Sister Tempest (2020) Movie Review

Director: Joe Badon

Writer: Joe Badon (Screenplay)

Starring: Kali Russell, Lucas Boffin, Kolly Bonney, Cling Carney, Alex Stage, Linnea Gregg

Plot: Anne Hutchinson’s troubled relationship with her missing sister is under alien tribunal. Meanwhile, her new roommate’s mysterious illness causes her to go on a cannibalistic killing spree.

Tagline – Some roommates are a real nightmare.

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Sister Tempest starts when Anne (Russell) is taken by an alien race to recount her life style, which will see her raise her younger sister Karen (Bonney) who mysteriously goes missing, leaving Anne the art teacher alone in her home, trying to guide the students.

The story includes how Anne took in student Ginger (Gregg), while being caught up in a series of strange events, which will leave her question each part of her life.

Thoughts on Sister Tempest

Final ThoughtsSister Tempest is one of the most unique movies you will see this year, it is filled with a host of seemingly random sequences, that do eventually add up, but seem out of place at times. Sister Tempest does seem to lead you down one path, only to pull the carpet right from under you and send you in a completely different direction, one that is filled with something you wouldn’t have even imagined it going. We have so many different elements going on here, with horror, sci-f, comedy, musical, action, we tackle plenty of genres through the story telling process that will leave us more surprised with what happens, but it would be fair to say this film is one that could have some time trimmed off. This will go down as one of the most unique and strange movies you will see this year and will be one that will leave you scratching your heads, wanting to go back and see it again.

Ammonite (2020) London Film Festival Movie Review

Director: Francis Lee

Writer: Francis Lee (Screenplay)

Starring: Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan, Fiona Shaw, Gemma Jones, James McArdle, Alec Secareanu

Plot: 1840s England, acclaimed but overlooked fossil hunter Mary Anning and a young woman sent to convalesce by the sea develop an intense relationship, altering both of their lives forever

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Ammonite starts as we see the fossil hunter Mary Anning (Winslet) living off the coast where she searches for the fossil, with her mother Molly (Jones), they are seen as the outsiders in the village, until a scientist Roderick Murchison (McArdle) and his wife Charlotte (Ronan) arrive in town looking to learn off her.

When Roderick goes on his own expedition, he asks Mary to watch of Charlotte, as she is recovering from her own illness, leading to the two reluctantly spending time together, changing both of their lives.

Thoughts on Ammonite

Characters – Mary Anning is a fossil hunter that has been living her life away from the traditions for her whole life, she is famous in the community for her work, living with just her mother off the coast, where she finds the most fossils, she doesn’t communicate too much with the rest of the town and doesn’t have people skill, preferring to work alone than with people. She reluctantly agrees to watch over Charlotte, while her husband is away, leading to an unlikely friendship between the two. Charlotte Murchison is the wife of Roderick, the pair have suffered their own loss of a child, leading to Charlotte losing the sparkly she once had, she needs to recover with the time on the coast being the medicine prescribed to her. She does start to come back out of her shell, once she spends more time with Mary. We don’t meet too many more characters, we have the husband Roderick who is trying to help bring his wife out of her depression, Dr Lieberson who helps when Charlotte gets ill and Molly Anning the mother of Mary who is stuck in her own ways.

PerformancesKate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan are both wonderful in the leading roles, showing the pain in life they have both been through, as well as the hope they bring each other.

StoryThe story follows a lonely fossil hunter that is asked to look after the wife of a fellow scientist with the two slowly starting to spend time with each other and falling in love, opening their eyes to what could come from life. The story does follow the formula you would expect it too, it does show us the everyday almost boring to film routines the characters go through, holding back the excitement from life, highlighting the slump both women are going through. We do get to lean more into the forbidden love for the time and era, but otherwise we have seen the story unfold before.

Biopic/RomanceWe don’t learn that much about Mary Anning from a true professional stand point, which is more disappointing, with the romance side of everything being what we have seen before from the love involved.

SettingsThe small coastal town makes us see the type of life that Mary wants, away from the world, close to her work.

Scene of the Movie – The fossil hunt.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing new.

Final Thoughts Ammonite has brilliant performance, a well crafted world inside a tried and tested story that doesn’t do anything wrong.

Christmas in Carolina (2020) Movie Review

Director: Peggy Williams

Writer: Stacie Davis (Screenplay)

Starring: Joslyn Y Hall, Kellie Shanygne Williams, Darius McCrary, Jessi Nicolet, David L Rowell, Terrence Shingler

Plot: Elle, a career driven investment banker, has given up on love until she meets Wesley who invites Elle to his hometown in South Carolina. There she falls in love and finds the spirit of Christmas again.

Tagline – When You Least Expect It, Love Will Find You

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Christmas in Carolina starts as workaholic Elle Moore (Hall) has a date with successful businessman Wesley Saxon (Rowell), she continues to show her distant nature to any guy she dates, while Wesley outlast most dates, he has his own problems for Christmas, his mother Charlotte (Williams) wants him to return home for Christmas.

After Elle gets pushed into coming out of her shell more, she accepts the invitation to go home with Wesley for Christmas, to spend time with people for the first time in a long time over the Christmas holiday.

Thoughts on Christmas in Carolina

Characters – Elle Moore is a workaholic, she is always on her phone, barely finding time for dates and when she does, she doesn’t give the guy the time, usually answering her phone to continue working. She strikes fear in her employees at work, with her cousin pushing her into giving Wesley a second chance, putting herself out there. She uses her work to cover up her own loneliness, not having the big close family, but spending time with Wesley and his family she starts to come out of her shell more. Wesley is a high profile sports scout branded the most eligible bachelor in the city by Elle’s cousin, he will help show Elle about family for Christmas, as he will show her his family and how important it is for them all. We do meet Wesley’s brother Ryan who is against the relationship, always looking to stir up problems, Charlotte, Wesley’s mum who is so welcoming to him bringing someone home and Elle cousin Blythe who pushes out of her comfort zone.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances, Joslyn Y Hall and David L Rowell are great together, they show the excellent chemistry on the dating montages, making us see the little changes their characters needed to make to find happiness.

StoryThe story here follows a pair of workaholics that start dating over Christmas, finding a spark they didn’t expect, needing to be pushed into following their own hearts to make this relationship happen, with the backdrop of a family Christmas. This is a truly feel good story about love and Christmas, we keep everything simple about the changes, with no need for a great drama about why Elle isn’t as open and why Wesley is willing to let her in, it revolves around family and the importance of being together for Christmas.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film comes from the supporting cast, who will get the laughs with ease, leaving the romance between Elle and Wesley to be their main focal point, showing us that you can find love, if you are willing to let someone in.

SettingsThe film uses the busy city to show the workaholic lives the pair have, while taking us to the quiet family setting for Christmas, which will bring more joy to the pair’s lives.

Scene of the Movie – The date montages are full of so much happiness.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing.

Final Thoughts Christmas in Carolina is a truly feel-good festival movie, that will leave you with a giant smile on your face.

Nomadland (2020) London Film Festival Movie Review

Director: Chloe Zhao

Writer: Chloe Zhao (Screenplay) Jessica Bruder (Book)

Starring: Frances McDormand, Gay DeForest, Patricia Grier, Linda May, Angela Reyes, David Strathairn

Plot: Follows a woman in her sixties who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Nomadland starts as we meet Fern (McDormand) a woman in her sixties that lost everything in a recession, her husband passed away, leaving her with next to nothing, Fern lives in a van, travelling around America in search of work, in a routine, where she meets the same people, while spending months at each workplace through the year, depending upon the season.

Thoughts on Nomadland

Characters – Fern is the new Nomad, she lost everything in a recession, forcing her to travel for work, with a routine selection of roles she will fulfil each year, meeting the same people to catch up, all with their own stories. She does get on with most people she meets through her travels, showing the support the whole community brings together for each other. Most of the other characters we meet in the film are the real nomads, they each understand their lives, making it feel like a lot of the situations could be seen as real stories.

PerformancesFrances McDormand is wonderful to watch in this film, she brings this character to life with ease, showing the sympathy she need, without every asking for it. Most of the rest of the cast are real nomads, that are here to tell their own stories of their lives, showing how they can still find the positives in their lives.

StoryThe story here follows a woman who lost everything and has turned to the life of a nomad, travelling around for work, making friends with the community of nomads, while still finding the best in life. The story here is a reflection of the modern day uncertainties in America today, showing that there will be a generation that will be forced to continue working when everything is suddenly taken from them. While the story isn’t the deepest, it is more about highlighting the community that have been suffering for so long with the current living conditions in America.

SettingsThe film takes us across the American West, showing us the different conditions that Fern sets up in for work, the different working environments she finds herself working in and the adventures she is free to take.

Scene of the Movie – Journeys never taken.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Leaving the dog.

Final Thoughts Nomadland is a beautifully shot movie, with stunning cinematography, sensational performance from McDormand, even if the story doesn’t go as deep as it could have gone.

Possessor (2020) London Film Festival Movie Review

Director: Brandon Cronenberg

Writer: Brandon Cronenberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christopher Abbott, Tuppence Middleton, Sean Bean

Plot: Possessor follows an agent who works for a secretive organization that uses brain-implant technology to inhabit other people’s bodies – ultimately driving them to commit assassinations for high-paying clients.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Possessor starts as we see how agent Tasya Vos (Riseborough) goes about her implanting into another person’s body to complete her assassination targets, getting away with the high-power assassinations without any suspect. Once out, Tasya must go through tests with Girder (Leigh) to make sure she can readjust to her own life before being allowed to return for the next assignment.

Tasya’s latest assignment is to go into the body of Colin Tate (Abbott) who is dating Ava Parse (Middleton), with the assignment to get close to her father John (Bean) to assassinate freeing up control of his technology business.

Thoughts on Possessor

Characters – Tasya Vos is the assassin that goes into the bodies of somebody who can get close to the target to complete her assignments, she is considered one of the best, but her work has started to see her struggle to handle the mix of her own reality and the lives she enters. Colin is the latest host that Tasya must take over, he is dating a rich technology company owner’s daughter and needs to eliminate that threat, while he is caught in the middle of the routine life Colin is working through. Girder is the contact outside for Tasya, the person that make sure Tasya is in her right mind before and after assignment.

PerformancesAndrea Riseborough is great to watch in the role, showing the uncertainty going on in her character’s reality, Christopher Abbott shows us just how someone dealing with being in a new body is, showing how to adapt to a new life. The rest of the cast do a good job through the film too.

StoryThe story here follows us into a world where people can get implanted into someone else head to complete an assassination only for the latest one taking an unexpecting twist. This does bring us a brilliant idea for a story, seeing how this idea could operate, it would have been nice to see a truly smooth version of the operation, as the first one we see, is the one that starts to see things unravelling. The slow spiral out of control does come off very well, making each scene feel like we don’t know what will happen next. We do have plenty of shock value going throughout the film.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror in the film comes shock body horror moments, seeing just how graphic everything goes, while the sci-fi side of the film comes from the idea of the assassination idea.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show use the different worlds that Tasya does through to complete her tasks.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to give us extra shock value, never holding back on the gore we experience through the film.

Scene of the Movie – New mask.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not seeing a smooth operation.

Final Thoughts Possessor is a horror film filled with shock, gore and an original idea that will make you want to see more.