Queen of Earth (2015)

Director: Alex Ross Perry

Writer: Alex Ross Perry (Screenplay)

Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Katherine Waterston, Patrick Fugit, Kentucker Audley, Keith Poulson

 

Plot: Two women who grew up together discover they have drifted apart when they retreat to a lake house together.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull

 

Story: Queen of Earth starts as two friends Catherine (Moss) and Virginia (Waterston) spend time catching up in a lake house where they face their past, present and future, question their relationships and look to move onto with their lives.

 

Thoughts on Queen of Earth

 

Characters/PerformanceCatherine is a talent artist who is struggling with coping after the death of his inspiration and father. Virginia is more of a free spirit always wanting to relax through any troubles that come her way sing the trips as the escape required.

Performance wise, both Moss and Waterston are good through the film without being at their very best.

StoryThe story shows how friends can drift apart but will always come together when they need help, otherwise the story is mostly kind of boring with very little happening.

SettingsThe film is set entirely at the lake house which shows us how the friends want to get away from the world.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dull drama being sold as some form of thriller, nothing much happens, there seems to be no resolution to the reason why the characters are there in the first place.

 

Overall: Very uninteresting movie that does nothing for an hour and a half.

Rating

 

 

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Prodigy (2018)

Director: Nathan Leon

Writer: Nathan Leon (Screenplay)

Starring: Tyler Roy Roberts, Cory Kays, King Amir Alahyar, Jeffrey Arrington, Adam Elliott Davis, Adrianne White, Hailey Henry, Embry Johnson

 

Plot: A father must protect his estranged son from the outside world when the boy accurately predicts three end-of-world events.


Tagline – What if he’s right?

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thought Provoking Thriller

 

Story: Prodigy starts when widowed father Erik (Kays) is recruited y Dr Faron (Tyrrell) to reconnect with his son Caleb (Johnson) to help unlock the secret to his latest vision, one which will change the world after he has already predicted to world shattering vision. Erik breaks Caleb out of the prison like environment he is being held captive in.

On the run, Erik and Caleb are marked as dangerous with certain people believing Caleb could even be behind the disasters, while on the run Erik gets to learn the truth about his own vision during one of the events to learn the truth about the future of the world.

 

Thoughts on Prodigy

 

Characters – Erik is the widowed father that has been struggling with life and alcohol problems, haunted by his own vision during the event, he agrees to help his son after nearly 10-years away from him, showing that he could do what is needed to help himself and son get the connection that will change the world forever. Caleb is the teenager that has predict world changing events, he believes the world is going to be hit by a third known as the moment ‘The World Turns Black’ and wants his father to be there with him for this moment. Maya is a waitress that helps the two find a new location to hide out in, she believes in a better life after the visions and will help make sure Caleb has the ones that could change the world. we do get to meet people who both want Caleb for their own agendas and people who want to help.

PerformancesCory Kays in the leading role is good because he must deal with his characters own emotional problems, while also learning to be a better father. Embry Johnson gives us slow deliberate delivery for his teenage character which does make it stand out as a performance which shows us the character has been away from the world. Hailey Henry is good in her role in the supporting side of the story, while most of the performances are good through the film.

StoryThe story here follows the world filled with tension after two moments which changed the world, the third I on it way and people have become divided on wanting to know the truth, who should know the truth and what will happen, with only one teenager seeing what is about to come. This is a film that will make you stop and think about what could happen in the future, your reaction to knowing this could be the end and what would you do if you couldn’t explain what you saw. If you liked Midnight Special you will get the same vibes from the film which is one that grab the audience’s attention, this will too as you will want to know where it all ends up going.

ThrillerThis is a film that uses the idea of father and son on the run while an end of the world event could be around the corner. This does keep us going until the very final shot of the film.

SettingsThe film shows us how the characters are in hiding with most of them being through woodland areas off the grid, these do work for the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are only used very sparely which is nice because this could have gone for silly ones, the ones we get are used to show us the dream sequences only.


Scene of the Movie –
The race to the truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Turns to one hiding idea too often.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thinking persons thriller that makes you want to look at moments in your own life and decisions you would make in the same situation.

 

Overall: Smart thriller for all.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Creed II (2018)

Director: Steven Caple Jr

Writer: Sylvester Stallone, Juel Taylor (Screenplay) Cheo Hodari Coker, Sascha Penn (Story)

Starring: Michael B Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Dolph Lundgren, Florian Munteanu

 

Plot: Under the tutelage of Rocky Balboa, light heavyweight contender Adonis Creed faces off against Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago.

 

Runtime: 2 Hour 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Legacy Continues Strongly

 

Story: Creed II starts when Adonis (Jordan) finally captures the title, on top of the world he proposes to Bianca (Thompson) whose career is also going place and wants to enjoy the next chapter of his career as champion. Buddy Marcelle (Hornsby) a promoter has a different plan for Adonis, when he brings Viktor Drago (Munteanu) to America, the son of Ivan Drago (Lundgren) who killed Apollo in the ring.

Adonis must learn to rise up against his biggest challenge to date, learning to control his emotions as he takes on Viktor, who has his own personal fight to restore the family name, while Rocky (Stallone) is torn between helping and advising Adonis about whether to follow in his father’s footsteps.

 

Thoughts on Creed II

 

Characters – Adonis starts this film by winning the belt he didn’t win in the last film, he take the next step in his family life proposing to Bianca, having his first child being on top of the world. He loses it all and must learn to rebuild his reputation and defend his belt against the son of the man that killed his father. Now for this story Adonis has a nice arc, but he never feels like a champion. Rocky refuses to help Adonis in his match against Viktor, he is worried he will make the same mistakes as his father when his future is waiting for him. He has gotten over his cancer from the last film and must make his own difficult decision on whether to help Adonis to make up for his own mistakes with Apollo and rebuild his own bridges. Bianca has her music career taking off, ready to be involved  in the festival circuit, her hearing is only getting worse, so she wants to make the most of her chance, she doesn’t want to stand in Adonis’s way, but she also wants to make sure she doesn’t  have to raise their child alone. Ivan Drago has seen his reputation ruined after his loss to Rocky, kicked out of the country, he had to rebuild his life and with his son, he has made a fighting machine. Viktor is the son of Ivan, he is a machine in the ring just like his father, we get to have a lot more sympathy for him than we should because he is fighting his father’s battle, he lost his future and when his success comes the flocks that abandoned his father return.

PerformancesMichael B Jordan does have a lot more emotional moments to go through in this film which he does well, he however never makes us feel like he would be a champion. Sylvester Stallone continues to show this is turning into one of his go too roles for his best performances, while Tessa Thompson continues to show her talent to the world reprising the role which helped her break through. Dolph Lundgren gives one of his best performances in recent years and Florian Munteanu makes for a great fighting villain, who shows much better range than anyone was expecting.

StoryThe story picks up when Adonis has gotten himself into a number one contenders match, winning the title reach the peak of his early career and personal life, until the Drago’s arrive in an attempt to knock him off his perch and reclaim the fame that they once had. The story does feel like the weakest part of the film though, we seem to just skip Adonis reaching the title match, we never learn how good he is in the ring, because in the first film sure he surprised everyone, but he didn’t win, going 12 rounds and winning by points isn’t going to be enough to get a title shot. Most of Adonis’s side of the story is him needing to find himself as he goes to the next chapter of his life. The more interesting story comes from the Drago side of things because we get to see what happened to the once unstoppable fighter and how his life changed after that defeat, raising his son to follow in his footsteps, being shunned by his country and love, shows us just how different the two cultures are towards competitors. Rocky’s side story, while nice, it does feel tacked on just to give him something else to do in the film.

SportsThe boxing is good once again in this film, not quite as the same level, mostly because we get more fights which we don’t need to see too, we like to wait for that one big fight moment which stands out as the highlight of the film.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well, we don’t just stay in one city this time and the training regime is something new for the franchise.


Scene of the Movie –
The final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Adonis never gets made to feel like a champion or even a contender for a belt.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great addiction to the legacy, it does feel like we will be following Adonis’s legacy from now on which is what needed to be done for the franchise.

 

Overall: The legacy has past the torch.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Creed (2015) Revisited

Director: Ryan Coogler

Writer: Ryan Coogler, Aaron Covington (Screenplay) Sylvester Stallone (Characters)

Starring: Michael B Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Andre Ward, Tony Bellew

 

Plot: The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.


Tagline – Your legacy is more than a name

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brutally Brilliant

 

Story: Creed starts as we see how Adonis was raised in the foster system, before being adopted by Apollo Creed’s wife Mary Anne (Rashad) to raise her late husband’s son, given chances of an education, Adonis (Jordan) is drawn to fighting wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps. With Mary Anne reluctant to see Adonis fight, she sends him to Philadelphia to train away from the streets of LA.

Adonis meets Rocky (Stallone) who gets talked into training Adonis and helping him make decisions that will help his career in an even more cutthroat world that boxing has become, when Light Heavyweight champion ‘Pretty’ Ricky Conlan (Bellew) and his manager Tommy Holiday (McTavish) learn of Adonis true identity, they want to make a mega payday, which leads to Adonis in his first major fight, while Rocky will face his next fight in life.

 

Thoughts on Creed

 

Characters – Adonis Johnson is the son of Apollo Creed from an affair that saw him being raised in the foster system which taught him how to be tough. Eventually he is adopted by Apollo’s widow who gives him a chance, where he makes a career for himself, however the desire to fight keeps him heading to Mexico for fights before deciding he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps. He heads to Philadelphia to learn from his father’s biggest enemy Rocky Balboa, where he learns about his own destiny in the sport. Rocky Balboa is still running his restaurant, he has no lost everyone in his life, with his loved ones passing on and his son moved away, he reluctantly agrees to train Adonis which brings a new spark to his life, only for him to get news about his own future giving him a new fight to take on. Bianca is the neighbour that Adonis meets, she is a musician on the verge of her own big break, with her own problems, they two get close as she becomes part of his own inspiration. Mary Anne is the wife of Apollo, she raised Adonis as her own giving him the chances he had never received, she doesn’t want him to fight because she knows what it does to a boxer, she does however know she isn’t going to win and sends him to Rocky.  

PerformancesMichael B Jordan gives us one of the best boxing performances ever, we believe his own struggles and he gives us belief he is raising up the ranks. Sylvester Stallone bought new life to his character of Rocky here, with a performance that is easily his best in his modern cinema run, he makes everything about his character believable like we caught up with him. Tessa Thompson comes onto the scene with this performance that turned heads, she is great through the film. The rest of the cast are good with Tony Bellew being an actual boxer adding realism to the rival for the fighting world.

StoryThe story here follows Apollo Creed’s son take his first steps in the boxing world, given the unlikely chance for a big fight which is only mean to be a publicity stunt for the champion, much like Rocky’s first big fight. We see how Rocky has made the transition from fighter to trainer with us getting a chance to meet the biggest fictional fighter in his latter years, showing us how life can catch up with everyone. The story could easily be a soft reboot of Rocky and manages to show us how the reboot sequel is working very well at the moment, returning old favourites to help guide the next generation. The side stories going on show us how everybody has their own stories going on, instead of focusing just on one person moment in the sun, which feels refreshing for the genre.

SportsThe boxing in the film is easily the most realistic that you will see in any film, the hit feel as brutal as they are meant to.

SettingsWe return to Philadelphia for most of the film, this shows us how places have changed and others are still the same, it is like stepping into a time capsule at times.


Scene of the Movie –
The big fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have liked an extra length of time at the press conference.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best in the Rocky franchise for a very long time, it has bought us the same story of becoming an overnight success with one chance to make it, with truly powerful performances from the cast.

 

Overall: Knockout Movie.

Rating

 

 

Never Steady, Never Still (2017)

Director: Kathleen Hepburn

Writer: Kathleen Hepburn (Screenplay)

Starring: Shirley Henderson, Theodore Pellerin, Mary Galloway, Nicholas Campbell, Jared Abrahamson, Hugo Ateo

 

Plot: A mother struggles to take control of her life in the face of advanced Parkinson’s disease, while her son battles his sexual and emotional identity amongst the violence of Alberta’s oil field work camps.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brave Look at Parkinson’s Suffering

 

Story: Never Steady, Never Still starts as we meet Judy (Henderson) a woman struggling with Parkinson’s, her husband Ed (Campbell) cares for her the best he can, while their son Jamie (Pellerin) heads off into the world to find a job before going off to college, he starts in the oil field work camps which leave him feeling out of place.

When Ed dies suddenly, Judy is left to care for herself with just the locals looking after her the best they can without interfering in her life. Jamie’s life isn’t going any better as he is struggling to learn about himself in the harsh working environment.

 

Thoughts on Never Steady, Never Still

 

Characters – Judy is suffering from advanced Parkinson’s she does seem to be in control for the most part, but when her bad moments happen, her husband is there to help, she goes to support groups to help cope with everyday issues, only for her husband to die and leaving her alone to deal with the problems she doesn’t want to ask for help and the snowy conditions only make her life more difficult. Jamie is her son that is being forced to work in the oil fields where he must learn quickly just to make enough money to support himself with any future with college, he is trying to learn about himself which makes his life decisions even more difficult. Kaly is the local shop assistant that helps Judy with delivers while waiting for her boyfriend to return to help her with her pregnancy. Ed is the father and husband that cares for Judy, he always helps her until he suffers a heart attack.

PerformancesShirley Henderson is great in the leading role showing us just how difficult everyday life can be with Parkinson’s she doesn’t overplay the illness, while showing us just how difficult it can be to live with. Theodore Pellerin is good too, though a lot of his scenes are about him not knowing his place in the world which takes away from the difficulties his mother is meant to be going through. Theodore Pellerin is strong in his role though he never gets to the levels of Shirley, which can be said for the rest of the supporting cast.

StoryThe story here follows a woman suffering from advanced Parkinson’s she has support from her husband and has been doing the best she can with the disease, we see how her struggle becomes more difficult when her husband dies and with her son away she must deal with the problems alone in condition that will not make her suffering any easier. This side of the story is the best side because it shows us a real problem that could be faced by people with small families who can’t give up days to support the sufferer. On the other side of the story we follow her son as he wants to figure out his own body while dealing with harsh working condition, this side of the story does drag and because of Judy’s problems we want to see her life rather than his.

SettingsThe film is set in Alberta which does put us in a place with harsh weather condition that the characters must work through, being away from easier support doesn’t help.


Scene of the Movie –
Discovering Ed.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of Jamie’s storyline.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow paced drama that does show us just how difficult living with Parkinson’s can be, it has a wonderful leading lady performance, but might not be for everyone.

 

Overall: Simple and Effective Drama.

Rating