ABC Film Challenge – Horror – U – Unnatural (2015)

Director: Hank Braxtan

Writer: Arch Stanton, Ron Carlson (Screenplay)

Starring: James Remar, Sherilyn Fenn, Ron Carlson, Grahan Greene, Ray Wise, Allegra Carpenter

 

Plot: Global climate change prompts a scientific corporation to genetically modify Alaskan polar bears with horrific and deadly results.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Forgettable Creature Feature

 

Story: Unnatural starts with a global warming warning and something going wrong at a research lab, we go onto meet Martin (Remar) who has bought a photographer and his models to the snow filled location in Alaskan for a photoshoot. We also get the warning of polar bears create by the locals who use them as a warning, or in this case a myth.

When a creature eats one of the models and a guide, Martin must protect the remaining members of the photoshoot including photographer Brooking (Carlson) and stranger Dr Hanna Lindval (Fenn) from the threat outside, a mutated polar bear.

 

Thoughts on Unnatural

 

Characters – Martin is the expert in the area where the photoshoot takes place, he knows the wildlife and how to deal with any threats that come his way and must protect the people who are not used to the threat. Dr Lindval was part of the research team that created the polar bear, she is desperate to survive once it is free but does know more than she is letting on. Brooking in the photographer on the shoot, he does lack the guts to defend himself from the threat. We also have the models but they are here to look pretty through the terror.

PerformanceJames Remar is clearly the biggest draw in this film and he is good without being his best, when you look into the other performance we get the mystery from Fenn and the annoying wimpy guy from Carlson hitting the marks we are expecting to see in the film like this.

StoryGroup of people in Alaska with no escape must rely on one expert to keep them safe against an unknown creature for a set amount of days, well this is easy enough to go with and stops a lot of pointless discussion about trying to get help when there isn’t any, we also have the characters getting picked off in the random order like you would expect which is fine too.

Action/HorrorThe action is mostly running from the attacks from the creature which isn’t the most impressive either.

SettingsThe setting is the highlight as we have the group trapped with nowhere to run for the 3 days before the next plan arrives.

Special EffectsThe effects look mostly practical as we barely get to see the monster apart from in the shadows.

Scene of the Movie – The first attack is a fun moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t see enough of the creature.

Final ThoughtsThis is a forgettable creature feature that tries to ask bigger questions but doesn’t seem to want to try and answer them.

 

Overall: Not one of the best.

Rating

 

 

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Jon Favreau Weekend – Iron Man 2 (2010)

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: Justin Theroux (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comic Book)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L Jackson, Clark Gregg

 

Plot: With the world now aware of his identity as Iron Man, Tony Stark must contend with both his declining health and a vengeful mad man with ties to his father’s legacy.


Tagline – It’s not the armor that makes the hero, but the man inside.

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Sequel

 

Story: Iron Man 2 starts in the world where Tony Stark’s (Downey Jr) Iron Man has seen the world in peace for the longest time in modern history, the government however isn’t happy with the device and the world is trying to build their own versions of the Iron Man suit. With Tony’s device slowly causing more damage than it should, he is looking for a way to stop the affects being caused.

With Tony searching for answers, he must deal with new member of the law team Natalie Rushman (Johansson), giving Pepper (Paltrow) the CEO position, a rival inventor Justin Hammer (Rockwell) and a jilted victim of his father’s work Ivan Vanko (Rourke) better known as Whiplash, who has his own form of weaponised equipment and wants revenge.

 

Thoughts on Iron Man 2

 

Characters – Tony Stark revealed his identity at the end of the last movie, he has become even more famous as the man that ended conflict in the world, the government want control over the suit and worry that other parts of the world could develop their own version of the suit. He must deal with his own mortality when the one thing keeping him alive, is making him sick. He will also need to fight for his father’s mistakes, pushing his closest friends away. Pepper Potts has been given a promotion by Tony, to CEO, she already runs his affairs, she is now running his company, while trying to control him during his self-destruction. Rhodey is still in his role in the military, he is still challenging Tony, but gets to use his own suit the correct way, for guiding the military. Natasha goes undercover in Stark’s company, she is a member of SHIELD where she uses her skills in combat to keep Tony out of trouble. Justin Hammer is a rival inventor still trying to get ahead of Tony in the weapons business, he has been working on his own Iron Man suit, without much success, he hires Ivan to build him a suit. Ivan Vanko has built his own weaponised suit, he is the son of a rival of Tony’ father, which sees him want to take revenge on Tony for his father’s action, becoming whiplash, the one man that has created a suit that could rival Iron Man.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr is still great to watch, he keeps the charisma required for his role, while bringing an emotional factor which is needed for where his character goes in this film. Gwyneth Paltrow does have a bigger role here and brings us a much stronger performance with her character. Don Cheadle is an improvement on Terrence Howard, bringing Rhodey to life more. Scarlett Johansson has the perfect look for this character which is only first jumping into the franchise. Sam Rockwell as another inventor arms dealer who is filled with the swagger required. Mickey Rourke as the villain has good motives he does everything he can even if he character does grumble a lot.

StoryThe story follows up the beginning of Iron Man dealing with the idea that the military would want control of the equipment and the rest of the world will be playing catch up, with their own versions of the Iron Man suit. This is a strong world building exercise to the Iron Man universe, we get to see how SHIELD are operating in the shadows watching over the potential threats. We have a villain that is competition and another one that is out for personal revenge. We up the stakes in this one, Tony does have to deal with his own problems by needing to improve the suit and we get to set up the position of who is one the good side with teases of the eventual Avengers team up.

Action/Sci-Fi The action in this film relies on a couple of big scenes, we have the racing introduction, the mid-life crisis sequence and the showdown, each has their own way to make an impact. The sci-fi side of the film continues to show the technology advances that Tony is dealing with.

SettingsThe film uses the settings more for the action with one of the most iconic action sequences in the franchise, we continue to see Tony’s lab which tends to get destroyed a lot too.

Special EffectsThe special effects in the film make each fight, drone or Iron Man suit look realistic through the film which is what needed for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Monte Carlo entrance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There is a small pacing issue.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun sequel that continues to build the universe we know now, Tony still needs to learn about his place and how to handle the suit which is important and shows the past could come back to haunt you.

 

Overall: Fun sequel.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – T – Tank 432 (2015)

Director: Nick Gillespie

Writer: Nick Gillespie (Screenplay)

Starring: Rupert Evans, Steve Garry, Deirdre Mullins, Michael Smiley, Gordon Kennedy

 

Plot: A team of mercenaries confront nightmarish visions when they become trapped inside an armoured personnel carrier.


Tagline –  There’s no turning back.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fails to Deliver

 

Story: Tank 432 starts as we follow army squad Reeves (Evans), Gantz (Garry), Karlsson (Mullins), Capper (Smiley), Smith (Kennedy) and Evans (Meeten) as they are alluding an unknown enemy, in an unknown woodland area, where they come across the last squad while coming down with a sickness.

When the unit discovers an armoured vehicle they use it for shelter from the approaching enemy but also find themselves locked in the vehicle where they discover they may have been infected by something because they all start seeing nightmare visions.

 

Thoughts on Tank 432

 

Characters – Reeves is one of the younger members of the unit, he seems like the newest member often making rookie mistakes in the eyes of other members of the unit. Capper is the injured member of the unit, he is left to defend for himself as the unit needs to move out quickly. Karlsson is the medic in the unit needing to take care of the injuries to Capper and the mental state of the random girl they find. The soldier all hit the generics of what you expect without giving too much about their lives outside of the unit away.

PerformancesThe performances across the board are good enough for the film, with most of the cast trapped inside the tank it doesn’t give them much to do other than sit around talk and searching for answers.

StoryThe story follows the unit as they look to survive from an unknown enemy, this is where a lot of this films story falls apart because, we don’t know their mission, where it is or what they are running from. It spends too long inside the tank trying to figure out a way out without any threat coming from the outside, for this film to hit the marks we needed to see more of the nightmare effects of whatever is meant to be going on which would explain the fear they are facing but not enough is revealed until the final act.

Action/HorrorThe action isn’t as heavy as we would like it too be, we have random shooting and a driving sequence the rest is waiting for something to happen. The horror is there just not as much as we would like it to be, the moments of the vision offer something but don’t deliver in the final punch.

SettingsMost of the film is set inside the vehicle, which I can accept being good for a confined setting waiting for an enemy but we don’t see the enemy do anything against them.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well when needed but the film doesn’t turn to them, which is a good thing.


Scene of the Movie –
Capper’s return.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough happens.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that disappoints in the most part, it doesn’t hit the levels it could and we are left wondering just where the film was meant to be going for the most part.

 

Overall: Disappoint horror that misses the chances it had.

Rating

 

 

Jon Favreau Weekend – Iron Man (2008)

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Characters)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Leslie Bibb, Shaun Toub, Faran Tahir

 

Plot: After being held captive in an Afghan cave, billionaire engineer Tony Stark creates a unique weaponized suit of armor to fight evil.


Tagline – Heroes aren’t born. They’re built

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict:  Great Start to the Franchise

 

Story: Iron Man starts as billionaire engineer Tony Stark (Downey Jr) is captured on a routine weapon visit to Afghanistan showing off his latest weapon, his capturer wants him to build a new weapon, but Tony was injured and is in shock at the number of weapons from his company they have.

Tony builds a suit which he will use to escape and save his own life, one which could be used to fight evil, he becomes Iron Man. His long-time friend Rhodey (Howard) is impressed with his new toy, and his partner Obadiah Stane (Bridges) wants to use the weapon to continue the war effort. Tony will have to learn the position he is know in the world to learn to protect it.

 

Thoughts on Iron Man

 

Characters – Tony Stark is a billionaire playboy engineer who has been developing the latest weapons to defend the home land, he looks down on most the people he meets including the soldiers showing around the warzone. He gets captured and designs a weapon that sees him escape, he makes himself Iron Man which will keep him alive, which sees him looking at life through different eyes, where he doesn’t want to supply weapons in conflict. Rhodey is the military best friend of Tony’s he uses the weapons created to help his men, he can get tired of Tony’s partying lifestyle. Obadiah Stane ran Stark enterprise after Tony’s parents death, he has mentored Tony in business, but is left with a difficult decision after Tony’s decision to stop making weapons. Pepper Potts is Tony’s assistant, she handles the affairs while he gets on with his business.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr is fantastic in the leading role, we can believe his confidence and cocky nature that he is showing through the film. Terrence Howard is playing a more grounded character, he would go onto be replaced in this role, he just doesn’t have the complete opposite against that Robert brings. Jeff Bridges is strong as the villainous businessman who is controlled by greed. Gwyneth Paltrow does a solid job as Pepper, where she is going to become a character we get to know through the franchise.

StoryThe story shows us how Tony Stark went from businessman to Iron Man after learning the cost of his weapons which are being used on both sides of the war and must stop the man running his family’s company into the ground with these action. For origin stories we get to see the change in Tony’s mentality over the course of the story which is what will make somebody a hero. We don’t get the completely over the top destruction, with most of the fight scenes blending into the story where we see Tony learning how to control his suit. We get the first steps into the Marvel Cinematic Universe which brings the franchise to life with this just needing to give the hero an early villain that will make him a new hero in the world.

Action/Sci-Fi The action in this film comes war sequences and how Tony learns about his suits capabilities, the first mission shows what we are going to see in the future. The sci-fi elements in this film comes from how the suit is created to keep Tony alive and the new levels of technology involved.

SettingsThe film takes us to a couple of locations, Miami where Tony lives shows his playboy lifestyle, the Afghan locations show how the war is being fought with the two different sides and the same weapons.

Special EffectsThe effects used in this film show us the scale of what Tony will have do to survive, we have the idea of his heart that never looks out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
Iron Man’s first mission.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Rhodey isn’t the most interesting character in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful beginning to the franchise which would go onto change how cinema is experienced, it has the origin of an unknown character to the casual fans of comic book movies, which works for laughs and action, without being a comedy.

 

Overall: Fun, entertaining and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – P – Perfect Creature (2006)

Director: Glenn Standring

Writer: Glenn Standring (Screenplay)

Starring: Dougray Scott, Saffron Burrows, Leo Gregory, Scott Wills, Stuart Wilson, Craig Hall

 

Plot: The vampire myth is given a stylish 1960s treatment, where a human cop partners with a vampire cop to stop a vamp bent on creating a war between the two “separate but equal” races.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Underworld Rip Off

 

Story: Perfect Creature starts in a world where vampires are known as the Brotherhood, an elite society that doesn’t feed on humans instead lives above them, for 300 hundred years this has been the way but now things are about to change. Edgar (Gregory) one of the brotherhood has gone rogue and started feeding on humans, Silus (Scott) his brother must team up with a human cop Lilly (Burrows) to stop him.

Once they capture Edgar, Silus learns more about the bigger plan in the brotherhood and the work Edgar had been working on. When Edgar escapes we get to see Silus team up with Lilly once again to save the outbreak of a virus that could wipe out both races.

 

Thoughts on Perfect Creature

 

Characters – Silus is the vampire from the brotherhood, he has a connection with his brother Edgar and will not let him take over once he becomes the blood thirty infected version of himself. Lilly is the nonsense cop that has suffered her own share of heartache with the viruses in the world, she doesn’t take any shit from anyone she believes to be guilty. Edgar is the brother of Silus that has become infected while trying to find the next cure for the human and Brotherhood medical problems which makes him the first member of the brotherhood to kill a human.

PerformanceDougray Scott is fine without being that impactful in the leading role and the same could be said for Saffron Burrows, the highlight of the film would be Leo Gregory as the Edgar the bloody thirsty crazy vampire.

StoryThe story does feel like it could be another chapter of the Underworld saga, it has the vampires of the world living in peace with the humans but when one goes rogue it becomes personal. This isn’t the most original and strays too far into the middle of the fantasy world we are trying so desperately to head towards. We don’t find enough time to create the fantasy world that could become a franchise let alone a new story because in the end this could have just been a crime thriller.

Action/Fantasy/HorrorThe action is fine, it mostly contains fights that try to offer an extra punch where needed but isn’t the most original, while the fantasy world doesn’t click for the story we are experiencing, the horror is tame too with it only being a couple of vampire like moments.

SettingsWe have murky settings which is designed to show us the different in class between the two races.

Special EffectsThe effects are all fine and at least the film doesn’t turn into a bad CGI moment film.

Scene of the Movie – The special gun that instant sleeps and enemy.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It just doesn’t seem to feel fresh in any way.

Final ThoughtsDisappointing movie that doesn’t connect with the audience on the levels it could have because it wants to be a fantasy film but plays out only like a dark crime thriller.

 

Overall: Disappointing film.

Rating