ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – O – Office (2015)

Director: Won-chan Hong

Writer: Choi Yun-jin (Screenplay)

Starring: Ko Asung, Seong-woo Bae, Eui-sung Kim, Sung-woong Park

 

Plot: The investigation following a sales manager brutally killing his entire family leads to a track of mystery and tragedy in an overwhelmed work team at Seoul.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tension Fuelled

 

Story: Office starts when a section chief Byeong-Gook Kim (Bae) murders his family before going on the run, the police head to his office run by director Sang-Gyu Kim (Kim) to question the employees. Detective Jong-Hoon (Park) leads the investigation which sees him learning only good about the suspect.

Th newest intern Mi-Rye Lee (Asung) is question after being warned about how to answer the questions, which soon hints at a mystery surrounding the office and what goes on within the walls, as the manhunt for Byeong-Gook continues.

 

Thoughts on Office

 

Characters – Mi-Rye Lee is an intern in the office, she is the newest member of the staff, with the least knowledge of the accused murderer, she travels the furthest for this job seeing working in the big city as her dream. She knows the least about what the company and just what have caused the unusual behaviour. Byeong-Gook Kim is the section chief, he is the man that murdered his family before going into hiding, he was respected by his employees and seems to have a motivation for coming back. Director Sang-Gyu Kim wants answers and wants the company name kept out of the papers. Detective Jong-Hoon is leading the investigation into the murders which sees him asking the office the questions trying to figure out a way to understand how the office operates, he is honest in his approach which sees him searching for answers in places others would even think of looking.

PerformancesKo Asung is brilliant in this leading role of a character that is constantly evolving as the story unfolds, the range displayed is wonderful to see. Seong-woo Bae is haunting in his scenes in the film, you will be genuinely unsettled by his presence on screen. Sung-woong Park is the determined detective who shows us just how determined he is to get to the truth. Eui-sung Kim brings us the strict boss which seems to be his strength when it comes to movies.

StoryThe story follows an office that becomes the centre of attention after a murder by one of the member of the office, the investigation sees the truth slowly starting to surfaces with a shocking truth behind what is happening. This is a story that does truly keep us guessing through the film, it shows how an office could see extra stress placed upon the employees which would see the bickering between them increase, while the investigation shows just how far people would go for a promotion. Most of the story is spent wondering what the motivation for the murder in the first place was.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film comes from just seeing what happens when somebody is left alone in the office, with some uncomfortable tense scenes. The mystery surrounds just what is happening, why it is happening and whether it could be stopped from happening again.

SettingsMost of the film is set in and around the office which see how close these workers must be at all times, no matter how they feel about each other which could see tension rise between them.


Scene of the Movie –
The late visit one.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does feel like not everything is answered.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the tensest movies you will see, it does keep you guessing, no matter what is going in and is filled with horror moments that drag you to the edge of your seat.

 

Overall: Edge of your seat thriller.

Rating

 

 

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Howl (2015)

Director: Paul Hyett

Writer: Mark Huckerby, Nick Ostler (Screenplay)

Starring: Ed Speleers, Holly Weston, Shauna Macdonald, Elliot Cowan, Amit Shah, Sam Gittins, Rosie Day

 

Plot: When passengers on a train are attacked by a creature, they must band together in order to survive until morning.


Tagline – Last train. Full moon. All change.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Werewolf Film

 

Story: Howl starts as train conductor Joe (Speleers) is forced into another shift, the graveyard shift on the train across country, the train has the normal passengers, the businesswoman Kate (Macdonald), the student, the couple returning home, the rebel and Joe’s love interest coffee server Ellen (Weston).

When the train breaks down in the middle of the countryside, Joe must take charge and keep the passengers safe after the driver does missing. The passengers soon learn they are under attack from creatures in the night and must work together to survive the impending threat.

 

Thoughts on Howl

 

Characters – Joe is the train conductor, he has just completed a long shift and is forced int going on the late shift because of his lack of tickets, he tries to be fair on his passengers taking the abuse, he is trying to get a date with Ellen the drinks vender, once the train gets stuck, he must lead the passengers in a battle to survive against the unknown creatures. Ellen is the drinks vender, studying for a better career and offers up an easy love interest for Joe, while being the only one that can offer medical attention during the attack. Kate is the professional businesswoman on the train, often looking down on the rest of the passengers while offering help to one of the other passengers. When we look at the rest of the passengers we get the usual mix for any horror film which adds to who we know will get picked off when.

PerformancesEd Speleers in the leading role is good as the reluctant hero that must keep his passengers safe, we can see his frustration with his job and his reluctant side of following through with saving them. Holly Weston does offer the love interest well and to be fair to most of the cast they all know where they stand in the film making the most of their moments to shine.

StoryThe story here is quite simple, it follows a group of survivors that must battle against unknown creatures in an attempt survive the night. We get the unlikely group of people that must work together which has always worked well for the genre. The creatures put us into a world where the characters would have never seen or dealt with werewolves which has been an issue in horror before, but for this is fine as they must learn how to deal with the creatures. The film doesn’t offer any crazy twists along the way and by keeping things simple we can enjoy.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from the different moments against the creatures, we start off seeing small part before getting a full reveal which is always wonderful.

SettingsThe film is set on a couple of train carriages in the middle of the night, this puts our characters in an isolated location where they must figure out how to survive until daytime being safer inside than outside.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are good, we get practical ones which show how unique the creatures look and when it comes to the attacks wounds come off realistic too.


Scene of the Movie –
The first attack on the train when they thought they were safe.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Kate the character jumps around in style too often, not the actresses fault it is the characters decision making process.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable werewolf movie that can be enjoyed by all the fans of the genre, it keeps everything contained which does help give us all we want.

 

Overall: Contain werewolf movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – M – Monster Hunt (2015)

Director: Raman Hui

Writer: Alan Yuen (Screenplay)

Starring: Baihe Bai, Boran Jing, Wu Jiang, Elaine Jin, Wallace Chung, Eric Tsang

 

Plot: In an ancient world where monsters rule the land while humans keep to their own kingdom, a baby monster, Wuba, is born to a human father and monster queen. When mortals and creatures alike set out to capture the newborn, Wuba’s adventure begins. The cute baby monster Huba is the child of a human man and a monster queen, threatened by both monster-hating humans and monsters attempting to capture the new-born in an ancient world based on medieval China.


Tagline – The monsters just got bigger

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun, But Doesn’t Translate Well

 

Story: Monster Hunt starts as we enter the ancient world where monsters rule and are now in the middle of a civil war, the Queen in on the run to save her baby which lands her to the path of humans, Song Tianyin (Jing) and Huo Xiaolan (Bai), she passes her baby to Song to protect from the people who are hunting it.

The two set off on their adventure to keep the young baby monster Wubu safe in an attempt to return him to his father when both monsters and humans are chasing them down.

 

Thoughts on Monster Hunt

 

Characters – Huo Xiaolan is one of the two people given the responsibility to look after the new royal baby, she takes it with her travelling partner, she does seem to be the brains between the two and equally capable in combat. Song Tianyin is the other travelling partner, he is impregnated by the queen and takes responsibility for the baby, comes off as the butt of the jokes more often than not. Along the way we do meet a host of colourful characters which are after the prince for their own reasons.

PerformancesThe performances from the whole cast are good throughout, Baihe Bai and Boran Jing work very well together and have wonderful chemistry between the pair.

StoryThe story brings us into the world of monsters and humans where the next generation of one species is being bought into the world that is being hunted down only to be guarded by a couple of humans. This does everything you would come to expect when it comes to returning a lost child to their family, it does show us how the people need to learn to overcome their own problems to become the person they were meant to be.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is good throughout the film with a mix of combats going on, the adventure takes our characters on out of their comfort zone to achieve the mission, with the fantasy elements of the film being used to show us monsters and humans together.

SettingsThe film takes place in ancient China which works but also hinders this for the world cinema.

Special EffectsThe effects are good in the film and concept behind the creations can be seen working in the real world.


Scene of the Movie –
Th final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It did get confusing at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is one for the fans of the monster hunter idea, it does show character developments on the journey and the adventure feels like a must for the peace of the world.

 

Overall: Simple and fun throughout even if it can be hard to keep up with.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – L – Life (2015)

Director: Anton Corbijn

Writer: Luke Davies (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Dane DeHaan, Peter Lucas, Lauren Gallagher, Alessandra Mastronardi, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley

 

Plot: A photographer for Life Magazine is assigned to shoot pictures of James Dean.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Look at the Hollywood Life

 

Story: Life starts as Dennis Stock (Pattinson) enters a party where fresh face actor James Dean (DeHaan) is away from the crowd which grabs the attention of Dennis who believes he can make James a star with a report in Life Magazine.

As Dennis looks to learn more about James he starts to put his career on the line as his boss John Morris (Edgerton) calls off the job unless James starts playing along because his attitude shows him distant from the rest of the Hollywood community as he is waiting to hear if he can get the role in Rebel Without a Cause. The two become friends and Dennis gets to look behind the curtain of the life of James Dean before he became the big star.

 

Thoughts on Life

 

Characters – James Dean is one of the most iconic actors of all time, taken too soon but seeing this we learn about the time before East of Eden was released as we focus on whether the film would make him the star, he comes off very isolated and not ready for the spotlight. Dennis is a young photographer looking to make a name for himself at Life Magazine where he is granted set access unlike many other reporters, he wants to be the man to get the first big story on James before he hits the big time but has his own life problems to deal with.

PerformanceRobert Pattinson and Dane DeHaan are both brilliant in this movie, they show that the two could be giving heavyweight performances for years to come.

StoryA film about Hollywood is not always the most interesting, focusing on a small part of an iconic actors life could also become a stumbling block, we do have mostly conversation about what the two men would like from this one article and see just how humble at times James Dean was. This won’t be for everyone because it does come off slow at times but is still interesting.

BiographyThis small snippet into James Dean’s life before super stardom is interesting because we could see this in many actors now and understand who they really are.

SettingsWe see how James Dean didn’t like the famous settings around a Hollywood stardom and this reflects in everything we have seen for the settings in this movie.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does feel slow in places.

Final ThoughtsWonderfully acted look at one of the talents Hollywood lost to early.

 

Overall: Must watch for fans of Hollywood stories.

Rating

 

 

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram (Screenplay) Guy Ritchie, Jeff Kleeman, David C Wilson, Lionel Wigram (Story) Sam Rolfe (Original TV Show)

Starring: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Luca Calvani, Hugh Grant, Jared Harris

 

Plot: In the early 1960s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons.


Tagline –  Two sworn enemies. One common mission.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Average Action

 

Story: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. starts as we follow American CIA Agent Napoleon Solo (Cavill) and Russian KGB Agent Illya Kuryakin (Hammer) must put their difference aside to stop a threat during the cold war to stop nuclear weapon being built which could cause massive casualties. The only connection is the daughter of the scientist Gaby (Vikander) as they search for the Vinciguerra’s with Victoria (Debicki) running the crime operation.

As the two start to put their differences aside they learn skills to make them better agents and learn to work as a team for the first time in their careers.

 

Thoughts on The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

 

Characters – Napoleon Solo is the American CIA Agent, he works for them to clean his robbery charges because he is a brilliant thief, being able to swipe anything with the blink of an eye, he uses his charm to stay ahead of the game. Illya Kuryakin is the Russian KGB agent, he is short tempered and can handle himself in the fight, but sadly he comes off looking like the weaker of the two. Gaby is the daughter of the prime suspect, she works with the agents to locate him in the hands of the villainous Victoria. Victoria has taken over the family business which involves building her own nuclear weapon. Alexander Waverly is a man of mystery who keeps appearing in the lives of the agents but who does he work for.

PerformancesHenry Cavill is an actor I have always questioned and here he does show emotion, charm that is required for the character of Napoleon. Armie Hammer does have a lot of fun in his role which he is good in and anything Alicia Vikander stars in gets extra class and beauty.  Elizabeth Debicki is good in her limited scenes but doesn’t give us anything new for a villain, Hugh Grant gets the few laughs in the film too.

StoryThe story follows two unlikely agents needing to work together to save the world, it sounds simple and is from a television show, so we know where it will go. If you have seen the formula before you will have better options out there but for a simple story that you can see the twists coming and can just enjoy it unfold.

Action/Adventure/ComedyThe action is by the book for the most part having nothing overly memorable while the comedy works at times but isn’t a laugh out loud movie.

SettingsThe film takes us around Europe which is fine for the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are used in film for moments of action but I do feel like it could miss on most part.


Scene of the Movie –
For a special agent, you’re not having a special day.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It did feel long.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid by the book action adventure movie, it doesn’t offer too much new but isn’t the worst, just sadly average.

 

Overall: Average action movie at best.

Rating