Blue Ruin (2013)

blieDirector: Jeremy Saulnier

Writer: Jeremy Saulnier (Screenplay)

Starring: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves, Kevin Kolack, Eve Plumb, David W Thompson

 

Plot: A mysterious outsider’s quiet life is turned upside down when he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. Proving himself an amateur assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tension Filled Thriller

 

Story: Blue Ruin starts as we see homeless outside Dwight (Blair) doing all he can to get by breaking into houses for baths and searching bins for food while sleeping in his abandoned car. Dwight’s life is turned upside down when he learns about Wade Cleland release from prison, the man who killed his parents.

Dwight turns everything he has into a method of transport in his car to travel to get vengeance on Wade for what he did, leaving him dead in a bar bathroom.

When the murder isn’t reported on any news outlets Dwight must get his sister Sam’s (Hargreaves) family to safety as he waits for the Cleland family to come for their own form of justice against him. Dwight must use all his connection to stop the people who are after him and it isn’t long before we learn that Dwight is just as deadly as the men after him.

 

Thoughts on Blue Ruin

 

StoryThe story of vengeance shines through here where we get such a simplistic tale of one man’s quest to kill the man responsible for killing his parents. Each scene is filled with tension as we must see the whole story coming from the expression and action of Dwight. The story shows that you can have a simple revenge story that draws you in from start to finish.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime in this film is the path that Dwight leaves for in his vengeance mission and this helps the thrilling side of the story which is just full blown tension filled throughout.

Characters/PerformancesDwight is the strongest written character here and we see him in every single scene as he tells the story with next to no words. The rest of the cast only have a couple of scenes which doesn’t give us enough time to see these characters develop.

SettingsEach setting shows the bleaker side of America as we see the darker side to the country even if none of the locations can be clashed as memorable but they all look amazing.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most intense crime thrillers that is carried by one of the best performances of the year of release.

 

Overall: Brilliantly tense thriller that is a must for the fans of the genre.

Ratingcard

 

 

The Forgotten Kingdom (2013)

forgttenDirector: Andrew Mudge

Writer: Andrew Mudge (Screenplay)

Starring: Zenzo Ngqobe, Nozipho Nkelemba, Lebhang Ntsane, Jerry Mofokeng, Mohoeshoe Chabeli, Lillian Dube

 

Plot: Atang leaves the slums of the big city to bury his estranged father in the remote, mountainous village where he was born. Befriended by an orphan herd-boy and stirred by memories of his youth, he falls in love with his childhood friend, Dineo, now a radiant young teacher. Through her, Atang is drawn to the mystical beauty and hardships of the people, and faces his own bittersweet reckoning.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautifully Moving Story

 

Story: The Forgotten Kingdom starts as we meet Joseph (Ngqobe) a young man in the big city in South Africa, estranged from his father he group are harmless troublemakers. When he gets a vision of his father Joseph whose real name is Atang must take another look at the life he has been living to bury his father in Lesotho.

While at his father’s funeral he meets an old-school friend Dineo (Nkelemba) who still lives in Lesotho but who gave up her life in Joburg to support her family. Atang journeys to be with Dineo where he is guided by Orphan Boy (Ntsane) as he learns more about the beauty in life and the difficulties other people must go through after being mugged and beaten.

The Forgotten Kingdom gives us a story of how one man must find his purpose in life after his father’s death, it shows the incredible journey he must complete where he must consider the spirits of the world he has since turned his back on. We see how difficult life is for the ones that don’t always tell the world in a world that is so different to my own, where sickness can be considered a curse that doesn’t get the support it needs. We also get a love story of one man who will go on a journey to be with the woman he loves.

The performances are brilliant with Zenzo Ngqobe give a performance that could be put up there with the very best in the year of the release. The film has a real heart to it which makes it stand out from the rest of the releases of this year.

 

Overall: Brilliant journey of self-discovery through the rough environment.

Rating

 90

 

Jason Bateman Weekend – Bad Words (2013)

badDirector: Jason Bateman

Writer: Andrew Dodge (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, Rohan Chand, Philip Baker Hall, Allison Janney, Ben Falcone, Steve Witting, Beth Grant

 

Plot: A spelling bee loser sets out to exact revenge by finding a loophole and attempting to win as an adult.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Comedy

 

Story: Bad Words starts as we meet Guy Trilby (Bateman) a 40-year-old man who has decided to enter into the national spelling-bee for children. He finds a loop-hole for his entry and working with Jenny Widgeon (Hahn) his national sponsor to take on the authorities.

After qualifying for the national championships Guy gets frowned upon while making friends with Chaitanya (Chand) a contender whose parents leave him alone. Jenny tries to learn the story behind Guy’s decision to enter the tournament.

Bad Words is a comedy that takes on the spelling bee culture going around America and how if you study rules you can make any tournament eligible for entry. We get to see a sad back story which has driven Guy to act the way he does which is all good for why he is taking part in the spelling bee. The unlikely friendship also works because Guy sees himself in Chaitanya making him change over time. But on the negative the subject matter isn’t going to be for everyone and in the end could turn people away.

 

Actor Review

 

Jason Bateman: Guy Trilby is a 40-year-old man who wants to enter a spelling-bee for kids after finding a loop-hole. He doesn’t care who he offends by entering this tournament and is a terrible example for all the kids involved. Jason gets to use all his comedy chops here

Kathryn Hahn: Jenny Widgeon is a reporter trying to write a story about Guy’s story of entering the spelling-bee. She is also his sponsor for the tournament with her news outlet funding his journey. Kathryn is solid in this supporting role.

Rohan Chand: Chaitanya Chopra is a young Indian boy who is also entering the spelling-bee who befriends Guy along the way he is the only person that shows Guy any sort of light on his dark path. Rohan is great and working opposite Jason.

Philip Baker Hall: Dr Bowman is running the bee and takes an instant dislike towards Guy but he does try to keep everything together in difficult tournament. Philip works well in this role.

Support Cast: Bad Words has a supporting cast which do all help the way the story eventually ends up going.

Director Review: Jason BatemanJason does well directing this easy to watch film with the comedy being where needed.

 

Comedy: Bad Words has good moments that do get laughs without being full blown laugh out loud moments.

Settings: Bad Words keeps the settings in and around the spelling bee without having anywhere too iconic.
Suggestion
: Bad Words is one to try that does have moments of enjoyment but might not be for everyone. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Jason and Rohan have good chemistry.

Worst Part: Certain racial jokes which miss the target.

Funniest Scene: Final showdown.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

Tagline: The end justifies the mean.

 

Overall: Enjoyable but not memorable comedy.

Rating

 card

 

The Last Passengers (2013)

lastDirector: Omid Nooshin

Writer: Omid Nooshin, Andy Love (Screenplay)

Starring: Dougray Scott, Kara Tointon, Iddo Goldberg, David Schofield, Lindsay Duncan, Joshua Kaynama

 

Plot: A small group of everyday passengers on a speeding London commuter train battle their warped driver who has a dark plan for everyone on-board.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tidy Thrill Ride

 

Story: The Last Passenger starts as we see single dad and doctor Lewis (Scott) taking his son Max (Kaynama) home on a train journey where he meets recently single lady Sarah (Tointon) as they find themselves being the last passengers on the train to Tonbridge.

When the train fails to stop at the train stops Lewis has to work with Jan (Goldberg), Peter (Schofield) and Elaine (Duncan) to get the train to stop when it appears the drive has gone rogue and the 6 people face a race against time to save themselves.

The Last Passenger gives us everything we need for a thriller because we have our heroes stuck in a position where there is no easy escape a speeding train. We do get the typical characters involved with a heroic leading character with a tortured soul, a potential new love interest, the selfish one and the cocky one with the innocents of a child. I feel like this film has a twist waiting to happen from early on but it doesn’t come. I will say the kid is very annoying from start to finish but the film does keep you on edge till the final act.

 

Overall: A Thriller that keeps you on edge till the final scene.

Rating60

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Texas Chainsaw (2013)

texasDirector: John Luessenhop

Writer: Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan, Kirsten McCallion (Screenplay) Stephen Susco, Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan (Story) Tobe Hooper, Kim Henkel (Characters)

Starring: Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Trey Songz, Scott Eastwood, Tania Raymonde, Shaun Sipos, Keram Malicki-Sanchez, Bill Moseley, Gunnar Hansen

 

Plot: A young woman travels to Texas to collect an inheritance; little does she know that an encounter with a chainsaw-wielding killer is part of the reward.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just What is This?

 

Story: Texas Chainsaw starts right were the original 1974 classic ended with Sheriff Hooper (Barry) coming to arrest Leatherface leading to a stand-off against the Sawyer family with the local town’s people burning the house to the floor.

Move forward in time (we don’t know how many years though) where we meet Heather (Daddario) who receives the news that her grandmother has died, only to find out she was in fact the baby of the Sawyer family. Heather sets off with her boyfriend Ryan (Songz) best friend Nikki (Raymonde), Kenny (Malicki-Sanchez) to Texas and along the way they pick up hitchhiker Daryl (Sipos).

We do go through a large amounts of really stupid questions being asked including ‘Why didn’t you tell me I was adopted?’ ‘how could you not tell me I was part of that murderous (My choice of words) family?’ after nearly running over Daryl ‘where you heading’ ‘do you want a lift’ before Daryl offers to pay for the lift. Really this interaction has already made me hate this film and we have barely even got started. Time to get back to the real story going on.

Once in Texas Heather discovers the home she has been left the friends get ready for a party only to learn they are not alone in the house that Leatherface (Yeager) still lives in and he wants to be left alone. We end up having to watch as the friends get picked off one by one by the deranged killer.

Texas Chainsaw really tries to give us a sequel to the original completely forgetting the remakes that could have been a building block for this. I am hugely disappointed with this one because Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the most iconic horror films of all time. We get disposable characters and stupid question and decision making from start to finish. The fact we have Leatherface kill the friends before teaming up with his relative to get revenge on the town makes NO SENSE WHAT SO EVER. We could have the revenge film, fine I will accept that but having him kill the innocent members first then become the good guy just doesn’t work. I could easily go on about how wrong this story really is but I am getting tired of moaning about this one.

 

Actor Review

 

Alexandra Daddario: Heather just so happens to inherit the house where Leatherface lives, she brings her friend there for what she thinks will be a dream home only to find herself in the middle of a nightmare but it is her own family she never knew she has which is the true shocking reality Heather must face. Alexandra fits the leading role well, being the beautiful damsel in distress, but won’t get into the acting.heather

Dan Yeager: Leatherface is the icon that went on a killing spree years ago and long thought to be dead. Well he isn’t and now he lives in the house Heather inherits and just so happens to be related to her. He is bigger, faster and deadlier that ever. Dan makes for an imposing Leatherface character.leather

Trey Songz: Ryan is the boyfriend of Heather who goes along on the journey only to find himself having to fight off Leatherface. Ryan really is just there as one of the friends the character offers very little to the main story with only a small side story that he is having a fling with Heather’s best friend Nikki. Trey does all h can with such a poorly written character.

Scott Eastwood: Carl is the young officer in the town that helps Heather fight off Leatherface, he comes off as the friend officers always trying to do the right thing which is the complete opposite to others officers we meet or is he after something else. Scott doesn’t get used enough for where his character goes.

Support Cast: Texas Chainsaw has a supporting cast that really is just disposable for the main story.

Director Review: John LuessenhopJohn takes this in a different direction but loses all of the tension this original once had.

 

Horror: Texas Chainsaw doesn’t have the scare factor it should have with it going down the action horror film genre.

Thriller: Texas Chainsaw doesn’t have any tension which is needed for this film.

Settings: Texas Chainsaw doesn’t make any settings stand out with where the film goes.
Special Effects
: Texas Chainsaw has a couple of good effects but you can almost see the CGI gore which is disappointing.

Suggestion: Texas Chainsaw is one to avoid and if you are a fan of the original don’t even look at the case. (Avoid)

 

Best Part: Camera phone blood trail follow.

Worst Part: Story.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No, maybe another reboot.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Won 2 Awards (Including Worst Film) and nominated for 7 more.

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $34 Million

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

Tagline: Evil wears many faces.

Trivia: Originally, a plan for a new trilogy was pitched. The films would be released out of chronological order, with the second film coming out first and being set almost entirely in a hospital. The next film would be a prequel explaining the events that led up to the hospital scenario. The third film would complete the storyline. Fearing it was too ambitious and risky, the producers opted for a follow up to the original instead.

 

Overall: Terrible sequel to one of the best horror movies or all time.

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