The Front Runner (2018)

Director: Jason Reitman

Writer: Matt Bai, Jay Carson, Jason Reitman (Screenplay) Matt Bai (Book)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons, Mark O’Brien, Molly Ephraim, Chris Coy, Alex Karpovsky,

 

Plot: In 1987, U.S. Senator Gary Hart‘s presidential campaign is derailed when he’s caught in a scandalous love affair.


Tagline – Gary Hart was going to be President. Instead he changed American Politics forever.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over-Populated Political Thriller

 

Story: The Front Runner starts after Gary Hart (Jackman) has missed out on the Vice-President position, four-years later in 1987, Gary is running for the Presidency, he is the clear favourite too, his team which includes Bill Dixon (Simmons) knows it is only a matter of time before he wins, while the opposition team is looking for weakness in his reputation.

Gary’s lead starts taking a hit when an early report of a potential affair emerges and before long every single newspaper in the country is trying to cover the story on different levels, some using it as a gossip column while others just want to question his own integrity. This will see Gary’s hope of becoming President come crashing down around him.

 

Thoughts on The Front Runner

 

Characters – These characters are based on real people, which will show certain ones in good and bad lights. Senator Gary Hart is running for Presidency, is has the whole campaign under complete control, which has all but guaranteed he would become the next President of the United States. Gary has the ability to spin any story that is placed on front of him, to show that he could bring America a brighter future. Gary however does have a secret with an affair which the press turn into a big story which sees him needing to try and recover from the spiralling situation he has created with his own wrong doing. Lee Hart is the wife of Gary, she has been part of a previous separation which made her suffer enough, she has however always stood by her man with strict rules for the future. Bill Dixon is the campaign manager for Gary, that wants to keep everything simple only this becomes difficult when the truth starts to come out. The Front Runner struggles with one big problem, we have such a large cast of characters it does make it hard to keep up with the almost nameless characters, we have three or four papers and their staff, the campaign team, the people involved in the potential affair, it just becomes completely keeping up with who is who.

PerformancesHugh Jackman is great to watch in the leading role, if he was given that one scene to try and make his character truly memorable it would have put him into a stronger respected performance for the year. Vera Farmiga does everything asked of her character which she doesn’t do anything wrong with. J.K. Simmons almost feels wasted in his role which should have been larger for what is going on. Most of the performances do seem to struggle for this reason.

StoryThe story here follows a presidential candidate whose life becomes filed with speculation after an alleged affair that both sides denied saw him going from a guarantee winner to needing to withdraw, changing the way politics are portrayed in the papers forever. This story does put the spotlight on the moment that saw a change in how politics and journalist operated, the film even points out in the fact that previous Presidents asked for heads to be turned about affairs, but this alleged one saw the country turn on any person that was willing to cheat. The story does show how the three weeks changed the whole race, only it does try to put way too many characters into the film which does make it hard to keep up with who each person is and what side of the story they really are on.

Biopic/HistoryWe follow a 3 week period in Gary Hart’s life, the three weeks that took him from being the next President to the moment he withdrew wanting to keep the false accusations about him out of the papers, this shows how quickly the public can turn on people and the media can make it happen, this plays into the history side of electing a President because we see how minds suddenly changed after how previous ones had acted.

SettingsThe film does use the authentic settings, show how the press would hide for a story, while Gary would use the public to put an end to the stories being made up.


Scene of the Movie –
Twisting the medias words.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story which does feel like it should be told to more people, only this version of the story is completely over-saturated be characters making it hard to keep up with.

 

Overall: Political Thriller that just doesn’t pack the punch.

Rating

 

 

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The Culling (2015)

logoDirector: Rustam Branaman

Writer: Rustam Branaman (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeremy Sumpter, Elizabeth Di Prinzio, Brett Davern, Chris Coy, Linsey Godfrey, Virginia Williams, Johnathon Schaech, Harley Graham

 

Plot: A terrifying supernatural thriller in which a group of college friends on a road trip find themselves fighting off dark forces at a remote farmhouse after a chance encounter with a strange little girl.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Budget Horror

Story: The Culling starts with a girl running from something in the dark, I feel a cliché comment coming here. Next we meet Emily (Di Prinzio) who is chatting to Sean (Davern) on an internet with them both exchanging ghost capturing images, trying to out scare each other. Emily joins her friends Amanda (Godfrey), Hank (Coy) Tyler (Sumpter) and Sean for a fun filled weekend like most college students. The five friends find a little girl crying just searching for her chance to go home and decide to help her by taking her home.

Emily takes the little girl Lucy into the house but there is no one there, the friends hang around until the parents return home and find a place to stay for the night. When Lucy’s mother has an accident the five friends get stuck at the house looking after Lucy when we clearly have been hearing noises coming from the house and surroundings. As the night continues the five friends find out they are not alone and when Lucy and Amanda go missing the four remaining friends have to figure out what is going on while being haunted by a spirit creature.

The Culling manages to look like it could have been a lot better but let’s look out how things played out. We do follow the clichés there is no question about that and we do get the characters making stupid horror movie mistakes, separating and not listening to instruction. The issue I had was that the film doesn’t seem to want to identify the force until it is too late which takes away the reason why the characters are running around aimlessly at times. When we do finally get the reveal it does again come off clichéd but works for what this horror is trying to achieve. You can see the low budget used on this film which doesn’t help because the acting takes away from certain moments that are highlights. I think this had a lot of potential but just went in the wrong directions. (4/10)

 

Actor Review

Jeremy Sumpter: Tyler the ex-boyfriend of Emily but still friends with everyone, he goes on the trip hoping to win Emily back but really comes off as a big softy. Jeremy manages to make us get annoyed with his character as he clearly looks out of place in this role. (2/10)

 

Elizabeth Di Prinzio: Emily the head strong trainee nurse who really takes charge of the situation, she manages to stay calm while the rest overreact and tries to understand the situation. Elizabeth tires to be a good lead and shows all the character needed but really isn’t strong enough for the role. (4/10)

Brett Davern: Sean the trademark asshole of the group who only ever thinks about himself, you will grow to hate this character quickly. Brett does a good job making you really hate this character. (6/10)

 

Chris Coy: Hank the fifth wheel of the group who panics way too much making all the wrong decisions. Chris really looks like this was mailed in. (2/10)

 

Linsey Godfrey: Amanda fresh out of rehab but hasn’t learnt her lessons because she still wants to take drugs, she becomes an easy victim for the spirit because of her weaknesses. Linsey doesn’t do anything of any quality in the role. (2/10)

Support Cast: The Culling has a supporting cast of the children and the family but never really uses them to the best of the abilities.

Director Review: Rustam Branaman – Rustam manages to take every possible cliché and turn it into a film that really isn’t very character driven but does have one very good horror moment. (4/10)

 

Thriller: The Culling you don’t seem to want to care about the characters as they just make the silly mistakes over and over again. (2/10)

Settings: The Culling does create the isolation factor needed nicely. (8/10)
Special Effects
: The Culling has a mix of good and bad effects, but I will say it is due to low budget. (5/10)

Suggestion: The Culling is one that you could watch on late night TV only I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it and I wouldn’t suggest anyone else too. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: When Amanda looks in the closest, good jump scare.

Worst Part: Not following instructions.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: It is left open for one, but I doubt it.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

Tagline: When the devil breeds…a new evil is born.

 

Overall: The Culling is a very clichéd horror thriller that doesn’t come off as well as it could, but it really did have potential.

Rating 30

Deliver Us from Evil (2014)

logoDirector: Scott Derrickson

Writer: Scott Derrickson, Paul Harris Boardman (Screenplay) Ralph Sarchie, Lisa Collier Cool (Book)

Starring: Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn, Chris Coy, Dorian Misssick, Sean Harris, Joel McHale, Mike Houston

 

Plot: New York police officer Ralph Sarchie investigates a series of crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest, schooled in the rites of exorcism, to combat the possessions that are terrorizing their city.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Law & Order: Exorcism

 

Story: Deliver Us From Evil starts by telling us it is inspired by real accounts from Ralph Sarchie. We move to Iraq 2010 where we see a group of soldiers who discover something, we don’t see what. We are now back in 2013 and Officer Sarchie (Bana) who is on a case where he finds a dead baby. Things take a turn when Sarchie and his partner get a call about a domestic disturbance of a war veteran. Sarchie is in for an eventful night when he and his partner get called to the Bronx Zoo where they search for a lady who pushed her own baby into one of the habitats. Mendoza (Ramirez) a priest is helps with her potential issues with the lady at the zoo. Sarchie continues to have an interesting week where he takes the strange cases with his latest being noises from a family’s basement.

The case seems easy to wrap up but when it becomes apparent something outside the normal realm is occurring Sarchie and his partner have to look deeper into the case. Finding out the people are all connected and supernatural things happening around him he starts acting differently around his own family. What Sarchie finds is the occult might be involved in what is going on so he teams up with Mendoza to uncover what is going on.

Deliver Us From Evil first needs to be seen as a based on real accounts idea, so that means no over the top silly scares, we do have some well-constructed ones which could easily be real. I like how some of the situations do get explained while others do mix the supernatural, because a lot of horrors only go for the supernatural while this shows that certain things can be explained. In the most part we do have to watch a lot of people watching, searching and talking about what is going on, which does distract us from the lack of action on screen. It does come off very well as a story because you do get the feeling this guy just had a very bad week indeed. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Eric Bana: Sarchie Detective who starts getting a string of unusual cases that all add up, he has to face the truths of supernatural while he doesn’t believe in the supernatural. He teams up with priest to try and uncover the truth of what is going on. Eric does a good job as the non-religious cop who must learn to believe. (7/10)

 bana

Edgar Ramirez: Mendoza priest who studies demonology and along the way he has learnt plenty of things along the lines of the way learning about plenty of different religions. He has to teach Sarchie about different ideas about demonology. Edgar does a good job as the priest who speaks slowly and stays very calm through all the situations. (7/10)

preist

Olivia Munn: Jen is Sarchie’s wife, he doesn’t open up to her enough leaving them both feeling distant as the supernatural starts taking over his own house. Olivia does a solid job but doesn’t get enough screen time. (6/10)

 

Support Cast: Deliver Us From Evil has fellow officers who investigate the goings on, who all help the story flow. The main supporting cast is actually the possessed characters who keep us guessing to what they will be doing next.

 

Director Review: Scott Derrickson – Scott does a good job directing making this feel like a real investigation film mixed with a supernatural theme. (7/10)

 

Horror: Deliver Us From Evil uses the horror elements very nicely but doesn’t go for over the top scares, it shows you the horrors that could be a reality though. (8/10)

Thriller: Deliver Us From Evil does keep you guessing to what will happen next and final half of the film turns into very much edge of your seat. (8/10)

Settings: Deliver Us From Evil uses its settings very well to identify how it might not be the smooth cover of a normal life with the occult very much in the city. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Deliver Us From Evil uses his effects well with the possessions and during the exorcisms. (8/10)

Suggestion: Deliver Us From Evil is one for the horror fans to try, it might also appeal to fans of investigation films. (Horror or Investigation Fans Try)

 

Best Part: Exorcism

Worst Part: Slightly too long.

Scariest Scene: Sarchie little girl and her haunted bedroom.

 

Believability: Whether you want to believe or not, it is based on real accounts depends how much you think really happened. (7/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $88 Million

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

Tagline: You haven’t seen true evil

 

Overall: Good Look at Exorcism

Rating 70

Rogue River (2012)

logoDirector: Jourdan McClure

Writer: Ryan Finnerty, Kevin Haskin (Screenplay)

Starring: Michelle Page, Art Alexakis, Chris Coy, Michael Cudilitz, Lucinda Jenney, Bill Moseley

 

Plot: While spreading her father’s ashes, Mara (Page) meets Jon (Moseley) who offers to give her a ride. Risking everything to escape this hell she’s entered, she won’t stop running until she finds safety.

 

Verdict: Shock No Horror

 

Story: We have seen this plenty of times before and we can figure out how sick the couple are quite easily. The only positive I can take from this is the two torture like scenes are both originally twisted but otherwise we have been her seen that. The end is too sudden and you feel like they were side villains to a much darker person. in the end it feels like a couple of chapters were missing. (3/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Michelle Page: Mara off to spread her father’s ashes she ends up being kidnapped by what seems like a nice couple and put through torturous scenes. I doubt she will get much further in the business she doesn’t shine but she couldn’t help the poor script. (4/10)

 mara

Bill Moseley: Jon the nice stranger who offers a lift but ends up having an alternative motive and turns into a monster waiting to take advantage of the young lady. Bill is known for his twisted characters and he fails to make this one a good addition to the list. (5/10)

bill

Lucinda Jenney: Lea the sister of Jon who helps in the torture of the young lady, while suffering from cancer, what they are after seems like it is her dying wish. A forgettable character who could be very dark but ends up being stupid. (3/10)

 lady

Director Review: Jourdan McClure – Test the audience with two shock torture moments but other than that nothing much stands out. (4/10)

 

Horror: What Mara goes through is horrific but would end up being worse. (5/10)

Thriller: Doesn’t really pull you in enough. (4/10)

Settings: The setting works well for the film creating an isolated environment. (5/10)

Suggestion: This is one to miss, but if you are a diehard torture porn film fan you might just be able to get through it. (Avoid)

 

Best Part: The shock torture scenes as they are quite horrific.

Worst Part: The rest.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $2 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

Tagline: Still Waters Run Deep

 

Overall: Torture Porn Turned Up Late To The Party

Rating 25