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

 

 

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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