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

 

 

Tracker (2010)

trackerDirector: Ian Sharp

Writer: Nicolas Van Pallandt (Screenplay)

Starring: Ray Winstone, Temuera Morrison, Gareth Reeves, Mark Mitchinson, Daniel Musgrove, Andy Anderson, Mick Rose, Jodie Hillock

 

Plot: An Afrikaner veteran of the Boer War has just immigrated to New Zealand and is hired to track a man accused of killing a soldier. While hunting through the countryside he captures his fugitive, only to learn that he’s innocent of the crime. When faced with the life changing decision to turn him in or set him free only one man will walk away alive.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow but Solid

 

Story: Tracker starts in the aftermath of the Boer War where we see Major Carlysle (Reeves) trying to keep the peace between both sides. When Arjan van Diemen (Winstone) arrives in New Zealand he gets recruited to find Kereama (Morrison) a local man accused of killing a soldier that we all see Saunders (Mitchinson) really killed.

When Arjan catches up with Kereama the two men realize they are not so different as they try to outsmart each other and return to the British soldiers.

Tracker show how honour between men can be the beginning middle and end of where the characters end up going. Everything does play out slowly but complete between the characters who all believe in their own way they are doing the right thing which is a good thing. If this was cut down slightly we could have got the same message without having all the side tracked visuals though. This is solid for what it is trying to tell though.

 

Actor Review

 

Ray Winstone: Arjan van Diemen is a South African soldier who has moved to New Zealand to start a new life after losing his family. He is an expert tracker that Major Carlysle recruits to find a wanted criminal only to find himself bonding with the native who share a similar enemy in the British. Ray is good in this role that is filled with regret throughout.

Temuera Morrison: Kereama is the native who gets falsely accused of murdering a British solider, having to go on the run he gets tracked down by Arjan but he uses all his tricks to keep his safety on his native land. Temuera is good in this role and works really well of Winstone.

Gareth Reeves: Major Pritchard Carlysle is trying to keep the peace between the two sides after the conflict in New Zealand, when he sees the aftermath of the crime he searches for the man to get an honest answer to the crime. He does come off the most reasonable of all the soldiers in this film. Gareth plays a good honest character but comes off overly genetic.

Mark Mitchinson: Saunders is the drunken soldier that gets into a fight with Kereama leading to him killing the soldier and putting all the blame on Kereama. Mark is solid enough in this supporting role.

Support Cast: Tracker has a small supporting cast with most just being the fellow soldiers searching for the wanted man.

Director Review: Ian SharpIan does a good job directing this getting s beautiful shots of the landscape to let the story unfold within.

 

Action: Tracker is filled with action that is mostly chases and hand to hand combat moments.

Adventure: Tracker throws our character into an adventure where they must adventure across the New Zealand landscape.

Western: Tracker plays out like an old school western.

Settings: Tracker uses the landscape to fully immerse us into the film.
Special Effects
: Tracker has solid effect when needed but never ends up turning to them.

Suggestion: Tracker is one I do think is worth a try but it does have moments of being very slow. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The two leads come off nicely.

Worst Part: Slightly slow.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $6,5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

Tagline: Never Stop Running!

Trivia: After the first day of pursuit, Arjan van Diemen is in his camp site. He is seen holding his pocket watch in his right hand. From his viewpoint, his fingers point from 6 to 12 on the watch face. viewed from the front, he holds the pocket watch so that his fingers point from 3 to 9 on the clock face.

 

Overall: Solid little action western showcasing the beauty of New Zealand.

Ratingcard

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – Altitude (2010)

altitudeDirector: Kaare Andrews

Writer: Paul A Birkett (Screenplay)

Starring: Jessica Lowndes, Julianna Guill, Ryan Donowho, Landon Liboiron, Jake Weary, Mike Dopud

 

Plot: After a mysterious malfunction sends their small plane climbing out of control, a rookie pilot and her four teenage friends find themselves trapped in a deadly showdown with a supernatural force.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Horror in the Sky

 

Story: Altitude starts when Sara (Lowndes) looks to put her demons of losing her mother as a pilot to rest as she aims to become a pilot herself, one of her first solo flights involves taking her friends Mel (Guill), Cory (Donowho), Bruce (Liboiron) and Sal (Weary) across country. We get the usual problems between the friends with Sara and her boyfriend Bruce going their separate ways after school, while Sal is being the traditional asshole of a horror film.

During the flight a routine procedure leads to the plane getting stuck in the middle of a storm where they have to make difficult decisions as they could be overloaded. To make matters worse Sal believes he might have seen it something in the storm but the truths of their friendships really come to surface as they have to survive against an unknown beast of the sky.

Altitude is a horror film that puts all of the fear in the sky, where there is no escape from the horrors. We do get the generic storylines around the characters fighting between themselves. We don’t see the creature chasing them through the storm, but the highlight of this film is in the final act where the film really shines. In the end this is just a solid good horror film that is a good watch.

 

Actor Review

 

Jessica Lowndes: Sara is our rookie pilot who is following in her mother’s footsteps who died when she was young. She is taking her friends across country before they have to move on with their lives. She has to deal with all of the plane problems alone but only being a trainee she also keeps everything calm. Jessica is good in this role where she is in control.

Julianna Guill: Mel is one of the friends on the plane, her boyfriend is Sal but really she is in love with Cory, she wants to document everything going on during this adventure. Julianna does a solid job but almost gets forgotten during the film.

Ryan Donowho: Cory is one of the members on the plane, he is braver than the rest and in love with Mel, when the problems start happening he risks his life to save the rest. Ryan does a good job for his limited time in the film.

Landon Liboiron: Bruce is Sara’s boyfriend but he has a secret as he was there in the plane when her mother died, he has fallen in love with Sara but never told her the truth about what really happened and never wants to leave her. Landon does a solid job in this role but doesn’t get to levels you would like it to be.

Jake Weary: Sal is the asshole on the plane, he pushes everyone’s buttons the wrong way. He is the one character you take an instant hate towards as he slowly starts to look after himself with what is going on. Jake is good in this performance because his character puts everything in danger and it is always hard to make you hate a character.

Support Cast: Altitude only really has a supporting cast that appears in the flashbacks as we see what happened to Sara and Bruce in the past.

Director Review: Kaare AndrewsKaare gives us a film that keeps us guessing from start to finish while offering a horror in the air working on so many levels.

 

Horror: Altitude puts the horror in the air with nowhere to run which is great for the genre.

Mystery: Altitude does leave us in a mystery as we don’t know what is happening through the storm.

Sci-Fi: Altitude gives us a sci-fi twist in the final act of the film.

Thriller: Altitude does keep you guessing to what is going on bringing us to the edge of our seats.

Settings: Altitude keeps all of the action on the small plane in the storm giving our characters nowhere to go for help.
Special Effects
: Altitude doesn’t have the best effects but they are on a consistent level throughout.

Suggestion: Altitude is one for the horror fans to try, you may enjoy this by the end. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Final Twist.

Worst Part: Special effects.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Tagline: Fear Is in the Air.

 

Overall: Horror in the skies that makes you check every window next time you fly

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