ABC Film Challenge – Catch Up 2020 – W – The Warrant (2020) Movie Review

Director: Brent Christy

Writer: Shea Sizemore (Screenplay)

Starring: Neal McDonough, Steven R McQueen, Casper Van Dien, Annabeth Gish, Gregory Cruz, Greg Perrow

Plot: After fighting in the Civil War, two Union Army buddies find themselves on opposite sides of the law with the post-war peace at risk.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Dull Western

Story: The Warrant starts in 1864 during the Civil War, John Breaker (McDonough) and his son Cal (McQueen) fought on the union side, next to a more aggressive soldier The Saint (Van Dien). After the war in 1869, John is a sheriff in a small town, where his ways have caused problems in the past.

When Cal now a US Marshal comes back to his father for help in tracking down The Saint, the memories of the war come back, with the need to stop the deadly outlaw before they get caught in the crossfire.

Thoughts on The Warrant

Characters – John Breaker was one of the best soldiers in the Civil War, he fought with honour, becoming an example to his son, who fought next to him, he has become a local sheriff post-war and now he must work with his son again to track down a deadly outlaw and former friend. Cal is John’s son, he is a US Marshall, travelling around hunting down the outlaws of America, turning to his father for the latest bounty. The Saint is notorious outlaw that once fought alongside the Breakers, he has built a gang which is now caught the attention of the government and needs to be stopped once and for all.

PerformancesNeal McDonough does struggle in the leading role, a position he would normal perform with ease in, it is in fact Casper Van Dien you want to watch the most, with his scenery chewing performance.

StoryThe story here follows a father and son who fought together in the civil war now needing to work together to hunt down a fellow soldier who has become a notorious outlaw. When you type in western story in google, you will without any doubt find this generic idea for a story, offering nothing fresh and ending up feeling flat and uninspiring, we get nothing we haven’t seen before and a story that feels more like a stronger episode of a western TV show.

WesternThis is everything western without being anything we haven’t seen before.

SettingsThe film uses the post-war landscape to show how the rebuilding had happened, but the actions were still violent, it could have been any woodland area.

Scene of the Movie – The Saint getting what he wants.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The flat story.

Final Thoughts This is a flat western that brings nothing new to the table and ends up feeling flat throughout the film.

Overall: Flat Western.

The White Tiger (2021) Movie Review

The White Tiger – A Brilliant Examination of Class in India

Director: Ramin Bahrani

Writer: Ramin Bahrini (Screenplay) Aravind Adiga (Book)

Starring: Priyanka Chopra, Rajkummar Rao, Adarsh Gourav, Mahesh Manjrekar, Perrie Kapernaros

Plot: The epic journey of a poor Indian driver who must use his wit and cunning to break free from servitude to his rich masters and rise to the top of the heap.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The White Tiger starts as we meet Balram (Gourav) a young man from India that grew up in the poor part of the country, known as the darkness, he knows he wants better only he believes he will only ever be a servant, finding a role as a driver for Ashok (Rao) and his wife Pinky (Chopra).

As the three become friends, despite Balram still working for them, they show him respect as an employee, rather than seeing as a servant, an incident changes everything, with the elders looking for Balram to take the fall, this is when he decides he needs to stop letting the rich take advantage of the poor.

Thoughts on The White Tiger

Characters & Performances – Balram grew up in the poorest part of India, he never got an education or facing much of a future, until he takes a job as a driver, seeing himself as a servant, working for one of the richest families around, he is treated badly until he starts working for the son of the family who has seen more of the world, places where servants are treated with respect, he sees the good in him and his wife, but always finds himself back at the bottom of the food chain. He is our narrator and we learn from the opening that he has made it rich, we are learning how this happened and how he refused to let the rich walk over the poor. Adarsh Gourav gives us the strongest performance in the film, seeing the moments where he is breaking down are the most powerful moments in the film. Ashok is the son of the family that give Balram the job, he has spent time in America, which has seen him open his eyes to treating people more equally, sticking up for Balram, but always being in his father shadow of traditions. Rajkummar Rao does everything very well through the film, showing the difficulties of being from power, wanting to be more accepting, but not understanding the divide. Pinky is the wife of Ashok who has always pushed him to treat people better, she is sick of the divides in the country and pushes for the family to treat Balram with respect, challenging the traditions of class in the country. Priyanka Chopra does bring us a strong character one we would have liked to have seen more off in the film. We do get a host of elders who all are looking at different people through different eyes who could both make a break the careers, caught up in the traditions instead of forward thinking.

StoryThe story here follows the life of a young man who grew up in the poor side of India to become a driver for a powerful family, giving him a chance to learn about the world and put himself into a position of power, a place where he is telling the story of how he got there. The story will give us an examination of class in India, seeing how the poor are never given much of a chance to make it in life, expected to work for the rich as servants, not employees, we focus on how one man looked to break the traditions in the culture after learning from everything that he sees as wrong in the previous methods. The one big weakness does come from the narration meaning we know success is going to happen, so anything truly bad is only a stepping stone or learning curve for the man.

ThemesThe White Tiger is a slick crime drama that shows how one man started at the bottom and worked his way up from servant to business man who never imagined making the money he could have in life, we are focused more on the cultural change happening in India, moving away from masters and slaves and more into the business world of opportunities and business.

The White Tiger is a smart, slick and stylish crime drama bringing to light the culture change in India.

Synchronic (2019) Movie Review

Synchronic – Stunning Concept

Director: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead

Writer: Justin Benson (Screenplay)

Starring: Jamie Dornan, Anthony Mackie, Katie Aselton, Ally Ioannides, Bill Oberst Jr, Natasha Tina Liu

Plot: Two New Orleans paramedics’ lives are ripped apart after they encounter a series of horrific deaths linked to a designer drug with bizarre, otherworldly effects.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Synchronic starts as we meet two paramedics, Dennis (Dornan) and Steve (Mackie) who deal with long shifts and injuries, illnesses and deaths on their routines. Steve does find himself getting some bad personal news, while the pair start to see an increased number of strange cases and injuries coming their way.

Steve starts to look into what happened to Dennis’s daughter Brianna (Ioannides) who vanishes suddenly, leading him to start taking a drug that others a different worldly experience, one that could see him try and find her.

Thoughts on Synchronic

Characters & Performances – Steve is one half of a paramedic team, the bachelor of the pair, he has a reputation for being a ladies man and doesn’t mind this, when the cases the pair are called to start becoming strange, he starts to investigate more and when it gets personal, he starts to dive into the drug world to learn about a new drug that will give him an experience unlike anything anyone could imagine. Anthony Mackie takes this leading role and runs with it, showing us the confusion and determination to learn his character goes through, trying to explain everything. Dennis is the married partner of Steve’s he has a rebellious teenage daughter and a new baby, he relationship is becoming more strained with his wife, he is trying to fix everything, feeling helpless when his daughter goes missing, pushing Steve away, until he becomes the only one who could answer the mystery. Jamie Dornan is strong in this role, with his role feeling smaller, while Mackie gets the bulk of the most interesting side of the film. Brianna is the rebellious daughter that has a strong friendship to Steve who she sees as an Uncle figure, along with her father Dennis, she does disappear, causing the two to try and figure out the truth. Tara is Dennis’s wife that knows why Steve isn’t always welcome around her friends, she does go through the same struggles as Dennis when their daughter vanishes. Katie Aselton and Ally Ioannides fill these two roles, where they might not get much screen time, but their importance drives the story.

StoryThe story here follows two paramedics that are dealing with a strange amounts of injuries, that don’t make logical sense and when one of their family members goes missing, it drives them down a hole with answer they never expected. This story does bring us an interesting concept that will become intriguing as, we could see everything going anywhere through the film. The journey Steve gets to go on could simply go anywhere, which will easily engage the audience that want to see just where the next step will go, it does lead us to not wanting to talk to much about how this happens, but the experiment side he conducts, keeps us enjoying how it would unfold.

ThemesSynchronic is a sci-fi film that is mind-bending taking us to a place we wouldn’t even imagine it could go, taking the settings all over the place, which will only keep us wanting to see more.

Signature Entertainment will release Synchronic on home premiere January 29.

Synchronic is one of the most mind-bending movies you will see, continuing to show the talents of the directing pair, who will constantly challenge the audience.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2020 – V – Antebellum (2020) Movie Thoughts

This is under V because of the lead character Veronica.

Director: Gerard Bush, Christopher Renz

Writer: Gerard Bush, Christopher Renz (Screenplay)

Starring: Janelle Monae, Jack Huston, Kiersey Clemons, Jena Malone, Tongayi Chirisa, Gabourey Sidibe, Marque Richardson

Plot: Successful author Veronica Henley finds herself trapped in a horrifying reality and must uncover the mind-bending mystery before it’s too late.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Antebellum starts as Eden (Monae) one of the many slaves working under Captain Jasper (Huston), being sold to Elizabeth (Malone) where one of her few friends in Julia (Clemons) another woman left with no option to work.

We jump to the modern era with Veronica (Monae) a successful author that has been having the nightmares of her past on the plantation and on a night out with her girlfriends, she learns the truth about this reality.

Thoughts on Antebellum

Final Thoughts Antebellum is a movie that is very difficult to talk about without giving away too many spoilers, while the two different time periods show the different times for the people involved, from slaves to modern day icons of industries. The story does feel like it does have too much going on, because when you put together the truth, it would impossible to see how certain moments would be happening all together. The acting in the film is strong throughout, with Janelle Monae being great to watch through both sides of everything. It is the story that is the biggest weakness, because it just ends up not connecting in a way which would make sense.

12 Hour Shift (2020) Movie Review

12 Hour Shift – Deviously Dark

Director: Brea Grant

Writer: Brea Grant (Screenplay)

Starring: Angela Bettis, David Arquette, Chloe Farnworth, Mick Foley, Kit Williamson, Nikea Gamby-Turner

Plot: Bodies start to pile up when a drug-user nurse and her cousin try to find a replacement kidney for an organ trafficker.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: 12 Hour Shift starts as Mandy (Bettis) is starting her 12-hour-shift as a nurse, she takes a couple of drugs to keep her going, while preparing the deal with her cousin Regina (Farnworth) to transfer organs to an organ dealer Nicholas (Foley).

When the exchange doesn’t go as planned, Regina turns to Mandy to get another kidney, which will se the pair looking to create a number of potential victims, before the bodies start piling up.

Thoughts on 12 Hour Shift

Characters & Performances – Mandy is a drug abusing nurse that has been transporting organs with her cousin on a side business for a while, her latest deal seems to be done, with her usual cold personality coming off with the patients, she is forced into getting another kidney when her cousin messes up, leading to her needing to work around the hospital in search for someone about to die, cleaning up the mess left in her way. Angela Bettis does bring this constantly busy character to life with ease. Jefferson is a convict bought into the hospital, he is the prime suspect when the bodies start turning up, always in the shadows of Mandy’s night. David Arquette looks like he has fun with this supporting character, though we don’t see enough of what he could have bought to this film. Regina the cousin who transports the organs, she does get easily distracted and becomes dumb character through the events. She is trying to fix the error she has made which sees her only making more. Chloe Farnworth plays this role well, keeping everything together, not hitting the over the top silly, hitting the dumb role well. The rest of the supporting characters are fun through the film, each offer something different, the odd laugh along the way.

StoryThe story here follows the 12-hour-shift for a drug abusing, organ dealing nurse after the deal goes wrong and people start dying in the hospital. This is a story that does take place over one night which does show us the chaos involved in the story, it does cram plenty into the night, with lots of mystery, comedy and will get us wondering who will make it through the night alive. Most of the story does follow Mandy needing to keep everything under control, while Regina just makes things more complicated for her, which will add to the humour in the film.

Themes12 Hour Shift does give us a very dark tone of comedy, with how certain scenes unfold, with colourful characters that show us just how many different people you might well be working with. We don’t dive into enough horror, even if we have the mystery about the bodies piling up, turning more into an action film about getting out alive. The film is mostly set inside the hospital, which will contain the action going on through the film, within the contain corridors and different patients ‘s rooms.

Final Thoughts 12 Hour Shift is a dark comedy that will get laughs to cover up the chaos going on through the film.

FrightFest Presents and Signature Entertainment present 12 Hour Shift on Digital Platforms 25th January 2021