The Unwilling (2016)

Director: Jonathan Heap

Writer: Jonathan Heap, David Lipper (Screenplay)

Starring: David Lipper, Dina Meyer, Lance Henriksen, Bree Williamson, Austin Highsmith, Levy Tran

 

Plot: After the death of a much despised patriarch, a mysterious box shows up during the reading of the will, forcing the family to reckon with each of their own deadly sins.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Clever Idea

 

Story: The Unwilling starts when Father Harris (Henriksen) dies bringing his family together for the will reading, they must go to David’s (Lipper) house because of his OCD, the rest of the family and new connection include Michelle (Meyer), Cheryl (Williamson), Kelly (Highsmith) Darren (Thomas), Rich (Rusier).

The reading doesn’t go as expected when a mysterious box arrives and the family must put their differences aside to learn the reason why they have been summoned for this event.

 

Thoughts on The Unwilling

 

Characters – David is the owner of the house the event takes place, he suffers from agoraphobia and OCD, he is the first to suspect that his father might be haunting them from beyond the grave, we get to see about his troubles through the film. Michelle is the sister of David, divorced from Rich and escaped from the home at childhood. Father Harris is the man that has died and bought his family together for his will reading. The rest of the characters are what w know from this style of movie, though Cheryl seems different to what we know when it comes to the young woman with older rich guy as she does have intelligence and medical training instead of just being a bimbo.

PerformancesThe performances in this movie are the weakest part of the film, mostly because we have a lot of over reacting screaming, a stoner that is beyond annoying and the playing into the OCD too much while not being consistent.

StoryThe story shows a family coming back together to read a will only for things to take a turn when a mysterious box arrives, it soon becomes a battle to survive. Where this story becomes fascinating is when everything gets rolling and the story goes into direction you wouldn’t imagine it going in and with a final third that is wonderful to see unfold.

ThrillerThe film uses the thriller genre well because it builds the tension between the characters and keeps us guessing just where the film could go in the later part.

SettingsThe film takes in the home of David, it keeps the story in one location and shows it isn’t within walking distance to anywhere else.

Special EffectsThe effects in the movie are used well enough, one moment stands out more than the rest with a mirror.


Scene of the Movie –
Mirror sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Darren character got very annoying quickly as a stoner.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller that that does start slow and doesn’t have most interesting characters, but once we get into the story it becomes one of the most interesting ones in a long time.

 

Overall: Great story unfolding.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Random – U – Untraceable (2008)

untracDirector: Gregory Hoblit

Writer: Robert Fyvolent, Mark Brinker, Allison Burnett (Screenplay) Robert Fyvolent, Mark Brinker (Story)

Starring: Diane Lane, Billy Burke, Colin Hanks, Joseph Cross, Mary Beth Hurt, Peter Gray Lewis

 

Plot: FBI agent Jennifer Marsh is tasked with hunting down a seemingly untraceable serial killer who posts live videos of his victims on the Internet. As time runs out, the cat and mouse chase becomes more personal.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dark Thriller

 

Story: Untraceable starts as we meet a partnership within the FBI computer division where Jennifer Marsh (Lane) and Griffin Dowd (Hanks) search for cybercrimes. This is show as we see how good the pair are at tracking down and capturing the criminals.

The main story starts when Jennifer discovers a website called ‘Kill With Me’ showing a tortured cat that can’t be closed down. When the killer returns, he picks a human victim with brings in Detective Eric Box (Burke) to work with Jennifer to figure out the motive behind the killer’s actions.

 

Thoughts on Untraceable

 

StoryWe all like to see a good dark crime thriller and this story delivers on that, we get plenty of graphic murders happening by the killer as we are left to wonder just what his motives are. I do think we have a killer with good motives once we learn them and I also like how everything in circled around societies new obsession with the internet and viral videos. This is a crime story I would expect that fans of the genre to enjoy even if certain elements are slightly too dark for some.

Crime/Mystery/Thriller We get a crime story that is full of the everything you need for an intense thriller that shows just how dark crimes can be when you looking for why the crime is taking place. We do have the mystery side of the story as we have to figure out why the killer is committing these crimes.

Characters/PerformanceWhen it comes to the characters Jennifer Marsh is developed to be the solo parent who seems to be the only one smart enough to figure out how to stop the killer, well her and her partner Griffin. When you look at the Detective Box character you are left wondering how he was in that position because he has no clue about the crimes going on. The killer does have good motives but in the end we are left feeling he is defeated slightly too easily. I do think the performances are all good without being considered any of the best of that year.

SettingsI think the settings are solid because the killer wants it hard to find him but in the end, nothing feels like it is anything special to where the events of the film take place.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good dark thriller I do think people can enjoy even if it is too dark for the casual fans.

 

Overall: Deliciously dark crime thriller that tries to push boundaries with the killer.

Ratingcard

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – U – Up in the Air (2009)

Director: Jason Reitman

Writer: Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner (Screenplay) Walter Kirn (Novel)

Starring: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Amy Mortonm Melanie Lynskey, J.K. Simmons, Sam Elliot, Danny McBride

 

Plot: Ryan Bingham enjoys living out of a suitcase for his job traveling around the country firing people, but finds that lifestyle threatened by the presence of a potential love interest and a new hire.


Tagline – From Paramount Pictures comes the story of a man ready to make a connection

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Comedy Drama

 

Story: Up in the Air starts as we meet Ryan Bingham (Clooney) whose job involves travelling around America firing people for companies, he loves being on the road clocking up countless air miles. When young analyst Natalie Keener (Kendrick) comes to Ryan’s boss Craig (Bateman) with an idea that could cut the costs by running the process from the office meaning Ryan and his team are grounded.

To prove his value to the company and show Natalie the ropes, Ryan must take Natalie on the journey to show her how personal the process is and how important the job is too him. Along the way he teaches her life lesson along with his new friend Alex (Farmiga) who enjoys a similar lifestyle.

 

Thoughts on Up in the Air

 

Characters – Ryan Bingham has a career in travelling around firing people for companies, he has it down to an art form, be in conducting the firings or travelling through the airport. He doesn’t like commitment and when he learns that his job is going to be minimized and grounded from travelling, he sets out to prove to his boss and the young woman who created the idea how importance of the personal approach is during this process. Natalie is the young idealistic woman that believes she can help the company save money by taking the role away from Ryan and his co-workers travelling expense, she has her life planned out, but spending time with Ryan she learns more about what life is really about and how to not take away the personal touch out of the process. Alex is a woman that Ryan meets on the road, she travels as often as he does, they start a relationship and meeting her helps Ryan realize what he wants from life.

PerformancesGeorge Clooney is brilliant in this role, his biggest strength has always been to be the confident guy that excels at his job and he gets to show this in every scene as we learn from his characters decisions. Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick are both wonderful in their supporting roles, they both get to help Ryan understand different generations of goals.

StoryThe story follows one man whose dream job is being downsized for economic reasons as he must look to show a young woman who has come up with the plan for this process. We get to look at a couple of big life issues going on here, first we see how companies are always looking to downsize for financial reasons, second focuses on the loneliness people have when they focus on their careers, and third just how the plans people believe to have can never go as planned. This is one of the most interesting stories that seems like it has got to a newer level than ever before.

RomanceWe have moments of romance which don’t overshadow the dramatic moments as we light-heartedly follow the story unfold.

SettingsThe film takes us all over America to see different reactions from different people about losing their jobs.


Scene of the Movie –
Letting loose.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I did enjoy every moment of this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful and delightful movie that hits all the levels it aims for, for me this is the best Clooney performance of his career and handles the sensitive subject of downsizing and unemployment.

 

Overall: Truly enjoyable movie.

Rating

 

 

 

Ultimate Justice (2017)

Director: Martin Christopher Bode

Writer: Marco Theiss, Mike Leeder (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Dacascos, Brandon Rhea, Matthias Hues, Mike Moller, Mike Leeder, Wolfgang Riehm

 

Plot: When a family member of one of their own is attacked, a team of former elite soldiers are called back into action and a ruthless game of kill or be killed is set in motion.


Tagline – Brothers in Battle, Friends Forever

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fast Paced Action Film

 

Story: Ultimate Justice starts as we get to see this squad of soldiers, led by Commander (Riehm) with his most trusted friend in the unit being Gus (Dacascos), the pair step away from the field into security where they start their own families. When Commander has his house invasion his wife is murdered and his child taken.

Gus brings back the team, Joe (Leeder), Frank (Hues), Benny (Moller), Henry (Muller), Nicki (Koniestschke) and Flo (Baden) to locate the missing daughter to put the puzzle into who these men are.

 

Thoughts on Ultimate Justice

 

Characters – Gus becomes the leader of the unit once Commander becomes the victim of the crime. He will take a chance save his men when needed while also being able to control them in the heat of the moment. Doc is the member of the unit that has been questioning his motives in the past struggling to be part of the unit again but knows it is for the right cause, he will also get anyone to talk. Benny is the most hands on of the unit, we get to see his fighting style in nearly every fight which is the biggest highlight of all the characters. The unit is large and we have plenty of different styles per character, we have one that’s strength in boxing, one that is tech while another is heavy handheld weapons.

PerformancesMark Dacascos is a good leading member of the team, he keeps the calm when needed but shows us his combat skills when pushes to the limits. Brandon Rhea gets to have the best character arc through the film and we see him deal with the different mindsets his character is in. Mike Moller is the star in the making in this film where he shows the added combat skills which I want to see in more films.

StoryThe story follows an elite group of soldiers must reteam to find the answers to kidnapped one of their children. The easiest way to describe this would be that it has a group like he Expendables. We get an investigation which involves countless grunt or goons to be picked off but this does lead to the biggest weakness in the story, we are never introduced to the main villain until the final scene, so we never get that drive to see our heroes succeed. The story does come off simple and fun to watch though.

ActionThe action is a mix of hand to hand combat and shoot outs, which all work well, the combat shown is a mix of different styles which does entertain.

SettingsThe films settings are not used to the best, we have generic basement, warehouse or quiet location for anything to happen, which in a way works for the criminal underworld but could be largely forgotten.


Scene of the Movie –
Benny and the bikers.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of a villain’s presence.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to action films, you do need to be able to switch off to enjoy and this film checks those boxes, we have fighting which could make you look away. We do lack a villain but otherwise it will be enjoyed.

 

Overall: Enjoyable action film.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Unfolding (2016)

Director: Eugene McGing

Writer: Eugene McGing (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert Daws, Nick Julian, Lisa Kerr, Kitty McGeever, Lachlan Nieboer, Sam Swainsbury

 

Plot: An exciting and relevant new take on the Haunted House story. The Fall of 2016. A fearful world stands on the brink of nuclear catastrophe. A young researcher in psychical events, together with his girlfriend, travel to the legendary wilds of Dartmoor, England, to investigate a rambling, centuries old building – here they find themselves drawn into a murder mystery from the past, a mortal confrontation with pure evil, and a fight for their very survival.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Low Budget Ghost Story

 

Story: The unfolding starts as Tam (Nieboer) a young researcher and his girlfriend Rose (Kerr) are in the middle of Dartmoor with the world on the verge of nuclear catastrophe. Eventually locating the massive house, they are staying in we get to see just what the research includes.

The research includes looking into the truth being paranormal activity and alone in this house it isn’t long before strange events start happening around the house. Joined by friend Harvey (Julian) the haunting events start to get worse but what is causing them?

With Professor Chessman (Daws) joining the investigation, Rose does want to leave but seems to have become connected to the house and the spirits haunting it.

 

Thoughts on The Unfolding

 

Characters/PerformanceProfessor Chessman has been conducting these experiments on the house with his research team, he is open minded and calm through all the hauntings. Tam is the latest of the researcher who is trying to get the credit needed in what could be a huge discovery, he brings his girlfriend Rose who instantly wants to leave even though she has a connection with the spirit. Harvey is a friend that wants to learn the truth once he witnesses the haunting himself.

Performance wise everybody does well without being truly stand out, you can see the younger members of the cast are also making their first few steps in feature leading roles.

StoryThe story does come off like most haunted house films but this does have an interesting backdrop to everything going on, we have the idea of a potential nuclear war meaning being in this house could be safer than being in a big city. I do think the story does have a few pacing issues in places because it takes its time getting going.

Horror/Mystery The horror is the standard haunted house material but this does offer a mystery focuses more on what the spirits motives are.

SettingsNearly the whole film is set in and around this one house that is haunted, this works because all the scares happen here, the house has history and the safety away from big a city.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good low budget ghost house film, it does have a good backdrop story and doesn’t give away too much too early but does suffer from pacing.

 

Overall: Good late night horror experience.

Rating