Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – And Soon the Darkness (2010)

Director: Marcos Efron

Writer: Jennifer Derwingson, Marcos Efron (Screenplay) Brian Clemens, Terry Nation (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Amber Heard, Odette Annable, Karl Urban, Adriana Barraza, Cesar Vianco

 

Plot: When two American girls on a bike trip in a remote part of Argentina split up and one of them goes missing, the other must find her before her worst fears are realized.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid But Nothing Special Remake

 

Story: And Soon the Darkness starts as we meet our two American girls Stephanie (Heard) and Ellie (Annable) travelling through Argentina, they are on their last night there and decide to party. When Ellie hooks up with a local, Stephanie returns to the hotel alone even after a warning from another out of towner Michael (Urban).

With the morning arriving the girls miss the only bus out of town, meaning they must stay for one more day which they spend sunbathing and recovering from the hangover. After Ellie is abducted, Stephanie must work with Michael to locate her so they can leave but soon they will be left fighting for their lives.

 

Thoughts on And Soon the Darkness

 

Characters/PerformanceStephanie is one of the travellers who is using the trip to get over her cheating boyfriend, she wants to experience the sights while Ellie the supportive best friend would like to part her way through the holiday, leading herself to get into trouble. Michael is the mysterious stranger that keeps popping up in Stephanie’s day and we are left wondering just who and what he wants in this town.

Performance wise, Amber Heard shows that at this time she was solid enough choice for leading role but not the strongest, Odette Annable is also fine but her character does come off as annoying and naïve at times. Karl Urban is great as the mysterious stranger that grabs our attention whenever he is on screen.

StoryTwo American girls find themselves in a new country, a new town where nothing seems safe and soon they learn about what has been happening. The story is simple and with where the characters could end up going we get to learn the horror side of everything going on to our Americans. This isn’t the hardest to follow and is in fact a remake of a British film and sure it works in places but isn’t ground breaking.

Crime/Horror/Mystery The crime, horror and mystery all blend together nicely here as we learn what is going on which is crime based and this adds to the horror being unleashed in the film.

SettingsArgentina is a beautiful setting and heading to a remote smaller town where the events have been taking place in, this does work because of who is involved in everything going on.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well when needed but we mostly used for the conflict between the characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough horror remake but does lack that punch that could make it feel edgy, gritty and terrifying like it could have been.

 

Overall: Solid remake in the horror world.

Rating

 

 

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Justice League (2017)

Director: Zack Snyder

Writer: Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon (Screenplay) Bob Kane, Bill Finger, William Moulton Marston, Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel (Characters)

Starring: Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Connie Nielsen, Henry Cavill, Amber Heard, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Ray Fisher

 

Plot: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.


Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Action Blast

 

Story: Justice League starts as a new unknown threat is attacking the world, with criminals committing acts of terror in the aftermath of Superman’s death. Bruce Wayne (Affleck) teams up with Diana Prince (Gadot) to stop this new threat Steppenwolf, who wants to destroy the world, yeah the usual villain stuff.

The team they recruit includes Barry Allen (Miller), Arthur Curry (Momoa) and Victor Stone (Fisher) as these three new recruits get a better introduction than we saw in the Batman v Superman movie. Using their skills they are left with an ultimate decision which could swing the battle in their favour or risk seeing the world destroyed by this ancient evil.

 

Thoughts on Justice League

 

Characters – Bruce Wayne, knows his weakness, uses his money to recruit the team, his technology to spy on the team and his human touch to connect to the characters. Diana Prince lives a quiet life after the event of Wonder Woman over 100 years ago, she still believes in the good in human and beings from different backgrounds. Barry Allen is a young man living off the grid trying to find a way to get his father out of prison, he gets excited to be able to work with a team and gets most of the laughs. Arthur Curry is a man of mystery, one with the ocean, he has left his past behind him which leads him down the Logan road. Victor Stone is a science experiment gone wrong, part human, part robot needing to learn to control his newly found abilities. Lois Lane is here, she doesn’t do much to be honest. Clark Kent is the heart of the characters drives to fight, he selfless actions last time out give hope to them all.

As for the alter-egos Batman looks so out of place in this film, we have Gods, experiments gone wrong and this random rich guy who is past his best, trying to pull the team together, he is ineffective in the combat scenes too. Wonder Woman gets the best moments in the fights, jumping on the beliefs of just how inspirational the character is. The Flash gets moments that will make you laugh, but you would rather be watching Quicksilver moments. Aquaman gets the awkward underwater scenes, which must be hard to shoot, he enjoys a good fight though. Cyborg is the brains of the team, solving the problems before they happen.

As for the villain, Steppenwolf he is a threat there is no doubt about that, he is ruthless too, but his desire for destruction does feel like it got ripped out of a Transformers movie.

PerformancesBen Affleck is a good Bruce Wayne but not a good Batman, you can believe his arrogance when trying to build the team. Gal Gadot is the star of the hero’s side of the story showing in the world of DC she is their trump card. Erza Miller does add the much-needed comedy to the serious film and hits more than he misses. Jason Momoa is good throughout too, his character feels like what Wonder Woman was in Batman v Superman, we just what more. Ray Fisher is strong too, he gives the character the darkness needed to make us want more from his backstory. The none Justice League performances are fine, but no one gets much time to do anything. Having a CGI villain means we only get the voice work which works for the film.

StoryThe origin of the Justice League, well Marvel did it with the Avengers so, why not. To be fair we got the first seeds of this in Batman v Superman and this continued the ideas to show how they could come together to fight an evil presence. My problems with the story come from the trailers, which show the team working together, much like Stephen King’s IT we follow the individual stories for a large amount of time trying to play the will they won’t they game about joining the team, but the trailer gave this away. If you want to see the story continue you strongly I will say DC’s storytelling for the bigger picture is going in the right direction and this is easy to follow and enjoy is this is your style of film.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is big, like you would expect for the superhero movie, sadly Batman doesn’t fit in the action sequences in my opinion. The ci-fi comes from Gods, aliens and experiments working together in battle be it with each other or against.

SettingsThe settings are all over the place, not in a bad way, we get the references to previous films and teases of locations for our new addition.

Special EffectsThe effects are complete mixed bag, we get certain moments which look great but then we get the weak moments that disappoint.


Scene of the Movie –
Rebirth

That Moment That Annoyed Me Batman feels very out of place in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun addition to the superhero collection, in a year of impressive films this doesn’t crack my top 3 in the genre but doesn’t take the spot of the worst, I could happily enjoy watching this again and I hope you do too.

 

Overall: Fun enjoyable superhero movie for everyone to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

 

3 Days to Kill (2014)

daysDirector: McG

Writer: Adi Hasak, Luc Besson (Screenplay) Luc Besson (Story)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielsen, Tomas Lemarquis, Richard Sammel

 

Plot: A dying CIA agent trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter is offered an experimental drug that could save his life in exchange for one last assignment.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too Long

 

Story: 3 Days to Kill starts as we meet CIA agent Ethan Renner (Costner) who along with his team is about to take down one of the biggest threats in the world The Wolf (Sammel) by eliminating his closest associate The Albino (Lemarquis) only the mission gets compromised when Ethan’s health catches up with him as he learns he only has 3 months to live.

Released by the CIA Ethan sets out on cleaning up his own personal affairs wanting to build a relationship with daughter Zooey (Steinfeld) through his ex-wife Christine (Nielsen) after years of times apart working. With everything going badly Ethan knows that it will become difficult but when fellow agent Vivi Delay (Heard) offers him a chance to live longer Ethan comes out of retirement for one last assignment.

 

Thoughts on 3 Days to Kill

 

StoryThe story for this film tries to balance a dying man’s final months with his family and his CIA life that he has meant to have walked away from. The CIA story does feel very generic of this modern day slick hitman style which is all fine. The dying man’s wish story ends up feeling like an awkward comedy in places. The story also feels very long and doesn’t seem to end up deciding if it wants to be serious or not.

Action/ThrillerThe action is all very good and entertaining with the opening sequence looking like it set the tone but in the end if just turns into another slick hitman film.

Characters/PerformanceI can’t find anything wrong with Costner’s performance as well as Steinfeld or Neilsen, it is the Heard performance that doesn’t make sense because she doesn’t suit the character and the character doesn’t suit the movie. The movie tries to make all the characters fit into everyday experiences but for some reason Vivi character is wildly over the top for no apparent reason.

SettingsThe settings are mostly all in Paris which all works for the film which is trying to make us have a location we want to visit but showing that crime can happen there I guess.

Special EffectsThe Special effects are mostly used for the action sequences and they all come off to the level you need them too.

Final ThoughtsThis is an overlong action thriller that ends up getting caught up in the middle of comedy too often for its own good.

 

 

Overall: Solid action film that starts too strong for its own benefits.

Ratingcard

 

Oscar Season Challenge – The Danish Girl (2015)

Rob and I have decided to make a twist on the challenge where we will be looking at Oscar related films first before moving into going back to look at different Oscar winners from the past.danishDirector: Tom Hooper

Writer: Lucinda Coxon (Screenplay) David Ebershoff (Novel)

Starring: Alicia Vikander, Eddie Redmayne, Tusse Silberg, Adrian Schiller, Amber Heard, Emerald Fennel, Ben Whishaw, Matthias Schoenaerts

 

Plot: A fictitious love story inspired by the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda’s marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili’s groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Inspiring Story

 

Story: The Danish Girl starts in Copenhagen 1926 with artists Gerda (Vikander) and Einar (Redmayne) a married couple whose relationship is different to everyone else for the time period. Einar has a fascination with dressing as a woman that his wife embraces it for a night turning Einar into Lili. Things get complicated when Einar decides that he enjoys dressing like the woman against his wives wishes at first.

When Lili makes Gerda a bigger name in the art world the couple move to Paris as Einar struggles with his art work an old friend and now current art dealer Hans Axgil (Schoenaerts) gives them a chance to push him back into the art world. As Einar embraces his Lili side we get to see how Gerda is struggling with it but in the end we see how Einar was one of the pioneers in transgender decision making.

The Danish Girl shows the inspiration story showing how one man’s determination to be transformed into a woman gained the movement which is popular today. How Einar got to the moment of transformation shows how naïve humans were to this issue back in the 1920s as they tried to make him a mental patient. This really is a difficult watch because the subject matter is something people will not want to see. Overall the story really is inspiration for anyone who is going through the same mind set.

 

Actor Review

 

Alicia Vikander: Gerda is the Danish artist married to Einar who wants to support her husband even as he is going through his identity crisis, she uses his new identity to grow her art work but then supports him as he searches for the final transformation. Alicia gives us an incredible performance in this role.gerda

Eddie Redmayne: Einar/Lili, Einar is the Danish artist married to Gerda, he has a fascination with dressing and being a woman, enter Lili his female side that he starts by flaunting at party before it takes over and Lili becomes the real person as one of the first transgender in the world. Eddie gives us a stunning performance showing the transformation needed for the role.lili

Ben Whishaw: Henrik is the young man that Lili attracts but Lili doesn’t know how to deal with any relationship. Ben gives us a good supporting performance without getting too much screen time.

Amber Heard: Ulla is a friend of the couple, she encourages them to just both be happy and tries to help with the situation. Amber gives us a good supporting performance.

Support Cast: The Danish Girl has a good supporting cast that all offer Einar a chance to get his dream.

Director Review: Tom HooperTom gives us yet another brilliant period piece that will get all the praise is deserves.

 

Biographical: The Danish Girl shows the incredible story behind one of the world’s first transgender.

Romance: The Danish Girl shows the love between Einar and Gerda even going through the personal decision Einar wanted to make.

Chemistry: The Danish Girl Einar and Gerda have brilliant chemistry through the film.

Settings: The Danish Girl creates the settings to make us feel like we are in the current time period of each country they go to.

Suggestion: The Danish Girl is one film I would say watch even if it does have its difficult moments for the casual fan. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Redmayne and Vikander’s performances.

Worst Part: Difficult subject matter.

Favourite Quote: Henrik ‘I’ve only know a few people in my life and you’ve been two of them’.

 

Believability: Based on the real people involved.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Nominated for 3 Golden Globes including Best Actor/Actress and Original Score

Oscar Chances: Will be up for nomination.

Budget: $25 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

Tagline: Find the courage to be yourself.

 

Overall: Inspiring story about making the change for yourself

Ratingcard

Movie Reviews 101 Halloween Midnight Horror – All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)

logoDirector: Jonathan Levine

Writer: Jacob Forman (Screenplay)

Starring: Amber Heard, Anson Mount, Whitney Able, Michael Welch, Edwin Hodge, Aaron Himelstein, Luke Grimes, Melissa Price, Adam Powell, Peyton Hayslip

 

Plot: A group of high-schoolers invite Mandy Lane, a good girl who became quite hot over the summer, to a weekend party on a secluded ranch. While the festivities rage on, the number of revellers begins to drop quite mysteriously.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slasher School We Have Seen Before

 

Story: All the Boys Love Mandy Lane starts with a teenage house party where one of the cool kids tries to hit on the beautiful Mandy Lane (Heard) but when one of the boys chasing her dies in an attempt to impress her we see how close Mandy is to Emmet (Welch). 9 months have passed since the accident and Red (Himelstein) is arranging a party at his family’s ranch which will include the invitation of Mandy Lane.

We watch as a group of high school friends head off to a ranch for a weekend off fun with plenty or drinks, drugs and sex with all the boys after Mandy Lane. We watch as the friend go through the traditional high school relationship issues and adding in the alcohol we get everything elevated to the next level. The weekend away takes twist when somebody starts picking off the friends before we learn that there is a bigger motive behind everything that happens.

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane really is just a bogged standard slasher film for the most part, but it does have an interesting twist you don’t see coming. The characters are very painful generic and the story just follows everything you would expect to see in a slasher film. The film tries something different with the ending which is the only positive about this film otherwise it really is just offer nothing new. (5/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Amber Heard: Mandy Lane is the gorgeous girl that all the high school guys want to be with but she is very independent not falling for any of the guys lines. She strikes jealousy between the friends who each believe they are in the driving seat to get her. Amber does a solid job in the role but clearly only works because of how beautiful she is. (6/10)

 mandy

Anson Mount: Garth is the ranch hand on the ranch that all the girls fall for but he ends up planning babysitter to all of the high school kids who can’t handle their drinks. Anson does a basic job as the older wise protector of the film but doesn’t do enough with the whole story. (4/10)

 

Whitney Able: Chloe is the insecure member of the friends who thinks all the girls need a perfect skinny body to impress the guys. Whitney does end up being the very generic character that we are all expecting to get what is coming to her early on. (5/10)

 

Michael Welch: Emmet is Mandy’s old friend who is the guy picking off the popular kids to make them pay for what happened after the party incident. Michael plays the killer well using no remorse through the film. (6/10)

 

Support Cast: All the Boys Love Mandy Lane has a supporting cast that is basically there just to be disposable and only become helpful to make Emmet look more crazed.

 

Director Review: Jonathan Levine – Jonathan does a solid job with the horror film because it follows the same old routine but throws you out of the comfort zone with the ending. (5/10)

 

Horror: All the Boys Love Mandy Lane follows all the slasher ABC style very easily. (8/10)

Settings: All the Boys Love Mandy Lane puts our characters in an isolated location for the horror to take place where the killer can get away with whatever they wants. (7/10)

Suggestion: All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is one for the horror fans to enjoy otherwise it will just end up being very average. (Horror Fans Try)

 

Best Part: Final Twist.

Worst Part: Nothing new in the opening part.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Most Slasher films.

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $750,000

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Tagline: Everyone is dying to be with her. Someone is killing for it.

 

Overall: Just another slasher that we have seen too many times before.

Rating 50