ABC Film Challenge – Action – D – Doctor Strange (2016) Revisited

Director: Scott Derrickson

Writer: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C Robert Cargill (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comics)

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg

 

Plot: While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.


Tagline – Open your mind. Change your reality

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning

 

Story: Doctor Strange starts as arrogant, brilliant neurosurgeon Dr Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) is involved in a reckless car accident, which was his own fault, loses the ability to use his hands on the same levels as he once could. Stephen learns about one patient that recovered from the injuries that he shouldn’t have recovered from and goes in search for answers.

Stephen searches for Kamar-Taj which should give the mind answers to healing himself through belief, with The Ancient One (Swinton) showing him the way. Here Stephen must train with Mordo (Ejiofor) and soon finds himself joining the fight against Kaecilius (Mikkelsen) who has been trying to gain the power the Ancient One has.

 

Thoughts on Doctor Strange

 

Characters – Doctor Stephen Strange is arrogant brilliant neurosurgeon, he always looks down on people who he sees not completing the operations he can, this has led him to become reckless in his personal life, which leads to his accident and loss of ability to operate. He learns that he could be cured, if he goes through certain mind training as he learns about multi verse which doesn’t need the physical body to get through or fight. Mordo is one of the oldest students un Kamar-Taj, he opens the doors to Stephen, working with him to teach him about what they will be fighting against. Dr Palmer is the only friend Stephen has at the hospital and she goes to him for advice when needed. Wong is the librarian that guards the books about power which the people there could learn from. Kaecilius is the villain of the piece, he has been trying to bring the dark universe to Earth’s and will stop and nothing to achieve this, he was once a student too, but turned evil once he learnt about the power. The Ancient One control the powers in Kamar-Taj, the oldest and most powerful of everyone there, she teaches Stephen the true meaning and powers he could control.

PerformancesBenedict Cumberbatch is better than I remembered in the leading role, it might be because I have gotten used to the character after Infinity War, he does make himself feel unlikeable through the film. Chiwetel Ejiofor is interesting in his role where he is designed to be conflict between everyone involved.  Rachel McAdams is however completely wasted in this role, she barely gets any screen time. Mads Mikkelsen as the villain is somebody we know we can trust, though we do wish we could have had more of his character, Benedict Wong is fun in the supporting role, while Tilda Swinton is always going to be the star of a film with her acting class.

StoryThe story here follows Dr Strange learn to give up everything he thought he knew from science and learn about the mystic arts that control universes. This is once again an origin film and Dr Strange is a brilliant, but unlikable man, he needs to learn that the world isn’t about him, its about the people if he is every going to make it in this new position. We do have the conflict between light and dark, which shows that he will need to learn the lines in this war, while others are fighting to be in control of this world. the story can look weak in places because we put so much time into the visuals of this film, but it does everything required to be an entertaining watch.

Action/FantasyThe action in this film comes from the world we see everybody fighting in, it plays hand in hand with the fantasy side of the film which just makes for some of the most visual fight sequences you will ever see.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to not only confuse the audience, but confuse Dr Strange, we see the different environments he must learn to adapt to with the laws of physics now longer being applied.

Special EffectsThe effects in this film are brilliant, it is like watching Inception in steroids when it comes to how the world folds in, moves and evolves.


Scene of the Movie –
The New York fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story isn’t as strong as it could be.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most visually brilliant movies in this universe, it gives us an origin story that is ready to branch in many different directions and prepares us for a new type of hero.

 

Overall: Stunning on the eyes.

Rating

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – W – The Wolfman (2010) Movie Review

Director: Joe Johnston

Writer: Andrew Kevin Walker, David Self (Screenplay) Curt Siodmak (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Rick Baker, Hugo Weaving, Simon Merrells, Gemma Whelan

Plot: Upon his return to his ancestral homeland, an American man is bitten, and subsequently cursed by, a werewolf.


Tagline – When the moon is full the legend comes to life

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Beautiful Gothic Horror

Story: The Wolfman starts when Gwen Conliffe (Blunt) travels to London to locate Lawrence Talbot (Del Toro) to ask for his help to locate his brother and her fiancée Ben (Merrells) who mysteriously disappeared, Lawrence returns to his family home to face his estranged father Sir John (Hopkins) to pay his respects to his brother after his brother’s body is discovered.

Learning the rumours of a terrifying creature lurking the woods, Lawrence isn’t allowed to return home one night, finding himself involved in a hunt through a gypsy camp, where he faces the creatures, using his expert shooting skills, only to find himself bitten. With the curse passed onto Lawrence learns that the legend of a wolfman is real and now he is that wolfman, with the town searching to hunt him down and put an end to his terror.

Thoughts on The Wolfman

Characters – Lawrence Talbot is a stage actor in New York City, one of the most popular in the city too, he gets called to return home to help is his brother’s death and soon finds himself bitten by the mysterious creature that took his brother. Lawrence must learn to control the new curse placed on him, while the rest of the village wants him dead. Sir John Talbot is his father that has been distant from him because of traumatic event from his childhood, he has lived over looking the village for years now, he will protect Lawrence even if he knows the truth. Gwen is the fiancée of Lawrence’s brother, the one that comes to him in search for help, she knows the problems between Lawrence and John, but believes he could be the only one to help with the mystery about his brother. She is the only one willing to help Lawrence once things start to get out of hand. Aberline is from Scotland Yard investigating the attack that happened to Lawrence, his reputation is around how he was once involved in the Jack the Ripper case and now he has been left to hunt down Lawrence.

PerformancesBenicio Del Toro in the leading role is strong in this film, we get to see just how much his character must got through during the film and he shows all the emotional range required for the character. Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt complete the main cast where neither put a foot wrong in their roles.

StoryThe story here follows a stage actor that must return home to search for answers about his brother’s death, only to find himself in the middle of hunt for a creature that has gone onto infect him with the curse. This is a remake of the classic universal monster collection, we get the gothic feeling to the story, in a time when legends would feel like they are true stories that small villages would believe to be true. We get to see the uncomfortable relationship between a father and son, as well as seeing the horrors of the wolfman being released upon the world. This is an entertaining story to watch, which is one that would be enjoyed by the horror fans.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy horror side of the film shows us just how the wolfman has come from, playing into the first real horrors of the silver screen too.

SettingsThe settings used in this film does bring us back to the Gothic era, which helps elevate the film to the next level, being it the buildings or the mist layered woodland area.

Special EffectsThe effects might well be more CGI focused when it comes to the transformation, but they still feel just as terrifying as they should be, if you were a witness to the event.


Scene of the Movie – The wolfman unleashed.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Gwen is still just a damsel in distress.

Final Thoughts This is an entertaining blood covered horror that brings a familiar character back to the bring screen, we have a strong cast and nice pacing which will keep the action flowing.

Overall: Blood Filled Horror.

Little (2019) Movie Review

Director: Tina Gordon

Writer: Tracy Oliver, Tina Gordon (Screenplay)

Starring: Regina Hall, Issa Rae, Marsai Martin, Justin Hartley, Tracee Ellis Ross, Tone Bell, Mikey Day, JD McCray

Plot: A woman is transformed into her younger self at a point in her life when the pressures of adulthood become too much to bear.


Tagline – She woke up like This.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Strong Performances, Weak Laughs

Story: Little starts as we meet strict boss Jordan Sanders (Hall) who treats everybody badly with her bossy mentality, which has grown in her since her time at school, she walks all over everybody in her business, with her assistant April (Rae) dealing with most of her abuse.

With Jordan’s biggest client about to walk away from the company and the pressure is cranked up and things only get worse for Jordan, when a little girl sees her ways, wishes she was little again, Jordan (Martin) now school kid age must return to school, leaving April to run company for her.

Thoughts on Little

Characters – Jordan Sanders is the strict boss that always looks down on people, bullying them into the work in her life, she has made plenty of enemies along the way and is about to lose her biggest client. Caught in the act of her bossy ways, she turns back to her teenage self, one that was bullied, never fitted in and here she must learn a lesson about herself and her future. April has been the assistant to Jordan for years now, she does want to be her own woman with her own ideas, which as always shot down by Jordan, when Jordan becomes little, she turns to April who gets her chance to step up in her life, proving to be a friend that Jordan never thought she would have.

PerformancesRegina Hall does well as the strict bossy figure, but it is Issa Rae and Marsai Martin that shine the most bringing their characters to full life in the position where they wouldn’t normally see themselves.

StoryThe story here follows a successful strict boss that gets turned back to her younger self, forcing her to let people do things for her, while trying to learn a lesson about letting people into her own life. We have seen the body swapping ideas before, while this isn’t a full body swap, it does show how damaged somebody can be, making them closed off from the rest of the world. While this story might have a deeper meaning about how to make the best decisions in life, certain pop culture references, don’t help everything and we do end up not spending enough time with the school side of little Jordan’s time, which is where she is meant to learn the most.

Comedy/Fantasy/RomanceThe comedy in the film doesn’t hit well enough for the most part, it all seems like everybody is trying to hard, rather than being naturally funny, the fantasy side of the film looks how a spell could change somebody, just like any fantasy body swapping film, with the romance being there, only not getting enough time to focus on.

SettingsThe film shows the successful selfish life Jordan has ended up living, it shows how Jordan is only interested in her own life.


Scene of the Movie – Little Jordan’s first day.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Most of the comedy doesn’t work.

Final Thoughts This is a basic comedy that does have a bigger message about treating people better in life, or you will end up finding themselves alone when they need help the most.

Overall: Simple Comedy.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – B – The Boxtrolls (2014)

Director: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi

Writer: Irena Brignull, Adam Pava (Screenplay) Alan Snow (Novel)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Isaac Hempstead Wright, Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning, Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan

 

Plot: A young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator.


Tagline – Dare to be square.

Runtime: 1 hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun, but Dark Animation

 

Story: The Boxtrolls starts in a rich town, where Lord Portley-Rind wants the town to get rid of the Boxtrolls that come out at night to collect trash, they get Snatcher and his team to hunt them down, when the Boxtrolls raise an orphaned boy Eggs, he grows up to question the behaviour of the town and the Boxtrolls.

When Eggs goes into the human world, he learns that truth about how the world sees the Boxtrolls and must prove to them along with the daughter of Lord Portley-Rind, Winnie, they can bring the end to the battle between the two sides.

 

Thoughts on The Boxtrolls

 

Characters – Eggs was raised by the Boxtrolls, he believes he is one, until he meets a human girl, with this new discovery, he learns why the Boxtrolls are not loved on the surface and his own identity, to whom he must end the war between the two side. Snatcher is the evil hunter that wants a higher status within the town, using the idea that he will clean up the town of the Boxtrolls, however much he is behind the whole problem within the town. Lord Portley-Rind is the highest ranked person in the town, he is completely self-centred, not seeing the biggest picture in the town, including his own daughter. Winnie is the adventurous daughter of the Lord that believes every Boxtrolls legend and the first to see the Eggs, helping his discover the truth. Each of the Boxtrolls has their ow unique look and actions through the film too.

StoryThe story shows us how one town can believe in a legend without ever learning the truth about the so-called evil in the town. We get to see the difference in classes and how they treat different parts of the society, how the lowest community is closer and willing to do everything to work together. We get a big lesson on not treating people different in life while giving us a fun adventure about making it in your own way in life.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure takes Eggs from what he believes in his home, into the big world, where he can discover and put an end to a battle between the people of the surface. The comedy will get chuckles with each of the Boxtrolls action in the film.

SettingsThe film is set in a town where there is a clear class system in place, we see how the different classes treat each other and how they must learn to change for the better.

AnimationThe animation is stop-motion which is always a joy to see just how much commitment went into the film to make it looks so beautiful.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not sure how the Boxtrolls were seen before the event happened at the start.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun animation that will get laughs along the way, it might be darker than it needed to be, which could scary a younger audience.

 

Overall: Stop-motion at its finest.

Rating

 

 

The Lighthouse (2019) Movie Review

Director: Robert Eggers

Writer: Max Eggers, Robert Eggers (Screenplay)

Starring: Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson, Valeriia Karaman

Plot: Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.


Tagline – There is enchantment in the light.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Atmospheric

Story: The Lighthouse starts as the two lighthouse keepers Thomas Wake (Dafoe) and rookie Ephraim Winslow (Pattinson) arrive at their remote lighthouse, Thomas wants to work with the light, while making Ephraim do the housework and maintenance work.

The two men have no previous connection, which sees Ephraim wanting to play by the rulebook, while Thomas is will to let his experience guide the time together, seeing the two clash, as superstitions start to take control of what Ephraim is allowed to do. Add in the mystery of a creature Ephraim keeps seeing, he is trying to unlock the mystery of the island, one he believes Thomas isn’t letting him know about.

Thoughts on The Lighthouse

Characters – Thomas Wake is the experienced lighthouse keeper, he has been doing this for decades, sacrificed family to do so. He is strict, wanting to only deal with the light responsibilities taking advantage of his rookie partner, he doesn’t show him any respect unless he is drunk, while keeping a mystery about the island to himself. Ephraim Winslow is the rookie lighthouse keeper on his very first job, he has learnt the rulebook wanting to play along with it to make sure the job is done well, he finds himself becoming the housekeeper doing the chores around the island, keeping everything operating smoothly. He starts to question what is happening on the island, having visions of a mysterious creature, all while trying to prove himself to Thomas.

PerformancesWillem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson are both truly outstanding in this film, in the last couple of years we have seen plenty of lighthouse based films, with these two giving the best performances in any of them by a long way.

StoryThe story here follows two men with different levels of experience working on an island lighthouse, where they soon start to see the strange event happening, leaving themselves to question their sanity. This is a story that does keep you wondering just what is going to happen next, while we can start in the non-horror side of the story, we see how the two must put up with each other, finding the only joint idea being, having too many drinks, the respect does start to grow. When we look at the horror side of the story we are left scratching our heads, trying to unlock the truth, where everything is more about the sanity of the human mind over anything else, showing just how mentally challenging the roles of lighthouse keepers really were.

HorrorThe horror comes from seeing just how the human mind could start to unfold, we might have a few creature related scares, but the human mind slowly going into insanity is where the real horrors lay.

SettingsThe film is set on the single remote island, with the lighthouse being the only building, it reflects the complete isolation the two characters are living through.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, we do have strong ones when we need them, we don’t turn to a constant onslaught of needing them, but when an injury or unusual situation happens the characters react like anybody would.


Scene of the Movie – Drinking and dancing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too much maritime talk.

Final Thoughts This is one of the most surreal horrors of the year, it will offer plenty of questions with performances that are truly outstanding.

Overall: Surreal.