Unhinged (2020) Movie Review

Director: Derrick Borte

Writer: Carl Ellsworth (Screenplay)

Starring: Russell Crowe, Jimmi Simpson, Caren Pistorius, Gabriel Bateman, Michael Papajohn, Anne Leighton

Plot: After a confrontation with an unstable man at an intersection, a woman becomes the target of his rage.


Tagline – He Can Happen to Anyone

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Intense Popcorn Flick

Story: Unhinged starts when Rachel (Pistorius) a mother going through a divorce which is making her life more difficult is taking her son Kyle (Bateman) to school when she gets involved in a simple traffic incident, which sees a stranger (Crowe) target her in revenge.

Rachel finds herself being terrorised by the man who is hellbent on making her have the worse day of her life, in what becomes a battle to survive this mad man.

Thoughts on Unhinged

Characters – The Man opens with his substance abuse, before committing a violent crime on his ex-wife, a broken violent man he is, he is waiting for someone to push his buttons, which happens to be Rachel, he decides to terrorise her and anybody who gets near her, not hiding his violence, he doesn’t care how many people see him, he is past breaking point. Rachel is the newly single mother, trying to hold her life together while her divorce is going through, she has already lost a lot from her life and doesn’t need anymore problems, which is what she gets, needing to race to save her loved ones from this mad man, protecting her son becomes the most important thing to her. Kyle is Rachel’s son, he is going through the stage where his mother is not letting him do things, but at least trying to stay strong, while his father just lets him down. We do also meet other loved ones that become the targets of The Man rage.

PerformancesRussell Crowe is brilliant in this leading role, he is one of the most terrifying villains of the year, as we see his physical presence, no care of consequences character shine through this film. Caren Pistorius is strong counter to Crowe, you can see the slow break she is having, even if the character doesn’t always seem like they are in the right film. We do have known names in the supporting role, only they don’t really get to do much.

StoryThe story here follows a woman that accidently insights the rage of an unstable man who decides to make her life a nightmare, as he looks to kill anyone close to her. Road Rage is a good idea for a villainous motivation, we see how the Man breaks so easily and it is just a punch, he will kill, he is twisted in why he targets someone. With the core of the story being a strong idea, one we have seen done with more slow building tension, this one doesn’t want to hold back with the violence. The story does have one major plot hole though, if The Man is wanted by the police before anything happens, why is there so little amount of police presence searching for him, surely we would have police helicopters hunting him down too? Add in the traditional bad decision making process to extend the film, you will find yourself rolling your eyes at certain moments of the story, but switch off and watch Crowe enjoy the villainous mad man role, you will have a lot of enjoyment in this one.

ThrillerThis does create a lot of the edge of your seat moments, because you don’t know what the man will do next, just how deadly he could be.

SettingsWe spend a lot of time on the run through the film, the chases, do feel safe, but the tight streets add something to the sequences, while the different locations the Man finds himself in, usually mean something big is going to happen.


Scene of the Movie – Death line.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Lack of police presence after the Man’s first crime.

Final Thoughts This is a film that gets elevated by Russell Crowe, he takes this film from middle ground to a good time movie, he is terrifying, which makes us scared of what he could do next.

Overall: Crowe Is Amazing.

Under Suspicion (2000) Movie Review

Director: Stephen Hopkins

Writer: Tom Provost, W. Peter Iliff (Screenplay) Claude Miller, Jean Herman, Michel Audiard/John Wainwright (Original Screenplay/Book)

Starring: Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, Monica Bellucci, Nydia Caro, Miguel Angel Suarez, Pablo Cunqueiro

Plot: A wealthy attorney in San Juan comes to the police station for “10 min.” of follow up questions to finding a 12-year old girl’s body in a park. Another young girl was also raped and murdered weeks earlier and the evidence points to him.


Tagline – A hidden past, a secret life, witness or suspect, guilty or innocent?

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Tense

Story: Under Suspicion starts as Henry Hearst (Hackman) agrees to go into see Captain Victor Benezet (Freeman) in a follow up to discovering a dead body on his daily run, only part of Henry’s story doesn’t add up. As Victor and Detective Felix Owen (Jane) start investigating Henry’s story more, they start to see him being the prime suspect.

Henry’s position of power as an attorney makes the case more difficult, as any false story would ruin both Henry and Victor, with each conversation offering new clues to the truth about what really happened to the murdered young girls.

Thoughts on Under Suspicion

Characters – Henry Hearst is wealthy attorney, married to a young wife, respected in the neighbourhood, he discovers a dead body of a young girl, whose story doesn’t add up, making him the prime suspect, he must give details about his personal life, which sees that his life isn’t what everyone else believes, having secrets that aren’t going to help his side of the case, always claiming his innocence to the truth. Captain Victor Benezet has worked with Henry in the past, they have been through cases for years and he knows that if the investigation comes out, he will handle things with more care, only to need to play both sides of Henry, his friend and the cop after a killer. Detective Felix Owen is the younger investigator, he wants the case solved, he will step over the line at time, needing to be kept in place by Victor, while needing to push the boundaries. Chantal Hearst is the younger wife of Henry, she has become distant from him, with his actions driving her away, she could answer a few of the big questions, but doesn’t want to bring her family down, even though she has a grudge about what Henry might have done before.

PerformancesWe do have two of Hollywood’s heavyweights in the leading roles, Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman, who both show why they are on top of most best actor lists, they carry the film with their performances, while being joined by Thomas Jane and Monica Bellucci giving very strong supporting performances too.

StoryThe story here follows what is simply a follow up set of questions about discovering a dead, soon turns into a full blown investigation into the man that could have been behind the murders. This is a story about people on power being able to play this card to try and get out of questioning, though we do balance the guilty or not guilty side of the story very well, showing us who could be behind the crime. The constant switch in stories does help us question everything we are seeing, showing that trust is what will always be the most difficult thing to maintain. The do only see how one man is being questioned to new limits and how this pressure could create differences in stories given too.

CrimeThe crime is two murders of young girls, they need to be solved fast with the police needing to focus on all sides of the story, making sure everything is covered before the killer could strike again.

SettingsThe film is set on an island, which shows us just how the characters are living in luxury away from the big cities.


Scene of the Movie – Henry and Felix questioning.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough investigating into the murders seems to be happening, only the questioning.

Final Thoughts This is a tense thriller that does keep us on the edge of our seat throughout, as we are left to wonder just what is really happened, being carried by powerhouse performances.

Overall: Twist Filled Thriller.

Signature Entertainment presents Under Suspicion on Digital HD July 31 and on Amazon Prime August 3rd

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – U – The Ugly Truth (2009)

Director: Robert Luketic

Writer: Nicole Eastman, Karen McCullah, Kirsten Smith (Screenplay) Nicole Eastman (Story)

Starring: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler, Bree Turner, Eric Winter, Nick Searcy, Jesse D Goins

 

Plot: An uptight television producer takes control of a morning show segment on modern relationships hosted by a misogynistic man.


Tagline – The battle of the sexes is on.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable & Funny

 

Story: The Ugly Truth starts when an uptight television producer Abby (Heigl) sees her ratings on her morning show getting beaten by nearly every show, her show manager Stuart (Searcy) wants to change the show, his idea is to hire Mike Chadway (Butler) a misogynistic man who hosts a show known as ‘The Ugly Truth’ which tells the brutal truth about relationships.

As the two learn to work together, Mike helps Abby in her pursuit for the perfect man who just so happens to move in next door Colin (Winter), where she must learn what men want, while we learn more about Mike real life away from his brash personality.

 

Thoughts on The Ugly Truth

 

Characters – Abby is the uptight television producer that has put her career ahead of her dating life, where she has always been searching for the perfect guy, which sees her scary most away. When she does meet the perfect guy, she must learn to change working with new host of the show. Mike is the brash host of a show called The ugly Truth which calls out relationships and how men should get women and how women should let men in. He sends the ratings for the show way up and helps Abby come out of her shell, showing you can’t judge a book by its cover. This film mostly focuses on the two main characters, we get the assistant, the news anchors and Colin the doctor that Abby starts dating.

PerformancesKatherine Heigl is an actress that did make an impact in the romantic comedy genre, she does a do well in this role, it is Gerard Butler that gets the most interesting performance because we believe his character and just how he has the broken heart in his character with each glance he shows. The supporting cast do add to the comedy in this film for the most part.

StoryThe story follows two career man, with a female television producer and a male talk show host that both have different views on love and they teach each other about how to open their eyes to the other’s view point. While it does follow a traditional storyline it does all work to make the extremes of love feel believable. The only negative side from the story comes from just how the rest of the characters don’t seem to have lives outside our main two characters.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy comes from seeing how the two characters believe in different versions of love which only gets reactions from the characters, this helps with the romance because seeing different views of love could change them.

SettingsThe film is set in a small city that shows that both of the characters want to be away from the busy cities which can see people lost in the shuffle.


Scene of the Movie –
Balloon time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Why order drinks and leave the table before they arrive?

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable, fun comedy that lets the cast shine and shows love.

 

Overall: One to enjoy for rom com fans.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – U – UFO (2018) Movie Review

Director: Ryan Eslinger

Writer: Ryan Eslinger (Screenplay)

Starring: Alex Sharp, Gillian Anderson, Ella Purnell, Benjamin Beatty, Cece Abbey, David Strathairn

Plot: A college student, who sees a UFO, uses his exceptional math skills to investigate the sighting with his friends while the FBI follows closely behind.


Tagline – Sightings are never a coincidence. The cover-up ends here.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Deep Mystery

Story: UFO starts when a UFO sighting happens over an airport, the FBI look to get control of the situation with Franklin Ahls (Strathairn) leads the covering up process, which is going well until student Derek (Sharp) starts looking into the maths behind the sighting, trying to understand what it might have been and the size of it.

The more Derek dives into the study, the more attention he gathers from the FBI, putting his own life on the line, his studies under the brilliant Professor Hendricks (Anderson) and his lab partner Natalie (Purnell), all to uncover the truth.

Thoughts on UFO

Characters – Derek is a brilliant math student, he can always put together problems, always looking for something outside of the logic, which sees him challenge his professor, he gets caught up in wanting to study a UFO sighting, which he believes does have a deeper meaning, only he will see himself being put under pressure by the FBI. Professor Hendricks is the strict teacher of Derek’s she doesn’t take any arguments from her students but does believe they are ready for greatness, with Derek being one of her very best. Natalie is the lab partner of Derek’s she starts to be left feeling distant and doesn’t want to ruin her own chances of success. Franklin Ahls is running the FBI task force to cover up the event, he doesn’t need it spreading but will listen to theories about the truth.

PerformancesAlex Sharp is great as the student who will push the limits of his greatness, he shows how obsession can take over somebody’s life. Gillian Anderson makes for a great choice for the professor role, with Ella Purnell struggling to make an impact with her character showing the distance Derek is creating between his friends. David Strathairn is always going to be somebody who could be a military or government professional with ease.

StoryThe story here follows the aftermath of a UFO sighting, which sees a brilliant maths student put his studies on hold to try and uncover the mystery behind the signal that has been left from the visit, while the FBI are trying to cover everything up. This is a UFO based story unlike anything you have seen before, it looks more into the science behind everything that has come from the message we set into space and how if we got a reply, what might happen. We do have a lot of mathematical talk, which will go over plenty of people’s heads along with the astrophysics behind it all. It is nice not to have the biggest creation of a villain, a story that people are working towards the same thing.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery in this film comes from the message in a signal, which shows us how the sci-fi side of the film coming from the idea that we might have got a message back from the message we sent into space.

SettingsThe film does take place in Cincinnati, it shows the airport where the first incident happens and the university that Derek attends, it is all about creating an environment to study about the truth.


Scene of the Movie – The meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too much technical talk.

Final Thoughts This is a sci-fi film that is trying to be very deep, which is achieves, though it does get too complicated for its own good at times.

Overall: Deep Sci-Fi Film.

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – U – Under the Tree (2017)

Director:  Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson

Writer:  Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson, Huldar Breiðfjörð (Screenplay)

Starring: Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson, Edda Björgvinsdóttir, Sigurður Sigurjónsson,
Þorsteinn Bachmann, Selma Björnsdóttir

Plot: When Baldwin and Inga’s next door neighbours complain that a tree in their backyard casts a shadow over their sundeck, what starts off as a typical spat between neighbours in the suburbs unexpectedly and violently spirals out of control.


Tagline – Two Families. One Tree. A Bloody Mess.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Quirky Dark Comedy

Story: Under the Tree starts when Atli gets kicked out by his wife for watching porn, which happens to star him and a woman they know, he is forced to move back into his parents Inga and Baldvin who have their own problems, being in a bitter battle with the neighbours Konrad and Eybjorg about an overhanging tree.

As the battle between the family’s starts getting more personal, the mystery about Inga’s missing son starts to come to the forefront, while Atli is doing everything he can to put his life back together, without getting any success along the way.

Thoughts on Under the Tree

Characters – Atli is caught by his wife watching an old sex tap of himself with another woman, he kicked out and spends the time trying to put his life back together, trying to make sure he gets time with his daughter, with his wife not willing to give him any time of day, he will cross the lines, though he is doing this in an act of desperation. Inga has taken the rivalry with the neighbours much more personally than her husband, she gets into a battle which will see her do things she shouldn’t even consider, while deep dpwn she is dealing with grief about the loss of her own son. Baldvin is the long suffering husband that is willing to talk out the problems with the neighbours, but is caught up needing to support his wife, even turning on her with her actions. Konrad and Eybjorg are the neighbours that have simply asked for one thing and end up being the victims of all of Inga’s hate despite doing what they can to remain calm.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are wonderful, you do understand each characters mindset, why they are acting up the way they are, leading to the decisions which will only end up making their lives more difficult.

StoryThe story follows the lives of one family, the son who is trying tos save his marriage and his parents that get caught up in the middle of a battle over the position of a tree in the garden, which gets personal quickly. This does give us a story that is dealing with marriage troubles, where people get to a stage where they will make silly decisions, which could cost them everything, which does reflect just how petty the actions of the parent characters are, when it comes to the actions when arguing about a tree. We do go to a couple of very dark places in how everything unfolds, which is what makes this such a brutally honest way of seeing how people can make more out of nothing important.

Comedy/MysteryThe comedy in this film is very dark throughout, it shows the extremes that a bitter rivalry between neighbours can get, when things get out of hand. The mystery involved in the film does focus mostly on a missing cat, which is why the battle becomes more personal.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings simple, we see the neighbours going at it, trying to stay ahead of each other, keeping most of the action between the houses, with only Atli story stepping away from here.


Scene of the Movie – The Tree changes everything.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Inga is a truly horrible person.

Final Thoughts This is one of the darkest comedies you will see, it has a simple idea which focuses on neighbourly rivalry and how things can get out of hand so easily.

Overall: Dark comedy delight.

Small disclaimer, I haven’t used the actors names because I don’t have the correct way to spell them available on my computer.