Bird Box (2018)

Director: Susanne Bier

Writer: Eric Heisserer (Screenplay) Josh Malerman (Novel)

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, Jacki Weaver, Rose Salazar

 

Plot: A woman and a pair of children are blindfolded and make their way through a dystopian setting.


Tagline – Never Lose Sight of Survival

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Generic Survival Movie

 

Story: Bird Box starts with Malorie (Bullock) needing to make a difficult journey with two children, needing to remain blindfolded from whatever is in the air outside, the journey should offer them safety. Flashback five years to when an unknown even happens while Malorie is pregnant where people start acting psychotic and suicidal in their behaviour.

Malorie joins fellow survivors Tom (Rhodes), Douglas (Malkovich), Cheryl (Weaver) and Lucy (Salazar) to mention a few, where people need to remain inside or they will become infected. We go through the survival process as go through the essentials about needing food and supplies, let alone whether they can stand being around each other.

 

Thoughts on Bird Box

 

Characters – Malorie is the woman trying to get two children to safety, she is the mother of one of them as we see from her from the events where the disaster first breaks out, where she is dealing with the reality she might be raising her child alone or even giving it up, she loses a sister in the opening attack and is sudden the one voice of reason when it comes to the group of survivors. She doesn’t want to leave anyone behind which sees her clash with Douglas a lot. Tom is one of the fellow survivors, he does seem to be the most level headed of the group, he uses his military training to help prepare for the next stage of the survival. Douglas is the home owner that doesn’t want to help the survivors, he sees his wife die trying to help Malorie which sees him clash with her, he is the typical asshole needed for this type of movie. Jessica is the sister of Malorie who is preparing her for motherhood.

PerformancesSandra Bullock in the leading role is the highlight of the film, she easily the best performer in the film even if her character seems overly random. Trevante Rhodes does a solid enough job in the supporting role being the soldier figure, that doesn’t need to be over the top, while John Malkovich overacts his arse off chewing the scenery like only he could. Most of the rest of the performances are average at best mostly because we don’t get enough time to invest in the rest of the characters.

StoryThe story here follows a group of survivors mostly a woman and two children in a world where people can’t see because something will infect them if they see it in the open, what they will see anything they will become crazed and suicidal. Now this story should be interesting and for the way this is told it drags along, we follow the events in the house which just gives us a group of people that are going to be picked off at some point because we learn early on from the open sequence it is just Malorie and the children, this is the good part of the story, watching the journey down the river in an attempt to survive. The survival side of the story is easily the most engaging only it ends up losing all the tension because of the dragging scenes through the home. The random jumps between the time just seems random and makes no sense which doesn’t help the flow to the movie.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror side of the film comes from the unknown as the ‘creatures’ are trying to infect the people, sadly we never see them which feels like something we should have seen by the end, the film hides them like it will be a shock by the end, only to not show us. The sci-fi side of the film shows us what would happen if something like this was to happen, how the world would come to an end as we know it.

SettingsThe film uses a couple of settings, the house is just there to kill time and meet a group of pointless characters, when we are on the river, we are left wondering just what will come next for the characters while the woods are also filled with the void of the unknown.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, we are treated to the less is more concept where we see rustles, but never see anything, when it comes to the injuries, we see the basics without it being blood filled like it could have been.


Scene of the Movie –
The Rapids.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the time in the house.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing movie because we did get a sense heavy horror movie earlier in the year with ‘A Quiet Place’ this film fails to use the full extent of this idea.

 

Overall: Disappointing horror.

Rating

 

 

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Ocean’s Eight (2018)

Director: Gary Ross

Writer: Gary Ross, Olivia Milch (Screenplay) George Clayton Johnson, Jack Golden Russell (Characters)

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Richard Armitage, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Dakota Fanning, Awkwafina, Sarah Paulson

 

Plot: Debbie Ocean gathers an all-female crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala.


Tagline – The plan is priceless.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Heist Movie

 

Story: Ocean’s Eight starts when Debbie Ocean (Bullock) is released from prison, sister of Danny with the same habits, she heads to New York to connect with her oldest friend Lou (Blanchett) to put together a team to pull of a heist in the Met Gala. Debbie’s team includes celebrity Daphne Kluger (Hathaway), fashion designer Rose Weil (Carter), jeweller Amita (Kaling), computer hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), street hustler Constance (Awkwafina) and retired thief turned tradeswoman Tammy (Paulson).

With the team together we need to learn the plan as Debbie teaches us about the motivation for the heist, can Debbie follow in her brother’s footsteps and prove she can put a team together.

 

Thoughts on Ocean’s Eight

 

Characters – Debbie Ocean is the one that get released from prison, sister of Danny, the heist work runs in her blood too. She puts the team together showing the leadership needed, while also risking the job for her own personal reasons to be involved. There doesn’t seem to be much more about her character though. Lou is the best friend and most reliable person in Debbie’s life, she has been working on her own money making ventures, with this being her chance to make a big payday by bank rolling the plan. She does have the most connection to help the job happen. Daphne Kluger is the famous actress the women use to help transport the necklace, the only way to get it out, she gets to poke fun at the celebrity culture we know, even though she is never in the plan. Rose Weil is the clothing designer in a need of a financial boost, she joins the heist by becoming the designer for Daphne. Amita is the jeweller that gets bought into the team to help make sure the necklace can be replicated, she has good banter with Constance. Constance is the pick pocket that street hustler that can’t sit still and must be on the move. Nine Ball is the tech wizard that likes her code name and helps show the ladies about the new modern way of tracking criminals. Tammy is the retired member of the team, she doesn’t get involved anymore, which gives her a reason to get back out there because family life just isn’t keeping her entertained enough. The problem here is the man the heist is against just doesn’t get anytime on screen to make us hate him.

PerformancesThe performances from the eight ladies are good throughout, each gets there moment in the sun, with Bullock showing good leadership, Hathaway enjoying playing into the celebrity idea, Blanchett doing her best Brad Pitt impression and the rest of the supporting team only increase the eyes on their abilities.

StoryThe story here follows Danny Ocean’s sister Debbie who just like her brother can put a team together for a heist even with her own motivations. Now for an Ocean’s movie, this follows the basic heist idea, with the plan coming together and having to overcome problems. The story does lack a main villain, while we do have one, they are just bad guy, the previous films in the franchise have always made us hate them and they always had a feeling something was going on. It would be fair to say this is one of the more forgettable stories in the franchise with this falling into the third best in the franchise ahead of 12. The brief cameos from former members are fine, though it might have been nice to keep some of the bigger names around the franchise.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe slick action that we are used to in the franchise felt calmer and never gets us believing anything is going to go wrong. The comedy misses for the most part we get to see pokes at the previous films that never works. The crime world helps improve the film as we follow the check list for heist movies.

SettingsThe film is set in and around New York which shows us the big city will always be the big setting for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The full heist.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of villain, the Ocean film have always made us hate the mark, this one doesn’t.

Final ThoughtsThis is another attempted cash in on the Ocean’s franchise, it is mostly an average heist movie, the lack of villainous figure just holds everything back.

 

Overall: Just an Average heist movie.

Rating

 

 

Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)

Director: Jan de Bont

Writer: Randall McCormick, Jeff Nathanson (Screenplay) Jan de Bont, Randall McCormick (Story)

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Jason Patric, Willem Dafoe, Temuera Morrison, Brian McCardie, Christine Firkins

 

Plot: A computer hacker breaks into the computer system of the Seabourn Legend cruise liner and sets it speeding on a collision course into a gigantic oil tanker.


Tagline – Rush hour hits the water.

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Passable Action Film

 

Story: Speed 2: Cruise Control starts as we meet Annie (Bullock) still trying to get her driving licence back, long past dating Jack (Because Keanu was smart enough not to come back) and has moved onto what she thinks is a quiet cop role of Alex Shaw (Patric) who is actually a SWAT officer too.

To break the tension, Alex takes Annie on a cruise, which happens to have John Geiger (Dafoe) onboard that has his own plans for the cruise. As John takes over the boat, he plans to evacuate the passengers which will leave him the ship, but Alex will get to the bottom of this and try to save the day.

 

Thoughts on Speed 2: Cruise Control

 

Characters – Annie is back, she still can’t drive and now she has fallen for another risk-taking cop in Alex, this is a character that strangely feels iconic for the genre, while not being bad character or being weak, she doesn’t do much over than panic. Alex is the risk-taking cop, this sounds familiar doesn’t it? He will do anything to save the day. John Geiger is the villain of the piece, he has made his plan and wants to operate through his plan, though he didn’t plan for Alex. Strangely he never plans to kill anyone.

PerformancesSandra Bullock is fine in her role here, she works for these films. Jason Patric just lacks the charisma Keanu had in the first one which doesn’t make you care about his character. Willem Dafoe is one of the most reliable villains in Hollywood, it is strange that he is good, but the character is largely forgettable.

StoryThe story is just like the first Speed, it has a criminal that takes a vehicle with the promise to kill everyone if demands aren’t met. This is the old tried and tested formula without being overly impressive and never reaches the levels of the first film. it does everything it needs to do while being easy to watch from start to finish.

Action/Crime/RomanceThe action sequences for the most part are entertaining even if they are overly long at times, like the sequence crashing into the island, just seems to go on and on. The romance involved is just more of the same mostly tagged on too.

SettingsThe film being set on the bottle, tries to do something different, but it just lacks the tension the first one has.

Special EffectsThe effects for the most part are terrible and even in places laughable.


Scene of the Movie –
While long the boat crashing into the harbour is fun watch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The random dog sequence.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that gets a lot of bashing, it does everything it needs to for an action film, that just isn’t on the same level as the first film.

 

Overall: Sequel that works well enough.

Rating

 

 

The Vanishing (1993)

Director: George Sluizer

Writer: Todd Graff (Screenplay) Tim Krabbe (Novel)

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Kiefer Sutherland, Nancy Travis, Sandra Bullock, Park Overall, Maggie Linderman

 

Plot: The boyfriend of an abducted woman never gives up the search as the abductor looks on.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disturbingly Good Horror

 

Story: The Vanishing starts as we meet everyday teacher, father and husband Barney Cousins (Bridges) who has been researching kidnapping, measuring his heart rate when it comes to the interaction while also searching for a method to drug his victims.

We move onto meet young couple Jeff (Sutherland) and Diane (Bullock) who are travelling cross country for their vacation, but when Diane vanishes at a gas station, Jeff is left powerless for options with the police offering no support until she has been missing 24 hours.

3 years later Diane is still missing and Jeff is still searching for answers. Jeff ends up giving up on his search when he meets Rita (Travis) a woman who gives him a new outlook on life but when he goes to get his book publicised he is asked to write a book about the disappearance of Diane. This opens up old wounds that will test his new relationship.

The game changes when Barney confronts Jeff offering him the answers but only if he joins him on the journey that Diane also went on.

 

Thoughts on The Vanishing

 

Characters/PerformanceBarney comes of calm, calculated and is willing to experiment when it comes to his technique. He is a loving father, husband and science teacher but deep down he is one of the great psychopaths you could imagine on film. He even has the guts to face his victim’s boyfriend to offer the answers he is looking for. Jeff is a good boyfriend but once Diane goes missing he becomes a desperate man with nothing to lose just needing to know the answers to what happened to her, he doesn’t care if she had just left him but he is being destroyed by the unknown. Rita is the new love interest for Jeff but doesn’t understand how his need for answers could come between them even if he loves her. Diane is the victim that we only see her disappearance and flashbacks.

Jeff Bridges shines in this role as a psycho you couldn’t pick out on the street corner and this could easily be one of his most underrated roles. Kiefer continued to show he was going onto bigger and better things in this role with Nancy Travis and Sandra Bullock both showing their skills through the film.

StoryThe story which could be a run of the mill killer turns into a film surrounded in uncertainty as our hero deals with the loss of a loved one in what can only be one of the most disturbing ways possible. We have a killer that isn’t serial but interested in just how far he can go. I do know this is a remake but in the end this works on the levels required for the story being told.

Horror/Mystery/ThrillerHorror, well once you see what Barney does to Diane you will reach the horror levels you need to see, the mystery is what Jeff must suffer through just not knowing what happened with the thrilling side of this film being us working out what will happen next.

SettingsThe settings show us just how easy it could have been for a serial killer to get away with his victims, while this only focuses on one killing the idea shows how it could have been going on for years.

Final ThoughtsThis must go down as one of the more disturbing horror films out there which can be enjoyed by all the fans of the genre.

 

Overall: I must say this is a must watch for all the horror fans out there.

Rating

 

 

Matthew McConaughey Weekend – A Time To Kill (1996)

a  timeDirector: Joel Schumacher

Writer: Akiva Goldsman (Screenplay) John Grisham (Novel)

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Oliver Platt, Charles S Dutton, Brenda Fricker, Donald Sutherland, Kiefer Sutherland, Ashley Judd

 

Plot: A young lawyer defends a black man accused of murdering two men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, sparking a rebirth of the K.K.K.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant

 

Story: A Time to Kill starts a we see 10-year-old Tonya beaten and raped by Billy Ray Cobb (Katt) and James Louis Willard (Hutchison) and with the case taken to court it looks like they will get off the charge, her father Carl Lee Hailey (Jackson) takes matters into his own hands.

Carl Lee facing a double murder charge Jake Tyler Brigance (McConaughey) takes the case having to go up against powerful DA Rufus Buckley (Spacey) in what is a case fuelled with racial tension.

When the case brings the Ku Klux Klan back from grave Jake puts his own family in danger but thanks to young law student Ellen Roark (Bullock) and his mentor Lucien Wilbanks (D.Sutherland) to help him keep his business a float and win this case.

A Time to Kill is a racial driven courtroom crime thriller that touches on everything with the nice amount of time. We get left to question what you would do if you were in any of the position between the case which is a huge plus for the film. The idea that we get the racial tension going on because of how the case could be treated differently depending on the skin colour of a character also helps drive the story. when it comes to courtroom drama this is by fair one of the best out there.

 

Actor Review

 

Matthew McConaughey: Jake Tyler Brigance is a young lawyer who has taken over a small law firm from his mentor who struggles to keep the business afloat. When this case comes his way he wants to do the right thing because he knows how this can be a difficult decision and believe he can win the case against the odds. Matthew shows early on in his career he could handle the serious films in leading role.

Sandra Bullock: Ellen Roark is a young law student who has helped on many murder cases and wants to help Jake with this case to help clear Carl Lee from the charges. She has different political beliefs to him which they do class on but their passion together can drive the case. Sandra shines in this role in her early career showing how she can pull of the serious roles too.

Samuel L Jackson: Carl Lee Hailey is the man that finds his daughter beaten and raped and decides to take justice into his own hands by killing the men involved. He doesn’t care what happens to him just as long as he makes these men pay but not faces a double murder charge. Samuel is great in this role as a man who got pushed to his limits.

Kevin Spacey: D A Rufus Buckley is the cocky DA who thinks this case is a slam dunk as he knows he can get the white man’s vote on the jury and questions Jake ability in a courtroom. Kevin while playing a standard character for the villain of the courtroom hit it ot the park in every scene.

Support Cast: A Time to Kill has a supporting cast which is filled with stars in nearly every scene and each one gives a brilliant performance throughout the film.

Director Review: Joel SchumacherJoel gives us one of his best films that balance the racial tension with the crime case perfectly.

 

Crime: A Time to Kill leaves us in the middle of a court case handle a sensitive subject which poses us questions on where you would stand on such a case.

Thriller: A Time to Kill does keep us one edge wondering where the next twist will come in the story be it in the courtroom or the tension building outside the courts.

Settings: A Time to Kill keeps nearly all the settings within the Louisiana town where racial tension is still strong and you can see the difference in both sides even with the same struggles.

Suggestion: A Time to Kill is one of the most must watch courtroom dramas out there with such a sensitive subject. (Must Watch)

 

Best Part: Closing speech.

Worst Part: Slightly long if you are being picky.

 

Believability: Parts could be.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $40 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 29 Minutes

Tagline: A lawyer and his assistant fighting to save a father on trial for murder. A time to question what they believe. A time to doubt what they trust. And no time for mistakes.

 

Overall: One of the all-time best courtroom drams out there.

Ratingcard