ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – L – Lifeforce (1985)

Director: Tobe Hooper

Writer: Dan O’Bannon, Don Jakoby (Screenplay) Colin Wilson (Novel)

Starring: Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart, Michael Gothard

 

Plot: A race of space vampires arrive in London and infect the populace.


Tagline – In the blink of an eye, the terror begins.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Clever Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Lifeforce starts when an international space mission to research Halley’s comet finds a mysterious artificial object, they investigate finding three human like bodies around bats, bringing the bodies back Dr Bukovsky (Gothard) unintentionally lets the female space girl (May) escape the facility.

With the girl on the loose and bodies starting to pile up Col Caine (Firth) and returning from space Col Carlsen (Railsback) must race to stop her spreading the infection around London.

 

Thoughts on Lifeforce

 

Characters – Col Carlsen is one of the astronauts that located the strange vessel in space, the lone survivor from the mission and tormented by the events, though eager to make sure he stops what she has spreading. Col Caine is bought into finding out what is going on and cleaning it up before it is too late, he must work with Carlsen which shows the difference between the two as he is calmer in the investigation. Dr Fallada and Dr Bukovsky are both trying to solve the case from a medical standpoint both learning from each incident that happens. The Space Girl is the gorgeous woman from space that uses her beauty to seduce the men into giving them her lifeforce.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are good throughout, Steve Railsback shows the panic required and Peter Firth keeps everything looking calm through the film. Mathilda May looks stunning in her role which mostly revolves around her walking around naked for most of her screen time. An early role from Patrick Stewart is nice to see here too.

StoryThe story follows the idea that man had been enter space and never knowing what was out there, this plays into the horrors of what we could find in space, a virus, an infection and species that could take over our lives. We ask the question, ‘what would happen if we bought it back?’ this obviously shows the worst case scenario and one scientist would warn people about. The story keeps everything feeling interesting as the truth comes out and by the end of the film you will also be happy to have the conversation about space travel.

Action/Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiThe action in the film comes from the chaos caused trying to contain the spread, which is military style. The horror comes from what the vampires do when they suck the lifeforce out of their victims, this is a wonderful set of scenes to watch. The mystery keeps us guessing to what the main intentions the vampire shave by coming to Earth, we watch as this is getting solve through the film. the sci-fi side of the film explores the ideas that we could find unknown threats in space that cause chaos back on Earth as we continue to learn about the space around us.

SettingsThe film is set in and around London which is nice for the horror scene, we see iconic location destroyed too.

Special EffectsThe practical effects are wonderful as they look like a blink of an eye to where things go, the CGI moments are not the best though.


Scene of the Movie –
The effects between the mummified sides.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The end does feel rushed.

Final ThoughtsThis is a clever sci-fi movie that shows the weaknesses in going into space which could bring horrors to Earth, the effects are wonderful, and the acting is strong throughout.

 

Overall: Sci-Fi film for fans of the genre.

Rating

 

 

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Like Father (2018)

Director: Lauren Miller

Writer: Lauren Rogen (Screenplay) Anders Bard, Lauren Rogen (Story)

Starring: Kristen Bell, Seth Rogen, Kelsey Grammer, Zach Appelman, Paul W Downs, Brittany Ross, Jen Zaborowski

 

Plot: A workaholic woman who is left at the altar takes her honeymoon trip anyway with her overachieving father who left her mother because he believed his family was holding back his career.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sweet Comedy

 

Story: Like Father starts when workaholic Rachel (Bell) still attached to her phone is getting married, her problem is she won’t put her phone down, which leads to her fiancée leaving her at the altar. When her estranged workaholic father Harry (Grammer) turns up at the wedding and offers her a shoulder to cry on.

After a drinking bender together, Rachel and Harry end up going on the Honeymoon cruise together in a hope to help Rachel relax and forget about work for a couple of weeks and learn the lesson about needing to put work on the back burner.

 

Thoughts on Like Father

 

Characters – Rachel is a complete workaholic that has never been able to put her phone down including her wedding day which leads to her fiancée leaving her at the altar. Trying to return to work through the pain it quickly turns into a drinking bender with her father, the man she hates the most because he left her when she was young. She ends up going on her honeymoon with her father, but spends most of the time on the phone too, over the trip she must learn to put her phone away and see the bigger picture of life. Harry is Rachel’s father, he left her when she was a child, but has always watched over her, he sees she is making the same mistakes he did and wants to guide her in the right direction before it is too late for her. Jeff is a divorcee that is on the cruise with his sister to help him get over his divorce, she meets Rachel and the two spend time together as they both have suffered a surprise down in their lives. The rest of the characters we meet include the fellow couples, the twice married couple, the anniversary for the elder couple and the gay couple that complete the 4 couples together.

PerformancesKristen Bell takes the leading role in this movie, she a great to watch as she handles the comedy and the serious moments in the film very well as well has having the good timing chemistry with Grammer. Kelsey Grammer is known for the legendary television run and it has always been hard to see him as any other character, here he does a good job and keeps the calmness you can only imagine from his experience in the genre of comedy. Seth Rogen in the supporting role is good, he doesn’t bring his usual style of comedy letting the two leads take the full spotlight.

StoryThe story show us how a workaholic woman is left at the altar for her overcommitments with work only for estranged father to return to her life to try and build bridges and teach her about the mistakes she is making. The story focuses on needing to learn about taking time away from work to enjoy the little things in life, not making living in regrets that one has been living with since leaving his daughter. The story could go down as one that is generic for the themes circling around needing to put work on the back burner at times and a rebuilding of parental child relationship, it all comes off sweet and enjoyable balancing the comedy and serious moments through the film.

ComedyThe comedy is a mix of situational moments as Rachel and Harry find themselves in the positions in life they would never have achieved without meeting back up again, the support cast get good laughs too.

SettingsMost of the film is set on the cruise with the days off in the beauty spots along the way, it shows how spending time with family however distant can bring people together again.


Scene of the Movie –
Karaoke.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not dealing with the mother discussion.

Final ThoughtsThis is a charmingly sweet comedy, it does have an important message about work and family with a couple of great performances from Bell and Grammer.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy.

Rating

 

 

Love, Simon (2018)

Director: Greg Berlanti

Writer: Elizabeth Berger, Isaac Aptaker (Screenplay) Becky Albertalli (Novel)

Starring: Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Logan Miller, Keiynan Lonsdale

 

Plot: Simon Spier keeps a huge secret from his family, his friends, and all of his classmates: he’s gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and come to terms with his identity.


Tagline – Everyone deserves a great love story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Must Watch Film of the Year

 

Story: Love, Simon starts as we meet Simon (Robinson) a normal high school kid, he isn’t the most popular, but has a close knit of friends in Leah (Langford), Abby (Shipp) and Nick (Lendeborg Jr), he acts like most high schoolers, only he has a secret, one he can’t tell anyone.

When he learns about another schoolmate has come out anonymously, he sees a friend he can talk to about his homosexuality, without the school learning his secret. As Simon tries to figure out who the mysterious Blue is even after getting blackmailed by a fellow student.

 

Thoughts on Love, Simon

 

Characters – Simon is the average high school student, he is holding in his own secret, he is gay, he doesn’t know how to come out because if the ridicule that could come his way. He connects with a fellow closest student and spends the year trying to figure out who the student is, until his secret becomes known he must try to keep it from coming out. Emily and Jack are the parents of Simon that have their own way to react to events with one being scientific and the other always trying to turn things into a joke. Leah, Abby and Nick are the three best friends that slowly become victims of the secret however hard Simon tries to keep things undercover, they would always support him.

PerformancesNick Robinson is fantastic in this role, this is a true breakout performance for the young actor, as we truly understand his characters mindset throughout. The rest of the cast know exactly how to bounce off Nick’s performance to make his and theirs better.

StoryThe story follows the graduation years for Simon as he battles to understand how to come out as gay to his friends, family and the school. Seeing how difficult this moment is for the young man is such an interesting story, watching how he wants to figure out who his romantic anonymous interest is from little moments of their conversations is fascinating to see unfold. The story shows us just how difficult this moment could be for anyone going through the same situation and wanting to see people act like nothing changed.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy blends perfectly with drama of high school life and the romance just makes you feel like you want to see the happy ending.

SettingsThe gives us the high school environment for the settings which shows us how the students act towards each part of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Ferris wheel.

That Moment That Annoyed Me How do these high school kids have time for coffee before school?

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most important movies of the year, because it shows that whichever sexuality you choose to be, be it, don’t be worried what people will think. The story is told in such a charming way that will only leave you with a smile on your face.

 

Overall: Beautiful and important film.

Rating

 

 

The Last Tycoon (1976)

Director: Elia Kazan

Writer: Harold Pinter (Screenplay) F Scott Fitzgerald (Novel)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Tony Curtis, Robert Mitchum, Jeanne Moreau, Jack Nicholson, Donald Pleasence, Ray Milland

 

Plot: F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s novel is brought to life in this story of a movie producer slowly working himself to death.


Tagline – He has the power to make anyone’s dream come true… except his own.

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strangely Important Movie

 

Story: The Last Tycoon starts as we see how Monroe Stahr (De Niro) is working on the latest film, finding the right points to make it the production company’s next big hit, his superiors including Pat Bray (Mitchum) question this latest method even if the boss trusts his ideas without a doubt.

We follow Monroe as he conducts the business and uses his position of power to seduce aspiring actresses, while his health only continues to worsen by not taking the break his doctors are giving him.

 

Thoughts on The Last Tycoon

 

Characters – Monroe is the hotshot producer that can make any film work for his production company, he sees the little flaws in movies to fix them before they get released, he over works himself, but using his position got find actresses. Rodriguez is one of the starts of the studio that has worked with Monroe for years, the only one that will help him. Pat Brady is the senior production manager or something like that for the studio, he is against Monroe’s decisions at times, fearing for the studio.

PerformancesThe do have an amazing cast for this movie, Robert De Niro takes the centre stage and of course this was when every role he did gave us something to remember. With Tony Curtis and Robert Mitchum taking the main supporting roles we have nothing to fear with performances here.

StoryThe story follows one movie producer as he is searching for perfection on this next movie, while also keeping himself attached to enough women. We see his mental and physical health decline with his over working, but the truth is, even with a wonderful cast this just doesn’t become interesting enough for us to watch.

RomanceThe film claims to be a romance, but I am not sure why, we only meet a womaniser.

SettingsThe film takes place in Hollywood which puts us into the world we are going to be taking on, it works without being anything special.


Scene of the Movie –
Fixing the film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Seems boring

Final ThoughtsThis is an example of older films which would have worked well at the time but doesn’t anymore, the performances are wonderful, but the story drags.

 

Overall: Dated movie

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – L – Lesson of the Evil (2012)

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Takashi Miike (Screenplay) Yusuke Kishi (Novel)

Starring: Shota Sometani, Takayuki Yamada, Fumi Nikaido, Nicole Balsam, Howard Harris

 

Plot: A popular high school teacher concocts an extreme plan to deal with the rise of bullying and bad behavior among the student body

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strange Horror

 

Story: Lesson of the Evil starts by taking us into the High School in Japan, the school is filled with cheating, bullying and worst of all sexual harassment, the teachers even look to new ideas to stop the cheating by blocking phone signals during tests. We focus on Kesiduke (Sometani) and Reika (Nikaido) as they turn to popular teach Seiji Hasumi (Ito) for help during the situation they see wrong.

When Hasumi finds himself searching for a way to end the trouble at the school and his methods prove to be deadly, we are left to wonder which students will become the latest targets of his clean up mission.

 

Thoughts on Lesson of the Evil

 

Characters/PerformanceSeiji Hasumi is the likeable teacher that the students turn to for help, they are unaware of his darker side as they could become the victims of his decision to go to the extremes to clean up the school. Tetsuro is one of the stricter teachers that takes advantage of the students, Keisuke is the slacker in school, happy to cheat his way through class but never truly bullied from what I could tell. Reika is the girl that falls for Hasumi which plays into the rule book that he has set up making her a potential victim.

The performance are all good throughout the cast, fitting the film tone and ideas, with the kids running scared and the teacher enjoying what he does.

StoryThis film askes the question, what would a teacher do to clean up the school, well this pushes everything to the extreme in what is part Saw and part Funny Games. The film does have a chance to tackle real issues but fails miserable to tackle them instead focuses too much on just the cheating going on within the school of the problems that are much more serious.

HorrorThe horror is all through the idea of a teacher going to the extremes to teach the lessons about cheating.

SettingsWe don’t get too many iconic settings, most of the film starts in the school but we also have certain random places for the crimes.

Special EffectsThe effects are all used well to create the kills but otherwise nothing overly important is coming from the effects.

Final ThoughtsThis is an overly long horror that tries to give us a shocking film but in the end it is just something that misses a big chance.

 

Overall: Sloppy horror that doesn’t click.

Rating