The Unseen (2016)

Director: Geoff Redknap

Writer: Geoff Redknap (Screenplay)

Starring: Aden Young, Camille Sullivan, Julia Sarah Stone, Ben Cotton, Max Chadburn, Alison Araya, Maxwell Haynes

 

Plot: A man who abandoned his family now risks everything to find his missing daughter, including exposing the secret that he is becoming invisible.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Impressive

 

Story: The Unseen starts when Bob Langmore (young) Must return to his family that he abandoned after his daughter Eva (Stone) starts to show signs of wanting to run away, still friendly with his ex- Darlene (Sullivan) he returns home to help, while getting a job done for the shady Crisby (Cotton).

When Eva goes missing, Bob will stop at nothing to get her back as she may also have the same disease he has, one that has been turning him invisible. Can he find a cure before it is too late for his daughter, that is the most important task for him.

 

Thoughts on The Unseen

 

Characters – Bob is a one factory worker, he has left his family for unknow reason, he has kept his end of the financial side of raising a child though, he must return when she wants to go explore the world, before going missing, but his secret has more history in genetics than he could imagine as he starts to go invisible. Darlene was the ex to whom Bob had a child with, she has raised her and must turn to Bob when she has started to act out, putting her own life in danger. Eva is the 17-year-old that is wanting to explore, she takes risk which puts her in danger as she must start to lean about the generics she got from her father.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are wonderful, Aden Young shows us just how withdrawn his character is through the struggles with reality that he will be facing, we see and feel the pain he is suffering from. Camille Sullivan is good without needing to do as much as the others with Julia Sarah Stone getting to improve as the film continues on.

StoryThe story here shows us how an isolated man with a secret that he is slowly turning invisible that must return to his family to prepare his daughter for the change after she goes missing, while dealing with criminals who are forcing him into job. This story has so many layers it may take a while to talk through them all. First we will start with the job angle which is the weaker side of the film and by the books not being much of a challenge to keep up with. Where the story does shine comes from the slowly turning invisible side and needing to rebuild a relationship to prepare his daughter for a chance which will come her way. We could say there are elements of the Invisible Man here, but this is the slow change over an instant one. we get everything from this relationship and it only makes us want to see what the change will take from him next, this is a truly engaging storyline that must be watched all the way through.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action could be considered the safe side of the film we get the basics without seeing too much happen, the horror comes from seeing the change, we only see bits but each time we get to she the next level which will only shock. The sci-fi side of the film shows how the change is happening and puts this in the middle of an everyday lifestyle.

SettingsThe film gives us an everyday setting which only adds to the shocking events of what is going during the film

Special EffectsThe effects are only used when needed, to show the invisibility happening, this is easily the most shocking moments in the film because you are not sure what will start to change first.


Scene of the Movie –
Saving the daughter.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does start slowly than it needs to.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow burner that is well worth the wait, the shocking reveal will leave you shocked and only grab your attention to see what will happen next.

 

Overall: Must watch sci-fi horror

Rating

 

 

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Sasako vs. Kayako (2016)

Director: Koji Shiraishi

Writer: Takashi Shimizu, Koji Suzaki (Characters)

Starring: Mizuki Yamamoto, Tina Tamashiro, Aimi Satsukawa, Misato Tanaka, Masahiro Komoto, Masanobu Ando

 

Plot: The vengeful spirits of the Ring and Grudge series face off.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Failed Cash-In

 

Story: Sadako vs. Kayako starts as two students Yuri (Yamamoto) and Natsumi (Satsukawa) that are studying urban legends receive an old video player only to discover an old video cassette that shows them horror leading them to believe they are now dealing with the cursed video cassette legend. Elsewhere Suzuka (Tamashiro) moves to the city living next door to the death house which gives her horrific nightmares of what once happened in that house.

As the two curses start to attack their victims it becomes a race against time to escape the curse and the death that will follow it.

 

Thoughts on Sadako vs. Kayako

 

Characters – Yuri is one of the students studying urban legends and how they have shaped the culture, with her best friend she is helping transferring a cassette to DVD, where she gets a video player which only opens the door for the cassette legend to be released again, along with her friend she  must look to save themselves before it is too late. Natsumi is the best friend that watches the tape believing she has become cursed, it is a race to save her life more than Yuri’s. Suzuka is the young lady that moves with her family next door to the death house, she starts feeling the nightmares around the events of the house as she learns from the locals about the horror involved with the house.

PerformancesThe performances from that stars are nearly all on a par, we never feel like they are scared by the events of the film. most of the time it is looking with a mild amount of fear in dark locations which doesn’t make us believe too much of what is going on.

StoryThe story tries to bring together two of the biggest icons in Asian horror history, the Rings Sadako and The Grudge’s Kayako, the problem is we have both on show here without having a connection between the two main young women we are following, until way to late in the movie. We go through the idea that the Ring curse would have become outdated with the evolution of the video showing, trying to turn things into an urban legend works for the Grudge side of things because it could any era, while the Ring feels like it could never be one. this does feel like one too many sequels in this franchise which both should be getting ands ticking to their stand alone movies which will be the ones striking fear into people anyway.

HorrorThe horror in the film should come from bringing together two of the biggest icons in horror, the problems are neither feel scary in this outing after being watered down too much.

SettingsThe film does use the iconic settings the film is famous for, which is the only good thing about them, we don’t spend enough time in the death house or around the Ring hauntings.

Special EffectsThe special effects in the film are basic, the ghost look freaky while the final shot might be one of the worst shots I have ever seen.


Scene of the Movie –
Go into the house kid.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There is barely any time between the horror icons.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing out for two horror icons, we don’t get a story that connects the two enough and by the end it just feels like a cash in.

 

Overall: Poor throughout.

Rating

 

 

Donnie Yen Weekend – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016)

Director: Woo-Ping Yuen

Writer: John Fusco (Screenplay) Du Lu Wang (Book)

Starring: Donnie Yen, Michelle Yeoh, Harry Shum Jr, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Jason Scott Lee, Eugenia Yuan, Roger Yuan

 

Plot: A story of lost love, young love, a legendary sword and one last opportunity at redemption.


Tagline – The past returns with a vengeance.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Sequel

 

Story: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny starts 18-years after Yu (Yeoh) saw her love die returns to safeguard the sword of destiny, after a warlord Hades Dai (Lee) goes in search for the sword believing it will give him the power to conquer the land.

Needing to protect the sword, Yu puts out a call for warriors to come and help defend it, which sees Silent Wolf (Yen) put together a five-person army, while Yu takes on a new student Snow Vase (Bordizzo) with skills advanced of her age.

 

Thoughts on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny

 

Characters – Yu has returned from her isolation and mourning after 18-years away only to stumble into the next attempt to steal the Sword of Destiny, here she must learn who to trust, reunite with an old ally and put herself in the teaching position. Silent Wolf has lived a life in isolation, where his loved ones believed him to be dead, he returns to help defend the sword for the greatest honour in his life. Wei Fang is a young warrior that is being forced into stealing the sword to protect his master, he learns about his past and along with Snow Vase who also has a decision of her own to make, provide the unsure future for Yu on who to trust. Snow Vase is the talented young fighter knowing skills beyond her age, she askes to be taught even if she isn’t as disciplined as she should be.

PerformancesMichelle Yeoh returns to this role, she brings the fight skills that made the first one fantastic and must play the role with an emotionless feeling of being broken, which she does with ease. Donnie Yen takes up the mysterious fighter role which is a role that he could take any day and never look out of place. it is the new comers that impress in the fighting side of things, where they struggle in places with the emotional factors at play in their characters.

StoryThe story here returns Yu back to the land she once fought for, where she must defend it from a new warlord that wants the sword which could bring power to control the land. This is a sequel that does well to return one of the favourites which also dives into her past to bring a new character, while also offer people that could become the new leads if the series was going to continue. When we break down the story it does play into tradition of being loyal and honour. It would have been nice to see more from the villain which only has a few moments which are just generic villain style, without seeing him do anything truly villainous.

Action/FantasyThe action in the film is the martial arts material we have enjoyed for years, we have the weightless effects which were famous from the first which add the style required to be unique. This does play into the fantasy of the action which goes against the physics of fighting.

SettingsThe film brings back the settings we knew and still look fantastic, with the final showdown being in a new location which is used to add to the fight.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to make the fights feel like they could be real, the weightless style is the best part of the fights.


Scene of the Movie –
Final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain moments of the Wei Fang and Snow Vase does drag at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun sequel to a much more superior original, it will entertain without being anywhere near the level original.

 

Overall: Entertaining for the fans.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – M – Marauders (2016)

Director: Steven C Miller

Writer: Michael Cody, Chris Sivertson (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Christopher Meloni, Dave Bautista, Adrian Grenier, Johnathon Schaech, Lydia Hull, Tyler Jon Olson

 

Plot: When a bank is hit by a brutal heist, all evidence points to the owner and his high-powered clients. But as a group of FBI agents dig deeper into the case – and the deadly heists continue – it becomes clear that a larger conspiracy is at play.


Tagline – The rich will pay

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Crime Film

 

Story: Marauders starts when a bank robbery which leaves the bank manager executed, the president of the bank Hubert (Willis) has an excellent reputation and with the FBI investigating the robbery, Montgomery (Meloni) and his team Stockwell (Bautista) and newbie Wells (Grenier) try to put the clues together.

When the second heist happens, the fingers start pointing back at Hubert and a bigger conspiracy comes to the top with connection to a previous incident.

 

Thoughts on Marauders

 

Characters – Hubert is the bank president, he has always kept the face that the bank puts their customers first, but when his banks start getting robbed, he must deal with the fingers pointing back at him. Montgomery is the lead investigating from the FBI trying to get to the bottom of the heists, he has his own demons which haunt him everyday after the death of his wife and will not stop until he learns the truth. Stockwell is Montgomery’s trusted second, he is the tired cop figure, he is good at his job and hates people getting in his way. Wells is the rookie agent, with the qualifications to make him the best, he gets the jobs the others don’t want to do, while noticing things they miss.

PerformancesThe performances in the movie are mixed, we know that Bruce Willis is mostly mailing it in and it is a strange role for him. Christopher Meloni is the star of this movie, the determination and broken side of his character makes him stand out. Dave Bautista does get the funniest lines, some hit or than others, while Adrian Grenier starts strong but fades away in the biggest scenes of the middle of the movie.

StoryThe story follows the effects of a brutal heist, the FBI must investigate the heist which brings us into the new web of conspiracies which could bring down a political powerhouse. This a story which does keep us guessing from start to finish, which is something I was surprised to see, as I thought this would be a lot messier. The positive of keeping us guessing, does leave the bigger question about just why the heists needed to be as brutal as they were because of certain injuries or deaths not needing to happen for the cause.  

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action is brutal and often in your face when it comes to the gun sequences, the crime side of the film comes from the heists and just what they are aiming to achieve from the heists. The mystery is what draws us in because we don’t know what is happening which keeps us invested throughout.

SettingsThe film is set in the city which shows how the panic of the robberies starts flying around we see how things get out of hand.


Scene of the Movie –
The heists do feel very intense, which I did like.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The last sequence.

Final ThoughtsThis was a surprisingly entertaining film, having no expectations going in, this did become intense and kept you guessing even if things unravel in the final scene.

 

Overall: Enjoyable crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – L – Live by Night (2016)

Director: Ben Affleck

Writer: Ben Affleck (Screenplay) Dennis Lehane (Novel)

Starring: Ben Affleck, Elle Fanning, Remo Girone, Brendan Gleeson, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana, Chris Cooper, Chris Messina

 

Plot: A group of Boston-bred gangsters set up shop in balmy Florida during the Prohibition era, facing off against the competition and the Ku Klux Klan.


Tagline – The American Dream has a price

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long & Complex

 

Story: Live by Night starts as we meet Joe Coughlin (Affleck) a former soldier in World War I, who returned to Boston to live the life of crime as an outlaw. When Joe gets blackmailed into killing his boss or risk having his boss learn about his secret affair with his girlfriend Emma (Miller) he finds himself in the middle of a battle he didn’t want a part of.

After the secret is revelled Joe is left for dead blamed for killing cops, after 3 years in jail he gets sent to Florida to track down Albert White, to stop his business and kill him for the new gangster running things in Boston.

With his being a success Joe ends up clashing with the Klux Klan while trying to continue to watch the money roll in to his bosses and even himself.

 

Thoughts on Live by Night

 

Characters – Joe Coughlin is our narrator our gangster, well reluctant gangster, forced into the world after his life as an outlaw gets him mixed up with the wrong people. We learn he is fantastic at handling himself in the meeting striking a deal and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. The other characters seem to just be in chapters of his life, Emma is in Boston being a love interest, while Graciela business partner and lover in Florida. Chief Figgis is the man that will let Joe conduct business and to be honest we don’t get to learn enough about them to care about.

PerformancesBen Affleck is the only lead performer in this movie, he is fine through the film, he doesn’t reach the levels we know he can. When you dive into the supporting cast we get a host of known names and even unknowns who get the same amount of time that are solid without anyone standing out.

StoryThe story follows Joe Coughlin as he starts out as a thief and becomes a gangster, this should work and I would have been fine with this, the problems build up as we see how many different situations Joe must solve to get the next chapter of the story through, because we don’t get enough time to see the problems he must overcome and everything just becomes glimpses into the gangster life without doing anything new.

Action/CrimeWe have plenty of shooting going on, though the final one does feel like a level of Grand Theft Auto. This does from us into a gangster heavy crime world where the prohibition is ongoing through America.

SettingsThe settings place us in the prohibition era America, be it Boston or Florida nothing does seem out of place with these locations.


Scene of the Movie –
Final shoot-out.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not giving us the time to know the supporting characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a messy gangster film, it has the moments of potential but in the end just jumps too fast to grab us to care about certain moments which do seem to have a bigger impact on the story.

 

Overall: Disappointing, ending Affleck’s streak behind the camera.

Rating