Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Joker (2014)

Director: Greg Francis

Writer: Doug Buchanan, Greg Francis (Screenplay)

Starring: Beau Mirchoff, Ron Perlman, Giancarlo Esposito, Titus Welliver, Michael Eklund, Ron Eldard, Halston Sage


Plot: When you become a detective in Warsaw Indiana – you go to Poker Night, where you play against some of the best cops in the business. They tell you stories about their time on the job – their successes and failures. When new Detective Stan Jeter leaves the game, he is caught by a vicious psychopath and locked in a basement. Using the stories he heard at Poker Night, he must match wits against his captor – and save not only himself, but the young girl trapped in the basement with him. Like Seven and Usual Suspect, Poker Night combines thrills and twists and turns that will leave you guessing till the very end.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Complicated Crime Horror


Story: The Joker starts as Stan Jeter (Mirchoff) recounts what has happened after a poker night, where the shit hit the fan. The poker game is played between the biggest cops in town, Calabrese (Perlman), Bernard (Esposito), Maxwell (Welliver), Cunningham (Eldard) and Davis (Large). These cops trade stories about their biggest busts as Stan the rookie gets to learn lessons from the other cops.

Stan finds himself being abducted by a masked killer that has two rules, have sex with little girls and kill anyone who gets in the way. As Stan looks to survive his situation he always remembers the stories told by the rest of the cops.


Thoughts on The Joker


Characters/PerformanceStan Jeter is the rookie cop recently becoming a hero cop, which has gotten him to the high ranking cops poker night to learn their stories. He also must look for his own safety as he finds himself one of the latest victims of a serial killer. Calabrese, Bernard, Maxwell, Cunningham and Davis are the cops telling the stories and are all good characters.

Performance wise, Beau Mirchoff does struggle in this leading role against the bigger named supporting cast but mostly just because his character is stuck in three different stories and times. The rest of the cast does what they need to without being anything special.

StoryThe story here finds us going through plenty of stories as the rookie hears all about veteran cops best stories while needing to fight a serial killer. The problem here is we have too many stories going on as we hope they do all connect by the final act, the way this is told is mostly a mess though.

Action/Crime/HorrorWe have moments of action with the weak fight sequences or chases, this does help with the crime side of the story too and if we had focuses on just one part of it all we could have been sucked in, the horror is mostly about a serial killer do what he wants.

SettingsThe settings are not anything special with random basement or poker game.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well when needed but we don’t end up having too much going on with them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a messy film that just spends too much time trying to get to the interesting part of the story.


Overall: Plain crime horror movie.




Money Monster (2016)

money monsterDirector: Jodie Foster

Writer: Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf, Jamie Linden (Screenplay) Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf (Story)

Starring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’Connell, Dominic West, Caitriona Balfe, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Denham, Lenny Venito


Plot: Financial TV host Lee Gates and his producer Patty are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor takes over their studio.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Amazing Thriller


Story: Money Monster starts as we see Lee Gates (Clooney) preparing for his financial TV show as we see the director Patty Fenn (Roberts) trying to make everything go to plan. What looks like an everyday show takes a sinister turn when a delivery man Kyle Budwell (O’Connell) takes the show hostage.

Kyle is a victim of a stock call by Lee, keep the show live on air Kyle wants to expose the truth with Diane Lester (Balfe) who is second in command under the man responsible for Kyle’s target Walt Camby (West). Kyle wants answers and this could bring the stock market crashing down around the tycoon Walt.

Money Monster tackles the stock market ups and downs with the idea that it can drive the victims to the limits. We do get the great idea that we could have had way too much stock market talk which does stop us getting bored rather than just getting to the point. This is a thriller that starts in one location while we do learn the truth with everything going on in the background which all works too. I will say this is one of those stories that is easy to follow and will go in a direction you don’t always see it going.


Actor Review


George Clooney: Lee Gates is the charismatic TV host of a financial show that guides people on all the best and worst investments. Lee finds himself being held hostage having to keep Kyle calm as the truth get exposed live on his own show. George is great in this role showing his charming side along with his desperate to survive side.lee

Julia Roberts: Patty Fenn is the director of the Money Monster television show, she has to deal with Lee’s ego but is capable of keeping him in line. She also has to make the difficult decisions when it comes to deciding whether to keep the show on the air. Julia is great in this role being strong throughout.patty

Jack O’Connell: Kyle Budwell is the young man that takes the show hostage because he has been a victim of an altercation on the stock exchange, he wants answers after losing all of his money and this will give him that chance. Jack continues to show his rise starring in this role where he matches the A-listers with ease.kyle

Dominic West: Walt Camby is the owner of the stock that crashed, he can’t be reached for the hostage situation. All fingers point to his involvement but can he get exposed. Dominic is good in this role as the greedy business man.

Support Cast: Money Monster has a supporting cast that all give good performances with Caitriona Balfe be the star of them with Christopher Denham added comic relief.

Director Review: Jodie FosterJodie gives us a great directed thriller that builds up the tension from the first moment until the final scene.


Crime: Money Monster throws into a crime taking part where we watch how Kyle holds the show hostage to expose the real crime going on.

Thriller: Money Monster keeps up the tension from the moment Kyle walks onto the stage till the final scene.

Settings: Money Monster keeps most of the films real tension inside the studio while also walking down Wall Street.
Special Effects
: Money Monster doesn’t use many special effects and really doesn’t need them.

Suggestion: Money Monster is one I do think everyone will enjoy especially if you are a fan of tension. (Watch)


Best Part: Tension building.

Worst Part: Nope


Believability: No, but certain parts could be away from the hostage.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: I would like it to and I will say outside shot.

Budget: $27 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

Tagline: #FollowTheMoney


Overall: Brilliant Tension Filled Thriller




The Jungle Book (2016)

casting card

Plot: An orphan boy is raised in the jungle with the help of a pack of wolves, a bear, and a black panther.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Stunning Version of Classic Tale


Story: The Jungle Book starts as we meet Mowgli (Sethi) the boy raised by wolves with mother wolf Raksha (Nyong’O) always watched over by panther Bagheera (Kingsley). When the animals in the jungle make it through a draught they all come together for a water truce is created meaning all animals come to drink and are not allowed to harm one another. This is where we meet the tiger Shere Khan (Elba) who knows the danger of man and what Mowgli could become.

The wolves become worried by the threat must let Mowgli go with Bagheera deciding to try and guide him to the man village. When Shere Khan called for all the animals to hunt down Mowgli we have to watch the adventure of the man cub as he befriends a range of animals including a bear Baloo (Murray) and clashes with Kaa (Johansson) and King Louie (Walken) along the way.

The Jungle Book is a story we all should know already but this time we get a fresh look about it. The adventure Mowgli goes on is one that makes us want to sit and watch all the way through. The characters we meet are all different with their own agenda which you would imagine the animals would act like. If you did want a new story you won’t get much new though.


Actor Review


Neel Sethi: Mowgli is the man cub raised by wolves but always wondering why he doesn’t grow as fast as they do. During a water truce Mowgli finds himself a targeted by the tiger of the jungle Shere Khan who has always had a hatred toward man. Mowgli must travel through the jungle with his friend’s panther Bagheera and bear Baloo to find the man village and safety. Neel gives a brilliant performance for such a young performer.

Bill Murray (Voice): Baloo is the bear that finds Mowgli befriending him on his adventure across the jungle. He teaches him new lesson he really shouldn’t be teaching him before having to do the right thing. Bill was the perfect voice over for this character nailing all of the comedy lines as serious one Baloo offers the story.

Ben Kingsley (Voice): Bagheera is the panther that has been watching over Mowgli his whole life as he sees the wolves raise him. When Mowgli’s life is in danger he must guide him to safety and the man village which means getting past all the enemies in the jungle. Ben is a great choice for this role with his wise tone throughout.

Idris Elba (Voice): Shere Khan is the tiger that sees Mowgli as a threat because of his hatred towards man. He hunts down Mowgli while calling on all other predators to join him in the hunt. Idris has such a perfect menacing threatening voice being used for this character that makes his sound just as scary as his look.

Support Cast: The Jungle Book has a supporting cast that is cast to near perfection with Christopher Walken as King Louie, Scarlett Johansson as the seductive Kaa as well as Lupita Nyong’O and Giancarlo Esposito as the caring parent wolves.

Director Review: Jon FavreauJon gives us one if not the best Disney animated to live action adaptation of all time.


Adventure: The Jungle Book has one of the first adventures we saw just reimagined to look even more stunning.

Family: The Jungle Book is one for the whole family to enjoy even if a couple of moments are slightly dark.

Fantasy: The Jungle Book puts us into the world where animals interact with each other.

Settings: The Jungle Book puts the whole film in the jungle and makes everything look amazing throughout.
Special Effects
: The Jungle Book has breath taking special effects to make all the animals look realistic.

Suggestion: The Jungle Book is one I think everyone should go and watch. (Watch)


Best Part: Louie escape.

Worst Part: Isn’t one.

Favourite Quote: Baloo ‘Not full hibernation, but I nap a lot.’


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: This could be an outside shot for nominations.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

Tagline: The legend will never be the same.

Overall: Brilliant visual treat of a movie.





Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)

mazeDirector: Wes Ball

Writer: T.S. Nowlin (Screenplay) James Dashner (Book)

Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Dexter Darden, Alexander Flores, Jacob Lofland, Rosa Salazar, Patricia Clarkson, Lili Taylor, Barry Pepper, Alan Tudyk, Giancarlo Esposito


Plot: After having escaped the Maze, the Gladers now face a new set of challenges on the open roads of a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Didn’t See This Coming


Story: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials starts with our survivors from the first Maze Runner Thomas (O’Brien), Minho (Lee), Teresa (Scodelario), Frypan (Darden) Newt (Brodie-Sangster) to name a few. The survivors were rescued by Janson’s (Gillen) men as they see the reality of what has happened to the world with the infected attacking the base especially as our group of survivors are the key to finding a cure from the Flare Virus.grop

Once inside the group learn that there were other mazes with other groups that survivor and Janson is promising to take them to a new land for freedom but when long server survivor Aris (Lofland) shows Thomas the truth they find out just how much danger they are all in again.

After escaping early on the group find themselves coming face to face with the infected enemy where they learn the truth about how dangerous the outside is or the Scorch if you like as they search for a resistance movement to go against Ava Paige (Clarkson).

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials picks up where the first one finished and we finally get to see the world that we only see small parts off. We get to see both side in a war for a cure as well as the threat against both of them with the ‘Cranks’ well zombies really. This is a great sequel to a film that left you thinking, ‘oh come on’ by the end of it. I did say after both Maze Runner and Divergent I would judge the builder film on the sequel, this went the right direction by not over complicating the battle but does show the threat we are witnessing on front of us. Sure this does end up giving us another cliff hanger but we have jumped forward and I could be honest and say you don’t really need to see the first film to enjoy this.


Actor Review


Dylan O’Brien: Thomas is the reluctant leader of the group from the Glades, he learns about the danger his people find themselves in. he leads their escape as he guides them across the Scorch as they look for the next place of safety. Dylan steps up his game in this outing showing he could become the leading man the film deserves.  thomas

Ki Hong Lee: Minho is the trust best friend of Thomas, he is the combat expert and can match Thomas in any of the running mission. He will become your favourite character because he will be the one that stays to fight while his friends get to safety. Ki gives us a good performance making us want to see how his character does against the enemy.

Kaya Scodelario: Teresa is along for the journey and tries to talk Thomas into returning to the base, something was done to her during their time at the base. Kaya really doesn’t do anything in this film and feels slightly out of place.

Thomas Brodie-Sangster: Newt is the brains of the act but also the guy who wants to make sure everything is done through safety rather than taking any chances. Thomas doesn’t get as many scenes as we need from him but he does a solid in the scenes he has.

Support Cast: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials has a huge supporting cast that includes great performance from Patricia Clarkson, Aidan Gillian, Barry Pepper, Lili Taylor, Rosa Salazar, Giancarlo and Adam Tudyk each character is involved with continuing the story and you fast decide which ones you want to cheer for and boo.

Director Review: Wes Ball Wes gives us a great sequel for the next instalment of a franchise I thought was going to be flat.


Action: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials has great action scenes throughout putting all our characters into peril making you wonder which one will make it out of each battle.

Sci-Fi: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials shows a future that ends up showing a world which has been devastated by a virus.

Thriller: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials keeps you guessing to watch will happen until the very end and makes you want to come back for more.

Settings: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials creates brilliant settings for the film showing the destruction that has happened because of the virus.
Special Effects
: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials has great effects with the creation of the Cranks especially with the ones that reminded me of the ‘Clickers’ from The Last of Us.

Suggestion: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is one I think could easily be one to watch and enjoy by all. (Watch)


Best Part: Clickers underground.

Worst Part: Teresa really is annoying and under used.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final Fight.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Divergent, Hunger Games


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $61 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 12 Minutes

Tagline: The maze was just the beginning

Trivia: The plot, facts and characters from the movie are wildly different than from the book, including the story arc, the flare and character backstory and development.


Overall: One of the best young adult films of the recent Ocean of them