Cold Comes the Night (2013) Movie Review

Director: Tze Chun

Writer: Tze Chun, Oz Perkins, Nick Simon (Screenplay)

Starring: Alice Eve, Logan Marshall-Green, Bryan Cranston, Ursula Parker, Sarah Sokolovic, Robin Lord Taylor

Plot: A struggling motel owner and her daughter are taken hostage by a nearly blind career criminal to be his eyes as he attempts to retrieve his cash package from a crooked cop.

Tagline – Sometimes the fight of your life comes in the dead of night.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow Moving Crime Story

Story: Cold Comes the Night starts as we see struggling to make ends meet motel owner Chloe (Eve) who has been trying to raise her daughter against the states wishes in this location, her motel attracts the usual lowlifes that include drug dealers and prostitutes. When a mysterious criminal Topo (Cranston) is passing through, an incident happens inside the motel.

Topo sees his driver killed, now he wants his car back and is using Chloe to get the information about his car, which will see him hold her hostage waiting for her connection Billy (Marshall-Green) to get the car back, using this as her chance to get out of the troubles she has been facing.

Thoughts on Cold Comes the Night

Characters – Chloe is the motel owner that has been doing everything he can to make guest welcome and keep her daughter with a roof over her head, this doesn’t always happen with certain guests making her life difficult, social service worker wants take her daughter away and after a double murder on the premises, she gets forced into helping a criminal get their money back, hoping it would help get her out of problems she is facing. Topo is the mule that is just passing through town, he stays in the motel only to see his package go missing, needing to use Chloe to get it for him, he is a perfect shot despite being nearly blind, he was once the best man for the job too before stepping away before this latest job. Billy is a local cop that has been watching over and using the motel for his own benefits, he takes the money making him one the pair are trying to track down, but his greed is what will force him to make the worst decisions. Sophia is the daughter that does see her mum protect her from the world as much as she can.

PerformancesAlice Eve and Logan Marshall-Green are both strong enough in their roles through the film, they don’t get reach the full levels of other performers. Bryan Cranston is the true star of the show here, making his character as calmly calculated as you would imagine.

StoryThe story here follows a woman that has been struggling to make ends meet, who runs a motel and finds herself in the middle of a criminal incident that could help her escape this life she has for her daughter. This is a story that does keep everything the simple with how it unfolds, which doesn’t take too long to get going, while it does just follow the routine you would expect. It does pose the question of why somebody who does keep a roof over their daughters head, with food on the table would be getting investigated by the social services.

Crime The crime side of film starts with a murder, which soon sees people trying to keep money for themselves or getting a job complete.

SettingsThe film is set in Greene County New York, which shows that outside the big city life can be a lot tougher for the people trying to survive there.

Scene of the Movie – Topo’s perfect shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is too safe with how the story unfolds.

Final Thoughts This is a simple crime film, it doesn’t reach any of the levels of intensity that it could, while just getting the basics done easily.

Overall: Simple all along.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – C – Chastity Bites (2013) Movie Review

Director: John V Knowles

Writer: Lotti Pharriss Knowles (Screenplay)

Starring: Allison Scagliotti, Francia Raisa, Louise Griffiths, Eddy Rioseco, Amy Okuda, Sarah Stouffer, Lindsey Morgan

Plot: In the early 1600’s, Countess Elizabeth Bathory slaughtered more than 600 young women, believing if she bathed in the blood of virgins that she would stay young and beautiful forever. Still alive today, she’s found a perfect hunting ground for her ‘botox’ as an abstinence educator in conservative America, and the young ladies of San Griento High are poised to be her next victims. But will her unholy ritual finally be stopped by Leah Ratliff, a feminist blogger and ambitious reporter for the school paper?

Tagline – Who says the virgin always lives ’til the end?

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Comedy

Story: Chastity Bites starts as ambitious writer Leah (Scagliotti) is looking for her latest story for the school paper, with her best friend Katharine (Raisa) getting picked on by the popular kids in their school. She thinks she has the big story set up, until a new woman Liz Batho (Griffiths) arrives to try and teach the young women of the school about the importance of holding onto their virginity.

As Leah dives deeper into the investigation, she learns the identity of Liz and needs to save Katharine from her grasps as well as the rest of the girls getting caught in her spell.

Thoughts on Chastity Bites

Characters – Leah is always looking for a story in her high school, she doesn’t want to be popular, she wants to successful only to find herself riling people up with her stories. She is looking for one last attempt at a story, which leads her to get involved in a bigger battle than she could ever imagine exposing the mysterious new woman in town. Katharine is the best friend of Leah, she always follows her, until she gets put in a position of being able to think for herself, getting drawn into the group created by Liz. Liz is the mysterious new woman in town, she encourages the girls of the high school to make pact to hold onto their virginity in a club, with her own motivation behind why she wants to have them around, being seductive on how she manages the girls.

PerformancesAllison Scagliotti in the leading role does work well, in her previous roles she always knew how to make her character feel like a confident outsider and this is no different. Francia Raisa as the best friend as fills this role well with Louise Griffiths being the seductive character that demands the attention when on screen.

StoryThe story here follows a high school that gets a new member that wants to encourage the girls to hold onto their virginity, while one student isn’t convinced with the motivate behind it, only to discover the truth about the motivation. This is a fun story, it uses the idea of a determined single-minded reporter doesn’t follow the crowd, where she uncovers a bigger plan being put into plan. The idea of the villainous figure is clever and is one that is very interesting to dive into, only for them to get beaten way to easily. We can have a lot of fun with the style in this story and it could be a late night horror delight.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy in the film is mostly around high school actions, while the horror in the film comes from Liz motivation through the film.

SettingsThe film does use the high school setting well, with the big house for the secrets to be happening in, adding to the mystery being Liz.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are the weakest part of it, with one part coming off especially bad, while most of the blood looks like paint.

Scene of the Movie – The dream connection.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The CGI.

Final Thoughts This is a fun horror comedy, it will get laughs, we can enjoy the high school stereotypes too, with a story and villain which does stand out as more unique than most rivals.

Overall: Late Night Horror Comedy Delight.

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – Z – Escape from Planet Earth (2013) Movie Review

We are under Z because of the small Steve Zahn appearance.

Director: Cal Brunker

Writer: Bob Barlen, Cal Brunker (Screenplay) Tony Leech, Cory Edwards (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Brendan Fraser, Rob Corddry, Ricky Gervais, Jonathan Morgan Heit, Jessica Alba, Sofia Vergara

Plot: Astronaut Scorch Supernova finds himself caught in a trap when he responds to an SOS from a notoriously dangerous alien planet.

Tagline – Earth’s greatest secrets are about to break out!

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Little Animation

Story: Escape from Planet Earth starts as we meet two alien brothers, Scorch is the macho brave heroic figure on the planet, while Gary is the smart one that always manages to get Scorch out of trouble. When the two clash after the latest mission, Gary refuses to help Scorch on his latest mission, which sees him get caught on Earth.

Gary decides to go and rescue his brother, only to discover a bigger problem that Scorch finds himself in, where Gary leads the rescue of other alien species being held by humans at Area 51.

Thoughts on Escape from Planet Earth

Characters – Scorch is the big strong heroic alien that the species sees as an ideal, even though he is a clumsy fool, he rushes in head first usually needing someone else to save him, this sees him clash with his brother and end up getting captured. Gary is the smart one of the two, he always helps his brother out, despite having the insecurity of not being seen as much of a hero of his brother. He decides to risk everything in an attempt to save his brother, where he gets to be the hero for the first time. General Shanker is running Area 51 with his own plan for holding different aliens, while Gary and Scorch’s own species have their own dramas back on their home planet.

StoryThe story follows two brothers from a different planet that are going through their own problems, one being the hero of the world, while the other does the work behind the scenes, with then refusing to work together, only for them to realize they need each other to complete the missions at hand. This does show the importance of family, the consumption of greed of power and learning to work together will always get the best results. The story does have plenty of heart, without being one of the most original with the ideas being put into it.

Adventure/Comedy/Sci-FiThe adventure takes the aliens to Earth, a world they haven’t been to before, one where they need to learn from, with the comedy coming from the different alien creations, the sci-fi side of the film shows us that life could be out there on every planet.

SettingsThe film does create the typical settings you would imagine, with the evil laboratory and the colourful open world.

AnimationThe animation in the film looks great without every looking weak, with the style adapting to the slapstick used through the film.

Scene of the Movie – The escape

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too generic.

Final Thoughts This is a fun enjoyable animated movie that gets laughs when needed and brings the heart required from the story.

Overall: Enjoyable Comedy.

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – W – The Way Way Back (2013) Movie Review

Director: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

Writer: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash (Screenplay)

Starring: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, AnnaSophia Robb, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Liam James

Plot: Shy 14-year-old Duncan goes on summer vacation with his mother, her overbearing boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s daughter. Having a rough time fitting in, Duncan finds an unexpected friend in Owen, manager of the Water Wizz water park.

Tagline – Everybody has a summer that changes their life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Delight

Story: The Way Way Back starts as Duncan (James) is joining his mother Pam (Collette), her new boyfriend Trent (Carell) and his daughter for a summer vacation along a popular location for family summer vacation. Trent doesn’t want to be here, he doesn’t fit in with the crowd looking for time on the beach and becomes friends with the girl in the house next door Susanna (Robb).

With Duncan continuing to struggle to fit in this summer vacation, he meets Owen (Rockwell) the manager of a water park called the Water Wizz. Duncan learns more about his own life when he is around Owen, giving him an escape, he has never experienced before.

Thoughts on The Way Way Back

Characters – Duncan is a child of divorce, he lives with his mother and getting used to her new boyfriend and his family, he doesn’t fit in the crowds they give him, he finds social interaction awkward at times too, when he meets Owen, he gets to come out of his shell for the first time in years as he gets caught in the confliction that his parental relationship causes him. Owen is the manager of the water park, he has a laid back attitude that has seen him create the image of a slacker, but he offers Duncan the life advice he so badly desires to help him through the difficult stage he will be facing, while learning to grow up himself. Pam is the mother of Duncan, she is trying to keep her life together for him and with Trent, she is hoping to start something new, Trent is the boyfriend of Pam’s who isn’t as friendly towards Duncan as he could be, always trying to put him down.

PerformancesLiam James does take the leading role in this star studded cast, he is great showing how awkward teenager through the film, Sam Rockwell is wonderful to watch as always, while the parental figures of Steve Carell, Toni Collette and Allison Janney are great through the film too.

StoryThe story here follows a teenager forced into a summer vacation where he never fits in, only to find somewhere he finally fits in and can look to move on with his life. This story is a brilliant coming-of-age tale, showing us all that you can find your place in the world, from a place you might never imagine. It does show how the children of divorce will always face the uncertainty around how they believe their parents are feeling about them, with the parents hiding certain truths they believe would destroy the child’s mindset. The weakness in the story comes from not truly knowing how long the events of the film take place, with one scene making it seem like it is a month, while others could show it being around a week.

ComedyThe comedy in the film comes from see how certain arguments get blown out of the water and seeing how they Owen reacts to a lot during the film.

SettingsThe film does use the settings to show us how the families require the time in the summer homes as a blow off, with the water park being Duncan’s safe place during this.

Scene of the Movie – Slide challenge.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Just Trent.

Final Thoughts This is a wonderful coming of age story that can hit hard with the emotions as well as the reality of life, balancing the two well, with brilliant performances throughout the film.

Overall: Brilliant Coming of Age Film.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – F – Felony (2013) Movie Review

Director: Matthew Saville

Writer: Joel Edgerton (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Wilkinson, Joel Edgerton, Jai Courtney, Melissa George

Plot: An accident involving a young child sets off a chain of events that brings an Australian police officer’s world crashing down.

Tagline – There are two sides to every alibi.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Felony starts after hero cop Detective Malcolm Toohey (Egderton) celebrates his latest success and is driving home after a few drinks, leading to him being involved in an accident where a child is knocked off their bike.

Rookie detective Jim Melic (Courtney) and his experienced partner Detective Carl Summer (Wilkinson) arrive on the scene as they are looking to deal with their pursuit of a paedophile, giving Jim the first hand look at how the cops look after their own.

Thoughts on Felony

Characters & Performances – Detective Malcolm Toohey is a hero cop after his latest capture, taking a bullet to the vest, getting a heroes celebration, only his drive home sees him involved in what looks like a minor knock, leaving a child seriously injured on the road, asked to cover up the story for the benefit of the force, not just himself, he becomes conflicted with what to do as he sees just how serious the situation becomes. Joel Edgerton is great here showing the confliction he is going through after an incident. Detective Jim Melic is the young rookie just on the force, he wants to do everything by the book and starts question both his partners motivations and Malcolm’s story, as he looks to expose the truth, being pushed into trying to do right. Jai Courtney showed us why he is doing well in his career, he brings this character to life with ease, working well with the rest of the cast. Detective Carl Summer is the veteran of the three, he has Jim under his wing, trying to teach him the way the forces act when it comes to dealing with criminals, he has been hunting one down for years and looks to use his experience to help cover Malcolm’s mistake. Tom Wilkinson brings the much needed experience to this role, where he will show us just how important his character is to this world.

StoryThe story here follows a hero detective that is involved in a car accident after a few drinks which will see a young child injured and a rookie detective that is looking to do the right thing, but being shown the force by an experienced detective. This story does dive into the world that will leave us asking questions about what is morally right, each detective has their own problems to get through, each one will offer up bigger questions, be it taking down a known criminal or dealing with an accident which could ruin a career. We are left to see the battle to keep everything together, which will keep us see the bigger questions being asked throughout the film. It is nice to see an engaging drama that will offer the bigger questions, instead of everything be completely cut and dry.

ThemesFelony is a crime thriller that will look at how three detectives will look to decide the outcome of an incident, it will look at the work they have achieved compared to the incident which could have caused more damage to the department. We might get a flashy action chase at the start, we don’t get anymore through the film, focusing more on the discussion going on.

Felony is a thought provoking movie that will keep us asking the same questions between us.