ABC Film Challenge – Action – D – Doctor Strange (2016) Revisited

Director: Scott Derrickson

Writer: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C Robert Cargill (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comics)

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg

 

Plot: While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.


Tagline – Open your mind. Change your reality

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning

 

Story: Doctor Strange starts as arrogant, brilliant neurosurgeon Dr Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) is involved in a reckless car accident, which was his own fault, loses the ability to use his hands on the same levels as he once could. Stephen learns about one patient that recovered from the injuries that he shouldn’t have recovered from and goes in search for answers.

Stephen searches for Kamar-Taj which should give the mind answers to healing himself through belief, with The Ancient One (Swinton) showing him the way. Here Stephen must train with Mordo (Ejiofor) and soon finds himself joining the fight against Kaecilius (Mikkelsen) who has been trying to gain the power the Ancient One has.

 

Thoughts on Doctor Strange

 

Characters – Doctor Stephen Strange is arrogant brilliant neurosurgeon, he always looks down on people who he sees not completing the operations he can, this has led him to become reckless in his personal life, which leads to his accident and loss of ability to operate. He learns that he could be cured, if he goes through certain mind training as he learns about multi verse which doesn’t need the physical body to get through or fight. Mordo is one of the oldest students un Kamar-Taj, he opens the doors to Stephen, working with him to teach him about what they will be fighting against. Dr Palmer is the only friend Stephen has at the hospital and she goes to him for advice when needed. Wong is the librarian that guards the books about power which the people there could learn from. Kaecilius is the villain of the piece, he has been trying to bring the dark universe to Earth’s and will stop and nothing to achieve this, he was once a student too, but turned evil once he learnt about the power. The Ancient One control the powers in Kamar-Taj, the oldest and most powerful of everyone there, she teaches Stephen the true meaning and powers he could control.

PerformancesBenedict Cumberbatch is better than I remembered in the leading role, it might be because I have gotten used to the character after Infinity War, he does make himself feel unlikeable through the film. Chiwetel Ejiofor is interesting in his role where he is designed to be conflict between everyone involved.  Rachel McAdams is however completely wasted in this role, she barely gets any screen time. Mads Mikkelsen as the villain is somebody we know we can trust, though we do wish we could have had more of his character, Benedict Wong is fun in the supporting role, while Tilda Swinton is always going to be the star of a film with her acting class.

StoryThe story here follows Dr Strange learn to give up everything he thought he knew from science and learn about the mystic arts that control universes. This is once again an origin film and Dr Strange is a brilliant, but unlikable man, he needs to learn that the world isn’t about him, its about the people if he is every going to make it in this new position. We do have the conflict between light and dark, which shows that he will need to learn the lines in this war, while others are fighting to be in control of this world. the story can look weak in places because we put so much time into the visuals of this film, but it does everything required to be an entertaining watch.

Action/FantasyThe action in this film comes from the world we see everybody fighting in, it plays hand in hand with the fantasy side of the film which just makes for some of the most visual fight sequences you will ever see.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to not only confuse the audience, but confuse Dr Strange, we see the different environments he must learn to adapt to with the laws of physics now longer being applied.

Special EffectsThe effects in this film are brilliant, it is like watching Inception in steroids when it comes to how the world folds in, moves and evolves.


Scene of the Movie –
The New York fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story isn’t as strong as it could be.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most visually brilliant movies in this universe, it gives us an origin story that is ready to branch in many different directions and prepares us for a new type of hero.

 

Overall: Stunning on the eyes.

Rating

 

Dead by Dawn (2020) Movie Review

Director: Sean Cain

Writer: Wes Laurie (Screenplay)

Starring: Drew Lindsey Mitchell, Kelcey Watson, Jamie Bernadette, Bo Burroughs, Timothy Muskatell, Bobby Slaski, Detra Hicks

Plot: A suicidal man in a remote cabin is suddenly faced with protecting a kidnapped woman from three sexual deviants and their sadistic games.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Enjoyable Slasher

Story: Dead by Dawn starts Lulu (Mitchell) walks out on her abusive relationship, looking to catch a ride, which only turns into a nightmare when she is taken by Neil (Burroughs), Chad (Muskatell) and Snack (Bernadette), Lulu does escape, finding shelter in a cabin in the woods, where depressed suicidal man Dylan (Watson) is thinking about ending his life.

With Lulu and Dylan working on a way to keep the others out, the three kidnapers need to find a way to get into the cabin, only the bigger secrets will be revealed during the wait.

Thoughts on Dead by Dawn

Characters – Lulu is an artist who is trapped in an abusive relationship, she tries to walk out on, only to find herself being kidnapped and forced into a sick torture, she does escape, seeking help, where we get to see the pain she has suffered, rather than seeing it, where she gives Dylan a meaning to keep fighting. Dylan is a depressed man, he has lost everything and is about to end his life before Lulu arrives on his doorstep. He decides to help her fight back against the people trying to kill her, using the memories of lost loved ones. Neil is the man that is running the kidnapping, he is psychotic in how he tries to control the situation, showing his power over people with how Snack is controlled by him. Snack was a former victim that has becomes Neil’s second, she is ruthless, never wanting to look back on the violent side she has gained.

PerformancesDrew Lindsey Mitchell in the leading role does start strong in the film, but strangely, she doesn’t get that much more to do in the second half of the film. Kelcey Watson does show us how broken his character is, with this new meaning giving him extra hope, becoming the most interesting character and performer to watch through the film. Bo Burroughs fills the psychopath role well, with Jamie Bernadette bringing us a performance we haven’t seen from her before, a much darker one.

StoryThe story here follows a young woman who has escaped a kidnapping situation to find herself in the middle of a battle of wits between her rescuer and kidnappers. The story does keep the ideas very simple, with most of the film being a battle between the two sides trying to get the upper hand, even though Lulu does seem to take the back seat while Dylan and Neil are the two in control. It does deal with a lot of issues around abuse, loss and living in pain you feel helpless in. one of the bigger known movies you could compare this to, would be ‘No One Lives’ with both sides having something bigger about what is happening behind the motivations they are doing this for.

HorrorThe horror in the film is around what has happened and what would happen if Lulu is taken again.

SettingsThe film keeps everything around the cabin, showing how there isn’t going to be help coming, why Dylan is away from the world and why the kidnapping has ended up here.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, we do get some strong effects when it comes to injuries, with one trap coming off very well.


Scene of the Movie – Pressure plate.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Lulu does seem to take a back burner in the second half of the film.

Final Thoughts This is a strong game of wits between both sides, that holds back a lot with everybody getting a chance to show what this moment would mean to them.

Overall: Game of Wits 101.

Rachel Weisz Weekend – Denial (2016) Movie Review

Director: Mick Jackson

Writer: David Hare (Screenplay) Deborah Lipstadt (Book)

Starring: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall, Andrew Scott, Jack Lowden, Caren Pistorius, Alex Jennings

Plot: Acclaimed writer and historian Deborah E. Lipstadt must battle for historical truth to prove the Holocaust actually occurred when David Irving, a renowned denier, sues her for libel.


Tagline – The whole world knows the Holocaust happened. Now she needs to prove it. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Courtroom Drama

Story: Denial starts when acclaimed writer and historian Deborah Lipstadt (Weisz) has her latest book about the horrors of the Holocaust being released, only her in her book to slams historian and renowned denier David Irving (Spall). David Irving has built up a reputation for being able to fight his case and decides to sue Deborah for libel.

After the years or preparation Deborah watches how Anthony Julius (Scott) and Richard Rampton (Wilkinson) look to make a trial where Deborah will win, without having to put the holocaust on trial, they want to keep it together for argument, with the case being about proving David’s research, rather than whether the holocaust happened.

Thoughts on Denial

Characters – Deborah Lipstadt is an acclaimed author that has made her career out of writing about the horrors around the holocaust, this has created an enemy in David Irving, that she has always been denying the holocaust happened. She must defend her own accusation against him, putting her trust in a group of lawyers to fight the case, despite the fact she would like to put the spotlight on the events, over the facts being disputed. Richard Rampton is the lawyer that is running the case in the courtroom, he has methods that Deborah doesn’t like, until she sees how he has truly been planning the case. Anthony Julius runs the case behind the scenes, he has a huge reputation with his previous work which made headlines and must be strict towards Deborah over what she wants to happen in the case. David Irving is the famous Holocaust denier, he has made a career out of his theories, which has given him a huge following, he decides to sue Deborah for criticising his beliefs, where he uses his natural charisma to get people behind him, despite his anti-Semitic behaviour being clear to see.

PerformancesRachel Weisz in the leading role is great to see, she shows just how helpless Deborah looks during the case, that puts her own reputation on the line. Timothy Spall steals the show with his depiction of David Irving, showing how he is the more colourful character in the case. Tom Wilkinson shows he will always be able to bring a quiet character to life in the moments he needs to shine, while Andrew Scott proves that his rising star will get involved in the major performances.

StoryThe story here follows Deborah Lipstadt who has her own book sued for libel by holocaust denier David Irving, forcing them into a court case, which will be about whether he has been making up the truth for his own benefit or whether she had the right to question his beliefs. The story is an interesting one to follow, seeing an conspiracy theorist being put in a courtroom to prove his fictional story about the truth is fascinating to see, having a court case just about whether something as horrific as the holocaust is bad enough, but seeing how everybody seemed to have a fine balance between who could win, was also interesting. The story does struggling to start with, because of the large number of time jumps, with it starting in 1994, before the case happening in 2000, with small scenes in the build up to the case, through the years, but once we get into the courtroom, we are grasp by the story.

BiopicThe biopic side of the story focuses more on the case, rather than the people involved, which could take away just how much the case did take out of the people involved.

SettingsThe film does use the courtroom as the main location for the story to move forward, with most of the external locations being ideas of where the story could end up going, with most being office, apart from the haunting trip to Auschwitz.


Scene of the Movie – The court case.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The early time jumps, we seem to have one scene, then jump two more years down the line.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting courtroom drama, that shows how the truth managed to get all the way to a courtroom, when it was clear it happened, showing even conspiracy theorist could challenge the truth.

Overall: Interesting, but not Intense drama.

Dark Waters (2019) Movie Review

Director: Todd Haynes

Writer: Matthew Michael Carnhan, Mario Correa (Screenplay) Nathaniel Rich (Magazine Article)

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Pullman, William Jackson Harper, Mare Winningham, Victor Garber

Plot: A corporate defense attorney takes on an environmental lawsuit against a chemical company that exposes a lengthy history of pollution.


Tagline – The Truth Has a Man on the Inside

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Important Case, Told Too Slowly

Story: Dark Waters starts when defence attorney Robert Bilott (Ruffalo) gets invited to put a lawsuit against the very chemical company who works for by Wilbur Tennant (Camp) who has lost his whole herd of cows to different illness, ones he believes to be environment.

Robert decides to take the case, much to his boss Tom Terp (Robbins) annoyance, which will see him take on one of the biggest firms in America, with the claim they deliberately poisoned the water for years.

Thoughts on Dark Waters

Characters – Robert Bilott has been working to defend chemical companies for years, now he is asked to lead a case against one of the biggest firms DuPont, which could put his own career as a lawyer on the line to expose one of the biggest poisoning and lack of care in America. Sarah is the wife of Robert’s she doesn’t like his work to start with, but sees how it might even be effecting people in their own life, backs him in his fight against the company. Tom Terp is Robert’s boss, he isn’t happy with him putting the case together to start with, only once he sees his case, he will back him to do the right thing. Harry Dietzler is the lawyer that handles to trial for Robert, he knows how to play the courtroom to get the best out of the situation.

PerformancesMark Ruffalo in the leading role is the highlight of the film, he shows the sacrifice the man made to win the case. When it comes to the supporting case Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins and Bill Pullman are all strong with their roles in the film.

StoryThe story follows a defence attorney that will risk his career to take on a giant firm accused of dumping chemicals into the water supply causing countless numbers of side effects that affects millions, this case does go on for decades and we see the ups and downs along the way. The story is important because it shows how bad the corruption in a company can be, which is sadly, one of the weaknesses in the story, we are trying to get too much information out, while not having enough to work with because of the number little cases involved. With the scale of the story being this big, it would have been better to get a mini-series, which could have explored more of what was going on in the grand scale of things.

BiopicThis was the important story of one man’s struggle to try and make a difference when taking on a massive company that will do anything to keep the little man down.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us just what the company was doing and how the people had been affect by their careless action.


Scene of the Movie – The cases start.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – There is too much to cover in just a movie.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at the important case that showed how hard one person worked to make a different against a company that wouldn’t give him a chance.

Overall: Could have had more.

Disappearance at Clifton Hill (2019) Movie Review

Director: Albert Shin

Writer: James Schultz, Albert Shin (Screenplay)

Starring: Tuppence Middleton, Hannah Gross, Marie-Josee Croze, Eric Johnson, David Cronenberg

Plot: Follows a troubled young woman returning to her hometown of Niagara Falls, where the memory of a long-ago kidnapping quickly ensnares her.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Tidy Sleuth Detective

Story: Disappearance at Clifton Hill starts as Abby (Middleton) and her sister Laure (Gross) coming together after their mother passes away, leaving them in her will, with Abby not wanting to just cash in on the offer they received. Abby wants to continuing running the family business, only this brings back a memory for her.

Abby starts to get haunted by the memory of what she once saw back in her childhood, a boy kidnapped, only nobody would believe her, now she starts to try and put the pieces together, which sees her look into the local areas history to learn who the boy might have been.

Thoughts on Disappearance at Clifton Hill

Characters – Abby is one of the sisters, she wants to keep the family memory together even if the money would be better for both sisters, she has a history of telling stories that nobody would believe, which leads her down the trail of something she believed she saw as a child, a kidnapping. The deeper she investigates the more she believes she is going to learn the truth, going full sleuth detective on the case. Laure is the sister to Abby who has always been there for Abby and is used to hearing her stories, she does want her to stop the stories and just focus on her life once again. We do many different people that Abby sees as part of the story she is trying to put together, each with their own story.

PerformancesTuppence Middleton is the star attraction in this film, she brings her talent to the front and centre, making us wonder about her character’s mindset, whether her story is true or not, keeping us guessing to what she might do next. When we look at the rest of the cast we do get to see just how each character plays out without giving the rest of the cast that many scenes.

StoryThe story here sees two sisters reunited to deal with an inheritance, only to clash over what they want, which brings back a memory for one about a kidnapping, a case that never got report, but they want answers about. This story does show how people can tell a story which does have truth despite having a reputation that might question that story, we see how this could change their lives and solving it could be the only thing that keeps them going. Strangely it does feel like we are watching a run of the mill detective episode, which leads Abby in different directions, with wild characters you simply wouldn’t come across in daily life. Away from that the pace of the story is strong and does do a wonderful job at balancing the idea of which side of the story is true.

MysteryThe mystery here comes from what Abby saw as a child, just whether it is true or not, it does have an interest case to which we are being left to see unfold.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show how close to the border everything is happening in, this will become key for the Niagara Falls setting during the film.


Scene of the Movie – Returning home.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Diner with the tamers.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting mystery that shows one person’s determination for the truth to put their own mind to rest, where Tuppence Middleton shines in.

Overall: Mystery Entertainment.