Pet Sematary (2019)

Director: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer

Writer: Matt Greenberg, Jeff Buhler (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Jason Clarke, John Lithgow, Amy Seimetz, Jete Laurence, Naomi Frenette, Alyssa Brooke Levine, Maria Herrera

 

Plot: Dr. Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their two young children. The couple soon discover a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home.


Tagline – They don’t come back the Same. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fog Machine Screen Test

 

Story: Pet Sematary starts as the Creed family, Louis (Clarke), Rachel (Seimetz), Ellie (Laurence) and toddler Gage, move from Boston to a rural Maine town, to start a quieter life style. The family just so happen to have bought a property with its own pet cemetery, spelt wrong with the S and all. The neighbour Jud (Lithgow) is welcoming and after the family cat Church dies, Jud tells Louis of the powers, which sees Church return, only he isn’t the same.

When tragedy strikes the Creed family, it leaves them divided and Louis is drawn back to the power which could solve the pain, but he only unleashes the secrets of the hidden grounds.

 

Thoughts on Pet Sematary

 

Characters – Louis is a former ER-Doctor, he needed to get out of that life with his new role being a college campus doctor, this gives him more time with his kids as they grow, making his life more relax. He is the one that never believed or talked about the afterlife which is why it seems strange that he is the one that follows Jud through the secret cemetery. Rachel is the wife, she spends most of her time checking her phone, being the typical housewife, she does have a haunted past which still scares her to this day. Jud is the nice welcoming neighbour, he has lived in this house for his whole life and now, he wants to show the wisdom he has learnt from the cemetery. He is the catalyst to everything that unfolds. Ellie is the oldest child of the family, she likes to adventure which can get her in trouble, but what 9-year-old isn’t like this?

PerformancesThis discussion on the performances is going down like most in horror, the child star Jete Laurence doesn’t do anything wrong and is the star of the show. Jason Clarke as often been the go to guy for a reliable lead, doesn’t get tested, while Amy Seimetz gets no true character development, giving her little to work with. John Lithgow get a scene where we learn the cats name being after Winston Churchill, and the wink wink idea that he won awards for playing the leader.

StoryThe story follows a family that relocate to start a quieter life, they seem to have everything down perfectly until death starts coming into their lives, which only sees them needing to face ultimate decisions and figure out the power of the pet sematary in their back garden. This is obviously a remake of the Stephen King classic, so if you have seen the original or read the book, you will know the basics of this story. The story however seems to go off on wild side stories which don’t seem to have any connection to the pet semetery element of the story, it just gets confusing, there is such a large focus on Rachel’s past, which shouldn’t make sense in this film in anyway. Everything that returns from the original film works, it gets the required scare, but as I said the side stories just fill the empty space to make the film longer and get a scare from the audience.

HorrorThe horror in this film can be broken down, we have the jump scares, though they can be seen coming a mile off, we have a thinking horror side to something that happens, which over plays on the mind for no reason too.

SettingsThe film puts the family in a remote house, well one without many neighbours and a tight road that lorries steam down, this is effective for the first proper jump scare, which you would see in the original, for the rest of the settings the fog machine covers up the flaws here.

Special EffectsThe effects when practical look creepy and effective, we don’t get many, but much like the settings, the fog machine makes a big impact here covering up any true weaknesses in the special effects.


Scene of the Movie –
The lorry.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fog machine.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor remake of a classic Stephen King horror, we don’t seem to get anything scary like other remakes and end up relying on cheap jump scares to try and maximise the impact.

 

Overall: Simple lifeless remake.

Rating

 

 

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Serenity (2019)

Director: Steven Knight

Writer: Steven Knight (Screenplay)

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Diane Lane, Jason Clarke, Djimon Hounsou, Jeremy Strong

 

Plot: A fishing boat captain juggles facing his mysterious past and finding himself ensnared in a reality where nothing is what it seems.


Tagline – On Plymouth Island, No One Ever Dies…Unless You Break the Rules

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Head Scratcher

 

Story: Serenity starts as we meet obsessed fisherman Baker Dill (McConaughey) who has been running low on money, which has risked losing his first mate Duke (Hounsou), the town however will work with him when he needs it. He turns to Constance (Lane) for comfort as they know what each other like.

When Baker’s ex, Karen (Hathaway) arrives in the small town, she comes to him to take her husband Frank (Clarke) out to the ocean to leave him there to save their son from his abusive nature. Not everything is as it seems though, as Baker is left to make a big decision.

 

Thoughts on Serenity

 

Characters – Baker Dill is a struggling fisherman, who takes tourists out, he can keep himself afloat, but only just. He is left in shock when his ex comes back into his life trying to talk him into killer her husband to protect his son, he is reluctant to accept left torn between what to do or not. Karen is the ex of Baker that is tired of her abusive husband that she can’t escape from, she needs Baker to do the job for her. Constance is Baker’s fling on the island, they keep each other company when they need it. Frank is the rich husband of Karen that has power to do whatever he wants and get away with it.

PerformancesMatthew McConaughey in the leading role is strong because he must give a performance of a man that is unsure of everything happening. Anne Hathaway, Diane Lane and Jason Clarke complete the main cast, they each have their key part to play which does work helping Matthew shine.

StoryThe story does start with a simple idea of a man who has been chasing a mysterious fish, which has seen him isolate himself and see his money run low, he gets a chance for a big pay day when his ex-arrives in town. Now, this is the simple side, a will he or won’t he follow her wishes, only everything gets turned on its head by a twist that makes you question nearly everything you have seen, really starting to blow your mind about what we are seeing. This puts the story in the middle of two different places because it is something we haven’t seen, something we couldn’t predict, the problems come from the idea that everything is so far outside the box many people might not like just how far things can go.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery elements of this film comes from just what is going on in this world, it gets even more complicated when the twist starts to unravel, this does turn this into a sci-fi element of the film because it does show us just what could happen.

SettingsThe film is set on a picture-perfect island called Plymouth Island which is perfect for fishing and has a close community that will know each other’s secrets.


Scene of the Movie –
The rules.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain side characters do seem to disappear in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sci-fi mystery that will leave you wondering just what the hell did I just watch and did you like it, it will be best to read on just how much you want to judge how you see the twist.

 

Overall: Mind blowing mystery.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – D – Die Hard (1988) Movie Rob’s Selection

For more reviews from Movie Rob head over to his site.

You want money? What kind of terrorists are you? ” – Joseph Takagi

Number of Times Seen – Seriously too many to count (Video, Cable, DVD, 4 May 2000, Jan 2012, 24 Nov 2013, 30 Nov 2014, 4 Nov 2015, 11 Nov 2015, 13 Jul 2017, 3 Dec 2017, 30 Jul 2018 and 2 Apr 2019)

Link to original review – Here Here Here Here HereHere and Here

Brief Synopsis – A NYC detective visiting his family in LA gets trapped in an office building after it is taken over by terrorists.

My Take on it – When Darren first told me about this month’s theme, I didn’t hesitate for even a second before choosing this film as one of my picks.

Darren claims that I would use any excuse to rewatch this film and he’s partially right; since I never need an excuse to see this movie, cause I love watching it so much.

This is an amazing action film that actually changed the way people looked and perceived what action movies are ever since it came out.

They were able to create a sub genre of action films that is still in high demand even after 30 years; the idea of an every-man facing off against a group of terrorists in a perceived unwinnable situation.

Bruce Willis was superbly cast in the lead and with this performance, he showed everyone that even without the physique of Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s still possible to play the role of action hero and in some ways even make things seem more plausible and realistic.

Alan Rickman also is excellent here because he was able to create a villain who doesn’t feel like a stereotype or caricature and yet still holds an amazing screen presence without the need to over do things while still staying devious, cunning and even soft spoken throughout.

The story has a great mixture of action and suspense while giving us vulnerable characters who are able to even pepper in a bit of humorous lines of dialogue along the way.

This is truly an iconic action film that despite the hundreds (???) of doppelgangers created over the years, has yet to be surpassed in the way it presents thing so near perfectly.

Bottom Line – Amazing film that was able to change the way action films are perceived especially since it’s able to create a sub genre dealing with an every-man against terrorists. Willis is superb in this film and was able to show that he can play the role of action hero despite not having the physique normally associated with these kind of films. Rickman also helped create a new archetype of villain who is soft spoken and devious and doesn’t feel like a caricature or stereotype at all. The story is able to mix action, suspense and vulnerability of the hero while also peppering in some humorous lines along the way. Such an iconic action film that has yet to be surpassed by any of its doppelgangers over the 3 decades plus since it came out. Highly Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Director John McTiernan found it necessary to smash cut away from Hans Gruber’s face whenever he fired a gun, because of Alan Rickman’s uncontrollable habit of flinching from the noise and muzzle flash. If you look at Rickman’s face when he shoots Takagi, you can see him wincing. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (10/10) (no change from original review)

ABC Film Challenge – Action – D – DOA: Dead or Alive (2006)

Director: Corey Yuen

Writer: J.F. Lawton, Adam Gross, Seth Gross (Screenplay)

Starring: Jaime Pressly, Devon Aoki, Holly Valance, Sarah Carter, Natassia Malthe, Kane Kosugi, Matthew Marsden

 

Plot: The world’s best fighters are invited to DOA, an invitational martial arts contest. There, four female rival fighters will have to work together to uncover the secret that the organizer of the tournament is trying to hide.


Tagline – You’re Invited.

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Guilty Pleasure

 

Story: DOA: Dead or Alive starts as we meet our three leading ladies, wrestling royalty Tina Armstrong (Pressly) who wants to prove herself in legitimate fighting, Chinese princess Kasumi (Aoki) who leaves her clan to find out what happened to her brother at last year’s tournament and master thief Christie Allen (Valance) who can fight her way out of any corner.

The three get selected to enter this year’s DOA tournament along with 12 other competitors along with daughter of the creature Helena (Carter), they get sent to remote island where the three becomes friends and fight for the prize pool which will see them waiting for their opponents to be selected.

 

Thoughts on DOA: Dead or Alive

 

Characters – Tina Armstrong is an American wrestler, she has been on the top of that world and has always dealt with people questioning her own fighting ability, this tournament will give her a chance to show just how good she is. Kasumi is a princess of a Chinese clan, forbidden to leave the temple or face death, her brother vanished in the last tournament, she will go against tradition and face death in an attempt to uncover the truth about her brother. Christie Allen is a master thief whose latest job attracts the attention of the organisers of the tournament, she along with her partner have other plans while on the island. Helena is the daughter of the creator of the tournament, this is her first year on entry and she wants to do her father proud.

PerformancesThis is a movie which hired actresses that needed to look extra sexy, we can see this from our main four women, each comes from different backgrounds which shows in the performances where they all handle the fighting well, with Jaime Pressley giving us the best performance outside of the fighting.

StoryThe story follows three women bought from different background to enter a fighting tournament on a mysterious island, unlike most fighting tournaments, these can happened whether you get informed about your opponent which does give us different locations for the fights, it also shows us how the honour between these fighters is shown, with none of the fighters being the villainous side of the story. this is a video game turned film, so we know the story isn’t going to need to be the deepest and as long as we see the people fight we will be happy. Things do go over the top in the final act of the story which is fine again, for a video game story it all makes sense. There are clearly holes in the story which comes from where the defeated competitors go after losing and having one extra side story feels like we have slightly too much going on at times.

Action/AdventureThe action is a mix of different fights in different locations with the final fight in the temple being the true highlight on this side of everything. the adventure side of the film takes our characters from around the world ready to compete in the tournament.

SettingsThe film is mostly set on the solo island location, we get the beach, temple and hotel locations shown for the fights.

Special EffectsThe film does have moments of effects which are not as strong as they should be, with explosions and moments in the fights not looking that impressive.


Scene of the Movie –
Christie’s introduction is so ridiculous.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Disappearing characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily become people’s guilty pleasure, it has solid enough action scenes making it an acceptable video adaptation.

 

Overall: Video Game Joy.

Rating

 

 

AfterDeath (2015)

Director: Gez Medinger, Robin Schmidt

Writer: Andrew Ellard (Screenplay)

Starring: Miranda Raison, Sam Keeley, Elarica Johnson, Lorna Nickson Brown, Daniella Kertesz, Joe Passarella

 

Plot: Five young people wake up dead. Washed up by the tide they scramble to an abandoned beach house, soon realising that the perpetual night and blasts of pain suggest this is some version of hell. Between in-fighting and attacks by a demonic shadow creature, they recall the collapse of the nightclub that brought them here – and begin seeing hope of a second chance in the cabin’s two mysterious paintings.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull

 

Story: AfterDeath starts with Robin (Raison) waking up on a beach, chased by a demon, leading her to a beach house, with Seb (Keeley), Patricia (Johnson), Livvy (Brown) and Onie (Kertesz) stranded in too. The five of them are all dead, they can’t escape this location, where they are being terrorised by their past in the shape of a ghostly spirit.

The five must figure out how they died, why they are being punished, how to escape or even if they can at all.

 

Thoughts on AfterDeath

 

Characters – Robyn is the latest person dragged into the after world, she is the one that is trying to get to the bottom of everything happening. These characters are all poorly written which makes it even harder to describe what their actions are, Seb, Patricia and Livvy all want to party in the afterlife, while Onie is trying to figure out how to get out through suicide.

PerformancesIt is so difficult to complain about an actors performance, but this must go down as five of the combined worst performances out there, all the stars look just as lost as the script.

StoryThe story follows five young people who seem to be stuck in an afterlife situation where they need to figure out how to escape before spending eternity in hell. I have seen my fair share of afterlife movies and they can be interesting if they are done correctly, this one is done on a level that becomes confusing and messy, before become slightly preachy about everything going on. We just don’t get anything that will be seen as interesting and should be left on the writing block.

Horror/MysteryThis film doesn’t give us much to be scared off, it just feels like we have seen this before, the mystery is there, it just doesn’t reach any leaves it should for making us become invested in what is happening.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings in and around the single beach house, which should work, but they try to leave which only makes things feel out of place.

Special EffectsThe effects are all on the same level, it kind of works but never looks that high quality.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The characters.

Final ThoughtsThis just isn’t the most interest ideas of dealing with the afterlife and needing to unlock the secret to see where you will spend your life.

 

Overall: Disappointing and dull.

Rating