Tsunambee (2017)

Director: Milko Davis

Writer: Milko Davis (Screenplay)

Starring: Stacey Pederson, Ruselis Aumeen Perry, Shale Le Page, Maria DeCoste, Thea Saccoliti, Charlie Aligaen

 

Plot: After atmospheric catastrophes send Los Angeles into chaos, three groups of survivors who escaped the city must put aside their differences to face a series of apocalyptic events. As they learn to work together they are faced with an even greater nightmare, giant gravity swells that contain thousands of giant killer bees, intent on ushering in the end of the world.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Cult Classic in the Making

 

Story: Tsunambee starts as LA is being struck with disasters causing chaos on the streets, JB (Perry), Chica (DeCoste) and Tubs (Aligaen) pack up looking for safety where they clash with Jesse (Page) a redneck and Sheriff Lindsey Feargo (Pederson). With a standoff set up another Earthquake hits but this unleashes a swarm of giant killer bees.

With this unforeseen threat, the survivors must work together putting aside their difference to survive against these monstrous killer bees and what becomes of their victims, as we look to balance the potential end of the world with just survive against monsters.

 

Thoughts on Tsunambee

 

Characters/PerformanceSheriff Lindsey Feargo must keep calm between the clash of cultures, she is a small time Sheriff always looking to resolve issues without killing anybody. JB is from the city, he is part of a gang whose brother was killed by a cop which haunts him, he wants to keep his best friend’s safe but his macho attitude leaves him in trouble. Jesse is the redneck that clashes with JB to start with but he is cowardly when his life is in danger. Chica is part of JB’s crew but she is heavily dependent on her faith.

Performance Wise, Stacy Pederson is good in the leading role of this film, Ruselis is good as your stereotypical friendly gangster that has the aggressive streak. Shale puts in a good performance as the weak-minded redneck. Maria DeCoste is good too being calm for the religion versus survive side of the story.

StoryGroup of survivors struggling to survive against disasters, giant killer bees and zombies, let’s face it we don’t need the greatest script the story delivers on guilty pleasure after guilty pleasure. This is all we want in a film that is designed for fun, over the top wild action horror in a creature feature.

Horror The horror isn’t scary but is full creature feature style as we see the giant killer bees being the highlight of the film.

SettingsThe film is set in the countryside which shows us our character struggle to find shelter from the bees, as we support their battle to survive.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all low budget and you can see the problems here but this does make the film a lot of fun seeing the CGI bees.

Final ThoughtsLow budget fun that could easily be a cult favourite in the future.

 

Overall: Fun, nonsense and enjoyable

Rating

 

 

Table 19 (2017)

Director: Jeffrey Blitz

Writer: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass (Screenplay)

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rya Meyers, Charles Green, Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson, Tony Revolori, Margo Martindale, Stephen Merchant, June Squibb, Wyatt Russell

 

Plot: Eloise, having been relieved of maid of honor duties after being unceremoniously dumped by the best man via text, decides to attend the wedding anyway, only to find herself seated with five fellow unwanted guests at the dreaded Table 19.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Comedy

 

Story: Table 19 starts as we meet our six random as the table layout describes them guests to a wedding, we have former friend and partner of the bride’s brother Teddy (Russell) and now pushed out of the circle Eloise (Kendrick), couple who barley knows anyone Bina (Kudrow) and Jerry (Robinson), anti-social loner Rezno (Revolori), recently released cousin Walter (Merchant) and former Nanny Jo (Squibb).

The six find themselves on Table 19 in the corner and decide to make the most of the evening together after they learn they are the guests that were expected to decline their invitation, but the truth about their own lives will become clear to improve their futures.

 

Thoughts on Table 19

 

Characters/PerformanceEloise is the perfect example of what will happen if you become disliked by a bride just before the wedding you helped prepare, she has a bigger reason to be there and will learn more about why her life in this evening. Bina and Jerry are a long-married couple going through the slow times bickering through the wedding. Rezno is a teenager with a few friends, whose mum has controlled most of his life, he gets pushed into going to the wedding in hope of meeting someone. Walter is a former criminal that is invited to the keep the family open but not enough to be accepted.  Jo is the former nanny that is delighted to be invited but disappointed to be left out of the main family circle. The 6 all have their reasons to be at the wedding and help themselves improve the bad situation.

Performance wise, we all know I will watch anything with Anna Kendrick is and once again she doesn’t let us down, it is also great to see Lisa Kudrow in comedy once again, Craig Robinson is one of the comic actors you can see pull anything off. Tony Revolori continues to show he is someone we should be noticing in film having a comic ability unlike others and June Squibb is fast becoming an actress I want to see all of her films. Stephen Merchant steals the show here but to be fair I think everyone did a great job in this film with Wyatt Russell offering another genre piece for us to see if he can follow in his father’s footsteps.

StoryWe will all get invited to weddings, we will all have different seats and different connections to the couple. This film shows how different people can come together and learn the truth about situations to improve themselves in the most unlikely place, learning from unlikely people. The story is charming throughout which can be enjoyed by all.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy through the film works without becoming anything all laughs, we do get a romantic angle which comes off nicely too.

SettingsThe whole film is set in the wedding party which is great because it all happens in one night which shows us what can happen in one night.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that truly can be enjoyed, it has the laughs, the heart and the real effects of what you would expect from a wedding if you are an outsider.

 

Overall: One of the comedies of the year.

Rating

 

 

Their Finest (2017)

Director: Lone Scherfig

Writer: Gaby Chiappe (Screenplay) Lissa Evans (Novel)

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy, Jack Huston, Paul Ritter, Rachael Stirling, Richard E Grant, Jeremy Irons

 

Plot: A former secretary, newly appointed as a scriptwriter for propaganda films, joins the cast and crew of a major production while the Blitz rages around them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming War Time Story

 

Story: Their Finest starts in the middle of World War II England, Catrin Cole (Arterton) takes a job on what she thought was a secretary role but it turns out to be a scriptwriter role for propaganda films to show how important the women were during the war.

Getting hired with a story about twin women that help in the Dunkirk rescue, the film must go on with Tom Buckley (Claflin) leading the writing, it turns into a battle between the two to show the strength of the women instead of the male hero in film. Full of himself actor Ambrose Hilliard (Nighy) is hired to the film and continues the clash between the genders but can this film inspire the way it is meant to?

When the Secretary of War (Irons) hears about the film, he commissions the inclusion of an American to help sell the war effort to America and how the everyday person is willing to fight and now the film is ready to be shot.

 

Thoughts on Their Finest

 

Characters/PerformanceCatrin is a secretary who finds herself working on propaganda scripts during World War II. She makes an impact on the film making process by bring forward a story of two brave women who tried to help in Dunkirk. This is a strong minded leading lady who doesn’t want to let the men in her life control her. Tom Buckley is the lead scriptwriter that clashes with Catrin before seeing the potential in the story and offers the chance to be a love interest for Catrin through the movie making process. Ambrose Hilliard is the big-name actor the studio always goes for, he is reluctant to take the film offer but soon learns what he can offer the production.

Performance wise, Gemma Arterton is great in the leading role showing she can take the roles that are around the strong women characters. Sam Claflin is also great in his role getting away from the early career where I often wondered if he could be a leading star. Bill Nighy gets to have a lot of fun in his role where he also gets the serious moments down too.

StoryThe story of how the film world wanted to inspire people to continue the fight against the Germans during World War II, this side of the story I found very interesting, I did also like the idea of trying to show the importance of women during the war and just how this film being made was to show this. What I found slightly frustrating was what felt like the tagged in romance side of the film which at times felt very forced.

Comedy/Romance/WarThe comedy works to the levels they need to without being a laugh a moment, the romance side of the film as I previously said felt forced with the war side of the film being very important to see how the nation was being effected by the conflict.

SettingsThe settings show the Britain during World War II, we see the destruction aftermath from the bombings and the struggles the people went through during the war.

Final ThoughtsThis is one for all the history fans out there, we get to see how an idea of a movie could give people hope during a time where people could feel hopeless. The film making process has been done before and sure we can enjoy this side of everything but the strong minded leading woman is always going to be a draw as we keep looking back to see just how important they were during the war effort.

 

Overall: One for all the people that enjoy a good charming film.

Rating

 

 

The Towering Inferno (1974)

twoer

Director: John Guillermin

Writer: Stirling Silliphant (Screenplay) Richard Martin Stern, Thomas N Scortia, Frank M Robinon (Novel)

Starring: Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain

 

Plot: At the opening party of a colossal, but poorly constructed, office building, a massive fire breaks out that threatens to destroy the tower and everyone in it.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Disaster Masterclass

 

Story: The Towering Inferno starts as the architect of the brand-new building preparing for opening night Doug Roberts (Newman) discovers not everything is quite as he had planned only up to standard rather than up to his desired safety standards.

With the party bringing in the who’s who of the town including the mayor (Collins), Senator Parker (Vaughn) along with a range of celebrity faces. But little do the guest know there is a fire starting to burn in on the maintenance rooms. When Doug discovers the fire, he goes to bring it under control wanting to end the party early but Jim Duncan (Holden) refuses let it be a worry. Fire Chief O’Hallorhan (McQueen) comes to tackle the fire bring the party to an end with the 300 plus guests need to find a way below the fire, but when it becomes clear that Simmons (Chamberlain) has cut corners the safety of everyone in the building it now at risk. We are left to see how the Chief can put together the best rescue possible for everyone inside the building.

 

Thoughts on Towering Inferno

 

StoryThe disaster genre has always been an easy sell on the story and this is no different having group of survivors trapped in a building that is on fire with little to no easy escape, what more could you want? This does have deeper stories because each character has their own story to why they are in the tower and what is waiting if they can get out which draws us into the bigger picture of the story, which is what many disaster films have tried and failed over the years.

Action/ThrillerThe action sequences are planned brilliantly as we see how each moment that could go wrong does go wrong which leads us into the thrilling side as we are left on edge seeing where this story will go next.

Characters/PerformanceDoug the architect is a great leading character because he knows the flaws that are not his fault, Chief O’Hallorhan also makes for a joint great leading character because he controls the men to pull off the rescue mission, having to characters that are putting everything into saving as many people as possible really shines through. Looking deeper into the characters we get plenty of supporting characters we can all enjoy watching their stories as we are drawn into finding out what happens to them.

Diving into the performances I feel Newman was the star of the show with Holden showing just all of the experience he bought to his role. I did find it hard to get pulled into the McQueen performance who feels static in certain scenes with Dunaway doing well without reaching her ability. The rest of the supporting cast all do well and you want to follow their stories through.

SettingsWe have the whole film within the glass tower which becomes the prison for people stuck in the top floor. The setting is used perfectly because at the time the buildings were getting bigger and dealing with a blaze would have be a challenge for any fire crew.

Special EffectsWhen you look at the disaster movie genre one of the main attractions is seeing how breath-taking all the sequences are and this has them with wonderful special effects that make you believe in every sequence going on through the film.

Final ThoughtsWe have here a disaster film that is nearly three hours long and never get remotely dull, now that is something directors should all be learning from.

 

Overall: If you ever want to know how to make a disaster film that tells the story well this is where you start.

Rating

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Studio Ghibli Weekend – Tales From Earthsea (2006)

talesDirector: Goro Miyazaki

Writer: Goro Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa (Screenplay) Ursula K Le Guin (Novel)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jun’ich Okada, Aoi Teshima, Bunta Sugawara, Yuko Tananka, Teruyuki Kagawa, Jun Fubuki

 

Plot: In a mythical land, a man and a young boy investigate a series of unusual occurrences.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not their Best

 

Story: Tales from Earthsea starts as we see a mysterious fever sweeping through the kingdom of Earthsea with the King being attacked by a young boy who steals his sword, Arren escapes to the wastelands with his prize. Arren saved from wolves by Sparrowhawk who set out on their own adventure.

Captured by salvers Arren finds himself being sold into slavery only for Sparrowhawk to return to rescue him and continue guiding him. As Arren’s powers grow he becomes a wanted boy in the kingdom with Cob leading the chase for both him and Sparrowhawk.

 

Thoughts on Tales from Earthsea

 

StoryWhen you look at this story I can’t help but find that this one doesn’t ever reach the levels of what you have come to know and love from Ghibli’s work. I can’t quite figure out what it is that makes this happen but I think it falls into the dull characters for what you expect in a world that feels too outside the box of what fantasy world’s we have entered before. I could not find myself drawn into this story at all.

Adventure/FantasyIn what is meant to be an adventure film we only find our heroes on one adventure that just doesn’t feel as peril filled as it should be. The fantasy side of the story enters us into a world of wizards and witches but again like most of this film feels slightly short by the end.

Characters The characters all end up feeling very bland which is something Ghibli usually always gets correct none of these characters will be remembered once you have finished this film.

SettingsThe film does take us to a fantasy world that you can fully believe these characters being part of and can be one of the few highlights of this film.

AnimationThe visual look of this animation is brilliant and when it comes to the darker side of the story you can fully believe just how scary it aims to be.

Final ThoughtsI personally see this as one of the weakest stories from the great studio but I can see how people could enjoy parts of this film.

 

Overall: Not my favourite and I think it could struggle to get near my top 10 from Ghibli.

Rating45