ABC Film Challenge – Action – N – The Negotiator (2018)

Director: Brad Anderson

Writer: Tony Gilroy (Screenplay)

Starring: Jon Hamm, Khalid Benchgra, Rosamund Pike, Dean Norris, Shea Whigham, Douglas Hodge

 

Plot: Caught in the crossfires of civil war, CIA operatives must send a former U.S. diplomat to negotiate for the life of a friend he left behind.


Tagline – The Americans want to keep their secrets. The Israelis want to raise the stakes. He only wants to save a life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes  

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Never Hits the Levels it Should

 

Story: The Negotiator starts as we see American Diplomat Mason Skiles (Hamm) involved in a tragic event in Beirut. Walking away from this career, he is dragged out of retirement when his old friend Cal (Pellegrino) is taken hostage by the Israelis.

Mason working with Sandy (Pike), Gary (Whigham) and Donald Gaines (Norris) must enter negotiations to free Cal without a body count in a high-tension situation in Beirut.

 

Thoughts on The Negotiator

 

Characters – Mason Skiles has been working in a diplomatic position for years, until a tragic event sees his wife killed in Beirut, he steps away from that world, living a business life back in America. He gets pushed back into the field when his friend is kidnapped and one of his former connections is the prime suspect to everything going on, he must use his connections to try and get a peaceful end to the situation. Sandy is the connection that must keep an eye on Mason, she is considered the skirt that will entertain the America to keep him there, she has her own connections though and will be the one that is happy to let Mason off his leash. Donald Gaines and Gary Ruzak are both involved in the operation with their own agendas coming through.

PerformancesJon Hamm in the leading role is the strongest part of the film as he has the most about his character who has been through the trauma and must use this mission to redeem himself.  Rosamund Pike struggles to make the impact you feel her character is meant to, while the rest of the cast just don’t get the time to make any sort of impact.

StoryThe story follows a negotiator that has walked away from the diplomatic position only to be forced back into the field to help his old friend who has become the latest kidnapping victim by terrorist group. This tries to create the same sort of atmosphere as the true events that went on during the Beirut problems with the Israeli terrorist groups that were at war with the Americans, we struggle to get sucked into the movie because the tension is never given to us enough to make us become interested in what is happening to the characters. the one that does have an arc is Mason which gets glanced over more than anything as we try to show him in the middle of a situation he knows how to play, though he isn’t meant to be in control of.

ThrillerThe thriller side of the film struggles to come through as strong as it should because of the lack of tension in the film, while the stacks are high, nothing seems in any way out of control.

SettingsThe film does keep the settings being used in the streets of Beirut which does show us how much trouble the city was in during the terrorist attacks.


Scene of the Movie –
The deal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The political side.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak tension based movie that just never hits the levels it should do like many of the films in this genre.

 

Overall: Just not on the strongest levels.

Rating

 

 

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Hostiles (2017)

Director: Scott Cooper

Writer: Scott Cooper (Screenplay) Donald E Stewart (Manuscript)

Starring: Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Jesse Plemons, Stephen Land, Rory Cochrane

 

Plot: In 1892, a legendary Army Captain reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous territory.


Tagline – We are all… Hostiles.

Runtime: 2 Hour 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tension Riddled Western

 

Story: Hostiles starts in 1892 when Army Captain Joseph J Block (Bale) is assigned to escort Cheyenne Chief Yellow Hawk (Studi) and his family back to their land so he can die in his home territory, he is reluctantly to do this mission because of his battles with the Cheyenne, but threaten with court martial, he puts a unit together including Master Sgt Thomas Metz (Cochrane), Corp Henry Woodson (Majors), Lt Rudy Kidder (Plemons) and others.

Along the way the party stumbles upon Rosalee Quaid (Pike) whose family was butchered by a tribe leaving her three children including a baby dead, Joseph offers to take her on the journey as she has nothing left. The journey will take them through dangerous territories where Joseph must learn that the battle between man isn’t as simple as he once thought it was.

 

Thoughts on Hostiles

 

Characters – Captain Joseph J Blocker is a legendary soldier that’s reputation is respected, he is assigned a mission he has no interest in, being forced to escort a Cheyenne Chief home or face consequences including losing his pension. He is the best translator and knows the best paths, making him the best man for the job which will see him face his toughest mission yet. Rosalee Quaid saw her whole family butchered by a tribe invading her home, broken she is alone until the party discover her and take her on the journey. She learns that not both sides of the party are evil, just the human kind. Chief Yellow Hawk is one of the leaders of the Native American people, he is known for his blood lust, but near his death bed he shows Joseph are not as evil as the people believe showing he is against some of the natives and their actions too. We do get to meet plenty of different soldiers with different opinions on the mission which only make things more difficult along the way.

PerformancesChristian Bale in the leading role is brilliant showing he can take on nearly any role, he has the permanent look of reluctance on his face while showing us he can make his character do the right thing. Rosamund Pike is wonderful too as the grief-stricken mother and widow that gets to learn to live again on the journey. Wes Studi continues to show us just how us just he is the go-to guy for any Native American character. The whole cast is great through the film without putting a place a foot wrong.

StoryThe story shows us how the two rivals through a war that must put their difference aside to go through dangerous territory where people from both sides can come to kill them. This story shows how the battles through America built divides that caused extreme behaviour and just how being more restrictive could be a smarter answer. The journey shows how the two sides learns to work together and that they do want the same thing in life and the blood shed isn’t the best answer. The pace is surprisingly great because it will never go too slow for the 2 and half hour runtime. We learn a lot about how to treat people here as we are nearly the same.

Adventure/WesternThe adventure takes the party across America which shows the different style of mindset across the country. The western themes are heavy through the film which brings back the old way of life in America.

SettingsThe settings look beautiful which show us how the countryside in America was one of the most amazingly visual location in the time.


Scene of the Movie –
Final Showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not fully understand the distance needed to be travelled.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good modern era western that shows the final few moments on the old west where differences needed to a side their problems to make the future.

 

Overall: Enjoyable western.

Rating

 

 

Anthony Hopkins Weekend – Fracture (2007)

ractureDirector: Gregory Hoblit

Writer: Daniel Pyne, Glenn Gers (Screenplay) Daniel Pyne (Story)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike, Embeth Davidtz, Billy Burke, Cliff Curtis, Fiona Shaw, Bob Gunton

 

Plot: An attorney, intent on climbing the career ladder toward success, finds an unlikely opponent in a manipulative criminal he is trying to prosecute.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Courtroom Thriller

 

Story: Fracture starts when Ted Crawford (Hopkins) finally challenges his cheating wife Jennifer (Davidtz) about her affair before shooting her, Ted is a genius so he has been planning this for a while now and has come up with the perfect cover as the man who she was having the affair with is a negotiator for the LA police department Rob Nunally (Burke).

We got onto meet Willy Beachum (Gosling) who is a high rising lawyer working in the District Attorney Office under Joe Lobruto (Strathairn) who doesn’t think Willy should take his new job offer.

When one of his final cases see, Willy having to go against Ted the two find themselves having to go face to face in the courtroom as Ted decides to represent himself. What looks like an easy case soon becomes Willy’s biggest test of his career against one of the smartest men on the planet but who will come out on top?

Fracture is a crime mystery thriller turned cat and mouse style courtroom drama which follows the genius trying to show off against a young hot shot lawyer, sure we have seen this before but the fact we 100% know how guilty Ted is really tips the scales here. The case does take a few twists and turns along the way but it is the lengths that Willy will go to win this case against his own career.

The cast shine with Hopkins versus Gosling is delightful to watch whenever they go against each other on the screen. The supporting cast really don’t get the chance to shine like the lead two which does disappoint in places.

 

Overall: Courtroom thriller that does it’s best to keep us guessing without that final punch needed.

Ratingcard

 

 

Return to Sender (2015)

returnDirector: Fouad Mikati

Writer: Patricia Beauchamp, Joe Gossett (Screenplay)

Starring: Rosamund Pike, Shiloh Fernandez, Nick Nolte, Camryn Manheim, Alexi Wasser, Rumer Willis, Illeana Douglas, Stephen Louis Grush

 

Plot: A nurse living in small town goes on a blind date with a man who is not the person he says he is.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Poor Final Film

 

Story: Return to Sender starts as we follow nurse Miranda (Pike) who has a germ phobia, she is about to get her dream job, new home while still looking for Mr right. Waiting for a blind date she finds herself being raped by William (Fernandez) after letting him in the house believing him to be the blind date.

Miranda goes through the devastating side effects of the rape which affect her mental state where she loses the steady handling skills she has always possessed, as well as her personal state with her house losing its sale value.

Miranda turns to William to help build her life up again as the two strike up an unlikely friendship which puts her life in danger once he gets released.

Return to Sender gives us a story we do need to take seriously because a rape victim is always someone to take seriously. In the end this film never establishes a tone because one minute it is about the victim struggling, the next it is them becoming friends and the final act goes in a very different direction but ending with just as many questions. We should gain sympathy for Miranda but by the end you just don’t like her. This is really just doesn’t give us the final product we need.

 

Actor Review

 

Rosamund Pike: Miranda is an up and coming nurse about to get everything she wants in a new job, new home and new life. This all comes crashing down when she answers the door to what she thinks is a blind date that rapes her. Emotional traumatised she struggles to put her life back together until she confronts and starts a friendship with her rapist. Rosamund gives us a solid job without shining in the roles in the same year.miranda

Shiloh Fernandez: William is the man who raped Miranda, he almost struck as opportunity and ends up in prison. While in prison Miranda starts visiting him giving him a reason to carry on going. Shiloh is solid but doesn’t make enough of an impact in his role.william

Nick Nolte: Mitchell is Miranda’s father, he is stubborn but supportive to whatever decisions she makes, his best friend is his dog and his age is catching up with him. Nick is a very basic supporting role.

Camryn Manheim: Nancy is one of Miranda’s best friends at work, she always tries to put a smile on her face through all the situations. Camryn is good but doesn’t get time to do anything major in the story.

Support Cast: Return to Sender has a very small supporting that are only friends of Miranda.

Director Review: Fouad MikatiFouad doesn’t give us the best film where he ends up leaving us feeling lost with what we are meant to be cheering for.

 

Thriller: Return to Sender doesn’t pull you in enough for a thriller where you just don’t seem to worry about what will happen.

Settings: Return to Sender doesn’t create any iconic location for the settings to take place in.

Suggestion: Return to Sender is one to miss really it doesn’t have enough going to make us care. (Avoid)

 

Best Part: Ummmm.

Worst Part: Story

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Tagline: He picked the wrong address

 

Overall: Dull thriller that has so much potential

Ratingcard

Cornetto Trilogy Christmas Weekend – The World’s End (2013)

worldsDirector: Edgar Wright

Writer: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg (Screenplay)

Starring: Simon Pegg, Pierce Brosnan, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike

 

Plot: Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind’s only hope for survival.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: My Favourite of Trilogy

 

Story: The World’s End starts by introducing us to the five friends Gary (Pegg), Andy (Frost), Oliver (Freeman), Steven (Considine) and Peter (Marsan) who as young men tried the Golden Mile where they hit 12 pubs in one night. Gary regrets the idea they never made it through the night and wants to bring the friends back together to complete the night out.

The five friends find their town has changed the pubs are all the same after being taken over by chains but other than Gary ended up growing up while Gary is the same old person he was 20 years ago. When the four friends get tired of Gary and his stories they find themselves in a battle against cyborg that have taken over the town. The friends must finish the Golden Mile and stop the invasion before it is too late.boys

The World’s End brings the great concept of trying to look back upon how a group come back together to make one last quest even though one is very different than the other four. I do like this idea because we get to a memory lane idea. I do think the comedy doesn’t really work but the action shines through. When it comes to the battle against the alien cyborgs everything works on the positives making fun working from the start to finish.

 

Actor Review

 

Simon Pegg: Gary King is the man who wants to go home and complete the Golden Mile, he hasn’t grown up since he left school and drags his professional friends into his last chance to complete this challenge against his friend’s wills. He must fight against his past and a new enemy. Simon does a good job in another different performance from the previous performances in the trilogy.

 gary

Nick Frost: Andy Knightley is the T-totalled friend of the group who has quit drinking for a previous experience, he gets guilt tripped into going onto the trip but he hates Gary for what happened. Nick does a good job and much like Pegg shows he versatile ability to swap his character traits from previous characters in the trilogy.

 

Eddie Marsan: Peter is one of the friends, he used to get bullied but became one of them, he is the married and successful but comes off looking like an average day man. Eddie gives a good performance in the cowardly member of the group.

 

Martin Freeman: Oliver is another member of the gang that is successful and constantly on his phone trying to just endure the weekend, he is also obsessed with saying WTF and correcting mistakes. Martin is good at keeping the straight faced character through every scene.

 

Paddy Considine: Steven returns with the rest of the friends who joins the mission, he sees this as his last chance to tell Sam Oliver’s sister how he feels about her and never gives up in the fight the group find themselves in. Paddy does a good job in this role showing he could handle action comedy and serious all in one role.

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Support Cast: The World’s End has a good supporting cast that really works to add a few laughs as the story unfolds.

 

Director Review: Edgar WrightEdgar brings us another good film where he shows he can do action without going too much into the comedy.

 

Action: The World’s End has plenty of action when it comes to the fights with the aliens.

Comedy: The World’s End seems to let the comedy take the back seat which I prefer because the action works for the film.

Sci-Fi: The World’s End gives us an alien invasion angle which gives us all the sci-fi we need.

Settings: The World’s End continues with the idea of keeping the action in one small location with the small village making the story easy to follow.
Special Effects
: The World’s End has good effects to create the kills given to the aliens.

Suggestion: The World’s End is one to watch where it all comes off good on the serious side of the story when it comes to the action. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Action all comes off great.

Worst Part: Comedy feels stale.

Action Scene Of The Film: Bar fight.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $26 Million

Budget: $28 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

Tagline: One Night. Six Friends. Twelve Pubs. Total Annihilation.

 

Overall: Great conclusion to the unofficially trilogy

Ratingcard