ABC Film Challenge – Action – W – Wolves (2014) Movie Review

Director: David Hayter

Writer: David Hayter (Screenplay)

Starring: Lucas Till, Stephen McHattie, John Pyper-Ferguson, Merrit Patterson, Jason Momoa, Janet-Laine Green, Melanie Scrofano

Plot: A boy is trying to find out about his family history and stumbles upon a town of lycans.

Tagline – Unleash the beast

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Wolves starts when Cayden Richards (Till) a high school student learns about a new set of abilities, ones that make him need to leave town, drawn to another town, one filled with werewolves, where John Tollerman (McHattie) takes him in, learning Connor (Momoa) has created a deadly pack of wolves that live in the hills, hunting, waiting for his time.

Once Cayden learns his true identity, he learns he has a place in the war between the two sides as a potential leader and game changer in the war, one that could bring peace between the sides.

Thoughts on Wolves

Characters – Cayden starts as the normal high school sports star with a perfect girlfriend, being the typical jock figure, until one game he unleashes an animal side, which sees the beginning a change in his body, forcing him to escape his home town where he is drawn to another town, one that has other werewolf figures. Cayden must learn to fight for his own position in this world, one where he could change everything. John Tollerman is the man that took Cayden in, he knows his history and knows that he could help them end the war between both sides. Connor is the leader of a deadly pack of werewolves that hunts in the hills where he is waiting for his chance to take power and run riot over the area, he is feared by many because they know he will kill people that cross him. Angelina is the local bartender who holds the key to what everyone is fighting for

PerformancesLucas Till in the leading role is strong and will keep us engaged with the ever changing character through the film, Stephen McHattie brings the calm, cool delivery of the bigger picture, while Jason Momoa brings the imposing figure that will dominate the screen.

StoryThe story here follows a teenager that learns that he is in fact a werewolf and an important part of a battle between two packs. This does bring a different approach to the werewolf genre, instead of focusing on the slow transformation, we are looking at the full pack mentality, much like how we have seen vampires get done in the past. We do see the traditional story of one person needing to learn their place in the world suddenly. The gang mentality works too, with seeing how both sides have their own story, even if the main story does look for an extra twist.

Action/HorrorThe action is in the film does give us over the top fights, which uses the expected abilities of werewolves, only for the horror to be more about the potential ritual situation.

SettingsThe film uses the small town setting to show how the locals could make this battle happen, without anyone ever looking into the truth.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are the weakest part of the film, because when the characters talk, they look completely out of place.

Scene of the Movie – Final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The talking in wolf mode.

Final Thoughts This is an entertaining werewolf movie that is filled with plenty of action and show the deadly nature of the werewolves in the world.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – M – Montana (2014) Movie Review

Director: Mo Ali

Writer: Jeremy Sheldon, Peter Lowe (Screenplay)

Starring: Lars Mikkelsen, Ashley Walters, McKell David, Adam Deacon, Brad Moore, Darrell D’Silva

Plot: In the mean streets of London’s East End, a former Serbian commando and a fourteen-year old boy plot revenge against a powerful crime lord and his ruthless lieutenants.

Tagline – Raised in the streets, trained by an assassin.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Montana starts as we meet streetwise Montana (David) a young man that helps deal get completed for the local drug lord Lazarus (D’Silva), he isn’t high up in the organisation, with the guys seeing him as disposable.

When Lazarus looks to eliminate Montana, a stranger Dimitrije (Mikkelsen) comes to his aid, an assassin who has been watching, waiting for his chance to get revenge on Lazarus, he trains Montana, with the two of them going on a clean up mission around the streets of London.

Thoughts on Montana

Characters – Montana is the streetwise kid who has been dealing for the local drug lords, his reputation will give him protection, until the drug lord wants to get rid of him, leading him to learn how to become an assassin to get back at the people who tried to leave him dead. Dimitrije is an assassin that has arrived in London looking to finally get his revenge on the person that killed his family, he takes Montana under his wing to learn more of the system, looking to pass on his skills. Lazarus is the drug lord that is continuing to look to grow his empire, cutting loose ends and looking to stay on top. Pitt and Ryan are the two connection to Montana, they know they will need to kill him, but know the money he brings in is too high to risk right now. We do see the different sides of the police that are trying to stop or working with drug dealers.

PerformancesMcKell David in the leading role is strong, showing the tough image that is needed to survive the streets. Lars Mikkelsen brings the aging hitman to life, showing how his character has been beaten down in life. The rest of the cast fill the roles well through the film, making us see just how the drug world is operating.

StoryThe story here follows a young drug dealer that gets left for dead by his gang, only for him to be taken in by an assassin looking to get his revenge on the drug lord that took everything from him. This is a by the book idea of a drug dealer being taken out of the system, before being thrown back into the world to get the revenge on the people that tried to out him. We have the different levels of the people involved, which will constantly change, only it does seem to focus on trying to get to the top without having the stability about the operation.

Action/CrimeMost of the action is saved for a couple of sequences, which do have moments of style in them, while we are inside the crime world of drug dealers, assassins and corrupt cops.

SettingsThe film is set in a London estate which will show us how the streets operate, with a drug culture through the gang’s behaviour.

Scene of the Movie – Training montage.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – That drug lord never feels in control.

Final Thoughts This is a by the book style crime movie, it puts us into a world where the drug dealers are looking to keep control, while an assassin is looking for revenge.

Deadly Sisters (2014) Movie Review

Director: Stan Brooks

Writer: Fab Filippo, Adam Till (Screenplay) Bob Mitchell (Book)

Starring: Abigail Breslin, Georgie Henley, Mira Sorvino, James Russo, Rusty Schwimmer, Zoe Belkin

Plot: Tired of their mother’s alcoholism and a string of her abusive boyfriends, two sisters plot to kill her.

Tagline – Being a teenager can be murder.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Lacks the Threat

Story: Deadly Sisters starts when Sandra (Breslin), Beth (Henley), their mother Linda (Sorvino) move to a new town to start a new life, only Linda doesn’t take long to fall of the wagon again, forcing Sandra and Beth to take a more adult role for their younger brother.

As the two sisters continue to get tired of the behaviour of their mother, they decide to look for an alternative answer, they plan to kill her, so they can escape her latest abusive boyfriend, only will they be able to follow through or it is just a project.

Thoughts on Deadly Sisters

Characters – Sandra is the stronger of the two sisters, she always wants to be the centre of attention, with her planning always doing the protecting work for her sister or younger brother, hitting the meetings her mother misses and with her spotlight craving nature, she grabs people’s attention. Beth is the other sister, she has decided to go goth for the new school year, she is the target the new boyfriends abuse and is treating everything more like the project to escape the position they find themselves in. Linda is the alcoholic mother of the girls, she constantly falls off the wagon, picks abusive men around the house, and while the girls try to see the best in her, she just keeps letting them down, forcing them going with their ideas.

PerformancesAbigail Breslin is great in the showboat side of her character with Georgie Henley bringing the quiet side of her character to life with ease, however when it comes to the final act, things seem to get taken away from them in the performance side of things. Mira Sorvino does well as the alcoholic parent who is struggling to stay on top of everything in her life.

StoryThe story here follows two sisters that decide they have had enough of their mother’s self-destructive ways and decide to take the matter into their own hands. This does play into the ideas that it could well be a project between sisters with it being more about how they could get away with it, this is the fun side, as it would make sense for them to act like this with what is going on in their personal lives. We do get to go down the road of committing a crime would lead to their own spiral of self-destruction. This is based on a real story of two sisters, with the names changed, which does end up making this fill like an MTV documentary on the incident, rather than an edgy thriller.

CrimeThe crime side of this film does follow in planning by the sisters and how they look to get away with it, showing the rookie mistakes along the way.

SettingsThe film does use the settings to show us how the sisters are getting tired of the lives they are being put through, wishing they would have more from their lives.

Scene of the Movie – The day after.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The planning with friends seems too naïve.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting crime thriller that takes a look at two sisters trying to fix their own struggles in life, only they end up going too far, well enough acted, only it doesn’t seem to finish as strong as it starts.

Overall: Fizzles Out.

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.