Writer: Olivia Newman (Screenplay)
Starring: Elvire Emanuelle, Jeanette Branch, Jimmy Gary Jr, Kim Ramirez, Colman Domingo, Jharrel Jerome, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
Plot: Hardened by years in foster care, a teenage girl from Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood decides that joining the boys wrestling team is the only way back to her estranged father.
Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Power Drama
Story: First Match starts as we see troubled teenager Mo (Emanuelle) getting kicked out of her latest foster home, she turns tricks for money while trying settle in a new foster home waiting for a chance to return home to her recently released from prison father Darrel (Abdul-Mateen II).
Looking to get her life on track Mo joins the high school wrestling team to help with her discipline after her father used to teach before prison. As her skills increase so does the pressure from her father to make money from her to get rich quick, can Mo make the right decisions for her own life at this difficult moment in life.
Thoughts on First Match
Characters – Mo is a troubled teenager, she has been through the foster system making her defensive and aggressive to the world, out of her latest home she does find one that tries to care for her, she doesn’t let people into her life, but high school wrestling gets her focus back on track until her father returns leaving her to decide how to take on her life. Mo is a wonderful character to watch because she is an example to just how difficult the foster system can be in the wrong area. Omari is the oldest friend of Mo’s he has always tried to have her back through the hardship of her life. Darrel is Mo’s father, fresh out of prison and struggling to make ends meet who decides to push his daughter into a life of crime. We do get to see a new foster mother that is willing to look past Mo’s flaws and just care for her, the coach willing to give her a chance and the unlikely friend in the team.
Performances – Elvire Emanuelle is fantastic in this leading role, she gets the emotional decision making correct throughout the film and handles the wrestling well through the film, this is a true breakout performance for the young actress. The cast works well around Elvire with each performer letting her shine in each and every scene.
Story – When it comes to the story, we are given the traditional troubled teenager that learns discipline from a sport, wrestling, we see how they have made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes until they are ready to admit their own problems. It could be argued that we have seen this performer, but it is a tried and tested formula. The story has little glimpses at certain parts of Mo’s life, the most notable one I enjoyed was the foster mother Lucila and just how much she wants to care for any child that comes in her life. The conflict Mo goes through is hard to see because we know the right decision, but family is harder to turn away from.
Settings – The film is set in Brooklyn which is known to be a rougher neighbourhood, which reflects just how the hard life would be for Mo.
Final Thoughts – This is a powerful drama about sport offering discipline to a misguided teenager that needs to get her life sorted before it is too late for her.
Overall: Sports drama that is a must.
Writer: Richard Lowry (Screenplay) Erick Hansen (Story)
Starring: Barry Lynch, Travis Hammer, Christine Joelle, Booboo Stewart, Lisa Marie, Sasha Jackson
Plot: In just FIVE days the world we know will change forever with devastating results. Jaelen an observer from another planet searches to find and rescue the human woman he fell in love with before it all happens. Robert Casey a retired US Intelligence agent turned UFO investigator races to discover what the yet to be known DOMINION has in store for the Human race.
Tagline – In just five days human existence as we know it will change forever.
Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Thinking Persons Invasion Movie
Story: Dominion: The Last Star Warrior starts with retired US Intelligence agent Robert Casey (Lynch) who is interviewing a stranger Jaelen (Hammer) in his UFO investigation about an impending attack on Earth that will end life as we know it. Jaelen is from a different world and normally his people would defend against the attack, but they are battling their own war, other peaceful aliens including Tonjura (Marie) offer advice on how to prepare before evacuating themselves.
Jaelan unwilling to leave before his human love Alyssa (Joelle) is safe and freed from the torture of the government that has been warned about the ending coming, Robert races against time to help Jaelen before it is too late.
Thoughts on Dominion: The Last Star Warrior
Characters – Robert Casey is a former intelligence officer turn UFO hunter, he has a reputation for be honest in his hunt which has him welcomed into the community but hunted by his former employers. He helps Jaelen find his love while keeping the secret and accepting his fate. He has the smarts to stay ahead of the people in his field and understands that he can’t be the one to save anybody. Jaelen is the alien living among the humans, he has broken his own traditions by falling in love with a human and even though he knows the end is coming he won’t leave without her. Alyssa is the woman that Jaelen has fallen in love with, she is captured and being tortured in hope of locating Jaelen before he gives away the secret, she is the driving force for Jaelen and Robert to do the right thing.
Performances – The performances from the cast are good through the film, Barry Lynch gives us a truly believable character that is in search of the truth, both smart and ready to ask the difficult questions. Travis Hammer makes us believe his is from another planet through the film, Christine Joelle does well enough, she doesn’t have that much to do other than to have been in pain.
Story – The story here follows the final days of Earth as we know it, we follow an UFO investigation and an alien as they race against time to locate a love and save as many humans as possible before the end date. The story does tell us from the opening that Earth did end and we follow the events leading up to this which is helpful because it changes the tone of the film, to be looking at where things could be going from an unknown invader. It shows love can cross any race and across the universe too. This isn’t all action, it plays into the idea of conspiracy which often get laughed off, while it turns out to be real, it does make this very interesting to see unfold.
Action/Sci-Fi – The action is used few and far between, we have a couple of weak and basic car chases that seem very easy and have no peril. The sci-fi side of this is the highlight as we are left to see the idea of different species and races in the universe that have different ideas for Earth.
Settings – The film uses the settings to place us where you would expect to see UFO investigators would be operating in.
Special Effects – The effects are not used often, they are not the best but they work because we only have the inclusion of UFOs over fighting versions of them.
Final Thoughts – This is a thinking sci-fi film, it isn’t about the battle for survival, it is look at how it will end, which is a nice twist and does play into the ideas of both good and bad in the universe.
Overall: Sci-fi fans to try this one out.
Writer: John Krasinski, Bryan Woods, Scott Beck (Screenplay)
Starring: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds, Leon Russom, Cade Woodward, Doris McCarthy
Plot: A family lives an isolated existence in utter silence, for fear of an unknown threat that follows and attacks at any sound.
Tagline – If they can hear you, they can hunt you.
Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Nerve Shredding Horror
Story: A Quiet Place starts as we follow the Abbott family, 89 days into an apocalypse, father Lee (Krasinski), mother Evelyn (Blunt) and children Regan (Simmons), Marcus (Jupe), Beau (Woodward), they must stay silent or an unknown predator will come for them, we see how they get supplies and travel on created paths which won’t make noise. When Beau makes a noise with a toy he has taken, we learn the devastation of the predator.
About one year later we return to the family, living on a farm, still in as close to silence as they can get, we do have tension between Regan and Lee, while Evelyn is expecting a new baby. The new two days will show how sudden the threat can be as the predators are attracted by the additional noise and the battle to survive is on.
Thoughts on A Quiet Place
Characters – The characters focus on the family dynamics, we have the father Lee that is desperately trying to find a way to keep his family safe, while supporting them by hunting and building a defence, Evelyn that is holding everyone together, while preparing for her next child, Regan is the most interesting character, in a world of silence, her character being deaf adds a dimension to how she can cope better than the rest, she is filled with guilt because of what happened to her younger brother, believing her father blames her. Marcus is the youngest and the one Lee wants to prepare to take over the duties in case something ever happened to him. These are the characters we spend most of the film with and you do want to see what they are getting up to.
Performances – John Krasinski took dual roles here, behind the camera too which he gets it perfectly correct, his acting performance is wonderful too and being opposite his real wife helps get that extra level of emotion be needs as a husband and father. Emily Blunt, the one that can do no wrong, she is brilliant too throughout the film. the two child stars are fantastic here, giving us a performance that makes us believe they are actually related too.
Story – The story here is simple, a family trying to survive in a world where any noise will attract a predator that will kill you, you can’t run, you can try to hide and you will not beat it. The story is brave because it shows you the predator early on, which is what is needed because it shows you just how sudden death will be if you make a sound. Watching the family dynamics is interesting too because we are seeing a family dealing with grief and guilt for what happened, while also trying to survive in this world. How they go about it is interesting to see and apart from generic horror mistakes this story will keep you on the edge throughout the film.
Horror/Thriller – The horror in this movie comes from knowing you will not survive an encounter with this predator that hunts through sound, we are kept on edge for the whole film which helps us believe the world we are entering.
Settings – The world created seems simple, it does feel lived in because of the time the characters are meant to have been surviving in 400days+ and using the environment to survive shows us how the human knowledge could find a way.
Special Effects – The effects are mostly used for the world around the predators, they look scary, they are terrifying and effects show us what they can do.
That Moment That Annoyed Me – This is a strange moan, as this is meant to be selected to be at times. We sometimes hear what the deaf Regan hears, which adds something haunting to the movie, then we have music which works, I would have loved to have seen this whole film from what she hears, pure silence.
Final Thoughts – This is easily a contender for horror film of the year, it is fantastic, edge of your seat and by the end you will need regain your breath.
Overall: Must see Horror movie of the year.
This month we are going to be taking on the films I enjoy, my favourites of all time. I have a strange taste in movies, so be ready to expect some true greats and some you could never see on anyone’s favourites list. I will only be picking movies on this list and it will just be my discussing my picks rather than giving full reviews.
Why I’ve Picked this choice – In a world and industry buried in zombie movies, it is time to take to the skies for something slightly different. We have zombies on a plane, because there is no escape from these zombies which gives us an action-packed comedy of zombie eating greatness. This is a movie you can watch without needing to think, well this is one for you.