Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Evidence (2013)

Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi

Writer: John Swetnam (Screenplay)

Starring: Torrey DeVitto, Caitlin Stasey, Harry Lennix, Stephen Moyer Nolan Gerard Funk, Radha Mitchell

 

Plot: A detective hunts down a killer using video footage shot by the victims of a massacre at an abandoned gas station.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Shocking Murder Mystery

 

Story: Evidence starts as a massacre has happened at a gas station, detectives Reese (Moyer) and Burquez (Mitchell) must look through all potential video evidence to figure out what happened. We follow along with this investigation as we see the film about aspiring actress Leann (DeVitto) being made on a bus trip with friends and strangers along the way.

As the recordings continue to show events unfold we see how a killer started picking off the members of the bus tour as they hide out in an abandoned gas station and the team are having to watch the graphic murders.

 

Thoughts on Evidence

 

Characters – Detective Daniel Reese is the depressed cop that refused to take no as an answer while working on this case and now he must use his skills to prove he is capable to get the job done after his own personal heart ache. Detective Alex Burquez is leading the investigation knowing the pressure she is facing to get killer before the case can spiral out of control. Leann is the aspiring actress that is having her life film in case she can become a famous star. We also have the camerawoman for the most part of the film that of course lasts till near the end and the generic disposable characters.

PerformanceMoyer and Mitchell are the big names in this film which is also the draw but it is hard to say they were at their best as they are only part of the film that is watching the other part, they keep the straight faces well but otherwise don’t get a chance to shine. Torrey DeVitto as the main character from the victims is fine throughout but it is also hard to judge through a found footage film.

StoryThe story is split between the people who are getting picked off or already have if you like and the detectives trying to figure out just what has happened. Watching how the police would analyse the crime is an interesting switch to the story as we have seen the jumping around before and we have seen the story being told, but only using the video footage makes it all feel original. Saying that it does just bottle down to a murder mystery with a serial killer on the lose that needs to be captured but you do want to see who the killer is.

Crime/Mystery The crime side of story is shown in aftermath only first as we see what has happened we watch how it all went down through footage on phones and cameras. The mystery behind it all looks at who was behind it all which does keep us guessing through the film.

SettingsThe settings are split between two, the gas station where the crime takes place and the police station where the investigation is happening.

Special EffectsThe effects used for the kills are graphic as they come making everything come off shocking when you see it.

Scene of the Movie – Final reveal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We know it is designed to show little parts but it does get frustrating watching certain moments of shaky cam.

Final ThoughtsThis is a shocking film that is one that does get rewards if you watch it until the end.

 

Overall: Great ending.

Rating

 

 

 

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The Darkness (2016)

darknessDirector: Greg McLean

Writer: Greg McLean, Shayne Armstrong, Shane Krause (Screenplay)

Starring: Jennifer Morrison, Lucy Fry, Kevin Bason, Ming-Na Wen, Radha Mitchell, David Mazouz, Matt Walsh, Tara Lynne Barr

 

Plot: A family returns from a Grand Canyon vacation, haunted by an ancient supernatural entity they unknowingly awakened and engages them in a fight for their survival.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Horror

 

Story: The Darkness starts as we meet two families, the Taylor’s Peter (Bacon), Bronny (Mitchell), Michael (Mazouz) and Stephanie (Fry) as well as the Carter’s Joy (Morrison), Gary (Walsh) and Andrew (Mack) who are enjoying a barbeque in the desert by the Grand Canyon which has an ancient Native American city underneath.

Michael the youngster member of the family is different to most other children being autistic finds himself falling into the city but unaware to anybody else knowledge, when the Taylor family return home strange things start happening and Michael has a new imaginary friend Jennifer. Peter and Bronny have to figure out whether Michael is getting sicker and becoming dangerous or whether there is something outside their power going on within the house.

The Darkness is a horror movie that I can’t help but think feels like a re-immigration of Poltergeist mainly because it is about a house being haunted by Native American spirits which does include a portal. I do think this story does enough to make this stand out unique enough but sadly the part of the film that disappoints the most is that we do see a serious side of the story not tackled long enough. As for a horror story this is enjoyable enough for the horror fans and does try to escape the cliché moments we could have seen happen.

 

Actor Review

 

Kevin Bacon: Peter Taylor is a well-respected architect and loving father who is going through a few marriage issues even though he wants to work through them. When the family are find strange things happening around the house he wants a doctor but his wife wants a supernatural investigator leading to a clash between the two other what they want to believe. Peter is also being sent temptation from his boss to cheat on his wife which seems pointlessly added to the story we are watching unfold. Kevin does a good job but this could have been pulled off by anyone strong leading man.

Radha Mitchell: Bronny Taylor is the wife and mother of the family who has to stay at home to care for Michael while balancing her own job. She is an alcoholic but has been clean for years. She fills the studying what could be happening role needed in this film having to go through her fair share of hauntings. Radha is solid in this role but like Kevin we could have almost anyone in this role.

David Mazouz: Michael Taylor is the autistic son of the family who finds a strange collection of stones in an ancient Native American city. He starts communicating with these spirits becoming increasingly involved with the strange goes on inside the house. David is good for the young star of the film.

Lucy Fry: Stephanie Taylor is the daughter in the family, she comes off as your everyday high school student but we do see a darker side of her suffering from bulimia. She doesn’t get the attention that Michael does until this is discovered while be one of the more focal points of the attacks on the family. Lucy is good in this role where she is dealing with a serious condition.

Support Cast: The Darkness has a supporting cast you would expect to see in horror, we have the paranormal helpers, the friends and the previously dealt with the situation characters. They all do the job you expect from them without being too involved in the final outcome.

Director Review: Greg McLeanGreg brings us a ghost filled horror that all works very well to step away from horror clichés.

 

Horror: The Darkness has good horror elements happening throughout which mix up the suspense and up scares nicely.

Settings: The Darkness keeps nearly all of the films horror elements inside the house showing it is the house that is the cause to the problem.
Special Effects
: The Darkness uses the effects really well through to create the horror elements happening through the film.

Suggestion: The Darkness is one I do think all the horror fans will enjoy. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Hand Prints

Worst Part: Not tackling the serious side of the story away from the horror enough.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

Tagline: Evil comes home

 

Overall: Enjoyable horror that works for the genre.

Ratingcard

 

 

London Has Fallen (2016)

london has fallenDirector: Babak Najafi

Writer: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast, Chad St John (Screenplay) Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt (Story)

Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Radha Mitchell, Jackie Earle Haley, Melissa Leo, Morgan Freeman

 

Plot: In London for the Prime Minister’s funeral, Mike Banning discovers a plot to assassinate all the attending world leaders.

 

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: 24 The Movie

 

Story: London Has Fallen starts in Pakistan as we learn that the terrorist movement has grown and the terrorists are planning their next move before being taken out. Move back to meet President Asher (Eckhart) and his chief bodyguard Mike Banning (Butler) as best friends.

When the British Prime Minster dies of natural courses all of the world leaders are heading to London for the funeral including Asher, Mike has to work on the security detail for his best friend.

With the begins of the funeral starting to take place all the world’s leaders have been targeted by a group of terrorists leaving many of them dead. Aamir Barkawi (Aboutboul) is the man behind the attack and al he wants is the President leaving VP Trumbull (Freeman) running the cabinet while Mike has to keep the President alive.

London Has Fallen is a sequel that really has nothing to do with the original other than bring back the characters from the original. The only thing that seems familiar is that we have a foreign terrorist. While watching all I could feel was this is how a 24 movie would go with the one man that will do anything to save president doing that to save him. I do feel it is an easy watch for all the fans out there who want an action film. In the end this is pretty much a standard action film with nothing overly special going on.

 

Actor Review

 

Gerard Butler: Mike Banning is the most trust bodyguard and head of security for the President, he has to travel to London for a state funeral only to discover that he is going to have to race to save the president one more time. Gerard is solid as the action hero but isn’t as strong as he should be.mike

Aaron Eckhart: Benjamin Asher is the President of the United States of America he has to travel to England for the funeral of the Prime Minster which turns into a trap as he must follow Banning to safety against a man who wants him dead. Aaron is basic in this role which I would have liked to see a lot more from him instead of being the almost damsel in distress.president

Morgan Freeman: VP Trumbull is left back home in America and when the attack happens he must work with the rest of the office to make the difficult decisions, to help the President or save the people. Morgan is basic supporting performance without doing too much.

Alon Aboutboul: Aamir Barkawi is the man behind the attacks, he has faked his death and now he uses this as his chance to get revenge on the Western world. Alon is a very generic villain without having to get his hands physical dirty.

Support Cast: London Has Fallen has a big supporting with big names doing very little.

Director Review: Babak NajafiBabak gives us certain great shots but also ends up giving us a very plain story throughout.

 

Action: London Has Fallen has plenty of mindless action sequences without being too much memorable.

Crime: London Has Fallen puts us into a terrorist world where the criminals are trying to take out the world leaders.

Thriller: London Has Fallen doesn’t really put you on edge because we know the two leads will not suffer any peril.

Settings: London Has Fallen is set in London but after the first attack nothing is truly memorable location in town.
Special Effects
: London Has Fallen has poor effects that you can see that CGI is on screen throughout.

Suggestion: London Has Fallen is one for you to switch off your brain and enjoy. (Brain Off Watching)

 

Best Part: Single take down the street.

Worst Part: CGI

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Hopefully not.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $60 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline: Prepare for bloody hell.

 

Overall: Sequel that loses the X-factor but is a simple action movie.

Ratingcard

 

Rogue (2007)

rogueDirector: Greg McLean

Writer: Greg McLean (Screenplay)

Starring: Radha Mitchell, Michael Vartan, Sam Worthington, Caroline Brazier, Stephen Curry, Celia Ireland, John Jarratt, Mia Wasikowska

 

Plot: An American journalist on assignment in the Australian outback encounters a man-eating crocodile while trapped on a rapidly flooding mud island.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Crocodile Creature Feature

 

Story: Rogue starts when Kate Ryan (Mitchell) a tour guide in the Australian outback is take her tour along the river searching for crocodiles. Her tour group includes travel writer Pete McKell (Vartan), a British family, a widower, photographer, a honeymooning couple and a couple of other travellers. Along the way they meet local Neil (Worthington) who has a dislike to tourist.

When the trip is going smoothly and just about to conclude the group see a flare in the distance leading Kate having to make the decision to investigate what it could be. When the boat gets attacked by a crocodile the tourists find themselves trapped on a small island being hunted by one of the biggest crocodiles any of them have every seen. Kate and Neil being the only experts of the outback have to bring the tourists together to keep them calm while they have to survive.

Rogue is what you want to see in the creature feature style of thriller, the big plus is that the crocodile could easily be real because it is only a larger than normal size crocodile but within reason. We do get the generic supporting cast which includes everyone involved have a backstory that seems overly used for the idea of not wanting to see them get killed. This really is a simple watch that does keep you right on the edge of your seat throughout.

 

Actor Review

 

Radha Mitchell: Kate Ryan is the tour guide who responds to a flare with her tour group, she ends up having her boat attack and having to work with local to save the tourists from crocodile that is extra hungry. Radha does a good job in this leading role looking natural as the guide while staying strong on front of her tourists.kate

Michael Vartan: Pete McKell is the travel writer who is reluctantly on the trip, he ends up on the boat trip and has to be the one Kate turns to during the battle to survive using all his years of experience in stress situations. Michael does a solid job but never really steps up enough till the final act of the film.

Sam Worthington: Neil Kelly is the local who doesn’t like the tourist and spends most of his time invading their tours, but when he finds Kate stranded he helps the tourists deal with the crocodile that has already taken one of his friends. Sam is good in one of his early roles in this supporting role playing the general bad ass helper.

Support Cast: Rogue has a generic supporting cast that all do well with what the characters end up doing.

Director Review: Greg McLeanGreg gives us a good action horror dealing with the killer crocodile.

 

Action: Rogue is mostly filled with action survival during the escape from the crocodile.

Horror: Rogue turns the crocodile into the creature feature feel to the enemy which works to add horror to the situation of being trapped.

Thriller: Rogue keeps us on the edge of our seats from the first crocodile attack.

Settings: Rogue puts our characters trapped with nowhere to run against the enemy who wants to kill them.
Special Effects
: Rogue has a few questionable effects when it comes to the crocodile in the final act.

Suggestion: Rogue is one film that I think people can enjoy but I would understand people finding it slightly generic. (Try It)

 

Best Part:  Edge your seat once the crocodile attacks.

Worst Part: Dog.

Favourite Quote: Kate ‘So what did you think of the tour?’

 

Believability: The idea of a crocodile that big is possible but what happens not so much.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline: How Fast Can You Swim?

 

Overall: Good creature feature feeling film from start to finish

Ratingcard

Finding Neverland (2004)

logoDirector: Marc Forster

Writer: David Magee (Screenplay) Allan Knee (Play)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie, Radha Mitchell, Dustin Hoffman, Freddie Highmore, Joe Prospero, Ian Hart, Kelly Macdonald, Mackenzie Crook

 

Plot: The story of J.M. Barrie’s friendship with a family who inspired him to create Peter Pan.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Welcome to Neverland

 

Story: Finding Neverland starts by introducing us to J.M. Barrie’s (Depp) newest play which is met by a chorus of displeasure by the audience. Looking for new inspiration he wonders around the park where he stumbles upon Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Winslet) and her four boys Peter (Highmore), Jack, George and Michael. Barrie entertains them in the park along with his dog who he pushes them to challenge their imaginations.

Barrie continues to become friends with the Davies family and amuses the children with his wild tales, while trying to help Peter come out of his shell after his father’s death. As the story continues Barrie pushes Peter to embrace his imagination and along the way finds the perfect idea for his next play. Barrie does have the next idea planned but talking his producer Charles (Hoffman) into giving him another show along with the social question marks about his relationship with the family being questioned is just the start of the problems he must overcome to make one of the greatest stories every told.

Finding Neverland shows us how important imagination is and however bleak a situation is if we open our eyes we might be able to get through it. It is brilliantly told on how something as simple a human kindness can help people suffering with grief in a very personal way can open up to try and get through it. I may not know much about plays of the time period but this idea that Mr Barrie came up with looked like it redefined how people took the theatre experience and that is good to see. In the end this becomes ones of the most touching and easy to watch stories you will see. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Johnny Depp: Sir James Matthew Barrie the play writer who befriends a widow and her four boys, where he gains inspiration for his greatest work. He tries to help the lives of the family while dealing with social awkwardness for the time period. Johnny got one of his Oscar nominations for this role and does a great job as the play write. (10/10)

 johnn and peter

Kate Winslet: Sylvia Llewelyn Davies the widow who along with her children befriends Mr Barrie all while she keeps her mysterious illness secret from her children. Kate does a great job as the struggling widow who knows that her time is short and tries to keep her children happy. (9/10)

 

Julie Christie: Mrs. Emma du Maurier the over baring mother of Sylvia who wants to help her find a new husband to help look at the boys but comes off controlling trying to push Mr Barrie away. Julie does a good job. (8/10)

 

Freddie Highmore: Peter Llewelyn Davies one of the children and the one that is struggling most with the loss of his father, closing himself off from the world and not letting him imagination through. Freddie does a great job in an early role for the rising star. (9/10)

 

Support Cast: Finding Neverland has a cast that revolves around J.M Barrie, be it his wife who feels neglected by him, the other children in the family or the people involved with the theatre work. Each member of the cast helps with the story and does a great job doing so.

 

Director Review: Marc Forster – Marc does a great job directing this film showing how the imagination should work and keeping everything realistic to the time period. (9/10)

 

Biographical: Finding Neverland is a great look at how one of the most iconic plays got written and the man behind it. (9/10)

Drama: Finding Neverland is a perfectly placed drama how the interaction between people can change lives. (9/10)

Settings: Finding Neverland has authentic looking settings throughout, that help bring us into the position the characters are in. (9/10)

Suggestion: Finding Neverland is one to watch, it really is a very special film that shows how simple making movies really are. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Neverland

Worst Part: I always struggle to find a bad thing to say about this film.

Funniest Scene: Dog dance.

Favourite Quote: J.M. Barrie ‘Young boys should never be sent to bed… they always wake up a day older.’

 

Believability: It is inspired by true events. (9/10)

Chances of Tears: You could have some by the end of the film. (5/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Won an Oscar for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Picture. It was also nominated for 6 more Oscar including best Actor for Johnny Depp.

Box Office: $117 Million

Budget: $25 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: How far can your imagination take you.

 

Overall: Beautiful Drama From Reality to Neverland

Rating 90