The Story of 90 Coins (2017)

Director: Michael Wong

Writer: Bai Xuedan (Screenplay)

Starring: Zhuang Zhigi, Dongjun Han, Jose Acosta

 

The Story of 90 Coins is a short film that has been racking up the awards around the world currently getting about 50+ accolades from international film festivals; which includes the Best Foreign Short & Best Actress at Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards, Best Drama & Best Cinematography at Los Angeles Film Awards, Best Foreign Short Film at Ukrainian International Short Film Festival, Rising Star Awards at Canada International Film Festival, an Official Finalist at London Film Awards, among others.

 

The film follows a young man Wang Yuyang (Han) as he wants to win the heard to Chen Wen (Zhiqi), she has dreams of travelling for work, so he makes a deal, he will give her a coin for 90 days, after that they can either walk away and use the money as farewell drinks or for a marriage certificate.

 

We get to see the outcome of this and the decisions that can come to balance love and dreams showing us just which one becomes most important to our characters, a decision process that could break hearts or damage dreams.

 

Considering this is under 10 minutes long, this film must be considered one of the biggest emotional rollercoasters I have seen this year, you understand both characters decisions and feel the emotions with them, if you don’t have a tear circling your eye at the end I will be surprised.

 

If you want to see a love story this year, you don’t need to look much further than this one.

Come and what this film yourself.

 

The Story of 90 Coins from Michael Wong on Vimeo.

Alien: Reign of Man (2017)

Director: Justin Price

Writer: Justin Price (Screenplay)

Starring: Khu, Torrei Hart, Deanna Grace Congo, Cameron White

 

Plot: Stranded on a distant planet, a team must fight aliens and activate a machine meant to restore Earth to a time before its downfall.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Best Alien Titled Film This Year

 

Story: Alien: Reign of Man starts with our team Zan (Khu), Reed (White), Constance (Congo) arriving on a distant planet in search for a saviour back home on Earth, while on the planet the team faces a battle against an alien species but the planet itself has its own life as it starts to evolve to defend itself from the human invaders/visitors.

The planet offers plenty of mysteries which our characters must consider before leaving once they become stranded for a time, can they unlock the mystery before it is too late?

 

Thoughts on Alien: Reign of Man

 

Characters – Zan is introduced as our heroine, she lurks the planet ready to fight any enemy as she is the deadliest in combat, so the strong female lead sci-fi films have become famous for. Reed is one of the soldiers on the planet, he uses his calmness to prepare for danger but does feel like a character pulled from a Final Fantasy game. Constance is another soldier who gets their ranked questioned by the bigger threat within the movie while the rest of the character do all fit the world created here,

PerformanceLooking at the performances, Khu as the leading lady does work because she does enough to make herself stand out from the rest of the cast, part of my thinking on Reed was that he came from a Final Fantasy game and this is shown in the delivery that Cameron White gives us, I do think everyone in the film does a good job throughout the film.

StoryThe story does put us into a world where humans once again need to find the answers to a problem on another planet, but this story does what other films fail to, it simplifies the bigger questions going on about origins and where humans stand in this world.

Sci-FiThis is a good sci-fi film that makes us look at the bigger picture of space travel and also looking at what could be out there in space.

SettingsThe world created could be as empty as this world we see in this film and it all looks great.

Special EffectsThe effects are clear CGI which is a budget issue but they are consistent throughout to help us understand that we need the computer creations at times.

Scene of the Movie – The evolving planet looks very impressive.

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment I do think certain elements of the pacing could have been better in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a smart sci-fi that doesn’t create dumb characters, has a good story line that makes complete sense for the world we are in and doesn’t over complicate the story.

 

Overall: Enjoyable sci-fi experience.

Rating

 

 

Dunkirk (2017)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Christopher Nolan (Screenplay)

Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Aneurin Barnard, Barry Keoghan, Harry Styles

 

Plot: Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, Canada, and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Epic War Thriller

 

Story: Dunkirk starts as we English soldier Tommy (Whitehead) desperately making his way to the beach on Dunkirk for the evacuation of the British Soldiers, all 400,000 are waiting for this moment, as Commander Bolton (Branagh) is arranging this on the beach as the soldiers are being picked off from the air. Back home Mr Dawson (Rylance) is taking his son Peter (Glynn-Carney) and friend George (Keoghan) by his small weekend yacht to Dunkirk as the private boats are being called upon to rescue the soldiers. In the air spitfires pilots Farrier (Hardy) and Collins (Lowden) are leading the battle from the skies as they look to defend the returning ships.

The three stories play out through the different time leading up to the final moments of the film in what is known as one of the greatest rescue missions of all time in any war.

 

Thoughts on Dunkirk

 

Characters – Tommy, Gibson and Alex are three soldiers stuck on the beach of Dunkirk, they try their hardest to get off the beach of Dunkirk, we see their struggles like many of the soldiers who would have wanted safety in the horrors of war. Mr Dawson, Peter and George show three figures who couldn’t fight in the war but will do everything for their own part in saving the soldiers. The Shivering soldier shows us the effects of war on these soldiers as he doesn’t want to return to the horrors. Commander Bolton shows us how a leader should act on the battle field, being prepared to wait for his men to be saved before himself. Farrier and Collins show us the risk from the air and just how dangerous this side of the battle. We might not learn too much about the characters backgrounds but we also don’t need to, this story is about the heroic story not what these men did before became soldiers.

PerformanceTom Hardy is easily the stand out star of this movie, but it does help that he plays the character with the most intense scenes. Cillian Murphy shows us once again he doesn’t need to be the main star of a movie to be the star and Mark Rylance follows up his recent war time Oscar win with another brilliant supporting performance. We also get to see Kenneth Branagh give us the great leader role. Extra praise must go to the unknown actors here too, Fionn Whitehead in the leading role, fantastic, Aneurin Barnard who I recently saw in a terrible horror film was also fantastic, Tom Glynn-Carney and jack Lowden both seem to shine next to Rylance throughout too. The biggest talking point about this film came in the casting of popstar Harry Styles, I have always defended this choice, and even the biggest haters of this ‘singer’ will be left applauding the guy who is wonderful in this role.

StoryThe story is known as one of Britain’s greatest rescue missions, when all hope looked lost the miracle that stop 400,000 soldiers being slaughter happened, yes, we do know the end of this story from the start. The story is split into 3 times, one covering a week, one covering a day and the other covering hours but this is designed to build up to the one moment showing the struggles the character’s involved must face. I believe this does reward by the end but at times could be difficult for some people to follow.

Action/History/WarThe action sequences are fantastic throughout the film, we don’t see the blood and gore of the war like in Saving Private Ryan or Hacksaw Ridge and for me that was good. The history of this war time event will live long in the memory of those involved and is easily one of Britain’s finest moments of unity.

SettingsEach setting looks fantastic and you can fully believe you are part of this war with these soldiers.

Special EffectsAll the effects are created to show us the stark reality of the war for the men involved, we don’t have anything going over the top which also helps.

Scene of the Movie – Spitfire over Dunkirk, this scene feels haunting throughout.

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment I would say the scenes when Farrier is looking at the instruments in the cockpit, everything just went over my head there.

Final ThoughtsThis is the best British story from a World War II film that could stand on the same levels as Saving Private Ryan any day of the week.

 

Overall: Breath taking experience from start to finish.

Rating

 

 

Bonejangles (2017)

Director: Brett DeJager

Writer: Keith Melcher (Screenplay)

Starring: Reggie Bannister, Elissa Dowling, Julia Cavanaugh, Kelly Misek Jr, Devin Toft, Jamie Scott Gordon, Hannah Richter

 

Plot: While transporting the legendary serial killer Bonejangles to an asylum, a group of police officers break down in a town cursed with demonic zombies. The only way they can survive the night and save the town is to release Bonejangles to help them fight the curse, with something much worse.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Target Audience Will Enjoy

 

Story: Bonejangles starts as Edgar Friendly Jr known as Mr Bonejangles is about become captured by the local police including Doug (Misek Jr), Randy (Gordon) and Lisa (Richter). Bonejangles is known for his believing he is invincible which even the cops are fearful of.

When Bonejangles is captured Doug, Randy and Lisa must transport him to the nearest asylum but things don’t go as planned when the van gets stuck in a small town of Argento who is going through the night where the dead roam the streets, now Doug must step up and face his former life to stop Bonejangles.

 

Thoughts on Bonejangles

 

Characters – Doug is the shy unconfident cop that along with his partner Randy are known as the worst cops in the department. He finds himself returning to his home town where he must face the people that pushed him into becoming a cop. Sally is the former love of Doug’s back in Argento, she is about to get married but Doug’s appearance will give her a chance to rethink things. Randy is the idiot partner of Doug’s who always tries to make him get out of trouble. Bonejangles is an interesting addition to the serial killer idea, we get an origin story for him and see plenty of kills which could become something more in the future.

PerformanceThe performances through the film are all what you would come to expect in the film of this budget, the actors all look like they did enjoy themselves but no performance will go down in the levels of the great horror performances.

StoryWe have a new unstoppable serial killer, check, we have an unlikely hero, check, we have moments that make us laugh, check, well what more do you want in a story? We do follow the ideas horror and this will be everything the fans of the horror comedy will enjoy.

Horror/ComedyThe serial killer and gore filled kills all work for the horror genre. The comedy comes from the poking fun at moments in horror with one of the best being the chainsaw moment.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in a town called Argento (I think which must be a reference to the great director) but small town, big legend this all works for what we need.

Special EffectsThe effects are low budget and work for parts of the film, we get to laugh at certain moments because of the kills which do feel like buckets of blood at times.

Scene of the Movie – The chainsaw, that is all I will say.

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment My biggest complaint in this film is that we the audience are meant to fully understand how deadly Mr Bonejangles is, but it is hard to get into that mindset with bigger names in horror, I know this is an attempt to create a new horror character too.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror film that the target audience will enjoy so I would suggest to the horror comedy fans.

 

Overall: Enjoyable horror comedy that works for the audience.

Rating

 

 

Before I Fall (2017)

Director: Ry Russo-Young

Writer: Maria Maggenti (Screenplay) Lauren Oliver (Novel)

Starring: Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Kian Lawley, Elena Kampouris, Cynthy Wu

 

Plot: February 12 is just another day in Sam’s charmed life, until it turns out to be her last. Stuck reliving her last day over one inexplicable week, Sam untangles the mystery around her death and discovers everything she’s losing.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: High School Never Ends

 

Story: Before I Fall starts as we meet Samantha (Deutch) one of the popular girls in high school, along with Lindsay (Sage), Ally (Wu) and Elody (Rahimi) as they live Samantha’s last day, yes, she tells us this in narration. We follow the day through high school where we see the girls act like they are better than everyone as Cupid Day goes by and the roses get passed around, but today is the day Samantha will be losing her virginity to school hunk Rob (Lawley) at a party.

When Samantha is involved in a car crash, she wakes up in her bed having to re-live cupid day, mostly confused she gets through the day watching the mistakes made. When Samantha learns that is wasn’t just déjà vu she starts to act differently through the day. Samantha continues to go through the same day witnesses’ new moments she tries to change.

 

Thoughts on Before I Fall

 

Characters/PerformanceSamantha is the high school student that is one of the popular girls, she gets what she wants until the day she dies and must re-live the day over and over where she gets to learn about her mistakes. Lindsay is the full bitch and best friend of Samantha, she pushes Samantha into all the decisions knowing she is better than everyone else. Kent is the party host and secret admirer of Samantha. It is hard to care about these characters because they are so horrible to the others around them.

Performance wise, when you look at the performance you can look at who could be replaced, and the truth is you could swap out any of them because none of the make a big impact.

StoryThe story tries to make us care about how one popular high school student gets a chance to re-live one day and learn to become more accepting of the students she is spending time around. The problem with this is by having this we get to see how people can only learn about how they treat people after re-living a day on repeat which shouldn’t be the message here it should be more about learning to treat people everyone the same everyday.

MysteryThe mystery is mostly why Samantha is going to have re-live this day over and over which we don’t get hints to about either, but the message is more important but late to the party.

SettingsWe have all the traditional high school locations with the kids all living in massive houses with them all having successful parents that can by the big cars so they can act like they do.

Special EffectsWe have limited effects in this film which are only used when needed and are mostly just a few stunts here and there.

Final ThoughtsThis film has a strong message that gets completely sent the wrong way, we only get to live a day once, there is no other way of putting it, you do need to learn to treat the people fairly each day, the one day we get.

 

Overall: Miss-told story.

Rating