Summer of ’67 (2018)

Director: Sharon Wilharm

Writer: Sharon Wilharm (Screenplay)

Starring: Rachel Schrey, Cameron Gilliam, Bethany Davenport, Christopher Dalton, Sam Brooks, Sharonne Lanier, Jerrold Edwards

 

Plot: Based on real life events, Summer of ’67 brings to life the turbulent times of the sixties and the struggles faced by the men and women impacted by the Vietnam War.


Tagline – Their lives will never be the same again.

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Touching Look at the Effects of War

 

Story: Summer of 67 starts as the war on Vietnam is starting, we head to a small-town where we meet recently married Milly (Schrey) and her sister Kate (Davenport), Milly’s husband Gerald (Gilliam) is hoping he doesn’t get drafted, facing the reality he can’t get another job until he has done his service, while Beth’s boyfriend Peter (Dalton) would rather enlist that head off to college.

With Gerald and Peter going on the same ship the USS Forrestal, Mill facing bring their second child into the world alone, waiting for his return, while Beth looks to start searching for her future with hippie Van (Brooks). We get to see the effects of the separation as we get to see one more couple Reggie (Edwards) and Ruby Mae (Lanier) who have final found each other, but are being separated too.

 

Thoughts on Summer of 67

 

Characters – Milly and Kate both witnesses a tragic event in the opening of the film, Milly the older sister gets married and starts a family, one hoping to have their own home, but watches how her husband must go to war to be given an opportunity at a better job. Kate young and more impressable at her college age, with a college sweetheart, that wants to go to war, she is against any war which leads her into the arms of a hippie who is against the war. The two both are left waiting to see if their loves will return. Gerald is the husband of Milly who has no other option but to go to war, to give his family a future of stability. Peter is the college aged man that must choose between war or college. Van is one of the hippies that starts to sway Kate’s opinion on war with his anti-war views. We do get to see Ruby Mae who is a maid for the family and her new love Reggie, which does take a back burner even though they are going through the same situation.

PerformancesRachel Schrey is great in her role, we see how she makes her character need to be the big sister, wife and mother to three different characters each showing the strength she used through the anxious times away from her love. Bethany Davenport is good in her role, we get to see how she makes her late-teenage character be so unsure how to think about the war situation. When it comes to the male performers, they are good, but do have less time on screen. Sharonne Lanier is also good in her role, even if we could have given her more screen time.

StoryThe story here follows the wives and girlfriends that are left together in small-town while their partners head off to Vietnam. We have three women who while are around the same age (Well within 10 years) who are at different love stages, one with kids, one at the crossroads and one just fallen, this helps understand the different feelings the characters would be going through. Seeing how they try to stay together through the unknown, not knowing other than short television updates gives us a reflection of the war genre. This does touch on a real event, which if you know your history you will know the direction things will go. The best part of this not taking us to the war side of the film because we don’t need just another war movie.

History/RomanceThe does give us a look at the people left behind during the Vietnam war, this will look at people watching at home. The romance side of the film shows us how the three women are left to continue their lives while being unsure of the safety of their own loved ones.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the small-town setting which does show us the unity between the women who are left behind waiting.


Scene of the Movie –
The television report.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t get enough time to watch the Ruby Mae and Reggie side of the story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that shows us just how damaging going to war can be on the people that are left behind, the waiting, the anxiety of not knowing and the bravery they must put on to remain strong around family and friends.

 

Overall: Touching, strong and impactful

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – S – Scribe (2016)

Director: Thomas Kruithof

Writer: Thomas Kruithof, Yann Gozlan (Screenplay)

Starring: Francois Cluzet, Denis Podalydes, Sami Bouajila, Sion Abkarian, Alba Rohrwacher, Philipp Resimont

 

Plot: The unemployed Duval is contacted by a mysterious organization to transcribe intercepted calls. He accepts the job with no suspicions, since it restores stability to his life, but it will soon result in political shenanigans of all kinds.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Conspiracy Film

 

Story: Scribe starts as Duval (Cluzet) an unemployed man gets a job offer which will give him a chance to show off his skills, Clement (Podalydes) offers him the job which involved transcribing phone calls, which seems easier enough for him. Things soon chance when he starts listening to the messages which don’t come off as clean as they should.

The longer Duval works the bigger the conspiracy he finds himself in the middle off, not knowing who to trust or who to help, he tries to remain neutral in every discussion going on.

 

Thoughts on Scribe

 

Characters – Duval was a hard-working insurance office guy, out of work now he takes a shady job in hopes of just keeping himself busy, he just wants to be busy, but he also wants to keep things legal. He is a good friend for people who are in need too. Clement is the man that hires Duval, it seems like a clean job until strange things start happening to Duval, Clement remains shady through the whole film. Labarthe is the man on the side of the law trying to figure to Duval’s part in everything.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are good throughout, Francois Cluzet is the strongest in the leading role where we see just how much he goes through during the film.

StoryThe story follows one man that given a job that only ends up leaving him in the middle of a massive conspiracy going on in France. This film does keep you guessing to where everything is going to go which is interesting to see unfold, but does fall into the similar secret style meeting after meeting that never gets us too far through to the truth. This doesn’t feel like anything we haven’t seen before and could easily have gotten to higher levels of tension.

ActionThe film does hold back on the action with most of the film based on the tension being built about just what is going on with the world Duval has stepped into.

SettingsThe film keeps the meetings feeling like they are in the secret like location which plays into everything you have come to know about these films.


Scene of the Movie –
Final meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It felt very repetitive with the scenes.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough thriller, it does keep you guessing which is what we want even if it doesn’t add anything new to the genre.

 

Overall: Thriller ABC stuff.

Rating

 

 

Skyscraper (2018)

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Writer: Rawson Marshall Thurber (Screenplay)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Pablo Schreiber, Noah Taylor, Kevin Rankin, McKenna Roberts, Byron Mann, Tzi Ma, Chin Han

 

Plot: FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Sawyer now assesses security for skyscrapers. On assignment in Hong Kong he finds the tallest, safest building in the world suddenly ablaze, and he’s been framed for it. A wanted man on the run, Will must find those responsible, clear his name and somehow rescue his family who are trapped inside the building…above the fire line.


Tagline – The sky is the limit

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Spectacularly Entertaining

 

Story: Skyscraper starts as we learn how Will Sawyer (Johnson) first met his wife Sarah (Campbell) in an FBI Hostage Rescue Team mission gone wrong, which left him without a leg, 10-years later he works in security, figuring out and assessing building for potential hazards. His latest job is his big break, on the biggest building in the world ‘The Pearl’ built by architect Zhao Long Ji (Han).

When everything looks like it is about to pass the tests, Kores Botha (Moller) finds a flaw in the system, setting the building on fire in an attempt to get Zhao, the problem is Will’s family is in the building and will stop at nothing to save his family.

 

Thoughts on Skyscraper

 

Characters – Will Sawyer is a former FBI Hostage Rescue team leader, wounded in action, turned to security, he has a small business which will giving him the recommendation to work on the biggest building in the world. the now family man nervous at the thought of this opportunity must prove how safe this building is. He does, but when criminals have other thoughts, he must return to his rescue ways to save his family from the situation. THIS IS NOT A JOHN MCCLANE MARK II, his only goal is to save his family, not to stop the criminals. Sarah is Will’s wife, one of the surgeons that helped save his life, she does what she can to keep the children safe, remaining calm and showing herself a hand at self-defence. Zhao Long Ji is the architect who has designed this brilliant world changing building, he has everything down to make it look stunning, operate smoothly and help the world by creating jobs and running eco-friendly, he is the target of the criminals who want something he has. Kores Botha is the leader of the attack, he has been an old nemesis of Zhao through construction, this is a slightly more generic villain, but his cold-hearted delivery is just as striking as you need him to be. We do get a host of side characters including, the two kids, they are good for the film, the cops on the outside trying to put the pieces together, other members of the criminal gang with Xia being the standout of them and the old friend which got him the job.

PerformancesDwayne Johnson is an actor you all know I will watch everything he does, the genre he shines best in, is action, in this film he gives one of his best action performances to date, he gives his character the feeling he might no succeed even though he looks like he could knock you out with one punch. Neve Campbell is good in the support role showing its about time we saw her back on the bring screen, Roland Moller as the villain is very strong too because we do get moments when you are scared of what he will do. The rest of the cast are good throughout even if we would have liked to have seen more.

StoryThe story is a perfect playlist of how to keep action simple without needing to make anything complicated. One giant building, one fire in said building, one stranded family, one group of criminals and the reluctant hero going against the odds to try and save his family. Those are the core elements of the story and as I said, we don’t need more, this is simple enough to give us everything we wanted. We could look at the minor negative in the story and that would be the amount of characters we do meet outside of the building situation, while I know it is part of the bigger picture, they don’t have the same intensity as the building moments. The biggest weirdly enjoyable part of the story was watching how the crowd just stood around watching on the big screen cheer, gasping like the audience watching.

Action The action set pieces in the film are brilliant, breath taking and truly edge of your seat, seeing Dwayne Johnson pull this off and make you feel like something could go wrong is what it is all about, praise must be giving to a fight sequence too, where Will must fight on one leg.

SettingsThe setting of being in the Pearl was fantastic, we know the escape is next to impossible and watching how this unfolds is edge of your seat, when we step away however it does lose the levels of anticipation we would have liked.

Special EffectsThe building being on fire look amazing, well realistically I don’t actually want to see buildings on fire, but other elements of the special effects go towards making Will’s leg injury seem like the norm for Johnson.


Scene of the Movie –
The crane.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Two big lines from the trailer are not in the movie, they both felt important for the situations we were in.

Final ThoughtsThis isn’t just a Die Hard modernised, this is a stand alone action thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat and show you all that Dwayne Johnson is the king of the action genre at the moment.

 

Overall: Must watch action thrill ride.

Rating

 

 

Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)

Director: Jan de Bont

Writer: Randall McCormick, Jeff Nathanson (Screenplay) Jan de Bont, Randall McCormick (Story)

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Jason Patric, Willem Dafoe, Temuera Morrison, Brian McCardie, Christine Firkins

 

Plot: A computer hacker breaks into the computer system of the Seabourn Legend cruise liner and sets it speeding on a collision course into a gigantic oil tanker.


Tagline – Rush hour hits the water.

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Passable Action Film

 

Story: Speed 2: Cruise Control starts as we meet Annie (Bullock) still trying to get her driving licence back, long past dating Jack (Because Keanu was smart enough not to come back) and has moved onto what she thinks is a quiet cop role of Alex Shaw (Patric) who is actually a SWAT officer too.

To break the tension, Alex takes Annie on a cruise, which happens to have John Geiger (Dafoe) onboard that has his own plans for the cruise. As John takes over the boat, he plans to evacuate the passengers which will leave him the ship, but Alex will get to the bottom of this and try to save the day.

 

Thoughts on Speed 2: Cruise Control

 

Characters – Annie is back, she still can’t drive and now she has fallen for another risk-taking cop in Alex, this is a character that strangely feels iconic for the genre, while not being bad character or being weak, she doesn’t do much over than panic. Alex is the risk-taking cop, this sounds familiar doesn’t it? He will do anything to save the day. John Geiger is the villain of the piece, he has made his plan and wants to operate through his plan, though he didn’t plan for Alex. Strangely he never plans to kill anyone.

PerformancesSandra Bullock is fine in her role here, she works for these films. Jason Patric just lacks the charisma Keanu had in the first one which doesn’t make you care about his character. Willem Dafoe is one of the most reliable villains in Hollywood, it is strange that he is good, but the character is largely forgettable.

StoryThe story is just like the first Speed, it has a criminal that takes a vehicle with the promise to kill everyone if demands aren’t met. This is the old tried and tested formula without being overly impressive and never reaches the levels of the first film. it does everything it needs to do while being easy to watch from start to finish.

Action/Crime/RomanceThe action sequences for the most part are entertaining even if they are overly long at times, like the sequence crashing into the island, just seems to go on and on. The romance involved is just more of the same mostly tagged on too.

SettingsThe film being set on the bottle, tries to do something different, but it just lacks the tension the first one has.

Special EffectsThe effects for the most part are terrible and even in places laughable.


Scene of the Movie –
While long the boat crashing into the harbour is fun watch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The random dog sequence.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that gets a lot of bashing, it does everything it needs to for an action film, that just isn’t on the same level as the first film.

 

Overall: Sequel that works well enough.

Rating

 

 

The Secret of Marrowbone (2018)

Director: Sergio G Sanchez

Writer: Sergio G Sanchez (Screenplay)

Starring: George MacKay, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Mia Goth, Matthew Stagg, Nicola Harrison, Kyle Soller

 

Plot: A young man and his three younger siblings, who have kept secret the death of their beloved mother in order to remain together, are plagued by a sinister presence in the sprawling manor in which they live.


Tagline – No One Will Ever Separate Us

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautifully Shot Horror Mystery

 

Story: Marrowbone starts as we meet the newly named Marrowbones, Mother (Harrison) and siblings Jack (MacKay), Billy (Heaton), Jane (Goth) and Sam (Stagg), they have escaped from England on the run from their father, they set up a home in the country away from anyone and look to stay in hiding.

When mother dies, Jack must take responsibility for the family, keeping them safe until he is 21, where he can now become the guardian, but things take a turn when an unexpected guest changes everything they want to keep secret.

 

Thoughts on Marrowbone

 

Characters – Jack is the eldest sibling, he will become the guardian to the rest once he hits 21, he does the jobs to keep food on their table, saving face about his mother and does everything he can to protect his siblings. Allie is the girl next door literally, she becomes friends with the family, but when Jack tells her mother is sick, she must stay away and the two keep their relationship secret from the rest of the town, she is very well educated for the time the film is set 1969 (we see the moon landing on a television) and she could leave the small town and achieve greatness. Billy is the hot-headed of the siblings, he will get the dirty work done, but is also get tired of being trapped in the home. Jane is the sister and does the general cleaning jobs around the house, she will also be Sam’s mother if anyone asked. Sam is the youngest of the siblings, bubbling bursting to enjoy his young life, everything is an adventure to him, but we learn early on he can mis-read shapes to be ghosts. Porter is the town’s lawyer that does have a crush on Allie, he works for the Marrowbone’s and starts getting nosier than he should have.

PerformancesThis movie has an impressive cast of young actors that are making names for themselves. George MacKay is the standout here, he shows incredible range and could easily have given one of the best male performances in horror this year. Anya Taylor-Joy continues to impress, while this character is more withdrawn from the horror side of things, she keeps us interested in her every action. Charlie Heaton, Mia Goth and Matthew Stagg complete the siblings list and each is great, when Stagg’s character is upset, you do complete feel with him too.

StoryTh story is one of the most interesting and fascinating ones to be watching this year, in the opening 5 or 10 minutes we learn where the characters have come from, what they are hiding from and just how much will change in a moment, all this before the title appears. We see how things unfold and how the secret needs to be kept, though nothing will prepare you for the direction this movie will end up going in. I just don’t want to get into any true details of this film, if loved the set up and you will spend the rest of the film trying to unravel the events of the opening sequence.

Horror/MysteryThis brings be to my only negative for the film, though it is surrounding in a positive, the horror in the film, while set up nicely is mostly predictable, though most of the horror in the early part of the film does try to get explained away as seen in the trailer, as a way to protect young Sam. The mystery is what we have come to see now, we are left guessing through nearly every scene and by the end, you will feel like you didn’t want to solve this mystery.

SettingsThe film puts our family in a remote mansion by the beach outside of a small town, we learn why they are off the grid and this gives us some of the most beautiful countryside shots you will see in a horror film.


Scene of the Movie –
Reading the Story.

That Moment That Annoyed Me One part feels slightly off, but it is spoiler heavy so won’t mention it.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to horror films people will want different things, if you want blood and gore, this won’t work for you, if you want a beautiful story that has a horrific side to it, this one will be for you.

 

Overall: The most wonderfully shot horror of the year.

Rating