Jem and the Holograms (2015)

Director: Jon M Chu

Writer: Ryan Landels (Screenplay) Christy Marx (Animated Series)

Starring: Aubrey Peeples, Stefanie Scott, Aurora Perrineau, Hayler Kiyoko, Molly Ringwald, Isabella Kai Rice

 

Plot: As a small-town girl catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her three sisters begin a journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden.


Tagline – very Generation Needs a Voice

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good for the Target Audience

 

Story: Jem and the Holograms starts as Jerrica (Peeples) is coming to clean to her fans on the internet, we learn how she and her sisters Kimber (Scott), Shana (Perrieneau) and Aja (Kiyoko) become the internet sensations after Jerrica final came out of her shell and is picked up by producer Erica Raymond (Lewis) who wants to make them the biggest ‘It’ of the time.

Jerrica is recreated as Jem she becomes the biggest mystery in music and they become the biggest act in the planet, but can they handle the additional pressure in life.

 

Thoughts on Jem and the Holograms

 

Characters – Jerrica is one of the four sisters, the quiet and shiest one, she is also the most gifted musically, writing songs, performing privately, she creates Jem to be stay anonymous and remembers her father’s guidance everyday. She is telling the story of the rise to fame and how it made her feel. Kimber is the younger sister of Jerrica, she is social media addict, spending all her time posting on social media about anything and everything, she leaks the video of Jem and enjoys coming along to the new role in the band. Shana is one of the adopted sisters, she is a fashionista that always wanted to help the girls of the house have their own unique look. Aja is the other adopted sister, she is the true genius of the four, though she does have a habit to borrow from people without asking and can become the bad girl image. Erica Raymond is the ruthless producer that is always out to make as much money from as many different corners as possible.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances I feel it is unfair to go through any of the four sisters in any different ways because they are all good and you do believe the family chemistry between them.

StoryThe story here shows us how quickly a life of an overnight YouTube sensation can change for the good and the bad. We get to see how the idea of making money to save the family home can bring the biggest divide between the sisters after seeing just how special the rise and first show was for them. For the weaknesses in this film we have a lot, first it based on an animated series I had no idea existed, secondly, it happens so fast we can easily miss what is going on, we never really get an indication of days/weeks or months that we are following. The final negative comes to the issue of trying to show how YouTube can be turned to for fame, it will never happen this quickly.

Adventure/Fantasy/Music/Romance/Sci-FiThe genres this film tries to cross are all getting effected by lack of opportunity, the only one that truly gets the right time is the music side because that is the heart of the film. the fantasy sci-fi side of the film feels like an attachment to the main story.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which is always going to be the right choice for an American film about glitz and glamor.


Scene of the Movie –
The first show.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While it is meaningful, the sci-fi fantasy side story is just left in the back burner.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that will keep the target audience happy, it doesn’t offer too much for the casual fans of the genre and can get lost trying to do too much.

 

Overall: The good and the bad of YouTube success.

Rating

 

 

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Suspiria (2018)

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Writer: David Kajganich (Screenplay) Dario Argento, Daria Nicolodi (Characters)

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Sylvie Testud, Jessica Harper, Chloe Grace Moretz, Lutz Ebersdorf

 

Plot: A darkness swirls at the center of a world-renowned dance company, one that will engulf the artistic director, an ambitious young dancer, and a grieving psychotherapist. Some will succumb to the nightmare. Others will finally wake up.


Tagline – Pain cleanses all.

Runtime: 2 Hours 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disturbing & Chilling

 

Story: Suspiria starts with Patricia (Moretz) going into hiding from her dancing company, turning to Dr Josef Klemperer (Swinton), this leaves a space in the program which American Susie Bannion (Johnson) gets given the chance to take in Berlin. Susie impresses the artistic director Madame Blanc (Swinton) and it isn’t long before she gets to learn about the most popular dance.

Susie soon gets given the lead in the dance, the one Madame Blanc has spent years perfecting, only she gets to see the darker side of the company which has the ability to consumer the dancers.

 

Thoughts on Suspiria

 

Characters – Susie is the American given the chance to perform in the biggest dance company in Berlin, one with a huge reputation for being one of the best and strongest in the business, it doesn’t take her long to impress as she becomes the lead in the performance, she is left to wonder at what cost though. Madame Blanc is the director of the show, she knows talent and knows how to get the bet out of the talent, while disposing of the unwanted talent. She is a strict perfectionist, that will get the moment she needs for the show. Sara is the member of the dance academy that is friends with the one that vanishes, while being the friend that guides Susie through the welcoming, she learns more about the truth behind the plans. Dr Josef Klemperer is one Patricia turns to for help, he stats to learn more about the dance company while dealing with her own loss from the world. Patricia is the one that goes missing and opens up the space for Susie to take, she has become paranoid about what is going on, which will force Sara into investigating in more detail.

PerformancesDakota Johnson steps away from the ‘Fifty Shades’ franchise with ease here, bringing new life to her career, which is much needed, she shows us here that she is going to be one of the top stars for years to come. Mia Goth continues to show us why she is picked for the roles that never seem normal, while Chloe Grace Moretz steps away from her younger roles with a much more mature role. It is Tilda Swinton that shows her true talent with her roles in the film, the dance director is an easy one for her, while the male doctor shows us just how talented she truly is.

StoryThe story follows a young American that joins a famous dance company only for the company to have a much darker side which the dancers are becoming consumed by. This is a remake and as I have never seen the original, I don’t know how similar the story is, which is fine, because it may have a couple of nods to the original and casting choice including original cast members, the story focuses on just what could be going on within the dance company and how it operates. We learn early on what they are up to and just how shocking it is and for the most part we are left wondering just what is going on with the main performer.

Fantasy/Horror/MysteryThe fantasy side of the film goes hand in hand with the horror of just what is going on, it is a very dark world and the mystery of just how we get there is what will drive the audience to enjoy.

SettingsThe film is set in Berlin, this shows us that the world is still affecting the people around the city and how strong this dance company had become.

Special EffectsThe effects in this movie are shocking in their realism which will disturb and shock through the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does feel like a long film for no reason.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the craziest horror films from a year which was filled with the horrors that fit that quota. It does feel very long which will turn away audiences, but the committed horrors fans will enjoy what they see.

 

Overall: Crazy, disturbing and one you won’t forget.

Rating

 

 

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

Director: David Yates

Writer: J.K. Rowling (Screenplay)

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Zoe Kravitz, Ezra Miller

 

Plot: The second installment of the “Fantastic Beasts” series featuring the adventures of Magizoologist Newt Scamander.


Tagline – The fate of one will change the future of all

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple World Building

 

Story: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald starts with Grindelwald (Depp) escaping prison pulling his forces together as he is going in search for Credence Barebone (Miller) who is now on the run, the Ministry want Credence bought to safety, which gives them a chance to offer Newt (Redmayne) a way to travel internationally.

Tina (Waterston) has been selected to go in search of Credence, which ends up giving all parties interested in search for Credence, the one person who has the power to killed Dumbledore (Law).

 

Thoughts on Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

 

Characters – Newt still considered an outside in the magical world, he is offered a chance to redeem himself to stop Grindelwald from gaining too much power, he still has the connection with the fantastic beasts, is trying to redeem his relationship with Tina and prove himself to the Ministry. Grindelwald has escaped his prison and is now looking to raise an army for a war against the non-magics, he knows how to take down the biggest threat ad is working to get Credence on his side. Tina has moved away from Newt after reading something incorrectly, which sees her leading the investigation into Credence’s location. Dumbledore has a connection the Grindelwald, one that means he can’t track him down and he selects Newt to help him search for his old friend. Credence is the young man that everyone is searching for, he has power that others simply can’t control, he doesn’t know who to trust in any way, leaving him on the run as he wants answers to who his parents are. Leta Lestrange is the former classmate of Newt, she has been put in a position where she can make up for her own mistakes in the past, while dealing with her own secret.

PerformancesEddie Redmayne is solid enough returning to his role, there are moments where he is annoying though. Johnny Depp was solid too even with all the issues around him being cast in this film. most of the cast are just basically solid, nobody does anything to stand out in this movie.

StoryThe story continues the adventures of Newt as he must learn why Grindelwald is searching for Credence. We do see both sides bring drawn out in a war between the two sides, with the different wizards needing to learn pick a side. Where we do have a lot characters we do seem to lose focuses on just what is happening within the bigger picture, as this is only an early chapter in series, it des feel like a building story rather than one that has a beginning or end, which also disappoints. We do however know that the Harry Potter franchise was similar with this, giving us moments which will be used for latter moments in the franchise.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure side of the film does take Newt to new locations with more of his fantastic beasts which is fine, though it just feels like more of the same with the magic being more about who wants power over clever little tricks.

SettingsThe film does use a couple more settings with Paris and London being involved, most of the locations are used to show the secret places where magic can take place.

Special EffectsThe effects are not as strong as previous films though, we have seen a lot of different moments through the film, with this being more of a let-down over anything else even with some of the beasts looks amazing.


Scene of the Movie –
Cats chasing down Newt.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters to follow.

Final ThoughtsThis is an average chapter in a franchise which has gone on for a while now, it has good moments and tries to save itself with a twist, which is here for shock value over any meaning.

 

Overall: Simple chapter building.

Rating

 

 

Gemma Arterton Weekend – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

Director: Mike Newell

Writer: Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard (Screenplay) Jordan Mechner (Video Game)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Steve Toussaint, Toby Kebbell

 

Plot: A young fugitive Prince and Princess must stop a villain who unknowingly threatens to destroy the world with a special dagger that enables the magic sand inside to reverse time.


Tagline – Defy the Future

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Adventure

 

Story: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time starts in the land of Persia, ruler Nizam (Kingsley) and brother to the king Sharaman (Pickup) leads his armies in battle with his generals and rebellious prince Dastan (Gyllenhaal) still keeping his streetwise behaviour in him. The latest show of strength sees Dastan lead an attack on Princess Tamina (Arterton) city bringing the two cities together.

When Dastan gets framed for the King’s death, he goes on the with Tamina only to learn about a dagger that can control time, that his brother really wanted from the siege, Dastan must prove his innocence and return home while unlocking his own destiny.

 

Thoughts on Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

 

Characters – Dastan was born on the streets, but raised in the place after impressing the king, he still remains close to the people on the streets which leaves him unable to follow orders. He leads an assault on a new kingdom only to find himself a pawn in a game of power for control of Persia and must learn his true destiny and save the kingdom. Tamina is the princess of a new land that the Persian’s claim, she is forced to marry one, but knows the secrets behind the dagger and the power it gives. She is willing to help get the dagger to safety and away from those who will use the power for their own greed. Nizam is the brother to the king, Uncle to Dastan, he has always lived in the shadow of his brother and no matter who takes over, he will not be king. Sheik Amar is a man that Dastan keeps running into on his travels, a man that is driven by gold which he sees with the bounty on Dastan’s head.

PerformancesJake Gyllenhaal is good when it comes to the action and physical side of the film, though his accent does bounce around at times. Gemma Arterton has the look of a princess, though the accent involved is questionable, for the location she is meant to be from. Ben Kingsley is an easy choice for a villainous character, which is fine he doesn’t get truly challenge in his role, while Alfred Molina adds comedy it can lighten up the movie enough.

StoryThe story is adapted from the video games series, which had a smart idea of a dagger that could control time and the battle for power of the dagger. The film does follow those lines well showing us that not everything is going to be easy for our hero and he simply won’t know who to trust when it comes to gaining power for good or evil. It does follow a trend which was going on at the time with the unlikely couple from different worlds that are slowly falling in love as they look to save the day, with unlikely friendship and enemies made along the way. The idea of a weapon which could possesses the ability to change time is interesting addition to the normal adventure movie too.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action in the film is good and entertaining, it includes the fights and battles which will show the number of people fighting for each side. The adventure side of the film shows us how far Dastan must travel to make his position right in the kingdom, going through location which would be considered dangerous on other days. The weapons power adds in the fantasy element which sees us reverse time when suited.

SettingsThe film does use the generic temple style cities and royal locations as well as the open deserts to show us where out character is going on their adventure.

Special EffectsThe effects are a mixed bag, when we see the time rewind, we do get a unique look which is good, the weakness come from certain larger scale moments.


Scene of the Movie –
The rewind of time scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The giant CGI moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun video game adventure movie, it has an idea which can become just like we could imagine a video game playing out which is what we would like at times.

 

Overall: Enjoyable adventure film.

Rating

 

 

Logan Lerman Weekend – Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)

Director: Thor Freudenthal

Writer: Marc Guggenheim (Screenplay) Rick Riordan (Novel)

Starring: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Douglas Smith, Brandon T Jackson, Stanley Tucci, Nathan Fillion

 

Plot: In order to restore their dying safe haven, the son of Poseidon and his friends embark on a quest to the Sea of Monsters, to find the mythical Golden Fleece, all the while trying to stop an ancient evil from rising.


Tagline – Where there are gods there are monsters.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple & Enjoyable

 

Story: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters starts as we head back to camp half blood, we learn more about the barrier that protects Percy (Lerman), Annabeth (Daddario) and Grover (Jackson) from the evils of the world. When a stranger Tyson (Smith) a cyclops arrives in the camp the barrier becomes weakened the best warrior Clarisse (Rambin) is selected to search for the Golden Fleece.

Percy learning of a prophecy that shows he could once again save Olympus, he is joined by Annabeth, Grover and Tyson to stop an old enemy that is targeting the same golden fleece which could save the demi-gods.

 

Thoughts on Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

 

Characters – Percy Jackson has now become the star pupil in the camp, only he hasn’t been on any more quest, lost looking for his place in the world, he learns of a prophecy which gives him a purpose in the world as he looks to save the day again with his friends. Annabeth isn’t the warrior we once new from the last film, we do learn more about her past, though she just seems to be standing around letting Clarisse be the warrior figure. Clarisse is the rival in the camp, she is ultra-competitive when it comes to being the best, which sees her selected for the quest. She is very confident that she is can succeed on any quest too. Tyson is the cyclops who arrives in the camp, claiming to also be related to Poseidon, he has been in hiding, considered an outcast for the most part, he does join Percy on his adventure as the two half brothers must learn to bond. Grover does take a back seat more in this film too as he ends up being taken early on during the adventure. Luke is back once again trying to figure out how to destroy the Gods above, showing that he wants to bring Percy onto his side of the battle.

PerformancesLogan Lerman does continue to be strong in the leading role of this film, it is when we look at the supporting roles things start to go downhill, first they waste Daddario and Jackson’s chemistry from the first film, by bringing us two new actors to work with. Douglas Smith doesn’t hit the comedy which is meant to be shown from his character and Jake Abel returning as the villain gets to have fun with the role.

StoryThe story here brings us the next chapter in the Percy Jackson adventures, this time the stakes seem to be higher with the potential return of a deadly enemy, even if we focus more on team work which is important for the characters in the camp environment. This does give us a similar style of adventure and brings more mythology from the Greek history which is always good to see. The biggest weakness of this story comes from the world building we never got to see the next chapter for. The story feels like it could become a wonderful television show which could teach elements of Greek mythology with a modern style which has been the main part of these films.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure side of this film takes us to new locations which at meant to be American versions of the Greek historic location, which is fun to see, with Tyson seeing them for the first time. The idea of Greek Gods and monsters in the real world is always going to fascinate which it what makes this film stand out that little bit more.

SettingsThe film does take us to new locations which could easily be modern versions of the Greek Gods location, be it the abandon theme park with a cyclops in or the oceans giant monster literally eating everything in its path.

Special EffectsThe effects do take a step back, mostly because of the extra amounts needed in this film, we have Tyson which cyclops eye never looks right and the battles never hit home enough.


Scene of the Movie –
Final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact we never get the next chapter.

Final ThoughtsThis is still a fun adventure film that does deliver on what it is trying to give us, it doesn’t hit as well as the first film, but can still be enjoyed along the way.

 

Overall: Fun adventure exploring the Gods.

Rating