ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – O – OtherLife (2017)

Director: Ben C Lucas

Writer: Kelley Eskridge, Ben C Lucas, Gregory Widen (Screenplay)

Starring: Jessica De Gouw, Thomas Cocquerel, T.J. Power, Shalom Brune-Franklin, Sarah Anjuli, Liam Graham, Tiriel Mora, Clarence John Ryan

 

Plot: After inventing a drug that induces time-compressed virtual realities, young Ren grapples with partner Sam over how to use their powerful creation.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Smart Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: OtherLife starts as Ren Amari (De Gouw) is trying to sale her brilliant invention, a virtual reality world creator that can let you experience breath taking moments within minutes of your life. With her partner Sam (Power) they could be about to change the world, though Ren has been working on a side project to help save her brother, who didn’t survive the virtual experience.

When Ren puts her boyfriend Danny (Cocquerel) on her latest project disaster strikes and she is left facing jail time, unless she complies with Sam and the correction department that want to use her creation to teach criminals a lesson in a matter of minutes, she becomes the first person to go through one year in one minute, can she survive this isolation, until she learns the truth about the last year of her life.

 

Thoughts on OtherLife

 

Characters – Rem Amari is a brilliant programmer who created OtherLife, a virtual reality program that lets people live life experiences in minutes, as her ambitious continues to grow, so does the risks she is willing to take, this is until something goes wrong. She is meant to be the first trialist of a long-term experience in correctional behaviour, but after her year in the system she learns the truth and must learn what has actually happened to her. Danny is the boyfriend of Ren’s that she believes she accidentally kills leading her to take the deal in the first place. Sam is the partner in the company, he is interested in profit over the science which causing friction between the two, he even talks Ren into making the deal in the first place.

PerformancesJessica De Gouw is wonderful in the leading role, we get to see how someone can be changed with a limited capacity that does make us believe everything she is going through, she is clearly the best performer in this film. when we look at the rest of the cast we do get good performances without them being at the same level as Jessica.

StoryThe story here takes us to a world where we are looking at the reality of virtual reality experiences in minutes as we follow one woman that wants her design to help bring her brother out of his coma, but the risks push things too far leading to her needing to take the next experience. This is a sci-fi film that will make you think from start to finish and does have twists along the way which is all I ever ask for in sci-fi films. The biggest aspect behind this film is playing into the idea of experiencing something yourself or tricking your brain into experiencing it for you.

Crime/Mystery/Sci-Fi The crime side of the film comes to us through the human experiments that were not legal for certain parts of them. The mystery comes from Ren’s experience in the correctional system as she needs to learn to unlock the truth about what is happening. The sci-fi side of the film comes from the technology and the usage it receives by playing the programs in the brain.

SettingsThe film takes us on the locational tour of the film, we have the office complex as well as the isolated location Ren finds herself in, while we also head to the locations which would be off the map.

Special EffectsThe effects are strong throughout as we see the different moments being used for different positions the characters are in.


Scene of the Movie –
The clocks countdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It would have been nice to see a couple more locations you could experience.

Final ThoughtsThis is a smart sci-fi film that does offer the questions I enjoy seeing in sci-fi films about increased usage of technology, it has a strong leading performance from Jessica De Gouw and does keep you guessing until the very end.

 

Overall: Sci-fi to enjoy testing the brain.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Kickboxer: Vengeance (2016)

Director: John Stockwell

Writer: Dimitri Logothetis, Jim McGrath (Screenplay) Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mark DiSalle (Characters)

Starring: Alain Moussi, Dave Bautista, Gina Carano, Georges St-Pierre, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Sara Malakul Lane

 

Plot: A kick boxer is out to avenge his brother.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple & Enjoyable

 

Story: Kickboxer: Vengeance starts as Kurt Sloane (Moussi) arrives in Thailand in search for underground fighter Tong Po (Bautista) the man that killed his brother Eric (Shahlavi) in one of the underground fights. Eric was trained by Durand (Van Damme) a master in his own right.

When Kurt’s plan goes wrong Tong Po has his arrested leaving local cop Liu (Lane) to hide him in Durand’s place, where he can have the training he requires if he is ever going to be able to fight Tong Po.

 

Thoughts on Kickboxer: Vengeance

 

Characters – Kurt Sloane is the young brother of champion fighter, he has trained with him and saw his brother killed in an underground fight. He is out for vengeance, first he must be trained by Durand to be ready to take on such a fighter, while this is a simple character to create, we don’t see him win all his fights preparing for Tong Po, so it is hard to take him serious in a full fight. Tong Po is the champion fighter in Thailand, he is known to have the largest body count in the fighting world, he will fight for honour in the battles, he won’t turn to dirty tricks, making him a strange villain to behold. Master Durand is the man that is training Kurt and his brother previously, an expert in Mauy Thai making him an expert to be learning from. Marcia is the lady pulling the strings, she is setting up the fights to make her own money. We do end up meeting more characters than you would expect, we have cops, corrupt and one that is helping Kurt and other fighters that want to learn from masters.

PerformancesAlain Moussi takes the leading role, known more for his stunt work and fight co-ordination, he does a good job stepping into the shoes made famous by Van Damme himself. Dave Bautista is always going to be a threating villain and he isn’t afraid to step into these roles, he has the look and attitude to pull them off with ease. Jean-Claude Van Damme returns to the film franchise which made him famous, this time he takes the mentor role and does everything you expect from him. While it isn’t her own fault, I do feel like we wasted what we could have had from Gina Carano.

StoryThis is a soft remake of the much loved original, with the Sloane brothers facing Tong Po, get this side of the story straight, it was an easy to follow idea in the first place and this doesn’t do anything to over-complicate things either, it does modernise certain aspects which is good to see, but in the end bottles down to the idea of one man wanting vengeance for his brother’s death, we have the training time and the questioned asked whether it is right or wrong, simple to follow and all we need.

Action/CrimeThe action is the fighting sequences which are hard hitting with different styles through the rounds. The crime story shows us the underground fighting going on.

SettingsThe film is set in Thailand and shows us the big city, the training grounds and the underground fight arenas.


Scene of the Movie –
Final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly confusing why Kurt was escorted out of the country.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action movie with hard hitting fighting sequences that does everything you want in this style of movie.

 

Overall: Hard hitting action film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – V – Veteran (2015)

Director: Seung-wan Ryoo

Writer: Seung-wan Ryoo (Screenplay)

Starring: Jung-min Hwang, Ah-in Yoo, Hae-jin Yoo, Dal-su Oh, Man-sik Jeong

 

Plot: Jo Tae-Oh is a young man who was grown spoiled in a wealthy family. He keeps on committing pretty much every crime that one can think of. He tries to buy his way out of everything which almost always works but Detective Seo Do-Cheol won’t let that happen this time.

Tagline – He will stop at nothing

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Smart Enjoyable Crime Thriller

 

Story: Veteran starts as we see how Seo Do-cheol (Hwang) and his team operate taking down criminals, his latest target in young businessman and vice-president of the family business Jo Tae-oh (Ah-in Yoo) who playboy lifestyle has been raising eyebrows as he can buy himself out of any problems.

When one of the contractors attempt suicide after lack of payment, Seo starts to investigate Tae-oh to bring down his corruption at a price as he puts his career and marriage on the line to bring them down.

 

Thoughts on Veteran

 

Characters – Seo Do-cheol is a detective that has been operating with his team to take down criminals for years now, his latest job made him a connection to a contractor that gets terminated before receiving payment, this gives Seo a chance to look at the vice-president of the company where he must show his determination to expose the truth and bring him down against everyone else’s opinions. Jo Tae-oh is the vice-president of a family company where he has more money then sense which lets him indulge in illegal part of life with his lawyer needing to clean up his actions.

PerformancesThe performances from the whole cast are good, Jung-min Hwang in the leading shines with his determined mindset to bring down Tae-oh. Ah-in Yoo is great as the playboy businessman, he brings out his cockiness in nearly every scene while also being able to snap at any moment.

StoryThe story follows one determined detective trying to take down a vice-president of a ruthless company who pays off anyone that tries to go against him. The story does have plenty of twists along the way and does handle business corruption well, we also get to see how South Korean culture can play into decisions being made by characters. The pace of the story works well to as it never seems to let up even if the film is over 2 hours long.

Action/Comedy/Crime The action in this film is kept for a couple of good sequences while we focus on the crime side of the film for the most part. We have moments of comedy while they don’t take over the film.

SettingsThe films place in a South Korean city where the rich can get what they want and get away with what they want, and the cops must try to take them down.


Scene of the Movie –
The takedown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You feel we could have had more of Jo Tae-oh action before this crime.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good crime thriller that exposes plenty of truths in the corruption one man had been causing and shows the best of the two men and what they are fighting for.

 

Overall: Fun crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

A- Z World Cinema – U – The Unknown Girl (2016)

Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

Writer: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne (Screenplay)

Starring: Adele Haenel, Olivier Bonnaud, Jeremie Renier, Louka Minnella

 

Plot: A woman gets obsessed with the case of a dead woman after learning that the woman had died shortly after having rung her door for help.


Tagline – Sharp as a thriller… the best Dardenne film since “The Child”

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Mystery Movie

 

Story: The Unknown Girl starts as we meet popular community doctor Jenny Davin (Haenel) who has always found time for her patients but now is about to get improved environment to be working in. she still keeps her small surgery for her locals but when a mysterious girl comes knocking on her door she ignores it, only to discover the girl is found dead the next day.

Upon hearing the news Jenny starts looking into who this mysterious girl is, no ID was found so she starts going around her fellow doctors to see if they know her or have treated her but with no answers. The deeper she gets into investigating the more danger she finds herself in once she starts getting targeted by the people involved.

 

Thoughts on The Unknown Girl

 

Characters – Jenny is our doctor, she has a wonderful relationship with her patient, where she is willing to give up her own time to see them, but the one time she doesn’t answer the door she gets visited by a mysterious woman who ends up dying. Jenny is filled with guilt and wants to learn the truth about this girl using her connections, but it doesn’t realize what she has found herself in the middle off. The rest of the characters we meet are a mix of patients and suspects in Jenny’s life.

PerformancesAdele Haenel is the star of the film, she carries every scene as we follow her journey into discovering the truth about the girl, this is a very strong performance because we must witness her through each and every scene of the movie. The rest of the cast are good without taking away from Adele’s performance.

StoryThe story is good because we follow the busy doctor continue her duties while trying to solve the mystery, she has to do both with calm and watching her balance the two makes everything seem like an everyday situation for the Doctor. We get a mystery that does take time to solve and does seem to be a cover up of some sort and the story does keep us guessing as to where things will go.

Crime/MysteryThe crime is the death of the unknown girl, it could be murder it could be an accident which gives us both the mystery and potential crime side of the story.

SettingsThe settings show us the community where the people can help each other both in trouble and with cover up problems. This helps us understand why Jenny wants to solve the mystery.


Scene of the Movie –
Sister visit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is slightly too long, having a couple of scene we didn’t need.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good mystery film, it keeps us guessing to where things will be going and is easily one that should be getting watched.

 

Overall: Good crime mystery.

Rating

 

 

Matthew Fox Weekend – Alex Cross (2012)

Director: Rob Cohen

Writer: Marc Moss, Kerry Williamson (Screenplay) James Patterson (Novel)

Starring: Tyler Perry, Edward Burns, Matthew Fox, Jean Reno, Carmen Ejogo, Cicely Tyson, Rachel Nichols

 

Plot: A homicide detective is pushed to the brink of his moral and physical limits as he tangles with a ferociously skilled hired killer who specializes in torture and pain.


Tagline – Don’t Ever Cross Alex Cross

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fox Shines

 

Story: Alex Cross starts with homicide detective Alex Cross (Perry) and his team Thomas (Burns) and Monica (Nichols) needing to show their skills when a new hired killer nicknamed Picasso (Fox) uses his torture and pain techniques while eliminating people.

When the team learns of the targets they must work with who they think is the main target Giles Mercier (Reno), but this has made his team the newest targets for Picasso, who makes the killings personal.

 

Thoughts on Alex Cross

 

Characters – Dr Alex Cross is a homicide detective, we have seen this character before, but this time we meet a younger version of him, before he becomes the FBI agent we know. Alex has a family and is on the way to making his big career decision, when Picasso comes into his life, Alex will need to balance his skills and rage to stop him. Picasso is a hired gun, he is one of the very best in the world, he enjoys the pain he gives and receives, he makes his mission personal and drives Alex to limits he has never been pushed before. Thomas is the partner of Alex, he is shorter tempered, but loyal to Alex. Giles Mercier seems to be the main target of Picasso mission, he is the rich man that gets what he wants.

PerformancesTyler Perry was considered a strange choice for the leading role in this movie, known mostly for comedy and taking over from Morgan Freeman, he just doesn’t reach his levels, but is good through the film. it is Matthew Fox that shines the most as the cold calculated killer that enjoys the pain. The commitment Fox showed to this role needs to be praised because of the physical change he put his body through makes him an unlikely looking threat. Edward Burn is good as the partner while not being anything special and Jean Reno will always be good in the role he takes.

StoryTo step into another Alex Cross story is always going to be interesting, picking up before he became an FBI agent helps us understand what drove him to be the determined man we know. Making the story personal for Cross shows how he can balance the law and revenge in his attempts to solve the crime. The story might not reach the level of intensity is could have for a personal story, it does everything we need for an entertaining crime mystery thriller.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action involved in the film is good, even if moments of the effects used are weak. The crime is an interesting one to watch unfold, but it takes away from the mystery because we are always on the same level of the cops, we are not feed anything to solve.

SettingsDetroit makes for a good setting, it always feels like it is a place known for the crime rates.


Scene of the Movie –
Picasso introduction fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Rocket effects.

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to watch crime thriller, it does everything it needs to do and is carried by a wonderful villain performance from Fox.

 

Overall: Crime fans watch.

Rating