Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Below (2002)

belowDirector: David Twohy

Writer: Lucas Sussman, Darren Aronofsky, David Twohy (Screenplay)

Starring: Matt Davis, Bruce Greenwood, Holt McCallany, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Chinlund, Olivia Williams, Scott Foley, Andrew Howard, Christopher Fairbank

 

Plot: Strange happenings occur on a WW II submarine.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Horror Film

 

Story: Below starts in the year 1943 as the USS Tiger Shark submarine must respond to a stranded group of survivors where Captain Brice (Greenwood) and his crew must make the save of the British survivors including the only female now on the vessel Claire (Williams). Brice’s crew including Loomis (McCallany) and Odell (Davis) start to look at the attack on the British ship which doesn’t seem to make sense to Odell.

Discovering that one of the survivors is a Germany and that someone has put the crew at risk we see the tension rise on the ship which has just survived an attack from a Germany battleship. When strange things continue to happen on the ship we are left to wonder whether the submarine is cursed or not, but it could well be something outside this world causing the strange occasions on the ship.

Below is a horror mystery thriller that follows the crew during World War II, it starts with coincidence going on before it dives into the supernatural, while I liked the early side of the being superstition between the soldiers I found the dive into 100% supernatural really doesn’t help the second half of this film. The jump scares are easily to see coming and while it does end up in a cover up style film I appears to feel very forced.

The cast are solid without being truly stand-out with Matt Davis struggling in the leading man role because he comes off too young for the character in question, Greenwood is great as the captain with McCallany and Williams filling up the main stars with good performances. It is the supporting cast of actors you would know else like Fairbank, Flemyng and an early role from comedian Zach Galifianakis which surprised me the most in this film, not because he is the best or worst thing more that I wouldn’t have pictured him in this style of film.

 

Overall: Tension filled horror playing on wartime experiences.

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3 Days to Kill (2014)

daysDirector: McG

Writer: Adi Hasak, Luc Besson (Screenplay) Luc Besson (Story)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielsen, Tomas Lemarquis, Richard Sammel

 

Plot: A dying CIA agent trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter is offered an experimental drug that could save his life in exchange for one last assignment.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too Long

 

Story: 3 Days to Kill starts as we meet CIA agent Ethan Renner (Costner) who along with his team is about to take down one of the biggest threats in the world The Wolf (Sammel) by eliminating his closest associate The Albino (Lemarquis) only the mission gets compromised when Ethan’s health catches up with him as he learns he only has 3 months to live.

Released by the CIA Ethan sets out on cleaning up his own personal affairs wanting to build a relationship with daughter Zooey (Steinfeld) through his ex-wife Christine (Nielsen) after years of times apart working. With everything going badly Ethan knows that it will become difficult but when fellow agent Vivi Delay (Heard) offers him a chance to live longer Ethan comes out of retirement for one last assignment.

 

Thoughts on 3 Days to Kill

 

StoryThe story for this film tries to balance a dying man’s final months with his family and his CIA life that he has meant to have walked away from. The CIA story does feel very generic of this modern day slick hitman style which is all fine. The dying man’s wish story ends up feeling like an awkward comedy in places. The story also feels very long and doesn’t seem to end up deciding if it wants to be serious or not.

Action/ThrillerThe action is all very good and entertaining with the opening sequence looking like it set the tone but in the end if just turns into another slick hitman film.

Characters/PerformanceI can’t find anything wrong with Costner’s performance as well as Steinfeld or Neilsen, it is the Heard performance that doesn’t make sense because she doesn’t suit the character and the character doesn’t suit the movie. The movie tries to make all the characters fit into everyday experiences but for some reason Vivi character is wildly over the top for no apparent reason.

SettingsThe settings are mostly all in Paris which all works for the film which is trying to make us have a location we want to visit but showing that crime can happen there I guess.

Special EffectsThe Special effects are mostly used for the action sequences and they all come off to the level you need them too.

Final ThoughtsThis is an overlong action thriller that ends up getting caught up in the middle of comedy too often for its own good.

 

 

Overall: Solid action film that starts too strong for its own benefits.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 (2017)

Director: James Gunn

Writer: James Gunn (Screenplay) Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Steve Englehart, Steve Gan, Jim Starlin, Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, Bill Mantlo, Keith Giffen (Characters)

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell

 

Plot: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Character Building of the Galaxy

 

Story: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol, 2 starts with the guardians Peter Quill (Pratt), Gamora (Saldana), Drax (Bautista), Rocket and Baby Groot protecting the galaxy once more doing a paid job for Ayesha (Debicki). The payment is none other than Nebula (Gillan) who they aim to target her bounty, but when Rocket commits the same crime the Guardians are once again on the run.

Being saved by Peter’s father Ego (Russell) the team split up with an old friend Yondu (Rooker) the Guardians will learn more about themselves, working together and being the saviours of the galaxy again.

 

Thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

 

Characters/PerformancePeter gets a chance to learn about his father while still trying to be the leader of the Guardians continuing on his maybe romance with Gamora. Gamora tries to continue being the strong silent type but this time gets to deal with her relationship with sister Nebula. Drax becomes the best character in the film getting all the best line with his way of life that he once lived, having a connection with Mantis. Rocket continues to deal with his wishes to be alone and not make friends seeing himself in Yondu. Baby Groot is fun for the most part getting the cute award. Yondu continues on his arc as we continue to learn he isn’t as much of a bad guy as he wants to be. The additional characters include Mantis who does get plenty of laughs with her innocent nature, Ego is also very interesting with his past becoming the interesting.

Performance wise, I feel Chris Pratt does struggle to maintain the charm he gave us in the first film, Saldana does continue to look the part of a kickass warrior though. Dave Bautista for me is the star of the film getting all the laughs wanting you to see his next scene. Cooper continues he great work voicing Rocket and Rooker does well with his increased involvement in the film. Kurt Russell fits into an 80‘s themed movie perfectly and does well throughout. If you are going to look into Stallone to be a big part you will be disappointed as he is only in one scene building his character for future films.

StoryThe story can be described in one phrase ‘character building’, I say this because we have a lot of pairing up as the good guys work with bad guys putting their differences aside to see themselves in a new light. This is the base of the story and is great for the next stages of the Marvel Universe but in the end we are left with something slightly flat with the normal big fight feeling at the end. This isn’t the best story but can entertain where needed.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is large scale but nothing new with the adventure also not being on the level of the first film, the sci-fi is all good looking at the potential universes the Guardians could have adventures in the future.

SettingsThe settings are all created to look beautiful and unique without being something of complete wow factor.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all great and it is hard to find a fault in them for the most part.

Final ThoughtsAs a huge fan of the original film, I couldn’t help but find myself slightly let down because this film does feel slow in places and too character development heavy.

 

Overall: This is a fun film and it will be important to where the film franchise goes next.

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