ABC Film Challenge – 80s – W – The Witches of Eastwick (1987) Movie Review

Director: George Miller

Writer: Michael Cristofer (Screenplay) John Updike (Novel)

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer, Veronica Cartwright, Richard Jenkins

Plot: Three single women in a picturesque village have their wishes granted, at a cost, when a mysterious and flamboyant man arrives in their lives.

Tagline – Something wicked this way comes. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Easy Watch

Story: The Witches of Eastwick starts when three single women Alexandra (Cher), Jane (Sarandon) and Sukie (Pfeiffer) discover they can make a wish and things start to happen, with the three having a drink or two, they conjure up a dream man Daryl Van Horne (Nicholson) who arrives in town, turning all their heads.

As Daryl gets alone moments with each of the women, he starts to create a divide between them as they learn just how destructive they can be together with their wishes, needing to fix what they created.

Thoughts on The Witches of Eastwick

Characters – Daryl Van Horne is the man that arrives in town, showing his wealth and turning the heads of the three women, she knows how the charm any women along the way, which sees him having his way with all of them at some point, until he starts to become desperate. Alexandra, Jane and Sukie are the three close friends, all single, all looking for a man in their lives. They discover they have the power to summon their wishes, if they wish together, which sees them all bringing Daryl to the town.

PerformancesJack Nicholson as the womaniser, this is an easy role for him to play, showing the confidence through the film. Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer together are great, with their chemistry as well as showing us the individual problems they are facing.

StoryThe story here follows three single friends that discover they have powers to make their wishes come true, which includes summoning the dream man, one who seduces all of them, with consequences for the whole town. The story here shows that the power of wishes within witches could become dangerous, when dealing with a charming can show the way men could control women, with women needing to get their revenge. This is women versus man deep down.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy comes from seeing just what happens to Daryl along the way, with how the women are getting their revenge on him, while the horror is about who he really is.

SettingsThe film uses the on village setting to show us just how the women are close and need something new in life.

Scene of the Movie – Voodoo.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It jumps in tone so fast.

Final Thoughts This is a fun movie about being in control, with the three women finding what they want only to discover they needs to use their powers for the better.

Overall: Fun Comedy.

Waiting for the Barbarians (2019) Movie Review

Director: Ciro Guerra

Writer: J.M. Coetzee (Screenplay) J.M. Coetzee (Novel)

Starring: Mark Rylance, Johnny Depp, Robert Pattinson, Gana Bayarsaikhan, Greta Scacchi, David Dencik

Plot: A Magistrate working in a distant outpost begins to question his loyalty to the empire.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow & Uneventful

Story: Waiting for the Barbarians starts as we meet the Magistrate (Rylance) on an outpost in the frontier for the English Empire, he has spent time getting to know the locals, learning that both sides just want peace, but Colonel Joll (Depp) arrival changes thing, as he sees the natives as savage barbarians that are a threat to the empire.

After Joll’s events, the Magistrate tries to fix things, which includes returning a girl taken and tortured, trying to do the right thing, which is against the wishes of the empire.

Thoughts on Waiting for the Barbarians

Characters – Magistrate runs the outpost, he has kept peace between the two sides with his calm nature, he sees people as people not an enemy or a threat, just people looking to survive, he is against violence and will risk everything to make this happen. Colonel Joll inspects the outpost, he sees anyone who isn’t part of the empire as a threat that needs to be eliminated, his ideas are opposed to the Magistrate’s which will see him use his position of power to get what he wants from the situation. Officer Mandel is the one that distributes punishment, he enjoys doing this more than most men. The Girl is one of the victims of the punishment, one that Magistrate wants to fix becoming attached too during this time.

PerformancesThis is a film with a wonderful cast in Mark Rylance, Johnny Depp and Robert Pattinson who we all know could lead any film with ease, only here they are given very little to work with, Rylance is the standout, with his calm performance, while Depp gets caught up in the middle of trying to be edgy and ending up looking odd, with Pattinson never given enough time to show the unhinged character getting unleashed.

StoryThe story here follows a Magistrate in a frontier outpost, one that hasn’t seen any problems in his outpost until it is caused by the people above him, he sees the change in environment, which shows his stance will see him become the problem to the empire. This story is cut up into seasons which do show the change in tone within the outpost, the mindset of the rivalry between the two sides. The film does have a very slow pace, which does seem to extend scenes for no reason. We are left wanting a lot more from this story, which feels like it wants to give us.

SettingsThe film keeps most of the film inside the outpost, it shows how the community has come together but still shows the different structure within the classes.

Scene of the Movie – The journey.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too many plot holes.

Final Thoughts Very slow movie that seems to miss the action it wants to promise, only to focus on the bigger problems with how the empire tried to change what they discovered.

Overall: Too Slow.

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – W – Wonder Park (2019) Movie Review

Director: Dylan Brown

Writer: Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec (Screenplay) Robert Gordon, Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Brianna Denski, Matthew Broderick, Mila Kunis, Kenan Thompson, John Oliver, Ken Jeong, Ken Hudson Campbell, Jennifer Garner

Plot: Wonder Park tells the story of an amusement park where the imagination of a wildly creative girl named June comes alive.

Tagline – Dream bigger.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Simple Animation

Story: Wonder Park starts as we meet the imaginative young girl named June who along with her mother has created a fictional amusement park known as Wonderland, she wants to bring this to life, only after her mother gets sick, she gives up on the dream, dumping all of the plans she once had.

One a school trip June doesn’t want to leave her father alone and in her escape attempt, she finds herself in an abandoned Wonderland, where the animals she has created are fighting the horrors in the park. June needs to fix the problems created in the park, to bring her escape from her own grief back to life.

Thoughts on Wonder Park

Characters – June is the young girl that has a wild imagination who created a theme park with her mother, she has even tried to make it a reality only for it to fall apart. She gives up on her dream closing off to the world, only for her past to come back to her, where she needs to help the park come back to life to save the residents and find her happiness again. Peanut is the monkey that runs the park, he takes the ideas of June and entertains the crowds, only he has gone missing since the darkness arrives in the park. Greta holds the park together along with the rest of the animals.

StoryThe story here follows a young girl that has created an amusement part in her mind with her mother, only to give up on the idea after her mother becomes ill, only to find herself in the park filled with darkness where she needs to confront her own feelings to save her dream. This story does try to deal with one of the most serious issues in life, loss, one where a younger person will struggle to process the ideas properly, we get the message about not giving up on the dreams, only we get it told in such a strange fantasy filled way it just doesn’t connect on the levels it could do. The heart in the film is great, only the comedy drags it away.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure side of the film shows us the park that June ends up being taken into, somewhere was only in her imagination, with the comedy not hitting hard enough for the all set up created.

SettingsThe film does use the settings of the park to make us see the beauty created and how it can looked beaten down when the dreams become shattered.

AnimationThe animation looks strong, being the best part of the film, with each location looking beautiful.

Scene of the Movie – The new ride.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The comedy.

Final Thoughts This is a simple animation that tries to show the heart it requires only to get caught on the comedy that doesn’t work.

Overall: Heart Filled Animation.

Watch List (2019) Movie Review

Director: Ben Rekhi

Writer: Ben Rekhi, Rona Lean Sales (Screenplay)

Starring: Arthur Acuna, Alessandra De Rossi, Jack Macapagal

Plot: After her husband is mysteriously killed in the drug wars of the Philippines, a widowed mother of three must confront her own darkness to protect her children from further harm.

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Hard Hitting

Story: Watch List starts as we meet a Filipino family father Hector and mother Maria (Rossi) along with their three kids, surrounding to a police state, trying to help the families stay clean, they have left the criminal world behind, with Hector looking to work hard for him family, only he gets mysterious murdered.

Maria must first deal with the grief of losing her husband, before needing to find a way to secure money for her children, this sees her needing to turn to the dangerous underground of drugs, as this is left to be her only option to keep her family safe, but with the reward, comes the risk she must take.

Thoughts on Watch List

Characters – Maria is left in a position where he needs to feed her children after her husband is murdered, she must turn to the people from a former life for help, taking her to a life of crime, one that will see her needing to learn to kill, something isn’t willing to do. She has no choice as it is the only way she can make money, but it left torn between the two lives. We do get to meet Maria’s kids wo are being swung towards the criminal life, the people who offer Maria a chance to make money for her family.

PerformancesAlessandra de Rossi in the leading role is excellent, she does show us the pain she is going through to get through her future with her kids, she shows us that it is them or no one. The rest of the cast is strong who letting Rossi shine through in the leading role.

StoryThe story here follows a mother left in a difficult position after her husband is murdered and she needs to find a way to support her three children. We are shown how desperate people will become when it comes to their family, how the life of crime might well be the only option available, we see how this world would operate and just how dangerous it will be, with dangers come from within it or from the people trying to stop it. It highlights how people could become causalities in the battle for power.

Crime/ThrillerThis film does show us the reality of the criminal world in the Philippines that gives people little chance to live an honest life with both sides of the world.

SettingsThe film takes us to the tight streets where everyone lives, showing us how the criminals and honest people can live hand in hand, as long as they don’t get in each other’s way.

Scene of the Movie – The training.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The lack of police action.

Final Thoughts This is a hard hitting drama that shows the struggles one mother would have to experience to make it through after losing her husband. Alessandra de Rossi is fantastic in the leading role.

Overall: Alessandra de Rossi is fantastic.

We Die Alone (2019) Short Movie Review

Director: Marc Cartwright

Writer: Marc Cartwright (Screenplay)

Starring: Samantha Boscarino, Ashley Jones, Baker Chase Powell, Darielle Deigan

Plot: A chance encounter dangerously intertwines the lives of three people with differing perspectives on love.

Runtime: 24 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Loneliness Shown Perfectly

Story: We Die Alone starts as we meet Aidan (Powell) who struggles to connect with women in everyday life, he tries dating apps, only to not follow through with the dates, but has a strong connection with work colleague Elaine (Jones) but when he meets new neighbour Chelsea (Boscarino).

When Aidan looks to show his courage to finally go through with a date, things go in a different direction that anyone had planned, showing us how life will leave people growing old alone.

Thoughts on We Die Alone

Final Thoughts We Die Alone is a very clever look at how difficult modern dating can be, showing us just how difficult it can be to make or take a chance on a connection, as you will never know who the other person truly is. We get three strong performances from Samantha Boscarino, Ashley Jones and Baker Chase Powell who all show us the struggles their characters are going through. We will see the story go in a direction you won’t see coming. One of the most entertaining way to look at short movies, is questioning whether it could become a full feature, at with this story, we could easily have a longer version, that doesn’t take away anything from the short version either.

Overall: Modern Dating Delight.