Movie Review – Midnight Runner

TL;DR – A competent film from first-time filmmakers that shows that struggles of trying to start your life again     

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Midnight Runner. Image Credit: Global Digital Releasing.

Review

All filmmakers have to start somewhere, a place where they can get their feet wet, practice their crafts, and work on telling stories. Today we are looking at a film from John Mathis & Jared Sprouse, which is the first feature film from them as both directors and writers, and it is clear this was a bit of a passion project. However, like all first-time filmmakers, while there is a promise, there is also room from improvement.

So to set the scene, Ian (Ben Weinswig) arrives at his Aunt Renee’s (Dawn O’Donoghue) house to come live. While we don’t know what happened in his past life, it is clear from the way people act that something significant happened with him and his parents. Ian is trying to stay out of trouble and restart his life, however, life is not fair and he gets drawn back into a world of violence where you can’t go to the cops because they are in on it.

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Movie Review – God’s Own Country (2017)

TL;DR – Much like the Yorkshire Moors that is filmed on, this is a film that is both harsh and yet filled with moments of beauty   

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

God's Own Country. Image Credit: British Film Institute.

Review

My family originally came from Yorkshire, so when I spot a film set in the region I always give it a watch to try and connect with my past. Well, I am not sure what I expected when I loaded up God’s Own Country, but what I got was a film that was both frank and also a little optimistic in a world of bleakness.

So to set the scene, Johnny lives and works on a farm with his father Martin (Ian Hart), and his grandmother Deirdre (Gemma Jones). He spends all day grafting on the farm and all night in the local town drinking. Wake up, chuck out the contents of his stomach and repeat. Most of his friends have gone off to university, however, because his dad had a stroke and can’t work the farm like he used to, Johnny has to step up and take all that pressure. Given some issues, Martin calls in some help, as they are about to go into calving season, and Gheorghe (Alec Secăreanu) a Romanian farmhand takes the job. There is instant tension between the two because Johnny sees Gheorghe has a manifestation of his failure but he needs the help.

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Movie Review – Chase

TL;DR – It explores what happens when a hitman’s work and life collide    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Chase. Image Credit: Vertical Entertainment.

Review

The hitman is a character that has been around as long as cinema has been a medium. Sometimes they are the bogeyman lurking in the shadows, sometimes they are a threat to contend with in running gun battles, and sometimes you kill the wrong person’s dog and you forfeit your life. One area that does not get as explored as much as it should is what happens when the hitman goes home and how does that affect their lives. How can you kill people by day and go home to your family at night and what happens if those worlds collide together? Well, today we look at a film that explores this intersection with Chase.  

So to set the scene, we open in as Chase (Damien Puckler) and his best friend who is also his sort of boss Miles (Aries Spears). Chase and Miles have been inseparable since they were 15 and ran off from foster care together. Miles is the boss and always seems to be in the position to manipulate the people around him and Chase is his best hitman. Chase has a simple system, he has a flat rate, double for women, and triple for kids and his only rules that he is paid in full up front, he not a repeat service so you will never see him again, and that he does not leave orphans. Chase has been living that life for a long time but in recent years he has found two attachments, his girlfriend Blair (Jessica Morris) and their child Micah (Eli Michael Kaplan). However, while Chase is good at compartmentalising, Miles thinks he is going soft and well as you can imagine this is a recipe for disaster.

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Movie Review – Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

TL;DR – While it focuses on the charismatic nature of Bundy and his toxic effects, that is all the film has going for it, and that is not enough when you are exploring a narrative like this.     

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit sequence

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Murder, it is a topic most foul, but it is also one that is ripe for adaptation. We have seen this time and time again, and today we are looking film depicting the life of one of the most heinous serial killers in American history. There is a lot of obsession around him due to his charismatic nature and the way he used the media in his trial, after numerous escapes from custody. Quite often this obsession is deeply problematic, so when you are dealing with a film in which he is the core subject you have to be very careful. Today we are looking at Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, a film that attempts this but does not quite succeed.

So to set the scene, in the middle of the 1970s and Liz (Lily Collins) is out at a bar with her friend Joanna (Angela Sarafyan). Joanna wanted Liz to have a little fun, instead of being stuck at home with her daughter and there is one man that has not taken his eyes off her. He walks over and introduces himself as Ted Bundy (Zac Efron) and the two instantly hit it off. However, not long after they move in together Ted is arrested in Utah on what he claims are trumped up charges. This begins a long march for justice and the long decline of Liz’s health.

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Movie Review – His Father’s Voice

TL;DR – It filled with the mixed emotions that come with tracing your past a world full of nostalgia and pain.      

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

His Father's Voice. Image Credit: Indie Rights.

Review

Your past can be something filled with joy or tinged with regret. We dream of the past but sometimes forget the effect it has on our present and future. This is especially true when it comes to the issues around a parent’s separation because it adds a whole other layer of issues with how we interpret the past. Today we look at a film that interprets all of this through the lens of Indian performance art.

So to set the scene, we open on Kris (Christopher Gurusamy) making a long journey from the city to a complex deep in the jungle. This is where he spent most of his childhood growing up in a musical collective who put on performances based on Indian mythology and Hindu Religious epics. There is also a little trepidation for Kris as this is also a place of great pain for him. He is soon spotted by Valli (Sudharma Vaithiyanathan) who he uses to play with as a child and he asks the first of many pertinent questions “Where is my dad” but Jon (Jeremy Roske) likes to travel around India so while he is not here, though he should return. So Kris decides to wait at the compound for his father’s return and dredges up the memories of the past.

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Movie Review – Stuck

TL;DR – When it gets to the emotional core of music Stuck has some real emotional weight, but it has issues getting between those moments.       

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Stuck. Image Credit: MJW Films.

Review

There are many things that can make a bad day and I can tell you that being stuck in a train carriage with a bunch of strangers for an indeterminate amount of time would be very high on that list. With this in mind, I was captivated with the idea of setting a musical in that setting and where you could go with the pressures and opportunity of keeping everyone in that one space. What we get in the final film is a story with two halves, however, unfortunately, they don’t quite work together.

So to set the scene, it is a day in New York and disconnected strangers are running around in their day trying to get from one place to another. You have Lloyd (Giancarlo Esposito) a homeless gentleman who is getting ready for the day in the actual train carriage. Alica (Arden Cho) a dancer trying to get home and avoid her stalker Ramon (Omar Chaparro), Caleb (Gerard Canonico) who is running between his many jobs, then Eve (Ashanti) and Sue (Amy Madigan) who are just trying to get home on a difficult day. Fate is a precarious thing at times, and this day as they board the train everything grinds to a halt as a police incident closes the train lines trapping the train in-between stations, and as the carriages are locked there is the realisation that they are trapped and the only thing you can do is sing.

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Movie Review – Unicorn Store

TL;DR – A delightful film about the tension between dreams and reality and how they don’t always add up   

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Unicorn Store. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

One of the things that is becoming rarer and rarer these days is going into a film without any idea what to expect. Well, today I got to experience one of those rare moments as I turned on Netflix and stepped into a world of glitter and paint and every colour in the rainbow with no idea what I was getting myself into.

So to set the scene, we open with a montage of Kit (Brie Larson) growing up, discovering her life, discovering her joy for art, only to have it come crashing down when she fails out of Art College and has to go back to live with her mother Gladys (Joan Cusack) and her dad Gene (Bradley Whitford). This of course sets of a period of depression as Kit fails to find purpose in her life, while her parents try to help, like introducing her to Kevin (Karan Soni), but it is not very successful. In frustration, she joins a temp agency where she placed in an advertising firm, a place where creativity goes to die. When one day she gets a letter to come visit The Store and she finds The Salesman (Samuel L. Jackson) waiting because he has the one thing she has always wanted a Unicorn.

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