Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

Director: Don Chaffey

Writer: Jan Read, Beverley Cross (Screenplay)

Starring: Todd Armstrong, Nancy Kovack, Gary Raymond, Laurence Naismith, Niall MacGinnis, Michael Gwynn

 

Plot: The legendary Greek hero leads a team of intrepid adventurers in a perilous quest for the legendary Golden Fleece.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Practical Effects Masterpiece

 

Story: Jason and the Argonauts starts as Pelias (Wilmer) conquers the Greek kingdom looking to slaughter the children of the former ruler, the Gods rescue one and Zeus (MacGinnis) offers Hera (Blackman) five chances to save Jason (Armstrong) who will avenge his family’s murder.

Jason heading into a mission which could help him defeat Pelias which involves travelling to the edge of the Earth in search for the Golden Fleece with the strongest men for his ship and the adventure is on, with titans, gods and myths for Jason to overcome.

 

Thoughts on Jason and the Argonauts

 

Characters/PerformanceJason is the son of a slaughtered king, part of a prophecy that must go on a quest to find a Golden Fleece which will help him defeat his enemies. He must use his faith and communication with the Gods to complete his mission. We have the Gods watching the events are interesting as we do know the names and this explains part of their actions. We get Hercules thrown in for a character everyone knows from the Greek Gods and the villain is just what you are expecting with a man wanting power.

Performance wise, all of the performances are good throughout the film, we get good use of different types of soldiers by the performances throughout the film.

StoryThe story of one man leading a group of soldiers across the world to find a fleece which will defeat any enemy is something all the fans of Greek mythology will enjoy, we get the big names from the history stories which we end up sending us on the adventure the characters enjoy.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is sword and sandals which works for the film, we have different enemies which changes the style of the battles required. The adventure takes our characters across the world on their quest with the fantasy being centred around whether this is fact of myth.

SettingsThe settings all fit the time the tale is told in, Ancient Greece as our character see stunning backdrops in search of their battle.

EffectsThis is by far one of the great achievements in practical effects of all time, it still looks fantastic.

Final ThoughtsOne of the greatest adventure stories ever told, it puts you in the story and never holds back as you want to see if Jason can make it to the end.

 

Overall: Must watch for films fans.

Rating

 

 


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ABC Film Challenge – Random – V – Vanilla Sky (2001)

Director: Cameron Crowe

Writer: Cameron Crowe (Screenplay) Alejandro Amenabar, Mateo Gil (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Kurt Russell, Jason Lee, Noah Taylor, Timothy Spall, Tilda Swinton, Michael Shannon

 

Plot: A self-indulgent and vain publishing magnate finds his privileged life upended after a vehicular accident with a resentful lover.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Trippy Fantasy Thriller

 

Story: Vanilla Sky starts as we meet David Aames (Cruise) a playboy publishing mogul that inherited this from his father. He sleeps with beautiful women including actress Julie Gianni (Diaz) but always finds time for his best friend Brian Shelby (Lee). But, his life has been shattered thanks to a car accident which has left him disfigured hiding behind a mask in jail.

While waiting for his hearing David recounts the events which led up to his charges to McCabe (Russell). We learn how David meets Sofia Serrano (Cruz) the woman of his dreams but Julie shows her jealous side causing a car crash which leaves him broken and living between reality and dreams, needing to face his new life.

 

Thoughts on Vanilla Sky

 

Characters/PerformanceDavid lived a life where he could have any women living the life of luxury until this lifestyle catches up with him, leaving him disfigured and in jail, recounting the events between the two moments. Sofia is the new love that David falls for, she has all the chemistry he requires for something different being the motivation for David to fix himself. Julie is the jealous former lover that causes the accident, she is an actress that is filled with self-confidence but all that isn’t everything we have come to know.

Performance wise, Tom Cruise is great in the leading role, not being afraid to make himself slightly disfigured for this role. Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz are both are both also great in the roles of the two women in David’s life.

StoryIn a story that leaves you questioning nearly everything going on even after you believe you have just worked everything out, well this story will keep you all over the place. I do think this does enough to keep us guessing without becoming tiring and will completely satisfied by the end.

Fantasy/Mystery/RomanceThe fantasy world created comes through in the end and it will leave you shocked with the outcome of the film, getting to this stage we are left with a big mystery into just what has been happening with the romance being how David falls in love with Sofia.

SettingsEach setting is used well, but the truly special moment in the New York being empty looks fantastic.

Special EffectsThe effects that are used to create the disfigured looking David all come off great with the other effects all doing the required effect in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis film will test your mind which is always something we like to see in films, yes, it is a remake or reimagination but still it looks fantastic.

 

Overall: This was a true mind bender of morale decision making.

Rating

 

 

Annihilation (2018)

Director: Alex Garland

Writer: Alex Garland (Screenplay) Jeff VanderMeer (Novel)

Starring: Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Oscar Isaac, Gina Rodriguez, David Gyasi, Tuva Novotny

 

Plot: A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply.


Tagline – Fear What’s Inside

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning, Mind Testing Sci-Fi Spectacular

 

Story: Annihilation starts as Lena (Portman) is still feeling the effects of her husband Kane’s (Isaac) yearlong disappearance, only for him to turn up randomly. Kane has returned from a secret mission, which has bought Lena into the mysterious shimmer that has had strange effects with nobody known to return other than Kane.

Learning about a new team of scientist of military, Lena joins the team of Dr Ventress (Leigh), Anya (Rodriguez), Cass (Novotny) and Josie (Thompson) to learn the answers of what happened to her husband. As the group go further into the Shimmer the bigger the threats they find, something they have never had to explain as science isn’t working the way they are used too.

 

Thoughts on Annihilation

 

Characters – Lena is a biologist that has spent the last year wondering just where her husband has gone, only for him to return and finding herself drawn to a secret investigation. Lena uses her skills to help a team of scientists in this mysterious Shimmer where science isn’t what she has spent her life learning. Out of the five women team, she is the calmest, not picking a side, just planning on seeing where this science takes her. Dr Ventress is leading the team into the Shimmer, she has her own motivation for leading the team and does her best to keep the team together. Josie is the youngest member of the team, quiet genius inside, but not experienced in the field compared to the rest of the team. Kane is the husband soldier that went missing, returned he isn’t the same man, he is the motivation for Lena to go into the Shimmer.

PerformancesNatalie Portman is great in this leading role, she must balance a scientific mind, a broken-hearted character and truth hunter role, which she does with ease. Looking into the supporting cast we get great performance from all involved, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Oscar Isaac, Tessa Thompson and Gina Rodriguez.

StoryThis is a sci-fi mystery that will make you think, it follows a team of scientists that go into an unknown Shimmer, where the previous teams have never returned from. The rules of science have gone out the window which only add the questions we love to see and offers up the chance to be left wondering just where things will go next in this one. We do go through the idea that each member of the team changes through their experience and for scientist this does seem strange. This is what the cinema audience has been craving for, a story we need to see over plenty of the different popular movies.

Adventure/Fantasy/Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiThe film uses the adventure elements of the film by taking our five women into the unknown land which has elements of fantasy as the mystery side of just what is happening in the sci-fi world our characters enter. For a sci-fi movie this both creates a wonderful world and poses the questions we enjoy asking ourselves about how the world goes around. We do get horror moments too which surprise when they hit.

SettingsThe Shimmer is one of the most interesting, visually beautiful places we have ever had a sci-fi movie, it feels like a new world even if it is set on Earth.

Special EffectsIf this movie isn’t an early contender for the Oscar for best visual effects, I really don’t know what else could beat it. This uses the effects to make this one of the most beautiful movies you will ever see.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act, will make you question everything you have seen, while also keeping you on edge through the film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not being able to see this in the cinema! Not by choice either.

Final ThoughtsThis is the sci-fi movie of the year, the one I have waited for, the one I want to see again. It makes you think, it looks beautiful, it sounds the disturbing and engaging with each use of the sound and music, making this the must watch movie of the year.

 

Overall: Must watch sci-fi movie

Rating

 

 

Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)

Director: Wes Craven

Writer: Charlie Murphy, Michael Lucker, Chris Parker (Screenplay) Eddie Murphy, Vernon Lynch, Charlie Murphy (Story)

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Angela Bassett, Allen Payne, Kadeem Hardison, John Witherspoon, Zakes Mokae

 

Plot: Maximillian is the only survivor from a race of vampires on a Caribbean Island, and as a vampire, he must find a mate to keep the line from ending. He knows that a child had been born to a woman who had a vampire father, and he searches for her in Brooklyn. 

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bland Horror Comedy

 

Story: Vampire in Brooklyn starts as the Caribbean based vampire Maximillian (Murphy) heads to Brooklyn to find a woman that can continue the race of vampires, a descendent of his family. Arriving in Brooklyn Julius Jones (Hardison) becomes his lackey and Detective Rita Veder (Bassett) and Justice (Payne) are investigating the sudden appearance of the ship Maximillian arrives on.

Maximillian believes Rita is the woman he is looking for and sets about spending the nights trying to win her over while keeping his identity secret.

 

Thoughts on Vampire in Brooklyn

 

Characters/PerformanceMaximillian is a Caribbean vampire who needs to find a woman to keep his bloodline alive and Brooklyn is the place where she lives, he is eccentric throughout the film and always planning for things to happen as he has planned. Detective Rita Veder is one of the cops investigating the strange shop that crashed into the docks and soon finds herself crossing paths with Maximillian but getting answers about to her childhood and the nightmares she has been having. Detective Justice is Veder’s partner, he is a good cop and cares for her more than he should do. Julius becomes the goon of Maximillian slowly turned into death after being given blood of Maximillian’s.

Performance wise, Eddie Murphy has always struggled post 80’s in the comedy roles and this clearly shows he wasn’t the powerhouse he once was. Angela Bassett looks beautiful as always but her character is written poorly for how she seems to be performed as. The rest of the cast are all fine without doing anything great.

StoryThe story here is vampire coming outside his comfort zone to search for other vampires. We get the whole crime situation with how the cops are investigating the killings that Maximillian is leaving behind him but otherwise this story just feels very flat.

Comedy/Fantasy/HorrorWe don’t get many laughs in this film, we enter the idea of shape-shifting vampires for the fantasy and nothing comes off scary which makes this film feel very plain.

SettingsThe film is set in Brooklyn, hey I guess the title gives that away here, this does make for a good setting because the crimes don’t get answered as quickly as other places.

Special EffectsThe effects used are all fine and are used more for the comical tone of things.

Final ThoughtsWes Craven is one of my favourite directors and we do have classic that he does, this isn’t going to be one of the classics in fact this could be his worst, the comedy doesn’t hit, Murphy mails in his performance and we are left with one of the most overly boring films of Murphy’s career.

 

Overall: Disappointing horror comedy.

Rating

 

 

A Wish for Giants (2018)

Director: Don Swanson

Writer: Aaron Dunbar (Screenplay)

Starring: Naysa Altmeyer, Alexa Mechling, Connor McClain, J.P. Edwards, Jerry Pietrala, Joe Fishel

 

Plot: Sophie, a young volunteer, meets her kindred spirit in Roxie, a girl with a life threatening medical condition and a unique wish to meet Bigfoot.


Tagline – An impossible wish. A determined volunteer.

Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Plays on the Heart Strings

 

Story: A Wish for Giants starts as we see how Roxie (Mechling) a school girl gets struck down with a brain tumour, like all kids that are suffering this tragic illness, they get a chance for a wish, which brings in Sophie (Altmeyer) a student volunteer who takes the case, but the wish is to meet bigfoot.

Determined to fulfil this wish Sophie must face the difficulties of trying to prove whether this could be real or not, while rich boy student Derrick (McClain) sees this as a chance for fame and fortune.

 

Thoughts on A Wish for Giants

 

Characters – Sophie is a hard working student and volunteer that helps sick children fulfil a wish, this is her first solo case and she will focus on any resources to make this a reality for Roxie. Roxie is the school girl that has been struck with the terminal disease, her wish is to meet bigfoot, because no one else has been able to say thy have, this is character that is shown to be any child that suffers. Derrick is a fellow student, he is rich, self-centred and believes his money can get him anything he wants in the world.

PerformancesNaysa Altmeyer in the leading role is good, we believe the determinations she is going through. Alexa Mechling is good in the role of the suffering school girl, we see how she wants to be different. Connor McClain does the morally wrong character well in this movie, playing the position well throughout the film.

StoryThe story follows the efforts volunteers put into help terminal sick children, it does play in out like a behind the scenes look at this moment being prepared which is interesting too see. This is a good look at how this process is achieved, while also knowing the suffering being felt by the child. We do get into moral grounds about making the wish happen and you will be left in the position of wondering how the dreams are being fulfilled.

Fantasy The movie uses the idea of fantasy when it comes to looking at the wish that Roxie wants fulfilled, this is the best way to look at this situation because it is the only way to approach it for Sophie.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the lives of the characters, be it the struggles of the student, the hospitals that Roxie goes through and the woods that could be home to bigfoot.


Scene of the Movie –
In the woods.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Derrick does becoming a character you don’t want to be watching.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good, strong drama that shows the struggles to make a wish come true for a terminal ill school kid, it does try to play on the heart strings and offers the question about how far would you go for this to be achieved.  

 

Overall: Strong drama

Rating