Balto (1995)

Director: Simon Wells

Writer: Cliff Ruby, Elana Lesser, David Steven Cohen, Roger S H Schulman (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Kevin Bacon, Bob Hoskins, Bridget Fonda, Jim Cumming, Phil Collins, Jack Angel, Danny Mann

 

Plot: An outcast half-wolf risks his life to prevent a deadly epidemic from ravaging Nome, Alaska.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Hero Story

 

Story: Balto starts as we see the sledge racing in Nome Alaska, Steele is the most famous lead dog in all the races, he breaks the rules as well as being feared by the other dogs, Balto a stray half breed roams the streets trying to impress the female husky Jenna with his bumbling sidekick goose Boris.

When Nome is struck down with diphtheria the town is running low on antidote they have no way of getting the antidote to the town directly, the only option is to put together a team of the fastest sledge dogs to pick up medicine with Balto showing the town he is fastest in town, but still not welcome to the town’s team.

When Steele’s team goes missing in the snowstorm, Balto goes out with Boris, Jenna and polar bears Muk and Luk to collect the medicine to save the town making himself the hero.

 

Thoughts on Balto

 

CharactersBalto is the outsider of the town, never fitting in but given the chance to prove himself to the whole town by returning the medicine, he is the reluctant hero type. Boris is the sidekick here for extra laughs in the story, with Jenna being the love interest needed for the story. Steele is the typical arrogant villain that doesn’t want anyone to take his place. All of the character blend together to make this a pleasant viewing experience.

StoryThe story is loosely based on the true events of the sledge team that saves a small town from a medical disaster, we get to see this from the dogs side of the events which does take away from the true story of heroism the real dogs went through.

Adventure/Family/HistoryThe adventure is great to see unfold keeping us on edge, it does have a couple of dark scenes going on through the film which could be slightly too much for the younger members of the family. I don’t think this story does enough justice to the true history story though.

SettingsThe settings all look fantastic showing just how peril filled the journey would have been for the dogs as well as the people stuck with no chance of rescue unless they get the medicine.

AnimationThe animation all looks great with the darker characters including the bear feeling terrifying and the heroes all looking pure.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great adventure movie but does forget the true story involved too much to make a family friendly movie.

 

Overall: Great fun animated movie that can be enjoyed by all.

Rating

 

 

40 Days and 40 Nights (2002)

40Director: Michael Lehmann

Writer: Robert Perez (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh Hartnett, Shannyn Sossamon, Paulo Costanzo, Adam Tree, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Vinessa Shaw, Maggie Gyllenhaal

 

Plot: After a brutal break-up, a young man vows to stay celibate during the forty days of Lent, but finds the girl of his dreams and is unable to do anything about it.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: 40 Days and 40 Nights starts as we meet Matt (Hartnett) who has been struggling with his break up from Nicole (Shaw), this has led Matt to a string of one night stands that lead to him having visions of a black hole. Matt’s brother John (Tree) is in training to become a priest where Matt learns about lent and vows to give up all sexual activity for 40 days and 40 nights.

When his roommate Ryan (Costanzo) decides to spread the news about the vow a betting pool opens up and to make Matt’s life more difficult when he finally meets the perfect woman Erica (Sossamon). Matt has to learn to balance his vow while starting a new relationship where sex is out of the question.

40 Days and 40 Nights is a film I did enjoy watching even if I can see big flaws in the story, this mostly comes from the idea that it is written that every guy is obsessed with sex and couldn’t possible go 40 days without having it. The problems comes where everyone is against Matt rather than having even just one person supporting him through his self-improvement idea. I do however feel the story works for what it is trying to be even if it comes off unbelievable throughout.

 

Actor Review

 

Josh Hartnett: Matt Sullivan is a struggling man who can’t get over his ex-girlfriend Nicole. Running through a string of one night stands he wakes from these with a vision of the world coming to an end. Coming up with the idea to give up sexual activity for lent his life becomes a game for people around the world who has bet on when it will end and the perfect woman come into his life his whole life becomes difficult. Josh shows with this performance he can handle comedy.

Shannyn Sossamon: Erica has been struggling to find the right guy and her job doesn’t help. She meets Matt and see him as a different guy to the normal ones she meets but doesn’t fully understand the vow. Shannyn is good in this role being a strong leading lady.

Paulo Costanzo: Ryan is Matt’s roommate who is always looking to go out and meet girls for sex. He keeps watch over Matt after telling everyone about the vow. Paulo is solid as this supporting friend even if this generic.

Adam Tree: John Sullivan is the priest in training brother of Matt’s who doesn’t believe he can achieve his vow because he knows how difficult it is to go through. Adam is solid but in the end is just another supporting character.

Support Cast: 40 Days and 40 Nights has a supporting cast which includes plenty of different characters that are trying to make Matt break his vow with not a single person actually supporting him.

Director Review: Michael LehmannMichael gives us a fun comedy even if it is very one sided with the reactions and mind set people are meant to be in.

 

Comedy: 40 Days and 40 Nights has moments of comedy which mostly surround people trying to make Matt break the vow.

Romance: 40 Days and 40 Nights does try to tackle relationships by trying to make it more about how sex isn’t the most important part of the relationship.

Settings: 40 Days and 40 Nights keeps the settings around San Francisco which is always a great visual location for a film.

Suggestion: 40 Days and 40 Nights is one to try it does have good moments of good comedy but it also has a story which seems to be very much sex is all people think about. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Hartnett works for comedy.

Worst Part: Not everyone is sex obsessed.

Romantic Moment: No contact date.

 

Believability: The way things go I would say no.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $17 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

Tagline:  It’s Easy to Say But Harder To Do! 

 

Overall: Simple comedy that does work well for what it is trying to achieve.

Ratingcard

 

 

The Story of 90 Coins (2017)

Director: Michael Wong

Writer: Bai Xuedan (Screenplay)

Starring: Zhuang Zhigi, Dongjun Han, Jose Acosta

 

The Story of 90 Coins is a short film that has been racking up the awards around the world currently getting about 50+ accolades from international film festivals; which includes the Best Foreign Short & Best Actress at Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards, Best Drama & Best Cinematography at Los Angeles Film Awards, Best Foreign Short Film at Ukrainian International Short Film Festival, Rising Star Awards at Canada International Film Festival, an Official Finalist at London Film Awards, among others.

 

The film follows a young man Wang Yuyang (Han) as he wants to win the heard to Chen Wen (Zhiqi), she has dreams of travelling for work, so he makes a deal, he will give her a coin for 90 days, after that they can either walk away and use the money as farewell drinks or for a marriage certificate.

 

We get to see the outcome of this and the decisions that can come to balance love and dreams showing us just which one becomes most important to our characters, a decision process that could break hearts or damage dreams.

 

Considering this is under 10 minutes long, this film must be considered one of the biggest emotional rollercoasters I have seen this year, you understand both characters decisions and feel the emotions with them, if you don’t have a tear circling your eye at the end I will be surprised.

 

If you want to see a love story this year, you don’t need to look much further than this one.

Come and what this film yourself.

 

The Story of 90 Coins from Michael Wong on Vimeo.

Alien: Reign of Man (2017)

Director: Justin Price

Writer: Justin Price (Screenplay)

Starring: Khu, Torrei Hart, Deanna Grace Congo, Cameron White

 

Plot: Stranded on a distant planet, a team must fight aliens and activate a machine meant to restore Earth to a time before its downfall.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Best Alien Titled Film This Year

 

Story: Alien: Reign of Man starts with our team Zan (Khu), Reed (White), Constance (Congo) arriving on a distant planet in search for a saviour back home on Earth, while on the planet the team faces a battle against an alien species but the planet itself has its own life as it starts to evolve to defend itself from the human invaders/visitors.

The planet offers plenty of mysteries which our characters must consider before leaving once they become stranded for a time, can they unlock the mystery before it is too late?

 

Thoughts on Alien: Reign of Man

 

Characters – Zan is introduced as our heroine, she lurks the planet ready to fight any enemy as she is the deadliest in combat, so the strong female lead sci-fi films have become famous for. Reed is one of the soldiers on the planet, he uses his calmness to prepare for danger but does feel like a character pulled from a Final Fantasy game. Constance is another soldier who gets their ranked questioned by the bigger threat within the movie while the rest of the character do all fit the world created here,

PerformanceLooking at the performances, Khu as the leading lady does work because she does enough to make herself stand out from the rest of the cast, part of my thinking on Reed was that he came from a Final Fantasy game and this is shown in the delivery that Cameron White gives us, I do think everyone in the film does a good job throughout the film.

StoryThe story does put us into a world where humans once again need to find the answers to a problem on another planet, but this story does what other films fail to, it simplifies the bigger questions going on about origins and where humans stand in this world.

Sci-FiThis is a good sci-fi film that makes us look at the bigger picture of space travel and also looking at what could be out there in space.

SettingsThe world created could be as empty as this world we see in this film and it all looks great.

Special EffectsThe effects are clear CGI which is a budget issue but they are consistent throughout to help us understand that we need the computer creations at times.

Scene of the Movie – The evolving planet looks very impressive.

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment I do think certain elements of the pacing could have been better in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a smart sci-fi that doesn’t create dumb characters, has a good story line that makes complete sense for the world we are in and doesn’t over complicate the story.

 

Overall: Enjoyable sci-fi experience.

Rating

 

 

John Leguizamo Weekend – Moulin Rouge! (2002)

moulinDirector: Baz Luhrmann

Writer: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, Garry McDonald

 

Plot: A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Flamboyant Musical Stunner

 

Story: Moulin Rouge starts as a young English writer Christian (McGregor) moving to Paris for dreams where he finds himself having to work on a play Spectacular Spectacular, but he needs to be passed off as a famous writer to impress Satine (Kidman).

When Christian gets mixed up with The Duke (Roxburgh) the two fall in love but when the Duke discovers them they must arrange a new play to prove they are just rehearsing for the latest play throwing Christian into the biggest show in town.

As The Duke becomes jealous he forces the director Harold Zidler (Broadbent) to sign a contract where he has exclusive rights to Satine and the Moulin Rouge, this throws the love between Satine and Christian up in the air because her chance to become the next big actress could be ruined.

Moulin Rouge is a flamboyant romantic musical that opens with all singing and dancing and never holds back from the over the topness of the songs being used. Going in completely blind I was left shocked with the choice of songs which include versions of Nirvana, The Sound of Music and David Bowie which all work apart from the creepy version of ‘Like a Virgin’. The setting is beautifully re-created with each performance embracing the location perfectly. The love story starts with the tragic ending which is against the normal as we are leading to find out what happened.

Kidman and McGregor are both brilliant in the leading roles but it is the supporting character which in places get left behind as The Duke comes off strange with the rest all coming off letting the main to shine in this performance. This is big, bold and breath-taking in places with anybody with the love for these songs finding a way to enjoy.

 

Overall: This is one of the most over the top style films with glorious use of music throughout.

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