ABC Film Challenge – Animation – C – Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017) Movie Thoughts

Director: David Soren

Writer: Nicholas Stoller (Screenplay) Dav Pilkey (Novel)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, Thomas Middleditch, Jordan Peele, Kristen Schaal, DeeDee Rescher

Plot: Two overly imaginative pranksters named George and Harold hypnotize their principal into thinking he’s a ridiculously enthusiastic, incredibly dimwitted superhero named Captain Underpants.

Tagline – Putting the “Mighty” in “Tighty Whitey”

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: One for the Youngest Audience

Story: Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie starts as two school best friends George and Harold find themselves getting into trouble, known for pulling pranks with their principle Mr Krupp always trying to expose them and put them back in line.

After the latest prank, the pair have been threatened with being separated at school, which see them hypnotize Mr Krupp into thinking he is a superhero, Captain Underpants, their creation from years before.

Thoughts on Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

Final Thoughts When it comes to animated movies, we know we will see the youngest audience entertained the most, if we can get entertainment to the older audience, it is always a bonus and usually succeeds on the level of family comedy levels, this one doesn’t appeal to the older audience and ends up sinking to the lowest form of comedy, toilet humour, which is even jokes about along the way. There is a message about friendship and how the two must do anything to remain friends through anything that comes their way, but if we are honest, this is one that should have remained in the comic books never becoming more.

Overall: Toilet Humour Animation.

Renegades (2017) Movie Review

Director: Steven Quale

Writer: Richard Wenk, Luc Besson (Screenplay)

Starring: J.K. Simmons, Sullivan Stapleton, Charlie Bewley, Sylvia Hoeks, Joshua Henry, Diarmaid Murtagh, Dimitri Leonidas

Plot: A team of Navy SEALs discover an underwater treasure in a Bosnian lake.

Tagline – $300 million. 5 Navy SEALs. 1 impossible heist.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Bland

Story: Renegades starts as we meet the five Navy SEALs Matt (Stapleton), Stanton (Bewley), Ben (Henry), Kurt (Murtagh) and Jack (Leonidas) who work on extracting enemies from danger zones, with the latest area being in Bosnia and the latest escape causing major damage to the city, much to their boss’s Levin (Simmons) anger.

With Stanton dating a local woman Lara (Hoeks), she has planned to use the men’s help to uncover stolen gold from World War II, only for the previous mission to leave the men in hot water with the local military looking to hunt them down, can the team pull of the heist before it is too late.

Thoughts on Renegades

Characters – Levin is the commanding officer that is constantly criticising the SEALs, even though he does respect the work they do, he is always fair, while being strict towards them. When it comes to the SEALs we get the young one, the one with a tragic past and the generic rest of them, none of the five main characters really stand out in anyway. Lara is the local woman that is dating one of the SEALs, who brings them the idea of the gold, wanting to make sure that her people get what is theirs.

PerformancesWe have J.K. Simmons in this film, he is by far the best part of the performances, because of how much he demands the screen. Sylvia Hoeks does well, while it is the actors playing the SEALs that struggle to bring their characters to life.

StoryThe story here follows a group of navy SEALs that team up with a local woman to unearth gold which was lost during World War II, even though the city is crawling with soldiers looking to kill them. This is an attempt to put a spin on the heist film, which could have worked if the characters had something about them, but in the end it is just a story we have seen before, offering very little else to the genre. It is largely forgettable in everyway, you know how it will unfold and by the end you just will be left with a feeling of we have seen this.

Action/Crime/WarThe action in the film is basic war scenes, in the 90s street conflicts, no scenes stand out, while the crime world is how people will always look to profit from someone else’s misfortune.

SettingsThe film is set in Bosnia, through a war torn city, while the underwater scene does pose a couple of problems for the heist, we don’t get anything new when it comes to the locations.

Scene of the Movie – First escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The SEALs are bland.

Final Thoughts This is a very basic action heist movie, it offers nothing new to the genre and by the end of the film, you most likely have forgotten most of it.

Overall: Forgettable.

The Last Movie Star (2017) Movie Review

Director: Adam Rifkin

Writer: Adam Rifkin (Screenplay)

Starring: Burt Reynolds, Chevy Chase, Ariel Winter, Clark Duke, Ellar Coltrane

Plot: An aging former movie star is forced to face the reality that his glory days are behind him. On its surface, the film is a tale about faded fame. At its core, it’s a universal story about growing old.

Tagline – The Best Is Yet To Come

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Touching Drama

Story: The Last Movie Star starts as an aging movie star Vic Edwards (Reynolds) gets offer a chance to be honoured at a film festival, which sees him being talked by his best friend Sonny (Chase) to travel to Nashville for the festival.

When Vic arrives in Nashville, he finds his driver is Lil (Winter) a young woman with her own troubles who is being the driver for her brother Doug (Duke) who is running the festival, only it isn’t the big festival he thought and he ends up using his time to go down memory lane.

Thoughts on The Last Movie Star

Characters – Vic Edwards has had a long career in Hollywood, he has however found himself growing old alone, knowing he doesn’t have much time left and agrees to attend a film festival, only to find it being a small self-funded one by fans, he ends up using the trip to go down memory lane and teach Lil the bigger part of life that she is wasting. Lil is the assistant to Vic for the weekend, she has her own problems, struggling everyday, fighting back against the world. She ends up learning more from Vic that she could imagine, to help her prepare for her life for the first time. Doug, Shane and Stuart are massive fans of Vic who have arranged the festival in his memory to give him a lifetime achievement award.

PerformancesBurt Reynolds is fantastic in the leading role, truly showing what it would be to look back on your life and see the best and worst from his past. Ariel Winter is wonderful too, showing how life can bring even the youngest members of society down, with the two showing a strong bond.

StoryThe story here follows an aging movie star that attends a film festival in his honour, only to use the time to look back on his life, the ups and downs, where he teaches a young woman about the mistakes she could be making and showing her just what life is all about. The story here shows us what is would be like to look back at life at any age, it shows us just how difficult it could be when you live in a life of regret and that you could find the right path in the most unlikely places. We also get to see what it would be like to be a celebrity that would take too much for granted, needing to learn to become more humble to their fans. We have a lot of heart in this film and it will show us that things can always get better.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the memory lane Vic goes on, it shows us just how much everything will mean to him, however small things might be.

Scene of the Movie – The festival speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have seen more about what the festival means to the fans.

Final Thoughts This is a touching drama about being grateful for everything you have achieved in life, no matter how big you become and shows what is will be like to meet the fans.

Overall: Wonderful drama.

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – Z – Venus (2017) Movie Review

We are under Z because of star Zena Darawalla.

Director: Eisha Marjara

Writer: Eisha Marjara (Screenplay)

Starring: Debargo Sanyal, Jamie Mayers, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Zena Darawalla, Gordon Warnecke, Amber Goldfarb

Plot: A dramatic comedy about a transitioning woman who discovers that she’s the father of a 14 year old boy.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Life Drama

Story: Venus starts as we meet Sid (Sanyal) a man that has been going for the transitional process to become a woman, almost reaching the final stages, when she learns that she has a son Ralph (Mayers) who has been searching for his father for years.

As Ralph continues to become distant from his own mother, he is starting to get closer and even accepting to Sid, unlike a lot of people in and around Sid’s own life, the parental figure is starting to get strong between the two, even though they never knew about each other.

Thoughts on Venus

Characters – Sid was born a man and is going through the transitional stage to become a woman, this goes against everything his Indian parent’s want to, well more his mother than his father, he gets funny looks in work and life, only to discover he fathered a child when at high school. She is in a relationship where she doesn’t get to show their love in public, where she is the one that is being hidden from the world. She is trying to break down his parents and with the son, she will get more acceptance from her mother. Ralph is the high school student who comes to Sid about being his son, he gets to hand out with Sid where he accepts his life choice and in return gets treated with more respect than his mother. Daniel is the partner of Sid, he is less willing to come out publicly which has always been the problem in their relationship, no matter how close they are with each other. Mamaji and Papaji are the parents that aren’t as supportive as they could be, they are very family orientated, which is why they can show signs of displeasure only to learn to love their child no matter what the choice in life will be.

PerformancesDebargo Sanyal in the leading role is great showing the difficult life anyone going through a transition would have different problems in life. Jamie Mayers is strong too, being the teen who has his own problems in life, while the rest of the supporting cast are solid enough without doing too much else.

StoryThe story here follows Sid who is going through the transition from a man to a woman only to discover they fathered a child while in high school, dealing with yet another problem in life, not only being a parent, but trying to get acceptance from their own family. The story does put the spotlight on the difficulties that anyone going through the transition would be facing in everyday life, how family will want to accept, but not always knowing how to embrace their choice. It also shows how learning to become a parent could be difficult too, with the pure shock of learning and not knowing how to be one. Dealing with the most difficult moments in life is the most important part of the film and they get the right time to shine.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy is more to do with reactions to certain moments, not looking for laughs like it could have, while the romance shows us what love could have been, what love was and how you need to show it.

SettingsThe film doesn’t go big with the settings, showing us the home environments for the three different families.

Scene of the Movie – Sid taking control.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t get enough about what happened in the past between Sid and the mother.

Final Thoughts This is an important look at how difficult life can be for anybody going through a transition, it shows how normal in life they are and the world can make things more difficult.

Overall: Important.

The Death of Stalin (2017) Movie Review

Director: Armando Iannucci

Writer: Fabien Nury (Screenplay) Fabien Nury, Thierry Robin (Comic Book)

Starring: Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine, Rupert Friend, Jason Isaacs, Michael Palin, Andrea Riseborough, Jeffrey Tambor

Plot: Moscow, 1953. After being in power for nearly 30 years, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin takes ill and quickly dies. Now the members of the Council of Ministers scramble for power.

Tagline – Russia 1953. A nation in fear of one man. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Basic Comedy

Story: The Death of Stalin starts as we dive into communist Soviet, under dictator Josef Stalin, we see how his closest ministers Lavrenti Beria (Beale), Georgy Malenkov (Tambor), Nikita Khrushchev (Buscemi) and Vyacheslav Molotiv (Palin) who enjoy his ruling, knowing how to keep things quiet, until he has a heart attack, dying.

Now the men must work together to keep the story straight about what happened, bringing in his children, the calm Svetlana (Riseborough) and the aggressive Vasily (Friend). With the funeral prepared, we see how each of the men deals with the funeral and the future for the Soviet Union.

Thoughts on The Death of Stalin

Characters – When it comes to the characters, we get a complete host of different ministers and comrades who served under Stalin, each one has their own agenda after his death, seeing it as a chance to move into power. Each one will get made out to be an over the top style as the characters show how devoted the Russians were towards Stalin because of their fear.

PerformancesWhen we look at the big cast, we have a host of comedic performances that will get laughs at times, will show just how over the top everybody has become, it is the performances that are completely over the top which stand out more, other wise it can see people becoming slightly held back.

StoryThe story here follows the men in power tactically trying to push their own agendas after the death of their leader Stalin, in a satirical way. Where this story might miss out at times, is when it is trying to mix the reality of what did happen, by just driving the silliness into comedy, we have glimpses of the history lesson, but not enough, we make fun of the seriousness that saw countless victims of this horrible leaders, which just didn’t make this an enjoyable in anyway.

ComedyThe comedy is just showing how over the top the people in this world would be and have become, it doesn’t always work, with the couple of laughs working at the right time.

SettingsThe film uses the different locations of the Soviet leaders would operate and look to gain power.

Scene of the Movie – Moving the body.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It doesn’t get very funny.

Final Thoughts This is a satirical comedy that doesn’t get enough laughs, which only seem to be one dimensional for the most part.

Overall: Poor satirical comedy.