Maserati: A Hundred Years Against the Odds (2020) Movie Review

Director: Philip Selkirk

Plot: Celebrate the long and storied history of one of the world’s most recognizable icons, Maserati. From humble beginnings into a small Italian garage to the coveted and luxurious automobile we know today, witness the evolution of the business, the brand, and the cars themselves over 100 years. Featuring interviews with the Maserati family, world-famous racers, collectors, and more.

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Documentary

Story: Maserati: A Hundred Years Against All Odds starts as we learn about how the Maserati brothers worked together to create the fastest race cars, dominating the sport of racing in the era of racing, they faced different competition through the years, financial problems and World Wars, they must learn to evolve to survive the every growing change in the car industry, be it in the racing or commercial use.

Thoughts on Maserati: A Hundred Years Against All Odds

Final Thoughts When we look at documentaries, we need to learn from them, in this film we need to squeeze in 100 years of history, which is already going to be difficult with the length of the film, being less than an hour and half. We do learn the key moments in history, the rise in racing, the move into commercial use before others and the big decisions which saw the company go in different directions. While we do learn the basics, which I would imagine anyone who has done basic history in Maserati would know, it does feel like this could have been a mini series that could have dived into more details, with certain moments being, this happened, things changed, then onto the next chapter, we don’t get enough time to dive into the impact on these moments. If you wanted to get into the small details of the company and its history, you will feel like you have missed out on big moments, which could have shown the true struggles and successes the company had.

Overall: History Lesson 101.

My Spy (2020) Movie Review

Director: Peter Segal

Writer: Erich Hoeber, Jon Hoeber (Screenplay)

Starring: Dave Bautista, Chloe Coleman, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Kristen Schaal, Greg Bryk, Ken Jeong, Nicole Correia-Damude

Plot: A hardened CIA operative finds himself at the mercy of a precocious 9-year-old girl, having been sent undercover to surveil her family.


Tagline – He’s a Pro. She’s a Natural.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Enjoyable Comedy

Story: My Spy starts as new CIA agent JJ (Bautista) goes off script on his mission, leading to him needing to be scaled down to a surveillance mission with new partner, in tech operator Bobbi (Schaal), the pair must watch over a mother Kate (Fitz-Henley) and her daughter Sophie (Coleman) who have a connection which could be a lead to the man that JJ lost.

When Sophie discovers the two watching them, she decides to blackmail them into being a friend, with JJ filling a void in her life, while opening him up to letting people in his life, learning more about himself.

Thoughts on My Spy

Characters – JJ is a former soldier turned CIA agent, he does lack the undercover skills, which he does make up in his military training, he is reluctant to work with a new partner, seeing his latest mission as a bad one he has no interest in. he gets caught out and must do what young Sophie says or see his cover exposed, seeing him being a fish out of water, turning from closed off from the world to learning to enjoy it again. Sophie is the young girl that is still trying to adapt to her new life, struggling to make friends, before turning to JJ to be another adult figure in her life, showing the skills to play JJ to put the smile back on her face. Kate is the mother of Sophie, the lady that JJ is meant to be watching over, she is struggling to adapt to her new life, balancing being an ER nurse and mother, which sees her letting her down at times. Bobbi is the partner to JJ, she idolises him and can’t wait to work with him, only to find him being distant from her, with her first mission in the field.

PerformancesDave Bautista is great in the leading role showing his skill for comedy in a way that we don’t see from other action heavy stars. Chloe Coleman does a great job in her role too, showing great chemistry with Dave. The rest of the cast get their laughs when needed, working well through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a rookie CIA agent who must work on a surveillance mission, only he gets caught out and must teach the young girl who caught him how to be a spy. The story is enjoyable to watch, the whole CIA versus the villain side does take a firm backseat for the story, while we focus on the unlikely friendship between the former soldier turn CIA agent and the little girl that wants to be a spy. We get to address how difficult it can be to fit in as a child in a new environment, how soldiers could see their lives becoming very isolated, with the two helping each other, showing help can come from strange locations. We could easily say we have seen stories like this before, with other big name action stars, this does do enough to stand on its own on the buddy side, but does become forgettable when it comes to the mission.

Action/ComedyThe action in the film is entertaining, with the fights working well, certain scenes getting a laugh too, this is where the comedy steps up, the pairing of JJ and Sophie will get most the laughs, though the supporting people around them interact well through the film for even more laughs.

SettingsThe film uses the basic surveillance settings through the film, it is mostly an apartment building and the surrounding Chicago location, it works well enough for the film, without needing to be anything more.


Scene of the Movie – The plane.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The mission does seem to just be in the background too much.

Final Thoughts This is an entertaining comedy that the family could enjoy, it will get enough laughs and continues to show Dave Bautista becoming a bigger name in the action comedy world.

Overall: Great Fun.

ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – M – Mutant Chronicles (2008) Movie Review

Director: Simon Hunter

Writer: Philip Eisner (Screenplay)

Starring: Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman, Devon Aoki, Sean Pertwee, Benne Furmann, John Malkovich, Anna Walton, Tom Wu

Plot: 28th century soldier Mitch Hunter leads a fight against an army of underworld Mutants.


Tagline – Welcome to the 23rd century. The new dark ages.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Blood Soaked Adventure

Story: Mutant Chronicles starts with the world’s resources nearly depleted, a war like always is being fought between two sides trying to gain control of the remaining resources Major Mitch Hunter (Jane) is fighting on one side with his best friend Captain Nathan Rooker (Pertwee), with the enemy being led by LT Maximillian Von Steiner (Furmann), when they open a seal which releases mutants from the underworld, who are killing machines, taking the dead back to the machine to build more soldiers.

With the world facing extinction, Brother Samuel (Perlman) plays to lead a team into the underworld to blow up the machine from within, while the human race is rushing to escape the Earth. Samuel recruits, Mitch, John McGuire (Toussaint), Valerie Duval (Aoki), Juba Kim Wu (Wu), El Jesus (Echegaray), Severian (Walton) and Maximillian, all from different worlds, all willing to fight the future of mankind.

Thoughts on Mutant Chronicles

Characters – Major Mitch Hunter is one of the soldier who was fighting on the frontline when the door is opened, he witnesses first hand what the creatures can do and is lucky to escape with his life, turning to drink on his remaining days rather than escape, he will join the mission in exchange for loved ones safety, but will never give up his belief of doing the right thing for the stranded humans. Brother Samuel has the plan to end the pain and suffering from the creatures, he puts together the team to go into the hole to destroy the machine from within. Cpl Valerie Duval is a mother who uses this suicide mission to make sure her children get safety, deadly with a blade, she will be one that has the most to lose. Lt Maximillian von Steiner was once the enemy of Mitch, the two even have a showdown on the military field when the hole is opened, the two must put that difference aside to save humanity. The team is filled with other people from different backgrounds all willing to fight for what is right.

PerformancesThomas Janes was near the height of his power for the time, he is an action film leading man without a doubt and this proves this once again. Ron Perlman as the calmer religious leader is great to see, while Devon Aoki is always going to be a welcome addition for the combat side of the film. Benno Furmann is one of the unsung stars of the film where he must bring an enemy to life as one of the good guys and manages it. The rest of the cast do add things to the film, each getting a big moment to shine.

StoryThe story here takes us way into the future where mankind’s own weaknesses has led to another war for resources only for it to release a new threat to the world, one that will see mankind meet its match and need to unit to save the future, we follow one group risk everything in a suicide mission to save mankind. This might well be one of the typical mission to save the world stories, with the numbers being against the group for the most part, each one fighting for their own reason and each having their own strength and weaknesses. The most impression side of the story comes from seeing just how imaginative the world created is, showing how humanity might be known to be true evil, but what is uncovered is worse than anything imagined before and that humanity’s only hope is to run.

Action/Sci-FiThe action here is plenty of hand to hand, sword swinging and just gun blasting bodies piling up entertainment, which doesn’t hold back on the violence we get to experience. The sci-fi world is impressive as it shows how wars have reach a new level showing just how the people have been affected through the years, we also see different crafts that have steampunk around them too.

SettingsThe film sends us to a world in the future where Earth is on its final legs, humanity has run it to the ground and a new enemy is coming to destroy them, we might have a lot of green screen in use here, but we do get to see what the world is meant to look like.

Special EffectsThe effects are the biggest weakness in the film, the main problems here come from seeing just how the green screen is working, there are some horrible looking moments, but then we also have some bloody practical effects which work well.


Scene of the Movie – Going down.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The green screen looks bad.

Final Thoughts This is a highly entertaining blood bath of a movie, it knows it is meant to be violent, isn’t afraid of holding back and brings imagination to the world at war.

Overall: Highly Entertaining.

Rachel Weisz Weekend – My Cousin Rachel (2017)

Director: Roger Michell

Writer: Roger Michell (Screenplay) Daphne Du Maurier (Novel)

Starring: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger, Iain Glen, Pierfrancesco Favino, Simon Russell Beale

 

Plot: A young Englishman plots revenge against his late cousin’s mysterious, beautiful wife, believing her responsible for his death. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.


Tagline – Did she or didn’t she?

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Slow Drama

 

Story: My Cousin Rachel starts when young man Philip (Claflin) gets letters calling for help from his close cousin Ambrose about his wife Rachel (Weisz) he goes looking for answers, only to learn that his cousin has died, believe Rachel was the cause of his death, he invites her to the family home.

When Philip starts spending time with Rachel, he learns of a different side and even starts to fall in love with her, this offers him a chance to learn about the tragic story of her previous love, showing his early feelings against her were misled.

 

Thoughts on My Cousin Rachel

 

Characters – Philip spent his life with his cousin until he got married moving away from him, only communicating through letters, become concerned about his cousin he searches for answers which gives him bad news and a new look on life, even if his jealously can cause his own problems. Rachel is the mysterious cousin’s wife that comes into Philip’s life after her husband’s death and soon she doesn’t seem like any of the letters created her to be. When we look at the rest of the characters none make an impact with Louise being a family friend who offers advice, while Kendall is the guardian trying to advise Philip.

PerformancesI can’t complain about the quality of acting in this film, Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin are both strong in their roles without hitting the full levels that show us just how far their characters will go. As for the supporting cast they are mostly fine, they really don’t have enough to do to stand out in this film.

StoryThe story follows a young man trying to figure out just what happened to his cousin, with the only living connection to him being Rachel to whom he falls wildly in love with. This plays out like a mystery which is the interesting side to the story, though it falls into forbidden love that never really connects on the levels it was hoping too. The story doesn’t feel as dark as it should, it focuses way too long on the romance or any of the mystery to stand out and teases too long into the sanity of Philip over the mystery. The other clear frustration with this story is that we focus too heavily on rich people having too much money for their own good.

Mystery/RomanceThe mystery comes from not knowing just what is going on for the most part, it never connects us enough to know the truth because the romance overshadows everything when it clearly doesn’t feel real or need to be that upfront.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the rich society setting, which frustrates because we know they have too much money for their own good.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The romance doesn’t work.

Final ThoughtsThis is a mystery romance that doesn’t connect enough on either side, it falls flat and ends up feeling like something we could have skipped.

 

Overall: Romance without the sparkle.

Rating

 

 

Mallrats (1995) Movie Review

Director: Kevin Smith

Writer: Kevin Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Shannen Doherty, Jeremy London, Jason Lee, Claire Forlani, Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams

Plot: Both dumped by their girlfriends, two best friends seek refuge in the local mall.


Tagline – It’s mall or nothing

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Brilliant Comedy

Story: Mallrats starts when TS (London) gets dumped by his girlfriend Brandi (Forlani), while his best friend Brodie (Lee) also gets dumped by Rene (Doherty), to get over the loss the two head to the mall to hang out, only to learn that Brandi’s father Svenning (Rooker) is hosting his dating gameshow in the mall, with Brandi as a contestant, leading the pair to look to sabotage the event.

As the day unfolds Brodie and TS do what they can to get their girlfriends back, learning what they need to focus on in life, while seeing their perfect lives going away from them.

Thoughts on Mallrats

Characters – TS is about to propose to his girlfriend only to get involved in argument breaking up with her, he turns to his best friend to help him through the day, as he plans to get her back, looking through his life, trying to figure out what went wrong. Brodie is the best friend that talks too much, he also gets dumped by his girlfriend and takes it differently to TS, he plans to just hang out at the mall, like most days, where he knows everybody, being more of a slacker than anything else. Rene is Brodie’s ex-girlfriend that just wanted him to get serious and has given him too many chances without getting any success in change from him. Brandi breaks up with TS after his joke ends up with a tragic ending, forcing her to go on the show and thinking Brodie needs to focus on something else in life.

PerformancesJeremy London is great in his role, but it is Jason Lee that easily steals this movie with his perfect comedy timing. Shannen Doherty and Claire Forlani are both strong when they get a chance on centre stage, with the performances from the supporting roles all being great too.

StoryThe story here follows two men that get dumped and spend the day planning on trying to get them back, learning about their mistakes to move forward in life, all from their favourite mall. This story does work very well and does show that sometimes you do need to just look at your life and reassess mistakes you might have been making in a relationship, it is told in a way that shows how well the two friends get on and how they know everybody there too. We get plenty of events which lead up to the conclusion of the story, showing that each member of the cast we meet is important to the final story.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy here comes from the events of the day, more comes from Brodie and the supporting cast who will get plenty of laughs. The romance focuses on how two young men need to learn what is important in life for them both.

SettingsThe film is set in one shopping mall, it shows how it can bring people together and how a day in a life can happen with so much going on.


Scene of the Movie – The gameshow.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could see more from the women’s point of view.

Final Thoughts This is one of the best comedies from the 90s, it has perfect timing for the most part and shows how life can be about a series of events in one day, making life bigger than you could imagine.

Overall: Laugh Out Loud Funny.