ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – F – Fighting Beat (2007)

Director: Piti Jaturaphat

Starring: David Bueno, Peerawat Herabat, Nattanun Jantarawetch, Andrew Koji, Nahatai Lekbumrung, Lex Luther, Than Thanakorn

 

Plot: A group of young Muay Thai experts led by David are forced to use their deadly training to protect themselves when the local extortionist threatens to kill their mentors daughter if he doesn’t give up his bar.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Muay Thai 101

 

Story: Fighting Beat starts as we meet Khem (Thanakorn) who lives in the area of Phi Phi Island, by day he with Aey (Herabat) work as guides for divers in the beautiful waters, by night the city comes to life as Khem entertains the fans in the local bar and fighting spots.

The happy little world is put to the test when David (Buneo) and his gang arrive in town wanting to uses their Muay Thai skills to intimidate the locals as they want to take over the bar, it is up o Khem to improve his skills to fight back and defend his own little part of paradise.

 

Thoughts on Fighting Beat

 

Characters – Khem was raised by a monk after his father was murdered, he has studied Muay Thai, living a life which sees him guide tourists to the best diving spots and entertain crowds in a local bar with his fighting skills, even if the results are fixed for the tourists to win. He will lead his friends in the fight back to stay in control of their local bar after a new gang tries to take over it, he must fight for everything he has in his life. David leads the attack on the bar which will see him turn to people who have a past that would be more of a threat in a fight. We have two sides in this fight, we have Khem’s friends that enjoy the life they live that will band together to fight back and David’s gang that will defend themselves with everything they have to put down the locals who are the only ones that fight back.

PerformancesThan Thanakorn is in the leading role which like most of the talent in this film sees to be trained in Muay Thai, everyone involved gets their moment to show their skills and the chemistry between the friends feels natural too.

StoryThe story is very simple it follows a group of locals that will fight to keep the local bar in the locals hands after a gang forces the owner into giving it up. We do get to see how one character, Khem does get to face the demons of his past in the defending the bar, only that is the biggest strain to take away from the two main gangs fighting. We are invested in the story by seeing how the locals do seem to be living in a paradise like world, where their friendship is what gives them added strength too.

ActionThe action is what we are here for, we get plenty of fighting sequences, which are entertaining, though you can see just how choreographed the sequences are.

SettingsThe film is set in the Phi Phil island which shows just how much of a paradise this location is.


Scene of the Movie –
Final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain fights feel overly hesitant.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple and enjoyable Muay Thai fighting action movie, it has an easy to follow story and will keep the martial arts fans happy.

 

Overall: Simple and Enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – F – Frankie & Alice (2010)

Director: Geoffrey Sax

Writer: Cheryl Edwards, Marko King, Mary King, Jonathan Watters, Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse (Screenplay) Oscar Janiger, Philip Goldberg, Cheryl Edwards (Story)

Starring: Halle Berry, Stellan Skarsgard, Phylicia Rashad, Chandra Wilson, Alex Diakun, Joanne Baron

 

Plot: A drama centered on a go-go dancer with multiple personality disorder who struggles to remain her true self and begins working with a psychotherapist to uncover the mystery of the inner ghosts that haunt her.


Tagline – Inspired by an amazing true story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Drama, Lacking Casual Appeal

 

Story: Frankie & Alice starts as we meet go-go dancer Frankie (Berry) the most popular girl in the club who starts having strange episodes in her life, moments when she starts to believe she is a white woman. Oz (Skarsgard) a psychologist takes Frankie in and starts to try and figure out what is going on inside Frankie’s head.

Losing her job and finding herself in trouble with the law, Frankie must turn to Oz to help her by checking her in for 30-days to start with and soon they start to get to the bottom of everything.

 

Thoughts on Frankie & Alice

 

Characters – Frankie is a stripper that is the most popular girl in the club, she can have any guy she wants and usually gets them. One day she starts getting black outs where we see she becomes a different person, which only leaves who losing her job and running out of money. Seeking help, she learns she has multiple personality disorder and now she needs help to understand how to get this under control. Oz is the psychologist that is sees the problems in Frankie’s head and works against the trends to help her even if the rest of the doctors don’t believe things are real.

PerformancesHalle Berry is great in this leading role, she takes on the 3 personalities and makes each one feel unique for the difference in their characteristics. Stellan Skarsgard in a doctor role, he is always going to be one of the great doctor figures on the big screen. When we look at the rest of the cast we don’t get too many performers that standout in anyway.

StoryThe story here follows one woman that starts to lose her mind when the multiple personalities in her head start taking over, one doctor will try to help her unlock the past she has locked up to create these personalities. This is based on a real woman and doctor that worked together and it shows us just how committed doctors can be to solve a problem which others will dismiss, we get to see how misdiagnosis can cause bigger problems in life, but once you learn the truth you can put everything together to live a happy life. We knew this going in, this was never going to have an unhappy ending, but we should face the reality that certain people would have not made it through this. This story does show an important sign to help deal with mental health which could see people struggle through different times in life and tells us all we shouldn’t be afraid to get help.

BiopicThis shows us two real people, Frankie is an incredible and tragic story which has been hidden behind the personalities created in her mind and the doctor that would do anything to help her control them.

SettingsSet in the late 60’s we get an authentic feel for every scene of the movie, the divides in the neighbourhoods and the class difference between the rich and poor.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This isn’t going to be for a causal movie fan.

Final ThoughtsThis is an important look at deal with mental health in the 60s how certain doctors would push it aside while others tackled it head on, the story of Frankie shows us how we could understand a person going through such horrors could create these personalities.

 

Overall: Important and brave message.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – F – First Kill (2017)

Director: Steven C Miller

Writer: Nick Gordon (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Hayden Christensen, Ty Shelton, Megan Leonard, Gethin Anthony, William DeMeo, Deb G Girdler

 

Plot: A Wall Street broker is forced to evade a police chief investigating a bank robbery as he attempts to recover the stolen money in exchange for his son’s life.


Tagline – When you only have one shot, don’t miss.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Heist Gone Wrong Film

 

Story: First Kill starts as Wall Street broker Will (Christensen) decides to take his bullied son Danny (Shelton) on a hunting trip back in his own home town with his wife Laura (Leonard). The trip takes a sudden twist then Will and Danny stumble upon the bank thieves that hidden the money, force to take action Will must defend his son.

When Danny is kidnapped by one of the bank robbers, Will must use his experience of the land to locate the missing bank money and save his son, while eluding police chief Howell (Willis).

 

Thoughts on First Kill

 

Characters – Will is a big time Wall Street broker that takes his son back to his home town to try and make him stronger for the world, he knows how to survive in the woods and is forced to elude the cops to save his son, this whole movie is about his stupid decision. Howell is the police chief that knows Will from his childhood, he knows he is lying but doesn’t know who to trust. Laura is the wife and a doctor, that is her purpose in this movie, she doesn’t offer anything to the action sequences. Danny is the son that is kidnapped, he knows that he is in danger and tries his best to befriend his kidnappers.

PerformancesHayden Christensen is an actor that has been treated very unfairly in the acting world, he is the best part of this film, showing he is better than people give him credit for. Bruce Willis on the over hand is continuing his pay check level of performances where we could have gotten someone who actually cared about being in a film for less and to give a better performance. The rest of the cast are fine but don’t do too much to raise the level of this film.

StoryThe story follows one man that gets caught in the middle of bank heist gone wrong, forced to make difficult decisions to save his son from the robbers. There is a side story of Will wanting to teach his son a few life lessons before the events unfold, but strangely it is the kidnapper that teaches him more about life than his own dad. The story is a play by play of trying to throw twists into a story of an old town to whom someone returns to with secrets and past connections, we don’t find ourselves overly invested in the story after the poor decision Will makes early on in the film.

Action/CrimeThe action in this film is tame to say the least, it doesn’t do too much other than overly lengthy build to short shoot outs, the crime side of the film follows more of the aftermath of the crime that has happened.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town and mostly in the woods, this shows how people will be tempted to break the law and believe they can get away with things in the woods.


Scene of the Movie –
The first kill.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Will’s decision making is beyond stupid.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the books heist film gone wrong with an innocent man thrown into the middle of everything. it does bring Hayden Christensen back in the spotlight, though his performances can’t help the rest of the film.

 

Overall: Been here, seen this done better.

Rating

 

 

Free Solo (2018)

Director: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

 

Plot: Alex Honnold attempts to become the first person to ever free solo climb El Capitan.


Tagline – Live Beyond Fear

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautifully Tense Documentary

 

Story: Free Solo starts as we learn about Alex Honnold’s life, what drove him to want to be involved in the free solo style of climbing, the style which involves no ropes, no safety, just the body climbing. He has completed over 1000 of the most dangerous mountain faces in the world and now he has a new target.

Alex wants to free solo El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, California. Alex is joined by his filmmaking friend Jimmy Chin that has filmed climbs across the world as they plan the most dangerous climb that has already cost many climbers lives.

 

Thoughts on Free Solo

 

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to anybody’s passion, you should never question what they are doing, as long as they are enjoying themselves, Free Solo is a perfect example of this, while most of us wouldn’t even consider this as remotely fun, for Alex this is his whole world. Seeing the preparation going on behind the climb shows us how this just isn’t just a basic climb, it is a calculated process, which shows where the risks will lay. We see how Alex’s mind operates, how climbing is the most important part of his life, even with a loving girlfriend, Alex must process just what is the most important to him.

Watching the moment when Alex finally goes for it, we watch on like the crew on the edge of our seat wondering if he will make it or will this be a documentary about his death. with some of the tenses scenes you will see from a documentary, this is one of the must watch ways to follow dreams.

 

Overall: Must watch documentary.

Rating

 

 

Free Trip to Egypt (2019)

Director: Ingrid Serban

 

Plot: A feature length documentary film following one man’s search for random Americans concerned about an Islamic threat and offering them a free trip to Egypt.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Change the View, Change the World

 

Story: Free Trip to Egypt starts when Tarek Mounib wants to figure out why Americans are concerned by the Islamic threat, he wants to meet Americans from different backgrounds, different beliefs and different views on how they view Egyptian culture.

Tarek will place each American with a different Egyptian person or family, to learn that they are live normal lives, believe in their own religious beliefs that are considered different to their own, with the plan to show, just because the country has a few bad apples, most of the people are honest as the Americans.

 

Thoughts on Free Trip to Egypt

 

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to documentaries, we do need to see a new understanding on how to view the world, we get to see how negative the American attitude towards what they have been made to believe Egypt to be, they see them as bad people because of a religion they don’t understand. We see how many people just rejected the idea of a trip to Egypt because of their negative thoughts.

Seeing how the selected Americans openly admit they were unsure of what Egypt really is like, is important because they need to learn how headlines don’t mean everyone is wrong. We can look at how this like life swap with Americans just being put with Egyptian families, instead of letting them truly learn how a purely unprepared relationship would be between the two nations. While I am more open minded, I have experienced spending time with a culture I knew nothing about through a wonderful family who was open and non-judgemental, showing I can relate to everything being experienced. This is an interesting documentary that shows we all need to become more accepting of different cultures from around the world, deep down we are just people that want to be in a family, have friends and follow our own dreams.

 

Overall: Wonderful & Important

Rating