After Masks (2021) Movie Review

After Masks – Wonderful Anthology

Directors: Tayo Amos, Carmelo Chimera, John Crockett, Manaal Khan, Brian McCulley, Rebekah Wiggins

Plot: Journey through the human experience as the pandemic tests what we are made of both as individuals and as a culture.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Thoughts on After Masks

Hold On – Hold On follows Farida (Tayo Amos) a black woman who finds herself diving into the viral videos flying through the internet, driving her to move into the Black Lives Matter movement, going against the concerns of her friends and family that want her to remain safe, trying to develop her own safety, while getting caught up in the deeper conspiracy on the internet. This story is another one that could easily have gone down a deeper path which would have filled us with even more fear of what happened for a pandemic. 3/5

Quarantales – Quarantales follows a series of everyday people that are finding their lives change due to the pandemic, each one is looking to improve their dreams, unlock something about themselves to achieve in a time when they are given more time to push themselves. This is one of the more interesting ones because we want to see more from these characters as they are all looking to make themselves better. This is a story we could easily have dived even deeper into, as it does address the many different problems people are going through in life, let alone during the pandemic. 4/5

WinnersWinners starts by following ambitious social media influencer Arya (Alexandra Rodriguez) who is looking to take advantage of the added time in her life, she is following her pursuits, while dealing with the world being alone in her apartment, with her only contact being through a computer screen or over a phone, being away from ill loved one. As the isolation gets to Arya, she starts to see her once positive mindset crashing into a world of hopelessness and uncertainty. This story is one that ends up hitting hardest, because so many people tried to stay positive attitude being productive, only to see things come crashing down around them. 4/5

Ushering the Light – Ushering the Light follows Ari Blau (Brandon Shaffer) and Ada Blau (Drea Berg) who have lost their son and now find themselves trapped together as they are still going through the grieving process in their own way, one which is pushing their relationship, one that is stopping them being with their loved ones during their time off need. This one does bring us a more serious amount of pain to the characters, while it will bring the bigger side to the separation, it doesn’t feel long enough to make the impact. 3/5

ClownfishClownfish follows Jamie (Lindsay Sparks) who is dealing with the loss of her husband Jack, being left to grieve on her own, seeing the restriction bought upon her after his death. This one is the most confusing, as it follows the transformation which is going down as the odd one in the series of films. 2/5

ThemesAfter Masks brings us a series of stories about people who are struggling through the pandemic, each one has the biggest theme of isolation, something most of us would have gone through over the past year. As with most anthology films, we have some great, some average and some which needed more time to get the message over clearer. For the first four, we seem to have a contained story, which is easier to digest, while Quarantales does seem to open up too much, despite having just as important message, this chapter feels like they wanted to continue the short stories, but didn’t feel these characters were deep enough. This is a film you could get something out of each of the stories, even if you might not enjoy one, there are others to love.

After Masks is a great set of stories about people who have been going through difficult times during the last year, showing us how different people addressed different things in life.

After Masks will be available on Amazon Prime Video Here

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – B – The Battleship Island (2017) Movie Review

Director: Seung-wan Ryoo

Writer: Seung-wan Ryoo (Screenplay)

Starring: Jung-min Hwang, Ji-seob So, Joonh-Ki Song, Jung-hyun Lee, Su-an Kim

Plot: During the Japanese colonial era, roughly 400 Korean people, who were forced onto Battleship Island (“Hashima Island”) to mine for coal, attempt to a dramatic escape.


Tagline – 1945 Hashima – We called it hell on earth.

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Bleak War Story

Story: The Battleship Island starts as we see one of the daring escapes from Hashima island, we move back to mainland South Korea to meet entertainer Lee Gang-ok (Hwang) who gets drafted, Choi Chil-sung (So) a street fighter who causes trouble and Park Mu-young (Song) who is planning a rescue of more of the prisoners on the island.

They find themselves taken to Hashima Island, forced into the coal mining by the Japanese. As the conditions worsen, the South Koreans look to work together on a daring escape from the island.

Thoughts on The Battleship Island

Characters – Lee Kang-ok is the leader of a band, he is travelling with his daughter, when they get forced into the mining camp, he tries to keep the people entertained, he has the added skills which could help him survive the translation divide, but what is most important, finding and saving his daughter. Choi Chil-sung is a streetfighter that sees the problems in the mine, he looks out for his people and will stand up against anybody who makes the life even harder. He will help the people that are suffering the most. Park Mu-young has sneaked onto the island to locate somebody, he ends up leading the Koreans in their escape plan. Mallyon is one of the many women that are on the island, they are used for entertainment and pleasure by the Japanese, she does what she can to try and guard on young So-hee.

PerformancesWe have excellent performances from the whole cast, each one shows the different levels of desperation to survive the people are suffering through, what it will mean and what they are willing to give up.

StoryThe story here focuses on the Korean prisoners forced to work under the strict Japanese reign on Hashima Island during World War II and how they ended up fighting back in a daring escape plan. While the events of this story are fictional, the reality of what the island was used for is true. Seeing the hardship the Korean were forced into is a hard watch and like any revolution story, this shows what it means to escape a life they should never be forced into.

Action/History/WarThe action in the film shows us just what the war like battles would have been like for the slave labour needing to find a way to beat the military trained soldiers, which does put a huge spotlight on the historical moment in time.

SettingsThe film keeps us on the island that shows us everything the Koreans would have gone through, we see the tight living space, the horrendous mine conditions.


Scene of the Movie – Bathroom fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The subtitles, not that we have them, that they are so small and hard to read.

Final Thoughts This is a hard to watch war story that will fill in a history lesson for what the people had to suffer through and fought for when they wanted freedom.

Overall: Strong war drama.

Stowaway (2021) Movie Review

Stowaway – What it Ended Like That?

 

Director: Joe Penna

Writer: Joe Penna, Ryan Morrison (Screenplay)

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim, Shamier Anderson, Toni Collette

Plot: A three-person crew on a mission to Mars faces an impossible choice when an unplanned passenger jeopardizes the lives of everyone on board.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Stowaway starts as Captain Marina Barnett (Collette), Dr Zoe Levenson (Kendrick) and David Kim (Kim) go on their mission to Mars, which seems to have started smoothly enough, until they discover Michael Adams (Anderson) hidden on the ship after getting trapped in the life support part of the ship.

As the crew access the damage, they make the discovery that with Michael on board, they don’t have enough oxygen to complete the mission, putting them into a position where they must discuss the impossible or risk losing everyone on board the ship.

Thoughts on Stowaway

Characters & Performances – Marina Barnett is the woman leading the mission, having to make the final big decisions for the crew, needing to take charge of a worsening situation. Zoe Levenson is the doctor on board that must make sure the crew remain healthy through the mission and puts up the biggest moral argument about not leaving someone behind. David Kim in the research expert that has spent his whole life creating the research for this mission, he finds himself giving that all up in hopes of finding a way to save Michael. Michael is one of the crews engineers that finds himself trapped before take-off, going on the mission a place he doesn’t want to be, a place he has no option but to take part in, however much of a problem him being there will be for the rest of the crew. The cast of actors in this film are all big names that are all good, but they do seem like they are miscast in many places, with Anna Kendrick never looking like she could be in this role and wasting what Toni Collette and Daniel Dae Kim could bring to a film.

StoryThe story here follows three astronauts that learn another man has accidently found himself stuck on the ship during the mission, leading to the crew needing to make a difficult decision to make the mission a success. This story does have an interesting idea, which would easily have dived into the deeper moral discussion of what is going on, only it all seems to fizzle out and leave us with one of the emptiest endings I have ever seen. The story ends up feeling too flat to reach the full potential, like it was missing a scene or too.

ThemesStowaway is a sci-fi movie that is based on a space craft, which for the set looks amazing which will give us the openness of space, being the best part of the film by a long way.

 

Stowaway is a film filled with potential, it looks amazing, only it falls completely flat.