Keanu Reeves Weekend – Chain Reaction (1996) Movie Review

Director: Andrew Davis

Writer: J.F. Lawton, Michael Bortman (Screenplay) Arne Schmidt, Rick Seaman, Josh Friedman (Story)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Morgan Freeman, Rachel Weisz, Fred Ward, Kevin Dunn, Brian Cox, Joanna Cassidy

Plot: Two researchers in a green alternative energy project are put on the run when they are framed for murder and treason.


Tagline – Reaction Time 8-4-96

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Simple Actioner

Story: Chain Reaction starts in a world where energy sources are running low, where scientists Eddie (Reeves), Lily (Weisz) and Paul (Freeman) are working on an alternative energy source using hydrogen, which proves to be a success, until somebody sabotages their project causing massive explosion.

Eddie and Lily find themselves targeted by an FBI investigation, leading them to go on the run to clear their names and prove who was really behind the explosion, a path which shows many different sides to the people they worked with.

Thoughts on Chain Reaction

Characters – Eddie Kasalivich is one of the scientists that has been working on the hydrogen project, he has cracked the problems they were facing and always looks after the people working on the project with him. He narrowly avoids being caught in the explosion, learning of the foul play involved with it, getting framed in the process. He goes on the run to prove he had nothing to do with the explosion and the research was for the greater good for humanity. Paul Shannon is the man that gets the funding for the project, he knows that is free energy could cause problems and is the connection between the truth and the escape. Dr Lily Sinclair is working on the project, which sees her being framed, going on the run with Eddie, learning more about the truth behind what happened. We also have the FBI agents who are following the basic clues, as well as the people who were behind the explosion looking to clean up the loose ends.

PerformancesKeanu Reeves doesn’t do anything wrong in the leading role, he doesn’t get too much to work with as he just doesn’t get loose on the full action side of things. Morgan Freeman and Rachel Weisz are strong enough without being let off the lease for their full potential.

StoryThe story here follows the aftermath of an explosion within an energy research facility, showing how two of the scientists become the suspects who must prove their innocence. This is an interesting idea for a story, using the ideas of a new energy source that could become free and friendly to the world and how people would want to control this. The whole fugitive angle is everything the director is known for works without being too serious with how it unfolds. This is a routine story, with the number of twists thrown in along the way.

Action/Sci-FiThe action does give away the biggest scene in the opening explosion, while the rest is more just chases, that never feel like they are edge of the seat in anyway.

SettingsThe film is set different locations starting with Chicago facing the explosion, while the rest shows the more secret locations a project like this could happen around.

Special EffectsThe effects have dated now, with the opening explosion does not look realistic in anyway.


Scene of the Movie – The escape the explosion.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The rest of the tame chases.

Final Thoughts This is an action film that gave away the biggest moment too early and ends up plodding along at a slow pace, while trying to get over a bigger message.

Overall: Easy Going Action

Chatroom (2010) Movie Review – Coming to Amazon Prime 3rd July

Director: Hideo Nakata

Writer: Edna Walsh (Screenplay) Enda Walsh (Play)

Starring: Aaron Taylor Johnson, Imogen Poots, Matthew Beard, Hannah Murray, Daniel Kaluuya

Plot: 5 teenagers are introduced to each other in a chatroom called “Chelsea Teens!”, all with different personalities. But when one shows its darker side, it threatens the life of the others.


Tagline – Control. Alter. Delete.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Eye Opening

Story: Chatroom starts as William (Taylor-Johnson) opens up a new chatroom called ‘Chelsea Teens’ which sees four fellow teens Mo (Kaluuya), Jim (Beard), Emily (Murray) and Eva (Poots) join, while they are still on their laptops, we are show how a giant hotel has different chatrooms, for people to join for an open conversation.

Outside the chatroom, the five teens have their own problems, using their time in the chatroom to focus on dealing with the problems, escaping the pain of their everyday life, only are they being truthfully in the chatroom.

Thoughts on Chatroom

Characters – William sets up the chatroom, he does this to escape his overbearing parents that are trying to control his life, he does show a confidence in the chatroom, which will let people follow his instructions, suggestions to improve themselves, he does have hacking skills, which could make him a threat, but outside of the chatroom, he is on suicide levels of depression. Jim is a lonely teenager, he can’t communicate with people very well, which sees him finding any social interaction uncomfortable. Mo is nervous about being in the room, he is having a difficult mindset about a crush on an underage girl, where he knows it is wrong, only he is tempted to look into the ideas. Emily is from a posh family, she is being prepared for life in a proper manner, only she is becoming angry about the location she is in, turning to the room for a chance to find someone to talk to, becoming more rebellious along the way. Eva is a model that is tired of being looked down upon by the fellow models, she wants a change, which William starts to offer, while helping Emily out of her own slump, preparing her to open up more in the world.

PerformancesWe have an excellent cast here, most of these actors have gone onto bigger projects and you can see why, being showing us how talent the likes of Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Daniel Kaluuya, Imogen Poots and Hannah Murray are, add in Matthew Beard, we have a cast that shows just how difficult growing up can be.

StoryThe story here follows five teenagers that turn to chatrooms to help them deal with the problems in their lives, until they see it become more of a personal issue. When looking at this story we must remember it was made in 2010, when chatrooms were still a bigger thing, the dangers of them had become clearer and here we see how certain rooms can be used in other methods, to create the events through the film. The real life issues of depression and using the chatroom for escape, we see how isolation happens, with technology becoming the place you turn, which can cause even more pain. Showing us just how depression can consume people without the right people around them.

ThrillerThe film does create a thrilling side, by seeing how William is becoming consumed with wanting to use the power he seems to have gained through his action.

SettingsThe film uses the setting of everyday to show the difficult lives the characters are living through, this is everything you would expect to see, what is the stand out of location, would be the hotel like structure that the chatrooms are designed to look like, the halls, the doors, each room fits the theme created.


Scene of the Movie – The meetings.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The Mo side of the story doesn’t get enough exploration.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting thriller that hits hard on the dangers of the modern world obsession with social media, showing how people could spiral out of control as they look for help in the wrong places.

Overall: Great Thriller.

Signature Entertainment presents Chatroom on Amazon Prime July 3rd

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – Q – Color Out of Space (2019) Movie Review

You know how Q is always the hardest letter, well here is the cheat once more, we have Q’orianka Kilcher starring in this film, filling the Q hole for Sci-Fi.

Director: Richard Stanley

Writer: Scarlett Amaris, Richard Stanely (Screenplay) H.P. Lovecraft (Short Story)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Madeleine Arthur, Elliot Knight, Tommy Chong, Brendan Meyer, Julian Hilliard

Plot: A secluded farm is struck by a strange meteorite which has apocalyptic consequences for the family living there and possibly the world.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Truly Out There

Story: Color Out of Space starts as we meet the Gardner family, Nathan (Cage), Theresa (Richardson), Lavinia (Arthur), Benny (Meyer) and Jack (Hilliard) who live on a remote farm away from the world, where they are dealing with the everyday problems of change, with Lavinia missing the busy world, while the family is here to help Theresa with her treatment.

That night a meteorite hits just outside the house of the family, which sees researcher Ward (Knight) checking out what it might be, along with the local authorities. As the next nights occur strange things start happening around the farm, putting the family in danger.

Thoughts on Color Out of Space

Characters – Nathan is the father of the house, he is trying to runt he farm with his alpaca being his animal of choice, he likes to keep family together after the struggles that they have been through, but after the event, he becomes shorter tempered, getting frustrated at his own actions. Theresa is the wife that has been through cancer treatments, she is carrying on her career away from the world, she does seem to be out of the danger, but after the event, even she starts to change. Lavinia is the teenager daughter that is looking at alternative ways to save her mother, she does sense the danger first and tries to help save her siblings, but is also facing the effects of what the incident brings to the farm. She does have a couple of the typical rebellious teenager traits, with the insecurity being what drives her rebellious side. Ward is the scientist doing research for a bigger plan that is due to create a hydro reservoir, making sure there isn’t an environmental impact with this change happening.

PerformancesNicolas Cage in the leading role is great as always, he shows his ability to click his character in a switch to bring us the unprepared character changes through the film. Joely Richardson is great too, doing the same swaps without just copying how Cage does it, bringing her own way to make this unique. Madeleine Arthur as the teenage daughter works well, becoming more of the central figure of the film, showing the teenage traits well, while also being someone who wants to step up. Elliot Knight does well too, he doesn’t do anything wrong, while I would have liked to have seen more of his character.

StoryThe story here follows a family that live on a remote farm that experience strange events after an object falls on their property, as time goes by the events become stranger and deadlier leaving them to need to fight to survive. This story is based of a Lovecraft idea which means you know you are going to get something strange. While the story handles everything about the strangeness with ease, it does seem to struggle to balance the science side of the story, which seems like it was meant to be more of the science versus the unexplained story. That aside, we do still get to go through the family drama and struggles, the changes that the family notice about themselves and leave us with conclusion that is fitting for the concept.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror in this film comes from just what is happened to the people, we see how they are being affected by something out of their control and will find themselves trying to understand the sci-fi side of what has been happening to them.

SettingsThe film keeps nearly everything at the remote cabin, showing us how isolated the family could be, how the event could build from a small location to become a wider impacted problem.

Special EffectsThe effects are marvellous, with the major ones getting used in the second half of the film, they only add to the disturbing side of the film.


Scene of the Movie – Stay with your mother.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough of the science side of the film, considering he is narrating too.

Final Thoughts This is a horror sci-fi that is way bigger than you would have expected, it will blend other big horror films to give us a truly entertaining experience that you won’t feel again this year.

Overall: True Experience of Cinema.

Chris Evans Weekend – Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Screenplay) Joe Simon, Jack Kirby (Comics)

Starring: Chris Evans, Samuel L Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders

 

Plot: As Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world, he teams up with a fellow Avenger and S.H.I.E.L.D agent, Black Widow, to battle a new threat from history: an assassin known as the Winter Soldier.


Tagline – In heroes we trust.

Runtime: 2 Hours 16 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Best Pure Action Comic Book Movie

 

Story: Captain America: The Winter Soldier starts as Steve Rogers (Evans) is recruited to help Natasha Romanoff (Johansson) on her latest mission, he being a soldier will help any civilian in danger, which does seem him cross paths with Nick Fury (Jackson) who he feels is using him for the dirty work to clean up SHIELD’s secrets.

When Nick is killed by the Winter Soldier (Stan), Steve must learn who he can trust as he looks for answers as SHIELD has become compromised, Steve is joined by Natasha and starts investigating SHIELD’s connection including Nick’s friend Alexander Pierce (Redford).

 

Thoughts on Captain America: The Winter Soldier

 

Characters – Steve Rogers is still learning to adapt to the modern world, he hasn’t been able to make any friends yet and is starting to deal with his own guilt from his time at war, he is getting used to help save people in need for Fury. He must investigate the murder of Fury only for to need to learn ho to trust and clashing with a friend from his own past. Nick Fury has been pushing the SHIELD’s latest plan to be pushed back, this sees him having the attention drawn to him and turning to the only person he knows he could trust, Steve. Natasha Romanoff has been working with Steve on mission, she still keeps to herself and is the only one that Steve can trust while searching for answers. Alexander Pierce is Nick’s connection to the world committee being the old friends, he has been going against the Nick’s wishes looking to use his own place of power for control. Winter Soldier is a new deadly assassin, one that even Steve can’t fight against, he does have a connection to his past too. Sam Wilson is a former soldier that Steve meets, he has been running groups for soldiers who have been struggle since returning from war and can related to where Steve is, while dealing with a friend’s loss.

PerformancesChris Evans gives his best performance in this leading role here, he gives us a character we believe is trying to do the right thing throughout the film. Samuel L Jackson continues to be the inspiration leader of the group. Scarlett Johansson shows us once against that she is wonderful in the Black Widow role. Robert Redford steps into becoming the villainous figure in the film which is unexpected and he delivers in it. Sebastian Stan returns, this time in a more prominent role and as a threat. Anthony Mackie is a welcome addition to the cast never looking out of place.

StoryThe story here follows Steve Rogers as he looks to learn about the modern world, unlock the truth about who to trust and investigate who has been working from within SHIELD to create more problems than they are meant to be solving, while dealing with an old friend. We get a much straight drawn out action story here which does deal with a political side of having superheroes in the world. we do get to see just how Steve will always put the people ahead of anything else in his life. The idea of how Steve learns to cope in the modern world is shown strongly here as he does have help, he does see similar problems people could be suffering from too. The return of Hydra is great to see because we see a more calculated villainous force that keeps everything human, showing that the heroes will need to deal with their own battles before worrying about ones coming from space.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film feels more like a pure action movie, with it including car chases, street shoot outs and more of a pure hand to hand combat, yes, we do get the big action set piece at the end, but we rarely look at explosions as part of the superpowers. We do dive into sci-fi once again by looking at a future we could face with technology being a major part of it.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings in and mostly around Washington, which helps play into the political side of the story that is going on.

Special EffectsThe effects are not needed as much as most of the other films in the franchise, the ones we do get work very well never taking us out of the set pieces.


Scene of the Movie –
Car chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Stephen Strange reference doesn’t make that much sense in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best action film in the Marvel universe, it keeps most of the action grounded staying away from the big time explosions others have had in the past.

 

Overall: The action superhero movie we wanted.

Rating

 

 

Chris Evans Weekend – Captain America: The First Avengers (2011)

Director: Joe Johnston

Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Screenplay) Joe Simon, Jack Kirby (Comic Books)

Starring: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Richard Armitage

 

Plot: Steve Rogers, a rejected military soldier transforms into Captain America after taking a dose of a “Super-Soldier serum”. But being Captain America comes at a price as he attempts to take down a war monger and a terrorist organization.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Origin Story

 

Story: Captain America: The First Avenger starts in the middle of World War II as Steve Rogers (Evans) a rejected military soldier because of his size is living in New York where his best friend Bucky (Stan) is about to go back into conflict and America is treating the war as a display. Steve is desperate to help his country, he is given an opportunity by Dr Abraham Erskine (Tucci), which sees him being trained in military training by Peggy Carter (Atwell) and Colonel Chester Phillips (Jones).

Steve is selected for a procedure which will make him a super-soldier because his desires to be a soldier show him to be braver than any other soldiers. Johann Schmidt (Weaving) has been searching for power during the war and this will end up making his search organisation Hydra known to the world. Steve becomes Captain America who will lead the fight in the war inspiring the soldiers and looking to stop Johann attempts at becoming a powerfully enemy.

 

Thoughts on Captain America: The First Avenger

 

Characters – Steve Rogers is a small guy from Brooklyn, he wants to join the army, but his size is holding him back, he shows all the strengths of a hero, but this will only get him so far. Given a chance to be a guinea pig for a procedure he gets transformed into a super soldier an icon America can look for war. Once he shows his skills he gets to lead an onslaught on Hydra. Peggy Carter is part of the British side of conflict, she sees the potential in Steve, sees him as different to the normal soldier, while also relating to him as somebody trying to break walls down. Bucky is the best friend of Steve’s he has always stood up for him whenever he needed help, encouraged Steve when everybody doubted him, him being captured is one of the main reasons for Steve to show of his new abilities. Johann Schmidt is the leader of Hydra, he was part of the Nazi war effort, but he has turned to his own desire of power becoming Red Skull a psychotic leader who will kill anyone who fails him as quick as his enemies.

PerformancesChris Evans is great in the leading role, he shows the transformation he takes his character through he goes from the shy want to be soldier to the super soldier. Hayley Atwell is strong playing a woman who has already broken boundaries in her own time. Sebastian Stan is solid enough as the best friend, he best times will come later in the franchise. Hugo Weaving will always make an entertaining villain, which Red Skull is for this franchise.

StoryThe story here follows Steve Rogers transform into Captain America a super soldier designed to help fight the war against the Nazis and Hydra, as he must learn to be accepted in the war effort despite being different. This is the origin of Captain America, we see how he went from the skinny short young man, to the super soldier and ever after that needing to go from icon for America to leader of soldiers in the fight. We get to bring in a new villainous group in Hydra which will one day become one of Captain’s biggest enemies, while also playing into the idea of scientific experiments being part of World War II. For an origin story this is everything you need, seeing the hero become the stronger version of themselves only helps us support his cause.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in this film comes from the large scale battles which are war based that Captain America finds himself in, they get to show off all his skills, while keeping most of the action in the realms of possibilities. The sci-fi side of the film shows how the technology would come to make conflict on a different scale.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings simple, we see the New York setting for the Brooklyn boy, while also jumping into the war like situations Captain America finds himself preparing to fight in.

Special EffectsThe effects through this film are wonderful, from the CGI used to make Chris Evans small, to the explosive power involved with the new weapons the world could be about to experience.


Scene of the Movie –
Captain’s first mission.

That Moment That Annoyed Me A kiss goodbye.

Final ThoughtsThis is another entertaining origin story, it brings us yet another character with his own qualities that makes him stand out from the others and continue to world build.

 

Overall: Origin story with a bang.

Rating