ABC Film Challenge – Action – F – Final Recall (2017) Movie Review

Director: Mauro Borrelli

Writer: Reggie Keyohara III, Sam Acton King (Screenplay) Mauro Borrelli (Story)

Starring: Wesley Snipes, RJ Mitte, Jedidiah Goodarce, Laura Bilgeri, Niko Pepaj, Hannah Rose May

Plot: When five friends vacation at a remote lake house they expect nothing less than a good time, unaware that planet Earth is under an alien invasion and mass-abduction.


Tagline – They’ve come to claim what’s theirs.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Weak Action Sci-Fi

Story: Final Recall starts as a group of friends, Brendan (Mitte), Charlie (Goodacre), Annie (Bilgeri), Rob (Pepaj) and Kara (May) head out of town to a lake house for a weekend away, they happen to clash with local Hunter (Snipes) who doesn’t welcome unwanted guests. With the group away from the world, there is a bigger issue in the world, an alien visit.

With a storm covering their arrival, it soon turns into a mass-abduction, where the five friends must turn to the Hunter to battle the aliens to survive, in a world that might not be there if they make it.

Thoughts on Final Recall

Characters – The Hunter was once an astronaut who is know living in the back woods, hunting for something unknown. He doesn’t take to the five friends, but has been planning for the visit of the aliens. He does fill in most of the holes in what is happening. The five friends are not given the deepest characters, with Brendan being the one that likes taking photos and uses the technology to see what is coming, Charlie is the broken young man that lost a girlfriend in the past, this is meant to be his grieving vacation, while maybe moving on with Annie who is here because of her best friend and has asthma (told you that don’t have much about them).

PerformancesWesley Snipes does play his character way over the top, this does make it hard to take him seriously. When it comes to the five young actors, they fill the generic side of the characters with ease.

StoryThe story here follows five friends that go to lake house only to find themselves clashing with a hunter, before finding themselves under attack from aliens, who have bigger plans for the species. This is a story that does try to play into one of the biggest alien conspiracies known to man, that aliens created man and will continue to experiment over the years visiting to check up on them, this is fine it works well through the story, only getting there is just a slug, we have such a basic idea behind the characters, that nothing really makes any sense before the attack and almost plays out like a parody of Predator at times. What seems like a story that just doesn’t get completed in the film, we could easily have seen this as an opening to television series that will offer even more answers.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film is weak, with mostly aimless chases through the woods, while any suspense filled moments finish instantly, which could be the same for the weak looking aliens used in the sci-fi elements of the film, along with the strange setting selected for the experiments.

SettingsThe film uses the random cabin in the woods locations, which doesn’t add anything to the film, in fact it makes it look like any other alien film, while the ship’s interior seems to big for what is meant to be going on within the walls.

Special EffectsThe effects are not good either, with most of the film looking very cheap when you think that we have an actor with a reputation of Snipes in the film.


Scene of the Movie – Wake up.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The aliens look bad.

Final Thoughts This is a low budget action sci-fi film that shows how weak the budget is, even though we have an actor in Snipes that could easily sell a movie.

Overall: Cheap looking throughout.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – C – Channeling (2013)

Director: Drew Thomas

Writer: Drew Thomas (Screenplay)

Starring: Taylor Handley, Kate French, Skyler Day, Dominic DeVore, Ryan Walker, Landon Ashworth, Alex Solowitz

Plot: A drama centered on people who seek validation by broadcasting their lives to as big an audience as possible.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Simple Look at the Next Gen of Entertainment

Story: Channeling starts by taking us into a world where people can have a camera in their eye, with people watching their lives, Wyatt Maddox (Handley) is one of these people and after he is killed with his channel watching, his soldier brother Jonah (DeVore) returns home, here he learns that his brother was murdered with Wyatt’s girlfriend Tara (French) filling in the gaps of what happened.

As Jonah starts to investigate, he teams up with Tara to find the person that killed Wyatt, he enters the world of street racing from stolen cars, where he pretends to be his brother, which only draws the same criminals that killed him.

Thoughts on Channeling

Characters – Wyatt is the popular in the virtual world, with his followers in his illegal stolen street cars getting him killed, he has been recording his life, which gives his brother something to search through. Jonah is the soldier brother of Wyatt, he has returned to learn what happened to his brother only to go undercover with his brother’s girlfriend to learn the truth about who killed his brother. Tara is the girlfriend of Wyatt’s, she was with him just before he was killed and now, she wants learn the truth, by showing Jonah how to enter the world. Ashleigh is the younger sister of the brothers, she has become popular with her own recordings which is more about fashion and daily life.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances we don’t get the best performances, this does work for the film because they are meant to be what we would consider YouTube stars in how they try to play to their audiences. The reality behind the acting is that it is simple enough and the characters are hard to see in the real world either.

StoryThe story here follows a brother that is trying to find out what happened to his brother after he is murdered during one of his special broadcasts, he goes undercover to learn more about the world, searching for answers. The most interesting way to look at this story, comes from seeing the world where the broadcasting has become so popular, this idea works very well because it reflects how the world is only interested in drama or crime, over any sort of real event. When we look at the actual story, it is a basic revenge like story and works as the surface of the film, it would have been nice to have felt like the villains were more threatening and the side story revolving around the little sister does seem just there to show a different side of the popularity of the equipment rather than adding anything to the main story.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film does follow a couple of car chases which as basic enough, but shot through the eyes which makes them difficult to watch. The sci-fi element does build on what we have seen in Black Mirror before which is a recording of life, it is nice touch and something we see happening more and more.

SettingsThe film shows the criminal world that Jonah must enter for answers, we have rough bars, dark alleyways and a remote penthouse apartment where his brother lived.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, this is focused on how the viewers of the people see the lives they are following, it does feel like shaky cam at times which isn’t helpful as a viewer experience.


Scene of the Movie – Bar of popularity.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not seeing enough of the villain.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at how the popularity of social media has become easier to access and become key to these people’s lives.

Overall: Entertaining, though flawed.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – A – Ant-Man (2015)

Director: Peyton Reed

Writer: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comics)

Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Anthony Macke, Michael Pena

 

Plot: Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.


Tagline – No shield. No armor. No problem.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Heist Movie

 

Story: Ant-Man starts when Scott Lang (Rudd) gets released from prison, he wants to try and go straight to rebuild his relationship with his daughter, but is struggling. When his best friend Luis (Pena) offers him a score which could fix the problem he jumps at the chance. the job is to break into a house and open a safe, which he does finding a suit.

The suit is the Ant-Man suit which Dr Hank Pym (Douglas) invented and planned to keep secret, until his student Darren Cross (Stoll) has learnt of the technology and has been looking to create his own form of it. Hank wants Scott to use the suit to stop Darren from using the technology that could be dangerous in the right hands.

 

Thoughts on Ant-Man

 

Characters – Scott Lang is a cat-burglar that is freshly out of prison searching for a job, so he can rebuild his relationship with his daughter, who still loves him. He can’t get employment, which sees him return to a life of crime, which sees him get an opportunity to work for Hank Pym that see him use his skills to help him steal his own technology back before it gets in the wrong hands. Scott can see this as a chance for redemption. Dr Hank Pym created the shrinking technology that made Ant-Man, he has seen the danger involved in it and has been gone into business for himself, he needs somebody to make sure his technology doesn’t get sold into the wrong hands, he doesn’t want his daughter to do the job because he knows the danger involved in it. Hope is the daughter of Hank, she has remained in the company watching over Darren’s research, reporting to her father if thing go wrong. She wants to go on the mission no matter how risky it could be. Darren Cross was mentored by Hank, he has always been waiting to step out of the shadow and after learning the secret about technology involved in creating the shrinking technology.

PerformancesPaul Rudd does get to bring us a fun character that has been left with nothing and still remains positive and isn’t the smartest person in the room. Michael Douglas fits his role perfectly as the inventor figure. Evangeline Lilly is strong in her role, even if she does a lot better in the sequel. Corey Stoll does make for a strong villain which is needed in this film.

StoryThe story here follows a former criminal that gets recruits to steal a piece of equipment from his own office that could one day create a new army becoming a threat to mankind. This story does go in a different direction to the previous outings of creating a new superhero, most before hand had been experiments or self-created heroes. Scott is given a chance to improve his life to step into a suit that was once just an experiment. We also have a heist going on which is always entertaining to watch as we do get the colourful characters involved in the film. this might get references for previous Avengers movies which shows how Ant-Man will be part of the universe too.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Sci-FiThe action in this film has a unique look because it deals with the ideas of most of the fighting happening within the miniature world. the film does target plenty of laughs which with the supporting cast come off regularly and once again we see how the sci-fi side of the film is used for the technology being used in the film.

SettingsThe film is set in San Francisco which does bring us to a new city for a superhero movie which is refreshing to see.

Special EffectsThe effects in this movie are amazing when you think of the world that is created with the ant army being used.


Scene of the Movie –
Training the ants.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We needed more of Luis.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun heist movie with a superhero spin on it which lightens the mood the previous films might have had.

 

Overall: Entertaining Superhero movie.

Rating

 

 

The Complex (2020) Review

Director: Paul Raschid

Writer: Lunn Renee Maxcy (Screenplay)

Starring: Michelle Mylett, Kate Dickie, Al Weaver, Kim Adis, Akie Kotabe, Beau Fowler, Rachel Petladwala

Plot: After being tasked with saving the life of a potential bio-weapons terrorist, two London scientists find themselves in a locked-down laboratory with time – and air – running out.

Runtime: This is an interactive movie, the action you take will give you the length of your experience.

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Entertaining Experience

Story: The Complex starts as a nerve agent has inflicted two people with Dr Amy Tennant (Mylett) and Rees Wakefield (Weaver) are treating the patients, leaving the decision in our own hands, as the audience. This is here to help us understand the type of decisions we will be facing.

5 years later Amy is working under the great doctor Nathalie Kensington (Dickie) trying to get funding for the latest invention that could improve medical technology, until one of the team gets dangerously ill, leading to Amy needing to uncover what went wrong before it becomes a bigger problem.

Thoughts on The Complex

Final ThoughtsThis being an interactive movie does change some dynamics, first we will still look at the performances, Michelle Mylett, Kate Dickie, Al Weaver and Kim Adis are all wonderful to watch, they each have different directions their characters could go in, with them having to do plenty of different reactions depending on what we choice.

When we look into the story that is unfolding, it does target the idea that a medical enhancement being unleashed with us needing to figure out if it was an accident or for a greater reason. We get to decide the direction this story goes, with us needing to do Amy’s decision making along the way.

The big part of what makes The Complex different is the interactive style, because once you finish watching, you will get an assessment of you choices, with the potential of 9 different endings, meaning you will need to re-watch to try and get the different outcomes. I only did two different results, but you could easily go back through this to find the different branches to each story.

It will be easy to compare this to Black Mirror Bandersnatch, only that version went too deep into everything, sometimes losing direction, with The Complex, we contain the action within one building showing us, this concept works much better in the contained environment. This is a film that you can go through multiple times and still get something fresh out of it each time.

Overall: Experience You Need to Try.

THE COMPLEX a live action, interactive Sci-Fi thriller is released worldwide through PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch on 31st March 2020

Vince Vaughn Weekend – The Cell (2000) Movie Review

Director: Tarsem Singh

Writer: Mark Protosevich (Screenplay)

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D’Onofrio, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Jake Weber, Dylan Baker, James Gammon

Plot: An F.B.I. Agent persuades a social worker, who is adept with a new experimental technology, to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer in order to learn where he has hidden his latest kidnap victim.


Tagline – This Summer… Enter The Mind Of A Killer

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Stunning

Story: The Cell starts as we meet Catherine Deane (Lopez) who works by going into the mind of people in comas to try and help them get out of the trauma, with her patient being a young boy, elsewhere serial killer Carl Stargher (D’Onofrio) who drowns his victims before performing sadomasochistic acts on the bodies, with FBI agents Gordon (Weber) and Peter Novak (Vaughn) trying to track him down.

When the FBI find Carl, they learn he has fallen into a coma, with little chance of waking up, he has taken another victim and they need the location, which leads them to Catherine, who is assigned to go into the mind of the serial killer to learn the location before the time runs out.

Thoughts on The Cell

Characters – Catherine is the doctor that goes into the minds of comatose people in hope of finding a cure that will let the victim get over the trauma that has locked them in. she experiences all sorts inside the minds of people, usually helping a young boy, now she gets to go into the mind of a serial killer who has a victim locked away somewhere. Peter Novak is an FBI agent leading the investigation into the serial killer, he turns to Catherine to help, being the one that explains just how difficult this case has become. Carl Stargher is the serial killer that has been racking up the kills with a method being as twisted as they come, he has started getting more regular and with the latest victim taken he falls into a coma, which sees him needing to have his mind visited to learn the truth about the location of the missing woman. We fill out the characters with fellow officers and the scientists that work with Catherine.

PerformancesJennifer Lopez is wonderfully in the lead role, she shows how calm her character needs to be even in the face of pure nightmares. Vincent D’Onofrio is disturbing as the serial killer, because he is so cold in how everything is delivered you don’t want to see what he does next. Vince Vaughn as the FBI agent is great, but doesn’t have the level of work that the lead two must get through during the film.

StoryThe story here follows a FBI agent that turns to a new form of science to get help from Catherine Deane to figure out where a comatose serial killer has left his latest victim. Where the serial killer hunting of this side does get trimmed off, so we can focus on the searching for the missing victim, by diving into the idea of explore the mind of a comatose person is where the film stands out. The world we enter is incredible and shows that serial killers could have been raised in a world of pure torture causing them to break, while the story is fantastic, it could easily be one that gets bought to today world to explore the mental side of serial killers even more. The race against time element also helps makes this story feel like we are in the real time frame to get everything done.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror in this film comes from what we see Catherine experience as well as seeing what Carl does to his victims, while the sci-fi of the film does look at the idea of being able go into the mind of somebody else without truly getting into the science of it.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to give us the routine FBI searching areas, but where the settings improve are the different environments Catherine finds herself going through during her trip into the mind, each one could be more shocking than the last.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are wonderful too, they really do push the boundaries for the time and don’t look like they have been dated.


Scene of the Movie – The first entry into Carl’s mind.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The cops do come off pretty routine.

Final Thoughts This is an amazing sci-fi film that takes the hunt for a serial killer in a new direction, one that has endless possibilities of horror.

Overall: Disturbing Thriller.