ABC Film Challenge – Horror – D – Don’t Blink (2014)

Director: Travis Oates

Writer: Travis Oates (Screenplay)

Starring: Mena Suvari, Brian Austin Green, Joanne Kelly, Robert Picardo, Fiona Gubelmann, Zack Ward

 

Plot: Ten people arrive at a secluded mountain resort to find it completely deserted. With no gas for the return trip, the visitors are forced to stay and investigate the mystery surrounding the abandoned lodge.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Mystery, Not Solved

 

Story: Don’t Blink starts as our group of friends including Tracy (Suravi), Jack (Green), Claire (Kelly) and Alex (Ward) arrive at the ‘Last Stop’ lodge during the off season in a remote mountain top location, but the lodge is abandoned, food left on the table in a condition where it looks like everyone just vanished.

When the friends start disappearing from right under the noses they try to remain together but things only continue to get worse as the friends start to turn on themselves as the answer just continue to add to the mystery.

 

Thoughts on Don’t Blink

 

Characters – Tracy is the partner of Jack, she wants to use the weekend to announce big personal news as well as enjoying her time with friends. Jack is the partner of Tracy he also has an ex on the trip and must take control of the group keeping them calm when the friends start going missing. Claire provides the brains behind the logical side of everything going on as she understands what could have caused the problems. Alex is the loose cannon of the group being the panic side of everything, while the rest all fit the generic decisions that don’t go down well.

PerformanceMena Suvari is arguable the biggest name in the movie, she gives us a solid performance but doesn’t reach the levels we know of her, Joanne Kelly is most famous for her work in Warehouse 13 and this film doesn’t show her in the best light following the strong female lead from that show. Brian Austin Green is solid too and does bring the calm when needed.

StoryThe story revolves around the ten friends who find themselves in an abandoned lodge where they get picked off one by one as they just vanish. The story does test the friendships as everything unfolds and the pasts bring up moments that can have fingers pointed in all directions but it could be fair to say if you want a full answer you might not be satisfied by the end.

Horror/MysteryThe horror side of the film comes from seeing you friends just vanish from literally under your nose, the mystery about it does point in one direction but we don’t learn the truth.

SettingsThe whole film is set in and around the lodge, they have no petrol which does create the isolation needed for the film.

Scene of the Movie – Amelia’s disappearance is sudden and shocking.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Casting Mena Suvari only to get rid of her within the first 20 minutes.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very good mystery film but doesn’t give enough answers to what has been going on.

 

Overall: Good mystery that needed to be solved.

Rating

 

 

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Don’t Kill It (2016)

Director: Mike Mendez

Writer: Dan Berk, Robert Olsen (Screenplay)

Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Kristina Klede, Tony Bentley, James Chalke, Miles Doleac, Toby Bronson

 

Plot: An ancient demon terrorizes a tiny Mississippi town.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Fantasy Horror

 

Story: Don’t Kill It starts as with number of domestic homicides start happening in a small Mississippi town, demon hunter Jebediah Woodley (Lundgren) heads to the town, just as FBI agent Evelyn Pierce (Klebe) returns to her home town to investigate the murders.

The two must team up to track down who the demon has possessed next because if you kill the host, you will become the demon, meaning they must capture the demon alive.

 

Thoughts on Don’t Kill It

 

Characters – Jebediah Woodley is a demon hunter, he has been hunting demons his whole life, he is used to being chased out of towns before being called back to rescue them. Agent Evelyn Pierce has returned to her home town to investigate the goings on, she must put a side her beliefs to help the demon hunter save the people. We have the generic town’s folk which include the sheriff and religious leader that don’t believe everything going on.

PerformancesDolph Lundgren is fun in this leading role, he gets to be the mysterious stranger turned demon hunter about everything he does in this film. Kristina Klebe is good too in her role which does show us how a returning figure would act.

StoryThe story follows a demon hunter trying to save a town from a demon that is terrorising the town, he does need to work with FBI agent who doesn’t believe and will need to learn to believe. This sounds by the book which is fine that is what we know works and this could easily be the start of a franchise around the demon hunter. This is fun to watch and wildly over the top giving us a tone which would work for any future films.

Action/Comedy/FantasyThe action is big because we have bodies flying everywhere in this film, there is a comic tone but it just doesn’t work that often, the fantasy side of things comes from the demon in the world.

SettingsWe are in a small Mississippi town which is fine, we could have been in any small town because it shows how shocked the people would be in the town if a murder happened.

Special EffectsThe effects are a mixed bag, we have good kills while also having bad one you can see are fake.


Scene of the Movie –
The meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Some effects you can see are models.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun fantasy horror, you can enjoy this if you are a fan of the genre and should be looking forward to seeing the next adventure.

 

Overall: Fantasy Horror for al to enjoy, like My Name is Bruce

Rating

 

 

Dusty & Me (2018)

Director: Betsan Morris Evans

Writer: Rob Isted (Screenplay)

Starring: Luke Newberry, Genevieve Gaunt, Ian Hart, Lesley Sharp, Lee Ross, Ben Batt, Iain Glen

 

Plot: A feel-good, heart-warming film set in Yorkshire in 1977 about an adolescent boy’s big summer after leaving school. It’s about a boy and a dog, class and ambition, first love, and above all, family.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Coming of Age Film

 

Story: Dusty and Me starts when Dusty (Newberry) just turns 18 and finishes school on the same day with his brother Little Eddie (Batt) taking him for his first pint, meeting a greyhound that local trainer Mickey the Bubble (Glen) can’t train, he offers to walk and train while waiting for his results.

As the days turn into weeks Dusty starts getting involved with Chrissie (Gaunt) who becomes his first love as he continues to try and help Slapper the greyhound reach his potential.

 

Thoughts on Dusty and Me

 

Characters – Derek better know as Dusty to everyone else has been in private school, he has just hit 18 and is now returning home while waiting to receive his results. In this break he befriends a greyhound and meets a girl for the vital time in his life where he can find his place in life. Chrissie is the local girl that Dusty falls for, she has helps him come out of his shell, while we never learn where she wants her life to go. Big Eddie is the father of Derek, he spends his time down the pub wanting to be proud of his kids in his own way. Mickey the Bubble is the local greyhound trainer, he is known for his awful wigs and we see how he helps Dusty get the most out of Slapper, we do have the rest of the family with overprotective mum and fast-talking brother Little Eddie who gets all the laughs.

PerformancesLuke Newberry in the leading role is great, we see how he feels as innocent as he is meant to be at the earl stages of film before becoming more open as the film unfolds. Genevieve Gaunt keeps her performance a joy to watch, her ever positive character just makes us smile. Ben Batt will get the most laughs in the film as a character that wouldn’t feel out of place in ‘Only Fools and Horses’. When we see the bigger names Iain Glen and Ian Hart are both great in their roles too.

StoryThe story here is a coming-of-age tale about young Dusty an 18-year-old that has never has the chance of life experiences, the two months we watch we see him make new friends, both human and a dog and see just how much his family cares about him even if they don’t always show it. We go through a check list of coming of age movie which has sweet moments and shows the ups and downs in life which will only help make Dusty a stronger character for the world once he is finished.

Comedy/FamilyThe movie does have plenty of comedy in it, the funniest moments come from Little Eddie as he is the guy that seems to be able to get anything and the moments while he is away in postcard form telling Dusty what to do are funny. This is one that the whole family could enjoy even if all the characters are adult age ranged.

SettingsThe film is set in Yorkshire, England in the 1977, we get the sense of community because of this, we do get football references to show which part they are from too with them being Leeds United fans, this little bit will help the English fans of the film understand certain jokes more than non-football fans.


Scene of the Movie –
The race day.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villains are slightly too comical.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice sweet coming of age movie, we have likeable characters and the simple story idea for Dusty to grow.

 

Overall: Coming of Age fans watch.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – D – Drinking Buddies (2013)

Director: Joe Swanberg

Writer: Joe Swanberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston, Ti West, Jason Sudeikis

 

Plot: Luke and Kate are coworkers at a brewery who spend their nights drinking and flirting heavily. One weekend away together with their significant others proves who really belongs together and who doesn’t.


Tagline – A comedy about knowing when to say when.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Comedy Goes on Too Long

 

Story: Drinking Buddies starts as we meet the co-workers from the brewery Kate (Wilde) and Luke (Johnson) who get along in and out of work, they enjoy a drink together, but both have their own relationship, Luke with teacher Jill (Kendrick) and Kate with Chris (Livingston).

The two couple decide to go away for a weekend together where the relationships will be tested and we get to see just who has feelings for who between the four.

 

Thoughts on Drinking Buddies

 

Characters – Kate is the PR woman at the brewery, she hangs out with the guys drinking after work, she is in the early stages of a relationship but doesn’t have much planned from it. Luke is the co-worker that is closest to Kate, he has been in a long-term relationship but avoiding the marriage conversation. Jill is Luke’s partner, a teacher that doesn’t enjoy drinking as much as Luke and wonders what could have been from her life.

PerformancesOlivia Wilde is good in this role, she can play the free spirit that is needed well and work well with Jake Johnson that handles the comic moments well. Anna Kendrick is good as the girlfriend, you believe her in the more serious situation of the film.

StoryThe story focuses on two co-workers that enjoy drinking but have their own relationship, we see how when time goes by the relationships become strained and their own feelings become much clearer, there isn’t too much more in this story, it is trying to show us everyday problems that everyday people might have.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy comes off well for the most part, with most part being improv that relies on the actor’s abilities.

SettingsThe film keeps us looking in the everyday locations which shows us how lives can change so quickly.


Scene of the Movie –
Drinking on the beach

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does drag in the second half of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a comedy that uses the idea of everyday life with relationship both romantic and with co-workers, argument can cause problems, but friends will always find a way to make up.

 

Overall: Simple comedy that isn’t the most inspiring.

Rating

 

 

The Dawnseeker (2018)

Director: Justin Price

Writer: Justin Price (Screenplay)

Starring: Franziska Schissler, Khu, Alexander Kane, Jason Skeen, Alex Giuffreda, Michael Frazier, Carl Bailey

 

Plot: Set in the year 2245 when Earth’s sun threatens to wipe out all of humanity, “The Dawnseeker” follows five hired mercenaries who travel to an uncharted planet to collect a rare mineral known as stardust to replenish the dying star. After their spaceship crashes on the alien planet, they are stalked and hunted by a creature far more advanced than anything they have ever encountered before.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Sci-Fi

 

Story: The Dawnseeker starts as the resources on Earth have dwindled and now Feniz (Schissler) must led a team to collect stardust to help save the human race, she heads to a new planet known for having large amounts of stardust with Otto (Skeen) in her team, she quickly teams up with York (Kane) from another planet and learns that species from across the universe have headed to this planet.

As the team travels across the planet they continue to find new enemies known as Dawnseekers who will kill anyone or anything that gets in their way and the mysterious Zan (Khu) that proves to know how to survive the planet the best, the race against time is now on.

 

Thoughts on The Dawnseeker

 

Characters – Fenix is our leading soldier in the unit, we learn she can handle being out numbered in combat from her time on Earth and knows how to push an enemy that is holding her team back, she makes the smart decisions even if they are the hard ones. Zan is the mysterious woman on the planet that knows how to survive against the enemies the planet that has to offer. York is from another planet while Otto came with Fenix, both are searching for the same thing and butt heads for most of the film.

PerformancesFranziska Schissler in the leading role is the best part of the film, she handles combat and gun fights well as well as showing the leadership needed in her character. Khu was a character that we did want to see more off, with the rest of the cast they haven’t given us enough to make us notice them.

StoryThe story takes us to the future where the Earth could be coming to an end, space travel is the only hope for humanity as we follow a crew that go in search for the substance that would cure the problem. We have seen the idea of the end of the world before, we have seen going to another planet before, we haven’t seen the fact that on the other planet we have species from many different planets all searching for the same resource that could help their own planets, this is the highlight and easily the most interesting part of the story because it is world building. This however isn’t the most challenging story you will be seeing in the genre.

Sci-FiWhen we jump into the sci-fi genre we look at how things are different, we have a destroyed Earth, travel to new planet and different species on the planet, we get the check marks for sci-fi well and that’s all we needed.

SettingsThe settings in the film are not the best, while we can allow this because of budget, we do find ourselves just going for woodland area.

Special EffectsThe effects are also going to be affected by the budget, the costumes work for the film, while the weaknesses come from the laser like gun fights.


Scene of the Movie –
Push the enemy on the bridge.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not seeing enough of Zan.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid low budget indie sci-fi film, we have restrictions and a story which is watchable for the fans of the genre.

 

Overall: Solid low budget sci-fi film.

Rating