ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – W – The Wolfman (2010) Movie Review

Director: Joe Johnston

Writer: Andrew Kevin Walker, David Self (Screenplay) Curt Siodmak (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Rick Baker, Hugo Weaving, Simon Merrells, Gemma Whelan

Plot: Upon his return to his ancestral homeland, an American man is bitten, and subsequently cursed by, a werewolf.


Tagline – When the moon is full the legend comes to life

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Beautiful Gothic Horror

Story: The Wolfman starts when Gwen Conliffe (Blunt) travels to London to locate Lawrence Talbot (Del Toro) to ask for his help to locate his brother and her fiancée Ben (Merrells) who mysteriously disappeared, Lawrence returns to his family home to face his estranged father Sir John (Hopkins) to pay his respects to his brother after his brother’s body is discovered.

Learning the rumours of a terrifying creature lurking the woods, Lawrence isn’t allowed to return home one night, finding himself involved in a hunt through a gypsy camp, where he faces the creatures, using his expert shooting skills, only to find himself bitten. With the curse passed onto Lawrence learns that the legend of a wolfman is real and now he is that wolfman, with the town searching to hunt him down and put an end to his terror.

Thoughts on The Wolfman

Characters – Lawrence Talbot is a stage actor in New York City, one of the most popular in the city too, he gets called to return home to help is his brother’s death and soon finds himself bitten by the mysterious creature that took his brother. Lawrence must learn to control the new curse placed on him, while the rest of the village wants him dead. Sir John Talbot is his father that has been distant from him because of traumatic event from his childhood, he has lived over looking the village for years now, he will protect Lawrence even if he knows the truth. Gwen is the fiancée of Lawrence’s brother, the one that comes to him in search for help, she knows the problems between Lawrence and John, but believes he could be the only one to help with the mystery about his brother. She is the only one willing to help Lawrence once things start to get out of hand. Aberline is from Scotland Yard investigating the attack that happened to Lawrence, his reputation is around how he was once involved in the Jack the Ripper case and now he has been left to hunt down Lawrence.

PerformancesBenicio Del Toro in the leading role is strong in this film, we get to see just how much his character must got through during the film and he shows all the emotional range required for the character. Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt complete the main cast where neither put a foot wrong in their roles.

StoryThe story here follows a stage actor that must return home to search for answers about his brother’s death, only to find himself in the middle of hunt for a creature that has gone onto infect him with the curse. This is a remake of the classic universal monster collection, we get the gothic feeling to the story, in a time when legends would feel like they are true stories that small villages would believe to be true. We get to see the uncomfortable relationship between a father and son, as well as seeing the horrors of the wolfman being released upon the world. This is an entertaining story to watch, which is one that would be enjoyed by the horror fans.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy horror side of the film shows us just how the wolfman has come from, playing into the first real horrors of the silver screen too.

SettingsThe settings used in this film does bring us back to the Gothic era, which helps elevate the film to the next level, being it the buildings or the mist layered woodland area.

Special EffectsThe effects might well be more CGI focused when it comes to the transformation, but they still feel just as terrifying as they should be, if you were a witness to the event.


Scene of the Movie – The wolfman unleashed.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Gwen is still just a damsel in distress.

Final Thoughts This is an entertaining blood covered horror that brings a familiar character back to the bring screen, we have a strong cast and nice pacing which will keep the action flowing.

Overall: Blood Filled Horror.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – F – The Fighter (2010)

Director: David O. Russell

Writer: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson (Screenplay) Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington (Story)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, Jack McGee, Melissa McMeekin, Bianca Hunter

Plot: Based on the story of Micky Ward, a fledgling boxer who tries to escape the shadow of his more famous but troubled older boxing brother and get his own shot at greatness.


Tagline – Every dream deserves a fighting chance.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Brilliant

Story: The Fighter starts as we meet Micky Ward (Wahlberg) as he is preparing to follow in his brother’s footsteps Dicky Eklund (Bale) with a camera crew following them around because this is meant to be Dicky’s big return to the boxing world after his famous win as Sugar Ray Leonard.

Micky is meant to have an easy win fight, but a surprise change leaves him defeated once again, he starts to date Charlene (Adams) a local bar maid, who pushes him into standing up to his pushy family of Dicky who is always at a crack house and his mother Alice (Leo) that always believes she knows what is right for Micky, can he still create his own chance or not.

Thoughts on The Fighter

Characters – Micky Ward is the uprising boxer who is preparing for a big fight, he is trained by his older brother who has his own addiction, Micky lets his family guide him, mostly down the wrong roads, he meets a new woman in Charlene that helps him push back to restore his family’s name. Dicky is the older brother and former boxer, he feel out of the spotlight with his drug addiction and is looking to bring his brother into the light by being his trainer, the problems start by the fact he can never arrive on time and is letting his drug addiction control his life, breaking the law to try and do the right thing. Charlene Fleming is barmaid that Micky falls in love with, she tries to help him go after his own path instead of letting his family hold him back. Alice Ward is the mother of the boxers, she is their manager, but doesn’t always have their best interest in mind

PerformancesMark Wahlberg gives one of his career best performances of his career here, he doesn’t turn to any of the wise cracking which is often his trademark either. Christian Bale once again proves he can adapt to any role which will see him do a body transformation. Amy Adams and Melissa Leo complete the brilliant performances in this film which shows us just how talented this cast truly is.

StoryThe story here follows Micky Ward the brother of a former professional boxer that is looking to make his way to the top in boxing too, he is being held back by his controlling mother and fame seeking crack addict brother, until his girlfriend comes along to help put him back on the right path. This is based on the real boxers from the mid-90s and how they had to overcome their own personal problems to make it in boxing, we do a follow more of the family drama behind everything, how Micky was torn between who to take help from and how Dicky was full of himself due to his addiction. This does show us just how family can take life in negative directions if you let them take over your own potential if you let them and finding your own path can make you a success.

Biopic/SportsThe biopic side of the film shows just how difficult it can be to live in the shadow of a former professional and follows the family who have been through a lot, meaning the fighting is now for family honour. The boxing is limited till the final fight which is the longest any fight last and shows just how realistic you can be on the body.

SettingsThe film uses the settings that the family is from a very close neighbourhood which idolises Dicky and want to be behind Micky on his rise, they help each other and support their local heroes.


Scene of the Movie – Title fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – You could have seen more from the recovery process for Dicky.

Final Thoughts This is an excellent fighting drama that shows how family can be the best and worst part of any boxer’s life when they are going to try and make history.

Overall: Brilliant drama.

Jack Black Weekend – Gulliver’s Travels (2010) Movie Review

Director: Rob Letterman

Writer: Joe Stillman, Nicholas Stoller (Screenplay) Jonathan Swift (Book)

Starring: Jack Black, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly, Chris O’Dowd

Plot: Travel writer Lemuel Gulliver takes an assignment in Bermuda, but ends up on the island of Lilliput, where he towers over its tiny citizens.


Tagline – A magical land. A comedy of epic proportions.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Insults a Classic Novel

Story: Gulliver’s Travels starts when New York magazine mailman Lemuel Gulliver (Black) wanting to impress the travel editor Darcy (Peet) accepts an assignment that everyone refuses, which sees him head towards the Bermuda Triangle.

This trip sees him end up in Lilliput where he is giant compared to the residents including King Theodore (Connolly), the stuck up general Edward (O’Dowd) along with Princess Mary (Blunt) and peasant Horatio (Segel), in the land where Gulliver becomes a hero of the land.

Thoughts on Gulliver’s Travels

Characters – Lemuel Gulliver has been living inside his safety zone, where he works in a mail room for a magazine, not looking to get out of the lowest level of the magazine, seeing people come and go through the office, he doesn’t have the guts to ask out the woman of his dreams, taking an assignment he has no qualifications to be part of. Gulliver travels to a new land where the people are tiny, where he starts a revolution taking advantage of their generous natures. Horatio is a peasant that has been locked up for trying to speak to the princess, who he loves and wants to be with, he is the one that helps Gulliver learn about the world he is now part of. Princess Mary believes she is meant to be marrying the man who earns her love, rather than being allowed to get to know the person. Darcy is the travel editor for the magazine that Gulliver wants to impress, she is willing to let people in the office have an opportunity to prove them.

PerformancesJack Black brings his routine of comedy which is too immature for this story, even if he can handle the heart to heart moments well. Jason Segel does all he can with his role, while Emily Blunt clearly decides to make this over the top because of how little she wanted to be part of the movie. Chris O’Dowd is arguably the only strong part of the film when it comes to the acting, knowing he is playing an over the top villain.

StoryThe story is meant to show a slacker that travels to a hidden royal kingdom where the people are tiny, here he helps take the people to the next level of the lives breaking them out of their royal ways. The problem with the story, is that it is based on a classic, which would have the same themes, only for this one to make everything about pop culture references that have completely dated becoming almost insulting to everything that it could have been. The story could easily have been about a slacker that wants to start achieving more from his life, instead of continue to show how much of a joke he is.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure side of the film does take Gulliver to a new land he would never have imagined getting too, though his nervous approach to travelling gets forgotten too quickly here. The comedy is mostly immature jokes that won’t get many laughs in anyway.

SettingsThe film does start with New York before moving to Lilliput, the problem with the setting here is the lack of scale, one minute it is just a palace, the next it feels like a big village or city, we just never learn how big this world is meant to be.

Special EffectsThe effects do look clunky with how the worlds are put together trying to create the fact that Gulliver is massive in this world.


Scene of the Movie – Mail room talk.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The comedy.

Final Thoughts This is an insulting movie that just never reaches the heights it could when it comes to telling the incredible story of Gulliver’s visit to Lilliput like the book does, we end up with immature comedy that misses more often than it hits.

Overall: Disappointing and bland.

Jon Favreau Weekend – Iron Man 2 (2010)

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: Justin Theroux (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comic Book)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L Jackson, Clark Gregg

 

Plot: With the world now aware of his identity as Iron Man, Tony Stark must contend with both his declining health and a vengeful mad man with ties to his father’s legacy.


Tagline – It’s not the armor that makes the hero, but the man inside.

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Sequel

 

Story: Iron Man 2 starts in the world where Tony Stark’s (Downey Jr) Iron Man has seen the world in peace for the longest time in modern history, the government however isn’t happy with the device and the world is trying to build their own versions of the Iron Man suit. With Tony’s device slowly causing more damage than it should, he is looking for a way to stop the affects being caused.

With Tony searching for answers, he must deal with new member of the law team Natalie Rushman (Johansson), giving Pepper (Paltrow) the CEO position, a rival inventor Justin Hammer (Rockwell) and a jilted victim of his father’s work Ivan Vanko (Rourke) better known as Whiplash, who has his own form of weaponised equipment and wants revenge.

 

Thoughts on Iron Man 2

 

Characters – Tony Stark revealed his identity at the end of the last movie, he has become even more famous as the man that ended conflict in the world, the government want control over the suit and worry that other parts of the world could develop their own version of the suit. He must deal with his own mortality when the one thing keeping him alive, is making him sick. He will also need to fight for his father’s mistakes, pushing his closest friends away. Pepper Potts has been given a promotion by Tony, to CEO, she already runs his affairs, she is now running his company, while trying to control him during his self-destruction. Rhodey is still in his role in the military, he is still challenging Tony, but gets to use his own suit the correct way, for guiding the military. Natasha goes undercover in Stark’s company, she is a member of SHIELD where she uses her skills in combat to keep Tony out of trouble. Justin Hammer is a rival inventor still trying to get ahead of Tony in the weapons business, he has been working on his own Iron Man suit, without much success, he hires Ivan to build him a suit. Ivan Vanko has built his own weaponised suit, he is the son of a rival of Tony’ father, which sees him want to take revenge on Tony for his father’s action, becoming whiplash, the one man that has created a suit that could rival Iron Man.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr is still great to watch, he keeps the charisma required for his role, while bringing an emotional factor which is needed for where his character goes in this film. Gwyneth Paltrow does have a bigger role here and brings us a much stronger performance with her character. Don Cheadle is an improvement on Terrence Howard, bringing Rhodey to life more. Scarlett Johansson has the perfect look for this character which is only first jumping into the franchise. Sam Rockwell as another inventor arms dealer who is filled with the swagger required. Mickey Rourke as the villain has good motives he does everything he can even if he character does grumble a lot.

StoryThe story follows up the beginning of Iron Man dealing with the idea that the military would want control of the equipment and the rest of the world will be playing catch up, with their own versions of the Iron Man suit. This is a strong world building exercise to the Iron Man universe, we get to see how SHIELD are operating in the shadows watching over the potential threats. We have a villain that is competition and another one that is out for personal revenge. We up the stakes in this one, Tony does have to deal with his own problems by needing to improve the suit and we get to set up the position of who is one the good side with teases of the eventual Avengers team up.

Action/Sci-Fi The action in this film relies on a couple of big scenes, we have the racing introduction, the mid-life crisis sequence and the showdown, each has their own way to make an impact. The sci-fi side of the film continues to show the technology advances that Tony is dealing with.

SettingsThe film uses the settings more for the action with one of the most iconic action sequences in the franchise, we continue to see Tony’s lab which tends to get destroyed a lot too.

Special EffectsThe special effects in the film make each fight, drone or Iron Man suit look realistic through the film which is what needed for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Monte Carlo entrance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There is a small pacing issue.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun sequel that continues to build the universe we know now, Tony still needs to learn about his place and how to handle the suit which is important and shows the past could come back to haunt you.

 

Overall: Fun sequel.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – M – Mongolian Death Worm (2010)

Director: Steven R Monroe

Writer: Neil Elman, Kevin Leeson, Steven R Monroe (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Victoria Pratt, George Cheung, Drew Waters, Matthew Tompkins, Nate Rubin

 

Plot: When an American oil company sets up an experimental drilling plant out in the vast deserts of Mongolia, they awaken a nest. The deadly creatures begin to breed and spread, devouring everyone in their path.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: ABC Creature Feature

 

Story: Mongolian Death Worm starts as the American Drilling company in Mongolia (where else could this film be set with this title) have disturbed a creature below the surfaces that the locals believe is a myth that will come and take people. We also have a treasure hunter Daniel (Flanery) that has never made himself popular with the locals apart from the Sheriff Timur (Cheung). To increase the stakes, we also have a village with an outbreak of a virus that the charity HOPE and Dr Alicia (Pratt) are trying to cure must pay Daniel to take them to the village.

When the myth turns out to be true everyone must put aside their differences to fight to survive from the Mongolian Death Worms that are growing in numbers through the desert.

 

Thoughts on Mongolian Death Worm

 

Characters – Daniel is a treasure hunter searching for the burial grounds of Genghis Khan but has made his own enemies in the land but also knows how to handle himself, he isn’t the kindest of people always doing things for money over the right reasons, Alicia is a doctor that has been helping the locals of Mongolia with a virus outbreak and she is willing to die to save these people. Timur is the sheriff that is one of the few people that enjoys the company of Daniel and understands that he is harmless at heart.

PerformanceSean Patrick Flanery does seem to have fallen from the graces where he was about to make it to the big time but he is the star of this show. Victoria Pratt is fine in the supporting role with the brains and beauty needed for the film and George Cheung gives us the laughs when needed.

StoryThe story does mix myth with legend when it comes to dealing with new inhabitants to a land that must face the idea that a myth isn’t just a myth and must work together to defeat a creature in this case a Mongolian Death Worm. This is an easy to watch story as it is mostly a group of people needing to battle an unknown enemy before they take over the local area.

Action/HorrorThe action is mostly chases through the film which works when it comes to the enemies the people are facing with the horror side of the movie all coming from the creature feature idea which is always a lot of fun to watch.

SettingsThe film is set in Mongolia but this looks like it could be anywhere in the USA or anywhere that has dirt roads.

Special EffectsThe effects are better than I was expecting but still within the budget of a TV movie.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The film could have been filmed in any location it wouldn’t have made a difference.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple creature feature that is a lot better than what I was expecting without being one of the best creature features you will see, I do think the fact it isn’t laughably bad does hinder it though.

 

Overall: Solid creature feature.

Rating