ABC Film Challenge – Romance – J – Aladdin (2019) Movie Review

This is under J because it is about Aladdin trying to win Jasmine’s heart.

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Guy Ritchie, John August (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnuessen

Plot: A kind-hearted street urchin and a power-hungry Grand Vizier vie for a magic lamp that has the power to make their deepest wishes come true.

Tagline – Choose wisely.

Runtime: 2 Hour 8 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Lacks the Magic

Story: Aladdin starts as we meet the street urchin Aladdin (Massoud) who is always looking to make his meal ticket with his quick hands, saving Jasmine (Scott) who is pretending to be a local, escaping from her strict father’s (Negahban) rules, experience the thrill of the city. Jafar (Kenzari) is scheming to make his own plans for when the Sultan is gone, waiting for make his own move on Princess Jasmine, against her own mother’s kingdom.

After being caught in the act by Jafar forces Aladdin on his own search for treasure, in search of the lamp with will give him power, only Aladdin keeps the lamp for himself, where he meets the Genie (Smith) who grants him wishes, where he must master the power behind it.

Thoughts on Aladdin

Characters – Aladdin is a street urchin that has quick hands which keeps food available for him, he gets a chance meeting with the rebellious princess, falling in love, showing his honest ways, only he is too poor to be considered anybody that could be with her. He gets forced to steal the magic lamp only to be betrayed and left for dead. Once he learns the power of the lamp, he tries to use it to win Jasmine’s heart, whatever the cost, not being like the other princes that try to win her heart. Princess Jasmine has been held away from the world by her strict father who is scared for her life until she marries a prince, she doesn’t want to just marry royalty, she wants to become her own leader to the people of her city. Genie is who comes out of the lamp to offer Aladdin the three wishes, he does explain how the wishes unfold and wants to help Aladdin create the best wishes, using her natural charisma. Jafar is the second in command of the city, he is planning his own rise to rule the city, with or without Jasmine on his arm.

PerformancesThis movie does have a string of performances that have glimpses from Naomi Scott and Will Smith, only we don’t see everything we could about them, while Mena Massoud lacks the spark for the Aladdin we have known, while Marwan Kenzari just doesn’t come off as evil as he should.

StoryThe story here follows a street urchin who finds a magical lamp and uses it to hopefully win the heart of the princess of the kingdom, where he must learn his own responsibility about life isn’t just about the power of three wishes. Being a remake of the animation, we know where the story will go and it doesn’t differ to any major levels and does continue to show the important message, power and money won’t by you happiness, while showing strict rules that could be broken for somebody to have their own happiness when it comes to position in power.

Fantasy/RomanceWe do get the fantasy side of this film follows the idea of a genie granting wishes, which is interesting, only not fully expressed, while the romance is there and is more about breaking down the walls over anything.

SettingsThe film does us the settings to show us the different world that Aladdin and Jasmine are from, with the cave being such a wonderful location too, only we don’t spend enough time there.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film have moments looking amazing, only for them to not look that great all the way through.

Scene of the Movie – The cave.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Aladdin and Jafar just aren’t interesting enough.

Final Thoughts This just is just like a glossy remake that just doesn’t have the magic it should leaving us feel like we have missed out on something bigger and better.

Overall: Simple and not enjoyable.

Masters of Love (2019) Movie Review

Director: Matt Roberts

Writer: Matt Roberts (Screenplay)

Starring: Ciaran Dowd, Bekka Bowling, Eleanor Fanyinka, Rose Johnson, Sarah Ovens, Camille Ucan, William Vasey

Plot: A group of friends are at different stages in their relationships, and none of them are convinced about what they’re doing: Emmy and Samantha are due to get married; Josh and Jenifer are breaking up; and Niall is sleeping around. Their entwining stories give a candid look at finding love in the age of internet dating.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: More Proof Love is Hard

Story: Masters of Love starts as we meet our couples, we have Emmy (Ovens) and Samantha (Fanyinka) who are preparing to get married, while Josh (Roberts) and Jenifer (Watts) are just breaking up, seeing Josh needing to start his life over, without the love of his life, with Niall (Dowd) sleeping around using his comedy routine to meet women.

As we continue through the lives of these people, we get to see how Emmy and Samantha are finding their relationship strained, while Josh is trying to find his place in the modern dating world.

Thoughts on Masters of Love

Characters – Emmy is about to marry her girlfriend, only the latest steps are starting to see the problems with the smaller details, she is also trying to help her brother get back on his feet, while facing the cold feet of commitment, Samantha is Emmy’s partner, she is more organised and has been planning more of the wedding, trying to put everything together, she does want happiness with Emmy, but doesn’t know if she can wait. Josh is the brother of Emmy’s he breaks up with his girlfriend, while being too carried away with his social media presence. Niall is a standout comedian that has always been just hooking up for one night stands, he has never shown an interesting in commitment. We see how each other these characters are dealing with the difficulties of relationships.

PerformancesThe performances in this film do feel authentic, with how everyone is dealing with the problems they are facing in love, showing the joys well and sadness that is filled with pain.

StoryThe story here follows a group of Londoners who are in different stages of their love lives, we see how they deal with the bigger problems that come their way and how they look to overcome. This does put the big spotlight on just how difficult love can be going forward, even if you are with the most important person in your life, we see how mistakes can be made, uncertainty can cause more problems, but if the love is strong, you will find a way to get through anything.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy does come from the awkward situations the characters put themselves in with Josh getting the most laughs, while the romance does show us just how difficult love can be.

SettingsThe film shows us with the settings how everyday couple could meet, interact and go about their routines.

Scene of the Movie – Josh’s recordings.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The stand-up doesn’t seem to be as funny as it should be.

Final Thoughts This is a nice look at how difficult love can be in the modern world, it shows us just how difficult finding and keeping it will be at times.

Overall: Modern Love 101.

Signature Entertainment presents Masters of Love on Digital HD from July 13th

We Are Little Zombies (2019) Movie Review

Director: Makoto Nagahisa

Writer: Makoto Nagahisa (Screenplay)

Starring: Keita Ninomiya, Mondo Okumura, Satoshi Mizuno, Sena Nakajima

Plot: Four Japanese orphans form a rock band.

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Beautifully Unique

Story: We Are Little Zombies starts as four children Hikari (Ninomiya), Takemura (Okumura), Ishi (Mizuno) and Ikuko (Nakajima) all meet at the funeral other their parents, they strike up a bond, which sees them become friends instantly, as they all are dealing with the same grief in life.

The four decide to stick together, leaving their new lives behind and setting out on their own lives, which sees them on the verge of homelessness, here they discover their true calling, to be rock stars, using only the instruments from the local dump.

Thoughts on We Are Little Zombies

Characters – Hikari has spent most of his young life alone, he uses video games to get him through his alone time and after the accident which kills his parents, videos games continue to be a big part of his healing process, along with his new friends. Takemura and Ishi saw his parents die suddenly too, with them both having different people they need to impress in their new lives, people they both don’t want to be around. While Ikuko saw her parents murdered, with her one possession she would like back, being her piano. The four are drawn together to remain friends and show their new talents in music, a wave that will take over the country.

PerformancesWe have four wonderful performances from our young cast, Keita Ninomiya, Mondo Okumura, Satoshi Mizuno and Sena Nakajima, show a joyful chemistry that is surrounding their own problems they are going through in life and bring to life a new natural friendship.

StoryThe story here follows four orphans that meet at their parents funerals, they create a unique bond that helps them address their emotionless reaction to what has happened and end up turning to music to look for their future in the world. We have so many themes going on through the film it is one you would need a couple of times to pick up on all the subtle little ones, the major one is about grief and loss, needing to learn how to deal with losing loved ones, we have friendship being important too, we see how fandom can cause more problems for anyone in the spotlight and how people will turn to different ideas to escape the reality of the world. This is such a clever, unique way to tell a story, with the whole experience feeling like a video game, with each chapter displayed like a new level of life.

MusicWe have a musical theme running through the movie, with the orphans making a band, the songs mix video game music to create a unique sound for the band.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the different locations the orphans end up visiting as they look to find their location in the world to fix the pain they are going through.

Scene of the Movie – Little Zombies, the first song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The introduction to the characters is slightly too long.

Final Thoughts This is an utterly unique movie that tackles difficult themes in life for teenagers in a way that you have never seen before in a way that you will never forget the experience it gives you.

Overall: Must Watch Movie.

The Beach House (2019) Movie Review

Director: Jeffrey A Brown

Writer: Jeffrey A Brown (Screenplay)

Starring: Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, Jake Weber, Maryanne Nagel

Plot: A romantic getaway for two troubled college sweethearts turns into a struggle for survival when unexpected guests – and the surrounding environment – exhibit signs of a mysterious infection.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Chilling

Story: The Beach House starts when couple Emily (Liberato) and Randall (Le Gros) look for a weekend getaway, only to find a couple Mitch (Weber) and Jane (Nagel) sharing the getaway home with them for a weekend, getting to talk life questions, diving into the science Emily has been studying for her whole life.

After a night on drinks and drugs, Emily and Randall wake up to discover something is very different, when Jane and Mitch are showing the side effects of a bigger problem they have been going through in an environmental change none of them saw coming.

Thoughts on The Beach House

Characters – Emily has spent her education system working on her study in the field of science, she looks at both the evidence and the philosophy of what could be in the world. She is looking forward to a weekend away with her boyfriend, only to be the one that doesn’t want to push the new friendship past just conversation and drinks. Randall is the boyfriend that’s family owns the vacation home, he has always supporting Emily even if he hasn’t followed the same big plan for his own life. Mitch and Jane are the older couple that have been given access to the home, they do come off strange at times, which does give us an uneasy feeling around them, even though they can come off normal at other times.

PerformancesLiana Liberato in the leading role is great, showing herself to bring us a resourceful character through the film, outside of Liana’s performance, Jake Weber and Maryanne Nagel do give us the uncomfortable feeling we are expecting from their characters, while Noah Le Gros doesn’t get to make as big of an impact in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a young couple that are going on a romantic getaway, only for their time to be interrupted by another couple before finding themselves in a battle to survive against a much bigger problem. This is a story that teases us early on with what we are going to be going through, early on we get the same feeling we got from watching ‘The Visit’ only for us to dive into the bigger unknown, which is the strongest part of the film, leaving us wondering to what is happening, never giving us much to work off. When it comes to pacing, the story doesn’t seem to be as even as it could be, with a lot of the pace, dropping right off before getting back to the exciting levels we hit during the story.

HorrorWhen it comes to the horror side of the The Beach House, we get the feeling of one before being unleashed with another one, which shows us just how horror can flow between subgenres with ease and not letting things get out of hand, with a creation that will bring the chills to the world.

SettingsThe film uses the beach house as the primary location, we have a place that is meant for peace and relaxation, only for it to become the breeding ground for something much more sinister going on in the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are only used for a couple of sequences, with one notable scene, which is the highlight of the film.

Scene of the Movie – Aftermath of the swim.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The slow meeting.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that might have slow moments, but when we are unleashed with the true horror going on, we get chilling moments you will remember.

Overall: Chilling Horror.

Homewrecker (2019) Movie Review

Director: Zach Gayne

Writer: Precious Chong, Alex Essoe, Zach Gayne (Screenplay)

Starring: Precious Chong, Alex Essoe, Tony Matthews, Kris Siddiqi

Plot: Two women befriend each other, but one becomes obsessed with the other.

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Lots of Screaming

Story: Homewrecker starts when Linda (Chong) and Michelle (Essoe) meet at a dance class, before trying to hit it off, with Linda getting involved in Michelle’s life, including her new marriage, while she is looking to start her own family.

What starts out as a friendly drink and social, soon turns sour, when Linda isn’t willing to let Michelle get on with her day, showing a more sinister side to wanting to keep her around.

Thoughts on Homewrecker

Characters – Linda is a lonely middle-aged woman that is desperately seeking friendship which sees her making the rash decision with Michelle, she doesn’t want to let her leave, wanting to recapture her youth, she does show an unstable side to herself with the more time the two spend together. Michelle is a young married woman that is looking to start a family, she reluctantly agrees to be friends with Linda, which sees her trapped in the house, forced into the games.

PerformancesWhile we can’t fault either of the actresses for their performances, we get the unstable from Previous Chong, which does feel uneasy through the film and Alex Essoe does make us believe she is a family person.

StoryThe story here follows a woman that befriends another one, hoping to trick her into coming back to her home for her own twisted game. This is a story that shows how an unstable person will go to extreme lengths to get the life they want from someone they are jealous off. The story will show the uncomfortable situation Michelle finds herself in and how she looks to try and get out of the world, while facing her own problems in her life.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy comes from the different levels, with seeing just how the Linda acts, which is awkward for the most part, with the horror sides coming from the different extremes Linda will go to, only most horrific moments are off camera.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in one location, the homes of Linda, where everything unfolds, filled with clues and memories.

Scene of the Movie – Party Hunk game.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not as strong as things want to be.

Final Thoughts This is a horror comedy that doesn’t hit the heights it could, getting caught up in the middle trying to be quirky, as sadistic, without hitting either on the length it could do for an impact.

Overall: Mostly screaming.