ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – V – Viral (2016)

Director: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman

Writer: Barbara Marshall, Christopher Landon (Screenplay)

Starring: Sofia Black-D’Elia, Analigh Tipton, Travis Tope, Michael Kelly, Machine Gun Kelly, John Cothran

 

Plot: Following the outbreak of a virus that wipes out the majority of the human population, a young woman documents her family’s new life in quarantine and tries to protect her infected sister.


Tagline – Fear what’s inside

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Story Telling, Bland Characters

 

Story: Viral starts as we meet the teenage sisters Emma (Black-D’Elia) the good one, Stacey (Tipton) the rebellious one, have moved to a new town, new home with their father Michael (Keely) taking a biology teacher role. There reports that a disease is spreading through the human population and when one of Emma’s friends gets infected, it seems like it has come home.

When Michael heading off to collect his wife, he leaves the girls to look after themselves, shouldn’t be a problem, until the military arrive with rations to keel them inside during the outbreak. The girls join the rest of the teenagers at a party against the curfew rules which leads to the virus spreading and the two needing to learn to survive and keep each other alive.

 

Thoughts on Viral

 

Characters – Emma is the good, well-behaved of the two girls, she is pure innocence compared to her sister, she is like every other teenager in this mould, she fancies a guy and has been getting on with her best friend. Stacey is the older sister, rebellious by skipping classes and dating generic metal head, she always pushes Emma into things she doesn’t want to do. Evan is the crush across the road, he is used as the love interest nothing more.

PerformancesThe lead girls of Sofia Black-D’Elia and Analeigh Tipton are good through they film, they hit their marks feeling like the both have good chemistry for sisters. The rest of the cast doesn’t get too much time to do anything if we are being honest, so it would be unfair to slam them.

StoryWe know I like a good zombie story, we also know many have been done too often the same. This story brings us an original spin on the idea, well mostly original. This time we look at the early break out of a virus which is turning people into infected people, like zombies, we see the quarantine, how the military will enforce it and follow sisters trying to survive this. This is the positive side of things, which I did like, the problems in this story come from the idea, things only go bad when they break basic curfew rules which would have kept them safe for the most part, we do also have a giant failing to explain how the virus spreads, we do touch on ideas, but soon nothing seems to make sense.

Horror-Sci-FiThis is a horror movie that uses zombie like infection to create the scares, while not scary it is on the levels you would be expecting to see things. The sci-fi side of things shows us just what will be happening to the victims as they slowly start to turn.

SettingsThe film is set in a new suburban area which shows us the groups of people that would be living there, and how they would need to come off.

Special EffectsThe effects are strong through the film which are great when we see the infection spreading.


Scene of the Movie –
Removing the infection.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The characters are frustrating with their mistakes.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid entry to the zombie like sub-genre of horror, this is one to look past the weakness to enjoy the strengths.

 

Overall: The world of zombies has a new enjoyable experience.

Rating

 

 

Julia Roberts Weekend – Secret in Their Eyes (2015)

secretDirector: Billy Ray

Writer: Billy Ray (Screenplay) Juan Jose Campanella, Eduardo Sacheri (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Dean Norris, Alfred Molina, Joe Cole, Michael Kelly

 

Plot: A tight-knit team of rising investigators, along with their supervisor, is suddenly torn apart when they discover that one of their own teenage daughters has been brutally murdered.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre Thriller

 

Story: Secret in Their Eyes starts as we see Ray Kasten (Ejiofor) meeting his old team and now DA Claire Sloane (Kidman) Chief Investigator Jessica Cobb (Roberts) and fellow political roles Reg Seifert (Kelly). We flash back to when they were a team of investigators with Bumpy Willis (Norris) when they are tracking terrorists only for one of their own daughters Carolyn Cobb (Graham) being murdered next to their investigation.

Ray has spent the last 13 years of his life searching for the killer and now he believes he has figured out the person responsible and wants the case re-opened between the old team.

 

Thoughts on Secret in Their Eyes

 

StoryThis is an American remake of the Oscar winning movie that has a very bland story which should be a very intense story, the scenes all flow so slowly you just don’t believe this is a case unfolding and the jumps in time are too often leaving us all over the place in the end.

Crime/MysteryThe crime story should be one of the most intense ones we have seen, but it doesn’t work out that way because the film spends way too much time balancing the murder case with a potential terrorist investigation without even giving us the mystery to try and solve ourselves.

Characters/PerformanceThe team are all believable as a unit but as solo characters you just don’t feel the desperation in Ray, the power in what should be a power-hungry role in Claire but you do like get to feel the grief through Jess’s character.

Ejiofor, Kidman and Roberts are all solid but just don’t reach the ability we know all three are capable off. The rest of the performances are all solid without stealing the scene.

SettingsWe have the setting in and around LA without managing to use any settings which are easy to help us identify where the film is set.

Final ThoughtsFor the talent involved this is a very slow, poorly acted thriller that lacks any suspense to the levels it could have got too.

 

Overall: This will always be forgettable in the arena of remakes.

Ratingcard

 

 

Black Mirror – Season 3 Episode 5 – Men Against Fire

men-against-fireDirector: Jakob Verbruggen

Writer: Charlie Brooker (Screenplay)

Starring: Malachi Kirby, Madeline Brewer, Ariane Labed, Sarah Snook, Michael Kelly, Kola Bokinni

 

Plot: Future soldiers Stripe (Malachi Kirby) and Raiman (Madeline Brewer) must protect frightened villagers from an infestation of vicious feral mutants. Technologically, they have the edge – but will that help them survive?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun But Slow

 

Story: Men Against Fire starts as we meet new soldier Stripe (Kirby) who gets assigned on his first mission to find out whether a village was attacked by creatures known only as ‘roaches’. We see his unit led by Medina (Snook) go on the hunt for this roaches.

As the hunt continues we learn that the roaches are feral mutants that have been terrorising the local villages, but the question comes to how the disease is transmitted. After his first encounter with the roaches Stripe starts to have different reactions to everyday tasks that the military can’t find any issues with. With his ability to see the truth we get to see how Stripe has to try and convince the rest of what is going on in the world.

Men Against Fire is one of the most original twists on what starts off as a zombie concept but it soon turns into a fresh look at how to train soldiers to be the most efficient they can possibly be. This offers plenty of morale questions about how soldier are trained and what they are capable on the battle field if certain parts can be removed from their decision-making process but otherwise this is one of the weaker stories in the series so far.

 

Overall: The slowest of the series so far.

Rating55

 

 

Sarah Polley Weekend – Dawn of the Dead (2004)

deadDirector: Zack Snyder

Writer: James Gunn (Screenplay) George A Romero (Story)

Starring: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Mekhi Phifer, Ty Burrell, Michael Kelly, Kevin Zegers, Michael Barry, Lindy Booth

 

Plot: A nurse, a policeman, a young married couple, a salesman, and other survivors of a worldwide plague that is producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies, take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best

 

Story: Dawn of the Dead starts with one of the best opening scenes in zombie movie history, as we follow nurse Ana (Polley) as she finishes work and goes about every week date night with her husband Lewis. All seems normal until the neighbourhood good Vivian turns up in their house, biting Lewis before Ana realizes she has woken up in the Dawn of the Dead as she looks for some form of safety.

Finding the city in complete chaos Ana must find somewhere for safety first by running into cop Kenneth (Rhames) followed closely by Michael (Weber), Andre (Phifer) and Luda (Korobkina). The answer to their problems lies in the shopping mall which security guards CJ (Kelly), Bart (Barry) and Terry (Zegers) have control over.

When more survivors turn up at the mall the group have to put their differences aside to figure out a way to survive once the mall becomes an attraction for all of the undead.

Dawn of the Dead is one of those remakes that works, the first film was incredible popular and this keeps the base story the same but brings the concept into the modern era of horror. No longer are the days of slow moving zombies we get fast paced none stop relentless zombies that become even scarier. There isn’t much to talk about with the story because it really is just about surviving but where this one really shines are in the brave side story with Andre and his bitten pregnant wife. I can’t see a bad thing in this film and it could easily be one of the most perfect zombie horror films of all time.

 

Actor Review

 

Sarah Polley: Ana is a nurse before the outbreak, she is the only character we got to meet before the outbreak but becomes a leading member of the group of survivors as her medical skills and human side shine through the animal like behave of the rest of the group. Sarah gives us a true nonsense performance in the leading role.ana

Ving Rhames: Kenneth is the cop that help Ana get to the mall, he only wants to get to his brother but finds himself being distant from the rest of the survivors but only so he can deal with things his own way. He is the toughest of all of the survivors and the most valuable member in combat. Ving is great in this role where he easily the most realistic in the zombie outbreak idea.kenneth

Jake Weber: Michael becomes the reluctant leader of the group, he hasn’t achieved much in his life but sees this as a chance to make up for his mistakes. Jake is good in this role as the reluctant hero showing anyone can lead when time calls for it.jake

Mekhi Phifer: Andre along with his pregnant wife find themselves in the mall, he keeps his wife hidden from the rest of the group because he knows the truth about her but still wants to have the baby. Mekhi gives us one of the most fascinating supporting characters in zombie films.andre

Michael Kelly: CJ is one of the security guards at the mall, he wants it to himself and the other guards, when the rest of the survivors turn up he sees them as a threat. After he gets taught that they are all after one thing and strength in numbers he becomes the go to guy for solutions with his knowledge of the mall. Michael gives a great performance in a role unlike most you will know him for.cj

Support Cast: Dawn of the Dead has a good supporting cast that are all very interesting characters to add to the zombie survival film.

Director Review: Zack SnyderZack shows that he was going to be one of the most popular directors around with this brilliant reimaging of a classic.

 

Action: Dawn of the Dead is filled with non-stop zombie killing action.

Horror: Dawn of the Dead brings a brand new look at terror through the zombie being fast and a new level of frightening.

Thriller: Dawn of the Dead keeps you wonder just where things will go, who will die and how they will make it out from start to finish.

Settings: Dawn of the Dead using the mall does work because you would have nearly everything you need there.
Special Effects
: Dawn of the Dead has brilliant special effects from start to finish making you feel like you are part of the world.

Suggestion: Dawn of the Dead is a must watch for all horror fans out there even if you love the original you will love this one. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Pregnant side story.

Worst Part: One thing I noticed that I didn’t like was that one moment the zombies almost pause and wait to pounce, which doesn’t make sense.

Action Scene Of The Film: Rescue Andy.

Kill Of The Film: Chainsaw.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: This doesn’t have a sequel.

Post Credits Scene: During the credits there is a scene.

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $59 Million

Budget: $26 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: 36 billion people have died since the reign of humanity. For the new Dawn, there’s a reunion.

Trivia: Although he had strong reservations about some elements, George A. Romero professed to be surprisingly impressed with the film.

 

Overall: Breath taking roller coaster ride of a horror film.

Ratingcard

Everest (2015)

logoDirector: Baltasar Kormakur

Writer: William Nicholson, Simon Beaufoy (Screenplay)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Elizabeth Debicki, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright, Josh Brolin, Sam Worthington, Jason Clarke, Clive Standen, Emily Watson, Martin Henderson, Michael Kelly, John Hawkes, Michael Kelly

Plot: A climbing expedition on Mt. Everest is devastated by a severe snow storm.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Memorizing

Story: Everest starts by introducing us to Rob Hall (Clarke) a skilled climber with years of experience climbing Mount Everest. Rob is preparing for his latest expedition, we also meet Beck Weathers (Brolin), Doug Hansen (Hawkes) and Jon Krakauer (Kelly) all members of the latest expedition even with a rival climber Scott Fischer (Gyllenhaal) who has lost out on taking a journalist up the mountain.

We watch as Rob train the want to be climbers through their paces to prepare them for the climb of their life times. Realizing there are too many different expedition trying to reach the summit Rob tries to work out a plan to split climbs so they don’t end up having people waiting to climb the mountain.

Weather clear, teams prepared the time has come to climb Mount Everest with Rob and Scott leading the way, but getting to the top was the easy part it is getting back down during a sudden snow storm hits the team.

Everest is based on the true events of the 1996 incident which lead to the many death on Mount Everest. We follow these victims and survivors as they go up the mountain but have to fight unpredictable weather on their way back down, I think the film handles to subject brilliantly but I will say it struggles to give enough screen time to certain supporting characters. Saying this we do get to see how difficult the climb would be and we are left wondering what will happen (unless you know the real story) and who will make it down.

Actor Review

Jason Clarke: Rob Hall is the lead climber taking teams up Everest, he leads this latest expedition to the top of the highest point on Earth and while everything goes well on the way up to the summit it is the journey down which causes the problems as he needs to lead his team down through a sudden snow storm. Jason does a great job in this role continuing to impress in leading role over the recent years.rob

Jake Gyllenhaal: Scott Fischer is a rival lead climber who is on a mutual respect level with Rob, he works with Rob to make the increasing number of climbers climbing to the top of the mountain. He has a riskier style compared to Rob but he does understand the dangers all the same. Jake does a good job but I do feel like we needed more from his character.scott

John Hawkes: Doug Hansen is the man who has returned to the mountain after just missing out on the summit the year before, he works three jobs to make this dream a reality and will never give up on achieving this dream. John does a good job in this role because he looks like a guy who wouldn’t look like the made climber compared to the rest of the team.doug

Josh Brolin: Beck Weathers is the loud mouth American who see climbing the mountain as a rush, he struggles to deal with the rules because he expects to be getting a chance to climb the mountain not wait for time to do it, he does create a good bond with the rest of the climbers though. Josh does a good job in his role and brings something to the character that makes you not like him.beck

Sam Worthington: Guy Cotter is a fellow climber who helps make the mountain safer to climb, he works with Rob and is the one that guides him through the ascent from the top. Sam does a solid enough job in this supporting role but doesn’t get enough to do.

Support Cast: Everest has an even bigger supporting cast mostly filled with loved one of the men on the mountains along with the rest of the climbers who end up stuck on the mountain against the storm, they all help as we watch them desperately try to save their loved ones.

Director Review: Baltasar Kormakur Baltasar gives us a visually stunning looking film telling a tragic story of what happened on the mountain that fateful may.

Adventure: Everest shows what the perils of going on this ultimate adventure really are.

Thriller: Everest keeps you wondering what will happen to the characters from the start to the finish as you root for all of them.

Settings: Everest creates the settings perfectly to show how difficult it would be during the condition the climbers find themselves in.
Special Effects: Everest uses the effects to make each scene look realistic throughout.

Suggestion: Everest is one to watch because it will be one of the best visual treats of the year along with a story that shows how much people risked for that rush. (Watch)

Best Part: Visually brilliant.

Worst Part: I felt the supporting characters needed more screen time.

Believability: It is based on what really happened on Everest in 1996

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: Could get a few visual awards.

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minutes

Tagline: Never let go

Overall: One special film that tells such a brilliant and tragic story

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