Mermaid’s Song (2018)

Director: Nicholas Humphries

Writer: Bob Woolsey, Meagan Hotz (Screenplay) Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin, Bob Woolsey, Lindsey Mann (Story)

Starring: Iwan Rheon, Katelyn Mager, Brandan Taylor, Jessie Fraser, Steve Bradley, Barbara Wallace, Trevor Gemma

 

Plot: The film is set during the 1930s depression and tells of young Charlotte, who is struggling to keep the family business afloat. When gangster Randall offers to pay off the family debt – he demands some illegal changes to the business. But Charlotte, like her mother before her, is a mermaid capable of controlling humans with nothing but her voice, which creates a battle between all of those who want Charlotte’s magical powers for themselves.


Tagline – Her story begins when the fairy tale ends.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mermaid’s Haven’t Been This Scary Since Cabin in the Woods

 

Story: Mermaid’s Song starts in 30s depression era America, Charlotte’s (Mager) father George (Taylor) takes over the family business after her mother’s death, he is strict with how he controls the business and must turn to gangster Randall (Rheon) to help keep the business afloat.

Charlotte wanting to become part of the show with her fellow sisters is forced to watch from a side until she learns just what she is capable off being a mermaid and having the ability to control men.

 

Thoughts on Mermaid’s Song

 

Characters – Randall is the local gangster, he helps clubs out for his own profit forcing businesses to run the way he wants them to be run, he uses this technique to take control of this family business and if he doesn’t get his money, he will find ways to take it. Charlotte is the youngster of the sisters in the business, she wants to be part of the show, however she keeps getting held back by her father and sisters. She does have a secret that she must come to terms with as she can become a mermaid, giving her power over the men in the business. George is the struggling businessman trying to keep his business a float, he makes a deal with Randal putting his daughter’s through the experiences they shouldn’t need to go through. We also get the remaining sisters who perform the show nightly and Randall’s goons that make sure he gets the money he wants.

PerformancesIwan Rheon is good in the gangster role, we are now used to seeing him play the twisted characters and while softer than normal. Katelyn Mager gives us an innocent performance which is needed for this film ad she handles it wonderfully throughout. When we look at the rest of the cast, they are good with Brendan Taylor making for desperate businessman work well.

StoryThe story follows a struggling businessman that falls into working for a gangster to make ends meet only to learn this isn’t a smart idea when his youngster daughter becomes the one the gangster is most interested in. This does show us how difficult the depression was on America and how people will turn to any means to survive. We do get to look at a fantasy tale of a mermaid and the sailor that found her which plays as part fairy tale for Charlotte to be taught growing up. The two ideas do mix well together and brings the fantasy element to the struggles of the depression era.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy comes from the tale about mermaids and where they could have come from. The horror is saved for the later stages of the film and it is worth the wait.

SettingsThe film shows us one business for the settings, we remain in this location for the whole film as we see how the family operates in this location.

Special EffectsThe effects are saved for the big reveal to what the mermaid will look like, this is good for the film as it is worth the wait.


Scene of the Movie –
The mermaid reveal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The song does get repetitive.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting fantasy horror movie, we get to see mermaid in the darker light than the Disney version most people know.

 

Overall: Dark and delicious mermaid horror.

Rating

 

 

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The Bestowal (2019)

Director: Andrew de Burgh

Writer: Andrew de Burgh (Screenplay)

Starring: Sam Brittan, Sharmita Bhattacharya

 

Plot: A suicidal businessman is visited by an inter-dimensional being who appears in the form of a beautiful woman.


Tagline – Have we always existed?

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Thought Provoking

 

Story: The Bestowal starts with businessman Steven (Brittan) about to kill himself, with the trigger ready to pull, he gets visited by Death (Bhattacharya) who claims to visit everybody in the universe that has attempted or is planning suicide in a last-ditch attempt to learn the problems.

As the conversation flows we learn about Steven’s life how things in his life have question religion and his success in an attempt to save him for a better position in his life.

 

Thoughts on The Bestowal

 

Characters – Steven is a successful businessman that has more money than he could need and everything a man could want, except a family, he is on the verge of suicide until he meets Death. He argues his case to go through with the suicide before making his decision for what he wants to do. Death is a celestial being that visits people on the verge of suicide, these visits are meant to help the people whose souls will become lost, they appear in different forms this time it appears as a beautiful woman, offering the friendship and conversation Steven requires, reflecting the problems he has face and questioned in life.

PerformancesSam Brittan and Sharmita Bhattacharya are the only two actors in the film, they spend the whole film in conversation, the two show how exceptional chemistry in their conversation keeping us engaged in what is being discussed, because if they don’t perform we could find ourselves getting bored.

StoryThe story here follows on man about to commit suicide who gets visited by Death who offers him reasons to re-evaluate this decision. This is a conversation movie, this is one story that keeps us involved in this conversation, giving us a reflection to what are problems in everyday life, study factors in life that look at depression which could bring someone to the verge of suicide. The story will make you think about your own life and just what you are achieving from it, this brings us to the thought provoking side to the story, something many movies don’t give us. Be prepared to feel emotions you don’t want to be feeling for the start of the movie because we start very dark when it comes to the depression and suicide part of the conversation.

Fantasy/Sci-FiThe fantasy side of this story comes from how the conversation can come together mixing well with the idea of celestial beings that could come to visit people in their time of need.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings inside a house, this keeps us in a realistic location for a conversation that is needed for Steven.


Scene of the Movie –
The conversation is so interesting to see.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the movies that will make you think about life decision, question your own place in life and make you believe there will always be more.

 

Overall: Must watch.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – W – A Winter’s Tale (2014)

Director: Akiva Goldsman

Writer: Akiva Goldsman (Screenplay) Mark Helprin (Novel)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe, William Hurt, Jennifer Connelly

 

Plot: A burglar falls for an heiress as she dies in his arms. When he learns that he has the gift of reincarnation, he sets out to save her.


Tagline – This is not a true story. This is true love.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Fantasy Romance

 

Story: A New York Winter’s Tale starts as we meet Peter Lake (Farrell) left an orphan in New York City to become one of the most notorious thieves in the city, working for Pearly (Crowe) their business agreement goes south and now he is after Peter, who is saved by a mysterious magical horse.

Needing to get out of town, the horse guides him to the sick Beverly Penn (Findlay) who changes his views on life, until he learns of his own powers that shine through in this world where fairy-tales are only on the surface.

 

Thoughts on A New York Winter’s Tale

 

Characters – Peter Lake is nothing more than a thief working in New York City, when he goes against the plans of his boss he becomes a wanted man on the run with only a mythical horse to guide him, this shows him the light and the power his possesses as he walks the world as an empty sole. Beverly Penn is an heiress that is going to be dying within the next year or so, she opens Peter’s heart to be the one thing he never thought he could steal, it is her that shows him where his life might go. Pearly is the man trying to stop any miracles happening in the world, part demon he controls the ability to have miracles happening with his gangster like persona.

PerformancesColin Farrell is good in this leading role, at it shows he can handle a role that isn’t in the stranger roles like he has headed towards in recent years. Jessica Brown Findlay is the least known of the big roles in this film and she is great opposite Farrell. Russell Crowe does make for great villain which is what we always like to see. We do have a great supporting cast performing that do work for the main roles.

StoryThe story gives us a blend of fairy tale ideas in a growing world, this is an interesting story of enteral love, meaning and placement on the Earth, which is something people can find themselves asking, their place in this world. This will give the romantic fans a happy story that will play on nearly every emotion and is one that does give you a feel good moment or two through the film.

Fantasy/Mystery/RomanceThe use of the fantasy in the growing world gives us hope that things could happen that surprise us, which is where the mystery comes from as we see where Peter ends up because of the love he once felt.

SettingsThe New York setting is used to show us that miracles could happen even in the biggest city in the world.

Special EffectsThe effects through the film are good without being overly used, even though certain moments do feel green screen heavy.


Scene of the Movie –
The miracle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While I think Russell Crowe is good in this film his accent seems to bounce around a lot.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good, feel good movies that will leave you with a smile, hope and enjoyment by the end of the film.

 

Overall: Fantasy feel good.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – U – Upside Down (2012)

Director: Juan Solanas

Writer: Juan Solanas (Screenplay) Juan Solanas, Santiago Amigorena, Pierre Magny (Adaptation)

Starring: Jim Sturgess, Kirsten Dunst, Timothy Spall, Blu Mankuma, Nicholas Rose, James Kidnie

 

Plot: Adam and Eden fell in love as teens despite the fact that they live on twinned worlds with gravities that pull in opposite directions. Ten years after a forced separation, Adam sets out on a dangerous quest to reconnect with his love.


Tagline –  Two worlds. One future.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too Ambitious

 

Story: Upside Down starts as we learn about the two different worlds, with their own gravity, but within communication distance. Adam (Sturgess) is from one world while Eden (Dunst) is from the other, the two fell in love, but they can’t be together for any length of time because of the different pulls on their gravities.

When their secret relationship is found out about, Adam believes that Eden died, 10-years later he learns she is still alive and goes to find a way to meet her again through a business that connects the two worlds.

 

Thoughts on Upside Down

 

Characters – Adam is from one world, raised an orphan after his parents were killed in an accident, he is fascinated by the other world which leads him to Eden, when he believes he loses her forever he starts to focus on other projects. When he learns that she is still alive he risks his life to try and find a way to meet her again and go to the world that he is not only forbidden from, but could kill him if he stays too long. Eden is the girl from the other world she has become injured losing her memory but rising up through the company, can he memory return in time to feel the feelings she once had.

PerformancesJim Sturgess is solid in the leading role, he plays the ambitious side to his character well, but he isn’t the most convincing on the romantic side of things. Kirsten Dunst does well enough as she can always be turned to for romantic based movies, this is no different. Timothy Spall gets good laughs in the supporting role.

StoryThe story here looks into forbidden love, we get a grander scale for this because the two lovers come from different worlds and can’t be together because of science. We have a lot of explaining as to why the two can’t be together which at times ends up being too much to follow because the science involved just seems like it goes on for about 10 minutes. The idea of two people wanting to be with the one they love is good part of the story though.

Fantasy/Romance/Sci-FiThe fantasy side of this film is taking us to the world where two worlds can’t be together while only being a breath apart, this leads into the romantic side of the film as our two loves must find a way to be together. The sci-fi side of the film comes on strong too because we then need to see how the worlds are different.

SettingsThe settings show us the difference in the two worlds, one for the rich, one for the poor, each has its own colour tone and area of pure beauty.

Special EffectsThe effects are weak here, we can see the fact we are watching actors perform on front of a green screen for most of the movie, which only disappoints.


Scene of the Movie –
Falling, it always looks good.

That Moment That Annoyed Me the green screen lets down.

Final ThoughtsThis is a basic love story which tries to become very ambitious when it comes to where it wants to take the story.

 

Overall: Simple Love story, complicated world.

Rating

 

 

Apocalypse Rising (2018)

Director: Richard Lowry

Writer: Gregory P Wolk (Screenplay)

Starring: Hunter Alexes Parker, Shane Samples, Justin Lebrun, Johanna Rae, Victoria Steadman, James R Frey

 

Plot: They came from a doomed world to save us from the same fate.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderfully Self Aware

 

Story: Apocalypse Rising starts as we head to the planet Rathe on the brink of collapse through war. Mia (Parker), Magnum (Samples), Karl (Frey), Phoenix (Lebrun), Beset (Rae) and Thora (Steadman) escape the planet searching for a new home, Earth.

On Earth they must learn the new culture and teach the wars that war will be destructive, but a new threat for both appears, they must join forces to fight for freedom against the undead.

 

Thoughts on Apocalypse Rising

 

Characters – Mia is the one from the crew with the ability to see the future, once leaving Rathe, she is the only one that sees the future coming to Earth which will follow in the footsteps of their own. She does have an air of innocence about her which helps her stand out from the rest of the species. Magnum is the muscles that will help in any fight, be objectified by the women of Earth and show he has the brains to. Phoenix is the pilot of the crew, he fills the role of the one that gets the extra laughs while trying to keep the group together. The crew is rounded off nicely with each one knowing their place in the world, with the aliens not understand Earth, when it comes to the human characters we get the wonderfully named India Jones one of the scientists on the dig.

PerformancesHunter Parker in the leading role shows the innocent strength needed for this role. Shane Samples will be the one you remember most, he is built like a tank and his ability to hit the humour lines with complete deadpan reaction makes his character feel different to one with the same look. The rest of the cast do a good job and fully embrace the characters mentality.

StoryThe story here follows a group of aliens that flee their dying home planet and find themselves on Earth needing to prepare the planet for the same destruction their own planet faced. The story is completely self-aware of what it is saying which does help, we get to play on the idea that humans aren’t as smart as them, being in the same tone as an Army of Darkness from start to finish. We do dive into religious history while searching for how the impending destruction can be translated from biblical text. The story could have become laughable if we didn’t have the self-aware side behind everything.

Comedy/Fantasy/Horror/Sci-FiThe comedy in the film does come from how the alien interact with the humans, with certain reactions being over the top. The fantasy world puts us in the horror idea of zombies mixed with religion. With the sci-fi elements of the film coming from the world where aliens have come from their own planet to help Earth to not make the same mistakes.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings simple, we have Rathe which looks like our generic planet, with the Earth settings surrounding a dig, which helps with the religious side of things.

Special EffectsThe effects are low budget and we can tell, it doesn’t take away from the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The self-awareness this movie shows.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Would like to know more about the side characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most self-aware movies you will ever see, it gets the laughs when needing and never takes itself too seriously.

 

Overall: Fun self-aware film.

Rating