Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Plague (2006)

plagueDirector: Hal Masonberg

Writer: Hal Masonberg, Teal Minton (Screenplay)

Starring: James Van Der Beek, Ivana Milicevic, Brad Hunt, Joshua Close, John P Connolly, Dee Wallace, Brittany Scobie, Arne MacPherson

 

Plot: Ten years have passed since the world’s children fell into a coma. Tonight they’re waking up and all hell is breaking loose. An unholy battle between the generations is being waged, and time is not on the side of adults.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard

 

Story: The Plague starts like any other morning when David (MacPherson) finds his son in a coma only to rush him to the hospital as we learn the world’s children under 9 have all gone into a coma like stance. Ten years later the world still has no children in it with all new-borns being born comatose.

We go onto meet Tom Russell (Van Der Beek) who has returned to this small town to rebuild his relationship with the people he walked away from with his brother David and doctor Jean Raynor (Milicevic). When all the children suddenly wake up Tom must lead the rest of the adults to safety because the children seem to be hell bent on killing their elders.  

The Plague has what I feel is a great concept for the film where the children become comatose and the human race looks like it will face extinction, but this all goes wrong when the children turn into blood thirsty monsters searching to kill any adults. I could see so much potential in this but not have a reason for what has happened doesn’t help this and then a series of terrible decision making pulls this film apart. This is such a standard zombie film that ends up offering nothing new to the genre.

 

Actor Review

 

James Van Der Beek: Tom is freshly out of jail for a manslaughter charge where he returns to his home town searching for a way to rebuild the bridges he burnt. When he returns the children just so happen to awake from their comas and Tom must lead the fellow survivors against the children who seem to be after blood. James is solid in this role but he doesn’t really pull off the bad boy image well enough.

Ivana Milicevic: Jean is the doctor who has been treating all of these patients during the coma spell, she has seen all of the side effects but stayed by their sides but now she must fight them off just to survive. Ivana is solid in this role but even as a leading character she seems to fall into a supporting role.

Brad Hunt: Sam is the brother of Jean and good friend of Tom’s whose been struggling with the effects when he needs to fight off the children. Brad struggles to make the true impact on this film really never looking like a leading man.

Support Cast: The Plague has a supporting cast which comes off very generic for the style of film which doesn’t help push the story along enough.

Director Review: Hal MasonbergHal gives us a very generic story that doesn’t push any boundaries when it comes to the zombie style of film.

 

Horror: The Plague has elements of horror but not enough to reach any of the real high points needed in the film.

Settings: The Plague tries to keep everything within the small town even though the story is going on worldwide.
Special Effects
: The Plague has very basic effects that come off looking cheap throughout the film.

Suggestion: The Plague is one to try when it is on late night on television because it doesn’t hit all the essential points but is an easy watch. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: Concept sounds good.

Worst Part: Just comes off like a genetic zombie film.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

Tagline: And the children shall lead them .

 

Overall: Bog standard zombie film that fails to use the concept well enough.

Ratingcard

 

 

Power Rangers (2017)

Director: Dean Israelite

Writer: John Gatins (Screenplay) Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Michele Mulroney, Kieran Mulroney, Haim Saban, Shuki Levy (Story/Creators)

Starring: Darce Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Becky G, Elizabeth Banks, Bryan Cranston

 

Plot: A group of high-school students, who are infused with unique superpowers, harness their abilities in order to save the world.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Filled Actioner

 

Story: Power Rangers starts as we meet our unlikely High School group of misfits, we have disgraced football star Jason (Montgomery), forgotten cheerleader Kimberly (Scott) social awkward genius Billy (Cyler), rebel without a cause Zack (Lin) and mysterious Trini (G), all five are serving weekend classes and detention, but one night will change everything when Billy help Jason unlock his ankle brace locator, the five discover something strange in a gold mine. The next day the five learn they have got new powers, increased strength.

As the five learn more about their powers they find Zordon (Cranston) teaches them that they are the new Power Rangers, chosen to protect Earth from enemies with Rita Repulsa (Banks) being the threat who wants to take all life from Earth. The Power Rangers must learn to work as a team to defeat her and learn their true destiny.

 

Thoughts on Power Rangers

 

Characters/PerformanceJason is the disgraced football star who could easily have walked into any college football team but his rebellious side leaves him in trouble but now he must take the leadership role of the Rangers. Kimberly is the former cheerleader who was pushed out of the team after being involved in a scandal, now she wants a new image and this will give her a chance. Billy is the smartest member of the team but he is also social awkward and makes the discover of the coins which give them power. Zack is a rebel who enjoys taking risks but at home he has his own responsibilities. Trini is the outcast, she keeps to herself because of her family moving a lot. Rita is the villain looking to end life on Earth by taking the life force from the planet, she is very creepy throughout and fits what we know in the Power Rangers universe. Zordon is the mentor of the rangers, once a former leader looking to continue to protect Earth.

Performance wise, all five of the ranger’s performers are good throughout the film show we have 5 young actors with plenty of potential. Elizabeth Banks looks like she enjoyed the villainous role through the film with Cranston always being a good choice for a mentor like role.

StoryThe story is the origin of the Power Rangers which needed fresh life away from the cheesy 90s show a lot of us grew up watching. We have characters that need to learn responsibility and this gives them that chance, we do have the generic training montage, singular villain that wants to end the world but this is everything we want from this film, we don’t need Shakespeare from a movie like this, just a fun story.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is big but not done with the comic production value we are used too, with the adventure being used as our characters go into a world they could never imagine and the sci-fi side of the story coming from the idea of monsters needing defeating from space.

SettingsThe small-town setting plays into the environment the original had as we only have the first villain for them to face here.

Special EffectsWe have a lot of special effects to make this work and they click for what we need the film to work.

Final ThoughtsThis is fun movie, you can truly sit back and enjoy this one without needing to think too much.

 

Overall: Sit back relax

Rating

 

 

Passengers (2016)

passengerDirector: Morten Tyldum

Writer: Jon Spaihts (Screenplay)

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Andy Garcia, Vince Foster, Kara Flowers

 

Plot: A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning

 

Story: Passengers starts with the Starship Avalon heading towards Homestead II with 5000 passengers and 258 crew members on board. When the ship goes through an asteroid field the ship shows its ability to repair itself in any damage is received. But then the reset process goes through Jim Preston (Pratt) is awoken from his sleep chamber.

Jim entering the preparation process soon discovers he is the only one to have been awoken 90 years early. Spending over a year alone with only an android Arthur (Sheen) to talk to Jim becomes obsessed with fellow passenger Aurora Lane (Lawrence) and wanting to wake her up and once he finally goes through with it he wants to keep that a secret while other odd malfunctions are going on through the ship.

When the romance between the two blossoms, the truth comes out building the tension between the only two living awake humans on the ship but soon the real reason why Jim was woken up when Gus Mancuso (Fishburne) a member of the crew wakes up.

 

Thoughts on Passengers

 

StoryThe story side of this of this film does bottle down to one man alone for 90s years and what would you do to keep yourself busy? We do also end up falling into the ship is damaged and needs fixing which has been done plenty of times. I did enjoy the story in places but much like Oblivion is does feel like a really long music video.

Romance/Sci-FiThe romance side of this story does have elements which do feel slightly creepy in places because could you fall in love with the person that destroys you future? The sci-fi side of this story does show a side to real world where humans would need to find a new planet to live on and this tackles the idea of going on that mission which I did like.

Characters/PerformanceJim is a good everyday person who finds himself alone for the journey giving us the ultimate question if you could wake someone up to be with you would you? Aurora is a strong minded character whose character arc I do feel is very clichéd and I feel not every decision she makes would be realistic. We only have two other characters with Arthur the android who feels like he has just been ripped out of The Shinning and Gus who is only included to fill in the gaps. There are no other characters involved enough to make a real impact.

Looking at the performances we get what you expect from Pratt and Lawrence without reaching the highest levels of their abilities. Sheen fast becomes the star of the show as you do want to see his character as often as possible, Fishburne is good for his role but I was left questioning just what was the point in Andy Garcia being he captain who doesn’t even have a line in the film.

SettingsThis film is set entirely on the spacecraft which helps with the character decisions Jim makes because what would you do if you were alone in space with nobody to talk to or spend time with what would you do. The setting also looks fantastic as you fully believe every inch of the ship.

Special EffectsThis is one of the most visually stunning movies you will see and this is achieved with all the special effects used to make this happen.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great visual watch but it does lack the real depth in the overall story.

 

Overall: Beautifully shot movie that falls short in the depth in character stories because it does feel like a live action version of Wall-E

Ratingcard

 

 

Presumed Innocent (1990)

posterDirector: Alan J Pakula

Writer: Frank Pierson, Alan J Pakula (Screenplay) Scott Turow (Novel)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Brian Dennehy, Raul Julia, Bonnie Bedelia, Paul Winfield, Greta Scacchi, John pencer, Joe Grifasi

 

Plot: When a female D.A. is killed, the D.A. assigns his assistant to handle the investigation. Only problem is that he was having an affair with her. And the evidence reveals that he is the killer. So he suspects that the man who wants his boss’ job is trying to frame him. He turns to Sandy Stern a highly celebrated defense attorney to represent him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Courtroom Drama

 

Story: Presumed Innocent starts when Carolyn Polhemus (Scacchi) an assistant D.A. attorney is killed the D.A. Raymond Horgan (Dennehy) assigns chief deputy Rusty Sabich (Ford) to investigate a case that doesn’t make sense for the cases Carolyn takes part in.

When the case gets complicated it is her past with Rusty that doesn’t make the case easy for him to investigate as what seems like a rape case could turn out to be set to look like a rape case pointing the finger at one of the criminals she had put away.

When Rusty becomes the main suspect for the murder and must turns to his courtroom rival Alejandro ‘Sandy’ Stern (Julia) to take on the D.A. office who have all turned on Rusty using his previous affair as the main motive for the murder.

 

Thoughts on Presumed Innocent

 

Characters/PerformanceRusty is a very questionable character, he has had an affair which takes away any respect you could have for him even if he is a brilliant attorney, Sandy you can see as a brilliant attorney in his own right that goes out of his way to get the case in his direction which is good to see playing about what could be considered the disgraced attorney. Raymond the D.A. does feel like your typical political figure that abuses their power as often as they like.

Performance wise everything is good but not their best work no one does anything that stands out and by the end you don’t think this will be a memorable role for the iconic Harrison Ford or Raul Julia.preumed

StoryI am usually a fan of a good courtroom drama as they can pull us in until the final outcome of the crime. This story flows very slowly with a court cast that does feel like you could see solved with ease. I felt this story just doesn’t pull us in enough to care about the case mainly because our defendant isn’t painted to be the most respectable character in the first place so we just don’t care who if he is innocent or not.

Mystery/ThrillerWe get a mystery but we don’t get many suspects for the crime which disappoints the thrilling side as we don’t get a chance to figure out who could be behind the crime.

SettingsWe have the traditional courtroom settings that show us just how most of the suspects would have understood just how to cover up murders with ease.genre

Final ThoughtsThis just doesn’t capture us like the other courtroom dramas and then could have been a lot more intense.

 

Overall: A Courtroom drama that just doesn’t hit all the levels it could.

Ratingrating

 

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017)

Director: Joachim Ronning, Espen Sandberg

Writer: Jeff Nathanson (Screenplay) Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Stuart Beattie, Jay Wolpert (Characters)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally, Orland Bloom, Keira Knightley

 

Plot: Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Better Than Expected

 

Story: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge starts as a young Henry Turner visiting and promising to break the curse on his father Will Turner (Bloom) against his father’s wishes because it means finding Jack Sparrow (Depp).

Move forward nine years and Henry (Thwaites) in part of the British Navy hunting down pirates in search of Jack Sparrow, when his ship heads into the Devil’s Triangle they find themselves attacked by the ghost Captain Salazar (Bardem), a man in search for Jack Sparrow who cursed his crew.

Finding himself locked up, Henry learns he is on the same island as Jack Sparrow and sets out on finding him as well as an astronomer Carina (Scodelario) who gets treated like a witch because of knowledge. The three team up with Jack’s crew to search for Poseidon’s Trident the one object that can break all curses in the ocean.

With Captain Salazar terrorising the ocean he joins the current ruler of the ocean Captain Barbossa (Rush) in the hunt for Jack as the pirates do battle to break the curses over the ocean.

 

Thoughts on Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge

 

Characters/PerformanceCaptain Jack is back, but this time we get a mix of what we expect from the style of the character at times being fun and over times feeling like a parody of himself. Captain Salazar is a good additional villain to this franchise because he was once a man doing the right thing but now hunts the seas for any victim. Captain Barbossa does have the best story arc in this film as we see how he has become the wealthiest pirate at sea and always stays one step ahead of everyone else. Henry is good for this film because it brings us back into the original characters origins learning about Will Turner and now his son, even if the character feels just like a copy of his father, Carina is written to be a strong independent woman in the time of the film which she is but she does also turn into the normal damsel in distress when it comes to conflict moments.

Performance Wise, Johnny Depp does feel like he is doing what you expect but does have moments of parody. Javier Bardem is good and enjoys the villainous role. Rush continues to be good without excelling, Brenton and Kaya are good addition but they do feel like they were just creating a new version of Bloom of Knightley.

StoryOne of the strongest points of any pirates movie is being able to tell us a continuing story, Black Pearl entered us into this world very nicely and the next two chapters continued the story along building on the characters legacy, when it came to Stranger Tides things went off the rails and the film came off boring. This story brings us back to the original arcs and continues to build on them like we enjoy seeing. This isn’t the overall best but it certainly isn’t the worst of the Pirates films and if you enjoyed the stories in the first couple you will enjoy this one.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is all fun, we get a couple of rip off ideas from bigger action franchises, most notable the bank heist, the sword fighting is fine but does become inconstant by the end of the film as ghosts can’t have sword fights. the adventure is the highlight here because this time you do feel like you are back where you want to be. The fantasy side of the film continues on nicely as we dive into the myths of the ocean.

SettingsEach setting looks perfect for a pirates film as we can continue to enjoy the visual experience of a pirates movie.

Special EffectsThe special effects are good, I did like how the deliberate slow flow of Salazar’s hair almost becomes a characteristic of its own too.

Final ThoughtsSure this film will get slammed but it doesn’t need to be, if you just go in look for some fun you will find yourself enjoying this one enough.

 

Overall: Sit back, switch your brain of and enjoy.

Rating