Max (2015)

Director: Boaz Yakin

Writer: Boaz Yakin, Sheldon Lettich (Screenplay)

Starring: Thomas Hayden Church, Josh Wiggins, Luke Kleintank, Lauren Graham, Robbie Amell, Mia Xitlali

 

Plot: A Malinois dog that helped American Marines in Afghanistan returns to the United States and is adopted by his handler’s family after suffering a traumatic experience.


Tagline – Best Friend. Hero. Marine.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Movie

 

Story: Max starts as we meet Kyle Wincott (Amell) an American Marine who works with a tracker dog Max, who helps locate dangers in Afghanistan. When Kyle is killed in action, his family, Ray (Church), Pamela (Graham) and little brother Justin (Wiggins) who is a gamer high school student get to meet Max for the first time and only see his aggressive nature, apart from around Justin.

They take Max home as he is suffering PTSD and the only person he will listen to and remain calm around is Justin, with a new friend in Carmen (Xitlali), Justin learns to take responsibility for the first time in his life.

 

Thoughts on Max

 

Characters – Max is the loyal marine trained dog that has served in Afghanistan locating potential threats for his soldiers. He sees his handler killed in action leaving him suffering with PTSD and now he needs a new owner, and the brother of his handler is the only one he will listen to. Justin is the younger brother of Kyle, he has spent more time on video games and illegal deals, not having responsibility needed like his brother. When Max enters his life, he learns about taking responsibility and following in his brother’s path. Ray is the father of the boys, he served before which has made him patriotic towards the cause while dealing with the grief of losing his son too.

PerformancesJosh Wiggins as the younger brother is good in this movie, we do see this sort of character a lot and he handles it well. Thomas Hayden Church is good in the supporting role, but if we are honest it is the dog that is the star of the show here.

StoryThe story here shows the effects war can have on a dog that has been trained to locate threats, but the aftermath of losing that handler with their connection. We see the loyalty shown by the dog and how he can teach responsibility to the next generation of family. This is the strongest part of the movie, the rest does feel like a version of a home alone sort of thing because we follow a story about Max knowing right.

Adventure/Family This does show the family needing to come together after their own tragedy which will give their youngster member a chance for an adventure.

SettingsWe get a small look at the war scenario that Max has been and how he must adjust to normal life, which is where the struggle comes.


Scene of the Movie –
Max search.

That Moment That Annoyed Me –  I feel there was more to the Reyes story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good movie, that should be seen by dog owners that understand loyalty that could be given to the owner.

 

Overall: Dog Owners dream film.

Rating

 

 

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Mrs. Claus (2018)

Director: Troy Escamilla

Writer: Troy Escamilla (Screenplay)

Starring: Helene Udy, Brinke Stevens, Kaylee Williams, Ryan Poole, Billy Brannigan, Alexandra Brents, Mel Heflin, Hailey Strader

 

Plot: A group of college students attending a Christmas party at a sorority house that has a sinister past are stalked by a bloodthirsty killer disguised as Mrs. Claus.


Tagline – You won’t be going home for Christmas!

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Late Night Christmas Fun

 

Story: Mrs. Claus starts as we see how a murder suicide happened during intense hazing in a sorority house, 10-years-later Danielle (Strader) returns to the same home which saw her sister murdered to honour her sister. Danielle still being harassed by the mother Mrs Werner (Udy) of the other victim faces a difficult Christmas.

With the girls hosting a party with most of the campus going home for Christmas the friends find themselves getting picked off by a masked killer dressed like Mrs Claus, can they figure out who is behind the mask.

 

Thoughts on Mrs. Claus

 

Characters – Danielle is the younger sister of a murder victim, she decides to attend the same sorority in respect for her sister, she starts seeing her friends go missing while feeling uneasy in the house, she is the only one that truly questions what is going on. Mrs Werner is the mother of the suicide victim, she blames Danielle and her family for her sister’s action, though her grieving process is mostly about finding blame. Julie Cornell is the campus security officer that is searching first for a missing girl and watches over the party. Grant is the cocky guy that thinks he is God’s gift to women which does get the laughs needed in the film.

PerformancesHailey Strader is the best of the cast, she is good in the role of the sister wanting to prove something. The rest of the cast are solid they get to have fun with certain things that happen in the film and make the most of their screen time.

StoryThe story follows a sorority that has a past that gets a mysterious killer picking off the residents during a Christmas party. This does follow the slasher genre which is simple enough and does give us a backstory needing, though it gets carried away with the conclusion which becomes over the top and unnecessary. When we dive into the depth of the story, there isn’t much because it just follows student doing the basics without doing anything with most of the kills coming from the typical horror mistakes.

HorrorThe horror in the film is full blown slasher which is fine, you can enjoy a drink to get the most out of this film.

SettingsThe film is meant to be set in a sorority house, though it never feels like anything bigger than just a normal small family home.

Special EffectsThe effects are good enough for the slasher genre which is all we want, with the wounds being bloody throughout.


Scene of the Movie –
Tyler’s time out.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Over kill finish to the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun Christmas horror which can be enjoyed by the horror community that like late night horror movies which can just be enjoyed for the slasher side of them being all they want.

 

Overall: The Slasher fans Christmas film this year.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge Comedy – M – Moonwalkers (2015)

Director: Antoine Bardou-Jacquet

Writer: Dean Craig (Screenplay) Antoine Bardou-Jacquet (Story)

Starring: Rupert Grint, Ron Perlman, Robert Sheehan, Stephen Campbell Moore, Eric Lampaert

 

Plot: After failing to locate the legendary Stanley Kubrick, an unstable CIA agent must instead team up with a seedy rock band manager to develop the biggest con of all time-staging the moon landing.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Comedy

 

Story: Moonwalkers starts we follow the unstable CIA agent Kidman (Perlman) travel to the England in an attempt to track down legendary film director Stanley Kubrick to help the American film the moon landing in case the Apollo 11 mission goes wrong. While in England quick talking band manager Jonny (Grint) who is in desperate need of money.

When the two clash through mistaken identity Jonny pretends to know Kubrick, he gets his friend Leon (Sheehan) to get a deal done. When Kidman catches up with Jonny and learns he was conned, the two must team up to film the fake moon landing with artistic director Renatus (Audenaert).

 

Thoughts on Moonwalkers

 

Characters – Jonny is the quick talking manager of a small band who is in need of money, he will cut any corner to get money which includes crossing paths with CIA agent, we see his drive through the film as he is a man who just wants to get rich quick. Kidman is the CIA agent that will kill anyone that gets in his way, but he is unstable because of his time in Vietnam, he is assigned to get the film made and ends up dealing with the drug scene on 60’s England. Leon is the friend of Jonny that is stoned through the whole film, he claims to be an actor and gets his chance with the film being made.

PerformanceRupert Grint is good in this leading role and it is good to see him doing leading roles post Harry Potter. Ron Perlman is the star here because we don’t normally see him in a comedic role and he does nail this with his performance here. Robert Sheehan is a lot of fun to watch here too.

StoryIt was always a conspiracy theory that the moon landing was faked and this film shows the comedic attempts to have a backup in case the landing didn’t happen. The story does follow an if it could go wrong it did go wrong formula which does for the film. it is a fun watch but don’t take too much seriously in this story.

ComedyThe comedy is mostly stonner comedy which is fine, it has its market out there and this will reach that market.

SettingsThe late 60s England makes for a great setting because of the drug culture that seemed to be running rampant during the time comes off well.

Scene of the Movie – Kidman’s trip.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many just stoned jokes.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple comedy that will have the market that will enjoy this movie, it pokes fun at a conspiracy in the fake moon landing too.

 

Overall: Good background comedy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – M – Megalodon (2018)

Director: James Thomas

Writer: Koichi Petetsky (Screenplay) Thunder Levin (Story)

Starring: Michael Madsen, Dominic Pace, Caroline Harris, Ego Mikitas, Aimee Stolte, Scott C Roe, Sebastien Charmant

 

Plot: A military vessel on the search for an unidentified submersible finds themselves face to face with a giant shark, forced to use only what they have on board to defend themselves from the monstrous beast.


Tagline – You can bet she won’t eat just one.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Run Away Fast

 

Story: Megalodon starts when a Russian submarine captained by Ivanov (Mikitas) unleashes a megalodon in American waters, the US Navy is monitoring the location discovers the sunken submarine, with Captain Streeper (Pace) letting Commander Lynch (Harris) conduct a rescue mission.

When the rescue attempt goes wrong Streeper wants to save his team, while Admiral King (Madsen) refuses to let military personal risked to save people that are more than likely dead. The military battle on the surface conflicts with the one under the ocean as the race against time from the megalodon is on.

 

Thoughts on Megalodon

 

Characters – Admiral King is visiting one of his ships, he is welcomed with open arms, but when the push comes to the shove, he will let people die instead of protecting the men in his fleet. Captain Streeper will do anything to try and save the people of his ship even if it goes against the orders of the Admiral. Commander Lynch is the one that will risk her life to try and save the people on the submarine, she will go against orders to achieve the right thing for people in need of help. Captain Ivanov is the captain of the Russian submarine, he will not give up the secrets of his country despite being put through the questions by the US Navy.

PerformancesMichael Madsen is in this film, he was in Reservoir Dogs, how the mighty have fallen, what is this guy thinking. He however is the best of what is a terrible group of acting, which mostly just follows the actors wobbling like a Star Trek Tv Show and putting on generically week accents.

StoryThe story is US Navy versus Russian submarine and a megalodon, this is all we see, the Americans trying to kill the creature while the Russians try to escape. Trying to put a boring military angle into a basic monster movie only sucks the life out of everything, we spend more time fighting each other than deal with the megalodon which will eat them with ease. This could well be the most boring monster movie story I have ever seen. There are no redeem aspects in this story.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is mostly laughable the shark attacks are a CGI mess, the rest is just shooting guns. The horror is meant to be a monster movie, the fact this is just from watching is being the scariest thing about this. The sci-fi idea about the long thought of dead creature does make sense only for it to be something we see way too often.

SettingsThe film is set in a random ocean with military vessel being under attack from the shark.

Special EffectsThe effects are the normal terrible CGI rubbish we are used to seeing in the syfy world of movies.


Scene of the Movie –
Drunks meet the shark.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The CGI attacks are beyond laughable.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the worst outings that the world of syfy has given us, this is terrible from start to finish and fails to even be a bad monster movie.

 

Overall: Absolutely rubbish.

Rating

 

 

Mandy (2018)

Director: Panos Cosmatos

Writer: Panos Cosmatos, Aaron Stewart-Ahn (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, Ned Dennehy, Olwen Fouere, Richard Brake, Bill Duke

 

Plot: Mandy is set in the primal wilderness of 1983 where Red Miller, a broken and haunted man hunts an unhinged religious sect who slaughtered the love of his life.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Craziest Film of the Year

 

Story: Mandy starts as we meet Red Miller (Cage) a lumberjack who lives with the love of his life Mandy (Riseborough) living in the woods away from the world. religious cult led by Jeremiah Sand (Roache) sees Mandy and wants to make her the connection to his higher power, taking her and forcing Red through a traumatic night.

With Mandy murdered on front of Red, the cult leaves, but when Red gets free, he sets out on a revenge mission which will show that he is a deadly hunter with weapons that will give the most damage to anyone who was involved in Mandy’s murder.

 

Thoughts on Mandy

 

Characters – Red Miller is a lumberjack who lives a quiet life with the love of his life, this is shattered when she is murdered, causing him to go on a bloody revenge mission, he will not stop until he has killed everyone involved in his loves death. Mandy is the love of Red’s life, she is a dreamer and perfect for how Red sees life. Jeremiah Sand is the leader of the religious cult, he goes to the extremes for his belief searching for the higher power he believes he has made contact with, he followers will give their life for his. The rest of the characters we meet fill up the quota for the religious cult showing their devotion to their leader.

PerformancesNicolas Cage has been known for taking stranger roles in recent years, this is by far the craziest one yet and it is one that he shines in, you just can’t keep you eyes of his characters behaviour in this film. Andrea Riseborough does add the mystery to her character early one, which would make us understand her draw. Linus Roache gives us one of the more disturbing performances as the religious cult leader, one that is as unsettling as it should be.

StoryThe story her can be bottled down to a revenge thriller as we follow one man whose love of his life is murdered and he goes after the religious cult behind the murder. This is the simple side of the story, what we get sends us down roads we never imagine seeing as we focus on just how obsessive the cult truly is and how the one man will use anything and everything he can get his hands on to get his revenge. There are a few questions about how religious cults can be misleading to anyone that falls into one, while this does balance the line between what could be and what is very finely before we see the explosive bloody end.

Action/HorrorThe action in this film takes place once the revenge angle starts, we see Red go into battle with any weapons he can, with fight sequences that are as bloody as the are entertaining. The horror comes from seeing just what the cult will do, what the cult are doing and what the cult believe in.

SettingsThe film takes place in the 80’s in the woods which takes us away from people, making us understand just isolated both sides of the battle want to be.

Special EffectsThe effects are a perfect blend of practical bloody effects and well used CGI moments that don’t take away from the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Nicolas Cage’s crazy being used to perfection.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the craziest films you will ever see, it does something many directors haven’t been able to do, use Nicolas Cage crazy performance correctly. You will see some of the strangest images that you brain will not be able to take everything in.

 

Overall: Just bonkers fun.

Rating