ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – F – Frankie & Alice (2010)

Director: Geoffrey Sax

Writer: Cheryl Edwards, Marko King, Mary King, Jonathan Watters, Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse (Screenplay) Oscar Janiger, Philip Goldberg, Cheryl Edwards (Story)

Starring: Halle Berry, Stellan Skarsgard, Phylicia Rashad, Chandra Wilson, Alex Diakun, Joanne Baron

 

Plot: A drama centered on a go-go dancer with multiple personality disorder who struggles to remain her true self and begins working with a psychotherapist to uncover the mystery of the inner ghosts that haunt her.


Tagline – Inspired by an amazing true story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Drama, Lacking Casual Appeal

 

Story: Frankie & Alice starts as we meet go-go dancer Frankie (Berry) the most popular girl in the club who starts having strange episodes in her life, moments when she starts to believe she is a white woman. Oz (Skarsgard) a psychologist takes Frankie in and starts to try and figure out what is going on inside Frankie’s head.

Losing her job and finding herself in trouble with the law, Frankie must turn to Oz to help her by checking her in for 30-days to start with and soon they start to get to the bottom of everything.

 

Thoughts on Frankie & Alice

 

Characters – Frankie is a stripper that is the most popular girl in the club, she can have any guy she wants and usually gets them. One day she starts getting black outs where we see she becomes a different person, which only leaves who losing her job and running out of money. Seeking help, she learns she has multiple personality disorder and now she needs help to understand how to get this under control. Oz is the psychologist that is sees the problems in Frankie’s head and works against the trends to help her even if the rest of the doctors don’t believe things are real.

PerformancesHalle Berry is great in this leading role, she takes on the 3 personalities and makes each one feel unique for the difference in their characteristics. Stellan Skarsgard in a doctor role, he is always going to be one of the great doctor figures on the big screen. When we look at the rest of the cast we don’t get too many performers that standout in anyway.

StoryThe story here follows one woman that starts to lose her mind when the multiple personalities in her head start taking over, one doctor will try to help her unlock the past she has locked up to create these personalities. This is based on a real woman and doctor that worked together and it shows us just how committed doctors can be to solve a problem which others will dismiss, we get to see how misdiagnosis can cause bigger problems in life, but once you learn the truth you can put everything together to live a happy life. We knew this going in, this was never going to have an unhappy ending, but we should face the reality that certain people would have not made it through this. This story does show an important sign to help deal with mental health which could see people struggle through different times in life and tells us all we shouldn’t be afraid to get help.

BiopicThis shows us two real people, Frankie is an incredible and tragic story which has been hidden behind the personalities created in her mind and the doctor that would do anything to help her control them.

SettingsSet in the late 60’s we get an authentic feel for every scene of the movie, the divides in the neighbourhoods and the class difference between the rich and poor.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This isn’t going to be for a causal movie fan.

Final ThoughtsThis is an important look at deal with mental health in the 60s how certain doctors would push it aside while others tackled it head on, the story of Frankie shows us how we could understand a person going through such horrors could create these personalities.

 

Overall: Important and brave message.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Director: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders

Writer: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders, William Davies (Screenplay) Cressida Cowell (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jay Baruchel, Gerald Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

 

Plot: A hapless young Viking who aspires to hunt dragons becomes the unlikely friend of a young dragon himself, and learns there may be more to the creatures than he assumed.


Tagline – One adventure will change two worlds

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Highly Entertaining Animation

 

Story: How to Train Your Dragon starts as we meet young Viking Hiccup, he isn’t like the rest of his village including his all powerful father Stoick, the village has been getting attack by dragons for centuries and Hiccup is being forced to follow in his father’s footsteps.

When Hiccup’s form of defence is creating inventions, which could aid in defence, he wounds a young dragon known as a Night Fury, Toothless. Hiccup goes through dragon training he becomes top of his class from learning from Toothless and truing to stop the war between the Vikings and the dragons.

 

Thoughts on How to Train Your Dragon

 

Characters – Hiccup is the outsider of the community of Vikings, he is smarter than the rest and want to fight dragons using ideas which could change everything for the people of his village, he can’t match the rest of the villages strength and his dragon training sees him learn how to control and work side by side with them, can he help the village change. Stoick is the all powerful leading for the community and father to Hiccup, he will be first in line when it comes to fighting the dragons only he doesn’t know the anything other than fighting, he relationship with his son is being put on the line because of the difference in opinions. Toothless is the young dragon which Hiccup wounds, he is raised back to health and becomes friends with Hiccup showing the Vikings can be in peace with the dragons. Gobber is the dragon trainer, he trains the next generation of dragon killers and believes learning the hard way. We do get plenty of support characters which mostly add the laughs to the film.

StoryThe story follows the ideas of a son not living up to his father expectation with the world of Vikings and dragons. This is the simple version of the story and will be related by parents and children alike because we now parents would like their kids to follow in their footsteps, while the child will look up to follow and have their own dreams. Away from the morale side of the story we get a world filled with different dragons which have their own strengths and weakness with terrify the Vikings and the Viking community which is just doing what it can to survive. This might well be a simple story, but the world created is near perfect, it is a story people can relate to without even being part of the Viking community.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe action in the film is big, this has battles on mass scales against the dragons which edge of the seat with peril. The adventure takes Hiccup into a world along side the dragons, one he never thought he could be a part of. We get comedy along the way too which only lightens to mood at times. The whole family can relate to the events of the film here which is important too.

SettingsThe film creates a world of Vikings which are at war with dragons, each element looks and feel authentic for the lighter version of the world.

AnimationDreamworks gives us a brilliant animation that could easily go toe-to-toe with Pixar for quality levels.


Scene of the Movie –
The flight with the nest.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly too generic.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best animations of recent years, it brings us a unique spin on the proving yourself to a father storyline we know so well.

 

Overall: Must watch animation.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – L – Lake Placid 3 (2010)

Director: Griff Furst

Writer: David Reed (Screenplay)

Starring: Colin Ferguson, Yancy Butler, Kirsty Mitchell, Kacey Clarke, Jordan Grehs, Michael Ironside

 

Plot: Killer crocodiles and their offspring terrorize residents of a small community.


Tagline – Don’t forget you’re lunch!

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Awful Sequel

 

Story: Lake Placid 3 starts with the Bickerman’s cleaning out the estranged Aunt’s house, Nathan (Ferguson) a scientist performing research in the area, his real-estate wife Susan (Mitchell) and their son Connor (Grehs) who ends up taking up the same hobby of feeding the baby crocodiles in the lake.

2 years later the crocodiles have grow and now they are extra hungry looking for more prey, bigger prey starting with the elk before getting a taste for human flesh, Nathan must reluctantly work with hunter Reba (Butler) to eliminate the threat to the area.

 

Thoughts on Lake Placid 3

 

Characters – Nathan Bickerman is a researcher studying the elk in the area, he has seen the numbers crumble and believes at first it is hunters, once he learns the truth he must destroy the crocodiles and save his family as well as the town. Reba is the mysterious bad ass hunter that breaks the rules for hunting, she leads a group into the woods including a young man searching for his girlfriend. Susan is the wife of Nathan’s she is a real-estate agent in the area and tends to do most of the parenting towards their son. Ellie is the college student on a weekend away that is the motivation for Brett to be on the trip.

PerformancesColin Ferguson in the leading role is ok you don’t believe most of what he is doing and this is going to be the problem for most of the performances, you just can’t see them having any sort of interaction with the crocodiles, the screaming is just there and the only performance worth watching is the bad ass hunter in Yancy Butler though this is more a hunter with an attitude.

StoryThe story here is very simple, we have a stupid kid feeding baby crocodiles for two years when all of a sudden they need larger amounts of food which brings them to land to pick off the random people they find. For the most part we have the stupid character decision going on as well as awful editing choices which cover up the best parts of the movie, the actual attacks. We don’t have any redeemable characters. for a creature feature we do like to care about at least one of the characters as the crocodiles are meant to be the evil in the story, though they are just looking to hunt. For a creature feature this does fall flat because of the weakness being shown in the film.

Action/Comedy/HorrorThe action is mostly trying to run away from the crocodiles or defending themselves with whatever weapons they can find, it is claimed to be a comedy though you will only laugh at the deaths or the acting, where as the horror in the film is the creature feature side of things which don’t get scary.

SettingsWe are setting in a lake side town which has the locals who believe they know everything while they get picked off one by one, it is filled with the land that you could expect a predator to enjoy.

Special EffectsThe crocodiles CGI special effects are awful and you tell this is a knock off sequel to a good original.


Scene of the Movie –
Topping up the crocodile.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just kids.

Final ThoughtsThis is the third and the worst chapter so far in this franchise of films, it has no humour, awful effects and basic characters.

 

Overall: Sequel you can avoid.

Rating

 

 

Alan Tudyk Weekend – Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010) Revisited

Director: Eli Craig

Writer: Eli Craig, Morgan Jurgenson (Screenplay)

Starring: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss, Philip Granger, Brandon Jay McLaren

 

Plot: Affable hillbillies Tucker and Dale are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are mistaken for murderers by a group of preppy college students.


Tagline – The perfect love story… with a high body count.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bloody Hilarious

 

Story: Tucker and Dale vs Evil starts when Tucker (Tudyk) and Dale (Labine) head into the woods to their holiday home by the lake, the same weekend Chad (Moss) leads his college house out to the woods for their own weekend of drinks and drugs.

When one of the students Allison (Bowden) gets injured, Tucker & Dale take her to rescue, this is where the miscommunication starts when Chad makes the rest believe Tucker & Dale are hillbilly killers and a series of failed rescue attempts get to see the body count only complicated for the rest.

 

Thoughts on Tucker and Dale vs Evil

 

Characters – Tucker is the smarter of the two friends, he looks over Dale when he is struggling with life decisions and talks the two out of trouble. Dale is the simply minded of the two, he does have the ability to remember an information he is told, he gets a crush on Allison and we follow how he tries to gain the confidence to speak to her, while trying to defend himself from the college students. Allison is the beautiful college student that doesn’t completely fit in with the rest of the group, she gets injured and rescued by the friends. She learns to accept people that look different which causes most of the confusing in this film. Chad is the leader of the college group, he has a tragic backstory which motivates him into his actions through the film.

PerformancesTyler Labine & Alan Tudyk show wonderful chemistry through this film as they show they have comic timing that fits the characters. Katrina Bowden fits the beautiful young woman roe well, the looks are important to make this character standout. Jesse Moss plays his character well become more psychotic as the film unfolds.

StoryThe story follows a pair of hillbillies that run into a group of college kids in the woods, we get to play into the ideas that are the typical traits within the horror, as the hillbillies are calm instead of bloody hungry killers and the students have played into the fears people can have for who people are. This is how the genre can turn the ideas on its head which plays into the comedy needed for the film and the story gets a chance to just play along with everything that is going on. We do go down the typical slasher genre, because we get the large group picked off, while most look like suicide it does falls into the ideas the slasher genre has.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy gets to turn the typical horror traits on its head, which is it what makes this film feel refreshing to watch and if you are a horror fans you will get most of the jokes being used.

SettingsThe film keeps nearly all the action in and around the wood area, with have no easy escape after the car leaves early on and the signal is gone, meaning the college students must think for themselves.

Special EffectsThe effects are very impressive when it comes to the deaths, we get original ones that manage to by funny as well as brutal.


Scene of the Movie –
The woodchipper.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The students are portrayed to be complete idiots.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best horror comedies out there, it will get laughs from the audience with the horror audience understanding nearly every joke being played out in the film.

 

Overall: Funny, entertaining, a must watch.

Rating

 

 

Gemma Arterton Weekend – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

Director: Mike Newell

Writer: Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard (Screenplay) Jordan Mechner (Video Game)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Steve Toussaint, Toby Kebbell

 

Plot: A young fugitive Prince and Princess must stop a villain who unknowingly threatens to destroy the world with a special dagger that enables the magic sand inside to reverse time.


Tagline – Defy the Future

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Adventure

 

Story: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time starts in the land of Persia, ruler Nizam (Kingsley) and brother to the king Sharaman (Pickup) leads his armies in battle with his generals and rebellious prince Dastan (Gyllenhaal) still keeping his streetwise behaviour in him. The latest show of strength sees Dastan lead an attack on Princess Tamina (Arterton) city bringing the two cities together.

When Dastan gets framed for the King’s death, he goes on the with Tamina only to learn about a dagger that can control time, that his brother really wanted from the siege, Dastan must prove his innocence and return home while unlocking his own destiny.

 

Thoughts on Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

 

Characters – Dastan was born on the streets, but raised in the place after impressing the king, he still remains close to the people on the streets which leaves him unable to follow orders. He leads an assault on a new kingdom only to find himself a pawn in a game of power for control of Persia and must learn his true destiny and save the kingdom. Tamina is the princess of a new land that the Persian’s claim, she is forced to marry one, but knows the secrets behind the dagger and the power it gives. She is willing to help get the dagger to safety and away from those who will use the power for their own greed. Nizam is the brother to the king, Uncle to Dastan, he has always lived in the shadow of his brother and no matter who takes over, he will not be king. Sheik Amar is a man that Dastan keeps running into on his travels, a man that is driven by gold which he sees with the bounty on Dastan’s head.

PerformancesJake Gyllenhaal is good when it comes to the action and physical side of the film, though his accent does bounce around at times. Gemma Arterton has the look of a princess, though the accent involved is questionable, for the location she is meant to be from. Ben Kingsley is an easy choice for a villainous character, which is fine he doesn’t get truly challenge in his role, while Alfred Molina adds comedy it can lighten up the movie enough.

StoryThe story is adapted from the video games series, which had a smart idea of a dagger that could control time and the battle for power of the dagger. The film does follow those lines well showing us that not everything is going to be easy for our hero and he simply won’t know who to trust when it comes to gaining power for good or evil. It does follow a trend which was going on at the time with the unlikely couple from different worlds that are slowly falling in love as they look to save the day, with unlikely friendship and enemies made along the way. The idea of a weapon which could possesses the ability to change time is interesting addition to the normal adventure movie too.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action in the film is good and entertaining, it includes the fights and battles which will show the number of people fighting for each side. The adventure side of the film shows us how far Dastan must travel to make his position right in the kingdom, going through location which would be considered dangerous on other days. The weapons power adds in the fantasy element which sees us reverse time when suited.

SettingsThe film does use the generic temple style cities and royal locations as well as the open deserts to show us where out character is going on their adventure.

Special EffectsThe effects are a mixed bag, when we see the time rewind, we do get a unique look which is good, the weakness come from certain larger scale moments.


Scene of the Movie –
The rewind of time scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The giant CGI moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun video game adventure movie, it has an idea which can become just like we could imagine a video game playing out which is what we would like at times.

 

Overall: Enjoyable adventure film.

Rating