ABC Film Challenge – Romance – W – A Winter’s Tale (2014)

Director: Akiva Goldsman

Writer: Akiva Goldsman (Screenplay) Mark Helprin (Novel)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe, William Hurt, Jennifer Connelly

 

Plot: A burglar falls for an heiress as she dies in his arms. When he learns that he has the gift of reincarnation, he sets out to save her.


Tagline – This is not a true story. This is true love.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Fantasy Romance

 

Story: A New York Winter’s Tale starts as we meet Peter Lake (Farrell) left an orphan in New York City to become one of the most notorious thieves in the city, working for Pearly (Crowe) their business agreement goes south and now he is after Peter, who is saved by a mysterious magical horse.

Needing to get out of town, the horse guides him to the sick Beverly Penn (Findlay) who changes his views on life, until he learns of his own powers that shine through in this world where fairy-tales are only on the surface.

 

Thoughts on A New York Winter’s Tale

 

Characters – Peter Lake is nothing more than a thief working in New York City, when he goes against the plans of his boss he becomes a wanted man on the run with only a mythical horse to guide him, this shows him the light and the power his possesses as he walks the world as an empty sole. Beverly Penn is an heiress that is going to be dying within the next year or so, she opens Peter’s heart to be the one thing he never thought he could steal, it is her that shows him where his life might go. Pearly is the man trying to stop any miracles happening in the world, part demon he controls the ability to have miracles happening with his gangster like persona.

PerformancesColin Farrell is good in this leading role, at it shows he can handle a role that isn’t in the stranger roles like he has headed towards in recent years. Jessica Brown Findlay is the least known of the big roles in this film and she is great opposite Farrell. Russell Crowe does make for great villain which is what we always like to see. We do have a great supporting cast performing that do work for the main roles.

StoryThe story gives us a blend of fairy tale ideas in a growing world, this is an interesting story of enteral love, meaning and placement on the Earth, which is something people can find themselves asking, their place in this world. This will give the romantic fans a happy story that will play on nearly every emotion and is one that does give you a feel good moment or two through the film.

Fantasy/Mystery/RomanceThe use of the fantasy in the growing world gives us hope that things could happen that surprise us, which is where the mystery comes from as we see where Peter ends up because of the love he once felt.

SettingsThe New York setting is used to show us that miracles could happen even in the biggest city in the world.

Special EffectsThe effects through the film are good without being overly used, even though certain moments do feel green screen heavy.


Scene of the Movie –
The miracle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While I think Russell Crowe is good in this film his accent seems to bounce around a lot.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good, feel good movies that will leave you with a smile, hope and enjoyment by the end of the film.

 

Overall: Fantasy feel good.

Rating

 

 

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Winter Ridge (2018)

Director: Dom Lenoir

Writer: Ross Owen Williams (Screenplay)

Starring: Matt Hookings, Olwen Catherine Kelly, Hannah Waddingham, Michael McKell, Justin McDonald, Alan Ford, Ian Pirie, Noeleen Comiskey

 

Plot: A young detective is torn apart after his wife ends up in a coma while hunting a serial-killer at the same time.


Tagline – The Edge of Perception

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Crime Mystery

 

Story: Winter Ridge starts as we meet detective Ryan Barnes (Hookings) about to celebrate his anniversary before an accident leaves his wife in a coma. This happens when the first sudden heart attack in the area starts.

With Sara still in her coma, the drink driver Mike Evans (Pirie) free on the streets the number of heart attacks in the area has been increasing, leading to Ryan needing to solve what seems to be a serial killer and need to learn the motives.

 

Thoughts on Winter Ridge

 

Characters – Ryan Barnes is the best detective on the force in area, he knows how to deal with the locals to be fair and strict depending on their offences. His good nature only ends up with his wife in a coma and him holding a grudge against anyone committing the same crime, this clouds his judgment when they learn about a serial killer in the area. He is grief guilt ridden man that knows and believes he is at fault for his wife’s coma. Jessica is the nurse that is on Ryan’s side when it comes to caring for his wife, she helps with information and is the ear to listen to about the pain he is feeling. Joanne runs the care home for the elderly while also being the therapist supporting Ryan through his troubles. John Faulkner is the police chief that keeps Ryan around because he knows he is the best man for the job deflecting any problems in the media circus.

PerformancesMatt Hookings in the leading role is the star of the show, he is in nearly scene and we understand his grief and determination being shown. Olwen Catherine Kelly is good with her limit role in the film, with the supporting cast all giving us good performances bouncing off Hookings’ performance.

StoryThe story here follows a detective that is dealing with his own personal guilt that must try to get to the bottom of a serial killer that is targeting the locals in the area. This is a mystery story to follow and as we only see how the lead detective learns different information unfolding. When it comes to this type of story we do need to be kept guessing to make everything look and feel more interesting as we try to solve the mystery ourselves (well I do). Once we learn who is behind the crimes we do get motives they believe in which is again always important and even gives us a chance to sympathise with their decision. The subplot where we see how Ryan must learn to forgive a crime against him which is unforgivable is what is great to watch, we see him keep his calm nature for the people who can’t help their crimes and turns on the ones that know what they are doing wrong. If you do like a good mystery to discover this is going to be one for you to enjoy.

ThrillerThe film does keep us guessing to who is behind the crime, we get plenty of suspects which could have their own motives which helps us enjoy this more than only learning having everything pointed at one.

SettingsThe film is set in a small English countryside town, which gives us the sense of community and gives us the chance to get beautiful shots of the landscapes.


Scene of the Movie –
Motivation speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The random journalist that turns up for only one scene with this many bodies turning up.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good mystery thriller that keeps you guessing from start to finish, uses the settings to give us beautiful shots and Matt Hookings shines in the leading role.

 

Overall: Must watch for mystery fans.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – W – War of the Worlds (2005)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Josh Friedman, David Koepp (Screenplay) H.G. Wells (Novel)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Miranda Otto, Justin Chatwin, Tim Robbins, Rick Gonzalez, Yul Vazquez

 

Plot: As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival.


Tagline – They’re already here

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sci-Fi Spectacular

 

Story: War of the Worlds starts when the deadbeat dad figure Ray (Cruise) is left to look after his children Rachel (Fanning) and Robbie (Chatwin) for a weekend, while he ex-wife Mary Ann (Otto) goes away with her new partner. We see early on the problems and strain in the relationship, but when an unknow storm hit New York a robotic creature comes out of the ground, killing everyone.

Ray grabs his kids and gets the hell out of the city racing across the country in hope of getting to Mary Ann where the kids want to be, the problem is the America is going into chaos and it becomes survival of the fittest against these unkillable robots.

 

Thoughts on War of the Worlds

 

Characters – Ray is the deadbeat dad that has always be a let down to his kids, he doesn’t live in the nicest house, but the neighbours all love him. He is distant from his children after the divorce and after the attack happens this everyday man must do everything he can to keep his children safe. Rachel is his youngest child, she is insecure about being away from her mother, needing to put trust in her father, reacting panicked during the attacks like a young girl would, but strangely offering mature advice with dealing with the older brother. Mary Ann is the ex-wife and mother that is the target for the journey across America. Robbie is the eldest son that does hate his father, as he sees the good in his father he wants to join the fight back against the invaders. Harlan Ogilvy is a stranger that offers help only to be the one that could put Ray’s family in the most danger.

PerformancesTom Cruise is wonderful in this leading role, he proves he can be the everyman in this role, he shows the vulnerable moments needed as his character only has one goal, save his family. Dakota Fanning continued to show she was a force in the future of Hollywood with her performance where she shines. Tim Robbins gives us a truly creepy character while the rest of the cast is great too.

StoryThe story is a modern version of one of the greatest radio recordings of all time, we bottle the story down nicely to focus on one father that is doing everything he can to keep his children safe during an alien invasion. Sure, the ending is weak, but this is much like Jurassic Park, it isn’t about the aliens, its about the people surviving the situation. The story is simple to follow to as we see the family getting caught up in different moments of the attack each one showing the panic that would surround it.

Adventure/Sci-FiThe adventure is filled with peril and shock as the family races for survival, this survival will show the horrors of what will happen if they don’t become safe. The sci-fi side of the film showed us just how the aliens came to invade, came rom beneath us and prepared against our own weapons.

SettingsThe film shows us the destruction of the aliens leave in their path, we see how the big cities are destroyed and how the quiet location are just as dangerous.

Special EffectsThe effects for the film are fantastic, from the early destruction to the special look of the wide shots of the attack going on.


Scene of the Movie –
Basement scene with Harlan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The end of the story is always weak.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the great modern sci-fi films, it modernises one of the greatest stories, we have excellent special effects and a story that is simple enough to be effective.

 

Overall: Sci-Fi fans must be watching.

Rating

 

 

What Keeps You Alive (2018)

Director: Colin Minihan

Writer: Colin Minihan (Screenplay)

Starring: Hannah Emily Anderson, Brittany Allen, Martha MacIsaac, Joey Klein

 

Plot: Majestic mountains, a still lake and venomous betrayals engulf a female married couple attempting to celebrate their one-year anniversary.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Thriller

 

Story: What Keeps You Alive starts as married couple Jackie (Anderson) and Jules (Allen) head off to a beautiful majestic mountain lodge to celebrate their one-year anniversary.

As Jules learns more about Jackie’s past with the lodge, everything takes a dramatic twist and the cat-n-mouse chase is on.

 

Thoughts on What Keeps You Alive

 

Characters – Jackie is the owner of the house, well her family is, she brings her wife there to celebrate the anniversary, she has been trained in survival having a history with the place. Jules is the wife that can’t believe just how beautiful the location is, she must learn to adapt in the situation quickly if she is going to survive. The only other characters we meet are a couple across the lake.

PerformancesHannah Emily Anderson and Brittany Allen are our two leads, they are both great showing the intensity that both the characters must go through. The two are the only ones that get any real time on camera.

StoryThe story starts with what seems like a nice celebration but takes a sudden turn in tone and direction which brings the whole story to life. It turns into a cat-n-mouse style thriller which keeps you on edge, even if certain parts of this can be overly long. This does bottle down to keeping things simple as each scene seems to lead to a reveal of one trying to stay ahead of the other.

ThrillerThe thriller elements of the film keep us on edge from start to finish wondering just what will happen next.

SettingsThe film has a beautiful settings with stunning views, it does create the isolation needed for the events of the film to unfold in too.


Scene of the Movie –
The message.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain parts feel overly long.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good thriller that does the best with trying to keep us on the edge of our seats, both Anderson and Allen shine in the leading roles.

 

Overall: Thriller that keeps us guessing.

Rating

 

 

What Still Remains (2018)

Director: Josh Mendoza

Writer: Josh Mendoza (Screenplay)

Starring: Lulu Antariksa, Colin O’Donoghue, Mimi Rogers, Dohn Norwood, Jeff Kober, Peter O’Brien, Roshon Fegan

 

Plot: After the loss of her family, a young woman struggles to survive in a world long-since destroyed by disease; but when a lonely traveler offers her a place in his community, she must decide if the promise of a better life is worth the risk of trusting him.


Tagline – People become their own kind of monster.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The End of The World as We Know It

 

Story: What Still Remains starts in the world destroyed by a disease, Anna (Antariksa) lives with her brother and mother in a remote location just looking to survive, when she loses both of them in one day, she continues on alone, until one day a mysterious stranger Peter (O’Donoghue) arrives, offering a community and safety.

Joining Peter, Anna returns to the community seeing the good and bad parts of world on the way before joining the community.

 

Thoughts on What Still Remains

 

Characters – Anna is a young woman living in a disease riddled world, she has survived with her family in the middle of nowhere, until one day she loses them both. With training on how to survive she will continue to work alone to survive, until she meets a stranger that offers her hope of a better life, she wants to remain independent in this world which she might not get anymore. Peter is the mysterious stranger that offers Anna hope of a new life in a religious like community, he comes of like a good guy that only wants to help, but we soon learn his motives. Judith is one of the leaders in the community, she has helped raise the numbers with her religious beliefs which bring people together. We do get other community members, enemies and danger filled characters along the way.

PerformancesLulu Antariksa is the clear star of the film, her character like the audience learns everything as it happens, and we like to see just how she reacts to everything in a natural calm manner. Colin O’Donoghue is good in the supporting role keeping us wondering around his character. The rest of the cast do well with how they interact with Lulu.

StoryThe story follows the world destroyed by disease with the survivors living off the map, we follow Anna a young woman that has been in such situation. We follow the solo Anna that needs to make a decision about surviving alone or with others, learning about how dangerous people can be. We have seen this style of film before and we know that Anna is the type of character that will need to make the big decisions. The tried and tested formula keeps things simple and by the end of the story you will be wanting to see what will happen next.

ThrillerThe film does have an air of tension throughout, mostly around Anna being unsure about everything that is going on, we know she knows how to survive in her comfort zone, now the tension is around how she can cope away from it.

SettingsThe film takes place in the woodland area around any city, we don’t touch any of the cities and any communities are just located within created walls, which does make sense.

Special EffectsThe effects are only used when needed, they are for the battles with none of them looking out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
Anna’s next step.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t get enough information about the reasons for the battle between the two communities.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good survival thriller, it has a wonderful lead performance and puts us in a world you can believe to have be destroyed by a disease.

 

Overall: Survival thriller we know.

Rating