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

 

 

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Venom (2018)

Director: Ruben Fleisher

Writer: Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner, Kelly Marcel, Will Beall (Screenplay) Todd McFarlane, David Michelinie (Comic)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, Marcella Bradio

 

Plot: When Eddie Brock acquires the powers of a symbiote, he will have to release his alter-ego “Venom” to save his life.


Tagline – The world has enough Superheroes.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Starts Way Too Slow

 

Story: Venom starts we hotshot San Francisco reporter Eddie Brock (Hardy) goes to far trying to hatch a story about ultra-rich scientist and visionary Carton Drake (Ahmed), this leaves him fired, his fiancée Anne (Williams) fired and him dumped.

6-months later, Eddie is still feeling the effectives with his career down the toilet, he drinks his life away until one of the scientists working for Drake offers him a scope to the new symbiote research, to which Eddie gets too close to and becomes Venom. The two must learn together to work as one to achieve their own goals in survival with Drake wanting his property back.

 

Thoughts on Venom

 

Characters – Eddie Brock is an unlikable reporter rushing in head first for stories, which he believes he is helping people, he never worries about the consequences of his reporting. His latest attempt to get a story leaves him with nothing and his last attempt to redeem himself leads him to attack the person who killed his career, only he must learn to work with Venom a symbiote that fuses with him. Eddie becomes the good and calm side while Venom is out for destruction willing to kill anyone that gets in his way or just bite their heads off. The two have back and fourth conversations which are more comical than anything showing the balance between good and evil I guess. Anne is the fiancée that loses her job because of Eddie’s action and moves on with her life, though she will always be there to support him once he comes looking for help, most just the love interest she doesn’t really do much in the film. Dr Carlton Drake is a genius who can see the problems in the world being over-population, he has been searching for solutions and believes with the symbiotes he has one, he will give up human lives to make this happen, while keeping a positive face to the public, most a powerful businessman villain.

PerformancesTom Hardy, well this is one of his weaker outings, he struggles to make us care about Eddie, we don’t quite get convinced with his Venom side either, the accent doesn’t help either. Michelle Williams is wasted in this role, sure she will have got paid well which gives her more time to do Oscar bait movies, but this should have been more for her to work with. Riz Ahmed is hot stuff in Hollywood right now, his performance however isn’t great, it feels generic, he doesn’t give us anything we haven’t seen from a villain before either.

StoryThe story is the origin of Venom, it follows the mad scientist idea who is popular to the public but behind closed doors he conducts experiments ethnically wrong. Nosey reporter gets infected and it is a race to stop him becoming too powerful and save the world. this is simple origin storytelling for a Spiderman villain, well this is confusing, wait no, this is an origin for a villain who will not have a hero to face, but he might be good, well Deadpool good. The pacing of this story is all over the place, we spend so much time going through the introduction and we only have three characters, its not like an X-Men film, that we start to lose interest before any of the fun stuff happens. The problem is nothing surprising happens in this story and we are left by the ending thinking about the next comic book movie over the next Venom movie.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action when it happens is a complete mixed bag, the car chase is great fun as we can do things you simply can’t do with humans chasing, the weakness comes from the messy final fight which just becomes confusing in a Transformers way. The film could have a wonderful horror element, it wants to and you can see this, but it just doesn’t follow through. The sci-fi side of things well the ideas are all there to make this stand out more, the problems come by not making too much of the chances given to them.

SettingsWe are set in San Francisco, which is the same location we just saw in Antman and the Wasp, we need more cities in America to set superhero movies if we are having this many a year.

Special EffectsThe effects are yet another mixed bag here, we do have some wonderful uses of the effects, then like with the action the final battles is too messy to be enjoyed.


Scene of the Movie –
Car Chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just why would a secret meeting in the streets lead to sneaking on the base if you were worried about your family? Sure Drake has camera that would show him around his own techno base.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak comic book movie, giving us an origin for a villain that will never have a hero to face (Due to who owns Spiderman) it is so by the book it feels like the 90’s called and want their movie back.

 

Overall: Forgettable by all accounts.

Rating

 

 

Jessica Chastain Weekend – Lawless (2012)

Director: John Hillcoat

Writer: Nick Cave (Screenplay) Matt Bondurant (Novel)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jason Clarke, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Gary Oldman

 

Plot: Set in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a trio of bootlegging brothers are threatened by a new special deputy and other authorities angling for a cut of their profits.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Standard Historical Crime Story

 

Story: Lawless starts as we meet the three brothers Bondurant, youngster Jack (LaBeouf), Forrest (Hardy) and Howard (Clarke), the eldest two have a reputation of being indestructible, the three are bootlegging alcohol during the prohibition era in America. Business is great and their reputation keeps people away from.

This changes when Special Deputy Charlie Rakes (Pearce) arrives looking to clean up Franklin County, Virginia, this helps Jack learn how to be part of the business in the violent side of the business. This leas Jack to make a deal with the deadliest bootlegger Floyd Banner (Oldman) and the war begins between gangs and cops.

 

Thoughts on Lawless

 

Characters/PerformanceJack is the youngster brother, he has always looked up to his brothers to do the dirty work but now he wants to get out there and get his hands dirty, Forrest if the toughest member of the family, he the one conducting most of the business and he will also be the muscles when someone messes with them. Howard is the eldest member of the brothers, he survived the war and now looks for fights while drinking. Charlie Rakes is the man trying to shut down the bootlegging business, he will kill the people involved to send his message. Floyd Banner is the biggest name in the business and now he works with the brothers but will kill anyone who crosses him.

Performance wise, Shia is good in the leading role fitting the part of lead well, Hardy is the best performer where here as the ruthless member of the team, otherwise the rest of the cast are all good throughout the film all doing what you would expect from the genre.

StoryThe story follows the bootleggers during the prohibition era in America, we see the rise of one, the downfall of another an mostly just how things went down in the battle to be the men that get turned too for supplies. This isn’t the most interesting story as none of the characters are overly likeable.

Crime The throws us into a crime world of the prohibition era which shows us just what this would have been like for the men involved.

SettingsThe settings show us just how shady the operations were on the back-country roads on America.

Final ThoughtsThis is fine, nothing special movie that can easily be forgotten when it is all set and done.

 

Overall: Fine but nothing special.

Rating

 

 

Dunkirk (2017)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Christopher Nolan (Screenplay)

Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Aneurin Barnard, Barry Keoghan, Harry Styles

 

Plot: Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, Canada, and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Epic War Thriller

 

Story: Dunkirk starts as we English soldier Tommy (Whitehead) desperately making his way to the beach on Dunkirk for the evacuation of the British Soldiers, all 400,000 are waiting for this moment, as Commander Bolton (Branagh) is arranging this on the beach as the soldiers are being picked off from the air. Back home Mr Dawson (Rylance) is taking his son Peter (Glynn-Carney) and friend George (Keoghan) by his small weekend yacht to Dunkirk as the private boats are being called upon to rescue the soldiers. In the air spitfires pilots Farrier (Hardy) and Collins (Lowden) are leading the battle from the skies as they look to defend the returning ships.

The three stories play out through the different time leading up to the final moments of the film in what is known as one of the greatest rescue missions of all time in any war.

 

Thoughts on Dunkirk

 

Characters – Tommy, Gibson and Alex are three soldiers stuck on the beach of Dunkirk, they try their hardest to get off the beach of Dunkirk, we see their struggles like many of the soldiers who would have wanted safety in the horrors of war. Mr Dawson, Peter and George show three figures who couldn’t fight in the war but will do everything for their own part in saving the soldiers. The Shivering soldier shows us the effects of war on these soldiers as he doesn’t want to return to the horrors. Commander Bolton shows us how a leader should act on the battle field, being prepared to wait for his men to be saved before himself. Farrier and Collins show us the risk from the air and just how dangerous this side of the battle. We might not learn too much about the characters backgrounds but we also don’t need to, this story is about the heroic story not what these men did before became soldiers.

PerformanceTom Hardy is easily the stand out star of this movie, but it does help that he plays the character with the most intense scenes. Cillian Murphy shows us once again he doesn’t need to be the main star of a movie to be the star and Mark Rylance follows up his recent war time Oscar win with another brilliant supporting performance. We also get to see Kenneth Branagh give us the great leader role. Extra praise must go to the unknown actors here too, Fionn Whitehead in the leading role, fantastic, Aneurin Barnard who I recently saw in a terrible horror film was also fantastic, Tom Glynn-Carney and jack Lowden both seem to shine next to Rylance throughout too. The biggest talking point about this film came in the casting of popstar Harry Styles, I have always defended this choice, and even the biggest haters of this ‘singer’ will be left applauding the guy who is wonderful in this role.

StoryThe story is known as one of Britain’s greatest rescue missions, when all hope looked lost the miracle that stop 400,000 soldiers being slaughter happened, yes, we do know the end of this story from the start. The story is split into 3 times, one covering a week, one covering a day and the other covering hours but this is designed to build up to the one moment showing the struggles the character’s involved must face. I believe this does reward by the end but at times could be difficult for some people to follow.

Action/History/WarThe action sequences are fantastic throughout the film, we don’t see the blood and gore of the war like in Saving Private Ryan or Hacksaw Ridge and for me that was good. The history of this war time event will live long in the memory of those involved and is easily one of Britain’s finest moments of unity.

SettingsEach setting looks fantastic and you can fully believe you are part of this war with these soldiers.

Special EffectsAll the effects are created to show us the stark reality of the war for the men involved, we don’t have anything going over the top which also helps.

Scene of the Movie – Spitfire over Dunkirk, this scene feels haunting throughout.

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment I would say the scenes when Farrier is looking at the instruments in the cockpit, everything just went over my head there.

Final ThoughtsThis is the best British story from a World War II film that could stand on the same levels as Saving Private Ryan any day of the week.

 

Overall: Breath taking experience from start to finish.

Rating

 

 

Layer Cake (2004)

layer cakDirector: Matthew Vaughn

Writer: J.J. Connolly (Screenplay) J.J. Connolly (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Colm Meaney, Jamie Foreman, Tom Hardy, Sienna Miller, Tamer Hassan, Kenneth Dranham, Michael Gambon, Ben Whishaw

 

Plot: A successful cocaine dealer gets two tough assignments from his boss on the eve of his planned early retirement.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slick Thriller

 

Story: Layer Cake starts as we meet the guy (Craig) we never learn his name who has taken advantage of being a business man within the drug world, he keeps everything strictly business with a plan to get out of the business with his latest deal completed. When his boss Jimmy Price (Cranham) sends for him to find his daughter Charlie (Lunghi) while also working with loose cannon Duke (Foreman) on the latest job. The problem is the Duke has started an international war with his latest attempt to get a score. Can our guy get through all of the troubles and out of the business with his life?

Layer Cake enters into the type of film I personally don’t enjoy too much and that is the drug crime world ones, that isn’t going to judge whether I think this is a god or bad film. I liked how the usage of drugs was minimal to no existent in the film. The story is filled with twists and turns along the way which really does keep us guessing as we see where the final outcome of the film will take us. I did find myself enjoy this one and would suggest to people to watch.

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Craig: We never learn the name of this character but he is our leading man through the story, a smart business man in the world of drugs. He finds himself stuck doing one last job before trying to get out of the business but this job leads him into going against all of his business plans. Daniel is good in this leading role showing he was ready for the next step up.

Colm Meaney: Gene is the second in command to Jimmy who has always been the middle man between the guy and Jimmy until the two have to work together to clean up the mess. Colm is your always reliable supporting character.

Kenneth Cranham: Jimmy Price is the supplier that the guy works for, he hires him to find his partners daughter and deal with the Duke a loose cannon. He is loud and will do anything to make sure he makes extra money. Kenneth is solid as this gangster character who has too much for their own good.

Sienna Miller: Tammy is a mystery girl that comes into the guy’s life that seems to have a plan that should be keeping her ahead of anyone else. Sienna is good and bursts onto the big screen with this role.

Support Cast: Layer Cake has a big supporting cast that does have a lot of familiar faces in that all become part of the bigger picture with our leading man, all giving good performance throughout.

Director Review: Matthew VaughnMatthew shows off all his style in this film showing how he can handle multiple story branches around the main one going on.

 

Crime: Layer Cake puts our characters in the middle of the drug world where we don’t know who to trust.

Thriller: Layer Cake does keep us guessing to what will happen next through the story.

Settings: Layer Cake keeps nearly all of the settings being what feels like the criminal underworld location which works out nicely for the film.
Special Effects
: Layer Cake has good effects when needed but only uses them for the occasions needed.

Suggestion: Layer Cake is one I do feel or the gangster fans will enjoy. (Gangster Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Craig shows he is ready to a leading man in this role.

Worst Part: Slightly too much going on.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $4 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

Overall: Slick crime thriller from start to finish.

Ratingcard