North Hollywood (2021) Movie Review ‘Entertaining Coming-of-Age Film’

North Hollywood – Entertaining Coming-of-Age story


Director: Mikey Alfred

Writer: Mikey Alfred (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryder McLaughlin, Miranda Cosgrove, Vince Vaughn, Mikey Alfred, Aramis Hudson,

Plot: A kid must decide between choosing the future his father wants and following his dream of becoming a pro skater.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: North Hollywood starts as we meet high school student Michael (McLaughlin) who is reaching the crucial part of his life, where he must decide between college, working with his father Oliver (Vaughn) in construction or following his dreams of being a professional skater.

As Michael starts finally talking to his high school crush Rachel (Cosgrove), he starts to see his potential skating career take off, hanging out with a new group of people, while his father continues to push for him to make sure he plans for his future.

Thoughts on North Hollywood

Characters & Performances – Michael is the high school student, planning on moving to college, while harbouring dreams of becoming a professional skater. He has often lived in the shadow of his father’s shadow, always trying to keep him on the right path in life, with Michael wanting to take more chances in life, which will see him in that position where he doesn’t know what will happen next in his life. Ryder McLaughlin does give us a performance where we get to see the struggles in life, wanting something more, while not knowing what is best, the confliction his character is going through is in every scene. Rachel is the high school crush that Michael has waiting to get closer to for years, it is one of the things that will see him risk something more in life. Miranda Cosgrove does the basic side of this role well, she doesn’t get a chance to do much more than being potential love interest with her feet on the ground. Oliver is the father of Michael’s, he is strict because he knows how hard life will be on Michael, he is fair though, offering college or a chance to work with him, he is always willing to advice in life, struggling with the idea that he might not making something for himself. Vince Vaughn is the best part of the acting in this film, bringing a honest figure to life, a man that has seen the world and always wants the best for a loved one.

StoryThe story here follows a high school student that is facing the difficult decision on what to do next in his life, with his dreams of being a skater not being seen as a smart choice, with college or employment being what his father is pushing for. This is a coming-of-age story where a teenager who is about to enter adulthood must make the decision which is best for him, he knows whatever he picks, his life will change, his friendships will fade away, his father will be there for him though, but the importance of this decision will define him. This story might not offer much more than we have seen before but does everything it needs to for the film to become enjoyable.

ThemesNorth Hollywood is a comedy drama looking at the desire of a high school teenager wanting to become a pro skater, which will only pay if he is a success, leaving him in the middle of the position of whether he will be able to make it in this world. The North Hollywood setting shows people who are living in a dream world, but not a celebrity world.

North Hollywood will be available on Digital Download from 11th October.

Final Thoughts North Hollywood is an entertaining comedy drama.

Séance (2021) Movie Review ‘Scares Up a Treat’

Séance – Scares Up a Treat


Director: Simon Barrett

Writer: Simon Barrett (Screenplay)

Starring: Suki Waterhouse, Madisen Beaty, Inanna Sarkis, Ella-Rae Smith, Stephanie Sy, Djouliet Amara

Plot: Camille, a young woman who arrives at the Fairfield Academy following one of the student’s untimely and violent death.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Séance starts in the aftermath of an accident, Camille Meadows (Waterhouse) arrives at Fairfield Academy to replace the deceased student, where Camille must learn of the politics between the girls with Alice (Sarkis) leading the bully parade to welcome he.

When the girls perform a séance, they find themselves getting haunted by an unknown presence, Camille and Alice must learn to put their differences aside to figure out what it behind the haunting.

Thoughts on Séance

Characters & Performances – Camille Meadows is the new student to the school, she takes the recently deceased girls room and it doesn’t take long before she finds herself clashing with the school bullies. She won’t take it lying down, when she finds herself caught in the middle of a previous séance the girls summoned. She knows how to deal with the pranks the bullies are looking to pull on her and leads the investigation when one of the girls goes missing. Suki Waterhouse does bring this smarter figure to this world, one which will show us that have been in the world more than the boarding school. Alice is the lead of the bullies, along with the rest of the group they do what they want in the school, controlling the pranks they do on the students. She is the typical mean girl, quick to react to anything that goes against her. This is where the supporting cast does struggle to make an impact, all the bully group struggling to stand out from the crowd. When it comes to the film being set in a school, it does feel like we have only one teacher and the group involved, it never feels like there is anyone else there.

StoryThe story follows a new girl starting an exclusive boarding school after the death of one of the students, she must deal with the typical new girl treatments before finding herself in the middle of a series of hauntings, with the student vanishing. This does tend to follow the slasher style of horror, despite trying to play itself as a supernatural one. We know how the picking off selection tends to happen and despite certain things happening, the girls still play the idea that horror films don’t exist, making silly decisions when a friend has either gone missing or been killed. Once you step away from this, we get an entertaining story along the way, which will you leave trying to figure out the truth.

ThemesSéance is a horror mystery that will use the boarding school as the main location, showing us the girls will have to learn to trust each other through the events of the horror, which will fall into the slasher side of horror, despite wanting to make more of a use of an actual séance to create what is happening. The scares are slowly built up, coming more from the alone sequences, relying on the darkness for more effect.

Final Thoughts Séance is a creepy slasher, that doesn’t hold on some of the brutal scenes, only to struggle to build the world the vents take place in.

ABC Film Challenge – 90s Movies – # – Home Alone 3 (1997) Movie Review

Director: Raja Gosnell

Writer: John Hughes (Screenplay)

Starring: Alex D Linz, Olek Krupa, Rya Kihlstedt, Lenny von Dohlen, David Thornton, Haviland Morris

Plot: Alex Pruitt, an 8-year-old boy living in Chicago, must fend off international spies who seek a top-secret computer chip in his toy car.

Tagline – This Christmas, staying at home will be an adventure.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Home Alone 3 starts when a group of terrorists Petr (Krupa), Alice (Kihlstedt), Burton (Von Dohlen) and Earl (Thornton) lose a chip, forcing them to race to Chicago to get it back. They set up in a quiet neighbourhood, looking to get the job done quietly, but they are unaware of young Alex Pruitt (Linz) who has been off school with the chicken pots, seeing them break into the different homes.

Alex looks to stop the thieves and will need to make his own traps to make sure the terrorist don’t break into his own home.

Thoughts on Home Alone 3

ThoughtsHome Alone 3 is the latest film to come into the franchise, with this one putting the kid up against a group of terrorists who just want a computer chip, forcing the kid needing to defend his home. This does bring a bigger serious of peril that the kid will find himself in, even if the terrorist don’t plan on killing anyone, meaning you might end up having more sympathy for them. The traps created are a lot of fun and do feel like they are painful as they are planned for. The comedy from the film does seem to rely on how people react to each incident the characters go through. The performances are strong throughout, with the first supporting role from Scarlett Johansson being one you will remember for a while.

Final Thoughts Home Alone 3 is an easy to watch family film that the whole family can enjoy, despite never reaching the heights of the original.

The Tax Collector (2020) Movie Review ‘Vile Violent Movie’

Director: David Ayer

Writer: David Ayer (Screenplay)

Starring: Bobby Soto, Cinthya Carmona, Shia LeBeouf, Jose Conejo Martin, Cheyenne Rae Hernandez

Plot: A “tax collector” working for a local crime lord finds his family’s safety compromised when the rival of his boss shows up in L.A. and upends the business.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Tax Collector starts as we meet the family man David Cuevas (Soto) who when he isn’t around his family works with Creeper (LaBeouf) for a crime gang in LA as Tax Collectors. The pair have a reputation of getting the money cleaned up, striking fear on anybody who crosses them.

When Conejo (Martin) arrives in town, David finds his family’s life in trouble, needing to step up to a new crime boss looking to make a play in LA.

Thoughts on The Tax Collector

ThoughtsThe Tax Collector is an action crime thriller that dives deep into the criminal underworld in LA, following different members of different gangs, with one trying to have an honest life on the side, which will come and bite him when a new gang leader arrives in town. This is the typical gang nonsense, where it is, we kill someone ti is good, but if they kill someone it is bad, leaving a river of blood of other criminals and gangs who think they are above everyone else. David the lead character is so delusional that he believes God gives him the right for 2 lives, while we know that Creeper is a bad figure, we just don’t get enough to dive into where he could have gone. This feels like a vile movie that is more about trying to be edgy with violent action, only playing into the painful stereotypes Hollywood wants to throw at us.

Final Thoughts The Tax Collector is a violent vile movie with no redeeming qualities about it.

Amazon Queen (2021) Movie Review ‘East Watch Action Film’

Amazon Queen – Easy Watch Action Film


Director: Marlin Darrah

Writer: Rick Cullis, Marlin Darrah, Richard Lasser (Screenplay)

Starring: Carly Diamond Stone, Carson Grant, Nick Dreselly Thomas, Massi Furlan, Alfonso DiLuca, Vicky Dawson, Clayton Meek

Plot: A group of tourists joins the Amazon Forest riverboat “Queen” as it ventures upriver, to visit indigenous villages and explore jungle habitats. But a dark cloud of thievery and menace thunders aboard, threatening all with death.

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Amazon Queen starts when captains, Jackie Santos (Stone) and Flynn McIntyre (Thomas) looks to take their Amazon Queen with tourist out on the river. They are joined by mother Maggie (Dawson) daughter Leilah (Encarnacion), documentarian Sam Romero (DiLuca) and two bank robbers Machado (Furlan) and Silva (Meek) who are looking for their stolen loot, which crashed on the river.

When the journey isn’t going fast enough, Machado decides to take the boat hostage to rush to the location of their treasure, wanting to learn the truth about his brother.

Thoughts on Amazon Queen

Characters & Performances – Jackie Santos is one of the captains on of the boat, she knows the couple need money to keep the boat afloat, which does have a lot of history in her family. She gets a surprise on the latest trip, where she will look to do the right thing for the tourists when things go wrong. Machado is the criminal who wants to find the money and his brother after a heist gone wrong, he wants to do it quietly, but must take things into his own hands, taking the boat hostage, he is determined to make sure he gets what he wants, willing to do anything to make it happen. When we look deeper at the characters, we do seem to lack anyone that does have the charisma to standout, with most feeling like everyday people, no big hero stepping up, no completely twisted villains, it just feels flatter than anything else. The performances don’t make the characters standout in the way they should for the action film this wants to be.

StoryThe story here follows a river cruise that gets taken over by robbers who want to use the boat to find a missing loot that was stolen from them, which crash landed in the middle of the Amazon River. This is a story that could have gone in a different direction, with the film wanting to make sure we meet everyone, instead of letting the action unfold in the story. The idea of travelling to a dangerous location to find a missing treasure does work well for the film, it makes sense they try to do it in a calm way, instead of all guns blazing, but as soon as they take the boat hostage, the tone doesn’t seem to match up, because it is never intense enough with the threat they could be facing.

ThemesAmazon Queen is an action movie that uses the beautiful Amazon River as the backdrop for the adventure to happen, showing us just how much danger, the tourists could be in, once the criminals want to take over. We don’t however get much action, with most being tame for what it could have been, leaving the film feeling a lot flatter than it should have.

Final Thoughts Amazon Queen is a by the book late night action film, that just lacks the intensity to shine.