ABC Film Challenge – Animation – I – The Incredibles (2004)

Director: Brad Bird

Writer: Brad Bird (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L Jackson, Jason Lee, Dominique Louis

 

Plot: A family of undercover superheroes, while trying to live the quiet suburban life, are forced into action to save the world.


Tagline – Save The Day

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pixar Perfect

 

Story: The Incredibles starts in a world overrun by superheroes, only for the public to turn on them forcing Mr Incredible and Elastigirl needing to settle down away from the life of fighting crime. 15-years-later the two have three children, Violet who can become invisible, Dash who has incredible speed and Jack Jack who is only a baby.

When Mr Incredible loses his job, he takes a secret job on a remote island where he gets to use his powers again, only to discover Syndrome a kid that idolised Mr Incredible has turned evil and now his whole family is now in danger, but together they use their powers to help the public once again.

 

Thoughts on The Incredibles

 

Characters – Mr Incredible was one of the biggest superheroes in America, he is forced into retirement after being sued and now he lives a simple life, growing frustrated with the lack of adventure he is living on, he sneaks around behind his family’s back to fight a new supervillain. Elastigirl is the wife of Mr Incredible, since the retirement she has gone into full mum mode, putting the children first over any idea of fighting crime anymore. She only uses her abilities to keep the kids in order. Syndrome is the villain, he idolised Mr Incredible and after being shunted by him turns to a life of crime, where he uses he gadgets to defeat former superheroes in his quest to become the biggest hero in the world. Dash is the hyperactive kid that has super speed which is causing him to get in trouble at school. Violet is the teenage daughter that has the invisible ability which shows what she would be like when not fitting in the school. Frozone is the best friend to Mr Incredible that is also tired of the life of hiding.

StoryThe story follows a family of superheroes that must come out of retirement once a new threat starts targeting fellow superheroes. Even after 14-years this movie feels even more relevant because of the number of superhero movies we are witnessing as it does show how the heroes can become abused by people looking for a quick pay day in legal terms and how thy will suffer the lack of satisfaction in normal life after starting a family. The story shows us how a family will be stronger than an individual superhero too.

Action/Adventure/FamilyThe action comes at us thick and fast, playing into all the abilities of the heroes involved to give us a fresh moment throughout the film, the adventure sends our family on an adventure that will let them use their powers for the first time as a unit.

SettingsThe settings for the movie fill the right boxes for any superhero movie, first the island for the villain to prepare and then the big city for the battles to save people, nothing is out of place here.

AnimationThe animation is from Pixar and never looks off, this is why they make the best American animated movies, visually.


Scene of the Movie –
Costume Fitting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The van landing drive sequences is too generic.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderfully enjoyable Pixar film, it has great pacing, brilliant characters and a villain which suits the world perfectly.

 

Overall: Pixar at their very best.

Rating

 

 

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Ice Sharks (2016)

Director: Emile Edwin Smith

Writer: Emile Edwin Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Edward DeRuiter, Jenna Parker, Kaimi Lyman, Clarissa Thibeaux, Travis Lincoln Cox, Mia Danelle, Leddie Garcia

 

Plot: A new breed of aggressive, ravenous sharks cracks the frozen ocean floor of an Arctic research station, devouring all who fall through. As the station sinks into frigid waters, those alive must fashion makeshift weapons or suffer the same fate.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic SyFy Channel Movie

 

Story: Ice Sharks starts as we meet the research team in the Arctic, David (DeRuiter), Tracy (Parker), Michael (Lyman), Alex (Thibeaux), Sammy (Cox) and Val (Danelle) who are studying the change in the ice, with the increased number of cracks being found. When local hunters start going missing the team must investigate in case of a new predator in the area.

When David and Tracy learn first hand that the attacks have been coming from sharks, they are facing a new predator unlike anything they would have faced in the cold conditions, that is smart enough to break their base away from the mainland to make their hunting easier.

 

Thoughts on Ice Sharks

 

Characters – When we look at the characters we have trained scientists that do make sensible decisions when it comes to trying to survive, rather than just panicking, the problem comes from the fact they don’t seem to have any specialist fields to make them stand out in any way from each other.

PerformancesThe performances are not bad because we know this is a syfy movie, we are not expecting the best, the four main stars give us the performances we are expecting without being terrible, while no one stands out more than others.

StoryThe story follows a group of researches must battle against a deadly pack of sharks that are working together for their latest meal, they must prepare themselves for survival without making rash decision which we do see too often in shark-based movies. We do off course have bad lines in the story, including believing a steal base will be safe on an ice block, an ice block which the sharks created, but this never reaches the levels of riveting or so bad it is good.

Action/Adventure/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is basic and focuses more on escaping, though no scenes will become memorable. The horror uses the idea of the sharks to create the scare, though this never feels like it is a moment that our characters will either narrowly escape or not and the sci-fi side of the film shows how an unknown creature can cause havoc.

SettingsThe film mostly takes place on the base, the outside shots only let us know what we are up against, once underwater the outside shots seem like a casual dive and never feel like any peril is being felt by the characters.

Special EffectsThis is as mention a Syfy movie, we know the effects are not going to be great and when the computer side of the effects are being used you can see how painfully weak they are.


Scene of the Movie –
The first introduction of the sharks to the researchers.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The computer effects do take us out of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a typical low budget Syfy movie that was jumping on the shark obsession in film at the moment but easily falls in the bracket of ‘just another shark movie’.

 

Overall: Simple and easy to watch.

Rating

 

 

Island Zero (2018)

Director: Josh Gerritsen

Writer: Tess Gerritsen (Screenplay)

Starring: Laila Robins, Adam Wade McLaughlin, Teri Reeves, Matthew Wilkas, Stephen Atkinson, Anabel Graetz

 

Plot: A fishing community on a remote Maine island finds itself suddenly cut off from the rest of the world after the ferry stops coming. When people start to vanish, the terrified survivors realize that someone – or something – is hunting them.


Tagline – Every thing needs to eat.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Creature Feature

 

Story: Island Zero starts as we meet the residents of the small fishing community on the Maine Island, Doctor Maggie (Robins), biologist Sam (McLaughlin) novelist Titus (Wilkas) and many more, with Christmas around the corner the non-permanent resident are looking to return home, only for the ferry not to arrive and connection to the outside world gone.

As the days pass the tension starts to rise and the supplies dwindle, but the bigger threat comes from the sea as a new predator is looking to eat, can they make it offer the island before becoming the latest target.

 

Thoughts on Island Zero

 

Characters – Maggie is the temporary doctor on the island, she does her best with the residents, but can’t wait to leave to return to her home on the main land for an isolated Christmas. She provides help when the attacks happen, while remaining calm through any panic. Sam is a marine biologist that lives on the island who believes the problems in the water will happen with the fish population seemingly vanishing, he does have to face relationship issues with his wife not wanting to stay on the remote island. Lucy is the wife of Sam’s, she is a journalist, but isn’t happy on the island anymore looking to move back to the mainland either with him or without him, she always feels like a replacement mother to his daughter which has made her feel insecure at times.

PerformancesLaila Robins is good in one of the leading roles, she shows the calmness required in her character throughout the film. Adam Wade McLaughlin is good as the marine biologist while Teri Reeves is good as the one that wants a sensible solution to what is going on. The rest of the cast are good throughout the film without anyone being a stand out.

StoryThe story here shows the residents of a small remote fishing community that come under siege by an unknown predator that can’t be seen by the naked eye and will hunt to feed. This does fall into the creature feature style of survival film where the group must survive against a new predator. It is a tried and test formula and plays out how you would expect without being overly challenging to watch, the idea does leave our characters facing personal demons to survive too.

HorrorThe film is a creature feature which does play into the horror well, if you saw the movie Grabbers, this does have similarities without the comedy parts.

SettingsThe film is set on the remote island, with only one way to get off the island, this works wonderfully because it shows the isolation the characters will be facing with no way of communication to the mainland.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are used well, moments of practical for the gore and the infra-red to identify the predator and wildlife around the island.


Scene of the Movie –
Interrogation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does take slightly too long to get going.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple fun creature feature, it hits the marks it needs to and keeps everything entertaining for the audience.

 

Overall: Creature feature 101

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – I – Into the Storm (2014)

Director: Steven Quale

Writer: John Swetnam (Screenplay)

Starring: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Max Deacon, Nathan Kress

 

Plot: Storm trackers, thrill-seekers, and everyday townspeople document an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes touching down in the town of Silverton.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Impressive Storm Movie

 

Story: Into the Storm starts as we follow storm chasers led by Pete (Walsh) who is looking for tornadoes for the latest series of their show. Allison (Callies) is the latest member of team who uses the technology to track storms even if it hasn’t been the most successful so far. With the funding almost pulled Pete gives Allison’s choice one last chance which brings the team to Silverton. Silverton is the home of teenagers Donnie (Deacon) and Trey (Kress) who are assigned to film the graduation in time capsule at their high school for their vice-principal father Gary (Armitage).

As the team arrive in Silverton the tornadoes appear with devastating consequences as Gary must race across town to save Donnie and he works with the storm chasing team to save him and record the biggest storm from first time accounts of the people involved.

 

Thoughts on Into the Storm

 

Characters/PerformanceGary is the high school vice-principal and father of two students, he is distant because of the loss of his wife but loves them both, pushing them to achieve greatness will respecting their choices. Allison is the technology based storm chasers newer to the team that must prove her ability to predict storms for her boss and then for the people of the town of Silverton. Pete is the ambitious presenter of a storm chasing show, he will put his team in danger and will do anything to get ahead of the game, he is part asshole too in this film. the kids are what you expect finding themselves in danger needing adults to save them but also knowing a few tricks to save the day.

Performance wise, Richard Armitage is solid enough in the leading role and completely different to his Hobbit role he is most famous for, Sarah Wayne Callies does a good job in her role proving she has managed to get away from television in lower key movies. Matt Walsh does give us the type of character we know for this genre of film. the rest of the cast are all fine in this movie.

StoryThe story is routine here, we have a broken family needing to come together to survive with another single mother wanting to do the right thing while a greedy person looks to get famous. We also have very over the top tornadoes that are being chased, so this is simply one that doesn’t have the most difficult story to watch and is easy to watch, even if it is short as a survivor’s story.

Action/ThrillerThe action sequences are big, over the top and entertaining, this will give us a great thrill ride through the film.

SettingsThe setting is in and around a small town which shows how a small community can be effected by tornadoes which is something the film wants to tell in the story.

Special EffectsThe tornadoes all look fantastic through the film and must be applauded.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun, disaster movie that is way over the top but still just as enjoyable throughout.

 

Overall: Sit back and enjoy the ride.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Ip Man 3 (2015)

Director: Wilson Yip

Writer: Tai-lee Chan, Lai-yin Leung, Edmond Wong (Screenplay)

Starring: Donnie Yen, Lynn Hung, Jin Zhang, Mike Tyson, Patrick Tam

 

Plot: When a band of brutal gangsters led by a crooked property developer make a play to take over a local school, Master Ip is forced to take a stand.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong but Still Weakest of the Trilogy

 

Story: Ip Man 3 starts as we learn Ip Man (Yen) is now one of the most respected men in town with larger class of students and helping in the community.  Secretly in town Frank (Tyson) has been running a fight club that Tin-chi (Zhang) is the star fighter and Ip and Tin-chi become friends as they fight to protect their children’s school from a gangster and former student Ma King-Sing (Tam) to fight their battles.

Ip must face his most personal battle when his own son is taken as part of the leverage to get his men to leave the school and Tin-chi proves to be a worthy fighting partner even if hi morals are not as clean as Ip’s, but soon Tin-chi becomes jealous of the publicity Ip man gets over him.

 

Thoughts on Ip Man 3

 

Characters – Ip has once again reached the status we first met him in the first film, respect from everyone that has heard of him. This time he must battle a personal battle against gangster and another one that he will not be winning. Cheung the wife of Ip has been by his side through everything but this time she must help Ip man face mortality. Tin-chi is also a Wing Chun fighter that has been fighting in the fight clubs but soon he wants to make a name for himself in battle against Ip.

PerformanceDonnie Yen continues his record of being great as the Ip Man showing the combat needed to handle a higher emotional level than before. Lynn Hung gives her best performance in the franchise to date, but this is because she actually has something to do this time. Jin Zhang is great to showing he could potentially be a next generation of big name fighters to come from China.

StoryThe story here does feel less significate this time around because Ip has his status regain, he is only fighting the odd gangster as one man wants to prove who the Grandmaster in town is, it is the personal story between Ip and his wife that is the strongest part of story but it just doesn’t get the most focus required in the story. of the three this is easily the weakest of the series, it is also the most confusing due to the villains seemingly only lasting for about 30 minutes.

Action/Biography/SportsThe action is fantastic once more and shows how to put together a martial arts movie but just for the biopic part of the film, it does just feel like they are just using the name to make a small story bigger.

SettingsWe continue to move into the future of Ip’s life and the settings show this without them looking out of place in anyway.

Scene of the Movie – Dance, not fight

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lack of true villain this time around.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong trilogy for the action sequences throughout the film but this is the weakest combat story even if it does have the most important personal story for Ip to go through.

 

Overall: Great action set piece.

Rating