The Dinner Party (2020) Movie Review

Director: Miles Doleac

Writer: Miles Doleac, Michael Donovan Horn (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeremy London, Bill Sage, Sawandi Wilson, Ritchie Montgomery, Sherri Eakin, Miles Doleac, Alli Hart

Plot: A budding playwright and his wife attend a dinner party hosted by wealthy, cultural elites, who have promised to bankroll the writer’s latest play to Broadway, but, in fact, have darker designs in mind for the couple.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Eccentrically Enjoyable

Story: The Dinner Party starts as a playwright Jeff (Mayhall) and his wife Haley (Hart) head to an eccentric Carmine (Sage) who is hosting a dinner party for them to secure funding for Jeff’s latest play. As the guest fill the table, we have Sebastian (Wilson), Vincent (Doleac), Sadie (Williams) and Agatha (McCuin) making this a roundtable art fans.

As the party begins the speak of the occult takes over, with the hosts of the party showing the real reason for the invitation offer to Jeff and Haley.

Thoughts on The Dinner Party

Characters – Carmine is the host of the party, he prepares the dinner, with his reputation being the reason why Jeff accepts the offer, along with his other host from the elite society with their own secrets. Haley is the wife that has grown up with tragic childhood and told to remain in her place during the dinner, she soon finds herself needing to fight for her life when the hosts plans become clear. Sebastian, Sadie, Vincent and Agatha all have their own part to play in the night, each gets their own method of worship for the ceremony.

PerformancesAlli Hart as the victim of night does show strength in moments of the film, the uncomfortable feeling through many situations in the film too, with a final act performance that could compete with Samara Weaving in Ready or Not. When it comes to the party hosts, Bill Sage, Sawandi Wilson, Lindsay Anne Williams, Miles Doleac and Kamille McCuin thrive in their eccentric roles.

StoryThe story here follows a couple that get an exclusive invitation to dinner party in hopes of securing funding for a new play, when the night takes a turn, it becomes clear the hosts had other plans for the night. This is a story that might well take a little longer than it needs to, to get going, with the eccentric nature of the hosts coming to life, but once the motivation happens, we get a final act that could easily be put in any list with ‘You’re Next’ or ‘Ready or Not’

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from the true motivation of the hosts, each one has their own twisted fantasy to follow in the ritual.

SettingsThe film uses the one house as the main location, each room has its own theme, which helps show the different traits the characters have.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are great with the blood splatter coming on strong through the film.

Scene of the Movie – The final supper.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The cop is too cliché.

Final Thoughts This is a fun horror that isn’t afraid to hold anything back, it has an excellent final act that saves the slower start.

Overall: Fun Horror.

Soundtrack to Sixteen (2020) Movie Review

Director: Hillary Shakespeare

Writer: Hillary Shakespeare, Anna-Elizabeth Shakespeare (Screenplay)

Starring: Scarlett Marshall, James Calloway, Jamal Hadjkura, Jack Boal, Sean Micallef, Emily Jayne

Plot: A coming of age story of a boy and girl growing up in London in the noughties, dealing with the everyday insecurities that make your world implode at sixteen.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Delightful Coming-of-Age Film

Story: Soundtrack to Sixteen starts as we meet two different sixteen year olds, Maisy (Marshall) who has been struggling to fit in and wanting to experience her first kiss, Ben is a smart kid who has always put his studies first until he starts to struggling to hit the grades he once hit.

The two both decide they want a change in their lives, Maisy starts trying to hang around with the cooler kids, only for them to clearly use her, while Ben wants to experience becoming more laid back and letting grades take their own place, until the two meet and finally find themselves around someone who makes them feel happy.

Thoughts on Soundtrack to Sixteen

Characters – Maisy is the lonely 16-year-old, she is caught up in the middle of wanting to have her first kiss, which sees her trying to find a group of friends in her life, she finds herself being left out of parties and when invited she is just the ride, alone in the world, she finds an unlikely friend in Ben, only for her to need to learn about her insecurities in life. Ben believes he is going to study and walk through his exams, only to see himself starting to decline in grades, deciding he would rather try and coast through, while being consumed with the desire to succeed, Maisy offers him a new lease on life, someone who could challenge him in conversation, unlike anyone before. We do meet the popular girls that use Maisy, the friends, she turns her back on and the friends that Ben is trying to get more out of.

PerformancesScarlett Marshall and James Calloway are both wonderful in the leading roles, they show the insecurities they are both facing in life, we see the ups and downs they face in everyday life, both show how difficult growing up can be, when plans might not go the way they thought.

StoryThe story here follows two 16-year-olds that are showing the pressures of the final year of school and the social troubles they are facing. The story does touch on the troubles that teenagers could face, be it the pressure of exams, finding friends and understanding who will be there for them in lives. By seeing how close people can be without needing to know who is around them, means we can see how the lives are going in a direction neither Maisy or Ben planned, until they will find each other to help each other. Being set in the 90’s we have all the music I could personally remember liking, which shows the memory lane people could experience through this story, with the biggest question being, ‘where are the parents’.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film follows the two find themselves in difficult situations, while the romance is more about what could be around the corner in life for someone as young as 16, showing how they can struggle to feel accepted with their own choices in life.

SettingsThe film does use the London setting which does reflect just how busy the lives of the teenagers are.

Scene of the Movie – Awkward bus trip.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – These two seem to have no parents supporting them through the problems.

Final Thoughts This is a delightful coming of age film that does show us just how difficult growing up can be for any teenager who doesn’t always fit in.

Overall: Coming of Age Treat.

The Curse of Hobbes House (2020) Movie Review

Director: Juliane Block

Writer: Wolf-Peter Arand (Screenplay) Juliane Block (Story)

Starring: Mhairi Calvey, Makenna Guyler, Waleed Elgadi, Kevin Leslie, Jo PRice

Plot: When down on her luck Jane Dormant learns about the death of her Aunt Alexandra she expects a life-saving inheritance but finds herself battling bloodthirsty Zombies instead, fighting for her life.

Tagline – Don’t wake the dead!

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Unique Undead Action

Story: The Curse of Hobbes House starts with the death of Aunt Alexandra (Hussey) a distant relative of down on her luck Jane Dormant (Calvey), ask to attend the will reading, Jane has an unexpected reunion with her social media celebrity half-sister Jennifer (Guyler) as they deal with they own disagreements in life, join by groundskeeper Naser (Elgadi) and Jennifer’s partner Nigel Thatcher (Leslie).

As the night comes the secret curse on the house comes to life, with darkness filling the halls and the shadows holding secrets of the undead, which will see the sisters needing to put their differences aside to survive the horrors.

Thoughts on The Curse of Hobbes House

Characters – Jane Dormant has struggled in life, she is now living in her car, with her latest job finishing, she doesn’t know where to turn next until she gets an unexpected call about the death of her Aunt and being left something in the will. She is street smart, showing she is up for the fight with the threat that comes their way. Jennifer is the half-sister of Jane, she is a social media celebrity going by the name of Journey, the two clash, like any siblings whose lives have gone in different direction. Nigel Thatcher is the partner of Jennifer, he fills the role of somebody who believes they are better than anyone else. Naser is the caretaker who was given a chance to learn about the curse and the one that does fill in the answer to what is going on.

PerformancesMhairi Calvey as the streetwise of the two sisters is great, while Makenna Guyler works very well as the social media celebrity, the two shows us just what would happen with sisters arguing. Waleed Elgadi and Kevin Leslie are both strong in the supporting roles, filling the required parts of the bigger story.

StoryThe story follows two sisters that must come back together for a will reading, only to learn they are being prepared for something bigger, which will see them fighting off the undead. This story does create its own mythology about why the curse is put in place, which is a very interesting start to the movie as we get to learn what will happen, while the characters must wait to see how things will unfold. When it comes to the sister dynamic and character action, we do follow the traditions of the undead rising formula, this is also seen in the characters decisions too. When we do get to the undead rising they do have a unique look, which would play into why and who they are, when they are rising. This is a story that has the seeds to be delved into deeper in the future too, with how important this location will be to stop the undead rising.

HorrorThe horror in the film does give us the undead rising, we get to learn about what causes this, which is usually one of the bigger weaknesses in the genre. The undead do have a unique look, with their glowing eyes too.

SettingsThe film is shot in one location, the remote house, it has a historical look, which only gets to play into the deeper picture of everything going on.

Special EffectsThe effects used in the film are used well, we don’t turn to them for the shock undead kill, rather, we focus on the story at hand.

Scene of the Movie – The first undead appearance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – How did the undead get upstairs?

Final Thoughts This is a horror movie that does bring something new to the undead concept, we have a greater built in mythology about what is causing everything, that doesn’t take clues to uncover.

Overall: Unique Undead Spin.

A Clear Shot (2020) Movie Review

Director: Nick Leisure

Writer: Nick Leisure (Screenplay)

Starring: Mario Van Peebles, Mandela Van Peebles, Jessica Meza, Marshal Hilton, David Fernandez Jr, Lance Wood, Michael Balin, Hao Do

Plot: An electronic store erupts into chaos as four gunmen storm the premises. Rick Gomez, Sacramento Police Departments’ top negotiator, realizes he needs to talk down the gunmen and keep everyone safe, all while juggling government politics. The gunmen leader doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but his brother is a different story. A peaceful surrender quickly turns this sleepy city into a national tragedy.

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Intense Thriller

Story: A Clear Shot starts when Loi (Do) leads a group of Vietnamese gunmen into an electronics store to hold the customers and employee’s hostage. Gomez (Mario Van Peebles) is called into be the negotiator as he looks for a peaceful solutions where he gets Kappy (Hilton) on his shoulder for a more aggressive approach, with the Sheriff Todd (Balin) letting his SWAT teams prepare to breach.

As the situation starts getting more intense, Gomez must look to retain the power in the situation, as we learn the motivation behind the Loi’s actions, leading us to a highly tension conclusion to the situation.

Thoughts on A Clear Shot

Characters – Gomez is the negotiator assigned to the situation, he has a calm demeaner which will give him a chance to talk to the criminal in charge, he must learn who he can trust both on the inside and the outside, surrounding himself with the strongest helping make his job easier, where he will need to pull out all of the tricks to stay on top of the situation. Kappy is the second to Gomez, he does give him advice with different ideas of what he could do, but will stand by his decisions through the situation, Advencula is a cop that also works with Gomez from the street side of everything. Loi is the lead hostage taker who does have a reason for what they are doing, which gives us a reason to get sympathy towards him.

PerformancesMario Van Peebles in the leading role works very well as the negotiator, as he shows the calm persona required through the film. Marshal Hilton is entertaining to watch, giving us a few lighter moments through the situation, with Hao Do and Tony Dew being the highlight of the criminals.

StoryThe story here follows a hostage situation that sees the control of power need to be obtained by a negotiator from both inside and outside of the situation to save the hostages before it is too late. This story is based on a real event and does show how the situation can be calmly handled, rather than be all guns blazing approach. We are given a reason to understand why the hostage takers are committing their action, see how the different police are trying to play a card they believe is best. We even get to see how the different hostages are trying to operate, though one doesn’t seem to get the true impact as to what happens to them and also struggles to show us quite what happens when everything is all set and done.

ThrillerThis is a hostage situation movie, which does have tense moments through the film which sees Gomez trying to control everything.

SettingsThe film uses the electronics store interior and exterior as the main settings, it is everything you would expect, only it does looks too new to be an existing location.

Scene of the Movie – Meeting at the door.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The showdown isn’t as clear as it could have been.

Final Thoughts This is an entertaining thriller that does show the difficulties of trying to maintain control of a situation which could spiral out of control.

Overall: Entertaining.

Scoob! (2020) Movie Review

Director: Tony Cervone

Writer: Matt Lieberman, Adam Sztykiel, Jack Donaldson, Derek Elliott (Screenplay) Joe Ruby, Ken Spears (Characters)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Will Forte, Mark Wahlberg, Jason Isaacs, Dina Rodriguez, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Kiersey Clemons, Ken Jeong

Plot: Scooby and the gang face their most challenging mystery ever: a plot to unleash the ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. As they race to stop this dogpocalypse, the gang discovers that Scooby has an epic destiny greater than anyone imagined.

Tagline – His epic tail begins

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: What the Hell is This?

Story: Scoob! Starts as we see how a young lonely Shaggy meets Scooby Doo, along with their growing friendship, they meet Fred, Daphne and Velma before solving their first mystery before growing up solving countless mysteries.

When the team needs more money to continue their adventures which sees Shaggy and Scooby being pushed out, only for them to be thrown into their own adventure with their hero Blue Falcon, after Dick Dastardly tries to take Scooby Doo for his own reasons.

Thoughts on Scoob!

Characters – Shaggy seems to take the centre focus on this film with him always trying to find his place in the world, always feeling lonely when his friends are moving on in life, he even sees Scooby get a chance to be a hero. Scooby Doo became the best friend to Shaggy, he becomes important in a new mystery, together they are great, apart they show their weaknesses. Fred, Daphne and Velma seem to take a back burner for the most part and when we do see them Fred seems to have become dumber. Blue Falcon is the superhero that is trying to help Scooby, only he is dealing with leaving in the shadow of his father, never being as smart as the rest of his team. Dick Dastardly is the villain trying to capture Scooby Doo, he uses his gadgets to stay ahead, with his own mission being one very personal to him.

StoryThe story here follows Scooby Doo and Shaggy finding themselves in a bigger battle against Dick Dastardly, where they need to discover the true meaning of friendship to save the world. The story might have the friendship heart involved, only it seems to fail on capture the magic we always knew the stories would involve, there just isn’t a mystery that we need to see, we are just dealing with an established villain that wants something that isn’t even that evil. We also seem to get bogged down with a new selection of characters with the Blue Falcon and his crew getting more screen time than most of the mystery Inc gang.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure takes characters from a simple idea of stopping criminals, on a worldwide adventure completely going against the tone if the cartoon, the comedy does hit at times, we get a couple of good laughs.

SettingsThe film does take us all over the world, which does seem to leave us in the wrong cartoon.

AnimationThe animation in the film seems weird, it doesn’t give the cartoon the same love it looks.

Scene of the Movie – Fred defending the honour of the mystery machine.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Lacks any mystery, which is what Scooby Doo is all about.

Final Thoughts This is just a terrible version of the much loved characters, we do have heart with friendship, only it lacks any mystery required which is the central point of the whole show.

Overall: Terrible Animation.