Will Smith Weekend – Collateral Beauty (2016)

Director: David Frankel

Writer: Allan Loeb (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Smith, Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Michael Pena, Helen Mirren, Naomie Harris, Keira Knightley, Jacob Latimore

 

Plot: Retreating from life after a tragedy, a man questions the universe by writing to Love, Time and Death. Receiving unexpected answers, he begins to see how these things interlock and how even loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.


Tagline – Connect to the beauty of life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Dramatic Study of Grief

 

Story: Collateral Beauty starts as Howard’ (Smith) business is flying, but tragedy hits his life, when his daughter dies. 2 years later, Whit (Norton), Claire (Winslet) and Simon (Pena) the partners in the business are facing difficult decision as Howard still can’t make decisions and won’t make decisions and his business is suffering.

To try to help Howard, the three partners hiring three actors Brigitte (Mirren), Amy (Knightley) and Raffi (Latimore) to visit Howard to answer the letters her has written to ‘Love’ ‘Death’ and ‘Time’ each while dealing with their own problems. Can this idea fix the problems in Howard’s life to help him move on and accept the truth.

 

Thoughts on Collateral Beauty

 

Characters – Howard is a successful businessman, he is on top of the world, until his daughter dies. Now he spends his time at work building domino structures avoiding human contact and writing letters to Love, Death and Time, hoping for answers to help him deal with his grief. Whit is one of the business partners with Will, though he gave up part of his share in the couple because of his own mistakes in love, as he must pay off his ex-wife. Claire is another member of the business that int fully behind the idea, though we rarely learn anything else about her. Simon is the final member of the three that hire the actors, he does have his own questions to ask about life. Brigitte, Amy and Raffi are the actors that take the job of playing Love, Death and Time, each shows the character that Howard must talk to, to understand the grief he is going through. Madeline runs a support group for parents that have lost children, much like herself, she does try to get through to Howard in a simpler way compared to the friends.

PerformancesThis is a film that is hard to criticise the performances from any of the actors, the questions come from the amount of screen time certain actors are given. Will Smith gives up his normal charismatic performance to make us believe us that a man that would be filled with confidence could feel after losing everything. Edward Norton, Kate Winslet and Michael Pena show the sacrifices people would have made in business. Helen Mirren does look like she is enjoying her role the most, while Keira Knightley and Jacob Latimore show they are great at rounding off this cast. Naomie Harris’ performance can’t be overlook either with the impact in the final scene.

StoryThe story here shows us how one man has struggled with the grief of losing his daughter with his business partners needing to find a way to push him out of the hole he has created. This does pose the question of just what is time, love and death mean when you lose a loved one, it may well have too many side arcs because each of the partners has a story that need to be addressed which don’t get enough time to make the impact needed, compared to the story that Howard is going through. The way grief is shown in this film is strong because people would create barriers in life which would only push people away in the time you most need someone around you.

RomanceWhile romance might be the wrong genre for most of the film, it does show us how love can be ruined when a tragedy strikes.

SettingsThe film is set in New York which is used very well because it shows us just how many different people you could run into along your day.


Scene of the Movie –
Christmas Eve.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Each of the partners has a problem in their life, which only gets skipped over.

Final ThoughtsThis is an overly dramatic story of grief which wants to take focus on the idea that people have closed off from life.

 

Overall: Grief shown strongly.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – Q – Quackerz (2016)

Director: Viktor Lakisov

Writer: Viktor Lakisov, John T Mickevich, Vadim Svenshnikov, Vera Sveshnikova-Vaskvich Bob Underwood, Vsevolod Zorin (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Michael Gross, Enn Reitel, Robbie Daymond, Mark DeCarlo, Jesse Corti, Jimmie Wood

 

Plot: The battle between ducks and humans for the place under the sun.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Animation

 

Story: Quackerz starts as we head to the home of the Mandarin ducks with Emperor Peng leading the small group in China, one-member Longway wants to leave like other ducks, tired of being only in one location where he can’t fly. When a new group of the Mallards led by Duckmus arrive, with his daughter Erica becoming friends with Longway.

When the year of the sun duck arrives Longway will learn about his own destiny when the human comes in search for the sun duck for the final preparations for her own desires.

 

Thoughts on Quackerz

 

Characters – Longway is the generic younger member of group, in this case ducks, he wants to escape the life he considers too boring for his own, wanting to see more even though he is destined to lead the group in the future. He will learn his place in the world with this adventure. Emperor Peng Lee has been guarding the ducks for his whole life, protecting Longway from learning the truth he believes in tradition. Duckmus is the leader of the mallards travel for the winter that end up in the wrong location, he is in full belief he is always right no matter what happens. Erica is his daughter that is far more outspoken than he is prepared for, she has seen the new life choice and wants to break free too. These characters are just what you would expect from the story without bringing us anything new to the genre.

StoryThe story here follows two different breeds of ducks that have found themselves together when a destined event is about to happen. We have seen this story many times and with this being targeted at a younger audience we don’t need to get the story going too in depth. The characters do come off generic without offering much new, but it does the basics right without needing to work too hard.

Adventure/Comedy The adventure side of the film comes from the desire that Longway is showing to see the new world, the comedy comes from just how looney toons style is passable.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the Chinese village with a history behind the ducks even if everything seems to be generic.

AnimationThe animation standard for this film is strong not showing any signs of weakness.


Scene of the Movie –
The destiny.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too generic.

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to watch animated movie that will give the target audience the entertainment needed.

 

Overall: One for the kids.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – O – The Oddsockeaters (2016)

Director: Galina Miklinova

Writer: Galina Miklinova (Screenplay) Pavel Srut (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Krystof Hadek, Jan Maxian, David Novotny, Ondrej Trojan, Marek Taclik

 

Plot: The Oddsockeaters are small creatures, who live alongside us humans and are responsible for socks that go missing when we only have one left from a pair – the odd sock. They eat socks, but only one from each pair.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Little Animation

 

Story: The Oddsockeaters starts as we learn about the creatures known as the Odd Sock Eaters, that live amongst humans in the shadows, they steal and eat just one sock from humans though. Young Hugo sees his grandfather fade away, which means he must travel across town, only to find himself in the house of an inventor who has been hunting them out.

In the house Hugo meets his Uncle the Big Boss a fear Sock Eater, with his own kids Tulamor and Ramses. Hugo must learn the methods to survivor the big world which only sees Big Bos’s past come back to haunt him in Spike Riser.

 

Thoughts on The Oddsockeaters

 

Characters – Hugo is a young innocent Odd Sock Eater that must travel across town to meet his family who will teach him the ruthless world of hunting and rival gangs, he will need to prove his worth to his Uncle to stay in his household. Big Boss is his Uncle that has set the strict rules about not stealing both socks. Spike Riser is the rival that used to be part of the gang, he broke the rules and now has his own gang known as the Blades. Bladette is the female sock eater who just becomes the damsel in distress. We have twin brothers in Tulamor and Ramses who are always out to impress their father.

StoryThe story follows the creatures known as Sockeaters that steal the human socks to eat, they are invisible to people, we follow an innocent young sockeater that gets caught in the battle between two gangs that want control of the city. Here we learn how biter rivals can cost family’s and how greed can consume any creature. The gangs creature do feel generic, but it is still a lot of fun to watch this story.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure side of this film takes Hugo a young sockeater across the city to learn about what the others in town do when they eat socks, this shows him entering the big world, which is like how the family side of the film comes along, by seeing how the creatures work as a family, make mistakes and get the odd bit of slapstick for the humour needed.

SettingsThe film is set in a city, not sure which one, but we get to see the different locations they hide out in being an apartment or under a bridge.

AnimationThe animation does have its own unique look which does make this film feel that extra little bit enjoyable.


Scene of the Movie –
The rescue.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story does feel very busy at times, which could put the young audience off.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun animation that could get a laugh from most of the audience, it has a nice meaning and pokes fun at a real issue, losing socks.

 

Overall: Fun and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – K – Batman: The Killing Joke (2016) Movie Review

Director: Sam Liu

Writer: Brian Azzarello (Screenplay) Alan Moore (Graphic Novel)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Tara Strong, Ray Wise, John DiMaggio, Robin Atkin Downes

Plot: As Batman hunts for the escaped Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime attacks the Gordon family to prove a diabolical point mirroring his own fall into madness.


Tagline – The madness begins.

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Never Gets Going

Story: Batman: The Killing Joke starts with Batman taking Batgirl under his wing while tracking down criminals, this leads Batgirl down a dark path because the man they are hunting Paris takes a shine to her, showing how she can become vulnerable, forcing Batman to take her out of the loop.

When Paris is captured, it gives The Joker a chance to escape and reign terror on the city once again, targeting the Gordon family, making the battle against the Batman just as personal as ever.

Thoughts on Batman: The Killing Joke

Characters – Batman is committed to protecting Gotham, no matter what, if people help him and he senses danger for them, he will tell them to leave, he wants to be the only one that risks anything for the city, only this time he will return to battle The Joker as his next plan comes to play, with his own closest allies becoming the target. The Joker has been waiting and planning for his next battle with the Batman, we do dive into his past as an aspiring stand up comic with a pregnant wife waiting for him, he is drawn to the life of crime to make a different in the world, now he will do anything to make sure he gets what he wants. Batgirl has been working with Batman, she is learning on the job, which sees her getting the thrill out of fighting crime, which is the worry for the Batman, she gets drawn into her first personal battle, which is why Batman tries to get her out of the fight, until she becomes the latest victim of it all. Commissioner Gordon is working with Batman and even after everything he goes through, he wants him bought in the correct way.

StoryThe story here follows Batman going face to face with the Joker once again after his latest escape from the Asylum and targets the Gordon family. This is a story that does do a couple of things well, first diving into the Joker’s back story is interesting to see, having Batman in the mentoring role is good too, only it does seem to much of do what I say, not what I do. When it comes to the weaknesses, it starts off with the fact the Joker’s masterplan doesn’t seem that interesting or even made that clear, it could seem too dark for the usual, with certain parts of what the Joker does, seeming more about shock value over anything else. The length of the film is also a big question because it is later into the film before we even meet the Joker.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is very basic, we could have seen a lot more from an animated movie, with the crime side of the film being more about trying to get to the bottom of what the Joker wants this time.

SettingsThe film is set in the locations you would expect to see the criminals active in, while we never seem to get to see Bruce Manor which is one of the more iconic locations for Batman.

AnimationThe animation looks top notch throughout, it gives the Batman films the look we are all familiar with too.


Scene of the Movie – Joker’s backstory.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Just not much going with the Joker’s plan.

Final Thoughts This is a basic Batman animated story which does everything it needs too, even if this one does try to push the boundaries at times.

Overall: Simple Batman film.

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – L – Lady Macbeth (2016) Movie Review

Director: William Oldroyd

Writer: Alice Birch (Screenplay) Nikolai Leskov (Based on Lady Macbeth Mtsensk)

Starring: Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, Paul Hilton, Naomi Ackie, Christopher Fairbank, Golda Rosheuvel

Plot: In 19th-century rural England, a young bride who has been sold into marriage discovers an unstoppable desire within herself as she enters into an affair with a worker on her estate.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Typical Period Piece

Story: Lady Macbeth starts as young Katherine (Pugh) has been sold to Alexander (Hilton) an older man that orders her around his house, waiting for the unpleasantry of being forced into sex every night, with her just doing nothing around the house all day.

With her husband away on business and her maid Anna (Ackie) watching over her, Katherine decides to see what is going on with the rest of the help, starting an affair with Sebastian (Jarvis) one of the groomsmen, one that puts a smile on her face for once, which soon has dire consequences.

Thoughts on Lady Macbeth

Characters – Katherine is the young woman sold to an older man to be his wife, she is left in an empty unfulfilled life which follows a routine which only leaves her alone most of the time. When she finds herself alone, she starts an affair which changes her attitude to stand up for herself, wanting equal within her home. Sebastian is the groomsman that starts an affair with Katherine, he doesn’t want to get caught knowing it would be his neck if he was, though he does love what he has with Katherine. Alexander is the husband that is strict and demanding towards Katherine, he goes away leaving her alone. Anna is the maid to Katherine that knows what she is doing, but wouldn’t say anything against her,

PerformancesFlorence Pugh is great in the leading role, you can see she is going onto bigger thing with this performance. Most of the rest of the performances are strong through the film, they let Florence lead the film though.

StoryThe story here follows a young lady that is sold into a loveless marriage only to start an affair which will see her going into a new direction with her life to help her find happiness. This is an interesting story that does follow the period drama one to start with before taking a dramatic turn which will make it stand out from others, only it just doesn’t seem to show enough to make us truly get invested in this character of Katherine and her action. This does at least try to be different, only it just isn’t that much that we can care about for the story side of things.

RomanceThe romance side of the film shows how one young lady will do anything for love, no matter what is happening in her life or what will happen if she does it.

SettingsThe film does use the settings well, showing us just how the house away from the rest of the village, adds the isolation that Katherine would be feeling.


Scene of the Movie – Caught red handed.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – There could have been a lot more from the story.

Final Thoughts This is a typical period piece that does have a minor twist on the normal, which doesn’t add that much by the end of the film.

Overall: Period Piece 101.