Alan Tudyk Weekend – Tell (2014)

Director: J.M.R. Luna

Writer: Timothy Williams (Screenplay)

Starring: Milo Ventimiglia, Katee Sackhoff, Jason Lee, Robert Patrick, Alan Tudyk, John Michael Higgins, Faizon Love

 

Plot: Ethan Tell is a small time crook who makes a big-time score when he steals 1 million dollars. Ironically, his life radically changes for the worse when he discovers that stealing the money was the easy part and he now must keep his partner, his wife, his parole officer, and two corrupt detectives from stealing it from him.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Con-man Playbook Passed

 

Story: Tell starts as a robbery Tell (Ventimiglia) is trying to get out off organised by Ray (Lee) his wife’s Beverly (Sackhoff) brother goes wrong, with Tell locked up for three years, with two cops Ashton (Patrick) and Morton (Tudyk) trying to get their hands on the money along with the parole officer Dwight (Love) as Tell is released from prison.

Out of prison Tell tries to get on with his life, but soon the familiar faces return to his life, Ashton, Morton, Beverly and Ray as he needs to stay one step ahead of them as he looks to collect the money before it is gone for good.

 

Thoughts on Tell

 

Characters – Tell is your standard crook, he always talks about having a normal life, but wants to steal his way to it. He isn’t likeable in anyway and even after getting shot and serving time in prison he still needs to stay ahead of the people that want the money he is meant to have taken. Beverly is the ex-wife of Tell that remarried when he was locked up to help raise their child, she wants to money because she dreams of the life of luxury. Ray is the partner in crime and brother to Beverly, he is left for dead at the crime scene and now has returned for the money, he feels like a loose cannon with crazy ideas. Ashton and Morton are the two cops that are hounding Tell for the money from the robbery.

PerformancesThe performances are mixed because of allowed screen time. Milo doesn’t give us a likeable character and feels like he is cruising through the film for the most part, Katee Sackhoff is solid enough as the wife figure, always after the money, for me it was Jason Lee who shines the best in this film as we just never know what he is going to do next. Patrick and Tudyk both seem to enjoy playing the crooked cops which is good to see.

StoryThe story follows a crook that is trying to collect the money from his previous heist though he has people from the heist, cops and an ex-wife that also want the money. This story follows the heist gone wrong paths well and the whole released from prison people will want what was never recovered, while never addressing the bigger issue, that Tell wants to live a normal life after his time in prison. This isn’t the most engaging story, be it the generic characters, by the books story or overly slow pacing.

Action/CrimeThe action we see in the film is a couple of shoot outs mixed with the punch or strike to get someone’s attention, the crime side of the film shows how the characters are mixed up in a world they shouldn’t be involved in.

SettingsThe film never uses the settings enough to make us understand where we are and even the backgrounds of the characters involved.


Scene of the Movie –
What happens after the opening sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It offers nothing new to the genre of the heist movies.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard by the book heist film, it checks the boxes without being anything you will remember enough to suggest this to heist fans.

 

Overall: Heist movie that falls slightly flat.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Edge of Fear (2018)

Director: Bobby Roth

Writer: Scott Barkan, Gregg Zehentner (Screenplay) Daxing Zhang (Story)

Starring: Robert Patrick, Zhu Zhu, Shen Lin, Robert Knepper, Rockmond Dunbar, Amaury Nolasco, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe

 

Plot: After being stabbed in the heart by ruthless home invaders, a man is left for dead. Now weak, outnumbered, and knife sticking from his chest, he attempts to do the impossible: save his wife from these murderers before he bleeds to death.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Edge of Your Seat Thriller

 

Story: Edge of Fear starts as we get the introduction to our doctor couple Laura (Zhu) and Patrick Chen (Lin) who show their skills saving Mike Dwyer (Dunbar). We move on to meet our criminals led by Jack Pryor (Patrick) who along with his team break Victor Novak (Knepper) out of a prison convoy.

With Patrick and Laura spending time with Mike in his remote cabin, which just so happens to be the first place Jack and his team find as they look for a new vehicle, when the two collide, Patrick is left with a knife stuck in his chest and must figure out how to save his wife from the criminals.

 

Thoughts on Edge of Fear

 

Characters – Patrick is a brilliant surgeon, he is spending a weekend away with his wife and at a patient whose live he saved cabin in the wood. When the unwelcome visitors arrive he tries to defend his wife only to be left with a knife in his chest, somehow he survive with the knife lodged in his chest and starts to figure out how to fight back to save his wife. Laura is the nurse wife that was involved in saving the patient’s life, her weekend sees her husband stabbed and being forced to help one of the wounded criminals. She is trapped forced to wait with the criminals believing her husband is dead. Jack is running the breakout operation, he knows he will be getting a massive payday for getting Victor out of prison, he doesn’t have complete control of his team though which causes the problems, he doesn’t hold up promises which only annoys Victor. Victor is the man they all want to get out of prison, he is one of the most famous criminals in Mexico, however he does seem to honour promises believing karma will help him along the way.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances we see Shen Lin give us a performance which needs to remain wound and not physical strong while facing the criminals. Robert Patrick as the loose cannon criminal, this is his strongest skill and he shows why he is picked for these roles. The choice of Robert Knepper in the role is strange because we are used to him being one of the crazy ones over the kinder villain of the piece. Zhu Zhu is solid enough in her role even though she is just the victim for the most part.

StoryThe story is nice and simple, it is a group of criminals that home invade a group of friends while waiting for a vehicle, they try to kill one man, only for him to not die and plan how to save his wife from the group of criminals. This is a formula that we have seen before, it is one that works, we have seen the biggest names in action handle this role, think Crank only without the bonkers side. The idea that our leading character Patrick is stuck with a knife in his chest only add suspense to the story as we know any movement in that knife would result in his death. the weaknesses in the story comes from the criminals themselves who are generic as they come giving us nothing new along the way.

ThrillerThe does keep us on the edge of our seats because we know that Patrick is seriously injured and any wrong moves will finish him off.

SettingsThe film is set in a remote cabin which is where the friends are for calm weekend and the criminals are looking to stay off the radar. It shows us how there isn’t going to be an easy escape for anyone visiting.


Scene of the Movie –
Tractor time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The group of criminals are not the most original.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable thriller, it doesn’t reinvent the genre and follows the rules to a level that can be enjoyed.

 

Overall: Enjoyable thriller

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – F – Fire in the Sky (1993)

Director: Robert Lieberman

Writer: Tracy Torme (Screenplay) Travis Walton (Book)

Starring: D.B. Sweeney, Robert Patrick, Craig Sheffer, Peter Berg, Henry Thomas, Bradley Gregg, James Garner

 

Plot: An Arizona logger mysteriously disappears for five days in an alleged encounter with a flying saucer in 1975.


Tagline – For five days, a man was borrowed. The story that Travis Walton and five other witnesses told is so unbelievable, so unimaginable, that it has become the most famous case of UFO abduction ever recorded.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: That One Scene Shines

 

Story: Fire in the Sky starts as five loggers Mike (Patrick), Allan (Sheffer), David (Berg), Greg (Thomas) and Bobby (Gregg) return to town in a panic with a story to tell the authorities, which brings in Sheriff Frank Watters (Garner). The story the guys tell is the they investigated a mysterious light in the woods which took Travis (Sweeney).

With the search going on for Travis, Mike and the crew find themselves prime suspects in a cover up, until Travis returns with his own account of the story.

 

Thoughts on Fire in the Sky

 

Characters – Travis Walton was a logger that went missing for five days, he doesn’t remember at first what happened, but the truth ill haunt him for the rest of his life as he remembers being taken by aliens. Mike Rogers is the best friend of Travis’ that doesn’t know how to handle his disappearance and his reappearance, but knows that nothing was done by the men in his crew. Frank Watters is the sheriff trying to prove this is a hoax or a cover up depending which side of the events are. The characters are based on the real people which does help make this feel like a good real story to follow.

PerformancesThe performances across the board are good, with D.B. Sweeney showing the pure terror needed during the abduction scene. Robert Patrick works well in his role where he could easily be the lead of the film. James Garner brings an extra bit of class to the performances too.

StoryThe story follows one of the most famous and detailed encounters from alien abduction in history. The story first treats the events like a murder cover up which is wonderful to watch on the screen because we don’t need to watch a full abduction routine which we do see later in the film. the story balances the ideas of what could be truth and what people would want the truth to be too.

Fantasy/Mystery/Sci-Fi The fantasy part of this film comes from what you want to believe about the events, because there is no proof it is real, this adds the mystery too which does also circle around the truth too. The sci-fi side of the film comes from the moment in space which shows what the aliens did to Travis.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the small town location where the events happened which does keep us understand how the town would react to the situation.

Special EffectsThe effects are spared for the final moments of the film where we see what happened to Travis, they all look great too.


Scene of the Movie –
Memories nightmare

That Moment That Annoyed Me I was expecting more from the alien abduction side of things.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good sci-fi film, it does balance the event between what could have happened, what is believed to have happened and leaves you to make up your own mind, with a sequence in the ship which will be haunting.

 

Overall: A sci-fi film that hasn’t dated like others

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – L – Ladder 49 (2004)

Director: Jay Russell

Writer: Lewis Colick (Screenplay)

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, John Travolta, Jacinda Barrett, Robert Patrick, Morris Chestnut, Billy Burke

 

Plot: A firefighter, injured and trapped in a burning building, has flashbacks of his life as he drifts in and out of consciousness. Meanwhile, fellow firefighters led by the Chief attempt to rescue him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thought Provoking Action Thriller

 

Story: Ladder 49 starts as Jack Morrison (Phoenix) is performing a daring tower block fire rescue only for disaster to strike and Jack finds himself trapped inside the burning inferno. This causes Jack to have flack backs to his early firefighting days as a rookie in the 39th under Mike Kennedy (Travolta).

As Jack continues to fade between consciousness we learn about his personal life and how he met and married Linda (Barrett) as well as seeing just how his team became the unit through the good and bad events of being a firefighter, this will give him a chance to believe who could save him.

 

Thoughts on Ladder 49

 

Characters/PerformanceJack Morrison is the firefighter that gets trapped in the fire, we get to see his rise from rookie firefighter to one of the most respected in his team, get married and have children but through the events of the film we are left to wonder like himself whether he was right to stay in the force. Captain Mike Kennedy keeps his team united through the good times and the bad, he knows how to motivate them and how to let them celebrate, but he won’t leave a man behind. Linda is the wife of Jack that he meets on one of his first few days on the job, she is concerned after the first death in the squad. The rest of the unit are what you expect, the best friend, the wise one, the confrontational one you know the picture.

Performance wise, Joaquin Phoenix is great in the leading role showing he was ready to make the jump from supporting actor to leading man. Travolta shows that he can turn out good performances around the weaker ones people can slam him for. Jacinda Barrett is good but doesn’t get the full levels you would like to see from the supporting character. The cast all give us good performances throughout the film too.

StoryThe story is told as one man is looking back on his life wondering if he made the right decisions in his life when he becomes trapped during the latest fire he is fighting. This does show the stress firefighters would go through from either a good rescue or seeing a friend hurt or killed, dealing with personal life and the peril of going into a blaze with no true idea of what is waiting for them. I like how this is told because it shows how Jack got to where he is in his ranking within the unit.

Action/ThrillerThe action sequences are all different types of fires the crew must battle and they are all shot wonderfully to suck us into the story as we don’t know what will happen in each fire. This does help keep us on the edge of our seats at times but we know we don’t need to worry about Jack during the flack backs.

SettingsThe settings show us just how dangerous battling fires can be, how the men risk their lives and how they can be different on each occasion.

Special EffectsAll the effects are used to make the fires look as dangerous as they should be which is good to see throughout the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that will make you respect the firefighters of the world even more because you get to see how much they are willing to risk to save people’s lives. It is shot very well with the only negative being knowing there is only one fire Jack is in any peril through.

 

Overall: One for all the action thriller fans out there.

Rating

 

 

Eloise (2017)

eloDirector: Robert Legato

Writer: Christopher Borrelli (Screenplay)

Starring: Eliza Dushku, Robert Patrick, Chace Crawford, Brandon T Jackson, Martin Klebba, Nicole Forester

 

Plot: Four friends break into an abandoned insane asylum in search of a death certificate which will grant one of them a large inheritance. However, finding it soon becomes the least of their worries in a place haunted by dark memories.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Had Potential

 

Story: Eloise starts with reading and a history lesson on Eloise psychiatric home where DR H. H. Greiss (Patrick) is said to have performed inhumane tests and treatments on the patients before a fire closed the facility in 1982 with only four of the original 78 buildings still standing. So, let me guess this right, first we must read what happened, small clip of the torture and then news reports of what happened, oooo they do also have a report that the builds have been searched and people still see ghosts within the walls.

The film finally gets started with Pia (Dushku) being questioned in an asylum being asked to remember what happened in Eloise with the bodies of her friends being found there, yeah, the film gives away who dies in the opening moments.

So, she enters into what happened by jumping to Jacob Martin (Crawford) because she would know what was going on in his life before the events. Anyway, Jacob learns that his father has passed away but he needs to go to Eloise to find the records of his Aunt’s death so he can inherit his family’s fortune.

When the report takes too long to get Jacob is joined by his friend Dale (Jackson), local historian Scott (Byrne) and his sister Pia as they look to break into Eloise to locate the records. But this is a horror movie and as the four find themselves walking through the empty corridors they soon learn that not everything is as it seems as the ghosts of the asylum still search for new patients to practise on.

 

 

Thoughts on Eloise

 

StoryI feel like this is going to be a long rant, because to me the storytelling is awful, first we have the reading only two minutes later we get narration telling us the same story. we also have the film give away who dies and how in the opening scene and most ridiculous we must deal with a character telling the story who isn’t even involved in the first part outside Eloise. With the rant out of the way this is a story that does try to have some moments of originality especially in the final third but getting there has been done before.

HorrorWe have solid scares, we have a good setting which is what you need for the horror films but what we don’t have is a good story.

Characters/PerformancesThe characters involved are easily ripped out of the generic horror clichés, we have the lead Jacob trying to figure out a way to find the information required with Eloise, the potential love interest who doesn’t want to go but does to protect family that is also telling the story, add in the token supporting characters with the pushy friend and the geek character with glasses none of them feel fresh. The evil doctor again is something we have seen before too.

When you look at the performances the film has a draw for the horror fans with Eliza Dushku who is good without doing too much, while Chace showing once more that he is more of a supporting star rather than leading man. Byrne makes himself the comic relief of the film with Jackson just being the extra guy. It is Patrick that enjoy the fun in this film being the mad man doctor.

SettingsOnce the film makes it into the asylum this all works well but otherwise this is all good for the settings side of the story.

Special EffectsWhen you look at the special effects in this fil we have good ones going on throughout without needing to be too over the top but enough for the horror.

Final ThoughtsThe film does have a good final act but getting there does take a lot of hard work, through the bad story telling going on early on even if the end comes off nicely.

 

Overall: The final third of this film is good but the build-up is so plain nothing work for the final moments of the film.

Ratingcard