All posts by Movie Burner Entertainment

The Movie Burner Entertainment Organisation (M.B.E.) was founded in January 2017 by Executive Producers John Walsh (Editor in Chief), Kevan McLaughlin (Head of Development) and Stephen McLaughlin (Head of Programming) as an entertainment platform to provide Movie News and Reviews. “The Movie Burners” expanded the writing team and introduced experienced writers Chauncey Telese, D.M. Anderson, Michael McGeown, Anna-Maria McAlinney, Steven Wilkins, Philip Henry, John Gray, Gianni Damai, Gerry Brown and Elizabeth Brown (The Moviie Couple) and Peter Pluymers on board with a vast knowledge of film and give their view on the latest and retro movie reviews. The Movie Burner Entertainment Organisation (M.B.E.) Official Website (www.movieburnerentertainment.org) hosts the reviews. The Movie Burners Podcast hit the airwaves on SoundCloud and are now weekly shows (Box Office Chat, MBE Heroes, Movie Burner News, The Blog Rundown and The Force Friday Show) that you can find on iTunes & YouTube.

Uncorked (2020) Movie Review By Peter Pluymers

uncorked review

Director: Prentice Penny
Writer: Prentice Penny
Stars: Courtney B. Vance, Lashun Pollard, Michael Mobley

I don’t have a thing for wine. Never had. Even an excellent wine, recommended by connoisseurs, won’t appeal to me. I never liked the taste of it. Why the hell would I watch a movie that focuses on the world of wines? Well, it’s just a coincidence. I discovered “Uncorked” while browsing Netflix and thought I’d give it a shot. And also because I didn’t make the link between the movie title and the whole wine happening. To be honest, I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about the part about getting a sommelier diploma. The barbecue restaurant storyline, on the other hand, was mouth-watering. And as the film progressed, my hunger pangs intensified. And that didn’t happen since “Chef”.

Well, the film doesn’t only consist of scenes in which wine bottles are uncorked and someone trying to identify this divine beverage while gurgling and spitting it out. This Netflix drama is also about the inner conflict Elijah (Mamoudou “Underwater” Athie) struggles with. This determined young man from Memphis, whose daily routine consists of helping out in the family business and working in the local wine store, has to make an all-important decision in his life. Either disappoint his father. Either himself. His father Louis (Courtney B. “Ben is back” Vance) is convinced his son will take over the family business in the future. Just like Louis did from his father. And Elijah is increasingly realising that the profession of a master sommelier is more dear to him than marinating and barbequing spare ribs.

So “Uncorked” brings the well-known theme about a generation gap. On the one hand, Elijah doesn’t want to abandon his father. On the other hand, he’s still looking for his aim in life. His heart and soul belongs to the sparkling world of wines. A way to mentally travel to other countries (“When I get a wine from someplace like France, someplace like Spain, I just feel like I’m kinda there.”), as a compensation for the lack of this in his youth. The problem is that his father doesn’t believe anymore in the person Elijah and sees it as yet another insane idea that his son has. And he shows that by acting indifferent and disinterested. Needless to say, there is, of course, Sylvia (Niecy Nash), the concerned and supportive mother figure who properly convinces her husband to let Elijah work it out of his system. She’s the missing link between the two poorly communicating vessels, while she herself has to deal with her own health problem.

“Uncorked” is an average movie. A movie that you’d watch while sitting relaxed on your sofa, with or without a glass of wine within reach. A film with a smile and a tear. The humour is not often present but sometimes subtle. For example, the Somalis debacle elicited a brief chuckle. And all this with a soundtrack filled with contemporary hip-hop music that belongs more to the spare ribs house than to the cultured world of wine connoisseurs. It’s a movie you love or dislike, just like with wine. Family values and chasing your dreams are the key topics that I’ll remember from this movie. But I can’t say that the urge for drinking wine got any bigger after watching this Netflix movie.

Jumanji – The Next Level (2019) Movie Review By Peter Pluymers

Jumanji The Next Level Review

Director: Jake Kasdan
Writers: Jake Kasdan, Jeff Pinkner
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart

In recent years, the terms “Remake” and “Reboot” have become very popular in Hollywood. Much to my annoyance. In most cases, these knockoffs are just a shadow of the original. Not to say abominably bad and horrible to look at. The biggest example of this (for me personally anyway) is the movie “Ghostbusters” from 2016. If Bill Murray was no longer among the living, he would have turned around in his grave. A needless copy without humor and full of recycled ideas. A few years ago when I was told that a remake was being made of the famous film “Jumanji” (with the unparalleled Robin Williams in a leading role) from 1995, I was shocked. And certainly when it turned out that Dwayne Johnson hijacked the leading role. Yet another redundant and ridiculous attempt to imitate a past milestone.

To my surprise, however, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” turned out to be an exceptionally successful experiment. And that’s because of the unique idea to replace the “Jumanji board game” with an old school console game where four innocent students are teleported into and where they need to complete a quest while playing a character in this game. It’s the only way to escape the game. Not only was it a funny movie (due to the interactions and personality contradictions between the real youngsters and their avatar in the video game). The concept was also original. Adding video game features such as NPCs, cut scenes, and the fact that each character has a limited number of lives, was a masterful move. It’s not without reason that the film was a real success in the theatres. And the inevitable happened. The sequel “Jumanji: The next level” is a fact.

Unfortunately, as I feared, this new sequel doesn’t take the saga to a new level. To be honest, I thought it was simply an uninspired story that simply tries to take advantage of the previous film’s success. An easy solution to squeeze the last dollars out of a milked-out project. The novelties can be counted on a broken abacus. Not many, in this case. The characters are all still the same. This time supplemented with two old grumpy retirees (Danny DeVito and Danny Glover) who used to be business partners when they owned a thriving restaurant. As with every new level in a video game, the environment in which the adventure takes place is different from the previous level. So you’ll be presented with a sandy location with associated oases. And also, our friends will encounter a completely different fauna on their path.

The most successful aspect of this sequel is the fact that the different characters were initially mixed. That makes for hilarious moments when you see Dwayne Johnson imitating the characteristics of a Danny DeVito. But besides that, there’s nothing innovative to discover in this sequel. It’s a well-known story with a new look. It’s the same as when a new “FIFA Soccer” version is being released on the game market. Graphically it may look a bit sharper and some new players and options have been added. But otherwise, the look and feel are similar and you have trouble discovering the points of improvement. Well, “Jumanji: The Next Level” was entertaining and packed with sometimes masterful CGI. A good alternative to fill a pleasant movie night. But the source from which creative ideas are created is exhausted. Let’s hope they bury the game “Jumanji” in a well-hidden spot once and for all, so nobody can lay their hands on it again. I think we’ve had enough of this.

The Rhythm Section (2020) Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

The Rhythm Section Review

Director: Reed Morano
Writers: Mark Burnell (screenplay by), Mark Burnell
Stars: Blake Lively, Richard Brake, Elly Curtis

Though it will never be mistaken for a great film, there are two things that make The Rhythm Section worth checking out.

First, it features a believable protagonist. Since losing her entire family in a plane crash, Stephanie Patrick (Blake Lively) has descended into prostitution and drug addiction. Then she meets a reporter who claims the plane crash was a terrorist attack and has evidence provided by ex-MI-6 operative Iain Boyd (Jude Law). After the reporter is murdered, she takes his research and seeks Boyd’s help in avenging her family. He reluctantly agrees to train her to strike back at the organization responsible.

But Stephanie doesn’t morph into a fearless, indestructible supersoldier. Throughout the entire film, she is clearly in over her head and screws up a lot, sometimes making things worse. Dumb luck saves her more often than any acquired skills, which makes some of the action sequences feel a bit more down-to-earth than those in similar films.

Second, Blake Lively goes all-in with a dedicated performance. She effectively displays the hopelessness, nihilism, anger and wrath required for Stephanie to be convincing. Considering her statuesque beauty, I suspect the temptation to turn her into another Atomic Blonde was strong, but aside from a brief – and pointless – scene where she poses as a high-end call girl, Lively looks suitably strung-out, weary and beaten down by life.

She’s the only interesting character in a film that loses focus about half-way through, when it strays from being a straight revenge thriller and throws in unnecessary plot turns, even briefly turning Stephanie into a killer-for-hire. Once she starts trotting the globe like some kind of grunge-era assassin, the story grows increasingly convoluted, to say nothing of implausible.

Narrative quibbles aside, The Rhythm Section may be unremarkable, but it’s certainly watchable on a dull evening (which we all have plenty of, right now). Blake Lively makes her character compelling enough to keep things interesting during the duller stretches, while director Reed Morano strings together a few nifty action scenes.

 

El Hoyo (2019) Movie Review By Peter Pluymers

The Platform Review

Director: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
Writers: David Desola (screenplay by), David Desola (story by)
Stars: Ivan Massagué, Zorion Eguileor, Antonia San Juan

“El Hoyo” is not just a frightening movie. It’s a movie with a moral. A film that makes you think. Could you call it horror? You could have an extensive discussion about this. For some of the detainees who are locked up in the prison portrayed in this film, it’s indeed horror. It depends on which floor they end up after a month of extensive eating or a month of terrible hunger. The first thing that came to mind was “Hey, they designed a vertical “Snowpiercer”. Be warned though. It’s brutal. Confronting. And as I said before, a moral lurks beneath the symbolic surface.

However, the set-up of the film is very simple. Take a sky-high building. A magically moving platform (hence the movie title). A group of convicts who are locked in groups of two on each floor. Finally, you establish a culinary department full of kitchen staff who all master the right culinary skills. And this department ensures that this platform is filled with delicacies every day with the same dose of enthusiasm, dedication, and love for their profession. From roasts, fruit bowls, and enormous chocolate cakes to haute cuisine with langoustines, lobster, and other gastronomically refined food. You can guess the outcome. As the platform sinks, the richly filled table turns into a desolate table full of empty dishes, pots, and smashed dinnerware, where you can’t even find a crumb on anymore.

Despite the simple concept and the fact that the entire film is set in one location, the film remains fascinating until the end. The denouement, however, is rather disappointing. That’s the only thing that put a damper on this film. Not that everything is very clear in this film. Why this facility has been designed in this way, isn’t explained anywhere. Is it to talk a conscience into the viewers? Is it a psychologically justified experiment? Or was there just someone random who came up with this brilliant idea to design this alternative penal institution? Besides, it’s not only convicts who were admitted here. Take Goreng (Ivan Massagué). This person will receive a diploma (as a social worker?) after serving a 6-month prison sentence. Is it a form of an internship? Or self-flagellation? Even the mechanism behind the falling platform remained a mystery to me. But I got no problem with these unresolved questions. Unfortunately, the main question of how the system could be beaten is left unanswered. Or was it just the intention to leave everyone in the dark?

It’s crystal clear they tried to deliver a socially critical message. It’s broadly an allegorical representation of our contemporary society. A society with an unfair distribution of prosperity and richness. And the vast majority of those who own the most wealth in our society, are disinclined to share it with those of the lower classes. And the plea of ​​the less fortunate falls on deaf ears, making them doomed to rely on less humane practices. And, of course, there are the world improves among us and people thinking they are a newborn St. Martin, who make frantic efforts to convince others to participate in working on a better world and to call for solidarity. A fairer world. And mocking laughter and derision are usually the results of their efforts. The only difference with real life is that people change in the social ladder from month to month in this prison. Some in a positive, others in a negative way.

“El Hoyo” is a bizarre story that leaves you with an oppressive feeling. As the film progresses you realise how awful it is for some in this gray, grim tower. And these abject conditions are also explicitly shown. Suffocation realistic. So expect some bloody and gory images full of excessive violence as well (not suitable for sensitive souls). For some, the sight of men eating food like animals (which reminded me a bit of “La Grande Bouffe”), it will be repugnant already. But otherwise, this original film is easy to digest (just to stay with the subject). And not only because of the splendid acting. It’s not without reason that the film is a great success on Netflix. So you can see that this film platform occasionally programs better movies.

 

Trauma Center (2019) Movie Review By Peter Pluymers

Trauma Center Review

Director: Matt Eskandari
Writer: Paul Da Silva
Stars: Bruce Willis, Nicky Whelan, Steve Guttenberg

It looks a bit like “Die Hard” in a hospital wing. Only the adamant John McClane has been replaced by the brave waitress Madison Taylor (Nicky Whelan) who has to save her own skin (and admittedly, that skin belongs to a beautiful, well-shaped body) while two mean-looking fellows are chasing her. And yes, the action hero par excellence, Bruce Willis, admired in days gone by for his contributions to action films and of course idolized during that period, is also present. This time, however, he’s not competing for the main prize as “Most valuable actor”. His contribution is quite limited and in the end you can say it’s insignificant. A negligible character who clearly has to drag himself through every scene while running behind the facts.

What’s wrong with star actor Bruce Willis? The sympathetic actor of yesteryear, who during his heyday was able to transform every crap film into a blockbuster, is slowly but surely working on destroying his status. In recent years it seems as if he has consciously opted for bland, uninspired B-movies with a flimsy screenplay. When looking at the list of films, with him in a central role, that I’ve seen in recent years, there’s really nothing worthwhile to discover. The films “The Prince“, “Vice“, “Extraction“, “Precious Cargo“, “Marauders“, “First Kill“, “Acts of Violence” and “Reprisal” are all monstrosities of movies that aren’t even worth viewing. The only movie I liked was “Once Upon a Time in Venice”. It’s the only film in which Willis demonstrates an unforced enthusiasm. Apparently, being an actor is precious to Willis. However, I recommend that he makes the honorable decision himself and quietly use his hard-earned dollars to enjoy a well-earned vacation for the rest of his life. And it’ll spare most of the film fans a lot of annoyance.

Anyway. So if you forget the lifeless contribution of Bruce Willis, ignore the many improbabilities, won’t see the ridiculousness in some situations, and accept the shameless copying of some corresponding situations from “Die Hard”, then this movie isn’t all that bad. Admittedly, there’s no longer a lot of credit left. And no doubt, lead actress Nicky Whelan deserves the remainder of this credit. Although it’s sometimes annoying to see how her condition can radically improve from one scene to the next. One moment she stumbles through a room while bleeding profusely. The next moment she seems alive and kicking again. Incidentally, I still don’t understand why the bullet wound wasn’t treated decently in this hospital immediately. Applying only an emergency bandage and waiting till after the weekend for someone to be present there to close up the wound, doesn’t seem a patient-friendly procedure to me.

So as a whole, this isn’t a terrible movie (besides the disinterested and sleep-inducing acting of Willis. Can’t stress that enough times). The idea of ​​the incriminating bullet in Madison’s thigh is an original idea in itself. The concept of corrupt agents and the one-location idea, where the victim has to fight for her life, can’t be called very creative. This (and the resulting storyline) has been used countless times in better movies and television series. Also, the movie isn’t really intense or exciting either. Although Texas Battle (heck of an artist name) and Tito Ortiz aren’t school examples of actors, due to their impressive appearance and no-nonsense attitude they still provided the necessary entertainment. In short, despite its (limited number of) positive points, “Trauma Center” was already doomed to be offered as an “On Demand” film. If you are an avid Bruce Willis fan then, of course, you should watch this movie. Only I’m afraid he won’t rise in many fans their opinion.

 

A Night Of Horror: Nightmare Radio (2019) Movie Review By Peter Pluymers

 

A Night Of Horror - Nightmare Radio Review

Directors: Oliver Park, Jason Bognacki, A.J. Briones, Joshua Long, Sergio Morcillo, Adam O’Brien, Luciano Onetti, Nicolás Onetti, Pablo S. Pastor, Matthew Richards

Writers: Mauro Croche, Michael L. Fawcett, Michael Kraetzer, Michael Kraetzer, Guillermo Lockhart, Matthew Richards, Santiago Taboad

Stars: Ian Costello, Michelle Costello, Clara Kovacic, Kera O’Bryon, James Wright

Are you a fan of horror anthology films (such as “Tales from the crypt“, “Creepshow“, “Tales of Halloween”, “XX” or “Tale of Tales”)? Well, you might as well like this movie. Provided you are not an avid lover of short films and continuously seek for horror short films on YouTube or other channels. Because then it may well be that you’ve already seen a few of the films that are used in “A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio“. This anthology isn’t a collection of newly made short films. It’s a collection of pre-existing short films. And these are all connected with each other through a central storyline with DJ Rod Wilson (James Wright) who broadcasts a night program on some local radio station. A program in which he (and also a few nightly callers) tries to delight listeners with some chilling and creepy ghostly stories. It’s not Halloween yet, but it would be a suitable movie for that period of the year.

Frankly, I thought the beginning of the film looked very promising and exciting. The first short (“In the Dark Dark Woods”, a sort of alternative version of “The Invisible Man”) and the introduction of the bearded, radio guy gave me a taste for more. And when the second short story (highlight of the whole movie and my absolute favourite) was over, I was already getting ready for even more of that. “Post Mortem Mary” isn’t only fantastic in terms of content. The handling of the camera, the way in which the story was portrayed and the ever-rising suspense in this excruciatingly exciting short story, produced a very successful end result. It’s the story of a mother and her young daughter Mary earning their living in Australia in 1840 as post-mortem photographers. The idea is to photograph the corpse as vividly as possible. Something Mary has yet to learn. It’s a fantastic short film that was well received at some festivals in 2017 and won some prizes worldwide. An eye-opener for sure (no pun intended).

Unfortunately, none of the subsequent stories reached the same level as the previous short films. Not that they were awfully bad or of a sadly low level. But “Post Mortem Mary” is head and shoulders above the rest. “A little off the Top” is a bit of a sinister story that focuses on the insanity (Or craftiness. It’s just how you look at it) of a hairdresser. “Drops” demonstrates how a traumatic experience torments a Spanish young dancer. I thought “The Disappearance of Willie Bingham” was kind of successful. A somewhat different story about how a death penalty is converted into a more alternative punishment. In my view a fairly funny story. “The smiling man” undoubtedly deserves a place behind Mary’s story. Concise and terrifying at the same time. Without too much fuss. The final short films “Into the Mud” and “Vicius” were, in my opinion, the weakest ones.

The fact is that by making a selection of existing short films in “A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio“, the quality level is very high. None of the stories gives you the feeling as if they were quickly produced, such that the intended playing time of the feature-length film could be reached. Another advantage is that the movie scores well in terms of diversity. There’s something for everyone. Only “Into the Mud” (a kind of mythologically oriented fantasy story) feels a little bit like the odd one out here. The only downside was the overarching story of the DJ himself. First of all, I didn’t think it was convincing enough. It even felt a bit boring. And the denouement was a bit of an anti-climax. Yet to my surprise, I enjoyed this movie more than I expected. So if you feel like hearing some scary, paranormal stories with a lurid touch, then you’ll be fine with this film.