ABC Film Challenge – Animation – P – Pom Poko (1994)

Director: Isao Takahata

Writer: Isao Takahata (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Shincho Kokontei, Makoto Nonomura, Yuriko Ishida, Norihei Miki, Nijiko Kiyokawa

 

Plot: A community of magical shape-shifting raccoon dogs struggle to prevent their forest home from being destroyed by urban development.


Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Animation

 

Story: Pom Poko starts as we meet the racoons that have lived on farm land for years, but lose their home to the humans whose development has destroyed large amounts of their forest homes. Now the racoons must put their difference behind them to fight back against the humans to keep their homes.

This involved learning how to transform into humans to enter the human world to bring it down from the inside even though this is against their lazy nature.

 

Thoughts on Pom Poko

 

Characters – The characters we meet are different racoons, the have the elders who come up with plans to keep their lands, the young ones that are developing their skills to play the pranks on the humans. We also have the transformation master that are entering the battle in the real world as humans.

StoryThe story follows the racoons that want to keep their land from being taken over by human development. We get a bigger message about taking the land of wildlife for our own development. This works for the story because it has fun at the struggles the racoons must go through and balance this against the serious elements of the film. we do have similarities to The Watership Down too in this one.

Comedy/Family/FantasyThe comedy is typical animated comedy, we get moments of slapstick as we tell of the training in the most part. The family could enjoy this one and learn important lessons too and the fantasy comes from the idea racoons can transform into humans and other creatures.

SettingsThe settings show us the countryside the racoons live in that is being destroyed by the humans and the human world the racoons enter. This keeps the settings simple but effective.

AnimationThe animation fits the typical Ghibli style which works to tell the story well.


Scene of the Movie –
Transformation training.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is slightly too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sweet little Ghibli movie, it does send important messages about how wildlife and humans must learn to live together.

 

Overall: Sweet little animation movie.

Rating

 

 

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Proud Mary (2018)

Director: Babak Najafi

Writer: John Stuart Newman, Christina Swegal, Steve Antin (Screenplay)

Starring: Taraji P Henson, Billy Brown, Jahl Di’Allo Winston, Neal McDonough, Margaret Avery, Xander Berkeley, Rade Serbedzija, Danny Glover

 

Plot: Mary (Taraji P. Henson) is a hit woman working for an organized crime family in Boston, whose life is completely turned around when she meets a young boy whose path she crosses when a professional hit goes bad.


Tagline – Execute with style.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Action

 

Story: Proud Mary starts when Mary (Henson) performs a hit, leaving the son of the victim alive, one year later, Danny (Winston) the same boy has fallen into the life of crime, with Mary watching over him until she needs to rescue him.

When Mary takes out the man behind the abusing Danny, she starts a war between her own gang led by Benny (Glover) and Luka’s (Serbedzija) one she must hide the truth from before needing to fight back against the people she once trusted.

 

Thoughts on Proud Mary

 

Characters – Mary is a hitwoman, she lives the high life between jobs, but she won’t take out kids, this has led to her needing to watch over one kid she refused to kill, she sees the same in Danny as she had, being left to fend for themselves. She wants to give Danny the life he deserves after knowing what could happen to him in the life of crime. Tom is the former boyfriend of Mary’s co-worker and raised with Mary, he is loyal to his father Benny, while trying to keep the business together, we don’t get much else out of this character. Danny is the loose end for one of Mary’s hits, he is left to fall into the life of crime before Mary takes him in to show him a normal life, one he should have been having.

PerformancesTaraji P Henson looks the part here, she brings us the beauty assassin character well, but she is clearly too emotional at times for a cold-hearted killer. Billy Brown is the typical family matters in the killer’s circle, he doesn’t bring anything fresh to the performance. Jahi is good in the kid role, he does everything needed without looking out of place.

StoryThe story here is a hitwoman that wants out of the life of crime after facing the reality of what she has been doing to children caught in the crossfire and of course she isn’t allowed to leave that easily. This is everything we have become used in a story, we have seen these movies escalate in quality in recent years, see John Wick for this, but this one is one that just never gets going enough to make us care about the decision. If you do want to see the basic story this will check the boxes without being the stand out on of any years.

Action/CrimeThe trailers makes this feel like a full blown action movie, well this is wrong, we get moments of action sure, they are fun just not often enough for a movie that feels like it should be way over the top. We deal with the crime world throughout the film as we see how the people operate in this world.

SettingsNew York City, the setting of choice, it is one I always say looks amazing for a backdrop, this shows how the criminals will be fighting for control of it too.


Scene of the Movie –
Even though I hated the music, mostly because it is in an advert in England, the shoot-out is fun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Shopping, in an action movie, no thank you.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard action movie that doesn’t offer anything new to the genre, it has basic moments of action even if Taraji P Henson does bring us the highlight of the film.

 

Overall: Easy to watch basic action movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – P – Perfect Storm (2000)

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Writer: William D Wittliff (Screenplay) Sebastian Junger (Book)

Starring: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, John C Reilly, Diane Lane, William Fichtner, John Hawkes, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Allen Payne

 

Plot: An unusually intense storm pattern catches some commercial fishermen unaware and puts them in mortal danger.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sea Worthy Disaster Adventure

 

Story: The Perfect Storm starts as Captain Billy Tyne (Clooney) has been hitting a dry patch when it comes to his boats fishing quota. Determined to turn this around Billy takes his crew Bobby (Wahlberg), Murph (Reilly), Sully (Fichtner), Bugsy (Hawkes) and Alfred (Payne) out again further than normal but also to a location which should have larger number of fish.

As the crew hit the ocean get go further than before, but they catch more than they could imagine, the problem they now face is getting home, which includes going through a hurricane the size no one has seen before.

 

Thoughts on The Perfect Storm

 

Characters/PerformanceCaptain Billy Tyne is a once successful fisherman but his luck has dried up, determined to turn it around he takes his crew out further than normal risking their lives. Bobby is the younger member of the crew who loves the adventure at sea but his girlfriend wants him to start a less risky job, this could be his last mission to sea. Murph is the divorced father that is dealing with the idea is son isn’t going to be seeing him as often as he would like to. Sully is the newest crew member, he seems difficult to work with but also loyal to the end and one of the best fishermen in own. We do also have the remaining crew who are loyal, other boats that get trapped in the storm, Linda Greenlaw a fellow fisherwoman that knows how capable Billy is and finally Christina, Bobby’s girl that waits for him back home.

Performance wise, Clooney shows here that he was ready to start being taken seriously by Hollywood here, we also get a good performance from Wahlberg here too, we also have a supporting cast we can always rely on to give us brilliant performance and they know their importance to the film.

StoryThe story is based on the true events of the 1991 hurricanes that hit off the coast of America, we follow the fishing boat primary but we do also have the coastguards being followed as they look to rescue other boats which at times does take away from the characters we get to have a good time meeting in the opening sequence of the film. away from that we get to see how the main boat must decide whether to stay safe or risk it all be going through the storm.

Action/AdventureThe action sequences through the storm are brilliant, they put us in complete location with the crew dealing with every single up and down they must face. The adventure shows us what the men must overcome to return home.

SettingsThe film is set all at sea which is fine because it is about the fishing boat that needs to battle the storm to make it home, but this makes us feel like we are in the middle of this adventure through the whole film.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to make each and every scene look realistic and still do till this day.

Final ThoughtsOne of the films that shows us just how people will fight through storms to make money and how mother nature will not always be one your side.

 

Overall: Edge of your seat action thriller.

Rating

 

 

Psychokinesis (2018)

Director: Sang-ho Yeon

Writer: Sang-ho Yeon (Screenplay)

Starring: Seung-ryong Ryu, Eun-kyung Shim, Jung-min Park, Yu-mi Jung, Yeong-gi Jeong, Do-yoon Kim

 

Plot: After drinking water from a mountain spring, a bank security guard gains telekinetic superpowers, which he must use to save his estranged daughter from an evil construction company, as a superhero.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Spin on Superpower Movie

 

Story: Psychokinesis starts when entrepreneur chef Roo-mi (Shim) loses her mother in an attack by construction workers, her only family is her estranged father Seok-hyeon (Ryu) a bank security guard. When the two are united Seok-hyeon learns the struggles Roo-mi is facing and wants to help, only to discover he has gain psychokinetic abilities from drinking spring water.

Lawyer Kim Jeong-hyeon (Park) is trying t battle the company on the legal front and Seok-hyeon is going to start using his abilities to fight the construction company led by the evil Min (Kim), how far can his new superpower take him.

 

Thoughts on Psychokinesis

 

Characters – Seok-hyeon is a bank security guard, he isn’t a good example as he steals work supplies, arrives late for work and drinks heavily. He must face his past when his estranged daughter calls him, while dealing with this new ability he has gained. This does give him a chance to reconnect and make amends for his past errors. Roo-mi is entrepreneur chef that has made her own business that has made national news, she however is targeted by a construction firm that want her property which leads to her needing to reconnect with her father. She doesn’t easily accept him back after walking out on the family and wants to solve the problem herself. Kim Jeong-hyeon is a young lawyer trying to help Roo-mi with her problem and the people in the local area, he wants to keep the case clean while also look at a love interest in Roo-mi.

PerformancesThe performances from the cast are good throughout, Seung-Ryong Ryu in the leading role does make us understand the heartache he felt and will live with even before the battle, Eun-kyung Shim is good too showing us a strong young woman character with the rest of the cast getting their moments in the spotlight when required.

StoryThe story here shows the battle between a construction company and the people’s whose home and businesses they want to take. This is the core of the film, but we do have another element thrown into the mix, a man that has gained superpowers that needs to make amends for walking out on his daughter. The story gives us part origin story, part family rebuilding and part greed of the businesses.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action isn’t as heavy as you would imagine with most of the best sequences being saved for the final act, the fantasy side of the film uses the idea of first discovering superpowers in the origin style we know from the comic book movies.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the different worlds the characters are living in, the struggles of the ones about to get evicted, the one Seok-hyeon comes from and the construction team that want to develop on the land.

Special EffectsThe effects seem good for the most part and then the final act happens and we get the full powers being shown which doesn’t come off looking that great.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The comedy side to the ability doesn’t work.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good spin on the superpower movie, we have seen countless comic book movies, but this one keeps the idea based in reality, which is a nice thing to see.

 

Overall: Superpower movie tipped upside down.

Rating

 

 

Perfect (2016)

Director: Jeremie Battaglia

 

Plot: Perfect follows the Canadian synchronised swimming team beyond the beauty, to the brawn it takes to qualify for Rio 2016.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 17 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Sports Drama

 

Story: Perfect starts as we watch the first training camp for the Canadian synchronised swimming team, the coach is firm and doesn’t care what your status in previous years have been, she will only select the best performers. With the team selected we watch their preparation with the world championships, specialised training camps, the injuries they have suffered through all in the hope to quality for Rio 2016. We see the highs and lows this team goes through and the unity they show through this ruthless athletic demand.

 

Thoughts on Perfect

 

ThoughtsWhen it comes to sports documentaries I find myself drawn to them on a regular basis even if it is a sport I know nothing about. I will always have respect for any athlete that is trying to master their sport of choice, this documentary shows how important this moment is for the coaches and the athletes preparing. Seeing how the Canadian team has a team of unique looking women have to overcome this because other countries seem to get bonus points for having the similar look. This shows the reality of the sport to the athletes. Seeing the sacrifices that are needed to be made for the Olympic dream with the idea of failure leaving them almost broken as to where their future will be is important too. The idea to follow the team is interesting because it gives us an intimate look at the preparation, rather than just looking back. This is a very well-directed movie that should get the praise it deserves.

 

Overall: Sports documentary that needs to be watch.

Rating