The Humanity Bureau (2018)

Director: Rob W King

Writer: Dave Schultz (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Sarah Lind, Jakob Davies, Hugh Dillon, Vicellous Shannon, Kurt Max Runte, Destee Klynee

 

Plot: A dystopian thriller set in the year 2030 that sees the world in a permanent state of economic recession and facing serious environmental problems as a result of global warming.


Tagline – Escape from New America.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Enjoyable Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: The Humanity Bureau starts as we enter an America where productivity is measured to help keep the country together after famine and a civil war. An agency known as the Humanity Bureau decides if people are helping society enough, with Noah Kross (Cage) being the agent we follow, we see he can handle himself if situation go wrong too.

On his latest case investigates single mother Rachel (Lind) and son Lucas (Davies) who have been selected to move to the New Eden location as they can’t support themselves enough. When Noah starts to learn the truth about the New Eden he goes against the bureau to save Rachel and Lucas with his old partner Adam (Dillon) leading the chase for him.

 

Thoughts on The Humanity Bureau

 

Characters – Noah Kross is a Humanity Bureau agent with his assignments being to figure out who should be sent to New Eden, when he starts to be shown the truth about New Eden he gives up his role to save a mother and son, using his memories of his childhood to guide them to freedom. Rachel is the single mother that is doing everything she can to keep her son safe. Lucas is the son, he is like any growing boy that just wants to enjoy his life, he has a terrible attention span though. Adam Westinghouse is the old partner of Noah’s he is forced to track him down knowing the truth, he doesn’t care as much as Noah to what happens.

PerformancesNicolas Cage is an actor I could watch in anything, however good or bad he or the film is, in this one he is good without going into the full Cage mode we know he is capable off. Sarah Lind is solid too even if most of her work needs to come from the conversations over the action. Jakob Davies is fine as for kids in films, he does get annoying at times, but that is the character not the performance. Hugh Dillon as our main villain is mostly forgettable being filled with the generic traits we know too well.

StoryThe story here takes us to a future where the world could have ended as we know it, famine and war swept across America and now one agency controls the country offering hope. We follow one agent that learns the truth about the hope and the Eden and goes out to save a mother and son. This is something we have seen before and it always works, there are shocking twists along the way which will surprise and will entertaining for the time it flows by.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film does feel like it is one of the first takes, everything felt like it was one step behind with the shoot outs coming off weak and the chases over before they start. The sci-fi world we enter is interesting, I would have liked to see more but where we go works well.

SettingsThe film takes us through the empty landscapes that have been hit by the effects of the change in the Earth.

Special EffectsThe effects are weak for the film too, as mentions the action looks weak, but the computer elements seem like a near future idea.


Scene of the Movie –
The showdown

That Moment That Annoyed Me This felt like the opening sequence for a television show.

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to watch sci-fi thriller which could have been strong but isn’t terrible.

 

Overall: Watchable Sci-fi Film.

Rating

 

 

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Euthanizer (2018)

Director: Teemu Nikki

Writer: Teemu Nikki (Screenplay)

Starring: Matti Onnismaa, Jari Virman, Hannamaija Nikander, Heikki Nousiainen, Pihla Penttienen, Jouko Puolanto

 

Plot: A man who euthanizes animals as a side job runs afoul of a white supremacist.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Distrubing

 

Story: Euthanizer starts as we head to a small Finnish town where on the outskirts Veijo Haukka (Onnismaa) offers the people a chance to euthanizes their pets cheaper than a vet, he does give the people life lessons in his methods and only does it with sick or elderly animals. When Petri (Virman) a man who wants to get rid of his dog and is trying to become part of a white supremacist group known as soldiers of Finland, Veijo keeps the as his own.

When Petri wants to impress the group, he targets Veijo and after Veijo’s father Martti (Nousiainen) dies he snaps, getting psychical with anyone he sees to have prolonged any animals suffering.

 

Thoughts on Euthanizer

 

Characters – Veijo Haukka is a lonely man that lives on the outskirts who offers a service to people who need to dispose and euthanize their pets, he has morals and wants to make sure the animal is suffering before doing anything, when he loses his father he will not stop to get revenge on the people that crossed him. Petri is the one man trying to join a white supremacy group, he will want to impress, even if the group isn’t the biggest threat. Lotta is the nurse caring for Veijo father, she becomes obsessed with what he does enjoying the darker side of sex.

PerformancesThe performances from the whole cast keep us feeling the disturbing theme throughout. Matti Onnismaa is the stand out never blinking in his scene as you see his actions are shown on his face. Jari Virman does make us hate his character which is what we need him to be.

StoryThe story does follow a revenge ABC checklist, though we do have characters that don’t seem the most enjoyable. Veijo is euthanizing animals which does give us more disturbing side of things, while the white supremacy group never feels like that much of a threat as it only seems to have about 4 people in it. The side sex story is strange, but it does end up showing us just where the people in the world will be liking. This does have disturbing moments in and there was a point where even I nearly had to stop because of the subject matter rather than quality.

ThrillerThis film does try to build the tension, but spends too much time focusing on getting to the characters in place before anything happened.

SettingsThe film shows us a small Finnish town which shows the extremes of the people that are like.


Scene of the Movie –
Final revenge.

That Moment That Annoyed Me If you are an animal fan this will be difficult to watch.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller that does a revenge easily enough, though it will test the audience with the subject matter involving the animals.

 

Overall: Too disturbing for some.

Rating

 

 

The Endless (2018)

Director: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead

Writer: Justin Benson (Screenplay)

Starring: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Callie Hernandez, Emily Montague, Lew Temple, James Jordan, Tate Ellington

 

Plot: Two brothers return to the cult they fled from years ago to discover that the group’s beliefs may be more sane than they once thought.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Will Keep You Guessing

 

Story: The Endless starts when two brothers Justin (Benson) and Aaron (Moorhead) receive a video tape from the former cult the pair left years ago, Aaron interested in return to see if the group got their ascension and reluctantly Justin agrees to go along, first for a day, but soon it becomes longer as the two start experience strange events.

With the brother’s relationship being tested Justin finds himself being pushed our while Aaron wants to stay but are they really a cult or just a community living off the map, that is the big question.  

 

Thoughts on The Endless

 

Characters – Justin is the older brother, he has always kept an eye over his younger brother and was the one that helped him escape the cult, he wants an honest living but reluctantly agrees to return with his brother. He doesn’t believe the peace and harmony in the cult and he is the one that watches over anything that could happen. Aaron is the younger brother who receives the tape about returning, he wants to learn more about his past in the cult, which he believes is a death cult. He is drawn back by Anna a woman that seems to not aged since they were last together. Anna is one of the cult members, the one leading the video messages, she helps draw the brothers back and clearly knows more than she is letting on. The rest of the members are different in their own ways as are the other people they meet along the way.

PerformancesJustin Benson and Aaron Moorhead take the leading roles as well as the work behind the camera, they have great chemistry together and you will believe their uncertainty from their characters. the rest of the cast make their characters known through the film without taking the spotlight away from the leads.

StoryWhere do you start with this story without giving anything away? Well let’s try this, we follow two brothers with a stretch relationship that return to a cult which escaping from has helped define their lives, they are drawn back in where they must learn whether they were right to leave, but once they discover the truth things take a drastic turn, one that you will never seen coming. This is a fantasy horror that will keep you guessing and you will not figure this one out like many others in the genre. The only negative in the story is returning to one of their previous films that I for one hadn’t seen, so didn’t understand the references or reasoning of including it.

Fantasy/Horror/Sci-FiThe fantasy elements of this film are held back for the most part, but once we see them we learn the big picture which can leave you jaw dropped. The horror in the film has moments of tension and unease as we wait to see where everything will go, which dives us into the sci-fi element which again come later into the film and are used excellently.

SettingsThe film is set in and around the community, we see how they live, operate and accept people, even people who left, they are away from society which keeps them secret and the surrounding area is filled with mystery too.

Special EffectsTh effects in this film show what you can achieve with small budgets, we see how well each moment in the final third of the film becomes bigger and bigger leading to the shocking ending through the use of the effects.


Scene of the Movie –
The final ten minutes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The references to Resolution, wasn’t sure if it was an extension of that story or just in the same universe.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the horror, sci-fi films of the year, it will keep you guessing, has beautiful pacing that builds to the ending that will leave you shocked, great low budget work achieved from the directing pair and one you should all be watching.

 

Overall: Must watch fantasy horror.

Rating

 

 

How It Ends (2018)

Director: David M Rosenthal

Writer: Brooks McLaren (Screenplay)

Starring: Theo James, Kat Graham, Forest Whitaker, Kerry Bishe, Nicole Ari Parker, Grace Dove, Lanie McAuley

 

Plot: A desperate father tries to return home to his pregnant wife after a mysterious apocalyptic event turns everything to chaos.


Tagline –  No One Survives Alone

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Terrible Leading Character, Interesting Story

 

Story: How it Ends starts as we meet couple Will (James) and Samantha (Graham) who are trying to break the news to her father Tom (Whitaker) about wanting to get married, let alone that she is pregnant. With Will in New York to try and break the news Sam is left in Seattle.

The morning after an unknown event happens on the West coast of America, which leads to Will and Tom putting aside their differences to drive cross country to try and save Sam from whatever has happened.

 

Thoughts on How It Ends

 

Characters – Will is a lawyer I think, he has a job where he wants to start his own practise, he is dating Samantha and the two are now expecting a baby, when the event happens, he must travel across country with his potential new father-in-law, this character could well be the very worst of the year, he makes SOOOOOOOOOO many terrible decisions along the way, you will actually hate this character by the end of the film. Tom is the father of Samantha, he has spent years in the marines and seemingly is the only prepared for an event like this happening, he wants to keep things together on the journey, willing to do anything to save his daughter. Samantha is the daughter left to experience the event, we don’t know what she has gone through, she offers the motivation to go on the journey. Ricki is the engineer the guys pick up along the way, she offers moments of comedy in what is a serious film.

PerformancesTheo James is an actor that hasn’t struck much gold through the years, mostly because the characters he plays are awful, this is one of his better performances even if you hate his character. Forest Whitaker is good as the one prepared for everything, he gives us the calm persona we know him for. When we look at the rest of the cast we get solid enough performances with the actors doing the best they can with the time they are given.

StoryThe story here follows two men that must travel across America to save their daughter and girlfriend after an unknown event happens off the Western Coast of America. The side of the film that takes us to down the unknown mystery about what happened is the highlight of the story because we get filled with the speculation like you would imagine. As for the journey, well it is basic, travel, bump into group mostly likely trouble and have to figure out how to get out of the situation. This will pass for the fans of the potential end of the world films, even if it doesn’t address just what happened.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is by the book which is the odd chase and gun showdowns, we get to see the idea of an adventure of the two men travelling across the country. The sci-fi side of the film shows us just what would happen if an event could take out a whole coast in an instant.

SettingsThe film takes us on a road-trip after an unknown event, we get to see the back country between the two locations, nothing stands out as memorable even if the shots of the city look bleak.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are solid, they are never turned to, too often and when they do they come off short.


Scene of the Movie –
The visual of Seattle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not knowing what caused the incident.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good idea for a film that doesn’t hit the levels it could do.

 

Overall: Strong idea that just doesn’t hit the marks.

Rating

 

 

Devil’s Cove (2018)

Director: Erik Lundmark

Writer: Chloe Traicos (Screenplay)

Starring: Chloe Traicos, Christelle Baguidy, Michael Keyes, Sammy Anderson, Mindee de Lacey, Caesar James, Jeff Prater, Cameron Barnes

 

Plot: An interracial lesbian couple commit a murder and have to flee for their lives.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Edgy Thriller

 

Story: Devil’s Cove starts as we see how Jackie (Traicos) and Toni (Baguigy) are on the run after killing Toni’s husband Rick (Barnes), going to their go to bar ‘Devil’s Cove’ the bar is run by Alan (Keyes) and is filled with the regulars.

We flash back to see how Jackie and Toni became friends and lovers. We are given interviews from the friends that are looking back on the events which led up to the murder before the girls go on the run.

 

Thoughts on Devil’s Cove

 

Characters – Jackie is the loose cannon, recently out of prison, she is in a loveless relationship and enjoys pressing people buttons the wrong way. She does become interested in helping Toni come out of her shell, but soon becomes the dangerous part of the partnership. Toni is the naïve woman that arrives to be the new wife to one of the locals, she doesn’t know anyone else there and struggles to fit into this world, Jackie shows her a new sign to life and what she gets pushed into could release her from her toxic marriage. Rick is the abusive husband of Toni’s he has been married before and his reputation has caused him problem. Alan is the bar owner that has always tried to keep things natural in his bar.

PerformancesChloe Traicos also has her hands in the writing and producing of this movie. She takes the leading role where she does give us an on-edge character whose every move does feel unpredictable. Christelle Baguidy gives us a good performance as the naïve partner in crime, we believe she doesn’t want to be part of it and she looks beautiful on this role. The male members of the cast are strong without being able to take the spotlight off the leading ladies.

StoryThe story here does channel moments of ‘Thelma & Louise’ by having the two women on the run from the law. This isn’t on the same path because we focus mostly on how Toni is experiencing the events unfolding compared to how Jackie seems to be enjoying the journey. It does touch on domestic abuse being the catalyst for the new attitude even if everything does follow the paths we know it will go. For the thrillers fans out there, this will be keep you on edge because you just don’t know where things will go next. I did like how the interview style was used to show how other characters react to the events.

ThrillerThis does keep us guessing to where things will go next for the girls on run which is all we want when it comes to the thrilling side of the story.

SettingsThe film keeps us in a dead end town, we focus on the bar where everyone hangs out before going on the run which shows us far freedom can be.


Scene of the Movie –
The murder because we understand the motive.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The casual suicide side story, which almost becomes a running joke.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good thriller that gives us two very strong female characters in a world they wish to escape even if their methods are not the most legal.

 

Overall: Thriller to enjoy.

Rating