Liza, Liza, Skies Are Grey (2015) Movie Review

Director: Terry Sanders

Writer: Terry Sander (Screenplay)

Starring: Madison Iseman, Mikey Madison, Kristin Minter, Valarie Rae Miller, James Austin Kerr, Kris Park, Sean H Scully

Plot: A coming-of-age California motorcycle road trip set in the 60’s, combining elements of “Romeo & Juliet” and “The Odyssey”.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Life Experience Movie

Story: Liza, Liza, Skies are Grey starts in the summer of 1966, Liza (Madison) is seeing the changes in the world, with the draft taking her friends, and her relationship with Brett (Scully) is starting to get serious, with the pair deciding to go on a road trip on is motorbike over the summer, enjoying the open country.

As the young couple travel, they get to experience the best and worst of life, knowing these moments are going to be the ones they remember for years to come.

Thoughts on Liza, Liza, Skies are Grey

Characters – Liza is the teenage girl that is starting to experience the first stages of growing up in the 1960s, she want the perfect moments in her life, she doesn’t have the strongest relationship with her mother and wants to experience love with her boyfriend Brett, see the world that might not be there tomorrow, due to the uncertainty the future has with the problems in America. Brett is the boyfriend that has been forced around the country with family members, he will help Liza see the country being one of the honest guys in the world, that wants to give Liza the time of her life. We only focus on the two lovers, with the people in their lives, including Liza mother that doesn’t approve of the couple.

PerformancesMikey Madison does bring the innocent side to her role, showing us just how much it would feel to go further in life, with her chemistry with Sean H Scully who does bring us a bad boy with a heart of gold to life with ease.

StoryThe story here follows two young lovers as they look to escape their lives and have a summer they can remember together and experience life in a way they couldn’t have imagined. The story uses the backdrop of the uncertainty of the future in the 1960s America, with worries about nuclear war and the change environment people are living through, it shows why the couple take their chance, they know it would be their only chance to experience the world, before everything changes. It is a traditional love story one that will create memories that will be the most important part of their lives.

SettingsThe road trip setting helps create the backdrop which gives us spots of beauty along the way.


Scene of the Movie – Any scene that makes you want to stop and explore the landscape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The random thugs, don’t really make the threat they could have been.

Final Thoughts This is a fun life experience movie that shows us just how difficult finding love can make you want to break away from the normal life.

Overall: Enjoyable Road Trip Film.

Jack O’Connell Weekend – This is England (2006) Movie Review

Director: Shane Meadows

Writer: Shane Meadows (Screenplay)

Starring: Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham, Jo Hartley, Andrew Shim, Vicky McClure, Joseph Gilgun, Rosamund Hanson

Plot: A young boy becomes friends with a gang of skinheads. Friends soon become like family, and relationships will be pushed to the very limit.


Tagline – Run with the crowd, stand alone, you decide.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Gritty, Hard Hitting Reality Check

Story: This is England starts as young boy Shaun (Turgoose) is struggling with the death of his father in conflict in 1983, he gets picked on at school, he doesn’t fit in, until a group of skinheads led by Woody (Gilgun) welcoming him into their circle of friends for an afternoon of trouble, while his mother Cynth (Hartley) isn’t completely happy with this group, she does see him being happy for the first time in years.

When the other leader of the group Combo (Graham) gets out of prisons, he brings a more aggressive nature to what the gang wants to be, despite Woody, just wanting it to be friends hanging out.

Thoughts on This is England

Characters – Shaun is a 12-year-old boy that has suffered with the loss of his own father’s death in the Falklands, he gets bullied by the other school kids and has always just been left feeling alone in the world. The only people that let him in are Woody and the gang of skin heads who just want to hang out and soon gets drawn into a darker side by the more aggressive leaders of the gang. Combo is the older leader of the gang that doesn’t hold back with his hatred to other races in his country, he will fight anybody who goes again his gang too, being a horrendous role model for Shaun. Cynth is the mother of Shaun, she wants to see her son enjoying his life more but is getting worried about his own life choices. Woody is the member of the skin head gang that invites Shaun into the gang, he wants to help him fight back against the bullies, by offering somebody to hang out with.

PerformancesThomas Turgoose in the leading role is fantastic as we see just how he is dealing with his own grief in all the wrong places. Stephen Graham steals the show with his hyper aggressive character, while the rest of the cast do make us feel like we are watching mates hanging out.

StoryThe story here follows a 12-year-old boy that ends up joining a skinhead gang after he struggles to find a way to deal with the grief in his life from his father’s death. The story does tackle just how difficult grief could be for the children of the victims of war, with Shaun having his school friends pick on him because of his father’s death, which in todays, not the 80s wouldn’t be acceptable in anyway, with everybody being more supportive. The idea of joining the gang and just how the gang soon starts to consume his life, effecting his behaviour shows how being given the wrong lines to follow will not make life any easier. We do see how the world has changed since the 80s and how the skinhead culture should never be forced onto anybody.

CrimeThe crime world we get placed into here it, involves the violent behaviour of the skinhead gangs to anybody that doesn’t fit into their profile.

SettingsThe film is set in the midlands of the UK which does show the neighbours that would have been struggling in the 1980s.


Scene of the Movie – The first day out with the gang.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – 12-year-old dating an 18-year-old seems weird.

Final Thoughts This film does show the violence being pushed onto people if they can’t deal with grief when they have nobody else in their lives.

Overall: Violent Drama.

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – B – Beowulf (2007)

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Writer: Neil Gaiman, Roger Avary (Screenplay)

Starring: Ray Winstone, Crispin Glover, Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich, Anthony Hopkins, Robin Wright

 

Plot: The warrior Beowulf must fight and defeat the monster Grendel who is terrorizing Denmark, and later, Grendel’s mother, who begins killing out of revenge.


Tagline – I will kill your monster!

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappointing and Dull

 

Story: Beowulf starts when a Danish kingdom ruled by Hrothgar comes under attack from a creature known as Grendel, he takes plenty of lives and the King puts up half his kingdoms gold for anyone who can kill Grendel.

This brings Beowulf to the land, where his reputation has seen him kill monsters the world over, while he might clash with Unferth, he is ready for the biggest battle of his life even if Grendel isn’t the biggest threat that he will face.

 

Thoughts on Beowulf

 

Characters – Beowulf is the great warrior from fable, known to be able to defeat any enemy in battle, he comes in search of treasure with hi latest battle, one that will see him become king and need to make up for his own past mistakes. Hrothgar is the king that calls for a warrior to come and fix the problem terrorising the kingdom, he also wants to make up for his past errors. Grendel’s mother is behind the creatures that attack, using he seductive ways to get the men to fall for her ways. We fill out of the characters with the creatures, the loyal soldiers that fight next to Beowulf and the queen always left to be the victims of love.

StoryThe tale of Beowulf is one of the most interesting tales of folklore, it shows how a warrior came from the seas to rid a kingdom of a creature only to become the next target of the figure behind the creature. The problem with how the story takes place because we seem to focus on the idea of 3D over well shot story, the myth never feels real as things unfold either, we drag along to see the twists in the story and nothing feel like a threat it could be. This is a let down in story telling for a fable that could be an epic on he big screen.

Action/FantasyThe action in the film is the large-scale battles which should be breath-taking only for the 3D focus taking over too often, the fantasy side of the film shows us just what could amaze with the creatures coming from the folklore.

SettingsThe settings show us just where the kingdom is set for defence from any attack, while becoming weak to the Grendel attack.

AnimationThe animation involved does feel bad now, it was a style which was being tried and just never made it to the mainstream.


Scene of the Movie –
The heart of the monster.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The wink he is naked let’s put something to cover his modest front and centre.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing animated movie that just plods along way to slowly for the audience and fails to give us the true feeling of the story.

 

Overall: Dull and disappointing animation.

Rating

 

 

Jack O’Connell Weekend – Starred Up (2013) Movie Review

Director: David Mackenzie

Writer: Jonathan Asser (Screenplay)

Starring: Jack O’Connell, Ben Mendelsohn, Rupert Friend, Sam Spruell

Plot: Eric Love, 19, is locked up in prison. On first day he assaults another inmate and several guards. He’s offered group therapy and his dad, an inmate as well, tries to talk sense into him. Can he be rehabilitated?


Tagline – We’re all different on the inside

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Gritty and Hard Hitting

Story: Starred Up starts as Eric (O’Connell) first arrives in prison, put in a single room being classed as high risk, he knows the tricks of the trade to get the things he needs that aren’t given out, it doesn’t take long before he gets into trouble, assaulting a fellow inmate and guards who try to restrain him.

Oliver Baumer (Friend) does see that Eric needs help to control his violence and offers to help him improve himself to stand a chance of getting back into society, which becomes more difficult with Eric’s father Neville (Mendelsohn) being somebody that does seem to run the prison.

Thoughts on Starred Up

Characters – Eric Love has been transferred from a young offenders prison to an adult one, he is violent with a short temper that can see him get into more trouble than he is already in, in this prison his distant father looks down on his decisions, while being offered a chance to learn to calm down in therapy, he is at the crossroads, where he must learn where to continue his violent ways or learn to become a better person and make up for his mistakes. Neville is his father and is one of the men that runs the prison from the inside, he wants to see his son clean up his act, but not get involved with any gang, he is racist in nature and wants to learn more about the therapy his son is on. Oliver is a man that is trying to help the angrier inmates by trying to get them to discuss their problems in group instead of seeing them fight for the sake of it, he is the one that will stick up for Eric.

PerformancesJack O’Connell gives a breakthrough performance here one that shows his ability to play the prisoner with problems, with glimpses of what he could have more of a serious character. Ben Mendelsohn and Rupert Friend both shine in the supporting roles too.

StoryThe story follows a young offender being sent to an adult prison where he finds himself needing to navigate a new set of gangs that are looking to have control of the prison and it isn’t long before he gets himself in trouble. This story does show us just how difficult the system can be for the people of Eric’s age who never knew better and will continue to make the mistakes of his father. The prison setting shows us how the story acts along the idea that people will act violent for no reason here, though it would have been interesting to see just what Eric did to get himself locked up in the first place. Deep down this is about a father son relationship that gets to push the true boundaries of everything they never had.

CrimeThe crime side of the film shows us just how the violence of criminals will only continue in prison because they are all acting like animals.

SettingsThe film is set in the prison, it shows how the men there will do anything for the position of power over the rest and how if they don’t fight back they will just get killed.


Scene of the Movie – Final incident.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not learning enough about the crimes in the first place.

Final Thoughts This is a hard hitting prison drama that focuses more on the father son relationship rather than what they did in the first place.

Overall: Hard Hitting.