Chariots of Fire (1981)

chaiotsDirector: Hugh Hudson

Writer: Colin Welland (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicholas Farrell, Nigel Havers, Ian Charleson, Ben Cross, Daniel Gerroll, Ian Holm

 

Plot: Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dated Sports Biopic

 

Story: Chariots of Fire starts in 1919 Cambridge University as we follow Harold Abrahams (Cross), and Aubrey Montague (Farrell) in the elite university of England. Here we get to see how fast the Jewish Harold is, also in Scotland we get to see Eric Liddell (Charleson) a rugby player turned runner that is also in the elite of the racing speed but he is a devote Christian who doesn’t believe in playing sports on a Sunday.

What follows is seeing the paths both Eric and Harold take to become the best in the nation as they become favourites for the British team heading into the Olympics. The two become rivals but their own personal beliefs could become a barrier in going for the gold medal.

 

Thoughts on Chariots of Fire

 

Characters/PerformanceHaving the characters based on the real people makes it difficult to say anything bad about them, we have two men who have been forced to put aside their difference in religious beliefs to make an impact on the sport they love taking part in. this is a story of success which is easy to enjoy for all that are involved.

Performance wise everything is good without being anything truly special by anyone involved through the film.stars

StoryThis is a story about how two men put aside their difference to make their way to the top of the sport of athletes, it is easy to follow but does come off slightly too posh in places when you look at how the British come off.

Biography/SportsLooking into the way we follow the two men’s journey to the Olympics we get to see how the races unfold which is all good but I would say this is one of the more average biopics that I have seen.

SettingsThe settings show us the upper classes going into the sport of running, which is all good with the races at the Olympics coming off great for settings.genre

Final ThoughtsMy final thoughts are that this is slightly too British showing you had to come from money to achieve in sports at this time, I also don’t feel the film does enough to show us all of the characters involved.

 

Overall: Nice but no cigar especially when we prefer the struggle to make it and become the story of success, rather than the winner.

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Apollo 13 (1995)

apolo-13Director: Ron Howard

Writer: William Broyles Jr, Al Reinert (Screenplay) Jim Lovell, Jeffrey Kluger (Book)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris, Kathleen Quinlan

 

Plot: NASA must devise a strategy to return Apollo 13 to Earth safely after the spacecraft undergoes massive internal damage putting the lives of the three astronauts on board in jeopardy.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Intensely Brilliant Drama

 

Story: Apollo 13 starts on 20th July 1969, the date Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, Jim Lovell (Hanks) a fellow astronaut who missed out on the moon landing on Apollo 8 is hosting a landing party with fellow astronauts Fred Haise (Paxton), Jack Swigert (Bacon), Ken Mattingly (Sinise) who are scheduled to work together on the Apollo 14 mission.

When the team who are planned for Apollo 13 lose their place Jim, Fred and Ken are placed in for Apollo 13 with Jack part of the backup team. This does mean moving the preparation forward 6 months but an astronaut with Jim’s experience is trust to lead this mission.

With the world seeing this mission as curse because of the number 13 the team does have to make a last-minute crew change with Jack replacing Ken who is according to medical records going to become sick on the mission, with two days to prepare with Jack the mission is a go with mission commander Gene Kranz (Harris) controlling the mission back at NASA.

With the mission going well, it turns out the television networks just don’t want to show the mission because they see no excitement from just going to the moon once again, but the astronauts don’t know this.

When disaster strikes, the astronauts must use their skills to survive while the NASA puts together a rescue solutions for the men who could be lost in space forever. With the disaster potentially happen the television networks pick up the story with the nation watching on to see if the crew of Apollo 13 will make it home.

 

Thoughts on Apollo 13

 

Characters/PerformanceAll the characters are based on the real people, with Jim Lovell being the experienced astronaut leading the team of first timers in space. The characters are all real and made to all be heroes through this story, unlike most films of similar nature we don’t have anyone remotely like a villain in this film.

Performance wise Tom Hanks shines in the decade where he just didn’t seem to put a foot wrong. We also get brilliant performance from the whole cast playing the characters perfectly throughout the film.stars

StoryThe story is one that even Hollywood couldn’t write, this is one if not the most famous story in space history that could rival the actual Moon landing. It shows how NASA could work in limited time to prevent disaster. You are drawn into this story for the whole film which is part history lesson and part edge of your seat thriller.

Adventure/HistorySpace travel became one of the most interesting parts of history in the late 60’s with the moon landing stealing the headlines, this story captures the idea to become one of the most important moments in history for NASA.

SettingsOutside the space shuttle all the settings including mission command all fit the time perfectly with the space shuttle being the highlight of the film because it shows how the men had nowhere to go to survive.

Special EffectsThe special effects for this film are brilliant as the film doesn’t turn to them too often but when it is needed we are left believing everything that is happening.genre

Final ThoughtsIf you want to learn about one of the most amazing stories of survival in human history this is the one for you to see.

 

Overall: Breath-takingly brilliant movie about one moment in human history.

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The Dam (2011)

damDirector: Sohan Roy

Writer: Sohan Roy (Screenplay)

Starring: Joushua Smith, Vimala Raman, Ashish Vidtarthi, Vinay Rai, Linda Arsenio, Thampy Anthony

 

Plot: After many years two mariners return to homeland with the hope of a new beginning, little did they know about a disaster that would change their destiny.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not What it Says on the Tin

 

Story: The Dam starts as Captain Frederick Brown (Smith) is selling his newest book Dam999 as we flashback to learn the story behind the book. On the cruise liner Captain Brown is with his wife Raziya (Burman) and close friend Vinay (Rai) and his son Samuel (Rath) who are all heading to Vinay home searching for a cure for Sam’s diabetes.

As we follow the idea of lost love between Vinay and Meera (Raman) everything takes place in a small town next to the Dam built by the ancestors of Captain Brown and Sandra (Arsenio) the wife of Vinay arrives in the town. The town is being run by a corrupt Mayor who has cheaped out on the new dam which upon opening becomes a threat to everyone in the town.

 

Thoughts on The Dam

 

StoryWhen you look at the story I can’t help but find this miss-sold because this is very much a love story about following fate or your heart what could have been or what could be with a disaster tagged on the end of the film. This is all fine but it does feel very long in places making us lose interest in wait for the disaster event to actually happy.

Adventure/Thriller The adventure side of the story doesn’t really come through until the disaster moments of the film and with that we get some tense final moments on the dam disaster idea, the problem is the early stages take too long to get going.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters all feel like they have been perfectly pick to deal with the situations of the love story going on and have all the different dynamics going on for the characters without the shock value. When you look at the performances well let’s just say they are not the best and keep it at that.

SettingsThe settings all work giving us the traditional location for the characters with the location next to the dam just part of the bigger story.

Special EffectsThis is subject that I can’t really say anything good about so I will be keeping away from the criticism of it all.

Final ThoughtsThis is mostly an endless love story of how love can never die with the disaster storyline is just tagged on really.

 

Overall: Be carefully what you go into this one looking for.

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Static (2012)

staticDirector: Todd Levin

Writer: Gabriel Cowan, Todd Levin, John Suits (Screenplay) Gabriel Cowan, Andrew Orci, John Suits (Story)

Starring: Milo Ventimiglia, Sarah Shahi, William Mapother, Sara Paxton, Dominic Bogart, Oz Kalvan, Luke Barnett, Oz Kalvan

 

Plot: A couple facing marital problems after losing their child finds their life together further complicated by a mysterious visitor.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burning Final Twist Saving Film

 

Story: Static starts as we meet author Jonathan Dade (Ventimiglia) and his wife Addie (Shahi) who are grieving the loss of their son in their own way. Trying to work on their relationship they get interrupted by stranger Rachel (Paxton) who claims to be followed by some masked men.

Questioning her story only builds the tension between the couple until the lights go out and the intruders set their sights on getting into the house to take Jonathan and Addie too. Can they survive the night and what is the motives behind this invasion?

 

Thoughts on Static

 

StoryStatic goes down the home invasion angle for the story telling which is always going to be hard to top the big ones out there like The Strangers, The Purge or even Panic Room. This film clearly doesn’t reach these levels as it focuses on other trauma side to a couple’s relationship but I will say is saved by the final twist I didn’t see coming.

Horror/Mystery/ThrillerThe horror in this story comes from the idea behind everything the unknown home invasion which works in parts but when it comes to the horror rules they all get broken with bad decision making. The mystery comes from just not knowing what is going on and why first Rachel and then the couple have been targeted. The thrilling side of this story comes from the attempts to make us uneasy about what could happen next.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters put into this situation are generic ones as we see the grieving couple trying to make things work out which means this night could re-build their relationship while the intruders just come off very outsiderish which does help make us feel uneasy whenever they come onto the screen. The Rachel character does feel slightly out of place because why wouldn’t the couple know their neighbours. When it comes to the acting well this isn’t the highlight of the film and I am a fan of all the four leading actors (Mapother is barely even in the film) in this film but there just seems to be zero chemistry between the couple. Each character does make sense by the end of the film though.

SettingsThe film takes place in nearly the whole time in and around the house which makes it all feel isolated because the characters don’t have anywhere to run and adding in the darkness builds the atmosphere needed.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to special effects we don’t have or need many but the few we get all come off well enough for the final story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a home invasion film that has everything nicely put together for a good feel but due to poor acting and chemistry it just doesn’t come together to the level it should do. The twist on what the intruders want seem like it is waiting to happen from early on but ends up giving us a twist I didn’t see coming.

 

Overall: Saved by the final twist because getting there is very slow.

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The Survivalist (2015)

survDirector: Stephen Fingleton

Writer: Stephen Fingleton (Screenplay)

Starring: Mia Goth, Martin McCann, Barry Ward, Andrew Simpson, Olwen Fouere, Kieri Kennedy

 

Plot: In a time of starvation, a survivalist lives off a small plot of land hidden deep in forest. When two women seeking food and shelter discover his farm, he finds his existence threatened.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tension Driven Drama

 

Story: The Survivalist starts as we follow our lone survivalist (McCann) who after the world is suffering from a great starvation has built himself a small garden off the grid to live in. when his peace and quiet is shattered by Kathryn (Fouere) and her daughter Milja (Goth) they enter his life in search of food, offering him sex in return.

After an incident, the survivalist becomes injured and the women decide to stick around but with the food only designed to feed one we are left building the suspense to what might happen when it runs out or when they get discovered by others.

 

Thoughts on The Survivalist

 

StoryThe story is very simple, the world has come to the near end and our one survivalist just wants to survive alone but when other people turn up he gets a glimpse into a new happiness that will ultimately be his downfall. It is all slow moving but you do just want to see what happens next throughout which is a huge plus for the film.

Sci-Fi/ThrillerThe sci-fi side of the film comes from the end of the world and you are left just wanting to know what will happen next from the opening scene till the final moments.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all good all very much driven just to survive and always planning against the others to make sure they can. The performances of the three leads are all great because you are left hanging on their every word and action.

SettingsThe settings are all based within the woods showing how far away from the world out character wants to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is one tense thriller that will keep you on edge until the final outcome.

 

Overall: Thriller that is well worth watching for all the thriller fans out there.

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