HellKat (2021) Movie Review

Director: Scott Jeffrey, Rebecca Matthews, Michael Hoad

Writer: Michele Pacitto, Jordan Rockwell (Screenplay)

Starring: Sarah T Cohen, Abi Casson Thompson, Frances Katz, Ricardo Freitas, Ryan Davies, Serhat Metin

Plot: A fallen MMA fighter must win a netherworld no-holds-barred death tournament against man, beast and demon to save her soul.

Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: HellKat starts when Katrina ‘HellKat’ Bash (Cohen) loses her latest MMA fight, leaving to go on a soul-searching trip. Katrina doesn’t realize she has made it to the netherworld, seeking a bar for answers, she learns the reality of the situation she is in.

Katrina is in the middle of the road to hell, needing to fight to escape, not just people, but monsters and creatures a like, each one becoming more deadly as she reaches the end, if she can make it.

Thoughts on HellKat

Characters & Performances – Katrina Bash is an MMA fighter who has lost her latest fight, putting her star status down the drain, losing the creditability her name once had. She finds herself in a bar, cleaning for tequila, before she learns that she is in the netherworld forced to fight for a chance to make it out of her destination. Sarah T Cohen is the strongest of the performers in this film, she is the most grounded of the characters we meet here. We do end up meeting a lot of different colourful characters here, be it the man running the fights, the all-knowing barkeep or the creatures we meet setting up the fights. The problem with most of these characters it that we just don’t get to see how deadly they can be, we tend to see the big bad creatures defeated too easily, not giving us a person we want to see Katrina get her hands on.

StoryThe story follows a fallen MMA star who finds herself in the netherworld, needing to fight her way through the different amounts of enemies placed on front of her to escape. This story could well have been massively entertaining, we know the fights could be massive, entertaining everything, while the tagged idea of escape the netherworld would be the stepping stones to escape. This is the reason why so many fighting movies work, we know the basics, each fight offers a different more deadly challenge, but this doesn’t deliver that factor. We start slowly with too much time in the bar, dealing with Katrina learning where she is before we get into the combat ready area. This story ends up being easy enough to watch, but you feel it could have been so much more.

ThemesHellKat gives us a fighting movie that doesn’t hit the full heights of the wild over the top concept, it never commits to going big, trying to have the fights in a ground environment, which is often lite badly for the most part again holding back the full concept.

Final Thoughts HellKat is a film with so much potential that only ends up not living up to the potential it could have shown.

Paradise Cove (2021) Movie Review

Director: Martin Guigui

Writer: Sherry Klein (Screenplay)

Starring: Todd Grinnell, Mena Suvari, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Eddie Goines, Krista Allen, Horacio Galaviz

Plot: A contractor and his wife move to Malibu to flip his mother’s beach house and are terrorized by the deranged homeless lady living under the house.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Paradise Cove starts as Knox (Grinnell) and Tracey (Suravi) are looking to flip the Malibu home of Knox’s mother, which will see them getting the frowns by the neighbours, but it is the homeless lady Bree (Straten) who lives under the beach house that is causing more problems.

As the development starts hitting problems, Tracey is still trying to get pregnant, but it has the nightmares of the Bree is making their lives a living hell.

Thoughts on Paradise Cove

Characters & Performances – Knox is the husband who is looking to develop his mother’s home after her death, he has big plans for the home, to flip it to give his wife a future that is secure, he has to overcome a few legal issues with permits and then a homeless lady he can move out, he is trying to hold everything together despite everything falling apart around him. Todd Grinnell does give us a role which will see him dealing with everything and holding it together, but never looking the confident guy it seems like the character wants to be. Tracey is the wife of Knox who has been trying to have their first child, dealing with the procedures to make it happen, she sees the added stress in her life with the homeless women messing up the plans, even if it means she might learn more about her husband’s family. Mena Suvari might well be the draw for this film, only she seems to be just the ‘partner’ role in the film, not getting enough screen time. Bree is the homeless woman living below the home, she believes the home is hers and will not be bought off, looking to make the lives of the couple a nightmare, she is a lot more calculated than first thought. She is a clear case that shows that trauma will always cause problems with someone’s mental health. Kristin Bauer van Straten brings us this unstable performance, which despite being the villainous role, we do get to feel sympathy about what has happened to her.

StoryThe story here follows a couple that are looking to flip a family home only to find themselves dealing with problems including a homeless woman who claims the home is hers. This is a story that does start off well, showing how things could be going better, with the homeless mentally unstable woman causing problems for the dream project. If we kept everything as it was, it would all come off as an easy watch, which could have a mixture of Cape Fear and Fatal Attraction with how the couple are pestered. We do end up diving into the idea that she does believe she has a right to the home, which we get moments of investigation, but we just don’t go deep enough into it, which leaves us feeling like we could have had much more.

ThemesParadise Cove is a thriller showing a couple dealing with the nightmares thrown at them by their homeless woman who believes she should have, we get creepy moments, but never becomes as intense as it could have been.

Final Thoughts Paradise Cove is a tidy thriller that gets the everything right, just not everything on a truly intense level.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – B – Beginners (2010) Movie Review

Director: Mike Mills

Writer: Mike Mills (Screenplay)

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent, Goran Visnjic, Kai Lennox, Mary Page Keller

Plot: A young man is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer and that he has a young male lover.

Tagline – This is what love feels like.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Charming

Story: Beginners starts as Oliver (McGregor) tells us about his life and that after his mother’s death, his father Hal (Plummer) comes out as gay, looking to explore this side of his life, before dying, leading to Oliver needing to move on with his life, while remember the change in his father’s life.

When Oliver meets Anna (Laurent) at a party the two hit it off, Oliver finds someone new to confined in, while trying his hardest to care for his dad’s dog who is feeling just as heartbroken as he is.

Thoughts on Beginners

Characters – Oliver has seen his life has change, first his mother died, then his father came out as gay, he does fully support him, only things take turn when his father gets cancer, we see how he helps him through his treatment and tries his hardest to move on with his life after he is gone, falling in love with a new woman, while learning to keep his father’s dog with him, never wanting to be alone. Hal is Oliver’s father, he did love his wife, only he was secretly gay until her death, he looks to explore the world he couldn’t enter while married, he takes his cancer news in with ease, never letting it get to him, while trying to make up for lost time. Anna is the new woman that walks into Oliver’s life, she gives him someone to open up to about his struggles in life as he looks to get his own life back on track, she has her own stories which will make her easy for Oliver to connect too.

PerformancesEwan McGregor in the leading role shows us the full grief levels he is going through during the film, we see the struggles before and after his father’s death. Christopher Plummer is wonderful to watch, showing us how someone can make the most out of limited time, with Melanie Laurent complete the main cast with a strong performance throughout.

StoryThe story follows a man that is dealing with changes in his father’s life, both before and after his death, where he looks to put his own life back together. This does have two main timelines to follow, which we blend between effortlessly, both rely on Oliver having that other person in his life, be it his father or Anna. It does show us how difficult moving on with life can be for someone when it comes to death. It does show how moving forward will see change and that you never know who will coming into your life.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy comes from how everything is played out, with the strange relationship with the dog, with the romance being shown to bring things back to life for Oliver.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us just how Oliver’s life has gone through, giving us a look at how he lived and now wants to live.

Scene of the Movie – Conversations with the dog.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing.

Final Thoughts This is a charming and enjoyable movie that could be used to show just how difficult loss can be in life.

Overall: Enjoyable