Tag Archives: Ellar Coltrane

Blood Money (2017) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

Blood Money Review

Director: Lucky McKee
Writers: Jared Butler,  Lars Norberg
Stars: Ellar ColtraneWilla Fitzgerald, Jacob Artist, John Cusack

Plot:  Three friends on a wilderness excursion must outrun a white collar criminal hellbent on retrieving his cash, but soon their greed turns them against each other.

Running Time: 100 Minutes

IMDB Score: 4.5

Why I Watched It: I’m still a John Cusack fan and I thought it looked decent.

Random Thoughts: Clearly John Cusack is in his “if the money’s there I do not care phase of his career.”  It’s too bad, the guy can still act and he’s still charming but man here he looks barely awake.

The director Lucky McKee, not too long ago he looked like he could be a very good genre director, he had May, The Women, The Woods but this film, well it’s a work for hire and it really shows.  It’s too bad cause we need directors you get genre and do it well to keep working at it.

What I Liked: I’ll be honest there’s not much to like here, but let me find something.  John Cusack, he’s the only reason to even kind of watch this film, him and if you like movies set in the woods and watching people raft and camp.

Cusack is good even when he’s not trying, he’s the kind of guy I think it would be fun just to see him wake up and do his morning routine.  He’s kind of the flip side of Nic Cage, Cage is over the top and strange Cusack is semi awake and is just trying to get through the shoot.  He looks terrible here, his character has no character he wears a black bandanna and two pair of sunglasses one is purple.

What I Didn’t Like: The script is downright  awful, there are no characters here, they’re barely cliches, they’re types cranked up to 11.  The whole point of three “friends” going camping, there’s history there we don’t know what it is, they can’t seem to stand each other and it’s like that from the beginning, at first I didn’t know who they were to each other.  The plot is Cusack jumps out of a plane throws four bags of money out, doesn’t hold it, has no tracker to it, so he lands and tries to find the money.  Now here’s how lazy the film is, we don’t know anything about him we hear on a police radio that an embezzler is missing and his plane crashed.  How they knew that we’ll never know.  This is an amazingly dumb plot and the kicker is the one girl turns right away, she’s crazy for the money, 8 million and she needs it cause she lost her scholarship, really?  If you have 8 million I don’t think you worry about school.

It’s hard to believe but it gets worst from there, of course this is a weird love triangle, and of course the all hate/love each other but the editing of this film and the script make it so hard to understand the motivations.  There’s one point where the guy says “ i own her, I won” nothing said until like 45 minutes later, then the women played badly by Willa Fitzgerald goes on about being treated like a trophy and blah blah, but none of it means something in a better movie sure but not here.

Also it’s one of those movies as it goes along it gets dumber and dumber, it’s an insult to call this an idiot plot, it does have that much sense.  Characters do things that make no sense it’s like they had an ending and by God they were going to get there weather or not it made sense.  Of course to add to the mess they start the movie with the end, that never helps a movie and this makes it even dumber.  The action finale is and I mean this laughable, they go into this water pipe tunnel and for the unintentional comedy it’s amazing.  I don’t like picking on actors and I’ve seen Fitzgerald in the Scream series but not only is she badly miscast she makes some really bad choices and of course the script doesn’t help her.  All the actors come off badly cause they do such stupid things.

Final Thoughts: We’ve seen this sub-genre a hundred times money/greed making friends and family turn on each other but this is bottom of the barrel. The final third of this film is terrible.  Don’t bother with this one even if you’re a Cusack fan cause he isn’t in it that much.

Rating: 2/10

The Circle (2017) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin


Director: James Ponsoldt
Writers: James Ponsoldt (screenplay), Dave Eggers (screenplay)
Stars: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Glenne Headly, Bill Paxton, Karen Gillan, Ellar Coltrane

Having watched “The Circle” on Netflix I have mixed feelings about this film in so many levels. The main character portrayed by Emma Watson “Mae” is in a dead end job and portrays a young lady with an unfulfilled life. Receiving a life changing call from her best friend Annie (Karen Gillan) that she has been accepted into the world’s largest and most powerful tech and social media company “The Circle”

“The Circle” facility isn’t much different from working environments that major companies such as Apple or Microsoft create in blending working life with social life and an informal office space. Mae rises through the ranks and is encouraged by the founder of “The Circle” Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks) to engage in groundbreaking experiments that push the boundaries of privacy, ethics and ultimately her personal freedom. Her personal life and in particular her family are affected by the environment that she becomes involved in.

Staying on this side of the characters it was one of the plus points of the movie and if they had shown us more of the effect on her family I think the movie would have been better balanced and added more Drama. Sadly portraying her parents Vinnie and Bonnie were the late great actors Bill Paxton and Glenne Headly who only passed away this year and tragically only 4 months apart. Both Paxton and Headly are fine in this movie and the characters give the movie some humanity and roundedness that is necessary in this story.

John Boyega (Ty) and Karen Gillan (Annie) sadly with their acting credentials they are supporting characters at best and don’t offer much to the storyline other than a link to normality for Mae as does the character of Mercer played by Ellar Coltrane who could have been potential boyfriend material for Mae at the beginning of the movie but dissipates as the story unfolds and only serves as a moral compass at the movies climax.

I mentioned earlier that I have mixed feelings about this movie and that is because of the acting line up for this movie offered so much talent but disappointingly come off a little wooden at times and I’ll even go as far as saying a little cringey at times with their delivery and dialogue. That’s not a direct dig at James Ponsoldt who Directed the movie and wrote the screen play. I just felt that some scenes felt over explained and dragged on and felt the Director was overemphasising the need to assume his audience would require a lot of the script to be dumbed down to understand the “techy speak”

I’ve been a fan of Tom Hanks for over 30 years now and he rarely disappoints and although the character of Eamon Bailey the founder of “The Circle” comes off as a Steve Jobs / Mark Zuckerberg hybrid pioneer I didn’t hate the character as much as the filmmaker was intending Bailey to be as the “Villain” of the movie. Just like the Jobs and Zuckerbergs of this world they pushed the technology envelope as far as they could and were always looking for the next “What Next?” in their companies. That doesn’t make them the bad guy in any sense. I have to admit I hated the staff at “The Circle” more.

“The Circle” if I am comparing similar tones is a blend of “The Social Network” and “The Truman Show” where it attempts to test the audiences feelings on privacy and morals but just falls flat as another flaw I felt in the movie was when this story takes place. If it’s in the near future then I can accept some of the processes and ideas the company are trying to project as they appear flawed and a little far fetched but “could” be possible one day (I’m thinking George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four predictions)

In Summary “The Circle” is a not bad film. Yes it has it flaws like most films and the potential is always greater than the end result. I would recommend giving it a watch as the subject matter is interesting enough although the drama is a bit run of the mill, it does make you think (however crass at times) I would give it a go.