ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – X – Goon: Last of the Enforcers (2017)

This is under X because of the character Xavier.

Director: Jay Baruchel

Writer: Jay Baruchel, Jesse Chabot, Evan Goldberg (Screenplay) Adam Frattasio, Douglas Smith (Book)

Starring: Seann William Scott, Alison Pill, Marc-Andre Grondin, Liev Schreiber, Wyatt Russell, Kim Coates, Elisha Cuthbert

Plot: A hockey player plagued by injuries is confronted with the possibility of retirement when a tough new player challenges his status as the league’s top enforcer.


Tagline – Twice as hard as the first time.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Misses Most the Punchlines

Story: Goon: Last of the Enforcers starts when Doug (Scott) meets his match on the hockey rink in Anders Cain (Russell) leading to fresh injuries and him thinking about retiring when his wife Eva (Pill) is expecting their first child.

With Doug out of the game the team owner signs Anders, which starts turning the team including Doug’s best friend Xavier LaFlamme (Grondin) upset with the new style of management. Doug turns to his old enemy Ross Rhea (Schreiber) to help him rebuild his career before deciding the next step of his career.

Thoughts on Goon: Last of the Enforcers

Characters – Doug is the toughest ice hockey player in the game on the rink, off the rink he is one of the nicest guys of the sport, he looks after his team, he suffers an injury from a young upstart and is about to start his own family, he must consider his future in the sport and he finds it hard to walk away from the sport he loves. Eva is his ever-supporting wife of Doug that is expecting their first child and is happy to support him as long as he is there for her. Xavier LaFlamme is the goal scorer for the team, he knows he can trust Doug to get his back only for him to not enjoy playing under Anders. Ross Rhea is the old enemy for Doug, a man that he can see his life heading down the same path if he continues with his own injuries.

PerformancesSeann William Scott is the best part of the film, he can play this character with ease being the slightly dim-witted figure, while the friendly presence to the team. Alison Pill does give us a great supporting performance as the wife that does go through the fear of seeing her husband hurt. Marc-Andre Grondin, Liev Schreiber and Wyatt Russell complete the main cast of hockey players and they are all doing what is needed.

StoryThe story here follows Doug the most famous enforcer in ice hockey only after he gets knocked out by a young upstart, he must decide his professional future as he is reaching the end of his career, or return to get one over the man that took him down. The problem with this story comes from the fact we do have a smart idea about trying to decide whether somebody wants to stay in their sport or not, which is interesting, only for the story seemingly focusing too much on Anders daddy issues, which strangely does become the most important part of the film’s story. If you don’t understand the league system in hockey either, you will find a lot of this story confusing too.

Comedy/SportsThe comedy in this film does feel like very forced jokes that are not tonally matching everything that is going on, the sports side of the film only wants to focus on the violence inside the sport of ice hockey.

SettingsThe film is set in the locations you would see hockey players, their homes, their bars and their stadiums, this all works without being anywhere that takes the film away from the story it is telling.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are mostly around the fights which show the brutal hits, blood splatter and bruises covering the faces of the players.


Scene of the Movie – The last walk.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Focusing to much on the daddy issues that Anders has.

Final Thoughts This is a simple follow up to the great comedy, it tries to show the different lives that the players now have and how older players will need to face a new reality.

Overall: Simple but not funny sequel.

Rating

Game of Death (2017) Movie Review

Director: Sebastien Landry, Laurence Morais-Lagace

Writer: Sebastien Landry, Laurence Morais-Lagace, Edouard H Bond, Philip Kalin-Hajdu (Screenplay)

Starring: Sam Earle, Victoria Diamond, Emelia Hellman, Catherine Saindon, Erniel Baez, Nick Serino

Plot: Kill or be killed is the golden rule of the Game of Death. Sucks for seven millennials who ignored that rule. Now each one’s head will explode unless they kill someone. Will they turn on each other to survive, or will this sunny day be the last for the innocent people of their middle-of-nowhere town?


Tagline – Game of Death, it’ll blow your mind

Runtime: 1 Hour 13 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Game of Death starts as we meet the seven millennial stoners, Tom (Earle), Beth (Diamond), Ashley (Hellman), Mary-Ann (Saindon), Tyler (Baez), Kenny (Serino) and Matthew (Vallieres) who are involved in their latest party of drug filled fun. The friends find a board game, called The Game of Death and decide to play it.

The game requires the players to kill to make the counter of 24 down to zero, or the players will be executed, when the friends don’t look to commit the murders, they start to learn the consequences, when their heads start to explode, leading to Tom going on a killing spree.

Thoughts on Game of Death

Characters – Tom is the one that takes control of the situation, he doesn’t hold back to try and save the woman he loves, he will kill anyone to make sure the numbers on the game decrease and they can be together. Beth follows Tom in completing the kills, even if she doesn’t want to be the one to pull the trigger, until she starts seeing the friends die. Ashley and Tyler look to become the voice of reasons during everything, only killing if they are about to be the ones killed, looking to stop the violence when it isn’t needed. With these being the main group of friends, they whole group doesn’t seem overly redeemable or interesting.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are mixed with Sam Earle hitting the psychotic level easily, while Victoria Diamond and Emelia Hellman branching on to both sides of the characters mindsets. Nobody becomes truly great, but they do end up letting us see just how far they will make their characters go.

StoryThe story here follows seven friends who think they are playing a simple board game only for it to turn into a game that requires them to go on a killing spree or be killed by the game. This does show us how the young people will need to make a difficult decisions about survival, when they get caught up in the game of death, will they pull the trigger on a stranger or accept the fate which is coming towards them. It does have style to how the kills play out, with the number getting cruised over during one animated sequence.

HorrorThe horror comes from first seeing what will happen to the friends if they don’t complete the kills, along with how they start completing the kills.

SettingsThe film starts in what would be a normal family home for a party, before going to a location which would make sense if you were thrown into this game.

Special EffectsThe effects do look very good, with the head explosions being the standout moments in the film.


Scene of the Movie – The first head explosion, that comes from nowhere.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Glosses over certain parts of the kills.

Final Thoughts Game of Death is a stylish horror that makes Jumanji look like a children’s game.

Game of Death will be available on Digital Download from 26th November and can be bought here

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – G – Gambit (2012)

Director: Michael Hoffman

Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (Screenplay) Sidney Carroll (Short Story)

Starring: Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Cameron Diaz, Tom Courtenay, Mike Noble, Cloris Leachman

 

Plot: An art curator decides to seek revenge on his abusive boss by conning him into buying a fake Monet, but his plan requires the help of an eccentric and unpredictable Texas rodeo queen.


Tagline – A fake masterpiece. The perfect plan.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Quirky, But Flat Comedy

 

Story: Gambit starts when art curator Harry Deane (Firth) and his partner The Major (Courtenay) who head to Texas in search for PJ Puznowski (Diaz) in an attempt to pull off revenge against his boss Shabandar (Rickman).

Harry has a perfect plan in his head one he thinks he can pull off, the problem comes from nothing seems to go as smoothly as he planned and Harry must go figure out how to get the money he wants from Shabandar.

 

Thoughts on Gambit

 

Characters – Harry Deane is an art curator that is tired of the abusive nature of his boss, he wants to get revenge and in his head he has a perfect plan. He remains confident in his plan even after everything seems to go wrong and we soon learn he is the one needing to become desperate. Shabandar is the boss who collects the rarest pieces of art, he is feared by his employees and knows how to get a deal done. PJ Puznowski is the Texan cowgirl that is being used by Harry to get the con done, she however seems to be larger than life full of bubbles which only makes the job harder than Harry has planned. Her character does feel a stereotype of Americans. The Major is the forger that has been working helping Harry make the money, he does worry about his friend’s decisions.

PerformancesColin Firth is fun in the leading role of this film, he gets to have fun in the leading role keeping a straight face through the comedy in the film. Cameron Diaz enjoys playing the generic American getting to poke fun at the stereotype. Alan Rickman as the bad boss is also good for his part getting to look at disgust at the people involved in the film. the problem with the performances comes from the characters not being a true as they deserve to.

StoryThe story follows an art curator that wants to get revenge on his employer and plans an elaborate plan to con him with his weakness, art even though not everything goes to plan. The story breaks the traditions of a con movie because usually we have an ultra smooth calm leading man, this time we have one trying to hold everything together to get the job done. This is a nice twist it does work, though with a heist movie we do like the confident lead to fill us with enjoyment. The villainous boss never comes off as evil either which again doesn’t help us want to see him get his. This is a problem that does go through the film a lot.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy relies on the use of innuendos which the first time are fun, though they become tiresome quickly, the crime focuses on the art sale which never feels like it isn’t going to happen.

SettingsThe film uses the setting of London to show how the businessman conducts himself through everyday life which only makes us see how PJ is enjoying the new country and lifestyle she is thrown into.


Scene of the Movie –
Security system.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Innuendos getting tiresome quickly.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the crime comedies that does miss more than it hits, which is a shame because it has an excellent cast.

 

Overall: Simple Crime Comedy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – G – Gnaw (2017) Movie Review

Director: Haylar Garcia

Writer: Jim Brennan, Haylar Garcia, Kathryn Gould (Screenplay)

Starring: Penelope Mitchell, Kyle Gass, Chris Johnson, Sally Kirkland, Graham Emmons, Susan Bellone, Erin Graham

Plot: Jennifer Conrad is a small-town girl starting over in the big city. Fleeing an abusive relationship, all she wants is a chance to begin again. But it is hard to start over when something is eating you while you sleep . . . one painful bite at a time.


Tagline – Eat…Prey…Love

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow Build, Great Ending

Story: Gnaw starts when Jennifer Conrad (Mitchell) escapes from her abusive husband, to start a new life in a small apartment complex, where the handyman Terry (Gass) takes her under his wing, trying to make her feel welcome. When one of the neighbours spends hours crying at night before killing herself.

Jennifer must deal with her ex-husband Boyd (Johnson) finding her, just as she gets a pet turtle and more painfully an uncomfortable bite, which just seems to keep getting worse.

Thoughts on Gnaw

Characters – Jennifer has been struck in an abusive relationship which she has gotten the courage to leave behind her, this does leave her in a small apartment complex where she must try to start a new life. Things seem positive, when she bumps into an old friend who wants to help her get a job, only things start going badly after her neighbour’s suicide and bites which appear on her skin, with no explanation behind them. She must face her own past, deal with a problem before moving on with her own life. Terry Lumley is the friendly handyman that offers Jennifer all the support while staying the apartments. Boyd is the abusive ex-husband and police officers, making it harder for Jennifer to escape him, he has always put her down and wants to keep his control over her. Claudette runs the apartments she doesn’t get on with anybody, just wants to see money coming in.

PerformancesPenelope Mitchell in the leading role is the star of the show here, being able to show the pain she is running from and the hope she is fighting for. Kyle Gass is the next best thing in the film, where he does bring moments of laughter in his kind natured character. The rest of the cast do a solid job without being tested with what they have to do.

StoryThe story here follows an abuse victim that is trying to escape her own life’s pain only to find herself dealing with the latest problem which has come her way in the form of a bite. This story does manage to show us how difficult getting out of an abusive relationship can be for the victim, where starting a new life can take more time than people believe, this side of the story is the strongest part because it shows the real horrors of Jennifer’s life. When we get into the mystery about the bites, it does go on the routine way, until we learn the truth, which makes both sides of the story get connected nicely.

HorrorThe horror side of the film mixes the reality of being abused by a partner with the unknown of mysterious bites being found on the body and why they are there.

SettingsMost of the film remains in the hotel complex which is a place where people go to start life again.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects we see what happens with the bites getting worse and the revel of what is behind it.


Scene of the Movie – The showdown in the room.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The job interview.

Final Thoughts This is a nice slow build horror that tries to reflect the ideas of the horror being in real life rather than needing supernatural elements.

Overall: Horror that tests the reality of life.

Girl on the Third Floor (2019) Movie Review

Director: Travis Stevens

Writer: Trent Haaga (Screenplay) Paul Johnstone, Ben Parker (Story)

Starring: Phil Brooks, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Sarah Brooks, Elissa Dowling, Karen Woditsch, Travis Delgado, Marshall Bean

Plot: Don Koch tries to renovate a rundown mansion with a sordid history for his growing family, only to learn that the house has other plans.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Twisted Horror

Story: Girl on the Third Floor starts as Don (Phil Brooks) arrives as his new home, looking to prepare it for his wife Liz (Dunn) to move into as they look to start their family, only the house needs more work than Don expected and a local woman Sarah (Sarah Brooks) only complicates Don’s life after a one night stand.

As Don spends more time alone in the house, the bigger mystery about what is within the walls comes to life, one that is known to have consumed people in the past.

Thoughts on Girl on the Third Floor

Characters – Don Kock is a businessman, husband and father-to-be who is looking to do up a new house for the family. He hasn’t been the best husband cheating on his wife in the past, which makes it easier for him to fall for the tricks of one of the women around this house and he starts seeing strange events around the house. Liz is the pregnant wife who is still in the old place, often on the phone with Don seeing the improvements and troubles he is facing. Sarah is a woman that appears in the house that seduces Don and then won’t leave him alone, she has a past with the house, which is why she is drawn to returning.

PerformancesPhil Brooks better known as CM Punk in his first leading role in film is great, he gives the natural reactions to everything, being a character that isn’t as good as most leading figures in horror. Trieste Kelly Dunn spends most of the time on video chat, once she is around, she doesn’t put a foot wrong, neither do the rest of the cast with Sarah Brooks being the seductive figure through the film.

StoryThe story follows a husband who is preparing his family’s new home, only to get an unwanted guest, which leads to him falling to temptation again and the restoration becoming more complicated than he imagined. This is an interesting story, with the biggest part being that we have a male lead going through the haunted house experience, too often we have the woman or child, with the male figure busy during the moments, seeing Don go through everything is a nice twist on the traditional ideas. The story does give us a hint of the outcome, which does help the story flow and give us an ending that makes sense.

HorrorThe horror in this film comes from the different events around the house, each one will become more disturbing and isn’t afraid to shy away from the blood and gore.

SettingsThe film does remain in the one house, this is everything we need for a haunted house movie, with the house adding to the tension through the film.


Scene of the Movie – Don returns.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Everything does follow the traditional formula of how the events unfold.

Final Thoughts This is a fun gory horror that does get plenty of strong moments of blood and does twist the lead from the normal in horror, even if it does follow the same story arc.

Overall: Horror Fans Enjoy.