The Farewell (2019) Movie Review

Director: Lulu Wang

Writer: Lulu Wang (Screenplay)

Starring: Shuzhen Zhao, Awkwafina, X Mayo, Hong Lu, Hong Lin, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin

Plot: A Chinese family discovers their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather before she dies.

Tagline – Based on an Actual Lie

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Beautiful

Story: The Farewell starts as we see Billi (Awkwafina) living in New York city close to her parents Haiyan (Ma) and Lu Jian (Lin), Billi is close to her Nai Nai (Zhao) back in China, always son the phone with her despite the 12 hour time difference. When Billi learns something isn’t right at home with her parents, she learns the truth, that Nai Nai is going to be dying soon, but the family isn’t going to tell her as it is part of the culture not to let somebody know they are dying.

The family has arranged a big wedding for one of Billi’s cousins with this being a chance for Nai Nai to have a gather of family before she goes, while Billie starts to become conflicted with how the cultural style is being handled.

Thoughts on The Farewell

Characters – Billi is the young woman that is struggling with her life in America, she is close to her family, with her parents in New York with her and her grandmother back in China, where she speaks to often despite the time difference. She learns that her Nai Nai is sick and wants to talk about it, only to learn about the culture, that didn’t even want to invite her along to a surprise wedding to celebrate Nai Nai’s life. Billi shows us how conflicted she is with wanting to follow the cultural beliefs, with the ideas of getting to spend time in happiness with Nai Nai. She does learn from each family member just what these moments will mean to Nai Nai too. Nai Nai is the kind grandmother, who has cancer and is going to die, she doesn’t know this because the family and doctors choice not to tell her to give her a final few months of happiness, she knows everything her family is up to in their lives and is delighted to see everybody back together for the wedding. We do meet the whole family with Billi’s parents needing to explain the cultural importance of the situation, the young couple getting married and how many of the family have left for America, while not spending time with the family back in China.

PerformancesWe do have two true star performances here with Shuzhen Zhao being the dying woman that is filled with delight, even though you do see in her performance that she knows the truth. Awkwafina is wonderful too, we see how she is conflicted through the film wanting to break down, but never letting it happen. When it comes to the supporting cast everybody is strong through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a Chinese family that comes together for a wedding, which is being used as a cover up for the family to come together to spend time with a dying relative, one they don’t want to tell the news too. This story does show a cultural idea that puts a person’s happiness over giving them bad news, showing that family will come together for the important moment in life to just have a good time and celebrate life, for what will be the last time. It does show the confliction that one person will feel and will once again show that family will be there for you, even if you are struggling in life.

ComedyThe comedy in this film is shown with just how Nai Nai gets to have a good couple of weeks with her family, when she isn’t around, we get the more serious moments, but we focus on the happy moments.

SettingsThe film is set in China for the most part, we get to see the homes, the important locations and the wedding which is the key part of the happiness for the family.

Scene of the Movie – The Wedding.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – I am going to be picky here, certain subtitles are difficult to read with the background colour being too similar to the font.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautiful movie that puts the spotlight on a cultural difference that you might not know about in real life, but one that is one that is so delightful and heart breaking to see unfold.

Overall: Wonderful Watch.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch Up 2019 – F – Fyre (2019) Movie Review

Director: Chris Smith

Plot: An exclusive behind the scenes look at the infamous unraveling of the Fyre music festival.

Tagline – The Greatest Party That Never Happened.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Eye Opening

Story: Fyre starts by showing how Billy McFarland worked with his partner Ja Rule to create a new app known as Fyre which could give people a chance to book talent for private events, to launch this they buy an island in the Bahamas to host a show for 10,000 people, advertising with the best in the world, bringing some of the top supermodels in the world to promote the event.

As the event is coming up the organisers must fix the problems, which includes finding an island, arranging accommodation for the guests and seeing how the people involved tried to stop the problems, before the event, they simply weren’t prepared for. Seeing how bad the preparations was, reflects just how bad the time everything was, including just how difficult the money was for the staff, let alone the talent coming to the festival.

Then we get to the start of the festival everyone involved knows it is going to end badly and the guests find themselves being sold on something they weren’t sold on, no luxury and barely any food or resources, becoming one of the biggest frauds in social media history.

Thoughts on Fyre

Final Thoughts This documentary does show us just how social media created one of the biggest frauds in music festival history, it is interesting to see just how everybody who was involved in different aspects was sold on the idea that it would work and they were all excellent at their jobs, seeing it as a contract, even when they saw it failing they were left without an option but to continue on with job. It is amazing to see just how social media influenced people into attending this festival, that on paper when it came to the music, nothing was that special, the luxury around it did at least show us how only the wealthier would have been effected rather than the budgeted people, outside of the people who lived and worked on the island that will never see their money. The one big negative from this documentary, would be seeing just how bad the conditions were, like full sequences and stories of the time at the festival, we don’t learn to much about the people that were victims of the fraud. The most important message to take from this documentary would be just how influential social media can be to people that will believe anything that gets offered up to them.

Overall: Essential Documentary.

Film School Africa (2017) Movie Review

Director: Nathan Pfaff

Plot: A Hollywood casting director leaves her lucrative career behind in order to teach filmmaking to youth in an impoverished community in South Africa. In an environment resistant towards art and film, the students learn the true power and impact of storytelling.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Inspiring

Story: Film School Africa starts as Hollywood Casting Director Katie Taylor heads to South Africa to teach filmmaking to a neighbourhood that would never normally get this opportunity, by starting this small project, Katie manages to open up the lives of the students, who have been through their own tough times, ones they would never have spoken about, translating this to film.

While the project started small it grows into something that would help develop a new generation of filmmakers, giving people motivation to do something incredible, just with a simple opportunity.

Thoughts on Film School Africa

Final Thoughts This is a documentary that does show the importance of giving people a chance, it shows how one American went into a neighbourhood where the people, the young people or children were never given opportunities to be filmmakers and reshaping how the people were giving chances, breaking down barriers the people never imagined. This documentary shows that you can give people hope, they can make something of themselves, not just for a career, as a person who learns that opening up is important in life. This proves that in a world where we have so many creative minds, it only takes a chance to unlock the potential, which will always give us a chance to see new ideas. One side of the world that the documentary isn’t afraid to hide away from is the racial divide, we do see both the black and white members of the school understanding the mistakes made in the past, that will still take time to heel, but the more they work together, they can learn to build a future together.

Overall: Inspirational.

The Fare (2018) Movie Review

Director: D.C. Hamilton

Writer: Brinna Kelly (Screenplay)

Starring: Gino Anthony Pesi, Brianna Kelly, Jason Stuart, Jon Jacobs, Matt Fontana

Plot: When a charming fare named Penny climbs into his taxi cab, Harris, her world-weary driver, finds himself engaged in the only kind of courtship he can have with a passenger — one that lasts as long as her trip. That is, right up until she disappears from the back seat without a trace. When confusion gives way to reality, he resets his meter and is instantaneously transported back to the moment when she climbed into his cab. As he and Penny find themselves trapped in an endless night-time cab ride, with only each other for company, secrets will be revealed, truths will come to light, and Harris’ entire life will be changed forever.

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Minding Mystery

Story: The Fare starts when cabbie Harris (Pesi) is picking up a fare in the middle of nowhere, with his passenger being Penny (Kelly), after hitting something, Penny vanishes, with him back on the road to pick her up again, reliving the short journey, only this time a sudden moment, makes Harris remember doing this before.

When Harris returns to the beginning of the cycle again, it turns out they have been doing this for ages, being stuck in this timeless loop, where now they both remember what happened before, getting to know each other, falling in love, trying to figure out a way to break the loop.

Thoughts on The Fare

Characters – Harris is a taxi driver, he is content with this job used to arguing with the radio and getting tired of his boss checking up on him. He finds out he has been stuck in this loop, trying to figure out ideas that Penny hasn’t tried before, in an attempt to get out of this situation. Penny is the fare picked up in the middle of nowhere, looking to go to the middle of nowhere, only she is has been waiting for Harris to remember the loop they are stuck in, making up stories to see if he could ever remember anything from each journey. The pair spend time just getting to know each other through the time they spent through the loop showing great chemistry in conversation.

PerformancesThis is a two person show, with Gino Anthony Pesi and Brinna Kelly doing a wonderful job together, showing the natural chemistry through the conversations and journeys they must continuously go on.

StoryThe story here follows a cab driver that picks up a fare only to see her vanish at a certain point of the journey, putting him back where he started, where the two must repeat the cab drive over and over again. This story does give us a nice mystery and does play in the time loop idea, this is interesting and we want to figure out how to break the loop with the pair. The most impressive side to the story comes from the truth, which will leave you surprised and happy with how everything unfolded.

Mystery/RomanceThe mystery here comes from why the two are stuck in the time loop, we see how everything gets unfolded as the two start to fall in love, showing how love can make you do strange things.

SettingsMost of the film is set within the taxicab which does show how trapped the two are, with only the cab being a location where they are together.

Scene of the Movie – The truth drives.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The montage of conversation is slightly too mixed up.

Final Thoughts This is a wonderful mystery romance that will leave you shocked by the outcome of everything, it will keep you guessing and leave you happy with the ending.

Overall: Must Watch Mystery.

James Bond Month – For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Director: John Glen

Writer: Richard Maibaum, Michael G Wilson (Screenplay)

Starring: Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Julian Glover, Cassandra Harris


Plot: Agent 007 is assigned to hunt for a lost British encryption device and prevent it from falling into enemy hands.

Tagline – Bond for the ladies in For Your Eyes Only

Runtime: 2 Hour 7 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: The Weakest Bond So Far?


Story: For Your Eyes Only starts when a British submarine is sunk with the equipment lost putting Britain in danger, with a salvage crew hired they a killed leaving only the daughter Melina (Bouquet) alive. James Bond (Moore) is put on the case to retrieve the equipment before it falls into the wrong hands.

James must work with Melina to figure out just who is behind the attack and working for the Russians, with Milos Columbo (Topol) and Kristatos (Glover) being the prime suspects.


Thoughts on For Your Eyes Only


Characters – James Bond has returned to his roots after disposing of an old enemy, he must work with other intelligence agencies to figure out who is behind the a British submarine sinking, he still picks up the women, only here he rejects one for once, he will go out of his way to not trust both sides just to be sure who he can trust. Melina is the daughter of the explorer that is killed, she wants revenge and will help James out through the adventure. Milos is one of the potential suspects to whom could be after the equipment. The film does struggle to establish a true villain, we have the hitmen, but when it comes to the lead villain we don’t learn the identity until late into the film.

PerformancesRoger Moore is good as always in his role in the movie, he does bring a more serious approach this time around. Carole Bouquet has the look of a Bond girl no question, but the fact that they have to dub her doesn’t help her performance. When we look at the rest of the cast we don’t get too many standouts because we don’t know who the villain is until too late.

StoryThe story follows Bond on his latest adventure where he must track down a missing component from a British submarine, he must play both sides to whom could be the person behind it all. This time we get a much more serious focus on the story cutting out the cheesy material we have been seeing in the previous films. This is a good thing only the fact the film struggles to establish a villain until later into the film, we never feel like there is a big enough threat in the film. in the end this does feel like one of the weakest stories in the franchise to date.

Action/AdventureThe action brings back the wildly over the top races with the ski versus motorbikes being the highlight of the ones we see here. The adventure does take Bond around the globe again, this is what we come to know from him.

SettingsThe settings add moments of tension in the film with the action sequence feeling fresh, the climbing scene being nail biting and the underwater moments being shark infested.

Scene of the Movie –
Skiing versus motorbike scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The bad dubbing job on Melina.

Final ThoughtsThis feels like one of the weakest storylines to date, the tense moments are great though, the film lacks the iconic villain which most of this franchise has become so famous for.


Overall: Not on the best level.