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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Valkyrie (2008)

Director: Bryan Singer

Writer: Christopher McQuarrie, Nathan Alexander (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Carice van Houten, Thomas Kretschmann, Terrence Stamp

 

Plot: A dramatization of the 20 July assassination and political coup plot by desperate renegade German Army officers against Hitler during World War II.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good War Thriller

 

Story: Valkyrie starts in the middle of World War II, outspoken German Colonel Claus Stauffenberg (Cruise) is assigned duty in Tunisia where he gets injured. Back in German Major General Henning von Tresckow (Branagh) has been working on a plan to assassinate Hitler and ending the war.

When Henning’s latest choice fails, he gets his fellow General Friedrich Olbricht (Nighy) to recruit a new member to this secret group and Claus is that man. We follow as the plan to assassinate Hitler comes together with espionage between the ranking officers, secret meetings and changes in potential candidates.  

 

Thoughts on Valkyrie

 

Characters/PerformanceColonel Claus von Stauffenberg is the soldier injured during the war and now he is the man with the plan to assassinate Hitler. Major General Henning von Tresckow is the officer that brings Claus into the circle as he wants to find the end of the war. General Friedrich Olbricht is the handler of Claus in the ranking side of things but off the books he must follow the instructions of Claus. The characters are all based on real people all involved in the real assassination attempt on Hitler.

Performance wise, well first we need to address that this is an English-speaking movie about what is happening within German during the war so we need to look past that when judging these performances of Tom Cruise who is good showing he can do serious movies over action sequences. Nighy, Branagh and Wilkinson are all great through the film as are the rest of the cast.

StoryThis is a look at a moment in history that many people don’t know about, we all know how World War II went and the bigger events, but looking at the story of a revolution within the German army to stop Hitler ending the war. The amount of people that would risk their lives to stop Hitler but the weak point here is we know the truth that it failed.

History/War Looking in the history of World War II we get to learn about a smaller detail which get covered up because they were failed missions to end the war and this gives us that story.

SettingsEach setting shows us the image of war time Germany with little issues with the look of the sets.

Final ThoughtsNice look into history about a moment that could have changed the end of the war forever.

 

Overall: Historical film that does show us a moment of great risk that ended in failure.

Rating

 

 

The Titan (2018)

Director: Lennart Ruff

Writer: Max Hurwitz (Screenplay) Arash Amel (Story)

Starring: Sam Worthington, Tayor Schilling, Tom Wilkinson, Agyness Deyn, Nathalie Emmanuel, Noah Jupe, Corey Johnson

 

Plot: A military family takes part in a ground-breaking experiment of genetic evolution and space exploration.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Pilot for a Show?

 

Story: The Titan starts as we learn that the world is facing extinction, Professor Martin Collingwood (Wilkinson) is conducting experiments to select a candidate to go through a genetic evolution that would make their body ready to land and survive on Saturn’s moon Titan.

LT Rick Janssen (Worthington) moves his family wife Dr Abi Janssen (Schilling) and son Lucas (Jupe) to the training camp as one of the candidates and easily one of the most promising. When the candidates start showing side effects, Abi starts investigating just what the experiments are about.

 

Thoughts on The Titan

 

Characters – LT Rick Janssen is one of the candidates selected because an unbelievable survival story, he quickly becomes the number candidate with his ability to adapt to change better than any of the others selected, though the change is hard on him and his family. Dr Abi Janssen is the wife of Rick, she isn’t involved in the experiment though does pick up on the idea that something doesn’t seem right with what is being done to her husband. Professor Martin Collingwood is the man running the experiment, he knows and believes this could be the last hope for humanity

PerformancesSam Worthington in the leading role is solid enough in the leading role without doing too much with his role, this is the same as Taylor Schilling who for the first half of the film she doesn’t do too much, but quickly becomes the standout of the second half. Tom Wilkinson in his scientist role is one he could do in his sleep.

StoryThe story here shows us how the end of the world is coming and we follow an experiment which is designed to hopefully offer humanity a new hope. Now this story is misleading because we are sold on the idea of the evolving to surviving on Titan, rather than just watching the almost training process for the change. This story will leave people wanting more and less because we are promised so much either from the race against time side of the film or the future we are searching for, with neither getting the focus needed. There is also a moment where the experiment gets challenged on ethics only to fall short and never follow through. This story has too many missed opportunities for a truly challenging sci-fi story.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi side of the film shows us just how the scientist are planning to find a new home for the human race when the world needs to become saved. This is solid enough idea, though never uses them enough.

SettingsThe film takes us to a remote base for the experiment, it has nothing that makes it stand out or make it memorable.

Special EffectsThe effects are solid enough for the most part, we do to see moments of change even though it isn’t anything that isn’t that much standing out here.


Scene of the Movie –
The underwater moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of time in space.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that feels like a pilot to a TV show, it has all the potential to be fantastic, only to not including the more fascinating parts of the ideas.

 

Overall: Fails to capture the potential.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – E – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Director: Michel Gondry

Writer: Charlie Kaufman (Screenplay) Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry, Pierre Bismuth (Story)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Wilkinson

 

Plot: When their relationship turns sour, a young couple undergoes a medical procedure to have each other erased from their memories.


Tagline – Replace my memory.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dark Look at Relationships

 

Story: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind starts as we follow two strangers Joel (Carrey) and Clementine (Winslet) who meet on a train, fall in love, but darkness soon falls over Joel’s life when for some reason Clementine doesn’t remember him and dates someone else.

Clementine has had Joel erased from her memory, Joel is never meant to know this, but when he learns about this, Dr Mierzwiak (Wilkinson) performs the same procedure for Joel and with the technicians Stan (Ruffalo), Patrick (Wood) and Mary (Dunst) help Joel through the destruction of the memories.

 

Thoughts on External Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

 

Characters – Joel is the man that fell in love with Clementine, but sees his life fall to pieces when she goes through a procedure to erase him. Joel broken up about this follows through with his own procedure and now his mind is living through the nightmare of losing his memories and trying to save them. Clementine is the woman Joel falls in love with, after they break up she has him erased and we see how they had their ups and downs through their time together. Dr Mierzwiak is the man behind the technology and his work makes it possible for memories erased. Patrick is one of the technicians working on Joel, he has done an unethical thing when performing the procedure before. Stan is the main man working on Joel, he sees it as an easy job, but this case because more difficult than he could imagine and his reckless behaviour with Mary the receptionist causes more problems than they needed too.

PerformancesJim Carrey is great in his leading role, we get to see a new level because he shows that his serious ability is taking over now, Kate Winslet works here because she gets to be the quirky girlfriend while also feeling like an everyday real woman. We have an excellent supporting cast that all give great performances too.

StoryThe story here plays into the idea that sometimes relationships don’t go the way you would plan them too, but in this world you can erase the person you have fallen out of love with. This is a smart idea, because how often have people fallen in and out of love with the heartache of the break up holding people back, this answers this with a solution people could turn too. Only watching it from Joel’s point of view is good and bad, because he is the one that must witness the idea of being left, ignored by the person he once loved.

Romance/Sci-FiThe romance side of the film shows us just how relationships can play out, they always start amazing but soon they turn into the normality that can put people off where things are going which leads to what happens. The sci-fi elements are smartly used as we see just how the technology used can create everything that happens.

SettingsThe settings try to keep us in everyday life and memories, which help Joel find the moments he needs to erase.

Special EffectsThe effects are effortless because you barely notice moments as the world falls apart in the memories of Joel.


Scene of the Movie –
Escaping the world collapsing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The technicians are too reckless for me.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of films people are always hyping over, I have struggle to watch this before, but made it through this time and did enjoy for the most part as it looks at how relationships are not always as planned.

 

Overall: Smart romance movie.

Rating

 

 

 

Jessica Chastain Weekend – The Debt (2010)

Director: John Madden

Writer: Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman, Peter Straughan (Screenplay) Assaf Bernstein, Ido Rosenblum (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Ciaran Hinds, Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, Sam Worthington

 

Plot: In 1965, three Mossad agents cross into East Berlin to apprehend a notorious Nazi war criminal. Thirty years later, the secrets the agents share come back to haunt them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Thriller

 

Story: The Debt starts in 1997 where Rachel Singer (Mirren), David Peretz (Hings) and Stephan Gold (Wilkinson) are about to have their life story about their time in the intelligence agency thirty years early helped take down a Nazi war criminal, but this event brings us David’s suicide.

We flashback to thirty years earlier where the younger version of the characters Rachel (Chastain), Stephan (Csokas) and David (Worthington) learn how they first meet and start to work together to take down the war criminal, but why is that effecting their lives in the modern day, well only time will tell.

 

Thoughts on The Debt

 

Characters – First we will look at the present-day versions of the characters, Rachel is now a grandmother and proud reason for her daughter’s book, Stephan is wheelchair bound that still on the job while David isn’t sure whether to trust Stephan anymore killing himself over just meeting with him.

In the past, we have junior agent Rachel that must first join her partners in the mission but learn about how the field works when it comes to taking on a war criminal. Stephan is the leader of the group, he pulls the strings in the mission as well as warning Rachel of any mistakes she makes. David is the quiet member of the group, he has taken things to a personal level and isn’t willing to let anyone into his life.

PerformanceWe have six great actors here, we have the two different generations which show us just how talented the newer generation are with Chastain, Huntington and Csokas compared to Mirren, Wilkinson and Hinds, they all give great performances throughout.

StoryThe story mixes the two times about the story, first we learn what is on the record about what happened in the 1960’s story, but then we learn the truth about the what happened. When you look at any secret mission going on we get to see how secretive it needed to be when being told about what really happened. We also see how things could be made to be true to cover up a mistake and how they will need to be fixed if things come to light.

ThrillerThis does keep us on the edge of our seat as we wait to see what happened to make this a difficult situation for the elder characters.

SettingsWe have the different times for each setting which shows us the different worlds our characters faced the same problem.

Scene of the Movie – The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The love triangle does feel forced.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good thriller that does keep us on edge through the film, we are left to guess just where it will all go and what was the truth from the past.

 

Overall: Good intense thriller but lacking the final punch

Rating