The Story of Movie Reviews 101

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I feel it is time to tell the story of how Movie Reviews 101 came about and it is a story that is nearly twenty years in the making.

Before we get into the main ideas behind the site, we must go into my passion for film, which saw me raised on the original Star Wars, Indiana Jones and James Bond movies, mainly everything that BBC or ITV showed back in the days when they only used to be four television channels.

Once Sky got released, it opened up a brand-new selection of films for me, with one of my newest loves being horror, with Horror Channel, which turned into Zone Horror, before returning to the Horror Channel being a new home for watching films all night. I would stay up and watch movies, but never have anyone in my life that wanted to chat about these movies and the forums were full of aggressive people.

As my look to chat about the movies I watched grew, I was offered a chance to write with an old school friend who had created a movie blog, something I had never imagined doing, as I was never the strongest writer. I went ahead and tried, which gave me the ideas to try and start my own site, starting with ‘Newguy87’s Movie Reviews’. This was early 2010, when my first attempt of a review was just a couple of paragraphs with no construction to how it was written, only on the movies I enjoyed watching.

The years went past and I started getting into a rhythm with the daily posts before I got offered my first ever screener, a movie called ‘Dry Spell’. This opened up a door I never imagined, the micro budget movies that show us talented directors and actors who don’t get the praise they deserve. While I did take a while before I got asked to watch anymore movies for new releases, it was ‘Pernicious’ which was one of the first from a PR company, a horror movie, feeding my love for horror and most importantly indie horror.

I am now into a routine where I can mix up what I watch, be it movies I missed from years before, brand new streaming movies, or a host of different movies with upcoming releases. Being able to write about the movies I see has always been rewarding and being able to meet new people who will be open to conversations about these movies has been amazing.

I would always be open to give advice to anyone who wants to get into writing about movies, I will always be thankful for any opportunities I have had to watch movies early.

I have dreams of a bigger picture, bigger projects, I want to be able to have more people join the site to write about movies, I want to be able to bring more people together to chat about movies, create a network of people that will show the passion that can only be explained as something people love to do.

These might well be a pipe dream, but the dream will always be here and if the chance comes to make this a reality, we could build something amazing together. Lets talk, enjoy and love the movies we get to see.

Miss Juneteenth (2020) Movie Review

Director: Channing Godfrey Peoples

Writer: Channing Godfrey Peoples (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicole Beharie, Kendrick Sampson, Alexis Chikaeze, Lori Hayes, Marcus M Mauldin, Liz Mikel

Plot: A former beauty queen and single mom prepares her rebellious teenage daughter for the “Miss Juneteenth” pageant.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Miss Juneteenth starts as we meet former beauty queen Turquoise Jones (Beharie) whose biggest strike to fame comes from her winning the Miss Juneteenth pageant. Her life hasn’t always gone the way she planned, but now she will work two jobs to make sure her own daughter Kai (Chikaeze) has the same opportunities she had, and doesn’t make the same mistakes she did.

As Kai looks to live her own life, Turquoise must look to reflect on her own life, with the added pressure she is putting on Kai to make her feel as special as she once did, like any parent doing something to make the best life for their child.

Thoughts on Miss Juneteenth

Characters & Performances – Turquoise Jones is a former beauty queen that now works in a bar, hoping to prepare her daughter to follow in her footsteps. She has put most of her life into making the best for her daughter, hoping she doesn’t end up where she is in life, trying to control her, not letting her be her own woman. She needs to learn to let her daughter enjoy her own life and together they can have the best life. Nicole Beharie is wonderful in the leading role, always filled with the strength she needs around her daughter, showing her weakness alone. Kai is her teenager daughter, she wants to enjoy her youth, she likes to dance, she is your typical teenage girl that doesn’t want beauty pageant, just friendships. She will work with her mother for this, knowing it will keep them close, but deep down she has her own dreams. Alexis Chikaeze is great in this role, showing the reluctance to do everything, but her commitment to showing her mum she tries. Ronnie is the troublemaking husband and father, his actions have caused problems in the past and now he is trying to make up for those mistakes.

StoryThe story here follows a former beauty queen that is trying to prepare her own daughter to compete for the same title she once held. We get a story here that will show that parents might push their children into things that were their dreams, even if they are meant as the right thing, they can lead to a bigger strain between the two. It is clear the two are close and they both understand how important this is and how hard the mother is working to make it happen. The core of the story is the mother daughter relationship and how important it is for the two not to build a divide like the mother has with her own.

Final Thoughts Miss Juneteenth is a wonderful drama about the importance of family with two brilliant lead performances.

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – P – Battle for Sevastopol (2015) Movie Review

This is under P because of the sniper herself Pavlichenko.

Director: Sergey Mokristkiy

Writer: Maksim Budarin, Max Dankevich, Leonid Korin, Sergey Mokritskiy, Egor Olesov (Screenplay)

Starring: Yuliya Peresild, Evgeniy Tsyganov, Oleg Vasilkov, Nikita Tarasov, Joan Blackham

Plot: A story of Lyudmila Pavlichenko, the most successful female sniper in history.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Look at Historical Figure

Story: Battle for Sevastopol starts as we meet Lyudmila Pavlichenko (Peresild) daughter of an English teacher, and Captain, who proves to be an expert marksman on a casual day out at the shooting range, she gets recruited for training by the military, while wanting to continue her studies and fall in love with a doctor Boris (Tarasov).

When World War II breaks out, Lyudmila finds herself drafted as one of the elite snipers, during this time, she builds up a reputation of being the deadliest woman in the war, killing over 100 soldiers to help her country in the fight against Hitler.

Thoughts on Battle for Sevastopol

Characters – Lyudmila Pavlichenko is known as Lady Death because of her sniper kill numbers, we follow her from her quiet student era, to her first recruitment to the war and when she met first lady Ruzvelt who wants to learn from her and educate her. The time we follow shows her to be a cold character, not finding love easy and not blinking with the number of soldiers she kills. Along her journey Lyudmila meets different soldiers, a doctor that offer her a chance of love or try to put their own power over her, with Eleanora Ruzvelt being the woman that wants to learn more about her, understand how she could make such a difference.

PerformancesYuliya Peresild is wonderful in the leading role, she brings to life both sides of her character, the deadly soldier and the woman who wants a normal life. In the supporting cast we have everyone performing well, despite a couple of reporter roles feeling heavily dubbed and not fitting the scene they are in.

StoryThe story here follows Lyudmila Pavlichenko from her college years, war stories and her interactions with Eleanora Ruzvelt, the ups and downs of these stages of her life and the stories behind her incredibly high kill count for the Soviets. The way this story is told splits between the different stories, where he jump into the war time moments as the interactions get filled in, the scars, the reason behind everything she does, it does all work well, with them playing out more like memories of the 1942 version of her. While the story may have changed from the truth about her for dramatic effect in the story, the facts behind her kill count does remain true.

Biopic/WarWe do follow a couple of stages of Lyudmila’s life, while what she did in the war was incredible breaking barriers along the way, it is see how she is willing to tell the stories which is amazing to see.

SettingsThe film shows us the difficult situations Lyudmila finds herself in, with the war settings showing the horrors of the conflict, while the American settings show us just how she never fitted in the crowd locations.

Scene of the Movie – The final speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The love angles don’t seem as interesting as the rest of the film.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at another major figure in the World War II conflict, showing us how they made themselves big names in the war effort.

Overall: History Lesson 101.