ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – S – Stealth (2005)

Director: Rob Cohen

Writer: W.D. Richter (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx, Sam Shepard, Richard Roxburgh, Joe Morton, Ian Bliss

 

Plot: Deeply ensconced in a top-secret military program, three pilots struggle to bring an artificial intelligence program under control before it initiates the next world war.


Tagline – Fear The Sky

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long Sci-Fi Actioner

 

Story: Stealth starts as we meet the three elite pilot squad leader Lt Ben Gannon (Lucas), risk assessment calm team member LT Kare Wade (Biel) and hotshot Lt Henry Purcell (Foxx) who under Captain George Cummings (Shepard) control have become the leading choice in aerial combat.

When the three person team get assigned a fourth member, an artificial intelligence unit things don’t go to plan, when the AI is studying plans it gets the idea to go on its own mission which could bring on World War III, now the human pilots must stop this from happening before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Stealth

 

Characters – The three pilots do have their own personalities, Ben Gannon is the leader that struggles to follow orders, but will die for his crew, Kara Wade is the one that assess the danger the crew might find themselves getting into. Henry Purcell is the hotshot that will show off for any excuse just to do so. Captain Cummings runs the operations trying to do the right thing for his country. We don’t really learn too much more about these characters other than they are considered the elite of the elite of pilots, they should have made Kara a much stronger character than what we get with her.

PerformancesJosh Lucas trying his luck in a leading role, well this didn’t work, be is such an average and forgettable leading man, saying this I do feel if you had swapped him and Jamie Foxx around the performances would have been better because Josh is better at cocky support over leading man. Jamie Foxx can pull off all three of the male roles in this film and is the only one that seems like he is doing a good job. Jessica Biel is written to be strong, but she must show her damsel in distress for the second half of the film, which isn’t her fault though.

StoryThe story follows Americans best pilots needing to fight against an AI unit which was meant to be supporting them but has turned to their programming for answers. This is another be careful what you ask for when it comes to technology film which will soon become one story that doesn’t hold much weight and is all about the explosions, aerial duals and quick cuts.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is shot in such a bad way it is nearly impossible to keep up with, because the planes are going at such velocity it is like watching blurs on the screen at times, this is a side effect of having the ultrafast planes involved in dogfights. The adventure side of the film shows what Ben must go through to win, the sci-fi side of the film shows us how the technology in the planes could bring the next level of aerial combat, the way they would look to stay ahead of the radar and enemy weapons.

SettingsThe most part of the film takes place in the skies with an American crew above their enemy nations, Russia, North Korea which shows how deadly the combat it going to be.

Special EffectsThe effects beings used in the film are for the most part weak, this is because the action sequences have terrible camerawork and feel like we are just watching them in a greenscreen.


Scene of the Movie –
Well this is awkward, to pick anything I did enjoy.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The action scenes.

Final ThoughtsThe is all action, badly shot and no substance behind everything going on, it is too long to get away with this mad action to keep us interest and turns into a bog standard AI turning on humans.

 

Overall: Bog standard.

Rating

 

 

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Edward Norton Weekend – Primal Fear (1996)

Director: Gregory Hobilt

Writer: Steve Shagan, Ann Biderman (Screenplay) William Diehl (Novel)

Starring: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, John Mahoney, Alfre Woodard, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Terry O’Quinn, Andre Braugher

 

Plot: An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep.


Tagline – Sooner or later a man who wears two faces forgets which one is real.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Thriller

 

Story: Primal Fear starts when the Archbishop is murdered, all clues point to bloody covered Aaron (Norton) as the murderer, he shy stuttering alter boy. When former district prosecutor Martin Vail (Gere) turned defence lawyer sees this as a spotlight for his new career direction and going against former colleague Janet (Linney) and her boss the district attorney Shaughnessy (Mahoney) the case goes to trial.

When Martin learns that Aaron has a split personality disorder with a much more aggressive Roy doing the dirty work for Aaron and the bigger picture of the motivation behind the murder comes to light.

 

Thoughts on Primal Fear

 

Characters – Martin Vail is the lawyer, he once was one of the biggest prosecutors in the city but has turned his back on that career to become a defence lawyer. He sees this case as the one that will give him his big break as a defence lawyer doing this case for free. He has a strong trusted team, he is made out to be a womaniser, though we never see him hit on anyone, only that he once had a fling with Janet in the past. Janet is the prosecutor that is taking the case, she is the one taking over Martin’s role and with a previous relationship with him. She knows this will be a career maker for her and is enjoying going head to head with her former mentor. Shaughnessy is the District Attorney that wants the death penalty and will not let Janet forget this. Aaron is the shy alter boy that is accused of murder but with him being found covered in blood even if you can’t see him doing this murder, Roy is the aggressive personality next to Aaron that knows the truth and seems to be the release of everything Aaron holds in. Shoat is the judge trying to control the case in what lawyers are trying to pull for their wins. Molly is psychologist that is studying Aaron trying to figure out what his mindset learning about Roy.

PerformancesRichard Gere is fantastic in the leading role, you see here how he shows the desperate he is to win this case. Laura Linney is strong in her role which must go against Richard Gere. Edward Norton gives one of the best debut roles of any actor in the history of film, he is disturbed when needed and calm when Aaron and crazed when Roy. The supporting cast are great too without taking the spotlight of the rest of the cast.

StoryThe story follows the trial of a disturbed young man accused of murdering an archbishop. While the court case unfolds like you would expect with twists coming from every corner and evidence coming to light through nearly every witness. As a fan of courtroom dramas this plays into everything I enjoy and I love watching crimes get solved in a courtroom. The story is very well paced and even being over 2 hours long doesn’t feel like you are giving the film this much time.

Crime/MysteryThe crime focuses on the murder and what gave the killer motivation, the mystery plays into the motivation too and just how the shy timid altar boy could have committed the murder.

SettingsThe film uses the courtroom for most of the scenes, we have the location involved in the crime too which shows how the lawyers are operating on both sides of the case.


Scene of the Movie –
The final twist.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would say the side case Martin worked on being touched on through the main case gets slightly annoying.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best courtroom dramas of all time, with a crime which does balance the line between what would be considered a bigger crime and performances that could be considered the career best for members of the cast.

 

Overall: Courtroom delight.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – R – Robot Overlords (2014

Director: Jon Wright

Writer: Jon Wright, Mark Stay (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Kingsley, Gillian Anderson, Callan McAuliffe, Ella Hunt, James Tarpey, Milo Parker

 

Plot: Earth has been conquered by robots from a distant galaxy. Survivors are confined to their houses and must wear electronic implants, risking incineration by robot sentries if they venture outside.


Tagline – Robots never lie…….

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Young Adult 101

 

Story: Robot Overlords starts as the Earth has been invaded by robots and humans are confined to their homes, Kate (Anderson) has her own son Sean (McAuliffe) and adopted children Alexandra (Hunt), Nathan (Tarpey) and Connor (Parker). When the kids learn how to disable the electronic devices they venture outside.

Once outside the kids go in search of answers, keeping one step ahead of the robots one the chief Robin Smythe (Kingsley) who is working for the robots, they must learn the secrets of the invasion.

 

Thoughts on Robot Overlords

 

Characters – Robin Smythe is the zone chief, he works for the robots while keeping the humans safe when they could be in danger and are worth saving, he will not stop until he gets to be with Kate even if that means taking her son. Kate is the one that has taken in the orphans of the invasion and with her son she keeps them safe even in the battle against Robin. Sean is the eldest of the children, he leads the fight back once he discovers he has a very special ability in the war. The rest of the kids offer us comic relief when needed in the film.

PerformancesWhen we look at performances we must realizes Sir Ben Kingsley is in the film, this is the definition of a pay check performance from him. Anderson is good, but it is always hard to see her in any peril after the X-Files. The kids are good throughout never looking out of place.

StoryThe story here follows the pattern of the young adult movies, we have a group of teens that are in a post-apocalyptic world (well nearly) that must rise up and become the resistance. That is the soft outer shell of this movie, going deeper into the story we do have an original idea by having the robots force the humans into staying in their homes over just having them hiding. For the most part this would pass as what we know, it is the main twist which makes zero sense, but what the hell it worked to save the day somehow.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action in the movie does have a unique style, but just doesn’t come off in the most interesting or entertaining way, the adventure side of the film gives us the standard children, teenagers are the ones that will be the ones to save the day and the sci-fi ideas do work with how robots have taken over the world.

SettingsThe film is set in a small English coastal town, it is nice, but if you took the robots out of the scenes it looked like just backdrop stock photos.

Special EffectsThe special effects for the most part look very CGI, everything looks like a robot placed into the world rather than a robot in the world.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The ability seems very random.

Final ThoughtsThis is a basic young adult movie, it checks the boxes but never becomes one that you will remember when talking about them in general.

 

Overall: Standard young adult movie.

Rating

 

 

The Mourning Hills (2014)

Director: R Todd Campbell

Writer: R Todd Campbell (Screenplay)

Starring: Chelsea Bryan, Carol Jean Wells, Joe Fredo, Eric Gebhardt, Isabella Handley, David Rozas, Tracy Miller

 

Plot: Two runaway sisters find themselves lost in a notorious wilderness, known as a place where people come to end their own lives. Here they must contend with nature, with man, and with their own naivety about the world.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Life Lesson

 

Story: The Mourning Hills starts after the two sisters have lost their father in the notorious suicide forest, both in foster homes now the eldest Mattie (Bryan) helps Kate (Wells) escape as the two run away through the forest.

When the two get separated they bump into two brothers lurking in the forest searching the dead, slowly Kate and Mattie must learn about the difficulties of life from their actions and learn this might not be the best idea to run.

 

Thoughts on The Mourning Hills

 

Characters – Kate is the youngest of the two girls, she is telling the story explaining to us about how her life got to this situation, the feelings of unknowing about her father, she doesn’t want to go in the same direction which helps her learn that this might not be the best idea. Mattie is the older sister, a rebellious teenager that thinks she knows best for her sister, the question about her character remains, is she ready for this. We do meet a couple of men who we meet in the forest with their own reasons for being there.

PerformancesCarol Jean Wells as our narrator and youngest cast member is good through the film showing the innocence her character requires. Chelsea Bryan as the big sister shows the strengths needed for her character through the film. Tracy Miller and Eric Gebhardt are both good too.

StoryThe story here follows two sisters running away from their foster home into the mysterious forest where people go for suicide including their father. We follow the time the sisters spend together as they get to spend time looking at life and the ups and downs they are dealing with and will come up against on this journey. The story gives us a chance to look at life lessons mostly and teaching the lesson about life with be hard and that seems to be the points behind the story.

SettingsThe film takes us into the forest with a reputation for the place people go to end their lives. It does have an air of mystery about it.


Scene of the Movie –
The moment they split first.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly over long monologue from the man in the forest.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good drama that focuses on not running into life too fast because you will miss the important parts and that family must stick together.

 

Overall: Life lesson on a plate.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – Q – Quantum Leap

ABC Film Challenge Non-Review Selection

I won’t be doing reviews for everything letter, so here are my pick for today.

ABC Film Challenge

Sci-Fi

Q

Quantum Leap

Why I’ve Picked this choiceQ is fast becoming the hardest letter each month, when it comes to sci-fi I feel we need to throw a spotlight on this ambitious television show, Quantum Leap which followed a scientist Sam Beckett leaping through time into different people’s bodies and lives, each episode offered him a new challenge and falling just short of 100 episodes this was one series that last 5 years that can get an audience to enjoy what they are seeing,

Let me know if you have seen it and just what your thoughts on the show were.