ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – O – Office (2015)

Director: Won-chan Hong

Writer: Choi Yun-jin (Screenplay)

Starring: Ko Asung, Seong-woo Bae, Eui-sung Kim, Sung-woong Park

 

Plot: The investigation following a sales manager brutally killing his entire family leads to a track of mystery and tragedy in an overwhelmed work team at Seoul.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tension Fuelled

 

Story: Office starts when a section chief Byeong-Gook Kim (Bae) murders his family before going on the run, the police head to his office run by director Sang-Gyu Kim (Kim) to question the employees. Detective Jong-Hoon (Park) leads the investigation which sees him learning only good about the suspect.

Th newest intern Mi-Rye Lee (Asung) is question after being warned about how to answer the questions, which soon hints at a mystery surrounding the office and what goes on within the walls, as the manhunt for Byeong-Gook continues.

 

Thoughts on Office

 

Characters – Mi-Rye Lee is an intern in the office, she is the newest member of the staff, with the least knowledge of the accused murderer, she travels the furthest for this job seeing working in the big city as her dream. She knows the least about what the company and just what have caused the unusual behaviour. Byeong-Gook Kim is the section chief, he is the man that murdered his family before going into hiding, he was respected by his employees and seems to have a motivation for coming back. Director Sang-Gyu Kim wants answers and wants the company name kept out of the papers. Detective Jong-Hoon is leading the investigation into the murders which sees him asking the office the questions trying to figure out a way to understand how the office operates, he is honest in his approach which sees him searching for answers in places others would even think of looking.

PerformancesKo Asung is brilliant in this leading role of a character that is constantly evolving as the story unfolds, the range displayed is wonderful to see. Seong-woo Bae is haunting in his scenes in the film, you will be genuinely unsettled by his presence on screen. Sung-woong Park is the determined detective who shows us just how determined he is to get to the truth. Eui-sung Kim brings us the strict boss which seems to be his strength when it comes to movies.

StoryThe story follows an office that becomes the centre of attention after a murder by one of the member of the office, the investigation sees the truth slowly starting to surfaces with a shocking truth behind what is happening. This is a story that does truly keep us guessing through the film, it shows how an office could see extra stress placed upon the employees which would see the bickering between them increase, while the investigation shows just how far people would go for a promotion. Most of the story is spent wondering what the motivation for the murder in the first place was.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film comes from just seeing what happens when somebody is left alone in the office, with some uncomfortable tense scenes. The mystery surrounds just what is happening, why it is happening and whether it could be stopped from happening again.

SettingsMost of the film is set in and around the office which see how close these workers must be at all times, no matter how they feel about each other which could see tension rise between them.


Scene of the Movie –
The late visit one.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does feel like not everything is answered.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the tensest movies you will see, it does keep you guessing, no matter what is going in and is filled with horror moments that drag you to the edge of your seat.

 

Overall: Edge of your seat thriller.

Rating

 

 

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Burning (2018)

Director: Chang-dong Lee

Writer: Jungmi Oh, Chang-dong Lee (Screenplay) Haruki Murakami (Story)

Starring: Ah-in Yoo, Steven Yeun, Jong-seo Jun, Soo-Kyung Kim, Seung-ho Choi, Seong-kun Mun

 

Plot: Jong-su bumps into a girl who used to live in the same neighborhood as him, who asks him to look after her cat while on a trip to Africa. When back, she introduces Ben, a mysterious guy she met there, who confesses his secret hobby.


Tagline – Now Tell the Truth

Runtime: 2 Hours 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burning Mystery Thriller

 

Story: Burning starts when Jongsu (Yoo) working part time in the delivery job he bumps into an old neighbourhood schoolgirl Haemi (Jun) who asks him to look after her cat while she travels to Africa. Jongsu has his own problems though, with his father facing jail time, leaving him the small farm to operate.

When Haemi returns, she brings the mysterious Ben (Yeun) the only other Korean she meets in Africa, he is older, richer and has a laidback attitude to life unlike most of the Korean’s Jongsu has met. When Ben revives that he has a secret hobby, Jongsu’s life takes a drastic change, as he gets drawn into this world.

 

Thoughts on Burning

 

Characters – Jongsu is a simple delivery boy that is trying to figure out a way to help his father out of his prison sentence, while this is going on he looks after their small farm, until he meets Haemi, who opens up his world to something new, until she goes missing he starts to look at life the way Ben taught him. Haemi is the girl from the neighbourhood Jongsu grew up in, she asks him to look after his cat while she travels, she returns with a new man which sees him start to become jealous, until she vanishes. Ben is the mysterious man that Haemi returns with, he is wealthy, older and has a secret hobby unlike anybody else, Jongsu starts to become fascinated in his ideas of the world, which leads him down a dangerous path. These three characters are the main ones that we meet, we barely get into any supporting characters, with every shot being focused on what Jongsu is seeing.

PerformancesAh-in Yoo in the leading role is fantastic to watch, he keeps our attention to his characters decision making by showing us the emotional journey he must go on. Steven Yeun is the biggest global name in this film because of his time on the Walking Dead, he brings the confidence that his character requires to make him feel mysterious throughout the film. Jong-seo Jun brings the bubbly energic performance the film requires from her character with ease.

StoryThe story here follows a delivery boy that reconnects with a former school friend who ends up bringing him into a world with a mysterious stranger, who teaches him something new about the life he enjoys. This is a slow burning (no pun intended) story that builds up the tension in the life of Jongso as he must piece together what might have happened to Haemi after she vanishes, he must also deal with his own person problems after his father is facing jail time, showing the uncertainty of his future. We get plenty of time to build everything up, which in places does drag along at times, though this does lead to the explosive conclusion of the story.

MysteryThe mystery elements are bought to us by wondering just what could have happened to Haemi with Jongsu desperately trying to learn the truth and not having any leads to truly follow.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to create some of the most beautiful shots in film in 2018, we see how the busy city can bring people together and the open spaces can give them peace from the world.


Scene of the Movie –
The Meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is longer than it needs to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is slow burning story that does delivery everything it promises, it has brilliant performances that control the film which is a joy to watch.

 

Overall: Burns bright.

Rating

 

 

BOO! (2019) Movie Review

Director: Luke Jaden

Writer: Luke Jaden, Diane Michelle (Screenplay)

Starring: Aurora Perrineau, Jaden Piner, Jill Marie Jones, Rob Zabrecky, Charley Palmer Rothwell

 

Plot: A torn suburban family refuses to heed the warning of an innocent prank left upon them which causes an unknown supernatural force to wreak havoc.


Tagline – You’ve been chosen.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Shock Value Horror

 

Story: BOO! Starts when the suburban family, James (Zabrecky), Elyse (Jones), Caleb (Piner) and Morgan (Perrineau) receive a mysterious Boo parcel, which is a Halloween prank, only the legend behind it requires you to pass it on.

As tonight is Halloween, everybody wants to go out in their own separate way, with Elyse looking or a drink, James heading to the library, Morgan wanting to spend time with her boyfriend and young Caleb left home alone, where he starts experience strange goings on, only they all start experiencing something horrific, is this just the night or has the curse of the prank caught up with them.

 

Thoughts on BOO!

 

Characters – Morgan is the teenage daughter that is going through the stage of breaking the rules, wanting to spend time with her boyfriend over her family, she will argue back against them at all times and soon starts getting tormented on this night. Caleb is the youngster child of the family, he gets left alone even though he believes something evil is within the house, he does have a creative side, though it does seem like he may have a few learning difficulties. James is the father of the house, he is the one that starts researching the truth behind the prank using his religious beliefs to get his family through the problems of the night. Elyse is the mother that does have a secret from her past, she likes to go out for drinks still, while trying to reconnect with her daughter before it goes.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances the four main actors all struggle to make the big impact required because of how the story plays out, we get the generic performances of the rebellious teenager, the youngster that just knows just where to go, the grieving mother and the distant father, never making anything fresh to the character.

StoryThe story follows a family that comes under terror after they don’t pass on a chain prank which will soon sees the family needing to face their demons to escape. The story does seem to have problems early on, it is strange because each four members of the family are just an important as the rest on screen time, which means each character gets moments to have horror which means we do get an odd scene here and an odd scene here, that never feel connected. We do get hints of foreshadowing through the film which is head to the direction we conclude. The lack of connection does work because it does show how the family is starting to fall apart and will need to reunite to figure out how to get out alive.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film does look for shock value over with the jump scares which just use false jump scares too early, the mystery does come from just what is going on and why the family has been targeted.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the house which again manages to show how the family isn’t connected anymore.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do get used well for when they are needed, coming off as one of the strongest aspects of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
An eye for an eye.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The false jump scares.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that tries to reflect a family falling apart with the idea they can be haunted by their demons without being able to communicate which could consume them, it does struggle to put that point over though.

 

Overall: Horror that just doesn’t click the way it wants to.

Rating

 

 

Cillian Murphy Weekend – Red Eye (2005) Revisited

Director: Wes Craven

Writer: Carl Ellsworth (Screenplay) Carl Ellsworth, Dan Foos (Story)

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox, Laura Johnson, Jayma Mays, Angela Paton

 

Plot: A woman is kidnapped by a stranger on a routine flight. Threatened by the potential murder of her father, she is pulled into a plot to assist her captor in offing a politician.


Tagline – Fear Takes Flight

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Thriller

 

Story: Red Eye starts with workaholic hotel manager Lisa (McAdams) is returning home after a family funeral, she meets a charming co-passenger Jackson Rippner (Murphy) for is heading to Miami for business. Once the flight is in the air, Jackson who just so happens to be seated next to Lisa reveals his business, the flight takes a twist for Lisa.

Jackson wants Lisa to move an incoming politician from one room to another, or he will kill her father Joe (Cox), Lisa is left in an impossible position of trying to stay ahead of Jackson’s plan and not leading a politician to their death.

 

Thoughts on Red Eye

 

Characters – Lisa is a workaholic hotel manager that is has a fear of flying, who is travelling home after a funeral, she has remarkable calmness through stress related issues in life, knowing how to deal with difficult clients the best way. She has full say on everything going on within the hotel with her regular clients trusting her completely. Jackson Rippner starts off a kind friendly man, willing to step up where gentlemen might not, he is seated next to Lisa on the plane, where he shows his true colours as part of a terrorists that need Lisa to move their target. He remains calm through each of her attempts to not follow through knowing just how to get the job done. Joe is the father of Lisa, he has been remodelling his home, always there to support her, he is just going about his evening through the film. Cynthia is the slightly ditsy receptionist that Lisa supports with the difficult decisions she is going through at the hotel.

PerformancesRachel McAdams in the leading role breaks away from the known romantic comedy roles she had been doing before this film, she proves she could be a genuine star in the thriller role, Cillian Murphy continued to make a name for himself in this role, where he plays the disturbing lead villain who becomes even more frightening within the final act. Brian Cox is one of the more underused talents in the film, while Jayma Mays brings quirkiness to her role.

StoryThe story is kept very simple, a man forces a hotel manager to change an appointment mid-flight and if she doesn’t, he will have her father killed, this becomes a cat-n-mouse style story about both trying to stay ahead of the other. This simplistic side of this story is what makes it standout because the stakes are placed on the table early and the idea that she has no easy escape proves just how difficult her job is going to be. It does keep you on the edge of your seat waiting to see just what will happen next and isn’t afraid show moments of brutal looking injury. The idea the target it a political figure helps increase the stakes too.

MysteryThis is a mystery that will keep us guessing to just how they will get out of the situation, how far Jackson is willing to go and if there is any other motivation in his plan.

SettingsMost of the film takes place onboard the plane, it shows just how difficult escape is going to be for Lisa and how she has little option to help Jackson.


Scene of the Movie –
The pen.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We could have had an idea to about who the political figure is meant to be, how much he could change certain issues in America.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most enjoyable thriller that you will see, it has two brilliant led performances and will keep you guessing through the film, just what will happen next.

 

Overall: Tense, atmospheric thriller.

Rating

 

 

Looking Glass (2019)

Director: Tim Hunter

Writer: Jerry Rapp (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Robin Tunney, Marc Blucas, Ernie Lively, Jacque Gray, Kassia Conway

 

Plot: A couple buy a desert motel where they find that strange, mysterious events occur.


Tagline – Seeing is deceiving.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Anti-Climatic

 

Story: Looking Glass starts when Ray (Cage) and Maggie (Tunney) take over a small motel to help then get over their own loss. With Ray working on the renovations of the motel, they have a soft opening, which sees them attract their first guests.

When Ray discovers secret corridors with windows into each room, which he becomes interested in watching through, then the mysterious events start happening, starting with a pig dumped in the swimming pool.

 

Thoughts on Looking Glass

 

Characters – Ray has just purchased the motel to try and start over with his wife, he is a handy man by trade, using his time to fix up the motel. He learns about secret windows watching through them, he sees strange events happening and wants to get to the bottom of the events going on around his motel. Maggie is the wife of Ray, she is happy to move away from their past, but struggles to trust Ray after his own past. Howard is the local sheriff that keeps visiting searching for the former owner, he is overly friendly too often for the couple. Tommy is a regular that uses the motel for his liaisons while on the road.

PerformancesNicolas Cage is having one of his weaker performances here, he just doesn’t make his character feel like it is one of the own Cage like ones. Robin Tunney does a solid job in the supporting role, as does Marc Blucas and Ernie Lively.

StoryThe story follows a couple that take over a motel only to start dealing with strange events surrounding something that happened before they got there. The story starts off feeling like a mystery about what once happened here which is interesting enough right, well it soon takes a turn down a path where seemingly nothing actually happens here, a woman goes missing, Ray becomes a peeping Tom and a nosey cop gets too involved with the motel, this story seems like a bad soap opera episode because it seems like we get a starting thread of a story only for it to go no where. We seem to just end the story without any real twists or investigations going on, it just felt like a bunch of random stuff happening.

MysteryThe mystery is presented, only we don’t spend any time watching what happens which only ends up leading us rather flat about what we have just watched.

SettingsThe film is mostly set at the motel which shows how you will never know what could happen in a motel.


Scene of the Movie –
The meeting in the desert.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Did you do it, did I do what? This scene lasts an awkward two minutes, it felt like a lifetime.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that ended up going in no particular direction and ends up feeling like just a bunch of stuff happens, instead of a storyline.

 

Overall: Messy, directionless and empty.

Rating