Ground Control (1998)

Director: Richard Howard

Writer: Mark Shepherd, Robert Moreland (Screenplay) Talaat Captan, Robert Moreland (Story)

Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Bruce McGill, Kristy Swanson, Robert Sean Leonard, Kelly McGillis, Margaret Cho, Ruben Paul

Plot: A disgraced former air traffic controller is called back into service when the airport’s traffic control system malfunctions.


Tagline – No Radar. No Contact. No Control.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Smart Thriller

Story: Ground Control starts as air traffic controller Jack Harris (Sutherland) loses one of his planes in an accident, with nothing being his own fault. Jack is out the game working on developing a video game in air traffic controlling when his friend T.C. Bryant (McGill) comes to him in need of help because of the workload thrown upon his team.

When Jack reluctant agrees to work for one night, he must face his past, even with hot shot new trafficker Cruise (Leonard) not wanting to work with him and rookie Julie (Swanson) willing to learn off Jack.

Thoughts on Ground Control

Characters – Jack Harris was once one of the best air traffic controllers in the business, he does suffer the nightmare of all the air traffic controllers have, losing a plane, turning to the drink to blame himself for what happened. He has turned to designing video games, but it talked into return on a business night, where he must finally face his own past and deal with the pressure once again. T.C Bryant is the friend of Jack’s who has turned to him for help deal with the added pressure piled onto him, he controls the team with his work, which sees him showing off his micromanagement skills. Julie is the rookie on her first night in the team, nervous at the start, Jack offers to help her, while Cruise is willing to put her under pressure. Cruise is the hot shot that gets through the day with his abilities that could make him the best in the business, his attitude has been the one thing that has always held him back, where he is the closest to a villain we have in this film.

PerformancesKiefer Sutherland was a strange choice for this role, when it comes to being in the controller persons, he is great to watch, but when it comes to the unsure nervous filled with regret side of the character he does seem slightly miscast. Bruce McGill, Kristy Swanson and Robert Sean Leonard are all great to watch in their roles in the film.

StoryThe story here follows one night in an air traffic control station which has had increased number of flights thrown onto them and the pressure forces the boss to turn to his old colleague to help even though he has been battling his own problems. This is a story that does come from a strange angle because instead of doing anything glorified or over the top, it simply just looks to focus on the pressure these teams will be facing while working on daily basis. We do have the incidents that will show how calm they need to be and how easily they can work to solve the problems they face and by the end you will find yourself gripped to what is happening.

Action/AdventureThe action involved in the film is mostly off camera, it follows what could happen with the planes during difficult decisions, while it does have an adventure tone through how Jack wants to overcome his problems.

SettingsThe film is set within the air traffic control station which shows us how close the team must work together for when the pressure grows.


Scene of the Movie – The last plane to land, it is an intense scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Sutherland doesn’t seem to fit the nervous unsure figure.

Final Thoughts This is a tidy thriller that does keep us guessing just to what will happen next with the pressure being piled upon the team, it does keep everything feeling realistic too by only showing the team at work.

Overall: Air Traffic Thriller.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch Up 2019 – L – The Lion King (2019) Movie Review

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: Jeff Nathanson (Screenplay) Brenda Chapman (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Chiwetel Ejiofor, James Earl Jones, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, Donald Glover, Beyonce

Plot: After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.


Tagline – Be Prepared.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Animation is Fantastic, the Rest is Terrible

Story: The Lion King starts as a young lion cub Simba learns about the kingdom his father Mufasa rules, he learns his place in the pride and just what he will need to do to be prepared to take over one day. As Simba continues to want to learn about his place, he only gets himself into more trouble, forcing him to leave.

As Simba grows up under the guidance of Timon and Pumbaa, he learns to take life more laidback until Nala finds him, getting Simba to return to end Scar’s reign of terror on the kingdom.

Thoughts on The Lion King

Characters – Simba is the young king to be, he is starts as a cub that is exploring his future kingdom, already wanting to break the rules, as a cub he attitude towards Scar doesn’t make their bond get any better. After he is forced to run and hide after his father’s death, he sees a new lifestyle, until he learns that he must learn his rightful place in pride rock. Scar is the brother to Mufasa, he was next in line to be king before Simba and he wants his chance of being king of the pride, he has always been planning his own ideas to take over, breaking the rules, close to be exiled. Mufasa is the king of pride rock, every animal looks up to him and he protects the land fairly. Zazu is very annoying, it sad that they decide to make more bout the voice actors stand up than an actual character. Timon and Pumbaa are the unlikely partnership of a warthog and a meerkat that helps Simba see life in a different way and want to use him as protection for their own life, they do have excellent chemistry though.

StoryThe story here follows a young lion cub that sees his father killed and must learn his place in the world to reclaim his rightful place as king. This is a remake of the 1994 version of the film, with the story offering little to nothing new to what we saw back then in storytelling, it does seem to make more out of the villainous ways of Scar, with him always holding a grudge against Mufasa, knowing he could never replace him. Simba however is made to feel a lot more annoying as the cub, he is an entitled character who only seems to care about himself. If you want to see the same story, it is a lot easier and more reward to watch the 1994 version.

Adventure/MusicalThe adventure is showing how Simba must learn about his future even after running from his past., the musical side of the film, well we are going to go through the songs comparing them to the originals,

  • The Circle of Life – Weak

  • I Just Can’t Wait to be King – Lacks the Sparkle

  • Be Prepared – Serious what was this?

  • Hakuna Matata – Passable, the best of the songs so far, but still not on the level of magic as the original.

  • The Lion Sleeps Tonight – Cut too short.

  • Can You Feel the Love Tonight – Oh, Boy this was bad.

  • Spirit is a new song and is the only one that seems to fit this film.

SettingsThe film does recreate the original settings, well but this is more about just how good the animation really is.

AnimationHowever much we can talk about the weaknesses in this film, the one true standout part of the film is the animation which looks beautiful and the team involved should get all the praise in the world.


Scene of the Movie – Timon and Pumbaa’s entrance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Simba is more annoying this time around.

Final Thoughts This is such a pointless remake that only gets the praise for the pure quality of the animation being used, otherwise it just does nothing.

Overall: Just Terribly weak outside of the Animation team.

Jack Black Weekend – Gulliver’s Travels (2010) Movie Review

Director: Rob Letterman

Writer: Joe Stillman, Nicholas Stoller (Screenplay) Jonathan Swift (Book)

Starring: Jack Black, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly, Chris O’Dowd

Plot: Travel writer Lemuel Gulliver takes an assignment in Bermuda, but ends up on the island of Lilliput, where he towers over its tiny citizens.


Tagline – A magical land. A comedy of epic proportions.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Insults a Classic Novel

Story: Gulliver’s Travels starts when New York magazine mailman Lemuel Gulliver (Black) wanting to impress the travel editor Darcy (Peet) accepts an assignment that everyone refuses, which sees him head towards the Bermuda Triangle.

This trip sees him end up in Lilliput where he is giant compared to the residents including King Theodore (Connolly), the stuck up general Edward (O’Dowd) along with Princess Mary (Blunt) and peasant Horatio (Segel), in the land where Gulliver becomes a hero of the land.

Thoughts on Gulliver’s Travels

Characters – Lemuel Gulliver has been living inside his safety zone, where he works in a mail room for a magazine, not looking to get out of the lowest level of the magazine, seeing people come and go through the office, he doesn’t have the guts to ask out the woman of his dreams, taking an assignment he has no qualifications to be part of. Gulliver travels to a new land where the people are tiny, where he starts a revolution taking advantage of their generous natures. Horatio is a peasant that has been locked up for trying to speak to the princess, who he loves and wants to be with, he is the one that helps Gulliver learn about the world he is now part of. Princess Mary believes she is meant to be marrying the man who earns her love, rather than being allowed to get to know the person. Darcy is the travel editor for the magazine that Gulliver wants to impress, she is willing to let people in the office have an opportunity to prove them.

PerformancesJack Black brings his routine of comedy which is too immature for this story, even if he can handle the heart to heart moments well. Jason Segel does all he can with his role, while Emily Blunt clearly decides to make this over the top because of how little she wanted to be part of the movie. Chris O’Dowd is arguably the only strong part of the film when it comes to the acting, knowing he is playing an over the top villain.

StoryThe story is meant to show a slacker that travels to a hidden royal kingdom where the people are tiny, here he helps take the people to the next level of the lives breaking them out of their royal ways. The problem with the story, is that it is based on a classic, which would have the same themes, only for this one to make everything about pop culture references that have completely dated becoming almost insulting to everything that it could have been. The story could easily have been about a slacker that wants to start achieving more from his life, instead of continue to show how much of a joke he is.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure side of the film does take Gulliver to a new land he would never have imagined getting too, though his nervous approach to travelling gets forgotten too quickly here. The comedy is mostly immature jokes that won’t get many laughs in anyway.

SettingsThe film does start with New York before moving to Lilliput, the problem with the setting here is the lack of scale, one minute it is just a palace, the next it feels like a big village or city, we just never learn how big this world is meant to be.

Special EffectsThe effects do look clunky with how the worlds are put together trying to create the fact that Gulliver is massive in this world.


Scene of the Movie – Mail room talk.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The comedy.

Final Thoughts This is an insulting movie that just never reaches the heights it could when it comes to telling the incredible story of Gulliver’s visit to Lilliput like the book does, we end up with immature comedy that misses more often than it hits.

Overall: Disappointing and bland.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – K – The Kid Who Would Be King (2019) Movie Review

Director: Joe Cornish

Writer: Joe Cornish (Screenplay)

Starring: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Denise Gough, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor, Rebecca Ferguson, Angus Imrie, Genevieve O’Reilly, Patrick Stewart, Rhianna Dorris

Plot: A band of kids embark on an epic quest to thwart a medieval menace.


Tagline – For kids who rule

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Enjoyable

Story: The Kid Who Would Be King starts as we meet bullied school kid Alex (Serkis) along with his best friend Bedders (Chaumoo), they get bullied by Lance (Taylor) and Kaye (Dorris), with one of the latest escapes leading Alex to find Excalibur Arthur’s sword.

Alex learns that he must follow in Arthur’s footsteps in the battle against the evil Morgana (Ferguson) that is looking to reign darkness on the world once again.

Thoughts on The Kid Who Would Be King

Characters – Alex is raised by just his mum, he gets bullied at school and is struggling through life with his best friend, this changes when he finds Excalibur and learns he is the true king that must build an army to fight the forces of evil. He must bring together his enemies and learn his destiny to fight. Bedders is Alex’s best friend, he gets bullied just as much as Alex and is interested in learning magic. Lance is one of the bullies, he likes to pick on the smaller classmates, which sees him targeting the pair, until he joins them becoming on of the nights. Kaye is the other bully, one that does seem to follow more than enjoy the bullying. Morgana is the evil that is looking to bring her reign of terror to the surface world once again, sending her armies out to get the kids. Merlin does guide the kids along the way, showing them what they could achieve and how they will achieve it.

PerformancesFor a film carried by the young cast of Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor and Rhianna Dorris, none of them let the film down like they could have, all being strong through the film. We do get a couple of big names that shine in the supporting roles too.

StoryThe story here follows a young boy that learns that he is meant to be the next King of England, taking up the war of King Arthur against Morgana who wants to bring her reign of terror back to England. This is a nice spin on the King Arthur legend bringing everything to the modern world, showing how people can come together for the greater good, with the choice to make sure they bring a diverse cast, to prove this point even more. We do have a deeper story which shows how Alex is always trying to fill the void left by his absent father, trying to make something bigger of his absence. This story does feel very fun for the most part, which is the important ingredients required for this film.

Action/AdventureThe action is the fights against the evil, each one becomes bigger even if it doesn’t truly put the kids in the danger a real battle would. The adventure does take our kids on a journey they could never imagine across the UK.

SettingsThe film uses the historical settings to show us where the legends of King Arthur would have happened, using them for the quest.

Special EffectsThe effects used in the film are great, they never look out of place, however big the events in the film are meant to be.


Scene of the Movie – The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does feel about 15-20 minutes too long.

Final Thoughts This is a fun family adventure film, it breaths new life into the King Arthur legend, life other films have failed too often with.

Overall: Fun and Enjoyable.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – I – Iron Sky: The Coming Race (2019) Movie Review

Director: Timo Vuorensola

Writer: Timo Vuorensola, Dalan Musson (Screenplay) Jarmo Puskala, Johanna Sinisalo, Samuli Torssonen (Story)

Starring: Lana Rossi, Vladimir Burlakov, Kit Dale, Julia Dietze, Stephanie Paul, Tom Green, Udo Keir

Plot: A follow-up to the film Iron Sky (2012) in which Nazis plan to take over the world after lying dormant in a secret military base on the moon.


Tagline – Let’s make earth great again

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Bonkers

Story: Iron Sky: The Coming Race starts years after the events of the first Iron Sky, both the Nazi Moon Base and Earth have been destroyed by nuclear war, with the remaining survivors living side by side in the former moon base, Obi (Rossi) loves her title and can fix most problems in engineering, being one of the few people that thinks what might be needed if they needed to leave.

When Vril Wolfgang Kortzfleisch (Kier) is discovered by Obi, who explains the reason for everything that he had planned, his history and how to continue the human race despite the history of war between the people, leading to Obi needing to return to Earth with a team of Sasha (Burlakov), Malcom (Dale), religious leader Donald (Green) and his followers to locate an item, that could save the lives of the people.

Thoughts on Iron Sky: The Coming Race

Characters – Obi is the daughter of the hero of the last movie, she has always lived on the moon, working on using her skills as an engineer to try and find a solution to the people on the moon, which would see her return to Earth in search of the secrets in the centre of the Earth. She goes on this mission in an attempt to save her mother, while giving us commentary to everything that is happening. Sasha is the Russian that arrives on the moon with a ship that barely functioning, he helps Obi on her mission, knowing that if he helps it could give his people a chance to stay. Donald is the leader of a religious group on the moon, if you don’t fit into their perfect world he will kill them, he goes on the mission in hopes of being able to find the great hope for his people. Vril Wolfgang lives on the moon, he fills in the gaps in the world and what has been the plan for so long and how the remaining survivors could make it off the moon. Vril Hitler is still on Earth along with the other evil leaders from history, waiting for his chance to get back it his brother.

PerformancesLara Rossi does a great job in the leading role, we see how she makes us support her character, while keeping the idea feeling like a much more relaxed movie, almost like any reluctant hero in a film. Udo Kier is great to watch as always, while Tom Green doesn’t hit his comedy enough and Vladimir Burlakov does play against generic Russian figure well, but it is too much at times.

StoryThe story here follows up the events of the first Iron Sky by seeing the survivors needing to find a new source before it is too late, which sees them return to Earth and get involved in another battle which will put all the lives at risk. When it comes to the story, it feels like it is too long after the previous one, with the 25 odd years time jump, it does give us the next challenge, which does give us a simple sort of adventure story, which does feel like a Star Trek idea. Where the story might standout more is with the ridiculous ideas that are put in place with the dinosaurs, aliens and everything about this coming to life with a cult of Steve Job worshipers, this added together gives us plenty of bonkers material on the side to work with. It feels like a safe sequel, where you would only watch if you enjoyed the first one, but it won’t be considered bad in any of those conversations.

Action/Comedy/Sci-FiThe action might well use ideas from other films, but it twists them into a way that you haven’t seen before, including an alien Hitler riding a T-Rex. The comedy plays into joking about surviving certain situations that other films take for granted, which does work, but when we try to have other jokes, we do see them miss more often than hit. The sci-fi world created here is wonderful, the idea of aliens creating super villains in history, living in the Earth and with dinosaurs is fantastic and original.

SettingsThe film does make use feel like we are watching a Star Trek story in a Firefly world with the settings, with most places looking beat down, broken, while the Earth creates a paradise you couldn’t imagine.

Special EffectsThe effects are stronger than you would expect for such a low budgeted movie, they show great achievement, even if we can tell the green screen moments.


Scene of the Movie – Hitler riding a T-Rex

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The comedy misses too much.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting idea for a sequel that is willing to break the ideas of the third wall, taking history and spinning it into a giant sci-fi twist on everything.

Overall: Crazy fun.