Concrete Plans (2020) Movie Review

Director: Will Jewell

Writer: Will Jewell (Screenplay)

Starring: Amber Rose Revah, Goran Bogdan, James Lance, Kevin Guthrie, Steve Speirs, Chris Reailly

Plot: High in the remote Welsh mountains, five builders are bought together to renovate a sprawling old farmhouse. Housed in mouldy portacabins, tensions soon simmer between the men and the self-entitled aristocratic homeowner, as well as amongst the rag tag group of men themselves. World-weary old timer Dave and kindly Foreman Bob try to keep the peace. But his nephew Steve falls under the malign influence of bigot Jim, the pair taking a dislike to Viktor, a Ukranian labourer. As the weather closes in and payments are late, tempers fray. Blood is spilled. As the blue-collar men are confronted with an increasingly dark spiral of moral choices, Jim makes an astonishing proposition.

Tagline – A taut thriller that grips and twists towards a devastating climax.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Concrete Plans starts when five builders Bob (Speirs), Jim (Reilly), Steve (Rothwell), Dave (Thomas) and Viktor (Bogdan) all from different backgrounds are hired to help with the building of a barn for Simon (Guthrie) and Amy (Revah).

When the builders over hear that Simon has a lot of money saved away, they get caught up in the middle of a discussion to take the money, one that not everyone is interested in, showing the clash of characters looking to get rich quick.

Thoughts on Concrete Plans

Final Thoughts Concrete Plans brings us five builders that caught up trying to become greedier when they learn about money, with different generations of styles that would have different approaches to the work and making money. This does play into most of the conversations about what would be the right thing to do. This does seem to be a story that escalated very suddenly and doesn’t feel a smooth or planned as it could have with how everything unfolded. It will leave you with a morale questions but will not give you enough redeemable characters as everything unfolds. The comedy comes from seeing how the characters can react to things, making the dark comedy come through the thrills placed in it, with the singular location of the farm makes everything easy to follow from that side of things.

Concrete Plans is in Cinemas and Digital from 23rd November

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – C – Couples Vacation (2017) Movie Review

Director: Brandon Dickerson

Writer: Brandon Dickerson (Screenplay)

Starring: David Arquette, Amy Acker, Adan Canto, June Squibb, Nicole Elliott, Daniel Ross Owens

Plot: With his marriage and career against the ropes, dejected author Jack Spencer travels with his wife, Amanda, to an isolated glamping retreat in search of a spark. When a surprise double booking finds their private retreat anything but private, Jack spins into a comedic exploration of love, lost dreams, small-town-wisdom, and friendship with a miniature donkey to get over himself before he loses all he holds dear.

Tagline – Love the one yurt with.

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Basic Comedy

Story: Couples Vacation starts when struggling author Jack (Arquette) takes his wife Amanda (Acker) on a vacation away form the kids, to put their marriage back together or deciding whether or not to call it quits, searching for a future that can keep them together.

Things seems like they are both happy to stay together, but Amanda needs Jack to start taking life more seriously for their children, though he is scared to give up his own dreams.

Thoughts on Couples Vacation

Characters – Jack had one of the most popular books, only following up his success has been difficult for him, with his latest books being dubbed failures, facing becoming distant from his wife and daughters and financial problems, he just doesn’t want to give up on his dream of being a successful author, the holiday he takes with his wife is meant to help put things back together, only they seem to make tings worse with his unwillingness to change. Amanda is the wife that just wants Jack to take a safe job to keep the roof over their heads, she is growing inpatient with Jack and is prepared to move away from him, the holiday is meant to bring them closer, though she does get her head turned by the hunky owner of the resort. Nate is the man that runs the resort, he does capture the attention of the women in the resort, while making it feel like a laidback location. Jude is the older lady that teaches Jack the most important lesson in life.

PerformancesDavid Arquette does try his hand at a more serious movie, though he does get to do his whacky side too, it does show him struggling to connect the two though, which doesn’t make it that interesting to see his arc, which is the key to the film. Amy Acker does well in the unhappier wife, that still turns head, she does need to be more grounded which comes through the film. Adan Canto is fine as the hunky resort owner that is meant to be here to try and seduce the guests.

StoryThe story here follows a married couple that go on a couple vacation to help sort out their problems and learn what made them fall in love in the first place. We do get the marriage in problems that mostly focus on the fact Jack isn’t willing to get a secure job after years of failure to become a successful author. We see how this latest problems are what has caused the rift and will need to be sorted if they are to stay together. This does show temptation which could come in the directions too. This is a story that plays by the books about needing to put life together before it is too late, but offers very little new.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film is mostly David Arquette making a bit of a fool of himself, though it doesn’t quite click, with the romance being about the marriage not going the way the couple had planned.

SettingsThe film is set in the camping location which is meant to show a quiet life away from the busy failures behind them.

Scene of the Movie – The singing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The endless no signal line.

Final Thoughts This is a basic comedy that shows how hard following dreams can be while keeping a marriage together, the comedy doesn’t hit hard enough to get enough laughs.

Overall: Simply Comedy.

Choir Girl (2019) Movie Review

Director: John Fraser

Writer: John Fraser (Screenplay)

Starring: Peter Flaherty, Krista Vendy, Jack Campbell, Sarah Timm, Andy McPhee, Roger Ward

Plot: Eugene, a lonely photographer, becomes fixated on a young street prostitute, Josephine, in his rundown neighborhood. She becomes his muse and his photographs could be a way out for both of them – yet is Eugene saving Josephine or is he using her?

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Choir Girl starts as reclusive photographer Eugene (Flaherty) who has started to take photographs of the teenage prostitution going on in his neighbourhood, trying to help raise the awareness of what is going on within the neighbourhood.

When Eugene helps one of the prostitutes Josephine (Timm) out, he looks to finally sell his photos through Polly (Vendy), but the pimp Daddy (Campbell) isn’t going to let Eugene just walk away with what he sees as his property.

Thoughts on Choir Girl

Characters – Eugene is a photographer that hasn’t seen his work taken off yet, with his latest work, showing how mistreated the teenage prostitutes are being treated in his neighbourhood, he ends up rescuing one of these prostitutes, trying to help her escape from the world, only to find himself caught in the middle of the ring to keep things quiet. Josephine is the teenage prostitute that Eugene has help escape, she can’t go to the police and ends up working with Eugene to escape this world, letting him use the photographs, while remaining in the world to raise the money to escape. Daddy is the ruthless pimp that is forcing Eugene to pay for Josephine’s freedom, he will keep changing the demands each time using his men to make sure he gets what he believes is his. Polly is the connection that is willing to let Eugene story be told, she will push to make things happen.

PerformancesPeter Flaherty in the leading role is strong through the whole film, showing us all how uncomfortable his character is, while trying to do the right thing. Sarah Timm as the teenage prostitute shows the fear of being in that world and what it means to have a chance to escape. Krista Vendy shows us the ambitious media career woman that will walk over people, while Jack Campbell brings the pimp to life with ease.

StoryThe story here follows a photographer that wants to make a difference by helping a teenage prostitute escape the world she is trapped in, where he gets caught in the middle of the pimp and the media looking to make their own story about the situation. This story does show us someone could want to do the right thing, but might not always go about to the right way, showing us just how disturbing this world can become for the people involved, with one of the most disturbing conclusion of any film you will see this year.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us the world that Eugene sees, one filled with horrific acts on vulnerable people

Scene of the Movie – The escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Somehow you would feel like the police who have been contacted, by someone in the media side of the story.

Final Thoughts Choir Girl is a slow burning drama that highlights hot topics, that is left with one of the more disturbing scenes you will see this year.

Choir Girl is available on iTunes Here

Christmas in Carolina (2020) Movie Review

Director: Peggy Williams

Writer: Stacie Davis (Screenplay)

Starring: Joslyn Y Hall, Kellie Shanygne Williams, Darius McCrary, Jessi Nicolet, David L Rowell, Terrence Shingler

Plot: Elle, a career driven investment banker, has given up on love until she meets Wesley who invites Elle to his hometown in South Carolina. There she falls in love and finds the spirit of Christmas again.

Tagline – When You Least Expect It, Love Will Find You

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Christmas in Carolina starts as workaholic Elle Moore (Hall) has a date with successful businessman Wesley Saxon (Rowell), she continues to show her distant nature to any guy she dates, while Wesley outlast most dates, he has his own problems for Christmas, his mother Charlotte (Williams) wants him to return home for Christmas.

After Elle gets pushed into coming out of her shell more, she accepts the invitation to go home with Wesley for Christmas, to spend time with people for the first time in a long time over the Christmas holiday.

Thoughts on Christmas in Carolina

Characters – Elle Moore is a workaholic, she is always on her phone, barely finding time for dates and when she does, she doesn’t give the guy the time, usually answering her phone to continue working. She strikes fear in her employees at work, with her cousin pushing her into giving Wesley a second chance, putting herself out there. She uses her work to cover up her own loneliness, not having the big close family, but spending time with Wesley and his family she starts to come out of her shell more. Wesley is a high profile sports scout branded the most eligible bachelor in the city by Elle’s cousin, he will help show Elle about family for Christmas, as he will show her his family and how important it is for them all. We do meet Wesley’s brother Ryan who is against the relationship, always looking to stir up problems, Charlotte, Wesley’s mum who is so welcoming to him bringing someone home and Elle cousin Blythe who pushes out of her comfort zone.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances, Joslyn Y Hall and David L Rowell are great together, they show the excellent chemistry on the dating montages, making us see the little changes their characters needed to make to find happiness.

StoryThe story here follows a pair of workaholics that start dating over Christmas, finding a spark they didn’t expect, needing to be pushed into following their own hearts to make this relationship happen, with the backdrop of a family Christmas. This is a truly feel good story about love and Christmas, we keep everything simple about the changes, with no need for a great drama about why Elle isn’t as open and why Wesley is willing to let her in, it revolves around family and the importance of being together for Christmas.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film comes from the supporting cast, who will get the laughs with ease, leaving the romance between Elle and Wesley to be their main focal point, showing us that you can find love, if you are willing to let someone in.

SettingsThe film uses the busy city to show the workaholic lives the pair have, while taking us to the quiet family setting for Christmas, which will bring more joy to the pair’s lives.

Scene of the Movie – The date montages are full of so much happiness.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing.

Final Thoughts Christmas in Carolina is a truly feel-good festival movie, that will leave you with a giant smile on your face.

The Cleansing Hour (2019) Shudder Movie Review

Director: Damien LeVeck

Writer: Damien LeVeck, Aaron Horwitz (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Guzman, Kyle Gallner, Alix Angelis, Chris Lew Kum hoi, Daniel Hoffmann-Gill, Emma Holzer

Plot: Another successful “exorcism” streamed online – or so it seems. Can the “exorcist”, producer and their team bring the ratings up? Ratings skyrocket, when a real demon gets involved.

Tagline – The perfect internet hoax just went to hell

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Cleansing Hour starts as we see the weekly fake exorcism streaming show, The Cleansing Hour, hosted by Max (Guzman) who pretends to be a priest, produced by his best friend Drew (Gallner), they have a steady audience to their show.

When the crew look to record the latest show, Drew needs to talk his girlfriend Lane (Angelis) to be the ‘victim’ the show takes a very dramatic twist, when Lane gets possessed by a real demon, giving the show the highest numbers since they began, exposing Max as a fraud.

Thoughts on The Cleansing Hour

Characters – Max is the priest that takes centre stage on the show, he is the face that sells the show and he is always looking for an improvement in rating, in his latest show, he will learn the truth about needing to give up his secrets when he comes face to face with a real demon. Drew is the producer of the show that has always looked to find ways to solve the problems they are facing, he does the research to make each episode different and will learn more about Max, even though they grew up together. Lane is the aspiring actress fiancée of Drew’s who reluctantly agrees to play the victim in the latest show, only to find herself being taken over by the demon.

PerformancesThe performances from the main cast are mixed with Ryan Guzman being the sleazy host of the show, Kyle Gallner is strong for the most part, while Alix Angelis is the possessed role works well throughout the film, showing the human side when needed, alongside the demonic role. Everyone else seems to struggle to make an impact.

StoryThe story here follows a fake exorcism show that discovers they are facing a real demon on their latest show, one that will force them to reveal their biggest secrets. This story does bring us a new twist to the exorcism sub-genre of horror, by mixing an element of what could have been found footage, with the team faking the exorcisms and getting basic ratings, when they must deal with the real demon and haven’t got the experience to deal with it. When it comes to the exorcism side of everything, it goes from tame to the extreme quickly, while it does get saved with an explosive conclusion.

HorrorThe horror in this film does focus on the exorcism side of things, which has extreme deaths, but doesn’t have anything that is truly scary.

SettingsMost of the film is set on the sound stage, which will keep everything contained, the only time we leave here is when we get to see the people watching from around the world.

Special EffectsTh effects are a true mixed bag, with the opening shocking moment looking very CGI heavy, but when we get to the big reveal, it looks wonderful to watch.

Scene of the Movie – The final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The crew being so disposable.

Final Thoughts This is a nice spin on the exorcism story, which blends found footage concept, without being a found footage film, leading up to a big conclusion that makes the film feel bigger than it deserves to be.