Skyscraper (2018)

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Writer: Rawson Marshall Thurber (Screenplay)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Pablo Schreiber, Noah Taylor, Kevin Rankin, McKenna Roberts, Byron Mann, Tzi Ma, Chin Han

 

Plot: FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Sawyer now assesses security for skyscrapers. On assignment in Hong Kong he finds the tallest, safest building in the world suddenly ablaze, and he’s been framed for it. A wanted man on the run, Will must find those responsible, clear his name and somehow rescue his family who are trapped inside the building…above the fire line.


Tagline – The sky is the limit

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Spectacularly Entertaining

 

Story: Skyscraper starts as we learn how Will Sawyer (Johnson) first met his wife Sarah (Campbell) in an FBI Hostage Rescue Team mission gone wrong, which left him without a leg, 10-years later he works in security, figuring out and assessing building for potential hazards. His latest job is his big break, on the biggest building in the world ‘The Pearl’ built by architect Zhao Long Ji (Han).

When everything looks like it is about to pass the tests, Kores Botha (Moller) finds a flaw in the system, setting the building on fire in an attempt to get Zhao, the problem is Will’s family is in the building and will stop at nothing to save his family.

 

Thoughts on Skyscraper

 

Characters – Will Sawyer is a former FBI Hostage Rescue team leader, wounded in action, turned to security, he has a small business which will giving him the recommendation to work on the biggest building in the world. the now family man nervous at the thought of this opportunity must prove how safe this building is. He does, but when criminals have other thoughts, he must return to his rescue ways to save his family from the situation. THIS IS NOT A JOHN MCCLANE MARK II, his only goal is to save his family, not to stop the criminals. Sarah is Will’s wife, one of the surgeons that helped save his life, she does what she can to keep the children safe, remaining calm and showing herself a hand at self-defence. Zhao Long Ji is the architect who has designed this brilliant world changing building, he has everything down to make it look stunning, operate smoothly and help the world by creating jobs and running eco-friendly, he is the target of the criminals who want something he has. Kores Botha is the leader of the attack, he has been an old nemesis of Zhao through construction, this is a slightly more generic villain, but his cold-hearted delivery is just as striking as you need him to be. We do get a host of side characters including, the two kids, they are good for the film, the cops on the outside trying to put the pieces together, other members of the criminal gang with Xia being the standout of them and the old friend which got him the job.

PerformancesDwayne Johnson is an actor you all know I will watch everything he does, the genre he shines best in, is action, in this film he gives one of his best action performances to date, he gives his character the feeling he might no succeed even though he looks like he could knock you out with one punch. Neve Campbell is good in the support role showing its about time we saw her back on the bring screen, Roland Moller as the villain is very strong too because we do get moments when you are scared of what he will do. The rest of the cast are good throughout even if we would have liked to have seen more.

StoryThe story is a perfect playlist of how to keep action simple without needing to make anything complicated. One giant building, one fire in said building, one stranded family, one group of criminals and the reluctant hero going against the odds to try and save his family. Those are the core elements of the story and as I said, we don’t need more, this is simple enough to give us everything we wanted. We could look at the minor negative in the story and that would be the amount of characters we do meet outside of the building situation, while I know it is part of the bigger picture, they don’t have the same intensity as the building moments. The biggest weirdly enjoyable part of the story was watching how the crowd just stood around watching on the big screen cheer, gasping like the audience watching.

Action The action set pieces in the film are brilliant, breath taking and truly edge of your seat, seeing Dwayne Johnson pull this off and make you feel like something could go wrong is what it is all about, praise must be giving to a fight sequence too, where Will must fight on one leg.

SettingsThe setting of being in the Pearl was fantastic, we know the escape is next to impossible and watching how this unfolds is edge of your seat, when we step away however it does lose the levels of anticipation we would have liked.

Special EffectsThe building being on fire look amazing, well realistically I don’t actually want to see buildings on fire, but other elements of the special effects go towards making Will’s leg injury seem like the norm for Johnson.


Scene of the Movie –
The crane.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Two big lines from the trailer are not in the movie, they both felt important for the situations we were in.

Final ThoughtsThis isn’t just a Die Hard modernised, this is a stand alone action thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat and show you all that Dwayne Johnson is the king of the action genre at the moment.

 

Overall: Must watch action thrill ride.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – L – Lesson of the Evil (2012)

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Takashi Miike (Screenplay) Yusuke Kishi (Novel)

Starring: Shota Sometani, Takayuki Yamada, Fumi Nikaido, Nicole Balsam, Howard Harris

 

Plot: A popular high school teacher concocts an extreme plan to deal with the rise of bullying and bad behavior among the student body

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strange Horror

 

Story: Lesson of the Evil starts by taking us into the High School in Japan, the school is filled with cheating, bullying and worst of all sexual harassment, the teachers even look to new ideas to stop the cheating by blocking phone signals during tests. We focus on Kesiduke (Sometani) and Reika (Nikaido) as they turn to popular teach Seiji Hasumi (Ito) for help during the situation they see wrong.

When Hasumi finds himself searching for a way to end the trouble at the school and his methods prove to be deadly, we are left to wonder which students will become the latest targets of his clean up mission.

 

Thoughts on Lesson of the Evil

 

Characters/PerformanceSeiji Hasumi is the likeable teacher that the students turn to for help, they are unaware of his darker side as they could become the victims of his decision to go to the extremes to clean up the school. Tetsuro is one of the stricter teachers that takes advantage of the students, Keisuke is the slacker in school, happy to cheat his way through class but never truly bullied from what I could tell. Reika is the girl that falls for Hasumi which plays into the rule book that he has set up making her a potential victim.

The performance are all good throughout the cast, fitting the film tone and ideas, with the kids running scared and the teacher enjoying what he does.

StoryThis film askes the question, what would a teacher do to clean up the school, well this pushes everything to the extreme in what is part Saw and part Funny Games. The film does have a chance to tackle real issues but fails miserable to tackle them instead focuses too much on just the cheating going on within the school of the problems that are much more serious.

HorrorThe horror is all through the idea of a teacher going to the extremes to teach the lessons about cheating.

SettingsWe don’t get too many iconic settings, most of the film starts in the school but we also have certain random places for the crimes.

Special EffectsThe effects are all used well to create the kills but otherwise nothing overly important is coming from the effects.

Final ThoughtsThis is an overly long horror that tries to give us a shocking film but in the end it is just something that misses a big chance.

 

Overall: Sloppy horror that doesn’t click.

Rating

 

 

The Forest of the Lost Souls (2018)

Director: Jose Pedro Lopes

Writer: Jose Pedro Lopes (Screenplay)

Starring: Daniela Love, Jorge Mota, Mafalda Banquart, Ligia Roque, Lilla Lopes, Tiago Jacome

 

Plot: The Forest of the Lost Souls is a dense and remote forest, Portugal’s most popular place for suicide. In a summer morning, two strangers meet within the woods.


Tagline – Sadness will last forever.

Runtime: 1 Hour 11 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hauntingly Beautiful

 

Story: The Forest of the Lost Souls starts as we learn about the Portuguese forest of the lost souls, the place where people go to commit suicide. Ricardo (Mota) a middle-aged man is there for his first attempt, he runs into young lady Carolina (Love) who has been here before and the two discuss their reasons for being in the forest this time around.

We learn that one of these two has a secret and alternative motives for being the forest, and now they are searching for more victims, Filipa (Banquart) whose sister was one of the victims of the forest becomes the latest target.

 

Thoughts on The Forest of the Lost Souls

 

Characters – Carolina is the young woman wondering around the forest, she has the back up plans in case she can’t go through with her suicide attempt, we don’t learn too much about why she is there from her conversation with Ricardo. Ricardo is the middle-aged man that is in the forest, this is his first time here and he hasn’t planned for the situation if he couldn’t get through it, he tries to talk Carolina out of her plan, while also learning to plan for his own decision. Filipa has seen her sister take her life, part of a family that is getting stalked by a mysterious person.

PerformancesThe cast keeps us down to only six people that even have lines, Daneila Love and Jorge Mota give us the best performances because the interactions between the two keep us on edge to learn motive behind their actions.

StoryThe story is broken into three chapters, the opening sequences which shows us how the forest can be used for the suicide, the second and most interesting on follow the two different generations discussing the idea of suicide, the final one which shows the motives of one of them, even if we don’t learn the complete reasoning behind everything. these chapters keep the pace flowing and the mystery waiting, it is give a dark and disturbing feeling of unease throughout.

Horror/MysteryThe horror comes from the realization of one of the characters motives and what they go onto do. The mystery comes from wondering what the motives are for going this way with this character.

SettingsThe settings a beautiful, they show us how bleak the forest can make people feel like this would be the right place for suicide.

Special EffectsThe effects are used lightly, mostly with use of camera to film the darker scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
Reading the note.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not learning the complete truth by the end.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very interesting, beautiful and bleak horror movie which will ask big questions about how to tackle suicide in the darkest places.

 

Overall: Horror fans to go and enjoy.

Rating