ABC Film Challenge – Animation – E – The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)

Director: Mark Dindal

Writer: David Reynolds (Screenplay) Chris Williams, Mark Dindal (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, Patrick Warburton, Wendie Malick

 

Plot: Emperor Kuzco is turned into a llama by his ex-administrator Yzma, and must now regain his throne with the help of Pacha, the gentle llama herder.


Tagline – Mingin’!

Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: There is a Deeper Story Here

 

Story: The Emperor’s New Groove starts as we meet Emperor Kuzco who has been turned into a llama by Yzma who is trying to take over the Emperor’s jobs, which leads him to fire her, as he looks to demolish a local village where Pachu the llama farmer lives.

When Kuzco is left to go with Pachu, he must find a way to return to his human form, reclaim his thrown and learn the true message of being an Emperor.

 

Thoughts on The Emperor’s New Groove

 

Characters – Kuzco is the young Emperor that gets turned into a llama, he craves power and popularity, leaving him to not care about who he steps on to get what he wants. He must learn to treat his people with respect and become the emperor for his land. Pacha is the quiet llama farmer, head to the village, that wants to stop his village being destroyed and reluctantly agrees to help Kuzco to return to his throne. Yzma is the evil adviser that wants to power and will kill Kuzco to get this.

StoryThe story focuses on an Emperor that needs to learn that he doesn’t need to be selfish to be a strong leader to his people by growing up. We get the usual ideas being used here where nothing comes off overly original and more of the story plays into the stand-up comics routines over telling a story. you do feel like there should have been a deeper story being used more often through the film over the jokes.

Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe adventure put two unlikely people needing to get through a jungle back to safety, which is told through jokes too often, the family could get certain laughs but he adults will not enjoy them as much.

SettingsThe settings don’t seem to show us which country Kuzco is the ruler off, with the random jungle having random animals in.

AnimationThe animation works well for the time it was made, but doesn’t feel as strong as possible.


Scene of the Movie –
Bridge breaking.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many jokes.

Final ThoughtsThis is an animated film that could keep the kids happy for an hour, it isn’t on the highest levels of animation or storytelling.

 

Overall: Basic animation.

Rating

 

 

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End Trip (2018)

Director: Aaron Jay Rome

Writer: Aaron Jay Rome (Screenplay)

Starring: Aaron Jay Rome, Eric LeBlanc, Ashley Lenz, Jaren Mitchell, Michelle West

 

Plot: On a calm night in an average city a hardworking URYDE driver, Brandon, picks up just another fare, Judd. Using interactions that blur the lines between the technological world and the physical one, Judd explains a messy breakup. Brandon offers an empathetic ear and a sympathetic heart to his new friend to help him pick up the pieces. Aggregated profiles, algorithms, links, likes and comments bring people closer. But how close is too close?


Tagline –  Just another night for URYDE driver, Brandon, until he picks up Judd and the night takes a few U-turns.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Chilling Thriller

 

Story: End Trip starts like any other night for Brandon (Rome) an Uyder (Basically Uber) driver that works the nights, he has had a string of normal customers with their stories of their nights before he gets called for mysterious passenger (West) going by the name Judd.

The two spend the night getting to know each other as they exchange life advice, all while Brandon’s fiancée Stef (Lenz) is being held captive needing to fight to survive against a twisted serial killer.

 

Thoughts on End Trip

 

Characters – The Passenger going by the name of Judd seems to be going through a rough time, he just wants a friend to listen to his problems on this night, he is happy to have Brandon’s ear to talk too, even if he is doing more listening then Brandon is prepared for. Brandon is an everyday Uyder driver, he works the night and gets good reviews from his clients, until he meets Judd, a man that needs someone to talk, this is what he does, help him through his struggles. Brandon tells his stories of his life and wife to be and his favourite location. Stef is the fiancée of Brandon that is being held captive in her own home, she will need to stay ahead of her capturer to stay alive.

PerformancesThe performances from the three main stars are wonderfully, Aaron Jay Rome give us the innocent style his character needs, while performing from behind the camera too. Dean J West gives a great performance across the board with his characters changes seeming effortless. Ashely Lenz gives us a god performance as the one trying to keep calm in a pressure situation.

StoryThe story keeps things simple with how everything unfolds, with a large part of the film being the interactions between Brandon and his Passenger. There is a twist in the story which does take the story in a new intense level for the second half and is one that will leave you on the edge of your seat until the final moments. Keeping it simple helps us out and with the shocking twist being refreshing to keep things flowing nicely throughout.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from the true actions of the Passenger, while more of the focus comes from how the film keeps you on the edge of your seat.

SettingsThe film takes place over a city, we see how anybody could be getting the ride and the different type of characters Brandon will be meeting over the night.

Special EffectsThe effects are not used very often, but when they are, they are effective for what is being shown, the film focuses more on the tension.


Scene of the Movie –
The wedding planner.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This will contain a spoiler, so I don’t want to say what the scene involves, but a certain sequence goes on too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good thriller that keeps us on edge from start to finish, the split timeline does get the payoff it deserves and this does have an air of tension throughout.

 

Overall: Thrilling throughout

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – E – Earthtastrophe (2016)

Director: Nick Lyon

Writer: Ashley O’Neil (Screenplay)

Starring: Andrew J Katers, Alexa Mansour, Tonya Kay, Evan Sloan, Detra Hicks, Kelcey Watson

 

Plot: In a white hot flash of light, and with no warning, one minute our moon is there, the next it’s gone. Then, a second flash. And that’s the last thing anyone on Earth can remember. 11 months later, it’s not post- apocalyptic; it’s apocalyptic as Earth has been sucked through a wormhole, literally ripping our planet from the inside out. With bizarre disasters and civilization collapsing, our heroes must find a way to survive and get to “safe ground” before it’s too late.


Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Over the Top Disaster Flick

 

Story: Earthtastrophe starts as Colin (Katers) is about to secure a deal of a lifetime, his party is underway, but an unexpected disaster hits destroying the Moon and sucking Earth through a wormhole to a new galaxy. 11 months later Colin has still not gained his memory having just photos to help fill in the blanks, the world itself is a death zone with weather conditions that are beyond deadly. Colin must try to get around this world to find his family with the help of fellow survivors Zoey (Mansour) and Nadia (Kay).

 

Thoughts on Earthtastrophe

 

Characters – Colin is our main character in this story, he is a high-profile CEO whose world gets sucked into a wormhole along with the Earth and other survivors, he has lost his memory and is trying to put the pieces together on his life before the event as he looks for answers. Zoey and Nadia are two fellow survivors that help Colin find the answers as they survive in the wasteland.

PerformancesThis is low budget so I am not expecting the best of the best performances, Andrew J Katers is good in the leading role while the rest of the cast are good even if they can look out of place when not delivering lines.

StoryThe story plays into the big disaster movie types and mixes it with science, time travel and multiple dimensions. This is a movie that has way too much going on to give any of it too much sense, but this also plays into how fun this is to watch. If a genius scientist saw this story they would probably have a break down, but since when did we need a story to make sense, we do have a warning in the final outcome of the story too.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is CGI like explosions which work for the film and they have moments of sci-fi to make the unusual weather condition people don’t see.

SettingsThe settings are generic apocalyptic locations where we see destroyed buildings after the event.

Special EffectsThe effects are low budget, this is fine for us because we don’t need anything overly impressive as we know this is a sci-fi channel movie.


Scene of the Movie –
The mist clouds of doom.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does have too much going on.

Final ThoughtsThis is an extremely watchable sci-fi action movie, if you don’t take it too seriously you will find yourself enjoying this one.

 

Overall: ABC Sci-fi Action movie.

Rating

 

 

Jessica Alba Weekend – The Eye (2008)

Director: David Moreau, Xavier Palud

Writer: Sebastian Gutierrez (Screenplay) Yuet-Jan Hui, Oxide Chun Pang, Danny Pang (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Jessica Alba, Alessandro Nivola, Parker Posey, Rade Serbedzija, Fernanda Romero, Rachel Ticotin, Chloe Grace Moretz

 

Plot: A woman receives an eye transplant that allows her to see into the supernatural world.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not as Bad as I Remember

 

Story: The Eye starts as we meet blind violinist Sydney Wells (Alba) who is about to get a cornea transplant giving her sight back for the first time since she was five. With the operation being a success, Sydney along with her sister Helen (Posey) must work together as the change takes effect with the vision taking time to return.

Sydney now must learn to see once again but with horrific visions make her start to question herself, she has a DR Paul Faulkner (Nivola) who comes along to help her with these new experiences but he can only help with the reality of seeing again, not the supernatural side of things.

As the nightmares and visions become more realistic Sydney finds herself walking the thin line between paranoia and reality as she finds herself investigating these visions to learn the truth about the eyes she has been inherited.

 

Thoughts on The Eye

 

Characters/PerformanceSydney is given the chance to see once again but dealing with the new eyes makes her question everything in her day as she is given the chance to witness the living being taken by the reaper. I have a lot of questions about this character because we never learn her job which must have been limited because of her blindness, there is an origin to why she is blind to which we don’t get to see either and I feel most of the development of this character is very poor. Dr Faulkner is an average forgettable doctor who doesn’t even fill the romantic love interest and the sister well why is she even in this movie?

The performances are fine Jessica Alba does well without shining but the rest of the cast just doesn’t seem to fit in the film enough.

StoryThe idea that when you get a transplant your body could change has been proven so why not mix this up into a horror film, well the Chinese thought this would be a good story too. This is the remake of that story, so we know the story is very similar and interesting to see unfold because this film isn’t about a big body count like other horrors, it is the ghost mystery which is something I do always have a soft spot for and does keep you guessing along the way.

Horror/MysteryThe horror side of this movie is nearly all jump scares as the film doesn’t reach the true levels of the original, the mystery side of things is what keeps us going through to see where it all ends up going.

SettingsThe settings just don’t work for this film, you can’t understand how Sydney is in the location she lives in without learning about her job.

Special EffectsHere is an iffy part of the film, the special effects which you can see being added with the CGI.

Final ThoughtsWhile I do think the original is scarier, this is a simple to follow and easy horror to watch for all that would be watching.

 

Overall: Remake which works but doesn’t reach the same levels.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Evidence (2013)

Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi

Writer: John Swetnam (Screenplay)

Starring: Torrey DeVitto, Caitlin Stasey, Harry Lennix, Stephen Moyer Nolan Gerard Funk, Radha Mitchell

 

Plot: A detective hunts down a killer using video footage shot by the victims of a massacre at an abandoned gas station.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Shocking Murder Mystery

 

Story: Evidence starts as a massacre has happened at a gas station, detectives Reese (Moyer) and Burquez (Mitchell) must look through all potential video evidence to figure out what happened. We follow along with this investigation as we see the film about aspiring actress Leann (DeVitto) being made on a bus trip with friends and strangers along the way.

As the recordings continue to show events unfold we see how a killer started picking off the members of the bus tour as they hide out in an abandoned gas station and the team are having to watch the graphic murders.

 

Thoughts on Evidence

 

Characters – Detective Daniel Reese is the depressed cop that refused to take no as an answer while working on this case and now he must use his skills to prove he is capable to get the job done after his own personal heart ache. Detective Alex Burquez is leading the investigation knowing the pressure she is facing to get killer before the case can spiral out of control. Leann is the aspiring actress that is having her life film in case she can become a famous star. We also have the camerawoman for the most part of the film that of course lasts till near the end and the generic disposable characters.

PerformanceMoyer and Mitchell are the big names in this film which is also the draw but it is hard to say they were at their best as they are only part of the film that is watching the other part, they keep the straight faces well but otherwise don’t get a chance to shine. Torrey DeVitto as the main character from the victims is fine throughout but it is also hard to judge through a found footage film.

StoryThe story is split between the people who are getting picked off or already have if you like and the detectives trying to figure out just what has happened. Watching how the police would analyse the crime is an interesting switch to the story as we have seen the jumping around before and we have seen the story being told, but only using the video footage makes it all feel original. Saying that it does just bottle down to a murder mystery with a serial killer on the lose that needs to be captured but you do want to see who the killer is.

Crime/Mystery The crime side of story is shown in aftermath only first as we see what has happened we watch how it all went down through footage on phones and cameras. The mystery behind it all looks at who was behind it all which does keep us guessing through the film.

SettingsThe settings are split between two, the gas station where the crime takes place and the police station where the investigation is happening.

Special EffectsThe effects used for the kills are graphic as they come making everything come off shocking when you see it.

Scene of the Movie – Final reveal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We know it is designed to show little parts but it does get frustrating watching certain moments of shaky cam.

Final ThoughtsThis is a shocking film that is one that does get rewards if you watch it until the end.

 

Overall: Great ending.

Rating