Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

Director: John McPhail

Writer: Alan McDonald, Ryan McHenry (Screenplay)

Starring: Ella Hunt, Malcolm Cumming, Sarah Swire, Christopher Leveaux, Ben Wiggins, Marli Siu

 

Plot: A zombie apocalypse threatens the sleepy town of Little Haven – at Christmas – forcing Anna and her friends to fight, slash and sing their way to survival, facing the undead in a desperate race to reach their loved ones. But they soon discover that no one is safe in this new world, and with civilization falling apart around them, the only people they can truly rely on are each other.


Tagline – She’ll Slash. She’ll Stab. She’ll Sing.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Christmas Treat

 

Story: Anna and the Apocalypse starts on the verge of Christmas as we follow school students Anna (Hunt), John (Cumming), Steph (Swire), Chris (Leveaux), Nick (Wiggin) and Lisa (Siu) as they are preparing for the Christmas show, while planning for their next stage in life.

Anna wants to escape from the town and see the world, Steph wants to be accepted for her work, while John doesn’t want to see his crush Anna leave. Their lives are going to take a different direction when a mysterious sickness spreading around the country, is turning people into zombies and now they need to fight to survive the apocalypse.

 

Thoughts on Anna and the Apocalypse

 

Characters – Anna is the ambitious student that is tired of the routine of life, she has lost her mother at a younger age and doesn’t want to just go straight into university. This decision hasn’t impressed her father as she has bought herself the ticket to leave, when the zombie outbreak occurs she bands together with friends to figure out what to do next. John is the best friend of Anna’s who has been in love with her for years, he doesn’t want to see leave while preparing himself for art school, he sees the outbreak as the chance to tell Anna how he really feels. Steph runs the school blog and is always trying to push the boundaries of what she can report on. She is facing Christmas alone this year, which gets to take her in new direction with her friends. Chris is the film student that is currently directionless in art form, he uses the outbreak as a chance to film a real story. we have Nick the jock, Lisa the girlfriend and Savage the headmaster that is more focused about keeping the school together than keeping people alive.

PerformancesElla Hunt in the leading role fit the typical leading character in the teen drama, she is the one that wants out the town and you can see how difficult this decision will be for her, we she a kick ass side to her, when she takes on the zombies too. Malcolm Cumming gives us the strong supporting character that we all route for. Sarah Swire continues to show this cast is full of wonderful performances, which is a theme for the acting and most notably the singing too.

StoryThe story is simple enough, we get a group of school students that wake up to learn the zombie apocalypse has happened and they look to get to their loved ones. This does follow what we know from the zombie genre which is fine because it does work and each character does have their own motivation for every decision that they make. I will say that one part of the story does feel skipped over though which disappoints, though this does have a couple of twists along the way which fit the surprise of the film. if you do take the zombie elements out of the story we get to see how the teenagers are dealing with the big future decisions which will shape their lives, I feel this is handle the right way too.

Comedy/Horror/MusicalThe comedy in the film works because it does take the zombie moments and gives us the laughs we need, the horror side of the film focuses more on the idea of the outbreak, we are never scared, but we don’t need to be. The musical side of the film is what makes this unique because we get brilliant songs in ‘break away’ ‘Hollywood ending’ and ‘human voice’ that could stick in your head.

SettingsThe film is set in a small Scottish town, which shows the local hang outs the teenagers will be, the shortcuts only the locals would know with the school being the central location.

Special EffectsThe film turns to the effects when it comes to the zombie action which never look out of place or going over the top like others can.


Scene of the Movie –
I am picking the songs here.

That Moment That Annoyed Me One part of the film felt skipped over.

Final ThoughtsThis is an absolute delight of a movie, the core to the story is familiar, but the musical side makes this stand out on its own which will make it one of the must watch Christmas movies ever year.

 

Overall: Must watch unique movie.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

West of Sunshine (2017)

Director: Jason Raftopoulos

Writer: Jason Raftopoulos (Screenplay)

Starring: Damian Hill, Ty Perham, Arthur Angel, Kat Stewart, Tony Nikolakopoulos, Kaarin Fairfax

 

Plot: A father has less than a day to pay back a debt to a violent loan shark, while looking after his young son.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Father, Son Relationship

 

Story: West of Sunshine starts when down on his luck delivery driver Jim (Hill) has promised to have his son Alex (Perham) for the day, which sees him being forced to deliver in his own car, while trying to make up the money he owes to a violent loan shark.

Becoming desperate for money he turns to Mel (Stewart) who gives him a chance to deliver drugs for her, which will test his relationship with Alex. Can the father and son make it through the day and be ready for the next stage of life.

 

Thoughts on West of Sunshine

 

Characters – Jim has gotten himself into trouble with his debts, he needs to make up for those debts in one day, the same day he must spend with his son, to whom he has become distant from. This day will test his relationship with his son, test his ability to get the job done and clear his debts. Alex is the son of Jim’s who is spending the day with his father, he gets easily distracted and must learn quickly how much his father does love him, but is in need of support. Steve is the best friend at work, who can’t help Jim through his troubles because he has his own issues. Mel is the woman that does give Jim an out by being her deliver, because of their friendship.

PerformancesDamian Hill in the leading role is wonderful, we get to see just how much this means to his character, how he is showing the good father moments and desperate side of the day will offer him. Ty Perham as the young boy does a great job too, as he does need to show what it is like without a father figure in his life. In the supporting roles we get solid work from everybody else who are only here for chapters of Jim’s story.

StoryThe story here follows a father trying to reconnect with his son, on the same day he must work to make up for the debts he has built up with his gambling problems. The two must bond while he is showing the desperation to make up for his mistakes and be a good father. We get a very simple way to see how the relationship is building and we focus on this side of the story for most of the film, rather than seeing Jim’s problems which is nice because we could focus on them, though we need to see how the father is trying to keep his life together.

CrimeThe crime in this film shows just how one man can let his debts lead him to become distant from his family and how he must turn to crime to clean up his own mistakes.

SettingsThe film is set in the one city and shows how you can have connection all over town to turn to if you need the odd job done.


Scene of the Movie –
Opening the packet.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The length is too short.

Final ThoughtsThis is a lovely look at a father son relationship and one that can be understood when we see just how much the two must go through.

 

Overall: Wonderful Relationship based movie.

Rating

 

 

The Upside (2017)

Director: Neil Burger

Writer: Jon Hartmere (Screenplay) Eric Toledano, Oliver Nakache (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart, Nicole Kidman, Julianna Margulies, Tate Donovan, Genevieve Angelson

 

Plot: A comedic look at the relationship between a wealthy man with quadriplegia and an unemployed man with a criminal record who’s hired to help him.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Comedy

 

Story: The Upside starts as we meet ex-criminal Dell Scott (Hart) who needs to apply for jobs to remain out of prison, his final application sees him appearing at the wrong location for a carer for quadriplegia for Phillip Lacasse (Cranston), Phillip doesn’t like most of the candidates and forces his executive Yvonne (Kidman) to offer Dell the job.

What follows is Dell learning how to care for Phillip and teaching him to enjoy life after the struggles he has been through. The two different worlds collide to teach each other about life and offer the next steps in both their lives.

 

Thoughts on The Upside

 

Characters – Dell is an ex-con who is out on parole, his ex-girlfriend doesn’t want him around their son and with options running down he is forced into interviews, which leads him to apply for Phillip’s carer, he has no experience in this role and shows how he can learn, use his mistakes in his life to move forward in his life. He pushes Phillip into making decisions in his life to continue living. Phillip is the quadriplegia billionaire who is feeling suicidal, he doesn’t like relying on people to care for him, Dell starts to show him what life can still offer, while Phillip shows Dell what he can achieve if he puts his mind to it. Yvonne is the executive that is now running Phillip’s business, she has given up most of her life to help Phillip and doesn’t like the selection of Dell in this role. We do get to see the rest of the household who must work with Phillip to make his life easier.

PerformancesKevin Hart is selected because of his comedy, he does a very good job with the serious scenes, even if he does turn to his comedy routine too often. Bryan Cranston is a great choice for this role, he does have to use his expression to tell the story and pulls of each and everyone required for his character. Nicole Kidman doesn’t get as much time as we did want, she does well with everything she needs to do.

StoryThe story is a remake of ‘Intouchable’ which is one of the best movies you will see, this does follow the same story for the most part with a few changes that come in the final acts of the film. the core part of learning to make the most of life is still here which is the important side of the film still takes centre stage. It does show how giving people a chance can help people who never got one and by the end you will have laughed enough to ignore certain plot holes. While I mentions certain final act changes, for me they don’t work quite as well because they miss the point of the people whose lives this story is really about, but they do work for how these characters are written.

ComedyThe comedy in the film is going to divide the audience because it does have slightly too much on Kevin Hart’s routine, while the original felt like it was a man that wasn’t known to be a funny man making jokes which felt more natural, though the cinema enjoyed this a lot.

SettingsThe film is set in New York this time, which shows how rich Phillip is, though it loses a spark about the location he is living in the original offered.


Scene of the Movie –
Paragliding

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too much Kevin Hart routine.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard American remake of a much loved movie, it doesn’t do much to be original in its own way, but does have great chemistry between Hart and Cranston.

 

Overall: Standard remake.

Rating

 

 

9/11 (2017)

Director: Martin Guigui

Writer: Steven James Golebiowski, Martin Guigui (Screenplay) Patrick James Carson (Play)

Starring: Charlie Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg, Gina Gershon, Luis Guzman, Wood Harris, Olga Fonda, Bruce Davison

 

Plot: A group of five people find themselves trapped in an elevator in the World Trade Center’s North Tower on 9/11. They work together, never giving up hope, to try to escape before the unthinkable happens.


Tagline – The world watched it, they lived it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tasteless Thriller

 

Story: 9/11 starts as we meet our characters who work in the World Trade Centre, impending divorcing couple Jeffrey (Sheen), Eve (Gershon), janitor Eddie (Guzman), deliveryman Michael (Harris) and Tina (Fonda) who are in an elevator when the 9/11 attacks happen. Metzie (Goldberg) keeps an eye on the elevators and must use her skills to keep the people calm during the panic, leaving us to wonder if they will survive.

 

Thoughts on 9/11

 

Characters – Jeffrey was once a wall street wizard, now he faces divorce and weekends with his kid. He is one of the people trapped in the elevator, he becomes the voice of reason and calmness between the five. Eve is the wife soon to be ex-wife of Jeffrey, his work built their strain and she needs out of it now. Eddie is the janitor that knows the building but not the elevator. Metzie is trying to find a way out of the elevator for the survivors using as much knowledge as she can find.

Performances – Charlie Sheen in the leading role is very difficult to watch because we just can’t take him seriously anymore, while he does an ok job in the role we know we will never see the 80s Sheen again. The rest of the cast do seem like needed a pay day and are never believable in their roles.

StoryThe story is fictional and focuses on one of the darkest days in modern history, this makes the film difficult to watch because we do know thousands died in the event, watching a group try to figure out how to escape is a problem because it has been done before in horror, on a better level which makes this feel like it doesn’t need to be told in such a basic and poor manor.

ActionThe action mixed with drama doesn’t work on any level for the film.

SettingsThe film takes place for the most part in the elevator which should work, but every time we jump out we lose the sense we should have.


Scene of the Movie –
There isn’t one.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Charlie Sheen in the leading role.

Final ThoughtsThis is a tasteless movie that only seems to cause offence to the people who did die in the tragedy.

 

Overall: Poor unwatchable

Rating

 

 

Christmas Blood (2017)

Director: Reinert Kiil

Writer: Reinert Kiil (Screenplay)

Starring: Stig Henrik Hoff, Jorgen Langhelle, Sondre Krogtoft Larsen, Frank Kjosas, Truls Svendsen

 

Plot: Murderer gets caught after terrorizing and killing people during Christmas night for past 13 years in Norway. After being in solitary for almost 6 years, psychopath escapes couple days before Christmas night. Police tracks next target of the psychopath to be in small village in the northernmost part of Norway. Group of friends are having reunion in the same village and unexpectedly end up being in part of Santa’s plan. 

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Bloody Christmas MOvie

 

Story: Christmas Blood starts as detective Thomas Rasch (Hoff) shoots the notorious serial that has murder 121 people over 13 years, every Christmas, this was in 2011. It is now 2016 and the killer has been locked up since the attacks.

CID agent Terje Hansen (Larsen) has being trying to learn from the killer which sees the aggression increase around Christmas time each year. Thomas is still investigating the list that has been made with over 300 names which the killer hasn’t finishes checking off. A group of friends celebrating together in a remote village, giving them a chance for drinks, but their quiet Christmas is about to become a nightmare when the killer escapes hoping to check off more names on his list.

 

Thoughts on Christmas Blood

 

Characters – Thomas Rasch is the detective that hunted down the killer for 13 years and wanted to make sure he was dead, by putting bullets in him when they finally captured him. He has been watching over the names on the list believing he has made a mistake and he gets to make up for his mistakes when the killer escapes. Terje is the CID agent that must race against time to recapture the killer after he escapes. We have our killer to whom is aggressive at Christmas and has been targeting a certain list of names, he escapes prison in an attempt to continue to check off the names. The have the killer, we now need some victims and this is where the group of friends are involved as they try to have a quiet Christmas together.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are good with Stig Henrik Hoff being the grief-stricken detective wanting to make up for not finishing the job and Sondre Krogtoft Larsen matching him during the investigation. When it comes to the women playing the victims they are mostly interchangeable for what they are doing in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a serial killer that targets people in his list at Christmas escaping prison to continue on his spree to complete his list, he has new victims lined up and it is up to the detective that stopped him before to stop him again. This does play out like every slasher movie we have seen, which is good if you want to see films like that. It gives us an opening that shows the high body count the killer is capable of too, meaning we could see him in action plenty more times. I do think the party side of the story is overly long though because we just don’t get enough investment in these characters, when we get focus on the police dealing with their own problems.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from the bloodshed which is a lot making this feel like a true bloody slasher it is planning to be, we do get one scene which is the bloodiest to watch too.

SettingsThe film takes us to Norway where the killer has been racking up the numbers, this latest spree takes him to a remote village to collect his latest victims one that is isolated from the rest of the country.

Special EffectsThe effects in the movie are good because we get to see the full amount of blood flying around.


Scene of the Movie –
The blood covered death.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters in the cabin.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun Christmas horror movie, we get plenty of blood which shows us the true slasher feeling.

 

Overall: Christmas bloodbath.

Rating