Maudie (2016) Movie Review

Director: Aisling Walsh

Writer: Sherry White (Screenplay)

Starring: Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett, Gabrielle Rose, Zachary Bennett

Plot: An arthritic Nova Scotia woman works as a housekeeper while she hones her skills as an artist and eventually becomes a beloved figure in the community.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Wonderfully Acted

Story: Maudie starts when a shy woman Maud (Hawkins) who finds her house sold and she is left feeling worthless, until she finds employment under outsider Everett (Hawke), who is demanding when it comes to his standards, until wealthy woman Sandra (Matchett) learns of her artistic talents.

Maud ends up involved in a relationship with Everett, as the two find happiness together, while Maud’s new artwork starts to attract attention from people around, with her positive use of colours through her designs.

Thoughts on Maudie

Characters – Maud has had a lonely life, one where she is left on her own through most days, where she paints to keep herself happy, she decides to become a housekeeper, which will see her movie in with outsider Everett, here she finds an unusual love, that her talent is loved by people and that she is important in life, no matter how many times she has been hurt through it. Everett is the outside in the town, he has chance most of his housekeepers away with his demands and behaviour, not wanting to be involved with many people’s lives, he holds everything inside, even though he has so much more going on than he is will to let people know. Sandra is the wealthy woman that first sees Maud’s work and wants to show the world, she offers her a friendship, unlike anything she has received before.

PerformancesWe do have two of the best actors of a generation here, with Sally Hawkins taking the leading role shining once again, Ethan Hawke working wonders in the supporting role too, where they help increase the talents of each other through the film.

StoryThe story here follows the life of Maud, from the time she meets Everett and started making art which mad her famous with the community, as she see the struggles the couple had being outsiders in their own right. This does look at the struggles that Maud when through in her life, though however talented she was, her life didn’t seem to be eventful enough to get a feature length story out off. This is because she did keep herself to herself along with her husband, not getting herself into any trouble, just letting herself live a quiet life.

Biopic/RomanceThe biopic side of this film does show us just how quiet Maud kept her life with a love life that was never flashy about their love.

SettingsThe film does show us just how away from the world the couple live, they are happy together and never look for more.

Scene of the Movie – The interview.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – However talented Maud was, her life doesn’t seem like enough for a feature film.

Final Thoughts This does show the quiet life the couple looked to live and how they found love with what kept them happy.

Overall: Biopic 101.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – V – Dead End (2016) Movie Review

We are under V for the character Vijah in this film.

Director: Chris von Hoffmann

Writer: Chris von Hoffman, Aria Emory (Screenplay)

Starring: Aria Emory, Drew Harwood, Monique Rosario, James McCabe, Anthony Ficco, Rebecca Fraiser, Javier Gabriel

Plot: A pair of outlaw brothers seek temporary refuge in a desolate town inhabited by a small family of psychotic cannibalistic lunatics.

Tagline – Live in fear.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Aggressively Violent

Story: Dead End starts as a pair of brothers Miles (Emory) and Dominic (Harewood) and outlaws racing across the desert landscape in a world where a car is seen as a luxury item for the remaining survivors.

With Miles injured, the pair look for medical help which sees them stumble into a desolate town, where Vijah (Rosario) helps and warns them about the dangers in the town, with the leader Doyle (McCabe) having a much darker side than the brothers could imagine.

Thoughts on Dead End

Characters – Miles is the younger of the two brothers, he gets wounded in the opening scene, with his brother always bailing him out of trouble, he will need to learn to step up and fight back when needed or face becoming a victim to this world. Dominic is the older of the two, he will always fight to save his little brother, being a constant threat to anybody who messy with them, until this new town, where he meets his match after failing to following simple instructions. Vijah is the young woman that offers the brothers shelter and warns them about the danger in the town, she doesn’t want to be part of what happened there but is trapped there with no escape. Doyle runs the town, he is twisted man that uses his power to control a group of cannibals, who are always waiting for their latest victims.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances, Drew Harwood is strongest in the film, he shows the strong figure he is meant to be and how stubborn his character is meant to be, while Aria Emory is meant to be playing the more innocent, he does work well in this role for the film. Monique Rosario is strong too, without getting too much outside the box to do, while James McCabe does bring the sinister nature of his character to life.

StoryThe story follows two brothers in a post-apocalyptic world where cars are worth killing for as are supplies of any sort, they find themselves in a desolate town where they must try and survive the locals who are cannibalistic lunatics. This story does try to borrow from films like Mad Max and Book of Eli, only it doesn’t offer enough when it comes to the bigger questions of just what is going on, what has put the world in this situation or is this just a random desert town, is it even a post-apocalyptic world or not, these are big questions that are not answered here. When it comes to the actual showdown, things just seem to focus on trying to be edgy rather than telling a proper story, with parts of this feeling like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, while not having the guts to push things to the next level. It is by the book to say the least at plays on trying to be more violent that it needs to be.

Crime/HorrorThe crime and horror elements of the film mix together, because we see what are meant to be outlaws, (Still not sure if they were) being targeted by cannibals who don’t seem to have a stop button when it comes to their violence.

SettingsThe film does create the open and abandoned feel the world is meant to be in, which does show how hopeless some of the characters are left to feel during the film.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, we are mostly focused on the wounds the characters suffer, which does look as brutal as it is meant to, though it could have been a lot worse for the audience.

Scene of the Movie – Dominic meets his match.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Borrows from too many movies, without making anything original when it comes to the concepts borrowed.

Final Thoughts This is a violent aggressive movie that wants to show more chaos than giving us an actual story, we are left to just wait for the next violent moment to happen, while borrowing scenes from bigger and better films.

Overall: Dead End, More like Dead on Arrival.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – Q – Quarries (2016) Movie Review

Director: Nils Taylor

Writer: Nils Taylor, Nicole Marie Johnson (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicole Marie Johnson, Carrie Finklea, Leisha Hailey, Sara Mornell, Luke Edwards, Nicole DuPort, Joy McElveen

Plot: To escape her abusive boyfriend, Kat joins a wilderness expedition with a group of women, all of whom are struggling with the uncertainty of life. What was supposed to be an opportunity for personal discovery quickly becomes a fight for survival, forcing each one to discover the strength within themselves that they didn’t even know they possessed. While being brazenly chased by a pack of predators, the strong quickly set themselves apart from the weak. In a battle of will, stamina, and heart, these very virtues present themselves at the most crucial moment. With death looming, each is left with what is truly important – the strength within oneself.

Tagline – They just keep coming …

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Survival Horror

Story: Quarries starts as Kat (Johnson) escaping her abusive relationship, still with the bruises to show for her time there, joins up late for a wilderness expedition group with, Wren (Finklea), Madison (Hailey), Jean (Mornell), April (DuPort), Joy (McElveen) and Brit (McFadzien) as the route as changed last minute, but the plan is to show support for each other on the journey.

After the group suffer a minor accident that they can deal with the leader Jean needs medical treatment, until things get worse for the women, when they find themselves being hunted down by a group of psychotic men who hunt anyone on their land.

Thoughts on Quarries

Characters – Kat has just managed to escape an abusive relationship, she is still showing the bruises from what he did to her, to recover, she looks to get back to the wilderness on an expedition to find herself, where her medical training comes in crucial after an injury and once the group finds themselves under attack. Wren is the member of the group that seems most distant with her rebellious nature. Madison is the one that shows the most fight, she is on the trip to help keep her relationship with April strong as the two show their ups and downs through the trip. Jean is the one that has planned the trip that gets injured and could be the only one that knows the easy way out.

PerformancesNicole Marie Johnson in the leading role does have the most to deal with and it shows in her performance, being the highlight of the performances. When it comes to the rest of the cast nobody is bad, they just do what they need to through the film.

StoryThe story here follows seven women who go on a wilderness expedition only to find themselves the target of a group of men looking to hunt anybody who comes on the land. This story does keep the main side simple enough, a group of people trying to survive against people trying to kill them, it is easy to follow and each encounter gets to show the strength of other characters, while getting through life problems along the way. This isn’t the biggest story, but keeps things simple for the audience.

HorrorThe horror involved in the film, is all about the surviving side of the film, with the women needing to survive the attacks coming their way.

SettingsThe film puts our characters into the wilderness which shows they won’t have an easy escape from threat.

Special EffectsWhen the special effects are used they show the wounds inflicted, though nothing is too over the top.

Scene of the Movie – The night attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t get as brutal as the killers are implied to want to see.

Final Thoughts This is a simple, while entertaining horror film that plays everything safer than it could have, without hitting the heights other films along the same lines can hit.

Overall: Simple Horror.

Offensive (2016) Movie Review

Director: Jonathan Ford

Writer: Jonathan Ford (Screenplay)

Starring: Russell Floyd, Lisa Eichhorn, Fred Adenis, Timothy Morand, Angela Dixon, Etienne Fouillade

Plot: A retired couple are targeted by a cruel gang of street youths . A new breed of technological psychopath. This is the old generation vs the new.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Disturbing & Unsettling

Story: Offensive starts when a retired couple Bernard (Floyd) and Helen (Eichhorn) inherit a small villa in a village in France, with the stipulation that they must live there for one year, they meet a lonely widowed neighbour Patrick (Morand) before learning quickly about the youths in the area, that cause chaos, with franks, name calling and acts of violence, film their actions for their own entertainment.

Soon both Bernard and Helen start getting targeted by the thugs, with the police doing next to nothing to help, even accusing Bernard of starting more of the trouble himself.

Thoughts on Offensive

Characters – Bernard is a retired teacher who inherits a house in France from a family friend whose father fought with his in World War II, he sees this as a start with his wife for a healthy retirement, only once he learns about the troubles and gets targeted, he is torn between trying to walk away or fight back. Helen is the wife that tries to stop him getting revenge on the thugs, she wants to walk the moral line, trying to let the police solve the problems. Jean-Baptiste is the police officer trying to keep the peace, not knowing what is right about what is going on, trying to play everything down the line. Patrick is a neighbour that welcomes the couple, he has been clashing with the thugs, with what happens to him being the catalyst for Bernard to react.

PerformancesRussell Floyd in the leading role is great, because he is playing somebody that is trying not to fight back and somebody that looks like he could be an easier target for the thugs. Lisa Eichhorn does well, though her character seems to be more about the moral decision behind everything going on. The young actors playing the thugs are disturbingly great to watch because you want them to get what is coming to them.

StoryThe story follows a retired couple that find themselves being targeted by the villages group of thugs, which soon sees thing starting to get out of hand. Bought to us in the same kind of tone as ‘Eden Lake’ this shows us how the youth of today could start getting out of hand to new extremes, with violence being used in numbers, with the idea that technology lets them replay the footage again and again, this does make us get some horrible characters that you are wishing to be wiped of this Earth. This is all great to watch, when we start getting into the moral decisions going on, this just gets bogged down, nobody in their right mind would defend any of the actions done to these thugs it isn’t even worth a talk. For a revenge like horror this is one you can get behind what is happening, feeling complete sympathy for the retired couple and nothing for the thugs.

HorrorThe horror here comes from the actions the couple must first live through and then proceed to get revenge for, the wounds we see suffered are brutal and feel like it is real, you may need to look away at times.

SettingsThe film is set in a small French village, it shows the divide between the youth and the older generation, with just how they act towards them.

Scene of the Movie – The first fight back.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The talk about moral right thing.

Final Thoughts This is a brutal horror that plays into the revenge like mentality, it has the same tone as Eden Lake, with us only caring about the retired couple.

Overall: Brutally Disturbing Horror.

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – K – Batman: The Killing Joke (2016) Movie Review

Director: Sam Liu

Writer: Brian Azzarello (Screenplay) Alan Moore (Graphic Novel)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Tara Strong, Ray Wise, John DiMaggio, Robin Atkin Downes

Plot: As Batman hunts for the escaped Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime attacks the Gordon family to prove a diabolical point mirroring his own fall into madness.

Tagline – The madness begins.

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Never Gets Going

Story: Batman: The Killing Joke starts with Batman taking Batgirl under his wing while tracking down criminals, this leads Batgirl down a dark path because the man they are hunting Paris takes a shine to her, showing how she can become vulnerable, forcing Batman to take her out of the loop.

When Paris is captured, it gives The Joker a chance to escape and reign terror on the city once again, targeting the Gordon family, making the battle against the Batman just as personal as ever.

Thoughts on Batman: The Killing Joke

Characters – Batman is committed to protecting Gotham, no matter what, if people help him and he senses danger for them, he will tell them to leave, he wants to be the only one that risks anything for the city, only this time he will return to battle The Joker as his next plan comes to play, with his own closest allies becoming the target. The Joker has been waiting and planning for his next battle with the Batman, we do dive into his past as an aspiring stand up comic with a pregnant wife waiting for him, he is drawn to the life of crime to make a different in the world, now he will do anything to make sure he gets what he wants. Batgirl has been working with Batman, she is learning on the job, which sees her getting the thrill out of fighting crime, which is the worry for the Batman, she gets drawn into her first personal battle, which is why Batman tries to get her out of the fight, until she becomes the latest victim of it all. Commissioner Gordon is working with Batman and even after everything he goes through, he wants him bought in the correct way.

StoryThe story here follows Batman going face to face with the Joker once again after his latest escape from the Asylum and targets the Gordon family. This is a story that does do a couple of things well, first diving into the Joker’s back story is interesting to see, having Batman in the mentoring role is good too, only it does seem to much of do what I say, not what I do. When it comes to the weaknesses, it starts off with the fact the Joker’s masterplan doesn’t seem that interesting or even made that clear, it could seem too dark for the usual, with certain parts of what the Joker does, seeming more about shock value over anything else. The length of the film is also a big question because it is later into the film before we even meet the Joker.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is very basic, we could have seen a lot more from an animated movie, with the crime side of the film being more about trying to get to the bottom of what the Joker wants this time.

SettingsThe film is set in the locations you would expect to see the criminals active in, while we never seem to get to see Bruce Manor which is one of the more iconic locations for Batman.

AnimationThe animation looks top notch throughout, it gives the Batman films the look we are all familiar with too.

Scene of the Movie – Joker’s backstory.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Just not much going with the Joker’s plan.

Final Thoughts This is a basic Batman animated story which does everything it needs too, even if this one does try to push the boundaries at times.

Overall: Simple Batman film.