Street Fighter (1994)

Director: Steven E de Souza

Writer: Steven E de Souza (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia, Ming-Na Wen, Damian Chapa, Kylie Minogue, Simon Callow, Byron Mann

 

Plot: Col. Guile and various other martial arts heroes fight against the tyranny of Dictator M. Bison and his cohorts.


Tagline – The solution.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Action Nonsense

 

Story: Street Fighter starts as the evil tyrant Bison (Julia) has been controlling the country of Shadaloo, Col William Guile (Van Damme) is leading the assault to bring him down after his latest demand is 20 Billion Dollars, to save the hostages he has taken. Chun-Li (Wen) has been reporting the story only for herself to have a personal investment in taking him down too.

Colonel Guile recruits Ken (Chapa) and Ryu (Mann) to go undercover to locate the secret base, before it is too late giving Guile a chance to go face to face with Bison in an ultimate fight between the two men.

 

Thoughts on Street Fighter

 

Characters – Colonel Guile is part of the Allied Nations a soldier that is trying a bring an end to the evil tyrant Bison, he is an expert in martial arts and will put himself in the line of fire in an attempt to stop this man. Bison is the dictator tyrant holding the country hostage, he is willing to offer anybody a chance to fight for their freedom, but his skills are beyond anything any normal person can handle, he is almost waiting for Guile to arrive for a worthy opponent.  Chun-Li is a journalist with her own reasons for hunting down Bison, she is able to handle herself in a fight and willing to take just as many chances as Guile in finding the truth. Ken is involved in his own dealings with one of Bison’s supplies, he is used to get close to Bison to help locate the base of operations, while being one of the best fighters in the world.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme is nowhere near his best in this role, he might handle the fighting, but everything else just looks out of place. Raul Julia is easily the best thing in this film, he is so wildly over the top you just want to see where he takes this character next. Ming-Na Wen does bring her character to life which is entertaining, though she seems to vanish for parts of the second half. We do get plenty of different characters from the history of the games, the performances are mixed as they look to bring these generic figures to life.

StoryThe story follows the Allied Nations trying to bring down a tyrant trying to take over a country with his ludicrous demands, we see the favourite fighters from the game come into battle on both sides as they look to bring the end to the war for the country. This was one of the first attempts to bring a video game to life, we do get the characters, though as I am not a fan of the game, I can’t tell you how accurate the characters are. This isn’t a difficult story to follow, though it does feel like it wants to put all the favourite characters in scenes even if they aren’t always written strongly. This is however a good alcohol story because you can make a drinking game out of it.

Action/ComedyThe action in the film is countless numbers of fights, each fighter does have their own style, only for the scenes not being shot in the strongest style. This film does have comedy, though I am not sure if it is meant to be a comedy or not.

SettingsThe film uses the typical locations with the secret base for the villain being a major part of the settings, it is filled with the gadgets you would expect to see from a video game style location.

Special EffectsThe effects are low budget without being anything that will be remembered for being strong.


Scene of the Movie –
The final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters not getting enough time to shine.

Final ThoughtsThis is the typical video game movie that just didn’t work, we have too many iconic characters that don’t get their time to shine which would only disappoint the fans of the game.

 

Overall: Disappointing video game movie.

Rating

 

 

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Summer Night (2019)

Director: Joseph Cross

Writer: Jordan Jolliff (Screenplay)

Starring: Justin Chatwin, Analeigh Tipton, Lana Condor, Victoria Justice, Ella Hunt, Callan McAuliffe, Melina Vidler, Ellar Coltrane

Plot: A coming-of-age story about the complexities of young romantic relationships.


Tagline – Thirteen Friends. One Night to Get it Right.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: TV Pilot?

Story: Summer Night starts as we head to a small American town, we go on to meet the young adults in Andy (Chatwin), the newly pregnant Mel (Tipton), Lexi (Condor), Harmony (Justice), Dana (Hunt), Taylor (McAuliffe), Vanessa (Vidler), James (Coltrane), Corin (Kampouris), Rabbit (Milner), Seth (Nelson), Caleb (Szeto) and Luke (Davis) as they all know each other, they all have connecting stories and spend a typical summer night socialising at the local bar, where the issues get dealt with, from broken hearts, unplanned pregnancy, first dates and old love.

Thoughts on Summer Night

Characters – We do meet a lot of different characters, they do all know each other and they each represent a different version of a young adult trying to balance their romances, these characters do feel like we are jumping into a television drama, because nobody seems like they are a main character and a different story could cover their story in a deeper level.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are all strong, considering the actors don’t get that much screen time, we see how they are all dealing with different emotions and understand each characters mindset through the performances.

StoryThis story follows a group of young adults that are spending their summers having a good time dealing with love and all the things around it over one night. It would be fair to say this could easily be a pilot for a television show by just how the story unfolds, we do meet a lot of characters with each chapter of the film feeling like it could be bigger with longer conversations between the people having moments in their lives. By not having a true main character we are often left wondering why we needed so many characters for a film. Certain points being discussed are serious and do need to be looked at in a serious light too.

ComedyWe do get moments of comedy which can get laughs, though we do focus on the drama of life more often than not.

SettingsThe film is set in one small town, it shows that the group of young adults are close and the drama of their lives can cross paths.


Scene of the Movie – The band performances.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too many characters for just a film.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at how young adults can spend a summer night, partying and trying to figure out relationships and life in general, it would work better as a television series as we could spend more time with the characters.

Overall: Young Adult Life.

Stuck (2017) Movie Review

Director: Michael Berry

Writer: Michael Berry (Screenplay) Riley Thomas (Play)

Starring: Giancarlo Esposito, Amy Madigan, Ashanti, Arden Cho, Omar Chaparro, Gerald Canonico, Tim Young, Reyna de Courcy

Plot: An original pop musical film about six strangers who get stuck on a New York City subway together and change each others lives in unexpected ways.


Tagline – Sometimes it Takes a Stranger to Help You Find Your Voice

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Essential Viewing

Story: Stuck starts as the six strangers find themselves in a single subway carriage, we have the homeless man Lloyd (Esposito) that has been people watching on the subway for years, seeing people come and go for years, Sue (Madigan), Eve (Ashanti) who has been having personal troubles, Alicia (Cho) a dancer that has her own stalker in Caleb (Canonico) who has been designing his own comicbook superhero. along with construction worker Ramon (Chaparro).

When the train gets stopped, the six find themselves waiting, with Lloyd pushing them to let out their inner stories of what they are chasing in life, each person is from a different background, culture and ethnic group, where they each get to learn about life through another set of eyes.

Thoughts on Stuck

Characters – Lloyd is a homeless man living on the subway with his cart, we see him doing the everyday cleaning routine, while he people watches, knowing everyone that comes onto the subway. He likes to use song and performance to beg for money as he tries to bring the people together on their stranded time together. Sue comes from a professional job, being from an older generation that wants to accept everyone, but gets caught un in the political correct terms to address them on the subway. Eve is a woman that has found an unexpected twist in her life, suffering from relationship problems being very defensive. Alicia is a Korean dancer that is happy to close herself off from the world to follow her dream. Ramon is a Hispanic construction worker trying to balance three jobs just to give his daughter a better life. Caleb is a young man that is stalking Alicia, while he designs his own comic book about disabled superhero.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances we have six very talented actors, each one from a different age or ethnic background which helps them connect to the story they are telling, we see that these people could be from anywhere and have their own story.

StoryThe story here follows six people that get stuck on a subway carriage, they are from different backgrounds, cultures and ethnic groups, they all have stories to tell, ones that you can only get to learn from talking to people. This story is one of the most important ones you will see this year, it shows you can never judge somebody until you learn their stories, you will never know the truth they are holding inside or the fights they have fought to be where they are. This will open your eyes to just what is out there and becoming accepting to everybody you meet, pass in the street or share a subway with, one that will show people can be there for you in life.

MusicalThe songs sung through the film show us the stories the characters are going through, you can tell the tone of the story through each song

SettingsThe story is almost set entirely on the subway, here we see the strangers trapped and getting to know each other, it is simple and effective to show how a simple conversation can learn a story.


Scene of the Movie – Sue’s story.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing

Final Thoughts This is one of the most essential viewings of the year because of just how easily it shows us that we should listen to other people’s stories in life.

Overall: Absolutely Delightful.

States (2019)

Director: Zach Gayne

Writer: Zach Gayne (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeremy O Harris, Alex Essoe, Jasmin Kaset, Makenzie Green, D.C. Paul, Rachel Cederberg, Robbie Bruens

Plot: A transient road film featuring an array of young drifters wandering throughout the U.S. with varying degrees of purpose, or lack-thereof , “States” is a multifaceted meditation on freedom – via Twain, Kerouac, Altman, Linklater… – and an outsider’s love letter to America and the searchers of its endless highways.


Tagline – It’s not where you’re going…

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Drifters Stories

Story: States starts as we meet four drifters first a man who wakes up stranded in Mexico, needing to get back across the border before getting home, secondly we have Rachel (Cederberg) who is hunting for aliens, trying to get herself to Roswell, thirdly Simon (Harris) who is trying to get across country being picked up by two ladies Jaz (Kaset) and Kenz (Green) who take a shine towards him and finally Grace (Essoe) an actress that has been studying for her latest role who takes an uber driver Frank (Bruens) across America. As we follow the different drifters we start to see how the people they meet are not always the ones they look like on the surface and the drifters wonder if they can make it to their locations or not.

Thoughts on States

Characters – We do meet a lot of characters along the way here, we have the drifters that are trying to discover themselves, while trying to get to a new location cross America, some of the drifters just want an honest journey, while others have their own plans, but some of the people they meet have other ideas about why they will pick up the strangers.

PerformancesThe performances in the film a solid enough, we do meet a lot of characters which does make it more difficult for us to see any other cast truly shine in the film, but nobody seems to put their foot wrong.

StoryThe story here follows a group of different drifters on their adventures across America, we do jump between a large number with more random ones being added right to the end of the film too, none of these stories seem to be connected which doesn’t help us want to follow any of the stories more than the others. We do have some interesting stories which could have done with having more time placed on them, only they seem to get left to focus on other stories too. It would have been nice to see more time on some of them though.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure shows us just how many different drifters can find themselves going through on the way to making a difference on their trips, while the comedy can come from the colourful characters we meet along the way.

SettingsThe film is set in a range of different locations around America which does show just how far these people will go for their next adventure.


Scene of the Movie – Rachel’s adventure.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too many random adventures.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look drifters in America, we have plenty of stories that show just how far the people are looking to go for adventures.

Overall: Drifters 101

Antonio Banderas Weekend – The Skin I Live In (2011)

Director: Pedro Almodovar

Writer: Pedro Almodovar, Agustin Almodovar (Screenplay) Thierry Jonquet (Novel)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet, Eduard Fernandez, Jose Luis Gomez

 

Plot: A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Chilling & Disturbing

 

Story: The Skin I Live In starts as we see how Robert’s (Banderas) research as a plastic surgeon has helped create a new form of synthetic skin to help burn victims recover from the pain they suffer through, he has a guinea pig for this, Vera (Anaya) who has been suffering the pain for years, though his research has made it bearable for her, with her special body suit to protect her.

Robert can’t get approval from the medical boards to continue his work, which shows as it turns out Vera is being hidden from the world, though he does have his own motives for trying to find a cure after a tragedy involving his wife and daughter.

 

Thoughts on The Skin I Live In

 

Characters – Robert is a plastic surgeon with a tragic past, he lost his wife due to the after effects of a fire accident and his daughter to another. He doesn’t want anyone else to go through these pains and has created a new synthetic skin to help recover damaged skin on burn victims, the question is, will he go too far in his search for answers? Vera is the guinea pig, still suffering just as badly as she once was, she has a bond with Robert while also wanting to escape from him. Marilia is the mother of Robert, he has remained loyal to her and she has helped him with his projects no matter whether they are right or wrong. Vicente is a young man from the town that commits a horrible crime and believes nothing of it.

PerformancesAntonio Banderas in the leading role is unlike anything we have seen from him before, cold, calculated and always planning, it is a very disturbing performance for the most part. Elena Anaya is great in her role as the guinea pig which only makes you think how good her performance is once you learn the full story. Marisa Paredes gives us a good strong supporting performance and Jan Cornet is great in his role in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a plastic surgeon trying to make a difference in the world, he has a guinea pig locked away as he tries to make a skin that is harder than normal ski to help recovery, only he is haunted by his past and has taken shocking decisions along the way to change it forever. The story starts off feeling like an interesting science related one, then suddenly it takes a big twist that will leave you needing to re-digest everything you saw in the first half of the film. this is a story that will stick with you because of how chilling and disturbing the story gets and will make you want to pause and react before learning the next chapter of the secret. A story like this is one you must applaud for being different surprising and one that will stick with you.

HorrorThe horror elements of this film come from what we learn, they will shock you and disturb just as much as they should.

SettingsThe film keeps us in Robert’s house for the most part, it is isolated away from the world, just the way he likes it, which has helped his patients before only now, it will be for his own benefit.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth is the moment that will stick with you.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lost track about what is finally happening to Norma, his daughter.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most shocking and disturbing movies you will see even if it starts seemingly harmless.

 

Overall: Will leave you shocked.

Rating