Friday, June 22, 2018

Movie review: Kill the Irishman

 The true story of Danny Greene, an Irish thug working for mobsters in Cleveland during the 1970's who found Union's as a gateway to organized crime.

Ray Stevenson (Danny), Vincent D'Onofrio (John), Val Kilmer (Joe), Christopher Walken (Shondor), Linda Cardellini (Joan), Tony Darrow (Mikey), Robert Davi (Ray), Bob Gunton (Jerry), Tony Lo Bianco (Jack), Steve Schirripa (Frato).

Kill the Irishman begins with some backstory about Danny before smoothly moving into his transition to organized crime and involvement in Cleveland's employee Union. As Danny's ambitions grew, so did organized crime violence eventually leading to a mafia war on the streets of Cleveland. The remainder of the film follows Danny's rise to notoriety and eventual demise. The film is fairly fast moving and entertaining throughout and is an eye-opener for anyone unfamiliar with organized crime in Cleveland during the 70's.

Acting was good with Stevenson delivering very well throughout. D'Onofrio was enjoyable as well and seemed to work nicely with Stevenson. Kilmer and Walken were both good in smaller roles, though we would have liked to see them both in bigger roles. Cardellini, Darrow, Schirripa and the remainder of the supporting cast was solid and enjoyable.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds were well done and this film truly felt like it was filmed in the 70's. Action scenes were good with a realistic feel and nice fit with the film. Dialogue was good with reasonable depth. Sound and soundtrack fit the film well.

Not being familiar with the story of Danny Greene, this film felt like a good telling of his story. It felt realistic and intentionally gritty but moved along and a nice pace and was entertaining throughout. Those who enjoy a solid crime drama should enjoy this one.

With some sexuality, plenty of violence, gore, and foul language, save this one for the oldest teens and above.

Released: 2011
Reviewed: 5.29.18
Star rating: 3 out of 5
Genre: Biography, Drama, Crime, Crime Action & Adventure, Action Thriller

copyright ©2018 Dave Riedel

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Movie review: Cargo

 With Australia ravaged by a zombie pandemic, a father searches the outback looking for someone willing and able to protect his infant daughter.

Martin Freeman (Andy), Anthony Hayes (Vic), Susie Porter (Kay), Caren Pistorius (Lorraine), Kris McQuade (Etta), Natasha Wanganeen (Josie), Bruce Carter (Willie), Simone Landers (Thoomi), David Gulpilil (Daku).

Cargo begins well enough showing us how Andy and his family are surviving the zombie apocalypse. Before long however things go wrong and Andy is left alone to care for his infant daughter. But when it becomes clear he will not survive, Andy searches desperately for someone willing and able to care for his daughter once he is gone. The resulting story is an interesting dramatic journey that entertains through the end.

Acting was good with Freeman delivering a solid performance throughout. Hayes and Porter were enjoyable, and Landers added nicely, as did the remainder of the supporting cast.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds were good with nice use of natural scenery. Zombie costuming and makeup were nicely done with a solid feel. Action scenes were good if somewhat mild as the film focused more on the drama. Dialogue has decent depth and engages the drama well. Sound and soundtrack are mild but fitting.

Overall Cargo is really more of a drama than a horror flick. Yet, the film blends both components well and is more entertaining than expected. Zombie, drama, or zombie drama fans should enjoy this one.

With some foul language, violence, gore, and of course zombies, this should be fine for older teens and above.

Released: 2017
Reviewed: 5.29.18
Star rating: 3 out of 5
Genre: Horror, Zombies, Australian Movies, Zombie Drama

copyright ©2018 Dave Riedel

Monday, June 18, 2018

Movie review: Justice League

 His faith restored in humanity after Superman's selfless act and faced with a new enemy, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of new ally Diana Prince. Together they assemble a team of metahumans to defend Earth against total destruction by Steppenwolf.

Ben Affleck (Batman/Bruce), Henry Cavill (Superman/Clark), Amy Adams (Lois), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman/Diana), Ezra Miller (Flash/Barry), Jason Momoa (Aquaman/Arthur), Ray Fisher (Cyborg/Victor), Ciaran Hinds (Steppenwolf).

Justice League begins with a lot of character introductions and backstory, introducing us to The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg as Bruce and Diana assemble a team of metahumans to defend the Earth against Steppenwolf. Setup complete, the story shifts to parallel plot lines with one following the current battle and the other, raising Superman from the dead. The result is a bit of a mess, including the introduction of several new characters that seem to appear from nowhere.

Acting was reasonably good with Affleck and Gadot delivering their usual along with Cavill. Miller was enjoyable and fun. Momoa, while visually entertaining, lacked depth as did Fisher. Hinds voice work was solid and the remainder of the cast was decent.

Visual work was a mixed bag. While camera work was decent, CGI was extreme and such a blunt contrast it didn't fit well. The full animation of Steppenwolf also felt unusual and out of place with the rest of the film which suffered from the fast moving and extensive CGI. Dialogue was enjoyable though a bit more humor would have been nice. Sound and soundtrack are good.

Comic Book superheroes may be popular right now, but this one will likely appeal more to teens than it will adults due to the lack of plot depth and fast moving CGI that is almost difficult to watch at times. A decent choice for family movie night.

With some mild sexuality, violence, foul language, and potentially disturbing images, this should be fine for teens and above.

Released: 2017
Reviewed: 5.29.18
Star rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Action & Adventure, Action Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Comic Book Superheroes, Action Thriller, Fantasy

copyright ©2018 Dave Riedel

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