Traffik (2018) Movie Review

Director: Deon Taylor

Writer: Deon Taylor (Screenplay)

Starring: Paula Patton, Omar Epps, Luke Goss, William Fichtner, Laz Alonso, Roselyn Sanchez, Priscilla Quintana, Missi Pyle

Plot: A couple off for a romantic weekend in the mountains are accosted by a biker gang. Alone in the mountains, Brea and John must defend themselves against the gang, who will stop at nothing to protect their secrets.


Tagline – Run. Fight. Survive.

Runtime: 1 our 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Shock Filled Thriller

Story: Traffik starts when the ambitious reporter Brea (Patton) loses her big story and potential her job right on the eve of her birthday, her boyfriend John (Epps) wants to surprise her and with his friend Darren (Alonso) he gets a romantic weekend planned.

Heading up to the mountain location the couple find themselves in a gas station where confrontation is quick to find them with help stranger Red (Goss) along with gangs, showing a potential large group of different enemies. The romantic weekend takes a turn, first with the appearance of Darren and his girlfriend Malia (Sanchez), but again by a deadly gang of human traffickers led by Red, who will kill to keep their secret.

Thoughts on Traffik

Characters – Brea is an ambitious reporter always taking her time researching a story before throwing it to her editor, this has seen her get herself into trouble, losing stories and potentially her job. In her personal life it is her birthday celebrating among friends with a romantic getaway being part of it. This getaway will give her the biggest story of her career, when she finds herself targeted by human traffickers who want her in their collection. John is the boyfriend that is getting nervous about the getaway as he is about to propose to Brea, he gets hooked up by the friend that will give them the location and will need to help Brea fight back against the people after them. Red is the leader of the human traffickers, he can charm, but he will show his deadly side if anybody gets in his way.

PerformancesPaula Patton is the star of the show here, she gives us a strong performance that shows us just how determined she is to survive. Omar Epps, Luke Goss and the rest of the cast all do a great job letting Paula shine through in this film.

StoryThe story here follows a couple on a romantic getaway that get targeted by human traffickers who want to keep their secret safe. This is a story that is designed the highlight the horrific crimes of human trafficking, not just in America, but worldwide. Away from the message behind everything, we do see the mix of a home invasion, chase and fightback elements of story telling putting a firm light on the idea that women will fight back, in this case Brea. The way everything unfolds is mostly predictable which is fine, nothing really hits the intensity levels wanted from the film.

Action/CrimeThe action is a mix of chases and fight between victim and captures, they are quick instead of being over the top. The crime side of the film does show us just how easily this operation can happen to the victims and how organised it can be run.

SettingsThe film is set in the mountain range outside California where the people can pick and choose who they take.


Scene of the Movie – Escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – One of the main twists is too predictable.

Final Thoughts This is a generic action thriller that does highlight an important message of the horrors of the human trafficking world that leaves Paula Patton to shine.

Overall: Important, but Generic.

Ben Stiller Weekend – There’s Something About Mary (1998)

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Writer: Ed Decter, John J Strauss, Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly (Screenplay)

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller, Lee Evans, Chris Elliott, Lin Shaye, Jeffrey Tambor, Markie Post, Keith David

 

Plot: A man gets a chance to meet up with his dream girl from high school, even though his date with her back then was a complete disaster.


Tagline – Warning: The guys who did ‘Dumb & Dumber’ and ‘Kingpin’ bring you a love story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Comedy

 

Story: There’s Something About Mary starts back in high school Ted (Stiller) is an outsider at school with a giant crush on the school beauty Mary (Diaz), he is lucky enough to get asked to the prom which only ends in disaster after an accident.

13 years later Ted still wants to know about Mary, he hires a private investigator Healy (Dillon) to find out about her, only for him to fall for her and he tries to get her using all the secrets he has learnt from spying on her, which drives Ted down to Florida to try and win her heart first.

 

Thoughts on There’s Something About Mary

 

Characters – Mary is the beauty woman that the guys are all attracted too, she is good-hearted helping the community including her brother, she however can’t settle on the right guy, attracting the wrongs one too often. Ted is the high school student that suffers an unfortunate accident on prom night, he never got over not knowing about Mary and sets out to learn about her 13-years later, he continues to have accidents in life, but is an honest guy. The nice twist on these two characters is that, Mary is the big sports fan while Ted doesn’t seem that interested in sports. Healy is the private investigator that is hired to learn about Mary, he falls for her and uses the information he has learnt to try and win her heart. Tucker is a friend of Mary’s that also loves her and will do anything to stop the guys dating her.

PerformancesCameron Diaz was the perfect choice for this role she has the looks which was important, but she shows us all that she has the comedic timing too. Matt Dillon as a creepy investigator works great too, this plays into his strengths in the comedy genre too, while Ben Stiller shows us just how good he is at playing to loveable loser figure, apart from his terrible fake crying. The supporting cast get their laughs too, which works well throughout the film.

StoryThe story follows multiply men that fall for Mary, they are going to try different plans to win her heart and certain ideas do work. This doesn’t paint the intelligent doctor figure of Mary very well, but we tend to focus on the guys plans over her decisions. Ted is the nice guy that mostly wants to make sure she is doing well in life only to become part of her life again, while others turn to lies to play into her favourite traits. For a comedy this story works very well, it will give you the laughs along the way even if the characters for the most part are turned into desperate people that will lie to get a woman.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in this film gets laughs throughout the film, certain people will be offended by certain material though. The romance shows how people will fall in love and how far people will go for love.

SettingsMost of the film is set around Florida, which gives us the sun filled background to make this easy on the eyes.


Scene of the Movie –
Learning the truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The depiction of mentally handicapped people.

Final ThoughtsThis is a funny comedy that does make us laugh more often than not, we have great performances from the whole cast and you will be happy to watch this again.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy.

Rating

 

 

This Is Our Home (2019) Movie Review

Director: Omri Dorani

Writer: Rob Harmon (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeff Ayars, Drew Beckas, Riggsby Lane, Simone Policano

Plot: A struggling couple’s weekend getaway goes awry when a child arrives in the middle of the night claiming to be their son.

Runtime: 1 Hour 13 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Lacks the Spark

Story: This Is Our Home starts when Cory (Ayars) and Reina (Policano) go on a weekend getaway at an old family home to put some of the struggles of life behind them. The two are trying to start their own family, without having much success until one night on the getaway when a knocking comes from the door, by a child, a child who claims to be their own.

Zeke (Beckas) claims to be their own child, that Cory has hurt him, the two take the boy in and offer support as they try to figure out if and where Zeke has come from. As the night continues the couple both starts acting stranger through the night.

Thoughts on This Is Our Home

Characters – Cory is the partner of Reina’s that has become distant in life, he does want to support his wife with this trip being a chance to try and make up for his mistakes. He gets accused of hurting the child that says he is their son, something he denies, and it wouldn’t make sense if he had. Reina is the partner of Cory and medical student; she has a weird thing she likes to do with her partner to practise and is returning to her own family home, where the dark secrets are what scare her most. Zeke is the boy that turns up at the doorstep claiming to be their son, he does seem to have an ability to make Reina believe this, as he tries to put himself into the family using the innocent child to help his case.

PerformancesThis is a hard film to judge the performances, mostly because everything is kept relatively simple with story, Jeff Ayars and Simone Policano both make themselves look like a struggling couple, showing both the best and worst moments from a relationship. Drew Beckas does bring the child character to life well and does make you wonder if there is more to his character or not.

StoryThe story here follows a couple that get a strange visit from a child claiming to be their own when they know they haven’t had any children. This story is strange because it does seem to lack that moment that could take it from this is unusual to, that makes sense. The couple are struggling which is clear to see, the child does seem to have some control over them, but it isn’t made clear why or how, add in the mysterious room that is key to everything, we are left with more questions than answers by the end of the film. The story never reaches the interest level of what is could have been which leaves it feeling disappointing more than anything.

Horror/RomanceThe horror seems to be slow building moments that just don’t pay off, while the romance is more about the relationship between the two and how much they have been struggling.

SettingsThe film is set in an old family home which shows us just how the couple needed the escape, it has a mysterious room which should hold more answers too.


Scene of the Movie – The arrival.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – No real answers.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that has all the questions lined up and fails to answer enough of them by the end of the film, it will leave you asking more than we got.

Overall: Disappointing Horror.

The Tokoloshe (2018) Movie Review

Director: Jerome Pikwane

Writer: Richard Kunzmann, Jerome Pikwane (Screenplay)

Starring: Petronella Tshuma, Kwande Nkosi, Dawid Minnaar, Harreit Manamela, Mandla Shongwe

Plot: Busi, a young destitute woman with dangerously repressed emotions, lands a job as a cleaner at a rundown hospital in the heart of Johannesburg. Desperate for the money so she can bring her younger sister to Johannesburg, she must cope despite the predatory and corrupt hospital manager. When Busi discovers an abandoned young girl in the hospital, who believes she is tormented by a supernatural force, Busi must face her own demons from her past in order to save the child from the abusive monster that pursues them both relentlessly.


Tagline – Where she goes it follows.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fairy Tale Horror

Story: The Tokoloshe starts as Busi (Tshuma) moves to Johannesburg to start a new life, where she gets a job in a hospital as a cleaner, where she is warned about the manager Ruatomin (Minnaar) predatory ways. Busi learns of the darkness within parts of the hospital, along with the children’s wing that includes children that have also been forgotten.

Busi starts to feel uneasy in her new surroundings where she is filled with the guilt of leaving her sister behind, despite her job being to bring her to the big city too, soon she learns her guilt and despair could have bought forward an evil spirit following her, one that preys on the weak.

Thoughts on The Tokoloshe

Characters – Busi is a young lady that has left her sister behind in hope of starting a better life for the pair of them, she gets a job in the big city and learns that she is going to need to face demons in both human and supernatural form. Busi is filled with guilt for leaving her sister behind and will do everything she can to support her, but she needs to fight her own demons first. Ruatomin is the manager of the hospital, he likes to take advantage of the women and uses his position of power to get away with it. Gracie is the young girl Busi finds around the hospital, she believes he is being haunted by the Tokoloshe and when she is left alone, the creature strikes causing her great pain, it will continue to follow her too.

PerformancesPetronella Tshuma in the leading role brings us a performance that shows the pain her life has been through, while willing to show just how much she wants the change. Kwande Nkosi as the young girl that shows the horrors she has been through, while Dawid Minnaar brings us the horrible manager making you hate his every scene.

StoryThe story here follows a young woman that heads to the big city to start a new life for her and her sister only to find herself needing to help a young girl that is being haunted by a mysterious creature in the shadows. The story does dive into a folklore of South Africa which tales of a creature that comes for child who are suffering. This story does address real life issues that Busi could be suffering from both in the workplace and at home with the problems her sister is facing. When it comes to the haunting side of the story we get to dive into the terror that could be experience by the people who are targets of the Tokoloshe.

HorrorThe horror does have a lot going on in the background, with the game of catch and with the being dragged along the floor poltergeist like haunting.

SettingsThe film does show the Johannesburg city being a place where somebody would go to make money, despite being one of the places where it isn’t as safe as she would want it to be, the hospital have plenty of haunting feelings and once we leave the city we get the area which includes extra horror.

Special EffectsThe effects are saved more for the final reveal, this is strong enough for low budget which does work for the film.


Scene of the Movie – The game of catch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The hospital has strange wings.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that does bring a folklore to life and the gloom involved in the film to show the horror we would be experiencing.

Overall: Gloomy Horror.

James Bond Month – Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Director: Roger Spottiswoode

Writer: Bruce Feirstein (Screenplay)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, Teri Hatcher, Ricky Jay, Gotz Otto, Joe Don Baker

 

Plot: James Bond heads to stop a media mogul’s plan to induce war between China and the UK in order to obtain exclusive global media coverage.


Tagline – The Man. The Number. The License…are all back.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Non-Stop Action

 

Story: Tomorrow Never Dies starts as James Bond (Brosnan) completes another high-risk mission, before heading home. We move to the Chinese sea, where a British military ship a sunk after a clash with Chinese fighter planes, with both sides suffering causalities at the hands of media mogul Elliot Carver (Pryce) who is building stories for his own benefit.

James must investigate this latest case using his connection to Elliot’s wife Paris (Hatcher), James is joined by Chinese agent Wai Lin (Yeoh) as they look to stop Elliot’s plan before the next world war is started.

 

Thoughts on Tomorrow Never Dies

 

Characters – James Bond is back once again, his past is once again the reason he is selected for this mission, we know how he acts, how he can be stealth with his investigation and survive being outnumbered, we don’t learn to much new about him here, just more of the same. Elliot Carver is the media mogul that wants to create his own headlines by starting his own war between China and Britain. He believes he will control the worlds media if this war starts. Wai Lin is the Chinese agent who starts working with James for her side of the potential terrorist attack, she can handle herself in combat, being given fight sequences unlike most female Bond characters. Paris Carver is the wife of Elliot, she did once have a fling with James, which is how James gets into the party to start with, she gets put in the difficult position of choice her power hungry husband or her former fling.

PerformancesPierce Brosnan’s second outing as Bond, sees him handling the comic moments better, he feels like he has grown even more into the role, where he has made his own version of the Bond character. Jonathan Pryce does make for a great villain, his character needs to be well-spoken which Jonathan does bring to the part. Michelle Yeoh does seem to break the trends of the Bond girl figure, being able to handle herself in the fight. Teri Hatcher might have a smaller role, but it works for what the film needs.

StoryThe story here follows a media mogul that wants to create a new war between Britain and China, so he can have full control of the media outlet in the world that only James Bond can stop. This does bring us a new villain with a master plan that is way over the top which does work, the investigation does seem to feel like it blends into the action, unlike most of the film in the franchise. The idea the media wants to control the affairs of the world does seem more realistic to what is happening now. The story might end up playing out how you would imagine, though it does feel more connected than the previous ones.

Action/AdventureThe action in this film is brilliant, we have one of the best chase sequence in the franchise has ever offered, we have the Bond girl bring able to handle herself in fights too. The adventure does take James around the world, might like what we have come to expect.

SettingsThe film uses the setting to make memorable moments, be it the chase or the final base battle.


Scene of the Movie –
Motorbike chase,

That Moment That Annoyed Me It has dated with the media moguls plan.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun addition to the franchise, it does have the smoothest action which seems to be strong in the 90s film and a villain that does feel realistic.

 

Overall: Fun action film.

Rating