Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Julia (2014)

juliaDirector: Matthew A Brown

Writer: Matthew A Brown (Screenplay)

Starring: Ashely C Williams, Tahyna Valentina MacManus, Jack Noseworthy, Joel de la Funete, Cary Woodworth, Darren Lipari, Ryan Cooper

 

Plot: A neo-noir revenge thriller centering on Julia Shames, who after suffering a brutal trauma, falls prey to an unorthodox form of therapy to restore herself.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Stylish Thriller

 

Story: Julia starts as we meet quiet girl Julia (Williams) who goes for an interview only to find herself beaten, bloody and left for dead by the men responsible. Broken Julia turns to drink but soon learns about a doctor who has an unorthodox method of helping rape victims by giving them the power back.

Julia has to go through a training process under Sadie (Valentina MacManus) so Dr Sgundud (Noseworthy) can decide whether she can become one of the fighters against the men of the world. Once trained Julia becomes a seductive killer with the other victims who all take out their own form of vengeance of rapist.

Julia is a real slick stylish revenge thriller that plays into all the ideas of how rapist should be treated. There is a twist in the story which makes everything stand away from what could easily be just another knock of version of ‘I Spit on Your Grave’. The revenge scenes all come off very sexualised and like all revenge films we get to see the consequences of the idea. Ashley C Williams shines in this leading role with the rest of the cast almost stuck in her shadow throughout the film.

 

Overall: Sexy, stylish thriller that is all about the visual revenge kills.

Rating65

 

 

Automata (2014)

automataDirector: Gabe Ibanez

Writer: Gabe Ibanez, Igor Legarreta, Javier Sanchez Donate (Screenplay)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Dylan McDermott, Melanie Griffith, Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, Robert Forster, Tim McInnerny, Javier Bardem

 

Plot: Jacq Vaucan is an insurance agent of ROC robotics corporation who investigates cases of robots violating their primary protocols against altering themselves. What he discovers will have profound consequences for the future of humanity.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Automata starts in the future in the aftermath of solar storms that have wiped 99.7% of the world’s population from the Earth. The protect the remaining one robots known as automata are created to build walls to stop the solar rays, they are built with two conditions, one they can’t harm anything living and two they can’t alter their protocols.

In this world, we meet Jacq Vaucan (Banderas) who investigates insurances claims against the robots. Jacq whose wife is pregnant about to give birth wants to take on the easy jobs but soon gets a new assignment to uncover why this one automata was smuggling parts and self-improving himself.

Jacq teams up with short tempered police officer Sean Wallace (McDermott) to learn that the world isn’t going the way he thought with human altering the automatas for their own benefits but just how deep has this gone?

 

Thoughts on Automata

 

StoryThe story puts us into a dystopian world where human numbers are low but they live side by side with robots. We have the ideas that robots are starting to become smarter and evolving to become a threat to mankind. I liked how this story talks about the fine line between science with humans learning more about robots and what could be the start of change in power without turning into a mindless action film.

Action/Sci-FiWhen it comes to the action it isn’t non-stop which is just what the movie needs, the sci-fi side of the story works very well as we see how the humans work with the robots but could be about to raise their intelligence above our own, this poses good sci-fi related questions throughout.

Characters/PerformanceWhen it comes to the performances Banderas shines in the leading role with the good supporting performance all around mostly because the film isn’t afraid to shock with certain names. The characters all suit the world we find ourselves in, Jacq a family man tired of his job, a hot heated cop, smart scientist hidden from the world the concerned wife and the emotionless killer.

SettingsThe settings work perfectly for the world created showing us how bleak our future could be after a solar storm as well as how we would still divide ourselves for safety. The city looks worn down with the desert looking like it has been left for years with no one able to go to.

Special EffectsThe special effects all look fantastic with the robots looking like they could easily be part of our own world which is the main usage of the special effects in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis does turn into a very smart sci-fi which is happily asking us morale questions throughout as well as concluding by asking the questions about our own existence and what might become of us once we are gone.

 

Overall: This is a smart sci-fi even with moments that come off slow at times.

Ratingcad

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Stage Fright (2014)

casting card

 

Plot: A snobby musical theater camp is terrorized by a blood-thirsty killer who hates musical theater.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Glee Style Horror Musical

 

Story: Stage Fright starts as we see Kylie (Driver) performing on the opera while her children Camilla and Buddy watch on. When Kylie is murdered after the show musical producer Roger McCall (Meat Loaf) take the two children in. Ten years later Roger runs a camp for all musical fans with Camilla (MacDonald) who dreams of becoming her own singer and Buddy (Smith) who just wants to leave working as the cooks.

This year is special as the director Artie Getz (Uranowitz) has picked Phantom of the Opera the very musical that Kylie was performing on her death. He has ideas to take a fresh spin on it and when Camilla lands the lead role heads turn for all the campers. When Artie turns out to be just another pervy director we see the killer turn up making him the first victim before terrorising the camp.

Stage Fright brings us into the world that feels like a High School Musical or Glee feel to the horror genre. Lets face it this is never gonna be scary but does play on songs throughout. This isn’t going to be anything overly special but can be enjoyed if you go in to see the musical styled story. the twist on the killer I think Stevie Wonder would have seen which does take away the guessing game.

 

Actor Review

 

Minnie Driver: Kylie is the singer that is about to get her big break on front of her own children, she is a fabulous singer but she is killed by an unknown masked man. Minnie is good in this cameo like performance.

Meat Loaf: Roger is the producer that is now running the camp, he has taken care of Kylie children giving them jobs at the camp. He agrees to let his former show be made and Camilla, Kylie daughter take the lead role. Meat Loaf is solid in this role where we do get to see his singing ability.

Allie MacDonald: Camilla is the daughter of Kylie she has dreamed of becoming a singer just like her mother and now she gets the chance to perform to a real audience. Allie is good in this role where we get to hear her amazing singing voice.

Douglas Smith: Buddy is the brother who just wants to get out of the musical world but always stands there to protect Camilla. Douglas is solid in this supporting role without really fitting in with the movie.

Support Cast: Stage Fright has the supporting cast you would learn to know from a Glee style musical.

Director Review: Jerome SableJerome gives us a musical performance that is fun to watch.

 

Horror: Stage Fright has plenty of slasher style kills but never comes off scary.

Musical: Stage Fright is filled with songs but I do feel thee rock ones come off very annoying.

Settings: Stage Fright keeps most of the film on the camp site which helps with how the story unfolds for the horror side of everything.
Special Effects
: Stage Fright has good but basic effects when it comes to the kills happening in the film.

Suggestion: Stage Fright is one to try, I do think you will need to be in the right state of mind though. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Allie MacDonald has a brilliant voice.

Worst Part: The Rock side making rock music out to be the bad guy almost.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

Tagline: Sing Your Heart Out!

 

Overall: Original with musical side to horror but doesn’t reach the highest levels.

Rating

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Studio Ghibli Weekend – When Marnie Was There

manirDirector: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Writer: Keika Niwa, Masahi Ando, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, David Freedman (Screenplay) Joan G Robinson (Novel)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Sara Takatsuki, Kasumi Arimura, Nanaki Matsushima, Susumu Terajima, Toshie Negishi

 

Plot: Upon being sent to live with relatives in the countryside, an emotionally distant adolescent girl becomes obsessed with an abandoned mansion and infatuated with a girl who lives there – a girl who may or may not be real.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Emotional Roller-Coaster

 

Story: When Marnie Was There starts as we meet 12-year-old girl Anna Sasaki who has been struggling to fit in at school becoming distant from her whole family too. Looking for a cure Yoriko her Aunt sends Anna to the family Kiyomasa and Setsu on the coast with fresh air away from the busy city.

With the beautiful landscape becoming the inspiration for Anna’s latest artwork she becomes fascinated by a mysterious abandoned mansion on the marsh. Investigating Anna meets the girl who lives in the mansion Marnie.

The two become best friends but it soon leaves Anna wondering just whether Marnie is real or not because without this friendship Anna feels almost empty in this world.

 

Thoughts on When Marnie Was There

 

StoryThis story is one of the very best from Ghibli, it does lose all of the wild fantasy elements and at its core is one of the sweetest heartbreaking dramas you will see in recent years. The story focuses on the problems a foster child is suffering with through after her parents and grandparents all die, our character can’t find her way in the world but one summer changes all of that for her. How everything unfolds will bring a tear to your eye once you see the final outcome of this story.

Family/MysteryWhen you look at the family side of the story we get to see just how difficult being a foster child can be and you add in the mystery of just who is Marnie to this young girl real, imagine or a memory.

CharactersAnna is a perfect character for lead in a film, she is a struggling young girl who hasn’t understood her place in the world struggling with anxiety and depression with no one around she believes she can turn to for help. Marnie gives Anna the out she needed so much from her life bringing the positive she never knew she has in her. I will say the rest of the characters are mostly typical characters you would see around town who all help Anna with her problems.

SettingsThe animation gives us the most beautiful settings away from the busy lifestyle in the small country village.

AnimationWhen it comes to the animation Ghibli always give us such a perfect style of animation and this is no exception from the brilliant study.

Final ThoughtsThis has to go down as one of Ghibli’s best pieces of work a pure down to Earth story that will make you smile while the tears roll down your face and pure emotional roller-coaster.

 

Overall: Brilliant, Stunning Unforgettable, Tragic, Charming and Important all just a few words to describe this film.

Ratingcard

 

 

Survivor (2014)

survirovDirector: John Lyde

Writer: John Lyde (Screenplay)

Starring: Danielle Chuchran, Kevin Sorbo, Rocky Myers, Ruby Jones, Melanie Stone, Blake Webb, Abigail Mason, Andrew Dee Jones

 

Plot: During their search for a habitable planet the last living humans crash-land on a barren world, inhabited by bloodthirsty aliens and mysterious post-apocalyptic warriors.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable

 

Story: Survivor starts in 2067 where the Earth has been destroyed and the only trace of humanity is on 7 ships that have all been searching for a new planet, we follow Kate Mitra (Chuchran) born on the ship, trained on the ship and now at 21 years old is ready for the next mission.

When the ship gets a transmission from within a wormhole Captain Hunter (Sorbo) leads a team including Kate, Weston (Webb), Anne (Mason) and Hayley (Stone) to investigate the answers. During the mission the ship takes damage where it crash lands but that is only the beginning of the nightmare as Kate finds herself in the middle of a battle between blood-thirsty aliens and post-apocalyptic warriors as she searches for a way home.

Survivor is a sci-fi adventure film that puts us on a new planet that is filled with an enemy our human characters haven’t met before, yeah you know Planet of the Apes style. Where this films stands away from this is we have one hero in Kate who has to find her crew and rescue before learning the truth about the planet. I will say this is easy to watch and follow but when it comes to something original it falls slightly short. We also fail to develop any characters after Kate with most just being disposable.

 

Actor Review

 

Danielle Chuchran: Kate is one of the team that finds herself crash landed on the alien world, she must use all of her training to stay alive and find a way how. This is a very physical role where we get to see Kate as a warrior. Danielle is the star of this going through all of the physical side of the story.

Kevin Sorbo: Captain Hunter leads the mission as he has been training his crew for years. During the mission he finds himself injured and waiting for Kate to find a way to rescue him and his team. Kevin is solid but most of this film is him sitting around waiting for rescue.

Rocky Myers: Rogan is one of the warriors on the planet who goes against others wishes to help Kate find safety while he tracks down his missing daughter from the aliens. Rocky is good in his role but I don’t think we meet his character until too late in the film.

Ruby Jones: Nidal is the daughter of Rogan who has been kidnapped by the blood thirsty aliens. She becomes the innocent in the danger our characters find themselves in. Ruby is only in the final act and doesn’t get any real time to show off any skills.

Support Cast: Survivor has a supporting cast which are mainly used as disposable characters as we spend most of the film following Kate.

Director Review: John LydeJohn gives us a fun sci-fi that entertains throughout.

 

Action: Survivor has good mix of action with fights, chases and high risk climbing.

Adventure: Survivor puts our characters on the adventure to survive which works for the style the film is shot in.

Sci-Fi: Survivor goes all Planet of the Apes with the sci-fi side of the story being in the future we get to see another looks at the future where Earth has been destroyed.

Settings: Survivor keeps most of the film in a setting which fills like it has been away from technology throughout the whole film.
Special Effects
: Survivor has very basic special effects which you would expect to see in low budget films.

Suggestion: Survivor is one I do think you can sit and watch late night on television. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: Danielle Chuchran shines in this role.

Worst Part: Not the most original story.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

Tagline: Alone. Stranded. Deadly

 

Overall: Fun filled action adventure sci-fi film.

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