Two for Joy (2018)

Director: Tom Beard

Writer: Tom Beard (Screenplay)

Starring: Samantha Morton, Billie Piper, Bella Ramsey, Emilia Jones, Daniel Mays, Ibinabo Jack, David Elliot, Badger Skelton

 

Plot: A troubled family’s problems come to a head during a stay in a seaside town.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Fantastic

 

Story: Two for Joy starts as a small family, mother Aisha (Morton) and children Violet (Jones) and Troy (Skelton) are living the poor life with their own problems, with Aisha struggling with depression, Troy falling in with the wrong crowd and Vi just trying to hold things together.

The three go on a low budget family holiday by the seaside to get away from the troubles back home, here they meet Lillah (Piper) and Miranda (Ramsey) another family with their own problems too and caretaker Lias (Mays) tries to put a positive spin on the caravan site.

 

Thoughts on Two For Joy

 

Characters – Aisha is the mother is Vi and Troy, she is stuck in deep depression after the death of her husband, their father, she struggles with everyday tasks leading to leave Vi in charge of the household chores. She does take the children to the caravan to escape for a while, which does try to help her have communication with other adults. Vi short for Violet is the eldest daughter of Aisha, she is the one trying to hold the family together, she will do everything she can while trying to escape the life with her studies too, she desperately needs a friend. Troy is the youngster child of the family, he likes to fish, only he has started to hang around a troublesome older boy that has put gotten him in trouble. Lillah is a fellow single mother that has used the caravan home to escape the traumas of back home, she doesn’t have much control over her daughter, while her brother tries to help her escape the abusive father. Miranda is Lillah’s daughter, she takes a shine to Troy and sees him as somebody she can have adventures with, she does come off like a bratty figure, but it is clear she is dealing with the depression of not having her father around and what he did to her. Lias runs the caravan camp, he only has two visitors and tries his best to make sure they are all having a good time there.

PerformancesSamantha Morton gives us a brilliant performance as the mother who has nearly given up hope on her life, we believe the struggles she is facing too. Billie Piper and Daniel Mays complete the adult cast as they both shine too. It is Emilia Jones which give the standout of a stunning performance piece here, as she must hide the pain, she is feeling to remain strong even with nobody around her. Bella Ramsey and Badger Skelton complete the cast and shine on an equal level to the rest of the cast.

StoryThe story follows the lives of two broken families that are spending time at a seaside caravan site, they are the only ones here, they must use the time to try and help each other accept what has happened and move on with their lives only for one moment to become the catalyst for the biggest change. If you did see the movie ‘The Florida Project’ you will understand what you will be experience, with the children struggle to find things to do, while the parents have almost given up on their own endeavours. The story is bleak and full of darkness when it comes to everything that we go through, we touch on real matters that don’t always get talked about, especially when the people are going through the problems, this will test your emotional levels through the film.

SettingsThe film has a couple of settings, first the housing area which shows how close the family is living close to poverty and just waiting to fall into troubles, before we move to seaside resort that shows us just where the poor families will spend holidays.


Scene of the Movie –
The boat trip.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There are certain parts of the Lillah relationship we could have seen more from.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best dramas you will see this year, it will play on the emotions of the audience and leave you emotionally exhausted by the end of the film.

 

Overall: Essential viewing.

Rating

 

 

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Tales of Frankenstein (2018)

Director: Donald F Glut

Writer: Donald F Glut (Screenplay)

Starring: John Blyth Barrymore, Buddy Daniels Friedman, Jim Tavare, Tatiana DeKhtyar, Len Wein, Jamisin Matthews

 

Plot: Based upon four of writer-director Donald F. Glut’s short stories published in his book TALES OF FRANKENSTEIN: “My Creation, My Beloved” (a deformed descendant of Victor Frankenstein creates the perfect man and woman), “Crawler from the Grave” (another Frankenstein descendant’s disembodied, plague-infected arm returns from the grave for revenge), “Madhouse of Death” (a private detective winds up in an old dark house filled with loonies…and a gorilla) and “Dr. Karnstein’s Creation” (a mad doctor creates a monster in vampire-haunted Transylvania – with gruesomely unexpected results).

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Anthology

 

Story: Tales of Frankenstein starts as we learn that we are going to be learning about four different relatives of Victor Frankenstein, each chapter will be their own story, which we will get into more details below.

 

Thoughts on Tales of Frankenstein

 

My Creation, My Beloved – This story follows Gregore Frankenstein (Friedman) the cousin to Victor, he doesn’t want to follow in his cousin’s footsteps, but when is love dies, he can’t help by go down the same path, when he tries to bring her back to life. This is a simple and effective introduction to what we are going to be going through, it does enough to be original, while borrow the basics from the original story, showing how love can drive the most brilliant minded people to make rash decisions.

Crawler from the GraveVincent (Barrymore) is a neighbour to Helmut (Wein) who uses his brains to try and cure himself, Vincent wants the jewellery that Helmut has, wanting to buy it after he passes, he soon learns the price of chasing from the dead. This one plays into the ideas that greed will guide people to make mistakes they will always end up paying for, the moments off effects are weaker here which does take away from elements of the ideas in the story.

Madhouse of DeathWe head to LA here, with Jack Anvil (Matthews) who breaks down outside the home of Dr Mortality (Novak), who has bigger plans for Jack, told in a noir style with Jack being a private investigator, it is left to see if he is the one Mortality is waiting for. The noir style to this one does make it standout from the rest, which does work, it does feel like one that could be a full movie too, which is what we focus on when it comes to the short stories.

Dr Karnstein’s CreationThe final chapter takes us to Dr Karnstein (Tavare) in Transylvania who recruits Carl (Hoffmeister) to be his assistant so that he can continue the work of Victor Frankenstein, he will learn that his obsession will be more difficult that he could ever imagine. This chapter brings us the most comedy with how everything unfold which brings us to a nice conclusion to this anthology.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy seems to be strongest in one of the four stories, it doesn’t come as thick and fat as you would hope though, the horror continues the ideas of what Frankenstein’s legacy once gave us, seeing how his family tree was involved with similar stories.

SettingsEach setting is a different time in history between when the first Frankenstein story happened, right up to the mid 1950s, this does help make each story feel unique even with the connections to the bigger picture.

Special EffectsThe effects here are a mixed bag because most of the Dr Karnstein effects looking the best, while Crawling from the Grave seems to have weaker effects throughout.


Scene of the Movie –
Carl’s true identity.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Crawling from the Grave is the slowest story involved here.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice fun series of Frankenstein stories, showing how the legacy could easily continue without just being another remake.

 

Overall: Frankenstein Anthology films to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

That Thing You Do! (1996)

Director: Tom Hanks

Writer: Tom Hanks (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Steve Zahn, Johnathon Schaech, Ethan Embry, Charlize Theron

 

Plot: A local Pennsylvania band scores a one hit wonder in 1964 and rides the star-making machinery as long as they can, with lots of help from its manager.


Tagline – In every life there comes a time when that dream you dream becomes that thing you do.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict:

 

Story: That Thing You Do! Starts in a small town in Pennsylvania in 1964, where four young men Jimmy (Schaech), Guy (Scott), Lenny (Zahn) and the Bass Player (Embry) are trying to make a nae for themselves and when they win a talent contest, the band known as ‘The One-Ders’ grab the attention of the state.

When Mr White (Hanks) discovers the band, he rebrands them ‘The Wonders’ and soon their hit ‘That Thing You Do!’ rises up the charts becoming an overnight sensation.

 

Thoughts on That Thing You Do!

 

Characters – Mr White is the music manager who takes over control of ‘The Wonders’ he knows how to make them bigger than they are and shows them how to go from small crowds to the main attraction to national success, however he makes sure he keeps them doing the song that made them popular over trying to make them do anything new. Jimmy is the lead singer of the band and along with his girlfriend has always tried to make the band their own style, always trying to find a clever snappy name for them. Guy is bought in last minute to become the drummer and soon becomes the man of mystery in the band, the one that pushes them to up the tempo of the band sound. Faye is Jimmy’s girlfriend that has supported the band from day one, she will follow them on tour.

PerformancesTom Hanks is a busy man on this film taking writing and directing too, he is great as the manager trying to make the band the next big thing, he shows he knows this side of the business with the character too. Johnathon Schaech, Tom Everett Scott, Steve Zahn and Ethan Embry as the band are good they have great chemistry together. Liv Tyler is good with her role slowly turning into the background roll in the film.

StoryThe story follows a young band that rise from small-town band to national success with their one hit wonder song that is filled with good feeling. We see how the band can be led down one the path that is best for their quick success over being shown about lasting success in a cut throat 60s music industry, where everyone wanted to become the next Beetles. The story is shown in a pace which shows the band just loving the success that is coming their direction while they have their own issues which must be put aside to keep the band together and we see how they must learn to handle success.

Comedy/MusicThe comedy in the film comes from the supporting cast where Lenny get the laughs with his enthusiasm about the band. The music is mostly the same song being played, but it isn’t one that gets annoying though.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the small humble beginnings the band has to just how big they becomes with each location becoming bigger to mirror their success.


Scene of the Movie –
That Thing You Do! The song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Bass Player not actually having a name.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good example of how bands can have one song which makes them massive only to see them struggle when it comes to trying to make a name for themselves in a new booming industry.

 

Overall: Hanks is just as great behind the camera as he is on front of it.

Rating

 

 

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)

Director: Michael Cimino

Writer: Michael Cinimo (Screenplay)

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Jeff Bridges, Geoffrey Lewis, Catherine Bach, Gary Busey, Jack Dodson

 

Plot: With the help of an irreverent young sidekick, a bank robber gets his old gang back together to organize a daring new heist.


Tagline – Thunderbolt… the man with the reputation. Lightfoot… the kid who’s about to make one!

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Comedy Heist Film

 

Story: Thunderbolt and Lightfoot starts as we meet car thief Lightfoot (Bridges) as he stumbles into wanted criminal Thunderbolt (Eastwood) who happens to be on the run from Red Leary (Kennedy) and Eddie (Lewis) from a previous job.

When the unlikely pairing decide to work together to collect the money from Thunderbolt’s big heist they become friends and start to plan their latest heist with the original crew getting back together.

 

Thoughts on Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

 

Characters – Thunderbolt is the seasoned criminal, that reluctantly takes Lightfoot on his latest heist, he knows how the plan ahead and get away with hiding in plain sight. Lightfoot is the rookie criminal that falls into the connection with Thunderbolt as he helps him escape trouble, he talks his way into the next heist even if his mouth can get him in trouble. Eddie and Red are former partners in crime of Thunderbolt out to get their share from their last job, they have the history with him and will trust him to help get the next job done.

PerformancesClint Eastwood was one of the biggest stars in the industry when this movie was made, he works in the lead role shining next to the younger talent. Jeff Bridges showed us here that he was going to be a huge star, he has great chemistry with Eastwood too.

StoryThe story follows two new partners working on a heist together, in fairness there isn’t too much more to look at here, it plays out like you would imagine and sends the characters o a road trip adventure at times too. It is easy to follow and doesn’t offer many twists which makes this one that could be enjoyed by all.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy in the film does work well without being needed too often which shows that the crime is the focal point of the film as most heist films should do.

SettingsThe film takes our characters on a road trip adventure as they look to escape the bad heist and head towards the next heist.


Scene of the Movie –
The first meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too by the book.

Final ThoughtsEasy to watch and enjoyable heist movie with a great cast that gives us a road trip adventure.

 

Overall: Fun and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)

Director: Jan de Bont

Writer: Dean Georgaris (Screenplay) Steven E de Souza, James V Hart (Story)

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Gerald Butler, Ciaran Hinds, Chris Barrie, Noah Taylor, Djimon Hounsou, Til Schweiger

 

Plot: Adventurer Lara Croft goes on a quest to save the mythical Pandora’s Box, before an evil scientist finds it, and recruits a former Marine turned mercenary to assist her.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Enough Sequel

 

Story: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life starts when Lara Croft’s (Jolie) latest treasure hunt ends up with her team killed and her treasure stolen by Chen Lo (Yam) who is willing to sell the orb to arms dealer Jonathan Reiss (Hinds) a former MI6 agent turned evil, that wants to use the orb to locate Pandora’s Box which could bring about the next viral apocalypse on the world.

Lara working with MI6 is joined by disgraced former agent Terry Sheridan (Butler) as per her request as they race around the world to unlock the truth about Pandora’s Box before it ends up in the wrong hands.

 

Thoughts on Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

 

Characters – Lara Croft the treasure hunting heroine that travels the world to locate the treasure of the world before they fall into the wrong hands. She is still the kick ass resourceful heroine we know, we see how her connections around the world can help and hinder her quest. Terry Sheridan is the disgraced former MI6 agent, he is granted freedom for information and his former connection with Lara puts him in the middle of the two sides. Jonathan Reiss is the arms dealer that wants Pandora’s Box to be able to sell to the highest bidders to create chaos in the world. he knows how to get results and is happy to kill anyone that crosses his paths. Bryce and Hillary return in the same roles getting the laughs and doing the background work Lara. Kosa is one of the many connections that Lara has around the world, they are good friends after the previous work and respect between the cultures.

PerformancesAngelina Jolie continues to be great in the role of Lara Croft, she had the perfect look for the character and handled the swagger about the character perfectly well. Gerald Butler is good as the shady partner to Lara through the film, giving us rough around the edges figure. Ciaran Hinds is good in the villainous role even if the character is everything you would expect them to be. Barrie and Taylor continue to give the humour when needed. The rest of the cast are fine as they just fill the role required.

StoryThe story here follows Lara Croft on her next treasure hunt where she faces a new shady society lead by weapons dealer who wants to unlock the power of Pandora’s Box. We get to see her globe trot as she is aided by MI6 to locate the mysterious and deadly item. This does continue keep us in the peril filled situations, the idea that Lara has connections around the world to make treasure hunting possible, the shady organisation and treasure that could cause major destruction to the world. This doesn’t test us to the same levels as the first film because as it ends up just following the same formula.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is big as we have bigger stunts going on through the film including a motorbike sequence along the Great Wall China, flying through the streets of Hong Kong and giant monsters in Africa. The adventure does take us around the world once again which is what we want, but we don’t get enough in tomb locations.

SettingsThe film does take us around the world as we see different locations some iconic, some secret tombs with historic stories.

Special EffectsThe effects are weaker than last time without taking us too far out of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The Great Wall motorbike scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough Tomb location.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough sequel that the fans of the original should enjoy, but if you didn’t like the first one you won’t be enjoying as much.

 

Overall: Solid enough for a sequel.

Rating