ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – J – Journey to Dinosaur Island (2014)

Director: Matt Drummond

Writer: Matt Drummond (Screenplay)

Starring: Darius Williams, Kate Rasmussen

 

Plot: A vacation becomes the adventure of a lifetime as a boy finds himself stranded in a world filled with ghost ships and prehistoric creatures. He embarks on a journey that will change his future forever.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Little Educational Dinosaur Movie

 

Story: The Journey to Dinosaur Island starts as son of a palaeontologist Lucas (Williams) is on a holiday of a lifetime when his plane has complication leaving him to awaken on a mysterious island with Kathryn (Thompson) the only human on the island that is inhabited by dinosaurs.

As Lucas learns about the island from Kathryn the two must figure out what is causing the strange time events which seems to bring people from different time eras, objects to the island that time seemed to have forgotten.

 

Thoughts on The Journey to Dinosaur Island

 

Characters – Lucas is the son of a palaeontologist that lives in the present day but finds himself living in the era he likes to study and must work with another trapped person to survive, I do question a lot about this character because on minute he is designed to be the clumsy idiot the next he is the smartest one of the two. Kathryn is from the 1950s, she has been on the island for years and studying it in this time, her character arc starts smart before slowly becoming the damsel in distress.

PerformanceIt would be hard to say anything bad about the young actors, they both seem to be enjoying the film and doing the best they can with what they are given.

StoryThe story is another attempt at The Lost World theory where dinosaurs could still be living somewhere in the world with a twist on the time being everlasting. This does work for a family because the kids can enjoy the story unfolding, it doesn’t become complicated and is happy to leave educational material in the film even if everything is by the books.

Adventure/Family/Sci-FiIf you are a fan of dinosaurs this is in fact a fun adventure movie that the whole family could enjoy the film. the sci-fi twist comes from a world that time never forgot where science fiction is steeped in trying to focus on the fact.

SettingsThe island looks beautiful even if it is mostly CGI and this makes for a wonderful setting for the adventure to take place on.

Special EffectsThe special effects are clearly all low budget but are constant through the film and do seem to fit the ideas behind the film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is targeted only for kids.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good kids film, it is simple storytelling and dinosaur fans are going to enjoy themselves.

 

Overall: Dinosaur adventure, need I say more?

Rating

 

 

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Jason’s Letter (2018)

Director: Terrance Tykeem

Writer: Terrance Tykeem (Screenplay)

Starring: Vivica A Fox, Michael Pare, Robert LaSardo, Quinton Aaron, Joseph R Gannascoli, Claude Jordan, Jamol Manigault

 

Plot: This powerful film addresses the unarmed police shooting in America thru the eye’s of 2-young boys, one of whom had to give his life in order for change to even be considered.


Tagline – This is a film that will do more than any other before it to humanize young black boys, while shining a bright light on an on going problem in America.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brave Message

 

Story: Jason’s Letter starts as we head to a city in Delaware, the city has been having an ever-increasing number of black men and children being killed by the cops, the latest killing has bought City Hall to look for a solution, Sammi Brooks (Fox) is part of a city meeting, which has teenager Jason McKey (Manigault) has come up with a letter which he believes could end the killing problem.

As the Principal of the school is trying to figure out how to control the bad behaviour by bringing the parents into detention to see how their children act, we get to see how the white cops treat the black residents and how one council meeting is looking to bring a stop to the problems in the neighbourhood.

 

Thoughts on Jason’s Letter

 

Characters – Jason McKey is the teenager that has seen his friends killed by the police and has come up with a letter/petition to hopefully bring an end to the heartache families would be feeling, his vision could bring a change to the way the country is run and his innocent views reflect the culture that won’t be budged. Sammi Brooks works in city hall, she has been working on the problems, she is the connection that will get Jason to speak to the council. We get to meet a lot of characters in this film, parents of victims, council members and we get the generic push against the white police.

PerformancesJamol Manigault is good in the leading role of the film, he keeps the vision his character wants to feel innocent like we needed it to be. Vivica A Fox is the biggest name of the film at gets to give a good performance in the role. We do have good performances throughout the film, through the many different performers.

StoryThis story looks to find a solution for the police brutality being used on the black people in America focusing on the most innocent victims, the children. We follow the town who have been searching for a solution, which one of their own children might have come to a big, ambitious solution too. This is also one of the hardest stories to discuss without getting political, this does have the big message that needs to be addressed, the idea is big, but there are clearly certain points that paint people in one light only. The only issues with the story that should have been addressed is that not all white police officers are bad.

SettingsThe film is set in a minority black, Hispanic and Asian neighbourhood almost running in fear of the number of deaths in the neighbourhood.


Scene of the Movie –
The Letter Reading.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does have a brave message, though one sided.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film is a big important message about a real problem going on in America, it does show a solution which could realistically work too.

 

Overall: Important and brave message.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – J – Ju-On: The Grudge 2 (2003)

grudge-2Director: Takashi Shimizu

Writer: Takashi Shimizu (Screenplay)

Starring: Noriko Sakai, Chiharu Niiyama, Kei Horie, Yui Ichikawa, Ayumu Saito, Emi Yamamoto

 

Plot: As their curse spreads on all around, the ghosts find their chance to live once again through the pregnancy of a cursed woman.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Complicated but Terrifying

 

Story: Ju-On: The Grudge 2 starts as we meet Kyoko (Sakai) a pregnant aspiring actress with her fiancé Masashi (Saito) who after hitting a cat find themselves haunted by a ghost boy who crashes their car and is drawn towards Kyoko’s baby. With Kyoko dealing with the ghost haunting her every day, we move onto to meet a friend of Kyoko’s Tomoka (Niiyama) who has been experience her own ghostly events in her apartment. Tomoka calls in ghost hunter Noritaka (Horie) to help example the unusual knocking at the same time every night.

Continuing the hauntings around the set of the horror production Megumi (Yamamoto) the star of the movie has her own experience with the ghostly presence but how are they all connected?

 

Thoughts on Ju-On: The Grudge 2

 

StoryWhen it comes to horror the last thing you want to do is put the pieces back together because thinking in the last thing you want to do. This film does make you think when you put together the events and unlike the first one the story is bigger, once you have figured out the story you will enjoy this horror story that continues the curse idea so well.

HorrorWhen it comes to horror you need to never look further than the Asian horror boom of the early 2000s and this is just one of those films that bought the ghost horror back to life in real terror for the audience.

Characters/PerformanceEach character in the film has a connection to another even though we only follow one character at a time and not always in order of events. The characters all react differently to the ghostly visits which will all come back to show the horror. The performances are all good as you believe all the fear the characters are experiencing through the film.

SettingsEach setting is used to become the final piece to the jigsaw that this film has become now, the settings are used to bring us the horror because they come from such surprising locations too.

Special EffectsWhen you look at the effects being used in this film you will find they have the ability to strike pure terror into the viewing which is something many horror never understand but the Asian ghost horrors capture so easily.

Final ThoughtsYou like your Asian horrors then watch this one, the first introduces the Grudge this one builds on it to the next level.

 

Overall: Welcome addition to the Asian horror genre that will scare you from start to finish.

Rating80

 

 

The Jurassic Dead (2018)

Director: Milko Davis, Thomas Martwick

Writer: Milko Davis, Michele Pacitto (Screenplay))

Starring: Matt Block, Cooper Elliott, Ben Johnson, Mia Klosterman, Adam Singer, Ruselis Aumeen Perry, Andy Haman, Raquel Pennington

 

Plot: A cracked scientist aligns with the Axis of Evil to bring down the US of A with EMP blasts, toxic zombification gas and an unleashing of the ultimate undead killing monstrosity — the Z-REX. When a hot-wired militia squad and a crew of college hipsters are thrown together to do something about it, chaotic Predator-Thunder action runs amok.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not As Good as You Would Imagine

 

Story: The Jurassic Dead starts when Dr Borge (Elliott) unleashes his own pathogen that can bring the dead back to life, the five-person military team Duque (Haman), Cuchilla (Pennington), Stick (Perry), Swat (Gonzzalez) and Spivey (Le Page) are being sent to clear out an unground base Dr Borge has occupied.

When they are joined by a group of college students Gunnar (Johnson), Sadie (Klosterman), Cameron (Singer) and Roxanne (Goeke) who become stranded in the desert, the two groups learn that Dr Borge has been working on, a Z-Rex and zombified T-Rex.

 

Thoughts on The Jurassic Dead

 

Characters – Duque is the leader of the military unit, he will go in first against any threat, be it human or dinosaur and show his dominance in combat. He is your cigar chopping, sunglass wearing figure you see in nearly alpha male military leader. The rest of his unit fill the generic figures we have come to know, the loose cannon, the calm one and the weapons expert. On the student side of things we have the dumb jock, the dippy blonde, the stoner geek and the rebellious one, they fill the clichés the way you would expect.

PerformancesThe performances here are not at the highest level, mostly because we have actors just starting out in the business or Andy Haman from bodybuilding and Raquel Pennington from UFC, no one is terrible, but on the other hand no one really stands out as being great in this film, which is fine because it is people fight a dinosaur and zombies.

StoryThe story here follows a military team and a group of students that end up in a secret bunker battling an evil scientist and his undead dinosaur. While this is a story that fills the boxes for what I enjoy watching in the brain off and enjoy movie, it would be fair the story is pretty shallow and doesn’t offer everything it should do. It does feel generic with how the events unfold even if the idea of undead dinosaur is original.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action in the film goes down to plenty of guns shooting at dinosaurs and the big finale. The horror looks at the idea that dinosaurs are looking to eat people and even turn them into zombies. The idea of undead dinosaurs is a sci-fi ABC which works.

SettingsMost of the film takes place in the bunker which keeps the action contained with no escape.

Special EffectsThe effects are mixed, the practical effects are good enough, but when the CGI gets bought in things go downhill.


Scene of the Movie –
The first dinosaur appearance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The CGI moments in the close of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun easy to watch film, it doesn’t have enough dinosaurs for my liking.

 

Overall: Undead dinosaurs movie fun.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – J – James and the Giant Peach (1996)

Director: Henry Selick

Writer: Karey Kirkpatrick, Jonathan Roberts, Steve Bloom (Screenplay) Roald Dahl (Book)

Starring: Paul Terry, Joanna Lumley (Voice Talents) Simon Callow, Richard Dreyfuss, Jane Leeves, Susan Sarandon

 

Plot: An orphan, who lives with his two cruel aunts, befriends anthropomorphic bugs who live inside a giant peach, and they embark on a journey to New York City.


Tagline – Adventures this big don’t grow on trees.

Runtime: 1 Hour 19 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Magical Family Adventure

 

 

Story: James and the Giant Peach starts young boy James is left orphaned after his parents are killed, he is forced to live with his cruel aunts Spiker (Lumley) and Sponge (Margolyes) who treat him like a slave. When a mysterious old man gives him a bag with magic in he unleashes them by accident to great a giant peach.

The peach becomes a side show for the Aunts leaving James to clean up, until he finds a passage which takes hi into the peach which is know being lived in by a serial bugs Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybird, Spider and Earthworm. The unlikely group head off on an adventure which takes them across the Atlantic to New York City.

 

 

Thoughts on James and the Giant Peach

 

Characters – James is an orphan from a loved family forced to live with evil aunts, he just wants to be a kid and isn’t being allowed to go out and play. His adventure takes him across the Atlantic Ocean to the place he was always due to go with his family New York city. Like a lot of the Roald Dahl books he creates an orphan that is being ill-treated looking for an escape. The different bugs each offer up different parent like advice for James, just what is needed for James in his time of need.

PerformancesPaul Terry is the real James and he is good for a child actor as are the Aunts, most of this film focuses on the voice work which shows the talent of the cast selected.

StoryThe story shows follows one boy and his adventure with bugs to escape the horrible life he has been trapped living. The story enters full levels of fantasy which is great to see, there is no covering up elements of the story, it all happened and everyone sees this. It does feel like it should be the imagination of a traumatised orphan and it should end up being this for the generic following.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure James goes on is everything a lonely boy would imagine going on. This is a family film because everyone can get a laugh of different moments in the film.

SettingsMost of the film takes place in and on the peach, we see the family dynamic on board the peach, this is the only one of its type even if you can see elements of ‘Up’ in this setting.

AnimationThe animation shown here showed us what we were getting from the director, a unique look at stop-motion.


Scene of the Movie –
Rhino in the sky.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It can be dark at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a magical family adventure from the childhood author Roald Dahl that wrote wonderful books, which changed many lives, this is one that people sometimes forget.

 

Overall: Magical and wonderful movie.

Rating