Go With Me (2015)

goDirector: Daniel Alfredson

Writer: Joe Gangemi, Gregory Jacobs (Screenplay) Castle Freeman Jr (Novel)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Julia Stiles, Ray Liotta, Alexander Ludwig, Lochlyn Munro, Hal Holbrook

 

Plot: An ex-logger comes to the aid of a woman who returns to her hometown in the Pacific Northwest and finds herself harassed and stalked by a former cop turned crime lord.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Moving Thriller

 

Story: Go with Me starts when Lillian (Stiles) returns to her childhood hometown after her mother’s death to start a new life only to find herself being stalked by Blackway (Liotta) a former cop turned crime lord. Turning to the Sheriff (Wilson) Lillian gets passed over to the local loggers for help, Whizzer (Holbrook) refuses to help but offers his men a chance to join her. Lester (Hopkins) and Nate (Ludwig) go along to investigate as Lillian gets to learn more about how evil Blackway is.

As the three go in search for Blackway we learn more about why Lester agreed to go on what they all say is a suicide mission and learn what drew Blackway’s attention towards Lillian.

 

Thoughts on Go with Me

 

StoryThis story is set mostly over just one day as we follow the three search for the crime lord in an act of revenge. I did think this story did come off slow but I also think this builds the tone nicely for this story. the story is also kept very simple and is character driven throughout. I think if you like a good thriller you will enjoy this one.

ThrillerThis is a slow builder thriller that shows us all the reasons before having the final act releasing all the tension built up.

Characters/PerformanceLillian is designed to be a character that has always ran from problems but this time she wants to fight back. The town’s people are all created with fear of this villainous Blackway who is meant to strike fear in anyone he doesn’t like. While Lester is, a man looking to protect a woman after losing his daughter years before. The characters do all suit this film nicely.

The performances are all good with Stiles taking on a grittier role than in her earlier career but Hopkins and Liotta never come out of their comfort zones as actors.

SettingsThe settings are all within this very small town who know how the community acts towards the man who gives them the most fear, some avoid other work for him but most wait for their chance. this setting plays into the tension being built throughout.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very solid thriller that could be enjoyed by the fans of the genre that went completely under the radar.


Overall: Thriller fans try this one out for size.

Rating60

 

 

Gremlin (2017)

Director: Ryan Bellgardt

Writer: Ryan Bellgardt, Josh McKamie, Andy Swanson (Screenplay)

Starring: Adam Hampton, Kristy K Boone, Catcher Stair, Katie Burgess, Mike Waugh, Caleb Milby

 

Plot: A man receives a mysterious box containing a terrible secret, a creature that will kill everyone else in his family unless he passes it on to someone he loves to continue its never-ending circulation.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Twisted Creature Feature

 

Story: Gremlin starts as we meet the Thatcher family, Adam (Hampton), Julie (Boone), Anna (Burgess) Charlie (Stair) and grandmother Mary (Wilcox) who receive the mysterious box from their Uncle Jim (Waugh) as the family is grieving the loss of their child.

When a small creature emerges from the box it starts taking lives, one at a time as Adam must follow the warning of giving it to someone he loves to break the curse put upon his family, but the secrets will come out about what happened to their other child and the personal lives of the family. Can they escape from this curse before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Gremlin

 

Characters/PerformanceAdam is the husband and father of the household, he receives the box as a gift but he has been dealing with the loss of his son by pushing his family away. Julie has been dealing with the family problems at home making sure the kids are coping with the loss and understand standing her husband’s flaws. Charlie is the son of the family who hides from the reality of losing his brother. Anna is rebelling against her parents in the typical teenage mindset which shows how she is pushing away from the family. This is a normal feeling family with their own problems through the day and now against this creature.

Performance wise, I feel the whole cast give good performances through the film, with the mystery behind what is occurring covering up any flaws.

StoryThe story does come off as original because we are left to see how the family must deal with a creature or Gremlin if you like that is coming out of a box killing loved ones at a random time during the day. We get new rules to the genre too with the idea you can’t kill the creature you can only pass it on which I do think adds a new level of terror to this story. I also like how the film doesn’t hold any punches when coming for the shocks but I would have liked to have seen more on the family looking at spiritual cures for the problem.

HorrorThe horror comes from the idea that a box will keep a Gremlin in that will kill your loved ones if you don’t pass it one, leaving our characters to battle with the idea of what they should do next.

SettingsWe have the home settings for most of the film because this is needed to show us just how close to home the horror will be for the family involved.

Special EffectsWe have a lot of CGI going on here and sure it isn’t the greatest but it does work with everything going on within the film. It is mostly all used for creating the creature which is menacing and terrifying through the film.

Final ThoughtsIf you want a new and original horror movie this is one for you to watch, it has morale questions as well as having the guts not to pull any punches.

 

Overall: Great addition to the horror world in 2017.

Rating

 

 

The Great Wall (2016)

Director: Yimou Zhang

Writer: Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro, Tony Gilroy (Screenplay) Max Brooks, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz (Story)

Starring: Matt Damon, Tian Jing, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Pedro Pascal, Hanyu Zhang

 

Plot: European mercenaries searching for black powder become embroiled in the defense of the Great Wall of China against a horde of monstrous creatures.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Big Bad, Forgettable

 

Story: The Great Wall starts with a Great Wall history lesson as we learn the wall was constructed to keep enemies out some known others are legend, this is one of the legends. We meet the European mercenaries William (Damon), Tovar (Pascal) and their men on the run. Finding themselves under attack William and Tovar find an enemy unlike anything they have seen before but that is the least of their worries as they are still being hunted down but find themselves at the mercy of the Chinese.

Captured by the Chinese, Commander Lin Mae (Jing), General Shao (Zhang) and Strategist Wang (Lau) must decide what to do with the men and if their story is true. William and Tovar find themselves trapped in the middle of a battle between the Chinese and their defensive wall and blood thirsty creatures, a war their never asked for but a battle they were always ready to fight in.

 

Thoughts on The Great Wall

 

Characters/PerformanceWilliam is one of the Europeans who finds himself using all his combat skills to help the Chinese fight the creatures that terrorise their people and if they can get through the world. This battle gives William a chance at redemption for the wrongs he has committed in life. Tovar is his partner who wants to continue the darker path but his loyalty to William keeps him stuck between the lines.  Commander Lin is the strong leading women, she is willing to sacrifice herself to protect her people and he combat skills excel. Ballard is the once captured man who has become part of the battle but against his own will. The rest of the characters are all what you would expect in the wildly over the top action fantasy adventure films.

Performance wise, Matt Damon does struggle in this role, his accent skills are terrible as he bounces between most European from scene to scene even though he holds his own in the action sequences. Pedro Pascal is fun getting most of the comic relief throughout the film. Willem Defoe is the usual odd ball supporting role with Tian Jing being the star of the show.

StoryThe story does work in places, the mystery about the Great Wall will always make for an appealing story, while most of the history is known it is always interesting to see a twist on what could be a story about the history behind it all. The fantasy elements of the story is what drives this but in the end it is nothing more humans versus monsters with people needing to work together to make them win.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is big, but at times hard to follow with the adventure coming from how the humans battle to survive. The fantasy side does work but also feels like something we have seen way too often.

SettingsHaving the film set mostly on the Great Wall works in my opinion because it plays into the fantasy idea of the wall being built to fight an ancient enemy.

Special EffectsThis is a film that is very heavy on the CGI and you can tell because a lot of them miss and look bad for the overall quality of the film.

Final ThoughtsI found this to be over the top, unoriginal but easy to watch, I don’t think this will be up for any awards just become forgettable.

 

Overall: This is an easy film to watch but nowhere near a classic

Rating

 

 

Gifted (2017)

Director: Marc Webb

Writer: Tom Flynn (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, Jenny Slate, Octavia Spencer, Michael Kendall Kaplan, John M Jackson

 

Plot: Frank, a single man raising his child prodigy niece Mary, is drawn into a custody battle with his mother.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Charming Engaging Drama

 

Story: Gifted starts as we meet single boat repair man Frank Adler (Evans) who has been home teaching his child prodigy niece Mary (Grace), he wants her to experience more of the world trying to push her into attending school against their supportive neighbour Roberta’s (Spencer) ideas.

When Mary finds herself stuck in a class she is clearly too smart to be a part of, it is up to her teacher Bonnie (Slate) to challenge her in class as Mary must learn social skills with other students. When Frank’s mother Evelyn (Duncan) returns to the scene, she wants the custody of Mary and get her into all of the gifted schools forcing her to follow in her mother’s footsteps, the very thing Frank wants to stop happening. We are left to follow the court case unfold leaving us with the questions on what we think would be best for a child with Mary’s gifts.

 

Thoughts on Gifted

 

Characters/PerformanceFrank is the single uncle of Mary, he has given up his life to raise his niece to make sure she doesn’t get forced into the same routines her mother had to go through and be a normal kid. He always wants to do the right thing for Mary. Mary is the niece that has an exceptional gift when it comes to numbers, raised by her Uncle who has kept her grounded she finds herself in the middle of the court case. Evelyn is the Frank’s mother and Mary’s Grandmother who wants to take Mary into her own custody to make sure she gets the best education to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Bonnie is the teacher that challenges Mary but ends up being a love interest for Frank, with Roberta being the good neighbour that is the only other adult Mary has befriended.

Performance wise, Chris Evans is fantastic in the leading role playing each scene perfectly, Lindsay Duncan is also great throughout the film as is Jenny Slate and Octavia Spencer is the always reliable supporting actress. Mckenna Grace bursts onto the scene in the film where she is brilliant throughout the film.

StoryWhen you look into the story you must understand this is all about what would be right for Mary. We see both lives she could end up living, one with her Uncle and one with her grandmother. Watching how the court case unfolds shows us just how difficult the discussion could be as both have the positives. I think the story is paced perfectly to tell the story without creating a true villain and is just about two people who want the best for Mary.

SettingsThe settings show the different worlds Mary could live in, the regular person or the higher class, I do think this is important to everything that goes on.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best feel good movies of the year, it shows human issues without making anything aggressive towards each other just people wanting the best for a gifted little girl.

 

Overall: In a summer filled with mega budget films, this film shines brighter than any so far.

Rating

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 (2017)

Director: James Gunn

Writer: James Gunn (Screenplay) Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Steve Englehart, Steve Gan, Jim Starlin, Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, Bill Mantlo, Keith Giffen (Characters)

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell

 

Plot: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Character Building of the Galaxy

 

Story: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol, 2 starts with the guardians Peter Quill (Pratt), Gamora (Saldana), Drax (Bautista), Rocket and Baby Groot protecting the galaxy once more doing a paid job for Ayesha (Debicki). The payment is none other than Nebula (Gillan) who they aim to target her bounty, but when Rocket commits the same crime the Guardians are once again on the run.

Being saved by Peter’s father Ego (Russell) the team split up with an old friend Yondu (Rooker) the Guardians will learn more about themselves, working together and being the saviours of the galaxy again.

 

Thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

 

Characters/PerformancePeter gets a chance to learn about his father while still trying to be the leader of the Guardians continuing on his maybe romance with Gamora. Gamora tries to continue being the strong silent type but this time gets to deal with her relationship with sister Nebula. Drax becomes the best character in the film getting all the best line with his way of life that he once lived, having a connection with Mantis. Rocket continues to deal with his wishes to be alone and not make friends seeing himself in Yondu. Baby Groot is fun for the most part getting the cute award. Yondu continues on his arc as we continue to learn he isn’t as much of a bad guy as he wants to be. The additional characters include Mantis who does get plenty of laughs with her innocent nature, Ego is also very interesting with his past becoming the interesting.

Performance wise, I feel Chris Pratt does struggle to maintain the charm he gave us in the first film, Saldana does continue to look the part of a kickass warrior though. Dave Bautista for me is the star of the film getting all the laughs wanting you to see his next scene. Cooper continues he great work voicing Rocket and Rooker does well with his increased involvement in the film. Kurt Russell fits into an 80‘s themed movie perfectly and does well throughout. If you are going to look into Stallone to be a big part you will be disappointed as he is only in one scene building his character for future films.

StoryThe story can be described in one phrase ‘character building’, I say this because we have a lot of pairing up as the good guys work with bad guys putting their differences aside to see themselves in a new light. This is the base of the story and is great for the next stages of the Marvel Universe but in the end we are left with something slightly flat with the normal big fight feeling at the end. This isn’t the best story but can entertain where needed.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is large scale but nothing new with the adventure also not being on the level of the first film, the sci-fi is all good looking at the potential universes the Guardians could have adventures in the future.

SettingsThe settings are all created to look beautiful and unique without being something of complete wow factor.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all great and it is hard to find a fault in them for the most part.

Final ThoughtsAs a huge fan of the original film, I couldn’t help but find myself slightly let down because this film does feel slow in places and too character development heavy.

 

Overall: This is a fun film and it will be important to where the film franchise goes next.

Rating