Reviews

563 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Moon (2009)
6/10
All the ingredients were there but it didn't quite work for me
17 January 2018
I often say Sam Rockwell needs to be in more films because he's an incredible actor. I recently realised how hypocritical I was being by saying this though, considering I haven't even seen all of his films. So in an attempt to do so 'Moon' seemed liked a good place to start. Kevin Spacey lending his voice to the film helped to spark my interest in the film and get me motivated to watch it. So did I love it as much as I hoped to? Sadly, no.

Firstly, while Sam Rockwell's performance is fantastic, this isn't the type of role I most like him in. I like him in roles where I couldn't imagine anyone else playing the part. This one did not come across that way to me. I had the same sort of problem with Kevin Spacey's voice work. While it was pleasant to know it was him and hear that familiar tone, it really could've been anyone and it wouldn't have made a lick of difference to the film.

As for the concept of the story, I liked it without loving it as much as I should've. I liked it in theory, but not so much in execution. I thought it could've been crafted better, both in terms of the reveal to the audience and also how the concept was played out after we find out what is happening. The whole thing ended up coming across a little dull and boring for my liking and the final third of the film just kind of petered out rather than ramping things up.

'Moon' is a very good looking film though, there is no question about that. Add in a fine performance from Rockwell and a thought-provoking concept that will certainly intrigue most who watch it to some extent, and you have yourself a very watchable film. Just not one that I will likely be recommending to people.
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Baby Driver (2017)
7/10
Stylish, charming and fun but not naturally so
13 January 2018
I've always liked Edgar Wright's films without loving them. They're always stylish and fun but also lacking something for my liking. 'Baby Driver' is no different. No one could argue just how stylish this film is. It oozes charisma and charm just from this alone. Then there's the tremendous cast and the spectacular performances Wright gets out of them. Kevin Spacey, in what may turn out to have been one of his final roles, was his usual superb self. Ansel Elgort has even been nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance. Jamie Foxx is also one of my favourite actors working today. The charm that man possesses is almost second to none.

What held me back from loving this film though (and most of Wright's films I suspect) is that they sometimes feel like they're trying too hard. I often compare them to Quentin Tarantino's films. Both make quite different films but have a similar method at the same time. In Tarantino's films the style and charm he manages to achieve seem so natural and like there was no other way that scene could have gone down. With Wright's films it feels the opposite. It feels like they achieve it, but far from naturally. I also had trouble buying the love story in this film. I think a little more effort could have been put into making sure the audience understood why he loved this woman so much. Definitely a fun watch, make no mistake about that. Even bordering on a must-see film, but it's still far from perfect.
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6/10
Never goes anywhere after a promising start
12 January 2018
'Berlin Syndrome' was setting itself up to be something great, but it just couldn't quite deliver the knock-out punch. I love the idea for the story. It's creepy and a little too real (this kind of thing happens more than people realise). The characters were also well created. They were believable and charming in their own dark ways. Then there were two very fine acting performances by Teresa Palmer and Max Riemelt. So why didn't I enjoy this film as much as I should have?

The problem lies in the story development. There really isn't any. The film sets itself up and then just drifts along for the next two hours. Some films can get away with that but not when they run 20-30 minutes longer than they needed to. There was a lot that could have been left on the cutting room floor in this one. Then the ending came around and it was about as "meh" as you could possibly get. Very disappointing. Not a bad film, but if you're looking for something great, look elsewhere.
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Geostorm (2017)
6/10
The same formula over and over again
12 January 2018
I didn't actually mind 'Geostorm' as a film. I went in with very low expectations because I never tend to enjoy these disaster movies, but ironically this was probably one of the ones I've enjoyed the most (I say ironically because it has been very negatively received by almost everyone). I really liked the two little mystery elements of who is responsible for what is happening in this film. A little mystery in any film is always a good thing. I also found most of the action sequences entertaining and unique enough to keep me entertained.

The biggest problem with these films though is that they're all basically the same film, just with interchanging disasters. The formula is followed so closely each time that you can pretty much predict it down to a T (I think that's why I appreciated the "whodunnit" aspects so much). They really need to change it up in the future if people are going to keep going to these films (however I sadly fear that they won't). There's some cheesy dialogue and some pretty horrific acting at times too, but altogether if these films are your kind of thing it's not going to be too bad of an experience.
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Happy Hunting (2017)
6/10
Creativity is its biggest strength
7 January 2018
I was very interested in 'Happy Hunting' once I found out it was directed and written by Mel Gibson's son Louie Gibson. Mel is one of the finest directors working in Hollywood today so I thought it would be very interesting to see if his son possessed any of the same talent. So does he? Possibly, it was harder to work out than I had anticipated. 'Happy Hunting' is quite a strange film. It sets out to be strange, but I think managed to be even stranger than intended and in unintended ways. I would say I enjoyed it, without loving it.

There's a point halfway through the film where you will likely ask yourself how are they going to stretch this out for another 45 minutes? They manage it though and while I wouldn't say the pacing of the film is its strongest point, it's not a bad effort considering the way the film is set up. I also liked some of the creativity used in certain scenes. This is the main indication to me that Louie Gibson might have some real talent because creativity in film making seems to be the thing most directors struggle with today. It is sorely lacking in many modern films, however not this one. I wouldn't call this a "must-see" but if you stumble across it on Netflix it's worth a watch and you'll get basically what you're promised.
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7/10
Darker than expected
3 January 2018
I suppose when you title your film 'Super Dark Times' there is a bit of an onus on you to make the film reasonably dark. What starts out as quite a simple story turns into something quite major and compelling by the end. I'm definitely glad it did too because the original route the film seemed to be heading towards would not have been memorable or interesting really at all. The way they did it though made this turn out to be a very good little flick.

I quite liked the chemistry between the characters. The romance angle between the characters of 'Zach' and 'Allison' was well written and the actors did a very good job of pulling it off. Amy Hargreaves' adition to the film was also a positive one. She plays a very similar character to her one in '13 Reasons Why' and she is perfectly suited to it. Finally Charlie Tahan mildly impressed me in his role. Not always an easy one to pull off but he did it well.

'Super Dark Times' isn't a game-changer in any way, but it certainly achieves what it sets out to which is to tell a simple story based around some great characters and provide a wee twist of sorts near the end. It does what it sets out to well and that's all you can ask of any film.
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The Sacrament (2013)
8/10
Found-footage wasn't necessary but otherwise very good
2 January 2018
This is actually the first Ti West movie I have seen. I notice that almost all of his films have decent ratings on IMDb so there is obviously some talent behind him. I can also confirm this will not be my last film of his because 'The Sacrament' was very good. It gets off to quite a slow start, setting things up for later on, but it never drags or feels dull. Then the second half kicks off and boy does it make up for lost time. The levels of violence were not toned down in any way and I really respect that in a film.

The only gripe I have with this film is the found-footage aspect. I love found-footage films but there didn't feel like any need to make this one. It only really felt like it hampered the film and constrained them in certain ways. My guess is that they had committed to the cameraman accompanying the journalist angle and felt it would be too strange to have someone recording but the audience never seeing their footage. Fair play in that respect I suppose but I still don't think it helped the film.

Otherwise though there isn't a lot to criticise the film for. It does what it sets out to do very well. There are obviously some real-life cases very similar to this film so seeing it is very interesting. A good effort by all involved. Bring on West's next film I say.
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9/10
Very close to perfection
1 January 2018
'The Disaster Artist' is probably the closest I've ever come to giving a film a 10 out of 10 and not ended up doing so. It's so nearly perfect and only one thing in my opinion really holds it back which I will get to a little later. The positives however are plentiful. I should point out early on here too that I am yet to see 'The Room'. I've been meaning to for years because I know it is something every film lover simply has to do, but I also know I'm not particularly going to enjoy it because the whole "so bad it's good" thing doesn't apply to me in any way.

So what makes this film so good? Well you have to start with James Franco's performance. It's bordering on flawless. In fact as far as performances based on real-life people go it may just be the best I've ever seen. How he got it down to such a fine art is beyond me. There are times (especially when he has his sunglasses on) where you will question whether they got the real Tommy Wiseau in for the scene. Impeccable acting.

Secondly the script structure is a massive strength. Making a film about the making of a film can be a tricky thing to do, because getting the balance between characters and story can be nightmare. 'The Disaster Artist' will go down in a textbook as to how to do it for future film makers. The only negative I could really find in this movie was ironically Dave Franco's performance. I haven't quite decided whether he wasn't right for the role, or he was and he simply didn't get his performance right. Either way though it does have to be listed as a flaw in a near perfect film. Please see this film if you get a chance. It's too good to be missed.
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The Snowman (2017)
5/10
A bleak experience
31 December 2017
I've tried to read Jo Nesbo books before, and even made it through one or two of them, but eventually I had to give up because they were just so dull. The lead character of Harry Hole does absolutely nothing more me. A lead character in a series of books needs to be someone you can admire and aspire to be more like. Sure they need to have flaws, but their flaws shouldn't be overwhelming. So when I read somewhere that it seemed like Michael Fassbender playing Harry Hole had phoned in his performance I thought to myself I bet that isn't the case. In fact I bet he played him absolutely perfectly according to how he was written and it just seems that way because the character is so poor. Sure enough I was right. Fassbender unfortunately nailed it in a pretty awful film.

The murder-mystery side of the story is actually reasonably strong and it is easy to see why they chose this as the first book to turn into a movie. It's all the in-between stuff that drags the film down. Every character is horrifically unlikeable and the direction in some scenes is beyond sloppy. I was surprised to see that this was directed by Tomas Alfredson whose work to this point has been very well received. In 'The Snowman' is felt almost amateurish at times. There was mention that this was not an ideal production so maybe that played a part.

It's hard to recommend 'The Snowman' as a film to watch because it's just so bleak. I can't imagine anyone sitting down and having a really good time watching this. I'm certain there will be another entry in the Harry Hole series though so hopefully they learn their lessons from this one and improve upon them.
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10/10
How can one film be so perfect in so many ways?
30 December 2017
Last year I had the unfortunate duty of giving the eventual Best Picture winner at the Academy Awards a negative review. 'Moonlight' was not a movie that sat well with me. Now this is a very early call on my part but I have a sneaking suspicion I'm writing the review for the 2018 winner as we speak, and I can assure you it's not going to be a negative review this time around. 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' is the finest film I have watched in a long time. How a film that can break your heart so effortlessly can also manage to be so damn funny and charming at the same time is simply beyond me. It shouldn't be possible. However writer/director Martin McDonagh proves that it can indeed be done.

Frances McDormand in the lead role is astonishingly good. There are many cries at the moment that there aren't enough movies with females in the lead role. Well showing them that the best film in 2017 has one is a good place to base your argument from. She is so good that you can feel her broken heart and soul almost as if it is your own. Sam Rockwell is also nothing short of superb. He remains one for the best actors working today and I only wish he would take on more work. Finally Woody Harrelson is fantastic in the film. He seems to be so endlessly charming in every film he appears in these days. Was that always the case? Regardless, he is a brilliant edition to this film.

Be prepared going into this movie is all I will say. It will take you on an abolsute rollercoaster of emotions. There are times where a hilarious line is delivered and you might actually stop and question yourself, "Am I allowed to laugh in a film this dark?" I know the Oscar nominations aren't even out yet, but I am extremely hopeful that this is the final film read out on ceremony night. Great films deserve great recognition.
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Better Watch Out (II) (2016)
9/10
I may just have a new favourite Christmas film
25 December 2017
If there's one thing I can say about the movie 'Better Watch Out' it's that it didn't go in any way as I expected it to. I knew very little about it going in, but got the impression it was a home-invasion, survival film between a young boy and girl (who may or may not fall in love along the way). Little did I know just how little I knew however. What instead took place were 90 minutes of the best horror film I have seen in a while.

I loved every aspect of this film. The writing was superb first and foremost. The most important factor to a good horror movie is making the characters both likeable and believable. This film nailed that. The whole cast were terrific but Levi Miller blew me away with a performance well beyond his years.

This is where the future of horror has to go if it has any chance of surviving. People are done with the jump-scares and creepy looking monsters. They want realistic brutality from characters that they can actually remember for more than 5 minutes after leaving the cinema. 'Better Watch Out' is one of the best films released in 2016 and I'm glad I had the pleasure of watching it on Christmas Day.
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4/10
We may never get a good Batman movie again unfortunately
25 December 2017
I always knew going into 'Justice League' that I was going to have problems with it. Why? Because the concept itself is flawed. The basic premise is that almost none of these characters (other than Batman of course) are strong enough to justify their own movie, however all put into one movie they should be fine. Only that doesn't really stand to reason. All that means is that we are getting less screen time for the characters that actually deserve it.

'Justice League' has a ridiculously weak villain. 'Steppenwolf' couldn't be more boring or one-dimensional. The villain needs to be the strongest part in a film like this otherwise everything just feels completely pointless. Like what are they really fighting against? Nothing feels menacing or genuinely threatening. None of the main heroes had to sacrifice anything in order to conquer evil. Compare that to 'The Dark Knight' where the Joker literally pushed Batman to the edge in every way. Batman lost everything in order to save the day. What an incredible film that was. Compare that to 'Justice League' and you'll realise just how bad this film really was.

The only real bright spot I could see was the character of 'Barry Allen'. He kept me laughing and nailed it with almost every one-liner he had. Having said that I didn't come to this film looking for a laugh. So while it was a nice bonus, it really doesn't help the quality of the film very much. The one-liners by the other characters were particularly weak I thought. Some very lazy efforts by the writing staff.

Sadly, I fear the days of good Batman films like 'The Dark Knight' trilogy may be done and gone. They seem to have gone in an entirely new direction with the characters and that is very disappointing to see, because it is the wrong direction plain and simple.
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Irreversible (2002)
10/10
More cinema needs to be like this
11 December 2017
"More cinema needs to be like this." Now I can understand how at first that might be misconstrued as a strange thing to say about a film like this, however allow me to explain. Sure, this film is absolutely brutal and incredibly hard to watch at times, but because of that it is also a thing of beauty. This film is showing us how fragile life really is. In the blink of an eye your world can be turned upside down. Now a lot of films set out to tell a similar message to that, but fail. And why do they fail? Because they are afraid to be bold, memorable and show everything that needs to be shown. This film never backs down in any way and I love it for that.

I've always made it clear that I'm a huge fan of French cinema. The French have so much patience in their story-telling style. I love American films in their own way too, but I wish so badly that they weren't afraid to take the time to fully express them self like the French ones do so well. Some of the dialogue in this movie is exquisite. It's designed to break you, if the imagery hasn't already done so. In fact every single detail in this film is designed to destroy the audience - in a good way. In a way that will make this film stick with you until your dying day. I can't say enough good things about this film. Please see it if you haven't already. You'll be so pleased you did (even if you might not realise it at first).
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Vile (2011)
6/10
Far from perfect but there are some positives here
7 December 2017
Taylor Sheridan, director of 'Vile', has gone on to make some absolutely sensational films in the last few years including one of 2017's best 'Wind River'. So when I saw that he had actually started out his career with a horror film, and a gruesome looking one at that, I knew I had to see it. It's safe to say he hadn't quite perfected his art just yet, however there are certainly glimpses of what his potential was. He didn't write it, so it's hard to say just how much of an impact he had on 'Vile'. And while it's hard to argue that there are a lot of flaws in this movie, there are also some real positives to it.

The negatives lie mostly in the writing. The whole concept is a rather bizarre one and takes a massive suspension of belief to get your head around. The characters feel like they simply accept the situation they're in far too easily. Also the dialogue ranges greatly throughout the film from really charming and natural, to unbearable campy and unrealistic. There were two writers of this film so that could have had something to do with it.

The positives are basically the concept. It allows so much freedom for the story to flow and for the audience to be shocked. Every character needing to be tortured by their fellow characters. It's a writers dream. There are some unbearable scenes in this film to watch. I have a pretty high tolerance level and even so found myself turning away at certain moments. This isn't a must-see film by any means, however if you do find yourself with the opportunity to watch it you're probably going to have a decent time (perhaps switch your brain off at the start would be my advice).
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Dread (2009)
9/10
"Madness, as you know, is like gravity - all it takes is a little push"
5 December 2017
The writer/director of 'Dread' Anthony DiBlasi is responsible for one of my favourite horror films of all time 'Last Shift'. On that occasion he caught me completely off-guard and managed to blow me away by how impactfully he was able to make a modern horror film. 'Dread' was actually made 5 years prior to that, but still possesses a lot of the same class. There's something to be a said for a thought-provoking horror movie. All the 'Saw' movies managed to pull it off and it was a thing of beauty. 'Dread' is a also very thought-provoking. There are a surprising amount of levels to this film. All of that culminating in a dark and memorable final scene equals one hell of a film.

The characters are what truly drive this film and make it what it is. For one thing they're likable. For another they're believable (for the most part). And finally the character of 'Quaid' is so cool he's almost channeling 'Tyler Durden' from 'Fight Club'. Finally the thing I love most about this film is that it follows through. It sets up a dark premise and then carries it out to the fullest extent. Too many people set up infinite possibilities in their films and then ultimately back down and take the safe route. There's none of that here and I love that about this film. Definitely a must-see if you get the chance.
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3/10
Really quite terrible unfortunately
4 December 2017
The first 'The Houses October Built' blew me away back in 2014. I went in with almost zero expectations and left astonished by how good it was. Did I have my hopes up for the sequel being able to live up to that same level? No, they almost never do after all particularly in the horror genre. Did I hope for more quality than I got though? Absolutely, this was bordering on one of the worst movies I've seen in a long time. Does it detract from what the original put forward? Unfortunately yes it does in a big way.

By about the 1 hour 15 minute mark I thought to myself: has anything actually happened yet? The answer was no. Sure we had seen some fun haunted houses (or hay rides apparently) and there was the weirdly edited shots of the clown masked guy following them, however this felt more like a documentary to that point than anything else. It was filler, plain and simple. It's absolutely unacceptable for a horror movie to run for an hour and 40 minutes with that little happening in the opening 75 minutes. No excuse for that whatsoever.

Then the big final sequence (or the pay off if you wish to call it that) begins and I think to myself: this better bloody be worth it. Well let me assure you it wasn't. It was poorly done, predictable and thought it was a hell of a lot smarter than it actually was. The editing was also very poor in that final sequence. Possibly the best done scene in the entire film was the very final one with the sign, however that had basically nothing to do with the film, so bravo. Please stay away from this film. Not only is it terrible, there's a very good chance it will ruin the original for you too. Yuck.
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7/10
Works well and knows what it is
1 December 2017
To see a horror movie with a rating above '6' on IMDb is almost unheard of. Especially a found-footage one. That is reserved for the truly elite, so I'm a little surprised in myself that it took me this long to check out 'Grave Encounters'. But alas I did, and I'm glad I did. It's a very well made horror film.

While it does follow a very similar formula to all the other found-footage movies out there I found it interesting to read in the trivia section that the director intended to differentiate his film by being less subtle. Whilst I've always maintained that 'Paranormal Activity's greatest strength was its subtlety I can understand why a film going in the opposite direction can also work. 'Paranormal Activity' was set in a family home, so being subtle and having things happen that could actually happen in any old audience member's house is always going to be terrifying. However when your film is set in an abandoned mental asylum I think you are implored to go the other way and actually show terrifying images in a dramatic way. Each film got it right with the direction they went in in my opinion.

The film is very well paced and certainly will succeed in scaring audience members in certain spots. One of the only flaws I'd like to have seen them leave out was the opening scene. I'm of the opinion that when you have no idea how the footage was found or who's being shown it it is much more impactful. I believe there is a sequel to check out so I guess that will be one of my next stops. A good horror movie indeed.
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7/10
A very good horror film with only a couple of flaws holding it back
29 November 2017
There are only two things holding 'The Poughkeepsie Tapes' back from being a truly great movie. The first is the acting. My goodness it is shocking in some scenes. It's rare for a movie released as recently as 2007 to have acting this bad. The girl trying to pop the balloon is possibly the worst piece of acting I can remember seeing. The second thing is the inclusion of some scenes in the final cut. This is supposed to be a (fake obviously) documentary on a serial killer and yet there are a tremendous amount of things that would simply never be shown in any real documentary (explicit patient records spoken out loud by a doctor is a very obvious one that comes to mind). Apart from those two things though I have to say I quite liked this film.

This is an exceedingly dark film, make no mistake about that. It was made without a conscious, and I quite like that quality in a film. There is also one element to the story (revolving around 9/11) that I found very innovative, creative and original. It's one of those things that keeps you thinking after the film is finished. This certainly isn't for the faint of heart, however if you're up to it you may just find yourself very much enjoying 'The Poughkeepsie Tapes'.
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Willow Creek (2013)
6/10
Could have been better, could have been worse
24 November 2017
I've never made any secret of the fact that I'm a big fan of the "found-footage" genre. I really enjoy almost every film that is made this way. It just makes sense as a story-telling style to me. For the most part though it seems to me that people are sick of the concept and no longer have any time for it. 'Willow Creek' was made back in 2013 when the genre was basically in its dying stages (films are still made in this style, but less and less frequently). So did 'Willow Creek' breed fresh life into the concept, or was it simply another nail in the coffin? The answer lies somewhere in the middle.

The film is very simple in its premise. Basically a documentary is being made about Bigfoot by a young couple and they head to a small town, do some interviews with the locals, and then head into the forest to see if they can find Bigfoot for themselves. Sounds simple? It is. Probably too simple. I understand films like 'The Blair Witch Project' pulled it off with basically exactly that formula, but the problem is that was 20 years ago which implies the genre has gone absolutely nowhere in that time. That's simply not true.

The film isn't bad though I wouldn't say. There's a quite incredible 18 minute long one-take scene (according to the IMDb trivia section at least) that is surprisingly well done. The main couple have enough chemistry and charisma to carry things and there is enough creepiness in the atmosphere to keep it interesting. This is a middle of the road horror film.
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Creep 2 (2017)
10/10
Who says a sequel can't be great?
22 November 2017
Let me start by saying I absolutely loved the original 'Creep'. It took me completely off-guard by just how good it was. It was original, innovative, creative and crafty - not to mention very disturbing. When I heard there was going to be a sequel I had mixed feelings. I wanted to see more of this wonderful character, but I also didn't want to see him ruined by a poor follow-up film that couldn't live up to the original. My fears were unnecessary though because not only is 'Creep 2' a very well made film, it is possibly even better than the original.

Three things make this film exceptional. The first one is obviously a given, the character of 'Aaron' who we already knew was a major strength. He's certainly different this time around, and I think that works even more so for the character. We get to see even more layers to an already incredibly complex character. The second thing that makes the film so strong is the character of 'Sara' (and also the performance of Desiree Akhavan). Wow, they simply could not have written this character any better. She was the ideal personality for us to see 'Aaron' have to deal with.

The final thing that makes this a near perfect sequel is the fact that it takes the craziness up a level every chance it gets. We learn very early on that nothing is off the table. They are willing to push the boundaries as far as they will possibly go. I can't say enough good things about this film. Please if you get a chance make sure you see this it.
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Patient Seven (2016)
7/10
There's hit and miss but overall I enjoyed it
15 November 2017
Something I really appreciate in a film is a clever title. 'Patient Seven' has that, and for multiple reasons, but the biggest one being that it makes you crave the knowledge of who the seventh patient is and what makes them worthy of having the film named after them. The film is presented with seven stories and then the central film tying them all together. Here are my brief thoughts on each of the segments.

Segment 1: A bad way to start the film. Bland and unimaginative.

Segment 2: Probably my favourite segment of them film. Smart, funny and a wee twist to top it off.

Segment 3: Another boring segment with very little going for it. Not sure how it made the cut. More filler than anything else.

Segment 4: I'm from New Zealand and I can tell you that patient four's accent was nothing like that which we have here. The segment itself though the accents were much better (and even featured real New Zealand money which impressed me). Not a great segment, but far from the worst. Very much middle of the road.

Segment 5: Probably the second best segment. A little drawn out but has a nice ending to go out with a bang.

Segment 6: Yuck. Nothing to like about this one.

Segment 7: Would have liked this one to be better. It should have been, but again it just ran out of steam.

The best part of the movie though is the story tying all of this together. That's where the real fun is to be had. Michael Ironside does a great job playing the creepy main character and he has more than enough to work with in the script. The film finishes very strongly and that is always a good thing for a movie to do. Leave the audience with a good taste in their mouth.
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9/10
Great cast, great trailer, great film
8 November 2017
I was completely unfamiliar with the story of 'Murder on the Orient Express' going in. I had of course heard of it, however I had never read it, nor seen any of the previous film adaptions of it. I am very partial to a murder-mystery however, and so I was very excited for it. Adding to that excitement were a tremendous cast (including my main man Johnny Depp himself) and a trailer that blew me away. Now all the film had to do was live up to the hype I had created for it. Did it manage to? You bet it did.

The thing that took me off-guard was that Johnny Depp was not only not the star of the film, he was actually playing one of the least interesting characters in the whole film. What also took me by surprise was how much I enjoyed Kenneth Branagh's interpretation of the character of 'Hercule Poirot'. He was captivating to watch. He left me undoubtedly wanting more. I would happily welcome a follow-up film (which may or may not have been hinted at in the film).

There's a lot of fun to be had in 'Murder on the Orient Express'. While it is a dialogue heavy film, it is exquisite dialogue. The amount of memorable quotes in this movie are far too plentiful to count. The twist at the end (which I'm assuming is the same as the source material?) was probably my least favourite part of the film, however it did make sense and I get it. Otherwise though this is a very hard film to find flaws in. Definitely a film not to missed.
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8/10
Moretz and Elgort shine in a very fine movie
8 November 2017
I really liked 'November Criminals'. There were certain scenes that blew me away how well they were crafted and how impactful they managed to be. The film's strongest quality is undoubtedly the chemistry between its two leads. Chloë Grace Moretz and Ansel Elgort were an absolute pleasure to watch. In fact they were so good I remember thinking to myself at one point that these two must be together in real life because they are just so good together.

It's very clear that this was based on a novel. I didn't know that for sure while watching but I was almost certain, and sure enough turned out to be right. It just has that feel about it. I find that movies based on a novel often have grittier characters who have been through a lot more trauma in their life than characters in screenplays written directly for the screen.

The characters are great, the cast is outstanding and the story is interesting, well paced and though-provoking. It really is hard to find fault with this movie. An already short run time absolutely flies by before you know it. I would thoroughly recommend giving 'November Criminals' a watch.
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Wish Upon (2017)
8/10
You might just be surprised how good this one is
6 November 2017
I have to say I really did not go into 'Wish Upon' expecting to like it. I have been almost entirely put off the supernatural horror genre by failed attempt after failed attempt. The only upside to that is that when I do come across one I enjoy, I really enjoy it. 'Wish Upon' is not a bad film at all.

Let's get the negatives out of the way first so we can finish on a high. The only ones I see are that the "wish" element to any film can be incredibly frustrating in terms of the way the characters use them (or misuse them). There are times when you just want to scream at the screen. Then again I've never been lucky enough to be granted any wishes, so what would I know?

The other downside comes in terms of the death sequences (which are actually a strength in a different way, which we'll get to soon). The negative side is that they are trying to be like 'Final Destination' and yet failing in every way. What made the death scenes in 'Final Destination' so brilliant was that every one of them had their own little mini-twist. It made you think they were going to die in one way, and then did it in the completely opposite way. 'Wish Upon' felt like it was going for something similar, but all it really ever achieved was dragging out the inevitable.

Into the positives of the movie now. Let's start with why the death sequences were also well done. What I liked about them was that for a PG-13 movie they were extremely graphic at times. They pushed the envelope to the absolute limit and got away with it. 'Saw' would be proud.

The dialogue and character development were also extremely strong for a horror movie. Joey King in the lead role did an excellent job of carrying the movie and making sure we cared about the things that were happening and the people they were happening to.

Finally the ending was a real bonus for me. It was unique. Without giving anything away I'll simply say it is a lot more abrupt than expected. It didn't fall into the usual extended cliché horror movie ending. I liked it.

Whether people will find 'Wish Upon' scary is a tough one for me to judge. There certainly is a lot more potential for audience members to find it terrifying than there is a lot of other modern horror films. If you're in two minds about seeing this one my advice would be to give it a chance. It might just pleasantly surprise you.
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Jigsaw (I) (2017)
9/10
They've still got it!
4 November 2017
Even though people rarely admit it, the 'Saw' series has been one of the highest quality horror series ever made. 'Jigsaw' is the eighth entry in the series and there is still yet to be a bad film made amongst them. Some are undoubtedly better than others, but I defy you to point me out one that is inherently bad. I also defy you to show me another horror series (even any type of series at all is rare) that has maintained quality across that many films. That's why I was so happy that 'Jigsaw' was a brilliant movie, because if they had come back seven years later only to put forward a bad film for the sake of making money it would have ruined everything. Luckily that was not the case though.

While this one does follow the formula used in all the past films, it also feels quite unique in a number of ways. The original seven films were all set within a very tight time-frame. This one of course is pushing ten years into the future. This adds layers of intrigue to the proceedings, because how could 'Jigsaw' be committing these crimes when he died all those years back? And you just know they're going to have a brilliant answer to that question.

As far as the traps go in this one, I'm not too sure how I feel. None of them were bad, however none of them really blew me away either. My favourite one (without giving away any spoilers) was actually the most simple one in the film involving a gun. The psychology behind that one is what I loved. I love when these films aren't afraid to be intelligent.

The twist in this one also caught me completely off-guard. I've heard people say they weren't entirely convinced by it and felt that the film cheated, however I disagree. Nothing is off limits coming in a 'Saw' movie. You have to know that going in. Altogether I absolutely loved this film and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is in anyway interested in the genre.
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