ABC Film Challenge – Horror – M – Mongolian Death Worm (2010)

Director: Steven R Monroe

Writer: Neil Elman, Kevin Leeson, Steven R Monroe (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Victoria Pratt, George Cheung, Drew Waters, Matthew Tompkins, Nate Rubin

 

Plot: When an American oil company sets up an experimental drilling plant out in the vast deserts of Mongolia, they awaken a nest. The deadly creatures begin to breed and spread, devouring everyone in their path.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: ABC Creature Feature

 

Story: Mongolian Death Worm starts as the American Drilling company in Mongolia (where else could this film be set with this title) have disturbed a creature below the surfaces that the locals believe is a myth that will come and take people. We also have a treasure hunter Daniel (Flanery) that has never made himself popular with the locals apart from the Sheriff Timur (Cheung). To increase the stakes, we also have a village with an outbreak of a virus that the charity HOPE and Dr Alicia (Pratt) are trying to cure must pay Daniel to take them to the village.

When the myth turns out to be true everyone must put aside their differences to fight to survive from the Mongolian Death Worms that are growing in numbers through the desert.

 

Thoughts on Mongolian Death Worm

 

Characters – Daniel is a treasure hunter searching for the burial grounds of Genghis Khan but has made his own enemies in the land but also knows how to handle himself, he isn’t the kindest of people always doing things for money over the right reasons, Alicia is a doctor that has been helping the locals of Mongolia with a virus outbreak and she is willing to die to save these people. Timur is the sheriff that is one of the few people that enjoys the company of Daniel and understands that he is harmless at heart.

PerformanceSean Patrick Flanery does seem to have fallen from the graces where he was about to make it to the big time but he is the star of this show. Victoria Pratt is fine in the supporting role with the brains and beauty needed for the film and George Cheung gives us the laughs when needed.

StoryThe story does mix myth with legend when it comes to dealing with new inhabitants to a land that must face the idea that a myth isn’t just a myth and must work together to defeat a creature in this case a Mongolian Death Worm. This is an easy to watch story as it is mostly a group of people needing to battle an unknown enemy before they take over the local area.

Action/HorrorThe action is mostly chases through the film which works when it comes to the enemies the people are facing with the horror side of the movie all coming from the creature feature idea which is always a lot of fun to watch.

SettingsThe film is set in Mongolia but this looks like it could be anywhere in the USA or anywhere that has dirt roads.

Special EffectsThe effects are better than I was expecting but still within the budget of a TV movie.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The film could have been filmed in any location it wouldn’t have made a difference.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple creature feature that is a lot better than what I was expecting without being one of the best creature features you will see, I do think the fact it isn’t laughably bad does hinder it though.

 

Overall: Solid creature feature.

Rating

 

 

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Kate Winslet Weekend – The Mountain Between Us (2017)

Director: Hany Abu-Assad

Writer: Chris Weitz, J Mills Goodloe (Screenplay) Charles Martin (Book)

Starring: Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, Beau Bridges, Dermot Mulroney, Linda Sorensen, Vincent Gale

 

Plot: Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow-covered mountain. When they realize help is not coming, they embark on a perilous journey across the wilderness.


Tagline – What if your life depended on a stranger?

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Performances, Over Dramatic Story

 

Story: The Mountain Between Us starts when Ben (Elba) and Alex (Winslet) are trying desperately to get home, but a storm has put a hold on those plans with the planes delayed for the day. The two make a deal to let pilot Walter (Bridges) fly them home, but mid-flight he suffers a stroke and the plane crash lands in the snow-covered mountain range.

Ben and Alex survive the crash and must learn to work together to survive against the harsh weather conditions and nature hidden in the mountains or face certain death.

 

Thoughts on The Mountain Between Us

 

Characters – Ben Bass is a surgeon, he needs to get back to New York to perform an operation, when the crash happens, he focuses on aiming to stay at the crash site believing he will get rescued, reluctant to follow Alex’s idea to find their own way out. His skills as a doctor are key to survive this one. Alex is a photographer heading home for her wedding, she does get hurt in the crash and wants to go in search of help rather than wait. These two are professionals that make decisions based on logic over panic which is why even if they are opposite, their discussions make sense.

PerformancesIdris Elba and Kate Winslet are the only ones that get any major screen time, they are both great in this film as we see them both playing to their strengths.

StoryThe story here follows two strangers who are involved in a plane crash in a mountain range and must put their differences a side to survive while searching and hoping for rescue. This is a survival movie at heart with a weak romance movie on the side, we go through the normal can they survive situations, each one becoming deadlier as they go along and leaving us guessing how rather than if they will get rescued, it seems to clear to say that they won’t make it because of it only being a two person. The fact that the dog is the most interesting character doesn’t help us out here and the timing we go through just seems weak when it comes to telling us how long they have been there, we get the odd scene, but learn nothing about moments inbetween.

Action/Adventure/RomanceThe action comes from the scene in which the plane crashed, it is shot well but is the only one we see. The adventure side of the film shows us just what the two must go through to survive their ordeal. The romance between them seems to just get tagged in for no particular reasons.

SettingsThe film puts us in the middle of nowhere in a mountain range, it looks stunning with views from the top, the biggest problem with the setting is we just don’t get the full scale of the situation.


Scene of the Movie –
The crash scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not explaining the time period there are lost for.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard movie with a simple story that gets everything it needs to in the film without being anything overly memorable.

 

Overall: Standard and safe.

Rating

 

 

Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)

Director: John Carpenter

Writer: Robert Collector, Dana Olsen, William Goldman (Screenplay) H.F. Saint (Book)

Starring: Chevy Chase, Daryl Hannah, Sam Neill, Michael McKean, Stephen Tobolowsky, Jim Norton

 

Plot: After a freak accident, a yuppie turns invisible and runs from a treacherous CIA official, while trying to cope with his new life.


Tagline – Women want him for his wit. The C.I.A. wants him for his body. All Nick wants is his molecules back.

Runtime: 1 hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Invisible Comedy

 

Story: Memoirs of an Invisible Man starts when a cocky businessman Nick Halloway (Chase) tires to catch a nap during a busy meeting, that he has no interest in, he finds himself caught in the middle of an experiment gone wrong, by being turned invisible. This brings CIA agent David Jenkins (Neill) in to investigate, with Nick becoming a wanted man, only he can’t ask for help because even he doesn’t understand why he is invisible, he tries the people he trusts in hopes of finding out the way to reverse what has happened to him.

 

Thoughts on Memoirs of an Invisible Man

 

Characters – Nick Halloway is a fast-talking businessman that has been getting away with slacking through his job for years now, after another session on the drinks, he looks to skive off, only to get caught in the middle of an experiment which turns him invisible, Nick must figure out who he can trust to help him after the CIA look to hunt him down to use him for their own benefit. He isn’t the most interesting character, he doesn’t come off as funny as it seems he should be either. Alice is the new woman that comes into Nick’s life, she is the one he turns to for help as she is prepared to listen to his story over most other people. David Jenkins is the man hunting down Nick, he is a CIA agent that will do whatever it takes to add to the security of the country, seeing Nick as the next generation of secret agent.

PerformancesChevy Chase does feel slightly mis-cast in this role, he doesn’t seem to handle the comedy on the level it is meant to be coming from his character. Daryl Hannah does all she needs to as the love interest, she doesn’t need to do much either. Sam Neill is highlight of the performances with just how he handles the evil agent.

StoryThe story follows a man that gets turn invisible in a mysterious event, seeing him being chased down by the government while he tries to figure out how to get out of his situation. This is an interesting spin on the invisible man story, it does try to make the story a comedy which is where the story falls short, because it is an unlikable character that gets turn invisible rather than somebody whose experiment going wrong. Nick doesn’t just anything to help himself, which disappoints, it does feel kind of cheesy and by the end you will feel like not everything is answered.

Comedy/Sci-FiThe comedy misses more often than hitting, it just doesn’t seem smooth. The sci-fi elements don’t get bought to the front with incident happening and that being it.

SettingsThe film is set in San Francisco which does always make for a solid back drop for any movie.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do feel great for the time with certain moments, the make-up shot is the highlight because of camera angle.


Scene of the Movie –
Let’s try make up.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The comedy.

Final ThoughtsThis is a comedy that does miss a lot of the jokes and ends up feeling flatter than it should have been.

 

Overall: Disappointing comedy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – M – Man Down (2015)

Director: Dito Montiel

Writer: Adam G Simon, Dito Montiel (Screenplay) Adam G Simon (Story)

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Jai Courtney, Gary Oldman, Kate Mara, Tory Kittles, Clifton Collins Jr

 

Plot: In a post-apocalyptic America, former U.S. Marine Gabriel Drummer searches desperately for the whereabouts of his son, accompanied by his best friend and a survivor.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Confusing at Times

 

Story: Man Down starts in a post-apocalyptic America as we follow Gabriel Drummer (LaBeouf) and his best friend Devin Roberts (Courtney) searching for Gabriel’s son, we flash back to his marine training through his conversations with Counsellor Peyton (Oldman).

Through the film we learn how Gabriel handled himself in war when he lives his wife Natalie (Mara) and child Johnathan back in America, how he is prepared for this post-apocalyptic world that America is now and how far he would go to get his son back.

 

Thoughts on Man Down

 

Characters – Gabriel is a marine that believed he was fighting for the right thing but when the war came to America when he was away, he must search the destruction in hope of finding his son. Devin is the best friend and marine to Gabriel, he supports him through his missions and search for his son. Counsellor Peyton is the man learning about the mission that went wrong, as we learn that his mindset might not be as clean as we are led to believe.

PerformancesShia LaBeouf is good in this leading role showing a range we have questioned before. Jai Courtney is good in the supporting role showing us there is talent with the right material. Gary Oldman is great and that is how we like him calm and collective.

StoryThe story is told in four parts, as we follow Gabriel in his home life, war time, meetings with a counsellor and in the post-apocalyptic time, these timelines only confuse the story telling process as by the end of it we will find ourselves wondering just what actually happened to these men, what is real and what is not. By the end you will understand what happened but it does make certain parts feeling random, but the true message is important.

ThrillerThe thrilling side of the film does feel slow in places, it shows us certain moments only to make a complete switch in the final act.

SettingsThe settings do help keep us in the different location for each moment of the story, we can identify with each part of the story we are watching too.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act, and how it is shot is beautiful.

That Moment That Annoyed Me A lot of what we see is not as important.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard movie for the most part, it starts being confusing for the first hour but when it unfolds you will be taken back where this movie goes.


Overall: Slow and confusing nearly saved by a wonderful final act.

Rating

 

 

Mr Holmes (2015)

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Jeffrey Hatcher (Screenplay) Mitch Cullin (Novel)

Starring: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hattie Morahan, Patrick Kennedy, Roger Allam

 

Plot: An aged, retired Sherlock Holmes deals with early dementia, as he tries to remember his final case, and a mysterious woman, whose memory haunts him. He also befriends a fan, the young son of his housekeeper, who wants him to work again.


Tagline – The man behind the myth

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice, but Slow Drama

 

Story: Mr Holmes starts as we follow Sherlock Holmes (McKellen) as he heads to the country to retire, his housekeeper Mrs Munro (Linney) and her son Roger (Parker) that he takes under his wing to work with his bees. Sherlock is in the middle of writing a story about his last case after Watson had left him, as well as remember his time in Japan with Tamiki (Sanada).

As the story continues we learn that Sherlock’s memory is going and he wants to erase the misconception of his character that Watson has created.

 

Thoughts on Mr Holmes

 

Characters – Sherlock Holmes is one of the iconic characters in any mystery tale, this time we following him in his latter years, as we follow the three moments, the last case he didn’t solve, the trip to Japan and how he is writing the story about his last case. This character is interesting to find because we see a great mind struggling to remember everything that he should. Mrs Munro is the housekeeper looking after Sherlock while he focuses on his projects and bees, she does want to move away with her son because she finds Sherlock more in need of a nurse than a housekeeper. Roger is her young son that Sherlock takes under his wing, he is eager to learn more about his stories and the bees which can leave him in trouble at times. Tamiki has invited Sherlock to Japan, claiming to be a big fan, but he has different motives for this, we don’t really see enough of this character though.

PerformancesIan McKellen is fantastic in the leading role, but could we expect anything less from one of the greatest of all times? Laura Linney has always been able to mould herself into any supporting character and here is no different. Milo Parker is good for a child star, nailing the important scenes and keeping his innocence about him. Hiroyuki Sanada is a man we would have liked to have seen more in this film, I feel there is a lot more that we could have had from his character.

StorySherlock Holmes, the icon, the legend, the detective that solves every case, is now old and trying to put together parts of his memory o finish a final book, as he tries to remember the chapters of his life. Following the three different stages of his elderly life, can in places become confusing, but everything is tied up by the end and plays into the idea of what is real or part of a story well. The pace of the story is slow in places which doesn’t help keep on top of everything though.

MysteryThe mystery side of the film, comes off slow, we have a couple of mysteries Holmes wants to solve, but we never get left in a position to want to see them unfold.

SettingsThe settings play into the late 40s well, Japan is haunting for this, the beach/cliff top location looks beautiful too.


Scene of the Movie –
Japan and the aftermath.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is very slow.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow mystery movie that does focus on certain parts of the later life of a Holmes figure which is different as it is him battle against his own mind while trying to remember or solve the cases.

 

Overall: Slow, but interesting.

Rating