Red Room (2018)

Director: Stephen Gaffney

Writer: Stephen Gaffney, Erica Keegan (Screenplay)

Starring: Brian Fortune, Rodrigo Ternevoy, Cristina Ryan, Eddie Jackson, Michelle Audrey, Aisling O’Neill, Fionna Hewitt-Twamley, Amy Kelly, Sohalia Lindheim, Saorise Doyle, John Dalessandro

 

Plot: Held hostage in an isolated house, three kidnapped women attempt to escape from their sadistic captors.


Tagline – How Much Is Your Life Worth

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Rawer and Grittier than Hostel

 

Story: Red Room starts when Kyra (Kelly) becomes the latest woman to be abducted from the streets, taking to a remote house and locked away with two other women Alison (Doyle) and Lilly (Lindheim) with their captor Richard (Dalessandro) running the operation from the house.

Locked in a room with the screams echoing around the house, Kyra must look to help guide the other girls escape from a horror they can only imagine in a twisted world,

 

 

Thoughts on Red Room

 

Characters – Kyra is our main character, we see her get taken and see flashbacks to her life before she was taken, she tries to figure out how to escape the room, she is bar far the strongest character in the film. when we start getting into the other two girls, Alison and Lilly, they are just captured girl one and two, not feeling as in distress as they could be or even considering escaping, it seems to be Kyra that inspires them. Richard is the man controlling the operations in the house in communication with the boss, he doesn’t seem to get involved in the action, we have the colourful characters involved in the seedy underworld we have entered too.

PerformancesAmy Kelly is our leading lady and she is the best part of the movie, you believe her struggle to escape the most. Everyone else in the film is good without doing anything that makes them stand out on another level from the rest.

StoryThe story here follows three women that are being held captive in a room in the middle of nowhere. They must wait to see their fates or look for escape. The women don’t know what is happening, we do, all the women hear are the screams of the previous victims. We see how the sadistic captors are conducting a business which will satisfy the twisted in the world. The story will test the audience because this isn’t going to be for a faint hearted and shows us just how one of the movies that circles around this type of business and how everybody involved operates.

HorrorThe horror comes from happens to the women, it is brutal and difficult to watch, you may even need to look away at times.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the one house, this is isolated which means even if the women do get out of the house they will not know where to go.

Special EffectsThe effects are practical which makes certain scenes even harder to watch, the team behind these does deserve extra praise too.


Scene of the Movie –
The night escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The other two women seem to have just accepted their fate.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most brutal, raw and gritty movies you will ever see, it does end up making Hostel looking tame too.

 

Overall: Brutal and disturbing.

Rating

 

 

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Randy’s Canvas (2018)

Director: Sean Michael Beyer

Writer: Sean Michael Beyer, Matthew Luke Andrews (Screenplay) Matthew Luke Andrews, Kevin G Schmidt, Sean Michael Beyer, Zack Bennett (Story)

Starring: Adam Carbone, Scout Taylor-Compton, Marycarmen Lopez, Massi Furlan, Kevin G Schmidt, Richard Riehle, Michael Emery

 

Plot: A coming-of-age love story about an aspiring artist with autism.


Tagline – “Autism is what I have, it’s not who I am.”

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Coming-of-Age Delight

 

Story: Randy’s Canvas starts as we meet Randy (Carbone) an autistic young man with a talent and dream to become an artist, working at a gallery, one of his pieces gets displayed causing him to lose him job when Maurizio D’Oro (Furlan) singles his work out as the best in the gallery.

Maurizio takes Randy under his wing spotting his talent, trying to help him make his own name in the industry, giving him a chance to audit a famous art lecturer’s class. Starting the class opens him up to the world more learning about love and not being afraid that people will judge him.

 

Thoughts on Randy’s Canvas

 

Characters – Randy is the autistic young man who uses art to show his feelings, which he happens to be very talented. He likes a simple job and fails to follow instructions from lecturers, mentors and even family. His first love puts a shadow over the potential he has, he will need to learn fast to get the future he could have. Cassie is a classmate that offers Randy friendship because she has the same dream as Randy. Sienna becomes the first love for Randy, she does have her own boyfriend though, she likes hanging out with the brothers seeing them in a different light to her boyfriend. Maurizio is the gallery owner that sees the talent Randy has and wants to help him realize his potential. We also have Henry who is Randy’s brother that will always put his arm around him when he needs it and tries to guide him through everyday life.

PerformancesAdam Carbone in the leading role does an excellent job at balancing the autistic side to his character where he doesn’t make it feel unrealistic and makes us understand that Randy could well be a real person. Scout Taylor-Compton is good in her role which is supporting one, with Marycarmen Lopez doing a great job with her performance of a lady put in a difficult position. Massi Furlan is the most entertain performer to watch because we have that feeling about what we think art gallery owners are like.

StoryThe story here follows an autistic artist given a chance of a lifetime only that he struggles to follow instruction which could take away this chance after he falls in love with a girl on a night out with his brother. While the core of the story is something we know and enjoy watching, where the story shines in putting the spotlight on autistic people, they do have the talent and work just like any other people, we get to see the slight difference between the processing they must make, we see how even the biggest enemy can learn to understand they don’t understand how they feel. On the side story about this movie we did have autistic people working on the production of this movie to paint an accurate portray of autism which is something everyone should be seeing unfold.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film comes from Randy’s innocence behaviour about situations, Maurizio’s speeches and mostly feel good moments. The romance shows Randy that women might come into his life, while they won’t mistreat him, he needs to learn the difference between love and friendship.

SettingsThe film gives us a couple of settings, they do feel like everyday settings, the home, bar, school, gallery, each would be a place where Randy could find inspiration.


Scene of the Movie –
Randy’s show.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact Henry doesn’t inform Maurizio about the autism from the first meeting.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best coming of age movies you will see this year, it does have an important message about how equal and patient people should be with autistic people and shows us just how dreams will take time.

 

Overall: Must watch coming of age movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – R – The Rewrite (2014)

Director: Marc Lawrence

Writer: Marc Lawrence (Screenplay)

Starring: Hugh Grant, Marisa Tomei, Bella Heathcote, JK Simmons, Chris Elliott, Allison Janney

 

Plot: An Oscar-winning writer in a slump leaves Hollywood to teach screenwriting at a college on the East Coast, where he falls for a single mom taking classes there.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Romantic Comedy

 

Story: The Rewrite starts as Oscar-Winning screenwriter Keith Michaels (Grant) has been struggling to get his new ideas to sale, in need of money he travels across the country to Binghampton to work as a teacher at a university teaching screenwriting.

Arriving in the dead-end town Keith instantly wants to get away but his charm helps him make an impact with the fellow teacher’s Dr Leaner (Simmons), Jim Harper (Elliott) and his rival Professor Weldon (Janney).

Keith doesn’t want to do much teaching early on because he believes you can’t teach the skills but he soon learns to love guiding his students including Karen (Heathcote) and elder student Holly (Tomei) as he learns and finds inspiration for his own writing woes.

 

Thoughts on The Rewrite

 

Characters/PerformanceKeith Michaels is a down on his luck screenwriter whose can’t find any work in Hollywood and must take a teaching job, this job gives Keith the chance to refocus on his own life, career and learn from his mistakes, Keith is self-centred character that evolves as the story unfolds. Holly is the elder student wanting to improve herself, she offers the friendship Keith needs as she has a different worldly experience. Karen is the student that Keith starts dating and ends up learning the hard way how she can get what she wants. Dr Learner, Professor Weldon and Jim Harper all offer us up different kinds of teachers you would find in a university.

Performance wise, Hugh Grant gives the performance he is known for, slightly smug full of himself but he does this so well. Marisa Tomei is good in her role to showing how she can be a glimmer of light in any role she plays. The rest of the cast are all good with their roles with the students all being unique and elder cast members all being good mix for Hugh Grant performance.

StoryThe story focuses on one man that has lost his spark creatively and must turn to teaching and he goes on a journey to discover how he can help guide the next generation of screenwriters. This shows us how people can always teach and learn from life and guide people. This is an enjoyable story to follow.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy comes with plenty of references to movies but isn’t a laugh a minute. The romance side of the film is what mostly gets Keith into trouble and ends up not working the way it should do.

SettingsThe idea of putting a ‘celebrity’ figure into a small town setting is a tried and tested formula and one that works here to help the story flow.

Final ThoughtsThis is a true Hugh Grant rom com, he plays the character we know and love to watch in a new setting with the same results. This is enjoyable though because we do get to learn life lessons.

 

Overall: Solid and enjoyable story to learn from.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – R – Robot Overlords (2014

Director: Jon Wright

Writer: Jon Wright, Mark Stay (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Kingsley, Gillian Anderson, Callan McAuliffe, Ella Hunt, James Tarpey, Milo Parker

 

Plot: Earth has been conquered by robots from a distant galaxy. Survivors are confined to their houses and must wear electronic implants, risking incineration by robot sentries if they venture outside.


Tagline – Robots never lie…….

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Young Adult 101

 

Story: Robot Overlords starts as the Earth has been invaded by robots and humans are confined to their homes, Kate (Anderson) has her own son Sean (McAuliffe) and adopted children Alexandra (Hunt), Nathan (Tarpey) and Connor (Parker). When the kids learn how to disable the electronic devices they venture outside.

Once outside the kids go in search of answers, keeping one step ahead of the robots one the chief Robin Smythe (Kingsley) who is working for the robots, they must learn the secrets of the invasion.

 

Thoughts on Robot Overlords

 

Characters – Robin Smythe is the zone chief, he works for the robots while keeping the humans safe when they could be in danger and are worth saving, he will not stop until he gets to be with Kate even if that means taking her son. Kate is the one that has taken in the orphans of the invasion and with her son she keeps them safe even in the battle against Robin. Sean is the eldest of the children, he leads the fight back once he discovers he has a very special ability in the war. The rest of the kids offer us comic relief when needed in the film.

PerformancesWhen we look at performances we must realizes Sir Ben Kingsley is in the film, this is the definition of a pay check performance from him. Anderson is good, but it is always hard to see her in any peril after the X-Files. The kids are good throughout never looking out of place.

StoryThe story here follows the pattern of the young adult movies, we have a group of teens that are in a post-apocalyptic world (well nearly) that must rise up and become the resistance. That is the soft outer shell of this movie, going deeper into the story we do have an original idea by having the robots force the humans into staying in their homes over just having them hiding. For the most part this would pass as what we know, it is the main twist which makes zero sense, but what the hell it worked to save the day somehow.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action in the movie does have a unique style, but just doesn’t come off in the most interesting or entertaining way, the adventure side of the film gives us the standard children, teenagers are the ones that will be the ones to save the day and the sci-fi ideas do work with how robots have taken over the world.

SettingsThe film is set in a small English coastal town, it is nice, but if you took the robots out of the scenes it looked like just backdrop stock photos.

Special EffectsThe special effects for the most part look very CGI, everything looks like a robot placed into the world rather than a robot in the world.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The ability seems very random.

Final ThoughtsThis is a basic young adult movie, it checks the boxes but never becomes one that you will remember when talking about them in general.

 

Overall: Standard young adult movie.

Rating

 

 

Robin Williams Weekend – R.V.: Runaway Vacation (2006)

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Writer: Geoff Rodkey (Screenplay)

Starring: Robin Williams, Cheryl Hines, Joanna ‘Jojo’ Levesque, Josh Hutcherson, Jeff Daniels, Kristin Chenoweth

 

Plot: Bob Munro and his dysfunctional family rent an RV for a road trip to the Colorado Rockies, where they ultimately have to contend with a bizarre community of campers.


Tagline – One family. Eight wheels. No brakes.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Serviceable Comedy

 

Story: R.V.: Runaway Vacation starts as businessman Bob (Williams) is facing the reality of seeing his kids about to start preparing for their next steps in life, he decides to cancel their Hawaii vacation to take them across country in an RV. Bob must convince his wife Jamie (Hines) and children Cassie (JoJo) and Carl (Hutcherson) this trip is going to be good.

As their journey continues we get the usual series of mishaps along the way as Bob is fighting to keep his job by secretly doing his work while the others sleep, just what else can happen in the family’s adventure.

 

Thoughts on R.V.: Runaway Vacation

 

Characters – Bob Munro is an officer worker always on his boss’s good side, his family is growing up and about to move on with their lives and he decides to take them on a cross country trip to keep his job. Jamie is his wife that isn’t happy about losing the Hawaii vacation but understands he wants to spend time with his family. Cassie and Carl are the children with their own growing up problems that Bob has been ignoring for the most part.

PerformancesRobin Williams is the main star of the movie, he gets to do a watered-down version of his comedy which is serviceable for the film. Going into the supporting cast we don’t get too much that stands out as most of them are playing off what Williams does.

StoryThe story follows a family vacation in an RV which takes them on a series of unfortunate events. The story does feel weak for the family growing dynamic because too much of the movie is focused on the father’s problems rather then looking at how the family needs to come together. This will pass as a comedy level story which is fine and never becomes the importance a lighter comedy could achieve.

Comedy/FamilyThe comedy is hit or miss, it is mostly material we have seen before and even with Williams in the leading role, it doesn’t always hit.

SettingsThe film takes us across parts of America which is fine, we get the beauty spots in certain places.


Scene of the Movie –
The reason why the trip happens.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The weakness of the comedy.

Final ThoughtsThis isn’t the best comedy, it has moments but in the end it will become one that you do end up forgetting.

 

Overall: Forgettable comedy for the most part.

Rating