ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – M – Milk (2008)

Director: Gus Van Sant

Writer: Dustin Lance Black (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, James Franco, Alison Pill


Plot: The story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California’s first openly gay elected official.

Tagline – His life changed history. His courage changed lives.

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Important Figure in History


Story: Milk starts as we meet Harvey Milk (Penn) an openly gay man in the 1970s that moves to San Francisco with his boyfriend Scott Smith (Franco) to start a business, he soon becomes a leader for businesses who don’t decimate against homosexuals.

Tired of the abuse they are getting Harvey decides to run for office to help get equal rights for homosexuals, this gets him attention from the haters, who start targeting him. Soon he makes a movement to make gay right count across America.


Thoughts on Milk


Characters – Harvey Milk is telling us the story of how he rose the political ladder, being a gay man made this difficult because he is not fight just for his rights but for all homosexuals in America, he was a real man that helped change the civil rights in the 70s. Cleve Jones is one of the young men that Harvey takes in to help run the campaign, he has an ability to bring communities together in the movements they want to fight for. Dan White is one of the politicians that opposes Harvey, he doesn’t want to work with him because of his religious beliefs.

PerformancesSean Penn won an Oscar for his performance in this film, you can see why, he is fantastic in the leading role where he commands the screen. Emile Hirsch is unrecognisable in this role which shows us the talent he has but doesn’t always give us. Josh Brolin is good in his role, while the rest of talent is good through the film too.

StoryThe story follows Harvey Milk as he rose to political power in a civil rights movement for the homosexual people. This shows the struggles he must go through to help make this go through and the team that supported him in his battle for this civil right. This shows us how people have always fought for their rights the right way no matter what they must overcome.

Biopic/History/RomanceThe biopic side of this film shows us Harvey Milk and just how important he and his team were to the civil rights movement. It shows us how important this moment in history was for civil rights movements too. The romance side shows how difficult it was for Harvey to keep a relationship while running for office.

SettingsThe settings show how Harvey rose through he ranks, starting with just a street, before a district and moving onto political offices.

Scene of the Movie –
The rallying call.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is a frustration about why people acted like this holding people back.

Final ThoughtsThis is an important movie about how the civil rights movement was important for everyone involved, it needed to change, it did thanks to this man Harvey Milk at his beliefs.


Overall: Important drama for all to see.





Goon (2011)

goonDirector: Michael Dowse

Writer: Jay Baruchel, Evan Goldberg (Screenplay) Adam Frattasio, Doug Smith (Book)

Starring: Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill, Liev Schreiber, Eugene Levy, Marc-Andre Grondin, Kim Coates


Plot: Labeled an outcast by his brainy family, a bouncer overcomes long odds to lead a team of under performing misfits to semi-pro hockey glory, beating the crap out of everything that stands in his way.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Fun Sports Comedy


Story: Goon starts as we meet bouncer Doug Glatt (Scott) who comes from a family of doctors and his best friend Pat (Baruchel) who has his own ice hockey show who is starting to wonder where his place is in the world. After getting involved in a fight with an ice hockey player and laying him out, Doug finds himself getting offered a try out for team.

Proving his worth on the rank Doug gets offered a contract for a team in the semi pro level where his job is to watch the back of once brilliant potential player Xavier LaFlamme (Grondin). With Doug’s team success turning with his addition to the team it soon becomes an event to see who Doug will fight next with close to retirement tough guy Ross Rhea (Schreiber) wanting to have a final fight before retiring.

Goon is a sports comedy that takes on ice hockey a sport that can always be looked at very strangely with how violent it can become for no reason. We only look at the violent side of the sport not the beauty it can have when played professional. We do get part building of team spirit through the film which does have elements of underdog story too.

Seann William Scott is great in this leading role getting to be the nice guy off the rink but the most dangerous man on it. Baruchel gets very tiring quickly with his character that just doesn’t stop being annoying with Liev Schreiber being the more experienced player really works. This is a fun sports comedy that can be enjoyed by most sports fans that could easily be seen why it is so popular/


Overall: Underrated sports comedy that has plenty of fun at ice hockey’s expense.




Hail Caesar! (2016)

casting card


Plot: A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio’s stars in line.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Too Much Going On


Story: Hail Caesar! Starts as we learn Eddie Mannix (Brolin) a fixer for a movie studio cleaning up all the problems that signed up stars find themselves in. The studio he works for is Capitol Pictures that are looking to make the movie Hail Caesar! There religious masterpiece with Baird Whitlock (Clooney) taking the title role.

With the picture ready to shoot his final scenes Baird disappears as we know he is kidnapped but the studio thinks he is on a bender. We also see how well respected director Laurence Laurentz (Fiennes) has been assigned a new star Hobie Doyle (Ehrenreich) to star in his new drama with only western experience which causes tension.

We have to watch how Eddie will bring Baird back to the studio dealing with the ransom and the fellow stars and their wild demands.

Hail Caesar! is the latest from the Coen Brothers who have given us some of the best films in the last 30 years, they have always put their own stamp on any genre they tackle. For me this story has all the makings of one of their usual film but I do think everything comes off slightly over complicated with way too many characters introduced seemingly to show off that they got big names in this film. The story seems to be all over the place with small subplots that do all tie into the final outcome as the story seems to be more about the day in the life of Eddie Mannix rather than just the kidnapping.


Actor Review


Josh Brolin: Eddie Mannix is a movie studio fixer that keeps his stars in line and out of trouble. When his star actor gets kidnapped he must cover it up and pay of the kidnappers while also handling his potential new star Hobie Doyle as they look to repackage him. Josh is good in this leading role where we see him interact with all the major character in the film.

George Clooney: Baird Whitlock is the biggest star in the studio working on the biggest film the studio is producing. When he gets kidnapped and taken to a group of communist writers he must talk through his freedom while waiting for the ransom. George does good in this role where we get to see him play a role against how we would see him.

Alden Ehrenreich: Hobie Doyle is the western star who gets recruited to work on his first drama as he is getting repacked. He struggles with this new role because he is built for the western genre only. Alden does a good job considering how many bigger names are around him in this film.

Ralph Fiennes: Laurence Laurentz is the director of the drama that Hobie gets assigned to, he is one of the most respected in Hollywood and struggles to get what he wants out of Hobie. Ralph is good in this supporting role.

Support Cast: Hail Caesar! Has a huge supporting cast that includes some of the biggest names in Hollywood who all find themselves in the odd scene or two. This shows just how much Eddie has to deal with to make everything run smoothly.

Director Review: Ethan Coen, Joel CoenEthan & Joel put their unique touch on 50s Hollywood with the comedy you expect from them.


Comedy: Hail Caesar! Has small moments of comedy which mostly poke fun at how actors and perceived.

Mystery: Hail Caesar! Gives us a mystery as we are left to wonder who has taken Baird.

Settings: Hail Caesar! Makes us feel like we are in 1950 Hollywood in nearly every single scene.
Special Effects
: Hail Caesar! Uses very simple special effects when needed without needing them to make everything happen.

Suggestion: Hail Caesar! is one to try, if you are a Coen Brother fan you should enjoy but otherwise it will come off slightly soft. (Try It)


Best Part: Tatum continues to show his range in this supporting role.

Worst Part: Slightly too many characters with almost pointless scenes.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $22 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

Tagline:  Lights. Camera. Abduction.


Overall: Overcomplicated Mystery Comedy.




Cooties (2015)

cootiesDirector: Jonathan Milott, Cary Murnion

Writer: Leigh Whannell, Ian Brennan, Josh C Waller (Screenplay) Leigh Whannell, Ian Brennan (Story)

Starring: Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer, Leigh Whannell, Nasim Pedrad, Ian Brennan, Jorge Garcia, Cooper Roth


Plot: A mysterious virus hits an isolated elementary school, transforming the kids into a feral swarm of mass savages. An unlikely hero must lead a motley band of teachers in the fight of their lives.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Fun But Not Completely Entertaining Zombie Film


Story: Cooties starts as the summer school’s chicken supply gets recalled before we meet aspiring author Clint (Wood) who is a substitute teacher for the summer. Clint meets all the colourful teachers at the school with sports coach Wade (Wilson) old friend Lucy (Pill) Tracy (McBrayer), social awkward Doug (Whannell) and Rebekkah (Padrad) who have to work with all the troubled students.

When the students turn out to be infected and start craving human flesh the teachers are trapped in the school with the crossing guard Rick (Garcia) watching stoned from the outside. The teachers have to survive until school closes before they can escape from the undead children looking for blood.teacher

Cooties has to get praise for trying to take the zombie comedy to a new direction with how the infection spreads with the children being the only ones being infected. The idea of having a miss-mash of teachers that have to keep face when in fact hate each other works too. I didn’t like the romantic triangle which feels really forced for attempted comedy. This is a really simple entertaining comedy horror without being anything special.


Actor Review


Elijah Wood: Clint is the aspiring author that takes a summer job as a substitute teacher at his old school, he is very quiet and is using this job to work on his novel. He has to work with the teachers to survive against the kids that have the thirst for blood. Elijah gives us a performance you expect to see in his new career choices.

Rainn Wilson: Wade is the sports coach, he only seems to care about himself even with his girlfriend a fellow teacher at the school. He doesn’t like Clint as we see the two clash throughout the survival attempt. Rainn is fun as this over the top role.wade

Alison Pill: Lucy is the old school friend of Clint’s who offers to help him around the school much to the annoyance of her boyfriend Wade. She comes off like the sweet teacher that wouldn’t do anything wrong but by the end we see how tough she is really is. Allison is good in this role with good moments even while dealing with the love triange.

Jack McBrayer: Tracy is one of the fellow teachers that has to survive the attack, he is a concerned teacher and can’t handle the blood. Jack really is only a supporting character that doesn’t get enough time to uses his talents.tracy

Support Cast: Cooties has a group of funny supporting characters and it would be fair to say the kids are all good in this film.

Director Review: Jonathan Milott, Cary MurnionThe pair give us a fun horror comedy from start to finish.


Action: Cooties has good comedy action when it comes to taking out the infected kids.

Comedy: Cooties has good moments of comedy that all work with the genre.

Horror: Cooties has good horror moments where the film creates good tension.

Settings: Cooties has a cool setting for the idea which is original for genre.
Special Effects
: Cooties has great special effects for the gore.

Suggestion: Cooties is one to try but isn’t going to be the first one to check off. (Try It)


Best Part: The effects works for genre.

Worst Part: Dual wheel moments.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Left open to a new

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

Tagline: Circle, circle. Square, square. Now you have it everywhere


Overall: Basic horror comedy that doesn’t check all the boxes and needs to go back the summer school


Snowpiercer (2013)

logoDirector: Joon-Ho Bong

Writer: Joon-ho Bong, Kelly Masterson (Screenplay) Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand, Jean-Marc Rochette (Graphic Novel ‘Le Transperceneige’)

Starring: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer, Alison Pill, Luke Pasqualino, Ewen Bremner, Kang-Ho Song


Plot: In a future where a failed global-warming experiment kills off all life on the planet except for a lucky few that boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, where a class system evolves. The lowest class citizens lead by Gilliam (Hurt) start a revolution to get to the front of the train to be treated fairer. Curtis (Evans) leads the charge as each train carriage offers up new surprises.


Verdict: Surprisingly entertaining comic book adaptation


Story: Going into this you have to know that you are going into watch a French comic book, so don’t expect everything to make perfect sense and take the realism alert out of how you view this. We get the social differences between the rich and poor, that reach a breaking point, much like other comic book adaptation of recent years be it TV or film you have surprise deaths and plenty of twists along the way. The story does pull you in and works because it only follows one group so you are just as surprised what is behind each door as the characters. (8/10)


Actor Reviews


Chris Evans: Curtis the leader in the making, waiting for the chance to take over the train, once he starts he turns into a good combat solider who will sacrifice anything to make sure he makes it to the engine room of the train. Good performance from Evans showing that he can play dark comic book character next to his Captain America. (8/10)


Jamie Bell: Edgar the younger member of the revolution who idolises Curtis, but his slightly hot heatedness will get him into trouble. Good supporting role from Bell who shows he can fill in any support role, now it is time for him to step up to lead roles. (8/10)


Tilda Swinton: Mason one of the powers that be on the train, she shows her ruthless side when punishing one of the lowest members of the citizen. Good performance from Swinton as you would expect. (8/10)


Ed Harris: Wilford the designer of the train and head of the engine room, to who the revolution is targeted against. We don’t meet Wilford until near the very end but we hear about him from the start, good small performance from Harris. (7/10)


John Hurt: Gilliam the leader and wise member of the lowest citizens on the train, he is horribly crippled due to previous events on the train. Good wise man performance from Hurt.(7/10)


Octavia Spencer: Tanya joins the revolution after her son is taken to the front of the train, she is trying to save him from whatever they do to him. Good performance, giving Curtis the push he needs to step up. (8/10)


Kang-Ho Song: Namgoong the prisoner that gets released to help open the doors as he designed the security system. Good performance playing the slightly crazy member of the group. (8/10)


Director Review: Joon-Ho Bong – Good direction throughout to keep you really into a film that could easily get boring quickly.(8/10)


Action: Plenty of combat throughout. (9/10)

Sci-Fi: Who knows what he could do to this planet and how we will try to save ourselves, this is an interesting take on it. (9/10)

Settings: With the whole film set on the train we enjoy how each carriage offers something unexpected. (10/10)
Special Effects
: The effects on the train all come off very well, but the outside look of the train is terrible computer effects. (6/10)

Suggestion: I think this should definitely be tried, I think people will enjoy it more than they think. (Try It)


Best Part: The massive battle in one of the carriages.

Worst Part: A few plot holes involved.

Action Scene Of The Film: Carriage battle.

Kill Of The Film: The teacher.

Scariest Scene: The punishment given to one of the members of the lower citizens.

Believability: The world could turn into this, but that is all for believability here. (1/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: I would like to think whatever happens next is explained more in the comics.

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $80,220,079

Budget: $39 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

Tagline: AD 2031: the passengers in the train are the only survivors on Earth.

Trivia:Joon-ho Bong’s first English film.


Overall: Impressive Comic Book Film

Rating 82