ABC Film Challenge – U – Upside Down (2012)

Director: Juan Solanas

Writer: Juan Solanas (Screenplay) Juan Solanas, Santiago Amigorena, Pierre Magny (Adaptation)

Starring: Jim Sturgess, Kirsten Dunst, Timothy Spall, Blu Mankuma, Nicholas Rose, James Kidnie

 

Plot: Adam and Eden fell in love as teens despite the fact that they live on twinned worlds with gravities that pull in opposite directions. Ten years after a forced separation, Adam sets out on a dangerous quest to reconnect with his love.


Tagline –  Two worlds. One future.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too Ambitious

 

Story: Upside Down starts as we learn about the two different worlds, with their own gravity, but within communication distance. Adam (Sturgess) is from one world while Eden (Dunst) is from the other, the two fell in love, but they can’t be together for any length of time because of the different pulls on their gravities.

When their secret relationship is found out about, Adam believes that Eden died, 10-years later he learns she is still alive and goes to find a way to meet her again through a business that connects the two worlds.

 

Thoughts on Upside Down

 

Characters – Adam is from one world, raised an orphan after his parents were killed in an accident, he is fascinated by the other world which leads him to Eden, when he believes he loses her forever he starts to focus on other projects. When he learns that she is still alive he risks his life to try and find a way to meet her again and go to the world that he is not only forbidden from, but could kill him if he stays too long. Eden is the girl from the other world she has become injured losing her memory but rising up through the company, can he memory return in time to feel the feelings she once had.

PerformancesJim Sturgess is solid in the leading role, he plays the ambitious side to his character well, but he isn’t the most convincing on the romantic side of things. Kirsten Dunst does well enough as she can always be turned to for romantic based movies, this is no different. Timothy Spall gets good laughs in the supporting role.

StoryThe story here looks into forbidden love, we get a grander scale for this because the two lovers come from different worlds and can’t be together because of science. We have a lot of explaining as to why the two can’t be together which at times ends up being too much to follow because the science involved just seems like it goes on for about 10 minutes. The idea of two people wanting to be with the one they love is good part of the story though.

Fantasy/Romance/Sci-FiThe fantasy side of this film is taking us to the world where two worlds can’t be together while only being a breath apart, this leads into the romantic side of the film as our two loves must find a way to be together. The sci-fi side of the film comes on strong too because we then need to see how the worlds are different.

SettingsThe settings show us the difference in the two worlds, one for the rich, one for the poor, each has its own colour tone and area of pure beauty.

Special EffectsThe effects are weak here, we can see the fact we are watching actors perform on front of a green screen for most of the movie, which only disappoints.


Scene of the Movie –
Falling, it always looks good.

That Moment That Annoyed Me the green screen lets down.

Final ThoughtsThis is a basic love story which tries to become very ambitious when it comes to where it wants to take the story.

 

Overall: Simple Love story, complicated world.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – U – Underdog (2007)

Director: Frederik Du Chau

Writer: Adam Rifkin, Joe Piscatella, Craig A Williams (Screenplay) W Watts Biggers (Television Series)

Starring: (Voice Talent) Jason Lee, Peter Dinklage, Jim Belushi, Patrick Warbuton, Alex Neuberger

 

Plot: A Beagle must use his newly-bestowed superpowers to defend Capitol City from mad scientist Simon Barsinister.


Tagline – One Nation, Under Dog.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Little Movie

 

Story: Underdog starts as we meet the beagle on the police force that fails his training, only to be left homeless a stray in the city. Taken by Dr Simon Barsinister (Dinklage) who wants to perform an experiment on the strays of the city.

When the experiment goes wrong the beagle becomes Underdog a crime fighting super dog, but Simon isn’t finished with Underdog yet.

 

Thoughts on Underdog

 

Characters – Underdog is a simple beagle kicked off the police force and forced into becoming part of an experiment which gives him super powers, now he must make a choice between a family that is willing to welcome him in or saving the city from evil. Dr Simon Barsinister is the genius scientist that have been coming up with a formula to create genetically enhanced animals to fight crime, but when things go wrong he uses his creation for evil. Dan Unger is the former cop that adopts Underdog for his son to keep him company.

PerformancesJason Lee as the voice of Underdog works well because he knows how to handle the comedy required. Peter Dinklage is a great villain and has wonderful chemistry with Patrick Warburton as his assistant. Jim Belushi is good but mostly under used in his role.

StoryThe story is nice and simple a dog becomes superpowered after being involved in an experiment to take on an evil scientist that wants to destroy the city. We do have a deeper story about being accepted into a family for a dog. Overall this is a by the book family film too.

Adventure/Family/Sci-FiThe adventure side of the film is where the dog goes to fight crime, this does have a message for family and welcoming a dog into the family. The sci-fi side of the film looks at how the experiment could create superpowered dogs.

SettingsThe settings keep us in New York which plays into the idea of parodying the superhero genre.

Special EffectsThe effects are hit or miss throughout because of the flying moments do seem strange.


Scene of the Movie –
The final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is pretty short.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple fun enjoyable family movie that never pushed the limits.

 

Overall: Simple enough.

Rating

 

 

Upgrade (2018)

Director: Leigh Whannell

Writer: Leigh Whannell (Screenplay)

Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel, Melanie Vallejo, Harrison Gilbertson

 

Plot: Set in the near-future, technology controls nearly all aspects of life. But when Grey, a self-identified technophobe, has his world turned upside down, his only hope for revenge is an experimental computer chip implant called Stem.


Tagline – Not Man. Not Machine. More.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fantastic Action Horror

 

Story: Upgrade starts as we go to the near future, with improved technology that isn’t too far away from reality, Grey Trace (Marshall-Green) stills like getting his hands dirty for work, while his wife Asha (Vallejo) has accepted this new life. On a routing journey home their self-driving car takes them to the wrong neighbourhood, causing a crash to which the locals murder Asha and leaves Grey paralysed.

Left feeling suicidal Grey gets a visit from a former client and technological recluse wizard Eron (Gilbertson) that offers to give him a revolutionary operation that will bring his mobility back to him through a chip known as Stem, which leads him on his own personal revenge mission with the help of Stem.

 

Thoughts on Upgrade

 

Characters – Grey Trace is a mechanic who in a technology heavy world, he would rather get his hands dirty than rely on the technology, he sees his wife murdered and left paralysed from the incident, he becomes suicidal like you would imagine believing his life is not worth living, he get a chance at revenge though from advanced technology even though himself doesn’t like violence or blood. He is our main character he will have Stem the chip control him in fights movements making him a deadly weapon. Cortez is the technology avoiding cop that is investigating the original case as well as the bodies piling up that could be suspects in case. Eron is the technology wizard that offers Grey a chance to get revenge with a chip to recover his movement. Fisk is a man hunting down Grey, he has extra abilities too which makes his hunt different to Cortez.

PerformancesLogan Marshall-Green is brilliant in the leading role because he takes full control of each and every scene, be it the talking to the voice in his head or handling the fighting. The rest of the cast are good with their scenes without taking any spotlight of Logan.

StoryThe story here shows one man given a chance to go on a revenge mission after getting a technological upgrade that cures his paralyzed position. This does take us into a realistic future with technology that does seem like it could be used in the future. Away from just the technology side of story we get a revenge film which follows the paths we expect, starting with a small fight leading up to a bigger more challenging fight by the end. We get twists and turns along the way which does keep us guessing. If you want to have a story that is fast paced throughout keeping us wanting more throughout the film.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action in this film just keeps getting bigger as the film goes on, we get combat which feel unique in how Grey performs it because of his characters ability or lack there off. The horror blends in with certain graphicness of the kills and the idea behind the sci-fi in an ever-increasing technology heavy world.

SettingsThe film keeps us in a city that has accepted new technology with self-driving cars, drones covering the area and most importantly everything still looks like a normal city.

Special EffectsThe effects are used wonderfully well too, we have different abilities which make for different attacks that shows just how deadly the additional technology could be if we don’t control it.


Scene of the Movie –
Stem take over.

That Moment That Annoyed Me With all the technology in play surely the ‘Off’ switch would activate quicker.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fast paced sci-fi action film that will fly by, it has great choregraphed fight sequences, good use of special effects and a performance from Logan Marshall-Green which you will remember.

 

Overall: Must watch Action Sci-Fi Horror.

Rating

 

 

Uncommon Valor (1983)

Director: Ted Kotcheff

Writer: Joe Gayton (Screenplay)

Starring: Gene Hackman, Robert Stack, Fred Ward, Reb Brown, Patrick Swayze, Harold Sylvester

 

Plot: Ten years after his son went M.I.A. in Vietnam, U.S. Marine retired Colonel Jason Rhodes assembles a private rescue team to find Americans held in P.O.W. camps in Laos.


Tagline – Seven men with one thing in common.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good War Movie

 

Story: Uncommon Valor starts when Col Jason Rhodes (Hackman) recruits for Vietnam soldiers Wilkes (Ward), Blaster (Brown), Sailor (Cobb), Johnson (Sylvester), Charts (Thomerson) and son of a mission in action soldier Kevin Scott (Swayze) to go on a mission in Laos, to free the soldiers in a prisoner of war camp believed to be controlled by the former Vietnamese soldiers.

First he must get them back into shape, before taking them on this mission which could break the bonds that are being rebuilt between the countries and go against the men’s wishes. This is a life or death mission that could be for the right reasons, but deadly for those involve.

 

Thoughts on Uncommon Valor

 

Characters – Col Jason Rhodes had to eave his son in Vietnam while escaping the enemy, never giving up hope of finding his son alive, her learns of a prisoner of war camp and puts together a team to rescue those prisoners and return them to his family, what is a broken man inside but a determined one on the outside we have a leader that will put this team together. Wilkes is the member of the team, still suffering from the nightmares of what happened to him, maybe the deadliest member of the unit, he will be the one to watch out for through the film, the rest of the unit have their strengths and weaknesses which helps bring them together to be the full unit.

PerformancesGene Hackman was always a brilliant choice in a leading role, this is no different because he can control the people well, while also being able to show of his strengths as an actor. Fred Ward shows us a great performance in his supporting role, while Patrick Swayze comes well in this film, he is the rookie character and working in this role we see his strengths too.

StoryThe story came out when people were still feeling the effects from the Vietnam war, American families were not complete and loved ones were still unaccounted for, this story shows us just how far soldiers would go for a loved one with the unit they were close to during the war. While the story is good it does play into what you will expect with an American group of soldiers being better than anyone else, which entertains throughout.

Action/WarThe action is mostly saved for the finally, which does feel safe with everything and is filled with war themed battle going on.

SettingsThe film keeps us in a couple of locations, first the training camp to prepare for the battle, then the mission to the location before the final battle, this works for the film, we don’t need to see more or less from the settings.


Scene of the Movie –
Final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is more of America to the rescue.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good war film that plays everything safe and makes us believe that the war wasn’t over on the first date believed, it was the prisoners of war that still needed rescuing from the impending fates.

 

Overall: War fans will enjoy this one.

Rating

 

 

A- Z World Cinema – U – The Unknown Girl (2016)

Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

Writer: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne (Screenplay)

Starring: Adele Haenel, Olivier Bonnaud, Jeremie Renier, Louka Minnella

 

Plot: A woman gets obsessed with the case of a dead woman after learning that the woman had died shortly after having rung her door for help.


Tagline – Sharp as a thriller… the best Dardenne film since “The Child”

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Mystery Movie

 

Story: The Unknown Girl starts as we meet popular community doctor Jenny Davin (Haenel) who has always found time for her patients but now is about to get improved environment to be working in. she still keeps her small surgery for her locals but when a mysterious girl comes knocking on her door she ignores it, only to discover the girl is found dead the next day.

Upon hearing the news Jenny starts looking into who this mysterious girl is, no ID was found so she starts going around her fellow doctors to see if they know her or have treated her but with no answers. The deeper she gets into investigating the more danger she finds herself in once she starts getting targeted by the people involved.

 

Thoughts on The Unknown Girl

 

Characters – Jenny is our doctor, she has a wonderful relationship with her patient, where she is willing to give up her own time to see them, but the one time she doesn’t answer the door she gets visited by a mysterious woman who ends up dying. Jenny is filled with guilt and wants to learn the truth about this girl using her connections, but it doesn’t realize what she has found herself in the middle off. The rest of the characters we meet are a mix of patients and suspects in Jenny’s life.

PerformancesAdele Haenel is the star of the film, she carries every scene as we follow her journey into discovering the truth about the girl, this is a very strong performance because we must witness her through each and every scene of the movie. The rest of the cast are good without taking away from Adele’s performance.

StoryThe story is good because we follow the busy doctor continue her duties while trying to solve the mystery, she has to do both with calm and watching her balance the two makes everything seem like an everyday situation for the Doctor. We get a mystery that does take time to solve and does seem to be a cover up of some sort and the story does keep us guessing as to where things will go.

Crime/MysteryThe crime is the death of the unknown girl, it could be murder it could be an accident which gives us both the mystery and potential crime side of the story.

SettingsThe settings show us the community where the people can help each other both in trouble and with cover up problems. This helps us understand why Jenny wants to solve the mystery.


Scene of the Movie –
Sister visit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is slightly too long, having a couple of scene we didn’t need.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good mystery film, it keeps us guessing to where things will be going and is easily one that should be getting watched.

 

Overall: Good crime mystery.

Rating