Queen of Earth (2015)

Director: Alex Ross Perry

Writer: Alex Ross Perry (Screenplay)

Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Katherine Waterston, Patrick Fugit, Kentucker Audley, Keith Poulson

 

Plot: Two women who grew up together discover they have drifted apart when they retreat to a lake house together.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull

 

Story: Queen of Earth starts as two friends Catherine (Moss) and Virginia (Waterston) spend time catching up in a lake house where they face their past, present and future, question their relationships and look to move onto with their lives.

 

Thoughts on Queen of Earth

 

Characters/PerformanceCatherine is a talent artist who is struggling with coping after the death of his inspiration and father. Virginia is more of a free spirit always wanting to relax through any troubles that come her way sing the trips as the escape required.

Performance wise, both Moss and Waterston are good through the film without being at their very best.

StoryThe story shows how friends can drift apart but will always come together when they need help, otherwise the story is mostly kind of boring with very little happening.

SettingsThe film is set entirely at the lake house which shows us how the friends want to get away from the world.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dull drama being sold as some form of thriller, nothing much happens, there seems to be no resolution to the reason why the characters are there in the first place.

 

Overall: Very uninteresting movie that does nothing for an hour and a half.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – Q – Quartet (2012)

Director: Dustin Hoffman

Writer: Ronald Harwood (Screenplay) Ronald Harwood (Play)

Starring: Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins, Michael Gambon, Sheridan Smith, Andrew Sachs

 

Plot: At a home for retired musicians, the annual concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday is disrupted by the arrival of Jean, an eternal diva and the former wife of one of the residents.


Tagline – Four friends looking for a little harmony

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Drama

 

Story: Quartet starts as we head to Beecham House retirement home for musicians, where Reggie (Courtenay), Wilf (Connolly), Cissy (Collins) are preparing for their latest show for Verdi’s birthday with director Cedric (Gambon). We follow their everyday life at the home before an icon of their industry Jean Horton (Smith) arrives causing old wounds to be opened for Reggie.

The four must rebuild their friendship to bring their once famous quartet back to the stage for the concert, but some bridges are harder to build for Reggie compared to the others, can they forgive and forget before the concert.

 

Thoughts on Quartet

 

Characters – Reggie is the calm member of the quartet, he has lived in the home for a few years with two of his former members Wilf and Cissy, he conducts himself well and teaches when the students visit, but his life is pushed when his ex-wife arrives leaving him resenting being there needing to learn how to forgive his former love. Jean is the biggest name from the former quartet, but now she is left alone in the world needing to get used to her new environment, where she is forced to come out of retirement for one final recording. Wilf is a horny former musician, he flirts at every opportunity, he gets the funniest lines through the film because he knows how to use his charm to enjoy the moments in their lives in the home. Cissy is the absent minded member of the group, it is her age getting to her but Reggie keeps her mind in the right track when needed to be directed the right direction.

PerformancesMaggie Smith is great in this role, this great British actor shows she can handle any role with grace and ease. Tom Courtenay is great too being the strong leading role where he shows the dignity his character requires. Billy Connolly is the perfect choice for the added comic relief of the film, he gains a laugh in nearly every scene, even the serious ones you know he can pull off the laugh needed. Pauline Collins rounds off the leading quartet and she is great throughout the film too, the cast gives us everything we want from their performances.

StoryThe story shows how the once respected performers reaching the retirement age, will need to find something to do in the retirement home to continue their love of music. The main group we follow have their problems between them but to have that one final moment in the spotlight drives them all to perform. The four have sacrificed during their lives to be known as the best, including families which they regret at times but wouldn’t give up what they achieved in their limelight.

ComedyThe comedy comes from how Wilf looks at life and the everyday life within the retirement home.

SettingsMost of the film is set in and around the retirement home, this shows us how the members are still enjoying life, now with like-minded people in their later years.


Scene of the Movie –
The performance building.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While funny, sometimes Wilf is just seemingly there for comic relief.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable light hearted comedy drama showing us just where people can be enjoy their passions at any stage of their life.

 

Overall: Nice touching drama.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – Q – Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011)

Director: John Pogue

Writer: John Pogue (Screenplay)

Starring: Mercedes Mason, Josh Cooke, Mattie Liptak, Ignacio Serricchio, Noree Victoria

 

Plot: A plane is taken over by a mysterious virus. When the plane lands it is placed under quarantine. Now a group of survivors must band together to survive the quarantine.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Idea, Badly Acted

 

Story: Quarantine 2: Terminal starts as we meet our flight attendances Jenny (Mason) and Paula (Blair) who have a low number passengers flight across America, I think. We get to meet the different passengers including teacher that takes Jenny’s fancy Henry (Cooke), teenager travelling alone George (Liptak), the list does go on but most importantly this red eye flight is underway.

When one of the passengers becomes infected by an unknow virus the plane makes an emergency landing and finds themselves quarantined in the terminal. Jenny must keep the passengers calm as the tensions rise between them as they wait to see just how they will make it out of this situation.

 

Thoughts on Quarantine 2: The Terminal

 

Characters/PerformanceJenny is our main character a flight attendant who knows how to have a good time, she must keep her passengers calm through the situation but nothing can prepare her for these events. Henry is a teacher who gets to play out as a potential love interest for Jenny, he stands up for what is right when passengers get out of control. George is a teenager travelling alone and Jenny’s responsibility on the flight however much he wants to be left alone, when things go wrong he wants to stay protected. The rest of the characters are what you expect from characters that are trying to make an impact in horror movies. It would be fair we get introduced to slightly too many characters that makes it hard to give them enough development.

Performance wise, well the acting isn’t great or even good through the film but at least it isn’t just shaky cam now.

StoryBy now we all know the first Quarantine movie was a full remake of {Rec} the Spanish horror movie, but this sequel takes the franchise in a different direction, this is a good thing because by the end we learn that there is a bigger picture to everything that has unfolding. I am glad we went in a different location even if the idea is very similar it does have enough for world building even if not everything is shown to the full extent.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiThe horror side of the film continues the idea that people have become infected and will turn into blood thirsty monster, this is all good without being terribly scary. The mystery will leave us wondering what is going on and we do get answers through the film. the sci-fi well that comes out in the mystery.

SettingsThe film is set both on the plane and the terminal in which it lands, we get the lock down to put our character trapped with the infected trying to kill them as they look to either hide or escape, this all works for the genre.

Special EffectsThe effects show we have a bigger budget now and that we can get into creature new ways to kill the infected too, everything comes off well.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good idea for a sequel especially after the criticism the film got for the shot for shot remake the first was, now we get a film that could have built the world up nicely for sequels.

 

Overall: An idea that could have worked well.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – The Quiet Man (1952)

Director: John Ford

Writer: Frank S Nugent (Screenplay) Maurice Walsh (Story)

Starring: John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Barry Fitzgerald, Ward Bond, Victor McLaglen, Mildred Natwick, Francis Ford

 

Plot: A retired American boxer returns to the village of his birth in Ireland, where he finds love.


Tagline –  Action…Excitement…Romance…Fill the Screen !

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not for the Modern Audience

 

Story: The Quiet Man starts when American Sean Thornton (Watne) returns to Ireland and the town where he was raised, the locals are not impressed with his appearance because he looks to buy a house that Will Danaher (McLaglen) is interested in and takes a shine to his sister Mary Kate Danaher (O’Hara).

When Sean wins Mary Kate’s heart and hand in a horse racing competition they are allowed to date and joined by Michaleen Oge Flynn (Fitzgerald) to watch who must watch over their time together,

 

Thoughts on The Quiet Man

 

Characters – Sean Thornton is an American with a secret past which comes to Ireland to return to his childhood home, he wants to settle down and escape the nightmare moment in his past. Mary Kate is the lady Sean falls in love with even if it means to she loses her fortune.

PerformancesThe performances from John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara are good throughout the film as we get to see what Wayne does best with his dominating behaviour and what Maureen does to try and make herself stand out in the industry.

StoryThe story follows a man that wants to start a new life in the place where he started his life and away from the spotlight which caused him the pain in his life, here he falls in love and must learn to deal with traditions of this new land. This does make sense for the time of the film because the news of what caused Sean to leave America wouldn’t be easy to see spread, unlike the modern era, it does keep things simple throughout too.

Comedy/RomanceWe do get moments of comedy in this film, mostly from how the supporting villagers deal with the stranger, the romance is clear for us as we see the two’s romance unfold.

SettingsThe film takes us to a small Irish village which will give Sean a place to get away from his past and show the community he will be walking into.


Scene of the Movie –
The first truth about Sean.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is hard to tell the different country people apart.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film considered a classic, you can see why because of what it would have help do with cinema, but it just doesn’t seem as attention drawing as it should.

 

Overall: Classic, but dated.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – Q – Queen of Katwe (2016)

Director: Mira Nair

Writer: William Wheeler (Screenplay) Tim Crothers (Article)

Starring: Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o, Martin Kabanza, Taryn Kyaze, Ivan Jacobo

 

Plot: A Ugandan girl sees her world rapidly change after being introduced to the game of chess.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Sports Drama

 

Story: Queen of Katwe starts as we meet Phiona (Nalwanga) a Ugandan girl from a family that struggles to put food on the table each day as she comes from a big family. On the other side of the town Robert Katende (Oyelowo) has been working on introducing sports to the kids and with his latest choice chess, he finds himself getting Phiona joining his class.

When Robert sees the potential in his students he must overcome discrimination in class to give them a chance against the students who can afford an education in a tournament for the school district, as well as overcoming problems that come from living in the slums.

 

Thoughts on Queen of Katwe

 

Characters – Phiona is from the slums of Uganda where she sells corn just to help support her family but when she learns she is chess prodigy she must learn how to balance the slum life and the success she might achieve from chess. Robert Katende is placed in the position of helping sports minister help the children of the slums learn a sport to give them a positive moment in life. He fights for the children to have a chance at competition. Nakku is the mother of Phiona that has struggled through keeping a roof over the head of the children and food on their table but it upsets her seeing how her children that could have a future they can’t afford.

PerformanceMadina Nalwanga comes from nowhere to give a powerful performance of the young woman that must learn to overcome her problems to achieve greatness, David Oyelowo is fast becoming one actor you know can always give us fantastic performances and this is no different, Lupita Nyong’o is once again great in her performance showing how she is one of the must underused actresses in Hollywood.

StoryThe story of one girl from a place no one would consider being one of the biggest prospects in chess is a success story we all like to hear about. We get to experience the ups and downs Phiona must face to become respected in field and the people that support her along her way. This might well be a film about chess

Biography/SportsThis might only be looking at a small part of Phiona’s life but it is the most important part, the part where we get to follow her learning curve of the sport that she loves.

SettingsSeeing the different backgrounds the children involved comes from is great to see, it shows that sport can bring people together regardless of their backgrounds.

Scene of the Movie – The first tournament.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There wasn’t anything.

Final ThoughtsSport that brings people together that is the point of this film which is what is great to enjoy, coming from a country you wouldn’t see as a chess champion also helps us enjoy the ride.

 

Overall: Hugely entertaining sports drama.

Rating