ABC Film Challenge – Action – X – Superman Returns (2006) Movie Review

Superman Returns is The Best Superman Movie

We are going under X because of the Lex Luthor Character, more clutching at straws and all.

Director: Bryan Singer

Writer: Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris (Screenplay) Jerry Sigel, Joe Shuster (Characters)

Starring: Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, James Marsden, Parker Posey, Frank Langella, Sam Huntington

Plot: Superman returns to Earth after spending five years in space examining his homeworld Krypton. But he finds things have changed while he was gone, and he must once again prove himself important to the world.

Tagline – On June 30, 2006! Look Up In The Sky!

Runtime: 2 Hours 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Superman Returns starts when ruthless businessman Lex Luthor (Spacey) unleashes something new onto the world causing a massive blackout, forcing Superman (Routh) to save the day, including his co-worker Lois Lane (Bosworth), with the latest daring rescue, Superman is the talk of the world, putting the attention on Superman, while Lex Luthor is continuing his grander plan.

As Clark tries to get closer to Lois, Lex’s masterplan is revealed, forcing Superman to go into battle against one of his smartest opponents to save the world.

Thoughts on Superman Returns

Characters & Performances – Superman has been helping the humans for years now, he has crossed paths with Luthor in the past and now he is being forced out of his isolation to deal with the latest threat, while still trying to manage his own life as a human, searching for the connections he longs for. We get the most human version of Superman here, where he will continue to help and will deal with the problems any human will go through. Brandon Routh is very good in this role, in both sides of it, the out of place human as well as the superhero side of everything. Lois Lane is the reporter that has go close to Superman before and is the one he will do anything to help, they have a spark, while she has her own family, she always wants to make her own way as a reporter, looking for a story that will standout over the rest of the reporters. Kate Bosworth does well in this role, even if a large part of her role is being thrown around. Lex Luthor is the known master criminal that swindles money off people for a living, now he has a new plan, one that will be designed to make him rich that he could ever imagine, he brings a human threat to what Superman will need to face. Kevin Spacey is the star of this show, he is devilish evil with his character that we know will always be looking for more. Parker Posey does get some of the funniest lines in the film as Kitty Kowalski, one of Lex Luther’s inner circle, her delivery is so dead pan it helps things hit home taking away from the serious side to everything.

StorySuperman Returns takes us into a world where Superman has been around a while, as he needs to come out of hiding to stop Lex Luthor once again, whose new plan is pure evil and greed. This was designed as a reboot of the iconic hero, it works very well, moving away from the campy side the story had headed towards, bringing a more grounded and serious tone to everything. We do get the drama about the relationship between Superman and Lois, which does hold the bigger picture down, but the desire to take on evil, comes from well through the film.

ThemesSuperman Returns uses the action sequences to give us a large moment, including the airplane shuttle, which is brilliant, along with the plan that Lex has, which creates a whole new playground for the action to take part in.

Final Thoughts Superman Returns is one of the most enjoyable Superman movies out there, never getting to be built into the greatness we could well have seen.

Kidulthood (2006) Movie Review

Director: Menhaj Huda

Writer: Noel Clarke (Screenplay)

Starring: Aml Ameen, Red Madrell, Noel Clarke, Adam Deacon, Jaime Winstone, Femi Oyeniran, Nicholas Hoult

Plot: A day in the life of a group of troubled 15-year-olds growing up in west London.

Tagline – Before adulthood comes…

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Streets Trouble 101

Story: Kidulthood starts as we follow the school teenagers in a west London school, where Sam (Clarke) controls people, Trife (Ameen) is starting to break into the drug world, while Alisa (Madrell) is dealing with an unexpected pregnancy, where the bullying through the school is shocking to see, with the gang mentality leading to the suicide of one of the students.

We follow the day after the suicide, where Alisa and Becky (Winstone) go on a bender, drinks and drugs, while Trife, Jay (Deacon) and Moony (Oyeniran) are getting into trouble with their rivalry with Sam.

Thoughts on Kidulthood

Characters – Trife or Trevor does make drugs with his time in school, he learns his ex is now pregnant and is getting tired of the gangs around the area, causing the problems in his life, Alisa is pregnant after teaching on Trevor, she doesn’t know who the father is and is still in the shock of seeing a friend from school commit suicide. Sam is the biggest bully in the school, he pushes people into doing his dirty work and forces people to do what he wants with intimidation. We do see the friends of Trevor’s who are more trouble than they seem to be, the selfish friend Becky who doesn’t help Alisa through her struggle and the people that are the brunt of the abuse. Most of these characters are not likable, while Trevor and Alisa are trying to escape this world for the better, they are still making the naïve decisions.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are strong with Aml Ameen, Red Madrell and Noel Clarke bring the strength and weaknesses in their characters to life, showing just how aggressive the world around them is.

StoryThe story here follows the day in the life of a group of teenagers in the aftermath of a suicide of a bullied classmate, showing how they are out of control and making mistakes which will stop them escaping the vicious circle. This story does take focus on how the gang mentality in the London can take a hold on young people, forcing them to make bad decisions in life which will ruin their chances of a future. We do have a couple of important themes, first is the underaged pregnancy and how to deal with it, while the suicide doesn’t get enough attention, because nobody seems to get to pay for their behaviour for this incident. The themes of growing up don’t seem to get the full attention because the young people seem like they are in a position where they simply can’t be saved from.

Crime/Romance The world the characters are in shows us just how the criminal behaviour of the youngsters is in , will continue to grow, with the romance being what could have been, with everyone seemingly willing to cheat on each other.

SettingsThe film uses the London setting to show how the gangs are always protecting and shows the divide between people in such a close area.

Scene of the Movie – The party.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The characters.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at how the neighbourhood would act around London, even though it wants to try and tackle bigger issues, it fails to address them well enough.

Overall: Interesting Vision of London.

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 – Sci-Fi – X – My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006) Movie Review

We are cheating once again with X, by picking this because of the X-girlfriend side of the story.

Director: Ivan Reitman

Writer: Don Payne (Screenplay)

Starring: Uma Thurman, Luke Wilson, Anna Faris, Rainn Wilson, Eddie Izzard, Stelio Savante, Mike Iorio, Mark Consuelos

Plot: When a regular guy dumps a superhero for her neediness, she uses her powers to make his life a living hell.

Tagline – Hell hath no fury like a superwoman scorned.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Enjoyable Laugh

Story: My Super Ex-Girlfriend starts when down on his luck regular guy Matt (Luke Wilson) meets a stranger on a train, Jenny Johnson (Thurman) who he helps get her bag back, thinking he could be about to start a new relationship. Jenny has a secret though, she is G-Girl a superhero that protects the city from crime.

Jenny normally keeps her secret identity away from partners, that is until her arch nemesis Barry Bedlam (Izzard) starts trying to us Matt to get to Jenny and things get even more complicated when Matt breaks up with Jenny, as she doesn’t take the break up well.

Thoughts on My Super Ex-Girlfriend

Characters – Jenny Johnson is a shy timid lady, she keeps to herself, is awkward when it comes to interaction, only she has a secret, she is the city’s superhero. She does want to date and after Matt helps her, she wants to let him into her life, opening up unlike anyone has before, though this does make her angry when he moves on. Matt is a regular guy, he is down on his luck, needing to turn things around, until he meets Jenny, he is happy to start a new romance, but isn’t comfortable with the idea of dating a superhero. Hannah is the work colleague of Matt’s, the two do have good chemistry in everyday life and Matt starts to see this the more is sees Jenny’s darker side. Barry Bedlam is the arch nemesis of G-Girl, he knows about her past and wants the powers that his old friend Jenny has.

PerformancesUma Thurman gets to play into her action figure with this awkward superhero that is looking for love. Luke Wilson as the regular guy caught up in the middle of superhero battle. Anna Faris as the potential new love interest and all-around nice women works well, with Eddie Izzard and Rainn Wilson getting plenty of laughs along the way.

StoryThe story here follows a regular guy that finds out his new girlfriend is a superhero that has a crazy side, which sees her trying to ruin his life once he breaks up with her. This does take the idea of a crazy ex to new levels, with us having one with superpowers that can ruin and torment somebody’s life to a new level. We also get the spin on the women being the superhero, which often leaves the men needing to wait for the rescue to happen. We might well end up going to the extremes when it comes to how relationships are seen though.

Comedy/Romance/Sci-FiThe comedy in the film does focus on how the superhero persona will get used to the idea of dating a normal person and vice versa, with the romance showing how no matter who you are, it can be difficult to find love.

SettingsThe film gives us a New York backdrop, which is a setting I will always praise for the use when it comes to life dramas in and out of love.

Scene of the Movie – The break-up.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does go over the top too often for its own good.

Final Thoughts This is a fun spin on the rom com, showing the women in the position of power, with the men left holding the fort, while she saves the world and shows just how crazy ex’s can be.

Overall: Fun Rom Com.

Jamie Foxx Weekend – Miami Vice (2006) Movie Review

Director: Michael Mann

Writer: Michael Mann (Screenplay) Anthony Yerkovich (TV Series)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Li Gong, Naomie Harris, Ciaran Hinds, Justin Theroux, Barry Shabaka Henley

Plot: Based on the 1980s TV action/drama, this update focuses on vice detectives Crockett and Tubbs as their respective personal and professional lives become dangerously intertwined.

Tagline – No Rules

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Safe and Simple

Story: Miami Vice starts with detectives Sonny Crockett (Farrell) and Ricardo Tubbs (Foxx) working on their latest trafficking case in Florida, when officers are murdered, the case starts to become more personal, with the pair given the chance to go against procedure.

Sonny and Ricardo join forces with Montoya (Tosar) and his wife Isabella (Gong) who connect them with the people that will make them rich, while they are in the case the take down the drug lord, they must play the undercover roles until they get close to the evidence.

Thoughts on Miami Vice

Characters – Sonny Crockett is the flirty of the detective’s partnership, he finds himself getting close to Isabella which does risk everything with her being the wife of the drug lord. Ricardo is the straighter-faced part of the partnership, the smarter of the two and the one that is able to do extra research for any operation. Isabella is the wife of the drug lord that pair are investigating, she gets involved in an affair with Sonny which will see her risk everything and start to give up details of his shady operation. Trudy is Ricardo’s partner, she can handle herself in combat and is a valuable part of the team.

PerformancesColin Farrell and Jamie Foxx do a solid job in this film, though they don’t get to make the most out of these characters, which you feel need something to make them seem different. Li Gong and Naomie Harris both fill the love interest roles well without needing to do that much with what they are doing.

StoryThe story here follows the Miami Vice squad going undercover to track down a drug lord running riot in Miami, which seems them going across the boarders to get the truth to take them down. This is based on the popular television show, one I never saw, so I can’t compare it, the idea is cops going undercover in search for the truth, though it is played out with style of substance which only ends up making us feel distant to the events of the film. This is like what we have seen both, while it tries to be edgy, it doesn’t get that either and just becomes like an over long version of what we would have gotten from most cop dramas through the years.

Action/CrimeThe action is simple too, which focuses more on the ideas of trying to add style to police break ins, which is what the crime side of the film does too, as it makes us want to see just how the world can operate.

SettingsThe film uses the Miami settings to show how it could be easier to export or import drugs into the area from the island surrounding it.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do look weaker with on explosion being one that looks particularly bad.

Scene of the Movie – Breaking in.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – That explosion.

Final Thoughts This is another desperate attempt to bring a much loved television show back to life on the bring screen, it doesn’t capture any of the magic and just ends up feeling like a generic action film.

Overall: Basic TV Remake.