ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – W – Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) Movie Review

Director: Mel Stuart

Writer: Roald Dahl (Screenplay)

Starring: Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Peter Ostrum, Roy Kinnear, Julie Dawn Cole, Leonard Stone, Denise Nickerson

Plot: A poor but hopeful boy seeks one of the five coveted golden tickets that will send him on a tour of Willy Wonka’s mysterious chocolate factory.

Tagline – Charlie is let loose in the chocolate factory and every kid’s dream comes true.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory starts when a reclusive chocolate factory owner Willy Wonka (Wilder) creates a competition for five lucky winners to visit it factory, the world is taken by storm with the panic to be the lucky ones to get the tickets. Charlie Bucket (Ostrum) would love a chance to get the ticket, but his family being painfully poor can’t afford the luxury of buying endless amounts of chocolate and he sees Augustut Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde and Mike Teevee get the tickets from around the world, until Charlie finds some money and buys two bars, finding the final ticket and taking his Grandpa Joe (Albertson) to Willy Wonka’s factory, an experience that will be filled with imagination.

Thoughts on Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Characters – Willy Wonka is a reclusive chocolate factory owner that shut the doors on his factory after rivals tried to steal his recipes. He decides to open his doors for a one off special tour for five lucky children, when he first appears you can tell he hasn’t been around people with the mix up of words, with his style being unique and his reluctance to help after the children disobey his rules. Charlie Bucket is from a poor family with his mother always working and his grandparents all sharing one bed, he doesn’t have any luxuries in life, he gets lucky with the last ticket and his humble approach will go against any of the other kids to win the tickets. The four other kids are all filled with a greedy side that has seen them win tickets without feeling like they deserve it.

PerformancesGene Wilder is amazing in the leading role of this film, his delivery of his lines adds to the distant character he has to create in this film. The child stars did work very well through the film, showing the bad natures of the four and the innocent natures of Charlie too.

StoryThe story here follows a famous chocolate factory owner that opens his doors for the first time in decades for five lucky winners, who are promised a prize if they make it to the end. This is a story that shows us how children will need to be raised right it, if they are to learn any values in life, showing us four very demanding selfish children who are the complete opposite to Charlie, who has only ever known nothing. The journey through the factory is filled with magical musical numbers that show us just how important being honest truly is for people to succeed.

FantasyThe fantasy side of the film comes from the different environments the characters find themselves in during the factory tour, each one does feel magical to be in.

SettingsThe film does take us to the different locations from around the world for the winners, that shows the different backgrounds, while keeping the factory grounded in the normal town setting, while we enter the factory, we get amazing creations per different rooms.

Scene of the Movie – The first room.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing.

Final Thoughts Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a truly amazing fantasy musical that will give everyone enjoyment.

The Wanting Mare (2020) Movie Review

The Wanting Mare – Beautiful World Building

Director: Nicholas Ashe Bateman

Writer: Nicholas Ashe Bateman (Screenplay)

Starring: Jordan Monaghan, Josh Clark, Yasamin Keshtkar, Edmond Cofie, Christine Kellongg-Darrin

Plot: In Whithren, a line of women pass a recurring dream through multiple generations.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Wanting Mare starts as we meet Moira a young woman that has recurring dreams that pass through the generations of herself, she lives in the Whithren alone in this world until she meets a man named Lawrence that has been trying to escape this land in the only way, a ticket, Lawrence steals tickets from people, which ends up with him trying to help Moira, only not everything goes to plan.

Thoughts on The Wanting Mare

Characters & Performances – Moira is the woman who is raised in the Whithren, she has dreams that fill the generations of her previous family’s lives, which will guide her and want her to make more, her kind nature sees her help someone in need, hoping to escape this world, giving her the feeling of love for the first time. Lawrence is the man Moira helps, though he is a man that steals tickets, which will offer people freedom from this world, he wants to help Moira in return for her kindness, but not everything goes to plan. This film is filled with strong performances throughout, without anyone getting the big impactful scene that could elevate everything to the next level.

StoryThe story here follows a young woman living in the Whithren that is alone, but filled with memories in her dreams that have come from generations before her, she finds herself meeting someone that could help her escape this world getting her a chance of a ticket to freedom. This is a story that will flow well, with a hint of mystery about what is going on, we are left to see how much this world could offer anyone, while not letting them just take it, the generational dreams are the highlight, showing us how we could see someone experience their family’s previous life through dreams, but we do end up having more of the world creation being left to the imagination.

ThemesThe Wanting Mare brings us a fantasy film that will look to cover space and time, through a world of emptiness, which looks both bleak and beautiful.

The Wanting Mare is a beautiful movie that is a pleasure on the eyes, that does have a brilliant concept that will be engaging, despite a few flaws along the way.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch Up 2020 – I – The Iron Mask (2019) Movie Review

Director: Oleg Stepchenko

Writer: Dmitry Paltsev, Alexey A Petrukhin, Oleg Stepchenko (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Flemyng, Xingtong Yao, Anna Churina, Jackie Chan, Yuri Kolokolnikov, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rutger Hauer, Li Ma, Charles Dance

Plot: English traveller Jonathan Green (Jason Flemyng) receives from Peter the Great an order to map the Russian Far East. Once again he sets out for a long journey full of incredible adventures that will eventually lead him to China. The cartographer will unexpectedly face a lot of breathtaking discoveries, encounter bizarre creatures, meet with Chinese Princesses, and confront deadly martial arts masters, and even the King of all dragons, the Dragon King. What could be more dangerous than meeting eye-to-eye with Viy, except doing it again? What would be stronger this time, a staunch skepticism of the scientist or the old black magic that has seized power of Eastern lands?

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Could be A Lot More

Story: The Iron Mask starts as Jonathan Green (Flemyng) recounts his previous adventures before going in search of Peter The Great. His adventure sees him being forced to leave Russia and head east, where he is joined by Cheng Lan (Yao) who proves to be a deadly fighter, while Jonathan’s wife Miss Dudley (Churina) searches for people that can help free him, including a captured Peter, from prison warden James Hook (Schwarzenegger).

With both sides on their own adventures, the two must trust each other to achieve the goal, which will see them needing to fight the unknown forces in the world, learning about China along the way, needing to rescue a princess from a witch.

Thoughts on The Iron Mask

Characters – Jonathan Green in the great explorer that finds himself needing to travel East of Russia, to map out China, he will help a person in danger in Cheng Lan, before finding himself in the middle of a greater battle in China. Cheng Lan becomes the assistant to Jonathan after he rescues her, she can handle herself in combat and is loyal to the person that saves her, leading the fight against the evil in her homeland of China. Miss Dudley is searching for her husband Jonathan, she finds help along the way, proving to be very resourceful.

PerformancesThe performances are one of the most misleading parts of the film, while Jason Flemyng is in fact the lead, he does everything right, with Xingtong Yao as the assistant, we do however have two huge names, Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who are both just supporting roles at best in the film.

StoryThe story here follows an explorer who is sent to try and map out China for the Russians, only to find himself in the m idle of a much bigger adventure, trying to save a princess from an evil witch controlling the land. This is a story that is filled with the fantasy elements, which at the core is still about trying to free a land from evil, we see how people from across the world would come together for the greater good. We do have two main stories going on hand in hand, with the plan aiming to meet together for a final battle in the end, which doesn’t give us enough time to connect to the characters, as we are expecting to see and travel with both Jackie Chan’s and Arnold’s characters along the way.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film does blend with the fantasy well, we might well have been expecting certain stars fighting, we even get a tease between two, we are left with a big concluding battle, which helps keep things enjoyable.

SettingsThe film takes us from the Tower of London, Russia, through to China, with the final taking place in a location with a beautiful backdrop.

Special EffectsThe effects are a right mix, we have some dubbing, which comes off terribly, while certain fights look amazingly well arranged.

Scene of the Movie – The little creature that flies with Cheng Lan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The dubbing.

Final Thoughts This is one of the most misleading movies of the year, it is sold on two big names only for them to be nothing more than supporting character, with the main story being routine for a fantasy adventure.

Overall: Easy to watch adventure.

Come Away (2020) Movie Review

Director: Brenda Chapman

Writer: Marissa Kate Goodhill (Screenplay)

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Angelina Jolie, Michael Caine, Reese Yates, Anna Chancellor, Keira Chansa, Jordan A Nash, David Gyasi

Plot: When their eldest brother dies, Peter and Alice seek to save their parents from despair until they are forced to choose between home and imagination, setting the stage for their iconic journeys into Wonderland and Neverland.

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Come Away starts as we meet a family living an a perfect house surrounded by countryside, mother Rose (Jolie), father Jack (Oyelowo) with their three children, Alice (Chansa), Peter (Nash) and David (Yates), the family is going to be facing is difficult decision when it comes to David’s education, but their world is turned upside when he dies in an accident.

With Rose and Jack filled with grief they return to old lives which will only cause the family more heartache, while Alice and Peter look to go on their own adventures to help them deal with the pain, using the fairy tales they grew up on to get them through the hard times.

Thoughts on Come Away

Thoughts – Come Away is a film that will show us how difficult loss can be on a family and how they will turn to different ways to try and overcome it, one might turn to gambling, while children will turn to a fantasy world, where they can still be together, this magical side of the film, is by far the strongest part of the film. We need to see the most important part of the grieving process is being together, not falling apart. We see Angelina Jolie in the supporting role does feel almost wasted, but she does let the younger stars take centre stage with Keira Chansa and Jordan A Nash shining with their roles in the film. The story doesn’t end up feeling as magical as it seems to want to be, failing short on making us get the true impact the story is going for.

Final Thoughts Come Away doesn’t hit the full sparkle of magic it is trying to get with the reality of dealing with grief.

Signature Entertainment presents Come Away in Cinemas from 18th December

I Still See You (2018) Movie Review

Director: Scott Speer

Writer: Jason Fuchs (Screenplay) Daniel Waters (Novel)

Starring: Bella Thorne, Richard Harmon, Dermot Mulroney, Amy Price-Francis, Shaun Benson, Louis Herthum, Thomas Elms

Plot: Set ten years after an apocalyptic event that killed millions and left the world inhabited by ghosts.

Tagline – What if your whole world was haunted?

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Gloomy Fantasy

Story: I Still See You starts as we go into a world where an event happened killing millions, leaving the remaining survivors in a world where the ghosts return daily to complete small tasks, without being able to interact with the living. Veronica (Thorne) is a high school student that starts to see something strange with a new ghost, turning first to her teacher August Bittner (Mulroney), then outsider student Kirk (Harmon) who has a reputation for understanding the ghosts in the world.

The deeper Veronica and Kirk start looking into the mystery about the new ghost, they discover, this ghost has an ability to do more than just visit, he is a killer and now they are looking into his history to learn how they could stop him.

Thoughts on I Still See You

Characters – Veronica is a high school student that survived the event which took millions of lives, she is forced to watch her father fade away on a daily bases, only for her to start seeing a new ghost from her world that wants to attack her, this leads to her needing to figure out the truth and not knowing who to trust to make it out alive. Kirk is considered the outsider, this is because he has studied the ghosts, getting closer to understanding the bigger picture involved with them. August Bittner is the teacher that explains to the students about what is going on in this world, he is the person Veronica trusts the most looking for help. Mrs Calder is Veronica’s mother that is still a big part of her life, trying to help her get through it all.

PerformancesBella Thorne in the leading role is strong enough, showing the person needing to fight to survive in a world where ghosts are all around us, Richard Harmon brings us a character that fills the gaps in the story, doing nothing wrong, with Dermot Mulroney being a good teacher figure. None of the performances are outstanding, they all help the film role well.

StoryThe story here follows a high school student who lives in a world where an major event killed millions, with the new ability to have ghosts appear in everyday life, like memories, only now she has seen a new ghost that is trying to kill her, forcing her to uncover the truth about what happened in the incident. This is a story that does seem to fall into the ghost investigation story, but by having ghosts in everyday life, it takes away most of the horror side of this. The world we enter is interesting, though it would have been nice to see just how big the event was in the whole world, as it does seem like it was only this one city. We are left to wonder about who could be trusted in Veronica’s life which is important because that is how ghost investigations movies work.

FantasyThe fantasy size of this film focuses first on the world created and how the people in the world operate with what happens.

SettingsThe film puts us into a city that has been left with the shadows of lost loved ones, it does give us a dark feeling through the film about what is happening.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well to show us how the ghosts going on within them fading away like real.

Scene of the Movie – The off-limits city.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The final reveal.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting ghost investigation where it creates an engrossing world, filled with pain because of what happened, with the idea of a race to survive the unknown coming through strong.

Overall: Strong Fantasy.