Serenity (2019)

Director: Steven Knight

Writer: Steven Knight (Screenplay)

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Diane Lane, Jason Clarke, Djimon Hounsou, Jeremy Strong

 

Plot: A fishing boat captain juggles facing his mysterious past and finding himself ensnared in a reality where nothing is what it seems.


Tagline – On Plymouth Island, No One Ever Dies…Unless You Break the Rules

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Head Scratcher

 

Story: Serenity starts as we meet obsessed fisherman Baker Dill (McConaughey) who has been running low on money, which has risked losing his first mate Duke (Hounsou), the town however will work with him when he needs it. He turns to Constance (Lane) for comfort as they know what each other like.

When Baker’s ex, Karen (Hathaway) arrives in the small town, she comes to him to take her husband Frank (Clarke) out to the ocean to leave him there to save their son from his abusive nature. Not everything is as it seems though, as Baker is left to make a big decision.

 

Thoughts on Serenity

 

Characters – Baker Dill is a struggling fisherman, who takes tourists out, he can keep himself afloat, but only just. He is left in shock when his ex comes back into his life trying to talk him into killer her husband to protect his son, he is reluctant to accept left torn between what to do or not. Karen is the ex of Baker that is tired of her abusive husband that she can’t escape from, she needs Baker to do the job for her. Constance is Baker’s fling on the island, they keep each other company when they need it. Frank is the rich husband of Karen that has power to do whatever he wants and get away with it.

PerformancesMatthew McConaughey in the leading role is strong because he must give a performance of a man that is unsure of everything happening. Anne Hathaway, Diane Lane and Jason Clarke complete the main cast, they each have their key part to play which does work helping Matthew shine.

StoryThe story does start with a simple idea of a man who has been chasing a mysterious fish, which has seen him isolate himself and see his money run low, he gets a chance for a big pay day when his ex-arrives in town. Now, this is the simple side, a will he or won’t he follow her wishes, only everything gets turned on its head by a twist that makes you question nearly everything you have seen, really starting to blow your mind about what we are seeing. This puts the story in the middle of two different places because it is something we haven’t seen, something we couldn’t predict, the problems come from the idea that everything is so far outside the box many people might not like just how far things can go.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery elements of this film comes from just what is going on in this world, it gets even more complicated when the twist starts to unravel, this does turn this into a sci-fi element of the film because it does show us just what could happen.

SettingsThe film is set on a picture-perfect island called Plymouth Island which is perfect for fishing and has a close community that will know each other’s secrets.


Scene of the Movie –
The rules.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain side characters do seem to disappear in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sci-fi mystery that will leave you wondering just what the hell did I just watch and did you like it, it will be best to read on just how much you want to judge how you see the twist.

 

Overall: Mind blowing mystery.

Rating

 

 

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AfterDeath (2015)

Director: Gez Medinger, Robin Schmidt

Writer: Andrew Ellard (Screenplay)

Starring: Miranda Raison, Sam Keeley, Elarica Johnson, Lorna Nickson Brown, Daniella Kertesz, Joe Passarella

 

Plot: Five young people wake up dead. Washed up by the tide they scramble to an abandoned beach house, soon realising that the perpetual night and blasts of pain suggest this is some version of hell. Between in-fighting and attacks by a demonic shadow creature, they recall the collapse of the nightclub that brought them here – and begin seeing hope of a second chance in the cabin’s two mysterious paintings.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull

 

Story: AfterDeath starts with Robin (Raison) waking up on a beach, chased by a demon, leading her to a beach house, with Seb (Keeley), Patricia (Johnson), Livvy (Brown) and Onie (Kertesz) stranded in too. The five of them are all dead, they can’t escape this location, where they are being terrorised by their past in the shape of a ghostly spirit.

The five must figure out how they died, why they are being punished, how to escape or even if they can at all.

 

Thoughts on AfterDeath

 

Characters – Robyn is the latest person dragged into the after world, she is the one that is trying to get to the bottom of everything happening. These characters are all poorly written which makes it even harder to describe what their actions are, Seb, Patricia and Livvy all want to party in the afterlife, while Onie is trying to figure out how to get out through suicide.

PerformancesIt is so difficult to complain about an actors performance, but this must go down as five of the combined worst performances out there, all the stars look just as lost as the script.

StoryThe story follows five young people who seem to be stuck in an afterlife situation where they need to figure out how to escape before spending eternity in hell. I have seen my fair share of afterlife movies and they can be interesting if they are done correctly, this one is done on a level that becomes confusing and messy, before become slightly preachy about everything going on. We just don’t get anything that will be seen as interesting and should be left on the writing block.

Horror/MysteryThis film doesn’t give us much to be scared off, it just feels like we have seen this before, the mystery is there, it just doesn’t reach any leaves it should for making us become invested in what is happening.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings in and around the single beach house, which should work, but they try to leave which only makes things feel out of place.

Special EffectsThe effects are all on the same level, it kind of works but never looks that high quality.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The characters.

Final ThoughtsThis just isn’t the most interest ideas of dealing with the afterlife and needing to unlock the secret to see where you will spend your life.

 

Overall: Disappointing and dull.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – C – Criminal (2016)

Director: Ariel Vromen

Writer: Douglas Cook, David Weisberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Ryan Reynolds, Jordi Molla, Gal Gadot, Michael Pitt, Amaury Nolasco, Alice Eve

 

Plot: In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative’s memories, secrets, and skills are implanted into a death-row inmate in hopes that he will complete the operative’s mission.


Tagline –  Take me to the Dutchman.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Moving Action Thriller

 

Story: Criminal starts when CIA agent Bill Pope (Reynolds) is working on bringing The Dutchman (Pitt) to America in exchange for closing the wormhole on the dark web that he has created, the problem is Xavier Heimdahl (Molla) also wants the Dutchman and kills Bill before getting the answers.

Turning to Dr Franks (Jones) for an experimental memory transfer Quaker Wells (Oldman) the head of the CIA operation uses death-row inmate Jerico Stewart (Costner) to learn where the vital information is, but letting a killer lose becomes harder to control than believed.

 

Thoughts on Criminal

 

Characters – Jerico Stewart is the dangerous death-row inmate, we don’t learn what he has done, but anyone that crosses him usually ends up in a body bag. He is forced into receiving Bill’s memories in a hope that he can save a major release of secure information, he doesn’t want to work with the CIA and is happier to operate in his own means. Quaker Wells is running the CIA operation which goes wrong, he will go at any lengths to get the answers he needs to stop the information leak, company man who does go too far. Dr Franks has been working on transferring memories for 18 years, this is his first human attempt which shows how he wants to help with the new memories. Important to the story but lacking the impact he should have on the story. Bill Pope is the family man and CIA agent, it is his memories which hold the answers after he is killed. Xavier Heimdahl wants to bring an end to governments across the world, he will go public with his speeches while also having his darker side coming out when getting what he wants.

PerformancesKevin Coster is in the middle of his recovery/mid-life crisis roles in action movies, he knows how to make his performance work keeping everything entertaining throughout. Gary Oldman as a company man CIA agent, well this always works as he never needs o do anything challenging. Tommy Lee Jones likewise does what he needs to without bringing anything unique to the role. Reynolds is hard to judge because of the smaller part in the film. Jordi Molla does make a good villain showing the calmness needed for the character to feel calculated. Gal Gadot is solid in her supporting role without needing to do much.

StoryThe story gives us the idea that vital information is about to be leaked by a hacker if he doesn’t get a passport and immunity, but things go wrong when the agent with the connection is killed. The experimental idea of transferring memories is put in motion as the candidate doesn’t follow orders the way they had hoped and different agencies from around the globe want the information. This plays out like an action film, but in reality it should have been a tense thriller with the characters we have here. It is an easy to watch and enjoy even if the premise does seem wildly over the top for a simpler idea.

Action/Crime/Mystery/Sci-FiWhen we look at the themes being used action gives us the shoot out we have seen before with a couple of car chases, nothing overly memorable though. The crime world we are placed into shows how the CIA are trying to protect the world from a new threat in London, it seems weird the British intelligence agency are not involved in this. The mystery in this film doesn’t work too well as the only thing needing to be solved is where the package was left. The sci-fi side of the film does come from the idea of transferring the memories, it is only used here though.

SettingsThe film is set in London and the surrounding area, it does feel weird that an American operation happens in England though.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well when needed without being over used for the action scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
Ambulance chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does have a tonal problem with the action and thriller side of things.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid easy to watch action thriller that doesn’t test the audience too much, throws in a wild sci-fi idea and big-name actors hoping it will be a classic.

 

Overall: Easy to watch.

Rating

 

 

Selfie from Hell (2018)

Director: Erdal Ceylan

Writer: Erdal Ceylan (Screenplay) Paul Burton (Story)

Starring: Alyson Walker, Tony Giroux, Meelah Adams, Ian Butcher, Tyler Butcher, Shaun Morse, Matthew Graham

 

Plot: After her cousin comes to visit and falls ill, a woman starts to receive strange cell phone messages.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Frightless Horror

 

Story: Selfie from Hell starts as Hannah (Walker) is getting a visit from her cousin Julia (Adams) a vlogger with a big following, only upon the meeting, Julia isn’t being her usual self. When Julia stars taking selfies, a figure is seen getting closer on each snap, before she gets attack, left ill in a coma like state.

Hannah decides to investigate what Julia’s latest project was, which takes her into the dark net with her computer expert friend Trevor (Giroux) giving her the warnings, which she doesn’t follow, as Hannah ends up being the latest target of the evil that targeted Julia.

 

Thoughts on Selfie from Hell

 

Characters – Hannah is a young lady that works from home in computing, well I am guessing this, she is hosting her cousin’s visit. She must investigate what happened to her cousin after an unexplained event happens, which sees her investigate the dark net against the advice of her friend, giving away personal data, as it does target her next. Trevor is the friend that helps Hannah through his knowledge of the dark net, the two have a strange relationship, with the events of the film giving them a chance to meet. Julia is the vlogger cousin that isn’t her normal self, she takes a selfie only to find herself becoming attacked by the evil presence, left in a coma for the film.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances, it doesn’t help that the characters are plain terrible, it makes it hard for the actors to make anything from the film, Alyson Walker doesn’t feel like a leading lady either, Tony Giroux struggles to, but his character feels like it should be more of a info guy that should be killed off early. The acting doesn’t improve, but we barely get to see anybody else in the film either.

StoryThe story follows a woman that must investigate her cousin’s mysterious illness, which has a connection to a selfie and the dark net, the secret she finds put her in real danger. Well, that is about it for the story. when we look at this style of story, we can look at films like Pulse for ideas, which is where this film fails, because it just doesn’t give us enough belief to how deadly whatever is happening is. The story has mounting problems with what is happening, be the it casually going into the dark net, the fact it was easy to go into and a computer expert is happy to download random software on their computer. Most scenes just involve Hannah being told not to do something and the next scene she does them anyway.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film relies on just making loud noises for false scares with nothing getting any reaction form the audience, while the mystery could have been interesting, only it just doesn’t make sense.

SettingsThe film is set mostly in the one home, which does help with the budget, it is used to show that you can bring the horror into your home.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are basic at best, most are flashing images, but when we do get to see something creepier, it just becomes CGI mess.


Scene of the Movie –
F34R3473R first appearance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Hannah’s decision-making process.

Final ThoughtsThis was a terribly boring horror, that frustrates more than it scares, it tries to use a craze, but it just drags along even though it is only just an hour long.

 

Overall: Terribly bad horror.

Rating

 

 

The Highwaymen (2019)

Director: John Lee Hancock

Writer: John Fusco (Screenplay)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Woody Harrelson, Kim Dickens, Emily Brobst, Kathy Bates, W Earl Brown, John Carroll Lynch

 

Plot: A pair of police officers come out of retirement to catch the infamous outlaws Bonnie & Clyde.


Tagline – This March, there are no High Roads.

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Crime Hunt

 

Story: The Highwaymen starts with Bonnie and Clyde’s spree going on for two-years, Governor Ferguson (Bates) is running out of options as the two have become celebrities because of their action. Facing little options Lee Simmons suggests turning to two former Texas Rangers Frank Hamer (Costner) and Maney Gault (Harrelson) to track down and end the spree.

With Frank having no other choice after more law enforcement officers are killed, he turns to Maney who has been struggling in the afterlife of being a ranger, he has different beliefs to Frank, which will see them needing to figure out how to eliminate the threat with the honour they are used to acting in, can they stop the murderous pair and their gang.

 

Thoughts on The Highwaymen

 

Characters – Frank Hamer is a legendary Texas Ranger, force into retirement with new laws in place, but landing on his feet, he gets turned to for help hunt down Bonnie & Clyde, he must accept that he would be going against what he used to do, return to killing, but most importantly turn to a former partner. Maney Gault is one of the best partners that Frank hand, the force retirement was harder on him with drink being he solution, he is the last resort on skill level, but the first one Frank turns too, he does have standards on how he beliefs on how he handles killing, only once shot upon, he becomes a kind of mentor for a young officer on the hunt. Ma Ferguson is the governor that recruits Frank and Maney to hunt down Bonnie & Clyde, she is reluctant at first wanting to follow more legal causes. Lee Simmons is the one suggesting that the Texan Rangers to help capture them, he puts his neck on the line for it.

PerformancesKevin Costner and Woody Harrelson are two of the best actors in the business, they can play any of these law men with ease and they make each their own with ease. The two are front and centre for most of the film, the supporting cast are solid enough without struggling.

StoryThe story follows the two Texas Rangers that hunted down Bonnie & Clyde who were on the killing spree over. The highlight of the story comes from following the law enforcement instead of the criminals, we should do this more often with the people that hunt down the criminals and not make the criminals to idols of the story. this is mostly just the two reflecting on their careers, what they did before retirement, what they might need to do once they catch up to the criminals. It does pace well enough, we don’t over focus on the crimes, only the reaction to them.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of the film is the hunting down of Bonnie & Clyde, we see how the Texas Rangers track down the criminals. The mystery in the film comes from just how the hunting down was being done.

SettingsEach setting takes us around the open roads in the American where the criminals would have been operating in.


Scene of the Movie –
Costner & Harrelson reflect on one of their biggest mission.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Why were Bonnie & Clyde idolised?

Final ThoughtsInteresting look at one of the biggest take downs of criminals in American history, we have strong leading performances and don’t focus on the criminals.

 

Overall: Smart way to study a big case.

Rating