ABC Film Challenge – Animation – B – Beowulf (2007)

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Writer: Neil Gaiman, Roger Avary (Screenplay)

Starring: Ray Winstone, Crispin Glover, Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich, Anthony Hopkins, Robin Wright

 

Plot: The warrior Beowulf must fight and defeat the monster Grendel who is terrorizing Denmark, and later, Grendel’s mother, who begins killing out of revenge.


Tagline – I will kill your monster!

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappointing and Dull

 

Story: Beowulf starts when a Danish kingdom ruled by Hrothgar comes under attack from a creature known as Grendel, he takes plenty of lives and the King puts up half his kingdoms gold for anyone who can kill Grendel.

This brings Beowulf to the land, where his reputation has seen him kill monsters the world over, while he might clash with Unferth, he is ready for the biggest battle of his life even if Grendel isn’t the biggest threat that he will face.

 

Thoughts on Beowulf

 

Characters – Beowulf is the great warrior from fable, known to be able to defeat any enemy in battle, he comes in search of treasure with hi latest battle, one that will see him become king and need to make up for his own past mistakes. Hrothgar is the king that calls for a warrior to come and fix the problem terrorising the kingdom, he also wants to make up for his past errors. Grendel’s mother is behind the creatures that attack, using he seductive ways to get the men to fall for her ways. We fill out of the characters with the creatures, the loyal soldiers that fight next to Beowulf and the queen always left to be the victims of love.

StoryThe tale of Beowulf is one of the most interesting tales of folklore, it shows how a warrior came from the seas to rid a kingdom of a creature only to become the next target of the figure behind the creature. The problem with how the story takes place because we seem to focus on the idea of 3D over well shot story, the myth never feels real as things unfold either, we drag along to see the twists in the story and nothing feel like a threat it could be. This is a let down in story telling for a fable that could be an epic on he big screen.

Action/FantasyThe action in the film is the large-scale battles which should be breath-taking only for the 3D focus taking over too often, the fantasy side of the film shows us just what could amaze with the creatures coming from the folklore.

SettingsThe settings show us just where the kingdom is set for defence from any attack, while becoming weak to the Grendel attack.

AnimationThe animation involved does feel bad now, it was a style which was being tried and just never made it to the mainstream.


Scene of the Movie –
The heart of the monster.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The wink he is naked let’s put something to cover his modest front and centre.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing animated movie that just plods along way to slowly for the audience and fails to give us the true feeling of the story.

 

Overall: Dull and disappointing animation.

Rating

 

 

Black Water: Abyss (2020) Movie Review

Director: Andrew Traucki

Writer: John Ridley, Sarah Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Jessica McNamee, Luke Mitchell, Amali Golden, Anthony J Sharpe, Benjamin Hoetjes

Plot: Five friends exploring a remote cave system in Northern Australia find themselves threatened by a hungry crocodile.


Tagline – Descend into Fear

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Poor Creature Feature

Story: Black Water: Abyss starts as five friends Cash (Sharpe), Jennifer (McNamee), Eric (Mitchell), Yolanda (Golden) and Viktor (Hoetjes) head to a new cave system that Cash has found, once inside the friends explore, discover a beautiful underwater lake.

Things take turn for the worse when a storm starts to get the lake flooded, before they learn they are trapped in the room with rising water and a killer crocodile, in what becomes a battle to survive and escape.

Thoughts on Black Water: Abyss

Characters – Jennifer is the lead of the friends, she isn’t interested in going and has started to see her relationship with Eric going downhill and once inside the cave, she finds herself not wanting to stay get in the water even though it could be the rescue plan. She is also the character with the least about her. Eric leads the exploration taking charge of when things go wrong, showing his leadership skills. Yolanda and Viktor are a couple that have more about their relationship with Yolanda secretly being pregnant showing they both have more to fight for, while Cash is the slacker type figure in the lives, who takes them to the cave, though he isn’t used to this environment.

PerformancesWhen it comes to performances, the cast really don’t have much to work with, making it very hard to any of them to make an impact in the film.

StoryThe story here follows the five cavers that become trapped in an underwater cave with rising water and a killer crocodile looking to defend its territory. This is a simple enough story, that gives us thin character development, which does seem to focus on the personal dramas over the actual survival, while we have a moments where people go on a plan to escape, when the others just go on to do something more stupid, this is more frustrating than anything.

Action/HorrorThe action does have realistic attacks, only they are horrendously shot, with the horror relying on the music for the attacks.

SettingsWe spend the film inside the cave, which does give us a contained location, with even more peril for the film.


Scene of the Movie – The crocodile attacks spin are at least realistic.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Focusing on the characters too much with their personal dramas.

Final Thoughts This is a poor creature feature that just doesn’t make us care for the characters and gives us poor shot attack sequences.

Overall: Sloppy Creature Feature.

Battle Scars (2020) Movie Review

Director: Samuel Gonzalez Jr

Writer: Samuel Gonzalez Jr, Christopher Lang (Screenplay) Samuel Gonzalez Jr, Christopher Lang, Michael Kuper (Story)

Starring: Arturo Castro, Jonathan Peacy, Kit Lang, Arielle Brachfeld, Laure Malone Hunt, Jason Vail

Plot: After his best friend is drafted to fight in Vietnam, a young man must grapple with the reality of life before and after war.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Stark Reality of a War Veteran

Story: Battle Scars starts as Michael (Lang) is graduating high school, only for him to learn that Vinny (Castro) his best friend has been drafted to the army for the Vietnam war, not willing to let Vinny go along, Michael agrees to go with Vinny, to keep him safe.

In the war Michael loses a close friend and finds himself coming home to a not so favourable welcome, dealing with the nightmares of his experiences he suffered over there, turning to whatever, he can to survive.

Thoughts on Battle Scars

Characters – Michael is the main character here, starting of as an enthusiastic student ready to start the big world, only to agree to join his best friends in Vietnam, just as his girlfriend announces she is pregnant, he wants to show his loyalty to his friends, but upon returning he is a different man, a broken man, a lost man, facing no future, left to be a single father, a role he isn’t prepared for, struggling just to keep a roof over his head. We do meet the best friends that are lost at war, the people he meets after war, the people that tried to support, the others that use him and the rest that abuse him

PerformancesKit Lang in the leading role is brilliant, he shows each difficult moment of his life upon his return from war, show us just how difficult returning to society is. The rest of the cast are good, but not enough of them are part of the main story for long enough.

StoryThe story here follows a young man fresh out of high school that agrees to go to Vietnam to support his drafted friend, only to see the world in a very different light when he returns, as he struggles to re-enter society the way he had imagined he would, dealing with his own demons of his time at war. This story does highlight the struggles with PTSD that the soldiers returning from war suffered through, we see how without help the soldiers life spiralled out of control, without the study of the problems they faced, they are left with nothing in the world. We see just how much of his life changed, how he never recovered and always tried to see some positive in life.

WarThe war side of this film shows us more of the aftermath of being there, rather than the conflict itself.

SettingsThe film shows us the different locations that Michael is forced to find himself in as he tries to rebuild his life, some are places no one should be forced towards.


Scene of the Movie – The robbery decision.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We jump forward in time a lot between what happens in the life.

Final Thoughts This is an important drama that does show us just how important looking after war veterans is, and how there should be more made available to help them.

Overall: Important Drama.

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – V – Book Club (2018) Movie Review

This is under V because of the character Vivian.

Director: Bill Holderman

Writer: Bill Holderman, Erin Simms (Screenplay)

Starring: Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Andy Garcia, Craig T Nelson, Don Johnson, Ed Begley Jr

Plot: Four lifelong friends have their lives forever changed after reading 50 Shades of Grey in their monthly book club.


Tagline – The Next Chapter is Always the Best. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Great Study of Love

Story: Book Club starts as we meet the four members of the book club, we have the widowed Diane (Keaton), the hotel tycoon Vivian (Fonda), the divorced judge Sharon (Bergen) and still happily married Carol (Steenburgen), they group meet every month for a book club and this month the book selected by Vivian is 50 Shades of Grey.

As the women read the book, they start to get a new zest in for one that they didn’t know they had lost as they end up wanting to read more than just the first in the trilogy.

Thoughts on Book Club

Characters – Diane is the widowed member of the group, her adult children want her to move across country to be closer to them, while she doesn’t want to leave her friends, believing she isn’t old enough to worry about, she does meet a new man that gives her a new purpose in life, wanting to get the spark back after a year of grieving. Vivian is a hotel tycoon that has been working hard her whole life, she has had fun and is the one that will give the club a riskier book, with an old love returning to her life. Sharon is a judge that saw her husband leave her 18 years ago, living with her cat, not wanting to try with men anymore. Carol is the happily married one of the club, she does see her marriage feeling stale, wanting to spice it back up again.

PerformancesWe have four great leading performances between the four women, each one plays into how we would be used to seeing the actresses in, with each one of them shining with their own stories.

StoryThe story here follows four women in a book club that read 50 Shades of Grey and get a new spark for love in their lives. This does follow four different women that are friends that have always had their own direction for life, but have let their love lives slip away. It shows that you can never be too old for love and you should never give up on love in your life, however many different events could cause you pain, there will always be something that gives you back the spark in life and that you should chase it.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in this film comes from how the older generation would react to reading a 50 Shades of Grey, how they plan to get more out of their love lives, it will get laughs with reactions through the film and does show that romance and love is important in life.

SettingsThe film does use the four different lives as the backdrop, none of the women look up or down to each other, they are happy with their surroundings and success in life.


Scene of the Movie – Diane’s secret comes out.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Vivian does have too much free time considering she runs a hotel.

Final Thoughts This is a funny romantic comedy that does show how important love can be at any ages, with wonderful performances from the whole cast.

Overall: Delightful Comedy.

Boo (2005) Movie Review

Director: Anthony C Ferrante

Writer: Anthony C Ferrante (Screenplay)

Starring: Trish Coren, M Steven Felty, Jilon VanOver, Dee Wallace Stone, Happy Mahaney, Nicole Rayburn, Josh Holt

Plot: A handful of college students get trapped in a haunted hospital on Halloween.


Tagline – You Don’t Have A Ghost Of A Chance

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Simple Fun Horror

Story: Boo starts on Halloween night, four friends Jessie (Coren), Kevin (VanOver), Marie (Rayburn) and Freddy (Holt) head to the old abandoned haunted hospital, where Emmett (Mahaney) has rigged a few tricks for the night to scare the girls. Little do they know that Allan (Samluk) has recruited his father’s old partner Arlo (Wayne) to help search for his missing sister in the hospital.

As the friends split up in the hospital, they start to learn about ghosts that haunt the hallways, with Jessie getting flashbacks from her past and the killer which once walked the halls.

Thoughts on Boo

Characters – Jessie is the reluctant girlfriend to go into the haunted hospital, she sees a ghost on the way in and it isn’t long before she has living memories of what happened in the hospital, she starts to put the pieces together about the truth. Jacob is the murderous ghost walking the halls of the hospital, he has been killing visitors for years waiting for his own release from his own nightmare. Kevin is one of the friends that has been planning this haunted night for the year, he is the boyfriend of Jessie, though he isn’t a good boyfriend with his actions behind her back. We get the generic group of people outside of this group inside the cast, the slutty friend, the quiet one, the defensive brother and the one trying to make up for his mistakes.

PerformancesTrish Coren in the leading role is fine, she isn’t as convincing as you would like in a horror lead, but this is a problem with most of this film, none of the acting reaches the levels you would expect to see in a film that is meant to be a haunted horror film that can always create colourful characters.

StoryThe story follows a group of people that end up locked inside a haunted hospital with ghosts that want out and they will kill to get their freedom. This story does fall into the haunted hospital generic storytelling process, it is watchable, though it is filled with generic characters, it does have the idea of haunting being clues to the truth, which slowly builds to a final showdown, only most of the story to be the errors of most horror films, splitting up being picked off, though we do get a unique way to show how the ghost possession people can be shown.

HorrorThe horror in the film is hauntings and exploding bodies, it does work for the film, making it entertaining for the horror audience, though the fake jump scares don’t help this film.

SettingsThe film uses the singular location of the haunted hospital, this gives us plenty of long corridors and creepy rooms for the characters to wonder through.

Special EffectsThe effects are surprisingly interesting with the first shock value of what the ghost is capable of and then the ghostly characters work for the creepiness of the film.


Scene of the Movie – The first revel of what happens with the ghost.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The characters aren’t flushed out enough.

Final Thoughts This is a fun easy to watch horror movie that gives us simple haunting moments and a unique spin on the haunted hospital idea.

Overall: Easy to Watch.