ABC Film Challenge – Romance – I – Infinitely Polar Bear (2014)

Director: Maya Forbes

Writer: Maya Forbes (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky, Ashley Aufderheide, Nekhebet Kim Juch, Manoah Angelo

Plot: A father struggling with bipolar disorder tries to win back his wife by attempting to take full responsibility of their two young, spirited daughters, who don’t make the overwhelming task any easier.

Tagline – What it takes to keep a family together

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Mark Ruffalo is Fantastic

Story: Infinitely Polar Bear starts when Cam (Ruffalo) loses his job leading to him having another mental breakdown, his wife Maggie (Saldana) in an attempt to protect their children Amelia (Wolodarsky) and Faith (Aufderheide) forces him into an institute to help him overcome his struggles.

When Cam gets out of the home, Maggie has been struggling to make ends meet, which sees her needing to move from Boston to New York to study, the only thing is Cam must look after the children, working on his ability to get back into a routine, can Cam handle this responsibility for his family or not?

Thoughts on Infinitely Polar Bear

Characters – Cam is a bi-polar sufferer, when he is functional he is a brilliant man, but the pressure of his career brings out the depressive side of his nature, seeing hard to keep down a job and seeing his wife need to move his girls away from him during his darkest days. After seeking help, he must put his life back together which will see him take care of the girls, which sees him getting back into a routine he can handle. Maggie is Cam’s wife, she is trying to hold down a job, but needs to study to get to the next level of her career, she will have to move away for chance of an education, needing to let Cam raise their children, while she must decide whether to get back together with Cam. Amelia and Faith are the daughters of the couple, they both struggle to completely understand what their father is going through as they are being raised in a way, they don’t see their friends growing up in.

PerformancesMark Ruffalo is brilliant in the leading role, he shows how difficult like can be for a depressed to process each day, proving once again that he is one of the best actors around today. Zoe Saldana is wonderful too, giving the balance to show how difficult, but how much love can come from somebody that just wants to be there for somebody. Both the two child stars are great fun, giving us the genuine performance that you could see from youngster in the 1970s.

StoryThe story here follows a husband and father that suffers from bi-polar that can’t functional in everyday working life, which means his wife needs to get a career, while he raises the children, something that wasn’t wildly accepted in the 1970s. This story does look into how mental health wasn’t wildly understood in the 1970s and being in the relationship can be difficult for both sides too. We watch how Cam tries to get back into a functional way to life, while his family needs to face difficult decisions about life for their daughters. This is based on the director’s childhood, so you can see the story having realism in how everything unfolds, without anything being over played when it comes to the mental health side of the story.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy involved in the film, does come off lightly as we look to get a chuckle at times, the romance shows us just how difficult the relationship between Cam and Maggie was, be it the marriage or her attempts to make a career for herself.

SettingsThe settings in the film show the Boston lifestyle the family did have, it shows the quieter lifestyle is helpful for Cam.

Scene of the Movie – Give my wife a job.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It doesn’t show much of the actual treatment.

Final Thoughts This is a brilliant look at how mental health works with a family that didn’t fully understand the difficulties behind it, we get to see just how this family found a way to get through the toughest days in the 70s where Mark Ruffalo shines.

Overall: Brilliant look at mental health.


Inheritance (2020) Movie Review

Director: Vaughn Stein

Writer: Matthew Kennedy (Screenplay)

Starring: Lily Collins, Simon Pegg, Connie Nielsen, Chance Crawford, Patrick Warburton, Marque Richardson

Plot: A patriarch of a wealthy and powerful family suddenly passes away, leaving his daughter with a shocking secret inheritance that threatens to unravel and destroy the family.

Tagline – Some Secrets Should Stay Buried.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Steady Thriller

Story: Inheritance starts with the tragic news of Archer Monroe’s (Warburton) death, seeing his children district attorney Lauren (Collins) and favourite child William (Crawford) being left large sums of money, with Lauren receive an extra gift Morgan Warner (Pegg) locked away on the grounds.

Lauren decides to investigate the truth about Morgan, learning the deeper darker secrets of her father, the ones that could destroy the family and her father’s legacy.

Thoughts on Inheritance

Characters – Lauren Monroe is the district attorney, she took this role against her father’s wishes, she is married with her own family given her share of an inheritance, $1million and a key to a room, a room that will turn her life upside down, she must deal with the reality of her father’s secret life and the decision on whether to let the stranger locked up free. Morgan Warner is the man that is locked up, held captive for years by Archer, left to Lauren, he has secrets that will shatter everything about Lauren’s life and her ideas of her father, he wants his freedom and needs to convince Lauren that he has never done anything wrong. Catherine is the wife of Archer, unaware of what he has been up to in life, while William is Lauren’s brother who did get a larger portion of the inheritance.

PerformancesLily Collins in the leading role is strong, she brings us an attorney we could believe, who shows the conflict of what to do. Simon Pegg is the highlight of the film, bringing to life the mysterious figure who is filled with stories. The rest of the cast don’t get as much time to make an impact in the story.

StoryThe story here follows a district attorney that inherits something very strange, a man locked in the family bunker, a man that has secrets about the family, ones her father has kept secrets for years, left in a position on whether to let the man go or not. This is a story that is about deciding whether to do the right thing or not, it shows how somebody could bring destruction to a life, with truths and secrets can always ruining a reputation. We might well have a slower pace in the opening half of the film, but things do boil up over time with an intense conclusion.

MysteryThe mystery in this film is all around what could be happening, who Morgan really is and why has he been held for so long, it does keep us wanting to know more about him.

SettingsThe film uses the captive bunker as a major setting, the most important conversations happen here, with everything outside this location, not giving us enough to get behind.

Scene of the Movie – The final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The case Lauren is working on it implied it will be important, but it seems to get forgotten through the film.

Final Thoughts This is a nice mystery that does keep you guessing, carried by Simon Pegg’s turn in a role you wouldn’t normally see him in.

Overall: Mystery 101

Signature Entertainment presents Inheritance on Digital HD July 6th & DVD 13th July

The Ipcress File (1965) Movie Review

Director: Sidney J Furie

Writer: W.H. Canaway, James Doran (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Caine, Nigel Green, Guy Doleman, Sue Lloyd, Gordon Jackson, Aubrey Richards, Frank Gatliff

Plot: In London, a counter espionage Agent deals with his own bureaucracy while investigating the kidnapping and brainwashing of British scientists.

Tagline – Spy man, spy man, what do you see? “One murder! Two murders! And mine makes three!”

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Spy Movie

Story: The Ipcress File starts when one of the top British scientists vanishes, former solider Harry Palmer (Caine) is transferred to Major Dolby (Green) who is leading the hunt for the scientist, which sees them tracking down an arms dealer, while stumbling into a bigger case involving a recording known as the Ipcress.

The deeper into the case Palmer gets, the more mysteries if leaves, as a bigger threat to the UK seems to be in play and Palmer is the only one that is willing to accept the problems.

Thoughts on The Ipcress File

Characters – Harry Palmer is a former soldier that has been placed on surveillance job by his government, until he gets a promotion to track down a missing scientist, he is a womaniser in his free time and has a taste for a good meal, he does think on his feet when it comes to tracking down the suspects and gets more results than any other agents. Major Dolby assigns the jobs for Palmer, being strict, but fair, he understands most ideas are done for the good of the cause, though he will not accept being going against orders. Colonel Ross is the man that Palmer used to work for, where he must send Palmer into his latest mission. Jean is the love interest, who has come from the offices they work at, also an agent that becomes charmed by Palmer.

PerformancesMichael Caine in the leading role is head and shoulders above the rest of the cast, he is the one you want to watch the most through the film, while the rest of the cast aren’t bad, they just don’t reach his levels.

StoryThe story here follows a British Intelligence Agent who is trying to search of a scientist, only to find himself investigating a much bigger threat to the country and must solve this before it becomes too late. We have a story here where the lead character Palmer, is left to question who he can trust, never knowing who is on his side, so both him and the audience will continue to try and put the piece together. In the grander scale of the story it is nice to have something on this scale, which could easily have been real for the time of making this movie, but now we are in a situation where this wouldn’t be much of a threat.

ThrillerThe thriller side of the film is all about how it tries to keep us guessing to what will happen next, this is interesting as we see the tensions slowly build on all sides about the truth.

SettingsThe film keeps the film set in and around London, it shows us just how massive operations could be happening right under our noses.

Scene of the Movie – The showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The other use of the womaniser trait for Harry.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting spy thriller that for the time would have been highly intense, but with new technology comes new weaknesses.

Overall: Easy to Watch Spy Thriller.

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – W – Icetastrophe (2014) Movie Review

This is under W because of star, Victor Webster.

Director: Jonathan Winfrey

Writer: David Sanderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Victor Webster, Jennifer Spence, Richard Harmon, Tiera Skovbye, Mike Dopud

Plot: A meteorite brings ice and freezing temperatures, which threatens to harm the residents of a small town at Christmas.

Tagline – Mankind is on thin ice.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Typical SyFy Disaster Movie

Story: Icetastrophe starts when a small town is struck by a meteorite, Charlie Ratchet (Webster) must try to save the residents of his town, including his son Tim (Harmon), with research student Alex Novak (Spence) heading to the town to investigate, the side effects of the meteorite are shown, as a new flash ice wave covers the land, killing anyone caught in the path, it becomes a race against time to stop the whole area become an frozen wasteland before it is too late.

Thoughts on Icetastrophe

Characters – Charlie is the explosives expert in the town, he finds himself needing to save the town and his family after a freak meteorite strike hits the town covering it in a ice storm, he must save his family and work with a scientist to save the town from complete destruction. Alex Novak is the astrophysicist that had been following the meteorite and is now looking to study what has happened, bringing the expert opinions on how to stop the sudden change they have faced. Tim is the son of Charlie who risks his own life to save his girlfriend Marley, which show how the support cast are involved in small subplots while the bigger event is going on.

PerformancesThe film is led by Victor Webster who has the look of an action hero, with Jennifer Spence as the scientist who is helping, the two are the best part of the film, they don’t get challenged by any means, but for a disaster film we don’t have any truly bad acting, which is often the case for these movies.

StoryThe story here follows a small town that gets hit by a meteorite which brings a devasting ice storm, which is covering the land freezing people instantly, it become a race against time to save the land before it is too late. We know we get big ambitious ideas when it comes to the disasters, this does bring a wild idea to life, even if the peril related scenes are just a repeat scenario. We get the characters you would expect to see in the roles, the reluctant hero, the scientist out to prove themselves, the greed one who makes mistakes and of course the lost teenagers. It plays out like most of them, with the idea being the stand out from what we are seeing.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is more about trying to outrun the ice, the chase scenes don’t feel like they are filled with much peril, with the sci-fi side of the film being surrounding origin of the meteorite.

SettingsThe film does us the small mountain town as the setting, which shows us just how many different beauty spots this town could have.

Scene of the Movie – The warm woods.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The random flare showdown.

Final Thoughts This is everything you would expect from a SyFy disaster movie, it has fun, while not being original in character design, even if the concept is interesting.

Overall: Interesting Concept.

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – K – Incontrol (2017) Movie Review

This is under K because of the director Kurtis David Harder

Director: Kurtis David Harder

Writer: Kurtis David Harder (Screenplay)

Starring: Sarah Troyer, Anja Savcic, Valerie Planche, Christopher Rosamond, Josip Condic, Brittany Allen, Levi Meaden, Rory J Saper

Plot: 4 university students hook up to a machine allowing them to become one of their fellow students – e.g. allowing them each to party as one of the rich and beautiful. The long hook-ups start seriously affecting their normal selves.

Tagline – You can be anyone you want to be.

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: The Next Level of Flatliners

Story: Incontrol starts when shy university student Samantha (Savcic) get invited to join another group of students, Mark (Meaden), Victor (Saper) and Jenny (Stonechild) who have a machine with allows them to jump into the mind and body of random people, getting to experience the lives they are living from the comfort a room.

Once Samantha learns the method behind what they are doing, she finds herself doing all sorts of illegal activities that she wouldn’t imagine in real life, finding herself being the only one asking about the consequences of their actions.

Thoughts on Incontrol

Characters – Samantha is the student that has been studying social experiments, which sees her invited to join a group who could have the ability to enter into other people’s minds, controlling and living their lives, it seems like fun to start with, but soon it starts getting out of control, she starts wanting to break the rules as she wants to get closer to Mark. Mark invites Samantha into the circle, he doesn’t go to the extremes as the others, while taking part of the pleasures in life, keeping his girlfriend out of the plans. Victor has always pushed the boundaries of the machine, he will break the laws and experience something the rest never did. Jenny hosts the gatherings for the students, she enjoys just relaxing and using the machine to get what she wants out of the lives.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances we get a mixed selection, Anja Savcic in the leading role does well enough, never coming off truly believable in her everyday life. Levi Meaden and Rory J Saper both do the basics without being as edgy as they should have been, while Shayla Stonechild is fine in her role, nobody is truly great for what we could give us.

StoryThis story follows a group of students that get a machine which gives them a chance to live other people’s lives, only things start to get out of hand between them and the power the machine gives them. This could easily be the next level of what Flatliners once gave us, showing us just how people will use mind control to try and reach a new empowerment (yes I know Flatliners is more about returning from the dead, but this offers that at times). We get to see how the people do find themselves going through ideas that they would never have imagined, we also get to play into the creation of paranoia of not knowing who could be watching or controlling you. This is all very compelling, with the only drawback being, not learning enough about the actual machine itself. There is also a pacing issue, because it starts very well, but when it comes to the final chapter, it just seems to be a flash bang over.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi elements used in this film follows the ideas of being able to control people’s lives, but we don’t dive into the science behind it enough.

SettingsThe film is set in an everyday location which shows how alarming what they are doing is.

Scene of the Movie – The First trip.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not learning enough about the science behind the machine.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting sci-fi film that does offer up plenty of questions, the problem is, not enough are being answered.

Overall: Sci-Fi interesting.