Summer of ’72 (2019) Movie Review

Director: Philip Harder

Writer: Philip Harder (Screenplay) Glasgow Phillips (Novel)

Starring: Natalia Dyer, Devon Bostick, Tate Donovan, Ella Rae Peck, Nathan Phillips, Bruce Bohne

Plot: Twenty-two and on the verge of entering high society, college graduate Billy Mitchell finds his plans changing when he falls in love with an inmate with multiple personalities at his father’s mental institution.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Summer of ’72 starts as young man Billy Mitchell (Bostick) has finished his education looking to start entering the next stage of his life until he meets the beautiful Virginia (Dyer) a patient at his father (Donovan) mental institution, being warned about how dangerous she could be to him.

As the two find themselves in a relationship, they start finding themselves in the middle of a race war in the area, leaving Billy in the position of needing to decide which side of the war he wants to be involved in.

Thoughts on Summer of ‘72

Characters & Performances – Billy is a young man that has been preparing for the next stage of his life, he doesn’t know what he wants from his life in a world living in the aftermath of war, looking to do the right thing for a local mental institute patient, he falls in love, leaving himself witnessing the horrors of the race war that he friends and father are opposite sides of. Devon Bostick does try to give us a much more mature performance than we have seen before, but the character doesn’t seem like it is fully flushed out enough. Virginia is the mental institute patient that has been looking for a way to escape, she befriends Billy, which will give her a chance to escape as the couple fall in love, we are told she is a dangerous woman, but we never see enough of what she might be capable off. Natalia Dyer does do a great job here, being the strongest part of the performances in the film, even if we wanted to see even more from her. We do get to meet Billy’s father who is also the doctor of Virginia and Nigel who has been fighting the race war against the white supremacist in the area. The performances are all fine, only we just don’t get enough from the characters.

StoryThe story here follows a young man and a young woman that look to escape their lives and get through a race war that has held down their family and friends in the year 1972. This is a story that doesn’t give us enough in depth look at the relationship, with everything looking and feeling out of place, never seeming real, the race war does seem like it takes the back burner to everything, even though it is meant to be a more serious side to everything. We could have seen a lot more happening, with an ending that just feels empty.

ThemesSummer of ’72 is a drama that will look to bring about important cultural events of the time in the background involved the friends and family of the couple, with a lot of the scenery being focused on the open area.

Final Thoughts Summer of ’72 is a slow moving drama that has a romantic side even though it is trying to put a spotlight on a bigger culture event going on.

Signature Entertainment presents Summer of ‘72 on Digital Platforms 1st February

23 Walks (2020) Movie Review

23 Walks – Sweet & Charming

Director: Paul Morrison

Writer: Paul Morrison (Screenplay)

Starring: Dave Johns, Alison Steadman, Oliver Powell, Natalie Simpson, Vivienne Soan

Plot: A gentle, sweet, funny, romantic story of love in later life following a couple in their sixties, Dave and Fern, who get to know one another over the course of 23 dog walks.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: 23 Walks starts when Dave (Johns) and his German Shepard Tilly, meet Fern (Steadman) and her little Yorkshire Terrier Henry on their daily walk, the two start to learn they have more in common, with Dave being widowed and Fern dealing with her marriage ending.

As the two start to get closer, they start to reveal the secrets in their lives, some secrets which could ruin the friendship the two have created to help them through their own difficult times.

Thoughts on 23 Walks

Characters & Performances – Dave is a former nurse that takes his German Shepard on daily walks in the local park, he is facing a difficult future with the council wanting to take him home back and when he meets Fern, the two becomes friends, sharing life stories, giving him some company for the first time in years. He is a very friendly person who you can see is only interested in having people in his life, with her daughter having her own family, he does get time with the grandkids. Dave Johns brings this everyday man to life with ease, we see the struggles he is going through and despite his purely positive nature, we see how lonely he is feeling. Fern is the woman that walks her Yorkshire Terrier, she is going through a divorce after years of marriage, she does clearly have a secret she is keeping from Dave and fast becoming the friend Dave needs, with him becoming the friend she needs. Alison Steadman does an excellent job keep her characters struggles deep down, showing how to bring her character needing to be free of the grief she has been through.

StoryThe story follows two people in their sixties that meet walking their dogs, become friends and start to help each other out of the struggles they are facing, finally finding the person that will help them move on with life. This story gets to put the highlights on people in their sixties that could be going through a hard time, which will give them the chance to meet people who could help turn their lives in friendship in the later stages of life. We get to see how certain people will have secrets, they aren’t always going to be giving away their biggest secrets in life. The pace of the story does start well, but we do get a slower stage in the middle, but we finish strong giving us the outcome the characters deserve.

Themes23 Walks is a romantic comedy which focuses more on the dramas of life, seeing how people have been through in life, we get to see the beauty in the big city from the walks, with the dogs having their own characters with the importance to the owners.

23 Walks is a sweet, charming and caring movie that brings to life the importance of friendship in life.

Looted (2019) Movie Review

Looted – Gritty & Engaging

Director: Rene van Pannevis

Writer: Rene van Pannevis, Kefi Chadwick (Screenplay)

Starring: Charley Palmer Rothwell, Thomas Turgoose, Tom Fisher, Morgane Polanski, Anders Hayward, Stephen Uppal

Plot: Rob lives his life at 100mph, carefully balancing carjacking schemes and caring for his dying father. But one risky job could bring it all crashing down.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Looted starts as we meet the group of friends in Hull Rob (Rothwell), Leo (Turgoose), Kasia (Polanski) and JP (Hayward) that roam around committing carjackings and other breaking and entry crimes with the lack of job opportunities in the area. Rob is also caring for his bedridden father Oswald (Fisher) as the two barely see any income coming from his previous job.

Rob is pushed into one more job by Leo, one that will pay better than anything they have done before, which will only lead to bigger problems and consequences for Rob.

Thoughts on Looted

Characters & Performances – Rob is a young man that has been carjacking for money while caring for his father, he spends most of his day getting up to minor crimes, he is holding in the problems he is going to face, holding the truth from his father which will continue to show how he is waiting to unleash the pain he is experiencing. Charley Palmer Rothwell does a great job in the leading role, he shows the difficult position that his character finds himself in. Leo is the friend that has the connection in the criminal world, he pushes his friends including Rob to commit the crimes, which always feels like he is using them for both friendship and to help himself out. Thomas Turgoose will always be good in British dramas about the struggle to survive, this is no different, where he shows how he has become the man to turn to in this area. Oswald is the father of Rob who has worked his whole life, but now is bedridden, he is waiting for an operation which could change his life as well as him not wanting to just rely on his son. Tom Fisher shows the pure pain his character is experiencing after a lifetime of hard work. Kasia is one of the group of friends, she is the only positive light in Rob’s life, helping him with his father. Morgane Polanski does bring us the most honest figure in the film, showing they want more in her characters life.

StoryThe story here follows a small time criminal who commits the crimes to help care for his ill father, with one big opportunity could change everything and it does. This film uses the story to highlight the struggles of the working class that will find jobs hard to come by, leaving them wanting to kill time and turning to illegal activities to get what they need out of life. We do get to focus on one young man’s decision making, which will lead to him needing to decide what is the most important thing for him in the future, which is the true aim of the story.

ThemesLooted uses the setting to show the small town that the people are from, showing they don’t have much of a chance of jobs, which leads them to the life of crime. The crimes themselves are mostly breaking and entry, which shows how the friends aren’t overly serious about what they are committing.

Looted is a powerful drama that highlights the difficult life people in the North of England can live through, showing how far they will need to go to survive.

Daniel (2019) Movie Review

Director: Niels Arden Oplev, Anders W Berthelsen

Writer: Anders Thomas Jensen (Screenplay) Puk Damsgaard Andersen (Book)

Starring: Esben Smed, Toby Kebbell, Sara Hjort Ditlevsen

Plot: The story of Danish photographer Daniel Rye, who was captured by ISIS in Syria in 2013 and held hostage for 398 days.

Runtime: 2 Hours 18 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Daniel starts as we see the gymnastics career of Daniel Rye (Smed) fall apart, leaving him unsure of his future, before he finds his new passion, photography, this will see him start to travel the world, seeing him head to Syria, capturing the calm before storms of fighting, stepping into different danger zones in the country.

This dream job turns into a nightmare when ISIS capture him and start torturing him believing he is involved with the CIA, his family must watch on helplessly beck in Denmark, while Daniel does everything he can to try and survive the situation.

Thoughts on Daniel

Characters & Performances – Daniel Rye has just started his career in photojournalism when he was reporting in Syria and finds himself taken by ISIS used as a hostage, left helpless in the hands of the terrorists, he tries to stay positive, befriending a fellow hostage, but he is ready to accept his fate if needed. James Foley is the man that tries to bring the hostages together, keeping their spirits up, which only angers the captors, he is the person Daniel becomes closest to during their time together. Both Esben Smed and Toby Kebbell, show us the difficult times the pair go through, not knowing what will happen to them next. We do meet Daniel’s family who are tyring to find a way to save him, looking at different option which might be considered illegal.

StoryThe story here follows the real events of Daniel Rye’s kidnapping by ISIS, where we follow his struggle to survive and his family’s struggle to find a way to rescue him and pay off the ransom. This is an interest look at one of the most difficult times for a family, seeing how they reacted to a hostage situation, though we have heard and seen many of these before, we don’t seem to get anything we haven’t seen before, showing how ruthless and committed to their cause the terrorists are, while showing how helpless the family can look. While we don’t need to see the conditions the hostages find themselves in, it might have been more intense to show us just how bad the chances of survive might have been.

ThemesDaniel does give us a look at the drama that revolves around a hostage situation, showing how helpless both sides can be, showing us that hope is all they can do. The film does create the settings to show the horrendous conditions the hostages are kept in throughout their ordeal.

Final Thoughts Daniel is a harrowing look at how a survivor of a hostage situation got through.

Signature Entertainment present Daniel on Digital Platforms 18th January



ABC Film Challenge – Catch Up 2020 – The Mustang (2019) Movie Review

Director: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre

Writer: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, Mona Fastvold, Brock Norman Brock (Screenplay)

Starring: Matthias Schoenaerts, Jason Mitchell, Bruce Dern, Gideon Adlon, Connie Britton, Josh Stewart

Plot: The story of Roman Coleman, a violent convict, who is given the chance to participate in a rehabilitation therapy program involving the training of wild mustangs.

Tagline – Untamed Souls. Kindred Spirits.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Beautiful Drama

Story: The Mustang starts as we meet dangerously violent criminal Roman (Schoenaerts) who likes to keep away from people, he keeps to himself in prison and has just been transferred. Roman gets a chance to work outside with the horses on the ranch, first on clean up duty before getting a chance to work with the horses, including one wild mustang that no one can handle.

As Roman gets closer to the horse that he names Marcus, he finds himself wanting to reassess his decisions and try to rebuild the relationship he left behind with his daughter Martha (Adlon) and slowly start to learn about controlling his anger.

Thoughts on The Mustang

Characters – Roman is a violent criminal that has been in prison for 12-years, he action were caused by failure to control his rage, which sees him want to stay away from people as much as he possible can, he has remained distant to his own daughter that still visits him. When Roman is given the chance to work with animals, he finds himself learning from his own mistakes, looking to put something else first before himself as he starts to look to correct the errors of his ways. Henry is one of the other inmates, one that helps Roman with the horses, one that is friendly to the other inmates. Myles is the man that is running the horse program, he will give the men a chance, if they mess up, they are out of the program, it is his choice is you stay. Martha is the daughter of the Roman, she is trying to move on with her life with her first child, but needs her father to let her go. She is the last one of the family that still visits Roman.

PerformancesMatthias Schoenaerts is outstanding in the leading role of the film, giving one of the best performances of the year showing all the pain, regret and loneliness he has created himself. The rest of the cast do everything well, with Jason Mitchell bringing the buddy figure to life, Bruce Dern the wise older figure and Connie Britton as the person trying to help.

StoryThe story here follows a violent criminal that is given a chance to work with horses to try and help reshape his future, giving him a chance to eliminate the anger which has caused him problems in the past. This story is designed to show us how the horse training program that is being used in multiply states to help the prisoners rehab better than other prisons. The story itself shows us just how one man saw a change in his own character given his own time with the horses, seeing how he improves himself with the contact with just a horse. It is an amazing redemption story that is must watch for everyone who gets enjoyment out of the story.

SettingsThe film does take us the prison setting, which shows that this is the one place Roman wants to feel safe away from the world, with the horses giving him a chance of freedom, one day.

Scene of the Movie – The alone time with the horse.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough from the side prisoners.

Final Thoughts This is an amazing drama that shows us the troubles inmates will be put through and how a therapy is helping them improve themselves with their connection with horses.

Overall: Matthias Delivers a Powerhouse Performance.