Little Monsters (2019) Movie Review

Director: Abe Forsythe

Writer: Abe Forsythe (Screenplay)

Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Alexander England, Josh Gad, Kat Stewart, Diesel La Torraca, Nadia Townsend

Plot: A washed-up musician teams up with a teacher and a kids show personality to protect young children from a sudden outbreak of zombies.


Tagline – Playtime is over.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Delightful

Story: Little Monsters starts when a washed up musician Dave (England) breaks up with his girlfriend Sara (Townsend) moving in with his sister Tess (Stewart) and her son Felix (Le Torraca), after getting his heart broken, Dave gets left on his last warning with Tess and after he meets Felix’s teacher Miss Caroline (Nyong’o) he ends up agreeing to go on a school trip.

When the trip seems to be going well, the school kids, Miss Caroline and Dave must find safety as zombies have broken free and heading to the petting zoo, joined by celebrity children’s host Teddy McGiggle (Gad) they must stay safe or face death.

Thoughts on Little Monsters

Characters – Miss Caroline is the kindergarten teacher that has the respect from all her students, treating them like nothing is going wrong no matter what is happening, she will always remain calm, with a smile on her face she takes complete control of the zombie outbreak. She has seen the father hit on her in the past which makes it easy for her to ignore them. Dave was once in a metal band, he had a girlfriend he always fought with him leading to him moving in with his sister and nephew. He is a terrible role model for Felix with his swearing, not listening and accepting it ok for a 5-year-old to play zombie games. He wants to get to know Miss Caroline and over this school trip he learns that there is more to life. Teddy McGiggle is a children’s entertainer who is world famous with every kid loving his work, when the zombies arrive, he shows the worst in mankind. The kids are all brilliant without being annoying like most would become in zombie films.

PerformancesLupita Nyong’o is wonderful to watch being a ray of sunshine through the film, bring a character that is completely different to anything we have seen before. Alexander England is excellent too, being someone, you could never see around children, getting so many laughs in the film. Josh Gad is great too, though it does seem like his character is slightly too much over the top at times. The young actors look like they are having a ball which is important for a film like this.

StoryThe story here follows a teacher, a washed up musician and a group of school kids that get trapped during a zombie outbreak in a petting zoo. The best way to describe this story would be that we be, that we are focused on the human factors over the zombies, who are just background problem. We get to see how one man must learn about his life and start taking it more serious after years of wasting his time. We see zombies tackled a different way without needing to give us any sort of flashy zombie kill, which most all try to do, this is a character piece that shows positivity can give you hope no matter what is in your way. If you don’t end up smiling by the end of this film, it will be a surprise.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy is the highlight of this film, we get plenty of laughs, being part of the idea of Dave saying things or doing things around children along with how relaxing the survival attempts end up looking.

SettingsThe film is mostly set on a petting zoo, which is meant to be a happy place for the children, despite it turning into a nightmare situation for the adults once the zombies come out.

Special EffectsThe zombies are done with great practical effects, while any of the violence is withheld away from the camera.


Scene of the Movie – The tractor rescue.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It seems like we didn’t need Teddy’s character if we are being completely honest.

Final Thoughts This is a truly delightful watch, with loveable characters, adorable kids and a fresh take on the zombie genre, showing it is about the characters, not the zombies.

Overall: Enjoyable from start to finish.

K-19 The Widowmaker (2002)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Writer: Christopher Kyle (Screenplay) Louis Nowra (Story)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Peter Saragaard,

 

Plot: When Russia’s first nuclear submarine malfunctions on its maiden voyage, the crew must race to save the ship and prevent a nuclear disaster.


Tagline – Fate has found its hero.

Runtime: 2 Hours 18 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Historical Thriller

 

Story: K-19: The Widowmaker starts in the height of the cold war between Russia and America, Russia has designed a new submarine which will contain enough nuclear weapons to destroyed the world twice over, Captain Mikhail Polenin (Neeson) must give up his leadership to strict Captain Alexei Vostrikov (Ford) who has been assigned to lead the submarine out for tests before advancing onto America.

While on the mission Alexei forces the crew through countless drills to see if they are the crew he is expecting, but when he starts pushing thing too far Mikhail starts to challenge him. The submarine then encounters problems which see the men being forced o put their differences aside to make sure they can make it home alive.

 

Thoughts on K-19: The Widowmaker

 

Characters – Captain Alexei Vostrikov is the strict captain that puts his new crew through drills at different hours of the day, he way to push the crew will bring added tension towards the crew, he demands the best and will risk the lives to make things work on the submarine. He will however risk lives when he doesn’t need believing it to be for the motherland. Captain Mikhail Polenin was the captain of this submarine, he has seen his crew struggle under the new standards and lack of ability to make the submarine to standards, he does clash with Alexei which is what is needed to help the decision making process which is important, he knows his role on this latest mission which will see his position tested between the rest of the crew. When it comes to the rest of the crew we have the normal figure that would be involved in this type of mission without anyone getting any true screen time.

PerformancesHarrison Ford and Liam Neeson bring their generic Russian accents into this film which works, it is more about their intensity which puts the two head and shoulders above the rest of the cast here.

StoryThe story here follows the events of the Russian submarine branded ‘The Widowmaker’ which saw its crew follow instruction on the mission only for things to go wrong and they must make the biggest decision of their lives. This does show us how two captains had different decisions and handling of their crew would make things tense between the crew. It does show us an historical moment in in submarine warfare that will put everyone involved, while it never gets overly involved in the main tensions of war and how countries would put underprepared crews out to sea because time is more important than safety.

History/WarThis historical event is left for many to read as they get to see just how the Russian submarine was left to be put into a massive decision that could have bought around a new World War, while we are see how they will do anything to stop the war happening, while preparing to one day start one.

SettingsThe film is set on the submarine, a closed claustrophobic position that the crew found themselves under.


Scene of the Movie –
Taking charge.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t seem to meet most of the supporting cast of this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a tense thriller such upon a submarine, it does show clash of styles between captains, only it falls short when it comes to introducing us to the supporting cast of the film.

 

Overall: Nice tense thriller.

Rating

 

 

James Bond Month – Living Daylights (1987) Movie Rob’s Pick

Head over to Movie Rob’s site for more review

“[after removing his disguise] Thank you both for your help. My name is Kamran Shah. Please forgive the theatricals, it’s a hangover from my Oxford days.” – Kamran Shah

Number of Times Seen – Between 5 – 10 times (Theater in ’87, cable, video, DVD, 16 Dec 2014 and 14 Nov 2019)

Link to original review – Here

Brief Synopsis – James Bond is sent on a mission to help a Russian Army officer defect, but must find a way to keep him safe when an assassin is sent to stop him.

My Take on it – This is a fun Bond film that was the first outing for Timothy Dalton as the iconic super spy.

He does a much better job in the role than he gets credit for and adds a more serious tone to the character and franchise.

The lot of the film was quite timely or when it was made and shows the various tares in the seams of the soon to crumble Iron Curtain.

The way that the story line features how the Russians had difficulties while in Afghanistan is great to watch since it allows us to see how the world looked at that part of the world long before it became apparent in the West that anyone who needs to try and fight a war in that country would have a very difficult time extracting themselves from it.

The story line in this film is quite simplistic and that hurts things a bit especially when comparing it to other movies in the franchise.

The film has some nice twists and turns but they come across as being much too predictable which is a shame.

The gadgets presented in this film are downplayed in order to add more realism to the story but it takes away from the Bond style atmosphere which is accentuated by the various gadgets.

The film does the action scenes well but it comes across as being a bit too tame which takes away from the enjoyment of this film.

Bottom Line – Fun Bond film that has a much more serious tone than most of the films in the series. Dalton is great as the iconic character and is much better than most people claim he is.  The story does a nice job showing the tears in the seams of the Iron Curtain which was in the process of coming apart at the time. Interesting seeing a story line that shows the difficulties that the Russians had in Afghanistan years before the world (and America) got a much clearer picture of what kind of area it is and how difficult it is to defend for a foreign country.  The story here is too simplistic and a number of the various twists and turns come across as being much too predictable. The gadgets are slightly downplayed here which adds an element of realism to the story and makes it feel less like a Bond movie than it should. The action scenes are done well, but also come across as being a bit too tame.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Timothy Dalton was originally unavailable to play Bond, and Pierce Brosnan was then chosen to play 007 in 1986, and was given the script to this movie. Although he was contracted to Remington Steele (1982) for seven seasons, NBC decided to cancel the show at the end of the fourth season, which meant that Brosnan was free to play James Bond in this movie the following year. However, shortly after the end of the fourth season, NBC had second thoughts about cancelling “Remington Steele”, and subsequently approached the Bond producers directly in an attempt to strike a deal that would allow Brosnan to play James Bond and Remington Steele the following year. NBC also offered to completely reschedule the shooting of Remington Steele to ensure that there were no scheduling conflicts. But eventually, Albert R. Broccoli famously told NBC that “James Bond will not be Remington Steele, and Remington Steele will not be James Bond.” Accordingly, Brosnan would only play Bond if the show remained cancelled. NBC had a sixty day deadline to revoke their decision to cancel the series, and at 6:30 p.m. on the sixtieth day of the deadline, Brosnan learned that NBC decided to make a fifth season. The Bond producers subsequently prevented Brosnan from becoming the next James Bond. Subsequently, the role went to Timothy Dalton, who was now finally available. NBC went on to make only six episodes of the fifth season of Remington Steele (1982) before finally cancelling the show for good. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (6/10) (slight downgrade from original review)

James Bond Month – The Living Daylights (1987)

Director: John Glen

Writer: Richard Maibaum, Michael G Wilson (Screenplay)

Starring: Timothy Dalton, Maryam d’Abo, Jeroen Krabbe, Joe Don Baker, John Rhys Davies, Art Malik

 

Plot: James Bond is living on the edge to stop an evil arms dealer from starting another world war. Bond crosses all seven continents in order to stop the evil Whitaker and General Koskov.


Tagline – Licensed to thrill

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: New Direction, Improvements Made

 

Story: Living Daylights starts when James Bond (Dalton) must help General Georgi Koskov (Krabbe) defect from the KGB which leads him to get him back to England, until a daring rescue attempt from the Russians embarrasses the English.

Koskov wants the English including Bond to eliminate Genera Leonid Pushkin (Rhys-Davies) who he claims in turning into a psychotic leader. Only for Bond to learn the truth and need to take on Koskov and his partner Brad Whitaker (Baker) an arms dealer.

 

Thoughts on Living Daylights

 

Characters – James Bond is back with a new look, this time he must use his connections to see how to trust, using his instinct against his orders, he travels through Russia before going on his latest mission against a general looking for his arms deal that could create a new world war. Kara Molovy is a celloist that is planted to be involved in the assassination of Koskov, she knows her part, which sees Bond track her around in search for her, she must learn just which side she wants to be on. General Georgi Koskov pretends to defect from the KGB, only for his plan to be to get Bond to start a new war against the Russians. Brad Whitaker is an American arms dealer that is trying to make a deal with Koskov to make them both even richer.

PerformancesTimothy Dalton brings us his version of Bond, a new version, one that isn’t as cheesy as Moore, not as sexy as Connery, but one that feels like it is more what the idea would have been, he doesn’t do anything wrong and had a lot to live up to, which is what he does well. Maryam d’Abo is your typical Bond girl, she doesn’t bring anything new other than to play the damsel in distress. The villainous characters do feel more interesting, though they performers don’t seem to make a character that should be iconic, iconic.

StoryThe story here takes Bond into his latest mission, this time involving the KGB as he must use his instincts to figure out who to trust instead of following the by the book orders he has been given. This does feel like one of the better stories in the Bond universe, only it isn’t the best told one, it does have different sides trying to get ahead of each other which does keep us guessing throughout the film. the story does have the serious tone which is better than the tongue and cheek ones we have recently be experiencing, which does make this feel like one the biggest missed opportunities in the Bond franchise.

Action/AdventureThe action does create big moments, we have seen other franchise use these ideas too including a plane sequence which we have seen in massive franchises in the future. The adventure side of the film takes James around the world on his latest mission.

SettingsThe film takes us through Russia, Afghanistan and Austria for the locations which shows how global the ideas the villains are trying to create.


Scene of the Movie –
Plane sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not making the most of the story given to us.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that didn’t get to use all the potential it should have, because it felt like the strongest story we have seen in years for the franchise.

 

Overall: Great Potential, not Execution.

Rating