ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – S – Still Alice (2014)

Director: Wash Westmoreland, Richard Glatzer

Writer: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland (Screenplay) Lisa Genova (Novel)

Starring: Julianne Moore, Kate Bosworth, Shane McRae, Hunter Parrish, Alec Baldwin, Seth Gilliam, Kristen Stewart

 

Plot: A linguistics professor and her family find their bonds tested when she is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Moore’s Powerhouse Performance

 

Story: Still Alice starts on linguistics professor Alice Howland (Moore) birthday, with her family, husband John (Baldwin), children Tom (Parrish) and Anna (Bosworth), the family is filled with college educations, successful careers and with distant daughter Lydia (Stewart) following her own dreams, we get our normal higher educated family.

With Alice noticing slight mistakes in her life, loss of knowing where she is, loss of words, she starts seeing a doctor who can gives her the news that she has early Alzheimer’s disease, but even worse her children could have the disease too.

 

Thoughts on Still Alice

 

Characters – Alice is a professor of linguistics, one of the most renowned in her field, she has the perfect family of grown-up children following their own careers. She notices her memory going before learning she has early onset Alzheimer’s, she must learn to live with this disease which will make everyday routine a challenge. John is Alice’s husband, he supports her through her tough times, never giving up on her. Anna, Tom and Lydia are her children that have been living their own lives, who come to support her too.

PerformancesJulianne Moore gives the performance of her career, you believe every struggler Alice goes through because of her performance. Alec Baldwin is great in the supporting role as are the rest of the cast, with this being one of the first films to help Kristen Stewart break out of the Twilight fame.

StoryThe story shows us what happens when a once successful professor Alice gets struck down with Alzheimer’s, the strain it can put on the family, her life and leave her helpless for the first time in her life. The idea that families will have to face this similar situation will come through and this shows how it can take away the delights they once had from life and shows how more will need to be done to help people. The support from the family helps, but you can’t help but wonder what it would be like for someone who is alone that is suffering from this.

SettingsThe film shows us the life that Alice and her family have, this brings us into a world of a real family that could be suffering through the same situation.


Scene of the Movie –
The Speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Text talk should have been the first signal for a linguistics expert.

Final ThoughtsThis is a powerful performance heavy film that shows us the suffering the victim of the disease will go through. The struggle the family will be put through as they see a loved one disappear in front of them, something incredibly difficult.

 

Overall: This is one of the best performance heavy films.

Rating

 

 

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Before I Wake (2016)

Director: Mike Flanagan

Writer: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard (Screenplay)

Starring: Kate Bosworth, Thomas Jane, Jacob Tremblay, Annabeth Gish, Topher Bousquet, Dash Mihot

 

Plot: A young couple adopt an orphaned child whose dreams – and nightmares – manifest physically as he sleeps.


Tagline – Fear your dreams

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Surprising Horror

 

Story: Before I Wake starts when couple Jessie (Bosworth) and Mark (Jane) decide to adopt after losing their own son, they take in Cody (Tremblay) who seems like a pleasant young boy that there seems to be a mystery about why other families haven’t been able to care for him.

The days that follow show that Cody has an ability to bring his creation to life during his sleep, first with butterflies, then Sean but what comes from his dreams also comes from his nightmares in the form of the Canker Man.

 

Thoughts on Before I Wake

 

Characters – Jessie is the mother of the house, she is filled with guilt because of the death of their son, she doesn’t sleep much and gets addicted to the idea that Cody can give her time with her late son. Mark is the father of the house, he has grieved in his own way and is eager to become friends with Cody as quickly as possible to fill the void he has been left with. Cody is the young boy the couple adopt, he has been going through families even though he comes off pleasant, he isn’t a bad kid, he just has his dreams and nightmares come to life.

PerformancesKate Bosworth is good in this leading role being what we need for this film, it isn’t truly stand out but does everything it needs to, Thomas Jane works well too and Jacob Tremblay also goes a great job for the young actor who seems to be wonderful throughout.

StoryThe story follows a family that has lost their own child and now want to adopt to help move to the next stage of their life, the problem comes from the idea that the child’s dreams come to life when he is sleeping. We are in the horror world which does take the back burner to everything because we are dealing with personal loss and trying to move on. We do have horror moments too, the idea that a child could dream things that come to life which brings wonder and terror unlike anything the adults could imagine. We do get an investigation too which again is something we always see and works for these types of films.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy involved in this film plays into the idea that dreams and nightmare can come to life bringing new horror to the victims.

SettingsThe film keeps most of the activities in the home which makes sense because that is the main place you would sleep.

Special EffectsThe effects show us how what can be created in a child’s mind and just how it can bring joy and terror into the world, the moment he awakes if just vanishes.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth is wonderful to see unfold.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I got confused when Cody was attacked in his sleep.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror that does bring us into a word that can be filled with wonder and terror without even realizing it.

 

Overall: Wonderful horror with beauty visuals.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – U – Unconscious (2014)

Director: Michael Polish

Writer: Amy Kolquist, Mike Le (Screenplay)

Starring: Kate Bosworth, Wes Bentley, Olivia Rose Keegan, Shashawnee Hall, Richard Riehle, Patrick Bauchau

 

Plot: The story of a man who wakes up in bed suffering from memory loss after being in an accident, only to begin to suspect that his wife may not be his real wife and that a web of lies and deceit deepen inside the house where he soon finds himself a prisoner.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Thriller

 

Story: Unconscious starts when a man (Bentley) is involved in an accident, when he awakes his wife (Bosworth) looks to care for him through his recover, but he has lost his memory, meaning she must rebuild their relationship. Believing everything he is told the man goes along with everything until he makes the discover that the woman isn’t who she claims to be.

The man must find a way to survive becoming prisoner to this woman who just wants her own family and she will do anything to make this happen.

 

Thoughts on Unconscious

 

Characters/PerformanceThe characters don’t have names they are only just known as man and woman, the woman keeps the man hostage inside her home as she looks to start a family, she is filled with useless information and always comes off distant and emotionless. The man is involved in an accident where he loses him memory, he believes what is being said until he learns the truth where he must do anything to survive.

Performance wise, Bosworth is great in this leading role where we see an emotionless psychotic character come out of what we have usually known as a bubbly actress. Wes Bentley is good but not to the levels we know he can reach.

StoryThe story here is very slow, we get parts borrowed clearly from Misery where a woman abducts a man for her own wishes, sure this does go into different motives but we see how the punishment for trying to escape can become more painfully as the man tries to escape. The pace is solid enough but the truth is I would have liked slightly more pace to this movie.  

Horror/Mystery The punishment the man must go through with the mystery being surrounding why the woman is doing this and what caused the accident in the first place.

SettingsWe have most of the film inside the house which is created to feel like a prison for our main character the man. It is designed so the woman knows and is prepared for anything.

Final ThoughtsThis horror does have a pacing issue which does make us wonder what direction things will be going in, it never reaches a fully intense level which I feel it needs to and falls into the slow burning thriller that needs a twist to save it.

 

Overall: This thriller comes off short.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – Black Rock (2012)

casting card

 

Plot: Three childhood friends set aside their personal issues and reunite for a girls’ weekend on a remote island off the coast of Maine. One wrong move turns their weekend getaway into a deadly fight for survival.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Bland

 

Story: Black Rock starts as two friends Lou (Bell) & Sarah (Bosworth) travelling to an island only for Sarah to surprise Lou and Abby (Aselton) to try and reconnect. Sarah wants to bring the three friends back together where they search for a time capsule they put on the island when they were kids but it isn’t long before we learn why Abby and Lou haven’t seen talking.

The trip gets interrupted by three guys Henry (Paulson), Derek (Bouvier) and Alex (Richardson) who the girls know from when they were younger. When Abby leads Henry on it leads to him trying to rape her before she kills him leading to Derek and Alex having to make the difficult decision on what to do to them. When the girls escape it turns into a battle to survive as the ex-military men chase down the girls on the island.

Black Rock comes off very frustrating because we start by not learning enough about the three leading ladies apart from the fact they were friends. The reason Derek decides to go on the hunt to kill happens because one of the women over teased one of the guys leading him on way too much before changing her mind and this ends up leaving the film in the morale ground of who was wrong, the guy for not stopping or the girl for saying yes before changing her mind. The survival side of the story is also almost pointless because we have nothing new.

 

Actor Review

 

Katie Aselton: Abby is one of our leading ladies who has fallen out with Lou after something that has happened years before. She reluctantly goes on this trip once Sarah talks her into it. Abby gets drunk leading a guy on but when things get out of hand she ends up killing him leading to his friends hunting the friends down on the island. Katie is solid but we need to actually believe the friendship before the attack.

Lake Bell: Lou is the other friend that has clashed with Abby but spending time together the two have to put the difference behind them to survive the attack on the island. Lake is solid in this role but we need to see more.

Kate Bosworth: Sarah is the friend that is trying to make Abby and Lou patch things together, she is a doctor which offers help when the friends come under attack on the island. Kate seems like she is wasted in what is only a supporting role.

Will Bouvier: Derek is the friend that decides to hunt down the girls after they kill his friend, he treats it like a game enjoying this too much. Will is a very average villain.

Support Cast: Black Rock only has a couple more cast members that don’t really stay around long enough to make a difference with the survival but are the motivation for the hunting.

Director Review: Katie AseltonKatie doesn’t get the most out of this simple story with predictable scenes throughout.

 

Horror: Black Rock doesn’t us the horror elements of this survival horror enough.

Thriller: Black Rock should be keeping us on edge but by the end of the film the suspense has been lost.

Settings: Black Rock keeps nearly all of the film on one island which does create the isolation needed.
Special Effects
: Black Rock has solid effects when it comes to the kills but otherwise not needed.

Suggestion: Black Rock is one you can easily miss because everything has been done better before. (Skip It)

 

Best Part: It is quiet short.

Worst Part: Why did you not just grab the gun?

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Hopefully not.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

Tagline: Not every island is a paradise.

Trivia: Writers Katie Aselton and Mark Duplass are married.

 

Overall: Predictable and flat story with little to no suspense.

Ratingcard

 

 

Trailer Alert – Before I Wake

Plot – Somnia is a haunting, emotionally absorbing supernatural thriller about an orphaned child whose dreams – and nightmares – manifest physically as he sleeps.

Release Date: No Date Set in UK

Stars:

  • Kate Bosworth (Blue Crush)
  • Thomas Jane (The Mist)

Director: Mike Flanagan (Oculus)

Highlight of the Trailer: Looks Visually good.

What Looks Good? From the trailer I like the idea of good and bad happening from dreams, too many films only focus on the bad.

What Looks Bad? Jane, Bosworth have no real horror experience, can they handle it.

Summary: I think this will be one of the best horror films of the year, I think the mix of good and bad elements in the dreams will help give the fil a fresh feeling, but we could end up having a very clichéd horror if things aren’t done correctly.

Questions:

Will I Be Watching? Yes

Will You Be Watching?

My Anticipation Rating – 75%

My Guess Rating – 70%

Will It Be Number One In UK? – No