Franchise Weekend – The Messengers (2007)

Director: Danny Pang, Oxide Chun Pang

Writer: Mark Wheaton (Screenplay) Todd Farmer (Story)

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Dylan McDermott, Penelope Ann Miller, John Corbett, William B Davis

 

Plot: An ominous darkness invades a seemingly serene sunflower farm in North Dakota, and the Solomon family is torn apart by suspicion, mayhem and murder.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Easily Forgettable

 

Story: The Messengers starts as Solomon family Roy (McDermott), Denise (Miller), daughter Jess (Stewart) and baby Ben move to a farm house which has been abandoned for years after a serious of horrific events.

It doesn’t take long before Jess discovers ghostly figures attracted to Ben but they are never around when her parents are around, turning to the farm hand Burwell (Corbett) she learns more about what could cause everything but just how much danger is the family in?

 

Thoughts on The Messengers

 

Characters/PerformanceRoy has struggled for work to supporting his family for a couple of years and will do everything to make this new home work for them, Denise is the wife that is struggling to connect with their daughter the way they once did. Jess is the teenage daughter that must live with an accident she caused but finds herself distant from her parents.

Performance wise, you can see here just how far Stewart has come because she does struggle in the leading role here but now she can give us powerhouse performances like Personal Shopper, the rest of the cast are fine but nothing more.

StoryThe story is simple, a family looking for fresh start must deal with their demons to bring the divide in the family back together while dealing with a supernatural presence in the new home. This isn’t very original and does get slightly stuck between supernatural and real events never giving us a reason why the supernatural side happens in the first place.

Horror/Mystery The horror is mostly stuff running around behind the characters and lazy jump scares, the mystery is mostly about what happened before and why is it happening again.

SettingsMost of the film or at least the horror elements take place on the farm house which I guess does work for the film.

Special EffectsThe special effects are mostly weak throughout leaving us to not believe too much of what we see.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple, easy to watch horror mystery, it doesn’t test you enough on the horror or mystery side of things though.

 

Overall: Lacklustre horror mystery.

Rating

 

 

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Freezer (2014)

frezzerDirector: Mikael Salomon

Writer: Tom Doganoglu, Shane Weisfeld (Screenplay)

Starring: Dylan McDermott, Peeter Facinelli, Yuiya Snigir, Rafael Petardi, Markus Parilo

 

Plot: Robert is an ordinary man who is faced with extraordinary circumstances. He is locked in a meat freezer by Russian thugs who believe that he owes them 8 million dollars. Robert, who is in every frame of the film soon discovers that he is not alone in the freezer. Sam, a stranger, is also locked in with him, and it becomes a struggle to survive the cold and the forces that are against them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painfully Average

 

Story: Freezer starts when Robert (McDermott) wakes up tied inside a meat locker, trying to figure out why he is confronted by Alisa (Snigir) who works for the Russian mob claiming he has 8 million dollars of theirs. Trying to explain he is the wrong guy he must find a way out of the locker before it is too late with undercover Detective Sam Gurov (Facinelli) injured inside the locker too.

As the time counts down we are left to wonder who really has the money and what is Robert’s real involvement in this abduction.

 

Thoughts on Freezer

 

StoryThe story going on here is very thin and tries to use the idea of one man trapped in a small location which has been good in other ideas but in the end, has just turned into something that never really works because you would never see the Russian Mafia looking this weak, because this makes the look fully useless when it comes to looking after their money. The story is at least short which doesn’t let the tension side of the story slow down.

Action/ThrillerWe do get certain moments of well-built up tension but in the end each scene feels like it is leading to something but it ends up being small arguments and a punch here or there.

Characters/PerformancesRobert is not a likeable character which doesn’t help us to side with him, he comes off rash cocky and arrogant throughout the ordeal. The Russian’s are all made to be painfully generic with them being portrayed as pure thugs. The performances are nothing special either with nobody doing anything memorable through the film.

SettingsThe whole film is set inside the meat locker which does create the idea of the solo location needed as part of a torture to get the money. This works for the film but in the end is nothing on the level of what Saw or Buried achieved.

Special EffectsHas small use of effects which all work well for the moments they are needed.

Final ThoughtsAverage at best thriller that just doesn’t use the material it should with the levels it could have.

 

Overall: Thriller that just doesn’t know when to cut the twists out when it needs to.

Ratingcard

 

 

Automata (2014)

automataDirector: Gabe Ibanez

Writer: Gabe Ibanez, Igor Legarreta, Javier Sanchez Donate (Screenplay)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Dylan McDermott, Melanie Griffith, Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, Robert Forster, Tim McInnerny, Javier Bardem

 

Plot: Jacq Vaucan is an insurance agent of ROC robotics corporation who investigates cases of robots violating their primary protocols against altering themselves. What he discovers will have profound consequences for the future of humanity.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Automata starts in the future in the aftermath of solar storms that have wiped 99.7% of the world’s population from the Earth. The protect the remaining one robots known as automata are created to build walls to stop the solar rays, they are built with two conditions, one they can’t harm anything living and two they can’t alter their protocols.

In this world, we meet Jacq Vaucan (Banderas) who investigates insurances claims against the robots. Jacq whose wife is pregnant about to give birth wants to take on the easy jobs but soon gets a new assignment to uncover why this one automata was smuggling parts and self-improving himself.

Jacq teams up with short tempered police officer Sean Wallace (McDermott) to learn that the world isn’t going the way he thought with human altering the automatas for their own benefits but just how deep has this gone?

 

Thoughts on Automata

 

StoryThe story puts us into a dystopian world where human numbers are low but they live side by side with robots. We have the ideas that robots are starting to become smarter and evolving to become a threat to mankind. I liked how this story talks about the fine line between science with humans learning more about robots and what could be the start of change in power without turning into a mindless action film.

Action/Sci-FiWhen it comes to the action it isn’t non-stop which is just what the movie needs, the sci-fi side of the story works very well as we see how the humans work with the robots but could be about to raise their intelligence above our own, this poses good sci-fi related questions throughout.

Characters/PerformanceWhen it comes to the performances Banderas shines in the leading role with the good supporting performance all around mostly because the film isn’t afraid to shock with certain names. The characters all suit the world we find ourselves in, Jacq a family man tired of his job, a hot heated cop, smart scientist hidden from the world the concerned wife and the emotionless killer.

SettingsThe settings work perfectly for the world created showing us how bleak our future could be after a solar storm as well as how we would still divide ourselves for safety. The city looks worn down with the desert looking like it has been left for years with no one able to go to.

Special EffectsThe special effects all look fantastic with the robots looking like they could easily be part of our own world which is the main usage of the special effects in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis does turn into a very smart sci-fi which is happily asking us morale questions throughout as well as concluding by asking the questions about our own existence and what might become of us once we are gone.

 

Overall: This is a smart sci-fi even with moments that come off slow at times.

Ratingcad

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – Mercy (2014)

casting card

 

Plot: A single mom and her two boys help take care of their grandmother with mystical powers.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre Horror

 

Story: Mercy starts as we follow George (Riggs) who is close to his Grandma Mercy (Knight) who teaches him things about life. When she has a stroke he loses his best friend before a year later along with his mother Rebecca (O’Connor) and sister Buddy (Courtney) have to move into her house to care for her.

When George starts finds out more about the strange history within the house he learns secrets that Mercy made as he must find off the forces of evil and stop the curse controlling the family.

Mercy is a horror film that just doesn’t get the elements of horror involved until way to late in the movie and then suddenly it is all over. I feel this is way too short to get us involved with what the complete story is involved. We try to enter into plenty of different rituals but most of it just becomes a blur by the end.

 

Actor Review

 

Frances O’Connor: Rebecca is the mother of George and Buddy as well as being the daughter of Mercy, she has to move her family to care for Mercy but what she learns will leave her family in danger. Frances is ok in this role but doesn’t make enough of an impact.

Shirley Knight: Mercy is the Grandmother of George that has always been trying to teach him about life but when the past comes back to haunt her she becomes possessed by the very thing she thought would protect her. Shirley does have elements of creepiness about her throughout.

Chandler Riggs: George is the youngest member of the family who has been close to his grandmother his whole life, when she suffers a stroke he must step up to fight her demons to uncover a family secret. Chandler is solid in this role without being given enough time in the final act which is really needed.

Joel Courtney: Buddy is the brother of George who wishes to become a chef one day, he doesn’t believe anything he has to say and is almost forgotten during the film. Joel does the best he can with a poorly written supporting character.

Support Cast: Mercy has a supporting cast that all seem to know something about what is happening but only given little parts of the story away. They just seem to become almost disposable and not giving the story enough of what it needs.

Director Review: Peter CornwellPeter gives us a short horror that just doesn’t give us enough build up.

 

Horror: Mercy doesn’t have enough when it comes to creating any horror.

Thriller: Mercy tries to suck us in which doesn’t happen leaving us not worried about the characters.

Settings: Mercy keeps most of the story inside the house but just doesn’t seem to get enough about it.
Special Effects
: Mercy has basic effects when needed without being too much.

Suggestion: Mercy is one to avoid because it is just too short. (Avoid)

 

Best Part: It is short so you won’t waste too much time.

Worst Part: Not enough is happening.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 19 Minutes

 

Overall: Slow, disappointing horror that has nothing about it.

Ratingcard

 

 

Survivor (2015)

llogoDirector: James McTeigue

Writer: Philip Shelby (Screenplay)

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Pierce Brosnan, Dylan McDermott, Robert Forster, James D’Arcy, Angela Bassett

Plot: A Foreign Service Officer in London tries to prevent a terrorist attack set to hit New York, but is forced to go on the run when she is framed for crimes she did not commit.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Very Solid Thriller

Story: Survivor starts with a mission in Afghanistan with an all out gun battle going on in the streets. We see the two helicopter pilots captured by the enemy where they learn one has value but the other is worthless in their eyes.

Skip to London where we watch a secret mission going on with Kate Abbott (Jovovich) the new security officer. Kate brings a new addition to the office with includes Sam Parker (McDermott) and Bill Talbot (Forster). Kate works as the new head security making sure terrorists don’t get into the country and questioning anyone who seems out of place, she knows about fake visa but that opens the doors to new enemies for her.

When the terrorists wanting to bring in illegal immigrates hear this news they turn to Nash (Brosnan) and specialist for hire. Kate continues to investigate her case learn that scientists have been coming into the country and granted visa even if they have questionable back-stories. Kate ends up making enemies in all the wrong places grabbing the attention of Inspector Paul Anderson (D’Arcy) and the Ambassador Maureen Crane (Bassett).

When Bill plans a birthday celebrations for all his co-workers it turns out to be a trap as Nash planets a bomb for the terrorists, but not everything goes to plan when Kate isn’t in the building at the time and survivors the attack having to go on the run from the ruthless Nash. Kate has to use all her training to survive from friends and enemies alike as she is made out to be the prime suspect in the terrorist attack, with no one to turn to she has to prove who committed the crime before the next major terrorist attack happens on US soil.

Survivor takes a lot of the technical side of terrorist stories and puts it into a good old fashion thriller, we get the traditional one person being chased by both sides but we all know that person is innocent. We do get a lot of generic characters but what this film does is try and keep the pace going not wanting to let us take a breathe from the moment the bomb goes off. Many people will talk badly about this film because of its true lack of originality but in the end it does end up using the known ideas that work to make this entertaining. This will go under the radar at the box office but it is well worth a watch and it will give good enjoyment for all the thriller fans out there. (7/10)

Actor Review

Milla Jovovich: Kate Abbott is the newly hired asset to help with security in the American Embassy, when she starts digging into the truth she ends up becoming the target of the next terrorist attack. She gets framed for the attack and must go on the run from an assassin and the people she is meant to be working for to clear her name and uncover the truth. Milla does give us a good performance but we all know she is a good action star and a very good female lead. (7/10)kate

Pierce Brosnan: Nash is the deadly assassin know as the ‘Watchmaker’ who get hired to kill Kate and her team but when she escapes the bomb radius he has to track her down and finish off the job he started. Pierce gives us a good performance also showing us that he isn’t afraid to play the villain after all the years as James Bond. (7/10)nash

Dylan McDermott: Sam Parker is the one person that seems to stand by Kate wanting to believe she is innocent while everyone else is seeing her as guilty. He tries to find her to bring her in but is constantly followed by Inspector Anderson. Dylan gives a solid performance that we expect to see in the supporting roles. (6/10)sam

James D’Arcy: Inspector Paul Anderson is the man trying to track down Kate to close the case on the bombing in his city, he answers to anyone in power from England as doesn’t want to stop to ask questions first. James plays the typical idiot police officer that makes us all laugh. (6/10)

Angela Bassett: Maureen Crane is the Ambassador of the US Embassy who wants to mess cleaned up as quick as possible, she is the one that hired Kate to help increase security in the UK. Angela does a solid job in the role but never really gets enough screen time to do anything with. (6/10)

Robert Forster: Bill Talbot is the head of the security team but has been getting blackmailed into passing visas through the system so he can get his son back. Robert gives us a solid supporting role which tests us to wonder what we would do to save a loved one. (6/10)

Support Cast: Survivor has a supporting cast of the victims of the opening attack as well as the terrorist group who have been carefully playing their next attack.

Director Review: James McTeigueJames gives us a very solid thriller that won’t leave too much the imagination but does what we need to see. (7/10)

Action: Survivor does keep the action rolling once the first attack happens but mostly through chases. (7/10)

Thriller: Survivor keeps you guessing right to the end about just what the attack is going to be. (8/10)

Settings: Survivor keeps the settings very generic and iconic to help make us find it easy to identity the location. (7/10)

Suggestion: Survivor is one for the action thrillers fans to enjoy, it is easy to watch but don’t expect anything to the level of the Bourne film. (Action Thriller Fans Watch)

Best Part: Good pacing.

Worst Part: The characters never look into any other potential leads.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final short fight.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Could do, depends on Box Office.

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: 24

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $20 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

Tagline: Framed. Abandoned. Hunted.

Overall: Survivor is a good thriller but won’t go down as a classic just as an enjoyed one.

Rating 70