Couple in a Hole (2015)

Director: Tom Geens

Writer: Tom Geens (Screenplay)

Starring: Paul Higgins, Kate Dickie, Jerome Kircher, Corinne Masiero

 

Plot: A Scottish couple ends up living like savages in a hole in the middle of a vast forest in the French Pyrenees.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Slow Moving

 

Story: Couple in a Hole starts as we see our middle-aged couple John (Higgins) the explorer and provider with his wife Karen (Dickie) struggling to find the strength to leave their hole in the middle of the woods, near a small French town.

With his wife not wanting to leave the hole John finds himself helping out around town, getting food and medicine in return as he prepares his wife to move on with her life after the death of their son.

 

Thoughts on Couple in a Hole

 

Characters/PerformanceJohn is keeping his wife as healthy as he can while they live in the hole, he wants to move on but he can’t leave her behind. Karen won’t leave the hole for any distant because of the grieving she is going through. The French couple offer friendship while holding onto a secret themselves.

Performance wise, everybody is good at what they need to do in this film certain moments offer a challenge but it is mostly dealing with the condition they are living in.

StoryThe story does deal with grief of losing a child, we see how parent’s involved deal with things in different ways but neither are the most healthy. The whole story does move very slowly not pulling us in to any level, in fact it kind of disappoints with the part of the story.

ThrillerThe film does try to keep you on edge but never manages too.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in and around some woodland areas, for the most part nothing much happens in these woods other than walking, talking and looking for pretty shots.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very slow movie that doesn’t reach any of the levels it could do, it has plenty of pretty shots but not much in story.

 

Overall: Slow burner with no reward.

Rating

 

 

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Christmas Holiday Weekend – The Night Before (2015)

Director: Jonathan Levine

Writer: Jonathan Levine, Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Evan Goldberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, Jillian bell, Lizzy Caplan, Helene Yorke, Michael Shannon

 

Plot: On Christmas eve, three lifelong friends spend the night in New York City looking for the Holy Grail of Christmas parties.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Christmas Movie

 

Story: The Night Before starts as we learn why Ethan (Gordon-Levitt) lost his parents over Christmas in 2001, his two best friends Isaac (Rogen) and Chris (Mackie) spend every Christmas Eve together and getting drunk, but as time went by his friends started to move on with Chris becoming a sports star and Isaac starting his own family. With Ethan, still almost stuck in his slump with his life working as a Christmas Elf.

This year has been mutually agreed to be the last one they spend together and Ethan has finally got the ticket to the biggest Christmas Party in town, the one they have always been looking to attended but before that, the traditions need to be celebrated for the last time. How will this night turn out for the friends on what is meant to be their final adventure?

 

Thoughts on The Night Before

 

Characters/PerformanceEthan is a man that lost his family at Christmas, he asks only one thing and that is to spend it with his two best friends, he hasn’t been able to find his path in life while his friends have found success but he knows this is his last Christmas Eve with friends. Isaac is about to become a father which leaves him knowing that he won’t be able to party as often as he can so he gets the chance to party on the last time but can’t handle the trip. Chris is suddenly becoming the big sports star he dreamed off but he finds himself in the middle of making new friends or keeping the ones he loves like brothers.

Performance wise, Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a great job in the leading role playing a role he has made his own in comedy movies, Rogen is what you expect from him but his character is slightly questionable in places. Mackie shows that he can handle comedy on a regular level after Pain & Gain, he proves he can handle the supporting role.

StoryDeep down this story has a story of friendship and just how important it is over Christmas. We get to focus on moving forward in life remember never to forget the people who spent it with you, accepting responsibility for mistakes you have made and finding a way to be ready for parenthood. I think this does have plenty of Christmas message but sadly does get bogged down with the almost pointless drug based side story going on.

ComedyThe comedy does come thick and fast through the film even if certain parts of the film are based the drug usage going on through the characters.

SettingsThe film is set in New York city which shows the hustle and bustle of the town during the Christmas Eve events. It all works for everything going on through the story.

Final ThoughtsI did enjoy the deeper meaning behind this film as the part of the story Ethan goes through but I got slightly tired on the Rogen drug filled character.

 

Overall: This is a great Christmas film that is well worth a watch if you want something non-family based.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Scorpion King: Quest for Power (2015)

Director: Mike Elliott

Writer: Michael Weiss (Screenplay)

Starring: Victor Webster, Ellen Hollman, Will Kemp, Barry Bostwick, Rutger Hauer, Michael Biehn, M Emmet Walsh

 

Plot: When he is betrayed by a trusted friend, Mathayus must marshal all his strength and cunning to outwit a formidable opponent who will stop at nothing to unlock a supreme ancient power.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Flat-Out Comedy Now

 

Story: The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power starts with Mathayus (Webster) and his apprentice Drazen (Kemp) looking to steal an ancient artefact which will give whoever holds it great power but Skizurra (Ferrigno) proves to be formidable opponent for Mathayus, but he finds himself betrayed by Drazen.

Failing his mission Mathayus is sent by King Zakkour (Hauer) to offer a peace agreement with King Yannick (Biehn) the father Drazen. When the king is murdered with scorpions, Mathayus must go on the run with Valina (Hollman) to work with her father Sorrell (Bostwick) to stop Drazen from unlocking the secret ancient power that can bring down the kingdoms.

 

Thoughts on The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power

 

Characters/PerformanceMathayus is now once again a warrior for hire, we learn no reason or story to how he lost the kingdom he earnt at the end of the last film. he gets betrayed again before going on the mission. Valina is the feisty woman this time trying to go against tradition and be a warrior leader with Drazen being the power-hungry villain. The fellow character all add laughs without doing too much for the story.

Performance wise, Victor Webster has made this role his own and hands the comical side of this film, Ellen Hollman is fine in the leading role but it would be say she is the weakest of the leading ladies of the franchise. Will Kemp does bring certain credibility back to the villainous role but how can anyone be worse than Billy Zane. The rest of the cast all do well throughout.

StoryThe story is good even if they do forget to explain why Mathayus is no longer king again, we get everything we need for an adventure but the biggest positive for me was the balancing of science version myth which I have found other films have attempted and failed, this film gets it about right.

Action/AdventureThe action is fine just lots of hand to hand combat which is fine without being anything impressive but the adventure does feel like a lot more fun.

SettingsThe settings confused at times because we seem to have got past the idea of sand and heading into the woods because filming in Romania is cheap.

Special EffectsThe special effects are weak through the film which does take certain moments away from the final film.

Final ThoughtsThis film was better than certain comedies I saw from this year and the adventure is fine but it just doesn’t feel like a Scorpion King movie anymore.

 

Overall: Comical sequel that should be fun to watch if watched as a comedy.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Lazarus Effect (2015)

Director: David Gelb

Writer: Luke Dawson, Jeremy Slater (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Sarah Bolger, Evan Peters, Donald Glover, Ray Wise

 

Plot: A group of medical researchers discover a way to bring dead patients back to life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Didn’t Click

 

Story: The Lazarus Effect starts as we meet our team Frank (Duplass), Zoe (Wilde), Eva (Bolger), Clay (Peters) and Niko (Glover) who have been working on bring animals back from the dead with the Lazarus serum with the latest attempt bringing Rocky the dog back to life.

When the research project is sudden closed down, all the data is taken by Mr Wallace (Wise) who works for a pharmaceutical company, the team break into the lab to perform the experiment one last time so they can take the credit the last few years of their lives have work towards.

When disaster strikes Zoe is killed in an accident but Frank not accepting losing her decides to perform the experiment on her, to bring her back from the grave. It starts by looking like a success but it soon turns strange when Zoe has gifts she didn’t used to possess including telepathic and foresight.

 

Thoughts on The Lazarus Effect

 

Characters/PerformanceFrank is the lead scientist leading the research team, he is engaged to Zoe and once she dies he goes uses his research to bring her back to life. Zoe is the partner of Frank and leading member of the research team, once she is killed in an accident she is bought back to life but this time he is different. Eva is the newest member of the team will Niko and Clay are the generic playful rest of the team.

Performance Wise, it would be fair to say the performance don’t use the talent available to their full abilities, Olivia Wilde isn’t up to her normal levels, but it is the underused Evan Peters and Donald Glover which disappoints most.

StoryScientists look to bring the dead back to life, I have heard this one before and sure we get a modernised tale on this that does feel more scientific but in the end it just falls into ‘what is in the afterlife’ style and you must be evil if you come back from the dead. It is generic, plain and we have seen it all before.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiShe comes back from the dead, well that is the horror cover nothing scary going on here we have lazy jump scares mostly. There are elements of a mystery we try to figure out what is happening but we don’t focus on that enough and the sci-fi side well we all know how bringing people back from the dead works.

SettingsOne of the few highlights in this film is keeping most of the action inside the lab because by doing this we see how they must use their intelligence to get around the problem they are facing.

Special EffectsEasy effects are used here with most being in the vision sequences.

Final ThoughtsThis does feel like a lazy horror that doesn’t click to the levels it should do even with a cast of well-respected stars.

 

Overall: Horror that doesn’t work to the levels needed.

Rating

 

 

High-Rise (2015)

Director: Ben Wheatley

Writer: Amy Jump (Screenplay) J.G. Ballard (Novel)

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss, James Purefoy, Keeley Hawes

 

Plot: Life for the residents of a tower block begins to run out of control.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not My Thing

 

Story: High-Rise starts with Dr Laing (Hiddleston) moving into a new high-rise apartment, it doesn’t take long for him to meet the neighbours including Charlotte (Miller), Wilder (Evans), Helen (Moss) and the owner of the building and apparent recluse Royal (Irons).

The longer Laing spends in the building he learns all about the difference between people with in the building find some easier to get on with than others but can he cope with all the drama surrounding them.

 

Thoughts on High-Rise

 

Characters/PerformanceLaing is the stranger moving into the high-rise, he tries to stay on the outside of all social standards in the building but finds himself trapped seeing both sides of the battle within the building. Royal is the king of the castle, he wants to open the door to Laing as he is tired of the crowd he finds himself around. Charlotte is a resident in the building, a single mother that is always trying to go in within the building.

Performance wise, Hiddleston is good without being breath taking best, with Jeremy Iron strange king of the castle being the highlight of the film. Miller is solid without doing too much.

StoryThe story focuses on the different levels of social standard within one building from the view of the outsider trying to piece together what he has seen, this isn’t the most interesting story and turns to the quirkiness of the film to try and attract the audience.

SettingsMost of the film is set on the different levels of the High-Rise building that shows us the different social levels each level has as they slowly descend into obsession.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very weird film and I can clearly see an audience enjoy this movie, but for me I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy what was going on.

 

Overall: Awkward and weird to say the least.

Rating