Non-Stop (2014)

logoDirector: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: John W. Richardson, Christopher Roach, Ryan Engle (Screenplay) John W. Richardson, Christopher Roach (Story)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianna Moore, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Nate Parker, Corey Stoll, Lupita Nyong’o, Omar Metwally


Plot: Bill Marks (Neeson) is a former cop who after dealing with his daughter’s death by drinking, is now an air marshal. While on a flight from London to New York, Mark gets a text telling him that unless 150 Million dollars is deposited to an off shore account within 20 minutes some will die. He tries to tell the other air marshal, Hammond but Hammond doesn’t believe him. Bill ends up going to extreme lengths to find the person responsible but the more he does the guiltier he looks.


Verdict: Intense Thriller


Story: With a thriller you need to be left guessing from start to finish and I literally don’t know how many times I changed my mind on who was involved. This is a huge plus for this film and having a ‘broken’ lead in Bill Marks works too. The tension growing through the film is also a big positive. Now the big negative the motive behind the action really disappoints and unlike anything we see before a hostage situation is usually very important to know the motive early and not having that works too, but after it finally gets revealed it is an anti-climax to a near perfect popcorn thriller. (8/10)


Actor Reviews


Liam Neeson: Bill Marks a former cop who has turned to the bottle because of the death of his young daughter, he does this job as a last resort for his skills. When he gets the message he starts to investigate, but comes off as the villain to the outside world when all he wants is the save everyone. Great performance grabbing the audience’s attention from start to finish. (9/10)


Julianne Moore: Jen a fellow passenger who befriends Bill, but not giving too much away about who she really is just poses more questions for Marks. Good supporting performance but nothing truly special next too Neeson powerhouse performance. (7/10)


Scoot McNairy: Tom another passenger on the plane that Bill turns to for explanations but like everyone else on the plane are they involved? Good supporting performance playing the maybe villain maybe innocent. (8/10)


Michelle Dockery: Nancy a trust air hostess that has known Marks for a few years, she tries to help but even she gets questioned by Marks. She didn’t look like she fitted in here. (5/10)


Director Review: Jaume Collet-Serra – Creates a real guess who done it game here that will keep you guessing from start to finish. (8/10)


Action: Most action is restricted as it is hard to have a real fight on a plane, but the small combat fights are good. (7/10)

Mystery: You will be trying to solve this just as much as Marks. (10/10)

Thriller: Keeps you guessing from start to finish. (9/10)

Settings: Perfect setting for the story that shows how being trapped heighten tense from everyone. (10/10)
Special Effects
: Only has one use of effects and that looks good but the film doesn’t rely on the effects. (6/10)

Suggestion: I think this will surprise a few people out there, because the concept seems pretty simple and turns into a real thriller. (Watch)


Best Part: Neeson

Worst Part: Motive.

Action Scene Of The Film: Confrontation at the end.

Believability: Has elements of realism because the film focuses on the characters rather than the action and how each person would react to the situation. (4/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Could but doesn’t really need one.

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $198,727,550

Budget: $50 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

Tagline: The Hijacking Was Just the Beginning


Overall: Brilliant Easy to Watch Thriller

Rating 88

Serendipity (2001)

logoDirector: Peter Chelsom

Writer: Marc Klein (Screenplay)

Starring: John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale, Jeremy Piven, Bridget Moynahan, Eugene Levy, Molly Shannon


Plot: Jonathan Trager (Cusack) and Sara Thomas (Beckinsale) met while shopping for gloves in New York. Though buying for their respective lovers, the magic was right and a night of Christmas shopping turned into romance. Jon wanted to explore things further but Sara wasn’t sure their love was meant to be. They decided to test fate by splitting up and seeing if destiny brought them back together. Many years later having lost each other that night, both are engaged to be married. Still, neither can shake the need to give fate one last chance to reunite them. Jon enlists the help of his best man to track down the girl he can’t forget starting at the store where they met. Sara asks her new age musician fiancé for a break before the wedding and, with her best friend in tow, flies from California to New York hoping destiny will bring her soul mate back. Near-misses and classic Shakespearean confusion bring the two close to meeting a number of times but fate will have the final word on whether it was meant to be.


Verdict: Love Destiny


Story: Do you believe in destiny, fate or any other words moments to these meanings? Well the problem with this is that it makes out that we should all give up something good right in front of us for a delusional idea of love. Taking out the idea that these too people are giving up their fiancé for a memorable night, we actually get an interesting will they won’t they meet again scenario. We have the trademark funny best friend who is the voice of reason and some easy to spot but nicely worked into almost meetings. I do feel this offers a false look at how people should see love, but it does show that within our own faith, we could end up happy. (6/10)


Actor Reviews


John Cusack: Jonathan even with his girlfriend at home he wants to see how far his couple of hours with the girl of his dreams could become. Even though he can’t he keeps the faith and always finds himself in a book store looking for the book with her number in. Even though he has moved on with his life he can never shake that night. Simple performance from Cusack, who never needs to get to any high level to show his characters motives. (6/10)


Kate Beckinsale: Sara the British lady who enjoys her night with Jon but refuses to see everything as a sign, moves on with her life but like Jon gets wedding jitters and wants to check up on the chances with her good night. Simple performance who likes Cusack just lets the simple story do the work. (6/10)


Jeremy Piven: Dean Jon’s best friend and best man who joins on the adventure to find the lost love against all his thoughts. Good supporting role and both the friends steal the show in the end. (7/10)


Molly Shannon: Eve, Sara’s best friend who joins in on the adventure but has a closer connection to Jon than believed. Good performance in the supporting role, gives the best lines and moments.(7/10)


Director Review: Peter Chelsom – Creates a simple romantic comedy without really doing anything truly original. (6/10)


Comedy: Few laughs mostly from the supporting characters and small role from Eugene Levy steals the film. (6/10)

Romance: Creates an unrealistic idea of love, but you do end up routing for them. (7/10)

Settings: New York makes a good setting for romantic comedy as the place is filled of locations people will know and can create a romantic moment in. (7/10)

Suggestion: This is one to try, it could make a good date night film and has a good feeling from what you see. (Try It)


Best Part: Eugene Levy.

Worst Part: Would two people give up their impending weddings for a short night?

Funniest Scene: Eugene Levy’s scenes

Believability: People and series of events can fall into place, but this is a bit too much. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $77,516,304

Budget: $28 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Tagline: Destiny … With a Sense of Humour.


Overall: Simple Romance

Rating 60

The Frozen Ground (2013)

logoDirector: Scott Walker

Writer: Scott Walker (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Vanessa Hudgens, John Cusack, Dean Norris, Gia Mantegna, Robert Forgit, Brad William Henke, Michael McGrady, Katherine LaNasa, Kevin Dunn, Radha Mitchell, Matt Gerald, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Curtis Jackson


Plot: Alaska Trooper Jack Holcombe (Cage) believes Robert Hansen (Cusack) is a serial killer who abducts young girls, tortures and sexually assaults them, then kills them. But Holcombe doesn’t have enough evidence to get a search warrant for Hansen’s premises. Holcombe knows that one victim, Cindy Paulsen (Hudgens), somehow survived, so he decides to seek her help, but he finds that she’s now a junkie with trust issues. Holcombe has to earn her trust; meanwhile, Hansen is still hunting and killing girls.


Verdict: Tense Thriller


Story: Telling the story of serial killer Robert Hansen but focusing more on catching him rather than his crimes, if fact we only see one kill that is very much off camera not glorifying it. That is a good point, we follow how one state trooper finally starts to believe something is worth investigating because Hansen was smart while disposing of the bodies. This story of Cindy and Jack trying to befriend her to find the truth could be made up by the best writers and knowing it is true makes the story even more incredible. The story focuses on Cindy not being able to trust after being shot down by officers, being forced into things by her pimp and tricked by other prostitutes. If it wasn’t based on a true story I would have like to seen more about the killer, but I agree they minimise seeing his good side that everyone thinks he was, was for the better. In the end it is a very well told story that respects the victims instead of glorifying the killer. (8/10)


Actor Review


Nicolas Cage: Jack who is leaving the force in two weeks before this last body turns up, he starts investigating and befriends the only known survivor, while trying to finally get enough evidence to investigate the prime suspect, but this tests his family commitments too. Good performance from Cage who shows he can do serious without adding some over the top action. (8/10)


Vanessa Hudgens: Cindy the prostitute victim who escaped, but no one wants to believe her story until Jack comes along, she has slipped back into her underworld and entering the world of drugs hasn’t help her trust issues which kept getting her in trouble. Good performance from Vanessa showing she really is dumping the child star tag with mature roles. (7/10)


John Cusack: Robert the everyday family man with a darker side, he stalks then kills woman and has been getting away with it for years. Good performance from Cusack showing his much darker side and not using the charm he is known for, (8/10)


Director Review: Scott Walker – Well directing thriller that shows the work the State Troopers put into stopping a serial killer. (8/10)


Biography: Showing more of the victim’s and lead officer’s side to the story we learn how one serial killer was finally stopped. (9/10)

Crime: Looks into the fine technicalities that can stop someone being stopped and how hard people need to search for the final truth. (8/10)

History: Well told story of how the killer was stopped. (9/10)

Thriller: Well built up thriller that keeps you wanting to know what happens next. (8/10)

Settings: Each setting works well for the story. (7/10)

Suggestion: If you are a fan of the genre you will enjoy this, but the more casual fan may find this slow because it is more about the people involved. (Thriller Fans Watch)


Best Part: The final Conviction.

Worst Part: Cindy’s choices get annoying as she makes bad decisions.

Believability: Based on the real victim, officer and killer. (9/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: Information about the real killer.


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $27 Million

Runtime: 105 Minutes

Tagline: The hunter becomes the hunted.


Overall: Great Thriller That Shows How Hard The Truth Can Be To Find

Rating 80

1408 (2007)

logoDirector: Mikael Hafstrom

Writer: Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski (Screenplay) Stephen King (Short Story)

Starring: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Tony Shalhoub, Mary McCormack


Plot: The cynical and sceptical writer Mike Enslin (Cusack) writes books evaluating supernatural phenomena in hotels, graveyards and other haunted places, usually debunking the mystery. While writing his latest book, he travels from Los Angeles to New York to spend one night in the Dolphin Hotel’s evil room 1408, which is permanently unavailable for guests. The reluctant manager Mr Gerald Olin (Jackson) objects to his request and offers an upgrade, expensive booze and finally relates the death of more than fifty guests over decades in the cursed room. However Mike threatens Mr Olin, promising to sue the hotel, and is finally allowed to check into the room. Later in the night, he finds that guests of room 1408, once they have checked in, might never leave the room alive.


Verdict: Creepy Hotel Thriller


Story: With the story of a sceptic investigating paranormal events but then ends up stuck in these paranormal events he so very much doesn’t believe in, is a very clichéd story. This has most of this and adds in that he is a writer with a dark past involving loss you know where this is going. Mixing it all together we get the idea of redemption for the mistakes we may have done in life. One weak point of this film is that there are two endings that paint a very different picture of the events that happen in the film, I personally prefer the Director’s Cut as I find it has more answer than the Theatrical Cut. (8/10)


Actor Reviews


John Cusack: Mike Enslin after suffering a personal loss Mike travels around writing about so called haunted hotel and location, bringing out a string of top 10 books looking at his experiences or lack thereof. Mike gets a postcard and against all the advice of the hotel manager he enters the room 1408, were he really gets put to the test. Mike starts off being distant from people, be it fans or his general style of conversation, but soon after the events start happening he changes too quickly for what his character has been through. John does a good job with the role as most of the film is solely around him. (8/10)


Samuel L. Jackson: Gerald Olin the manager of the Dolphin hotel trying to protect Mike from entering the room with all kinds of bribes, he tells the full history of the room but unfortunately lets him stay in the room. Good supporting performance from Jackson rarely seen, he is the dominant persona you would expect to see. (8/10)


Director Review: Mikael Hafstrom – Creates some very good scares and keeps you guessing on what is going on, add in what I think is the better ending you get a very good piece of direction. (8/10)


Horror: Has some solid scares and some you really don’t see coming along with some nicely built up ones. (9/10)

Mystery: You are constantly wondering what is going on, but a lot is explained at the end. (9/10)

Thriller: Keeps you at the edge of your seat just wait to know what happens next. (9/10)

Settings: The hotel room feels very ordinary but once things starting to happen it turns into a nightmare, working very well for the genre. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Strong special effects used throughout. (9/10)

Suggestion: If you are a fan of horror you will enjoy this, if you are a fan of Stephen King you will enjoy this otherwise this one isn’t really for you. (Horror Fans Watch)


Best Part: The vents scene.

Worst Part: The two different endings can confuse when talking about this film with others.

Scariest Scene: Vent scene.

Believability: I give this a one because there are people like Mike you investigate the paranormal, but what happens isn’t believable. (1/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $131,998,242

Budget: $25 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

Tagline: Based on the terrifying story by Stephen King


Overall: Good Atmospheric Horror

Rating 80

The Quiet Ones (2014)

logoDirector: John Pogue

Writer: Craig Rosenberg, Oren Moverman, John Pogue (Screenplay) Tom de Ville (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Erin Richards, Rory Fleck-Byrne, Olivia Cooke


Plot: A university Professor joseph Coupland (Harris) and a team of students Brian (Claflin) Krissi (Richards) and Harry (Fleck-Byrne) conduct an experiment on a young woman Jane Harper (Cooke), uncovering terrifyingly dark and unexpected forces in the process.


Verdict: Creepy Horror


Story: The idea that this is based on true events is hard to believe, but it would explain why some of the scares are not madly over the top. The idea that people didn’t understand the difference between mental illness and possession works well for the film. We are led to believe the experiments will help the girl, but once strange things start happening we get left to see maybe there is something supernatural going on, something that no one understands. We get a couple of attempted twists that don’t shock but attempt to change our minds on the characters. In the end this is a simple horror film that is more about human beliefs than any scares. (7/10)


Actor Reviews


Jared Harris: Professor Joseph Coupland a man who believes that he can cure telepathic abilities by taking the gift and putting it into another object. Good performance to create a calm mad scientist who believes he is right. (8/10)


Sam Claflin: Brian the newest member of the team, hired to film everything but is the first one to question what is going on. Good performance showing he has come on leaps and bounds since the Pirates films. (7/10)


Olivia Cooke: Jane the girl with the troubles, she seems like an average girl but when put through the tests things start happening, things that cannot be explained. Good performance providing a full range of emotions through the film.(9/10)


Director Review: John Pogue – Good direction to create a good story, but struggles to create any real scares. (6/10)


Horror: When it comes to the horrors this one struggles to give us anything we haven’t seen before, mainly noises, banging and creepy voices. (5/10)

Settings: The isolation setting works well for the film as it turns into who is losing their minds. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Good special effects used to create the goings on that are good use to create an unexplained. (8/10)

Suggestion: I would only suggest trying this to the most diehard horror fans, I think it needs your full attention to really understand and you won’t see too many scares it’s all about what isn’t shown. (Horror Fans Try)


Best Part: Makes you think.

Worst Part: Lack of scares.

Scariest Scene: Jane is missing.

Believability: Says it is based on true events, but I find it hard to believe. (6/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $9,649,895

Budget: N/A

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

Tagline: Something unspeakable is happening to Jane Harper.


Overall: Horror without the scares but some brains