Ma (2019)

Director: Tate Taylor

Writer: Scotty Landes (Screenplay)

Starring: Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, Juliette Lewis, McKaley Miller, Corey Fogelmanis, Gianna Paolo, Dante Brown, Luke Evans

 

Plot: A lonely woman befriends a group of teenagers and decides to let them party at her house. Just when the kids think their luck couldn’t get any better, things start happening that make them question the intention of their host.


Tagline – Welcome to Ma’s

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Octavia Spencer Steals the Show

 

Story: Ma starts when Maggie (Silvers) moves to her mother’s Erica (Lewis) home town to put their lives back together, it isn’t long before Maggie becomes friends with Haley (Miller), Andy (Fogelmanis), Chaz (Paolo) and Darrell (Brown) who enjoy to party, only they can’t buy the booze yet.

The friends meet Sue Ann (Spencer) a lonely veteran nurse who agrees to help them buy booze, only if they use her basement to party, so she knows they will be safe, only for curiosity to get the best of them after they break the rules and Sue Ann shows a different nature to the caring one she starts with.

 

Thoughts on Ma

 

Characters – Sue Ann is a lonely veteran nurse that starts to befriend the local teenagers after buying them booze and offering them a place to drink in safety. Sue Ann gets nickname ‘Ma’ which makes her feel loved, only she is haunted by the events of her past which sees her starting to slowly show a darker side which puts the teenagers lives in danger. Maggie is the new girl in town, it doesn’t take her long t make friends and find a love interest, it is an unrealistic time scale this happens, she is trying to fit in which means going outside the normal support of her mother, Maggie is a mix of the innocent member of the group and the rebellious teen. Erica is her mother that is just trying to hold it together for her daughter, which means bringing her daughter back to her home town, she is the attempted cool mum that is trying to understand the decisions, but wanting to remain as the best friend figure in her life. Haley is the girl from school that welcomes in Maggie, she does fill the sluttier one of the two girls, she does get a couple of funny lines, but she is just the beginning of the annoyingly written teenagers that are generic as they come, make it seem like all they want to do is drink, get high or have sex, this doesn’t make any of them likeable, making it hard to support them.

PerformancesOctavia Spencer gives one of her bet performances of her career, she breaks away from the wholesome figures we are used to seeing to make us feel uneasy whenever she is on screen. Octavia’s performance completely eclipses the rest of the cast, with most of the younger cast, Diana Silvers or McKaley Miller struggle to keep up with her, while Juliette Lewis, Luke Evans and Allison Janney rounding off the experienced supporting cast well.

StoryThe story here follows a group teenagers that become friends with a lonely woman that offers them a chance to party in a place of safety, only it soon takes twisted turn when they learn about her true nature. This is a story that has plenty of positives and negatives, first the positives, which is the character of Sue Ann, which shows how a woman could balance two different sides to their nature, which is interesting to see which side of her we will be seeing each time we see her, the reveals along the way are supporting the decisions too. When it gets to the negatives, it does have the most generic unlikable group of teenagers, they do have more of a life away from drinking, drugs and sex which seems to be all they care about. Elsewhere on the negative side we get the typical bad decisions in horror which only frustrates throughout.

HorrorThe horror elements of this film comes from Sue Ann’s mental state, which sees her doing actions which just make use feel uneasy, think having Annie Wilkes with a larger amount of people.

SettingsThe film uses the small town setting to show us how everybody has a connection to each other an with the right connection you could have parties in secret.

Special EffectsThe effects are only used very well when needed, we have a couple of moments which has the audience gasp and we don’t just go to the need to nothing.


Scene of the Movie –
Sue Ann finally snaps.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The annoying teenage characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that Octavia Spencer completely steals, it is easily the highlight of the film, because when it comes to the supporting characters around her, we get decisions that just feel out of place.

 

Overall: Octavia Spencer is truly fantastic.

Rating

 

 

BOO! (2019) Movie Review

Director: Luke Jaden

Writer: Luke Jaden, Diane Michelle (Screenplay)

Starring: Aurora Perrineau, Jaden Piner, Jill Marie Jones, Rob Zabrecky, Charley Palmer Rothwell

 

Plot: A torn suburban family refuses to heed the warning of an innocent prank left upon them which causes an unknown supernatural force to wreak havoc.


Tagline – You’ve been chosen.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Shock Value Horror

 

Story: BOO! Starts when the suburban family, James (Zabrecky), Elyse (Jones), Caleb (Piner) and Morgan (Perrineau) receive a mysterious Boo parcel, which is a Halloween prank, only the legend behind it requires you to pass it on.

As tonight is Halloween, everybody wants to go out in their own separate way, with Elyse looking or a drink, James heading to the library, Morgan wanting to spend time with her boyfriend and young Caleb left home alone, where he starts experience strange goings on, only they all start experiencing something horrific, is this just the night or has the curse of the prank caught up with them.

 

Thoughts on BOO!

 

Characters – Morgan is the teenage daughter that is going through the stage of breaking the rules, wanting to spend time with her boyfriend over her family, she will argue back against them at all times and soon starts getting tormented on this night. Caleb is the youngster child of the family, he gets left alone even though he believes something evil is within the house, he does have a creative side, though it does seem like he may have a few learning difficulties. James is the father of the house, he is the one that starts researching the truth behind the prank using his religious beliefs to get his family through the problems of the night. Elyse is the mother that does have a secret from her past, she likes to go out for drinks still, while trying to reconnect with her daughter before it goes.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances the four main actors all struggle to make the big impact required because of how the story plays out, we get the generic performances of the rebellious teenager, the youngster that just knows just where to go, the grieving mother and the distant father, never making anything fresh to the character.

StoryThe story follows a family that comes under terror after they don’t pass on a chain prank which will soon sees the family needing to face their demons to escape. The story does seem to have problems early on, it is strange because each four members of the family are just an important as the rest on screen time, which means each character gets moments to have horror which means we do get an odd scene here and an odd scene here, that never feel connected. We do get hints of foreshadowing through the film which is head to the direction we conclude. The lack of connection does work because it does show how the family is starting to fall apart and will need to reunite to figure out how to get out alive.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film does look for shock value over with the jump scares which just use false jump scares too early, the mystery does come from just what is going on and why the family has been targeted.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the house which again manages to show how the family isn’t connected anymore.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do get used well for when they are needed, coming off as one of the strongest aspects of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
An eye for an eye.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The false jump scares.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that tries to reflect a family falling apart with the idea they can be haunted by their demons without being able to communicate which could consume them, it does struggle to put that point over though.

 

Overall: Horror that just doesn’t click the way it wants to.

Rating

 

 

Bored in the U.S.A. (2019)

Director: Mike Finazzo

Writer: Mike Finazzo (Screenplay)

Starring: Kelly Lloyd, Chris Milner, Bryan Preston

 

Plot: Life is simpler in black and white.” This line, uttered midway through Bored in the U.S.A., could well serve as the film’s thesis statement. Following the budding friendship of Kelly (Kelly Lloyd, Baltimore Improv Group), a bored housewife, and Chris (Chris Milner, Comedy Central), a displaced Londoner, this film takes an honest look at life by disposing of conventional on-screen relationships. Bored exposes the inherent drama in the silences between what people say and don’t say to each other.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Modern Day Before Sunrise

 

Story: Bored in the USA starts as we meet bored housewife Kelly (Lloyd) whose marriage is starting to feel boring and lacking excitement with her friends, busy with their lives, we also meet Londoner Chris (Milner) who is packing up his life before moving back to England to start a life with his fiancée.

With Chris trying to sell the last of his property he bumps into Kelly, who had previous met at a party, the two end up spending the rest of their day together, giving themselves a chance to discuss the problems in their lives and the fears of their future.

 

Thoughts on Bored in the USA

 

Characters – Kelly is the bored housewife, her marriage has fallen into routine, which makes her feel emptier as each day passes, her friends are busy with their own life, while she craves just being able to have more conversations, experiences and just life moments, she spends the day with Chris learning that he is offering her part of these moments. Chris is the Londoner that once met Kelly at a party, now years later he is engaged and about to move home to England, he does have the fears of what it is like to take the next step in life, he does however see it as the next step in life. This is a film that follows these two characters more than anything else, anyone else we do meet doesn’t get much time and is only there to put the main characters on the right path.

PerformancesWe have a two person show with Kelly Lloyd and Chris Milner both showing excellent chemistry through the film, they show how both their characters are feeling through the life choices.

StoryThe story follows two near strangers, they met once at a party and end up spending a day hanging out with each other discussing life’s ups and downs they have been through or facing. The story does keep everything simple and it is easy to compare to the ‘Before trilogy’ because of the story relies on the conversation flowing and the two people who look at life in different ways. We get to see just how difficult life can be when you are left wondering about what could have been in life. The idea that this only last over one day shows how just a conversation can add a spark to people’s lives even if the time is short together.

SettingsThe film is set in Baltimore which shows just how the neighbourhood feeling can be found if you know the city you are in and the secret locations many would not know about.


Scene of the Movie –
Train station.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The overly generic British jokes.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful look at life, love, chances and moments that can make life feel like the best and worst thing, we have a conversation film that never feels forced or out of place.

 

Overall: Wonderful look at life.

Rating

 

 

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Director: Michael Dougherty

Writer: Michael Dougherty, Zach Shields (Screenplay) Michael Dougherty, Max Borenstein, Zach Shields (Story)

Starring: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Ziyi Zhang, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance

 

Plot: The crypto-zoological agency Monarch faces off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah.


Tagline – Long Live The King

Runtime: 2 Hours 11 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Beautiful

 

Story: Godzilla: King of the Monsters starts in the aftermath of the events in San Francisco in 2014, The Russell family is torn apart with the Godzilla attack, with parents Mark (Chandler) and Emma (Farmiga) losing a child, with only Madison (Brown) left in their family, in the years past they have gone their separate ways and the Monarch agency has continue to face consequences for the Godzilla attack.

Emma does work in one of the secret Monarch facilities where they are trying to hatch and contain the titans of the Earth, when the facility comes under attack by eco-terrorist Jonah Alan (Dance) who wants to take a device which could communicate with the Titans of the world.

With this attack Godzilla reappears from his years of hiding and Mark gets called in by Monarch to help the locate his ex-wife and daughter, Monarch needs to plan as the idea is to release all the Titans into the world, with King Ghidorah challenging Godzilla for the title of King of the Monsters.

 

Thoughts on Godzilla: King of the Monsters

 

Characters – Godzilla is the king of the monsters, he will only attack when he is attacked, which sees Monarch watching over him, when his position is put at risk he heads of to eliminate the threat in King Ghidorah, we know Godzilla will fight to the death and here we learn more about the mystic of Godzilla and what gives him all his strength. King Ghidorah is the latest discovery in the world of Titans, he is a three—headed dragon in the historic likeness of the Hydra with the head having the ability to regrow. He wants control over the world using his power to control the Titans to bring the destruction. Mark is a crypto-zoologist that has been hiding from the world after the Godzilla incident, he has become distant from his daughter because of this, which has seen him filming wolves understanding predatory nature. After Madison and Emma are taken, he gets recruited by Monarch to help relocate them using his knowledge of dealing with predators, even though his stance is to kill all Titans. Emma has remained working for Monarch, she has created a device which could communicate with the Titans, one she uses to control Mothra. She gets kidnapped with her creation being the weapon which could control and release all the Titans to the world. Madison is the daughter of the two scientists, she lives with her mother, not having any communication with her father, she gets to witness the great spectacle in person and learn what caused the drift between her parents. Dr Serizawa is one of the few returning characters that still believes that Godzilla is here for good, he will protect him from any attack, he works with the Monarch team to end the terror that has come to the Earth. Barnes is the lead soldier, he seems like he is mostly a replacement for the soldier in the last film, which doesn’t need too much other than military behaviour. Dr Graham is back working with Dr Serizawa to protect Godzilla from the world that wants destruction. Jonah Alan is the eco-terrorist that has been trying to end the Titan control for years, this attest attack is the one that will unleashing them on the world.

PerformancesKyle Chandler steps into the leading role in this outing, he brings us a character with a much more interesting backstory to why he is here and we want to support him making up for his errors. Vera Farmiga is wonderful to watch, we believe her decisions through the film which will give her time to shine. Millie Bobby Brown does everything asked of for a teenage character, we see how she must learn to grow up through the events in the film. Ken Watanabe is always an actor you can sit and watch talk science, he brings the strongest human performance in the film. O’Shea Jackson Jr, Sally Hawkins and Charles Dance complete the main cast all bringing everything to the role to make the film feel believable.

StoryThe story here sees how Monarch comes under attack with the hidden Titans of the world being released into the world, Godzilla must step up to regain control after King Ghidorah tries to take his throne, we see how the human side of the Titan outbreak starts to figure out a way to stop the destruction. When it comes to the story we need to break this down, first the human side of the story which does have a focus on grief of losing somebody in a disaster will go in different direction to search for help. The scientific side of the film shows just how the people in the film work together to figure out how to get through the events of the film. when it comes to the monster side of the film we are seeing the battle for control between Godzilla and King Ghidorah along with the fellow Titans choosing a side when it comes to the battle for control. We only really want to see the monster destruction which is huge, but it is interesting to look into the history of Godzilla and just where he has come from.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe action in the film is truly brilliant, we have mega destruction scenes which show the strengths of each of the Titans and what they could do to the world if they come here looking for their own control. The fight sequences are just beautiful to watch too which goes on to show just how much was put into showing the monsters (which was one of the complained sides of the last Godzilla). The adventure takes our characters across the world to each different facility which will show us how the Titans will suit the location they are coming from. The fantasy does show us just how big the monsters could be, they start to play into the history of the world, teasing they could have been real. The sci-fi side of the film plays into the idea of the giant monsters that are here, fighting for power, we do have interesting military devices which seem like they are from the future too.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us the different locations the Titans are around the world, be it China, Mexico or Antarctica, each Titans comes from the environment which would suit them.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are truly breath-taking, the Titans look flawless, the battles outstanding and the wide shots of the Titans being the best scenes of the year.


Scene of the Movie –
Mothra hatching, it is just beautiful.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Last minute saves.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most beautiful monster movies you will ever see, it has some of the most beautiful shots ever put to film and giving everything you want from a giant monster movie, where they just fight to the death.

 

Overall: Beautiful Monster movie.

Rating

 

 

Down a Dark Hall (2018)

Director: Rodrigo Cortes

Writer: Michael Goldbach, Chris Sparling (Screenplay) Lois Duncan (Novel)

Starring: AnnaSophia Robb, Uma Thurman, Isabelle Fuhrman, Victoria Moroles, Noah Silver, Taylor Russell, Rosie Day

 

Plot: Kit Gordy, a new student at the exclusive Blackwood Boarding School, confronts the institution’s supernatural occurrences and dark powers of its headmistress.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Never Really Gets Started

 

Story: Down a Dark Hall starts as Katherine ‘Kit’ Gordy (Robb) has been struggling with mental health and with her parents running out of options decide to send her to an exclusive boarding school Blackwood, run by Madame Duret (Thurman). Kit is joined by the other girls, Izzy (Fuhrman), Veronica (Moroles), Ashley (Russell) and Sierra (Day) who are all told they have gifts, which sees the girls excel in different subjects.

When the girls start getting haunted at night, they decide to investigate the history of the school, which leads them down some very dark halls to unlock the secret of Madame Duret.

 

Thoughts on Down a Dark Hall

 

Characters – Katherine Gordy is a troubled teenager, blamed for a lot of what happens in her life, dealing with the loss of her father, sent to the boarding school, she starts to show her talent for music and challenge just why the girls have been selected. Madame Duret has welcomed the girls into the boarding school, she keeps strict rules and it becomes clear that she has plans for them all. Izzy is one of the girls that shows her gifts the quickest, this is what draws the attention of the rest of the girls that can see what is happening to her. Veronica is the bully like figure of the five girls, she uses her tough attitude to cover her own problems in her life.

PerformancesAnnaSophia Robb in the leading role does a solid enough job, we could see more development from her character, but she does all she can with her role. Uma Thurman isn’t the most convincing as the Madame, while most of the fellow girl performances are just the basic through the film.

StoryThe story follows five girls sent to a boarding school only for not everything to be as it seems and they must unlock the truth before the evil within the walls comes for them. The story never really gets started if we are honest because we focus on the so called gifts the girls are showing, which they never had before getting to the school, should be more interesting, only it just felt rushed. The scares don’t come fast enough for what is meant to be happening and when they do it is just too dark to see anything happening. The story has an outline which had potential, only it ends up falling flat on its face trying to rush everything instead of slowly building to show just how successful the previous ideas have been.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy horror in the film becomes one when we get to follow the ideas to why the girls have become gifted suddenly, only the horror is just darkness, loud noise, something appears on screen.

SettingsThe film is set inside the one location, the boarding school which does work for the film, because it keeps the girls away from the world for just what is planned for them.

Special EffectsThe effects are pretty weak too here, as we just get the usual background CGI we can see a mile off.


Scene of the Movie –
The piano performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While this is meant to be a dark film, it is very hard to see what is happening.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that has potential in its story, it ends up becoming messy though and just bland because it never gets started.

 

Overall: Basic horror.

Rating