Film Review: THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD (USA 2017) ****

 THE HITMAN_S BODYGUARDThe world’s top bodyguard gets a new client, a hit man who must testify at the International Court of Justice. They must put their differences aside and work together to make it to the trial on time.

Director: Patrick Hughes
Writer: Tom O’Connor
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Elodie Yung

Review by Gilbert Seah
 
Actor Samuel L. Jackson is one bad ass mother f***er. When ever he appears in a film, even when playing the President of the United States, he has never failed to use his favourite catch phrase ‘mother f***er’, which he gets to use multiple times in this movie. Jackson is one of my favourite actors in films currently as he can always be counted on to deliver a solid, spirited performance, no matter what. In THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD, he also gets to utter the film’s best joke: “If life deals you shit, you go out and make kool-aid.” to which Ryan Reynolds remarks: “That is not how the saying goes.” Jackson also gets a lot of laughs doing his HOME ALONE expression. Another good joke (though this one belongs to Reynolds) is the one regarding the pen-knife. But the best thing in the film, is a segment where the two leads discuss the usage of the ‘mother f***er’ phrase. Priceless!

The story involves a bodyguard, Michael Bryce (Reynolds) assigned to keep a previous Hitman, Darius Kincaid (Jackson) alive so that he can be transported to Hague, to testify against a corrupt Russian warlord Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman). The film plays the two against each other. The chemistry works, the laughs come fast and furious and the action segments are expertly executed.

The climax of the film includes a spectacular car chase that appear to take on the recent BABY DRIVER. Jackson takes off in a speedboat on the canals around Amsterdam pursued by the bad guys speeding on the streets around the canals. The sequence is well shot with good continuity that also includes another boat contains merrymakers split right into two. The camp factor is increased several notches with screaming prostitutes running around the streets. There is also n funny window-eye view of the chase as if seen by one of them through the glass.

As if this was not exciting enough, the car/boat chase is intercut with a foot case with Reynolds under pursuit. The two chases are brilliantly brought together with the fire of an exploding vehicle from which the camera pulls back now only to show the fire now from the grill in the kitchen in a restaurant which Reynolds breaks into.

Though the script is occasionally lazily written, with details left out, for example why Jackson landed in a Manchester prison, the jokes and punch lines are perfectly timed.
The camera placement is also excellent throughout the film, often with images to show Jackson’s expressions through the car front window or to see Reynolds somersault through the front windscreen to land standing up in front of the car after.

The main plus of THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD is that the absolute unexpected can and actually always occurs at any time. The two for example, end up at one point, hitching a ride in a van full of nuns with Jackson joining them in a singalong.
The film’s speed and spirit matches its message on life, that things happen but you got to do your ‘thang’. They just do not make enough films like this one.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4Afusxc2SM
 

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Film Review: LIFE (USA 2017) ***1/2

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life.jpgDirector: Daniel Espinosa
Writers: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds

Review by Gilbert Seah

LIFE is a new science fiction horror film directed by Daniel Espinosa, written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (who both penned DEADPOOL and ZOMBIELAND) and starring two of Hollywood’s hottest stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Dr. David Jordan and Ryan Reynolds as Rory Adams. The two are part of a six-member eclectic crew of the International Space Station that uncovers what initially seems to be the first evidence of life on Mars.

LIFE is the scariest horror film so far this year. Espinosa and his writing crew know how to shock people with genuine scares, not using silly tactics like false alarms and the volume of the sound suddenly for no reason going three times as loud. The film is set in space. Space is an unknown entity to human beings. Anything can happen in space. The sight of space with little light and vast endless openness is in itself the scariest notion ever.

The film begins with voiceover and scenes describing an international space station. The film is totally successful in grabbing and maintaining the audience’s attention. Everyone has to listen and pay full attention – or some important fact will be missed. The first thrill of the film involves the capture of a space probe returning from Mars with a sample inside. This task is obviously successful (so no spoiler alert here). The crew is tasked with studying the sample, which may be the first proof of extraterrestrial life. However, the study eventually backfires as the organism displays incredible strength and gains intelligence. The creature becoming extremely hostile and killing them all one by one. Ariyon Bakare’s Hugh Derry is the first casualty in a segment where his pain is matched only by his screaming. Trapped aboard the ISS with the rapidly-growing organism humorously nicknamed Calvin, the crew must find out how to kill it before it manages to escape and destroy Earth.

There are two things going for this horror film – unpredictability and suspense build-up. Director Espinosa builds his film slowly but effectively to a horrifying climax. He knows how to create real terror. The segments in which the victim are attacked by the creature are almost impossible to watch, with the creature’s tentacles entering the mouths of its victims. These start occurring after the first half of the fpm right up to the very end. A little spoiler alert here – anyone of the crew could be done away with. Don’t be fooled by the star billing.

At times, the film feels like other space horror films like John Carpenter’s THE THING or Ridley Scott’s ALIEN films. But LIFE tries and succeeds to be different. For one the ending is totally unpredictable. But one has to probably discuss what actually happened as an explanation is not crystal clear and could be open to different interpretations.

Ridley Scott’s new ALIEN reboot (ALIEN: COVENANT) arrives in a few months.

How it will compare to Calvin is the anticipatory question.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeLsJfGmY_Y

_________

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Happy Birthday: Ryan Reynolds

ryanreynolds.jpgRyan Reynolds

Born: October 23, 1976 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Married to: Blake Lively (9 September 2012 – present) (1 child)
Scarlett Johansson (27 September 2008 – 1 July 2011) (divorced)

As an actor, you’re always kind of cognizant that you’ll never work again. You always have this lizard-brain fear, always, just under the surface, that this is it. Because you see it. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a 23-year career so far. I’ve watched people come and go and vanish. I’ve watched really talented people never get that invaluable foothold into the industry. So you’re always walking that tightrope of being very grateful that you’re in this position.

Smokin Aces
2006
dir. Joe Carnahan
starring
Reynolds
Ray Liotta
green lanternGREEN LANTERN
dir. Martin Campbell
Stars:
Ryan Reynolds
Blake Lively
X-MEN WOLVERINEX-Men Origins: Wolverine
2009
dir. Gavin Hood
also starring
Hugh Jackman
Liev Schreiber
MOVIE POSTERTHE CHANGE UP
dir. David Dobkin
Stars:
Jason Bateman
Ryan Reynolds
ADVENTURELANDAdventureland
2009
dir. Greg Mottola
also starring
Jesse Eisenberg
Kristen Stewart
movie posterJUST FRIENDS
2005
dir. Roger Kumble
Starring:
Ryan Reynolds
Amy Smart
THE PROPOSALThe Proposal
2009
dir. Anne Fletcher
also starring
Sandra Bullock
Mary Steenburgen
MOVIE POSTERSAFE HOUSE
dir. Daniel Espinosa
Stars:
Denzel Washington
Ryan Reynolds
MOVIE POSTERR.I.P.D.
2013
dir. Robert Schwentke
Stars:
Ryan Reynolds
Jeff Bridges
MOVIE POSTERTHE CROODS
2013
dir. Kirk De Micco
Chris Sanders
Stars:
Nicolas Cage
Ryan Reynolds
MOVIE POSTERTHE CAPTIVE
2014
dir. Atom Egoyan
Stars:
Ryan Reynolds
Scott Speedman
MOVIE POSTERTURBO
2013
dir. David Soren
Stars:
Ryan Reynolds
Paul Giamatti

TOP RYAN REYNOLDS PHOTOSAND SCARLETT JOHANSSON – See the best of his pictures.

ABS – See the best of his pictures.

BACK – See the best of his pictures.

BLACK AND WHITE – See the best of his pictures.

AND SANDRA BULLOCK – See the best of his pictures.

WEDDING – See the best of his pictures.

AND BLAKE LIVELY – See the best of his pictures.

BEARD – See the best of his pictures.

BODY – See the best of his pictures.

ARMS – See the best of his pictures.

BEFORE AND AFTER – See the best of his pictures.

CHEST – See the best of his pictures.

LEATHER – See the best of his pictures.

CUTE – See the best of his pictures.

CLOTHES – See the best of his pictures.

COLLAGE – See the best of his pictures.

DEADPOOL – See the best of his pictures.

DUCATI – See the best of his pictures.

DANE COOK – See the best of his pictures.

EYES – See the best of his pictures.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY – See the best of his pictures.

US – See the best of his pictures.

DETAILS – See the best of his pictures.

FEET – See the best of his pictures.

FAMILY – See the best of his pictures.

GQ – See the best of his pictures.

FAT SUIT – See the best of his pictures.

FACE – See the best of his pictures.

GIRLFRIEND – See the best of his pictures.

GLASSES – See the best of his pictures.

HAIR – See the best of his pictures.

HOT – See the best of his pictures.

HAIRSTYLE – See the best of his pictures.

HUGO BOSS – See the best of his pictures.

HEADSHOT – See the best of his pictures.

BLADE POSTER – See the best of his pictures.

JEANS – See the best of his pictures.

HAT – See the best of his pictures.

AND ALANIS MORISSETTE – See the best of his pictures.

FASHION – See the best of his pictures.

AND JASON BATEMAN – See the best of his pictures.

AND KRISTEN STEWART – See the best of his pictures.

LEGS – See the best of his pictures.

BUTT – See the best of his pictures.

LONG HAIR – See the best of his pictures.

MOTORCYCLE – See the best of his pictures.

MARATHON – See the best of his pictures.

MUSCLES – See the best of his pictures.

GOT MILK – See the best of his pictures.

MEN’S HEALTH – See the best of his pictures.

AND OLIVIA WILDE – See the best of his pictures.

OUTFITS – See the best of his pictures.

POSTER – See the best of his pictures.

PROFILE – See the best of his pictures.

MODEL – See the best of his pictures.

RIPPED – See the best of his pictures.

RED CARPET – See the best of his pictures.

SUIT – See the best of his pictures.

TUXEDO – See the best of his pictures.

AND RACHEL MCADAMS – See the best of his pictures.

SHIRTLESS – See the best of his pictures.

STYLE – See the best of his pictures.

SMILE – See the best of his pictures.

TATTOO – See the best of his pictures.

TEETH – See the best of his pictures.

UNDERWEAR – See the best of his pictures.

VS RYAN GOSLING – See the best of his pictures.

VANITY FAIR – See the best of his pictures.

WALLPAPER – See the best of his pictures.

YOUNG – See the best of his pictures.

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Movie Review: CRIMINAL, 2016. Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Costner

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

criminal.jpgCRIMINAL (USA 2015) ***
Directed by Ariel Vromen

Starring: Kevin Costner, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Oldman, Michael Pitt

Action films about the lead character with the past erased make good money at the box office. Examples are THE BOURNE IDENTITY, Liam Neeson’s UNKNOWN and last week’s recently released HARDCORE HENRY. CRIMINAL though not identical in concept, plays along the same lines with the lead character having to piece together a new identity.

Based on a script by Douglas Cook and David Weisberg, the film takes the amnesia plot up a few notches. It is an international story dealing with Americans, British, Russians and a Dutchman. The film contains countless London sights in the first 15 minutes, making audiences wonder if the London Tourist Board is subsidizing this film. There are shots of Bank Tube Station, the Thames, Albert Hall, the docklands, Big Ben and the Overground Tube to make the film look more modern.

The film opens with a chase involving CIA agent Ben Pope (Ryan Reynolds). Pope is caught half way through his assignment and killed. His brain needs to be implanted into someone else for the mission to be completed successfully. Or the world will be destroyed. It really does not matter how ridiculous the plot is as director Ariel Vromen (THE ICEMAN) has proven that he can make anything credible and exciting. So, a wanted imprisoned criminal Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner in super-gruff mode) with zero conscience but meets the surgical criteria is implanted with Pope’s memories by Dr. Frank (Tommy Lee Jones) under command of no-nonsense British chief Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman).

For an action thriller drama, the action segments are handled efficiently, particularly the car chase involving the British police car pile up n the highway and the brief underwater scenes.

The film is aided with an impressive cast that includes no less than the new Wonder Woman, French actress Gal Gadot as Pope’s wife, Brit Oldman and Americans Costner., Jones, Reynolds and the long time unseen Michael Pitt as the Dutchman.

Though I do enjoy a bit of violence in movies, I am not one to condone it. CRIMINAL is exceptionally violent, evident in scenes like the electric torture at the film’s start, the bloodied photo of one of Jericho’s victims the brain surgery and the segment where Jericho beats a number of people up to get food and nab a van. Tools used in fights also include a hammer.

Though there is ample opportunity for the script to moralize, the script thankfully stays aways from it. Jericho is a man with no conscience, a killing machine who is given a chance to have feelings after being implanted with Pope’s memories. Once Jericho begins to feel, he is torn for example between saving one life – Pope’s daughter against sacrificing hers to save many, many more. The main villain has the purpose of creating a software wormhole i order to destroy all the governments in the world as he believes every government is corrupt and that conglomerates rule the world all for money. There is some truth in the villain’s way of thinking and the script leaves it for the audience to debate the issue in their own minds.

CRIMINAL is a good action drama, a good blend between drama and action with not too much ridiculous discontinuous action scenes as in recent films like BATMAN V SUPERMAN and HARDCORE HENRY. For this reason alone, CRIMINAL is a compelling and rather entertaining time-waster.

 

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Movie Review: DEADPOOL (2016)

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

deadpoolDEADPOOL (USA 2016) ***
Directed by Tim Miller

Starrting: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller

Review by Gilbert Seah

DEADPOOL the latest Marvel comic book ‘hero’ movie arrives with great anticipation and fanfare of comic book fans. Fans know their comic book hero and expect to see a foul-mouthed, angry, sexy and ugly fighter in an R-rated movie.

First of all, some background on DEADPOOL. Those familiar with the marvel character, best described as an uncensored personality would best skip this paragraph. DEAD POOL is the name of the lead character previously known as Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds). The character is less a hero than an antihero. He describes himself in the film as a bad guy paid to take out other bad guys. At first a normal human being, then voluntarily subjected to experiments in order to cure his cancer, Deadpool ends up totally mutated but also with accelerated healing powers and fighting agility. He is badly scarred especially facial wise and wears a skin tight costume. He is angry, swears all the time and beats various people up, depending on his mood. The fans expect the film to be extremely violent, especially in the already famous touted skewer scene in which Deadpool props a baddie up with his twin blades. Director Miller satisfies the fans with the segment not only shown twice, but also in slow motion.

To director Miller’s credit, the film is energetic and funny enough for the audience to be distracted from the film’s flaws. The film begins with mock opening credits that no doubt is funny at first, but soon wears out its welcome. It says for example that the film is directed by an overpaid tool with all other members of the the filmmaking team insulted except for the writers. The real credits appear at the end of the film.

The film begins with Deadpool (Reynolds) taking a cab, driven by Dopinder (Karan Soni) to fight his enemies, the main one being Francis (Ed Skrein from the TRANSPORTER remake). Deadpool has a lengthy irrelevant but hilarious conversation with Dopinder. The fight ensues, but because Deadpool has forgotten his bag of weapons, has only 12 bullets in his gun. As a result, he has to cut off his hand from a handcuff in order to escape in a garbage truck. The film flashes back to how this scene takes place. In the process, the audience learns that the film is a love story – one between Wade Wilson and Vanessa (Morena Baccarin).

The film’s storytelling format is chopped up unnecessarily as if the target audience is assumed to have a very short attention span. There is no need for the excessive violence, except maybe to satisfy the hardcore Deadpool comic book fans. The humour is forced, the dialogue terribly crude and blunt and many characters appear out of nowhere. An example is the blind old back lady, Al (the wonderful Leslie Uggams) who ends up as Deadpool’s lover, living in his apartment. Her quotable line: “I miss my cocaine.” All this might be entertaining to some but on the other hand , terribly boring to others, like the film critics.
For what it is worth, DEADPOOL delivers to its core audience. The film turned out better than I expected, having very low expectations after watching the trailer. But I am not the core audience. DEADPOOL fans will definitely be pleased!

 

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
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