Sam Neill Weekend – The Dish (2000)

Director: Rob Sitch

Writer: Santo Cilaruo, Tom Gleisner, Jane Kennedy, Rob Sitch (Screenplay)

Starring: Sam Neill, Kevin Harrington, Tom Long, Patrick Warburton, Genevieve Mooy, Tayler Kane, Billie Brown, Roy Billing

 

Plot: A remote Australian community, populated by quirky characters, plays a key role in the first Apollo moon landing.


Tagline – Man’s first step on the moon nearly stumbled on earth

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Look at the Apollo 11 Mission

 

Story: The Dish starts as a small town named Parkes which has the largest satellite dish in the south hemisphere is selected by NASA to communicate the Apollo 11 mission, the team is a four man operation run by Cliff Buxton (Neill) with his normal team, Ross ‘Mitch Mitchell (Harrington), Glenn Latham (Long) and NASA representative Al Burnett (Warburton).

With the news that Parkes has been selected the whole town gets a buzz with the Mayor (Billing) seeing this a chance to meet the Prime Minister (Brown) and gossip flying around, while the men deal with the added pressure of being part of one of the most important moments in human history.

 

Thoughts on The Dish

 

Characters – Cliff Buxton is the director of the facility, he remains calm for the additional pressure placed on him by this mission, he knows how to welcome a new member to the team and keep his loyal team showing the respect required, Cliff has been through his own personal tragedy which has given him extra motivation to be part of this moment in history. Mitch is the senior member of the team in Australia, he has worked with Cliff for years now and doesn’t take too keenly to Al, he must learn to accept his own mistakes and that everyone involved wants the same thing. Glenn is the youngest member of the team, he is nervous person in life and has a side story of whether he will ask a local woman out. Al is the representative from NASA, he is very much by the book figure and this does cause tension in places because he isn’t as laid back as the rest of the team, even though he does have the utmost respect for the team.

PerformancesSam Neill is brilliant in this film, he has always been one of the actors that can portray knowledge with ease and will always be engaging. Kevin Harrington, Tom Long and Patrick Warburton are all wonderful to watch, showing great chemistry throughout the film.

StoryThe story here follows the small team of satellite team in Australia that have been selected to be the link in communication for NASA for the Apollo 11 mission to be the first man to walk on the moon, we see how they team had to overcome their own problems to make sure they are part of history. When it comes to the moon mission, it has to go down as one of the biggest moments in human history and over the years we have seen many stories about the people involved in making this moment in history happen. By seeing how a small crew has operated to make this event visible for the world is entertaining. Seeing how things didn’t go to plan shows how they had to show their skills to adapt to the situation is interesting and the side story of the Mayor seeing how proud he is to be selected for this. This is a complete story that shows us just how wonderful this event was for the people involved.

Comedy/HistoryThe comedy involved in the film shows us just how the crew can make the events fee light-hearted with what happens, showing us how they can feel like they are can operate best with the laidback nature. This does circle around one of the biggest events in human history.

SettingsThe film uses a couple of main locations, first and most importantly is the dish which shows how contained the operation was and how the town came together to be remembered in history.


Scene of the Movie –
Rudy the security guard, he gets so many laughs it is brilliant.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing about this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most underrated movies involving the moon landing, it is one that is easy to enjoy with laughs and historical moments blend effortlessly.

 

Overall: Wonderful drama.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – O – Our Kind of Traitor (2016)

Director: Susanna White

Writer: Hossein Amini (Screenplay) John le Carre (Novel)

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgard, Damian Lewis, Naomie Harris, Jeremy Northam, Khalid Abdalla, Mark Gatiss

 

Plot: A couple finds themselves lured into a Russian oligarch’s plans to defect, and are soon positioned between the Russian Mafia and the British Secret Service, neither of whom they can trust.


Tagline – Who can you trust with the truth?

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Crime Thriller

 

Story: Our Kind of Traitor starts when British couple Perry (McGregor) and Gail (Harris) holidaying in Morocco meet Russian Mafia member Dima (Skarsgard) and the two men bond. Dima talks Perry into taking information back to MI6, which opens the door for the secret service agent Hector (Lewis) trying to investigate the information.

Returning with the information, Perry and Gail gets caught up in the middle of both sides even though they want to get on with their own lives, soon it is their lives that are in danger, who will come out on top.

 

Thoughts on Our Kind of Traitor

 

Characters – Perry is a university professor, he is trying to make amends with his wife on a romantic holiday, he reluctantly gets involved in the information trade with his good nature being used by both sides. Gail is the lawyer wife of Perry, she has become distant from him while still loving him and does question his decision to help Dima. Dima is the Russian mafia handling the accounts, but he wants out to help his own children become safe, he uses his connection with Perry to get MI6 involved in the truth. Hector is the MI6 agent that is willing to work with Dima for the information in exchange for the family, he does have his own grudge with the man they are trying to take down too.

PerformancesThe performances through the film show us just what Le Carre does with his characters, he gives them good moments, without making them stand out. McGregor is good, but you feel a younger up and comer would have been perfect here, Harris is good and doesn’t put a foot wrong, while Skarsgard enjoys his role, shady but loyal. Damian Lewis brings back his true English role which at times does feel weird knowing how often he has been an American character recently.

StoryThe story comes from a John Le Carre novel, so instantly we know we are going to get a thriller that keeps us guessing on what everyone’s motivation will be. The idea that a normal couple get mixed up in the middle of an international information exchange is different and does work for the film because it helps us stay on edge thinking and wondering if they do have a bigger involvement. The story does feel like that one moment to make it great is missing, as everything does end up feeling just normal and good only.

CrimeThe crime side of the film follows a criminal looking for a safe way out of the life for his family in exchange for bringing down the mafia’s dealings in London.

SettingsThe film splits the settings between London, for the deals, Morocco for the exchanges and the final location for the next chapter of the lives, they work because they show how this world would operate.


Scene of the Movie –
The escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It lacks the edge of your seat style of Le Carre novels have given us.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid thriller even if it lacks that final factor to make it one of the best ones, it does the by the book material well, but never develops the characters enough to understand the situation they put themselves in.

 

Overall: Simple thriller.

Rating

 

 

Scooby Doo: Return to Zombie Island (2019) Movie Review

Director: Cecilia Aranovich, Ethan Spaulding

Writer: Jeremy Adams (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Frnak Welker, Grey Griffin, Matthew Lillard, Kate Micucci, Janell Cox, David Herman, John Michael Higgins

Plot: The gang is pulled out of retirement to investigate a mystery on a familiar zombie-infested island.

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Standard Adventure

Story: Scooby-Doo: Return to Zombie Island starts when the Mystery Inc team, Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo decide to give up solving mysteries and sell the Mystery Machine, looking to have fun they win a holiday in a tropical island, which just so happens to be infested with zombies, but the group refuse to look to solve the mystery.

The resort the gang end up, just so happens to be Moonstar Island, the very location where the gang faced one of their few real mysteries of the supernatural, only the island has unfinished business with the gang and they must break their promise to not be involved with a mystery.

Thoughts on Scooby-Doo: Return to Zombie Island

Characters – Scooby-Doo and Shaggy have both become tired of solving mysteries, they want the team to stop and get their way, they win the holiday for the gang which sees them going to an old location needing to decide whether to let the group solve the mystery on the island. Fred has sold the Mystery Machine, he is having daytime dreams of it returning to him, where he judges most other vehicles for not being on the same level as his beloved. Daphne is here, though we don’t see anything we haven’t seen before from her, while Velma has a blog showing us just how the character has evolved for the time, which does show the frustration here character has when she can’t solve the mysteries anymore. Most of the new characters are left to feel just here with only Alan the hotel manager and Seaver being properly introduced.

StoryThe story here follows the mystery inc gang who get invited back to an old location to solve the mystery from their past, only to find themselves needing to fight cat people once again. The story tries to be self-aware of many of the previous films, which has worked before, but for some reason doesn’t quite click this time. The fact we have seen the evolution of Velma and not the rest of the characters disappoints, which also seems to play along the idea of being a film within a film, that just again puts too much wink, wink, nudge, nudge to the audience. If you are a Scooby Doo fan, this story is everything you need, even if it does have a couple of flaws along the way.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure does see the gang return to one of their most famous locations, which is different to much of what we have seen before, while the comedy does land in a couple of places very well.

SettingsThe film does take the gang back to Moonscar island to face a new host of enemies in one of the most famous locations.

AnimationThis does have the typical animation you are used to seeing for the Scooby Doo movies, it never lets down and works for the slapstick side of things.


Scene of the Movie – The big jump.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Daphne is almost just painted background character.

Final Thoughts This isn’t the best Scooby Doo animated movie, it disappoints in a lot of places with how it handles certain decisions in the story and too many wink wink nudge nudge moments.

Overall: Basic Scooby Doo.