ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – M – Man Down (2015)

Director: Dito Montiel

Writer: Adam G Simon, Dito Montiel (Screenplay) Adam G Simon (Story)

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Jai Courtney, Gary Oldman, Kate Mara, Tory Kittles, Clifton Collins Jr

 

Plot: In a post-apocalyptic America, former U.S. Marine Gabriel Drummer searches desperately for the whereabouts of his son, accompanied by his best friend and a survivor.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Confusing at Times

 

Story: Man Down starts in a post-apocalyptic America as we follow Gabriel Drummer (LaBeouf) and his best friend Devin Roberts (Courtney) searching for Gabriel’s son, we flash back to his marine training through his conversations with Counsellor Peyton (Oldman).

Through the film we learn how Gabriel handled himself in war when he lives his wife Natalie (Mara) and child Johnathan back in America, how he is prepared for this post-apocalyptic world that America is now and how far he would go to get his son back.

 

Thoughts on Man Down

 

Characters – Gabriel is a marine that believed he was fighting for the right thing but when the war came to America when he was away, he must search the destruction in hope of finding his son. Devin is the best friend and marine to Gabriel, he supports him through his missions and search for his son. Counsellor Peyton is the man learning about the mission that went wrong, as we learn that his mindset might not be as clean as we are led to believe.

PerformancesShia LaBeouf is good in this leading role showing a range we have questioned before. Jai Courtney is good in the supporting role showing us there is talent with the right material. Gary Oldman is great and that is how we like him calm and collective.

StoryThe story is told in four parts, as we follow Gabriel in his home life, war time, meetings with a counsellor and in the post-apocalyptic time, these timelines only confuse the story telling process as by the end of it we will find ourselves wondering just what actually happened to these men, what is real and what is not. By the end you will understand what happened but it does make certain parts feeling random, but the true message is important.

ThrillerThe thrilling side of the film does feel slow in places, it shows us certain moments only to make a complete switch in the final act.

SettingsThe settings do help keep us in the different location for each moment of the story, we can identify with each part of the story we are watching too.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act, and how it is shot is beautiful.

That Moment That Annoyed Me A lot of what we see is not as important.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard movie for the most part, it starts being confusing for the first hour but when it unfolds you will be taken back where this movie goes.


Overall: Slow and confusing nearly saved by a wonderful final act.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – G – The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)

Director: Bill Paxton

Writer: Mark Frost (Screenplay) Mark Frost (Book)

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Stephen Dillane, Elias Koteas, Peter Firth, Stephen Marcus, Josh Flitter

 

Plot: In the 1913 US Open, 20-year-old Francis Ouimet played against his idol, 1900 US Open champion, Englishman Harry Vardon.


Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Champion Golf Drama

 

Story: The Greatest Game Ever Played starts as we learn how young Harry Vardon comes from a small Jersey (England) island being looked down on about the idea of playing golf, grown-up Harry Vardon (Dillane) is a world champion welcomed to America where he is idolised by Francis Ouimet a young caddy.

When Francis Ouimet (LaBeouf) studies the game becoming a high school age champion before entering an amateur tournament against the wishes of the gentlemen who also look down on him, failing to make an impact Francis gives up his dreams of playing golf.

When Harry Vardon leads Britain’s campaign to retain the US title meaning they could hold all the professional titles in sport, the club enters an amateur into the tournament with Francis being that player following his dream for one final time in a game that will change the face of golf.

 

Thoughts on The Greatest Game Ever Played

 

Characters – Francis Ouimet grew up opposite a golf course he was never welcomed as a player growing up, he could be a caddy though. He tries his luck as an amateur but fails to make an impact leading to his early retirement to focus on making a living. He is given one more chance to enter the US Open which brings a strain on his relationship with his father who believes he should make a living and giving up a dream. Harry Vardon came from Jersey, a small island off the coast on England, he had never heard of golf until the rich built a golf course on his family’s home. He learnt the game became a champion but never forgot where he came from, now he looks to reclaim his title from the American players but he still feels the judgement of the rich watching him. We have the family that tries to support Francis, we also have the rich men who believe golf is only for them.

PerformancesShia LaBeouf shows us here that he is a truly capable actor before getting involved with the stranger roles. Stephan Dillane is great as the professional that has respect for the working-class player trying to make their way in the sport.

StoryThe story does show the difference in class of people who were playing golf in 1900’s we have two men at different stages of their career who have come from nothing to show their gifts for the game as they must go against the gentlemen who believe the sport it only for the rich. This game shows why we sports fan enjoy watching and playing, showing us that anyone can have their moment that can launch a career however many people want to get in their way.

History/SportWhen we look at sports records we know there are plenty of upset and shocks through the years, we also have many moments which give people hope who want to learn the game, this story and moment in history is one of the greatest to witness in sporting history.

SettingsWe have the settings that show where both Francis and Harry have come from as they enter the high society side of the sporting world where they are both never truly welcomed until they are champions.


Scene of the Movie –
No bad-mouthing Jersey.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The frustration of seeing the difference in class between the players at the club, giving the attitude between them.

Final ThoughtsThis film is inspirational to sporting fans and players everywhere, it gives us the entertainment needed to keep us on edge through a film to show us that anyone could win a tournament against the odds if given the chance.

 

Overall: Wonderful sports drama.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – N – The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman (2013)

Director: Fredrik Bond

Writer: Matt Drake (Screenplay)

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Til Schweiger, Rupert Grint, James Buckley

 

Plot: While traveling abroad, a guy falls for a Romanian beauty whose unreachable heart has its origins in her violent, charismatic ex.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Story

 

Story: The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman starts as Charlie (LaBeouf) deals with his mother’s death which pushes him to take a trip to Romania, an idea that the ghost of his mother suggests. On route the Romanian passenger Victor (Caramitru) dies giving Charlie a reason to find his daughter Gabi (Wood).

Charlie meets to Brits Karl (Grint) and Luc (Buckley) who show him how to party in the hostel but the danger comes from Gabi’s estranged husband Nigel (Mikkelsen) a dangerous man in the city. Charlie finds himself in the middle of the cover up that puts his own life in danger.

 

Thoughts on The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman

 

Characters/PerformanceCharlie is a young man who travels to escape the grieving of his mother’s death, he wants to do the right thing but enjoys partying to, it would be fair to say his true motivations and character are never fully shown though. Gabi is the local Romanian girl that catches Charlie’s eye, she is also grieving the death of a parent but her life is a lot more complicated than he can imagine. Nigel is the ex-husband of Gabi that isn’t going to let her go without a fight which brings us to see how dangerous this man could be.

Performance wise, Shia is good in this role, I know people can slam the guy but this works for him. Evan Rachel Wood is also good throughout the film without trying to steal the movie while Mads Mikkelsen is always great in this type of role.

StoryThis story focuses on the one man looking for a moment to get away from his life to grieve, this is all good we have seen this before because it shows how this solo character finds themselves getting into trouble. The idea is basically ABC and it is simple enough to follow.

Comedy/RomanceThe film doesn’t feel too much like of a comedy and the romance side is basically just guy meets girl in new city but girl has background that makes things difficult for them to be together.

SettingsThe setting is good because not many film are set in Romania.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most average films you will see, there are better and worse that cover the same genre.

 

Overall: Not that impressive.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Nymphomaniac Vol 2 (2013)

Director: Lars von Trier

Writer: Lars von Trier (Screenplay)

Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Jamie Bell, Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe, Mia Goth

 

Plot: The continuation of Joe’s sexually dictated life delves into the darker aspects of her adulthood, obsessions and what led to her being in Seligman’s care.


Tagline – Forget About Love

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Darker, but Not Interesting

 

Story: Nymphomaniac Vol 2 starts where the last film finished as Joe (Gainsbourg telling the story, Martin acting the story) is feeling lifeless when it comes to sex and even after having a child with Jerome (LaBeouf) the two start to become distant in their relationship as Joe still requires her sexual times. Now we are watching the older Joe only as she gets involved with risky sexual experiences.

When her body starts to struggle with the sex in her life, she starts going through treatment for her sex addiction and what she goes through next shows just how addiction can take over the lives of people.

 

Thoughts on Nymphomaniac Vol 2

 

Characters – Joe continues her story in this one we look at her taking on more extreme sexual encounters as she does continue to take on daily encounters to satisfy her lust. We see the affects on her body as she grows to the middle aged woman. The rest of the characters we meet don’t get enough screen time, Jerome is here only to try to take Joe’ child away. Seligman does have a bigger secret about him.

PerformancesCharlotte Gainsbourg does take the centre stage this time around going through the sexual encounters, she does commit to the performance. We have new actors joining this film and they do a good enough job when given the time.

StoryThe next chapter of the stories of Nymphomaniac Joe, this does show her going into extremer formers of sexual pleasure which has cost her child, but found her a career she could never have imagined, one which lets her use her sexual desires. The thing with the story here, is that you do need to have seen the first film to have any idea what is going on, while most two part movies you can miss or get recap this offers us nothing to help.

SettingsThe settings continued to show us just where Joe finds herself through her different encounters, none become the most important to the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The new job for Joe.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It’s just unrealistic conversations.

Final ThoughtsThis is the second half of a film, that if you don’t make it through the first one, you will not enjoy the second, this might be darker, but it just isn’t enjoyable enough to sit through.

 

Overall: Still difficult to watch.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Nymphomaniac Vol 1 (2013)

Director: Lars von Trier

Writer: Lars von Trier (Screenplay)

Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Stkarsgard, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Connie Nielsen

 

Plot: A self-diagnosed nymphomaniac recounts her erotic experiences to the man who saved her after a beating.


Tagline –  Forget About Love

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Uncomfortable at Times

 

Story: Nymphomaniac Vol 1 starts as a beaten Joe (Gainsbourg) is rescued by Seligman (Skarsgard) taken back to his home to hear her story. Joe gives her story about how she is a nymphomaniac and how she became sexually awoken at a young age, flashback to a younger Joe (Martin) who goes through men for her own pleasure with her best friend B (Clark) in a competition level.

As the sexual stories compare to Seligman’s love of fishing we learn how Joe finds herself in this situation, well for the first chapter of the film.

 

Thoughts on Nymphomaniac Vol 1

 

Characters – Joe is the nymphomaniac, we do meet her at different stages of her life, from her first sexual encounter to her stage where she is left beaten up. We learn how she enjoys sex and has her whole life, she has only followed the idea of sex though, never believed in love, telling her story show where she is now. Seligman is a fisherman that takes Joe in to help her fix up, he listens to her story comparing it to his desire to fish. Jerome is one of the first true lusts that Joe has one that she might have loved, he was her first lover and soon becomes the pretend boss in her life, the one she can’t have. The rest of the characters we meet are those that are involved directly or indirectly with her sexual stories.

PerformancesCharlotte Gainsbourg is good at the telling the story side of the film, she does show the regrets of her characters past, but it is Stacy Martin that does sexual side of the story and as a newcomer does become the star of the show. Skarsgard is always a man you could listen to tell a story, this is all he does though. The performances are fine but no one outside of Martin really stands out.

StoryThe story here follows Joe a nymphomaniac that is telling her story to a man that offered her help in her time off need. Now this is a story about addiction, this time her addiction is sex and how it has affected different moments of her life. The story does give us lots of comparisons between sex and fishing which is weird and does try to make a big statement about people vision of life.

SettingsThe settings show us the different locations that Joe has been having sex and what it means to her life, none of the settings become the most important part of the film though.


Scene of the Movie –
Chapter 4.

That Moment That Annoyed Me LaBeouf doing an accent.

Final ThoughtsThis is part one of a double header, I am not looking forward to part two as this film doesn’t become the most interesting when it comes to everything going on.

 

Overall: Not the most interesting.

Rating