This Week’s Films (20/04/14)

Stories We Tell

Saw VI (2009)Saw VI

Special Agent Strahm is dead, and Detective Hoffman has emerged as the unchallenged successor to Jigsaw’s legacy. However, when the FBI draws closer to Hoffman, he is forced to set a game into motion, and Jigsaw’s grand scheme is finally understood.

Verdict: 5/10

Diminished CapacityDiminished Capacity (2008)

A Chicago journalist suffering from memory loss takes leaves from his job and returns to his rural hometown, where he bonds with his Alzheimer’s-impaired uncle Rollie and his old flame.

Verdict: 5/10

Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (2010)Saw 3D

Witness the last diabolical act of a legend as the final pieces of Jigsaw’s puzzles are revealed! As a deadly battle rages over Jigsaw’s brutal legacy, a group of Jigsaw survivors gathers to seek the support of self-help guru and fellow survivor Bobby Dagen. But Dagen hides his own dark secrets, ones that will unleash a wave of unrelenting terror and suffering in this heart-stopping finale to the most successful horror movie series of all time.

Verdict: 4/10

All Dogs Go To Heaven 2All Dogs Go To Heaven 2 (1996)

In this animated sequel, that ol’ pal of ours Charlie Barkin returns to create chaos in heaven and on earth. The trouble begins when Charlie gets bored with the peaceful bliss of life in doggy heaven and begins dreaming of returning to Earth. Even the arrival of his former best pal Itchy does little to cheer him up. Then the wicked Carface steals Gabriel’s horn and in the struggle it falls into San Francisco. Charlie and Itchy jump at the chance to retrieve the holy horn.

Verdict: 2/10

Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009)Did You Hear About the Morgans?

Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant star in this delightful, heartwarming comedy about finding love in the most unexpected places. Two successful New Yorkers, Meryl (Parker) and Paul (Grant), are at their wits’ ends on how to solve their strained marriage. But when they become the only witnesses to a brutal murder, the police hide them away in Wyoming – together. Now these diehard city dwellers will have to survive the weather, bears, fresh air, and forced time with one another if they want to make it out alive. Co-starring Mary Steenburgen, Sam Elliott, and Elisabeth Moss.

Verdict: 3/10

Boy WonderBoy Wonder (2010)

A young Brooklyn boy witnesses the brutal murder of his mother and grows up obsessed with finding her killer. Thus begins his life as a quiet, straight-A student by day and a self-appointed hero at night. But what is a real hero? And who decides what is right or wrong? As the boundaries blur, Sean’s dual life wears on his psyche and his two worlds careen dangerously close to colliding. Like a graphic novel you can’t put down, Boy Wonder challenges morality, distorting perceptions of what is right and what is justified, as it races to its shocking conclusion.

Verdict: 6/10

Black Rock (2012)Black Rock

Three young women – Sarah (Kate Bosworth), Abby (Katie Aselton) and Lou (Lake Bell) – get together for a private campout at one of the iconic settings of their childhood, an empty island off the coast of Maine, to renew their bond of sisterhood. They quickly learn, though, that the island is anything but empty, when they encounter three men, who have come to the island to hunt. A misunderstanding quickly turns to tragedy, and the three women soon find themselves the targets of the hunt. What started as a simple playdate to recall old times is now a race for survival.

Verdict: 4/10

The TripperThe Tripper (2006)

Directed by, co-written by and starring David Arquette, this classic horror movie revolves around a group of friends who escape to a modern-day Woodstock concert for a weekend of debauchery, only to be stalked by a homicidal maniac determined to finish what he started years earlier.

Verdict: 2/10

Arbitrage (2012)Arbitrage

Dynamic performances by Richard Gere and an all-star cast highlight this riveting, suspense-filled thriller about love, loyalty, and high finance. Robert Miller (Gere) is a New York hedge-fund magnate who appears to have it all – money, power, a loving wife (Susan Sarandon), and a devoted daughter (Brit Marling) working by his side. But behind the gilded walls of his mansion Miller is running on borrowed time, trying to unload his crippled trading company before his frauds are revealed. A deadly error throws Miller’s “perfect life” into a tailspin, raising the suspicions of a detective (Tim Roth) and threatening the future of his financial empire. As the line blurs bet ween what is right and wrong, legal and criminal, Miller is driven to desperate measures to protect the only thing more precious than his considerable fortune: his family.

Verdict: 7/10

SolsticeSolstice (2008)

There’s something spooky down on the bayou, in this supernatural horror from ‘Blair Witch’ director Daniel Myrick. A short time after her twin sister Sophie’s death, Megan (Elisabeth Harnois) and some of her teenage college chums decide it would be a good idea to have one last party at the family’s summer home. With the full moon rising, and some strange occurrences afoot, Megan soon begins to suspect that her recently departed sister is trying to reach her from beyond the grave.

Verdict: 5/10

Domestic Disturbance (2001)Domestic Disturbance

In this “edge of your seat thriller,” John Travolta stars as Frank Morrison, a man who discovers that his son’s new stepfather (Vince Vaughn) is not who he pretends to be. Frank’s investigation into this man’s past explodes into a terrifying mission to rescue his son from the ultimate danger. This chilling, critically acclaimed hit will have your heart pounding from start to finish!

Verdict: 4/10

HoffaHoffa (1992)

Screenwriter David Mamet’s script combines real people with fictional characters in an attempt to portray the important people in Jimmy Hoffa’s life. Danny DeVito’s and Armand Assante’s characters are actually composites of numerous Hoffa associates.

Director/co-star Danny DeVito’s unforgettable epic stars Jack Nicholson as Jimmy Hoffa, the legendary Teamster boss whose mysterious disappearance has never been explained. The film traces Hoffa’s passionate struggle to shape the nation’s most influential labor union, his relationship with the Mob, and his subsequent conviction and prison term at the hand of Robert Kennedy.

Verdict: 7/10

The Devil Inside (2012)Devil Inside

In 1989, emergency responders received a 9-1-1 call from Maria Rossi confessing to three brutal murders. The courts found her insane, but something else found her first. Twenty years later, her daughter Isabella’s search for answers leads her to an exorcism by two rogue priests, revealing that her mother is possessed by four powerful demons. Now, Isabella must face pure evil or forsake her soul. Discover why The Devil Inside is the movie critics call “evil in its purest form”.

Verdict: 2/10

StalkerStalker (2010)

When novelist Paula Martin retreats to the seclusion of her family home Crows Hall she hopes to clear her mind and focus on her new book. The arrival of an assistant, Linda, should take the pressure off… but as the bodies pile up, Paula finds herself trapped in a terrifying nightmare of murder and madness.

Verdict: 4/10

The Expendables 2 (2012)Expendables 2

The cast of The Expendables, with newest members Billy the Kid (Hemsworth) and Maggie (Nan) aboard, are reunited when Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) enlists the Expendables to take on a seemingly simple job. The task looks like an easy paycheck for Barney and his band of old school mercenaries. But when things go wrong and one of their own is viciously killed, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory where the odds are stacked against them.

Verdict: 6/10

The JerkThe Jerk (1979)

That wild and crazy guy, Steve Martin, makes his film-starring debut in the wacky comedy The Jerk. Steve portrays Navin Johnson, adopted son of a poor black sharecropper family, whose crazy inventions lead him from rags to riches and right back to rags. Along the way, he’s smitten with a lady motorcycle racer, survives a series of screwball attacks by a deranged killer and becomes a millionaire by inventing the ‘Opti-grab’ handle for glasses. It’s an outrageous comedy with one laugh after another!

Verdict: 6/10

Man on Wire (2008)Man on Wire

On August 7th 1974, a young Frenchman named Philippe Petit stepped out on a wire and illegally rigged between the New York’s twin towers. After nearly an hour dancing on the wire, he was arrested, taken for psychological evaluation, and brought to jail before he was finally released. This documentary complies Petit s footage to show the numerous extraordinary challenges he faced in completing the artistic crime of the century.

Verdict: 8/10

The AnimalThe Animal (2001)

Marvin Mange (Rob Schneider) dreams of being a tough, heroic police officer but is too weak and wimpy to ever pass the entrance exam. However, when he is critically injured in a car accident, a mad scientist uses animal organs to rebuild his broken body, and, when he recovers, these organs give Marvin a new vitality. In no time at all, he is one of the city’s most celebrated cops – but he also has some unsavoury animal instincts to contend with.

Verdict: 2/10

Everest (1998)Everest

An international team of climbers ascends Mt. Everest in the spring of 1996. The film depicts their lengthy preparations for the climb, their trek to the summit, and their successful return to Base Camp. It also shows many of the challenges the group faced, including avalanches, lack of oxygen, treacherous ice walls, and a deadly blizzard.

Verdict: 7/10

The Haunting of Molly HartleyThe Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008)

Supernatural teen horror. 17-year-old Molly Hartley (Haley Bennett) moves away from Boston to start a new life with her father (Jake Weber) in the small town of Huntington after surviving a bizarre and near-fatal attack at the hands of her psychotic mother. As well as making new friends and trying to fit in at her new school, Molly has to contend with nightmarish hallucinations, nosebleeds and creepy voices in her head. Has Molly inherited her mother’s insanity, or are there even darker forces at work?

Verdict: 2/10

9 (2009)9

An action-packed adventure, director Shane Acker’s animated fantasy epic 9 is the feature-length expansion of his Academy Award-nominated 2004 short film of the same name. The screenplay for the feature is by Pamela Pettler (Monster House); directors Tim Burton (Beetlejuice) and Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) are producing .Set in the near future. The world’s machines have turned on mankind and sparked social unrest – decimating the human population. But as our world falls to pieces, a mission begins to salvage the legacy of civilization, and a group of small “stitchpunk” creations is given the spark of life by a scientist – and they successfully survive the apocalypse! With their group being so small, these creatures must summon individual strengths well beyond their own proportions in order to outwit and fight against the still-functioning monster machines. 9 dynamically explores the will to live and how one soul can change the world.

Verdict: 7/10

Jack Brooks: Monster SlayerJack Brooks: Monster Slayer (2007)

After witnessing the brutal murder of his family when he was just a young boy, Jack Brooks is left with an unquenchable fury. Now working as a plumber, Jack attempts to fix his Professor’s plumbing, only to unknowingly awake an ancient evil. Prof. Crowley becomes possessed and starts a slow, gruesome transformation into the depths of evil. Only then does Jack realize that he can t run from his past, and quickly discovers the true purpose of his inner rage.

Verdict: 6/10

Into the Mind (2013)Into the Mind

Blur the lines between dream state and reality, as you perceive the world through the minds of many. Into the Mind DVD contemplates the experiences passed between mentors and peers to paint a philosophical portrait of human kind. What drives us to overcome challenge? How do we justify risk? What forces are at the core of a mountain addiction? Unique athlete segments over a multitude of mountain sport genres, depict the connectivity of Earth and window into never seen before moments. Explore how we begin our perception of self, construct the foundations of confidence, and are ultimately led to the path of self-actualization.

Verdict: 7/10

FoodmattersFood Matters (2008)

Let thy Food be thy Medicine and thy Medicine be thy Food Hippocrates. That is the message from the founding father of modern medicine echoed in the controversial new documentary film Food Matters from Producer-Directors James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch. With nutritionally-depleted foods, chemical additives and our tendency to rely upon pharmaceutical drugs to treat what s wrong with our malnourished bodies, it s no wonder that modern society is getting sicker. Food Matters sets about uncovering the trillion dollar worldwide sickness industry and gives people some scientifically verifiable solutions for curing disease naturally. In what promises to be the most contentious idea put forward, the filmmakers have interviewed several world leaders in nutrition and natural healing who claim that not only are we harming our bodies with improper nutrition, but that the right kind of foods, supplements and detoxification can be used to treat chronic illnesses as fatal as terminally diagnosed cancer. The focus of the film is in helping us rethink the belief systems fed to us by our modern medical and health care establishments. The interviewees point out that not every problem requires costly, major medical attention and reveal many alternative therapies that can be more effective, more economical, less harmful and less invasive than conventional medical treatments.

Verdict: 8/10

Rising Sun (1993)Rising Sun

A Los Angeles special liaison officer (Wesley Snipes) is called in to investigate the murder of a call-girl in the boardroom of a Japanese corporation. Accompanied by a detective with unusual knowledge of the Japanese culture (Sean Connery), the two men must unravel the mystery behind the murder by entering an underground “shadow world” of futuristic technology, ancient ways and confusing loyalties.

Verdict: 6/10

Stories We TellStories We Tell (2012)

In this inspired, genre-twisting new film, writer/director Sarah Polley delves into the murky waters of family histories. As each interviewee relates their story varying levels of reliability are exposed and the truth is shown as being dependant on how it is told.

Written and directed by the multi award-winning, OSCAR-nominated Sarah Polley (Take This Waltz, Away From Her).

Verdict: 9/10

Tower Block (2012)Tower Block

The residents of Tower Block 31 are terrified after witnessing the brutal murder of a young man. The case is left unsolved, due in large part to their collective silence. A year later, with their building marked for demolition, the witnesses begin to find themselves picked off one by one by a mysterious sniper out for justice. Pitted against not only the sniper’s deadly traps, but also each other, the residents must figure out a way to escape their own building…or die trying. 

Featuring critically hailed performances by Jack O’Connell (300: Rise Of An Empire) and Sheridan Smith (Quartet) and co-starring Ralph Brown (Stoker), and Russell Tovey (BBC’s Being Human), Tower Block is a pulse-pounding thriller that delivers gritty action and relentless suspense!

Verdict: 5/10

Till Human Voices Wake UsTill Human Voices Wake Us (2002)

A supernatural romance, Till Human Voices Wake Us tells the story of a psychologist, who, upon returning to his childhood home to bury his father, encounters a mysterious young woman who evokes memories of a long-lost love, forcing him to relinquish the past, and embrace the future.

Verdict: 4/10

Stash House (2012)Stash House

A couple love their new house, bought for a steal out of a foreclosure. During their first visit they find illegal drugs stashed in the walls, and they realise this is not their dream house. As they are about to leave, suddenly their exit is blocked by a gun-wielding neighbour Spector and his accomplice. They come to realise the house is hiding more than drugs – it’s the operation centre for mass drug tsar who is buried beneath the floorboards. On the run from the professional killers who want the drugs and evidence, the resourceful couple will need to turn the tables on their attackers to survive. 

Verdict: 4/10

Kill For MeKill For Me (2013)

While trying to move on from an abusive ex-boyfriend, Amanda (Cassidy) looks for a roommate to help pay the rent. Hailey (Spiridakos) just moved to college to get away from her own abusive past. Now roommates, both girls find comfort in their friendship and make a pact to help each other overcome their pasts… no matter what the cost.

When Amanda’s abusive ex-boyfriend catches up with her, a riveting roller coaster of suspense and twists is set in motion. In order to survive, the two girls face their harrowing past together. But as Hailey’s past becomes more transparent, it’s difficult to decipher who is the victim and who is the cold-blooded killer.

Verdict: 4/10

Texas Chainsaw (2013)Texas Chainsaw 3D

In 1974, enraged townspeople hunt down and kill every member of the Sawyer family for committing a series of grisly murders. Decades later and hundreds of miles away, a young woman learns that she has inherited a Texas estate from a grandmother she never knew she had. After embarking on a road trip with friends to uncover her roots, she finds she is the sole owner of a lavish, isolated Victorian mansion. But her newfound wealth comes at a price as she stumbles upon a horror that awaits her in the mansion’s dank cellars

Verdict: 2/10

Beware of Mr BakerBeware of Mr. Baker (2012)

This documentary about Ginger Baker, drummer for Cream and Blind Faith, includes interviews with Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Carlos Santana and more. Beware of Mr. Baker! With every smash of the drum is a man smashing through life, and smashing the filmmaker’s nose on the last day of filming.

Verdict: 8/10

Mesrine: Killer Instinct (2008)Mesrine

Mesrine: Killer Instinct introduces us to Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel), a loyal son and dedicated soldier back home and living with his parents after serving in the Algerian War. Soon he is seduced by the neon glamour of sixties Paris and the easy money it presents. Mentored by Guido (Gerald Depardieu) Mesrine turns his back on middle class law-abiding and soon moves swiftly up the criminal ladder. After pulling off an audacious heist he and his lover Jeanne (Cecile de France) flee to Canada where the opportunity of one big payout lures him out of hiding and propels his towards international notoriety.

Verdict: 8/10

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Dave Brown

I was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and have always been a bookworm and enjoyed creative writing at school. In 1999 I created the Elencheran Chronicles and have been writing ever since. My first novel, Fezariu's Epiphany, was published in May 2011. When not writing I'm a lover of films, games, books and blogging. I live in Barnsley, with my wife, Donna, and our six cats - Kain, Razz, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.
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