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Thriller

Kidnap (2017)

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In the US, a chilKidnapd goes missing every 40 seconds. You never think it will happen to you. Until it does. Alone and scared, Karla Dyson is unwilling to leave the fate of her son’s life in someone else’s hands. When she catches a glimpse of the abductors speeding away, she decides to fight back. In a heart pounding race against time, Karla begins a high speed pursuit and will stop at nothing to save her son’s life.

Genre : Thriller
Country : USA

Cast :
Halle Berry : Karla Dyson
Sage Correa : Frankie
Lew Temple : Terry

Director :
Louis Prieto

My opinion on “Kidnap”

“Okay, God, I know I never pray to you unless somebody is sick.
Or somebody’s dying or in an airplane.
But, God, please don’t let me lose him.”

Do you remember “The Call” from a few years ago, with Halle Berry as a member of a 911 call center who was constantly talking to the victim of a kidnapping case. A victim who was locked up in the trunk of the kidnapper’s car. It was a story full of nonsense but it was terribly exciting and unnerving. Here it’s about something similar. Only now, Halle Berry is the one whose son is kidnapped by an unknown, after which she starts to chase the kidnappers with her car. Ultimately, this film is nothing more than one long car chase with Karla driving her burgundy red SUV. I can already tell you this. It’s also a thrilling movie. But unfortunately, it’s also full of nonsense and irritating developments.

Kidnap

Yes, it’s exciting. But it’s even more annoying.

Kidnap” is not only about kidnapping innocent kids, but it’s also about the desperation and perseverance of a mother. Halle Berry shows that she wants to rescue her son out of the hands of the kidnappers at any cost. But that’s also the only positive thing. The way she demonstrates that it’s better not to mess with a raging mother who protects her child frantically. Furthermore, it was simply a terribly annoying film. I already mentioned that it can be exciting sometimes, but unfortunately these exciting moments were ruined by totally nonsensical events. I’ve never looked at a screen so many times with disbelief and saying “Oh come on” to myself regularly. Even my wife tried to calm me down and prepared a soothing tea for me.

Kidnap

I wouldn’t be so gentle.

Admittedly, I guess the main characters just needed to follow the script. The subject is fairly straightforward and leaves little room for improvisation. Kidnapping a child is the central theme and that’s it. The course of the story therefore is already predetermined. That’s self-evident. But the denouement being so predictable, was a bit too much. But what really pissed me of, was the behavior of Halle Berry. I’m sorry, but if my son was in that car I was chasing, I wouldn’t be driving like a stressed out grandmother. And believe me. If I had the chance, those kidnappers would see tire marks on their foreheads even weeks later. And if someone from a police force drives past you, wouldn’t it be smart to ram the alleged car of the road? Sometimes it annoys me what people do in a movie. In “Kidnap“, it was the other way around. Here I was annoyed about what she didn’t do. I’m not blaming Halle Berry. I guess she was just following the script.

Kidnap

Is “Kidnap” a movie you’d love to see?

So, you want to see a not so very intelligent film which sometimes seems exciting? A film with virtually no interaction between the different characters? And the protagonist constantly performing monotonous monologues as she pursues the perpetrators. You don’t mind if the intervention of the police forces seems so indifferent while the motorway is being recreated into a junkyard? And finally, you don’t have kids yourself? Well, that means “Kidnap” is something for you. Fortunately I didn’t bother to watch it on the big screen.

PS. One last warning. Are you a fan of action-packed, lightning-fast car chases? Well, forget about that here. It’s perhaps a mega-long chase, but this one is at snail’s pace. It looks like a road-rage-course for seniors.

My rating 4/10
Links : IMDB

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Ánimas – A Worthy Addition To The Netflix Originals Range

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When you’re five, it’s normal
to have imaginary friends…
But at my age, it means you’re crazy.

Ánimas” certainly isn’t an easy film. It also takes a while before you realize what’s actually going on. The film looks enormously artistic thanks to the quirky image setting. Scenes in different color palettes alternate. From intense red and bright orange to soothing green. I suppose it’s “a state of mind” related kind of thing. I can’t come up with another deeper meaning. Although I read a statement somewhere where the concept of traffic lights seemed a plausible explanation. The only thing that bothered me sometimes, was the constantly flickering lights. “Ánimas” in itself wasn’t really a horror. But that is perhaps due to the fact that the entire film is spoken in Spanish which gives me a sort of holiday feeling. The movie shows how the psyché of a tormented person functions and how a specific incident can provide a psychological defense mechanism. Hence the sometimes hallucinatory and surrealistic images.

 

 

The result after years of abuse.

It may all sound a bit absurd and complicated. And on top of that, the film is terribly slow in the beginning as well. It starts with Bram (Ivan Pellicer) and Alex (Clare Durant) meeting on the stairs of the apartment where both children live. Bram anxiously hiding there in the stairwell while his father (Luis Bermejo) rages in their home. From the outset, it’s abundantly clear that domestic violence is involved. When Alex tells him how to deal with fear and ensures him she’ll repair his broken yo-yo, it’s the start of a close friendship. A friendship that stays close until both finish high school and they are ready for a university career. A carefree life in which only a budding romance between Bram and Anchi (Chacha Huang) causes agitation for Alex. Well, so it seems. Until we get to see fairly bizarre images. Alex hurting herself while standing in front of the mirror. And the moment Bram’s mother comes into the picture, you realize the home situation there isn’t normal either. A catatonic looking woman who is constantly staring at a clock and appears to be lifeless. The result after years of living under the yoke of a violent husband and father.

 

 

Is it a dream or is it real?

As mentioned, the film seems rather chaotic and difficult to follow at a certain moment. The bizarre storyline and sudden flashbacks don’t make it easy. And when ghostly appearances and mysterious shadows begin to play along, targeting Alex apparently, the film goes down a more sinister path. “Ánimas” wasn’t really horror for me but rather a psychological thriller. A film that seeks to visualize the psyche of a traumatized individual. At times it seemed as if Alex was moving in an unrealistic world created by Escher. It causes confusion. Both for Alex and the viewer. You wonder whether it’s reality or a dream world. Until the moment of the disclosure in the end (or perhaps a bit earlier when you start realizing a little bit what the plausible explanation might be) because then everything suddenly becomes clearer.

 

 

Worthwhile to hang on till the end.

Ánimas” is no ordinary, average horror or thriller. The story has been built up too cleverly for this. And even though you get shivers from the spooky and darkly dilapidated apartment building and the characters are creepy in a certain way, the film will certainly not scare you. I found the acting of the two main characters sublime. Bram, the timid teenager who hides in his own little world far from everything that could harm him. Alex, the bustling teenager whose personality is difficult to place. Only the relationship between the two protagonists remains a bit blurred at the start. And perhaps many will drop out after a while because maybe the movie is too slow, too meaningless and too confusing for them. However, it’s worth the effort to sit out the film in such a way that the entire setup becomes clearer. Perhaps it’s not a film that’ll resonate for a long time and stays with you for days. But it’s a worthy addition to the Netflix Originals range.

You can watch Ánimas on Netflix now!

 

My rating 5/10
Links: IMDB

 

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Captive State – Yet Again Proof That Trailers Aren’t Always an Accurate Representation of the Final Film

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Light a match.
Ignite a war.

When I saw the trailer of “Captive State” for the first time, I was immediately overenthusiastic. It seemed like a suspenseful and action-rich Science Fiction about extraterrestrial dominance and their reign. I already imagined myself a kind of movie as “Independence Day” or “War of the Worlds“, with a sophisticated storyline as presented in “Arrival“. Added to this is the existence of a rebellion of individuals against this alien occupation. And last but not least, they managed to get John Goodman to play one of the key roles. The very first thing that occurred to me was that I certainly wouldn’t let this film pass me by. This film was the reward after having to watch crap movies as “Occupation” and to a lesser extent “Beyond skyline“. After seeing this “as I imagined” incomparable film, I had to conclude that my enthusiasm had dropped below freezing.

 

 

What’s it about anyway?

I’m sure there was a shrewd story somewhere deeply hidden. And yes, the ending was ingeniously conceived. But you have to wait an enormous amount of time before you realize what’s really going on. The entire setup only becomes clear at the very last minute. That means you have to have a good portion of endurance. Because this movie isn’t really captivating (pun not intended). It’s rather confusing and vague. And if you’re eager to see aliens at work, you’ll be disappointed as well. There are only a few vague, dark images. Not that it’s really necessary. The opening scene with the parents of young Gabriel (Ashton Sanders) and Rafe (Jonathan Majors) being pulverized, shows already how all-destructive and invincible these cosmic rascals are. The rest of the film you see those creatures in semi-darkness while producing creepy insect-like sounds. They look like a giant cactus. And you’ll also see a kind of flying drones with a flesh-like suction cup. However, their function wasn’t entirely clear to me. Well, there were more unclear things.

 

It’s all political.

The originality of this film lies in the relationship between humanity and these invaders. In one way or another, they’ve managed to make humanity take a submissive attitude. The choice was probably limited: accept their authority or total destruction. The result is a run-down society that tolerates despotic rules. The aliens have buried themselves in the centers of world cities behind an immense wall where only certain authorized persons are allowed access (To receive instructions and report on the situation, I suppose.). These “closed zones” serve as mines to plunder earth’s resources. After the intriguing start, however, the film falls into a politically charged story about limited civil rights, economic decline and bureaucratic juggling in which privileged people are richly rewarded for their cooperation. The emergence of a resistance movement is a natural result. But it’s brutally suppressed.

 

 

 

John Goodman as always terrific.

And that’s where John Goodman comes in. He’s a detective who’s determined to clean up the “Phoenix” group once and for all. He follows Gabriel’s movements in order to track down and eliminate these resistance fighters. Everything for the greater good. All in all, this entire operation is initially fairly incoherent and difficult to follow. His relationship with a prostitute (VeraThe ConjuringFarmiga) seemed unimportant at the beginning. The use of alien explosive technology wasn’t really clear to me either. And wasn’t it so that the entire human civilization was stripped of any technological ingenuity? Gabriel’s work included, for example, the systematic destruction of SIM cards from mobiles. And yet the law enforcement agencies work with a sophisticated tracking system and face recognition. Or was this a technology from the alien rulers? In terms of communication, they made more progress than in “Arrival“. Here, there are already interpreters who actually understand and translate the clicking, scraping, and hissing of the aliens.

 

 

I should hold on to avoiding trailers.

Again, I understand that with the ultimate revelation everything becomes clearer. And when the ultimate message hits in, you’ll be awestruck. But almighty, you cannot really call the film fascinating. Perhaps you watch it rather passively because you’re kept in the dark for so long. The film deals with aspects such as resistance movements, political compromises, and self-sacrifice for the greater good. I don’t expect a film which tackles the subject of an extraterrestrial invasion, to focus only on these aspects. Yet again another proof that trailers aren’t always an accurate representation of the final film.

 

My rating 4/10
Links: IMDB

 

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The Silence – This Type of Film Involves More Than Just Portraying a Lot of Hysterically Screaming People

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Film Review : The Silence

What the hell does that mean?
“Don’t make noise.”

There are still certainties in this world. First of all, you can expect that if a type of movie has enormous success, something similar will appear in no time. A matter of surfing on the wave of success, I guess. “The Silence” resembles, for instance, the successful film “A Quiet Place“. It’s not exactly the same thing, but there are a huge number of similarities with the latter (And yes I know both films were made almost simultaneously and it’s based on a novel from 2015. But still!). And then it appears once again that humans are the cause of problems. So this time no space monsters with a sophisticated hearing organ, like in “A Quiet Place“. Now there are some over-enthusiastic speleologists who can’t resist sticking their noses into something out of curiosity. In particular, a cave that they have discovered. Cries of joy are quickly replaced by cries of fear and hysterical whining, the moment they break through the cave wall. What these human moles didn’t realize was that they were about to release some prehistoric bat-like creatures into the world. Beings who, after years of living in the dark, only rely on their hearing so they can find another victim. Best advice? Be silent.

 

 

“A Quiet Place” all over again.

The biggest difference with “A Quiet Place” is the unveiling of the bloodthirsty, ruthless flying monsters. In “A Quiet Place” it took a while. In “The Silence” you don’t have to wait that long before you see the little monsters at work. Yet there are several similarities to be discovered. So the word plagiarism is very quickly dangling off the tip of your tongue. Again it’s about a family with two children with daughter Ally (Kiernan Shipka) also having a hearing problem. Although not congenital but because of a terrible accident in which her grandparents also perish. Here too there are certain confounding factors among the family members that could put others life at risk. In “A Quiet Place” it was a newborn baby whose crying was a lure for the terrible creatures. Here it’s grandmother Lynn (Kate Trotter) with an annoying cough and the dog Otis who barks all the time. And just like in “Bird Box” there is a safe haven where everyone is heading for.

 

No need for hard thinking to figure out where they got the inspiration from.

The silence” clearly has similarities with a whole bunch of other movies. The disadvantage is that you have an early feeling of haven’t-we-seen-this-already-before. Even though it is all a bit more action-packed and at certain moments more exciting. On the other hand, it’s true that not showing the imminent danger immediately (such as in “A Quiet Place“) ensures that you’ll be waiting with bated breath for that revelation. The biggest difference lies in the religious aspect that’s incorporated in the story. The Apocalypse breaks out and before you know it there’s some ingenious person who immediately starts a cult.

 

 

Religion and smartness. Not an obvious combination.

As with any religion, this self-proclaimed religious leader also introduces a dogma that makes it impossible to jeopardize the cult through unexpected, loud noises. The dogma involves a radical intervention on the followers. It is hoped that none of them will get stomach flu, with noisy flatulence as a result. Or that one of the short-sighted followers is a bit too obese, which makes that moving around is quite noisy. Away tactical advantage, I would say. In short, another proof that religion cannot be associated with logical reasoning. On the other hand, they were interested in the fertility of the young girl. Well, that says a lot.

 

 

More ridiculous things.

And unfortunately, the film is full of such pathetic ridiculous things. Actually, it was already stupid of them to ride off in a noisy car. And of course, they flee, even though the authorities advised to stay indoors. And wasn’t there anyone smart enough to simply keep the wood chipper running constantly? Maybe an annoying, maddening noise. But anything’s better than being eaten by naked, bat-like flying dinosaurs. With united forces, they could easily have destroyed the colony of animals in one fell swoop. Or were there really so many of these creatures? And nobody here who thinks to throw an object to mislead these bastards. Nope. They do things the hard way and start waving around with a mop.

 

 

The acting is not that bad.

Fortunately, the acting performances weren’t of a lousy low level. It’s always a pleasure to see Stanley Tucci at work. Although I thought his personage was more interesting in “Patient Zero“. Unfortunately, that movie wasn’t very good. Apparently, there’s also a lot of criticism from the deaf community about the non-deaf Kiernan Shipka playing the role of Ally. According to them, it’s impossible for her to understand what it feels like to be deaf and also that her sign language wasn’t flawless. Could be. But I don’t agree with regard to empathizing with her character. Couldn’t a talented actress or actor empathize to such an extent that it comes across as convincing? I assume that Denzel Washington and Nicolas Cage don’t have a drinking problem. And yet their interpretations as an alcoholic in “Flight” and “Leaving Las Vegas” were damn realistic enough for me. And I am able to objectively assess that, believe me. And finally admiration for Kyle Breitkopf as the younger brother Jude.

 

Not a horror at all.

All in all, this film is the weakest one from the “Netflix Originals” stable. As a horror, it’s a total failure. It’s never really scary or exciting. The tension is removed by portraying the scary animals very early in the film. This type of film involves more than just portraying a lot of hysterically screaming people (which in turn has bad consequences for them). No, there are certainly better alternatives to view. And if you don’t know which one I mean, I recommend a reread.

You can watch The Silence on Netflix now!

 

My rating 3/10
Links: IMDB

 

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