Franchise Weekend – Outpost: Black Sun (2012)

Director: Steve Barker

Writer: Steve Barker, Rae Brunton (Screenplay)

Starring: Catherine Steadman, Richard Coyle, Ali Craig, Nick Nevern, Daniel Caltagirone, Gary McDonald, Julian Wadham

 

 

 

 

Plot: The year is 1945, the closing stages of WW2, and a German scientist by the name of Klausener is working on a frightening new technology that has the power to create an immortal Nazi army. Flash forward to present day, and a NATO task force is hurriedly deployed to Eastern Europe, where a sinister enemy appears to be mercilessly killing everything in its path. But this is no ordinary foe. Only Helena, a gutsy investigator on the trail of the notorious war-criminal Klausener, accepts the reality of that they are facing a battalion of Nazi Storm-Troopers, a veritable zombie army on the march. With the help of Wallace, a man who’s been chasing Nazi secrets for years, the two of them team up with a Special Forces Unit to venture deep behind enemy lines. Their mission to fight their way back to the source of this evil army and prevent the seemingly inevitable rise of the 4th Reich.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Idea for the Sequel

 

Story: Outpost: Black Sun starts as we follow Lena (Steadman) in Paraguay searching for German war criminals with her main target being Klausener the man that was involved in the mission Hunt (Wadham) went on last time around. We also see how the effects of the first film have led to the new Third Reich spreading like a virus from the source.

Lena teams up with Wallace (Coyle) to build a team to get to Klausener’s machine to try and bring an end to the war that could be about to bring the promise of the Nazi’s invasion into a world problem.

 

Thoughts on Outpost: Black Sun

 

Characters/PerformanceLena is a strong leading lady, she has been tracking war criminals in the modern time but learning of the existence of Klausener draws her back to Eastern Europe to put an end to his terror. Wallace is an engineer stationed near the bunker who reluctantly helps Lena on her mission as he knows how to stop the machine. The rest of the characters are generic soldiers you barely learn the names of and the now Nazi zombies.

Performance wise, Catherine Steadman does a good job coming into a very male heavy film easily becoming the star performer, with most of the male cast all becoming forgettable by the end of the film.

StoryThe direction the story goes is interesting because it builds on how the last film finished. The idea that the experiment is spreading is a big plus, but the first film had a lot of a supernatural vibe to everything, this time we just get zombies and an elevated sci-fi feel to what is going on. I can understand why things went this way for franchise value but I do feel it takes away from the first film.

Action/HorrorThe action is much heavier in this film as we get to see plenty of fights between the humans and zombies. This increased action does take away from the horror side of the film as it doesn’t reach the horror needed for what is happening.

SettingsThe settings are also a part of this film which lose out by making this a bigger picture, we lose the idea of just one solo location for a bigger battle.

Special EffectsHere is another weaker point, sure the battles and fights all look great but trying to show the effects of a EMP just look cheap whenever they are used.

Final ThoughtsThis is difficult to make my mind up on, I liked the bigger picture going on, but I did find the random jump cuts to after something has happened frustrating, the fast pace also leaves a mixed feeling because it does work but takes away the horror. This is what I would like to think of as a good franchise builder, not saying it is bad but relies on having seen the first and wanting to see more.

 

Overall: Good franchise building horror film.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – U – Upside Down (2012)

Director: Juan Solanas

Writer: Juan Solanas (Screenplay) Juan Solanas, Santiago Amigorena, Pierre Magny (Adaptation)

Starring: Jim Sturgess, Kirsten Dunst, Timothy Spall, Blu Mankuma, Nicholas Rose, James Kidnie

 

Plot: Adam and Eden fell in love as teens despite the fact that they live on twinned worlds with gravities that pull in opposite directions. Ten years after a forced separation, Adam sets out on a dangerous quest to reconnect with his love.


Tagline –  Two worlds. One future.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too Ambitious

 

Story: Upside Down starts as we learn about the two different worlds, with their own gravity, but within communication distance. Adam (Sturgess) is from one world while Eden (Dunst) is from the other, the two fell in love, but they can’t be together for any length of time because of the different pulls on their gravities.

When their secret relationship is found out about, Adam believes that Eden died, 10-years later he learns she is still alive and goes to find a way to meet her again through a business that connects the two worlds.

 

Thoughts on Upside Down

 

Characters – Adam is from one world, raised an orphan after his parents were killed in an accident, he is fascinated by the other world which leads him to Eden, when he believes he loses her forever he starts to focus on other projects. When he learns that she is still alive he risks his life to try and find a way to meet her again and go to the world that he is not only forbidden from, but could kill him if he stays too long. Eden is the girl from the other world she has become injured losing her memory but rising up through the company, can he memory return in time to feel the feelings she once had.

PerformancesJim Sturgess is solid in the leading role, he plays the ambitious side to his character well, but he isn’t the most convincing on the romantic side of things. Kirsten Dunst does well enough as she can always be turned to for romantic based movies, this is no different. Timothy Spall gets good laughs in the supporting role.

StoryThe story here looks into forbidden love, we get a grander scale for this because the two lovers come from different worlds and can’t be together because of science. We have a lot of explaining as to why the two can’t be together which at times ends up being too much to follow because the science involved just seems like it goes on for about 10 minutes. The idea of two people wanting to be with the one they love is good part of the story though.

Fantasy/Romance/Sci-FiThe fantasy side of this film is taking us to the world where two worlds can’t be together while only being a breath apart, this leads into the romantic side of the film as our two loves must find a way to be together. The sci-fi side of the film comes on strong too because we then need to see how the worlds are different.

SettingsThe settings show us the difference in the two worlds, one for the rich, one for the poor, each has its own colour tone and area of pure beauty.

Special EffectsThe effects are weak here, we can see the fact we are watching actors perform on front of a green screen for most of the movie, which only disappoints.


Scene of the Movie –
Falling, it always looks good.

That Moment That Annoyed Me the green screen lets down.

Final ThoughtsThis is a basic love story which tries to become very ambitious when it comes to where it wants to take the story.

 

Overall: Simple Love story, complicated world.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – F – The First Time (2012)

Director: Jonathan Kasdan

Writer: Jonathan Kasdan (Screenplay)

Starring: Britt Robertson, Dylan O’Brien, Craig Roberts, Joshua Malina, James Trecheville, Christine Taylor, Victoria Justice

 

Plot: A shy senior and a down-to-earth junior fall in love over one weekend.


Tagline – Nervous is normal.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Cliched and Generic

 

Story: The First Time starts as we head to the most unrealistic high school party where senior Dave (O’Brien) is trying to put together a speech to try and get the girl he loves at his high school Jane Harmon (Justice), only he stumbles upon a junior Aubrey (Robertson) with the two bonding over the night, where the people are mostly just looking to hook up and get drunk.

As the two spend more time together over the weekend they learn that the ones they have crushes on are no the ones they want to be with.

 

Thoughts on The First Time

 

Characters – Dave is in his last year of high school, he is best friends with his high school crush without ever being able to telling her how he feels, he has his life planned out until he meets Aubrey. He wants to make a change in his future with her in it, tired of the just going around searching for parties. Aubrey is a junior, she has an older boyfriend and happens to be in the same party that Dave is at, the two click and soon become friends as they fall in love over the weekend, even if she doesn’t know her plan for her life. Jane is the popular girl all the guys want, she is the best friend to Dave and the one that Dave has a crush on, she makes the mistakes in her choice of guys. We get the traditional stereotypes for the characters that are friends of the two characters.

PerformancesBritt Robinson and Dylan O’Brien are both good in their roles, they make the most of the generic characters they are playing, they are good for the ages and show us they were two names that could have gone onto bigger projects. The rest of the cast get their laughs without needing to do too much.

StoryThe story here follows two high school students that fall in love over a weekend changing their perspective on life. Now to say this is a generically painful movie to watch because the lives these students are living is so unrealistic, while trying to touch on a serious matter because it tries to tell the story of how to virgins have sex for the first time. I don’t know what the target audience for this movie is either because it is way to slow for a teenage audience even if it is trying to tell us about more important things in life for teenagers before college.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film comes from the supporting friend characters which work for the film, while the romance in the focuses on the ideas of two people meeting and falling in love when they least expect it.

SettingsThis film uses the neighbour settings for the couple of spend time around, we don’t have anywhere standout, but it is slightly confusing how these kids are always out all night at parties.

 

Final Thoughts – This is a generic teenager rom com that doesn’t give us enough to focus on because of how unrealistic they make the lives behaviour of the kids.

 

Overall: Rom Com simples.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – P – Piranhaconda (2012)

Director: Jim Wynorski

Writer: J Brad Wilke, Mike MacLean (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Madsen, Rachel Hunter, Rib Hillis, Terri Ivens, Chris De Christopher, Shandi Finnessey, Michael Swan, Noah Blake

 

Plot: Two piranha/anaconda hybrid creatures hunt down the scientist who stole their egg and a film crew; making a slasher film in the jungle.


Tagline – Part Snake! Part Fish! All Killer!

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Trash

 

Story: Piranhaconda starts when scientist Lovegrove (Madsen) takes a new snake egg of a piranha & anaconda hybrid, the snake heads off into the jungle island in search of it killing anyone who gets in its way. Elsewhere on the island Mile (De Christopher) is directing a low budget slasher movie with diva leading lady Kimmy Weston (Finnessey), add into the mix the local gang that are kidnapping people for ransom, we have three groups that are being targeting by the snake who must now work together.

 

Thoughts on Piranhaconda

 

Characters – Lovegrove is the scientist trying to study the eggs of a piranhaconda which only disturbs them from their home, he somehow manages to elude the snake unlike anyone else on the island and fills in information. Talia is one of the kidnappers, she is the right-hand woman and that is about it. Jack is the stuntman that is dating one of the behind the scenes woman while batting off the interest of the leading lady, he kind of becomes the reluctant hero. Rose is the crew member that is starting to date Jack who gets jealous of the leading lady. We also have the director, the diva star and the kidnapping locals.

PerformancesTime to rant without insulting, Michael Madsen has been in Tarantino movies, how did he end up in this? He is clearly her for some form of pay check as he looks like he just turned on at the resort one day and was given the role. Rachel Hunter fills the quota of just having models in the film, she does absolutely nothing. Rib Hillis is the strongest of the performers in this film with Terri Ivens doing the second best, even though I did enjoy watching the diva actresses played by Shandi Finnessey. Most of the performers are women in bikinis running around Hawaii.

StoryThe story follows unlikely group of people needing to work together to escape a giant hybrid piranha anaconda mix, superfast, super hungry and super aggressive. This is simple enough and for sure this is easy to watch if that was all we had, we don’t we have terrible character development as we spend half the story seemingly meeting random people on the island that get selected to be the next victim, usually hot women. The science behind the creation is loose to say the least and to say the storytelling process is smart would be an insult to anyone.

Action/Adventure/Horror/Sci-FiThe action gives us the shoot as many bullets at a creature whose skin just bounces bullets off with a couple of explosions. The horror would come off as the creature feature concept which has always worked well, but not this time. The sci-fi side of the film give us the idea of an unknown creature causing the problems.

SettingsThe film is set in Hawaii which looks pretty, but the reality is that it could be any jungle island.

Special EffectsThis is a sci-fi level movie, we know the level of special effects and this is particular weak because it just uses the same technique for every kill which gets boring quickly.


Scene of the Movie –
Most of Jack solo scene, because he knew what the tone of the movie is all about.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The kill move.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of those truly bad low budget films, it has weak acting, effects and storytelling with only one actor seemingly understanding the tone of the movie.

 

Overall: Not even so bad its funny.

Rating

 

 

Chris Hemsworth Weekend – Cabin in the Woods (2012) Revisited

Director: Drew Goddard

Writer: Drew Goddard, Joss Whedon (Screenplay)

Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Brian White, Amy Acker

 

Plot: Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin, where they get more than they bargained for, discovering the truth behind the cabin in the woods.


Tagline – If you hear a strange sound outside… have sex.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Stand Out Horror

 

Story: The Cabin in the Woods starts when five college friends Dana (Connolly), Curt (Hemsworth), Jules (Hutchison), Marty (Kranz) and Holden (Williams) head off for a break in the cabin in the woods, with plenty of booze and laughs.

With the friends starting to act strangely we learn of an operation being run below the cabin, with Sitterson (Jenkins) and Hadley (Whitford) pulling the strings for a much bigger picture, where the teens are selected as sacrifices with the rest of the world getting their plans to suit their cultures.

 

Thoughts on The Cabin in the Woods

 

Characters – When we look at the teenagers, we have Dana who is making up for her own relationship woes with a teacher, being set up with Holden, but downstairs she is classed as the virgin. Curt is dating Jules, he likes his sport especially American Football and is well educated, at the cabin he turns into the jock figure. Jules is the best friend of Dana trying to support her through her problems, she turns into the slut at the cabin. Marty is the stoner, the fifth wheel if you like, he has the funniest lines of the whole movie, best scenes and has found a way to stay immune to the toxics effecting the others, pointing out the horror clichés mistakes. Holden is the friend of Curt’s sent to hook up with Dana, he is a good guy with what he does though, even if we don’t learn that much more about him. This characters are designed to become the stereotypes in the horror genre.

When we look at the people conducting the operations we have the two leaders Sitterson and Hadley who have been doing this for years, Hadley is waiting for a merman which is an on running joke through the film, while Sitterson knows how to fix every single problem. We do have the newest member of the team Truman that questions what is going on with Lin trying to help him understand the situation they are working for. This is all before even showing us the creatures will we be seeing through the film, each one bringing a new level of horror unlike anything we could have imagined.

PerformancesThe stars of the movie are good throughout, Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Jesse Williams and Fran Kranz as the teenagers are great with Connolly and Kranz stepping up to steal the show, you do get an early glimpse of what Hemsworth can do for comedy too. Jenkins and Whitford have excellent chemistry together giving us the dry comedy needed for their side of the film.

StoryThe story here turns what we know from your generic horror movies on its head, we know how the cabin in the woods slasher movies go but turning the story into an idea of human sacrifice in a satirical way does make this stand out from the crowd. The story does play into fan service for horror fans by doing this because it does play into clichés for a purpose, though it does go against clichés too and shows us how certain clichés haven’t transferred into the modern horror era. There are so many details you can talk about here and even the later stages go crazy, you will be hooked watching.

Comedy/HorrorThis is a horror movie, there is no questions, we have so many iconic figures from horror concepts, the comedy does show when it comes to going against the ideas of horror, mostly satirising what we know without parodying it.

SettingsThe film uses two major settings, first we have the cabin with the surroundings we know about, it is used for moments of horror too, the underground facility shows us how the operations are unfolding and how the people operate.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do look great, with the final 30 minutes uses such large amounts of practical and CGI going on.


Scene of the Movie –
Lift opening.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I didn’t not like anything about this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror movie that plays into the horror clichés to make them noticed, much like what Scream did in the 90s, this took things to the next level and with a final 30 minutes which will leave you jaw dropped.

 

Overall: The modern masterpiece of Horror.

Rating