ABC Film Challenge – Crime – J – Joyride (2017)

Director: Matt Murphy

Writer: Matt Murphy (Screenplay)

Starring: Dean O’Gorman, James Rolleston, Ashleigh Cummings, Antonia Preddle, Matt Whelan, Siobhan Marshall

 

Plot: Pork Pie tracks the escapades of a trio of accidental outlaws as they travel the length of the New Zealand in a yellow mini, protesting conformity and chasing lost love, with a posse of cops and a media frenzy hot in their pursuit.


Tagline – The misfits. The Mini. The mayhem.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Little Adventure

 

Story: Joyride starts when Luke (Rolleston) steals a mini escaping from thugs, he nearly hits author who is travelling across New Zealand for a wedding Jon (O’Gorman) and on their journey they pick up feisty young woman Keira (Cummings) as they are running from a past they can’t control.

As the three bond they each reveal why they are on the journey and they three start to guide each other through their problems and their causes, all while evading the law.

 

Thoughts on Joyride

 

Characters – Jon is trying to crash a wedding, not to steal the bride or anything, to try and make up with his ex, who he left at the altar. He wants to make up for everything, though he doesn’t know how to go about it. Luke is the young man who stole the car, he is on the run from some thugs, while dealing with his own loss, he needs somebody to be there for him. Keira is an animal activist that works in a fast food restaurant she joins the guys after learning they are travelling towards a protest, she wants to be part of, showing that she is planning to us the incident to make an impact. Susie is the ex of Jon that was left at the altar, she doesn’t anything to do with Jon, however much he tries to come back to her.

PerformancesDean O’Gorman and James Rolleston are both good in their roles in the film, they manage to have good chemistry and handle the emotional sides of their story too. Ashleigh Cummings completes the main line up with her performance equalling theirs.

StoryThe story shows an unlikely trio travel across New Zealand for different reasons, as they travel they must help each other with their problem as they become outlaws through the country. This does feel like a coming of age movie with the Luke character, a sort your life out movie for Jon and learn about yourself movie for Keira, the three stories mix together to show us how adventure can bring new meaning to life. We get the emotional levels required to make you laugh and cry which can be hard to achieve. This is a story that will stick with you without being one that gets bogged down with too much going on.

Action/Comedy/Crime/RomanceThe action comes from the car chases around the country which are entertaining and like many films include minis. The comedy comes from moments the three go through trying to escape, which shows how the crimes they are committing will only make things worst for the group. The romance is motivation for Jon which shows just how far he would go for love.

SettingsNew Zealand is the backdrop for the movie which shows us how beautiful the country is and how driving across it can be achieved.


Scene of the Movie –
The final car chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The love story takes over too easily.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun film that balance three stories well at times before falling slightly short with concluding a couple of them as well as it should.

 

Overall: Good little action crime comedy.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Crime – C – CHIPS (2017)

Director: Dax Shepard

Writer: Dax Shepard (Screenplay)

Starring: Dax Shepard, Michael Pena, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rosa Salazar, Jessica McNamee, Adam Brody, Isiah Whitlock Jr

 

Plot: A rookie officer is teamed with a hardened pro at the California Highway Patrol, though the newbie soon learns his partner is really an undercover Fed investigating a heist that may involve some crooked cops.


Tagline – Chip Happens

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Insulting Comedy

 

Story: CHIPS starts as an undercover FBI agent Ponch (Pena) must joining the California Highway Patrol undercover with rookie officers Jon (Shepard) being his partner as Ponch must discover who is the dirty cop in the unit.

As the two are clearly complete opposites and Jon is the only one in the department that Ponch could trust to uncover the truth about the string of robberies.

 

Thoughts on CHIPS

 

Characters – Ponch is the FBI agent that is known for getting the cases closed even if the methods go across the lines, his latest case is becoming part of CHIPS to uncover a string of robberies that is believed to involve the members in the force. Joon is the former stunt man that wants to fix his marriage by joining the CHIPS team, he has had multiply injuries and will do anything to try and keep the job proving his worth to the force. These two are both very different and must put aside their difference to solve the crime. Ray Kruz is the main villain running the operation from within the force. We get plenty of different officers or agents from different levels of the police system which shows us who we will be dealing with through the film.

PerformancesThis is hard because saying anything bad about Michael Pena is upsetting, here he doesn’t hit the comedy we know he can and as for Dax Shepard we must be blaming him more because he wrote, directed and starred in this insulting comedy, we know he is good when given the right material, here he only lets us down. The rest of the cast just don’t get any moments to shine.

StoryThe story here follows two unlikely cops that must work together to uncover who is behind a string of crimes from within the force. This is the simple part of the film, the problems start mounting up easily and quickly, first the humour is insulting for anything that happens as the characters are left doing sex, poop and more lazy sexist jokes. Considering this was a popular TV shows, I feel the creator must feel insulted with what we are given, this fails on capturing any of the Starsky and Hutch or 21 Jump Street humour we enjoyed and just becomes boring quickly, not adding any mystery to who is behind the crimes either.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action in this film is lazy even if it is the only highlight of the film with a couple of the chases being the most interesting part of the film. the comedy is an insult to comedy while the crime world shows us only police corruption.

SettingsThe film is set in LA, I think mostly to use the sewer system for the chases otherwise it could have been any city.


Scene of the Movie –
Bike chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The comedy.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the comedy movies you really should never be watching, it doesn’t get any laughs and just ends up being left feeling insulting.

 

Overall: This is why we don’t have comedy hits anymore.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – X – The Wound (2017)

This has been selected for X because of the main characters name Xolani.

Director: John Trengove

Writer: John Trengove, Thando Mgqolozana, Malusi Bengu (Screenplay) John Trengove, Batana Vundla (Story)

Starring: Nakhane Toure, Bongile Mantsai, Niza Jay, Thobant Mseleni, Gabriel Mini, Zwelakha Mtsaka

 

Plot: Xolani, a lonely factory worker, travels to the rural mountains with the men of his community to initiate a group of teenage boys into manhood.


Tagline – Some stories can’t be retold

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Shocking Look at Love

 

Story: The Wound starts when factory worker Xolani (Toure) returns to his community outside of Joburg to help with the initiation process of the teenage boys to manhood, he teenager Kwanda (Jay) is a family friend, which is meant to help the process for the teenager.

Xolani gets to see his own secret lover Vija (Mantsai) who is also performing an initiation, but the two men get to return to their forbidden ways. As the initiation continues Kwanda must learn just what this means to the other young men, as Xolani must keep his own secret from everybody else.

 

Thoughts on The Wound

 

Characters – Xolani is a factory worker who knows his roots through an initiation process for teenagers to become men, he has returned to be a ‘caregiver’ to his initiate, he gets to rekindle a forbidden love with a married man, which they must keep secret, even if this is the highlight of his life. Vija is a married man who is also a ‘caregiver’, he is much stricter than Xolani and is a lover of his, he knows just how forbidden their love is and will go after anyone who gets in their way. Kwanda is a rich kid that is going through this initiation, he does question the process which puts his position in danger.

PerformancesNakhane Toure is wonderful in the leading role, showing us the commitment to his character has for this love. Bongile Mantsai and Niza Jay in the supporting roles are both brilliant too, which is a completely well acted film throughout.

StoryThe story here shows an initiation being performed on teenager boys as they become young men, it takes them away from their family’s and leaves them in the care of a man known as a ‘caregiver’ who helps heal the wound, we have two caregivers that are involved in a gay relationship, which they can only have on these events who have very different lives away from the initiation. This does show us how a culture treats their young men, which shouldn’t be a practised in this modern world. we do get to deal with forbidden romance, in a culture that doesn’t accept homosexual relationships. By having two major world issues going on, it shows us how the country is just as happy to sweep them under the rug, rather than learn to accept them, which is interesting to see,

RomanceThe romance side of the story shows the love two men can have, only for a short time, only if nobody else knows, in a culture that isn’t ready to accept them.

SettingsThe film is set in a mountain range in South Africa, this location is where the people go every year for the initiation.


Scene of the Movie –
Mountain top.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Its not an easy subject matter when you look at the initiation process.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very interesting movie showing us how forbidden love between two men can be in a culture that still practises a form of gender mutilation.

 

Overall: Culture shock.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – J – Jupiter’s Moon (2017)

Director: Kornel Mundruczo

Writer: Kornel Mundruczo, Kata Weber (Screenplay)

Starring: Merab Ninidze, Zsombor Jeger, Gyorgy Cserhalmi, Monika Balsai

 

Plot: Aryan is a Syrian refugee trying to make his way into Hungary from Serbia, along with his father and many other wretched souls. They are all caught, and find themselves in a web of cynicism and corruption.

 

Runtime: 2 Hour 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Jupiter’s Moon starts as Syrian refugee Aryan (Jeger) is trying to get into Hungary and becomes separated from his father and ends up getting shot by the police. Once the officer moves away Aryan shows an ability to push the bullets out of his body, which brings him to the attention of Dr Gabor Stern (Ninidze) who sees the abilities to make him standout from the world, with the added ability to float and fly.

Being chased down by the authorities, Aryan gets a lesson of fitting into the everyday life in Hungary from Gabor only to soon learn the harsh reality of the world he is part of and just how the people it in will use him solely for his ability.

 

Thoughts on Jupiter’s Moon

 

Characters – Gabor Stern is a respected doctor in Hungary, he gives up his own time to help the refugees in the camps even though this latest visit changes his life forever, because he meets a young man is amazing abilities which puts him against the law to help teach the man about the culture of Hungary. He does come off selfish at times with his motivations to help Aryan but as the film does he will learn the lessons needed. Aryan is the young man shot only to survive the bullet wounds because of his ability to escape difficult situations and enter Hungary on the more legal methods. In the rest of the characters we learn about a cop that is chasing down the refugee and the woman that Gabor is seeing who must decide who see will support.

PerformancesThe performances from the cast are good through the film, we mainly focus on Merab Ninidze and Zsombor Jeger who show good chemistry on screen together, we see the naivety from the younger actor for his character and the parental figure in the older.

StoryThe story follows a refugee that has unseen abilities that is taken in by a doctor who wants to use his abilities to get financial benefits while also showing him how to fit into society, we do get to touch on the difficult subject of how refugees are treated as terrorist if they are from the countries that are involved in conflict. This is an interesting story because if this had been a straight drama we might not have enjoyed on the same level, but the added sci-fi elements making this young man different are what makes this story feel unique while approaching the subject in question.  

Sci-FiThe sci-fi elements in the film focus on the young man with the abilities people can’t explain, being able to fly and float away from problems.

SettingsThe film has two main settings, first we get to see how compact and difficult the refugee camps are on the people, the rest is set in Hungary which is a nice city to be able to travel around for a film.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are simple, they show how people are reacting to seeing Aryan floating without needing to give him anything to make him look like a superhero or anything.


Scene of the Movie –
The train incident.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There are certain scenes we don’t need in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting sci-fi film that adds this elements to the serious nature of refugees needing to be able to find a safe place to call home.

 

Overall: Sci-Fi Different.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – E – Errementari (2017)

Director: Park Urkijo Alijo

Writer: Park Urkijo Alijo, Asier Guerricaechebarria (Screenplay)

Starring: Kandido Uranga, Uma Bracaglia, Eneko Sagardoy, Ramon Agirre, Jose Ramon Argoitia, Josean Bengoetxea

 

Plot: An orphaned girl discovers that the reclusive Blacksmith is keeping a demon imprisoned in order to avoid paying his debt to the Devil.


Tagline – Not all tales always have a happy ending

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning Demon World

 

Story: Errementari starts when a group of soldiers were eliminated by the mysterious blacksmith Patxi (Uranga) who has a demon Sarteal (Sagardoy) help him in battles. Years later Alfredo (Agirre) comes to visit the local area on behalf of the government in search of the missing gold, where he learns the legend of the blacksmith.

When local orphaned girl Usue (Bracaglia) loses her doll in the Blacksmith’s garden, she must sneak in to retrieve it, here she learns about Patxi and the deal he made with the devil, one he isn’t paying, because he is keeping the demon trapped. To make things worse the whole village believes he is a monster and now they have come to rid the village of their monster.

 

Thoughts on Errementari

 

Characters – Patxi is the mythical blacksmith that is known for being deadly, he is a recluse keeping himself locked away from the world, when people try to enter his property, he will defend it. He has made a deal with the devil, on that he hasn’t repaid, he does only want the good for the locals. Usue is the orphaned girl living in the village, the is often bullied and isolated. She ends up learning about Patxi kind nature being the only one in the village that will see him in this light. Sartael is the demon that Patxi has held captive, he will perform tricks to get out, though his failure to take the soul has placed him in the bad books in hell itself. Alfredo is the government man that has arrived in the village, he wants the gold being held by Patxi after years of having it hidden away.

PerformancesKandido Uranga as the blacksmith does make for an imposing presence in the film which is needed for his character. Uma Bracaglia brings the innocence needed for her role in the film. Eneko Sagardoy makes the demon looks and act just as playful and evil as you would expect. Ramon Agirre fills the government role being a character you believe would be about greed.

StoryThe story does feel like a Spanish fairy tale, having a pact with the devil, a figure surrounded in mystery, an orphaned child and village that has been waiting to take out the so-called problem. This added together does make everything come together nicely to give us the darkly side to the fairy tale. We do get to see this style of fairy tale in other films like ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ which brings a young girl into a world she isn’t prepared for. You can see elements of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in how the blacksmith is treated and how he wants to be left alone in the world, while the idea of the pact never being complete adds to the complex side of the story.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy world we are entering is filled with demons in the real-world ready to take souls. The horror comes from how the blacksmith is portrayed to the villagers, the vision of hell and the traps around the house.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings in the small village and it surroundings including the remote house the blacksmith lives, the vision of hell is also a highlight because it makes the scenes felt relentless.

Special EffectsThe effects are used mostly for the demons and the vision of hell, they feel unique with this.


Scene of the Movie –
Pathway to hell.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The generic actions from the children in the village.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable fantasy horror that once again show the idea of Spanish fairy tales having a darker tone, it has strong visuals and a final sequence that will leave you wanting more.

 

Overall: Darkly enjoyable fairy tale.

Rating