ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – N – Nightworld (2017)

Director: Patricio Valladares

Writer: Barry Keating, Milan Konjevic (Screenplay) Loris Curci (Story)

Starring: Jason London, Robert Englund, Gianni Capaldi, Lorina Kamburova, Diana Lyubenova, Atanas Srebrev

 

Plot: When former LAPD officer Brett Anderson takes a job as head of security at an old apartment building in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, he soon begins to experience a series of bizarre and terrifying events. Once he begins to delve deeper into the building’s sinister history and investigate its shadowy owners and past employees, Brett soon uncovers a malevolent force nestled deep in the bowels of the building that will do anything to be set free into our world.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Start, Exciting Finish

 

Story: Nightworld starts when Brett Anderson (London) takes a job as a security officers in an elite Bulgarian apartment building to help him deal with the death of his wife. Given the grand tour by the manager Martin (Capaldi) Brett sees the strange side to the apartment, with the secret being kept in the basement.

When Brett starts seeing strange images on the cameras he must call Jacob (Englund) to help uncover the truth about the apartment, with local girl Zara (Kamburova) who fills in the rumours that the town has about the building.

 

Thoughts on Nightworld

 

Characters – Brett Anderson is a grief stricken for police officer, he retired from the force after his wife’s death, he takes a job as a security guard in an apartment in Bulgaria which leads him to get caught up in a mystery about the apartment which brings him past back to haunt him. Jacob is a former guard that lost his eye sight, he knows the mystery about the apartment and helps guide Brett through the strange events. Martin is the apartment manager and needs to find a new guard to watch over any problems in the apartment when he is away. Zara is the waitress at the local café that offer a romantic angle for Brett, while filling in the blanks about the history of the apartment.

PerformancesJason London is solid enough in the leading role, most of what he does is ask questions which is how the audience must learn what is going on. Robert Englund as the elderly figure that is trying to help works well because he is the biggest draw for the film. Gianna Capaldi and Lorina Kamburova are both fine they never get out of first gear for their performances though.

StoryThe story here follows a man that needs to rebuild his life, get given a job as a security guard for an apartment building that has secrets he can’t even imagine. The pace of the story is slow, because we have a lot of building up with little to no hints to what the big conclusion will be, the final third of the film lets everything go, making the early parts of the story more interesting, the time loss angle does feel tagged in for no reason and by the end you still won’t completely understand what just happened. The reveals in the film are big, though they could be considered overkill for what could have be a much more subtle story.

HorrorThe horror comes from the nightmares Brett suffers before the big reveal in the final act which shows us just what has been going on.

SettingsThe whole film is set in one building, it shows how the layers can hold secrets and the mystery about the building is key t the story being told.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are used well when needed, we don’t go over the top with them and the best one are used for the final act.


Scene of the Movie –
Behind the door.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Starts too slow for the ending.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow burning horror thriller, it does reward us with a manic ending which is worth the wait for, only it does take too long to get there with little hints to help us understand the ending.

 

Overall: Slow though rewarding.

Rating

 

 

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Richard Gere Weekend – Norman (2016)

Director: Joseph Cedar

Writer: Joseph Cedar (Screenplay)

Starring: Richard Gere, Lior Ashkenazi, Michael Sheen, Steve Buscemi, Yahuda Almagor, Neta Riskin, Josh Charles, Dan Stevens

 

Plot: Norman Oppenheimer is a small time operator who befriends a young politician at a low point in his life. Three years later, when the politician becomes an influential world leader, Norman’s life dramatically changes for better and worse.


Tagline – The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Political Borefest

 

Story: Norman starts as we learn about Norman Oppenheimer (Gere) who is trying to make political connections, his latest target is Israeli deputy minister Micha Eshel (Ashkenazi) who is grateful for the support.

Three years later Micha is now the Israeli prime minister and remembers Norman, but now Norman must use his skills as a fixer to solve a problem as everything changes for him

 

Thoughts on Norman

 

Characters – Norman is a political connections man, he makes the connections for different Politicians while finding a way to talk his way out of any situations. We see his rise and fall in the world where he ends up biting off more than he can chew. When it comes to the fellow characters we meet a host of different political figures that want to make connections with each other.

PerformancesRichard Gere is in the leading role here and he is fine in this role without reaching the levels we know he could, we do have a big cast of talented actors who do the basics well without any of them taking centre stage.

StoryThe story isn’t the most interesting, mostly because we are follow Norman as he makes connections in the political world and over the next couple of years things start getting out of hand and he must keep all his connection happy. The story never draws you in and easily becomes one of the more boring movies of the recent years.

ThrillerThe film here tries to keep us invested only for it to become too slow and disinteresting.

SettingsMost of the film is set in and around New York city as we see how the connections are made and maintained.


Scene of the Movie –
Hard to find one, the shoes scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Its just not interesting.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dull all-star movie which doesn’t hit any of the marks it is aiming for and just ends up being boring.

 

Overall: Boring is being nice.

Rating

 

 

Night School (2018)

Director: Malcolm D Lee

Writer: Kevin Hart, Harry Ratchford, Joey Wells, Matthew Kellard, Nicholas Stroller, John Hamburg (Screenplay)

Starring: Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Rob Riggle, Romany Malco, Taran Killam, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Al Madrigal, Mary Lynn Rajskub

Plot: A group of high school dropouts are forced to attend night school in hope that they’ll pass the GED exam to finish high school.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Just a Stand-Up Comedy Film

Story: Night School starts when high school dropout Teddy (Hart) sees his future go up in smoke right after proposing to his beautiful successful girlfriend Lisa (Echikunwoke) seeing his job vanish and his future employment needing a GED, this forces Teddy to return to high school for a night school.

The former class enemy is now the principal Stewart (Killam) and doesn’t want Teddy in the class, he must prove to the teacher Carrie (Haddish) that he wants to study, while keeping his struggles a secret from Lisa, which sees him becoming friends with the rest of the class to pass.

Thoughts on Night School

Characters – Teddy has been working in sales working off each pay check to look like he has been living a better life, he has a successful beautiful girlfriend, his life changes when he career goes up in smoke and his failure to complete high school is holding him back in searching for a new job. He tries night school, which sees him needing to challenge himself instead of trying to get through quickly. Carrie is a teacher of the night school, she doesn’t take anything from any student, though she is committed to helping people learn. Even if her methods might finally get through to Teddy. Mackenzie and Jaylen are two of the members of the class that are trying to get their education too, with their own stories.

PerformancesKevin Hart does fall back into his normal routine where he tries to throw more of his comedy into a role, rather than showing us a real character, with real problems that should be taken a lot more seriously. Tiffany Haddish continues to show she is great at the fast-taking jokes, but this doesn’t work for the character. The supporting performance are all mostly comedians trying to get their jokes out too.

StoryThe story follows a high school dropout that needs to get his GED so he can find a new job to continue living his life of luxury and keep his girlfriend, only this becomes more difficult than he could ever imagine. This is a poorly used story which could address a much bigger issue in education, where the students can suffer with learning disabilities and not get the help needed, it seems to focus on making a joke out of trying to better yourself instead of using the real issues that are meant to be giving these people more of a chance in the future. Even though it might not use this in the final part of the film, it also tries to paint the idea that you could only have a beautiful partner if you are successful. By showing education being a joke for Teddy it doesn’t help anybody that has ever struggled with education before and in the end this does just feel like a stand up routine instead of an actual story.

ComedyIf you want to see fast flowing jokes which feels more like a stand-up routine so if you like that you will get on with this film.

SettingsThe film does use the high school settings to show where the learning was coming from and the low paying job that Teddy must take just to make ends meet.


Scene of the Movie – Graduation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The comedy.

Final Thoughts This is a comedy that just misses on the fact the story should be taken a lot more seriously, sadly this could have elevated this film to a new level.

Overall: Unfunny comedy.

Rating

Franchise Weekend – Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (2010)

Director: Susanna White

Writer: Emma Thompson (Screenplay) Christianna Brand (Characters)

Starring: Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ralph Fiennes, Ewan McGregor, Oscar Steer, Asa Butterfield, Lil Woods, Maggie Smith

 

Plot: Nanny McPhee arrives to help a harried young mother who is trying to run the family farm while her husband is away at war, though she uses her magic to teach the woman’s children and their two spoiled cousins five new lessons.


Tagline – The magic’s back, warts and all.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: More Serious Sequel

 

Story: Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang starts as we meet mother Isabel (Gyllenhaal) who is trying to run the family home and raise her three children, while her husband is away at war, adding to her pressure is her brother-in-law Phil (Ifans) that is looking to get money and two cousins added to the family that are used to the luxury life.

When Isabel starts struggling, she gets the call from Nanny McPhee (Thompson) who offers to help put the children back in line with her magic. The children must learn to work together to help the farm stay in the right hands.

 

Thoughts on Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang

 

Characters – Nanny McPhee is the magical nanny that comes to family’s when they are in need of support, she has come to this family in their time of need to help teach them how to be together in one of the most difficult times in their lives, the war, she brings her rules like before as she looks to bring the best out in the people. Isabel is the mother of the three that is trying to run and farm and work, her husband is at war, with the uncertainty of whether he will be returning. She doesn’t want help, but must accept it to keep the pressures of her life away from her children. Phil is the brother-in-law to Isabel, he has created his own gambling debts and wants the farm to clear the debts, he will do anything to get what he needs. Mrs Docherty is the boss of Isabel and family friend, she isn’t quite all there which makes her character come off funnier than she should. The children do come from different worlds which does see them clash in the time of conflict.

PerformancesEmma Thompson does continue to enjoy playing this role which she handles with ease. Maggie Gyllenhaal gets to play the role well through the film, which shows us just how difficult a position her character is in. Rhys Ifans does everything you would imagine in the comedy role in the film, while Maggie Smith also adds plenty of comedy through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a mother that takes over the family farm with her husband away at war, with money running low and the stress of life getting to her, that gets help from Nanny McPhee. The story here easily becomes a much more serious one because we are dealing with children that are being separated from their parents during war, where they don’t know if their family will be together once the war is over. This story does have a very different tone to the first one, one that does feel real, even though it does seem slightly stranger for Nanny McPhee to be here, this time around. The story here is more entertaining than the original which is always a good thing.

Comedy/FantasyThe comedy in the film does hit better than the first film, most of it comes from the arguments which feel funnier, the fantasy in the film does work too, which ends up blending with the comedy involved.

SettingsThe film is mostly set within one farm which does show us just how much trouble the family will be facing in their time of need.

Special EffectsThe effects here are the biggest step back sadly because we can see the CGI moments looking completely out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
Connection.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The CGI.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great sequel that does have a strong story to cover up the weaker CGI being used in the film.

 

Overall: Wonderful sequel.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Nanny McPhee (2005)

Director: Kirk Jones

Writer: Emma Thompson (Screenplay) Christianna Brand (Books)

Starring: Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Kelly Macdonald, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Eliza Bennett, Jennifer Rae Daykin, Raphael Coleman

 

Plot: A governess uses magic to rein in the behavior of seven ne’er-do-well children in her charge.


Tagline – You’ll Learn To Love Her. Warts And All. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Fantasy

 

Story: Nanny McPhee starts when widow Mr Brown (Firth) is struggling to keep a nanny to care for his seven children led by the oldest Simon (Brodie-Sangster) who has always planned to push the nanny away with schemes that will leave them in terror. Reaching the end of his potential candidates, Mr Brown is drawn to a mystical Nanny McPhee (Thompson).

Nanny McPhee uses different methods to get the children in order, using her magic, with the warning When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go. Can the children be put into order before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Nanny McPhee

 

Characters – Nanny McPhee is a magical nanny that comes when families need her most, she uses the magic to push the children into following her rules, letting them learn from their mistakes unlike any previous nanny. Mr Brown is the widowed father of seven that runs a funeral parlour, he has become distant from his children because of the added pressure of needing to find a new wife as h is clearly stricken with the grief in his life. Evangeline is the help around the house, she is learning from the children in a way that sees her being one of the only adults that can get through to them. Simon is the oldest child that plans what the rest get up to, he needs to learn the biggest lessons as the others will look up to him most.

PerformancesEmma Thompson is wonderful choice as Nanny McPhee, she always has your attention on screen no matter what she is teaching. Colin Firth is a great choice in this role, he has the fatherly side down and a man that needs to find love. Kelly Macdonald works well in the maid role in the film bring a calm to the chaos the children usually have. Thomas Brodie-Sangster as the lead of the children stars shows that he was one of Britain’s best at the time.

StoryThe story follows a widow that must find a new wife within a month, but is struggle to make sure his children have a nanny after they have chased the rest out of town, a magical nanny comes along to save the day and teach the children a lesson. This story does tackle adult themes like grief and learning to communicate with your family after a tragic loss. We don’t overly focus on the serious side of the film because this is meant to be a kids movie, which is fine, which does pose the question just why would somebody have seven kids and not be able to control them. We do get to through the usual life lessons that the children must learn without being anything special.

Comedy/FantasyThe comedy in the film usually falls into the slightly more immature level which is more for the children audience, the fantasy comes from just how Nanny McPhee operates.

SettingsThe film is set in the house that Mr Brown lives in with his children, it shows that he is in the upper class in the time they are living in.

Special EffectsThe effects come from how Nanny McPhee pulls her magic to make the life better for the children.


Scene of the Movie –
The wedding.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Overly childish jokes.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple enjoyable family fantasy film that can be enjoyed by the whole family, it doesn’t bring anything new, but it doesn’t break anything too.

 

Overall: Fantasy film 101.

Rating