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.





Original v Remake – Flatliners (2017)

Director: Niels Arden Oplev

Writer: Ben Ripley (Screenplay) Peter Filardi (Story)

Starring: Nina Dobrev, Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Keifer Sutherland, James Norton, Kiersey Clemons, Beau Mirchoff


Plot: Five medical students, obsessed by what lies beyond the confines of life, embark on a daring experiment: by stopping their hearts for short periods, each triggers a near-death experience – giving them a firsthand account of the afterlife.

Tagline – Cross the line. Death will follow you back.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Full Blown Flatliner


Story: Flatliners starts as medical student Courtney (Page) wants to push the boundaries of science by seeing if there is an afterlife using fellow students Jamie (Norton) and Sophia (Clemons) to bring her back, but when it goes wrong Ray (Luna) and Marlo (Dobrev) get involved.

When Courtney seems to have increased memory pulling ability Jamie, Marlo and Sophia all go under the flatliner procedure. Soon after they have all gone under the start getting haunted by a previous mistake and must learn how to deal with their sin.


Thoughts on Flatliners


Characters – Courtney is the student that has planned the idea of flatlining, she has her own reasons for this which we learn in the opening sequences, as her haunting is her own sister that died in a car accident. Ray is the best doctor of the students, he has the experience to handle the emergency world of being a doctor but he never goes under the flatliner, he helps bring the others out and helping them solve their problems. Marlo comes off as the nervous student struggling to believe her own abilities which becomes clear when we see her mistake, where she must learn to make up for her errors. Jamie is the slacker rich boy student that gets by using other skills to keep him in school. Sophia comes from the hardest background, her mother has been pressure into this career by her mother meaning she will lose everything her mother has put into this career. The biggest problem with these characters is that they have zero chemistry between them.

PerformancesThe performances here are pretty bad, it doesn’t help that the characters are written terribly, we do have big names here but they just can’t capture the magic the original film performances had.

StoryThe story here focuses on trying to discover is there is an afterlife by flatliner for minutes to go on that journey, this is still an interesting concept because technology has come along way since the original and we still don’t know the answer. The problem is we rush the flatlining which seems to turn the characters into what feels like addicts on the rush of their lives. We then get the 4 characters that have done something wrong being haunted but we ruin the biggest question mark about Courtney’s in the opening sequence and the rest just seem too much ‘boo there is a spirit’ not using the reason of the sin as the haunting like the original. This is why remakes fail so badly.

Horror/Sci-fiThe horror is the most basic of jump scares you will see, none of them hit. The sci-fi side starts promising but then the film seems to forget there is a sci-fi element after the researching goes on.

SettingsWe are in a generic hospital which for some reason you can run the length of within a minute, you drive to anywhere within a minute and geographical doesn’t make sense, we also are filled with flaws surrounding the settings.

Special EffectsThe effects can look great in the flatlining stage of the film but soon end up being the same nonsense light effects.

Scene of the Movie –
First trip into the flatlining.

That Moment That Annoyed Me How do they get everywhere so quickly?

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: Don’t think so.

Award Nominations: This could easily be a leading Razzie contender.

Final ThoughtsThis is an horrendous remake of a loved original, it turns into a basic poorly made exercise in how to not do jump scares with characters that have zero chemistry and a plot that is rushed together.


Overall: Failure in the remake world.




Rogue One (2016)

rogueDirector: Gareth Edwards

Writer: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy (Screenplay) John Knoll, Gary Whitta (Story)

Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen


Plot: The Rebel Alliance makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Franchise Filling


Story: Rogue One starts Galen Erso (Mikkelsen) and his family hiding on a planet from the Empire with Orson Krennic (Mendelsohn) hunting them down. Jyn (Jones) rescued by Saw Gerrera (Whitaker) grows up to be captured by the imperial guards.

With Jyn broken out of an Imperial labour prison by the rebels who want to use her to find her father who could be working on the Deathstar. Cassian Andor (Luna) is leading an attempt to stop the final preparation of the Deathstar with the connection with Saw Gerrera being important to finding her father.

What follows is the adventure before the saga begins, as the unlikely rebels must steal the plans for the Deathstar to stop the empire from rising to complete power in the universe.


Thoughts on Rogue One


StoryThis is the prequel to the loved trilogy that is actually a sequel to the disliked trilogy. We only get a snippet into the world of Star Wars with mentions of the force but nothing much going on around the force which is a good plus. This is does feel like a darker story to anything we have seen before with it feeling like a gritter side to the battle rather than the lightsabre action we are used too. Now I don’t want to be a negative person but if this was the first story in the saga I feel it wouldn’t be up to scratch with where the franchise goes, but if this was just a standalone space film it would feel empty of the final impact needed.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is all grand and what you would expect from the Star Wars universe with the adventure being something we are also used to seeing. The sci-fi world is all fine even though the film tries hard to stay serious and down to Earth throughout.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters do all feel like they are from the middle of a rebel fight all coming from different worlds to fight which is all good, the lead character Jyn well she is strong but she is no Rey so don’t go in there expecting a character that strong. The most annoying character to me was voiced brilliantly so nothing against Alan Tudyk but the robot character felt like it had been stolen from Interstellar’s Tars.  When it comes to the performances everyone does a good job throughout so I can’t complain or criticise them in anyway.

SettingsThe settings do all feel gritter making us feel like we are in the war without the force powers going on later in the saga but we do have too many planets to keep on top of which are relevant to later chapters in the story.

Special EffectsYou can’t fault any of the special effects because it is all brilliant like you would expect from a film of this reputation.

Final ThoughtsStretching the universe once more filling in the gaps that didn’t need filling to cover up the wait until the next chapter in the main saga. This is an easy watch but in the end, will struggle to make the top 3 of any Star Wars fans list.


Overall: Franchise filler that didn’t need to be made that doesn’t capture the spirit of this franchise.




Vampires: Los Muertos (2002)

logoDirector: Tommy Lee Wallace

Writer: Tommy Lee Wallace (Screenplay)

Starring: Jon Bon Jovi, Cristian de la Fuente, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Arly Jover, Darius McCrary, Diego Luna, Javier Grajeda


Plot: A vampire hunter and a priest fight a band of the walking dead in Mexico.


Verdict: Boring Action Vampire Film


Story: We follow a lone vampire hunter as he has to put together a team to take out a new force of vampires, he starts looking into the potential team but everyone’s whose name he has been given as come up dead. After a string of chance encounters he ends up in a team of misfits with a rookie priest hunter, young lady ready to turn, a local kid and another out of Towner, they get ready to face a group of vampires who are trying to complete a ritual to let them out in day time.

Following on from the original, but with completely new characters, with the vampires after the same cross in question from the first part of the trilogy. It has the road trip and unlikely team working together to conquer an evil. One of the poor points to this film is lack of vampire fighting and we only get introduced to one vampire, sure she has a couple of followers killed off but otherwise she is the sole villain. When it comes to vampire films, this will end up going down as a much more forgettable one. (4/10)


Actor Review


Jon Bon Jovi: Derek Bliss lone wolf vampire hunter who is hired to solve the next major threat, but he needs a team and reluctantly builds a team to take on the vampires. Jon looked lost in the lead role her, he gets a cool introduction but apart from that you couldn’t see him lead a battle against vampires. (3/10)


Cristian de la Fuente: Father Rodrigo lone surviving priest after the vampires attack a monastery, he joins the team as an amateur vampire hunter and proves his worth when it comes to the final battle. Solid performance as the mysterious priest. (6/10)


Natasha Gregson Wagner: Zoey young lady who has been bitten but has the vampire side under control through medication, she also has vision which help the team find the location of the vampire. Solid performance but doesn’t have much to work with. (5/10)


Arly Jover: Una the vampire the group are tracking who wants to be able to continue her hunt during the daytime. Makes an interesting lead villain vampire, but doesn’t work as the lead without a sidekick. (5/10)


Support Cast: Comprising of a few more team member who help and hinder along the way, each person involved does help the story unfold even though a lot of bodies start building up.


Director Review: Tommy Lee Wallace – Creates an action vampire film that lacks the full amount of action, poor level of vampires and sloppy acting. (4/10)


Action: A few fights here and there, but nothing original or interesting. (5/10)

Horror: Uses vampires, but takes the horror aspect out of them. (4/10)

Thriller: Fails to pull you into the story as we expect the team to beat one vampire. (4/10)

Settings: None of the settings really get used to make any scene extra special.  (2/10)

Suggestion: If you get a chance to see it you would be best to just miss it as it doesn’t really do too much to a saturated market. (Miss It)


Best Part: Derek’s introduction.

Worst Part: Boring storyline

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has one more sequel

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes


Overall: Dull Lacklustre Action Horror

Rating 30

Elysium (2013)

logoDirector: Neill Blomkamp

Writer: Neill Blomkamp (Screenplay)

Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, William Fichtner


Plot: In the year 2154 the rich live out on Elysuim a man-made space station where all illness gets cured. The rest of humanity lives on a ruined Earth. An accident at work leaves Max (Damon) five days to live, desperate he enters back into the shady underworld to get to Elysium. Delacourt (Foster) runs things on Elysium and using her hired gun Kruger (Copley) to track down Max before he gets to the space station haven.




Verdict: A great Sci-Fi the best I have seen this year. (Pre Gravity)

Story: A sci-fi story that keeps some roots to a non-sci-fi much like in District 9 just by simply adding small pieces of technology to the real world. It shows how far one man will go to have a chance at a longer life and how much he will sacrifice to change the world. (9/10)


Actor Review: Matt Damon – Max the man with nothing left to lose gives up everything to survive his sickness. Good performance at a standard you would expect from Damon now a days. (8/10)


Actor Review: Jodie Foster – Powerful leader with no remorse for anything she does to keep her Elysium safe. Good performance from Foster enters the world of a bad character like she has been doing it for years. (8/10)


Actor Review: Sharlto Copley – Kruger the ruthless mercenary who will stop at nothing to complete his task. Sharlto is brilliant in this role completely different from his previous role under Blomkamp in District 9, he shows a great range of acting throughout. Scene Stealer Award (9/10)


Director Review: Neill Blomkamp – The sci-fi world has a new star, proving District 9 wasn’t just a fluke. This guy will be here for years to come watch out for his next piece. (9/10)


Action: Great action throughout with some great fight scenes, chase scenes and gun battles. (9/10)

Sci-Fi: Great look at the future and not over doing the ideas just adding little bits showing that however much we increase technology we will still see the depraved areas in the world. (9/10)

Special Effects: Brilliant special effects with the world creations. (9/10)

Believability: Anything is believable in our future it just depends what you see happening from this. (3/10)

Chances of Tears: Potentially but not very likely.(2/10)

Settings: Great setting with the depraved areas in South African mixed with the space elements on Elysium. (9/10)

Suggestion: The word original didn’t get used that much in 2013 when it came to talking about films especially blockbuster films. This is original it offers ideas we have seen but in a totally new perspective. I would say watch this as at least you will see something that is not a sequel for once. (Watch)


Best Part: The final acts on Elysium.

Worst Part: It is a bit slow starting up.

Action Scene of the Film: Final fight on the skywalk between Max and Kruger.

Kill Of The Film: Kruger with the grenade.

Oscar Chances: Could get some special effects nods.

Chances of Sequel: None

Similar Too: District 9


Overall: Great sci-fi film that will leave you breathless.


Rating 90