ABC Film Challenge – Action – R – Ride (2018) Movie Review

Director: Jeremy Ungar

Writer: Jeremy Ungar (Screenplay)

Starring: Bella Thorne, Jessie T Usher, Will Brill

Plot: A cautionary tale aimed at a technology-obsessed society.

Tagline – Some Rides Should Never Be Shared

Runtime: 1 Hour 19 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow Thriller

Story: Ride starts as James (Usher) sets out on his night as a driver in LA who works off an app for his fees, as he tries to make it as an actor, this night his first client is a beautiful lady Jessica (Thorne), who invites him out, only for his job to lead him to his next fare, Bruno (Brill) who wants his services for a longer period of time, with the money being hard to refuse.

This night does take a twist, when Bruno shows his true colours, forcing James and Jessica into complete a series of tasks around the town, each one becoming more dangerous.

Thoughts on Ride

Characters – James is an aspiring actor who moonlights as a driver for hire, tonight he picks up to fares, first a woman that asks him out, secondly by a man that wants to hire him for longer to complete task, he must prove how far he would go for the right thing. Jessica is the first fare that asks James to join her for a drink, she gets this wish later in the night only to find herself caught in the middle of the battle between James and Bruno. Bruno seems like an overly friendly fare, only he ends up pushing James to the next level to do thing illegal, showing his unstable side.

PerformancesWe only have three actors in this film, only none of the three really make the impact they want to, which doesn’t help the audience engage with what is going on.

StoryThe story here follows a driver for hire that has a night which sees him pick up two fares, with one taking them on a journey which shows just how unstable he truly is. This story does seem to get caught up in the middle of nowhere because the motivation behind what Bruno is doing seems to random to make sense and only just makes things drag along, we just don’t get sucked into the story in the way you imagine, finding yourself waiting for the point to be made, and it doesn’t happen.

Action This does use moments of action, which is mostly James and Jessica trying to find a way to escape, though it isn’t the most exciting.

SettingsWe use the streets of LA for settings her, which shows us how the party lifestyle could be used to make more happen through the film.

Scene of the Movie – The first drive.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Motivation seems missing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller that doesn’t seem to get going the way it wants to and ends up feeling a little empty by the end of the film.

Overall: Plain Thriller.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – E – End of the World (2018) Movie Review

End of the World – Easy to Watch Disaster Movie

Director: Maximilian Elfeldt

Writer: Michael Varrati (Screenplay)

Starring: Jhey Castles, Joseph Harris, Evan James Henderson, Jacqueline Scislowski, Sallieu Sesay, Remy O’Brien

Plot: As mass of solar storms causes tsunamis, volcanoes, and flooding, a city-dwelling family attempts to flee to the relative safety of a group of high-elevation caves several miles away.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: End of the World starts with the first moment of destruction in a national park before we meet the family we are going to be following, Meredith (Castles) who has been studying the weather phenonium coming to Earth from a Solar storm, trying to warn people, her ex-military husband Sullivan (Harris) whose connections could help, but his rank means nothing now, they have two kids tech savvy Kirby (Henderson) and Sarah (Scislowski) who once the storms start, must find safety.

Meredith is with Kirby, looking to warn people, while Sullivan is guiding Sarah to safety with each natural disaster coming up against them.

Thoughts on End of the World

Characters & Performances – Meredith is the expert in weather, knowing there is going to be a solar storm coming to Earth, wanting to warn people, only nobody was listening, now she must try and save her family before it is too late. She does try to help people along the way, working with her son to try and make it to safety. Sullivan is the ex-military husband and father that uses all his skills to try and keep Sarah safe on the way to safety. Kirby is the tech expert that uses his skill when needed, even if they are just for the odd scene here and there, while Sarah shows the vulnerable sister and daughter that must learn more from her father along the way to safety. The main four actors do well through the film, it is everything you would expect without needing to do too much more with their roles.

StoryThe story starts with the beginning of the storm coming to LA, which will see the family trying to go about their everyday routines, before needing to find safety when the storms become too serious, we mostly only follow one family that must overcome the different events to survive. This is disaster movie 101 if you have ever seen them, each family member has a different skill, which will become pivotal in surviving, with their skill coming in crucial at some point during the surviving, we do step away from the science talk and keeping the story on the just running and surviving idea helps everything out.

ThemesEnd of the World is a cheap sci-fi disaster movie, it does have plenty of escaping situations, it might not have the best supporting acting, with special effects that aren’t the best, but help keep everything feeling the cheesy level you would expect.


End of the World is an easy watch disaster film that brings the destruction needed and simple storytelling of surviving.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – D – Death Wish (2018) Movie Review

Director: Eli Roth

Writer: Joe Carnahan (Screenplay) Brian Garfield (Novel)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Vincent D’Onofrio, Elisabeth Shue, Camila Morrone, Dean Norris, Beau Knapp, Kimberly Elise, Len Cariou

Plot: Dr. Paul Kersey is an experienced trauma surgeon, a man who has spent his life saving lives. After an attack on his family, Paul embarks on his own mission for justice.

Tagline – They came for his family. Now he’s coming for them.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Action Flick

Story: Death Wish starts as we meet the good natured Dr Paul Kersey (Willis) who is dealing with the reality his teenage daughter Jordan (Morrone) is about to go off to college, whose family gets targeted by thieves who get caught in the act by Lucy (Shue) the wife and Jordan, both left brutally attack when the robbery goes wrong.

With his wife dead, Jordan in a coma, Paul starts to get tired of waiting for the crime to be solved, despite Detective Kevin Raines (Norris) doing everything in his power. Paul decides to prepare himself to defend himself from violence, turning into a vigilante looking to clean up the streets of Chicago.

Thoughts on Death Wish

Characters – Dr Paul Kersey is a mild-mannered family man, he doesn’t get involved in confrontations, save both police and criminal injuries without questioning motives. After his wife is killed, his daughter left in a coma, he is left wondering what he has done wrong, waiting for answers, with none coming. He decides to fight back looking to fight crime building up a reputation as he searches for answers. Frank is the brother of Paul, he has always turned to Paul for help needing his support in life, with him being his rock in life. Detective Kevin Raines is leading the investigation into the murder and burglary, he is often left helpless when it comes to anything going on, not finding any evidence. Jordan is the daughter that is about to head off college, before being left in a coma.

PerformancesBruce Willis in the leading role is strong enough, he does struggle to bring to life the everyday man though, which is what is important in this character. The rest of the cast don’t really get time to do anything, as the characters are drawn out that much.

StoryThe story here follows a mild-mannered doctor whose family is attack in a robbery gone wrong, who decides to become a vigilante to clean up the streets of Chicago. This is a remake of a classic, which does bring into the story a few more modern elements, with the technology being used to target people, the story going viral, it all comes into the modern world. Where the story does fall short, is by giving us weak characters, the villain is almost non-existent, with the routine following of how Paul acts towards finding his victims. We also get a clear message about how gun control is well out of control in America, making a big political statement. This is an easy to watch action story though, it just ends up not offering much new.

Action/CrimeThe action is very simple shooting scenes, showing the inexperience of Paul during the shot outs. While the crime side of the film is focused on trying to lower the crime rate.

SettingsWe are set in Chicago which is known for the high crime rate, which shows how helpless the police could be with certain crimes.

Scene of the Movie – Are you the ice cream man.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The lack of the villain character.

Final Thoughts This is a by the book action film that is entertaining enough, without being anything overly different from what we have seen before.

Overall: Simple Action Film.

Banana Split (2018) Movie Review

Director: Benjamin Kasulke

Writer: Hannah Marks, Joey Power (Screenplay)

Starring: Hannah Marks, Liana Liberato, Dylan Sprouse, Luke Spencer Roberts, Meagan Kimberly Smith

Plot: Over the course of a summer, two teenage girls develop the perfect kindred spirit friendship, with one big problem: one of them is dating the other’s ex.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Banana Split starts as we see the perfect high school relationship between April (Marks) and Nick (Sprouse), which after 2-years falls apart when they are looking into colleges, April isn’t doing well after the break up, while Nick starts dating Clara (Liberato).

When Clara and April meet at a party, the two end up become close friends, keeping their friendship a secret from Nick, while preparing for the next stage of their lives.

Thoughts on Banana Split

Characters – April has been part of a perfect relationship with Nick for 2 years until they break up, she does struggle with the break up, but knows she is moving away to college soon, she ends up making friends with Nick’s new girlfriend, even if she wants to be with him again, she is facing the reality of moving on to college without the happy ending to her high school experience, needing the friendship she never had. Clara is the new girl in town, the new girlfriend of Nick’s and soon to be new best friend to April, the two connect like nobody has with April before. Nick is the boy that both the girls have or are dating, he doesn’t seem to have his life together either, while still being open to friendships, than he lets on.

PerformancesHannah Marks and Liana Liberato are both great in this film, they show excellent chemistry in friendship, while also highlighting the awkwardness of being in the same place with the Nick character. Dylan Sprouse works well as the boyfriend who doesn’t seem to know what he wants in life.

StoryThe story here follows an unlikely friendship that grows between two high school girls that just so happen to be the ex and current girlfriend of the same boy. The story might well put a lot of focus on the growing friendship between April and Clara, you can see deep down we are following three people that all know that after the summer, they will be facing a new life, one away from each other in college, which will be the beginning of the next stage of their lives, lives they don’t really know what they want or where they will be going next in. a lot of the friendship and keeping it a secret does work well, with the middle man getting uncomfortable and knowing what will happen next too, but by the end they will all get to grow as people being prepared for what is next… the unknown.

ComedyThe comedy the film comes from seeing how the girls friendship grows, with odd things happening around them along with funny arguments that they have in life with family.

SettingsThe film gives us the LA setting, which does automatically add some glitz to the high school world, which again always looks more over the top than anything you would expect to see from my own experiences in school, but outside the school, we hit the highlights of the area, including the beauty spots overlooking the city.

Scene of the Movie – Make Up.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – There does seem to be a big mystery about what has made Clara move here, that we don’t learn anything about.

Final Thoughts Banana Split is an enjoyable comedy about growing up, getting laughs and having excellent performances from the constantly rising stars of Hannah Marks and Liana Liberato.

ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – Z – Freaks (2018) Movie Review

This is under Z because of director Zach Lipovsky.

Director: Zach Lipovsky, Adam B Stein

Writer: Zach Lipovsky, Adam B Stein (Screenplay)

Starring: Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Grace Park, Amanda Crew, Lexy Kolker, Ava Telek

Plot: A bold girl discovers a bizarre, threatening, and mysterious new world beyond her front door after she escapes her father’s protective and paranoid control.

Tagline – They look just like us

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Brilliantly Original

Story: Freaks starts as we meet young girl Chloe (Kolker) who is living with her father (Hirsch) in a house she isn’t allowed out of, she doesn’t meet people, while her father prepares her for the outside world.

When her father comes back injured, Chloe decides to leave the house, going to meet the ice cream man who claims to be her grandpa (Dern) who shows her about the outside world as we learn about the dangers outside.

Thoughts on Freaks

Characters – Chloe is a young girl that has been sheltered from the world because of her special abilities, ones that her father has been preparing her for, she is constantly curious about the outside world, she wants to have a normal life with a mother and father, but her curiosity leads her to create her own world, while becoming a danger to everyone else. Dad has been protecting Chloe for years, he is preparing her for the real world, knowing what will happen if the agent learn the truth about them. He will do anything to protect her even if that means breaking the rules he has created for them to live by. Agent Ray is leading the investigation into the abnormal or freaks of the world, she knows the dangers they could bring the world, but unlike most, she is willing to use them to help fight wars. Grandpa is a local ice cream man that has always been around the house, he has been watching over Chloe from a far needing to protect her in his own way.

PerformancesEmile Hirsch and Bruce Dern bring the star power to this film, they are both great in their roles showing us just how determined they both are to protect their youngest family member. Young Lexy Kolker bursts onto the scene with her performance that shows the human side to the character that is in need or normality.

StoryThe story here follows a father trying to protect his daughter from the world, his daughter has special abilities that if the world caught her, they would kill her or experiment on her, only her curiosity is leading to threat of that safety. This is a very different spin on the idea of treating people differently, using the idea of superhero genre, while grounding these ideas in reality. In the end it is about people just wanting to live, not wanting to become victims because of other people and just wanting to normal life. The story does keep us guessing and doe splay down the powers, only revealing them slowly as the story unfolds, which helps us understand that they have been forced into using them just to survive. Overall this story is original, hugely original and one that could be enjoyed by many more people.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery in the film comes from seeing how the father daughter are avoiding the world, why they are forced to be so secretive and this unfolds in the sci-fi powers they possess, ones that mean they can be a threat to the world.

SettingsThe film uses the rundown looking house to help our characters look like they are hiding, not a beautiful clean house, like the one Chloe would like to live in, we have the standard government facility too, which isn’t anything special, but where the sets are used well, is with Chloe ability to be in other places, blending the rooms from the house with the other environments.

Scene of the Movie – The bubble revelations.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have seen more of the agent, maybe showing her on another capturing mission first.

Final Thoughts This is an excellent sci-fi film that brings something original to the table, while still keeping the heart of a film that is all about wanting to be part of a family together.

Overall: Outstanding Sci-Fi Movie.