The Elfkins (2019) Movie Review

Director: Ute von Munchow-Pohl

Writer: Jan Strathmann (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jella Haase, Louis Hofmann, Leon Seidel, Detlef Bierstedt, Elke Heidenreich

Plot: The legendary Elfkins (Heinzelmännchen) of Cologne were gnomes secretly helping craftsmen at night until they were ousted by a tailor’s malevolent wife 200 years ago. This is the story of their return.

Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Elfkins starts as we meet the Elfkins, a society of gnomes secretly living under the city, where they once help humans secretly, now they hide from them, Helvi wants to prove herself as a craftsperson, only her inventions always fail causing trouble with her people, which sees her turning to her best friend Butz, to escape and discover a human to learn a craft.

When Helvi, Butz and Kipp find themselves in a bakery, Helvi decides she wants to help the baker Theo who is about to lose his bakery, learning her true skill here once and for all.

Thoughts on The Elfkins

Characters – The Elfkins, Helvi is the one that has always wanted to fit in, have her own craft, but she is ends up causing trouble more than helping her people, she leaves up the community in search for her skill, wanting to break the traditions and learn of a human, which sees her looking to do the right thing, helping a down on his luck baker. Kipp is the smartest of the Elfkins, he will always invent thing to help them, one that Helvi will turn to for help. Butz is the best friend of Helvi, he will follow her on her adventures. Theo is the down on his luck baker, that is about to lose his bakery, he is the man that the Elfkin are drawn towards to help, with his brother Bruno being the one that wants to take his bakery.

StoryThis story follows a group of Elfkins that go against what they are expected to do, by staying away from humans, by visiting the surface and doing what they always thought they were meant to do, help people. This is a feel good movie showing us that you need to believe in myths and legends, despite the modern world wanting us to ignore the important parts of life. Regardless of the species, the idea that someone will want to fit in, is still strong in this story and the biggest message looking to be sent to the audience.

Action/FantasyThe action in the film does rely on how the Elfkins need to try and escape trouble, or make things happen in the bakery, with the fantasy elements of the film coming from seeing how the Elfkins are part of this world.

SettingsThe film is set in a German city, which you can tell from certain architecture we see around the city.

AnimationThe animation in the movie looks beautiful, bringing to life the different colours, where we see the bright positive side of Helvi, contrast with the darker side of the world where Theo is.


Scene of the Movie – The grand opening.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have seen more from the Butz character, he seems to be caught between best friend and comic relief and not completely either.

Final Thoughts This is a fun family animation that has a big heart that will get the biggest message across.

The Elfkins is in Cinemas from 2nd October

ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – # – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) Movie Review

This is under the numbers because of the fact it is a sequel.

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Jeffrey Boam (Screenplay) George Lucas, Menno Meyjes (Story)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Denholm Elliott, Alison Doody, John Rhys-Davies, Julian Glover

Plot: In 1938, after his father Professor Henry Jones, Sr. goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. finds himself up against Adolf Hitler‘s Nazis again to stop them from obtaining its powers.


Tagline – Have the adventure of your life keeping up with the Joneses

Runtime: 2 Hours 7 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade starts when Indiana Jones (Ford) learns his father Professor Henry Jones (Connery) has gone missing in search of the holy grail, his life’s work, this returns Indiana to Europe where he meets Elsa (Doody) and comes face to face with the Nazis once again.

Indiana and Henry must put aside their differences and get to get to the holy grail first and stop it getting into the hands of pure evil.

Thoughts on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Characters – Indiana Jones returns to his double life of a history professor teaching about fact and the adventurer that goes in search of treasures, only this time he will need to go in search of his father, he must deal with the fact his dad was distant from him growing up and now he must continue his fight against the Nazis. Professor Henry Jones is Indiana’s father and has been studying the Holy Grail his whole life, to which Indiana believes is only paperwork, but his time in the field is now causing more problems for Indiana. Marcus is the smart friend of the Jones family, only he is useless in the field, usually gets laughs along the way. Elsa is the Austrian scientist working for the Nazis looking to get the book belonging to Henry, we are never sure completely which side she is fighting for though.

PerformancesHarrison Ford continues to be wonderful to watch in this role, showing excellent chemistry with Sean Connery who brings us the older figure that is played for laughs we never thought he could handle. The rest of the cast are entertaining to watch through the film, bringing to life their different roles with ease.

StoryThe story here follows Indiana Jones on his latest adventure to help search for his missing father who went in search for the holy grail. This does bring Indiana back to his fights with the Nazis who want to use historical religious artifacts for their own benefit, this time the holy grail. We continue to build the world here, with an on going rival for Indiana to face, one that he has been up against for his whole life, one that is greedier, but one Indiana has started to get ahead off, along with a father son relationship that needs fixing despite knowing there is love between them.

Action/AdventureThe action sequences continue to follow what we know from the Indiana Jones trilogy, we have big chase sequences, one through Venice, one through the skies above Germany and the desert tank one is brilliant too.

SettingsThe film takes us around the world on the adventure as we get to see each location with history being used to help lead the path to the answers.


Scene of the Movie – The Holy Grail.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing in this one.

Final Thoughts This is an excellent conclusion to the trilogy, one that builds a bigger world for Indiana and returns to a familiar foe for him to face.

ABC Film Challenge – 80s – Z – Above the Law (1988)

Above the Law is under Z because of the villain Zagon.

Director: Andrew Davis

Writer: Steven Pressfield, Ronald Shusett, Andrew Davis (Screenplay) Andrew Davis, Steven Seagal (Story)

Starring: Steven Seagal, Pam Grier, Henry Silva, Ron Dean, Daniel Faraldo, Sharon Stone

 

Plot: A former Special Operations Vietnam vet works as a Chicago cop, and uncovers C.I.A. wrongdoing.


Tagline – He was a covert agent trained in Vietnam. He has a master 6th degree black belt in Aikido… and family in the Mafia. He’s a cop with an attitude. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Seagal Action

 

Story: Above the Law starts when retired special operations solider turned cop Nico (Seagal) starts investigating his latest case with his partner Jacks (Grier). The case sees him tracking down a drug dealer which as is Nico’s way, sees him going above the law with how he handles his dealings.

When Nico get told to walk away from the case, it leads to him going against the rules once again, making him a target for the real criminal Zagon (Silva) that starts by targeting his personal life.

 

Thoughts on Above the Law

 

Characters – Nico Toscani travelled the world to learn martial arts, joined the special operations unit in Vietnam before returning to be Chicago to be a cop. His methods go against the normal for any cop and his family is the most important thin in his life, if you mess with them he will come for you. Jacks is the partner of Nico, she does try to guide him to stay within the law, even if she knows he is right with his actions. Kurt Zagon is the criminal mastermind, he has all the small town criminals in his pocket and isn’t happen when somebody starts causing him problems in his business. Sara is the wife of Nico that supports him and is the one person he will protect without a second thought.

PerformancesSteven Seagal is always going to be known for his action films, he is easy to watch with his style and this is one of his better ones before it became too routine for him. Pam Grier is a performer that we wish we could have seen more of because she does bring her supporting performance to life. Henry Silva is the much needed villain of the piece that does above the law with his action. Sharon Stone doesn’t get that much time on camra if we are honest, making it hard to judge her performance.

StoryThe story follows a harden cop that will do anything to get the criminals being forced to go against the law to make sure they are off the street even though his latest case will put a target on his back. This story does show us how a cop can walk into a bigger conspiracy going on which will see him needing to find a way out of the trouble he has stumbled into. Being a Seven Seagal movie, it clearly doesn’t need a very deep story which this one doesn’t offer in any way.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action in this film is here to give Seagal an chance to show off his fighting skills which is all it needs to really, this one does feel like one of the smoother ones though. The criminal world our cop enters shows how criminals can operate both sides of the law. The mystery is around whether Nico can solve the crime before it is too late.

SettingsThe film is set in Chicago which is one of the easy go to locations for any police drama.


Scene of the Movie –
The four on one stand off.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This isn’t the deepest story.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the early typical Seagal movies, we know the action is going to work for his style without being anything that we haven’t seen before.

 

Overall: Easy action.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – Y – Black Rain (1989) Movie Review

This is going under Y because of the involvement of the Yakuza.

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Craig Bolotin, Warren Lewis (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Ken Takakura, Kate Capshaw, Yusaku Matsuda, Shigeru Koyama

Plot: Two NYC cops arrest a Yakuza member and must escort him when he’s extradited to Japan.


Tagline – An American Cop in Japan. Their country. Their laws. Their game. His rules.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Gritty Drama

Story: Black Rain starts when bad boy cop Nick Conklin (Douglas) and his partner Charlie Vincent (Garcia) look to clean up their own problem, they stumble into a Yakuza gangster killing the godfather of the Japanese mafia.

Nick and Charlie find themselves needing to escort the killer, only for them to hand him over to an imposter, the pair need to work with the locals to try and recapture the killer in a country that has a battle between two deadly gangs.

Thoughts on Black Rain

Characters – Nick is the bad boy detective that doesn’t always play by the rules with how he gets the job done, this has landed him in trouble on countless times, his latest hearing ends up with his catching an international killer and needing to escort him back to Japan, only to find himself needing to investigate the gang war raging on in the country. Charlie is the by the book cop that knows how to keep Nick in line when he starts going too far, he is willing to be more open about the difference in culture, even if he doesn’t agree with everything, being the good cop to the bad cop attitude to Nick. Masahiro is the local Japanese cop that is assigned to show the detectives around, he ends up working with them to try and get deeper into the bigger case going on within the city. Joyce is an American living in Japan, she does fill in certain parts the locals don’t want to give up.

PerformancesMichael Douglas does do his best at trying to be more of a bad boy figure within the film, he has the attitude required for the role, Andy Garcia does bring a more relaxed approach which works well for the film, with the rest of the cast working well with what they need to bring to their roles.

StoryThe story here follows two New York detectives who travel across the world to escort a prisoner only to lose them and need to find themselves in the middle of a war for power in Japan, trying to understand the bigger picture. We are given a story here that shows how the change in culture will change how an investigation might well be addressed, it does seem to focus more on how Nick is more aggressive at times than he needs to, he is a shady cop. The investigation doesn’t seem to get into the intense level it should because we don’t focus on any of the criminal activities through the film though.

Action/CrimeThe action is simple enough, with most circulating around the motorbike usage of Nick and how controlled he is behind the world, with the criminal side of the film focusing on how everything will be different for the American cops in a new land.

SettingsThe film uses the Japan setting to show the cops with a new setting, which will operate in a different manner to what they are used to dealing with. It does show us how the world will feel darker to the criminal world they have come from.


Scene of the Movie – The motorbike riding sequences.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough focus on the criminal’s actions.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book crime drama, it has a cop that isn’t a smooth around the edges forced into a world he knows nothing about.

Overall: By the Book.

ABC Film Challenge – 80’s Movies – X – Firefox (1982) Movie Review

Continuing my cheating ways with the letter X, we have Firefox ending in an X, which will making it the closest I can get to finding a movie.

Director: Clint Eastwood

Writer: Alex Lasker, Wendell Wellman (Screenplay) Craig Thomas (Novel)

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Freddie Jones, David Huffman, Warren Clarke, Ronald Lacey, Kenneth Colley

Plot: A pilot is sent into the Soviet Union on a mission to steal a prototype jet fighter that can be partially controlled by a neuralink.


Tagline – .the most devastating killing machine ever built… his job… steal it!

Runtime: 2 Hour 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Espionage 101

Story: Firefox starts when a war veteran pilot Mitchell Gant (Eastwood) who lives off the grid, is located and bought back for a new mission, a dangerous mission, which will see him travel to the Soviet Union to go undercover to steal a prototype jet fighter.

As Mitchell is undercover, he does start to show the side effects of his time in the war, which could bring the mission in trouble, with his instructions changing, can he get the mission complete before it is too late.

Thoughts on Firefox

Characters – Mitchell Gant is a former pilot, retired after being captured during his time in the war, he is often considered the greatest pilot the military saw and now he is trying to live off the map away from everyone in Alaska. He is tracked down and forced into serving his country once again, this time going undercover to steal a prototype plane, one that he will be the best pilot for. He does suffer from the side effects of his previous time in the military, which could expose his identity along the way. We do meet the military men that are trying to push Mitchell into the mission, guiding him along the way, helping fix problems on the mission along the way.

PerformancesClint Eastwood is solid enough in the leading role here, he does make us believe that he could be the military man with problems, but one that will get back out there to fight for what is right. The supporting cast are strong too without needing to do that much with their roles.

StoryThe story here follows a former pilot that is forced into a mission to steal a new plane from Soviet Union and return it to America, while dealing with his own demons from his time in the military. This is a story that is revolving around a single mission behind enemy lines, where the flying will be the easy part, it will be getting to the plane that will be the challenge. This is slow moving with how everything unfolds, with everything seemingly going to plan, which does seem to take off any edge the film could have.

ActionThe action does have basic fight, but we do have the highlight of the film coming from the dog fights.

SettingsThe film uses the locations which will see Mitchell preparing the mission, on the mission as, well as inside the cockpit during the daring escape.


Scene of the Movie – The dog fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Eastwood’s narration of the events in the dog fight.

Final Thoughts This is a by the book spy movie, which is only here to show the tensions between America and Soviet Union and wanting to stay ahead of each other in war.

Overall: By the Book.