The Departure (2020) Movie Review

Director: Merland Hoxha

Writer: Merland Hoxha (Screenplay)

Starring: Jon Briddell, Kendall Chappell, Olivia Lemmon, Austin Lauer, Grant Wright Gunderson

Plot: Before leaving Los Angeles to start a new job in New York, Nate, with the help of his best friend John, devises a wicked plan to test his girlfriend’s loyalty.

Runtime: 1 Hour 10 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Relationship Drama

Story: The Departure starts as John (Lauer) finds himself in the middle of an awkward date with Amber (Lemmon), which is filled with miscommunication, his best friend Nate (Gunderson) is offered a management promotion across the country, just after he has arranged to move in with his girlfriend Jessica (Chappell).

Before going to New York, Nate turns to John to see just how loyal Jessica is, asking him to try and seduce him, which only leads to the relationship being tested.

Thoughts on The Departure

Characters – Nate is just getting ready to move in with his girlfriend when he gets pushed into taking a job in New York for six months, unsure about his girlfriends relationship with a co-worker, he pushes his best friend to try and seduce his girlfriend to prove she is loyal. Jessica is the girlfriend that is excited with the idea of moving into together, she is happy even after knowing she will have to wait 6 months for him to return. John is the best friend of Nate, he is trying to get involved with Amber, only to get pushed into trying to seduce Jessica, he reluctantly follows through, which only leads to more problems between everyone involved.

PerformancesAustin Lauer, Grant Wright Gunderson and Kendall Chappell are all strong in the leading roles of the movie, they show us the difficult decision they are going through as characters.

StoryThe story here follows a man that decides he would like to test his girlfriend’s loyalty before moving away, by asking his best friend to try and seduce her, only for things to get complicated between all sides involved. This is a story about trust and trying to figure out who is in the right with decisions in lives. We do see things getting complicated quickly and we are left wondering who is in the right through the whole situation. We might not get involved in everything to the levels we could, but it does show us that people can change, make mistakes and realize they are in a better position without people in their lives.

SettingsThe film is in LA, which shows how the three main characters have lives that could shatter in one moment or decision.


Scene of the Movie – The final chat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Amber doesn’t seem to get enough screen time.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting relationship drama that shows us how loyalty can be ruined by a strange decision about loyalty.

Overall: Interesting Drama.

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – H – The Hollow One (2015) Movie Review

Director: Nathan Hendrickson

Writer: Nathan Hendrickson (Screenplay)

Starring: Kate Alden, Jesse James, Chelsea Farthing, Tony Doupe, Tonya M Skoog, Simon Hamlin, Dawson Doupe

Plot: While searching for her missing father, an emotionally damaged woman confronts her tragic past and a shadowy figure with sinister intentions.


Tagline – What it wants…is inside you.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Too Chaotic

Story: The Hollow One starts when a normal looking family with a mystery about the mother Linda (Skoog) get a sudden visit from something from her childhood, take her and changing Michael (Doupe) the father, two years later the daughters Rachel (Alden) and Anna (Farthing) are trying to move on with their lives.

When Matt is released from prison after the accident, Rachel and Anna get drawn back, only to find their father and the other locals acting very differently than normal, leading them to investigate more about the past of their mother.

Thoughts on The Hollow One

Characters – Rachel is the oldest daughter of the family, on the verge of adulthood, she works when the first incident happens, this sees her move away with her sister, trying to get over the trauma of that night, which still haunts her, when she returns she starts getting message which lead her down a darker path of confronting what happened and learning the truth about her mother. Matt was the boyfriend of Rachel’s who was driving when the accident happened, he served his time in jail and now wants to make up the best way possible, he notices his own father is now acting strange as he helps look for answers. Anna is the youngest daughter and had been working with her father to learn about her mother’s past, she understands the clues better than the rest of the characters involved here. Michael is the father that had been working on learning about his wife, what he discovers only makes things get out of hand.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are not the strongest, mostly because the characters just don’t get enough time to develop through the chaos we are seeing. It isn’t so much that the actors are bad, they just don’t get anything to work with.

StoryThe story here follows siblings that return home a couple of years after a tragic event, only to learn there is a more sinister force behind what happened all those years ago. The story has one major problem to start with, we have a big time jump to open, which is fine, only to introduce us and play out another ten or so minutes before another time jump forward, it just doesn’t give us enough time to get invested in the character we have been following from that moment, not understanding certain decisions. The story does try to have an interesting horror side to everything which does seem very interesting, only it just doesn’t unfold anything in an interesting way, nothing get solved in the way that makes it clear to the audience and we are left wondering just what could have been by the end.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror does come from the force that is trying to communicate with the people, they stay in the shadows, which only adds to their mystery. We get to see the sci-fi elements of the film by seeing just what is haunting the family and area, never over committing to whether it is from this world or another.

SettingsThe film is set in a farming community, which sees how close the family are and how distant they become after the incident in the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to create the mystery behind the creatures, they do come off well for the most part of the film, with the camerawork being used to add to the mystery involved.


Scene of the Movie – Shadowy figures.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The time jumps.

Final Thoughts This is a sci-fi horror that does everything it needs to without getting to the level of intensity it could have, it struggles to let the characters develop properly, which just doesn’t help along the way.

Overall: This is a simple sci-fi horror film.

Interview with Ja’ness Tate

Interview with Ja’ness Tate

We were lucky enough to be able to talk to one of the stars of Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B & B Robbery Ja’ness Tate. I want to send out a personal thank you for giving us the time to discuss the upcoming movie.

Without further ado, here is the interview.

Q1) What drew you to want to star in Hidden Orchard Mysteries and how much of Lulu do you see in yourself?

A1) When I first saw the casting call and read the description I thought the storyline was overall awesome! Then I began to read the character description for LuLu and I felt like I could relate to her. I felt like we were a lot alike. I wanted to tell her story, so I worked on my self-tape with my sister and when I got the part I was so excited!

Q2) You have excellent chemistry with Gabriella, how natural did the friendship come between the two of you?

A2) I feel like the moment we met we instantly became friends. It’s so funny how we are so alike! We just clicked. Playing her best friend in the movie was easy. I felt like it was normal like we did this for years! 

Q3) Do you have any favorite sleuth detectives you looked to for inspiration in the role? 

A3) I absolutely loved Nancy Drew and Scooby Doo growing up! I’ve always been a big fan of mystery and adventure movies. Even now I am rewatching The Sherlock Holmes Series. I absolutely love these kinds of movies and I am so grateful that I got to do my own!

Q4) You got to show off your musical talent early on in Hidden Orchard Mysteries, how big of a part of your life is music?

A4) I love music! I grew up around music as my whole family is musically inclined. We are all artists and pursue our art. Music has always been apart of me since I was very little. If I am not on set and reading a script, I am singing and performing!

Q5) If you could appear in a musical either on the stage or on film, which ones would you like to perform in?

A5) I always dreamed of being in a TV musical like Glee so if that ever comes back or some kind of spin-off comes on I will be the first to audition!  If I were to do a musical play, I would absolutely love to do Wicked. I love the music! And it’s a fun story I would love to play!

Q6) Which genres of movie would you most like to star in next? 

A6) Honestly, I want to do it all! But the genres I’m really interested in is drama, horror or even a coming of age story! I love all genres, but those would be really awesome to work in! 

Q7) Who are the people you look to as inspiration in the world of acting?

A7) I really look up to Viola Davis, Jada Pinkett Smith and Taraji P. Henson. Growing up I just admired their careers and how they made a name for themselves. They are so incredibly inspiring. I pray to inspire people just like they inspire me!

Q8) One of the key locations in Hidden Orchard Mysteries, is the cupcake shop, which leads to the important question, what is your favorite flavored cupcake?

A8) I love CHOCOLATE!!! with Sprinkles !!! 

If you would like to see more of Ja’ness Tate’s work, check out there IMDB.

I would like to thank Ja’ness Tate one more time for giving us the time to talk about Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B & B Robbery. Read the review here.