Hellboy (2019)

Director: Neil Marshall

Writer: Andrew Cosby (Screenplay) Mike Mignola (Comic)

Starring: David Harbour, Ian McShane, Milla Jovovich, Penelope Mitchell, Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim

 

Plot: Based on the graphic novels by Mike Mignola, Hellboy, caught between the worlds of the supernatural and human, battles an ancient sorceress bent on revenge.


Tagline – Save the World for the Hell of It

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Goriest Comic Movie Ever

 

Story: Hellboy starts as we learn about the history of Nimue the Blood Queen (Jovovich) an ancient sorceress who clashed with King Arthur, leading to her being dismembered and scattered across the land. Move into the modern day and Hellboy (Harbour) is the reluctant hero taking on the paranormal under the influence of his father Professor Broom (McShane).

The latest case sees Hellboy reconnecting with an old friend Alice (Lane) who he once saved from evil forces, a British paranormal agent Major Ben Daimio (Kim) as they must race against time to stop Nimue returning to finally spread the disease on humans, so the creatures from the dark can rise up, Hellboy must figure out which side of this war he wants to fight on.

 

Thoughts on Hellboy

 

Characters – Hellboy is a demon from hell that came to Earth as a baby, which saw him raised to protect humans from the paranormal, multiple people want him dead, he is meant to bring about the end of mankind, yet he keeps fighting for the human race. He uses one liners to react (most of these miss though) and his does have an identity crisis because of Nimue appearance which could show him his own power, this story does give Hellboy a personal arc he must learn to control just how he sees his powers. Nimue is an ancient sorceress that was at war with the human race, betrayed, left trapped in boxes until she is freed. She has come back for revenge and this time she sees what could turn the table in her favour, Hellboy. She knows how to use beings to get what she wants and wile never getting into a physical fight, she will use her powers to inflict great pain. Alice is a friend to Hellboy, she once was saved and her own psychic powers and connections to the dead will prove to be a useful asset to have around. Major Ben Daimio is from the British side of the paranormal investigation, he doesn’t want to work with Hellboy, he is by the books, even if he does have his own secret. Professor Broom is the man that took Hellboy in to teach and use to fight back against the evil in the world.

PerformancesDavid Harbour stepping into the shoes of Ron Perlman, was always going to need to do something very special, he does everything he can which works for the darker side of the character, but he doesn’t hit the comedy Perlman could. Milla Jovovich always works in her own way for an evil figure, she isn’t truly challenged, but doesn’t seem to do much wrong. Ian McShane again suffers from stepping into big shoes, he does enough however to make this feel like his own version of the character. Sasha Lane brings the attitude to her character well, while Daniel Dae Kim could be the best performer in the film.

StoryThe story follows Hellboy as he must learn who is truly is when it comes to battle to stop the biggest threat yet, Nimue a sorceress that wants to wipe out humanity. The first thing that must be discussed when talking about the story, is the style, it does feel like we are watching a comic book unfold. When we dive more into the story it does fall into the story technique of, we must go here to do that, we must go there to do this, which soon becomes repetitive. However, what we lack in storytelling style, we do get in other areas which includes the pure bloodshed levels thrown into this story. there is an angle in the story which basically sees Hellboy being tempted into becoming the evil he was always meant to be, which is nice and does play into the anti-hero idea of Hellboy. The story works for the basics being told without needing to be anything complicated, we do fill in most back stories which could annoy people with the number of flashbacks.

Action/Fantasy/Horror/Sci-FiThe action in this movie is huge, be it Hellboy fighting giants, a giant pig or the creatures coming to inflict pain on the humans. This does play into the fantasy and we learn how Hellboy could be dragged into other locations to meet a friend or foe. The horror comes from the number of bodies that pile up, we never hold back when it comes to seeing the wounds being inflicted or the aftermath.

SettingsThe film does use the idea London will be the main destruction area, which is fine, we need a big city for reference, when we see certain other locations we do hit the weird secret locations that could only come from the mind of a comic book author.

Special EffectsThe effects are going to be one of the bigger talking points, we do have a major weak moment which will most likely be mocked, but this is one of the best practical effects movies you will see, the wounds, the injuries, the blood shed are brutal to watch and must be praised.


Scene of the Movie –
London creatures.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The trailer gives away Daimio’s secret skill.

Final ThoughtsThis can easily be called the goriest comic book movie ever, it does have a basic story though, which could hold back its greatness, we do go in a direction far enough away from the original two, which does help make this feel like its own movie.

 

Overall: Blood shed galore.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action – H – Hijacked (2017)

Director: Alex Merkin

Writer: Jesse Mittelstadt (Screenplay) Tyler W Konney, Jesse Mittelstadt, Richard Switzer (Story)

Starring: Denise Richards, Jonathan Lipnicki, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Liddel, Greer Grammer, John Posey

 

Plot: A female FBI agent is offered millions to help a thief escape from a hijacked airplane.


Tagline – A Heist at 30,000 Feet ..

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Late Night Action 101

 

Story: Hijacked starts as we meet FBI hostage negotiator Gretchen Blair (Richards), whose technique was to play along as a sexy call girl to distract the hostage taker. This has left her in hot water and out of a job, returning to her new role she boards a plane meeting Terry (Barker) who offers Gretchen money to keep him alive on the flight.

Terry has crossed the wrong paths, with Matthew Sharpe (Lundgren) and his team Sadie (Grammer) and the mystery members who could be anybody on the flight, as the plane is hijacked. Gretchen must use her skills and training to keep everyone alive.

 

Thoughts on Hijacked

 

Characters – Gretchen Blair is a hostage negotiator whose career has just gone down the drain, she gets a chance to redeem herself though on her flight home which become taken over by hostage takers out for revenge against a thief. Matthew Sharpe is the man wanting what is his, he takes the plane becoming the pilot while his team get the package. Sadie is the lady on the floor of the plane, making sure the hostages stay in position and the people they want are where they are. Sadly neither of these two villains become anything special and could be interchanged with ease.

PerformancesDenise Richards in the lading role, well this isn’t something you would be expecting to see and you can see why it doesn’t click for this role, she does handle the break down side of things but everything else not so well. Dolph Lundgren is fast becoming an actor I will watch in anything, this is why he is good enough for the role even if he does feel like he could be chewing the scenery at time. Greer Grammer is ok as the villain, she does have the most time for the villains and just being nothing that special either.

StoryThe story is hijackers take over a plane holding the passenger’s hostage while plucky FBI agent tries to take them out before they take lives. This is an easy to watch late night action movie story, it never challenges your brain and doesn’t always make the most sense, but by the end it has done everything it says it will.

Action/CrimeThe action is basic, there isn’t a memorable scene, while the crime side of the movie is the hijacking itself.

SettingsThe film taking place on the plane is great because we are left to see just how the characters could get out of this situation.

Special EffectsThe effects are not the best, in fact they are poor which only makes it difficult to see certain moments.


Scene of the Movie –
Opening sequence is the highlight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The effects are poor.

Final ThoughtsThis is a late night level action film, it basic and just becomes simple enough to watch. It has questionable casting which pulls everything don.

 

Overall: Not the best.

Rating

 

 

The Highwaymen (2019)

Director: John Lee Hancock

Writer: John Fusco (Screenplay)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Woody Harrelson, Kim Dickens, Emily Brobst, Kathy Bates, W Earl Brown, John Carroll Lynch

 

Plot: A pair of police officers come out of retirement to catch the infamous outlaws Bonnie & Clyde.


Tagline – This March, there are no High Roads.

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Crime Hunt

 

Story: The Highwaymen starts with Bonnie and Clyde’s spree going on for two-years, Governor Ferguson (Bates) is running out of options as the two have become celebrities because of their action. Facing little options Lee Simmons suggests turning to two former Texas Rangers Frank Hamer (Costner) and Maney Gault (Harrelson) to track down and end the spree.

With Frank having no other choice after more law enforcement officers are killed, he turns to Maney who has been struggling in the afterlife of being a ranger, he has different beliefs to Frank, which will see them needing to figure out how to eliminate the threat with the honour they are used to acting in, can they stop the murderous pair and their gang.

 

Thoughts on The Highwaymen

 

Characters – Frank Hamer is a legendary Texas Ranger, force into retirement with new laws in place, but landing on his feet, he gets turned to for help hunt down Bonnie & Clyde, he must accept that he would be going against what he used to do, return to killing, but most importantly turn to a former partner. Maney Gault is one of the best partners that Frank hand, the force retirement was harder on him with drink being he solution, he is the last resort on skill level, but the first one Frank turns too, he does have standards on how he beliefs on how he handles killing, only once shot upon, he becomes a kind of mentor for a young officer on the hunt. Ma Ferguson is the governor that recruits Frank and Maney to hunt down Bonnie & Clyde, she is reluctant at first wanting to follow more legal causes. Lee Simmons is the one suggesting that the Texan Rangers to help capture them, he puts his neck on the line for it.

PerformancesKevin Costner and Woody Harrelson are two of the best actors in the business, they can play any of these law men with ease and they make each their own with ease. The two are front and centre for most of the film, the supporting cast are solid enough without struggling.

StoryThe story follows the two Texas Rangers that hunted down Bonnie & Clyde who were on the killing spree over. The highlight of the story comes from following the law enforcement instead of the criminals, we should do this more often with the people that hunt down the criminals and not make the criminals to idols of the story. this is mostly just the two reflecting on their careers, what they did before retirement, what they might need to do once they catch up to the criminals. It does pace well enough, we don’t over focus on the crimes, only the reaction to them.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of the film is the hunting down of Bonnie & Clyde, we see how the Texas Rangers track down the criminals. The mystery in the film comes from just how the hunting down was being done.

SettingsEach setting takes us around the open roads in the American where the criminals would have been operating in.


Scene of the Movie –
Costner & Harrelson reflect on one of their biggest mission.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Why were Bonnie & Clyde idolised?

Final ThoughtsInteresting look at one of the biggest take downs of criminals in American history, we have strong leading performances and don’t focus on the criminals.

 

Overall: Smart way to study a big case.

Rating

 

 

Hard Surfaces (2017)

Director: Zach Brown

Writer: Zach Brown (Screenplay)

Starring: Shawn Pyfrom, Julia Voth, Elliot Sancrant, Mariana Novak, Joseph Curtis Callender, Sophie Kargman, Hannah Victoria Stock, Chase Fein

 

Plot: A renowned photographer, Adrian’s unique style of shooting drug addicts has made him a local-celebrity. But there is a problem; life imitates art as Adrian parties hard with trophy-girlfriend Liz to drown out a painful past. When his sister suddenly dies, leaving him sole guardian of her 9-year-old daughter, Adrian must face his deepest secrets.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard Hitting Drama

 

Story: Hard Surfaces starts as Adrian Jacobs (Pyfrom) a celebrity photographer whose style involves taking photos of drug addicts, which has seen him become one of the best in the business, he has a beautiful girlfriend Liz (Voth) which sees them enjoy the party lifestyle.

When Adrian’ sister and her wife are killed in an accident, the will names Adrian as the sole guardian of their daughter Maddy (Stock). Adrian wants to take her in, but Liz doesn’t want Adrian to make this decision, with everything building up between the couple this decision will change their lives, will change Adrian’s lifestyle too as he gets used to having a child around.

 

Thoughts on Hard Surfaces

 

Characters – Adrian is a famous photographer that has made him a celebrity which has led him to live the party lifestyle, which does see him drink and take drugs. His sister is killed in an accident leaving him the sole guardian of her daughter, this will see him need to clean up his act, learn to ask for help, while trying to learn how raise a child. Maddy is the daughter of Adrian’s sister, she is 9-years-old struggling to adapt to life with Adrian, but is clearly going through grief, strangely making friends with Adrian’s best friend Steve. Liz is the trophy girlfriend of Adrian’s she doesn’t want anything to do with having Maddy around, which sees her wanting her own child. Sophie is the social services officer that only every wants the best for the children who have suffered through loss and drug addict parents.

PerformancesShawn Pyfrom is wonderful in the leading role, he portrays a man that is struggling with his addiction, while taking on a new responsibility. Hannah Victoria Stock brings everything for a young girl that has lost her parents, trying to prepare for a new life. Julia Voth is great as the unlikable girlfriend, while Sopher Kargman as the social worker plays both sides of her role well throughout the film.

StoryThe story follows a photographer drug addict that is given the responsibility of caring for his niece after his sister is killed, forcing him to face is own personal problems or risk losing her to the foster system. This story does tackle one of the serious problems people can suffer, the denial of the problem surrounding drugs. We get to see the foster system could work when the unexpected happens. The biggest part of the story comes from seeing how friendship can help, asking for help isn’t a bad thing and learning your own mistakes is the only way to get out of the hole you have dug for yourself. The story doesn’t shy away from reality of this life, which is the important side to see.

SettingsThe film is set in a big city where we see how the drug problem has consume people, you can have unique shops and a system that wants to help people.


Scene of the Movie –
Reading the notebook.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is hard to believe social services wouldn’t do a proper check before letting a child move in.

Final ThoughtsThis is a hard hitting drama about drug abuse, new responsibilities and learning to ask for help in the darkest hour.

 

Overall: Wonderfully strong drama

Rating

 

 

The Haunting of Sharon Tate (2019)

Director: Daniel Farrands

Writer: Daniel Farrands (Screenplay)

Starring: Hilary Duff, Jonathan Bennett, Lydia Hearst, Pawel Szajda, Ryan Cargill, Bella Popa

 

Plot: Pregnant with director Roman Polanski’s child and awaiting his return from Europe, 26-year-old Hollywood actress Sharon Tate becomes plagued by visions of her imminent death.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tasteless and Exploitative

 

Story: The Haunting of Sharon Tate starts by showing us a news report of the Sharon Tate murders, along with the four guests at the house, this is one of the most famous acts of violence committed in Hollywood and made The Mansion Family famous. We flashback to three days before the events of the murders, when an 8-month pregnant Sharon Tate (Duff) returns to her Hollywood home with guests Jay Sebring (Bennett), Abigail Folger (Hearst) and Wojciech Frykowski (Szajda) to prepare for her new baby.

The next couple of nights strange things start to happen around the house, as the Mansion Family starts to visit, getting closer until they find themselves committing the acts that shocked the world, even if it was in Sharon’s dreams first.

 

Thoughts on The Haunting of Sharon Tate

 

Characters – The characters in this film are based on the real victims of the tragic and shocking crimes. Sharon Tate is an actress married to Roman Polanski expecting their first child, she heads home to prepare and soon starts suffering horrific nightmares of the friends being murdered. When we meet the friends, we don’t get to learn much about them, Wojciech is a stylist, while the rest are just friend male and friend female seemingly.

PerformancesHilary Duff, that’s a name we haven’t heard about for a while, she does struggling playing the famous young actress, the scare reaction just doesn’t feel authentic in anyway, this poor performance style continues through the supporting cast who just don’t get going in this film in anyway.

StoryThe story here follows the three days leading up to the murder of Sharon Tate and her friends by the Mansion Family. First we must respect that this is a real event which happened and we shouldn’t be making entertainment out of these events. We do play into the idea that Sharon had vision of nightmare which involved big death in her life, this was a fact, she gave interviews about her vision before too. The problem with this story comes to use the idea of Intruders coming into the home, only as this is based on the real crimes, it feels even more uncomfortable to watch because we know what really happened.

HorrorThe horror side of this film comes from the idea of where the group of people are being pestered at first by the family, it is mostly a home invasion movie, mixed with nightmare visions.

SettingsThe whole film is set in the one location, the house which the murders happen, it shows how the family can take advantage of people being away from help.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are weak be it the weak blood splatter or weird camera usages for the dream.


Scene of the Movie –
It was hard to find one.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The usage of the real murders seems too much.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor attempt of bring us a home invasion movie that is forced to use the real life murders to try and cash in on the Mansion Family actions.

 

Overall: No Haunting, Invasion we know the outcome off.

Rating