Free Fire (2017)

Director: Ben Wheatley

Writer: Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump (Screenplay)

Starring: Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Jack Reynor, Michael Smiley

 

Plot: Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs turns into a shootout and a game of survival.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacking Substance

 

Story: Free Fire starts as we see Irish man Chris (Murphy) is joined by his men Frank (Smiley), Bernie (Cilenti) and Stevo (Riley) for a gun deal with connections Justine (Larson) and Ord (Hammer). The supplies are Vernon (Copley), Martin (Ceesay), Harry (Reynor) and Gordon (Taylor).

When tensions start to rise early on due to clash of cultures it isn’t long before all hell lets loose and everybody is trying to kill everybody else, but who can walk out alive from this arms deal gone bad.

 

Thoughts on Free Fire

 

Characters/PerformanceChris is an Irishman looking to get extra guns for the battle against the English. Justine is the connection between the two parties along with Ord who keeps everything in order. Vernon is the dealer who is slightly strange in his own way.

Performance wise, I don’t think anybody did a bad job everyone is good with the role they are in, with Copley getting most of the laughs with Sam Riley and Jack Reynor both doing well.

StoryThe story is very thin here, we have two parties coming together for a gun deal, things go wrong and the rest of the film is spent watching how each has their own individual battle to survive, get the guns or money. I did like the concept but it is a lot of just crawling around with random shooting and nothing else happening.

Action/Comedy/Crime The action is lots of just random shooting, with the comedy coming in places with certain characters coming off funny while others seem to be played straight, neither have the chemistry to work together. The crime side is the gun deal which is fine for the backdrop of this film.

SettingsThe whole film is set in and around the warehouse, this is a good thing because the film does play out in real time, this is the strongest point within this film.

Final ThoughtsI liked the idea behind this film, I just feel the film doesn’t decide if it is going to be a comedy or a serious film, it gets completely stuck between the two and not enjoyable. I can see the directors style in here which I do respect but I am not the biggest fan off.

 

Overall: Strong idea but disappointing final product with all star cast.

Rating

 

 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

prideDirector: Burr Steers

Writer: Burr Steers (Screenplay) Jane Austen, Seth Grahame-Smith (Quirk Novel)

Starring: Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Ellie Bamber, Millie Brady, Suki Waterhouse, Douglas Booth, Sally Phillips, Charles Dance, Jack Huston, Lena Heady, Matt Smith

 

Plot: Five sisters in 19th century England must cope with pressures to marry wealthy gentlemen, as well as protecting themselves from a growing population of savage zombies.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure Fun

 

Story: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies starts as we see Captain Darcy (Riley) who is a hunter all off those who could have become infected with y zombies, he has his ways to detect them before they hurt anyone else. Role the opening credits which explain how we have entered into a world where zombies have been living between them and the worlds have been separated.

Of course what would a Pride and Prejudice story be without the Bennet family, so time to introduce them Mr Bennet (Dance), Mrs Bennet (Phillips) and children Elizabeth (James), Jane (Heathcote), Lydia (Bamber), Mary (Brady) and Kitty (Waterhouse) who have all been trained in combat but also looking to find themselves a worthy husband.

When Elizabeth meets Mr Darcy the two clash on whole they will battle zombies with Jane potentially have been bitten with the Bennet household become overrun with zombies? Enter in the rest of the potential husbands Mr Bingley (Booth), George Wickham (Huston) and Parson Collins (Smith) who all come over as combat opposites to the Bennet girls.

We continue to follow Elizabeth as she is dealing with the idea of finding the right husband while learning the horrifying truth about who is behind the zombie infection, never knowing who to trust.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a spin on the classic novel that I have never read or seen the original material so my judgement has no bearing on what might have come before. I did love the how this span what could be considered a romantic based story with the added zombie factor. I did like how they made the woman the strong characters involved in the film. This isn’t overly serious but I guess you don’t want to see that this time around. We get to see plenty of gore throughout which is all fun without forgetting to handle the social standing the characters have to go through.

 

Actor Review

 

Lily James: Elizabeth Bennet is one of the famously known Bennet daughters, she thinks different to her sisters as she wants to find the man she loves to marry rather than be married off by her parents, she is an expert in combat in a world overrun with zombies. She rejects all the men that come her way even though she has found a way to attract the attention of Mr Darcy as the two clash before she learns who he really is. Lily is good as the kick ass socially on top lady trying to find her husband which is Lily shows can handling both sides of the story.lizzy

Sam Riley: Mr Darcy is the mysterious man who hunts zombies, he will take no mercy on anyone who has been infected, he comes off social awkward as he is made out to be the bad guy before we learn his true story and he tries to win Elizabeth’s heart. Sam is good in this role showing he works for the time period and can handle the action.darcy

Bella Heathcote: Jane Bennet is another one of the sisters who has grabbed the attention of Mr Bingley, she will back her sister in any combat to make sure they are both safe. Bella is good in the supporting performance.jane

Jack Huston: George Wickham is a fellow soldier who has history with Darcy in the past, he is well-spoken when it comes to his story and is the reason why Darcy is considered a bad man but he has alternative motives. Jack is good in this role where he shows the signs of the villain while coming off as the hero.

Support Cast: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has a large supporting cast that all do well in this film with Matt Smith stealing most of his scenes.

Director Review: Burr SteersBurr gives us a great fun romantic horror movie that takes us into the world of 19th century England and zombie filled world.

 

Action: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has plenty of zombie killing action through the whole film.

Horror: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies throws zombies into this classic tale which works to add horror to the mix.

Romance: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies keeps the romantic story as our female characters are looking for a husband but Lizzy will only follow her heart.

Settings: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies might get us confused where each scene takes place keeps the time period looking like the part needed.
Special Effects
: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has great effects to create the zombies and zombie kills through the film.

Suggestion: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is one to try because I feel the fans of the original material might struggle to enjoy this one. (Try It)

 

Best Part: War Battle where Lizzy finds Darcy.

Worst Part: The settings are difficult to keep on top of.

Funniest Scene: Matt Smith is hilarious

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Left open for one.

Post Credits Scene: Early on in credits.

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $28 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

Tagline: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” – Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

 

Overall: Fun twist on the classic tale

Ratingcard

 

Maleficent (2014)

logoDirector: Robert Stromberg

Writer: Linda Woolverton (Screenplay) Charles Perrault, Erdman Penner, Joe Rinaldi, Winston Hibler, Bill Peet, Ted Sears, Ralph Wright, Milt Banta, Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm (Original Material)

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Sam Riley, Brenton Thwaites, Kenneth Cranham

 

Plot: A vengeful fairy is driven to curse an infant princess, only to discover that the child may be the one person who can restore peace to their troubled land.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Darkly Fantasy

 

Story: Maleficent start with narration that informs us that we have two different kingdoms that are at war who could only be separate by good guy or a villain. We meet Maleficent the good kind young fairy part of the fantasy kingdom. The young Maleficent gets to meet her first human when young Stefan enters into the world and as time goes by the two become friends and eventually fall in love.

Maleficent (Jolie) fully grown becomes the guardian of the Moors and after starting to grow apart from Stefan the war between humans and fairies was ready to come to ahead. Stefan (Copley) rising through the kingdom gets a chance to become king along with the rest of the loyal followers of the King all they had to do was bring Maleficent head to him. Stefan’s desire for power sees him betray Maleficent by taking her wings.

Maleficent fuelled by rage brings darkness to her kingdom while see waits for her chance to get revenge on King Stefan. When King Stefan has a baby Maleficent puts a curse on the baby that upon pricking her finger on a spinning wheel she will fall into sleep never to awaken until she has true loves kiss. Maleficent continues to watch Aurora (Fanning) grow hoping for the chance that when she will get cursed. As Aurora continues to grow Maleficent becomes a friend with and turns into the Godmother and even tries to lift the curse but with no luck. Aurora is doomed to need to find true loves kiss to survive.

Maleficent manages to take an old story of Sleeping Beauty and turn the story on its head, much like Oz the Great and the Power did. This time we learn that the evil from that story had a motive and wasn’t just purely evil. We learn that anyone that gets hurt in love could break and the results could turn into something that looks like this. We do get the traditional Disney ‘true love’ theme running throughout which does get used too much but on the plus side we get to see the real meaning behind it. This tries to make everything seem like it is a lot darker than the first story but in the end just sends up round in circles and coming off very been there seen that *cough* Frozen. (5/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Angelina Jolie: Maleficent fairy who gets betrayed by a human filling her with darkness against that human before putting a curse upon his baby daughter. Over time Maleficent becomes the fairy godmother watching over the young girl before trying to lift the curse. Angelina shines in this villain with a heart role, playing both sides throughout the film we get to see what she is capable off. (8/10)

 maleficent

Elle Fanning: Aurora the young girl who becomes cursed, while her good nature changes Maleficent making her want to lift the curse. Elle is a great actress coming through but we don’t get to see enough of her character in this film. (6/10)

aurora

Sharlto Copley: Stefan a childhood friend of Maleficent who gets consumed by power which ends up making him betrays her on his way to become king. Once he is king Maleficent puts a curse on his baby girl which ends up pushing him into darkness trying to get revenge on her. Sharlto is a good actor normally but I do feel like he looks kind of lost in this role. (5/10)

stefan

Support Cast: Maleficent has a supporting cast that includes Maleficent loyal slave and three pixies who are there for comic relief, most of the rest of the characters are there to look the part and never really get involved in what is going on.

 

Director Review: Robert Stromberg – Robert does a good job visual with his direction debut but really doesn’t make a true classic from which the source material could be considered. (7/10)

 

Action: Maleficent has a few fantasy fights but nothing over the memorable. (5/10)

Family: Maleficent is a dark tale to take the family to see and might not be suitable for the youngest family members. (5/10)

Fantasy: Maleficent takes us into a beautiful fantasy world that changes with the mood of Maleficent. (9/10)

Romance: Maleficent plays the old romance and true love storyline which feels tired through this one. (5/10)

Settings: Maleficent each setting is brilliantly created for the characters to live in. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Maleficent has good effects to create the worlds. (9/10)

Suggestion: Maleficent one for the family really, and also for the Disney princess fans. (Family or Princess fans Watch)

 

Best Part: The Effects are brilliant.

Worst Part: Seen the story before.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Oz The Great and the Powerful

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for One Oscar in Costume Design..

Box Office: $758 Million

Budget: $180 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

Tagline: Don’t believe the fairy tale

 

Overall: Maleficent is a fantasy film that ticks all those boxes but ends up falling short with the original story ideas.

Rating 60

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Byzantium (2012)

logoDirector: Neil Jordan

Writer: Moira Buffini (Screenplay) Moira Buffini (Play)

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Sam Riley, Jonny Lee Miller, Daniel Mays, Thure Lindhardt, Caleb Landry Jones

 

Plot: Residents of a coastal town learn, with deathly consequences, the secret shared by the two mysterious women who have sought shelter at a local resort.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interview With a Vampire: Homework Edition

 

Story: Byzantium starts by Eleanor (Ronan) talking about how she can’t tell her story even though she spends time writing it over and over. Eleanor tells an elder gentleman the story about how she met Clara (Arterton) and that they are living together but Werner (Lindhardt) is hunting them down. As we continue through introduction we see how both kill their victims but have to leave because of the mess left behind.

New town and same problems Clara enters into the prostitution to try and make ends meet while Eleanor uses the desire to learn about people to help her express herself. After Clara meets Noel (Mays) the girls move into his bed and breakfast called Byzantium where he lets the girls stay. We learn about the code the girls follow to stay safe but Eleanor is desperate to tell people the truth.

We flashback to what happened to Clara 200 years ago we also learn the Eleanor is her daughter that she did in fact give up and we learn about how Ruthven (Miller) put Clara in the life she has now. When Eleanor makes friends with Frank (Jones) she starts to feel like she could open up to someone while we continue to Eleanor pick her victims who are on deaths door. Clara turns the bed and breakfast into a brothel knowing she can make plenty of money from it.

After Eleanor tells her story in the modern day we learn the conclusion of the original story of how the girls become vampires and why they have both been on the run. The past is about to catch up with them but can they out run it this time or will their time finally be up.

Byzantium really does feel like a modern take on the ‘Interview with a Vampire’ idea but puts it into a lost story that is in need of telling. It follows very similar ideas of being forced into the vampire life and also has one character who doesn’t want the story told. It all comes off very nicely and does make for a very solid addition to the vampire genre of films and could easily be enjoyed by the fans of those films too. It won’t go down heavy on blood which certain fans will expect in the vampire genre but it tells a better story of surviving with the curse. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Saoirse Ronan: Eleanor permanent 16 year old who craves the connection of other people and just wants to be able to tell her story to but when she meets a young man she could finally have found someone she could have forever. Saoirse does a good job in the role that showed her continues playing the teenage is good for here. (7/10)

 sairose

Gemma Arterton: Clara mother of Eleanor who works as many different things over the years to make ends meet, mostly prostitution but anything to protect them both from the people who are after them. Gemma does a good job here filling the role of determined minder over the long time span. (7/10)

gemma

Jonny Lee Miller: Ruthven the man who put Clara in the situation she finds herself in taking her from quiet job into prostitution leading her to enter into the world they are in now. Jonny does solid job as the original person that leaves them where they are. (6/10)

 

Caleb Landry Jones: Frank the boy that ends up helping Eleanor open up about her story but ends up putting himself into a situation where he will be in the middle of the war between the girls and the brotherhood who hunt them down. Caleb does a good job in this role that opens up a potential romantic angle. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: Byzantium has a support cast that tries to help the characters but also has people who are after them, they all mix nicely to make us want to see how it ends.

 

Director Review: Neil Jordan – Neil does a good job directing this modern day vampire classic. (7/10)

 

Horror: Byzantium has vampires but really isn’t much of a true horror films. (4/10)

Thriller: Byzantium does keep you guessing as you know that people are after them you just for to wait and see who. (8/10)

Settings: Byzantium uses the settings very nicely and even shows how the characters have been put into familiar location from the past. (8/10)

Suggestion: Byzantium is one to try I don’t think many casual fans will enjoy it but I do think it will appeal to fans of the vampire sub-genre. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The final twist is nice.

Worst Part: Does have slow spells.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Interview with a Vampire

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $8 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

Overall: This is a film that could end up going down as a favourite of some but it is too similar to Interview for my liking.

Rating 70