Widows (2018)

Director: Steve McQueen

Writer: Gillian Flynn, Steve McQueen (Screenplay) Lynda La Plante (Based on Widows)

Starring: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Jacki Weaver, Carrie Coon, Robert Duvall, Liam Neeson

 

Plot: Set in contemporary Chicago, amidst a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.


Tagline – Left with nothing. Capable of anything.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thriller of the Year

 

Story: Widows starts when Harry Rawlings (Neeson) and his crew are killed on their latest heist, their widows, Veronica (Davis), Linda (Rodriguez), Alice (Debicki) and Amanda (Coon) are left to grieve alone, seeing the consequences of their husband’s actions. Veronica is confronted by political campaigner Jamal Manning (Henry) who is trying to challenge the Mulligan reign in their neighbourhood, with Jack (Farrell) following in his father’s Tom (Duvall) footsteps.

Jamal wants his money back which is forcing Veronica to bring the fellow widows together to complete a job which will solve all their financial problems. Can they complete this heist which will give them a life after their husbands?

 

Thoughts on Widows

 

Characters – Veronica is the wife of Harry, she has been in the teaching union for her life even though she knew of Harry activities. After his dies in the latest job she is broken trying to keep herself together until she is forced into the world her husband was on top of. She is tough and lacks the humour the fellow widows show to deal with her grief. She does have to keep the group together and does love her little Westie. Linda has been running her own company which after her husband’s death she loses because of his problems leaving her and her kids with money problems. She is welcomed to Veronica’s team even if she doesn’t bring as much as the rest. Alice has been living off her husband’s heist money even after dealing with abuse from him, she must learn to make her own money which she can be pushed in the wrong direction for, she does join Veronica’s team which will bring her out of her shell and she fast becomes the one on the biggest learning curve. Belle completes the team and though she isn’t a widow, she knows how hard you need to work for money and she will take her chance with the team. Jack Mulligan is the new political candidate following in his father’s footsteps, he knows how to get a deal done and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty along the way. Tom is the politician stepping down because of his health, his old way thinking has been holding back the district from remaining in his family name. Jamal Manning is the crime lord who has decide to run for office which would be is way to stay on the right side of the law, he still will get his hands dirty when he needs to and lets his brother do most of the dirty work. Jatemme is the brother of Jamal, he is a loose cannon, he will push whatever limits available to get what he wants full crazy mode for the most part. This is the eight main characters that you will understand each decision they will make.

PerformancesWhen he dive into the performances Viola Davis shines in the leading role, she must deals with emotional moments that others simply will never understand why. Michelle Rodriquez gives her best performance of her career here that is simply brilliant and Elizabeth Debicki gives one of the best supporting performances of the year. Colin Farrell continues to show he is one of the best actors out there and demands the screen either against Robert Duvall. Daniel Kaluuya does a fantastic job because each scene he is almost uncomfortable to watch because of his actions. Brian Tyree Henry is wonderful too, it is easily one of the best acted movies you will ever see.

StoryThe story follows an unlikely crew of robbers who are following in their husband’s footsteps in the crime world to give themselves finical security from the other people in the world their husband’s worked in. Each of the widows must face the reality of being alone and learn how to adapt which is important to see and with a shocking reveal you simply won’t see coming makes this enjoyable to watch. This is a story that doesn’t have a wasted frame, it will keep you on edge from start to finish while addressing how political can play the people to get what they want. This is a story that will keep you wanting more and deals with the real problems people will be facing in the world.

CrimeThe crime world we enter shows us just how out of place the widows are to start with and we see how they must learn quickly.

SettingsThe film is set in Chicago which shows us just how easily crime can take place with so much going on in the city, we see the divide between the higher class and lower class.


Scene of the Movie –
Performances fantastic.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Viola Davis doesn’t know how to walk a dog.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best movies of the year, it will keep you on edge throughout the whole film. It is easily a must watch and the performances are simply fantastic.

 

Overall: Must watch movie.

Rating

 

 

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Fences (2016)

fencsDirector: Denzel Washington

Writer: August Wilson (Screenplay) August Wilson (Play)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson, Saniyya Sideny

 

Plot: A working-class African-American father tries to raise his family in the 1950s, while coming to terms with the events of his life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Performances

 

Story: Fences starts as we meet Troy Maxson (Washington) a working class African-American who along with his best friend Jim Bono (Henderson) and his wife Rose Maxson (Davis) who have earnt everything they have up to the 1950s America.

We follow how Troy goes through everyday life with his estranged eldest son Lyons (Hornsby), his ambitious son who could get a chance of a better life at college Cory (Adepo) but Troy doesn’t want him to waste his time instead only get a job like he had to and his disabled brother Gabriel (Williamson) who Troy has cared for after his injuries during the war.

 

Thoughts on Fences

 

StoryThis is a story of everyday life in 1950s America for an African American family as they go through the struggles of the younger generation be accepted in the world more than their father did as we see this tension between the two generations because Troy stopping his children following their dreams. Each struggle has different consequences for our characters that reflect the next decisions they make.

DramaWhen it comes to the genres being used this is completely just a drama where we get to see how the characters look at their life decisions and how they affect the loved ones in each other lives.

Characters/PerformancesThe characters here are all very believable with Troy being a guy that you can believe has thought and worked for everything he has got out of his own life in a time when he wouldn’t have gotten many chance, Rose is the wife that has been faithful, supporting through all his strict rules. The children both show the ambition the next generation would have be it through music or sports trying to break free of the strict rules their father gave them. When you look at the performance Washington is breath-takingly good, Davis shines on a par with Denzel with two of what would be the best performances of the year. I also think all the supporting performances are great never looking out of place next to the heavyweight performances.

SettingsThe film keeps nearly all the scene in and around the house with the film relaying on the speeches going on through each scene which shows us just how this is about family.

Final ThoughtsWhile I can see this is very much play with the story unfolding and the performances are just WOW this is an engrossing two and quarter hours of time that never drops the ball.

 

Overall: Performance heavy film that is easily one of the films of the year.

Ratingcard

 

 

Amy Adams Weekend – Doubt (2008)

casting cardDirector: John Patrick Shanley

Writer: John Patrick Shanley (Screenplay) John Patrick Shanley (Play)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Viola Davis, Alice Drummond, Audrie Neenan, Susan Blommaert, Carrie Preston, John Costello, Lloyd Clay Brown

 

Plot: A Catholic school principal questions a priest’s ambiguous relationship with a troubled young student.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Intense Thriller

 

Story: Doubt starts in 1964 where Father Flynn (Hoffman) is still trying to lift his followers in the catholic church. We meet the strict Sister Beauvier (Streep) who strikes fear in all the student in the school while the perky Sister James (Adams) tries her own way to get through to the students.

When Sister James starts to question what Father Flynn has been up to she goes to Sister Beauvier with her suspicious about what he has been doing with the kids well one in particular. We watch as the three clash as they look for what is the truth in a world before all the catholic child molesting was being reported.

Doubt gives us one of the questions that is always good to leave the film with, which side do you believe? This really helps because we do see both sides of the situation and we are also left without a true answer leaving us with the important word doubt. The film does touch on subjects that we have come to see in life with catholic church being involved with child molesting.

 

Actor Review

 

Meryl Streep: Sister Aloysius Beauvier is the strict Sister on the catholic school that all the other Sisters have to turn answer to if they have any issues. When Sister James suspects Father Flynn she leads the charge against him because of her old school ways of beliefs. Meryl is brilliant in this role as we see her character going in a direction way before her time.

Philip Seymour Hoffman: Father Brendan Flynn is the head of the parish where he picks the altar boys and works with the sisters to make the best decisions. When he gets closes to one of the boy’s heads start to turn and we are left to wonder if he is being a good man or taking advantage of this boy. Philip shows just how good he really was with this performance.

Amy Adams: Sister James is the innocent naïve Sister that teaches a class, she starts to piece together being the first person to suspect Father Flynn. She finds herself jumping between the sides never really knowing what to believe is true. Amy is great in this role almost being the character we are being able to relate to through the situation.

Viola Davis: Mrs Miller is the mother of the suspected victim of Father Flynn, she knows how difficult life is going to be for her son knowing that getting through this school will help any future he wants to have but the truth coming out could harm his future. Viola is brilliant in here few scenes supporting scenes.

Support Cast: Doubt has a supporting cast which includes the kids and the rest of the church who are only involved in the moments needed.

Director Review: John Patrick ShanleyJohn gives us one of the most intense films out there with how this subject.

 

Mystery: Doubt does keep us wondering just what is the truth out in the story.

Settings: Doubt keeps everything in the correct locations to make us believe we are in the right time period.

Suggestion: Doubt is one I think people should see at least once but I can see why it might be hard to see more than once. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Story.

Worst Part: Not one for re-watching.

 

Believability: This story might be fictional but the events are similar to certain moments.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 5 Oscars

Budget: $20 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

Tagline: There is no evidence. There are no witnesses. But for one, there is no doubt.

 

Overall: Very interesting and intense film with great subject matter.

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Suicide Squad (2016)

squadDirector: David Ayer

Writer: David Ayer (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Common, Ezra Miller, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Cara Delevingne, Joel Kinnaman, Scott Eastwood

 

Plot: A secret government agency recruits a group of imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency, which inevitably leads to chaos.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Complicated

 

Story: Suicide Squad starts as we see Amanda Waller (Davis) putting together her elite squad of criminals with Deadshot (Smith) The Joker (Leto)’ girlfriend Harley Quinn (Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Courtney), Diablo (Hernandez), Killer Croc (Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Enchantress (Delevingne). After being green lighted the squad is ready to get to work.

With this team put together it is the Joker himself that starts to search down his love while the team sets out to try and clean the streets for Amanda Waller and stop a brand new evil from taking over the world.

Suicide Squad ends up being a film which just adds the comic book characters to the world of dysfunctional bad guys needing to do the good job. This adds comic book characters that only the diehard fans would know because even after playing the first Arkham game we only meet Killer Croc that is involved in this film. The evil is basic and levels with RIPD and the almost non-existence of the Joker sucks most of the excitement out of this film because Deadshot is such a generic anti-hero character. Harley Quinn is quirky but not as bonkers as we need her to be and most of all this just ends ups feeling like a piss poor attempt at The Raid with comic book names.

 

Overall: This film lacks the violence required it lacks the humour required and now I find myself wondering what is next for the DC Universe because this is yet another bland addition to the universe.

Rating45

 

 

Michael Mann Weekend – Blackhat (2015)

blackhatDirector: Michael Mann

Writer: Morgan Davis Foehl (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Leehom Wang, Wei Tang, Viola Davis, Holt McCallany, Andy On, Ritchie Coster

 

Plot: A furloughed convict and his American and Chinese partners hunt a high-level cybercrime network from Chicago to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Jakarta.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre Action Thriller

 

Story: Blackhat starts when a Chinese nuclear planet gets hacked leading to an explosion causing the whole world to take notice. Chinese use Chen Dawai (Wang) to liaise with the US and former hacker gone bad Nick Hathaway (Hemsworth) whose code was co-written with Dawai. The two old friends being marshalled by FBI agent Carol Barrett (Davis) and Dawai sister Chen Lien (Tang) must use all the tricks they know to find the hacker.

What follows is a race around the world to uncover just who the hackers really are and what their plan is other than destruction.

Blackhat really does end up just trying to be a completely unbelievable action film that struggles to even establish a villain, which is hugely disappointing because of how much they try to put on the leads. I struggled to even know what the villains name was let alone hi motive which has to go down as poor story telling. We get a lot of tech talk along with a lot of computer action which takes away the main reason for liking the action we like.

 

Actor Review

 

Chris Hemsworth: Nick Hathaway is the brilliant hacker who created malware which was used to blow up a nuclear plant in China, he is released from prison to join forces with both US and Chinese intelligence to find the hacker even if it means getting up to his old tricks. Chris does well with what he has to work with in this role.nick

Leehom Wang: Chen Dawai is the old friend of Nick’s who brings Nick into the investigation of what is happening with the hacker, between them they can both solve the problem from either side of the law. Leehom does a solid enough job in this role but struggles to look stronger than Hemsworth.

Wei Tang: Chen Lien is the sister of Dawai who is on this mission too as she starts a fling with Nick as they get closer to finding out who is responsible. Wei gives us a basic supporting performance without standing out.

Viola Davis: Carol Barrett is the FBI agent trying to keep tabs on Nick as she has to decide to follow the rules or catch the villains. Viola plays your typical authority role without being memorable.

Support Cast: Blackhat struggles to push the supporting cast to the next level with most of them being forgettable and the villain almost non-existent.

Director Review: Michael MannMichael has given us some brilliant films through the years but this one really has come up very short.

 

Action: Blackhat has basic action with a few fight scenes, firefights and running nothing that will be memorable.

Crime: Blackhat tries to play us on hacker versus hacker but the crimes being committed just don’t seem that important to the characters.

Mystery: Blackhat tries to create a mystery that doesn’t get too much to keep us guessing though.

Thriller: Blackhat doesn’t manage to bring us to the edge of our seats because by the end you have lost interest in the final plot.

Settings: Blackhat just takes us all over the world to try and make the film look like it is a global issue.
Special Effects
: Blackhat has basic special effects when need but doesn’t rely on them.

Suggestion: Blackhat is one to miss really, it just doesn’t have enough to pull you in to care about what is going on. (Miss It)

 

Best Part: Hemsworth does well.

Worst Part: Lack of back story behind the villains.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $70 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

Tagline: We are no longer in control

Overall: Disappointing action thriller that lacks that spark

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