At the Devil’s Door (2014)

Director: Nicholas McCarthy

Writer: Nicholas McCarthy (Screenplay)

Starring: Ashley Rickards, Nick Eversman, Michael Massee, Mark Steger, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Naya Rivera

 

Plot: A real-estate agent finds herself caught up in something sinister when she has to sell a house with a dark past and meets the troubled teen who used to live there.


Tagline –  It’s looking for a home.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Messy & Confused

 

Story: At the Devil’s Door starts as we see teenage runaway Hannah (Rickards) planning to run away with her boyfriend, only to find herself in the middle cult like environment. Moving away from this situation Leigh (Moreno) an ambitious real-estate agent gets the chance to sale a house with a history, only to learn Hannah is haunting those hallways.

Hannah has been taken over by a dark force who has set her sights on her latest target, only this time it isn’t Leigh, it is her artist sister Vera (Rivera). What have they gotten themselves into, that is the question.

 

Thoughts on At the Devil’s Door

 

Characters – This was a hard film to figure out who the main character was until the end, so I will talk about the three biggest characters in no particular order. Hannah is the first one we meet, she is a runaway that finds herself in the middle of a demon worshiping cult, walking the halls of a house up for sale, she has a secret waiting to reveal. Leigh is the real-estate agent that is trying toe sale the house only to learn that there is a force in the house trying to control certain movements. Vera is the younger sister of Leigh, an artists that becomes the target of the presence that is haunting the land.

PerformancesWhile I don’t think the actors do a bad job in anyway in this film, the scorecard is being harsh on them, most of this complaint that the characters don’t become the main until late in the film which doesn’t give us enough time to get behind the actors. The three actresses do well with what they have without having that one moment that makes them stand out.

StoryThe story follows a potential demon being born into the world, I think, it would be fair to say this movie does put forward all the generic ideas that something is off with each scene, but as I was saying with the characters, we follow ones events only for the to mean nothing and these scenes go on for a healthy 20 odd minutes before we move onto the next character’s story, which only leaves us confused and feeling withdrawn from where the story is going.

HorrorThe horror is the normal, people walking around the empty houses following or running from noises, the only scene that stands out is involving the hospital.

SettingsThe film keeps us in a few houses that always seem to be empty, nothing is overly interesting with the locations being used.

Special EffectsThe effects are the strongest part of the film, it does have a couple of stand out moments which will make you look away but also make you want to watch.


Scene of the Movie –
Hospital time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not knowing the main character early on.

Final ThoughtsThis is a messy confusing movie that does try to break the mould because of the source material of demon trying to be born, we skip over the been there scene that parts but it takes too long to get there.

 

Overall: Not good enough horror movie.

Rating

 

 

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Bill Murray Weekend – St. Vincent (2014)

Director: Theodore Melfi

Writer: Theodore Melfi (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Howard, Jaeden Lieberher

 

Plot: A young boy whose parents have just divorced finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic war veteran who lives next door.


Tagline – With neighbours like these, who needs family?

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming Comedy

 

Story: St. Vincent starts as we meet Vincent (Murray) a selfish man living in New York city, he has a hooker on call in Daka (Watts), he owes people money, drinks and gamblers. He gets a new neighbour in Maggie (McCarthy) and her young son Oliver (Lieberher) who are going to change his way of life.

With Maggie working to keep Oliver in school and away from her husband, which keeps her working late, giving her needing to turn Vincent to babysit after school, leaving Vincent to teach life lesson, while dealing with his own problems.

 

Thoughts on St. Vincent

 

Characters – Vincent is a lonely figure that drinks, gamblers and spends time with a hooker. He struggles for money and when he meets his new neighbour he ends up with a babysitting job, where he gets to teach life lessons which opens the doors to his own problems in life. Maggie is the single mother trying to keep her son with her as we as working a fulltime job, meaning she must turn to Vincent. Daka is a stripper and hooker that spends time with Vincent, she is also pregnant which has seen her job disappear, but her loyalty to Vincent comes through. Oliver is the young boy that gets taken in by Vincent to help cover for her mother’s work. He is the new kid at his school which he learns from Vincent how to fit in here.

PerformancesBill Murray is wonderful in this role, he must handle a mix of situations which only helps with the carefree style Murray delivers. Melissa McCarthy is always an actress I never have time for, but this is my favourite performance of her career. Naomi Watts never looks out of place in this role with her accent not missing once through the film. Jaeden Leiberher is an actor that has gone onto bigger things, this showed his potential.

StoryThe story shows us that you can meet people in life that are not what the cover seems, it has the idea of one man being down on life, but he has a story that he has never been seen by the people closest to him. A young boy is the person that learns the most as he must learn to grow up quicker than he should. This is a coming of age type of movie for Oliver which is important for him too.

ComedyThis movie does have good comedy coming from each moment that will make you laugh, it also has moments which you need feel.

SettingsThe setting works because it shows us how people in and around New York can live different lives.


Scene of the Movie –
The project.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The debt collector character seems to fade away.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good and enjoyable comedy that shows the important side of life from the people you don’t think will be as big as people believe.

 

Overall: Comedy fans enjoy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – E – Extinction: Jurassic Predators (2014)

Director: Adam Spinks

Writer: Ben Loyd-Holmes, Adam Spinks (Screenplay)

Starring: Sarah Mac, Ben Loyd-Holmes, Neil Newbon, Daniel Caren, Emma Lillie Lees

 

Plot: Deep in the Amazon jungle a research team lead by a respected Professor strive to protect vulnerable and endangered species, but when their guides abandon them they soon realize they are in the hunting ground of prehistoric apex predators.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: By the Book ABC Found Footage

 

Story: Extinction: Jurassic Predators starts as we follow our documentary film crew, presenter Michelle (Mac) and cameraman James (Caren) who join the Professor John Howson (Loyd-Holmes), Rob (Newborn), Lisa (Lees), Tim (Burbage) on the expedition into the Peruvian rainforest to prove the effects humans have been having on the rainforest.  

When one of the guides leaves the crew, they must make their way through the rainforest to find new species and for some reason we film a lot of walking and trying to get interviews and following the team collect moss. At the hour mark we get a visit from the dinosaurs living in the remote part of the rainforest and now we follow them look for a way to escape.

 

Thoughts on Extinction: Jurassic Predators

 

Characters – Michelle is the presenter of the documentary and we barely see her do any presenting, we have a small moment early on but otherwise the camera spends a lot of time to following her ass on screen. Professor Howson is the expect in the field and meant to be the star alongside Michelle in the documentary, he must lead them to safety through the rainforest. Rob is the second in command being a lot more laid back when dealing with any danger believing in his own abilities. James is the cameraman that at one moment states the obvious, another moment does all the stupid things and somewhere along the lines becomes the bravest member of the crew.

PerformanceThe performances from the whole cast are fine, where the cast are not big-name actors which brings us into the found footage idea perfectly and nobody seems to overact through the film.

StoryDocumentary crew heads into the rainforest to look for new species and they find some, but they are deadly, this is all we need from the film as a story, there are no major twists but it does take a while to get going as we must watch, walking, collecting moss, running and rocks for a lot of the time.

Adventure/ThrillerThe adventure comes from the idea that we could be finding new species in the deepest darkest corners of the world and we are kept guess just who will make it out of the rainforest alive.

SettingsThe rainforest is filled with species we might not have discovered yet, so this works for the settings needed for the film to take places.

Special EffectsThe effects are a mixed bag, some parts of them are good while others feel like someone just stuck a dinosaur into the shot with CGI.

Scene of the Movie – Can’t sense us if we don’t move.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Camera crew inside the tent ‘there is something out there, I can’t see anything’ this dialogue is why films get a bad name.

Final ThoughtsThis does feel like a long-found footage film that could have been cut down by a good 20 minutes to fit the idea of a found footage concept that works, short sweat and plenty of fun.

 

Overall: Watchable found footage.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – A – A Most Wanted Man (2014)

Director: Anton Corbijn

Writer: Andrew Bovell (Screenplay) John le Carre (Novel)

Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Daniel Bruhl, Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe

 

Plot: A Chechen Muslim illegally immigrates to Hamburg, where he gets caught in the international war on terror.


Tagline – Inspired by true events

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burn

 

Story: A Most Wanted Man starts in the aftermath of 9/11, intelligence agency around the world are trying to stay on top of all known terrorists, with Gunther Bachmann (Hoffman) following a Chechen immigrate in Hamburg with his team, leading his German team on tracking his known connections, before the US get involved with Martha Sullivan (Wright) checking on the investigation.

When attorney Annabel Richter (McAdams) uses her contacts with bank manager Tommy Brue (Dafoe) to help Karpov become a resident of Germany, Gunther continues to watch over to see if he is a threat even with the added pressure of America.

 

Thoughts on A Most Wanted Man

 

Characters – Gunther Bachmann is the German agent that is tracking known terrorists, his team has connections and keeps eyes on most of the suspects with their latest one being one wanted worldwide, he must figure out if this man is a danger or not. Martha Sullivan is part of the American team searching for the terrorist, she is trusting Gunther to do the right thing only she isn’t sure what he is going to do. Annabel Richter is an attorney that is trying to help the suspect get into Germany, she is just doing his job using her connection to help make his move go smoother. Tommy Brue is the bank manager that has been dealing with multiple nationalities through the years, he gets involved in trying to get the transfer of money done.

PerformancesPhilip Seymour Hoffman in the leading role steps into the German character with ease, showing the composure to take his character to be the standout of the film. Robin Wright, Rachel McAdams and Willem Dafoe fill the supporting roles well through the film.

StoryThe story here follows the German and American intelligence agencies as they are trying to figure out if an immigrate is a potential terrorist suspect, both sides have difference of opinion on what is true and they must try to stay ahead of each other the best they can. This story does try to come off like an intense spy thriller that seems to get bogged down too easily, by making everything seem like it is just an everyday incident, this does move at a slow pace which only brings down everything because they do just seem to pick a random person, that could have reason to suspect from the early point in the film.

CrimeThe crime side of the film shows how the authorities operate to try and tackle potential criminal actions, it does show that they could be above the law at times too.

SettingsWe have the German backdrop for this movie, showing how they are planning to operate to keep tracks on terrorists.


Scene of the Movie –
Pick up.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It just seems dull.

Final ThoughtsThis is a spy thriller that never seems to get going, it tries to play along with the idea that we are building, but we soon lose the attention because it is more of a political spy thriller over anything going on thriller.

 

Overall: Slow burning thriller that just doesn’t get going.

Rating

 

 

Queen & Country (2014)

Director: John Boorman

Writer: John Boorman (Screenplay)

Starring: Callum Turner, Caleb Landry Jones, Pat Shortt, David Thewlis, Richard F Grant, Tamsin Egerton, Vanessa Kirby

 

Plot: In this sequel to Hope and Glory (1987), Bill Rohan has grown up and is drafted into the army, where he and his eccentric best mate, Percy, battle their snooty superiors on the base and look for love in town.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow, Dull and Boring

 

Story: Queen & Country starts as we follow Bill Rohan (Turner) drafted to the army to deal with the conflict in Korea, joined by Percy (Jones) who soon becomes his best friend. The two must deal with a by the book Sargeant Major Bradley (Thewlis) which only drives Major Cross (Grant) crazy.

We see how Percy keeps bring up plans while Bill starts to date a mysterious woman Opheila (Egerton), a woman with a past that only adds to her mystery.

 

Thoughts on Queen & Country

 

Characters – Bill lives on an island in the middle of the Thames, he is drafted the army which gets him to see more of the world, meet a mysterious woman and learn to stand up for himself. Percy is the loud best friend of Bill, who has done everything, he is the one that wants to get ahead of Bradley. Ophelia is the mysterious woman that comes into Bill’s life, she draws him but is keeping her secrets safe.

PerformancesCallum Turner is fine in this leading role but just doesn’t capture the levels to make us want to see his character too often. Caleb Landry Jones is the one we want to see the most, he is fun to watch but not the most interesting. The cast are fine but they just come off like posh Brits in roles.

StoryThe story is a sequel to a movie, I have never heard off, which is guess doesn’t help too much. We get to see a young man that goes into the armed forces that challenges his superiors while dealing with his own personal problems when it comes to tracking down a mysterious woman that can’t be with him. Nothing that interesting happens in this movie in the way you care enough to see where things go.

SettingsThe film takes us from the basic location which show the training camp, but it has our characters coming from the posh backgrounds.


Scene of the Movie –
Hard to find one.

That Moment That Annoyed Me That clock storyline.

Final ThoughtsThis is a boring movie that the more I think about things, the more I get bored about what I am thinking about it.

 

Overall: Nothing interesting happening here.

Rating