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

 

 

Elizabeth Olsen Weekend – Liberal Arts (2012)

Director: Josh Radnor

Writer: Josh Radnor (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, Elizabeth Reaser, John Magaro, Kate Burton

 

Plot: When 30-something Jesse returns to his alma mater for a professor’s retirement party, he falls for Zibby, a college student, and is faced with a powerful attraction that springs up between them.


Tagline – Sometimes students make the best teachers.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly High-Brow

 

Story: Liberal Arts starts when 30-something Jesse Fisher (Radnor) gets invited back to his college by his retiring professor Peter Hoberg (Jenkins) party. While returning he loved going down memory lane and gets to meet student Zibby (Olsen) who strikes up a friendship with him, before he returns home to New York.

When the two stay in contact a romance starts to blossom between the two, however difficult Jesse feels about the age difference between the two.

 

Thoughts on Liberal Arts

 

Characters – Jesse Fisher is a 30-something living in New York, reading his way through life, he gets invited back to his college for a retirement party, where he meets Zibby falling for her, seeing a future he couldn’t have in his current life, though he also sees a chance to help a brilliant student who is struggling through college. Zibby is a student in at the college studying drama, she sees something different in Jesse, a mature man in her life away from the usual college student, she likes to let things be and let them unfold. Professor Peter Hoberg is the retiring professor that invites Jesse back, only he doesn’t want to go through with his retirement. The rest of the character include the professors Jesse once studied under and the students he sees his own troubles in.

PerformancesJosh Radnor takes up a few roles in this film, director, writer and his performance is solid enough for the leading role, even though he is might be the weakest performer from his own hit sitcom, this performance feels like what Zach Braff did with Garden State. Elizabeth Olsen is good in her role, while Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney are going to give strength to the supporting roles.

StoryThe story here follows a former college student return to his old college where he gets caught up in wondering why the students don’t understand what life will bring them, be it love and understand underachieving. Now this should be an interesting story, Jesse is a character that tries to explain how life can change in the future and not wanting to waste it, only this is what he is doing himself. The problems mount up as we don’t address the problems strongly enough, where Jesse does get involved, only he doesn’t show any signs of knowing what is going on, we never learn what he does for a living which doesn’t help certain thought processes he could come up with. The story also feels like it is trying to look down on people in places.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy mostly doesn’t get many laughs, the light toned seriousness behind the story doesn’t come off clear enough which also disappoints. The romance is mostly looking at how love can be strange for all those involved in it

SettingsThe film does use two main settings with one being New York, well that is where all Americans seem to want to live, and the college which brings back memories for Jesse.


Scene of the Movie –
Helping Dean.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not giving the Dean side of the story enough focus.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story that tries to take things too seriously which sucks most of the comedy out of the film. The film has a lot to say only to skip over too much of the importance in the messages being talked about.

 

Overall: Frustrating overly intelligent movie.

Rating

 

 

Martyrs (2015)

martyrsDirector: Kevin Goetz, Michael Goetz

Writer: Pascal Laugier, Mark L Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Troian Bellisario, Bailey Noble, Kate Burton, Caitlin Carmichael, Melissa Tracy, Romy Rosemont, Toby Huss

 

Plot: A woman and her childhood friend seek out revenge on those who victimized and abused them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Remakes Hmmmmm

 

Story: Martyrs starts as we see how a young girl Lucie escapes from a torturous experience only to defriend young Anna as the two become friends. Years later the two are still friends but Lucie (Bellisario) gets her revenge by killing the whole family bringing in Anna (Noble) to help clean up the mess.

With everything cleaned up Anna tries to see through the madness that has come over Lucie. While helping clean up Anna discovers the truth about the story that Lucie had always been telling and it is now her turn to experience all the pain Lucie once felt.

Martyrs is a remake of one of the most uncomfortable horror movies ever made. We get to the similar story but with the main twists removed from the main part of the story. We loss the shock value of most of the scenes with only one horrific scene remaining in the movie. We end up with just a ridiculous over the top revenge mission that just doesn’t feel right for the style of the film. The acting isn’t really up there with the best and is in the most part poor. This really is just a pointless remake of a film that was shocking enough in the first place.

 

Overall: Me Angry After Watching Pointless Gutless Remake.

Rating10

 

 

Halloween Kingathon – The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer (2003)

Banner-3logoDirector: Craig R Baxley

Writer: Ridley Pearson (Screenplay) Stephen King (Characters)

Starring: Lisa Brenner, Steven Brand, Kate Burton, Tsidii Leloka, Brad Greenquist, Deirdre Quinn, Tsai Chin, Hans Altwies

Plot: Set at the turn of the century, this is the tale of Ellen Rimbauer who just received this mysterious mansion as a wedding gift from her new husband. Her husband is a Seattle oil tycoon who has a dark past which Ellen eventually finds out about. She becomes fearful of her husband when she learns of some disappearances of people that were close to him. Also there are some unexplained happenings at the Rose Red Mansion that might have a connection to these people who have disappeared. Now Ellen is worried she might be next.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow Horror Drama

Story: The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer starts with the diary of Ellen (Brenner) who talks about the house being a spirit house, before flashing back to 1910 where Ellen is just waiting for John Rimbauer (Brand) to propose. John proposes with the Rose Red Mansion as his gift for her.

While on their honeymoon Ellen became sick but thanks to Sukeena (Leloka) her life is saved and a new loyal friend comes home with her. Once the house is opened to live in strange things start occurring in the home with the idea that the house is built upon an ancient Indian Burial Ground.

With the marriage continuing the love starts to dwindle but the house isn’t happy as it starts to make people disappear leading to Ellen having to consult a spiritualist Madame Lu (Chin) for answers. When the second disappearance happens Ellen and Sukeena start to investigate the house themselves looking for answers to the unexplained.

The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer tries to bring us a prequel story to the scare filled Rose Red, but in the end the film ends up becoming very flat just showing the relationship between the Rimbauer’s without offering a single scare. The story tells us just extended scenes of the back story we learn in Rose Red and really just leaves us flat and disappointed that this is in fact just a drama. (3/10)

Actor Review

Lisa Brenner: Ellen Gilcrest Rimbauer is the young lady who marries power oil tycoon John, the wedding present is the Rose Red Mansion but the mansion has a mind of its own as it tries to protect Ellen from all the wrong doings in the house, but when she tries to escape the house comes after he nearest and dearest as she descends into madness. Lisa does a solid job in the role. (6/10)

Steven Brand: John Rimbauer is the oil tycoon that marries Ellen but always wants to be in control but when he tries to control Ellen the house decides to help her fight back. Steven gives a solid performance but never really shines. (5/10)

Tsidii Leloka: Sukeena is the helper Ellen meets in Africa that helps her through a sickness before becoming her most trusted friend, she helps Ellen learn about the house through the film. Tsidii does a solid job throughout. (6/10)

Support Cast: The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer has a supporting cast that mostly includes the people that go missing or seem to be against one member of the Rimbauer’s causing the friction.

Director Review: Craig R BaxleyCraig brings us a horror film with no scares and a drama with nothing interesting happening. (3/10)

Drama: The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer ends up bring the family drama from the high society world in rather boring style. (4/10)

Horror: The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer offers nearly no scares. (1/10)

Mystery: The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer tries to offer a mystery but it really doesn’t because we know what happens. (3/10)

Settings: The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer keeps most of the film inside the mansion but it just doesn’t have the same haunting feeling as the first outing. (5/10)

Suggestion: The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer is one you could easily miss because it gives us nothing in a world created from the first Rose Red. (Avoid It)

Best Part: Nothing.

Worst Part: Ruins what was created.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

Tagline: Last year Stephen King and Craig Baxley dared you to stay at Rose Red. Now see how the terror began.

Overall: Disappointingly dull horror drama

Rating 15

Big Trouble In Little China (1986)

logoDirector: John Carpenter

Writer: Gary Goldman, David Z. Weinstein (Screenplay) W. D. Richter (Adaptation)

Starring: Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, James Hong, Victor Wong, Kate Burton, Donald Li, Carter Wong

 

Plot: When trucker Jack Burton agreed to take his friend Wang Chi to pick up his fiancee at the airport, he never expected to get involved in a supernatural battle between good and evil. Wang’s fiancée has emerald green eyes, which make her a perfect target for an immortal sorcerer named Lo Pan and his three invincible cronies. Lo Pan must marry a girl with green eyes so he can regain his physical form. Now, Jack must save Wang’s fiancée from Lo Pan and his henchmen, and win back his stolen truck. But how can he defeat an enemy who has no body?

 

Verdict: 80s Fun Adventure

 

Story: This film came out in the 80s and was filled of the adventure tones used through that decade along with the action that is slightly over the top making it funny rather than stupid. This fits in perfect with the era but I think it would be fair to say it hasn’t dated too well. It does what it says on the tin, it is fun, funny and over the top. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Kurt Russell: Jack Burton a small time trucker who does his friend Wang a favour only to get drawn into the underworld at Chinatown to take on an ancient evil who wants to become immortal. Good performance from Russell doing what he does best. (8/10)

 russell

Kim Cattrall: Gracie a reporter who is trying to uncover what is going on in Chinatown only to get drawn into the battle. Good supporting performance playing the typical damsel in distress. (7/10)

 

Dennis Dun: Wang Chi the friend of Jack whose fiancée gets kidnapped and he starts the mission to get her back bring together to rival side good vs evil to get her back. Good performance getting a few more laughs than the rest. (7/10)

 

James Hong: David Lo Pan the evil lord that can change into different forms but is ultimately looking to take over the world with the girl with green eyes. Good performance making the comedy up with his crazy lines. (7/10)

 

Director Review: John Carpenter – Good direction stepping away from horror to do a fun adventure film. (8/10)

 

Action: Plenty of action used throughout. (9/10)

Adventure: Good adventure sense used for the groups. (7/10)

Comedy: Good funny moments never taking itself too serious. (7/10)

Settings: Good settings used to create an underworld in Chinatown. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Good comedy special effects used. (7/10)

Suggestion: I think this is one to try, I don’t think it is the best but you will get some good laughs. (Try)

 

Best Part: The knife kills

Worst Part: Dated.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final battle.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $11 Million

Budget: $25 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline: Some people pick the damnedest places to start a fight!

 

 

Overall: Good Comic Adventure

Rating 74