Prodigy (2018)

Director: Nathan Leon

Writer: Nathan Leon (Screenplay)

Starring: Tyler Roy Roberts, Cory Kays, King Amir Alahyar, Jeffrey Arrington, Adam Elliott Davis, Adrianne White, Hailey Henry, Embry Johnson

 

Plot: A father must protect his estranged son from the outside world when the boy accurately predicts three end-of-world events.


Tagline – What if he’s right?

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thought Provoking Thriller

 

Story: Prodigy starts when widowed father Erik (Kays) is recruited y Dr Faron (Tyrrell) to reconnect with his son Caleb (Johnson) to help unlock the secret to his latest vision, one which will change the world after he has already predicted to world shattering vision. Erik breaks Caleb out of the prison like environment he is being held captive in.

On the run, Erik and Caleb are marked as dangerous with certain people believing Caleb could even be behind the disasters, while on the run Erik gets to learn the truth about his own vision during one of the events to learn the truth about the future of the world.

 

Thoughts on Prodigy

 

Characters – Erik is the widowed father that has been struggling with life and alcohol problems, haunted by his own vision during the event, he agrees to help his son after nearly 10-years away from him, showing that he could do what is needed to help himself and son get the connection that will change the world forever. Caleb is the teenager that has predict world changing events, he believes the world is going to be hit by a third known as the moment ‘The World Turns Black’ and wants his father to be there with him for this moment. Maya is a waitress that helps the two find a new location to hide out in, she believes in a better life after the visions and will help make sure Caleb has the ones that could change the world. we do get to meet people who both want Caleb for their own agendas and people who want to help.

PerformancesCory Kays in the leading role is good because he must deal with his characters own emotional problems, while also learning to be a better father. Embry Johnson gives us slow deliberate delivery for his teenage character which does make it stand out as a performance which shows us the character has been away from the world. Hailey Henry is good in her role in the supporting side of the story, while most of the performances are good through the film.

StoryThe story here follows the world filled with tension after two moments which changed the world, the third I on it way and people have become divided on wanting to know the truth, who should know the truth and what will happen, with only one teenager seeing what is about to come. This is a film that will make you stop and think about what could happen in the future, your reaction to knowing this could be the end and what would you do if you couldn’t explain what you saw. If you liked Midnight Special you will get the same vibes from the film which is one that grab the audience’s attention, this will too as you will want to know where it all ends up going.

ThrillerThis is a film that uses the idea of father and son on the run while an end of the world event could be around the corner. This does keep us going until the very final shot of the film.

SettingsThe film shows us how the characters are in hiding with most of them being through woodland areas off the grid, these do work for the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are only used very sparely which is nice because this could have gone for silly ones, the ones we get are used to show us the dream sequences only.


Scene of the Movie –
The race to the truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Turns to one hiding idea too often.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thinking persons thriller that makes you want to look at moments in your own life and decisions you would make in the same situation.

 

Overall: Smart thriller for all.

Rating

 

 

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Classic Franchise Month – Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990)

Director: Mick Garris

Writer: Joseph Stefano (Screenplay)

Starring: Anthony Perkins, Henry Thomas, Olivia Hussey, CCH Pounder, Warren Frost, Donna Mitchell

 

Plot: Norman Bates recalls his childhood with his abusive mother while fearing his unborn child will inherit his split personality disorder.


Tagline – You’ve met Norman… now meet mother.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: When Sequels Are Bad, Go Prequel

 

Story: Psycho IV: The Beginning starts as Norman Bates (Perkins) listening to a local radio station which is having the discussion about children killing their mother’s. Norman gives us a backstory to his relationship with his mother Norma (Hussey) as teenager Norman (Thomas) commits his first murder.

As he reveals his story the shows rating increase, but when he says he is ready to kill again, it becomes clearly that Norman has been pushed over the edge once again.

 

Thoughts on Psycho IV: The Beginning

 

Characters – In the characters we have two different versions of Norman, the older one who has committed the crimes in the past and now telling his story after moving on with his life and the teenage one that is getting abused by his mother as he first starts out his killing spree, this one is more interesting to watch as seeing him on the edge makes it easier to understand his motivation for his actions. Norma Bates is Norman’s mother, in this film she is very much alive and we see just how she treated Norman when she wasn’t happy with the way his life was going, trying to force him into being a girl.

PerformancesAnthony Perkins mostly gives us the commentary of his characters past, he is a good story teller which is what he must do. Henry Thomas does work as a younger Norman which is good he handles the creepy side of the character well. Olivia Hussey makes for a great Norma Bates, she looks seductive and easily hits the strict level needed.

StoryThe story here takes us to the origin of what drove Norman to become the killer, we get these through a radio show where he tells the story and see the abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother. This works because the sequel line was getting boring after a while, showing us that we needed to go to the prequel line to learn more of the motivation. This however does cause problems for the most part because we jump all over the place in the timeline of creating him, while in the modern time Norman must face his own battle with his mind while telling the story again.

Horror/MysteryThe horror elements do seem to have come out of the film now, we do get the murders, but they never feel scary, the mystery of doing this as a prequel doesn’t help because we know where the film will end up going.

SettingsThe film gives us less time at the Bates Motel, making the scenes there being the highlights of the film, but away from it we lose that IT factor about the Norman character.

Special EffectsThe effects in the movie have improved, when it comes to the murders and the different styles Norman use we feel like they are real this time.


Scene of the Movie –
Young Norman doing the deed.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The confusion timeline in the flashback scenes.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good addition to the Psycho franchise, you could skip over three and still end up in a good position with everything and how this film directs the story.

 

Overall: Nice addition.

Rating

 

 

Classic Franchise Month – Psycho III (1986)

Director: Anthony Perkins

Writer: Charles Edward Pogue (Screenplay)

Starring: Anthony Perkins, Diana Scarwid, Jeff Fahey, Roberta Maxwell, Hugh Gillin, Lee Garlington

 

Plot: Norman Bates falls in love with a fallen nun who stays at the Bates Motel alongside a drifter and a curious reporter. Meanwhile, “mother” is still watching.


Tagline – Norman Bates is back to normal. But Mother’s off her rocker again!

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Decline Has Started

 

Story: Psycho III starts when nun Maureen (Scarwid) is involved in a terrible accident at the monastery, forcing her on the run receiving a lift from drifter Duane (Fahey). Duane ends up at the Bates Motel getting a job from Norman Bates (Perkins) whose latest guest ends up being Maureen.

When Norman starts seeing Marion Crane in Maureen, he starts to battle his nightmares once again and sees his chance to redeem himself after saving her life, but Mother is always watching him.

 

Thoughts on Psycho III

 

Characters – Norman Bates has the Motel open and is looking for support, the town has accepted he has done his time, but he still battles his demons and his mother in his head. His latest guest brings back the memories of Marion Crane and the battle in his mind becomes the toughest since his release. Maureen is a nun that is on the verge of suicide, this leads to a death on the monastery she is part of and her going on the run, ending up at the Bates Motel becoming friends with Norman, little does she know she is similar to Marion Crane.

PerformancesAnthony Perkins does keep his performance strong where you can believe how creepy he does feel in each scene, though stepping behind the camera didn’t help keep the focus on his character. Diana Scarwid is good for the most part even if her screaming doesn’t feel as real as it should. Jeff Fahey makes for a good drifter character knowing just how sleezy to make his character.

StoryThe story here follows the events of Psycho II as we see where Norman is after what happens at the end of that film, Norman is still balancing his new life with his battle of his mind about his mother as the lost souls find themselves in the motel. The story feels strange when connecting together because we have part romance, part loss of control and neither connect on a level we would enjoy and everything just turns into chaos. For the most part this tries to address the idea of being part of the public again when Norman is clearly unstable. There is a lot of material which tries to balance the idea of the murders happening again only this time Norman believes it might be him.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in this film comes from the additional body count happening, there is no suspense before the murders though, the mystery comes from just whether Norman is in fact killing again or is it in his mind.

SettingsThe film does take us back to the Bates Motel which does look creepy still, but is never shown in the fear filled atmosphere of the previous films.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do feel weaker too, as we don’t get to see enough of what is happening to the characters during the murders.


Scene of the Movie –
The opening sequence is the stand out scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The screaming is never believable.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weaker addition to the franchise, it doesn’t have enough to make it feel worthy of the franchise and shows the decline we have taken.

 

Overall: Poor sequel that didn’t even cash grab well.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – P – Pride (2014)

Director: Matthew Warchus

Writer: Stephen Beresford (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Paddy Considine, Ben Schnetzer, Andrew Scott, Freddie Fox, George MacKay

 

Plot: U.K. gay activists work to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984.


Tagline – Based on the inspirational true story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant

 

Story: Pride starts in the summer of 1984, the miner’s strikes are on and the Pride movement is taking over London, Mark (Schnetzer) one of the leading campaigners joined by shy college student Joe (MacKay) in a movement known as ‘Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners’ after Mark sees that they are struggling through the same problems from the authority figures.

Dai (Considine) is part of one of the mining communities in Wales, he is the only person that will even consider taking the money raised by the support group, with the group heading to Wales, they are welcomed by some including the head of the committee Cliff (Nighy), but not everyone is as welcoming as the rest.

 

Thoughts on Pride

 

Characters – Mark is the leader of the Lesbian & Gays Support the Miners group, he believes if the two work together they could one day stop the problems they are facing, he inspires his group, builds bridges between the communities become one of the most iconic members of the movement. Joe is a young gay that is still in the closest, he wants to support the group and joins in the activities only to need to keep things secret from the rest of his family. Dai is the man that is willing to listen to the group, he welcomes the group to the village. Jonathan is one of the oldest members of the group, he has lived with the taboo for his whole life and will help the group make the right connections. Cliff is one of the miners that welcomes the group with open arms not seeing them to be different in anyway. Hefina is one of the committee that will push for any rights to help her community that has suffered for so long.

PerformancesBen Schnetzer in the leading role is fantastic, showing the charisma required as well as giving us the feeling that he doesn’t know what will happen. George MacKay continued to show he is going to be a big name in the future with his withdrawn and important performance in this film. Dominic West is good in his role which shows us just how much range he has. Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton both shine in the supporting roles.

StoryThe story here shows us how the Lesbian & Gay community came together even against their own battle to help the minders in their own strike against the government. We are shown how communities would have needed to come together to be given their chance to just have equality in the world, this both frustrates because of what was around and shows the support needed to make things happen and how easily minds can be changed. We get to see the people that made a difference in the world, the people that held them back and just how important each and every person that supports equality can be. This is one that could show us how the country changed, came together and most importantly showed us how difficult the steps can be for the people who are struggling.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic side of the film shows us how the people who were truly involved showed the courage to stand up for what they believe in. the comedy comes from the actions from both sides of the fight and how they remained confident and broke barriers.

SettingsThe film uses two main settings, London where we follow the LGB community with their own fight and in Wales as we see the miner’s village which has been struggling with their problems with the strike.


Scene of the Movie –
The march

That Moment That Annoyed Me Knowing this was still a problem in 80s.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the powerful biopic that shows us just what people can achieve by working together to make a difference in the world.

 

Overall: Must watch.

Rating

 

 

Classic Franchise Month – Psycho II (1983)

Director: Richard Franklin

Writer: Tom Holland (Screenplay)

Starring: Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Meg Tilly, Robert Loggia, Dennis Franz, Hugh Gillin, Claudia Bryar

 

Plot: After twenty-two years of psychiatric care, Norman Bates attempts to return to a life of solitude, but the specters of his crimes – and his mother – continue to haunt him.


Tagline – Norman Bates is back. Coming home was a bad mistake!

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Sequel

 

Story: Psycho II starts when Norman Bates (Perkins) gets released after 22-years in psychiatric care against the wishes of Lila (Miles), returning to his home overlooking the Bates Motel, taking a job in the local diner and opening his door to waitress Mary (Tilly) after she breaks up with her boyfriend.

It isn’t long before Norman starts believing he is seeing his mother and receiving phone calls and notes from people, even with him trying to put his life back together by reopening the motel to the public. Can he keep everything together or is he still unstable to the public?

 

Thoughts on Psycho II

 

Characters – Norman Bates is now out of hospital trying to return to his normal life, he seems fully recovered, but it doesn’t take long before he starts to question his own sanity believing his mother has returned to him or being made to play the victim to someone else’s game. Lila is against Norman being released and she will do anything to stop him from living a normal life. Mary is the waitress that is offered a room by Norman believing he has been cured and now she starts to see the good in him, though she isn’t completely what she seems to be.

PerformancesAnthony Perkins is good in this leading role showing the unstable side of his character when needed. Vera Miles is good in her role but doesn’t get too much to do. Meg Tilly is a good addition to the cast, she is strong throughout the film keeping her character a mystery.

StoryThe story here follows the release of Norman Bates after years locked away as he must come to terms with re-entering society while people still don’t want him released. This is an interesting spin on the idea of the villain from a previous film returning, because it is the time required in hospital before released served and does deal with the idea that being let back into society isn’t going to be accepted by all. Having Norman questioning his own sanity helps us along the way and the twist that comes through the film makes everything tie together nicely.

Crime/Horror/MysteryThe criminal has been released back into normal life which shows us just what it would be like as both sides can argue the point, the horror comes from where the new list of bodies starting to pile up with the mystery being who is behind the killing spree.

SettingsThe film does take us back to the iconic Bates Motel which gives us the best scenes, every time we leave we are left feeling out of place though.

Special EffectsThe effects do try to use the less is more technique only for it not to come off on the level of the original.


Scene of the Movie –
The final twist.

That Moment That Annoyed Me IMDB ruins a big twist in the story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good sequel to the classic, it builds on the ideas of Norman Bates being released after serving his time and now we see the next chapter of the story.

 

Overall: Sequel well worth watching.

Rating