The Belko Experiement (2016) Halloween Advent

Rating 18
Length 1h29
Release 12.4.2017
Director Greg McLean (Writer James Gunn)
About An ordinary day at the office becomes a horrific quest for survival when 80 employees (John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona) at the Belko Corp. in Bogotá, Colombia, learn that they are pawns in a deadly game. Trapped inside their building, a voice over an intercom tells the frightened staffers that two workers must be killed within 30 minutes. When another ultimatum follows, friends become enemies and new alliances take shape, as only the strongest will remain alive at the end.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Part of MGM subscription on Amazon Prime


  • There’s a few narrative choices that wind me up. The use of the lift again. Some of you reading might remember my rant from Prom Night (2008) a few weeks back, but here it is again. Only, its even mentioned. Mike goes so far as to tell people not to use the lifts. He tells them that during these sort of problems in buildings, they’re not safe. So why the fuck is he seen using one in the next god damn scene?!
  • I wish the film had perhaps used the company appraisal or review system to select people to be killed. It would add a second layer to the plot as often appraisal systems are flawed and corrupted by management to allow brown nosers to succeed and keep those who a sincerely good at their job at a certain level.
  • This is a budget movie and, as a result, the CGI is shit. I’m talking about the sequence in which the building is locked down and I’m just of the thought that CGI, and the very poor establishing shot, was unnecessary.


  • This film is everything you love about James Gunn’s work; from casting familiar faces to music selection and odd-ball comedy ticks. There’s a bit where a number of workers have headed to the roof and are calling for help. They grab the attention of the guard, who turns, drinks his tea, lowers it and turns away. That sort of obscure humour really tickles me.
  • There’s too many amazing people on the cast list to mention individually, but I want to mention regulars to Team Gunn: brother Sean and Michael Rooker. Both of them have clearly been given roles made for them and I am here for it. While its fair to say I could have done with more of both of them, they worked perfectly in the time that they had on screen.
    Tony Goldwyn and John Gallagher Jr are incredible in their own roles, but it is the conflict between these two characters that makes them both the perfect choice.

Final Thoughts

Its dark, its gruesome and perhaps not for everyone, but the casting and visual style works for me. It is also obscure enough that tweens won’t ruin it by telling me how amazing the violence is.

Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016)

Rating 12a
Length 2h 14
Release 11.7.2016
Director Paul Feig
About Paranormal enthusiasts Abby, Erin, Jillian and Patty set out to capture ghosts when they realise that someone is attempting to cause an apocalypse by summoning ghosts in the city of New York.

The Good

  • Kate McKinnon is the best thing to come out of this movie. Jillian Holtzman is branded chaos and a hot geeky mess that anyone who watches is here to watch.
    From the outfits, to the zingers McKinnon was having a blast and living any girl’s (*cough* me *cough*) dream of being enlisted as a Ghostbuster. Holtzman was the love child of the OG’s. She has Stanz’ passion, Venkman’s dicey dry wit and Spengler’s geeky flair (and hair).
    Can we also please commend this film for its presentation of Holtzmann’s sexuality. She just… was. There was no conversation, no label. Perhaps (I doubt it) I’m reading too much into it, but to me it is clear she’s gay. I *know* this and it wasn’t made into a thing. I don’t know if I’m wrong to see this as a good thing, but I feel like that’s the way it should be. Had the film had *that* conversation, to me it would have felt like a check box being ticked and they might as well have put a neon sign shouting “we’re being diverse”. Its a fine line to be walking. To me I see her as clear representation, however I also know how Cursed Child was criticised for ‘playing it safe’.
  • I love the big bad plot. Its original, its well incorporated into the film and fully resolved. There’s a mystery there and while the audience is in on it, we don’t know the full plan.
  • The music is amazing. I think it was not long after my second cinema viewing I purchased the album and I’ve listened to it off and on ever since.
  • Must admit, I did like the cameos throughout the film. It was a nice geek touch. The best, by far, is the one that comes during the mid credit scenes.
  • As a group, McCarthy, Wiig, McKinnon and Jones work well together. If it was any other movie, there would never have been the backlash. As an origin story goes, these four women give us brains, family and humour. What else do you want?

The Bad

  • It is a SNL film. Saturday Night Live is an aquired taste. I’m not talking political affiliation here and it is really hard to call it a criticism given that most of the original cast were alumns. However, there’s a certain type of over acting that is glossed over a number of the company of Studio 8H. Cecily Strong is the best example, mainly because she grated from the start. It’s an almost pantomime kind of acting that sets my teeth on edge.
    There’s also the element of ad lib that just doesn’t suit a film like this. The jokes don’t always stick their landing and as an audience, we really want a polished product, not wooden zingers.
  • Kristen Wiig does an amazing job for about 80% of the time. Unfortunately that remaining time is so utterly over done and cringe that I hate it just that little bit more each time I see it. The biggest issue I have is her hysterics at the restaurant. It’s not funny at best and at worst, it allows for the digs about why there was no place for a ‘gender swap’ reboot.
  • Speaking of which, the digs at the expense of the ‘busters being women got old really fast. Especially five years later, its eyerolling and really serves no purpose as I’m pretty certain those who they were aimed at have never watched the movie.

The Ugly

  • Perhaps one of the biggest missteps was making this a reboot. If you had the OG cast on board, you pass the torch. The origins of these four women doesn’t surpass the original and while it was cool to watch Holtzmann and the evolution of the Proton Pack, she had so many other toys to show us.
    Also, there are way too many Easter Eggs. You cannot have that many and have it be its own thing. It feels so meta that my head hurts.
  • I don’t like the treatment of Patty. I don’t like that Leslie Jones is the only member of the Ghostbusters that isn’t a Scientist and its the role that goes to the person of colour, again. At least in the first one it is addressed (sort of).
    There’s a number of times the other three ‘tell Patty off’ and it really gets tiresome. Its always a put down that could be construed to be about her race too, which just stalls any progressiveness the film might have.
    I’m not sure if Feig stating that the character was originally meant to be for McCarthy, but to me, the fact that you wrote the character for a white woman who may, or may not, have refused the role for a ‘better’ part doesn’t sit right with me either.

Final Thoughts

This is not part of the franchise and it doesn’t do it justice either. This is a very expensive piece of movie fan fiction. An AU if it were. It does work well in isolation, and on the big screen, but 5 years on it’s not aging well.

The Boy (2015) Spoilers within

Rating: 15

Length: 1Hr 37

Release: 18.3.2016

About: A young American named Greta (Lauren Cohan) takes a job as a nanny for an 8-year-old boy in a remote English village. To her surprise, Greta learns that the child of her new employers is a life-size doll. They care for the doll as if it was human, which helps the couple to cope with the death of their own son 20 years earlier. When Greta violates a list of strict rules, a series of disturbing and inexplicable events bring her worst fears to life, leading her to believe that the doll is alive.


  • It has that The Others and Woman in Black meets Annabelle vibe, if that’s your kind of thing.
  • The creepiest thing about the whole film is the parents. I actually wish we’d had more of them. I definitely want to know how an eight year old with a clear vitamin D deficiency over powered them enough to run with this fucked up charade.
  • The film does use some standard, but slightly underused camera shots to creep the fuck out of the audience. Namely the ‘under the bed’ pan. I hate it because it gives me the creeps.


  • My biggest problem is the setting and filming locations. It’s set in the UK and if you’re from any other country that might work for you, but to my tea-drinking self, it’s not filmed in the UK and it’s odd. The home doesn’t look British. At a push, maybe it’s Scottish but there’s definite American influence. Now, all of this might seem a little petty until you consider the fact that the plot has her fly all the way from America to babysit the doll. Why do the family HAVE to be British and, if they must, why can’t they live across the pond which would make some of the other plot decisions a little easier to believe. Because, boys and girls… if they lived in the UK the Super Nanny would have been on the case and naughty stepping that bastard out of his murder ways.
  • Gratuitous shower scene is eye-roll worthy as it is, but to follow it with Greta climbing up to the loft with her fanny going commando in a towel is just a step too far. (Although I did read that the original script had her wandering the house naked, so I guess the illogical exploration with a towel is the better option)

  • The reveal, certainly for me, came as no surprise so it dampened some of the fear factor for me. No, let’s be honest, the sheer stupidity of the plot had me checked out long before the reveal. I do think that perhaps owing to the fact that you’re not really going to be on side with Greta all the way through the movie having an audience reveal earlier on might have made for a better narrative.
  • I hate the fake-out ending that reveals he’s still alive and ready for a sequel. How the fuck he survived those burns without a trip to hospital, let alone Greta’s slice and dice is beyond me.

Final Thoughts

Too mind bogglingly stupid and one to many ‘what the fuck’ moments to be scary. It’s all too Scooby Doo and it’s already got a second one on the way. Unless you give me a sequel with William Zabka taking no crap and calling out Brahms for being the pussy that he is I’m not watching.

Review: Undrafted (15) by @MazzelloJoe

A review of the Joe Mazzello written and directed movie, Undrafted.

Time: 90mins
About: When twelve ragtag teammates set out to play what should be a meaningless summer intramural baseball game, it ends up becoming the most important game of their lives.
Director: Joe Mazzello

Buy it: 



mazSo, you’ve been to the cinema a hundred times to see Bohemian Rhapsody, you’ve basked in the awesomeness of Rami Malek and you’ve realised Joe Mazzello has spent way too long off your movie radar?

Well, my friends… it’s not that the clone of John Deacon has been off our screens since his electrifying stint on Jurassic Park, it’s just that he’s moved away from staring roles (Star Kid, Simon Birch) like he did in the 90s. I’ll be going back and looking at his other roles over the next few weeks, but I need to start with a special film.

Undrafted is clearly a work of passion and something close to the heart of Joe Mazzello; it’s based upon his own brother, John, and the local baseball team where the Mazzello brothers grew up. There’s such a sincerity and heart from the moment it starts that its a must watch for anyone who was won over by Joe’s charm in the Queen biopic. Just be warned; you’ll be begging for his next directorial offering once you’ve finished.

Its a simple plot, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this is a sub-par movie. The focus and charm is not in the plot, but the characters. It’s a bottle film; everything centers around a single baseball game and the team’s disappointment that one of their own didn’t make the cut.
Maz should have been drafted; everyone on the team knows it and their frustration is tangible. Last thing they need is to play against another local team who are prepared to play dirty to win. While Maz is the catalyst and the character who develops the most throughout the film, he’s not the only one who will keep you focused.
It feels like Remember the Titans meets Little Rascals in all of the right ways. You can’t help but love this team of angry misfits. From Palacco’s entrance and British twang, to Pat Murray’s half-time meltdown, you really get to understand what being undrafted means to everyone.
When it comes down to it, this film is about family. It’s about overcoming defeat, picking yourself up and dusting yourself off before starting again. Maz’s final act is one of wonderful growth and true cinematic climax. It’s through this development that the group truly become a team.

Tyler Hoechlin plays pitcher Dells. One of the brilliant things about an independent movie like Undrafted is that you get to spot people from your favourite shows. Hoechlin can currently be seen flying in and out of the CWs Supergirl as Clark Kent and his alter ego. He’s wonderfully heavy hearted and I do feel there’s more to know about his character than what is seen in the 90 minutes.

Casting Jim Belushi as the Mazzello patriarch was a stroke of genius. He provides a warmth and a wisdom that brings heart to the film; the relationship he has with Aaron Tveit’s Maz is delightful to watch. Knowing Belushi is portraying someone real only adds to his presence on screen.

Joe Mazzello is a powerhouse on this film. Not only does he write and direct, the man also takes on the role of Murray too. It’s a role unlike any I’ve seen Mazzello play (aside from Presumed Innocent and Wooly Boys, I think I’ve seen them all). The meltdown Murray has and his monologue is raw, emotional and frighteningly empowering. I am ashamed to say, grown up Joe Mazzello swearing his way through 90 minutes of game play had me giggling. I grew up with this guy in some of my favourite films, having him curse had me laughing like one of the kids I teach when I’m telling them off.

The very fact that I like this film, gives a good indication of how well it was made. I don’t think I like sports. Other than Ice Hockey, I haven’t watched a full match. Any football match I watched with my boyfriend-at-the-time was laced with cocktails. Lots and lots of cocktails. As a kid, I didn’t ‘watch’ the match; I heard them on the radio. It sucked and sort of ruined football for me.
However, what I do love are movies about sports; Escape to Victory, The Wrestler, The Damned United, Rocky and Eddie the Eagle are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sports movies. Undrafted is no exception. I am none the wiser about the rules of the game but, bloody hell, I think if I was to go to a match I’d be hooked.

Over to you:
What’s your favourite Joe role?
What do you think of BoRhap?
What’s your favourite sports movie?

Love Han x