Director: Jose Luis Montesinos
Writer: Jose Luis Montesinos, Yako Blesa (Screenplay)
Starring: Paula del Rio, Miguel Angel Jenner, Jordi Aguilar, Ana Terrasa, Irene Terrasa
Plot: A girl paralyzed. A rabid dog. A duel to death for survival.
Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Ropes starts as we meet Elena (del Rio) who has been paralyzed in a car crash which saw her twin sister killed, she is forced to move in with her estranged father Miguel (Jenner) who has arranged a trained Belgian Shepard Athos to help with the needs around the house.
When moving in Athos is bitten by a dying bat, Miguel suffers a heart attack and Elena is left trapped inside the house, with no way of contacting any help, while Athos starts to turn ravenous.
Thoughts on Ropes
Characters – Elena is the paralyzed teenager, she is filled with grief, because it was her accident which not only left her like this, but killer her sister, she has tried to kill herself before, with her needing to move in with her estranged father to try and help he rebuild her life. She has a pet ferret and is going to need to get used to having a support dog in her life, one she does not want in her life. She is still trying to get back into her first day with this new life when the support dog Athos gets infected with rabies and now, she needs to use her limited movement to try and survive in the house. Athos is a character himself, the Belgian Shepard dog that has been trained to help around the house, he gets infected with rabies and starts to get a blood lust, trying to use his intelligence to try and get to Elena. Miguel is the father that hasn’t always been there, but now he is trying to help her in her time of need. Vera is the twin sister that died in the car crash, she is still seen by Elena who is filled with the guilt for her death.
Performances – Paula del Rio is wonderful in the leading role, she shows us the grief for the accident as well as completing the dual roles of being vision of the twin sister, she also does most of the work in the film needing to be centre stage.
Story – The story here follows a paralysed teenager that finds herself trapped in a house with a rabies infested ravenous dog trying to break in to kill her, using the training it has been given to try and outsmart the teenager. This story is impossible not to compare to Cujo with the idea of a character needing to stay ahead of a rabies infested dog, this does however bring its own twist, with the character being unable to fight back and the dog being smarter because of the extra training it has been through. While this might look like a battle to survive against a dog, we do also have the message of battling against grief to try and move on with life coming through strong.
Horror – The horror side of the film comes from seeing how Elena must think to stay ahead of the ravenous dog, with high tension required to show the situation being difficult.
Settings – The film uses the one main location, the house that is slightly beaten down home that has been adapted in places for Elena to move into.
Scene of the Movie – The lift.
Final Thoughts – Ropes is an intense horror that builds on the legacy of Cujo to bring us a fresh more intense version of the good dog turned ravenous.
Director: Will Jewell
Writer: Will Jewell (Screenplay)
Starring: Amber Rose Revah, Goran Bogdan, James Lance, Kevin Guthrie, Steve Speirs, Chris Reailly
Plot: High in the remote Welsh mountains, five builders are bought together to renovate a sprawling old farmhouse. Housed in mouldy portacabins, tensions soon simmer between the men and the self-entitled aristocratic homeowner, as well as amongst the rag tag group of men themselves. World-weary old timer Dave and kindly Foreman Bob try to keep the peace. But his nephew Steve falls under the malign influence of bigot Jim, the pair taking a dislike to Viktor, a Ukranian labourer. As the weather closes in and payments are late, tempers fray. Blood is spilled. As the blue-collar men are confronted with an increasingly dark spiral of moral choices, Jim makes an astonishing proposition.
Tagline – A taut thriller that grips and twists towards a devastating climax.
Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Concrete Plans starts when five builders Bob (Speirs), Jim (Reilly), Steve (Rothwell), Dave (Thomas) and Viktor (Bogdan) all from different backgrounds are hired to help with the building of a barn for Simon (Guthrie) and Amy (Revah).
When the builders over hear that Simon has a lot of money saved away, they get caught up in the middle of a discussion to take the money, one that not everyone is interested in, showing the clash of characters looking to get rich quick.
Thoughts on Concrete Plans
Final Thoughts – Concrete Plans brings us five builders that caught up trying to become greedier when they learn about money, with different generations of styles that would have different approaches to the work and making money. This does play into most of the conversations about what would be the right thing to do. This does seem to be a story that escalated very suddenly and doesn’t feel a smooth or planned as it could have with how everything unfolded. It will leave you with a morale questions but will not give you enough redeemable characters as everything unfolds. The comedy comes from seeing how the characters can react to things, making the dark comedy come through the thrills placed in it, with the singular location of the farm makes everything easy to follow from that side of things.
Concrete Plans is in Cinemas and Digital from 23rd November
Writer: Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor (Screenplay) Tom Perrotta (Novel)
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein, Jessica Campbell, Mark Harelik, Phil Reeves, Molly Hagan
Plot: A high school teacher’s personal life becomes complicated as he works with students during the school elections, particularly with an obsessive overachiever determined to become student body president.
Tagline – Reading, Writing, Revenge.
Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Wonderful Comedy
Story: Election starts when we head to the high school, with teacher Jim McAllister (Broderick) who is watching over the student body presidency race, with the favourite being hard working goodie to shoes Tracy Flick (Witherspoon), who had also gotten his best friend fired after an affair. Jim pushes injured high school jock Paul Metzler (Klein) to run for presidency, which only ends up bringing his younger sister Tammy (Campbell) into the race too.
With the race well and truly underway, the candidates must campaign for the victory, knowing how well they can appeal to the rest of the students involved in the race, until Jim gets involved in the final result, showing even a student presidency is filled with twists and turns.
Thoughts on Election
Characters – Jim McAllister is the teacher at the high school, he is used to the routine, married and involved with how the school operates, he is involved in the school body presidency race and has seen his best friend get caught having an affair with a student. He tries to remain professional and decides to go out of his way to bring down Tracy. Tracy Flick is the goodie to shoes student that is running for student body presidency unopposed, she does everything in the school to make sure she gets extra attention, believing it will help her in life, though he weakness was an affair with a teacher, she isn’t happy about having competition and will try to talk her way out of any sticky situations. Paul Metzler is the dim witted high school football star, he suffered a broken leg skiing, leaving him feeling empty, he gets pushed into running for president because of how the students look up to him and his honest kind nature goes against everything a high school jock would have been shown in high school. Tammy is the younger sister of Paul, she is still wondering about her own sexuality and when her love interest leaves her for her brother, she wants to run for president to get back at her, her style is to be rebellious gets extra praise within the student body.
Performances – Matthew Broderick is wonderful in this leading role, he plays the role so calmly through his struggles and when he snaps you believe him feeling the effects of his life’s problems. Reese Witherspoon gives her best performance of her early career here, showing just how capable of being both pleasing on the outside and how calculated she can be too. Chris Klein is great to see too showing he was going to go onto bigger things in his career, with Jessica Campbell impressing throughout the film too.
Story – The story here follows a high school presidency run that is filled with twists and turns along the way with one of the teachers getting involved in outcome to try and make a difference in people’s lives. This is a story that is trying to show how mistakes in lives can reinvent or destroy your life, each character has been through or caused a mistake and has to change their lives, we also get to tackle a few early high school problems and willing accept the change in traditions of high school characters. This story does feel before its time with how the certain moments unfold that have been elevated in life nowadays.
Comedy/Romance – The comedy in this film comes from just how each event unfolds, it will get laughs with just how dry certain parts of the film are too, the romance of the film is showing how love can make people will make mistakes which will change their lives forever.
Settings – This movie does have a high school setting, it does feel like a natural high school without anything making it stand out in any other way, making us feel like this could be real life.
Final Thoughts – This is an entertaining comedy that does feel well before its time, it has wonderful performance and will make you laugh through the film.
Overall: Laugh Along Funny.