Parallax (2020) Movie Review

Director: Michael Bachochin

Writer: Michael Bachochin (Screenplay)

Starring: Naomi Prentice, Nelson Ritthaler, Hattie Smith, Ted Gianopulos, Bette Smith, Taylor Flowers

Plot: A young artist wakes up in a life that she doesn’t recognize, spending her time asleep haunted by nightmares of drowning in a black abysmal void. As she begins to uncover the truths of the life that she’s found herself in, the gravity of her failing reality weighs heavily on her psychological identity and the reliability of her sanity is called into question.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Thinking Person’s Film

Story: Parallax starts as Naomi (Prentice) is feeling lost in her life, not remembering everything, including her fiancée Lucas (Ritthaler) who has been trying to support her, seeing Dr Hill (Gianopulos) for guidance, to help him express his frustrations of where his relationship is going.

As Naomi starts trying to explore her own mind, she finds herself being able to create worlds, one where she meets Mikayla (Smith) someone who she can communicate with more than anyone in her life, leading her to see the two worlds blur into reality.

Thoughts on Parallax

Characters – Naomi is a young woman that is questioning her own reality, she uses art to escape and find her own reality, one that will give her more answers to life, she doesn’t remember people she thought were big parts of her life, she doesn’t know who to trust in life. Lucas is the fiancée that has been trying to help Naomi with her troubles, he seeks outside help, which does give him a chance to understand whether he is right to continue to support the way he does. Mikayla comes to Naomi in the other reality, offering Naomi conversations she doesn’t always get in life, giving answer to the unknow questions.

PerformancesNaomi Prentice and Nelson Ritthaler are both good in the leading roles, showing the differences that they are going through during the story, with each scene needing them to bring something different to the table.

StoryThe story here follows a young woman that finds herself being trapped in a world where she doesn’t remember everything around her, her fiancée tries to support her in remembering things, only for her to find herself question each and everything about her life. This is a story that does go very deep into the reality of life, while we don’t get this until later, it will get you thinking, scratching your head at times and needing to take a step back to analyse everything you watch. It could be considered one film that does go too deep into the thinking side of things, which doesn’t help us get the full enjoyment, and is 100% a movie you can’t just relax and watch.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi side of the movie dives into difference in reality, seeing what could or couldn’t be real. Constantly keeping us guessing along the way.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings in a family home for the relationship, while also creating open beauty space for the quiet moments of peace.


Scene of the Movie – The deep dive.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It goes too deep.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting sci-fi that could be analysed for hours to truly understand everything, but it will not be a casual viewing for anyone.

Overall: Brains Firmly On.

Tobey Maguire Weekend – Pawn Sacrifice (2014) Movie Review

Director: Edward Zwick

Writer: Steven Knight (Screenplay) Stephen J Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson, Steven Knight (Story)

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Liev Schreiber, Michael Stuhlbarg, Peter Sarsgaard, Lily Rabe, Edward Zinoviev, Alexandre Gorchkov

Plot: Set during the Cold War, American chess prodigy Bobby Fischer finds himself caught between two superpowers and his own struggles as he challenges the Soviet Empire.


Tagline – In 1972, Bobby Fischer faced the Soviet Union in the greatest chess match ever played. On the board he fought the Cold War. In his mind he fought his madness.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Chess Made Interesting

Story: Pawn Sacrifice starts as a young Bobby Fischer grows up learning chess, his reputation grows and before long he becomes the champion of America. Not happy with just winning in America Bobby (Maguire) wants to become the youngest world champion and take on the Russian players with the world champion Boris Spassky (Schreiber).

After learning how the Russians play, Bobby storms out of the game, knowing he wouldn’t get a chance to win, Paul Marshall (Stuhlbarg) and priest Father Bill Lombardy (Sarsgaard) agree to work with Bobby to put his name back on the map, to one get the showdown with the champion Boris.

Thoughts on Pawn Sacrifice

Characters – Bobby Fischer is an American chess prodigy, he has proven himself in America and wants to conquer the world, it doesn’t take long before he starts learning about the corruption within the game, which will hold him back, he does make himself difficult to work with, always believing he is being bugged by the Russians, storming out at certain moments, his determination to have thing done a certain done the right way, does make things more complicated for his future in the sport. It is clear that Bobby is dealing with a lot of mental issues, which don’t get dealt with properly. Boris Spassky is the Russian Grand Master, current World Champion, that like Bobby is being controlled by his handlers, he just wants to prove himself against the best, which means facing Bobby in whichever style of game possible. Paul Marshall is the man that brings Bobby back to the game, he becomes his manager, making thing happen for the player, however difficult Bobby is to work with.

PerformancesTobey Maguire is wonderful in the leading role, this is one of the movies which does seem to be one of the finally screen appearances in years, which is a shame because of how talented he is. Liev Schreiber is great to watch as the rival chess player, with the fellow supporting cast, Michael Stuhlbarg and Peter Sarsgaard both giving strong performances.

StoryThe story here follows the rise of chess genius Bobby Fischer as he deals with his own mental health when trying to break down the Russian dominance in the world of chess to become the new world champion. This is an interesting story because it does show how conflicted Bobby was when it came to the game of chess, he did want to become champion, but being in the middle of the cold war, only built up the tension between the nations playing the game too. If we were going to look to learn the full Bobby Fischer story, we will be left disappointed because his life because even more fascinating after the big championship match.

BiopicThe biopic side of this film only shows the build up to the big championship match, where the two heavyweights will come to face each other, instead of the more interesting later steps of his life.

SettingsThe film does show us just how many different locations that could be bugged that would cause the problems for Bobby.


Scene of the Movie – The chess matches.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could learn so much more about Bobby’s life after this big match.

Final Thoughts This is an enjoyable thriller about chess, who would have thought of this beforehand. Tobey Maguire is great to watch through the film.

Overall: Interesting Chess Thriller.

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – P -Planet of the Sharks (2016) Movie Review

Director: Mark Atkins

Writer: Marc Gottlieb, Mark Atkins (Screenplay)

Starring: Brandon Auret, Stephanie Beran, Lindsay Sullivan, Lauren Joseph, Daniel Barnett, Christia Visser

Plot: In the near future, glacial melting has covered ninety-eight percent of Earth’s landmass. Sharks have flourished, and now dominate the planet, operating as one massive school led by a mutated alpha shark.


Tagline – When The World Floods With Water, One Species Rises To The Top!

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Not Good

Story: Planet of the Sharks starts as we enter the world where most of the Earth is now covered in water, with a small floating town attacked by sharks, leaving just one survivor Beatrice (Joseph) rescued by Dillon Barrick (Auret) who is one of the member of the local towns that watch over the groups of civilizations.

When the communities learn they will become the latest targets, they look to end the new threat coming their way and stop the new shark army, being led by an alpha that has been controlling the rest of the sharks, turning them into a killing machine.

Thoughts on Planet of the Sharks

Final Thoughts In a world where we do get endless amounts of shark movies, we can get the over the top fun ones, like Sharknado,, we get the so bad they are enjoyable like Sharknado, then we get ones that are trying to be over the top and fail to land any of the tone and just feel like they are going through the motions of making a weak shark movie, this is a perfect example of one that misses way more than it hits and ends up being a drag, with acting that doesn’t hit, the story is dull and the idea just doesn’t click in the way it wants to.

Overall: Sloppy.

Prey (2014)

Director: Alastair Orr

Writer: Max Roberts (Screenplay)

Starring: Zachary Soetenga, Lindsey McKeon, Sofia Pernas, Pierson Fode, Jamie Anderson, Mark Steger

 

Plot: American Tourists travel to Panama and have a very terrifying experience.


Tagline – There are places you should never visit. This is one of them. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Weak Horror

 

Story: Prey starts as five tourists Scott (Soetenga), Steph (McKeon), Elena (Pernas), Trevor (Fode) and Charlie (Anderson) are on vacation in Panama for adventures with surfing being one of their main goals, when the friends learn of a perfect waterfall in a forbidden jungle, they go there with the local woman Carmen (Penuela).

Once there and after their fun they start getting hunted down by a mysterious creature, lost in the jungle the legendary Chupacabra is hunting them down as the race to desperately escape.

 

Thoughts on Prey

 

Characters – Scott is about to move on with the next chapter of his life, this could be his last holiday with his friends and he wants to make the most of it, part of his work is a new app which can use social media to locate and identify people on video, he picks this location, he records the message for help. Steph is Scott’s girlfriend who also worked on the app, well I think the characters are not drawn out well, she is about to go to veterinary school. Elena is the other female friend, that’s about all we learn about her and Trevor and Charlie are the other guy friends who want drinks and sex.

PerformancesThe performances, well the group go have chemistry between them and the fun around their adventure seems realistic, the problems come from the horror side of the film which is mostly them running in darkness and screaming, which never gives anyone a chance to perform well.

StoryThe story follows the group of tourists that end up going too deep into the Panama jungle and encounter the Chupacabra, here we have the standard characters doing the running through the jungle routine, this is all done before and done a lot better, the most interesting element of the story comes from seeing the social media rescue attempt which I feel we could have seen larger parts to make it more interesting. While I would like to say this is easy to watch, I would be lying because everything in the jungle is shaky cam and difficult to figure out who is who between the character in the dark landscapes. It does however follow the normal trends, you know the order the people will get picked off without needing to think too much about it.

HorrorThe horror side of the film comes with the ideas of it being a creature feature, though it does feel like The Descent creatures got ripped off and thrown into a jungle.

SettingsPanama has the beauty which we see early on and the mystery about its jungle, which brings new horrors to the film.

Special EffectsThe effects focus more on the wounds which can look graphic while the creature looks frightening enough in the dark.


Scene of the Movie –
The media rescue.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The shaky cam.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the books creature feature which never gets out of first gear, relies on shaky cam to often and doesn’t give us enough characters to care about.

 

Overall: Forgettable horror.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – X – Paradox (2017) Movie Review

True clutching at straws style here, we are under X because the title finishes with the letter, X is a difficult letter, ok let me off.

Director: Wilson Yip

Writer: Nick Cheuk, Lai-Yin Leung (Screenplay)

Starring: Louis Koo, Yue Wu, Ka Tung Lam, Chris Collins, Tony Jaa, Jacky Cai, Ken Lo

Plot: A tough Hong Kong cop’s 16 y.o. daughter disappears in Pattaya. He goes to Thailand to find her and must deal with corrupt cops but an honest one helps him track down culprits involved in illegal organ trafficking.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Brutal Fights

Story: Paradox starts when Wing Chi (Chan) heads to Thailand to visit a friend, only for her to go missing, leading to her tough Hong Kong cop father Chung Chi (Koo) to go in search for her, he teams up with local cops Chui Kit (Wu) and Tak (Jaa) as they looks for clues about her location.

As Chung Chi gets deeper into the investigation, he learns of the corruption within the police department, with his daughter just being another victim of a much large scheme.

Thoughts on Paradox

Characters – Chung Chi is a Hong Kong detective who lost his wife in an accident, he has raised his daughter with strict rules, which has seen her need the freedom from him with a trip to Thailand. When she goes missing, he will show just how nonsense he is when it comes to looking for a lost loved one, not stopping or holding back in his search for answers. Chui Kit is the local Thai cop that is helping Chung Chi, he is like a younger version of the cop, who is about to start a family and is someone that is still learning his place in the forces bigger picture. Hon Shou is the businessman running the operation of taking victims, he keeps his business secret and makes sure the deals are done for the greater good. Tak is the local cop that will be rough to the criminals, but will never hurt an innocent, teaching Chui Kit about the risks they can face.

PerformancesLouis Koo and Yue Wu together show us the pure desperation the two characters are feeling, while showing the hell they will fight through to stop the criminals. Tony Jaa will always excel in the fighting sequences with Ka Tung Lam being a great villainous figure through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a Hong Kong detective that heads to Thailand in search for his missing daughter where he will uncover a web of cover ups about her disappearance. This is a story that does the travel to a new location to find missing relative well, it is an idea which will always make for a strong base for a story, where this one stands up is by having surprises along the way, willing to accept turns in the story you wouldn’t normally expect to see. The story might well struggle to establish is big enough villain though, while the motivation is big, they don’t seem like a presence when dealing with the cops.

Action/CrimeThe action in this film is big, we have massive fights which show of all the fighting skills of the people involved, with a range of different weapons as we dive into the criminal world.

SettingsThe film uses the Thailand settings to show us different locations the criminals would operate in.


Scene of the Movie – The final cut.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The villains don’t feel as present as you would think.

Final Thoughts This is an action film that doesn’t hold back on the action with big fight sequences that cover up the basic underlying story which doesn’t become more challenging than it needs to.

Overall: Bruising Action Film.