Bilal: A New Breed of Hero (2015)

Director: Khurram H Alavi, Ayman Jamal

Writer: Khurram H Alavi, Ayman Jamal, Alexander Kronemer, Michael Wolfe, Yassin Kamel (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ian McShane, China Anne McClain, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Michael Gross

 

Plot: A thousand years ago, one boy with a dream of becoming a great warrior is abducted with his sister and taken to a land far away from home. Thrown into a world where greed and injustice rule all, Bilal finds the courage to raise his voice and make a change. Inspired by true events, this is a story of a real hero who earned his remembrance in time and history.


Tagline – A Legend Breaks Free!

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important Moment from History

 

Story: Bilal: A New Breed of Hero starts a thousand years ago, Bilal and his sister Ghufaira are taken into slavery by the evil ruler Umayya, facing a life in chains the two must do what they can to survive.

Bilal growing up to be one of the most respected slaves, will stand up for his own kind make friends Saad along the way. Bilal learns his place in the world as the man that would lead his people to freedom and away from the slavery world they are being forced to live in, a journey that will test him to his limits.

 

Thoughts on Bilal: A New Breed of Hero

 

Characters – Bilal was once a free child, but raised as a slave, now a man he is starting to lose hope of ever being free until he meets one of the other men that had escaped the world and learns that he could be the one to lead the rest of the slaves to freedom. Umayya is the evil ruler that controls with an iron fist whipping anyone that goes against him or his people. Ghufaira is the sister to Bilal that has been pushed to her own limits that he must protect. Saad is the one man that Bilal can trust, they met as teenagers in a small altercation only to gain mutual respect for each other.

StoryThe story here shows one of the very first men to rise up against his slave owners to fight for their freedoms, now this could easily be compared to Moses story without the supernatural elements involved for an easy reference point, but this is its own story. it shows how one man Bilal wouldn’t stand by and take the abuse that was being thrown his way and would join forces with people that could make a difference. The pace of the story is a little bit slow at times, though this does help us understand the struggle being faced at times. We learn how heroes were born and how a nation would need to stand up for themselves to become free.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is a special treat when we see it because we see the few training montages, though the final epically big battle is one of the best in animated film history. The adventure shows us just how hard Bilal’s journey would be to get the freedom he desires.

SettingsThe film puts us in a middle Eastern country, it is set before they were named with names we know, it shows us just how away from the world the people could be from peace one moment to war the next.

AnimationThe animation in the film is beautiful, it does feel more lifelike than other animations which helps as we are learning a story about people, it has large scale scenes which look flawless when it comes to showing us the battles going on.


Scene of the Movie –
The battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The time jump mostly feels confusing even though the characters are aging through these moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautifully shot animation that tells the story of a real hero that you will never have heard of.

 

Overall: Animation Fans Watch This One.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – B – Boy (2010)

Director: Taika Waititi

Writer: Taika Waititi (Screenplay)

Starring: James Rolleston, Te Aho Eketone-Whitu, Taika Waititit, Morangi Tihore, Cherilee Martin

 

Plot: Set on the east coast of New Zealand in 1984, Boy, an 11-year-old child and devout Michael Jackson fan, gets a chance to know his absentee criminal father, who has returned to find a bag of money he buried years ago.


Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Bundle of Joy

 

Story: Boy starts as we meet Boy (Rolleston) in 1984 he will be telling the story to us, he is 11-years-old living with his grandmother and little brother Rocky (Eketone-Whitu) who have been waiting for their father Alamein (Waititi) to come back. Boy loves Michael Jackson and wants nothing more than to see him live with his dad, once his dad returns he sees a light come into his life, but just how long will he stick around.

 

Thoughts on Boy

 

Characters – Boy is an 11-year-old boy that has been living with his grandmother and is the eldest of many children living there, he loves Michael Jackson and hopes one day for his father to return to him to take him to see his icon, he needs to learn quick once his father does come back into his life though. Rocky is the little brother of Boy, he believes he has special powers, his innocence isn’t thrown out by his father’s return though. Alamein is the boy’s father, he has gotten out of jail to locate his stolen money, he struggles to be the father he was expected to be, he knows how to talk himself out of bad situations and we are left to see if he will take responsibility in the future.

PerformancesJames Rolleston is fantastic in this leading role, he keeps the pure innocence about his character from start to finish in the storytelling process, that is both engaging and funny. Te Aho Eketone-Whitu is good in his role, he gets a lot of laughs in his story which at times is from a distance from Boy’s. Alamein shows us just how talented Taika Waititi is, he knows how to hit comedy from behind and on front of the camera.

StoryThis story follows a returning father that needs to rebuild his relationship with his kids after being away in jail, we see how the kids idolise him, but he isn’t ready to be the responsible parent. This is told through the eyes of the children which adds the innocence to everything that is going on. This does feel like a by the book story, but the way it is told makes it stand out to be truly enjoyable.

ComedyThe comedy hits well through the film, you will have plenty of laughs through the film, but more importantly you will go through the range of emotions as we follow the story unfold.

SettingsThe settings show the struggle Boy and his family are going through as they search for just hope in the future.


Scene of the Movie –
It might be the opening, but how Boy introduces to everyone is wonderful to watch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Trying to impress Chardonnay

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful comedy drama, that has the full stamp of Taika Waititi on it showing his style of comedy and storytelling that you can see a mile away.

 

Overall: Charming comedy drama.

Rating

 

 

Betrayed (2018)

Director: Harley Wallen

Writer: Harley Wallen (Screenplay)

Starring: John Savage, Billy Wirth, Richard Tyson, Blanca Blanco, TJ Storm, Harley Wallen, Kaiti Wallen

 

Plot: In an effort to control the city the Mayor opens the doors to the Russian Mob. It is not long until he realizes they aren’t going to follow his rules. To fix the problem he accepts an offer to set up the Russians and open the door for the Cartel. When the Russians find out they take the Mayors Daughter and then the real games begin.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Crime Thriller

 

Story: Betrayed starts when Mayor Alderman (Savage) wants out of his illegal affairs with the Russian mob leader Mikhail (Wallen) and Cartel’s Mr Stone (Tyson) which is a mix of sex trafficking and drug trafficking. He can’t turn to the police, and the mobs won’t take no for an answer, he calls in his fixer Mike Wolf (Wirth).

When the Mayor’s daughter Marie (Wallen) gets kidnapped by Mikhail, the battle to get out of the system increases and the detectives must chase down the truth in time to save the mayor’s daughter and clean up the city before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Betrayed

 

Characters – Mayor Alderman has had his hands in many pockets, now he wants out of this line of business, but it isn’t as easy as that, he becomes the target of the mobs who want to continue operating in his city and must turn to a fixer. Mike Wolf is the fixer, he will do anything to get information, even things that will cross the line, his team will get the results when it comes to locating the mayor’s daughter. Mr Stone is the leader of the cartel, he doesn’t want to play the same games as Mikhail which will only ends up putting him in the bad position. Mikhail is the Russian boss that wants to continue operating in the city, with or without the aid of the mayor, he changes the game making it deadly then before.

PerformancesThe performances across the board are good for the acting, though the accents can come off generic in parts. John Savage as the mayor works well with Richard Tyson and Harley Wallen (who also directs) giving us god performances, it is strange with a large number of this cast also in a family friendly film ‘Bennett’s Song’ earlier this year and most of these roles are against what we saw in that film. Billy Wirth is the one that shines in the scenes he is in as the fixer who will get answers.

StoryThe story focuses on a mayor whose dealings with the mobs has come back to bite him as he tries to get out, he family become targets and he must turn to fixers to solve the problem and save his daughter. This does follow the formula well even if it would be fair to say we get introduced to too many characters, having the mayor, two sides of the mobs, five or six members of the mob, the victims, three detectives and the fixers, which just doesn’t give them enough time to shine, as we don’t hate the villains enough or support the heroes for long enough. The film does want to send a message about sex trafficking business going on in the real world.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is a mix of shoot outs and fights which do the job without being anything ground breaking. The crime world is dark, because of the subject of the crime, the underground sex trafficking world.

SettingsThe film is set in Detroit which works, it is a big city in America, we do only see clubs, station, homes or warehouses where the victims are being held captive.


Scene of the Movie –
The final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain moments are blink and you miss what happened.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good solid action crime thriller, it tackles a dark subject and makes everything feel like real consequences could happen while tackling the problem.

 

Overall: Crime thriller in the dark underworld.

Rating

 

 

Bonehill Road (2018)

Director: Todd Sheets

Writer: Todd Sheets (Screenplay)

Starring: Eli DeGeer, Ana Rojas-Plumberg, Linnea Quigley, Douglas Epps, Milles Milan, Gary Warner Kent, Dilynn Fawn Harvey

 

Plot: Emily and Eden Stevens escape one violent situation only to dive head first into another. Terrified and alone they are stranded in the dark woods only to be chased into a horrific scene in a house or horrors. They must work together to get out alive. But what is worse? What is on the inside or out?

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Low Budget Werewolf film

 

Story: Bonehill Road starts when Emily (DeGeer) escapes domestic abuse with her daughter Eden (Rojas-Plumberg) going on the run to her father’s house, along the dark roads they run into a creature which causes them to come off the road. It isn’t long before they become surrounded by werewolves as they seek safety in a farm house.

In the farm house they discover they are not as safe as they thought as they deal with psychopath Coen (Epps) that is planning his own fun, the desperate attempts to save her daughter becomes a new reality for Emily.

 

Thoughts on Bonehill Road

 

Characters – Emily is a mother and wife that has been getting abused by her alcoholic husband for years, today is the last straw as she plans on leaving with her daughter. She will do anything to protect her daughter from harm and this shows after the journey doesn’t go as plan. Eden is your typical teenage daughter, she has her problems which has started from her home life, she just wants to be left to a normal life, only now she is fighting for her life. Coen is a psychopath that has the women held captive, he wants things done a certain way and will punish those who don’t follow his rules. We do have a few other victims in the character list, though they don’t have too much to do compared to the mother daughter relationship.

PerformancesEli DeGeer is good in her role, she does show the motherly thought process her character must go through, Ana Rojas-Plumberg is good too, the whole cast is good for the low budget side of the film.

StoryThe story follows a mother and daughter trying to start a new life away from the violence they have been living through, the journey puts them up against werewolves and a psychopath in a battle to survive the odds. This does play out a lot like the movie ‘The Monster’ where a mother must protect her daughter against a creature, this keeps that theme showing us just how a parent will do whatever they can to protect their child. We get an addition problem to face because just werewolves aren’t enough, we need the psychopath that reflect just how they are going from one bad situation to an even worse to an even worse again. This is played nicely and playing into the grindhouse elements this story understands how to test the audience with what we see.

Horror The horror comes from just what the mother and daughter must go through, be it at home, on the road or in a place they see as safety. Each location puts them in a situation they shouldn’t have to go through.

SettingsThe uses the settings to add to the horror, the violence in the home, the unknown on a dark wooded road and the safety house, each location gives us a moment that our characters shouldn’t have to experience.

Special EffectsWe have practical effects on here, the transformation into the werewolf is clearly the highlight here and is one that works to great effect.


Scene of the Movie –
The transformation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We could have had more werewolf fighting.

Final ThoughtsThis is a low budget film that plays into the grindhouse era of horror, it knows that it wants to go bloody and shock the audience and hits this every time it tries.

 

Overall: Nightmarish werewolf film.

Rating

 

 

Bleeding Steel (2018)

Director: Leo Zhang

Writer: Erica Xia-Hou, Siwei Cui (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Show Lo, Na-Na OuYang, Eric Xia-Hou, Callan Mulvey, Tess Haubrich

 

Plot: A special force agent is assigned to protect a scientist and his creation from a sinister gang.


Tagline – One man must unravel the past to save the future.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple, Fun Chan Movie

 

Story: Bleeding Steel starts as we see special forces agent Lin Dong (Chan) face a difficult decision when it comes to protecting a high-profile witness in protection or having his remaining time with his dying daughter, when the mission goes wrong Lin learns about sinister gang that want this man dead and his invention for their own.

13 years later Lin Dong is still searching for members of the gang, with Leeson (Lo) a computer wizard who is trying to unlock the secrets of the Steel Heart with the gang still searching for it and Nancy (OuYang) being the key to everything.

 

Thoughts on Bleeding Steel

 

Characters – Lin Dong is a special forces agent who deals in the highest cases in the department, his latest assignment puts his tragic personal life behind him to save a doctor with a secret that could change the world, he faces a losing battle when he comes up against a technological advanced unit. He gives everything and spends his time searching for the group before they do anymore evil in the world. Leeson is the computer tech guy that has uncovered the truth about Nancy, he wants to save her from the danger she has found herself in and must work with Lin even though their styles don’t work together. Nancy is the young woman that becomes the target for all sides, she has her own personal problems with nightmares she can’t explain which is making her life difficult, now she might get to learn the truth. Andre and the Woman in Black are the ones after the device which would make them even more powerful than they are now.

PerformancesJackie Chan is Mr reliable when it comes to action, we know what we can get and that he can handle everything thrown at him, he is easily the star of the show. Show Lo handles the comedy his character offers well though due to the dubbing it is hard to see him shine. This goes for most of the performers in the film they handle most of the material well.

StoryThe story does come off confusing in places because it doesn’t go full sci-fi, but it is too sci-fi to not embrace this element of the film. the story does have twists along the way, though they can get telegraphed before being revealed to us. The ideas being put together in the story are interesting though, because seeing a world where science can be used for good in life saving procedures being hunted for by villainous gangs is something we can all believe. This however does feel like Jackie Chan is in a Star Trek movie at times, which only adds to the outlandish ideas in the film.

Action/Sci-FiThe action when hand to hand is what we come to see and Jackie Chan and the team don’t fail to entertain on this front, it’s the sci-fi shoot outs which do become weak because of the quality of the laser beams being shot with the future weapons.

SettingsThe film is shot in Australia which is one location we haven’t seen Jackie Chan fight in, we sci-fi locations do look weak, but watching Jackie Chan fight on the Sydney Opera House, yes please.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are not the strongest when it comes to dealing with gun fights, the best parts come from the stunt work in the fight scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
The Sydney Opera House fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The dubbing is really poor.

Final ThoughtsThis is an action film you would enjoy watching if you are a Jackie Chan fan, it does keep things simple enough even if they can be wildly over the top at times.

 

Overall: Jackie Chan 101

Rating