ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – T – The King (2019) Movie Review

This is under T because of the star Timothee Chalamet

Director: David Michod

Writer: Joel Edgerton, David Michod (Screenplay)

Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Robert Pattinson, Lily-Rose Depp, Joel Edgerton, Ben Mendelsohn, Sean Harris, Thomasin McKenzie

Plot: Hal, wayward prince and heir to the English throne, is crowned King Henry V after his tyrannical father dies. Now the young king must navigate palace politics, the war his father left behind, and the emotional strings of his past life.

Runtime: 2 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Another King Fighting Film

Story: The King starts as the war between the English and the Scots continues to rage on, King Henry IV (Mendlesohn) is getting tired of the bloodshed and disloyalty being found in his own soldiers and with his health getting worse he recalls his son Hal (Chalamet) to his side.

As Hal find himself in a new power, he doesn’t know who to trust, so he turns to Falstaff (Edgerton) to help him in battle, with in latest battle being with the future French king The Dauphin (Pattinson).

Thoughts on The King

Characters – Hal is the young prince that would become King, a role he isn’t ready for, he doesn’t want to see large scale bloodshed like his father’s reign, but finds his country in war from all sides, he wants to end the battles and will look for solutions, which don’t always work for him. Falstaff is the man Hal turns to for advice when it comes to conflict, he thought under King Richard and he knows how to outsmart an enemy, first he must give up his drinking problem though. The Dauphin is next in line to be king of France, he is leading the armies into battle and doesn’t want any part of a deal with the King of England.

PerformancesTimothee Chalamet is strong in the leading role, continuing to put himself on the right path to do anything he wants to in the future. Joel Edgerton is always a great supporting star in any movie, this is no different, while Robert Pattinson as the villainous soon to be king does a great job too.

StoryThe story here follows a young king taking his place on the throne while his country is involved in wars that he never started and now he wants to end, hoping to find a more peaceful way to end the battles, forcing him to learn the truth about the bitter war between the nations. This is one of those stories which once again puts our history out there for the world to see with the English being seen as an all-conquering nation that always believed they were right, the spin is seeing how the young king wants to try and find a more peaceful way to end things, but just doesn’t get a chance to solve these problems. The pacing follows everything we have seen before, not making this standout on any means whatsoever, which just leads us to disappointment once again.

Biopic/HistoryThis is a film that claims to tell the story of a real king and how he was brave, just like every single one through the years, we don’t know what he was like or what the battles were like, we only know the outcome.

SettingsThe settings show us how the kingdoms are beautiful and how the battlefields are covered in blood and bodies.

Scene of the Movie – The battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is the same typical history story.

Final Thoughts This is one of the period piece dramas that does everything it needs to without giving us the complete truth to what is happening with the real history.

Overall: Simple Royalty Film.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – S – See You Yesterday (2019) Movie Review

Director: Stefon Bristol

Writer: Fredrica Bailey, Stefon Bristol (Screenplay)

Starring: Eden Duncan-Smith, Dante Crichlow, Astro, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Johnathan Nieves, Michael J Fox

Plot: Two Brooklyn teenage prodigies, C.J. Walker and Sebastian Thomas, build makeshift time machines to save C.J.’s brother, Calvin, from being wrongfully killed by a police officer.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Messy Time Travel Film

Story: See You Yesterday starts as we meet the two teenagers Claudette ‘CJ’ Walker (Duncan-Smith) and Sebastian Thomas (Crichlow) who have been working on their science project to make time travel possible. After they prove they can go back just one day, CJ the brains behind the project, does something reckless, which changes the pass, while dealing with an ex-boyfriend.

The consequences of her actions create a domino effect which sees her brother Calvin (Astro) killed in a police shooting, wanting to make a different CJ works with Sebastian to try and create the ability to go further back, which only ends up creating more problems, the more she tries to fix.

Thoughts on See You Yesterday

Characters – Claudette ‘CJ’ Walker is the brains behind the time travel machine, she however has started to become difficult to be around, causing unnecessary trouble in an already combustible neighbourhood. When the pair get the machine to work, it is her mistake which causes the effects the pair must go through. She is always so desperate to fix the mistakes, she doesn’t even consider the consequences. Sebastian is the best friend that has always helped along the way, he is the one that will ask the questions about the consequences, seeing how reckless CJ has become. Calvin is the big brother of CJ’s, he will always make sure she is safe, whenever somebody in the neighbourhood causes her trouble.

PerformancesWhile the two leading stars Eden Duncan-Smith and Dante Crichlow don’t do anything wrong through the film, they have annoying character traits to bring to life, which doesn’t help what they have to work with.

StoryThe story here follows two high school friends that are trying to prove time travel is possible and soon learn the consequences of trying to change the past. This story does have an important reason for trying to create the time travel, we are placed into a Brooklyn neighbourhood that has been dealing with police shooting, overly aggressive gang mentality and will have signs of poverty. Outside of this side of the story, we are dealing with really bad time travel decisions, even though the characters seem clear of what not to do. We won’t go into the non-ending either, which leaves us with nothing after what has happened through the film, this does just feel like an unfinished script, that really wants deal with topical issues through the film.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film does come from the panic involved once the first incident happens, it is more neighbourhood action, rather anything else, while the time travel might dive into basic science behind time travel, which does work well, it is the behaviour from people that believe they understand it that let everything down.

SettingsThe film is set in Brooklyn which shows the environment the two friends are around, which brings the combustible elements.

Scene of the Movie – See You Yesterday.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Most of CJ’s decisions.

Final Thoughts Messy time travel film, which does deal with big topical issues the best it can, sadly, get caught in the middle of both worlds.

Overall: Missed the point.

Just Mercy (2019) Movie Review

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

Writer: Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham (Screenplay) Bryan Stevenson (Book)

Starring: Michael B Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson, Rob Morgan, Tim Blake Nelson, Rafe Spall, Marcus A Griffin Jr, O’Shea Jackson Jr

Plot: World-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner.

Runtime: 2 Hours 17 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Eye Opening

Story: Just Mercy starts when Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) learns the struggles of the poor, mostly black men on death row for crimes they didn’t get proper representation in court. Gaining the funding to start helping these men, one case Walter McMillian (Foxx) takes centre stage.

Bryan must battle a legal system that doesn’t seem to want to let a black man have a fair trial, to prove that Walter never committed a murder that was convicted on just one witness statement, no evidence was false, to save a man’s life and change the system forever.

Thoughts on Just Mercy

Characters – The characters here are based on real people, which shows the incredible work they went through, Bryan has just qualified as a lawyer and is willing to give up massive paydays to help the men trapped on death row, to get a fair trial and save lives. He will risk his life, reputation and career on proving, fairly that Walter isn’t a murderer. Walter McMillian has worked hard his whole life, his one mistake made him an easy target for the police who wanted to frame a black man, now on death row, he doesn’t have much faith of getting out, until he meets Bryan who shows him that somebody is willing to fight for him, even though he has always claimed his innocence and helped keep the fellow inmates believing they could get out. Eva Ansley works with Bryan, she leads more of the campaign, while helping study the law side, not fighting in the courtroom, she is the person that keeps Bryan going through it all, though not seeing her involved more in the courtroom, is slightly disappointing.

PerformancesMichael B Jordan steps up here to prove he will be able to take leading roles in a more serious environment once again, he shows all the calm his character needs during the testing times. Jamie Foxx is wonderful as the wrongly convicted killer, showing how the system has beaten him down more than anything else. Brie Larson gets great scenes, but it is a mix of her character not getting enough scenes and seemingly more we don’t learn about her character which leaves us wanting more.

StoryThe story here follows the young lawyer that wants to fight for the rights of the men on death row, with his first major case being defending Walter McMillian, a man believed to be wrongfully convicted a crime he could never have committed. This is an important story, it shows how hard the people worked to campaign to give people a fair trial in a system which has shown countless cases of corruption, he shows all the struggles they would face and how the law will always hold people back from getting the truth out there fairly. We focus on one major case, while it does feel like we could watch many cases this man worked on, just to show us how unfair the law can be on the poor.

SettingsThe film uses a few settings, the prison for the interviews, the courtroom, which as you all know is one of my favourite settings in film, offices and homes which show how hard everybody worked to get this story out there.

Scene of the Movie – The supreme courtroom.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The law being this bad.

Final Thoughts This is a wonderful important look at how the law works, not always as fairly as it should do, we have a massive story and brilliant performances from the cast.

Overall: Important.

The Farewell (2019) Movie Review

Director: Lulu Wang

Writer: Lulu Wang (Screenplay)

Starring: Shuzhen Zhao, Awkwafina, X Mayo, Hong Lu, Hong Lin, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin

Plot: A Chinese family discovers their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather before she dies.

Tagline – Based on an Actual Lie

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Beautiful

Story: The Farewell starts as we see Billi (Awkwafina) living in New York city close to her parents Haiyan (Ma) and Lu Jian (Lin), Billi is close to her Nai Nai (Zhao) back in China, always son the phone with her despite the 12 hour time difference. When Billi learns something isn’t right at home with her parents, she learns the truth, that Nai Nai is going to be dying soon, but the family isn’t going to tell her as it is part of the culture not to let somebody know they are dying.

The family has arranged a big wedding for one of Billi’s cousins with this being a chance for Nai Nai to have a gather of family before she goes, while Billie starts to become conflicted with how the cultural style is being handled.

Thoughts on The Farewell

Characters – Billi is the young woman that is struggling with her life in America, she is close to her family, with her parents in New York with her and her grandmother back in China, where she speaks to often despite the time difference. She learns that her Nai Nai is sick and wants to talk about it, only to learn about the culture, that didn’t even want to invite her along to a surprise wedding to celebrate Nai Nai’s life. Billi shows us how conflicted she is with wanting to follow the cultural beliefs, with the ideas of getting to spend time in happiness with Nai Nai. She does learn from each family member just what these moments will mean to Nai Nai too. Nai Nai is the kind grandmother, who has cancer and is going to die, she doesn’t know this because the family and doctors choice not to tell her to give her a final few months of happiness, she knows everything her family is up to in their lives and is delighted to see everybody back together for the wedding. We do meet the whole family with Billi’s parents needing to explain the cultural importance of the situation, the young couple getting married and how many of the family have left for America, while not spending time with the family back in China.

PerformancesWe do have two true star performances here with Shuzhen Zhao being the dying woman that is filled with delight, even though you do see in her performance that she knows the truth. Awkwafina is wonderful too, we see how she is conflicted through the film wanting to break down, but never letting it happen. When it comes to the supporting cast everybody is strong through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a Chinese family that comes together for a wedding, which is being used as a cover up for the family to come together to spend time with a dying relative, one they don’t want to tell the news too. This story does show a cultural idea that puts a person’s happiness over giving them bad news, showing that family will come together for the important moment in life to just have a good time and celebrate life, for what will be the last time. It does show the confliction that one person will feel and will once again show that family will be there for you, even if you are struggling in life.

ComedyThe comedy in this film is shown with just how Nai Nai gets to have a good couple of weeks with her family, when she isn’t around, we get the more serious moments, but we focus on the happy moments.

SettingsThe film is set in China for the most part, we get to see the homes, the important locations and the wedding which is the key part of the happiness for the family.

Scene of the Movie – The Wedding.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – I am going to be picky here, certain subtitles are difficult to read with the background colour being too similar to the font.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautiful movie that puts the spotlight on a cultural difference that you might not know about in real life, but one that is one that is so delightful and heart breaking to see unfold.

Overall: Wonderful Watch.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – P – Parasite (2019) Movie Review

Director: Bong Joon Ho

Writer: Bong Joon Ho, Jin Won Han (Screenplay)

Starring: Song Kang Ho, Lee Sun Kyun, Cho Yeo Jeong, Choi Woo Shik, Park So Dam, Lee Jung Eun, Chang Hyae Jin

Plot: All unemployed, Ki-taek and his family take peculiar interest in the wealthy and glamorous Parks, as they ingratiate themselves into their lives and get entangled in an unexpected incident.

Tagline – Act like you own the place

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Astonishing

Story: Parasite starts as we meet the Kim family, all unemployed, with father Ki-taek (Kang Ho), mother Chung-sook (Hye-jin) and adult children, former military service Ki-woo (Woo-sik) and genius computer wizard Ki-jung (So-dam), they take simple jobs like folding pizza boxes, until Ki-woo gets pushed into taking a tutoring job for the Park family, teaching Da-hye (Ji-so) English.

Soon after Ki-woo gets a job for the family, the Park family businessman Dong Ik (Sun-kyun) his wife Yeon-kyo (Yeo-Jeong) fill the roles of their trusted staff with Ki-woo’s family as they get themselves secure well paying jobs, but not everything is as it seems with the house.

Thoughts on Parasite

Characters – Ki-taek Kim is the father of the unemployed family, he has always looked out for his family, while they search for their next meal, once the job opens up for him, he becomes the driver, proving to be a model employee. Ki-woo gets the first job as a tutor for the daughter in the family, he sees this as a chance to get to university, where he makes the plan for the family to get the extra jobs. Ki-jung is the daughter of the family that will become an art therapist for the family, while Chung-sook takes over the house as the maid. This family shows the poverty a family can be experiencing and just how far they would go to try and get out of it. The Park family has businessman Dong-ik who has always been patient with people, letting his wife do the hardest decisions in life, while supporting her always. Yeon-kyo is the wife that deals with the everyday routines in the house, she will do everything she needs to with the people she trusts, even if this does mean she can be taken advantage of.

PerformancesWe have incredible performances from the whole cast here Song Kang-ho in the leading role shines beyond belief in one of the performances of the year. Lee Sun-kyun and Jo Yeo-jeong give us wonderful supporting roles, with Choi Woo-sik, Park So-dam and Jang Hye-jin shining like the rest of the cast which is flawless throughout the film.

StoryThe story here follows a poverty family that luck and con their way into secure jobs for one family, only to see everything spiral out of control in a story that highlights the lines between the rich and poor. This story is one of the most fascinating ones of the year, it does seem like it is going to be a simple enough story, but when everything goes out of control we get to see threads of the story unravel in every directions, see the highlights placed on the rich and poor divide, slowly chipping away at the poorer side of the family, as well as having the other incident going on (which does include too bigger spoilers). Much like ‘Shoplifters’ we see just how hopeless people can feel when they have no realistic future because money they can’t earn can’t give them an out. This is a perfect highlight of how to bring an original story to life, where the audience will be left to ponder what will happen next.

ComedyThe film is set up like a comedy which at times does work, with just how crazy certain moments are, though it doesn’t fall into a laugh out loud comedy.

SettingsThe film uses the settings excellently, with the poverty sized house the family can barely not have some drunk piss on the window, to the wealthy businessman who has earnt his way to the top, the difference in lifestyle is drastic with the locations almost being a character of their own.

Scene of the Movie – Party time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing.

Final Thoughts This is one of the most amazing films you will see this year, it will shock you and give us an important message about the clash system in the world.

Overall: Essential Movie.