Bennett’s Song (2018)

Director: Harley Wallen

Writer: Nancy Oeswein (Screenplay)

Starring: Tara Reid, Dennis Haskins, Harley Wallen, Calhoun Koenig, Aphrodite Nikolovski

 

Plot: Two very unique families on a collision course find laughs, music, and love, and a few answers about what it means to be an American family in the 21st century.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming, Sweet and Heartfelt

 

Story: Bennett’s Song starts when Cole (Wallen) takes his daughter to a dentist, the new dentist Susan Song (Nikolovski) only for a small spark between them which leads to few dates. Both have their own stories to why they are single and a secret they believe would scare most partners off, they both have 7 kids all adopted from different cultural backgrounds.

When the two decide to take a big step they must learn to cope with the problems modern day world has to offer, including the rule abiding neighbour Stevie Hawkins-White (Reid) all while we wait to see if ambitious young musician Pearl (Carlini) who dreams of heading to music camp.

 

Thoughts on Bennett’s Song

 

Characters – Cole Bennett is a former cage fighter, retired to be with his family, he lost his wife to cancer and opened a gym using his name to make an impact, he has seven of his own kids that he teaches the best things in life. When approaching dating he is nervous and stutters over all his worlds which only add to his good guy image. Susan Song is a specialist dentist with big reputation for her ability to deal with disabled children. She also has seven kids of her own always being worried any man wouldn’t want the baggage that comes with that. The two understand each other’s lives bringing them together to build a bigger family that knows how to support each other because of the love they want to share. Pearl is the daughter that we focus on the most, she is aiming for a big career in music needing to find a way to prove herself to a committee. We do have another 13 kids from a range of ages we could talk through here, each does get a moment in the film.

PerformancesHarley Wallen takes the lead role and directing duties on this film, he does give us a realistic approach to how each moment his caring character deals with each situation and the nervous behaviour for asking for a date seems like something we could all understand. Aphrodite Nikolovski in the leading lady role is great too we see how she makes her unsure about relationship comes through strong. With the kids they are good with Calhoun Koenig showing off her singing skills.

StoryThe story here focuses on two people that fall in love, only they have 7 kids each, each kid is from a different cultural background and has been raised to believe and follow dreams. The families become one and we get to see the problems life throws at them as they get used to the doubling of numbers. Now the story could easily have played out as a sitcom series because of the number of issues they go through and always find a positive way to learn life lessons, this does give us the only negative of the film, certain issues the family go through needed times to be looked at because they tackle true life issues a family like this would go through. If you do want to see a family dynamic that you would have never seen in such numbers, this is the one for you to be seeing.

Comedy/Family/RomanceThe comedy in this film comes from the different family laughs each different kid has a moment that makes them funny be it cuteness or trying to be overly confident. The romance shows how two people can just walk into each other’s lives and change it for the better even after heartache. The family side of the shows us just how people must learn to respect each other no matter where they have come from.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings feeling like an everyday situation this family could be living in, I do feel we could have learnt or seen more of the size of the new house together though.


Scene of the Movie –
The music performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is very hard to keep up with most of the kid’s name.

Final ThoughtsThis is one movie that shows us just how important teaching people life lessons the right way is, the get laughs and beautiful music performance that is the true highlight of the film.

 

Overall: Family film to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

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The Bunker: Project 12 (2018)

Director: Jaime Falero

Writer: Joaquin Sanchez, Jaime Falero (Screenplay)

Starring: James Cosmo, Joaquin Sanchez, Natasha Alam, Eric Roberts, Timothy Gibbs, Tony Corvillo

 

Plot: The Russians scrap a dangerous scientific project designed to change the course of history. A manhunt ensues after they unsuccessfully attempt to exterminate all the scientists involved in the top secret project.


Tagline – Outpost meets Terminator

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Action sci-Fi 101

 

Story: The Bunker: Project 12 starts as we learn about three scientists that escaped a secret Sovient Union experiment, now in the modern time Tabeel (Sanchez) leads a team including Irina (Alam), Alan (Corvillo) and other are hired by business tycoon Henderson (Roberts) to locate Brian Balanowsky (Cosmo) one of those scientists for a secret experiment of their own.

As Brian guides the team through the bunker for the research, he must face the past while revealing the secrets that will end up trying to eliminate the team.

 

Thoughts on The Bunker: Project 12

 

Characters – Brian Balanowsky is a former Russian scientist, gone into hiding after the projects were closed down, when he is located years later, he is forced to guide a team into the bunkers to bring out his research. He is a reluctant scientist who knows what he created was wrong. Tabeel is the leader of the team, he keeps the team in line refusing to let them cross the line and risk each other’s lives. Irina is another member of the team, she starts out strong just like the rest of the team, but soon she just becomes another one running for safety. Henderson is the man funding the search, he does have his own reasons for being involved.

PerformancesIn the performances we get a couple of big names in James Cosmo and Eric Roberts who are both reliable for any project and this is no different. It is the members of the team that are looking to make an impact with Joaquin Sanchez doing well as the leader of the team. The rest of the team does feel interchangeable with nobody standing out from the crowd.

StoryThe story of secret experiments from different countries is always going to be able to create an interesting motivation in a story, in this one we see what the Russians had been working on during the Cold War with a team entering one of the abandoned bunkers in search of the research. This plays out how you would imagine with the team being able to tackle the situation only to realize that things are much deadlier than they could imagine. You can see the comparisons to ‘Outpost’ as that movie gave us an experiment that left a team facing the odds to survive. If you are going to be looking for anything overly fresh from a story, you will be disappointed and the extra added twists feel forced more than anything.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film comes from the big shoot outs between the team and what is in the bunker, the weapons become bigger as the film unfolds, the sci-fi side of the film shows us just how certain experiments would have been going on during the Cold War.

SettingsOnce we hit the bunker we have a nice contained location which only has one way in or out, this does help us feel like the battle for life or death is more realistic.

Special EffectsThe effects are solid enough, the creations look good with the only weakness in them coming from their eyes.


Scene of the Movie –
The first introduction of the creation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The extra twist is too much.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting action sci-fi film that does borrow from certain other movies, anything to do with the secret experiments is always entertaining to watch.

 

Overall: Simple action sci-fi movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – B – Beast of the Bearing Sea (2013)

Director: Don E FauntLeRoy

Writer: Brook Durham (Screenplay)

Starring: Cassandra Scerbo, Jonathan Lipnicki, Kevin Dobson, Jaqueline Fleming, Brandon Beemer

 

Plot: The brother and sister in this movie are twins, they have a special thing going on.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Best Sea Vampire Movie & the Worst

 

Story: Beast of the Bering Sea starts with the Hunter family, father Glenn (Dobson) and children Joe (Lipnicki) and Donna (Scerbo) leading their latest expedition into the Bering Sea in search for treasure only for Jonas (Papajohn) to be attacked underwater.

Looking to continue their treasure hunting Donna, Joe are joined by deck hand Owen Powers (Beemer) and scientist Megan Arthur (Fleming) as they must learn how to fight sea vampires, a local legend that isn’t so much of legend. Now they must fight these creatures before they spread around the world.

 

Thoughts on Beast of the Bering Sea

 

Characters – Donna is the daughter of the family, she is cold hearted and only trusts family when it comes to conducting business. She does try to stay on top the situation while dealing with an aggressive rival. Joe is the reckless brother of Donna that always enjoys the fun side of the diving never the preparations. Megan Arthur is a scientist that sees this new species as something in need of studying to learn their weaknesses before getting ready to see them as a threat.

PerformancesThis is a low budget Sci-Fi movie, we know the performances are not going to be great, Cassandra Scerbo is the highlight of the cast after being the best thing in the Sharknado movies and brings another strong performance.

StoryThe story follows divers that must take on sea vampires after disturbing their nest and giving them a taste for human blood. While we know the story is never going to be the deepest here, we have enough to let us know what we are up against and giving us enough disposable characters to let the creatures get their fill. We do have random jumps in the story which seem to avoid showing us big moments in the story.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is fighting off the sea vampires which could be classed as the horror creatures the film needs to keep us interested, the sci-fi side of the film comes from the potential fictional creatures.

SettingsThe film takes place of the coast of the Bering Sea, which works for the title of the film, but he reality it this could be any coastal village.

Special EffectsThe effects are the low budget type, which can look bad, but if you watch with the right mind you should get enough out of them.


Scene of the Movie –
First explosion of Sea Vampire.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The forced character developed slows the pace down too often.

Final ThoughtsThis is a low budget sci-fi movie, you know what you will get, it will be fun enough just don’t take it too seriously.

 

Overall: Simple sci-fi film.

Rating

 

 

The Basement (2018)

Director: Brian M Conley, Nathan Ives

Writer: Brian M Conley, Sean Decker, Nathan Ives (Screenplay)

Starring: Mischa Barton, Tracie Thoms, Bailey Anne Borders, Jackson Davis, Kareem J Grimes, Maria Volk, Sarah Nicklin, Jessica Sonneborn, Cayleb Long

 

Plot: A seemingly innocent man is abducted by a notorious L.A. serial killer, who forces his victims to switch roles with him so that he can enact his own capture, torture and murder.


Tagline – Two Men. Twelve Personalities. One Living Hell.

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not as Intense as it Should be

 

Story: The Basement starts when Craig (Long) running a quick job for his wife Kelly (Barton) gets abducted by a notorious serial killer Bill (Davis) who puts Craig through a tortious night, with his split personality coming through on each different interaction.

Craig does try to figure out just what is on the mind of the killer, learning to adapt to each interaction each one revealing more to the true story about Bill, but will he make it out alive?

 

Thoughts on The Basement

 

Characters – Craig is the famous guitarist that is abducted by the serial killer, trapped in the middle of the game, he is left to try and stay one step ahead of the story being told, where he is forced to play a part of. We do learn from his wife who is searching for him that he has done wrong in the past, but does seem to be on the straight steady line now. Bill is the serial killer with split personalities, he puts his victims through an ordeal which will test their own sanity, each character is different which helps us understand his darker side. Kelly is the wife of Craig that is worried that he has gone missing believing he has fallen off the wagon again, most of her work is wondering just where her husband is though.

PerformancesCayleb Long in the leading role does struggle to make a big impact in this film, we don’t truly feel the peril he finds his character in, with his interactions never feel intense enough. Jackson Davis on the other hand is the highlight of the film, he keeps us on edge to what he will make his character do next. Mischa Barton is the biggest name in the film, though she doesn’t really have much to do throughout the film.

StoryThe story here follows a serial killer that is putting his latest victim through a series of twisted characters, think ‘Split’ with a cohesive series of characters other than random ones we get through that film. This does bottle down to a series of interactions between the main two actors, which could and should be edge of your seat intensity, though it falls short between the two. The side of the story following the wife also gets tiresome because for the most part it does feel pointless compared to what Craig is going through.

HorrorThe horror comes from the not knowing just what will happen, the serial killer has a routine he follows, which does have moments of torture, even though he is always in control of the situation.

SettingsThe film takes place in two main locations, the basement (well that is the title of the film) which keeps the torture isolated for the night and for some reason Kelly’s sofa where we talk for little to no reason.

Special EffectsThe effects for the most part are good practical effects which are saved for when needed.


Scene of the Movie –
The blowtorch scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the Kelly scenes seem pointless.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror thriller that just doesn’t hit the levels of intensity that should do.

 

Overall: Horror that disappoints to delivery.

Rating

 

 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

Director: Fran Rubel Kuzui

Writer: Joss Whedon (Screenplay)

Starring: Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, Paul Reubens, Rutger Hauer, Luke Perry, Michele Abrams, Hilary Swank

 

Plot: A flighty teenage girl learns that she is her generation’s destined battler of vampires.


Tagline – Sometimes it takes more than just good looks to kill.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun, But Not as Good as the TV Show

 

Story: Buffy the Vampire Slayer starts as we meet high school cheerleader Buffy (Swanson), one of the popular girls in school preparing for the latest dance. Buffy’s life is going to take a turn when the mysterious Merrick (Sutherland) enters her life, with the tales of vampires and her being the chosen one to fight them and protect her town.

Buffy now goes through the training process, so she can defeat her first deadlier enemy, Lothos (Hauer) a vampire that is haunting her dreams with the history of the previous slayers and make it to the dance on time.

 

Thoughts on Buffy the Vampire Slayer

 

Characters – Buffy is the high school cheerleader who is more worried the latest school dance to notice her own destiny. She learns she is the slayer that is meant to fight vampires and her town is now in danger. Merrick is the watcher, the man that must teach Buffy how to defeat the vampires and becoming the slayer warrior she is destiny to be. Lothos is the big bad vampire that is waiting to take control of the town that Buffy is part of, we see how he has been planning this attack for a while with his vampires in the shadows.

PerformancesKristy Swanson is good in this leading role, we might not the role of Buffy as Sarah Michelle Gellar, but Kristy was here first and built the unlikely hero very well. Sutherland is good pick for the watcher because it is the answers for wise old man. Going into the supporting cast, none of these performers make an impact on the way they could which only disappoints when we know how these characters are going to be known in the TV series.

StoryThe story is difficult to talk about, because I grew up watching the show and for me, I was used to a different Buffy, an outsider, seeing the popular girl become the slayer just seems strange, but for a teenage action fantasy comedy works as we see one girl find her place in the world. This is an enjoyable watch and plays out just how you would imagine without being as interesting as it should be, because we want the world to be so much bigger.

Action/Fantasy/HorrorWe have action sequences which see Buffy face increasing numbers or difficulties in her battles, in a world that is filled with vampires which plays for the fantasy and the horror side of the film.

SettingsThe film takes place in the small town with a high school, this works for the movie because it shows us what Buffy will need to protect.

Special EffectsThe effects were good for the time of release, while moments have dated, we don’t get the need for the effects for the most part.


Scene of the Movie –
The Dance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Its not the Buffy I am used to seeing.

Final ThoughtsThis does feel like the 90’s movie it is, it gave us the film that went onto become a wonderful TV series, which is something that people will forever be grateful for.

 

Overall: Simple action fantasy.

Rating