ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – J – Journey to Dinosaur Island (2014)

Director: Matt Drummond

Writer: Matt Drummond (Screenplay)

Starring: Darius Williams, Kate Rasmussen

 

Plot: A vacation becomes the adventure of a lifetime as a boy finds himself stranded in a world filled with ghost ships and prehistoric creatures. He embarks on a journey that will change his future forever.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Little Educational Dinosaur Movie

 

Story: The Journey to Dinosaur Island starts as son of a palaeontologist Lucas (Williams) is on a holiday of a lifetime when his plane has complication leaving him to awaken on a mysterious island with Kathryn (Thompson) the only human on the island that is inhabited by dinosaurs.

As Lucas learns about the island from Kathryn the two must figure out what is causing the strange time events which seems to bring people from different time eras, objects to the island that time seemed to have forgotten.

 

Thoughts on The Journey to Dinosaur Island

 

Characters – Lucas is the son of a palaeontologist that lives in the present day but finds himself living in the era he likes to study and must work with another trapped person to survive, I do question a lot about this character because on minute he is designed to be the clumsy idiot the next he is the smartest one of the two. Kathryn is from the 1950s, she has been on the island for years and studying it in this time, her character arc starts smart before slowly becoming the damsel in distress.

PerformanceIt would be hard to say anything bad about the young actors, they both seem to be enjoying the film and doing the best they can with what they are given.

StoryThe story is another attempt at The Lost World theory where dinosaurs could still be living somewhere in the world with a twist on the time being everlasting. This does work for a family because the kids can enjoy the story unfolding, it doesn’t become complicated and is happy to leave educational material in the film even if everything is by the books.

Adventure/Family/Sci-FiIf you are a fan of dinosaurs this is in fact a fun adventure movie that the whole family could enjoy the film. the sci-fi twist comes from a world that time never forgot where science fiction is steeped in trying to focus on the fact.

SettingsThe island looks beautiful even if it is mostly CGI and this makes for a wonderful setting for the adventure to take place on.

Special EffectsThe special effects are clearly all low budget but are constant through the film and do seem to fit the ideas behind the film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is targeted only for kids.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good kids film, it is simple storytelling and dinosaur fans are going to enjoy themselves.

 

Overall: Dinosaur adventure, need I say more?

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – E – Earth to Echo (2014)

Director: Dave Green

Writer: Henry Gayden (Screenplay) Henry Gayden, Andrew Panay (Story)

Starring: Teo Halm, Astro, Reese Hartwig, Ella Wahlestedt, Jason Gray-Stanford, Algee Smith

 

Plot: After receiving a bizarre series of encrypted messages, a group of kids embark on an adventure with an alien who needs their help.


Tagline – No one will ever believe our story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Coming of Age Movie

 

Story: Earth to Echo starts as the three friends Tuck (Astro), Alex (Halm) and Munch (Hartwig) are spending their final week together before they are being forced to move for construction of a freeway. They go on one final adventure which takes them into the desert at night following a map which leads them to meet an alien.

The alien is lost and the three must work together to help the lost alien build a ship, so he can return home, this is one adventure the kids will never forget.

 

Thoughts on Earth to Echo

 

Characters – Tuck is the YouTube sensation that makes videos with his best friends, he is the reason why they have the camera in the first place and is looking for the final adventure before their move. Alex is one of the group, he is the one that will always go along for the ride without any pressure put on him. Munch is the one of the group that is always the nervous one that needs talking into going on any adventure. Emma is the one from outside the group that joins the adventure half way through bringing new ideas to stay ahead of the people chasing them. Dr Madsen portrays himself as a construction worker trying to keep a secret away from the world.

PerformancesThe child actors do all give a good performance, the three boys do act like they would be real friends and Ella does help make them feel lightly awkward. Jason Gray-Stanford is harder to watch after seeing him in Monk for years.

StoryThe story here follows four friends as they spend their last night together before being forced to move in different directions following a map which sends them on an adventure to help a standard alien return home. This has the same feeling you would say ET had, the unity between friends, an adventure they could never imagine and facing the reality things in life will be changing for these kids which is out of their control. This is a good coming of age story with the elements of sci-fi throughout.

Adventure/Family/Sci-FiThe adventure the friends go on, is a once in the lifetime one and has even more meaning because it was their last night together. This is one the family could enjoy with the sci-fi element of the film shows how the idea of aliens could leave us anywhere.

SettingsThe film is set over one night in one neighbourhood that can be travelled by bike, this keeps us understand the distant the characters will be going.

Special EffectsThe effects here are very good, which should be praised, but the problem is that this is shot like a found footage, meaning the effects should be looking this good.


Scene of the Movie –
Truck sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The camera work is annoying for this style of film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good entertaining coming of age movie that feels like it wants to be ET only to never reaches that level.

 

Overall: Coming of Age 101

Rating

 

 

99 Homes (2014)

Director: Ramin Bahrani

Writer: Ramin Bahrani, Amir Naderi (Screenplay) Ramin Bahrani, Bahareh Azimi (Story)

Starring: Michael Shannon, Andrew Garfield, Laura Dern

 

Plot: A recently unemployed single father struggles to get back his foreclosed home by working for the real estate broker who is the source of his frustration.


Tagline – Greed is the only game in town.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Powerful & Intense.

 

Story: 99 Homes starts with hard working young man Dennis Nash (Garfield) trying to keep his family home from being reclaimed by the bank, but he is unsuccessful as real estate broker Rick Carver (Shannon) evicts him from his home with his mother Lynn (Dern) and son Connor.

Desperate for money Dennis turns to Rick who offers him a job involving his construction skills, with this job Dennis starts to learn the trade rising the ranks to become the very person he despised in Rick when he was losing his home.

 

Thoughts on 99 Homes

 

Characters – Dennis Nash is the hard-working construction worker, he works to keep the roof over his family home but when he loses his home he goes to all ends to get a job to regain his home. This means Dennis works for the man who evicts him where he learns the trade to make sure he can his home back become the man he once hated. Rick Carver is a real estate broker, he has been evicting for the bank for years now, he doesn’t believe he is doing anything wrong, but he is following the law. He has made a lot of money in this world and takes Dennis under his wing to follow in his footsteps.

PerformancesAndrew Garfield is fantastic in this leading role, this guy is constantly giving us performances that we are left seeing just how talented this guy it. Michael Shannon is the always brilliant star of most movies, he is calm through every single scene which could have himself getting pushed to the limits. Laura Dern is good too in the supporting role as Dennis mother that questions his work.

StoryThe story here shows one man’s struggle to keep his family home but needing to turn to the enemy to make the money. We see how far he must go just to make a difference, but can he cope with becoming the man he hates. The story gives us hard to watch scenes as we see people losing their homes showing us a darker side to real estate in America. This is one story that is a good watch, he can be hard at times, but the story is rewarding.

SettingsThe settings show us the housing market and how people can be a community when supporting someone’s miss fortune.


Scene of the Movie –
Seeing Dennis question his decision.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We get a lot of law discussion, but a lot can go over your head.

Final ThoughtsThis is a powerful drama that shows how difficult life could be for the people who lose their homes to the people looking just to make the money by taking them.

 

Overall: Strong, powerful drama.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – T – Two Days One Night (2014)

Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

Writer: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne (Screenplay)

Starring: Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione, Catherine Salee, Baptiste Sornin, Pili Groyne

 

Plot: Liège, Belgium. Sandra is a factory worker who discovers that her workmates have opted for a EUR1,000 bonus in exchange for her dismissal. She has only a weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses in order to keep her job.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Performance Piece

 

Story: Two Days One Night starts As Sandra (Cotillard) a wife and mother gets informed by one of her close workmates Juliette (Salee) that her work colleagues were forced to vote on either their 1000 Euro bonus or keeping Sandra employed and all bar two picked the bonus.  

Sandra has just the weekend to try and convince other members of the staff to switch their votes in a hope to keep her much needed job to keep the house her and her husband Manu (Rongione) have worked so hard for.

 

Thoughts on Two Days One Night

 

Characters – Sandra is a wife and mother that works in a factory, her life is changed when she learns her boss has given the staff a choice, have their bonus or keep her employed, suffering from stress and depression from this she is forced to into convincing the rest of the staff to vote for her, making her feel like a beggar something she never thought she would be put through. Manu is Sandra’s husband, he supports her through this difficult time, knowing she has fought hard to be in the job even with the added stress this will add to their relationship. We do get to meet the rest of the staff who have their own struggles when it comes to needing the bonus or not too.

PerformancesMarion Cotillard is fantastic in this leading role, carrying the movie with her performance in every single scene. Fabrizio Rongione is wonderful too because his performance helps guide Sandra in the direction she needs while looking strong through the difficult time. The whole cast are brilliant here, giving a real feeling about everything that goes on through the film.

StoryThe story follows one woman who is about to lose her job thanks to a vote, she has one weekend to try and convince the rest of the staff to support her in the vote as she battles her own stress and depression about this decision going on. This is a very interesting story, it could play out in any language, any country and in any career field which is why it makes it such a captivating story to watch unfold, because it asks you the question ‘how would you vote?’. This is yet again a wonderful but hard to watch drama that shows the importance of thinking about more than just yourself.

SettingsThe film shows us the suburbs of Belgium where people work and struggle to make ends meet in an everyday situation.


Scene of the Movie –
The Vote

That Moment That Annoyed Me The idea feels illegal.

Final ThoughtsThis is a powerful drama that does test the audience to look at themselves, the performances are fantastic throughout and this is a must watch for anyone who sees themselves as cinema fans.

 

Overall: Must watch for all.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – N – Necrophobia (2014)

Director: Daniel de la Vega

Writer: Daniel de la Vega, German Val, Nicanor Loreti (Screenplay)

Starring: Luis Machin, Raul Taibo, Viviana Saccone, Gerado Romano, Julieta Cardinali, Hugo Astar

 

Plot: Dante is a tailor who after losing his twin brother to death became phobic which prevents him from being in contact with death. Whenever he is in front of a dead body, he experiences a creepy feeling that makes him lose his mind.


Tagline – El horror tiene una nueva dimensión. [Horror has a new dimension]

Runtime: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slightly Too Confusing

 

Story: Necrophobia starts with tailor Dante (Machin) burying his brother at his funeral only to learn that his wife Beatriz (Cardinali) is having an affair from an anonymous phone call. Investigating the allegation Dante finds himself being followed in a cat-n-mouse style game which brings in police officer Soledad Roca (Saccone).

When Dante’s fear of being around dead bodies starts striking up when more turn on around him, he starts to go crazy believing he demise is coming soon after his wife is murdered.

 

Thoughts on Necrophobia

 

Characters – Dante has just buried his twin brother, but now he is left questioning himself as he starts to slip into the realm of crazy as he believes his brother has returned to kill his wife after spending too long around dead bodies which gives him the ultimate fear in his life. Nicolas is the good friend of Dante, the one that can see that not everything is normal with him, the one person that is there for him when he needs a friend. Soledad Roca is the police officer investigating the murder of Beatriz, she enters the life trying to figure out who the murderer is.

PerformancesThe film here is carried by Luis Machin performance he clearly feels unstable through the film which only makes his character more fascinating to watch. The rest of the cast are good, but don’t get their moments to shine like Luis.

StoryThe story here follows one man drive into madness after the death of his brother, this does seem difficult to follow because it comes off very short and everything does feel like a crazy trip. It is a story you would like to analyse further in the future because I feel there is a lot to process, small details you might miss, but for a one time take you might feel lost at times.

Horror/MysteryCertain moments of this film will make you look away when it comes to the horror and the whole feel is filled with unease which also comes into the mystery behind the film as to just what is happening.

SettingsThe film uses a mix of settings, each one does feel like an everyday location for Dante, which shows where things will be going wrong for him too.

Special EffectsThe effects being used in the film are good throughout when it comes to the horror moments.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act is completely crazy.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does feel like small details can be missed.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting film, it does keep you guessing and does go in a crazy filled direction which only helps and hinders the film because you will miss things.

 

Overall: One for the brain to study.

Rating