ABC Film Challenge – Biopics – U – A United Kingdom (2016)

Director: Amma Asante

Writer: Guy Hibbert (Screenplay) Susan Williams (Book)

Starring: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Tom Felton, Jack Davenport, Laura Carmichael, Terry Pheto

 

Plot: The story of King Seretse Khama of Botswana and how his loving but controversial marriage to a British white woman, Ruth Williams, put his kingdom into political and diplomatic turmoil.


Tagline – The true story of a love that shook an empire.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice History Lesson

 

Story: A Untied Kingdom starts in 1947 England where Prince Seretse Khama (Oyelowo) of Bechuanaland (known today as Botswana) is in England studying law, he meets file clerk Ruth Williams (Pike) and the two fall in love.

With tension between Bechuanaland and South Africa high the idea of the soon to be King marrying a white woman would be unheard off. The British government doesn’t want him to become king and Seretse own family don’t want him to become king if he stays with Ruth. With the racial divide still going strong, Seretse pushed for equality over anything else, so he can unite his kingdom when he becomes king.

 

Thoughts on A United Kingdom

 

Characters – Seretse Khama is the prince of Bechuanaland he has been studying law in England to prepare for his time as king, he falls in love a white woman in Ruth Williams which throws tensions from his family, government in the air and to prove his love is more important than his traditions and bring the equality between the races together. Ruth Williams is an English clerk whose family has been working to teach Christianity to Africans, she meets and falls in love with Seretse and goes against everyone else’s desires and marries him. Rufus Lancaster is the British liaison in Bechuanaland who leads the opposition from the land, which only shows us just how the English were over controlling.

PerformancesDavid Oyelowo is wonderful in the leading role, showing us once again that he can lead any movie he wants too. Rosamund Pike shines to showing everyone that she can handle to calm roles after the psycho ones in Gone Girl. The rest of the cast are wonderful even if the British characters are as stuck up as you would imagine them to be.

StoryThe story follows the lives of King Seretse who marries an English white woman which puts the balance between the racial tension in his home land and British rule. We learn a lot from this movie, because we see how the country was being controlled from outside forces that only saw them as a piece of land. There is a lot to take in and the history lesson about this union that created a chance in the land.

Biopic/RomanceWhat King Seretse and his wife Ruth achieved for Botswana was incredible and this shows us how their love drove them to achieve this change.

SettingsThe settings show us the high society British look at an African country that was following its own traditions to become the independent from this style of rule.


Scene of the Movie –
Speech to the ‘tribe’ as the British called them.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Knowing the English were this shallow.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good look at how the world was once ruled by people who believe they are in the right to control countries affairs and how their union would change everything.

 

Overall: History is always worth learning.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action – U – Under Siege (1992)

Director: Andrew Davis

Writer: J.F. Lawton (Screenplay)

Starring: Steven Seagal, Gary Busey, Tommy Lee Jones, Patrick O’Neal, Glenn Morshower, Erika Eleniak

 

Plot: An ex-Navy Seal turned cook is the only person who can stop a group of terrorists when they seize control of a U.S. battleship.


Tagline – It’s not a job…It’s an Adventure!

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Film

 

Story: Under Siege starts as the USS Missouri is planning a party in honour of the captain Adams (O’Neal) who has had a successful meeting with the President. The cook of the ship is Casey Ryback (Seagal) who hasn’t always seen eye to eye with his superiors including Commander Krill (Busey).

When Krill is joined by the entertainment William Strannix (Jones), their plan is revealed as they take over the battleship leaving the only person that can save the day being Ryback, the loyal soldier.

 

Thoughts on Under Siege

 

Characters – Casey Ryback is the former Navy Seal that has taken the role of chef on the battleship, he is a decoration officers and soon becomes the one leading the fight back against the terrorists who have taken over. Commander Krill is the officers that has snapped, tired of being second in command, he arranges the takeover of the ship with Strannix, he is a loose cannon that should have been taken off duty years before. William Strannix is the mastermind behind taking the ship, he has planned for the moment as an act of revenge against the government who betrayed him in his eyes.

PerformancesSteven Seagal is always going to be known for being a certain type of action star, this plays into his strengths, not needing too many lines, bit of fighting and of course a lot of shooting. Gary Busey as an unstable villain, well this sounds like the perfect choice, while Tommy Lee Jones can always be picked for a villain role to look the part.

StoryThe story is terrorists take over a US battleship and one man must use his skills to get it back before they can do too much damage. It is nice to see it domestic terrorism rather than just slapping any nationality in the role. There isn’t anything overly original in this story, but it is a tried and tested formula that works on every level.

ActionThe action is everything you would have come to expect from the movie, we have fights, gun battles and explosion, what more do we want?

SettingsThe film takes place on the US Battleship, this keeps everything contained and with little or no place to run and with the weapons on board to make them a threat.


Scene of the Movie –
Taking on the Submarine.

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

Final ThoughtsThis is everything an action fan will enjoy in a movie, it is easily one that can be enjoyable by all the fans of the genre before Seagal became a parody of himself in his later films.

 

Overall: Action fans will be enjoying.

Rating

 

 

Us (2019)

Director: Jordan Peele

Writer: Jordan Peele (Screenplay)

Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, Anna Diop, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

 

Plot: A family’s serenity turns to chaos when a group of doppelgängers begin to terrorize them.


Tagline – We are our own worst enemy.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Horror That Will Stick with You for Days

 

Story: Us starts as the Wilson family, Adelaide (Nyong’o), Gabe (Duke), Zora (Joseph) and Jason (Alex) are on a vacation at a seaside resort, what starts as a routine vacation takes a turn when Adelaide’s past starts to see her acting differently.

That night the Wilson’s are visited by a mysterious family, who look and act just like them, they are in fact doppelgangers, the battle to survive is on, just as the world starts to turn to chaos.

 

Thoughts on Us

 

Characters – Adelaide is the mother and wife of the family, she has a past which sees her feeling uneasy about returning to the beach area, once that attack happens, she is determined to keep her family safe. Red the other version of Adelaide is the leader of the family that has come to terrorize has a story, fills in the blanks to just what is going on. Gabe is the father of the family, he is laidback which helps him be the good guy in the parental situation, he is the physical threat when it comes to the other version of the family, he also gets the laughs at times. Zora is the oldest child of the family, her athletic ability has always been encouraged, while she is meant to be like a moody teenager, only not the disconnected version of one. Jason is the youngster member of the family, he enjoys magic tricks, which will be his best for of defence against his doppelganger.

PerformancesLupita Nyong’o in the leading role is fantastic where like most of the cast takes on two roles, she brings both to life showing the determination to survive in one and the determination to live in the other. Winston Duke leads the supporting cast, he handles the comical moments in the film well too. The young stars Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex brings tow characters each to life too, the whole family does feel like they are together, with the chemistry shining through.

StoryThe story here follows a family that get terrorised by their own doppelgangers and must fight to survive their sinister motives. This is a story that is a lot deeper and one you really need to experience without knowing too much more. The concept behind the doppelgangers is dark, very dark one aspect of the film which will make you stop and think more after the film, than during. The pace of the story is great because unlike many home invasions, because it gets underway quickly, instead of just holding back the tension to why they are doing this. This is one story that will stick with you long after the experience, because you will come to realize just what we have been through.

Horror The horror in this film blends home invasion with bigger side of horror that is one that is only disturbing to think about.

SettingsThe film is set in and around a lake house holiday home which puts the character in an isolated location, the second location is around the beach with the funfair which should be a place of happiness.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, we have the basic wounds which do look realistic, but the other side of the praise must come with how the actors can appear to be in the same location without looking out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
The showdown between Adelaide and Red.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Gabe’s injury comes and goes too often.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best horrors in recent years, it won’t make you jump, but it will leave you feeling disturbed and thinking about everything you have just witnessed.

 

Overall: Disturbing horror.

Rating

 

 

Upstate Story (2018)

Director: Shaun Rose

Writer: Shaun Rose, Bruce Rose Sr, Andrea Stangle (Screenplay)

Starring: Shaun Rose, Kendra Moshere, Adrianna Rose, Keenan Rose, Bruce Rose Sr

 

Plot: Ellis Martin works for a cleaning service and continues to seek new employment, but to no avail. He yearns for the innocence and ease of his past, while also anticipating his weekends. However, getting to this point is no easy task.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 5 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Realistic Look at the Dead-End Jobbers

 

Story: Upstate Story starts as we meet Elis Martin (Rose) who spends his alone time trying new drinks, waiting for Monday to arrive to go to the job he hates as a cleaner, he has hopes of a new job opportunity in the future, he is left wondering where his future once went because growing up he had creative abilities, now he barely has an original thought.

We continue to follow Ellis’s week unfold as he shows us just how difficult life can be when you need to work a dead end job and the only positive things from your life have gone.

 

Thoughts on Upstate Story

 

Characters – Ellis Martin lives a mundane ordinary life where he works a dead-end job Monday to Friday, hoping to get out of the circle, he has just broken up with his girlfriend and targets the weekend which are his highlights of the week. Ellis is narrating his thoughts and just where he wants to go. Any other characters we meet are only parts of the week, be it co-workers, friends and family, nobody get s a chance to say too much in the story.

PerformancesShaun Rose stars, directs, writes, produces this film, we see how he makes his character is filled with his loneliness, depression, desperation of better and excitement for his characters time of happiness.

StoryThe story follows the normal life of Ellis Martin, a man that lives a life that he isn’t enjoying the circle apart from one moment a week which will give him hope even through the depressing moments of nothingness in his life. This story shows how people that are working the dead-end jobs just to make ends meet process their week for their own moment of joy from it. We can relate to this story because of how we have nearly all been through, questioning where our next big boost will come.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings simple by making us feel like we are living the life with Ellis.


Scene of the Movie –
Friday night.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain parts of the Saturday feel rushed, even if they are met to show just fast the best moments can go.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful look at everyday life and how difficult it could be.

 

Overall: Wonderful drama

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – U – The Untouchables (1987)

Director: Brian De Palma

Writer: David Mamet (Screenplay) Oscar Fraley, Eliot Ness (Book)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Charles Martin Smith, Andy Garcia, Robert De Niro, Richard Bradford, Jack Kehoe

 

Plot: During the era of Prohibition in the United States, federal agent Eliot Ness sets out to stop ruthless Chicago gangster Al Capone, and because of rampant corruption, assembles a small, hand-picked team to help him.


Tagline – The Chicago Dream is that big 

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Crime Classic

 

Story: The Untouchables starts in the prohibition era America, Al Capone (De Niro) has risen to the top of Chicago controlling everything, even with a war between the gangs going on. Eliot Ness (Costner) a federal officer bought into try and tackle the problems.

Learning quickly, he can’t trust anyone on the force, he must make his own team with experienced beat cop Jim Malone (Connery), accountant Oscar Wallace (Smith) and straight out of the academy George Stone (Garcia) fill this roles, as the team look like they have started to put the pressure on Al Capone.

 

Thoughts on The Untouchables

 

Characters – Eliot Ness is from the Federal treasury office to try and tackle the illegal affairs involving alcohol being bought into Chicago. He puts together his own team knowing who he can trust, but he also puts his own family’s lives at risk. Jim Malone is the seasoned veteran that is still just an honest beat cop, he gets recruited to the team because Eliot sees him as one of the few he could trust on the force. He knows the ins and outs of what is going on, using his information to help with the investigation. Oscar is an accountant that joins the team, he knows the best way to get Capone would be to investigate his finances. George Stone comes straight out of the academy to join the team, they know they can trust him because he hasn’t been put in a position to become corrupted yet. Al Capone is the legendry gangster ruling over Chicago with his alcohol trafficking, he will do anything to stay on top in this business, killing anyone that gets in his way.

PerformancesWe have an amazing cast here, with Kevin Costner in the leading role shining through the film, Sean Connery taking the supporting role comes up with one of his career best performances. Andy Garcia showed everything the talent he had with his role in the film and Robert De Niro was still in the prime of his career as one of the best, if not the best gangster character actors in the industry.

StoryThe story follows the events of the prohibition era America when agent Eliot Ness attempts to take down Al Capone and his organisation. We see how the police force must overcome their own corruption to try and stay ahead of the bootleggers and how Capone will just pull the trigger on eliminating anybody that tries to stop his business. We do learn from how the four man team have all come from different backgrounds and will be risking their lives to take down Capone. This does fit into learning about the history of the events and how people will always be looking to profit from somebody else.

CrimeThe crime world we enter sees how the prohibition era America became one of the most dangerous with gangs at war trying to gain control of the situation, how the cops tried to take them down and just how far they would go to keep business booming.

SettingsThe film is set in Chicago with the recreation of the 1930s looking wonderful and like we are part of each and every scene.


Scene of the Movie –
The lobby scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Crash landing is a cheesy scene.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant crime classic that will still be the one getting talked about in the modern era of cinema as one of the best.

 

Overall: Must watch crime classic.

Rating