Tag Archives: Boyd Holbrook

In the Shadow of the Moon (2019) Movie Review By Peter Pluymers

 

In The Shadow Of The Moon

Director: Jim Mickle
Writers: Gregory Weidman, Geoffrey Tock
Stars: Boyd Holbrook, Cleopatra Coleman, Bokeem Woodbine

If you kill me now…
the world as you know it will end
in a very short time.

Yeah. Once again a movie about time traveling. Always interesting to see how they incorporated the paradox of time travel. And there’s always going to be someone who claims something isn’t right. Not that I really care about that because I still don’t know anyone who has actually traveled through time to provide proof whether changes in the past may or may not affect the future. Perhaps that would provide proof of whether the grandfather paradox is plausible or not. So, for me, it’s still pure Sci-Fi. And that results in enjoyable films such as “About Time“, “I’ll follow you down” or “Predestination” And this Netflix Original certainly wasn’t that bad either.

This film differs enormously from one like “Predestination“. And this in terms of simplicity. It’s not all that complicated. Don’t expect such an immense “mindfuck” as in the latter. You don’t need an immense manual or walk-through here. And furthermore, it’s a pleasant mixture of detective-movie and Sci-Fi. The tracing of a serial killer (active in Philadelphia) by the ambitious police officer Locke (Boyd Holbrook) is the common thread throughout the film.

The apparently randomly selected innocent victims, die a terrible death in which decomposing brains are the cause of the sudden death. Locke discovers that all the victims have scars in the neck area. Soon it’s said that an isotope is the cause of them ending up dead in a rapidly spreading blood pool. And when a fourth victim manages to give an accurate description of the person, a massive search is being conducted. Locke ends up face to face with a young, coloured teenager (with a thorough knowledge of combat techniques) in a blue jogging suit (Cleopatra Coleman). The biggest shock for Locke is that she knows a lot of facts about Locke. Facts she couldn’t have known. And before you know it, it’s 9 years later.

The film is divided into time periods of 9 years. Starting in the year 1988. The year that the first murders happen. It’s actually the most action-rich part. And also the most realistic. The way in which a cook, concert pianist and female bus driver meet their end, has been portrayed enormously realistic. Don’t expect an ordinary cause of death. It’s pretty bloody. And in the case of the bus driver, quite spectacular. But when the phenomenon of the returning teenager reveals itself and you finally begin to understand what’s going on, realism slowly but surely fades away and gives way to pure fiction. And gradually you realise that this isn’t a typical detective film, with inspectors (like in “Se7en“) chasing a crazy serial killer. No way. It gradually transforms into a thoughtful sci-fi and then ends in a corny drama about family issues.

To be honest, I thought the acting performance of Boyd Holbrook as the wayward Locke wasn’t bad at all. Perseverance and drivenness were exceptionally well portrayed. Because of his obsession to solve the mystery, he loses control of reality. It destroys his family relationships and interferes with his work. Gradually Locke turns into an unkempt tramp, without work and living in his car. Therefore, let me praise the make-up department of this production. And although Holbrook’s acting was outstanding, you can’t say he out-sings the rest of the cast. They weren’t bad, but you can’t speak of spectacular interpretations either. Only the action-rich fight scenes with Cleopatra Coleman as an unleashed fury pleased me as well.

No, “In the shadow of the Moon” certainly wasn’t a disastrous film. Although the story was essentially not too original. And you get that feeling that you’ve seen it all before. Probably because of that, the denouement wasn’t really surprising. Perhaps the opening scene was too revealing as well. The question of whether you can avoid disaster by drastically changing something in the past is and remains fascinating. I bet that the event they tried to undo, will be the subject of discussion once again. Just look at the politically charged opinions on other websites. Even the word “propaganda” is used all too often. The patronising tone and the explanatory nature of the film was no obstacle for me to enjoy this film. Don’t expect a groundbreaking movie. But it surely was entertaining enough. So, it’s definitely well worth a watch, this Netflix Original.

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The Predator (2018) Blu-Ray Review By D.M. Anderson

The Predator

and the Joy of Junk Food

Director: Shane Black

Writers: Fred Dekker, Shane Black 

Stars: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Olivia Munn, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Augusto Aguilera, Sterling K. Brown, Yvonne Strahovski, Jake Busey, Brian A. Prince.

Who doesn’t occasionally love a decadent snack of empty calories? That’s why I’m a little perplexed right now. Having seen The Predator twice now – once in a theatre and again for this Blu-ray review – I’m still left with this question: Did I watch a different movie than everyone else?

The movie may not have been a critical darling, but what surprises me is the overall negative reaction from audiences, especially longtime fans of the franchise. I’m not sure what they were expecting, but as tasty treats go, The Predator is easily the most satisfying of all the sequels. Much more than the insipid Predator 2 and the somewhat under appreciated Predators, this one has a lot of the same unhealthy ingredients that made 1987’s Predator such enjoyable junk food, right down to musical cues from original composer Alan Silvestri’s iconic score.

Maybe my expectations weren’t that high to begin with – we ain’t exactly talking the Star Wars saga here – but I found The Predator to be a lot of fast-moving, trashy fun. While the film certainly remembers – and acknowledges – the timeline and events established by its predecessors, it isn’t simply more of the same. It has the audacity to tweak with the formula just a bit, adding an alien agenda, of sorts (kinda like extra nuts & fudge on a sundae). It turns out that Earth is more than just the Predators’ favourite hunting ground. Without spoiling the snack, they’ve come to better themselves, so to speak, and need us – one character in particular – to become more efficient killers.

Some of the new ingredients are admittedly ridiculous (alien hunting dog, anyone?), but last thing this franchise needs is the original’s basic plot rehashed yet-again. Besides, the narrative moves along at such a frenetic pace that there’s no point trying to scrutinise it until later. That’s like regretting that sundae while you’re eating it. In the moment, The Predator is by-far, the most action-filled – and bloodiest – entry in the entire franchise, unbound by anything resembling restraint.

But what really sets this one apart from the sequels is its characters. Like the original film, squaring off against the title creature is an eclectic team, this time consisting of soldiers who’ve been relieved of their duties for a variety of criminal or psychological reasons. Self-dubbed The Loonies and led by super-sniper Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook), they are an intensely likeable and amusing bunch despite their sordid histories, making them more than just typical cannon fodder. Olivia Munn is also on-hand as Casey Brackett, the biologist who-first discovers the Predators are evolving, as well as McKenna’s autistic son, Rory (Jacob Tremblay). Refreshingly, Rory isn’t a token kid who merely exists to be rescued (though he eventually does need rescuing); his acute abilities make him integral to the plot (which I’ll concede is also a bit silly).

Writer/director Shane Black is definitely the right guy for the job. In addition to having a supporting role in the original, he did a lot of uncredited rewrites, most-notably the more humorous touches that later became one of his trademarks. Like other action-oriented films he’s since written and/or directed, The Predator is often very funny…even goofy on occasion. A healthy sense of humour has been missing from this franchise for a long time, though some viewers may feel Black tips the scales too much in that direction for their liking.

That being said, I enjoyed The Predator just as much the second time. Sure, it’s ultimately cinematic junk food, but so was the original, which didn’t take itself all that seriously either. In a way, the film plays a lot like a nasty variation of the Jurassic World films, more content with being big, brash popcorn entertainment than breaking new ground. Though some purists may balk at that, sometimes empty calories are just what we need.

The Predator (2018) Movie Review By John Walsh

The Predator.png

Director: Shane Black
Writers: Fred Dekker, Shane Black 
Stars: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay

I was looking forward to this one for a number of months. I’m a big fan of the original ‘Predator’, a film that was the gold standard for all 80s sci-fi horror. The second was decent enough, but not a patch on the original and since then we’ve seen ever diminishing returns from the franchise, akin to the travesty that is currently ‘RoboCop’. Step forward Shane Black, a man who’s still a relative newcomer in the directors chair. He made his name through the late 80s to early 90s as a writer and an average actor, before taking matters into his own hands with ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ back in 2005. 

Since then he’s directed just five films in a thirteen year period, but despite all of that, he had me excited for a potential fresh take on this tired and ailing franchise. The aforementioned directorial debut was excellent, ‘Iron Man 3’ was solid and undeserving of the flak it received from some quarters and ‘The Nice Guys’ was one of my favourite films from 2016. The latter in particular blended brilliant humour, action, violence, snappy dialogue, interesting characters and the outright ridiculous to great effect. So for me, the question then effectively was, can he bring all of that to ‘The Predator’? The answer is yes and no. 

The characters in the Nice Guys were distinctly different, the brawn of Jack, the wackiness of March, the brains of Holly and even the two antagonists were interesting enough without major development. I felt like Black tried this here again, got close in some parts, but couldn’t quite replicate the magic. It’s a totally different world and genre, in fairness, but the characters felt a little 2D in the main. 

Quinn (Boyd Holbrook), was ok, but no powerful leading man in the vain of Arnie. Casey (Olivia Munn), was decent but underused for me and whilst I’m on the subject of interesting underused characters. Traeger (Sterling K Brown), had so much potential as the government official with insider knowledge on the Predators motives, with a real hint of ruthlessness. The ‘Loonies’ were like something out of the Dream Team sans the acting brilliance of Christopher Lloyd and Peter Boyle, though I did enjoy the banter amongst them, primarily from Coyle (Keegan-Michael Key). Finally, Rory (Jacob Tremblay), the son of Quinn, was arguably the standout, playing a shy, intelligent boy that comes out of his shell amongst the madness. 

Now for the story, perhaps the biggest disappointment of the entire thing. I spoke about it on this weeks Box Office Chat and made the admission that I wouldn’t have had a clue what was going on a more grander scale, if Traeger hadn’t delivered a lengthy bit of exposition, around the beginning of the final act, letting everyone know exactly what was happening.

What was happening? Well, the first Predator they encounter had went rogue, coming to Earth in an attempt to help the indigenous populace stave off his conquering race of sport killing, spine ripping, blood thirsty, aggressive rascals. Armed with the knowledge of global warming’s risk to humanity, they had started mixing their DNA with the human genome to make the settling in process all the easier. How does he know this? Well, he’s part of a government agency that had been watching and studying the aliens come and go since their first encounter back in Arnie’s day. Which is all well and good, but doesn’t really explain the unadulterated aggression the first chap seemed to have for the humans he was supposedly helping. 

Which brings me onto the next point nicely. You can slag this film off in the story department, in character development, the editing was a little off in the final act, even the CG went downhill towards the end too when the bigger Predator entered the fray. Hell, if you’re easy offended or PC gone mad, then there’s the Tourette’s suffering member of the Loonies that’s the butt of a few jokes. But you can’t criticise the action sequences. There’s some epic moments in there and none more so than when the regular joe Predator awoke in the lab and dished out a sustained ass whooping to everything in the room. It was sensational to watch and it showcased the power and ruthless nature that’s synonymous with these guys.

Logan (2017) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

Logan

Director: James Mangold
Writers: James Mangold (story by),  Scott Frank (screenplay)
Stars: Hugh Jackman,  Patrick Stewart,  Dafne Keen, Stephen Merchant, Boyd Holbrook, Richard E Grant

After two excellent trailers “Logan” is the movie everyone has been anticipating for the last year or so. Again Logan (The Wolverine) is using his birth name of James Howlett in the year 2029 trying to lead an ordinary existence driving a limo as a driver. whilst in his spare time looking after his old friend and mentor Charles Xavier (Professor X) who is now sick and old and is having seizures that are so blinding they are effecting the last reminisce of the mutants on earth that Logan tries to contain by giving Charles his medication on time. Accompanying both the Professor and The Wolverine is the albino mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant) whose ability is sensing and tracking others of his kind. All three of them live in the outskirts of nowhere on a run down old farm leading a recluse life in which seems to me just living out the remainder of their lives.

Logan has been tracked down by a lady named Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez) asking for his help to get a young girl to the Canadian border for her own safety as both have been pursued by Donald Pierce played by Boyd Holbrook. We first meet Gabriela at one of Logan’s driving jobs (at a funeral service) where Logan doesn’t want to know anything about what she is asking as he is trying his best to keep a low profile and  Gabriela knows more than enough about Logan being The Wolverine and his abilities to protect and handle himself.

Pierce’s first intervention with Logan is short and at times shows a respect for the one time well known X-Men and makes it clear that he isn’t tracking down The Wolverine or Professor X (who he admits would like to meet) but the Young Girl who goes by the name of Laura (Dafne Keen) who is labelled X-23.

You visibly see Logan is old and a shadow of his former self but by going on this reluctant mission he unlocks some of the old Wolverine inside of him and we see snippets of this throughout the movie and involving X-23 when she’s more capable than Logan and Professor X thinks and she’s able to fend for herself.
Logan also begins to realise things about himself through the vision of this little girl because they have striking similarities.

It has to be said that every scene in this film feels necessary and not shoehorned in from the character development to the humour and action. Nothing feels forced and everything comes off natural which is refreshing and a great testament to these characters that we have grown and loved for the past 17 years in the cinematic world and especially as it is both the original actors Stewart and Jackman who just fit right into their characters as if they have never been away (especially Stewart who apart from limited time in X-Men: Days of Future Past and a cameo in X-Men Origins: Wolverine hasn’t really played the part for a good decade) and I was very pleased with that.

Hugh Jackman gives it all in this his final performance as Logan and I don’t think many people will disagree he has saved the best for last after than disappointing Origins story and the okay “The Wolverine”. I don’t think we have seen The Wolverine this vulnerable. He’s now old, he’s beaten and walks with a slight limp. He doesn’t  heal like he used to and this is down to the conviction from Hugh Jackman in the movie. Jackman has always stood out from the rest in the X-Men franchise with his portrayal as Wolverine/Logan and that’s partially down to the Character but mostly down to the actor portraying his take on the character. He hits the nail on the head with this somber performance and you just know he wants the character to go out with a bang.

The real surprising standout performance is from Dafne Keen who plays Laura (X-23). She gives Logan a run for his money on the brutality who is this mysterious young girl born with a same clawing-wielding gift as Wolverine. At first Keen didn’t talk and I thought this was going to be for the rest of the movie with some nods and shakes of the head for conversation in between going on violent rampages and the occasional Spanish-spoken lines, but it’s the subtly in her character that stands out as you begin to see she cares for Logan and Charles and I think by the end of watching the movie the audience want to see more of Keen as Laura in her own stand alone movie or as part of a new generation of x-men….or in this case x-children. I can see why a lot of folk would want this as there is that potential to continue the story in this universe now that Jackman, Stewart etc are hanging up their boots as mutants and it also looks like the First Class mutants have finished their trilogy with the bitterly disappointing Apocalypse. So why not continue the story instead of a reboot?

Patrick Stewart who proudly reprising his role as Charles Xavier has done what is needed for his character and he does it with perfection. With the aged Xavier now handicapped without his ability to walk, Stewart gives a blissful, if occasionally humorous portrayal as this signature role and there is a particular scene that is so touching as he lies in his bed after being taken in by a family who feed and give Logan, Charles and Laura a room for the night that hints at why there isn’t any mutants anymore and how this is the happiest he has been in as long as he can remember. Stewart as I previously mentioned just slips back into the role but with a bit of cutting humour it must be said that will make you laugh out loud in disbelief with “did he just say the f-word?”

If I had one gripe with this movie it is main villains in Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook).Who isn’t the kind of villain that tries to scare you. He just messes around with Logan but will become nasty if needed. Holbrook is a suitable villain for this movie but really is just a bounty hunter who doesn’t have too much to do. We are then introduced to Doctor Rice (Richard E. Grant) who is behind Pierce and who is clearly desperate to retrieve X-23 and take her back to his lab for experimentation I felt was a little villain-light and really just served as the ‘Mad Scientist” behind the plan but with no real punch.

James Mangold manages to capture every element which thrives on the edge of this conflict that he creates. it is beautiful and the talk on the street is whispers of Oscar nominations…..“in March?” you say? Yeah it’s that good. Don’t get me wrong, Director and Writer James Mangold has crafted a very fine film.  He certainly knows how to keep the action flowing and all that bad wire work we saw in the origins movie is nowhere to be seen in this beautifully shot film. Not only are the visuals stunning but the development of all ready established characters might appear to be an easy thing to pick up but Mangold is dealing with “Old Logan” and a decrepit Charles Xavier here and still manages to capture the essence of the characters from the previous movies but adds to their story, sadness, regret and above all…hope for the future of mutants alike.

I believe that this movie will be very well received by fans as the early indications are looking good and some critics are already labelling “Logan” as one of the best comic book movies of all time. I personally consider the film more in the superhero western genre? as it has that gritty feel and texture about it. I highly recommend this movie for all those reasons mentioned because it distinguishes itself from the usual superhero movies. I have all the x-men films and i liked most of them but none of them managed to reach this movie’s level of action or emotion .