ABC Film Challenge – Catch Up 2021 – U – The Unholy (2021) Movie Review

The Unholy – Simple Ghostly Film

 

Director: Evan Spiliotopoulos

Writer: Evan Spiliotopoulos (Screenplay) James Herbert (Book)

Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Cricket Brown, William Sadler, Katie Aselton, Cary Elwes, Diogo Morgado

Plot: A hearing-impaired girl is visited by the Virgin Mary and can suddenly hear, speak, and heal the sick. As people flock to witness her miracles, terrifying events unfold. Are they the work of the Virgin Mary or something much more sinister?


Tagline – Be careful who you pray to.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Unholy starts when disgraced journalist Gerry Fenn (Morgan) is searching for his latest story with hope of one which can’t sell, only to find himself caught up in another story, one involving a mute deaf woman Alice (Brown) who can suddenly start talking and hearing, as well as performing miracles in healing people.

As the miracles draw more people to the town, Gerry starts to look deeper into the changes in Alice, learning the horrific truth about why she has suddenly gained the powers she has.

Thoughts on The Unholy

Characters & Performances – Gerry Fenn is a disgraced journalist who has a reputation for bending the truth to make sure he gets the attention, never telling the complete truth, always looking for something to report on, now he has found himself in the middle of an unknown case about a woman who has suddenly gain healing powers, but even with that story in place, he looks to dive deeper into the truth. Jeffrey Dean Morgan does his try hard to make something from this leading role, even if not everything is easy to work with. Alice is the deaf mute that finds herself with the new ability to talk and hear, with another miraculous addition, the ability to heal injuries and sickness. She becomes one of the most worshipped people in the local area because of her changes. Cricket Brown does well to show the change in here character goes through, believing in what has happened to her. Father Hagan has raised Alice, he has always used God’s words to help her from what was different in her life and made her the strong young woman she had become. Natalie Gates had worked with Alice to help her in the world, she sees first hand the changes she goes through and wants to understand how they came about. The supporting cast do well without giving us any major factors in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a young deaf mute woman that suddenly gains the ability to talk, hear and heal, leading to a journalist reporting on the miracles that she is performing until the truth slowly gets revealed about what is really going on. When it comes to any film about miracles, it is always interesting to see what the story might bring, be it with the horror directions or the natural one. We do end up going deeper into the supernatural side here, which is more about what happened in the past to cover up for the future, with the traditional investigation while spooky things are going on behind the scenes, it isn’t the most engaging story, but will get the basics of horror done well.

ThemesThe Unholy is a horror movie that relies on people’s faith to drawn them in, only to unleash the truth to everyone else. It will have the basic scares we need without being anything overly fresh. The small town setting can easily play into the ideas of what might be used for a hoax to increase the money coming into the town too. Whereas most of the special effects don’t always work for the film, taking us well out of the haunting moments.

Final Thoughts The Unholy is a nice basic ghost story that will have everything we need to be entertained for the runtime.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch Up 2021 – T – To Olivia (2021) Movie Review

Director: John Hay

Writer: John Hay, David Logan (Screenplay) Stephen Michael Shearer (Novel)

Starring: Hug Bonneville, Keeley Hawes, Bobby O’Neill, Darcey Ewart, Sam Heughan, Rick Lipton, Conleth Hill, Geoffrey Palmer

Plot: The story of the tumultuous marriage between actress Patricia Neal and renowned writer Roald Dahl.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: To Olivia starts as we meet Roald Dahl (Bonneville) and his wife Patricia Neal (Hawes) who have the perfect world with three young children Olivia (Ewart), Tessa (Jonsson) and baby Theo. Both Roald and Patricia are looking for the next stage of their careers until tragedy strikes.

Olivia the eldest daughter gets struck down with illness and passes away, leaving the relationship between Roald and Patricia strained, as they both need to remain strong for the other two children, building an even bigger imagination for Roald to work with.

Thoughts on To Olivia

Characters & Performances – Roald Dahl is the author looking for his next stage of inspiration for a new book, he has the perfect little life, but ends up getting caught in a deep depression after the death of his first daughter, needing to open up about his feelings if he is going to carry on with his life. Once he overcomes his depression, he finds a new love for writing, bringing together some of his best work. Hugh Bonneville is great in this role, bringing the beloved author to life. Patricia Neal is the wife of Roald, she is looking for her next acting role, which will see her struggle, but also look to move on quicker after the death of their child, looking to show the grief she has been through. Keeley Hawes is wonderful in this role, bring the strongest of the couple, the anchor in the life of the couple. The rest of the cast include the children that will need the help needed to get through the problems the family goes through. We also get friends of the family that help the couple find the next stage of their lives.

StoryThe story here follows author Roald Dahl and actress Patricia Neal’s relationship after they lose a child, showing us the pain the couple must go through, the strain it puts on their relationship and the futures they look to fight for. This is an interesting look at the couple’s life showing us how the couple look to build a life to have a better future after the pain they have been through, which will lead to one of the most important moments of their careers. It will show the process the different levels of grief the couple must go through. It gets this side through strong, but the timeline of both the twos careers can become confusing to get understand the levels we are in.

ThemesTo Olivia will use the themes of grief to show us just how the couple will need deal with it. We will see the settings being used from the quiet home in England to the busy life in LA.

 

To Olivia is a great drama about an iconic couple and their awful lose and rebuilding their lives.

See For Me (2021) Movie Review ‘Tense Thriller’

See For Me – Tense Thriller

 

Director: Randall Okita

Writer: Adam Yorke, Tommy Gushue (Screenplay)

Starring: Skyler Davenport, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Laura Vandervoort, Natalie Brown, George Tchortov, Pascal Langdale, Kim Coates

Plot: When blind former skier Sophie cat-sits in a secluded mansion, three thieves invade for the hidden safe. Sophie’s only defence is army veteran Kelly. Kelly helps Sophie defend herself against the invaders to survive.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: See For Me starts as we meet former amateur skier Sarah (Davenport) who is adjusting to her life after going blind, not wanting to let people help her, including her skiing partner Cam (Kaplan), who is prepared to help her get back on the slopes.

Sophie takes a job cat-sitting for Debra (Vandervoort) is a remote mansion, which will see her night turned into terror, when three intruders Otis (Tchortov), Ernie (Langdale) and Dave (Pingue) break into the mansion, with Sophie needing to turn to an app on her phone ‘See For Me’ to get help from army veteran Kelly (Kennedy) to guide her through the night.

Thoughts on See For Me

Characters & Performances – Sophie is a former amateur skier that has lost her sight, she is adapting to her new life, not wanting to let anyone help her, often pushing people away from her, coming off rude towards everyone in her life. She takes a role as a cat-sitter which will see her needing to adapt to a new house layout, while needing to turn to an app ‘See For Me’ for help getting back in the home, learning someone out there will help her. She will need to learn to trust someone else in her life to make it through the night, giving herself confidence to accept a change in her life. Skyler Davenport does a great job in the leading role, showing the frustration of losing their sight and determination to make something from their life. Kelly is the woman on the other end of the phone, she is her eyes, the former army veteran uses her skills to guide Sophie through the night. Otis, Ernie and Dave are the thieves searching for something in the house, they each have something different about them, the loose cannon, the safe cracker and the calm, but outside that, they don’t get much built into their characters.

StorySee For Me follows a blind woman cat-sitting that finds the homes she is staying at invaded by thieves, forcing her to turn to a stranger to help, to try and make it out alive. See For Me is a home invasion story, that does have a deeper side, with the creation of the Sophie character, the story will put more of the spotlight on her needing to learn to accept help in life, not letting her new disability stop her doing the things she loves, learning to trust people and show the fight that made her a great sporting personality. When it does come to the robbery side of the story, it is generic, saving up for the big reveal about why the house has been targeted.

ThemesSee For Me is a thriller that will bring a new concept behind the home invasion story, putting a vulnerable blind character in a home, they don’t know, needing to trust someone else to be their else, to remain quiet to survive. The home is a character itself, being the size it is, makes for catching anyone even more difficult for both sides of the battle.

Signature Entertainment presents See For Me on Digital Platforms 24th January.

Final Thoughts See For Me is a tense thriller that will keep us on edge throughout.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2021 – S – Stillwater (2021) Movie Review ‘Overly Long Thriller’

Stillwater – Overly Long Thriller

 

Director: Tom McCarthy

Writer: Tom McCarthy, Marcus Hinchey, Thomas Bidegain (Screenplay)

Starring: Matt Damon, Camille Cottin, Abigail Breslin, Lilou Siauvaud, Deanna Dunagan, Idir Azougli

Plot: A father travels from Oklahoma to France to help his estranged daughter, who is in prison for a murder she claims she didn’t commit.


Tagline – Secrets run deep.

Runtime: 2 Hours 19 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Stillwater starts as Bill (Damon) travels to France to visit his daughter Allison (Breslin) who has been in jail for five years, for a crime she didn’t commit. Bill is looking to get the case reopened, only to find no as the answer.

Bill meets Virginie (Cottin) who offers to help Bill with the translations as he goes in search for answers himself, leading himself to get into more trouble than he could imagine in his desperation to help her get free.

Thoughts on Stillwater

Characters & Performances – Bill is a construction worker that heads over to France to see his daughter in hopes of having the case that has seen her put in prison reopened, he will do anything to help, which will see him try to investigate himself. He does mean well with what he is trying to do, but Bill does come off like an entitled American, who expects everyone to be able to speak English, or help him no matter what they are going through. Matt Damon does make us feel like this is the most American character we will see this year. Virginie is the stage actresses that offers to help Bill with the translations as the pair spend a lot of time together, with her letting Bill stay at her apartment. She is one of the few people that will help Bill, seeing him as a desperate father, more than a tourist. Camille Cottin brings the innocent character to this world, one that works in reflection to the Bill character. Allison is the daughter of Bill’s she has been in prison for five-years for a murder of her roommate, something she claims she never did, she is hoping the case could be reopened so she could get freed. She is estranged with her father over the years, not knowing why he needs to get overly involved in the case. We don’t really see much from Allison, with what she did or didn’t do.

StoryThe story here follows a father who travels to France in hopes of getting his daughter released from prison, which will see him exploring the area searching for people who will help him. This is a story that is meant to be loosely connected to a real case, only for it to not go very far. Most of the film is Bill just walking around talking to someone, with none of the case being investigated, it is more about the reflection of the relationship between Bill and Allison, over the crime that is meant to be committed, which again we barely see any news on. The story does feel like it is too long as well, being over 2 hours, which could easily be trimmed down to an hour and half.

ThemesStillwater is a thriller that is meant to be showing the fight for freedom, only it doesn’t seem to focus on getting Allison out, more the drama of learning to become accepting of waiting for the world Bill finds himself in. the film is mostly set in France, which becomes clear as Bill looks out of place for the most part.

Final Thoughts Stillwater is an overly long thriller that doesn’t seem to get involved in bigger case of what is going on.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2021 – R – Redemption Day (2021) Movie Review

Director: Hicham Hajji

Writer: Lemore Syvan, Sam Chouia (Screenplay) Hicham Hajji (Story)

Starring: Gary Dourdan, Serinda Swan, Andy Garcia, Brice Baxter, Martin Donovan, Ernie Hudson, Robert Knepper

Plot: When the love of his life is kidnapped and held for ransom by terrorists, a war hero Brad Paxton races against the clock to rescue her in a daring and deadly operation that pits him against the most powerful and shadowy forces.


Tagline – Taking his wife was their last mistake.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Redemption Day starts when war hero Brad Paxton (Dourdan) has been struggling in the aftermath of his heroics, Brad’s wife Kate (Swan) an archaeologist is offered a discovery of lifetime in Morrocco, which will see her accidently cross the border to Algeria, getting kidnapped and held for ransom.

Brad will look to use his skills to go to Algeria to rescue his wife, learning that they are in the middle of a bigger battle for power between the countries.

Thoughts on Redemption Day

ThoughtsRedemption Day is an action movie that will show us a heroic soldier fighting back against terrorist that took his wife. When it comes down to the basic rescue mission, we get everything you would expect to see, the connections from the past coming helpful, while the people in the position of power are trying to solve the problem in a different way. We do find ourselves going into a bigger picture situation, which is a political power play, between every country involved, which does take us away from the action too often. The performances in the film are what they need to be, without seeing Gary Dourdan as a future lead action star, with Andy Garcia and Martin Donovan in the political power positions, being the strongest of the performances. This is a by the books action movie that will do all it needs to, giving us the entertainment value we need.

Final Thoughts Redemption Day is an easy to watch entertaining action film that is what you would call a Late Night Action Film.