ABC Film Challenge – Romance – P – Passchendaele (2008)

Director: Paul Gross

Writer: Paul Gross (Screenplay)

Starring: Paul Gross, Carolin Dhavernas, Joe Dinicol, Michael Greyeyes, Meredith Bailey


Plot: The lives of a troubled veteran, his nurse girlfriend and a naive boy intersect first in Alberta and then in Belgium during the bloody World War I battle of Passchendaele.

Tagline – in love, there is only one rule… don’t die.

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Too Much Love Not Enough Reality


Story: Passchendaele starts when Michael Dunne (Gross) returns from war injured, he comes back to his home town, where he meets a nurse Sarah Mann (Dhavernas). Sarah’s little brother David (Dinicol) is trying to go figure out how to get the love of his life Cassie (Bailey) to be allowed to see him because of his class in society.

When Michael gets forced to return to duty, his first assignment is to help recruit from his home town, only he won’t let David get involved, until a twist in the family name of the Mann’s puts both Sarah and David’s lives in danger, with only Michael wanting to defend them.


Thoughts on Passchendaele


Characters – Michael Dunne is a war veteran who killed a young man at war before he got injured himself, returning home he battles with his own mental health which does brand him a coward in the eyes of many, until he falls in love and is forced to return to war to protect her brother. Sarah is the nurse that helps Michael recover from his injuries, who just so happens to be from the same town, she lost her father to war and now her brother wants to fight, she will do what she can to prevent him, only her father’s history puts her place in the town in question. David is the younger brother of Sarah, he wants to go to war to impress the people of their town and follow in his father’s footsteps, he doesn’t care how it happens and knows if he does this, he can marry the love of his life.

PerformancesPaul Gross takes a couple of roles both on front and behind the camera in this film, he doesn’t make the impact we would like for many of the war movies we do see which disappoints. Caroline Dhavernas and Joe Dinicol both are basic solid supporting performance who both don’t get the impact they need to in the film.

StoryThe story here wants to show us how the Canadians were involved in one of the biggest battles of World War I, which is an important story that needs to be told, only we get a love story between a veteran a nurse and her little brother’s desire to go to war. While we see how Michael must deal with the horrors of the consequences of his action in war, it just gets pushed aside, which would have been the attitude at the time. We don’t seem to learn enough about the battle from the action involved, which is the most disappoint part of the story telling. The love side of the story does drag the story down way too much.

History/Romance/WarThe history side of this film should be much better, this shows the involvement of the Canadians only doesn’t seem to show us just how big their part was. The romance is the weakest part of the film only dragging it down, while the war side once we get there could challenge many for the brutality of visuals involved in war.

SettingsThe film does use the settings at a mixed level because the town could be anywhere, while the war moments look like the real war happening.

Scene of the Movie –
The battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The love story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brutal war story that shows us the true reality of war, only for it to waste too much time on a pointless love story.


Overall: Brutal war sequences saves this dull romance film.




Jean-Claude Van Damme Weekend – The Shepherd (2008) Movie Review

Director: Isaac Florentine

Writer: Joe Gayton, Cade Courtley (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Stephen Lord, Natalie J Robb, Gary McDonald, Daniel Perrone, Scott Adkins, Andree Bernard

Plot: A former New Orleans cop battles drug cartels and ex-Army Special Forces who are smuggling drugs from Mexico into U.S. through a Texas border town.

Tagline – Welcome To Mexico

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Van Damme 101

Story: The Shepherd starts when a former New Orleans cop Jack Robideaux (Van Damme) gets a new job as a border control officer under Captain Ramona Garcia (Robb), he gets told to keep his head down, which lasts a couple of hours, given a new partner in Billy Pawnell (McDonald), Jack does get a big bust early on in his career.

With Jack around it only ends up crossing criminal smuggler Benjamin Meyer (Lord) who wants to make this battle personal, trying to put his own business back in, can Jack figure out who to trust within the force.

Thoughts on The Shepherd

Characters – Jack Robideaux has left New Orleans to starts a new job on border control, he wants to keep his head down, but struggles with this, he starts tackling the problems in New Mexico, which sees himself getting targeted, even though he has his own reasons for being part of the patrol. Benjamin Meyer is the man smuggling across the border, an ex-military man who knows how to recruit the strong people around him, he is confident he can either buy or kill his way out of any situation. Captain Ramona Garcia runs the border patrol team, she welcomes are warns Jack about the area, she doesn’t want any attention on her team, which sees her challenging Jack from his first few days. Billy Pawnell is the agent that becomes Jack’s partner, trying to keep his head down after he gets in trouble early on, considered one of the best on the force, a perfect guide for a new member of the team.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme is just an action star that does everything right for an action film, with his fighting skills taking him to centre stage. Sadly, the rest of the cast just don’t get enough time to make a big impact on the story, its not that they are bad, they just don’t have much to do.

StoryThe story here follows a newly appointed border patrol officer that gets into a battle with ruthless smugglers that have been controlling the borders for years. When it comes to the action in a Van Damme movie, we know the story isn’t going to be that deep, while we know there is going to be something behind the motivation for the career change, which there is. The good versus the bad is everything we have seen before, we know there will be twists along the way which works out well for the film.

Action/CrimeThe action comes when we let Van Damme loose to fight, where he will face a younger enemy played by Scott Adkins for the big fight scene, anything to stop the criminal actions being handed out by the cartel gang.

SettingsThe film is set in New Mexico right on the border, which does see how the criminal world would be operating.

Scene of the Movie – Van Damme versus Adkins.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is easy to see the twists coming.

Final Thoughts This is a by the book action film that does everything it needed to without challenging the audience in anyway.

Overall: By the book action.

Adam Sandler Weekend – You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008) Movie Review

Director: Dennis Dugan

Writer: Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel, Judd Apatow (Screenplay)

Starring: Adam Sandler, John Turturro, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Nick Swardson, Lainie Kazan, Ido Mosseri, Rob Schneider

Plot: An Israeli Special Forces Soldier fakes his death so he can re-emerge in New York City as a hair stylist.

Tagline – He’ll blow you away

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Insulting

Story: You Don’t Mess with the Zohan starts when Israeli Special Forces Soldier Zohan (Sandler) is getting tired of the same old battles where he captures the terrorist only to see the government to trade them, when his greatest enemy Phantom (Turturro) has been released he uses the encounter to fake his death and follow his dream.

Zohan travels to New York to become a hairdresser using the name Scrappy Coco he wants to work in the biggest salon in the city, but gets laughed out, now he needs to bring his style to the city and learning about his people’s own problems.

Thoughts on You Don’t Mess with the Zohan

Characters – Zohan was once the top agent in the Israeli Special Forces he has always captured the terrorist even after the country has released them after he caught them. He does dream of being a hairdresser which his family sees as a disgrace, he fakes his death so he can head to New York to start a fresh as a hairdresser, where he saves a small business with his true style. Phantom is the greatest enemy of Zohan who always gets traded and always plans his next action, which sees him claiming his fame after Zohan faking his death. Dalia is trying to keep her small salon open and once she gives Scrappy a chance her business booms cleaning her debts out. Michael is the first person that helps Zohan in America and offers him a place to stay.

PerformancesAdam Sandler does hit what seems like an almost insulting in the leading role, just playing into the stereotypes of any Israeli person. John Turturro is the same even if his role is smaller, while Emmanuelle Chriqui doesn’t help herself standout in the supporting role. Most of the cast is terrible through the film never hitting the heights of their roles.

StoryThe story here follows an Israeli soldier that wants to hairdresser meaning he will need to leave his home and start in a new life in America, where his past comes back to haunt him. This is by far one of the most insulting stories you will ever see, it tries to play along the lines of the American dream is available for anybody. We get plenty of awful racist stereotypes being played out towards anybody from Israel which is used more often or not for political gain rather than actually story. This is typical awful Sandler story.

ComedyThe comedy is in the middle of the racist and insulting towards the Israeli people that should never have gotten any laughs.

SettingsThe film is in New York where we see how small communities are trying to make a living, despite having disagreements behind them.

Scene of the Movie – End credits because it was over.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Everything else.

Final Thoughts This is a pure insult to comedy and cinema that should never have even been made.

Overall: Awful from Start to Finish.

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – Q – Three Kingdoms (2008) Movie Review

Clutching at straws again here, we are going with Q because of Maggie Q.

Director: Daniel Lee

Writer: Ho Leung Lau, Daniel Lee (Screenplay) Guanzhong Luo (Novel)

Starring: Andy Lau, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Maggie Q, Cunxin Pu, Andy Oh, Rongguang Yu, Hua Yueh, Lung Ti

Plot: His country torn asunder by civil war, Zhao Zilong, a common man heeds the call of duty and from the humblest of roots rises through the ranks on wings of courage and cunning to command an army charged with liberating the land from an evil warlord. Inspiring by action, honor and a dream of unifying his divided nation, Zhao Zilong’s heroism becomes legend, but as the years pass and the throne changes hands the war still rages on. When a newly enthroned king decides peace can only be achieved by defeating the warlords once and for all, the aging Zhao Zilong embarks on his final and greatest campaign, a road to adventure that will crown his name in glory for all time.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice History Lesson

Story: Three Kingdoms starts in the middle of a three kingdom war going on in ancient China, common man Zhao Zilong (Lau) joins Liu (Yueh) army which is winning the war with the circle opposing forces, where he meets a fellow country man Luo Ping-An (Hung) as they prepare for battle against Cao’s army.

After Zhao braves going alone to search and rescue the Emperor’s wives and child escaping the capture of the enemy army, making himself an icon in the war, and somebody Cao promises to capture one day. After decades of fighting, Zilong is the last remaining general under the Emperor and now he wants to go into one more battle which could finally unity China against Cao’s granddaughter Ying (Q).

Thoughts on Three Kingdoms

Characters – Zhao Zilong was just a small town common man that went to war to fight for peace so he could start a family, his acts of bravery saw him rise the ranks to become one of the most trusted generals for Emperor Liu, his abilities in battle show why he was the longest lasting of the generals and why he made himself a legend in the eyes of the people. Luo Ping-An was the first friend Zilong made in the army, he understands directions and stays by his side for every battle with his knowledge of the landscapes unlike anybody else. Cao Ying is the granddaughter of the enemy general, she has seen her family fall and now leads the army to finally end everything from her side of the battle. Zhuge is one of the original generals that Zilong learns from, one who would go between soldier camps to help them win battles they were outnumbered in.

PerformancesAndy Lau in the leading role shows off his fighting skills with his serious side to his character to his performance, he is the star of the film, which sees him being the best performer even though most of the cast don’t put a foot wrong.

StoryThe story shows us just how one common man turned into one of the most famous generals in ancient Chinese history, we see his rise from the bottom right to his position of legend status. This is an interesting look at one of the great wars in history, seeing how both sides were trying for something that would unit a country, even though decades of fighting didn’t help them achieve this. We mostly focus on just one man’s journey from the bottom to the top and how he became a legend in the war because of his abilities in combat and ability to motivate his army. We do skip a lot of time through the film which does take away from trying to get all the details of the war though

Action/History/WarThe action is massive when it comes to the numbers involved in the battle sequences, they look beautiful to watch too, when it comes to the history of the war we do skip over large parts of it which can be disappointing at times.

SettingsThe film here recreates the ancient Chinese era with ease, making us feel like we are part of this bigger battle.

Scene of the Movie – The escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The large time jump.

Final Thoughts This is a good interesting look at history and just how much was risked during these wars, we see one man’s journey to find his own position in power too.

Overall: Strong History film.

Franchise Weekend – The Librarian III: The Curse of the Judas Chalice (2008)

Director: Jonathan Frakes

Writer: Marco Schnabel, David N Titcher (Screenplay)

Starring: Noah Wyle, Brice Davison, Stana Katic, Bob Newhart, Jane Curtain, Dikran Tulaine, Jason Douglas


Plot: Losing his girlfriend because he was at an auction dramatically getting the magical philosopher’s stone instead of a date, he needs a vacation – New Orleans but finds himself busy saving Earth from the curse of the Judas chalice/vampires.

Tagline – The world’s most unlikely hero is back for his biggest adventure.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Embraces Itself


Story: The Librarian III: The Curse of the Judas Chalice starts as Flynn (Wyle) is struggling with balancing his personal life with his career, Judson (Newhart) gives him some vacation time, which sees him heading to New Orleans.

Flynn’s vacation is cut short when he meets singer Simone Renoir (Katic) who has been guarding a relic, which just so happens to be what Kubichek (Tulaine) and Professor Lazlo (Davison) are trying to bring Vlad the Impaler back to life to build their own undead army.


Thoughts on The Librarian III: The Curse of the Judas Chalice


Characters – Flynn is the Librarian who has been struggling with the stress of everyday life and personal life after getting dumped by his latest girlfriend. He gets to go on vacation, only to find himself in the middle of yet another quest only this time in New Orleans, where he must deal with the idea that vampires could be real. Simone is the beautiful singer that summoned Flynn to New Orleans, she needs help to keep her secret and she has a secret that not even Flynn was ready for. Professor Lazlo is one of the worlds smartest men, he is forced into helping Kubichek until he learns about Flynn, Judson knows this latest quest could well be the one that Flynn makes him or ends his interest in the role.

PerformancesNoah Wyle continues to be strong in this role where he can have fun in his role. Bruce Davison is strong enough in his role, while Stana Katic brings us a different love interest for Flynn. Bob Newhart continues to be entertaining in his role through the film franchise.

StoryThe story here follows Flynn the librarian as he tries to take a vacation from this job, only to find himself in the middle of another quest against Russians that want to bring vampires back to life creating their own undead army. This story does start to accept that these films are meant to be out there, slightly crazier than Indiana Jones, while not as wild The Mummy movies. We do get a more interesting case than the previous films and we get villains that are fighting for a course that could bring back evil to the world. this is a fun story without being too serious.

Action/Adventure/ComedyThe action is one the largest level with the battles being bigger than before, while the adventure does keep the action closer to home in America. The comedy is mostly light-hearted humour that keep everything running smoothly through the film.

SettingsThe film uses the New Orleans setting like we know it to be, one location filled with religious mystery and eerie settings.

Scene of the Movie –
Vampire fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The generic accents.

Final ThoughtsThis is the most fun of the Librarian movies, it has finally embraced the idea it has been trying to create, making it lighter, while also being darker too.


Overall: Fun filled adventure.