Franchise Weekend – Open Water 2: Adrift (2006)

Director: Hans Horn

Writer: Ada Kreutner, Collin McMahon, David Mitchell, Richard Speight Jr (Screenplay)

Starring: Susan May Pratt, Richard Speight Jr, Niklaus Lange, Ali Hillis, Cameron Richardson, Eric Dane

 

Plot: When a group of friends fail to lower the ladder of their boat, they find themselves stranded in the surrounding waters and struggle to survive.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Thriller

 

Story: Adrift starts as Amy (Pratt) along with husband James (Speight Jr) as she reunites with old friends for Zach’s (Lange) birthday, we also are joined by Lauren (Hillis) on Dan’s (Dane) yacht with his new flame Michelle (Richardson) for a weekend at sea.

Amy has a fear of the water to which Dan tries to cure by taking her into the ocean, with the rest of the friends, but this brings back all the traumatic memories and to make things worse the friends forgot to put a ladder up. The friends must now figure out how to get back onto the boat where Amy’s baby is sleeping.

 

Thoughts on Adrift

 

Characters/PerformanceAmy is the new mother with a fear of the water thanks to a childhood incident, she goes on this trip to see old friends but must face her fears to survive and save her baby. James is the husband of Amy that is meeting most of these friends for the first time. Zach is the birthday boy that brings the friends together, we see how he has always had a crush on the other friend Lauren the daredevil of the group who has travelled the world. Michelle is the new flame of Dan’s who has never met the other people and is a party animal.  Dan is the owner of the boat and has been letting his money pay for the parties for the groups whole time.

Performance wise, it would be fair to say everybody in this film is fine, not great, not bad just fine because there isn’t too much acting to be done here.

StoryThe story is simple, six friend find themselves trapped off their boat in the middle of the ocean after forgetting the ladder. We have the struggle to find a way to get back on the boat and that is the story, sure, we do have a few weak emotional connections to what the guys could have achieved but nothing that strong here.

Adventure/HorrorThe adventure breeds the nightmare that is the horror of potentially drowning while you are so close to safety, it does work because it doesn’t get to the full extremes.

SettingsThe middle of the ocean is always an easy and reliable setting for a film like this to unfold and easily the highlight of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is solid and does work for all the horror it tries to give us, the problem is while the peril is scary it is mostly just waiting to die.

 

Overall: Solid but not edge of your seat stuff here.

Rating

 

 

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Bliss! (2018)

Director: Rita Osei

Writer: Alex Ferguson (Screenplay) Rita Osei, Jenny Wilkes (Story)

Starring: Freya Parks, David Leon, Montserrat Lombard, Lauren Johns, Elvira Von Der Lippe, Lara Arentz-Hansen

 

Plot: Tasha Robson, 16, has run away from home! While she rides the waves aboard the large ferry heading from South Shields, England to Scandinavia in search of her unknown father, “The Viking” all is less than calm in the Robson household.


Tagline – Families need fathers.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sweet Coming of Age Film

 

Story: Bliss! Starts when 16-year-old Tasha (Parks) learns that the man she believes is her father Charlie (Leon) isn’t her father, turning to her mother Karen (Lombard) for answers she decides to go in search for her real father.

Learning her dad was nicknamed The Viking, Tasha heads to Norway in search for him, where she gets to experience a new culture and hopefully find answers to help her in life.

 

Thoughts on Bliss!

 

Characters – Tasha is a 16-year-old that has lived a tough life in South Shields growing up in a dysfunctional family, she learns that the man she thought was her father isn’t, she decides to head off in search for her father which takes her to Norway. Charlie is the man Tasha thought was her father, he is an alcoholic that always gets welcomed back by Karen no matter what he does. Karen is the mother of Tasha who has many jobs and doesn’t seem to give her children the most amount of time. We get to see the rest of the siblings which are different in their own way, have their own problems to deal with.

PerformancesFreya Parks in the leading role is strong in the film, we get to see her adventure, which gives her the desperation needed for the trip and unsure feeling her character would have during the situation. The rest of the cast get to do through their own emotional moments to help with where their story end up going.

StoryThe story here mostly follows Tasha as she wants to learn the true identity about who her father is after becoming tired of the abusive behaviour of the man she believes is her father. This sends a teenager on the trip across the North Sea to a new land, which is the most interesting part of the story to be following. When we don’t follow Tasha we get a weakness because we follow siblings dealing with their own problems and even given Charlie an important story arc which Tasha misses completely. If we had just focused on Tasha this would have been a great watch instead we fall to good because of the fact is there is too many stories to focus on as they don’t get enough time in the spotlight.

Adventure The adventure that Tasha goes on is one that is surprising and important, because she is not prepared for which only adds to story.

SettingsThe film shows us in South Shields which feels confined and almost dead end feeling, when we get to Norway we get the beauty spots and open landscapes which show Tasha the two different states of life, one her mother lives the other is where her father is meant to be.


Scene of the Movie –
Let it out.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Side stories.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good coming of age movies that shows us just how difficult life can be when what you thought was your life is in fact false.

 

Overall: Good coming of age movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – P – Pompeii (2014)

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Writer: Janet Scott Batchler, Lee Batchler, Michael Robert Johnson (Screenplay)

Starring: Kit Harrington, Carrie-Anne Moss, Emily Browning, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jessica Lucas, Jared Harris, Kiefer Sutherland

 

Plot: A slave-turned-gladiator finds himself in a race against time to save his true love, who has been betrothed to a corrupt Roman Senator. As Mount Vesuvius erupts, he must fight to save his beloved as Pompeii crumbles around him.


Tagline – No warning. No escape

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Mindless Action

 

Story: Pompeii starts as the last Celt Milo (Harrington) as slaved turned gladiator gets transported to Pompeii for the last arena to show his power in. while Milo is being prepared for his latest fight against fearless gladiator Atticus (Akinnuoye-Agbaje) who has one last fight before freedom. Outside his prison, Cassia (Browning) is being lined-up for any bachelors from around the world including Corvus (Sutherland) the man that led the army that butchered Milo’s family.

When Milo and Cassia meet they know they are in love, though the different positions making their love impossible, shown the true colours of Corvus, it is the volcano Mount Vesuvius that will decide these characters fates.

 

Thoughts on Pompeii

 

Characters – Milo is a Celt, his family was butchered when he was a young boy, now he is the last of his kind, a slave turned gladiator, one that is unbeaten in combat. He falls for Cassia the heir to the throne of Pompeii and once the destruction starts he must risk his life to save her. Cassia is the heir to the throne, not interested in the men she is being arranged with seeing something different in Milo, she is being forced to marry Corvus to save her family until the volcano strikes and she needs saving by her true love. Corvus is the evil ruler from Rome, he has conquered around the world killing millions, he will do anything to survive including killing innocent people and uses his position of power to do whatever he wants. Atticus is fellow gladiator who fights with honour even though this could be his last fight because winning would me freedom, he becomes friends with Milo as they work together to escape their enemies.

PerformancesKit Harrington freshly out of Game of Thrones step into this role and does a good job without needing to do too much with the fighting being great to watch. Emily Browning is good too which is same for most of the supporting cast, we do have a couple of weak performances and over the top Kiefer Sutherland is one you will laugh off.

StoryThe story here tries to create the normal Roman traditions on the eve of the Mount Vesuvius eruption. So we do need to break this down a little bit more, first the whole gladiator fighting for freedom and the love of the heir of the city is mostly forgettable, it is almost trying to pull a Titanic with this angle for a love story in the mist of a disaster. Once the eruption starts the story gets more interesting because we learn the true colour of characters, though we do know the outcome making certain moments in the escape feel almost pointless including one where Atticus saves a little girl.  For a disaster movie with elements around it, we have an entertaining enough story, just one that tries too hard to give a fictionally twist on a real event.

Action/Adventure/History/RomanceThe action in the film is good to watch and easily the highlight, we have different sword or weapon fights, chase sequences and destruction. You could easily say the adventure side of things is Milo trying to escape which is a fair enough game to be watching. Now the history, this is hard because this eruption was a real event, what was going on at the time isn’t as clear. Mixing the real events with this nonsense romantic angle doesn’t help though.

SettingsThe film does make us feel like we are in Pompeii for the most part, the destruction sequences show us just how much of a panic it would have been for the victims of the disaster.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are mixed, we get moments that could have been better mostly to do with the larger sequences though.


Scene of the Movie –
The eruption.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Milo in the gladiator time, really?

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough disaster movie that does the action well though it has a pointless romance angle.

 

Overall: Simple disaster movie.

Rating

 

 

The Predator (2018)

Director: Shane Black

Writer: Fred Dekker, Shane Black (Screenplay) Jim Thomas, John Thomas (Characters)

Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Sterling K Brown, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen

 

Plot: When a young boy accidentally triggers the universe’s most lethal hunters’ return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.


Tagline – You’ll never see him coming.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Commits to Comical Tone

 

Story: The Predator starts as we meet elite sniper Quinn McKenna (Holbrook) whose latest job sees a spacecraft crash land with a Predator butchering his team, with a few goodies he finds, he sends home, knowing what is coming. With his son Rory (Tremblay) being an Asperger’s sufferer, he accidently unlocks the code trapped within the system.

Government agent Traeger (Brown) is trying to unlock the system and when the captured Predator escapes, Quinn must team up with other soldiers branded crazy, Nebraska (Rhodes), Coyle (Key), Baxley (Jane), Lynch (Allen) and Nettles (Aguilera) who help scientist Casey (Munn) find a solution for the new Predator problem.

 

Thoughts on The Predator

 

Characters – Quinn McKenna is a sniper who finds himself in the middle of the latest Predator ship crash landing, surviving his first encounter with the creature, he uses the technology to escape, he must use his training to protect his son and save the world from the impending attack. We do know he isn’t the best family man, but this night should bring him closer to his son. Nebraska is one of the ‘crazy’ soldiers, he will help Quinn becoming the connection between the rest pushing them to do the right thing. Rory is the Asperger’s sufferer that can solve puzzles others can barely unpack, he is your typical different student and school, the outsider if you like. Casey is the scientist bought in to help understand just what is happening with the Predator’s visiting Earth and certain questions about their DNA. Traeger is the government that is trying to keep the lid on everything, he will kill anyone that cross the government to keep secrets and has a dark sense of humour. The rest of the soldiers, Coyle, Baxley, Lynch and Nettles do have their own problems from serving in the military with this battle giving them a chance to redeem themselves.

PerformancesBoyd Holbrook in the leading role is good for the film, he doesn’t reach the levels of Arnie and will fit in well with the rest of the leads. Trevante Rhodes is the guy you most want to watch, he gets the best scenes for the military unit. Jacob Tremblay is getting a reputation for playing kids with troubled sides, he seems to be excellent at this type of role, this however would be his weakest outing so far. Olivia Munn is good even though she doesn’t get the best scenes to work with. Sterling K Brown makes for a great fun human villain and the rest of the unit show good chemistry.

StoryThe story here follows another group of soldiers that come face to face with a Predator and must fight back to survive, this time we have a bigger, badder Predator. Now is a fun story to watch, however if you are a fan of the original this will not give you everything you want to see. The biggest plus in this movie is explaining why the Predators visit Earth, watching this is the right move for the franchise. The story does show insensitive when it comes to dealing with the military unit that clearly have their own mental health problems which sadly gets overlooked and turned into a running joke. For a man of Shane Black’s calibre, we would expect better written scenes, instead of just lazy insults. The key element to take away from the story is that we are watching something fun that has moved away from the original tone.

Action/Adventure/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is big, we get the fights which are big and bloody which is all we want to see, the horror does take a back burner as even when the film tries to be suspenseful it falls short, but the blood does help us out here. The sci-fi side of the film comes from trying to build a bigger world for the Predators to visit from.

SettingsThe film doesn’t make use of the settings too, we get the woodland area which plays into Predators speciality.

Special EffectsThe effects here are very weak for the budget, the opening sequence alone is poor for what we would expect, when it comes to the camouflage ability doesn’t even look better than the 87 film.


Scene of the Movie –
Hello big boy.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Making a joke of the mental health problems soldiers face.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun sequel, the tone does stay the same from start to finish which other big blockbusters have failed to do, we get to see more about the history of Predators and most importantly we learn just how deadly they can be.

 

Overall: Fun and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

Easy Rider (1969)

Director: Dennis Hopper

Writer: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Terry Southern (Screenplay)

Starring: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Antonio Mendoza, Phil Spector, Jack Nicholson

 

Plot: Two counterculture bikers travel from Los Angeles to New Orleans in search of America.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Cultural Event

 

Story: Easy Rider starts as our two hippies Wyatt (Fonda) and Billy (Hopper) pick up their parcel in LA, which leaves them to set out on their adventure to New Orleans for Mardi Grad. Along the way they spend time with fellow hippies before finding themselves in jail.

George Hanson (Nicholson) the town drunk lawyer gets them out of jail and gets invited along to New Orleans with the two and as they continue their journey they must deal with being treated differently.

 

Thoughts on Easy Rider

 

Characters – Wyatt is one of the two friends travelling, he is the more laid back of the two keeping Billy in line when he starts to question moments and never finding himself too out of it on the drugs. Billy is the friend that just wants to get the job done, though when he stops he takes more grass than he needs to have. George Hanson is a lawyer that has a drinking problem, he helps the two get out of jail and joins them on their adventure across country enjoying the drugs for the first time.

PerformancesThe performances from Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper are both great, they completely embrace their characters with their own unique look to defying the hippie era. Jack Nicholson in the supporting role is great too showing just the talent he was going to show us all.

StoryThe story here shows us two hippies travelling across America, which for the time of release would have been one of the truest movies you could see in a story, but not it feels like a glimpse into the past events in America, which once again shows us how American can’t treat people equal. If you have never studied the hippie era you won’t understand most of the story if I am being honest because it is an moment that doesn’t connect to all.

AdventureThe adventure the two friends go on does take them across America, but it is hard to figure out which state they are in for the most part.

SettingsThe settings are hard to tell about in this film, the only one I could pick out was the airport in LA at the beginning.


Scene of the Movie –
The first night the three are together.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not understand the direction of their trip.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that was cultural relevant for the time of release, it hasn’t dated by the best standard and now leaves us watching a time that if you never lived through you wouldn’t understand.

 

Overall: One of the culture books.

Rating