Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Joker (2014)

Director: Greg Francis

Writer: Doug Buchanan, Greg Francis (Screenplay)

Starring: Beau Mirchoff, Ron Perlman, Giancarlo Esposito, Titus Welliver, Michael Eklund, Ron Eldard, Halston Sage

 

Plot: When you become a detective in Warsaw Indiana – you go to Poker Night, where you play against some of the best cops in the business. They tell you stories about their time on the job – their successes and failures. When new Detective Stan Jeter leaves the game, he is caught by a vicious psychopath and locked in a basement. Using the stories he heard at Poker Night, he must match wits against his captor – and save not only himself, but the young girl trapped in the basement with him. Like Seven and Usual Suspect, Poker Night combines thrills and twists and turns that will leave you guessing till the very end.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Complicated Crime Horror

 

Story: The Joker starts as Stan Jeter (Mirchoff) recounts what has happened after a poker night, where the shit hit the fan. The poker game is played between the biggest cops in town, Calabrese (Perlman), Bernard (Esposito), Maxwell (Welliver), Cunningham (Eldard) and Davis (Large). These cops trade stories about their biggest busts as Stan the rookie gets to learn lessons from the other cops.

Stan finds himself being abducted by a masked killer that has two rules, have sex with little girls and kill anyone who gets in the way. As Stan looks to survive his situation he always remembers the stories told by the rest of the cops.

 

Thoughts on The Joker

 

Characters/PerformanceStan Jeter is the rookie cop recently becoming a hero cop, which has gotten him to the high ranking cops poker night to learn their stories. He also must look for his own safety as he finds himself one of the latest victims of a serial killer. Calabrese, Bernard, Maxwell, Cunningham and Davis are the cops telling the stories and are all good characters.

Performance wise, Beau Mirchoff does struggle in this leading role against the bigger named supporting cast but mostly just because his character is stuck in three different stories and times. The rest of the cast does what they need to without being anything special.

StoryThe story here finds us going through plenty of stories as the rookie hears all about veteran cops best stories while needing to fight a serial killer. The problem here is we have too many stories going on as we hope they do all connect by the final act, the way this is told is mostly a mess though.

Action/Crime/HorrorWe have moments of action with the weak fight sequences or chases, this does help with the crime side of the story too and if we had focuses on just one part of it all we could have been sucked in, the horror is mostly about a serial killer do what he wants.

SettingsThe settings are not anything special with random basement or poker game.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well when needed but we don’t end up having too much going on with them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a messy film that just spends too much time trying to get to the interesting part of the story.

 

Overall: Plain crime horror movie.

Rating

 

 

Already Dead (2007)

alreadyDirector: Joe Otting

Writer: Joe Chappelle (Screenplay) Robert Archer Lynn, David Alford (Story)

Starring: Ron Eldard, Til Schweiger, Patrick Kilpatrick, Geoff Pierson, Marisa Coughlan, Christopher Plummer

 

Plot: When Thomas Archer’s happy & successful life is all but ruined following a horrific attack he is presented with a perfect opportunity to exact physical revenge upon the man who caused all his grief. However the immediate consequences of his actions and inactions are much more complicated than he imagined. Who will survive ?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull Thriller

 

Story: Already Dead starts as we see Thomas Archer (Eldard) having to follow instructions by mobile as he is looking to get his son back from a kidnapper. We continue to watch Thomas take instructions as he runs the events of the night when his son was taken through his mind.

As the night continues he gets put through tests by the man on the phone including being able to get revenge on the man that killed his son, but are these just tests where they criminal is getting this man to do his dirty work. We watch how the twists are laid into plan for this film as they come thick and fast.

Already Dead gives us a story which asks you the question just how far would you go to get revenge on the person who took and killed your son, but it also throws a twist in their where we have to deal with the idea the cops have created a game to rid the streets of criminals of people they don’t want or can’t deal with through legal reasons. I would question certain character decisions because after what happens would these two men be friends, I think not.

Onto the acting and what can I say, this doesn’t have the best acting from any of the people involved with the lead struggling to make any sort of impact in the screen and most of the supporting cast barely doing anything of merit.

 

Overall: Thriller that lacks all the punches it needs to truly stand out.

Ratingcard

 

 

Julianne Moore Weekend – Freedomland (2006)

freeDirector: Joe Roth

Writer: Richard Price (Screenplay) Richard Price (Novel)

Starring: Samuel L Jackson, Julianne Moore, Edie Falco, Ron Eldard, William Forsythe, Aunjanue Ellis, Anthony Mackie

 

Plot: A black police detective must solve a strange case of a kidnapped boy and deal with a big racial protest.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Crime Thriller

 

Story: Freedomland starts when a bloodied woman Brenda Martin (Moore) stumbles into an emergency room claim she was car jacked with her son still inside the car. Local cop Lorenzo Council (Jackson) who knows everyone in the troubled area takes the lead trying to find the car-jacker. With racial tension building within the neighbourhood and the fellow cop Danny Martin (Eldard) wanting to find his nephew we have to wait to see where Brenda’s story is really going.

When we learn Brenda is respected with in the neighbourhood containing all black members we see how Lorenzo starts questioning whether someone in the neighbourhood could actually be involved in the carjacking. We are left to see where the twists will be going in this story.

Freedomland is a crime thriller that has plenty of twists along the way with the background racial tension as the wrong person can get accused. We get to see the trauma of losing a child through the character of Brenda as well as having the lead detective having to stay neutral through the case which is filled with one too many questions for his own likely. This does have good elements for any crime thriller and does keep you guessing to where the story will be going next. We do get good performance from both Jackson and Moore in the leading roles as we see how they both deal with the characters they are playing.

 

Overall: Great crime thriller that shows consequences with one story.

Rating70

 

 

 

Ghost Ship (2002)

Director: Steve Beck

Writer: Mark Hanlon

Starring: Julianna Margulies, Gabriel Byrne, Ron Eldard, Desmond Harrington, Isaiah Washington, Alex Dimitriades, Karl Urban, Emily Browning.

 

Story When a team of salvagers lead by Captain Sean Murphy (Byrne) also having Epps (Margulies), Dodge (Eldard), Greer (Washington), Santos (Dimitriades) and Munder (Urban). After completing a difficult job they look to head their separate ways until the next jobs comes up. Before they go Jack Ferriman (Harrington) approaches the team with a job for a cruise liner drifting in Open Ocean.

 

The team take the job and head out to locate the cruise liner. As they arrive at the cruise liner they discover it is a ship that disappeared forty years ago. Upon boarding the ship strange things start happening starting with Epps seeing a little girl (Browning) in the middle of the main floor.

 

With the strange goings on will the crew be able to salvage the ship before its too late or will the events on the ship take there toll on the crew?

 

Verdict This horror thriller poses a lot of similarities with such films as Event Horizon and Lost Voyage. Having lots of attempts at jumps that don’t really surprise it’s the story that really keeps you guessing. Having twists right up to the end, which is the best thing about the whole movie. Most performance are pretty routine with nobody really standing out but saying that most of them have gone onto bigger and better things.

 

Some of the special effects are pretty average with the exception of the open sequences on the dance floor won’t put in what happened in case it ruins the surprise. Overall if you like a horror film that gives you twists through out this one is well worth a watch.

 

Story Mark 8/10 The twists save what is a pretty routine story.

 

Action Mark 7/10 Good sequences but nothing that really shines out as proper action.

 

Horror Mark 8/10 Good horror levels nothing that should scare too much but could get a few shocks.

 

Character Development Mark 6/10 The characters in the crew are hard to develop, as they don’t need to tell back-story to each other. The ghosts have the best back-story on what happened on the ship.

 

Friendship Chemistry Mark 9/10 The crew are very tight knit and it shows.

 

Special Effects Mark 8/10 Simple stuff after opening sequences.

 

Star Performances Guess you could say everyone no one really stands out.

 

Favourite Character Jack only character that has some mystery about himself.

 

Poor Performance Gabriel Byrne really shouldn’t be making these average horros with his past in great films like Usual Suspects.

 

Least Favourite Character Greer whiny character annoying through out.

 

Best Part open sequences and twist at the very end.

 

Worst Part  Lack of real scares.

 

Best Quote Epps (after Jack says he found a ship while flying over ocean) ‘Congratulations. You found a boat in the middle of the ocean of all places.’

 

Similar Too – Event Horizon, Lost Voyage.

 

My Rating 76%