Tag Archives: Sam Worthington

The Titan (2018) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

The Titan Review

Director: Lennart Ruff
Writers: Max Hurwitz (screenplay by), Arash Amel (story by)
Stars: Sam Worthington, Taylor Schilling, Tom Wilkinson

Plot:  A military family takes part in a ground-breaking experiment of genetic evolution and space exploration.

Running Time: 97 Minutes

IMDB Score: 4.9

Why I Watched It: I’m a genre fan which includes Sci-Fi and I’m always looking for a cool Sci-Fi movie.

Random Thoughts: I have to say didn’t hear too much about this film, did see a trailer on Netflix for it, not a shock as it’s a Netflix original movie.  It looked fine I find the Sci-Fi genre is in a bit of a rut, sure we’ve had some decent bigger films but as far as smaller more original films it’s been not great and it’s too bad I think there’s so much to do with the genre but most filmmakers go with world building and big sets and huge production designs and they forget character and story.

Also let’s get this out of the way, I’m not a fan of Sam Worthington and I won’t go on about it cause he takes a beating from genre fans but yes I like most people find him bland, also oddly enough I’m not a huge Taylor Schilling fan as I  find her to be bland as well so going in I was hoping Tom Wilkinson would carry the movie.

What I Liked: So we’re in the year 2048, I think that’s right, and we need somewhere else to live cause once again earth as gone to hell in a side car, just one movie I’d like a future where earth is just swell.  We don’t dwell on earth as this is more of going into space and creating a new society, here the big idea is we’ll change human DNA so we can live on a moon called Titan, it’s a bad name, just saying.  So the idea we’re seeing the best of the best train to go to this new moon is a decent idea and it does work as they take these new meds and these, soldiers, astronauts and whatnots are mutating and for a sci-fi idea it’s not bad.

Tom Wilkinson is the man in charge and he’s good here, he’s always good but he breathes life into a very cliched and stock character and the fact that Tom Wilkinson is playing him we know where this is going.  Schilling if fine here she becomes almost the lead by the end as she’s the one that is figuring things out.  The film moves along very straight forward until we hit the dreaded side effects, you knew there would be side effects and that part is decent, it builds tension and conflict and it helps push the story along.

The film does try a couple of different things and some of the movie science is fun and they had a chance to take it in a different direction and say something but they don’t really.

What I Didn’t Like: The film is hurt by two main things the film is way too slow and plodding and that kills so much of the tension that they try to bring to the end and by the end what do we get man trying to play God.  Been there seen that a million times.

I’ll say it Worthington is bland here but so is most of the film but he doesn’t bring much and it’s too bad cause they could have used a shot of charisma or energy to the film.  The training is fine but the film turns this into the standard evil doctor movie instead of trying to do something bold and having the film be about really changing the way humans are to survive and that’s the part that really breaks down in the film, we can’t life on earth cause in 20 years no one will be left but here 90% of the people they try to change dies and so want we’re doing this so 10% will turn into an alien and live on a strange moon where they loose who they are, those are two bad choices, so the movie becomes a fatal would you rather game.

The film on the whole is boring, you don’t care and the weird thing is they don’t do much with this being set in the future, a love there’s a scene where someone is trying to find out the truth and they break into evil doctor’s office and go through his files, really in 2048 we still have files, we still have filing in the future?  The odd thing is the filmmakers don’t say anything really that hasn’t been said before we’re talking Frankenstein here folks, a man is playing God and it goes badly, really?

Final Thoughts: Sadly another dude for Netflix, I like that they keep trying and they’re doing genre I just wish they’d do it better.

Rating: 4/10

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The Hunter’s Prayer (2017) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

THE HUNTER_S PRAYER

Director: Jonathan Mostow
Writers: John Brancato (screenplay by), Michael Ferris (screenplay by)
Stars: Sam Worthington, Odeya Rush, Allen Leech

Plot:  An assassin helps a young woman avenge the death of her family.
Running Time: 91 Minutes
IMDB Score: 5.5

Why I Watched It: I hadn’t heard of this film but saw it on Netflix, now I do say I liked director Mostow and the plot seem alright and I gave it a go.

Random Thoughts: Mostow has made some good films and of course he made Terminator 3 which was flawed to say the least but he hasn’t done much lately which is a shame. Let’s touch on Sam Worthington who was in a Terminator film that was more than flawed.  He gets a lot of crap cause he’s bland but I will say this he’s not a bad actor, he’s more of a presence that an actor force. Also a nitpick with the plot description, he doesn’t really go out to help the girl avenge her family’s death as he tries to keep her from getting killed.

What I Liked: As the plot tells you it’s a fairly simple story and at times I like simple and to be fair I guess it’s more straight forward than simple.  An assassin is told to kill a teenage girl and he doesn’t.  One thing I really liked is the main character played by Worthington is a bit of a mystery we don’t know much about him and we don’t know why he doesn’t go through with the contract.  Now the film unfolds and we learn things but the first half we as the audience are pretty much in the dark.  I give director Mostow credit here for not throwing all the plot and all the character’s backstory at us all at once we learn things and it was done very well.

This is a pretty lean film at 91 minutes but we do flesh out not only Worthington’s character  but also the girl he’s helping played by Odeya Rush, now it’s funny I hadn’t seen Rush before last week and I saw her twice in this and Goosebumps, yes two very different films, I think she has a future, I like her look and she carries herself very well for a young actress. Worthington and Rush work well together, what I liked is there’s no sexual tension stuff at all it’s played kind of like father and daughter but not heavy handed. The action was fine lots of shot outs and car chases.  Worthington is more than capable of pulling off the action stuff and the thing here is Worthington doesn’t really talk that much, he’s good here cause he has to carry a lot of baggage, maybe too much for one character in a 91 minute movie but he’s very flawed and he’s worn down.

What I Didn’t Like: The story is paper thin and the weak part is the main villain and the secondary villains, all the villains are boring.  The main one is just the standard rich asshole, he gets more time than you would think but it the character is not memorable at all he played by Allen Leach and he’s not bad just doesn’t stand out, this movie needed a good bad guy.  Martin Compston is another hitman, the bad one and he’s just a plot point a walking cliche.

The other point that kind of bugs me is we learn things about Worthington’s character but never passed a superficial level.  We get bullet points but never any real answers, we assume he doesn’t kill the girl cause he has a daughter, he never learn how he went from being in the army to being a hitman.  The main bad guy threatens to kill his family but we’re never told their relationship, is he a hitman for hire or does he just work for this guy.  The details would have helped shape his character more and also given us more information and we would have gotten to know him more. The ending was a little weak not badly done but very by the numbers,  I will say it moved quick enough but I would have liked it to at least do something a bit different.

Final Thoughts: Not a bad movie, it was not a flashy action film and I liked it for that and both leads were good and it was well directed.

Rating: 6/10

Everest (2015) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

EVEREST

Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Writers: William Nicholson (screenplay),  Simon Beaufoy (screenplay) 
Stars: Jason Clarke,  Ang Phula Sherpa,  Thomas M. Wright, John Hawkes, Michael Kelly, Emily Watson, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Robin Wright

The movie “Everest” is based on the true story of two commercial expeditions starting their final ascent towards the summit of Mount Everest. Both groups endure fierce winds and freezing temperatures in a battle to survive against the odds. The story begins on May 10th, 1996 and follows the story of New Zealand’s Robert “Rob” Edwin Hall (Jason Clarke) together with Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) who team up both expeditions to conquer Mount Everest.

With a strong cast ensemble the performances in this movie were excellent and brilliantly chosen. The main focus is on Clarke’s portrayal of Rob, Brolin’s Beck Weathers and Gyllenhaal’s Scott Fischer. Although the early signs in this movie suggested that Edwin Hall and Fischer are rivals it quickly settles into a survival unit and the characters begin to pull together in reaching their goal safely. “Everest” to me isn’t exactly an action movie and more drama based with stunning visuals. To me this is Jason Clarke’s best performance to date and his scenes with his onscreen wife Jan (Keira Knightley) add emotional pull to the scenario. Not playing second fiddle is Josh Brolin who along with Clarke had the bigger roles and his portrayal of Beck Weathers is something somewhat emotional and tragic by the end of the movie. Brolin gives his usual solid performance in “Everest” and although the portrayal at times is a little arrogant towards Clarke’s Edwin Hall adds to the relationship they have on the mountain.

Surprisingly Knightley, Worthington, Watson have limited screen time but don’t get me wrong all have an important roles in the movie. Keira Knightley as Jan is expecting their first child and is in some crucial and heartbreaking scenes. Worthington (Guy Cotter) in a supporting role along with Watson (Helen Wilton) are the base camp team who are basically what you would call expedition characters who set up the scenarios that lie ahead. Both are involved in key scenes and take the audience on the journey in realising the seriousness of the situation the group find themselves in.

The character of Doug (John Hawkes) and Yasuko (Naoko Mori), with Doug being a amateur climber who strives to make his kids proud of him by reaching the summit only provides emotional baggage for Edwin Hall who feels responsible in making sure his friend reaches his goal. That part of the movie didn’t sit well with me. I know the most experienced climbers cannot predict freak weather conditions but when Doug is barely breathing and can barely walk, was it wise to let your emotions interfere with your knowledge and experience of how dangerous the task of reaching Everest is? Don’t get me wrong i’m not knocking the story at this point but it came off a little to “Hollywoody” for me. One thing it did show I guess was what a good guy with good intentions Edwin Hall was. Yasuko finally completing the seven summits and proudly poked a Japanese flag at the top. Naoko Mori didn’t really have much to do in the movie….well apart from climb a mountain I guess but wasn’t that memorable. Jake Gyllenhaal’s Scott Fischer wasnt explored enough within the movie and like most of the first half of the movie was introduced and came off a little bitter towards Rob. This is probably the least used I have seen Gyllenhaal in anything to date and didn’t really do much to be honest for a main character.

Full credit to Salvatore Totino (Cinematography) From what I have read *Spoiler* the actual peak of Everest was in a sound stage in Pinewood and I must say I was very impressed with the effects in this movie to convince the audience of believing the characters where actually there. The visuals and the choice of direction (Baltasar Kormákur) go hand in hand in this production and some of the views were beautifully shot and the score mix by Peter Fuchs adds a haunting quality to those visuals

Everest doesn’t disappoint. The movie is emotional and dramatic and with a fantastic cast it was always going to be a watchable and enjoyable movie. The Character development was cleverly done within the first half of the movie leading us to care for the characters and concern ourselves with their safety. Admittedly I wasn’t aware of this true story and I’m glad I didn’t research this before I saw the climatic end as this added to the emotion and sadness of those final scenes. If you haven’t watch “Everest” yet I recommend giving it a go.

Kidnapping Mr. Heineken (2015) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

KIDNAPPING MR HEINEKIN

Director: Daniel Alfredson
Writers: William Brookfield,  Peter R. de Vries (book)
Stars: Jim Sturgess,  Sam Worthington,  Ryan Kwanten

“Kidnapping Mr. Heineken” is the inside story of the planning and execution of the kidnapping of Beer Tycoon Alfred “Freddy” Heineken and the aftermath and downfall of Heineken’s kidnappers, which resulted in the largest ransom ever paid for an individual.

The movie is set in Amsterdam in the early 1980’s and the recession has hit hard in Holland. A consortium of friends and colleagues are down on their luck and are refused a bank loan, due to their vital piece of collateral being a property that is residing squatters and with these residents entitlements intact their property according to the bank is worthless in its current state.

Enraged by this predicament Cor van Hout (Sturgess) proposes an outrageous plan to kidnap local millionaire, Freddy Heineken. In desperation I can only guess that there wasn’t much deliberation amongst the group on this proposal, which I felt and appeared a little convenient to hurry the first act along. To be fair though the planning was interesting enough and the construction of a sound proof hidden room to house the captures was imaginative. The group carry out the plans taking Heineken and his driver and holding them hostage, issuing a huge ransom demand to the authorities.

What I will say is that the movie deals with an interesting enough plot to capture the millionaire and I was concerned once captured the movie’s dramatical side would fizzle out rather quickly. Needless to say the writing deals with the effects and inconvenience of taking care of a hostage (or two) physiologically and their family lives suffer too. One element throughout the movie is Anthony Hopkins portrayal of Freddy Heineken. The captured appears to be in control of his situation from the very beginning and although the large ransom comes through at no point did Mr. Heineken lose the plot or crack under the pressure of the duration of his “stay” Some of the best and interesting scenes in the movie revolve around his demands for Chinese Food, Books and Classical Music books
.

The group at times to me reminded me of the boys in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1997) where although there is an element of the seriousness of the crime. You can relate to them and at no point do you want to see any of them come to harm despite the crime they are committing. There is also a hint of humour that is similar to Guy Ritchie’s heist movie (Lock, Stock)  in which the team realise they’ve left the ransom note in a photocopier nearby and the very thought of forgetting possibly the most important piece of evidence is rather amusing.

Unfortunately the movie becomes a little boring midway through and just churns along at a slow pace. This is where I felt that a little more humour may have worked to keep the audience interested and more importantly the movie lacked suspense and tension throughout and for its subject matter was a little alarming. “Kidnapping Mr. Heineken” should have and could have been a better film as the plot should have been enough to keep it interesting and the cast of Hopkins, Sturgess and Worthington should have seen their characters a little more developed. Sadly there isn’t any standouts from within the group which surprised me as all of the men where very similar and if it wasn’t for the casting of Anthony Hopkins perhaps this movie may have suffered more.

The best moment in the movie for me was the Police eventually locating Mr Heineken and it’s Hopkins acting that shines through in this scene as we finally see his character breakdown in tears at the relief of being found and his driver also relieved of being discovered after so long in captivity.

“Kidnapping Mr. Heineken” for me wasn’t as good as it should have been. I’m not saying this movie is garbage and don’t watch it. I will say that there are bits in it that are interesting enough and I can only say that maybe I just expected more from the story and the cast.

Hacksaw Ridge (2016) Movie Review by John Walsh

HACKSAW RIDGE

Director: Mel Gibson
Writers: Robert Schenkkan (screenplay), Andrew Knight (screenplay)
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey

Hacksaw Ridge is a triumphant return to directing for Mel Gibson following a decade long absence. Based on the true events of Desmond T. Doss during one of the bloodiest battles of WWII at Okinawa. A pacifist who refused to carry a rifle or fire a single shot, whose heroics saw him become the only conscientious objector to ever be awarded with the U.S. Medal of Honor.

Raised within a Seventh-Day Adventist, Christian family, with a decorated WWI veteran father that has turned to drink to escape the horrors of that war and the loss of his two best friends. We see the interesting dynamics of his family play out in the early stages of the film, both him and his brother somewhat prophetically climbing a sheer cliff face in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Afterwards they are seen fighting with each other on the front lawn, as Tom (Hugo Weaving) watches on. Desmond acting on pure instinct, nearly kills his brother with a brick. The trauma of this event and almost succumbing to his pent up frustration after snatching and point a gun at his abusive father in a later flashback, acting as a catalyst to his pacifist ways later in life. We’re also given an early example of the key differences between father and son. The former removing his belt to beat his son following the aforementioned fight, whilst a clearly older Doss also removes his later, although this time to create a tourniquet from which to stem the bleeding of an injured man, saving his life in the process.

Despite having a job that would protect him from any need to join the conflict and a blooming romance with the beautiful nurse Dorothy (Teresa Palmer), Desmond is compelled to do his bit and serve his country, taking the bombing of Pearl Harbour as “personal”. His eventual path to Okinawa is fraught with hardship. Seeking to become a medic and refusing to even touch a rifle, let alone fire a shot from one, it’s not long before he draws the ire of his fellow recruits at boot camp. Both Sergeant Howell (Vince Vaughn) and Captain Glover (Sam Worthington) do everything in their power to dissuade Desmond of undertaking what, in their minds, is nothing more than a foolish, suicide mission. They try to break his spirit and even have him court marshalled, but ultimately, he is given permission to join the fray without a weapon. Thanks in part to an intervention from his father and his sheer determination to continue without betraying his beliefs.

What follows is perhaps the most gruesome, bloodiest portrayal of war since Saving Private Ryan. Limbs are sent flying, entrails are exposed and rats feast openly on the corpses of fallen soldiers. Desmond and his battalion relieve the 96th infantry, taking the assault to ‘Hacksaw Ridge’, a sheer cliff face on which rests a plateau of pure hell. “Hacksaw. We climbed up six times and six times they threw us off” We hear one of the other medics tell Desmond and his group. The first assault is an apparent success, with the Japanese forced back by a hail of artillery fire from the U.S. navy ships and a brutal advance spearheaded by a cavalier Smitty (Luke Bracey). Almost immediately we see the bravery of ‘Doss’ shine through as he rushes to wounded soldiers sides. He ignores the other medics attempts to move him on from seemingly lost causes, an early indication of the sheer determination he possesses, even as some of his companions freeze during the carnage.

A brief interlude from the mayhem then plays out and a poignant moment is shared between Smitty and Doss, the former admitting his earlier accusation of cowardice was wide of the mark. Much like the calm experienced in the eye of a hurricane however, the respite is short lived. Doss’ dream of brutally being attacked by Jap soldiers is strangely less horrifying than the actual resumption of violence that breaks out almost immediately afterward. The Japanese, burrowed inside a network of tunnels release a torrent of hell upon the American soldiers, forcing them to retreat back off the ridge. Glover calls in artillery support which gives only a fraction of the company the chance to do so. The rest are trapped and a disconsolate Doss, left questioning his faith on the precipice after failing to save Smitty during the chaotic retreat, makes the incredibly brave decision to return and rescue as many as possible.

Repeating the mantra “One more god, just one more” and deep within the enemy territory. He becomes involved in an unrelenting cat and mouse chase, having to employ guerrilla like tactics, but remarkably manages to help scores of wounded soldiers by feats of bravery and ingenuity. After going back for what seemed like one return trip too many, he manages to rescue Sergeant Howell, escaping the Japanese pursuers who were hot on his trail. Desmond, by this point is a nervous wreck and is taken back to base camp for treatment and a short respite. The news of his selfless heroics soon spreads and he becomes something of a pharaoh to the other soldiers.

This transformation in attitude is further confirmed when Captain Glover, previously one of his strongest critics, delays the next assault on the ridge until he finishes his prayers for the battalion. The final and ultimately successful assault then kicks off, with the newly invigorated American forces easily defeating the Japanese in the end. There’s one more act of selflessness from Doss however as he deflects and kicks two grenades away from a group of crazed, surrendering Japs, saving many lives and  injuring himself in the process.

There’s a fair few good performances in this film. Hugo Weaving plays the relatively short part of the troubled Tom Doss very well and despite having a drunken and abusive past, the emotion he puts into his portrayal makes the viewer pity him. Vince Vaughn is excellent as Sgt. Howell, injecting humour into the film very effectively, even in some of the tensest moments. His nicknames for the various men in the battalion, not to mention playful banter are genuinely funny. Sam Worthington also performs well in the role of Cpt. Glover.

Ultimately though, the film is carried by Andrew Garfield as Doss. Despite carrying a certain goofiness and a slightly high pitch voice, not too dissimilar to Forrest Gump, he manages to inject real emotion into the character and delivers a truly powerful performance. Teresa Palmer does a reasonable job as the love interest and Luke Bracey is the standout of the side characters within Doss’ battalion.

The film is a visual masterpiece and the progressively more monochromatic palette employed as it progresses, helps give a visual representation of the increasing despair the characters feel. Simon Duggan and the effects guys bring us harrowing, in some ways beautiful, action sequences that recreate the horrors of war in absolutely brutal fashion. Great detail has clearly been taken to make sure everything looks absolutely accurate. From the look of uniforms and guns to the way grenades and bullets impact on the body. Unfortunately, the strange obsession of putting accident pictures on social media sites such as Facebook means that I’m able to confirm the high degree of accuracy in the gore seen throughout.

Thematically, it’s clear that Doss’ story is one of faith and redemption in the face of intolerance. Beginning the film as an outsider, treated with sneering contempt by his peers, he eventually gains respect for his actions and unwavering belief. Effectively taking on the persona of a Christ like figure in the films later stages. Acting selflessly, always sacrificing his interest for others and even descending the ridge on a stretcher at the end, looking for all the world like a newly ordained saint.

I loved this film purely on face value. I’m a massive WWII nerd and love watching any trip back into the period. It was a fascinating insight into an incredibly brave mans story and ignoring some of the weaker thematic elements, it delivers in spades. Yes, it’s extremely pro-American and the Japanese are painted as evil monsters with no attempt made to see the situation from their perspective. But Gibson once again produces a highly absorbing, powerful, drama with some wonderful action to boot.