Alan Tudyk Weekend – Tell (2014)

Director: J.M.R. Luna

Writer: Timothy Williams (Screenplay)

Starring: Milo Ventimiglia, Katee Sackhoff, Jason Lee, Robert Patrick, Alan Tudyk, John Michael Higgins, Faizon Love

 

Plot: Ethan Tell is a small time crook who makes a big-time score when he steals 1 million dollars. Ironically, his life radically changes for the worse when he discovers that stealing the money was the easy part and he now must keep his partner, his wife, his parole officer, and two corrupt detectives from stealing it from him.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Con-man Playbook Passed

 

Story: Tell starts as a robbery Tell (Ventimiglia) is trying to get out off organised by Ray (Lee) his wife’s Beverly (Sackhoff) brother goes wrong, with Tell locked up for three years, with two cops Ashton (Patrick) and Morton (Tudyk) trying to get their hands on the money along with the parole officer Dwight (Love) as Tell is released from prison.

Out of prison Tell tries to get on with his life, but soon the familiar faces return to his life, Ashton, Morton, Beverly and Ray as he needs to stay one step ahead of them as he looks to collect the money before it is gone for good.

 

Thoughts on Tell

 

Characters – Tell is your standard crook, he always talks about having a normal life, but wants to steal his way to it. He isn’t likeable in anyway and even after getting shot and serving time in prison he still needs to stay ahead of the people that want the money he is meant to have taken. Beverly is the ex-wife of Tell that remarried when he was locked up to help raise their child, she wants to money because she dreams of the life of luxury. Ray is the partner in crime and brother to Beverly, he is left for dead at the crime scene and now has returned for the money, he feels like a loose cannon with crazy ideas. Ashton and Morton are the two cops that are hounding Tell for the money from the robbery.

PerformancesThe performances are mixed because of allowed screen time. Milo doesn’t give us a likeable character and feels like he is cruising through the film for the most part, Katee Sackhoff is solid enough as the wife figure, always after the money, for me it was Jason Lee who shines the best in this film as we just never know what he is going to do next. Patrick and Tudyk both seem to enjoy playing the crooked cops which is good to see.

StoryThe story follows a crook that is trying to collect the money from his previous heist though he has people from the heist, cops and an ex-wife that also want the money. This story follows the heist gone wrong paths well and the whole released from prison people will want what was never recovered, while never addressing the bigger issue, that Tell wants to live a normal life after his time in prison. This isn’t the most engaging story, be it the generic characters, by the books story or overly slow pacing.

Action/CrimeThe action we see in the film is a couple of shoot outs mixed with the punch or strike to get someone’s attention, the crime side of the film shows how the characters are mixed up in a world they shouldn’t be involved in.

SettingsThe film never uses the settings enough to make us understand where we are and even the backgrounds of the characters involved.


Scene of the Movie –
What happens after the opening sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It offers nothing new to the genre of the heist movies.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard by the book heist film, it checks the boxes without being anything you will remember enough to suggest this to heist fans.

 

Overall: Heist movie that falls slightly flat.

Rating

 

 

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2036 Origin Unknown (2018)

Director: Hasraf Dulull

Writer: Hasraf Dulull, Gary Hall (Screenplay)

Starring: Katee Sackhoff, Julie Cox, Steven Cree, Ray Fearon, Noush Skaugen

 

Plot: After a failed mission to Mars, A.I./ARTI is now used for the 2036 mission with a few human supervisors. A monolith of unknown origin is found there. It will have a big effect on Earth.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Sci-Fi Thriller

 

Story: 2036 Origin Unknown starts in 2030 when an exploratory mission to Mars goes horribly wrong, six years later A.I. is being used for all missions with human supervisors. Mack (Sackhoff) is the current supervisor and when the next unmanned mission heads to the surface, Mack must work with the A.I. system ARTi.

When the mission discovers an unknown monolith, Mack tries to figure out what is inside, but it becomes clear she will need to work with ARTi to get to the bottom of it, which is could be the biggest discovery in space history.

 

Thoughts on 2036 Origin Unknown

 

Characters – Mack is one of the supervisors that is working with the A.I. she lost her father in the Mars mission and after making a discovery on Mars, she starts investigating the truth, where she must challenge the authority figures in her job. Lena is the boss and sister of Mack, she is keeping the secrets, knowing parts of the truth though never giving anything away. ARTi is the A.I. system that is always looking to learn, it is in control of the missions as it seems to be the smartest choice after the error lost lives.

PerformancesKatee Sackhoff is the star of this movie, she is in nearly every single scene keeping us engaged in the story as we believe she learn just as she does. The rest of the cast does get their moments, but they are clearly in the supporting roles only.

StoryThe story gets to ask us the big question when it comes to exploring space and using A.I. to assist us. First off watching any film that looks at the ideas of exploring for new life on other planets is going to be interesting, we see the risk of this from the opening sequence. Secondly looking at the idea of A.I. controlling human decisions is always going to be one that is an interesting watch, we have been using this as a plot device since 2001 a Space Odyssey, it has always played out two ways, either a warning or a blessing which is for us to decide through the film. we get a story which will make you think about whether you would make the same decisions as Mack or not.

Sci-FiTravelling through space to Mars, trying to discover new life, with new technology in the future, could we get any more sci-fi heavy than this? The best part of the sci-fi side of the film is that is does feel like it could happen in the not too distant future.

SettingsThe film keeps most of the film in the control room with Mack which is nice because of the isolated environment of her decision processes happening, when we get shots of Mars or space it does take us out of the main story at times.

Special EffectsThe effects are mostly used for the exterior shots, we know we can’t actually film on Mars, so we get a vision of what that would be like with the special effects playing a heavy part of this.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Mars shots.

Final ThoughtsThis is a smart sci-fi film that does make you think, it doesn’t hold back from how far it will go and Sackhoff in the lead role keeps the film engaging.

 

Overall: Smart Sci-fi film.

Rating

 

 

Halloween Resurrection (2002)

Director: Rick Rosenthal

Writer: Larry Brand, Sean Hood (Screenplay) Debra Hill, John Carpenter (Characters)

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Busta Rhymes, Bianca Kajlich, Sean Patrick Thomas, Daisy McCrackin, Katee Sackhoff, Luke Kirby, Thomas Ian Nicholas

 

Plot: Three years after he last terrorized his sister, Michael Myers confronts her again, before traveling to Haddonfield to deal with the cast and crew of a reality show which is being broadcast from his old home.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painful Sequel

 

Story: Halloween: Resurrection starts with Laurie (Curtis) now in a mental home as we learn that she killed an innocent man thinking it was Michael, now she waits for him to arrive so she can finish the job. When Michael finally gets to kill Laurie his rampage must be over, but no, let’ see where this film goes now.

We are not back in Haddonfield meting student Sara (Kajlich), Jen (Sackhoff) and Rudy (Thomas) who have all signed up for a reality television show hosted by Freddie Harris (Rhymes) and Nora (Banks) and joined by Donna (McCrackin), Bill (Nicholas) and Jim (Kirby) where they must stay in the Myers house for one night.

As the students look to investigate the home, they learn that Michael is still living there and ready to kill anybody inside his home, who will make it out and just what is the point in these victims.

 

Thoughts on Halloween: Resurrection

 

Characters/PerformanceLaurie is in this movie, for about 5 minutes and I feel this is the only connection to the Halloween franchise. Michael is deadly but you kind of route for him because the people are invading his home. Sara seems to be the main innocent student that gets pushed into something she wouldn’t normally do. Jen is the slightly slutty friend with Rudy being the lead hero. Freddie is the arrogant host that wants to make money and become famous and that is your ABC cast.

Performance wise, well, where do we start here? This isn’t known for its performance ability, Busta Rhymes please no more acting, and why in the hell would you hire an actress that couldn’t scream or cry on cue for a horror film, Jamie Lee clearly didn’t want to be in this film either.

StoryLooking at story we have a HUGE problem here, one you kill off the Laurie in the opening sequence and forget she has a kid now a young man in his twenties now too. We get an awful run around Michael’s house being picked off one by one for reality TV, none of these characters have a connection to Michael and this is just a hack em slash em film for no reason.

HorrorThis is fine as a standalone slasher horror but the connection it needs sucks the horror out of the film.

SettingsBeing set inside Michael’s childhood home works because it brings us back to Haddonfield, where we need to be but the stakes just don’t feel enough in this house.

Special EffectsThe kills have good effects but otherwise we don’t get many or need many.

Final ThoughtsThis film feels like someone watched The Truman Show and thought let’s make it a slasher film where we have an audience watching what is going on inside the house, we have terrible acting, terrible storytelling and just a boring reason to bring Michael back.

 

Overall: Terrible, terrible sequel.

Rating

 

 

Don’t Knock Twice (2017)

Director: Caradog W James

Writer: Mark Huckerby, Nick Ostler (Screenplay)

Starring: Katee Sackhoff, Lucy Boynton, Richard Mylan, Nick Moran, Pascale Wilson

 

Plot: A mother desperate to reconnect with her troubled daughter becomes embroiled in the urban legend of a demonic witch.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Horror

 

Story: Don’t Knock Twice starts as Jess (Sackhoff) is desperate to reconnect with her daughter Chloe (Boynton) who she left at a children’s school/home years before. Chloe not wanting to return home finds herself involved in an urban legend game with a friend about knocking on a mysterious door.

Soon after Chloe’s friend vanishes (we do see what happens to him but she doesn’t) leaving Chloe only have one place to turn to as a ghost figure starts to haunt her, Chloe must go home to her mother. With the mother and daughter trying to rebuild their relationship, Jess must face the demons off her past which led to her giving up Chloe but together they must face the unknown enemy haunting them both.

 

Thoughts on Don’t Knock Twice

 

Characters – Jess is the damaged mother that has made mistakes in her past which has caused her to give up her child, cleaned up and back on the right path she offers a home to her daughter again but finds herself needing to battle an evil spirit out for vengeance against her daughter. Chloe is the daughter of Jess, raised in a home very insecure with commitment issues, she finds herself targeted by a spirit which has a connection to her past. Boardman is the cop who led the investigation to what happened with the ghost figure.

PerformanceKatee Sackhoff is somewhat of a favourite in the geek community for her work in sci-fi but over the recent years she has stepped into horror effortlessly and stands out as a great lead and this is no different. Lucy Boynton, we saw make a splash last year with Sing Street enters into horror here and she is good through the film even if the character feels slightly flat. Nick Moran as the detective is a character we would have liked more from but he does well with what he had to do.

StoryThe story side is split into too, the first is showing the difficult side of parenting, the sacrifice the mother must make to overcome her personal demons to make sure she is safe but we follow the rebuilding process which is an important stage of this film. the horror side of the story is one of my favourite, it follows a ghost haunting that leads to our character needing to solve a case to be free of the hauntings, while not everything is explained as smoothly as it could have been it does work watching it all unfold. The mix of the two stories does work to show how the relationship between mother and daughter though strained needs to remain strong.

HorrorThe horror used throughout is mostly jump scares but not false jump scares, this is a good thing because too many would ruin the film. a lot of the film is also well built up moments of horror.

SettingsThe everyday settings for the film show us just what could happen to non-believers suddenly when they stumble into urban legend.

Special EffectsThe effects being used through the film are all good, we get a mix of practical and what feels like CGI to create the ghost figure haunting the family.

Scene of the Movie – The first kill on the laptop, mostly because it is a surprise.

That Moment that annoyed me – One twist too many.

Final ThoughtsThis was a good horror, it does create a good ghost investigation film but tries too hard to shock us with twists.

 

Overall: Good late night horror experience.

Rating

 

 

Oculus (2013)

logoDirector: Mike Flanagan

Writer: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard (Screenplay)

Starring: Karen Gillian, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane, Annalise Basso, Garrett Ryan, James Lafferty

 

Plot: Tim Russell (Thwaites) is being released from a mental home at the age of 21 due to something that happened while he was a young child. His sister Kaylie (Gillian) is waiting for him and plans to talk him into fulfilling a promise he made with her when they were children. She has got her hands on a mirror that she believes to be reasonable for the incident which left their parents Marie (Sackhoff) and Alan (Cochrane) dead. She plans to use the mirror to draw out whatever it is causing a string of deaths and finish it all once and for all.

 

Verdict: What Happened?

 

Story: I really didn’t follow what was happening here at all, the jumps between the past and present are awful, plus just figuring out what was real or a trick is just as confusing. The ending you could see coming a mile off and next to no jumps leaves this film giving us just talking, talking, a bit of shouting and screaming and finally more talking about what was real or what was made up to cover up what happened. (2/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Karen Gillian: Kaylie the sister determined to uncover the truth about what happened to her parents and stop it once and for all. She pushes her brother into helping but could it be that she is really the crazy one of the siblings? I can’t blame her for a terrible script and she does well with what little she has to work with. (6/10)

 karen

Brenton Thwaites: Tim freshly out the mental home he gets caught up in his sister’s plan to uncover a truth he believe he has come to deal with. This is another case where he does well without much to work with. (6/10)

brenton

Katee Sackhoff: Marie the mother who is slowly breaking down because of the suspicious her husband is having an affair, but is she being controlled by something more sinister? She plays the range on emotions well throughout. (6/10)

 katee

Rory Cochrane: Alan the husband who has started to act strangely ever since the family moved into a new house. Good performance playing the difference between good and bad well. (6/10)

 rory

Director Review: Mike Flanagan – Doesn’t do a very good job here, makes a very messy story with no scares no suspense just endless talking. (2/10)

 

Horror: No horror involved that offers anything scary. (2/10)

Settings: What should be a good setting really doesn’t add anything to the film even though it is good for the genre. (5/10)
Special Effects
: Poor special effects well when some are needed they fail to use them. (3/10)

Suggestion: This isn’t even worth trying to watch it really doesn’t do anything for a horror fan. (Avoid)

 

Best Part: Nothing

Worst Part: The jumping story.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Hopefully not

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $28,728,472

Budget: $5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

Tagline: You see what it wants you to see.

 

Overall: Awful ‘Horror’ Film

Rating 20