Sightings (2017)

Director: Dallas Morgan

Writer: Dallas Morgan (Screenplay)

Starring: Dante Basco, Kevin Sizemore, Boo Arnold, Tahlia Morgan, Rawn Erickson, Jason J Lewis

 

Plot: A character-driven sci-fi mystery about a dysfunctional family living on a ranch in TX threatened by a cryptid in their woods. Ultimately, they must overcome their interpersonal conflict in order to unite and survive.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Twist on the Alien Theory

 

Story: Sightings starts as small town Sheriff Tom Mayfield (Arnold) on his last day gets yet another call from his local crazy believing they have seen something on their property, to make the matters worse Tom discovered butchered women on his property, but remains to retire.

The case brings down detective Brendan Pitney (Sizemore) who puts Tom as the main suspect, but we also have Akiro (Basco) and Rebecca Otis (Drapeau) who believe there is more supernatural motives behind what happened, could it be a man, alien or even bigfoot.

 

Thoughts on Sightings

 

Characters – Tom Mayfield is the former sheriff that has step down for a quiet life, but his property becomes a crime scene and he must face his former demons of his wife’s disappearance to rebuild his relationship with his daughter to protect her from the same fate. Hannah is the daughter of Tom’s she dreams of being a writer with this latest case being her chance to potential stop getting the constant rejection letters. Detective Brendan Pitney is the out of towner that comes believing that Tom is the man responsible for the killings on his land, he takes his time to come around to the truth, while hoping to get a job for the FBI.

PerformancesBoo Arnold is good in this leading role as the conflicted father and former lawman, Kevin Sizemore is fun as the detective that wants more from his job and isn’t the nicest guy, while Tahlia Morgan does a good job as the daughter to Tom. We get solid performances from the whole cast in the long run of this movie.

StoryThe story follows a family that must face the biggest divide they had to overcome a new threat which could finish them. We have the idea of a legendary threat which teases and plays into mixing a couple of theories which would make sense if certain elements are true. We have a mystery throw in as we see what happened to our family and as this unfolds we see this new threat.

Adventure/Sci-FiThe adventure feels like we watching the family and friends are pulled together to take on the threat which is sci-fi threat.

SettingsThe small town setting does work for the film because it shows how the people will work together against the unknown.

Special EffectsThe effects are fine, we don’t see too much which does add to parts of the film as we don’t know the full look of the enemy.


Scene of the Movie –
Final Showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We could have seen more of the creature.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good spin on aliens and bigfoot that does work to plan into the theories that mix the two together.

 

Overall: Go for a bigfoot alien twist.

Rating

 

 

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The Golden Compass (2007)

Director: Chris Weitz

Writer: Chris Weitz (Screenplay) Philip Pullman (Novel)

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Dakota Blue Richards, Ben Walker, Freddie Highmore, Ian McKellen, Eva Green, Sam Elliott

 

Plot: In a parallel universe, young Lyra Belacqua journeys to the far North to save her best friend and other kidnapped children from terrible experiments by a mysterious organization.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Been Here Seen This

 

Story: The Golden Compass starts in a world with parallel universes where the human spirits can walk next to humans in animal form known as daemons, with a Golden Compass being the only way to find the different universes. We meet young Lyra (Richards) who lives with her Uncle Lord Asriel (Craig) who is an adventurer that is seeking the Dust which can travel between universes.

With the children getting taken by Goblers Lyra in her high life promises to search for poor boy Roger’s (Walker). Lyra is chosen by Mrs Coulter (Kidman) to help with her research in the North which just so happens to be where Lord Asriel is heading, in what looks like a battle for the dust.

Learning that Mrs Coulter is behind the missing children Lyra teams up with a host of other characters in the Gyptians as they search for the children and her Uncle before Coulter’s research is complete.

 

Thoughts on The Golden Compass

 

Characters/PerformanceLyra is the type of leading child you will need for this type of film, she comes from a rich background, she is curious and brave. Mrs Coulter comes along as the villainous character that believes in the cause she is fighting for with Lord Asriel is the explorer looking to change the future. The rest of the characters do their part well as Lyra goes on her adventure.

Performance wise, Kidman and Craig both do a good job in their roles, but it is Richards that really struggles in the lead role, she is meant to come off posh but too often comes off a common which takes away from the character.

StoryThe story is one I have come to believe was butchered from the book, which when you watch you can see, it gets the basics correct but anything which involved developing a character sadly gets forgotten as the film unfolds. The story ends up becoming slightly messy and focuses on just doing action to cover the lack of story.

Adventure/Family/FantasyThe adventure side of this film should be clear, but it just shows one person’s adventure, I don’t feel the family could enjoy this movie but the fantasy world we find ourselves in does work well.

SettingsThe settings all look good with their own fancy way of saying countries we all know in the world just having slight twists on them.

Special EffectsMost of the special effects all work well, but there are moments which look pretty bad for the CGI.

Final ThoughtsIf you want a cliff hanger that never gets complete, well here is the film for you.

 

Overall: This seems like a solid start to the franchise but we will never see the end.

Rating

 

 

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

Director: Michael Bay

Writer: Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan (Screenplay) Akiva Goldsman, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan (Story)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, Laura Haddock, Santiago Cabrera, Isabela Moner, Stanley Tucci

 

Plot: Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Mad Action Film

 

Story: Transformers: The Last Knight starts as we learn about the ancient battles the English had where the Transformers helped Merlin (Tucci) win the battle. The world has now banned from most places on the Earth but in Cuba they are still welcomed. Optimus Prime is gone and the Transformers continue to arrival. Cade Yeager (Wahlberg) continues to protect the Transformers with Colonel William Lennox (Duhamel) refuses let the good Autobots from being captured but the impending return of Megatron brings the threats to Earth.

Meanwhile in England Sir Edmund Burton (Hopkins) is preparing for the final battle, Vivian Wembley (Haddock) doesn’t believe in the legends of King Arthur and her tours prove what it could be. On Cybertron Optimus Prime wants to rebuild his home planet which means returning to Earth to find an ancient Staff giving to Merlin.

Cade finds himself teaming up with Vivian in the middle of the battle between the Decepticons, Autobots and the Government as Cybertron heads towards Earth which would cause the end of the world.

 

Thoughts on Transformers: The Last Knight

 

Characters/PerformanceCade Yeager is now an outlaw hiding the Autobots in a junkyard, here he lives a quiet life but when a new threat heads toward Earth he finds himself being selected as the Last Knight that can fight to save the Earth. Sir Edmund Burton is the guardian of the secrets of the Transformers, he fills in all the gaps as to what is happening as well as bringing together the team. Vivian Wembley is an anti-believer in the history of King Arthur but when she learns she is the last descendant of Merlin she must work with Cade to save the Earth. Vivian is added for a new love interest for Cade and the high educated between the two.

We have the military characters which includes the returning Colonel Lennox, who just do military stuff and mostly get in the way. The King Arthur and Merlin figure who just re-tell the story we know. We have the comic relief with Izabella, Jimmy and many of the Transformers but we never get too close to any of the characters.

The performances are what you have come to expect, Wahlberg is good in the leading role even if he can look lost at times he has the charisma to lead the films, Laura Haddock adds class with her performance by not only being the stunning woman but a smart one, and Anthony Hopkins enjoys the chance to have fun in a mega blockbuster.

StoryThe Transformers storylines are never the most in detail stories, we know this by now on film number 5. We mix into the Transformers story King Arthur legend, well it is new and does continue to world build and it is as nonsense as you expect for a Transformers film because if we are being honest the story isn’t the most important part of the film.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is massive once more with Transformer battles in a giant scale and the city-wide battles and even ocean size battles being a massive experience. The adventure takes across the world again to save the world from not only Megatron but Cybertron this time. The sci-fi side does bring us into a world of giant robots that can be vehicles in a giant space battle.

SettingsWe have a couple of settings, we see how Chicago still devastated by the effects of the previous films, the hidden locations of Cade at the Autobots, we also have London being used for the chase sequences and while this isn’t anything new it is a fun watch, but in the end, we just use locations of iconic landmarks.

Special EffectsThe effects for the battles are great throughout the film bring us into the story to enjoy the massive over the top battles.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that always gets criticized because it doesn’t have the most intense storyline but the reality is this is one franchise that is all about the massive action sequences that take away of beliefs needed for the world of Transformers.

 

Overall: Bonkers, Enjoyable, nonsense action film

Rating

 

 

The Warriors’ Gate (2017)

Director: Matthias Hoene

Writer: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Chao, Ni Ni, Dave Bautista, Sienna Guillory, Uriah Shelton, Francis Ng

 

Plot: A teenager is magically transported to China and learns to convert his video game skills into those of a Kung Fu warrior

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Blast

 

Story: The Warriors’ Gate starts as we follow gamer teenager Jack (Shelton) whose single mother Annie (Guillory) is struggling to make ends meet, he is bullied at school but has a Chinese antique shop owner friend that gives him a gift which has passed down through generations of his family.

That gift is a pot which brings out an ancient princess Su Lin (Ni) and Zhoo (Chao), when Su Lin is captured by ancient warriors, Jack is transported to ancient China in search for Su Lin in an adventure with Zhoo to save the princess from Arun (Bautista) and his massive army.

 

Thoughts on The Warriors’ Gate

 

Characters – Jack is the gamer kid, bullied and struggling home life, he is taken to Ancient China where he must learn to fight for himself, stand up for what is right, all to save the princess, while this isn’t the most original character design, it is all that is needed for the leading role. Zhoo is the great warrior that must guide Jack through Ancient China to save Su Lin, his life has been training to be the warrior and this will be his greatest moment. Su Lin in the princess who will become the Empress of China, she loves the new world she enters in America but once captured and returned to Ancient China she is able to be forced to marrying Arun. Arun is the evil ruler that wants to marry Su Lin so he can become Emperor of China. He doesn’t bluff but can be misunderstood by his soldiers. Annie the mother of Jack just trying to give him the best chances in life.

PerformancesUriah Shelton taking the leading role does a good job throughout the film working very well with both Mark Chao and Ni Ni. Mark Chao fills the mentor warrior role to be entertaining and watching the two together is enjoyable. Ni Ni is the entertaining in her role. The big name draw for this film is Dave Bautista who strangely becomes similar to the Chris Pratt role form Guardians of the Galaxy to him needing to explain codes, but does get to enjoy the villainous role.

StoryThe story takes our unsung wimpy teenager that needs to grow up and stand up for himself, to do this he ends up in ancient China where he must learn a new culture to save a princess from evil ruler. While this isn’t the most original concept it does check all the entertainment check points, but the one aspect that is original is having our main character learning moments needed from video games which is why the confusion starts in the first place. If you want an easy to follow story, that is light hearted with plenty of action this is great fun.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action through the film is all purely entertaining with the opening bike chase through the town being a big highlight. The adventure side of the film takes Jack in the new world for an adventure of a lifetime. The fantasy world created explains how the different worlds can meet.

SettingsThe two main worlds show the modern world that Jack lives in works well without being new, the ancient China setting follows the generic ideas of what we expect to see.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well through the film, there is one easy to see blue screen moment but otherwise things all click when needed.


Scene of the Movie –
Bike Chase, even though it is early in the film, it shows the level of entertainment we are going to get.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not everything is original.

Chances of Sequel: We could have one.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertaining film that does check the all the marks needed for a generic action film which entertains from start to finish.

 

Overall: Entertaining action movie.

Rating

 

 

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn (Screenplay) Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons (Comic Book)

Starring: Taron Egerton, Pedro Pascal, Sophie Cookson, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges

 

Plot: When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman’s journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure Blast of Fun

 

Story: Kingsman: The Golden Circle starts when the Kingsman are left for ruin with only Eggsy (Egerton) and Merlin (Strong) making it out of a calculated attack by drug lord Poppy (Moore) who is using former failed applicant Charlie (Holcroft) to do her work.

Searching for the Doomsday play, Eggsy and Merlin head to Kentucky and for Stateman to work with their agents Tequila (Tatum) Ginger Ale (Berry), Champagne (Bridges) and Whiskey (Pascal) to learn more about the Golden Circle which is the only other clue they have, it isn’t long before Poppy reveals her plan to the world and now the two Kingman and Stateman must work together to stop her with the help of an old friend.

 

Thoughts on Kingsman: The Golden Circle

 

Characters – First the Kingsman Eggys is now a proven Kingsman, a year has passed and his working relationship with Merlin and Roxy are the highest they have ever been. When he losses most of his team, he is reunited with Harry and must use his skills to return Harry to his former glory and save the world. Merlin continues his gadget man role but gets to learn with Ginger Ale about newer technology, where the two work to help the field team. Harry survived, well we get a loose story that works as to why but he is damaged spending the year not remembering who he is, when his memory does return to him, he isn’t the same man but does still have the edge.

The Statesman, Tequila is the agent that first discovers the Kingsman in their base, he asks the questions and feels almost like an American Eggys. Champagne is the leader of the Statesman who sets out the missions. Ginger Ale is the gadget woman that dreams of being able to go into the field but for now she works with Merlin. Whiskey is the agent that goes out into the field with Eggys and is easily the best character from the Statesman side of things with his lasso in hand, he gets all the best fight scenes.

Poppy is our main villain, she is a drug lord living off the grid, she has everyone in the palm of her hands but now she wants to be remembered as the successful businesswoman that she believes she is, by making her drugs legal, which looking at the reasoning seems like a good idea for her motives. She does have an evil side which comes out with how she is demanding people to accept what she is doing or they will die and forcing Elton John to sing for her.

We do have a large cast but with the length of the movie the most important characters do all get the required screen time.

PerformancesTaron Egerton once again does a great job in the leading role showing the street smarts one minute and the upper class the next, Mark Strong and Colin Firth both enjoy their roles never putting a foot wrong. Julianne Moore relishes playing the villain and makes the most of it. The weakest performances come from Bridges and Tatum but that is mostly because they have very few scenes and are both here to drag in a certain audience. Halley Berry does a good job in her role not demanding the attention which other gadget figures have in the past, but to me Pedro Pascal is the scene stealer here, he loves the action sequences, understands how his character is meant to be over the top too.

StoryThe story here does increase the scale of everything, it brings the Kingsman into an international ring of secret agent which opens many more doors in the future, but it does bottle down to needing to face one crazy genius who has an enhanced goon as their main protection. The villain does have good motives for their plan, which is different for most villains who just what the money or revenge, the idea of bringing Harry back while farfetched does play into the bigger story too. If you wanted bigger, you get it here and even though the film is longer than you would like it to be it just doesn’t get slow.

Action/AdventureThe action is large scale with the usual well-placed action sequences with the ski lift being the most impressive of the lot. The adventure side of the film does take the agents all over the world to face different environments for battle.

SettingsAs we said we jump around the world, we start in London, head to Sweden, Kentucky, Italy and Cambodia for our main settings which gives us different environments to fight in.

Special EffectsThis is one of the weakest elements of the film, it does make things bigger which does force the use of CGI and the large-scale scenes do at times take you out of the moment.


Scene of the Movie –
Ski lift.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Travelling around the world never happened so quickly.

Chances of Sequel: I am sure we will get one.

Final ThoughtsIf you wanted a sequel that is just as fun as the original, then you will find it here, it builds a larger universe which we know is something we don’t always need, we have a great villain with a smart plan, we also have enjoyable action throughout.

 

Overall: One of the most fun action films of the year.

Rating