Criticsized (2016)

I have to admit, I really enjoyed this film. If you’re a fan of detective programmes, solving crimes, such as ‘Criminal Minds’, ‘CSI’ etc etc, then I think you would thoroughly enjoy this film. It has many similarities to TV programmes such as these, or perhaps I can see similarities way too easily when the TV programme I’m binge-watching at the minute is ‘Criminal Minds’…? I don’t know.

Anyway, what is ‘Criticsized’ even about? As you can probably guess, a crime. Well actually a serial killer, and to say the least the deaths are graphic and horrific. So this is a film for older ages most definitely, swearing, graphic deaths, this is a no go kids film. Also, this isn’t a film of a mystery, you know who the killer is and the police are quick to get a name. But that doesn’t make a difference to the film at all, the film is more of a chase, but there is still tension, suspense, it is done very well. The audience get warped into the film, wondering why he is doing this, whether he will succeed in killing his next victim, whether the police will catch him.

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So the plot revolves around the detective on the case, Jack, played by Callum Blue – which I found is recognisable in ‘The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement’, took me a while to realise it was actually him though (Andrew, the guy Mia is set up with, if you’re wandering). The whole plot revolves around the character Jack, involving his personal life and his career, he is the one driving the plot. However, in some way, so is the killer. We jump from the police office to the killer’s point of view, something I’ve noticed that happens in ‘Criminal Minds’ a lot, but it is used cleverly to add to the suspense in whether the capture of the bad guy will take place and if it does, when and with how many deaths.

The reason behind the killer is one very unique and therefore becomes extremely intriguing, cleverly drawing you in trying to figure out the reason behind all the murders, the gruesome murders. This gives the audience a new interesting plot, and I found the ending superb, the realisation of the killer’s motives and then the ending altogether was, in my opinion, very clever. Had you thinking, which is a good ending for me. It is a film that fits in its genre well, with a different motive of a killer.

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As you can probably tell I enjoyed this film and would definitely recommend if you think this is the sort of film for you. I was warped into the film, not really knowing what to expect, but with the ending and the whole summarising of the film, I would watch it again. Although there were parts of the film I was shouting at the screen wondering why he couldn’t catch him then, but it wasn’t meant to be… But yes, like I’ve said I surprisingly enjoyed it as a film of its genre; tension was built up well and you find yourself delving into Jack’s life and praying he will find where the killer is in time.

Boyz N The Hood (1991)

‘Boyz N The Hood’ is a film based around a Los Angeles community, where to say the least has a lot of crime. If you’re looking for any easy watch, this is not the one. This film has violence, non-stop sirens, guns, alcohol, and to say it swears would be a large understatement. But what this film does is focus on many social problems, including race, friendship, relationships and growing up.

‘Boyz N The Hood’ focusses round one group of friends, most in particular three young adults. Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr), Ricky (Morris Chestnut) and Darren ‘Doughboy’ (Ice Cube). All these characters couldn’t be more different. We see a lot about Tre, a young boy who is sent by his mother (Angela Bassett) to live with his father (Laurence Fishburne) to learn what it is to be a man. The father then raises him, to have morals such as independence, responsibility, thought behind actions and to not be influenced by the community around him, to avoid what happens to a lot of the other people in the neighbourhood; either being shot, in jail, or teenage pregnancy. The father, Furious, is really a character to appreciate in this film; despite everything you know what he says is heart-felt and for the right reasons. Now moving on to the next of the three, someone a bit like Tre but has fallen in one of the categories Furious steers his son away from, teenage pregnancy. At the age of seventeen, Ricky has a son, however this does not stop him from dreaming big and hoping to get the results he wishes in life, actually makes him work harder for it. A very lovable character, especially by his mother, whereas his brother, his mother doesn’t appreciate as much. This is Darren, or what others call him, Doughboy. Doughboy from the age of ten is arrested for the first time, and continuously from then he is in and out of jail. Although, there is so much more to his character, which makes him so much more interesting even if he makes the wrong decisions. So like I said a variety of characters there.

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I love how this film is structured. The first chunk of the film is actually based around the group of friends at the age of ten. We experience how they are when they are young, then the film jumps seven years ahead and we can tell how much has changed or what routes they have taken. I feel like this is definitely needed in the film as it gives a background story to all the characters which helps the audience appreciate them all in their own way.

I really enjoyed this film (as a crime film obviously) as it is cleverly done, however you have to be in the right mind-set. There isn’t any feel-good moments really, nor any comedy of course; but rather tense and a sense that something bad is going to happen. It definitely pulls on heart-strings as you like characters, but things don’t turn out the right way. It’s a very moralistic film to say the least. So I would recommend watching ‘Boyz N The Hood’. Go ahead and experience the life of Tre, Ricky and Doughboy for an excellent crime film.

A Life Not To Follow (2015)

This Neo-Noir film is one very different to others I’ve seen before, and this was good. As the title states, the characters in this film are ones that you wish to never be. They are lives which have gone too far into the “society’s underbelly”, which is full of darkness. The unique set-up of this film was one to enjoy. Time is mashed about as the film is broken down into three chapters. The three chapters all connected one way or another making more sense of the plot, but they all followed different characters.

Chapter One. This chapter revolved around Eric (Fiore Leo), a man who knew it was his end. But one that wanted to go out with a bang. Literally. As it is the first chapter, you are thrown straight into this plot, one where you don’t know any characters or where the plot is going. It’s like you’re thrown in the middle of the film, something which is clever in keeping the audience intrigued until the very end. The performance of Eric in this chapter is very strong; flashbacks are used to explain his narrated stories and as his past unfolds to the audience, we become more aware of what his plans are before he dies. His character is very troubled, but the blame for this is clearly based upon someone else. This chapter was very tense, waiting with for inevitable or just waiting for him to actually explain everything to his girlfriend, Finola (Erica Derrickson). This was clever as well, as she didn’t know anything alike to the audience; we learn along with her. I also enjoyed the freeze frames, even that they were slightly blurry this actually gave a strong effect to the film.

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Chapter Two. This is the next day. Things are slightly different in this chapter. We find out in the first chapter about a certain gang in town, but this one moves away from that gang onto another; this gives the audience some sort of sense that there is more to this society that what was let on in the first chapter. Right from the beginning of this chapter, we know that something bad is going to happen. In the darkness of the night a young girl is chased by an angry man; immediate danger. The story then jumps to Angelo (John Martellucci), the man this chapter is more based around. We learn a bit about “the family” as he calls it, and Angelo is ordered to kill Luca (Michael Capozzi), his best friend. This chapter follows the struggles that Angelo feels, and his desperate desire to not go through with this plan. The audience is pulled in unknown to what he might do, and once we become certain of his plan, we are thrown and showed something rather different in a twist.

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Chapter Three. Back to the beginning it is. This is the most important chapter, bringing things into light for the audience. Strangely, the audience feel like they know more than the audience, having seen them in the first two chapters. But still things are connected and they shine a bright light onto the truth behind every chapter. This chapter is revolved around yet another individual, this time it being an ex FBI agent, Tobias (David Graziano). I really liked that there was voice narration to this chapter, Tobias lets the audience into his sleepy, alcohol-driven mind; a mind in which only wants to find the truth to what happened to Eliza (Molly Kay), a missing girl in which we see both in the first and second chapters. There were a few other additions to this chapter that boosted the style of the film, for example the freeze on a character and Tobias narrating his opinions (which was seen in chapter one as well); additionally, the fast edited pace which seems to portray the agony of Tobias and the struggles he is feeling; or even the restricted lighting, the audience struggling to see captivated into that darker side of town. The last minutes of this chapter was where everything became real for the audience, them finally understanding that one part of society that threw everything about; and these minutes are tense, just waiting.

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Even though they follow certain individuals, they all connect in one way or another; and they all represent a society in which good things never happen. Everyone seems to be caught or wrapped into the bad side of town and unable to escape from it. The film also gives this feeling after the film has finished, things aren’t over. The whole film has a black and white tint to it, this resembles the darkness, crime, trouble and violence. It also swears a lot, so this film is definitely for older ages. Between each chapter, there was a separation to this darkness, full of colour and a happy young woman. This contrast could be taken in two ways, either that some light gets caught in the dark, or that there is always some light in the dark.

Overall, the plot was intriguing and quite powerful for the audience. It was a unique style to represent all the emotions and all the lives you wish not to follow. This isn’t a film that is supposed to make the audience feel comfortable and easy-going; instead it is the opposite, they are thrown about into a lot of death and harsh realities once upon a time.

Legend (2015)

2015’s ‘Legend’ is based on a biography of the Kray brothers in 1960s East End, London. The film is full of violence, fraud and more violence. To put across this danger of the Kray brothers, violence is specifically used, but not as in the use of guns, which is still involved, but more aggressive, punch fights, or the use of hammers etc. There is also the sound of breaking bones and there is lot of vision of blood. It’s a tense film to say the least. It’s not a pretty film, one rather the opposite. But then again, it is a film meant to show the truth of the Kray brothers that were around in the 1960s.

In my eyes, it is Tom Hardy that makes this film so brilliant. I believe that without him, it wouldn’t have been as near as good as it was. Hardy plays both of the main characters, Reggie and Ronnie Kray. And just to prove how great of an actor he is, they are both parallel characters, yet played excellently. Reggie is more calm and collected than Ronnie, however to say he is calm is not true, I just meant more than Ronnie. Reggie is more of a think out a plan and succeed, he threatens in a subtle way, if there’s such a thing. He is the one that finds his love and even plans a marriage. Whereas, Ronnie is wanting the full gangster life, just wanting him and his brother to conquer London. Ronnie is more aggressive, he’s unstable, crazy, quite scary, and he’s schizophrenic. It’s Ronnie that adds an uncertainty to the film and makes it tenser, Ronnie does as well, as the audience are unknown to when he might lash out, but Reggie’s schizophrenia is uncalming. As Tom Hardy plays both the brothers, they have to look slightly different in order for the audience to know who is who, this is brilliantly done, and it is noticeable to which is which.

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The Kray brothers carry a tense element around London, this also is put across to the audience. The audience are uneasy around them even though they are the main characters. The violence is excellently played it seems real, when it’s obviously not. But then things aren’t fully violent, but still unsettling, for example the unknown reason to Reggie bringing a cup of tea to the police outside his house who are following and tracking him and his brother.

There is a drama aspect to the film, so it’s not all crime and thriller. This is between Reggie and Frances (Emily Browning – Violet from ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ by the way). It’s a relationship where Frances is hopeful at the beginning, yet things get incredibly worse, it’s definitely not a happy relationship nor a happy ending to it. Frances is a character who the audience feel sympathetic towards, that Frances hopes for the best in Reggie but that’s not always there. This relationship adds a freedom from all the crime of the gangsters in the film, but changes to a heart-breaking love. There isn’t really any moments in the film where you feel happy, but then again why would you in a gangster film?

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In ‘Legend’, there is a narrator that speaks to the audience, this is from Frances. The view from her is bias towards Reggie as she loves him, but it doesn’t change how the audience sees the Kray brothers, but yet exaggerates the drama element between Reggie and Frances making it more sad.

The rating of this film is an 18 and that is understandable and should be obeyed. For many reasons, but mainly because of the scale of the violence and also there’s unsuitable language. So definitely not appropriate for younger ages.

I would say that this is a good film, and I would recommend it if you like the gangster movies. Be warned it is a crime movie, so there is definitely an unsettling, tense feel to the film, especially that is based upon a true story. Overall, I would say that Tom Hardy makes ‘Legend’ a film to watch.

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

A convict, a plan, a crew, a heist, $160 million. Put very basic, that is the plot of ‘Ocean’s Eleven’.

Recently released out of prison, Danny Ocean (George Clooney), decides to pull a few people together to earn some money; and not in a simple, get a job and earn money in a respectable way, but deciding to rob, not one, nor two, but three, Las Vegas Casinos. ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ is a great movie based upon this heist. Will it be successful or will it fail epically?

If you are looking for a heist based film, one that is truly great, with great actors and a great plot; then ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ is a good film to choose. It begins with an elaborate dangerous plan against Terry Benedict’s (Andy Garcia) casinos, then the proceedings of this plan. You discover in the film that Danny Ocean has hidden agendas and whether the plan will take part without him. There are times in the film where things become very close and you get tenser. Without knowing it you find yourself wanting the thieves to succeed; it’s a clever film where the protagonists are not heroes, but I wouldn’t class them as anti-heroes either. This is done through the narrative as everything is from their prospective and Andy Garcia plays the villain of the film when in reality there is a plan of him being robbed of $160 million.

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The film might be considered a bit slow, as there is a lot of wandering and talking, eating and discussing; but I think this adds to the involvement and understanding of the heist to take place and the dedication it needs, making the film more reliable. Do not think this film is action-based and something is happening all the time, because there is a lot of talking and small occurrences taking place. Although, they are all significant for them to work in the plan altogether, even if the audience doesn’t fully understand why.

The first half hour is significant but fast pace, this is clever in how the film has been produced and directed as it could be considered a boring part of introducing the new characters, but as it is many characters all at once you don’t find it boring at any time. However, I would say that this film is more based upon the plot than on character’s insights and personalities, so the fast pace works better. The beginning is based on Danny Ocean collecting his crew for his new heist; the introduction of the main protagonists in short clips, before they join and find out the full plan. Introducing the second hand man, Rusty (Brad Pitt), nervous Livingston (Eddie Jemison), the twins Virgil (Casey Affleck) and Turk (Scott Caan), the elder Saul Bloom (Carl Reiner), new in the job Linus (Matt Damon), explosive Basher (Don Cheadle), athletic Yen (Shaobo Qin), card dealer Frank (Bernie Mac), and finally the rich Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould). There are a variety of characters that are needed for this heist to take place and you’re not quite sure their place until it is finally over. I find that all the characters are brilliant in their own way even if you don’t know much about them. The actors are all quite famous and recognisable, which is good for the film as well, so I’m sure you will recognise at least one of the actors. I don’t know about you, but I like to recognise actors in films, I’m one of those people that has to know where I’ve seen them before, so if you’re like me, you would like this film, I recognised many. I think this makes the film more enjoyable and they’re all professional and brilliantly acted. However, the one thing I have to say is that Don Cheadle, who is American, doesn’t do a very satisfying English accent, actually it is quite bad and slightly disappointing.

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The significant part that makes ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ great, is towards the end, when the heist challenge starts to be taken place. I wouldn’t consider the film to be a mystery as you are told the plan right at the beginning but you are hooked into how it is going to take place and if they will succeed. Watching the heist take place, you will be confused in how things will uncover.

The film isn’t very inappropriate in many ways, it is only a 12. There is light violence, the one scene of punching, and the use of explosives, and I think one swear word in the whole film. Even though the film is a crime film, I wouldn’t say it is scary at all nor that there are any threatening scenes which are inappropriate for younger ages.

‘Ocean’s Eleven’ is a film I would recommend and if you think this would be a film that you would enjoy, then after watching the first ‘Ocean’s Eleven’, I would recommend to watch the second and third one also, ‘Ocean’s Twelve’ and ‘Ocean’s Thirteen’; because I believe these two to be better than the first.

Se7en (1995)

‘Seven’ is a psychological thriller, a crime mystery; based on a reluctant and desperate to retire Detective Somerset (Morgan Freeman), who finds himself on a homicide case unlike many others. By his side is determined, young Detective Mills (Brad Pitt).

First thing to mention is that this 1995 film is an 18, so therefore is inappropriate for younger ages. There are many different reasons for this, first it is a psychological thriller. Second, there is the use of inappropriate language, a lot of swearing. Thirdly, there is the use of guns and a lot of graphic dead bodies. So keep in mind that the age limit is there for a reason so only people above the age of 18 would be able to watch this film, for understandable reasons.

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The plot is a very intriguing one. It is based around a bunch of murders that are all connected to the seven deadly sins. ‘Seven’ is a tense film, full of suspense. It is a good watch, a film that will get you thinking and wonder the reasons behind the killer and his psychological matter. Murder after murder and it just seems that the killer is laughing at the detectives. You feel unsure to whether they would figure out who the killer is before he completes his task by using all the seven deadly sins to kill all of his seven victims. You find yourself watching the film very intently, thinking something isn’t quite right, this uneasy feeling continues throughout the film, especially even after the film has finished. It is a film that requires the audience’s full attention; so if you expect to watch an easy film, this is not the one.

Some scenes are a bit slow, but it just adds to the suspense and confusion of what is happening or what is going to happen in the film. It makes you feel unsure to what you’re actually supposed to be paying attention to. There isn’t a lot of time in the film where you feel comfortable or that things are going to go well. So in this sense it is a brilliant thriller. Definitely not a film that is a feel-good film, instead the opposite, to make you think and feel tense.

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The actors are brilliant in ‘Seven’. I can’t say there are any faults in the acting of the film, how can there be when it is the excellent Morgan Freeman and the great Brad Pitt? Morgan Freeman plays this pessimistic detective, one that doesn’t see much good in the world and believes nothing will ever change. Whereas, Brad Pitt plays the opposite character, a detective who wants to make a difference in the world, puts his emotions forward, even if in a lashing out way. In Somerset’s (Morgan Freeman) eyes he believes Mills (Brad Pitt) is naïve about the world. These two range in characters are not only brilliantly played, but portray opposite characters in the film, two to try and understand, but as they rarely agree, it shows both of these protagonists are complex, especially for the audience to get their head around.

Overall, I believe that this film is a brilliant crime mystery, even if some scenes are slightly slow and a bit boring, the ending of the film and the film altogether makes it a good film to watch and think about even after the film has ended. Definitely not one to forget in a hurry.