The Titan (2018)

Director: Lennart Ruff

Writer: Max Hurwitz (Screenplay) Arash Amel (Story)

Starring: Sam Worthington, Tayor Schilling, Tom Wilkinson, Agyness Deyn, Nathalie Emmanuel, Noah Jupe, Corey Johnson

 

Plot: A military family takes part in a ground-breaking experiment of genetic evolution and space exploration.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Pilot for a Show?

 

Story: The Titan starts as we learn that the world is facing extinction, Professor Martin Collingwood (Wilkinson) is conducting experiments to select a candidate to go through a genetic evolution that would make their body ready to land and survive on Saturn’s moon Titan.

LT Rick Janssen (Worthington) moves his family wife Dr Abi Janssen (Schilling) and son Lucas (Jupe) to the training camp as one of the candidates and easily one of the most promising. When the candidates start showing side effects, Abi starts investigating just what the experiments are about.

 

Thoughts on The Titan

 

Characters – LT Rick Janssen is one of the candidates selected because an unbelievable survival story, he quickly becomes the number candidate with his ability to adapt to change better than any of the others selected, though the change is hard on him and his family. Dr Abi Janssen is the wife of Rick, she isn’t involved in the experiment though does pick up on the idea that something doesn’t seem right with what is being done to her husband. Professor Martin Collingwood is the man running the experiment, he knows and believes this could be the last hope for humanity

PerformancesSam Worthington in the leading role is solid enough in the leading role without doing too much with his role, this is the same as Taylor Schilling who for the first half of the film she doesn’t do too much, but quickly becomes the standout of the second half. Tom Wilkinson in his scientist role is one he could do in his sleep.

StoryThe story here shows us how the end of the world is coming and we follow an experiment which is designed to hopefully offer humanity a new hope. Now this story is misleading because we are sold on the idea of the evolving to surviving on Titan, rather than just watching the almost training process for the change. This story will leave people wanting more and less because we are promised so much either from the race against time side of the film or the future we are searching for, with neither getting the focus needed. There is also a moment where the experiment gets challenged on ethics only to fall short and never follow through. This story has too many missed opportunities for a truly challenging sci-fi story.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi side of the film shows us just how the scientist are planning to find a new home for the human race when the world needs to become saved. This is solid enough idea, though never uses them enough.

SettingsThe film takes us to a remote base for the experiment, it has nothing that makes it stand out or make it memorable.

Special EffectsThe effects are solid enough for the most part, we do to see moments of change even though it isn’t anything that isn’t that much standing out here.


Scene of the Movie –
The underwater moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of time in space.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that feels like a pilot to a TV show, it has all the potential to be fantastic, only to not including the more fascinating parts of the ideas.

 

Overall: Fails to capture the potential.

Rating

 

 

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Milla Jovovich Weekend – The Fourth Kind (2009)

fourthDirector: Olatunde Osunsanmi

Writer: Olatunde Osunsanmi (Screenplay) Olatunde Osunsanmi, Terry Robbins (Story)

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Will Patton, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Corey Johnson, Enzo Cilenti, Elias Koteas

 

Plot: A thriller involving an ongoing unsolved mystery in Alaska, where one town has seen an extraordinary number of unexplained disappearances during the past 40 years and there are accusations of a federal cover up.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Sci-Fi Mystery Thriller

 

Story: The Fourth Kind starts as Milla Jovovich as herself introducing this movie explaining she will be playing Dr Abigail Tyler a therapist who worked in Alaska on the date of October 1st 2000, she continues to explain this will be a mix of achieve footage and recreation. So we know the film is looking back at real footage of real events, nothing at all is made up right? No.

We go into the main story as we follow Abigail as she sees her own colleague Dr Campos (Koteas) to help with the problems she is having. We see how Abigail’s husband Will has recently died and that Nome her home is only accessible by plane.

Dr Tyler’s patients all start having similar nightmares about an owl watching over them even with her own nightmares having the same memories as the night her husband died. What we go onto discover is a terrifying truth about what had been happening in this small isolated town.

The Fourth Kind is a mystery sci-fi thriller that tried to play into the shock value of make it fully sold on real events, it was not off real events let’s make that clear but the complete sell of this movie on it being recreation of what really happened works for the horror side to this story. With this being said the scare factor comes off very well to a level of unsettling at times when we see how the visits were meant to get played out like.

The acting is strange because we are not used to seeing Milla Jovovich looking so vulnerable in leading roles but she is solid without shining while Elias Koteas is good in the supporting role along with Will Patton. The slightly disrespectful side of story comes from the fact the actors playing the original tapes don’t get enough credit for their performances.

 

Overall: Sold brilliantly, executed well with scares that work for the unknown time we live in.

Ratingcard

 

 

Blood Moon (2015)

logoDirector: Jeremy Wooding

Writer: Alan Wightman (Screenplay)

Starring: George Blagden, Tom Cotcher, Barrington De La Roche, Raffaello Degruttola, Shaun Dooley, Jack Fox, Dave Fulton, Corey Johnson

Plot: A stagecoach of travellers, a gun-slinger and two outlaws arrive in a deserted mining town lit by the glow of a reddish full moon. As their worlds collide, they are hunted by a beast that only appears on the night of a blood moon.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Wild Werewolf Western

Story: Blood Moon starts Colorado 1887 in a small western town which comes under attack by a howling creature. We next meet the Norton brothers Jeb (Degruttola) and Hank (Johnson) bank robbers who have just completed their latest robbery. Finally we meet Jake Norman (Blagden) his new wife Sarah (Rowan) along with fellow travellers Father Domonic (Shale), Henry (Webster) Marie (Skellern) and lone traveller Calhoun (Dooley). Town Sheriff Wade (Fox) teams up with Black Deer (Matsuura) to find the Norton brothers.

When the travellers end up in the small town they find the remains of the lone person in town believing it was just a wolf pack or hoped anyway. The group have too survive the attack by the robbers but that isn’t the only threat they will face because when night falls they have to take on a skin walker, what is left is who will survive the night?

Blood Moon takes the werewolf genre and puts into a western which works for this story because like a lot of horror films we get a group of people from different worlds having to work together against a common enemy. I do think the film tries to develop the characters a little bit too long because it brings the film into a slight slow spell in the middle before we actually end up facing the werewolves. I do think there was more to come from the final battle but when it comes it seems rushed. The werewolf films really do come as hit or miss and sadly this feel closer to the miss. (5/10)

Actor Review

George Blagden: Jake Norman is the deputy Marshall on his honeymoon, he tries to keep his identity secret but the thieves like the situation of having the authority figure trapped. He has to use his knowledge to over come the thieves and the skin walkers. George does a solid job in this but never seems to look the character. (6/10)

Jack Fox: Wade is the Sheriff who is trying to track down the thieves who he knows is going in the same direction as Jake, he teams up with the towns witch doctor who shows him the ways. Jack does a solid but doesn’t get the screen time. (5/10)

Raffaello Degruttola, Corey Johnson: Jeb & Hank Norton are the bank robbers who have killed on their latest job, they end up holding the stagecoach people hostage while figuring out their next move, before coming under attack from the Skin walkers. The pair make for solid bank robbers but also very generic. (5/10)

Shaun Dooley: Calhoun is the lone traveller who joins the stagecoach and has constant mystery about who he really is, and which side of the law he is on. Shaun is the highlight of the film because we always want a character with mystery. (6/10)

Support Cast: Blood Moon has a supporting cast that a mainly disposable for the werewolves.

Director Review: Jeremy WoodingJeremy does a solid job with building the characters but doesn’t give enough horror. (5/10)

Horror: Blood Moon isn’t as scary or bloody as it should be. (5/10)

Settings: Blood Moon creates a good setting for the whole film making us believe we are in the time period in question. (9/10)

Suggestion: Blood Moon is one to try because werewolf films are few and far between but it isn’t in the league as the very best. (Try It)

Best Part: Smart Character Development.

Worst Part: Slightly slow.

Believability: No (/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Could do.

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $3 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Tagline: When it’s red you’re dead.

Overall: Solid Werewolf film

Rating55

Ex Machina (2015)

logoDirector: Alex Garland

Writer: Alex Garland (Screenplay)

Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Corey Johnson, Oscr Isaac, Alicia Vikander, Sonoya Mizuno, Claire Selby

 

Plot: A young programmer is selected to participate in a breakthrough experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breathtaking female A.I.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sci-Fi Seriously Great

 

Story: Ex Machina starts with Caleb (Gleeson) winning a competition which involves him being taken to an isolated location where a high tech house is where his prize is located. Caleb gets to work with genius scientist Nathan (Isaac) a man that he has the utmost respect for and his boss. Caleb has to agree to a large amount of secretly clause in a contract so he can work with Nathan on the next level of his research.

Caleb has been selected to be the human subject to see how an artificial intelligence can be conceived as real, this means that Nathan has created it but he needs another human to see if his research has push the artificial intelligence levels to the point where humans don’t know they are interacting with a computer. The artificial intelligence in question is named Ava (Vikander) and Caleb gets to have his first conversation with her.

Caleb continues to his interactions with Ava we start to see how Caleb could be stuck in the middle of a battle between Nathan and Ava. Caleb is trying to figure out whether he can trust Nathan or believe what Ava is saying. Nathan continues to show off how he created Ava while Ava tries to make herself come off more human with her look and style of conversation. When Caleb starts to uncover the truth he is left wonder just what is actually real or what is part of an experiment.

Ex Machina has to go down as the sci-fi film of the year very early on in the year. The story is all character driven and is willing to be brave enough to ignore the robot laws we always seem to see in the building AI. The story is filled with twists and turn that really does keep you guessing to what will happen next. I will say that if you are expecting any real action you will be let down and even though the story does end up flying by it could end up feeling slow in parts. This is an interaction based film that is filled with conversation that all become very interesting that gets into the idea of whether creating an AI would be ethical to create to the level achieved. (9/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Domhnall Gleeson: Caleb is the skilled computer coder working for a brilliant company trying to reach the next level of the technology battle. He gets selected by the recluse boss to help with his research on artificial intelligence leaving Caleb having to have conversation with the creation leading to an unethical potential relationship. Domhnall gives a great performance but I do feel the American accent does come and go too often. (8/10)

 caleb

Oscar Isaac: Nathan is the recluse genius boss who has selected Caleb to be part of the research experiment, where he gives away part of the secrets but not all of them as the experiment continue on. Oscar gives a great performance but I couldn’t help but think he was Mr Universe from Serenity with his character actions. (8/10)

nathan

Alicia Vikander: Ava is the artificial intelligence created to try and prove that it would in fact be possible to trick a human into thinking they are having a conversation with a fellow human being. She has become smarter than first thought and is enjoying the interaction with Caleb because he is something different to just Nathan. Alicia gives a brilliant performance in an early role but could this really be a star being born? (9/10)

 ava

Support Cast: Ex Machina only has supporting cast of previous models used to create the levels that Ava’s intelligence has got too.

 

Director Review: Alex Garland – Alex gives a great directing debut here with a film that is thoroughly engrossing from start to finish. (9/10)

 

Drama: Ex Machina manages to make nearly two hours of whether it is right or wrong to build the artificial intelligence seem like one of the most interesting conversations in recent film. (9/10)

Sci-Fi: Ex Machina puts us into a world where artificial intelligence could be used to create the most realistic ideas to date, trying to keep everything on a level that could be achieved rather than making it all theoretical. (9/10)

Settings: Ex Machina keeps the setting as just the isolated research facility for the one week we spend there. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Ex Machina uses brilliant effects to make the artificial intelligence creation making them have a human side while showing the mechanical side. (10/10)

Suggestion: Ex Machina is one that really should be getting watched by all but I would understand the fact the casual fans will find it slightly slow. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Keeping you guessing.

Worst Part: Slightly slow.

Favourite Quote: Nathan ‘One day the AIs are going to look back on us the same way we look at fossil skeletons on the plains of Africa. An upright ape living in dust with crude language and tools, all set for extinction.’

 

Believability: The research might well be real, but how far it has gone is slightly harder to believe. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $27 Million

Budget: 11 Million Euros

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

Tagline: What happens to me if I fail your test?

Trivia: Caleb alludes to the fact that only Gods can create new life. The three main characters all have appropriate biblical names. Ava is a form of Eve, the first woman, Nathan was a prophet in the court of David, and Caleb was a spy sent into a new land by Moses.

 

Overall: Ex Machina is easily one of the best sci-fi films of recent years that pulls you into an experiment that you just don’t know how it will end.

Rating 90

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)

phillips

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)

muse

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