ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – U – Unforgettable (2017)

Director: Denis Di Novi

Writer: Christina Hodson (Screenplay)

Starring: Rosario Dawson, Katherine Heigl, Geoff Stults, Isabella Kai Rice, Alex Quijano, Sarah Burns, Whitney Cummings


Plot: A woman sets out to make life a living hell for her ex-husband’s new fiancée.

Tagline – For worse

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Another Fatal Attraction Failure


Story: Unforgettable starts as Julia Banks (Dawson) is getting questioned by the police, we learn about her past before jumping back 6-months to see her new promotion and moving in with her new boyfriend David (Stults), life seems perfect for the two.

With David having a child Lily (Rice) from his previous marriage Julia must get used to a new addition to the household at times, but the former wife Tessa (Heigl) isn’t letting David go without a fight as she starts to invade the personal life of Julia with devastating consequences.


Thoughts on Unforgettable


Characters – Julia Banks is hitting the high point of her, promotion and engagement to the man of her dream. She does have a past which is very secretive that even David doesn’t know about it. She does have a habit about losing stuff, well she starts too, her past can play into her downfall against Tessa. Tessa is the ex-wife of David, she is very controlling and hasn’t taken the idea of David moving on well, she wants him back and with her own demanding mother in her life she is acting the same towards her own daughter. She always feels distant from any human interaction as she is planning to make Julia’s life a nightmare. David is the man stuck in the middle of everything, he is trying to keep both women happy one for the new love in his life the other to keep his daughter part of his life.

PerformancesRosario Dawson is good in her role we needed to see more of the life falling apart around her though. Katherine Heigl has had a mixed reaction from the audience and business over the last few years, she does work in this role as you do get an uneasy feeling whenever she is on screen. Geoff Stults is fine, he never really gets too much to do through the movie.

StoryThe story follows an ex-wife that wants to make the new girlfriends life a living nightmare in an attempt to get her husband back. This does play out like all over the stalker films we have seen before and yes, we have moved along technologically making the moves against the victim more personally. This is an easy enough watch and playing into the idea that the victim has a past which could make her easier to frame does help even if the whole thing plays out just like you would imagine.

ThrillerThe film tries to give us the tension bound levels needed, only for the most part to feel like it was just being slowly building and any scenes involving Julia and Tessa feel empty for the first half of the film.

SettingsThe film puts us in high-life houses which shows how the family can cope with divorce easily, while this works, a lower class of victim would make this more intense and interesting.

Scene of the Movie –
The final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There isn’t enough tension in the early part of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is the trademark yearly stalker ex movie, it checks the boxes well without needing to be anything special or dreadful.


Overall: Simple Thriller.





ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – T – Thoroughbreds (2017)

Director: Cory Finley

Writer: Cory Finley (Screenplay)

Starring: Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin, Paul Sparks, Francie Swift, Kaili Vernoff


Plot: Two upper-class teenage girls in suburban Connecticut rekindle their unlikely friendship after years of growing apart. Together, they hatch a plan to solve both of their problems-no matter what the cost.

Tagline – Good Breeding Gone Bad

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Strange Thriller


Story: Thoroughbreds starts when two former friends Amanda (Cooke) and Lily (Taylor-Joy) reunite to after years apart, as Lily is asked to help Amanda with her education. The reunion starts off by feeling awkward as it is known that Amanda has done something that as isolated from the upper-class neighbourhood they are from.

After Amanda notices how much Lily is struggling with her step-father Mark (Sparks) she suggests to kill him, the two put a plan together using local drug dealer Tim (Yelchin) to get the job done.


Thoughts on Thoroughbreds


Characters – Lily comes from one of the rich families in Connecticut, she ha be raised for boarding school away from the rest of the people her age in the neighbourhood, she opens up to her old friend with a troubled past, as she learns about getting a chance to escape this life she isn’t enjoying. Amanda is teenager that has done something horrific, she is struggling in school and sent to be tutored by her old friend to help with her college future, she is emotionally closed off from the world, though pushes Lily into doing the unthinkable. Tim is the local drug dealer that has a reputation of only dealing with minors which sees him be selected by the girls to complete the murder for them. Mark is the stepfather that Lily doesn’t get on with him, he is a control freak making the life of Lily more difficult.

PerformancesOlivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy in the leading roles gives us the standout performances in this film, they both show us the struggles they are feeling as we see how their plan starts to unfold. Anton Yelchin in the main supporting role showed us one again why he will be missed too.

StoryThe story here follows two upper class teenagers that have very different problems in their lives, they reconnect after years apart learning they could help solve each other problems. This is a heavily conversation lead movie that puts the main two characters through discussions of killing problems in their lives and just how they could get away with it. The big weakness with the film is that it doesn’t address the mental health problems that both the women are going through. This story tries to be quirky in what gets done, only for it to feel anti-climactic.

Comedy/CrimeThis must be classed as a dark comedy, because it didn’t seem to make me laugh once, the crime side of the film circles around the idea of what the two girls want to do and how they can get away with it.

SettingsThe film is set in the upper-class area of Connecticut, showing how the girls can easily look down on people that they can walk over, this is a big factor for the style of the film.

Scene of the Movie –
Don’t drink that.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We could have looked at the mental health problems going on here more.

Final ThoughtsThis is a comedy crime thriller that doesn’t quite hit the marks it was aiming for and ends up just coming off strange.


Overall: Uniquely Styled




ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – Q – The Shanghai Job (2017)

This movie has been selected for Q because of one of the stars of the movie Hannah Quinlivan.

Director: Charles Martin

Writer: Kevin Bernhardt (Screenplay) Terence M O’Keefe, Robby Hensen (Story)

Starring: Orlando Bloom, Lei Wu, Simon Yam, Hannah Quinlivan, Lynn Hung, Jing Liang


Plot: A washed-up private security agent has to escort a valuable Chinese antique out of Shanghai but is ambushed en route.

Tagline – Get in. Get out. Get even.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Simple Action


Story: The Shanghai Job starts as we meet Danny Stratton (Bloom) a private security agent that escorts valuable property, he always had a wonderful reputation until one job went wrong. One-year-later still rebuilding his reputation, Danny with his team Ding Dong (Wu), Mach (Yam) and J.Jae (Quinlivan) are given a new opportunity to transfer a Chinese antique.

When this latest job goes wrong again when the say gang tries to steal the antique, Danny uses this as a chance to redeem himself and his crew to get his crew’s reputation back to the top.


Thoughts on The Shanghai Job


Characters – Danny Stratton runs an elite private security crew, he reputation and life is shattered when a job goes wrong, one-year later he must use his skills to prove himself again, he runs the team perfectly knowing how to use each members strength, though it will be his own weaknesses of self-doubt which could bring the job down. Ding Dong is the tech expert on the team, he will always be able to find an escape route for the crew whether they are in trouble. Mach Ren is the second in command, the oldest friend to Danny who sometimes goes too far with his action to make sure they get what they want. J.Jae is the youngest member and one that is happy to fight and be on the front line when it comes to the missions.

PerformancesOrlando Bloom is an actor which has happily gone out of his way to do films outside the Hollywood normal, he should be respected for going into a movie like this which has a target audience away from his Pirates one, he is solid in the lead role getting to show a gritty side to his acting. The rest of the cast are good in this film each getting their moment to have the highlighted part of the film.

StoryThe story here is simple to follow as we are watching one man go out of his way to rebuild his reputation after it is shattered with a robbery. We follow the traditional paths of the team will stick by his side no matter what his reputation in the world is, they know he is honest which is all they want from him. We don’t get truly challenged with the story and it is a check list of going from point A to B with point C only leading us astray. It does feel like an introduction to a television show following Danny has his exploits around the world transporting art, which is easily could be too.

Action/Crime/Mystery/RomanceThe action here is by the book, we get foot chases, car chase and sneaking around before fights, it is all easy to watch without being anything we haven’t seen before. The crime side of the film puts us in the world where Danny is protecting materials from, which works for the film as we see how both sides can operate either side of the law. There is a mystery to who is behind the first robbery as well as a romance angle with Danny needing to learn where he stands in his relationship after his year away from his best.

SettingsThe film is set in Shanghai, hence the title, this works for the film which gives a a felling of Danny being the outsider at times too.

Scene of the Movie –
Breaking in.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too formulaic

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple action crime film, one in the style we have seen before and one we will see again, it shows Bloom taking risks with his career choices and it is enough to show that it is working.


Overall: Action crime film 101.




Sam Neill Weekend – Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Director: Taika Waititi

Writer: Taika Waititi (Screenplay) Barry Crump (Novel)

Starring: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata, Rache House, Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne, Oscar Knightley


Plot: A national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.

Tagline – Nature just got gangster

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Truly Enjoyable


Story: Hunt for the Wilderpeople starts as rebellious kid Ricky (Dennison) gets taken to his latest foster home to live with Hec (Neill) and Bella (Te Wiata) who open his eyes to farm life after years of street life. This life changes quickly when Bella passes away leaving Ricky facing the reality he will need to return to a foster home.

Ricky runs away into the wilderness with his dog Tupac only for Hec finding him and taking him on an adventure through the wilderness. The only problem is Ricky gets reported missing and the authorities believe Hec kidnapped with a manhunt searching for them both.


Thoughts on Hunt for the Wilderpeople


Characters – Ricky is a rebellious teenager that has bounced through the foster system, now he must go into farm life away from the street problems he has found himself in. when he goes off into the wilderness he wants to prove himself to everyone and Hec. Hec is the father figure that adopts Ricky only to take him under his wing after his wife died, he is a reluctant protector and guide who would rather be with at one with nature. Paula is the child welfare officer that is trying to find Ricky, she does want what is best for the children but can take things too far.

PerformancesSam Neill easily gives one of his best performances of his career here, showing the heart the character needs along with the determination to do the right thing too. Julian Dennison is fantastic in this role, he has the innocent side while also showing the front of toughness that the character requires.

StoryThe story is a coming of age tale, between a foster kid and his reluctant new father who wasn’t prepared for the responsibility placed upon him. The two go on an adventure through the wilderness which gathers national news and a nationwide manhunt. It shows how two different people from different backgrounds of different ages can work together, teaching each other important life lesson, in what is one of the most enjoyable stories you will see.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure takes us through the New Zealand wilderness, seeing sights of wonder along the way. The film is told in a comic tone that will make you laugh plenty of times along the journey.

SettingsThe wilderness of New Zealand makes for the stunning settings being used, nearly all the scenes have a breath-taking view.

Scene of the Movie –
The last run.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain slang turns can go over your head.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most fun coming of age movies I have ever seen, the adventure is fantastic, the comedy hits and the pairing works all day long.


Overall: Must watch cinema for the family.




ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – N – Nightworld (2017)

Director: Patricio Valladares

Writer: Barry Keating, Milan Konjevic (Screenplay) Loris Curci (Story)

Starring: Jason London, Robert Englund, Gianni Capaldi, Lorina Kamburova, Diana Lyubenova, Atanas Srebrev


Plot: When former LAPD officer Brett Anderson takes a job as head of security at an old apartment building in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, he soon begins to experience a series of bizarre and terrifying events. Once he begins to delve deeper into the building’s sinister history and investigate its shadowy owners and past employees, Brett soon uncovers a malevolent force nestled deep in the bowels of the building that will do anything to be set free into our world.


Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Slow Start, Exciting Finish


Story: Nightworld starts when Brett Anderson (London) takes a job as a security officers in an elite Bulgarian apartment building to help him deal with the death of his wife. Given the grand tour by the manager Martin (Capaldi) Brett sees the strange side to the apartment, with the secret being kept in the basement.

When Brett starts seeing strange images on the cameras he must call Jacob (Englund) to help uncover the truth about the apartment, with local girl Zara (Kamburova) who fills in the rumours that the town has about the building.


Thoughts on Nightworld


Characters – Brett Anderson is a grief stricken for police officer, he retired from the force after his wife’s death, he takes a job as a security guard in an apartment in Bulgaria which leads him to get caught up in a mystery about the apartment which brings him past back to haunt him. Jacob is a former guard that lost his eye sight, he knows the mystery about the apartment and helps guide Brett through the strange events. Martin is the apartment manager and needs to find a new guard to watch over any problems in the apartment when he is away. Zara is the waitress at the local café that offer a romantic angle for Brett, while filling in the blanks about the history of the apartment.

PerformancesJason London is solid enough in the leading role, most of what he does is ask questions which is how the audience must learn what is going on. Robert Englund as the elderly figure that is trying to help works well because he is the biggest draw for the film. Gianna Capaldi and Lorina Kamburova are both fine they never get out of first gear for their performances though.

StoryThe story here follows a man that needs to rebuild his life, get given a job as a security guard for an apartment building that has secrets he can’t even imagine. The pace of the story is slow, because we have a lot of building up with little to no hints to what the big conclusion will be, the final third of the film lets everything go, making the early parts of the story more interesting, the time loss angle does feel tagged in for no reason and by the end you still won’t completely understand what just happened. The reveals in the film are big, though they could be considered overkill for what could have be a much more subtle story.

HorrorThe horror comes from the nightmares Brett suffers before the big reveal in the final act which shows us just what has been going on.

SettingsThe whole film is set in one building, it shows how the layers can hold secrets and the mystery about the building is key t the story being told.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are used well when needed, we don’t go over the top with them and the best one are used for the final act.

Scene of the Movie –
Behind the door.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Starts too slow for the ending.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow burning horror thriller, it does reward us with a manic ending which is worth the wait for, only it does take too long to get there with little hints to help us understand the ending.


Overall: Slow though rewarding.