Looking Glass (2019)

Director: Tim Hunter

Writer: Jerry Rapp (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Robin Tunney, Marc Blucas, Ernie Lively, Jacque Gray, Kassia Conway

 

Plot: A couple buy a desert motel where they find that strange, mysterious events occur.


Tagline – Seeing is deceiving.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Anti-Climatic

 

Story: Looking Glass starts when Ray (Cage) and Maggie (Tunney) take over a small motel to help then get over their own loss. With Ray working on the renovations of the motel, they have a soft opening, which sees them attract their first guests.

When Ray discovers secret corridors with windows into each room, which he becomes interested in watching through, then the mysterious events start happening, starting with a pig dumped in the swimming pool.

 

Thoughts on Looking Glass

 

Characters – Ray has just purchased the motel to try and start over with his wife, he is a handy man by trade, using his time to fix up the motel. He learns about secret windows watching through them, he sees strange events happening and wants to get to the bottom of the events going on around his motel. Maggie is the wife of Ray, she is happy to move away from their past, but struggles to trust Ray after his own past. Howard is the local sheriff that keeps visiting searching for the former owner, he is overly friendly too often for the couple. Tommy is a regular that uses the motel for his liaisons while on the road.

PerformancesNicolas Cage is having one of his weaker performances here, he just doesn’t make his character feel like it is one of the own Cage like ones. Robin Tunney does a solid job in the supporting role, as does Marc Blucas and Ernie Lively.

StoryThe story follows a couple that take over a motel only to start dealing with strange events surrounding something that happened before they got there. The story starts off feeling like a mystery about what once happened here which is interesting enough right, well it soon takes a turn down a path where seemingly nothing actually happens here, a woman goes missing, Ray becomes a peeping Tom and a nosey cop gets too involved with the motel, this story seems like a bad soap opera episode because it seems like we get a starting thread of a story only for it to go no where. We seem to just end the story without any real twists or investigations going on, it just felt like a bunch of random stuff happening.

MysteryThe mystery is presented, only we don’t spend any time watching what happens which only ends up leading us rather flat about what we have just watched.

SettingsThe film is mostly set at the motel which shows how you will never know what could happen in a motel.


Scene of the Movie –
The meeting in the desert.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Did you do it, did I do what? This scene lasts an awkward two minutes, it felt like a lifetime.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that ended up going in no particular direction and ends up feeling like just a bunch of stuff happens, instead of a storyline.

 

Overall: Messy, directionless and empty.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – L – Life (2015)

Director: Anton Corbijn

Writer: Luke Davies (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Dane DeHaan, Peter Lucas, Lauren Gallagher, Alessandra Mastronardi, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley

 

Plot: A photographer for Life Magazine is assigned to shoot pictures of James Dean.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Look at the Hollywood Life

 

Story: Life starts as Dennis Stock (Pattinson) enters a party where fresh face actor James Dean (DeHaan) is away from the crowd which grabs the attention of Dennis who believes he can make James a star with a report in Life Magazine.

As Dennis looks to learn more about James he starts to put his career on the line as his boss John Morris (Edgerton) calls off the job unless James starts playing along because his attitude shows him distant from the rest of the Hollywood community as he is waiting to hear if he can get the role in Rebel Without a Cause. The two become friends and Dennis gets to look behind the curtain of the life of James Dean before he became the big star.

 

Thoughts on Life

 

Characters – James Dean is one of the most iconic actors of all time, taken too soon but seeing this we learn about the time before East of Eden was released as we focus on whether the film would make him the star, he comes off very isolated and not ready for the spotlight. Dennis is a young photographer looking to make a name for himself at Life Magazine where he is granted set access unlike many other reporters, he wants to be the man to get the first big story on James before he hits the big time but has his own life problems to deal with.

PerformanceRobert Pattinson and Dane DeHaan are both brilliant in this movie, they show that the two could be giving heavyweight performances for years to come.

StoryA film about Hollywood is not always the most interesting, focusing on a small part of an iconic actors life could also become a stumbling block, we do have mostly conversation about what the two men would like from this one article and see just how humble at times James Dean was. This won’t be for everyone because it does come off slow at times but is still interesting.

BiographyThis small snippet into James Dean’s life before super stardom is interesting because we could see this in many actors now and understand who they really are.

SettingsWe see how James Dean didn’t like the famous settings around a Hollywood stardom and this reflects in everything we have seen for the settings in this movie.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does feel slow in places.

Final ThoughtsWonderfully acted look at one of the talents Hollywood lost to early.

 

Overall: Must watch for fans of Hollywood stories.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – L – Lake Placid 3 (2010)

Director: Griff Furst

Writer: David Reed (Screenplay)

Starring: Colin Ferguson, Yancy Butler, Kirsty Mitchell, Kacey Clarke, Jordan Grehs, Michael Ironside

 

Plot: Killer crocodiles and their offspring terrorize residents of a small community.


Tagline – Don’t forget you’re lunch!

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Awful Sequel

 

Story: Lake Placid 3 starts with the Bickerman’s cleaning out the estranged Aunt’s house, Nathan (Ferguson) a scientist performing research in the area, his real-estate wife Susan (Mitchell) and their son Connor (Grehs) who ends up taking up the same hobby of feeding the baby crocodiles in the lake.

2 years later the crocodiles have grow and now they are extra hungry looking for more prey, bigger prey starting with the elk before getting a taste for human flesh, Nathan must reluctantly work with hunter Reba (Butler) to eliminate the threat to the area.

 

Thoughts on Lake Placid 3

 

Characters – Nathan Bickerman is a researcher studying the elk in the area, he has seen the numbers crumble and believes at first it is hunters, once he learns the truth he must destroy the crocodiles and save his family as well as the town. Reba is the mysterious bad ass hunter that breaks the rules for hunting, she leads a group into the woods including a young man searching for his girlfriend. Susan is the wife of Nathan’s she is a real-estate agent in the area and tends to do most of the parenting towards their son. Ellie is the college student on a weekend away that is the motivation for Brett to be on the trip.

PerformancesColin Ferguson in the leading role is ok you don’t believe most of what he is doing and this is going to be the problem for most of the performances, you just can’t see them having any sort of interaction with the crocodiles, the screaming is just there and the only performance worth watching is the bad ass hunter in Yancy Butler though this is more a hunter with an attitude.

StoryThe story here is very simple, we have a stupid kid feeding baby crocodiles for two years when all of a sudden they need larger amounts of food which brings them to land to pick off the random people they find. For the most part we have the stupid character decision going on as well as awful editing choices which cover up the best parts of the movie, the actual attacks. We don’t have any redeemable characters. for a creature feature we do like to care about at least one of the characters as the crocodiles are meant to be the evil in the story, though they are just looking to hunt. For a creature feature this does fall flat because of the weakness being shown in the film.

Action/Comedy/HorrorThe action is mostly trying to run away from the crocodiles or defending themselves with whatever weapons they can find, it is claimed to be a comedy though you will only laugh at the deaths or the acting, where as the horror in the film is the creature feature side of things which don’t get scary.

SettingsWe are setting in a lake side town which has the locals who believe they know everything while they get picked off one by one, it is filled with the land that you could expect a predator to enjoy.

Special EffectsThe crocodiles CGI special effects are awful and you tell this is a knock off sequel to a good original.


Scene of the Movie –
Topping up the crocodile.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just kids.

Final ThoughtsThis is the third and the worst chapter so far in this franchise of films, it has no humour, awful effects and basic characters.

 

Overall: Sequel you can avoid.

Rating

 

 

Lowlife (2017)

Director: Ryan Prows

Writer: Tim Cairo, Jake Gibson, Shaye Ogbonna, Ryan Prows, Maxwell Michael Towson (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicki Micheaux, Ricardo Adam Zarate, Jon Oswald, Shaye Ogbonna, Santana Dempsey, Mark Burnham, Jose Rosete

 

Plot: The sordid lives of an addict, an ex-con, and a luchador collide when an organ harvesting caper goes very, very wrong.


Tagline – Blessed Are The Meek

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Connected Crime Comedy

 

Story: Lowlife starts as we see the organ harvesting business going on in LA, being run by Teddy ‘Bear’ Haynes (Burnham), one of his loyal employees is known as El Monstruo (Zarate) a luchador that goes around solving problems, he seems to black out on just what happens, which usually sees somebody else die.

We meet Crystal (Micheaux) who runs the small motel which is filled with the illegal immigrates and is facing a big decision regarding her husband. The final character we meet is Randy (Oswald), just out of prison with a swastika tattooed on his face, the four will cross paths and just where they will end up going for what they want is up in the air.

 

Thoughts on Lowlife

 

Characters – Crystal runs a small motel with her husband, she has to give up her daughter at a younger age, when her husband becomes ill, the local crime boss claims to have a solution with her daughter wanting to help, when she learns the truth she wants her own revenge on Teddy. El Monstruo is a luchador who has always lived in his father’s shadows, he can have moments where he blacks out where violence happens. He wants to protect his wife and keep his family’s legacy going. Randy is the recently released prisoner who has gotten tattoo of a swastika on his face, he will reluctantly help his friend deal with his dangerous situation. Kaylee is the pregnant wife of El Monstruo that becomes the target of everything the events in the film.

PerformancesWe have four main stories, with four different characters, each different and each performer makes their performance stand out for their roles in the film. nobody is better than anybody else and the chemistry between the cast feels genuine.

StoryThe story follows the four different people’s lives that intertwine in the course of one day, we have illegal body harvesting, kidnapping and a luchador that will smash any problems coming his way. We do get introduced to each character through chapters which does take time at certain times, but does give each character to develop the motives behind their actions. This does mean we head down certain directions, which include the opening sequence that doesn’t seem to get bought up in the way it is played out again, which does disappoint because it felt like a truly dark world being created. The story has the Tarantino style we have become used to which is always an entertaining watch.

Comedy/Crime The comedy plays into how the characters fit into the world, they are in the crime world too which sees them meet unlikely funny moments in the film.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which shows that not everything is the glitz and glamour that we know it can be.


Scene of the Movie –
First El Monstruo story.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t dive into the world from the opening sequence enough.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weird and funny, crime comedy that takes us into a n unique world that is filled with colourful characters.

 

Overall: Funny Crime Comedy

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Legend of Zorro (2005)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman (Screenplay) Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio (Story)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rufus Sewell, Nick Chinlund, Adrian Alonso

 

Plot: Despite trying to keep his swashbuckling to a minimum, a threat to California’s pending statehood causes the adventure-loving Alejandro de la Vega (Banderas) — and his wife, Elena (Zeta-Jones) — to take action.


Tagline – This Fall, adventure begins with a Z.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Become a Parody of Itself

 

Story: The Legend of Zorro starts as Don Alejandro (Banderas) is still riding under the mask of Zorro, his wife Elena (Zeta-Jones) wants him to retire the mask and be the father to their son Joaquin (Alonso), with his desire to continue to help California prepare for the statehood, has put a strain on their relationship.

When the two go through a divorce, Elena starts dating Armand (Sewell) from Spain looking to make a vineyard only he has other plans which only Zorro could stop.

 

Thoughts on The Legend of Zorro

 

Characters – Alejandro is Zorro, he has been working on trying to retire, but America needs him, he is left with a hard choice on whether to protect the land or be there for his father. He choices wrong and ends up falling back in the same circle he once did, before needing to put the mask on again to save California. Elena is the wife of Alejandro that wants him to give up the life, when he doesn’t, she divorces him to go under cover with an old family friend that has moved to the area, who has his own ideas. For some reason this character goes in a different direction from the stronger figure we met in the first film. Armand has moved to California to open a vineyard, he has stolen Elena from Alejandro and now he has bigger plans for America, which brings Zorro out of his retirement.

PerformancesAntonio Banderas has all the right parts to make this character legendary, he just struggles to make the impact we know he can this time, this follows Catherine Zeta-Jones who disappoints too as we know she could lead the film with ease. Rufus Sewell does a solid enough job in the villainous role, though he never makes his character feel like a threat.

StoryThe story takes place 10 years after the first movie, this does work for the film because it takes us to a time where the couple have a child and must decide what to do (following in the Mummy’s footsteps here) with their future adventures. The decision-making process shows us just how important the figure of Zorro has become to the people and just how difficult walking away from it would be for the city. The problem comes with the tone of the story which seems to just spend more time watching the couple bicker it just takes everything out of the life of the story.

Action/Adventure/RomanceThe action continues to bring us the sword swing fights we are used to seeing from the Zorro character, with a stronger final chase, this doesn’t seem to offer much new to the western action genre, with the adventure that we go on, never seeming like it will go anywhere new for the characters. the romance is the most annoying part of the film because it just focuses on the bickering between the characters.

SettingsThe film is set in the early stages of California which never looks out of place for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Train chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The bickering.

Final ThoughtsThis is not on the same level as the previous film, it feels like it wants to be taken seriously, only for it to become somewhat of a parody of itself.

 

Overall: Disappointing sequel.

Rating