ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – A – Autumn (2009)

Director: Steven Rumbelow

Writer: Steven Rumbelow, David Moody (Screenplay) David Moody (Novel)

Starring: Dexter Fletcher, David Carradine, Dickson Tolson, Lana Kamenov, Anton Brejak

 

Plot: A horrible virus kills billions within minutes. The few survivors that are left have to deal with the shock of the apocalypse, and they have no idea that things are about to get much worse.


Tagline – Silence is your savior.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too slow.

 

Story: Autumn starts as a mysterious plague kills most people in the population instantly. The few survivors left seek shelter as we follow Michael (Fletcher), Carl (Tolson) and Emma (Kamenov) who try to find their way to the coast, knowing that the dead bodies would only spread disease.

As the three believe they have found safety things soon change when the dead do come back to life, not with a hunger, but just wondering aimlessly around searching for a place, until they start to become deadlier, leaving the three to board themselves in for safety.

 

Thoughts on Autumn

 

Characters – Michael was a school teacher that joins the group that leaves, he knows their choice is smart as he prepares for a new life. Carl and Emma join him but if we are honest we barely learn anything about them along the way. We have faceless characters to show it could be anyone trying to survive.

PerformancesThe performances are for a ack of a better word, fine, they are not good and are not bad, you understand why they are acting the way they are.

StoryThe story is like most end of the world stories, a virus kills millions, we follow a group of survivors as they search for a place to be safe while learning how big the damage to the world is. This does try to be difference by having the slow changing in the dead into the zombies we know now. As for the survival side of the film, it is nothing new and does feel slow.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror is the end of the world idea, zombies and the unknown, whereas the sci-fi comes from just where it could go wrong with the undead.

SettingsWe get the countryside settings which show the sensible locations to head to during the potential end of the world.

Special EffectsThe effects seem mostly practical with the camerawork hiding the weakness.


Scene of the Movie –
The first breakout.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is very slow.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow end of the world movie, it plays along the idea of zombies taking time to turn up and just doesn’t live up to any of the expectation.

 

Overall: Dull and boring for the most part.

Rating

 

 

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Dorian Gray (2009)

Director: Oliver Parker

Writer: Toby Finlay (Screenplay) Oscar Wilde (Novel)

Starring: Ben Barnes, Colin Firth, Rebecca Hall, Ben Chaplin, Fiona Shaw, Emilia Fox

 

Plot: A corrupt young man somehow keeps his youthful beauty eternally, but a special painting gradually reveals his inner ugliness to all.


Tagline – Forever Young. Forever Cursed.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre

 

Story: Dorian Gray starts as Dorian Gray (Barnes) himself arrives in CGI London, I mean London around the 1800s to return to his childhood home. Dorian gets to mingle with the high society members including Lord Henry Wotton (Firth) as he learns his place in London.

Henry takes Dorian under his wing and with a portrayed showing his youthful looks offering him the desire to remain that way we see the world Dorian has been guided into by Henry. Dorian becoming his own man uses the painting to keep his aging while he remains young and becomes the womanising machine around town, but there is always a consequence to this.

 

Thoughts on Dorian Gray

 

Characters – Dorian Gray is the young man bought back into London, he starts full of innocence but after being guided down certain paths he changes becoming a man that has his youth preserved in a painting that has swapped with his physical body. Lord Henry Wotton is the high society man that takes Dorian down the darker paths, first for his own entertainment but soon fuelling his own jealously.

PerformancesBen Barnes is good as Dorian Gray the forever youthful looking and enjoying life forever. Colin Firth is the gentleman figure here being the mentor and easily being the highlight of the film.

StoryThe Dorian Gray story is a well-known story of the man that never ages while his painting showed the age and harm his body has taken as it slowly starts to consume him. The origin of this does lack the fantasy you would imagine it having and does just feel like a simple look at how high society believed they controlled London. While the story may well follow the original material well it does need some evolution to make the story compelling to the modern audience.

Fantasy/ThrillerThis should be a fantasy filled moment film but we lack anything past the concept of what is happening to Dorian.

SettingsThe settings are old London which look completely fake through the whole sucking us out of the location for the most part.

Special EffectsThe effects are a let-down in the most part disappointing on nearly every occasion through the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The Deal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lacks the final punch.

Final ThoughtsThis should be one of the greatest gothic stories you will ever see, but it lacks all the effects, twists and storytelling to make it.

 

Overall: Disappointing all around.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – U – Up (2009)

Directors: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson

Writer: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson (Screenplay) Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Edward Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai, Bob Peterson, Delroy Lindo

 

Plot: Seventy-eight year old Carl Fredricksen travels to Paradise Falls in his home equipped with balloons, inadvertently taking a young stowaway.


Tagline – Fly Up to Venezuela

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fantastic

 

Story: Up starts as two children Carl and Ellie fall in love because of their love of adventure and how they idolise the same man, Charles Muntz an explorer that became disgraced. The two have a full life with the ups and downs till they reach old age where Ellie sadly dies before Carl ever got the chance to take her to Paradise Falls (Bring you tissues).

Carl being forced out of his home by a ruthless business decides to take the home to Paradise Falls, Venezuela for a tribute to her with balloons, only to discover that Russell a wilderness explorer has become his stowaway on his adventure. Once at Paradise Falls Carl and Russell must work together to get the house to the location only to find themselves in the middle of a hunt for a giant bird that Russell adopts it calling it Kevin and the area is filled talking dogs including the hapless Dug. The adventure will put Carl against his idol Charles Muntz who has been hiding in Paradise Falls hoping to capture the bird.

 

Thoughts on Up

 

Characters – Carl Fredricksen has spent his life with his wife Ellie, the two are both adventurers at heart, he promised her from the moment they met he would take her to Paradise Falls, only for life to get in the way, once she passes, he sets out take their home there to honour her only along the way he needs to learn to open his heart to care for people again. Russell is the wilderness explorer trying to earn his last badge for helping the elderly, he wants to help Carl do something simple like cross the street only to find himself on the adventure, gaining a father figure along the way. Charles Muntz is the explorer that was famed for his adventures, only be become disgraced for not bringing back a live specimen to be studied. He has spent his life in Paradise Falls searching for one and willing to kill anyone who gets in his way. Dug is the outsider of the dogs that Muntz controls, he becomes friends with Carl and helps them in the troubles they are facing.

StoryThe story here follows a man who has lived his whole life waiting for adventure and once he loses his wife he goes on the adventure he promised his wife, along the way he learns that he has the adventure waiting for, one his wife would be proud of him going on. He learns to let people in again finding a new meaning for life. There is a story of peril as Carl must fight against his idol who has become obsessed with capture a bird which can take the back burner for most of the deeper meaning.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure shows us that you can go on an adventure at any age and the one they go on is wonderful to see.

SettingsThe films uses the settings well, the opening location is the busy city which has evolved through Carl’s life and the Paradise Falls look breath-taking.

AnimationThe animation looks fantastic which is what we would expect from Pixar.


Scene of the Movie –
Carl & Ellie’s life together opening sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Trying to figure out why Carl gets kicked out of his house?

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of Disney’s best movies off all time, it is brilliant, it will leave you in tears after ten minutes and make you laugh the next ten minutes.

 

Overall: Brilliant, emotional and fantastic.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – C – Coraline (2009)

Director: Henry Selick

Writer: Henry Selick (Screenplay) Neil Gaiman (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Dakoka Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Keith David, John Hodgman, Robert Bailey Jr

 

Plot: An adventurous girl finds another world that is a strangely idealized version of her frustrating home, but it has sinister secrets.


Tagline – An Adventure too Weird for Words

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dark Animated Fantasy

 

Story: Coraline starts as we meet Coraline Jones, a young girl that moved into a new home with her over busy parents, who never find time for her, her imagination tris to run wild and once she discovers an alternative world where her parents always have time for her, she starts on this new adventure.

The longer Coraline stays in this dream world with her other parents the deeper the truth about this world will strike fear into her, as she tries desperately to return to her real parents.

 

Thoughts on Coraline

 

Characters – Coraline is a young girl that needs to let her imagination free, which her parents are not letting happen, when she gets into this new world she goes on the adventure she dreams off only to see what is the most important to her. The parents are too different sides of what Coraline is wanting, one side busy the other side always free to play. We do have the other colourful characters which help Coraline unlock the truth.

StoryThe story plays into the idea that a young child (this time a girl) imagination can run wild leaving them to get into trouble and going on an adventure to save her family. To me this felt like a Studio Ghibli story, with the fantasy elements and the young girl needing to save the day in a world which could contain nightmares. This story does contain large amounts of peril which will keep you wanting to see where things will end up going next for Coraline.

FantasyThe fantasy elements being used in this movie are wonderful to see, as it uses moments and worlds that could easily grace a horror film.

SettingsThe film does take place in and around the one house which shows how the mind can create an adventure that only a little girl could uncover.

AnimationThe animation used looks wonderful and plays into the fantasy elements of the film that are going on through the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Searching for parents.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly too dark for a kids film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful animated movie that knows how to keep the story interesting and keeps us guessing until we get to the end.

 

Overall: Animation must watch.

Rating

 

 

Justin Long Weekend – Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Director: Sam Raimi

Writer: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi (Screenplay)

Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao, David Paymer, Adriana Barraza

 

Plot: A loan officer who evicts an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point.


Tagline – Even nice people can go to hell.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Scary Filled Horror

 

Story: Drag Me to Hell starts where we meet mild manner loan officer Christine (Lohman), trying for the vacant assistant managers job, dating a professor Clay (Long) and generally just being a nice timid person. Christine’s day seems routine enough, but when Mrs Ganush (Raver) comes to her for an extension on the loan she must reject it.

Mrs Ganush begs and pleads for an extension, before being shamed, this forces her to put a curse on Christine, one that causes nightmares, day terrors and the need to solve this before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Drag Me to Hell

 

Characters – Christine Brown is one of the best modern horror characters, she does an honest job, she isn’t rude, pushy or arrogant, she just makes a living the best she can. She has worked her way up to a potential assistant manager role. She is filled with innocence it adds to the horrors we see her having to experience after she gets cursed. Clay is the supportive boyfriend, a professor of psychology, he doesn’t believe in the supernatural even being the annoying rude figure to a fortune teller. Mrs Ganush is the gypsy that has seen her loan go bad, she needs an extension again which Christine much reject, we feel little sympathy towards her and the motivation for putting the curse on Christine.

PerformancesAlison Lohman is brilliant in this role, we truly believe that she is the character of innocent nature. Alison is the true star of this movie, she goes through the most too. Justin Long is good in his role even if he is only the supportive boyfriend. Lorna Raver is great as the gypsy woman as you are filled with fear watching her.

StoryThe story follows one young woman that is doing her job and she gets cursed by a vengeful customer. While this story does follow the traditions with its linear idea of woman needs to find away to lift curse as the hauntings are getting worse each time she is haunted. We get to look into curses and how they can have people attempt to lift them while haunting continue to get worse. It could easily be thrown into the idea of one woman dealing with guilt.

HorrorThe horror in this movie is almost none stop, when it hits we do know when things happen and each moment becomes more terrifying.

SettingsThe film does keep us in a normal American city, it shows how the everyday life of Christine is routine until the curse gets thrown on her, this takes us to more horror related location.

Special EffectsThe effects are mixed for the most part, we have great horror effects when it comes to practical, but hits us with weak CGI moments only draw us back.


Scene of the Movie –
Prepare the goat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Clays behaviour to the fortune teller, way to generic.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best modern horror movies out there, we have terrifying scenes which are built up perfectly for the horror.

 

Overall: Must watch horror movie.

Rating