The Secret Garden (2020) Movie Review

Director: Marc Munden

Writer: Jack Thorne, Frances Hodgson Burnett (Screenplay)

Starring: Dixie Egerickx, Richard Hansell, David Verrey, Tommy Gene Surridge, Julie Walters, Maeve Dermody, Colin Firth, Isis Davis, Edan Hayhurst

Plot: An orphaned girl discovers a magical garden hidden at her strict uncle’s estate.


Tagline – Unlock Your Imagination

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Secret Garden starts as a young orphan girl Mary (Egerickx) finds a new home from her Indian residents back in England with her Uncle Archibald Craven (Firth) a man that is strict with how his home is run, keeping his son Colin (Hayhurst) away from everyone else.

Mary does struggle to adapt to this new way of life, until she finds herself a place on the land, a secret garden, which will continue to give her hope of a better life, away from the pain of losing a loved one.

Thoughts on The Secret Garden

Characters & Performances – Mary has come from the life of luxury in India, where she would have had people wait on her hand and foot, only she finds herself alone in this world with nobody else, given to her estranged Uncle to raise her, she needs to learn to adapt to this world if she is going to make it, with her sense of adventure helping her cope with the loss she has experienced. Mary does come off as very self-centred and selfish, leading her to need to learn to be more accepting of people around her. Dickon is a young man that works the grounds, he befriends Mary as they look to learn more about the secret garden, seemingly close to nature. Colin the son of the uncle that is kept away from everyone else in the house, believing he is ill, Mary is looking to help him break out of this mindset. Archibald Craven takes Mary in, but he is broken after the death of his wife, which leaves him not anting to care about everything else in her life. The performances through this film are solid enough, without being as strong as they should be.

StoryThe story here follows a young girl who becomes orphaned and taken in by her estranged Uncle that has closed himself off from the world, the young girl gets curious discovering a beautiful garden that brings her the first bit of light in her life for a long time, a place she wants to use to help cure the whole family. This is a story that is focused on showing how people will be dealing with loss in a different way and will need help to get over the biggest changes in their life. The magical side of the story doesn’t seem to hit hard enough and the characters do feel overly stuck up for us to get behind though.

ThemesThe Secret Garden does use the colour pallet to show the different location, with the beauty of the location of happiness, while the darker colours inside the estate, showing it is a place left in darkness, that needs light bought back into after the tragedy around it.

The Secret Garden is a solid story but it does seem to lack the magical that would make it standout even more.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – P – Precious Cargo (2016) Movie Review

Director: Max Adams

Writer: Max Adams, Paul V Seetachitt (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Mark- Paul Gosselaar, Claire Forlani, Jenna B Kelly, Nick Loeb, Daniel Bernhardt

Plot: A crime boss tries to make off with loot that belongs to another thief.


Tagline – Never steal from a thief

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Precious Cargo starts as we meet conman Jack (Gosselaar) who is always looking to make more money from the criminals to get by without needing to working too hard. When Jack’s ex, Karen (Forlani) returns to his life with a surprise and a new job.

The surprise is being pregnant, with the new job being one Karen has stolen off crime boss Eddie Pilosa (Willis) and now he wants the reward for the job he prepared.

Thoughts on Precious Cargo

Characters & Performances – Jack is a conman thief that has been dealing with arms dealers knowing how to plan a job with ease. He will end up getting a surprise visit from a former partner in need of help, drawing him into the biggest heist of his career. He will put together a team for the job, people he trusts. Mark-Paul Gosselaar does try to bring us the charming thief but does seem to struggle to give us the most convincing one we have seen. Eddie Pilosa is the crime lord that is hunting down Karen for the double cross, he wants the money and will do anything to make sure he gets it. Bruce Willis gives us a basic performance where he barely needs to do anything but talk on the phone. Karen is the ex-girlfriend that comes back into Jack’s life, looking for him to help him with her latest job, she always seems to be in control of the situations, but we never know what she is meant to be doing, who she is playing or is she being honest this time. Claire Forlani does a solid enough job in this role, which is the strongest of the main cast. The supporting cast will get a couple of laughs along the way, but don’t make much of an impact.

StoryThe story here follows a conman thief that gets drawn into a job by a former partner only to find himself getting involved in the middle of the battle between two thieves. This will get involved in the idea that someone will be drawn into needing to escape a life they are in by doing one more job and never knowing who to trust outside of this own team. It is a basic heist movie that doesn’t get too involved in planning, being more interested in doing the battle between the characters deciding who to trust.

ThemesPrecious Cargo gives us the basic action sequences, with a fun boat chase, but is dragged down with the basic ideas of comedy that do seem to miss more often than not. With location is used to show the beauty of the bright sunlight world of the beach resort.

 

Precious Cargo is a basic heist film, with basic action and a bored Bruce Willis.

Forget Everything and Run (2021) Movie Review

Forget Everything and Run – Typical Survival Movie

Director: Geoff Reisner, Jason Tobias

Writer: Geoff Reisner, Jason Tobias (Screenplay)

Starring: Marci Miller, Jason Tobias, Danny Ruiz, Cece Kelly, Susan Moore Harmon, Justin Dray

Plot: When a terrifying pathogen is released, one family will fight to save their children against a band of marauders, hellbent on revenge.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Forget Everything and Run starts as we meet the Allister family, Josephine (Miller), Ethan (Tobias), Josh (Ruiz) and Mia (Kelly) who are in the middle of a pathogen outbreak with people acting infected, as the family is left to figure out how toe survive in the wilderness.

As the family is looking to get through the most difficult time, they find themselves coming under attack from another couple Desiree (Harmon) and Lincoln (Dray) as they look to open their eyes to the bigger problems of the world.

Thoughts on Forget Everything and Run

Characters & Performances – When it comes to the characters, we get the Allister family, mother, Josephine that is willing to do anything to keep her family safe, in need of making a difficult decision when it comes, Ethan the father is the softer touch, but he actions have often led to more troubles along the way. Josh and Mia are the children that have been taught how to live in this world, but aren’t ready for what it offers them. We have seen these characters done many times before without this version making any side of impact in being original. The performances from the four are all strong without reaching the heights of the same kind of dynamic we saw in ‘A Quiet Place’. Desiree and Lincoln are the typical threat figures, offering a conversation as to why they might be different in this world.

StoryThe story here follows a family that are looking to survive in a world after a pathogen has wiped out many of the population, with them turning into blood hunger monsters or other people desperate to survive in this world, as the family finds themselves going head to head with another one just looking to survive. The idea that we are being placed into a world where infected people have taken over and people have found a new safety area is something we have seen before, it is something that always works. The conversations about surviving do add an extra dimension, as both sides just want that, which has led to the problems occurring. The weakness here comes from the title of the film ‘Forget Everything and Run’ this isn’t a constantly moving story, it is two main locations, which leaves us feeling flat from what is expected from the title.

ThemesForget Everything and Run is an infected population story that follows a family trying to remain isolated away from danger, using the weather conditions as a form of defence. As mentioned before, it does sound like we are going to have travelling in the film, but sadly we don’t, it is more planning for what could come next.

Signature Entertainment presents Forget Everything And Run on Digital Platforms 26th April

Forget Everything and Run is the survival story we have seen before, with potential of deeper meaning behind the outbreak.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – O – The Old Guard (2020) Movie Review

Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Writer: Greg Rucka (Screenplay)

Starring: Charlize Theron, Kiki Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Plot: A covert team of immortal mercenaries are suddenly exposed and must now fight to keep their identity a secret just as an unexpected new member is discovered.


Tagline – Whatever it takes.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Old Guard starts as we meet the group of mercenaries, Andy (Theron), Booker (Schoenaerts), Joe (Kenzari) and Nicky (Marinelli) who are called for any job, which will play into their own hands, being immortal. Their latest job is for Copley (Ejiofor) who double crosses them, exposing their secret, while gives the group a connection to a new immortal Nile (Layne) a soldier who is killed in action.

Andy brings Nile into the team, as they look to find Copley who has bigger plans for the mercenaries, knowing what they could bring the world, if they are able to capture them and keep their secret safe from the world.

Thoughts on The Old Guard

Characters – Andy is the oldest member of the group, she has found other immortals through the years, taught them a code and prepared them to fight in a world which would capture and destroy them if they could, she never makes the same contacts, while trying to avoid any footage of her existence have become the latest challenge for her. She must teach Nile the ropes as she looks to clear up the betrayal the team has faced. Nile is the marine that gets killed in action, who somehow survives, she doesn’t understand what is happening to her, and isn’t willing to go quietly with Andy, until she starts to learn the truth about what she is. Booker is the other lonely figure of the group, he saw his family die, while he lived on, usually the second to Andy when on any mission. Joe and Nicky complete the original unit, often played more for laughs. Copley is the man that others up the immortals, believing they could help fight disease, his actions lead to the group being hunted by the money hungry Merrick who will do anything to make more money.

PerformancesCharlize Theron is wonderful in the leading role, which is everything you would expect from the queen of the action roles. Kiki Layne brings the grounded side to the film, with the conflict skills to give us the same entry into the world. Matthias Schoenaerts does well through the film as the second in command living multiple lifetimes in regret. Chiwetel Ejiofor brings the misguided character who believes they could be right, while Harry Melling is fun as an over the top villain.

StoryThe story here follows a group of immortal mercenaries that find themselves targeted by a medical company that want to use their blood to help fight disease and make money, while the group looks to welcome in their newest member. This is based of a graphic novel, which will explain the over the top nature to certain things, mostly the deaths the immortals are going through. When it comes to the deeper meaning behind the actions of the group, it would have been even more entertaining to learn more of the overall discoveries, when it comes to dealing with the idea of being hunted down, it seems like it is something they would have experienced before and is generic for what we know about these movies. We are left wanting more from these characters, which is what we get with the story, which is a good introduction to them.

Action/FantasyThe action involved is fight sequences that are all choreographed well through the film, each going for a unique kill, which plays into the graphic novel stylings going on through the film. With the fantasy coming from the immortal characters, only not diving enough into the true meaning behind their immortally.

SettingsWe do see the characters head around the world, showing us how they will help people in need and fight against the people in power.


Scene of the Movie – London Fight Scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The impact the group have made on the world only seems be glimpsed at.

Final Thoughts This is a fun action movie that does seem to be the beginning of a bigger world, which we can’t wait to see more from.



Cats (2019) Movie Review

Director: Tom Hooper

Writer: Lee Hall, Tom Hooper (Screenplay) Andrew Lloyd Webber (Musical)

Starring: James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, Francesca Hayward, Laurie Davidson, Ian McKellen, Ray Winstone

Plot: A tribe of cats called the Jellicles must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new Jellicle life.


Tagline – The Must-See Musical Event 

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Cats starts when cat Victoria (Hayward) gets abandoned in the streets, when the other stray cats look to welcome her to their world, where they look to compete to enter a new Jellicle life, one that Mr Mistoffelees (Davidson) guides her through, meeting the different cats with different talents to win the attention, while the evil Macavity (Elba) lurks in the shadows, hoping to take this spot, by eliminating any competition.

Thoughts on Cats

Characters & Performances – Victoria is the latest cat to be thrown away by humans, she finds herself entering the Jellicles cat tribe on the streets, she must navigate this world learning the different talents of the other cats, she is the audience’s entrance into this world. This is one of the hardest films to judge performances, because there is so much terrible CGI around the acting, but when it comes to the singing, Francesca Hayward is one of the few stars in the film that manages to bring their a-game to the singing. Macavity is the evil cat that wants to take the spot in the new life, he will take any of the contenders to make sure he is the only one able to be selected using his magic to make them vanish. Grizabella is the outsider that was drawn by Macavity, only to find herself exiled to the outside world, alone, until Victoria offers her friendship. Deuteronomy is the cat the others must impress to get their chance to have a new life, the cats all respect her and she will find time for them. Jennifer Hudson gives us one of the only other good moments through the film with the Memory performance that could well have saved this movie from being completely awful.

StoryThe story here follows a young cat thrown out by their owner, who ends up trying to join a tribe of Jellicle cats looking to have a new life, where she must explore the world to learn what is wanted from the tribe. This is based on the musical that ran for decades and if the story is anything like the film, it does seem confusing because it does seem like a complete mess of a story. It is plenty of just introducing a character for a song and move on, while we do have an attempt of trying to get the message of letting people into life and accepting all, even if that does seem to get pushed away too often.

ThemesCats is a musical with only two songs that stand out, with the rest coming off like talking weird over singing, the special effects are dreadful for a movie with such a big budget, with nothing looking complete, and most looking completely creepy over convincing. The sets are just as confusing, with some being human size, while others are cat scale down size, just what happened.

Final Thoughts Cats, just what happened here?