Ron Perlman Weekend – The Book of Life (2014)

Director: Jorge R Gutierrez

Writer: Jorge R Gutierrez, Doug Landgale (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Ron Perlman, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube

 

Plot: Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart, embarks on an adventure that spans three fantastic worlds where he must face his greatest fears.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Magical

 

Story: The Book of Life starts with a school trip being told the story of two Gods Xibalba and La Muerta making a wager to see who gets to rule the land of the living and the land of the dead, their bet follows two young Mexican boys Manolo and Joaquin betting on who will marry Maria.

Manolo is from a bullfighting family and wants to be a musician, while Joaquin becomes General known for fighting off bandits. When everything gets out of hand in the battle between Manolo and Joaquin, Manolo ends up in the land of the dead to save Maria.

 

Thoughts on The Book of Life

 

Characters – Manolo is from a family of bullfighters, he is expected to follow in his ancestor’s footsteps even though he dreams of being a musician. He is part of the bet, he has the better heart trying to win her heart through music, he travels through three worlds to win her heart. Joaquin is the brave fighter, he has been selected by the evil to win Maria’s heart given the medal of everlasting life meaning he can’t die, this adds to his confidence he possesses. Maria is the woman the two are fighting over, she is independent as they come willing to lead her people without needing a husband by her side.

StoryThe story does seem to follow what we saw in Coco in places, this one did come first. We have the central character of Manolo that is expected to follow on path not allowing him to follow his own dream of music. We have the travel through the land of the living, the dead and the forgotten. Where we go to be different is by including Gods that can make a bet to keep them entertained. This story does feel magical from start to finish.

Adventure/Comedy/Fantasy/MusicalThe adventure that Manolo goes on is wonderful to see through the different lands of Mexican culture, this does have good comedy going on through the whole film mostly from the side characters. The fantasy world of the land of the dead and forgotten look beautiful to be travelling through. The songs are delightful to listen to even if some are remixes of famous songs.

SettingsThe settings takes us to Mexico, as we follow the culture of the land, both past and present.

AnimationThe animation looks fantastic, different and what we are used to seeing too, the colours stand out and the different lands have a unique look.


Scene of the Movie –
Forgive song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I had just watched Coco a few weeks again and knowing that movie just stole most of the ideas annoys me.

Final ThoughtsThis is a magical animation that leaves you with a happy thought about what you have just seen.

 

Overall: Magical and beautiful.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Fisherman’s Friends (2019)

Director: Chris Foggin

Writer: Piers Ashworth, Meg Leonard, Nick Moorcroft (Screenplay)

Starring: Tuppence Middleton, James Purefoy, Daniel Mays, David Hayman, Christian Brassington, Sarah Winter, Dave Johns, Noel Clarke

 

Plot: Ten fisherman from Cornwall are signed by Universal Records and achieve a top ten hit with their debut album of Sea Shanties.


Tagline – The U.K’s number 1 Buoy Band

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Feel Good Start to the Summer

 

Story: Fisherman’s Friends starts when a stag-do heads to Cornwell, Danny (Mays) joined by his boss Troy (Clarke) head down to Port Isaac where they struggle to understand the traditional ways of the small fishing village. In the village the guys here the local’s fishermen singing the shanty songs.

Danny is forced to try and sign the band with lead member Jim (Purefoy) being the one that gives the final say so. Danny didn’t know that Troy was joking, once he learns this, he wants to prove him wrong and make the band an overnight sensation.

 

Thoughts on Fisherman’s Friend

 

Characters – Danny is a fast-talking record producer, he has success in this field and isn’t interested in any sort of responsibility in life. On a stag-do he gets pushed into signing a local band, this shows his skills in the deal. When he learns that it was a joke, he continues to try and sign the band, to make them a hit, while learning about a more traditional lifestyle. Jim is considered the leader of the band, in the decision-making process, if he says no, nothing happens. He is considered stubborn in his ways, which sees him believe in the traditions and friendship. Alwyn is the daughter of Jim’s, she runs the local bed-n-breakfast, where Danny ends up staying, where she gets involved in a relationship with after he shows a bond with her own daughter.

PerformancesDaniel Mays in the leading role is great, he has often been the supporting actor, but he shows he could lead here. James Purefoy brings his best to a role based on the real leader of the band, he makes him feel like a man you should never mess with. Tuppence Middleton might be in the unneeded romantic angle, but she does everything right to make us believe she knows the traditions of her town. The rest of the cast do all work very well to make us feel like we are going to be part of a community with the band.

StoryThe story follows a group of fishermen who become an overnight sensation when a music producer on a stag-do spots them and is forced into signing them for their label. The story is based on the real story of the bands rise to success, which in the modern era of music was a surprise, but it also plays into how people tend to follow different sounds. Everything about the band is excellent to watch, it shows that it is almost a different life down in their village. The weakness in the story comes from the romantic angle which does feel mostly just tacked on for added impact in Danny’s decision making process. It might work in places, but it does take away from the band’s story. overlooking that issue, we do have a truly fun, feel-good movie about success here.

Comedy/MusicalThe comedy in the film comes from just how the locals act towards outsiders, they have wonderful chemistry between them too. The music shows how this new sound could make an impact in the world.

SettingsThe settings show us a couple of main ones, first is the village, which shows the community feel between the band, when we are in the richer side of the world, we see the disconnect between the people.


Scene of the Movie –
London pub.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the romance story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a feel-good movie that will leave you with a smile and hope that anybody’s dream could become a reality.

 

Overall: British Feel-good

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – # – 8 Mile (2002)

Director: Curtis Hanson

Writer: Scott Silver (Screenplay)

Starring: Eminem, Kim Basinger, Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy, Evan Jones, Omar Benson Miller, Michael Shannon

 

Plot: A young rapper, struggling with every aspect of his life, wants to make it big but his friends and foes make this odyssey of rap harder than it may seem.


Tagline –  If the streets had a voice, this would be the story they’d tell.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Rap Based Drama

 

Story: 8 Mile starts as we head to Detroit to follow Jimmy B-Rabbit Smith (Eminem) as along with his friends David ‘Future’ Porter (Phifer) Cheddar Bob (Jones), Sol George (Miller) are trying to make an impact in the raping world, this world is dominated by the black community though he does have the skills.

The world is filled with gangs that are out for control, Jimmy must deal with his mother Stephanie (Basinger) and her problems as well as meeting a new love in Alex (Murphy), we follow as he is desperate to get out of the town which has held back man before.

 

Thoughts on 8 Mile

 

Characters – Jimmy B-Rabbit Smith is a young man who aspires to be a rapper, he is from the wrong side of town in Detroit, where he is given a chance to prove himself in the underground rap battle world, where any wrong move could be his last move with the gangs around him. He has the close friends that will watch his back, while working a dead-end job for any money he can get. Stephanie Smith is the mother of Rabbit, she is dating an aggressive man around he sons age and struggling to pay the rent to keep the roof over her daughter’s head. She does try to do the best things but has her own personal demons holding her back. David is the closest friend to Jimmy, he offers him the chance he wants to reach the next level but also needs to be the one to stop him making the mistakes in his life. Alex is the new romance in Jimmy’s life, she dreams of leaving too, to become a model which helps the to connect on a level unlike what Jimmy is used to.

PerformancesEminem is strong in this leading role, there are a few moments where he does look lost, one second too long for fight sequences, but the emotional levels he shows good. Kim Basinger is good in her role which shows that we have the most experience from her. Mekhi Phifer continued his rise in the early 2000s with this performance where he shows his ability to blend into any film. the whole cast performers well through the film with talent that went onto bigger things.  

StoryThe story shows the struggles of a young man trying to break into the world of rapping in the mean streets of Detroit, he is from the wrong side of the town and the gangs are always dangerous. Seeing the struggles for everyday life is very interesting to see unfold, however I was expecting something different with more rap battles. If you are a fan of the underground rap scene this will be a story that you want to watch.

MusicThe music in the film starts with a battle rap and I was expecting more as the song Lose yourself did win Best Oscar Song.

SettingsThe film shows us just how difficult growing up in Detroit can be, we feel the tension and feeling of abandonment the city is feeling.


Scene of the Movie –
Battle rap.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough rapping.

Final ThoughtsThis is a look at the mean streets of Detroit in the battle rap world where every corner could be dangerous.

 

Overall: The rap world unfolded.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – W – West Side Story (1961)

Director: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise

Writer: Ernest Lehman (Screenplay) Jerome Robbins, William Shakespeare (Play)

Starring: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, Simon Oakland, Ned Glass

 

Plot: Two youngsters from rival New York City gangs fall in love, but tensions between their respective friends build toward tragedy.


Tagline – Watch this shot now. Hey. Shoot, man. Go. Hey, yeah

Runtime: 2 Hours 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Musical Fans Enjoy

 

Story: West Side Story starts as we meet the rival gangs, we have The Jets led by Riff (Tamblyn) and the Sharks led by Bernardo (Chakiris) the rising Puerto Rican gang, the two sides are always involved in brawls and Riff wants to bring it to an end soon.

Bringing the two gangs together at the local dance club, Tony (Beymer) the former leader and founder of the Jets is forced to attend, it is here where he meets Bernardo’s sister Maria (Wood) who steals his heart as the too fall instantly in love. As the two side plan their fight for the street, Maria and Tony must keep their love secret as it could bring an end to the warring gangs.

 

Thoughts on West Side Story

 

Characters – Maria is the new to the town Puerto Rican, she wants to make a life in America, starting with her job and dancing, never understand the battling gangs. She falls for one of the men on the rival side not caring about where he has come from. Tony is the founder of the Jets, he has started to grow out of the gang by getting a job and avoid the brawls. When he meets Maria he falls in love and is torn between helping his gang win or ending the war all together. Riff is the one that keeps the jets together, he is looking for a fight around every corner and knows how to fire up the gang, he knows how to push the Sharks to fight back too. Rita is the best friend of Maria that helps her into any situation which could see her have fun, including the dance.

PerformancesNatalie Wood as Maria is wonderful to watch, she can handle the singing and emotion, though it does seem strange to make her play a Puerto Rican. Richard Beymer is good in his role as the one that has started to see the problems with the ideas of the gangs. Russ Tamblyn does bring the energy to the film which is good to see through his singing and dancing numbers. Rita Moreno completes the main cast well showing us just how the supporting performers should do things.

StoryThe story is known to be a musical version of Romeo and Juliet, we have the gangs in New York that are just petty teenagers always up for a brawl as they don’t want to face growing up in life. It follows the trends of the story as the two star crossed lovers want to break the lines of the warring gangs to be together, only for the war to intensify to cause tragic consequences. The idea to modify this for the now audience for the 60s was a good idea because it does deal with plenty of issue of immigration that wasn’t being accepted in America, causing the battles between both sides. The idea of love and forbidden love at that can drive people to do anything and this could bring the end to a war over nothing.

Crime/Musical/RomanceThe crime is just young men or teenagers fighting over streets in New York, it is mostly brawls that lead to tragedy. The musical side does take us out of parts of the film because singing and dancing around the war on the streets does feel weird. The romance story is one of the oldest in the books, two people falling in love from different sides of a battle, knowing they want to be together and knowing being together could cause problems.

SettingsThe film is set in New York which is great for the different sides of the war showing us just where the two sides have come from.


Scene of the Movie –
The conclusion.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is a film that follows pointless battle between gangs over nothing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a musical that grabbed the audience attention back in the 60s, cleaned up at the Oscars, but now it just feels like another great musical without standing out anymore than any other.

 

Overall: Simple classic musical.

Rating

 

 

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