The Pining (2019) Movie Review

Director: Eduardo Castrillo

Starring: Diogo Hause, Tom Sizemore, Jackie Dallas, Connie Jo Sechrist, Miguel A Nunez Jr, Jonaz Cain

Plot: When members of Joe’s (Diogo Hausen) therapy group start dying under mysterious circumstances, Detective Harris (Jackie Dallas) is forced to reopen a cold case. Her only lead: Father William (Tom Sizemore) – the group therapy leader who seems to know more than what is in his police statements.

Runtime: 1 Hour 13 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Thriller that Lacks Intensity

Story: The Pining starts when Detective Harris (Dallas) starts investigating an unusual murder, with this being one in a line that murders that seem to have a connection to Father William (Sizemore) and his support group, which sees the victims being a mix of murder and accidents. We meet recently disabled photographer Joe (Hausen) who has a string of models that he can make look beautiful on camera.

Joe has started seeing Father William to complete his healing process, which has seen him start to move on by dating one of his models, but soon he finds himself being part of next incident, can Harris unlock the truth before it is too late.

Thoughts on The Pining

Characters – Joe is a disabled photographer, he used to be an athlete before his accident too, this saw his life change overnight with him still feeling the effects of what happened to him, he has built up a reputation for his skills with a camera too and just when he starts getting help, he starts to see unusual things happen to him too. Father William is the man that held the support group meeting, he is trying to help people get over the trauma in their lives, but he becomes one of the suspects when the bodies start piling up. Detective Harris has been investigating the bodies, some seem like clear murders, others look like accidents, she believes there is a connection between the support group meeting and wants to get to the bottom of it.

PerformancesDiogo Hausen is the best of the performers, he does show us how the character does feel like he has been a victim and showing the strength to carry on. Tom Sizemore is an actor we expect so much more from, he doesn’t get a chance to shine in this one, while Jackie Dallas does well with her scenes.

StoryThe story here follows a string of cases that involve the members of a support group being involved in murders or strange accidents, we see how one detective is trying put the pieces together, while trying to save one of the final living members of the group. This is an interesting spin on the idea of victim selection, it does work for making the characters seem like they have been selected to play into their strengths and weaknesses. With this strong idea, comes a weaker way of telling the story, which doesn’t seem to make many of the scenes feel connected, or get to a targeting moments, which could bring about motivation to light until way too late in the film. This is a story that could be a lot more intense only it fails to capture the moments well enough.

ThrillerThis film does try to keep us guessing to what will happen next, the problems comes with the fact we only have one scene that feels unpredictable with most just being a cut and dry version of the incidents.

SettingsThis film is set in one city where the victims have all been around one locations which could make them the potential latest victim to what is going on, it shows how people don’t know everybody’s stories in life.

Scene of the Movie – Grace’s bad date.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The film spends too much time on Joe, when it seems like we should be investigating the murders.

Final Thoughts This is a thriller that doesn’t manage to hit the levels it could do, it has an interesting idea, only it never gives it the full focus it should.

Overall: Thriller that misses the edgy side.

Scar (2007)

Director: Jeb Weintrob

Writer: Zack Ford (Screenplay)

Starring: Angela Bettis, Brittney Wilson, Tegan Moss, Ben Cotton, Christopher Titus, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Devon Graye


Plot: Joan Burrows returns to her hometown for her niece’s graduation, only to be confronted by the serial killer she thought she offed years ago — after he kidnapped and tormented her and killed her best friend.


Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Simple Late Night Horror


Story: Scar starts when Joan (Bettis) returns to her hometown for the first time after her survival from serial killer Bishop (Cotton) for her niece’s Olympia (Blanton) graduation, here she must face her past, remembering what happened all those years ago.

When a dead body turns up in the town, Joan must confront her past and a serial killer she thought was dead one more time to save her niece from the same fate.


Thoughts on Scar


Characters – Joan is a character we meet at two different ages and flashback between through the film, the teenage version of her gets tortured by the serial killer leaving her with the scar on her face. The adult one heads back to her hometown for the first time since to see her niece graduate. When the killings start again she becomes the prime suspect though she believes she killed the killer all those years ago. She must learn who the killer is before her niece goes through the same ordeal she does. Olympia is the niece that is living the normal teenage life graduating only to become the latest target by the killer who has already taken her friends. Bishop is the serial killer that targeted Joan and her friend all those years ago, forcing the through a torturous ordeal, has he return? He enjoys making the victims suffer as he cuts them. We do get to meet other characters who mostly become victims of the killer, each one interacts in their own way.

PerformancesAngela Bettis is strong in the leading role of this film, she often took chances on horror and this is one where she can lead the film and deal with the horrors involved. Kirby Bliss Blanton is solid in her role though she doesn’t get as much to do other than be generic teenager. Ben Cotton does make for a good villain that showed just how twisted his character it. The supporting cast are all solid enough without being challenged to do anything to make them standout.

StoryThe story follows a victim returning home for the first time only to face a serial killer she believed she had killed to protect her niece. The story does a good job balance the two timelines as we see how Joan is reacting to the ordeal from her first encounter to the new encounter, playing along the lines that she might not be as clean as she thought she was. We also get to deal with how people can become interested in killings over the stories about the killer over the victim. The strangest twist in the film is the fact that another bigger film seemed to use the exact same twist and motives behind the killings, I won’t mention the film because it will ruin the end of the film.

Crime/HorrorThe crime side of the film follows the action of the serial killer which plays into the horror because of the torturous nature that they follow through the film, the wounds feel real, look real and brutal with just how they are made to look.

SettingsThe film takes place in a small town, which has a reputation, we see the normal locations, but it is in the shadows where we see the killer conduct their actions.

Special EffectsThe effects come from the graphic body horror we are put through by the killer, the wounds being enough to make the blood appear over causing fatal wounds.

Scene of the Movie –
The killer’s identity.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The killer’s motivation.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to late night horrors sometimes we can just enjoy the events for what they are, this is one of the perfect examples of this giving us horror when we need it and a simple horror to watch.


Overall: Midnight horror treat.




ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – Q – The Shanghai Job (2017)

This movie has been selected for Q because of one of the stars of the movie Hannah Quinlivan.

Director: Charles Martin

Writer: Kevin Bernhardt (Screenplay) Terence M O’Keefe, Robby Hensen (Story)

Starring: Orlando Bloom, Lei Wu, Simon Yam, Hannah Quinlivan, Lynn Hung, Jing Liang


Plot: A washed-up private security agent has to escort a valuable Chinese antique out of Shanghai but is ambushed en route.

Tagline – Get in. Get out. Get even.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Simple Action


Story: The Shanghai Job starts as we meet Danny Stratton (Bloom) a private security agent that escorts valuable property, he always had a wonderful reputation until one job went wrong. One-year-later still rebuilding his reputation, Danny with his team Ding Dong (Wu), Mach (Yam) and J.Jae (Quinlivan) are given a new opportunity to transfer a Chinese antique.

When this latest job goes wrong again when the say gang tries to steal the antique, Danny uses this as a chance to redeem himself and his crew to get his crew’s reputation back to the top.


Thoughts on The Shanghai Job


Characters – Danny Stratton runs an elite private security crew, he reputation and life is shattered when a job goes wrong, one-year later he must use his skills to prove himself again, he runs the team perfectly knowing how to use each members strength, though it will be his own weaknesses of self-doubt which could bring the job down. Ding Dong is the tech expert on the team, he will always be able to find an escape route for the crew whether they are in trouble. Mach Ren is the second in command, the oldest friend to Danny who sometimes goes too far with his action to make sure they get what they want. J.Jae is the youngest member and one that is happy to fight and be on the front line when it comes to the missions.

PerformancesOrlando Bloom is an actor which has happily gone out of his way to do films outside the Hollywood normal, he should be respected for going into a movie like this which has a target audience away from his Pirates one, he is solid in the lead role getting to show a gritty side to his acting. The rest of the cast are good in this film each getting their moment to have the highlighted part of the film.

StoryThe story here is simple to follow as we are watching one man go out of his way to rebuild his reputation after it is shattered with a robbery. We follow the traditional paths of the team will stick by his side no matter what his reputation in the world is, they know he is honest which is all they want from him. We don’t get truly challenged with the story and it is a check list of going from point A to B with point C only leading us astray. It does feel like an introduction to a television show following Danny has his exploits around the world transporting art, which is easily could be too.

Action/Crime/Mystery/RomanceThe action here is by the book, we get foot chases, car chase and sneaking around before fights, it is all easy to watch without being anything we haven’t seen before. The crime side of the film puts us in the world where Danny is protecting materials from, which works for the film as we see how both sides can operate either side of the law. There is a mystery to who is behind the first robbery as well as a romance angle with Danny needing to learn where he stands in his relationship after his year away from his best.

SettingsThe film is set in Shanghai, hence the title, this works for the film which gives a a felling of Danny being the outsider at times too.

Scene of the Movie –
Breaking in.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too formulaic

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple action crime film, one in the style we have seen before and one we will see again, it shows Bloom taking risks with his career choices and it is enough to show that it is working.


Overall: Action crime film 101.