Hex (2017) Movie Review

Director: George Popov, Jonathan Russell

Writer: George Popov, Jonathan Russell (Screenplay)

Starring: Suzie Frances Garton, Daniel Oldroyd, William Young

Plot: During the English Civil War, two opposing soldiers find themselves trapped in a forest controlled by a Witch.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Uneasy Filled Tension Experience

Story: Hex starts as the English Civil War has seen another battle, two soldiers Richard (Oldroyd) and Thomas (Young) from different sides continue their pursuit of each other through a forest, where they try to stay ahead of each other, until they hear and see a strange figure wondering the forest.

As the two continue their pursuit, they come to the conclusion they must work together to get out of the forest, with the woman, a witch (Garton) holding them within the location and only putting aside their differences could give them a chance to escape.

Thoughts on Hex

Characters – Richard fights for King and Country, willing to use his sword until the end in battle, more in shock that he is the last man standing of his troopers from the battle, he will not believe in any supernatural within the forest. Thomas fights for God, opening with prayer after surviving the battle, would rather hide than fight, as well as understanding the evil that is holding the men in the forest. The Witch appears from a distant, she is controlling what the men see, hear and feel, with her motivations unknown to the soldiers who are desperate to escape.

PerformancesDaniel Oldroyd and William Young do have most of the screen time, they do show both the different backgrounds their characters are from, while also showing the growing paranoia growing within them as the film unfolds.

StoryThe story here follows two soldiers from rival sides of the English Civil War that find themselves trapped by mystical forces in a forest and have to put aside their differences to overcome them. When it comes to battle related stories, we have seen supernatural thrown into sides needing to work together before, mostly around the World Wars, using the Civil War, gives the same effect because we learn about how the soldiers are almost forced into the battle, while deep down they might have different beliefs, they just want to survive and live, this is once again shown in the story. When it comes to the haunting side of the story, we do get everything we would expect, with the past being the easiest thing for them to be haunted by. We do get plenty of slowly built up moments in the story, with some being more effective than others, we do get a lot of walking through the forest, over trying to unlock the truth.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from first the effects of the war, and secondly how the two soldiers are being controlled by the evil forces from a witch, we get a couple of slowly built up moments, which will have horror outcomes too.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the forest, it will keep the two men trapped, provide cover and double takes, to make sure they are seeing thing correctly, everything about the location only helps build the paranoia the two are suffering through.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are kept to the minimal, when they are needed, we get the shock moments in the film.


Scene of the Movie – Why haven’t you taken your shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We do have too many just walking in silence moments.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that is easy to watch, it does try to build us up with unease and tension with some moments coming off very well, while others might well just fizzle out.

Overall: Nice Horror.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – J – The Hole in the Ground (2019) Movie Review

This is going under J because of the young star of the movie James Quinn Markey

Director: Lee Cronin

Writer: Le Cronin, Stephen Shields (Screenplay)

Starring: Seana Kerslake, James Quinn Markey, Kati Outinen, David Crowley, Simone Kirby, Steve Wall, Eoin Macken

Plot: A young mother living in the Irish countryside with her son suspects his increasingly disturbing behavior is linked to a mysterious sinkhole in the forest, and fears he may not be her son at all.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Suspenseful

Story: The Hole in the Ground starts as Sarah (Kerslake) and her son Chris (Markey) are getting used to their new home in the Irish countryside, they learn they have a disturbed neighbour Noreen Brady (Outinen) and a giant hole in the middle of a woodland area surrounding the house.

After losing her son in the woods one night, Sarah is trying to be more protective, but the disturbed neighbour Noreen, doesn’t believe that is her son anymore, similar to what she experienced herself, years before.

Thoughts on The Hole in the Ground

Characters – Sarah is the single mother who has moved away from her previous life, which does have hints of abuse, she has started a simpler life in a small village with her son and soon starts to learn about something strange that has happened to her son, with her needing to figure out the truth before it is too late. Chris is the son who isn’t happy trying to make new friends, he is terrified of spiders and after he goes missing one night, when he returns something has changed in him. Noreen Brady went through a similar experience to Sarah, which has seen her branded crazy by the locals, she can sense more being wrong, though it has haunted her whole life.

PerformancesSeana Kerslake in the leading role adds so much to this film, her performance shows the pain her character has been through, despite showing the strength she is carrying on with. James Quinn Markey is great for a young actor, showing the innocent side to his character and the change he has been through. The supporting cast don’t get many scenes but do a good job when called up.

StoryThe story here follows a single mother who starts to see a strange change in her son and must decide what has caused this and what she is going to do about it. The story does dive into one of the most famous horror myths, which is clear to see early on, though never directly uses the name, we won’t say just to stop any spoilers. We have the themes of an abuse victim trying to rebuild their own life, while remaining strong for her child. We only focus on the two characters, with any others only offer hints to what is happening. What the story offers, would be the slowly building moments that Sarah is going through, where she is torn about the truth, we focus on dread feeling over any shock value.

HorrorThe horror in this film does give us a clear look at dread and gloom, instead of playing of the jump scares, it so easily could have turned too.

SettingsThe film takes us to a small Irish countryside village, the house is outside the village surrounded by woodland, which only adds to the unknown coming from inside the woods.

Special EffectsThe effects being used in the film are kept to a minimum, which does help when we need to see them happening.


Scene of the Movie – What is Chris up to.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We only get the hints of the former life they lived.

Final Thoughts This is a dread filled horror that will keep us wondering what is happening, with strong performances from the lead actors.

Overall: Dread Filled Horror.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch Up 2019 – H – High Life (2018) Movie Review

Director: Claire Denis

Writer: Claire Denis, Jean-Pol Fargeau (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Andre Benjamin, Mia Goth, Agata Buzek, Lars Eidinger, Claire Tran

Plot: A father and his daughter struggle to survive in deep space where they live in isolation.


Tagline – Oblivion awaits.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sci-Fi That Offers More Questions Than Answers

Story: High Life starts as we follow lone astronaut Monte (Pattinson) who is on his mission with a baby Willow in tow, he completes the routine daily tasks to keep the space flying through deep space. Monte flashes back through his time on board the ship as we learn that he was one a selection of prisoners given this mission to cover their jail time, with Dr Dibs (Binoche) performing experiments on them.

As the truth gets reviled, we get to learn just why Monte is the last crew member and what happened to the previous members of the crew along with where Willow came from including who her mother really is.

Thoughts on High Life

Characters – Monte is alone on a spaceship with a baby, he is doing everything he can to keep his daughter alive, as we learn about his past on the ship and why he was selected. He was a prisoner that was given this chance to escape jail time and learnt how to survive amongst the crew. Dibs the scientist running the experiments of the crew, she is trying to prove or find a way to get humans to reproduce within space, she controls the crew for her every need though, which sees her needing to protect her experiment while going against the morals of her mission. Tcherny and Boyse are two of the other members of the crew that have been selected, they both have motivation for being there, while Boyse doesn’t settle on the levels of the other crew members.

PerformancesRobert Pattinson is the star of the show here, once again proving that he is in fact one of the best actors in the business today. Juliette Binoche shines too, which with this cast and their performances, is filled with wonderfully powerful performances.

StoryThe story here follows a lone astronaut that is trying to raise a baby in space on his one way mission, as he looks back at what happened to the rest of the crew over the years they were travelling through space conducting experiments took its toll on the crew. This is going to be a story that will easily divide the audience, it does show how Monte was able to adapt to his situation and learn how to survive, rather than trying to cut corners or act on his criminal ways like others do. The way this will divide the audience will come from the idea that this is just one mission of what could be many with each having different experiments, which is something we could have seen more from, understand the full ideas behind the missions. There is a lot of the story, which will be left for the audience to work out what has happened, or is happening without needing to spoon feed the answers.

Mystery/Sci-Fi The mystery side of the film is all about why Monte is alone with a baby and just what happened on the mission, which is a space mission which takes the characters through space.

SettingsThe film is set nearly entirely on the spaceship which does show the isolation of the mission, showing the crew must work together more than anything because they have nowhere else to go.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are mostly look towards the darkness of space, there is one black hole sequence that didn’t look as strong as it should have been.


Scene of the Movie – The second ship.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain characters did seem to just vanish.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting sci-fi mystery that will offer up plenty of questions that will let the audience make of what they want from the story being told.

Overall: Interesting Sci-Fi that will make you think.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – C – Hustlers (2019) Movie Review

This is under C because of star Constance Wu

Director: Lorene Scafaria

Writer: Lorene Scafaria (Screenplay) Jessica Pressler (Article)

Starring: Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Mette Towley, Wai Ching Ho, Emma Batiz, Vanessa Aspillaga, Jay Oakerson, Keke Palmer

Plot: Inspired by the viral New York Magazine article, Hustlers follows a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Stylish Crime Story

Story: Hustlers starts as we follow a young stripper Destiny (Wu) who is working to make sure her Grandmother (Ho0 is supported, she sees the more successful dancers in the club as she is trying to find her own place in the club, looking up to the most popular dancer Ramona (Lopez).

Ramona takes Destiny under her wing to teacher her more techniques, which should give her a chance to get more money, let alone showing her about the extra tricks she has been working on for years, getting the credit cards and taking their money, showing the money flying in, taking advantage of the Wall Street clients.

Thoughts on Hustlers

Characters – Destiny is the young woman who just wants to make enough money in her life for her Grandmother who has always supported her. She has a job as a stripper which sees her start small before learning how to bring in the big money, while her life might not go to plan after she has a kid, she returns to the life as a dancer which sees her take advantage of the wall street bankers. Ramona is the experience dancer, she gets most of the attention in the club and takes Destiny under her wing in a mentor role, they have one brilliant year before things change. Once they are out the club, she leads a bigger scheme which takes thousands from the clients bringing the girls together. Elizabeth is a journalist hearing the story from Destiny about what happened with the women, she wants to hear everything to see whether they knew and thought what they did was right. We do meet plenty of the fellow girls that joined in the plan, each has different motivations and different skill levels to be part of it.

PerformancesConstance Wu in the leading role is wonderful and such a big change from last years Crazy Rich Asians, proving herself as an actress that can play both sides of the acting range. Jennifer Lopez shines as the confident seductive dancer, she looks the part with ease and steals every scene she is in. Julia Stiles brings the calm reporter that is asking most of the questions that we would be asking. The rest of the cast including the dancers do a great job too.

StoryThe story here follows two strippers that start their own business where they look to make massive amounts of money by drugging wall street banks and using their cards to fill their financial needs. The story here shows how the plan starts off small, but soon leads to them going for bigger scores which leads to them taking bigger risks which they didn’t need to be getting involved in. while this is based on a true story, it does show that there wasn’t much of a punishment for the women either. The mentor friendship between Destiny and Ramona is great to see as we can see how they both need each other to get through the problems they might the facing.

Comedy/CrimeThe crime side of the film mixes with the comedy which shows how the women were getting away with the crime for so long without being caught in the middle of being a full-blown comedy.

SettingsThe film is set in New York which shows where the targets will have too much money for their own good, which makes them an easy target.


Scene of the Movie – The bad party.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The time jump does take away something from the story.

Final Thoughts This is a fun crime comedy that showed how a group of hustlers swindled money out of wall street bankers who would spend anything.

Overall: Fun throughout.

Hook (1991)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: James V Hart, Nick Castle, Malia Scotch Marmo (Screenplay) J.M. Barrie (Books)

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Maggie Smith, Caroline Goodall, Charlie Korsmo, Amber Scott

 

Plot: When Captain Hook kidnaps his children, an adult Peter Pan must return to Neverland and reclaim his youthful spirit in order to challenge his old enemy.


Tagline – What if Peter Pan grew up?

Runtime: 2 Hours 22 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun-Filled Fantasy

 

Story: Hook starts as we meet businessman Peter Banning (Williams) who has started over working leading to his children become distant, his wife Moira (Goodall) forces him to visit his Granny Wendy (Smith) in London for Christmas, where she sees how much Peter has changed since his childhood of never wanting to grow up.

Captain Hook (Hoffman) takes Peter’s children, which sees Peter needing to be pushed into returning to Neverland, a place he has long forgotten about, with Tinkerbell (Roberts) taking him there only for Hook to be left disappointed by the man Peter has become, Tinkerbell has three days to restore Peter’s faith in Neverland to save his children.

 

Thoughts on Hook

 

Characters – Peter Banning is a lawyer that has been neglecting his family, his Grandmother sees him losing his young heart that made her take him in, in the first place, Peter must confront his past to save his children from his old nemesis Captain Hook in Neverland, a place he has long since forgotten about. Peter has become everything he once hated as a child and shows how at times parents can get buried in their work. Captain Hook has been waiting for the day Peter Pan returns, he is left disappointed when he does return a shell of the boy that left, giving him three days to prepare for a battle, while having his own plan to get revenge on Peter. Tinkerbell comes to Peter to bring him back to Neverland, she helps transform him back to his original self, while showing him what he is still fighting for.

PerformancesRobin Williams was a great choice for this role, he gets to manages the serious adult side of everything as well as the playful side of Peter Pan with ease being able to swap between the two whenever he needs to. Dustin Hoffman as the villainous Hook has great enjoyment in this role where he does get to play along with his character. Julia Roberts does all she needs to do without being as involved as the lead too.

StoryThe story follows an older Peter Pan that must return to Neverland to save his own children after his old nemesis Captain Hook takes them there. This spin on the Peter Pan story is a wonderful on because see Peter grown up becoming everything he promised he wouldn’t shows us just how difficult being an adult can be, you will turn your back on parts of your childhood become what you once feared. This was always the meaning behind Peter Pan in the first place, finding an escape from the busy lives, now an adult must use this to save his own relationship with his children and family, which is what is important in life.

Adventure/Comedy/FantasyThe adventure side of the film takes Peter to Neverland to relive moments of his childhood in a fantasy battle against pirates with fairies on their side. We do get elements of comedy, but even Robin Williams is held back from going into his full routine like we saw in Aladdin.

SettingsThe film uses the same settings that we know from Peter Pan, the London setting might well be a more modern one, but Neverland hasn’t aged a day since Peter has left.


Scene of the Movie –
The battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Pop culture references.

Final ThoughtsThis is a magical version of Peter Pan’s adventures showing how life can change for adults who never thought they would be when they were children.

 

Overall: Magical adventure.

Rating