ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – F – First Reformed (2018)

Director: Paul Schrader

Writer: Paul Schrader (Screenplay)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric the Entertainer, Victoria Hill, Philip Ettinger, Michael Gaston

 

Plot: A minister of a small congregation in upstate New York grapples with mounting despair brought on by tragedy, worldly concerns and a tormented past.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hawke’s Powerhouse Performance

 

Story: First Reformed starts as we meet minster Toller (Hawke) who has a small congregation in the Fist Reformed church one with a big history about the celebrate an anniversary. One of the community Mary (Seyfried) is worried about her husband Michael (Ettinger) who has become worried about the future for their unborn child.

After the death of Michael, Toller starts looking into the climate change problems, believing he is getting ill, only to learn the truth about the local supply which has a connection must close to home.

 

Thoughts on First Reformed

 

Characters – Toller is a minster with a tragic past, he lost a son in war which saw his marriage end and his own problems coming to light. He turned to the bible which seems him getting a chance to help people who need it, he soon learns that his own health is getting worse and the problems in the world are starting to get to him. Mary is a pregnant woman who believes there is something wrong with her husband, she turns to Toller for help an he does all he can to help him through his problems, while she deals with life about to bring a child into the world. Jeffers runs the church in the area, he gave Toller the job and is always planning for investments to the church. Esther is the ex-wife who still works for the church, they do still support each other even if they have been through the problems of losing a child.

PerformancesEthan Hawke gives a career best performance here, he shines on so many levels, he will leave you feeling disturbed by what is going on, while also feel sympathetic to his situation. Amanda Seyfried, Ceric the Entertainer and Victoria Hill complete supporting cast and are good throughout the film.

StoryThe story follows a minster who starts to question his faith and mortality when he learns who is behind the funding for his church, leading him to want to make a rash decision. If we are going to be honest about this story, we must admit that it will split the audience mostly because of how it ends, it won’t keep everyone going home saying wow, it will leave people going what happened, which is always going to put the audience off, sure we don’t always want to get spoon fed answers though. This does have plenty to focus on and does offer a big question about the future of mankind, what people will do to save it no matter what they do for a living.

MysteryThe mystery involved in the film comes from Toller learning the truth about what is going on and just what he will do about it.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town in New York, it shows how businesses will operate around it and how the community will come together through the difficult times.


Scene of the Movie –
Seeing the world in a breath.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The end could be more conclusive.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting movie that has a brilliant performance from Hawke, it brings forward big questions while most of the film is interesting it could have a better conclusion.

 

Overall: Carried by the performance of Hawke.

Rating

 

 

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Anon (2018)

Director: Andrew Niccol

Writer: Andrew Niccol (Screenplay)

Starring: Clive Owen, Amanda Seyfried, Colm Feore, Sonya Walger, Mark O’Brien, Joe Pingue, Iddo Goldberg

 

Plot: In a world without anonymity or crime, a detective meets a woman who threatens their security.


Tagline – Off the grid. On the run.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Thriller

 

Story: Anon starts as we go into the futuristic world where everything in life is recorded, making crime almost impossible to get away with, Detective Sal Frieland (Owen) analyses claims being made for his living deciding if the evidence to back up a story is there. His life is turned upside down when a mysterious girl (Seyfried) appears in his life only for any record being deleted.

When Sal goes undercover to learn about the girl, things start smoothly as they start to follow her movements, but soon take a turn for the worst as she discovers them watching her and turns Sal’s life upside down, to a point where he doesn’t know what is real anymore.

 

Thoughts on Anon

 

Characters – Sal is the detective with a troubled past, he witnesses a strange occurrence in the technology system to look for criminals and soon he goes undercover to track down a hacker who is using their ability to kill people. The Girl is the mysterious woman walking around this world with no known identity, helping people cover up the secrets they have been doing wrong. Detective Gattis is the man that keeps Sal in line, he must do the right thing to keep the peace in the city.

PerformancesClive Owen is good enough in the leading role, he knows how to handle the character but just doesn’t go as far into his character. Amanda Seyfried is fine too, again not reaching her potential we know she is capable off. The rest of the cast are largely forgettable too.

StoryThe story follows a detective investigating a string of murders that involve a mysterious woman that has the skills to make herself invisible to the technology world. The story does put us in an interesting world, but soon it becomes forgettable throughout with nothing much happening, the twists don’t come with any impact, not even giving us a chance to be offered up the question about whether this is a good or bad thing to have in life. The story misses more often than hit and could easily have been more interesting in a longer format.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi world we enter, is an interesting one and does use the elements of the idea well throughout. The use of the eyes to create the idea of what we can see makes things interesting to see, being the only highlight in the film.

SettingsThe film is in a city, we don’t seem to see which one and it could be anywhere too.

Special EffectsThe effects do work for the most part as we see what we are meant to, making most of this seem effortless, but the editing process for visions can be confusing and look weak.


Scene of the Movie –
Seeing how people can see who people are.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Why would two cops cars go in different directions to the same location?

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing sci-fi film that has all the potential in the world and only ends up coming off short on many levels.

 

Overall: Disappoint Sci-Fi Movie

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Solstice (2008)

solsticeDirector: Daniel Myrick

Writer: Daniel Myrick, Martin Musatov, Ethan Erwin (Screenplay)

Starring: Elisabeth Harnois, Shawn Ashmore, Hilarie Burton, Amanda Seyfried, Tyler Hoelchlin, Matt O’Leary, R. Lee Ermey

 

Plot: While on a summer trip with her friends, Megan begins to feel the presence of Sophie, her twin sister who recently committed suicide.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Ghost Investigation 101

 

Story: Solstice starts as we meet Megan (Harnois) having lost her twin sister Sophie to a suicide, not wanting to let this hold her down Megan goes on a senior summer vacation with Christian (Ashmore), Zoe (Seyfried), Alicia (Burton) and Mark (O’Leary) for the summer solstice.

As the time in the cabin continues Megan starts believing that she is seeing things around woods as well as strange occurrences happening. When Megan continues getting haunted she seems to be the only one effected by the evens but as the summer solstice gets close the encounter become more realistic but just what is the message coming from beyond the grave?

Solstice is one of my favourite type of horror movies where we have a ghost communicating with the living to figure out what caused their death. The idea is very basic which is all it needs to be without being a real test for the audience. The build-up is easy to work out and the fact only Megan gets haunted really is disappointing. I would say this is an easy watch even if it never tests because theh scares all come off easy.

 

Actor Review

 

Elisabeth Harnois: Megan/Sophie, Megan is trying to carry on with her life after her twin sister Sophie kills herself, she goes away with her friends but on this trip she starts experiencing supernatural activity from who she thinks is Sophie trying to communicate with her from beyond the grave. Elisabeth is good but not strong enough for the leading role.

Shawn Ashmore: Christian is the love interest of both Sophie first and then Megan, the two are not a couple as sorts but he is supporting her through her recent loss. We clearly see something isn’t right about Christian but just what is it. Shawn is good but almost not bigger enough role for her characters need

Tyler Hoechlin: Nick is a local young man that grabs the attention of Megan and the rest of the girls, he has lived in the area his whole life but about to get out. He believes in the summer solstice and questions why the rest are there. Nick help try and communicate with the person haunting her against the wishes of Christian. Tyler is good in this role but not involved enough until too late in the film.

Amanda Seyfried: Zoe is the best friend of Megan who is trying to supporting her through all of the aftermath of her sister’s suicide. We really don’t learn much else about her through the film. Amanda is a basic supporting character that doesn’t get enough screen time.

Support Cast: Solstice has a small supporting cast which mostly just includes the rest of the friend all offering very little to the story.

Director Review: Daniel MyrickDaniel gives us a basic ghost investigation story which is something I enjoy watching.

 

Horror: Solstice has a couple of scares but nothing really feels scary.

Mystery: Solstice leaves us with a mystery to solve as we need to figure out what is going on.

Settings: Solstice uses just one location and its surrounding which all works well.
Special Effects
: Solstice has good effects when needed.

Suggestion: Solstice is one to try, I don’t think we will get too much to make it a must watch.  (Try It)

 

Best Part: Ghost looks good.

Worst Part: Not enough scares.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

Tagline: You can’t bury the truth.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable ghost investigation movie.

Ratingcard

Ted 2 (2015)

logoDirector: Seth MacFarlane

Writer: Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Barth, Giovanni Ribisi, Morgan Freeman, Sam J Jones, Patrick Warburton, Michael Dorn

Plot: Newly-wed Couple Ted and Tami-Lynn want to have a baby, but in order to qualify to b a parent, Ted will have to prove he’s a person in a court of law.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Solid Sequel

Story: Ted 2 starts with Ted marrying Tami-Lynn (Barth) getting married by Sam Jones (Himself). John (Wahlberg) is no longer married to Lori which means no Mila Kunis this time. It doesn’t take long before the two struggle with married life when they get the idea to have a baby.

Ted needs to find himself sperm donor with his first choice being Flash Gordon doesn’t come off they head after Tom Brady next. When these plans fail Ted turns to Johnny for sperm but things get worse for Ted when they find out Tami-Lynn can’t have children. Ted’s life get worst when he finds out the state only sees him as property meaning he can’t adopt, loses his job and has his marriage annulled.

Deciding this isn’t right the Ted and John go to a lawyer and get young ambitious lawyer Samantha (Seyfried) who accepts their case while getting high with them. Time to introduce a villain as Donnie (Risibi) is still not in jail and works as Hasbro giving the boss a new idea to steal Ted if he loses the case. We are left to wonder whether Ted will get his civil rights back and be treated like a human even when Samantha has to turn to Patrick Meighan (Freeman) for help in the civil rights case.

Ted 2 manages to keep the comedy you would expect after seeing the first film going, even if the story seems to focus on the civil rights of Ted. It almost throws out the whole story from the first film on John’s side of the story which is disappointing because we would like to see how things were going rather than just, they got divorced. The main story of trying to prove Ted should have human rights gets slightly too serious for my liking because I think it takes away from the adult fairy tale which the first film felt like. The comical moments do feel like an episode of family guy because they play out at times as the say something show a clip of it happening moment. On the negative I do think they rely on drugs way too much for my liking. Overall the story is serious but the comical moments work to cover it up enough to make it enjoyable. (7/10)

Actor Review

Mark Wahlberg: John is recently divorced best friend of Ted who offers to help Ted get sperm to become a father. He still is a slacker without having much idea what he is doing with his life. He agrees to help Ted prove he deserves to be treated the same as every other living person. Mark doesn’t reach the comedy levels he is capable this time around but still does give us a solid job. (6/10)john

Seth MacFarlane (Voice): Ted is our teddy bear who gets married and wants to start a family but when the state learn that he is a teddy bear they take away his civil rights. Ted has to fight for his civil rights proving that he is a real person. After his disastrous acting performance last time out Seth steps back behind the voice of character which works for him because he is a great voice actor. (7/10)ted

Amanda Seyfried: Samantha is the young lawyer who takes the case which will be the first of her career, when things don’t go well she reaches out to top civil rights lawyer Patrick Meighan to finally help her win the case, she also offers romantic interest John. Amanda comes into the film and plays a character I wouldn’t want a lawyer but does a solid job. (6/10)samantha

Jessica Barth: Tami-Lynn is Ted’s wife until it gets annulled due to Ted losing his civil rights, she stands by her man through the whole situation. Jessica does a solid job but doesn’t get the screen time you would expect from the importance of her character. (6/10)tammi

Morgan Freeman: Patrick Meighan is the one of the best civil right lawyers in America that Samantha turns to to try and help with the case but only ends up rejecting them because he finds the case too difficult to deal with. Morgan doesn’t appear in enough scenes really. (5/10)

Giovanni Risibi: Donnie is free from jail and still wants Ted, he works for Hasbro as a cleaner as he plans to talk a high ranking member of Hasbro into stealing Ted and discovering what makes hi tick. Giovanni brings the same character back to the film which works because he will be the hapless villain. (7/10)

Support Cast: Ted 2 gives you what you would expect from the series, cameos left right and centre that add extra laughs.

Director Review: Seth MacFarlane Seth returns to what we would expect from him, he brings his style of comedy to film which won’t please everyone but I laughed enough. (7/10)

Comedy: Ted 2 has a range of comedy but the smarter jokes do get pushed aside for sex and drug heavy jokes. (7/10)

Settings: Ted 2 doesn’t really make too much out of its settings, we get what you would expect but nothing much else. (3/10)

Suggestion: Ted 2 is one for the fans of the style of comedy, I can see a lot of people not liking this because they will find the comedy too much. (MacFarlane fans Watch)

Best Part: Liam Neeson Cameo.

Worst Part: No Mila Kunis.

Funniest Scene: Sperm Bank

Favourite Quote: Ted There are no chicks with dicks only guys with tits

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: If it makes money I expect to see one.

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $60 Million (Opening Weekend)

Budget: $68 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

Tagline: Thunder Buddies For Life

Overall: The Sequel you would expect, not quite as funny but still strong enough.

Rating 65

 

Trailer Alert – Ted 2

Plot – Newlywed couple Ted and Tami-Lynn want to have a baby, but in order to qualify to be a parent, Ted will have to prove he’s a person in a court of law.

Release Date:  10th July 2015

Stars:

  • Mark Wahlberg (The Departed)
  • Amanda Seyfried (Les Miserable)
  • Morgan Freeman (Shawshank Redemption)
  • Liam Neeson (Taken)

Director: Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)

Highlight of the Trailer: Sperm bank

What Looks Good? This looks like it will continue the bromance between Ted and John.

What Looks Bad? No Mila Kunis?

Summary: The first Ted was great, A million ways to die in the west was awful. I hope that this brings the comedy level back to the Ted level, I think this will have plenty of cameos I just hope they didn’t use all the laughs in the trailer.

Questions:

Will I Be Watching? Yes

Will You Be Watching?

My Anticipation Rating – 80%

My Guess Rating – 70%

Will It Be Number One In UK? – Yes