ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – P – People You May Know (2017)

Director: Sherwin Shilati

Writer: Sherwin Shilati (Screenplay) Michael Mohan (Story)

Starring: Nick Thune, Halston Sage, Kaily Smith Westbrook, Nicholas Rutherford, Carly Chaikin, Gillian Alexy

 

Plot: An introvert realizes he can be whomever he wants to be on the Internet.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Study of Social Media

 

Story: People You May Know starts as we meet Jed (Thune) a photographer that helps clean up photos for magazines and photo shoots, he finally decides to join the social media age, which sees him capture the attention of social media manager Tasha (Sage) who has a plan to turn a nobody into a social media influencer.

With Jed’s star power raising he bumps into an old school friend and aspiring actress Franky (Westbrook) who gives him a new lease of life, but his secret online life only makes his life complicated if the two are to be a couple, as does Franky’s own life.

 

Thoughts on People You May Know

 

Characters – Jed has worked in photography for years now, his career is focused on improving photos for magazines, with simple airbrush techniques, he has never been involved in the social media side of life, until he meets a woman that makes him see a positive side of it. Once on social media he gets drawn into an experiment which sees him become an overnight sensation giving him more confidence in everyday life. Tasha is the social media manager that has been trying to break something out of her own, with seeing Jed as her experiment to make this happen, she knows the trends which could make somebody famous overnight. Franky is a realtor that has been working as an actress on the side, her life isn’t going the way she had hoped, until she meets her old school friend in Jed. Will the Jed’s best friend and most of the comic relief in the film as he is trying to push Jed into doing things outside his comfort zone.

PerformancesNick Thune is great in the leading role, he makes you believe that he is an average joe without being anything flashy in the film. Halston Sage brings to life an ambitious young woman trying to make a name for herself. Kaily Smith Westbrook shows the struggles of the aspiring actress whose dreams haven’t come true yet. Nicholas Rutherford gets the laughs in the film giving us the best friend performance required to guide Jed on the right path.

StoryThe story follows a man that has never touched social media, who entered into that world mostly as an experiment which sees him becoming fake online only to fall in love without needing it, with him learning the reality of how harsh the social media world could be. This is a story that does put a spotlight on social media and how the younger the generation the more important it can be for the people involved, we get to see how the 30-somethings that are stuck in the middle of not knowing the importance to the young generation and with the older not touching it. The core of the story shows how people can meet people in the most unlikely places in the world, with or without the internet to help.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy comes from the laughs that the supporting characters of Will and Abigail tend to get, being the friends with laughs, the romance shows that life can become complicated and love appears when you least expect it.

SettingsThe film is set in New York which keeps everything looking busy which reflects how love really works.


Scene of the Movie –
The social media conversation with Franky about generations.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does seem to lack enough laughs.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant look at how social media operates which does have characters you could easily understand with the fast-forwarding world we are operating in now.

 

Overall: Important look at social media.

Rating

 

 

Playhouse (2020) Movie Review

Director: Fionn Watts, Toby Watts

Writer: Fionn Watts, Toby Watts (Screenplay)

Starring: Rebecca Calienda, Grace Courtney, Mathilde Darmady, Julie Higginson, William Holstead, Helen Mackay, James Rottger

Plot: In a remote Scottish castle, an irreverent writer faces terrifying consequences when his daughter falls prey to an evil curse lurking within the walls.


Tagline – Some stories should never be told

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Playhouse starts as Jack Travis (Holstead) and his daughter Bee (Courtney) have moved into a remote Scottish castle to start a new life, as Jack looks to write his latest play, the castle has a history, one which Bee will become caught up in, while the neighbours Jenny (Mackay) and Callum (Rottger) have their own history with the castle, one they want to explore before it is too late.

When Jack starts to dive into his play, he starts to find himself mixing his own reality with the supernatural, as Bee vanishes, leaving Jenny and Callum in a race against time to save her.

Thoughts on Playhouse

Final Thoughts Playhouse brings us a story which will try to dive into the ideas of legends inside Scottish castles which could find a family caught up in a loop, with one side trying to find a way to solve the problem, another is caught up in it without knowing what is going on. The ideas are all placed together well, but not everything comes off well in the execution of the horror side of this story, with very little happening on the horror side, being more about the eccentric nature of the Jack character. The performances through the film are not the strongest either, with the chemistry between the family members not clicking the way they could. The location of the remote castle is the strongest part of the film, which will give us the history that could have more horror stories about it. Overall this is a watchable horror that doesn’t get the scares it would like, even if it has a great idea.



Possessor (2020) London Film Festival Movie Review

Director: Brandon Cronenberg

Writer: Brandon Cronenberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christopher Abbott, Tuppence Middleton, Sean Bean

Plot: Possessor follows an agent who works for a secretive organization that uses brain-implant technology to inhabit other people’s bodies – ultimately driving them to commit assassinations for high-paying clients.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Possessor starts as we see how agent Tasya Vos (Riseborough) goes about her implanting into another person’s body to complete her assassination targets, getting away with the high-power assassinations without any suspect. Once out, Tasya must go through tests with Girder (Leigh) to make sure she can readjust to her own life before being allowed to return for the next assignment.

Tasya’s latest assignment is to go into the body of Colin Tate (Abbott) who is dating Ava Parse (Middleton), with the assignment to get close to her father John (Bean) to assassinate freeing up control of his technology business.

Thoughts on Possessor

Characters – Tasya Vos is the assassin that goes into the bodies of somebody who can get close to the target to complete her assignments, she is considered one of the best, but her work has started to see her struggle to handle the mix of her own reality and the lives she enters. Colin is the latest host that Tasya must take over, he is dating a rich technology company owner’s daughter and needs to eliminate that threat, while he is caught in the middle of the routine life Colin is working through. Girder is the contact outside for Tasya, the person that make sure Tasya is in her right mind before and after assignment.

PerformancesAndrea Riseborough is great to watch in the role, showing the uncertainty going on in her character’s reality, Christopher Abbott shows us just how someone dealing with being in a new body is, showing how to adapt to a new life. The rest of the cast do a good job through the film too.

StoryThe story here follows us into a world where people can get implanted into someone else head to complete an assassination only for the latest one taking an unexpecting twist. This does bring us a brilliant idea for a story, seeing how this idea could operate, it would have been nice to see a truly smooth version of the operation, as the first one we see, is the one that starts to see things unravelling. The slow spiral out of control does come off very well, making each scene feel like we don’t know what will happen next. We do have plenty of shock value going throughout the film.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror in the film comes shock body horror moments, seeing just how graphic everything goes, while the sci-fi side of the film comes from the idea of the assassination idea.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show use the different worlds that Tasya does through to complete her tasks.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to give us extra shock value, never holding back on the gore we experience through the film.


Scene of the Movie – New mask.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not seeing a smooth operation.

Final Thoughts Possessor is a horror film filled with shock, gore and an original idea that will make you want to see more.



ABC Film Challenge – P – Horror – Piercing (2018) Movie Review

Director: Nicolas Pesce

Writer: Nicolas Pesce (Screenplay) Ryu Murakami (Novel)

Starring: Christopher Abbott, Mia Wasikowska, Laia Costa, Maria Dizzia, Olivia Bond, Wendell Pierce

Plot: A man kisses his wife and baby goodbye and seemingly heads away on business, with a plan to check into a hotel, call an escort service, and kill an unsuspecting prostitute.


Tagline – Practice Doesn’t Always Make Perfect

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Falls Short

Story: Piercing starts when Reed (Abbott) leaves his wife Mona (Costa) and baby daughter for work, checking into a hotel room, he is planning on killing a random prostitute, when she arrives, he has the whole technique planned out to work perfectly. The prostitute he receives is Jackie (Wasikowska) who goes through what they could do, which soon sees her stabbing herself, giving Reed his chance to complete his murder.

When the night takes another twist, Reed isn’t prepared for what Jackie has planned for him, something that will completely shock him.

Thoughts on Piercing

Characters – Reed is a businessman, husband and wife that has been hearing a voice telling him who to kill, his latest is a prostitute, he has planned everything, only to find himself struggling when things go wrong. Jackie is the prostitute that has been called for the night with Reed, she has her own vices, which ruin the plans for Reed, she self-harms, which sees her needing help through the night. Mona is the wife of Reed who has seen her husband go off to work, while she looks after their baby.

PerformancesChristopher Abbott and Mia Wasikowska are both solid enough through the film without needing to do that much more in the film, it relies on the weird over anything else.

StoryThe story here follows a man that hires a prostitute with plans to kill her, only for the night to take a dramatic twist. Now with this story, things do come off very strange, it seems like it is going one direction, only for it to go another and leave us feeling kind of empty with everything that happens, this is a story that wants to explode, only it just seems to fizzle out to nothing.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in this film is more about what could happen, rather than anything happening, with a mystery about who is talking to Reed, which never seems to get answered.

SettingsThe film uses the hotel rooms mostly for the settings, which show how the murder could happen, learning the environment, only for nothing else to come from this.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are more about almost seeing violence, only it doesn’t seem to be a strong as it should be.


Scene of the Movie – The preparation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The final act.

Final Thoughts This is a horror mystery that starts so promisingly, only for it to end up not doing much once it gets going.

Overall: Fizzles Out.

ABC Film Challenge – 80’s Movies – P – Pale Rider (1985) Movie Review

Director: Clint Eastwood

Writer: Michael Butler, Dennis Shryack (Screenplay)

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Michael Moriarty, Carrie Snodgress, Chris Penn, Richard Dysart, Sydney Penny, Richard Kiel

Plot: A mysterious preacher (Clint Eastwood) protects a humble prospector village from a greedy mining company trying to encroach on their land.


Tagline – .. and hell followed with him.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Gritty Western

Story: Pale Rider starts as we see how Hull Barret (Moriarty) is leading a prospector village that is getting terrorised by the LaHood mining company, owner Coy (Dysart) and his son Josh (Penn) are trying to run them off the land with the raids. Hull who is starting to mount up the debts finds himself being protected by a mysterious Preacher (Eastwood) who gives the village more hope than ever.

The Preacher proves that the men could fight back giving the village a reason to fight, but without him around the LaHood’s look to take advantage of the situation.

Thoughts on Pale Rider

Characters – The Preacher witnesses the attack on Hull, he shows how to win a fight in non-lethal combat, he stays with Hull’s family showing the whole village that they could have somebody to protect them, he doesn’t want any part of a war, just to support a hard-working village. Hull is the one member of the village everybody looks up to, he will continue to go against anything that the LaHood’s want and has been trying to keep the village together. Sarah is the woman Hull lives with, she has seen her husband pass away and wants the best for her daughter, even if that might end up being Hull, she only ever puts her daughter’s safety out first. Josh LaHood is the son of the owner of the mining company running the operations, he will use the dirty tactics to try and push Hull and his people out.

PerformancesClint Eastwood plays into his strengths through the film, not giving himself too many lines and playing the mysterious figure that has a past. Michael Moriarty and Carrie Snodgress bring the more serious longer sequences as the characters who seem to have more to lose if things don’t come out in their favour. Chris Penn does make his villainous figure stand out as somebody truly evil not just greedy.

StoryThe story here follows a prospector village that is being raided by a mining company that find an unlikely savoir in a mysterious preacher that brings them hope to defeat the rich company who is trying to push them out. The story does play out like nearly every western you have seen, a dangerous gang trying to use the numbers to put a small group under pressure before a stranger comes to their rescue. The pace plays out like normal to with the small incident slowly gathering steam before the two sides come to a full blown war towards each other. It might not be original, but it does the basics right with each moment feeling like it does make a big impact on the characters involved.

WesternThe western side of the film shows us just how the themes are being used to show what happens to the characters, with the sets and the story.

SettingsThe film does create the village you would expect to see for the time, the town and the backdrop looking beautiful through the film.


Scene of the Movie – Town showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Way too much time spent deciding whether a 14/15-year-old should love an adult.

Final Thoughts This is a gritty by the book western, it does everything right without being anything we haven’t seen before.

Overall: By the Book Western.