Sam Neill Weekend – Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Director: Taika Waititi

Writer: Taika Waititi (Screenplay) Barry Crump (Novel)

Starring: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata, Rache House, Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne, Oscar Knightley

 

Plot: A national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.


Tagline – Nature just got gangster

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Enjoyable

 

Story: Hunt for the Wilderpeople starts as rebellious kid Ricky (Dennison) gets taken to his latest foster home to live with Hec (Neill) and Bella (Te Wiata) who open his eyes to farm life after years of street life. This life changes quickly when Bella passes away leaving Ricky facing the reality he will need to return to a foster home.

Ricky runs away into the wilderness with his dog Tupac only for Hec finding him and taking him on an adventure through the wilderness. The only problem is Ricky gets reported missing and the authorities believe Hec kidnapped with a manhunt searching for them both.

 

Thoughts on Hunt for the Wilderpeople

 

Characters – Ricky is a rebellious teenager that has bounced through the foster system, now he must go into farm life away from the street problems he has found himself in. when he goes off into the wilderness he wants to prove himself to everyone and Hec. Hec is the father figure that adopts Ricky only to take him under his wing after his wife died, he is a reluctant protector and guide who would rather be with at one with nature. Paula is the child welfare officer that is trying to find Ricky, she does want what is best for the children but can take things too far.

PerformancesSam Neill easily gives one of his best performances of his career here, showing the heart the character needs along with the determination to do the right thing too. Julian Dennison is fantastic in this role, he has the innocent side while also showing the front of toughness that the character requires.

StoryThe story is a coming of age tale, between a foster kid and his reluctant new father who wasn’t prepared for the responsibility placed upon him. The two go on an adventure through the wilderness which gathers national news and a nationwide manhunt. It shows how two different people from different backgrounds of different ages can work together, teaching each other important life lesson, in what is one of the most enjoyable stories you will see.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure takes us through the New Zealand wilderness, seeing sights of wonder along the way. The film is told in a comic tone that will make you laugh plenty of times along the journey.

SettingsThe wilderness of New Zealand makes for the stunning settings being used, nearly all the scenes have a breath-taking view.


Scene of the Movie –
The last run.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain slang turns can go over your head.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most fun coming of age movies I have ever seen, the adventure is fantastic, the comedy hits and the pairing works all day long.

 

Overall: Must watch cinema for the family.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – N – Nightworld (2017)

Director: Patricio Valladares

Writer: Barry Keating, Milan Konjevic (Screenplay) Loris Curci (Story)

Starring: Jason London, Robert Englund, Gianni Capaldi, Lorina Kamburova, Diana Lyubenova, Atanas Srebrev

 

Plot: When former LAPD officer Brett Anderson takes a job as head of security at an old apartment building in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, he soon begins to experience a series of bizarre and terrifying events. Once he begins to delve deeper into the building’s sinister history and investigate its shadowy owners and past employees, Brett soon uncovers a malevolent force nestled deep in the bowels of the building that will do anything to be set free into our world.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Start, Exciting Finish

 

Story: Nightworld starts when Brett Anderson (London) takes a job as a security officers in an elite Bulgarian apartment building to help him deal with the death of his wife. Given the grand tour by the manager Martin (Capaldi) Brett sees the strange side to the apartment, with the secret being kept in the basement.

When Brett starts seeing strange images on the cameras he must call Jacob (Englund) to help uncover the truth about the apartment, with local girl Zara (Kamburova) who fills in the rumours that the town has about the building.

 

Thoughts on Nightworld

 

Characters – Brett Anderson is a grief stricken for police officer, he retired from the force after his wife’s death, he takes a job as a security guard in an apartment in Bulgaria which leads him to get caught up in a mystery about the apartment which brings him past back to haunt him. Jacob is a former guard that lost his eye sight, he knows the mystery about the apartment and helps guide Brett through the strange events. Martin is the apartment manager and needs to find a new guard to watch over any problems in the apartment when he is away. Zara is the waitress at the local café that offer a romantic angle for Brett, while filling in the blanks about the history of the apartment.

PerformancesJason London is solid enough in the leading role, most of what he does is ask questions which is how the audience must learn what is going on. Robert Englund as the elderly figure that is trying to help works well because he is the biggest draw for the film. Gianna Capaldi and Lorina Kamburova are both fine they never get out of first gear for their performances though.

StoryThe story here follows a man that needs to rebuild his life, get given a job as a security guard for an apartment building that has secrets he can’t even imagine. The pace of the story is slow, because we have a lot of building up with little to no hints to what the big conclusion will be, the final third of the film lets everything go, making the early parts of the story more interesting, the time loss angle does feel tagged in for no reason and by the end you still won’t completely understand what just happened. The reveals in the film are big, though they could be considered overkill for what could have be a much more subtle story.

HorrorThe horror comes from the nightmares Brett suffers before the big reveal in the final act which shows us just what has been going on.

SettingsThe whole film is set in one building, it shows how the layers can hold secrets and the mystery about the building is key t the story being told.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are used well when needed, we don’t go over the top with them and the best one are used for the final act.


Scene of the Movie –
Behind the door.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Starts too slow for the ending.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow burning horror thriller, it does reward us with a manic ending which is worth the wait for, only it does take too long to get there with little hints to help us understand the ending.

 

Overall: Slow though rewarding.

Rating

 

 

Occurrence at Mills Creek (2019) Short Movie Review

Director: Don Swanson

Writer: Don Swanson (Screenplay)

Starring: Alexa Mechling, Ava Psoras, Betsy George, Joe Fishel, Jace Armentrout

Plot: Cassandra awakens to a nightmare as her pleas to be seen and heard by her sister Clara are taken as supernatural occurrences.


Tagline – See me. Hear me.

Runtime: 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Horror with Potential

Story: Occurrence at Mills Creek starts with the funeral of Cassandra (Mechling) the younger sister of Clara (Psoras) is going through the formalities with the family including the estranged father Victor (Fishel). Over the night Clara relives the incident which led to Clara’s death, but an unusual set of events make the night filled with questions as Cassandra awakens trying to communicate with her sister.

Thoughts on Occurrence at Mills Creek

Characters – Emily is the older sister that is dealing with her sister’s death and putting herself the only family member left alive, because of her hatred towards her father. She experiences unusual night, which spreads the light on what happened to her sister. Cassandra is the younger sister that’s funeral it is, she does wake up and is stuck in a limbo between worlds, not knowing whether she is alive or not.

PerformancesAva Psoras in the leading role is strong and as we are uncertain of her own actions, which comes through in the performance. The rest of the cast show how they will impact the film in the future.

StoryThe story is only the beginning of a bigger story, it follows how the sister’s relationship was before and even after one of their deaths. This does have a lot going on with how Clara is dealing with the death of her sister and how Cassandra doesn’t believe she is actually dead, with the events setting up the idea that the two will have their own stories to tell, we are left wanting to see more too.

HorrorThe horror here shows the difficulties that both sisters will be facing when it comes to what is going on with their situations in the story.

SettingsThe film uses the few settings to show where the current events are happening, while the flashbacks show where the big incident happens.

Final Thoughts This is a short horror that does offer up the questions which could be answered in the feature film, hopefully next year.

Overall: Short showing the potential for more.

Groupers (2019) Movie Review

Director: Anderson Cowan

Writer: Anderson Cowan (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicole Dambro, Peter Mayer-Klepchick, Cameron Duckett, Jesse Pudles, Brian Ioakimedes, Max Reed III

Plot: A grad student kidnaps two homophobic high-school bullies to use as her subjects in an experiment performed at the bottom of an empty swimming pool.


Tagline – Homophobia is so totally gay!

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Funny Throughout

Story: Groupers starts when Meg (Dambro) kidnaps Brad (Mayer-Klepchick) and Dylan (Duckett) tying them up in an abandon neighbourhood, where she fills in why she has kidnapped them. Meg wants to perform an experiment which would prove the theory that the two homophobic bullies that made her brother Orin’s (Pudles) life a nightmare.

Meg wants to use the bullies who believe that homosexuality is a choice not natural, which see her plans on proving that the two could choose to have sex, if it meant freedom, to try and teach them a lesson.

Thoughts on Groupers

Characters – Meg is the mastermind behind the plan, she wants to use the experiment for her studies and to get revenge on the bullies from her brother’s school experience, she does remain in control of the situation for the most part, until we learn she isn’t alone in her plan. Brad is the typical high school jock, he thinks he is gods gift to women and will pick on anybody different, including pushing homosexuals to limits they shouldn’t, he isn’t willing to accept them in his world and does struggle to deal with the situation. Dylan is the other bully, he is the type of bully that just follows the leader and when put in the situation the pair find themselves in, seems to start showing his true nature, one that Brad doesn’t like. Orin is the brother that was the victim of the hate crime, what happened to him pushes Meg into her actions. We do also have a couple of groups of colourful characters that put a spanner in the works of the plan.

PerformancesWe have an excellent cast here, with Nicole Dambro taking centre stage on the more serious side of the film, while Cameron Duckett getting the most laughs from the main cast. Peter Mayer-Klepchick does a great job too and for the final act we do have everyone hitting the high points in the performance.

StoryThe story here follows a woman that wants to experiment on a couple of school bullies that treated her brother homophobically and wants to prove that you can’t choose whether to be homosexual or not. This does start by coming off like a twisted revenge styled movie, with the story coming off like that, it is the second half of the film where we get to put over the message that was wanted to put forward, even if it is done with the comical tone at times. The story does have the prospective rewind idea, which does give each scene a new light, which is good to see. This is a story that does go in a different direction that you would expect and will surprise you at times.

ComedyThe comedy does come in strong in the second half of the film, where everything adds up and gives us laugh in every line.

SettingsThe film is set entirely in one location, the pool in the abandoned neighbourhood, it does give the events a real-time feel too.


Scene of the Movie – Durant settles everything.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain moments do get repeated too much.

Final Thoughts This is a funny comedy that still manages to get the important message across too. It has great performance from the whole cast too.

Overall: Comedy that will make you laugh a lot.