The Prodigy (2019)

Director: Nicholas McCarthy

Writer: Jeff Buhler (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackson Robert Scott, Taylor Schilling, Peter Mooney, Col Feore, Paul Fautuex, Brittany Allen, Paula Bourdreau

 

Plot: A mother concerned about her young son’s disturbing behavior thinks something supernatural may be affecting him.


Tagline – There’s Something Wrong With Miles

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Jump-Scares

 

Story: The Prodigy starts as we see couple Sarah (Schilling) and John (Mooney) have their first child, Miles (Scott) grew faster than most children showing signs of genius, now 8-years-old Miles has reached new levels of disturbing behaviour, a level where Sarah must try to figure out what is wrong with her son.

Sarah takes Miles to see a specialist Arthur Jacobs (Feore) who offers answers, but the answer is even more disturbing than Sarah could imagine, she must figure out how to get her son back to normal before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on The Prodigy

 

Characters – Miles is the young boy that is turning into a genius, only he has a darker side which sees him acting violently towards people, he sleep walks, talks and must control the situation. Sarah is the mother of Miles, she sees the problems with Miles, trying to figure out how to help him, while become uneasy around her son, once she learns the truth. John is the father, he has come from an abusive family which sees him want to remain calm raising his own son, but even he can’t cope being around Miles. Arthur Jacobs is the doctor that can get to the truth of Miles head, he does unlock the truth which only makes Sarah’s life even harder.

PerformancesJackson Robert Scott is the strongest member of the cast, he has to deal with the innocent nature of a child and the other figure in his mind, a much darker one. Taylor Schilling is solid enough as the mother, taking most of the horror elements of the film. Peter Mooney struggles to make an impact in the film, which is more to do with the lack of character given to his role. Colm Feore fits the doctor role well even if he is only has limited involvement in the film.

StoryThe story follows a mother than must learn what is wrong with her son before he turns into an evil force. Now the story could easily be compared to ‘The Omen’ this can be seen, but this film does bring us an original spin on the idea, while it does become clear from the opening scene it works to bring a new level of horror in the story. That is the only positive side of the story because this story is filled with flaws, which are all about the decision-making process, everything Sarah seems to do, doesn’t have any logic, when there are simple issues that could be solved, we just ignore them, it gets very frustrating.  We also don’t get to see much of the lives the parents live, how can they afford a house like this when neither seems to have a job or career.

HorrorThe horror in this film does include some very effective jump scares, sadly, some are used in the trailer, but the one where Sarah sees Miles in the hallway, is easily one of the best in recent years.

SettingsMost of the film seems to be set in the house, which shows how the evil within a child could come into your home without you knowing.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well, they are not overly used, but the times we get them, they are used for added horror.


Scene of the Movie –
The hallway hug.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Decision-Making processes.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror with great jump scares, but weak character decision-making, it will make you jump and hit your head against the wall.

 

Overall: Good for the scares.

Rating

 

 

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Fisherman’s Friends (2019)

Director: Chris Foggin

Writer: Piers Ashworth, Meg Leonard, Nick Moorcroft (Screenplay)

Starring: Tuppence Middleton, James Purefoy, Daniel Mays, David Hayman, Christian Brassington, Sarah Winter, Dave Johns, Noel Clarke

 

Plot: Ten fisherman from Cornwall are signed by Universal Records and achieve a top ten hit with their debut album of Sea Shanties.


Tagline – The U.K’s number 1 Buoy Band

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Feel Good Start to the Summer

 

Story: Fisherman’s Friends starts when a stag-do heads to Cornwell, Danny (Mays) joined by his boss Troy (Clarke) head down to Port Isaac where they struggle to understand the traditional ways of the small fishing village. In the village the guys here the local’s fishermen singing the shanty songs.

Danny is forced to try and sign the band with lead member Jim (Purefoy) being the one that gives the final say so. Danny didn’t know that Troy was joking, once he learns this, he wants to prove him wrong and make the band an overnight sensation.

 

Thoughts on Fisherman’s Friend

 

Characters – Danny is a fast-talking record producer, he has success in this field and isn’t interested in any sort of responsibility in life. On a stag-do he gets pushed into signing a local band, this shows his skills in the deal. When he learns that it was a joke, he continues to try and sign the band, to make them a hit, while learning about a more traditional lifestyle. Jim is considered the leader of the band, in the decision-making process, if he says no, nothing happens. He is considered stubborn in his ways, which sees him believe in the traditions and friendship. Alwyn is the daughter of Jim’s, she runs the local bed-n-breakfast, where Danny ends up staying, where she gets involved in a relationship with after he shows a bond with her own daughter.

PerformancesDaniel Mays in the leading role is great, he has often been the supporting actor, but he shows he could lead here. James Purefoy brings his best to a role based on the real leader of the band, he makes him feel like a man you should never mess with. Tuppence Middleton might be in the unneeded romantic angle, but she does everything right to make us believe she knows the traditions of her town. The rest of the cast do all work very well to make us feel like we are going to be part of a community with the band.

StoryThe story follows a group of fishermen who become an overnight sensation when a music producer on a stag-do spots them and is forced into signing them for their label. The story is based on the real story of the bands rise to success, which in the modern era of music was a surprise, but it also plays into how people tend to follow different sounds. Everything about the band is excellent to watch, it shows that it is almost a different life down in their village. The weakness in the story comes from the romantic angle which does feel mostly just tacked on for added impact in Danny’s decision making process. It might work in places, but it does take away from the band’s story. overlooking that issue, we do have a truly fun, feel-good movie about success here.

Comedy/MusicalThe comedy in the film comes from just how the locals act towards outsiders, they have wonderful chemistry between them too. The music shows how this new sound could make an impact in the world.

SettingsThe settings show us a couple of main ones, first is the village, which shows the community feel between the band, when we are in the richer side of the world, we see the disconnect between the people.


Scene of the Movie –
London pub.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the romance story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a feel-good movie that will leave you with a smile and hope that anybody’s dream could become a reality.

 

Overall: British Feel-good

Rating

 

 

Look Away (2018)

Director: Assaf Bernstein

Writer: Assaf Bernstein (Screenplay)

Starring: India Eisley, Jason Isaacs, Mira Sorvino, Penelope Mitchel, John C MacDonald, Harrison Gilbertson, Kristen Harris

 

Plot: LOOK AWAY is a psychological thriller that tells the story of Maria, an alienated high-school student whose life is turned upside down when she switches places with her sinister mirror image.


Tagline – Love/Fear. Passion/Seduction. Free/Trapped.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sinister Horror

 

Story: Look Away starts as we meet outsider school girl Maria (Eisley) who keeps to herself, with her one friend the popular Lily (Mitchell), her doctor father Dan (Isaacs) tries to let her be her own self, while her mother Amy (Sorvino) is constantly worrying about her daughter. When Maria starts talking to her reflection which uses the name Airam, she starts to come out of her shell more.

When Maria suffers one final humiliation, she turns to Airam to takeover her life, this sinister side soon starts turning heads and getting revenge for Maria in life, but can Maria return once she has finished.

 

Thoughts on Look Away

 

Characters – Maria is the shy high school student, an outsider who only has one real friend, that being Lily, she gets bullied by some of the students and has started talking to her reflection in the mirror. She gets pushed to far and her reflection Airam wants to get into the rea world, tricking Maria into swapping places with her. Maria is left helpless as Airam starts taking over her life. Dan is the doctor father of Maria, he is having affairs with his clients, while trying to encourage his daughter to come out of her shell. Amy is the mentally unwell mother of Maria, she is mostly housebound, until Airam comes out pushing her to learn the truth. Lily is the best friend of Maria, she is the popular girl at school with her reputation keeping Maria off the bottom of the pile, she does like her around even if she has her own reason for doing this.

PerformancesIndia Eisley takes on two roles here which she her play very different versions of her character, one is the shy timid one, while the other is the rebellious sinister natured one. being able to pull off both the roles shows off her skills as an actress. Jason Isaacs and Mira Sorvino both bring the experience to the film, even if their characters fall into the background at times.

StoryThe story follows a troubled high school student who meets her alter ego in the mirror who helps her take control of her life, only for this to figure to bring of a sinister side to her life. This does give the reflects of just how life has become difficult for an outside, while we do have a twist that does seem easy to see coming. We do have the high school bullying theme running through the film which shows how difficult life has become for Maria and how a home life that doesn’t feel connected works too. We could have had more sinister nature from Airam which is hinted heavily at, we do get a mix of Jennifer’s Body and Carrie though.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from the action of Airam, be it how she seduces Maria into working with her or how she acts in the real world once she is released.

SettingsThe film is set in an everyday environment for Maria, we have the school, home and parent work life, but it is anything ice skating related which is the highlight of the film.

Special EffectsThe dual performances come with strong camera work and use of effects to make happen, we don’t get as much as we could, but we don’t need much more than we get.


Scene of the Movie –
Ice Skating improvement.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Airam could have gotten up to a lot more.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sinister styled horror, it does feel like it has borrowed from other films from the similar genre. Is has a strong leading performance from India Eisley that shows her talent as both shy and twisted figures.

 

Overall: Horror with strong leading performance.

Rating

 

 

Alan Tudyk Weekend – Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010) Revisited

Director: Eli Craig

Writer: Eli Craig, Morgan Jurgenson (Screenplay)

Starring: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss, Philip Granger, Brandon Jay McLaren

 

Plot: Affable hillbillies Tucker and Dale are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are mistaken for murderers by a group of preppy college students.


Tagline – The perfect love story… with a high body count.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bloody Hilarious

 

Story: Tucker and Dale vs Evil starts when Tucker (Tudyk) and Dale (Labine) head into the woods to their holiday home by the lake, the same weekend Chad (Moss) leads his college house out to the woods for their own weekend of drinks and drugs.

When one of the students Allison (Bowden) gets injured, Tucker & Dale take her to rescue, this is where the miscommunication starts when Chad makes the rest believe Tucker & Dale are hillbilly killers and a series of failed rescue attempts get to see the body count only complicated for the rest.

 

Thoughts on Tucker and Dale vs Evil

 

Characters – Tucker is the smarter of the two friends, he looks over Dale when he is struggling with life decisions and talks the two out of trouble. Dale is the simply minded of the two, he does have the ability to remember an information he is told, he gets a crush on Allison and we follow how he tries to gain the confidence to speak to her, while trying to defend himself from the college students. Allison is the beautiful college student that doesn’t completely fit in with the rest of the group, she gets injured and rescued by the friends. She learns to accept people that look different which causes most of the confusing in this film. Chad is the leader of the college group, he has a tragic backstory which motivates him into his actions through the film.

PerformancesTyler Labine & Alan Tudyk show wonderful chemistry through this film as they show they have comic timing that fits the characters. Katrina Bowden fits the beautiful young woman roe well, the looks are important to make this character standout. Jesse Moss plays his character well become more psychotic as the film unfolds.

StoryThe story follows a pair of hillbillies that run into a group of college kids in the woods, we get to play into the ideas that are the typical traits within the horror, as the hillbillies are calm instead of bloody hungry killers and the students have played into the fears people can have for who people are. This is how the genre can turn the ideas on its head which plays into the comedy needed for the film and the story gets a chance to just play along with everything that is going on. We do go down the typical slasher genre, because we get the large group picked off, while most look like suicide it does falls into the ideas the slasher genre has.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy gets to turn the typical horror traits on its head, which is it what makes this film feel refreshing to watch and if you are a horror fans you will get most of the jokes being used.

SettingsThe film keeps nearly all the action in and around the wood area, with have no easy escape after the car leaves early on and the signal is gone, meaning the college students must think for themselves.

Special EffectsThe effects are very impressive when it comes to the deaths, we get original ones that manage to by funny as well as brutal.


Scene of the Movie –
The woodchipper.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The students are portrayed to be complete idiots.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best horror comedies out there, it will get laughs from the audience with the horror audience understanding nearly every joke being played out in the film.

 

Overall: Funny, entertaining, a must watch.

Rating

 

 

Alan Tudyk Weekend – Tell (2014)

Director: J.M.R. Luna

Writer: Timothy Williams (Screenplay)

Starring: Milo Ventimiglia, Katee Sackhoff, Jason Lee, Robert Patrick, Alan Tudyk, John Michael Higgins, Faizon Love

 

Plot: Ethan Tell is a small time crook who makes a big-time score when he steals 1 million dollars. Ironically, his life radically changes for the worse when he discovers that stealing the money was the easy part and he now must keep his partner, his wife, his parole officer, and two corrupt detectives from stealing it from him.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Con-man Playbook Passed

 

Story: Tell starts as a robbery Tell (Ventimiglia) is trying to get out off organised by Ray (Lee) his wife’s Beverly (Sackhoff) brother goes wrong, with Tell locked up for three years, with two cops Ashton (Patrick) and Morton (Tudyk) trying to get their hands on the money along with the parole officer Dwight (Love) as Tell is released from prison.

Out of prison Tell tries to get on with his life, but soon the familiar faces return to his life, Ashton, Morton, Beverly and Ray as he needs to stay one step ahead of them as he looks to collect the money before it is gone for good.

 

Thoughts on Tell

 

Characters – Tell is your standard crook, he always talks about having a normal life, but wants to steal his way to it. He isn’t likeable in anyway and even after getting shot and serving time in prison he still needs to stay ahead of the people that want the money he is meant to have taken. Beverly is the ex-wife of Tell that remarried when he was locked up to help raise their child, she wants to money because she dreams of the life of luxury. Ray is the partner in crime and brother to Beverly, he is left for dead at the crime scene and now has returned for the money, he feels like a loose cannon with crazy ideas. Ashton and Morton are the two cops that are hounding Tell for the money from the robbery.

PerformancesThe performances are mixed because of allowed screen time. Milo doesn’t give us a likeable character and feels like he is cruising through the film for the most part, Katee Sackhoff is solid enough as the wife figure, always after the money, for me it was Jason Lee who shines the best in this film as we just never know what he is going to do next. Patrick and Tudyk both seem to enjoy playing the crooked cops which is good to see.

StoryThe story follows a crook that is trying to collect the money from his previous heist though he has people from the heist, cops and an ex-wife that also want the money. This story follows the heist gone wrong paths well and the whole released from prison people will want what was never recovered, while never addressing the bigger issue, that Tell wants to live a normal life after his time in prison. This isn’t the most engaging story, be it the generic characters, by the books story or overly slow pacing.

Action/CrimeThe action we see in the film is a couple of shoot outs mixed with the punch or strike to get someone’s attention, the crime side of the film shows how the characters are mixed up in a world they shouldn’t be involved in.

SettingsThe film never uses the settings enough to make us understand where we are and even the backgrounds of the characters involved.


Scene of the Movie –
What happens after the opening sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It offers nothing new to the genre of the heist movies.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard by the book heist film, it checks the boxes without being anything you will remember enough to suggest this to heist fans.

 

Overall: Heist movie that falls slightly flat.

Rating