ABC Film Challenge – Crime – O – One Last Score (2015)

Director: Hank Bedford

Writer: Hank Bedford (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Zylka, Riley Keough, Faith Hill, RJ Mitte, Brad Carter, Steve Earle, Mick Foley

 

Plot: A young, recently-released and unpredictable ex-con with bad luck, and a sexy, listless girl-next-door with a troubled family, become trapped in a downward spiral of crime and obsessive love, as they try to ditch their dead-end town for a better life.


Tagline – Get out while you can.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burner

 

Story: One Last Score starts as young man Kermit (Zylka) is release from prison and returning to the preverbal wrong side of the tracks where the families struggle to make ends meet. He returns home to his mother Arletta (Hill) who wants him to stay out of trouble, his neighbour Rachel (Keough) who is working to help care for her sick mother, with her latest job being as a stripper.

Kermit and Rachel strike up a friendship for the bonding of their own struggles, supporting each other through this tough time. This brings Kermit back to the life of crime, the one he promised to star away from in an attempt to escape the dead-end town with Rachel.

 

Thoughts on One Last Score

 

Characters – Kermit is the former criminal that returns to his trailer park home to try and rebuild his life, he wants to be a barber, but is drawn back into his life of crime as he falls in love with Rachel and the two want to escape their dead-end town. Rachel is trying to help her mother paying for medical bills which leads her to a life of stripping, the two bond and plan to escape this life and start over.

PerformancesChris Zylka is good in the leading role, he works well with Riley as we see just how desperate his makes his character feel in what seems like a hopeless situation. Riley Keough shows her talent in this role as the woman that is left with her back against the wall.

StoryThe story here shows the tough lives people can be living in America with little money, we see how two people that have turned to a life they didn’t want try to make ends meet in an attempt to escape this style of living. This shows us how another side of America lives which isn’t the side that gets shown enough, the side that are forced into lives they can’t handle, that are dangerous and at times illegal. The pace of the story is slow, but that does help the final pay off in the story which makes you think at times.

CrimeThe crime world that Kermit is going into is only scratched on the surface, while we know he doesn’t want to be deeper in, this shows us how on the lines he wants to be to survive.

SettingsThe film shows us with the settings the poorer parts of America, the ones living in the trailer parks trying just to get by each day, this helps us understand the characters struggles.


Scene of the Movie –
The Lake.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The strange interviews through the movie, while I understand it reflects real life people, we lose something about the characters we are following.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow burning story that shows the tough times in America, it shows the desperation for two people to escape in a job they would never want to do, but must do.

 

Overall: Bleak view on America

Rating

 

 

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Daniel Craig Weekend – Logan Lucky (2017)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Rebecca Blunt (Screenplay)

Starring: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Seth MacFarlane, Katie Holmes, Katherine Waterston, Hilary Swank

 

Plot: Two brothers attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.


Tagline – See How The Other Half Steals

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Enough

 

Story: Logan Lucky starts as we follow Jimmy Logan (Tatum) as he loses his job and lets down his daughter, leaving his sister Mellie (Keough) getting him out of trouble, he loses his job and finds his ex-wife Bobbie Jo (Holmes) is moving to the next state. Jimmy’s brother is a one-armed bar tender Clyde (Driver) after his service in Iraq, the three siblings work on a big plan in the life of crime.

Jimmy’s plan is to first break Joe Bang (Craig) out of prison to help rob the Nascar event in North Carolina, after Jimmy has learnt how the money is transferred, will this plan go through as expected?

 

Thoughts on Logan Lucky

 

Characters – Jimmy Logan has been a down on his luck when it comes to jobs, being a responsible father leving him to reach the end of his hope. Jimmy has a plan to rob the Nascar race track on race day after learning how the money is trasnffered, now he puts together his team. His is a good man just wanting the best for his family. Clyde is the brother of Jimmy, he has lost a hand in Iraq and joins his brother in the plan. Joe Bang is the best safe cracker in the south, but he is behind bars, he will work on the team with his own rules which means breaking him out and giving him explosives. Mellie is the sister of the family, she uses her looks to get out of trouble and likes to show off her knowledge of cars.

PerformancesChanning Tatum in the leading role works, he continues to show he can step away from the sex symbol he has created around himself to play the less desirable roles. Adam Drive also shows us another string to his talents in this dead pan comedy roles. Riley Keough is strong too through the film here she plays the typical redneck woman. Daniel Craig gives the best performance in the film, he gets the most laughs with his mad character that he doesn’t go over the top.

StoryThe story is a heist movie from the lower class of America, we have the characters that have fallen on hard times over the usual experienced heist going team. The story works for a heist film and follows the books as you would imagine without being anything overly original and feeling long in places. We have the scene which reveals the heist to finishes off the moments of the story we might not have picked up on earlier.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy feels dead pan for the most part and does keep the tone of the crime side of the story feeling light, which works for the style the film is going for.

SettingsThe settings work because it shows where the characters are from and how difficult their lives are.


Scene of the Movie –
Science time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It feels long.

Final ThoughtsSimple by the book heist film, it has moments of comedy but it ends up being nothing overly original but easily watchable.

 

Overall: Easy to watch and fun.

Rating

 

 

 

The House That Jack Built (2018)

Director: Lars von Trier

Writer: Lars von Trier (Screenplay) Jenle Hallund (Story)

Starring: Matt Dillon, Bruno Ganz, Uma Thurman, Siobhan Hallon Hogan, Sofie Grabol, Riley Keough, Jeremy Davies

 

Plot: The story follows Jack, a highly intelligent serial killer, over the course of twelve years, and depicts the murders that really develop his inner madman.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Long & Dull

 

Story: The House That Jack Built starts as we meet Jack (Dillon) who is confessing his kills to Verge (Ganz) he goes on to tell him about five different murders he has committed, first was a stranded lady (Thurman) who constantly goes on about him being a serial killer. Second more daring, taking on a lady (Hogan) in her own home.

As Jack starts to see his OCD become less of a problem, he starts taking more risks when it comes to his kills, the more daring he becomes the easier they feel to him.

 

Thoughts on The House That Jack Built

 

Characters – Jack is a serial killer, he has killed dozens of people, with his acts becoming more daring as he becomes more confident in his skills to kill. He is confessing his actions to a priest, which gives us his mindset for each of his kills. Verge is the priest who is hearing the confession that is listening to the stories as he is learning whether Jack is the man he claims to be. We have plenty of victims which offer Jack plenty of different styles of kills, though none of them are very memorable.

PerformancesMatt Dillon is the only highlight in the film, where even he struggles to keep the attention of the audience, he is in nearly every scene which means he needs to be the best, only he doesn’t deliver well enough. The supporting cast is mostly forgettable because they are just the victims.

StoryThe story here follows Jack as he is confessing his murders to an unknown presence who feels like a priest. The story is told in chapter form which allows us to see each different murder and mindset which caused him to go through with his actions all while having an ending which will only leave you more confused from what we did see. The pacing of this film is awful, as it does drag on and on before getting to the point of the conversation, we could easily skip one of the chapters that offers up nothing to the main story. this is also meant to be a story with a lot of controversy, though I struggled to see just what that could have been.

Comedy/HorrorThis is classed as a comedy? I struggle to see why, but maybe there is something in this people could see being funny, the horror is a serial killer that likes to play with his victims, which are slowly waiting for him to do something, the way the story is told holds up the impact though.

SettingsThe film takes us to many different settings which each play into the hands of the killer waiting for his chance to kill, he uses his environment to select how he gets the job done. There is one final location which will confuse though.

Special EffectsThe effects are basic the kills are basic we don’t go over the top with them, though the final sequence is heavier on the effects.


Scene of the Movie –
The final sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Pacing is annoyingly bad.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor serial killer movie that lacks pacing skills and engaging characters.

 

Overall: Boring horror.

Rating

 

 

It Comes at Night (2017)

Director: Trey Edward Shults

Writer: Trey Edward Shults (Screenplay)

Starring: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Riley Keough, Kelvin Harrison Jr, Griffin Robert Faulkner

 

Plot: Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, a man has established a tenuous domestic order with his wife and son, but this will soon be put to test when a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nerve Shredding Nail Bitter

 

Story: It Comes at Night starts in a world where a virus has crippled the population, Paul (Edgerton), Sarah (Ejogo) and their son Travis (Harrison Jr) live in the middle of the woods in a secure house with only one entrance also being the exit. When their home gets broken into by Will (Abbott) the family dynamic must figure out whether to believe his story, help him or let him go.

Once the family make the decision the family welcomes Will and his family Kim (Keough) and son Andrew (Faulkner) into their home as numbers could help against a threat, but how long can this peace last?

 

Thoughts on It Comes at Night

 

Characters/PerformanceWill is the strict father of the house, he has created a secure home with the rules that will keep his family safe, he will not go easy on anyone that comes into the life and does the clean up when anything needs to be done. Will is the stranger that is just as desperate to keep his family safe and stumbles into the wrong house, but he is good and gets to work with Paul to start a safer home. Sarah and Kim are both the weakest written characters mostly because they are just the wives, Sarah does have slightly more about her because she will be smarter about the bigger decisions the family must make. Travis is the most interesting character in the film, he is the son of Paul & Sarah, he is attached to the late grandfather and his dog, we get to see a lot of the film through his eyes and ears as well as most of the truly horrific moments come in his nightmares.

Performance wise, Joel Edgerton is brilliant in this leading role, being a man of little words but many facial expressions when not explain the rules. Christopher Abbott is also good in this role showing how desperate people could be. Carmen Ejogo and Riley Keough are both good but could have been written stronger. Kelvin Harrison Jr is the new star to watch after his performance in this film, which shows curiosity being stuck with strict rules.

StoryThe story follows a world that has had a virus wiping out the population, we don’t learn what caused this which you could see upset people but I didn’t find this a stumbling block because it adds to the mystery. The story focuses on how desperate people would act to survive in this situation, how easy things could go wrong and just how even the best of people could go do unthinkable things. The story is filled with tension and mystery that just keeps you on the edge of your seat, just wanting to know what will happen next.

Horror/MysteryThe horror comes from how the family must survive what could come from anything, the disease spreading around the country. The mystery is also tied into the horror as we are left to see what is happening and what could go wrong.

SettingsThe film is set in the middle of the woods, the house is off the grid and has no main roads nearby. We get an excellent use location which only adds the tension needed in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best horror films of the year, but it could easily divide the horror community, I feel this could be considered to be in the same league as 2016 The Witch and could have had stronger written female characters.

 

Overall: Must watch for the horror fans out there.

Rating

 

 

The Discovery (2017)

Director: Charlie McDowell

Writer: Justin Lader, Charlie McDowell (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Robert Redford, Mary Steenburgen, Brian McCarthy, Riley Keough

 

Plot: A love story set one year after the existence of the afterlife is scientifically verified.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fascinating Sci-Fi Mind Bender

 

Story: The Discovery starts in a world where DR Thomas Harper (Redford) believes he has proven there is an afterlife, one year after this announcement the suicide rating in the world has sky rocketed with people believing they will ended up in this afterlife free of the problems they face in the real world.

Thomas’ son Will (Segel) a neurologist returns to his research facility on a remote island where his other brother Toby (Plemons) has been working on collecting more evidence with other volunteers who believe this afterlife is real. Being joined by Isla (Mara) the latest suicide failure to join the course Will is left to face the reality that not everything is as cut and dry as he believes with all of his science and medical beliefs. Will finds himself working with Isla to learn about a mysterious recording that came from the mind of a dead man, searching into his own past coming to a conclusion to everything.

 

Thoughts on The Discovery

 

Characters/PerformanceWill is a neurologist that is living in a world where people believe there is scientific proof of the afterlife, he still doesn’t believe in his own father’s discovery. He gets to investigating in a scientific mentality hoping to get to the bottom of everything. Isla is one of the people who had planned to kill themselves to get to this afterlife, she finds hope in searching for the answers with Will. Thomas is the doctor who believes he has discovered an afterlife, he has people working for him in a cult like situation while he is still trying to get the complete truth.

Performance wise, Jason Segel is brilliant here showing he isn’t just a comical actor and can handle the serious performances, Rooney Mara is good as always in the supporting role with Hollywood Icon Robert Redford giving a performance that is great for a supporting one.

StoryAn idea that we are in a world where we could know there is an afterlife is truly fascinating, it offers up questions never once asked before because there is no ‘if’ it is a ‘when’. The film does claim to have this question with our main character Will looking to prove this wrong, which again is good because this is a scientific discovery. This story will keep you guessing from the start to the finish and leave you going ‘What’ even though you can understand the ending.

Mystery/Romance/Sci-FiThe mystery is would you believe and is this discovery real, the sci-fi from the story comes from the discovery itself, as it offers up what is a scientific idea to the afterlife. The romance comes from Will and Isla story as they search for the truth.

SettingsThe one weak point I found in this film I would say is the settings, they do add up to the final story which is good but the film has the beach which is important and the lone mansion where the believers live.

Final ThoughtsI love a film that makes you think, this will do that, I love seeing actors who have been typecast to one genre prove themselves, Segel does here. I love watching how scientific ideas are posed to the audience offer us a question on what we would do in the situation. This is nearly everything I like to watch in a film, this should have been a cinema release not Netflix.

 

Overall: One of the hidden gems of the year.

Rating