Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Barrens (2012)

logoDirector: Darren Lynn Bousman

Writer: Darren Lynn Bousman (Screenplay)

Starring: Stephen Moyer, Mia Kirshner, Allie MacDonald, Peter DaCunha, David Keely, Erik Knudsen


Plot: The Vineyard family Richard (Moyer), Cynthia (Kirshner), Sadie (MacDonald) and Danny (DaCunha) go into the woods for a camping trip. The trip is to help Richard get over the loss of his father by scattering his ashes in the lake he spent his childhood. Richard’s ideal trip would be no technology and an increased bonding time, but things don’t go his way when the family arrival with everyone using technology just in the woods. Richard moves his family further into the woods but the deeper they get the more isolated the family becomes. With Richard starting to go into madness and it is left for us to decide whether he is going crazy or whether he is being followed by the Jersey Devil.


Verdict: Lovely Build Terrible Conclusion


Story: I am going to be harsh to this because I feel the whole film builds up really well to show one man’s decent into madness, but then it gets ruined with the conclusion. The positive side of this film is that it builds up like a poor man’s Shinning and that would have worked because the cause of the madness would have happened due to a relatively innocent incident. Using a real life urban legend the Jersey Devil gives the idea of creditability behind the horror and unexpected. In conclusion this film is watchable but the end ruins it all. (5/10)


Actor Review


Stephen Moyer: Richard the father of the family who believes he once saw the Jersey Devil as a child, he takes his family to the same woods to get some family time but he soon starts getting paranoid about what he has seen. Does a good job in the role showing that he can play a man who is losing his mind. (7/10)


Mia Kirshner: Cynthia the awkward step mother to Sadie who tries to win her over by being the good guy in the disagreements, she sees her husband start to lose his mind but struggles to do anything about it. Poor performance as she never looks convincing as the concerned parent. (4/10)


Allie MacDonald: Sadie the teenage daughter who hates the idea of camping and has no choice but to go. She plays the typical teenage daughter offering nothing new to a role we have seen too many times. (5/10)


Peter DaCunha: Danny the son of the family who enjoys the idea of camping but soon becomes what looks like the target of the evil. Simple performance that never does much. (5/10)


Director Review: Darren Lynn Bousman – Creates some good suspense but then ruins it all with the ending. (6/10)


Horror: Good build up for one horror never really giving the actual ending enough of a shock value. (7/10)

Settings: The setting works well to create the isolation needed for this type of horror. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Most of the effects happen off camera or is an aftermath of something happening. Which all work well but the final encounter is poor standard. (6/10)

Suggestion: This is one for the horror fans to try I think most will enjoy all but the end of this film. (Horror Fans Try)


Best Part: The decent into what looks like madness.

Worst Part: The ending.

Scariest Scene: Dream sequences.

Believability: Using a real legend it is all up to whether you believe it. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Could do.

Post Credits Scene: Yes


Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

Tagline: The terrifying legend of the Jersey Devil is alive


Overall: Great Built Up Horror, Terrible Finishing Horror

Rating 50

Ride Along (2014)

posterDirector: Tim Story

Writer: Greg Coolidge, Jason Mantzoukas, Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi (Screenplay) Greg Coolidge (Story)

Starring: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, John Leguizamo, Bruce McGill, Tika Sumpter, Bryan Callen, Laurence Fishburne, Dragos Bucur


Plot: Security guard Ben must prove himself to his girlfriend’s brother, top cop James. He rides along James on a 24-hour patrol of Atlanta.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Odd Couple Blah Comedy


Story: Ride Along starts by showing James Payton (Cube) on an undercover job trying to get information on Omar (Fishburne) but the job goes wrong he only busts one of his men. Next we meet Ben (Hart) a security guard who is dating Angela (Sumpter) sister of James. James’ case against Omar is falling apart because of his wild car chase. Ben finally gets a chance to join the Police academy giving him the chance to ask for the blessing to marry Angela. James offers to take Ben on a ride along so that Ben can prove himself.

James and Ben set off on their day together with tension already between them, with James disliking Ben and Ben wanting to prove himself. James takes the idea to turn the day into a training day to try and chase ben away from his sister, but sales it on putting a good word in at the academy. The odd couple comedy starts simple but soon ends up putting the two unlikely men’s life in danger as they try to uncover the truth about Omar.

Ride Along is one of those odd couple comedies that tries to go in a slightly different direction. We have seen new partners along with father and son ideas but goes with brother and potential brother in law. It plays to the simple comedy levels and the story tries not to turn into a spoof. It might use previously used ideas and made them comical but it does keep a serious side to the story. It lacks supporting characters so when it comes to the twist you can see it coming from the start. This story struggles to grab the full attention because certain comedy scenes go on too long. (6/10)


Actor Review


Ice Cube: James Payton tough cop who always breaks the rules and always wants to protect his sister from what he thinks is slacker who is not good enough for her. He takes Ben on a ride along to try and scare him off. Ice does a good job and you simply wouldn’t mess with him. (7/10)


Kevin Hart: Ben Barber security guard who wants to become a real cop and going on the ride along gives him a chance to experience the cop world along with trying to get to know James and get his permission to marry his sister. Kevin does a good job getting to show off his comic skills. (7/10)


Support Cast: Ride Along doesn’t have a big supporting cast with most becoming very generic characters for the genre.


Director Review: Tim Story – Tim does a solid job creating this odd couple comedy but it does lack a few original laughs. (6/10)


Action: Ride Along doesn’t use the action as much as it should with only a couple of scenes that are all very generic. (5/10)

Comedy: Ride Along has odd couple comedy that has a few laugh out loud moments but mostly falls into chuckles. (7/10)

Settings: Ride Along uses generic cop settings to help the story unfold. (6/10)

Suggestion: Ride Along is one to try, if you are big on comedies this could appeal to you but otherwise people might struggle to enjoy this one. (Try It)


Best Part: Gun range

Worst Part: Hart’s comedy gets old quick with every scene being the same.

Funniest Scene: Gun range


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has one planned

Post Credits Scene: Has one early on.


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $154 Million

Budget: $25 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline: Propose to this cop’s sister? Rookie mistake.

Trivia: Originally the movie intended for Dwayne Johnson to play James and Ryan Reynolds to play Ben.


Overall: Standard Odd Couple Comedy

Rating 60

New Releases – 24th April 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron avenrger When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.

My Guess for Rating – 75%
My Anticipation Rating – 85%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – Yes

Stonehearst Asylum stonehearst A recent medical school grad who takes a position at a mental institution soon finds himself taken with one of his colleagues — though he has no initial idea of a recent, horrifying staffing change.

My Guess for Rating – 75%
My Anticipation Rating – 80%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

The Good Lie good lie Sudanese refugees given the chance to resettle in America arrive in Kansas City, Missouri. where their encounter with an employment agency counselor forever changes all of their lives.

My Guess for Rating – 70%
My Anticipation Rating – 40%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

The Salt of the Earth salt of earth For the last 40 years, the photographer Sebastião Salgado has been travelling through the continents, in the footsteps of an ever-changing humanity. He has witnessed some of the major events of our recent history; international conflicts, starvation and exodus. He is now embarking on the discovery of pristine territories, of wild fauna and flora, and of grandiose landscapes as part of a huge photographic project which is a tribute to the planet’s beauty.

My Guess for Rating – 90%
My Anticipation Rating – 95%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

Movie Reviews 101 Pick of the Week – The Salt of the Earth

Skin Trade (2015)

logoDirector: Ekachai Uekrongtham

Writer: Gabriel Dowrick, Steven Elder, John Hyams, Dolph Lundgren (Screenplay)

Starring: Ron Perlman, Tony Jaa, Dolph Lundgren, Celina Jade, Michael Jai White, Peter Weller, Conan Stevens, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa


Plot: After his family is killed by a Serbian gangster with international interests. NYC detective Nick goes to S.E. Asia and teams up with a Thai detective to get revenge and destroy the syndicate’s human trafficking network.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Brilliant Pure Action Film

Story: Skin Trade starts with a young girl running from Cambodia where she gets tricked into becoming another victim to the Skin Trade. Skip to New Jersey where we meet Detective Nick Cassidy (Lundgren) using his know how to track down a suspect. We also meet Tony (Jaa) in Tokyo trying to take down the latest Skin Trade. Both men get the information they need and show that they are on the good side of the law.

Viktor Dragovic (Perlman) is the Serbian mobster working in Russia with the Skin Trade being his primary money maker. Viktor is having his latest shipment delivered to New Jersey and all the law authorities are there waiting to finally take him down. The bust at the docks leads to plenty of bloodshed with Viktor’s son being one of the victims of Nick’s, but most importantly Viktor is put behind bars.

Viktor may well behind bars but his boys are out for revenge for the death of their brother and target Nick, killing his wife and his daughter, leaving him for dead. To make matters worse Viktor has fled the country.

Nick travels to Thailand where FBI agent Reed (White) teams up with Tony to try and stop his rampage from getting out of hand. Nick becomes a most wanted man when Reed frames him for the murder of Tony’s partner. It isn’t long before Tony and Nick learn they are after the same thing and only have each other to trust as they aim to take down Viktor as his crime syndicate.

Skin Trade is a film that I went into not expecting anything amazing but the cast make enjoyable action films so this had to be watch. What is got was a pleasant surprise with a great story that enters into the realm of reality (without the endless bullets part) where we have a real look into the horrors of the human trafficking business. I maybe well be slightly biased towards action films but I must say this one pulls you in early and simply never lets you go. We do get a few generic traits in both good and bad guys but hey, this film isn’t going to be about character building it is about fighting. I am willing to say this is the best storyline in an action film that I have seen this year. (9/10)


Actor Review

Ron Perlman: Viktor Dragovic is the Serbian mobster who runs a human trafficking ring around the world. When he gets captured and his son is killed he takes out the man responsible before going into hiding. Ron makes for a great villain with his blank stares when he comes face to face with Nick that show he really has no fear or regret for his characters action. (8/10)


Tony Jaa: Tony Vitayakul is the Thai Detective trying to stop the human trafficking working with his connection in the US to stop it. Tony teams up with Nick to take down Viktor after losing his partner to one of Viktor’s men. Tony kicks serious butt here showing he is ready to take the US market by storm. (8/10)


Dolph Lundgren: Nick Cassidy is the good cop who finally gets to take down Viktor but due to a technicality ends up on his bad side when Viktor takes out his family leaving him for dead. Nick sets out on a one man crusade to kill anyone working with Viktor and anyone who gets in his way. Dolph does a great job apart from when he is running where he looks like he is showing his age. (7/10)


Michael Jai White: Reed is the FBI agent who gets involved in trying to take down the human trafficking ring offering help where it is needed, but he is really staying close to inform Viktor about investigations. Michael does a solid job in the supporting role where he gets to have a great fight with Tony Jaa. (6/10)


Support Cast: Skin Trade has a supporting cast that includes the victims of the Skin Trade as well as the people involved in dealing in it or preventing it.

Director Review: Ekachai Uekrongtham – He does a great job directing this all out action film that never seems to let you take a breath. (8/10)


Action: Skin Trade is filled with hand to hand combat, chases and firefights to keep the action rolling throughout. (9/10)

Thriller: Skin Trade starts off making you interested but by the end of the film I was at the edge of my seat waiting for what will happen next. (10/10)

Settings: Skin Trade takes the action all over the world showing just how widespread the human trafficking really is. (9/10)

Suggestion: Skin Trade is an absolute must watch for any action fan out there, dare I say action film of the year? (Action MUST Watch)


Best Part: Jaa & Lundgren together.

Worst Part: Lundgren running.

Action Scene Of The Film: Jaa versus White.


Believability: The idea behind what is going on is a very real problem but the action side it not. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: It could have a sequel.

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Taken


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $9 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

Tagline: All scars tell a story.

Trivia: Dolph Lundgren wrote the script before ‘Taken’ (2008) came out or was produced, after he had read a newspaper article on human trafficking.


Overall: When it comes to Action Skin Trade is packed with everything you want and then some, being the action surprise film of the year.

Rating 89