Seventh Moon (2008)

Director: Eduardo Sanchez

Writer: Eduardo Sanchez, Jamie Nash (Screenplay)

Starring: Amy Smart, Tim Chiou, Dennis Chan

 

Plot: Melissa and Yul, Americans honeymooning in China, come across the exotic ‘Hungry Ghost’ festival. When night falls, the couple end up in a remote village, and soon realize the legend is all too real. Plunged into an ancient custom they cannot comprehend, the couple must find a way to survive the night of the Seventh Moon.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Camerawork Ruins the Film

 

Story: Seventh Moon starts as newlywed Melissa (Smart) and Yul (Chiou) are travelling around China for their honeymoon, we get the montage to show the best bits, before they take a trip with their trust guide Ping (Chan) who leaves them in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night.

Getting concerned the two investigate only to learn not everything is as it seems and now they must battle to survive against the locals and their spirits that are visiting on the Seventh Moon,

 

Thoughts on Seventh Moon

 

Characters – We know horror movies don’t get the best character development and this movie shows why, we have American Melissa who would rather be swimming with dolphins than going to China the homeland of her husband, she is stronger when it comes to surviving horror, forcing her husband to do the manly thing. Yul is the Chinese American that married Melissa and is heading to his homeland for their honeymoon, she doesn’t speak fluent which shows during the non-English moments and needs to be pushed to do the right thing.

PerformancesDoes any remember when Amy Smart was shine in the teenage romantic comedies over the turn of the century, Road Trip and later Just Friends? Well this is where she ended up doing horrors which doesn’t involve too much actual acting. Tim Chiou doesn’t give the best of performances, again this is down to the material and awful camerawork.

StoryThe story wants to be something a lot bigger than what we got, in reality it is American tourist not understand culture and getting caught in the middle of a ritual they don’t understand, mostly running around the woods/forest screaming and hiding. When we watch horror, we don’t always need the best stories, granted but we do at least need something to care about, characters to root for an enemy we might understand. This gives us none of this and ends up feeling flat and boring throughout.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror in this film comes from what is in the woods/forest, it uses the myth of the Seventh Moon to say spirits will come out looking for fresh blood and these creatures are what we must see our character hide and fight against.

SettingsThe setting is the woods or forest, this is fine and works for the idea in the movie, we know that small communities will have different beliefs and while the settings are not used in the most terrifying way they suit the film we are watching.

Special EffectsThe effects are the confusing part of this film, this is because the make-up works very well for the creatures, but the camerawork makes this borderline unwatchable at times.


Scene of the Movie –
The creatures attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The camerawork is terrible.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid idea for a horror film, but the camerawork starts to make this feel unwatchable for the most part.

 

Overall: Camerawork ruins a smart idea that should work.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action – S – Stormageddon (2015)

Director: Nick Lyon

Writer: Neil Elman (Screenplay)

Starring: John Hennigan, Eve Mauro, Joseph Gatt, Robert Blanche, Ricco Ross, David Shatraw, Adrian Paul

 

Plot: When a computer program, Echelon, takes over America’s computer systems it gains the potential to manipulate the weather. Now two robots, Adam and Cain, fight to gain control of Echelon before its too late.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Sci-Fi Actioner

 

Story: Stormageddon starts as America gets attacked by their own drones make it an international problem, journalist Molly (Mauro) receives a tape from her deceased father telling her to look for a man by the name of Adam (Hennigan) after Able (Gatt) takes control of the system putting millions of lives at risk.

Adam must work with Molly to uncover her father’s work which holds the answers to prevent the destruction of the world, but it isn’t only the government trying to kill them, Able wants to stop them too.

 

Thoughts on Stormageddon

 

Characters – Adam is one of the creations, designed to look human, living a normal life, now he is the only one that can stop the computers that are planning to destroy humanity. He is part terminator and part action star. Molly is a reporter that finds herself in the middle of her father’s work that is trying to destroy humanity. She doesn’t get the much and quickly turns into the damsel in distress sidekick. Able is the creation that has become infected by the computer system, he is now causing the problems the world is facing and will kill anyone who gets in his way.

PerformancesJohn Hennigan is doing well in this action films, he can handle the action sequences well and the one liners, well he is getting there. Eve Mauro is good enough as the leading lady but doesn’t get the time you would like when it comes to being helpful. Joseph Gatt has the look of a villain and keeps the emotionless look from the start to the end of the film.

StoryThe story is simple enough to follow, it is a race against time to stop the destruction of mankind that has been using technology to stay make this happen. This is a by the book story that works without complicating anything like many other films could and is one you can just sit back and enjoy. The idea of technology trying to destroy humanity is always interesting to see unfold.

Action/Sci-FiThe action gives us a couple of fight sequences without being overly challenging on the stars while the idea of technology trying to destroy humanity.

SettingsWe do see the iconic landmarks destroyed which is key for disaster movies, but our characters are never in iconic locations.

Special EffectsThe effects are not the best, but we are not expecting great from the low budget.


Scene of the Movie –
Final twist.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain action moments are quickly cut taking away the action.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple easy to watch sci-fi action film, it borrows from other ideas but works if you just want to switch your brain off.

 

Overall: Easy to watch and enjoy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – Q – Gene Quintano – Sudden Death (1995)

Director: Peter Hyams

Writer: Gene Quintano (Screenplay) Karen Baldwin (Story)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Powers Boothe, Raymond J Barry, Whittni Wright, Ross Malinger, Dorian Harewood

 

Plot: A former fireman takes on a group of terrorists holding the Vice President and others hostage during the seventh game of the NHL Stanley Cup finals.


Tagline – Tonight, 17 thousand hockey fans have been taken hostage…but just one of them knows it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hugely Entertaining Action Film

 

Story: Sudden Death starts as we meet firefighter Darren McCord (Van Damme) who is involved in a tragic rescue resulting in a young girls death. 2-years-later McCord has got a job as a fire inspector for the city ice hockey team as they are preparing for the seventh game in the Stanley Cup, taking his two children Emily (Wright) and Tyler (Malinger) to the game.

With the game under way Joshua Foss (Boothe) executes his plan to hold the Vice President (Barry) hostage along with the rest of the arena threatening to kill the hostage unless he gets paid, McCord becomes the only person that can save the arena and redeem his reputation.

 

Thoughts on Sudden Death

 

Characters – Darren McCord is a former firefighter who lost a young girl during a rescue, 2-years-late he is now a fire marshal for the ice hockey arena, he takes his kids to the game only for his daughter to be taken by the terrorists. He must use his fighting skills to stay ahead of the terrorists and save not only his daughter, but the vice President and the rest of the spectators in the arena. Joshua Foss is the leader of the terrorists, he wants money and lots of it, knowing where to take it from, he will kill anyone who is involved in the plan, he will kill hostages being a man of his word knowing he has a full arena of victims. Vice President is the man being held hostage by Joshua, he remains calm knowing that the situation doesn’t need to get out of hand no matter how many people Joshua executes. We do have Darren’s kids who are both just what you would expect with the members of the terrorist group completing the mix with the generic ones we know.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme is one of the biggest icons in action, this could very well be one of his best roles, he looks like an everyday man with his own problems acting like a hero and showing us the fighting skills which have made him famous Power Boothe is great in the villainous role, he calmness makes his character fell disturbing throughout the film and is easily on of the underrated villains of the action genre. The rest of the cast are good, while the main two steal the show.

StoryThe story is what people branded ‘Die Hard, in an Ice Hockey Arena’ that is the best way to describe it, a former hero needing to redeem himself from a past mistake and when the chance presents itself in the ice hockey arena he must save the people from a criminal. It uses the real-time feeling as the have the game being the countdown through the events which does help show the rush to save the day as well as dealing with a villain that is cold-hearted and has been planning this job for years. For action we don’t always need the deepest of stories, this shows us what we can have achieved within the time period in question.

Action/CrimeThe action shows McCord going up against different henchman in different locations around the arena, even if the kitchen one against the penguin suit is the one you will most likely remember. The crime shows how a robbery can be put together to work like clockwork even if things don’t always go to plan.

SettingsThe film is set in the ice hockey arena, the action needs to remain here for the whole game giving us a tidy timeline to deal with through the film.


Scene of the Movie –
McCord versus the penguin.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We miss the comic relief needed for the bonkers side of the idea.

Final Thoughts – This is an enjoyable action film that shows us just how entertaining Jean-Claude Van Damme can be if we are allowed to let him off his leash to fight.

 

Overall: Action film to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

The Silence (2019)

Director: John R Leonetti

Writer: Carey Van Dyke, Shane Van Dyke (Screenplay) Tim Lebbon (Novel)

Starring: Stanley Tucci, Kiernan Shipka, Miranda Otto, Kate Trotter, John Corbett, Kyle Breitkopf

 

Plot: A family struggles to survive in a world terrorized by a deadly, primeval species who hunt only with their acute hearing.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painfully Slow

 

Story: The Silence starts as we meet a family father Hugh (Tucci), Kelly (Otto) deaf teenager daughter Ally (Shipka), youngster child Jude (Breitkopf), grandma Lynn (Trotter) and Uncle Glen (Corbett), they are going through an everyday life situation, until the town comes under attack from mysterious creatures that are attracted by noise.

The family go against the advice of the television and look to get out of the city, which sees them needing to face difficult decisions to survive and learning to operate in silence.

 

Thoughts on The Silence

 

Characters – Hugh is the father of the house, he works in construction planning (I think, we get one 10 second scene of his job), he is getting worried about where his daughter will go to college. When the attack starts, he gets his family out of the city and must lead them on the quest for safety, he will have to do the risker jobs along the way. Ally is the teenage daughter who is deaf after an accident, she has adapted to life this way well and she turns out to be one of the few people in the world that can cope with the silence required to survive. Kelly is the mum, she is basically just a mum that is her character. Lynn is the grandmother that is sick, she will need to keep her medication up to survive.

PerformancesStanley Tucci does try hard in this role, only he just can’t get into the role, Kiernan Shipka is never believable in her deaf character role, this is just the beginning of terribly written characters that give nobody a chance to shine.

StoryThe story follows one family as they look to find safety after a new predator who hunts through sound that have taken over America. The story will feel like the early stages of ‘A Quiet Place’ even if this story was written first. Where it follows the first outbreak because it does build the panic, like every single zombie movie, which does make it feel like we have seen it before. The struggles have been done before, this does end up being one of the most done stories we have ever seen, going nowhere fast just becoming boring throughout the film.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from the creatures which almost feel comical as we don’t get to see just how deadly they are.

SettingsThe film is set in the rural area in America which shows where safety is search for.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are poor too, the creatures are all CGI and just out of place on the screen.


Scene of the Movie –
The credits because it was over.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It was nothing new.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor, boring and seen before horror movie that just never reaches the potential it wants.

 

Overall: Disappointing throughout.

Rating

 

 

The Station Agent (2003)

Director: Tom McCarthy

Writer: Tom McCarthy (Screenplay)

Starring: Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale, Michelle Williams, Josh Pais

 

Plot: When his only friend dies, a man born with dwarfism moves to rural New Jersey to live a life of solitude, only to meet a chatty hot dog vendor and a woman dealing with her own personal loss.


Tagline – Loneliness is much better when you have got someone to share it with

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming

 

Story: The Station Agent starts when Finbar McBride (Dinklage) must relocate to rural new Jersey after his friend passes away, he wants a quiet solitude life, as he moves into an abandoned train station. He just so happens to be opposite a chatty hotdog vendor Joe (Cannavale). Finbar continues to meet the locals including the clumsy Olivia (Clarkson) and Emily (Williams).

Finbar, Joe and Olivia end up striking up an unlikely friendship as Fin learns to let people in to his life, Joe learns to open up more about life and Olivia reveals her own tragic story.

 

Thoughts on The Station Agent

 

Characters – Finbar has always worked and lived in the same location until his friend dies, Fin is forced to move out of the city where he wants to continue his life of isolation, only the overly welcoming locals want to be his friend. Finbar starts to learn about other people’s problems as loneliness isn’t the best thing in his life. Olivia nearly runs Finbar over, she is dealing with her own problems that she is covering up with a bubbly personality, she becomes one of the people that Fin wants to help. Joe runs a hot dog stand opposite Fin’s new home, he likes to chat and wants to become Fin’s friend, he has his own problems that he doesn’t want to talk to anybody else about.

PerformancesPeter Dinklage showed the whole world just how talented he is as an actor in this leading role, Patricia Clarkson is also wonderful in her role as we feel the pain her character is going through. Bobby Cannavale completes the main cast with an enjoyable performance

StoryThe story here follows one man that must relocate after his friend dies, he wants to be left in isolation only for the locals to just want to welcome him to the neighbourhood, even if they have their own problems. This is a story that teaches people that need to have a friend to get through your problems, even if the friend comes from the most unlikely location in your everyday life. It shows how people can live a life in pain without you knowing until you are willing to listen to them. It can show how life isn’t going to be easy and it can take you down dark paths and you will need people to help you.

ComedyThe film fits the comedy drama wonderfully, handling the serious nature of the events of the film, while getting the laughs when needed.

SettingsThe film is set in a small location of a town outside of New Jersey, the people are friendly and have problems, they want to stay strong in the eyes of the other members of the community.


Scene of the Movie –
The final shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We do have too many dwarf jokes, which feel like they haven’t aged well.

Final ThoughtsThis is a charming comedy drama that shows the real struggles in life with friendship coming from the unlikely places.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy drama.

Rating