Motherless Brooklyn (2019) Movie Review

Director: Edward Norton

Writer: Edward Norton (Screenplay) Jonathan Lethem (Novel)

Starring: Edward Norton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, Willem Dafoe, Bruce Willis, Ethan Suplee, Cherry Jones, Bobby Cannavale

Plot: In 1950s New York, a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette’s Syndrome ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend.

Runtime: 2 Hours 24 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Motherless Brooklyn starts when Tourette’s suffering Lionel (Norton) witnesses his mentor Frank Minna (Willis) murdered as he looks to uncover the truth about who was behind his murder, with his team Gilbert (Suplee), Tony (Cannavale) and Danny (Roberts), which will point Lionel in the direction of who is behind the murder.

As Lionel digs deeper into the case, he learns of a corruption case in Brooklyn where Moses Randolph (Baldwin) is looking to clean up the slums believing they are the problem in the city, while the campaigners against it are the targets to his cleaning operation with the mayor backing everything he does.

Thoughts on Motherless Brooklyn

Characters & Performances – Lionel Essrog is a detective that sees his mentor murdered and looks to try and investigate who is behind it, he pretends to be a journalist to get into the world, where he will need to control his Tourette’s syndrome, which will cause him having outburst swearing, which can get him into trouble. Edward Norton doesn’t convince in this role, he hits the serious side well, but then he seems to throw Tourette’s in for what seems like comedy value, being offensive over part of his character. Laura Rose is the woman that Lionel starts trying to connect to his mentor, her past is what makes Lionel looking deeper into everyone connected to the story, she does work for a campaigner who is trying to save the housing for the minorities. Gugu Mbatha-Raw does everything right through the film without getting too much to do outside basic. Moses Randolph is the man that has put himself into the position of power, using his construction plans to make everything happen in the city, no matter who will walk over. We get plenty of issues about who he is, will take centre stage through the story. Alec Baldwin does get the strongest scenes when it comes to speeches, which will see him shine in the film. We do meet plenty of characters who will all have their own stories about what is going on, all trying to stay one step ahead of each other throughout the film.

StoryThe story here follows a detective who is looking to solve the case which saw his partner murdered, leading him down a political rabbit hole in search for the truth. This is a story that shows us how people out themselves into positions of power to make sure they could control the city and increase their own income, we get a side attachment to the lead character Lionel of Tourette’s which just ends up looking completely out of place for the noir style the film is going for. We get twists around each corner, which will keep us wanting to know who the real villain of the case is, even if we are entering a world without anyone having a true moral compass. It plays out like you would imagine, without offering anything new to the genre, or being one of the best in it either.

ThemesMotherless Brooklyn is a crime thriller that will keep us guessing, will look at the corruption going on within the political system, showing us how people will take advantage of their position for pain, without getting intense with how anything unfolds, we are in full noir mode, which is fine, but it just never feels like the case is in any rush to be solved, despite using the Brooklyn backdrop to make everything feel tight with the tension of most sides being on a knifepoint waiting to explode.

Final Thoughts Motherless Brooklyn is a crime noir that never manages to hit the intensity it wants to.

The Rhythm Section (2020) Movie Review

Director: Reed Morano

Writer: Mark Burnell (Screenplay)

Starring: Blake Lively, Jude Law, Sterling K Brown, Max Casella, Raza Jaffrey, Richard Brake

Plot: A woman seeks revenge against those who orchestrated a plane crash that killed her family.


Tagline – Witness The Birth Of An Assassin

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Rhythm Section starts as Stephanie Patrick (Lively) has fallen off the rails after her family was killed in terrorist attack, when a reporter Keith Proctor (Jaffrey) approaches her with information about who arranged the bombing which will lead her to Iain Boyd (Law) a former MI6 agent who has been working on the case for years.

Iain will train Stephanie to fight back against people, teaching her to become an assassin, so she can hunt down the people involved in the attack hoping to get her own closure.

Thoughts on The Rhythm Section

Characters & Performances – Stephanie Patrick lost everything in a terrorist attack, her whole family killed leading her to a life of drugs and prostitution, until a reporter finds her and offers her a way out, a chance to learn the truth, a chance to hunt down the people who committed the attack, which will see her trained and put into a position where she is left to make the moral decisions about taking a life or not. Blake Lively does a great job in this role, she shows us the broken version of the character, as well as showing us just how unprepared her character is for the situations, she finds herself in. Iain Boyd is the former MI6 agent that ends up training Stephanie, teaching her the harsh reality of this world she is entering and showing her what it means to fight for your life against someone who won’t stop. He is honest and will make sure she learns the hard way if she is ever going to understand what it takes. Jude Law is strong at the mentor role, which will see him taking control of the scenes and being the one moving the story forward. Mark Serra is the information man that connects the criminals, that Stephanie must get close to if she wants to learn the truth, he will always use money to get what he wants, remaining calm through each interaction he has. Sterling K Brown is great here too, showing the calm presence in a world which could be so destructive.

StoryThe story here follows a woman who lost everything in a terrorist attack who gets a chance to learn who did it and get trained in combat so she can get revenge on the people who took everything from her. This does show us the stress and pain bough ton by being the lone survivor of a family after a terrorist attack and by having a more everyday person, we get to see how they must learn and not being as well skilled when it comes to doing the darker sides of revenge, it shows us how the world can be filled with people looking to take advantage of people who will be willing to do the dirty work for them.

ThemesWe do get to dive into the action side of this film, with plenty of close combat moments, as well as showing us the slow build up for scenes, using the tension to let the action explode onto the scene, we get to see the characters travel the world, which we are used to seeing, which shows us just how big the network can be.

 

The Rhythm Section is a smart thriller that might not bring us much new, but it does everything we would expect a thriller to do.

The Birthday Cake (2021) Movie Review

The Birthday Cake – Too Slow a Build Up

 

Director: Jimmy Giannopoulos

Writer: Jimmy Giannopoulos, Diomedes Raul Bermudez, Shiloh Fernandez (Screenplay)

Starring: Shiloh Fernandez, Val Kilmer, Ewan McGregor, William Fichtner, Lorraine Bracco, Jeremy Allen White, Emory Cohen, Vincent Pastore

Plot: On the 10th anniversary of his father’s death, Giovanni reluctantly accepts the task of bringing a cake to the home of his uncle, a mob boss, for a celebration. Just two hours into the night, Gio’s life is forever changed.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Birthday Cake starts when Gio (Fernandez) is looking to celebrate the anniversary of his father’s death in the mob filled family, where he is given the honour of delivery the birthday cake.

As Gio travels around the neighbourhood, he sees the people who are always watching over the family, as well as the people who are the closest family, this will lead him to a life changing moment because of his Uncle Angelo (Kilmer) and Uncle Ricardo (Fichtner).

Thoughts on The Birthday Cake

ThoughtsThe Birthday Cake is a typical gangster movie about a younger member of the family being thrown into the mix of the business without his will, leading to him needing to make the difficult decision about his own future. This isn’t a very engaging movie in anyway, leaving the star studded cast with little to do, while feeling like a knock off of many different gangster films from throughout the years. We do get a massive reveal, only it does take too long to reach this point, leaving us wanting more than anything else to get this earlier because it would have made this a much more interesting film.

Signature Entertainment presents The Birthday Cake in Cinemas and on Premium Digital 16th July

Final Thoughts The Birthday Cake is a gangster film with a killer final act, only it drags getting there.

Black Medicine (2021) Movie Review

Black Medicine – Tense Thriller

 

Director: Colum Eastwood

Writer: Colum Eastwood (Screenplay)

Starring: Amybeth McNulty, Orla Brady, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Desmond Eastwood, Beccy Henderson, Lalor Roddy

Plot: Black Medicine follows a black-market medic who carries out illegal operations for the criminal underworld. When she gives refuge to a young girl, she must choose between breaking her medical oath or crossing her ruthless employers.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Black Medicine starts when black-market medic Jo (Campbell-Hughes) does job of the records for money after being struck off the medical side of things, she is hired for the latest job with her history being used to help persuade her to complete a procedure for Bernadette (Brady) to save her daughter.

When Jo learns the truth about what the plan is, she is forced to make an impossible decision to help Bernadette sacrifice a homeless teenager Aine (McNulty) or do the right thing, putting her in a position where she is put through the impossible decision.

Thoughts on Black Medicine

Characters & Performances – Jo is an off the grid nurse who uses her skills to help people for money without questions being asked. She is given a new job, which will see her needing to make an impossible decision after learning the truth about the job. Antonia Campbell-Hughes does a great job in her role, she will show us just how conflicted her character will be through the events of the film. Bernadette is the woman that looks to hire Jo, she offers big money, with the promise the procedure isn’t a complicated one, one that would help her daughter out. Orla Brady does show us just how far a mother would go to save their daughter from what could happen to them. Aine is the homeless teenager that has been tricked into being part of this decision, she is promised money, but is trying to escape, needing Jo to help her find safety. Amybeth McNulty does show us how someone can fall off the tracks and taken advantage of in this world. We do meet other people that have helped Jo in the past an d others that will be working for Bernadette to make things happen.

StoryThe story here follows an underground nurse that is hired for a job she isn’t expecting, one that will see her needing to put her moral oath in question when she learns the truth about what the plan truly is about. This is an interesting thriller that will show us just how difficult one person’s life can become when it comes to dealing with the heartache of their personal life, when they are given a chance to save someone else’s life for a price. It does bring an edgy side to it, while having the message about how the rich will look to take advantage of the poor. We will be left guessing as to how everything will play out, because even the wrong decision at the wrong time could see a bigger tragedy.

ThemesBlack Medicine is an Irish thriller that will use the background of the country to show how people will need to turn to a few off the grid jobs to try and make it through the day. We are left to see how the underworld of criminal activities operate when it comes to helping people survive different situations.

Signature Entertainment presents Black Medicine on Digital Platforms 12th July

Final Thoughts Black Medicine is a tidy thriller leaving us with a massive moral oath dilemma throughout the film.

The Nest (2021) Movie Review

Director: James Suttles

Writer: Jennifer Trudrung (Screenplay)

Starring: Dee Wallace, Sarah Navratil, Maple Suttles, Kevin Patrick Murphy, Drez Ryan, Blaque Fowler

Plot: A mother’s reality erodes around her as she struggles to fathom the entangled web of her daughter’s separation anxiety brought on by parasitic creatures within a stuffed bear.


Tagline – Don’t let the bed bugs bite.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Nest starts when Beth (Navratil) and Jack (Murphy) get their daughter Meg (Suttles) a new stuffed bear from a garage sale, the bear does have a secret, one that starts to take over Meg. With Meg changing the family is trying to figure out why, but soon they will learn what the parasite living inside the bear really wants.

As Beth sees the change in Meg, she tries to get to the bottom of it before she loses her daughter, believing she can help put her back on the right path before it is too late.

Thoughts on The Nest

Characters & Performances – Beth is the mother that is starting to notice the change in her daughter, she believes it is a form of anxiety, trying to help keep the connection between the two, she is also filled with a regret which cost the family, believing it might be her fault the family is become more distant. Sarah Navratil in this role does give us the concerned mother role with ease, showing us just how far a mother will go to do the right thing for their child. Meg is the daughter that gets the new teddy bear to help ease her separation anxiety, this only starts to make her act stranger around the home and people, acting out of character to everyone around her. Jack is the father who is trying to play the middle ground between the two, but like most father figures in these types of horrors, we get left with them taking the back seat on everything happening. We do have the horror icon Dee Wallace in this film, playing the grandmother role, wanting to make sure everybody stays connected whatever might happen.

StoryThe story here follows a young girl that gets a new teddy bear, a teddy bear with a secret that starts to change the family due to a parasite within the bear slowly starting to infect the family. This is a slow burning story that will mix the demon environment with a creature feature, with the slow change within the family. The story will head down a disturbing line, without getting into the truly scary line, which it feels like it wants to.

ThemesThe Nest is a horror thriller that turns the creature feature on its head with the inclusion of the demon factors, showing us just how the changes could easily be the same as any demonic possession movie, with the whole film taking place within the family home, adding to the evil that is changing things. The creature creations are slowly revealed, with each one having the creepy feel to them.

THE NEST will be available at Redbox for an exclusive two-week window beginning July 6 before a wide Digital and DVD release on July 20.

Final Thoughts The Nest is a disturbingly creepy creature feature that will spin the typical ideas of the idea.