Upgrade (2018)

Director: Leigh Whannell

Writer: Leigh Whannell (Screenplay)

Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel, Melanie Vallejo, Harrison Gilbertson

 

Plot: Set in the near-future, technology controls nearly all aspects of life. But when Grey, a self-identified technophobe, has his world turned upside down, his only hope for revenge is an experimental computer chip implant called Stem.


Tagline – Not Man. Not Machine. More.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fantastic Action Horror

 

Story: Upgrade starts as we go to the near future, with improved technology that isn’t too far away from reality, Grey Trace (Marshall-Green) stills like getting his hands dirty for work, while his wife Asha (Vallejo) has accepted this new life. On a routing journey home their self-driving car takes them to the wrong neighbourhood, causing a crash to which the locals murder Asha and leaves Grey paralysed.

Left feeling suicidal Grey gets a visit from a former client and technological recluse wizard Eron (Gilbertson) that offers to give him a revolutionary operation that will bring his mobility back to him through a chip known as Stem, which leads him on his own personal revenge mission with the help of Stem.

 

Thoughts on Upgrade

 

Characters – Grey Trace is a mechanic who in a technology heavy world, he would rather get his hands dirty than rely on the technology, he sees his wife murdered and left paralysed from the incident, he becomes suicidal like you would imagine believing his life is not worth living, he get a chance at revenge though from advanced technology even though himself doesn’t like violence or blood. He is our main character he will have Stem the chip control him in fights movements making him a deadly weapon. Cortez is the technology avoiding cop that is investigating the original case as well as the bodies piling up that could be suspects in case. Eron is the technology wizard that offers Grey a chance to get revenge with a chip to recover his movement. Fisk is a man hunting down Grey, he has extra abilities too which makes his hunt different to Cortez.

PerformancesLogan Marshall-Green is brilliant in the leading role because he takes full control of each and every scene, be it the talking to the voice in his head or handling the fighting. The rest of the cast are good with their scenes without taking any spotlight of Logan.

StoryThe story here shows one man given a chance to go on a revenge mission after getting a technological upgrade that cures his paralyzed position. This does take us into a realistic future with technology that does seem like it could be used in the future. Away from just the technology side of story we get a revenge film which follows the paths we expect, starting with a small fight leading up to a bigger more challenging fight by the end. We get twists and turns along the way which does keep us guessing. If you want to have a story that is fast paced throughout keeping us wanting more throughout the film.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action in this film just keeps getting bigger as the film goes on, we get combat which feel unique in how Grey performs it because of his characters ability or lack there off. The horror blends in with certain graphicness of the kills and the idea behind the sci-fi in an ever-increasing technology heavy world.

SettingsThe film keeps us in a city that has accepted new technology with self-driving cars, drones covering the area and most importantly everything still looks like a normal city.

Special EffectsThe effects are used wonderfully well too, we have different abilities which make for different attacks that shows just how deadly the additional technology could be if we don’t control it.


Scene of the Movie –
Stem take over.

That Moment That Annoyed Me With all the technology in play surely the ‘Off’ switch would activate quicker.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fast paced sci-fi action film that will fly by, it has great choregraphed fight sequences, good use of special effects and a performance from Logan Marshall-Green which you will remember.

 

Overall: Must watch Action Sci-Fi Horror.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Uncommon Valor (1983)

Director: Ted Kotcheff

Writer: Joe Gayton (Screenplay)

Starring: Gene Hackman, Robert Stack, Fred Ward, Reb Brown, Patrick Swayze, Harold Sylvester

 

Plot: Ten years after his son went M.I.A. in Vietnam, U.S. Marine retired Colonel Jason Rhodes assembles a private rescue team to find Americans held in P.O.W. camps in Laos.


Tagline – Seven men with one thing in common.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good War Movie

 

Story: Uncommon Valor starts when Col Jason Rhodes (Hackman) recruits for Vietnam soldiers Wilkes (Ward), Blaster (Brown), Sailor (Cobb), Johnson (Sylvester), Charts (Thomerson) and son of a mission in action soldier Kevin Scott (Swayze) to go on a mission in Laos, to free the soldiers in a prisoner of war camp believed to be controlled by the former Vietnamese soldiers.

First he must get them back into shape, before taking them on this mission which could break the bonds that are being rebuilt between the countries and go against the men’s wishes. This is a life or death mission that could be for the right reasons, but deadly for those involve.

 

Thoughts on Uncommon Valor

 

Characters – Col Jason Rhodes had to eave his son in Vietnam while escaping the enemy, never giving up hope of finding his son alive, her learns of a prisoner of war camp and puts together a team to rescue those prisoners and return them to his family, what is a broken man inside but a determined one on the outside we have a leader that will put this team together. Wilkes is the member of the team, still suffering from the nightmares of what happened to him, maybe the deadliest member of the unit, he will be the one to watch out for through the film, the rest of the unit have their strengths and weaknesses which helps bring them together to be the full unit.

PerformancesGene Hackman was always a brilliant choice in a leading role, this is no different because he can control the people well, while also being able to show of his strengths as an actor. Fred Ward shows us a great performance in his supporting role, while Patrick Swayze comes well in this film, he is the rookie character and working in this role we see his strengths too.

StoryThe story came out when people were still feeling the effects from the Vietnam war, American families were not complete and loved ones were still unaccounted for, this story shows us just how far soldiers would go for a loved one with the unit they were close to during the war. While the story is good it does play into what you will expect with an American group of soldiers being better than anyone else, which entertains throughout.

Action/WarThe action is mostly saved for the finally, which does feel safe with everything and is filled with war themed battle going on.

SettingsThe film keeps us in a couple of locations, first the training camp to prepare for the battle, then the mission to the location before the final battle, this works for the film, we don’t need to see more or less from the settings.


Scene of the Movie –
Final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is more of America to the rescue.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good war film that plays everything safe and makes us believe that the war wasn’t over on the first date believed, it was the prisoners of war that still needed rescuing from the impending fates.

 

Overall: War fans will enjoy this one.

Rating

 

 

A- Z World Cinema – U – The Unknown Girl (2016)

Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

Writer: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne (Screenplay)

Starring: Adele Haenel, Olivier Bonnaud, Jeremie Renier, Louka Minnella

 

Plot: A woman gets obsessed with the case of a dead woman after learning that the woman had died shortly after having rung her door for help.


Tagline – Sharp as a thriller… the best Dardenne film since “The Child”

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Mystery Movie

 

Story: The Unknown Girl starts as we meet popular community doctor Jenny Davin (Haenel) who has always found time for her patients but now is about to get improved environment to be working in. she still keeps her small surgery for her locals but when a mysterious girl comes knocking on her door she ignores it, only to discover the girl is found dead the next day.

Upon hearing the news Jenny starts looking into who this mysterious girl is, no ID was found so she starts going around her fellow doctors to see if they know her or have treated her but with no answers. The deeper she gets into investigating the more danger she finds herself in once she starts getting targeted by the people involved.

 

Thoughts on The Unknown Girl

 

Characters – Jenny is our doctor, she has a wonderful relationship with her patient, where she is willing to give up her own time to see them, but the one time she doesn’t answer the door she gets visited by a mysterious woman who ends up dying. Jenny is filled with guilt and wants to learn the truth about this girl using her connections, but it doesn’t realize what she has found herself in the middle off. The rest of the characters we meet are a mix of patients and suspects in Jenny’s life.

PerformancesAdele Haenel is the star of the film, she carries every scene as we follow her journey into discovering the truth about the girl, this is a very strong performance because we must witness her through each and every scene of the movie. The rest of the cast are good without taking away from Adele’s performance.

StoryThe story is good because we follow the busy doctor continue her duties while trying to solve the mystery, she has to do both with calm and watching her balance the two makes everything seem like an everyday situation for the Doctor. We get a mystery that does take time to solve and does seem to be a cover up of some sort and the story does keep us guessing as to where things will go.

Crime/MysteryThe crime is the death of the unknown girl, it could be murder it could be an accident which gives us both the mystery and potential crime side of the story.

SettingsThe settings show us the community where the people can help each other both in trouble and with cover up problems. This helps us understand why Jenny wants to solve the mystery.


Scene of the Movie –
Sister visit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is slightly too long, having a couple of scene we didn’t need.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good mystery film, it keeps us guessing to where things will be going and is easily one that should be getting watched.

 

Overall: Good crime mystery.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – U – Up (2009)

Directors: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson

Writer: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson (Screenplay) Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Edward Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai, Bob Peterson, Delroy Lindo

 

Plot: Seventy-eight year old Carl Fredricksen travels to Paradise Falls in his home equipped with balloons, inadvertently taking a young stowaway.


Tagline – Fly Up to Venezuela

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fantastic

 

Story: Up starts as two children Carl and Ellie fall in love because of their love of adventure and how they idolise the same man, Charles Muntz an explorer that became disgraced. The two have a full life with the ups and downs till they reach old age where Ellie sadly dies before Carl ever got the chance to take her to Paradise Falls (Bring you tissues).

Carl being forced out of his home by a ruthless business decides to take the home to Paradise Falls, Venezuela for a tribute to her with balloons, only to discover that Russell a wilderness explorer has become his stowaway on his adventure. Once at Paradise Falls Carl and Russell must work together to get the house to the location only to find themselves in the middle of a hunt for a giant bird that Russell adopts it calling it Kevin and the area is filled talking dogs including the hapless Dug. The adventure will put Carl against his idol Charles Muntz who has been hiding in Paradise Falls hoping to capture the bird.

 

Thoughts on Up

 

Characters – Carl Fredricksen has spent his life with his wife Ellie, the two are both adventurers at heart, he promised her from the moment they met he would take her to Paradise Falls, only for life to get in the way, once she passes, he sets out take their home there to honour her only along the way he needs to learn to open his heart to care for people again. Russell is the wilderness explorer trying to earn his last badge for helping the elderly, he wants to help Carl do something simple like cross the street only to find himself on the adventure, gaining a father figure along the way. Charles Muntz is the explorer that was famed for his adventures, only be become disgraced for not bringing back a live specimen to be studied. He has spent his life in Paradise Falls searching for one and willing to kill anyone who gets in his way. Dug is the outsider of the dogs that Muntz controls, he becomes friends with Carl and helps them in the troubles they are facing.

StoryThe story here follows a man who has lived his whole life waiting for adventure and once he loses his wife he goes on the adventure he promised his wife, along the way he learns that he has the adventure waiting for, one his wife would be proud of him going on. He learns to let people in again finding a new meaning for life. There is a story of peril as Carl must fight against his idol who has become obsessed with capture a bird which can take the back burner for most of the deeper meaning.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure shows us that you can go on an adventure at any age and the one they go on is wonderful to see.

SettingsThe films uses the settings well, the opening location is the busy city which has evolved through Carl’s life and the Paradise Falls look breath-taking.

AnimationThe animation looks fantastic which is what we would expect from Pixar.


Scene of the Movie –
Carl & Ellie’s life together opening sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Trying to figure out why Carl gets kicked out of his house?

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of Disney’s best movies off all time, it is brilliant, it will leave you in tears after ten minutes and make you laugh the next ten minutes.

 

Overall: Brilliant, emotional and fantastic.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – U – Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms (1998)

Director: Jeff Woolnough

Writer: Peter M Lenkov (Screenplay)

Starring: Matt Battaglia, Andrew Jackson, Eric Bryson, Kevin Rushton, Desmond Campbell, Michael Copeman, Gary Busey, Burt Reynolds

 

Plot: The Universal Soldiers are used to smuggle diamonds for a CIA Director, but Luc Deveroux continues to cause him problems.


Tagline – No memory. No emotion. No mercy… Until one of them decides to become human again.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Ouch!

 

Story: Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms starts as Luc Devreaux (Battaglia) has escaped with reporter Veronica (West) the only known living members of the universal Soldier project run by Otto Mazur (Busey). Wanting Luc back they set out his programming to return to base where Veronica must track him down while avoiding the law.

When Veronica reaches the base, she must sneak in (as you do) and work with Luc’s long lost brother Eric (Wincott) another member of the program to rescue him and stop Otto’s plans.

 

Thoughts on Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms

 

Characters – Luc Devreaux is the universal soldier, one of the last ones standing and now he has been reprogramed, but can his memories be stirred to bring back the human side from inside him. Veronica is the reporter that has found out the secret about the program and now she wants to expose it with Luc, she will do what it takes to save Luc from the base. Eric is the elder brother of Luc’s he has been missing for years, but he is one of the original universal soldiers now he works to save his brother. Otto is the recruiter for the program, he finds the dead soldiers, or he makes his own to keep the program filled for his bosses.

PerformancesDo I want to talk about the acting, well no because most of it is almost painful to watch through the film, Matt Battaglia doesn’t come close to Jean-Claude Van Damme and for the rest they are better but nothing overly convincing.

StoryThe story follows the idea of the universal soldiers being developed and how the government want it kept a secret. The story lacks the punch that the first one had, it does feel like the pilot for a television show which was the point. The story doesn’t have the twists but does want to continue to world build.

Action/Sci-Fi The action is also messy, we get too many cuts with not enough pure fighting which you would have had with Van Damme. The idea of enhanced soldiers works for the story, but we don’t get enough time to see everything going on with the project.

SettingsThe settings do feel almost pointless, we don’t get much happening with knowing as the we have plenty of random roads and no iconic buildings.

Special EffectsThe effects continue to show the weak points off the film which doesn’t connect the way they should.


Scene of the Movie –
Karaoke time

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just the acting in general.

Final ThoughtsThis is a pretty poor to terrible action sequel, the film just doesn’t hit the marks the other films in the franchise have and you will be left disappointed by the end.

 

Overall: Universally Bad.

Rating