Battle Scars (2020) Movie Review

Director: Samuel Gonzalez Jr

Writer: Samuel Gonzalez Jr, Christopher Lang (Screenplay) Samuel Gonzalez Jr, Christopher Lang, Michael Kuper (Story)

Starring: Arturo Castro, Jonathan Peacy, Kit Lang, Arielle Brachfeld, Laure Malone Hunt, Jason Vail

Plot: After his best friend is drafted to fight in Vietnam, a young man must grapple with the reality of life before and after war.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Stark Reality of a War Veteran

Story: Battle Scars starts as Michael (Lang) is graduating high school, only for him to learn that Vinny (Castro) his best friend has been drafted to the army for the Vietnam war, not willing to let Vinny go along, Michael agrees to go with Vinny, to keep him safe.

In the war Michael loses a close friend and finds himself coming home to a not so favourable welcome, dealing with the nightmares of his experiences he suffered over there, turning to whatever, he can to survive.

Thoughts on Battle Scars

Characters – Michael is the main character here, starting of as an enthusiastic student ready to start the big world, only to agree to join his best friends in Vietnam, just as his girlfriend announces she is pregnant, he wants to show his loyalty to his friends, but upon returning he is a different man, a broken man, a lost man, facing no future, left to be a single father, a role he isn’t prepared for, struggling just to keep a roof over his head. We do meet the best friends that are lost at war, the people he meets after war, the people that tried to support, the others that use him and the rest that abuse him

PerformancesKit Lang in the leading role is brilliant, he shows each difficult moment of his life upon his return from war, show us just how difficult returning to society is. The rest of the cast are good, but not enough of them are part of the main story for long enough.

StoryThe story here follows a young man fresh out of high school that agrees to go to Vietnam to support his drafted friend, only to see the world in a very different light when he returns, as he struggles to re-enter society the way he had imagined he would, dealing with his own demons of his time at war. This story does highlight the struggles with PTSD that the soldiers returning from war suffered through, we see how without help the soldiers life spiralled out of control, without the study of the problems they faced, they are left with nothing in the world. We see just how much of his life changed, how he never recovered and always tried to see some positive in life.

WarThe war side of this film shows us more of the aftermath of being there, rather than the conflict itself.

SettingsThe film shows us the different locations that Michael is forced to find himself in as he tries to rebuild his life, some are places no one should be forced towards.

Scene of the Movie – The robbery decision.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We jump forward in time a lot between what happens in the life.

Final Thoughts This is an important drama that does show us just how important looking after war veterans is, and how there should be more made available to help them.

Overall: Important Drama.

The Speed Cubers (2020) Netflix Movie Review

Director: Sue Kim

Plot: Discover the special bond — and uncommon competitive spirit — shared by the world’s Rubik’s Cube-solving record breakers in this documentary.

Runtime: 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Rubik Cubing Becoming the Highlight

Story: The Speed Cubers follows the build up to the 2018 world championship of Rubik Cube solving on different size levels, from 3×3 rising up through 4×4, 5×5, 6×6, with one- and two-handed styles being used. We see the two favourites lives Feliks Zemdegs the original superstar in the sport, who held all the records before Max Park arrived on the scene, started breaking records and taking the world title in the previous event.

The two are friends, with Feliks encouraging Max to continue to break his records, while getting to show the reality of what is happening with the players, growing up, becoming adults, they must face the reality of life and getting a job, while the younger players have the time to become the best in the world.

Thoughts on The Speed Cubers

Final Thoughts The Speed Cubers brings us into this world with ease, showing how much the competition means to the players, how much this world has helped Max Park develop, as his autism had given his parents problems, this world bought him friendship and even understanding social situations like never before. Seeing what this means to the players, while maintain the friendship created between Feliks and Max is great to see and we do get to see in other competitive worlds. To make this seem like an event we would like to watch is great and showing the art behind perfecting the skill shows us just how much it means to everyone involved.

Overall: Entertaining Documentary.

Friend of the World (2020) Movie Review

Director: Brian Patrick Butler

Writer: Brian Patrick Butler (Screenplay)

Starring: Nick Young, Alexandra Slade, Michael C Burgess, Kathryn Schott, Kevin Smith, Luke Anthony Pensabene

Plot: After a catastrophic war, an eccentric general guides a filmmaker through a ravaged bunker.

Tagline – You have been saved. This does not mean you are safe.

Runtime: 58 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Dark Comedy

Story: Friend of the World starts as Diane (Slade) finds herself waking up surrounded by dead bodies on the outskirts of a bunker, she finds herself a way in, where General Gore (Young) has been living alone for so long, prepared for what has happened on the outside world.

As Diane learns to deal with Gore’s brutish ways, she starts to learn more about what has been happening in the real world.

Thoughts on Friend of the World

Final ThoughtsFriend of the World brings us the dark twist on the end of the world idea, bringing us some a person in Diane who doesn’t know the complete problem in the world, with the general that will go to extreme limits to remain safe. The two do clash easily, showing their differences through the film, while trying to put these differences aside. The environment is filled with terror, with each room seemingly offering something new, almost like a lesson for Diane along the way. Both Nick Young and Alexandra Slade are both wonderful to watch, showing us the mindsets of both of their characters. We do have a few unusual spots in the film, with certain bits trying for comedy that doesn’t seem to fit the dark mind of Gore, who when he spins iconic quotes usually gets the laughs required.

Overall: Very Dark Comedy Sci-fi.

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – X – 10 Things We Should Do Before We Break Up (2020) Movie Review

This is under X because of the struggles with relationships

Director: Galt Niederhoffer

Writer: Galt Niederhoffer (Screenplay)

Starring: Christina Ricci, Hamish Linklater, Mia Sinclair Jenness, Brady Jenness, Lindsey Broad, Jon Abrahams

Plot: After Abigail, a single mom of two, becomes pregnant following a one-night stand with Ben, the unlikely pair try to make a go of it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 14 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Little Romance Film

Story: 10 Things We Should Do Before We Break Up starts when single mother Abigail (Ricci) get tricked into a blind date with Benjamin (Linklater) the two have a spark, an unusual date of planning what they would do on in a relationship before it ended, which does start like a normal fun date, only after the relationship is going well, Abigail becomes pregnant.

The two must decide what to do with this news, with Benjamin being unsure of what to do next, with Abigail knowing what it would be like to have a child, deciding whether they could be a couple that raise a kid or not.

Thoughts on 10 Things We Should Do Before We Break Up

Characters – Abigail is the single mother that has gotten to the stage of her life where she has accepted her life, seeing her kids over certain days, not searching for love, until her friend sets her up with a stranger. She gets pregnant and wants to keep the baby, believing this would be the change to help her feel whole again. Benjamin is the man that has been set up with Abigail, he never wanted kids or to be involved with someone with kids, until he tries to grow up to maybe have his own family. We do meet the kids, they are Wallace and Luke, who are like against Benjamin to start with, but can be won over in time.

PerformancesChristina Ricci brings the spark to her role, we can see the struggles she is dealing with, as well as the desire to have more in her life, the happiness she desires in her life too. Hamish Linklater shows how reluctant someone would be to getting into a relationship, while showing how much they will try to change.

StoryThe story here follows a single mother that gets involved in a relationship with a man that isn’t ready for kids, with her ending up getting pregnant. We follow how the two try to make a relationship out of the situation and figure out whether they can make it or not. This is a story that starts of like a meet cute style of trying to bring us a new idea of trying to get something fresh out of relationship. Saying, this we do get to deal with the traditional relationship, showing the ups and downs through one as the couple need to figure out if they are right together or not. It is a nice easy watch, that will get a few laughs.

RomanceThe romance side of the film shows us just how difficult love can be for people in different stages of their life.

SettingsThe film uses the home setting of the most part, it shows us just how the lives of everyone in that house will change during the pregnancy.

Scene of the Movie – The list being made.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too short, with an ending that could have seen more.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun and enjoyable romance that does show us just how complicated relationships can be for everyone involved, with Christina Ricci take the front and centre role with ease.

Overall: Enjoyable.

The Tent (2020) Movie Review

Director: Kyle Couch

Writer: Kyle Couch (Screenplay)

Starring: Tim Kaiser, Lulu Dahl, Shlby Bradley, Christine Marie, Jeannine Thompson

Plot: An apocalyptic event known as The Crisis has devastated David’s world leaving him to rely on survival tactics learned from childhood. Isolated and alone, David has taken refuge in a tent on the edge of the wilderness. Soon enough, another survivor emerges, Mary, who immediately begins questioning David’s tactics and ultimately putting them in the crosshairs of “Those Who Walk In Darkness”, unseen creatures that may or may not be responsible for The Crisis. 

Tagline – Survive

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Deeper Than You Can Imagine

Story: The Tent starts in the aftermath of an apocalyptic event known as the Crisis, David (Kaiser) has escaped to isolation where he is always trying to elude capture from the threat, when Mary (Dahl) finds David injured in need of help, she offers him help and the two must learn to work together despite not wanting to be working together.

As the two start showing weaknesses in human interaction, they come under attack from the mysterious whispers, that have been hunting the remaining survives on the planet, where the two need to decide to take a stand or remain hidden from the world.

Thoughts on The Tent

Characters – David Has been living in a tent after the crisis event, he has kept himself away from trouble, being prepared for everything that comes his way, until he becomes caught in a trap where he finally needs help, he must learn that not everyone or everything is going to be a threat to him. Mary is the mysterious stranger that brings help to David, she is looking for shelter and believes the two could become stronger together in the battle to survive. We do only get glimpses of other characters in the film, who fill important moments, but aren’t the key to the deeper side of the story.

PerformancesTim Kaiser and Lulu Dahl are great together, they show the edge to their characters, we get to see more depth in the performances later in the film, which makes this even more impressive with the performances involved.

StoryThe story here follows two strangers who meet in a post-apocalyptic world and look to survive the threat outside the tent, needing to work together to survive. This is a story that goes in a direction you truly don’t see coming, which is very refreshing, it is such a clever way to use this idea, that you need to take time to analyse if there are any hints along the way. This story does have an important message that needs to be told that will shine a light on what the true meaning in the story. The level of detail about surviving is a standout because we go through plenty of details about how to make it through this new world.

ThrillerThe thriller side of this film circles around the terrors that could come from outside the tent, what is hunting down our two main characters.

SettingsThe film spends most of the time inside the tent, where we focus on a plan to escape, while hearing something on the outside, giving us the creation of the tension in the film.

Scene of the Movie – The final third of the movie.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We do have one too many cutbacks to pre-event.

Final Thoughts This is a super smart thriller that does something you won’t see coming to bring attention to a real-life matter, with an excellent attention to detail.

Overall: Excellent Thriller