Paul Walker Weekend – Eight Below (2006)

Director: Frank Marshall

Writer: David DiGilio (Screenplay) Toshiro Ishido, Koreyoshi Kurahara, Tatsui Nogmai, Susumu Saji (original Film)

Starring: Paul Walker, Bruce Greenwood, Moon Bloodgood, Wendy Crewson, Gerald Plunkett, August Schellenberg, Jason Biggs

 

Plot: Brutal cold forces two Antarctic explorers to leave their team of sled dogs behind as they fend for their survival.


Tagline – The Most Amazing Story Of Survival, Friendship, And Adventure Ever Told

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Incredible Survival Story

 

Story: Eight Below starts as we meet our Antarctic research team, with dog handler Jerry Shepard (Walker) who has 8 Siberian Huskies and knows the lay of land, while Charlie Cooper (Biggs) has mapped the land. When scientist Davis McClaren (Greenwood) wants to head towards dangerous territory in the wrong season, Jerry reluctant agrees to take him with the dogs.

When an accident occurs on the expedition, Jerry must get Davis back with a storm breaking out, the team need to evacuate and as the weather continues to turn, the dogs are left behind. Jerry does everything he can to get back with everybody refusing to let him.

 

Thoughts on Eight Below

 

Characters – Jerry Shepard is the dog handler and guide for the Antarctic post, he has a connection with the dogs where he has earnt the respect from them who will do anything to help him, following his instruction, we do get to see his experience as a guide shine through and after saving his guest he learns the dogs were never rescued. He does get filled with guilt and tries everything he can to get back to them believe the worst will happen. Davis is a scientist that is headed to Antarctic in search for meteors, he does push the limits with his last minute changes to the plan, but his determination lets Jerry’s guard down. Katie is the pilot who will take them to and from the research centre, she is known for taking risks and her former relationship with Jerry keeps them close. Charlie Cooper maps the land and gives us the comic relief because of his fear of flying and dogs.

PerformancesPaul Walker was always an actor brave enough to take a role outside of his comfort zone, this is one of those and he shows us that he was an actor that could pull off the serious with one of his best performances of his career. Bruce Greenwood is always an actor that can give us great performances in supporting roles and this is no different, Moon Bloodgood and Jason Biggs complete the main cast and they both known how to hit their roles well. The dogs who performed in the film do require a special mention too as they invest you in their survival story.

StoryThe story here follows a group of Antarctic researchers that must leave the dogs behind when a storm hits early, the story continues to follow their handler try to figure out how to get back to them and we get to see their amazing story of survival during the time away. This is a very loosely based on true story which test us as the audience because there is no way to know what the dogs got up to, away from that minor flaw in the story this is one that dog lovers will understand completely because we would do anything for our dogs, however impossible it might well be. This does have moments which would hard to watch too because of what goes on with the dogs. We could have also seen more of the determination behind wanting to get back even if they were all going to be ‘no’.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure shows us just how incredible the story the huskies go through, we do have moments from the human side too, but it cuts between because they are pretty safe too. The youngest members of your family might get upset because of certain moments in the film too.

SettingsThe film uses the Antarctic settings wonderfully because it shows us just how difficult of a place it is to one get to and two survive in.


Scene of the Movie –
Max versus the sealion.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The journey home is overly safe with no peril.

Final ThoughtsThis is an incredible story of survival from the dogs that get left behind through a winter season with little hope of survival, while their handler does everything to get back.

 

Overall: Must watch for dog lovers.

Rating

 

 

Evil Under the Skin (2019) Movie Review

Director: Jeffrey Schneider

Writer: Luc Bernier (Screenplay)

Starring: Helene Udy, Carl Bailey, Pamela Sutch, Donna Hamblin, Colton Baumgartner, Tom O’Hearn

Plot: A mother and daughter head off for a secluded weekend to reconnect but little do they know the sordid past of the home they’re staying in let alone the strangeness it attracts as they descend into madness.   


Tagline – fear comes from within

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Evil Under the Skin starts when Sophie (Udy) and her daughter Roselee (Barajas) are spending time together in a lake house to reconnect, they enjoy a drink or too, when locals Carla (Hamblin) and Matt (O’Hearn) start eyeing the pair up, wondering about the noise coming from the home at night.

As the time continues there is an air of uncertainty about the truth, whether something has happened in the house that Sophie is denying.

Thoughts on Evil Under the Skin

Final Thoughts Evil Under the Skin is a very strange movie, it is trying to build up a big mystery about an even that has happened between a mother and daughter, we learn that something has happened, only we are not sure what, as we are stuck following characters actions about what happened. When it comes to the acting, you can see the weaknesses here, with each interaction never feeling remotely real with none of the cast having any chemistry, leaving the movie feeling very flat. This is a film that just doesn’t seem to feel completed that ends up leaving you feeling very disconnected from everything going on.



Electric Love (2018) Movie Review

Director: Aaron Fradkin

Writer: Aaron Fradkin, Victoria Fratz (Screenplay)

Starring: Mia Serafino, Zachary Mooren, Erik Friffin, Kyle Howard, Hayler Marie Norman, Matt Bush

Plot: Four couples traverse the modern dating scene in Los Angeles utilizing popular dating apps.


Tagline – Love at first Swipe.

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Modern Love Life is Hard

Story: Electric Love starts as we see the first dates from internet apps, Emma (Serafino), Adam (Mooren) who are both struggling with internet dating, finding only the wrong type of people, one needs to learn to grow up, while the other could be open to more.

When the two eventually find themselves on Tinder, and they eventually end up going on a date, while the people in their lives are having their own relationship problems.

Thoughts on Electric Love

Final Thoughts This is a story that tries to put the spotlight on modern dating, with how difficult it is to find somebody on the different apps out there, or at least finding someone who is like the person you believe you are meeting, add in the problems that comes from not knowing everyone in someone news life. We get to go through the emotions of how amazing the first dates can feel, the first interactions can be exciting, but also showing just how disastrous they can go. When it comes to digging into the characters, we don’t seem to dig into who they are outside of the dating world. This could have opened more doors to the pain of the dating in the modern world, how social media has continued to make things more complicated in life. The performances are solid enough, without needing to become amazing to stand outside the box.

Overall: Online Dating 101.

Every Secret Thing (2014) Movie Review

Director: Amy Berg

Writer: Nicole Holofcener (Screenplay) Laura Lippman (Novel)

Starring: Diane Lane, Elizabeth Banks, Dakota Fanning, Nate Parker, Common

Plot: A detective looks to unravel a mystery surrounding missing children and the prime suspects: two young women who, seven years ago, were put away for an infant’s death.


Tagline – Don’t look away for even a second.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Excellent Mystery Thriller

Story: Every Secret Thing starts when Alice and Ronnie a young girls kill a baby, now they are 18-years-old Alice (Macdonald) is living back with her teacher mother Helen (Lane) who is trying to help get her back into society, while Ronnie (Fanning) gets back into work. When another toddler goes missing Nancy Porter (Banks) and Kevin Jones (Parker) a leading the investigation.

As the disappearance starts becoming lengthy, the detectives turn to Alice and Ronnie for answers, believing they might have an answer, which leads to a look into the past event which left the girls in juvenile hall, will the past unlock the truth and save the missing child?

Thoughts on Every Secret Thing

Characters – Alice is one of two girls that was sent away for a baby’s death, she has always been an outside and social awkward child, now 18, she wants to be part of the world, only she finds herself being lonely, distant from her mother and still in belief that she wasn’t involved with original death. Ronnie is the other girl that was sent away, she does seem like somebody that would get in trouble more and takes the baby, she has put her life back in order, while still coming off shady and broken. Helen is Alice’s mother, she is a teacher that has always wanted to help young people develop, but she struggles to get through to her own daughter. Nancy Porter is leading the investigation, she was the detective that discovered the baby and now she wants to learn more about the truth, trying to uncover the years of damage both the girls have and is in a race against time to not find another dead child.

PerformancesDanielle Macdonald gives a star making performance in this leading role, we see such a range in her performance it will leave you mesmerised by her performance. Dakota Fanning is great too, we see how conflicted her character is with the events of the film, while Diane Lane, brings the distant mother to life with ease. Elizabeth Banks is wonderful too, giving us a performance that showed how determined she is get the case closed.

StoryThe story here follows two detectives that must find a missing child, with the two teenage girls who recently got released from juvenile hall becoming the prime suspects as they were locked up for killing a baby. This story shows us plenty, while keeping the truth from us for so long, the story does give us plenty of hints to the truth and by re-watching you will pick up on all of them. We do get to see how mistakes of the past can do two things, break people with guilt or make them embrace their problems becoming a threat to the world. We are left guessing to what the truth will be which is extremely great to see in any crime mystery and everything is played into stories from the past and how people remember them.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of this film is the investigation to the missing child, we see how the clues are uncovered which only dives further into the mystery of the story.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town, which was rocked by the first crime and one that will come together to try and solve the new crime.


Scene of the Movie – The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We get a strange first introduction to detective Jones, only for it to mean nothing.

Final Thoughts This is a thriller that will keep you guessing, it has plenty of clues in the story that will give you the truth to everything that is happening in the film.

Overall: Must watch crime mystery.

Escape: Puzzle of Fear (2020) Movie Review

Director: J. Jones

Writer: Lizze Gordon (Screenplay)

Starring: Tommy Nash, Aubrey Reynolds, Omar Gooding, Naina Michaud, Nicholas Turturro, Sara Stretton

Plot: Hot-shot Hollywood agent Matthew Blake has a dark past. He thinks that he is on his way to a double date with his oldest friend to a new Escape Room in Los Angeles. When the couples are locked into the Escape Room, Matthew quickly finds himself at the center of a revenge plot meant to right the wrongs of his past, with deadly results.

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Another Escape Room Movie

Story: Escape: Puzzle of Fear starts as Matthew (Nash) welcomes his old friend Tyler (Gooding), ex-girlfriend Angela (Michaud) for a get together, to meet his new girlfriend Brittany (Reynolds), with the idea of heading to an escape room together.

The four are joined by other guests on the escape room for a detective inspired one, that starts to take a unique twist which will become a fight to escape alive.

Thoughts on Escape: Puzzle of Fear

Characters – Matthew is the agent who is having a reunion with one of his best friend, he comes off friendly to strangers, always looking to charm to get him through life, along with old stories with his friend. Tyler is the old friend that is now married to Angela, between the two they are always arguing, while both trying to remain relevant to Matthew’s life. Brittany is the new girlfriend that has a distressing past, one that haunts her, while getting to enjoy being involved in an escape room.

PerformancesTommy Nash is the highlight of the film when it comes to performances, while nobody else is bad, they do a good job through the film, it is Nash that makes us want to see more from his character.

StoryThe story here follows four friends that enter into an escape room, one that has a huge reputation that soon becomes a battle to survive. While this does use the very basic ideas of an escape room, we dive in a very different direction with how the story unfolds. This story does have a very clever twist involved in the story that constantly keeps us guessing along the way, it seems to focus too much on the importance of the escape room side of the film, which seems to be used to lead us in the wrong direction.

Thriller We are kept wondering to what is happening in the Escape Room and with the characters involved.

SettingsThe film uses two main settings, first the luxury house, which is used to show Matthew and his wealth, with the second location being the escape room, which is designed wonderfully well, to create the rolling movement of a criminal case unfolding.


Scene of the Movie – The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain side of the film doesn’t feel as important when things are done.

Final Thoughts This is a twist filled thriller that uses the escape room as a backdrop rather than a main event, which does work in giving us more shock to the story.

Overall: Twist Filled Thriller.