ABC Film Challenge – Animation – K – Batman: The Killing Joke (2016) Movie Review

Director: Sam Liu

Writer: Brian Azzarello (Screenplay) Alan Moore (Graphic Novel)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Tara Strong, Ray Wise, John DiMaggio, Robin Atkin Downes

Plot: As Batman hunts for the escaped Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime attacks the Gordon family to prove a diabolical point mirroring his own fall into madness.

Tagline – The madness begins.

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Never Gets Going

Story: Batman: The Killing Joke starts with Batman taking Batgirl under his wing while tracking down criminals, this leads Batgirl down a dark path because the man they are hunting Paris takes a shine to her, showing how she can become vulnerable, forcing Batman to take her out of the loop.

When Paris is captured, it gives The Joker a chance to escape and reign terror on the city once again, targeting the Gordon family, making the battle against the Batman just as personal as ever.

Thoughts on Batman: The Killing Joke

Characters – Batman is committed to protecting Gotham, no matter what, if people help him and he senses danger for them, he will tell them to leave, he wants to be the only one that risks anything for the city, only this time he will return to battle The Joker as his next plan comes to play, with his own closest allies becoming the target. The Joker has been waiting and planning for his next battle with the Batman, we do dive into his past as an aspiring stand up comic with a pregnant wife waiting for him, he is drawn to the life of crime to make a different in the world, now he will do anything to make sure he gets what he wants. Batgirl has been working with Batman, she is learning on the job, which sees her getting the thrill out of fighting crime, which is the worry for the Batman, she gets drawn into her first personal battle, which is why Batman tries to get her out of the fight, until she becomes the latest victim of it all. Commissioner Gordon is working with Batman and even after everything he goes through, he wants him bought in the correct way.

StoryThe story here follows Batman going face to face with the Joker once again after his latest escape from the Asylum and targets the Gordon family. This is a story that does do a couple of things well, first diving into the Joker’s back story is interesting to see, having Batman in the mentoring role is good too, only it does seem to much of do what I say, not what I do. When it comes to the weaknesses, it starts off with the fact the Joker’s masterplan doesn’t seem that interesting or even made that clear, it could seem too dark for the usual, with certain parts of what the Joker does, seeming more about shock value over anything else. The length of the film is also a big question because it is later into the film before we even meet the Joker.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is very basic, we could have seen a lot more from an animated movie, with the crime side of the film being more about trying to get to the bottom of what the Joker wants this time.

SettingsThe film is set in the locations you would expect to see the criminals active in, while we never seem to get to see Bruce Manor which is one of the more iconic locations for Batman.

AnimationThe animation looks top notch throughout, it gives the Batman films the look we are all familiar with too.

Scene of the Movie – Joker’s backstory.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Just not much going with the Joker’s plan.

Final Thoughts This is a basic Batman animated story which does everything it needs too, even if this one does try to push the boundaries at times.

Overall: Simple Batman film.

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – L – Lady Macbeth (2016) Movie Review

Director: William Oldroyd

Writer: Alice Birch (Screenplay) Nikolai Leskov (Based on Lady Macbeth Mtsensk)

Starring: Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, Paul Hilton, Naomi Ackie, Christopher Fairbank, Golda Rosheuvel

Plot: In 19th-century rural England, a young bride who has been sold into marriage discovers an unstoppable desire within herself as she enters into an affair with a worker on her estate.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Typical Period Piece

Story: Lady Macbeth starts as young Katherine (Pugh) has been sold to Alexander (Hilton) an older man that orders her around his house, waiting for the unpleasantry of being forced into sex every night, with her just doing nothing around the house all day.

With her husband away on business and her maid Anna (Ackie) watching over her, Katherine decides to see what is going on with the rest of the help, starting an affair with Sebastian (Jarvis) one of the groomsmen, one that puts a smile on her face for once, which soon has dire consequences.

Thoughts on Lady Macbeth

Characters – Katherine is the young woman sold to an older man to be his wife, she is left in an empty unfulfilled life which follows a routine which only leaves her alone most of the time. When she finds herself alone, she starts an affair which changes her attitude to stand up for herself, wanting equal within her home. Sebastian is the groomsman that starts an affair with Katherine, he doesn’t want to get caught knowing it would be his neck if he was, though he does love what he has with Katherine. Alexander is the husband that is strict and demanding towards Katherine, he goes away leaving her alone. Anna is the maid to Katherine that knows what she is doing, but wouldn’t say anything against her,

PerformancesFlorence Pugh is great in the leading role, you can see she is going onto bigger thing with this performance. Most of the rest of the performances are strong through the film, they let Florence lead the film though.

StoryThe story here follows a young lady that is sold into a loveless marriage only to start an affair which will see her going into a new direction with her life to help her find happiness. This is an interesting story that does follow the period drama one to start with before taking a dramatic turn which will make it stand out from others, only it just doesn’t seem to show enough to make us truly get invested in this character of Katherine and her action. This does at least try to be different, only it just isn’t that much that we can care about for the story side of things.

RomanceThe romance side of the film shows how one young lady will do anything for love, no matter what is happening in her life or what will happen if she does it.

SettingsThe film does use the settings well, showing us just how the house away from the rest of the village, adds the isolation that Katherine would be feeling.

Scene of the Movie – Caught red handed.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – There could have been a lot more from the story.

Final Thoughts This is a typical period piece that does have a minor twist on the normal, which doesn’t add that much by the end of the film.

Overall: Period Piece 101.

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.