Jem and the Holograms (2015)

Director: Jon M Chu

Writer: Ryan Landels (Screenplay) Christy Marx (Animated Series)

Starring: Aubrey Peeples, Stefanie Scott, Aurora Perrineau, Hayler Kiyoko, Molly Ringwald, Isabella Kai Rice

 

Plot: As a small-town girl catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her three sisters begin a journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden.


Tagline – very Generation Needs a Voice

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good for the Target Audience

 

Story: Jem and the Holograms starts as Jerrica (Peeples) is coming to clean to her fans on the internet, we learn how she and her sisters Kimber (Scott), Shana (Perrieneau) and Aja (Kiyoko) become the internet sensations after Jerrica final came out of her shell and is picked up by producer Erica Raymond (Lewis) who wants to make them the biggest ‘It’ of the time.

Jerrica is recreated as Jem she becomes the biggest mystery in music and they become the biggest act in the planet, but can they handle the additional pressure in life.

 

Thoughts on Jem and the Holograms

 

Characters – Jerrica is one of the four sisters, the quiet and shiest one, she is also the most gifted musically, writing songs, performing privately, she creates Jem to be stay anonymous and remembers her father’s guidance everyday. She is telling the story of the rise to fame and how it made her feel. Kimber is the younger sister of Jerrica, she is social media addict, spending all her time posting on social media about anything and everything, she leaks the video of Jem and enjoys coming along to the new role in the band. Shana is one of the adopted sisters, she is a fashionista that always wanted to help the girls of the house have their own unique look. Aja is the other adopted sister, she is the true genius of the four, though she does have a habit to borrow from people without asking and can become the bad girl image. Erica Raymond is the ruthless producer that is always out to make as much money from as many different corners as possible.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances I feel it is unfair to go through any of the four sisters in any different ways because they are all good and you do believe the family chemistry between them.

StoryThe story here shows us how quickly a life of an overnight YouTube sensation can change for the good and the bad. We get to see how the idea of making money to save the family home can bring the biggest divide between the sisters after seeing just how special the rise and first show was for them. For the weaknesses in this film we have a lot, first it based on an animated series I had no idea existed, secondly, it happens so fast we can easily miss what is going on, we never really get an indication of days/weeks or months that we are following. The final negative comes to the issue of trying to show how YouTube can be turned to for fame, it will never happen this quickly.

Adventure/Fantasy/Music/Romance/Sci-FiThe genres this film tries to cross are all getting effected by lack of opportunity, the only one that truly gets the right time is the music side because that is the heart of the film. the fantasy sci-fi side of the film feels like an attachment to the main story.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which is always going to be the right choice for an American film about glitz and glamor.


Scene of the Movie –
The first show.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While it is meaningful, the sci-fi fantasy side story is just left in the back burner.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that will keep the target audience happy, it doesn’t offer too much for the casual fans of the genre and can get lost trying to do too much.

 

Overall: The good and the bad of YouTube success.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – R – The Right Stuff (1983)

Director: Philip Kaufman

Writer: Philip Kaufman (Screenplay) Tom Wolfe (Book)

Starring: Sam Shepard, Scott Glen, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward, Barbara Hershey, Kim Stanley, Veronica Cartwright

 

Plot: The story of the original Mercury 7 astronauts and their macho, seat-of-the-pants approach to the space program.


Tagline – The spectacular story of America’s first astronauts

Runtime: 3 Hours 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Story, Too Long a Film

 

Story: The Right Stuff starts as America is trying to break the sound barrier and not having much success with their men crashing, they turn to Chuck Yeager (Shepard) who excels behind the stick of the plane, soon fellow pilots Gordon Cooper (Quaid) and Gus Grissom (Ward) prove they can hang with Chuck.

When Russia make it into space, the program changes with celebrity pilot John Glenn (Harris) and hot shot pilot Alan Shepard (Glenn) joining forces to take on the race to space as the men from different backgrounds try to prove they are the right men for the mission.

 

Thoughts on The Right Stuff

 

Characters – Chuck Yeager is the pilot that breaks the sound barrier for the first time, he is always going to try to beat any records that are being beaten, though he doesn’t go into the Mercury 7 program. He may well be the best of all of the pilots involved in this story. Alan Shepard is the military man through and through, he likes to take things lighter than the rest and is the first to be selected to go in the test flight. John Glenn is the celebrity pilot that is the clear candidate for the first mission into space, he has the best experience with dealing with press, he is by the books and doesn’t want to take things as lightly as the rest of the candidates. Gordon Cooper is the youngest of the candidates he has always go out his way to improve himself, even if his wife doesn’t like the idea of his job. Guy Grissom completes our main pilot group as the one who wants to use his new position to get more attention and is involved in one of the most unexplained errors o the missions. We do get to meet the wives who have to deal with the press invading their privacy through each mission and in constant worry about their husbands.

PerformancesWe have a brilliant cast here, with Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid and Fred Ward all showing us both sides of the pilots turned astronauts as they were willing to go through the punishment and personal difficulties to become the men history will remember.

StoryThe Space Race was a story that took over America in the 60s it is easily one of the most interesting moments in modern history because of the extremes people were going to go to, to make this happen. We follow the training that the men went through, the risks that were put up to make history and the frustration of the Russians beating them over nearly accomplishment. This is easily one that will appeal to anybody who is a fan of the space race, this will give you a story you will know, but will get to enjoy unfold, if you didn’t know it, you will learn the sacrifices they took. The only problem with the story is the length of the film being over 3 hours, we don’t need the film to be that long to tell the same story.

Adventure/BiopicThe adventure behind this story comes from the real risks the men went through to become names in history, which give us the biopic side of everything too, we have the two sides working hand in hand to tell us the moment in history that changed the space race.

SettingsThe film shows us the settings which are mostly military bases and labs where the work must take place in, it is the shots from the air which show us just how heavenly space travel could be for the men involved.


Scene of the Movie –
Chuck’s new plane.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too long for the story it is telling.

Final ThoughtsThis is an incredible story of what these men went through, it shows us just how intense the space race was and the powerhouse performances helps, the only weakness is the length of the film.

 

Overall: Space Race fans must watch.

Rating

 

 

Elizabeth Olsen Weekend – Godzilla (2014) Revisited

Director: Gareth Edwards

Writer: Max Borensteing, Dave Calaham (Screenplay) Ishiro Honda, Takeo Murata, Shugeru Kayama (Character)

Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins, Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche, Carson Bolde

 

Plot: The world is beset by the appearance of monstrous creatures, but one of them may be the only one who can save humanity.


Tagline – The world ends, Godzilla begins

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Godzilla Movie

 

Story: Godzilla starts the Brody family, Joe (Cranston), Sandra (Binoche) and son Ford living in Japan where the parents work in a nuclear reactor when a disaster strikes that Joe believes he sees coming, Sandra is killed and the town is evacuated.

15-Years later Ford (Taylor-Johnson) is married to Elle (Olsen) with his own son Sam (Bolde), he serves in the military and finally under leave, when he must bail his father out of a Japanese prison and reluctantly goes into the quarantine zone in search for answers. The Brody’s learn about that something is being covered up by Dr Ishiro Serizawa (Watanabe) and that secret is about to escape becoming a threat to the world with MUTO and Joe is assigned to try and help bring the creature under control with a little help from Godzilla.

 

Thoughts on Godzilla

 

Characters – Ford Brody was raised in Japan where he lost his mother, now a solider he is used to being away from his own family, giving his father one last chance to forget about the past. Ford finds himself on a mission and journey to get from Japan back to his family in San Francisco, he somehow always ends up in the location of the attacks, doing the right thing without wanting any thank you from the people he saves. Dr Ishiro Serizawa is the man leading the investigation into the first appearance of the creatures, he has studied the cocoons they have emerged from and has ideas on how to stop them. Elle is the wife of Ford’s who is a nurse that stays in town when the attacks start in an attempt to save lives where she can, she doesn’t really do much more than this. Joe is the father of Ford that worked at the nuclear power planet which saw his wife killed, he believes there is more to what happened and is determined to figure it out, risking his life too often.

PerformancesAaron Taylor-Johnson is an actor who has gone onto do bigger projects that have tested his acting, this isn’t a film that will show off much acting, mostly because his character is so painfully average. Elizabeth Olsen suffers from this too which brings both their performances down to solid. Ken Watanabe and Bryan Cranston bring the best performances with characters we just want to see more from.

StoryThe story brings us the first chapter if the universe, without needing to make a big point about it, which is the weakness in other films, such as 2017 The Mummy. By doing this we get an introduction to Godzilla the one creature that can save humanity from another deadly creature that is using radioactive material to grow. We do have a human side to this story as we follow the military try to do battle against the creatures that are killing millions. Unlike the 1998 Godzilla we do keep the beliefs of what makes the original brilliant in the story behind their origin. The weakness in the story comes from the idea that our main human character just happens to always be in the location of the latest attack surviving against all the odds.

Action/Adventure/Sci-fiThe action in the film plays into the less is more, we get teased early on about the giant creature battles which could frustrate the fans because they will want to see them fight, but the wait for the final battle is worth it as Godzilla gets involved in one of its biggest battles to date. The adventure side of the story must be the focus on Ford and his journey home, just being unlucky when it comes to being in the middle of the battle, with the sci-fi side of the film uses the idea that the giant creatures have been created through our own human errors.

SettingsThe film does go for iconic locations which is understandable with the final battle being in San Francisco providing the watery side for Godzilla’s entrance.

Special EffectsThe film uses the effects that Gareth Edwards is most known for, the less is more idea which makes the film feel like it has the original motivation behind the attack making the fights feel real.


Scene of the Movie –
The big battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The blandness of our human characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant monster movie, that action is giant destructive and worth the wait for, while the human characters could be considered slightly bland, the beginning of this universe is worth the wait.

 

Overall: Must watch monster movie

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – O – O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (Screenplay) Homer (Poem)

Starring: George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman, Holly Hunter, Chris Thomas King, Charles Durning

 

Plot: In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.


Tagline – Sometimes, you have to lose your way to get back home

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wacky Comedy

 

Story: O Brother, Where Art Thou? Starts when three prisoners Everett (Clooney), Pete (Turturro) and Delmar (Nelson) escape from prison, going on a race across country in search of a treasure before it goes for good.

Along the way the three must figure out how to stay ahead of the law which puts them in a series of comical events along the way until they run into a salesman Big Dan Teague (Goodman) who is puts them against their match.

 

Thoughts on O Brother, Where Art Thou?

 

Characters – Everett is the brains of the three, he isn’t the strongest with this either, he tries to keep the guys together as they need to stay away from the law, he pushes them to take risks along the way too. Pete is the other fellow escapee that wants to be in charge, he will follow Everett as long as he can follow his dreams to get to the money. Delmar is the dumbest member of the group he makes all the mistakes along the way putting the friends in a bigger problem in search for the money. Big Dan is one of the many characters they meet along the way, one that makes a big impact on the adventure.

PerformancesGeorge Clooney is good in the leading role, going against the typecast of a pretty guy which he has been making a reputation for himself, John Turturro showed us once again that he can make any role work well, with Tim Blake Nelson getting the best lines which shows he can hang with the biggest names in Hollywood. The rest of the cast do bring us plenty of the laughs with the extremes of the characters.

StoryThe story follows three criminals in search of treasure and their hapless journey across country to locate it. They meet a string of colourfully people along the way, some who help and others than hinder.  This does follow the trends of comedy films which leaves our character into a mixed of events to make a simple journey never going the way they are planning them to. We do get a few twists along the way which change our opinions on the characters too.

Adventure/Crime/ComedyThe adventure takes our three convicts across country meeting the colourful characters along the way, this shows us the criminal world they are from and dealing with the people from, we also get the comedy involved in the film from just what happens along the way.

SettingsThe settings take us across a string of different Southern America towns which plays into he backward way of thinking the people in the area would have.


Scene of the Movie –
The KKK rescue.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t see enough of the lawman after them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wacky crime comedy that will see people in the audience laugh at times, it will however turn people in the audience off too.

 

Overall: Crime comedy with enough laughs along the way.

Rating

 

 

Deliverance (1972)

Director: John Boorman

Writer: James Dickey (Screenplay) James Dickey (Novel)

Starring: Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox, Ed Ramey, Billy Redden

 

Plot: Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it’s turned into one huge lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a river-rafting trip they’ll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.


Tagline –  Four men ride a wild river. A weekend turns into a nightmare.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Intense Thriller

 

Story: Deliverance starts when four city man Ed (Voight), Lewis (Reynolds), Bobby (Beatty) and Drew (Cox) head to the Cahulawassee river for a river-rafting trip down the river before the river is turned into a lake, Lewis leads the group being an outdoors man.

What seems like a pleasant enough trip takes a brutal turn when the locals force themselves on Bobby before Lewis kills one of them. The friends now face a race against time to make it out of the wilderness before the rest come for revenge in the deadliest chase of their lives.

 

Thoughts on Deliverance

 

Characters – Lewis is the outdoors man of the group, he is close friends with Ed and you feel like they have been on many an adventure together. He has the plans for the trip believing he doesn’t need to ask for help and when their backs are against the wall he must step up. Ed is the linchpin between the friends, the one they turn to when things are not going their way for advice and almost comfort, he does witness the attack on Bobby, left helpless to only watch. Bobby is an insurance salesman that joins the trip, he clearly isn’t used to being in the outdoors and goes through the worst ordeal of them all. Drew is the final member of the group or tries to play the morale and legal compass when things get out of hand.

PerformancesThe performances here give us four of the best actors of a generation at different stages of their careers, they are all fantastic in what they do too. Jon Voight stands above them all, but you can’t deny they shine in the moments they need too.

StoryThe story keeps things very simple, four friends go on an adventure rafting trip only for a peaceful trip to turn into a nightmare as they are attacked and hunted down by the local hillbillies. We have a moral discussion about what to do when you murder to protect yourself, seeing how difficult it can be for one man to get pushed to the limits of needing to take a life and an environmental discussion around the ideas of what would happen when rivers are being turned into lakes. This is one of those movies where the story never needs to get complicated, you truly believe the peril the characters are in too.

Adventure/ThrillerThe adventure the friends go on, takes out characters on a rafting trip, one that was meant for pure happiness and endurance, they got the endurance, but a race against time too. We are kept on the edge of our seats from the moment the attack happened, because we don’t know how many people are going to be looking to hunt them down.

SettingsThe film takes place in the wilderness of the American countryside, this is used for the beauty of the settings and the peril of the situation with the nature and the locals being the threat.


Scene of the Movie –
The clifftop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel like there would be bigger scars after what happened to Bobby.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the greatest thriller to ever be made, it has four excellent performances and shows that we can have horror in moments that should be calm.

 

Overall: Brilliant from start to finish.

Rating