ABC Film Challenge – Animation – B – Beowulf (2007)

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Writer: Neil Gaiman, Roger Avary (Screenplay)

Starring: Ray Winstone, Crispin Glover, Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich, Anthony Hopkins, Robin Wright

 

Plot: The warrior Beowulf must fight and defeat the monster Grendel who is terrorizing Denmark, and later, Grendel’s mother, who begins killing out of revenge.


Tagline – I will kill your monster!

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappointing and Dull

 

Story: Beowulf starts when a Danish kingdom ruled by Hrothgar comes under attack from a creature known as Grendel, he takes plenty of lives and the King puts up half his kingdoms gold for anyone who can kill Grendel.

This brings Beowulf to the land, where his reputation has seen him kill monsters the world over, while he might clash with Unferth, he is ready for the biggest battle of his life even if Grendel isn’t the biggest threat that he will face.

 

Thoughts on Beowulf

 

Characters – Beowulf is the great warrior from fable, known to be able to defeat any enemy in battle, he comes in search of treasure with hi latest battle, one that will see him become king and need to make up for his own past mistakes. Hrothgar is the king that calls for a warrior to come and fix the problem terrorising the kingdom, he also wants to make up for his past errors. Grendel’s mother is behind the creatures that attack, using he seductive ways to get the men to fall for her ways. We fill out of the characters with the creatures, the loyal soldiers that fight next to Beowulf and the queen always left to be the victims of love.

StoryThe tale of Beowulf is one of the most interesting tales of folklore, it shows how a warrior came from the seas to rid a kingdom of a creature only to become the next target of the figure behind the creature. The problem with how the story takes place because we seem to focus on the idea of 3D over well shot story, the myth never feels real as things unfold either, we drag along to see the twists in the story and nothing feel like a threat it could be. This is a let down in story telling for a fable that could be an epic on he big screen.

Action/FantasyThe action in the film is the large-scale battles which should be breath-taking only for the 3D focus taking over too often, the fantasy side of the film shows us just what could amaze with the creatures coming from the folklore.

SettingsThe settings show us just where the kingdom is set for defence from any attack, while becoming weak to the Grendel attack.

AnimationThe animation involved does feel bad now, it was a style which was being tried and just never made it to the mainstream.


Scene of the Movie –
The heart of the monster.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The wink he is naked let’s put something to cover his modest front and centre.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing animated movie that just plods along way to slowly for the audience and fails to give us the true feeling of the story.

 

Overall: Dull and disappointing animation.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – S – Sukiyaki Western Django (2007) Movie Review

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Takashi Miike, Masa Nakamura (Screenplay)

Starring: Hideaki Ito, Masanoby Ando, Koichi Sato, Kaori Momoi, Yusuke Iseya, Renji Ishibashi

Plot: A nameless gunfighter arrives in a town ripped apart by rival gangs and, though courted by both to join, chooses his own path.


Tagline – An epic tale of blood, lust and greed.

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Way Over the Top

Story: Sukiyaki Western Django starts as a mysterious Gunman (Ito) arrives in a town, where two gangs the Genji and Heike fight for power, they both want to offer the services to the stranger the Genji who dress in all white, while the Heike dress in red.

When Heike leader Kiyomori (Sato) murders a Genji in cold blood, the war is escalated to when Genji assassin Yoichi (Ando) gets into the war between the gangs, where the Gunman has his own agenda between the gangs

Thoughts on Sukiyaki Western Django

Characters – The Gunman is a lone traveller who finds himself in the middle of the war, he is the quickest hand in the town now, protecting himself from any attack coming his way, he has his own reasons for being in town, none of which are the money being offered his way by both sides of the gangs. Yoichi is the assassin on the Genji side of the war, he can kill from nearly any distance with perfect aim to account for weather. Kiyomori is the leader of the Heike who is just as deadly, with both having their own unique style. Yoshitsune is the secretly skill assassin, that hides her abilities unless she is under threat.

PerformancesThe performances do help the film feel more over the top, which is a good thing because this is meant to be over the top and wild, we see the stars have a lot of fun with how crazed they need to be.

StoryThe story here follows a mysterious stranger that finds himself in the middle of a gang war who are both in search for a hidden treasure and now it is time for both side to go to war. This is a story that is way over the top and it is fun to see how this plays out, it isn’t anything we haven’t seen before, just everything amped right up to another level all together. Certain moments of the time jumps can halt the process of the storytelling as we find out small details about the characters by the sudden changes in time, but they are often details we don’t need to learn.

ActionThe action in the film is blood splatter, built flying moments, with plenty of slowdown for extra effects when it comes to seeing how the dodges happen.

SettingsThe film uses the setting to show the small town coming under attack by the rivalling sides in the war.


Scene of the Movie – One man and his gun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too many time jumps.

Final Thoughts This is a wildly over the top western styled action film which is filled with colourful characters, action and gore.

Overall: Stylish Action Film.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – # – 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea (2007)

Director: Gabriel Bologna

Writer: Eric Forsberg (Screenplay) Jules Verne (Novel)

Starring: Lorenzo Lamas, Sean Lawlor, Natalie Stone, Kim Little, Victor J Springer, Emilio Roso

Plot: Captain Nemo goes even deeper into insanity in this mesmerizing fantasy tale. Once again at the helm of his fearsome, wildly advanced vessel, the nautical madman endeavors to turn the world above the waves upside down.


Tagline – A New World Deep Below the Ocean … Has Declared War on Ours.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Bland

Story: 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea starts when a US Submarine becomes trapped in the Mariana Trent, Lt Michael Arronax (Lamas) and his crew are recruited to use their technology to rescue them, joined by LT Commander Lucille Conciel (Stone) they head off in the rescue attempt.

When Michael vessel clashes with Captain Nemo (Lawlor) the two do clash about rescue, wanting to be in control and his city like vessel is ready for anything Michael tries to throw at him, to stop the madman before he steals all his ideas.

Thoughts on 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Characters – Lt Michael Arronax has been working on a prototype that breath under water, which sees him recruited for a daring deep water rescue, he is reluctant to work with his ex-wife, though he does find himself facing up against a naval madman in Captain Nemo, he does believe in saving lives over equipment. Captain Nemo is the naval madman that has plans for the bottom of the ocean, he is willing to go to war with anybody or nation that tries to stop him. LT Commander Lucille Conciel is the ex-wife of Michael, she has been assigned for the mission by the military which gives Michael somebody to bicker with on the mission.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are not very impressive, they just seem to have no chemistry between them which only makes them working together feeling unlikely with the actors seeming to just deliver their lines without anything behind them.

StoryThe story here follows Arronax on a rescue mission where he finds and clashes with Captain Nemo who has big plans for the world above the water. This is a modernisation of the classic novel, without any of the guts and morale dilemmas required to make the story interesting. It does seem to just be a clash between the two, without anything behind what is going on, which just seems to follow a big scheme rather than any sort of action.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film is beyond basic, it is almost non-existent, the idea of the sci-fi side of the film doesn’t seem like too far from the future though which is even more surprisingly weak.

SettingsThe film clearly puts us in a couple of random ships which makes it feel like we are watching an old Star Trek episode over anything else.

Special EffectsThe effects are weak too, being all CGI which despite the budget never feels connected to anything going on in the film.


Scene of the Movie – The bubble machine.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Everything.

Final Thoughts This is a terrible version of a classic novel that just feels like lots of random scenes tied together with zero chemistry between the actors and a story that doesn’t even seem to end.

Overall: Terrible watch.

Rating

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – L – La Vie en Rose (2007)

Director: Olivier Dahan

Writer: Isabelle Sobelman, Olivier Dahan (Screenplay)

Starring: Marion Cotillard, Sylvie Testud, Emmanuelle, Gerard Depardieu, Jean-Pierre Martins

 

Plot: Biopic of the iconic French singer Édith Piaf. Raised by her grandmother in a brothel, she was discovered while singing on a street corner at the age of 19. Despite her success, Piaf’s life was filled with tragedy.


Tagline – The passionate life of Edith Piaf

Runtime: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Cotillard is Outstanding

 

Story: La Vie en Rose starts when young Edith is left in her grandmother’s care in her brothel where prostitute Titine (Seigner) becomes her best friend, she suffers here after becoming sick and newly losing her sight. Taken to the circus by her father, it isn’t long before the two find themselves alone with Edith showing signs of her singing ability.

At the age of 20 Edith (Cotillard) is singing on the street corners with her friend Momone (Testud) before she gets noticed by Louise Leplee (Depardieu) who offers her a chance to sing in his clubs, this is just the beginning of her career as a performer. Edith’s life never went a smoothly as many others because behind the scenes we had plenty of problems.

 

Thoughts on La Vie en Rose

 

Characters – Edith Piaf is the famous French singer, she didn’t start on the top, we learn the struggles she faced, with her upbringing in a brothel and circus, before turning to the streets as a singer. Given the chance to perform on stage she never looked back when it came to performing, but she did enjoy partying which catches up with her as people try to control her rise to the top. Through the film we meet people that are important in Edith’s life, though one thing becomes clear, she doesn’t seem to stay around many people for too long.

PerformancesMarion Cotillard won an Oscar for this performance, you can see why, she is fantastic cover multiply different years of the singer making each age seem realistic for the audience to understand the struggles she is facing next. Everyone else in the film is great, though most struggle to reach the complete level Cotillard achieves in this film.

StoryThe story follows the life and career of performer Edith Piaf one of the most famous French singers of all time, we see how her life started with the battles to get out of the brothel and off the streets, to be where she belonged, on the stage, however many tragic events came her way. The story is told with plenty of time jumps between different ages which at times can be frustrating because this style of movie is often better to watch in the linear process, even if it is somebody looking back on life. Away from that little nit-pick, we see how amazing the story of Edith was with her final performance being the most iconic of all her songs.

Biopic/RomanceWe get to see most of the important moments in Edith’s life with this story, the performances and the tragic moments.

SettingsEach setting used in the film shows us just how the film was able to recreate the location that would have been used for the real moments in the life of the singer, with the performances feeling like they would be where they would really have taken place.


Scene of the Movie –
The final performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The time jumps are off putting at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant biopic that shows just how talents Cotillard is and teaches us about a brilliant singer that will never be forgotten.

 

Overall: Brilliant Biopic.

Rating

 

 

Bridge to Terabithia (2007)

Director: Gabor Csupo

Writer: Jeff Stockwell, David Paterson (Screenplay) Katherine Paterson (Book)

Starring: Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, Zooey Deschanel, Robert Patrick, Bailee Madison, Kate Butler

 

Plot: A preteen’s life turns upside down when he befriends the new girl in school and they imagine a whole new fantasy world to escape reality.


Tagline – The beloved novel comes to life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard Hitting Family Adventure

 

Story: Bridge to Terabithia starts as we meet Jess (Hutcherson) one of the middle children in a big family living on a farm, he is bullied at school with the new year being no different for him, when new neighbour Leslie (Robb) joins him in school, he might finally get a friend in the hostile side of school.

The two become friends and use the local woods to create their own fantasy world to escape the realities they are living in. the two learn they can remain individual while navigating everyday life.

 

Thoughts on Bridge to Terabithia

 

Characters – Jess is one of five children, the only boy from a farm family that struggles to make ends meet. He is bullied at school, left isolated for the most part, this is until he meets the new neighbour who helps him come out of his shell, explore his imagination more, learning how to unlock the potential in his artistic nature. Leslie is the neighbour that moves in, she is an outsider too with a wild imagination which helps Jess come out of his shell, she wants to be different, she accepts people who are different always willing to offer an olive branch to everybody. Ms Edmunds is one o the teachers at the school, she is the music teacher and pushes Jess to follow his potential. Jack is the father of Jess’s family he is forced to work hard through everyday, struggling to keep it together for his family, being stricter towards Jess.

PerformancesJosh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb are two of the best child actors of their generations, their performances are both wonderful and bring the heart and soul to this movie. Zooey Deschanel and Robert Patrick both bring the role models needed to the child roles.

StoryThe story follows a boy that is isolated from the world, facing a lonely future because of his family’s financial situation who makes a new school friend who helps him see the world in another light before tragedy comes his way. This is a story that felt like a coming of age movie which was wonderful only it came and throw a shocking twist in the story. we get to see how two people young teenagers learn to accept people in the world ignoring people that are trying to get to them. We do get to enter a fantasy world that only children could create to escape their worlds, which does see them deal their own problems.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure comes from the world created by Jess and Leslie to escape their world, filled with creatures that could only come from the minds of the two. The family side of the film shows the two dealing with life issues in the simple ways.

SettingsThe film shows that the two kids are in isolated locations, be it in the school or out of it and along with the fantasy location they create.

Special EffectsThe effects are mixed because the creatures look fantastic, but there is a running screen that just looks difficult to watch.


Scene of the Movie –
Museum trip.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The running scene.

Final ThoughtsThis is a shocking family adventure film that fills the coming-of-age story, which shows us how important life can be.

 

Overall: Coming of age shocker.

Rating