McLaren (2017)

Director: Roger Donaldson

Writer: James Brown, Matthew Metcalfe, Glenn Standring, Tim Woodhouse

Plot: The story of Bruce McLaren, the New Zealander who founded the McLaren Motor Racing team. A man who showed the world that a man of humble beginnings could take on the elite of motor racing and win.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Documentary

Story: McLaren starts by showing us how Bruce McLaren was born to a family that enjoyed racing in New Zealand, this would see him being given a huge opportunity where Bruce would get a drive in Formula One, joining the Cooper team, becoming the youngest race winner in a championship winning team.

After proving himself in a car including winning the most difficult race in Monaco, Bruce learns that the sport isn’t as friendly after his first major accident, returning he sees one of his closest friends killed before deciding to make his own team McLaren in a new location America, where they would make better money from the sport. With his new success in design his racing career continued to shine, only he own personal illness struggled to improve giving him personal pain on a daily basis.

Thoughts on McLaren

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at one of the pioneers in motor racing, it showed that with talent came commitment, we do get to see parts of his racing career, which is all fascinating to see, though it does only seem to follow the positives from his racing career, minus the one big accident. We don’t get a full look at his formula one career and racing career around the world, instead focusing more on his ability to look to design a successful car in the sport. This does show how hard he went to work on becoming different from the financially more secure teams. The weaknesses in the film come from certain moments of editing which seem to show the film almost stop before heading to the next scene. This will show the basics of one of the most important people in motor sport, but doesn’t show us enough of what could have been seen from a documentary about in important career.

Overall: Interesting, but not as big of a documentary as it could have been.


ABC Film Challenge – Catch Up 2019 – F – Fyre (2019) Movie Review

Director: Chris Smith

Plot: An exclusive behind the scenes look at the infamous unraveling of the Fyre music festival.

Tagline – The Greatest Party That Never Happened.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Eye Opening

Story: Fyre starts by showing how Billy McFarland worked with his partner Ja Rule to create a new app known as Fyre which could give people a chance to book talent for private events, to launch this they buy an island in the Bahamas to host a show for 10,000 people, advertising with the best in the world, bringing some of the top supermodels in the world to promote the event.

As the event is coming up the organisers must fix the problems, which includes finding an island, arranging accommodation for the guests and seeing how the people involved tried to stop the problems, before the event, they simply weren’t prepared for. Seeing how bad the preparations was, reflects just how bad the time everything was, including just how difficult the money was for the staff, let alone the talent coming to the festival.

Then we get to the start of the festival everyone involved knows it is going to end badly and the guests find themselves being sold on something they weren’t sold on, no luxury and barely any food or resources, becoming one of the biggest frauds in social media history.

Thoughts on Fyre

Final Thoughts This documentary does show us just how social media created one of the biggest frauds in music festival history, it is interesting to see just how everybody who was involved in different aspects was sold on the idea that it would work and they were all excellent at their jobs, seeing it as a contract, even when they saw it failing they were left without an option but to continue on with job. It is amazing to see just how social media influenced people into attending this festival, that on paper when it came to the music, nothing was that special, the luxury around it did at least show us how only the wealthier would have been effected rather than the budgeted people, outside of the people who lived and worked on the island that will never see their money. The one big negative from this documentary, would be seeing just how bad the conditions were, like full sequences and stories of the time at the festival, we don’t learn to much about the people that were victims of the fraud. The most important message to take from this documentary would be just how influential social media can be to people that will believe anything that gets offered up to them.

Overall: Essential Documentary.

Film School Africa (2017) Movie Review

Director: Nathan Pfaff

Plot: A Hollywood casting director leaves her lucrative career behind in order to teach filmmaking to youth in an impoverished community in South Africa. In an environment resistant towards art and film, the students learn the true power and impact of storytelling.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Inspiring

Story: Film School Africa starts as Hollywood Casting Director Katie Taylor heads to South Africa to teach filmmaking to a neighbourhood that would never normally get this opportunity, by starting this small project, Katie manages to open up the lives of the students, who have been through their own tough times, ones they would never have spoken about, translating this to film.

While the project started small it grows into something that would help develop a new generation of filmmakers, giving people motivation to do something incredible, just with a simple opportunity.

Thoughts on Film School Africa

Final Thoughts This is a documentary that does show the importance of giving people a chance, it shows how one American went into a neighbourhood where the people, the young people or children were never given opportunities to be filmmakers and reshaping how the people were giving chances, breaking down barriers the people never imagined. This documentary shows that you can give people hope, they can make something of themselves, not just for a career, as a person who learns that opening up is important in life. This proves that in a world where we have so many creative minds, it only takes a chance to unlock the potential, which will always give us a chance to see new ideas. One side of the world that the documentary isn’t afraid to hide away from is the racial divide, we do see both the black and white members of the school understanding the mistakes made in the past, that will still take time to heel, but the more they work together, they can learn to build a future together.

Overall: Inspirational.

The White Massai Warrior (2019) Movie Review

Director: Benjamin Eicher

Writer: Peter Eicher (Screenplay)

Plot: Southern Kenya and northern Tanzania are home to the Massai, one of the world’s last great warrior tribes. They are considered the most courageous and dangerous hunters in Africa and live isolated from any civilization. For the first time a man gets the chance to live with the Massai and join their infamous Massai Warrior School. Never before has a white man been invited to experience this experience.

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Basic Documentary

Story: The White Massai Warrior starts as Benjamin Eicher has been invited to join and document the Massai Warriors in South Kenya and North Tanzania, a tribe that is completely one with nature, they sleep in the wilderness, protect the wildlife and don’t have any modern luxuries.

Benjamin and his crew will slowly learn to be part of the tribe, which sees the playful side of the tribe, before getting into the more traditional ways, this is a month-long journey for Benjamin and his crew.

Thoughts on The White Massai Warrior

Final Thoughts This is a documentary that wants to put the spotlight on a once deadly tribe or warriors who have turned into protectors of nature instead of fierce hunters they were once known for. This does have the beautiful nature shots, which are always going to make any film in nature look wonderful. On the more negative or warning side of the film, the animal slaughter is far too much for the documentary and could easily be mentioned not shown. There are elements of this documentary that do feel more staged than a natural feel, which is meant to be implied with how everything has come from. This does give us the important look at how smaller tribes are still operating around the world, but never reaches the heights it could do.

Overall: By the Book Documentary.

Rapid Response (2019) Movie Review

Director: Roger Hinze, Michael William Miles

Plot: In 1966 Medical student and racing fan Stephen Olvey gets the opportunity of a lifetime when he is asked to volunteer at the Indianapolis 500 on their medical team. What started as fun insider view of a sport he loved quickly devolves before his eyes as he sees the level of medical support given to the drivers, whom he has befriended, is terrifyingly non-existent. After feeling helpless at the scene of what turns out to be a fatal accident. Dr. Olvey sets off on a mission to build a team to apply science to transform motorsports from the most fatal form of sport to one of the safest. Over the next 30 years they succeed and the science that they develop influences modern trauma medicine and the passenger cars we drive today. This is the story of the most fatal era in Motorsports and the Indy 500 doctors who pioneered safety and helped the drivers to cheat death. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Essential Viewing for Racing Fans

Story: Rapid Response starts as we meet racing fan Stephen Olvey, he has watch racing for years in the 1950s, where he does witness the deaths of his favourite drivers and wants to become one himself, his father talks him out of this decision, by studying medicine instead, where he took a volunteered to work on the medical staff on the races, helping with the accidents the drivers are involved in the Indianapolis 500.

As the reputation behind the team grows, the drivers push for the change and with Stephen working with fellow doctors they look to improve the condition of the safety procedures, which continued to improve over the years despite the obstacles that were thrown in their path.

Thoughts on Rapid Response

Final Thoughts As a racing fan, the one thing you never want to see is anybody injured because of an accident, this was not always the case and if you look back through the history of the sport we have seen ourselves the lowering number of death or serious injuries. This documentary shows us over the 50 years the improvements made in preventing injuries, learning from the past mistakes, with the doctors working with the drivers, teams and promotors that could make this happen. We do have the clips of the tragic accidents, which do show us just how dangerous the sport was before the safety plans were put into operation. We do only see how the plans were placed into the American side of motor racing, while we have seen the same idea implemented in many other sports including Formula One. This does put the spotlight on two men Stephen Olvey and Terry Trammell that have saved many careers with their work and they should praised for their work too. Any sports fan will enjoy watching this because it is always important to see just how hard the people in the sport have worked to keep the sport entertaining, while also being safe.

Overall: Sports Fans Watch.

London Screenings:

September 6, 7, 8 at 18:00 at the Prince Charles Cinema in London.