Movie Reviews – The Autopsy of Jane Doe; The Den; Patriots Day; 99 Homes

Poster

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

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A father and son, both coroners, are pulled into a complex mystery while attempting to identify the body of a young woman, who was apparently harboring dark secrets.

Director André Øvredal follows up his 2010 hit Troll Hunter with this very cool horror flick, starring a solid lead duo in Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch. They play father and son coroners who receive a mysterious homicide victim with no apparent cause of death. As they attempt to identify the beautiful young “Jane Doe” they discover increasingly bizarre clues that hold the key to her terrifying secrets.

I felt this was a pretty unique movie, offering enough to keep me fully engrossed in what I was watching and suitably wary of the threat I knew had to be coming. I remember seeing Stephen King recommend this and that man obviously knows his horror, so I’m glad I followed his recommendation.

It’s good to see a low-budget horror film full of scares and blood, with enough questions to keep you trying to figure out what’s going on. Combined with a claustrophobic basement setting and great performances from our lead duo, this was another solid entry in the horror genre for 2016. The ending was the only real let down for me, I wasn’t fully sold on it and it lowered my overall score. I’m excited to see what director Øvredal does next, I just hope he doesn’t wait 6 years again to do it. 

threestar

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The Den  (2013)

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While studying the habits of web cam chat users from the apparent safety of her own home, a young woman’s life begins to spiral out of control after witnessing a grisly murder online.

The Den, or Hacked as it’s also known, is very much a modern-day horror thriller. Everything we see is shot on laptops or mobile phones and it never breaks from this method. It is a much more common gimmick these days, and most of the time its a frustrating experience for me as a viewer, but on rare occasions it does work. I would put The Den in the ‘works’ category, as there is a legitimate reason within this movies world why it’s all shown this way.

For something like this to work we rely heavily on the lead actor, and in this instance Melanie Papalia is up to the task. I found her to be engaging and watchable and she carries this movie well.

I remember reading good things about The Den on its release, and since it was finally on tv here in the uk recently, I’m happy to agree with the positive reviews. It was creepy, spilled a little blood and for me the biggest positive was that nothing was spoon fed to the viewer. It’s not without its faults, and as always with these kind of films you might need to suspend your belief with a few decisions Papalia’s character makes, but the movie flew by and I was impressed. It really feels like there is much more to this story but I’m not sure if we will be getting a sequel or not. I’d love to know more about those behind the cameras so to speak…..definitely more to be explored there. To say any more would venture into spoiler territory but this creepy horror/thriller is well worth checking out.

threestar

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Patriots Day (2016)

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The story of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the aftermath, which includes the city-wide manhunt to find the terrorists responsible.

Director Peter Berg assembled a great cast to tell this harrowing story. Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, Michelle Monaghan, J.K. Simmons and Kevin Bacon to name but a few, even down to the guys playing the bombers who looked exactly like the real life brothers, that casting was spot on. The script was factual and the movie that plays out is true to life with a few embellishments thrown in to make it more of a big Hollywood action film.

Mark Walhberg’s character in this film, Tommy Saunders, is actually a fictional character created for the film, and is a composite of many Boston cops who worked the marathon and aided in the manhunt following the bombing. I love Mark Wahlberg, and as always he is highly watchable and puts in a great performance. Of course his character is always in the right place at the right time to catch the bad guys, but it has to work this way for the sake of this movie. I can see people having a problem with how the filmmakers implemented a fictitious cop and hailed him the hero. Of all of the real life figures who helped and persevered through this difficult time in the city’s history, they chose to depict someone who wasn’t actually there. I can understand that, and Wahlberg himself had reservations about doing the job, but for me it takes nothing away from the actual event.

The story shows how even minor characters were important in working as a team and ending the brothers threat. Everyday heroes and bringing people together, in this instance a whole city, and it can’t help but evoke an emotional response from us watching.

It’s wrong perhaps to say I enjoyed Patriots Day, but it was such a tense rollercoaster that even though we know how it ends, and what a tragedy the event was, I was enthralled in the film. Patriots Day in no way glorifies anything but it does show the men behind the bombing rather than shy away from it. How people can be so cold and ruthless aiming to kill and injure as many innocent people as possible is just incomprehensible.

Action packed, emotional and full of suspense, even if you know the story it’s well worth checking out Patriots Day.

threestar

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99 Homes (2014)

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A recently unemployed single father struggles to get back his foreclosed home by working for the real estate broker who is the source of his frustration.

The trailer for this came on before something I was watching recently, and I’d never heard of it and normally skip the trailers, but something about this just held my attention and wouldn’t let go. So much so that I bought and watched this the very next day, and I’m glad I did. Starring Michael Shannon and Andrew Garfield, 99 Homes tells the story of a guy who just wants to provide for his family, and has to basically sell his soul to the devil in order to make ends meet.

After being evicted himself, Garfield’s character Dennis Nash has no other option to go and work for the man who evicted him and his family from their home, Shannon’s character Rick Carver. Basically leading a double life working for Carver and keeping it a secret, he has to do what was done to him and evict other families. Watching this knowing what he has been through himself was gut wrenching, but Nash needs the money and is ultimately led to believe greed is good. The film ended in the way I expected, yet I wasn’t let down by this, it seemed the most logical solution. There wasn’t a dull moment in 99 Homes, and it was as tense as any drama I’ve seen recently. Had I more knowledge of how the system works with houses in the US, I’d probably have felt even more attached to it. To me here in the UK the system seems so wrong and corrupt that this kind of practice can be legal. Yet the film is based on a real life father who exposed a corrupt real estate agent, and that makes it even more disturbing.

Shannon’s character is ruthless, and yet he is so god damn charismatic and watchable he elevates this movie. I’ve never really seen Andrew Garfield in too much, but here I felt for his character and the guy can act. He followed this up with lead roles in Silence & Hacksaw Ridge, so he is clearly on an upwards trajectory and I can see why. Both lead guys give fantastic performances, and I’m pleased to see so many positive reviews for the film and their performances. I’m just a little surprised and disappointed it didn’t make much money, this film deserves to be seen by a wider audience.

fourstar

44 thoughts on “Movie Reviews – The Autopsy of Jane Doe; The Den; Patriots Day; 99 Homes

  1. The Autopsy of Jane Doe had all the right ingredients to be a classic – the first half was pretty much flawless; it was intriguing and built anticipation the way a great horror story should; but then it just delved right into horror cliche after horror cliche! I was so frustrated. As soon as the lights went out, it fell apart by the seams; all that build-up, and then it fell completely flat. I went in w/ no expectations, but with the fascinating first act raised them significantly only to leave me thoroughly disappointed. I hate thinking about this movie. Thnx a lot, Tyson! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t get that frustrated until the end, but even then I liked that it wasn’t too traditional and Hollywood happy.

      Nice to see you again anyway Gary, wasn’t sure how active you still were, was trying to go through my old site links and find people still writing. So many sites have closed their doors. Great to see you’re still around 🙂

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      • honestly, this was the first time I checked this site in a few weeks. lol. I still check in occasionally, but am not really active on my own blog; the last entry I wrote was in April of 2016. lol. I have actually wanted to email you, but wasn’t sure of your email address. I’ve been much more active on my YouTube channel, but it’s primarily christian content. I don’t even watch that many movies anymore the way I used to. I’m still down to watch a great mystery thriller though, but those are very rare, and I just feel like most of the other drivel is a waste of time. I watched a horror movie called “Within” a couple weeks ago that I thought was surprisingly good; there was a sequence they did that I thought was well done. I don’t think you’d dig it, though – but I’m not sure. I wasn’t crazy about the ending; but the thing they did do right was utilize a song into the story that fit well, similarly as “You’re Next” did. But anyways, on my blog I have a page on the menubar that’s actually a “Discussion Board” so you can always hit me up on there to discuss random movies, or anything else; or shoot me an email at GaryGreg828@gmail.com Still waiting on updated pics of your kids. 🙂

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      • I’ll reply to this properly later, I’m stuck at work, but if you find my headinavice.wordpress site there’s a brand new photo of my humans, I remember promising you 🙂

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      • yeah, that’s the problem, when you click on your site it says the domain is for sale. lol. no worries, i didn’t expect you to write back now since it’s 1am over there. Just whenever. 🙂

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      • Yeah I saw your last post date, I figured I’d follow and if you saw that and were active you’d follow the breadcrumbs! Left a note for Eric but not sure if he’s seen it or not yet on his site.

        I’ll drop you an email then you have my new address, or you can use the contact page on here if I forget. Had to make new email anyway so should all be working now. I’ll go imdb ‘Within’ and see how easily I can track a copy down!

        Discussion board sounds good, will get back in the groove soon. Still tweaking things on here and finding my way round new themes etc. Looking forward to catching up and you finding more foreign films for me. Kidnapped (Spanish home invasion), The Wailing & Train to Busan are last 3 foreign horrors Ive seen, I’ll be posting about them soon I hope. You seen any?

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      • Eric will likely eventually write back; he got a job where he actually has to work now! lol. So, doesn’t have much time for the blog anymore…

        I don’t really recommend “Within” for you. I’d put it in the same vein as “Home Sweet Home” which you hated; i think you’d hate this one, as well. I just liked it b/c it surprised me on a sequence, but what surprises me you don’t typically seem to be a fan of…

        I’ve seen Kidnapped and train to Busan, which I think I liked Kidnapped okay, but not the ending; Train to Busan I thought was pretty good; The Wailing I grew bored after about 20-25 minutes and turned it off. No character development and I just felt like it was building to something i’ve already seen a dozen times. The dialogue felt very amateurish to me…

        I’m not much of a movie recommender anymore since I don’t watch much. But I loved this movie called “Secuestro” (Boy Missing) which falls in the same vein as “Tell No One” and “The Square” which are a couple foreign crime thrillers I loved. I really liked this european drama film called “Copenhagen” about a self-centered, womanizing man searching for his grandfather in a foreign country. I liked this US drama/thriller called “Mean Dreams” which i think is Bill Paxton’s last film, and he was quite the villain. I saw this horror/thriller called “Follow” on Amazon that I thought was pretty interesting that you may like. I recommend these films before “Within”.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I haven’t seen anything like The Wailing which is why I really dug it. Lots of crazy twists and turns. Kidnapped ending was nice and dark, always a good sign for me 🙂

        I’ll have to look up this films you mentioned, not heard of any of them, except The Square which Ive seen the Aussie crime version, could be something different you mean though, probably a few films with the same title.

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      • No man, you got it; the australian version was the one I saw. I loved it! I don’t even remember the ending of Kidnapped; i just remember it annoyed me for some reason. Definitely check out “Secuestro”. Hardly anyone has seen it. It’s well done, though. If you liked Tell No One and The Square, you’ll dig it.

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      • Cool, though I’ll be honest I don’t remember too much about it, other than Joel Edgerton was involved and I was digging out any Aussie films I could find at the time.

        I’ll keep an eye out, Netflix is getting a lot more foreign films so might get it added one day soon.

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      • I have a copy of 99 Homes but just not found the time for it yet.

        Yeah, a DeNiro catch-up is certainly appealing. I’ve been reviewing a few of his films since your absence and caught up with The Comedian recently.

        Speaking of which, I’ve been getting into painting a lot these days. Done a Trainspotting one and the one I’m doing now is a DeNiro portrait. It’s coming along nicely.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll have to scan through see which of his you’ve seen. I’m halfway through The Intern, it’s alright for what it is, Bobby is good at least!

        I don’t have your email anymore, and I don’t know this new site one off hand, but if you wanted to drop me a line on the contact page I’d love to check out your work if you’re up for sharing. I have zero artistic ability as my 3 year old loves pointing out 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yet to catch up with The Intern but I went back over a lot of his older films like Night and the City And caught up with Dirty Grandpa, Last Vegas, Hands of Stone and The Comedian. I also attempted Heist but I gave up on it after 20 mins.

        My email is mr.marakai@yahoo.co.uk

        Drop me a line and send you few pictures of the progress I’ve been making.

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      • Hands of Stone was decent. Not great but still a cut above Bob’s recent stuff. Im forgetting that I didn’t review it on WordPress. Whenever I can’t be arsed reviewing in-depth, i just post a short review on Letterboxd. Do you use that all? It’s a good wee site.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah I love Letterboxd, Ive used it for last 3 years, I make a list each time just to track what I watch in a year. And add a little rating out of 5 so my missus can compare her list. It’s kind of what I want to do on here, if I could just copy and paste from there to here it would be easier than doing any proper reviews 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s a good wee site. I often just put a brief paragraph for my reviews and then link to my blog if I’ve done anything more extensive. I’ll have a look for you on there.

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  2. I haven’t yet seen any of those four, but you’ve definitely piqued my interest with all four. I have access to a library that has a lot of movies to rent, so I’ll see if any of these are available. But wait…I HAVE seen ‘Troll Hunter’, and loved it, if that counts for anything.

    Liked by 2 people

    • i stumbled across “Troll Hunter” on netflix a couple years ago and thought it was going to be one of those B-movies you take off after 10 minutes, but it was actually really good and very well-made. Was definitely an unexpected surprise. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • It took me a couple of watches to like Troll Hunter, first time round I didn’t get what all the fuss was about but now I really appreciate it. Think I saw a dubbed version first and that didn’t help.

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