Balto (1995)

Director: Simon Wells

Writer: Cliff Ruby, Elana Lesser, David Steven Cohen, Roger S H Schulman (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Kevin Bacon, Bob Hoskins, Bridget Fonda, Jim Cumming, Phil Collins, Jack Angel, Danny Mann

 

Plot: An outcast half-wolf risks his life to prevent a deadly epidemic from ravaging Nome, Alaska.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Hero Story

 

Story: Balto starts as we see the sledge racing in Nome Alaska, Steele is the most famous lead dog in all the races, he breaks the rules as well as being feared by the other dogs, Balto a stray half breed roams the streets trying to impress the female husky Jenna with his bumbling sidekick goose Boris.

When Nome is struck down with diphtheria the town is running low on antidote they have no way of getting the antidote to the town directly, the only option is to put together a team of the fastest sledge dogs to pick up medicine with Balto showing the town he is fastest in town, but still not welcome to the town’s team.

When Steele’s team goes missing in the snowstorm, Balto goes out with Boris, Jenna and polar bears Muk and Luk to collect the medicine to save the town making himself the hero.

 

Thoughts on Balto

 

CharactersBalto is the outsider of the town, never fitting in but given the chance to prove himself to the whole town by returning the medicine, he is the reluctant hero type. Boris is the sidekick here for extra laughs in the story, with Jenna being the love interest needed for the story. Steele is the typical arrogant villain that doesn’t want anyone to take his place. All of the character blend together to make this a pleasant viewing experience.

StoryThe story is loosely based on the true events of the sledge team that saves a small town from a medical disaster, we get to see this from the dogs side of the events which does take away from the true story of heroism the real dogs went through.

Adventure/Family/HistoryThe adventure is great to see unfold keeping us on edge, it does have a couple of dark scenes going on through the film which could be slightly too much for the younger members of the family. I don’t think this story does enough justice to the true history story though.

SettingsThe settings all look fantastic showing just how peril filled the journey would have been for the dogs as well as the people stuck with no chance of rescue unless they get the medicine.

AnimationThe animation all looks great with the darker characters including the bear feeling terrifying and the heroes all looking pure.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great adventure movie but does forget the true story involved too much to make a family friendly movie.

 

Overall: Great fun animated movie that can be enjoyed by all.

Rating

 

 

Bonejangles (2017)

Director: Brett DeJager

Writer: Keith Melcher (Screenplay)

Starring: Reggie Bannister, Elissa Dowling, Julia Cavanaugh, Kelly Misek Jr, Devin Toft, Jamie Scott Gordon, Hannah Richter

 

Plot: While transporting the legendary serial killer Bonejangles to an asylum, a group of police officers break down in a town cursed with demonic zombies. The only way they can survive the night and save the town is to release Bonejangles to help them fight the curse, with something much worse.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Target Audience Will Enjoy

 

Story: Bonejangles starts as Edgar Friendly Jr known as Mr Bonejangles is about become captured by the local police including Doug (Misek Jr), Randy (Gordon) and Lisa (Richter). Bonejangles is known for his believing he is invincible which even the cops are fearful of.

When Bonejangles is captured Doug, Randy and Lisa must transport him to the nearest asylum but things don’t go as planned when the van gets stuck in a small town of Argento who is going through the night where the dead roam the streets, now Doug must step up and face his former life to stop Bonejangles.

 

Thoughts on Bonejangles

 

Characters – Doug is the shy unconfident cop that along with his partner Randy are known as the worst cops in the department. He finds himself returning to his home town where he must face the people that pushed him into becoming a cop. Sally is the former love of Doug’s back in Argento, she is about to get married but Doug’s appearance will give her a chance to rethink things. Randy is the idiot partner of Doug’s who always tries to make him get out of trouble. Bonejangles is an interesting addition to the serial killer idea, we get an origin story for him and see plenty of kills which could become something more in the future.

PerformanceThe performances through the film are all what you would come to expect in the film of this budget, the actors all look like they did enjoy themselves but no performance will go down in the levels of the great horror performances.

StoryWe have a new unstoppable serial killer, check, we have an unlikely hero, check, we have moments that make us laugh, check, well what more do you want in a story? We do follow the ideas horror and this will be everything the fans of the horror comedy will enjoy.

Horror/ComedyThe serial killer and gore filled kills all work for the horror genre. The comedy comes from the poking fun at moments in horror with one of the best being the chainsaw moment.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in a town called Argento (I think which must be a reference to the great director) but small town, big legend this all works for what we need.

Special EffectsThe effects are low budget and work for parts of the film, we get to laugh at certain moments because of the kills which do feel like buckets of blood at times.

Scene of the Movie – The chainsaw, that is all I will say.

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment My biggest complaint in this film is that we the audience are meant to fully understand how deadly Mr Bonejangles is, but it is hard to get into that mindset with bigger names in horror, I know this is an attempt to create a new horror character too.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror film that the target audience will enjoy so I would suggest to the horror comedy fans.

 

Overall: Enjoyable horror comedy that works for the audience.

Rating

 

 

Before I Fall (2017)

Director: Ry Russo-Young

Writer: Maria Maggenti (Screenplay) Lauren Oliver (Novel)

Starring: Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Kian Lawley, Elena Kampouris, Cynthy Wu

 

Plot: February 12 is just another day in Sam’s charmed life, until it turns out to be her last. Stuck reliving her last day over one inexplicable week, Sam untangles the mystery around her death and discovers everything she’s losing.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: High School Never Ends

 

Story: Before I Fall starts as we meet Samantha (Deutch) one of the popular girls in high school, along with Lindsay (Sage), Ally (Wu) and Elody (Rahimi) as they live Samantha’s last day, yes, she tells us this in narration. We follow the day through high school where we see the girls act like they are better than everyone as Cupid Day goes by and the roses get passed around, but today is the day Samantha will be losing her virginity to school hunk Rob (Lawley) at a party.

When Samantha is involved in a car crash, she wakes up in her bed having to re-live cupid day, mostly confused she gets through the day watching the mistakes made. When Samantha learns that is wasn’t just déjà vu she starts to act differently through the day. Samantha continues to go through the same day witnesses’ new moments she tries to change.

 

Thoughts on Before I Fall

 

Characters/PerformanceSamantha is the high school student that is one of the popular girls, she gets what she wants until the day she dies and must re-live the day over and over where she gets to learn about her mistakes. Lindsay is the full bitch and best friend of Samantha, she pushes Samantha into all the decisions knowing she is better than everyone else. Kent is the party host and secret admirer of Samantha. It is hard to care about these characters because they are so horrible to the others around them.

Performance wise, when you look at the performance you can look at who could be replaced, and the truth is you could swap out any of them because none of the make a big impact.

StoryThe story tries to make us care about how one popular high school student gets a chance to re-live one day and learn to become more accepting of the students she is spending time around. The problem with this is by having this we get to see how people can only learn about how they treat people after re-living a day on repeat which shouldn’t be the message here it should be more about learning to treat people everyone the same everyday.

MysteryThe mystery is mostly why Samantha is going to have re-live this day over and over which we don’t get hints to about either, but the message is more important but late to the party.

SettingsWe have all the traditional high school locations with the kids all living in massive houses with them all having successful parents that can by the big cars so they can act like they do.

Special EffectsWe have limited effects in this film which are only used when needed and are mostly just a few stunts here and there.

Final ThoughtsThis film has a strong message that gets completely sent the wrong way, we only get to live a day once, there is no other way of putting it, you do need to learn to treat the people fairly each day, the one day we get.

 

Overall: Miss-told story.

Rating

 

 

Baby Driver (2017)

Director: Edgar Wright

Writer: Edgar Wright (Screenplay)

Starring: Ansel Elgort, John Bernthal, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx

 

Plot: After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: So Much Fun

 

Story: Baby Driver starts as we get to see just how skilled behind the wheel Baby (Elgort) is, as he completes the job while listening to his trademark tunes for Griff (Bernthal), Buddy (Hamm), Darling (Gonzalez) for their boss Doc (Spacey). We learn more about why Baby listens to music, because of his medical condition and that he owes Doc one more score to settle a debt.

Baby lives with is deaf foster dad Joseph (Jones) that tries to keep him on the straight and narrow because he sees the error in his ways and the beautiful waitress Debora (James) that Baby has fallen for, gives him a glimmer of light away from the world of crime.

When his final score is settle Baby believes it is time to walk away, but he would be wrong, Doc won’t let him and this next score with Buddy, Darling and loose cannon Bats (Foxx) pushes Baby to his limits, can he escape this world he has become stuck in and live the life he wants with music and the open road?

 

Thoughts on Baby Driver

 

Characters/PerformanceBaby is the young man with brilliant driving skills, killer tunes but his innocent nature and slight mental handicap means he is taken advantage of by the criminal world, he wants to live an honest life and he will have to go and show off his skills to escape this world. I would like to point out that his relationship with Joseph is very similar to what we saw in ‘The lookout’ where two handicapped people live together and the elder tries to guide the younger. Doc is the crime boss that uses Baby because he knows he is the best, he won’t use the same unit twice but Baby is the one he will always turn too. I have mixed feelings for this character because I feel he never leans one way or the either to evil or good, he almost feels businessman like. Buddy is the most interesting of the other criminals because we always see him calm but we are warned about his darker side, which we wait to see unleashed. Darling is the sexy girlfriend of Buddy, he turns heads and will kill anyone looking at her wrong. Bats is a character I felt got old quick, he is meant to be the loose cannon and that is fine, but things all turn into him trying to say something so out there it feels like forced laughter. Debora is the light at the end of the tunnel for Baby, she helps him realize he could get away from crime.

Performance wise, Ansel is great through this film as we get to see how he can blend with the music and action. Kevin Spacey is always good in a villainous role and this is no different. For me Jon Hamm is the best because he just captures you wanting to see what he will do next. Lily James is good too through the whole film. Jamie Foxx at times does seem to be trying too hard to be funny which can get hard to watch and is the only weak point in this film.

StoryThe story is something we have seen before, a person drawn to the criminal world wants out but now must fight against his former partners in crime to be free. The twists in the story come in the character of Baby who has the handicap which requires him to listen to music to stay focus and block out the noise in his head. We do have style in the story which works perfectly for the tone even if parts dip in the middle, but otherwise this is just fun action comedy. One more plus point is that every scene is seen through Baby’s point of view as he is the only person to be in every single scene as certain times we hear the music like he would and the conversations with his head phone in too, this made the film even more enjoyable

Action/CrimeThe car chases are all great and certain parts do all feel fresh too, this is a huge plus for the film. the opening sequence is one that we will all remember too, the crime world shows us just how different the people can be doing the jobs which is also a good plus point.

SettingsThe car chase are used most to show off the settings with most of them offering us new tighter situations to Baby to get out off behind the wheel.

Final ThoughtsThis is just such a fun movie, with brilliant music, wonderful car chase sequences and is one that fans of Edgar Wright will enjoy all the more.

 

Overall: Foot down, music on, play loud.

Rating

 

 

The Belko Experiment (2017)

Director: Greg McLean

Writer: James Gunn (Screenplay)

Starring: John Gallagher Jr, Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona, John C McGinley, Melonie Diaz, Owain Yeoman, Sean Gunn, Michael Rooker

 

Plot: In a twisted social experiment, 80 Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogotá, Colombia and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company’s intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Suspenseful Filled Thriller

 

Story: The Belko Experiment starts as we arrive in Bogota, Colombia where we meet a select few of our American business employees working in an isolated building, we have Mike (Gallagher Jr), Barry (Goldwyn), Leandra (Arjona), Wendell (McGinley), Dany (Diaz) and Bud (Rooker).

The normal office job for the America employees changes drastically when they notice all the locals have been sent home by the new guards and an announcement comes over the system that 2 employees need to be killed in 30 minutes as all the doors and windows lock down.

First believing this is a test the employees remain calm at first but when people’s heads start exploding from the trackers the employees have this turns into a life and death battle, the next message is that the employees have 2 hours to kill 30 of the remaining 76 people or the people holding them will randomly select 60, but the questions are why are they being tested like this? Who will turn on their friends? And when will they get out?

 

Thoughts on The Belko Experiment

 

Characters/PerformanceMike is a high-ranking supervisor in the office, he knows everyone having a good relationship with his boss Barry and his girlfriend Leandra. Barry is the CEO of the company, he is the highest ranked member of staff, he does the best he can to control the people through this panic. Leandra is another one of the supervisors, she knows she is beautiful and happy to flaunt it. Wendell is the older employee who clearly feels stuck in the cubical while seeing younger people being his boss, Dany is the newest employee, she deals with not knowing people but her past will help her through the conflict. Bud is the building maintenance that tries to find a place to get out of the enclosed building. It would be fair to say we only learn the characters nature during the situation rather than before it.

Performance wise, John Gallagher Jr steps up into a leading role after quality performances in supporting roles last year and he fits this role wonderfully. Tony Goldwyn is fantastic in this role being heartless through the situation. John C McGinley is great even if his role feels like all of the creepy of Dr Cox without the sarcasm. Adrian Arjona is good in this role where she is a strong leading woman. Michael Rooker is good for his role with Melonie Diaz doing a good job too. The truth is the whole cast is great through the film showing the panic required for the situation.

StoryThe story of an office block needing to kill or be killed to survive a test is one of the most intense thrillers we have seen in years. This completely keeps you on edge as you need to see just how far the office workers will go when pushed to the limits. This does have a lot borrowed from Battle Royale but so what it just changes the environment making it adults rather than kids going through the same test.

Action/Horror/ThrillerThe action side of the story is with how the people will be getting attack and killed which gets creative in places. The horror side of the story comes from seeing how people will react to everything going on as you get to see the worst in people. The thriller side of the film is the highlight because all you want is to see who will make it out alive.

SettingsThe whole film is set within the office complex in the middle of nowhere, the people are trapped inside with nowhere to run, no way of getting help making this tick all the boxes for a brilliant use of location.

Special EffectsFrom the first kill to the last each kill looks fantastic through the film showing us the just how to make effects work in film.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the thrillers of the year, it has moments of social commentary too which add a dark humour to what we are seeing and you actually feel like you are not sure who will survive the day.

 

Overall: Potential thriller of the year?

Rating