The Trail Of The Chicago 7 is a historical courtroom drama directed by Aaron Sorkin. The plot recounts the real-life story of the Chicago 7, a group of people who lead a protest at the Democratic National Convention in 1968, who were then falsely accused of plotting to start a riot. The film depicts the highly suspect trail.
This film is effecting, I will say that up front. It is very hard to watch this film and not feel something, whether it is horror at the issues shown, sympathy at the plight of the defendants who were guilty of nothing more than wanting a better world, or sheer hated and frustration towards the clearly bias judge; you will leave the film having been emotionally impacted.
The dialogue is short and punchy, I would expect nothing less from Sorkin. It leads to many terrific exchanges; I believe of all the cast that Sasha Baron Cohen lends himself best to Sorkin’s particular style and really shines here. Michael Keaton also gives a fantastic performance later in the film though he is more of an expanded cameo role, so he doesn’t have as much time with the audience as some of the other cast.
The film is beautifully paced, a real master class. You are gripped for the whole runtime; you become absorbed in the trail and can’t tear yourself away. The time really files by.
Overall, a moving, frustrating protest ballad that is guaranteed to make you feel something.
Sorkin’s trademark punchy dialogue
Great pacing and structure
Sasha Baron Cohen
Eddie Redmayne is miscast and is not very good
Reviewed by Luke
The Prophecy II is a fantasy action thriller film directed by Greg Spense. The plot again follows Gabriel (Christopher Walken), now freshly back from Hell and on the hunt for a Nephilim. Gabriel wants to kill this human angel hybrid as it might be the humans can fight back against their own extinction. The angles opposed to Gabriel and his genocidal ways, are of course helping to protect this person/ Nephilim/ unborn baby; the war wages onward.
This is a step back from the first film in terms of quality, you can see the cheaper production values and it is clear that this was rushed out to capitalise on the success of the first film. However, there is still a lot of merit to the film and I enjoyed my time with it.
The majority of my enjoyment comes from further exploring this universe. As I said in my review of the first film in this series, the universe and the lore are deep and rich and there is a lot going on to sink your teeth into. It is nice to see some more familiar Angels like Michael (Eric Roberts), join the fray this time around.
Walken is still quite easily menacing, though he is somewhat softer here then he was in the first film; you can see where they are taking his character.
Overall, though it is not as good as the first film there is still a lot of value here and it is still entertaining to explore this world.
Other familiar angles joining the fray
The 90s feel
You can tell that less thought went into this one, it feels rushed.
Reviewed by Luke
Rosemary’s Baby is a psychological horror film directed by Roman Polanski. The plot follows young woman, Rosemary (Mia Farrow), who finds herself suddenly pregnant one day after having a horrific dream. Over the course of her pregnancy more and more odd occurrences play out, before things take a sharp turn towards the sinister.
The demonic angle of the story didn’t work for me, I won’t go to much into it as I don’t want to spoil it too much, but I didn’t find that part of the story scary. I could see from the beginning where they were going with it, but no matter how much they built the reveal it did little for me in the end.
Rather where I do find scares in this film is the way it depicts the life of a woman in the 60s. The bias towards the husband, the blatant sexism, the belief that women can just be hysterical. I found the abuse and mental anguish that Rosemary suffers from those around here to be far more chilling than anything else in the film. Maybe that was the intent?
I think in terms of horror cinema as a whole you can see how this film would go on to inspire a lot of other people and projects. There are elements here that would become genre main stays for decades after. So credit must be given for that.
Personally, I didn’t find it very interesting and often found myself losing focus with it and becoming distracted, I think it was very slow in pacing and didn’t have a lot to keep me engaged.
Overall, though I can understand its significances, I found it to be overly slow and the main horror aspect of the film feel flat for me.
The genre significant
Showing how hard it was to be a woman in that time period
A few memorable moments
The demonic plot line did nothing for me
It was far too slow
Reviewed by Luke
The Prophecy is a fantasy thriller film directed by Gregory Widen. The plot sees angel of death Gabriel (Christopher Walken), seek to find an evil soul and use it to wipe out mankind. It is set to a backdrop of a centuries long angelic civil war.
This is pulpy good fun, will it win awards no, but it was solidly entertaining for an hour and a half and it made me want to check out its sequels, stay tuned for reviews of them. I enjoyed the deeply 90s aesthetic of the film it reminded me a bit of films like The Crow. I thought the world building was incredibly on point, they create a huge world with a lot going on, but don’t spend big parts of the film spouting exposition which is appreciated.
The performances are really a conversation about two actors Christopher Walken and Viggo Mortensen. So, Walken played the menacing angle of death well, he was a very believable badass and managed to seem worse than the devil himself. Speaking of, Mortensen’s Lucifer is only in the film briefly, but he is a scene stealer while he is there, he is so manic and unhinged it is truly chilling; the performance has become one of my all-time favourite Devil performances.
Overall, if you want a schlocky good time with a surprisingly deep world and a few great performances then give this a try.
The deep lore
Not overcomplicating things and being a lot of fun
It is quite dated now
Reviewed by Luke
Thr33 Days Dead is a zombie horror film directed by John M. Ware. The plot follows a group of friends who head down to the lake for a spot of fishing, however their trip is ruined when they find out that their town has been overrun by zombies.
I enjoyed this film it resorted my faith in a tired sub-genre. Very much like found footage, zombie horror has been done to death, but this film proved to me there is still more life within the genre. I thought the film treated its zombies with a great deal of care, giving homage to past classics while trying for something new.
I thought the film had a few good scares that I didn’t see coming, so I will give it props for that. The more comedic elements were hit and miss for me, sometimes it made me laugh when I don’t think I was supposed to, and other times funny moments left me cold.
The acting is all solid, the actors seem to care about the film and are trying; that is evident in their performance. I thought Bryan Boylen was particularly good, and his performance made the film for me.
Overall, a nice unique zombie film that restores my faith in the subgenre even if the tone sometimes goes in the wrong direction.
Restoring the sub-genre
Handling zombies with care
Some good scares
The more lighthearted moments and a lot of unintentional laughs
Reviewed by Luke
Shaun The Sheep The Movie is a British animated film directed by Mark Burton and Richard Starzak; the film serves as a continuation of the animated series Shaun The Sheep. The plot follows Shaun (Justin Fletcher), as he and his fellow sheep head to the big city after their owner (John Sparkes), goes missing.
My big issue with this film is the fact that none of the characters talk, they make strange noises, mumble, but they don’t talk. Now, I want to preface this point and this review by saying that I have not seen the series before, maybe the odd five minutes here and there. So, with that said when I put this film on, I was expecting the characters to talk just like in Aardman’s other features and of course they didn’t. This bothered me as I often didn’t really understand what was happening and a lot of the time it felt like one random scene after another.
This also becomes an issue with characterization, as I didn’t end up caring about Shaun and co so their journey and struggle had little effect on me and I lose interest quickly.
Overall, I would say this is probably the least accessible of Aardman’s catalogue and if you aren’t either a little kid or a previous fan of the show you probably won’t like this.
Some interesting scenes and moments
It is watchable
You don’t care about the characters
The lack of talking serves to hurt the film
It has pacing issues that result in you losing interest
Reviewed by Luke
Love And Monsters is a post-apocalyptic adventure film directed by Michael Matthews. The plot follows Joel (Dylan O’ Brien), a survivor who doesn’t seem to be very good at surviving as he leaves his bunker hideaway in pursuit of his lost love Aimee (Jessica Henwick), after they reconnect over the radio.
So, if you had any doubt about Dylan O’ Brien’s career as a Hollywood leading man this film come as a comfort. Not only is O’ Brien a terrific leading man here, he is also perfectly cast and suited to the part. He has the physicality to pull off the action scenes, but also the awkwardness to not see like the standard action hero ‘type’.
I think the world and the tongue in cheek tone is a strength to the film. The mythology is present, but is not overly explored which allows there to be a degree of your own imagination set to the proceedings. The humour of the film resonated with me and often made me laugh.
I think the supporting cast all do great jobs with their limited screen time; they help the world to feel lived in and set up perfectly crafted emotional moments that will hit you. Henwick struggles somewhat in a leading role, but does have a few strong moments. I enjoyed that she was the inverse of Joel in almost every way and that their romance often subverted my expectations.
Overall, a gem of 2020 that you can’t afford to sleep on
Dylan O’ Brien
The supporting characters
The tone and the humour
Jessica Henwick is a weak link, but has redeeming moments
Reviewed by Luke
Eastern Promise is a gangster film directed by David Cronenberg. The plot tells the story of an abandoned baby from a 14-year-old drug addict. Anna (Naomi Watts), delves into the Russian underworld to try and trace the roots of this now dead junkie, so that her baby can have a chance at a future.
I loved the world of the Russian mob that this film dives into, it is so deep and layered, there is so much to it and all is explored in great detail. Furthermore, this film teaches us the audience a great deal that we might not know in this regard, such as the importance of tattoos within the mob.
Watts is fine, serviceable but not much more, however the real star here is Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen). Mortensen gives a very strong performance that feels nuanced and well delivered, he is so much more than the thug character type he has so much more personality than that. The twist with his character, that I won’t spoil here, is quite obvious but it still works well.
The ending of the film does set it up for a sequel, which I think could be great if it continues to dive further into this world; however according to Cronenberg himself it is dead.
Overall, a bit more thinky than most Gangster films, the plot and the themes are just as important as the violence.
A deep world
An intriguing story
The twist works
Naomi Watts is very eh
Reviewed by Luke
The Wedding Ringer is a buddy romantic comedy film directed by Jeremey Garelick. The plot sees friendless Doug (Josh Gad), lie to his fiancé Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco) and say he has a best man arranged for the wedding, this leads him to seek the services of Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart), a best man for hire.
Once again I find myself finding Kevin Hart hilarious, he threw me off with those terrible Ride Along movies, but I am now fully back on the Hart train. He made me laugh several times during this film and he brought a hell of a lot of heart, pardon the pun, to the role. I think the film would be a lot worse without him in it.
The buddy relationship between Hart and Gad works well, both nail the emotional beats and make for a very convincing on-screen friendship. Despite being a romantic comedy film for the most part of the film I was rooting for their friendship over the central romance of the narrative.
In regard to said romance, I think this film sorely underused Cuoco’s proven comedic talents and instead relegates her to playing the gold-digging finance that the film goes out of its way to encourage you to hate, which feels like a huge waste. She is given no good moments of her own to shine.
Overall, a solid buddy film, not really a romantic comedy at all. Strong chemistry between Gad and Hart, but Cuoco gets snubbed at every turn. Mixed to positive.
The buddy dynamic
It is quite funny
It is not a romantic comedy
Cuoco is wasted
Reviewed by Luke
Hellraiser is a British supernatural horror film directed by Clive Barker. Frank Cotton (Sean Chapman), opens a portal to hell when he unlocks the secrets of an ancient puzzle box, he is then seemingly killed. However, he returns from the beyond and convinces his brother’s wife Julia (Claire Higgins), to bring him men to kill so he can consume then and gain a new body. Also for some reason Frank’s family, his brother, the brother’s wife, and their daughter, have moved into the house where he ‘died’.
So, in cult circles this might be one of the most important, most beloved slasher films ever made. I had watched this once before when I was young, and I didn’t like it, but watching it again now with fresh eyes I have realised that everyone was right this film is great.
Firstly, it has a very distinct visual flair which is both very 80s and very S and M inspired. I enjoyed the look of this film to a great extent, I thought it screamed of a dark sense of creativity and I loved when the film showed us glimpses of its version of hell.
I thought the makeup and costumes for this film might be some of the best I have ever seen. Though they look a little dated by today’s standards they really achieve a very grisly, very real look that I think is impressive. Frank’s skinless body looks frighteningly real and I will give the film props for that. Like wise the look of Pin Head (Doug Bradley), and his fellow cenobites will make you stand up and take notice.
Overall, this may be one of the best slasher films I have ever seen.
The makeup/ costumes
The visual aesthetic
Pin Head and his fellow Cenobites
The world and the lore
The creepy sense of threat that never goes away and makes your skin crawl
Reviewed by Luke