The Unborn (2009)

Director: David S Goyer

Writer: David S Goyer (Screenplay)

Starring: Odette Annable, Gary Oldman, Cam Gigandet, Meagen Good, Idris Elba, Jane Alexander

 

Plot: A young woman fights the spirit that is slowly taking possession of her.


Tagline – Evil will do anything to live.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Fast Paced Horror

 

Story: The Unborn starts when young woman Casey (Annable) starts seeing visions and getting warnings about someone wanting to be born, with her best friend Romy (Good) and her boyfriend Mark (Gigandet) Casey starts to investigate and learns that she did in fact have a twin brother who died in the womb.

When Casey turns to a friend of her mother’s she learns about a spirit that is trying to find his way into the real world and she must turn to Rabbi Sendak (Oldman) for answers and a potential cure from the possession.

 

Thoughts on The Unborn

 

Characters – Casey is a young woman that seems to have a normal life until one day she starts seeing visions, getting strange messages, she must research her past to protect her future, a past that is filled with pain and loss as well as a secret she would never be prepared for. We do follow Casey for most part of this film, the problem with her character is that we don’t learn anything about her before the unusual starts happening, is she a good or bad person, we learn nothing, it just starts with her being visited. Rabbi Sendak is the man Casey must turn to for help, he understands how the exorcizing would need to be done while offering the basic advice to Casey before stepping in himself. Mark is the boyfriend, that is about all we learn about him, he isn’t as supportive of the supernatural side of the events. Romy is the best friend, she will help on everything Casey is going through in an attempt to save her friend from the evil haunting her.

PerformancesOdette Annable is the perfect fit for the leading role, she is a beautiful woman whose life is falling apart, she has a good horror scream and you believe it when she is scared. Gary Oldman, well the guy needs to make money, he does bring class to the role even in his limited role. Cam Gigandet is fine without doing too much Meagan Good gives us the only laughs in the film without being anything great in the supporting role.

StoryThe story here follows one young woman that gets starts getting haunted by visions of a young boy and must figure out how to rid herself of this haunting. This story doesn’t take long to start with us going instantly into the first haunting and this pace doesn’t seem to let off, we are constantly going from moment of scares or explanation to what is causing the haunting. This hinders the story because we don’t get a chance to learn anything about the characters we are meant to be supporting, mostly Casey we know nothing about her or what her everyday life is, making it harder to support her. The story follows the horror genre with ease and is saved by a strong twist ending.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film comes from jump scares, well attempted jump scares, most of the horror happens in the dark and is a small child haunting Casey, it does the basics well, though it won’t get the hardcore horror fan to jump. The mystery is more interesting as we must learn the truth about the haunting which goes in direction you wouldn’t see coming.

SettingsThe film is set in Chicago which only adds to the horror because of the big city feeling to everything Casey is experience showing that even in the biggest crowd people could suffer possessional activity.

Special EffectsThe effects have good moments, we the body folding moments being the highlights of the effects which gives us more towards the horror in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Sofi’s last night.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not learning anything about who or what these people do in everyday life.

Final ThoughtsThis is a basic horror that gets the scares done simply, gives us weakly written characters and could pass the time simply enough.

 

Overall: Simple late night horror.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – R – Revenge of the Green Dragons (2014)

Director: Andrew Lau

Writer: Michael Di Jiacomo, Andrew Loo (Screenplay)

Starring: Justin Chon, Kevin Wu, Harry Shum jr, Eugenia Yuan, Leonard Wu, Jin Au-Yeung

 

Plot: Two best friends rise through the ranks of New York’s Chinese underworld in the 1980s.


Tagline – The true story of New York’s most notorious street gang.

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Crime Drama

 

Story: Revenge of the Green Dragons starts as we follow the two young boys that immigrated from China to America and New York City, in a neighbourhood that is run by the Chinese gang known as the Green Dragons.

Recruited at a young age Sonny (Chon) and Steven (Wu) have grown up as part of the Green Dragons under the leadership of Paul (Shum Jr) a businessman that uses the gang to get what he wants. We get to see how the two rise through the ranks in the Green Dragons that even grabs the attention of the FBI.

 

Thoughts on Revenge of the Green Dragons

 

Characters – Sonny is the quieter of the two friends that gets taken in by the gang, he is the one that would like a life outside the gang which isn’t as easy as it seems, even when he falls in love. Steven was built for the gang, even after he gets seriously injured in the battle between the gangs, he becomes the one that won’t hesitant to pull the trigger. Paul is the leader of the Green Dragons, a businessman on the outside, that uses his intelligence to make sure he can stay ahead of the game in the gang battle.

PerformancesThe performances in this movie are fine, nothing is great or bad, we get to see the different ranges of emotions that the two friends must face during their decisions. We don’t have any of the performances that stand out though.

StoryThe story follows the gangster storylines we have seen before, two young men or in this case boys get recruited to a rising gang to become big players in their gang in a war against another gang, until they step out of line. This time we follow Chinese immigrants in New York and it shows how they would never hold back on anybody of any age or gender. This does give us a brutality in the story, but in the end it is just more of the same.

Action/CrimeThe action is just gun battles and brutality to the people who get in the way of the crimes being committed by the Green Dragons, as we see how they try to stay off the radar while conducting their business

SettingsNew York will always be a great choice for settings for crime movies, this is unlike any other showing us how gangs had neighbourhoods and always want more.


Scene of the Movie –
Put the gun down, it brings a clever kill.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It offered nothing new to the genre.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book crime movie, it shows the rise of two in a gang and just where they would go onto be in the gang, but otherwise gives us nothing we haven’t seen before.

 

Overall: Been Here Seen This.

Rating

 

 

The Captor (2019)

Director: Robert Budreau

Writer: Robert Budreau (Screenplay)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Noomi Rapace, Mark Strong, Christopher Heyerdahl, Bea Santos, Mark Rendall, Ian Matthews

 

Plot: Based on the absurd but true 1973 bank heist and hostage crisis in Stockholm that was documented in the New Yorker as the origins of the ‘Stockholm Syndrome’.


Tagline – Based on an Absurd but True Story

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hawke is a Blast

 

Story: The Captor starts when American Kaj Hansson (Hawke) walks into a bank taking hostages in bank clerks Bianca Lind (Rapace) and Klara Mardh (Santos), he wants Gunnar Sorensson (Strong) released from prison along with his outlandish demands that Chief Mattsson (Heyerdahl) must try to put together.

As the hostage situation continue we start to see the truth unravel and see how Bianca starts to respect Kaj even feeling like she is part of the heist herself, can they make it out of the heist as the origin of the term ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ is born here.

 

Thoughts on The Captor

 

Characters – Kaj Hansson is the American that has walked into the bank, he doesn’t really have a plan, he knows what he wants though, he wants to be fair to his hostages, never actually wanting to hurt anybody, just to make sure the police see him as a threat. He starts to make friends with the hostages too. Bianca Lind is the bank clerk that has her own family and finds herself being held hostage, she becomes the stronger of the two women, she starts to become attracted to Kaj believing he isn’t a bad guy, this is her story. Gunnar Sorensson is the man that Kaj wants released from prison, he is one of the most famous bank robbers in the country and he sees the mistakes that Kaj is making, while having a deal with the Chief. Chief Mattsson is the man trying to end the situation, he is trying to stay one step ahead of Kaj to get everyone out alive.

PerformancesEthan Hawke is a delight to watch in this film, he plays the over the top which sums up what the character needs to be through this film. Noomi Rapace plays her role well giving us a character which is both interested and scared through the film. Mark Strong is the supporting acting for a generation, he brings his complex character to life with ease once again. Christopher Heyerdahl is strong through the film showing a determined, though calm man through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a bank heist which led to the first case of Stockholm Syndrome, where the hostage falls in love with the hostage taker, we see how this hostage situation unfolds with the outlandish demands as the woman starts to fall for him. When it comes to bank heist movies, we have seen plenty, they usually revolve around the criminals and the police trying to stay ahead of each other, with this one we do have that, but we have the added dynamic of seeing how the hostages and takers start to bond when they see that everything can be kept under control, remember this is set in 1973 so the technology isn’t going to be a game changer in how everything is solved. Seeing both sides get to the talking can go through moments of slow story telling, but it isn’t long until Kaj goes a little bit crazy demanding our attention once again. With a subplot involving Gunnar’s position in the situation, we get to see how Kaj really doesn’t know what he is doing making it easier to help the hostages take sympathy with him. It was nice to have just normal police that aren’t looking to solve a personal problem with this case, which is so often the case in these stories.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy in the film comes from everything Kaj seems to do, from his outfit with wig, cowboy hat and American swagger, to how he overreacts to everything that is going on, the crime is loosely based on a real incident, with the names changed, it is a hostage situation, but you never feel like there is a threat.

SettingsMost of the film is set within the walls of the bank, it is a simple and well craft set that shows us just how the people have been thrown together in this situation.


Scene of the Movie –
Kaj shares a pear.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t feel like there is a threat in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a different way to tell a heist movie, it does show us how hostages can fall in love with their captors and overtime even support them, we get the routine hostage talks and end up right where we need to for the story to flow with ease.

 

Overall: Nice spin on the heist genre.

Rating