The Unborn (2009)

Director: David S Goyer

Writer: David S Goyer (Screenplay)

Starring: Odette Annable, Gary Oldman, Cam Gigandet, Meagen Good, Idris Elba, Jane Alexander

 

Plot: A young woman fights the spirit that is slowly taking possession of her.


Tagline – Evil will do anything to live.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Fast Paced Horror

 

Story: The Unborn starts when young woman Casey (Annable) starts seeing visions and getting warnings about someone wanting to be born, with her best friend Romy (Good) and her boyfriend Mark (Gigandet) Casey starts to investigate and learns that she did in fact have a twin brother who died in the womb.

When Casey turns to a friend of her mother’s she learns about a spirit that is trying to find his way into the real world and she must turn to Rabbi Sendak (Oldman) for answers and a potential cure from the possession.

 

Thoughts on The Unborn

 

Characters – Casey is a young woman that seems to have a normal life until one day she starts seeing visions, getting strange messages, she must research her past to protect her future, a past that is filled with pain and loss as well as a secret she would never be prepared for. We do follow Casey for most part of this film, the problem with her character is that we don’t learn anything about her before the unusual starts happening, is she a good or bad person, we learn nothing, it just starts with her being visited. Rabbi Sendak is the man Casey must turn to for help, he understands how the exorcizing would need to be done while offering the basic advice to Casey before stepping in himself. Mark is the boyfriend, that is about all we learn about him, he isn’t as supportive of the supernatural side of the events. Romy is the best friend, she will help on everything Casey is going through in an attempt to save her friend from the evil haunting her.

PerformancesOdette Annable is the perfect fit for the leading role, she is a beautiful woman whose life is falling apart, she has a good horror scream and you believe it when she is scared. Gary Oldman, well the guy needs to make money, he does bring class to the role even in his limited role. Cam Gigandet is fine without doing too much Meagan Good gives us the only laughs in the film without being anything great in the supporting role.

StoryThe story here follows one young woman that gets starts getting haunted by visions of a young boy and must figure out how to rid herself of this haunting. This story doesn’t take long to start with us going instantly into the first haunting and this pace doesn’t seem to let off, we are constantly going from moment of scares or explanation to what is causing the haunting. This hinders the story because we don’t get a chance to learn anything about the characters we are meant to be supporting, mostly Casey we know nothing about her or what her everyday life is, making it harder to support her. The story follows the horror genre with ease and is saved by a strong twist ending.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film comes from jump scares, well attempted jump scares, most of the horror happens in the dark and is a small child haunting Casey, it does the basics well, though it won’t get the hardcore horror fan to jump. The mystery is more interesting as we must learn the truth about the haunting which goes in direction you wouldn’t see coming.

SettingsThe film is set in Chicago which only adds to the horror because of the big city feeling to everything Casey is experience showing that even in the biggest crowd people could suffer possessional activity.

Special EffectsThe effects have good moments, we the body folding moments being the highlights of the effects which gives us more towards the horror in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Sofi’s last night.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not learning anything about who or what these people do in everyday life.

Final ThoughtsThis is a basic horror that gets the scares done simply, gives us weakly written characters and could pass the time simply enough.

 

Overall: Simple late night horror.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action – C – Criminal (2016)

Director: Ariel Vromen

Writer: Douglas Cook, David Weisberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Ryan Reynolds, Jordi Molla, Gal Gadot, Michael Pitt, Amaury Nolasco, Alice Eve

 

Plot: In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative’s memories, secrets, and skills are implanted into a death-row inmate in hopes that he will complete the operative’s mission.


Tagline –  Take me to the Dutchman.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Moving Action Thriller

 

Story: Criminal starts when CIA agent Bill Pope (Reynolds) is working on bringing The Dutchman (Pitt) to America in exchange for closing the wormhole on the dark web that he has created, the problem is Xavier Heimdahl (Molla) also wants the Dutchman and kills Bill before getting the answers.

Turning to Dr Franks (Jones) for an experimental memory transfer Quaker Wells (Oldman) the head of the CIA operation uses death-row inmate Jerico Stewart (Costner) to learn where the vital information is, but letting a killer lose becomes harder to control than believed.

 

Thoughts on Criminal

 

Characters – Jerico Stewart is the dangerous death-row inmate, we don’t learn what he has done, but anyone that crosses him usually ends up in a body bag. He is forced into receiving Bill’s memories in a hope that he can save a major release of secure information, he doesn’t want to work with the CIA and is happier to operate in his own means. Quaker Wells is running the CIA operation which goes wrong, he will go at any lengths to get the answers he needs to stop the information leak, company man who does go too far. Dr Franks has been working on transferring memories for 18 years, this is his first human attempt which shows how he wants to help with the new memories. Important to the story but lacking the impact he should have on the story. Bill Pope is the family man and CIA agent, it is his memories which hold the answers after he is killed. Xavier Heimdahl wants to bring an end to governments across the world, he will go public with his speeches while also having his darker side coming out when getting what he wants.

PerformancesKevin Coster is in the middle of his recovery/mid-life crisis roles in action movies, he knows how to make his performance work keeping everything entertaining throughout. Gary Oldman as a company man CIA agent, well this always works as he never needs o do anything challenging. Tommy Lee Jones likewise does what he needs to without bringing anything unique to the role. Reynolds is hard to judge because of the smaller part in the film. Jordi Molla does make a good villain showing the calmness needed for the character to feel calculated. Gal Gadot is solid in her supporting role without needing to do much.

StoryThe story gives us the idea that vital information is about to be leaked by a hacker if he doesn’t get a passport and immunity, but things go wrong when the agent with the connection is killed. The experimental idea of transferring memories is put in motion as the candidate doesn’t follow orders the way they had hoped and different agencies from around the globe want the information. This plays out like an action film, but in reality it should have been a tense thriller with the characters we have here. It is an easy to watch and enjoy even if the premise does seem wildly over the top for a simpler idea.

Action/Crime/Mystery/Sci-FiWhen we look at the themes being used action gives us the shoot out we have seen before with a couple of car chases, nothing overly memorable though. The crime world we are placed into shows how the CIA are trying to protect the world from a new threat in London, it seems weird the British intelligence agency are not involved in this. The mystery in this film doesn’t work too well as the only thing needing to be solved is where the package was left. The sci-fi side of the film does come from the idea of transferring the memories, it is only used here though.

SettingsThe film is set in London and the surrounding area, it does feel weird that an American operation happens in England though.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well when needed without being over used for the action scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
Ambulance chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does have a tonal problem with the action and thriller side of things.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid easy to watch action thriller that doesn’t test the audience too much, throws in a wild sci-fi idea and big-name actors hoping it will be a classic.

 

Overall: Easy to watch.

Rating

 

 

Hunter Killer (2018)

Director: Donovan Marsh

Writer: Arne Schmidt, Jamie Moss (Screenplay) George Wallace, Don Keith (Novel)

Starring: Gerald Butler, Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardellini, Zane Holtz, Toby Stephens, Michael Trucco, Ryan McPartlin

 

Plot: An untested American submarine captain teams with U.S. Navy Seals to rescue the Russian president, who has been kidnapped by a rogue general.


Tagline – Courage Runs Deep

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Subline

 

Story: Hunter Killer starts when two submarines are destroyed in Russian waters, one Russian, one American. Captain Joe Glass (Butler) is assigned the captain an American submarine for the first time to investigate what happened. RA John Fisk (Common) is running other operations including sending a marine team to a Russian Naval base.

When the American’s learn the truth that the Russian President is being held captive by the Minister of Defence and the race to stop world war III starting is on, with the mission putting the soldier against the odds.

 

Thoughts on Hunter Killer

 

Characters – Captain Joe Glass is the untested submarine captain who has worked every role on the submarine before and must win over the crew. He gets put on the mission to locate the missing US submarine which takes the crew into enemy water. He must make the difficult decision which needs to stay ahead of the Russian minds while going on a mission that doesn’t have any text books to go to. CJCS Charles Donnegan is the man that wants to get the answer quickest, he doesn’t care if the American’s must go to war to get them, he just wants the situation sorted, he plays into the worse case scenarios for the most part. RA John Fisk is running the operation in search for the missing submarine, he selects Glass, her picks the marines and he makes the difficult decisions from back home, challenge Charles all the way. Jayne comes from the NSA she is willing to share the secrets to get the answers required to make this go away, she is wanting a peaceful resolve of the situation.

PerformancesGerald Butler is strong in the leading role of this film, he has been questioned with his accents in the past, if there are any faults it is barely noticeable. Gary Oldman gets to do a lot of shouting and screaming which is anyone can do well, he is the man who can pull it off without going too over the top. Common does a good enough job in his role, he needs to keep the straight face which doesn’t let him get much wrong. Linda Cardellini is good too, showing us a strong-minded member of the government. We do have a good cast here, we have a lot of actors that you will recognise, and this is one of the final roles for Michael Nygvist.

StoryThe story here follows an US submarine that must go across Russian waters to investigate the missing submarines that were being tracked, the idea of the Russian president is being held by his own people who are looking to start the war, giving the American’s the mission of saving the president before the war begins. This is a tense story to watch because any wrong move could be cataclysmic consequences with the start of World War III. It does have a weakness because it does paint the American’s as the savoir of the world yet again. We do have a lot of different angles showing the story unfolding from the war room, submarine, outside the naval base and inside the base. They do all add up and add to the tension.

ActionThe action in the film comes from different submarines battles and the land mission which shows us military operations.

SettingsThe film keeps us the settings where we need them, either the war room, the submarine or the Russian base, we don’t need to see the other settings which shows us just how the events unfolded.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are a mixed bag, the action scenes are good, it becomes weak for certain moments where you can see the green screen moment.


Scene of the Movie –
The mine field.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There are one too many, ‘just in time’ moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a surprise package of the year, it is a thriller that does keep us on edge waiting to see where things will go and can the world be saved.

 

Overall: Surprise hit of the year.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – T – Tau (2018)

Director: Federico D’Alessandro

Writer: Noga Landau (Screenplay)

Starring: Maika Monroe, Ed Skrein, Gary Oldman

 

Plot: A woman is held captive in a futuristic smart house and hopes to escape by breaking into the computer programs that control the house.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Idea, Just Misses

 

Story: Tau starts when young thief Julia (Monroe) is captured and locked up in a mysterious house with a beacon like object placed in her neck. The house is owned by Alex (Skrein) who has been working on learning the brain patterns and with his other two subjects he believes he can change the planet.

After trying to escape from the cell, Julia ends up getting the rest of the subjects kill, forcing her to complete the tasks alone, as she spends the time interacting with the computer controlling the house Tau (Voiced by Oldman), with a time limit in place, can Julia trust Alex to get out of the house alive.

 

Thoughts on Tau

 

Characters – Julia is the streetwise thief, she works alone against the wishes of her handler, she gets captured and forced into an experimental program which using her skills, she tries to escape from the house which fails only leading her to need to complete the tasks which measure her brain activities as she continues to worry about her life once the tasks have been completed. Alex is the genius that owns the house, he has been trying to make a major break through in his field of brain activity and is now dealing with the pressure thrown on him by his company. Tau is the computer system that controls the home, it is forced to keep the place clean and makes sure the subjects remain in certain location. It starts to befriend Julia as part of her ideas on how to escape from the home as we learn that it is just as much of a prisoner as Julia.

PerformancesMaika Monroe is strong in this film, she appears in every scene and you can see how she is calculating her next move in each scene. Ed Skrein is good as we see him keep his character feel withdrawn from Julia through the film, he shows the arrogance needed too for a genius that believe he is bigger than the world. Gary Oldman’s voice work is good addition because he is such a well-spoken man, which works for the Tau computer character.

StoryThe story follows a young woman that is abducted and forced into an experiment which located in an advanced computer run house and we follow her attempts to escape. We do get into a relationship between a learning artificial intelligence and the woman that tried to help him which goes on longer than it needs to, we don’t seem to get enough of a focus on just what the experiment and tasks is trying to achieve which will leave things feeling empty by the end of the film. The story does have original concepts, but soon falls into the old we have seen this before problems.

Sci-FiThe film does use the sci-fi well because we get the artificial intelligence discussing situations with Julia in a futuristic world.

SettingsThe film is set inside the house for the whole time, which keeps Julia’s mind ticking as she plans for her escape from the evil genius.

Special EffectsThe effects are a mixed bag because certain moments do come off strong but then others look very weak.


Scene of the Movie –
The music discussion.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There are too many talking scenes between Julia and Tau.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sci-fi film that does have wonderfully potential, only it does end up falling short of the potential.

 

Overall: Sci-fi that misses the marks.

Rating

 

 

Natalie Portman Weekend – Leon (1994)

Director: Luc Besson

Writer: Luc Besson (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello, Peter Appel

 

Plot: Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin’s trade.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Assassin Film

 

Story: Leon starts as we see just how deadly of an assassin Leon (Reno) is, you know the usual easy job to show he can pull tricks to confuse the enemy. Leon lives in a small apartment in New York where he has neighbours with middle child Mathilda (Portman) feeling out of place with her abusive father and sister. When we see how her father has gotten them in trouble with Stansfield (Oldman) he murders the whole family.

Leon reluctantly welcomes Mathilda into his home but they soon make an agreement that Leon will train Mathilda to be a ‘cleaner’ just like him so she get kill Stansfield and the men that killed her family.

 

Thoughts on Leon

 

Characters – Leon is the loner assassin that is brilliant at getting the job done and spends his free time keeping his planet in the sun and watching old movies in the cinema. He has a code, no women or children which is why he takes Mathilda in so he can teach her the ways and help her get revenge on the man who killed her family. Mathilda is the 12-year-old girl that has never fitted in her family and is being abused by her family, she sees her family murdered and her only hope is Leon, she wants to be trained to be like him so she can get revenge. We get a lot of different characteristics from this character that acts a lot older than she should but it makes sense because of her childhood being ripped from her. Stansfield is the cop that killed Mathilda’s family, he is a dirty cop with a love for classical music that doesn’t care who he kills to keep his business alive.

PerformanceJean Reno is fantastic in this role, he plays a character perfectly to make us see his kindness to go against his heartless nature as a killer. Gary Oldman makes for a brilliant villain as we see just how emotionless he can be. Natalie Portman gave us her first performance here and it is one of the best child actor performances you will see which makes you understand why she has had such a long career.

StoryThe story follows the idea that a lone assassin teaming up with a young girl who has become a victim of a dirty cop as their friendship blossoms the revenge becomes personal. This is easily one of the best relationship between two people from different worlds coming together for a common goal without anything needing to get complicated.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime side of the film shows the world of assassins, dirty cops and innocent victims as we are left on edge waiting to see what will be happening to our characters.

SettingsNew York always makes for a wonderful setting as we get to see how the overcrowding can let hitmen get away easily.

Scene of the Movie – Mathilda’s Gift for Stansfield.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing, really.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best movies of all times, it shows how to make a lone assassin movie can be one of the best of all time.

 

Overall: Brilliant, masterpiece movie.

Rating