Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Case 39 (2009)

Director: Christian Alvart

Writer: Ray Wright (Screenplay)

Starring: Renee Zellweger, Jodelle Ferland, Ian McShane, Bradley Cooper, Callum Keith Rennie

 

Plot: A social worker fights to save a girl from her abusive parents, only to discover that the situation is more dangerous than she ever expected.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Horror

 

Story: Case 39 starts as we see the workload of social worker Emily Jenkins (Zellweger), the latest case to fall on her desk is Case 39 about young girl Lilith Sullivan (Ferland) who is being abused by her parents but nothing can be proven. Emily get Detective Barron (McShane) to help investigate but when Lilith’s parents try to kill her, she is removed from the home.

When Lilith moves in with Emily during the case hearing, we start to learn what could have been the problem with Lilith as strange things start to happen around the people Emily cares about, is this Lilith causing the problems or something more sinister.

 

Thoughts on Case 39

 

Characters/PerformanceEmily Jenkins is the social worker that always does the best for the children through any of the cases she gets, she sees the latest case with Lilith and takes her in as the only one she can trust but soon her life start unravelling and Emily must question her good nature to stop people dying. Lilith is the young girl that Emily believes is being abused by her family, she starts of looking innocent but soon becomes strange through the film and she could in fact be evil. Detective Barron is the person Emily always turns to, to solve any problems in the cases she has, he is loyal to her and willing to help solve any wrong doings.

Performance wise, Renee Zellweger is good in this lead role showing us horror can work with the right leading lady. Jodelle Ferland made a reputation playing the creepy little girl around this time and she is the star of the show here. Ian McShane is good in the supporting role too.

StoryThe story is a smart decision process because a social worker having the mentality to want to protect children having to question that because one could be evil poses a great set of moral questions throughout the film. That is the core of the story here we do have characters getting picked off by what could an evil child but it does keep us wondering how somebody would deal with the actual anti-Christ.

Horror/MysteryThe horror comes in our characters being haunted by their nightmares that are being created by Lilith but the mystery behind why this is happening in the first place.

SettingsWe have everyday settings in this film that makes us feel like this could happen to anybody, this does help everything unfold.

Special EffectsThe effects do work when it comes to the kills going on through the film without it being all over the top CGI.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid horror that spends slightly too much time trying to add extra scares instead of focusing on what could be moral questions Emily should need to face.

 

Overall: Solid Horror that can be enjoyable for the horror fans.

Rating

 

 

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Eden Lodge (2015)

Director: Andreas Prodromou

Writer: Andreas Prodromou (Screenplay)

Starring: Georgina Blackledge, Cyd Casados, Ivy Corbin, Ellie Dickens, Ben Gardner Gray,

 

Plot: A young family are stranded at the Eden Lodge. The people they meet are being killed one by one. They must fight to save their marriage, their family, and most of all their lives.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Forgettable

 

Story: Eden Lodge starts as we follow two hikers Nancy Craven (Blackledge) and Laurie Carpenter (Corbin) as they get picked off by a killer in the woods, also these names are showing the writer, director is a big fan of Wes Craven and John Carpenter. After this introduction, we meet the Michaels family, Adam (Gardner Gray) and Rachel (Casados) along with baby Alfie, who break down in the English countryside and suggested Eden Lodge to stay.

We see how Adam and Rachel are struggling with their relationships which has become strained from even before the baby was born but this weekend could be the final test for the couple or the breaking point when strange events start happening on and around the lodge.

 

Thoughts on Eden Lodge

 

Characters/PerformanceRachel is the wife and mother that is thinking about going back to America because the marriage isn’t working out the way she thought it would, she does get tempted but doesn’t give into it. Adam is the husband and father that made a mistake but married through honour after learning Rachel is pregnant, he gets tempted by beautiful guest but doesn’t want to give into the urges. Mrs Wilkes is the owner of the lodge that does come off strange during the events of the weekend.

Performance wise, we need to get honest here, the acting isn’t that good here, the chemistry between the couple is non-excitant and yes, I do know they are meant to be at a strained part of it but even with that we are left wondering how they were ever together. This film for sure won’t get remembered for the acting.

StoryThe story is also confusing at the most part because it hints heavily have supernatural only for things to end up going in the direction of just a hack em slash em story line. We are not left to wonder enough in any direction to where this film goes and in the end it just feels flat.

Horror/MysteryFirst the supernatural vibes are good but then it is just a slasher with no conviction, the mystery suggests who the killer could be but it just doesn’t make the impact it should.

SettingsThe setting is on a lodge in the middle of nowhere, which is good because our characters can’t get away and can’t call for help.

Special EffectsThe effects are good enough when needed we tend not to need them for what the story wants to do.

Final ThoughtsThis horror lacks the punch needed to make this stand out on the levels of the good ones, instead it just wants to shock for the sake of it.

 

Overall: Forgettable horror film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – G – Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

Director: James Foley

Writer: David Mamet (Screenplay) David Mamet (Play)

Starring: Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, Jonathan Pryce

 

Plot: An examination of the machinations behind the scenes at a real estate office.


Tagline – Lie. Cheat. Steal. All In A Day’s Work.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Drama

 

Story: Glengarry Glen Ross starts as we see how a real estate office is struggling to close deals, Blake (Baldwin) is hired to put down the firm law on the employees, office manager John Williamson (Spacey) tries to be strict with his staff as we see struggling aging expert Shelley (Lemmon), upcomer Dave Moss (Harris) the hot shot Ricky Roma (Pacino) and George (Arkin) that are given one week to make as many closes as possible.

As the pressure gets to the men things only get worse when the contracts are stolen which shows the true characters in the ruthless business.

 

Thoughts on Glengarry Glen Ross

 

Characters – Ricky Roma is the best estate agent in the office, he closes the biggest deals in the office which fills him with all the confidence in the world. Shelley Levene is the eldest member of the office, he has been down on his luck recently knowing this could be his last chance to keep his job. Dave Moss is the hot-head of the office that goes against the ultimatum about the jobs and comes up with a plan to make sure he gets the best leads. George is the timid member of the office but a fantastic salesman, he gets talked into Dave’s plan. John Williamson runs the office handing out the leads while making sure the teams get good sales. Blake is the man that puts the ultimatum down on the office, he is blunt when it comes to doing the deal.

PerformancesThe cast here is filled with award winners, the highest calibre of actor in the industry at that time. Pacino, Lemmon, Baldwin, Arkin, Harris, Spacey and Pryce are all fantastic it is unfair to single anyone out for more praise than any other.

StoryThe story follows 24-hours in life at the office of a real estate agents as the are pressured into improve their sales which includes dealing with a robbery that throws everything up in the air. This is a character driven story as we see how people can react under pressure as it comes from a play and you can feel that about the story all the way through. The story doesn’t get over complicated as we see how things unfold and it shows the desperation man will go for his own greed.

Crime/MysteryThe crime that takes place is partly how the deals get done and how the contracts get stolen which leads to the mystery to just who is the person behind everything.

SettingsThe settings are kept simple, the office, the bar and a house for discussions, this keeps everything grounded through the film from start to finish.


Scene of the Movie –
Truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Blake being in more scene would have been good.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fantastic assembled cast that give powerful performances that just deliver from the first frame until the final frame, simple fantastic cinema.

 

Overall: Fantastic from start to finish.

Rating

 

 

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

Director: Julius Onah

Writer: Oren Uziel (Screenplay) Oren Uziel, Doug Jung (Story)

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Bruhl, John Ortiz, Chris O’Dowd, Aksel Hennie, Ziyi Zhang, Elizabeth Debicki

 

Plot: Orbiting a planet on the brink of war, scientists test a device to solve an energy crisis, and end up face-to-face with a dark alternate reality.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Addition to Cloverfield Universe

 

Story: The Cloverfield Paradox starts as we come to the Earth as the people are facing an energy crisis, one of the last hopes is an experiment in space to product an almost infinite amount, the crew includes Schmidt (Bruhl), Hamilton (Mbatha-Raw), Kiel (Oyelowo), Monk (Ortiz), Mundy (O’Dowd), Volkov (Hennie) ad Tam (Zhang).

While performing their experiment something goes wrong and the crew finds their ship in the middle of nowhere in space, the Earth gone, what happened, the team must work together to keep the ship active before even considering looking for home and things only get more confusing when Jensen (Debicki) appears on the ship claiming to be part of the team.

 

Thoughts on The Cloverfield Paradox

 

Characters – Hamilton seems to be one of our main characters, because we follow her on Earth as she debates whether to be part of the mission, so she can save her family from the crisis on Earth, on board the ship we see how her first and most important thing to follow is communicating with her family. Kiel is the Commander on this mission, he knows how each member of the team can be used to get through the problems. Schmidt is the man behind the science, it has been his ideas which are being put into practice in the experiment. Monk is the medical officer on the ship, he faces the scientific decisions. Mundy is the engineer on board, he can fix any problem as fast becomes the funniest member of the crew. Volkov is the member of the team which easily gets hot headed through the situations the crew themselves in. Tam is a crucial part of the team when it comes to knowing the operations behind the experiment. Jensen appears on the ship after the experiment goes wrong, she seems to be part of the team, but no one else knows who she is. She knows the operations the crew want to follow too.

PerformancesThis has a star studded multi-cultured set of actors, this helps show us how the world is united with this plan. Gugu Mbatha-Raw is good in this leading role, her character is the only one that does seem to show any life outside of the mission though. Daniel Bruhl and David Oyelowo are two top performers and they both give us the good performances we expect. Chris O’Dowd nearly steals the movie, his characters wit mixed with his delivery helps the movie have moments of light-hearted humour. Elizabeth Debicki is good too but I do feel like we don’t get enough from the talents of Aksel Hennie and Ziyi Zhang.

StoryThe story follows an experiment to try and solve the problems the Earth is facing with energy supplies, the idea takes us into a scientific discussion about what would happen if scientists accidently ended up in an alternative dimension. We have characters that are smart in space, which follows the same lines as ‘Life’ and ‘Sunshine’ as they do come together to try to solve the problem over just panicking. This does tie into the previous films nicely too, which is just what we wanted to see.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-fiThis film doesn’t reach the horror element level it could have, but the mystery side of the film covers this weakness, the sci-fi side of things do offer big questions about where things could be going.

SettingsThe film uses two major settings, the first and best is the space station which is highlight of the film because every time we jump to Earth, it seems to slow up the pace of the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are flawless through the film, the space moments are wonderful and an incident with an arm is great.


Scene of the Movie –
Found the worms

That Moment That Annoyed Me Returning to Earth gets frustrating.

Final ThoughtsThis is a smart sci-fi film that throws up the questions about what could go wrong with an experiment that could help save the Earth. This does fit into the universe created with the Cloverfield movies too.

 

Overall: Hugely entertaining sci-fi thriller.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Cocoon: The Return (1988)

Director: Daniel Petrie

Writer: Stephen McPherson, Elizabeth Bradley (Screenplay) David Saperstein (Characters)

Starring: Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Courteney Cox, Hume Cronyn, Jack Gilford, Steve Guttenberg

 

Plot: The old age pensioners that left at the end of the first film come back to earth to visit their relatives. Will they all decide to go back to the planet where no-one grows old, or will they be tempted to stay back on earth?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Forced Sequel

 

Story: Cocoon: The Return starts as the residents who left in the first film return, Art (Ameche), Ben (Brimley) and Joe (Cronyn) get to reunite with old friends and family that believed they had died, but the aliens are back for their own reasons, to rescue the cocoons that they left at the bottom of the ocean that has been disturbed following an earthquake.

As the for resident spend their time on Earth they start to fall back into old ways be it sickness or mentoring roles being left with the question of whether they want to stay or not. The aliens must find a way to rescue one of their own that has been found by scientists led by Sara (Cox).

 

Thoughts on Cocoon: The Return

 

Characters – Art, Ben and Joe all return to Earth where they get to meet old friends and family, Joe gets caught up in needing to battle his old illness, Ben wants to help his grandson who is struggling with growing up and Art finds his wife pregnant at her age. The three get to look at the life they have missed for the last 5 years and need to make the decision whether to stay or not. Sara is one of the scientists which discovers the cocoons and works with the alien inside even though the rest of the government want to take him away. We do have plenty of other characters in this film but they do seem to take away any focus on enough characters.

PerformanceThe performances do feel like a step back from the first film, the older actors do seem to have a lot of fun with their roles.

StoryThe story does feel like a forced sequel, it brings the aliens back to Earth to rescue the ones they left behind with the elderly characters getting to look at the life they left behind. It does go against what we learnt in the first film with the elderly characters now facing the same question of can they stay or not because of what they missed. The alien side of things does fall into every single one we have seen, the government finds one and what to learn more about it now.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery side of this film comes from the idea of the aliens returning and what the humans will do with the ones they have discovered.

SettingsThe settings do feel the same which is fine but we do have the additional inclusion of the science base working on things.

Special EffectsThe effects here do feel like a step back too where we clearly see any addition used in the film.

Scene of the Movie – Basketball.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact it makes no sense transporting the cocoons after the first film made a point that they couldn’t.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very forced sequel that doesn’t accept the points it made in the first film, the effects are weaker and the performances are just not on the same level.

 

Overall: Disappoint sequel that was forced.

Rating