Franchise Weekend – House of 1000 Corpses (2003) Movie Review

Director: Rob Zombie

Writer: Rob Zombie (Screenplay)

Starring: Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon, Karen Black, Walton Goggins, Rainn Wilson, Chris Hardwick, Jennifer Jostyn, Erin Daniels

Plot: Two young couples traveling across the backwoods of Texas searching for urban legends of murder end up as prisoners of a bizarre and sadistic backwater family of serial killers.

Tagline – Dare You Enter…

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: This Really Is Messy

Story: House of 1000 Corpses starts when four friends Jerry (Hardwick), Mary (Jostyn), Bill (Wilson) and Denise (Daniels) go on tour of at Captain Spaulding (Haig) house of horrors and learning about mysterious tree, they go off in search in a storm, picking up a hitchhiker Baby Firefly (Moon), they find a place to stay, right around when the news is reporting about missing teenagers.

The four friends find themselves being the latest victims of the Firefly family with Otis (Moseley) willing to do anything to get his pleasure for pain, their only hope is that Denise’s father comes looking for them after they didn’t arrive at his house the night before.

Thoughts on House of 1000 Corpses

Characters – Captain Spaulding is the one that has his own house of horrors that he encourages tourists to look around, he knows the legends of the area, which is why he knows how to get the curiosity of the people to want to go in search for the legends about his house. Otis is the leader of the firefly house, he will talk the most, do the most torturous treatment of their victims. Baby Firefly is the one that brings people back to the house, the youngest member of the family that is just getting started in her ways compared to the rest. Mother Firefly is always looking for a younger man to play with before they murder.

PerformancesSid Haig does bring his character to life to be one of the very few highlights in this film, while Bill Moseley knows that he needed to make this character over the top, while the victims are generic performances, they are fine, but the rest of the cast struggles to work with the awful material.

StoryThe story here follows four friends that find themselves being the latest victims of the sadistic firefly family that like to torture, mutuality and kill their victims. The biggest problem with this story is that we cut away way too many times, it always looks like we are going into watch a torture filled horror story, which isn’t everyone cup of tea, but if we had stuck to this idea, we could have had a good story. The problems involve countless city away scenes of just random footage of violence happening to people, rather than having any context towards them. This story is mess and never makes you care about the victims, while not making the villains people you want to see either, making most shots of the film hard to care about.

HorrorThe horror in the film is meant to be focused on the different levels of violence that could be given to the victims, it is more for shock than making any sense.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the one house/ranch like environment where the family can do what they want without anybody coming to disturb them.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to show the violence, though most gets covered over with random slips of something else happening.

Scene of the Movie – Captain Spaulding’s tour.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The random cut clips that make no sense.

Final Thoughts This is a truly messy horror that misses on every mark, leaving it look and feeling like something you would forget within a hour of finishing it.

Overall: Poor and messy.

Hold the Dark (2018) Movie Review

Director: Jeremy Saulnier

Writer: Macon Blair (Screenplay) William Giraldi (Novel)

Starring: Jeffrey Wright, Alexander Skarsgard, Riley Keough, James Badge Dale

Plot: After the deaths of three children suspected to be killed by wolves, writer Russell Core is hired by the mother of a missing six-year-old boy to track down and locate her son in the Alaskan wilderness.

Runtime: 2 Hour 5 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Messy and Confusing

Story: Hold the Dark starts when a young boy becomes the latest victim of the wolves surrounding an Alaskan town, his mother Medora (Keough) writes to a hunter an author Russell Core (Wright) in hope that he will come and destroy the wolf that took her child.

When Russell heads out into the darkness that covers Alaska, he sees the wolfpack and believes he sees another child taken by the wolves, leaving him to deal with the police who were waiting for any suspect to fall into their laps and after Vernon (Skarsgard) returns from Iraq, he looks to get revenge on the wolves that took his son, only there is a biggest conspiracy being covered up here.

Thoughts on Hold the Dark

Characters – Russell Core is an author and wolf expert that gets called to help hunt down the wolf which has been killing the children of the local area, only to discover a much bigger problem going on in the town. Vernon is the solider that has returned from war to find his son dead, he wants to work getting revenge on the responsible one. Medora is the woman that calls in for the help, while we also meet cops that are looking to get to the bottom of the killings.

PerformancesThis is a film where you don’t want to say anything bad about the performances, because it is more of how the movie is made that makes anything bad, Jeffrey Wright does make his character feel distant, while Alexander Skarsgard does show the grief, otherwise nobody gets to do anything more.

StoryThe story here follows an author that is called to look into a string of deaths involving children and wolves and soon finds himself in the middle of something much deadlier. Well I think this was the story, it isn’t shot very well to show the story unfolding, it seems like there is a lot more going on, but it didn’t give us enough information, looking to create a more shock filled moment with plenty of blood over creating an idea to what is going on.

Horror/MysteryThe horror does come from seeing how people are reacting to losing their children, which shows the panic, only for the mystery to try and take over, without giving us enough to work on as an audience member.

SettingsAlaska should be a wonderful setting, it does show the darkness that would be felt there at certain times of the year, but doesn’t take us into the environment enough.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to show the injuries the people suffer, with the shootout being the one scene with the most going on within it.

Scene of the Movie – Shootout.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Hard to follow.

Final Thoughts This is a disappointing outing from a director that has usually done wonderful things, it is slow, confusing and messy to keep up with.

Overall: Disappointing throughout.

Hard Kill (2020) Movie Review

Director: Matt Eskandari

Writer: Nikolai From, Clayton Haugen, Chris LaMont, Joe Russo (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Jesse Metcalfe, Sergio Rizzuto, Tyler Jon Olson, Natalie Eva Marie, Texas Battle, Lala Kent

Plot: The work of billionaire tech CEO Donovan Chalmers is so valuable that he hires mercenaries to protect it, and a terrorist group kidnaps his daughter just to get it.

Tagline – Take on a Madman. Save the World.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Action 101

Story: Hard Kill starts when a group of mercenaries led by Miller (Netcalfe), Sasha (Marie), Dash (Temmel) and Harrison are recruited by Fox (Battle) to provide a defence for billionaire Chalmers (Willis) whose technology has gotten into the hands of dangerous terrorist The Pardoner (Rizzuto) who has already shown the damage it can cause.

The Pardoner has taken Chalmers daughter Ana (Kent), he has arranged a meeting, which is why he has hired the team, who are outgunned, outnumbered and under prepared for a battle against a known terrorist, they must use their skills to make it out alive.

Thoughts on Hard Kill

Characters – Miller is the leader of the unit of mercenaries, he is known for his loyalty to his team, getting the job done and for having history with the Pardoner, he talks his team into this one big pay day with one rule, he knows everything going on. Strong leader, tough in battle, he knows how to stay ahead of the game. Chalmers is the ex-soldier turned tech billionaire whose latest creation can have devasting consequences, it is in the hands of terrorists, only he has the code, while they have his daughter, he hires the team to get his daughter back and protect him. The Pardoner is a known terrorist that has been waiting for his chance to bring in his vision of a new world order, he has Ava and will use her to make a deal to get the passcode to give him ability for destruction. We do have the rest of Miller’s team, which fill the military side of the film, Fox being the middle man between Miller and Chalmers, along with Ava the daughter of Chalmers who is the visionary behind the device that was designed for good.

PerformancesBruce Willis is back in another low budget action film, while he does do better than most of the more recent ones, he never hits the levels we know he can. Jesse Metcalfe handles most of the heavy lifting in this film, showing the leadership skills and military character well. Sergio Rizzuto does get some strong scenes as the villain, he will get to feel like a threat, only we don’t get to see enough of combat threat.

StoryThe story here gets to see a group of mercenaries that as hired to protect a tech billionaire and retrieve his daughter from known deadly terrorist. The story can be broken down to be simple enough, terrorist wants information to show their true threat to the world, which will involved a military team needing to go against the odds to defeat them, with a couple of twists thrown in along the way. The idea of some form of technology that could change the world for the better, being turned into a weapon is what we know well and is used too often. This doesn’t re-invent the wheel, keeping things simple and entertainment.

ActionThe action is in the film is by the book, with gun shots flying around and military takedowns, not always shot the best way though.

SettingsThe film is set in an abandoned warehouse, it is a tactical nightmare, it keeps the action contained, with the job being keep someone safe in the location, while people are trying to get in.

Scene of the Movie – The unit meet and great.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing fresh in action.

Final Thoughts This is a by the book action film that can be enjoyed later at night, it is one of Willis’ better recent pile of action films, but still nowhere near his very best.

Overall: Late Night Action 101.

Hard Kill will be available for Digital Download from 14th September

Will Smith Weekend – Hitch (2005) Movie Review

Director: Andy Tennant

Writer: Kevin Bisch (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin James, Amber Valletta, Julie Ann Emery, Adam Arkin, Robinne Lee

Plot: While helping his latest client woo the woman of his dreams, a professional “date doctor” finds that his game doesn’t quite work on the gossip columnist with whom he’s smitten.

Tagline – The cure for the common man.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Will Smith at His Best

Story: Hitch starts as we meet Alex ‘Hitch’ Hitchens (Smith) who has a private business of helping men get the women they want, he coaches from into making the right moves to get through the first three dates, his job is word of mouth though outside of the business, he is a womanizer that was a late bloomer.

Hitch’s latest client is Albert (James) a clumsy accountant who wants to date heiress Allegra (Valletta) who barely knows he exists, he sees this as his biggest challenge. Hitch does find himself meeting a gossip columnist Sara (Mendes) who hasn’t been look for a relationship because of her career and suddenly Hitch can’t talk the smooth way he has always done before.

Thoughts on Hitch

Characters – Alex ‘Hitch’ Hitchens is a date doctor, he helps men around Chicago become themselves around the women they want to date, he only helps the ones that want to find love, anything else, he walks away from anyone looking for a quick night of sex. He has an amazing success rate, where he just brings out the confidence in people helps, until he meets Sara, a woman that he can’t show the confidence around. Sara is a gossip columnist that has always put her career before love, she meets Hitch and falls for his charms, while trying to crack a new story that just so happens to include one of Hitch’s clients. She has always wanted to find the date doctor never knowing nothing about the process. Albert is the latest client that has set his sights high and has only pure love, he is clumsy, nervous and doesn’t have a clue how to talk to women, something Hitch teaches him. Allegra Cole is the heiress that has recently broken up with her latest boyfriend, she is the person Albert wants to fall in love with and with her life always being guarding, she doesn’t always get to meet people outside the players, which is why she sees the good in Albert.

PerformancesWill Smith is at his confident best here, this plays into everything we know Will Smith as, nobody else could have pulled this role off. Eva Mendes is great in her role too, showing the confident career driven woman who is finally getting broken down with love. Kevin James might have a couple a silly moments, though it works in the small amounts this film gives him to do, while Amber Valletta plays the role of heiress with ease.

StoryThe story here follows a date doctor who has help many men fall in love, who finds love himself and can’t be the confident man he has made his clients. This story does show how one man has made a career out of helping men find confidence, not offering a one night stand business, offering a love business, he gives all the tips to put them in the right direction, only he can’t follow his own instructions and learns about how love really works. We do get the message about how some people can’t always be themselves without a little bit of confidence put in their own mind and how there will always be the bad eggs in the love circle. We get the strongest message about love, with laughs along the way, showing how love can make you do the strangest things in life.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy works very well, we get a mix of situational and slapstick, which isn’t too heavy handed, while the romance is front and centre, showing us just how love can change anybody.

SettingsThe film is set in Chicago, which shows how many people are around who might never notice each other, while love could be staring them straight in the face.

Scene of the Movie – Speed Dating.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Vance, though he is meant to.

Final Thoughts This is a delightful romantic comedy that does show how difficult love can be, how magical it can be and just what people will do just for a chance.

Overall: Delightful.

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – H – Hodja Fra Pjort (2018) Movie Review

Director: Karsten Kiilerich

Writer: Karsten Kiilerich, Vicki Berlin (Screenplay) Ole Lund Kirkegaard (Novel)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Vibeke Dueholm, Peter Frodin, Erik Holmey Rebecca Ronde Kiilerich, Sonny Lahey, Thure Lindhardt

Plot: Hodja is a boy from Pjort, who borrows a flying carpet to see the world. In return he has to find and return “diamond” to her grandfather. The all-eating Sultan wants to get his hands on Hodjas flying carpet.

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Family Film

Story: Up and Away starts as small village boy Hodja and his goat dream of travelling the land, only for his father to want him to follow in his trade as a tailor. Hodja is given an opportunity to leave, when his neighbour gives him a flying carpet to take him to the big city to find a neighbour’s diamond.

When the carpet is stolen from Hodja, it is given to the greedy Sultan who has been waiting for a flying carpet for years, Hodja must team up with local girl Esmeralda to retrieve the carpet and escape the city alive.

Thoughts on Up and Away

Characters – Hodja is a village boy that dreams of being able to go on adventures, he gets this wish, when his neighbour offers him a flying carpet to search for his granddaughter, Hodja new to the city make the typical mistakes around the city, but will show the passion to bring a fresh approach to the greed the Sultan has. Esmeralda is a streetwise girl that Hodja meets, she helps him navigate the city and to get the carpet back, even though she has suffered at the hands of the Sultan. The Sultan is the rich ruler of the city, he eats the food, takes what he wants despite being a dumb person, he wants the carpet so he can fly and anyone that crosses him will get fed to his crocodiles.

StoryThe story follows a young boy that gets to go on an adventure of a life time to try and find the granddaughter of one of his neighbours, he travels to a big city where this could become possible and must learn quickly when it comes to dealing with the all powerful Sultan. This does fall into the typical reluctant hero style film, with Hodja getting to fight for the right thing. We do fall into the of just going through a pretty generic, safe storyline, one that the family could all enjoy, with moments of peril that never feel like they would be true, with the right level of humour to make everybody get something out of this story.

SettingsThe film creates the powerful looking city of gold for the Sultan to live in with the rest of the city, living in the poorer areas of the city, showing the divide between rich and poor.

AnimationThe animation does feel slightly clunky at times, but it is used to show a different technology than we are used to from the Western studios.

Scene of the Movie – Sultan’s carpet ride.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Slightly too generic.

Final Thoughts This is an easy to watch family film that gets laughs, has a strong meaning behind the actions and will not show too much peril for the younger audience.

Overall: Enjoyable Family Film.