ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – K – The Kite Runner (2007) Movie Review

Director: Marc Forster

Writer: David Benioff (Screenplay) Khaled Hosseini (Novel)

Starring: Khalid Abdalla, Atossa Leoni, Shaun Toub, Sayer Jafar Masihullah Gharibzada, Zekeria Ebrahimi, Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada, Mir Mahmood Shah Hashimi

Plot: After spending years in California, Amir returns to his homeland in Afghanistan to help his old friend Hassan, whose son is in trouble.


Tagline – There is a way to be good again.

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Kite Runner starts when an adult Amir (Abdalla) receives a call in California from a former friend back in Afghanistan, which will see Amir (Ebrahimi) look back to his childhood where he was friends with Hassan (Mahmoodzada) in Kabol, even if they were from different backgrounds, they had the typical bullying situations in the city, which will see horrific actions committed towards Hassan, with their love for kite flying being the thing that kept them positive.

After the Soviet Union invaded Amir and his family escape the bloodshed to America, where they build a new life that was never in the privilege they once had. Amir got an education and even looked to break traditions, but this phone call will change the next stage of his life forever.

Thoughts on The Kite Runner

Characters & Performances – Amir is the man that needs to return home after spending a lifetime away, as a child he was shield with his father’s position granting him the safety in life, but what has friend goes through will leave him with nightmares. As an adult he has look to make a difference becoming an author, getting married until he learns what happened to his friend, forcing him to return to learn the truth about his childhood friend. Both Khalid Abdalla and Zekeria Ebrahimi are brilliant in this film, bring this character to life through two different generations of his life. Soraya is the wife Amir marries that is there to support him through life, despite being the daughter of a once feared general. Rahim Khan is the father that always wanted the best for his son, even after the invasion, he gets on working in America to make this a reality for him. The film does have strong performances throughout its difficult subject matters.

StoryThe story here follows a man that must return to his childhood city and country after years away after learning about his best childhood friend, here he looks back at their friendship, growing up together and the life he has battle through to become the success he is now. This story is a highlight of the sudden change in countries, showing us the Afghanistan change which will leave friendships broken and lives changed forever. We get to see the life of Amir, from the innocent beginnings to the life changing environment of America, showing he will always shave a past he needs to protect and that friendship will last forever. It does have a sense of adventure in the way that Amir need to return, but the dangers are real, with his mission worth the risk.

ThemesThe Kite Runner is a drama that shows us the difference in clashes within Afghanistan, showing the giant line drawn between the wealthy and the poor that gets destroyed by a war. We get to see the wealthy needing to work everyday jobs in another country to rebuild the life they once had or at least give their child a chance at a better future. The locations are key to this film, showing us just how different life has been for each character involved.

 

The Kite Runner is a powerful drama that will show us the importance of friendship even after war.

Boogeyman 2 (2007) Movie Review

Director: Jeff Betancourt

Writer: Brian Sieve (Screenplay) Eric Kripke (Characters)

Starring: Danielle Savre, Matt Cohen, Chrissy Calhoun, Michael Graziadei, Mae Whitman, Renee O’Connor, Tobin Bell

Plot: A young woman with a long-term phobia of the boogeyman voluntarily checks herself into a mental health facility with the hope of conquering her overwhelming fear. However, much to her horror, she discovers that some things are terrifying on purpose, and confronting her demons was not the best course of action.


Tagline – Fear. In The Flesh.
Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Boogeyman 2 starts when a young Laura and Henry witness their parents killed by a home invader, someone they believe to be the boogeyman, 10 years later Henry (Cohen) has been through a therapy to move on with his life, potential moving away from his sister Laura (Savre) who is still having the nightmares.

Laura decides to check into the hospital where Dr Jessica Ryan (O’Connor) looks to treat her with the fellow patients, only for them to start to get picked off dying to their fears.

Thoughts on Boogeyman 2

Characters – Laura saw her parents killed when she was a child, still tormented by the vision of the Boogeyman, she accepts the plan to stay in a home which has helped her brother, only when the patients start dying, she is convinced the Boogeyman is truly coming for her. Henry is the brother that seems to have recovered from the nightmares, looking to continue on with his life, encouraging his sister to escape her own fears. Each patient we meet does have their own fear, which they are trying to overcome, something which can be used against them by the Boogeyman. The Boogeyman character seems more life-like being a targeted killer looking to make the victims pay. Dr Ryan and Dr Allen have their own theories on what might have caused the troubles the patients are going through.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances, Danielle Savre does well in the leading role, with the supporting cast doing nothing wrong, playing into the stereotypes you would imagine seeing in a slasher type film, with the biggest name being Tobin Bell as one of the doctors, using his calm tone when needed.

StoryThe story here follows a pair of siblings that believe the Boogeyman killed their parents, still living with the nightmares in their lives. When one stays inside a hospital to treat the phobia in the darkness, only to see the other patients starting to get picked off by their own fears. When it comes to a sequel, we do go in a very different direction, which seems to suck out any of the supernatural element turning the figure into a slasher that enjoys Saw like traps. This does disappointing as the idea of the supernatural Boogeyman could be bought to life with great effect, like it was in the original movie. A lot of this film does feel like a bad remake of Nightmare on Elm Street 3, but it can be fun if you are a horror fan looking for some memorable deaths.

HorrorThe horror is all about the slasher saw like games that use people’s fears to create the kills we are seeing being more memorable.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the one location the hospital, which sees the patients locked in with the threat.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well when it comes to the kills, with most looking like practical ones, each one getting bigger and better.


Scene of the Movie – Maggots

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Turning the Boogeyman into a slasher.

Final Thoughts Boogeyman 2 is a fun horror sequel that isn’t as good as the original, but it is one you could have a drink or two and enjoy the blood splatter.



ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – M – The Mist (2007) Movie Review

Director: Frank Darabont

Writer: Frank Darabont (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Thomas Janes, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, Williams Sadler, Jeffrey DeMunn

Plot: A freak storm unleashes a species of bloodthirsty creatures on a small town, where a small band of citizens hole up in a supermarket and fight for their lives.

Runtime: 2 Hour 6 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Creature Feature Delight

Story: The Mist starts when a storm hits the small town, with poster illustrator David Drayton (Jane) need to repair his home, taking his son Billy (Gamble) to the local shop, he notices a mist coming towards the town, with everyone screaming from within it, David along with many of the residents of the town take shelter in the department store, with everyone outside being consumed with creatures from within the mist.

As the tension rise within the department store, David tries to bring the people together to work as one to survive, while Mrs Carmody (Harden) leads another group within the department store, ones who believe this is the end of days, become dangerous with their religious beliefs within the event.

Thoughts on The Mist

Characters – David Drayton is a movie poster illustrator, a mild-mannered man still believing in the art. He needs to head into town to fix up his house after a storm with his son, where he finds himself trapped in the department store, trying to hold everything together, looking to get the highest number of people out alive. He is one of the few people that remains calm through the situation, always looking for the smartest solution to the unknown enemies. Mrs Carmody has a reputation around the town for making more of any incidents, she turns the event into an end of days prophecy, which sees her slowly turn the heads of the people other survivors. She fast becomes the villain of the story, as her own religious speeches will create a bigger divide within the store. Amanda Dunfrey is the new teacher in the town, most people only meet her for the first time on this day, but she isn’t willing to follow any groups through the problems, looking at things in a more logical way. We do have a large number of different people inside the store, some will be followers, some will do the right thing to survive, all will want to find the best way to survive.

PerformancesThomas Jane in the leading role is great to see, he fills the reluctant hero well through the film. Marcia Gay Harden is amazing in this film, bringing to life a religious leader that does something so terrifying, getting people to follow her. We do get an excellent supporting cast too, that help make the movie stand out for decision making.

StoryThe story here follows a group of people that find themselves trapped in a department store after a mysterious mist engulfs the town, the mist is filled with blood thirsty creatures, with the survivors needing to figure out how to survive with enemies building from within. Where this story shines isn’t just with the creature creation story, it is delivering a story that is dealing with the ideas that religion could see the growth of bigger problems in the world. We see how the growing pain in the film comes from seeing how the survivors are facing enemies from both sides of the door and just need to figure out the quickest way to survive the horrors waiting for them.

HorrorThe horror has a wonderful balance in this film, first the creatures, all designed to bring a new striking horror idea to life, while the other side of the horror comes from seeing how the religious follows grow so quickly.

SettingsThe film keeps most of the location within the department store, here we see how they could survive for a time, but would struggle with enemies trying to get inside.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are great, with the creature creations needing to look terrifying, which they do as well as dealing with the wounds they can inflict.


Scene of the Movie – The spiders.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The speed in which people turn to religion is quick.

Final Thoughts This is one of the greatest horrors of the century, the creature creations are wonderful, with brilliant characters and performances.

Overall: Excellent Horror.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – Z – American Gangster (2007) Movie Review

This is under Z because of the screenplay writer Steven Zaillian.

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Steven Zaillian (Screenplay) Mark Jacobson (Article)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Josh Brolin, Lymari Nadal, Ted Levine

Plot: An outcast New York City cop is charged with bringing down Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas, whose real life inspired this partly biographical film.


Tagline – When Hoodlum Bumpy influences American Gangster Frank Lucas

Runtime: 2 Hours 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Overly Long Gangster Film

Story: American Gangster starts with the death of the most powerful man in Harlem, Frank Lucas (Washington) his righthand man steps up to take control of the business, where he first sees everything getting out of hand before making a major move to bring the heroin directly to America for his own team to cut and profit for.

Richie Roberts (Crowe) has been tackling the drug problem in Harlem for years, losing friends and a marriage to the world, he is given a team to look to take down the biggest people involved in the industry, in what becomes a battle of wits between Frank and Richie.

Thoughts on American Gangster

Characters – Frank Lucas steps into the role of Drug Lord of Harlem, he builds the business bigger than his mentor, he increases the money, bringing in a new deadly wave of drug usage, he will kill anyone that gets in his business, he will not accept loose ends in any of his dealings, which sees him become the biggest drug lord in the country. Richie Roberts is the New York prosecutor that has been trying to take down the drug world for years, it has cost him friendships, his marriage and soon to be son, he is one of the few remaining honest cops and gets given a team of his own choice to track the new increase in drug usage in the city. We do meet Frank’s family that are all in the business with him, working for him helping him raise his power in the city, his wife Eva who knows he has been breaking the law, but enjoys the money that comes with him and Detective Trupo an FBI agent that is on the take to keep Frank safe, he will always look to collect his payments no matter what is going on.

PerformancesDenzel Washington and Russell Crowe are both great in this film, they both bring the characters to life as we understand both sides of their lives through the film. We do have an excellent supporting cast too who are all flawless in the film.

StoryThe story here follows the rise of drug lord in New York where he become the most powerful man in the city and how one prosecutor risked everything to try and stop him, turning everyone in his own life against him. This is based on the real drug lord and the man that tried to track him down, it shows how both men’s lives changed through these years, one rose to fame, while the other lose everything because of his determination to stop the drug trade. We do get some excellent scenes which show the different lives the people have been living through this time, usually the holiday times, though we don’t get enough of the smaller details.

Biopic/CrimeLooking at the two main men’s lives show us how things changed and were risked to make the moves to do what they thought was right, it does show the criminal actions being conducted by Frank and his people.

SettingsThe New York setting will show how the neighbourhoods would work together to make the business strong.


Scene of the Movie – The solo conversation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting look at one of the biggest gangsters in the history of America and what he did to change the system forever.

Overall: Strong Story, Too Long Film.

My Name Is Bruce (2007)

Director: Bruce Campbell
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Grace Thorsen, Taylor Sharpe, Ted Raimi, Ben L. McCain, Ellen Sandweiss

In a small mining town where one hundred Chinese workers are killed in a cave in the God of war and even bean curd Guan-Di in now the protector of the grave. When Jeff (Taylor Sharpe) and his three friends disturb the grave by stealing an ancient lock on the tomb Guan-Di rises from the the grave and kill the three friends.

Meanwhile Bruce Campbell (playing himself) in on the set of cave alien 2 a sequel to a movie he hated himself. Meeting his agent Mills (Ted Raimi) in a strip club to discuss his career chances. After a few to many drinks he struggles back to his caravan and drinks more before making a phone call t his ex wife Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss). Soon after a knock at the door from Jeff begging Bruce for help to take out Guan-Di thinking its just a movie pitch Bruce ignore Jeff. Jeff ends up kidnapping Bruce taking Bruce back to Gold Lick.

Upon arriving in Gold Lick Bruce is treated as a form of saviour. Jeff a huge Bruce Campbell fans has convinced the whole town Bruce can fight this monster. Meeting the Mayor (Ben L.McCain) Bruce is taken to a town meeting to learn about the monster he will be fighting. Bruce thinks this is just a present from his Mills so he just plays along. Kelly (Grace Thorsen) Jeff’s mum thinks Bruce is a fraud but the rest of the town believe in Bruce.

Upon going out on a hunt for Guan-Di Bruce finds out that Guan-Di is actually real and runs all the way back to his caravan. With the town all out of hope Jeff goes to fight Guan-Di on his own. Can Bruce Campbell be the hero his movies have made him out to be?

The B-movie legend Bruce Campbell makes and stars in a strong horror comedy that is a tongue in cheek look at his career. This is a good laugh for all fans of Bruce Campbell keeping you interested with his charm and one liners which he became famous for. Very enjoyable film that could have been more successful that is was. Ted Raimi playing multiple characters for extra comic value works well.

My rating 77%