ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – S – Splash (1984) Movie Review

Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Bruce Jay Friedman (Screenplay) Brian Grazer (Story)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Eugene Levy, John Candy, Dody Goodman, Shecky Greene, Richard B Shull

Plot: A young man is reunited with a mermaid who saved him from drowning as a boy. He falls in love with her, not knowing who or what she is.

Tagline – She was the woman of his dreams… she had large dark eyes, a beautiful smile and a great pair of fins.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fantasy Love Story 101

Story: Splash starts as we see businessmen brothers, Allen (Hanks) who has his head straight when it comes to business, while Freddie (Candy) tends to get them both in trouble more often than not. When Allen decides to return to his family holiday home in Cape Cod, he gets to be reunited with a mermaid Madison (Hannah) who saved his life as a child and again as an adult.

Returning to New York, Allen finds that Madison has followed him their to return his wallet and finds himself needing to take care of her, as the two fall in love once again, though Madison is trying to keep her secret from Allen.

Thoughts on Splash

Characters – Allen is the straight-headed businessman, he doesn’t have much in his life outside of work with his latest relationship going down the drain and his brother always causing more problems at work. He tries to escape his work life, only to find himself returning to a holiday home, where he is saved by a mysterious woman, who later comes into his life in New York, showing him to fall in love. Madison is a mermaid, she saved Allen’s life when he was young and again when he was older, she decides to visit him in New York to spend one week with him, where she learns the culture quickly as she spends time in New York, but struggles to keep her secret safe from him. Walter is a scientist that is determined to discover a mermaid and spends most of the film trying to prove Madison is a mermaid. Freddie is the reckless brother of Allen that has always gotten him into trouble, strangely we seem to forget about him for a large part of the film.

PerformancesTom Hanks is wonderful in the leading role, he was a perfect choice for a comical lead that can do both serious and funny moments with ease. Daryl Hannah is great to bringing the beauty to the mermaid character as well as the naïve nature at times. Eugene Levy does get laughs, while John Candy gives us a couple of awkward moments.

StoryThe story here follows a man that meets what he thinks is a perfect woman, only for her to have a secret, she is a mermaid. This is a story that does focus on the idea of falling in love with somebody you might not see coming, while mixing the idea that scientists would want to make the most out of a potential new discovery. This is a story that does want you to believe somebody can fall in love over a week long time together and that your business partner won’t notice you being missing for a week.

Comedy/Fantasy/RomanceThe comedy is a mixed bag because Hanks and Levy do hit hard, while John Candy’s comedy has dated pretty badly now. The fantasy idea in the film does focus on the idea of mermaids being part of the world, with the romance needing to look at how the two people can fall in love quickly.

SettingsThe film is set in New York which does literally show Madison being a fish out of water.

Scene of the Movie – Hanks in a boat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Freddie’s up-skirt actions.

Final Thoughts This is a fun fantasy comedy that just hasn’t dated on the same level it could have, but it does show just how talents Tom Hanks was going to be.

Overall: Dated Comedy.

Schemers (2019) Movie Review

Director: Dave Mclean

Writer: Dave Mclean, Khaled Spiewak, Kyle Titterton (Screenplay)

Starring: Conor Berry, Sean Connor, Grant Robert Keelan, Tara Lee, Kit Clark, Blair Robertson

Plot: His football career over, Davie starts promoting gigs in Dundee with two friends, leading to a hugely ambitious Iron Maiden show. Out of his depth and in debt with gangster Fergie, Davie needs to pull off the biggest scheme of his life.

Tagline – Always let ambition blind ability.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Schemers starts as Davie (Berry) sees his football career end with a leg break, looking to get back on with his life, he teams up with his two friends Scot (Connor) and John (Keelan) in an attempt to start working on hosting gigs around Dundee, only he must work within the rules gangster Fergie (Mills) offers him.

As Davie sees the business starting to take off, he is getting bigger names heading his way, which sees him turning his head to the illegal world he finds himself in, while running up his own debts, all for one more target to achieve something big.

Thoughts on Schemers

Characters – Davie is a promising young footballer who sees his potential career shattered by an injury, turning to another love of his music, he starts a business with friends looking to promote music in Dundee, where he will have to deal with gangster, debt and learning about his own ambition to make things happen. Scot and John are the best friends that support Davie’s wild ideas, helping with he finances he can’t always handle. Shona is the nurse that helps Davie back to fitness, while slowly falling for each other, she doesn’t like certain decisions Davie is making which could see his own health in trouble. Fergie is the gangster that own all the venues in the city, giving him a slice in every show, turning the screws to get himself more money and if people don’t pay, he will hurt them.

PerformancesConor Berry brings us a confident performance, showing us how his characters always believed he could solve the problems, with the wise talking. Sean Connor and Grant Robert Keelan are great in the supporting roles, with Tara Lee filling the love interested very well through the film.

StoryThe story here follows Davie McClean a promising young footballer who sees his career shattered turning to arranging gigs, learning about the gangsters that are trying to control the area, needing to prove he can escape this life and become something more. This is a story that is based on the real people, and the struggles to make things happen, the risks it took to achieve things and seeing how the 70s was a different era for making music, by performing to become somebody, which would circle around the booker. The story always feels like it is only just about to happen, showing us how unplanned most of the ideas are.

ComedyThe comedy in the film comes from seeing how the plans always just come together, with Davie always finding himself in more trouble.

SettingsThe film is set in Dundee, where we see the rivalry between the football teams and the rising music scene.

Scene of the Movie – The Iron Maiden preparation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough threat from the gangster.

Final Thoughts This is an entertaining comedy that showed us the unorthodox methods Davie McClean used to make a name for himself in the late-1970s.

Spiral (2019) Shudder Movie Review

Director: Kurtis David Harder

Writer: Colin Minihan, John Poliquin (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, Ari Cohen, Jennifer Laporte, Lochlyn Munro, Chandra West, Ty Wood, Thomas Elms

Plot: A same-sex couple move to a small town so they can enjoy a better quality of life and raise their 16 year-old daughter with the best social values. But nothing is as it seems in their picturesque neighborhood. And when Malik sees the folks next door throwing a very strange party, something shocking has got to give.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Spiral starts as couple Malik (Bowyer-Chapman) and Aaron (Cohen), along with Aaron’s teenage daughter Kayla (Laporte) move to a small town for better quality of life, while the three look to get to know the neighbours, Marshal (Munro) and Tiffany (West), they don’t always feel as welcome as they thought, where Malik believes there is something strange going on.

Malik’s paranoia and past start to take a toll on the relationship, which will only add more to the mystery about what might be happening or is the town really against have a gay couple in the town.

Thoughts on Spiral

Characters – Malik is one half of the couple, he does have a past where he suffered a hate crime towards him, with his career being targeted at home with his writing, however his time alone away from the big city only starts to play into the paranoid nature he has been going through. Aaron is the grounded of the couple, he has the daughter and starts to worry about the change in Malik, he doesn’t worry if people are against them as a couple, he is happy with the life he has. Kayla is the 16-year-old daughter of Aaron’s she isn’t happy about the move, but is trying to get on with her own life like any other teenage girl. Marshal and Tiffany are the friendly neighbours, looking to welcome the three to the neighbourhood, even if Malik suspects them of something else.

PerformancesJeffrey Bowyer-Chapman in the leading role is the man that keeps us wondering just what will be happening in the movie, he has a lot of scenes alone, with his reactions helping feel the unease he always goes through. Ari Cohen does everything right without needing to do too much. Jennifer Laporte does become one of the most interesting performances through the film. With Lochlyn Munro and Chandra West being the overly nice figures we need in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a gay couple and one of their children move to a small town to start a quieter life, only for one of the couple to start to feel like he isn’t as welcome as they once thought. This does bring us a form of hate crime mixed with a town’s traditions, showing us how a former victim of a hate crime will always be haunted by the moment, always looking over their shoulder in fear it might happen again. The story does have a lot unease about what is going on through the film, slowly unfolding the truth about what is really going on, with Malik being the one learning the truth.

ThrillerThe film does keep us feeling the unease of everything going on, keeping us wanting to know what is going on through the film.

SettingsThe film gives us the small-town setting, which will add to everything that surrounds the mystery about what is happening, with the shots used for different moments of horror.

Scene of the Movie – Kayla’s bridge incident.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have seen more from the Aaron character.

Final Thoughts This is an eerie thriller that will keep you feeling uneasy from start to finish, leading up to a shocking conclusion.

Summerland (2020) Movie Review

Director: Lankyboy

Writer: Chris Ball, Dylan Griffiths, Kurtis David Harder, Noah Kentis (Screenplay)

Starring: Maddie Phillips, Dylan Playfair, Rory J Saper, Noah Grossman, Kyle McCachen

Plot: Summerland is a road trip comedy that follows Bray, a teenager who poses as a girl on an online dating website. He falls for a guy who he believes is in the closet. Bray and his best friend Oliver plan a trip to SUMMERLAND, a music festival to meet him. The only problem? Bray is pretending to be his best friends girlfriend, who ends up coming on the trip with them.

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Summerland starts as three friends, Bray (Ball), Oliver (Saper) and Stacey (Phillips) look to have one last road trip to a music festival for the last time before they go their sperate ways after school, Bray has arranged to meet a guy there, Shawn, who believes that Bray is Victoria, or Stacey, while Oliver and Stacey must make the big decision about their relationship and whether they can handle the long distance it will give them.

Thoughts on Summerland

Characters – Bray is a gay teenager, he has struggled to find a relationship and is looking forward to going away to college to let himself discover more, he has tried to start a relationship over a dating site, pretending to be his best friend’s girlfriend and now the adventure is his chance to meet him in person. Oliver is Bray’s best friend, he is about to return to England though, which sees him needing to find the right time to tell Stacey, he is considered more of a flake between the friends, doing silly things which can cause more problems for himself. Stacey is the girlfriend that isn’t sure what will happen next in her life, preparing to start a life with Oliver even if she knows he could be wrong, she is used by Bray to attracted men his way too.

PerformancesThe three leads are a delight to watch, Chris Ball, Rory J Saper and Maddie Phillips are all showing the reality of the difficult decision they are facing in life.

StoryThe story here follows three friends who head across country for a music festival before entry the next stage of their lives after school, where they are looking for love. This is a coming-of-age tale that shows us just how difficult entering adulthood can be, showing how mistakes can leave people broken and how the adventures you have with friends will be memories for life, no matter how many different paths you take together. While most of the adventure is what we would expect to see, it is a journey that will help people define their lives.

ComedyThe comedy in this film comes from seeing how the three’s adventure goes off track in places, usually ending in a moment that will lead them to an extra laugh for the memories.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us just where the friends end up going, be it the beauty spots, the big city or the festival, each one will end up giving them a story.

Scene of the Movie – The Waterfall.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing really.

Final Thoughts This is a wonderful coming-of-age story that tells us the importance of making memories, even if you are going in separate directions in life.

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – # – The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) Movie Review

Director: Chris Renaud, Jonathan del Val

Writer: Brian Lynch (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Patton Oswalt, Kevin Hart, Harrison Ford, Eric Stonestreet, Jenny Slate, Tiffany Haddish, Lake Bell

Plot: Continuing the story of Max and his pet friends, following their secret lives after their owners leave them for work or school each day.

Tagline – They still have their secrets.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Simple Sequel

Story: The Secret Life of Pets 2 starts as we see how Max and Duke are adjusting to having a kid in their lives, with Max feeling the stress of protecting him, which sees the whole family have a weekend away in the country, Snowball and Daisy end up trying to release a tiger from a circus, giving Snowball a chance to be the hero he wants to be.

Back in New York Gidget gets involved in her own adventure, trying to recover the lost toy from an apartment filled with cats all before Max returns and learns his friend has lost his prized toy.

Thoughts on The Secret Life of Pets 2

Final Thoughts When it came to the first Secret Life of Pets, we got to see the adventures of the pets in New York as they deal with changes in their lives, this story does take everything to the next level for Max, shows Snowball on yet another wild adventure and puts the rest of the characters in a position where they must do the right thing for the animals. This is one that the kids will get the enjoyment out of, though the more adult audience will struggle to get behind the bland characters that are mostly forgettable by the end of the film. The animation still looks incredible, though certain actions are very worrying to see, even if this is only added for slapstick.

Overall: Basic Animation.