Category Archives: Movie Reviews

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.

Paul’s review of Before I Wake

Anyone who knows me will know that I don’t really like scary movies, but there was something about the movie Before I Wake that made me want to watch it. It was released on April 28th, 2017 and stars Jacob Tremblay (Book of Henry, The Predator) as eight-year old Cody Morgan who has been fostered by Jessie and Mark Hobson after the death of their son. Cody also seems to have special powers and on the first night staying with the Hobsons, butterflies appear all over the house. However, he is too scared to sleep in case the Canker Man comes to visit him.

Even though I don’t watch a lot of these types of movies, I thought the script to be original and the acting by young Jacob was superb with his portrayal of the scared, confused boy. There were lots of edge of the seat moments and plenty of made you jump moments too. The musical score also enhanced the tension. This movie got to me, and I must admit I broke down at the end due to similarities I faced when I was young but overall an easy 5 out of 5 from me.

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.

Remmy’s Review of The Kid Who Would Be King

The Kid Who Would Be King 25 January 2019, Rated PG. According to the Legend Artur (The original name of Arthur Pendragon), was fifteen when he pulled the sword from the stone, however, that is not logical. At the time twelve-year-old boys and girls would marry, fifteen-year-olds ran their own businesses, and most had served in the military and were quite capable of a bar/pub fight or killing for that matter. There was nothing glorious or new about any of it. When you realize that most did not live to the age of twenty-two, and those over thirty-five were considered ancients, it does make sense. Talk about old!

Joe Cornish wrote and directed this piece. Although I cannot tell you it was 100% logical (which by the way is my bane for any movie) I can tell you it was full of action and suspense. The CGI on this film was excellent. Although the story line was weak, it was fitting for a modern audience – you.

Granted this movie was made for children of our era, I think if viewed by the ancients, they would point out a zillion errors. Yet if nothing else the lead character Artur, played by Louis Serkis was very good, but the bad guy and girl at the beginning of the film were right on queue as bad people.

I rate this film a very strong 4 out of 5 stars, and keep in mind, it was written for modern audiences, and not as realistic as if it was made pre medieval. I have to point out that some movies ironically have Artur as a 30-45 year old when he pulls that sword out. So ridiculous it is not funny, since the original short story was made for children.

Paul’s review of The Silence

The Silence (15-PG13) is a horror/thriller that was released on April 10th, 2019 and stars Kiernan Shipka as Ally Andrews a 16-year old who lost her hearing at 13. She must escape with her family when the world becomes under attack from a swarm of creatures that have been released from a newly discovered cave system in the USA.

There was lots of gore, but it was not overdone, and the main characters played their parts well. I particularly liked the way in which the deaf character was portrayed, and it introduced a novel pitch to the movie. There was also lots of twists to the story that kept me watching intensely.

I really enjoyed this, and it was one of the best movies I have seen in a while. There were a few niggles so I can’t give it top marks, but 4.5 from 5 from me.

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.

Paul’s Review of The Highwaymen

The Highwaymen is the untold story about the two legendary detectives who put an end to the notorious Bonnie and Clyde. It was released on 29th March 2019 and stars Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson as Frank ‘Poncho’ Hamer and Maney Gault respectively. They are two former Texas Rangers who are brought out of ‘retirement’ as even the FBI were unable to put an end to the criminals killing spree.

As somebody from England I have to say that the full story of Bonnie and Clyde is not something I was aware of and this movie did give me an insight into how well liked they were by the general population, even considering the amount of killing they did. The story was good, and the acting was superb, particularly from Costner and Harrelson and it showed how old school techniques can still be valuable. We don’t always have to rely upon technology. But and it is a big but, the movie could have been a whole lot better. Maybe I was expecting lots more action considering the nature of the story, and at over two hours long this made it boring at times. Saying that it would have been difficult to edit out parts without it being confusing. I’m guessing it just needed to be pacier. Overall though, 4 from 5 from me.

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 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.