Kid Cannabis (2014)

Director: John Stockwell

Writer: John Stockwell (Screenplay)

Starring: Jonathan Daniel Brown, Kenny Wormald, Aaron Yoo, Ron Perlman, John C McGinley, Corey Large, Bryce Hodgson

 

Plot: An eighteen year old high school drop out and his twenty-seven year old friend start trafficking marijuana across the border of Canada in order to make money and their lives are changed forever.


Tagline – Everyone wants to be a kingpin.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Story

 

Story: Kid Cannabis starts as we meet high school drop out Nate (Brown) who is telling the story of how he along with his partner Topher (Wormald) become involved in the drug trafficking business. We start at the beginning where Nate learns about the idea that trafficking the drugs across the Canadian border.

We follow Nate who works with Topher and crime boss Barry Lerner (Perlman) to start up the business and just how often the border patrol would pull him over to check whether he is smuggling anything illegal. This was just the beginning of what become a small empire created that changed their lives forever.

 

Thoughts on Kid Cannabis

 

Characters – Nate is a high school dropout working a dead-end job getting high in his free time. He learns about the idea of trafficking across the Canadian border, he uses his intelligence to plan an operation which will see him become an overnight sensation, he does start to get carried away with his new money which sees him needing to fight for his own dominance in the field. Topher is the older friend of Nate’s who can handle the transport with his enjoyment of the wilderness, he can lead the teams across the borders and keep the peace between Nate and the fellow runners. Barry Lerner is the local crime boss that Nate turns to for the investment to the idea, he gives the basic threats and the money rolling in which will keep him happy. John is the farmer in Canada making the product, the best the Americans can get their hands on.

PerformancesJonathan Daniel Brown in the leading role does make for good story teller, he doesn’t look like a drug smuggler which is why it is a more unique story. Kenny Wormald fills the lead runner role well, he makes us believe he is just as desperate as the rest. Ron Perlman and John C McGinley are both here just to have big names in the film, they are mostly just cameo like performances.

StoryThe story follows the high school dropout that built a drug business worth $68 million simply by trafficking the drugs across the Canadian border. This is based on the true story, which does show us through the eyes of the leader just how he pulled the operation off, while preaching about the laws on drugs within America. While it might be an interesting story, it is one we have seen before, it does promote breaking the law, which doesn’t seem like a good thing to be promoting, while relying heavily on the drug community to support the actions of these young men. We do also have too many pointless party scenes, which are clearly here just to put some boobs in the film and fill time.

Biopic/Comedy/CrimeThe does show the drug trafficking side of the people involved in the story, shows how their lives changed with an idea however illegal it turned out to be. It does use the comedy to make light of the situation which is fine because this doesn’t ever feel like it needs to be serious, while the crimes being committed show just how the people involved didn’t care about the punishment they could face.

SettingsThe film is set between the borders of America and Canada, it shows the different life styles that Nate would have had between his time making the money and the environment taken to do the drug smuggling.


Scene of the Movie –
The travelling.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pointless party scenes.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interest look at the true story, it shows how the operation came about, how quickly it gathered steam and how the lives of the people involved were changed forever.

 

Overall: Interesting true story.

Rating

 

 

Thomas Jane Weekend – White Bird in a Blizzard (2014)

Director: Gregg Araki

Writer: Gregg Araki (Screenplay) Laura Kasischke (Novel)

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, Christopher Meloni, Shiloh Fernandez, Angela Bassett, Gabourey Sidibe, Ava Acres, Thomas Jane

Plot: In 1988, a teenage girl’s life is thrown into chaos when her mother disappears.


Tagline – I was 17 when my mother disappeared…

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Uninspiring Teenage Mystery

Story: White Bird in a Blizzard starts when 17-year-old Kat (Woodley) comes home from school to find her father Brock (Meloni) worried about where he mother Eve (Green) has gone, just vanished, taking nothing with her. Following the normal missing person reports through Detective Scieziesciez (Jane) trying to help the best he can.

As Kat examines her life, she starts to think that her mother might have run off with someone else, but the uncertainty around the truth is driving her crazy as she continues to push on her new sexual desires.

Thoughts on White Bird in a Blizzard

Characters – Kat is the 17-year-old girl that is nearing the end of school, has a boyfriend that isn’t given her enough attention for her own desires and then her mother vanishes, she is left wondering why she would just leave right when she was become a woman and needed her help. Eve is the mother of Kat, she has changed over the recent years and now has vanished, we learn about her character through Kat’s memories of her. Brock is the father that Kat thinks is a loser, he is worried about his wife and does the best to stay strong for Kat. Phil is the boyfriend of Kate, he lives across the street and is the opposite to who she was looking for in a man.

PerformancesShailene Woodley does everything fine through this film, she is the strongest of the performers, though that isn’t saying much. Eva Green, Christopher Meloni and Shiloh Fernandez all have one strong scene, while largely being forgettable in this film.

StoryThe story here follows a teenage girl that must deal with the sudden disappearance of her mother, not knowing the truth or who could offer the truth about what has happened. This isn’t the inspiring story because it offers up a mystery only for the story to spend too much time on wondering if Kat is going to get laid and by who, we really don’t spend anytime investigating why or what could have happened to her mother, which only disappoints us. This story does drag along to, which for a 90-minute movie is a giant disappointment.

MysteryThe mystery behind this film does leave us feeling like it forgets there is a mystery halfway through the film, it just doesn’t shine enough of a spotlight onto the mystery.

SettingsThe settings in the film show us a small town that our main character wants to get out off, which sees more people knowing things than they are willing to give away, when it comes to the truth.


Scene of the Movie – Freezer search.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The mystery doesn’t seem to be the main focus.

Final Thoughts This feels like a long movie even though it has only a 90-minute runtime, it just drags and doesn’t focus on the mystery enough.

Overall: Dull.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – B – The Boxtrolls (2014)

Director: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi

Writer: Irena Brignull, Adam Pava (Screenplay) Alan Snow (Novel)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Isaac Hempstead Wright, Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning, Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan

 

Plot: A young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator.


Tagline – Dare to be square.

Runtime: 1 hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun, but Dark Animation

 

Story: The Boxtrolls starts in a rich town, where Lord Portley-Rind wants the town to get rid of the Boxtrolls that come out at night to collect trash, they get Snatcher and his team to hunt them down, when the Boxtrolls raise an orphaned boy Eggs, he grows up to question the behaviour of the town and the Boxtrolls.

When Eggs goes into the human world, he learns that truth about how the world sees the Boxtrolls and must prove to them along with the daughter of Lord Portley-Rind, Winnie, they can bring the end to the battle between the two sides.

 

Thoughts on The Boxtrolls

 

Characters – Eggs was raised by the Boxtrolls, he believes he is one, until he meets a human girl, with this new discovery, he learns why the Boxtrolls are not loved on the surface and his own identity, to whom he must end the war between the two side. Snatcher is the evil hunter that wants a higher status within the town, using the idea that he will clean up the town of the Boxtrolls, however much he is behind the whole problem within the town. Lord Portley-Rind is the highest ranked person in the town, he is completely self-centred, not seeing the biggest picture in the town, including his own daughter. Winnie is the adventurous daughter of the Lord that believes every Boxtrolls legend and the first to see the Eggs, helping his discover the truth. Each of the Boxtrolls has their ow unique look and actions through the film too.

StoryThe story shows us how one town can believe in a legend without ever learning the truth about the so-called evil in the town. We get to see the difference in classes and how they treat different parts of the society, how the lowest community is closer and willing to do everything to work together. We get a big lesson on not treating people different in life while giving us a fun adventure about making it in your own way in life.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure takes Eggs from what he believes in his home, into the big world, where he can discover and put an end to a battle between the people of the surface. The comedy will get chuckles with each of the Boxtrolls action in the film.

SettingsThe film is set in a town where there is a clear class system in place, we see how the different classes treat each other and how they must learn to change for the better.

AnimationThe animation is stop-motion which is always a joy to see just how much commitment went into the film to make it looks so beautiful.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not sure how the Boxtrolls were seen before the event happened at the start.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun animation that will get laughs along the way, it might be darker than it needed to be, which could scary a younger audience.

 

Overall: Stop-motion at its finest.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Paddington (2014)

Director: Paul King

Writer: Paul King, Hamish McColl (Screenplay) Michael Bond (Creator)

Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Nicole Kidman, Ben Whishaw

 

Plot: A young Peruvian bear travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he meets the kindly Brown family, who offer him a temporary haven.


Tagline – The adventure is about to begin.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful

 

Story: Paddington starts when a young Peruvian bear travels to London after his aunt and uncle lose their home, London is different to what he was expecting with the Brown family taking him in, with father Henry (Bonneville) being against the idea, while mother Mary (Hawkins) isn’t taking no for an answer.

When the family decides to start looking for the explorer that connected with Paddington’s aunt and uncle, only to learn of a cover up, while museum curator Millicent (Kidman) is trying to locate the bear to complete her life’s work.

 

Thoughts on Paddington

 

Characters – Paddington is the Peruvian bear we have all gotten to know from our childhoods, he travels to London in search for an explorer that met his Uncle and Aunt, what he finds is a busy city that has no time for stranger until he meets the Brown family. Paddington is learning about a new world in London, which sees his curiosity getting him stuck in a pickle more often than not, with his love of marmalade being the cause of most of his troubles. Henry Brown is the father that has taken Paddington in reluctantly, he has been working in risk assessment which doesn’t make a bear in the house seem safe, Paddington will help unlock the wild side that Henry once had in his youth before becoming a father. Mary is the mother who wants to take Paddington in, her heart is what makes her the reason the family will let him in, always wanting to do the right thing. Millicent works at the natural history museum, she wants Paddington so she can stuff him and add him to the collection at the museum, always thinking about herself and her family’s legacy.

PerformancesHugh Bonneville as the strict father shown that he isn’t willing to take a change, he goes against everything going with Paddington, only to show just how different a man can be once hit with parenthood. Sally Hawkins brings the light to the film as the caring mother. Nicole Kidman looks like she is enjoying the villainous figure in the film, which does show terrifying moments for the family film. Ben Whishaw does make the voice of Paddington a pleasure to watch through the film, handling the comedy very well.

StoryThe story brings the character of Paddington bear to modern day London, where he must learn to fit in while alluding an evil taxidermist. We did need to keep the story simple for the first part of the chapter here, bringing Paddington to a modern London is a fresh spin because the original story was a different time, different minds and now everybody is so busy in their lives they barely notice a bear at a train station. We do get to see how Paddington must adjust to life in London, getting himself into trouble both in and out the house, but shows that his good-natured side will keep the family together, while the villain does have a good motivation which does play into the history of the natural history museum and just how twisted the reality behind it actually is. We do also have a strong theme that shows us just how difficult deforestation will be on animal families around the world, with Paddington being a victim of this.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure takes Paddington around the world to a new family, new country and new culture, seeing how he learns plays into the comedy of the film which will get laughs of the pickles he finds himself involved in.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in London, it shows just how big the city is for people who have never been there before, the Natural History museum is used well to show moments of fear in the film too.

Special EffectsPaddington being placed into the world looks fantastic, he never looks out of place which shows just how well the effects team worked to make this look seamless.


Scene of the Movie –
Using the facilities.

That Moment That Annoyed Me That jungle music line, seems completely out of place in this movie.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun family film that does bring to life one of the most famous childhood characters, it is filled with heart and brings the modernisation vision to the story with ease.

 

Overall: Family Fun Film.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Mythica: A Quest for Heroes (2014)

Director: Anne K Black

Writer: Anne K Black, Jason Faller, Kynan Griffin (Screenplay)

Starring: Melanie Stone, Adam Johnson, Jake Stormoen, Nicola Posener, Christopher Robin Miller, Natalie Devine Riskas

 

Plot: The young magician Marek dreams of exciting adventures. When she meets the help-seeking priestess Teela she offers her assistance and provides a motley troupe. Together they go in search of Teela’s sister, who was kidnapped by a wild ogre.


Tagline – Heroes will rise. Legends will come to life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Made for TV Adventure

 

Story: Mythica: A Quest for Heroes when Teela (Posener) is set away with a hidden item from a wild ogre, meanwhile in a small village, disabled young woman Marek (Stone) has been learning about spells and is forced into using one after her owner gets abusive, forcing her on the run.

With Teela desperately in need to people to help fight back to save her sister, the only person that offers to help is Marek, seeing it as a chance to go on her first quest, Teela uses her own ability to see just how much potential Marek has, accepting her help, building her own team including Thane (Johnson) and Dagen (Stormoen), all to save Teela’s sister.

 

Thoughts on Mythica: A Quest for Heroes

 

Characters – Marek is a young slave woman, left to struggle through life because of her limp too. She dreams of going on her own adventures, which has seen her learning about magic, only a beginner, she has learnt about spells, she jumps at a chance every other bounty hunter refuses, which sees her build her own team, which will give her a chance to go on her first adventure. Thane is a warrior that isn’t afraid to get involved in a big fight against the odds, Dagen is a thief that gets forced into helping on the quest, his skills will be used to sneak with him being an archer when forced into combat. Teela is the sister of a priestess, she is sent for help to rescue her sister, which sees her using her powers to help her team.

PerformancesMelanie Stone is the leading lady that shows us how much she wants to go on the adventures, she doesn’t do anything wrong and makes us care about her characters adventures. Adam Johnson brings the brute performance needed, while Jake Stormeon shows us a cocky figure. Nicola Posener does well in her role too.

StoryThe story here follows a new group of fantasy based characters, a witch, brute, thief and a healer that go on a rescue mission to try and save a priestess from an evil ogre. This story does feel like one of the opening levels of an RPG video game, we get to meet the different characters, all drawn together for different motivations that will work together to save the day. It is strange because if this was a cinema movie, you would feel disappointed with the story, but for television, this is everything you need to introduce our characters and show what they are capable off, with a villain that can be defeated easily in a world which will offer bigger threats.

Action/FantasyThe action in this film is basic television style fight sequences, they are easy to watch, but you always know the heroes will win them. The fantasy world we get to enter shows us just how many different people with different skills are in this world.

SettingsThe settings fill us with small farming villages, mixed with woodland walking which shows us that we are meant to be in an ancient times.

Special EffectsThe effects are not the greatest, but they do work for the film, they bring us a disturbing looking creature as well as the use of magic in its own unique way.


Scene of the Movie –
The creature in the woods.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The clearing monster, it is the weakest of the CGI moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertain opening to a franchise, we get to meet the characters, learn their abilities and see them face their first enemy.

 

Overall: Simple and effective.

Rating