First Man (2018)

Director: Damien Chazelle

Writer: Josh Singer (Screenplay) James R Hansen (Book)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Corey Stoll, Pablo Schreiber, Christopher Abbot, Ethan Embry, Ciaran Hinds, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler

 

Plot: A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969.


Tagline – Experience the impossible journey to the Moon.

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Biopic

 

Story: First Man starts as we see how Neil Armstrong (Gosling) can solve problems in flight with one of his test mission to the limits of the atmosphere going wrong before he saved it, we meet his family wife Janet (Foy) and children Richard and Karen, we see how they suffered a tragic loss of young Karen, which drove him to apply to become an astronaut.

We follow the astronaut training program which showed Neil’s abilities to solve problems even after seeing his friends around him lose their lives to the pursuit of space. We follow up to the legendary mission he will always been known for as he was the first man to walk on the moon.

 

Thoughts on First Man

 

Characters – These characters are and were real people, Neil Armstrong is always going to be remembered as the first man to walk on the moon, we see how this shy man managed to overcome his own personal tragedies to achieve this as we see how he reacts and deals with everything that gets thrown at him until he made history. Janet is his wife, she also suffers through the tragedies, she will give Neil all the support he needs to make sure he will keep his promises to come home, we mostly watch how she must keep the life for their children normal and calm. Edward Higgins White is one of the fellow astronauts, one that becomes close friends with him through the training and the program, he is the one that will offer a shoulder if Neil ever needed it. We meet many famous names from the astronaut programs each gets there moment, we know Buzz Aldrin was onboard Apollo 11 and of the other big named astronauts we know Jim Lovell from the Apollo 13 mission.

PerformancesRyan Gosling gives us a magnificent performance as the icon of astronauts, he shows us how shy, timid and genius Neil was, never making him a cocky man, this simple performance makes you understand each emotion he is going through. Claire Foy sets away from the small screen to give us a flawless performance as the wife who must remain strong, but dealing with anxiety of the unknown through each mission. The rest of the cast are great through the film, each actor gets to pay the respect to the man they are performing as.

StoryThe story here follows Neil Armstrong’s life from 1961 to his moon landing in 1969. We do have plenty of interesting aspects to his life, be it the battle to remain strong after his daughter’s death or the feeling of proving himself worthy of being part of the astronaut program. While these are all wonderful to watch, they do feel like they are being told, like, this is what happened here, then this, then this and so on. It never feels like a smooth story and the movie does make out that Neil was an excellent astronaut, but terrible PR man, he didn’t do anything stupid or risky, he lack charisma that other astronauts had, he was just the right choice for the job. The biggest warning you must have before going in, is that this does follow his life over the space program, yes, we do have parts of the space program and they are the most entertaining parts, but we also follow his life away from this.

Biopic/History8 years in the life of the most iconic man to go into space, we see his lowest point in his life, to the crowning achievement, nobody can ever take away from him. The history side of the film shows us the key moments in the space race, if you know the basics you will know these moments.

SettingsThe film recreates the settings brilliantly, be it the world around the space race, or the cockpits the astronauts get rammed into with little space for any freedom on these deadly missions.

Special EffectsThe effects are mesmerizing, when we are in space we are left stunned by the beauty of the views these men had. The film is also used to make it feel like it is shot for the same time the events took place.


Scene of the Movie –
Apollo 11

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many close ups.

Final ThoughtsAs a space race fan this manages to shed new light on the man who made history, it gave us brilliant performance, effects and shows us there was more behind the man than just the icon.

 

Overall: Must watch biopic.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Horror – I – I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016)

Director: Billy O’Brien

Writer: Billy O’Brien, Christopher Hyde (Screenplay) Dan Wells (Novel)

Starring: Max Records, Christopher Lloyd, Laura Fraser, Christina Baldwin, Karl Geary, Dee Noah

 

Plot: In a small Midwestern town, a troubled teen with homicidal tendencies must hunt down and destroy a supernatural killer whilst keeping his own inner demons at bay.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Chilling Horror Drama

 

Story: I Am Not a Serial Killer starts as we meet high school student and son of a coroner John Cleaver (Records) who does help with mother April’s (Fraser) work, but John is a troubled young man having being diagnosed as a psychopath by his doctor Neblin (Geary).

When his small town starts having a serial killer active and the bodies start adding up. When Max discovers who the killer is Mr Crowley (Lloyd) he starts to learn that not everything is as simple as him being a serial killer and the two end up getting involved in a game of cat and mouse.

 

Thoughts on I Am Not a Serial Killer

 

Characters – John Wayne Cleave is the young man with a troubled mind, he has been diagnosed as a psychopath but he isn’t going to give into his homicidal thoughts but when he learns about a serial killer he sets out to try and stop him. Mr Crowley is the serial killer in question, an old man from the neighbourhood who doesn’t look like he could overpower anyone but there is something different about him. April is John’s mother that also is the town’s coroner which gives John an understand of human anatomy.

PerformanceMax Records gives us a wonderful performance in the leading role for an actor so young and who has been away from the business for about five years. Christopher Lloyd gives us a chilling performance and one you wouldn’t have put him down for after his comedic turns through the years. Laura Fraser is good but doesn’t get too much time to do too much.

StoryThe story of a young man discovering a serial killer and trying to stay ahead of them has been seen before but this film takes things in a new direction as the young man is battling to stop his homicidal ways. The idea is smart and doesn’t go at a fast pace instead keeps us wanting to see where it will all unfold and just what is the killers secret.

Horror/ThrillerWe have a serial killer but not like one you would expect here, we have one that will kill in ways you wouldn’t expect their body to be able to, which does keep us on edge as we wait to see what will happen next.

SettingsThe small-town setting helps this film because it shows that not everyone you think you will know is just who they thought they would be.

Special EffectsThe effects are great, with most being from a distant until the final parts which look fantastic up close and personal.

Scene of the Movie – Discovering the truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Can be slow in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a smart take on a serial killer/creature movie that does keep us guessing along the way and does have a dark and rewarding conclusion.

 

Overall: One for the horror fans

Rating

 

 

Covadonga (2017)

Director: Sean Hartofilis

Writer: Sean Hartofilis (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Hartofilis, Lindsey Dumont, George Hartofilis, Matthew Montemaro, Phoenix Catherine

 

Plot: Mourning his wife and their stolen life at a secluded lake house, Martin Ravin watches a tipsy young couple commandeer his canoe. Only the boy returns to shore. As Martin’s dark past starts haunting his present, we’re left to wonder if his crusade is exacting justice or simply transmitting a tragic history.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 11 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Engaging Story

 

Story: Covadonga starts as we meet Martin (Sean Hartofilis), living alone in a lake house while grieving the loss of his wife Maggie (Dumont), he keeps himself busy with songs and housework dealing with things his own way.

Martin’s peace is shattered when a drunk young couple arrive to use his canoe, but when only the boy returns, Martin brings out a darker side one he has been hiding away from the world.

 

Thoughts on Covadonga

 

Characters – Martin lives alone in mourning for his late wife, he is going through his own process, which includes singing a lot of songs, keeping the lake house clean and remembering how special his wife was to him. He does have a darker side to his behaviour when he sees a crime committed on his land. The film mostly revolves around him, the only other characters we meet are the local detective, the boy who doesn’t return with the girl and the ghost of his wife.

PerformancesSean Hartofilis is the star on front and behind the camera, writing producing, having his hand in everything, he is the strongest part of the film giving us a performance we can both admire because we sympathise with his characters mindset. The supporting performances are good and help get the best out of Sean.

StoryThe story here shows the struggle one man is having with the loss of his wife, living isolated away from people. Most of the story he just watching him go about his time, which is interesting to see, things do change when he believes he sees a crime by a couple of drunk teenagers and watching him figure out what to do with the boy is interesting as he balances his mindset. As we said there isn’t too much more to the story, it just focuses on the ideas of how people can deal with losing a loved one and that is all it needs to be.

SettingsThe film is set at the lake house, which keeps the film feeling isolated like Martin and shows how the truth can be lost in the darkness of the night.


Scene of the Movie –
The songs.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is slightly too short.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice treat of a film, it gives us a look at grief with wonderful songs, it shows how the mind can change after loss, one that will grab your attention for the complete runtime.

 

Overall: Delightful treat of a movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – E – Exit Humanity (2011)

Director: John Geddes

Writer: John Geddes (Screenplay)

Starring: Brian Cox, Mark Gibson, Dee Wallace, Bill Moseley, Stephen McHattie, Jordan Hayes

 

Plot: A young man’s struggle to survive in the aftermath of a deadly undead outbreak during the American Civil War.


Tagline – History has a violent way of repeating itself.

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow, But Enjoyable Zombie Movie

 

Story: Exit Humanity starts during the civil war, where Edward Young (Gibson) battled but the war bought the rise of the undead which Edward has battled successfully until they get his family, looking to get across country to spread his son’s ashes he sets out alone.

Along the way he meets a fellow survivor who has been battling General Williams (Moseley) and his men including Medic Johnson (McHattie) who believe they can control the undead, so know teaming with Isaac (Seybold) he sets out on helping him defeat these evil men, all while being narrated but Malcolm Young (Voiced by Cox).

 

Thoughts on Exit Humanity

 

Characters – Malcolm Young is our narrator, he tells the story like he is writing it in a book, Edward Young is the man who fought in the Civil War but now lives in an undead infested land where he loses his family but now he fights the undead in a quest to put his son’s ashes to rest. Eve is a lone woman living in the woods, she is believed to be a witch which built her reputation for the locals, she opens her doors to Edward and his party. General Williams is the man that believes there is a cure, but his evil ways lead to them experimenting on the living to find it. Medic Johnson is Williams’ doctor who performs these experiments.

PerformancesThe performances from the cast are good, we have the horror icons in Dee Wallace, Bill Moseley and Stephen McHattie that give us good performances throughout. Brian Cox narrating is engaging throughout while Mark Gibson as our lead is good with all the bigger named actors.

StoryThe story here is a zombie one, which we have seen plenty off, but it does take place in a Civil War era, which is an original spin on it. We have the journey our hero goes on, a villain that would end it and as always someone looking for a cure. The story is also told in chapter as if it was read from a book and strangely the narration side of the story being told in more interesting than the acting side of everything unfolding.

HorrorThe horror is a zombie world where the humans seem to be the bigger enemy, which works but isn’t on the scary factor.

SettingsThe film is set in the Civil War era, so we don’t have big strong structures for safety we are in the woods with our characters needing to find a way to survive without the ammunition the modern zombie films would have.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well which is mostly practical as we see how the zombies are created to fit the time.


Scene of the Movie –
I liked how the opening was narrated to us.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does feel like a long movie, with the muted action sequences.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting take on the zombie genre, it places us into a different era with the same threat but does feel at times like it is being told as something one of the great poets would have written in the era.

 

Overall: This is an interesting if take on the genre even if slightly too slow.

Rating

 

 

 

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Before Midnight (2013)

Director: Richard Linklater

Writer: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke (Screenplay) Richard Linklater, Kim Krizan (Story)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

 

Plot: We meet Jesse and Celine nine years on in Greece. Almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna.


Tagline – Everything’s better with maturity

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Conclusion

 

Story: Before Midnight starts in Greece now, Jesse (Hawke) must say goodbye to his son who lives back in America, Jesse and Celine (Delpy) are now married living the life they had dreamt with children of their own with a vacation.

While Jesse is having troubles dealing with the idea that his son will be hitting the important years of his life away from his father. Jesse is also working on his new book which is going to be more ambitious that he previous work, the books which told his time with Celine. The couple enter conversations how different generations have dealt with love, the first meetings and how they each kept their relationship happy.

 

Thoughts on Before Midnight

 

Characters – Jesse and Celine are now a married couple, they live in Paris with their own twins, they have grown older like they had imagined. They are the same characters that we have met, with the only thing that keeps them feeling different is that Jesse has a son from his previous marriage he wishes to be able to spend time with.

PerformancesEthan Hawke and Julie Delpy pick up where they left off 9 years previously, older, mature performance which has done well, even if the characters have started to become generic married couple.

StoryThe story picks up 9 years later, Jesse and Celine are now married, dealing with everyday life with their own problems, Celine with the job she has dreamed off and Jesse torn between whether he can spend more time with his son back in America. This shows us just where relationships can go, teaching us they do become harder over time, but love will always pull people through.

RomanceThe romance focuses more on what happens when you have been with someone for a longer period of time, it changes what we have been seeing even though it can remain true life.

SettingsWe are in Greece this time, showing us the beauty the backdrops this country has, this complete the special look each film offers.


Scene of the Movie –
The walk together.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This one is longer, it does start to lose its special uniqueness of the other two have.

Final ThoughtsFor a final chapter of a trilogy this is delightful, it has everything you need to see when it comes to the main idea of being in love with someone, needing to face difficult decisions.

 

Overall: The end we all deserved.

Rating