November (2017)

Director: Rainer Sarnet

Writer: Rainer Sarnet (Screenplay) Andrus Kivirahk (Novel)

Starring: Rea Lest, Jordan Liik, Arvo Kukumagi, Katariina Unt, Taavi Eelmaa, Heino Kalm, Meelis Rammeld

 

Plot: In this tale of love and survival in 19th century Estonia, peasant girl Liina longs for village boy Hans, but Hans is inexplicably infatuated by the visiting German baroness that possesses all that he longs for. For Liina, winning Hans’ requited love proves incredibly complicated in this dark, harsh landscape where spirits, werewolves, plagues, and the devil himself converge, where thievery is rampant, and where souls are highly regarded, but come quite cheap.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Weird, Wonderful, Mesmerizing

 

Story: November starts as we meet farmers daughter Liina (Lest) who on her farm has a machine known as a Kratt which is a soul of a deceased person that does work around the farm, everyone has one, but they need to be kept occupied or they cause problems. On the day of the Body of Souls (Which could be considered similar to Day of the Dead) the dead return to their families with Liina meeting handsome village boy Hans (Liik). With love being a cruel game, we see how Liina attracted to Hans gets ignored as he sets his sights on the beautiful Baroness (Hermanis), we are left to see just how far people will go to get attentions of the one they love.

 

Thoughts on November

 

Characters – Liina is a farm girl, she will always be a farm girl regardless of how much she hopes for more, she falls in love with a village boy that doesn’t notice her, which leave her to turn to dark arts to win his love. Hans is the village boy that captures the heart of Liina, but he is in love with the Baroness, the mysterious stranger to the area. When we look at the rest of the characters we have a host of colourful characters, from farmers, village, witches and barons, they help show the social status of the characters.

PerformancesRea Lest is the star of the show here, she captures the character wonderfully to leave us fully understand the position her character is in. this doesn’t take away from the rest of the cast that are great through the film too.

StoryWhen we discuss this story we are going to be trying to example something very confusing, but wonderful to watch. The core of the story is a love story about falling in love with someone above your social status in a 19th century world. This is a story you must experience to truly understand how difficult it is to describe though. Just when you think you have the story wrapped up for its direction it does throw you into a position where you are left wondering just what next.

Fantasy/RomanceThe fantasy world we are taken into is original, weird and a place you need to experience, witches, werewolves and spirits. The romance of the film takes us to a place where we see how the people can fall in love with someone that doesn’t notice them.

SettingsThe settings keep us in the small village in the 19th century which shows the different beliefs the people are believing in.

Special EffectsThe effects being used in this film are wonderful, the Kratt creatures look flawless in this universe.


Scene of the Movie –
The opening sequence, because it prepares you for the experience.

That Moment That Annoyed Me If you blink you might miss something important.

Final ThoughtsThis is a unique viewing experience that must be experienced by all film fans, it is beautifully shot and will keep you want to see more of this world.

 

Overall: Must watch viewing experience.

Rating

 

 

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Fullmetal Alchemist (2018)

Director: Fumihiko Sori

Writer: Hiromu Arakawa (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryosuke Yamada, Tsubasa Honda, Dean Fujioka, Ryuta Sato, Misako Renbutsu

 

Plot: Two alchemist brothers go on a quest for the Philosopher’s Stone after an attempt to revive their dead mother goes horribly wrong.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Fantasy Sci-fi

 

Story: Fullmetal Alchemist starts as two young brothers Ed and Al lose their mother, they are both alchemists in training, desperate to bring her back the perform an experiment which goes horribly wrong. Now Ed (Yamada) is trying to fix their mistake as Al is now a hollow robot, they are in search for the Philosopher’s stone, the one item which could reverse the mistake.

On the latest quest for the stone Ed is joined by Winry (Honda) one of the twos longest friends, a woman that has helped Ed become whole again after the incident. Ultimately Ed must make a decision for himself, work with the state of alchemists to follow the laws or go against them to fix the mistake with officer Roy (Fujioka) being the one showing the thin line between right and wrong in his ways.

 

Thoughts on Fullmetal Alchemist

 

Characters – Ed is the fullmetal alchemist, he lost limbs when he worked with his brother to bring their mother back, with his limbs now being robotic, he is still trying to find a way to fix the mistake to fix himself and most of all his brother, who is now a robot shell. He rides a thin line between the law while trying to follow laws in search of the one item he believes can solve the mistake. Al is his brother stuck in a robotic body after the accident, he is the back up and the motivation for Ed’s actions. Winry is the oldest friend of the brothers, she helps maintain the robotic parts for the two, to make them stronger and keep them united. Roy is the officer that follows the rules, he keeps Ed on the right tracks for the most part, while supporting from afar, he will not let people break the laws but will stand up for his team. We have plenty of supporting characters will different agendas through the film to help us keep guessing what will happen next.

PerformancesRyosuke Yamada is the leading role is great, he makes you root for his character and understand each emotion his character is feeling. Tsubasa Honda brings us the light-hearted moments in the film, she always smiles which makes her a cheering performer in this movie. Dean Fujioka is good as the neutral officers always trying to do the right thing through the film.

StoryThe story here follows two brothers that make a mistake while using their alchemist knowledge, it has torn them apart both physically and mentally with them now needing to fix their mistake against fellow alchemists, some following the laws other bending them. The story has plenty of twists along the way as the brothers must learn who they can trust and the truth about the world they are taking on. This is clearly just the first chapter of what could be a fabulous series of movies, we now know out characters, just where will they go next.

Action/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe action sequences are wonderful to see unfold, they are big and filled with fantasy elements. This has a fantasy element to everything going on, trying to move away from magic with science. Sci-fi moments are used to for the ideas behind everything going on, they make us see just where things could go in the battles and with the alchemist ideas.

SettingsEach settings offers us the next chapter of the story which shows how things can be going on within the places we can consider normal buildings.

Special EffectsThe effects do work well for this movie, certain moments might look like CGI, but for the tone of the movie it seems to make it feel more enjoyable.


Scene of the Movie –
I want to say the whole final third of the film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is a little bit long at over 2 hours.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable action fantasy that does follow the trends of the Harry Potter films, gives us a good group of goods guys to root for against villains who want to use their skills for evil, it works and you will enjoy this movie.

 

Overall: This is a Netflix success movie that will be enjoyed.

Rating

 

 

The Shape of Water (2017)

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor (Screenplay) Guillermo del Toro (Story)

Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Doug Jones

 

Plot: At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.


Tagline – Based on an idea by Daniel Kraus And Guillermo del Toro

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Spectacularly Beautiful

 

Story: The Shape of Water starts as we follow lonely mute woman Elisa (Hawkins) who works as a janitor in a secret government facility with her trusted friend Zelda Fuller (Spencer), Elisa’s silence helps the government know the secrets won’t get released with only her neighbour Giles (Jenkins) being anyone outside of work for her.

When a new creature Amphibian Man (Jones) is bought in with strict security officer Richard Strickland (Shannon) as the facility looks to experiment on the creature. When Elisa strikes up a friendship with the creature, she will do anything to make sure he stays alive and safe once the facility decides they want to examine his organs.

 

Thoughts on The Shape of Water

 

Characters – Elisa is a mute lonely woman that works as a janitor and only has one friend in her personal life. When a creature gets bought into her facility she sees the loneliness he is feeling and wants to save him, believing it to be her purpose. Amphibian Man is a creature taken from his home to be experimented on by the Americans, he is lonely and finds communication from Elisa comforting in his captivity, even though he is highly dangerous to anyone who gets too close. Richard Strickland is the man in charge of the operation with the creature, he wants to do harm and tries to intimidate the people who don’t want to follow his orders. Giles is the trusted neighbour that Elisa turns to for help, he is similar to him with his loneliness in the world too, while Zelda is the one co-worker that Elisa has to turn to and the one that translates her sign language. Dr Hoffstetler is the man that doesn’t want to see the creature hurt, for science and his true alliance in the world.

PerformancesSally Hawkins is fantastic in this role, her emotions are shown in every movement and expression on her face in a role with no words. Doug Jones has spent his career performing the odd roles being able to transform himself, this is his biggest and easily his best role to date. Michael Shannon in the villainous role shines just like we know he can every time. Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer and Michael Stuhlbarg complete the casting wonderfully playing the supporting roles just how they need to be.

StoryThe story follows unusual attraction, finding someone that accepts you to make you feel safe and how government will do anything to learn from an unknown creature. This is both magical, tragic and special from start to finish. Each side of the story shows how different people didn’t fit in during the early 60s and just how love truly works. This is an original story that plays on as many different emotions as it possible can.

Adventure/Fantasy/RomanceThis is an adventure like never before, it shows the risk taken to do the right thing for love, which helps play into this unlikely love story that captures you from the first moment, showing just how love can change you in a second. The fantasy elements are full blown what you would have come to expect from a del Toro movie now, both magical and fantastical.

SettingsThe settings keep everything safe, we have a faceless city with a secret facility which works because we wouldn’t have this facility in a big city.

Special EffectsThe effects used through the film keep everything looking fantastic through the film, nothing seems to look out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
Bathroom flood.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I actually think this is flawless.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most perfect movies I have ever seen, if has heart in every scene and just makes you feel on edge to just where it will go.

 

Overall: Brilliant, stunning and fantastic.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – L – The Lovely Bones (2009)

Director: Peter Jackson

Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson (Screenplay) Alice Sebold (Novel)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli, Saoirse Ronan

 

Plot: Centers on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family – and her killer – from purgatory. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Fantasy Elements Throughout

 

Story: The Lovely Bones starts as Susie (Ronan) introduces us to her family, father Jack (Wahlberg), mother Abigail (Weisz), sister Lindsey, brother Buckley and Grandma Lynn (Sarandon), Susie tells us about her memories, dreams and that she was murdered by George Harvey (Tucci).

Susie trapped in purgatory wants to show her family who the murderer was as she watches over her family, her family are dealing with her loss in different ways, Jack is trying to solve who would have done it, while Abigail is grieving silently.

As Susie watches her family she does see the healing happening but when Lindsey catches the eye of George, she makes it her mission to protect her sister from the same fate she suffered.

 

Thoughts on The Lovely Bones

 

Characters – Susie is our victim, she is also our narrator telling us her feels towards her family before and after she is murdered. She is the light in the darkest places, a teenager that never experienced those life moments she dreamt off. Jack is Susie’s father that never gives up on finder the person responsible but this only makes him crazy pushing Abigail away from him as she is parent that needs to get away from everything to recover. George Harvey is the man that killed Susie, he lives in the street waiting for his moment to take advantage of any of his victims. Grandma Lynn tries to help bring peace to the family and mostly the children.

PerformanceSaoirse Ronan showed us here once again that she was one of the best actresses of her generation, being able to tell the story for the eyes. Wahlberg gives us a solid performance through the film while Weisz does all she can with what she gets, she does have a couple of powerful moments though. Susan Sarandon enjoys the grandmother role but it Stanley Tucci that gives us the most haunting performance of his career to date.

StoryThe story brings a fresh spin on the idea of a murder in suburban neighbourhood, we have had the ones where it could be someone in the area, we have had the parent searching for the killer, we have had the ghost haunting but to have the spirit watching over the people they loved and the one that killed them brings a unique way of looking at the whole murder and solving it. For a story this may well be from a novel of the same name and it is good watch throughout.

Fantasy/ThrillerThe idea of the fantasy side of the film comes from the purgatory that Susie finds herself in, it is a visual treat at times in this world.

SettingsThe settings bring us to a small suburban neighbourhood where everyone believes they know everyone, where the sudden disappearance of Susie brings the family to start pointing fingers shows how a neighbourhood can come together to put this behind them.

Special EffectsThe effects for the purgatory looks fantastic throughout the film showing us the imagination of Susie at work.

Scene of the Movie – Bottle smashing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does come off longer than it needs to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a visual treat and good spin on the murder movie, it is well worth watching to see how the lives of the people effected by the disappearance.

 

Overall: Good fantasy crime movie.

Rating

 

 

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Director: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

Writer: Linda Woolverton (Screenplay) Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont (Original Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Robby Benson, Jesse Corti, Rex Everhart, Angela Lansbury, Paige O’Hara, Jerry Orbach

 

Plot: A young woman whose father has been imprisoned by a terrifying beast offers herself in his place, unaware that her captor is actually a prince, physically altered by a magic spell.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Classic Disney

 

Story: Beauty and the Beast starts as we learn the curse placed upon the Beast, who must wait until love can be felt before he can return to human form. In the small French town Belle is different to all the other girls, she enjoys reading and thinking for herself and lives with her inventor father. Belle has caught the attention of the town stud Gaston, the self-centred man that other woman dive at the feet off, but Belle is just not interested.

When Belle’s father goes missing she goes in search of him finding the Beast castle and being kept captive by the Beast and his living furniture. To escape the castle Belle must fall in love with the Beast but back home Gaston leads an attempted rescue for her. Can the fairy tale be cured and love found in an unlikely place?

 

Thoughts on Beauty and the Beast

 

Characters Belle is the typical strong lead female that wants to be independent unlike most of the other women she knows but only to find herself falling in love with the man kept her hostage. The Beast finds himself transformed in this form after not being accepting to other people, he is aggressive, grumpy and short tempered but once he opens up to Belle he could lift the curse. Gaston is the man all the women love and he believes he can have anything he wants and isn’t used to women rejecting him like Belle does, he is always planning to make it happen.

StoryThe story is about love, it is about love coming from a place you least expect it in fairy tale form. It would be fair to say there is a huge questionable flaw in this story because keeping a woman captive who then falls in love with you is creepy to say the least, but for the younger audience the story is perfect about finding a happy ending while being the strong independent woman.

Family/Musical/RomanceThe family can all enjoy this together because of the catchy musical numbers and the simple romance story.

SettingsEach setting shows us the different worlds Belle came from to be with the Beast showing the small-town girl could end up in a castle.

AnimationThe animation looks fantastic which adds to the fantasy animation you saw in the Disney films during the 90s.

Final ThoughtsThis is one film that the princess lovers will always love because it is about a normal girl that gets to be treated like a princess.

 

Overall: Wonderful fantasy romance film.

Rating