Happy Death Day 2U (2019)

Director: Christopher Landon

Writer: Christopher Landon (Screenplay) Scott Lobdell (Characters)

Starring: Jessica Rothe, Ruby Modine, Israel Broussard, Suraj Sharma, Rachel Matthews, Steve Zissis

 

Plot: Tree Gelbman discovers that dying over and over was surprisingly easier than the dangers that lie ahead.


Tagline – Death makes a killer comeback.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Smartly Written

 

Story: Happy Death Day 2U starts when Ryan (Vu) starts going through the same experience that Tree (Rothe) did one year ago, Tree knows how to break the cycle which only brings us to his lab work, which brings us a couple of new characters in Samar (Sharma) and Andrea (Yarkin) that help solve the case only for the outcome to take Tree right back to September 18th waking up in the dorm room of Carter (Broussard).

Tree sets out to end the cycle quickly only to learn she is in a very different version and she must figure out who the killer is all over again, while helping Ryan figure out how to put time back together again.

 

Thoughts on Happy Death Day 2U

 

Characters – Tree is back first off helping Ryan handle the repeat day, before being forced back through the day she got stuck in, this time not everything is as it seems and she is faced if difficult decisions ones, people might never get to decide over. Carter is Tree’s boyfriend and the student’s room she keeps waking up in, he has a different life this time around though. Ryan is the slacker roommate of Carter’s who has been working on an experiment which has put him into the loop, he seems to have two sides, one is the stoner slacker roommate, the other is a genius scientific mind, it is hard to believe the two are the same. Lori returns to, as we learn how different the realities have become. We do have all the characters returning here which does give them a different spin and a different suspect list.

PerformancesJessica Rothe steals the show once again with her performance, with her character going through different emotional decisions than the first film which saw her go from bitchy to understanding, this time she has harder decisions to make. When we get into the supporting cast, sadly, nobody gets as much time as they should do, Phi Vu seems like he is going to get a lot of time from the opening sequence, only to spend most of the film at a computer screen.

StoryThe story here is one that does feel like one of the most interest written ones I have seen in a long time, first we know how the first film unfolded, so, how do we handle a sequel? We change the genre, that is what we did, because the first film used more fantasy elements to create the loop only for this one to put us into a sci-fi factor. Now, this story does focus a lot more on choices, most importantly ones that Tree can make, with a brand-new look at life and chances she didn’t know she could have being bought back for her, this is the highlight of everything we see. The weakness of this comes from the fact we do have a new killer and we don’t really spend anytime figuring out who they are. The best way to describe this would be imagine Sidney could relive the events of Scream and the killers were different and her life changed from the one she was living, only she knew about it. This sounds complicated though, it doesn’t feel like that.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiThe horror and mystery factors do take a backburner this time, we do have a killer, we don’t seem to truly investigate this enough for the film to get the time to shine.

SettingsThe film is set in and around the university, we return to certain locations, but strangely this doesn’t offer anything new to the genre.


Scene of the Movie –
The blind student.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The overuse of suicide in a comic way.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sequel that does continue to build on the original, it will give you laughs, but will take the mystery away from everything, Jessica Rothe does steal the show again.

 

Overall: Fun, improved sequel.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – H – Hustle & Flow (2005)

Director: Craig Brewer

Writer: Craig Brewer (Screenplay)

Starring: Terrence Howard, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning, Taraji P Henson, DJ Qualls, Ludacris, Paula Jai Parker

 

Plot: With help from his friends, a Memphis pimp in a mid-life crisis attempts to become a successful hip-hop emcee.


Tagline – The music will inspire them. The dream will unite them. This summer get crunk.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Insight to the Hip-Hop World

 

Story: Hustle & Flow starts as we see the everyday pimping life of Djay (Howard) forcing his prostitutes to do there thing with Nola (Manning) being he most requested girl, he has girls in the strip club too which Lexus (Parker) being the one he is closest too, he also has a pregnant one in his home with Shug (Henson) waiting to give birth.

When Djay meets an old friend Key (Anderson) he starts to have a craving to try and become a hip-hop star as the two work together to make song where he learns that Shug is the real talent in his household.

 

Thoughts on Hustle & Flow

 

Characters – Djay is a pimp going through a mid-life crisis, he is tired of struggling to make his girls collect his money and wants to try and new career as a hip-hop star, he must first shake his old ways though and accept criticisms for his vision. Key is a music producer for a local church, he comes from a very different background to Djay and is willing to give this music venture a chance. Nola is one of the prostitutes that is still working the streets she is his go to girl at the moment with the others out of the picture at the moment, she does get frustrated about being the only one on the streets though. Shug is the pregnant girl working for Djay, she shows herself to have real talent when it comes to singing which only brings the music alive for Djay.

PerformancesTerrence Howard in the leading role is great because we see his character’s full evolution through the story trying to find himself in the world. Anthony Anderson continues to show everyone he can be an great supporting performer while Taryn Manning and Taraji P Henson both show us they were going to go onto bigger projects.

StoryThe story shows us how a mid-life crisis can drive somebody to go down unusual paths with his Djay wanting to become a hip-hop star getting out of the pimping business. The story does break up into a couple of acts with the pimping business playing out like you would imagine, while the middle part of the film focuses for a long time on the making of the song which does go on longer than it needs too. With the third acting showing us just how difficult the industry is to get into. The idea that we can dream helps this movie out big time because it is important to see, though seeing just how far people will go for the dreams is the bleak side to things.

Crime/MusicThe crime world we see is just how the pimping world operates and how close to the line certain hip-hop stars can go to the law, this blends nicely with the music side of the film.

SettingsThe film is set in Memphis which shows us the difficult neighbourhood that Djay is operating in, it shows he tensions can fly and how the special want to get out of the place.


Scene of the Movie –
The club drinks.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too long spent recording the song.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story about dreams and just how far people will go to try and make dreams come true, whether you will go too far too.

 

Overall: Dreams Big or fail.

Rating

 

 

The Harvesting (2018)

Director: Ivan Kraljevic

Writer: Ben Everhart (Screenplay)

Starring: Elena Caruso, Chris Conner, Jennifer Gareis, Greg Wood, Noah Headley, Accalia Quintana

 

Plot: To escape their marital problems, a young family travels from the city to spend the summer in Amish Country where a malevolent presence grips them. They soon discover that they were brought there for a reason and they must break free before the demonic hold consumes them.


Tagline – The solstice is coming.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Borrows from Too Many Other Horrors

 

Story: The Harvesting starts when a family in need of a break from the city life, Dinah (Caruso), Jake (Conner) children, Steven (Headley) and Michaela (Quintana) move to a farmhouse in an Amish community for the summer. The community is haunted by previous events there which saw one of the Amish community Amos (Buckley) went on a killing rampage.

As the Solstice approaches the Amish community starts to warn the family to avoid the woods, as they know a evil presence can be found in them, which becomes strongest over the Solstice and when the children start seeing ghostly children around the farm, the ghost of Amos is waiting to return once again.

 

Thoughts on The Harvesting

 

Characters – Dinah is thee wife and mother of the family, she agrees to go to the country to start fresh, reconnect with her husband after her own mistake, she is the first to notice the changes her family is going through and knows she is the one that will need to protect them. Jake is a tonally confusing character, he has wanted to move away to the country for a break from the city, he wants his family to be together, but for some scenes he is growing isolated like George Lutz in Amityville Horror, the next he is the normal father figure, we just jump too often between these swings with no motivate for the swap. Steven and Michaela are the children that soon notice the problems in the farm with one capture footage, the other making friends with ghost children. Sarah is the member of the community that is willing to warn the family of the danger in the woods, after seeing its evil first hand. Amos is the Amish man that went on the killing spree, his ghost still haunts the woods searching for the next family to consume.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances with have Elena Caruso in the leading role, she fills the role well without making the impact other leading ladies have made in horror, Chris Conner struggles to balance his badly written character which most actors wouldn’t be able to pull off. It would be fair to say most of the cast do struggle to make the impact required for horror.

StoryThe story here follows a family in need of fixing heading off for a peaceful summer break, only to find themselves in the middle of an Amish Solstice which is known to bring out the evil in the weak. The story does borrow heavily from other films with the themes of ‘The Amityville Horror’ being the strongest to follow when it comes to the family problems and the evil trying to consume one. Mix that with the idea of a returning evil every solstice which is often used in horror for the idea of evil coming into the world. the fact this ends up with an anti-climax doesn’t help either because we did want a proper ending.

HorrorThe horror in this film comes from just how the woods can bring out the evil in the people around the area, we try to have a few shock scenes which don’t pay off well enough.

SettingsThe film is set in the woods around an Amish community that gets haunted by the events of the solstice, it does have an eerie feeling about it too.

Special EffectsThe effects are simple enough, they aren’t needed too often without them looking out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
Playing in the woods.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too anti-climactic.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book horror that just never reaches any high intensity levels which is required in horror and will let you down with a weak ending.

 

Overall: By the book horror.

Rating

 

 

Paul Newman Weekend – The Hustler (1961)

Director: Robert Rossen

Writer: Sidney Carroll, Robert Rossen (Screenplay) Walter Tevis (Novel)

Starring: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie, George C Scott, Myron McCormick, Murray Hamilton, Michael Constantine

 

Plot: An up-and-coming pool player plays a long-time champion in a single high-stakes match.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Excellent

 

Story: The Hustler starts as we meet Eddie Felson (Newman) and his business partner Charlie Burns (McCormick) who go from pool hall to pool hall around the country as Eddie takes the players for large sums of money, his latest target is one of the greatest straight ball pool players Minnesota Fats (Gleason).

When the two face off they get involved in an epic games where Eddie is in a large profit, only for his ego to get in the way and for him to lose it all. In the gutter, Eddie meets Sarah Packard (Laurie) who helps him turn his life around as he sets out to get into a position to meet Minnesota for good next time.

 

Thoughts on The Hustler

 

Characters – Eddie Felson is an up and coming pool sensation, he goes from pool hall to pool hall to hustler the players giving him the reputation of being known as Fast Eddie. He wants to beat the best and after he lacks the stamina to defeat him, he must rebuild his reputation before taking him on again, Eddie is quick on his feet and knows how the play each different person he meets. Minnesota Fats is the best player in the world of straight pool, he is the greatest player Eddie has played, but he remains calm through the epic long game of over 20 hours. Sarah Packard is the woman that comes into the life of Eddie to help him get back on his feet after the crushing defeat, she is confident in herself and wants to make sure Eddie is doing the right thing. Bert Gordon witnesses the match between the two and sees it as an opportunity to back Eddie on his return to the top.

PerformancesPaul Newman is fantastic in this film, we see his confidence throughout the film as he shows us just how much belief his character has in himself. Jackie Gleason is great in the supporting role as we get to see a character that knows he is the best. Piper Laurie and George C Scott in the supporting roles are both great too as they are part of the Eddie recovery.

StoryThe story follows a pool hustler that believes he is the best, he wants to go against the best in the game and even after proving himself he doesn’t know when to quit. The story shows us how his addiction will get the best of him when it comes to trying to prove himself against the best players, he never knows when to quit and we see how it can destroy his life, little by little. This is a wonderful story that has pacing that never makes you want to check you watch and by the end up will be completely behind Eddie and his personal demons.

SportsThe sport of choice is straight pool, one version of the game I wasn’t familiar with, but this lets the players continue to show their skills against shot on the table.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the different style pool halls that Eddie will be attending during his attempt to get what he wants, they show the different styles of crowds we will be witnessing too.


Scene of the Movie –
Eddie versus Minnesota Fats.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It took be a while to understand the version of pool they were playing.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the all-time classics in the world of film, it brings us one of the greatest characters in Eddie Felson, who is both the hero and the villain of his story.

 

 

 

Overall: Must watch classic.

Rating

 

 

Hotel Artemis (2018)

Director: Drew Pearce

Writer: Drew Pearce (Screenplay)

Starring: Jodie Foster, Sterling K Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Brian Tyree Henry, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Day, Dave Bautista

 

Plot: Set in riot-torn, near-future Los Angeles, ‘Hotel Artemis’ follows the Nurse, who runs a secret, members-only emergency room for criminals.


Tagline – No Guns, No Cops, No Killing The Other Patients 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Action Film

 

Story: Hotel Artemis starts in the future with a riot running through LA, bank robbers Waikiki (Brown) and his brother Honolulu (Henry) get injured which leads them to the criminal hospital known as Hotel Artemis, run by the Nurse (Foster), you must be a member to be treated in this hospital and her clients including Nice (Boutella) and Acapulco (Bautista).

The Nurse’s night doesn’t get any easier when the building owner’s son Crosby (Quinto) wants to be treated, breaking the rules to get to the location and when cop Morgan (Slate) breaks through she must help her too. Her only protection comes from orderly Everest (Bautista), as the night turns into chaos.

 

Thoughts on Hotel Artemis

 

Characters – The Nurse runs a criminal hospital disguised like a hotel, she has exclusive memberships which will see her help injured criminals for money, if you don’t follow the rules you don’t get treated, she does have a dark past though which has kept her inside for years. Waikiki is the smarter of the brother’s who have just committed a robbery, he takes his injured brother to the hotel, which does seem him being nosey while he is being treated. His brother Honolulu gets injured in the escape, his choice to what to steal leads to the chaos within the hotel. Nice is an assassin planning her latest job, which will involve a patient in the hospital. Niagara is the king of crime, he helped start up the hotel knowing just how good The Nurse is at curing people. Morgan is a cop that has a connection to the Nurse’s family, she is the only cop that she has helped in her time in the hotel. Crosby is the youngest son of Niagara, he is a loose cannon not willing to take no as an answer. Acapulco is a magician that is currently in the hotel, he talks too much believing that he can talk or buy his way out of anything. Everest is the orderly in the hotel, he deals with any unwanted guests and does the odd jobs around the hotel. There is a problem with the characters though and that is, that we must have codenames and real names, depending on who are the ones that know who.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances, Jodie Foster is the highlight because she is the only good person involved out of the people that get enough time to do anything. This is the problem for most of the stars, they just don’t get enough time to make the biggest impact, Dave Bautista however does seem to enjoy his role in the film getting to play the biggest member and the funniest member of the cast.

StoryThe story follows the events inside a secret hospital disguised as a hotel to which criminals come for medical attention, only this night is when riots have taken over the city and the rules are about to be broken. The story works for the fast pace style of this movie, we do have to digest a lot of characters, nine main ones which clearly doesn’t give the characters enough time to do their thing. The strangest way to describe this story, would be that it feels like a season finale to an interesting world we don’t get to experience enough. I do think this is extremely watchable as a story though, never getting too complicated even with the pure number of characters we have.

Action/Crime/Sci-FiThe action is fast paced shooting mostly, we have a couple of fights, it shows how the underworld needs to operate to stay afloat. The crime world we see just how many people will visit this hospital in search of help. The future shows just how hectic the world has become.

SettingsThe film is set inside the Hotel Artemis, which is a secret hospital in the middle of the city for criminals, it is a clever idea to make our characters only facing off within the walls.

Special EffectsThe effects are shown mostly in how the surgery happens using newer technology which doesn’t seem too far away.


Scene of the Movie –
The escape plan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Some of the characters just don’t get enough time to make an impact.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun fast paced action film, it does have good performances even if it does become crowded in places, we have a clever idea which at least is original from Hollywood.

 

Overall: Fun and easy to watch.

Rating