The Discovery (2017)

Director: Charlie McDowell

Writer: Justin Lader, Charlie McDowell (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Robert Redford, Mary Steenburgen, Brian McCarthy, Riley Keough

 

Plot: A love story set one year after the existence of the afterlife is scientifically verified.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fascinating Sci-Fi Mind Bender

 

Story: The Discovery starts in a world where DR Thomas Harper (Redford) believes he has proven there is an afterlife, one year after this announcement the suicide rating in the world has sky rocketed with people believing they will ended up in this afterlife free of the problems they face in the real world.

Thomas’ son Will (Segel) a neurologist returns to his research facility on a remote island where his other brother Toby (Plemons) has been working on collecting more evidence with other volunteers who believe this afterlife is real. Being joined by Isla (Mara) the latest suicide failure to join the course Will is left to face the reality that not everything is as cut and dry as he believes with all of his science and medical beliefs. Will finds himself working with Isla to learn about a mysterious recording that came from the mind of a dead man, searching into his own past coming to a conclusion to everything.

 

Thoughts on The Discovery

 

Characters/PerformanceWill is a neurologist that is living in a world where people believe there is scientific proof of the afterlife, he still doesn’t believe in his own father’s discovery. He gets to investigating in a scientific mentality hoping to get to the bottom of everything. Isla is one of the people who had planned to kill themselves to get to this afterlife, she finds hope in searching for the answers with Will. Thomas is the doctor who believes he has discovered an afterlife, he has people working for him in a cult like situation while he is still trying to get the complete truth.

Performance wise, Jason Segel is brilliant here showing he isn’t just a comical actor and can handle the serious performances, Rooney Mara is good as always in the supporting role with Hollywood Icon Robert Redford giving a performance that is great for a supporting one.

StoryAn idea that we are in a world where we could know there is an afterlife is truly fascinating, it offers up questions never once asked before because there is no ‘if’ it is a ‘when’. The film does claim to have this question with our main character Will looking to prove this wrong, which again is good because this is a scientific discovery. This story will keep you guessing from the start to the finish and leave you going ‘What’ even though you can understand the ending.

Mystery/Romance/Sci-FiThe mystery is would you believe and is this discovery real, the sci-fi from the story comes from the discovery itself, as it offers up what is a scientific idea to the afterlife. The romance comes from Will and Isla story as they search for the truth.

SettingsThe one weak point I found in this film I would say is the settings, they do add up to the final story which is good but the film has the beach which is important and the lone mansion where the believers live.

Final ThoughtsI love a film that makes you think, this will do that, I love seeing actors who have been typecast to one genre prove themselves, Segel does here. I love watching how scientific ideas are posed to the audience offer us a question on what we would do in the situation. This is nearly everything I like to watch in a film, this should have been a cinema release not Netflix.

 

Overall: One of the hidden gems of the year.

Rating

 

 

Dad’s Army (2016)

dasDirector: Oliver Parker

Writer: Hamish McColl (Screenplay) David Croft, Jimmy Perry (Original Series)

Starring: Toby Jones, Michael Gambon, Bill Nighy, Blake Harrison, Tom Courtenay, Bill Paterson, Catherine Zeta-Jones

 

Plot: The Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard platoon deal with a visiting female journalist and a German spy as World War II draws to its conclusion.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Insultingly Bad

 

Story: Dad’s Army starts as World War II could have been lost when a carrier pigeon is released from London but we move to Walmington-on-Sea as we meet the Home Guards, there is Captain George Mainwaring (Jones), Walker (Mays), Frank Pike (Harrison), Godfrey (Gambon), Arthur Wilson (Nighy), Frazer (Paterson) and Jones (Courtenay) who are preparing for any invasion.

With journalist Rose Winters (Zeta-Jones) arriving in town to report on the Home Guards we learn her truth motive and the unlikely heroes must show their real skills.

 

Thoughts on Dad’s Army

 

StoryI am a big fan of the sitcom and the mishaps the home guards must go through, this story is so insulting to what the sitcom was we are left with a flat story that has ruined the much-loved character for no reason what so ever.

Comedy/WarThis should be a comedy, it is not, but the war based side of this story works well enough.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are easily the most popular British sitcom character but this films turns them into laughing stocks not understanding where the comedy comes from characters except Godfrey. These actors don’t know how to re-create the comedy struggling to reach any of the levels they need to reach.

SettingsThe setting looks well re-created and might be the only thing the film gets right.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the biggest insult from British cinema trying to re-capture the fun of a sitcom which was near perfect.

 

Overall: How did I get through this pathetic attempt that only butchers the source material.

Rating5

 

 

Deepwater Horizon (2016)

deepDirector: Peter Berg

Writer: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Matthew Sand (Screenplay) David Rohde, Stephanie Saul (Article)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Douglas M Griffin, James DuMont, Joe Chrest, Gina Rodriguez, John Malkovich, Dylan O’Brien

 

Plot: A dramatization of the April 2010 disaster when the offshore drilling rig, Deepwater Horizon, exploded and created the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Explosively Entertaining Second Half.

 

Story: Deepwater Horizon starts with Mike Williams having to report what happened on the day in question on the Deepwater Horizon. We move back to the day of the events with Mike (Wahlberg) joining the team Jimmy Harrell (Russell), Andrea Fleytas (Rodriguez) joining a BP representative Vidrine (Malkovich) on the oil rig Deepwater Horizon.

Clashing on the rig Jimmy challenges Vidrine to invest money on maintaining the rig after the team was sent back early before they will start working. Being named the safest rig for the 7th straight year there is a go ahead to start preparation to commence drilling despite mixed results from the tests.

Finding themselves in the middle of a major blow out it becomes a race against time to prevent disaster and survive what will be one of the most devastating oil rig disasters known to man. It is up to Mike, Jimmy, Andrea and young driller Caleb (O’Brien) to stop things getting out of hand.

 

Thoughts on Deepwater Horizon

 

StoryThis is the story of what happened on the rig that caused the biggest disaster in oil drilling history. I will be honest that this starts slow with a good 40 minutes of talking in oil rig language mixed with business, you know the stuff we don’t care too much about, but once this all kicks off it becomes as chaotic as you would imagine it would be. When you look at how this story I can’t help but wonder how a man with Jimmy’s reputation would let anyone interfere with the operations on his rig which is made to look like the reason this is happened.

Action/ThrillerWhen the action starts well it never stops and you are on the edge of your seat from that moment until the final credits.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all based on the real men and women involved in the disaster so it is hard to question the characters involved. The performances are all fantastic be it as the last man off the rig in Wahlberg, the strong boss in Russell or the businessman that causes the problems in Malkovich.

SettingsThe setting is nearly all on the oil rig which once the incident happens we get to experience the chaos of the disaster first hand seeing just how life-threatening the situation is.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the special effects it is only wow to describe them because they all look amazing making you feel like you are on this rig.

Final ThoughtsThe slow start does almost feel like filler but is important character filler before we want to see them all survive this disaster.

 

Overall: This was surprisingly one of the most intense films of the year.

Ratingcard

 

 

Daddy’s Home (2015)

daddysDirector: Sean Anders

Writer: Brian Burns, Sean Anders, John Morris (Screenplay) Brian Burns (Story)

Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini, Thomas Haden Church, Scarlett Estevez, Owen Vaccaro, Bobby Cannavale

 

Plot: Brad Whitaker is a radio host trying to get his stepchildren to love him and call him Dad. But his plans turn upside down when their biological father, Dusty Mayron, returns.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Average Comedy

 

Story: Daddy’s Home starts as we meet step-father Brad Whitaker (Ferrell) who couldn’t have his own children but when he fell in love with Sara (Cardellini) and her child Megan (Estevez) and Dylan (Vaccaro) he gets a chance to start his own family. Brad is still trying to win over the children and is willing to do anything to connect with them.

Brad’s new life is about to face a shocking revelation when their bad boy father Dusty Mayron (Wahlberg) turns up. When Dusty talks into Brad into letting, him stay and overtime all the hard work Brad has put in gets thrown out the window as Dusty becomes the cool dad he was once before.

Daddy’s Home is a comedy that tries to recapture the chemistry Ferrell and Wahlberg had in The Other Guys. I do think this isn’t as strong as that film but it didn’t go in a direction I didn’t think it would go. I liked how even though Dusty comes off like a bad boy he isn’t horrible about trying to get his family back he is calculated about his plan. This does come off as a good rivalry film without hitting the main levels it could have.

Ferrell and Wahlberg do give good performance even if they don’t click perfectly while the rest are just basic characters done well throughout. I do think this film misses in places which leaves us feeling disappointed.

 

Overall: Awkward in places comedy that could upset some but others could enjoy them.

Ratingcard

 

 

Don’t Hang Up (2017)

dont-hand-upDirector: Damien Mace, Alexis Wajsbrot

Writer: Joe Johnson (Screenplay)

Starring: Sienna Guillory, Gregg Sulkin, Garrett Clayton, Bella Dayne, Parker Sawyers, Jack Brett Anderson

 

Plot: An evening of drunken prank calls becomes a nightmare for a pair of teenagers when a mysterious stranger turns their own game against them…with deadly consequences.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: I Know What You Did Last Summer With Phones

 

Story: Don’t Hang Up starts as we see Mrs Kolbein (Guillory) getting a phone call from the police warning her of inturders inside her own home in the middle of the night only it to be the latest prank phone call from internet pranksters Roy (Killingback), Brady (Clayton) and Sam (Sulkin).

Brady tries to cheer up Sam after his break up with Peyton (Dayne) by having their own prank call sessions because I guess that is what asshole teenagers do now. When the pair get a call back the voice at the end of the line threatens to make them pay for the attention they desire.

 

Thoughts on Don’t Hand Up

 

Characters/PerformanceSam and Brady are not likeable guys, they are I think high school students and internet pranksters, they have zero reasons to remotely care about them because they act like complete assholes even as best friends. Peyton is a basic damsel in distress who is also unlikable. The voice at the end of the phone is the most interesting character because you know easily that he is out for revenge.

The performances are pretty bad throughout this film, the overreaction from the idiot teenagers just doesn’t do anything for our need to care about the characters they are playing.stars

StoryThis is a story that is very ABC you don’t need to use your brain because it is just two guys being made to pay for after something they did, think I Know What You Did Last Summer with Phones. Sure there is a message about not being a dick and pranking innocent people you don’t know but in the end we get a series of characters we just don’t like making bad decisions throughout.

Horror/ThrillerHorror had a great year in 2016 but this is what is wrong with horror, doing a revenge style horror where the original victim is the villain and the ones that caused the problem are the ones we are meant to cheer for. There isn’t a single scare in this movie it does for shocking tame images that have zero impact with the only thing keeping you going is wondering which one of the prank victims is the ‘villain’.

SettingsThe film is set inside one house which is a big plus because the caller has the two friends trapped in a quiet neighbourhood with houses next door. The caller keeps them trapped but neither tries to use their mobiles to escape and surely someone might have heard the yelling, oh the yelling at the TV like it will make a difference.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all what they need to be without turning to them, it is the camera effects and technology side of this film that leaves a lot of question marks in the air.genre

Final ThoughtsThis is why horror has such a bad name, the biggest name in the film is in one scene while we deal with unlikable characters from start to finish.

 

Overall: This was bad, just plain bad from start to finish.

Ratingrating