ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – H – Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn (2012)

Director: Stewart Hendler

Writer: Aaron Helbing, Todd Helbing (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Green, Anna Popplewell, Enisha Brewster, Ayelet Zurer, Masam Holden, Mike Dopud

 

Plot: UNSC Cadet Thomas Lasky must conquer his inner fears and join forces with super-soldier John-117 to take down a massive faction of the Covenant.


Tagline – The story of Halo begins at dawn.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Bad

 

Story: Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn starts with one of the UNSC cadets Thomas Lasky (Green) following in his brothers footsteps in training to become a Soldier in the war. He doesn’t follow the rules which has left him getting questioned by his team and captain April Orenski (Brewster).

Thomas must battle his own personal problems before being sent into the field because his tactical knowledge has shown his potential, but the war isn’t everything they thought it would be.

 

Thoughts on Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn

 

Characters – Thomas Lasky has had added pressure put on him after his brother fought in the war. He is rebellious in his actions often lead his unit into trouble, but his skill is there for all to see. We do have other cadets who just blend into each other too easily.

PerformancesThe performances are not strong here, the actors feel like they are playing too young of characters which shows in their weaker performances. Most of the performances feel like they are starring in a school level production.

StoryI will start this by saying I do feel you will ned to have played the games to have any idea just what the hell is going on because this does feel like a basic training to go into war against enemies they are not prepared to do battle against. This takes so long to get going with the escape being the only redeemable part of the movie.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action does feel like a mostly parody of most that you have seen, the adventure isn’t the best either while the sci-fi side of film feels just like the beginning.

SettingsThe settings could be any training location, nothing about what we see makes us feel like we are on a different planet.

Special EffectsThe effects are not used very often and don’t seem to look very effective once we get into the bigger battle


Scene of the Movie –
The Master Chief looks cool.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing seems to happen.

Final ThoughtsIf you are a fan of the game you might get something out of this film, but if you haven’t you will just find yourself being bored.

 

Overall: Bland and boring.

Rating

 

 

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DJ Qualls Weekend – Road Trip (2000)

roadDirector: Todd Phillips

Writer: Todd Phillips, Scot Armstrong (Screenplay)

Starring: Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scott, Amy Smart, Paulo Costanzo, DJ Qualls, Rachel Blanchard, Tom Green

 

Plot: Four college buddies embark on a road trip to retrieve an illicit tape mistakenly mailed to a female friend.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun Teen Comedy

 

Story: Road Trip starts as Josh (Meyer) and Tiffany (Blanchard) childhood sweethearts who have gone their own separate ways with college, they communicate through phone and video messages, yes this is a movie from 2000. When Josh doesn’t hear from Tiffany he stats getting worried and with the beautiful Beth (Smart) flirting with him Josh is pushed to enjoy the college experience by his friends EL (Scott) and Rubin (Costanzo).

When a drunken night where Josh records his night of sex with Beth he finds out Barry (Green) has sent the wrong tape to Tiffany. Josh finds out why he hasn’t spoken to Tiffany and now must travel 18,000 miles in 3 days with EL, Rubin and Kyle (Qualls) the shy student that hasn’t come out of his shell, but he has a car. What follows is the wacky adventure the four students travelling cross-country.

 

Thoughts on Road Trip

 

Characters/PerformanceLooking at the characters we get to see the traditional college students, Josh is the ‘good’ boyfriend who has planned his life, EL is the party animal that will most likely just make it in life with minimal effort, Rubin is a student that isn’t challenge by college and whose genius is above them all, while Kyle is the shy timid student that gets to be let out of his shell on this adventure with EL pushing him the most to enjoy his life. Beth is portrayed to be the new girl in Josh’s life, she doesn’t know he has a girlfriend but feels just as used by the night, we don’t really get to learn enough about this character all around.

Performance wise Meyer is good in the leading role, with Seann William Scott continue his highlight performances in the teen comedies, Amy Smart is good but doesn’t get enough time to shine. Tom Green does bring his unique form of comedy that you are either going to love or hate. This is the first film performance from DJ Qualls and you can see him breakout in this performance.stars

StoryThe story is simple, guy records sex tape sends to girlfriend and must travel cross country to stop her seeing it. Yes, we do get a road trip that only student get to experience with partying going on through the trip. This is easy to follow and you do get moments of self-discovery for the guys on the trip.

Adventure/ComedyThe cross-country adventure is all good but I do feel like I would have liked to have seen more than just colleges, the comedy I would say is hit or miss, when I was younger I loved it but now certain jokes just miss for me.

SettingsWe get to see a lot colleges across America but considering how far they travel they seem to miss all the major landmarks.genre

Final Thoughts – I was a big fan of this when I was younger and being released the same time as American Pie this fits in the boom the teen comedies had, with this easily being one of the better ones.

 

Overall: Teen comedy that hits all the point it needs to for the target audience.

Ratingrating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Bethany (2017)

bethanyDirector: James Cullen Bressack

Writer: James Cullen Bressack, Zack Ward (Screenplay)

Starring: Stefanie Estes, Zack Ward, Tom Green, Shannen Doherty, Anna Harr, Leon Russom

 

Plot: Claire and her husband find themselves moving back into Claire’s childhood home only to have the abusive and traumatic memories of her mother come back to haunt her. As her husband starts to get more work, Claire finds herself mixed up in a fog of past and present with a mysterious figure haunting her memories. What is this small figure that is trying to reach out to her, and what does it want?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Horror

 

Story: Bethany starts when married couple Claire (Estes) and Aaron (Ward) move back into Claire’s childhood home, this brings out all the memories of her disciplined mother Susan (Doherty). The two want to try and start a new life here but the visual nightmares Claire starts to suffering bring back the memories of her invisible friend Bethany.

As the Bethany figure continues to haunt Claire it becomes clear that the spirit is trying to makes Claire hurt herself, but with Aaron never seeing the spirit he is left to watch her own wife dive into madness and even the family friend Dr Brown (Green) can’t see the haunting side of the story.

 

Thoughts on Bethany

 

Characters/PerformanceClaire is a character that has grown up with a tortured youth which is still affecting her to this day, she has had a stillborn and now she is looking to recover with a new life with her husband. Having these elements mixed together leaves us being torn between whether she is being haunted or really just losing her mind, this is a newly found common trend in horror and I like it. Aaron is the husband who wants to move on after their personal tragedy and only knows one way to make this happen, keeping busy. Dr Brown does what you need, finds the answers, while Susan is the strict mother.

Performance wise Stefanie Estes does a good job in the lead role dealing with the mix of emotions she must go through, with Zack Ward doing well as the husband. Tom Green and Shannen Doherty also do well even if they are the bigger names within the film they are only the supporting cast.stars

StoryThe story does borrow from a mix of other horror films, I liked how the well-designed idea of is it real or is it her head works really well in horror, other parts will include spoilers but there is enough in the mixture to make a fresh feel for the most part in this film.

HorrorThere was good moments of horror with a mix of special effects offering gore in place that could turn heads. There are a few suspense moments but once you figure out the story you can feel comfortable with the horror moments.

SettingsAll the horror side of the film takes place inside the home which works for the story going on through the film and is important to the final outcome of the film.

Special EffectsThis film is very hit or miss with the special effects, certain ones look great the others you can see the CGI.genre

Final ThoughtsThis horror plays into all the right boxes for where it wants to go which is all good but you can figure out the ending slightly too early.

 

Overall: This is a good horror that will easily gain fans but like all horrors if this isn’t your style of horror you won’t enjoy.

Ratingrating

 

 

Monsters: Dark Continent (2015)

logoDirector: Tom Green

Writer: Tom Green, Jay Basu (Screenplay)

Starring: Sofia Boutella, Joe Dempsie, Johnny Harris, Nicholas Pinnock, Kyle Soller, Sam Keeley, Parker Sawyers, Michaela Coel, Jesse Nagy

 

Plot: Ten years on from the events of Monsters, and the ‘Infected Zones’ have now spread worldwide. In the Middle East a new insurgency has begun. At the same time there has also been a proliferation of Monsters in that region. The Army decide to draft in more numbers to help deal with this insurgency.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Insulting Toward the Original

 

Story: Monsters: Dark Continent starts with narration from Michael Parkes (Keeley) a reluctant solider who explains that the monsters have started to spread destroying cities through the Middle East, where the new Infected Zone is. Frater (Harris) is a sniper who has completed his mission before making his swift getaway back to the US base.

Flashback I think to watch Michael and his unit Frankie (Dempsie) Inkelaar (Soller) and Shaun (Sawyers) back in Detroit preparing to be shipped out again. We learn how the unit all has each other’s back and will fight anyone to protect each other. Drugs, booze and hookers this must mean we are having a leaving party because that is what everyone does right? Well that was a painful excuse to show boobs in a war based film.

Now for the real story to start, we are now following the helicopter assault of a heard of giant monsters which is quickly completed. Frater and Forrest (Pinnock) run the base and give the new recruits the rules on how to survive the situation. We follow the soldiers on basic missions around towns as we witness the effects of war not just on with the monsters but with the terrorists.

The unit has been on plenty of patrols without seeing much action before they get a mission to locate a group of missing soldiers. When the convoy gets hit, the mission changes to one of survival against a human enemy as well as a monster threat. Frater, Michael, Inkelaar and Frankie are the four surviving members of the unit who have to try and stay ahead of the enemy, but aren’t very successful. Before long Frater and Michael are left alone, captured by the enemy they have to escape while the enemy is dealing with a monster attack.

Monsters: Dark Continent moves the action to a different continent and never explains how the monsters ended up in that location considering the first one being set in Mexico. The most part of this film is a dreadfully boring war story that just has monsters on the outside of it, I am willing to say I don’t even know what the point of having the monsters in this film actually is. The war side of the story has been done so many times it offers nothing to the genre and ends up ruining anything the first film created. I personally think this will be one of the worst stories of the year. (2/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Johnny Harris: Noah Frater the veteran on tour who leads the unit on the mission and after things go wrong he takes charge of the inexperienced unit as they try to fight against enemies both human and monster. Johnny ends up being a very generic soldier who has been at war too long. (3/10)

 

Sam Keeley: Michael the rookie soldier who is with his unit and after they all die he is left alone with Frater as they try to survive against the odds. Sam fills the generic rookie soldier and doesn’t make an impact in the role. (3/10)

 

Support Cast: Monsters: Dark Continent has a supporting cast that includes the fellow soldiers who mostly die early on and we get to see the effects of their death on the two remaining soldiers.

 

Director Review: Tom Green – Tom doesn’t do the original film any justice and gives us one of the most misleading films of the year. (2/10)

 

Sci-Fi: Monsters: Dark Continent tries to put us in a world where the monsters are now part of the world but doesn’t rise to the levels it could have. (5/10)

Thriller: Monsters: Dark Continent is meant to be a thriller but you will spend time looking at your watch wondering how much more. (2/10)

Settings: Monsters: Dark Continent brings the action to the Middle East but never explains why it ends up there. (4/10)
Special Effects
: Monsters: Dark Continent has one positive, the monster creations all look very good and very real throughout the film. (10/10)

Suggestion: Monsters: Dark Continent is really going to have to be one to avoid, it is too long, too dull and lacks any real monster action. (Avoid)

 

Best Part: The monsters all look very real.

Worst Part: Too Long and no monster action.

What Could Have Been Better? – Explain how the monsters ended up in the Middle East, Involve the monsters, make it interesting.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Left open to one and made right I would watch a sequel.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

Trivia: The main actor from the first Monsters movie Scott McNairy is signed on as an Executive Producer for Monsters:Dark Continent.

 

Overall: Very disappoint sequel to one of the best low budget films of recent years.

Rating 25