Author Archives: Steven Fritchie

StevenF Review of Avengers: Infinity War

The film Avengers: Infinity War was released on April 27, 2018. The story revolves around The Avengers and their allies trying to prevent Thanos from collecting all six of the Infinity stones. If Thanos gets them all, he will have complete control of the galaxy.

The story line is fine as is the acting. My main problem consists of the huge cast of superheroes, some of whom I have never heard. This is not a problem if the viewer is a Marvel fanatic (which I am not). I knew the characters from Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther as well as Spiderman, Iron Man, and Doctor Strange because I’ve seen the films, but some others I was not familiar with. There are plenty of action scenes which helped move the action forward. The CGI was very good. My favorite character was a teenage Groot who sits around playing a video game.

I suppose the fact that this film brought in over $2 Billion world-wide is impressive, but it did not affect my response to the film. I do not know if I would watch it again or if I would buy it. Just from the sales receipts, I can say that the series has a lot of fans, but as I said, it was clogged with too many superheroes. In spite of this I give it 4 stars out of 5.

StevenF Review of The Great Battle

This Korean historical film was released on September 21, 2018. The story takes place in 646 AD at Ansi Fortress. The 500,000 man army of Tang Emperor Taizong faces the puny army of 10,000 Koreans led by Yang Man-chun (In-sung Jo). The siege of Ansi Fortress lasted 88 days.

The story line was excellent as well as the acting. The battle scenes, as in most Asian films, were exciting. There was at least one beheading, which almost seems to be a requirement in these films. Not that I’m complaining. The director also did a great job. When it comes to historical films, some directors may use the story as a propaganda tool. The fact that the battle took place in what is now North Korea was ignored.

One scene which may be confusing is when there is a reference to the assassination of Yang Man-chun’s king. Korea, at this time, was basically divided into three kingdoms: Silla, Baekju, and Gorgeoryo. Yang Man-chun is referring to the king of Gorgeoryo. History aside, I enjoyed this movie a lot. I give it 4.5 stars out of 5.

StevenF Review of Between Worlds

The film Between Worlds was released on December 21, 2018. It is rated R for sexual situations and language. Its a quirky film about a trucker (Nicolas Cage) who finds himself involved with a woman (Franka Potente) who can astroproject from her body. She uses this method to help her daughter (Penelope Mitchell) who was in a coma. Unfortunately, Nicolas Cage’s dead wife takes control of the daughter’s body.

I really wanted to find something positive to say about this movie. I agree the story line is original and the acting was decent. The director, however, was also the writer and one of the producers of the film. This could be detrimental to the overall look and feel of the film. I also could have done with less sex scenes. I think Nicolas Cage would have been better off not having this film on his resume.

I really can’t say that I enjoyed this film. I am sort of interested in the subject of astroprojection, but this was not a very interesting use of this topic. I have seen worse movies, so I will rate this as 2 stars out of 5.

StevenF Review of The Tiger

The Korean film The Tiger was released on January 8, 2016. Chun Man-duk lives in the mountains with his wife and son. He makes a living by hunting. When his wife is accidentally shot by him, Chun gives up hunting. Unfortunately, the Japanese government official Maezono is determined to kill the last tiger in Korea and requires Chun’s help.

The story is set in 1925 Japanese-occupied Korea. Chun has a long history with the tiger because, after killing its mother, he lets the tiger cub and its sibling live. I assume tigers have good memories, so Chun and the tiger are linked spiritually.

There is hardly anything in this movie that I can say was bad. The acting, directing, story, and cinematography were all excellent. The only complaint I might have is the length of the movie which was 2 hours and 20 minutes. The hunting scenes were bloody and one scene where wolves are gnawing at the soft parts of Chun’s son’s still conscious body was gory. I don’t know much about how a tiger would react in some situations, but they are smart. I would rate this at 4.5 stars out of 5.

StevenF Review of Mercy Black

The horror film Mercy Black was released on March 30, 2019. Marina Hess (Daniella Pineda) is released by her doctor (Janeanne Garofalo) from a mental institute 15 years after she participated in the ritual murder of a friend. She goes to live with her sister (Elle LeMont) and 8-year old nephew (Miles Emmons). Soon the family is haunted by Mercy Black, the entity that Marina believed in.

When I watch a horror film, I tend to expect a fair amount of blood. This film focused more on tension and sanity rather than blood and gore. The acting, directing, and photography were all good. The main problem with the movie was the editing. Some things didn’t seem to make sense. Was Mercy Black a real creature or was she just a creation of a little girl’s mind? This story just didn’t seem to know which way to go.

I really wish that I could say that this was a great horror story, but I can’t. With the help of a better editor it might have become a classic. I can only give this 3 stars out of 5 mainly for the good acting job that Ms. Pineda, Ms.LeMont, and cute little Miles Emmons did.

StevenF Review of Mirage

The Spanish film Mirage was released on March 22, 2019. Two electrical storms occur 25 years apart but they create two different realities. In 1989, 12-year old Niko (Julio Bohigas-Couto) is making a video tape when suddenly a woman (Adriana Ugarte) appears on his TV screen claiming to be from the future. She warns him not to go check his neighbors’ suspicious behavior or he will die. A lightening strike causes the TV to knock her unconscious and when she wakes, her world has changed.

The acting was very good and so was the story line. There were a couple twists which surprised me. There was also a good amount of tension. Another plus for me was that the film was dubbed in English. Ugarte was believable as a woman who is desperate to return to her husband and child. She manages to convince Inspector Leyna (Chico Darin) that she is not totally crazy and he reluctantly agrees to help her.

This film has some science fiction features, but I would tend to classify it as a drama. It is very much worth watching. If I have any complaints about this film, it is that it is over 2 hours long. There are some things that might have been cut out without messing up the flow of the story. I rate it 4 stars out of 5.

StevenF Review of Triple Frontier

This film was released on March 13, 2019. Triple Frontier is about five former Special Forces members who plan to take out a South American drug lord (Reynaldo Gallegos) and steal his money. Ben Affleck is Tom, a struggling real estate agent, who is reluctant to get involved but is persuaded by Santiago (Oscar Isaac).

There were quite a few positive things that I could mention about this movie. The actors were very good as well as the CGI. I think that the director did a decent job. The only thing I didn’t care for about the film was the editing. The film was 2 hours and 5 minutes long. The pacing was slow scene, action scene, slow scene, etc. This caused me to start to lose interest in the film. In fact, after the first hour, I felt they could have ended the movie.

Since the characters were ex-military men, I wasn’t surprised by the excessive use of foul language. There were some scenes with blood, but there were no gory scenes. As I said, this isn’t bad enough to classify it under “Bad Movie”, but it is definitely not 5 star material. I give it 3 stars out of 5.

StevenF Review of Foundations

Remmy Meggs’ latest novel is Foundations: Grapes of Rome. It is the second book in a series based on the life of the Praetorio family of the Roman Republic. In this book, Don Dante and his family face dangers from political rivals to acts of nature. As he starts to mature into manhood, Don Dante also falls in love.

The familiar characters such as Anthony, Ettore, and Naevius are still in the book, as well as some new characters. Hayden is a young boy who along with his mother are employed by the family. Atticus, Dante’s Goth bodyguard, Lucius, a boy soldier, and Marcella, Dante’s fiance are all introduced and given prominence in this book.

The characters are well-developed and realistic to the time period. Not only is a picture drawn of the characters, but of all aspects of Roman life. Mr. Meggs has a way of drawing his readers not only into the story, but is very good at presenting history in such a way that the reader not only is entertained but is taught about things he/she may never have imagined. I wholeheartedly encourage readers to pick up this book and enjoy the humor, horror, and history within this book. I rate it 5 stars out of 5.

StevenF Review of The Hard Way

The film The Hard Way was released on March 3, 2019. Michael Jai White stars as Payne, a former Special Ops man. When his brother is killed in Romania, he travels there for his funeral. While in Bucharest he meets his brother’s partner Mason (Luke Goss). Together they go after the killers, even though forbidden by Mason’s boss Briggs (Randy Couture).

There was plenty of action and the fight scenes were good. The director made some interesting choices when it came down to filming. The opening scenes were shot in b/w and melded into color. I suppose this was a style similar to what is done with plays, when the curtain closes at the end of a scene. Mr. White and Goss were very good in portraying their characters. There was no nudity which made me glad. There was, however, a bit too much foul language for my taste.

I realize that in action films, foul language is to be expected. I guess the writer(s) thinks it makes the hero more macho appearing. It doesn’t really; its lazy writing. Due to the language and some weak story lines, I give this 3 stars out of 5. It is a decent action film, after all.

PaulM and StevenF Review of Velvet Buzzsaw

The film Velvet Buzzsaw was released on February 1, 2019. It is a horror/thriller about what happens when the art of a reclusive artist is promoted by greed. The artist wanted his work destroyed, but a neighbor of his uses it for her own enrichment. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a bisexual art critic, Rene Russo is a art promoter, and John Malkovich is an ex-alcoholic artist who is losing his talent.

All of the actors portrayed their characters very well, but the subject matter was not very interesting. The movie started out slow and the portrayal of this select group of people did not do much to make the film relatable. The murder scenes were interesting and the CGI was well done.

This is definitely an, excuse the pun, “art house” movie. The cinematography was excellent but overall, I would only give this 3 stars.

I too found the start a little slow but it certainly improved throughout. Once the actual ‘action’ began I found it really good and Gyllenaal portrayed his character really well I thought. It did prove that when people become rich and famous they can change completely and sometimes act like spoilt-brats if they are not getting there own way or people are not treating them how they think they deserve to be treated.

I found the story to be original and if you can get over the first half-hour it becomes enjoyable. I rate this 4 stars.