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

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Halloween Midnight Horror – Open Grave (2013)

logoDirector: Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego

Writer: Eddie Borey, Chris Borey (Screenplay)

Starring: Sharlto Copley, Thomas Kretschmann, Josie Ho, Joseph Morgan, Erin Richards, Max Wrottesley

Plot: A man wakes up in the wilderness, in a pit full of dead bodies, with no memory and must determine if the murderer is one of the strangers who rescued him, or if he himself is the killer.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Untangle the Web

Story: Open Grave starts with Jonah (Copley) waking up from a near dead state bones clicking all around him as he tries to figure out his surrounding in the early stage of a storm. The horror dawns on Jonah when he finds himself inside of an open grave of dozens of bodies along with a gun, he does get rescued by a mystery person on the outside.

Upon reaching the house he finds out the house is filled with Lukas (Kretschmann), Brown Eyes (Ho), Nathan (Morgan), Sharon (Richards), Michael (Wrottesely) , every single person doesn’t remember a thing, know where they are they just have a card that tells them who they are. The group have to figure out what is going on but is the killer really among them or still stalking them waiting to finish off what they started.

As the group start searching for answers they start to discover what was really going on leading us to a place where we have to continue decide who are the good guys and bad guys all while the subjects start fight back.

Open Grave brings us a mystery that keeps us on our toes from start to finish, I do think the film gets hugely miss-sold because it makes it out that we will see a serial killer and the film goes in a totally different direction. I did like how this film ends up going because you never really know where it is going and even with the hints we only end up asking more questions. The overall idea of using the solving a plague idea works because we to wonder about what caused it and how it could really be cured. In the end I found this to be one of the most surprising films I have seen in recent years even if it echoes another favourite film of mine. (8/10)

Actor Review

Sharlto Copley: John/Jonah is the man who wakes up in the open grave, he ends up joining forces with the other members who have no memory a they try to figure out what has been happening but all the clues show he isn’t in the same group of friends as the rest of the cabin. He does start to have flashbacks about what happened before waking up where he was. Sharlto brings his star power giving us a solid performance. (6/10)jonah

Thomas Kretschmann: Lukas is one of the people who wakes up in the house and takes an instant dislike to John as he questions who John is to the rest of them as John is the only one who doesn’t wake up in the house. He tries to take charge of the situation while figuring out his relationship to the rest. Thomas gives a solid performance but never pulls off the full side of his character. (6/10)

Josie Ho: Brown Eyes is the mute who doesn’t understand any of the languages being spoken which adds to the terror for her character as she has no way to communicate her worries about what is going on. Josie works well in the mute but is mostly used to keep everything left in a question about what is happening. (6/10)brown eyes

Joseph Morgan: Nathan is the man who believes the house could be his, he speaks many languages apart from the one Brown Eyes speaks and tries to keep things together from inside the house. Joseph does a solid job in the supporting role. (6/10)nathan

Erin Richards: Sharon is one that ends up going with Jonah in search for answers but the two only end up find more questions, she can control Jonah’s temper but who is she really related too. Erin does well in this role but only ends up in a supporting role. (6/10)

Support Cast: Open Grave only has a couple more supporting characters that are either the ones that die early or the ones that are already infected with what has been taking over the world.

Director Review: Gonzalo Lopez-GallegoGonzalo brings us a fresh feeling horror that constantly keeps you guessing to what is going on. (8/10)

Horror: Open Grave tries to keep the horror back with snippets of gore letting the thrilling side of the story come though strong. (6/10)

Mystery: Open Grave really drops us into a mystery that we have to try and work out as each secret is revealed. (9/10)

Thriller: Open Grave does keep you guessing until the final scene about what has really been happening. (9/10)

Settings: Open Grave puts our characters in an enclosed area that they are trapped in but not sure what is happening. (9/10)

Suggestion: Open Grave is one for the horror fans to watch, I think it does keep you guessing enough. (Horror Fans Watch)

Best Part: Final Twist.

Worst Part: Slightly miss-sold

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Could have one.

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Resident Evil

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

Tagline: The moment you wake up, the nightmare begins

Trivia: The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2006 Blacklist; a list of the “most liked” unmade scripts of the year.

Overall: Horror with twist after twist after twist before we learn the truth

Rating 70

Oldboy (2013)

logoDirector: Spike Lee

Writer: Mark Protosevich (Screenplay) Garson Tsuchiya, Nobuaki Minegishi (Manga)

Starring: John Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, Samuel L Jackson, Michael Imperiolo, Pom Klementieff, James Ransone, Max Casella

 

Plot: Obsessed with vengeance, a man sets out to find out why he was kidnapped and locked into solitary confinement for twenty years without reason.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic American Remake, Botched

 

Story: Oldboy starts by showing Joe (Brolin) going about his normal day drinking on his job turning up late working on a big job. Joe has been letting his three year old daughter down by missing her birthday just so he can get the advertisement job with an elite client. We learn in just five minutes just how much of a low life screw up Joe really is.

Joe wakes up naked in a hotel room with a selection of different everyday products, the door is locked and there is no way out of the room. Joe’s ex-wife gets murdered while Joe is locked away and Joe is framed for the murder. We continue to see how Joe is locked up and we want and learn the time changing through the television Joe watches as he starts to change.

20 years have passed and Joe is released from his prison and ends up showing the skills he has learned while locked up and meeting Doctor Marie Sebastian (Olsen). Joe goes to the one person he can trust Chucky (Imperioli) and after getting a phone call from the man who has kept him locked up he starts to look into any potential enemies he has. Joe teams up with Marie to search for answers as he struggles to deal with the technology that has come to the world since he was locked up.
Joe finds the location where he was locked up and sets out torturing the man running it Chaney (Jackson) in searching for the one who arranged his locking up. When the mystery man (Copley) visits Joe forcing him to watch murder giving Joe 46 hours to work out who he is and why he locked him up or he will kill Joe’s daughter. We now have to watch Joe and Marie figure out who the mystery man is before learning the terrifying truth behind his motives.

Oldboy is a remake of a classic that with its shock and grit really gathered a hardcore fan base. With that in place we have to wonder how a remake could make an impact, well the only positive I saw was the idea of improved technology, we see Joe solve the problems just by looking on a smartphone while in the original it was a computer. This helps the investigation get fast tracked but that is where the original ideas end. Nearly every scene and twist is a carbon copy of what the original had, we get no shocks because we know what is coming and to take these shocks away would ruin the outcome of the film.

Let’s try and look at this if the original had never happened now. In fairness this really does throw up a very good mystery and I would really like to hear from anyone who has only seen this copy of the film. After seeing the original I can only give this score, but I do think it could be higher if you haven’t seen the original. (4/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Josh Brolin: Joe Doucett starts out as a terrible father, drunk and overall sleaze ball. After he gets locked up for twenty years Joe has to figure out who is behind it and get to his daughter before it is too late. Josh doesn’t reach the same levels the star of the original reaches and never looks as full emotional broken by what happens. (4/10)

 joe

Elizabeth Olsen: Marie Sebastian young nurse who helps Joe with his investigation, she ends up getting caught up in the middle of the battle with a much more sinister motive. Elizabeth does a solid job but really is just a pawn in the bigger game. (6/10)

marie

Sharlto Copley: Adrian/Stranger this is the mystery man who has been making Joe run through hoops while threating his daughter to see if Joe can learn the motives behind locking him up. Sharlto does a solid job as the villain staying very calm through every scene his character is in showing just how twisted his character really is. (7/10)

 mystery

Support Cast: Oldboy has a supporting cast who makes up the victims for Joe to target.

 

Director Review: Spike Lee – Spike is one of the best directors in the business but in the end he just makes a carbon copy of the original. (4/10)

 

Action: Oldboy has the good fight scenes but like most of this film, it doesn’t reach the levels of the first. (6/10)

Mystery: Oldboy gives a mystery that really makes you wonder what will happen and what is the motive. (9/10)

Thriller: Oldboy does give mystery but doesn’t put you on the edge of your seat like the original does. (5/10)

Settings: Oldboy brings the settings back to America but really doesn’t use anywhere special. (4/10)

Suggestion: Oldboy is a difficult film to suggest because if you have seen original you can miss but if you haven’t you could try this one but I can only suggest really seeing the original. (Watch Original)

 

Best Part: Technology speeds the pace up.

Worst Part: It is just a carbon copy.

Oh My God Moment: The End.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $4.8 Million

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

Tagline: Ask not why you were imprisoned. Ask why you were set free.

Trivia: Josh Brolin personally created the title artwork.

 

Overall: Oldboy sums up the problem with American remakes, it just copies something brilliant and never gets the same shock value.

Rating 40

Chappie (2015)

logoDirector: Neill Blomkamp

Writer: Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell (Screenplay)

Starring: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Brandon Auret

Plot: In the near future, crime is patrolled by a mechanized police force. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: I, Robot: South Africa

Story: Chappie starts in Johannesburg, South Africa where the new robotic police force has taken over the city. We meet the staff of Tetavaal who produce the police robots, we have the CEO Michelle Bradley (Weaver), weapons excerpt Vincent Moore (Jackman) and chief designer Deon Wilson (Patel), as the team who keep the bots fully operational and away from hacking.

The get to see how effective the robot officers are when they break up a drug deal gone bad. When number 22 continues to come back damaged it is sent to be crushed. The surviving drug dealers all come together to plan to steal the robots control key so they can control the crime in the city. When Deon finally believes he has cracked the artificial intelligence for a robot he goes for his to be demolished robot 22 to try out his theory. After Deon gets kidnapped he gets force to turn his robot project into the puppet for them.

When Deon gets the robot operational he acts like a new born child that gets named Chappie (Copley) but when Vincent learns of the operation he sets out to use his rejected robots to track down the robot. We also see how Chappie continues to learn about the environment around him, as the drug dealer start to push the limits, all while Deon is getting pushed to the limits as Vincent shows he true colours towards Deon.

Chappie finds himself in the middle of a battle between drug dealers, an angry weapons expert and his creator as he just wants to explore and enjoy the world. When Deon’s work gets sabotaged by Vincent only time will tell on who will be seen as thee good guy or the bad guys.

Chappie is a film that tries so hard to squeeze in too many story lines, we have teaching robot, company conflict, drug lord battles and moral questions. I did like certain parts of this, I enjoyed the idea of having a robot being taught without the restriction of the laws of robotics which most films spend 5-10 minutes explaining, but this film avoids the idea, this helps to show the independent side of the robots character. The drug dealer/lord battle was very generic and not offering to much to the story. The company wars shows how the style of intelligence conflict which does work and finally giving the robot the moral questions to ask itself works because it is a first. I do feel Chappie has parts of other films but in the end has an original factor about it and it leaves me asking the question, do we demand too much from an original film? I will say it ends pretty strange but for the most part this is enjoyable. (7/10)

Actor Review

Sharlto Copley: Chappie is the innocent robot creation that wants to learn about the world but as he learns only the bad he desperately needs to learn the good while he ends becoming a target. Sharlto does a good job as Chappie. (7/10)chappie

Dev Patel: Deon Wilson is the brilliant designer who has created a robot police force, but he wants to create a new level of artificial intelligence. When he finalises his idea his creation ends up in the hands of the wrong people. Dev continues to show he is doing a good job in the business and that he could be waiting to truly break out. (7/10)deon

Hugh Jackman: Vincent Moore is the weapons expert that has seen his designs get ignored as Deon’s get approved, he funding has been getting slashed until he finally breaks and finds his own way to test his machines. Hugh does have fun as the villain and also gives us one of the most intense scenes in the film. (7/10)vincent

Sigourney Weaver: Michelle Bradley is the owner of the weapons manufacturers who will listen to ideas but unless they includes weaponry ideas that don’t cost much she isn’t interested. Sigourney does a solid job but doesn’t get enough screen time. (6/10)michele

Support Cast: Chappie has a supporting cast that includes the drug dealing family that raise Chappie, it also has the drug dealer/lord who want the money that the first family have to work for.

Director Review: Neill BlomkampNeill continues to bring us his new sci-fi genre that brings modern technology in slumps. (7/10)

Action: Chappie is basic that really doesn’t get into the most part until the final scene. (5/10)

Sci-Fi: Chappie does use the sci-fi point with modern technology that doesn’t look like a world with technology. (8/10)

Thriller: Chappie doesn’t really end up having the thrill side coming up during the film. (4/10)

Settings: Chappie brings us back the South Africa for the story which works. (8/10)
Special Effects: Chappie has great effects throughout. (8/10)

Suggestion: Chappie is one to try, I know a lot of people have slammed it but I do think it can be enjoyed because something just seemed to pull me in. (Try It)

Best Part: Chappie

Worst Part: Drug dealers

Action Scene Of The Film: Final scenes

Funniest Scene: Chappie stealing cars.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: I, Robot

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $102 Million

Budget: $49 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours

Tagline:  I am discovery. I am wonder. I am chappie.

Overall: Ignore the trailer because it will be misleading, but certain parts are very interesting ideas.

Rating 70

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