ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – # – 5 to 7 (2014) Movie Review

Director: Victor Levin

Writer: Victor Levin (Screenplay)

Starring: Anton Yelchin, Berenice Marlohe, Olivia Thirlby, Lambert Wilson, Frank Langella, Glenn Close

Plot: An aspiring novelist enters into a relationship with a woman, though there’s just one catch: She’s married and the couple can only meet between the hours of 5 and 7 each evening.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Delightful Look at Relationships

Story: 5 to 7 starts as New Yorker Brian (Yelchin) searches the city for stories, finding them on park benches, before he notices a beautiful woman Arielle (Marlohe) who shares a cigarette with him, wanting to see her again, he does only to learn that she is married with children and the two get to spend two hours together.

The two do start an affair between the hours of 5 and 7 which sees them even meeting each other’s family including Arielle’s husband Valery (Lambert) and Brian’s parents Arlene (Close) and Sam (Langella).

Thoughts on 5 to 7

Characters – Brian Bloom is a struggling author in New York City, he likes to search for stories around the city, he ends up meeting a beautiful French woman, taking a chance that she has one that he hasn’t seen before, he gets caught up in the middle of an unconventional relationship which sees him being welcomed into the family despite her being married, he is caught up in what could be, he doesn’t want to see the bigger picture, even though his work starts to get recognised only for him to know he has found a new story. Arielle is a married French woman that is in New York, she spends time looking for strangers in what is her free time, she enjoys her time with Brian despite being married with children, she shows Brian a different life and culture, which sees the two different cultures being about what could have been. Jane is a woman that Valery is seeing on the side, she knows the situation that Brian is in with Arielle’s husband. Arlene and Sam are Brian’s parents that don’t approve of his decision, you do feel like they might have had a bigger impact on things too, but we don’t see it.

PerformancesAnton Yelchin once again shows the world what we are missing since his death, he gives us such a grounded performance that will make it easy to identify with. Berenice Marlohe is wonderful too, with the two having excellent chemistry through the film. The supporting cast all get their scenes and don’t put a foot wrong in this film, they will get the messages they need to over in the smaller scenes.

StoryThe story here follows two strangers that meet in New York, they get involved in a complicated relationship which sees them needing to play by rules, with the clash of cultures being questioned at all times. This is a story about relationships, stories and talking to people. We do get to see how sometimes things can become more complicated than they need to, learn the chances can’t always be taken, because of certain things holding people back and people will to just be friends at times. This shows us that you never know what you could miss in life, if you don’t look and see what is in front of you.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in this film comes from the days of enjoyment you see Brian and Arielle have together, they make each other laugh more than the rest of their lives, the romance here shows how you could meet somebody that make you see life in a different way, one whose vision you want to spend your life with.

SettingsNew York is a setting I have always said makes a beautiful location and one that will always be perfect for a romantic backdrop.

Scene of the Movie – Tasting test.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The aging on Brian, looks to dramatic.

Final Thoughts This is a wonderful look at a relationship people can have, it shows us just how you could meet somebody out of nowhere and the chemistry between the two leads is fantastic.

Overall: Lovely drama.

Annabelle (2014) Movie Review

Director: John R Leonetti

Writer: Gary Dauberman (Screenplay)

Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Tony Amendola, Alfre Woodard, Kerry O’Malley, Brian Howe, Eric Ladin

Plot: A couple begins to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.

Tagline – Before The Conjuring there was Annabelle

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Standard Horror

Story: Annabelle starts when Mia (Wallis) and John (Horton) look to start their family with a baby due any day, one final present is the doll we know as Annabelle to complete a collection, one terrifying night Mia and John only just make it out alive after a couple of cult members attack them, dying in the house, one clutching the doll.

Once the baby arrives they move to Pasadena to help follow John’s career and to hopefully start once again, only for the doll they thought they had dumped to follow them there, which soon leads to unexplained events happening around their new apartment.

Thoughts on Annabelle

Characters – Mia is the wife and soon-to-be mother who hears the screams next door which leads to the invasion from the cult visitors, barely surviving a stab wound to the chest, needing to move away from the home where this happens with her first child, she finds herself still haunted by the evil of that night, needing to find the answers to the demon that is trying to take her daughter’s soul. John is the doctor husband of Mia, he will support his wife, only to never experience the horrors himself, he is always just out of reach of the demon haunting Mia. Father Perez is the one that comes to offer support, not just with getting through the traumatic events, but dealing with the demon that has starts following them. Evelyn is the local woman that befriends Mia through her move to the new city, she has her own story that she is willing to share with somebody in need.

PerformancesAnnabelle Wallis in the leading role is the highlight of the performances, this is mostly because she has the most to do, with her fear both before and after having the baby coming through strong. Ward Horton doesn’t do anything wrong, it is hard to bring the pretty blank character to life, while Tony Amendola and Alfre Woodard do all they can in the supporting roles.

StoryThe story here follows the first encounter with the Annabelle doll, we see one family getting haunted as the evil surrounding the doll is looking to take the soul of their baby. Annabelle was one of the most famous parts of the Warren’s artefact room, it is known as being the most powerful, which is why it is interesting to see how it first came about being evil. Seeing the family slowly getting haunting, mostly if not all the mother figure does follow the trait of every single horror movie where the family gets haunted, with the father figure barely experiencing a thing. It is a routine jump scare set up movie, only giving us time to explore the world around it over time, with needing to make the biggest deal with the research side of the haunting. It is an easy watch though which is always good enough for the horror audience to experience.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in this film is mostly slowly built up jump scares, we have one that is a true stand out, with the door being run at, but after a while you know when each one will happen, with the mystery side of the film almost being tagged on to fill gaps.

SettingsThe film does the clever horror location trick of moving the family to stop it being just a ghost haunting film, instead moving it to the demon that is haunting the family, thought it does seem to want to be Rosemary’s Baby with the location choice.

Special EffectsThe effects are strong with most looking more practical than CGI, with how the demon looks, when we get small glimpses of it.

Scene of the Movie – The little girl running at the door.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The husband doesn’t experience a thing.

Final Thoughts This is a nice simple by the book horror that doesn’t do a thing wrong, despite being formulaic with how everything unfolds.

Overall: Formulaic Horror.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – T – The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) Movie Review

Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Writer: Robeto Aguirre-Sacasa, Earl E Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Addison Timlin, Veronica Cartwright, Anthony Anderson, Travis Tope, Joshua Leonard, Andy Abele, Gary Cole

Plot: 65 years after a masked serial killer terrorized the small town of Texarkana, the so-called ‘moonlight murders’ begin again. Is it a copycat or something even more sinister? A lonely high school girl, with dark secrets of her own, may be the key to catching him.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slasher 101

Story: The Town That Dreaded Sundown starts when Jami (Timlin) and her boyfriend Corey (Clark) are attending the drive-in-movie-theatre showing the movie based on the real murders set in Texarkana 65-years-ago, moving to lover’s lane the killer known as The Phantom catches them, murdering Corey, leaving Jami with a message and the town is thrown back into fear again.

When the Phantom strikes again, he leaves Jami with a warning that he stop until she gives up her own secret, with the town bringing in the Texas Rangers Lone Wolf Morales (Anderson) to hunt down the before more people are murdered, is this the original killer returning or a copycat.

Thoughts on The Town That Dreaded Sundown

Characters – Jami breaks the mould of the final girl, she is a survivor of the first attack being left with a message of trying to find Mary. Jami starts looking into the history of the town going in search of what happened 65 years ago, needing to decide about her own future in the town or going off to college. Jami isn’t a teenager that is going to be running, she is almost like the messenger for the killer. Lillian is the grandmother of Jami, she has raised her after her parent’s death, she wants what is best for her even though she might know something about the past. Lone Wolf Morales is a Texas Ranger that has come to the town in search of the answers, he has taken complete control of the investigation and will listen to any story which might uncover the truth about what is happening. Nick is the former classmate of Jami’s he works in the achieves where he helps Jami learn about the history of the town becoming a new love interest for her.

PerformancesAddison Timlin in the leading role makes for a great scream figure, while not just looking like a victim. Anthony Anderson does seem to bring a little bit of humour to the film, while the rest of the cast don’t put a foot wrong.

StoryThe story here follows a town which suffered from a serial killer spree 65-years ago, a film which bought back the memories and now a new killer has arrived killing mindlessly through town. This story might follow elements of the traditional stalker killer, which for the most part is an easy watch, when it jumps out to the next level of being a meta sequel, while also taking the story in a new direction, we get a nice mix of the three, with the idea that this is based on an unsolved murder spree, a reality check on a film that is about those murders and a potential copycat or supernatural killer, we are kept guessing. The story however is filled with weaknesses because we did get hints of people that would have been involved and they just seem to drop the potential of us having suspects, while the killer reveal is also largely disappointing by the end. This story does make us feel like we are watching a more serious version of Scream with how the world is created around us.

Horror/MysteryThe horror is a blood soaked slasher style, we get plenty of rules being broken for that genre too, with Jami not being killed in the opening attack, we also get to see how the killer isn’t slow and is predatory at times, with the mystery being around who the killer could be and why they have targeted certain people through the film.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town on the border of two states, this means we get the police arguing over who should lead the case, as well as being in a place with a history of a serial killer.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, we know we are going to get plenty of blood with the kills that aren’t as bloody as they could have been, but show the brutality of the kill.

Scene of the Movie – The aerial field shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The killer reveal is weak.

Final Thoughts This is a slasher that is a joy to watch because it turns the rules of the genre on its head, even if the final reveal is the weak point of the film.

Overall: Slasher to Admire.

Every Secret Thing (2014) Movie Review

Director: Amy Berg

Writer: Nicole Holofcener (Screenplay) Laura Lippman (Novel)

Starring: Diane Lane, Elizabeth Banks, Dakota Fanning, Nate Parker, Common

Plot: A detective looks to unravel a mystery surrounding missing children and the prime suspects: two young women who, seven years ago, were put away for an infant’s death.

Tagline – Don’t look away for even a second.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Excellent Mystery Thriller

Story: Every Secret Thing starts when Alice and Ronnie a young girls kill a baby, now they are 18-years-old Alice (Macdonald) is living back with her teacher mother Helen (Lane) who is trying to help get her back into society, while Ronnie (Fanning) gets back into work. When another toddler goes missing Nancy Porter (Banks) and Kevin Jones (Parker) a leading the investigation.

As the disappearance starts becoming lengthy, the detectives turn to Alice and Ronnie for answers, believing they might have an answer, which leads to a look into the past event which left the girls in juvenile hall, will the past unlock the truth and save the missing child?

Thoughts on Every Secret Thing

Characters – Alice is one of two girls that was sent away for a baby’s death, she has always been an outside and social awkward child, now 18, she wants to be part of the world, only she finds herself being lonely, distant from her mother and still in belief that she wasn’t involved with original death. Ronnie is the other girl that was sent away, she does seem like somebody that would get in trouble more and takes the baby, she has put her life back in order, while still coming off shady and broken. Helen is Alice’s mother, she is a teacher that has always wanted to help young people develop, but she struggles to get through to her own daughter. Nancy Porter is leading the investigation, she was the detective that discovered the baby and now she wants to learn more about the truth, trying to uncover the years of damage both the girls have and is in a race against time to not find another dead child.

PerformancesDanielle Macdonald gives a star making performance in this leading role, we see such a range in her performance it will leave you mesmerised by her performance. Dakota Fanning is great too, we see how conflicted her character is with the events of the film, while Diane Lane, brings the distant mother to life with ease. Elizabeth Banks is wonderful too, giving us a performance that showed how determined she is get the case closed.

StoryThe story here follows two detectives that must find a missing child, with the two teenage girls who recently got released from juvenile hall becoming the prime suspects as they were locked up for killing a baby. This story shows us plenty, while keeping the truth from us for so long, the story does give us plenty of hints to the truth and by re-watching you will pick up on all of them. We do get to see how mistakes of the past can do two things, break people with guilt or make them embrace their problems becoming a threat to the world. We are left guessing to what the truth will be which is extremely great to see in any crime mystery and everything is played into stories from the past and how people remember them.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of this film is the investigation to the missing child, we see how the clues are uncovered which only dives further into the mystery of the story.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town, which was rocked by the first crime and one that will come together to try and solve the new crime.

Scene of the Movie – The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We get a strange first introduction to detective Jones, only for it to mean nothing.

Final Thoughts This is a thriller that will keep you guessing, it has plenty of clues in the story that will give you the truth to everything that is happening in the film.

Overall: Must watch crime mystery.

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – J – Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014) Movie Review

This is under J because of director Jay Oliva.

Director: Jay Oliva, Ethan Spaulding

Writer: Heath Corson (Screenplay) Bob Kane, Lew Schwartz, John Ostrander, John Byrne, Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, Len Wein, Luke McDonnell (Creators)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Kevin Conroy, Neal McDonough, Hynden Walch, Matthew Gray Gubler, Troy Baker, Eric Bauza, Chris Cox

Plot: Batman works desperately to find a bomb planted by the Joker while Amanda Waller hires her newly formed Suicide Squad to break into Arkham Asylum to recover vital information stolen by the Riddler.

Tagline – Get ready to root for the bad guys.

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Bloated, But Great

Story: Batman: Assault on Arkham starts as Batman takes down the Riddler, interfering the arrest by Amanda Waller, which sees her turn to the Suicide Squad, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, King Shark, Captain Boomerang, Black Spider and Killer Frost in an attempt to get their hands on the plans from Joker, who might be ready to take the city down once and for all.

The suicide squad must operate without attracting the Batman’s attention as they look to break into the asylum to break Joker and the Riddler out to make sure the bomb doesn’t become a threat.

Thoughts on Batman: Assault on Arkham

Characters – Batman will always be the central figure for a film set in Gotham, he is the hero that everybody who does something illegal is scared off, no matter what the bigger cause is going to be. He is hunting for the truth and is always trying to stop the squads plan. Deadshot and Harley Quinn are both members of the suicide squad who know they need to elude the Batman, while doing the job they could die doing just for their own freedom. Joker is the man that has planted a bomb in Gotham threatening to blow it up, with the Batman trying to get the truth. With the Riddler knowing the answers to everything, only keeping his answers secret in his riddles. Sadly, neither of the two biggest villains are used enough in the film, instead of us focusing on the suicide squad side of the characters.

StoryThe story here follows the suicide squad as they must elude Batman to go on a daring prison raid to capture the Riddler and stop the Joker. When it comes to comic book movies we like to have a lot going on, this one has so much going on, it makes it so enjoyable, we have countless numbers of iconic characters from the Batman universe here, we aren’t only following the cape crusader, we have the middle of the road characters, the twisted villains, it is like a whose who of characters from this universe and it was a true pleasure to see how everything unfolds, with the darkness and bloodshed not being held back.

Action/CrimeThe action is the big fight sequences, we get glimpse of what each villain or hero can do in combat which also leaves us feeling impressed with the crime riddled city that needs help.

SettingsThe film uses the Arkham Asylum as the main setting, a place that become massive because of the quality of the video game, that also explains why we have so many villainous characters around the place.

AnimationWhen it comes to the animation, nothing looks bad, we know we are going to have a style which isn’t on the par with Disney, but one we can get behind easily.

Scene of the Movie – Everyone Unleashed.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t get enough from the massive cast of characters.

Final Thoughts This is like having every possible villain thrown into one film, only not getting enough time to enjoy their menacing ways.

Overall: Enjoyable.