ABC Film Challenge – Animation – D – Dino Time (2012)

Director: Yoon-suk Choi, John Kafka

Writer: Adam Beechen, James Greco, Jae Woo Park, Zachary Rosenblatt (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Melanie Griffith, Pamela Adlon, Kari Wahlgren, Tara Strong, Rob Schneider, Jane Lynch, William Baldwin, Stephen Baldwin

 

Plot: Three kids who travel back in time to 65 million years ago, where they are taken in by a dinosaur.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Kids Movie.

 

Story: Dino Time starts with our main character and dinosaur enthusiast Ernie giving us a tour of his town which is famous for the number of dinosaur fossils, Ernie is tired of all the rules he must face which leads to him constantly getting in trouble.

When Ernie’s best friend Max lets him into his inventor father’s basement, Ernie, Max and Julia end up getting transported back to the dinosaur era to witness the dinosaurs while they do also need to find a way home.

 

Thoughts on Dino Time

 

Characters – Ernie is the over excitable kid who loves dinosaurs and is given a chance of an adventure of lifetime when he gets transported back to the time of dinosaurs, he is enjoying himself too much putting his own friend’s lives at risk. Max is the best friend of Ernie that ends up trapped in the past too while Julia, Ernie’s sister who enjoys getting him in trouble.

StoryThe story shows us what it would be like from a kids point of view to head back into the dinosaur time and having to survive while also making it back home. We don’t get overly scientific which is fine and as this is designed for kids you can overlook the blatant time travel problems in the film.

Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe is a perfect kids adventure that will keep them quiet for an hour and a half.

SettingsThe settings created look great throughout the film be it modern time or the dinosaur time.

AnimationThe animation works for the story being told, it isn’t the greatest but it works for the audience it will be targeting.

Scene of the Movie – Dinosaur birth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Ernie is an asshole kid.

Final ThoughtsIf you want something for the kids to watch, this is one for them to enjoy without it being the worst film of the animation genre.

 

Overall: Kids free time.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – # – The 12 Disasters of Christmas (2012) Movie Review

Director: Steven R Monroe

Writer: Sydney Roper, Rudy Thauberger (Screenplay)

Starring: Ed Quinn, Magda Apanowicz, Holly Elissa, Roark Critchlow, Andrew Airlie, Ryan Grantham, Greg Kean

Plot: It’s Christmas Eve when an ominous dark star appears in the sky; could this star be a sign that Judgment Day is near? When massive earthquakes and natural disasters tear apart cities, it seems that the day of reckoning is upon us – and now a small band of heroes must come together to save the world!

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Enjoyable Disaster Film

Story: The 12 Disasters of Christmas starts on Jacey’s (Apanowicz) 18th birthday as she has a climbing day with her father Joseph (Quinn), the day takes a turn when Jacey’s grandmother gives her a ring claiming she is the chosen one.

Once the sky starts raining shards of ice, it becomes clear that this is just the latest disaster which is claiming the end of the world is coming, through different disasters, with only one person that can stop it, Jacey

Thoughts on The 12 Disasters of Christmas

Characters – Joseph is the husband and father that has been fighting to save his town from new control after seeing the jobs disappear, when the events of the disasters start happening, he will join his daughter in putting the clues together to try and stop the world ending, even if people do try and stop them. Jacey has just turned 18, she enjoys the physical hobbies including climbing, she wants to move away for college, which is the biggest strain in the relationship between her and her father, until she learns she is the chosen one that can stop the disasters, she gets put through pain whenever one is about to hit too. Mary is the mother and wife that is always around for medical problems the town is facing. Kane owns the town, he did grow up there, but has been looking to turn the town around to make more money for himself.

PerformancesEd Quinn does well enough in the leading role, this is a Syfy movie, so we know the performances aren’t going to be winning any awards, they just need to make sure they are passable for a film like this, which they whole cast is strong enough through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a small town that happens to be the epicentre of the end of the world after the prophecy claims that 12 disasters will signal the end of the world, unless the chosen one can stop it. The story does spin the idea of the 12 days of Christmas by turning it into different theories about disasters, which sadly is one of the weakest parts of the film because the disaster doesn’t match the songs ideas. If you look at this as a series of disasters, this is a fun enjoyable story, it plays out just like you would imagine, knowing who will die and when, usually just after giving the message, but it does feel fresh compared to most of the disaster films that don’t feel like they can be stopped with the power of one.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is a lot of different disasters, we have slow chases, nothing is truly ground breaking or leaves us with a giant set piece like most disaster films, while the sci-fi side of the film focuses on the idea of the world coming to an end, where the fantasy elements could be the one thing to stop it.

SettingsThe film is set in a small mountain town, which shows how close everybody is and how they would react to crisis.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are the low-budget ones we would expect, there is a couple of moments that work very well, even with the budget.


Scene of the Movie – The invisible wall.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The disasters don’t match the song lyrics which is implied by the title.

Final Thoughts This is a fun disaster movie, it keeps things simple, has plenty of peril and an idea that bigger things could happen if they are not stopped.

Overall: Simple and Fun.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012) Movie Review

Director: Mira Nair

Writer: Ami Boghani, William Wheller, Mohsin Hamid (Screenplay) Mohsin Hamid (Novel)

Starring: Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber, Kiefer Sutherland, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi

Plot: A young Pakistani man is chasing corporate success on Wall Street. He finds himself embroiled in a conflict between his American Dream, a hostage crisis, and the enduring call of his family’s homeland.


Tagline – When one day changes the world forever.

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Eye Opening Thriller

Story: The Reluctant Fundamentalist starts when a businessman is kidnapped in Pakistan, the American are using their information to search for him, while Changez (Ahmed) becomes one of the suspects, Changez is meeting with an American Bobby Lincoln (Schreiber) who is looking to tell him story.

Changez gives his story about his love for America and how he once worked his way up the ladder in wall street under Jim Cross (Sutherland) in 2001. This is only the beginning of his story, one that will show how he became somebody who wanted to lead change and one that saw the change firsthand.

Thoughts on The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Characters – Changez is a Pakistani man who was the first to leave the country to make something of himself in the modern world, he enters the world of wall street, where he looks to help business run smoother, seeing problems others can’t, he ends up becoming a target of hate after 9/11, now he is being interviewed to show his side of the aftermath from 9/11, where he is back in Pakistan becoming a target of the Americans who see him as a threat, he is smart, he knows how to remain calm and analyse the issues in the world, to show both sides of the views. Erica is the woman that Changez starts dating, she is a photographer and is open to seeing the world in the right way. Bobby Lincoln is a reporter that is interviewing Changez, he is open to hear his story, only he happens to have his own reason for the interview. Jim Cross is the man that offers Changez the job in New York, he sees all his potential to become one of the best in his business being somebody who never bothered about his background.

PerformancesRiz Ahmed is fantastic in this leading role showing everybody how big of a star he was always going to become. Kate Hudson is great to, bringing her style to a character that wouldn’t be normal in the traditional life of Changez life. Liev Schreiber is wonderful to see in the storytelling side of the film, listening and wanting to make an impact with her reasoning. Kiefer Sutherland is strong in his supporting role too, showing he can become the businessman in a film with ease.

StoryThe story here follows a Pakistan man who rose to success in New York, right around and in the aftermath of 9/11, dealing with racism put upon him, while trying to follow the traditions of his family back home, dealing with the idea that he has been placed on the watch list, despite not committing any crimes and trying to prove that anything can be spun to make anybody look guilty because people are blindly following panic. This is a try eye opening at how the world instantly sees certain ethnic backgrounds as bad, despite, never learning who they are or what they are doing in life. The one bad side of the story comes from seeing how we are going through his back story, even if this does offer twists in the story.

ThrillerThe thriller side of this film start heavily, when we see just how the kidnapping happens and the searching for the people responsible, we do drive into drama and seeing how the life can be turned upside down by panic of others.

SettingsThe film does use the key settings of Lahore to show when terrorists are believed to be, New York which sees people turn their heads towards people they don’t like and the world trips that show why Changez could have been seen as a threat, just because of his race.


Scene of the Movie – The moment that changed the world.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The attitudes instantly change no matter how wrong they are.

Final Thoughts This is a very insightful look at how the world changed on 9/11, seeing the people judging without understanding the truth about people is how we are seeing the world now.

Overall: Insightful thriller.

Killing Them Softly (2012)

Director: Andrew Dominik

Writer: Andrew Dominik (Screenplay) George V Higgins (Novel)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta

 

Plot: Jackie Cogan is an enforcer hired to restore order after three dumb guys rob a Mob protected card game, causing the local criminal economy to collapse.


Tagline – In America you’re on your own

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow & Uninspiring

 

Story: Killing Them Softly starts when Frankie (McNairy) and Russell (Mendelsohn) rob Markie’s (Liotta) mob protected card game, putting a bounty on themselves. With the men not happy with this incident, they hire Jackie (Pitt) to clean up the mess, he enjoys killing his victims, softly, with his Driver (Jenkins) filling in the information about the hit he will need to take out, while the  man Jackie wanted to help with the job, Mickey (Gandolfini) isn’t the man he used to know.

 

Thoughts on Killing Them Softly

 

Characters – Jackie is a hitman assigned to clean up a mod owned robbery, he has his own ways to get the job done which will see him slowly calculated kill his targets, but he will get the job done smoothly. Frankie is one of the thieves that commits the robbery, he has bought in his own friend to help with the latest job, he must try to stay low while he waits for the bounty to go away. Russell is the loose cannon that is bought in by Frankie, he isn’t liked by the boss, but is given the chance to help with the job. Mickey is the former hitman that just isn’t the man he once was, he can’t be seen in public which doesn’t help with his job. Driver fills in the information for Jackie, he shows him where the job could be done too. Markie is the host of the poker game who sees the money stolen, knowing what it will mean for him.

PerformancesBrad Pitt is the highlight of this film, which isn’t saying too much, he does keep the cool persona we know him for through the film, but isn’t as incredible as we could have seen from him. The supporting cast all struggle in this film without getting any moments that will make us want to support their characters.

StoryThe story follows a hitman hired to clean up a gangster robbery but unsuspecting thieves, only for him to see the people are not the same as they once were. This story goes at a slow pace which just doesn’t ever get going before ending without seemingly finishing. We have too many characters being introduced to enjoy this film which just seems to be a lot of talking and never hitting the criminal world style that you would be expecting from the gangster underworld.

CrimeThe criminal side of this film just seems to follow different people in the criminal world, they are at different levels and are force to be against each other.

SettingsThe film is set in a city which is filled with the chances to be a criminal without making any location feel iconic.


Scene of the Movie –
Frankie drive.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too much pointless talking.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow non-moving crime thriller that just drags along even with Brad Pitt trying his best to make something of nothing.

 

Overall: Slow and dull.

Rating

 

 

James Bond Month – Skyfall (2012)

Director: Sam Mendes

Writer: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan (Screenplay) Ian Fleming (Characters)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Berenice Marlohe, Albert Finney

 

Plot: Bond’s loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. When MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Most Intense Bond Film

 

Story: Skyfall starts as James Bond (Craig) and Eve (Harris) working on the latest daring mission which ends in failure with James killed in action after an order from M (Dench). M finds herself being forced into early retirement by Gareth Mallory (Fiennes) with her wanting to clean up the failures of her last mission, which brings James out of his hiding to return to help M with the missing information which could expose every spy in every terrorist organisation.

James must travel to Shanghai and look into M’s past for answers as the identities have started to leak online targeting M for her past sins, James will come face to face with Silva (Bardem) a former agent hellbent on revenge for being abandoned.

 

Thoughts on Skyfall

 

Characters – James Bond has a different arc to the normal, this time he has semi-retired after being killed in action, he doesn’t stay retired for long as he needs to prove he is ready to return to action, as he will need to go face to face with a former agent who has gone rogue. This does continue the arc of learning who James can trust which keeps the character feeling like he has continued his own story, rather than just being on another mission. M is left to make the difficult decision which sees James killed in action, her actions put her in the firing line of the government who want her replaced, she isn’t going to leave her post without cleaning up her latest mission failure, but she doesn’t want any more innocent people killed, it is her past that is causing the actions of Silva, she knows she made the right call with him and now trust James to fix the problems caused. Silva is a vengeful former agent that has put together a plan to bring down M for what he believes was her abandoning him to be tortured by the enemy country. He has spent years putting this plan together and isn’t going to let James be the one to bring him down. Gareth Mallory is the man assigned to create the transition between M and her replacement, he understands the middle ground and isn’t going to accept what is best for the country. Eve is the field agent that has been working with James, only for her to be the connection to help from the headquarters. Severeine is the woman that James uses to get close to Silva, we really don’t get enough from this character though.

PerformancesDaniel Craig continues to grow into the James Bond character, he handles the action with ease, shows the determination required through the film. Judi Dench gets the biggest role for the character of M, she is fantastic in this role never looking out of place showing that a person of power can become vulnerable. Javier Bardem does make a delightfully evil villain that has his own plan for revenge. Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris both provide great supporting performance, only Berenice Marlohe doesn’t get enough time to shine.

StoryThe story here follows James Bond as he must work with M to bring down a man that is determined to get revenge against her and is always one step ahead of the two. This is easily the most personal and intense story we have seen in any James Bond story, this is refreshing because we don’t get a villain who want money or destruction, they want one person to pay for their own action. The idea to dive into James’s past is interesting, it shows how he was selected in the first place, only it isn’t the best idea when you think back to the idea that each actor could be a different agent with the same code name. This story does have moments that wink to the previous films which is enjoyable to pick up on them.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film does take centre stage, the opening sequence is the best in the franchise, the rest are filled with high octane chases through cities where it feels like we are watching stakes on the line.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings on the simpler side, with most of the film being set in London which shows how personal this has become against M. when we hit the final act, we do get another unusual location that previous ones haven’t had before.


Scene of the Movie –
Was that meant for me?

That Moment That Annoyed Me Going too personal about James’s past.

Final ThoughtsThis is the most intense Bond film to date, it puts different stakes on the line which is refreshing to see and is easily the one that standouts from the rest in the franchise.

 

Overall: High Octane Action Film.

Rating