Skyscraper (2018)

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Writer: Rawson Marshall Thurber (Screenplay)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Pablo Schreiber, Noah Taylor, Kevin Rankin, McKenna Roberts, Byron Mann, Tzi Ma, Chin Han

 

Plot: FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Sawyer now assesses security for skyscrapers. On assignment in Hong Kong he finds the tallest, safest building in the world suddenly ablaze, and he’s been framed for it. A wanted man on the run, Will must find those responsible, clear his name and somehow rescue his family who are trapped inside the building…above the fire line.


Tagline – The sky is the limit

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Spectacularly Entertaining

 

Story: Skyscraper starts as we learn how Will Sawyer (Johnson) first met his wife Sarah (Campbell) in an FBI Hostage Rescue Team mission gone wrong, which left him without a leg, 10-years later he works in security, figuring out and assessing building for potential hazards. His latest job is his big break, on the biggest building in the world ‘The Pearl’ built by architect Zhao Long Ji (Han).

When everything looks like it is about to pass the tests, Kores Botha (Moller) finds a flaw in the system, setting the building on fire in an attempt to get Zhao, the problem is Will’s family is in the building and will stop at nothing to save his family.

 

Thoughts on Skyscraper

 

Characters – Will Sawyer is a former FBI Hostage Rescue team leader, wounded in action, turned to security, he has a small business which will giving him the recommendation to work on the biggest building in the world. the now family man nervous at the thought of this opportunity must prove how safe this building is. He does, but when criminals have other thoughts, he must return to his rescue ways to save his family from the situation. THIS IS NOT A JOHN MCCLANE MARK II, his only goal is to save his family, not to stop the criminals. Sarah is Will’s wife, one of the surgeons that helped save his life, she does what she can to keep the children safe, remaining calm and showing herself a hand at self-defence. Zhao Long Ji is the architect who has designed this brilliant world changing building, he has everything down to make it look stunning, operate smoothly and help the world by creating jobs and running eco-friendly, he is the target of the criminals who want something he has. Kores Botha is the leader of the attack, he has been an old nemesis of Zhao through construction, this is a slightly more generic villain, but his cold-hearted delivery is just as striking as you need him to be. We do get a host of side characters including, the two kids, they are good for the film, the cops on the outside trying to put the pieces together, other members of the criminal gang with Xia being the standout of them and the old friend which got him the job.

PerformancesDwayne Johnson is an actor you all know I will watch everything he does, the genre he shines best in, is action, in this film he gives one of his best action performances to date, he gives his character the feeling he might no succeed even though he looks like he could knock you out with one punch. Neve Campbell is good in the support role showing its about time we saw her back on the bring screen, Roland Moller as the villain is very strong too because we do get moments when you are scared of what he will do. The rest of the cast are good throughout even if we would have liked to have seen more.

StoryThe story is a perfect playlist of how to keep action simple without needing to make anything complicated. One giant building, one fire in said building, one stranded family, one group of criminals and the reluctant hero going against the odds to try and save his family. Those are the core elements of the story and as I said, we don’t need more, this is simple enough to give us everything we wanted. We could look at the minor negative in the story and that would be the amount of characters we do meet outside of the building situation, while I know it is part of the bigger picture, they don’t have the same intensity as the building moments. The biggest weirdly enjoyable part of the story was watching how the crowd just stood around watching on the big screen cheer, gasping like the audience watching.

Action The action set pieces in the film are brilliant, breath taking and truly edge of your seat, seeing Dwayne Johnson pull this off and make you feel like something could go wrong is what it is all about, praise must be giving to a fight sequence too, where Will must fight on one leg.

SettingsThe setting of being in the Pearl was fantastic, we know the escape is next to impossible and watching how this unfolds is edge of your seat, when we step away however it does lose the levels of anticipation we would have liked.

Special EffectsThe building being on fire look amazing, well realistically I don’t actually want to see buildings on fire, but other elements of the special effects go towards making Will’s leg injury seem like the norm for Johnson.


Scene of the Movie –
The crane.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Two big lines from the trailer are not in the movie, they both felt important for the situations we were in.

Final ThoughtsThis isn’t just a Die Hard modernised, this is a stand alone action thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat and show you all that Dwayne Johnson is the king of the action genre at the moment.

 

Overall: Must watch action thrill ride.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Random – V – Vanilla Sky (2001)

Director: Cameron Crowe

Writer: Cameron Crowe (Screenplay) Alejandro Amenabar, Mateo Gil (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Kurt Russell, Jason Lee, Noah Taylor, Timothy Spall, Tilda Swinton, Michael Shannon

 

Plot: A self-indulgent and vain publishing magnate finds his privileged life upended after a vehicular accident with a resentful lover.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Trippy Fantasy Thriller

 

Story: Vanilla Sky starts as we meet David Aames (Cruise) a playboy publishing mogul that inherited this from his father. He sleeps with beautiful women including actress Julie Gianni (Diaz) but always finds time for his best friend Brian Shelby (Lee). But, his life has been shattered thanks to a car accident which has left him disfigured hiding behind a mask in jail.

While waiting for his hearing David recounts the events which led up to his charges to McCabe (Russell). We learn how David meets Sofia Serrano (Cruz) the woman of his dreams but Julie shows her jealous side causing a car crash which leaves him broken and living between reality and dreams, needing to face his new life.

 

Thoughts on Vanilla Sky

 

Characters/PerformanceDavid lived a life where he could have any women living the life of luxury until this lifestyle catches up with him, leaving him disfigured and in jail, recounting the events between the two moments. Sofia is the new love that David falls for, she has all the chemistry he requires for something different being the motivation for David to fix himself. Julie is the jealous former lover that causes the accident, she is an actress that is filled with self-confidence but all that isn’t everything we have come to know.

Performance wise, Tom Cruise is great in the leading role, not being afraid to make himself slightly disfigured for this role. Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz are both are both also great in the roles of the two women in David’s life.

StoryIn a story that leaves you questioning nearly everything going on even after you believe you have just worked everything out, well this story will keep you all over the place. I do think this does enough to keep us guessing without becoming tiring and will completely satisfied by the end.

Fantasy/Mystery/RomanceThe fantasy world created comes through in the end and it will leave you shocked with the outcome of the film, getting to this stage we are left with a big mystery into just what has been happening with the romance being how David falls in love with Sofia.

SettingsEach setting is used well, but the truly special moment in the New York being empty looks fantastic.

Special EffectsThe effects that are used to create the disfigured looking David all come off great with the other effects all doing the required effect in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis film will test your mind which is always something we like to see in films, yes, it is a remake or reimagination but still it looks fantastic.

 

Overall: This was a true mind bender of morale decision making.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Windmill Massacre (2016)

Director: Nick Jongerius

Writer: Nick Jongerius, Chris W Mitchell, Suzy Quid (Screenplay)

Starring: Patrick Baladi, Ben Batt, Charlotte Beaumont, Fiona Hampton, Tanroh Ishida

 

Plot: Jennifer is an Australian girl on the run from her past who washes up in Amsterdam. In a desperate attempt to stay one step ahead of the authorities, she joins a coach-load of tourists embarking on a tour of Holland’s world famous windmills. When the bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere, she and the other tourists are forced to seek shelter in a disused shed beside a sinister windmill where, legend has it, a Devil-worshiping miller once ground the bones of locals instead of grain. As members of the group start to disappear, Jennifer learns that they all have something in common – a shared secret that seems to mark them all for doom.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre Horror

 

Story: The Windmill Massacre starts as we meet our string of characters, Australian runaway Jennifer (Beaumont), the father son Douglas (Baladi) and Curt (Wright), ambitious photographer Ruby (Hampton), British soldier Jackson (Batt), Japanese tourist Takashi (Ishida) and artist Nicholas Cooper (Taylor) as they take a bus trip around Holland with Abe (Klever).

When the bus breaks down by a mysterious unmarked windmill the group find themselves being hunted down by a killer that seems to be making them pay for their sins. With tensions running high who will make it out alive?

 

Thoughts on The Windmill Massacre

 

Characters/PerformanceJennifer is an Australian on the run from her past through Holland, she suffers nightmares about her father which make her come off crazy, she must face her own demons to survive this night. Douglas West is an overworking businessman who has taken his son on holiday, he will do anything to protect his son, but finds himself easily distracted by work. Dr Nicolas Cooper has been studying the arts of Holland looking to create his own memorable piece of art, the rest of the cast all come off like out would expect for any horror too.

Performance wise, Noah Taylor is the big name in this film and easily becomes the one you want to learn most about and this is good even though he is only a supporting character. Charlotte Beaumont is fine in the leading role but you feel we could have had more from her, the rest of the cast are all fine but nothing that memorable.

StoryThe story behind this horror is similar to many horrors out there, characters needing to face their sins for their past, while facing the sins they learn about human emotion and we have blood and gore thrown in here now. This does create way too many attempts of having sinners responsible for people’s death in one journey for my liking. We also don’t get enough focus on the emotional effect of what these people did apart from Jennifer’s character.

HorrorWe have plenty of blood and gore going on here but this could have suspense, it doesn’t it just looks to go for the blood and gore kills we didn’t need to see for the idea in the movie.

SettingsWe are set in the middle of nowhere, this works for the horror and using the well-known Dutch windmills does help explain the main location.

Special EffectsThe effects for the kills do all look good, but it is the CGI effects which do look cheap through the film.

Final ThoughtsThis film had promise but does miss on the levels it could have reach and on the levels other films with similar ideas reach.

 

Overall: Solid Late Night Horror.

Rating

 

 

Mark Strong Weekend – Mindscape (2013)

mindscapeDirector: Jorge Dorado

Writer:  Guy Holmes (Screenplay) Guy Holmes, Martha Holmes (Story)

Starring: Mark Strong, Taissa Farmiga, Brian Cox, Indira Varma, Noah Taylor

 

Plot: A man with the ability to enter peoples’ memories takes on the case of a brilliant, troubled sixteen-year-old girl to determine whether she is a sociopath or a victim of trauma.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mind Bending Thriller

 

Story: Mindscape starts by taking us to a world of memory Detectives who work for Mindscape run by Sebastian (Cox). The best detective is John Washington (Strong) who suffered a stroke on his last mission and suffering from the loss of his wife he wants to get back on the horse John takes the case of a troubled teenager Anna Greene (Farmiga).

John has to use the technology to go into the memories of Anna to try and unlock what is causing the decision to stop eating and acting the way she is. John has to work his way through Anna’s memories trying to figure out if she is a sociopath or a victim herself making this easy job one of the hardest of his career.

Mindscape is a film that does something we all like to see in a film, make us think as we have to watch the story unfold. We are led down different paths which does keep us guessing to just what is real or not with a final outcome that will leave you surprised. This is really a thinking film fans film which is well worth watching but not as a casual viewing.

 

Actor Review

 

Mark Strong: John Washington is a memory detective who has been struggling to keep his work separate from his personal memories and tragedies. He takes what looks like an easy job where he discovers the truth about Anna a troubled teenager. Mark is good in this leading role playing the good guy against his normal villainous role.

Taissa Farmiga: Anna Greene is the troubled teenager that is filled with stories, John is assigned to treat her but we are left to wonder which of her stories are real or just placed there to make John support her. Taissa is good in this role where we get to see her in a much more serious role that normal.

Brian Cox: Sebastian is the head of Mindscape who gives John this job knowing it should be an easier one for him to deal with. He has worked with John before knowing he is the best in the business he has also treated Anna in the past. Brian is solid in this supporting role but only in a couple of scenes.

Richard Dillane: Robert is the step-father of Anna who she believes is trying to get to the family money by putting her in a home, he is suspicious throughout but we are left to wonder what his try motives are. Richard is a solid supporting performance in this role.

Support Cast: Mindscape has a supporting cast that mostly leave us wondering what is going on with us wondering who is involved in what and fully keeping us guessing to the truth.

Director Review: Jorge DoradoJorge gives us a real mind twisting film that truly keeps you guessing.

 

Mystery: Mindscape is a film that throws us into a mystery leaving us to try and put the pieces together to find the truth.

Thriller: Mindscape sends us down different roads as we look for the truth behind the stories.

Settings: Mindscape keeps the settings simple with most being from inside the memories and where they take our characters.
Special Effects
: Mindscape has good effects when needed but tries to make more of the story about what might be going in the heads of the characters.

Suggestion: Mindscape is one that I would suggest the fans of the mystery genre to rally give a go. (Mystery Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Final act.

Worst Part: It can come off slightly too twist filled.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline: Once you enter her mind, there’s no escape.

 

Overall: Twist filled thriller that just keeps you guessing.

Ratingcard

 

 

Predestination (2014)

logoDirector: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig

Writer: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig (Screenplay) Robert A Heinslein (Story)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor, Elise Jansen, Cate Wolfe, Freye Stafford, Alicia Pavlis, Christopher Kirby

 

Plot: The life of a time-traveling Temporal Agent. On his final assignment, he must pursue the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Circle of Life

 

Story: Predestination starts by introducing us to our protagonist (Hawke) who works as a form of time cop, while on his final case trying to stop a serial criminal known as the ‘Fizzle Bomber’ who keeps going back and changing the dates of his attacks. His latest meeting with the criminal leads him to get horribly burnt. One of his covers is as a bartender in 1970 where he tries to investigate the bomber, he meets a mysterious stranger (Snook) who is a writer for a magazine. One thing leads to another thing and the two end up placing a bet for a great story while discussing the Fizzle Bomber work.

We start by hearing the mysterious stranger’s Jane childhood how she knew she was different from a young age, stuck in an orphanage where she excelled in class and learned how to fight. Graduation gave her a chance to work with Mr Robertson (Taylor) on a space program. She excels through the training program scoring the highest possible scores, before getting kicked out of the program. Jane ends up pregnant before learning the truth that she has both male and female organs, this leads to her losing her female ones and having to become a man, to make matters worse her baby is taken from the hospital. After spending fifty minutes with this story we actually get to the point of bartender character who actually works with Robertson and offers to let Jane/John kill the man who put him in the position he is in now. All while our bartender figures out who the fizzle bomber is.

Predestination is one of those time travel films that really gets you thinking, even though it seems to give away the ending quite early on. It has plenty of twists and turns a few you don’t see coming and few that are clear. I know the bar story does go on too long but in the end it helps discover the points we have learnt from the conclusion. The thing that really confuses is that it is sold on the idea of hunting down a bomber and I know we learn the true identity by the end but we don’t get enough of the searching done early on. This will come off slow which is a big drawback but I think most of it gets wrapped up by the end. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Ethan Hawke: The Bartender the time traveller who helps Jane learn about what could be possible all while trying to locate his last opposition who keeps escaping him. Ethan does a solid job but doesn’t get enough time with his main side of the story. (6/10)

 bartender

Sarah Snook: The Unmarried Mother Jane who is an orphan girl before finding out the truth that she is capable of being either, she gets turned into a man and gets a chance to go back in time to change how she was mistreated by a man. Sarah does a good job here. (7/10)

 mother

Support Cast: Predestination really doesn’t have much of a supporting cast at, we have the lead two stars taking up all the screen time.

 

Director Review: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig – The pair do a good job creating a film that keeps you guessing but sometimes makes you think too much. (6/10)

 

Action: Predestination really doesn’t have much action in at all we have one scene replayed from different perspective but other than that it’s all talk. (4/10)

Sci-Fi: Predestination makes time travel interesting without throwing the science in our face, it just keeps things simple. (8/10)

Thriller: Predestination does keep you wanting to know what happens but doesn’t create any real edge of your seat moments. (5/10)

Settings: Predestination keeps its settings very average but keeps them authentic for the time periods. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Predestination has few special effects but the ones it does have work very well. (8/10)

Suggestion: Predestination is one to try it may come off very much complicated but ends up coming together nicely at the end. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Keeps you guessing.

Worst Part: The opening story is too long.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Triangle

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

Tagline: To save the future he must reshape the past.

 

Overall: What came first the Chicken or the Egg?

Rating 66