A Simple Favour (2018) Movie Review

Director: Paul Feig

Writer: Jessica Sharzer (Screenplay) Darcey Bell (Novel)

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Andrew Rannells, Jean Smart, Linda Cardellini, Rupert Friend

Plot: Stephanie is a single mother with a parenting vlog who befriends Emily, a secretive upper-class woman who has a child at the same elementary school. When Emily goes missing, Stephanie takes it upon herself to investigate.

Tagline – We all have secrets to hide.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slick & Stylish

Story: A Simple Favour starts when parental blogger Stephanie (Kendrick) present her latest show, calling for help to locate her new best friend Emily (Lively), leading to flashback to how they met, through their kids at school and a play date between the two friends.

Stephanie decides to investigate the disappearance of Emily and becoming friends with her husband Sean (Golding) and the case is only waiting for the mystery to be solved.

Thoughts on A Simple Favour

Characters – Stephanie is a single mother who runs a vlog for other parents, mostly on cook, but other life issues parents could face, she has a quirky little life always keeping busy helping around the school. She becomes unlikely friends with Emily and her caring nature sees her offer to look after the children, before her wanting to investigate the disappearance. Emily is the businesswoman who is known as being quite cold in personality with her high class status, she enjoys a drink to get through the day and doesn’t look like the sort of person that would be friends with anybody. Sean is the husband of Emily that is an author that has been struggling to find the motivation on his latest book.

PerformancesAnna Kendrick is wonderful in the leading role bringing her innocence to the role always looking like she is the girl next door. Blake Lively easily gives the performance of her career her being a controlling woman. Henry Golding had a wonderful year in 2018, with this top supporting performance too.

StoryThe story follows a single mother with a safe normal life that befriends the high-class woman and becomes best friends only for her to disappear and Stephanie goes in search for answers, only to find a truth she isn’t prepared for. This is a story that starts with the mystery of what happened to Emily, it offers up plenty of what if, with the mystery about what happened coming through strongly, it does go in a direction that you shouldn’t be able to solve which is nice and is filled with style because Stephanie is a woman that you would never see in this position and thrives from the new excitement in life. The story is filled with plenty of twists along the way which will always keep you on your toes which is fun too.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy from the film comes mostly from how Stephanie enters this new lifestyle and how the other single parents act towards everything. The crime side of the film focuses on the crime and mystery behind the disappearance.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to help evolve the story and shows just how out of her comfort zone Stephanie finds herself in.

Scene of the Movie – The single parents gossip time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It could have one too many twists for its own good.

Final Thoughts This is a slick and stylish thriller that has plenty of twists and turns along the way, it puts people outside of their comfort zones just to show what people could be.

Overall: Enjoyable and Stylish.

The Fare (2018) Movie Review

Director: D.C. Hamilton

Writer: Brinna Kelly (Screenplay)

Starring: Gino Anthony Pesi, Brianna Kelly, Jason Stuart, Jon Jacobs, Matt Fontana

Plot: When a charming fare named Penny climbs into his taxi cab, Harris, her world-weary driver, finds himself engaged in the only kind of courtship he can have with a passenger — one that lasts as long as her trip. That is, right up until she disappears from the back seat without a trace. When confusion gives way to reality, he resets his meter and is instantaneously transported back to the moment when she climbed into his cab. As he and Penny find themselves trapped in an endless night-time cab ride, with only each other for company, secrets will be revealed, truths will come to light, and Harris’ entire life will be changed forever.

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Minding Mystery

Story: The Fare starts when cabbie Harris (Pesi) is picking up a fare in the middle of nowhere, with his passenger being Penny (Kelly), after hitting something, Penny vanishes, with him back on the road to pick her up again, reliving the short journey, only this time a sudden moment, makes Harris remember doing this before.

When Harris returns to the beginning of the cycle again, it turns out they have been doing this for ages, being stuck in this timeless loop, where now they both remember what happened before, getting to know each other, falling in love, trying to figure out a way to break the loop.

Thoughts on The Fare

Characters – Harris is a taxi driver, he is content with this job used to arguing with the radio and getting tired of his boss checking up on him. He finds out he has been stuck in this loop, trying to figure out ideas that Penny hasn’t tried before, in an attempt to get out of this situation. Penny is the fare picked up in the middle of nowhere, looking to go to the middle of nowhere, only she is has been waiting for Harris to remember the loop they are stuck in, making up stories to see if he could ever remember anything from each journey. The pair spend time just getting to know each other through the time they spent through the loop showing great chemistry in conversation.

PerformancesThis is a two person show, with Gino Anthony Pesi and Brinna Kelly doing a wonderful job together, showing the natural chemistry through the conversations and journeys they must continuously go on.

StoryThe story here follows a cab driver that picks up a fare only to see her vanish at a certain point of the journey, putting him back where he started, where the two must repeat the cab drive over and over again. This story does give us a nice mystery and does play in the time loop idea, this is interesting and we want to figure out how to break the loop with the pair. The most impressive side to the story comes from the truth, which will leave you surprised and happy with how everything unfolded.

Mystery/RomanceThe mystery here comes from why the two are stuck in the time loop, we see how everything gets unfolded as the two start to fall in love, showing how love can make you do strange things.

SettingsMost of the film is set within the taxicab which does show how trapped the two are, with only the cab being a location where they are together.

Scene of the Movie – The truth drives.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The montage of conversation is slightly too mixed up.

Final Thoughts This is a wonderful mystery romance that will leave you shocked by the outcome of everything, it will keep you guessing and leave you happy with the ending.

Overall: Must Watch Mystery.

Midday Demons (2018) Movie Review

Director: Rossella De Venuto

Writer: Rossella De Venuto (Screenplay)

Starring: Fiona Glascott, Pietro Ragusa, Federico Castelluccio, Ray Lovelock, Antonella Carone, Federica Caroppa, Marcello Prayer, Salvatore Lazzaro

Plot: Megan, a successful Irish artist, lives in Dublin with her husband Leo, an Italian who emigrated there several years ago. After receiving the news of the death of Leo’s uncle, Monsignor Domenico, a powerful catholic priest whose death has prompted a campaign for his beatification, the couple travels to Apulia, in southern Italy, to handle Leo’s unexpected inheritance.

Tagline – A couple returns to their family’s ancient palazzo where sinister shadows from the past reappear.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Atmospheric

Story: Midday Demons starts when Megan (Glascott) and her husband Leo (Ragusa) head to Italy where they are coming to terms with the death an Leo’s Uncle, looking to sell the house to his brother Nicola (Castelluccio), deciding to stay and help clean up the house with memories Leo doesn’t remember.

With Leo catching up with his family, Megan starts spending time alone around the picturesque town with historical past, which soon starts visiting Megan, with unusual consequences for the family.

Thoughts on Midday Demons

Characters – Megan is an Irish artist that seeks inspiration wherever she goes, her latest trip with her husband takes them to his home in Italy. She doesn’t always agree with the culture being followed and spends time alone exploring the town, finding new ideas for herself, she starts seeing people that might not be there, with the ghosts of the house visiting her alone. Leo is the husband that gets to return to his family for the first time in years, he does seem distant from them and the past he might have had with them. He does want to keep any of the secrets quiet, but once Megan starts getting too involved, he starts to dig deeper himself. Nicola is Leo’s brother, he is going to be taking the house off their hands and he is much more committed to keeping the family’s secrets.

PerformancesFiona Glascott in the leading role goes through the range of emotions in the film and her performance will keep you engaged through the film too. Pietro Ragusa and Federico Castelluccio are both solid in their roles, but we just don’t get enough of them.

StoryThe story here follows a married couple that return to the husband’s homeland to deal with an inheritance only to find themselves learning more about the secrets of the family who have a dark past. This is a story that does the investigation with paranormal guidance which is always enjoyable to watch, this unfolds at the pace, where we learn little by little leaving us wondering who Megan could trust within the family. It does have an ending which might leave you thinking about what happened and trying to piece together the secrets, even if this might have been missed little parts of the story.

Horror The horror in the film does use the atmosphere to create everything that is involved with scares, the hallway sequence is beautiful to watch, while what happens only leaves you scared.

SettingsThe film uses the picturesque small Italian town, which has exterior narrow streets which give us a ‘Don’t Look Now’ vibe for the horror elements of the film, while interior we get a house that is covered in history waiting to be revealed.

Scene of the Movie – The street walk for Megan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – A random visit doesn’t seem to do much.

Final Thoughts This is an enjoyable paranormal ghost story that follows the formula the sub-genre is known well for, it has great shots and settings which add to the atmosphere created in the film.

Overall: Shimmering Horror.

MIDDAY DEMONS will be available on digital formats from 1844 Entertainment starting November 12.

State Like Sleep (2018) Movie Review

Director: Meredith Danluck

Writer: Meredith Danluck (Screenplay)

Starring: Katherine Waterston, Michael Shannon, Luke Evans, Michiel Huisman, Mary Kay Place, Julie Khaner, Bo Martyn

Plot: A woman grapples with the consequences of her celebrity husband’s double life after he commits suicide.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: No Intensity

Story: State Like Sleep starts when photographer Katherine’s (Waterston) actor husband suddenly commits suicide, which shines the spotlight on her life and her relationship with Stefan (Huisman). With her mother Elaine (Place) latest visit seeing her end up in hospital, Katherine much look after her mother in Belgium, who is there to help her deal with the grief she is facing.

As Katherine starts looking into Stefan’s life, she starts learning about his secrets including Emile (Evans) who supplied him with drugs and maybe more, while turning to American Edward (Shannon) for support in her troubled time.

Thoughts on State Like Sleep

Characters – Katherine is a photographer who is in a marriage which is starting to fall apart, things get worse when her husband commits suicide, which puts her in the spotlight, dealing with the aftermath with an overly attached mother-in-law and secrets which she is only searching to unlock to learn why he took his life. Edward is a neighbour in the hotel, he offers her friendship in her time of need. Emile is one of the secrets from Stefan’s life, he is from a club, which isn’t afraid to supply the drugs which is one of his vices. Stefan is the actor husband, about to get his worldwide break, only his strange actions have led to his suicide, his secret life is what is driving his wife in search for answers.

PerformancesKatherine Waterston does every she can to make her character seem more interesting, but the character is written into grief to be so dull, it is hard to follow her journey, with only her haircuts to tell apart the two times. Michael Shannon does all he needs to without every reaching his best, while Luke Evans gives one of the most disappointing roles of his career to date, he just never gets going in his role. Michiel Huisman likewise doesn’t get too much to work with here.

StoryThe story here follows a grieving wife that must look into her husband’s last few days and learn about his secrets to see if she every really knew him before he passed away. While the core of this story should be very interesting to follow, it does seem to fall into the slower paced style, we could focus on grief of a celebrity spouse dealing with added pressure after a suicide, only we get a weak look into his secret life and Katherine’s search for something new in her life. There was so much more we could have explored here only we get the very basics covered, with a mystery that just doesn’t get going or give answers that make much sense.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in Belgium, which is different for a mainstream drama, it does have chance to go to the bigger known locations, but they don’t seem important to what is going on.

Scene of the Movie – The bar dinner.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It just doesn’t get the going.

Final Thoughts This is a film that just feels like it is clogged down by not much going on, which only just about gets solid performances out of the cast.

Overall: Disappointing drama.

Rojo (2018) Movie Review

Director: Benjamin Naishtat

Writer: Benjamin Naishtat (Screenplay)

Starring: Dario Grandinetti, Andrea Frigerio, Alfredo Castro, Diego Cremonesi, Laura Grandinetti, Claudio Martinez Bel

Plot: In the Argentina pre coup d’etat, a successful lawyer starts to feel against the ropes when a secret of the past threatens his present.

Tagline – Cuando todos callan, no hay inocentes. [When everybody is silent, no one is innocent.]

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: All About Power

Story: Rojo starts when attorney Claudio (Grandinetti) has a clash in a restaurant with a man that he humiliates in front of the whole room, once finished his dinner with his wife Susana (Frigerio), the two clash again outside the restaurant, which sees the stranger shooting himself and Claudio dumping the man in the desert to die.

3 months-later life is still running like normal, with Claudio doing the business with clients and friends alike, while his daughter Paula (Grandinetti) is preparing for a ballet, it is here when things come back to haunt Claudio as he turns to Detective Sinclair (Castro) to help learn about the stranger from that night.

Thoughts on Rojo

Characters – Claudio is a respected attorney in his town, everybody comes to him for a mix of land ownership, injury claims and basic advice with dealing with business, when he gets asked to give up his table in a restaurant, his life is changed, because he uses his skills as a lawyer to embarrass the man, before needing to get rid of the body. He continues to live a normal life after this until in his own curiosity, finds himself turning to a detective to see if the man is still alive. Susana is the wife of Claudio, we don’t really learn too much more about her through the film, she does support her husband through the time, while making sure they are there for their daughter. Detective Sinclair is hired to investigate a missing person, the same person Claudio clashed with, he looks into everything becoming friends with Claudio, as he learns the truth about the incident. El Hippie is the man that Claudio clashes with, an unstable man that shows just how broken he is.

PerformancesDario Grandinetti is the star of this show, he gives us a confident performance where just like his character dominates the scenes. Alfredo Castro does make his detective interesting throughout of investigation. The rest of the cast do well, without getting a chance to make a big impact on the story.

StoryThe story here follows a successful respected attorney that sees his life have a strange event happen which sees him wonder, just what happened on that night, while trying to keep his reputation. The story plays along the idea of an incident happening and lives just going on like nothing happened, while the attempts to try and keep things under wraps he keeps wondering what happened after he went home. The story does have a lingering feeling throughout, which does use a lot of scenes which require somebody to have the power over the events, which does become clear as the story will focus on human’s ability to have power in different situations.

MysteryThe mystery in the film comes from what happened after the altercations, did Claudio clean up or is there something more happening.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the normal life that Claudio lives and how when he steps outside of this, we see things start to get uncomfortable for him.

Scene of the Movie – A trip to the desert.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not getting to learn more about Claudio’s wife, most of the time, she is just there.

Final Thoughts This is a mystery that gives the lingering feeling to the audience as Claudio is remembering his own past event despite trying to move on with his own life.

Overall: Lingering Mystery.

 Now available on digital formats from 1844 Entertainment