ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – Z – Ghost Storm (2011)

This is under Z because of the director Paul Ziller

Director: Paul Ziller

Writer: Paul Ziller (Screenplay)

Starring: Carlos Bernard, Crystal Allen, Cindy Busby, Kacey Rohl, Aaron Douglas, Brett Dier, Andrew Dunbar

Plot: An action packed chase led by Hal and Ashley to save the people on this small island from a strange electrical storm which is led by angry souls from a mass suicide looking for revenge.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Entertaining

Story: Ghost Storm starts when a group of teenagers witness a lightening strike in the remote island graveyard, this unleashes a spirit that kills one of the teenagers, Sheriff Hal Miller (Bernard) starts to investigate only to see more bodies disintegrated from a fog coming out of the grave. Hal’s ex-wife Ashley (Allen) sees the strange reading on her weather reporting system which is something a storm that can’t be explained overhead.

Hal and Ashley must put aside their differences to uncover the truth about a legend of the Island that involves the souls of a mass suicide, can they stop the spread of this before it is too late.

Thoughts on Ghost Storm

Characters – Sheriff Hal Miller likes his quiet town job, he has divorced his wife who still lives in the town too, where they take turns taking care of their teenage daughter, he starts to investigate the strange goings on and must race against time to keep his people safe, even after seeing many killed by this unknown force. Ashley is Hal’s ex-wife, she works on studying the weather in the area, she sees the first storm come and go, which is normal, but can’t get to the bottom of what is causing the unusual patterns on the island, she will work with Hal to save the town. Daisy is the daughter of the pair, she sees the first attack of the ghost storm, she does the most research into the truth of what happened and is the only one that does seem to have the intelligence to stay ahead of their ways. We completely the characters with the towns people, the one against Hal, the priest and the supernatural guy that understands more than the rest.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances, we don’t need the very best from anybody involved. Carlos Bernard does well in the leading role, as does Crystal Allen, though it could be anybody playing these roles. The supporting cast are all fine through the film, they all know what they are doing without needing to be centre of attention.

StoryThe story here follows a small island town that gets hit by a storm that unleashes evil spirits on the town that must be stopped before it spreads too far and has a source in their history. The story plays into the ideas of ‘The Fog’ which sees the spirits come back to haunt the village, it does come from through a storm which does bring a new twist on how the ghosts come after people literally turning people to dust. It is nice how we are trying to mix supernatural, science and religion into trying to battle the storm too. This isn’t going to be the story that you need to take seriously either and just up being fun enough to watch.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror comes from just seeing the number of people are getting taken out by the ghost storm, the sci-fi side of the film plays into the idea of the storm too, by seeing just how it was created.

SettingsThe film is set on a small island town, it shows how they have history which could bring around the supernatural side of the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are fun, they show how the ghosts look like the smoke monster in Lost which does turn people to dust with some looking great at times.


Scene of the Movie – The first ghost attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – There are too many side characters we basically just meet to be killed with no consequences.

Final Thoughts This is a fun sci-fi horror movie that will entertain from start to finish bringing a new look at a haunting storm.

Overall: Fun and entertaining.

Rating

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) Movie Review

Director: Stanley Kramer

Writer: William Rose (Screenplay)

Starring: Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, Katharine Houghton, Cecil Kellaway, Beah Richards, Roy Glenn

Plot: A couple’s attitudes are challenged when their daughter introduces them to her African-American fiancé.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Outstanding

Story: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner starts when Joey (Houghton) returns to San Francisco with her new fiancé Dr John Prentice (Poitier) to introduce him to her parents Matt (Tracy) and Christina (Hepburn), which seems to go well, but it is clear the parents are uncomfortable with her being with a black man.

As the mixed race couple go around the day, the parents are trying to deal with her choice, seeing how their own friends, family and clients react to the news, showing how they will support their daughter, no matter what happens to the reputation around town.

Thoughts on Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Characters – Matt Drayton is the father of the family, while surprised by her daughter’s choice, he isn’t happy with his daughter’s choice, mostly because he is scared of what society would think of the mixed race couple, believing they will forced into facing their own problems in life, Christina Drayton is the mother that is also surprised, but delighted to see her daughter so happy, she will let the couple be together even if it means pushing people out of her life. Dr John Prentice, is the black man that Joey wants to marry, he has done incredible things around the world with his time, even if he has his own tragic story behind him, he is as concerned about meeting Joey’s parents as his own to meet her.

PerformancesWe have three of the greatest performers of all time in this film, Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn show why they are the elite with their performances in this film too, with a supporting cast that includes Katharine Houghton, Cecil Kellaway, Beah Richards, Roy Glenn and Isabel Sanford being wonderful too.

StoryThe story here follows a new mix race couple that are happily in love, preparing to get married, only when they meet each other parent’s they will face new problems are seeing both sides not behind their relationship, needing to show their love with beat out any racial conversations. We have a story here that for the time of release, would have been a real conversation people had, while the racial divide had shrunk, people would still be left disapproving of certain things, including relationship between two. The way this story unfolds, is showing how the people involved are still doing marriage the correct way, while showing love can turn heads, change minds and make people happy, dealing with plenty of the everyday problems which shouldn’t be a problem.

SettingsThe film does use the setting, which is mostly the Drayton house, to show the privileged life that Joey has come from, which can reflect on her family’s mindsets.


Scene of the Movie – Matt’s speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nope.

Final Thoughts This is a brilliant drama that shows how racially relationships can bring a problem to people who were too shallow to accept changes, with some of the best performances in of the era.

Overall: Brilliant.

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi- G – Global Meltdown (2017)

Director: Daniel Gilboy

Writer: Daniel Gilboy (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Pare, Leanne Khol Young, Patrick MacEachern, Cameron Gordon, Scott Roberts, Anna Barker

 

Plot: A helicopter pilot and an environmental scientist lead an exodus of survivors in a search for a safe haven after a catastrophic tectonic event causes the crust of the earth to break apart.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Basic SyFy Channel

 

Story: Global Meltdown starts when scientist Karen Cavanaugh (Young) is investigating a sudden number of sheep deaths, it escalates quickly to the idea of an underwater eruption which ha caused tidal waves that have destroyed the coastal cities. Karen in a small town must get the residents to safety with Mayor Wally (Roberts) helping and shady doomsday prepper Amos Cade (Pare) not wanting to share.

As the group travel to where they believe will be safe, they meet a conspiracy theorist while dealing with Cade’s enjoyment of the end of the world environment, can they make it before the world is destroyed?

 

Thoughts on Global Meltdown

 

Characters – Amos Cade is a doomsday prepper that has been preparing for the end of the world for years, now it might be happening and he couldn’t be happier. He becomes the human villain in the world which might not even have a future. Karen is the scientist that predicts what is going to happen, only she doesn’t seem to be able to make a logical decision along the way. Davis is a helicopter pilot that crash lands near the town, he has seen the destruction first hand, which helps him drive them to the next location. Mayor Wally agrees to join the escape plan which will see him need to try and lead the people of the town and making the brave choices.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are not helped by the basic story, because none of the actors get a chance to have an iconic moment in this film because everything just seems to fizzle out.

StoryThe story follows a group of survivors who are looking for safety after a global destruction event happens and continues to happen as they run. We get the generic fitted characters including a human villain, the biggest problem with this story comes from the drastic change in tone between the characters because we get no timeline to how long they are on the run, it feels like it could be a couple of days, but the action make it feel like a couple of months. Sadly, we just don’t get enough happening through this film which just drags along.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film is very basic, we get mostly explosions which never feel real and the occasion chase which again has no tension about it. The sci-fi elements of the film comes from the idea of the end of the world coming which doesn’t get played in the same way you imagine.

SettingsThe settings used in the film is are the basic forest locations which just add little to the story.

Special EffectsThe low budget effects are just not good but do take place in the background more often than not.


Scene of the Movie –
Destruction scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not timeline.

Final ThoughtsThis is a typical low budget syfy movie, it does the basics of any storytelling without hitting any of the marks required to reach the levels of even good.

 

Overall: Basic background movie.

Rating

 

 

Get on Up (2014) Movie Review

Director: Tate Taylor

Writer: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth (Screenplay) Steven Baigelman, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth (Story)

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, Lennie James, Fred Melamed, Craig Robinson, Jill Scott, Octavia Spencer

Plot: A chronicle of James Brown‘s rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history.


Tagline – The Funk don’t Quit

Runtime: 2 Hours 19 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Strong Performances

Story: Get on Up starts as we see James Brown (Boseman) in different stages of his life, the older famous one, the time he was just starting up and his childhood, where he was raised by his mother Susie (Davis) in a remote cabin in the woods, before his aggressive father Joe (James) returns, once James gets out of his cabin, he makes a good living, before ending up in prison for stealing a suit.

We see the rise of James Brown, with his push to always be seen the biggest name on the show and how his genius for music made him an icon, even if his personal life shows a much darker side to his way of thinking in life.

Thoughts on Get on Up

Characters – James Brown is one of the most influential musicians of the last century, there is no doubt what he did will live on forever. We get to see how James started with nothing, in an abusive childhood with no education, before learning to take the chances thrown his way, trying to make a difference to the world in the spotlight, even if he doesn’t always keep the crowd around him, not always as loyal as he should be. This doesn’t make James look like the most integral person behind the spotlight. Bobby Byrd is the man that gave James a chance to get out of prison, to start something with his singing in gospel, he will stand by James through all the troubles he faces, the bands he goes through, knowing James is the main talent and just being part of this would make him remembered. Ben Bart makes everything happen for James, he tries to help him navigate difficult moments in history, but will help him make the right choices which sees the friendship grow as the success does. Susie is the mother of James, she is forced to leave because of her partner and once he becomes famous wants to come back into his life, while James isn’t willing to let this happen.

PerformancesChadwick Boseman is fantastic in the leading role, he shows that his biopic man, he can bring James Brown to life on stage and in his personal life with ease. Nelsan Ellis is great in his role, showing us that he could provide excellent supporting performances in the film. Dan Aykroyd is strong too, with Viola Davis making a big impact in her scenes in the film.

StoryThe story here follows the life of James Brown, from his poverty like childhood, to his international success in the music industry, we see his ideas on wanting to make a change and just what it will do to the people that helped him get to the top. One of the biggest weaknesses in the film here comes from the early time jumps, we are constantly jumping between moments, which doesn’t help the story telling process. This story also doesn’t paint James as a nice person away from the spotlight, even if he was always trying to achieve something more from his career. The story does try to ram too much into the film, which does make it hard to understand each moment of his life.

Biopic/MusicThis does show a lot of his life, it doesn’t help us get invested in just how much of an impact each moment was. The music can’t be questioned with his hits playing through the film with every beat we know.

SettingsThe film creates some of the biggest stages of James career, never looking like we aren’t in the correct time period.


Scene of the Movie – The performances.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The time jumps.

Final Thoughts This is a by the book biopic, it has wonderful performances and the music you would expect to see, though we do cram too much in for everything to run smoothly.

Overall: By the Books Biopic.

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – G – Gemma Bovery (2014)

Director: Anne Fontaine

Writer: Pascall Bonitzer, Anne Fontaine (Screenplay) Posy Simmonds (Novel)

Starring: Fabrice Luchini, Gemma Arterton, Jason Flemyng, Isabelle Candelier, Niels Schneider, Mel Raido

 

Plot: Martin, an ex-Parisian well-heeled hipster passionate about Gustave Flaubert who settled into a Norman village as a baker, sees an English couple moving into a small farm nearby. Not only are the names of the new arrivals Gemma and Charles Bovery, but their behavior also seems to be inspired by Flaubert’s heroes.


Tagline – Can life really imitate art?

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Romance Film

 

Story: Gemma Bovery starts when small village baker Martin Joubert (Luchini) learns about his new English neighbours, Gemma (Arterton) and Charlie Bovery (Flemyng), who just so happen to share the names of his favourite novel characters Madame Bovery, Martin starts to see the similarities with the neighbours and the characters as he spends time watching Gemma.

Gemma ends starting to have an affair with the local French man, one that Martin sees happening and wants to figure out how to stop her making what he sees as a mistake, just like the characters in his favourite novels.

 

Thoughts on Gemma Bovery

 

Characters – Martin is the village baker, he is a huge fan of Flaubert’s novels with Madame Bovery being his favourite, he has been living his normal life until his new neighbours spark an interest in his life because of their names, he spends his time following Gemma around trying to make sure she doesn’t make the same mistakes that the character in the books once made, making bets with his dog along the way. Gemma Bovery is the English neighbour that has just moved to France with her husband, she has started to become bored of that relationship getting involved in an affair, one that Martin witnesses, seeing the end of her relationship. Charlie is the husband that has always supported Gemma only to see the distance building between the two. Valerie is the wife of Martin, who sees her husband get into the mindset of trying to help because of his obsession with books.

PerformancesFabrice Luchini is entertaining to watch through the film as he is often talking to himself. Gemma Arterton is a great choice for this role, she gets to thieve through the role too. The rest of the cast do struggle to make an impact in the story on the levels you would imagine, which disappoints.

StoryThe story follows a French man that believes his neighbour Gemma is following the footsteps of Madame Bovery and starts to get worried about her decisions, when she starts having an affair. This story does follow the ideas of how a person can become obsessed with life imitating art and just how dangerous trying to stop art going can be, it shows how easily affair can happen with people who do seem to be happy, in the end the story doesn’t really engage on the levels it wants to and soon becomes one that you could easily forget.

Comedy/Romance The comedy comes mostly from the sneaking around that Martin does, it gets laughs in places which will be fun, the romance shows how easily love can come and go from the people in your life.

SettingsThe film is set in a small French village which makes for a beautiful backdrop to everything going on in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Who is to blame?

That Moment That Annoyed Me I have always disliked a film that bounces between English and another language.

Final ThoughtsThis is a romance film that shows how obsession can take over life whether it be to see how people see somebody’s else life or their own.

 

Overall: Romance with a novel.

Rating