Category Archives: suspense

2:22

Directed by Paul Currie and starring Michiel Huisman, Teresa Palmer, and Sam Reid, the movie follows air traffic controller Dylan Branson, played by Huisman, where two planes almost collide after a blinding flash of light paralyzes him for a few seconds.

As a result, Branson is suspended from his job, and he becomes cognitive of repetition of sounds and events in his life at exactly the same time every day. Guess what time that is? The title of the movie, 2:22.

The underlying pattern soon builds and draws him New York’s Grand Central Station daily at 2:22 p.m. He meets up with a woman who works in an art gallery, Sarah, played by Palmer, disturbingly complicated by her ex-boyfriend Jonas, played by Reid. Still, Dylan must break the power of the past, and take control of time itself.

Every day, on the main concourse of Grand Central Terminal, Branson sees a businessman at the ticket counter reading a newspaper, a couple kissing, six school children, and a pregnant woman standing under the famous clock. It’s not always the same businessman, but it’s always the same pattern.

Earlier in the day – other patterns play out and haunt Dylan – a plane flies overhead, glass shatters, car screeches. It becomes clear to Dylan, and to Dylan alone, that these supposed random series of events, in this busy, noisy city, are not so random.

This is the enigma of 2:22.

How this movie plays out is crucial to whether or not the movie will be enjoyed, and Currie describes it best, “2:22 is about the fear of love. It’s also about the past that can secretly haunt us all. It’s a story about a guy who is trying to protect his girl at all costs, against time itself. Time is both Dylan’s ally and his enemy.”

The movie isn’t perfect and some may find it hard to enjoy, but it is a good attempt at a complex topic about taking control of time both the past and the future.

In Order of Disappearance

Directed by Hans Petter Moland and The New York Times critics’ pick, In Order of Disappearance stars Stellan Skarsgard, Pal Sverre Hagen and Bruno Ganz. The movie is filled with action and is constantly moving as a diehard thriller. The movie follows an honorable citizen, Nils, played by Skarsgard. He uncovers evidence that his son was murdered and a victim in a turf war between the local crime boss and his Serbian rivals. Following his discovery, Nils embarks on a quest for revenge.

The movie is very good because Nil is a fish out of the water. Introverted and hard-working snowplow driver Nils has just been named “Citizen of the Year.” When he receives news that his son has died of a heroin overdose, nothing seems to make sense.

Disbelieving the official report, Nils quickly uncovers evidence of the young man’s murder – a victim in a turf war between the local crime boss, known as “The Count”, and his Serbian rivals.

Armed with heavy machinery and a good amount of beginner’s godsend, Nils embarks upon a quest for revenge that soon escalates into a full-blown underworld gang war, with the body count spiraling ever higher and higher.

The movie is a rocket ride and hilarious in a very dark way. Skarsgard makes the movie great, and I have a fun time watching it.

The Ones Below

3d_rgb_theonesbelow_brwrpThe Ones Below, written and directed by David Farr, is an intense psychological thriller. The movie features really good acting and the suspense keeps the movie flowing intensely. The movie stars Clémence Poés, best known for playing Fleur in Harry Potter, David Morrissey, Stephen Campbell Moore and Laura Birn. The British movie is really intense and ideal for those who appreciate a thriller with gripping fear.

Expecting their first child, Kate, believably played by Poésy, and Justin, played by Moore, become friendly with their new neighbors, Jon, played by Morrissey, and Theresa, played by Birn, who are also expecting, in the downstairs apartment. With the undertones, there is a sense that something is dreadfully off and threatening about the new downstairs neighbors. Things take a turn after a dinner party upstairs and the new neighbors start to show sinister intentions towards Kate and Justin after an unfortunate tragedy strikes. The relationship turns threatening, leaving the couple fearful for their well-being. With an ending that twists around and leaves an unsettling feeling of despair, this psychological battle with the tenants in the apartment downstairs continuously keeps the tension and tone of the movie at a high level.

Farr, the screenwriter for both Hanna and The Night Manager, make his directorial debut with this movie. He did a fine job of crafting a dark, modern fable in which the lives of two couples become fatally intertwined. Kate and Justin live in the upstairs flat of a London house. Thirty-something, successful and affluent, they are expecting their first baby. Everything appears well on the surface though Kate harbors deep-rooted fears about her fitness to be a mother and her ability to love her child.

One day, another couple, Jon and Theresa move into the empty apartment below. They are also expecting a baby and, in stark contrast to Kate, Theresa is full of joy at the prospect of imminent motherhood. Pregnancy brings the women together in a blossoming friendship as Kate becomes entranced by Theresa’s unquestioning celebration of her family-to-be. Everything changes one night at a dinner party in Kate and Justin’s flat. Kate begins to sense that all is not as it seems with the couple below. Then a tragic accident throws the couples into a nightmare and a reign of psychological terror begins.

Keep in mind, The Ones Below is a dark movie and stays that way to the end.

High-Rise

high-riseHigh-Rise, from genre-bending director Ben Wheatley, is an attempt to adapt the classic J.G. Ballard novel of the same name with a brilliant and talented cast including Tom Hiddleston, Oscar winner Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans and Golden Globe winner Elisabeth Moss. If you watch the movie knowing it is dark satire, then you might not have a problem watching this movie. It is boring at times because the pacing is off, but the acting is what saves the movie.

But the message is clear and just as poignant today as it follows the inevitable result of a breakdown of social strata and public decorum, known as class warfare. The classic book is a dystopia with a very strong message, but the movie doesn’t even come near to the heart of the book.

Dr. Robert Laing, played pretty solid by Hiddleston, recently moved into a luxury, high-rise apartment building designed by the enigmatic Mr. Royal, played by Irons. With a literal divide of the classes, the wealthiest residents live on the upper floors with the best amenities while residents on the lower floors experience routine blackouts and other disruptions of basic services. As additional flaws in the building begin to emerge, both physically and socially, the lower floor residents revolt, turning the building into a battlefield for an all-out class warfare.

I wanted the movie to be good and worth seeing because the Ballard’s book tells a great story and the actors are really good. Yet, the script and editing could be tighter. It just dragged on and on with no reason.

The Blu-ray comes with some bonus features that includes a commentary from Tom Hiddleston, Ben Wheatley and Producer Jeremy Thomas, an in-depth look at adapting the beloved novel from the page to the screen, a look at the acclaimed film’s 70s set design, special effects, and more.

Synchronicity

Synchronicity_RGB 3D DVD OCardWritten and directed by Jacob Gentry and earning the L’Écran Fantastique Award at the 2015 Fantasia Film Festival, Synchronicity is considered a stunning science fiction adventure. The movie stars Chad McKnight, Brianne Davis, and Michael Ironside.

It is a fascinating thriller that blends time travel and romance with corporate espionage. The musical score takes you even farther than the story itself. Compose Ben Lovett’s music is spellbinding.

The story follows physicist Jim Beale, played by McKnight, who invents the world’s first ever time machine. He quickly finds himself fighting to prevent a takeover from his largest benefactor, Klaus Meisner, played by Ironside. In order to keep the rights to his invention, he must journey back in time himself to prove that it works. On his travels, he soon meets a beautiful, yet dark and mysterious woman named Abby, played by Davis.  He believes she may be working with Klaus to gain control of his life’s work. What he discovers in the past brings the story to full fruition.

Gentry starts the story while it is already underway, which offers a voyeur perspective of what is happening to Beale.  At first, I felt like I was intruding, then I felt comfortable and understood what was happening in the movie.

The movie, in its own way, hooked me because I wanted to know what would happen next.

Remember

Remember_3D_BD_OcardThis is a gem of a movie directed by Oscar nominee Aton Egoyan and written for the screen by Benjamin August, stars two very talented, Oscar-winning actors Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau.

I must digress and tell you I saw Plummer perform his one-man play about the late John Barrymore. I was fortunate to meet the playwright of Barrymore as well. I am compelled to praise Plummer’s performance and the play.

Remember is a story about very dark truths, lying just under the skin is the truth that comes to light when you least expect it. The movie is an intense thriller, and I was fortunate to see it on Blu-ray. We follow Zev, played brilliantly by Plummer, who has dementia and is recently widowed. He is a Holocaust survivor and will stop at nothing to get justice for his family. Being an Auschwitz survivor and with the aid of a friend, played by Landau, they discover that the Nazi guard who murdered both their families some seventy years ago is living in America under an assumed identity. Zev sets out on a gripping journey that tests both his will and his fading memory as it brings him closer to the retribution he seeks.

The movie has several memorable scenes. One is with the State Troop, son of a Nazi, with a German Shepard that Zev visits looking for the Nazi guard. Dean Norris plays the State Troop with such a gripping edge. I was so afraid for Zev. I was literally on the edge of my couch telling my husband, “This is such a good movie…”

The supporting cast is priceless including two talented child actors, Peter DaCunha, and Sofia Wells, offering the innocence of people unsuspecting the horrors of Holocaust.

The ending is so good and meaningful, which makes me wonder. For some perhaps, dementia or forgetting is just a way to protect those from transgressions who care not to reveal to themselves and others.

I applaud Egoyan, Plummer and Landau, great story and great performances.

The Blu-ray features an Audio Commentary with Director Atom Egoyan, Producer Robert Lantos & Writer Benjamin August. It also includes “Performances to Remember” Featurette and “A Tapestry of Evil: Remembering the Past” Featurette.

Misconduct

misconductDirected by Shintaro Shimosawa, he guides an all-star cast and follows the dangers of power and ambition manifested in Misconduct.  I was fortunate to have a Blu-ray with Digital HD to view the movie. The movie is shot well by Michael Fimognari, who is known for shooting low-grade horror movies.

The intense legal thriller is headlined by Josh Duhamel with Oscar winners Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins to back him up with their solid acting.  Other strong cast members are Alice Eve, Malin Akerman, Byung-Hun Lee, Julia Stiles, and Glen Powell.

We follow Duhamel’s character, who is an ambitious lawyer. He is seduced by his ex-girlfriend, played by Akerman. At the same time, she presents evidence that incriminates her boss, a corrupt pharmaceutical executive.  He finds himself caught in a power struggle between the pharmaceutical magnate, played briefly by Hopkins, and his firm’s senior partner played convincingly by Pacino. When the case takes a deadly turn, he must race to uncover the truth before he loses not only his wife, played by Eve, but his career, and possibly his own life.

I was entertained by this movie because of the suspense, and the ending was believable. Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins are true talents and professionals. They were so real and engaging. I watched the movie with two other people, who also enjoyed the movie, so it is worth the rental and time.

If you decide to get the Blu-ray, the look behind-the-scenes of Misconduct includes in-depth special features including “The Making of Misconduct” and deleted scenes.