ABC Film Challenge – Action – U – USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (2016)

Director: Mario Van Peebles

Writer: Cam Cannon, Richard Rionda Del Castro (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Tom Sizemore, Thomas Jane, Matt Lanter, James Remar, Brian Presley, Yutaka Takeuchi

 

Plot: During World War II, an American navy ship is sunk by a Japanese submarine leaving 890 crewmen stranded in shark infested waters.


Tagline – Based on a true story of survival.

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Confusing

 

Story: USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage starts when the USS Indianapolis is selected for a new mission, Captain McVay (Cage) must lead his ship solo in an attempt to deliver weapons on the secret mission, the ship can handle any ship or plane, but the weakness comes from submarines, which they usually have destroyers to help with.

After completing the mission they are returning home, when the ship gets torpedoed by a Japanese submarine, the men get scattered in the ocean with limit supplies and sharks waiting to pick them off, this turns into a battle to survive in wait for rescue.

 

Thoughts on USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage

 

Characters – Captain McVay has the respect of the crew, they know they can trust him, they know he will treat them well, he is part of the crew that is sunk, he will make sure his men are safe taking control in a fair way where everybody is given the same, he will spend his time searching for more crew. McWhorter is one of the crew that gets injured in the sinking, he fights through with McVay by his side. Lt Adrian Marks is a pilot that manages to finally find the crew while searching for lost planes. We do meet way too many crew members to keep on top of who was who in this film, which only confuses us while trying to keep on top of the cast.

PerformancesNicolas Cage is the highlight of the performances and he ends up making certain scenes feel like a comedy. Tom Sizemore does all he can, while Thomas Janes doesn’t have enough time to do anything. The overly large cast just makes everything confusing, making it hard to judge any of the performances.

StoryThe story looks at the history behind the USS Indianapolis sinking after delivery the weapons that bought about the end of the war. The story should be one that brings historical survival moment to life, instead we spend way too much time following too many characters just stranded in the water, which I understand is a big part of what happened, but seeing the political side of the story felt a lot more interesting. This is a story that does seem to end up falling into one that drags for way too long, we are left wondering just why we need to end up seeing too many characters, which makes it difficult to support any of the characters involved. This is hard to say because we know this really happened and these were real people of the horrors of war.

Action/History/WarThe action in the film is war based which is solid enough, to tell the historical moment at the end of the war.

SettingsThe film is set mostly in the ocean as the survivors need to wait in hope of rescue, surrounded by sharks with limited supplies.


Scene of the Movie –
Court Case.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis should be a much better movie when you see just how serious the story should be, sadly moments feel like comedy and it is hard to keep up with he pure number of characters involved.

 

Overall: Misses the point.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – U – Unnatural (2015)

Director: Hank Braxtan

Writer: Arch Stanton, Ron Carlson (Screenplay)

Starring: James Remar, Sherilyn Fenn, Ron Carlson, Grahan Greene, Ray Wise, Allegra Carpenter

 

Plot: Global climate change prompts a scientific corporation to genetically modify Alaskan polar bears with horrific and deadly results.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Forgettable Creature Feature

 

Story: Unnatural starts with a global warming warning and something going wrong at a research lab, we go onto meet Martin (Remar) who has bought a photographer and his models to the snow filled location in Alaskan for a photoshoot. We also get the warning of polar bears create by the locals who use them as a warning, or in this case a myth.

When a creature eats one of the models and a guide, Martin must protect the remaining members of the photoshoot including photographer Brooking (Carlson) and stranger Dr Hanna Lindval (Fenn) from the threat outside, a mutated polar bear.

 

Thoughts on Unnatural

 

Characters – Martin is the expert in the area where the photoshoot takes place, he knows the wildlife and how to deal with any threats that come his way and must protect the people who are not used to the threat. Dr Lindval was part of the research team that created the polar bear, she is desperate to survive once it is free but does know more than she is letting on. Brooking in the photographer on the shoot, he does lack the guts to defend himself from the threat. We also have the models but they are here to look pretty through the terror.

PerformanceJames Remar is clearly the biggest draw in this film and he is good without being his best, when you look into the other performance we get the mystery from Fenn and the annoying wimpy guy from Carlson hitting the marks we are expecting to see in the film like this.

StoryGroup of people in Alaska with no escape must rely on one expert to keep them safe against an unknown creature for a set amount of days, well this is easy enough to go with and stops a lot of pointless discussion about trying to get help when there isn’t any, we also have the characters getting picked off in the random order like you would expect which is fine too.

Action/HorrorThe action is mostly running from the attacks from the creature which isn’t the most impressive either.

SettingsThe setting is the highlight as we have the group trapped with nowhere to run for the 3 days before the next plan arrives.

Special EffectsThe effects look mostly practical as we barely get to see the monster apart from in the shadows.

Scene of the Movie – The first attack is a fun moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t see enough of the creature.

Final ThoughtsThis is a forgettable creature feature that tries to ask bigger questions but doesn’t seem to want to try and answer them.

 

Overall: Not one of the best.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – N – The Night Watchmen (2017)

Director: Mitchell Altieri

Writer: Ken Arnold, Dan DeLuca, Jamie Nash (Screenplay) Ken Arnold, Dan DeLuca, Jamie Nash (Story)

Starring: Ken Arnold, Dan DeLuca, Kevin Jiggetts, Kara Lutz, Max Gray Wilbur, James Remar

 

Plot: Three inept night watchmen, aided by a young rookie and a fearless tabloid journalist, fight an epic battle for their lives against a horde of hungry vampires.


Tagline – Let’s Go Kill Some Dead People!

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Bloody Horror Comedy

 

Story: The Night Watchmen starts when Justin (Wilbur) gets a new job as a security guard with Ken (Arnold), Luca (DeLuca) and Jiggetts (Jiggetts) putting him through the ringer on his first night. When a coffin is delivered by accident it has a body of an infected clown.

When the virus starts infecting the employees in the building the four hapless security guards must work together to save the company cutie Karen (Luiz) and escape from the undead vampires running riot in the building.

 

Thoughts on The Night Watchmen

 

Characters – Ken and Jiggetts are the two louder security guards, they test the new staff and go on the jobs leaving Luca behind, Ken is the closest to the smartest of the guys, while Jiggetts plays into the stereotype to black guy jokes. Luca is the mysterious guard that could be a seeing him in hiding, this is interesting to watch as we wonder what he will do next. Karen is the cutie the guys have a crush on, she is the one they try to rescue during the attack. Justin is the new guard on his first night which is going to be something he never saw coming.

PerformancesThe performances from the whole cast are good, the chemistry between Arnold and Jiggetts is the highlight of the film, while DeLuca keeps the mystery about his character throughout. Kara Luiz is good, though she isn’t the fearless warrior figure we could have seen.

StoryThe story here is simple, which we like, it follows four security guards and one employee that must work together to survive vampire zombies that have infested the building. This sees the hapless attempts they must try and escape, poking fun at certain traits of the genre along the way. It does bring us a comical idea of a villain, as we haven’t seen zombie vampires before, well I haven’t. this is a self-aware story that knows not to take anything too seriously and enjoy telling the audience the story.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy in this film is happy to poke fun at the genre, it doesn’t want to take the film too seriously which is fun to watch. The horror side of the film comes from the countless number off vampire zombies that are killing anyone coming through to get them.

SettingsThe film takes place in the building which shows how the guards can’t leave because the threat is outside and can’t let the increasing number of vampire zombies escape either.

Special EffectsWhen we get to have practical effects, the film is good because it is buckets of blood, the CGI moments do miss but for the scale of them it was the only option.


Scene of the Movie –
Shot to the head.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The large CGI moment near the end.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun horror comedy that gets the laughs right, never takes itself seriously and even brings us a new threat in a villainous set of vampire zombies to battle.

 

Overall: Funny, enjoyable and bloody.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – F – February (2015)

Director: Oz Perkins

Writer: Oz Perkins (Screenplay)

Starring: Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka, Lucy Boynton, James Remar, Lauren Holly, Greg Ellwand, Elana Krasz

 

Plot: Two girls must battle a mysterious evil force when they get left behind at their boarding school over winter break.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Think I Misses Something

 

Story: February starts as two girls Kat (Shipka) and Rose (Boynton) are left at a boarding school over winter break, waiting for their parents to pick them up. We also see Joan (Roberts) another girl who looks lost in the world being taken in by Bill (Remar) as a man that lost a daughter looking to help her return to where she is from.

At the school Kat and Rose must deal with a mysterious presence that is drawing Kat to act strangely, while Joan’s story looks to become complete when she returns.

 

Thoughts on February

 

Characters – Joan is a lost girl that is trying to return home from a hospital which brings along a couple that want to help her to make up for the fact they lost their daughter, Kat is the emotionless quiet girl at the school who hasn’t heard from her parents before winter break and must stay there with Rose. Rose is the other girl that got left at the home, I feel she is older and expected to be the one to look after Kat.

PerformanceThe three girls Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka and Lucy Boynton are all good through the film, they each create their own personality for their characters which does make us care what they are up to however confusing it all gets.

StoryThe story here is very confusing, we follow two seemingly different story arcs about girls that find themselves becoming possessed by an evil spirit, we don’t get to focus on either of them enough and they don’t seem to meet up at any point to explain why we need to watch two different stories unfold. I do feel this does end up coming off attempting to be too smart for its own good leaving us with nothing important happening.

HorrorThis tries to play into the psycological horror but ends up falling slightly short because it ends up being confusing.

SettingsThe settings don’t help here either because we follow the two stories one is on the road while the other is around the middle of the home the girls are staying.

Special EffectsThe effects are good without being overused and mostly used for gore effects.

Scene of the Movie – Stop here, because it is shocking.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It was just too confusing.

Tagline – She Returns.

Final ThoughtsThis film is just too confusing really, it makes everything hard to follow which didn’t make it enjoyable to follow.

 

Overall: Too Confusing.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – 48 Hrs (1982)

Director: Walter Hill

Writer: Roger Spottiswoode, Walter Hill, Larry Gross, Steven E de Souza (Screenplay)

Starring: Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy, Annette O’Toole, Frank McRae, James Remar, David Patrick Kelly

 

Plot: A hard-nosed cop reluctantly teams up with a wise-cracking criminal temporarily paroled to him, in order to track down a killer.


Tagline – When a tough cop has a cool convict as a partner and 48 hrs to catch a killer, a lot of funny things can happen in . . . 48 HRS.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable

 

Story: 48 Hrs starts as Ganz (Remar) gets broken out of jail while on work detail by Billy Bear (Landham), he heads off to clean up old debts leaving cops bodies in his path of destruction. It doesn’t take long for Ganz to clash with detective Jack Cates (Nolte), where Ganz forces Jack into a difficult situation.

Jack must go to prisoner Reggie Hammond (Murphy) a wise cracking con man to help track down Ganz using his street knowledge. In what is an unlikely partnership turns into something special as the two find a way to get to the bottom of the crime.

 

Thoughts on 48 Hrs

 

Characters – Jack Cates is a grizzled cop, he gets the job done with his experience keeping him in high regard. He must stop the killer using criminal Reggie Hammond as the best chance to catch this killer. Reggie Hammond is a criminal near the end of his stint in jail, he is wise-cracking fast-talking meaning he can bullshit his way out of any situation he finds himself in. He uses this chance of time out of jail to settle a few scores. Elaine is the girlfriend of Jack who is tired of not making things serious between the two. Ganz is the killer on the loose, after his break from prison, he has a short-temper which causes his itchy trigger finger to fire on any enemy he comes across.

PerformancesNick Nolte is a great choice for a seemingly warn down cop, he takes the non-sense style needed for the role and goes with it. Eddie Murphy was one of the most popular stand-up comedians at the time, this was his film debut and he handed it very well, bringing his own energy to the role which could have been something we have seen before. James Remar is good as a villain because it is a character we have seen before, but he really convinces in this role. There is a negative here, that is Annette O’Toole, which to be fair isn’t her fault because the character is written so poorly

StoryThe story follows a cop and a criminal work together to stop another criminal, yes this is a buddy cop movie. We have unlikely partnership which must work together to get the common goal. This is a story we have seen plenty of times since and it seems to be a hit or miss through the years, but this does keep things simple enough to enjoy not looking to throw us any surprises along the way.

Action/Crime/ComedyThe action is by the book for cops and criminals, nothing is over the top and mostly comes off like you would expect. The crime world is the cop needing to work with the criminal that is the best chance to catch a cop killer. The comedy comes from the odd pairing that must work together.

SettingsThe film is set in San Francisco which always seems to be a great location for any crime comedy world to unfold.


Scene of the Movie –
Settle this with fists.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Ganz seems a lot easier to catch.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good buddy comedy that bought us Eddie Murphy to the big screen. We get the action and comedy without being buried with one too often and most importantly we are entertained.

 

Overall: Great fun action comedy.

Rating