ABC Film Challenge – Horror – U – Unnatural (2015)

Director: Hank Braxtan

Writer: Arch Stanton, Ron Carlson (Screenplay)

Starring: James Remar, Sherilyn Fenn, Ron Carlson, Grahan Greene, Ray Wise, Allegra Carpenter

 

Plot: Global climate change prompts a scientific corporation to genetically modify Alaskan polar bears with horrific and deadly results.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Forgettable Creature Feature

 

Story: Unnatural starts with a global warming warning and something going wrong at a research lab, we go onto meet Martin (Remar) who has bought a photographer and his models to the snow filled location in Alaskan for a photoshoot. We also get the warning of polar bears create by the locals who use them as a warning, or in this case a myth.

When a creature eats one of the models and a guide, Martin must protect the remaining members of the photoshoot including photographer Brooking (Carlson) and stranger Dr Hanna Lindval (Fenn) from the threat outside, a mutated polar bear.

 

Thoughts on Unnatural

 

Characters – Martin is the expert in the area where the photoshoot takes place, he knows the wildlife and how to deal with any threats that come his way and must protect the people who are not used to the threat. Dr Lindval was part of the research team that created the polar bear, she is desperate to survive once it is free but does know more than she is letting on. Brooking in the photographer on the shoot, he does lack the guts to defend himself from the threat. We also have the models but they are here to look pretty through the terror.

PerformanceJames Remar is clearly the biggest draw in this film and he is good without being his best, when you look into the other performance we get the mystery from Fenn and the annoying wimpy guy from Carlson hitting the marks we are expecting to see in the film like this.

StoryGroup of people in Alaska with no escape must rely on one expert to keep them safe against an unknown creature for a set amount of days, well this is easy enough to go with and stops a lot of pointless discussion about trying to get help when there isn’t any, we also have the characters getting picked off in the random order like you would expect which is fine too.

Action/HorrorThe action is mostly running from the attacks from the creature which isn’t the most impressive either.

SettingsThe setting is the highlight as we have the group trapped with nowhere to run for the 3 days before the next plan arrives.

Special EffectsThe effects look mostly practical as we barely get to see the monster apart from in the shadows.

Scene of the Movie – The first attack is a fun moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t see enough of the creature.

Final ThoughtsThis is a forgettable creature feature that tries to ask bigger questions but doesn’t seem to want to try and answer them.

 

Overall: Not one of the best.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – U – Unforgettable (2017)

Director: Denis Di Novi

Writer: Christina Hodson (Screenplay)

Starring: Rosario Dawson, Katherine Heigl, Geoff Stults, Isabella Kai Rice, Alex Quijano, Sarah Burns, Whitney Cummings

 

Plot: A woman sets out to make life a living hell for her ex-husband’s new fiancée.


Tagline – For worse

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Another Fatal Attraction Failure

 

Story: Unforgettable starts as Julia Banks (Dawson) is getting questioned by the police, we learn about her past before jumping back 6-months to see her new promotion and moving in with her new boyfriend David (Stults), life seems perfect for the two.

With David having a child Lily (Rice) from his previous marriage Julia must get used to a new addition to the household at times, but the former wife Tessa (Heigl) isn’t letting David go without a fight as she starts to invade the personal life of Julia with devastating consequences.

 

Thoughts on Unforgettable

 

Characters – Julia Banks is hitting the high point of her, promotion and engagement to the man of her dream. She does have a past which is very secretive that even David doesn’t know about it. She does have a habit about losing stuff, well she starts too, her past can play into her downfall against Tessa. Tessa is the ex-wife of David, she is very controlling and hasn’t taken the idea of David moving on well, she wants him back and with her own demanding mother in her life she is acting the same towards her own daughter. She always feels distant from any human interaction as she is planning to make Julia’s life a nightmare. David is the man stuck in the middle of everything, he is trying to keep both women happy one for the new love in his life the other to keep his daughter part of his life.

PerformancesRosario Dawson is good in her role we needed to see more of the life falling apart around her though. Katherine Heigl has had a mixed reaction from the audience and business over the last few years, she does work in this role as you do get an uneasy feeling whenever she is on screen. Geoff Stults is fine, he never really gets too much to do through the movie.

StoryThe story follows an ex-wife that wants to make the new girlfriends life a living nightmare in an attempt to get her husband back. This does play out like all over the stalker films we have seen before and yes, we have moved along technologically making the moves against the victim more personally. This is an easy enough watch and playing into the idea that the victim has a past which could make her easier to frame does help even if the whole thing plays out just like you would imagine.

ThrillerThe film tries to give us the tension bound levels needed, only for the most part to feel like it was just being slowly building and any scenes involving Julia and Tessa feel empty for the first half of the film.

SettingsThe film puts us in high-life houses which shows how the family can cope with divorce easily, while this works, a lower class of victim would make this more intense and interesting.


Scene of the Movie –
The final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There isn’t enough tension in the early part of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is the trademark yearly stalker ex movie, it checks the boxes well without needing to be anything special or dreadful.

 

Overall: Simple Thriller.

Rating

 

 

The Unseen (2016)

Director: Geoff Redknap

Writer: Geoff Redknap (Screenplay)

Starring: Aden Young, Camille Sullivan, Julia Sarah Stone, Ben Cotton, Max Chadburn, Alison Araya, Maxwell Haynes

 

Plot: A man who abandoned his family now risks everything to find his missing daughter, including exposing the secret that he is becoming invisible.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Impressive

 

Story: The Unseen starts when Bob Langmore (young) Must return to his family that he abandoned after his daughter Eva (Stone) starts to show signs of wanting to run away, still friendly with his ex- Darlene (Sullivan) he returns home to help, while getting a job done for the shady Crisby (Cotton).

When Eva goes missing, Bob will stop at nothing to get her back as she may also have the same disease he has, one that has been turning him invisible. Can he find a cure before it is too late for his daughter, that is the most important task for him.

 

Thoughts on The Unseen

 

Characters – Bob is a one factory worker, he has left his family for unknow reason, he has kept his end of the financial side of raising a child though, he must return when she wants to go explore the world, before going missing, but his secret has more history in genetics than he could imagine as he starts to go invisible. Darlene was the ex to whom Bob had a child with, she has raised her and must turn to Bob when she has started to act out, putting her own life in danger. Eva is the 17-year-old that is wanting to explore, she takes risk which puts her in danger as she must start to lean about the generics she got from her father.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are wonderful, Aden Young shows us just how withdrawn his character is through the struggles with reality that he will be facing, we see and feel the pain he is suffering from. Camille Sullivan is good without needing to do as much as the others with Julia Sarah Stone getting to improve as the film continues on.

StoryThe story here shows us how an isolated man with a secret that he is slowly turning invisible that must return to his family to prepare his daughter for the change after she goes missing, while dealing with criminals who are forcing him into job. This story has so many layers it may take a while to talk through them all. First we will start with the job angle which is the weaker side of the film and by the books not being much of a challenge to keep up with. Where the story does shine comes from the slowly turning invisible side and needing to rebuild a relationship to prepare his daughter for a chance which will come her way. We could say there are elements of the Invisible Man here, but this is the slow change over an instant one. we get everything from this relationship and it only makes us want to see what the change will take from him next, this is a truly engaging storyline that must be watched all the way through.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action could be considered the safe side of the film we get the basics without seeing too much happen, the horror comes from seeing the change, we only see bits but each time we get to she the next level which will only shock. The sci-fi side of the film shows how the change is happening and puts this in the middle of an everyday lifestyle.

SettingsThe film gives us an everyday setting which only adds to the shocking events of what is going during the film

Special EffectsThe effects are only used when needed, to show the invisibility happening, this is easily the most shocking moments in the film because you are not sure what will start to change first.


Scene of the Movie –
Saving the daughter.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does start slowly than it needs to.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow burner that is well worth the wait, the shocking reveal will leave you shocked and only grab your attention to see what will happen next.

 

Overall: Must watch sci-fi horror

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – U – Until Death (2007)

Director: Simon Fellows

Writer: Dan Harris, James Portolese (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Selina Giles, Stephen Rea, Mark Dymond, William Ash, Stephen Lord, Gary Beadle

 

Plot: Stowe is a dirty cop who is hooked on heroin, and everyone dislikes him. Because of an accident he is put into a coma, and comes out of it a better person. He wakes up wanting to put things right.


Tagline – They put him in a coma, now he’s going to put them out of their misery.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks the Action

 

Story: Until Death starts as we see how Anthony Stowe (Van Damme) operates under his own addictions of heroin, sex alcohol which has put his career on the edge, his marriage in the drain and his enemy Gabriel Callaghan (Rea) is getting away with the crimes he wants.

When Gabriel catches up with Anthony, he puts a bullet in his skull leaving him for dead, only to leave him in a coma in which he shouldn’t recover from. 6 months later he awakens from his coma and is left to the care of his estranged wife Valerie (Giles), as he recovers it turns out he has changed becoming a better person and even more determined to track down Gabriel.

 

Thoughts on Until Death

 

Characters – Anthony Stowes is a dirty cop, hooked on heroin with enemies in the force and on the streets, the methods have made his hard to work with and his long running pursuit of Callaghan puts him in the firing line. After he gets shot and left for dead, he must recover, a process which see him changing to become a better man. Valerie is the wife that is about to divorce Anthony after years of problems between the two, after his injury she takes him in even though she has moved on with her life. Gabriel Callaghan is the ruthless mobster trying to get ahead in the city, he disposes of anyone that gets in his way and won’t let Stowe stop his plan.

PerformancesWe watch Van Damme movies to watch him kick ass, not because of his acting standards, he is good through the film as does give us a chance to work on his serious reactions, he doesn’t get to show the fighting enough though. Selina Giles does struggle with her role though, you never believe her acting in this role. Stephen Rea does seem to enjoy this villainous role where he can become darker as the film unfolds.

StoryThe story follows a dirty cop that goes head to head with a crime boss only for his crashing life to be turned around by a near death experience. The pacing of the story is slow for my liking, we spend too much time with the bad version of Stowe and not enough on the reborn versions road to redemption, which is by the book. Granted we don’t need the deepest story here because we know what we are getting going into the film.

Action/CrimeThe action is held back for the final act of the movie, which is fine, but when you have Van Damme in the leading role, you would expect more. The crime side of the film does play into the bigger picture of what is going on which give the characters the biggest part of the development they get.

SettingsThe film uses New Orleans as the setting which is always a city used for dirty cop locations, it works well without being over used for the films backdrop.


Scene of the Movie –
Final act is the saving grace of the film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The damn camera turns.

Final ThoughtsThis is a typical Van Damme action movie, it tries to give us a serious side without being able to capture this and we are saved by a final act action sequence which is entertaining to watch.

 

Overall: Van Damme 101

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – U – Untouchable (2011)

Director: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano

Writer: Olivier Nakache, Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, Eric Toledano (Screenplay)

Starring: Francois Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny, Audrey Fleurot, Josephine de Meaux, Clotilde Mollet

 

Plot: After he becomes a quadriplegic from a paragliding accident, an aristocrat hires a young man from the projects to be his caregiver.


Tagline – Sometimes you have to reach into someone else’s world to find out what’s missing in your own.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful

 

Story: Untouchable starts as Philippe (Cluzet) is forced to look for a new caregiver after his own accident, he sees a string of qualified applicants, but when he meets Driss (Sy) a man from the projects, he sees someone different and hires him.

The two men are from different backgrounds and have lived different lives, together they teach other about life, with Philippe becoming a father figure to Driss and Driss showing Philippe that his condition doesn’t need to stop having the adventures he loved just because of his condition.

 

Thoughts on Untouchable

 

Characters – Philippe is the quadriplegic that needs to hire a caregiver to help him in everyday life, he picks Driss because he is the only one that treats him like normal person. He has always been involved in extreme sports which is where his accident happened, his money will keep him away from any problems he might face, now he must learn to carry on with his own life. Driss is from the projects in Paris, he gets hired giving him a chance at a different life, his ways are different to a normal carer, but this helps him learn how to get more out of his life and get out of the troubles he has been facing in his own life. Yvonne is the personal assistant to Philippe who fills in he blanks for Driss when he is learning the job. Magalie is handles business affairs for Philippe and catches the eye of Driss, she doesn’t fall for his charm like he believes most women would.

PerformancesFrancois Cluzet is wonderful in one of the leading role, he must show so much through his facial expression which he makes us love each scene and moment he gives us. Omar Sy is fantastic too, he has such great chemistry with Francois and brings the energy required for this role. The supporting cast are all good though they don’t get as much screen time as the lead pair.

StoryThe story shows the bond between Philippe and Driss, two men that are from different backgrounds who spend time together when Driss gets hired as a carer for Philippe, we get to see how they both learn life lesson which make them grow as men. The fact we see the man with the lest experience being the best person for the disabled man shows us that life skills are just as if not more important than any training. We do go through the teaching about new cultures between the two and we get to see how both deal with their own serious problems from life. The tone of the storytelling shows us how you can have serious mixed with comedy and still get the point across which is what makes this film such an essential viewing.

Biopic/ComedyThis film uses the biopic side of the film to show the friendship created between the two men, which does change a couple of things to suit the actors. The comedy comes from just how Driss treats life with his carefree attitude which brings all the light-hearted positive vibes to the film.

SettingsThe film is set in Paris and uses the settings to show us the two different lifestyles the men have come from, we do get other trips which show us just how far they could go together.


Scene of the Movie –
Paragliding scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not understand the time lapse.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most beautiful movies you will see, we get to see a connection unlike anything you could imagine between two completely different people and it will leave you with a smile due to all the positivity through the film.

 

Overall: Essential watching.

Rating