ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – D – Destroyer (2018)

Director: Karyn Kusama

Writer: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell, Tatiana Maslany, Sebastian Stan, Scoot McNairy, Bradley Whitford, Toby Huss

 

Plot: A police detective reconnects with people from an undercover assignment in her distant past in order to make peace.


Tagline – You can’t run from yourself.

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Kidman Powerhouse Performance

 

Story: Destroyer starts when one of Erin Bell’s (Kidman) former cases comes back into the spotlight, one which saw her go undercover with fellow officer Chris (Stan) within a gang run by Silas (Kebbell). This case took nearly everything out of Erin’s life including straining the relationship Erin has with her daughter Shelby (Pettyjohn).

As Erin starts to go through the gang, she gets to learn what the members have done with their lives in the time after the incident, Erin knows that Silas is coming for revenge and this investigation gives her a chance to face all her demons and make peace for her errors.

 

Thoughts on Destroyer

 

Characters – Erin Bell is a police officer that went so deep undercover that she lost her family, 17-years-later the leader of that gang has returned, this will give the Erin a chance to make peace with this case, trying to put her addiction problems a side, Erin won’t take any abuse from anybody, she will step over the line of the law to make sure she puts an end to this case. Silas is the leader of the gang, he makes his followers do anything to prove themselves to him and will lead them in breaking the law, he has gone into hiding, with his return making him a target for Erin. Petra is one of the main followers in the gang, she is one that is still active with Silas, showing that her addiction is still controlling her life. Chris is the partner that worked with Erin in the undercover job, we see how they got to learn to work together to make themselves seem like a couple.

PerformancesNicole Kidman gives one of her career best performances ever single scene we see her committed to this role where she demands your attention unlike any performance, we have ever seen from her before. Toby Kebbell does make us believe his character is on edge and a threat through each and every scene he appears in. Tatiana Maslany and Sebastian Stan complete the main supporting cast which shows us they can step up to look strong against Kidman through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a former undercover police officers that wants to make amends for her case which ended in tragedy and has made her lose out part of her life when it comes to family, turning her to her own addictions. The first thing to know about this that we have two times being viewed, it is easy to tell the two apart because of the length of Erin’s hair. As Erin is trying to locate Silas, we get the flashbacks to her interactions with the gang members as she gets to relocate them as she is searching for Silas. Away from the investigation side of the story, Erin is also trying to rebuild her relationship with her daughter one that she shattered with her problems in the past. The mix of the two stories shows us just how dysfunctional this life can become for anyone that gets too deep within the undercover job.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film follows the events of the robbery, how it went down and how the escape was planned. We do enter the crime world, which sees how Erin went undercover and operated within the gang, followed by how she bent the laws to track Silas back down.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which as always is a wonderful backdrop for the criminal underworld, it shows us just how crime can get done around the city without people seeing it come.


Scene of the Movie –
The robbery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The final encounter.

Final ThoughtsThis is brilliant crime thriller that shows that Nicole Kidman is one of the greatest actresses of her generation, we have a story that keeps you guessing with an anti-hero in Erin that needs to fix her life.

 

Overall: Gripping Tense Thriller

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action – R – RocknRolla (2008)

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Guy Ritchie (Screenplay)

Starring: Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, Mark Strong, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Karel Roden, Toby Kebbell

 

Plot: Lenny Cole, a London mob boss, puts the bite on all local real estate transactions. For substantial fees, he’s helping Uri Omovich, a Russian developer. As a sign of good faith, Omovich loans Cole a valuable painting, promptly stolen off Cole’s wall. While Cole’s men, led by the dependable Archie, look for the canvas, three local petty criminals, the Wild Bunch, steal money from the Russian using inside information from his accountant, the lovely Stella. Meanwhile, a local drug-addled rocker, Johnny Quid, is reported drowned, and his connection to Cole is the key to unraveling the deceits and double crosses of life in the underworld.


Tagline – A story of sex, thugs and rock ‘n roll.

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over Saturated Film

 

Story: RocknRolla starts when One Two (Butler) and Mumbles (Elba) learn the hard way how London mobster Lenny Cole (Wilkinson) operates, needing to collect a large amount of money. Lenny is in the middle of a big deal with a Russian Uri Omovich (Roden) that would be the biggest of his career.

When a piece of art gets stolen Lenny is put under pressure to return the art work to Uri, he turns to his right-hand man Archy (Strong) to get it back, turning to One Two for help as we see how the underworld coming together to get one up on each other.

 

Thoughts on RocknRolla

 

Characters – One Two is the leader of the Wild Bunch, he gets left owing a lot of money within the month and it soon becomes his connections that help with the mystery about where a painting is hiding as he plans to solve his own problems. Mumbles is the best friend in the Wild Bunch, he is the one that One Two turns to for advice through the problems. Lenny Cole is the mobster that runs London, he has everyone in his pocket to get what he wants, with his greed taking over when he can have a deal with a billionaire Russian, though his past could cause the trouble in this deal. Stella is the accountant that has each party doing her dealings, she knows how to have each side in the palm of her hands. Archy is the one telling the story, he has the right-hand man for Lenny and the go between all the different sides of the underworld. In this film we do get too many characters with so many different arcs going on through the film.

PerformancesThe acting in this film is good from the whole cast, we have a large cast which does hinder them from getting a true star turn in this film. Butler, Wilkinson, Newton, Strong, Elba, Hardy all show how they can become good at making moments of impact in shorter scenes.

StoryThe story here follows three levels of mobsters as they deal with a deal gone bad as they are trying to stay ahead of each other, in typical Ritchie storytelling we get thrown all over the place with the story telling and miss the most interesting action aspects of the film. when it comes to the criminal underworld side of the story, we don’t get anything new with generic characters who just go through the emotions that don’t always make us enjoy the characters we are enjoy watching.

Action/CrimeThe action is disappointing because we have scenes which should be good, only Ritchie’s style of shooting chops too much hiding the best parts. The crime world created is good because we see just how many different levels of the crime world we are entering.

SettingsThe film is set in London which is good for the film because if these type of deals are happening it would need to be in a busy city location like London.


Scene of the Movie –
Sporting goods fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The action editing.

Final ThoughtsThis is your typical British gangster film, it has its own flair which can help and hinder the film at times, we have too many characters to stay on top of which only disappoints with the storytelling process.

 

Overall: Typical mobster movie.

Rating

 

 

Gemma Arterton Weekend – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

Director: Mike Newell

Writer: Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard (Screenplay) Jordan Mechner (Video Game)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Steve Toussaint, Toby Kebbell

 

Plot: A young fugitive Prince and Princess must stop a villain who unknowingly threatens to destroy the world with a special dagger that enables the magic sand inside to reverse time.


Tagline – Defy the Future

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Adventure

 

Story: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time starts in the land of Persia, ruler Nizam (Kingsley) and brother to the king Sharaman (Pickup) leads his armies in battle with his generals and rebellious prince Dastan (Gyllenhaal) still keeping his streetwise behaviour in him. The latest show of strength sees Dastan lead an attack on Princess Tamina (Arterton) city bringing the two cities together.

When Dastan gets framed for the King’s death, he goes on the with Tamina only to learn about a dagger that can control time, that his brother really wanted from the siege, Dastan must prove his innocence and return home while unlocking his own destiny.

 

Thoughts on Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

 

Characters – Dastan was born on the streets, but raised in the place after impressing the king, he still remains close to the people on the streets which leaves him unable to follow orders. He leads an assault on a new kingdom only to find himself a pawn in a game of power for control of Persia and must learn his true destiny and save the kingdom. Tamina is the princess of a new land that the Persian’s claim, she is forced to marry one, but knows the secrets behind the dagger and the power it gives. She is willing to help get the dagger to safety and away from those who will use the power for their own greed. Nizam is the brother to the king, Uncle to Dastan, he has always lived in the shadow of his brother and no matter who takes over, he will not be king. Sheik Amar is a man that Dastan keeps running into on his travels, a man that is driven by gold which he sees with the bounty on Dastan’s head.

PerformancesJake Gyllenhaal is good when it comes to the action and physical side of the film, though his accent does bounce around at times. Gemma Arterton has the look of a princess, though the accent involved is questionable, for the location she is meant to be from. Ben Kingsley is an easy choice for a villainous character, which is fine he doesn’t get truly challenge in his role, while Alfred Molina adds comedy it can lighten up the movie enough.

StoryThe story is adapted from the video games series, which had a smart idea of a dagger that could control time and the battle for power of the dagger. The film does follow those lines well showing us that not everything is going to be easy for our hero and he simply won’t know who to trust when it comes to gaining power for good or evil. It does follow a trend which was going on at the time with the unlikely couple from different worlds that are slowly falling in love as they look to save the day, with unlikely friendship and enemies made along the way. The idea of a weapon which could possesses the ability to change time is interesting addition to the normal adventure movie too.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action in the film is good and entertaining, it includes the fights and battles which will show the number of people fighting for each side. The adventure side of the film shows us how far Dastan must travel to make his position right in the kingdom, going through location which would be considered dangerous on other days. The weapons power adds in the fantasy element which sees us reverse time when suited.

SettingsThe film does use the generic temple style cities and royal locations as well as the open deserts to show us where out character is going on their adventure.

Special EffectsThe effects are a mixed bag, when we see the time rewind, we do get a unique look which is good, the weakness come from certain larger scale moments.


Scene of the Movie –
The rewind of time scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The giant CGI moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun video game adventure movie, it has an idea which can become just like we could imagine a video game playing out which is what we would like at times.

 

Overall: Enjoyable adventure film.

Rating

 

 

The Hurricane Heist (2018)

Director: Rob Cohen

Writer: Scott Windhauser, Jeff Dixon (Screenplay) Anthony Fingleton, Carlos Davis (Story)

Starring: Toby Kebbell, Maggie Grace, Ryan Kwanten, Ralph Ineson, Melissa Bolona, Ben Cross, Jamie Andrew Cutler

 

Plot: Thieves attempt a massive heist against the U.S. Treasury as a Category 5 hurricane approaches one of its Mint facilities.


Tagline – The ultimate storm for the perfect heist.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Special Effects Mess

 

Story: The Hurricane Heist starts as two brothers Will and Breeze witness their father killed in a hurricane as children. Present day Will (Kebbell) work on providing the earliest possible detection for storms, Breeze (Kwanten) is an engineer for the treasury and a drunk.

When a new storm looks likely to hit, it just so happens to be when a group of bank robbers plan to rob the treasury, leaving only Casey (Grace) to fight back, with the brothers helping in their own way.

 

Thoughts on The Hurricane Heist

 

Characters – Will is the younger of the two brothers, he wants to figure out how to save lives with his science to predict storms, he reluctantly agrees to help Casey when the robbery happens and will need to face his past and over come his fears. Breeze is the older brother of the two, he has become a drunk even though he served for his country, he never left town and uses his skills to fight back against the thieves. Casey is the officer that is forced into taking on the criminals trying to take the money, determined to do the right thing after making a mistake in her past. The crooks and criminals are generic as the come, either hackers who believe they know it all, tired employees and opportunists.

PerformancesI hate having to say bad things about these actors, I feel they do the best they can, Toby Kebbell gives us one of the most generic American accents you will ever hear, Maggie Grace handling the combat is the highlight of the acting in this film if we are being honest.

StoryThe story on paper should be fun, a heist with a hurricane in the back drop, this is like Hard Rain when it comes to this concept. The problem is the film does take itself too seriously and falls into a generic heist movie mixed with a confusingly painful disaster movie, what sort of hurricane is this? The story isn’t even the biggest problem with this movie.

ActionThe action tries to be very big, but only ends up feeling laughable for the most part leaving you losing interest in the action set pieces.

SettingsThe film is set in a town in America, it seems to be generic town 101.

Special EffectsWhen people laugh at Sharknado, the film knows it has bad CGI, this movie thinks it has good effects and they are barely on the same level as Sharknado.


Scene of the Movie –
Speed bump.

That Moment That Annoyed Me CGI is awful.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie you will need to be wasted to get any enjoyment out off, it is dull, boring and a CGI mess.

 

Overall: This is why we can’t have nice things.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – G – Gold (2017)

goldDirector: Stephen Gaghan

Writer: Patrick Massett, John Zinman (Screenplay)

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramirez, Bryce Dallas Howard, Corey Stoll, Toby Kebbell, Bill Camp

 

Plot: Kenny Wells, a prospector desperate for a lucky break, teams up with a similarly eager geologist and sets off on a journey to find gold in the uncharted jungle of Indonesia.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slightly Miss-Leading

 

Story: Gold starts in 1981 Nevada where Kenny Wells (McConaughey) who works in mining but when the industry hits hard times he becomes desperate and wants to get into the search for Gold, to do this he needs to work with successful copper miner Michael Acosta (Ramirez).

Finding the perfect location of untapped potential in Asia the two working together to search for a chance to make their fortune. With the first attempts going badly the two must find another way to make things work, before they finally find their gold mine.

As the success gets to Kenny’s head his personal life with Kay (Howard) starts to be strained and with their company hitting the stock market can this all be as much of a success as Kenny dreams it to be.

 

Thoughts on Gold

 

Characters/PerformanceKenny is the dreamer who believes he can make major money with a treasure hunter, he isn’t the smartest with money but his showmanship can get the sale for him. Acosta is the smarter businessman of the two who supports Kenny through all his decisions be it good or bad, he has a reputation that says he is the master geologist who can find metal in any surface.

The performances are all good without being award standard with McConaughey having to carry the film even though Ramirez was impressive in the supporting role.star

StoryThe story here is all about one man getting rich and how it all went down, I do feel this was sold differently because I was sold on the idea of a big treasure hunt but this is all how the business side of the story happens. The story is very up and down for pacing without being as interesting in the those places.

Adventure/ThrillerAdventure side of this story comes from searching for the gold but you just never feel like you are joining in a treasure hunt, you are kept wondering where the story will go but this is a lot of the business side of the events unfolding.

SettingsThe settings through the film show the different stages of Kenny success, we have the low moments, the jungle in search of the gold and when he has the money and how he would be spending it. All the settings can show us just where he is through this story with just a glance at the scene.genre

Final ThoughtsI just couldn’t find this to be the most interesting for what I went into watching, the highlight of the trailer was the tiger moment which is completely out of contexts and has zero impact in the story.

 

Overall: This is easy to watch but also easy to forget what you saw.

Ratingrating