Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – And Soon the Darkness (2010)

Director: Marcos Efron

Writer: Jennifer Derwingson, Marcos Efron (Screenplay) Brian Clemens, Terry Nation (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Amber Heard, Odette Annable, Karl Urban, Adriana Barraza, Cesar Vianco

 

Plot: When two American girls on a bike trip in a remote part of Argentina split up and one of them goes missing, the other must find her before her worst fears are realized.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid But Nothing Special Remake

 

Story: And Soon the Darkness starts as we meet our two American girls Stephanie (Heard) and Ellie (Annable) travelling through Argentina, they are on their last night there and decide to party. When Ellie hooks up with a local, Stephanie returns to the hotel alone even after a warning from another out of towner Michael (Urban).

With the morning arriving the girls miss the only bus out of town, meaning they must stay for one more day which they spend sunbathing and recovering from the hangover. After Ellie is abducted, Stephanie must work with Michael to locate her so they can leave but soon they will be left fighting for their lives.

 

Thoughts on And Soon the Darkness

 

Characters/PerformanceStephanie is one of the travellers who is using the trip to get over her cheating boyfriend, she wants to experience the sights while Ellie the supportive best friend would like to part her way through the holiday, leading herself to get into trouble. Michael is the mysterious stranger that keeps popping up in Stephanie’s day and we are left wondering just who and what he wants in this town.

Performance wise, Amber Heard shows that at this time she was solid enough choice for leading role but not the strongest, Odette Annable is also fine but her character does come off as annoying and naïve at times. Karl Urban is great as the mysterious stranger that grabs our attention whenever he is on screen.

StoryTwo American girls find themselves in a new country, a new town where nothing seems safe and soon they learn about what has been happening. The story is simple and with where the characters could end up going we get to learn the horror side of everything going on to our Americans. This isn’t the hardest to follow and is in fact a remake of a British film and sure it works in places but isn’t ground breaking.

Crime/Horror/Mystery The crime, horror and mystery all blend together nicely here as we learn what is going on which is crime based and this adds to the horror being unleashed in the film.

SettingsArgentina is a beautiful setting and heading to a remote smaller town where the events have been taking place in, this does work because of who is involved in everything going on.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well when needed but we mostly used for the conflict between the characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough horror remake but does lack that punch that could make it feel edgy, gritty and terrifying like it could have been.

 

Overall: Solid remake in the horror world.

Rating

 

 

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Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Director: Taika Waititi

Writer: Eric Pearson (Screenplay) Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, Eric Pearson (Story)

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Karl Urban, Tessa Thompson, Idris Elba, Jaimie Alexander, Jeff Goldblum, Ray Stevenson

 

Plot: Imprisoned, the mighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thunderous Blast

 

Story: Thor Ragnarok starts as Thor (Hemsworth) is on a mission to stop a threat to Asgard but returning him he learns of a new threat in the disguise of his Brother Loki (Hiddleston) pretending to be Odin (Hopkins), but this has bigger problems as the brothers must locate their father to return him to his throne before Hela (Blanchett) Goddess of Death comes to claim Asgard for herself.

The adventure takes the two across the universe meeting Hulk (Ruffalo) fighting as a champion for powerful ruler The Grandmaster (Goldblum) but this only gives Thor the fuel he needs to build his team to head back to Asgard before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Thor Ragnarok

 

Characters – Thor we know now, the God of Thunder but after Hela arrives on the scene he must learn to control his true powers to once again save his people from their impending doom, showing the leader skills, his father was admired for. Loki is back exposed but Thor but joining him to save the people that raised him, he does try to use his tricks to say ahead in this mission but finds he isn’t up to the standard he once thought. Hela is the Goddess of Death, hell bent on destroying Asgard and everyone who will not follow her orders, this is a villain that isn’t afraid to fight as we see her killing anyone that gets in her way including whole armies alone, she is easily one of the better Marvel villains and shows this franchise produces the best villains, but don’t get me wrong this character only works in Thor.

For the secondary characters we have, Hulk who has found himself being a champion fighter after going missing from Earth and as Bruce he gets to explore the galaxy unlike he could imagine. Valkyrie who is a drinker but lethal bounty hunter collecting contenders for the fights but does have a connection to the Asgard history. Heimdall returns as the once all seeing guardian of the Bifrost the teleportation they use to get from different worlds, he is in hiding after what happened in the previous film but he will always fight for his people. We get a string of other character with Grandmaster being the powerful ruler of a planet people are forced to follow his entertainment of death matches from across the galaxy.

PerformancesChris Hemsworth as completely embraced this character as his own now, this is now one of the best performances from any actor in a superhero role. Tom Hiddleston continues to entertain as Loki, he does look like everything is ticking in his mind in every scene too. Cate Blanchett gives a great performance in a role you can see she is having a lot of fun playing. Idris Elba finally gets a kick ass character to play and is great too. Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster is fantastic to watch, part charismatic leader part psychopath. Tessa Thompson gives us a performance that could rival any female supporting character in any Marvel film, plus she is gorgeous in this role. Mark Ruffalo gets great moments, embraces the characters he is playing too. The whole cast is great even the small roles throughout the film.

StoryThe story bottles down to Thor needing to learn his powers to once again save Asgard, this has been the route for all the film in his side of the franchise but you know what, if it isn’t broke don’t fix it baby. This does increase the stakes to the threat but it isn’t only bringing Thor’s character around we also learn more about Loki, Hulk and even Heimdall while introducing us to new potential heroes in Valkyrie and Korg. This shows brilliant world building in preparation for Infinity Wars because you will feel by the end of it Thor will know his place in any battle that could come his way. We do also have a lot of distance between the heroes and villains which helps because we only get the one showdown fight which is kind of all we need too.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is great, we have hard hitting comic violence, hero versus hero and a villain that isn’t going to get beaten easily. The adventure takes Thor across the universe to work with new friends, old friends and family to defeat the enemy. Take Thor’s full story into space helps too, because we have only ever seen the Guardians in space, but this shows we can have a space hero without it being the star side of it all, instead new worlds, with new monsters.

SettingsThe settings all look fantastic, we do have a new world, that could be anywhere but have plenty of new species of aliens on it which Thor must navigate, Asgard of course and a moment or two on Earth but only 5 minutes or so.

Special EffectsAll the effects seem to hit the mark for me, from the opening battle Thor goes through to the final showdown between the characters.


Scene of the Movie –
Thor versus Hulk

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Trailers give too much away.

Final ThoughtsI love the Thor movies, I won’t deny this, I find enjoyment in them over most of the other Marvel films because I like the idea of ancient Gods. This does take things into a complete mix of Gods and Sci-Fi which works, the soundtrack beats out Guardians for fitting the scenes, the style is delicious to watch and for me this is the perfect last building block before Infinity War.

 

Overall: Fun, frantic, enjoyable superhero movie that will make you laugh more than you could imagine.

Rating

 

 

The Loft (2014)

loftDirector: Erik Van Looy

Writer: Wesley Strick (Screenplay) Bart De Pauw (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Isabel Lucas, Rachael Taylor, Rhone Mitra, Valerie Cruz, Kali Rocha, Elaine Cassidy

 

Plot: Five married guys conspire to secretly share a penthouse loft in the city–a place where they can carry out hidden affairs and indulge in their deepest fantasies. But the fantasy becomes a nightmare when they discover the dead body of an unknown woman in the loft, and they realize one of the group must be involved.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Who Dun It?

 

Story: The Loft starts with Vincent (Urban) being questioned by the police where he has to explain the events from within the Loft. Luke (Miller) returns to the loft where he finds a dead body of a girl in the apartment. We continue to meet the rest of the friends who pay for the loft Chris (Marsden), Marty (Stonestreet) and Philip (Schoenaerts).  We flashback to a year ago when the men use the loft and the agreement they all end up being able to use the loft whenever they want.

We flash between the beginnings of the loft as the guys enjoy the idea of being able to cheat on their wives without having to get caught. The surprises they uncover from the loft about which one of them killed the girl in the loft and the police investigation about what really happened.guys

The Loft gives us a massive who dun it story going on between friends, saying this it is annoying having to jump between the time lines. Another part of this film that really disappoints is the final reveal as we have no idea while the characters involved know where the story is going. This story is a bad example for how to act while married with all the men just looking to cheat on their wives. The story does have plenty of twists for us the audience to watch unfold but I do feel the re-watch value is going to be weak.

 

Actor Review

 

Karl Urban: Vincent is the architect that has designed the building and came up with the idea between the friends to have the loft. He has been controlling what is happening with his rules, he can have any woman who gives him a glance but this time it is his flame that could expose all the men. Karl is good in this role which is full of his charm throughout.

James Marsden: Chris is a doctor who is one of the guys who owns a key to the loft, he falls for a woman while leaving his wife at home as well as having to deal with his aggressive step-brother who is also a member of the loft. James is good even if we would have liked to have seen slightly more from his character.

Wentworth Miller: Luke is a member of the exclusive group that can use the loft, he never wants to cheat on his while in the loft. He is the one that finds the body while has his own secret up his selves. Wentworth is good as we don’t fully know enough about his character but for a good reason.

Eric Stonestreet: Marty is the loud mouth of the group, he always ends up biting off more than he can chew and could easily be the one that spills the beans. Eric is good in this role because we see him as the bumbling character.

Matthias Schoenaerts: Philip is the aggressive step-brother of Chris who marries into a rich family but has a drug problem which could also expose the truth. Matthias brings the aggressive character to the table which works next to the calmer characters in the leading role.

Support Cast: The Loft has a supporting cast which mostly includes the wives and girlfriends of the characters involved in being part of the loft.

Director Review: Erik Van LooyErik gives us a good mystery thriller that keeps us guessing throughout.

 

Mystery: The Loft keeps us guessing throughout the film as we wonder who actually is responsible for the death.

Romance: The Loft shows the dark side of love with cheats on loved ones.

Thriller: The Loft makes you wonder what happened to the characters involved.

Settings: The Loft puts one part of the story in the loft as the group figure out what happened while the rest are involved with how the characters got to the stage we find them in.

Suggestion: The Loft is one to try it might be on to enjoy but it isn’t a classic. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Mystery

Worst Part: By the end you will question certain parts of the film.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $14 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

Tagline: The right place to do wrong

 

Overall: Mystery thriller that keeps us wondering from start to finish even with a nap in the middle.

Ratingcard

Star Trek Beyond (2016)

startrrekDirector: Justin Lin

Writer: Simon Pegg, Doug Jung (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella

 

Plot: The USS Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a new ruthless enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Addition

 

Story: Star Trek Beyond starts as Captain Kirk (Pine) is halfway through their five-year mission with his regular crew of Commander Spock (Quinto), Bones (Urban) Lieutenant Uhura (Saldana), Scotty (Pegg), Sulu (Cho) and Chekov (Yelchin). Kirk has reached the age his father need which has started to make him question moments of his decision to join Starfleet compared to his father.

When the crew gets a distress call the Enterprise goes on what was thought to be an easy rescue mission until they come up against an unknown enemy led by Krall (Elba) who is after an artefact from with the enterprise.

With the crew scattered around an unknown planet they have to learn who to trust while trying to find a way to save the rest of the crew and prisoners of Krall.

Star Trek Beyond continues the adventures of the Enterprise crew and this time we get a fresh storyline that doesn’t just become a rehash of one of the original storylines. We get to see how Kirk is getting a loss of direction like we all do in life. We get to see a slightly one-dimensional villain which disappoints until the final twist about who he really is. In the end this will make the Trekkie fans will happy throughout.

 

Actor Review

 

Chris Pine: Captain Kirk is now reaching one year older than his father was when he died, leading the Enterprise on a long haul mission. Starting to question is position he takes on a rescue mission on to have to lead his crew on a mission against an unknown enemy. Chris has grown into this character so well you could easily watch him in it for years to come.

Zachary Quinto: Commander Spock is dealing with the news of his elder self-passing on wanting to leave star fleet. He is loyal and logical through the mission and his friendship with Kirk is at the highest point to date. Zachary is good but has all the best scene with someone else rather than on his own.

Sofia Boutella: Jaylah has been leaving on this planet looking for her own way to escape and joins forces with the Starfleet to finally try and point a stop the Krall’s reign on the planet. Sofia is good in this role as the kick ass new species showing her strengths.

Idris Elba: Krall has been searching for a weapon Starfleet has for years and now he finally gets it he can lead an attack to take out anything that stands in his way. Idris is good as always but a very simple villain in this universe.

Support Cast: Star Trek Beyond has our usual crew in the supporting roles all doing good jobs throughout as we see them find a way to work with Kirk to save the day. I will say Bones is the star of the show.

Director Review: Justin LinJustin gives us a good addition to the star trek universe that can be enjoyed.

 

Action: Star Trek Beyond has great sci-fi style action throughout with the film seemingly always looking for new ways to destroy the Enterprise.

Adventure: Star Trek Beyond puts our heroes on a new adventure unlike one we have seen before.

Sci-Fi: Star Trek Beyond keeps us feeling like we are part of the mission through space throughout.

Settings: Star Trek Beyond keeps us in space and on a new look planet not going on with anything needed to be extra special.
Special Effects
: Star Trek Beyond has great effects throughout making each moment look realistic.

Suggestion: Star Trek Beyond is one for all the Trekkie fans to enjoy with a new storyline added to the universe. (Trekkie Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Bones just steals all the scenes.

Worst Part: The final reveal of the villain comes off lazy.

Funniest Scene: Spock and Bones part of the story.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $185 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

 

Overall: Enjoyable addition to the Star Trek universe.

Ratingcard

 

 

Franchise Weekend – RED (2010)

casting cardDirector: Robert Schwentke

Writer: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber (Screenplay) Warren Ellis, Cully Hamner (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Karl Urban, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, James Remar, Brian Cox, Helen Mirren, Richard Dreyfuss, Julian McMahon,

 

Plot: When his peaceful life is threatened by a high-tech assassin, former black-ops agent Frank Moses reassembles his old team in a last ditch effort to survive and uncover his assailants.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Action Comedy

 

Story: RED starts as retired CIA agents Frank Moses (Willis) has very little to do apart from his monthly phone calls to call centre girl Sarah (Parker). He life is turned upside down when a black ops team come to try and kill him leaving him to team up with his fellow retired agents Joe Matheson (Freeman), Marvin Boggs (Malkovich), Ivan Simonov (Cox) and Victoria (Mirren).

With William Cooper (Urban) tracking him down Frank uses his skill to stay one step ahead while getting the truth out of the CIA about what they are covering up.

RED is an action comedy that plays along the lines that the older agents are retired and still better agents than the current group. It plays along the idea that they had to learn things the hard way while the new generation are trained not experiencing the field events. We get a standard cover up story which is slightly been here seen this. I do think this has a lot more potential if it actually focused more on the comedy because the only funny character is Marvin who to be far steals the movie.

 

Actor Review

 

Bruce Willis: Frank Moses is the retired CIA agent that has been struggling to find something to do each day. He finds himself being targeted by the CIA to be taken out which leads him to team up with his fellow retired agents to uncover the truth while keeping his new love interest in safety. Bruce gives a performance that does reflect how we see him in the modern spotlight.

Mary-Louise Parker: Sarah Ross is a call centre girl that has a good telephone relationship with Frank. When he becomes a target she finds him at her doorstep to try and protect her from the clean-up. She isn’t happening to start with but soon grows to love the thrilling side of the adventure. Mary-Louise is good in this role as the lonely middle-aged woman looking for adventure.

Morgan Freeman: Joe Matheson is the first of the former agents Frank goes to, he is terminally ill but still just as sharp as he always was. He sees this mission as one last adventure with his old friends. Morgan gets to have some fun with this supporting role.

Karl Urban: William Cooper is the agent forced to track down Frank, he is only following orders and isn’t willing to look at the bigger picture that is going on but he is a very good agent if not the best the CIA have now. Karl handles himself well against all the bigger names in the industry.

Support Cast: RED has a supporting cast with some big names involved with Helen Mirren, Brian Cox and the scene stealing John Malkovich with cameos from a string of older actors too.

Director Review: Robert SchwentkeRobert tackles this film to make it easy to watch but nothing overly special going on through this one.

 

Action: RED has what you could call easy to watch action that we have all seen before.

Comedy: RED only really has one funny character because certain parts that are meant to be comedy are slightly creepy.

Crime: RED uses the cover up side of the story to create the crime side of the story.

Settings: RED has no real memorable settings with each just being used for the next part of the information collecting side of the film.
Special Effects
: RED has easy to use effects with the explosions with a few coming off well but nothing being too good.

Suggestion: RED is one that I do think you can try it isn’t great but you could get a few laughs out off. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Malkovich nails the comedy.

Worst Part: No one else is really funny.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $58 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

Tagline: There’s No Substitute for Experience.

 

Overall: Easy to watch action comedy that is nothing breath-taking but not offensive.

Ratingcard