Nicholas Hoult Weekend – Dark Places (2015)

Director: Gilles Paquet-Brenner

Writer: Gilles Paquet-Brenner (Screenplay) Gillian Flynn (Novel)

Starring: Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Christina Hendricks, Corey Stoll, Tye Sheridan, Andrea Roth, Chloe Grace Moretz

 

Plot: Libby Day was only eight years old when her family was brutally murdered in their rural Kansas farmhouse. Almost thirty years later, she reluctantly agrees to revisit the crime and uncovers the wrenching truths that led up to that tragic night.


Tagline – In 1985, her entire family was murdered. 30 years later, the truth emerges.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Mystery Thriller

 

Story: Dark Places starts as we meet Libby Day (Theron) one of the daughters that became somewhat of a celebrity after her family’s murder when she was 8, with the support funds running low, she accepts an offer from Lyle Wirth (Hoult) a member of a private investigation group that look at crimes and whether they are solved correctly, who want to prove her brother Ben (Stoll) didn’t commit the murders.

As Libby starts to investigate the case, she must face her past and learn about Ben’s past as a teenager as well as her mother Patty (Hendricks) struggle to keep the family together. This will help her confront her past and learn the truth of the events of murder.

 

Thoughts on Dark Places

 

Characters – Libby Day has spent her life trying to escape the fame that followed her after the murder of her family, her light is dwindling as she gets older and now she is forced into learning the truth about what happened in her past, plagued by nightmares we see just how she looks to remember the nightmare events the 8-year-old self-experienced. Lyle Wirth is the leader of a group that are investigating the night of the murder privately, however he comes of nervous about trying to figure out the truth even with his own theory. Patty Day is the mother and victim of the murder, we see her in the flashbacks are she tried everything she could to keep a roof over the children’s heads. We meet characters from the past and present version of the stories, as we flashback and forth learning more about the events from these characters.

PerformancesCharlize Theron is the star of this film, we get to see the withdrawn from the world character that wants to hide from her past and how she has accepted the outcome of the case, we see the range in how she deals with the problems she is facing in everyday life. Nicholas Hoult like most of the supporting performers are fine without being anything standout.

StoryThe story here follows one of the survivors of a family murder facing her past to learn the shocking truth about the events of the deadly night to which her brother was convicted of. The story adopts a mixture of flashbacks and forwards to show us just how different parts of the story played out, each clue brings the next tale in the story. The story does try to keep us guessing about who was responsible for the murders, it gives us plenty of suspects along the way and shows us just how a young girl would struggle to have grown into a mid-30s woman still lost in the world. this is from the same author as Gone Girl, and if you were to compare the two, this is easily the weaker of the stories.

Action/MysteryThe film has moments of action, but doesn’t turn to it that often as we wait to see how the murder really unfolded. The mystery is the highlight of the film because of how it keeps us wondering to just what really happened.

SettingsThe settings show us the struggles that the family would have had during the events leading up to the murder, when we are in the modern time we see the faceless city of Kansas which could have been any city really.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well when needed, with most happening off screen we see the aftermath of the events.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth night.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We do seem to spend too much time watching seemingly pointless moments of the back story and one aspect with Ben doesn’t seem to get answered enough.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller that does keep you guessing, but never draws you in enough, it has a strong cast of talented names and by the end you will b shocked even if the narrative does spiral down some dead ends at times.

 

Overall: Off-track thriller

Rating

 

 

Nicholas Hoult Weekend – Kill Your Friends (2015)

Director: Owen Harris

Writer: John Niven (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicholas Hoult, James Corden, Georgia King, Craig Roberts, Jim Piddock

 

Plot: An A&R man working at the height of the Britpop music craze goes to extremes in order to find his next hit.

Tagline – Lies. Betrayal. Murder. Just another day in the music industry.
Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not For Me

 

Story: Kill Your Friends starts in 1997 the heights of the Britpop movement, where we follow and A&R man Steven Stelfox (Hoult) who knows how to play the system to stay in power with the cocaine binges. He looks to stay on step ahead of his co-workers by pushing limits to what risks can be taken and even killing one that gets in his way.

When Steven hears the potential next hottest band, he goes to extreme lengths to make the deal happen racing against the fellow producers looking to get the next biggest catch in the industry.

 

Thoughts on Kill your Friends

 

Characters – Steven Stelfox is the music producer that tells us the story of how he was riding high in the industry during the Britpop era of music, how they spent more time on drugs than making music happen and how they will do anything to push another member of office under the bus to stay in their high life. The rest of the characters we meet are fellow producers, the bands and a cop trying to get to them bottom of a murder.

PerformancesNicholas Hoult takes the leading role in the film and is easily the most interesting part of this film, his breaking the fourth wall gets the laughs needed and by the end he is the only part of the film I enjoyed.

StoryThe story takes us into the world of the Britpop where we follow one man who is clearly out of his comfort zone with his job, where he has been blagging to job over knowing the role he should be performing. It isn’t the most interesting because you do feel like it is mostly fictional instead of trying to be a fact-based look at the world.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy used in the film shows us just how far Steven will go to make things happen, while the crime side also show sus where he will go to keep his job.

SettingsThe films settings show us the party life the characters will be entering while trying to find the next hit band, it also shows how the characters are self-centred.


Scene of the Movie –
Steven goes too far.

That Moment That Annoyed Me it paints how bad the industry is.

Final ThoughtsThis isn’t the most interesting of films, it is a subject matter I personally don’t care for and it doesn’t paint anybody in the industry to be remotely nice.

 

Overall: Just one that doesn’t work for me.

Rating

 

 

Emelie (2015)

Director: Michael Thelin

Writer: Richard Raymond, Harry Herbeck (Screenplay)

Starring: Sarah Bolger, Carly Adams, Thomas Bair, Chris Beetem, Susan Pourfar, Joshua Rush

 

Plot: A couple’s replacement babysitter turns out to be more than they bargained for when she subjects their kids to a series of twisted activities.


Tagline – A parent’s worst nightmare. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disturbing Thriller

 

Story: Emelie starts when Emelie (Bolger) takes the place of the new babysitter for a couple Joyce (Pourfar) and Dan (Beetem) heading off for their anniversary dinner. The three children, Jacob (Rush), Sally (Adams) and Christopher (Bair). The night starts off like normal with Emelie letting the kids do what they want, but soon it takes a turn.

Emelie starts pushing the limits of what the children should be doing, making them go through an ordeal before we learn the motivation behind her action, but can the damaged be fixed before it goes too far?

 

Thoughts on Emelie

 

Characters – Emelie pretends to be the babysitter for an unsuspecting family for the night, she comes off like a nice caring young woman, who soon starts to show a darker side when she tries to test the children by putting them through experiences they are too young to understand, she does have a dark past for why she is doing this though. Jacob is the eldest of the children who is the first to sense something is wrong as he tries to get help for his younger siblings. Sally and Christopher are the younger two that see the night as a chance to break the rules more.

PerformancesThe performances are strong through the film Sarah Bolger gives us a woman on edge performance which is on edge about what has happened to her. The child stars don’t do anything wrong for what they are put through which was going to be the hardest part of the film to decide.

StoryThe story follows the idea that a babysitter isn’t what the parents believe her to be and while they have a lovely dinner, the children are being put through an ordeal by a psychotic woman. Now this is a story that will get most fear from parents that let a stranger look after their children, because the story shows the balance of how the time can be easily a moment of happiness for them, going against the horrors their children are going through. It does however have a few glaring mistakes which question parenting etc which you will get annoyed about. We do have moments that are shocking though because when you stop and think about what is happening, you will see the wrong it what is happening.

HorrorThis film uses the horrors of what children shouldn’t be going through as the biggest way to upset the audience and using the time of a romantic dinner only adds to how quickly things can go wrong.

SettingsThe film uses to key settings, the first is the home which turns into a nightmare, this adds to the horror because the children believe it will be their safe place, while the second location is the restaurant which shows how lovely the dinner the parents are on is.

Special EffectsWe only get little moments of effects, which are used well when needed, but this film doesn’t need to use them.


Scene of the Movie –
Fighting back.

That Moment That Annoyed Me What sort of parent lets there 12-year-old child have a pet snake.

Final ThoughtsThis is a psychological horror that shows the horrors that could be happening with your babysitter, when you are having a dinner.

 

Overall: Strong psychological thriller.

Rating

 

 

James Bond Month – Spectre (2015)

Director: Sam Mendes

Writer: John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Jez Butterworth (Screenplay) Ian Fleming (Characters)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Bellucci, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista

 

Plot: A cryptic message from 007’s past sends him pitted against a mysterious terrorist organization called Spectre, and learns of its involvement in previous events of his most dangerous missions.


Tagline – The dead are alive

Runtime: 2 Hours 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tries Too Hard to be an Espionage Movie

 

Story: Spectre starts as James Bond (Craig) heads to Mexico in search for his own reasons where he learns about a mysterious terrorist known as the Pale King, he doesn’t leave without causing damage, which forces M (Fiennes) to ground him from active duty.

James goes against orders, going in search of the terrorist group which after his actions in having one of its first meetings in years, to appoint a replacement to the table, where the leader (Waltz) and M have now made James their number one target, forcing James to turn to an old enemy for help.

 

Thoughts on Spectre

 

Characters – James Bond has reached the peak of his experience, he will still break the rules when it comes to tracking down a lead, only now he will need to learn to overcome modern technology placed on him to elude his superiors. James will need to take on Spectre the very group which has been involved in trying to cause chaos in all his mission. Blofeld is the leader of Spectre, the man that has been pulling all the strings, a man that has faked his own death to rise to the position of power, where his ultimate control will see him seek the power to watch the world. Madeleine is the daughter of an old enemy, she has become a target for Spectre, which means she must come out of hiding to work with James, not willing to be one of the women in James’s love life though. M is trying to keep James in line, while also dealing with the ideas that somebody C is trying to push through a new surveillance that would see the 00 branch closed. Hinx is the main hitman that is tracking down James, his is the silent type, that is bigger, more powerful and even smart, a pure brute of a hitman.

PerformancesDaniel Craig continues to not put a foot wrong in this role, handling the action and giving the cold responses to anything asked of him. Christoph Waltz just doesn’t reach the levels we know he can, it is partly because the character isn’t given the deserved time though. Lea Seydoux does well in her role, but often takes second fiddle to the scenes with Daniel in surrounding the action moments. Ralph Fiennes does step into this role well, while Dave Bautista does make for one of the more memorable hitmen in the Craig era of Bond.

StoryThe story here follows James Bond on his latest mission, which sees him coming face to face with one of the most famous villains in the franchise history Blofeld who has had hand in each of the missions he has been involved in. The base of this James Bond mission is everything we have seen before, seeing him travelling the world to fight the villain of the piece, the problem with the storytelling comes from focusing too heavily on the side part of the film which sees M needing to prove the worth of the 00 branch which is connected to the bigger picture, but takes away the reason we enjoy these films about an all out action spy star. The fact the story does continue to operate in a universe where each film is connected is also a big plus because the consequences of the actions in the previous films are being felt throughout this one.

Action/AdventureThe action in this outing does once again give us a brilliant opening sequence, which slowly turns into enhanced versions of what we have seen before through the franchise, though we do get more of a feel of an adventure here, with the locations James visits.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to give us the unique moments in the film, be it the opening in Mexico, the Austrian mountain range or the Italian meeting place, they all give the film a unique look at how everything unfolds.


Scene of the Movie –
Mexico City.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Monica Bellucci is criminally underused.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertaining Bond movie, when it comes to the spy side of everything nothing feels out of place, but as soon as we start looking at side stories, things start to fizzle out.

 

Overall: Entertaining Bond Outing.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Mythica: The Necromancer (2015)

Director: A Todd Smith

Writer: Jason Faller, Liska Ostojic, Justin Partridge (Screenplay)

Starring: Melanie Stone, Adam Johnson, Jake Stormoen, Nicola Posener, Philip Brodie, Matthew Mercer, Robert Jayne

 

Plot: Mallister takes Thane prisoner and forces Marek and her team on a quest.


Tagline – Myth & legend come to life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Continues to Build Nicely

 

Story: Mythica: The Necromancer starts with Marek (Stone) continuing her training from Gojun Pye (Sorbo) as she final discovers a name for her team, Thane (Johnson), Dagen (Stormoen) and Teela (Posener) as they look to head off on their next quest.

Thane gets taken prisoner, which sees Marek needing to lead the rest of her team in search for a missing person for the man holding Thane, which will see Marek putting her life in danger, when she needs to stay out of the light to stop Szorlok (Mercer) knowing her whereabouts.

 

Thoughts on Mythica: The Necromancer

 

Characters – Marek continues to learn more about her powers, she is now a target for the evil in the world, which sees her needing to hide, until her friend gets taken prisoner, she must reluctantly go on the next adventure exposing herself to the very person that is after her. Thane is taken prisoner in this outing, he isn’t going to let himself look like a victim, willing to fight until the end. Dagen is starting to like the life of adventure, which sees him going on the quest proving he is changing from his selfish ways. Teela has accepted her lost faith now, forcing Marek to go on the quest to help Thane, hoping her actions will one day redeem her to the Gods.

PerformancesMelanie Stone does continue to impress in the leading role, showing larger scale emotions with the balance of power going on within her. Adam Johnson does have a small role not getting anything wrong with his limited time, Jake Stormoen and Nicola Posener both give strong support performance too.

StoryThe story continues the adventures of Marek an her friends as they must go on their latest adventure to rescue one of their own which could get Marek exposed to the evil that is hunting for her. We are not half way through the franchise, with the story being able to give us yet another adventure, while bringing us a bigger story going on in the world. we do keep everything simple once again which is all we need and you can see how the story is starting to borrow from the bigger fantasy films.

Action/FantasyThe action in the film does continue to get bigger even if it does feel very safe and easy to watch. It is the fantasy side of the film that continues to improve as everything gets bigger through the film.

SettingsThe film does keep taking us to new locations with different enemies within them, continuing to showing us just how big the world is getting.

Special EffectsThe effects are simple television level of effects, they don’t get used that often, with most coming from Marek’s power.


Scene of the Movie –
The beetle talks.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does start to get similar to what we have seen already.

Final ThoughtsNice continuing story that is prepared us for the next chapter, while having an own adventure.

 

Overall: Continue to prepare us for more.

Rating