The Ritual (2017)

Director: David Bruckner

Writer: Joe Barton (Screenplay) Adam Nevill (Novel)

Starring: Rafe Spall, Robert James-Collier, Arsher Ali, Sam Troughton, Paul Reid, Maria Erwolter

 

Plot: A group of college friends reunite for a trip to the forest, but encounter a menacing presence in the woods that’s stalking them.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Rollercoaster Ride of a Horror

 

Story: The Ritual starts as four friends Luke (Spall), Hutch (James-Collier), Phil (Ali) and Dominic (Troughton) head off to Sweden for a hiking holiday in memory of the fifth member of the group who was murdered in a robbery gone wrong. Along the Swedish hill range Dominic gets hurt leading to the group needing to look for a shortcut.

The shortcut takes them through the woods where strange things start to occur and before long the four friends find themselves suffering nightmares. The friends must remain calm to make it out alive but with a shimmering tension between them, it will be a true test of their friendship against an unknown evil force hunting them down.

 

Thoughts on The Ritual

 

Characters – Luke is or main character, he lives everyday with regret because he didn’t help their other friend during the robbery, he is on this trip because it was their wish and celebrate his life. Hutch would be considered the leader of the group when it comes to holidays, he takes control of the hike making sure everyone has supplies, rest and even finds the shortcut to help make Dominic’s pain less. Phil does feel like the state the obvious guy in the group, he likes to make a laugh out of everything but when things get serious he is the quickest to get paranoid. Dominic is the butt of most jokes, he gets nearly all the funniest lines in the movie but is the one that would say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Between these four character we do get excellent banter which helps us want to care about the guys on their trip.

PerformancesRafe Spall is the biggest name of the four guys and he shows with the most difficult role to play that he can shine through once again. Rob, Arsher and Sam are all good through the film showing they can make the most out of their own characters.

StoryThe story does feel cut and dry easy to follow, four guys on a holiday try to take a shortcut and walk into an evil they can’t explain. Simple, right, well that is all you need in horror, we get the lost in the woods idea once again but, what is wrong with that, it works, the evil or creature after them, does become original by the end. There is one small issue is had with the story and that would be that the banter is that good it sometimes feels like the film wants to be a horror comedy, but it also is way too dark to be a comedy.

HorrorThe horror builds up nicely here, we have the nightmares, hints of the creature before the final act gives us all the answers which is great for horror. The creatures look also must go down as one of the most unique new looks in any horror this year.

SettingsThe Swedish hill and woods make for the setting, the reality is it could be any woodland area but the camerawork makes each and every tree feel frightening at times. But this does all create the isolation needed for this style of horror film.

Special EffectsThe effects in this movie are very impressive, the create does look like it could have been practical at times, but the nightmare sequences work well mixing the shop with the woodland area too. We do have moments of CGI though but they don’t look bad at all.


Scene of the Movie –
The Escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The banter between the characters works but does make it feel like a comedy at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the surprises for me this year, I saw the trailer and only had bad thoughts about this movie, the film builds up to an excellent conclusion, brings us a new horror monster and most importantly entertains.

 

Overall: Horror fans will be enjoying this one.

Rating

 

 

The Big Sick (2017)

Director: Michael Showalter

Writer: Emily V Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani (Screenplay)

Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff, Adeel Akhtar

 

Plot: Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani and grad student Emily Gardner fall in love but struggle as their cultures clash. When Emily contracts a mysterious illness, Kumail finds himself forced to face her feisty parents, his family’s expectations, and his true feelings.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Romantic Comedy of the Year

 

Story: The Big Sick starts as Pakistan stand-up comedian Kumail (Nanjiani) meets Emily (Kazan) and the two hit it off, but Kumail must battle his own feelings towards Emily and his family that only want him to marry a Pakistan woman. After the two have a big argument the two go their separate ways.

Kumail finally gets his chance to go to Montreal but gets an emergency call to be at Emily’s side, this gives him a chance to meet her parents Beth (Hunter) and Terry (Romano) for the first time as the three must deal with her potentially life-threatening illness giving the three a chance to bond as Kumail discovers he can’t live without Emily.

 

Thoughts on The Big Sick

 

Characters – The characters are based on the true people so it is hard to go into details on them being good or bad, so I will just let you know about them in general. Kumail is the Pakistan stand-up comedian dealing with his parents trying to find him a bride but he doesn’t follow the same faith they do. He meets Emily which only makes his decisions harder on whether to follow his heart or not and spending time with her parents offers him the answer he needs. Emily is the student that walks into Kumail’s life, she becomes his light but when she becomes sick she brings him closer than ever to him even if she is in a coma for half the film. Terry and Beth are the parents of Emily, they are in full panic mode while she is sick but they get to bond with Kumail through the struggle.

PerformanceKumail Nanjiani plays himself in the movie, which is good to see him play a different character as we usually just seem him do a small moment in comedy movies but here he stars as a real person that could be one of the best performances in a comedy in years. Zoe Kazan is one of the actress that you can say, we need you in a romantic comedy drama, she will be on the top of every one’s list. Holly Hunter and Ray Romano are both great in the supporting roles showing they can be great in parent roles.

StoryThe story is based on Kumail and Emily falling in love, it shows the religious sides holding up the Kumail being able to make a decision, while given the moment in his life where he must make the decision that he wants more than anything. This is a love story, not an easy one but a real one which is the most important one to see.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in this film is mostly stand-up and a defensive side to hide from the truth, the romance comes from how the two fall in love through difficult situation.

SettingsThe settings don’t go into too much details, we have the hospital to show the desperate mindset they are in, the comedy club shows a future Kumail could have and the apartments to show the normal lives they are both living.

Scene of the Movie – Parent’s watching the stand up.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain moments at the stand-up show try to put too many jokes in.

Tagline – An Awkward True Story

Final ThoughtsThis is a romantic comedy with a heart that is based on a true story that shows us love can come from any direction even when you weren’t expecting it.

 

Overall: One of the Must watch movies of the year.

Rating

 

 

Opinion Battles Round 19 Favourite Least Favourite Book Adaptation

Opinion Battles Round 19

Favourite Least Favourite Book Adaptation

For years now movies have used books to make money with a film, few are good, less are great, most are hated because you just don’t get the time to tell the whole story. this latest round we get to look at the ones we hated the most, so let the hate commence.

If you want to join the next round of Opinion Battles we will be take on What is your Favourite TV show to Movie, to enter email your choice to moviereviews101@yahoo.co.uk by Saturday 30th September 2017.

Darren – Movie Reviews 101

Angels and Demons

I will be honest, I don’t read many books, since leave school you can count the fictional books on one hand, so this made this category harder than it should have been. Angels and Demons is one book I truly did enjoy, I love a good mystery and twists that dive into historical events and this book offered it all. The film didn’t it turned out to feel flat and lacking the shock value I felt it should have had.

Cinema Parrot Disco

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

 

Least favorite book adaptation? Hmm. I quite often try to read any big books before their movies come out (I don’t like doing it the other way around). But it also means I’m often disappointed with the film adaptations. I don’t mind stuff being left out but don’t at all understand the movies that don’t even resemble the books (such as World War Z & The Scorch Trials). Why completely change from what’s in the book?! But I’m going to choose something else as my answer since, well, I suppose I just didn’t like it since I love the book SO much. My choice is the 2005 Hollywood adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. The thing is, they’d already done a low budget BBC adaptation of the book that will always be the far far better version than that weird ass Hollywood film. Which I can’t remember much of now since I put it out of my mind…. Please just read the book instead if you haven’t. It’s brilliant.

 

Kim – Tranquil Dreams

The Last Song

There are lot of book adaptation these days. Honestly, I’m not too picky about these things. The Last Song was an immediate choice mostly because I’m tolerant of Nicholas Spark movies and yet, Miley Cyrus’ acting is just not cutting it for me. Seeing as that is the central role to The Last Song as she not only is a love interest but also the father-daughter element here was important, it fell short making the film really not good.

 

Milo – Stuff and That

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series

Of all the kids books in the ether, the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid series is by far the most irritating yet befuddlingly popular out there. So, why not follow the trend with three (wait, four?!) insufferable movies featuring some real douchebag kids.

Tom – Plain Simple Tom Reviews

The Colour Purple

Perhaps it’s a controversial choice but I loved reading The Color Purple so much that the film version, even if it was helmed by Spielberg himself, couldn’t possibly do the film justice in my opinion.

I’m probably biased but I think that it’s an average adaptation of an amazing book.

 

Rachel – 54 Disney Reviews

Alice in Wonderland

 

There are a lot of terrible book to movie adaptations but the one that annoyed me the most was the 2010 Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland. On the surface Burton seems like an ideal choice for the nonsense of Alice but it was not meant to be. For some reason he decided to take out all the nonsense and instead craft a garish, boring prophet narrative that didn’t have anything to do with the original novel or the 1951 Disney film. 

One of the best things about Alice in Wonderland is that it is non-linear without a central plot to lead the character. This creates little vignettes that surprise and delight the reader/viewer. With the Burton version we turned Alice into a warrior woman, the Hatter into an emo annoying clown and the visuals grotesque instead of fun. 

It’s just a joyless enterprise if I’ve ever seen one and that’s the last thing I should be saying about Alice in Wonderland!

 

Rob – Movie Rob

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Book was sooo much better. Cruise still isn’t a good Reacher and helps ruin such a great story. The adaptation tries to give us a grander story than the book did and as a fan of the series of books (I’ve read them all), I was extremely disappointed by this.  This is truly action packed but it really feels like it doesn’t present the character or his abilities very well.   The changing of some of the geographic locations actually hurts the story somewhat also.  I propose that if they ever decide to make another film in this series, they recast the lead and also give us a story closer to the one from the book.

Emma – Emma Explains It All

Starter for 10

Starter for 10 Poster

This isn’t a bad little film all things considered. Let’s look at the minimal facts – it’s a British comedy set in the 1980s and has a decent cast, a great story and a fun soundtrack – yep, definitely sounds good. But the main problem for me is that I loved the book. Absolutely LOVED the book and though it has many highlights, a big highlight for me was the humour – particularly the self-deprecating humour read via the thoughts of protagonist Brian Jackson (played in the film by James McAvoy). And the film, sadly, lacked all of this, which I did find hugely disappointing.

 

Though it was still funny to a degree, it lacked his innermost thoughts, which for me, really brought the character of Brian to life and made you love / hate him. It has an excellent story but really it’s all about the hapless main character and the way he brings that story to life. I understand it would be hard to portray ‘thoughts’ in a film, but still, I found it a let down. And I’ve loved many books in my lifetime and though those with film adaptations will never really cut the mustard, I’m sad to say this one really did stand out for me as a film that didn’t work.

S.G. Liput – Rhyme and Reason

Eragon

Eragon Poster

While it’s far from the worst book adaptation I’ve seen, the one that sticks out to me as a disappointment is 2006’s Eragon, based on the first book of Christopher Paolini’s debut series. I loved the novel and eagerly anticipated the movie’s release. I wanted to like it and even saw it in the theater three times (more than any other movie for me), but it just couldn’t match the book. Jeremy Irons is great as Brom, as is Saphira the dragon and the other visual effects, but the pacing is unavoidably rushed as it tries to cram such a long novel into less than two hours. (Saphira grows up literally within seconds, and I guess we’re just to assume that’s normal for dragons?) Most of the acting is decent, though sometimes overdone, but there’s something lacking when I see so many pieces of the novel that just aren’t given enough time to develop properly. For once, I actually wish it would be rebooted as a miniseries someday.