News of the World (2020) Movie Review

News of the World – Beautiful Journey Movie

Director: Paul Greengrass

Writer: Paul Greengrass, Luke Davies (Screenplay) Paulette Jiles (Novel)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Helena Zengel, Ray McKinnon, Mare Winningham, Elizabeth Marvel

Plot: A Civil War veteran agrees to deliver a girl, taken by the Kiowa people years ago, to her aunt and uncle, against her will. They travel hundreds of miles and face grave dangers as they search for a place that either can call home.

Tagline – Find Where You Belong

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: News of the World starts when Civil War veteran Captain Kidd (Hanks) who travels from town to town to read the latest news to the towns people. On his latest journey, Kidd comes across a young Kiowa girl Johanna (Zengel) who he offers to help find her family, only they have all been killed.

Left with no other option, Captain Kidd decides to help take Johanna to relatives, a journey, which will see him continue to spread his news, but face new dangers along the way.

Thoughts on News of the World

Characters & Performances – Captain Kidd is a former Civil war soldier, turning his life into travelling to read the news to different towns, spreading the news of the changes in the world. He ends up finding a young girl alone on his travels, offering to help her. He ends up taking her on the dangerous journey to reunite her with her family. Kidd is a good man, a man haunted by his time in the war, always looking to make up for what he took from people during it. Tom Hanks is wonderful in this role, just as you would imagine, carrying a role, which could well have just turned into a standard role to new heights. Johanna is the young girl that Captain Kidd finds alone after an attack, she doesn’t speak English, after being with Kiowa for an amount of time. She must learn to trust Kidd on their journey, seeing how much he will do to keep her safe against the odds, putting his own on the line for her. She is a lost child, she has seen more than any child should have and just doesn’t know who to trust in the world. Helena Zengel is fantastic in this role, bringing to life this lost child with ease and stepping into the spotlight with ease, next to the superstar in Hanks. We get to meet different people on the journey, each with their own motivation for getting involved in the clash with Kidd.

StoryThe story here follows a former Civil war Captain, who travels around America reading the news to each town, each town offers a new challenge and on his latest journey he meets a young girl. He looks to help her find safety with family in a journey that will see him face a series of difficult obstacles. This is a story that will be one we know the concept for before, seeing an unlikely partnership travelling through dangerous land in a growing, yet divided America. It does show that in a world of good people, there will be an evil person awaiting around nearly every corner. The story can feel like we are playing along with a Red Dead Redemption series of missions too, which does make the chapters on the journey feel more broken down.

ThemesNews of the World takes us to wild west post-Civil war, seeing how the America is still divided and living off the news past through the travellers. The landscapes we see the pair travelling through are beautiful to see, filled with peace, despite the potential of danger in them.


News of the World is a beautiful visual treat of a film, bring a new approach to the tried and tested journey in the west formula.

Skin Collector (2012) Movie Review

Director: Julian Richards

Writer: Robert D Weinbach (Screenplay) Brian Harper (Novel)

Starring: Danielle Harris, John Jarratt, Casper Van Dien, Rae Dawn Chong, Brad Harris, Valerie Harper

Plot: Wendy Alden, a young secretary in Portland lacking in self- confidence becomes victim of a savage killer who has claimed the lives of a number of other women. Somehow Wendy finds the resources of courage to fight back and escape.

Tagline – The Perfect Killer Had Met His Match

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Skin Collector starts as the Griffin (Jarratt) a serial killer has started picking off the vulnerable women in Portland, starting to play games with Detective Delgado (Van Dien) and Detective Burdine (Chong), until his latest victim Wendy Alden (Harris) escapes this grasp.

Franklin Rood isn’t going to let Wendy escape him and a dangerous game of cat-n-mouse starts between the two, where Wendy needs to find a way to survive and come out of the shell she has been stuck in.

Thoughts on Skin Collector

Characters & Performances – Wendy is a secretary that does lack her own self-confidence that has just started to come out of her shell, when she becomes the target of a serial killer, needing to fight back and figure out how to survive the situation, she does learn that she has lived a similar childhood as the serial killer, giving her a chance to feel sympathy for him. Danielle Harris in the leading role continues her position as the character that needs to overcome a serial killer, making for someone who can fight back with ease. Franklin Rood is the mild-mannered serial killer that has been working on killing women, with his latest target being Wendy, he shows us just how unstable he is, going from calm to controlling to murderous in an instant. John Jarratt is known for his role in Wolf Creek, which will show us just how easily he can step into a psychotic character. Detective Delgado and Burdine are the two trying to find the serial killer, filling in most of the information about who he really is. Casper Van Dien and Rae Dawn Chong fill these roles well through the film, even if they are mostly filling in the blanks.

StoryThe story here follows a young woman that gets targeted by a serial killer, which will see her needing to finally stand up for herself to fight back and survive the calculated killer. This is a cat-n-mouse style horror thriller, with the killer needing to go through his own routine to get his satisfaction. We get the basic idea of how twisted the killer can be, but we hold back on the violence, we don’t seem to get much time focusing on his process, this is the same for Wendy, we get a phone call to highlight her problems, but otherwise, we don’t see how much damage has been done to her early life, showing the fighting back being more of a revelation. When it comes to the battle between the two, it is all tidy with how it unfold, leading it to everything in the final battle, even if it does seem to end softly for what the killer is meant to have done before.

ThemesSkin Collector is a horror thriller that will have the dark side of the serial killer’s mind, which does have a twisted desire that gets revealed slowly.

Release Date: Feb 15th (DVD & VOD)

Final Thoughts Skin Collector is an easy watch cat-n-mouse style horror thriller with genre queen Danielle Harris shining.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – J – Animal Kingdom (2010) Movie Review

This is under J because of Jacki Weaver’s Oscar nominated performance.

Director: David Michod

Writer: David Michod (Screenplay)

Starring: James Frecheville, Jacki Weaver, Joel Edgerton, Luke Ford, Sullivan Stapleton, Guy Pearce, Ben Mendelsohn

Plot: A seventeen-year-old navigates his survival amongst an explosive criminal family and the detective who thinks he can save him.

Tagline – Protection, manipulation, morality, survival, loyalty.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Animal Kingdom starts when Joshua (Frecheville) finds his mother having an overdose, which will see him turn to his grandmother Janine (Weaver) who welcomes him into her criminal family with Baz (Edgerton), Darren (Ford) and Craig (Stapleton) who start to try and teach him how they operate for Andrew ‘Pope’ Cody (Mendelsohn).

When the family starts clashing with the police, Josh finds himself in the middle of helping his estranged family and working with the cops to bring the family down.

Thoughts on Animal Kingdom

Characters – Josh has lived with his mother that has been on drugs most of his life and now she has overdosed leaving him without family needing to turn to the estranged one he hasn’t had contact with, he is thrown into a world of drugs and crime, where he isn’t willing to take part in, but can’t escape without being left alone. Pope is the most aggressive member of the criminal family, often left out of family get togethers, but always able to manipulate the family members into committing the crimes. Janine is the grandmother that lets her boys do the dirty work for the business, without needing to get involved herself, keeping herself clean from any police action. Detective Nathan Leckie is the man that tries to help Josh escape this world, looking to bring the family down once and for all.

PerformancesJames Frecheville in the leading role does bring us the reclusive performance that doesn’t know how to grief and how to escape this world well, with star making performances in the supporting roles for Ben Mendelsohn and Jacki Weaver.

StoryThe story here follows a young man that finds himself drawn into a criminal family after his own mother dies, needing to figure out what is best for himself in a world where he doesn’t know if there is an safe way out. This does fall into the set of stories which will see the new person thrown into a world they are not used to, needing to figure out how to survive it, when any wrong move could see him killed. We are kept guessing with plenty of shocking moments we don’t see coming happening, which highlights just how deadly this world is for everyone involved. We do however have some strange choices as to why certain characters commit certain decisions.

CrimeThe crime side of the film shows just what the family does get up to and how they will do anything to keep their operation running smoothly.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us how drug dealer can be operating in any neighbourhood, how they will feel like part of the community, grabbing the attention when the police do get involved.

Scene of the Movie – We need to talk, Pope and Josh.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain moments with Pope feel like they could have even more shock value to them, with what goes through his head.

Final Thoughts Animal Kingdom is a gritty crime drama with excellent performances that help elevate everything we see along the way.