the FBI want to leave him out the picture they call the LAPD leading to Carter being put on the assignment as a punishment.

Carter talks too much believing that Lee doesn’t speak any English leading to the comedy tension between the two starting early. Carter and Lee being pushed off the case decide to look into the case on their own free will. They couple find themselves in the middle of the battle after Lee loses Carter. When it becomes apparent that Lee is going to be up against an old enemy Sang (Leung) it becomes clear that the kidnapping is personal.

Carter and Lee have to put aside their differences and go against the orders of the FBI to save the girl from the infamous yet elusive Juntao.

Rush Hour is a style of film that put together correctly works to high levels, Rush Hour reaches those levels with the brilliant pairing of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. The story is simple to follow and relies on the twos action to keep us entertained. It will go down as one of the last great buddy cop films because certain parts wouldn’t be accepted in the cinema nowadays. We get to see Tucker’s wise cracking joking spitting character mix with Chan’s all action character to give us a great blend of comedy and action that really keeps us fully entertained. (9/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Jackie Chan: Lee brilliant detective from China who gets bought to America to help find the kidnapped daughter, but once there he gets treated like a tourist. He ends up teaming up with the unlikely Carter to make for a great team when it comes to solving the kidnapping. Jackie is always going to give us great action scenes but moving his style into comedy worked perfectly here. (8/10)

 chan

Chris Tucker: Carter loud talking streetwise detective who’s against the books techniques lands him on babysitting duties with Lee. Carter’s connections do end up helping solve the kidnapping. Chris does a good job to create a character that you actually hate but love at the same time because when it comes down to business he always comes through. (8/10)

tucker

Tom Wilkinson: Griffin/Juntao we do see Griffin as a friend of the Consul but we do also see that he is the infamous Juntao who is the evil businessman. Tom gives a solid performance as the typical generic evil business man. (6/10)

 

Ken Leung: Sang the main henchman for Juntao, he ends up going up against Lee on multiple occasions always seeming escaping the duel. Ken does a good job but we are waiting for a battle between him and Lee which never happens. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: Rush Hour has a supporting cast that includes the FBI who are the typical stupid characters. The Consul and his family who play the victims well. We also have the typical henchman there to give Jackie Chan a chance to kick ass.

 

Director Review: Brett Ratner – Brett does a good job directing this action comedy that still feels fresh today over 15 years later. (8/10)

 

Action: Rush Hour has plenty of fight scenes, chase scenes and a giant shoot out at the end which all work well for the genre. (9/10)

Comedy: Rush Hour has plenty of laughs through the clashes in culture between the two leads. (8/10)

Thriller: Rush Hour doesn’t have the thriller level that the story could have but this is more about the comedy anyway. (5/10)

Chemistry: Rush Hour uses Chan and Tucker’s chemistry to make this film a stand out 90s film. (9/10)

Settings: Rush Hour LA always makes for a good setting but we don’t see any landmarks that make the settings truly memorable. (5/10)

Suggestion: Rush Hour has to really be seen at least once by everyone it has a great blend of action and comedy. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Restaurant fight scene.

Worst Part: Tucker can get annoying at times.

Action Scene Of The Film: Restaurant fight.

Funniest Scene: Lee breaks into the consul’s home.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has 2

Post Credits Scene: Bloopers through the credits.

Similar Too: 48 Hours

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $244 Million

Budget: $33 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

Tagline: Pals Forever. If they can get past today.

Trivia: According to director Brett Ratner, this film is the first one released in the U.S. featuring Jackie Chan in an English-speaking role without any kind of dubbing. According to Ratner, before this film Chan always had his voice dubbed over in his English-speaking roles because of his uncertainty in speaking the language. For this film, however, Ratner convinced him to forgo the dubbing as it would lend to the authenticity of his character.

 

Overall: Buddy Cop Comedy Entertainment

Rating 80

The Lodger (2009)

logoDirector: David Ondaatje

Writer: David Ondaatje (Screenplay) Marie Belloc (Book)

Starring: Alfred Molina, Hope Davis, Shane West, Donal Logue, Philip Baker Hall, Rachael Leigh Cook, Rebecca Pidgeon, Simon Baker

 

Plot: A couple rents out a room to a mysterious young man, who may or may not be guilty of a series of grisly neighborhood murders.

 

Verdict: Put Your Detective Hat On

 

Story: We follow two detectives are they try to figure out who killed a hooker and whether it is connected to a previous closed case about a serial killer. We also follow a struggling couple as they rent a room to a mystery stranger who requires privacy. We see how the lead detective’s personally life was put through hell because of the previous case and now things could go bad for him again. He must work with a new detective to figure out the truth before the killer takes more lives.

This one tries to keep you guessing all along with who the killer is, the only problem is, that if the cops are to be the one the lodger storyline is pointless. Just when you think you might have solved it, it throws the theory out the window. It does have small side story that poses the question about whether capital punishment should happen. It uses the idea of a Jack the Ripper copycat well trying suggests the idea that someone could one day happen. This turns into an interesting thriller that keeps you attention but in the end throws out one too many twists. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Alfred Molina: Chandler Manning detective who thought he had solved the crimes seven years before, but now the killer is back and he is left to question everything he did and find the new killer. He also has to battle his own personal demons which happened because of the first case. Solid performance from Alfred, who plays the broken detective very well. (7/10)

 

Hope Davis: Ellen Bunting lonely housewife who spends all her looking after her house, while her husband works and looking after the new lodger. Good performance from Hope. (7/10)

 

Shane West: Street Wilkenson new detective who comes in to work with Chandler and ends up being part of the big case, but he ends up not being sure who he can trust. Good performance letting the other characters do the extra work whiles his studies. (7/10)

 

Donal Logue: Joe Bunting husband to Ellen who spends most of his time out the house making him look like a prime suspect in the murder investigation. Solid performance from Donal. (7/10)

 

Simon Baker: Malcolm the mysterious lodger who comes in the Bunting’s life, he wants to be left alone and only deals with Ellen. Good performance creating the mysterious figure. (7/10)

 

Director Review: David Ondaatje – Solid direction to keep us guessing about what is happening and who the murderer is. (7/10)

 

Crime: Uses the mystery behind a crime to keep the story going. (10/10)

Mystery: Really keeps you wondering who the killer is. (9/10)

Thriller: You do end up wanting to know who the killer is but you have to figure out everything which could be a bit too much. (8/10)

Settings: The settings all come off like regular crime location which doesn’t help the murders stand out. (7/10)

Suggestion: This is one for the crime fans to try, they mind find it too much because there are too many twists and turns, but having multiply suspects helps keep everything interesting. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The mystery.

Worst Part: Final Twist

Believability: Having copycat killers happens but will they be like this? (4/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

Tagline: Everyone Is Suspect

 

Overall: Twists & Turns Galore

Rating 71