Straight Outta Compton (2015)

straightDirector: F Gary Gray

Writer: Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff (Screenplay) S Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus, Andrea Beroff (Story)

Starring: O’Shea Jackson Jr, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Neil Brown Jr, Aldis Hodge, Marlon Yates Jr, R Marcos Taylor, Carra Patterson, Alexandra Shipp, Paul Giamatti

 

Plot: The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980s and revolutionizes Hip Hop culture with their music and tales about life in the hood.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important but Long Bio-Pic

 

Story: Straight Outta Compton starts by introducing us to all our five main players and where they are at their life early on Ice Cube (Jackson Jr), Eazy-E (Mitchell), DJ Yella (Brown Jr) and MC Ren (Hodge), each one of these dreams of being more and they all have talent but the neighbourhood they are in makes this difficult for them. Dr Dre (Hawkins) is the well-respected popular rapper from the neighbourhood who continues to live around looking for new music.

When Eazy-E meets Jerry Heller (Giamatti) he offers to take a chance on the NWA promising to take them to the main stream. With NWA taking the world by storm we see the early divides within the group as they all look to make something for themselves but Gangster Rap becomes the biggest thing in America.

The rivalries between the crew becomes clear when Ice Cube goes solo and the rest of the NWA learns that not everything is as clear as they believe it to be as they all want to become the main attraction in the industries which will lead to devastating consequences.

Straight Outta Compton is a film that surrounded the Oscars as one of the missed opportunity to be diverse but watching it I found myself thinking it didn’t deserve to be in the Oscar contention. This doesn’t help that I am not a big fan of the style of music or the attitude this can give show people from the neighbourhood to be. The other use of the ‘N’ word throughout the film gives us what can be seen as the problem with a racial divide. The story off the rise of a small-time rap group is interesting and seeing how they got divided but remain respectful but are the only ones who know what they need to do to get out of the trouble making neighbourhood.

The acting is all top notch from what is nearly all an unknown cast at the time in the NWA roles even with the heavyweight performance from Giamatti ones again. I will say this film is too long because we spend well over an hour just dealing with the parties but the interesting side of the story comes from the divide and consequences between these now icons of music.

 

Overall: Great look into the world even if it is over glamorising certain points of the careers.

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Keanu Reeves Weekend – Knock Knock (2015)

knock knockDirector: Eli Roth

Writer: Eli Roth, Nicola Lopez, Guillermo Amoedo (Screenplay) Anthony Overman, Michael Ronald Ross (Story)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, Ana de Armas, Ignacia Allamand, Aaron Burns

 

Plot: When a devoted husband and father is left home alone for the weekend, two stranded young women unexpectedly knock on his door for help. What starts out as a kind gesture results in a dangerous seduction and a deadly game of cat and mouse.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Building Thriller

 

Story: Knock Knock starts as we meet Evan (Reeves) a devoted husband and father, his wife Karen (Allamand) and kids Jake & Lisa are going away for the weekend. With his family away Evan tries to get his work done before two beautiful young woman Genesis (Izzo) & Bell (de Armas) turn up on his doorstep during a storm soaked through looking for friend’s house.

Evan ever the gentleman offers the girls shelter and a way to their new location, but as the time together the girls try their best to seduce Evan as he does the best to resist all temptation. Evan eventually gives into the temptation leading to a wild threesome. When the morning comes Evan learns a shocking truth about the girls as he tries desperately to cover the night before.

Knock Knock is a film that I can say had me on edge from start to it finished which is always a good thing. We are drawn in to what will happen next, why these girls have targeted Evan, what their motives with their action. All of these really pull us in but the problem with this is that we don’t learn about what is going on, we don’t get any of these answers which I accept we do sometimes like a few loose ends but one answer would have been important. Finally, the bigger issues fall with that Evan is a good guy we don’t see anything bad about him through the film. I feel this story has so much potential if only it answered the questions.

 

Actor Review

 

Keanu Reeves: Evan Webber is the devoted husband and father who is spending his weekend alone to focus on his work. His time is interrupted by two girls seeking shelter from the rain. Evan tries his hardest to not give into temptation but the girls are too much for him to resist. The morning after he tries to get rid of them but the girls have plans for him. The best thing about Evan is how willing to turn the girls down over and over as we see how much of a good person he actually is. Keanu is good as we see him as a good guy lead astray by the girls.evan

Lorenza Izzo: Genesis is one of the girls who turns up on the door of Evan’s she is the leader of the two as she has more tricks up her sleeves to make Evan stay under their spell. Lorenza is good as one of the seductive woman.girls

Ana de Armas: Bell is the emotional weaker of the two girls who is happy to go along with the plan, she is more sex driven than Genesis as she likes to play the daddy card. Ana is also good in the seductive woman role.

Ignacia Allamand: Karen is the wife of Evan, she is architect and takes their kids away for the weekend. She is your typical wife and mother but we don’t get to see too much from her character. Ignacia doesn’t get enough time to really give us enough time on screen.

Support Cast: Knock Knock doesn’t have the biggest supporting cast with the only ones involved do a good enough job.

Director Review: Eli Roth Eli gives us most of a good thriller I just wish he would have given us an ending and answer some of the questions the film offers us.

 

Horror: Knock Knock gives us a twist on the home invasion horror.

Mystery: Knock Knock gives us plenty of questions but fails to answer all of them or any really.

Thriller: Knock Knock does keep us on edge from start to finish.

Settings: Knock Knock keeps the setting inside the home of Evan which shows the home invasion angle working.
Suggestion
: Knock Knock is one for the thriller fans to try because it is disappointing ending. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Tension building.

Worst Part: Unanswered questions.

 

Believability: It tries to make it feel real but sadly doesn’t come off enough.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline: One night can cost you everything

 

Overall: A great thriller that just seems to forget to answer the questions it asks.

Ratingcard

Strange Magic (2015)

Director: Gary Rydstrom

Writer: David Berenbaum, Irene Mecchi, Gary Rydstrom (Screenplay) George Lucas (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Alan Cumming, Evan Rachel Wood, Elijah Kelley, Meredith Anne Bull, Sam Palladio, Kristin Chenoweth

 

Plot: Goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Kids Will Enjoy

 

Story: Strange Magic starts as we see the difference between the Fairy Kingdom and the Dark Forest, the two kingdoms are side by side but both live different lives. When one of the fairies, Marianne accidently steps into the dark forest, angering the Bog King.

Marianne is about to marry the handsome fairy Roland but learns of his true nature, finding herself crushed. Swearing off love, Marianne sets out to protect her sister Dawn and friend Sunny from danger and the dark forest.

When Roland wants to become king, he must find a way to make Marianne take him back which leads him to trick Sunny into going into the dark forest to find a love potion so they can both get the one they want by finding the Sugar Plum Fairy.

This brings the Bog King into the Fairy Kingdom to retrieve the love potion giving the fairies one day to retrieve the potion or he will keep Dawn prisoner forever, with Marianne going out to rescue her.

 

Thoughts on Strange Magic

 

Characters Marianne is the typical strong female character who doesn’t want to follow the traditional trends and be extra independent, she fights for family while hating love. Bog King rules the darkness, hating the world because of his failures in love, he is a strict ruler but also sums up what it is like to have loved and lost becoming bitter to the world. Sunny the comic relief and we see him give us the most laughs as he tries to find a way to show his love for Dawn. Dawn is the annoying princess who is very shallow. Roland is the arrogant wanna be king who is completely annoying throughout.

StoryThe story is the old forbidden love story about two different sides of the fence falling in love against the wishes of everyone. We touch on the elements of trying to force someone to fall in love with you and the consequences it will have on them. It focuses a lot of the people’s individual mistakes when it comes to love.

Adventure/Comedy/Family/FantasyWe have a big adventure into the world forbidden, with elements of comedy going on throughout. We also have the fantasy elements of the film which is one the whole family could enjoy with catchy songs throughout.

SettingsThe creation of the worlds looks fantastic seeing how both sides live giving us a beautiful selection of settings.

AnimationThe animation does work well bring it into a different style to the normal, that all looks great.

Final ThoughtsThis does have a very big judgmental statement being made about treating people equally but this doesn’t over shadow the fun music side of the film.

 

Overall: This has a poor rating overall but this is enjoyable.

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – We Are Still Here (2015)

we-are

Director: Ted Geoghegan

Writer: Ted Geoghegan (Screenplay)

Starring: Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie, Larry Fessenden, Monte Markham

 

Plot: In the cold, wintery fields of New England, a lonely old house wakes up every thirty years – and demands a sacrifice.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Horror

 

Story: We Are Still Here starts when Anne (Crampton) and Paul (Sensenig) move from the busy New York City to the quiet country after their son’s death. The house they buy has a history and learning of the history they start to experience strange occurrence around the house, Anne thinking it could be their son still trying to communicate.

Not knowing the truth of what is happening they call their son’s family friends May (Marie), Jacob (Fessenden), Daniella (Dakota) and Harry (Nicholson) to help answer the questions of the mystery within their home. As the four spend more time within the house the bigger picture becomes clearer and the spirits become a bigger presence within the home.

 

Thoughts on We Are Still Here

 

StoryLooking at the story we get a couple wanting to find a new life after losing their son, we also have idea that a house has a past which could bring the supernatural side to everything. the story is developed nicely over a couple of days which all works because everything unfolds scene by scene answering all the questions.

Horror The horror elements are all built up very nicely throughout the film here for the final blow out when everything gets unleashed.

Characters/PerformanceThe grieving parents do always make for strong leading characters because it is their move and belief they could communicate with their son that keeps them in place here. We do also have the friends who have connection to the underworld which work, we have the mysterious locals and of course we have the spirits looking for vengeance all adding up to a creepy horror list of characters.

The performances are all good throughout as we do believe both parent’s trying to cope with their loss in Crampton and Sensenig’s performances.

SettingsWe have a remote town for the setting which is filled with a secret, the secret is based within this one house which is isolated away from the rest of the town which is perfect for the horror needed in this film.

Special EffectsThe special effects going on through the film are brilliant because the spirit characters have such a uniquely terrifying look you will be scared that you could encounter them.

Final ThoughtsThis has terrifying created supernatural creatures that look original and will strike fear throughout.

 

Overall: This is one for all the horror fans out there.

Ratingcard

 

 

Do You Believe? (2015)

Director: Jon Gunn

Writer: Chuck Konzelman, Cary Solomon (Screenplay)

Starring: Miro Sorvino, Sean Astin, Alexa PenaVega, Cybill Shepherd, Lee Majors, Delroy Lindo

 

Plot: When a pastor is shaken by the visible faith of a street-corner preacher, he is reminded that true belief always requires action. His response ignites a journey that impacts everyone it touches in ways that only God could orchestrate.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Emotional Rollercoaster

 

Story: Do You Believe? Starts as Pastor Matthew (McGinley) explains how 12 people from different lives will all cross paths under a cross and learn about their faith. These people include Dr Farell (Astin), Joe (Bosworth), Elena (Dominguez), Malachi (Lindo), JD (Majors), Lacey (PenaVega), Lily (Moss), Samantha (Sorvino), Teri (Shepherd), Pretty Boy (Shwayze), Carlos (Soria) and Bobby (Matthews) and others who are all facing their own problems and have different opinions on how God has or could help them which will all lead to one moment where their faiths will be tested.

 

Thoughts on Do You Believe?

 

Characters – The characters in the film all weave into each other’s lives, we have a large list of characters that we could go through but the truth is each one does feel like generic characters including a desperate mother, a dying man’s final wish, a lost soul, a broken soldier, a man questioning why his faith is an error, a man on the wrong path and a family trying to move on. These all work for the emotional impact in the story.

PerformanceInstead of going through the all-star cast I think the best way to look at this film is seeing how well they all blend into becoming believable people be it an Oscar winner or a relatively unknown actor, they all shine.

StoryThe story may well focus slightly too much on everything coming down to faith of the Christian following even with a Doctor through the film that doesn’t want to believe. We have a large group of lost souls that find direction as the story goes on as we see the hope the characters gather from the events of the story which can tug at the heart string in places and see the how difficult life can be until one moment you can believe in something.

SettingsThe film takes place in one city that shows us the different worlds the characters come from but will always cross the same road at times, sometimes for nothing other times for a big reason.

Scene of the Movie – The meeting of all the characters.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While I understand this is a Christian based movie, it doesn’t need to be thrown towards us on every angle of the story for the same impact.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film with a big heart and will try to play with your emotions even if it does throw faith into your face at every single angle of the film. the characters do feel like people you could see in real life who have struggled and gone in different direction of their lives too.

 

Overall: Emotional movie about your faith.

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