ABC Film Challenge – Romance – D – The Darkest Universe (2016) Movie Review

Director: Tom Kingsley, Will Sharpe

Writer: Tom Kingsley, Will Sharpe (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Sharpe, Tiani Ghosh, Joe Thomas, Sophie Di Martino, Raph Shirley, Chris Langham, Sharon D Clarke

Plot: THE DARKEST UNIVERSE is BAFTA-nominated directors Will Sharpe and Tom Kingsley’s surreal and hilarious follow-up to the critically acclaimed BLACK POND. Described by Sharpe and Kingsley as ‘a romantic comedy set in space, or – to be more specific – planet Earth’, the film follows world-weary banker Zac on his search for his eccentric sister, Alice, who goes missing while on a narrowboat trip with her new boyfriend. Poignant, funny and thought-provoking in equal measure, The Darkest Universe is an otherworldly and truly original gem of a movie from two of the UK’s freshest young directors.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Charming

Story: The Darkest Universe starts when Zac (Sharpe) starts the search for his autistic sister Alice (Ghosh) who has vanished on her boat with her boyfriend Toby (Thomas), we see how he gets the authorities involved, while placing posters along the canal, where she could have travelled along.

As the search continues, we learn more about the relationship Alice started and more about how Zac is putting his own life on hold in search for her, getting nowhere starting to push his friends and partner Eva (Di Martino) away.

Thoughts on The Darkest Universe

Characters – Zac is the brother who is desperately trying to find his sister, he has always loved her and cared for her and now she has gone missing he feels guilty for not being there for her, he creates a campaign to find her, he pushed people in his life away with his search. Alice is the autistic sister that has managed to cope with her own life with minimal care needed, only she does have her brother around if she needs him, she starts a relationship with Toby, the first person that understands her, she has gone missing, which puts concern in her brother’s life. Toby is the boyfriend of Alice, he understands her and helps her enjoy life more, he has gone missing with her though. Eva is the partner of Zac who is getting tired with having the pressure of Alice in Zac’s life.

PerformancesWill Sharpe in the leading role is strong, we get to understand his concern and his own problems he is going through as a character. Tiani Ghosh does well giving us a true to life character you would imagine seeing, with the rest of the cast doing a good job through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a brother in desperate search for his lost sister, which sees him questioning his own life and seeing what may have caused her to disappear in the first place. This is a story that focuses on siblings relationship, while showing how close family can be when dealing with mental problems, with this one using autism, we see what is means to both having one around, with how big losing one would be to damaging somebody. The timeline is slightly confusing at times because we do bounce between the blossoming relationship Alice is having, to Zac’s search for her, this could be smoother for a better understand to why everything happened.

Comedy/Mystery/RomanceThe comedy in this film comes from seeing how Zac goes about trying to find his sister, it is does in a quirky way that balances serious with desperation, with the big mystery about what happens to Alice being the biggest part of the movie.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the important locations for both Zac and Alice’s life, it shows that you can have memories in any locations in life.

Scene of the Movie – What really happened.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The timeline is messy.

Final Thoughts This is a charming movie that shows siblings relationship will always have ups and downs, with the love between the two coming through strong.

Overall: Charming and Delightful.

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – R – Realive (2016) Movie Review

Director: Mateo Gil

Writer: Mateo Gil (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Hughes, Charlotte Le Bon, Oona Chaplin, Barry Ward, Julio Perillan, Rafael Cebrian

Plot: Marc will die of cancer and chooses cryogenic freeze and hopes to be thawed, when there’s a solution to his condition. He’s the first human brought back 68 years later. Can he adapt mentally and physically?

Tagline – Immortality is only a matter of time.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Compelling

Story: Realive starts as we meet Marc Jarvis (Hughes) a business man who has built his company up who gets the devastating news that he has cancer, with about 1-year to live, he questions what to do next, with his lover Naomi (Chaplin) before deciding to be cryogenic frozen until they can cure his illness.

In the future, Marc gets bought back to life by Dr West (Ward) with Elizabeth (Le Bon) being his nurse and carer through the rehabilitation stage of the process, a long process for Marc, one where he starts to question whether he made the right decision, not having the life he thought he would in the future, craving the past and Naomi.

Thoughts on Realive

Characters – Marc Jarvis is an everyday businessman that sees his life turned upside down with cancer diagnosis, he has one year to live, which he must decide what he wants to do with his friends and family, a decision which is always going to be difficult, only to come up with the decision to freeze himself until a cure comes his way. In the future, he will be the first resurrected human, needing to learn the basics of life, battling the memories he left behind, as he is left to question whether he made the right decision. Elizabeth is the nurse that is assigned to be the carer for Marc, teach him about the future to prepare him for the world, she comes from a different time and surprised Marc with certain cultural differences the two generations have. Naomi is the lover of Marc’s from the past, they have had an on again off again relationship which has seen them be their own worst enemies and she was willing to give up a year of her life to spend with Marc. Dr West is the man running the procedure, only he is very secretive about how he does this, he is always waiting for the next stage of success to come from Marc.

PerformancesTom Hughes does play the two roles, through different time periods, with each offering different challenges that manages to control well through the film. Charlotte Le Bon and Oona Chaplin are the main female characters in the life, with both do strong jobs as does Barry Ward as the doctor leading the procedure.

StoryThe story here follows a man that decides to be frozen to give him more life in the future, where he could see the illness cured, we follow him as he looks to say goodbye to his friends and family, along with how he processes the new environment once resurrected. This is a story that does offer up the ultimate question, would you give up time now, to have more time in the future. This question is clearly asked through the film and instead of focusing on the physical recovery, it is focused on the mental burden of going through with it, not being able to add to the memories that defined you. It makes it clear that the resurrection phase isn’t going to be easy or pretty and might not be what you expected either. This is a truly compelling story that is a thinking sci-fi story over anything flashy.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi side of this film focuses on the idea that you could get bought back to life after being frozen, the world will be different and the procedure could be longer than you imagined.

SettingsThe film uses the two eras to create settings, one feels like locations we would see in everyday life now, while the other is kept within a lab to see how the procedure is achieved.

Scene of the Movie – The letter.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Some of the romance is too heavy.

Final Thoughts This is a thought-provoking movie that will leave you asking plenty of real-life questions by the end.

Overall: Thought-Provoking.

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – P -Planet of the Sharks (2016) Movie Review

Director: Mark Atkins

Writer: Marc Gottlieb, Mark Atkins (Screenplay)

Starring: Brandon Auret, Stephanie Beran, Lindsay Sullivan, Lauren Joseph, Daniel Barnett, Christia Visser

Plot: In the near future, glacial melting has covered ninety-eight percent of Earth’s landmass. Sharks have flourished, and now dominate the planet, operating as one massive school led by a mutated alpha shark.

Tagline – When The World Floods With Water, One Species Rises To The Top!

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Not Good

Story: Planet of the Sharks starts as we enter the world where most of the Earth is now covered in water, with a small floating town attacked by sharks, leaving just one survivor Beatrice (Joseph) rescued by Dillon Barrick (Auret) who is one of the member of the local towns that watch over the groups of civilizations.

When the communities learn they will become the latest targets, they look to end the new threat coming their way and stop the new shark army, being led by an alpha that has been controlling the rest of the sharks, turning them into a killing machine.

Thoughts on Planet of the Sharks

Final Thoughts In a world where we do get endless amounts of shark movies, we can get the over the top fun ones, like Sharknado,, we get the so bad they are enjoyable like Sharknado, then we get ones that are trying to be over the top and fail to land any of the tone and just feel like they are going through the motions of making a weak shark movie, this is a perfect example of one that misses way more than it hits and ends up being a drag, with acting that doesn’t hit, the story is dull and the idea just doesn’t click in the way it wants to.

Overall: Sloppy.

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – K – Kills on Wheels (2016) Movie Review

Director: Attila Till

Writer: Attila Till (Screenplay)

Starring: Szabolcs Thuroczy, Zoltan Fenyvesi, Adam Fekete, Monkika Balsai, Lidia Danis, Dusan Vitanovics, Zoltan Mucsi

Plot: wo disabled teenagers looking for a reason to live, team up with a wheelchaired hitman.

Tagline – Hit men roll in when you least expect them.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Movie

Story: Kills on Wheels starts when Rupaszov (Thuroczy) gets out of prison, he has seen his life spiral out of control after getting injured during his firefighting job, leaving him in a wheelchair, depressed, turning to whatever work he can get, with his latest one being a hitman.

Rupaszov meets young disabled men Zolika (Fenyvesi) and Barba Papa (Fekete) and starts to show them more about life, giving them a way into the world he is in, to prove that being disabled isn’t a weakness and the men should use it as a strength.

Thoughts on Kills on Wheels

Characters – Rupaszov was once a firefighter with the perfect life, this became shattered after an accident leave him paralysed and turning to a life of crime, now out of prison, his depression just as bad as before and the only work he can find in being a hitman, though he takes to young disabled men under his wing to show them that there is more to life. Zolika has recently become wheelchair bound, he is still getting used to the change in his life, wanting to use his creative mindset to bring to life his time with Rupaszov, with his best friend Barba. Barba Papa is the best friend of Zolika, the two do everything together, helping each other deal with the obstacles they are facing in life.

PerformancesSzabolcs Thuroczy does the emotional side of the film of the troubles he is facing with his change in life, while Zoltan Fenyvesi shows that an actor could be strong in a film even with his disability, showing great chemistry with Adam Fekete.

StoryThe story here follows a depressed disabled hitman that recruits two young men to help him get on with his life and show them that there is more to life. This is a unique styled story because we could have easily seen the ideas of an older disabled character trying to motivate younger ones, which would be an easy sell, only to have the twist of them being put into a world of hitmen and gangsters, does feel refreshing to see. This story does mix everything together well, to make us find an enjoyable story.

Action/ComedyThe action does bring a newer style with the wheelchair action being used through the shoot outs, while the comedy comes from how the three deal with problems in life.

SettingsThe film does use the settings to show us the different meeting locations, we see the home the young men are learning about their changes in, with the rehab around them, right down to where the gangs operate in.

Scene of the Movie – The day out.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Dog dies.

Final Thoughts This is a fun movie that shines an important light on the disabled people and how much they could achieve in life no matter what the problems they might be facing.

Overall: Enjoyable.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – M – Max Steel (2016) Movie Review

Director: Stewart Hendler

Writer: Christopher L Yost (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Winchell, Josh Brener, Maria Bello, Andy Garcia, Ana Villafane, Mike Doyle, Phillip DeVona

Plot: The adventures of teenager Max McGrath and his alien companion, Steel, who must harness and combine their tremendous new powers to evolve into the turbo-charged superhero Max Steel.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Basic Action Sci-Fi

Story: Max Steel starts when teenager Max McGrath (Winchell) moves back home with his mother Molly (Bello) where he must go through the typical high school routines, his father’s former colleague Dr Miles Edwards (Garcia) and a new ability he has gain, where he can control electricity.

When the ability to control his energy starts getting out of control a robot Steel arrives to protect him and guide him about why his body is reacting the way it is.

Thoughts on Max Steel

Characters – Max McGrath is a teenager moving to another high school to hopeful stay this time, it doesn’t take him long to start having a new reaction to the surroundings, one that lets him control electricity, he must learn about this new skill to understand what is going on and fight back to save himself and loved ones. Steel is the robot set to protect Max, teaching him about his abilities and fits into the same group of, new robot doesn’t understand the world group. Molly is the mother that has always looked out for her son, making sure he is safe after what happened to his father. Dr Miles Edwards used to work with Max’s father and now he always watches over the family making sure they are looked after.

PerformancesBen Winchell doesn’t get started in the leading role not being the character on a strong enough level, Maria Bello and Andy Garcia both seem to be here for the pay check without doing anything difficult.

StoryThe story here follows a teenager that returns to his birthplace with his mum and starts to learn more about his own father by learning his has the ability to control energy. This is a story that is completely by the book, it never gets going and just seems to copy most of the other stories which have done the same concept. It just becomes completely forgettable and could easily be the weak pilot episode of a television show.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film is also very basic, with the main fight being hard to even focus on, with the sci-fi elements of the film does show an alien hybrid coming to Earth.

SettingsThe film just puts us in small town America and with this, we get let into this life that the family is planning to start his life again.

Special EffectsThe effects are also weak through the film, showing the ideas seemed to be outside the budget.

Scene of the Movie – Hard to find one.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is just boring.

Final Thoughts This is a simple action sci-fi movie without being anything special.

Overall: Simple and forgettable.