Miss Virginia (2019) Movie Review

Director: R.J. Daniel Hanna

Writer: Erin O’Connor (Screenplay)

Starring: Aunjanue Ellis, Matthew Modine, Vanessa Williams, Adina Porter, Uzo Aduba, Amirah Vann

Plot: A struggling inner-city mother sacrifices everything to give her son a good education. Unwilling to allow her son to stay in a dangerous school, she launches a movement that could save his future – and that of thousands like him.

Tagline – Be Brave. Be Heard. Believe.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Miss Virginia starts as we meet Virginia Walden (Aduba) a mother of James (Fitch) who has started to have his head turned by the local gangs, not having focus in a dangerous school, she tries to enrol him in a better school, forcing her into two jobs, still not enough to pay for, while working under congresswoman Lorraine Townsend (Ellis).

After learning the process for change in the school system is mostly getting passed over by everyone in congress, Virginia looks to make a difference herself, trying to pull together the community, to go against congress herself.

Thoughts on Miss Virginia

Characters – Virginia Walden is a single mother believing her kid is attending and getting through school, until she learns the truth he has been skipping school, being drawn to a life of crime, she wants to make a difference, first by doing two jobs, but she simply can’t afford the better school, before deciding to fight and work with congress to try and make a difference. Lorraine Townsend is the local congresswoman that shows an interest in changing things, only she doesn’t always have the follow through the make the change. Congressman Cliff Williams is the one that will eventually start working with Virginia to try and make a change, he has done so in other states in the past, but he does explain how the system works and how difficult it would be to make the change. We get to meet different members of the community that will help, while others will hinder.

PerformancesUzo Aduba in the leading role is brilliant to watch, her performance is filled with the determination to make a change, while showing glimpses of fear about what that might mean for everyone else involved. Matthew Modine and Aunjanue Ellis takes the main supporting roles and bring both their characters to life, but only in the way you would imagine Virginia seeing them being bought to life.

StoryThe story here follows a single mother that decides to take a stand to help her son get the chance of going to a better, less dangerous school, in a system which has seen countless children not given the chance of a better life, she challenges congress to make a difference. This is based on the real woman Virginia Walden who did fight for change, we see the struggle of trying to get everything through a system that is filled with so much tape it isn’t as easy as doing the right thing, but it will show what parents would do to give their children a better future. This is an important look at what a community could come together to achieve and does show that people will understand the bigger things in life.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us the poorer neighbourhoods in which Virginia came from, ones that wouldn’t be given the chances at more in life, compared to the rich golf course locations the congressmen would spend their days in and around.

Scene of the Movie – The results.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Some of the teachers don’t seem interested in the change.

Final Thoughts Very important drama with powerful performances throughout, showing us how people can make a difference in life.

Miss Virginia is on Digital HD 2 October from Signature Entertainment

The Key to Christmas (2020) Movie Review

Director: Jason Mills

Writer: Jason Mills (Screenplay)

Starring: Sadie Silcock, Kiana Passmore, Samriddhi Singh, Sarah Houghton, Katherine Aplen, Camryn Macdonald

Plot: When a disgruntled elf takes over the North Pole, she turns time backwards and Santa Claus begins getting younger fast. It’s up to a loyal elf, a little girl with a magic key, and the now-teenage Santa to save the future of Christmas.

Tagline – Unlock the Holiday Spirit

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Key to Christmas starts when Santa (Osbourne) is on his latest rounds for Christmas, only to discover the labels have been mixed up on the presents, returning to the North Pole, he turns to Winnie (Singh) to take the blame because of her past mistakes.

When Winnie decides to take revenge on Santa for firing her, it is up to a loyal elf Lovey (Alpen) and a little girl Kirra (Macdonald) to save Santa from being taken away from Christmas forever.

Thoughts on The Key to Christmas

Characters – Santa has always relied on his elves to do the work to make Christmas the best time of the year, when he notices a mistakes from the Head Elf, he fires her, leading to her using magic to make him go backwards in time, getting younger stuck away from the home unable to change the events. Winnie is the head elf that gets fired, she isn’t taking this lightly and decides to plan her revenge by sending Santa away and taking over operating in the North Pole, refusing to give out any presents. Lovey is one of the most loyal elves in the North Pole, one that will try to bring Santa back to the North Pole, risking everything along the way.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances, we do have a few actors portraying Santa due to the de-aging side of the story, which will give us different laughs along the way. Camryn Macdonald is good as the young girl caught in the middle of everything. Samriddhi Singh as the elf that wants to destroy Christmas brings us a menacing performance, with Katherine Alpen bring all the joy of Christmas with her elf.

StoryThe story here follows Santa after he fires his head elf, only for the head elf to look to get revenge by making Santa de-age stranded away from the North Pole, with one loyal elf being the only one that can save Santa and Christmas for the whole world. When it comes to Christmas stories it is always hard to find an original one, here we have a new original take on a Christmas film, seeing how an elf turned evil with their desire of power, with the idea that Christmas is now at risk with a de-aging Santa, going through different ages, which will add to moments of humour. We still get the message of Christmas over, being friendly, nice and treating each other with respect too.

FamilyThis is a family film that could be enjoyed by whole family, it has the meaning of Christmas all over it.

SettingsThe film uses two main locations, the North Pole where Winnie has taken over and the everyday world in which Santa finds himself needing to deal with de-aging and it not being Christmas.

Scene of the Movie – De-aging gets good laughs.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The calendar doesn’t come off as clean as it could.

Final Thoughts This is a fun family Christmas movie, it will get laughs and brings us a brand-new original idea for Christmas Movies.

DVD/VOD Release Date:11/10/20

The Elfkins (2019) Movie Review

Director: Ute von Munchow-Pohl

Writer: Jan Strathmann (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jella Haase, Louis Hofmann, Leon Seidel, Detlef Bierstedt, Elke Heidenreich

Plot: The legendary Elfkins (Heinzelmännchen) of Cologne were gnomes secretly helping craftsmen at night until they were ousted by a tailor’s malevolent wife 200 years ago. This is the story of their return.

Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Elfkins starts as we meet the Elfkins, a society of gnomes secretly living under the city, where they once help humans secretly, now they hide from them, Helvi wants to prove herself as a craftsperson, only her inventions always fail causing trouble with her people, which sees her turning to her best friend Butz, to escape and discover a human to learn a craft.

When Helvi, Butz and Kipp find themselves in a bakery, Helvi decides she wants to help the baker Theo who is about to lose his bakery, learning her true skill here once and for all.

Thoughts on The Elfkins

Characters – The Elfkins, Helvi is the one that has always wanted to fit in, have her own craft, but she is ends up causing trouble more than helping her people, she leaves up the community in search for her skill, wanting to break the traditions and learn of a human, which sees her looking to do the right thing, helping a down on his luck baker. Kipp is the smartest of the Elfkins, he will always invent thing to help them, one that Helvi will turn to for help. Butz is the best friend of Helvi, he will follow her on her adventures. Theo is the down on his luck baker, that is about to lose his bakery, he is the man that the Elfkin are drawn towards to help, with his brother Bruno being the one that wants to take his bakery.

StoryThis story follows a group of Elfkins that go against what they are expected to do, by staying away from humans, by visiting the surface and doing what they always thought they were meant to do, help people. This is a feel good movie showing us that you need to believe in myths and legends, despite the modern world wanting us to ignore the important parts of life. Regardless of the species, the idea that someone will want to fit in, is still strong in this story and the biggest message looking to be sent to the audience.

Action/FantasyThe action in the film does rely on how the Elfkins need to try and escape trouble, or make things happen in the bakery, with the fantasy elements of the film coming from seeing how the Elfkins are part of this world.

SettingsThe film is set in a German city, which you can tell from certain architecture we see around the city.

AnimationThe animation in the movie looks beautiful, bringing to life the different colours, where we see the bright positive side of Helvi, contrast with the darker side of the world where Theo is.

Scene of the Movie – The grand opening.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have seen more from the Butz character, he seems to be caught between best friend and comic relief and not completely either.

Final Thoughts This is a fun family animation that has a big heart that will get the biggest message across.

The Elfkins is in Cinemas from 2nd October

Skydog (2020) Movie Review

Director: Tim Kaiser, Daniel Knudsen

Writer: Mark A Knudesen (Screenplay)

Starring: Daniel Knudsen, Vickie Lynn Smith, Dean Cain, Rosie Berryer, Christopher Veldhuizen, Mimi Sagadin

Plot: When Colt Lifestone, a high school senior working on his pilot’s license, rescues a stray dog named Oreo, the two quickly become best friends. His normal quiet life is turned upside down though when he finds out that his mom is actually an undercover CIA agent lead by Director Neil Glasswell! When she’s captured and held hostage, he’ll need to team up with Oreo and his new friend Alice to find his mother, uncover the double agents within the CIA, and save the day.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Skydog starts as we meet Josh (Knudsen) a high schooler who is trying to get his pilots licence always facing a stumbling block along the way, which lets him meet a stray dog Oreo that is around to give him some strength in his personal life.

When Josh’s mother (Thompson) goes missing on a secret mission, Josh learns about her true job identity and his own identity as Colt Lifestone, the son of two CIA agents and now with the help of Oreo, Colt must figure out what happened to his mother.

Thoughts on Skydog

Characters – Josh is a regular high schooler, star of the football team, trying to get his pilots licence, only to get failed again, he befriends a stray dog, which becomes his closest friend at home, until his mother goes missing and Josh learns about his true identity as Colt Lifestone. Cole must adapt to a new school, while trying to solve the mystery about what has happened to his mother. Alice Jones is the girl at school that becomes friends with Colt, she wants to help him solve the mystery. Agent Lifestone is the mother of Colt, she always gave him the impression she had a boring accounting job, but inside she is a spy that is always on mission when she is away. James Whitmore is the connection that is trying to help Colt cope when he mother goes missing, the one person he knows to trust. Director Neil Glasswell is running the operation in which Colt’s mother goes missing, he will do what he can to keep the operation secret.

PerformancesDaniel Knudsen in the leading role does do a good job through the film, growing with his character entering into the world. The rest of the cast fill their roles in the film well without us feeling like any of the villainous figures are as bad as we would have liked to see.

StoryThe story here follows a high school student that learns that his mother is actually an undercover CIA agent and goes missing, forcing him to go on his own mission to search for the truth. This is a story that brings to life a young spy figure that must manage to deal with school and trying to go undercover, it might well feel like a pilot episode to what could be an entertaining TV series. It does give us a safe story, where Colt is never really in any true peril and tries to show us the importance of a friendship with a pet, only doesn’t include the dog anywhere as much as it hints.

AdventureThe adventure side of the film does show a high schooler learning more about his life, growing up quickly and dealing with an enemy that is trying to kill them.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us how Colt is living a normal life before everything gets out of control.

Scene of the Movie – Flight escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough Oreo.

Final Thoughts This is an enjoyable adventure with an adorable dog in Oreo that will pull you into wanting to see the adventures.

DVD/VOD Release Date:10/20/20

ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – # – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) Movie Review

This is under the numbers because of the fact it is a sequel.

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Jeffrey Boam (Screenplay) George Lucas, Menno Meyjes (Story)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Denholm Elliott, Alison Doody, John Rhys-Davies, Julian Glover

Plot: In 1938, after his father Professor Henry Jones, Sr. goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. finds himself up against Adolf Hitler‘s Nazis again to stop them from obtaining its powers.

Tagline – Have the adventure of your life keeping up with the Joneses

Runtime: 2 Hours 7 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade starts when Indiana Jones (Ford) learns his father Professor Henry Jones (Connery) has gone missing in search of the holy grail, his life’s work, this returns Indiana to Europe where he meets Elsa (Doody) and comes face to face with the Nazis once again.

Indiana and Henry must put aside their differences and get to get to the holy grail first and stop it getting into the hands of pure evil.

Thoughts on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Characters – Indiana Jones returns to his double life of a history professor teaching about fact and the adventurer that goes in search of treasures, only this time he will need to go in search of his father, he must deal with the fact his dad was distant from him growing up and now he must continue his fight against the Nazis. Professor Henry Jones is Indiana’s father and has been studying the Holy Grail his whole life, to which Indiana believes is only paperwork, but his time in the field is now causing more problems for Indiana. Marcus is the smart friend of the Jones family, only he is useless in the field, usually gets laughs along the way. Elsa is the Austrian scientist working for the Nazis looking to get the book belonging to Henry, we are never sure completely which side she is fighting for though.

PerformancesHarrison Ford continues to be wonderful to watch in this role, showing excellent chemistry with Sean Connery who brings us the older figure that is played for laughs we never thought he could handle. The rest of the cast are entertaining to watch through the film, bringing to life their different roles with ease.

StoryThe story here follows Indiana Jones on his latest adventure to help search for his missing father who went in search for the holy grail. This does bring Indiana back to his fights with the Nazis who want to use historical religious artifacts for their own benefit, this time the holy grail. We continue to build the world here, with an on going rival for Indiana to face, one that he has been up against for his whole life, one that is greedier, but one Indiana has started to get ahead off, along with a father son relationship that needs fixing despite knowing there is love between them.

Action/AdventureThe action sequences continue to follow what we know from the Indiana Jones trilogy, we have big chase sequences, one through Venice, one through the skies above Germany and the desert tank one is brilliant too.

SettingsThe film takes us around the world on the adventure as we get to see each location with history being used to help lead the path to the answers.

Scene of the Movie – The Holy Grail.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing in this one.

Final Thoughts This is an excellent conclusion to the trilogy, one that builds a bigger world for Indiana and returns to a familiar foe for him to face.