ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – I – Invictus (2009)

Director: Clint Eastwood

Writer: Anthony Peckham (Screenplay) John Carlin (Book)

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Tony Kgoroge, Patrick Mofokeng, Matt Stern, Julian Lewis Jones


Plot: Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Tagline – He was a prisoner who became a president. To unite his country, he asked one man to do the impossible.

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Important Biopic


Story: Invictus starts when Nelson Mandela (Freeman) becomes the President of South Africa, this causes a divide in the country with the white people rejecting his election, with the black people seeing him a hero. Nelson wants to try and put the past behind them and unite the country, with him first introducing mixed raced bodyguards, even if his own Jason (Kgoroge) and Linga (Mofokeng) disapprove.

When Nelson sees the divide in a simple rugby match, he sees a opportunity to unite his country, as the black community will cheer whoever the Springbok are playing, inviting the captain Francois Pienaar (Damon) to tea, he explains his plans to unite with the upcoming Rugby World Cup.


Thoughts on Invictus


Characters – Nelson Mandela is one of the biggest icons in history, we follow his life from the time he becomes President of South Africa, he has been in prison for 27 years beforehand and has decided he wants to unite the race war within the country. He must put aside what he was raised to believe to change the mindsets, starting with his own staff, Nelson sees the Rugby World Cup as a chance to bring the country together to celebrate if they can defy the odds and win it. Francois Pienaar is the captain of the Springbok, he comes from a wealthy family and becomes the connection to the President as they look to change the country together. Jason Tshabalala is the head of Nelson’ security, he must put aside he own feelings towards the white community to help Nelson achieve the union he desires.

PerformancesMorgan Freeman is fantastic in this leading role, he delivers the speeches to make us believe we are watching the incredible man himself. Matt Damon did seem like a strange pick for the South African rugby player, though he does make us believe he will help bring the team together. The supporting cast might not be as well known, but they all give performances that help us understand the struggles being experienced.

StoryThe story follows the time that Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa and his first year in charge with the build up to the Rugby World Cup where he uses the tournament as a way to bring the nation together to try to stop the racial divide. This shows how any sport can see differences put aside to see the better future, one without them needing to hate people just because that is what they once were told. If you want to see how a truly inspirational leader operates, he sees the peoples love and finds a way to make them work together to support a common goal. We could look at the story a say, this only happened because of the Rugby World Cup falling at the right time, but that is over thinking.

Biopic/SportLearning what Nelson Mandela achieved in this year is incredible, we might not learn his whole story, but this is the chapter that helped change a nation. When it comes to the sports side of the film, we get to see Rugby in all its glory, seeing the hard hitting nature of the sport, showing that sport can bring people together.

SettingsThe film is set in South Africa, with it setting showing us the divide between the people and how the biggest occasion in the countries sporting history being the most important one.

Scene of the Movie –
The prison visit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Casting Scott Eastwood, he is a good young actor, but his role is too important for family casting roles.

Final ThoughtsThis is an incredible look at what Nelson Mandela achieved in a year as President in the country, the spirit of sport bringing a nation together and a moment in sporting history.


Overall: Incredible sporting drama.





I Trapped the Devil (2019)

Director: Josh Lobo

Writer: Josh Lobo (Screenplay)

Starring: AJ Bowen, Susan Burke, Scott Poythress, Chris Sullivan, Jocelin Donahue, John Marrott, Rowan Russell


Plot: A man descends into paranoia after trapping what he believes to be the devil in his basement, but things take a dark turn when his family unexpectedly arrive for Christmas.


Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Intensely Atmospheric


Story: I Trapped the Devil starts when Matt (Bowen) and Karen (Burke) visit Steve (Poythress) who has been living in the family home alone for a long time. Steve has been off the radar for a reason though, which is to do with the mysterious man he has locked in his basement.

Steve believes he has trapped the devil and must convince his brother and Karen to believe this person is in fact the devil and this is for the greater good.


Thoughts on I Trapped the Devil


Characters – Steve is the man who has lived alone for too long, he has isolated himself from the world, with a man locked in his basement, one he believes is the devil. He believes he has evidence to prove this and must convince his brother this isn’t a stunt looking for attention. Matt is the brother who has returned with his wife to celebrate Christmas, he is caught in the middle as he doesn’t want to give up his brother, but knows if this is an innocent person, they can’t be kept in the basement. Karen is Matt’s wife that wanted to see the family at Christmas, she gets put in the same position, while looking at the reality that this could well be the devil.

PerformancesScott Poythress as the brother that has trapped the man, completely performs in this role, we feel his characters paranoid nature through each moment in the film, while believing he has done what he has said. AJ Bowen is great as the brother caught in the middle, we see the conflict going on in his head, while Susan Burke completes the main cast with a role that makes you see how people do believe what they can be told.

StoryThe story follows one man that believes he has captured and locked up the devil in his basement, when his brother and his wife visit, he must convince them that this is the devil, while they question whether he has lost his mind or not. This story does get to pose the questions of what if somebody had captured the devil, would you risk letting them out or not? Would you risk letting the devil back into the world or is there no such thing as the devil. We get plenty of questions on how you could react, while also hearing the voice calling for help. We do get moments that are designed for shock, while most of the story is designed to keep more away from us, leaving our imaginations to run wild. This does help build the atmosphere through the film, because you just don’t know what will happen next.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from seeing how each character reacts to what could be going on if this is in fact the devil, with Steve believing he is the one in the right.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings simple, we remain in the house for the whole film, this shows how the joint secret will need to be discussed, with the boundaries being drawn out.

Scene of the Movie –
The final shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We could have seen more of what caused the strain between Steve and Matt.

Final ThoughtsThis is an atmospheric horror that keeps us guessing by asking the difficult question about what would you do if you trapped the devil, even if it wasn’t the devil, could you risk letting them out?


Overall: Horror that makes you think.




ABC Film Challenge – Action – I – Immortals (2011)

Director: Tarsem Singh

Writer: Charley Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides (Screenplay)

Starring: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, Stephen Dorff, Freida Pinto, Luke Evans, John Hurt, Joseph Morgan


Plot: Theseus is a mortal man chosen by Zeus to lead the fight against the ruthless King Hyperion, who is on a rampage across Greece to obtain a weapon that can destroy humanity.

Tagline – The Gods Need a Hero

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Glossy Greek Muscles


Story: Immortals starts in a world where the immortals battled, the winners became Gods, the loser became Titans and buried under the mountain. With King Hyperion (Rourke) destroying village after villages in search for a stone that will grant him power. An average farmer Theseus (Cavill) trained in combat sees the war come to him, he is destined for greatness as the Gods watch over him with Zeus (Evans) knowing who will win the battle, but unable to interfere.

With the oracles including Phaedra (Pinto) knowing the truth about Theseus, she plans to release him and his fellow prisoners to go into battle against King Hyperion before becoming part of his plan.


Thoughts on Immortals


Characters – Theseus is from a quiet village that has lived in peace, but when the war comes to him, he must us his fighting skills to defeat the tyrant trying to conquer the land ad fulfil his destiny. He is the man that we see in many of these titles, a man that is meant to bring people together. King Hyperion has been taking control of the land of Greece, his armies are not taking prisoners in their conquering ways. This is a villain we are used to seeing because it is one that will go to any lengths to get what he wants. Stavros is a thief that joins Theseus and with this gets to plant the comical lines in places. Phaedra is the oracle that has seen the paths in which Theseus will take, believe he can bring the country to the freedom is deserves. Zeus is the all powerful God that is watching from the skies, he doesn’t want to interfere in this battle or any of the Gods to with the punishment of death.

PerformancesThe actors all have the look for their roles, so that won’t need discussing anymore. Henry Cavill is fine in the leading role, he doesn’t handle the emotion moments enough, but is saved with the fighting. Mickey Rourke is always good as a villain and he does a good enough job for the film. The rest are fine they just have nobody that sticks out long enough to be memorable.

StoryThe story plays into the idea of Gods and Titans that once ruled Greece, we see how they watched over the world waiting for the war which the humans will bring on themselves, now they must wait to see if the on man can fulfil the destiny. This is sword and saddles with what you are expecting to see after seeing 300. It all works fine but won’t become one of the more memorable within the genre.

Action/Fantasy/RomanceThe action is the highlight of the film, with plenty of big sequences that are left to see elements of the mythology. This dives us into the fantasy world we will be entering and there is a weaker romance side to the story.

SettingsThe film makes us feel like we are part of this world with ease, though most scenes look like they are from the same location and not looking special enough.

Special EffectsThe effects are nice to see because they play into this over the top style the film tries to make its own. Zeus coming to Earth is the highlight moment.

Scene of the Movie –
Hammer time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Feels long.

Final ThoughtsThis will keep the fans of the films like 300 will enjoy this one, this is an entertaining watch if you don’t need to want to think and can be enjoyed.


Overall: Simple saddles and swords.




Ibiza Undead (2016)

Director: Andy Edwards

Writer: Andy Edwards (Screenplay)

Starring: Cara Theobold, Emily Atack, Algina Lipskis, Jordan Coulson, Homer Todiwala


Plot: A group of young people head to Ibiza for the holiday of a lifetime – all the sun, sea and sex they can handle. If only there wasn’t a zombie outbreak getting in the way.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Fun Horror Comedy


Story: Ibiza Undead starts as we learn that there is a zombie outbreak in the world but not enough to stop the world functioning. We have four friends Ellie (Theobold), Alex (Coulson), Az (Todiwala) and Big Jim (Kear) heading to Ibiza for a party holiday with Alex’s sister Liz (Atack) and Zara (Lipskis). Around the island an importer of zombies Karl (King) has lost his shipment which brings the zombies to the island.

When the zombies arrive the friends, well that is a loose term must work together to survive and make it out of the villa alive. Here we get plenty of zombie comedy kills throughout the night.


Thoughts on Ibiza Undead


Characters – Ellie is the former girlfriend of Alex’s that gets invited on the holiday even though she isn’t a party animal like the rest of the people on the holiday. Liz is the sister of Alex that is prepared for the sun sea and sex holiday. Zara is the flirty seductive one of the girls who is happy to use her body to get what she wants. Alex is the main male lead that is on a lads holiday but brings his ex-girlfriend along, Big Jim is the loud mouth of the friends with Az being the shy awkward one.

PerformancesThe performances are fine through the film, we have the performances that are happy to mock the generic stereotypes of the British Ibiza holiday makers.

StoryYoung British tourists versus zombies in Ibiza, well that is the simple story to follow, it offers nothing new to the genre but gives us laughs along the way. It is an easy story to follow and if you are game to watch an easy to watch horror comedy it works for casual storytelling fans.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy is British through and through which works if you understand how we think. The horror is just typical zombie guidelines which have gore moments but never reach the full effects of scare.

SettingsIbiza makes for a new and good setting for a zombie twist even if the film does feel like it could be a film version of Dead Island.

Special EffectsThe effects work for film getting a few laughs at times and we know we have good zombie moments.

Scene of the Movie –
Give Jim the shotgun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Amazing how many phone calls these people make when it costs so much.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun horror comedy that hits more often than it misses but one I feel Brits will enjoy more.


Overall: Good little British comedy.




Intruders (2015)

Director: Adam Schindler

Writer: T.J. Cimfel, David White (Screenplay)

Starring: Beth Riesgraf, Rory Culkin, Leticia Jimenez, Jack Kesy, Timothy McKinney, Joshua Mikel, Martin Starr


Plot: Anna suffers from agoraphobia so crippling that when a trio of criminals break into her house, she cannot bring herself to flee. But what the intruders don’t realize is that agoraphobia is not her only problem.

Tagline – They should have left her alone

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Nice Twist on the Home Invasion Genre


Story: Intruders starts as we meet Anna Rook (Riesgraf) who has been caring for her terminal ill brother, she doesn’t leave the house because of her agoraphobia, with her food delivered by friendly deliveryman Dan Cooper (Culkin). After the brother passes away she is left alone in the home as three burglars break in.

J.P (Kesy), Vance (Mikel) and Perry (Starr) must figure out what to do with Anna after she is unable to runaway from the house, captured she is forced to give them what they want, until she starts to fight back.


Thoughts on Intruders


Characters – Anna Rook is an agoraphobic that has just had her brother die, she still won’t leave the house and now she must take on three criminals that break in, she has been prepared for such an event though. Dan is the friend of the family that has been delivery food there for over a year, he is offered money for his services and tells a friend which creates the events, without him being part of it. JP is one of the criminals that breaks in, he is running the operation keep the loose cannon under control and his brother safe. Perry is the loose cannon of the group he wants to go too far when it comes to just getting the money.

PerformancesThe performances in the film a good, Beth Riesgraf as our leading lady is strong with her characters secret, while the criminals fill their generic roles smartly through the film. we have a small cast too which helps us get to know how they are acting through each situation.

StoryThe story follows a woman with agoraphobic woman that must deal with home invaders where she can’t leave and must fight back with her secret being the biggest threat for the home invaders. This starts off the way you would expect, but when things take the turn it will grab your attention and make you want to watch until you learn the truth about what is happening. Even with twists along the way they unfold doesn’t take away the simple storytelling which we need at times.

HorrorThe horror comes from the idea of having criminal invade your home when you can’t leave, but this is easy enough, it is the twist that takes things to the next level for horror.

SettingsThe film is set within the single house, it keeps the action isolated which is great for audience, the house has secrets too which is also important to the story.

Special EffectsThe effects are simple and used to show body damage more often than not.

Scene of the Movie –
The moment the tables are turned.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It isn’t as shocking it could have been.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good watch for horror fans, it does have twists along the way which will surprise and good performances throughout.


Overall: Good watch for horror fans.