Overlord (2018)

Director: Julius Avery

Writer: Billy Ray, Mark L Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Wyatt Russell, Mathilda Ollivier, Pilou Asbaek, Jovan Adepo, John Margaro, Iain De Caestecker, Bokeem Woodbine


Plot: The story of two American soldiers behind enemy lines on D Day.


Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Bloody & Brutal


Story: Overlord starts when a unit of American soldiers led by Ford (Russell) and with rookie Boyce (Adepo) being the man we follow through the film. The unit is on a mission to destroy a radio tower behind enemy lines in France during World War II to stop the communication lines before D-Day.

When their plane is shot down the team is down to just four, Ford, Boyce, Tibbet (Magaro) and Chase (Caestecker) who team up with a French lady Chloe (Olliver) whose village has been overrun by Wafner (Asbaek) and his men. When Boyce learns the truth about what the Germans have been doing they must complete their mission and stop their experiments before they become the most dangerous army in the world.


Thoughts on Overlord


Characters – Boyce is the rookie soldier, considered weak by his unit, he does make rookie mistakes like many soldiers, we see most of the events through his eyes, unlike the rest of the soldiers he does want to make human decisions however dangerous they may seem. We do see how he evolves as a soldier through the film. Ford is the no nonsense explosive expert that knows the mission is more important than his life. He is born a soldier that does seem to have a past which leaves him in the unit even after the being on previous mission. Chloe is a French woman that has been terrorised by the German soldiers, she does everything she can to protect her younger brother, she sees hope in the American soldiers and helps them take on the Germans. Wafner is one of the German soldiers that targets Chloe, he goes to the new strength from the secrets being held within the lab. The supporting soldiers are good too mostly used for comedy.

PerformancesJovan Adepo in the leading role is very strong, he is an actor I hadn’t seen in anything before and his innocent nature plays perfectly. Wyatt Russell easily becomes the guy you want to watch the most, you can see he is following in his father’s footsteps with the performance he gives us here. Mathilde Olliver is good too with Pilou Asbaek making for a good villain.

StoryThe story here brings us into the idea that the Nazi’s were performing experiments on innocent and making them a new threat in World War II. We follow the soldiers that are trying to complete a mission which is the important part of the D-Day landing mission. The story does have a real-time feeling which gives everything an extra level of tension. In fairness everything around the experiment has been done before, the biggest plus however comes from the limited number of zombies being used which shows us just how the early parts are starting to come from the results. This is one of the most simple and effective storylines you will see and this should be praised.

Action/Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiThe action in this movie starts of with war conflict with a brilliant sequence on a plane before the units landing, we follow the usual until we get to the zombie side of things which involves plenty of brutal bloody fights. This plays well in the hands of the horror because we see just how brutal each fight becomes for each person involved, the mystery comes from the soldiers needing to learn what the German’s are up to inside the church and the big part is that it gets solved. With what they are doing we enter the world of sci-fi which becomes an easy go to for war films involving what the Nazi’s might have been up to.

SettingsThe film gives us realistic settings which show us the small town with the church that needs to have the radio tower destroyed, the woodland area gives cover and for any sort of experiment side of things, the settings fit in perfectly.

Special EffectsThe effects here are bloody covered crazy enjoyment, we do have certain CGI moments, mostly being see with how to stop the zombies and from the first visit to the lab.

Scene of the Movie –
Exploring the lab for the first time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I think we could have been given a moment of truth from why Ford was moved to this unit as certain moments suggest different rumours.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun bloody and over the top film that can be enjoyed by anyone in the horror world, it knows how to make the action feel like a popcorn film and that is all we ask for at times.


Overall: Truly enjoyable horror movie.




Julia Roberts Weekend – Secret in Their Eyes (2015)

secretDirector: Billy Ray

Writer: Billy Ray (Screenplay) Juan Jose Campanella, Eduardo Sacheri (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Dean Norris, Alfred Molina, Joe Cole, Michael Kelly


Plot: A tight-knit team of rising investigators, along with their supervisor, is suddenly torn apart when they discover that one of their own teenage daughters has been brutally murdered.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Lacklustre Thriller


Story: Secret in Their Eyes starts as we see Ray Kasten (Ejiofor) meeting his old team and now DA Claire Sloane (Kidman) Chief Investigator Jessica Cobb (Roberts) and fellow political roles Reg Seifert (Kelly). We flash back to when they were a team of investigators with Bumpy Willis (Norris) when they are tracking terrorists only for one of their own daughters Carolyn Cobb (Graham) being murdered next to their investigation.

Ray has spent the last 13 years of his life searching for the killer and now he believes he has figured out the person responsible and wants the case re-opened between the old team.


Thoughts on Secret in Their Eyes


StoryThis is an American remake of the Oscar winning movie that has a very bland story which should be a very intense story, the scenes all flow so slowly you just don’t believe this is a case unfolding and the jumps in time are too often leaving us all over the place in the end.

Crime/MysteryThe crime story should be one of the most intense ones we have seen, but it doesn’t work out that way because the film spends way too much time balancing the murder case with a potential terrorist investigation without even giving us the mystery to try and solve ourselves.

Characters/PerformanceThe team are all believable as a unit but as solo characters you just don’t feel the desperation in Ray, the power in what should be a power-hungry role in Claire but you do like get to feel the grief through Jess’s character.

Ejiofor, Kidman and Roberts are all solid but just don’t reach the ability we know all three are capable off. The rest of the performances are all solid without stealing the scene.

SettingsWe have the setting in and around LA without managing to use any settings which are easy to help us identify where the film is set.

Final ThoughtsFor the talent involved this is a very slow, poorly acted thriller that lacks any suspense to the levels it could have got too.


Overall: This will always be forgettable in the arena of remakes.




Subject Zero (2004)

logoDirector: E. Elias Merhige

Writer: Zak Penn, Billy Ray (Screenplay) Zak Penn (Story)

Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Ben Kingsley, Carrie-Anne Moss, Harry Lennix, Kevin Chamberlin, Julian Reyes, Keith Campbell, Chloe Russell


Plot: When Dallas FBI Agent Thomas Mackelway (Eckhart) violates serial killer Raymond Starkey’s civil rights during an unorthodox arrest, Starkey goes free and Mackelway is demoted to a remote branch of the agency in Albuquerque. His first day on the job, Mackelway investigates the murder of a traveling salesman Harold Speck, which turns out to be the first of three seemingly random killings. Or perhaps they are not random at all; the last to die is Mackelway’s nemesis, Raymond Starkey (Campbell). The assignment consumes him. His past mistakes haunt him. His head throbs constantly as he tries to find the link between the victims that will lead him to their killer. The case becomes increasingly gruesome and patently personal. This does not go unnoticed by his unflappable partner Fran Kulok (Moss), who knows of Mackelway’s past and the demons that afflict him. Like Mackelway, she becomes drawn into the labyrinth of chilling clues, all of which point to the enigmatic Benjamin O’Ryan (Kingsley). O’Ryan clearly has a connection to the murders, a connection he flaunts; quite possibly, he may also harbour a sinister link to Mackelway.


Verdict: Serial Thriller


Story: A disgraced agent tracking a killer who is tracking killers, but is he a killer too? Well that is the question that this film leaves you wonder about and we focus heavily on Tom and Ben, not so much on any victims involved. The old cat-and-mouse chase comes off well but does have a small twist in the traditional story.  The story does start slow, but once we know what is going on and discover more about Ben Kingsley’s character the tension starts to rise. The film does try to move away from other films that are similar in nature, but will end up just another film in the category that only the final conclusion really stands out. (7/10)


Actor Review


Aaron Eckhart: Thomas the disgraced FBI agent who took a criminal back across the border to arrest him leading him to go free and Thomas’ career to go down the drain. This new case gives him a chance to redeem himself. Aaron could be a great leading man, but he always seems to get out shone by a fellow cast member. (7/10)


Ben Kingsley: Benjamin a mysterious man who is tracking people down, but once we discover he is killing serial killers, how many people has he killed? Good emotionless killer that will complete his tasks without remorse. (8/10)

sir ben

Carrie-Anne Moss: Fran Tom’s old partner who re-teams with him to solve the newest case that has turned up on his desk. Good supporting performance being Tom’s restriction to his aggressive style. (7/10)


Director Review: E. Elias Merhige – Creates some good atmosphere but never really pulls the audience all the way in till too late. (6/10)


Thriller: The slow start costs this film because the conclusion really comes good. (6/10)

Settings: The settings don’t add anything to this film, which they could have added a lot more to everything. (2/10)

Suggestion: The crime thriller fans should give this a chance, if you are a fan of the Criminal Minds or CSI’s of the world you will enjoy but if you are just a causal fan this will not be one for you. (Give It A Go)


Best Part: The idea is great.

Worst Part: Slow moving to start with.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No, poor box office.

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $27 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline: Your number is up.


Overall: Slow Moving Thriller

Rating 66

Captain Phillips (2013)

logoDirector: Paul Greengrass

Writer: Billy Ray (Screenplay) Richard Phillips, Stephan Talty (Book)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Mahat M Ali, Michael Chernus, David Warshofsky, Corey Johnson


Plot: The incredible story of Captain Richard Phillips (Hanks) and his cargo ship which gets hijacked by Somalian pirates led by Muse (Abdi). What follows is Captain Phillips trying to keep the pirates calm and his crew safe on a ship in the middle of the ocean.


Verdict: Brilliant thriller

Story: Knowing this is a true story many of Hollywood’s great would struggle to think of a story this exciting. The story shows both sides of the story from the Somalia’s being forced into the pirate life style to Captain Phillips saying goodbye to his wife before the trip. The story tries to cut out most action and replace it all with suspense giving us time to really connect with both hero and villains to level where we sympathise with both sides. (10/10)


Actor Review: Tom Hanks – Captain Phillips the hard but fair Captain of a cargo ship who puts his own life before his whole crew. It has been a while since Hanks put in a truly top class performance and this time we get to see one. Star Performance Award (10/10)


Actor Review: Barkhad Abdi – Muse the leader of the pirates who keeps everything calm and down to business while controlling his team including a hot head who wants to shot first and ask questions later. Stunning debut performance giving him an Oscar nomination. Debut Performance Award (10/10)


Director Review: Paul Greengrass – We know Paul can direct brilliant films this will get added to his very impressive list of films. (10/10)


Thriller: From the moment the Pirates and Captain’s ship see each other you will be on the edge of your seat. (10/10)

Believability: Based on a true story. (10/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: With the cargo ship to lifeboat the settings are very limited to add to the tension being created through the film. (10/10)

Suggestion: I would say watch this, it is a film that will keep you at the edge of your seat from start to finish and even if you do know the outcome you just have to see how it unfolds. (Watch)


Best Part: Tension throughout.

Action Scene Of The Film: The final showdown builds up tension before the final action.

Oscar Chances: Nominated for Six Oscars

Chances of Sequel: No


Overall: A thriller that is a must watch

Rating 93