Christmas Blood (2017)

Director: Reinert Kiil

Writer: Reinert Kiil (Screenplay)

Starring: Stig Henrik Hoff, Jorgen Langhelle, Sondre Krogtoft Larsen, Frank Kjosas, Truls Svendsen

 

Plot: Murderer gets caught after terrorizing and killing people during Christmas night for past 13 years in Norway. After being in solitary for almost 6 years, psychopath escapes couple days before Christmas night. Police tracks next target of the psychopath to be in small village in the northernmost part of Norway. Group of friends are having reunion in the same village and unexpectedly end up being in part of Santa’s plan. 

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Bloody Christmas MOvie

 

Story: Christmas Blood starts as detective Thomas Rasch (Hoff) shoots the notorious serial that has murder 121 people over 13 years, every Christmas, this was in 2011. It is now 2016 and the killer has been locked up since the attacks.

CID agent Terje Hansen (Larsen) has being trying to learn from the killer which sees the aggression increase around Christmas time each year. Thomas is still investigating the list that has been made with over 300 names which the killer hasn’t finishes checking off. A group of friends celebrating together in a remote village, giving them a chance for drinks, but their quiet Christmas is about to become a nightmare when the killer escapes hoping to check off more names on his list.

 

Thoughts on Christmas Blood

 

Characters – Thomas Rasch is the detective that hunted down the killer for 13 years and wanted to make sure he was dead, by putting bullets in him when they finally captured him. He has been watching over the names on the list believing he has made a mistake and he gets to make up for his mistakes when the killer escapes. Terje is the CID agent that must race against time to recapture the killer after he escapes. We have our killer to whom is aggressive at Christmas and has been targeting a certain list of names, he escapes prison in an attempt to continue to check off the names. The have the killer, we now need some victims and this is where the group of friends are involved as they try to have a quiet Christmas together.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are good with Stig Henrik Hoff being the grief-stricken detective wanting to make up for not finishing the job and Sondre Krogtoft Larsen matching him during the investigation. When it comes to the women playing the victims they are mostly interchangeable for what they are doing in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a serial killer that targets people in his list at Christmas escaping prison to continue on his spree to complete his list, he has new victims lined up and it is up to the detective that stopped him before to stop him again. This does play out like every slasher movie we have seen, which is good if you want to see films like that. It gives us an opening that shows the high body count the killer is capable of too, meaning we could see him in action plenty more times. I do think the party side of the story is overly long though because we just don’t get enough investment in these characters, when we get focus on the police dealing with their own problems.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from the bloodshed which is a lot making this feel like a true bloody slasher it is planning to be, we do get one scene which is the bloodiest to watch too.

SettingsThe film takes us to Norway where the killer has been racking up the numbers, this latest spree takes him to a remote village to collect his latest victims one that is isolated from the rest of the country.

Special EffectsThe effects in the movie are good because we get to see the full amount of blood flying around.


Scene of the Movie –
The blood covered death.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters in the cabin.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun Christmas horror movie, we get plenty of blood which shows us the true slasher feeling.

 

Overall: Christmas bloodbath.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Franchise Weekend – Creed II (2018)

Director: Steven Caple Jr

Writer: Sylvester Stallone, Juel Taylor (Screenplay) Cheo Hodari Coker, Sascha Penn (Story)

Starring: Michael B Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Dolph Lundgren, Florian Munteanu

 

Plot: Under the tutelage of Rocky Balboa, light heavyweight contender Adonis Creed faces off against Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago.

 

Runtime: 2 Hour 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Legacy Continues Strongly

 

Story: Creed II starts when Adonis (Jordan) finally captures the title, on top of the world he proposes to Bianca (Thompson) whose career is also going place and wants to enjoy the next chapter of his career as champion. Buddy Marcelle (Hornsby) a promoter has a different plan for Adonis, when he brings Viktor Drago (Munteanu) to America, the son of Ivan Drago (Lundgren) who killed Apollo in the ring.

Adonis must learn to rise up against his biggest challenge to date, learning to control his emotions as he takes on Viktor, who has his own personal fight to restore the family name, while Rocky (Stallone) is torn between helping and advising Adonis about whether to follow in his father’s footsteps.

 

Thoughts on Creed II

 

Characters – Adonis starts this film by winning the belt he didn’t win in the last film, he take the next step in his family life proposing to Bianca, having his first child being on top of the world. He loses it all and must learn to rebuild his reputation and defend his belt against the son of the man that killed his father. Now for this story Adonis has a nice arc, but he never feels like a champion. Rocky refuses to help Adonis in his match against Viktor, he is worried he will make the same mistakes as his father when his future is waiting for him. He has gotten over his cancer from the last film and must make his own difficult decision on whether to help Adonis to make up for his own mistakes with Apollo and rebuild his own bridges. Bianca has her music career taking off, ready to be involved  in the festival circuit, her hearing is only getting worse, so she wants to make the most of her chance, she doesn’t want to stand in Adonis’s way, but she also wants to make sure she doesn’t  have to raise their child alone. Ivan Drago has seen his reputation ruined after his loss to Rocky, kicked out of the country, he had to rebuild his life and with his son, he has made a fighting machine. Viktor is the son of Ivan, he is a machine in the ring just like his father, we get to have a lot more sympathy for him than we should because he is fighting his father’s battle, he lost his future and when his success comes the flocks that abandoned his father return.

PerformancesMichael B Jordan does have a lot more emotional moments to go through in this film which he does well, he however never makes us feel like he would be a champion. Sylvester Stallone continues to show this is turning into one of his go too roles for his best performances, while Tessa Thompson continues to show her talent to the world reprising the role which helped her break through. Dolph Lundgren gives one of his best performances in recent years and Florian Munteanu makes for a great fighting villain, who shows much better range than anyone was expecting.

StoryThe story picks up when Adonis has gotten himself into a number one contenders match, winning the title reach the peak of his early career and personal life, until the Drago’s arrive in an attempt to knock him off his perch and reclaim the fame that they once had. The story does feel like the weakest part of the film though, we seem to just skip Adonis reaching the title match, we never learn how good he is in the ring, because in the first film sure he surprised everyone, but he didn’t win, going 12 rounds and winning by points isn’t going to be enough to get a title shot. Most of Adonis’s side of the story is him needing to find himself as he goes to the next chapter of his life. The more interesting story comes from the Drago side of things because we get to see what happened to the once unstoppable fighter and how his life changed after that defeat, raising his son to follow in his footsteps, being shunned by his country and love, shows us just how different the two cultures are towards competitors. Rocky’s side story, while nice, it does feel tacked on just to give him something else to do in the film.

SportsThe boxing is good once again in this film, not quite as the same level, mostly because we get more fights which we don’t need to see too, we like to wait for that one big fight moment which stands out as the highlight of the film.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well, we don’t just stay in one city this time and the training regime is something new for the franchise.


Scene of the Movie –
The final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Adonis never gets made to feel like a champion or even a contender for a belt.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great addiction to the legacy, it does feel like we will be following Adonis’s legacy from now on which is what needed to be done for the franchise.

 

Overall: The legacy has past the torch.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Creed (2015) Revisited

Director: Ryan Coogler

Writer: Ryan Coogler, Aaron Covington (Screenplay) Sylvester Stallone (Characters)

Starring: Michael B Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Andre Ward, Tony Bellew

 

Plot: The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.


Tagline – Your legacy is more than a name

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brutally Brilliant

 

Story: Creed starts as we see how Adonis was raised in the foster system, before being adopted by Apollo Creed’s wife Mary Anne (Rashad) to raise her late husband’s son, given chances of an education, Adonis (Jordan) is drawn to fighting wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps. With Mary Anne reluctant to see Adonis fight, she sends him to Philadelphia to train away from the streets of LA.

Adonis meets Rocky (Stallone) who gets talked into training Adonis and helping him make decisions that will help his career in an even more cutthroat world that boxing has become, when Light Heavyweight champion ‘Pretty’ Ricky Conlan (Bellew) and his manager Tommy Holiday (McTavish) learn of Adonis true identity, they want to make a mega payday, which leads to Adonis in his first major fight, while Rocky will face his next fight in life.

 

Thoughts on Creed

 

Characters – Adonis Johnson is the son of Apollo Creed from an affair that saw him being raised in the foster system which taught him how to be tough. Eventually he is adopted by Apollo’s widow who gives him a chance, where he makes a career for himself, however the desire to fight keeps him heading to Mexico for fights before deciding he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps. He heads to Philadelphia to learn from his father’s biggest enemy Rocky Balboa, where he learns about his own destiny in the sport. Rocky Balboa is still running his restaurant, he has no lost everyone in his life, with his loved ones passing on and his son moved away, he reluctantly agrees to train Adonis which brings a new spark to his life, only for him to get news about his own future giving him a new fight to take on. Bianca is the neighbour that Adonis meets, she is a musician on the verge of her own big break, with her own problems, they two get close as she becomes part of his own inspiration. Mary Anne is the wife of Apollo, she raised Adonis as her own giving him the chances he had never received, she doesn’t want him to fight because she knows what it does to a boxer, she does however know she isn’t going to win and sends him to Rocky.  

PerformancesMichael B Jordan gives us one of the best boxing performances ever, we believe his own struggles and he gives us belief he is raising up the ranks. Sylvester Stallone bought new life to his character of Rocky here, with a performance that is easily his best in his modern cinema run, he makes everything about his character believable like we caught up with him. Tessa Thompson comes onto the scene with this performance that turned heads, she is great through the film. The rest of the cast are good with Tony Bellew being an actual boxer adding realism to the rival for the fighting world.

StoryThe story here follows Apollo Creed’s son take his first steps in the boxing world, given the unlikely chance for a big fight which is only mean to be a publicity stunt for the champion, much like Rocky’s first big fight. We see how Rocky has made the transition from fighter to trainer with us getting a chance to meet the biggest fictional fighter in his latter years, showing us how life can catch up with everyone. The story could easily be a soft reboot of Rocky and manages to show us how the reboot sequel is working very well at the moment, returning old favourites to help guide the next generation. The side stories going on show us how everybody has their own stories going on, instead of focusing just on one person moment in the sun, which feels refreshing for the genre.

SportsThe boxing in the film is easily the most realistic that you will see in any film, the hit feel as brutal as they are meant to.

SettingsWe return to Philadelphia for most of the film, this shows us how places have changed and others are still the same, it is like stepping into a time capsule at times.


Scene of the Movie –
The big fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have liked an extra length of time at the press conference.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best in the Rocky franchise for a very long time, it has bought us the same story of becoming an overnight success with one chance to make it, with truly powerful performances from the cast.

 

Overall: Knockout Movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – # – Cars 3 (2017)

Director: Brian Fee

Writer: Kiel Murray, Bob Peterson, Mike Rich (Screenplay) Brian Fee, Ben Queen, Eyal Podell, Jonathon E Stewart (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talent) Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Nathan Fillion, Larry the Cable Guy, Armie Hammer

 

Plot: Lightning McQueen sets out to prove to a new generation of racers that he’s still the best race car in the world.


Tagline – One last chance, One last dream

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Sequel

 

Story: Cars 3 starts as Lightning McQueen cruising his way to titles with two close competitors until hot shot rookie Jackson Storm with a brand-new model that increases speed and ability over Lightning and his older models which slowly go out of the sport, before he loses his spot on the grid.

Needing a make over, Lightning sees his team taken over by Sterling who could bring Lightning a new training program with trainer Cruz Ramirez, all to get back on the track and prove he hasn’t lost it.

 

Thoughts on Cars 3

 

Characters – Lightning McQueen is now one of the top drivers in the world, experienced on the field, that is until the next generation model comes through taking his spot on the track, now an aging star, his time might be up. He must prove he still has the skills to race against the younger cars, following the footsteps of many sport stars. Cruz is a trainer for Lightning new team, she helps young drivers prepare for racing without ever getting the chance to go on the road. She does have her own dreams and Lightning will help her learn these dreams. Jackson Storm is the hot shot new racer ready to become the star of the sport, he acts like he respects Lightning, only to be the cocky arrogant new driver. Sterling is the new owner and big fan of Lightning, he wants to give him a chance, the problem comes from needing to win and Lightning just won’t give his team that.

StoryThe story here sees Lightning McQueen reaching the end of his career, seeing the younger drivers taken his spot in the sport he loves. He must improve to compete, while learning valuable life lessons about stepping away from the spotlight on top on his own accord rather than being pushed out and forgotten. This story puts Lightning in a position that Doc Hudson had been and missed out on, his mentor manages to show him from his career the mistakes he made. This does always feel like an aging sports star sticking around longer than they should and ends up getting the same ideas that we see in the later Rocky movies. This does feel like the right sequel to the original with the time spent between the films.

Adventure/Comedy/Family/Sport The adventure side of this film does take Lightning back to his roots to learn his next step in the driving world, the comedy comes from the events that happen to Lightning along the way, they will give you laugh when needed without being used to often. It would be fair to say the whole family can enjoy this one and get enjoyment from different moments of the story. the sports side of the film is big because it shows us just how a star of the game can be left behind too quickly.

SettingsThe film returns to older settings which show Lightning needing to go soul searching through different worlds away from the glitz and glamour of the normal racing world.

AnimationPixar are the leading team in visual animation, nothing in this movies look can be questioned as it looks perfect in every single shot.


Scene of the Movie –
The make it or break it race.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is a very safe sequel.

Final ThoughtsThis is a safe and enjoyable sequel to the much-loved franchise, it gets the story correct for the time between this and the first film which helps by forgetting the second film.

 

Overall: Enjoyable respect filled sequel.

Rating

 

 

Cinderella (2015)

cinderellaDirector: Kenneth Branagh

Writer: Chris Weitz (Screenplay)

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter, Nonso Anozie, Stellan Skarsgard, Sophie McShera

 

Plot: When her father unexpectedly passes away, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and her scheming step-sisters. Never one to give up hope, Ella’s fortunes begin to change after meeting a dashing stranger.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming Telling of Classic

 

Story: Cinderella starts as we see Ella getting raised by her parents Mother (Atwell) and Father (Chaplin) who teach her to be honest and good before we see the tragic death of her mother. Years pass on and her father decides to real marry to her new Stepmother (Blanchett) but the now grown up Cinderella (James) has to get used to a new step sisters Drisella (McShera)) and Anastasia (Grainger). When Cinderella’s father dies on a trip she ends up getting placed in the role of housekeeper and all around slave for the family.

When Cinderella meets the handsome Prince (Madden) the two find themselves hiding their true identities as sparks fly between the two. The Prince is about the host a ball where he must pick a bride and he opens the doors to every woman in his kingdom.

Cinderella wants to attend the ball to meet the charming man she met in the woods but her dreams are dashed by her evil stepmother but her Fairy Godmother (Carter) is always looking over her to make the dream happen.

Cinderella is one of the most classic tales there is to tell and this outing keeps the fairy tale in the wonderful world we expect to see. We all know where the story is going and this does give us a couple of extra twits to the story with the Stepmother being more involved with where the story goes. If you just want to see a fantasy romance unfold this is all you need to see from the story.

 

Actor Review

 

Cate Blanchett: Stepmother is the lady Ella’s father marries, she has two daughters that are used to the high lifestyle. When her new husband dies she turns Cinderella into the slave of the house while the three continue to try and live their lives of luxury. Cate is good in this role where she looks like she enjoys the role.stepmother

Lily James: Cinderella grew up as Ella with her caring loving parents but when she is left with her new stepmother she ends up becoming the slave of the household. She only ever wants to see good, be good and be treated fairly, she never wants to look down on any a true pure sole. When she gets to go to the ball she could escape her life locked away by her stepmother. Lily is good in this role really looking the part.ella

Richard Madden: Prince is the charming stranger that Ella meets in the woods one day, they have instant attraction but keep their names a secret. When it becomes time for him to select a wife he opens the doors to any woman hoping to find her once more. Richard fits the character very well giving us a good performance.prince

Helena Bonham Carter: Fairy Godmother has been watching over Cinderella all her life but shows herself to make her dream of going to the ball a reality. Helena does well in her main scene and role of narrator.godmothr

Support Cast: Cinderella has great supporting cast that all give good performance throughout.

Director Review: Kenneth BranaghKenneth does a great job telling the story that every girl loves to hear.

 

Family: Cinderella is one for the whole family to enjoy.

Fantasy: Cinderella brings us into a fantasy idea where magic happens.

Romance: Cinderella brings us into a romantic story of true love.

Settings: Cinderella takes us into the fictional kingdom which all look beautifully created.
Special Effects
: Cinderella uses great effects that all look great in a fictional story.

Suggestion: Cinderella is one to watch with the family. (Family Time)

 

Best Part: Preparing for the ball.

Worst Part: Slightly too long with the final act going on too long.

Funniest Scene: Goose driving.

Favourite Quote: ‘I can’t drive, I’m a goose’.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for One Oscar.

Box Office: $201 Million

Budget: $95 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

Tagline: Midnight is just the beginning.

 

Overall: Easy to watch fictional fairy tale that is being retold once more

Ratingcard