The Circle (2017)

Director: James Ponsoldt

Writer: James Ponsoldt, Dave Eggers (Screenplay) Dave Eggers (Novel)

Starring: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Bill Paxton, Karen Gillan, Ellar Coltrane, Glenne Headly

 

Plot: A woman lands a dream job at a powerful tech company called the Circle, only to uncover an agenda that will affect the lives of all of humanity.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Technology Warning

 

Story: The Circle starts as Mae (Watson) a bright young woman gets a dream opportunity to work for a tech company named The Circle thanks to her friend Annie (Gillan), the company has been creating technology that could give the world a one-use password for everything in their lives, with full security. Bailey (Hanks) runs the company is about to unleash the latest technology that analyse anything in filmed on a camera.

Mae learns that she is required to attended social events as the employees are meant to create their own circles depending on their interest through a social media account which they are meant to share through their employment. When Ty (Boyega) the original creator of the technology shows Mae the truth behind the technology and the threat it could hold to the human race comes through the battle between privacy or lack there off.

 

Thoughts on The Circle

 

Characters – Mae is a smart young woman that gets an opportunity of a lifetime to work for the biggest technology company in the world, at first she doesn’t fit in but soon she becomes the star new employee, even if she does step on the people who don’t want to be part of a social media world, we see how she was made for this world but also learns what the bigger picture could be. Bailey is the face of the Circle, he keeps everything feeling fresh when it comes to offering up new ideas to the technology world, he is open to an idea and discussion about improving to the next level. Ty is the creator of the technology that has been off the grid since it went too far for his own design, but he watches over it. Annie is the best friend that gets Mae the job but soon sees her potential and the danger the job has created. We do have the rest of the cast which work well as we have a blend of the people who do and don’t want to be involved in the technology side of the world around them.

PerformanceEmma Watson is good in the leading role but I do feel she doesn’t have the emotional range for certain roles including this one, this does frustrate because she has the look of a leading lady.

Tom Hanks is good as the Steve Jobs like character whose ambitious will drive his own greed but can give a speech we want to see unfold.

John Boyega is good in the supporting role but I do wish we had seen more from his character.

The rest of the cast is good throughout the film with each person giving their character the justice required throughout the film.

StoryThe story focuses on the ever growing idea of technology in the world, the Circle company is about trying to break boundaries even if the ideas are illegal and against the privacy laws. Most of the story focuses on Mae needing to question the moral reasoning behind technology because one side could be considered good while the other side could be considered wrong but the disappointment from the story comes the fact it doesn’t hit extremes it needs too.

Sci-Fi/ThrillerThe sci-fi element of the film comes from the new technology being unlocked which does come off looking fantastic but we are never on edge wondering what could happen next.

SettingsThe settings show us the Circle would all be within one facility but opens the doors to anybody in the world. Nothing comes off that great in the end though.

Special EffectsSeeing how the technology is shown is where the effects come into play as they are used well because we can’t see how workings of the technology in places.

Scene of the Movie – The Search for Mercer because it is the turning point in the story.

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment Emma Watson lacking the emotional range needed for this role.

Final ThoughtsThis is a warning movie about social networking and even going into the next level of surveillance. The idea is great but it doesn’t reach the potential or the darkness it should reach too.

 

Overall: Lacks the final conviction to hit home.

Rating

 

 

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The Simpsons Challenge – Season 3 – Episode 24 – Brother Can You Spare Two Dimes?

The Simpsons Challenge

Season 3

Episode 24 – Brother Can You Spare Two Dimes?

Couch Gag – This time we start getting slightly more as the family cartwheel into a pose on the sofa.

Plot SynopsisAfter Homer “wins” a $2000 settlement with the plant for radiation affecting his sperm count, his brother Herb comes to Springfield with an idea that could help him get his fortune back.

What is going on reallyWe start as Homer and the rest of the employees having physicals which shows that Homer is now firing blanks due to the radiation. Mr Burns must find some way that can cover this problem.

Meanwhile we return to meet Herb, Homer’s half-brother who is now a hobo living with other homeless once inventers. Herb is desperate to find a new way to make a fortune.

Homer loses his sofa feeling broken he wonders how his life could get worse, when Mr Burns gives him a cheque for $2000 along with an award ceremony to cover up the reason he is receiving the award.

When Herb returns into Homer’s life he has his latest idea, an invention that can help babies communicate with their parents. Homer must decide whether help his brother or get himself a brand-new sofa set.

Star Character

Homer

Final ThoughtsThis is another strong episode as it shows how Homer can always dream of what he wants but ultimately will do the right thing. I like how we can get another returning character to the show.

Rating 4/5

Screamers (1995)

Director: Christian Duguay

Writer: Dan O’Bannon, Migel Tejada-Flores (Screenplay) Philip K Dick (Short Story)

Starring: Peter Weller, Roy Dupuis, Jennifer Rubin, Andrew Lauer, Charles Edwin Powell, Ron White, Michael Caloz

 

Plot: On a distant mining planet ravaged by a decade of war, scientists have created the perfect weapon: a blade-wielding, self-replicating race of killing devices known as Screamers designed for one purpose only — to hunt down and destroy all enemy life forms But man’s greatest weapon has continued to evolve without any human guidance, and now it has devised a new mission: to obliterate all life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Sci-Fi Idea

 

Story: Screamers starts after an inter planet war for control of a mining source when peace looks like it could be an option. Col Joe Hendricksson (Weller) is in charge off an outpost which is defended by creatures known a Screamers who receives a message about the peace talks.

Learning these potential talks are not true and his own alliance is planning a large-scale invasion on the mining planet Col Joe takes young soldier Ace (Lauer) along on a mission to discover the truth. On the journey the pair meet Becker (Dupuis) and Jessica (Rubin) who offer the truth about the increasing intelligence the Screamers are showing as they have become the true enemy on this planet.

 

Thoughts on Screamers

 

Characters/PerformanceCol Joe Hendricksson is stationed on the planet waiting for the end of the war, he controls the people well and leads the mission for what could be his freedom as well as the people he is in charge off. Becker is the old-school soldier that believes he knows it all. Jessica is lone woman hoping to one day to return to Earth who joins the mission. Ace if the rookie who believes his training is more than what it seems.

Performance wise, Peter Weller is a good lead for the film as you would expect in the world of sci-fi. I do think the other main leads also all do a good job in their performance too.

StoryLooking into the story, we get a well built world where humans are now mining other planets for resources which has caused a war, but now that is over the weapons used to win the war are one of the greatest enemies to man. The twists come often through this story with the basics of it all coming off the simple, where are we going on the lets get to this place to solve the problem only to learn the bigger problem and need to return style of the film. everything works for the ideas being explained and can be enjoyed with the sci-fi fans.

Sci-Fi/ThrillerThe sci-fi world created is all good and could easily be built into something much bigger.

SettingsThe film is set on what is meant to be mining planet that has been at war, everything looks correct without being anything special.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all good for the time even if certain moments can look like they might have aged in places.

Final ThoughtsI did enjoy this film, I liked how the story could build to something bigger and could easily be rebooted in the future to make for a much bigger idea for the sci-fi audience.

 

Overall: One for the sci-fi fans out there.

Rating

 

 

The Simpsons Challenge – Season 3 – Episode 23 – Bart’s Friend Falls in Love

The Simpsons Challenge

Season 3

Episode 23 – Bart’s Friend Falls in Love

Couch Gag – This time the family tips the sofa through the wall, I swear this were meant to be more elaborate.

Plot SynopsisMilhouse falls in love with Samantha, a new transfer student, and Bart becomes jealous of all the time they are spending together. Meanwhile, Homer orders a subliminal weight loss tape, but is given a vocabulary builder by mistake.

What is going on reallyWe start with a Raiders of the Lost Ark reference as Bart steals Homer’s change jar with full boulder like Homer chasing him down the stairs and grabbing the hat just in time.

Taking the jar for show and tell Bart finds Milhouse having a lucky 8-ball that they believe tells the future, which tells them the two will not be friends by the end of the day. When the boys get a new student Samantha, Milhouse falls in love on the day the student learn about sex education. Bart becomes jealous of this relationship.

On the other side of the story we watch how Lisa becomes worried about Homer’s health after learning about the obesity problem in America and how the adverts are just waiting to kill people. Homer receives a tape which should help with his weight loss but in the end, it is just improving his vocabulary.

Bart makes a terrible friend decision which leaves him filled with guilt as he must face Milhouse about what he did.  

Star Character

Milhouse

Final ThoughtsThis is an episode with two very good stories that don’t get enough time, we have the friendship pushed to the limits when a girl comes between the two. We also have the important look at the dietary issues facing America which ends up being a bigger problem now. I feel both could have been a solo episode here.

Rating 4/5

Demons (2017)

Director: Miles Doleac

Writer: Miles Doleac (Screenplay)

Starring: John Schneider, Andrew Divoff, Steven Brand, Gary Grubbs, Miles Doleac, Kristina Emerson, Yohance Myles

 

Plot: Celebrated fiction writer and former priest, Colin Hampstead, and his wife, Kayleigh, are tormented by the ghost of her late sister, as the details of her grisly death are slowly uncovered.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Possession Movie

 

Story: Demons starts as Colin (Doleac) fails on an exorcism leading to him to quit the priesthood moving on to marry Kayleigh (Williams) the sister of the girl he failed to save. Colin brings Eddie (Brand) over wedding to Lara (Emerson) even though Colin is still getting haunted by what happened to Jewel (Harthcock).

As the birthday of Jewel gets closer the visions Kayleigh receive start getting worse and now Colin must remember the events of the original exorcism which could unlock the secrets to what has been happening, while Lara offers a new world way to solve the hauntings.

 

Thoughts on Demons

 

Characters – Colin is a former priest that after a failed exorcism has moved onto becoming a celebrated fictional author and husband. Now he must face his past to uncover the truth about what really happened and save his wife from the evil that still is connected to Kayleigh. Kayleigh is the sister of the failed exorcism that still gets visions of her late sister, she must look into her past to learn just why her sister still visits her. Eddie comes to visit Colin to celebrate his wedding to Lara, while Lara tries to find her new way to try and solve the mystery and connection between the family. Jasper Grant is the father of Kayleigh and Jewel that makes performing the exorcism difficult as well as being an abusive father. Dr Connor tries to offer a balance between the religious side to the story and a medical side to the story.

PerformanceThe performances from the whole cast are good throughout, Steven Brand gives us moments of comic relief needed for the intense side of the film with Miles Doleac doing great work behind and on front of the camera in the leading role.

StoryAs we know possession films are not one of my favourite sub-genres of horror, so I do look for something that gives us a fresh spin on the ideas. This does give us new look on it because we get a far closer balance between abuse and possession, we also have two-time periods which we go between. The present-day side of the story becomes interesting because it isn’t a possession more of a haunting and we do get to look at the idea of what would happen after an exorcism too.

HorrorThe horror being used through the film is a balance of possession and hauntings which does end up diving into the idea of paranormal mystery to solve which are great to watch.

SettingsThe settings do stay simple, we mostly spend our time in the homes with the two different times, this shows us the unwelcoming environment of the past and the welcoming one in the present.

Special EffectsThe effects never seem out of place and the film doesn’t just run to throw us CGI moments when we don’t need them.

Scene of the Movie – Visiting the past with Lara.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The film is set the night before the wedding, but not preparation is going on

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice spin on the exorcism genre, it works because it shows the consequences of what can happen after an exorcism goes wrong.

 

Overall: Good horror for the possession genre fans.

Rating