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

 

 

Automata (2014)

automataDirector: Gabe Ibanez

Writer: Gabe Ibanez, Igor Legarreta, Javier Sanchez Donate (Screenplay)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Dylan McDermott, Melanie Griffith, Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, Robert Forster, Tim McInnerny, Javier Bardem

 

Plot: Jacq Vaucan is an insurance agent of ROC robotics corporation who investigates cases of robots violating their primary protocols against altering themselves. What he discovers will have profound consequences for the future of humanity.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Automata starts in the future in the aftermath of solar storms that have wiped 99.7% of the world’s population from the Earth. The protect the remaining one robots known as automata are created to build walls to stop the solar rays, they are built with two conditions, one they can’t harm anything living and two they can’t alter their protocols.

In this world, we meet Jacq Vaucan (Banderas) who investigates insurances claims against the robots. Jacq whose wife is pregnant about to give birth wants to take on the easy jobs but soon gets a new assignment to uncover why this one automata was smuggling parts and self-improving himself.

Jacq teams up with short tempered police officer Sean Wallace (McDermott) to learn that the world isn’t going the way he thought with human altering the automatas for their own benefits but just how deep has this gone?

 

Thoughts on Automata

 

StoryThe story puts us into a dystopian world where human numbers are low but they live side by side with robots. We have the ideas that robots are starting to become smarter and evolving to become a threat to mankind. I liked how this story talks about the fine line between science with humans learning more about robots and what could be the start of change in power without turning into a mindless action film.

Action/Sci-FiWhen it comes to the action it isn’t non-stop which is just what the movie needs, the sci-fi side of the story works very well as we see how the humans work with the robots but could be about to raise their intelligence above our own, this poses good sci-fi related questions throughout.

Characters/PerformanceWhen it comes to the performances Banderas shines in the leading role with the good supporting performance all around mostly because the film isn’t afraid to shock with certain names. The characters all suit the world we find ourselves in, Jacq a family man tired of his job, a hot heated cop, smart scientist hidden from the world the concerned wife and the emotionless killer.

SettingsThe settings work perfectly for the world created showing us how bleak our future could be after a solar storm as well as how we would still divide ourselves for safety. The city looks worn down with the desert looking like it has been left for years with no one able to go to.

Special EffectsThe special effects all look fantastic with the robots looking like they could easily be part of our own world which is the main usage of the special effects in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis does turn into a very smart sci-fi which is happily asking us morale questions throughout as well as concluding by asking the questions about our own existence and what might become of us once we are gone.

 

Overall: This is a smart sci-fi even with moments that come off slow at times.

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World Cinema Weekend – The End (2012)

endDirector: Jorge Torregrossa

Writer: Sergio G Sanchez, Jorge Guerricaechevarria (Screenplay) David Monteagudo (Novel)

Starring: Maribel Verdu, Daniel Grao, Clara Lago, Carmen Ruiz, Andres Velencoso, Miquel Fernandez, Blanca Romero

 

Plot: A group of old friends gets together for a weekend in a mountain cabin. Years have gone by and yet nothing seems to have changed between them. But lurking behind the laughter and stories is a murky episode from the past that continues to haunt them. A strange, sudden incident alters their plans, leaving them stranded and with no line of communication to the outside world. On their way for help, the group starts to disintegrate, just as a new natural order is unveiled before their astonished eyes.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Impressive Sci-Fi Drama

 

Story: The End starts as an old group of school friend reunite for the weekend we have Maribel (Verdu), Felix (Grao), Eva (Lago), Sara (Ruiz), Hugo (Velencoso), Sergio (Fernandez), Cova (Romero) and Rafa (Garrido) all in the cabin within the mountain region of Spain.

Their trip is interrupted by a sudden light and boom in the distance with all the phones going dead along with all of their cars. They all beginning to question an incident in their past with another student Angel known as the Prophet where the consequences of what they did are still being felt.

Finding themselves standard they look for a way down from the mountain top back to society but find unusual occurrences along the way, what has happened to make this happen and who will make it back alive?

 

Thoughts on The End

 

StoryThe story plays nicely into the idea that the end of the world has happened and people could be left behind, we have a nice mix of not knowing going on throughout the film and with the characters disappearing one at a time we are left wondering just what is happening within the film. This gives us a compelling story even if it isn’t the most original. The big plus point I u just not knowing who will go missing next or why these people have been left.

Sci-Fi/ThrillerThe sci-fi side of this story comes from the end of the world happening with people being left behind and just not knowing what to expect from being left behind. The thriller side is us left wondering just what is left for our characters to find and what is their fate.

Characters/PerformanceEach character is different in their own way but in a way where you could see them all being a group of friends. Each performance a great from the actors and by not knowing who most of these actors are it is hard at times to figure out who the most important ones will be early on.

SettingsThe settings are used to show us the remote isolated location our characters start in when the incident happens as well as showing us just how empty the world would look without humans in.

Special EffectsThe special effects all work well but the film focuses more on the drama of what is going on between the characters as they slowly disappear from each other’s lives.

Final ThoughtsThis films shows just what life is like as the people we once loved will eventually leave our lives at different stages of it, sure everything is put into an end of the world situation but the metaphor for growing older shines through in my opinion.

 

Overall: Very good sci-fi thriller that just keeps you guessing.

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

 

 

Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Director: Rupert Sanders

Writer: Jamie Moss, William Wheeler (Screenplay) Masamune Shirow (Comics)

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbaek, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Michael Pitt, Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Peter Ferdinando

 

Plot: In the near future, Major is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sci-Fi Action 101

 

Story: Ghost in the Shell starts as Major (Johansson) gets thee final adjustments as her mind gets place into cyber-enhanced body placed into Sector 9 an elite Police squad run by Aramaki (Kitano). When an unknown machine known as Kuza (Pitt) declares war on the Hanka the company making the cyber-enhancements including Major’s.

The deeper Major gets into the case with her partner Batou (Asbaek) the more she questions her past through Dr Ouelet (Binoche) but she is left in the middle of a battle between Aramaki, Hanka Director Cutter (Ferdinando) and Kuze to who is in fact guiding her down the right path.

 

Thoughts on Ghost in the Shell

 

Characters/PerformanceMajor is the human brained cyber-enhanced robot, she is able to make human decisions while being able to move like a robot, take bullets etc. she does end up down the curious line where she starts to question the truth about her past. Batou is the loyal partner of Major who will back her up in any fight. Aramaki is the typical boss of the team, he does what is best for the unit but will put his neck on the line to make sure they are all safe. Dr Ouelet is one of the doctors who put Major together but most of her scenes are information based scenes. Kuze is the robot hacker that is trying to take out the people in Hanka with his enhanced methods. Cutter is the CEO of Hanka that will stop at nothing to keep the information and methods secret.

Performance wise, Scarlett Johansson is built for action, she kicks ass in this leading role and also has the emotional range to back it up, Pilou Asbaek is also good in the supporting role looking the part of the character from the anime with the attitude intact. Michael Pitt does a good job in this role offering the mystery to the story while the rest of the cast all give solid to good performances through the whole film.

StoryThe story is interesting to follow as it focuses mainly on Major trying to find her true identity after learning not everything is what she believes it do have been. We do also focus on looking at how business and government try to work together but are also always battling each other. I think this is a good sci-fi story but I can already hear the anime fans not liking this as much.

Action/Crime/Mystery/Sci-FiThe action is all big and spectacle like without being anything overly original, we do enter into the crime world which is important as the focus on the cybercrime that offers the mystery for Major to need to solve in the futuristic sci-fi world.

SettingsThe world created looks beautiful for the settings, yes, it is mostly CGI but it looks like the world you could imagine this story take place in.

Special EffectsThe special effects all look great even if you can tell most are based around CGI most are hard not to enjoy.

Final ThoughtsI know people are going to compare this to the anime and I think those fans will find a way to dislike this film, but as a stand-alone sci-fi action film this is good, it has plenty of action in a beautifully crafted world that is just what a popcorn movie should be.

 

Overall: Enjoyable popcorn sci-fi actioner.

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