Life (2017)

Director: Daniel Espinosa

Writer: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Rebecca Ferguson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hiroyuki Sanada, Olga Dihovichnaya, Ariyon Bakare

 

Plot: A team of scientists aboard the International Space Station discover a rapidly evolving life form, that caused extinction on Mars, and now threatens the crew and all life on Earth.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Scientific Alien

 

Story: Life starts as a team of astronauts Commander Ekaterina (Dihovichnaya), engineer Rory (Reynolds), Doctor David (Gyllenhaal), Pilot Sho (Sanada), Research Leader Hugh (Bakare) and Quarantine enforcer Miranda (Ferguson) are working on collecting samples from Mars.

Collecting a hibernating life form named Calvin that Hugh helps bring back to life, Calvin comes off friendly as it starts to grow but after a mistake in the lab it looks like Calvin has returned to it’s dormant state.

When Hugh finds a way to bring Calvin back once again it takes a turn for the worse as Calvin is deadlier than they could imagine. The crew must fight for survivor once Calvin breaks Quarantine but they must also consider Calvin’s threat to Earth if it ever makes it back.

 

Thoughts on Life

 

Characters/PerformanceDavid is the man who is about break the record spent in space, he is the doctor of the crew and slowly becoming addicted to being in the peace of space. Miranda is the emotionless scientists who must put away feelings to make the correct decision for mankind. Rory is the confident engineer who keeps everything light hearted when he is under pressure and the rest of the crew. The remaining members of the crew are all what you expect to see in this style of film.

Performance wise, Jake is the lead and is good throughout without reaching the levels we know he can even though we do get glimpses, Ferguson is also good continue to grow her reputation. Reynolds is fun throughout his time in the film with the remaining cast all good well.

StoryThe story is interesting because it focuses on the real idea that humans are searching for life from another planet or space in general. The idea of doing any research in space works because it would appear safer. These are the good elements of story the rest is just another way of telling us the Alien story, unknown lifeforce wants to kill everything to survive and the tea must fight to survive. This starts well but turns into everything we have seen before.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror involved in this film isn’t the most original because we have seen most of it before, but the sci-fi side does start very interesting.

SettingsThe film is set completely in space inside the space station which I do think works well because it shows the quarantine levels the characters must protect Earth.

Special EffectsThe special effects are fine with the creature looking good in moments but other times you can see the CGI.

Final ThoughtsWhile I do think this will be better than Alien: Covenant and I liked the scientific side of the film but in the end we have seen it all before.

 

Overall: Solid but nothing special in the sci-fi genre.

Rating

 

 

Get Out (2017)

Director: Jordan Peele

Writer: Jordan Peele (Screenplay)

Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Marcus Henderson

 

Plot: A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s mysterious family estate.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Intensely Tense Thriller

 

Story: Get Out starts as Chris Washington (Kaluuya) a black photographer from Brooklyn agrees to go meet his white girlfriend Rose’s (Williams) parents. Travelling to this quiet country town Missy (Keener) and Dean (Whitford) along with Brother Jeremy (Jones) brings the family meeting together.

Chris is put on edge when he learns the only other black people he meets are the help, in the gardener and maid, after a haunting dream the paranoia continues to grow until he gets a stark warning from the only other black guest he meets at a party. I don’t want to get into much more but we are left wondering just what is going on and why from early on within the film.

 

Thoughts on Get Out

 

Characters/PerformanceChris is a man with a disturbing past, growing up without a parental figure, he is a self-made man with his photography and also understands that there is still casual racism in the world, not wanting to get into any arguments over someone trying to be accepting. Rose is the girlfriend who assure Chris there is no problem with his skin colour to his family. Missy and Dean are the parents trying their own way to get to know Chris both well-educated and falling into the embarrassing style of parent. Rod is the best friend of Chris and clearly is the most interesting, funny and audience feeling character, everything he says is what we are feeling about the situation.

Performance wise, Kaluuya is great in the leading role throughout the whole film, Williams, Keener and Whitford are also all great and I must say just how entertaining LilRey Howery was through the whole film.

StoryThe story is filled with racial motivation in how the characters are treated, Chris is just how you could imagine a black man in the world now, accepted by a large part of the world but still having another group trying to be nice by saying things wrong, casual racist who have no hate in their actions. While that is just the surface of the story it does have twists and turns along the way with most you know coming. I do have my own theory that this is a racial twist on Stepford Wives but the final reasoning does come off slightly farfetched in places but works for the horror when you think about it.

Horror/Mystery The horror is very much an idea that when you think about it, it will stick with you because it is shockingly disturbing what is going on here, I did like the mystery about what was going on too because we are left to work it out and even have a character give us wild guesses too.

SettingsMost of the film is in the small country town where we see how the white residents still only have black people as the help and haven’t adapted to the free world completely.

Special EffectsWe only have a few special effects here and each one adds to the bigger horror involved in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that will stick with you, make you never want to meet the in-laws but also has enough comedy not to be clouding over the big story too.

 

Overall: This is a major contender for the horror film of the year.

Rating

 

 

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Writer: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly (Screenplay) John Gatins (Story)

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson, Brie Larson, John C Reilly, John Goodman, Corey Hawkins, John Ortiz, Tian Jing, Toby Kebbell, Jason Mitchell

 

Plot: A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mindless Monster Mayhem

 

Story: Kong: Skull Island starts as we see an instant introduction to Kong during World War II, move forward to 1973 Bill Randa (Goodman) want to lead an expedition to the mysterious island in the Pacific Ocean, one that has only just been discovered by satellite images. Joined by his assistant Brooks (Hawkins) and a mapping team Randa puts together a unit to cover him if the stories are true.

The team includes tracker James Conrad (Hiddleston), photographer Mason Weaver (Larson), San (Jing) and army unit led by Preston Packard (Jackson). Upon arrive on the island Kong destroys all the helicopter killing half the unit, with the scientists looking for a way off the island and Packard out for revenge the two battle within as they face enemies they had never imagined including the monstrous Kong.

 

Thoughts on Kong: Skull Island

 

Characters/PerformanceConrad is a British tracker who we rarely see track, Weaver is a photographer who clashes with Packard a lot on the morale side of her job post-Vietnam, she isn’t just the damsel in distress though. Packard is a war-hero who I believe wasn’t a hero in war, he wants one more chance to go into a battle before returning home, as the film unfolds he does feel very similar to Pete Postlethwaite character in Jurassic Park 2. Bill knows more than he lets on but could be considered a businessman villain. Hank steals most of the scenes here, he is the former WWII pilot who has been stuck on the island for 28 years. Kong is a character all to his own, destroying anything that gets in his way while also showing the most emotion of any character in the film. we also have scientists who are forgettable, and soldiers who are giving basic banter to work with.

Performance wise, Hiddleston does struggling to make much of the poorly written character, Larson starts well but again her character is written weakly, Jackson does what Jackson does well without being his best, Goodman also doesn’t reach his potential while Reilly knows how to steal a movie with limited scenes. Most of the stars all struggle with the same problem, their characters are written very weakly.

StoryThe story here is fine, I liked that is wasn’t the same as the 30’s era trying to bring Kong back to New York, this is just a surveillance job turned race against time to survive. So, this is The Lost World with King Kong in the end. There isn’t too much to say good about the story because I found myself confused a lot, we had ONE ship with about SIX helicopters on it and sudden when they reach Skull Island there is about TWENTY helicopters, the same goes for the number of soldiers, one minute we have the FOUR we know and then when we need people to die there suddenly seems to be another group of disposable ones. These inconsistent annoyed me most.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is very big and sure you can switch off and enjoy it all, the adventure is in the new world unseen and comes off fine throughout, the fantasy comes from battle what should be the impossible.

SettingsI did like that we kept all the action upon Skull Island, I feel this is important to creating the bigger universe they want to.

Special EffectsI also think the special effects are brilliant through the whole film and could barely tell the different between what is real or not.

Final ThoughtsThis is big bad and fun but I feel the character development comes off pointless in places because all we get is a sudden death to a character that doesn’t make sense or it is an unknown character killed to save ones we have got to know.

 

Overall: This will go down in the fun but not great action set piece.

Rating

 

 

We Still Steal the Old Way (2017)

Director: Sacha Bennett

Writer: Sacha Bennett, Simon Cluett (Screenplay)

Starring: Ian Ogilvy, Julian Glover, Chris Ellison, Deborah Moore, Billy Murray, Patrick Bergin, Vaz Blackwood, Tanya Franks, Sacha Bennett, Jonathan Sothcott

 

Plot: The Archer Gang are back and doing a daring heist in London. Remanded in prison, they will try to break out their old friend Briggs.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: British Gangster Prison Break Edition

 

Story: We Still Steal the Old Way starts with Richie Archer (Ogilvy) warning Sir Edward (Glover) that if he doesn’t return the money he stole from the innocent, he will be taking it. Putting his team together Richie engages in his crime only for getting caught to be part of the plan.

The plan is to help George Briggs (Pergin) get out of prison so he can spend time with his dying wife. The plan has a spanner thrown into the works when Vic Farrow (Murray) gets himself transferred to the same prison so he can kill and get revenge on Richie. Can the plan still come together the way Richie has planned.

 

Thoughts on We Still Steal the Old Way

 

Characters/PerformanceRichie is the confident London gangster who always has a plan, he has loyal friends as well as respected by the higher ups within the crime world. Richie is happy to have a respect filled conversation and doesn’t enjoy the new world youth that is full of disrespect. Vic comes from the same world as Richie but has become the great rival against him, he is serving time waiting for his revenge to come. The rest of the characters are a mix of different associates within the crime world.

Performance wise we have good performance from Ian Ogilvy as Richie with Billy Murray being the great villain of the piece. All the performances are good with most of the cast being the guys you would expect to see in the gangster style movies. Vaz Blackwood does give us a scene stealing performance in this film too.

StoryThe story is a sequel to ‘We Still Kill the Old Way’ and this time we continue to see how Richie can keep everything under control, the story revolves around breaking one man out of prison with the problems that could intel. We do get to have moments where we see the older character’s poke fun at how things have changed in the game they have made their own.

CrimeThe crime world has been created in the first film, this is the next chapter as we see old enemies and friends work together in this gritty crime thriller.

SettingsMost of the movie takes place inside the prison which shows how the two worlds are similar for the characters involved.

Final ThoughtsNot being the biggest fan of the British Gangster films, I did find myself enjoying this because of the colourful characters not being to extremely stereotyped and the heist side of the film.

 

Overall: Gritty British Gangster movie that can be enjoyed by the fans of the genre.

Rating

 

 

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos (Screenplay)

Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Hattie Morahan, Hayden Gwynne, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci

 

Plot: An adaptation of the Disney fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beauty and the Beasty CGI

 

Story: Beauty and the Beast starts as we learn about the curse placed upon the selfish prince who becomes the Beast (Stevens). Years, an unknown number of which never gets explained either pass, as the castle, the Prince and his memories are forgotten.

Meanwhile in the small French village is Belle (Watson) a British young woman who reads and that is taboo in this town, she is considered different but her father Maurice (Kline) continues to encourage her to remain different. Enter the arrogant Captain Gaston (Evans) who wants Belle’s hand in marriage but she isn’t having that.

When Maurice gets captured after taking the wrong path by the Beast, Belle goes in search of him, taking his place as the prisoner of the Beast, learning about the curse and the household objects that are alive, candlestick Lumiere (McGregor), clock Cogsworth (McKellen), teapot Mrs Potts (Thomspon), tea cup Chip (Mack) and many others who are trying their hardest to break the curse on the Beast.

We know the story is all about love and that is the only way to break the curse, as time goes by, I say time I think it is more days Belle learns that the Beast isn’t all his appearance appears and he is also much like her struggling to fit in because of he is different and love blossoms in a battle for freedom.

 

Thoughts on Beauty and the Beast

 

Characters/PerformanceBelle is a character I think is good because it does encourage women to be different regardless of what people say, she is a dreamer who isn’t willing to marry just for status. Where I don’t think this character is good is the way she acts like she is better than other people because she is willing to be educated. The Beast is also a mixed feelings character, he was selfish and got what he deserved but he does learn his lesson about his ways going nervous when getting to know Belle. Gaston is by far my favourite character in the film as the typical arrogant captain who thinks he can get what he wants, he is willing to fight rather than hide but you are never meant to root for him. Maurice is fun but I feel plays into my own issues with the film as it plays into time between the village and castle. We also have a lot of fun with the Lumiere character who is trying to make love happen between the two with the other household items all being the highlights of the film.

Performance wise, I found myself wondering why Watson was cast in the lead because she doesn’t convince to the levels needed, while I do think Dan Stevens is a good actor but couldn’t buy him as the Beast. Luke Evans is great in his role pulling off the singing and actor wonderfully. The voice talents are all great too with well established stars in the roles.

StoryLooking at the story we get something that is fully Disney styled, we have the woman who is different in a good way, falling in the love with the outside to avoid the asshole captain/prince, the story encourages individualism and has plenty of fantasy elements about curses. It is all fine and kids could enjoy as well as nostalgic fans.

Family/Fantasy/MusicalThe family can all enjoy this movie, the fantasy elements are good the curse is all great and work for the film. the music is also good with solid singing throughout.

SettingsThe settings all work good, they are mostly CGI creation but are working for how the story is going.

Special EffectsHere is my biggest issue with the movie, the CGI special effects look weak throughout, you can see the green screen throughout which took me out of the film most of the time.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film for the fans out the 1991 version of the film, they will get enough out of this film, I found it too long in places being over an hour long and the CGI left me losing the fantasy side of the film.

 

Overall: Disney will make money but that is the only positive they want.

Rating