ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – R – The Right Stuff (1983)

Director: Philip Kaufman

Writer: Philip Kaufman (Screenplay) Tom Wolfe (Book)

Starring: Sam Shepard, Scott Glen, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward, Barbara Hershey, Kim Stanley, Veronica Cartwright


Plot: The story of the original Mercury 7 astronauts and their macho, seat-of-the-pants approach to the space program.

Tagline – The spectacular story of America’s first astronauts

Runtime: 3 Hours 13 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Great Story, Too Long a Film


Story: The Right Stuff starts as America is trying to break the sound barrier and not having much success with their men crashing, they turn to Chuck Yeager (Shepard) who excels behind the stick of the plane, soon fellow pilots Gordon Cooper (Quaid) and Gus Grissom (Ward) prove they can hang with Chuck.

When Russia make it into space, the program changes with celebrity pilot John Glenn (Harris) and hot shot pilot Alan Shepard (Glenn) joining forces to take on the race to space as the men from different backgrounds try to prove they are the right men for the mission.


Thoughts on The Right Stuff


Characters – Chuck Yeager is the pilot that breaks the sound barrier for the first time, he is always going to try to beat any records that are being beaten, though he doesn’t go into the Mercury 7 program. He may well be the best of all of the pilots involved in this story. Alan Shepard is the military man through and through, he likes to take things lighter than the rest and is the first to be selected to go in the test flight. John Glenn is the celebrity pilot that is the clear candidate for the first mission into space, he has the best experience with dealing with press, he is by the books and doesn’t want to take things as lightly as the rest of the candidates. Gordon Cooper is the youngest of the candidates he has always go out his way to improve himself, even if his wife doesn’t like the idea of his job. Guy Grissom completes our main pilot group as the one who wants to use his new position to get more attention and is involved in one of the most unexplained errors o the missions. We do get to meet the wives who have to deal with the press invading their privacy through each mission and in constant worry about their husbands.

PerformancesWe have a brilliant cast here, with Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid and Fred Ward all showing us both sides of the pilots turned astronauts as they were willing to go through the punishment and personal difficulties to become the men history will remember.

StoryThe Space Race was a story that took over America in the 60s it is easily one of the most interesting moments in modern history because of the extremes people were going to go to, to make this happen. We follow the training that the men went through, the risks that were put up to make history and the frustration of the Russians beating them over nearly accomplishment. This is easily one that will appeal to anybody who is a fan of the space race, this will give you a story you will know, but will get to enjoy unfold, if you didn’t know it, you will learn the sacrifices they took. The only problem with the story is the length of the film being over 3 hours, we don’t need the film to be that long to tell the same story.

Adventure/BiopicThe adventure behind this story comes from the real risks the men went through to become names in history, which give us the biopic side of everything too, we have the two sides working hand in hand to tell us the moment in history that changed the space race.

SettingsThe film shows us the settings which are mostly military bases and labs where the work must take place in, it is the shots from the air which show us just how heavenly space travel could be for the men involved.

Scene of the Movie –
Chuck’s new plane.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too long for the story it is telling.

Final ThoughtsThis is an incredible story of what these men went through, it shows us just how intense the space race was and the powerhouse performances helps, the only weakness is the length of the film.


Overall: Space Race fans must watch.





Revenge (2017)

Director: Coralie Fargeat

Writer: Coralie Fargeat (Screenplay)

Starring: Matilda Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe, Guillaume Bouchede, Jean-Louis Tribes


Plot: Never take your mistress on an annual guys’ getaway, especially one devoted to hunting – a violent lesson for three wealthy married men.


Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Viscerally Disturbing


Story: Revenge starts when Jen (Lutz) is taking on a getaway by Richard (Janssens), she knows he is married with children and he uses her for what he can’t get at home anymore, when his two friends Stan (Colombe) and Dimitri (Bouchede) arrive the getaway seems like a drug and drink fuelled party, until things get out of control. The men leave Jen for dead, a mistake they want to clean up on.

The problem the men will face is the fact that Jen knows how to survive and she wants to get revenge for everything she ha been through, while trying to make sure she survives her terrifying injuries.


Thoughts on Revenge


Characters – Jen is the mistress of Richard, she dreams of heading off the LA in the future, but for now she is enjoying the life she can, by letting the rich businessman treat her to things. This latest trip doesn’t go as planned and she is left to fight for her life after being left for dead, she must heal her wounds, as she proves to be much harder to kill than the men could ever imagine. Richard is the host for the getaway, using Jen for sex, while his wife and kids are at home, it is planned and a hunting trip, when his friends mess this getaway up, he tries to kill Jen to clean up the loose ends, this only becomes harder for him after his friends start getting killed and he is left trying to escape before he becomes the next victim even though he remains calm through the situation. Stan and Dimitri are the hunter friends of Richard, whom have come on this getaway believing they will be going hunting only to take things too far with Jen, meaning their prey is going to be her, until she turns the tables on them.

PerformancesMatilda Lutz gives a breakthrough performance, where she makes her character sexy when needed and deadly too, she makes the wounds her character goes through just as devastating as they should be, making you want to look away at times. Kevin Janssens as the lead villain keeps his performance calm through everything, making us hate his character as all his actions in the film. Vincent Colombe becomes the most hateable of the villains as he causes most of the problems, he comes off disturbing at times too.

StoryThe story here is very simple which isn’t a bad thing, we have one woman left for dead by three men that have seen their getaway go wrong. This does follow the formula you would expect because it is the party, the event, left for dead and picking off one at the time until she faces off against the leader of the group. The story does take a back burner at times when we focus on the effects being used as wounds are here to shock over anything in the story. there isn’t too much more to say on the story other than simple and effective abilities.

Action/HorrorThe action is in the film shows us just how the wounds are received, they are full of blood and will shock you, the horror shows how the one woman is left for dead in the middle of nowhere which would mean she needs to fight back or die.

SettingsThe film is set on the edge of a desert, a location that is a helicopter ride away, showing that getting hurt isn’t going to be easy to escape from.

Special EffectsThe effects could be the true star of the show because you will wince through certain moments of the wounds when Jen needs to remove something from her body.

Scene of the Movie –
The cave sequence, will be shocking to watch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not sure where it is meant to be set, even which country.

Final ThoughtsThis is a shocking revenge movie that is full of blood and will make you need to look away at times because of what will be going through.


Overall: Shocking Must Watch.




The Rocketeer (1991)

Director: Joe Johnston

Writer: Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, William Dear (Screenplay) Dave Stevens (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, Paul Sorvino, Terry O’Quinn, Ed Lauter, James Handy


Plot: A young pilot stumbles onto a prototype jetpack that allows him to become a high flying masked hero.

Tagline – Three years before the United States declares war, Cliff Secord leads America’s first battle against the Nazis.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Fun Adventure Film


Story: The Rocketeer starts in 1938 as young pilot Cliff (Campbell) and his engineer Peevy (Arkin) find a mysterious jetpack in one of their planes after a group of mobsters crash in their airstrip. Neville Sinclair (Dalton) wants the rocket and has Eddie Valentine (Sorvino) and his men try to retrieve it.

With Neville turning out to be one of the biggest stars in an emerging Hollywood, Cliff’s girlfriend Jenny (Connelly) has a part in his latest movie, which brings him to the attention of Neville and his goons, once he uses the jetpack to save a friend.


Thoughts on The Rocketeer


Characters – Cliff is a quiet, shy and clumsy pilot, well clumsy on land, he has a blossoming romance with aspiring actress, he is always trying to prove he is the best in the sky and when he gets his hands on a jetpack he becomes the Rocketeer. Jenny is the aspiring actress that has only been getting small roles and only wishes Cliff would support her dreams more. Peevy is the engineer that can fix anything for Cliff, he watches him risk his life and knows he can handle himself. Neville Sinclair is a big-name actor in Hollywood, he wants to get his hands on the jetpack and will use his goons to get his hands on it.

PerformancesBilly Campbell is good in this leading role, you can see the innocent reactions in his eyes. Jennifer Connelly is good even if she is just mainly the damsel to Cliff’s character. Alan Arkin does get to have fun in his role, while Timothy Dalton works well as the primary villain in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a young man that suddenly gets the equipment to make him superhuman with the addition of the jetpack, though the mob are also after the jetpack and he must protect his friends from his secret. This is adapted from a graphic novel and you can see this as it is mostly an origin story about how Cliff became the Rocketeer. When it comes to the villains we get cliched mob figures throughout which is fine, but soon becomes tiresome with their reactions to everything going on. This is however a fun story that can be enjoyed throughout.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action in the film is a lot of fun because it is wildly over the top and fits the comic book ideas we are now used too. The adventure takes Cliff from a small time role of a pilot to one of the most wanted men in Hollywood and not for the good reasons. The sci-fi elements from the film come from the inclusion of the jetpack and how it comes from the mind of Howard Hughes.

SettingsThe film is set in Hollywood where we have the rise of mobsters in the corrupt on the early stages of Hollywood are shown through the use of the settings.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are good for the most part, the flying sequences are a step forward from the old school Superman films and have dated when it comes to modern film stylings.

Scene of the Movie –
First time with the Rocket.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The mobsters feel too cliched.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice fun film that can be enjoyed, it has dated in places but for a time when comic book movies didn’t come along that often this shows you can make them fun without them being connected.


Overall: Fun from start to finish.




Rust Creek (2018)

Director: Jen McGowan

Writer: Julie Lipson (Screenplay) Stu Pollard (Story)

Starring: Hermione Corfield, Micah Hauptman, Jay Paulson, Sean O’Bryan, Daniel R Hill, John Marshall Jones


Plot: An overachieving college student gets lost on her way to a job interview. A wrong turn leaves her stranded deep in the Kentucky forest. The woman must defend herself against the harsh elements and a band of ruthless outlaws. She is forced into an uneasy alliance with a strange loner who has unknown intentions.


Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Fresh Spin on the Survival Thriller


Story: Rust Creek starts as a college student Sawyer (Corfield) gets offered a job interview for the job she has spent her life studying for, she must travel across the country to arrive at this location, which takes her through a Kentucky forest, on a journey she hasn’t taken before, which only leaves her lost.

While trying to figure out her location, Sawyer is approached by two locals, Hollister (Hauptman) and his brother Buck (Hill) who she handles with, getting injured and lost on foot in the woods. Sheriff O’Doyle (O’Bryan) starts searching for the owner of her car after it is located abandoned on the road, leaving Sawyer to fend for herself after overly friendly local Lowell (Paulson) offers her shelter.


Thoughts on Rust Creek


Characters – Sawyer is the successful college student that is about to be offered a job interview that could be the future she always wanted, she gets lost, but knows how to take care of herself against a threat, she keeps away from them using survival techniques. Sawyer is a strong character, everything about her abilities to survive is done in a believable manor, the problem is that we never learn what her subject of choice is. Hollister is the smarter, more forward brother of the two, he tends to be the one who steps up to create the problems, though he will be the one that looks to end them. Lowell is the meth producer and cousin to Hollister, he offers Sawyer shelter, trying his best to keep her safe knowing what could happen to her if the others get hold of her. Sheriff O’Doyle is trying to figure out what happened to Sawyer, he has pressure from both sides and is planning on not making this a big scene.

PerformancesHermione Corfield takes the leading role in this film, she is the highlight of the film with the strength she shows, the evolution her character goes through and the survival skills she shows. Micah Hauptman, Jay Paulson and Sean O’Bryan are good in the supporting roles.

StoryThe story here follows a college student that becomes the target of locals and must survive in the local forest with the help of a meth producer. This story does go in one direction to start with, one we have seen many different times which would have been fine too, the fact this takes a turn and gives us actual development behind villainous characters instead of making them just local hicks. The story does give us the ideas or a survival thriller, only to take that away for part of the story, while this is different, it can take away from what we are expecting to see. The twists do keep the story feeling refreshing though.

ThrillerThe movie uses the thrilling side of the events to keep us on edge to just who Sawyer can trust and what will happen to her if she gets caught.

SettingsThe film is set in a Kentucky forest which does show us how easily it can be to become lost in the environment you don’t know, how easy secrets can be kept and how the locals know how to track.

Scene of the Movie –
The final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not learning what Sawyer’s education or job interview is for.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good thriller that does bring a new look to the survival thriller, it has a good leading lady in Hermione Corfield and will keep you on edge until the end.


Overall: Thriller to keep you guessing.




Roma (2018)

Director: Alfonso Cuaron

Writer: Alfonso Cuaron (Screenplay)

Starring: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Diego Cortina Autrey, Carlos Peralta, Maco Graf, Daniela Demesa


Plot: A story that chronicles a year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s.

Tagline – There are periods in history that scar societies and moments in life that transform us as individuals.

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Grounded and Heart Breaking.


Story: Roma starts as we meet two maids Cleo (Aparicio) and Adela (Garcia) who work for Sr Antonio’s (Grediaga) family, keeping the house clean and helping look after the children for the lady of the house Sra Sofia (Tavira), they are welcomed into the home when the work is done, while also having their own lives outside for their days off.

When Cleo becomes pregnant her life is turned on its head, with Sofia offering the support needed she prepares for the next stage of her life, while seeing the devastation caused with in the city.


Thoughts on Roma


Characters – Cleo is a maid working for a rich family, she has been accepted into the household with open arms and is given here free time, she is enjoying the mix in her life until she ends up getting pregnant and must search for the father or face the reality of raising it alone. Sra Sofia is the lady of the house, she leaves Cleo to do the work around the house, while being a friend when needed, she helps where she can when Cleo becomes pregnant. Adela is the fellow maid and best friend to Cleo, they work well around the house and enjoy their days and nights out. The family dynamic is good because we get to see how each member of the family reacts to the situation Cleo is going through.

PerformancesYalitza Aparicio in the leading role is wonderful to see because she completely makes you understand her characters position in life and the difficult decisions she is going through in life. In fairness the whole cast make this feel like a real-life situation that never makes anything look out of place.

StoryThe story follows a year in the life of maid Cleo as she is comfortable in her job until a moment changes everything in her life, a moment which will see her face first a difficult decision then a heart breaking one. This story shows us just how life can change for anyone in an instant, it can show us just how what seems like a normal life can be changed and is told in a way that only the victim can go through. The pace of the story keeps everything simple and from the point of view of Cleo which is important for this film because it is the year in her life with any events being how she reacts to them.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well because we get to see the two different parts of the house that Cleo is operates in, be the small room she has or the large apartment the family lives in, as well as the time away from the house which shows both sides of life in Mexico.

Scene of the Movie –
The beach.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This is an odd complaint, this isn’t a casual view for anyone.

Final ThoughtsThis is a grounded heart breaking movie that will show us the hardest year in the life of one lady, it isn’t for the faint of heart and will leave you with all the feelings in the world.


Overall: Tough watch, that can be shown to teach dramas.