ABC Film Challenge – Crime – E – Edge of Darkness (2010)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: William Monahan, Andrew Bovell (Screenplay) Troy Kennedy-Martin (Original Television show)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Bojana Novakovic, Shawn Roberts, David Aaron Baker, Jay O Sanders

 

Plot: As homicide detective Thomas Craven investigates the death of his activist daughter, he uncovers not only her secret life, but a corporate cover-up and government collusion that attracts an agent tasked with cleaning up the evidence.


Tagline – Few escape justice. None escape vengeance.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Crime Thriller

 

Story: Edge of Darkness starts when Craven (Gibson) get to spend his daughter Emma (Novakovic) only for an unknown gunman killing her on his doorstep, Craven being a homicide detective isn’t allowed to investigate the case for legal reasons, so he decides to go against the law in his search for the murderer.

The early signs make it looks like Craven himself was the target, but it soon comes to light that it might be Emma’s work for a government company run by Jack Bennett (Huston) that might have made her the target and the deeper he digs the more he learns about his daughter.

 

Thoughts on Edge of Darkness

 

Characters – Craven is a respect homicide detective, everyone in the force knows just how capable of solving a murder he can be, but when his own daughter is murdered, he starts to go against the law to figure out who and why she was murdered. He will not stop at anything to locate the truth and take out the people that murdered his daughter. Jedburgh is an English man that will help Craven fill in the gaps, while trying to keep him away from the answers, he has been hired to make sure the investment stays safe, without building up a body count. Jack Bennett runs the company that Emma works for, he knows how to answer questions to keep the press happy, while keeping the shady operations under wraps. Emma is the daughter that Craven is delighted to spend time with once again, only she gets murdered and it is her life before this meeting that we get to see her in.

PerformancesMel Gibson might well have had his problems in Hollywood, but when it comes to crime thrillers, he is in his element always shining in these roles without ever looking out of place, and demanding the screen whenever he steps on screen. Ray Winstone is great in his role, which only seems to be around for the calmer or criminal sides of the film. Danny Huston is an actor that can play a villain in his sleep and this is no different, he brings the smug figure to life here. Bojana Novakovic is great in her smaller role which doesn’t need to get much more screen time to add to the story.

StoryThe story here follows a homicide detective that starts to investigate the murder of his daughter only to find himself in the middle of a much bigger conspiracy that puts his own life in danger. This story starts off looking like it is going to be a revenge like movie because of how the first murder happens only to become a big conspiracy movie that offers up plenty of miss-direction as we lead to the truth. Any story that can keep you guessing and let try to figure out the ending yourself is an entertaining watch, with the outcome not even needing to be spoon fed to us either. This might well be a remake of a television show, but it plays into the modern ideas and works with how the conspiracy could be relevant for today’s climate.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of the film starts by just looking like a murder, it soon dives into cover ups, conspiracy and secret groups which shows how the government might go about trying to cover up a secret. The mystery in the film comes from just how the conspiracy keeps managing to unfold to expose more truth about what Emma was involved in.

SettingsThe film uses the Boston setting to show how many crimes have been committed in this stricter state which does show us just how big of a conspiracy needs covering up.


Scene of the Movie –
Riverside meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It would have been nice to see more of Jedburgh.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderfully intense crime thriller that does keep you guessing throughout the film, we get strong performance throughout and a story that has been modernized without looking out of place.

 

Overall: Hugely entertaining crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Diary of the Dead (2007)

diaryDirector: George A Romero

Writer: George A Romero (Screenplay)

Starring: Michelle Morgan, Joshua Close, Shawn Roberts, Amy Lalonde, Joe Dinicol, Scott Wentworth, Philip Riccio, Chris Violette, Tatiana Maslany

 

Plot: A group of young film students run into real-life zombies while filming a horror movie of their own.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Found Footage Yay, Character Decisions No

 

Story: Diary of the Dead starts by taking us away from the original universe to the very start of the outbreak in the modern era of technology as we watch Jason Creed (Close) who makes a film about what happened with the original outbreak.

Jason has an idea to film the events of the outbreak with his fellow film makers, his girlfriend Debra (Morgan), Tony (Roberts) Tracy (Lalonde), Mary (Maslany) to mention a few. We watch their travel across country to find out how safe their families are.

Diary of the Dead takes out of the world we have come to know but it does take us to a world where the madness of the human curiosity into death has taken over the world as people want to see the outbreak happening on the internet. This continues to show Romero has the ability to evolve into the modern horror trends bring his own stamp to the found footage style film and once again bringing the new kills to the zombies with some of the most original of the time. On the negative we have to look at the poor character decisions in a world where they are actually making a horror movie the characters do seem to have no idea how to make rational decisions in a horror situation.

 

Overall: Wonderfully shot but poor character decisions loses a lot of the tension which should be created in the film.

Rating65

 

 

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)

resDirector: Paul W.S. Anderson

Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Eoin Macken, Fraser James, Ruby Rose, William Levy

 

Plot: Alice returns to where the nightmare began: The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Conclusion

 

Story: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter starts with the real origin of the T-Virus as it was created to save the life of its creator’s daughter Alicia, but the side effects gave us deadly outcome of the zombie outbreak, with the creator’s partner Dr Isaacs (Glen) killing him. We continue the narration for 5 minutes before picking up in Washington DC in the aftermath of a trap with Alice (Jovovich).

We start the main story with Alice taking on a dragon like zombie because why the hell not, right? Alice gets a visit from the Red Queen who offers her a chance to end the zombie outbreak for good and revenge on Wesker (Roberts) who led Alice and her friends into the trap. The mission is to head back to Racoon City and back into the Hive where it all began to release an airborne cure. Along the road Alive finds an old enemy in Dr Isaacs who has been controlling things in what he calls a cleansing mission, leading an army of the undead back to Racoon City. Arriving back in Racoon City Alice finds a new pocket of survivors who Claire Redfield (Larter) has joined as the remaining humans go to war against Isaacs and his army of zombies before looking to finally put an end to zombie apocalypse.

 

Thoughts on Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

 

StoryThere are two ways I am looking at the story, the first is in all the positives and that is this does come back to tie everything together in the series and deliver a final instalment the fans can enjoy with plenty of throw backs to the previous instalments of the franchise. On the negative side of the story we don’t have the most original story because it is the same core Alice joins resistance group, ends up leading them in the battle before most die and she must fight an ‘unkillable’ enemy that she can kill. Yay that is the core story which is all fine when you switch you brain off but offers very little new.

Action/HorrorThe action is wildly over the top just like we know, we have bigger action set pieces while the horror side of the film is almost forgotten now in the series.

Characters/Performanceslooking at the characters we all know the Alice story by now, Dr Isaacs and Wesker are both franchise favourite villains and the returning Claire Redfield is all good. It is the new ‘disposable’ character which are mostly all forgettable as we have the tough chick, the one who hates Alice only to grow respect and the tough guy who you can replace with almost anybody.

The performances are all on a par with anything we have seen before with Jovovich showing she is the true star of the show, Gen adding the class in the villainous role with Roberts impressing once again as the emotionless villain. Looking deeper into the cast I felt Fraser James was doing his best Idris Elba impression throughout the film and it is getting worrying to see Ruby Rose continuing to look like she is take the role Michelle Rodriguez is best known for the bad ass chick which she is good at but this is the second time this year.

SettingsBringing all the action back to Racoon City I feel is a good thing, we get plenty of nods to the previous instalments along the way with the use of the settings, I feel this is a good way to end the franchise by respecting each location we have seen Alice must fight through.

Special EffectsWhen we look at the special effects we always find ourselves getting plenty of over the top sequences that all look good throughout as the film sometimes focuses on the effects over the story.

Final ThoughtsThis franchise will always end up going down as one of my guilty pleasures watches, I do like switching my brain off at time and Resident Evil is always going to offer that for me. This isn’t the most original but the action is pure madness so I am happy to enjoy that and paying respect to the previous films I am happy to see too, but I would have liked some of the other characters who were stood ready for war at the end of the last film with Alice appearing in the film.

 

Overall: Good mindless action film you can fully switch off and enjoy.

Ratingcard

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming (2007)

stirDirector: Ernie Barbarash

Writer: Ernie Barbarash (Screenplay)

Starring: Rob Lowe, Marnie McPhail, Ben Lewis, Tatiana Maslany, Shawn Roberts, Vik Sahay, Colin Williams

 

Plot: A soldier returns home from the Iraq war only to be haunted by visions of the dead.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Sequel

 

Story: Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming starts we follow soldier Ted Cogan (Lowe) stationed in Iraq who is involved in an incident where he loses a soldier and what looks like an innocent Iraqi family. Returning home Ted struggles to readjust to life with his family wife Molly (McPhail) and son Max (Lewis). Matter don’t become any easier when he starts seeing visions of the family turning up in corners of his life.

Failing to receive any medical help for his post-traumatic stress disorder Ted must seek help from other means which involves embracing his visions to find out why they are haunting him.

Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming follows the same path of the original with our main character getting haunted by ghosts who are trying to get a message to him. It would be fair to say not much is different apart from trying to add in racial tension from the stand point of Americans against anyone with the heritage of Middle Eastern Americans. The story does all bottle down to a ghost trying to expose the truth but it spends too much time pointing fingers in one direction when the story is actually about a different direction.

 

Actor Review

 

Rob Lowe: Ted Cogan is the war veteran whose call left an innocent family killed and himself badly injured. Returning home Ted finds himself being haunted by the family he had killed and must fight to understand what they want from him. Rob is good in this role without reaching all of his known skill levels.

Marnie McPhail: Molly Cogan is the wife of Ted who has been keeping everything together while he was away, she struggles to support Ted because of monetary issues the family is facing and starts to question everything Ted is doing. Marnie is solid in this role but doesn’t get enough screen time.

Ben Lewis: Max Cogan is the teenage son of Ted who has started rebellious stage of his life with smoking. He has struggled to deal with what happened to his father while he was away. Ben plays a character key to the final outcome but really is just a generic teenager.

Support Cast: Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming has a supporting cast you kind of just see in moments without actually knowing what the point in most of them are.

Director Review: Ernie BarbarashErnie fails to capture the overall creepiness the first film has in what is a simple jump scare repeat process.

 

Horror: Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming is a jump scare repeat process that never actually scares when it should.

Thriller: Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming does try to keep us guessing throughout but giving us no hints early on doesn’t make the ending stratifying.

Settings: Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming uses the everyday life of the former soldier for the setting which doesn’t really end up making the scenes feel anymore impactful.
Special Effects
: Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming has basic effects which work well enough for the film without saving it.

Suggestion: Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming is one I do think you can skip but you know what late night television viewing is acceptable. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: Arm burning.

Worst Part: Lazy jump scares.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hours 29 Minutes

Tagline: This time, the door cannot be locked

 

Overall: Poor sequel to an enjoyable horror.

Ratingcard

 

 

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Kim Coates, Shawn Roberts, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, SPencer Locke, Boris Kodjoe, Wentworth Miller, Kacey Barrifield, Norman Young

Story Alice (Milla Jovovich) takes her battle against the Umbrella Cooperation to new levels by invading one of the underground facilities lead by Wesker (Shawn Roberts). After somehow escaping she heads of the Alaska to meet up with the party of people she set there including Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) and K-Mart (Spencer Locke). She finds nothings but a airplane graveyard before getting attacked by a brain washed Claire.

Alice finds a plane that work and set off looking for more survivors with Claire tied up trying to refuel her memory. Once they reach Hollywood they find some survivors on the roof of a prison surrounded by the undead. After an ambitious landing we meet the survivors. Lead by Luther West (Boris Kodjoe) we have Bennett (Kim Coates), Angel Oritz (Sergio Peris Mencheta), Crystal (Kacey Barnfield) Kim Yong (Norman Yeung) and Wendell (Fulvio Cecere). We also meet a favourite of the game series Chris Redfield (Wentworth Miller).

With the undead starting to break the barriers a super mutant Axeman leading this attack can our heroes get help from a near by boat with the same signal which lead Alice to Alaska?

Verdict This is one of the better sequels too the video game franchise to movie. Alice kick ass again learning more about her powers along the way. The introduction of more of the video game characters proves this franchise is still going strong. The 3D side of the film is bought off well throwing all sorts of things into the audience. Overall this is a good action horror well worth a watch for all fans.

Best quote Wesker ‘I’m what you used to be. Only Better’

Favourite character Alice because she keep coming and kicking ass

Stand out performance Shawn Roberts as Wesker strong performance and no emotional villain

Best moment Opening army of Alice breaking into the Umbrella cooperation

Worst Moment Killing off the supporting cast way to quickly

Cameo Alert Jill Valentine can be seen if you watch the credits

My Rating 78%