Director: Meghan Weinstein
Writer: Meghan Weinstein (Screenplay)
Starring: Kasia Szarek, Shantell Yasmine Abeydeera, Janeva Zentz, Victoria D Wells, Ian Richard Jones, Mark Valeriano
Plot: A popular social-media influencer named Abbie Rose finds her Hollywood home overtaken by a group of activists who hack her social media empire to carry out a risky plan with a huge payout.
Tagline – you are what you buy..
Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: The Influencer starts as we meet social-media influencer Abbie Rose (Szarek) who has built up a massive following through the years, with her own team of interns who help keep her on top of the world. With the latest negotiation showing how ruthless Abbie can be in this world, she gets the money she wants to make this happen.
Abbie’s night changes when she finds herself being held hostage in her own home by Two (Zentz), Three (Abeydeera), Four (Wells) and Five (Jones), who have their own plans for Abbie, wanting to use her stardom to get their message over.
Thoughts on The Influencer
Characters & Performances – Abbie Rose is the social media superstar that has an empire that keeps her on top and gives her power to get the best deals from the biggest companies. She is shallow when it comes to her life, being interested in her own appearance and maintaining her brand, over keeping herself on the path she once created for herself. She is being forced into making videos to promote something that will potentially destroy the empire. Kasia Szarek plays into this role wonderfully, giving us the shallow imagine, while having the smarts off camera. Two, Three, Four and Five are the people that are holding Abbie hostage, forcing her to complete the videos for the leader One, a voice on the phone conducting everything. The performances from the cast work well through the film, showing the different mindsets the captors are involved in.
Story – The story here follows a social media superstar that will see her life turned upside when she gets held hostage by a group of people who want her to make a certain type of videos, ones that could end up destroying her empire. This is a nice twist to on many ideas we have seen before, certain ones we can’t go into here, but diving into the world of a social media star, showing the power they have in the world can be used for anything, which makes for the key factor of the film. Nearly all of this film does focus on the behind the scenes of the social media superstar, showing us that we will never know what is going on behind what they have created.
Themes – The Influencer is a crime comedy thriller that uses the comedy to show how the social media star’s life goes, while the crime thriller side comes from her being held hostage about what is going on, along with the motivation behind the captor’s decisions. The film keeps most of the film within the singular location, Abbie’s home, which will show us just how within her own world she truly is.
Final Thoughts – The Influencer is a great examination into the social media world and what can be happening behind the scenes.
Director: Peter Cattaneo
Writer: Simon Beaufoy (Screenplay)
Starring: Robert Carlyle, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Addy, Paul Barber, Steve Huison, Hugo Speer, Lesley Sharp, Emily Wolf
Plot: Six unemployed steel workers form a male striptease act. The women cheer them on to go for “the full monty” – total nudity.
Tagline – Six men. With nothing to lose. Who dare to go..
Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: The Full Monty starts as Gaz (Carlyle) and Dave (Addy) two recently unemployed steel workers are struggling to find themselves new jobs, with themselves finding life difficult to get through, until they learn about the Chip n Dales. The pair find Lomper (Huison), Guy (Speer), Horse (Barber) and their old gaffer Gerald (Wilkinson) also struggling after unemployment.
When the six decide to try their luck at a striptease in their local town, they will find themselves needing to overcome their own obstacles about themselves in their last attempt to try and make money.
Thoughts on The Full Monty
Characters & Performances – Gaz has seen his life turned upside down, his wife has left him, he is about to lose the rights to see his kid, as he is looking to find a way to put his life back together. He is always looking to make money and when he learns the money behind a striptease, he looks to bring the guys back for their own striptease and to have enough money to still see his son. Robert Carlyle is great here, bringing the tough as nails character to life, despite all his inner vulnerabilities. Dave is the best friend that will find himself working with Gaz through the difference schemes to make money, he has started to become lifeless at home, losing the spark he once had in life. He is always worried about his weight, which is the biggest talking point in the film, showing us how a man can question how men talk about women. Mark Addy brings us the likeable character to life, being the heart and soul of the film. Gerald is the former gaffer to the guys, he has kept his unemployment a secret from his wife as he is looking for a new job, his dancing skills have grabs the attention of the guys as he looks to put them to use for the people he used to work with. Tom Wilkinson completes the main three members of the cast who all work wonderfully together. The rest of the characters do help address the other problems they would be facing in this world, as they look for their own reason to get out of their slumps, with the whole cast being brilliant here.
Story – The story here follows six unemployed former steel workers that put their differences aside to put together a striptease after hearing the money that could be made from it. This is a story with so much more going on, with the deeper diving into the mass unemployment in certain areas, the damage is has done to the people, mostly the men who have lost their jobs, different reactions to cover for it and even touching on the darker side of suicidal thoughts when everything is taken away from them. We get to look a body image, agism and sexism, with this being one of the most complete scripts in years. It will give us the idea that people can come together for a better reason to make things better for everyone around them.
Themes – The Full Monty is a comedy set in the backdrop of an area Sheffield that has been struck by a massive unemployment levels, showing us just how bleak the areas looks, even if it is bringing the people together more. While the story is a comedy, it will hold these moments back for the serious side of the film, which is why it is such a stand out.
Director: Robert Enriquez
Writer: Robert Enriquez (Screenplay)
Starring: Robert Enriquez, Garrett Barghash, Phillip Cook, Mike Markoff, Dana Kippel, Elisa Janelle Alpizar
Plot: In the near future, a pandemic has ravaged the earth. Fear, greed and destruction have made way for such terrors as famine, pirates, and zombies. CAIRO YAZID’s, only chance for survival is to join forces with a curmudgeon, SOLOMON, also still untouched by the fatal virus, as he is the only one who knows the secret location of the safe place known simply as THE COVE.
Tagline – Fear of other people is what got us in this whole mess in the first place
Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Escape to the Cove starts in the aftermath of the virus outbreak, Cairo (Barghash) is wondering the streets alone, while the wanderers (zombies) looking for their latest victims. Cairo is joined by another lone survivor Olivia (Kippel) as they search for a plan to get out of the city, to a place known as The Cove, a place of safety.
When the pair get close to the boats for the journey, they meet the psychopath Luther (Markoff) and his men, who are looking to take everything from their victims, with Capt. Benjamin Solomon (Enriquez) always halting their attempts. Solomon offers to help for a night, seeing the good in Cairo, only for Luther to be hatching a plan, proving once again, that in a zombie infected world, humans are the most dangerous creature.
Thoughts on Escape to the Cove
Characters & Performances – Cairo is the young man lost in the zombie infected city, looking for the next location for supplies or safety, he isn’t the strongest in combat, often looking like easy target for people to attack. He has lost everything in his life, with his search having the desire to have people in his life. Garrett Barghash does bring the young man that looks completely out of place to life here, which is refreshing in a world we usually see ultra-strong leaders in the leading role. Capt. Benjamin Solomon watches over the harbour for survivors or threats, he will help people in need, while avoiding the idea of reaching the promised safety land of The Cove. He reluctantly lets Cairo stay around him, knowing the pirates are a bigger threat, ones he believes he can control. Robert Enriquez on the performances side is great, being the wiser figure in the world where he needs to bring the deadlier character to life. Luther is the leader of the pirates, a former member of Solomon’s unit that has been hunting people through the outbreak, leading a group of ruthless men around the city. Mike Markoff does gives us the psychopath figure needed to show the human villains in this world.
Story – The story here follows a lone young man survivors in a zombie infested world that finds himself getting drawn into a battle between two sides of a former military unit, one wanting to stop the other getting to a safety location known as The Cove. This is a story that does keep everything simple in terms of ideas, it does however feel like just the beginning of a much bigger story, one that does seem to be getting dragged out more than anything else, we learn next to nothing about what caused the outbreak, why the area is going to become so popular for the survivors in this world. It is an easy watch, but it will leave you wanting more.
Themes – Escape to the Cove is a horror movie entering into the zombie sub-genre we have seen plenty of before. We don’t get very much zombie like action, focusing more on the human villains in this world. The location in a big city with a harbour, which is one of the more discussed plans to go if a zombie outbreak happened, but it doesn’t look like the chaos ever happened there. With the strongest part of the film being the name for the water zombies, sealions, which are the biggest non-human threat in the film.
Final Thoughts – Escape to the Cove an easy watch zombie movie that lacks the intensity we have come to expect from the zombie movie world.