Kate Winslet Weekend – The Dressmaker (2015)

Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse

Writer: Jocelyn Moorhouse, P.J. Hogan (Screenplay) Rosalie Ham (Novel)

Starring: Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving, Julia Blake, Shane Bourne, Kerry Fox, Shane Bourne

 

Plot: A glamorous woman returns to her small town in rural Australia. With her sewing machine and haute couture style, she transforms the women and exacts sweet revenge on those who did her wrong.


Tagline – Revenge is back in fashion

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Quirky & Dark

 

Story: The Dressmaker starts when Tilly Dunnage (Winslet) returns to her small home rural town to see her mother Molly (Davis), Tilly isn’t welcomed by all because of something that happened in the past resulting in the death of a child.

Tilly is out for revenge, only she starts turning heads and offering to design dresses for the local women in town, she grabs the attention of the town bachelor Teddy (Hemsworth) with her only friend being Sergeant Farrat (Weaving) who has his own eye for fashion.

 

Thoughts on The Dressmaker

 

Characters – Tilly Dunnage is a glamorous woman that has seen the world learning the fashion world, she has returned home for revenge after being forced to leave the town as a child, she helps the women of the town look gorgeous and extra special, while she convinces herself that she isn’t cursed. She knows how to turn heads using her cloths to make this happen. Molly is the mother of Tilly who has been living in isolation for years, she didn’t want her daughter to return, even though she doesn’t start to bond with her after all these years apart. Teddy is a young man in the town, he is one of the few people that looked after Molly while Tilly was away, he soon takes a shine to her, wanting to prove that she didn’t do anything in the first place. Sergeant Farrat is one of the people that is happy to welcome Tilly back to town, he does have his own secret which involves his cross dressing, making him easy to twist when Tilly wants information.

PerformancesKate Winslet is great in this leading role, bring us a character filled with guilt who is just as happy to show a positive confident side to the people in the town. Judy Davis is a scene stealer in this film, being able to get the laughs required to make her the most memorable part of nearly ever scene she is in. Liam Hemsworth is at the best he has ever been, which is great to see him breaking away from the roles that aren’t working for him. Hugo Weaving gets to have a lot of fun in his role too.

StoryThe story follows a woman who returns home to get revenge on the people that forced her to leave, only to learn that town has just as many secrets within the walls, that revenge is just about letting them out. We get to see how a town can turn enough heads to make everything seem like nothing is wrong, only for a curse to be waiting to be lifted if it isn’t inside somebody’s mind. We do get a lot of characters being introduced which can make things difficult to keep up with because we get plenty of little factors that do lead up to the personal conflict between the characters. this is a lot more fun of a story than I was expecting even though it is sprinkled with very dark moments.

ComedyThe comedy in the film does come the quirky nature of the events as they unfold, we have plenty of fashion related comical moments as well as small town gossip, which will get laugh along the way.

SettingsThe film is set in a small rural Australian town, where everybody does know everybody else, we are filled with gossip and instant reactions to anything that goes on in the town too.


Scene of the Movie –
Leaving town.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly too many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a quirky dark comedy that is sprinkled by the elements of revenge, which does keep us wondering just what is the endgame of her decision making process.

 

Overall: Dark quirky comedy treat.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Horror – D – Dark Feed (2013)

Director: Michael Rasmussen, Shawn Rasmussen

Writer: Michael Rasmussen, Shawn Rasmussen (Screenplay)

Starring: Jonathan Thomson, Dayna Cousins, Andrew Rudick, Michael Scott Allen, Elise Couture, Jason Beaubien, Victoria Nugent

 

Plot: A film crew moves into an abandoned psychiatric hospital with a shadowy past to shoot a low budget horror movie.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Confusingly Messy

 

Story: Dark Feed starts as we see the early stages of filming of a horror movie being shot on location in an abandoned psychiatric hospital. We get to see the stars, director and the people working on the movie before the writer Chris (Rudick) joins the set to see how his creation comes out.

With Beth (Nugent) and Marissa (Cousins) assigned to keep Chris busy, the rest of the crew start experiencing strange occurrences which have a connection to the previous experiments that happened in the hospital.

 

Thoughts on Dark Feed

 

Characters – The characters are all designed to be different members of a film crew from actors to special effects guys, we just get to learn which part of the movie they are involved in without getting to see much else about the characters themselves. We don’t see to learn enough about any of the characters making it hard to figure out just who is meant to be the lead character.

PerformanceThe performances are not great which does reflect the idea of the film but by the end you are just left wondering if the lead character is going to take over the performing but no.

StoryThe story is film crew in former mental hospital that once did experiments on the patients is haunted and now they are about to become the latest victims of the hospital, this is fine but sadly it just doesn’t reach the levels it should do with scares which are mostly messing around between the crew and just something we have seen before.

HorrorThere is little to no scares going on through this movie, we have moments that build up but in the end most are false scares which just make you not care about later ones.

SettingsThe setting is the highlight of the film as we get to see the haunted abandoned location making for the scares.

Special EffectsThe effects are not that impressive either.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not knowing who was the main character until too late into the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror film with a good idea but sadly turns into something that gets confusing as we are left wondering who to root for and just if anything scary will happen.

 

Overall: Messy Horror Film

Rating

 

 

Sam Neill Weekend – The Dish (2000)

Director: Rob Sitch

Writer: Santo Cilaruo, Tom Gleisner, Jane Kennedy, Rob Sitch (Screenplay)

Starring: Sam Neill, Kevin Harrington, Tom Long, Patrick Warburton, Genevieve Mooy, Tayler Kane, Billie Brown, Roy Billing

 

Plot: A remote Australian community, populated by quirky characters, plays a key role in the first Apollo moon landing.


Tagline – Man’s first step on the moon nearly stumbled on earth

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Look at the Apollo 11 Mission

 

Story: The Dish starts as a small town named Parkes which has the largest satellite dish in the south hemisphere is selected by NASA to communicate the Apollo 11 mission, the team is a four man operation run by Cliff Buxton (Neill) with his normal team, Ross ‘Mitch Mitchell (Harrington), Glenn Latham (Long) and NASA representative Al Burnett (Warburton).

With the news that Parkes has been selected the whole town gets a buzz with the Mayor (Billing) seeing this a chance to meet the Prime Minister (Brown) and gossip flying around, while the men deal with the added pressure of being part of one of the most important moments in human history.

 

Thoughts on The Dish

 

Characters – Cliff Buxton is the director of the facility, he remains calm for the additional pressure placed on him by this mission, he knows how to welcome a new member to the team and keep his loyal team showing the respect required, Cliff has been through his own personal tragedy which has given him extra motivation to be part of this moment in history. Mitch is the senior member of the team in Australia, he has worked with Cliff for years now and doesn’t take too keenly to Al, he must learn to accept his own mistakes and that everyone involved wants the same thing. Glenn is the youngest member of the team, he is nervous person in life and has a side story of whether he will ask a local woman out. Al is the representative from NASA, he is very much by the book figure and this does cause tension in places because he isn’t as laid back as the rest of the team, even though he does have the utmost respect for the team.

PerformancesSam Neill is brilliant in this film, he has always been one of the actors that can portray knowledge with ease and will always be engaging. Kevin Harrington, Tom Long and Patrick Warburton are all wonderful to watch, showing great chemistry throughout the film.

StoryThe story here follows the small team of satellite team in Australia that have been selected to be the link in communication for NASA for the Apollo 11 mission to be the first man to walk on the moon, we see how they team had to overcome their own problems to make sure they are part of history. When it comes to the moon mission, it has to go down as one of the biggest moments in human history and over the years we have seen many stories about the people involved in making this moment in history happen. By seeing how a small crew has operated to make this event visible for the world is entertaining. Seeing how things didn’t go to plan shows how they had to show their skills to adapt to the situation is interesting and the side story of the Mayor seeing how proud he is to be selected for this. This is a complete story that shows us just how wonderful this event was for the people involved.

Comedy/HistoryThe comedy involved in the film shows us just how the crew can make the events fee light-hearted with what happens, showing us how they can feel like they are can operate best with the laidback nature. This does circle around one of the biggest events in human history.

SettingsThe film uses a couple of main locations, first and most importantly is the dish which shows how contained the operation was and how the town came together to be remembered in history.


Scene of the Movie –
Rudy the security guard, he gets so many laughs it is brilliant.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing about this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most underrated movies involving the moon landing, it is one that is easy to enjoy with laughs and historical moments blend effortlessly.

 

Overall: Wonderful drama.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – D – Destroyer (2018)

Director: Karyn Kusama

Writer: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell, Tatiana Maslany, Sebastian Stan, Scoot McNairy, Bradley Whitford, Toby Huss

 

Plot: A police detective reconnects with people from an undercover assignment in her distant past in order to make peace.


Tagline – You can’t run from yourself.

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Kidman Powerhouse Performance

 

Story: Destroyer starts when one of Erin Bell’s (Kidman) former cases comes back into the spotlight, one which saw her go undercover with fellow officer Chris (Stan) within a gang run by Silas (Kebbell). This case took nearly everything out of Erin’s life including straining the relationship Erin has with her daughter Shelby (Pettyjohn).

As Erin starts to go through the gang, she gets to learn what the members have done with their lives in the time after the incident, Erin knows that Silas is coming for revenge and this investigation gives her a chance to face all her demons and make peace for her errors.

 

Thoughts on Destroyer

 

Characters – Erin Bell is a police officer that went so deep undercover that she lost her family, 17-years-later the leader of that gang has returned, this will give the Erin a chance to make peace with this case, trying to put her addiction problems a side, Erin won’t take any abuse from anybody, she will step over the line of the law to make sure she puts an end to this case. Silas is the leader of the gang, he makes his followers do anything to prove themselves to him and will lead them in breaking the law, he has gone into hiding, with his return making him a target for Erin. Petra is one of the main followers in the gang, she is one that is still active with Silas, showing that her addiction is still controlling her life. Chris is the partner that worked with Erin in the undercover job, we see how they got to learn to work together to make themselves seem like a couple.

PerformancesNicole Kidman gives one of her career best performances ever single scene we see her committed to this role where she demands your attention unlike any performance, we have ever seen from her before. Toby Kebbell does make us believe his character is on edge and a threat through each and every scene he appears in. Tatiana Maslany and Sebastian Stan complete the main supporting cast which shows us they can step up to look strong against Kidman through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a former undercover police officers that wants to make amends for her case which ended in tragedy and has made her lose out part of her life when it comes to family, turning her to her own addictions. The first thing to know about this that we have two times being viewed, it is easy to tell the two apart because of the length of Erin’s hair. As Erin is trying to locate Silas, we get the flashbacks to her interactions with the gang members as she gets to relocate them as she is searching for Silas. Away from the investigation side of the story, Erin is also trying to rebuild her relationship with her daughter one that she shattered with her problems in the past. The mix of the two stories shows us just how dysfunctional this life can become for anyone that gets too deep within the undercover job.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film follows the events of the robbery, how it went down and how the escape was planned. We do enter the crime world, which sees how Erin went undercover and operated within the gang, followed by how she bent the laws to track Silas back down.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which as always is a wonderful backdrop for the criminal underworld, it shows us just how crime can get done around the city without people seeing it come.


Scene of the Movie –
The robbery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The final encounter.

Final ThoughtsThis is brilliant crime thriller that shows that Nicole Kidman is one of the greatest actresses of her generation, we have a story that keeps you guessing with an anti-hero in Erin that needs to fix her life.

 

Overall: Gripping Tense Thriller

Rating

 

 

Doll Factory (2014) Movie Review

Director: Stephen Wolfe

Writer: Stephen Wolfe (Screenplay)

Starring: Justin Herman, Nicole Elliott, Andy Palmer, Boo Gay, Eric C Schneider, Tracy Collins

Plot: A small Texas town is terrorized by evil possessed baby dolls.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Grindhouse 101

Story: Doll Factory starts as a group of friends Kay (Elliott), Melvin (Palmer), Miguel (Rubi), Derek (Schneider) and Allison (Collins) decide to ditch a Halloween party to head to a remote haunted house with the a book of spells, which unwittingly brings the killer dolls back to life.

Kay and Melvin are the only ones that make it out, with the police wanting nothing to do with their story, Kay turns to her brother Mark (Herman) to help hack into the local achieves to learn the truth about the factory, as they need to end the curse they have unleashed.

Thoughts on Doll Factory

Characters – Mark is the geeky brother of Kay, he has the computer skills to help them learn more about the doll factory, out of the three, he is the one that will scream the most and will get the most laughs of the three. Kay is one of the originals that releases the dolls, she is with her boyfriend and turns to her brother for information, only for her to be the bravest in the battle against the dolls. Melvin in the boyfriend that is jealous of her ex, he does want to remain brave for her and will step up to protect her against the dolls. Darius Grumley is the man that has thought the dolls in the past, now he is considered a mad man in town, though he will be the only one that could save the town.

PerformancesThe performances in the film across the board are just like you would imagine from a Grindhouse film, Justin Herman makes the geeky character believable throughout, while Nicole Elliott does bring us a strong leading lady. Andy Palmer will get more laughs that you would think too.

StoryThe story here follows a group of teenagers bored at a party who decide to read from a book of spells that bring a bunch of killer dolls back to life and must race against time to put an end to the spell before they become overrun. This is a story that plays into the grindhouse tone which is always seen as a type of horror that is way over the top and doesn’t care about the amount of blood being spilled, it is easy to follow without having to give us any twists along the way. We have the idea that will give us a few laughs along the way too, which is always nice to see in a horror comedy.

Comedy/Horror The comedy does try to use the one-liners like Chucky does, they do feel forced, though it does play into the comedy tone of the film too, the horror comes from the dark bloody deaths we see by the dolls.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town, which has the legend of the dolls, which most people have forgotten about, we do have a lot of the action in the abandoned factory which is the centre of the hauntings.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film aren’t afraid to hold back on the blood, while certain CGI moments might not look great, it does add to everything we are seeing unfolding for the tone of the film.


Scene of the Movie – Dolls in the bedroom.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Some of the comedy does miss.

Final Thoughts This is a fun grindhouse style horror comedy, it has plenty of blood, one-liners and a nice big body count.

Overall: Fun horror comedy.