Author Archives: Steven Fritchie

StevenF Review of The Crew (Braqueurs)

The French action movie The Crew (Braqueurs) was released in the US on November 15, 2018. A gang of armored car robbers find themselves in a bigger mess when one of them sells a gun to the local crime gang. In order to pay off a debt, they are forced to hold up a caravan loaded with 80,000 euros (around $90,000) worth of heroin.

Most of the actors were good and very believable. The director was also very good. I don’t know if French action movies are usually this dialogue heavy, but this did tend to slow down the story. The action sequences were good, but had very little blood. The cinematography was good and helped bring a sense of gloom to the film. The soundtrack was good and didn’t overwhelm the story.

Despite the slow section of the movie, it was entertaining. An audience would be drawn into the story more if there would have been more emphasis on the action sequences instead of establishing the relationships between the characters. I give this 3 1/2 stars out of 5.

StevenF Review of All Light Will End

This TV-MA movie was released in November, 2018. Savannah is an author who is occasionally plagued by night terrors. When she returns to her family’s cabin with her boyfriend and another couple in order to attend her brother’s graduation, her past seems to haunt her more than before.

All Light Will End is a psychological thriller with a few bloody, but not gory, scenes. That is about the only positive thing I can say that it has going for it. The editing was reminiscent of 1980s slasher movies, the acting and musical score were below average, and the story line could have been stronger. The pacing was too slow to maintain my attention.

I would not bother recommending this film to anyone unless they are fans of B movies. The best that I can give it is 2 stars out of 5.

StevenF Review of Bohemian Rhapsody

On November 2, 2018 the biographic film of one of rock’s greatest bands Queen, was released. Bohemian Rhapsody covers the time when Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) introduced himself to his favorite band Smile and ended up leading them to be one of the greatest bands of the 1970s. The other members were Brian May (Gwilym Lee), Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), and John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello).

Most biographic films tend to ignore some parts of history, while expanding other parts. Bohemian Rhapsody may be guilty of this aspect, but it is somewhat tempered by Brian May and Roger Taylor’s remembrance of this time and of Freddie. All of the actors did a great job of portraying their characters and the story line was handled very well. The director was also very good. I especially enjoyed the soundtrack. He made a great decision to recreate Queen’s complete concert for Live Aid which revived Queen’s popularity after Freddie Mercury had tried to go solo.

I can hardly imagine anyone who has never heard of Queen or never heard any of their music. Freddie Mercury had a great vocal range and he and the band are experiencing a resurgence. I highly recommend this movie to everyone. By the end of the film, I was starting to tear up and this was the second film I’ve seen where the theater audience stood up and applauded. I give this a 5 stars out of 5 for the emotional experience alone.

StevenF Review of F.R.E.D.I.

This family-friendly movie was released on DVD in the United States on October 9, 2018. James Nash (Lucius Hoyos) discovers a robot in the forest behind his house. Dr. Andi Palmer (Kelly Hu) is its creator and she has decided to hide it from her unscrupulous boss (Angus Macfadyen). James seeks help from his friend Danny (Reid Miller) and, eventually James’ girlfriend Natalie (Casimere Jollette). The aim is to return F.R.E.D.I. to Dr. Palmer and prevent the bad guys to use F.R.E.D.I. for an instrument of war.

The story line is not really original and the acting of the adult actors, especially the bad guys, reminded me more of a Three Stooges skit. Hoyos, Miller, and Jollette were believable and it actually looked like the actors were the appropriate ages. There was no foul language used, but the dialogue was kind of bland. Some minor characters were not even worth having in the movie, such as the water gun squirting bullies. The directing was good as well as the scenery. The fact that they called the laboratories where F.R.E.D.I. was created ArachnaCorp (SpiderCorp.) was cute when I suppose it was meant to be sinister.

I can’t really say that I hated this movie, because there were some well done scenes. I wouldn’t buy this for my collection, but for families with young children, this would be a nice movie to keep them entertained. As for a rating…I suppose I would give it 3 stars out of 5.

StevenF Review of Await Further Instructions

The British science fiction film Await Further Instructions was released on October 5, 2018. I am hard-pressed on whether to classify this as an apocalyptic sci fi movie or as a dark Christmas movie. As for the message of the movie, which this one seems to have, I would say that it is “we are controlled by the media”.

A dysfunctional family gets together for Christmas, but the next morning they find a message on their TV which says: Stay inside your houses. Await Further Instructions. It is at this point that Nick (Sam Gittins) and his girlfriend Annji (Neerja Naik) must deal with his family’s inner fears and prejudices. As far as the acting went, it was tolerable. The story line wasn’t totally original, but there were some good emotional scenes. The CGI was also good.

There was no foul language and the violence was there but it wasn’t particularly bloody. If you are a fan of dark science fiction, there you will enjoy this movie. The main star of the movie wasn’t any of the actors, it was the television screen. I give this 3 stars out of 5.

StevenF Review of Viking Destiny

The British film Viking Destiny was released on October 5, 2018. It is classified as a action-fantasy movie about a Viking princess’ attempts to recover her throne after her uncle kills her father and takes it for himself. Princess Helle (Anna Demetriou) is guided by the Norse god Odin (Terence Stamp) to flee the kingdom of Volsung and regroup. Her uncle Bard (Timo Nieminen) is tempted by the god Loki (Murray McArthur) to seek her out.

The story line was good and fairly well done. The acting was good in that the characters were believable. I liked the Northern Irish countryside for the location. There were some things that could have been improved. The fighting scenes were average and not all together bloody. I am not sure about the CGI used to convey the characters of Odin and Loki. Odin should have been shown as having one eye which would be consistent with the mythology.

While I was watching this film, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. All in all, I suppose there were more positive things about the film than negative. I give this 3 1/2 stars out of 5 stars.

StevenF Review of Outlawed

The British film Outlawed was released on October 2, 2018. The plot revolves around an ex-Special Forces officer (Adam Collins) who finds himself fighting against corruption and drugs in Nottingham, England. There is also a subplot of him protecting a girl (Jessica Norris) who he has known since childhood.

First, let me mention what I found good about the movie. There was plenty of gunfire, blood, and some guts. Collins, the main actor, in real life was a Marine, is a stuntman, and has a black belt in karate. That was very helpful in projecting his character, however he also helped write and direct the movie. The film had too many things going on for the first 20 minutes which were not connected very well and caused the story to drag. Jessica Norris was alright as was Ian Hitchens who was the villain.

Some people may have found the accent a bit incomprehensible; I know I did. Over all, this was not as good as I was hoping. I would not bother to watch this again due to the excessive sex scenes and overuse of foul language. I rate this 2 stars out of 5.

StevenF Review of The House with a Clock in its Walls

The film The House with a Clock in its Walls was released on September 21, 2018 and is rated PG for some sorcery, action, rude language. Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) is sent to live with his uncle Johnathon (Jack Black) after his parents’ deaths. He meets his uncle’s friend Florence Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett), who has a love/hate relationship with Johnathon. Lewis learns that his uncle is a warlock.

The former owner of his uncle’s house was another warlock (Kyle McLachlan) who hid a clock in the house that would end the world. Lewis is trained to learn magic in order to help his uncle. This fantastical tale is not as heavy laden with mythic creatures as in the Harry Potter series. It does, however, have two cute creatures, a chair that acts like a dog and a lion-shaped hedge. The acting was good and there were a couple of scenes which had good creep elements which might cause some jump scares. Some scenes were shot in darkness and it was hard to see anything, which would contribute to the scare factor.

I was recently gifted with this movie and I found it enjoyable if a bit dark. The only complaint I might have with the story line is when Lewis goes to school. I felt like these scenes were put in as filler. For the most part, Black, Blanchett, and, to an extent Vaccaro, were the main foci of the film. There are extras with this movie of which the Gag Reel and the Alternate Opening and Ending were of main interest. I give this 4 stars out of 5.

StevenF Review of Mara

Mara was released on September 7, 2018. It is a thriller which revolves around the theory that 40% of people are afflicted by sleep paralysis. In this film, the theory is taken one step further and contends that a sleep demon kills people in their sleep. Psychologist Kate Fuller (Olga Kurylenko) is called when a woman is accused of murdering her husband and their 8 year old daughter (Mackenzie Imsand) is the only witness.

There were a couple scenes at the beginning of the film that made me jump. This was enhanced by the music score. After a while, the tension of the film lost some of its impact. The acting wasn’t too bad, but by the time the demon was seen in the film, I was starting to lose interest. It’s not a great idea to make sleep as the main theme of a movie because I was, as some points, falling asleep myself. Other than the acting, the photography was good.

If you are the sort of person who enjoys these kind of movies, then you will enjoy this film. It had its good moments and its bad moments. I, however, am only willing to give it 3 stars out of 5. The subject matter was weak and the demon was not frightening enough.

StevenF Review of Detective Dee:The Four Heavenly Kings

The Chinese film Detective Dee :The Four Heavenly Kings is the third in a series which blends martial arts, action, and fantasy. It was released in the United States on July 27, 2018. I will admit that I fell in love with this series from the very first film.

Detective Dee (Mark Chao) is commissioned by the Emperor to protect the Dragon-Taming Mace which is a symbol of the Emperor’s power. Unfortunately, the Empress Wu (Carina Lau) plots against Detective Dee. She convinces Dee’s best friend to help her and he hires a troupe of wizards in this mission. To top it off, there is a cult seeking revenge against the Imperial dynasty. This is where the fantasy elements are brought in.

The actors were all excellent as were the martial arts scenes. I also enjoyed the CGI effects. The only disappointment in the movie were the subtitles which sometimes flashed for a second on the screen. I give this 5 stars out of 5.