ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – # – 20th Century Women (2016) Movie Review

Director: Mike Mills

Writer: Mike Mills (Screenplay)

Starring: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, Lucas Jade Zumann, Alison Elliott

Plot: The story of a teenage boy, his mother, and two other women who help raise him among the love and freedom of Southern California of 1979.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Life Can Change For Everyone

Story: 20th Century Women starts with Dorothea Fields (Bening) with her son Jamie (Zumann) witnessing their car on fire, Dorothea lives with Abbie (Gerwig) and Julie (Fanning) during the late 70s, in a world where a divorced single middle-age woman isn’t seen in the same way as now.

Dorothea starts seeing a change in Jamie and turns to the ladies in house to help raise Jamie, using their experiences in life to help guide him, trying to prove that you don’t need a man to raise a man.

Thoughts on 20th Century Women

Characters – Dorothea is a divorced middle-aged woman raising a teenager son with two other women renting rooms in her house and starts to see a changes in her son, she turns to her women to help teach him, trying not to make it an issue that she doesn’t have a man around the house. Julie is the 17-year-old friend of the family that has grown up with Jamie, she is older and is acting out against her mother, with her own problems, never wanting to be more than a friend with Jamie. Abbie is the lady renting the room in the house, she as lived a free style life even if she has been held back by her own medical battles. Jamie is the teenage son that ends up starting to rebel against his mother, he is still open to discussions, though he does start to learn more about the world through the ladies in the house, he is learning to become smarter when it comes to preparing for life.

PerformancesAnnette Bening is wonderful in the leading role, she proves that at this stage of her career, she is arguable the best of her age group too. Elle Fanning continues to show she is going to be a force in the acting world for years to come, while Greta Gerwig is strong with her down to Earth character. Lucas Jade Zumann is also strong for being the least experienced in the film, showing the kinder side to his character.

Story The story here follows a single mother trying to raise her son with two other women around his life, she has broken certain trends for the time, which has reflected onto her son, which would make him a better man for the future world, with equal opportunities for all. This story does show how important the change in how women would be seen in life and one of the best ways to show and create an equal minded man, would be to raise him to be one, we do get to see how people need to learn to open up about everyday issues people will go through in life and how confusing it could be for somebody new to this moment in life. We get to see how life and experience can be seen in a very different light.

ComedyThe comedy side of the film is told in a light hearted manner when it comes serious issues being discussed.

SettingsThe film is set in a normal town, which does show us just how behind each door, there could be a different story to what you would be expecting to see.

Scene of the Movie – The drunk talk.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The stopping of the story to rewind on a back story.

Final Thoughts This is an insightful look at how life changed views on how people look at the world, how it can be taught, though both sides need to learn the change is happening.

Overall: Life Changes Through Many Eyes.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – # – Squadron 303 (2018) Movie Review

Director: Denis Delic

Writer: Chris Burdza, Thomsz Kepski, Jacek Samojolwicz (Screenplay) Arkady Fiedler (Book)

Starring: Piotr Adamczyk, Kirk Barker, Gabriela Calun, Maciej Cymorek, Nik Goldman, Antoni Krolikowski, Cara Theobold, Maciej Zakoscielny

Plot: This is the story of the highly regarded fighter squadron, in which served mainly airmen from Poland, in the history of aerial combat and their heroic defence of England during WW2, Battle of Britain against Nazi attacks. The 303 Squadron shot three times more Luftwaffe planes than any other allied squadrons.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Weak War Movie

Story: Squadron 303 starts at the beginning of World War II, the Polish air force have joined forces with the British, Witold Urbanowicz (Adamczyk) leads the small squadron, while the higher ups in England don’t want to rely on outside help.

As the Polish pilots prove themselves to be deadly in the air, their reputations start to grow, with a once famous actress Victoria Brown (Theobold) is being used to learn about the skills of the Polish. The longer the Polish stay in England the bigger their part in the war defence, which will one day make them heroes.

Thoughts on Squadron 303

Characters – Witold Urbanoqicz is the Polish general that is sent to try and control the pilots that are starting to get out of hand, not getting involved in their behaviour, but answering to the superiors who know what they must risk. Donald is the flashiest pilot, he will often go against orders, knowing he has the skills to get the job done in the skies. Victoria Brown is an actress that is bought into show some photo for the papers, while getting assigned to help the British watch the Polish pilots, slowly falling in love with one of them. We get to meet other Polish pilots, who are close and cockier than the English, while the English are more stuck up and determined to not be out flashed.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances, most of the actors do struggle to make an impact, because the story decisions just make things more difficult for anybody to reach their potential.

StoryThe story here follows the Polish pilots that join forces with the British Air Force during World War II, where they must first overcome the discrimination towards them, and secondly get involved with the new heroism that is thrust upon them. This should be a story about the incredible fight the Polish pilots showed during World War II, only it just seems to dwindle into a bit of one upmanship and weird uncomfortable love angle. By the end of the film, you won’t feel anything, the random time jumps, showing why the man are fighting, only leaves us trying to keep up, though it could have show us a lot more from what it had to work with.

WarThe war side of the film does show us dog fights, which don’t look as intense as they could be, which also leaves us disappointed.

SettingsThe film uses the basic world war settings, showing how the people could have been in a new environment, waiting for the time that conflict comes their way.

Scene of the Movie – The first dog fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Bad time jumps.

Final Thoughts This is a disappoint war film that just doesn’t get going into the reality of war, making it feel like a small holiday with the way everything is shot.

Overall: Disappointing.

1917 (2019) Movie Review

Director: Sam Mendes

Writer: Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns (Screenplay)

Starring: Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Daniel Mays, Colin Firth, pip Carter, Andy Apollo, Paul Tinto

Plot: Two young British soldiers during the First World War are given an impossible mission: deliver a message deep in enemy territory that will stop 1,600 men, and one of the soldiers’ brothers, from walking straight into a deadly trap.

Tagline – Time is the enemy.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sensational

Story: 1917 starts as Lance Corporal Blake (Chapman) is assigned to pick one man, Lance Corporal Schofield (MacKay) to get a new mission from General Erinmore (Firth), their mission is to travel across enemy lines to deliver a message to stop a battalion of soldiers walking into a trap set by the Germans.

The two must travel at speed, with time against them, walking into the unknown, knowing they need to get to the battalion to hopeful save the soldiers including Blake’s own brother.

Thoughts on 1917

Characters – We do only focus on two main soldiers, Lance Corporal Blake whose brother is in one of the battalions the two are trying to stop attacking, he is more of a talking, can’t wait to get home, very close to his family, while Lance Corporal Schofield has been in the war longer, seen more horrors, keeps his horrors to himself and isn’t as excited about return home, for his own reason, which we learn through the journey. The two must work together to try and get to the battalions, each step is taking them to the unknown, needing to prepared for anything. We do meet other military people, whose job is to help the two continue their journey if they cross paths.

PerformancesGeorge MacKay is brilliant, proving yet again this guy is one of the best rising stars in the industry today, while Dean-Charles Chapman is excellent too, they two do have chemistry that shows off both their strengths in the characters they are playing.

StoryThe story follows two soldiers that must travel into no man’s land in an attempt to try and stop an attack, which would see thousands of soldiers walking into an ambush. The story is kept very simple, it is showing as if we are following the two’s every step, seeing each obstacle they must face along the way, which shows the different horrors of war. We don’t get overly close to the two soldiers, while learning a little bit, not having a cheery conversation like other war films. This is one story that is easy to follow, we get the music which prepares us for anything that happens, as well as having a chance to keep us guessing about if, or how they get to their destination.

WarWhen it comes to the war side of the film, we get to see the environment the men would have been living between the fights, the surroundings that would have been left in the aftermath of the battles.

SettingsThe film shows the war effects on the land, we see the destroyed town, the claustrophobic trenches, the fear of no man’s land, it is beautiful and haunting to see the settings.

Scene of the Movie – The line run.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Sometimes the camerawork can leave us losing our position in the scenes.

Final Thoughts This is one of the best war films you will ever see, it is shot like one take, which makes us follow their journey, adding the tension to every single moment of the film.

Overall: Simply Breath Taking.

6 Underground (2019) Movie Review

Director: Michael Bay

Writer: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Adria Arjona, Melanie Laurent, Ben Hardy, Dave Franco, Sebastian Roche, Corey Hawkins, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo

Plot: Meet a new kind of action hero. Six untraceable agents, totally off the grid. They’ve buried their pasts so they can change the future.

Tagline – They Say No One Can Save The World. Meet No One.

Runtime: 2 Hours 7 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Completely Bonkers Entertainment

Story: 6 Underground starts as we meet the agents, One (Reynolds) the billionaire, Two (Laurent) the Spook, Three (Garcia-Rulfo) a hitman, Four (Hardy) the skywalker, Five (Arjona) the doctor and Six (Franco) the driver, whose latest mission in Italy has gone sour, seeing them use their skills to escape the threat coming their way, only to lose a member of the team, needing to find a new member to become a seven.

Recruiting Seven (Hawkins) we learn about the plans they group have, they look to eliminate dictators that nobody else would touch, placing the rightful person in charge of the country, with the latest mission being to head to Turgistan.

Thoughts on 6 Underground

Characters – One is the leader of the squad, he is a billionaire that faked his own death to build the squad which will fight against the dictators of the world, he recruits the very best, he uses the code name, he wants to use his wealth to solve the problems in the world, in a way being known really works, often given commentary on what is going on. Two is the ex-CIA spook that is the most deadly with a weapon, she is willing to lead any assault the team goes on. Three is a hitman that has been given a new life, he is the most reckless of the crew, he will break the rules, but give him a gun and he will get the job done. Four is known as the skywalker, he parkour skills are unbelievable, he will run through building roof tops, searching for routes for the team, getting involved when required, he is easily the most entertaining character of the squad. Five is the doctor, while she might have the weakest character development of the whole squad. Six is the driver that enjoys the thrills that come from the high speed chases. Seven is the newest member of the team, a former soldier bought in for his own skills, he does question the true identity of One, unlike anybody else.

PerformancesRyan Reynolds, is like he always is, wise cracking, fun to watch and always confident, something he needs to be for this role, thinking Deadpool, without the costume. Melanie Laurent does an excellent job in the spook role, with Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Adria Arjona, Dave Franco and Corey Hawkins are strong too, though it is Ben Hardy that seems to steal the show.

StoryThe story here follows an elite group of soldiers that have come from around the world to work together to stop dictators from maintaining their reigns of terror over their nations. While this story is hugely ambition and original, it shows how wealthy people could use their money for the right reasons, to help the world instead of just watching it get destroyed. Outside of just dealing with the problems in the world, the story is very simple, go from one mission to the next, with plenty of banter between the squad, usually revolving around film references, which if you understand add humour to scenes through the film.

ActionThe action in this film is massive, it is almost relentless for large parts of the film, we see so much happening, from car chases, the gun battles, parkour on rooftops and that boat sequences, well wow.

SettingsThe film does take us all over the world, with the main country being fictional, it is implied which country we are seeing wanting to have a change. The film does make the most of the locations, with the environment playing a big part in how each scene can be won.

Scene of the Movie – The Parkour rooftop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Sometimes it does feel like it is just Deadpool commenting on an action film.

Final Thoughts This is a truly bonkers action film that you can switch off and just let everything unfold to the crazy levels it is meant to reach.

Overall: Wildly Over the Top.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – # – 6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain (2017)

Director: Scott Waugh

Writer: Madison Turner (Screenplay) Eric LeMarque, Davin Seay (Book)

Starring: Josh Hartnett, Mira Sorvino, Sarah Dumont, Kale Culley, Jason Cottle, Austin R Grant


Plot: An adrenaline seeking snowboarder gets lost in a massive winter storm in the back country of the High Sierras where he is pushed to the limits of human endurance and forced to battle his own personal demons as he fights for survival….”

Tagline – Never lose hope.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Survival Film 101


Story: 6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain starts as we meet the former rising ice hockey star Eric LeMarque (Hartnett) who has thrown his career away because of his drug addiction, facing a trial he decides to stay out of the limelight and head to the mountains for some snowboarding.

When a storm hits Eric finds himself lost in the mountain range, forced to survive on what he has, using his memories as motivation as he continues to battle his own addiction


Thoughts on 6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain


Characters – Eric LeMarque had a future as one of the top ice hockey players, he threw this away with hiss reckless behaviour which has seen his career all but gone. With his addiction taking over his life, he finds himself hitting rock bottom and needing to find some hope. Heading for a snowboard away from the world he ends up lost in the harsh wilderness doing everything he can to survive in the conditions which will test his desire to get over his addictions and rebuild his life. Susan is his mother, she has always supported her son and will do anything to help him put his life back on track and is the first to notice he hasn’t been heard from for days. Sarah is one of the rescue team on the mountain, she leads the search once they learn that Eric is missing.

PerformancesJosh Hartnett in the leading role does a good job, even if it feels slightly mis-cast because you get the feeling Eric was a lot younger than Hartnett. Mira Sorvino and Sarah Dumont are both solid in the supporting roles as we see them both needing to make difficult decisions.

StoryThe story here follows the incredible survival story of Eric LeMarque as he faces days lost in the snow-covered mountain range without anyone searching for him for days, while also battling his own demons of addiction. The story itself is based on the real events that happened to the man who needed to rebuild his life. This does show us just how hard the survival was, though it just doesn’t become the truly engrossing story it could have been, because anything that happens is something we have seen before, be it wolves or injuries. Eric isn’t the most likely guy either because anyone that throws away a sporting career for drugs frustrates the audience. The rescue side of the film either needed to be a bigger involvement or not involved at all, we simply don’t get enough focus on what is happening on this side of the film.

Adventure/BiopicThe adventure side of the film shows us just what could go wrong for an ambitious rush can turn into a battle to survive. The biopic side of the film shows us the days which Eric is lost in the harsh snowy mountain conditions as he battles to survive and his own demons.

SettingsThe film puts us in the mountain range covered in snow, showing us how easy it could be to become lost and how hard it would be to survive.

Scene of the Movie –
The climb.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Hartnett feels too old for this role.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book survival story, it does show an incredible fight to survive and does give us a form of redemption for a young man who was throwing his life away.


Overall: By the books survival film.