McLaren (2017)

Director: Roger Donaldson

Writer: James Brown, Matthew Metcalfe, Glenn Standring, Tim Woodhouse

Plot: The story of Bruce McLaren, the New Zealander who founded the McLaren Motor Racing team. A man who showed the world that a man of humble beginnings could take on the elite of motor racing and win.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Documentary

Story: McLaren starts by showing us how Bruce McLaren was born to a family that enjoyed racing in New Zealand, this would see him being given a huge opportunity where Bruce would get a drive in Formula One, joining the Cooper team, becoming the youngest race winner in a championship winning team.

After proving himself in a car including winning the most difficult race in Monaco, Bruce learns that the sport isn’t as friendly after his first major accident, returning he sees one of his closest friends killed before deciding to make his own team McLaren in a new location America, where they would make better money from the sport. With his new success in design his racing career continued to shine, only he own personal illness struggled to improve giving him personal pain on a daily basis.

Thoughts on McLaren

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at one of the pioneers in motor racing, it showed that with talent came commitment, we do get to see parts of his racing career, which is all fascinating to see, though it does only seem to follow the positives from his racing career, minus the one big accident. We don’t get a full look at his formula one career and racing career around the world, instead focusing more on his ability to look to design a successful car in the sport. This does show how hard he went to work on becoming different from the financially more secure teams. The weaknesses in the film come from certain moments of editing which seem to show the film almost stop before heading to the next scene. This will show the basics of one of the most important people in motor sport, but doesn’t show us enough of what could have been seen from a documentary about in important career.

Overall: Interesting, but not as big of a documentary as it could have been.


ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – U – Unbroken: Path to Redemption (2018) Movie Review

Director: Harold Cronk

Writer: Richard Friedenberg, Ken Hixon (Screenplay) Laura Hillenbrand (Book)

Starring: Samuel Hunt, Merritt Patterson, Bobby Campo, David Sakurai, Vincenzo Amato, Maddalena Ischiale

Plot: The next amazing chapter of Olympian and World War II hero Louis Zamperini’s powerful true story of forgiveness, redemption, and amazing grace.

Tagline – The rest of the unbelievable true story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Poor Sequel

Story: Unbroken: Path to Redemption starts with Louis Zamperini (Hunt) returning to America after his time in the Japanese war camp, his brother Pete (Campo) does what he can to welcome him back to the normal life, while the army want to use him as part of the story to hopefully keep the war bonds coming in.

Louis struggles with PTSD once he returns, turning to drink, being forced into taking time off, where he meets his wife Cynthia (Patterson), but the nightmares of his experience continue to haunt him, while trying to return to the track and return to the Olympics.

Thoughts on Unbroken: Path to Redemption

Characters – Louis Zamperini returns to America as a hero after his time as a prisoner of war under the torturous Watanabe, now he returns home, trying to start a new life, he meets his wife falls in love and has a kid, but over this time he struggles to deal with his nightmares from his time in the camp turning to drink to blank out any of his problems, pushing away any chance of being around his family away. Cynthia is the wife of Louis that meets him and sees the good in him, she gives him countless chances to sort of his life knowing he does need help, trying to push him into finding his help. Pete is the older brother to Louis, he is the only one that can truly challenge him to better himself, even if he does get caught in the middle of the insults from his brother. Watanabe is the person in the nightmares of Louis, the man that ran the camp which tortured him for years during the war.

PerformancesSamuel Hunt taking over the lead role really does struggle to make the impact that was in the first film, with Merritt Patterson doing the same, this cast doesn’t really get going on the levels that made the first film so impactful.

StoryThe story here follows the next chapter of Louis Zamperini’s life after his spell as a prisoner of war, here he must overcome his own demon and nightmares to get the most out of life. While this story does focus on the very real issues of PTSD that millions of soldiers had after the war, we do seem to follow just the normal problems, struggling to adapt back to normal life after the war, turning to drink to find comfort. While this might end up being what really happened to Louis, it does seem to lose what was the most inspirational and interesting side of his battle.

BiopicThe biopic side of the film does show the next chapter of Louis Zamperini’s life that did show the consequences of the first film, though it just isn’t something that is that interesting.

SettingsThe film does use the settings that makes you think you are in the late 1940s America, with how all backdrops and social occasion mix together.

Scene of the Movie – The visit to Japan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is all too generic.

Final Thoughts This is a biopic that does take the incredible survival mission to the next level, only it focuses more on the fixing, rather than the ordeal, which just isn’t very interesting.

Overall: Unnecessary sequel.

Greta (2018) Movie Review

Director: Neil Jordan

Writer: Ray Wright, Neil Jordan (Screenplay)

Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Chloe Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, Jane Perry, Colm Feore, Zawa Ashton, Thaddeus Daniels, Stephen Rea

Plot: A young woman befriends a lonely widow who’s harboring a dark and deadly agenda toward her.

Tagline – She’s been waiting for you.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Never Lights Up

Story: Greta starts when a kind New York resident Frances McCullen (Moretz) who finds a handbag on the subway home, and being a nice person she returns it to a nice lonely French woman Greta (Huppert), who does start to offer her friendship, filling the void left after her own mother’s death.

As the two do become friends, Frances learns the terrible truth about Greta, that she has become over obsessive and will not leave her alone, leading to stalker behaviour which doesn’t get close to home for Frances.

Thoughts on Greta

Characters – Frances is a kind young woman living in New York city, trying to get started in life, she does a good deed, which sees her make a new friend in Greta, only to find herself being stalked by her, wanting to be a replacement mother in her life, she does everything she can to avoid the contact, seeing her life put on hold because of her new stalker. It is also clear that she is struggling with the loss of her mother, which has damaged her relationship with her father. Greta is the widowed lonely French woman who has been leaving her bag on public transport to get unsuspecting victims to come into her life, she does have problems, which haven’t been treated, which leads her to make the aggressive behaviour. Erica is the roommate and best friend of Frances, she does think she need to move away from Greta and will do anything to help her friend. Chris is the father of Frances who has started to move on with his life after the death of his wife.

PerformancesIsabelle Huppert in the leading role does have a menacing presence about her, only she doesn’t get to let everything out, the way it feels like the character is ready to. Chloe Grace Moretz is strong as a young woman just trying to hold her life together, while Maika Monroe gets the most laughs at times in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a young lady that helps return a bag, only to see her life turned upside down by the owner who has been searching for her latest victim. This story does focus on a good deed leading to something terrible happening, highlighting how the law will favour a stalker over the victim and how people can just vanish in New York City overnight. Sadly, the pace of the film does leave little to the imagination as we seem to just jump between levels of threat, showing only friendly to never leaving the side, to the final act. This just seems to put moments together, leaving plenty of plot holes in how everything unfolds.

MysteryThe mystery side of this film comes from how far and why Greta is acting her way, it does get slowly revealed, only it just doesn’t get into a deeper idea.

SettingsThe film is set in New York which does show us how somebody could go missing in such an open city, with little people noticing anything that is going on.

Scene of the Movie – The next victim.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Following Erica is shot so badly.

Final Thoughts This is a simple mystery thriller which brings the stalker idea to the big city over the remote locations we know, only falling short in how everything unfolds.

Overall: Simple Mystery.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – T – Terminator Dark Fate (2019) Movie Rob’s Pick

Head over to Movie Rob’s site to read more reviews.

“Funerals don’t help them. And goodbyes don’t help you..” – Sarah Connor

Number of Times Seen – 1 (19 Jan 2020)

Brief Synopsis – Twenty years after the events that ended Skynet, a new threat sends back a Terminator to stop the future from happening and only a lone protector can save humanity once again.

My Take on it – This is a film that I have been interested in seeing for quite a while and didn’t get a chance to see it until now.

I am a big fan of the James Cameron films in this series and have also enjoyed the “non-canon” films too and had high hopes that with Cameron’s input in this movie, it would bring the story back to where it should go.

Thankfully, the story works really well with the first two films and has a great continuity that is integrated into the overall story line.

Love the fact that Linda Hamilton is back in this series and they do a nice job of finding a new character arc for her while keeping her original personality intact within this new story.

As always, the action is great and is choreographed in a really fun way.

The special effects are superb and help enhance this story because it mixes the science of today with a futuristic one that gives us a futuristic look and feel for things as the characters battle one another over the future of humanity.

The story is paced really well and they find a way to allow things to play out in an enjoyable and satisfying way.

The biggest drawback in this movie is the fact that they rehash too many parts of the story from the original two films and give us situations and dialogue that has already been used in the past.

The story is saved though by the fact that they have some nice fake outs along with some nice original ideas that show up along the way which adds to the story.

The story definitely works well as a direct sequel to the Cameron films and is clearly better than the other sequels in the series.

Bottom Line – Great sequel that truly feels like the next chapter in the original Cameron version of the series. Hamilton is great reprising her role and they do a nice job integrated her personality into the new story.  The action is great and the special effects are able to once again enhance this story to a new level due to the futuristic look and feel of things as they battle over the future of humanity.  The story moves along at a great pace and allows for things to play out quite well. The film has a few too many parts that rehash events and situations from the previous two films, but overall, they still manage to keep things interesting due a few fake outs and some great ideas that pop up along the way.  This is much better than most of the other “non-canon” sequels and actually works better from a logical perspective.  Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – James Cameron considers the film as a direct sequel to his own films The Terminator (1984) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). He was not involved in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), Terminator Salvation (2009) and Terminator Genisys (2015), so Terminator: Dark Fate disregards the events of these films, as well as the short-lived TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008). In 2017, Cameron commented that he has been generally supportive of those films due to his close friendship with Arnold Schwarzenegger, but for various reasons, they did not work for him, so he decided to produce a true sequel himself. This means that Rise of the Machines, Salvation, Genisys and Sarah Connor Chronicles are being described as occurring in alternate timelines. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (8/10)

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – T – The King (2019) Movie Review

This is under T because of the star Timothee Chalamet

Director: David Michod

Writer: Joel Edgerton, David Michod (Screenplay)

Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Robert Pattinson, Lily-Rose Depp, Joel Edgerton, Ben Mendelsohn, Sean Harris, Thomasin McKenzie

Plot: Hal, wayward prince and heir to the English throne, is crowned King Henry V after his tyrannical father dies. Now the young king must navigate palace politics, the war his father left behind, and the emotional strings of his past life.

Runtime: 2 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Another King Fighting Film

Story: The King starts as the war between the English and the Scots continues to rage on, King Henry IV (Mendlesohn) is getting tired of the bloodshed and disloyalty being found in his own soldiers and with his health getting worse he recalls his son Hal (Chalamet) to his side.

As Hal find himself in a new power, he doesn’t know who to trust, so he turns to Falstaff (Edgerton) to help him in battle, with in latest battle being with the future French king The Dauphin (Pattinson).

Thoughts on The King

Characters – Hal is the young prince that would become King, a role he isn’t ready for, he doesn’t want to see large scale bloodshed like his father’s reign, but finds his country in war from all sides, he wants to end the battles and will look for solutions, which don’t always work for him. Falstaff is the man Hal turns to for advice when it comes to conflict, he thought under King Richard and he knows how to outsmart an enemy, first he must give up his drinking problem though. The Dauphin is next in line to be king of France, he is leading the armies into battle and doesn’t want any part of a deal with the King of England.

PerformancesTimothee Chalamet is strong in the leading role, continuing to put himself on the right path to do anything he wants to in the future. Joel Edgerton is always a great supporting star in any movie, this is no different, while Robert Pattinson as the villainous soon to be king does a great job too.

StoryThe story here follows a young king taking his place on the throne while his country is involved in wars that he never started and now he wants to end, hoping to find a more peaceful way to end the battles, forcing him to learn the truth about the bitter war between the nations. This is one of those stories which once again puts our history out there for the world to see with the English being seen as an all-conquering nation that always believed they were right, the spin is seeing how the young king wants to try and find a more peaceful way to end things, but just doesn’t get a chance to solve these problems. The pacing follows everything we have seen before, not making this standout on any means whatsoever, which just leads us to disappointment once again.

Biopic/HistoryThis is a film that claims to tell the story of a real king and how he was brave, just like every single one through the years, we don’t know what he was like or what the battles were like, we only know the outcome.

SettingsThe settings show us how the kingdoms are beautiful and how the battlefields are covered in blood and bodies.

Scene of the Movie – The battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is the same typical history story.

Final Thoughts This is one of the period piece dramas that does everything it needs to without giving us the complete truth to what is happening with the real history.

Overall: Simple Royalty Film.