Happy Death Day 2U (2019)

Director: Christopher Landon

Writer: Christopher Landon (Screenplay) Scott Lobdell (Characters)

Starring: Jessica Rothe, Ruby Modine, Israel Broussard, Suraj Sharma, Rachel Matthews, Steve Zissis

 

Plot: Tree Gelbman discovers that dying over and over was surprisingly easier than the dangers that lie ahead.


Tagline – Death makes a killer comeback.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Smartly Written

 

Story: Happy Death Day 2U starts when Ryan (Vu) starts going through the same experience that Tree (Rothe) did one year ago, Tree knows how to break the cycle which only brings us to his lab work, which brings us a couple of new characters in Samar (Sharma) and Andrea (Yarkin) that help solve the case only for the outcome to take Tree right back to September 18th waking up in the dorm room of Carter (Broussard).

Tree sets out to end the cycle quickly only to learn she is in a very different version and she must figure out who the killer is all over again, while helping Ryan figure out how to put time back together again.

 

Thoughts on Happy Death Day 2U

 

Characters – Tree is back first off helping Ryan handle the repeat day, before being forced back through the day she got stuck in, this time not everything is as it seems and she is faced if difficult decisions ones, people might never get to decide over. Carter is Tree’s boyfriend and the student’s room she keeps waking up in, he has a different life this time around though. Ryan is the slacker roommate of Carter’s who has been working on an experiment which has put him into the loop, he seems to have two sides, one is the stoner slacker roommate, the other is a genius scientific mind, it is hard to believe the two are the same. Lori returns to, as we learn how different the realities have become. We do have all the characters returning here which does give them a different spin and a different suspect list.

PerformancesJessica Rothe steals the show once again with her performance, with her character going through different emotional decisions than the first film which saw her go from bitchy to understanding, this time she has harder decisions to make. When we get into the supporting cast, sadly, nobody gets as much time as they should do, Phi Vu seems like he is going to get a lot of time from the opening sequence, only to spend most of the film at a computer screen.

StoryThe story here is one that does feel like one of the most interest written ones I have seen in a long time, first we know how the first film unfolded, so, how do we handle a sequel? We change the genre, that is what we did, because the first film used more fantasy elements to create the loop only for this one to put us into a sci-fi factor. Now, this story does focus a lot more on choices, most importantly ones that Tree can make, with a brand-new look at life and chances she didn’t know she could have being bought back for her, this is the highlight of everything we see. The weakness of this comes from the fact we do have a new killer and we don’t really spend anytime figuring out who they are. The best way to describe this would be imagine Sidney could relive the events of Scream and the killers were different and her life changed from the one she was living, only she knew about it. This sounds complicated though, it doesn’t feel like that.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiThe horror and mystery factors do take a backburner this time, we do have a killer, we don’t seem to truly investigate this enough for the film to get the time to shine.

SettingsThe film is set in and around the university, we return to certain locations, but strangely this doesn’t offer anything new to the genre.


Scene of the Movie –
The blind student.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The overuse of suicide in a comic way.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sequel that does continue to build on the original, it will give you laughs, but will take the mystery away from everything, Jessica Rothe does steal the show again.

 

Overall: Fun, improved sequel.

Rating

 

 

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Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Writer: James Cameron, Laeta Kalogridis, Robert Rodriguez (Screenplay) Yukito Kishiro (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Rosa Salazar, Mahershala Ali, Jennifer Connelly, Christoph Waltz, Lana Condor, Eiza Gonzalez, Ed Skrein, Keean Johnson

 

Plot: An action-packed story of one young woman’s journey to discover the truth of who she is and her fight to change the world.


Tagline – An Angel Falls. A Warrior Rises.

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visual Masterpiece

 

Story: Alita: Battle Angel starts in the 26th century, Dr Dyson Ido (Waltz) searching for scraps locates the remaining parts of a cyborg, who has come from the city sky, he rebuilds her naming her Alita (Salazar) and teaches her about the world. Alita wants to learn for herself which happens when she meets Hugo (Johnson) who shows him the city.

Vector (Ali) being controlled by the villainous Nova is always seeking the best fighters to send to the city above, which attracts him to Alita knowing her abilities will give him even more power. Alita must learn about her past to fight for her future to become the hero she was always meant to be.

 

Thoughts on Alita: Battle Angel

 

Characters – Alita is the name given to the battle angel, she is from an older technology, one nobody understands one from before the great Fall. She is programmed to be like a teenager learning about the world, eager to take chance, before she learns about her fighting abilities, which will see her fight to keep her freedom and for love. This is an amazingly strong character that shows just how much motivation can come from learning one’s power. Dr Dyson Ido repairs the cyborgs, he has a heart of gold willing to help many, but he has a haunted past which gives him a secret life that Alita wants to be part off. Vector runs the city, if you want to get to the sky city, you must go through him, he knows the desire to get there and plays everybody on the idea he can make it happen. Chiren is Dyson’s ex-wife, she wants to get back to the sky city and sides with Vector to make this happen. Hugo is the young man rebel that shows Alita the city, teaches her dreams and sport. He does go against what Alita believes he is, as he like many others is dreaming of getting to the sky city. Zapan is one of the hunter warriors, used as the police within the city, they are bounty hunters who will kill for credits, he is considered the deadliest of them all and clashes with Alita.

PerformancesRosa Salazar bursts onto the scene with this performance that even though the character does feel like it is CGI, manages to give emotion through every event she learns about. Christoph Waltz shines in the doctor role, he keeps everything calm which is what is required for his character. Mahershala Ali bring a calm demanding villain to the heart of this film which will show he isn’t the strongest, but the smartest. Jennifer Connelly has the largest amount to go through with her character, she gets the chance to show us that she is the real deal. Ed Skrein does seem to bring us his Ajax from Deadpool figure, which is fine, des what the film needs. Keean Johnson completes the main cast and work in his role well have strong chemistry with Salazar.

StoryThe story here follows a former warrior being bought back to life to learn of a new world that she wants to fight to bring down, while trying to learn about her past. Now, this does have source material, so I can’t say who did it first, but this does feel like a story we have seen before, an unlikely hero coming to save the day after being mentored by an older figure that wished to do the same thing himself, must overcome the odds and gain a following. This is a tried and tested story formula and it works very well with this one too. My big issue with the story comes from the time passage, certain things that happen seem to feel like they could be weeks or months, but they play out like days, only they can’t have been days, this is the biggest disappointment in the storytelling process.

Action/Adventure/Romance/Sci-FiThe action in this movie is amazing, we get fight scenes with each combatant seemingly having a different ability which opens the doors for all possibilities too. The adventure side of the film comes from following Alita as she learns about herself, the world and her place in it. When we get to the romance side of the film this could turn people off at times, but it does show how people would be willing to fight for their unconditional love for somebody. The sci-fi concepts in this film comes from the creations, both in world and the cyborgs involved, we see a future world completely different to our own too.

SettingsOnto the best parts of the film, the settings, the city created here is one of the best you will ever see in a sci-fi film, each individual part of the city seems to have details to make us truly believe we are there.

Special EffectsThe special effects are just breath-taking, nothing seems out of place in this world filled with cyborgs. Everything in this film will make you want to love cinema even more than you already do.


Scene of the Movie –
The world we enter is just breath-taking.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The nurse character, mostly because I felt we should have seen her do more (not the actress’s fault).

Final ThoughtsThis is easily going to be the best visual film you will see in 2019, it might have a by the book story, but you will be left wanting to see more and more of this character in her battles.

 

Overall: Experience this on the big screen.

Rating

 

 

IO (2019)

Director: Jonathan Helpert

Writer: Clay Jeter, Charles Spano, Will Basanta (Screenplay)

Starring: Margaret Qualley, Anthony Mackie, Danny Huston, Tom Payne

 

Plot: As a young scientist searches for a way to save a dying Earth, she finds a connection with a man who’s racing to catch the last shuttle off the planet.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Sci-Fi Movie

 

Story: IO starts as the Earth has become on the verge of uninhabitable, ships have gone into space to produce a colony in space by Jupiter’s moon Io, while back on Earth Sam (Qualley) is doing final research to see if the Earth is returning to better days. When a new safety zone planet is discovered the mission in space changes and Sam must rush to the final mission into space before she is left on Earth forever. Joined by stranger Micah (Mackie) who is in search for her father Harry (Huston) the pair work together to decide their own futures.

 

Thoughts on IO

 

Characters – Sam is one of the few remaining humans on Earth, she has been working on research which could prove there is still hope on Earth, even though her research gets destroyed, she must make the decision to find her love in space, when the last mission off the planet get announced. Micah is the stranger that came to the research site, searching for Harry, he reluctantly decides to help Sam out, while harbouring his own secret for his journey. Harry is the father of Sam, one of the few scientists that told people to remain on Earth, we only see him through flashbacks and video clips though.

PerformancesThis is a two-person performance, with Anthony Mackie in the supporting of the two, we know his talent which he gets to show off here. Margaret Qualley is the new name for me and she does everything needed to make us care about her characters isolation on Earth.

StoryThe story here follows two of the remaining survivors on Earth after an evacuation has seen mass number move deeper into space in search of a new home, one that hasn’t been destroyed. Now we don’t focus on any of the space side of this film which is something you need to prepare for. We focus on the idea of the last few survivors must make the decision on what to do next, leave or stay, this is shown through a series of conversations about what is left, what could change if they left and could Earth be ready to change back to a habitable environment. This is nice to watch because these types of questions are what can drive plenty of real-world questions too. Certain character decisions are however questionable and by the end it just feels like we had something of nothing by the end.

Adventure/Sci-FiThe film uses the adventure side of the film to show just how far the survivors would have to go if they want to leave Earth, the sci-fi side of the film poses the questions about what would happen if Earth became uninhabitable, think part of what Interstellar offered us without showing us the space missions.

SettingsThe film is set in a lone research location, it is in a known safety zone, with the danger zones needing masks to survive in, this is a very much dust covered world which helps us feel like part of this world.


Scene of the Movie –
The landing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Character decisions.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thinking sci-fi film which does help us understand what is going on, there isn’t much action going on here, but will ask the audience questions.

 

Overall: Thinking sci-fi film.

Rating

 

 

Escape Room (2019)

Director: Adam Robitel

Writer: Bragi F Schut, Maria Melnik (Screenplay)

Starring: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine, Deborah Ann Woll, Nik Dodani

 

Plot: Six strangers find themselves in a maze of deadly mystery rooms, and must use their wits to survive.


Tagline – Solve the Puzzle. Escape the Room. Find the clues or die.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Best Escape Room Movie

 

Story: Escape Room starts as we meet our six random strangers Zoey (Russell), Ben (Miller), Jason (Ellis), Mike (Labine), Amanda (Harper) and Danny (Dodani) who have been involved in a traumatic experience accept an offer for a $10,000 prize for an Escape Room.

Once inside the Escape Room, they find themselves fighting for their lives once it turns out the game isn’t a game, it is a race to survive, leading to the strangers needing to put a side their difference to escape.

 

Thoughts on Escape Room

 

Characters – Zoey is a student study quantum physics while being hiding from the world because of a traumatic experience, she keeps to herself and is dared to take a risk over the holiday. She is the smartest, even though she is the quietest. Ben is a slacker living with his own guilty for an accident, he wants to put his life back together with this game being a good start for him. Jason is a successful stock broker that has always seen himself as a winner, he takes the leader position when trying to solve the problems. Mike, Amanda and Danny complete the line-up, each has their own reason being in the game with their own trauma from their past. Danny gets to explain to the team and audience about escape rooms.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances, it is clear that we have the tension from strangers working together, we see the difference and they all make themselves get their moment in the limelight. It could be fair to say that we don’t always need much in a horror, but these six get to show their grief too.

StoryThe story follows 6 stranger who have been selected for an escape room, only for it to turn into a battle for survival over any game. Now we have had at least two escape room movies in the past, this thankful is the best when it comes to the story even if the rooms are wildly imaginative. The story does make it clear that each of the six has some moment of trauma in their past, which makes is clear that is why they have been selected too. My biggest issues with the story telling process, is the opening scene, which takes away any peril we feel for that character, we could have used the Danny character for the idea of escape room here. The second is that we only see the lives of three of the six which from the way I would read it, would be they are going to be the easy picks for the final three in the movie. We can say this movie does use elements from other films including ‘Cube’ only it does enough to make it, its own, the rest of the positive lead us into spoiler land so we will leave them for another day.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe is what escape rooms are all about, the mystery of how to get out of each room, this is like many of them, which is good to see as it keeps us wondering what will happen next, the sci-fi elements play more into the bigger picture of the events going on.

SettingsEach room created has something unique about it, it will make it clear how far along we are with items being placed to remind our characters of what is happened in their past that could hold them up.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, we once again have high quality going on here, the ‘hatch’ room will become the biggest divide with the audience for what it achieves.


Scene of the Movie –
The ‘hatch’ room.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The opening scene.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best escape room movie we have had to date, it will keep you guessing, characters that make sense and is ready for bigger ideas too.

 

Overall: Enjoyable mystery thriller.

Rating

 

 

Glass (2019)

Director: M Night Shyamalan

Writer: M Night Shyamalan (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson, James McAvoy, Sarah Paulson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Luke Kirby, Spencer Treat Clark

 

Plot: Security guard David Dunn uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities.


Tagline – You Cannot Contain What You Are.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Concept

 

Story: Glass starts not long after the events from Split where Kevin (McAvoy) and his multiple personalities on the run from the law, continuing his hunt for the Beast, David Dunn (Willis) branded the Overseer works with his son Joseph (Clark) to locate him. Once he locates him the fight, before becoming interrupted by Dr Ellie Staple (Paulson) and the authorities.

Ellie takes the two to a hospital to study their belief they are from comics, with Elijah (Jackson) joining them as they must learn the truth about what they are capable of and what is in the world.

 

Thoughts on Glass

 

Characters – Kevin being the first identity of the multiple personality man, he has mixed amount personalities, who are trying to gain control for moments as he is just trying to deal with his own personal problems, with The Beast being the most deadly of all of the personalities. David Dunn is now wanted by the authorities because of his vigilante behaviour, he works with his son now and they help people indeed, including the latest victims of Kevin. He remains super strong and becomes the first person the Beast can’t defeat instantly. Elijah or Mr Glass remains locked up for his actions, he is too intelligent to keep awake, but he is always planning, he puts everything into motion as he gets to play the puppet master once again. Dr Ellie Staple has bought the men together as she searches for the truth about their beliefs, she wants to help them and stop them believing they are form a comic book. Casey returns and it is her relationship with certain personalities of Kevin that helps us learn more about him.

PerformancesThe performance from James McAvoy does shine through, he does get to bring even more of the personalities out in this one, being able to switch between them all effortless. Bruce Willis gives one of his best modern day performances, with this character feeling like an older version of the one we saw in Unbreakable. Samuel L Jackson shines to with his character doing a lot of his acting through his facial expression, while get the cold delivery of his lines when it is his time. Sarah Paulson is a welcome addition to this universe and never looks out of place, though it does feel like Anya Taylor-Joy doesn’t get enough screen time in this film.

StoryThe story brings the three figures from Unbreakable and Split together in what is a superhero movie about not being superheroes, just being genetically different or it being in your head. The idea that we are trying to cure these men does seem to borrow heavily from X-Men and many of their storylines. One of the biggest problems with this story is that you HAVE to see the previous two films to truly understand everything that goes down, though it does seem to forget certain things that happened in the past too. The going through the could this be in their head is interesting, only for it to not be possible because we have seen what they are capable of, it feels like this aspect is a film behind. We do get the trademark from M Night which we know is coming, we are waiting for it and the question is can you figure it out? In a Superhero heavy market this does feel original enough bring a human touch to what has been happening.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery in this film comes from just why have they been bought together, which does get solved, which will surprise, the sci-fi side of the film comes from just seeing how the world has reacted to these advanced people.

SettingsWe stay in Philadelphia for this story, which is great because it contains the action to one city through the films, we spend most of the film in the hospital as the world unfolds between them all.


Scene of the Movie –
Beast vs Overseer 2.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The over used of the comic book metaphor.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful competition of the trilogy that we didn’t know was coming, it ties everything together, has brilliant performance and keeps us guessing throughout.

 

Overall: Tense conclusion to the saga.

Rating