Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Writer: James Cameron, Laeta Kalogridis, Robert Rodriguez (Screenplay) Yukito Kishiro (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Rosa Salazar, Mahershala Ali, Jennifer Connelly, Christoph Waltz, Lana Condor, Eiza Gonzalez, Ed Skrein, Keean Johnson

 

Plot: An action-packed story of one young woman’s journey to discover the truth of who she is and her fight to change the world.


Tagline – An Angel Falls. A Warrior Rises.

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visual Masterpiece

 

Story: Alita: Battle Angel starts in the 26th century, Dr Dyson Ido (Waltz) searching for scraps locates the remaining parts of a cyborg, who has come from the city sky, he rebuilds her naming her Alita (Salazar) and teaches her about the world. Alita wants to learn for herself which happens when she meets Hugo (Johnson) who shows him the city.

Vector (Ali) being controlled by the villainous Nova is always seeking the best fighters to send to the city above, which attracts him to Alita knowing her abilities will give him even more power. Alita must learn about her past to fight for her future to become the hero she was always meant to be.

 

Thoughts on Alita: Battle Angel

 

Characters – Alita is the name given to the battle angel, she is from an older technology, one nobody understands one from before the great Fall. She is programmed to be like a teenager learning about the world, eager to take chance, before she learns about her fighting abilities, which will see her fight to keep her freedom and for love. This is an amazingly strong character that shows just how much motivation can come from learning one’s power. Dr Dyson Ido repairs the cyborgs, he has a heart of gold willing to help many, but he has a haunted past which gives him a secret life that Alita wants to be part off. Vector runs the city, if you want to get to the sky city, you must go through him, he knows the desire to get there and plays everybody on the idea he can make it happen. Chiren is Dyson’s ex-wife, she wants to get back to the sky city and sides with Vector to make this happen. Hugo is the young man rebel that shows Alita the city, teaches her dreams and sport. He does go against what Alita believes he is, as he like many others is dreaming of getting to the sky city. Zapan is one of the hunter warriors, used as the police within the city, they are bounty hunters who will kill for credits, he is considered the deadliest of them all and clashes with Alita.

PerformancesRosa Salazar bursts onto the scene with this performance that even though the character does feel like it is CGI, manages to give emotion through every event she learns about. Christoph Waltz shines in the doctor role, he keeps everything calm which is what is required for his character. Mahershala Ali bring a calm demanding villain to the heart of this film which will show he isn’t the strongest, but the smartest. Jennifer Connelly has the largest amount to go through with her character, she gets the chance to show us that she is the real deal. Ed Skrein does seem to bring us his Ajax from Deadpool figure, which is fine, des what the film needs. Keean Johnson completes the main cast and work in his role well have strong chemistry with Salazar.

StoryThe story here follows a former warrior being bought back to life to learn of a new world that she wants to fight to bring down, while trying to learn about her past. Now, this does have source material, so I can’t say who did it first, but this does feel like a story we have seen before, an unlikely hero coming to save the day after being mentored by an older figure that wished to do the same thing himself, must overcome the odds and gain a following. This is a tried and tested story formula and it works very well with this one too. My big issue with the story comes from the time passage, certain things that happen seem to feel like they could be weeks or months, but they play out like days, only they can’t have been days, this is the biggest disappointment in the storytelling process.

Action/Adventure/Romance/Sci-FiThe action in this movie is amazing, we get fight scenes with each combatant seemingly having a different ability which opens the doors for all possibilities too. The adventure side of the film comes from following Alita as she learns about herself, the world and her place in it. When we get to the romance side of the film this could turn people off at times, but it does show how people would be willing to fight for their unconditional love for somebody. The sci-fi concepts in this film comes from the creations, both in world and the cyborgs involved, we see a future world completely different to our own too.

SettingsOnto the best parts of the film, the settings, the city created here is one of the best you will ever see in a sci-fi film, each individual part of the city seems to have details to make us truly believe we are there.

Special EffectsThe special effects are just breath-taking, nothing seems out of place in this world filled with cyborgs. Everything in this film will make you want to love cinema even more than you already do.


Scene of the Movie –
The world we enter is just breath-taking.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The nurse character, mostly because I felt we should have seen her do more (not the actress’s fault).

Final ThoughtsThis is easily going to be the best visual film you will see in 2019, it might have a by the book story, but you will be left wanting to see more and more of this character in her battles.

 

Overall: Experience this on the big screen.

Rating

 

 

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Sabrina (1954)

Director: Billy Wilder

Writer: Billy Wilder, Samuel A Taylor, Ernest Lehman (Screenplay) Samuel A Taylor (Play)

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden, John Williams, Martha Hyer

 

Plot: A playboy becomes interested in the daughter of his family’s chauffeur, but it’s his more serious brother who would be the better man for her.


Tagline –  the chauffeur’s daughter who learned her stuff in Paris!

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One for the Classic Film Fans

 

Story: Sabrina starts as we meet the daughter of the playboy family’s chauffer Sabrina (Hepburn) who has been in love with one of the son’s of the house David (Holden), after Sabrina spends time in Paris, she returns with a better knowledge of fitting in to higher society. David on the other hand has been match made by his brother Linus (Bogart) to continue to grow the family business.

When David needs to recover from an injury, Sabrina ends up spending time with Linus as the two brothers end up battling over the beautiful woman.

 

Thoughts on Sabrina

 

Characters – Sabrina is the beautiful daughter of the chauffeur, that gets herself educated before returning to the family that looked down on her, hoping to impress the son she is attracted too, she seems to be a character drawn to a better life and looks to marry her way to it. Linus is the straight talking serious brother that conducts the business and wants to stop David from marrying Sabrina. David is the man that has fallen for Sabrina, he is known as a playboy having a routine for seducing women. We have the rich family and the help family that believe they shouldn’t be together.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are good, we have three of the most famous stars in Hollywood history. Audrey Hepburn is the star of the film that showed the grace she had in any film she was part off.

StoryThe story here follows one woman that dreams of being in the higher society and her way there is through her love of one of the sons of the family her father works for. This isn’t the most overly entertaining story as it seems to show just how Sabrina just wants to plan her own way to get to the top, I am not sure if I am misreading the film, but it does show how the two different classes act towards each other.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy works for the time, but most of the laughs are based on how the reactions of the higher society act. The romance does seem to show the wrong idea of what love is for the people involved.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the different living standards the characters are used to, what they can buy and how they can get there.


Scene of the Movie –
Paris cooking class.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Hasn’t dated very well.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of those classic films that has struggled to date the way others have, it tells a story for the time, but not our time which can make it harder to connect too.

 

Overall: The dated classic.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – F – First Reformed (2018)

Director: Paul Schrader

Writer: Paul Schrader (Screenplay)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric the Entertainer, Victoria Hill, Philip Ettinger, Michael Gaston

 

Plot: A minister of a small congregation in upstate New York grapples with mounting despair brought on by tragedy, worldly concerns and a tormented past.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hawke’s Powerhouse Performance

 

Story: First Reformed starts as we meet minster Toller (Hawke) who has a small congregation in the Fist Reformed church one with a big history about the celebrate an anniversary. One of the community Mary (Seyfried) is worried about her husband Michael (Ettinger) who has become worried about the future for their unborn child.

After the death of Michael, Toller starts looking into the climate change problems, believing he is getting ill, only to learn the truth about the local supply which has a connection must close to home.

 

Thoughts on First Reformed

 

Characters – Toller is a minster with a tragic past, he lost a son in war which saw his marriage end and his own problems coming to light. He turned to the bible which seems him getting a chance to help people who need it, he soon learns that his own health is getting worse and the problems in the world are starting to get to him. Mary is a pregnant woman who believes there is something wrong with her husband, she turns to Toller for help an he does all he can to help him through his problems, while she deals with life about to bring a child into the world. Jeffers runs the church in the area, he gave Toller the job and is always planning for investments to the church. Esther is the ex-wife who still works for the church, they do still support each other even if they have been through the problems of losing a child.

PerformancesEthan Hawke gives a career best performance here, he shines on so many levels, he will leave you feeling disturbed by what is going on, while also feel sympathetic to his situation. Amanda Seyfried, Ceric the Entertainer and Victoria Hill complete supporting cast and are good throughout the film.

StoryThe story follows a minster who starts to question his faith and mortality when he learns who is behind the funding for his church, leading him to want to make a rash decision. If we are going to be honest about this story, we must admit that it will split the audience mostly because of how it ends, it won’t keep everyone going home saying wow, it will leave people going what happened, which is always going to put the audience off, sure we don’t always want to get spoon fed answers though. This does have plenty to focus on and does offer a big question about the future of mankind, what people will do to save it no matter what they do for a living.

MysteryThe mystery involved in the film comes from Toller learning the truth about what is going on and just what he will do about it.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town in New York, it shows how businesses will operate around it and how the community will come together through the difficult times.


Scene of the Movie –
Seeing the world in a breath.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The end could be more conclusive.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting movie that has a brilliant performance from Hawke, it brings forward big questions while most of the film is interesting it could have a better conclusion.

 

Overall: Carried by the performance of Hawke.

Rating