The Neon Demon (2016)

neonDirector: Nicolas Winding Refn

Writer: Nicolas Winding Refn, Mary Laws, Poly Stenham (Screenplay)

Starring: Elle Fanning, Karl Glusman, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Desmond Harrington, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves

 

Plot: When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: UMMMMM ZZZZZZ I Think

 

Story: The Neon Demon starts young naïve model Jesse (Fanning) who at the tender age of 16 moved the LA to make a name for herself, striking up a friendship with make-up artist Ruby (Malone) she finds her way to model agent Roberta Hoffman (Hendricks) who starts her on her trail to stardom.

As Jesse stars to rise up the ranks in the modelling world she meets all the other models that have all gone to their own lengths to get into the world, but will she let this new world consume her.

The Neon Demon is a film I can honestly say I really just didn’t understand or of the bits I did understand I feel it comes off like a poor version of Starry Eyes. The film is full blown artsy with lots of long shots of pretty much nothing happening other than music. In the end I found myself wanting this to be a lot shorter and have a more rounded story.

 

Overall: Artsy messy film really

Rating20

 

 

The Girl on the Train (2016)

girlDirector: Tate Taylor

Writer: Erin Cressida Wilson (Screenplay) Paula Hawkins (Novel)

Starring: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Edgar Ramirez, Laura Prepon, Allison Janney

 

Plot: A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burner Thriller

 

Story: The Girl on the Train starts as Rachel (Blunt) travels by train to and from work watching the lives on the people the train bypasses with her favourite being Megan (Bennett) and Scott (Evans) who are living the life she had wished for from the failed marriage. We go onto meet Megan who is tired of her life and her job as the nanny for Anna (Ferguson) the new wife to Tom (Theroux) Rachel’s ex-husband.

When Megan goes missing Rachel becomes one of the suspects where she can’t remember her past with her drunken behaviour and it isn’t long before she finds herself getting personally involved with the lives. It is only time until we look to find the truth to what has really been happening.

 

Thoughts on The Girl on the Train

 

StoryWhen you look at the story you will find yourself wondering when Desperate Housewives got its own movie because the three women characters are filled with baggage you wouldn’t expect to see come together. The story jumps between these women with Rachel looking at what she wanted, Anna being paranoid about Rachel and Megan being slightly unstable when it comes to where she wants to be in her life. These characters are filled with way too much money to be taken seriously by the average person and the missing person case is just there and hard to follow.

Mystery/ThrillerThe mystery in this film comes from what happened to Megan with the thriller side of the story we are left to guess what will happen next.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters all feel like the cast of Desperate Housewives all have too much money to be considered everyday people, all liars and cheaters hugely flawed human beings. When we look at the performances they are all solid but due to the lack of interest in any of the characters it is hard for the stars to shine through to the levels they should.

SettingsThe settings show just how upper class the people involved seem to be in the story you sometimes just get taken away from the story being told.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very slow over complicated mystery thriller that just doesn’t reach the levels it could.

 

Overall: This was just hard work and incredibly boring.

Ratingcard

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Peelers (2016)

Director: Seve Schelenz

Writer: Lisa DeVita (Screenplay) Lisa DeVita, Seve Schelenz (Story)

Starring: Wren Walker, Caz Odin Darko, Madison J Loos, Cameron Dent, Al Dales, Momona Komagata, Kirsty Peters, Nikki Wallin

 

Plot: A small town strip club owner must defend her bar, her strippers and her life when violent infected patrons show up on the final closing night and all hell breaks loose.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: From Dusk Till Dawn With Infection

 

Story: Peelers starts as we meet the colourful characters in the strip club, owner Blue Jean (Walker), bouncer Remy (Darko), bartender Tony (Dent) and strippers Frankie (Komagata), Licorice (Peters), Baby (Wallin) and Tina (Gomez).

With this being the closing night the banter between the staff and customers is at a high with local miners attending for the very first time, but it isn’t long until the miners show the signs of their infection with violent consequences. Add in the bad boy son Logan (Loos) we watch as the group of survivors must face ravenous enemies they can’t explain just why they keep coming.

 

Thoughts on Peelers

 

Characters/PerformanceBlue Jean as the owner of the strip club works because she also has a past in sports with great respect from her staff, customers and even the law, all I could see was a female Sam Malone from Cheers. Remy is your typical bouncer who is clearly the biggest physical threat within the bar. Logan as the bad boy criminal son of Blue Jean is character that is the screw up but also the rebel without a cause. The strippers all make for a laugh through the film each making sure they are different from the other.

Performance wise I feel everyone is good, Wren Walker is the star of the show while everyone else does their job well enough to make their characters involved in the story.

StoryThe story is easy to follow, with it following the idea that the closing night of a strip club becomes a battle to survive against zombie like creatures. This does create a new origin behind the infection which does feel fresh but the core of this story is easy enough to understand without testing us with any twists or turns along the way.

HorrorWe have a nice check list here,
Gore
Blood
Over the top kills
Big Body Count
No One Being Safe
Infection causing Ravenous Side
this has plenty of material for all the gore horror fans out there to enjoy.

SettingsThe whole film is set within the strip club which helps us identify with all of the characters in the films and also explain why the characters would be out late at night in the club in the middle of nowhere.

Special EffectsHere is the potential weak point of the film where we get to see the certain moments of special effects looking very low budget.

Final ThoughtsSometimes you just want a film to be fun, this does that on all the levels you need it to be. We get laughs when needed without being a flat out comedy or gore fest.

 

Overall: Sit back and enjoy the blood bath.

Rating

 

 

Nocturnal Animals (2016)

nocDirector: Tom Ford

Writer: Tom Ford (Screenplay) Austin Wright (Novel)

Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Ellie Bamber, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney

Plot: An art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a veiled threat and a symbolic revenge tale.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Wow

Story: Nocturnal Animals starts by following art gallery owner Susan Morrow (Adams) who has it all with her new husband Hutton (Hammer) but she isn’t enjoying the job the way she once did. Susan receives a copy of her ex-husbands novel.

We enter the novel following the Hastings family Tony (Gyllenhaal), Laura (Fisher) and India (Bamber) as they are travelling cross country clashing with Ray Marcus (Taylor-Johnson) and his crew of joyriders in the middle of the night.

With his family kidnapped and his car found abandoned Tony must work with Bobby Andes (Shannon) to find his family all while Susan is struggling with the intensity of the novel. When the story hits hard personally for Susan, she starts to see this as a message being sent by her first husband Ed Sheffield (Gyllenhaal). We are left to witnesses just how the book ends and how it could be reflected into Susan’s life.

Thoughts on Nocturnal Animals

StoryThe story is balancing three stories, the first is Susan reading the book and looking back at her relationship with Ed. The second is looking at how the relationship between Susan and Ed started and fell apart. The third is the following of the novel which is a very intense story. I think all three are balanced perfectly to show the paranoia coming Susan, the love story beginning middle and end of the early relationship. The highlight of the stories really is looking into the novel because this story while intense wouldn’t work as a solo film without seeing and feeling the reaction of Susan reading into so deeply. The stories also don’t get themselves confused which could easily happen in this story.

Drama/ThrillerThis is a thriller that will keep you on edge from start to finish when it comes to the novel being told the drama mostly comes from the outskirts following Susan’s story of wondering what the book is meant to stand for.

Characters/PerformanceLooking into the characters we have a very interesting mix, Susan is never saw what to want from her life making the mistakes which will make over people like her, I do think the stand out characters are from novel with Tony character being filled with emptiness after what happens to his family, Andes being a strong cop figure willing to go the extra mile for justice and the crazy criminal Ray Marcus that goes all out to get what he wants and gets away with anything. When we look at the performances Adams, Gyllenhaal and Shannon all give the great performances you know and expect from them, it is Aaron Taylor Johnson that makes you step back and go wow because this performance not many people could have seen coming from him.

SettingsEach setting fits the story it is being used to tell, be it the high society setting of the art gallery owner, the rough desert location for the novel and New York for the early stages of love.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most intense films of the year that will be hard for certain film fans to enjoy because of how dark it is but in the end, you will be left shocked with where this one goes.

Overall: Shockingly intense story telling going on from start to finish.

Ratingcard

Deepwater Horizon (2016)

deepDirector: Peter Berg

Writer: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Matthew Sand (Screenplay) David Rohde, Stephanie Saul (Article)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Douglas M Griffin, James DuMont, Joe Chrest, Gina Rodriguez, John Malkovich, Dylan O’Brien

 

Plot: A dramatization of the April 2010 disaster when the offshore drilling rig, Deepwater Horizon, exploded and created the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Explosively Entertaining Second Half.

 

Story: Deepwater Horizon starts with Mike Williams having to report what happened on the day in question on the Deepwater Horizon. We move back to the day of the events with Mike (Wahlberg) joining the team Jimmy Harrell (Russell), Andrea Fleytas (Rodriguez) joining a BP representative Vidrine (Malkovich) on the oil rig Deepwater Horizon.

Clashing on the rig Jimmy challenges Vidrine to invest money on maintaining the rig after the team was sent back early before they will start working. Being named the safest rig for the 7th straight year there is a go ahead to start preparation to commence drilling despite mixed results from the tests.

Finding themselves in the middle of a major blow out it becomes a race against time to prevent disaster and survive what will be one of the most devastating oil rig disasters known to man. It is up to Mike, Jimmy, Andrea and young driller Caleb (O’Brien) to stop things getting out of hand.

 

Thoughts on Deepwater Horizon

 

StoryThis is the story of what happened on the rig that caused the biggest disaster in oil drilling history. I will be honest that this starts slow with a good 40 minutes of talking in oil rig language mixed with business, you know the stuff we don’t care too much about, but once this all kicks off it becomes as chaotic as you would imagine it would be. When you look at how this story I can’t help but wonder how a man with Jimmy’s reputation would let anyone interfere with the operations on his rig which is made to look like the reason this is happened.

Action/ThrillerWhen the action starts well it never stops and you are on the edge of your seat from that moment until the final credits.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all based on the real men and women involved in the disaster so it is hard to question the characters involved. The performances are all fantastic be it as the last man off the rig in Wahlberg, the strong boss in Russell or the businessman that causes the problems in Malkovich.

SettingsThe setting is nearly all on the oil rig which once the incident happens we get to experience the chaos of the disaster first hand seeing just how life-threatening the situation is.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the special effects it is only wow to describe them because they all look amazing making you feel like you are on this rig.

Final ThoughtsThe slow start does almost feel like filler but is important character filler before we want to see them all survive this disaster.

 

Overall: This was surprisingly one of the most intense films of the year.

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