The Void (2017)

Director: Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski

Writer: Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski (Screenplay)

Starring: Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh, Daniel Fathers, Kathleen Munroe, Ellen Wong, Mik Byskov, Art Hindle

 

Plot: Shortly after delivering a patient to an understaffed hospital, a police officer experiences strange and violent occurrences seemingly linked to a group of mysterious hooded figures.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bloody Thinking Gorefest

 

Story: The Void starts as Sheriff Daniel Carter (Poole) finds the escaped young man James (Stern) taking him to the local understaffed hospital run by Dr Richard Powell (Welsh) with the nurses Allison Fraser (Munroe) and trainee Kim (Wong).

When a violent attack happens inside the hospital State Trooper Mitchell (Hindle) arrives on the scene but the remaining people inside the hospital find the hospital surrounded by hooded figures and joined the mysterious Father (Fathers) and Son (Byskov) who seem to have been planning for this event, but the question will remain, just what is going on? In what will be the longest night of these people’s lives as they battle to survive.

 

Thoughts on The Void

 

Characters/PerformanceSheriff Carter is a man that just wants to coast through his shifts but when duty calls he steps up to protect and serve, while he still battles with his own tragedy in life. Dr Powell has kept the hospital open for years after the staffing being cut who has also been suffering from his own tragic event. Allison Fraser is one of the nurses in the hospital who has been working to keep her mind of the loss of her unborn child. The Father has been working with the Son searching for everything behind the mysterious creatures within the town.

Performance wise, we have good performances from the whole cast with nobody looking out of place through the film but also nobody standing out as the most memorable member of it.

StoryThe story is a good horror one, you can see it borrowed from other films but let’s face it, what film doesn’t anymore? The idea of being trapped inside a building with an unknown threat works well for horror with the final act being massive but in places slightly complicated which is the biggest downer on this film’s story. there is plenty going on with you needing to think a lot about what has been happening.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiThe horror involved in the film is gore, hell and creatures something we love to see in a horror film that gives us a mystery and a sci-fi side of the story that keeps us guessing.

SettingsWith the whole film set inside the hospital we are left to see the horror becoming first hand for the characters involved as the deeper everything gets the bigger the horror elements involved are.

Special EffectsThe effects are all great with most being practical effects where we are left to see gore and blood fly off all the walls.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that will make you think with the final acts but if you just want to gore and blood flying you will go no wrong by watching this one.

 

Overall: This is a good horror that I think fans of the genre will enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Personal Shopper (2017)

Director: Olivier Assayas

Writer: Olivier Assayas (Screenplay)

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Sigrid Bouaziz, Andres Danielsen Lie, Ty Olwin, Benjamin Biolay

 

Plot: A personal shopper in Paris refuses to leave the city until she makes contact with her twin brother who previously died there. Her life becomes more complicated when a mysterious person contacts her via text message.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Almost Pointless Story

 

Story: Personal Shopper starts as Maureen Cartwright (Stewart) is bought into a home to communicate with the dead in France for Lara (Bouaziz) on her first night in the house she does feel the presence. Maureen also works for a high society personal shopper in Paris where she gets to handle the clothing people could only imagine affording.

We see how Maureen is tired with her role in Paris is staying solely to communicate with her dead twin brother because the two made a pledge to communicate if one died the other would communicate to prove he was a medium to the dead. Maureen finds her life turned upside when she witnesses a ghostly image within the house but it is when she receives random text messages from an unknown caller.

 

Thoughts on Personal Shopper

 

Characters/PerformanceMaureen is a personal shopper who is desperate to learn if she can still communicate with her dead twin brother. She finds herself not enjoying her career choice and being pushed around by an anonymous texter. The rest of the characters are only in a few scenes which show the life that Maureen is going through.

Performance wise, Stewart is great in the leading role needing to carry the film being in every single scene. The rest of the cast do well but are not involved too much with each scene.

StoryMy personal overall feelings for this film are pretty clear, I found most of the film almost pointless, now I say these words because we do have three odd stories going on. First we have the search for the dead brother’s spirit, this is fine, then we have the whole game about trying on the cloths, again fine, and thirdly we have the idea the Maureen is searching for her own identity, again fine but mixing them all together we never get enough focus on what was going on between each part of the story and left wondering just which part of the story we are going to be picking up next.

Mystery/ThrillerThere is a mystery and when it comes forward we are interested but it does get forgotten in places. We are not going to be kept on the edge of our sea through our experience of this film.

SettingsWe are in Paris for most of the film which should make for a great backdrop but the truth is we could have been anywhere for this film.

Final ThoughtsThere is so much potential in this film but the truth is that it doesn’t hit the marks it needs to.

 

Overall: Disappoints on many levels.

Rating

 

 

Surveillance (2008)

survDirector: Jennifer Lynch

Writer: Kent Harper, Jennifer Lynch (Screenplay)

Starring: Julia Ormond, Bill Pullman, Pell James, Michael Ironside, Kent Harper, Ryan Simpkins, French Stewart, Cheri Oteri

 

Plot: Two FBI agents attempt to clarify the murders occurring in a desolate region. They approach the witnesses of the latest incident with the help of the local police. All of them hide something and all have wildly different stories to tell.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Well Designed Thriller

 

Story: Surveillance starts with a bloody murder when FBI agents Elizabeth Anderson (Ormond) and Sam Hallaway (Pullman) come to investigate what has been going on much to the disagreement to the local law with Captain Billings (Ironside). The agents have a young girl Stephanie (Simpkins) who isn’t saying a word and a stoner Bobbi Prescott (James) worried she will get busted as their only witnesses.

With the cameras set up the interviews beginning as we learn what led to the events of the day in question. The longer the investigation goes on we get to learn how the two police officers involved took advantage of the victims for fun before we learn the outcome of the film.

 

Thoughts on Surveillance

 

StoryThe story is slow moving as we must go through the events of one day from three different points of view leading up to the final reveal. I did find this very slow because we had a lot of character development before everything kicks off, I think the final twist in the film is one you won’t see coming but the build-up takes too long.

Crime/Horror/Mystery/ThrillerThe whole film is circling around the idea of a crime being retold through the eyes of the witnesses which is all solid enough and you add in the mystery about what has happened to the mix you get the horror side to the story. the mix all work well to make us wonder what the hell is going on through the film.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters all come off feeling like different generic characters, we have the survivors of an incident one being innocent young girl, another being a stoner with the third being a shady cop. The FBI agents both come off very simple but instantly deal with the political material we are used too. As for performances, we get good from everyone because we don’t know who the killers really are throughout.

SettingsWhen it comes to the settings we have large part inside the police station with the rest just being on the open road, both settings are used well throughout the film.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the special effects they are only used when needed to make the accident look extra special when it finally happens.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow but well built up crime mystery horror thriller that is saved by the final twist within the film.

 

Overall: Slow thriller but rewarding by the end.

Ratingcard

 

 

The Discovery (2017)

Director: Charlie McDowell

Writer: Justin Lader, Charlie McDowell (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Robert Redford, Mary Steenburgen, Brian McCarthy, Riley Keough

 

Plot: A love story set one year after the existence of the afterlife is scientifically verified.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fascinating Sci-Fi Mind Bender

 

Story: The Discovery starts in a world where DR Thomas Harper (Redford) believes he has proven there is an afterlife, one year after this announcement the suicide rating in the world has sky rocketed with people believing they will ended up in this afterlife free of the problems they face in the real world.

Thomas’ son Will (Segel) a neurologist returns to his research facility on a remote island where his other brother Toby (Plemons) has been working on collecting more evidence with other volunteers who believe this afterlife is real. Being joined by Isla (Mara) the latest suicide failure to join the course Will is left to face the reality that not everything is as cut and dry as he believes with all of his science and medical beliefs. Will finds himself working with Isla to learn about a mysterious recording that came from the mind of a dead man, searching into his own past coming to a conclusion to everything.

 

Thoughts on The Discovery

 

Characters/PerformanceWill is a neurologist that is living in a world where people believe there is scientific proof of the afterlife, he still doesn’t believe in his own father’s discovery. He gets to investigating in a scientific mentality hoping to get to the bottom of everything. Isla is one of the people who had planned to kill themselves to get to this afterlife, she finds hope in searching for the answers with Will. Thomas is the doctor who believes he has discovered an afterlife, he has people working for him in a cult like situation while he is still trying to get the complete truth.

Performance wise, Jason Segel is brilliant here showing he isn’t just a comical actor and can handle the serious performances, Rooney Mara is good as always in the supporting role with Hollywood Icon Robert Redford giving a performance that is great for a supporting one.

StoryAn idea that we are in a world where we could know there is an afterlife is truly fascinating, it offers up questions never once asked before because there is no ‘if’ it is a ‘when’. The film does claim to have this question with our main character Will looking to prove this wrong, which again is good because this is a scientific discovery. This story will keep you guessing from the start to the finish and leave you going ‘What’ even though you can understand the ending.

Mystery/Romance/Sci-FiThe mystery is would you believe and is this discovery real, the sci-fi from the story comes from the discovery itself, as it offers up what is a scientific idea to the afterlife. The romance comes from Will and Isla story as they search for the truth.

SettingsThe one weak point I found in this film I would say is the settings, they do add up to the final story which is good but the film has the beach which is important and the lone mansion where the believers live.

Final ThoughtsI love a film that makes you think, this will do that, I love seeing actors who have been typecast to one genre prove themselves, Segel does here. I love watching how scientific ideas are posed to the audience offer us a question on what we would do in the situation. This is nearly everything I like to watch in a film, this should have been a cinema release not Netflix.

 

Overall: One of the hidden gems of the year.

Rating

 

 

Studio Ghibli Weekend – When Marnie Was There

manirDirector: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Writer: Keika Niwa, Masahi Ando, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, David Freedman (Screenplay) Joan G Robinson (Novel)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Sara Takatsuki, Kasumi Arimura, Nanaki Matsushima, Susumu Terajima, Toshie Negishi

 

Plot: Upon being sent to live with relatives in the countryside, an emotionally distant adolescent girl becomes obsessed with an abandoned mansion and infatuated with a girl who lives there – a girl who may or may not be real.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Emotional Roller-Coaster

 

Story: When Marnie Was There starts as we meet 12-year-old girl Anna Sasaki who has been struggling to fit in at school becoming distant from her whole family too. Looking for a cure Yoriko her Aunt sends Anna to the family Kiyomasa and Setsu on the coast with fresh air away from the busy city.

With the beautiful landscape becoming the inspiration for Anna’s latest artwork she becomes fascinated by a mysterious abandoned mansion on the marsh. Investigating Anna meets the girl who lives in the mansion Marnie.

The two become best friends but it soon leaves Anna wondering just whether Marnie is real or not because without this friendship Anna feels almost empty in this world.

 

Thoughts on When Marnie Was There

 

StoryThis story is one of the very best from Ghibli, it does lose all of the wild fantasy elements and at its core is one of the sweetest heartbreaking dramas you will see in recent years. The story focuses on the problems a foster child is suffering with through after her parents and grandparents all die, our character can’t find her way in the world but one summer changes all of that for her. How everything unfolds will bring a tear to your eye once you see the final outcome of this story.

Family/MysteryWhen you look at the family side of the story we get to see just how difficult being a foster child can be and you add in the mystery of just who is Marnie to this young girl real, imagine or a memory.

CharactersAnna is a perfect character for lead in a film, she is a struggling young girl who hasn’t understood her place in the world struggling with anxiety and depression with no one around she believes she can turn to for help. Marnie gives Anna the out she needed so much from her life bringing the positive she never knew she has in her. I will say the rest of the characters are mostly typical characters you would see around town who all help Anna with her problems.

SettingsThe animation gives us the most beautiful settings away from the busy lifestyle in the small country village.

AnimationWhen it comes to the animation Ghibli always give us such a perfect style of animation and this is no exception from the brilliant study.

Final ThoughtsThis has to go down as one of Ghibli’s best pieces of work a pure down to Earth story that will make you smile while the tears roll down your face and pure emotional roller-coaster.

 

Overall: Brilliant, Stunning Unforgettable, Tragic, Charming and Important all just a few words to describe this film.

Ratingcard