Manhattan Night (2016)

Director: Brian DeCubellis

Writer: Brian DeCubellis (Screenplay) Colin Harrison (Novel)

Starring: Adrien Brody, Yvonne Strahovski, Campbell Scott, Jennifer Beals, Raul Aranas, Thomas Bair


Plot: A reporter becomes involved with a mysterious woman while investigating her late husband’s death.

Tagline – No reporter can resist a siren

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Mystery Noir Style


Story: Manhattan Night starts when investigative reporter Porter Wren (Brody) tells his story and his place in the New York world, telling people’s stories. He gets asked by Caroline Crowley (Strahovski) to investigate the murder of her husband Simon (Scott) whose murder remains unsolved and covered in mystery.

As Porter gets involved in an affair with Caroline, he soon discovers that there is a bigger cover up going on and his own family is now in danger, can he uncover the truth before it is too late.


Thoughts on Manhattan Night


Characters – Porter Wren is a well-respected journalist in New York, he has a comfortable job in his paper because of his reputation for telling people’s stories. His latest case however will get him looking into the murder mystery that will push himself to the limits when he gets involved with the victim’s wife. He narrates a lot of this which is the films way of trying to have a dig a modern society. Caroline is the wife whose husband has been killed, she seduces Porter, which plays her out to be a siren, only she soon feels like a victim with this character get caught in the middle we never know which side she is meant to be, one that gets what she wants or just a victims. Simon is the husband that has been murdered meaning we only see him in flashback of how the two were married. Lisa is the wife of Porter, she is doctor and from how Porter tells the story they don’t get along as they once did.

PerformancesAdrien Brody does well in the leading role in the film even if he doesn’t make his character feel much different than any others from the similar genre. Yvonne Strahovski fits the seductive side to her character, though without being the strongest in the serious side of the story. Campbell Scott and Jennifer Beals just don’t get enough time to show their skills off in this film.

StoryThe story here follows an investigation into an unsolved murder which brings the investigative reporter into a series of cover ups and conspiracy in true noir style. Using the noir style is clear here, the execution of the noir style doesn’t quite come off though because the siren doesn’t feel like a siren and by the end you will be left wondering just why the investigation wasn’t solved by the police in the first place, let alone why the reporter is even asked to investigate it. Nothing really comes out of solving the case which is the biggest disappointment from everything we are getting invested in.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of this mystery does involve a murder that hasn’t been solved, it does have other crime elements involved too which just confuse the simply plot.

SettingsThe film is set in New York and uses a secret house to show a place of peace in this busy city and how people can meet and connect through life.

Scene of the Movie –
The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The case felt pointless to solve.

Final ThoughtsThis is a noir styled crime mystery that gives us a case that almost doesn’t need to be solved in the end.


Overall: Mystery that didn’t need solving.




Franchise Weekend – The Prophecy II (1998)

Director: Greg Spence

Writer: Matt Greenberg, Greg Spence (Screenplay) Gregory Widen (Characters)

Starring: Christopher Walken, Russell Wong, Jennifer Beals, Brittany Murphy, Eric Roberts, Glenn Danzig, Steve Hytner


Plot: Gabriel returns to try to destroy the human race he despises so much, with the help of a suicidal teen and the opposition of the angel Danyael.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Slow Sequel


Story: The Prophecy II starts as the former angel Gabriel (Walken) returns from hell to once again give the angels the upper hand in the battle for heaven. Angel Danyael (Wong) also has plans for this battle which involves impregnating Valerie (Beals), Danyael continues to eliminate Gabriel’s army as the two battle for the upper hand in this battle. Valerie is carrying the child written in prophecy that could help one side win the war but who will walk out of this battle alive?


Thoughts on The Prophecy II


Characters/PerformanceGabriel is back and even deadlier than last time wanting to take his war back to heaven but he just isn’t as threatening as he was before because he doesn’t understand technology now. Danyael is a hugely forgettable character that is an angel on the good side of the battle. Valerie is a nurse that becomes the mother too be in the battle between good and evil.

Performance wise, Walken just isn’t as menacing as he once was, Wong is forgettable throughout and Beals is fine but not at the level of Madsen.

StoryThe story continues to build on the battle within heaven being played out on Earth, this tries to give us a bigger world battle but in the end it just feels like more of the same.

Fantasy/HorrorWe move into fantasy more here by learn of prophecies and different angels but this doesn’t reach the horror needed for the subject.

SettingsThe settings are once again forgettable and could be used for any film out there.

Special EffectsWe continue to have weak special effects that all come off dated.

Final ThoughtsWeak sequel that just doesn’t capture anything from the first film and you can see how it ended up on DVD.


Overall: Poor sequel.




Franchise Weekend – The Grudge 2 (2006)

casting card


Plot: Three interwoven stories about a terrible curse. A young woman encounters a malevolent supernatural force while searching for her missing sister in Tokyo; a mean high school prank goes horribly wrong; a woman with a deadly secret moves into a Chicago apartment building.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Solid but Not Effective Sequel


Story: The Grudge 2 starts with the similar start as the last film with a strange unanswered event before introducing us to three school kids from the International school Allison (Kebbel), Miyuki (Uno) and Vanessa (Palmer) who like all school kids like to investigate haunted houses. While in the house they get a visit from the ghostly spirit who has been unleashed once more and tell us the plot of the first movie.

To keep things confusing Aubrey (Tamblyn) the sister of Karen (Gellar) has to go to Tokyo to bring her sister back home only to find her under police watch. To complete the third part of our story we go back to meet Trish (Beals) and Bill (Cousins) who are just moving in together with Bill’s kids Lacey (Roemer) and Jake (Knight).

After Karen falls to her death Aubrey teams up with a journalist Eason (Chen) to investigate the house while the school girls find themselves haunted by the spirit.

The Grudge 2 is a film that does way too much for the time required, we have to follow three storylines with two having next to no contact with the research to the haunting side of the story. We have way too many characters to keep up with which doesn’t help because just as we start following one we jump to the next. I did like that we took the action outside of the house but then we also lose all of the special feeling behind the original. I will also point out this kind of just ends without given enough time to the stories to end with enough closure.


Actor Review


Amber Tamblyn: Aubrey is the sister of Karen from first film, she has been sent to Tokyo to bring her sister back home to America but it isn’t long before she finds herself having to investigate the house where the events took place after what looks like her sister’s suicide. Amber is good in this leading role without being fully stand out due to screen time.

Arielle Kebbel: Allison is a school girl that gets tricked into going in the house as a form of proving herself to be tough to a couple of fellow students. In the house she meets the spirit and spends her time in terror from the hauntings. Arielle is good but spends most of the film in her freaked out stage.

Jennifer Beals: Trish is the new wife or partner of Bill who is moving in with his family, we see what she does in the opening scene. Jennifer is solid in this role showing the caring side as well as the darker side.

Edison Chen: Eason is a journalist that works with Aubrey to uncover the truth about the curse on the house, he is being haunted at the same time and knows it is a race against time. Edison is solid in this role helping to fill in the gaps needed in finish the potential story.

Support Cast: The Grudge 2 has a supporting cast that does include a few actresses who have gone onto bigger and better things with Teresa Palmer, Jenna Dewan both getting a steady horror scene under their belts. All of the supporting cast do a good job by making the victims feel like we just don’t know who will be the next victim.

Director Review: Takashi ShimizuTakashi keeps the scare factor but overcomplicates the story.


Horror: The Grudge 2 still has great scares being used through the film.

Thriller: The Grudge 2 doesn’t give us enough time to each story to pull us fully into the story.

Settings: The Grudge 2 decides to move the settings to everywhere in Tokyo which really doesn’t help the concept of the story.
Special Effects
: The Grudge 2 has good effects to create the horror being used.

Suggestion: The Grudge 2 is only going to be one to try, it just doesn’t have the full effects of the original. (Try It)


Best Part: Basement footsteps.

Worst Part: Too many stories going on.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Has one.

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $20 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

Tagline: What Was Once Trapped, Will Now Be Unleashed


Overall: Solid but just not effective enough horror.




The Book Of Eli (2010)

logoDirector: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes

Writer: Gary Whitta (Screenplay)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson, Jennifer Beals, Evan Jones, Joe Pingue


Plot: In a post-apocalyptic world a lone survivor Eli (Washington) travels across America to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind. Eli’s journey gets interrupted when he enters a small town full of survivors and he ends up having an altercation with the leader of the town Carnegie (Oldman) who is hunting for a certain book. Eli ends up working with Solara (Kunis) to escape Carnegie and his henchmen led by Redridge (Stevenson).


Verdict: End of the world meets comic book violence

Story: Surviving the end of the world can be hard to create, but I feel this one could be considered one of the better ones on the commercial audience. When you compare it to the real feel of the Road the story comes off a bit short. The characters have mystery and the overall fight for a bible shows that even after we have destroyed each other through war we still fight for a book that leads us with blind faith. (8/10)


Actor Review: Denzel Washington – Eli the lone traveller who is travelling one direction West, he is also very skilled fighter but still has one mystery he keeps close to him. Good performance from Washington that gives him a chance to be in a less serious film. (8/10)


Actor Review: Gary Oldman – Carnegie the leader of a small community that hunts for his own bible and will use anyone to get what he wants. Oldman has played some of the most iconic villains in history, this is not one of his best but still evil enough. (7/10)


Actor Review: Mila Kunis – Solara the daughter of Carnegie’s love interest who escapes the community with Eli. This is disappointing supporting role clearly overacting throughout. (4/10)


Actor Review: Ray Stevenson – Redridge the leader of Carnegie’s henchmen who also has an interest in Solara. Basic henchman like role, doesn’t have anything that makes him memorable. (6/10)


Director Review: The Hughes Brothers – Good direction to a film that is enjoyable but not memorable. (7/10)


Action: Some great fight scenes and large fire fights. (9/10)

Adventure: The idea of travelling through end of the world adds adventure to the story. (7/10)

Special Effects: Good special effects with the world creation and deaths. (8/10)

Believability: The world could be the aftermath of a war in the nuclear age. (1/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: The post-apocalyptic world is created very well to create a great feel in the settings. (9/10)

Suggestion: I would suggest trying this, you may also enjoy this is you are a fan of the Fallout games. It has violence toned down for the more casual viewer too. (Try It)


Best Part: Eli’s fights.

Worst Part: Slow moving.

Action Scene Of The Film: The Bar fight.

Kill Of The Film: Redridge

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Similar Too: The Road, Fallout Games


Overall: Post-apocalyptic let down

Rating 65