Wednesday, November 14, 2018


November 13, 2018


Phil Lodge was a widower and single father of two young girls, a rebellious 14-year old Violet and a sweet 7-year old Rose. He was accepted to be a supervisor of an apartment building in New York City. He would soon discover that various tenants of the building were disappearing from the building in mysterious circumstances. When his daughter Rose seemed to be being stalked by a suspicious-looking man, Walter, Phil needed to get to the bottom of things.

Val Kilmer was the only well-known actor in the cast and he was practically unrecognizable playing the eccentric guy Walter, who alarmed Phil and the girls. This was another one of those roles given to senior stars whose career prime had past but he still had a name, and Kilmer played him bizarrely over-the-top. Patrick John Flueger played the confused and disoriented father Phil. The cute child actress Mattea Conforti played the role of Rose very well, catching attention whenever she was on screen.

This Stephan Rick film started off with a gory double murder by a mysterious unseen entity. The subsequent kills were not able to match the brutality of the first one anymore. I am no fan of gore anyhow. However, I thought the script by John J. McLaughlin was clever and carefully plotted. It unraveled with a totally unexpected revelation that caught me off-guard and had me fascinated. 6/10. 



Stillman was a genius nerd in physics who was head over heels in love with his beautiful girlfriend Debbie. However, one day, Debbie decided to dump him, which stressed Stillman up no end. Stillman wanted to get Debbie back so much that he invented a time machine to go back in time to fix all their problems, with his best friend Evan coming along for the ride. 

The time travel theme had already been overdone in various romance films to get the girl. As a change, writer-director Andrew Bowler extended the use of the time machine to keep the relationship smooth and perfect, which of course, also had its consequences. He actually extended his own 2011 short film, which had been nominated for the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film. 

I thought the casting was off. Asa Butterfield and Sophie Turner as Stillman and Debbie did not have any chemistry together at all. Furthermore the personality of Stillman was such an obsessive, selfish and controlling perfectionist, he was irritating to watch. Skyler Gisondo fared better as Evan, who was quite likable despite supposedly being cast as Stillman's annoying sidekick and partner-in-crime. 4/10. 



It was World War II on the night before D-Day. A team of American paratroopers were being sent into France to destroy an old church where the Nazis put up radio jamming tower before 0600H in order the clear the way for vital Allied communications in the big military operations to come. Their plane was shot down, so that left Corporal Ford and Privates Boyce, Tibbett and Chase to complete the dangerous mission. Receiving assistance from a village lass Chloe, the soldiers discovered that diabolical Nazi science experiments were also being conducted inside the target church.

I did not know any of the actors but they all did very well in their roles. Jovan Adepo was Pvt. Ed Boyce, a naive soldier who experienced a rude awakening in battle which brought out the hero in him. Wyatt Russell was Cpl. Ford who maintained valiant focus on their mission. John Magaro was the noisy, chatty, annoying sniper Pvt. Tibbet. Mathilde Ollivier was Chloe, bold and brave beneath her beauty. Child actor Gianny Taufer was delightful as Chloe’s younger brother Paul. Pilou Asbæk was the sinister Cpt. Wafner, the Nazi officer who cherished the monster within him.

This Julius Avery film (produced by J.J. Abrams) mixed several genres into one crazy but engrossing mix. It was foremost a war movie, with all the violent action and ethical drama that entailed. That opening act with the attack on their plane was executed with such immersive graphics, it would set the exciting pace for the rest of the film. Later on, it would evolve into a gory horror sci-fi zombie thriller that did not let up until the bloody, fiery Grand Guignol finale. 8/10. 

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