ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – P – Paranormal Investigation (2018)

Director: Franck Phelizon

Writer: Franck Phelizon, Marie Durand (Screenplay)

Starring: Andrei Indreies, Jean-Baptiste Heuet, Pierre Porquet, Jose Atuncar

 

Plot: When a young man becomes possessed after playing a Ouija game,a ghost hunter investigated the evil spirit dwelling within him.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lifeless Found Footage Film

 

Story: Paranormal Investigation starts when a group of friends play with a Ouija board, one of them Dylan becomes possessed acting strangely, the friends call in paranormal investigator Andrei to try and learn what has taken over their friend.

As the investigation continues, Andrei turns to a priest to perform an exorcism to free Dylan from the soul which has taken over his body.

 

Thoughts on Paranormal Investigation

 

Characters – Andrei is the man leading the investigation, he has worked in the paranormal field before with this latest investigation becoming the toughest of his career to date. Dylan is the man that has become possessed by the evil which has seen him start to act aggressive towards his loved ones.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are hard to judge, mostly because a lot of the film is just behind a camera.

StoryThe story follows a possession case which sees a paranormal investigator trying to get to the bottom of the case. The problems with this story start early because we have seen everything that happens before, we get nothing new and just follow the basics over everything that was done in the Paranormal Activity franchises. This is dull to watch without making us care about either of the main two characters.

HorrorThe horror in this film is slow and ineffective, the final act of the film is the closest we get to anything remotely scary and just lets us feeling let down.

SettingsThe film is set in one house which seems like it is in one location, the house is on a busy street which does work, showing us this could happen to anyone. The problem comes it just feels like we are watching a moody person potential possessed.

Special EffectsThe effects are poor through this film, we could have good moments, only it fails.


Scene of the Movie –
Most of the final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Final shot of the final act.

Final ThoughtsThis is just another poor found footage movie that just misses on every level it is trying to get to work.

 

Overall: Boring throughout.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – N – The Night Eats the World (2018)

Director: Dominique Rocher

Writer: Jeremie Guez, Guillaume Lemans, Dominique Rocher (Screenplay) Pit Agarmen (Novel)

Starring: Anders Danielsen Lie, Golshifteh Farahani, Denis Lavant, Sigrid Bouaziz, David Kammenos

 

Plot: The morning after a party, a young man wakes up to find Paris invaded by zombies.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Zombie Survival Story

 

Story: The Night Eats the World starts when Sam (Lie) goes to see his ex-girlfriend Fanny (Bouaziz) who is hosting a party looking for his stuff, he ends up falling asleep waiting to hear from her, when he awakes he sees the apartment ransacked, blood everyone and outside the window, what seems like zombies chasing down the living.

Sam decides staying the apartment is the smartest option, but keeping himself busy becomes the challenge, first he starts looking around the other apartments for supplies and then potential weapons.

 

Thoughts on The Night Eats the World

 

Characters – Sam wakes up from a party to learn that the world has become overrun by zombies, he has just come out of a relationship and with the zombies around he must find a way to occupy himself in the apartment, knowing that going outside will be a mistake. Sam does eventually meet a fellow survivor, someone he can consider a friend through the loneliness. Sarah is the fellow survivor that has had her own way of making it through the time with the zombies. Alfred is the one of the zombies that Sam seems to have turned into a pet more than anything. If we are being truly honest, Sam is in 80% of this film on his own.

PerformancesAnders Danielsen Lie carries this film on his back, he is in nearly 80% maybe more on his own which he does keep us occupied through his actions in the film. when we do get other members of the cast they do all they need to without getting anytime to shine in this film.

StoryThe story follows one man who wakes up during a zombie outbreak and must figure out how to survive against the undead alone, keeping himself busy only to be left wondering just what is left out there. It plays into the idea of loneliness if the world was to end tomorrow, but otherwise this is one of the most simple stories you will see because not much happens, nor does it needs to.

HorrorThe horror in this film comes from the idea that the zombie outbreak happens and our lone survivor must figure out what to do in this position.

SettingsThe film is set in the apartment which shows us just how trapped Sam is through the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are used for a limited amount of time which is good because when they are used they look brutal.


Scene of the Movie –
The escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The music idea doesn’t seem to make much sense.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid zombie survival story that shows how one man will learn to survive in an apartment building in the middle of Paris after a zombie outbreak.

 

Overall: Zombie Survival 101.

Rating

 

 

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

Director: Ava DuVernay

Writer: Jennifer Lee, Jeff Stockwell (Screenplay) Madeleine L’Engle (Novel)

Starring: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Chris Pine, Guge Mbatha-Raw, Zach Galifianakis

 

Plot: After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.


Tagline – Be a warrior

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dragging Adventure

 

Story: A Wrinkle in Time starts when a trouble high school student Meg (Reid) hasn’t given up hope on being reunited with her father Mr Murry (Pine) after his sudden disappearance. Meg has become closed off from the world with her adopted brother Charles Wallace (McCabe) noticing the change in her. Meg, Charles and Calvin (Miller) get visited by Mrs Whatsit (Witherspoon) that opens up the possibilities for answers.

Mrs Whatsit takes the three children on an adventure through the universe with Mrs Which (Winfrey) and Mrs Who (Kaling), who believe they can locate Mr Murry after his research has taken him across the universe unlike anyone in human history.

 

Thoughts on A Wrinkle in Time

 

Characters – Meg is an outsider teenage girl, daughter of two brilliant scientists, with her father disappeared for four years now. She went from the popular out going girl to the shy closed off one. she has never given up hope of finding her father, which does leave questions about her relationship with her mother, she gets a chance to find her father with the will she shows in her heart. Mrs Which leads the three light entities that can help Meg travel the universe to find her father, she isn’t just guiding Meg, but the newest member of the team Mrs Whatsit. Mrs Whatsit is the bubbly member of the light entities, she is on her first mission of guidance which does see her make mistakes along the way. Mrs Who is the third member of the team, she is always positive like the rest only she gets the least amount of time to do anything of the three. Mr Murry is the father that has gone missing, he is a brilliant scientist that has always believed in travel through the universe to be possible and has been searching for a way to achieve. Calvin is the high school friend of Meg that ends up on the journey, he wants to support her even when it shows his own weakness in the world.

PerformancesStorm Reid is the highlight of the film which sees her going on the adventure to find her father, this is a disappointing as we do have a talent cast, only they just don’t seem to shine on the levels you would expect them to reach.

StoryThe story here follows a teenage girl that gets to do on an adventure across the universe in search for her father through the powers of light entities. This is a story that has come from a popular novel and is meant to show the science behind potential travel through the universe and how the power is within us all. This is a story that just drags along, it doesn’t offer anything to the world we are entering. This story could have so much potential and ends up just glossing over too much, making it a hard watch.

Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe adventure side of the film shows the journey that takes the children across the universe to see just where one’s father has gone, this does show us the fantasy elements of the film in the sci-fi universe we end up going along.

SettingsThe film is set in a fictional land where the people can travel to unknown planets in the universe, each one has its own unique look.

Special EffectsThe visual effects used to create the different worlds look beautiful, only they don’t seem to make anything feel as important to the story.


Scene of the Movie –
Understand other people’s problems from behind closed doors.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This story just doesn’t become interesting.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that had so much potential only to fall so short, it has an amazing cast that just don’t get a chance to shine, the story just doesn’t get us going like it should do.

 

Overall: Disappointing.

Rating

 

 

Burning (2018)

Director: Chang-dong Lee

Writer: Jungmi Oh, Chang-dong Lee (Screenplay) Haruki Murakami (Story)

Starring: Ah-in Yoo, Steven Yeun, Jong-seo Jun, Soo-Kyung Kim, Seung-ho Choi, Seong-kun Mun

 

Plot: Jong-su bumps into a girl who used to live in the same neighborhood as him, who asks him to look after her cat while on a trip to Africa. When back, she introduces Ben, a mysterious guy she met there, who confesses his secret hobby.


Tagline – Now Tell the Truth

Runtime: 2 Hours 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burning Mystery Thriller

 

Story: Burning starts when Jongsu (Yoo) working part time in the delivery job he bumps into an old neighbourhood schoolgirl Haemi (Jun) who asks him to look after her cat while she travels to Africa. Jongsu has his own problems though, with his father facing jail time, leaving him the small farm to operate.

When Haemi returns, she brings the mysterious Ben (Yeun) the only other Korean she meets in Africa, he is older, richer and has a laidback attitude to life unlike most of the Korean’s Jongsu has met. When Ben revives that he has a secret hobby, Jongsu’s life takes a drastic change, as he gets drawn into this world.

 

Thoughts on Burning

 

Characters – Jongsu is a simple delivery boy that is trying to figure out a way to help his father out of his prison sentence, while this is going on he looks after their small farm, until he meets Haemi, who opens up his world to something new, until she goes missing he starts to look at life the way Ben taught him. Haemi is the girl from the neighbourhood Jongsu grew up in, she asks him to look after his cat while she travels, she returns with a new man which sees him start to become jealous, until she vanishes. Ben is the mysterious man that Haemi returns with, he is wealthy, older and has a secret hobby unlike anybody else, Jongsu starts to become fascinated in his ideas of the world, which leads him down a dangerous path. These three characters are the main ones that we meet, we barely get into any supporting characters, with every shot being focused on what Jongsu is seeing.

PerformancesAh-in Yoo in the leading role is fantastic to watch, he keeps our attention to his characters decision making by showing us the emotional journey he must go on. Steven Yeun is the biggest global name in this film because of his time on the Walking Dead, he brings the confidence that his character requires to make him feel mysterious throughout the film. Jong-seo Jun brings the bubbly energic performance the film requires from her character with ease.

StoryThe story here follows a delivery boy that reconnects with a former school friend who ends up bringing him into a world with a mysterious stranger, who teaches him something new about the life he enjoys. This is a slow burning (no pun intended) story that builds up the tension in the life of Jongso as he must piece together what might have happened to Haemi after she vanishes, he must also deal with his own person problems after his father is facing jail time, showing the uncertainty of his future. We get plenty of time to build everything up, which in places does drag along at times, though this does lead to the explosive conclusion of the story.

MysteryThe mystery elements are bought to us by wondering just what could have happened to Haemi with Jongsu desperately trying to learn the truth and not having any leads to truly follow.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to create some of the most beautiful shots in film in 2018, we see how the busy city can bring people together and the open spaces can give them peace from the world.


Scene of the Movie –
The Meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is longer than it needs to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is slow burning story that does delivery everything it promises, it has brilliant performances that control the film which is a joy to watch.

 

Overall: Burns bright.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – A – Animal World (2018)

Director: Yan Han

Writer: Yan Han (Screenplay) Nobuyuki Fukumoto (Comic)

Starring: Yi Feng Li, Dongyu Zhou, Michael Douglas, Bingkun Cao, Eric Heise, Alberto Lancellotti, Yijuan Li

 

Plot: A man finds himself deep in debt and is coerced to board a ship that hosts a risky gambling party.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Adventure Thriller

 

Story: Animal World starts with Zheng Kaisi (Li) who has been struggling for money working in a casino as a clown, his mother is sick and he can’t afford the medical bills anymore, he is close with the nurse Liu Qing (Zhou) who does what she can to support his sick mother.

Desperate for money Kaisi re-mortgages his family home, only to learn that the man he did the deal with Anderson (Douglas) wants a bigger price than he could ever afford. Luckily Kaisi is given a chance to go on the cruise ship which will give him a chance to make more money than he could ever imagine or face hardship just to survive. This is going to be one of the most extreme games of Rock, Paper, Scissors.

 

Thoughts on Animal World

 

Characters – Zheng Kaisi is a young man that works in the amusement arcade, while trying to support his mother in hospital, he is trying his best to support her, but money is tight and turning to his friend they take out a loan. The loan is more than he was prepared for, forcing him to pay it back to the loan with a high rick game of rock, paper, scissor. He must use his knowledge of maths to stay ahead of the game, while learning how to deal with the different players. Liu Qing is the nurse girlfriend of Zheng Kaisi who is being pressured into leaving him for the security of her future, she is one of the reason why he plays the game. Anderson is the man who arranges the game and the loans, he will put the players into the same game, which is largely for his own profit for the high stakes in play. Li Jun is the close friend of Zheng who ends up getting them into this situation.

PerformancesYi Feng Li in the leading role is great to watch, he shows the good-nature to his character as well as showing us that he can get into the poker face performance needed for the game. Dongyu Zhou does feel wasted in her role in this fil, she really doesn’t get to do anything. Michael Douglas fills the villainous leader of the game role wonderfully, without needing to do that much outside his comfort zone. The rest of the cast is mostly the players of the game who all show their characters true colours through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a poor young man who takes out a loan with a friend, only for the loan shark to force them into a deadly game of Rock, Paper, Scissors with strict rules, our hero must get out of this game which stars and must learn quickly how to become feared within the players. This is an interesting idea for a film, it places us into a underground card game with high stakes, it shows us how the game is played which might be a long scene, but does make everything clear. The concept does feel original and adding the nightmare figures our lead sees, only makes this even more interesting, the tactical side of the game is everything we want to be witnessing because it keeps us guessing to just what will happen next.

Adventurethe adventure side of the film mixes with the thriller side by taking our characters into a world unseen to them, the new world is the adventure for these characters.

SettingsThe settings are largely aboard the cruise liner where the game takes place, it fits the rich society look required, while having a dirty look which was required for the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are used for the visions that Kaisi experiences, they take him into a world of monsters which he wants to fight back against.


Scene of the Movie –
The card game rules.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The monster visions seem like they didn’t need to be here.

Final ThoughtsThe is a fun adventure thriller, it takes rock, paper, scissors and makes it one of the most intense games you can see played.

 

Overall: Fun and entertaining.

Rating