ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – L – Loving (2016)

Director: Jeff Nichols

Writer: Jeff Nichols (Screenplay)

Starring: Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Will Dalton, Terri Abney, Alano Miller

 

Plot: The story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a couple whose arrest for interracial marriage in 1960s Virginia began a legal battle that would end with the Supreme Court’s historic 1967 decision.


Tagline – All love is created equal.

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important Drama

 

Story: Loving starts as we meet our interracial couple Mildred (Negga) and Richard (Edgerton) living in Virginia in the 1960s, the two start a family and get married, breaking the laws of the state. The couple are forced to leave the state or face prison time which turns out to be harder than they thought.

The couple look to fight against the ruling which is a battle which will go right up to the supreme court for one of the most important historic decisions.

 

Thoughts on Loving

 

Characters – Mildred is a black woman living in Virginia, she has a close family and is in love with Richard, she wants to be with him no matter what the law says and will lead the fight for them to be together in there home state. Richard is a white man, a builder for trade who is happily in love, he wants to be able to fight for their love even if the law prevents him. The other characters in this true story include the family members, the people against them and the lawyers that support them.

PerformancesRuth Negga was nominated for an Oscar for her performance, you can see why because she is fantastic, Joel Edgerton also shines in his role which does focus on him bottling in the troubles he is going through. The supporting cast doesn’t get as much time to shine, but they all do good when they are on screen, letting to two stars shine.

StoryThe story follows one of the biggest and most important cases in American law, the married couple that are threatened with jail for getting married if they stay in the Virginia. The story follows a decade of their life from the moment they got married to the moment they have their trial. It would be fair to say we could have seen some more of the cases taking place, but for what their story did for the law, the story is important.

Biopic/Romance This is the real story between Mildred and Richard, an interracial couple that were guilty of marrying when it was considered illegal. The romance shows us just how love can bring people together.

SettingsThe film shows us just where Virginia was during the 60s, though the settings not being overly important to the visual but more about the laws.


Scene of the Movie –
The photo shoot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t see enough of the court case.

Final ThoughtsThis is an important story that shows us how the law in America needed to be changed, it showed us how naïve they were once and how this story helped show us one story that helped change it.

 

Overall: Important drama that shows how backwards America once was.

Rating

 

 

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Gemma Arterton Weekend – 100 Streets (2016)

Director: Jim O’Hanlon

Writer: Leon Butler (Screenplay)

Starring: Idris Elba, Gemma Arterton, Tom Cullen, Kierston Wareing, Ryan Gage, Charlie Creed-Miles, Ken Stott

 

Plot: Three people, three extraordinary stories. All lived out within a hundred London streets.


Tagline – Anybody can take a wrong turn.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Engaging Drama

 

Story: 100 Streets starts as we meet our characters, troublemaking drug dealing thief Kingsley (Dramah), former rugby player Max (Elba) who is going through a marriage problem after his own affair with his wife Emily (Arterton) who in an act of revenge is dating photographer Jake (Cullen). The final couple we meet are cabbie George (Creed-Miles) and Kathy (Wareing) who are trying to adopt a child, though his past is causing problems in this pursuit.

As the lives cross-paths the people must learn about the mistakes they make to prevent themselves from making any more mistakes.

 

Thoughts on 100 Streets

 

Characters – Max is a former England rugby captain, since retiring he started cheating on his wife and getting caught up with the drugs, seeing his future career going up in smoke, he needs to clean up his own actions in any hope of winning his wife back. Emily is the wife of Max who has been going through the struggles of her husbands action, thinking about getting back into acting and trying to move on with her life. Kingsley is the streetwise drug dealing thief that has been caught up against the law, even though he believes he could go onto something bigger, he receives the guidance required to escape this life. We have a cabbie that makes a terrible mistake and must learn to live with the consequences and a photographer that wants to be part of Emily’s life.

PerformancesIdris Elba, Gemma Arterton are both great in their roles in the film, we know and expect it from them.  Elsewhere we get the less known actors in Franz Drameh and Charlie Creed-Miles that shine in this film.

StoryThe story follows the lives of three people, the problems they are facing and the changes that will define them. We get three different worlds, one is the celebrity world and marriage, where the vices can control someone, the middle-class who just want normal lives which can fall apart from past action and the lower-class that must fight for a chance or face the same circles of crime. The way the three lives cross without interaction shows how people can be going through their own struggles meters away from you. Each life will be changed by the events in the film, which is important to see and we can see how theses moments can do the moments that create a future.

SettingsThe film is set in London with the idea that we are within 100 streets of each other, in a position where lives can cross paves.


Scene of the Movie –
Leaving the gang.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not sure what will happen with Jake next.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderfully engaging drama that shows the lives people are living without you knowing within metres of your own life. Strong performances throughout do help the film stand out too.

 

Overall: Drama well worth watching.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – A – Allied (2016)

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Writer: Steven Knight (Screenplay)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris

 

Plot: In 1942, a Canadian intelligence officer in North Africa encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested by the pressures of war.


Tagline – Deception is an art. Truth is a test. Is love a lie?

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks the Suspense

 

Story: Allied starts as Canadian Intelligence Officer Max Vatan (Pitt) lands in Morocco to work with French Resistance Fighter Marianna Beausejour (Cotillard) as they pretend to be married as they complete their mission. The two fall in love for real and return to London to get married against the his superior Frank Heslop (Harris) opinion.

After a year of marriage Heslop comes to Max believing Marianna is indeed a spy, this leaves Max questioning, which side of the story to believe and what is the truth.

 

Thoughts on Allied

 

Characters – Max Vatan is Canadian intelligence working in Africa, highly skilled he can blend into his environment, but he does fall in love with his undercover wife. When he gets informed she could well be a spy, his life is turned upside down with doubts about what is the truth. Marianna is the French resistance fighter working with the Canadian Max as his fake wife, but she also falls in love with Max and returns to start a family with him. We don’t learn too much apart from that she is a loving wife and mother though.

PerformancesBrad Pitt is good for the opening mission, you believe his every decision, but when he becomes the family man, he just doesn’t reach the levels you know he can. Marion Cotillard is good without being her breath-taking best in this role.

StoryThe story here follows love and spies during World War II, we see how two people from different sides of the war fall in love and they must decide which side of the war they are supporting. This film doesn’t become as intense as it could be because seeing it from both sides could have heighted the experience and by the end it just doesn’t feel like it reaches the levels it should.

Action/Romance/WarThe action during the film is tame with very little being used or looking overly real. The romance doesn’t feel whirlwind like you think it should be either, but the war side comes off strong as we see how the tension between the sides cause most of the issues in the lives.

SettingsThe settings look authentic for the time, which does work well for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just fizzles out in the second half of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a war romance film that just never reaches the levels it should do, it just seems to go on and becomes one of the average films that you forget by the end.

 

Overall: Average and disappointing.

Rating

 

 

#Screamers (2016)

Director: Dean Matthew Ronalds

Writer: Dean Matthew Ronalds, Tom Malloy (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Malloy, Chris Bannow, Griffin Matthews, Emaunela Galliussi, Abbi Snee

 

Plot: When an internet company decides to investigate a series of ‘Screamer’ videos, they are confronted with havoc and hell they could never expect.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Reason People Don’t Like Found Footage

 

Story: #Screamers starts as we see the film crew meet the team at ‘Giga!lar’ a specialist company working on improve search engines to show the user what they want just by looking at their history. The main team involves Tom (Malloy) and Chris (Bannow) who created the company, while Griffin (Matthews) who films everyday actions, with software engineer Abbi (Snee).

When the company discovers a brand-new video, they get the most hits they have ever received, they continue to use the same resource for videos, until they learn the girl in the videos are involving a missing girl, are they real or not, they must investigate the truth before going forward anymore.

 

Thoughts on #Screamers

 

Characters – Tom and Chris created the website which they believe will take them to financial benefits, they have ambition to get to the next level, they both worked in Silicon Valley and while they can have differences at times they work well as a team. Griffin records most of the activities in the office while being part of the research team, he is one of the few that believes certain decisions being made are questionable. Abbi builds the software and would rather be off camera though she does end up going along with the investigation without worrying about being on camera.

PerformancesWhile it is hard to truly judge the performances because of the lack of activity in this film, the conversations between the characters feel smooth and the stuttering makes sense for businessmen trying to make a name for themselves, saying this we just don’t get anything for them to do.

StoryThe story follows an upstart website that has just found a video which has gotten them strikingly high figures, they soon learn the girl in the video is really missing and decide to investigate. This is a found footage story which is fine before we start, the problem occurs with the fact we spend over an hour just watching these guys talk and watching videos that offer no scares or even try to, when it comes to the end of the film it is another one of these flash, bang blink and you miss what just happened, that gives us no true conclusion to the story. This is why found footage films get the slack they receive, literally nothing happens in this film and you will be completely let down by the end.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film comes from the final act of the film, it is the frustrating moments of horror, which involves just throwing something at the screen, the mystery however should be a lot more interesting, there is an interesting idea behind what is going on and makes us want to learn more, the problem is the failing of this.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the office before we go and see the locations from the videos which is interesting, though not effective enough.

Special EffectsThe effects are simple when shown, we don’t need them that often, but you can see they are from low budget YouTube like videos.


Scene of the Movie –
The first look at the investigation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The end.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that has a lot of potential, the problem is, it fails to capture that potential leaving us feeling flat by the end.

 

Overall: Bad horror and not the enjoyable bad.

Rating

 

 

Mum’s List (2016)

Director: Niall Johnson

Writer: St John Greene (Screenplay)

Starring: Rafe Spall, Emilia Fox, Elaine Cassidy, William Stagg, Matthew Stagg, Richard Cordery

 

Plot: A dying mother’s life lessons to the husband and sons she left behind. Based on the best-selling novel by St John (Singe) Greene, the film is the story of Singe and Kate, a couple from North Somerset, whose lives were turned upside down when Kate was diagnosed with an incurable breast cancer. Over her last few days, she created her list: writing her thoughts and memories down, to help the man she loved create the best life possible for their two sons, after she was gone.


Tagline – One of the most memorable, uplifting and beautiful stories of recent years, Mum’s List is a romance for all ages.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Emotional Shattering

 

Story: Mum’s List starts with Singe (Spall) trying to continue his life with his boys Reef (William Stagg) and Finn (Matthew Stagg) after the death of his wife, their mother. We flashback to when Kate (Fox) first discovered a lump and how her treatment started with less to worry about with a high percentage of survival.

We follow Singe as he remembers when he first fell in love with Kate, how the treatment didn’t go as planned and how she left Singe a list to follow on life lessons for the boys, Singe and loved ones.

 

Thoughts on Mum’s List

 

Characters – Singe is the man re-living the moments, he has lost his wife, but must stay strong for their children, seeing how he experiences the grief is the difficult part, he has moments with friends where he can let it all out, both through the treatment and after the death. he remembers meeting her and how they fell in love to focus on how to be the father the children need. Kate is the wife and mother that is stricken with cancer, she does remain positive through the first bout knowing she can beat it like her son did, but when it turns worse she must battle an unwinnable fight, deciding to leave Singe a list of what she wants from her husband when raising their boys. Rachel is the close friend to the couple, Kate’s best friend and the one that will be there for Singe to help with any parenting issues he might have.

PerformancesRafe Spall in the leading role is wonderful, he must go through a range of emotions where he shows his ability to handle each and every one of those. Emilia Fox shows us the different levels of her treatment as we do believe the suffering she is going through while remaining strong. The rest of the cast prove to be the supporting characters the family need through the film.

StoryThe story here is based on the true story as told by the Singe character from his book, this does make certain moments feel like captures of real family moments through the struggles, adding a personal touch to the story telling process. We do jump around the timeline a lot which can get difficult to keep up with as even if the transitions feel smooth. The idea is a reality that people do face everyday (with one item on the list being one that I have seen someone go through) as the rawness of this comes through strong.

SettingsThe film keeps everything in everyday settings, the locations these characters would have been too and had a memory from being the important ones for the characters.


Scene of the Movie –
The list speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The time jumps are too often.

Final ThoughtsThis is an emotionally powerful film that does tell the heart breaking story of losing someone to cancer, when husband must remain strong in the eyes of his children and how she helps from beyond the gave with a list of instructions.

 

Overall: Emotionally moving movie.

Rating