ABC Film Challenge – Crime – M – Marauders (2016)

Director: Steven C Miller

Writer: Michael Cody, Chris Sivertson (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Christopher Meloni, Dave Bautista, Adrian Grenier, Johnathon Schaech, Lydia Hull, Tyler Jon Olson

 

Plot: When a bank is hit by a brutal heist, all evidence points to the owner and his high-powered clients. But as a group of FBI agents dig deeper into the case – and the deadly heists continue – it becomes clear that a larger conspiracy is at play.


Tagline – The rich will pay

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Crime Film

 

Story: Marauders starts when a bank robbery which leaves the bank manager executed, the president of the bank Hubert (Willis) has an excellent reputation and with the FBI investigating the robbery, Montgomery (Meloni) and his team Stockwell (Bautista) and newbie Wells (Grenier) try to put the clues together.

When the second heist happens, the fingers start pointing back at Hubert and a bigger conspiracy comes to the top with connection to a previous incident.

 

Thoughts on Marauders

 

Characters – Hubert is the bank president, he has always kept the face that the bank puts their customers first, but when his banks start getting robbed, he must deal with the fingers pointing back at him. Montgomery is the lead investigating from the FBI trying to get to the bottom of the heists, he has his own demons which haunt him everyday after the death of his wife and will not stop until he learns the truth. Stockwell is Montgomery’s trusted second, he is the tired cop figure, he is good at his job and hates people getting in his way. Wells is the rookie agent, with the qualifications to make him the best, he gets the jobs the others don’t want to do, while noticing things they miss.

PerformancesThe performances in the movie are mixed, we know that Bruce Willis is mostly mailing it in and it is a strange role for him. Christopher Meloni is the star of this movie, the determination and broken side of his character makes him stand out. Dave Bautista does get the funniest lines, some hit or than others, while Adrian Grenier starts strong but fades away in the biggest scenes of the middle of the movie.

StoryThe story follows the effects of a brutal heist, the FBI must investigate the heist which brings us into the new web of conspiracies which could bring down a political powerhouse. This a story which does keep us guessing from start to finish, which is something I was surprised to see, as I thought this would be a lot messier. The positive of keeping us guessing, does leave the bigger question about just why the heists needed to be as brutal as they were because of certain injuries or deaths not needing to happen for the cause.  

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action is brutal and often in your face when it comes to the gun sequences, the crime side of the film comes from the heists and just what they are aiming to achieve from the heists. The mystery is what draws us in because we don’t know what is happening which keeps us invested throughout.

SettingsThe film is set in the city which shows how the panic of the robberies starts flying around we see how things get out of hand.


Scene of the Movie –
The heists do feel very intense, which I did like.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The last sequence.

Final ThoughtsThis was a surprisingly entertaining film, having no expectations going in, this did become intense and kept you guessing even if things unravel in the final scene.

 

Overall: Enjoyable crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

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That Thing You Do! (1996)

Director: Tom Hanks

Writer: Tom Hanks (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Steve Zahn, Johnathon Schaech, Ethan Embry, Charlize Theron

 

Plot: A local Pennsylvania band scores a one hit wonder in 1964 and rides the star-making machinery as long as they can, with lots of help from its manager.


Tagline – In every life there comes a time when that dream you dream becomes that thing you do.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict:

 

Story: That Thing You Do! Starts in a small town in Pennsylvania in 1964, where four young men Jimmy (Schaech), Guy (Scott), Lenny (Zahn) and the Bass Player (Embry) are trying to make a nae for themselves and when they win a talent contest, the band known as ‘The One-Ders’ grab the attention of the state.

When Mr White (Hanks) discovers the band, he rebrands them ‘The Wonders’ and soon their hit ‘That Thing You Do!’ rises up the charts becoming an overnight sensation.

 

Thoughts on That Thing You Do!

 

Characters – Mr White is the music manager who takes over control of ‘The Wonders’ he knows how to make them bigger than they are and shows them how to go from small crowds to the main attraction to national success, however he makes sure he keeps them doing the song that made them popular over trying to make them do anything new. Jimmy is the lead singer of the band and along with his girlfriend has always tried to make the band their own style, always trying to find a clever snappy name for them. Guy is bought in last minute to become the drummer and soon becomes the man of mystery in the band, the one that pushes them to up the tempo of the band sound. Faye is Jimmy’s girlfriend that has supported the band from day one, she will follow them on tour.

PerformancesTom Hanks is a busy man on this film taking writing and directing too, he is great as the manager trying to make the band the next big thing, he shows he knows this side of the business with the character too. Johnathon Schaech, Tom Everett Scott, Steve Zahn and Ethan Embry as the band are good they have great chemistry together. Liv Tyler is good with her role slowly turning into the background roll in the film.

StoryThe story follows a young band that rise from small-town band to national success with their one hit wonder song that is filled with good feeling. We see how the band can be led down one the path that is best for their quick success over being shown about lasting success in a cut throat 60s music industry, where everyone wanted to become the next Beetles. The story is shown in a pace which shows the band just loving the success that is coming their direction while they have their own issues which must be put aside to keep the band together and we see how they must learn to handle success.

Comedy/MusicThe comedy in the film comes from the supporting cast where Lenny get the laughs with his enthusiasm about the band. The music is mostly the same song being played, but it isn’t one that gets annoying though.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the small humble beginnings the band has to just how big they becomes with each location becoming bigger to mirror their success.


Scene of the Movie –
That Thing You Do! The song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Bass Player not actually having a name.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good example of how bands can have one song which makes them massive only to see them struggle when it comes to trying to make a name for themselves in a new booming industry.

 

Overall: Hanks is just as great behind the camera as he is on front of it.

Rating

 

 

Day of the Dead: Bloodlines (2018)

Director: Hector Hernandez Vicens

Writer:  Mark Tonderai, Lars Jacobson (Screenplay)

Starring: Johnathon Schaech, Sophie Skelton, Marcus Vanco, Lillian Blankenship, Ulyana Chan, Shari Watson

 

Plot: A small group of military personnel and survivalists dwell in an underground bunker as they seek to find a cure in a world overrun by zombies.


Tagline – Join the undying war.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Awful All Around

 

Story: Day of the Dead: Bloodline starts as we see the zombie outbreak in full effect, now 4 hours earlier as we follow Zoe (Skelton) a medical student trying her hardest to get her grades, she does have a stalker in one of her patients Max (Schaech) and now it is time to party because medical students.

Well a 12-minute intro and a casual attempted rape scene, we randomly jump 5 years down the line with Zoe who is part of a group of survives that are in a refugee camp, where she searches for answers. Zoe joins a team in look for medical supplies, led by her boyfriend Baca (Vanco) otherwise an illness will sweep through their camp.

 

Thoughts on Day of the Dead: Bloodline

 

Characters – Zoe is the former medical student that is now the main doctor for a refugee base during a zombie outbreak. She does try to do the right thing to save a young girl in the camp, but otherwise she is just your generic girl in zombie film. Baca is the brother of the leader of the base and boyfriend of Zoe, well this is his character summed up. Max is a stalker that gets turned into zombie, but his blood is different which makes his zombie form knowledgeable of what it is doing.

PerformancesLet’s talk about the acting or the lack there off, not all the blame goes to the actors here though because the characters are so blandly written. Between them all we never fee the grief the characters are left to go through, Skelton struggles to convince in the leading role and having an actor play a stealth zombie is terrible choice.

StoryThe story plays into the idea of the original by going for something different in the form of the remake style. We fall into the same traps zombie movies go for, we have a comfortable location where everything seems safe, but the risk to go outside brings back fresh numbers of zombies which ruin the calm. We have the lacklustre leader of the facility which isn’t as obsessed with safety as in the original and to make matters worst we have one zombie that has a stealth mode.

HorrorWe are in a zombie filled world which should be scary, nope this just doesn’t feel like a horror on any level.

SettingsThe film is set in and around a bunker, we never truly see how big the scale of the facility is which disappoints.

Special EffectsThe effects are the only highlight of the film, we have solid use of zombie destruction scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
I’m Not yours.

That Moment That Annoyed Me A Stealth zombie.

Final ThoughtsThis is the reason why people get tired of zombie films, it offers nothing new or watchable for the fans of the zombie genre, it doesn’t reach the so bad it is funny level, it just stays in bland and boring throughout.

 

Overall: A zombie film to miss.

Rating

 

 

Original v Remake Weekend – Quarantine (2008)

Director: John Erick Dowdle

Writer: John Erick Dowdle, Drew Dowdle (Screenplay) Jaume Balaguero, Luiso Berdejo, Pace Plaza (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Jennifer Carpenter, Steve Harris, Jay Hernandez, Johnathon Schaech, Columbus Short, Andrew Fiscella

 

Plot: A television reporter and her cameraman are trapped inside a building quarantined by the CDC, after the outbreak of a mysterious virus which turns humans into bloodthirsty killers.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Did We Need It?

 

Story: Quarantine starts as Angela Vidal (Carpenter) a reporter who assigned with her cameraman Scott (Harris) to follow a firefighter team around on one night. Learning how the men get through their time together, they finally get a call to an apartment building where it isn’t a fire they are tackling, it is a blood thirsty group of humans but to make things worse, the team find themselves quarantined within the building.

Angela continues to report from inside the building as the others look for a way out even though nearly all the outings are closed up but they now face a bigger threat from the inside as the dead are coming back from the dead and after human flesh.

 

Thoughts on Quarantine

 

Characters/PerformanceAngela is the reporter just looking to get a great story but finds herself on the edge of one of the biggest stories she could have ever imagined. It would be fair to say the rest of the characters are just people in the building, the cameraman and firefighters, none of which we learn too much about.

Performance wise, Jennifer Carpenter is good in the leading role but the problem with a ‘found footage’ film is that if you know the stars it loses the realism needed from when you have unknowns.

StoryThe story is simple enough, the new reporter and her cameraman get caught up in the middle of a quarantine of a potentially deadly infection spreading around which could kill everyone in the building, city and eventually the world. This doesn’t offer anything new from the original but does lose moments it needed to make it stand out.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror is simple enough and does work in places but not to the levels the original offered us. You are also not on the edge of your seat like you once might have been watching the first film.

SettingsMost of the film is set within the building, it has no escape and a virus spreading, this does work and is easily the strongest element of this film.

Special EffectsThis movie does have a bigger budget than the original and does use that on the special effects which come off very well when it comes to the zombie like infected characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a remake we didn’t need, the original has good sequels and this one offers nothing new to the idea which only disappoints for the audience.

 

Overall: Disappoint sequel that doesn’t hit all the heights of the original.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Laid to Rest (2009)

logoDirector: Robert Hall

Writer: Robert Hall (Screenplay)

Starring: Bobbi Sue Luther, Kevin Gage, Lena Headey, Sean Whalen, Richard Lynch, Johnathon Schaech, Thomas Dekker, Nick Principe

 

Plot: A terrifying story of a young girl who wakes up in a casket with a traumatic head injury and no memory of her identity. She quickly realizes she was abducted by a Deranged Serial Murderer and in an isolated rural town she must survive the night and outsmart the technologically inclined killer who is hell-bent on finishing what he started.

 

Verdict: Modern Slasher

 

Story: Before we go anywhere I would like to say I will not comment on the acting until later this will be the story itself. Girl wakes up in coffin only to find out she is being stalked by a masked killer with a camera, she runs around helplessly until she meets a stranger who wants to help her. They spend the night on the run from the killer and doing almost everything wrong while doing so. Let’s not forget that this girl is struggling to remember anything about herself and the killer could have all the answers she needs. The slasher genre has struggled to really make an impact in the modern found footage world of horror, this story is easy to follow even if you will be screaming at the stupid decisions the characters make. We also get a good potential new franchise killer who takes no prisoners and is very resourceful. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Bobbi Sue Luther: The Girl after waking up in a coffin she can’t remember who she is or where she is, she escapes and finds some friendly folks who help her, but in the end she joins forces with them to try and stop the killer and figure out who she really is. The character seems to make all the wrong decisions and really comes off very annoying. Poor performance as she never really convinces in the lead attempted scream queen role. (2/10)

 girl

Nick Principe: Chromeskull masked killer with a camera and a very deadly knife. He is a serial killer who likes to film his victims and with the girl being his latest choice of victims he will not stop killing until he gets her back. Good performance which could make a new serial killer franchise. (7/10)

chromskull

Kevin Gage: Tucker friendly driver who helps the girl but ends up spending the night trying to keep her alive even after suffering a personal lose. Basic support performance who gets to say all the funny lines as well as the strong lines but really just ends up being a protector. (6/10)

 

Lena Headey: Cindy she seems to be the smart partner of Tucker who tries to help out the young girl, but she doesn’t last long. Has very limited screen time and is almost used as the bigger name cameo. (5/10)

 cindy

Sean Whalen: Steven second person who ends up spending the night trying to save the girl, he is different to Tucker as he is meant to be more intelligent but also is much more fearful. Good difference between the heroes but in the end they end up the same. (6/10)

 steven

Supporting Cast: Nearly all the supporting cast are included to be disposable and involved with gore deaths. (3/10)

 

Director Review: Robert Hall – Creates a potential new era slasher but with some poor casting choices we end up not getting dragged in as much as we should. (6/10)

 

Horror: Gore, Blood and a new killer all these come out from this film but in the end the poor acting takes away the real fear. (7/10)

Thriller: With the mystery surrounding the girl we do want to know more about her as well as who will end up making it through the night. (7/10)

Settings: None of the settings are really used to their full effect. (3/10)
Special Effects
: Great practical special effects used throughout all used for the kills though. (9/10)

Suggestion: This is one for the horror fans out there to enjoy it has plenty of gore for the fans too. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Some of the kills are very good.

Worst Part: The leads’ acting is terrible.

Kill Of The Film: Ear one, won’t say who as it would be a spoiler.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has a sequel

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

Overall: Solid horror with the typical wrong decisions made.

Rating 60