Anton Yelchin Weekend – From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)

fromDirector: Goro Miyazaki

Writer: Hayao Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa (Screenplay) Chizuru Takahashi, Tetsuro Sayama (Comic)

Starring: (American Voice Talents) Anton Yelchin, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bruce Dern, Sarah Bolger, Isabelle Fuhrman, Christina Hendricks, Ron Howard

 

Plot: A group of Yokohama teens look to save their school’s clubhouse from the wrecking ball in preparations for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Average Ghibli Story

 

Story: From Up on Poppy Hill starts as we meet Umi who lives on the Poppy Hills that overlook the bay in Tokyo as they have just been award the Olympics of 1964. Umi even as a school girl age runs the house with her parents away as we see how the locals are starting to campaign to save their town from change.

In the town where Umi is raised she learns of a Shun is her brother which changes all the romantic feelings she has been having as the campaign to stop change within their town continues.

From Up on Poppy Hill is a simple Ghibli film that does tell the important story of community within the small neighbourhood. There isn’t too much to make this film stand out above the more fantasy based projects which does disappoint. The film looks as fantastic as you would expect from any of the film from the studio but it does lack that punch that makes it one of the best.

 

Overall: Easy watch for the great study.

Rating60

 

 

Forbidden Kingdom (2014)

forbiddenDirector: Oleg Stepchenko

Writer: Aleksandr Karpov, Oleg Stepchenko (Screenplay) Nikolai Gogol (Story)

Starring: Jason Flemyng, Andrey Smolyakov, Aleksey Chadov, Adnia Ditkovskite, Yuriy Tsurilo, Olga Zaytseva

 

Plot: An 18th century English cartographer, Jonathan Green, sets out on a journey to map the uncharted lands of Transylvania, only to discover the dark secrets and dangerous creatures hidden in a cursed, fantastical Ukrainian forest.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: I Gave Up

 

Story: Forbidden Kingdom starts as we meet English cartographer and womanizer Jonathan Green (Flemyng) who escapes the reaches of the father of the woman. We move to Ukraine where we see a girl taken by the Viy spirit that terrorises the people.

Ok I am going to be honest here, I really just got completely lost watching this film, not sure if it is the terribly dubbing going on or awful wigs.

Forbidden Kingdom is the first film that I abandoned this year because it really just became unwatched after only thirty minutes. I also thought it was going to be the Jackie Chan and Jet Li film.

 

Overall: Just total garbage.

Rating N/A

 

 

John Travolta Weekend – The Forger (2014)

forgerDirector: Philip Martin

Writer: Richard D’Ovidio (Screenplay)

Starring: John Travolta, Christopher Plummer, Tye Sheridan, Abigail Spencer, Anson Mount, Marcus Thomas, Jennifer Ehle

 

Plot: A thief works with his father and son to forge a painting by Monet and steal the original. Together, they plan the heist of their lives.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Easy to Watch

 

Story: The Forger starts as Raymond Cutter (Travolta) puts together a deal to get out of prison early, returning to his father’s Joseph’s (Plummer) home who has been looking after his son Will (Sheridan). Raymond makes a deal with Keegan (Mount) to help him get out early but the deal is that Raymond must use his skills to forge a painting or he will put Raymond back in jail.

Raymond is also having to deal with the tragic story of his son’s cancer treatment explaining why he would risk everything to get out of jail early. Raymond must keep everything together as he works on the highly risky job but also trying to help his son fulfill his dying wishes.

 

Thoughts on The Forger

 

StoryThe story going on through this story is very interesting, I have only heard bad things about this film and I found the story between Raymond and Will touching as we see how Raymond knows what is coming to his own son and posing a question to us all, how much would we give up for the final weeks/months of our son’s life. The crime story while is key to his release is just in the way of what could be a very impressive story, but the two do end up working well in parallel to each other.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime thriller side of this film all feels very generic and if you look past that to the personal side of the story you will find this interesting but the crime story is just there really.

Characters/PerformanceThe three generations of Cutter family all make for good characters with each member giving a good performance but the crime characters all end up feeling like we have seen them all before with the plucky cop background only making it hard to judge the performance.

SettingsThe settings are all what you would call generic for the style of film without being anything special or iconic for any of the scenes.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that I only ever heard bad things so going in I wasn’t expecting too much, but in the end I found myself enjoying the personal element of the film between the family but struggled to enjoy the crime side of the film.

 

Overall: Solid but forgettable movie about family.

Ratingcard

 

 

The Forgotten Kingdom (2013)

forgttenDirector: Andrew Mudge

Writer: Andrew Mudge (Screenplay)

Starring: Zenzo Ngqobe, Nozipho Nkelemba, Lebhang Ntsane, Jerry Mofokeng, Mohoeshoe Chabeli, Lillian Dube

 

Plot: Atang leaves the slums of the big city to bury his estranged father in the remote, mountainous village where he was born. Befriended by an orphan herd-boy and stirred by memories of his youth, he falls in love with his childhood friend, Dineo, now a radiant young teacher. Through her, Atang is drawn to the mystical beauty and hardships of the people, and faces his own bittersweet reckoning.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautifully Moving Story

 

Story: The Forgotten Kingdom starts as we meet Joseph (Ngqobe) a young man in the big city in South Africa, estranged from his father he group are harmless troublemakers. When he gets a vision of his father Joseph whose real name is Atang must take another look at the life he has been living to bury his father in Lesotho.

While at his father’s funeral he meets an old-school friend Dineo (Nkelemba) who still lives in Lesotho but who gave up her life in Joburg to support her family. Atang journeys to be with Dineo where he is guided by Orphan Boy (Ntsane) as he learns more about the beauty in life and the difficulties other people must go through after being mugged and beaten.

The Forgotten Kingdom gives us a story of how one man must find his purpose in life after his father’s death, it shows the incredible journey he must complete where he must consider the spirits of the world he has since turned his back on. We see how difficult life is for the ones that don’t always tell the world in a world that is so different to my own, where sickness can be considered a curse that doesn’t get the support it needs. We also get a love story of one man who will go on a journey to be with the woman he loves.

The performances are brilliant with Zenzo Ngqobe give a performance that could be put up there with the very best in the year of the release. The film has a real heart to it which makes it stand out from the rest of the releases of this year.

 

Overall: Brilliant journey of self-discovery through the rough environment.

Rating

 90

 

Fences (2016)

fencsDirector: Denzel Washington

Writer: August Wilson (Screenplay) August Wilson (Play)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson, Saniyya Sideny

 

Plot: A working-class African-American father tries to raise his family in the 1950s, while coming to terms with the events of his life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Performances

 

Story: Fences starts as we meet Troy Maxson (Washington) a working class African-American who along with his best friend Jim Bono (Henderson) and his wife Rose Maxson (Davis) who have earnt everything they have up to the 1950s America.

We follow how Troy goes through everyday life with his estranged eldest son Lyons (Hornsby), his ambitious son who could get a chance of a better life at college Cory (Adepo) but Troy doesn’t want him to waste his time instead only get a job like he had to and his disabled brother Gabriel (Williamson) who Troy has cared for after his injuries during the war.

 

Thoughts on Fences

 

StoryThis is a story of everyday life in 1950s America for an African American family as they go through the struggles of the younger generation be accepted in the world more than their father did as we see this tension between the two generations because Troy stopping his children following their dreams. Each struggle has different consequences for our characters that reflect the next decisions they make.

DramaWhen it comes to the genres being used this is completely just a drama where we get to see how the characters look at their life decisions and how they affect the loved ones in each other lives.

Characters/PerformancesThe characters here are all very believable with Troy being a guy that you can believe has thought and worked for everything he has got out of his own life in a time when he wouldn’t have gotten many chance, Rose is the wife that has been faithful, supporting through all his strict rules. The children both show the ambition the next generation would have be it through music or sports trying to break free of the strict rules their father gave them. When you look at the performance Washington is breath-takingly good, Davis shines on a par with Denzel with two of what would be the best performances of the year. I also think all the supporting performances are great never looking out of place next to the heavyweight performances.

SettingsThe film keeps nearly all the scene in and around the house with the film relaying on the speeches going on through each scene which shows us just how this is about family.

Final ThoughtsWhile I can see this is very much play with the story unfolding and the performances are just WOW this is an engrossing two and quarter hours of time that never drops the ball.

 

Overall: Performance heavy film that is easily one of the films of the year.

Ratingcard