ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – W – War of the Worlds (2005)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Josh Friedman, David Koepp (Screenplay) H.G. Wells (Novel)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Miranda Otto, Justin Chatwin, Tim Robbins, Rick Gonzalez, Yul Vazquez

 

Plot: As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival.


Tagline – They’re already here

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sci-Fi Spectacular

 

Story: War of the Worlds starts when the deadbeat dad figure Ray (Cruise) is left to look after his children Rachel (Fanning) and Robbie (Chatwin) for a weekend, while he ex-wife Mary Ann (Otto) goes away with her new partner. We see early on the problems and strain in the relationship, but when an unknow storm hit New York a robotic creature comes out of the ground, killing everyone.

Ray grabs his kids and gets the hell out of the city racing across the country in hope of getting to Mary Ann where the kids want to be, the problem is the America is going into chaos and it becomes survival of the fittest against these unkillable robots.

 

Thoughts on War of the Worlds

 

Characters – Ray is the deadbeat dad that has always be a let down to his kids, he doesn’t live in the nicest house, but the neighbours all love him. He is distant from his children after the divorce and after the attack happens this everyday man must do everything he can to keep his children safe. Rachel is his youngest child, she is insecure about being away from her mother, needing to put trust in her father, reacting panicked during the attacks like a young girl would, but strangely offering mature advice with dealing with the older brother. Mary Ann is the ex-wife and mother that is the target for the journey across America. Robbie is the eldest son that does hate his father, as he sees the good in his father he wants to join the fight back against the invaders. Harlan Ogilvy is a stranger that offers help only to be the one that could put Ray’s family in the most danger.

PerformancesTom Cruise is wonderful in this leading role, he proves he can be the everyman in this role, he shows the vulnerable moments needed as his character only has one goal, save his family. Dakota Fanning continued to show she was a force in the future of Hollywood with her performance where she shines. Tim Robbins gives us a truly creepy character while the rest of the cast is great too.

StoryThe story is a modern version of one of the greatest radio recordings of all time, we bottle the story down nicely to focus on one father that is doing everything he can to keep his children safe during an alien invasion. Sure, the ending is weak, but this is much like Jurassic Park, it isn’t about the aliens, its about the people surviving the situation. The story is simple to follow to as we see the family getting caught up in different moments of the attack each one showing the panic that would surround it.

Adventure/Sci-FiThe adventure is filled with peril and shock as the family races for survival, this survival will show the horrors of what will happen if they don’t become safe. The sci-fi side of the film showed us just how the aliens came to invade, came rom beneath us and prepared against our own weapons.

SettingsThe film shows us the destruction of the aliens leave in their path, we see how the big cities are destroyed and how the quiet location are just as dangerous.

Special EffectsThe effects for the film are fantastic, from the early destruction to the special look of the wide shots of the attack going on.


Scene of the Movie –
Basement scene with Harlan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The end of the story is always weak.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the great modern sci-fi films, it modernises one of the greatest stories, we have excellent special effects and a story that is simple enough to be effective.

 

Overall: Sci-Fi fans must be watching.

Rating

 

 

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Mission Impossible – Fallout (2018)

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Writer: Christopher McQuarrie (Screenplay) Bruce Geller (Television Series)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby, Michelle Monaghan, Wes Bentley, Alec Baldwin

 

Plot: Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, along with some familiar allies, race against time after a mission gone wrong.


Tagline – Some missions are not a choice.

Runtime: 2 Hours 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Adrenaline Blast

 

Story: Mission Impossible: Fallout starts when Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team Luther (Rhames) and Benji (Pegg) have a mission gone wrong with plutonium falling into the wrong hands. CIA director Erica Sloan (Bassett) wants it back and her team to do the job, but know Ethan has everything lined up she assigns them her best man August Walker (Cavill) to join the team.

The mission is to retrieve the plutonium which leads them to cross paths with old allies and enemies before they can be used as a weapon that would devastate the Earth.

 

Thoughts on Mission Impossible – Fallout

 

Characters – Ethan Hunt is the man, agent the leader of the group, he will go into any situation with a plan, trusting the people behind him, this time his loyalty puts the world in peril and his must prove he can find a way to save the day without comprising his position. August Walker is a CIA agent, a fixer if you like, he will get the job done by shooting first asking questions later, which has led him to clash with Hunt, they have both made mistakes which could have got the job done earlier and now he is the one man you don’t want to fight against. Luther and Benji are the key components to Ethan’s team, they have the know how to get the job done and are two of the only people he will trust. Ilsa Faust returns and this time she crosses paths with Ethan turning up at the same locations on her own mission, still deadly and a figure that you will be on the fence about what side she is fight for. We have our authority figures in Alan Hunley and Erica Sloan who of course are clashing, as well as other figures that would be in the criminal world.

PerformancesTom Cruise, what more can say about this guy, when it comes to action he commits big time and this is no different, the action sequences he puts his body through and even the emotional factors included in this film show just how talented he is, with this easily being one of his best action performances of his career. Henry Cavill, I haven’t always been a fan of because Superman is kind of boring, in this film however, we get to see that this man is a talent, we believe he will kick your ass if you crossed him and the moments of emotionless moments are key to his character. Pegg and Rhames do have great chemistry and the comic relief, while Ferguson returns to keep enough mystery about her character for long enough in the film. Bassett and Baldwin will always make good authority figures and to see Vanessa Kirby fresh from The Crown in a big movie, she is great to watch here.

StoryThe story here follows Ethan on his latest mission, this time we get to see what could happen if the by the book mission goes wrong for his own personal reasons over a traitor in the group like the normal opening. The idea he needs to work with an outside isn’t new, the idea that he could be the traitor in the eyes of the authority isn’t new, but it has been tried and tested. Making this feel like a direct sequel is new though, the previous instalments have always felt like, just another mission, this one references previous stories and that increases the peril even if everything plays out to not completely mock certain aspects, but poke a tiny bit of fun at them.

Action/AdventureThe action, the reason we go to these films, while you do get a glimpse of nearly all the sequences in the trailer, the length and intensity to them isn’t shown there and you will be watching from the edge of your seat just to see where or what Hunt does next. The adventure side of the film does take Ethan across the world to save it before it is too late.

SettingsThe film uses key locations, with have Paris, London and Kashmir, each one offers a different action sequences to take place.  

Special EffectsThe effects show us just how committed or crazy Tom Cruise is, while they are prepared stunts everything is practical and looks it in every single scene.


Scene of the Movie –
London chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The opening credits give snippets of the action we are about to see.

Final ThoughtsThis is another quality addition to the Mission Impossible franchise, it is going to go down as one of the best usages of practical stunts for years to come and shows how they can still be used to this day.

 

Overall: Pure rush of an action film.

Rating

 

 

Taps (1981)

Director: Harold Becker

Writer: Darryl Ponicsan, Robert Mark Kamen (Screenplay) Devery Freeman (Novel)

Starring: George C Scott, Timothy Hutton, Ronny Cox, Sean Penn, Tom Cruise

 

Plot: Military cadets take extreme measures to insure the future of their academy when its existence is threatened by local condo developers.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Little 80’s Movie

 

Story: Taps starts as we meet our Military Cadets with Cadet Major Brian Moreland (Hutton) getting the promotion to this rank for his final year at the academy from General Harlan Bache (Scott). Bache informs the students this will be their final year before the academy is going to be knocked down for development.

When there is an altercation outside the grounds Bache accidently kills a young civilian. The consequences of this are that the base is going to close early but Moreland brings together the cadets with his Captains Alex Dwyer (Penn) and David Shawn (Cruise) to hold the base so they can have their final year and prove the academy is important for the community.

 

Thoughts on Taps

 

Characters – General Harlan Bache runs the military academy, he has done for years and enjoys developing the next generation of soldiers, when he is accidently involved in a shooting of a civilian he is removed from the base ending up in hospital. Cadet Major Brian Moreland leads the cadets, he was handpicked by the General and once the General is off the base, he leads the defence of the base from the incoming developers. Cadet Captain Dwyer is the closest friend Moreland has on the base and does clash with Shawn at time over clash of styles. Cadet Captain David Shawn is the fellow captain that is determined to prove the cadets can handle themselves, he acts quicker than Dwyer which leads to their tension at times.

PerformanceThe performances are great throughout, George Scott is your big name draw for the time and is good in his role, with Timothy Hutton here right after his Oscar win that is great throughout. Tom Cruise and Sean Penn both show their skills in the supporting role where they easily becoming big stars.

StoryThe story does follow the cadets who look to defend their school after an accident that is about to be getting closed. It shows how they were trained to handle themselves and stand up for what they believe in a bigger cause than themselves. It does have moments where you think it is a kids movie but the reality war is never just this tone and you also couldn’t see both sides fighting for what is mostly property.

SettingsMost of the film is set at the academy which shows how the young men worked together to stand up for what could build on a generation of future soldiers.

Scene of the Movie – Escape the locals.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This does seem like fighting for almost nothing, even if it is mostly tactical building up to a potential battle.

Final ThoughtsThis film shows us three young talented actors who all went onto bigger project in a film which shows the meaning behind being a solider from a young age, working together and understanding when to stand up for something you believe in.

 

Overall: Good drama showing us plenty of military tactics.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – V – Vanilla Sky (2001)

Director: Cameron Crowe

Writer: Cameron Crowe (Screenplay) Alejandro Amenabar, Mateo Gil (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Kurt Russell, Jason Lee, Noah Taylor, Timothy Spall, Tilda Swinton, Michael Shannon

 

Plot: A self-indulgent and vain publishing magnate finds his privileged life upended after a vehicular accident with a resentful lover.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Trippy Fantasy Thriller

 

Story: Vanilla Sky starts as we meet David Aames (Cruise) a playboy publishing mogul that inherited this from his father. He sleeps with beautiful women including actress Julie Gianni (Diaz) but always finds time for his best friend Brian Shelby (Lee). But, his life has been shattered thanks to a car accident which has left him disfigured hiding behind a mask in jail.

While waiting for his hearing David recounts the events which led up to his charges to McCabe (Russell). We learn how David meets Sofia Serrano (Cruz) the woman of his dreams but Julie shows her jealous side causing a car crash which leaves him broken and living between reality and dreams, needing to face his new life.

 

Thoughts on Vanilla Sky

 

Characters/PerformanceDavid lived a life where he could have any women living the life of luxury until this lifestyle catches up with him, leaving him disfigured and in jail, recounting the events between the two moments. Sofia is the new love that David falls for, she has all the chemistry he requires for something different being the motivation for David to fix himself. Julie is the jealous former lover that causes the accident, she is an actress that is filled with self-confidence but all that isn’t everything we have come to know.

Performance wise, Tom Cruise is great in the leading role, not being afraid to make himself slightly disfigured for this role. Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz are both are both also great in the roles of the two women in David’s life.

StoryIn a story that leaves you questioning nearly everything going on even after you believe you have just worked everything out, well this story will keep you all over the place. I do think this does enough to keep us guessing without becoming tiring and will completely satisfied by the end.

Fantasy/Mystery/RomanceThe fantasy world created comes through in the end and it will leave you shocked with the outcome of the film, getting to this stage we are left with a big mystery into just what has been happening with the romance being how David falls in love with Sofia.

SettingsEach setting is used well, but the truly special moment in the New York being empty looks fantastic.

Special EffectsThe effects that are used to create the disfigured looking David all come off great with the other effects all doing the required effect in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis film will test your mind which is always something we like to see in films, yes, it is a remake or reimagination but still it looks fantastic.

 

Overall: This was a true mind bender of morale decision making.

Rating

 

 

Cocktail (1988)

Director: Roger Donaldson

Writer: Heywood Gould (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Bryan Brown, Elisabeth Shue, Lisa Banes, Laurence Luckinbill, Kelly Lynch, Gina Gershon

 

Plot: A talented New York City bartender takes a job at a bar in Jamaica and falls in love.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Barely Dated a Day

 

Story: Cocktail starts a Brian Flanagan (Cruise) returns from the services and heads to New York looking to walk into a successful job on wall street, he gets rejected everywhere due to his lack of qualifications. Finding a job in a bar as a bartender where he learns the art of the cocktail from Doug Coughlin (Brown). While studying he finds, himself failing once again but his cocktail reputation grows.

When Brian and Doug decide, they want to go into business together and open their own cocktail bar, but their friendship is broken and Brian goes out on his own to Jamaica to make the money to have his own cocktail bar. Falling in love with Jordan (Shue) he decides to let her go to following in Doug’s footsteps and marry a rich woman, but love will have control over him.

 

Thoughts on Cocktail

 

Characters/PerformanceBrian is an ex-service man that finds it hard to get a job without qualification, wow if this isn’t a relatable character or what? Brian finds to make money as a cocktail bartender but his friendship and romantic personality changes his path. Doug is the teacher to Brian, he teaches the tricks of the trade and how to get away with everything. Jordan is the woman that Brian falls for but only finds a way to make a mess of it.

Performance wise, Tom Cruise is good in this leading role showing that he was always going to be a big star for years to come. Bryan Brown is good in his role with Elisabeth Shue doing a good job through the parts of the film she is in.

StoryThe story here isn’t the most important thing going on here as it isn’t the most interesting part of the film. The part of the story that does stick out is the fact we see how hard it is to find a job without qualifications. There is a romantic angle which is fine without being anything stand out in the film and the success the guy faces also works well.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy is light in places but nothing fancy, the romantic side is something we have seen before but is mostly about a guy that screws up and gets a second chance somehow.

SettingsThe settings all work for the film showing the New York setting, the Jamaica setting as well as the high life and lower life the characters find themselves in.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun and enjoyable movie that has poor scores everywhere but it is hard to find anyone that doesn’t like it.

 

Overall: Enjoyable film.

Rating