Grand Piano (2013)

Director: Eugenio Mira

Writer: Damien Chazelle (Screenplay)

Starring: Elijah Wood, John Cusack, Kerry Bishe, Tamsin Egerton, Allen Leech, Don McManus, Alex Winter, Dee Wallace

 

Plot: A pianist with stage fright endures a performance under the eyes of a mysterious sniper, who will shoot and kill him if a wrong note is played.


Tagline – Play one wrong note and you die.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Intense Musical Performance

 

Story: Grand Piano starts when Tom Selznick (Wood) is returning to the stage for the first time in five years after having a breakdown, he is still regarded as one of the greatest pianists in the world, with this show being a complete sell out, his wife actress Emma (Bishe) watching from the crowd the performance begins.

This performance would take a drastic turn when Tom is given a phone call from a mysterious stranger Clem (Cusack) forcing him to put on a perfect show or he will kill his wife, can Tom put away the fears he once had and performance the unplayable piece.

 

Thoughts on Grand Piano

 

Characters – Tom is a gifted pianist, a prodigy of sorts, who saw his career come crashing down after a moment of stage fright, he is going to make his grand return in tonight’s show after 5-years away, his is happily married to Emma who will and has supported his return. Tom learns that the performance has a special audience member that is watching his every move to make sure that he gives a perfect performance, or he will kill Emma, this only adds to the pressure placed on Tom to give the performance of a lifetime. Clem is the man on the balcony holding a sniper on Emma, he is demanding that Tom does the perfect performance or he will eliminate the people closest to him. Emma is the actress wife of Tom, she is one of the most popular in the business, which sees the cameras follow her around.

PerformancesElijah Wood must do most of the carrying of this film, his performance for a man that just can’t escape from the potential killer, he makes us feel the sympathy with the situation he is going through. John Cusack is mostly on the voice work as he is trying to keep the unsettling performance with his voice. Kerry Bishe is here to be the beautiful potential victim, we can see her being the big name actress of this world.

StoryThe story follows a musician on his grand return being forced into a perfect performance by a gunman in the theatre, he must figure out how to stay ahead of the gunman or see his loved ones killed. This story does see us witnessing the similar idea of ‘Phone Booth’ which was a lone setting, with the victim trapped being forced into actions they can’t defend against. This does feel intense for the story because you know that this gunman isn’t afraid, you are mostly waiting to see just what the motive is behind his action, which is the biggest draw of the story. this story does keep everything simple which is important and effective for the film.

Music/MysteryThe music side of the film comes from the performance during the film which shows just how the pianist will do anything to keep the audience’s attention, while being put through a tormenting night. The mystery comes from just why the gunman is putting Tom through the situation he is.

SettingsThe film is set in the theatre which shows the main target on the stage with nowhere to run, even if he knows the crowd could become a victim.


Scene of the Movie –
The performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does feel like it ends too quickly.

Final ThoughtsThis is a smart mystery thriller that does give us the intensity required to keep us on edge through the film.

 

Overall: Smart thriller in unique location.

Rating

 

 

The Call (2020) Movie Review

Director: Timothy Woodward Jr

Writer: Patrick Stibbs (Screenplay)

Starring: Lin Shaye, Tobin Bell, Chester Rushing, Erin Sanders, Mike Manning, Sloane Morgan Siegel, Judd Lormand

Plot: In the fall of 1987, a group of small-town friends must survive the night in the home of a sinister couple after a tragic accident brings them to the couple’s door.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Call starts when new kid Chris (Rushing) moves into town, becoming friends with Tonya (Sanders), Zack (Manning) and Brett (Siegel) who have had a grudge against the Cranston family after Tonya’s younger sister went missing in her care years before.

When Edith (Shaye) takes her own life, she leaves her late husband Edward (Bell) a will that has a surprise involved, a gift for the four would be harasses. They are offered a chance to earn the money she has left, the stipulation is to make a phone call for one minute, a phone call which will send them to a world of nightmare.

Thoughts on The Call

Characters & Performances – Edith Cranston is the woman that gets harassed by the youngster most days, she once had a nursey which saw a child go missing from, which led to them being known as the person who was at fault, she isn’t afraid of them thought and after taking her own life, she has planned her own form of revenge. Lin Shaye is now one of the icons of horror, this is why she is so well respected in the genre, with a small creepy performance. Edward is the husband that has set up the meeting to make the meeting happen, he isn’t happy about it, but will look to honour his late wife’s wishes. Tobin Bell gets to put on his best line, its time to play a game, where he gives the calm moments, we don’t see enough of his character here. Chris is the new kid in school who has a secret past that is welcomed into the group, being left to wait to see what his secret is. Tonya, Zack and Brett are the other three in the group that welcome Chris, they each have their own secret which could come back to haunt them. The four younger actors do well in their roles fitting into the 80s theme of the film.

StoryThe story here follows a group of high schoolers that have clashed with an outsider family in the town that are given a chance to inherit some money with a simple task of making a phone call, only the nightmares it will show will leave them begging for their lives. This is a nice spin on what could be seen as a revenge style story, seeing how one family is torment and invites the tormentors into their home to discuss the problems. The nightmares the characters go through are similar to most of what we would normally see, without being anything outside the ordinary, leaving a few twists behind a couple of the characters too.

ThemesThe Call is a 80s inspired horror that will have that theme running throughout, with the use of music, clothing and past times. When it gets into the horrors, it gives us the nightmare fuel similar to what we saw from ‘Flatliners’ with the secrets coming back to haunt the characters.

 

The Call is a fun 80s inspired horror, which grabs the atmosphere of the era to go with the horror style of secrets and regrets.