Ghost Stories (2018)

Director: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman

Writer: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman (Screenplay)

Starring: Andy Nyman, Martin Freeman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther, Paul Warren


Plot: Arch skeptic Professor Phillip Goodman embarks upon a terror-filled quest when he stumbles across a long-lost file containing details of three cases of inexplicable ‘hauntings’


Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Creepy & Weird


Story: Ghost Stories starts as Professor Goodman (Nyman) a paranormal debunker shows what he does with his television show Psychic Cheat, we learn how his idol went missing, but when he receives a mysterious message to meet, he wants him to solve three cases that he could never explain.

Goodman meets the men Tony (Whiehouse) whose experience in an abandoned hospital has left his scared, Simon (Lawther) who has become obsessed with solving what happened to him on a drive home and Mike (Freeman) a wealthy man that can’t explain what happened to him.


Thoughts on Ghost Stories


Characters – Professor Goodman is a paranormal debunker, he has made a career out of proving there is no such thing as the supernatural, assigned to solve three unexplained cases which will tests his beliefs. Mike is a wealthy man that has his own story which will only leave him question his life. Tony is a night watchman that has been left shocked by the events of one night on the job. Simon is a young man that’s story has made him obsessed with finding out what happened on that night.

PerformancesAndy Nyman is good in this leading role where he gets through the stories, while also going through his own story that will leave you shocked. Martin Freeman is clearly the most talented of this cast because you are instantly interested in where his at times unlikable character can be. Paul Whitehouse is good but the weakest of the three, mostly because his story is the simplest. Alex Lawther gets the most laughs with his performance because his story has the funniest part of the movie in it.

StoryThe story is difficult to talk about without giving away spoilers, this is mostly because it isn’t just the three ghost stories being told, this side of the story is interesting and everything you would imagine, we have simple ghost stories that are not over the top and feel like true stories that may have affected real people. When you get to the final third of the movie it is nearly impossible to explain, it is weird and wonderful at same time, the only thing I will say is to watch the clues appear, as nothing goes in the direction you will be expecting it to go.

HorrorThe horror is the by the book scares through the stories, it is the final third that has the most unexpected moments in.

SettingsThe three stories are in different locations, while also being generic horror location for the most part, be it the abandoned hospital, middle of the woods or an isolated home.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well through the film, with most usage coming in the final third.

Scene of the Movie –

That Moment That Annoyed Me Some of the clues are really thrown in your face.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror film that I feel will divide the audience, because it almost feels like two different movies by the end, the final third is nearly impossible to predict which is good to watch, but it doesn’t fit the tone of the first two thirds at times.


Overall: Horror movie that makes you think weird thoughts.





ABC Film Challenge – Random – G – Gold (2017)

goldDirector: Stephen Gaghan

Writer: Patrick Massett, John Zinman (Screenplay)

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramirez, Bryce Dallas Howard, Corey Stoll, Toby Kebbell, Bill Camp


Plot: Kenny Wells, a prospector desperate for a lucky break, teams up with a similarly eager geologist and sets off on a journey to find gold in the uncharted jungle of Indonesia.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Slightly Miss-Leading


Story: Gold starts in 1981 Nevada where Kenny Wells (McConaughey) who works in mining but when the industry hits hard times he becomes desperate and wants to get into the search for Gold, to do this he needs to work with successful copper miner Michael Acosta (Ramirez).

Finding the perfect location of untapped potential in Asia the two working together to search for a chance to make their fortune. With the first attempts going badly the two must find another way to make things work, before they finally find their gold mine.

As the success gets to Kenny’s head his personal life with Kay (Howard) starts to be strained and with their company hitting the stock market can this all be as much of a success as Kenny dreams it to be.


Thoughts on Gold


Characters/PerformanceKenny is the dreamer who believes he can make major money with a treasure hunter, he isn’t the smartest with money but his showmanship can get the sale for him. Acosta is the smarter businessman of the two who supports Kenny through all his decisions be it good or bad, he has a reputation that says he is the master geologist who can find metal in any surface.

The performances are all good without being award standard with McConaughey having to carry the film even though Ramirez was impressive in the supporting

StoryThe story here is all about one man getting rich and how it all went down, I do feel this was sold differently because I was sold on the idea of a big treasure hunt but this is all how the business side of the story happens. The story is very up and down for pacing without being as interesting in the those places.

Adventure/ThrillerAdventure side of this story comes from searching for the gold but you just never feel like you are joining in a treasure hunt, you are kept wondering where the story will go but this is a lot of the business side of the events unfolding.

SettingsThe settings through the film show the different stages of Kenny success, we have the low moments, the jungle in search of the gold and when he has the money and how he would be spending it. All the settings can show us just where he is through this story with just a glance at the scene.genre

Final ThoughtsI just couldn’t find this to be the most interesting for what I went into watching, the highlight of the trailer was the tiger moment which is completely out of contexts and has zero impact in the story.


Overall: This is easy to watch but also easy to forget what you saw.




Great Expectations (2012)

Director: Mike Newell

Writer: David Nicholls (Screenplay) Charles Dickens (Novel)

Starring: Toby Irvine, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng, Sally Hawkins, William Ellis, David Walliams, Jeremy Irvine, Helena Bonham Carter


Plot: A humble orphan suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Classic story


Story: Great Expectation starts as we meet the orphaned boy Pip, living with his sister and brother in law Joe (Flemyng) a blacksmith raising Pip to be his assistant. After Pip learns of a better life he dreams of becoming a gentleman in London after spending time with Miss Havisham (Carter) and her own orphan Estella.

Now a young man Pip (Irvine) gets to move back to the city after an unknow inheritance, so leaving his family and friends behind, Pip gets to start on the road to becoming a gentleman. Pip finds himself needing to learning the hierarchy of the wealthy as he also wants to know who gave him the chance to become one of the gentlemen of the city and even after his childhood sweetheart Estella (Grainger) returns to his life, love takes over his life.


Thoughts on Great Expectation


Characters/PerformancePip is a young man who dreamt of being a gentleman in London, but achieve this he must learn a new way, forget his past and even find himself wondering about who put him in a position of power while dealing with love. Magwitch is a prisoner that Pip helped at a young age and a man that comes back into the life to learn the truth about the past. Miss Havisham is a lonely woman left heartbroken after being conned and left at the alter, she has been teaching Estella about the ways of the man, teaching her to never love. Estella is the young woman that Pip falls in love with when they are children and no as adults doesn’t believe she has a heart even though Pip wants to love her.

Performance wise, we have a very impressive cast that all give us wonderful performances fitting into the period piece that this film is.  

StoryThis is one of Charles Dickens classics tales and one I was unfamiliar with, so I thought I would give it a go. This story shows the social hierarchy during the early 19 century, this is one that has forbidden love, revenge and a position of what would be the right thing in life. I do feel this is one story people should be enjoy even if this might not be the best version.

RomanceThe romance side of this comes from Pip falling for Estella and is left wondering if he could fall in love during a time when status would put people together.

SettingsEach setting makes us believe we are in the time the film is set whether it be the small marsh like area of the city of London.

Final ThoughtsClassic story and one that goes in a direction you could only find yourself wanting to know more about.


Overall: A must watch for classic literature fans.




ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – G – Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

Director: James Foley

Writer: David Mamet (Screenplay) David Mamet (Play)

Starring: Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, Jonathan Pryce


Plot: An examination of the machinations behind the scenes at a real estate office.

Tagline – Lie. Cheat. Steal. All In A Day’s Work.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Brilliant Drama


Story: Glengarry Glen Ross starts as we see how a real estate office is struggling to close deals, Blake (Baldwin) is hired to put down the firm law on the employees, office manager John Williamson (Spacey) tries to be strict with his staff as we see struggling aging expert Shelley (Lemmon), upcomer Dave Moss (Harris) the hot shot Ricky Roma (Pacino) and George (Arkin) that are given one week to make as many closes as possible.

As the pressure gets to the men things only get worse when the contracts are stolen which shows the true characters in the ruthless business.


Thoughts on Glengarry Glen Ross


Characters – Ricky Roma is the best estate agent in the office, he closes the biggest deals in the office which fills him with all the confidence in the world. Shelley Levene is the eldest member of the office, he has been down on his luck recently knowing this could be his last chance to keep his job. Dave Moss is the hot-head of the office that goes against the ultimatum about the jobs and comes up with a plan to make sure he gets the best leads. George is the timid member of the office but a fantastic salesman, he gets talked into Dave’s plan. John Williamson runs the office handing out the leads while making sure the teams get good sales. Blake is the man that puts the ultimatum down on the office, he is blunt when it comes to doing the deal.

PerformancesThe cast here is filled with award winners, the highest calibre of actor in the industry at that time. Pacino, Lemmon, Baldwin, Arkin, Harris, Spacey and Pryce are all fantastic it is unfair to single anyone out for more praise than any other.

StoryThe story follows 24-hours in life at the office of a real estate agents as the are pressured into improve their sales which includes dealing with a robbery that throws everything up in the air. This is a character driven story as we see how people can react under pressure as it comes from a play and you can feel that about the story all the way through. The story doesn’t get over complicated as we see how things unfold and it shows the desperation man will go for his own greed.

Crime/MysteryThe crime that takes place is partly how the deals get done and how the contracts get stolen which leads to the mystery to just who is the person behind everything.

SettingsThe settings are kept simple, the office, the bar and a house for discussions, this keeps everything grounded through the film from start to finish.

Scene of the Movie –

That Moment That Annoyed Me Blake being in more scene would have been good.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fantastic assembled cast that give powerful performances that just deliver from the first frame until the final frame, simple fantastic cinema.


Overall: Fantastic from start to finish.




The Glass Castle (2017)

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

Writer: Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham (Screenplay) Jeannette Walls (Book)

Starring: Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts, Ella Anderson, Chandler Head, Max Greenfield


Plot: A young girl comes of age in a dysfunctional family of nonconformist nomads with a mother who’s an eccentric artist and an alcoholic father who would stir the children’s imagination with hope as a distraction to their poverty.

Tagline – Home goes wherever we go

Runtime: 2 Hours 7 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Solid, but Overly Long Biopic


Story: The Glass Castle starts as Jeannette (Larson) starts to remember her childhood after seeing her parents Rex (Harrelson) and Rose Mary (Watts) digging through trash in New York City, a place she is shining in. Jeannette along with her siblings Lori, Maureen and Brian are raise off the radar by their parents, in a place where then can be at one with nature, having to learn how to look after themselves, no turning to anyone for help. As we learn more about the childhood Jeannette is preparing to let her family know of her engagement to David (Greenfield) and the difference in the lifestyles they have.


Thoughts on The Glass Castle


Characters – Jeannette has become popular in the gossip world, she has been driven by her upbringing which saw her living off the grid on the poverty line without a proper education at a younger age, she is a self-made woman. Rex is the father of the household, he cares dearly for his family, but he does have an alcohol problem which has caused the strain on the relationship between his children. Rose Mary is the mother of the household while also being an artist, she supports her children and Rex, he becomes the bridge between the two when things aren’t going well. The rest of the characters we meet are the siblings who we don’t learn too much about their own personal stories with their parents and David her fiancée of Jeannette’s.

PerformancesWe have three of the biggest talents in Hollywood here, Brie Larson is good in her leading role, but you must give credit to the younger stars who also played the character, Ella Anderson and Chandler Head. Woody Harrelson is the star of this show, he shows how he could be the most likely guy one second, but your worst enemy the next as his character struggles with their demons. Naomi Watts is solid, but wasted at times with her role which doesn’t get enough screen time. The rest of the cast a good without being truly great.

StoryThe story is about one of a group of siblings realizing how important her difficult childhood was to drive her to become the strong woman she is now. Well, that is the general feel about the story and it interesting to see how it unfolds, but it just doesn’t see like it was the most engrossing to be a 2 hour plus movie. You feel like nothing is original in the film and I am aware it is someone personal story, it just isn’t somebody that seems famous enough to grab an audience, even though the hardship could be harder hitting.

BiopicWhen it comes to biopics you do feel like you want the film to be either an incredible story off overcoming something or the road to greatness, this offer neither.

SettingsThe settings show how the siblings were raised in the open country but were drawn to the big city to become successful in life.

Scene of the Movie –

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is an overly long drama biopic about seemingly a random woman which doesn’t help pull us into caring about where things go.


Overall: Slow biopic that doesn’t hit the emotional marks it should.