The Belko Experiment (2017)

Director: Greg McLean

Writer: James Gunn (Screenplay)

Starring: John Gallagher Jr, Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona, John C McGinley, Melonie Diaz, Owain Yeoman, Sean Gunn, Michael Rooker

 

Plot: In a twisted social experiment, 80 Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogotá, Colombia and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company’s intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Suspenseful Filled Thriller

 

Story: The Belko Experiment starts as we arrive in Bogota, Colombia where we meet a select few of our American business employees working in an isolated building, we have Mike (Gallagher Jr), Barry (Goldwyn), Leandra (Arjona), Wendell (McGinley), Dany (Diaz) and Bud (Rooker).

The normal office job for the America employees changes drastically when they notice all the locals have been sent home by the new guards and an announcement comes over the system that 2 employees need to be killed in 30 minutes as all the doors and windows lock down.

First believing this is a test the employees remain calm at first but when people’s heads start exploding from the trackers the employees have this turns into a life and death battle, the next message is that the employees have 2 hours to kill 30 of the remaining 76 people or the people holding them will randomly select 60, but the questions are why are they being tested like this? Who will turn on their friends? And when will they get out?

 

Thoughts on The Belko Experiment

 

Characters/PerformanceMike is a high-ranking supervisor in the office, he knows everyone having a good relationship with his boss Barry and his girlfriend Leandra. Barry is the CEO of the company, he is the highest ranked member of staff, he does the best he can to control the people through this panic. Leandra is another one of the supervisors, she knows she is beautiful and happy to flaunt it. Wendell is the older employee who clearly feels stuck in the cubical while seeing younger people being his boss, Dany is the newest employee, she deals with not knowing people but her past will help her through the conflict. Bud is the building maintenance that tries to find a place to get out of the enclosed building. It would be fair to say we only learn the characters nature during the situation rather than before it.

Performance wise, John Gallagher Jr steps up into a leading role after quality performances in supporting roles last year and he fits this role wonderfully. Tony Goldwyn is fantastic in this role being heartless through the situation. John C McGinley is great even if his role feels like all of the creepy of Dr Cox without the sarcasm. Adrian Arjona is good in this role where she is a strong leading woman. Michael Rooker is good for his role with Melonie Diaz doing a good job too. The truth is the whole cast is great through the film showing the panic required for the situation.

StoryThe story of an office block needing to kill or be killed to survive a test is one of the most intense thrillers we have seen in years. This completely keeps you on edge as you need to see just how far the office workers will go when pushed to the limits. This does have a lot borrowed from Battle Royale but so what it just changes the environment making it adults rather than kids going through the same test.

Action/Horror/ThrillerThe action side of the story is with how the people will be getting attack and killed which gets creative in places. The horror side of the story comes from seeing how people will react to everything going on as you get to see the worst in people. The thriller side of the film is the highlight because all you want is to see who will make it out alive.

SettingsThe whole film is set within the office complex in the middle of nowhere, the people are trapped inside with nowhere to run, no way of getting help making this tick all the boxes for a brilliant use of location.

Special EffectsFrom the first kill to the last each kill looks fantastic through the film showing us the just how to make effects work in film.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the thrillers of the year, it has moments of social commentary too which add a dark humour to what we are seeing and you actually feel like you are not sure who will survive the day.

 

Overall: Potential thriller of the year?

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 (2017)

Director: James Gunn

Writer: James Gunn (Screenplay) Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Steve Englehart, Steve Gan, Jim Starlin, Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, Bill Mantlo, Keith Giffen (Characters)

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell

 

Plot: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Character Building of the Galaxy

 

Story: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol, 2 starts with the guardians Peter Quill (Pratt), Gamora (Saldana), Drax (Bautista), Rocket and Baby Groot protecting the galaxy once more doing a paid job for Ayesha (Debicki). The payment is none other than Nebula (Gillan) who they aim to target her bounty, but when Rocket commits the same crime the Guardians are once again on the run.

Being saved by Peter’s father Ego (Russell) the team split up with an old friend Yondu (Rooker) the Guardians will learn more about themselves, working together and being the saviours of the galaxy again.

 

Thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

 

Characters/PerformancePeter gets a chance to learn about his father while still trying to be the leader of the Guardians continuing on his maybe romance with Gamora. Gamora tries to continue being the strong silent type but this time gets to deal with her relationship with sister Nebula. Drax becomes the best character in the film getting all the best line with his way of life that he once lived, having a connection with Mantis. Rocket continues to deal with his wishes to be alone and not make friends seeing himself in Yondu. Baby Groot is fun for the most part getting the cute award. Yondu continues on his arc as we continue to learn he isn’t as much of a bad guy as he wants to be. The additional characters include Mantis who does get plenty of laughs with her innocent nature, Ego is also very interesting with his past becoming the interesting.

Performance wise, I feel Chris Pratt does struggle to maintain the charm he gave us in the first film, Saldana does continue to look the part of a kickass warrior though. Dave Bautista for me is the star of the film getting all the laughs wanting you to see his next scene. Cooper continues he great work voicing Rocket and Rooker does well with his increased involvement in the film. Kurt Russell fits into an 80‘s themed movie perfectly and does well throughout. If you are going to look into Stallone to be a big part you will be disappointed as he is only in one scene building his character for future films.

StoryThe story can be described in one phrase ‘character building’, I say this because we have a lot of pairing up as the good guys work with bad guys putting their differences aside to see themselves in a new light. This is the base of the story and is great for the next stages of the Marvel Universe but in the end we are left with something slightly flat with the normal big fight feeling at the end. This isn’t the best story but can entertain where needed.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is large scale but nothing new with the adventure also not being on the level of the first film, the sci-fi is all good looking at the potential universes the Guardians could have adventures in the future.

SettingsThe settings are all created to look beautiful and unique without being something of complete wow factor.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all great and it is hard to find a fault in them for the most part.

Final ThoughtsAs a huge fan of the original film, I couldn’t help but find myself slightly let down because this film does feel slow in places and too character development heavy.

 

Overall: This is a fun film and it will be important to where the film franchise goes next.

Rating

 

 

Sarah Polley Weekend – Dawn of the Dead (2004)

deadDirector: Zack Snyder

Writer: James Gunn (Screenplay) George A Romero (Story)

Starring: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Mekhi Phifer, Ty Burrell, Michael Kelly, Kevin Zegers, Michael Barry, Lindy Booth

 

Plot: A nurse, a policeman, a young married couple, a salesman, and other survivors of a worldwide plague that is producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies, take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best

 

Story: Dawn of the Dead starts with one of the best opening scenes in zombie movie history, as we follow nurse Ana (Polley) as she finishes work and goes about every week date night with her husband Lewis. All seems normal until the neighbourhood good Vivian turns up in their house, biting Lewis before Ana realizes she has woken up in the Dawn of the Dead as she looks for some form of safety.

Finding the city in complete chaos Ana must find somewhere for safety first by running into cop Kenneth (Rhames) followed closely by Michael (Weber), Andre (Phifer) and Luda (Korobkina). The answer to their problems lies in the shopping mall which security guards CJ (Kelly), Bart (Barry) and Terry (Zegers) have control over.

When more survivors turn up at the mall the group have to put their differences aside to figure out a way to survive once the mall becomes an attraction for all of the undead.

Dawn of the Dead is one of those remakes that works, the first film was incredible popular and this keeps the base story the same but brings the concept into the modern era of horror. No longer are the days of slow moving zombies we get fast paced none stop relentless zombies that become even scarier. There isn’t much to talk about with the story because it really is just about surviving but where this one really shines are in the brave side story with Andre and his bitten pregnant wife. I can’t see a bad thing in this film and it could easily be one of the most perfect zombie horror films of all time.

 

Actor Review

 

Sarah Polley: Ana is a nurse before the outbreak, she is the only character we got to meet before the outbreak but becomes a leading member of the group of survivors as her medical skills and human side shine through the animal like behave of the rest of the group. Sarah gives us a true nonsense performance in the leading role.ana

Ving Rhames: Kenneth is the cop that help Ana get to the mall, he only wants to get to his brother but finds himself being distant from the rest of the survivors but only so he can deal with things his own way. He is the toughest of all of the survivors and the most valuable member in combat. Ving is great in this role where he easily the most realistic in the zombie outbreak idea.kenneth

Jake Weber: Michael becomes the reluctant leader of the group, he hasn’t achieved much in his life but sees this as a chance to make up for his mistakes. Jake is good in this role as the reluctant hero showing anyone can lead when time calls for it.jake

Mekhi Phifer: Andre along with his pregnant wife find themselves in the mall, he keeps his wife hidden from the rest of the group because he knows the truth about her but still wants to have the baby. Mekhi gives us one of the most fascinating supporting characters in zombie films.andre

Michael Kelly: CJ is one of the security guards at the mall, he wants it to himself and the other guards, when the rest of the survivors turn up he sees them as a threat. After he gets taught that they are all after one thing and strength in numbers he becomes the go to guy for solutions with his knowledge of the mall. Michael gives a great performance in a role unlike most you will know him for.cj

Support Cast: Dawn of the Dead has a good supporting cast that are all very interesting characters to add to the zombie survival film.

Director Review: Zack SnyderZack shows that he was going to be one of the most popular directors around with this brilliant reimaging of a classic.

 

Action: Dawn of the Dead is filled with non-stop zombie killing action.

Horror: Dawn of the Dead brings a brand new look at terror through the zombie being fast and a new level of frightening.

Thriller: Dawn of the Dead keeps you wonder just where things will go, who will die and how they will make it out from start to finish.

Settings: Dawn of the Dead using the mall does work because you would have nearly everything you need there.
Special Effects
: Dawn of the Dead has brilliant special effects from start to finish making you feel like you are part of the world.

Suggestion: Dawn of the Dead is a must watch for all horror fans out there even if you love the original you will love this one. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Pregnant side story.

Worst Part: One thing I noticed that I didn’t like was that one moment the zombies almost pause and wait to pounce, which doesn’t make sense.

Action Scene Of The Film: Rescue Andy.

Kill Of The Film: Chainsaw.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: This doesn’t have a sequel.

Post Credits Scene: During the credits there is a scene.

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $59 Million

Budget: $26 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: 36 billion people have died since the reign of humanity. For the new Dawn, there’s a reunion.

Trivia: Although he had strong reservations about some elements, George A. Romero professed to be surprisingly impressed with the film.

 

Overall: Breath taking roller coaster ride of a horror film.

Ratingcard

Scooby Doo (2002)

logoDirector: Raja Gosnell

Writer: James Gunn (Screenplay) Craig Titley, James Gunn (Story) William Hanna, Joseph Barbera (Characters)

Starring: Freddie Prinze Jr, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini, Rowan Atkinson, Isla Fisher

 

Plot: After an acrimonious break up, the Mystery Inc. gang are individually brought to an island resort to investigate strange goings on.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Memories

 

Story: Scooby Doo starts by showing the Mystery Inc. solving a case in the only way we are used too. After capturing the bad guy we see how the group is at breaking point before they go their separate ways. Two years pass and the group all get invited to Mondavarious (Atkinson) Spooky Island to solve a mystery. While Shaggy (Lillard) tries to play peace maker between the group the tension is still there. Fred (Prinze), Daphne (Gellar) and Velma (Cardellini) all try to prove they have what it takes to solve the mystery on their own, but it soon becomes apparent they need to put aside their differences to solve the most difficult mystery of their lives.group

Scooby Doo was always going to be difficult to adapt into a live action film, we are all used to seeing a short 20 minute or so show with a person in a mask. Extending this for the amount of time it has mixed with the real monsters works, it also uses the idea to create the characters more showing how after the length of time together the friendship is getting stretch. This is all good because it shows the human side of the solving mysteries. Where the film gets its negative points is in the idea of who the villain really is, but as it is such a disliked character people will be glad that thy will not have to see that character in later sequels. Its keeps most of the fun elements the cartoon created, but is always going to be difficult for everyone to like. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Freddie Prinze Jr: Fred the leader of the group who is more interested in himself than the team, he must learn that he needs the rest of the group and that the world doesn’t revolve around him. Freddie does a good job a Fred pulling of the self-cantered character well. (7/10)

 

Sarah Michelle Gellar: Daphne starting out as the damsel in distress but after the two years apart she has learnt to handle herself and has learnt that it is her time to solve the mystery. Sarah makes for a good Daphne as we are used to her looking like a damsel but turning into kick ass girl. (7/10)

 

Matthew Lillard: Shaggy the loveable misfit of the group who wants to keep them together at all costs, he never wants to turn his back on his friends but always finds himself in the getting caught up in the middle of a mystery. Matthew pulls of Shaggy perfectly, making him feel like the real version we always wanted to see. (9/10)

 shaggy

Linda Cardellini: Velma the brains of the act who wants to get the recognition for the work she does for the team. Linda does a good job because Velma was always going to be the hardest character to portray. (8/10)

 

Character Review: Scooby Doo – We all love the Scooby Doo and the creation might look a little bit iffy but character was all fun throughout. (8/10)

 scooby

Support Cast: Scooby Doo has an interesting selection of supporting characters where we see a group have romantic interests and a full range of potential suspects.

 

Director Review: Raja Gosnell – Raja does a good job to create a fun family film from a much loved television show. (7/10)

 

Adventure: Scooby Doo has a solid sense of adventure used throughout. (7/10)

Comedy: Scooby Doo uses the same level of comedy that we would like in the show but some is targeted too young and fart jokes are just lazy. (5/10)

Mystery: Scooby Doo creates a good mystery for the group to solve. (7/10)

Settings: Scooby Doo uses the typical location for a Scooby Doo where it can look innocent but turns into a mystery. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Scooby Doo has some poor effects used for the monster and Scooby Doo creation. (4/10)

Suggestion: Scooby Doo is one to be watch by fans and would be enjoyed by a family selection. (Family Time)

 

Best Part of Scooby Doo: The recreation of how the characters are seen.

Worst Part of Scooby Doo: The terrible and unfunny burping and farting contest between Shaggy and Scooby.

Favourite Quote: Shaggy ‘Friends don’t quit’

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has a sequel and a prequel.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $275 Million

Budget: $84 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

Tagline: Be Afraid. Be Kind of Afraid

 

Overall: Enjoyable but Not Great

Rating 65