Quick Study Topics:
The Captive (2014)
Escape Plan 2: Hades (2018)
Father of the Year (2018)
The Raid: Redemption (2011)
The Raid 2 (2014)
The Captive (2014) — Director: Atom Egoyan
Another A24 film, another super interesting indie styled film. “The Captive” stars Ryan Reynolds playing a serious and broken down character. Something we as the general public may not be used to since the man bleeds Deadpool energy on and off screen. The concept of the film seems to follow the realities of human trafficking. Nothing is done in any incredibly artsy or unique way. When the events of the film happen, they simply happen and you are left with the reality of the situation, which is something I came to appreciate with “The Captive”.
On another end, I had a lot of open questions once the film was over and not in the style in which directors purposefully leave them open so you can create your own conclusion. For me, it was more so of a “Wait, why did this happen and it was left to the wind?”, “What is the purpose of this and it is not revisited?”. Overall, it was a unique film and definitely worth at least one watch. For me, it would land around the middle range of the rankings for A24 films… Which is something I should do someday.
Emelie (2016) — Director: Michael Thelin
“Emelie” is a thriller film that currently can be found on Netflix. My attention came to this film by way of my buddy tipping me off to it. He said that it was a short but crazy flick that I would find interesting and I am always down for a quick watch. The film is nothing short of crazy. It follows a family who hires a babysitter yet the babysitter is not exactly who she says she is, thus creating a nightmare scenario for this squad of three children.
The three child actors are excellent performers. For a film that solely revolves around young actors, it hardly becomes a distraction as some child actors can be. The film flows well and the tense and thrilling moments are consistent throughout the film.
Despite the praise, “Emelie” sits as a short film (1 hour and 20 minutes), so it has to cut some corners in order to maintain that short time. Some supporting characters are not explained as much as others. Emelie’s actions sometimes do not mesh well with her motives during the film besides being fuel for the thriller vibe.
Definitely worth a watch on Netflix for your scare night!
Enemy (2013) — Director: Denis Villeneuve
Oberrating: 8?/10… Which turned into a 9 after deep analysis
It was not hard for me to press play on this film once it came to my attention what all was involved with it. Director being Denis Villeneuve, one of my current favorite directors… An A24 film, currently one of my top studios… Jake Gyllenhaal, a chameleon of an actor. What is there not to love?
Regardless of my knowledge of everything surrounding “Enemy”, I knew nothing about it besides the hype my friend, Grant, gave it. Throughout the entirety of the film, I could not take my eyes away. The film is a slow moving mystery thriller but it had my heart racing like an adrenaline filled action flick. The curiosity of the film took hold of me as I tried to piece together what was going on, only to have it wiped away by one subtle action. The film has many deep metaphorical meanings to just about every object and action happening. Some things are not even explained to this day. Regardless, if you choose to watch this film, prepare your mind.
Maybe the only thing that I can dub as a negative point of this film would be the pacing. I can see someone else viewing this film as boring and confusing. Despite it being the polar opposite of my perspective, I can see someone viewing it as such.
Initially I rated this an 8 but after deep thought and analysis of the film, I can only appreciate it more. And this was one of Denis’ earlier films?!? Sheeeeesh
Escape Plan 2: Hades (2018) — Director: Steven C. Miller
The first Escape Plan came out in 2013 and was a pretty low key film. Some have seen it, some liked it, some disliked it, some do not know what the title even is. My father and I both watched it either together or separate but regardless, we were both a fan of the film that starred Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Now in 2018, the sequel has come to the public…straight to DVD. No theatrical release, hardly any marketing, hardly any notice. That is already warning number 1. Regardless, my dad and I decided to take a gander at the sequel… the one and only mistake in and of itself. “Escape Plan 2: Hades” is a sloppy and cheap mess. Anytime effects were used, it was downright laughable. The plot is weak and within it, the film finds itself jumping between plots, often leading to a confusing and pointless mess. The acting and dialogue used by the actors is below the B level class, which is terribly upsetting regarding the fact this film managed to get a hold of Dave Bautista who was terribly underutilized.
If you find yourself coming across this title, pretend you never saw it.
Father of the Year (2018) — Director: Tyler Spindel
I stumbled on this film cause my lady and I wanted to watch a comedy and I recently heard from a friend that they found it pretty funny. After checking the trailer, which to my surprise, made me laugh a good bit, I figured this would be a good choice. Housed by Happy Madison Productions, which either drives a pained groan or happy cheer by some viewers, and starring David Spade, I knew I could easily be swayed in favor of or against “Father of the Year”.
For me, there were some hits with the jokes but overall, a whole lot of misses. The best moments are seen in the trailer and everything is just about forgettable. With a Happy Madison Productions film, you should always know what you are getting into. Ignoring the fact that the main plot is silly and pointless, purely focusing on the comedy of the film still drops my rating down to 4.
Locke (2013) — Director: Steven Knight
This month, A24 studios released a number of their films onto Netflix. With that, “Locke” was my first choice to begin my binge, as soon as I noticed Tom Hardy’s name attached to it.
This film was riveting in all the most shocking ways. “Locke” focuses on Ivan Locke as he make a road trip towards what I believe was London. Every conversation is held through a bluetooth phone within his car. He speaks with multiple individuals as he balances out his current dire scenario with a woman he is having a baby with, his company of which he is the construction manager of and happens to be on the cusp of one of the biggest projects in his country’s history, and lastly, his family whom of which he has to break the sudden news of him being unfaithful to them. As I came to see that this film was going to solely take place in a car and through phone conversations, I was skeptical early on but that quickly disappeared. I was LOCKEd in for the entire duration of this film.
Beyond that, special notes go to Hardy who acts exceptionally and the cinematography as the camera shows beautiful scenic shots of the cities Ivan drives by as well as the impressive blurring and in and out cuts.
The Raid: Redemption (2011) — Director: Gareth Evans
Conversation with my friends reignited my desire to watch this film franchise over again. The Raid series is wild. If you have not seen it and are a fan of violent martial arts films, then you need to watch these ASAP. Iko Uwais, the lead man, is unbelievable. To be honest, I can not even go much further than what I have already said. The violence, the fight choreography, the absolute chaos… It is all worth it if you enjoy these types of films. Some of the greatest martial arts films in history.
The Raid 2 (2014) — Director: Gareth Evans
Oberrating: 8/10 Changed to 9 after re-watch
I initially rated “The Raid 2” an 8 and after re-watching, I have no idea why. My buddy Grant has always expressed how much he loves the second one and after conversations with other friends, I had to give it a re-watch. I feel I rated the first one a point higher just because it was the first. After giving “The Raid 2” a rightful second watch, the action was far supreme, the story as well. Beyond that, as I said in the quick review for “The Raid: Redemption”, these are some of the greatest martial artist films of all time. If you love violent hand-to-hand action, this is for you.