One Night in Miami (2020) London Film Festival Movie Review

Director: Regina King

Writer: Kemp Powers (Screenplay)

Starring: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr, Lance Reddick, Christian Magby

Plot: One Night in Miami is a fictional account of one incredible night where icons Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown gathered discussing their roles in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the 60s.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: One Night in Miami starts as we meet the four influential black men, boxing champion of the world Cassius Clay (Goree), Malcolm X (Ben-Adir), American football star Jim Brown (Hodge) and musician Sam Cooke (Odom Jr).

The four come from their different worlds, to meet one night in a hotel room, to discuss what they are doing to help make a change in the world, seeing some clashes, while agreeing on other things, they know they will go down in history, they just want to make sure they are on the right side of it.

Thoughts on One Night in Miami

Characters – We get to meet four of the biggest names in black history, we know the boxing superstar of Cassius Clay who is showing off his cocky style in the ring, frustrating his trainers, but winning his fights, Malcolm X the leader who was changing the way the black man was treated, he is always looking over his shoulder, believing the white man is out to silence his ideals. Jim Brown is breaking records in the American football leagues, he is in a position where he can transition to another world of acting, while his movements are seen as groundbreaking for the rest of the community. Sam Cooke has seen his music rise up the charts, but he still can only perform to the biggest crowds of white people only, he wants his voice heard but doesn’t have the same crowds as the other three.

PerformancesWe have four actors here Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge and Leslie Odom Jr who are all brilliant to watch, they all look the part of the famous figures they are playing, filled with the small mannerisms that they would have shown or can be seen in achieve footage.

StoryThe story here follows the fictional idea that four of the most influential black men in history once meant up in a hotel room to discuss what they are planning to do to make a difference for the black man in a modern world. This is a story that is fictional account of what could have happened if the four met, while we will never know the truth about anything they truly discussed together, this showed how determined they were to make a difference and highlights that even in a position of trying to make a difference, you will see people clash with what they want to change and how they want to achieve this change.

SettingsMost of the film is set inside the hotel room, showing that between the four walls, the ideas of change would have been discussed by the important people that could make a difference.

Scene of the Movie – The roof top.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not knowing my music, I didn’t have clue who Sam Cooke was going in.

Final Thoughts One Night in Miami is a very interesting drama that shows an idea of what could have happened if four of the biggest names in black history worked together for a change.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – K – The Keeping Hours (2017) Movie Review

Director: Karen Moncrieff

Writer: Rebecca Sonnenshine (Screenplay)

Starring: Lee Pace, Carrie Coon, Sander Thomas, Ray Baker, Amy Smart, Julian LaTourelle, Ana Ortiz

Plot: 10 years after the death of their son, a divorced couple is suddenly reunited by supernatural events that offer them a chance at forgiveness

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fantasy Lives 101

Story: The Keeping Hours starts on what should have been the best day of Mark (Pace) and Elizabeth’s (Coon) life, which ends in tragedy. Ten years later the two are divorced living very different lives, when Mark looking to sell their home, gets a visit from their dead son Jacob (Thomas).

Once Mark convinces Elizabeth that Jacob has returned the two get to spend more time with him, without being able to touch him, only being left with one question, why has Jacob really returned to them.

Thoughts on The Keeping Hours

Characters – Mark was ready for a picture-perfect life until tragedy changed that, now focused on his work, caring for his sick father. He wants to sell the final part of the memory of his own son, until he gets to spend time he never imagined with him, when he returns, this also gives him a chance to rebuild his marriage with Elizabeth too. Elizabeth was ready for her picture perfect life until the crash, she has moved on by starting a new family and becoming a celebrated author, she can’t resistant the chance to spend more time with her lost son again, both parents do put their own futures on the line with the decision to spend time with Jacob. Jacob is the son that dies in an accident, he returns to his parents, but for what reason.

PerformancesLee Pace and Carrie Coon in the leading roles are both strong showing how difficult it would have been to lose a child and what it would be like to get them back to fill the void of them. Sander Thomas as the child is all he needs to, not looking scared for the couple of moments he needs to.

StoryThe story here follows a couple that have their lives ruined by tragedy and have gone their own separate ways, when they get a chance to see their son again, they find themselves trying spend time with him, while trying to learn why he returned to him. This does get to offer a chance to ask the question about whether you would spend time with a lost child, if it can’t be explained to just why they returned. The question might well be interesting, the pace of the story does seem to plod along without getting going, we get hints a horror story, that just doesn’t happen and the fantasy idea sees the parents given up everything they have worked for, including Elizabeth ignoring her own new children.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy side of the film does show us just how the child returns back from the dead, we get the fantasy elements which hint what might not be real, the horror in the film does get hinted, with a couple of moments, just don’t seem to follow through.

SettingsThe film uses the house as the setting which shows us the memories the parents would have in that home, even after being away from the location for years.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are used to highlight the fantasy elements in the film, usually just lights flying around in the scenes.

Scene of the Movie – The first visit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does hint at a horror moment, only to get forgotten.

Final Thoughts This is a fantasy horror that doesn’t hit the high levels that it could, even if it does ask the big question about whether somebody would do if they got a chance at seeing a child again.

Overall: Basic fantasy.

Wildfire (2020) London Film Festival Movie Review

Director: Cathy Brady

Writer: Cathy Brady (Screenplay)

Starring: Kate Dickie, Nora-Jane Noone, Martin McCann, David Pearse, Helen Behan, Nika McGuigan

Plot: The story of two sisters who grew up on the fractious Irish border. When one of them, who has been missing, finally returns home, the intense bond with her sister is re-ignited. Together they unearth their mother’s past but uncovered secrets and resentments which have been buried deep, threaten to overwhelm them.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Wildfire starts when Kelly (McGuigan) returns home after being reported missing for the last two years, her sister Lauren (Noone) isn’t happy to see her at first, with the amount of worrying she went through, but after time they get back to their old ways, while coming together to try and piece together the memories of their mother, whose reputation has come back to light.

Thoughts on Wildfire

Characters – Kelly has returned from being missing for 2 years, she isn’t as stable as she could be still dealing with the trauma of her mother’s death, the mystery about where she has been is key to her character’s action which are always unsure of what she would be doing. Lauren is the sister that spent time looking for Kelly, while trying to get on with her life, she isn’t happy to start with before recapturing the magic they once had, she does start to change as the rumours of their mother start coming back to light, with her always hearing people talking about her behind her back. Everyone else we meet at people that have known the sisters for their whole lives, showing how gossip can cause more damage.

PerformancesNora-Jane Noone and Nika McGuigan are both wonderful to watch tother, with Nora-Jane showing how a stable life can become interrupted, while Nika shows us how an unstable character can find their footing in life.

StoryThe story here follows two sisters that have been separated for a couple of years, only for them coming together to finally tackle the biggest problem in their life, how they dealt with the loss of their mother. This is a story that shows us just how close a sister relationship would be without seeing each other for years, while also how much damage losing a family member would be. We see the change that comes from both sisters in a world that isn’t going to be easy to get through, where the rumour mill can build the pressure on the people it is affecting.

SettingsThe film is set in the small town, which will see how the history of what has happened will always manage to come back to haunt them, with the rumours always being there after tragedy.

Scene of the Movie – The night on the drinks.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too much mystery about where Kelly had been,

Final Thoughts Wildfire is a powerful story that is wonderfully acted by Nora-Jane Noone and Nika McGuigan that highlights the importance of family through grief.

Siberia (2020) LFF Movie Review

Director: Abel Ferrara

Writer: Abel Ferrara, Christ Zois (Screenplay)

Starring: Willem Dafoe, Dounia Sichov, Simon McBurney, Cristina Chiriac, Daniel Gimenez Cacho

Plot: An exploration into the language of dreams.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Siberia starts as we meet remote tavern owner Clint (Dafoe) that doesn’t get many guests, but the ones he does get give him strange dreams which will make him see life in a different way, some are special, some are horrific, we get to see how Clint processes these dreams in his own mind.

The further Clint starts to explore these dreams, the more he finds out about himself and gets to face the things he has been looking to escape from.

Thoughts on Siberia

Characters – Clint is remote tavern owner that welcomes guests, even if he can’t communicate with them all, he is filled with dreams and nightmares about his own life, ones that he will need to face if he is ever going to move on with his own life. We meet many different people on Clint’s journey, each one has an impact on his life in some way or another.

PerformancesWillem Dafoe returns to the bonkers horror movies here, he will always look the part of them, only he doesn’t seem to reach the levels intended with the film, but he is still the strongest part of the performance all together.

StoryThe story here is incredible hard to describe, following one man on a journey of self-discovery from his own life. Well this is one that does seem very confusing to watch, not much does seem to be going on, leaving us to watch this almost random adventure which isn’t as horrific as it would have hoped to be, it really is like watching ‘Mother’ without smoother transitions.

Scene of the Movie – Not one.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The randomness.

Final Thoughts This is a film that doesn’t seem to get the message across quicker enough, it might well be one that could get more out of during return viewings, but it doesn’t seem to be one you could sit back and enjoy.