World Cinema Weekend – King of Devil’s Island (2010)

kingDirector: Marius Holst

Writer: Dennis Magnusson, Eric Schmid (Screenplay) Mette M Bolstad, Lars Saabye Christensen (Story)

Starring: Benjamin Helstad, Trond Nilssen, Stellan Skarsgard, Kristoffer Joner, Magnus Langlete, Morten Lovstad

 

Plot: Norwegian winter, early 20th century. On the boys home Bastoy, a new inmate leads the boys to a violent uprising against a brutal regime. How far is he willing to go to attain freedom?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Performance Heavy Drama

 

Story: King of Devil’s Island starts Erling C-19 (Helstad) and Ivar C-5 (Langlete) arrive on Devil’s Island a young offenders prison run by Bestyrer Hakon (Skarsgard). We see how both the boys learn to deal with the new surrounding C-5 the quiet, shy one gets taken advantage of as he can’t handle the physical work involved while C-19 fails to follow the rules as he looks desperately for an escape from the reign of Bestyrer and Husfar Brathen (Joner). With C-1 (Nilssen) trying to teach the rules it is only a matter of time before C-19 gets what he wants, his freedom by forcing the boys to up rise against the men running the prison.stellen

 

Thoughts on King of Devil’s Island

 

StoryThe story here is showing just how disciplining young men can be a fine line between putting them in their place or only driving them further away from the right path. We see how the boys have come from different worlds but must learn to work together to make the right choice and how these boys were made to suffer at the hands of the discipline heavy authority they found themselves under. This is a hard story to watch but it well worth seeing.

Action/DramaWhen it comes to the action it is mostly from the different levels of discipline our characters find themselves facing as well as the fighting, it all seems to be just what the film needs without being overly violent or just for the sake of it. The drama comes from seeing the situation the boys must go through with the consequences they face for what happens.

Characters/PerformancesThe characters are all brilliantly defined to show their pat present and future with our main five showing their weaknesses as well as their strengths. The performances are all wonderful with Skarsgard being powerful as ever, Joner showing all the shines his character represents. The younger cast also give powerful performances with Helstad, Nilssen and Langlete showing they will be names to follow in Nordic cinema.

SettingsWith the whole film being set on the island we get to see that these boys were prisoners we get to see just how extreme the weather condition are when it comes to the punishment these boys have to go through that is becomes it very own character in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very powerful film that has truly powerhouse performances from the lead stars that tells a very important true story.

 

Overall: Very intense and powerful drama that is a must for all fans of the prison uprising films.

Rating

 80

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Burning Bright (2010)

burningDirector: Carlos Brooks

Writer: Christine Coyle Johnson, Julie Prendiville Roux (Screenplay) David Higgins, Christine Coyle Johnson, Julie Prendiville Roux (Story)

Starring: Garret Dillahunt, Briana Evigan, Charlie Tahan, Peggy Sheffield, Mary Rachel Dudley

 

Plot: A thriller centered on a young woman and her autistic little brother who are trapped in a house with a ravenous tiger during a hurricane.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Best Trapped in a House with Tiger?

 

Story: Burning Bright starts as we see reckless spending step-father Johnny (Dillahunt) buy himself a tiger to start his own safari park. We also meet his step-daughter Kelly (Evigan) who is about to go off to college but first must find someone to care for her autistic brother Tom (Tahan) but her plan has gone out the window after Johnny spends all her money.

With an inbound hurricane Kelly is facing the reality of losing her scholarship to raise her brother but her day is only going to get worst when she finds herself boarded inside the house with her brother and the tiger. No escape available Kelly must do all she can to protect her brother for the night.

Burning Bright is one of those really easy to watch horror thrillers because it doesn’t get over complicated or bogged down on with too many characters. We have the traditional story of how far one person will have to go to survive which is important for the story. we get to see how difficult it is for Kelly because of her brother’s disability and we all know Briana Evigan has become a bit of a modern day horror actress this shows how far she has come.

 

Overall: Good Horror Thriller that is an easy watch for all the fans out there.

Rating65

 

 

Disaster Weekend – Aftershock (2010)

aftershockDirector: Xiaogang Feng

Writer: Wu Si (Screenplay) Ling Zhang (Novel)

Starring: Fan Xu, Jingchu Zhang, Chen Li, Ti Lu, Zi-feng Zhang, Jiajun Zhang, Zhong Lu

 

Plot: The epic story of a family separated as a result of the Great Tangshan Earthquake of 1976.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Emotional Charged Epic

 

Story: Aftershock starts as we meet the family of husband Daqiang (Guoqiang Zhang) wife Yuanni (Xu) and children Deng (Zi-feng Zhang) and Da (Jiajun Zhang) who live a normal happy life in the city of Tangshan, but one night their lives are shattered when a devastating earthquake destroys the city.

With Daqiang killed in the quake Yuanni begs everyone to help rescue her children from the concrete grave they find themselves under as she finds herself with the impossible decision of which one of her children she can save because saving one will kill the other. Saving her son Yuanni believes her daughter is dead leaving her with the dead bodies but somehow Deng survives and is rescued by a solider to start her new life. We also follow how Yuanni and Da (Li) start the next chapter of their life with Yuanni filled with the guilt about the decision she had to make.

Decades pass without either knowing the truth of the other’ lives as Deng (Jingchu Zhang) and Da have the impossible chance encounter at another earthquake and learn of the heartbreak the earthquake caused both sides of the family.

Aftershock is bar far and above the greatest disaster related film I have ever seen. The disaster is only the background to this story and the effects are incredible. The story is the most important part of this film and see the 32-year tragic story of the family divided by the disaster, this side of the story shows the decisions the family make because of what happened and each decision pulls of the heart strings. This film will bring a tear to the eye because of how powerful this film is and is an absolute must watch for all. Each performance is brilliant and you can feel the emotion the characters are feeling.

 

Overall: Heart-breaking, stunning, epic, emotional, powerful film that is simply the best in the genre.

Rating95

 

 

John Malkovich Weekend – Jonah Hex (2010)

jonahDirector: Jimmy Hayward

Writer: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor (Screenplay) Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor, William Farmer (Story)

Starring: Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender, Will Arnett, John Gallagher Jr, Michael Shannon, Wes Bentley

 

Plot: The U.S. military makes a scarred bounty hunter with warrants on his own head an offer he cannot refuse: in exchange for his freedom, he must stop a terrorist who is ready to unleash Hell on Earth.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not as Bad as I Thought

 

Story: Jonah Hex starts as we see soldier Jonah Hex (Brolin) has to pay for killing Quentin Turnbull’s (Malkovich) son during the war, branded with a QT on his face Jonah witness his family burnt alive. Going on the rampage to find Turnbull he only discovers he has died and Jonah becomes a bounty hunter that can communicate with the dead.

When Turnbull returns from the grave or never got killed the President turns to Jonah Hex to stop Turnbull and his plan to build the deadly weapon that could become the biggest threat in American.

Jonah Hex is an adaptation from a comic book series which like most I have never read so I can’t judge how accurate the version is. The story is shot like it has been ripped from the pages of a comic because we get very little background story of any characters in more than quick flashbacks. The special effects do come off looking bad in places where you can clearly see the CGI being used throughout. The settings all come off looking like the time which isn’t a problem and potentially the highlight of the film. The action side of the film is all average without a truly memorable scene being used either and the inclusion of the fantasy elements where Jonah can talk to the dead comes off looking good and is something I would have liked to have seen more.

The cast is an interesting one because Brolin as Hex works well, Malkovich as the main villain is like finding a cheap version of Cyrus the Virus from Con Air, Megan Fox clearly brings the sex appeal but doesn’t get much of the actual acting done here. It is Michael Fassbender that stands out in this role where he goes full crazy with his character being the most memorable but I am not sure if it is for the right or wrong reasons. All the other supporting cast are almost wasted in small roles that barely get more than one scene.

 

Overall: I was expecting terrible but this is an easy watch without being great.

Ratingcard

 

 

Henry’s Crime (2010)

henryDirector: Malcolm Venville

Writer: Sacha Gervasi, David N White (Screenplay) Stephen Hamel, Sacha Gervasi (Story)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Judy Greer, Fisher Stevens, Danny Hoch, Bill Duke, Drew McVety, Tim Snay, James Caan, Vera Farmiga, Peter Stormare

 

Plot: Released from prison for a crime he didn’t commit, an ex-con targets the same bank he was sent away for robbing.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bland Heist Film

 

Story: Henry’s Crime starts when toll booth operator Henry Torne (Reeves) finds himself unwittingly drawn into being a getaway driver for small time robber Eddie Vibes (Stevens) only to get himself caught and spending 3 years in prison. While in prison Henry meets Max (Caan) who teaches him to focus himself on life.

Once free Henry finds himself searching for his meaning in life and what he searches into is doing the crime he was meant to have committed.

Henry’s Crime is a heist movie that tries to play into the comedy genre while missing the mark on every single joke. The heist does work as a film because it all adds together well. The film has a slow pace with the romantic angle coming off slow and over dramatic in places too. The motivation of Henry’s character does seem to get lost in places as we just have a character that doesn’t come off strong enough to be the lead character of a heist film.

 

Overall: This is a plain and forgettable heist film that wastes the talent involved.

Rating35