Not a lot this week and a couple of items from last week so doing a Review Roundup this time around. Up first is Quiz, a 3 part series about cheating on the British version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? I didn’t realize this event even happened so all of it was new to me. It’s a pretty solid miniseries about a brother, sister and her husband cheating to win a million pounds on the game show. They used people in different groups to master how to get on the show and allegedly had someone coughing in the fastest finger section to help with answers. I had no idea it even happened so I found it very interesting. Michael Sheen plays the real life host along with Matthew MacFadyen and Sian Clifford as the husband and wife. The less you know the better, but I’m sure if you know the story you’ll probably still enjoy it. The acting is good as is the production value. Pretty fascinating.
Second we have Cut Throat City. This is about a group of friends wanting to make money in post-Katrina New Orleans. The lead has a wife and kid and wants to be an artist. He’s turned down so decides he needs to hustle more. They get involved with a casino heist and soon the bad guys and cops are after them. It’s not great nor is it something we haven’t seen before, but it’s good for a watch. It’s way too long with a bit too many characters. Ethan Hawke is a former cop turned local politician with Terrence Howard as the big time gangster. There’s also Wesley Snipes as the main character’s dad and Tip “T.I.” Harris as the cousin/slightly bigger gangster they get involved with. One or two of these characters should have been trimmed especially when you have Eiza Gonzalez as the cop investigating all of it. It’s not bad, but I do think there’s a better movie in there if it was trimmed and tighter.
Sticking with gangster films, Scam Republique is next. Out of Cameroon I want to give it a lot of credit even if I didn’t exactly love it. It’s only 47 minutes long, but it would only be about 30 minutes if they didn’t reuse some of the same scenes a few times. If you look at the cover art, that running scene in the trucking area is done multiple times. It’s about 2 students who get involved with crime and there is some decent violence to it. The pacing and vibe are good as well because it uses music well. It’s not groundbreaking cinema or anything, but for an area of the world that I couldn’t have told you even had movies, I can respect what they are trying to make. If you can get beyond the acting and production value, there’s some potential to be found.
Next is Sword of God. The synopsis is all you need to know: In the early Middle Ages, a holy order of knights embarks on a dangerous journey to spread Christianity and baptize the pagan inhabitants of an isolated village hidden deep in the mountains of a faraway island. After being shipwrecked, two lone survivors set out to complete their mission, but instead find themselves pitted against one another in a blood-soaked battle between salvation and damnation. Beyond the story, the film is beautifully shot. The coloring and lighting are like characters. The Pagans use mud and dirt on themselves and it really comes through in the film showcasing how these people lived on the land and their beliefs in their gods through the land. Costuming is top-notch too with the 2 surviving Christians being more covered up and the Pagans wearing more natural clothing. The acting is solid too with the background Pagans in the cave area really giving a bizarre vibe compared to the Christians. When the one Christian starts to turn the film gets really interesting and you wonder who will make it out. I like movies like this, I’m big into Norse mythology and this time period so I enjoyed it.
House Of Shadows is a paranormal film about a woman and her boyfriend who go to her mother’s house she finds out about when her mother dies. Her mother had some mental issues and her sister had died 5 years previously. She didn’t know anything about the house so her and the boyfriend go check it out. Another woman is at the house to help them out with food. She pulls the main woman to the side and is really weird about things. A bizarre cell phone message freaks out the woman and odd things start happening. I’m not a huge fan of paranormal flicks, but this doesn’t try to be anything it’s not. It doesn’t rely on jumpscares unlike similar movies. It’s pretty much a single location with 2-3 main characters. It might not wow too many people, but I enjoyed it enough for a one time viewing. Not my favorite type of horror, but there aren’t too many paranormal tropes which I respect. I don’t know if I’m familiar with any of the cast either.
The next two releases are from Mill Creek Entertainment and came out last week, but I didn’t get them until later in the week. First is Ultraman R/B The Series + Movie. This is about two brothers who almost die and are gifted powers to be Ultraman. They team up to fight monsters and save the Earth. It’s a bit silly and relies on CGI more than the classic Ultraman which if you read me you know I prefer. Ultraman R/B The Movie: Select! The Crystal of Bond! continues the series story and sees Katsumi sent to a far away planet struggling to get back home to fight a monster. Again kind of silly and these seemed to be geared towards a younger audience with characters still in school or figuring out life afterwards. I’ll always like the original series the best, but these aren’t bad to introduce a younger audience to Ultraman.