Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Case 39 (2009)

Director: Christian Alvart

Writer: Ray Wright (Screenplay)

Starring: Renee Zellweger, Jodelle Ferland, Ian McShane, Bradley Cooper, Callum Keith Rennie

 

Plot: A social worker fights to save a girl from her abusive parents, only to discover that the situation is more dangerous than she ever expected.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Horror

 

Story: Case 39 starts as we see the workload of social worker Emily Jenkins (Zellweger), the latest case to fall on her desk is Case 39 about young girl Lilith Sullivan (Ferland) who is being abused by her parents but nothing can be proven. Emily get Detective Barron (McShane) to help investigate but when Lilith’s parents try to kill her, she is removed from the home.

When Lilith moves in with Emily during the case hearing, we start to learn what could have been the problem with Lilith as strange things start to happen around the people Emily cares about, is this Lilith causing the problems or something more sinister.

 

Thoughts on Case 39

 

Characters/PerformanceEmily Jenkins is the social worker that always does the best for the children through any of the cases she gets, she sees the latest case with Lilith and takes her in as the only one she can trust but soon her life start unravelling and Emily must question her good nature to stop people dying. Lilith is the young girl that Emily believes is being abused by her family, she starts of looking innocent but soon becomes strange through the film and she could in fact be evil. Detective Barron is the person Emily always turns to, to solve any problems in the cases she has, he is loyal to her and willing to help solve any wrong doings.

Performance wise, Renee Zellweger is good in this lead role showing us horror can work with the right leading lady. Jodelle Ferland made a reputation playing the creepy little girl around this time and she is the star of the show here. Ian McShane is good in the supporting role too.

StoryThe story is a smart decision process because a social worker having the mentality to want to protect children having to question that because one could be evil poses a great set of moral questions throughout the film. That is the core of the story here we do have characters getting picked off by what could an evil child but it does keep us wondering how somebody would deal with the actual anti-Christ.

Horror/MysteryThe horror comes in our characters being haunted by their nightmares that are being created by Lilith but the mystery behind why this is happening in the first place.

SettingsWe have everyday settings in this film that makes us feel like this could happen to anybody, this does help everything unfold.

Special EffectsThe effects do work when it comes to the kills going on through the film without it being all over the top CGI.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid horror that spends slightly too much time trying to add extra scares instead of focusing on what could be moral questions Emily should need to face.

 

Overall: Solid Horror that can be enjoyable for the horror fans.

Rating

 

 

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Cassidy Red (2018)

Director: Matt Knudsen

Writer: Matt Knudsen (Screenplay)

Starring: Abby Eiland, David Thomas Jenkins, Jason Grasl, Jessy Knudsen, Gregory Zaragoza, Rick Cramer, Lola Kelly

 

Plot: Cassidy Red is a western romance set against the backdrop of the 19th century American southwest. The film follows the headstrong daughter of a prostitute who returns to her hometown, seeking vengeance against the corrupt lawman she believes murdered her lover.


Tagline – Hell hath no fury…

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Western Adventure

 

Story: Cassidy Red starts with the town’s storyteller Cricket (Zaragoza) telling Quinn (Knudsen) the story of Joe Cassidy (Eiland). Joe is out for revenge on her ex-fiancée Tom Hayes (Jenkins) that has killed her new fiancée Jakob (Grasl). The story isn’t as simple as this though, the three grow up together, Tom and Jakob going from different backgrounds and we see the training Joe must go through to prepare for her own vengeance.

 

Thoughts on Cassidy Red

 

Characters – Joe Cassidy is a woman that grew up to with both Tom and Jakob, after falling in love with one she only finds herself going on a revenge mission after the other kills the one she fell in love. This is a strong character, we focus on how she was loyal to her mother, dealt with her father’s flaws and would follow love over money. Tom is the son of a rich member of the town, he has seen his family kill for their own success, but the one thing he can’t buy is Joe’s love, which cause him targets them both. Jakob is an apache boy that gets adopted by Tom’s family only for him to steal Joe’s heart from under Tom. He shows Joe a different life of happiness over money.

PerformancesAbby Eiland in the leading role is one of the two strongest performances in the film, she shines in this leading role. David Thomas Jenkins does give us the second strong performance, as the villain of the piece, he gives us a performance which feels just as twisted as his character needs to be. While I don’t think Jason Grasl gets enough time to show everything he has, this is mostly done to wanting to make the Joe character a stronger force than the Jakob one.

StoryThe story here throws us into a love triangle in the old west that is spiked with revenge, while this does sound like it should be a tried and tested formula that we all know and enjoy, this story takes a spin on this which does make things feel refreshing, but does feel like an extra chapter in the ‘Red Dead Redemption’ game franchise, as we follow the steps which become more challenging as the story unfolds. This is a fun story to watch along with even if moments of the timeline can jump in places.

Action/Adventure/Romance/WesternThe action is the gunslinger style we know, it works, but isn’t the most original to the genre. The love triangle gives us the motivation for the story, with the western genre being used to show us the environment we are watching the battle unfold in.

SettingsThe film is set in the wild west, the town could be any because in that time, the towns nearly all look the same and ran the same.

Special EffectsThe effects used in the film are used sparingly which helps because we don’t have any over the top bloodshed for the gun battles.


Scene of the Movie –
Learning to shoot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me One twist comes too early.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good western that gives us a good love triangle to see unfold, with twists along the way and a strong final showdown.

 

Overall: The western stands strong.

Rating

 

 

Chorus Line (1985)

This is a movie I got to watch from a special Park Circus Cinema showing in my local theatre.

Director: Richard Attenborough

Writer: Arnold Schulman (Screenplay) James Kirkwood Jr, Nicholas Dante (Book)

Starring: Michael Douglas, Terrence Mann, Michael Blevins

 

Plot: Hopefuls try out before a demanding director for a part in a new musical.


Tagline – One singular sensation

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Musical

 

Story: Chorus Line starts as the latest Broadway musical is casting the chorus line, director Zach (Douglas) and his choreographer Larry (Mann) have 100s of hopefuls that want this big break. We see scores of auditions going on with the numbers whittled down to 16 hopefuls, 8 women and 8 men, with former star of the show Cassie (Reed) trying to get Zach to give her a chance to audition.

We watch how the hopefuls must prove their quality to Zach so they can be in this latest show, we see how they have come from different backgrounds with their own motives for going into this field.

 

Thoughts on Chorus Line

 

Characters – Zach is the director of the show, he needs perfection and knows what he is looking for, he pushes the auditions to the limits, but gives them the motivation they need to improve for their next audition. Larry plays the nice guy, he will put his arm around anyone that needs help, to deal with the short tempered Zach, he has worked with people like this for years and knows the weakness they can hold. Cassie was once Zack’s top dancer, when things have changed she wants to return to be just one of the chorus line, a direction Zack doesn’t believe she should go in.

PerformancesMichael Douglas is now the biggest name in this movie, he does stand out because of his role as the director showing the calmness when looking out for the dancers, but the strictness while putting them back in their place. Terrence Mann is strong in this role too, we see just how important this is to his character. When it comes to the dancers they are all great through the film too.

StoryThe story shows us the routine a group of dancers must go through to try and make an impact on Broadway, we see how they have come from different background with a common dream to break the moulds of what is the normal. The whole film takes place over the one day of auditions which show how the process must go through to be selected and we are left to feel their stories and desperation to make an impact.

MusicalThe musical numbers are enjoyable through the film, with a number of the performers having their own song to make them stand out.

SettingsThe film takes place on just the Broadway location, where we see the performers on the stage, this is nice because we clearly see how this could be a live performance too.


Scene of the Movie –
Paul’s story.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We have slightly too many performers to whittle down for duration.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good musical, that translates well to screen and to the stage, we have good performance and good songs too.

 

Overall: Musical for all the fans of the genre.

Rating

 

 

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

Director: Julius Onah

Writer: Oren Uziel (Screenplay) Oren Uziel, Doug Jung (Story)

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Bruhl, John Ortiz, Chris O’Dowd, Aksel Hennie, Ziyi Zhang, Elizabeth Debicki

 

Plot: Orbiting a planet on the brink of war, scientists test a device to solve an energy crisis, and end up face-to-face with a dark alternate reality.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Addition to Cloverfield Universe

 

Story: The Cloverfield Paradox starts as we come to the Earth as the people are facing an energy crisis, one of the last hopes is an experiment in space to product an almost infinite amount, the crew includes Schmidt (Bruhl), Hamilton (Mbatha-Raw), Kiel (Oyelowo), Monk (Ortiz), Mundy (O’Dowd), Volkov (Hennie) ad Tam (Zhang).

While performing their experiment something goes wrong and the crew finds their ship in the middle of nowhere in space, the Earth gone, what happened, the team must work together to keep the ship active before even considering looking for home and things only get more confusing when Jensen (Debicki) appears on the ship claiming to be part of the team.

 

Thoughts on The Cloverfield Paradox

 

Characters – Hamilton seems to be one of our main characters, because we follow her on Earth as she debates whether to be part of the mission, so she can save her family from the crisis on Earth, on board the ship we see how her first and most important thing to follow is communicating with her family. Kiel is the Commander on this mission, he knows how each member of the team can be used to get through the problems. Schmidt is the man behind the science, it has been his ideas which are being put into practice in the experiment. Monk is the medical officer on the ship, he faces the scientific decisions. Mundy is the engineer on board, he can fix any problem as fast becomes the funniest member of the crew. Volkov is the member of the team which easily gets hot headed through the situations the crew themselves in. Tam is a crucial part of the team when it comes to knowing the operations behind the experiment. Jensen appears on the ship after the experiment goes wrong, she seems to be part of the team, but no one else knows who she is. She knows the operations the crew want to follow too.

PerformancesThis has a star studded multi-cultured set of actors, this helps show us how the world is united with this plan. Gugu Mbatha-Raw is good in this leading role, her character is the only one that does seem to show any life outside of the mission though. Daniel Bruhl and David Oyelowo are two top performers and they both give us the good performances we expect. Chris O’Dowd nearly steals the movie, his characters wit mixed with his delivery helps the movie have moments of light-hearted humour. Elizabeth Debicki is good too but I do feel like we don’t get enough from the talents of Aksel Hennie and Ziyi Zhang.

StoryThe story follows an experiment to try and solve the problems the Earth is facing with energy supplies, the idea takes us into a scientific discussion about what would happen if scientists accidently ended up in an alternative dimension. We have characters that are smart in space, which follows the same lines as ‘Life’ and ‘Sunshine’ as they do come together to try to solve the problem over just panicking. This does tie into the previous films nicely too, which is just what we wanted to see.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-fiThis film doesn’t reach the horror element level it could have, but the mystery side of the film covers this weakness, the sci-fi side of things do offer big questions about where things could be going.

SettingsThe film uses two major settings, the first and best is the space station which is highlight of the film because every time we jump to Earth, it seems to slow up the pace of the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are flawless through the film, the space moments are wonderful and an incident with an arm is great.


Scene of the Movie –
Found the worms

That Moment That Annoyed Me Returning to Earth gets frustrating.

Final ThoughtsThis is a smart sci-fi film that throws up the questions about what could go wrong with an experiment that could help save the Earth. This does fit into the universe created with the Cloverfield movies too.

 

Overall: Hugely entertaining sci-fi thriller.

Rating

 

 

Cloistered Honey (2012)

If you want to see this movie, you can check it out on Amazon Store here

Director
: Laura Lewis-Barr

Writer: Laura Lewis-Barr (Screenplay)

Starring: Carrie Lee Patterson, Steve Ratcliff

 

Plot: While trying to avoid a hive of moody bees Abe must convince his runaway wife, Helen, to come home from an empty monastery. ‘Cloistered Honey’ is a mystery, a love story, and an exploration of what we believe and why.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Examination of Relationship

 

Story: Cloistered Honey starts as Abe (Ratcliff) has tracked down his wife Helen (Patterson) who has runaway to random monastery to help care for the bee hives. Abe is trying to figure out what drove Helen to leave him as we follow the two through the scientific, philosophical and emotional discussion to learn what the two scientists now have in different.

 

Thoughts on Cloistered Honey

 

Characters – Abe and Helen are a once happily married couple, who specialise in science, now Helen has turned to religion for answers about where she wants her life next, Abe challenges her new look on life, as he still follows the scientific beliefs. The two are reasonable about their discussion showing both their cards on the situation they are facing, proving to feel like a real couple going through a bump in the road.

PerformancesThis is a performance driven movie, we only have the two stars in Carrie Lee Patterson and Steve Ratcliff, they must work well together for this movie to work and they do deliver through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a couple that have found a bump in the road and must come together to talk about the situation they find themselves in, learn about the mistakes they may have made in the past or face a future apart. The story comes off honest, it doesn’t play into the hands that either one has made a terrible mistake rather than needs to take notice of smaller details. The way the story comes off could easily become a play, because if you want an wilder known example of something similar with different discussion, think Carnage, which is about the performance of a story being told.

Comedy/RomanceThe film does have moments of comedy, which more often than not come from Abe trying to be funny but tackles the romance people will have for each other.

SettingsThe film keeps the singular location which makes sense while the discussion between the two people are making.


Scene of the Movie –
The bee time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We could have had a slightly more broken look about Abe to start with.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very good look at how relationships can need discussing which feels like a sensible look at how things can be discussed rather than rushing into rash decisions.

 

Overall: Smartly written relationship drama.

Rating