Jack O’Connell Weekend – This is England (2006) Movie Review

Director: Shane Meadows

Writer: Shane Meadows (Screenplay)

Starring: Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham, Jo Hartley, Andrew Shim, Vicky McClure, Joseph Gilgun, Rosamund Hanson

Plot: A young boy becomes friends with a gang of skinheads. Friends soon become like family, and relationships will be pushed to the very limit.

Tagline – Run with the crowd, stand alone, you decide.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Gritty, Hard Hitting Reality Check

Story: This is England starts as young boy Shaun (Turgoose) is struggling with the death of his father in conflict in 1983, he gets picked on at school, he doesn’t fit in, until a group of skinheads led by Woody (Gilgun) welcoming him into their circle of friends for an afternoon of trouble, while his mother Cynth (Hartley) isn’t completely happy with this group, she does see him being happy for the first time in years.

When the other leader of the group Combo (Graham) gets out of prisons, he brings a more aggressive nature to what the gang wants to be, despite Woody, just wanting it to be friends hanging out.

Thoughts on This is England

Characters – Shaun is a 12-year-old boy that has suffered with the loss of his own father’s death in the Falklands, he gets bullied by the other school kids and has always just been left feeling alone in the world. The only people that let him in are Woody and the gang of skin heads who just want to hang out and soon gets drawn into a darker side by the more aggressive leaders of the gang. Combo is the older leader of the gang that doesn’t hold back with his hatred to other races in his country, he will fight anybody who goes again his gang too, being a horrendous role model for Shaun. Cynth is the mother of Shaun, she wants to see her son enjoying his life more but is getting worried about his own life choices. Woody is the member of the skin head gang that invites Shaun into the gang, he wants to help him fight back against the bullies, by offering somebody to hang out with.

PerformancesThomas Turgoose in the leading role is fantastic as we see just how he is dealing with his own grief in all the wrong places. Stephen Graham steals the show with his hyper aggressive character, while the rest of the cast do make us feel like we are watching mates hanging out.

StoryThe story here follows a 12-year-old boy that ends up joining a skinhead gang after he struggles to find a way to deal with the grief in his life from his father’s death. The story does tackle just how difficult grief could be for the children of the victims of war, with Shaun having his school friends pick on him because of his father’s death, which in todays, not the 80s wouldn’t be acceptable in anyway, with everybody being more supportive. The idea of joining the gang and just how the gang soon starts to consume his life, effecting his behaviour shows how being given the wrong lines to follow will not make life any easier. We do see how the world has changed since the 80s and how the skinhead culture should never be forced onto anybody.

CrimeThe crime world we get placed into here it, involves the violent behaviour of the skinhead gangs to anybody that doesn’t fit into their profile.

SettingsThe film is set in the midlands of the UK which does show the neighbours that would have been struggling in the 1980s.

Scene of the Movie – The first day out with the gang.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – 12-year-old dating an 18-year-old seems weird.

Final Thoughts This film does show the violence being pushed onto people if they can’t deal with grief when they have nobody else in their lives.

Overall: Violent Drama.

Taxi (1998) Movie Review

Director: Gerard Pires

Writer: Luc Besson (Screenplay)

Starring: Samy Naceri, Frederic Diefenthal, Marion Cotillard, Manuela Gourary, Emma Wiklund, Bernard Farcy

Plot: To work off his tarnished driving record, a hip taxi driver must chauffeur a loser police inspector on the trail of German bank robbers.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun

Story: Taxi starts as slick pizza delivery man and scooter racer Daniel (Naceri) finally gets his dream job, as a taxi driver in Marseilles, his driving skills means he can complete the fares which others wouldn’t get completed. Police officer Emilien (Diefenthal) is still struggling to pick up driving, which is making his own position a problem, when the latest job is to stop German thieves.

When the two meet, Emilien sees a chance to redeem himself, while letting Daniel off the misdemeanours he has been committing behind the wheel, as the unlikely duo look to capture the German thieves.

Thoughts on Taxi

Characters – Daniel is a speed demon, he races scooters and once he gets his taxi licence, he uses this passion for racing as a challenge to get fares to destination on time, only this sees him speeding with Emilien in his car, needing to make up for his mistake, he offers to help Emilien crack the case he is working on, as the two become friends. Emilien is a clumsy cop, he can’t pick up driving, with his actions leading to more problems, he knows his time is limited and uses his new found friendship to crack the case that will impress the super intendant. The pair work well together showing they can fill the weaknesses they both have. Lilly is Daniel’s girlfriend that is always missing the chance to spend time with him. Camille is Emilien’s mother that is the only person he has in his life, with her ever positive mood reflecting onto him.

PerformancesSamy Naceri and Frederic Diefenthal together are great to watch, with excellent chemistry together through the whole film. Marion Cotillard in the supporting role is fun, but we don’t get to see enough of her character.

StoryThe story here follows a speed demon taxi driver that reluctantly joins forces with a down on his luck cop to try and take down a group of German thieves in France. This is a buddy comedy, with two different people working together for the greater good, the pair get laughs as they plan for the next robbery. It does show us how sometimes you must find a way to outsmart the criminal and is designed to get more flash out of the car chases, with the comedy in the partnership. We don’t need to get much deeper with everything, letting the simple idea shine through.

Action/ComedyThe action in the film is very entertaining, with flash car chases all the way through, with the comedy coming from seeing how the two as they get through the days together.

SettingsThe film is set in Marseilles, which does bring together a couple of tighter streets and a different location for the car chases, that we would have seen before.

Scene of the Movie – The final chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough of Lilly.

Final Thoughts Fun action comedy that doesn’t hold back on the action, while letting the comedy flow nicely.

Overall: Enjoyable.

Signature Entertainment presents Taxi on Digital HD July 31 and on Amazon Prime August 3rd

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – T – The Tempest (2010)

Director: Julie Taymor

Writer: Julie Taymor (Screenplay) William Shakespeare (Play)

Starring: Felicity Jones, Helen Mirren, Djimon Hounsou, David Strathairn, Alan Cumming, Chris Cooper, Ben Whishaw


Plot: Shakespeare’s epic play is translated from page to screen, with the gender of the main character, Prospero, changed from male to female.


Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Not Enjoyable


Story: The Tempest starts as Prospera (Mirren) sees her island visited by outsiders, the island she lives alone with her daughter Miranda (Jones) with their slave Caliban (Hounsou) a man that did once wrong them. With the strangers on the island Miranda gets to meet her first man outside of Caliban in Prince Ferdinand (Carney) to whom she falls in love with.

Prince Ferdinand isn’t the only visitor to the island as the rest of the crew including King Alonso (Strathairn) search for help with the spirit of the island haunting them as a chance to escape Prospera’s spell.


Thoughts on The Tempest


Characters – Prospera is the witch living on the remote island, she has been controlling people with spells which keep her daughter safe, until her chance of escape arrives. Miranda is the daughter of Prospera who can’t leave the island and has only ever see one man in her life, when she meets Prince Ferdinand she instantly falls in love with him wanting to leave the island with him. Caliban is the slave that lives on the island, he has done wrong in the past which leaves him being forced into the slavery role, with the visitors he believes he could become free. When it comes to the people that visit the island we get a group of different ranks through a royalty position, each has their own moments in the film.

PerformancesHelen Mirren is the best performer in the film, she has been working with this material before and shows she is one of the best for it. Felicity Jones gets one of her early roles where we get to see how much talent is there even with a restricted role. We have a very talented supporting cast who get to show their own abilities while Russell Brand is there too.

StoryThe story is a new version of the Shakespeare classic of the same name, it is one that I do remember enjoying reading while at school when we studied his work, the problem for me comes from the fact this didn’t connect because it was so outside the box of what to expect from the ideas behind everything, we do get plenty of random scenes which just miss for the most part which disappoints. The honest opinion is that we have just too much going on that never connects back to everything else. The themes for Shakespeare plays have always been a mixed bag because the time they were written you can understand them, but not all have aged to the modern era of life.

Comedy/Fantasy/RomanceThe comedy in the film is completely random, certain moments click really well others miss completely, the fantasy world feels messy for what it should be too, while the romance is just a side story with everything going on.

SettingsThe film is set on the island where Prospera lives, it has different elements of magic to make it full of peril for the visitors.

Scene of the Movie –
The Spells.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The spirit is annoying animated through the film.

Final Thoughts This is a Shakespeare story that didn’t work for me, I don’t blame the actors, it is how the story is presented that fails it.


Overall: Disappoint Shakespeare play.




ABC Film Challenge – Romance – R – Time Traveller (2015) Movie Review

This is under R because of the director Roland Joffe.

Director: Roland Joffe

Writer: Roland Joffe (Screenplay) Ajey Jhankar (Story)

Starring: Josh Hartnett, Bipasha Basu, Tamsin Egerton, James Mackay, Alice Englert, Simone Kessell, Abhay Deol

Plot: An epic, sweeping and riveting tale of an impossible love set across two time periods and continents.

Tagline – Love is longer than life.
Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Painfully Boring

Story: Time Traveller starts in modern time at Jay (Hartnett) and his partner Laura (Egerton) are diving in search of unseen history when an accident happens, we transport back to the 1700’s where Scottish soldier James (Hartnett) has been operating in the British army operating in India in the middle of an attempt to take the throne.

James must help the Queen Tulaja (Basu) find safety, while her husband continues to hold back the threat, James must use his skills to stay ahead of the threat, using his knowledge of the land to stay alive.

Thoughts on Time Traveller

Characters – Jay is a driver that will do anything to save his love, risking everything free diving to save her, that is about it for his story. James is a Scottish soldier that has mapped India for years and now is charged with escorting a queen across the land in an attempt to get her to safety from a rising enemy. Tulaja is the queen that James must escort who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty along the way. Laura is the love of Jay who dives with him, finding herself trapped. The characters aren’t written very well in this film at all, consider some are meant to show the strength to lead armies.

PerformancesJosh Hartnett does struggle here, he doesn’t hit the accent well either, which seems to let his talent fall, Bipasha Basu does well enough, though the script doesn’t help the performance for anybody in this film.

StoryThe story here follows one man risk his life for love, before jumping back in time to see him again fighting for love in the middle of the British India battle, where he tries to save a queen. Well that is what the story looks like, it is put together very weakly, with most of the story just being bland and uninspiring, with little connection to how anything involving actual time travel, it wants to look more into reincarnation, only doesn’t get properly involved with that either and ends up being a dull experience.

Action/RomanceThe action is most based on the battles between the British and Indians, while not being anything edge of the seat or anything, while showing that the romance is what one person would do for love.

SettingsThe film does use two very different settings, the modern world where the divers would operate and the Indian landscape for the battle between the two nations, it all works for the film.

Scene of the Movie – Free Diving.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Dull story.

Final Thoughts This is a disappointingly dull film that wastes the talent to give us a story that just doesn’t get going and ends up fall flat.

Overall: Dull.

The Tent (2020) Movie Review

Director: Kyle Couch

Writer: Kyle Couch (Screenplay)

Starring: Tim Kaiser, Lulu Dahl, Shlby Bradley, Christine Marie, Jeannine Thompson

Plot: An apocalyptic event known as The Crisis has devastated David’s world leaving him to rely on survival tactics learned from childhood. Isolated and alone, David has taken refuge in a tent on the edge of the wilderness. Soon enough, another survivor emerges, Mary, who immediately begins questioning David’s tactics and ultimately putting them in the crosshairs of “Those Who Walk In Darkness”, unseen creatures that may or may not be responsible for The Crisis. 

Tagline – Survive

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Deeper Than You Can Imagine

Story: The Tent starts in the aftermath of an apocalyptic event known as the Crisis, David (Kaiser) has escaped to isolation where he is always trying to elude capture from the threat, when Mary (Dahl) finds David injured in need of help, she offers him help and the two must learn to work together despite not wanting to be working together.

As the two start showing weaknesses in human interaction, they come under attack from the mysterious whispers, that have been hunting the remaining survives on the planet, where the two need to decide to take a stand or remain hidden from the world.

Thoughts on The Tent

Characters – David Has been living in a tent after the crisis event, he has kept himself away from trouble, being prepared for everything that comes his way, until he becomes caught in a trap where he finally needs help, he must learn that not everyone or everything is going to be a threat to him. Mary is the mysterious stranger that brings help to David, she is looking for shelter and believes the two could become stronger together in the battle to survive. We do only get glimpses of other characters in the film, who fill important moments, but aren’t the key to the deeper side of the story.

PerformancesTim Kaiser and Lulu Dahl are great together, they show the edge to their characters, we get to see more depth in the performances later in the film, which makes this even more impressive with the performances involved.

StoryThe story here follows two strangers who meet in a post-apocalyptic world and look to survive the threat outside the tent, needing to work together to survive. This is a story that goes in a direction you truly don’t see coming, which is very refreshing, it is such a clever way to use this idea, that you need to take time to analyse if there are any hints along the way. This story does have an important message that needs to be told that will shine a light on what the true meaning in the story. The level of detail about surviving is a standout because we go through plenty of details about how to make it through this new world.

ThrillerThe thriller side of this film circles around the terrors that could come from outside the tent, what is hunting down our two main characters.

SettingsThe film spends most of the time inside the tent, where we focus on a plan to escape, while hearing something on the outside, giving us the creation of the tension in the film.

Scene of the Movie – The final third of the movie.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We do have one too many cutbacks to pre-event.

Final Thoughts This is a super smart thriller that does something you won’t see coming to bring attention to a real-life matter, with an excellent attention to detail.

Overall: Excellent Thriller