The Commuter (2018)

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: Byron Willinger, Philip de Blasi, Ryan Engle (Screenplay) Byron Willinger, Philip de Blasi (Story)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, Sam Neill, Elizabeth McGovern, Killian Scott


Plot: A businessman is caught up in a criminal conspiracy during his daily commute home.

Tagline – Lives Are On The Line

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Nicely Done Action


Story: The Commuter starts as hard working father and husband Michael MacCauley (Neeson) who commutes to and from New York city everyday for his job, only to get laid off five years from retirement. He was once a police office staying in contact with his former partner Alex Murphy (Wilson) who both don’t get on with the new Captain Hawthorne (Neill).

One his commute home, Michael is approached by Joanna (Farmiga) who makes him an offer to figure out who on the train doesn’t belong. Michael must race against time to solve the riddle with his child and wife in danger.


Thoughts on The Commuter


Characters – Michael MacCauley has commuted to work for years in New York City, close to retirement with his son about to go to college. His day isn’t going to go well, after getting fired, he is forced into figure out who a witness for a crime is on the train home, a train full of commuters. Michael is resourceful when it comes to getting the answers he needs and can handle himself in a fight. Joanna is the lady pulling the strings forcing Michael into completely the task, mostly used on the phone warning Michael about the rules. Murphy is the old partner of Michael, his connection in the force when he is trying to get help.

PerformancesWhen we go into the performances, this movie revolves around Neeson’s performance and he is great throughout the film do his older man action style we like to see. We do have a big name supporting cast that all do their job well through the film.

StoryThe story follows an everyday commuter that is left with using his knowledge of the same passengers to figure out just who is the stranger on the train, a witness for a big case. The idea of the stranger needing to figure out who is out of place on a train is a normal thing but having the regular commuter does make us more interesting because we don’t need to go through the whole interview every person idea. The bigger issues are good because we know as much as Michael and learn when it unfolds. The story is easy to follow and will be going to play along with as you are guessing along with Michael.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of this movie adds to the mystery because Michael is forced to help cover up a crime, while needing to figure out who is behind it.

SettingsThe film takes place on the train, this keeps the story contained through the whole film which is helping us know as much as Michael.

Special EffectsThe effects are saved for one full sequences which looks good when needed.

Scene of the Movie –
Crash sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The idea the we don’t learn enough about Michael’s past.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertaining action film that checks the boxes for the fans f the genre with ease.


Overall: Enjoyable action crime thriller.





A Long Way Down (2014)

Director: Pascal Chaumeil

Writer: Jack Thorne (Screenplay) Nick Hornby (Novel)

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul, Zara White, Joe Cole, Sam Neill


Plot: Four people meet on New Year’s Eve and form a surrogate family to help one another with the difficulties of their lives.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Underrated Gem


Story: A Long Way Down starts on New Year’s Eve as disgraced TV celebrity Martin (Brosnan) is planning to kill himself only to get interrupted by the lonely Maureen (Collette), heartbroken Jess (Poots) and cancer stricken JJ (Paul) who are also using the same rooftop to plan their suicide.

All going against the suicide the four make a pact to not kill themselves until at least Valentine’s day and support each other through the six weeks once the tabloids want to make a story of why they were together. The four become good friends exposing their own secrets to why they want to escape their lives.


Thoughts on A Long Way Down


Characters/PerformanceMartin is the disgraced TV talk show host, his small mistake has ruined his career, his family and even finding himself in jail. Now out of jail he wants to kill himself to get away from the headlines. Maureen is a single mother spending everyday looking after her disabled son, not getting any real free time. Jess is the daughter of politician whose sister vanished a few years before, she is a lost soul in the world turning to the drinks and drugs. JJ is an American musician who can’t find his place in the world.

Performance wise, I feel all four of the main actors give brilliant performances, Paul and Poots both show that this could be one of their best of their careers in film, while Brosnan and Collette must have theirs put on their underrated performances of their careers.

StoryThe story shows the struggles everyday people can have with depression, it shows that you can get support from people you didn’t even know. I think this film tackles the issues of depression on a brilliant level, and shows just how you can find light in the strangest places.

SettingsThe settings are used to show just how different the location these four have come from, it shows just how important finding help outside your comfort zone can be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film I didn’t expect too much from and I can say I truly enjoyed the film, the characters all feel real, their problems feel real and most importantly the answers to the problems didn’t cure everything they helped them realizes how important they are.


Overall: This is a very underrated film I feel people should be seeing.




Under the Mountain (2009)

undrDirector: Jonathan King

Writer: Jonathan King, Matthew Grainger (Screenplay) Maurice Gee (Novel)

Starring: Sam Neill, Tom Cameron, Sophie McBride, Oliver Driver, Leon Wadham, Chelsea McEwan Millar, Nathaniel Lees, Matthew Sunderland


Plot: Teenage twins battle dark forces hidden beneath Auckland’s volcanoes.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Simple Fantast Film


Story: Under the Mountain starts as we see Mr Jones (Neill) leading an expedition on a remote island where his team come under attack. Move forward a few years (I think) and we meet Theo (Cameron) and Rachel (McBride) twins who lose their mother in a terrible accident, the two have telepathic connection which leads the two to spend some time away with other family in Auckland.

Located in the middle of a valley of volcanos the twins find themselves attracting the attention on the neighbours Mr Wilberforce (Driver) and Mr Jones. The twins decide to investigate the neighbours only to find themselves being needed to fight what lives under the volcanos.

Under the Mountain comes off like a fantasy story we have seen before and with the potential of more stories I do think this could work. The problem with the film is that it tries to create brand new mythology which isn’t easy and where other films gain the reputation because people want to see. This is an easy to watch film but really isn’t going to change anything in the genre.


Actor Review


Tom Cameron: Theo is one of the twins who has lost his faith his twinning ability after their mother’s death but he has to come to turns with his abilities when the two go into battle. Tom is solid in this role but never as convincing as others from the same genre.

Sophie McBride: Rachel is the other twin who is the first to find out what happened to their mother, she is the one of the two who does believe in their ability which drives the force of Theo. Sophie does a solid job where she doesn’t reach the potential of stars in other roles within the genre.

Sam Neill: Mr Jones is the firekeeper who protects the world from the creatures escaping, he seems to have eternal life where he has to search for twins to take over the guardianship and defeat the Wilberforce. Sam is solid in this role as the one protector and information character.

Oliver Driver: Mr Wilberforce is the evil trying to escape from beneath volcano they are deadly and have the ability to transform into scaly creatures. Oliver is solid as this disfigured villain.

Support Cast: Under the Mountain has a standard supporting cast where get to see a good comic relief character but nothing else.

Director Review: Jonathan KingJonathan gives us a solid fantasy film that does all you need it to do for the genre without being unique in any way.


Adventure: Under the Mountain does throw our character into this adventure which al works nicely but I do feel that we needed to see more of the adventure involved.

Fantasy: Under the Mountain does create a fantasy world which could create sequel potential with many more stories being able to come from this idea.

Settings: Under the Mountain keeps most of the settings inside a bay in Auckland which does work as we learn that the creature is below the surface waiting to be freed through the volcanos.
Special Effects
: Under the Mountain doesn’t have very good effects going on through this one which is disappointing really.

Suggestion: Under the Mountain is one that you could watch late night on TV but otherwise you should really go out of your way for it. (Try It)


Best Part: The idea is interesting.

Worst Part: Feels very clichéd.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Could have one.

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes


Overall: Interesting idea that has a lot of potential within the story.





Dead Calm (1989)

deadDirector: Phillip Noyce

Writer: Terry Hayes (Screenplay) Charles Williams (Novel)

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill, Billy Zane, Rod Mullinar, Joshua Tilden


Plot: After a tragedy, John Ingram and his wife Rae spend some time isolated at sea when they come along a stranger who has abandoned a sinking ship.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Suspenseful


Story: Dead Calm starts when married couple Rae (Kidman) and John (Neill) suffer the personal tragedy when their son is killed in a car accident. To cope with the loss, the two head out to sea to get away from the world and grieve in their own way.

The couple’s peace is broken when lone survivor Hughie Warriner (Zane) whose crew have all died as the couple agree to help the stranded sailor. Whilst investigating Hughie’s boat John learns the truth about this man whose sinister side takes over as he takes control of their ship kidnapping Rae along the way. The film becomes a battle for survival from Rae point of view and John must repair the damaged boat to have any chance of saving the day.

Dead Calm keeps the story short and sweet never trying to be anything more than it needs to. We never find anything getting confusing with the most part just being a fight for survival be it on a damaged boat or stay one step ahead of a mad man. This really does make this easy to follow.


Actor Review


Nicole Kidman: Rae is dealing with the loss of her son in a car accident where she was also badly injured in. she joins her husband on their yacht sailing around the Pacific but her time of grieving is interrupted when she finds herself being held captive by Hughie. Nicole is great in this role showing a strong female character through the ordeal she finds herself in.

Sam Neill: John is the husband of Rae who just so happens to be a sailor, he takes her away to grieve the loss of their son only to find himself in a race against time using all of his skills to save from the hands of a mad man. Sam is good considering he has to spend most of the film alone.

Billy Zane: Hughie is the lone survivor from another yacht claiming his crew all died but soon we learn about his dark side as he has always been planning to hijack the next boat he came across with Rae as his prisoner. I do feel this character could have been even darker than what we got. Billy is good in this role but I feel we did need to see slightly more twisted in his character.

Support Cast: Dead Calm really doesn’t have anyone else truly involved with most extra characters only appearing in an odd scene.

Director Review: Phillip NoycePhillip gives us a tense thriller that keeps us on edge throughout.


Thriller: Dead Calm does keep us on edge throughout because we know just how stranded the characters are through the situation.

Settings: Dead Calm puts our characters in the middle of the ocean which shows us there is nowhere they can go to escape what is happening, perfect us of setting.
Special Effects
: Dead Calm has good effects when needed with most just really being used sparingly.

Suggestion: Dead Calm is one I would recommend seeing as it does everything you need it to do as a thriller. (Watch)


Best Part: Tension building.

Worst Part: A certain death.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

Tagline: High Seas. Deep Terror.


Overall: Suspense filled thriller.




Willem Dafoe Weekend – Daybreakers (2009)

daybreakersDirector: The Spierig Brothers

Writer: The Spierig Brothers (Screenplay)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill, Isabel Lucas, Audrey Bennett


Plot: In the year 2019, a plague has transformed almost every human into vampires. Faced with a dwindling blood supply, the fractured dominant race plots their survival; meanwhile, a researcher works with a covert band of vamps on a way to save humankind.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Slick Vampire Thriller


Story: Daybreakers starts by taking us to a world where vampires outnumber the humans, but the blood is running out as most humans have been turned into a farming creature. The vampires know their time is running out because they can’t carry on surviving with the source figures they have, which brings in Edward Dalton (Hawke) working on a way to create a fake blood. Charles Bromley (Neill) is desperate to find this happen because he has been working on the tests but has his own agenda to the problem.

We know there is a side effect that the vampires become dangerous if they don’t get the blood making this a difficult situation for everyone involved. When Dalton meets a resistance of humans led by Elvis (Dafoe) they have to work together to get a future for both species as he has been cured of his vampire virus.

Daybreakers is a vampire action horror that does hold back the horror in their own way to create a scientific side of the story. We get to find a that it is the vampires ruling the world which works really well because it reflects the idea that the humans are facing a similar problem in the future. When it comes to the vampire side of the story it isn’t too much different but a slightly different look to them. The action is good throughout and for what the film is comes off very easy to watch.


Actor Review


Ethan Hawke: Edward Dalton is a scientist vampire working on a replacement for human blood that could make the vampires live on before turning into the feral creatures. When he works with the resistance of humans to find a cure that could finally bring peace between the two species. Ethan keeps his calming side through the film in the leading role.

Willem Dafoe: Lionel ‘Elvis’ Cormac is a former vampire that brings Dalton in on the resistance side believing he has the cure they have been searching for. He loves his cars and that has caused him to find his cure. Willem gets to be the badass character in this film giving us a good performance.

Claudia Karvan: Audrey Bennett is one of the first humans that Dalton runs into, she sees the good in him making him consider the idea of helping the humans. Claudia is good in this lead female role.

Sam Neill: Charles Bromley runs the business that produces the blood for the citizens of the city, he knows the situation and wants to find a way to keep the business up rather than find a cure. Sam will always make a great villain and this is no different.

Support Cast: Daybreakers has what would be considered a small supporting cast with Isabel Lucas playing the daughter of Charles Bromley but the rest almost just fade into the background.

Director Review: The Spierig BrothersThe directors give us an easy to watch action horror that is slight more action than horror.


Action: Daybreakers has a solid car chase and multiple shootouts through the film which are all enjoyable to watch.

Horror: Daybreakers holds most of the horror off with most being CGI heavy when it comes to the end of the vampires in daylight.

Sci-Fi: Daybreakers shows a future we could face with the vampire twist.

Settings: Daybreakers creates a setting which shows the futuristic world that also shows the outside the city remains like living areas. These both work to show the two sides of the battle.
Special Effects
: Daybreakers ha very heavy CGI effects which you can see which does take away parts from the story.

Suggestion: Daybreakers is one that I think you could try, an easy watch maybe a late night television viewing. (Late Night TV)


Best Part: Bloodbath finish.

Worst Part: Not scary.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $20 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

Tagline: In 2019, the most precious natural resource… is us.

Trivia: This film is considered an “Ozploitation” (Australian exploitation) picture.


Overall: Easy to watch action horror