Jamie Marks is Dead (2014)

Director: Carter Smith

Writer: Carter Smith (Screenplay) Christopher Barzak (Novel)

Starring: Morgan Saylor, Noah Silver, Cameron Monaghan, Brett DelBuono, Fred Tolliver Jr, Ronen Rubinstein, Liv Tyler, Judy Greer

 

Plot: In a wintry small town, the body of a teenager named Jamie Marks is found by the river. Adam, the star of his cross-country team, becomes fascinated with Jamie-a boy nobody really knew or interacted with, except occasionally to bully him. When Jamie’s ghost begins to appear both to Adam and Gracie, the classmate who discovered the body, Adam is caught between two worlds. He has a budding romance with Gracie, but he also feels a deep connection to Jamie, who brings him closer to the world of the undead.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Drama

 

Story: Jamie Marks is Dead starts with the discovery of Jamie Marks (Silver) body in a riverine in the small town he is from, bullied by most, it is Adam (Monaghan) who looks back at his brief memories of his time with Jamie wanting to pay respect to where he was discovered, where he meets Gracie (Saylor) the girl who found the body.

When Adam becomes friends with Gracie the pair start to get visits from the ghost of Jamie which drives Adam’s interest into what happened to him leading him down the narrow road between life and death as he is left to question his own sexuality and uncover the mystery surrounding Jamie’s death.

 

Thoughts on Jamie Marks is Dead

 

Characters/PerformanceAdam is the star runner at his high school, he keeps to himself without getting involved in being or conducting any bullying. He gets drawn to what happened to one of the victims of the bullying as he hits the awkward age where he must discover his own sexuality. Gracie is the one friend Adam finds himself having, she is also a lonely character that is seeing the ghost of Jamie too but not on the same level as Adam. She does also give the warnings about getting to know the ghost can be. Jamie is the bullied school boy who ends up dead, he returns as a ghost to show Adam a way through life getting him to help solve his murder or the mystery surround his death.

The performance are all good from the main actors, they help unfold the story for us in a way that keeps us interested in seeing where it will go.

StoryThe story does follow on high school student that is trying to figure out who he is, be it in life, he sexuality and his draw towards a recent death in the town. Looking at how it all unfolds we get elements of the ghosts of our past guiding us to the answers that seem easiest rather than the ones we need to see. This is slow moving at time but does keep you full attention to just what will happen.

SettingsThe small town settings is always good for the dramas as it shows how the town can show us just how cruel people can be and how easily the stories can spread.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that is good for what it is telling us, we have a good story, good acting and a meaningful message.

 

Overall: Drama that keeps your attention without being edge of your seat.

Rating

 

 

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God’s Pocket (2014)

Director: John Slattery

Writer: Alex Metcalf, John Slattery (Screenplay) Peter Dexter (Novel)

Starring: Christina Hendricks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eddie Marsan, Caleb Landry Jones, Jack O’Connell, John Turturro, Richard Jenkins

 

Plot: A blue collar worker tries to cover things up when his stepson is killed in a suspicious accident, but a local reporter senses that something’s amiss.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Drama

 

Story: God’s Pocket starts as we meet the different characters from this small town of God’s Pocket. We have Mickey (Hoffman) a meat salesman who works with Arthur (Turturro) stealing product before selling it as his own, his wife Jeanie (Hendricks) and her son Leon (Jones) along with reporter Richard Shellburn (Jenkins) who has been reporting on the town for 20 years.

When Leon is killed in a work accident the town surround the family with their sympathy. When Jeanie questions what happened it brings Richard to look deeper into the story as well as Mickey using his mob connection to try and learn the truth, but in this small town can secrets be kept?

 

Thoughts on God’s Pocket

 

Characters/PerformanceMickey is a man that finds a way to make ends meet either side of the law, when his step-son is killed he works on finding out the truth but must deal with his own problems with money. Jeanie is the grieving mother that demands the truth about her son’s death, she is also becoming distant from her husband Mickey. Richard is a journalist know all around the town, he has reported on the events of the town for years now and gets called into learn the truth of the events around the death. Arthur is Mickey’s connection to the underworld where the two work on robberies.

Performance wise, Hoffman is great in what was his final complete film, Hendricks is also good throughout the film with Jenkins giving us his best reporter like role. Turturro was also good throughout the film.

StoryThe story shows the three day events leading up to a funeral, we see everyday people dealing with a sudden death as they search for the truth, make their own mistakes and try to cover up their mistakes. This is a slow-moving film that tries to give us a real life series of events that follow the people involved but isn’t a casual watch.

CrimeThe crime side of the story comes from Mickey’s side along with the crime surround the accident. We have the crime world but otherwise this is more focused on the dramatic stories that characters live through.

SettingsWe like the small town setting which helps us see just how well the people of the town know each other.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good drama even if it is slightly slow in place, it is filled with good acting and a story that almost feels like it could come off as a comedy slightly better.

 

Overall: Good drama, good acting but nothing memorable.

Rating

 

 

Space Station 76 (2014)

Director: Jack Plotnick

Writer: Jennifer Elise Cox, Sam Pancake, Jack Plotnick, Kali Rocha, Michael Stoyanov (Screenplay)

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Liv Tyler, Marisa Coughlan, Matt Bomer, Jerry O’Connell, Kylie Rogers

 

Plot: A 1970s version of the future, where personalities and asteroids collide.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: So Much Potential

 

Story: Space Station 76 starts on board the Omega 76 as Captain Glenn (Wilson) is welcoming a new crew mate LT Commander Jessica (Tyler), the ship is filled with colourful characters with Misty (Coughlan), Ted (Bomer), Steve (O’Connell) and Sunshine (Rogers).

Upon her time on the ship Jessica learns about the people on the ship as we witness all their different personal issues on this lonely voyage.

 

Thoughts on Space Station 76

 

Characters/PerformanceCaptain Glenn is a depressed, social awkward frustrated by the lack of promotions man who pushes everyone away on the ship. Jessica is the new crew member trying to make friends only finding herself dealing with jealousy and other issues from the current crew. The rest of the characters included a bored wife, hardworking engineer and a young lonely girl.

Performance wise, everyone is fine with Patrick Wilson getting to have the most fun through the film bring his own quirky style to his character.

StoryThe story follow social situation on a space craft set in the 70s, it is just an oddball drama. We have plenty of generic storylines to follow but nothing overly fancy for us to follow or get interested in, this would have worked as more of a full-blown comedy.

Comedy/Sci-FiThe comedy is mostly quirky through the film not making you laugh at any jokes just odd things that happen, the sci-fi idea is interesting seeing this idea of space travel from what is meant to be the 70s is fun to watch.

SettingsThe setting is good for this film because it is a time and a solo spaceship which works for what it is trying to do.

Special Effects –  We have solid but nothing special from the effects that all look low budget.

Final ThoughtsThis is slightly misleading film, it is a lot of just social situations on a spaceship where people now live, we don’t get an idea of the mission the plan or the point.

 

Overall: Boring film in all honesty.

Rating

 

 

The Nut Job (2014)

nutDirector: Peter Lepeniotis

Writer: Peter Lepeniotis, Lorne Cameron, (Screenplay) Daniel Woo (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl, Stephen Lang, Maya Rudolph, Jeff Dunham, Gabrial Iglesias, Sarah Gadon

 

Plot: An incorrigibly self-serving exiled squirrel finds himself helping his former park brethren raid a nut store to survive, that is also the front for a human gang’s bank robbery.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bland Animated Film

 

Story: The Nut Job starts as we meet selfish squirrel Surly who lives in the park only ever looking after himself against the rest of the park run by Racoon. When the park animals work on trying to get food together for winter clash with Surly he finds himself exiled from the park while the rest of the animals have to find food for the winter. This is basically going to be A Bug’s Life I am guessing.

When Surly locates a nut shop he is ready for the winter but plucky squirrel Andie is assigned to help feed the park having to team up with ‘heroic’ squirrel Grayson. When the two different side meet they arrange to work together to save the park and see Surly redeem himself and move back into the park.

The Nut Job is a heist movie mixed together to feel like a poor attempt of copying A Bug’s Life where one disgraced member of a group that gets a chance to prove his worth to the rest by helping them get enough food for winter. This is really just lazy story telling that doesn’t have anything original and just has poor slapstick attempts at humour throughout. The voice talents are wasted and in the end this is something I don’t think even children should watch.

 

Overall: Just plain bad reaching the levels of awful.

Rating10

 

 

Cub (2014)

cubDirector: Jonas Govaerts

Writer: Jonas Govaerts, Roel Mondelaers (Screenplay)

Starring: Maurice Luijten, Evelien Bosmans, Titus De Voogdt, Stef Aerts, Jan Hammenecker, Gill Eeckelaert

 

Plot: Over-imaginative 12 year-old Sam heads off to the woods to summer scout camp with his pack convinced he will encounter a monster…and he does.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Shock Filled Horror

 

Story: Cub starts as we see the monster take his latest victims before we move to meet the scouts going to camp in the same woods, Sam (Luijten) is your typical clumsy scout who just wants adventure while the leaders Kris (Voogdt), Peter (Aerts) and Jasmijn (Bosmans) will be teaching the scouts the great outdoors.

With the adventure in the woods beginning Sam doesn’t take long to make enemies within his group once again when he claims to have seen Kai (Eeckelaert) the legendary werewolf boy who lives in the woods.

It isn’t long before we discover Kai isn’t the biggest threat in the woods and a much deadlier threat could come for the boys, leaving us with a battle for survival.

 

Thoughts on Cub

 

StoryThe story is about accepting one’s differences while also having the elements of a survival horror. We see how the woods are filled with traps to help the killer fill his blood lust while we see a friendship between the Kai and Sam grow through the film. For horror, this is a simple but effective story telling which is something I did enjoy while watching.

Adventure/HorrorThe adventure side of this story comes from how Sam is considered the worst scout of his pack but soon because the only one who can save the others in this story. The horror comes from the mystery about Kai and why the killer is killing people in the woods with his traps.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all designed to be what you would expect from horror with the reluctant hero, the nice and the bad scout leader along with the random eye candy which wasn’t meant to be there but draws the boys attention. The kills is mysterious like you would expect and the Kai character is the strange and unlikely one who easily becomes the face for the film. The performances are all good because you start supporting the characters you are meant to and hating the ones you meant to too, which is where many horrors fall short.

SettingsNearly the whole film takes place within the woods which creates what you want isolation needed for the horror side of the film.

Special EffectsWhen you look at the effects, you get to see great kills and a visual look for the Kai character which is something very original looking.monster

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable horror that brings us a potential new iconic figure for the genre.

 

Overall: This is one of the best underrated horror films that will shock when it needs too.

Rating75