Howl (2015)

Director: Paul Hyett

Writer: Mark Huckerby, Nick Ostler (Screenplay)

Starring: Ed Speleers, Holly Weston, Shauna Macdonald, Elliot Cowan, Amit Shah, Sam Gittins, Rosie Day

 

Plot: When passengers on a train are attacked by a creature, they must band together in order to survive until morning.


Tagline – Last train. Full moon. All change.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Werewolf Film

 

Story: Howl starts as train conductor Joe (Speleers) is forced into another shift, the graveyard shift on the train across country, the train has the normal passengers, the businesswoman Kate (Macdonald), the student, the couple returning home, the rebel and Joe’s love interest coffee server Ellen (Weston).

When the train breaks down in the middle of the countryside, Joe must take charge and keep the passengers safe after the driver does missing. The passengers soon learn they are under attack from creatures in the night and must work together to survive the impending threat.

 

Thoughts on Howl

 

Characters – Joe is the train conductor, he has just completed a long shift and is forced int going on the late shift because of his lack of tickets, he tries to be fair on his passengers taking the abuse, he is trying to get a date with Ellen the drinks vender, once the train gets stuck, he must lead the passengers in a battle to survive against the unknown creatures. Ellen is the drinks vender, studying for a better career and offers up an easy love interest for Joe, while being the only one that can offer medical attention during the attack. Kate is the professional businesswoman on the train, often looking down on the rest of the passengers while offering help to one of the other passengers. When we look at the rest of the passengers we get the usual mix for any horror film which adds to who we know will get picked off when.

PerformancesEd Speleers in the leading role is good as the reluctant hero that must keep his passengers safe, we can see his frustration with his job and his reluctant side of following through with saving them. Holly Weston does offer the love interest well and to be fair to most of the cast they all know where they stand in the film making the most of their moments to shine.

StoryThe story here is quite simple, it follows a group of survivors that must battle against unknown creatures in an attempt survive the night. We get the unlikely group of people that must work together which has always worked well for the genre. The creatures put us into a world where the characters would have never seen or dealt with werewolves which has been an issue in horror before, but for this is fine as they must learn how to deal with the creatures. The film doesn’t offer any crazy twists along the way and by keeping things simple we can enjoy.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from the different moments against the creatures, we start off seeing small part before getting a full reveal which is always wonderful.

SettingsThe film is set on a couple of train carriages in the middle of the night, this puts our characters in an isolated location where they must figure out how to survive until daytime being safer inside than outside.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are good, we get practical ones which show how unique the creatures look and when it comes to the attacks wounds come off realistic too.


Scene of the Movie –
The first attack on the train when they thought they were safe.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Kate the character jumps around in style too often, not the actresses fault it is the characters decision making process.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable werewolf movie that can be enjoyed by all the fans of the genre, it keeps everything contained which does help give us all we want.

 

Overall: Contain werewolf movie.

Rating

 

 

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How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)

Director: Dean DeBlois

Writer: Dean DeBlois (Screenplay) Cressida Cowell (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham, Cate Blanchett, Gerald Butler, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill

 

Plot: When Hiccup discovers Toothless isn’t the only Night Fury, he must seek “The Hidden World”, a secret Dragon Utopia before a hired tyrant named Grimmel finds it first.


Tagline – Their Final Quest.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Third Installment

 

Story: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World starts where Valka teaching her son Hiccup along with Toothless to free more dragons from the captors that keep collecting them, the whole team works almost together, with the population of dragons in his home becoming difficult to contain.

When the dragon hunters are getting tired of losing their dragons, they call in Grimmel, a man that has been known to capture the most dangerous dragons, the night furies, only Toothless is still alive, making it seem like unfinished business, he uses an female night fury, one that Toothless falls in love with, can Hiccup finally become the leader he was always meant to be?

 

Thoughts on How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

 

Characters – Hiccup is now the chief of the island, he is learning from his mother about rescuing more dragons, only to see more dragons meaning less space and a bigger target on his people for the dragon hunters. Once again Hiccup must learn about leadership, showing he will have to lead his own way instead of just following in his father’s footsteps. Toothless is the loyal dragon to Hiccup, he is meant to be the last of his species, only here he learns about a female night fury that offers him a love interest that will make him want his freedom from protecting the village, he is caught between his nature and his loyalty. Astrid is the partner of Hiccup, she is the one that can get through to him, as they are destined to rule together one day. Grimmel is most feared dragon hunter, he claims to have been the one that killed all the night furies and he won’t stop till he gets this right, he is used to the hunt and knows more tricks than Hiccup could ever imagine. When it comes to the villainous side to his character, he isn’t that much different to what we have seen before and does get overshadowed by moments revolving around Hiccup and Toothless relationship. Valka is Hiccup’s mother, she is watching her son learn to be a leader, seeing his errors, pushing people in the right direction to help him become the strongest possible leader. The Light Fury is a female version of the Toothless, one that is still wild and scared of humans, she offers Toothless a life away from the humans, one that brings love.

StoryThe story continues to the adventures of Hiccup and his people that live with dragons, they have continued to grow to help the dragons, but the new threat could bring an end to this world. in this story we get to focus on Hiccup needing to learn how to be a leader, accepting the next step for his people, while understanding the dragons can’t be kept as pets, they should become free with Toothless caught in the middle of staying loyal to the person that rescued him or his own love. Where the story does fall slightly short comes from the villain, who is meant to be smarter than before, only he just becomes like what we saw last time out. The story does give us a conclusion which will give us chance to be happy with the direction the characters go.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FantasyWhen we look at the action, we get massive dragon and human battles which is filled with carnage with the pure scale of the numbers involved, the adventure takes our village to a new home, where they need to find safety, taking the village on their biggest adventure to date. We do get plenty of comedy from the supporting cast through the film in this beautiful fantasy world.

SettingsThe film continues to bring us to new set of stunning locations that are just breath-taking that can grab your attention with the beauty.

AnimationThe animation in this film continues to be on the top levels, be it each different design for the dragons, the worlds created or the battle sequences that all look beautiful.


Scene of the Movie –
The Hidden World.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villain is nothing new.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best animated film trilogies out there, one that doesn’t always get the praise of others, but it does continue real heart that will completely make the film like it matters to the audience.

 

Overall: The heart of a franchise, the beauty of the animation.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – H – Honour (2014)

Director: Shan Khan

Writer: Shan Khan (Screenplay)

Starring: Aiysha Hart, Paddy Considine, Faraz Ayub, Shubham Saraf, Harvey Virdi, Nikesh Patel

 

Plot: A story centered on a young woman is targeted by her family for an “honour killing” and the bounty hunter who takes the job.


Tagline – Bound by tradition. Betrayed by blood.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Look at Shocking Culture

 

Story: Honour starts as a young Indian woman Mona (Hart) is looking to breakout of the family traditions of arranged marriage and certain religious expectations from her mother (Virdi). She meets Tanvir (Patel) a man who also is due to marry his family’s choice of bride as the two start an affair.

Mona looks to run away with the support of Adel (Saraf), but her brother Kasim (Ayub) and mother have other ideas, they hire a bounty hunter (Considine) to locate her, bringing her home, only the hunter is starting to question why he is gone down this road for his career.

 

Thoughts on Honour

 

Characters – Mona is a young woman, being forced into a marriage, following family traditions and religious beliefs. She meets a man that she wants to run away with, which only sees her have her family turn on her, meaning she will need to fight for her own life. The nameless bounty hunter is known for helping the Muslim community stop the breaks on the family traditions, he has gone too far in the past, which is why he isn’t happy for the work he is going through now. Kasim is the police officer brother of Mona, he is willing to break the law to make sure the family traditions are followed. Adel is the closest brother to Mona, he is the one she would turn to most for help even if he gets pushed into helping Kasim follow the family traditions.

PerformancesAiysha Hart in the leading role is strong, we get to see just how far her character must go to get away from the life, she makes us believe her desperation. Paddy Considine is one of the best performers here because he is torn between both sides of what he is doing. Faraz Ayub brings to light the horrific side of the culture that will see him make us hate him for his action.

StoryThe story follows the idea that we have the Indian Muslim culture turning on their family if they believe their traditions honour has been put in question. We see the extreme which sees a hit being put out on a daughter that goes against the family traditions and how she must look to escape. The story shows the clash of cultures because the bounty hunter isn’t willing to follow through as he learns she hasn’t done anything wrong. It shows how we need to start letting people make choices and not just expecting them to follow the old fashion culture. The bounty hunter’s storyline is interesting too because he learns that he hasn’t always been doing the right thing. The weakness with the story comes from the time between different times in the story, it doesn’t help make this as easy to follow.

ThrillerThe film uses the thriller side of the film to try to make us see just how dangerous the escape for Mona would be, how she must elude her own family for safety.

SettingsThe film is set in London, which shows the clash of culture in the city, we see how every corner could be dangerous too.


Scene of the Movie –
The rooftop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The way the story is told.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong thriller showing the culture problems the world is still experiencing and just how much will be risked escaping this type of life.

 

Overall: Thriller that is gripping throughout.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – H – Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)

Director: Roger Michell

Writer: Richard Nelson (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Samuel West, Olivia Colman, Elizabeth Marvel, Martin McDougall

 

Plot: The story of the love affair between FDR and his distant cousin Margaret “Daisy” Suckley, centered around the weekend in 1939 when the King and Queen of the United Kingdom visited upstate New York.


Tagline – One weekend that would unite two great nations 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull

 

Story: Hyde Park on Hudson starts as the 5th cousin Daisy (Linney) gets called to keep her cousin President Franklin D Roosevelt (Murray), the two have a unique friendship with it being a forbidden romance. This weekend, FDR is hosting the king of England Bertie (West) and his wife Elizabeth (Colman).

The weekend arrives with FDR opening his family home to the royals, with him striking up a friendship with Bertie, while Daisy now needing to figure out whether she is in love with FDR and willing to share him or not.

 

Thoughts on Hyde Park on Hudson

 

Characters – Franklin D Roosevelt is the president of the United States of America, he lives with his mother and mistresses, with his latest one coming from his own cousin line, he is hosting the King of England Bertie who has his own stuttering problem, FDR is willing to help him learn that isn’t going to hold him back. Daisy is the 5th cousin to the President who ends up in an affair with him, even if she can’t have the same standard as the other mistresses, with the story being told from her point of view. Bertie is the king of England who is visiting America to spend the weekend with the President, he is still working with his stutter, which is his biggest fear. Elizabeth is the queen of England, she tries to stop Bertie doing anything that could put a bad light on the royal family.

PerformancesBill Murray is strong as the former president, it might have seemed like a strange casting choice, but it did work for what the film was trying to say, this can go for Laura Linney too, the lover figure that doesn’t know completely where she stands, we see the uncertainty on her in every scene. The cast all do the job required without anybody getting to shine to their strongest ability.

StoryThe story looks at one of the mistresses of FDR, the royal visit before the second world war and just how everybody was keeping their lives together during this weekend which has a major spotlight on two of the most powerful people in the world. the story is told in a diary format showing just how the events of the weekend unfolded through the eyes of Daisy and it just drags along without giving the audience enough interest to go, ‘that was interesting’ this does feel like we could have had more about it before it just falling into a film about King George eating a hotdog.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic side of the film does follow just the one weekend which led to the relationship between FDR and Daisy, we don’t learn enough about the lives they have been living before either. The comedy comes from certain moments involving FDR which will give the lighter mood to the film rather than a laugh out loud moment.

SettingsThe film is set in and around the home of FDR during the weekend, it tries to show us just how the relationship drama of everyone involved plays out.


Scene of the Movie –
The hotdog.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact this film seems to be about whether the king would eat a hotdog or not.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dull movie that seems to lack any sort of interesting story, the performances are as strong as possible with the lack of much to do.

 

Overall: Uninspiring Drama.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

Director: Dean DeBlois

Writer: Dean DeBlois (Screenplay) Cressida Cowell (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerald Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill

 

Plot: When Hiccup and Toothless discover an ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Impressive Sequel

 

Story: How to Train Your Dragon 2 starts a couple of years after the events of the last film, the Vikings and dragons now live side by side, with Hiccup and Toothless exploring the open water searching for new land and opportunity. With Stoick is wanting Hiccup to take over a chief, Hiccup isn’t ready for this responsibility.

When Hiccup goes exploring he learns of a new threat, Drago a man that has a dragon army, wanting to create peace, Hiccup meets another dragon rider, his long-lost mother Valka.

 

Thoughts on How to Train Your Dragon 2

 

Characters – Hiccup is now exploring the surrounding world with Toothless, he goes far and wide, his discovery this time around will bring a new threat to his homeland and the dragons, while giving him a shocking discovery about his past. Hiccup is on the verge of become chief a responsibility he isn’t ready for too. Stoick is still the chief, he keeps the community together, though he is reaching the age of retirement, trying to prepare Hiccup to take over, he will be just as shocked as Hiccup when it comes to dealing with an old face returning to his life. Valka is the mysterious dragon rider, she has a vast friendly army that is only out to protect the dragon community, she is Hiccup’s mother who was long thought to be dead, she had always thought the same as Hiccup. Drago is the evil tyrant who has a dragon army, he wants complete control of the dragons killing anyone who doesn’t follow him.

StoryThe story here puts our character Hiccup in a new dilemma, one where he must face a future responsibility while trying to learn more about the world, using the dragons to see the world. as this is a sequel we get a surprise appearance from a character we thought was dead, the battles will become bigger much like how the world is becoming bigger for the Vikings. We get to see even more wonderful dragon designs. The more dragons we discover, the bigger the threat can become to the people of the world, it shows how people will need to fight for their people in an attempt to save their people.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe action in this film is bigger than last time, the large scale dragon battle is breath taking to watch. The adventure in the film takes Hiccup to bigger and further locations than the original showing us how Hiccup is learning about the world. the comedy does take a step back this time, which is fine because we don’t need it with a more serious storyline.

SettingsThe film creates more beautiful locations that could only come from the world filled with dragons, each location has a unique look too.

AnimationThe animation as always is wonderful to see and will be remembered by the end of the film, the scale of the battles is special to see.


Scene of the Movie –
Alpha versus Alpha battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Ruffnet’s obsession with Eret.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant sequel that is better than the original, it keeps us full engrossed in the next adventure of Hiccup.

 

Overall: Must watch sequel.

Rating