ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – H – Hustle & Flow (2005)

Director: Craig Brewer

Writer: Craig Brewer (Screenplay)

Starring: Terrence Howard, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning, Taraji P Henson, DJ Qualls, Ludacris, Paula Jai Parker

 

Plot: With help from his friends, a Memphis pimp in a mid-life crisis attempts to become a successful hip-hop emcee.


Tagline – The music will inspire them. The dream will unite them. This summer get crunk.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Insight to the Hip-Hop World

 

Story: Hustle & Flow starts as we see the everyday pimping life of Djay (Howard) forcing his prostitutes to do there thing with Nola (Manning) being he most requested girl, he has girls in the strip club too which Lexus (Parker) being the one he is closest too, he also has a pregnant one in his home with Shug (Henson) waiting to give birth.

When Djay meets an old friend Key (Anderson) he starts to have a craving to try and become a hip-hop star as the two work together to make song where he learns that Shug is the real talent in his household.

 

Thoughts on Hustle & Flow

 

Characters – Djay is a pimp going through a mid-life crisis, he is tired of struggling to make his girls collect his money and wants to try and new career as a hip-hop star, he must first shake his old ways though and accept criticisms for his vision. Key is a music producer for a local church, he comes from a very different background to Djay and is willing to give this music venture a chance. Nola is one of the prostitutes that is still working the streets she is his go to girl at the moment with the others out of the picture at the moment, she does get frustrated about being the only one on the streets though. Shug is the pregnant girl working for Djay, she shows herself to have real talent when it comes to singing which only brings the music alive for Djay.

PerformancesTerrence Howard in the leading role is great because we see his character’s full evolution through the story trying to find himself in the world. Anthony Anderson continues to show everyone he can be an great supporting performer while Taryn Manning and Taraji P Henson both show us they were going to go onto bigger projects.

StoryThe story shows us how a mid-life crisis can drive somebody to go down unusual paths with his Djay wanting to become a hip-hop star getting out of the pimping business. The story does break up into a couple of acts with the pimping business playing out like you would imagine, while the middle part of the film focuses for a long time on the making of the song which does go on longer than it needs too. With the third acting showing us just how difficult the industry is to get into. The idea that we can dream helps this movie out big time because it is important to see, though seeing just how far people will go for the dreams is the bleak side to things.

Crime/MusicThe crime world we see is just how the pimping world operates and how close to the line certain hip-hop stars can go to the law, this blends nicely with the music side of the film.

SettingsThe film is set in Memphis which shows us the difficult neighbourhood that Djay is operating in, it shows he tensions can fly and how the special want to get out of the place.


Scene of the Movie –
The club drinks.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too long spent recording the song.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story about dreams and just how far people will go to try and make dreams come true, whether you will go too far too.

 

Overall: Dreams Big or fail.

Rating

 

 

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August Rush (2007)

august-rushDirector: Kirsten Sheridan

Writer: Nick Castle, James V Hart (Screenplay) Paul Castro, Nick Castle (Story)

Starring: Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Terrence Howard, Robin Williams, William Sadler, Marian Seldes

 

Plot: A drama with fairy tale elements, where an orphaned musical prodigy uses his gift as a clue to finding his birth parents.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Touching Fantasy Drama

 

Story: August Rush starts as we meet Evan Taylor (Highmore) a young boy at an orphanage who believes in the music to life as he dreams of finding his long lost parents. We flashback to the night Evan’s parents Lyla (Russell) a member of an orchestra and Louis (Meyers) a rocker from England.

Evan is determined to find out about his parents and sets out on an adventure with music guiding him to learn just who his parents really were. On his adventure Evan meets Wizard (Williams) who has been guarding other orphans in the big city who all have dreams of becoming musicians on their own and it is here where Evan learns to play the music he has only ever heard before.

August Rush plays into the idea music can bring everyone together regardless of the style it is always about just how it is played. We get to see how you can regret moments in life but the ones that are most important are were always meant to be. We get a story that shows us all how you can believe in your own dreams no matter who stands in your way. We also get a great performance from Freddie Highmore along with great performances from the supporting cast. This a film that went right under the radar and does deserve the time to go out and watch.

 

Overall: Delightful story that can be watched by all the dreamers out there.

Rating75

 

 

Terrence Howard Weekend – The Hunting Party (2007)

huntingDirector: Richard Shepard

Writer: Richard Shepard (Screenplay) Scott Anderson (Article)

Starring: Terrence Howard, Richard Gere, James Brolin, Jesse Eisenberg

 

Plot: A young journalist, a seasoned cameraman and a discredited war correspondent embark on an unauthorized mission to find the No.1 war criminal in Bosnia. However, their extremely dangerous target decides to come after them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Story

 

Story: The Hunting Party starts by introducing us to our extreme reporters Simon Hunt (Gere) and his cameraman Duck (Howard) who put themselves in the most extreme warzones risking their lives. In 1994 Bosnia Simon reaches his limits after seeing the slaughter of a small village. We watch how the two go very different directions Duck gets a promotion and Simon goes off the radar.

The war over in the year 2000 Duck returns with young intern Benjamin (Eisenberg) for a story when Duck gets a visit from Simon who is looking for the notorious war criminal known only as The Fox (Kerekes). The three go on the adventure to uncover the war criminal with their liaison Mirjana (Kruger) as they go for an interview which is also a plan to capture him and regain the fame and fortune Simon once had.team

The Hunting Party is a loose look at what happened with a reporter trying to get his own personal revenge on a war criminal, I think that is the fair way to look at this one. The idea that reporters locate a war criminal works to an extent but the humour comes with how none of the military force seem to care about what is happened. The three have good chemistry which all helps with all the reaction to events. The down side for this film is that we just don’t seem to get pulled in enough for what happens with the story never believing what actually happened.

 

Actor Review

 

Richard Gere: Simon Hunt is a world renowned reporter that goes to all the warzones around the world collecting stories and awards. After he has a breakdown he goes under the radar before coming back into Duck’s life to finally capture the war criminal The Fox. Richard is good using his charm throughout the film.

Terrence Howard: Duck is the cameraman for Simon who went on all the stories, after Simon’s breakdown he gets the promotion and is enjoying the safer life, while returning to Bosnia for a story he has to team up with Simon one more time for the most extreme of all their adventures. Terrence is good in this role working well with Richard.

Jesse Eisenberg: Benjamin is the young intern who gets a chance to work with Duck in and Simon which will help with his much needed experience when it comes to getting into the world journalism. Jesse showed he was going to be a big star with this role.

Diane Kruger: Mirjana is a source in Bosnia she thinks the crew are CIA and tries to help them locate the Fox. Diane seems to only be in a few scenes and we don’t seem to see enough to give her fair criticism.

Support Cast: The Hunting Party has a supporting cast that includes all the different people that the crew really met on their adventure.

Director Review: Richard ShepardRichard gives us a light hearted look at very real situation that was much darker.

 

Adventure: The Hunting Party puts our character on a dangerous explosive adventure.

Comedy: The Hunting Party is told in a comical tone throughout.

War: The Hunting Party leaves us looking at the aftermath of war and how people are still too scared to worry about what happened.

Settings: The Hunting Party takes us to the areas involved in the Bosnia civil war as we see the effects it has had on the country.
Special Effects
: The Hunting Party uses good effects when need without turning to them.

Suggestion: The Hunting Party is one to try it isn’t the most exciting but it does what it needs to for basic storytelling. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Richard and Terrence have good chemistry.

Worst Part: Slightly slow and difficult to follow.

Funniest Scene: Indian UN guy.

 

Believability: Based on the real adventure I guess it is up to us to decide what we believe to be real.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $25 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: How can they find the world’s most wanted war criminal when the C.I.A. can’t? [by actually looking]

 

Overall: Fun look at how the media think the military characters are looking into war criminals

Ratingcard

Terrence Howard Weekend – The Brave One (2007)

brave oneDirector: Neil Jordan

Writer: Roderick Taylor, Bruce A Taylor, Cynthia Mort (Screenplay) Roderick Taylor, Bruce A Taylor (Story)

Starring: Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Nicky Katt, Naveen Andrews, Mary Steenburgen

 

Plot: A woman struggles to recover from a brutal attack by setting out on a mission for revenge.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brooding Revenge Thriller

 

Story: The Brave One starts with our radio host Erica Bain (Foster) who loves and knowns the streets of New York, her fiancée David (Andrews) is a doctor and the two plan to get married as soon as possible. The two never seeing too much wrong in their day find themselves victims of a group of thugs who beat David to death and leave Erica fighting for her life.

Once Erica recovers she finds out the truth about what happened to David before having to face the questions from Detectives Mercer (Howard) & Vitale (Katt) as she remains haunted by the events of that night. Worried about her safety Erica purchases her own gun as she starts her own trail of vengeance against anyone who has wronged people as she cleans up the streets she learns that her killing isn’t having the desired affects she would desire.

The Brave One is a revenge thriller that plays into vigilante with revenge. The film follows the victim who doesn’t get the answers needed from the law so she takes it into her own hands. While this isn’t a direct revenge thriller our leading lady finds herself in the chance to kill or be killed before getting into the idea of cleaning up crime work. The film is slightly slow when it comes to getting into the action as it focuses on the effects on Erica dealing with what happened to her. It is a nice spin on what we have seen before but the final act is really exciting.

 

Actor Review

 

Jodie Foster: Erica Bain is the victim of a vicious attack from a group of thugs that leaves her fiancée dead and her fighting for her life. Once physically recovered she doesn’t recover mentally as she sets out on her own path of vengeance against the men responsible for her situation and the people leaving others in similar ones. Jodie is great in this role as we see her go through a large change through the film.erica

Terrence Howard: Detective Mercer is getting tired of all the criminals getting away crimes as he starts to praise the vigilante taking out the criminals as he tries to find legal loopholes. When he starts to become friends with Erica he hints at criminals as he looks to take down a powerful drug lord. Terrence is good in this supporting role as the worn out cop tired of the criminals.mercer

Nicky Katt: Detective Vitale is the partner for Mercer who never full seems as worn out by the legal side of police work as Mercer is. He treats it like a job and nothing more. Nicky is a basic supporting character not really offering much to the rest of the film.

Naveen Andrews: David Kirmani is the fiancée of Erica, he is a doctor and the two plan to be married, when the pair run into a group of thugs they both are left fighting for their lives where David takes the worst of the beatings as he is killed leaving Erica alone in the world. Naveen is good in this small supporting role that is pivotal to the outcome of this film.davd

Support Cast: The Brave One has a supporting cast that all end up being either side of the law as Erica goes on her clean up mission.

Director Review: Neil JordanNeil gives us a good brooding revenge thriller that keeps us on the edge without fully pulling us through.

 

Crime: The Brave One brings us into the world as a victim gets to witness the crimes and has to make the decision on how to act.

Thriller: The Brave One keeps us on the edge of as we wonder what Erica will get to up next.

Settings: The Brave One uses New York for the setting showing both the good and bad sides of the popular city.
Special Effects
: The Brave One uses great effects to show kills being involved.

Suggestion: The Brave One is on to try, if you want a well told revenge thriller this is great but if you are looking for a quick blood filled revenge thriller you will be disappointed. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Final Kill.

Worst Part: Slightly slow.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final Act.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $70 Millions

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

Tagline: How many wrongs to make it right?

 

Overall: Slow moving thriller that really ends up packing the punches needed

Ratingcard

Terrence Howard Weekend – Awake (2007)

awaeDirector: Joby Harold

Writer: Joby Harold (Screenplay)

Starring: Hayden Christensen, Jessica Alba, Terrence Howard, Lena Olin, Christopher McDonald, Sam Robards, Arliss Howards, Fisher Stevens

 

Plot: The story focuses on a man who suffers “anaesthetic awareness” and finds himself awake and aware, but paralyzed, during heart surgery. His mother must wrestle with her own demons as a turn of events unfolds around them, while trying to unfold the story hidden behind her son’s young wife.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tension Thriller

 

Story: Awake starts as Dr Jack Harper (Howard) is looking back on patients that he has lost on the operating table and most recently his friend Clay (Christensen). So the film kind of gives away the ending in the opening scene, way to go. Anyway we do move back to see Clay with his girlfriend Sam (Alba) as we learn that Clay is one of the most powerful men in New York but he needs to keep his relationship secret from his mother Lilith (Olin) while he prepares for heart surgery.

When Clay finally tells his mother about Sam he runs off to get married followed quickly by the call for his surgery to happen, saying his goodbyes before heading to the operating table where his nightmare is about to beginning as he suffers from anaesthetic awareness which involves him knowing and feeling everything going on during the operation, which includes the plan to murder him by the very people he trusts.

Awake plays into a real terror of being under anaesthetic and experiencing the surgery. We do get the extra plot twist with it all being a planned murder which is a nice twist and adds to the terror because there is nothing the victim could do. I liked how this didn’t go down the spiritual road when he has his out of body experience we don’t us that to solve the situation the truth gets exposed through human error. Where this could come off disappointing it the fact it starts by saying Clay died on the table which kind of takes away the tension needed for the  final twist.

 

Actor Review

 

Hayden Christensen: Clay is a billionaire son in New York, he needs a heart transplant and has befriended the doctor who needs to perform the surgery. He is happily in love with the beautiful Sam and marries her just before his operation. While under the operation he suffers from anaesthetic awareness as he suffers through the pain of the operation hearing how the team is planning his murder. Hayden is good in this role but is helpless through the film.clay

Jessica Alba: Sam is the beautiful fiancée of Clay who makes him happy with everything in his life, she is a secret to his mother but we learn that not everything is what it seems when it comes from her affection for Clay. Jessica is good in this role as we get to see her in a different light for once.sam

Terrence Howard: Dr Jack Harper is the surgeon that is performing the operation on Clay, the two have become friends but he has a reputation of having malpractice lawsuits to his name. while performing the surgery we learn his true nature. Terrence is his calm self through this film giving us the performance you would expect to see.jack

Lena Olin: Lilith Beresford is Clay’s overprotective mother who wants her choice of doctor to perform the surgery, she doesn’t approve of his son’s choice of Sam and only wants the best for him. Lena is solid in this role but considering how important she is we don’t see enough of her character early on.

Support Cast: Awake has a good supporting cast that are all involved in the final outcome of the story.

Director Review: Joby HaroldJoby gives us a thriller that plays on a real terrifying moment that keeps us on edge throughout.

 

Crime: Awake brings us into a crime that looks like it could be achieved by professionals you trust with your life.

Mystery: Awake keeps us wondering to what the motives behind the team the big mystery.

Thriller: Awake keeps us on edge throughout at we see if Clay can make it through the surgery.

Settings: Awake keeps most of the important scenes inside the hospital with on the operation table or the waiting room.
Special Effects
: Awake has good effects when it comes to the surgery being performed.

Suggestion: Awake is a film to try, I believe thriller fans will enjoy this one. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Murder twists.

Worst Part: Giving away the end in the opening scene.

 

Believability: The surgery could happen but the murder seems too much.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $8,6 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

Tagline: When they planned her husband’s murder they never thought he’d be the one.

 

Overall: Thriller that strikes into a fear into something anyone could have to go through.

Ratingcard