Toy Story 4 (2019)

Director: Josh Cooley

Writer: Andrew Stanton, Stephany Folsom (Screenplay) John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Josh Cooley, Valerie LaPointe, Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Martin Hynes, Stephany Folsom (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Keanu Reeves, Annie Potts, Joan Cusack, Tony Hale, Madeleine McGraw

 

Plot: When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.


Tagline – On The Road Of Life, There Are Old Friends, New Friends, And Stories That Change You

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Cash Grab Sequel

 

Story: Toy Story 4 starts as we see how the toys are now living with Bonnie, Woody is starting to get ignored more with her enjoyment of Jessie getting stronger, with Bonnie starting Kindergarten Woody goes against orders of the room to help her in class, where she builds a new toy called Forky out of trash.

Forky becomes her favourite toy and Woody wants to do everything he can to stop him running away, when the family goes on a road trip, Forky escapes forcing Woody to rescue him once again, on the rescue attempt Woody finds himself investigating an antique store which could have an old friend in Bo Peep in, only to find the toy living in the store Gabby Gabby searching for something, forcing Woody to team up with Bo and new friends to save Forky and get back to Bonnie in time.

 

Thoughts on Toy Story 4

 

Characters – Woody is struggling with not being in control of the room anymore, he still wants to help make Bonnie happy, which sees him acting selfishly, he does try to fix his own mistakes which will see him facing a second chance, meeting an old friend and distancing himself from his current friends. Woody is the key figure in this film, this is very much his story. Forky is the newly created toy out of a spork and is learning everything as it unfolds even though he believes he is trash. Buzz Lightyear is trying to step up when Woody goes off, he does feel like a bigger idiot than we are used to, using his voice commands to help him, which seems like a huge step back on his character. Bo Peep coming back to the franchise is fun, she shows Woody a new life away from kids, where she helps toys, she is Woody’s big love in life too, kick ass fighter too. Gabby Gabby is an older toy like Woody, she has been damaged and is searching for something to hope she can be taken home one day, she is painted as the villain, though she is the weakest villain in the franchise. Duke Caboom is the best addition to the film a stuntman that has failed as a toy, he is always up for trying something new and is filled with confidence.

StoryThe story here follows Woody trying to find himself a place in the world after becoming a smaller part in the life of his new owner Bonnie, he gets too involved and spends most of the story trying to make up for his mistake of letting Bonnie create a new toy, caught in the middle saving the day or breaking free. Now this is the 4th part of the franchise which did tie up nicely after the third one. The supporting characters do take a big back burner in the story which even sees Buzz getting less screen time, this is a full Woody story trying to figure out where his life is going on next. We do try to play on the heart strings, though it just doesn’t get to the levels it could have and has been there before. The new characters to bring the bright spark to the story, but we do end up going down the road, where this is becoming too unbelievable that these toys are acting like this.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure side of this film comes from the idea that Woody will need to go on a new adventure to save Forky, only to see Buzz on his own adventure which does cross paths with Woody, only his feels like a simple side to everything. the comedy from the new characters hits very well, its just old character seem to fall short.

SettingsHaving the film use an Antique story is great idea because we get to see known toys that could add comedy in places, the carnival also adds potential new characters too.

AnimationThe animation is Pixar at its very best, it looks perfect like we know they are used to bring us, bringing us larger scale environment to everything going on.


Scene of the Movie –
Duke Caboom.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Buzz seems to be dumber.

Final ThoughtsThis does end up feeling like a cash grab sequel, it doesn’t have the heart the previous films do and fails to use the original characters well enough.

 

Overall: By the books sequel.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – T – The Tiger: An Old Hunter’s Tale (2015)

Director: Hoon-Jung Park

Writer: Hoon-Jung Park (Screenplay)

Starring: Min-sik Choi, Man-sik Jeong, Sang-ho Kim, Eun-woo Le, Ren Osugi

 

Plot: While the Kingdom of Korea is under occupation by the Japanese, an old and experienced hunter is challenged by the hunt of the last tiger.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 19 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Difficult Watch

 

Story: The Tiger: An Old Hunter’s Tale starts as we see how the Japanese have taken part of Korea, the soldiers are being killed off in the forest though, not by people, but by tigers. Goo-gyeong (Jeong) is charged with taking a team to hunt down the tigers.

Facing a tiger smarter than they had come up against before, the task falls on lone hunter Chun Man-duk (Choi) a hunter with decades of experience who has countless kills to his name to free his son.

 

Thoughts on The Tiger: An Old Hunter’s Tale

 

Characters – Chun Man-duk is a brilliant hunter, he knows the forest and will catch anything he sets his mind too, he has respect and will not resort to traps to capture the animals. Goo-gyeong is the man tasked with tracking down the tigers, he uses the traps and catches all bar the alpha that uses its intelligence to stay ahead of hunter. He puts countless lives at risk to capture this tiger.

PerformancesMin-sik Choi seems to be an actor I am watching a lot recently, he is a wonderfully talented actor and h shows his range he once again. Man-sik Jeong is also great at the military man leading a hunt with no remorse.

StoryThis story follows the battle between men and a tiger during war time, we follow to hunters, one that uses the dirty tricks, while the other does things with honour. The tiger itself is out for revenge on the people that kill his family. While this is difficult to watch because it is solely based on hunting an animal down, it does try to play into the idea that the mountain will choose who lives and who dies. We get the connection between the tiger and the hunters, which at times comes of a respect and other times pure hatred towards each other.

Action/Adventure/HistoryThe action sequences when tackling the tiger killing as many men as possible are brutal to watch and seem close to the bear scene in the Revenant. The history of this film comes into question as, you are left to wonder if this is based on the real events.

SettingsThe mountain setting shows us the scale of the land the tiger could be roaming in, it is filled with beauty and peril around every corner.

Special EffectsThe effects are the hardest part of this film, you couldn’t really have a real tiger for this and the CGI job is difficult and you can tell.


Scene of the Movie –
Tiger rampage.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The hunting sequences are hard to watch.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beauty story even if it is difficult to watch, showing man and animal can leave next to each other in peace, but war tries to take this away from them.

 

Overall: Thought Provoking movie

Rating

 

 

Men in Black: International (2019)

Director: F. Gary Gray

Writer: Matt Holloway, Art Marcum (Screenplay) Lowell Cunningham (Characters)

Starring: Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, Rebecca Ferguson, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Kumail Nanjiani

 

Plot: The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.


Tagline – The Universe is Expanding

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lifeless

 

Story: Men in Black: International starts as we see the mission which made Agent High T (Neeson) and Agent H (Hemsworth) famous before meeting Molly (Tessa Thompson) who has been trying to find her way to the Men in Black, proving herself to be a useful asset that Agent O (Emma Thompson) gives a chance to.

Sending Molly under the name Agent M to London, she works with Agent H to uncover the why a dangerous species has arrived on Earth, with a connection to one of the deadliest enemies The Hive, can Agent H show Agent M the ropes to save the world once again?

 

Thoughts on Men in Black: International

 

Characters – Agent H is known as one of the most famous agents in the Men in Black, he uses his swagger to get the job done, seeming to be lucky over good, he almost feels more like a James Bond figure over any other agent we have seen before, his reputation has put him above other agents, but others see him not reaching the promised potential. Agent M, has been trying to find the Men in Black after an encounter as a child, she has applied to every law enforcement agency in America, not getting any luck even after being offered jobs, she has her own way to hunt potential alien visits, until she finds the Men in Black, she gets offered a chance, with her first assignment in London, to work with that branch which leaves her working with Agent H, trying to save the world, left in a position we aren’t sure who to trust like her. This is a strange character because she starts out being all about independent strong woman and soon just gives this up for a guy she fancies. Pawny is one of the aliens that ends up working with H and M, he gets all the laughs and is easily the best part of the movie. Agent O runs the New York branch, she reluctantly gives Molly a chance to prove herself, unlike any system the team has done for recruitment. Agent High T is the former partner of H, they saved the world once, he will always stick up for H after his mistakes, being like a father figure to him. Riza is a former lover and alien arms dealer, she does have a beauty figure that could get what she wants.

PerformancesThis is the hardest part of this review, we have some of my favourite actors in this film and they are exposed to their weaknesses through this film. Chris Hemsworth has been able to handle comedy with ease before, only he does well with his character, only it feels like his character shouldn’t be acting like this. Tessa Thompson starts well, only to just being generic throughout the film. Emma Thompson is just not used enough and Liam Neeson is involved enough to impact the main story. Kumail Nanjiani brings the jokes, showing he knows comedy being the highlight in the film.

StoryThe story follows a rookie MIB agent that finds herself in the middle of the battle to save the universe when visitors are searching for something on Earth. This is where everything does seem to fall apart for this movie, the story is painfully weak and flawed all over the place. we get confusing main characters, who lack the spark the original pairing had, the character don’t even feel like real agents either, granted one is new, but we have always been led to believe they are strict and well behaved. The story going on is hard to get invested in because of the direction it goes through, we don’t get to care about the characters which only makes the big scenes lack that it factor. It does end up feeling like a story which goes, here is one location, head to this location and then another location.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Sci-FiThe action involved in the film is very basic, we get the chases and minor fight and one moment that includes too many guns, the adventure does take our agents around the world, hence the international name tagged to the film. the comedy misses on nearly every level, if it wasn’t for Pawny, it would have failed completely. The aliens are here and while what the alien twins can do are interesting to see, only we don’t get anything new.

SettingsWe get the easy location around the world, New York, Paris, London etc, we get an international feeling which is all needed.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are strong throughout with the alien twins getting the most use out of them with their unique look.


Scene of the Movie –
Pawny

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is painfully predictable.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple addition to the Men in Black franchise, which does waste the talents of the people involved to give us one of the most predictable movies you will ever see.

 

Overall: Use the Neuralyzer.

Rating

 

 

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

Director: Ava DuVernay

Writer: Jennifer Lee, Jeff Stockwell (Screenplay) Madeleine L’Engle (Novel)

Starring: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Chris Pine, Guge Mbatha-Raw, Zach Galifianakis

 

Plot: After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.


Tagline – Be a warrior

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dragging Adventure

 

Story: A Wrinkle in Time starts when a trouble high school student Meg (Reid) hasn’t given up hope on being reunited with her father Mr Murry (Pine) after his sudden disappearance. Meg has become closed off from the world with her adopted brother Charles Wallace (McCabe) noticing the change in her. Meg, Charles and Calvin (Miller) get visited by Mrs Whatsit (Witherspoon) that opens up the possibilities for answers.

Mrs Whatsit takes the three children on an adventure through the universe with Mrs Which (Winfrey) and Mrs Who (Kaling), who believe they can locate Mr Murry after his research has taken him across the universe unlike anyone in human history.

 

Thoughts on A Wrinkle in Time

 

Characters – Meg is an outsider teenage girl, daughter of two brilliant scientists, with her father disappeared for four years now. She went from the popular out going girl to the shy closed off one. she has never given up hope of finding her father, which does leave questions about her relationship with her mother, she gets a chance to find her father with the will she shows in her heart. Mrs Which leads the three light entities that can help Meg travel the universe to find her father, she isn’t just guiding Meg, but the newest member of the team Mrs Whatsit. Mrs Whatsit is the bubbly member of the light entities, she is on her first mission of guidance which does see her make mistakes along the way. Mrs Who is the third member of the team, she is always positive like the rest only she gets the least amount of time to do anything of the three. Mr Murry is the father that has gone missing, he is a brilliant scientist that has always believed in travel through the universe to be possible and has been searching for a way to achieve. Calvin is the high school friend of Meg that ends up on the journey, he wants to support her even when it shows his own weakness in the world.

PerformancesStorm Reid is the highlight of the film which sees her going on the adventure to find her father, this is a disappointing as we do have a talent cast, only they just don’t seem to shine on the levels you would expect them to reach.

StoryThe story here follows a teenage girl that gets to do on an adventure across the universe in search for her father through the powers of light entities. This is a story that has come from a popular novel and is meant to show the science behind potential travel through the universe and how the power is within us all. This is a story that just drags along, it doesn’t offer anything to the world we are entering. This story could have so much potential and ends up just glossing over too much, making it a hard watch.

Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe adventure side of the film shows the journey that takes the children across the universe to see just where one’s father has gone, this does show us the fantasy elements of the film in the sci-fi universe we end up going along.

SettingsThe film is set in a fictional land where the people can travel to unknown planets in the universe, each one has its own unique look.

Special EffectsThe visual effects used to create the different worlds look beautiful, only they don’t seem to make anything feel as important to the story.


Scene of the Movie –
Understand other people’s problems from behind closed doors.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This story just doesn’t become interesting.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that had so much potential only to fall so short, it has an amazing cast that just don’t get a chance to shine, the story just doesn’t get us going like it should do.

 

Overall: Disappointing.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – M – Monster Hunt (2015)

Director: Raman Hui

Writer: Alan Yuen (Screenplay)

Starring: Baihe Bai, Boran Jing, Wu Jiang, Elaine Jin, Wallace Chung, Eric Tsang

 

Plot: In an ancient world where monsters rule the land while humans keep to their own kingdom, a baby monster, Wuba, is born to a human father and monster queen. When mortals and creatures alike set out to capture the newborn, Wuba’s adventure begins. The cute baby monster Huba is the child of a human man and a monster queen, threatened by both monster-hating humans and monsters attempting to capture the new-born in an ancient world based on medieval China.


Tagline – The monsters just got bigger

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun, But Doesn’t Translate Well

 

Story: Monster Hunt starts as we enter the ancient world where monsters rule and are now in the middle of a civil war, the Queen in on the run to save her baby which lands her to the path of humans, Song Tianyin (Jing) and Huo Xiaolan (Bai), she passes her baby to Song to protect from the people who are hunting it.

The two set off on their adventure to keep the young baby monster Wubu safe in an attempt to return him to his father when both monsters and humans are chasing them down.

 

Thoughts on Monster Hunt

 

Characters – Huo Xiaolan is one of the two people given the responsibility to look after the new royal baby, she takes it with her travelling partner, she does seem to be the brains between the two and equally capable in combat. Song Tianyin is the other travelling partner, he is impregnated by the queen and takes responsibility for the baby, comes off as the butt of the jokes more often than not. Along the way we do meet a host of colourful characters which are after the prince for their own reasons.

PerformancesThe performances from the whole cast are good throughout, Baihe Bai and Boran Jing work very well together and have wonderful chemistry between the pair.

StoryThe story brings us into the world of monsters and humans where the next generation of one species is being bought into the world that is being hunted down only to be guarded by a couple of humans. This does everything you would come to expect when it comes to returning a lost child to their family, it does show us how the people need to learn to overcome their own problems to become the person they were meant to be.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is good throughout the film with a mix of combats going on, the adventure takes our characters on out of their comfort zone to achieve the mission, with the fantasy elements of the film being used to show us monsters and humans together.

SettingsThe film takes place in ancient China which works but also hinders this for the world cinema.

Special EffectsThe effects are good in the film and concept behind the creations can be seen working in the real world.


Scene of the Movie –
Th final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It did get confusing at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is one for the fans of the monster hunter idea, it does show character developments on the journey and the adventure feels like a must for the peace of the world.

 

Overall: Simple and fun throughout even if it can be hard to keep up with.

Rating