Wolfwalkers (2020) London Film Festival Movie Review

Director: Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart

Writer: Jericca Cleland, Will Collins (Screenplay) Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Sean Bean, Honor Kneafsey, Eva Whittaker, Simon McBurney

Plot: A young apprentice hunter and her father journey to Ireland to help wipe out the last wolf pack. But everything changes when she befriends a free-spirited girl from a mysterious tribe rumored to transform into wolves by night.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Wolfwalkers starts as a hunter Bill and his daughter Robyn have moved from England to an Irish town that is surrounded by wolves, Bill is hired to help eradicate this problem, with Robyn desperate to help him in this work.

After Robyn gets caught outside the wall, she finds herself coming face to face with a pack of wolves, with the leader being a Wolfwalkers Mebh a young girl that transform into a wolf, looking to protect the forest from destruction.

Thoughts on Wolfwalkers

Characters – Bill is Robyn’s father, he has moved her to help a city with a wolf problem outside the walls, his hunters skills are considered the best in the land, only he wants to work alone and the wolves seem to be staying ahead of him, as he never wants to believe any of Robyn’s stories. Robyn is the daughter of Bill’s who along with her bird Merlin hasn’t settled in the new city, she wants to help her father hunt, which sees her meeting a young girl roaming the forest, here she learns more about the world outside of the walls and that nature can live next to the civilization. Mebh is a young girl living in the forest, she has the ability of a Wolfwalker, being about to transform into a wolf while sleeping, she leads the wolves in defending the forest, while waiting for her mother to return, she shows Robyn the way, when she becomes one and will do anything to bring her mother back, while deep down being so alone in the world. Lord Protector runs the city, he expects everyone to follow his orders and will kill any wolf that gets in his way, a truly cold-hearted figure.

StoryThe story here follows a city believing they have a problem with wolves outside of the walls, when a young girl that wants to explore the world finds herself in the middle of the battle between the two sides, one which could be kept in peace, showing that nature is innocent in what it wants in the world. The story here has clear messages about living together with nature, while not blindly destroying it around you, while having the heart of a family trying to rediscover themselves after losing a loved one, add in the need for friendship and it coming from a place you wouldn’t expect, we have a nearly perfect movie her with a story that can be enjoyed by all and is the closest you will find to anything that could ever compare to the heart of a Pixar film and the beauty of a Studio Ghibli Film.

AdventureThe adventure side of the film takes Robyn out of her trapped life in the city, to the open world which could offer her so much more than she ever expected, once she opens her eyes to it, filled with peril along the way.

SettingsThe film uses the two main settings, the dark city, which is filled with the depressing colours, playing perfectly off the pure beauty of the outside nature world.

AnimationThe animation style is absolutely beautiful to see, with the different style used for the human form or the wolf form, each colour plays into the nature theme throughout the film.

Scene of the Movie – Running with the wolves.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is flawless.

Final Thoughts Wolfwalkers is easily going to walk away with the best animated movie this year, the pure beauty of every scene brings animation to a new level, we haven’t seen before, simply stunning.

Shirley (2020) London Film Festival Movie Review

Director: Josephine Decker

Writer: Sarah Gubbins (Screenplay) Susan Scarf Merrell (Novel)

Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Odessa Young, Michael Stuhlbarg, Logan Lerman, Victoria Pedretti, Robert Wuhl

Plot: A famous horror writer finds inspiration for her next book after she and her husband take in a young couple.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Shirley starts as a young couple Fred Nemset (Lerman) and Rose (Young) move in with successful author Shirley (Moss) and her teacher husband Stanley (Stuhlbarg). As Rose doesn’t enjoy the company of Shirley, whose nature doesn’t hold back in her comments.

Shirley however gets inspiration from the young couple of a new novel, one about a missing woman, that reminds her of Rose, as the two start to gain a level of respect for each other, even becoming friends spending time together.

Thoughts on Shirley

Characters – Shirley is an estranged reclusive author who rarely leaves her home, she doesn’t hold back on her comments on people and often doesn’t like many people, including her husband. She starts out being distant from Rose, but starts to use her to help her create her latest horror book, while starting to come out of her own shell more. Rose Nemser is moving with her husband to attend the university that Shirley’s husband works at, she gets welcomed into the home, where she doesn’t start getting along with Shirley, before toughing it out to learn how complex she truly is and wants to learn more about standing up to her husband’s demands. Stanley is Shirley’s cheating husband, he has been doing this for years with his students and does have an agreement with Shirley. Fred is Rose’s husband that is learning under Stanley, he wants to be a good husband, but sees what he could have with a wife at home too.

PerformancesElisabeth Moss is great in the leading role, showing a complex character who has been struggling through her life, with Odessa Young breaking onto the scene with her performance which sees her keep up with Moss on nearly every level. Michael Stuhlbarg fills the supporting role with ease, making us want to see more from him in every scene too.

StoryThe story here follows a young couple that move into the home of a famous author and her husband, with them soon becoming the inspiration to Shirley to write her latest novel. This is a story that does focus on relationships and how they be built up after getting to know somebody more, it does deal with people not finding socialising easy and is also tackling how women were only seen as wives.

SettingsThe film uses the home setting for Shirley to show how difficult it will be for her to leave the home preferring to be away from the world.

Scene of the Movie – Mushrooms

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We only hear what the husbands are up to, rather than seeing how easily they could have their heads turned.

Final Thoughts Shirley is a wonderfully acting movie that will tell a big story about relationships and inspiration.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – J – Donkey Punch (2008) Movie Review

This is under J because of star Jaime Winstone.

Director: Olly Blackburn

Writer: Olly Blackburn (Screenplay)

Starring: Jaime Winstone, Sian Breckin, Nichola Burley, Robert Boulter, Tom Burke, Julian Morris, Jay Taylor

Plot: Things go drastically wrong for a group of British holidaymakers in Spain.

Tagline – This party is going overboard

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Tension Filled Horror

Story: Donkey Punch starts as we meet our three women, Lisa (Breckin), Kim (Winstone) and Tammi (Burley) who is trying to get over an ex, having a girlie holiday in Spain, the three women meet four young men Sean (Boulter), Bluey (Burke), Josh (Morris) and Marcus (Taylor) who have their own yacht for the weekend, which sees the seven out to the open ocean for a party.

When the drunks have flown too much, mixed with the drugs, a sex session starts, with one of the guys trying something known as a donkey punch, which ends up killing one of the girls. The guys want to cover this up, while the girls are willing to fight back to stay alive.

Thoughts on Donkey Punch

Characters – Tammi is the girl that is trying to have a break from her life back home, she has just got out of a bad relationship, looking to have some fun with her friends, the one who is reluctant to go on the yacht and the one that doesn’t get as involved with the drinking and drugs, the voice of reason once things go wrong. Kim and Lisa are the two who want to go on the yacht and have a party, they are up for anything and everything, which leads to what goes wrong, though it isn’t their fault, they don’t show the support you would expect to see from friends helping their friend. The guys are all up for a party, they don’t care what happens that much willing to let the drinks and drugs mix without worrying about the consequences, until something goes wrong, when they will do anything to cover up what one of them did.

PerformancesThis film doesn’t have the truly strongest cast, we have the party performances, while the male actors are trying to act tough, while the women are showing us how they want to fight back or do the right thing.

StoryThe story follows three women that join four men on a yacht for a party, when after the drugs and drinks get out of control, one of the women gets killed and the tensions to cover up the death, shows how far people will go to save their own reputations. This is a story that focuses more on seeing how people will react to a situation, whether it is an accident or not on whether to do the right thing or sort out their own mess they have created. The characters are painted to be generic, with the men being all macho, while the women are written to not show a single sign of caution, that are willing to force their heartbroken friend into a position where they couldn’t say no. it does fall into the survival of the fittest when it comes to trying to stay ahead of the threat around them.

Crime/HorrorThe crime side of the film starts with an accident, which soon turns into how each character sees that action, which leads to murderous consequences in a horror filled race to stay ahead of each other.

SettingsThe film is set on one yacht in the middle of the ocean, it shows that the characters can’t run away or call for help and that money doesn’t give people the smartest brains.

Scene of the Movie – Life raft.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The plain characters.

Final Thoughts This is a film that shows the human condition once things go wrong in a situation and how they will always react in the worst possible way.

Overall: Horror that is waiting for people to do things wrong.