Captive State is a science fiction thriller directed by Rupert Wyatt and co-written by Wyatt and Erica Beeney. The film follows a young man who is a participant in the conspiracy argument against an alien race that has invaded Earth, and enforced strict martial law on all humans. I had never heard of this movie and after seeing it, I know why. I found it confusing at best. It received mixed reviews from critics and has grossed $5 million worldwide.
Currently, Chicago is placed under martial law when extraterrestrials invade across the globe. The Drummond family is attempting to flee the city but every exit is barricaded. After breaking through an unmanned barricade that lead inside a tunnel, the car had to stop because extraterrestrials were waiting at the other end. Before they could put the car in reverse, the aliens attacked, vaporizing the father and mother in the front seat of the car, leaving their two sons traumatized but alive in the backseat.
Nine years later, the world has succumbed to the invaders and submitted to their governing authority, calling the aliens “The Legislators”, because all subsequent laws and rules of governance come from them. In the years that followed Earth’s surrender, the extraterrestrials conscripted humans to build suitable alien habitats far underground; the Chicago habitat is located in a region called the “Closed Zone” and is walled off from the rest of the city. Access to the Closed Zone is only granted to high government officials and requires intense preparation after an invitation is extended and before admittance. The aliens utilize Earth’s own human resources to police the population, including military and law enforcement, now called “Special Branch” and have placed biological implants in every citizen, which serve as identification when scanned by surveillance drones or other apparatus. Their use of propaganda and false narratives that state the country is prospering, allows the aliens to successfully lull the public into a submissive state.
Gabriel Drummond (Ashton Sanders), the youngest of the sons who survived when his parents were vaporized years ago, lives in the impoverished neighborhood of Pilsen with his girlfriend Rula (Madeline Brewer) and tries to avoid any confrontations with the law. Gabriel is working at a scheme to escape using a boat he and his friend Jurgis (Machine Gun Kelly) have salvaged to cross Lake Michigan, hopefully to freedom. In the meanwhile, his day job is in a data reclamation center where various storage devices are seized to upload private content to a central server, which ultimately delivers citizen’s personal information to authorities and The Legislators. One day at work Gabriel witnesses a coworker attempt to smuggle a memory card out of the building and she is caught by government agents, then deported off-world. He is later confronted by Chicago Police Commander William Mulligan (John Goodman), who was partners with Gabriel’s father before the invasion. Mulligan is convinced that the resistance group called Phoenix has not been neutralized, contrary to what the public has been told.
As you can see, this is a very complicated plot because it gets deeper with each passing minute. I haven’t begun to reveal the meat of this story. Don’t forget, Gabriel has a brother, Rate (Jonathan Majors) or that there was or is a resistance. There are clues and flash drives and all sorts of twist and turns that go into this puzzling story. You never really get the sense that you completely know what’s going on nor do you get the sense that you know where this film is going, even when it goes. I think a lot more story telling was needed in order to bring closure to Captive State. There were too many loose ends introduced that didn’t really flow into the story line, leaving too much to the imagination. I’m unsure what was happening at the end, (maybe it was just over my head) leaving me confused and unfulfilled. I’m not saying someone else might not understand it, but I am saying a descent story could have been a great story with some much needed tweaking. Of course this is my opinion so Check It Out if you dare!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, STREAMING
Tagged Alan Ruck, Ashton Sanders, Ben Daniels, Carrie, Charles Rittenhouse, D. B. Sweeney, Daniel, David J Height, Gabriel Drummond, James Ransone, Jane Doe, john goodman, Jonathan Majors, Jurgis, Kermode, Kevin Dunn, Kevin J. O'Connor, kiki layne, Levitt, Machine Gun Kelly, Madeline Brewer, Marc Grapey, Master of Ceremonies, Mayor Ed Lee, Patrick Ellison, Police Commissioner Eugene Igoe, Rafe Drummond, Rula, Vera Farmiga, William Mulligan
“The Equalizer 2” (aka, The Equalizer II or EQ2) is a vigilante thriller, directed by Antoine Fuqua. It is a sequel to the 2014 film, The Equalizer, that was based on the TV series of the same name. This is the fourth collaboration between Washington and Fuqua, following the “The Equalizer”, “Training Day” (2001), and “The Magnificent Seven” (2016). I loved “The Equalizer” and was anxious to see “The Equalizer 2”. I didn’t think the sequel wouldn’t live up to the original. Perhaps Denzel should have lived by his principal not to make sequels of his own films. Read on to see what changed.
A retired marine and intelligence operative, Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) now lives in a diverse apartment complex in urban Massachusetts. While working as a Lyft driver he also helps the less fortunate, aided by his friend Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo). Anonymously McCall helps a local bookstore owner’s daughter, who had been kidnapped by her father (Adam Karst), he also mercilessly beats a group of men for drugging and raping a woman, as well as helps Sam Rubinstein (Orson Bean), an elderly Holocaust survivor, who is looking for a painting of his sister who was separated from him when they were transported to different camps. In addition, after discovering his apartment courtyard has been vandalized, McCall accepts an offer to repaint the walls from Miles Whittaker (Ashton Sanders), a young resident with an artistic but troubled background. One day McCall’s friend, Susan, is called to investigate an apparent murder-suicide of an agent and his wife in Brussels along with DIA operative Dave York (Pedro Pascal), who is McCall’s former teammate. After the investigation, they return to their hotel where Susan encounters assailants. McCall sets out on a path of revenge after one of his friends is killed. With his hands full of all the ensuing investigations he finds himself enmeshed in, Robert McCall forges on to resolve the mystery.
All in all, the plots were good but a bit to many. Denzel’s acting was superb, as usual. The following parts were brilliantly acted by Bill Pullman as Brian Plummer, Jonathan Scarfe as Resnik, Kazy Tauginas as Ari and Garrett Golden as Kovac. The pacing is what I really had a problem with. McCall’s actions were the same as in the original. He would make note of the time on his watch and complete his punishment to the guilty within the short period of time he allotted. Watching McCall in action was outstanding and quite satisfying considering the reason his prey was his prey. Reading papers, making decisions and pondering his thoughts was down right boring at times. In other words, Fuqua needed to pick up the pace. If there is to be another sequel, I hope the words of the many critics won’t go unnoticed. I still enjoyed the “The Equalizer 2” and think you won’t be disappointed.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged adam karst, ari, Ashton Sanders, bill pullman, brian plummer, dave york, denzel washington, garrett golden, jonathan scarfe, kazy tauginas, kovac, melissa leo, miles whittaker, orson bean, pedro pascal, resnik, robert mccall, sam rubinstein, susan plumer, the equalizer 2
If you’re expecting a great story, you’ve picked the right movie. Moonlight is about the life of Chiron “Little” (Alex Hibbert) from the age of 6 through adulthood. He grew up with an abusive, junkie mother, Paula (Naomie Harris) and no father. His only friends were Kevin (Jaden Piner), who he grew attached to and Juan (Mahershala Ali), a grown man and crack dealer, who takes Chiron to his house where he lives with his girlfriend, Teresa (Janelle Monáe). Chiron was bullied terribly as a little boy all the way up though adolescence, about the age of high school. One day Chiron as a teenager, (Ashton Sanders) who was frequently bullied by Terrel (Patrick Decile), changed all that. Obviously, he was surrounded by some of the most deplorable situations imaginable, but managed to beat the odds. I can only say Moonlight is profound and touching. It digs deep into the life of an unusual situation one would not necessarily know how to deal with since adult Chiron, now known as Black (Trevante Rhodes) is dealing with so many issues at once. Black’s character changes somewhat during the years but he continues to remain shy. We could see what a strain it was for Black to act normal, as he came off quite uncomfortable.
This story is softly and delicately told. Of course I’ve left the best of the story out of this critique, as it would spoil any surprises and motivation to see it away. Directed by Barry Jenkins, I say it’s a job well done. I highly recommend Moonlight to all adults, as it has already won a Golden Globe for Best Picture. Check it out!
[MOONLIGHT has WON the 89th ANNUAL OSCAR AWARD for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Adapted Screenplay. Moonlight was also nominated for Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Film Editing and Original Score]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, STREAMING
Tagged Alex Hibbert, andre holland, Ashton Sanders, black, Chiron, Jaden Piner, janelle monae, Jharrel Jerome, Juan, Kevin, Little, mahershala ali, Moonlight, naomie harris, Patrick Decile, Paula, Teresa, Terrel, Trevante Rhodes