The Warriors’ Gate (2017)

Director: Matthias Hoene

Writer: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Chao, Ni Ni, Dave Bautista, Sienna Guillory, Uriah Shelton, Francis Ng

 

Plot: A teenager is magically transported to China and learns to convert his video game skills into those of a Kung Fu warrior

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Blast

 

Story: The Warriors’ Gate starts as we follow gamer teenager Jack (Shelton) whose single mother Annie (Guillory) is struggling to make ends meet, he is bullied at school but has a Chinese antique shop owner friend that gives him a gift which has passed down through generations of his family.

That gift is a pot which brings out an ancient princess Su Lin (Ni) and Zhoo (Chao), when Su Lin is captured by ancient warriors, Jack is transported to ancient China in search for Su Lin in an adventure with Zhoo to save the princess from Arun (Bautista) and his massive army.

 

Thoughts on The Warriors’ Gate

 

Characters – Jack is the gamer kid, bullied and struggling home life, he is taken to Ancient China where he must learn to fight for himself, stand up for what is right, all to save the princess, while this isn’t the most original character design, it is all that is needed for the leading role. Zhoo is the great warrior that must guide Jack through Ancient China to save Su Lin, his life has been training to be the warrior and this will be his greatest moment. Su Lin in the princess who will become the Empress of China, she loves the new world she enters in America but once captured and returned to Ancient China she is able to be forced to marrying Arun. Arun is the evil ruler that wants to marry Su Lin so he can become Emperor of China. He doesn’t bluff but can be misunderstood by his soldiers. Annie the mother of Jack just trying to give him the best chances in life.

PerformancesUriah Shelton taking the leading role does a good job throughout the film working very well with both Mark Chao and Ni Ni. Mark Chao fills the mentor warrior role to be entertaining and watching the two together is enjoyable. Ni Ni is the entertaining in her role. The big name draw for this film is Dave Bautista who strangely becomes similar to the Chris Pratt role form Guardians of the Galaxy to him needing to explain codes, but does get to enjoy the villainous role.

StoryThe story takes our unsung wimpy teenager that needs to grow up and stand up for himself, to do this he ends up in ancient China where he must learn a new culture to save a princess from evil ruler. While this isn’t the most original concept it does check all the entertainment check points, but the one aspect that is original is having our main character learning moments needed from video games which is why the confusion starts in the first place. If you want an easy to follow story, that is light hearted with plenty of action this is great fun.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action through the film is all purely entertaining with the opening bike chase through the town being a big highlight. The adventure side of the film takes Jack in the new world for an adventure of a lifetime. The fantasy world created explains how the different worlds can meet.

SettingsThe two main worlds show the modern world that Jack lives in works well without being new, the ancient China setting follows the generic ideas of what we expect to see.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well through the film, there is one easy to see blue screen moment but otherwise things all click when needed.


Scene of the Movie –
Bike Chase, even though it is early in the film, it shows the level of entertainment we are going to get.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not everything is original.

Chances of Sequel: We could have one.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertaining film that does check the all the marks needed for a generic action film which entertains from start to finish.

 

Overall: Entertaining action movie.

Rating

 

 

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Watch Over Us (2017)

Director: F.C. Rabbath

Writer: F.C. Rabbath (Screenplay)

Starring: Avery Kristen Pohl, Ella Schaefer, Daniel Link, Bill Kelly, Mike Whaley, Henry Tisdale

 

Plot: A family living with their grandpa find out that there’s more than meets the eyes at their families’ barn.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 12 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Idea, Not the Best Viewing

 

Story: Watch Over Us starts as we meet down on his luck father Jon (Link) who can’t find a new job and isn’t the smoothest when going on dates. His two girls Eliza (Pohl) and Becca (Schaefer) are growing up fast with college being a future for Becca in the future.

The family have recent moved into their Grandpa’s home and they get the feeling of a dark presence in the barn. As Jon learns the truth about the barn his must protect his daughters from the evil awaiting them inside the barn.

 

Thoughts on Watch Over Us

 

Characters – Becca and Eliza seem to be your typical teenage daughters, they want to be near their friends, leave the house for college but are very close working together when it comes to battling the evil force. Jon is the father of the girls, he doesn’t come off as the nicest guy in the everyday world as we learn this from his attempts to date, but when it comes to protecting his kids he will do whatever it takes.

PerformancesThe performances here across the board are ok without being terrible or great, the three main stars don’t have too much to work with either.

StoryThis story here does follow the idea of a family being haunted by an unknown evil, this has been done before but the idea behind the story does seem like a good extended version of this idea, but the film does seem to miss out a couple of important scenes which would have completed the storytelling process to reach the true potential in the story.

Horror/MysteryThe horror comes from a lot of maybe moments as we see things could happen and most get held back which is fine but we don’t get that true scare we are teased about. The mystery side of things comes from trying to learn what is in the barn.

SettingsMost of the film is set in and around the house and barn which works showing us the locations we are going to be having any of the scare moments happen.

Special EffectsAll the effects are used well to tease the ideas of what is there without giving too much away, which shows you can use horror moments without the effects.


Scene of the Movie –
Th claw above the girls

That Moment That Annoyed Me The audio is recorded poorly making some scenes difficult to hear over others.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror film that feels like it needed one or two more scenes to help it reach the potential behind the story.

 

Overall: Such promise not delivered.

Rating

 

 

Wind River (2017)

Director: Taylor Sheridan

Writer: Taylor Sheridan (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Graham Greene, Gil Birmingham, Kelsey Asbille

 

Plot: An FBI agent teams with a town’s veteran game tracker to investigate a murder that occurred on a Native American reservation.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Contender for Film of the Year

 

Story: Wind River starts as we meet Cory Lambert (Renner) a hunter hired to take out predators in the Wyoming vast landscapes, his latest job is to search for lions hunting living stock but his tracks for these predators leads him to a gruesome discovery of Natalie’s (Asbille) frozen body. Cory brings in Native American Sheriff Ben (Greene) who brings in FBI agent Jane Banner (Olsen) to help with the investigation.

The three work together as Cory’s own experience of losing a daughter helps him connect with victims family, his ability to track predators and knowing what it is like to be an outsider to the Native American community helps the new outside Jane who doesn’t get the best help from the locals but together they will look to get to the bottom of this horrific crime.

 

Thoughts on Wind River

 

Characters – Cory is a hunter for hire to eliminate predators in the open land, he is the best tracker in the area but is also haunted by the death of his own teenage daughter, when he discovers one of her old friends body he must work with FBI agent Jane to discover the truth while being the only one that connect with the victim’s family. FBI Agent Jane Banner is the nearest agent to the crime, she isn’t prepared for what she discovers in the environment but is determined to find out the truth even if the locals don’t want to help along the way.

PerformanceJeremy Renner gives his best performance of his career to date here where you are just wanting to see more from his character because he is that interesting. Elizabeth Olsen is great here too showing how she can do the smaller films with ease.

StoryThe story is following a crime that needs to be solved where we see Native American community not being as accepting to outsiders making solving the crime more difficult. The story shows how bleak the world these characters live in and the unfolding of the truth is engaging pulling us into want to learn the truth. This is a slow burning story but you just want to keep watching each and every scene.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of the story is investigating of the body being found, it could be murder but the cause of death isn’t murder, this also adds to the mystery of the film as we are left to see how everything unfolds.

SettingsThe settings are fantastic viewing with the mountain range looking breath taking but also show the distant world between the Native American people and the modern world.

Scene of the Movie – The truth

That Moment That Annoyed Me This is hard to find something I didn’t like.

Tagline – Nothing is harder to track than the truth

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy contender for film of the year even could been an early pick for Best Picture, it has the best acting performance of the year to date and is a must watch for the crime thriller fans.

 

Overall: Brilliant film and contender for film of the year.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – We Are Still Here (2015)

we-are

Director: Ted Geoghegan

Writer: Ted Geoghegan (Screenplay)

Starring: Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie, Larry Fessenden, Monte Markham

 

Plot: In the cold, wintery fields of New England, a lonely old house wakes up every thirty years – and demands a sacrifice.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Horror

 

Story: We Are Still Here starts when Anne (Crampton) and Paul (Sensenig) move from the busy New York City to the quiet country after their son’s death. The house they buy has a history and learning of the history they start to experience strange occurrence around the house, Anne thinking it could be their son still trying to communicate.

Not knowing the truth of what is happening they call their son’s family friends May (Marie), Jacob (Fessenden), Daniella (Dakota) and Harry (Nicholson) to help answer the questions of the mystery within their home. As the four spend more time within the house the bigger picture becomes clearer and the spirits become a bigger presence within the home.

 

Thoughts on We Are Still Here

 

StoryLooking at the story we get a couple wanting to find a new life after losing their son, we also have idea that a house has a past which could bring the supernatural side to everything. the story is developed nicely over a couple of days which all works because everything unfolds scene by scene answering all the questions.

Horror The horror elements are all built up very nicely throughout the film here for the final blow out when everything gets unleashed.

Characters/PerformanceThe grieving parents do always make for strong leading characters because it is their move and belief they could communicate with their son that keeps them in place here. We do also have the friends who have connection to the underworld which work, we have the mysterious locals and of course we have the spirits looking for vengeance all adding up to a creepy horror list of characters.

The performances are all good throughout as we do believe both parent’s trying to cope with their loss in Crampton and Sensenig’s performances.

SettingsWe have a remote town for the setting which is filled with a secret, the secret is based within this one house which is isolated away from the rest of the town which is perfect for the horror needed in this film.

Special EffectsThe special effects going on through the film are brilliant because the spirit characters have such a uniquely terrifying look you will be scared that you could encounter them.

Final ThoughtsThis has terrifying created supernatural creatures that look original and will strike fear throughout.

 

Overall: This is one for all the horror fans out there.

Ratingcard

 

 

What Happened to Monday (2017)

Director: Tommy Wirkola

Writer: Max Botkin, Kerry Williamson (Screenplay)

Starring: Noomi Rapace, Glenn Close, Willem Dafoe, Marwan Kenzari, Christian Rubeck, Pal Sverre Hagen, Tomiwa Edun, Cassie Clare, Cameron Jack

 

Plot: In a world where families are limited to one child due to overpopulation, a set of identical septuplets must avoid being put to a long sleep by the government and dangerous infighting while investigating the disappearance of one of their own.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sci-Fi Gem

 

Story: What Happened to Monday starts in a world where population has skyrocketed causing food shortages and the first attempt to improve the food situation only increased the number of children being born, this bought in the new law, one child per family, the rest are put into chronological sleep until the food problem can be solved.

Terrence Settman (Dafoe) finds himself becoming a grandfather to septuplets that he names after the days of the weeks, 30-years later the seven (All played by Rapace) live together with them getting a different day out of the house to keep their identity hidden after learning the skills to survive from Terrence.

When Monday doesn’t return from work the remaining six must work together to locate her but only Tuesday can go out first and now they must go against Nicolette Cayman (Close) the woman that bought into effect the one child law.

 

Thoughts on What Happened to Monday

 

Characters – The Settman Siblings all named after the days of the week, they all do have their own characteristics as they are only allowed to appear in public on their named day of the week. They have 30-years of working together living on identity and now they must use this to stay alive. I did like how each one felt like they could offer something different, we have the tech smart one, the tough one, the street smart one and so on, this shows us how each one does deal with their situation they find themselves in. Nicolette Cayman is thee government woman that brings in the one child law, she wants to clean out the Settman Siblings and will do anything to cover it up, even if she is just the generic government character. Terrence Settman is the grandfather of the girls that teaches them how to survive the world, this is mostly a mentor role though.

PerformanceNoomi Rapace is the true star of this movie, she is fantastic playing the seven sisters and all their different characteristics showing the range she is capable off as a leading action sci-fi star that can also handle the emotional range required. Glenn Close and Willem Dafoe are both good without needing to be a major part of the full story.

StoryThe story follows how seven sisters secret in a world of only one child allowed gets exposed over a week as we see how the women must work together to stay alive using their skills in a world that is hunting them down. We have twists along the way and much like Netflix other major film this year Okja, the film isn’t afraid to hold the punches when it comes to shock value. This does also have a huge original factor about it, which puts it on the top of one of the best stories you will see this year.

Sci-FiThe creation of this world we enter is part futuristic and does put us into a potential question that could be asked about in the future, without going overboard with any sci-fi elements but also fits the sci-fi story being told.

SettingsThe world looks like the one we have seen before but it also has small parts that could be added in the near future, which brings the film into a potential real-world feeling.

Special EffectsAll the effects are great, most of this goes down to using Rapace in multiply roles and nothing looks out of place when they are on screen together.

Scene of the Movie – Learning the lesson about mistakes as children.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Why is a film of this quality not coming out in the cinema and only on Netflix?

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best sci-fi films of the year, shocking, original and most importantly engaging.

 

Overall: Must watch sci-fi film.

Rating