West is West (2010) Movie Review

Director: Andy De Emmony

Writer: Ayub Khan-Din (Screenplay)

Starring: Om Puri, Linda Bassett, Jimi Mistry, Vijay Raaz, Ila Arun, Aqib Khan, Emil Marwa

Plot: An immigrant father decides to take his truant son back to the old country.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: West is West starts when George (Puri) has seen his children all move on with their lives in England, moving away from their Pakistani backgrounds, he sees his youngster son Sajid (Khan) looking to follow those steps. George decides he wants to teach Sajid a lesson by taking him back to Punjab, to help George’s first son Maneer (Marwa) find a wife.

Sajid does struggle to adapt to life in Pakistan, where the culture isn’t anything, he is used to, but once he is left to discover parts of the country along, he will find not everything is as different as he first thought, but it isn’t just Sajid learning a lesson, George must learn an important on to.

Thoughts on West is West

ThoughtsWest is West is the follow up to East is East, with George and Ella returning with the youngster son Sajid and eldest son Maneer, as they look to learn more about the Pakistani roots, with George taking a walk down memory lane and Sajid needing to learn about his family’s past, instead of only understanding the English way of life. This story does spin what we learned in the first, where George had to learn to accept the English way of life, the same thing he chose, now he wants to at least offer the Pakistani point of view to one of his children before it is too late. The story doesn’t have the full level of heart the first one, as we don’t see or hear much about the rest of the children. The performances do work well, with Aqib Khan being the youngest member does get most of the laughs within the film and the rest of the cast doing everything they need to. This is one of the more enjoyable sequels even if it doesn’t hit the heights of the original.

Final Thoughts West is West is an enjoyable sequel with a different style of laughs.

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – V – Vanishing on 7th Street (2010) Movie Review

Director: Brad Anderson

Writer: Anthony Jaswinski (Screenplay)

Starring: Hayden Christensen, John Leguizamo, Thandie Newton, Jacob Latimore, Taylor Groothuis, Jordan Trovillion

Plot: The population of Detroit has almost completely disappeared, but a few remain. As daylight disappears they realize that the Dark is coming for them.

Tagline – Stay in the light

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Little Horror Mystery

Story: Vanishing on 7th Street starts on a normal day in Detroit, when a sudden power outage sees Paul (Leguizamo), Luke (Christensen), Rosemary (Newton) and James (Latimore) find themselves alone, using what little light they can find, while the rest of the city seems to have vanished within an instant in the darkness.

The four find themselves meeting in a bar running on a generator which sees them try to figure out what is happening and why they haven’t been taken by the darkness.

Thoughts on Vanishing on 7th Street

Characters – Luke is a reporter that moved to the city to start his own career, his partner is a weather girl, he wakes up and goes out in the day seeing everybody gone, he does seem to be one of the only ones that has been thinking of a plan, thought it does make him very blunt with his responses to anything the others think. Paul is working in a cinema when the incident happens, his headlight is the only thing that keeps him safe from the danger he could face. He is injured by the time the group gets together, where he offers an idea to what is happening. Rosemary is a mother that has lost her baby in the incident, she wants not more than to find him even if she does know the horrible truth. James is the youngest member of the survivors, he is waiting for his mum to return before deciding whether he wants safety or not.

PerformancesHayden Christensen continued to try and rebuild his career with this leading role performance, where he does everything with ease, without feeling like a true lead in the film, John Leguizamo and Thandie Newton does their roles well enough, while young Jacob Latimore is the highlight of the four stars.

StoryThe story here follows four strangers that find themselves as the only people alive after an unexplained sudden darkness which has made everybody vanish instantly. This does create an interesting world where darkness is pure evil and light will always become harder to hold onto to try and survive, it does play into a story of a boat which appeared after crossing the ocean with a message and nobody on board, which would and is something that could be studied and guess about too. The way the story unfolds is rather generic in how it all flows, with the people needing to do certain tasks which become more dangerous and let the darkness get closer.

Horror/MysteryThe horror comes from the darkness, which does show how it is slowly moving towards people who are losing the lights in the world, with everything looking like a figure approaching, while the mystery is more about why this is happening, though it never seems to lead to a true answer.

SettingsThe film is set in Detroit which sees most of the time being set in the bar trying to figure out what is happening, before we get the we get the haunting scenes of empty streets or stores.

Special EffectsThe film uses the effects well, to make the darkness feel like figures waiting for the light to go.

Scene of the Movie – Car light save.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – That plane moment.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting horror that brings a fresh sudden scare to it, with the darkness being waiting for a chance to finish taking the population.

Overall: Darkness Simmers

Skyline (2010) Movie Review

Skyline – Brilliant Special Effects Sci-Fi Film

Director: Colin Strause, Greg Strause

Writer: Joshua Cordes, Liam O’Donnell (Screenplay)

Starring: Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, Brittany Daniel, Crystal Reed, Neil Hopkins, David Zayas, Donald Faison

Plot: Strange lights descend on the city of Los Angeles, drawing people outside like moths to a flame where an extraterrestrial force threatens to swallow the entire human population off the face of the Earth.

Tagline – Soon, our first encounter will become our last stand.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Skyline starts when Jarrod (Balfour) and his girlfriend Elaine (Thompson) head to LA to celebrate with Jarrod’s buddy Terry (Faison). Jarrod learns that Elaine is pregnant and that Terry is planning on offering him a role in LA, leaving him with a big life choice.

That choice will be put on hold when an alien attack happens, one with beaming lights that start to take control of people, the group must think of a way to escape the aliens, with rising tensions as they looks to solve the problem.

Thoughts on Skyline

Characters & Performances – The characters in this film are pretty thin when we look at them. We have Jarrod who is a brilliant mind that is left in a position of learning he is about to become a father and might need to be moving to start a dream career, who was already facing a hard decision before the alien invasion. He might well be quick thinking in his approach, he seems to be the only character that gets a deeper storyline than, girlfriend. Eric Balfour does well with the role that could have seen him break out more in the action genre. Elaine is the newly pregnant girlfriend that hasn’t seen this side of his life before, she is just dealing with the news herself and what it might mean for her own future too. Scottie Thompson does the best she can in this role without having much to work with. The characters really do take second fiddle in this film, which shines on the special effects.

StoryThe story here follows a group of friends in LA that find themselves in the middle of an alien invasion, one that will see the aliens dominate the major cities of the world, taking the humans, we only follow a few people as they look to survive. This does keep the story simple, with the fight to survive against technologically advanced aliens being all we need to follow. We go through the typical routine of thinking of ideas to survive without getting anything original, but again this is about the special effects.

ThemesSkyline is a sci-fi horror that involves an alien invasion, the strongest part as you might have read already, is the special effects, they look amazing with the unique for the time creations of what the aliens are looking like and attacking. The lighting gives us the blinding feeling of when they are around which elevates this above so many films trying to make an impact in this world.

Skyline is a film that is carried by the excellent special effects, which all look brilliant to witness the creation.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – F – Faster (2010) Movie Review

Director: George Tillman Jr
Writer: Tony Gayton, Joe Gayton (Screenplay)
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Maggie Grace, Carla Gugino, Mike Epps, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Jennifer Carpenter, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Moon Bloodgood

Plot: An ex-con gets on a series of apparently unrelated killings. He gets tracked by a veteran cop with secrets of his own and an egocentric hit man.

Tagline – Slow Justice is No Justice

Runtime:1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Faster starts when a man known only as Driver (Johnson) is released from prison, running straight to his prized car, driving straight to a location to execute a man in the middle of an office, drawing the attention of detective Cicero (Gugino) and Cop (Thornton).

As Driver continues the rampage against the people that killed his brother and left him for dead, he will find himself being tracked down on an assassin Killer (Jackson-Cohen) who is suffering from an identity crisis, leading to a battle of wits, with bodies left laying everywhere Driver passes through.

Thoughts on Faster

Characters & Performances – Driver has been in prison for years, waiting for his chance to get free and get revenge on the people that betrayed and murdered his brother and left him for dead. He has one thing on his mind, bloodshed, he will not stop going after the people, he doesn’t care who sees him commit the crimes, his relentless nature if the driving force for him, only targeting the people that took his family. This is the first film that Dwayne Johnson did after the family friendly roles, he gets to show the new levels of intensity that help make him a true action star. Cop is the drug addict that is nearing retirement, his addictions are only causing more problems in his life and seeing Driver on his rampage gives him a case he doesn’t want to be involved in. he seems to still be in his role because of the reputation, rather than his current abilities. Billy Bob Thornton does make this character very interesting, as we never know how this character is going to act next. Killer is an assassin hired to kill Driver he has been going through his own identity crisis wanting to find a purpose from his actions, not feeling challenged anymore, he wants to settle down, which is girlfriend wants him to do, but he gets fascinated with trying to capture Driver. Oliver Jackson-Cohen does give us one of the most interesting performances in any assassins, showing us the one that is skilled enough, but not interested enough in completing jobs. This movie does have a big set of characters that will look to either investigate or be in the way of Driver, each one makes sense to the world, with each performance working very well in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a man released from prison that goes on a rampage to track down the people that left his brother dead and him for dead, not stopping until he gets everyone. This is a simple enough story, with the revenge theme in the story working well, we know this is going to become a clean revenge action story, that is going to give us a few twists along the way, which seem to get reflected in the assassin hunting him down, not quite sure what to make of the situation anymore. This is an easy to watch film and will leave us wanting to see more from this world created.

ThemesFaster is an action movie that doesn’t hold back on the shooting, we don’t get into more than one hand to hand combat fight, it is a pure shot and kill to get the message across. We have the fast cars used to show the urgency of the time between the kills, with the different cities and open roads, showing how far Driver must travel to get his revenge.


Faster is a high octane action experience that doesn’t relent from the pacing of revenge.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – J – Animal Kingdom (2010) Movie Review

This is under J because of Jacki Weaver’s Oscar nominated performance.

Director: David Michod

Writer: David Michod (Screenplay)

Starring: James Frecheville, Jacki Weaver, Joel Edgerton, Luke Ford, Sullivan Stapleton, Guy Pearce, Ben Mendelsohn

Plot: A seventeen-year-old navigates his survival amongst an explosive criminal family and the detective who thinks he can save him.

Tagline – Protection, manipulation, morality, survival, loyalty.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Animal Kingdom starts when Joshua (Frecheville) finds his mother having an overdose, which will see him turn to his grandmother Janine (Weaver) who welcomes him into her criminal family with Baz (Edgerton), Darren (Ford) and Craig (Stapleton) who start to try and teach him how they operate for Andrew ‘Pope’ Cody (Mendelsohn).

When the family starts clashing with the police, Josh finds himself in the middle of helping his estranged family and working with the cops to bring the family down.

Thoughts on Animal Kingdom

Characters – Josh has lived with his mother that has been on drugs most of his life and now she has overdosed leaving him without family needing to turn to the estranged one he hasn’t had contact with, he is thrown into a world of drugs and crime, where he isn’t willing to take part in, but can’t escape without being left alone. Pope is the most aggressive member of the criminal family, often left out of family get togethers, but always able to manipulate the family members into committing the crimes. Janine is the grandmother that lets her boys do the dirty work for the business, without needing to get involved herself, keeping herself clean from any police action. Detective Nathan Leckie is the man that tries to help Josh escape this world, looking to bring the family down once and for all.

PerformancesJames Frecheville in the leading role does bring us the reclusive performance that doesn’t know how to grief and how to escape this world well, with star making performances in the supporting roles for Ben Mendelsohn and Jacki Weaver.

StoryThe story here follows a young man that finds himself drawn into a criminal family after his own mother dies, needing to figure out what is best for himself in a world where he doesn’t know if there is an safe way out. This does fall into the set of stories which will see the new person thrown into a world they are not used to, needing to figure out how to survive it, when any wrong move could see him killed. We are kept guessing with plenty of shocking moments we don’t see coming happening, which highlights just how deadly this world is for everyone involved. We do however have some strange choices as to why certain characters commit certain decisions.

CrimeThe crime side of the film shows just what the family does get up to and how they will do anything to keep their operation running smoothly.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us how drug dealer can be operating in any neighbourhood, how they will feel like part of the community, grabbing the attention when the police do get involved.

Scene of the Movie – We need to talk, Pope and Josh.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain moments with Pope feel like they could have even more shock value to them, with what goes through his head.

Final Thoughts Animal Kingdom is a gritty crime drama with excellent performances that help elevate everything we see along the way.