ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – S – Seoul Station (2016)

Director: Sang-ho Yeon

Writer: Sang-ho Yeon (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Seung-Ryong Ryu, Fanciska Friede, Joon Lee, Sand-hee Lee

 

Plot: Several groups of people try to survive a zombie pandemic that unleashes itself in downtown Seoul.


Tagline – The animated prequel to TRAIN TO BUSAN

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Prequel

 

Story: Seoul Station starts as we see a homeless man injured and ignored around the station, we move off to see Hye-Sun who along with her boyfriend Ki-woong have been struggling for rent, forcing him into attempting to pimp her out, when her father Suk-gyu discovers this, he heads to Seoul to save his daughter.

Soon the homeless dies, but he doesn’t stay dead, turning into a zombie, it isn’t long before the zombie plague hits Seoul and Suk-gyu must work with Ki-woong to locate his missing daughter and escape the city before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Seoul Station

 

Characters – Suk-gyu is the father searching for his lost daughter, he knew she ran away and now he gets the chance to come and save her from the seedy underworld her boyfriend wants to put her in, only to become the real saviour against the zombies. Hye-Sun is the runaway daughter, she struggles to keep the rent coming and after her argument with her boyfriend wanders the streets alone just as the zombie outbreak starts. Ki-woong is the boyfriend who seems to be a slacker spending more time in the internet cafes over supporting his girlfriend, he is forced to work with Suk-gyu to find Hye-Sun.

StoryThe story here follows three main characters who are trying to survive a zombie outbreak in the big city of Seoul, this is a prequel to Train to Busan and shows us how the outbreak started to spread. The story keeps the attempts of a father trying to save his daughter the focal point in this film, this gives us two main characters to support and hope see get reconnected after she had run away from home at a young age. We also get to see a father and new boyfriend interact with the tension you would expect from this. This isn’t anything ground breaking for the zombie genre and by being animated we get to increase the scale of everything which does help show how a big city would cope with the panic of a sudden outbreak.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from the zombie outbreak, the zombie behaviour will always work for horror and the idea that nowhere is as safe as it should be only adds to the horror in the film.

SettingsThe film is set in Seoul which is one of the locations the train goes through in Train to Busan, the scale of the city shows us just how a big population would react to an outbreak.

AnimationThe animation used in the film is great to see, we get to see each bloody wound suffered through the outbreak.


Scene of the Movie –
Third act twist is shocking.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Shut the bloody doors.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great prequel to put us in the world of Train to Busan, we get to see just how conflicted people can become and just follow one small story in the bigger picture makes us interested to learn more.

 

Overall: Great fun animation.

Rating

 

 

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Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud

Writer: Becky Johnston (Screenplay) Heinrich Harrer (Book)

Starring: Brad Pitt, David Thewlis, BD Wong, Mako, Danny Denzongpa, Victor Wong

 

Plot: True story of Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountain climber who became friends with the Dalai Lama at the time of China’s takeover of Tibet.


Tagline – At the end of the world his real journey began.

Runtime: 2 Hours 16 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Drags Along

 

Story: Seven Years in Tibet starts when Austrian mountain climber Heinrich Harrer (Pitt) heads to India to climb in the Himalayas, he doesn’t get on with his team with leader Peter Aufschnaiter (Thewlis) forcing him to return, which does see him taken a prisoner of war.

Escaping from the prison camp, Heinrich and Peter head into the Himalayas before reaching Tibet, where he befriends the young Dalai Lama which sees a unique friendship started between the two.

 

Thoughts on Seven Years in Tibet

 

Characters – Heinrich Harrer is an explorer from Austria, he heads out for his next quest in the Himalayas to avoid the war heading to his country, he leave his pregnant wife behind him, but his nature isn’t to be friendly with anybody else on his team, he must learn to work as a team when the team are captured, and the escape sees him travelling around the Himalayas. Peter is the guide on the quest, which sees him being the one that does end up becoming the only friend for Heinrich, the two do their mission across Asia to the religious city. Ngawang is one of the Dalai Lama’s advisors, he wants to use the friendship to his advantage. Kungo is the man that welcomes the outsiders into the city, The young Dalai Lama is interested in Heinrich, being somebody with outside knowledge, he wants to keep him around.

PerformancesBrad Pitt really does struggle in the leading role, his accent is all over the place and for a charismatic explorer he doesn’t drag you into his performance. David Thewlis is solid enough in his role which is where he is always an actor to turn to. The rest of the cast have a mix of experience and screen time which just doesn’t let them effect the story.

StoryThe story tells us the events that led to Austrian explorer becoming friends with the Dalai Lama during World War II and the Chinese invasion of Tibet. It does show a different in culture, how the Dalai Lama was willing to gain knowledge from people outside of his village even at a young age. We do get a lot of jumping in time, with very little happening in places, which doesn’t help the flow of the story, which is meant to be a big moment in history. The narration from Brad Pitt doesn’t help too, because it sounds like he is just mumbling the lines which are meant to fill in the gaps.

Adventure/Biopic/WarThe adventure shows the incredible will to survive that Heinrich has, the ability to adapt to each situation which will take him across Asia. This plays out in the biopic side of the film, showing us just how the event of his story unfolded. The film is most set during the war, be it the second world war or the Chinese invasion of Tibet.

SettingsThe film does use the authentic locations for the events of the film, it shows the harsh reality certain locations are for Heinrich.


Scene of the Movie –
The meetings with the Dalai Lama.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pacing is slow for no reason.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow paced biopic that could show us a real moment of history, only it ends up not giving us enough to care about.

 

Overall: Disappointing a slow biopic.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – Z – Same Kind of Different Me (2017)

This has be selected for Z because of Renee Zellweger.

 

Director: Michael Carney

Writer: Michael Carney, Alexander Foard, Ron Hall (Screenplay) Ron Hall, Denver Moore, Lynn Vincent (Book)

Starring: Greg Kinnear, Renee Zellweger, Djimon Hounsou, Jon Voight, Olivia Holt, Austin Filson

 

Plot: International art dealer Ron Hall must befriend a dangerous homeless man in order to save his struggling marriage to his wife, a woman whose dreams will lead all three of them on the journey of their lives.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Touching Drama

 

Story: Same Kind of Different as Me starts when international art dealer Ron Hall (Kinnear) gets caught out cheating on his wife Debbie (Zellweger), needing to make up for his mistake, he must help Debbie with her charity work at a homeless shelter, which includes helping Denver Moore (Hounsou) better known as suicide.

Ron ends up befriending Denver learning about his story, why he is like he is, learning that her work with the homeless makes her good fortune be placed into perspective and learns to give back to the world.

 

Thoughts on Same Kind of Different as Me

 

Characters – Ron Hall is an international art dealer, he only cares about himself and his family looking down on the people below him in the class system. When he makes a mistake by cheating on his wife, he must do everything to make it up to her, which includes helping in a homeless shelter, meeting homeless people learning about their stories, with Denver becoming his closest friend. Debbie is the wife of Ron, she admits the two have become distant, she helps out at the homeless shelter which see her bring him there to open his eyes to the world more, before facing her own battle. Denver is a homeless man that is aggressive towards anyone that tries to help him, it takes time for him to trust Ron, but once he does, he tells the incredible story that he has been through in life. Earl is the strict father that doesn’t like the new friendship with Denver.

PerformancesGreg Kinnear is great in the leading role, his character is filled with regret in life from his mistakes and wants to help make things right. Renee Zellweger shines in the supporting role too, with Djimon Hounsou proving to everyone just how strong of an actor he truly is.

StoryThe story follows the Hall family whose lives are turned upside after an affair, with the regret there, they do what they can to fix things, which sees them give up time to help people less fortunate than them, helping them put their lives back together and in Ron’s case, learn that everybody has a story from their lives. This is based on the real people and you can see just how much they helped change both sides of the lives for the best. This story does only seem to focus on one homeless man when it hints heavily early on that we might meet more people to learn their stories. It shows us the audience just how people who have fallen on hard times could have has normal lives before losing everything and just need helping back up again.

BiopicThis film uses the biopic genre to show just how difficult life has been for the Denver and how Ron needed to learn more about life and the best way to live his own.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us the different life styles the people have, be it the casual rich person life or the homeless life being lived.


Scene of the Movie –
The story of Denver’s life.

That Moment That Annoyed Me One side story seems to get dropped quickly.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful drama that shows just how you need to learn to treat people equal no matter where they have come from or how they got there.

 

Overall: Wonderful drama.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – S – The Stanford Prison Experiment (2016)

Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez

Writer: Tim Talbott (Screenplay) Philip Zimbardo (Book)

Starring: Billy Crudup, Michael Angarano, Ezra Miller, Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Keir Gilchrist

 

Plot: Twenty-four male students out of seventy-five were selected to take on randomly assigned roles of prisoners and guards in a mock prison situated in the basement of the Stanford psychology building.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Drama

 

Story: The Stanford Prison Experiment starts with Dr Philip Zimbardo (Crudup) is given a chance to prefer an experiment with 24 male students in Stanford psychology building. The idea is half the volunteer students will become prisoners the other half with be the guards.

With the contract stating no harm can be given to anyone involved, it is only the first day when things start to get out of hand as the guards start taking the role too seriously and this experiment heads down a path that even Dr Zimbardo could imagine it to go.

 

Thoughts on The Stanford Prison Experiment

 

Characters – Dr Philip Zimbardo is performing this experiment because he could make his career proving the mentality of the prison system, he doesn’t want to let thing get out of hand but is willing to the rules broken. The students playing both the prisoners and guards both become different types of what you would expect from a prison environment, they don’t get overly as much attention you would think but they are all important to what happens in the story.

PerformanceBilly Crudup is great in the doctor role but the highlight of the film comes from the actors playing the subjects, be it the prisoners or the guards both sides are fantastic with playing their roles.

StoryThe story is loosely based on the real Stanford Experiments which shows us just how twenty-four students get placed into roles of either prisoners or guards over a week long experiment that just gets to the levels of just how far will things go. Seeing how the men act puts us to the limits of wondering just how far things could go as we see things get intense in moments. Having seen the Experiment movie I was expecting certain things to happen but this time none of these appear in the movie, this does disappoint because the film never hits the truly shocking moments it could.

Biography/HistoryThis is a known experiment with different variables involved, it shows us the basic idea and it is still known as one of the most famous experiments in world history.

SettingsThe film is set entirely within the created Stanford Prison, it is either inside or watching from just outside seeing how it unfolds.

Scene of the Movie – The first moment the guards show what they will do.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel this could have an explosive ending.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good tense thrilling character study that shows us just how far people could go.

 

Overall: Tense thriller that pulls you in.

Rating

 

 

Shed of the Dead (2019)

Director: Drew Cullingham

Writer: Drew Cullingham (Screenplay)

Starring: Spencer Brown, Lauren Socha, Ewen MacIntosh, Emily Booth, Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley, Michael Berryman, Brian Blessed

 

Plot: Trevor is ‘between jobs’. He spends his days avoiding his overbearing wife by hiding out in his allotment shed and painting figurines for his wargames with his agoraphobic friend, Graham, and dreaming of his heroic alter-ego, the battle mage Casimir the Destroyer. When Mr Parsons, one of the other allotment tenants, petitions to have Trevor removed from his disgrace of a plot (he’s not there to grow stuff!) an argument ensues that leaves Trevor with a corpse to hide. Unfortunately, this untimely accident coincides with the zombie apocalypse and Mr Parsons’ return is just the beginnings of Trevor’s problems. More pressing is whether or not he should try and save his wife and her beautiful best friend, who both he and Graham have a thing for.


Tagline – An unlikely hero’s tale of blood, sweat, and shears !

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Zombie Horror

 

Story: Shed of the Dead starts as we meet Trevor (Brown) a professional slacker, who spends his days between jobs in his allotment shed in a fantasy world, he doesn’t take care of his allotment though which has seen the other resident led by Mr Parsons (Hodder) want him out.

Trevor lives his with wife Bobbi (Socha) who works at the local hair dressers with Harriet (Booth) and he hides out with his best friend Graham (MacIntosh). When a zombie apocalypse happens Trevor must team with Graham to save the women in their lives.

 

Thoughts on Shed of the Dead

 

Characters – Trevor is the slacker, he is stuck in a fantasy world in his allotment where he puts off life responsibilities, so much so that h doesn’t realize the zombie apocalypse has started. Once he learns about it, he must live out his fantasy by trying to figure out how to save his wife. The zombie apocalypse brings out a new side to Trevor, a braver version of the cowardly one in life. Bobbi is Trevor’s wife that works at the hairdressers, she is constantly shouting at him forcing him into hiding. Graham is the best friend that tends not to leave the house, he is into the wargames too and has a massive crush on Harriet as part of their fantasy world. Harriet the best friend of Bobbi, she is the one the guys both fancy and she knows how to look after her clients. Mr Parsons is the man that wants Trevor out of the allotment because he never looks after his plot like the rest of the residents. Doc is one of the residents that does seem to be ready for the end of the world, as he is found cutting them down through the film.

PerformancesSpencer Brown is our main star which he does make the most of showing the evolution of his character. Lauren Socha, Ewen MacIntosh and Emily Booth bring the grounded characters to life, while the horror icons, Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley and Michael Berryman get the horror moments in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a slacker that must take responsibility once a zombie apocalypse starts outside his allotment shed. This story does continue to build on the ever-increasing amount of films that use (Location) of the Dead to bring to life a new idea for a horror comedy story. this does work because it pushes our character into needing to focus on taking life more serious even if it means the end of the world will make it happen. When it comes to how the story unfolds, it doesn’t bring anything new to the genre, we can almost use the checklist of how everything unfolds too. The weakness in the story turns to sex-based jokes or references or dreams which just gets turned to when the story feels like it has run out of ideas.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy in the film does work in places, only a lot comedy ends up turning to sexual fantasy instead of focusing on the story unfolding, while the horror elements of the film target the idea of a zombie outbreak with different creation of zombies.

SettingsThe film uses the allotment shed as one of the main locations, only we don’t stay head long enough to get the most out of the idea in the title.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are strong, be it the make up for the zombies or the created fantasy world the characters sometimes turn to.


Scene of the Movie –
Trevor snaps at Mr Parsons.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We didn’t spend enough time in the shed.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun zombie movie, it gets the required moments right, laughs and horror without being anything completely new.

 

Overall: Beds in nicely.

Rating