The Order (2001)

orderDirector: Sheldon Lettich

Writer: Les Weldon, Jean-Claude Van Damme (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Charlton Heston, Sofia Milos, Brian Thompson, Ben Cross, Vernon Dobtcheff

 

Plot: Van Damme plays Rudy whose father, Oscar is an archaeologist. His father goes to Israel. When his father disappears, he goes to Israel to find him. The chief of police claims that his father never entered the country, but an old friend of his father’s was expecting him and before he could tell him more, some people start shooting at them. He manages to get away, and when he goes back to the police chief, he still refuses to believe that a crime has been committed. He then has Rudy deported, but Rudy convinces the police woman assigned to bring him to the airport not to and help him find his father.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Van Damme 101

 

Story: The Order starts with a history lesson because we need back story to what happen in this one battle in Jerusalem where a new order was born against the religious crusades. We move to the present day and meet Rudy Cafmeyer (Van Damme) who is a world class thief applying his latest job in Ukraine. Rudy’s father is archaeologist who has discovered the final chapter of the Visialy script while Ruby’s last adventure has led him to be wanted by the Russian Mafia.

When his father goes missing Ruby travels to Israel to uncover the truth and working with his father’s old friend Walter Finney (Heston) he learns just how much danger his father has got himself into. Rudy must work with LT Dalia Barr (Milos) to uncover a religious movement that his father has discovered the final piece off being led by Cyrus Jacob (Thompson) in the city of Jerusalem during the time when other religions have come to pray thanks to their gods.

 

Thoughts on The Order

 

StoryThe story is designed to give Van Damme a chance to show his fighting while have a loss idea on how to deal with a potential religious uprising in a modern world. This is a treasure hunt style movie which all works for fun and that is all you need from it.

Action/ThrillerWhen it comes to the action we have plenty of chase sequences as well as good fight sequences again all designed to show off Van Damme’s skills.

Characters/Performance –  Ruby is a thief that has a way of being able to look after himself and has a way to cover his tracks while uncovering the truth, this is what you would call a typical Van Damme character that is there to show off his fighting ability. Charlton Heston is pretty much here to fill in the gaps for Rudy in the history before biting the bullet early on. We do have the typical good cop working with Ruby too as well as a good religious leader ticking off the villainous role.

SettingsThe film uses Jerusalem as the main setting which works because of the religious implication going on within the story as well as looking good for the chase sequences.

Special EffectsHas good enough effects for the characters involved because we don’t need anything fancy just a few explosions during the chases.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film designed solely to show off how could Van Damme is as fighting, it has a good religious idea going on. This is fun easy to watch action film from start to finish.

 

Overall: This is easily the rule book on how to make a Van Damme movie.

Ratingcard

 

 

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

ouijaDirector: Mike Flanagan

Writer: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard (Screenplay)

Starring: Annalise Basso, Elizabeth Reaser, Lulu Wilson, Henry Thomas, Parker Mack, Halle Charlton

 

Plot: In 1965 Los Angeles, a widowed mother and her two daughters add a new stunt to bolster their seance scam business and unwittingly invite authentic evil into their home. When the youngest daughter is overtaken by a merciless spirit, the family confronts unthinkable fears to save her and send her possessor back to the other side.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Huge Improvement

 

Story: Ouija: Origin of Evil starts as we see séance scam artists Alice (Reaser) and her daughters Lina (Basso) and Doris (Wilson) showing off all their skills at getting the most out of their clients. We see how Lina the elder sister is getting tired of the scam and wants to add in a new trick to their scam, introduce the Ouija board and of course we get the rules told to us in case we missed the first film.

Once the Ouija board is bought into the house Doris starts acting strange like she has become possessed by a spirit summoned by the Ouija board and the family start to have their own money issues solved before we get to see the real motives behind the spirit taking over Doris’ body.

Ouija: Origin of Evil is the prequel to the largely disappointing horror film from last year. So naturally I was going in with little to no expectation on this film. I liked how this horror kicked out the pointless slasher side to the story and made the family come off so desperate for the money they would believe anything that could offer them. The film only feels connected by the title and could easily by a stand-alone horror film. The film comes off very creepy without hitting to mindless horror moments which is a big plus.

The performances from the small cast all works with Lulu Wilson shining as the creepy child while the rest all go great jobs during the story unfolding. This really is a huge improvement on the first film take the story in the direction it should have always been going.

 

Overall: Major improvement on the first film, creepy and horror ridden throughout.

Ratingcard

 

 

Mia Wasikowska Weekend – Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

onlyDirector: Jim Jarmusch

Writer: Jim Jarmusch (Screenplay) Marion Bessay (Novel)

Starring: Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Anton Yelchin, Mia Wasikowska, Jeffrey Wright, Slimane Dazi, John Hurt

 

Plot: A depressed musician reunites with his lover, though their romance – which has already endured several centuries – is disrupted by the arrival of her uncontrollable younger sister.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow

 

Story: Only Lovers Left Alive starts as we meet the reclusive musician Adam (Hiddleston) whose one connection to the outside world seems to be Ian (Yelchin) who supplies him musical and other needs. We also meet Eve (Swinton) who has been searching for her latest fix from Christopher Marlowe (Hurt).

We learn that Adam, Eve and Christopher are all in fact vampires whose live have crossed paths over the centuries they have all lived through. Adam tired of his life and how he sees the humans wants to reconnect with Eve to help him through his problems and help is acceptance of the human race.

As the two rekindle their love their lives are thrown into danger when Ava (Wasikowska) turns up searching for the both of them. Ava puts a test between Eve and Adam’s relationship with her still reckless ways which would put the vampire existence at risk.

Only Lovers Left Alive give us a look at the relationship between two ancient vampires who have seen the worlds ups and downs through the centuries they have been living. This is very slow moving and I feel never reaches the levels of similar styled film Interview with the Vampire. We get to see the frustration Adam feels towards humans but in the end it just feels like a catch up moment in their lives.

 

Actor Review

 

Tilda Swinton: Eve is one of the ancient vampires and lover of Adam over the centuries they have been alive. She comes to Adam when he finds himself suffering with his existence and the two look back on their relationship through the years. Tilda is always one person you can turn to for good performances and she doesn’t let us down here.

Tom Hiddleston: Adam has been playing music for his vampire life keeping up with the trends while making himself a true recluse from the world. He is tired of the humans which he refers to as zombies but reconnecting with Eve could help him find his way again. Tom is good in this role showing how he can jump between blockbusters and smaller projects and show off his skills.

Anton Yelchin: Ian is Adam’s connection to the outside world where he locates all the rarest musical items to help Adam build his collection. Anton does well in this supporting role without being overly involved in the story.

Mia Wasikowska: Ava is the sister of Eve’s but not by blood, she is also a vampire and comes off as the irresponsible youngest member of the vampire world who has always caused trouble for Adam and Eve. Mia is good in what is only a small supporting role but completely against her sweet typecast.

Support Cast: Only Lovers Left Alive has a small supporting cast that does include heavyweights Jeffrey Wright and John Hurt who do well with what they do but the film does focus more on Adam and Eve.

Director Review: Jim JarmuschJim give us a look at everlasting love between vampires but also does end up having slow moving story.

 

Horror: Only Lovers Left Alive doesn’t really create any horror involved with a vampire story.

Romance: Only Lovers Left Alive does show us the everlasting love between the century old vampires even if they spend years apart.

Settings: Only Lovers Left Alive keeps our settings dark and out of the everyday world because that is where you would expect to see vampires hide out.
Special Effects
: Only Lovers Left Alive only has the special effects when needed but never goes over with the few needed.

Suggestion: Only Lovers Left Alive is one to try and it is very slow moving for a vampire movie. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Music.

Worst Part: Very slow moving.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $7 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 3 Minutes

 

Overall: Slow moving vampire love story.

Ratingcard

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Open Graves (2009)

logoDirector: Alvaro de Arminan

Writer: Roderick Taylor, Bruce A Taylor (Screenplay)

Starring: Mike Vogel, Eliza Dushku, Ethan Rains, Naike Rivelli, Lidsay Caroline Robba, Gary Piquer, Alex O’Dogherty

Plot: A group of surfers discover an old board game which claims a life every time it is played.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Jumanji the death game

Story: Open Graves starts with a young woman being tortured in Spain 1485. we flash forward to the present day where we meet surfer buddies Jason (Vogel) Tomas (Rains) and Lisa (Robba) where Jason has taken a shinning to Erica (Dushku). We meet Detective Izar (Piquer) as he investigates an apparent skinning alive victim. Jason exploring the town meets a man talking about voodoo before being given a game called Mamba.

Due to a storm the friends find themselves stuck inside and decide to give Mamba a go. As the friends start the game we see the supporting characters whose names we don’t get told leaves on a beer run and ends up dying much like how the game suggests he will. When more of the friends start dying the friends start investigating the history of the game and search for a way to stop the curse of the board game before they all become victims.

Open Graves ends up trying to give us a violent version of Jumanji which really doesn’t work for the film, the deaths end up mixing Jumanji riddles with Final Destination chances. The characters all come off dislikeable all making poor personal choice which lead to their death. I did like the final twist though because it shows the same problem happening between the characters. The story ends up coming off very unoriginal and lacks that spark a good idea using this concept could have had. (3/10)

Actor Review

Mike Vogel: Jason is the surfer trying to have a good trip away when he takes a shine to Erica, when he starts looking around the town he is given a game called Mamba which along with his friends start playing learning the consequences along the way. Mike has done some good films but this really ends up being one of the bad ones. (4/10)

Eliza Dushku: Erica is the American that has become the object of Jason’s affection and has to work with the friends to solve what is happening with the game. Eliza was a kick ass character in the past what happened? (3/10)

Support Cast: Open Graves has a forgettable supporting cast that all come off very boring and just end up become victims.

Director Review: Alvaro de Arminan – Alvaro doesn’t manage to stretch the story enough to make it interesting relying on poor effects. (3/10)

Horror: Open Graves doesn’t have any scares but does have horror idea of being hunted down by a spirit looking to make you pay for how a game ended. (4/10)

Thriller: Open Graves doesn’t keep you guessing because it tells you how they will die in riddle. (1/10)

Settings: Open Graves brings the action to Spain but it could easily have been set anywhere really. (4/10)
Special Effects: Open Graves has a right mixed bag of effects, one minute they are good then they are terrible. (3/10)

Suggestion: Open Graves is one to avoid because it offers nothing new, and ends u making you feel very flat. (Avoid)

Best Part: Nope

Worst Part: The rest.

What Could Have Been Better?original deaths

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No, but I think I nearly did once it was over because I was so happy it finished. (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Please No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $6.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

Tagline: Curses last forever

Overall: The game that will send you to sleep

Rating 15

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Observance (2016)

observanceDirector: Joseph Sims-Dennett

Writer: Joseph Sims-Dennett, Josh Zammit (Screenplay)

Starring: Lindsay Farris, Stephanie King, John Jarratt, Louisa Mignone, Benedict Hardie, Tom O’Sullivan

 

Plot: In the grip of grief following the death of his young son, his marriage on the rocks and nearing bankruptcy, Parker reluctantly returns to work as a private investigator. Embarking on an unusual assignment to observe a woman from an abandoned apartment, Parker witnesses bizarre happenings surrounding her, unaware that the derelict building that he surveys her from has birthed a dark presence which slowly threatens to consume him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mind Boggling

 

Story: Observance starts as we follow private investigator Parker (Farris) on his latest job where he takes up residence in an abandoned building to watch over Tenneal (King). We know Parker is dealing with his own personal tragedy of the death of his own son and this job is a way to try and keep his mind busy.

As the job continues on Parker never gets to leave the apartment because Tenneal doesn’t but soon strange thing start happening. The deeper into the case Parker gets the more consumed he finds himself becoming but is it him or the apartment doing this to him and why is he being hired to watch of Tenneal?

Observance is a horror mystery that keeps the characters in one location to capture tension building on the mind of Parker. While the story does take a few twists it does stay in one direction which makes us wonder where it will end up going as we question why Parker is being paid to watch Tenneal. This is the biggest question going on through the film because we should learn this by the end but other parts of the film just push us to not knowing where anything will go. If you want a film that does keep you guessing this one really is for you.

 

Actor Review

 

Lindsay Farris: Parker is a grieving father who takes the chance to take a job to help pass the time and his job is as a private investigator. The job is simple just watch over a lady Tenneal for an unknown client but things seem to take a turn when he starts seeing things he can’t explain and he starts to question his own sanity. Lindsay has to carry this film which he does to great effect because each scene involved his character.

Stephanie King: Tenneal is the woman being watch, she seems to be just another woman that has no need to be the centre of this attention and because of this she is surrounded with mystery. Stephanie is good even if she is only being watched through the film.

Support Cast: Observance has a supporting cast that come and go from what Parker sees and each one helps with the final outcome of the film.

Director Review: Joseph Sims-DennettJoseph gives us a horror mystery that is filled with haunting visuals as well as a story that just keeps us guessing throughout.

 

Horror: Observance puts our character through a nightmare situation when the routine job turns sour.

Mystery: Observance has us on edge from the first strange occurrence until the final scene of the film and we simply don’t know where it is going.

Settings: Observance keeps nearly the whole film within the apartment where Parker is working creating hi own form of cabin fever through the film.
Special Effects
: Observance has great effects to show different moments of the film unfolding.

Suggestion: Observance is one for the horror fans out there to watch because the visuals alone can make this something great. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: The not knowing throughout.

Worst Part: Sadly I feel this could be a turn off too.

Scariest Scene: Hallway.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Tagline: They Are Watching

 

Overall: Horror mystery that keeps us guessing from start to finish.

Ratingcard