ABC Film Challenge – Romance – T -The Tourist (2010)

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Writer: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Christopher McQuarrie, Julian Fellowes (Screenplay) Jerome Salle (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff, Rufus Sewell

 

Plot: Revolves around Frank, an American tourist visiting Italy to mend a broken heart. Elise is an extraordinary woman who deliberately crosses his path.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: This was Rather Boring

 

Story: The Tourist starts as we watch Inspector John Acheson (Bettany) track Elise Flifton-Ward (Jolie) across Europe in search for a mysterious Alexander Peirce. While travelling to Venice Elise is assigned to find someone who looks like Alexander, which brings in Frank Tupelo (Depp) an American tourist travelling through Europe that ends up enjoying the company of Elise.

When Acheson knows that Frank is a nobody in his case, he continues his case tracking Elise but crossed information leads to Frank finding his own life in danger from a gangster who is searching for Peirce too.

Frank must escape and stay alive but Elise needs to get her job done but now wants to keep Frank safe with multiple people after them, you know what I lost the plot here.

 

Thoughts on The Tourist

 

Characters/PerformanceElise is a mysterious woman that has connection to a known and wanted criminal, she finds herself trapped in the middle of saving an innocent man she has gotten in the middle of her misleading plan or getting the job done. Frank is the widowed American tourist who gets pulled into the world of criminal activity all while being innocent.

Performance wise, Depp clearly is in the middle of his pay day run here never reaching the heights we know he can while Jolie isn’t too much better in her role.

StoryThe story is mostly about a femme fatale trying to keep everyone away from her boss but soon learns that this random man has stolen her heart. We have twists turns but you just don’t care about the operation going on through the film, which just makes everything come off plain.

Action/RomanceThe action is very basic and you wouldn’t expect any tension through the film with the romance almost getting thrown down our throats too much without being believable.

SettingsVenice makes for a beautiful setting but the film just doesn’t capture everything in its full.

Special EffectsThe special effects are again all basic never pulling you into the story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a star driven action borefest, we rely on the idea that Depp and Jolie could pull in any audience member but then forget to give us an interesting story.

 

Overall: Easily forgotten movie

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – W – We Are What We Are (2010)

Director: Jorge Michel Grau

Writer: Jorge Michel Grau (Screenplay)

Starring: Carmen Beato, Alan Chavez, Francisco Barreiro, Paulina Gaitan, Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Humberto Yanez

 

Plot: When the patriarch of the family passes away, the teenage children must take responsibility for the family chores: the preparation of the rituals, the hunting and putting the all-important meat on the table. These newfound responsibilities are even more daunting, however, when you live in the city and happen to be a family of cannibals.


Tagline – Young. Wild. Hungry.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Darkly Disturbing Cannibal Movie

 

Story: We Are What We Are starts when the father of the family dies, Patricia (Beato) the mother of the family must get her sons Alfredo (Barreiro) and Julian (Chavez) to take over the business while daughter Sabina (Gaitan) steps up with the household responsibilities.

The family are cannibals and now one of the brothers will need to step up Alfredo is the eldest while Julian is the one that will take the chances when they are looking for their next meal, hunting the city for the easiest target to follow their ritual.

 

Thoughts on We Are What We Are

 

Characters – Patricia is the mother of the family she has seen her husband uses whores for the food, once he has died she wants her sons to take over and not use whores for their rituals. Alfredo is the eldest son, he is quiet compared to the others calculated and isn’t fully behind taking over in the same way Julian is. Julian is the younger brother, he has a short temper which has seen him get in trouble before, Sabina is the daughter of the family, she pushes Alfredo to take over knowing they need him to keep the family ticking.

PerformancesThe whole cast in this film are wonderful, we see the confliction, the determination and the belief in every action they go through, each cast member makes their character stand out in each scene too.

StoryThe story of cannibals is one we have see a few times, we usually watch how the innocent must learn to fight back against them (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) we have seen the high class elude the law (Hannibal trilogy) now we get to see how one family operates in a busy city full of potential victims and how they select the victims along with how they operate when the leader of the family dies. The story has a disturbing factor about it from start to finish and following the villainous figures of this family brings a fresh spin to the cannibal genre.

HorrorThe horror in this film comes from seeing how the cannibals operate, what they are planning and how they go about it, it feels disturbing in each scene.

SettingsThe film is set in Mexico in a busy city which shows us how easy to find victims can be to get away with it too.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well to not show us too much directly to the camera, this can both frustrate or keep things interesting as we don’t know the complete truth.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It would have been nice to see how the father operated in preparation for the ritual.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disturbing horror that brings new life to the cannibal genre.

 

Overall: Cannibal delight.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – T – Tangled (2010)

Director: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard

Writer: Dan Fogelman (Screenplay) Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm (Fairy tale)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Ron Perlman, M.C. Gainey, Jeffrey Tambor

 

Plot: The magically long-haired Rapunzel has spent her entire life in a tower, but now that a runaway thief has stumbled upon her, she is about to discover the world for the first time, and who she really is.


Tagline – Get tangled up.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disney Princess 101

 

Story: Tangled starts by taking us to a fantasy land where Rapunzel the new princess is taken by Mother Gothel who has been using a golden flower to stay young, but the flowers power has transferred to Rapunzel long blonde locks.

Years later Rapunzel is locked in a tower by her mother forbidden to go outside even though she is desperate to, Flynn Rider is a thief on the run who stumbles into Rapunzel’s tower, where the two make a deal to help Rapunzel escape to see the lanterns her real parents have been lighting in hope of find their daughter on her birthday.

 

Thoughts on Tangled

 

Characters – Rapunzel is the princess of the land that is taken as a baby locked in a tower, grown up she dreams of leaving the tower to see the lanterns the royal family light every year. Once she gets out she uses her hair as a weapon and is overly excitable about seeing the world for the first time. Flynn Rider is a thief that is wanted throughout the kingdom, he relies on his charm to get him out of trouble only to end up finding Rapunzel who opens his eyes to a life on the good side of the law. Mother Gothel has kept Rapunzel as her own daughter because it will give her eternal youth, she is controlling and evil on a different level to other Disney villains.

StoryThe story does follow the fairy tale about Rapunzel, by bringing a fresh spin on everything, we get the idea that her first visit away from the tower is enjoyable for her an adventure she has always dreamed off, while also having the idea of a Disney Princess being protected in her own way. I do feel this story does have a negative side because a lot of what goes on focuses on people stopping everything to make a girl happy on their birthday. For a Disney story this is everything the fans will want.

Adventure/Fantasy/MusicalThe adventure takes Rapunzel away from the tower which was her prison to see the world for the first time, the fantasy world we enter shows us just how magic can work when it comes to the story of Rapunzel and the musical is trademark Disney.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well, they are normal Disney locations which are fine throughout the film.

AnimationThe animation is always going to be fantastic quality from Disney which will never be doubted by anyone.


Scene of the Movie –
The Rough bar.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is by the book Disney princess stuff.

Final ThoughtsThis is one for the princess fans out there, it follows the traditions well and brings us the fresh look at the classic fairy tale.

 

Overall: Disney hit their target audience.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Ip Man 2 (2010)

Director: Wilson Yip

Writer: Tai-lee Chan, Hiu-Yan Choi, Edmond Wong (Screenplay)

Starring: Donnie Yen, Xiaoming Huang, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Lynn Hung, Kent Cheng, Darren Shahlavi

 

Plot: Centering on Ip Man’s migration to Hong Kong in 1949 as he attempts to propagate his discipline of Wing Chun martial arts.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard Hitting Actioner

 

Story: Ip Man 2 starts in 1949, as Ip Man (Yen) has migrated to Hong Kong to start his own martial arts school, struggle for pupils early on it is Wong Shun-Leung (Huang) who becomes his first student, one of many who want to learn the art of Wing Chun. Ip must also come to terms with the causalities of the war with the friends that are no longer the same.

Ip clashes with fellow Master Hung Chun-Nam (Hung) who also has control of the city, this forces Ip into passing tests to prove himself worthy of being able to train in the city. This soon turns into a city-wide battle between the students trying to honour their masters.

 

Thoughts on Ip Man 2

 

Characters – Ip Man find himself residing in Hong Kong, he looks to pass on his training to anyone who wants to learn but he must stand up for what he believes in against the Master who runs the city to prove he is the true master. Leung is the first student Ip recruits, he is rash at times but his determination is everything needed to learn. Master Hung runs the city, he sees Ip as a threat to his power but over the course of the film the two learn to put aside their difference to face a common enemy.

PerformanceDonnie Yen once again shines in this leading role showing us once again that he is ready to be the biggest name in martial arts films. Xiaoming Huang is also good in this supporting role showing us a student role needed for the movie. Sammo Hung is great in his role as the rival master that grows respect through the film, it plays it all straight throughout. The performance throughout are good though the Brits do feel out of place in the film with their performances that do feel over the top.

StoryThe story does follow Ip Man as he must overcome a foreign enemy as well as one from home. Yes, the enemy isn’t as deadly to the whole country this time but it does show how he will stand up for his martial art form against anyone who is willing to get in his way and gain respect from the people that doubted him. It does feel like the previous formula once more with less of a threat but a deadlier final showdown.

Action/Biography/Sports The action here is fantastic with the combat sequences looking and feeling like the punches and kicks are real, this is also a look at another chapter of Ip Man’s life and what his belief and martial arts style bought to the world.

SettingsThe settings have changed but they still look like we are part of the movie for each of the experience Ip Man goes through.

Scene of the Movie – The massive fish market battle early on, because of the scale of the battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Brits are made to be complete assholes.

Final ThoughtsA sequel worthy of standing tall next to the first and one that can be enjoyed picking up in the middle too.

 

Overall: Must watch again for martial arts fans.

Rating

 

 

Russell Crowe Weekend – Robin Hood (2010)

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Brian Helgeland (Screenplay) Brian Helgeland, Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris (Story)

Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Max von Sydow, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston

 

Plot: In 12th century England, Robin and his band of marauders confront corruption in a local village and lead an uprising against the crown that will forever alter the balance of world power.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burner

 

Story: Robin Hood starts with England at war with France, King Richard the Lionheart is leading his men which does include archer Robin Longstride (Crowe), when Richard is killed in battle the kingdom of England falls into Prince John (Isaac) a stricter ruler that wants to tax the country.

Robin returning a sword finds himself needing to pretend to be Marion Loxley’s (Blanchett) husband in Nottingham, while Godfrey (Strong) continues to play both sides as the French look to take advantage of John’s weaknesses. Robin starts to act in the way we know, stealing from what is heading towards the king to return to the poor but how long can he keep this up?

 

Thoughts on Robin Hood

 

Characters/PerformanceRobin Longstribe is an archer with loyal friends, he fights next to King Richard but once he is killed he wants to avoid returning to the new king, he soon finds himself needing to become the hero for the people of the land against the new enemy. Marion is the strong lady that wants what is best for her people wanting to lead in a time where women wouldn’t lead. Prince John becomes king but he is stricter than the previous king as he wants money from people who don’t have it. Godfrey is a man that has been playing both sides to raise himself through the ranks in England or France whoever was to win.

Performance wise, Russell Crowe is fine in this role but if you want to see him at his best Gladiator is superior. Cate Blanchett was an interesting choice here but she does well with her screen time. Mark Strong is always a good choice for villain and does what is needed here. The cast in general is all fine without being great in what is a solid but slow burning film.

StoryRobin Hood is easily one of the most iconic stories in British legend, we have seen plenty of versions of his actions of stealing from the reach giving to the poor, but this time we story has sucked all the fun out of the story and turned it into a medieval story that feels just like everything we have seen in the sub-genre before.

Action/Adventure/RomanceThe action is everything we have come to expect swords, shields and arrows being used throughout. The adventure side of the film is almost non-existent and calling it a romance film well there isn’t any.

SettingsThe settings are the only highlight as each look like the correct time in question.

Special EffectsThe effects all work for the film without becoming too heavily involved.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor re-imaging or the iconic hero that just doesn’t make the subject matter interesting.

 

Overall: Uninspiring Robin Hood Story.

Rating