ABC Film Challenge – Crime – I – I Am Wrath (2016)

Director: Chuck Russell

Writer: Paul Sloan (Screenplay) Yvan Gauthier (Story)

Starring: John Travolta, Christopher Meloni, Amanda Schull, Sam Trammell, Patrick St. Esprit, Rebecca De Mornay

 

Plot: A man is out for justice after a group of corrupt police officers are unable to catch his wife’s killer.


Tagline – I lay my vengeance upon them.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Old Man Action 101

 

Story: I Am Wrath starts as we learn the war on crime was getting out of hand, but the Governor has started winning against the gangs. Stanley (Travolta) returns home after a business trip meeting his wife Vivian (De Mornay) where the two are attack with Vivian murdered.

With the police not getting the suspects, Stanley turns to a previous life working his former partner Dennis (Meloni) as a black-ops soldier that will stop at nothing to extract revenge on the people who murdered his wife.

 

Thoughts on I Am Wrath

 

Characters – Stanley is a mile-mannered businessman working in the car industry. When is wife is murdered in a senseless crime, he returns to a former life on a warpath with the gang involved as the cold-hearted killer. Dennis is the former partner of Stanley’s that still has the connections in the underworld, he helps Stanley in his revenge mission, he supplies the weapons and details of who were responsible. Abbie is the daughter of Stanley that tries to be there for her father while continue on her adult life. Detective Gibson is the lead on the case, he is forced to let the suspect go believing he will get himself killed soon enough.

PerformancesJohn Travolta is solid enough in this leading role, we do get to see a large number of 50+ year old actors going into this action films, he isn’t the best, but he isn’t the worst. Christopher Meloni plays the best character in the film and is easily the one you want to see more of in this film. Amanda Schull is fine in her role, we need a figure that isn’t involved in the action and she offers it. The rest of the cast bring us the targets for the most part and give us generic bad guy performances.

StoryThe story follows one man that goes to war on the gangs of his city to learn who killed his wife and get revenge. When it comes to the story this isn’t the most original, it is extremely watchable for a time killing hour and half, it doesn’t test the audience and doesn’t have any twists along the way. This is one of those stories that is mostly forgettable over bad and checks all the boxes needed to make the audience watch.

Action/CrimeThe action is filled with old man action style that Liam Neeson made famous, it works for the film with Meloni getting the best sequence. The crime throws us into the world where gangs are controlling the streets with drug sales going through the roof and one man doing anything to get revenge.

SettingsThe film takes us to a city overrun by crime and shows us how people can be forced into actions to get revenge for the lost loved one.


Scene of the Movie –
Dennis versus the thugs in the shop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We have seen this before.

Final ThoughtsThis is a basic action film that will keep you entertained through the whole film without being anything overly original.

 

Overall: Easy to watch action film.

Rating

 

 

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Kurt Russell Weekend – Backdraft (1991)

Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Gregory Widen (Screenplay)

Starring: Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Robert De Niro, Donald Sutherland, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Scott Glen, Rebecca De Mornay

 

Plot: Two Chicago firefighter brothers who don’t get along must work together while a dangerous arsonist is on the loose.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too Slow

 

Story: Backdraft starts when a young Brian McCaffrey witness his firefighter father killed putting out the fire. 20 years later Brian (Baldwin) is desperate to follow in his father’s footsteps much like his brother Stephen (Russell). Passing his tests Brian joins Stephen’s unit, the strictest in town.

As the number of fires increase, the number of firefighters are being cut and with each fire brings the investigator Donald Rimgale (De Niro) who uses slow methods but gets results. When Brian becomes worried about the safety of his brother’s actions he agrees to work with Donald to track down an arsonist operating within the city.

 

Thoughts on Backdraft

 

Characters/PerformanceStephen is the tough firefighter who enjoys the job knowing he and his team can save as many lives as possible. Brian is the brother of Stephen, son of a firefighter who became the photo of a generation after witnessing his father’s death at a young age. He wants to follow in his father’s footsteps but finds himself having to turn on his brother to investigate arson rather than fight the fires. Donald is a grizzled veteran who has seen the worst in fighting fire, he now leads the investigations into the fires, he works with Brian to locate the arsonist and reckless behaviour being portrayed by the firefighters. The rest of the characters fill the loyal unit, the ex-wife and potential lover without being a major part in the film.

Performance wise, Russell is solid but never reaches the levels we know he can. Baldwin just doesn’t capture the level of performance you would see from other members of the family while De Niro is good in the supporting role.

StoryThe story shows the life of firefighters struggling with the demands placed upon them by dwindling resources, the lives get put at risk. We get to see the investigation into an arsonist but sadly this isn’t the focus of the story. the focus is on the broken relationship between the two brothers who have gone in different paths when it comes to following in their father’s footsteps. The story is fine but too long in my opinion.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe firefighting scenes are brilliant action set pieces without a doubt but the crime side which should be a major side just doesn’t get the focus required. The mystery also suffers because of this too.

SettingsThe settings are used wonderfully to show the intensity of the fires for the firefighters while outside the fires it just feels like a normal city which could be any.

Special EffectsThe special effects are stunning for the creating of the fires, using mostly practical effects which still look amazing today.

Final ThoughtsThe special effects in this movie do save it from being awful but in the end the story is just too flat for my liking.

 

Overall: Flat story, too long but amazing effects.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Apartment 1303 (2012)

apartmentDirector: Michael Taverna

Writer: Michael Taverna (Screenplay) Kei Oishi (Original Story)

Starring: Mischa Barton, Rebecca De Mornay, Julianne Michelle, Corey Sevier, John Diehl, Kathleen Mackey, Jessica Harris

 

Plot: A modern ghost story which turns a love/hate relationship between mother and daughter into a tale of horror. Some rentals are too good to be true.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: My Eyes Hurt

 

Story: Apartment 1303 starts as Janet (Michelle) moves into her first apartment after a domestic dispute with her mother Maddie (De Mornay) and against her sister Lara’s (Barton) wishes. The apartment is of course 1303, the place is huge and the views are breath-taking.

One the first night in the apartment Janet starts getting scared by noises coming from around the apartment including flickering lights, o and the little girl next door says about the suicide in the apartment and a creepy maintenance man. When the vengeful spirit in the apartment kills Janet the apartment is left to Lara to figure out about the events as she believes it has something to do with her boyfriend Mark (Sevier).

Apartment 1303 is why horror films get slammed so easily, I just don’t get how you get such a very simple idea so horrendously wrong. I love the ghost haunting films so this appealed to me but in the end we get confused faces whenever they see a ghost and some ridiculous side story about a washed up popstar. Then the film just ended without any sort of conclusion. I could rant about this film longer than the actually film but no one wants to hear that, or do they?

 

Actor Review

 

Mischa Barton: Lara Slate is the sister of the Janet and is the more responsible of the two, she wants Janet to come home but dealing with their alcoholic mother. She has to investigate her sister’s death in the apartment and uncovers a terrifying truth. Mischa was once in the OC now she is doing this, what happened?

Rebecca De Mornay: Maddie Slate is the flash in the pan pop sensation that has been living off her one hit for her whole life, she is an alcoholic that has caused her child all sorts of pain through the years. She is the reason why Janet left and why Lara will put up with her. Rebecca is an actress that is capable of greatness but her pointless character and awful performance show how certain or actresses are pay check performers.

Julianne Michelle: Janet Slate has an argument with her mother, rents her first apartment, moves into aforementioned apartment, gets haunted, has sex gets killed that is the point in this character. Julianne is terrible in this from the first scene to her death scene.

Corey Sevier: Mark Taylor is the boyfriend of Janet’s who has a few secrets up his sleeve but is also one of the prime suspects in the case, he teams up with Lara to find out what happened in the apartment. Corey does ok I guess but never heard of this guy, most likely never will again.

Support Cast: Apartment 1303 has a creepy supporting cast that all have different reasons for being involved in the story.

Director Review: Michael TavernaMichael did such a bad job here I can’t believe it.

 

Horror: Apartment 1303 has no scares what so ever.

Settings: Apartment 1303 has one highlight, the idea all the hauntings takes place in one location.
Special Effects
: Apartment 1303 ha CGI BUBBLES for a bath scene come on.

Suggestion: Apartment 1303 is a film you shouldn’t even look on the back on the box to see what it is about, avoid avoid avoid. (AVOID)

 

Best Part: It is short.

Worst Part: That ending.

Oh My God Moment: CGI BUBBLES IN A BATH, REALLY?

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: I was in tears all the way through, this was painfully to watch

Chances of Sequel: I HOPE NOT

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

Overall: Just painful to watch and even write about

Ratingcard

Mother’s Day (2010)

logoDirector: Darren Lynn Bousman

Writer: Scott Milam (Screenplay) Charles Kaufman, Warren Leight (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Rebecca De Mornay, Jaime King, Patrick Flueger, Warren Kole, Deborah Ann Woll, Briana Evigan, Shawn Ashmore, Frank Grillo

 

Plot: When a family of criminals Ike (Flueger), Addley (Kole) Johnny (Matt O’Leary) of the run return home they find out it has new owners. They call the head of the family Mother (De Mornay) to help solve the problem. The new owners Beth Sohapi (King) & Daniel (Grillo) are hosting a party leading to the situation where the family has a group of hostage while they discover where the hidden money is. Beth has to help Ike get more money leaving the rest to battle to survive the ruthless family.

 

Verdict: A good modern horror remake, yes I did just say that

Story: Where do you start we have a great story here, we have the one on one hostage, group hostage and caring doctor trying to turn a miss guided person, all with the backdrop of an impending hurricane. The story work very well in the horror genre and builds great tension throughout with all the secrets coming out along the way. Add the good twist at the end you have a very underrated horror film here. (9/10)

 

Actor Review: Rebecca De Mornay – As the all demanding Mother who has taught the family all they have ever known but only her beliefs. Rebecca is brilliant in this role her character needs to be in control and through the whole film she is due to the dominating performance. Star Performance Award, Scene Stealer Award (9/10)

mother

Actor Review: Jaime King – Innocent wife who has to spend most of the film with crazed Ike collecting money from around town. Jaime does a good job here controlling the situation as best she can, puts up a good fight and creates a new victim role that could lead onto something bigger against the Mother. (8/10)

beth

Actor Review: Patrick Flueger – Ike has to stay calm to make sure he gets the money for the family but his rage boils over during different scenarios. Patrick creates a very good character the older wiser brother of the family who can control the other brothers. Good work in the supporting villain role. (8/10)

 ike

Actor Review: Shawn Ashmore – The calm doctor who helps the injured family member and tries to turn the younger sister by explaining how other things happen in life. An important character here because throughout the film we get teases that she might turn on the family. Good performance from Shawn here proving giving him a chance to do more than ice things is possible. (9/10)

 shawn

Director Review: Darren Lynn Bousman – From Saw 2, 3, 4 and Repo! The genetic Opera I knew this guy had a ability to tell a great story and this only tells this more creating so many different scenarios and bring them all to one conclusion done to perfect. (9/10)

 

Horror: Getting trapped and some very horrific scenes with most of the bloodiest scenes of camera just leaving the aftermath. (8/10)

Thriller: Builds up in nearly every scene which always delivers a twist or outcome. (9/10)

Special Effects: Some good make up effects after violent scene. (8/10)

Believability: The hostage situation has happened in the past and all the friends with dark secrets are real, the dominant mother as well a very real scenario created. (9/10)

Chances of Tears: None (0/10)

Settings: The setting is created with the trapped hostage situation adds to the suspense along with the idea they don’t know how things are going with Beth doing everything to help rescue them. (9/10)


Oscar Chances
: None

Chances of Sequel: It gets left open for a sequel, but failed to make any money for some reason. So looks unlikely.

Suggestion: A horror film that really seemed to go under the radar here. I have to suggest this to all the horror fans out there it really has a mix of everything you would want in a thrilling horror with plenty of human touches on human nature. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Twist ending makes it even better.

 

Overall: A brilliant horror film

 

Rating 90%

The Shining (1997) (Mini Series)

posterDirector: Mick Garris

Writer: Stephen King (Screenplay) Stephen King (Story)

Starring: Steven Weber, Rebecca de Mornay, Courtland Mead, Wil Horneff, Melvin Van Peebles, Pat Hingle, Elliott Gould

 

Story: Recovering alcoholic Jack Torrance (Weber) has hit rock bottom after losing his job and even striking his child Daniel (Mead). After a year off the wagon he gets a chance to become a caretaker for the winter at a The Overview Hotel. Jack takes his family with him using it as a chance to rebuild and start his novel. In the hand over at the hotel Daniel meets Richard Hallorann (Van Peebles) who helps Daniel work on his powers his Shining. Being left alone in the hotel strange things start to unfold and with this happening can Jack hold it together or will he slip off the wagon before the end of winter.

 

Verdict: After Stephen King wasn’t a fan of the film he decided to make sure he was going to be more involved in the next production his work, this shows in how much more character development is done on Jack and Daniel. The build-up is very suspenseful but it isn’t just about the scares it also adds some human aspects to the going on tackle trust between married couple and that some things are not always as simple as they seem.

 

Horror: A good horror level filled with jumps and scares (9/10)

Thriller: Very thrilling tale which will keep you at the edge of your seat right up to its conclusion (9/10)

Special Effects: sadly some of the CGI effects have dated but some of the makeup effects are still very good (7/10)

Music: Music adds tensions throughout the story (9/10)

Settings: isolation is always perfect for horror (10/10)

Suggestion: All horror fans should give this a go, if you have read the book you will appreciate the telling of the story more than the film did, if you are only a fan of the film you may not get the same level of enjoyment as the film is more scares all the way through and less about Jack’s battle with alcoholism. (9/10)

 

Star Performance:  Steven Weber – does a great job dealing with how his character deals with all the problems

Favourite Character: Richard – as he is the guide and shows great commitment to helping Daniel  

Best Part: Each pieces of build-up but the stand out one for me is with the animal bushes with the music comes off very good

Worst Part: I would say it is a bit long for a casual fan to really enjoy

 

Trivia: Frank Darabont and Sam Raimi have cameos in the show.

 

Overall: This is a top show that lives up to all the hype of thrills and chills along with human problems, it shows how good an author Stephen King is and how he can mix supernatural with human issues. Top stuff with King’s tv show director Garris who also did The Stand and later Bag of Bones, sometimes you just need a good team to get the best out of everyone.

Rating 92%