ABC Film Challenge – Animation – N – Norm of the North (2016)

Director: Trevor Wall

Writer: Daniel Altiere, Steven Altiere, Malcolm T Goldman (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Rob Schneider, Heather Graham, Ken Jeong, Bill Nighy, Colm Meaney, Loretta Devine


Plot: When a real estate development invades his Arctic home, Norm and his three lemming friends head to New York City, where Norm becomes the mascot of the corporation in an attempt to bring it down from the inside and protect his homeland.

Tagline – Bear to be different

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Pathetic Comedy


Story: Norm of the North starts as we head to the North Pole and the arctic home of Norm an underachieving polar bear. He wants to become the king of the arctic like his Grandfather as he lives in peace around seals, whales, birds and for some reason lemmings.

When the real estate mogul wants to build condos in the Arctic, Norm must travel to New York City to stop Mr Greene from going through with his idea and save the Arctic.


Thoughts on Norm of the North


Characters – Norm is a polar bear that needs to help save his land in the Arctic, he seems to get himself into trouble with his clumsy action, he is mostly an insult character. Vera is the struggling single mother that is trying to help her daughter even if she doesn’t believe in what she is going. Mr Greene is an evil businessman looking to build the houses in the Arctic which would ruin the life of the wildlife.

StoryThe story should be about how the humans are destroying the wildlife, but ends up just being hapless look at how one polar bear will try to stop it happening, it is mostly insulting to the audience as a story as it never gets to show the message it should be.

Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe adventure just seems like click the fingers and we are there, the comedy misses on nearly every level and I wouldn’t want anyone to put their family through this one.

SettingsThe settings are the Arctic, fine works and the New York because wild animal in New York City is meant to be funny I guess?

AnimationThe animation at least looks good being the only positive side of the whole movie.

Scene of the Movie –
They use the ‘Shut Up and Dance With Me Song’ didn’t like the scene but love the song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just feels insulting.

Final ThoughtsThis is just a terrible animation that is more insulting that funny, it has an important message and fails to deliver it.


Overall: Avoid please.





Natalie Portman Weekend – Jackie (2016)

jackieDirector: Pablo Larrain

Writer: Noah Oppenheim (Screenplay)

Starring: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt, Richard E Grant


Plot: Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children, and define her husband’s historic legacy.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Great Look Into Jackie Kennedy’s Life


Story: Jackie starts one week after the assassination of President John F Kennedy and Jackie (Portman) wants her husband remembered the way she wants, calling on journalist (Crudup) to write an article on what she will do next.

Jackie recounts the intimate accounts of the aftermath of the assassination as Jackie herself must come to terms with her husband’s murder while the country comes to terms with the death of their President. Jackie wants to make sure her husband gets a funeral a leader of state should receive.


Thoughts on Jackie


StoryWhen you look at American history there is two shocking assassination we have seen of Presidents and JFK was the first world saw, we have seen how people have speculated, remade the event for years to come but we have never looked at Jackie’s part during the event. This is where the story shines because unlike the nation she is experience the death of her husband who was going to make America a country that was moving onto greatness. Looking at the intimate details of what it was like for Jackie after the event was refreshing and enjoyable to see from start to finish because you fully understand every decision she made.

BiographyLooking into this tragic time for Jackie Kennedy was something we have barely seen before as most of the focus is on JFK’s death. looking at how Jackie has to deal with the tragic events is something this film gets so right we can enjoy she just how powerful she was too.

Characters/PerformanceWe have real people being portrayed once again in this film so it is hard to look past the people’s decision making process through the events. Portman is leaps and bounds above the rest of the cast shining through every single scene she is part of, it is when you look past Portman’s performance you get good performances from the rest of the cast that all do great without being considered to be on Portman’s level.

SettingsEach setting used in the film makes us feel like we are part of the chapter of the life of Jackie Kennedy after her husband assassination. We fully believe this is unfolding on front of us as the story continues.

Final ThoughtsThis is an important look at one of the most shocking moments in American history.


Overall: I think this will be a film many people will miss but they will miss out on something very important.




The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

secretDirector: Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney

Writer: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, Brian Lynch, Simon Rich (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Louis C.K. Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Albert Brooks, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey


Plot: The quiet life of a terrier named Max is upended when his owner takes in Duke, a stray whom Max instantly dislikes.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Disappointing Animated Comedy


Story: The Secret Life of Pets starts as we meet Max who life is all about being with his owner Katie who live in New York and have an amazing bond in his eyes but he struggles to deal with her leaving for work every day. With Max living in an apartment he has a neighbour in Gidget and well a host of other pets who get left while their owners go to daily routines.

Max’s life is turned upside down when Katie brings a new dog home Duke who throws Max’s perfect little world out the window as he is no longer the alpha of the apartment.

When the rivalry between Max and Duke reaches new levels, they find themselves taken to the pound only to be saved by Snowball a bunny who leads a gang of abandoned pets. While back home Gidget leads the party to of other pets from the building to look and save Max before their owners come home.


Thoughts on The Secret Life of Pets


StoryThe story going on here is something that is very much for kids to enjoy, we get a deeper meaning of that pets are for life but this doesn’t become the main part of the story which is disappointing. The adventure the characters goes on feels like it could just be a one off television special gone mad if I am to be honest and borrows so much for more established movies out there.

Animation/Comedy/FamilyWhen it comes to animation it is all good but you have come to expect that from animated film now. The comedy is nearly all slapstick and barely comes off while I do feel the whole family wouldn’t enjoy this as it would be more suitable for just the kids out there.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all painfully stereotypes you would think when you see the animals involved which in the end shows the writers just don’t seem to have had animals in their own lives, the voice overs all for the character they are playing by not having the biggest names behind the characters.

SettingsThe film uses New York as the setting which is a scary place for people but just think what it would be like for the animals living there, that is captured in this film well.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very kid friendly film that just doesn’t hit all the marks it should for the potential it had while it ends up being just a slack lazy story telling we have seen before.


Overall: Plain average kid film that just isn’t that special.




The Lighthouse (2016)

Director: Chris Crow

Writer: Paul Bryant, Chris Crow, Michael Jibson (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Lewis Jones, Michael Jibson, Ian Vrigo, Nathan Sussex, Gerald Tyler, Stephane McDade, Joshua Richards


Plot: Based on real events which saw two lighthouse keepers stranded for months at sea in a freak storm, the film tells a tale of death, madness and isolation; a desolate trip into the heart of human darkness.

Tagline – Save Our Souls…

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Slow Moving Thriller


Story: The Lighthouse starts in the year of 1805, two men Thomas Griffiths (Jones) the head lighthouse keeper and Thomas Howell (Jibson) must man the lighthouse 25 miles from land in one of the most dangerous straights of water in the Irish sea. With only each other to keep themselves company, things are going smoothly to start with.

When a storm comes to the lighthouse and the two men must survive on limited rations until the storm passes, here is where madness comes out in the men as they have no idea how long it will be until they are rescued.


Thoughts on The Lighthouse


Characters – We have two Thomas’ here, Griffiths has been a lighthouse keeper for years, it runs in his family, he knows the commitment needed to cope with the condition they may well be facing. Howell has found religion after his own errors, he doesn’t see eye to eye with Griffiths and his beliefs are considered bad luck. We see how both the men must deal with the idea of being trapped, they cope in different ways.

PerformancesWhen we look at performances we have a two man show here, Mark Lewis Jones and Michael Jibson are both great as you do believe their minds going as the film unfolds.

StoryThe story is meant to be based on a real story, it keeps things looking at how the men would survive not knowing how long the storm will last with dwindling resources. The time period helps us too because there is no quick fix for the situation. I would have liked to have seen more of how the lighthouse operates because when it comes to dealing with the wait, the pace of the story slows down and there isn’t too many directions the twists and turns could go in the waiting process.

ThrillerThe film does want to keep us guessing to how long or if the men will make it through the storm, this is where everything it placed for the tension required in the film.

SettingsThe film takes place on the lighthouse, it gives us complete isolation from any rescue and show us how the madness could take over from the endless wait.

Scene of the Movie –
The final 20 minutes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The storm doesn’t feel like it is deadly enough to stop ships.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow-moving thriller that is meant to be based on a real event, it is an interesting idea because we know the one or two people based films in a singular location can keep us on edge, if the performance connects. The performances are good, but sadly the story does hit a lull in the middle.


Overall: Slow moving, cut 20 minutes you would have a tidy thriller.




Monochrome (2016)

Director: Thomas Lawes

Writer: Thomas Lawes (Screenplay)

Starring: Jo Woodcock, Cosmo Jarvis, James Cosmo, Patrice Naiambana, Lee Boardman, Steve Jackson, Liz May Brice


Plot: A disillusioned young woman becomes a serial killer who targets wealthy land-owners, and a brilliant detective must use his unusual neurological condition to track her down.

Tagline – Every killer is someone else’s prey

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Twisty Thriller


Story: Monochrome starts when Emma (Woodcock) who goes on the run after her boyfriend gets captured for stealing millions, Emma finds herself in the countryside where artist Roger Daniels (Cosmo) takes her in forcing her to be his assistant or he will turn her over to the authorities.

Gabriel Lenard (Jarvis) is the detective tracking down Emma and after the first body turns up, he learns just how deadly she has become, as he does have a unique connection with his neurological connection with her, making her trackable.


Thoughts on Monochrome


Characters – Emma is the young lady that goes on the run after her boyfriend commits a nationwide crime, in hiding she soon finds herself needing to resort to murder as she leaves a series of bodies behind her. Gabriel Lenard is a detective that has a connection with the crime scenes, he can figure out what has happened, seeing thing others haven’t, it isn’t long before he is fast on tale of Emma, even with his own personal problems. The different victims are mixed for what Emma targets with each having their own reasons for giving her a chance to be in there home.

PerformancesJo Woodcock is the star of the show, she is the serial killer and makes us believe she is an everyday woman you would walk past on the street. When we look at the rest of the performances they are good with Cosmo Jarvis being the only other one that gets the real screen time.

StoryThe story here follows the partner of a criminal that goes on the run only to become a serial killer in her own right, we have a social awkward detective tracking her down as the media start to support her killings of the rich and famous. This is the old cat-n-mouse style thriller which does offer twists along the way and does do its best to keep us guessing as the story unfolds. It does do its best to make something fresh along the way even if it is slightly too long.

ThrillerThe film does the thriller genre very well, it does keep us guessing along the way.

SettingsThe film takes us to different locations as Emma remains on the run becoming the serial killer that needed to be tracked down.

Scene of the Movie –
The past coming to light.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does seem to be slightly too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting thriller that will keep us guessing which is refreshing and will keep you wondering just what the master plan Emma is going for.


Overall: Thriller that keeps us guessing.