Bound by Blood (2015)

Director: Diane Bell

Writer: Diane Bell (Screenplay)

Starring: Jessica Biel, Zosia Mamet, Edi Gathegi, Joe Anderson, Kate Burton, Harry Hamlin

 

Plot: A yoga instructor looks to protect her sex-worker sister from her deadbeat boyfriend.


Tagline – Tied by blood. Bound by lies.

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too Slow

 

Story: Bound by Blood starts when yoga instructor May (Biel) who has been searching for her long-lost step sister, Shiva (Mamet) is that woman, she is a sex-worker that is down on her luck with a deadbeat boyfriend Cody (Anderson).

The two seem to have similar connections, even if they are living different lives. They spend time together learning what they have missed out on in sisters as they start looking at life in a different way.

 

Thoughts on Bound by Blood

 

Characters – May is a yoga instructor, this shows by how laid-back she is with life, but also how organised she is. She learns and helps her long-lost step-sister putting her own relationship on the line. Shiva is the long step-sister who is a sex worker, so she can pay the rent for her abusive boyfriend, she doesn’t want to use May for support even if she will help. Dex is May boyfriend, he has everything together even if he is single minded at times. Cody is the boyfriend of Shiva, abusive, but you can see his love for her too.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are not the most interesting, Jessica Biel in the leading role tries her best, but no one makes an impact in this film or helps drive the story.

StoryThe story here follows two long-lost sisters that meet for the first time and how they help each other, financially or with life. What May does for the complete stranger of a sister is strange because it does seem like a lot for someone she barely knows and we never get to the bottom of the whole abuse angle of the story. it just seems like too much for the first meeting as we also never learn about the beginning of the search for the sister either, like how long, how did she find out etc.

SettingsThe film takes place in a random city, we don’t learn enough about which one and it does fall into the small town problems we might not see.


Scene of the Movie –
Swimming time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Its just dull throughout.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow moving and dull movie, it doesn’t capture the ideas it wants to and seems to throw us too far into the middle of the story.

 

Overall: Not the most interesting film.

Rating

 

 

Hangman (2017)

Director: Johnny Martin

Writer: Michael Caissie, Charles Huttinger (Screenplay)

Starring: Al Pacino, Karl Urban, Brittany Snow, Joe Anderson, Sarah Shahi, Sloane Warren

 

Plot: A homicide detective teams up with a criminal profiler to catch a serial killer whose crimes are inspired by the children’s game Hangman.


Tagline – The killing game.

Runtime: 1 hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Mystery Thriller

 

Story: Hangman starts as FBI Profiler Will Ruiney (Urban) is given the short straw of having to guide a reporter Christi Davies (Snow) around his job just as the latest murder happens, joined by retired homicide detective Ray Archer (Pacino) as the bodies start piling up and now they must stop a serial killer.

When the three learn that the serial killer is playing a game from the childhood game of Hangman, they realize how long they have between murders as they look to figure out just what the motive behind the game is.

 

Thoughts on Hangman

 

Characters – Ray Archer is the retired homicide detective that spends his time doing crosswords while supporting his partner through the murder of his wife, he still has the tricks to go against the criminals trying to be the friend Will needs through the latest case. Det Will Ruiney is a profiler that is battling with the murder of his wife, he gets given a reporter to show around, but when this case becomes personal he will not stop until he gets his hands on the serial killer. Christi Davies is the reporter that gets assigned to shadow Will giving her an insight to how the job rolls, this does open the door to her being a help when it comes to different parts of the crime. The Hangman is the serial killer that is playing the games against the cops, he seems to be able to stay one step ahead of them and can predict their next moves.

PerformancesAl Pacino is one of the greatest actors of all time, so to see him in any film in the crime world is a pleasure, this role he is good, he doesn’t reach the levels we know he can, but does give us a good performance. Karl Urban is strong in his role we get to see his desperate side through the film. Brittany Snow does well with her role even if her character can feel out of place in certain scenes.

StoryThe story here follows two detectives that are tracking a serial killer that is forcing them into a game of Hangman. That is the core of the story which is fine, we establish the idea early and run with it, we have twists along the way to keep us guessing, but the putting the pieces together doesn’t get to happen for the audience, everything we learn is what the detectives learns and you won’t be able to get the outcome by guessing. This does add and take away from the film because it was good to see the killer stay ahead of them and us, but sometime the audience does like to put the pieces together themselves.

Crime/MysteryThe crime is like clockwork and does show what the killer is planning with his kills as the game is left there for them to guess, which adds into the mystery as who is this guy remains the biggest question.

SettingsThe film takes place in one city where the crime does start to make the locals panic about what is happening, it shows how a crimewave can bring a town to panic, even if we don’t see it unfold that way.


Scene of the Movie –
Trainline.

That Moment That Annoyed Me That final shot.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good crime mystery thriller that keeps us guessing to the motivation and identity of the serial killer, which is all we ask in these films.

 

Overall: Tense thriller that keeps us guessing.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Horns (2013)

logoDirector: Alexandre Aja

Writer: Keith Bunin (Screenplay) Joe Hill (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Max Minghella, Joe Anderson, Juno Temple, Kelli Garner, James Remar, Kathleen Quinlan, Heather Graham, David Morse

 

Plot: In the aftermath of his girlfriend’s mysterious death, a young man awakens to find strange horns sprouting from his temples.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Unique Thriller

 

Story: Horns starts with narration from Ig (Radcliffe) who sees himself as an outsider in his town, but that doesn’t bother him because he is in love with his girlfriend Merrin (Temple). Merrin gets murdered and the whole town believes Ig killed her. Ig has his only friend Lee Tourneau (Minghella) who is trying to prove his innocence while Ig’s family doesn’t know what to believe. Ig wants to know the truth but only seeks help in the bottom of a bottle booze while becoming very destruction.

With the stress of what is happening continuing Ig starts to grow horns becoming the literal image of the devil which the town has painted him as. Ig tries to find answers that only make his day more confusing as everyone he meets seems to give away their deepest and darkest secrets. We get a flashback of the blossoming romance between Ig and Merrin from childhood sweethearts into where they were before her murder.

Ig goes out using his new ability to look for the answers to Merrin’s murder which leads to him cause chaos through the town. As the story continues we learn what really happened on the final night between Ig and Merrin with them breaking up and we see who the murderer really is.

Horns is one of the few films I have gone into not knowing too much about, so I was prepared for pretty much anything. Learning just before I put the disc in who actually wrote the story did manage to make me a lot more interested Joe Hill son of Stephen King. What we ended up getting was a surprisingly interesting thriller that sways the direction you would expect a King story to go, just when you thought you knew what happening everything was got swept away right in front of you. I would like to point out that I did feel the film lack a depth is potential suspects though. I liked how the story manages to mix the flashbacks into the story to show enough to get us to the next stage of the investigation without giving away all the answers too. I think this was one of the film that really seemed to go under the radar when it was released and is certainly a film to see. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Radcliffe: Ig Perrish is the man who is accused of murdering his girlfriend and becomes the literally image of the devil, ig must try and figure out who really killed her and along the way he learns that his perfect world was nothing like he imagined. Daniel is still trying to shake the Harry Potter name that will be attached to him for his whole career, but he does a good job making himself a good character in this thriller. (8/10)

 Ig

Max Minghella: Lee Tourneau is Ig’s loyal friend and lawyer who is the only one that will defend Ig from the guilty verdict everyone is expecting him to get. Max is going to end up being given the same marks as most of the supporting cast because his character never gets fully developed to the level which is required. (6/10)

 

Joe Anderson: Terry Perrish is Ig’s brother who spends his life on drugs and playing music, he does look after Ig but his knows more than he lets on about the murder. Joe, much like Max doesn’t get enough time to develop. (6/10)

 

Juno Temple: Merrin Williams the victim in this story, we get to see how when she started to want something more things become deadly as we have to figure out who killed her. Juno continues to show she can be a good lead supporting character. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: Horns has a supporting cast that in mainly the people who are accusing Ig of the crime they all paint the town to be very generic and easily misled.

 

Director Review: Alexandre Aja – Alexandre wakes a step back from his usual horror films that are usually gore filled to give us this very well made film. (8/10)

 

Fantasy: Horns enters us into the world where turning into the devil could make people do and say anything. (8/10)

Thriller: Horns does really keep you wondering what really happened and who did kill Merrin. (8/10)

Settings: Horns gives us a real small town setting making us feel like the close community would believe what they are being told. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Horns has great special effects for the transformation Ig goes through mixing the practical with the CGI nicely. (8/10)

Suggestion: Horns is one to give a try, I think it shows how a good romantic mystery thriller could go, but I am sure there will be the doubters out there. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Radcliffe shows how he has left Harry Potter behind.

Worst Part: I felt like it was clear who the killer was early on.

Favourite Quote: Merrin ‘Just love me till the end of my life’.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $3.3 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours

Tagline: Love hurts like hell

 

Overall: Horns is a beautifully shot romantic mystery thriller that has a secret around every corner.

Rating76

The Grey (2011)

logoDirector: Joe Carnahan

Writer: Joe Carnahan, Ian Mackenzie Jeffers (Screenplay) Ian Mackenzie Jeffers (Short Story ‘Ghost Walker’)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney, Dallas Roberts, Joe Anderson, Nonso Anozie, James Badge Dale, Ben Bray

 

Plot: In Alaska, a team of oil workers board a flight home; however, they cross a storm and the airplane crashes. Only seven workers survive in the wilderness and John Ottway (Neeson), who is a huntsman that kills wolves to protect the workers, assumes leadership of the group. Shortly after they learn that they are surrounded by a pack of wolves and Ottway advises that they should seek protection in the woods. But while they talk through the heavy snow, they are chased and attacked by the carnivorous mammals.

 

Verdict: Survival Thriller

 

Story: Having a group of generic survivors in an against the odds race to survive is not the most original of stories. This puts these survivors up against a different enemy though, being the wolves which are just as lethal as any other enemy they could have come up against. The story has it’s touching moments when the group talk about what they are trying to get back to, as well as having the tense showdowns with the wolves next to the fights with them. The story offers everything to enjoy and moves at a nice pace, it just lacks original characters for the scenario. (7/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Liam Neeson: Ottway the man whose job it is to stop the wolves hunting the workers and after the crash uses all his experience to keep everyone alive as long as he can. Haunted by a troubled past and visions of his wife we are left to guess throughout what happened to her that drove him to his isolation state. Great performance from Liam showing he is now a lead action star. (9/10)

 neeson

Frank Grillo: Diaz the typical against the hero guy, unwilling to help and constantly disagreeing with Ottway, but in the end makes a sacrifice for the good guys when the time came. Good role and performance from Grillo. (8/10)

grillo

Dermot Mulroney: Talget an older member of the survivors who really is out his depth, but understands what is going on just not how to survive it. Good role that fills the wiser stereotype character. (7/10)

 talgat

Dallas Roberts: Hendrick the quiet one who somehow makes it a long way before going. Good performance filling the role of a character that we don’t seem to need to rot for even though he makes it so far. (7/10)

 hendrickk

Joe Anderson: Flannery talks too much causing everyone to be on edge, the first member of the team to make contact with Ottway but is the first to not make it on the journey. Good supporting role that makes a character you will actually remember even though he is only disposable one.(7/10)

 flannery

Nonso Anozie: Burke the token sick character that slows the team down, but never wants to give up or let them down. Good supporting role that shows how hard it is to give up during such an impossible time. (7/10)

 burke

Director Review: Joe Carnahan – Good direction building up tension, throwing in a few jumps and having a gentle moment when it is needed. (8/10)

 

Action: When the action happens it is good stuff, with the plane crash being one that will stick with you. (8/10)

Thriller: Great tension built up throughout. (9/10)

Settings: Great setting to create true isolation that leaves the guys not knowing where to really go for safety. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Good special effects for most of the wolf attacks, and plane crash. (9/10)

Suggestion: I would suggest to try it, I think thriller fans will enjoy this, but it might not work for all as the slow moments can take away some of the best moments of tension. (Try it)

 

Best Part: The final showdown.

Worst Part: Misleading trailer.

Action Scene Of The Film: The Plane Crash.

Kill Of The Film: Hernandez

Believability: Works on the belief that this is how wolves act when an unknown enemy enters their territory. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Unlikely.

Post Credits Scene: Yes

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $77,278,331

Budget: $25 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

Tagline: Live or Die on This Day.

Trivia:Bradley Cooper was originally cast, but Liam Neeson replaced him.

 

Overall: Run, Hide, Fight, Survive, Just Avoid The Wolves

Rating 78