Ammonite (2020) London Film Festival Movie Review

Director: Francis Lee

Writer: Francis Lee (Screenplay)

Starring: Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan, Fiona Shaw, Gemma Jones, James McArdle, Alec Secareanu

Plot: 1840s England, acclaimed but overlooked fossil hunter Mary Anning and a young woman sent to convalesce by the sea develop an intense relationship, altering both of their lives forever

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Ammonite starts as we see the fossil hunter Mary Anning (Winslet) living off the coast where she searches for the fossil, with her mother Molly (Jones), they are seen as the outsiders in the village, until a scientist Roderick Murchison (McArdle) and his wife Charlotte (Ronan) arrive in town looking to learn off her.

When Roderick goes on his own expedition, he asks Mary to watch of Charlotte, as she is recovering from her own illness, leading to the two reluctantly spending time together, changing both of their lives.

Thoughts on Ammonite

Characters – Mary Anning is a fossil hunter that has been living her life away from the traditions for her whole life, she is famous in the community for her work, living with just her mother off the coast, where she finds the most fossils, she doesn’t communicate too much with the rest of the town and doesn’t have people skill, preferring to work alone than with people. She reluctantly agrees to watch over Charlotte, while her husband is away, leading to an unlikely friendship between the two. Charlotte Murchison is the wife of Roderick, the pair have suffered their own loss of a child, leading to Charlotte losing the sparkly she once had, she needs to recover with the time on the coast being the medicine prescribed to her. She does start to come back out of her shell, once she spends more time with Mary. We don’t meet too many more characters, we have the husband Roderick who is trying to help bring his wife out of her depression, Dr Lieberson who helps when Charlotte gets ill and Molly Anning the mother of Mary who is stuck in her own ways.

PerformancesKate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan are both wonderful in the leading roles, showing the pain in life they have both been through, as well as the hope they bring each other.

StoryThe story follows a lonely fossil hunter that is asked to look after the wife of a fellow scientist with the two slowly starting to spend time with each other and falling in love, opening their eyes to what could come from life. The story does follow the formula you would expect it too, it does show us the everyday almost boring to film routines the characters go through, holding back the excitement from life, highlighting the slump both women are going through. We do get to lean more into the forbidden love for the time and era, but otherwise we have seen the story unfold before.

Biopic/RomanceWe don’t learn that much about Mary Anning from a true professional stand point, which is more disappointing, with the romance side of everything being what we have seen before from the love involved.

SettingsThe small coastal town makes us see the type of life that Mary wants, away from the world, close to her work.


Scene of the Movie – The fossil hunt.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing new.

Final Thoughts Ammonite has brilliant performance, a well crafted world inside a tried and tested story that doesn’t do anything wrong.



Another Round (2020) London Film Festival Movie Review

Director: Thomas Vinterberg

Writer: Thomas Vinterberg, Tobias Lindholm (Screenplay)

Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe, Magnus Millang, Maria Bonnevie, Susse Wold

Plot: Four friends, all high school teachers, test a theory that they will improve their lives by maintaining a constant level of alcohol in their blood.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Another Round starts when four high school teachers Martin (Mikkelsen), Tommy (Larsen), Peter (Ranthe) and Nikolaj (Millang) discuss a theory that a human can function better with 0.05% alcohol in their system at all times, leading to them to have a more confident presence in the class, while being more relaxed.

The four start to see a huge improvement in their everyday lives, with Martin getting through to his students for the first time in a long time, where they show him the respect he deserves in the class room, but can they keep this up.

Thoughts on Another Round

Characters – Martin is a history teacher that has seen the pressure to help his students get a passing grade increased, his wife is working nights and his life is starting to feel stale. Martin is the first one to try the 0.05% alcohol, which will see him gain a knew lust for life, pushing the rest of the group into trying it, he finds his classroom filled with enjoyment again. Tommy, Peter and Nikolaj all start to find their own benefits and problems from this idea, which is helping record the effects of everything they are experiencing.

PerformancesMads Mikkelsen is fantastic in the leading role, we get to see how everything in his own life is effecting his character before the alcohol and see the changes after it, bring to us a more laid back persona. The rest of the cast compliment Mads perfectly, with the four friends having wonderful chemistry together.

StoryThe story here follows four high school teachers that looks to play into a theory that you can function better with a 0.05% alcohol flowing through your body at all times, leading them to take a dangerous path to see if this theory could be true. This does look to show how life can start getting stale for some people and they will need a new inspiration to find a new love for life, in this one, it is the alcohol. We get to see the positives and negatives from this change in their lives with some not wanting to accept the negatives until it is too late. We also get to see how these characters could play out a reality that we have all thought about in life.

SettingsWe get to see the everyday settings the characters are living through, showing how they are not changing what they are doing, just their own mind sets through the day.


Scene of the Movie – The full drinking day.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing.

Final Thoughts Another Round is a truly enjoyable movie that will ask a big question about drinking, getting laughs and serious life issues out in the open.



Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made (2018) Movie Review

Director: David Amito, Michael Laicini

Writer: David Amito (Screenplay) David Amito, Michael Laicini (Story)

Starring: Nicole Tompkins, Rowan Smyth, Dan Istrate, Circus-Szalewski, Shu Sakimoto, Kristel Elling

Plot: A young boy and girl enter the forest to dig a hole to hell. Said to be a cursed film from the late 1970s, Antrum examines the horrifying power of storytelling.


Tagline – The Deadliest Film Ever Made.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made starts as we get the warning about a mythical film named Antrum whose only screening saw the cinema burning down killing everyone in the auditorium. Now someone has finally got footage of the original film, which follows Oralee (Tompkins) and Nathan (Smyth) as they head into a forest to say their final goodbyes to their pet.

Once they complete this, they find themselves dealing with different demons that might be inside the forest, as it become clears something is tracking them.

Thoughts on Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made

Characters – Oralee is the older sister who is trying to help her little brother deal with the loss of their dog, she takes him to a forest which should help the passing, only here she will need to use her determination to stay ahead of the game, first by using the demon stories to trick Nathan, secondly to keep him alive against the dangerous threat lurking in the forest. Nathan is the younger brother who is distraught over the death of his beloved dog Maxine and will believe any of the stories Oralee tells him, he wants Maxine back and doesn’t understand what has caused her death and starts to believe evil is coming for them.

PerformancesNicole Tompkins in the leading role is great to watch, she brings the protective older sister to life, while mixing the desperation of trying to protecting and hiding her own grief for the pet loss from him. Rowan Smyth does bring the innocence of the his character to life, even if certain parts can become annoying at times.

StoryThe story here follows a pair of siblings that go into a forest which is meant to have a connection to the devil to try and help rescue their lost dog’s soul, only for the journey to be filed with terror. This is a very unique idea for found footage movie, the idea involved is that this is a lost movie that has been considered cursed has finally be found and is being shown, we have the documentary feel either side of the main story, showing how to break down a movie, which does give this one of the most interesting uses of found footage, making us truly believe this could be a lost film, with the style everything is shot in. when it comes to the core story, it mixes the idea of demons and real-life together well, showing how grief can take over, though it does have one major weakness, which could be a spoiler, so we won’t get into that one.

HorrorThe horror in this film comes from the world we are transported into, knowing this film could be cursed and seeing what the siblings go through has moments of true terror.

SettingsMost of the film is set in the forest, it has plenty of mystery about it, which will see the strange event start to occur for the siblings.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are used more to make the film feel like it was made in the late 1970s, this gives us more reason to believe this is a real lost movie discovered at last.


Scene of the Movie – The Documentary around the movie, adds a lot to this movie.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – A language barrier?

Final Thoughts This is a very unique found footage that is one of the most realistic concepts behind anyone I have seen before, giving the film more terror than you would expect.

Antrum will be in UK Cinemas from 23rd October, and then DVD & Digital Download from 26th October

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – A – Another WolfCop (2017)

Director: Lowell Dean

Writer: Lowell Dean (Screenplay)

Starring: Leo Fafard, Yannick Bisson, Amy Matysio, Jonathan Cherry, Serena Miller, Devery Jacobs

 

Plot: Alcoholic werewolf cop Lou Garou springs into action when an eccentric businessman with evil intentions seduces Woodhaven’s residents with a new brewery and hockey team in this outrageous horror-comedy sequel.


Tagline – The hairy arm of the law.

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Complete Bonkers

 

Story: Another WolfCop starts as we return to Woodhaven as business man Sydney Swallows (Bisson) looks to bring the brewery back into business with his brand of beer ‘Chicken Milk’, he has other plans though. Meanwhile Tina (Matysio) is trying to control alcoholic cop Lou Garou (Fafard) who on a full moon turns into WolfCop and when returning from the grave Willie Higgins (Cherry) learns he has an extra part.

With Swallows plan in full effect, it is up to Lou and Tina to work together to stop his plan which will see the town come under even more hard times.

 

Thoughts on Another WolfCop

 

Characters – Lou Garou is the WolfCop, he is still being the cop when the moon isn’t full, though he does have a drinking problem and while in wolf form, he does like to fight the crime with his strengths. Swallows in the new businessman in town, he plans to help bring the town back to the top with the re-opening of the brewery. He has his own plan for the town which comes from what is inside his Chicken Milk beer. Tina is the chief of police that must keep the rookies under control, while keep Lou under control, it isn’t long before she must lead the take down on Swallows. Willie has returned from the dead, only now he has an extra body part that talks to him, he will be the first to have one, which will bring him into the fight against Swallows.

PerformancesThe performances from the actors shows the understanding of the wildly over the top nature of the film, which is important, Leo Fafard gets to enjoy the WolfCop style, while Amy Matysio is great as the leading cop authority figure, Yannick Bisson as the main villain works wonders because we get somebody over the top.

StoryThe story must be watched with the love and respect of the 80’s horror, the story sees a new evil business man that wants to take over the town that has a werewolf cop. This is the core of the story, the story feels full on 80s cheese and is filled with complete bonkers material which has to be take with a pinch of salt. While the story doesn’t reinvent anything new it does feel like an easy watch with clear lines between good and evil.

Comedy/Horror The comedy in the film comes from the complete over the top style being used through the film, it works for extra laughs even if certain moments could be considered offensive. The horror while not scary does include moments that are uncomfortable which include the final dealings with what the villain wants to do.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town which explains why it was easy for a businessman to take advantage of the community and how the WolfCop legend has turns into merchandise.

Special EffectsThe effects for the film are good, we get practical ones that show the full effects of certain moments in the film which will shock which is what we like to see.


Scene of the Movie –
Transformation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel you do need to have seen the first one.

Final ThoughtsThis is another bonkers horror comedy that you can sit through and smile if you watch with the right frame of mind.

 

Overall: 80s Fans please watch.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – 80s – Z – Above the Law (1988)

Above the Law is under Z because of the villain Zagon.

Director: Andrew Davis

Writer: Steven Pressfield, Ronald Shusett, Andrew Davis (Screenplay) Andrew Davis, Steven Seagal (Story)

Starring: Steven Seagal, Pam Grier, Henry Silva, Ron Dean, Daniel Faraldo, Sharon Stone

 

Plot: A former Special Operations Vietnam vet works as a Chicago cop, and uncovers C.I.A. wrongdoing.


Tagline – He was a covert agent trained in Vietnam. He has a master 6th degree black belt in Aikido… and family in the Mafia. He’s a cop with an attitude. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Seagal Action

 

Story: Above the Law starts when retired special operations solider turned cop Nico (Seagal) starts investigating his latest case with his partner Jacks (Grier). The case sees him tracking down a drug dealer which as is Nico’s way, sees him going above the law with how he handles his dealings.

When Nico get told to walk away from the case, it leads to him going against the rules once again, making him a target for the real criminal Zagon (Silva) that starts by targeting his personal life.

 

Thoughts on Above the Law

 

Characters – Nico Toscani travelled the world to learn martial arts, joined the special operations unit in Vietnam before returning to be Chicago to be a cop. His methods go against the normal for any cop and his family is the most important thin in his life, if you mess with them he will come for you. Jacks is the partner of Nico, she does try to guide him to stay within the law, even if she knows he is right with his actions. Kurt Zagon is the criminal mastermind, he has all the small town criminals in his pocket and isn’t happen when somebody starts causing him problems in his business. Sara is the wife of Nico that supports him and is the one person he will protect without a second thought.

PerformancesSteven Seagal is always going to be known for his action films, he is easy to watch with his style and this is one of his better ones before it became too routine for him. Pam Grier is a performer that we wish we could have seen more of because she does bring her supporting performance to life. Henry Silva is the much needed villain of the piece that does above the law with his action. Sharon Stone doesn’t get that much time on camra if we are honest, making it hard to judge her performance.

StoryThe story follows a harden cop that will do anything to get the criminals being forced to go against the law to make sure they are off the street even though his latest case will put a target on his back. This story does show us how a cop can walk into a bigger conspiracy going on which will see him needing to find a way out of the trouble he has stumbled into. Being a Seven Seagal movie, it clearly doesn’t need a very deep story which this one doesn’t offer in any way.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action in this film is here to give Seagal an chance to show off his fighting skills which is all it needs to really, this one does feel like one of the smoother ones though. The criminal world our cop enters shows how criminals can operate both sides of the law. The mystery is around whether Nico can solve the crime before it is too late.

SettingsThe film is set in Chicago which is one of the easy go to locations for any police drama.


Scene of the Movie –
The four on one stand off.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This isn’t the deepest story.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the early typical Seagal movies, we know the action is going to work for his style without being anything that we haven’t seen before.

 

Overall: Easy action.

Rating