Annabelle: Creation (2017)

Director: David F Sandberg

Writer: Gary Dauberman (Screenplay)

Starring: Stephanie Sigman, Miranda Otto, Lulu Wilson, Anthony LaPaglia, Talitha Bateman, Alicia Vela-Bailey

 

Plot: Several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Impressive Scare Filled Horror

 

Story: Annabelle: Creation starts as we meet a dollmaker Samuel Mullins (LaPaglia), his wife Esther (Otto) and their daughter Bee have a perfect religion filled life, but after it gets shattered with a tragic accident the family become silent. 12-years later Samuel opens the doors to Sister Charlotte (Sigman) and 6 orphan girls including Linda (Wilson), Janice (Bateman) and Nancy.

As night falls Linda hears noises coming from the daughter’s room, the room that is meant to be locked. Before long the other girls start experience strange occurrences until the truth about the Annabelle doll is unleashed searching for souls, can the girls survive this terror.

 

Thoughts on Annabelle: Creation

 

Characters – Esther is bed bound for the most part of this film, we only see her involvement when it comes to filling in the blanks about what is controlling the Annabelle doll. Samuel is clearly dealing with the depression but you wouldn’t expect anything else, he keeps to himself but as soon as he learns the terror has been released again. Linda is the disabled of the 6 girls who doesn’t get to enjoy the freedom they do making her a lonely potential victim for the demon. Sister Charlotte tries to be the mother figure for the girls and has a connection to the bigger Conjuring Universe. The only other characters we meet are the girls we have Janice who is the best friend of Linda that experience the most when it comes to the haunting with the other 4 barely getting named but some do experience hauntings which are at times confusing in my opinion.

PerformanceWhen you look at the performances you can see the bigger names like Otto and LaPaglia are used as a draw in the supporting role and do a good job throughout, Stephanie Sigman also does well through the film. It is the child actors that do shine in this film.

StoryThe Annabelle doll has been a part of two films now, it was a side haunting in the Conjuring and we learn more on the origin in the first Annabelle movie, now the Conjuring side is based on a true story, the others seem to not be. We did need a true origin story and we do get told what we already know about what is controlling the doll, now I do think we have plenty of scares going on with well created moments throughout, but the characters decisions will annoy horror fans at time. The story does end up being generic but it isn’t about the story here more about the scares.

Horror/MysteryThere are scares going on from the moment the girls arrive at the house, we get excellent use of camerawork to make us look in every single corner of the shot seeing if we are going to see something, the mystery isn’t the most difficult but if this is your first Annabelle experience you will enjoy them.

SettingsThe house in the middle of what feels like nowhere is great for the slow building atmosphere growing through the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are good for the most part, most are in darkness which saves on any weaknesses but there are a couple of moments that make you raise an eyebrow.

Scene of the Movie – The first Annabelle doll meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel this could have been avoided if they church people had said something before letting the girls just be nosey.

Final ThoughtsThis is another brilliant prequel to what was a disappointing film following in the footsteps of Ouija. The camerawork is brilliant and this is one of the horrors you will want to see every shot off.

 

Overall: A must watch horror prequel.

Rating

 

 

Anti Matter (2017)

Director: Keir Burrows

Writer: Keir Burrows (Screenplay)

Starring: Yaiza Figueroa, Philippa Carson, Tom Barber-Duffy, Noah Maxwell Clarke, James Farrar

 

Plot: Anti Matter (AKA Worm) is a sci-fi noir take on the Alice in Wonderland tale. Ana, an Oxford PhD student, finds herself unable to build new memories following an experiment to generate and travel through a wormhole. The story follows her increasingly desperate efforts to understand what happened, and to find out who – or what – is behind the rising horror in her life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Minding

 

Story: Anti Matter starts as we meet our three Oxford PhD students Ana (Figueroa), Liv (Carson) and Nate (Barber-Duffy) who have been working on wormhole to transfer matter, this is a complete success even with living subjects, but when their experiment is about to get closed down they jump to human trials with Ana going through the wormhole.

When Ana awakens the next day, it is clear something has changed, Ana no longer capable of making new memories, leaving us to figure out as she is just how long has passed since the experiment, what happed during the experiment and who seems to be after her.

 

Thoughts on Anti Matter

 

Characters – Ana is a PhD student at Oxford, her work has her working on transporting matter which she eventually uses to transport herself through a wormhole for her team. When something goes wrong Ana must put her life back together. Liv is one of the team working with Ana, she is the rebellious kind of student and easily ready to push Ana’s buttons. Nate is the third member of the team, he has worked with Ana for years and even offers us a potential love interest for Ana.

PerformanceYaiza Figueroa in the leading role where you believe her breakdown and desire to learn the truth through each scene and if I am not mistaken she is in every single scene. Philippa Carson and Tom Barber-Duffy both give us great supporting performances help Yaiza shine through the film.

StoryIf you want to see a sci-fi story that makes you think, look no further than this. To say this is difficult to explain would be an understatement, the story does ask the questions about what would happen if a wormhole was created and what happens when the person behind the experiment can’t remember what has been happening. When it comes of stories that make think and at times can feel confusing it is how they end which is important and this film does answer the questions it offers up.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery being offered up in this film does keep you guessing from the moment it starts to the final answer and the sci-fi side of the story comes from the experiment and consequences of the experiment.

SettingsThe settings show us in an underground lab which explains why we have this secret experiment going on through the film, but otherwise it is just mostly in and around the location of Oxford.

Special EffectsThe effects are only used when needed and the few times they are used they are great.

Scene of the Movie – The final reveal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It feels at times like the animal activists are just distractions.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the biggest brain teasing movies of the year, it makes you think and question the wormhole theory.

 

Overall: Brain testing, mind bending sci-fi gem.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Awaken the Shadowman (2017)

Director: J.S. Wilson

Writer: Skyler Caleb, Woodrow Wilson Hancock III, James Zimbardi (Screenplay)

Starring: James Zimbardi, Skyler Caleb, Jean Smart, Emily Somers, Andrea Hunt, Robert R Shafer

 

Plot: After the mysterious disappearance of their mother, estranged brothers reunite and discover an unknown supernatural force.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Shock Filled Horror

 

Story: Awaken the Shadowman starts as Adam Morris (Zimbardi) and his wife Beth (Somers) get called back to the family home by his brother Jake (Caleb) after their mother Evette (Smart) has gone missing.

Returning home brings back bad memories for Adam and once he arrives things start to come off strange, we have a welcoming committee which Adam doesn’t know, blacked out eyed dolls known as watchers and a young charismatic preacher Lawrence (Weinfeld) for a group known as Getways as well as a mysterious shadow figure lurking around the house.

 

Thoughts on Awaken the Shadowman

 

Characters – Adam Morris is a hard-working family man, he has a hands-on job where he family struggle to make ends meet. He must put his past behind him to return home but now must put his family’s safety first. Jake is the brother of Adam that still lives in the same home town, he calls Adam back but you can sense the issues between the two as they try to bond once more. Evette is the estranged mother of the brothers, she has been involved in suicide attempts but now has disappeared. Beth is the wife (I think) of Adam that spends most of the film caring for the baby and being stalked around the house.

PerformanceJames Zimbardi does a good job in the leading role, we believe his characters struggle through the film, Skyler Caleb on the other hand does seem to struggle with his character, never getting normal or menacing believable through the film, Jean Smart is the biggest name in the movie but is mostly talk about her characters whereabouts.

StoryMan return home to find out things are not what they seem, that is the core of the story, we get the investigation into what has changed in this town and this offers a few twists and turns along the way as we learn just what is happening, this also does enough to surprise us by the end of the film too.

Horror/MysteryThe horror only comes into moments but they are effective with the Shadowman lurking in the shadows, like he should be. The mystery comes from Adam needing to figure out what is going on.

SettingsThe settings bring us to a home town for Adam which works because he feels like he knows the location but when it is your neighbours who have changed since you were last there it adds horror.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well only appearing when showing us the shadowman himself, that does feel creepy and original effects.

Scene of the Movie – The first image of the Shadowman.

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment I would say the opening sequences gives slightly too much away.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror movie that does leave us with a shocking ending.

 

Overall: Good horror movie for late night tv.

Rating

 

 

Alien: Reign of Man (2017)

Director: Justin Price

Writer: Justin Price (Screenplay)

Starring: Khu, Torrei Hart, Deanna Grace Congo, Cameron White

 

Plot: Stranded on a distant planet, a team must fight aliens and activate a machine meant to restore Earth to a time before its downfall.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Best Alien Titled Film This Year

 

Story: Alien: Reign of Man starts with our team Zan (Khu), Reed (White), Constance (Congo) arriving on a distant planet in search for a saviour back home on Earth, while on the planet the team faces a battle against an alien species but the planet itself has its own life as it starts to evolve to defend itself from the human invaders/visitors.

The planet offers plenty of mysteries which our characters must consider before leaving once they become stranded for a time, can they unlock the mystery before it is too late?

 

Thoughts on Alien: Reign of Man

 

Characters – Zan is introduced as our heroine, she lurks the planet ready to fight any enemy as she is the deadliest in combat, so the strong female lead sci-fi films have become famous for. Reed is one of the soldiers on the planet, he uses his calmness to prepare for danger but does feel like a character pulled from a Final Fantasy game. Constance is another soldier who gets their ranked questioned by the bigger threat within the movie while the rest of the character do all fit the world created here,

PerformanceLooking at the performances, Khu as the leading lady does work because she does enough to make herself stand out from the rest of the cast, part of my thinking on Reed was that he came from a Final Fantasy game and this is shown in the delivery that Cameron White gives us, I do think everyone in the film does a good job throughout the film.

StoryThe story does put us into a world where humans once again need to find the answers to a problem on another planet, but this story does what other films fail to, it simplifies the bigger questions going on about origins and where humans stand in this world.

Sci-FiThis is a good sci-fi film that makes us look at the bigger picture of space travel and also looking at what could be out there in space.

SettingsThe world created could be as empty as this world we see in this film and it all looks great.

Special EffectsThe effects are clear CGI which is a budget issue but they are consistent throughout to help us understand that we need the computer creations at times.

Scene of the Movie – The evolving planet looks very impressive.

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment I do think certain elements of the pacing could have been better in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a smart sci-fi that doesn’t create dumb characters, has a good story line that makes complete sense for the world we are in and doesn’t over complicate the story.

 

Overall: Enjoyable sci-fi experience.

Rating

 

 

Apollo 13 (1995)

apolo-13Director: Ron Howard

Writer: William Broyles Jr, Al Reinert (Screenplay) Jim Lovell, Jeffrey Kluger (Book)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris, Kathleen Quinlan

 

Plot: NASA must devise a strategy to return Apollo 13 to Earth safely after the spacecraft undergoes massive internal damage putting the lives of the three astronauts on board in jeopardy.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Intensely Brilliant Drama

 

Story: Apollo 13 starts on 20th July 1969, the date Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, Jim Lovell (Hanks) a fellow astronaut who missed out on the moon landing on Apollo 8 is hosting a landing party with fellow astronauts Fred Haise (Paxton), Jack Swigert (Bacon), Ken Mattingly (Sinise) who are scheduled to work together on the Apollo 14 mission.

When the team who are planned for Apollo 13 lose their place Jim, Fred and Ken are placed in for Apollo 13 with Jack part of the backup team. This does mean moving the preparation forward 6 months but an astronaut with Jim’s experience is trust to lead this mission.

With the world seeing this mission as curse because of the number 13 the team does have to make a last-minute crew change with Jack replacing Ken who is according to medical records going to become sick on the mission, with two days to prepare with Jack the mission is a go with mission commander Gene Kranz (Harris) controlling the mission back at NASA.

With the mission going well, it turns out the television networks just don’t want to show the mission because they see no excitement from just going to the moon once again, but the astronauts don’t know this.

When disaster strikes, the astronauts must use their skills to survive while the NASA puts together a rescue solutions for the men who could be lost in space forever. With the disaster potentially happen the television networks pick up the story with the nation watching on to see if the crew of Apollo 13 will make it home.

 

Thoughts on Apollo 13

 

Characters/PerformanceAll the characters are based on the real people, with Jim Lovell being the experienced astronaut leading the team of first timers in space. The characters are all real and made to all be heroes through this story, unlike most films of similar nature we don’t have anyone remotely like a villain in this film.

Performance wise Tom Hanks shines in the decade where he just didn’t seem to put a foot wrong. We also get brilliant performance from the whole cast playing the characters perfectly throughout the film.stars

StoryThe story is one that even Hollywood couldn’t write, this is one if not the most famous story in space history that could rival the actual Moon landing. It shows how NASA could work in limited time to prevent disaster. You are drawn into this story for the whole film which is part history lesson and part edge of your seat thriller.

Adventure/HistorySpace travel became one of the most interesting parts of history in the late 60’s with the moon landing stealing the headlines, this story captures the idea to become one of the most important moments in history for NASA.

SettingsOutside the space shuttle all the settings including mission command all fit the time perfectly with the space shuttle being the highlight of the film because it shows how the men had nowhere to go to survive.

Special EffectsThe special effects for this film are brilliant as the film doesn’t turn to them too often but when it is needed we are left believing everything that is happening.genre

Final ThoughtsIf you want to learn about one of the most amazing stories of survival in human history this is the one for you to see.

 

Overall: Breath-takingly brilliant movie about one moment in human history.

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