K-19 The Widowmaker (2002)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Writer: Christopher Kyle (Screenplay) Louis Nowra (Story)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Peter Saragaard,

 

Plot: When Russia’s first nuclear submarine malfunctions on its maiden voyage, the crew must race to save the ship and prevent a nuclear disaster.


Tagline – Fate has found its hero.

Runtime: 2 Hours 18 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Historical Thriller

 

Story: K-19: The Widowmaker starts in the height of the cold war between Russia and America, Russia has designed a new submarine which will contain enough nuclear weapons to destroyed the world twice over, Captain Mikhail Polenin (Neeson) must give up his leadership to strict Captain Alexei Vostrikov (Ford) who has been assigned to lead the submarine out for tests before advancing onto America.

While on the mission Alexei forces the crew through countless drills to see if they are the crew he is expecting, but when he starts pushing thing too far Mikhail starts to challenge him. The submarine then encounters problems which see the men being forced o put their differences aside to make sure they can make it home alive.

 

Thoughts on K-19: The Widowmaker

 

Characters – Captain Alexei Vostrikov is the strict captain that puts his new crew through drills at different hours of the day, he way to push the crew will bring added tension towards the crew, he demands the best and will risk the lives to make things work on the submarine. He will however risk lives when he doesn’t need believing it to be for the motherland. Captain Mikhail Polenin was the captain of this submarine, he has seen his crew struggle under the new standards and lack of ability to make the submarine to standards, he does clash with Alexei which is what is needed to help the decision making process which is important, he knows his role on this latest mission which will see his position tested between the rest of the crew. When it comes to the rest of the crew we have the normal figure that would be involved in this type of mission without anyone getting any true screen time.

PerformancesHarrison Ford and Liam Neeson bring their generic Russian accents into this film which works, it is more about their intensity which puts the two head and shoulders above the rest of the cast here.

StoryThe story here follows the events of the Russian submarine branded ‘The Widowmaker’ which saw its crew follow instruction on the mission only for things to go wrong and they must make the biggest decision of their lives. This does show us how two captains had different decisions and handling of their crew would make things tense between the crew. It does show us an historical moment in in submarine warfare that will put everyone involved, while it never gets overly involved in the main tensions of war and how countries would put underprepared crews out to sea because time is more important than safety.

History/WarThis historical event is left for many to read as they get to see just how the Russian submarine was left to be put into a massive decision that could have bought around a new World War, while we are see how they will do anything to stop the war happening, while preparing to one day start one.

SettingsThe film is set on the submarine, a closed claustrophobic position that the crew found themselves under.


Scene of the Movie –
Taking charge.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t seem to meet most of the supporting cast of this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a tense thriller such upon a submarine, it does show clash of styles between captains, only it falls short when it comes to introducing us to the supporting cast of the film.

 

Overall: Nice tense thriller.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Horror – K – Killing Ground (2016)

Director: Damien Power

Writer: Damien Power (Screenplay)

Starring: Aaron Pedersen, Ian Meadows, Harriet Dyer, Aaron Glenane, Maya Stange, Julian Garner, Tiarnie Coupland

 

Plot: A couple’s camping trip turns into a frightening ordeal when they stumble across the scene of a horrific crime.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disturbing & Suspenseful

 

Story: Killing Ground starts when couple Ian (Meadows) and Samantha (Dyer) head off for a romantic camping trip, learning they are not the only couple on the grounds they look to stay out of the others way, only to never see them return to their grounds. Scotty (Pedersen) and Tood (Glenane) are two locals of the area that come off shady, also have had run ins with the law.

We know something happened to the family in the camp next door and when Ian and Samantha find their baby wandering around the area. Soon they will be fighting for their lives against the criminal psychopaths that enjoy hunting.

 

Thoughts on Killing Ground

 

Characters – Ian is a doctor who along with his girlfriend goes on the camping trip, he knows how to survive any injuries which makes him the one that could help survive the attack because o his logical decision making process. Samantha is the girlfriend that is using the trip for a big moment only to find herself needing to fight to survive. Scotty is the one of the two which seems to be the mastermind, well leader of the two who knows how to control the situation and Tood. Tood is the loose cannon, who comes off simple minded at times and other times he comes off like the psychopath he is meant to be.

PerformancesThe performances in this film do come off real, we believe the couple Ian Meadows & Harriet Dyer with each decision they must make, we also get scared of both the Aaron’s who gives us uneasy performances through the whole film.

StoryThe story here follows three lines to start with, we have the couple heading of to their romantic camping trip, the family on their camping trip, that we know something happens to and the two men who will be committing the crime. To start with this felt annoying, I won’t lie, but soon this just builds the tension through the film as we just want to know what happens, with each twist that connection the stories becoming unsettling. We see the aftermath of what has happened over just putting us through the events, which only continues to make everything extra disturbing. This is a type of story we have seen before, though the fresh approach to this only makes this more interesting to watch even if you want to look away.

HorrorThis is easily one of the most disturbing horror films you will see, when you stop to think about anything that happens, what you end up feeling is just uneasy because of what happens off camera, with the tension only making this harder to get through.

SettingsThe film takes place in a remote camping ground which gives us the feeling of isolation, with have no phone signal and the humans might not be the only danger here, this is a perfect use of setting.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to make each moment look more horrific, they are subtle and effective.


Scene of the Movie –
When the couple plan to leave, we have a wonderful shot of Samantha walking away with somebody desperately needing help behind her.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I didn’t like the opening moments of the three stories, it does work once we are get going.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most disturbing non-graphic films I have seen, being left to imagine just what happens is even worse than watching it.

 

Overall: Unsettling and disturbing.

Rating

 

 

Naomi Watts Weekend – King Kong (2005)

Director: Peter Jackson

Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson (Screenplay) Merian C Cooper, Edgar Wallace (Story)

Starring: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks, Andy Serkis, Evan Parke, Jamie Bell

 

Plot: In 1933 New York, an overly ambitious movie producer coerces his cast and hired ship crew to travel to the mysterious Skull Island, where they encounter Kong, a giant ape who is immediately smitten with leading lady Ann Darrow.


Tagline – The eighth wonder of the world.

Runtime: 3 Hours 7 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Epic Remake

 

Story: King Kong starts when struggling actress Ann Darrow (Watts) loses her latest job in the packed city of New York, she gets lucky when she meets disgraced director Carl Denham (Black) who is rushing to find a leading lady, taking Ann for his latest film, with his screenwriter Jack Driscoll (Brody), the every man Ann wants to work with.

Escaping New York before Carl gets arrested, he sets out searching for the mysterious Skull Island, which he wants as his backdrop for his movie, a place nobody has ever set foot on. Once on the island the crew get attacked by a tribe who take Ann to feed to their feared leader King Kong.

With the crew going in search of Ann, they discover the island is crawling with animals they have never seen, with Carl continue to shoot his picture, the desire to hunt down Kong for display being the biggest attraction in New York.

 

 

Thoughts on King Kong

 

Characters – Ann Darrow is a stage actress who has ben performing in an unsuccessful show for years until her theatre gets closed down, she is getting desperate to work with famous play write, only to find herself meeting a film director working with him. Ann jumps at the chance to have a paid gig, only this becomes more than she ever bargained for, when she becomes the object of King Kong affections on Skull Island. Carl Denham is a film director whose latest film isn’t impressing his investors, he decides to run before having the whole projects plug pulled, taking his crew to an unknown island and even after the danger starts, he continues to film his evolving story. Jack Driscoll is the screenwriter that is trying to get back to his stage work, only to find that Carl has tricked him into remaining on the boat, forcing him to work on the screenplay, he starts to fall in love with Ann along the way too, willing to risk his own life to save hers. Kong is the feared ruler of Skull Island, he takes Ann as a sacrifice falling in love with the human on his island, he can fight any threat, including T-Rexes. He is the icon that we know from previous films bought to life once again.

PerformancesNaomi Watts in the role made famous by Fay Wray, brings her own stamp to the role, handling the small comic moments very well through the film too. Jack Black might not have been many people’s first choice for the director role, but he proves a lot of people wrong with his performance, which still remains one of his best. Adrien Brody proves to be a great choice too because he gets to poke fun at the Hollywood stereotypes.

StoryThe story here follows an ambitious director who takes his crew including a desperate young actress to Skull Island, a mysterious uncharted location only to find a land filled with unseen monsters including the king of the island Kong, who becomes friends with Ann the actress. This is the remake of the one of the classic films of the 1930s, it does tell the same story, only builds on everything to new levels, because back then, nobody knew how big movies were going to be, so this time we can look back at the movie building era, showing more of the conflicts between movies and theatre. The island is also much larger in scale with plenty of creatures which add to the story. we do even have small side stories which do work to fill the films lengthy 3 hour plus run time. We do get to see just how destructive the human can be to new worlds too.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is massive, edge of the seat and most importantly brilliant to watch, be it the fights between creatures, monsters and humans, right down to the New York showdown with Kong. The adventure does take us to a new world, where we haven’t seen the creatures before, or at least not this size. It shows the most dangerous side of the explorer’s journeys in the world.

SettingsThe film does use two main settings, first New York which is re-created for the time period perfectly, the second is the island which is filled with the beauty and terror you would have come to expect from an unknown location

Special EffectsThe effects are one of the biggest talking points of this film, first of all Kong looks fantastic, large amounts of the film looks brilliant, but that one chase scene will drag this down because it is such a weak point for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Kong versus the T-Rex.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The canyon chase the CGI looks awful.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the remakes that works because of the improvement in technology, it is epic in scale and manages to capture the true feeling behind what made the original such a memorable movie.

 

Overall: Stunning remake that lives up to the scale of the movie.

Rating

 

 

Killer Sofa (2019) Movie Review

Director: Bernie Rao

Writer: Bernie Rao (Screenplay)

Starring: Piimio Mei, Nathalie Morris, Jim Baltaxe, Jed Brohpy, Angelica Thomas, Stacey King, Grant Kereama

Plot: A killer reclining chair becomes enchanted by a girl and starts committing crimes of passion

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Best Killer Sofa Movie Ever

Story: Killer Sofa starts when Francesca (Mei) gets sent a recliner, a recliner with a past, it completes her apartment, while one of her stalkers has been found dismembered. Inspector Gravy (Brophy) and Inspector Rosane Grape (King) are looking into the murder, which means learning more about Francesca and her past.

When it becomes clear the sofa is trying to kill people, Francesca must find a way to stop the killing spree before it is too late.

Thoughts on Killer Sofa

Characters – Francesca is a dancer that has had problems in the past with the men in her life, most have become stalkers, with her needing to put restraining orders on them, she is left a recliner from one, as the police look into her past to see if she has a connection to the murder of one of them. Maxi is the best friend of Francesca, she supports her on a daily basis and will stand with her in her fight against the sofa. Inspector Gravy is leading the investigation into the crimes which sees him spending time with Francesca learning about her past. Rabbi Jack is Maxi’s grandfather that gets an uneasy vision from the sofa and starts trying to figure out how he could stop the evil behind it.

PerformancesThe lead in the film is Piimio Mei and she does well in the leading role, as the one being haunted by the soda, seeing her friends taken from around her. The rest of the cast are strong with what they are doing, they do know this does have elements of cheesy horror, which does work for the film.

StoryThe story here follows the unusual event surrounding a sofa that starts killing people at the woman that finds herself the main target of the evil needing to stop it before their friends get taken. This is a film that knows exactly what it wants to be, a wildly over the top story that isn’t afraid to go into the full cheesy area, which will get the story over to the level it needs to. For a horror it is a film that follows the traditions when it comes to picking off the victims one at a time, with an element of the story behind the having a supernatural feel.

HorrorThe horror side of the film does pick up like most serial killer style slashers, with one victim being alone getting picked off by the killer, in this case, the sofa, which does it look creepy throughout.

SettingsThe film uses the apartment settings to show how the sofa can move around without looking completely out of place, using the environment to help with its kills.

Special EffectsThe effects are mixed with the fact they make the sofa look terrifying being a huge plus, it is the CGI moments that look like the weakest part of the film.


Scene of the Movie – The sofa look.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The CGI moments.

Final Thoughts This is a horror comedy that understands completely what it wants to be, it will get laughable kills from a sofa that uses its how frame as a weapon.

Overall: Funny horror comedy.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – K – Kill List (2011)

Director: Ben Wheatley

Writer: Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump (Screenplay)

Starring: Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring, Harry Simpson, Michael Smiley, Emma Fryer, Struan Rodger

 

Plot: Nearly a year after a botched job, a hitman takes a new assignment with the promise of a big payoff for three killings. What starts off as an easy task soon unravels, sending the killer into the heart of darkness.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Unsettling Thriller

 

Story: Kill List starts as we meet Jay (Maskell) who is married to Shel (Buring) with a young boy Sam (Simpson), the couple are always arguing and with Jay’s best friend and business partner Gal (Smiley) coming to dinner, a job offer is placed on the table.

The job for Jay & Gal who are hitmen that have taken a back burner after a job went wrong are sent to eliminate targets for their next client which leads them down a brutal path which will only leave them in complete shock.

 

Thoughts on Kill List

 

Characters – Jay is the former hitmen that is trying to move away from the job, one year after his final job he is talked into one more job which will give him enough money to cover the financial problems his family is going through. The job starts simple enough only for it to turn him into a paranoid angry man who is taking everything personally. Shel is Jay’s wife, she is frustrated with the fact he has spent most of their money forcing him to return to the work he was meant to leave behind, always arguing with him even though it is clear the love between the two is strong. Sam is the innocent young child of the two. Gal is the partner and best friend of Jay, he is the one that tries to keep his head on his shoulders, he sees his friend losing his mind and puts him back on track for the most part.

PerformancesNeil Maskell in the leading role is great because we see how he makes us feel as unsettled as his character is meant to be through the film. Michael Smiley as the main supporting character and he helps us understand how things needed to become calm through the bad times. MyAnna Buring as the wife is good without getting that moment that standout.

StoryThe story follows two hitmen that must take one job which seems simple only to take a dramatic twist along the way. This is a story which starts out on a path which you know the two hitmen are not the nice guys and soon things just get weird with every encounter things start to play out like they have never dealt with before which only grabs the audience to want to know what will happen next to the characters. this gives us an unsettling feeling from start to finish with a conclusion that will leave you jaw-dropped in true surprise with how everything ended up. This is from director Ben Wheatley who has always managed to give his stories a unique feel, this is why people will rave over this director for years.

Crime/HorrorThis movie takes us into the crime world in which Jay and Gal operate in as hitmen, we get to see how they go about this job, conduct kills, clean ups and get on with life. The horror comes from early hints in the film before showing us the true nature to everything going on which will become horrifying,

SettingsThe film shows us the settings used by the hitmen to be everyday locations where the predators they believe they are killing operate without anyone knowing. This helps us understand the dangers of not knowing everything about our neighbours.


Scene of the Movie –
That ending.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Jay isn’t the most likeable character.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most shocking and unsettling films you will see, it has suspense throughout and an ending you will NEVER forget.

 

Overall: Suspenseful treat.

Rating