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Brain on Fire (2016)

Director: Gerard Barrett

Writer: Gerard Barrett (Screenplay) Susannah Cahalan (Memoir)

Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Thomas Mann, Richard Armitage, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jenny Slate, Tyler Perry

 

Plot: A young, capable professional cannot explain her newly erratic behavior.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Drama

 

Story: Brain on Fire starts as we meet 21-year-old Susannah Cahalan (Moretz) she has her dream job working for the New York Times and has a steady relationship with musician Stephen (Mann), but her life starts to turn upside when her mind starts getting out of control, filled with blanks spells and erratic behaviour.

When Susannah starts suffering seizures the doctors don’t seem to be able to find anything wrong with her and as the decline increases so does her behaviour. Her parents Tom (Armitage) and Rhona (Moss) do their best to get her the best help and the doctors can clearly see there is something wrong, but the answers remain even more difficult to find.

 

Thoughts on Brain on Fire

 

Characters – Susannah Cahalan is a 21-year-old with her whole life ahead of her with her dream career at such a young age. Her life however takes a dramatic turn when she starts suffering from paranoia episodes which puts the strain on her personal and professional life with the doctors running out of options, this is her true story. Stephen is her boyfriend that uses his music to try and help ease her pain. Tom and Rhona fill the parental roles that both have different ways of handling their helplessness through the illness, as well as the friends that support her.

PerformancesChloe Grace Moretz is a great and talent young actress, but for this role you can see she is too young to truly understand the subject in question, remember this was film when she was 18/19 and the story is being told from perspective of someone in their early 20s, so you did need someone who would understand that age. The rest of the cast are fine without getting anything overly different to deal with.

StoryThe story is an important message about understand an illness which can be difficult to diagnose, and one people have been suffering with, this is her story about how she survived. One of the big problems is that we have scenes without her, so this can’t be from her memory, but second-hand account. For the subject involved we kind of understand how these stories will go and this doesn’t offer too much new to the genre. If this is something you enjoy watching you won’t be complaining, but it won’t make any of the top lists.

BiopicThis is Susannah’s story, you really can’t say a bad thing about her story, it just doesn’t truly feel film worthy.

SettingsThe film is set in New York and in hospitals, it shows the everyday life Susannah would have been living in at the time.


Scene of the Movie –
Margo visits Susannah.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It felt like an episode of House.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough biopic that doesn’t offer too much new, it is watchable but not one that will be talked about for years to come.

 

Overall: Standard biopic without the impact.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – P – The Piper (2015)

Director: Kim Kwang-Tae

Writer: Kim Kwang-Tae (Screenplay)

Starring: Goo Seung-Hyeon, Seung-ryong Ryu, Woo-hee Chun, Joon Lee, Sung-min Lee

 

Plot: Shortly after the Korean war, a father and a son are wandering through the country and make a stop in a remote village, where strange and dangerous happenings occur.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Keeps Getting Better

 

Story: The Piper starts with the father (Seung-ryong) and his son Yeong-nam (Seung-Hyeon) travelling through the mountains in the aftermath of the Korean war. With the father being a musician and his son being sick, they are looking for a new home, they come across a remote village where Village Head (Sung-min Lee) lets them stay th night.

As the night unfold the Father learns of a rat problem in the town and offers to use his musical talent to lead them away, but soon he learns about the superstitions mindset of the people in the village which puts both him and his son in danger.

 

Thoughts on

 

Characters – The father is doing everything he can to keep his son alive, he will work on any job which the village offers him, he has a musical side which helps him become welcoming to strangers as well as offering an escape for the rats and other animals. He believes he is doing good, but soon learns the danger he has put his son in. Yeong-nam is the son of the Father, he is sick with a lung disease, he wants to help his dad the best he can, which does involve getting into trouble. The Village Head offers him a place to stay while he son can be saved, he makes a deal, he has power over the rest of the village which becomes the weakness that the Father fails to see. Mi-sook is the single woman in the village, blessed with spirit coming to save her, she starts helping the Father who see the danger coming.

PerformancesThe cast do give us good performances through the film, the lead shows the heart and desperation he needs, while the villain shows his plans as they could bring down everything.

StoryThe story here starts of pretty routine, a father trying to keep his son safe and healthy, it turns into a good deed before a hell breaks loose and it turns into a twisted horror movie. The pace of the movie is strange because it is slow to start with as most of the first hour is calm with an air of tension, the second half of the film we learn secrets and twists come thick and fast to make this a wonderful story to see unfold in the second half of the film. it gets dark which helps save the slow start too.

Horror/MysteryThe horror is brilliant in the second half of the film we have gore and tension blending together wonderfully, the mystery comes from just what is meant to be going on in the village as we learn early there is some form of secret behind everything.

SettingsThe settings keep us in this remote village which shows how superstition can grab hold off villagers making them make bad decisions.

Special EffectsThe practical effects are strong through the film as we see effects of different events, but at times the number of rats we see does feel CGI heavy.


Scene of the Movie –
Final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly too low of a start.

Final ThoughtsThis is another enjoyable Korean horror, sure it doesn’t reach the levels of others, but it gets the horror down to the level we want to for a final showdown.

 

Overall: Good horror throughout

Rating

 

 

Euthanizer (2018)

Director: Teemu Nikki

Writer: Teemu Nikki (Screenplay)

Starring: Matti Onnismaa, Jari Virman, Hannamaija Nikander, Heikki Nousiainen, Pihla Penttienen, Jouko Puolanto

 

Plot: A man who euthanizes animals as a side job runs afoul of a white supremacist.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Distrubing

 

Story: Euthanizer starts as we head to a small Finnish town where on the outskirts Veijo Haukka (Onnismaa) offers the people a chance to euthanizes their pets cheaper than a vet, he does give the people life lessons in his methods and only does it with sick or elderly animals. When Petri (Virman) a man who wants to get rid of his dog and is trying to become part of a white supremacist group known as soldiers of Finland, Veijo keeps the as his own.

When Petri wants to impress the group, he targets Veijo and after Veijo’s father Martti (Nousiainen) dies he snaps, getting psychical with anyone he sees to have prolonged any animals suffering.

 

Thoughts on Euthanizer

 

Characters – Veijo Haukka is a lonely man that lives on the outskirts who offers a service to people who need to dispose and euthanize their pets, he has morals and wants to make sure the animal is suffering before doing anything, when he loses his father he will not stop to get revenge on the people that crossed him. Petri is the one man trying to join a white supremacy group, he will want to impress, even if the group isn’t the biggest threat. Lotta is the nurse caring for Veijo father, she becomes obsessed with what he does enjoying the darker side of sex.

PerformancesThe performances from the whole cast keep us feeling the disturbing theme throughout. Matti Onnismaa is the stand out never blinking in his scene as you see his actions are shown on his face. Jari Virman does make us hate his character which is what we need him to be.

StoryThe story does follow a revenge ABC checklist, though we do have characters that don’t seem the most enjoyable. Veijo is euthanizing animals which does give us more disturbing side of things, while the white supremacy group never feels like that much of a threat as it only seems to have about 4 people in it. The side sex story is strange, but it does end up showing us just where the people in the world will be liking. This does have disturbing moments in and there was a point where even I nearly had to stop because of the subject matter rather than quality.

ThrillerThis film does try to build the tension, but spends too much time focusing on getting to the characters in place before anything happened.

SettingsThe film shows us a small Finnish town which shows the extremes of the people that are like.


Scene of the Movie –
Final revenge.

That Moment That Annoyed Me If you are an animal fan this will be difficult to watch.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller that does a revenge easily enough, though it will test the audience with the subject matter involving the animals.

 

Overall: Too disturbing for some.

Rating