ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – S – See You Yesterday (2019) Movie Review

Director: Stefon Bristol

Writer: Fredrica Bailey, Stefon Bristol (Screenplay)

Starring: Eden Duncan-Smith, Dante Crichlow, Astro, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Johnathan Nieves, Michael J Fox

Plot: Two Brooklyn teenage prodigies, C.J. Walker and Sebastian Thomas, build makeshift time machines to save C.J.’s brother, Calvin, from being wrongfully killed by a police officer.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Messy Time Travel Film

Story: See You Yesterday starts as we meet the two teenagers Claudette ‘CJ’ Walker (Duncan-Smith) and Sebastian Thomas (Crichlow) who have been working on their science project to make time travel possible. After they prove they can go back just one day, CJ the brains behind the project, does something reckless, which changes the pass, while dealing with an ex-boyfriend.

The consequences of her actions create a domino effect which sees her brother Calvin (Astro) killed in a police shooting, wanting to make a different CJ works with Sebastian to try and create the ability to go further back, which only ends up creating more problems, the more she tries to fix.

Thoughts on See You Yesterday

Characters – Claudette ‘CJ’ Walker is the brains behind the time travel machine, she however has started to become difficult to be around, causing unnecessary trouble in an already combustible neighbourhood. When the pair get the machine to work, it is her mistake which causes the effects the pair must go through. She is always so desperate to fix the mistakes, she doesn’t even consider the consequences. Sebastian is the best friend that has always helped along the way, he is the one that will ask the questions about the consequences, seeing how reckless CJ has become. Calvin is the big brother of CJ’s, he will always make sure she is safe, whenever somebody in the neighbourhood causes her trouble.

PerformancesWhile the two leading stars Eden Duncan-Smith and Dante Crichlow don’t do anything wrong through the film, they have annoying character traits to bring to life, which doesn’t help what they have to work with.

StoryThe story here follows two high school friends that are trying to prove time travel is possible and soon learn the consequences of trying to change the past. This story does have an important reason for trying to create the time travel, we are placed into a Brooklyn neighbourhood that has been dealing with police shooting, overly aggressive gang mentality and will have signs of poverty. Outside of this side of the story, we are dealing with really bad time travel decisions, even though the characters seem clear of what not to do. We won’t go into the non-ending either, which leaves us with nothing after what has happened through the film, this does just feel like an unfinished script, that really wants deal with topical issues through the film.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film does come from the panic involved once the first incident happens, it is more neighbourhood action, rather anything else, while the time travel might dive into basic science behind time travel, which does work well, it is the behaviour from people that believe they understand it that let everything down.

SettingsThe film is set in Brooklyn which shows the environment the two friends are around, which brings the combustible elements.

Scene of the Movie – See You Yesterday.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Most of CJ’s decisions.

Final Thoughts Messy time travel film, which does deal with big topical issues the best it can, sadly, get caught in the middle of both worlds.

Overall: Missed the point.

Jack Black Weekend – Shallow Hall (2001) Movie Review

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Writer: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Sean Moynihan (Screenplay)

Starring: Gwyenth Paltrow, Jack Black, Jason Alexander, Joe Viterelli, Rene Kirby, Bruce McGill, Anthony Robbins

Plot: A shallow man falls in love with a 300-pound woman because of her inner beauty.

Tagline – True Love Is Worth The Weight!

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sweet Little Comedy

Story: Shallow Hal starts as we meet Hal (Black) who was given advice from his father to never settle always shot for the stars when trying to meet women. Now in adult life he is a nice guy but he only targets models, always striking out, even if his friends try to convince him to learn about the women first.

After getting trapped in an elevator with Anthony Robbins a television hypnotist, he pulls a trick on him to see women for their inner beauty, which sees him meeting Rosemary (Paltrow) seeing her as a beautiful women, when she is really a bigger women, somebody Hal would never give a second glance to, Hal’s best friend Mauricio (Alexander) is getting worried his friend has changed.

Thoughts on Shallow Hal

Characters – Hal saw his father die young giving him one piece of advice, never settle when it comes to the ladies. Keeping that in his mind he has only ever tried to date models, without much success. He gets hypnotised into seeing the inner beauty only which to meet Rosemary a bigger woman he only sees as a beautiful woman, which sees him learn the lesson in life that people are not just what the outside shows. Rosemary is the woman Hal sees as a beautiful model, but she is a bigger girl with a heart of gold, which under the spell that Hal is under he doesn’t see, she is reluctant to let Hal into her life, but eventually believes him to be good. Mauricio is the shallow best friend of Hal’s, they have both only tried to date the beautiful women, he sees something wrong with his friend and tries to fix it. Steve Shanahan is Rosemary’s father and Hal’s boss who sees the positives in Hal, but will protect his daughter at any cost.

PerformancesJack Black in the lead of a comedy like this works wonders, he can play both sides with ease being the charmer that isn’t afraid whether he strikes out or not. Gwyneth Paltrow is great too showing she can handle comedy without needing to be the one running with the jokes. Jason Alexander provides fun supporting role that shows his skills in comedy.

StoryThe story here follows a man Hal that believes he can only date models after being raised to never settle for less, when he gets hypnotised he learns to admire the inner beauty in women never seeing any of their outside flaws like the rest of the world, we are left to see if he can learn to just ignore everything once the spell wears off. This is an interesting look at romance, it shows us just how important trying to find love can be and getting to know a person is more important than anything else. This aside we do seem to have one flaw in the story and that is only some of the people change, while others remain completely the same, which does seem strange and it also only seems to show people that volunteer being less attractive, while the career driven women more than men are seen to be ugly inside. That aside we are focusing more on the struggles that Hal’s friend is facing with his change, more than Hal needing to learn about his changes.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy largely comes from Jack Black, while some of the lines seem awkward when we know the difference between the two Rosemary’s he delivers his comedy in such a confident way it shines through, with the romance being about how falling in love can happen with the person you least expect at times.

SettingsThe film is set in the big city and shows how people can be ignored at times, while other times they could be right there in your life.

Scene of the Movie – Leaving Party.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We do seem to imply that women who volunteer are beautiful on the inside, not career women.

Final Thoughts This is a comedy that hits most of its marks, it plays into Jack Black’s strengths proving that giving him the right material he can improve any movie.

Overall: Funny for the Most Part.

Savage Creatures (2019) Movie Review

Director: Richard Lowry

Writer: Richard Lowry (Screenplay)

Starring: Greg Travis, Cean Okada, Victoria Steadman, Ryan Quinn Adams, Kelly Brown

Plot: On the eve of Judgement Day, predatory cannibals abduct two young vagabond women harboring a shocking secret – they are ancient Vampires. Following a bloody clash, the Vampires are suddenly confronted with an apocalyptic crisis as soul-stealing alien creatures invade and attack humanity, turning their victims into flesh eating Zombies. The forces of evil collide in a cataclysmic battle for dominance.

Tagline – Vampires. Aliens. Cannibals. Rabid Zombies. Judgement Day just went off the rails.

Runtime: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Cult Classic in the Waiting

Story: Savage Creatures starts as we see the two predatory cannibals Liz (Okada) and Darby (Adams) complete their last kill, for their next meal, when they stumble upon two young women Rose (Brown) and Ursula (Steadman), bringing them back to their home to make them their next victims.

Things take a turn when the two women show their true selves, they are vampires that travel around the world, they have their latest dinner, until the world starts to come to an end for everybody left dead or alive.

Thoughts on Savage Creatures

Characters – Rose and Ursula are two ancient vampires that have been travelling the world for centuries, they have seen the worst of times in human history and are prepared for almost anything that comes their way, except for the aliens, where they must show their survival skills. Liz and Darby are religious cannibals that have been taking victims for years, which they believe is the lords work, with their latest victims being Ursula and Rose. Father Cooper is ready for the battle against the undead that are looking for more victims and gets even more feared, when he learns about the girls.

PerformancesKelly Brown and Victoria Steadman as the vampire couple are fun to watch, they get to poke fun at the vampire world too, while the rest of the cast do well with what they need to do in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a couple of cannibals that look to get their next victims, only for everything to get turned on its head when the world looks like it is about to end. This is a story that you think you know how it might go, only for it to keep going, bringing everything from the cannibals, vampires, aliens and zombies, that do work together in the film very well, without over staying the welcome. It does bring us an end of the world style film, that isn’t afraid to throw every potential horror villain or creature into the mix, in a fun way that just makes you want to laugh at how everything unfolds.

HorrorThe horror side of the film does include many different types of enemies we would get used to seeing the genre, cannibals, aliens, vampires, zombies, while they might not be put into scary versions, they do show us that we are going to be facing enemies that can’t be killed with ease.

SettingsThe film does give us a remote location, which does show us how every creature would be operating through the film, away from the view of people.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are low budget, they have a style which does work to help the film reach the cult status the film deserves.

Scene of the Movie – The Vampire turn.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have had more from the Father Cooper character.

Final Thoughts This is a fun horror that will have plenty going on and isn’t holding anything back from the audience and isn’t afraid to throw the blood at the screen.

Overall: Fun horror.

Samuel L Jackson Weekend – The Spirit (2008) Movie Review

Director: Frank Miller

Writer: Frank Miller (Screenplay) Will Eisner (Comic Book)

Starring: Gabriel Macht, Samuel L Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes, Sarah Paulson

Plot: Rookie cop Denny Colt returns from the beyond as The Spirit, a hero whose mission is to fight against the bad forces in Central City.

Tagline – I’m gonna kill you all kinds of dead.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Style Over Substance

Story: The Spirit starts as former cop who survived against death’s will, The Spirit (Macht) continues to chase crime against the ruthless crime lord known as Octopus (Jackson) where the two fight against each other for years, Sand Saref (Mendes) is also interested in becoming rich, which sees her cross paths with both.

With both Spirit and Octopus chasing down Sand, she continues to try and improve her riches, even if the two are just waiting for the battle which will end the war between the two men once and for all.

Thoughts on The Spirit

Characters – The Spirit fights crime around his city, he has cheated death, who is waiting for a chance to take his life, he has been fighting Octopus for years now and is trying to find a way to get rid of him once and for all. He is trying to solve why Sand is committing crimes and what the Octopus is up to this time. Octopus is the crime lord of the city, he wants full dominance and enjoys the battle against Spirit, he has a big plan for the city that only Spirit can stop. Sand is the former childhood friend of Spirit’s, she has turned to a life a crime, where she steals whatever she wants to build her riches, she doesn’t kill cops though, which makes her different type of enemy for Spirit to face. Silken Floss the sexy assistant to Octopus that has been working with him to create something new and isn’t afraid to use her looks to get an advantage.

PerformancesGabriel Macht is an actor you must feel bad for, he took a shot at something different, only for the film to be received so badly, his performance isn’t bad in anyway, much like most of the performances from the men, they just seem bland characters. Eva Mendes and Scarlett Johansson ooze sex appeal with the comic character bought to life here.

StoryThe story follows the town’s vigilante Spirit as he goes up against his arch nemesis before he gets to release a new deadly threat on the world, all while the wild card of a thief is getting in the way of both of their plans. This is a comic book adaptation which is why the story does have a unique style to everything going on. The main story does seem to fill the idea of a hero needing to fight against a villain who wants power without it being anything we haven’t seen before. It just doesn’t work however much the story wants to try to be different to anything else out there.

Action/Crime/FantasyThe action side of the film is very simple stuff despite being a comic book, it never becomes style it wants to be, with the fantasy side of the film showing us just strong both Spirit and Octopus are.

SettingsThe film keeps us in this fictional city where everything is happening, it does feel like a comic book city for the most part.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are used to try and add the style to everything we are seeing, most don’t work as well as they could.

Scene of the Movie – All kinds of Dead.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The style just doesn’t work on the levels of Sin City.

Final Thoughts This is a comic book movie that just doesn’t hit the style it wants to by the end of the film, we can’t complain because it is different to the usual films we are seeing in the comic book genre.

Overall: Style is different.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) Movie Review

Director: J.J. Abrams

Writer: Chris Terrio, J.J. Abrams (Screenplay) Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow, Chris Terrio, J.J. Abrams (Story)

Starring: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Richard E Grant

Plot: The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga.

Tagline – Every Generation Has A Legend.

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Visual Spectacular

Story: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker starts as the resistance led by General Leia (Fisher) has been regrouping with Finn (Boyega), Poe (Isaac) and C-3PO on their own mission, Rey continuing her training and Kylo Ren (Driver) is continuing his desire for power by going in search for Emperor Palpatine who has been waiting for his chance to return to power.

As the truth about Rey’s past comes to light, the destiny of the characters will come through in the epic battle that will be all or nothing for the galaxy’s future.

Thoughts on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Characters – Rey is continuing her training in the art of a Jedi, she is still learning her place in the force, she starts to suffer visions which will fill in moments from her past, including glimpse of what happened to her parents. She is still communicating with Kylo, she will finally get to learn the truth and take her place in the history of the galaxy. Kylo Ren is searching for complete power, a force which will see him take to victory, he makes the deal and now he will look to gain all the control of the galaxy once and for all. Finn continues to learn more about the other victims in the galaxy, learning how he could lead them in the future, while Poe is still learning his place in the war, with his past being used to unlock clues along the way.

PerformancesWe have had the four newer members of the Star Wars universe taking the centre stage this time, nobody does anything wrong, they give the safe performances without doing anything overly outstanding like we saw in the final chapter of a long awaited saga.

StoryThe story here follows the latest attempts for the resistance looking to put an end to the first order, only to learn of a bigger threat to the whole galaxy. The story here is the third part of the latest saga, after many people didn’t like the Last Jedi’s choices, the seem to spend most of the film trying to erase most of what wasn’t liked, we have twists that just seem completely out of nowhere in a bad way, rather than ones that are placed together well. While there are weaknesses here, we could well have some nice developments between Rey and Kylo, which is the highlight of the story, otherwise it just ends up being the same as most Star Wars, feeling very safe, with the ideas that we get plenty of bait related moments, which seem like they want to have a big impact, only they didn’t let the impact last long enough.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film is big, it will entertain even if it does feel like more of what we have seen before. We know this franchise is the backbone of the sci-fi genre and like nothing before and this never lets us down.

SettingsThe film uses the different planets to give us difference environments which is all nice, we have seen it a lot before, but it works for the film.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do come off looking almost flawless, like always.

Scene of the Movie – Rey vs Kylo on water.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The Spy

Final Thoughts This is an entertaining movie that might have flaws in the story, it will complete the saga well.

Overall: Safe conclusion.