Circle: A 50 Person Free For All

For this week’s movie club, we have the possible Netflix gem Circle.

CIRCLE

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DIRECTED BY: Aaron Hann, Mario Miscione

STARRING: Michael Nardelli, Carter Jenkins, Lawrence Kao, Allegra Masters, Julie Benz

GENRE: Psychological Thriller

YEAR: 2015

COUNTRY: United States

In a massive, mysterious chamber, fifty strangers awaken to find themselves trapped with no memory of how they got there. On that every two minutes, one of them must die… executed by a strange device in the . At first, the attacks seem random, but soon the strangers realize that they, as a group, have the power to decide who will be the neto be killed. A vote. A chance to control the machine. But how can they choose who deserves to die? And what happens when there’s only one person left? Circle is a film about people, how they value one another, and what they do under the worst possible circumstances. A film about what makes us human – who we are, what we believe, and ultimately, the lengths we will go to save ourselves.image

The psychological elements, within Circle, are very strong. The dire situation forces the characters to dialogue together. They are hoping to find a way out of the killing room and they soon discover that it is possible for one person to live. Along the way, the try to uncover whether the characters are related to each other. Some, lie about their commonalities, while others have loose connections to each other. One character tries to save his life by communicating his victimization, due to race. However, race has little to do with who is chosen. Only a pregnant woman and a young child seem to have any natural immunization, to being chosen for death. Still, the guillotine must come down on fourty-nine. These fourty-nine must convince the others of their need to live, or they must vote in a block. Biases, including racism, class, sexual orientation and social dependency, all come into play as the beam shoots its killing gaze about the room.

circle-2015-movie-review-thriller-cerebral-dramaAs long as the script has minimal qualities we could have an interesting movie no whether what happened. To pull of something truly unforgettable, however, there really should be more to the story than simple ethics put to the test, and that’s not what happens here. Most of what happens, most of the characters, are exactly as you’d expect them. There’s the ‘let’s vote for the black guy, because I’m racist’, the ‘let’s vote for the lesbian, because God would want us to kill her anyways’, the ‘let’s vote for old people, because they don’t have that long to live anyways’, the ‘let’s save the child and pregnant lady, because they’re worth more’ and the ‘all those reasons are bullshit’ moment. What’s lacking is a serious attempt to figure out a way out, which would add explanation to why they’re in the situation they’re in and which would add further layers of depth to the concept.

PROS:

  • Entertaining thriller elements.
  • Psychological ideas.
  • Social message.

CONS:

  • Predictable characters.
  • Predictable story.

SCORE: 6.0 / 10

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The Loft: The Cheating Husbands’ Sex Pad

Hello everybody! Back with yet another interesting film about cheating husbands and how they affect their lives with The Loft.

THE LOFT

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DIRECTED BY: Erik Van Looy 

STARRING: Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Rhona Mitra, Rachael Taylor, Isabel Lucas

GENRE: Erotic Mystery

YEAR: 2014

COUNTRY: United States, Belgium

the_loft_2014_pic01Five married guys conspire to secretly share a penthouse loft in the city–a place where they can carry out hidden affairs and indulge in their deepest fantasies. But the fantasy becomes a nightmare when they discover the dead body of an unknown woman in the loft, and they realize one of the group must be involved.

I didn’t expect so many twists and turns. Just when I thought I had it figured out, they proved me wrong. That actually happened quite a few times. The cast that they assembled was awesome. You were treated to so many different types of personalities that it stayed fresh through out the entire film. Talk about five totally different characters that worked splendidly well together.

the-loft-2015-greek-subsFor the most part, the film has a nice set up. However, from the first few minutes, this neat set-up falls victims to the movie’s fatal flaws. First of all, there’s a problematic chronology in the film. The movie starts with the ending scene, only to reveal a “Earlier this morning…” title card to bring us back to the discovery of the body. Then, we have all the men in the police station being questioned by detectives. Soon, this flashback-within-a-flashback starts flashing back further to the backstory of the loft and the men involved.

PROS:

  • Interesting set up.
  • Varying personalities.
  • Decent cast.

CONS:

  • Confusing.
  • Chronology.
  • Ending scene opens film trope.
  • Flashbacks within flashbacks.

SCORE: 6.0 / 10

If you have any suggestions for films/TV/Games/Music/Anime for me to review, drop me a comment!

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Goosebumps: Nostalgic Horror

Hello everybody! It is time for the return of our movie club, and this time we watched Goosebumps.

GOOSEBUMPS

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DIRECTED: Rob Letterman

STARRING:Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, Amy Ryan, Ryan Lee, Jillian Bell

GENRE: Horror, Comedy

YEAR: 2015

COUNTRY: United States

Upset about moving from a big city to a small town, teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) finds a silver lining when he meets the beautiful girl, Hannah (Odeya Rush), living right next door. But every silver lining has a cloud, and Zach’s comes when he learns that Hannah has a mysterious dad who is revealed to be R. L. Stine (Jack Black), the author of the bestselling Goosebumps series. It turns out that there is a reason why Stine is so strange… he is a prisoner of his own imagination – the monsters that his books made famous are real, and Stine protects his readers by keeping them locked up in their books. When Zach unintentionally unleashes the monsters from their manuscripts and they begin to terrorize the town, it’s suddenly up to Stine, Zach, Hannah, and Zach’s friend Champ (Ryan Lee) to get all of them back in the books where they belong.goosebumps-picture01

The way that they tell the story is excellent. Jack Black stars at R.L Stine (1st spoiler) and his portrayal is enjoyably unique. I mean actually using Stine as a character (he also make a cameo), whose storyline propels the plot of the movie forward is a great idea and it works very well. In that, Stine is set up as a man who learned to escapes the dullness and loneliness of his life by writing these stories on a special typewriter, and because he does so, they come to life when the original manuscript is opened. And as you have probably already figured, that’s exactly what happens.

The remainder of the film is a high-energy chase in which Stine and the three youngsters have to recapture his demons. There’s a rather tedious over-reliance on CGI imagery at times, but things improve when the special effects dial down. A stretched-out chase in a supermarket is a bore, but watching our players bicker and strategise is a hoot.

GoosebumpsThere’s a streak of old-fashioned B-movie spooky playfulness here, and when actual, motivated characters are on screen it’s delightful. Danny Elfman’s score keeps the proceedings moving along, and it’s fair to describe the film as Tim Burton-lite. The director, Rob Letterman, was also responsible for the abysmal Gulliver’s Travels, but Goosebumps ought to get him out of director’s jail.

PROS:

  • Jack Black’s performance.
  • Monster design.
  • Special Effects.

CONS:

  • Supporting cast performance.
  • Pacing.
  • B-movie with an A-movie budget.

SCORE: 6.0 / 10

If you have any suggestions for films/TV/Games/Music/Anime for me to review, drop me a comment!

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All check out my lengthier video game reviews over at Nerd Bacon Games.