Lifechanger (2018)

Director: Justin McConnell

Writer: Justin McConnell (Screenplay)

Starring: Lora Burke, Jack Foley, Elitsa Bako, Rachel VanDuzer, Steve Kasan, Sam White, Bill Oberst Jr

 

Plot: A murderous shapeshifter sets out on a blood-soaked mission to make things right with the woman he loves.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Shapeshifting Shocker

 

Story: Lifechanger starts as the murderous shapeshifter takes over the body of Emily (Bako) giving us the rules of how long they can be within each body, it won’t be long until it needs to find a new host. The shapeshifter Drew (voiced by Oberst Jr) is trying to get back to the woman he loved Julia (Burke).

As the story unfolds the shapeshifter finds himself visiting Julia in a different body on a daily basis, watching over her, trying to figure out how to explain the situation to her.

 

Thoughts on Lifechanger

 

Characters – Julia is the former wife of the shapeshifter, she spends most nights in a bar, she never knew what happened to her husband after the death of their child and little does she know that she is being watched over by her husband the shapeshifter. The shapeshifter Drew goes through a process, where it takes a body, disposes of any evidence before meeting with Julia, it knows how to adapt to each location, each body and each life and is doing everything it can to be with the woman it loves Julia.

PerformancesThe performances are hard to explain because all bar Lora Burke are playing versions of the Shapeshifter, needing to keep certain characteristics while also being unique because of their differences, in Jack Foley, Elitsa Bako, Rachel VanDuzer and more that is. When it comes to Lora Burke, we get to see a good performance of a woman that is lost in life, trying to remain strong after her own tragic moments.

StoryThe story follows a Shapeshifter jumping between bodies as it hopes to get back to the woman it loves only the bodies start piling up and soon it is running out of time to reveal its secret before its time runs out. This does seem like a smart idea because of the idea that it plays into, with love, though the final twist on takes everything we knew and throws it on its head leaving you shocked. It does pose the question about survival and even touches on the ideas that ‘Under the Skin’ did, only without going into the alien line.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from just how the shapeshifting occurs which we see more and more as the film continues on.

SettingsThe film is set in a city where Drew can visit his love every time he takes a new body, it shows how the manhunt starts when the bodies start getting discovered.

Special EffectsThe effects are practical which is a praise because we get to see how the changes happen ever increasing graphicness.


Scene of the Movie –
The hatching.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This could have been a lot gorier when it comes to the shapeshifting.

Final ThoughtsThis is a smart shapeshifting horror, it does want to get into the body horror levels, though it never reaches the shocking levels it could, even though it ends up focusing on a different side to it all.

 

Overall: Horror that focuses on the shapeshifters desire to survive.

Rating

 

 

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Roma (2018)

Director: Alfonso Cuaron

Writer: Alfonso Cuaron (Screenplay)

Starring: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Diego Cortina Autrey, Carlos Peralta, Maco Graf, Daniela Demesa

 

Plot: A story that chronicles a year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s.


Tagline – There are periods in history that scar societies and moments in life that transform us as individuals.

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Grounded and Heart Breaking.

 

Story: Roma starts as we meet two maids Cleo (Aparicio) and Adela (Garcia) who work for Sr Antonio’s (Grediaga) family, keeping the house clean and helping look after the children for the lady of the house Sra Sofia (Tavira), they are welcomed into the home when the work is done, while also having their own lives outside for their days off.

When Cleo becomes pregnant her life is turned on its head, with Sofia offering the support needed she prepares for the next stage of her life, while seeing the devastation caused with in the city.

 

Thoughts on Roma

 

Characters – Cleo is a maid working for a rich family, she has been accepted into the household with open arms and is given here free time, she is enjoying the mix in her life until she ends up getting pregnant and must search for the father or face the reality of raising it alone. Sra Sofia is the lady of the house, she leaves Cleo to do the work around the house, while being a friend when needed, she helps where she can when Cleo becomes pregnant. Adela is the fellow maid and best friend to Cleo, they work well around the house and enjoy their days and nights out. The family dynamic is good because we get to see how each member of the family reacts to the situation Cleo is going through.

PerformancesYalitza Aparicio in the leading role is wonderful to see because she completely makes you understand her characters position in life and the difficult decisions she is going through in life. In fairness the whole cast make this feel like a real-life situation that never makes anything look out of place.

StoryThe story follows a year in the life of maid Cleo as she is comfortable in her job until a moment changes everything in her life, a moment which will see her face first a difficult decision then a heart breaking one. This story shows us just how life can change for anyone in an instant, it can show us just how what seems like a normal life can be changed and is told in a way that only the victim can go through. The pace of the story keeps everything simple and from the point of view of Cleo which is important for this film because it is the year in her life with any events being how she reacts to them.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well because we get to see the two different parts of the house that Cleo is operates in, be the small room she has or the large apartment the family lives in, as well as the time away from the house which shows both sides of life in Mexico.


Scene of the Movie –
The beach.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This is an odd complaint, this isn’t a casual view for anyone.

Final ThoughtsThis is a grounded heart breaking movie that will show us the hardest year in the life of one lady, it isn’t for the faint of heart and will leave you with all the feelings in the world.

 

Overall: Tough watch, that can be shown to teach dramas.

Rating

 

 

Bird Box (2018)

Director: Susanne Bier

Writer: Eric Heisserer (Screenplay) Josh Malerman (Novel)

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, Jacki Weaver, Rose Salazar

 

Plot: A woman and a pair of children are blindfolded and make their way through a dystopian setting.


Tagline – Never Lose Sight of Survival

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Generic Survival Movie

 

Story: Bird Box starts with Malorie (Bullock) needing to make a difficult journey with two children, needing to remain blindfolded from whatever is in the air outside, the journey should offer them safety. Flashback five years to when an unknown even happens while Malorie is pregnant where people start acting psychotic and suicidal in their behaviour.

Malorie joins fellow survivors Tom (Rhodes), Douglas (Malkovich), Cheryl (Weaver) and Lucy (Salazar) to mention a few, where people need to remain inside or they will become infected. We go through the survival process as go through the essentials about needing food and supplies, let alone whether they can stand being around each other.

 

Thoughts on Bird Box

 

Characters – Malorie is the woman trying to get two children to safety, she is the mother of one of them as we see from her from the events where the disaster first breaks out, where she is dealing with the reality she might be raising her child alone or even giving it up, she loses a sister in the opening attack and is sudden the one voice of reason when it comes to the group of survivors. She doesn’t want to leave anyone behind which sees her clash with Douglas a lot. Tom is one of the fellow survivors, he does seem to be the most level headed of the group, he uses his military training to help prepare for the next stage of the survival. Douglas is the home owner that doesn’t want to help the survivors, he sees his wife die trying to help Malorie which sees him clash with her, he is the typical asshole needed for this type of movie. Jessica is the sister of Malorie who is preparing her for motherhood.

PerformancesSandra Bullock in the leading role is the highlight of the film, she easily the best performer in the film even if her character seems overly random. Trevante Rhodes does a solid enough job in the supporting role being the soldier figure, that doesn’t need to be over the top, while John Malkovich overacts his arse off chewing the scenery like only he could. Most of the rest of the performances are average at best mostly because we don’t get enough time to invest in the rest of the characters.

StoryThe story here follows a group of survivors mostly a woman and two children in a world where people can’t see because something will infect them if they see it in the open, what they will see anything they will become crazed and suicidal. Now this story should be interesting and for the way this is told it drags along, we follow the events in the house which just gives us a group of people that are going to be picked off at some point because we learn early on from the open sequence it is just Malorie and the children, this is the good part of the story, watching the journey down the river in an attempt to survive. The survival side of the story is easily the most engaging only it ends up losing all the tension because of the dragging scenes through the home. The random jumps between the time just seems random and makes no sense which doesn’t help the flow to the movie.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror side of the film comes from the unknown as the ‘creatures’ are trying to infect the people, sadly we never see them which feels like something we should have seen by the end, the film hides them like it will be a shock by the end, only to not show us. The sci-fi side of the film shows us what would happen if something like this was to happen, how the world would come to an end as we know it.

SettingsThe film uses a couple of settings, the house is just there to kill time and meet a group of pointless characters, when we are on the river, we are left wondering just what will come next for the characters while the woods are also filled with the void of the unknown.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, we are treated to the less is more concept where we see rustles, but never see anything, when it comes to the injuries, we see the basics without it being blood filled like it could have been.


Scene of the Movie –
The Rapids.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the time in the house.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing movie because we did get a sense heavy horror movie earlier in the year with ‘A Quiet Place’ this film fails to use the full extent of this idea.

 

Overall: Disappointing horror.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Nutty Professor 2- The Klumps (2000)

Director: Peter Segal

Writer: Barry W Blaustein, David Sheffield, Paul Weitz, Chris Weitz (Screenplay) Steve Oedekerk, Barry W Blaustein, David Sheffield, Jerry Lewis (Story/Characters)

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Janet Jackson, Larry Miller, John Ales

 

Plot: Scientist Sherman Klump’s inventions, his upcoming marriage to his pretty colleague Denise Gaines and his reputation are threatened by his evil clone Buddy Love.


Tagline – Eddie Murphy Is The Klumps

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Gets Worse

 

Story: Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps starts as Sherman (Murphy) has continued his work in genetics with new professor Denise (Jackson), what they are working on is ground breaking, the problem Sherman is facing is Buddy Love (Murphy) is trying to come back through Sherman with his attitude at first.

With Sherman arranging to marry Denise, Buddy Love finds a way to come back as a clone determined to destroy Sherman’s work to get his share of the money.

 

Thoughts on Nutty Professor 2 The Klumps

 

Characters – Sherman Klump is still the likeable professor at the university, he means well and is being haunted by his nightmares of becoming Buddy Love again. He is getting married now with the biggest breakthrough in his career, only after trying to extract the gene that Buddy is part of he starts to lose his intelligence. Buddy Love comes to life through a clone, he still wants to take Sherman’s career and he will go out of his way to make sure he remains a big part of he world. Denise is the fiancée to Sherman, a like minded scientist that has been working with him on the latest project. She doesn’t get too much to other than be the love interest.

PerformancesEddie Murphy taking on more roles here, well large moments as the family members which are just boring to watch, in the leading role he is fine much calmer and less fat joke related, even as Buddy he is harder to watch with the added dog switch. Janet Jackson is fine without her character being more than just a love interest with the rest of the actors not getting enough time to shine.

StoryThe story shows us just how Sherman has continued research which sees him wanting to rid his genes of Buddy with disastrous side effects. For the most part this once again tries to do the same storyline about accepting who you are over anything else which Sherman just won’t accept, there is a love angle again which is more serious and the awful amount of focus we must have on the rest of his family because of lack of main story involving Sherman. This is one of those pointless sequels that doesn’t ever have the deepest storylines and in fact it is mostly none existent storyline.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy does cut out moments of the fart jokes, but still doesn’t give us many funny jokes to enjoy. The romance side of the film is slightly more forward with Sherman in the relationship this time around.

SettingsThe film uses the similar settings with none of them being used for any moments in the comedy or romance.

Special EffectsThe effects have also taken a downturn for the worse with the different moments of practical effects or CGI moments.


Scene of the Movie –
Giant hamster.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The dog traits addition.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sequel that is actually even worse than the first film, it shows a lack of comedy and just ends up feeling boring.

 

Overall: Disappoint, boring and humourless.

Rating

 

 

Bumblebee (2018)

Director: Travis Knight

Writer: Christina Hodson (Screenplay)

Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Dylan O’Brien, Justin Theroux, Angela Bassett, Megyn Price

 

Plot: On the run in the year of 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie, on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken.


Tagline – Every Hero Has a Beginning

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming & Delightful

 

Story: Bumblebee starts when Bumblebee is sent to Earth to prepare a base for the Autobots from the war against the Decepticons, getting injured in the landing he goes into hiding. Charlie (Steinfeld) is turning 18 trying to finish fixing a car that her and her late father worked on, she stumbles upon the Volkswagen Bug in a junkyard taking it home.

Learning that the bug is actually Bumblebee she finds a new friend, Dropkick and Shatter have been hunting down Bumblebee in search for the new base, with Agent Burns (Cena) working with them to stop humans getting caught in the middle of a war between the robot factions.

 

Thoughts on Bumblebee

 

Characters – Charlie is an 18-year-old girl still recovering from the death of her father, even though the rest of the family has moved on, she isolates herself from people working on fixing her car. She finds Bumblebee becoming her first friend as she tries to teach the robot about the world, she is the heart and soul of this movie because you feel each moment that tests her in life, as she needs to move on with her life. Agent Burns is a military man that is there when Bumblebee lands, he has spent time hunting down the robots he saw kill his men, wanting both answers and revenge. Bumblebee is a warrior back n Cybertron, he is sent to Earth to prepare for the next battle, only he loses he voice in the battle and his memory has faded, he goes into hiding until Charlie brings him out of his shell showing him what is worth fighting for on Earth. Shatter and Dropkick are the two Decepticons that are hunting down the Autobots before they can regroup, they know how to work the humans to get what they need.

PerformancesHailee Steinfeld gives us the best performance in any Transformers movie, she brings a heart to this character that we actually care about for the first time in the series. John Cena continues his rise in Hollywood giving us a good performance without needing to be truly tested.

StoryThe story follows Bumblebee who comes to Earth to prepare it for a new base for the Autobots and defend it from any of the Decepticons that could make the base known, he meets a human in Charlie who offers him friendship guidance and helps fix him. The unlikely friendship helps both the isolated figures learn their place in life which makes this one of the surprisingly refreshing stories of the year, for a big action film. the villains are only a smaller part of the war which is nice because we don’t need or want to see Bumblebee battle Megatron. We could sit here and complain about different aspects of the large scale of the story from the previous films, but we don’t need to, we also get a nod to a future character in the series. The best part of the story comes from the idea that everything becomes simple again which keeps us only focusing on one story between the Charlie and Bumblebee.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action when unleashed is good with the fights between the Transformers becoming easier to watch than previous films with each having their own ability in the fights to become stronger. The adventure takes Charlie from what she thinks is a dead-end life to learn to move on with life. The sci-fi side shows us the Transformers war we are going to be part of soon.

SettingsThe film puts us in San Francisco, well just outside with the locations of the beach showing us the beauty in the open road, which is what Charlie wants to be on.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are brilliant, the fights between the Transformers all feel flawless with the world they are from looking like everything you thought it would be.


Scene of the Movie –
Final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Why are they vehicles on Cybertron?

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best movie from the Transformers universe, it brings a heart and soul to the characters making you care about what will happen to them.

 

Overall: Wonderful and will you with a smile.

Rating