ABC Film Challenge – Romance – D – The Darkest Universe (2016) Movie Review

Director: Tom Kingsley, Will Sharpe

Writer: Tom Kingsley, Will Sharpe (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Sharpe, Tiani Ghosh, Joe Thomas, Sophie Di Martino, Raph Shirley, Chris Langham, Sharon D Clarke

Plot: THE DARKEST UNIVERSE is BAFTA-nominated directors Will Sharpe and Tom Kingsley’s surreal and hilarious follow-up to the critically acclaimed BLACK POND. Described by Sharpe and Kingsley as ‘a romantic comedy set in space, or – to be more specific – planet Earth’, the film follows world-weary banker Zac on his search for his eccentric sister, Alice, who goes missing while on a narrowboat trip with her new boyfriend. Poignant, funny and thought-provoking in equal measure, The Darkest Universe is an otherworldly and truly original gem of a movie from two of the UK’s freshest young directors.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Charming

Story: The Darkest Universe starts when Zac (Sharpe) starts the search for his autistic sister Alice (Ghosh) who has vanished on her boat with her boyfriend Toby (Thomas), we see how he gets the authorities involved, while placing posters along the canal, where she could have travelled along.

As the search continues, we learn more about the relationship Alice started and more about how Zac is putting his own life on hold in search for her, getting nowhere starting to push his friends and partner Eva (Di Martino) away.

Thoughts on The Darkest Universe

Characters – Zac is the brother who is desperately trying to find his sister, he has always loved her and cared for her and now she has gone missing he feels guilty for not being there for her, he creates a campaign to find her, he pushed people in his life away with his search. Alice is the autistic sister that has managed to cope with her own life with minimal care needed, only she does have her brother around if she needs him, she starts a relationship with Toby, the first person that understands her, she has gone missing, which puts concern in her brother’s life. Toby is the boyfriend of Alice, he understands her and helps her enjoy life more, he has gone missing with her though. Eva is the partner of Zac who is getting tired with having the pressure of Alice in Zac’s life.

PerformancesWill Sharpe in the leading role is strong, we get to understand his concern and his own problems he is going through as a character. Tiani Ghosh does well giving us a true to life character you would imagine seeing, with the rest of the cast doing a good job through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a brother in desperate search for his lost sister, which sees him questioning his own life and seeing what may have caused her to disappear in the first place. This is a story that focuses on siblings relationship, while showing how close family can be when dealing with mental problems, with this one using autism, we see what is means to both having one around, with how big losing one would be to damaging somebody. The timeline is slightly confusing at times because we do bounce between the blossoming relationship Alice is having, to Zac’s search for her, this could be smoother for a better understand to why everything happened.

Comedy/Mystery/RomanceThe comedy in this film comes from seeing how Zac goes about trying to find his sister, it is does in a quirky way that balances serious with desperation, with the big mystery about what happens to Alice being the biggest part of the movie.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the important locations for both Zac and Alice’s life, it shows that you can have memories in any locations in life.

Scene of the Movie – What really happened.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The timeline is messy.

Final Thoughts This is a charming movie that shows siblings relationship will always have ups and downs, with the love between the two coming through strong.

Overall: Charming and Delightful.

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – R – Realive (2016) Movie Review

Director: Mateo Gil

Writer: Mateo Gil (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Hughes, Charlotte Le Bon, Oona Chaplin, Barry Ward, Julio Perillan, Rafael Cebrian

Plot: Marc will die of cancer and chooses cryogenic freeze and hopes to be thawed, when there’s a solution to his condition. He’s the first human brought back 68 years later. Can he adapt mentally and physically?

Tagline – Immortality is only a matter of time.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Compelling

Story: Realive starts as we meet Marc Jarvis (Hughes) a business man who has built his company up who gets the devastating news that he has cancer, with about 1-year to live, he questions what to do next, with his lover Naomi (Chaplin) before deciding to be cryogenic frozen until they can cure his illness.

In the future, Marc gets bought back to life by Dr West (Ward) with Elizabeth (Le Bon) being his nurse and carer through the rehabilitation stage of the process, a long process for Marc, one where he starts to question whether he made the right decision, not having the life he thought he would in the future, craving the past and Naomi.

Thoughts on Realive

Characters – Marc Jarvis is an everyday businessman that sees his life turned upside down with cancer diagnosis, he has one year to live, which he must decide what he wants to do with his friends and family, a decision which is always going to be difficult, only to come up with the decision to freeze himself until a cure comes his way. In the future, he will be the first resurrected human, needing to learn the basics of life, battling the memories he left behind, as he is left to question whether he made the right decision. Elizabeth is the nurse that is assigned to be the carer for Marc, teach him about the future to prepare him for the world, she comes from a different time and surprised Marc with certain cultural differences the two generations have. Naomi is the lover of Marc’s from the past, they have had an on again off again relationship which has seen them be their own worst enemies and she was willing to give up a year of her life to spend with Marc. Dr West is the man running the procedure, only he is very secretive about how he does this, he is always waiting for the next stage of success to come from Marc.

PerformancesTom Hughes does play the two roles, through different time periods, with each offering different challenges that manages to control well through the film. Charlotte Le Bon and Oona Chaplin are the main female characters in the life, with both do strong jobs as does Barry Ward as the doctor leading the procedure.

StoryThe story here follows a man that decides to be frozen to give him more life in the future, where he could see the illness cured, we follow him as he looks to say goodbye to his friends and family, along with how he processes the new environment once resurrected. This is a story that does offer up the ultimate question, would you give up time now, to have more time in the future. This question is clearly asked through the film and instead of focusing on the physical recovery, it is focused on the mental burden of going through with it, not being able to add to the memories that defined you. It makes it clear that the resurrection phase isn’t going to be easy or pretty and might not be what you expected either. This is a truly compelling story that is a thinking sci-fi story over anything flashy.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi side of this film focuses on the idea that you could get bought back to life after being frozen, the world will be different and the procedure could be longer than you imagined.

SettingsThe film uses the two eras to create settings, one feels like locations we would see in everyday life now, while the other is kept within a lab to see how the procedure is achieved.

Scene of the Movie – The letter.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Some of the romance is too heavy.

Final Thoughts This is a thought-provoking movie that will leave you asking plenty of real-life questions by the end.

Overall: Thought-Provoking.

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – P -Planet of the Sharks (2016) Movie Review

Director: Mark Atkins

Writer: Marc Gottlieb, Mark Atkins (Screenplay)

Starring: Brandon Auret, Stephanie Beran, Lindsay Sullivan, Lauren Joseph, Daniel Barnett, Christia Visser

Plot: In the near future, glacial melting has covered ninety-eight percent of Earth’s landmass. Sharks have flourished, and now dominate the planet, operating as one massive school led by a mutated alpha shark.

Tagline – When The World Floods With Water, One Species Rises To The Top!

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Not Good

Story: Planet of the Sharks starts as we enter the world where most of the Earth is now covered in water, with a small floating town attacked by sharks, leaving just one survivor Beatrice (Joseph) rescued by Dillon Barrick (Auret) who is one of the member of the local towns that watch over the groups of civilizations.

When the communities learn they will become the latest targets, they look to end the new threat coming their way and stop the new shark army, being led by an alpha that has been controlling the rest of the sharks, turning them into a killing machine.

Thoughts on Planet of the Sharks

Final Thoughts In a world where we do get endless amounts of shark movies, we can get the over the top fun ones, like Sharknado,, we get the so bad they are enjoyable like Sharknado, then we get ones that are trying to be over the top and fail to land any of the tone and just feel like they are going through the motions of making a weak shark movie, this is a perfect example of one that misses way more than it hits and ends up being a drag, with acting that doesn’t hit, the story is dull and the idea just doesn’t click in the way it wants to.

Overall: Sloppy.

Found Footage 3D (2016)

Director: Steven DeGennaro

Writer: Steven DeGennaro (Screenplay)

Starring: Carter Roy, Alena von Stroheim, Chris O’Brien, Tom Saporito, Scott Allen Perry, Jessica Perrin


Plot: A group of filmmakers set out to make the first 3D found footage horror movie, but find themselves in a found footage horror movie when the evil entity from their film escapes into their behind-the-scenes footage.

Tagline – A new dimension in terror

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Smart Idea for Found Footage


Story: Found Footage 3D starts as we follow the film crew, Derek (Roy), Amy (Stroheim), Mark (O’Brien), Andrew (Saporito), Carl (Perry) and Lily (Perrin) as they look to create a brand new found footage movie, in 3D. packed up and heading to the remote cabin to shot the disappearance of Derek and Amy characters, we see how the behind the scene footage is being shot.

As the film unfolds we start to see unusual events happening, until they realize they have become part of their own horror movie with an unknown entity haunting them in the cabin.


Thoughts on Found Footage 3D


Characters – Derek is the one who has had the idea for the film, he is taking the leading role, while having a director on hand, he is controlling over everything that is being made, with his ex-wife in the lead role, brother shooting the behind the scenes and friends helping out, he does however show the shines of the stress of the film as the tension on set rises. Amy is the ex-wife of Derek, she is jumping at the chance to be in a new feature film and we see just how difficult her life has become after the divorce. Andrew is the guy hired to help direct, he knows the two big rules that need to be explained in found footage, he does try to hold together the crew through the tension. Mark is the brother given the chance to shoot the behind the camera footage for the eventual release of the film, he is in an awkward position because of his friendship with Amy and blood ties with Derek. We have the sound guy and an intern which complete the crew.

PerformancesThe main six cast members are good through the film, we get the sense that they are this small crew working together to make this film happen without anyone become too much of the star of the film.

StoryThe story here follows a film crew that are trying to make their own found footage film one that will be different from any other only to see themselves become the star of the film when they get haunted by an unknown entity. This is a unique idea for found footage, we know how the genre has been blasted for being lazy in the past and having a small crew with their own idea, shows how accessible the basics of a found footage film can be. We get explained the basic rules, first needing a reason to be filming and second to have a reason to still be film by the end of the film. if you do watch this as a found footage only film the story does follow everything we have seen before because there is very little new you can bring to this genre.

Horror Found footage the genre with the biggest divide in the horror community, as a fan of the genre being done correctly I liked the twist to the story, the weakness comes from the shaky cam we do know is coming.

SettingsThe film takes us to a remote cabin in the woods, this is horror 101, this is drivable away from, but with weak phone signal, the setting helps with the haunting and shows how the people making the movie know where they need to be.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are simple they do work and make us believe what we are seeing for what the crews low budget horror is trying to do.

Scene of the Movie –
The idea.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The shaky cam isn’t needed.

Final ThoughtsThis is a smart idea for a found footage film, it could easily be the ‘scream’ of found footage giving us the rules that must be followed, it does fall into the fast ending which could be considered weak, but for a found footage film it does make sure we know why it is important.


Overall: Found footage version of Scream.




ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – L – Lost in Paris (2016)

Director: Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon

Writer: Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon (Screenplay)

Starring: Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, Emmanuelle Riva, Pierre Richard


Plot: Fiona visits Paris for the first time to assist her myopic Aunt Martha. Catastrophes ensue, mainly involving Dom, a homeless man who has yet to have an emotion or thought he was afraid of expressing.


Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Very Quirky Comedy


Story: Lost in Paris starts when Fiona (Gordon) is asked to go to Paris to look after her elderly Aunt Martha (Riva), having never been to Paris, Fiona goes for it only for this trip to become difficult as she can’t locate her Aunt. A homeless man Dom (Abel) starts following her and soon the unlikely pair are searching around Paris for her Aunt.


Thoughts on Lost in Paris


Characters – Fiona is the woman that doesn’t seem to have ever left her Snowy town in Canada, she gets that chance when her Aunt asks for to come to Paris, she does make the trip and soon finds herself searching Paris for her, losing her belongings along the way. She must accept help from a homeless man as she continues to find herself in the comical positions. Dom is the homeless man that geos about his days searching for food, old cigarette butts and just surviving, until he meets Fiona who he will help around Paris believing she could be the one for him. Martha is the Aunt who moved to Paris believing it to be the best place int eh world, it turns out in her eyes to be that place and she never wants to leave which brings Fiona there to keep her away from a nursing home. Norman is the new friend Martha has made one that has given her enjoyment in her later years.

PerformancesFiona Gordon in the leading role gives us a comical performance which is unlike the ones we are used to seeing in the genre, this will be a word I use a lot through this view, quirky. Dominique Abel gives an equal quirky performance which works well with Fiona. Emmanuelle Riva gets to play a character unlike anything we have seen from her before which only adds to the comedy in the film.

StoryThe story follows one lady going to Paris to help care for her Aunt only to get there and discover she is missing and must befriend a homeless man to find her. The story plays on the idea that you are never too old to do something new for the first time, help can be found in strange locations and the style of story focuses on the comedy which was made famous by the silent film stars of yester year. This will not be the final time I say quirky, which is the best way to describe the story.

ComedyThe comedy is very quirky and does pay a lot of respect to the likes of Buster Keaton with how most of the film unfolds.

SettingsThe film is set in Paris which for anyone visiting the country is always going to experience something new and amazing which is what Fiona goes through.

Scene of the Movie –
Eiffel Tower.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The comedy can miss at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice quirky (last time I promise) comedy that pays respect to the silent movie stars with its style and teaches people to take the chance they always dreamed of taking.


Overall: Comedy that will make you take that chance.