ABC Film Challenge – Horror -L – Landmine Goes Click (2015)

Director: Levan Bakhia

Writer: Adrian Colussi (Screenplay) Levan Bakhia, Adrian Colussi, Lloyd S Wagner (Story)

Starring: Sterling Knight, Spencer Locke, Dean Geyer, Kote Tolordava, Giorgi Tsaava

 

Plot: Trapped standing on an armed landmine, an American tourist is forced to watch helplessly while his girlfriend is terrorized and brutally assaulted.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Horror

 

Story: Landmine goes Click starts as three friends Chris (Knight), Alicia (Locke) and Daniel (Geyer) head off into the Georgian wilderness for a weekend away before Daniel and Alicia’s wedding. When the three are having a photo taken Chris accidently stands on a landmine but this is just revenge plot by Daniel on his friends that have been having an affair behind his back.

Chris and Alicia must get help but this is just the beginning of the nightmare as Ilya (Tolordava) a local that puts Alicia through a sexual assault with Chris have no way of helping.

 

Thoughts on Landmine Goes Click

 

Characters – Chris starts as the third wheel on the trip but it soon turns out he has been involved with Alicia leading to the revenge where he finds himself trapped on a landmine helpless to help Alicia when she gets assaulted. Alicia is the fiancé of Daniel that has been cheating on him with Chris and in the revenge, must go through a brutal assault. Daniel is the friend that gets betrayed and sets up the revenge before abandoning his friends. Ilya is the main assaulter that takes advantage of Alicia but must face the reality of what he did in the future. The characters don’t feel overly original and the love triangle is an easy aspect to use in horror to create a divide.

PerformanceThe performances here are mixed because Locke must go through a lot but doesn’t convince to the levels needed, Sterling Knight does seem to struggle to be convincing in his role in both chapters of the story, at times it does just feel like he is on a film set over a real life situation which is needed for the role. The rest are both fine too through the film without being great.

StoryThe story can be broken into three parts, the first is the trapped on the landmine for revenge which seems to get skimmed over in places, then we have the assault side which does crank up the tension but does seem to go on slightly too long, the third side of the film is the revenge on the attacker which again doesn’t reach the tension levels. This mix tries to show us something new but in the end it does come off flat in places as we can predict where things will go.

Action/Crime/ThrillerThe action is mostly down to the potential of what could happen to the characters with the crime being the ordeals that Alicia and Chris must go through. The film does try to keep us on edge but ends up either going on too long or not long enough.

SettingsThe film has two main settings, the first is where the landmine is which does work if it was the only location but the second location makes the film feel like it has dragged on at times.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It just felt long when it didn’t need to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting thriller that could have reached new heights but gets the timings of the three main scenes all over the place.

 

Overall: A lot of potential just missed.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Horror – J – Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word (2016)

Director: Simon Rumley

Writer: Ben Katai, Marc Haimes (Screenplay) Tony Giglio, Ben Ketai (Story)

Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Erin Cummings, Mike Doyle, Dodge Prince, Mike Gassaway, Sue Rock

 

Plot: When a young man is executed for committing murder, he leaves behind a curse letter, promising vengeance for all those connected to his unfair trial.


Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Revenge Horror

 

Story: Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word starts with the trial of Johnny that leads to a guilty verdict, which leads to his execution, where his final words are ‘Kiss my ever-loving ass’.

Soon after his execution the people involved in the trial start getting visions, strange feelings and the feeling they are being watched by a spirit that seems to be out for revenge from beyond the grave. This leads Adam Redman (Doyle) one of the jurors to investigate what happened with the crime.

 

Thoughts on Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word

 

Characters – Adam Redman is one of the jurors on the trial, he is the only one that wasn’t going with an instant guilty verdict, but had to fold to the pressure of the rest of the jury. After the execution his son gets targeted by the spirit and he goes to investigate who really committed the crime. Danny Hill is the district attorney that took the case, getting the result, he wanted a guilty verdict.

PerformancesMike Doyle takes the leading role in this film, he is the best of the performers as you believe he descent into madness as he finds himself haunted. The rest of the cast are fine, but just don’t get a chance to shine on the levels they can reach.

StoryThe story follows a wrongfully committed man that is executed for a crime he never committed, coming back from the head to haunt the people who were involved in the trial to get his own revenge. Everything plays into the ideas that the execution might not be the best thing because not all crimes are as clear cut as they need to be to go through with it, but only following one man trying to solve the case doesn’t seem to be the most entertaining as we only see a couple of people from the trial face the wrath of Johnny.

Crime/HorrorThe idea behind the crime shows how the justice system can be flawed, the horror plays into the idea that a spirit can come back and get revenge for the crime he gets executed for.

SettingsThe settings show that certain states in America still use the death penalty in a time where it is no longer considered an option.

Special EffectsThe effects are fine when needed but never get overused when it comes to the scares.


Scene of the Movie –
Teacher time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We only follow a couple of potential victims when a lot more people were involved.

Final ThoughtsThis plays well into the idea of person coming back from dead to get revenge for a crime they never committed, it has by the book scares, jumpy vision sequences, but never reaches any peek levels of tension, suspense or conclusion.

 

Overall: Not strong enough.

Rating

 

 

Gangsta (2018)

Director: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah

Writer: Nabil Ben Yadir, Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah, Bram Renders, Kobe Van Steenberghe, Hendrick Verthe (Screenplay)

Starring: Matteo Simoni, Nora Charib, Said Boumazoughe, Junes Lazaar

 

Plot: Antwerp. The lives of four dealer friends, who want to become real life swaggers, spins out of control when they steal a shipment of cocaine. They trigger a full out war between them, an Amsterdam drug lord and the ruthless Colombian cartels.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Twist on the Gangster Genre

 

Story: Gangsta starts as we meet Adamo (Simoni) a half Italian half Moroccan man growing up in Antwerp with his three best friends, Junes (Lazaar), Volt (Boumazoughe) and Badia (Gharib), the four do everything together and believe in the gangster way of life.

Adamo gets the first break working on trafficking cocaine from Morocco to Antwerp and he brings his friends along for this first chance to shine only for things to get out of hand when the coke goes missing and the friends become targets for the dealers.

 

Thoughts on Gangsta

 

Characters – Adamo is the leader of the four he can get the contacts to the drug underworld, which he does showing his confidence walking into that world. he knows how to use his team the best and wants them to have a future outside of the small neighbourhood. Badia is the kick ass of the group, she has studied every Jean-Claude Van Damme movie and will hurt anyone that touches her or her friends. Volt is the loose cannon that is hyper active which can only cause problems as the story unfolds. While Junes completes the gang believe he is all style when fighting. We do get the drug supplies, the bigger deals and the dirty cops to deal with through the film that complete the line up of character like we would expect to see.

PerformancesThe cast do a good job, with Matteo Simoni in the leading role making us believe his wild ambition to be a gangster. Nora Gharib does look like the badass when it comes to the fighting scenes, she seems to make the biggest impact, the rest of the cast are good through the film embracing their characters well.

StoryThe story follows four want to be gangsters as they take their first steps into the deadly world of drugs and soon find enemies as they bring a drug war down on their city. Where this story can stand out from other gangster movies, is by having the film broken down into the chapters of the seven deadly sins which is important to Adamo’s beliefs. Outside this we see the story unfold in the traditional method of everything getting out of hand quicker than the crew can manage and we even get a false ending to trick you into thinking the credits are rolling.

Crime The crime we enter is one the gang want to be part of only to find themselves left in the world they can’t handle when the drug war comes to them.

SettingsThe film is set in Antwerp which beings us a new setting for the drug war because we have seen one on in the places around the locations the characters are coming from.


Scene of the Movie –
The final shoot out.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Failing to use Babia in the final act when we could have seen how deadly she could be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a gangster film with its own style which is one that you will remember, it uses the deadly sins to show how the crime world can be for the people involved.

 

Overall: Fun stylish gangster flick

Rating

 

 

Mile 22 (2018)

Director: Peter Berg

Writer: Lea Carpenter (Screenplay) Graham Roland, Lea Carpenter (Story)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais, John Malkovich, Ronda Rousey, Carlo Alban, Natasha Goubskaya

 

Plot: An elite American intelligence officer, aided by a top-secret tactical command unit, tries to smuggle a mysterious police officer with sensitive information out of the country.


Tagline – Option 1: Diplomacy. Option 2: Military. Meet Option 3

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bloody but Lacking Substance

 

Story: Mile 22 starts as we meet our elite team led by James Silva (Wahlberg), we have Alice (Cohan), Sam (Rousey) and Douglas (Alban), they are Overwatch, with Bishop (Malkovich) providing the eyes from the skies from a distance. We see how skill and ruthless they are in the opening sequence.

Now 16 months later the team get their latest assignment, to get a mysterious police office Li Noor (Uwais) out of the country so he will give them the information on potential weapons of mass destruction, the problem is, everyone wants him dead.

 

Thoughts on Mile 88

 

Characters – James Silva is a vastly intelligent man, the needs puzzles to keep his mind in check or he will become violent, he sticks up for his team in any situation and will get the job done no matter what it takes. This character can get very annoying because we get too man speech moments from him which pause the action to take place. not liking the leading man isn’t always going to help the film. Alice is the member of the team with the connection to Li, she knows he is good for the information, but her personal like of going through a divorce and being away from her daughter is what tries to bring a human side to her character, while strong and resourceful, we still get the scene where the female needs a man to save her. Li Noor is the mysterious cop that has the information that the locals also want dead, he proves to be vital in escaping and proves to be the highlight of the action scenes. Bishop is the eyes in the sky, he leads the team from a distance which will help them find the best escape routes, he needs to be trusted to make the operation work.

PerformancesMark Wahlberg gives us a performance which is mostly annoying, sure, he can point and shoot a gun, but his speech moments and that damn wrist thing get so annoying through the film. Lauren Cohan breaking away from television here, she does give us a stronger performance showing what we could get from better writing on the Walking Dead. Iko Uwais is the main reason I went to see this movie and when he is let loose to fight, we get the best part of the movie. John Malkovich is good without needing to do that much in this role.

StoryThe story here follows an elite unit that must transport a man from point A to point B by a certain time, with an unknown number of enemies trying to hunt them down. Seems simple enough, well we do start slow, we get a lot of political red tape to get through before we get to the action, once we hit the action we end up getting a mix of 16 Blocks and The Raid, only not that good. The fact that the technology is that intelligent drains the life out of the story, we lose the suspense in the story when we get ‘drive down this road, take a left or a right’ we sometimes need to see the face the problems head on, which they end up doing anyway, just slapping this side part in. the story does have one impressive moment which you must wait to see, otherwise we do get into the over-complicated for no reason.

Action/CrimeThe action in this film is bloody gun battles, Iko Uwais showing his fight skills once again, which is always a pleasure to see, though the cutting between certain moments takes away from the excitement of the action. The crime world shows us how certain military roles can be above the law no matter what the case it.

SettingsThe film is set in an unnamed country in Southeast Asia, this does stop any political issues with how the story is told, we get tighter streets which is fine otherwise this is just the location we expect in a bigger city with embassies in.


Scene of the Movie –
Iko Uwais first gets unleashed.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Mark Wahlberg mainly.

Final ThoughtsThis is an over-complicated action movie that can be fun to watch in places, it doesn’t hold back on the blood and will soon be one that you mostly likely forget.

 

Overall: Over-complicated Action Thriller.

Rating

 

 

Tommy Lee Jones Weekend – In the Valley of Elah (2007)

Director: Paul Haggis

Writer: Paul Haggis (Screenplay) Mark Boal, Paul Haggis (Story)

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron, Jason Patric, Susan Sarandon, James Franco, Barry Corbin, Josh Brolin

 

Plot: A retired military investigator works with a police detective to uncover the truth behind his son’s disappearance following his return from a tour of duty in Iraq.


Tagline – Sometimes The Truth Is Best Left Buried

Runtime: 2 Hour 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Slowly Driven Thriller

 

Story: In the Valley of Elah starts when retired military investigator Hank Deerfield (Jones) receives a phone call informing him his son Mike (Tucker) has gone AWOL which leads him to head to the base to investigate the motives and hopefully find his son before it turns into a criminal case. Hank turns to the local police and detective Emily Sanders (Theron) for help, but derestriction causes the problems.

When Mike’s body is discovered the military want to keep things quiet, but Hank isn’t accepting the answers given to him, working with Emily the two investigate what really happened to Mike and the truth will leave us shocked.

 

Thoughts on In the Valley of Elah

 

Characters – Hank is a retired military investigator, he has lost one son in war and no his second has gone missing, he goes to solve the case using his years of experience to get to the bottom of the case. He is from an older school of military with a determination unlike what people are prepared for. Detective Emily Sanders is used to getting dead end cases, but she does care about the people who are in need of help, she listens to Hank’s ideas and takes lead on the case having to face the truths of not being able to help everybody. Joan is the wife of Hank and mother of Mike, she stays home while Hank tries to solve the case where we learn about the struggles she has faced with dealing with the boys she let go into war.

PerformancesTommy Lee Jones shines in this role, he carries the film with a performance that is up there with his very best. Charlize Theron is also strong in the supporting role showing she can step away from glamourous roles with ease. Susan Sarandon is good as the supporting role which we are used to seeing from her. The whole cast is great throughout the film never giving too much away.

StoryThe story starts off as if it was a simple missing persons case, but it soon turns into a murder with conspiracies about what could have happened on that night of his death. we are never driven down one path and the crime takes time to unfold which makes this a fascinating watch as we see things unfold like Hank. The other side of the story remains how parents must deal with losing children who are in the military.

Crime/MysteryThe crime starts as a missing person and soon turns into a murder that needs to be solved with the conspiracies about who could have committed the murder.

SettingsThe settings show us the town next to a military base and how it operates, it keeps everything simple which is what the story calls for.


Scene of the Movie –
Final piece of the puzzle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I didn’t get annoyed by a single moment of this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is an amazing crime mystery thriller, it keeps the pace perfect to not give too much away and tackles the idea of the modern horrors of war.

 

Overall: Must watch for crime mystery thriller.

Rating