ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – N – How To Talk To Girls At Parties (2017) Movie Review

This is under N because of Nicole Kidman role in the film.

Director: John Cameron Mitchell

Writer: Philippa Goslett, John Cameron Mitchell (Screenplay) Neil Gaiman (Short Story)

Starring: Elle Fanning, Alex Sharp, Nicole Kidman, Matt Lucas, Ruth Wilson, Abraham Lewis, Ethan Lawrence

Plot: An alien touring the galaxy breaks away from her group and meets two young inhabitants of the most dangerous place in the universe: the London suburb of Croydon.


Tagline – Talk to the Girl. Save the World.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Punk Love Story

Story: How To Talk To Girls At Parties starts as we meet three punks Enn (Sharp), Vic (Lewis) and John (Lawrence) who are rebelling agains the establishment in the 1970s, when they look to go to an after party for a bad, only to end up at a strange party. Enn meets Zan (Fanning) one of the aliens at the party, one who wants to break the strict rules of her people.

The two go in search of discovery, while Zan is being tracked by her species who have been getting worried about what has been happening to her. With a forbidden romance being the new important relationship, which could save the world.

Thoughts on How To Talk To Girls At Parties

Characters – Zan is one of the aliens visiting Croydon, she is starting to question the ideas of her species, which sees her breaking their traditions to learn about Punk, a mission of self-discovery and research for her people, she does come off like most aliens, who don’t understand how to have a normal conversation, with most of her conversations involving her learning rather than communicating. Enn is a punk rock loving young man, he is in a little group, though he doesn’t seem to be completely behind breaking the establishment. He meets Zan to show her about the world of punk, he starts to learn about the bigger picture, experiencing love for the first time. Boadicea runs a punk club, she has always given bands a chance and knows how to read the each person claiming to be a punk. We do get a host of different leadership figures from the alien side of things, each one has a different plan for Zan.

PerformancesElle Fanning is great to watch in this leading role, she does show us a different side to her that needs to look distant, while acting completely interested. Alex Sharp is wonderful to watch to, as he continues to show he is a young actor that is going to be a big name. Nicole Kidman brings the star power to the movie, looking like she truly is enjoying herself, while the rest of the cast are all great to create the world we enter.

StoryThe story here follows a punk who falls in love with a visiting alien, where both the younger generations want to fight back against the establishment that has been built up for them to follow. This is dubbed ‘Romeo & Juliet with Punks and Aliens’ that sums this film up correctly, we do have a forbidden love, with two characters from different backgrounds who are looking to stop a battle between the sides, even if the battle is more about aliens needing to learn from the end. Seeing the discovery of punk music is nice to see, it is something we have seen before, with the idea of an alien finding something worth saving that is against what they have been taught. We get plenty of scenes that would never imagine with punks and aliens fighting for the planet.

Comedy/Romance/Sci-FiThe comedy isn’t the strongest part of the film, but when it needs to get a laugh we can, we spend a lot more time focusing of the romance of what could be the most important part of the film, seeing a human and alien fall in love, which does help us dive into the sci-fi side of the film, which sees an alien cult look to learn from the Earth.

SettingsThe film is set in Croydon, we get the punk clubs, full of noise and chaos, while the aliens live in a house, which lets them design it in their own style, which makes them see just how big the universe could be.


Scene of the Movie – Zan sings.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The comedy isn’t the strongest.

Final Thoughts This is a fun romance story that shows us just how the eyes of people can be opened from a chance meeting, we have great performances from Elle Fanning and Alex Sharp along with a love story that lives through the ages.

Overall: Enjoyable.

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – M – Magellan (2017)

Director: Rob York

Writer: Scott Baird, Rob York (Screenplay)

Starring: Brandon Ray Olive, K. Danor Gerald, Whitney Palmer, Matthew Mercer, Nicola Posener, D.L. Walker

 

Plot: After NASA picks up a trio of mysterious signals from within our own solar system, astronaut Roger Nelson is dispatched on a multi-year solo mission aboard the Magellan spacecraft to investigate the sources.


Tagline – The universe knew we were coming.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Magellan starts when NASA picks up a trio of signals coming from with our own Solar System, they want to investigate them and turn to astronaut Commander Roger Nelson (Olive) to go on this mission, one which will see him go on a solo mission for ten plus years, leaving his wife Abigail (Palmer) behind with his connection being Becker (Gerald) at mission control.

Once Roger reaches Titan one of the moons of Saturn he locates the first signal, a mysterious orb which gives Roger a strange draw, to make matters worse his wife is suffering back home and we are left to wonder if the sacrifice will be worth it and just what will he discover?

 

Thoughts on Magellan

 

Characters – Commander Roger Nelson is the astronaut that is selected for the solo mission one that could easily redefine human history, he simply can’t say no to it even if it means leaving his wife for ten plus years. Roger gets to investigate the location solo while keeping his sanity on the isolated mission with his only communication through the transmission he receives. Becker is the communication with Mission Control, he relays the information from NASA which is one of the two people Roger talks too. Abigail is the wife of Roger that is dealing with her own problems back home struggling with the time away from her husband even if he is doing something wonderful for mankind.

PerformancesBrandon Ray Olive does a good job in the leading role, he must do most of the work with most of the film follows him on the solo mission, he keeps our attention which with the wrong actor could easily lose us without a strong performance. In the support roles we follow the actors on camera which is good without needing to do too much.

StoryThe story asks the big question, ‘are we alone in the universe’ without going down the line of full alien hunter, invasion or communication. We go down the path of searching for life of other planets or moons which is a path we have been doing in real life, as somebody that would be interested in seeing where science could take us, the slow discovery of anything in space is something that fascinates me and this film keeps us wondering just what could be discovered, without going completely outside the realms of possibilities. The story may have a couple of safe ideas going on with minor moment of peril Roger finds himself which would never be a problem for him on a solo mission and the relationship to the people back home feels like there should have been a lot more communication with NASA.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery in the film comes from the signals being set to Earth, what do they mean? What are they? Is this sign of life in the universe? These play into the sci-fi side of the film which focuses on finding the answers to spaces biggest questions.

SettingsMost of the film is set on the Magellan the space craft taking Roger across the Solar System, it is a simple craft which does the work needed for the mission without becoming completely tech heavy like we have seen in other film. when we get to planets or moons we can clearly see that this is the films weakness when it comes to the effects used to create the worlds.

Special EffectsThee effects here are the weak point of the film, we can let the film away with these flaws though because the story is interesting.


Scene of the Movie –
The next step.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The effects when docking.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of those sci-fi films which does ask the big questions and becomes fascinating to watch, sure it does have a few issues with special effects, but the story keeps us wanting more and more.

 

Overall: Fascinating story.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – K – Incontrol (2017) Movie Review

This is under K because of the director Kurtis David Harder

Director: Kurtis David Harder

Writer: Kurtis David Harder (Screenplay)

Starring: Sarah Troyer, Anja Savcic, Valerie Planche, Christopher Rosamond, Josip Condic, Brittany Allen, Levi Meaden, Rory J Saper

Plot: 4 university students hook up to a machine allowing them to become one of their fellow students – e.g. allowing them each to party as one of the rich and beautiful. The long hook-ups start seriously affecting their normal selves.


Tagline – You can be anyone you want to be.

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: The Next Level of Flatliners

Story: Incontrol starts when shy university student Samantha (Savcic) get invited to join another group of students, Mark (Meaden), Victor (Saper) and Jenny (Stonechild) who have a machine with allows them to jump into the mind and body of random people, getting to experience the lives they are living from the comfort a room.

Once Samantha learns the method behind what they are doing, she finds herself doing all sorts of illegal activities that she wouldn’t imagine in real life, finding herself being the only one asking about the consequences of their actions.

Thoughts on Incontrol

Characters – Samantha is the student that has been studying social experiments, which sees her invited to join a group who could have the ability to enter into other people’s minds, controlling and living their lives, it seems like fun to start with, but soon it starts getting out of control, she starts wanting to break the rules as she wants to get closer to Mark. Mark invites Samantha into the circle, he doesn’t go to the extremes as the others, while taking part of the pleasures in life, keeping his girlfriend out of the plans. Victor has always pushed the boundaries of the machine, he will break the laws and experience something the rest never did. Jenny hosts the gatherings for the students, she enjoys just relaxing and using the machine to get what she wants out of the lives.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances we get a mixed selection, Anja Savcic in the leading role does well enough, never coming off truly believable in her everyday life. Levi Meaden and Rory J Saper both do the basics without being as edgy as they should have been, while Shayla Stonechild is fine in her role, nobody is truly great for what we could give us.

StoryThis story follows a group of students that get a machine which gives them a chance to live other people’s lives, only things start to get out of hand between them and the power the machine gives them. This could easily be the next level of what Flatliners once gave us, showing us just how people will use mind control to try and reach a new empowerment (yes I know Flatliners is more about returning from the dead, but this offers that at times). We get to see how the people do find themselves going through ideas that they would never have imagined, we also get to play into the creation of paranoia of not knowing who could be watching or controlling you. This is all very compelling, with the only drawback being, not learning enough about the actual machine itself. There is also a pacing issue, because it starts very well, but when it comes to the final chapter, it just seems to be a flash bang over.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi elements used in this film follows the ideas of being able to control people’s lives, but we don’t dive into the science behind it enough.

SettingsThe film is set in an everyday location which shows how alarming what they are doing is.


Scene of the Movie – The First trip.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not learning enough about the science behind the machine.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting sci-fi film that does offer up plenty of questions, the problem is, not enough are being answered.

Overall: Sci-Fi interesting.

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – J – Singularity (2017) Movie Review

This is under J because of the stars of the movie, John Cusack and Julian Schaffner.

Director: Robert Kouba

Writer: Robert Kouba (Screenplay) Robert Kouba, Sebastian Cepeda (Story)

Starring: Julian Schaffner, John Cusack, Carmen Argenziano, Eileen Grubba, Jeannine Michele Wacker

Plot: Earth 2019, 3/4 of it’s households have a robot. The AI supercomputer, Kronos, considers humans the biggest threat to Earth. A century later, few humans are left. Calia seeks the last human stronghold as does Kronos.


Tagline – Resist. Fight. Unite.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: This Drags Along

Story: Singularity starts in the year 2020, genius creator Elias Van Dorne (Cusack) unleashes his latest AI Kronos, who goes onto destroy the world, wiping out most of the world’s population in an instant.

97-years-later he releases one of the victims Andrew Davis (Schaffner) into the modern world as Kronos is in search of Aurora, the last known stronghold for mankind. Andrew is led through the world by Calia (Wacker), who has been searching for Aurora for years.

Thoughts on Singularity

Characters – Andrew Davis is just a normal man caring for his mother when the attack happens, he finds himself waking up in the future with the destroyed world around him, somewhere he doesn’t know and must learn to adapt to the new world. Elias Van Dorne is the genius behind the new technology, he has always helped the human race get further and with his next step he knows what he needs to do, with his new technology taking over him, as he looks to destroy humanity. Damien Walsh is the second in command, watching over the destruction the two have called for. Calia is the woman that has survived the world under the AI’s control, she guides Andrew through the world he doesn’t know.

PerformancesThis is a film where the performances are not good, John Cusack looks bored out of his mind, while the younger members Julian Schaffner and Jeannine Michele Wacker try their best only to fall short with the material.

StoryThe story here follows a world where AI has taken over, killing most of the world’s population, nearly a century after the first attack, the AI releases a human in hope of following them to the last know settlement in an attempt to take out the biggest threat. This story should be very interesting, it should keep us engaged throughout the film, only for it to become one of the mostly bland telling techniques not giving us chance to understand any of the twists involved in the story. It just doesn’t get going, after an opening sequence which does feel very interesting, the large time jump doesn’t help, because it isn’t made clear how many more humans are left or anything, it just feels like a mess.

Action/Sci-FiThe action involved is a lot of destruction, which is all CGI heavy, leaving little to the imagination, while the ideas behind the sci-fi side of the film just doesn’t become as important as we would hope.

SettingsThe film just looks like we are running through the countryside for the most part, which is clearly used to save money more than anything.

Special EffectsThe effects are CGI heavy, they could have done with more of a finishing touch in places too.


Scene of the Movie – The first destruction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Everything after it.

Final Thoughts This is a sci-fi film that does have a good idea, only it falls apart too quickly because the idea is just too big for the budget available for the film.

Overall: Poor Sci-Fi.

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – I – It Came from the Desert (2017)

Director: Marko Makilaakso

Writer: Trent Haaga, Marko Makilaakso, Hank Woon Jr (Screenplay)

Starring: Harry Lister Smith, Alex Mils, Vanessa Grasse, Mark Arnold, Callum McGowan, Andrew Horton

 

Plot: A pulpy, action monster movie, inspired by Cinemaware’s cult 1980s video game “It Came from the Desert”. A nostalgic tribute to creature features from the 1950’s, It Came From The Desert features rival motocross heroes and heroines, kegger parties in the desert, secret underground military bases, romantic insecurities…and of course giant ants.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Late Night Movie

 

Story: It Came from the Desert starts when motocross champion Lukas (Mills) and his shy engineer Brian (Smith) head out to the desert for a celebrational party with drinks and girls including Brian’s crush Lisa (Grasse). When the two friends discover an abandoned research facility they investigate only to discover giant ants.

Joined by Lisa the three must defeat the ants before they can breed to uncontrollable numbers causing chaos in the world.

 

Thoughts on It Came from the Desert

 

Characters – Brian is shy mechanic that has helped Lukas win most of those competitions. He is madly in love with Lisa, but has always been afraid to take chances in his life, when the two friends discover the ants he must learn to escape his shell to fight back to save the girl and the world. Lukas is the dumb motocross rider, he has all the confidence in the world and he just wants to help Brian come out of his shell. He will push Brian this day to a level where they just start becoming as daredevil as each other. Lisa is the girl of Brian’s dream, she goes on the party which she doesn’t seem that interested in being part off, she shows herself to be deadly when fighting the ants, he brains become important for the two guys. Dr Renard fills in the blanks for the two teenagers and for the audience.

PerformancesHarry Lister Smith and Alex Mills are both strong in the leading role, they have good chemistry playing the opposites but ever loyal friends. Vanessa Grasse is strong in the supporting role with key moments. The rest of the cast fit the generic performances required in the film.

StoryThe story is based on a video game, based on a vintage monster movie ‘Them’, it follows two friends that must off giant ants before they can breed to world dominating numbers, now this is a story we mustn’t take seriously because of the nature of everything happening, it does feel like a video game with each level becoming more difficult. The story never tries to take itself seriously which is a bonus too because we know this is going to be just another creature feature.

Action/Comedy/Horror/Sci-FiThe action come from chases to escape from the ants, it does have plenty of gun fire which comes for defeat the ants, the comedy plays out from the dumb reactions to certain moments, this will get a basic laugh or two along the way. The horror is pure creature feature which is good and enjoyable for anyone who enjoys the genre. With the sci-fi side of the film looking at idea that alien genes can be combined with Ants.

SettingsThe film is set in the desert, hell it is in the title of the film, it uses the ideas of the nuclear tests to create a secret base which could have this type of consequence.

Special EffectsThe effects for this low budget film are mixed because the practical ones do look wonderful, though the CGI moments are not to the same level of strength.


Scene of the Movie –
The first ant kill.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The basic supporting cast not getting enough time to do much.

Final ThoughtsFun creature feature that will be a lovely treat in a midnight screening.

 

Overall: Late night delight.

Rating