Tag Archives: Maria Bello

Lights Out (2016) Review

Time: 81 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Supernatural themes & violence
Cast
Teresa Palmer as Rebecca
Gabriel Bateman as Martin
Alexander DiPersia as Bret
Billy Burke as Paul
Maria Bello as Sophie
Director: David F. Sandberg

When Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) left home, she thought that her childhood fears were behind her. As a young girl growing up, she was never really sure of what was real when the lights went out at night. Now, her little brother Martin (Gabriel Bateman) is experiencing the same unexplained and terrifying events that jeopardized her safety and sanity. Holding a mysterious attachment to their mother (Maria Bello), a supernatural entity has returned with a vengeance to torment the entire family.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

The thing that originally interested me about this movie was that James Wan produced it, and as we all know, James Wan is quite possibly the best horror director working today at the moment. Now I saw this movie a long time ago, so I won’t have the best memory of the movie. But what I do remember about this movie is that I liked it. It’s quite a simple and straightforward movie, the story was decent, the acting was good, this is mostly a ‘fine’ movie. What makes it worth seeing however is the direction by David F. Sandberg. All things considering, Lights Out is a lot better than most horror films nowadays.

Lights Out isn’t a hugely deep or special horror movie, it’s quite simple in its premise but I’m okay with that. There’s only so much you can put in a 90 minute movie. It flowed pretty well and I wasn’t really bored at any points. The dialogue is okay, nothing spectacular but a little cliché at times. There’s honestly not much to talk about the story but I did like the direction that it went in. The story overall was decent, nothing bad, but nothing particularly great either. It is mostly the execution of the story which makes the movie work so well.

The acting was generally okay from everyone. It’s nothing great but it is good enough, I’m particularly referring to Teresa Palmer and Alexander DiPersia. They are fine but nothing special. There are two great performances in this movie though. One of them is Gabriel Bateman, a child actor who was actually good, also very convincing in his role. The other great performance was Maria Bello as Teresa Palmer’s and Gabriel Bateman’s mother, who was also very impressive and convincing.

The main reason to see this movie is the direction by David F. Sandberg, who seemed to be quite good at horror flicks with the recently realeased Annabelle Creation being surprisingly good as well. The use of shadows was very creative. The scares were quite effective, even if there were some scares (particularly jump scares) which weren’t really effective. Also some scares were more hilarious than actually scary, I’m not sure myself if these scares were intentional or not. But for the most part it works quite well for the movie. It is generally difficult for me to judge scares as I’m barely scared by horror movies.

Lights Out is a solid horror movie which is quite effective in its scares. The acting was decent (at times really good), and the okayish story worked for the movie but it’s the direction by David F. Sandberg that really ties the whole movie together. If you love horror movies, you should check this out sometimes. It’s not one of the best horror films of all time, I’m not even sure I’d call it great but it is probably one of the better horror movies in recent years, but I guess that’s not really saying a lot.

The 5th Wave (2016) Review

null

the-5th-wave

Time: 112 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence & offensive language
Cast:
Chloë Grace Moretz as Cassie Sullivan
Nick Robinson as Ben Parish/ “Zombie”
Ron Livingston as Oliver Sullivan
Maggie Siff as Lisa Sullivan
Alex Roe as Evan Walker
Maria Bello as Sergeant Reznik
Maika Monroe as Ringer
Zackary Arthur as Sam Sullivan
Liev Schreiber as Colonel Vosch
Director: J. Blakeson

The human race stands on the brink of extinction as a series of alien attacks decimate the planet, causing earthquakes, tsunamis and disease. Separated from her family, Ohio teenager Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz) will do whatever it takes to reunite with her brother Sam. Fate leads her to form an alliance with Evan Walker (Alex Roe), a mysterious young man who may be her last hope. Forced to trust each other, Cassie and Evan fight for survival during the fifth assault from the invaders.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

The 5th Wave is yet another Young Adult novel adaptation and as I predicted, it wasn’t really good. It definitely had potential with some of the cast and the premise but all of that is wasted. The film is full of generic characters, a boring story, weak plot points, and plenty of dated YA clichés. Which is unfortunate, because this film could’ve actually been good.

Chloë Grace Moretz and Alex Roe star in Columbia Pictures' "The 5th Wave."

This film has an interesting premise. However most of the potential is wasted. The start of the movie wasn’t great but it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. There was too much narration and exposition, but it above what I expected it to be. And then at a point, over time the movie just got worse and worse. This movie is a typical generic YA Adaptation, with things like love triangles thrown in for some reason. This movie is also kind of boring, there’s not much to get invested in, the characters are bland and 2 dimensional, the story is not investing, it’s hard to care about what’s going on. Many elements of the film are also underdeveloped, like the aliens, their motivation for attacking Earth isn’t that touched upon. Also, the way the film ended was rather underwhelming. I guess they are trying to set up sequels (hopefully they won’t actually happen).

6_the-5th-wave1

Chloe Grace Moretz in the past has shown that she is very talented. Here though she really doesn’t have much to work with. Her character, like everyone else, doesn’t have much characterisation and feel very basic and simple. And yes, there is a romance, this being between her and Alex Roe’s character. I’ll just say that out of all the YA novel adaptations that exist, this has got to be up there with one of the worst romances. There’s also sort of a love triangle that is set up with them and Nick Robinson’s character, which would probably continue into the next films (if they actually happen). The thing is that the characters are so poorly written that really no one in this movie looks good. Not even Liev Schreiber gets a chance to be good, he ended up being this generic army guy, saying and doing very clichés things.

Nick Robinson and Liev Schrieber in Columbia Pictures' "The 5th Wave," starring Chloë Grace Moretz.

As for the direction, it’s nothing special. The special effects aren’t really anything unique, it’s fine, really nothing great, nothing bad but also not very memorable. The way the third act ended was underwhelming and a part of that is the action sequences, they weren’t anything all that spectacular. They weren’t horrendous but you don’t really end up feeling that tense (though its probably because the writing doesn’t give you much to care about).

Ron Livingston, center left, and Chloë Grace Moretz, center right, and Zackary Arthur, below center, star in Columbia Pictures' "The 5th Wave."

I have no idea how accurate the movie is to the books but on it’s own, The 5th Wave is yet another failed YA Adaptation which wastes its potential, talent and premise. This movie tries to set up sequels and but I’m not sure if that will actually happen, given that most people really didn’t like this movie. It might be entertaining for some of the action scenes and just how clichéd and crazy some of the decisions were, but aside from that, this movie is not worth watching really.

Max Steel (2016) Review

333c756f3796a6f548b610da39b679be_xl1

max-steel

Time: 92 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast:
Ben Winchell as Maxwell “Max” McGrath/Max Steel
Josh Brener as the voice of Steel
Ana Villafañe as Sofia Martinez
Andy García as Dr. Miles Edwards
Maria Bello as Molly McGrath
Mike Doyle as Jim McGrath
Billy Slaughter as Agent Murphy
Director: Stewart Hendler

When teenage Max McGrath (Ben Winchell) discovers his body can generate the universe’s most powerful energy, he must bond with the only being able to contain it – a mysterious techno-organic extra-terrestrial named Steel (Josh Brener). United as the superhero Max Steel, the two friends must combat an alien menace and unlock the secrets of their past.

full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

Max Steel is a superhero movie based off the action figure of the same name. The Max Steel figures also had a tv series a few years prior to the film’s release. I went into this knowing that this movie knowing it was going to be bad. I kind of regret doing that now. Max Steel is an awful movie, with a faulty story, medicore acting and poor direction. Everything with this movie overall is faulty. The film really isn’t enjoyable in any way. The movie is not even unintentionally entertaining, it’s just boring, generic and poorly done. There’s no reason to watch Max Steel.

IMG_2850.CR2

Honestly, I can’t even remember Max Steel’s story that well. The story is extremely generic and predictable but also boring. It’s like this film tries to imitate a lot of superhero movies but doesn’t know how to do it, it’s very messy. This movie’s pacing is very slow, it is 20 minutes before Max actually discovers his powers, and this is a 90 minute movie. Also, there was no reason to make this movie dark, it’s based off a toy, it’s like it’s trying to imitate dark superhero movies and it feels like it’s trying too hard. It is also impossible to care about what is going on. The characters, and the world aren’t given much depth and it’s not even entertaining to watch.

L1450128.RWL

The acting wasn’t that good either. Ben Winchell plays one of the most boring and generic characters I’ve seen. He is so bland and unlikable. To be fair, there’s not much for him to work with. There’s no real reason to like Max at all. He’s not likable, he’s not funny, there’s nothing to like about him. Equally bland is the love interest is Ana Villafane, and this romance was complete garbage, one of the worst romances I’ve seen in a movie. Maria Bello and Andy Garcia are fine in this movie. The villain (who is so recognisable when he comes on screen, the twist is not unexpected at all) is underdeveloped and generic. And then there’s Steel (voiced by Josh Brener), the little robot that Max teams up with. He was really annoying and not likable. Childish as well, which doesn’t fit with the dark tone the film tries to force.

max-steel-2016-film1

The cinematography was hit or miss. Sometimes it looked fine, other times it looked really bad, especially with the lighting, which varies between being too bright and too dark. It looks like a fan made movie, and this movie is $10 million, which is very embarassing. Also the editing is really bad. This worst case displayed in the film is at a dinner scene which is intercut by and outbreak/SWAT sequence which didn’t work together at all. Despite the trailers hinting at it, there’s not a whole lot of action. There’s like two action scenes, and the first one I don’t even think counts as an action scene.

max-steel-movie-rfilme20151

Max Steel was such a terrible movie, it doesn’t offer anything to enjoy at all. The story is bland and uninteresting, the acting is passable at best and the direction was absolutely terrible. I think the worst part of this movie however that the film wasn’t even unintentionally funny or entertaining, save for like one or two small moments. Max Steel is not worth watching at all and is one of the worst films of 2016.

Prisoners (2013)

PR-TRL-TKING-001r[1]

Prisoners

Time: 153 Mins
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, offensive language and content that may disturb
Cast:
Hugh Jackman as Keller Dover
Jake Gyllenhaal as Detective Loki
Viola Davis as Nancy Birch
Maria Bello as Grace Dover
Terrance Howard as Franklin Birch
Melissa Leo as Holly Jones
Paul Dano as Alex Jones
Director: Denis Villeneuve

Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), his wife Grace (Maria Bello), their teenage son Ralph and little daughter Anna celebrate Thanksgiving with their friends, Franklin Birch (Terrance Howard), his wife Nancy (Viola Davis), their teenage daughter Eliza and their little daughter Joy. After a while, the parents noticed that their youngest daughters disappeared. Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) is assigned to the case. The only lead is an RV parked on the street the day the girls disappeared. Its driver Alex Jones (Paul Dano) is arrested but is released due to a lack of evidence. As the police pursue many leads, Keller decides to take matters into his own hands, knowing his child’s life is at stake.

 

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1]

Prisoners is a very surprising movie, first hearing about it I expected good performances. Instead what I got were great performances, high tension and well written dialogue. There was never a moment when I predicted something would happen. The dialogue between people is already fascinating and interesting; on top of that it’s delivered by actors who can make the lines very authentic and real. A lot of the movie spends time just on the family, when they aren’t looking for their daughters. That’s something that I don’t see with most kidnapping movies, most kidnapping movies follow the police trying to find the captives or focus on family trying to find them. Prisoners has probably the best representation of a family reacting to a kidnapping. There is still quite a bit of looking for the daughters and that is done very well too but the fact that the film takes time to focus on the characters instead on the plot, makes it stand out from other kidnapping movies. The final act was very intense for me as the stakes continually rise.

1373063038_8[1]

A lot of this came from the excellent performances from this movie. This is hands down the best performance I’ve seen from Hugh Jackman, even better than in X-Men and Les Miserables. He plays Keller as a desperate father who will do anything to get her daugbhter back and holds nothing back. Another great performance is from Jake Gyllenhaal as Detective Loki. Terrance Howard, Viola Davis and Melissa Leo are also very good. Paul Dano is also worth mentioning as the role of Alex, the very disturbed driver of the RV. If there is a common thing all these performances had, they have a grounded sense of reality. The film is so well acted that I felt the emotions that these characters experienced. That is something that I don’t find very often in most movies, at least for me.

jackman[1]

The cinematography by Roger Deakins gives the film a dark look which adds to the dark atmosphere. It is never sunny in this movie which really suits this movie’s tone. As a result, the movie felt very dark and damp which was good for this movie. There were moments that reminded of David Fincher’s Se7en with all the grittiness and darkness. It had a sense of dread throughout the entire film and the look really sells it.

maxresdefault[1]

Some people will call this movie depressing but there is no denying the skill of this movie. It’s probably not for everyone, especially for parents with young children. The film unfortunately isn’t as known as it should. The dark look of this movie, combined with the excellent acting results in a thriller that truly feels real. This is one of the most surprising movies that I have watched. I knew that this would be a good movie but it didn’t expect the expert craft of this film. This is one of the best films and surprises of 2013.