IT Chapter Two (2019) Movie Review

Director: Andy Muschietti

Writer: Gary Dauberman (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isiaah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Bill Skarsgard

Plot: Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.


Tagline – Witness the End of It.

Runtime: 2 Hours 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Way to Long

Story: It Chapter Two starts 27 years after the events of the first film, Mike (Mustafa) hasn’t left Derry yet and sees that Pennywise (Skarsgard) has returned for his latest feeding frenzy, which means he wants to bring the loser’s club back together, calling author Bill (McAvoy), stand-up comedian Richie (Hader), architect Ben (Ryan), risk assessment person Eddie (Ransone), married Stanley (Bean) and still being abused Beverly (Chastain) home.

The friends must unite, remember their past and face their fears to take on Pennywise to hopefully end it all forever and save the town of Derry.

Thoughts on It Chapter Two

Characters – Bill was always considered the leader of the gang, he went onto write books and coming back he must face the fear about his brother’s death. Beverly has married an abusive rich man that she wants to escape from, which sees her return to Derry, where she could recapture her own love interest from childhood. Richie is a stand up comedian that is just how you would imagine him to grow up to be like, he gets plenty of laughs through the film. Mike never left Derry, he has been studying how to defeat Pennywise once and for all, he calls everybody back to the town. Ben was the fat kid, he transformed himself and became an architect with great success, he will see this return as a chance to tell Beverly how he feels. Eddie is reluctant to return though it does get him away from his wife, that is just like his mother, he will need to overcome the fears which have held him back before. Stanley is one of the group that doesn’t return, he has his reasons and it poses the reality of what will come with returning. Pennywise is the evil figure, who mostly looks like a clown, though he can become anything he wants to play into the fears. It is strange that we just don’t get that invested in the adult versions of the characters.

PerformancesJessica Chastain and James McAvoy are the two biggest names in the film, they are both fine, because nobody is a true main character, the two could do more and McAvoy is difficult to watch because his choice of accent reminds me about the 10-year-old he plays in Split. Bill Hader and James Ransone are the stars of the returning characters, they still have great chemistry. Isaiah Mustafa and Jay Ryan are both solid enough, though the characters seem to have swapped around.

StoryThe story is the second part of the massive book, it follows the adult versions of the losers club that must return to fight Pennywise once again. This is a very long story, it is just under 3 hours long, which does feel like it drags along at times, once problem comes with more flashbacks with hauntings, there is no peril here, because we know the adult versions live. One of the strengths in the film is the idea of being reunited after years away with friends, it does feel natural and just how you would imagine it being. One of the issues I found in the first film was that Ben was the one that spent time learning the history of the town, while Mike did barely anything, it confused me because I always remembered it being Mike that understood the history, here it is Mike and Ben doesn’t seem to care anymore, add in the weird love triangle and you will feel like we have more that didn’t need to be here too.

HorrorThe horror side of the film follows the hauntings that both the kids and adults go through, it is more just separate characters getting haunting throughout. Nothing feels as scarier as the first one was.

SettingsThe film takes us back to Derry, we do get flashbacks with other moments that make sense and return to the old places where the scares happen.

Special EffectsThe effects are brilliant in places, though it does feel certain CGI moments just don’t work.


Scene of the Movie – Richie’s memory.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – James McAvoy’s accent.

Final Thoughts This is a bogged down horror that just is way too long to get the best out of the scares, just like the mini series, it fizzles out.

Overall: Disappointing sequel.

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Mr Holmes (2015)

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Jeffrey Hatcher (Screenplay) Mitch Cullin (Novel)

Starring: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hattie Morahan, Patrick Kennedy, Roger Allam

 

Plot: An aged, retired Sherlock Holmes deals with early dementia, as he tries to remember his final case, and a mysterious woman, whose memory haunts him. He also befriends a fan, the young son of his housekeeper, who wants him to work again.


Tagline – The man behind the myth

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice, but Slow Drama

 

Story: Mr Holmes starts as we follow Sherlock Holmes (McKellen) as he heads to the country to retire, his housekeeper Mrs Munro (Linney) and her son Roger (Parker) that he takes under his wing to work with his bees. Sherlock is in the middle of writing a story about his last case after Watson had left him, as well as remember his time in Japan with Tamiki (Sanada).

As the story continues we learn that Sherlock’s memory is going and he wants to erase the misconception of his character that Watson has created.

 

Thoughts on Mr Holmes

 

Characters – Sherlock Holmes is one of the iconic characters in any mystery tale, this time we following him in his latter years, as we follow the three moments, the last case he didn’t solve, the trip to Japan and how he is writing the story about his last case. This character is interesting to find because we see a great mind struggling to remember everything that he should. Mrs Munro is the housekeeper looking after Sherlock while he focuses on his projects and bees, she does want to move away with her son because she finds Sherlock more in need of a nurse than a housekeeper. Roger is her young son that Sherlock takes under his wing, he is eager to learn more about his stories and the bees which can leave him in trouble at times. Tamiki has invited Sherlock to Japan, claiming to be a big fan, but he has different motives for this, we don’t really see enough of this character though.

PerformancesIan McKellen is fantastic in the leading role, but could we expect anything less from one of the greatest of all times? Laura Linney has always been able to mould herself into any supporting character and here is no different. Milo Parker is good for a child star, nailing the important scenes and keeping his innocence about him. Hiroyuki Sanada is a man we would have liked to have seen more in this film, I feel there is a lot more that we could have had from his character.

StorySherlock Holmes, the icon, the legend, the detective that solves every case, is now old and trying to put together parts of his memory o finish a final book, as he tries to remember the chapters of his life. Following the three different stages of his elderly life, can in places become confusing, but everything is tied up by the end and plays into the idea of what is real or part of a story well. The pace of the story is slow in places which doesn’t help keep on top of everything though.

MysteryThe mystery side of the film, comes off slow, we have a couple of mysteries Holmes wants to solve, but we never get left in a position to want to see them unfold.

SettingsThe settings play into the late 40s well, Japan is haunting for this, the beach/cliff top location looks beautiful too.


Scene of the Movie –
Japan and the aftermath.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is very slow.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow mystery movie that does focus on certain parts of the later life of a Holmes figure which is different as it is him battle against his own mind while trying to remember or solve the cases.

 

Overall: Slow, but interesting.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – F – Frank & Lola (2016)

Director: Matthew Ross

Writer: Matthew Ross (Screenplay)

Starring: Imogen Poots, Michael Shannon, Justin Long, Rosanna Arquette, Michael Nyqvist, Emmanuelle Devos

 

Plot: A psychosexual noir love story, set in Las Vegas and Paris, about love, obsession, sex, betrayal, revenge and, ultimately, the search for redemption.


Tagline – Love Obsession Betrayal Revenge

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Blank & Boring

 

Story:  Frank & Lola starts as we meet chef Frank (Shannon) who has started dating college graduate Lola (Poots) as they get involved in a strange relationship in Las Vegas, which sees her mother Patricia (Arquette) as questionable.

When Patricia brings her former partner to town, Lola wants Frank to help get revenge for something that happened between the two, as he has become more of a no nonsense type of person who gets offered a job by her new boss Keith (Long) which could solve his problems because of his brilliance in the kitchen.

 

Thoughts on Frank & Lola

 

Characters – Frank is a brilliant chef that has started dating the younger Lola, he gets jealous easily which makes him want to know who every man in Lola’s life is as he starts to look to solve her problems. Lola is a college graduate in fashion that is in Vegas, she is dating Frank and starts working for the charismatic Keith, she knows what will make Frank jealous as she starts to use him to get what she wants. Keith knows people in Vegas, he offers jobs to talent, which will see him follow a strict code of not trying to date them, he will always offer people job if he believes they deserve the change. Patricia is Lola’s mother that hasn’t always been as close with her daughter.

PerformancesWe have such a great cast here, Michael Shannon gives one of his most average performances of his career, Imogen Poots struggles to make an impact, Justin Long gets his moments, but not enough. Most of this comes from such dull characters they must try to bring to life.

StoryThe story is the hardest part to describe because it seems to follow a chef that is trying to do anything to clean up his girlfriends past, only to get caught up in the middle of just what might be true or not. The problem with the story comes from the poor dialogue which makes it hard to connect the story together, it seems to create scenes which put Frank’s mind in one direction only for the next one to change it, this happens too often and becomes annoying because we can’t get invested in his story. we did get some heavy themes which do just get glanced over which only confuses in the end.

Crime/RomanceThe crime side of the film comes from what Frank will do for Lola, he is driven by his love for her which shows him where to go with his actions.

SettingsThe film has two main settings, Las Vegas and Paris, both are used to show the busy side of the lives of the people we are follow.


Scene of the Movie –
Job offer.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story is too heavy on changing direction too often.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dull romantic thriller that just drags along at a snails pace, never using the talent to its strengths.

 

Overall: Bitterly disappointing.

Rating

 

Empathy, Inc (2018) Movie Review

Director: Yedidya Gorsetman

Writer: Mark Leidner (Screenplay)

Starring: Zack Robidas, Kathy Searle, Jay Klaitz, Eric Berryman, AJ Cedeno, Charmain Reedy, Fenton Lawless

Plot: An investor in a VR startup discovers that the reality the company provides isn’t virtual.


Tagline – WARNING: Being someone else may result in dizziness, nausea, flashbacks, hallucinations, and permanent loss of self. Enjoy responsibly.

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Black Mirror Level Sci-Fi Film

Story: Empathy, Inc starts as Joel (Robidas) finds himself exposed as the person behind a stock market scam, which sees him needing to live with his in-laws, he gets approached by Nicolaus (Berryman) who offers him a chance to invest in a VR start up idea known as XVR (Extreme Virtual Reality), like any businessman, he wants to see how the operations runs, before taking any money off anybody.

After trying the system, Joel gets a chance to understand the system of what has been created and soon becomes addicted to the experience, until he learns the truth.

Thoughts on Empathy, Inc

Characters – Joel was one of the top stockbrokers in his company until it turns out that he has been made the scapegoat for a deal which lost people millions, Joel needs to get back on his feet, build his client base once again, which sees him taking advantages of a new VR system that has come his way. He thinks this will put his life back together, though it soon only makes things more complicated, as he must learn the truth. Jessica is the wife of Joel, she has supported him through the struggles, while trying to make a name for herself as an actress, she does make the most logic when Joel learns the truth. Lester is the mastermind that has created the technology, he is somebody that is happy to be isolated from the main world. Nicolaus is the old friend to Joel that offers him a chance to invest in the company, he has a reputation for questionable deals, but Joel has no choice. He knows how to sweet talk a deal through, which makes him the man bringing the project money.

PerformancesZack Robidas is great in this leading role, he does show us just how his characters life can come crashing down around him, while trying to figure out make up for his mistakes. Outside of Zack, nobody gets that much time to shine, with Kathy Searle and Jay Klaitz doing everything you imagine their characters need to, without being challenged, while Eric Berryman is as smooth as he needs to be throughout the film.

StoryThe story here follows an investor that loses his job and needs to rebuild his career, which sees him taking a chance on a new start up whose idea isn’t as sweet as he thought it would be. The story does show how one man must rebuild his reputation, this is all we need and everything that works in the story, where this story gets even more interesting, comes from the idea that a VR system could be created to do what this one does, XVR, this idea in the story is what will make this standout on new levels, because it does pose the ideas of what people would do with this technology. A story that makes you think, is what sci-fi is truly about, this could also easily be a welcome addition to the Black Mirror world.

Sci-Fi The sci-fi elements in the film do make you feel like you are watching an episode of Black Mirror, it is a concept that turns what seems like a smart idea, that takes a dark turn when the truth comes out, one that makes you think what would you do in this situation.

SettingsThe film does keep the settings looking like a start up business, which is all we need, we don’t need to see anything more or anything over the top either, the settings are handled perfectly for the tone of the film.

Special EffectsThe effects like the settings, don’t need to be anything more than we get, most are very simple, we don’t need anything fancy for this film though.


Scene of the Movie – The second visit on the machine.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have had more of a conversation about the moral side of the concept.

Final Thoughts This is a sci-fi film with a concept that stands out, it will ask the audience a question and will keep you wondering just how far the people will go in the name of science.

Overall: Sci-Fi seriously good.