Choir Girl (2019) Movie Review

Director: John Fraser

Writer: John Fraser (Screenplay)

Starring: Peter Flaherty, Krista Vendy, Jack Campbell, Sarah Timm, Andy McPhee, Roger Ward

Plot: Eugene, a lonely photographer, becomes fixated on a young street prostitute, Josephine, in his rundown neighborhood. She becomes his muse and his photographs could be a way out for both of them – yet is Eugene saving Josephine or is he using her?

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Choir Girl starts as reclusive photographer Eugene (Flaherty) who has started to take photographs of the teenage prostitution going on in his neighbourhood, trying to help raise the awareness of what is going on within the neighbourhood.

When Eugene helps one of the prostitutes Josephine (Timm) out, he looks to finally sell his photos through Polly (Vendy), but the pimp Daddy (Campbell) isn’t going to let Eugene just walk away with what he sees as his property.

Thoughts on Choir Girl

Characters – Eugene is a photographer that hasn’t seen his work taken off yet, with his latest work, showing how mistreated the teenage prostitutes are being treated in his neighbourhood, he ends up rescuing one of these prostitutes, trying to help her escape from the world, only to find himself caught in the middle of the ring to keep things quiet. Josephine is the teenage prostitute that Eugene has help escape, she can’t go to the police and ends up working with Eugene to escape this world, letting him use the photographs, while remaining in the world to raise the money to escape. Daddy is the ruthless pimp that is forcing Eugene to pay for Josephine’s freedom, he will keep changing the demands each time using his men to make sure he gets what he believes is his. Polly is the connection that is willing to let Eugene story be told, she will push to make things happen.

PerformancesPeter Flaherty in the leading role is strong through the whole film, showing us all how uncomfortable his character is, while trying to do the right thing. Sarah Timm as the teenage prostitute shows the fear of being in that world and what it means to have a chance to escape. Krista Vendy shows us the ambitious media career woman that will walk over people, while Jack Campbell brings the pimp to life with ease.

StoryThe story here follows a photographer that wants to make a difference by helping a teenage prostitute escape the world she is trapped in, where he gets caught in the middle of the pimp and the media looking to make their own story about the situation. This story does show us someone could want to do the right thing, but might not always go about to the right way, showing us just how disturbing this world can become for the people involved, with one of the most disturbing conclusion of any film you will see this year.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us the world that Eugene sees, one filled with horrific acts on vulnerable people

Scene of the Movie – The escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Somehow you would feel like the police who have been contacted, by someone in the media side of the story.

Final Thoughts Choir Girl is a slow burning drama that highlights hot topics, that is left with one of the more disturbing scenes you will see this year.

Choir Girl is available on iTunes Here

Christmas in Carolina (2020) Movie Review

Director: Peggy Williams

Writer: Stacie Davis (Screenplay)

Starring: Joslyn Y Hall, Kellie Shanygne Williams, Darius McCrary, Jessi Nicolet, David L Rowell, Terrence Shingler

Plot: Elle, a career driven investment banker, has given up on love until she meets Wesley who invites Elle to his hometown in South Carolina. There she falls in love and finds the spirit of Christmas again.

Tagline – When You Least Expect It, Love Will Find You

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Christmas in Carolina starts as workaholic Elle Moore (Hall) has a date with successful businessman Wesley Saxon (Rowell), she continues to show her distant nature to any guy she dates, while Wesley outlast most dates, he has his own problems for Christmas, his mother Charlotte (Williams) wants him to return home for Christmas.

After Elle gets pushed into coming out of her shell more, she accepts the invitation to go home with Wesley for Christmas, to spend time with people for the first time in a long time over the Christmas holiday.

Thoughts on Christmas in Carolina

Characters – Elle Moore is a workaholic, she is always on her phone, barely finding time for dates and when she does, she doesn’t give the guy the time, usually answering her phone to continue working. She strikes fear in her employees at work, with her cousin pushing her into giving Wesley a second chance, putting herself out there. She uses her work to cover up her own loneliness, not having the big close family, but spending time with Wesley and his family she starts to come out of her shell more. Wesley is a high profile sports scout branded the most eligible bachelor in the city by Elle’s cousin, he will help show Elle about family for Christmas, as he will show her his family and how important it is for them all. We do meet Wesley’s brother Ryan who is against the relationship, always looking to stir up problems, Charlotte, Wesley’s mum who is so welcoming to him bringing someone home and Elle cousin Blythe who pushes out of her comfort zone.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances, Joslyn Y Hall and David L Rowell are great together, they show the excellent chemistry on the dating montages, making us see the little changes their characters needed to make to find happiness.

StoryThe story here follows a pair of workaholics that start dating over Christmas, finding a spark they didn’t expect, needing to be pushed into following their own hearts to make this relationship happen, with the backdrop of a family Christmas. This is a truly feel good story about love and Christmas, we keep everything simple about the changes, with no need for a great drama about why Elle isn’t as open and why Wesley is willing to let her in, it revolves around family and the importance of being together for Christmas.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film comes from the supporting cast, who will get the laughs with ease, leaving the romance between Elle and Wesley to be their main focal point, showing us that you can find love, if you are willing to let someone in.

SettingsThe film uses the busy city to show the workaholic lives the pair have, while taking us to the quiet family setting for Christmas, which will bring more joy to the pair’s lives.

Scene of the Movie – The date montages are full of so much happiness.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing.

Final Thoughts Christmas in Carolina is a truly feel-good festival movie, that will leave you with a giant smile on your face.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – Q – Quarries (2016) Movie Review

Director: Nils Taylor

Writer: Nils Taylor, Nicole Marie Johnson (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicole Marie Johnson, Carrie Finklea, Leisha Hailey, Sara Mornell, Luke Edwards, Nicole DuPort, Joy McElveen

Plot: To escape her abusive boyfriend, Kat joins a wilderness expedition with a group of women, all of whom are struggling with the uncertainty of life. What was supposed to be an opportunity for personal discovery quickly becomes a fight for survival, forcing each one to discover the strength within themselves that they didn’t even know they possessed. While being brazenly chased by a pack of predators, the strong quickly set themselves apart from the weak. In a battle of will, stamina, and heart, these very virtues present themselves at the most crucial moment. With death looming, each is left with what is truly important – the strength within oneself.

Tagline – They just keep coming …

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Survival Horror

Story: Quarries starts as Kat (Johnson) escaping her abusive relationship, still with the bruises to show for her time there, joins up late for a wilderness expedition group with, Wren (Finklea), Madison (Hailey), Jean (Mornell), April (DuPort), Joy (McElveen) and Brit (McFadzien) as the route as changed last minute, but the plan is to show support for each other on the journey.

After the group suffer a minor accident that they can deal with the leader Jean needs medical treatment, until things get worse for the women, when they find themselves being hunted down by a group of psychotic men who hunt anyone on their land.

Thoughts on Quarries

Characters – Kat has just managed to escape an abusive relationship, she is still showing the bruises from what he did to her, to recover, she looks to get back to the wilderness on an expedition to find herself, where her medical training comes in crucial after an injury and once the group finds themselves under attack. Wren is the member of the group that seems most distant with her rebellious nature. Madison is the one that shows the most fight, she is on the trip to help keep her relationship with April strong as the two show their ups and downs through the trip. Jean is the one that has planned the trip that gets injured and could be the only one that knows the easy way out.

PerformancesNicole Marie Johnson in the leading role does have the most to deal with and it shows in her performance, being the highlight of the performances. When it comes to the rest of the cast nobody is bad, they just do what they need to through the film.

StoryThe story here follows seven women who go on a wilderness expedition only to find themselves the target of a group of men looking to hunt anybody who comes on the land. This story does keep the main side simple enough, a group of people trying to survive against people trying to kill them, it is easy to follow and each encounter gets to show the strength of other characters, while getting through life problems along the way. This isn’t the biggest story, but keeps things simple for the audience.

HorrorThe horror involved in the film, is all about the surviving side of the film, with the women needing to survive the attacks coming their way.

SettingsThe film puts our characters into the wilderness which shows they won’t have an easy escape from threat.

Special EffectsWhen the special effects are used they show the wounds inflicted, though nothing is too over the top.

Scene of the Movie – The night attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t get as brutal as the killers are implied to want to see.

Final Thoughts This is a simple, while entertaining horror film that plays everything safer than it could have, without hitting the heights other films along the same lines can hit.

Overall: Simple Horror.

Nomadland (2020) London Film Festival Movie Review

Director: Chloe Zhao

Writer: Chloe Zhao (Screenplay) Jessica Bruder (Book)

Starring: Frances McDormand, Gay DeForest, Patricia Grier, Linda May, Angela Reyes, David Strathairn

Plot: Follows a woman in her sixties who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Nomadland starts as we meet Fern (McDormand) a woman in her sixties that lost everything in a recession, her husband passed away, leaving her with next to nothing, Fern lives in a van, travelling around America in search of work, in a routine, where she meets the same people, while spending months at each workplace through the year, depending upon the season.

Thoughts on Nomadland

Characters – Fern is the new Nomad, she lost everything in a recession, forcing her to travel for work, with a routine selection of roles she will fulfil each year, meeting the same people to catch up, all with their own stories. She does get on with most people she meets through her travels, showing the support the whole community brings together for each other. Most of the other characters we meet in the film are the real nomads, they each understand their lives, making it feel like a lot of the situations could be seen as real stories.

PerformancesFrances McDormand is wonderful to watch in this film, she brings this character to life with ease, showing the sympathy she need, without every asking for it. Most of the rest of the cast are real nomads, that are here to tell their own stories of their lives, showing how they can still find the positives in their lives.

StoryThe story here follows a woman who lost everything and has turned to the life of a nomad, travelling around for work, making friends with the community of nomads, while still finding the best in life. The story here is a reflection of the modern day uncertainties in America today, showing that there will be a generation that will be forced to continue working when everything is suddenly taken from them. While the story isn’t the deepest, it is more about highlighting the community that have been suffering for so long with the current living conditions in America.

SettingsThe film takes us across the American West, showing us the different conditions that Fern sets up in for work, the different working environments she finds herself working in and the adventures she is free to take.

Scene of the Movie – Journeys never taken.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Leaving the dog.

Final Thoughts Nomadland is a beautifully shot movie, with stunning cinematography, sensational performance from McDormand, even if the story doesn’t go as deep as it could have gone.