ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – B – The Battleship Island (2017) Movie Review

Director: Seung-wan Ryoo

Writer: Seung-wan Ryoo (Screenplay)

Starring: Jung-min Hwang, Ji-seob So, Joonh-Ki Song, Jung-hyun Lee, Su-an Kim

Plot: During the Japanese colonial era, roughly 400 Korean people, who were forced onto Battleship Island (“Hashima Island”) to mine for coal, attempt to a dramatic escape.


Tagline – 1945 Hashima – We called it hell on earth.

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Bleak War Story

Story: The Battleship Island starts as we see one of the daring escapes from Hashima island, we move back to mainland South Korea to meet entertainer Lee Gang-ok (Hwang) who gets drafted, Choi Chil-sung (So) a street fighter who causes trouble and Park Mu-young (Song) who is planning a rescue of more of the prisoners on the island.

They find themselves taken to Hashima Island, forced into the coal mining by the Japanese. As the conditions worsen, the South Koreans look to work together on a daring escape from the island.

Thoughts on The Battleship Island

Characters – Lee Kang-ok is the leader of a band, he is travelling with his daughter, when they get forced into the mining camp, he tries to keep the people entertained, he has the added skills which could help him survive the translation divide, but what is most important, finding and saving his daughter. Choi Chil-sung is a streetfighter that sees the problems in the mine, he looks out for his people and will stand up against anybody who makes the life even harder. He will help the people that are suffering the most. Park Mu-young has sneaked onto the island to locate somebody, he ends up leading the Koreans in their escape plan. Mallyon is one of the many women that are on the island, they are used for entertainment and pleasure by the Japanese, she does what she can to try and guard on young So-hee.

PerformancesWe have excellent performances from the whole cast, each one shows the different levels of desperation to survive the people are suffering through, what it will mean and what they are willing to give up.

StoryThe story here focuses on the Korean prisoners forced to work under the strict Japanese reign on Hashima Island during World War II and how they ended up fighting back in a daring escape plan. While the events of this story are fictional, the reality of what the island was used for is true. Seeing the hardship the Korean were forced into is a hard watch and like any revolution story, this shows what it means to escape a life they should never be forced into.

Action/History/WarThe action in the film shows us just what the war like battles would have been like for the slave labour needing to find a way to beat the military trained soldiers, which does put a huge spotlight on the historical moment in time.

SettingsThe film keeps us on the island that shows us everything the Koreans would have gone through, we see the tight living space, the horrendous mine conditions.


Scene of the Movie – Bathroom fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The subtitles, not that we have them, that they are so small and hard to read.

Final Thoughts This is a hard to watch war story that will fill in a history lesson for what the people had to suffer through and fought for when they wanted freedom.

Overall: Strong war drama.

Parkland (2013) Movie Thoughts

Director: Peter Landesman

Writer: Peter Landesman (Screenplay) Vincent Bugliosi (Book)

Starring: Zac Efron, Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton, Marcia Gay Harden, Ron Livingston

Plot: A recounting of the chaotic events that occurred at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital on the day U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.


Tagline – November 22, 1963

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Parkland starts as we see the preparation for the visit of President John F Kennedy, with the FBI, Secret Service, local business, everyone in Dallas Texas waiting for this visit, until the events of that visit happen, the assassination of the president.

We follow the medical team that do everything to try and save the President, the law authorities looking to try and solve the situation, Abraham Zapruder (Giamatti) that filmed the events, the full aftermath of the day that changed America.

Thoughts on Parkland

Final Thoughts Parkland is an all-star cast showing us the reality of one of the most shocking moments in American history, the assassination of John F Kennedy. This is a film that doesn’t let any actor take centre stage, with the idea to show the aftermath of the assassination, showing how medical teams tried to save him, secret service looked for answers, the FBI looked for answers and the assassin is captured, seeing how even in the line of duty people will never be the same with what happened that day. Where everything in this film shines is by putting the spotlight on the people who are left believing part of it is there fault or part of it could have played out differently, with a cast that does all shine through this film.



Quezon’s Game (2018) Movie Review

Director: Matthew E Rosen

Writer: Janice Y Perez, Dean Rosen (Screenplay)

Starring: Raymond Bagatsing, Rachel Alejandro, Kate Alejandrino, Billy Ray Gallion, David Bianco, Jennifer Blair-Bianco, Tony Ahn, James Paoleli

Plot: In 1938, Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon agrees to welcome Jewish refugees from Germany in the Philippines.


Tagline – A world on the brink of war. A people on the brink of annihilation. A leader on the brink of death.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Important, But Slow

Story: Quezon’s Game starts as word comes out of Germany about wanting to move the Jews to concentration camps, the news hit the Philippines, reaching the President Manuel Quezon (Bagatsing) who along with his wife Aurora (Alejandro) works with Alex Frieder (Gallion) to find a solution to the horrific news.

President Quezon must look at what is going around the world before making his decision to offer refugees a home in the Philippines, an idea which could leave his reputation shattered, while Alex is learning first-hand how the Jews are being treated.

Thoughts on Quezon’s Game

Characters – President Manuel Quezon has been given the information about the Jewish camps in Nazi Germany, he has advisors trying to help him make the decision on whether to help, even though he has already made up his mind, he wants to find a way to offer refugees a place to live, by doing it in a political manor, unlike the leaders from around the world, he sees shutting them out. Aurora is the wife of Manuel’s who wants him to do the right thing no matter what, seeing the human factor to what is going on in Germany. Alex Frieder is a Jewish man living around Germany, he sees the changes happening in the country and turns to his own President to help people escape. Paul McNutt is part of the American embassy that isn’t willing to let the refugees in the country, he doesn’t want to support Manuel’s choice because America still has control over the country.

PerformancesRaymond Bagatsing in the leading role is strong through the film, like the rest of the cast, Rachel Alejandro, Billy Ray Gallion and James Paoleli, they do bring their characters to life with ease, as we see the conflict in their performances.

StoryThe story here follows the Filipino President who learns of the horrors of the German’s towards the Jews before the war broke out, who set out to offer them a home, needing to overcome the obstacles that are thrown in his way by other countries, mostly the Americans. This is another interesting historical drama, showing us just how important the stories of the people that wanted to help save the innocent lives that were being taken, how people would put their own reputations on the line to make this happen. While certain moments of this story do seem to lack moments of pace, because most of the film focuses more on the political side of the events.

HistoryWhen it comes to any film about history, you want to learn something new and after watching this film, you will learn about the incredible, the work that Manuel Quezon achieved during the war.

SettingsMost of the film is set behind close doors, with it being offices or social events, where the conversations took place.


Scene of the Movie – The arrival.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough about how the people would be feel about the decision.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting history lesson film that will once again put a spotlight on another unsung hero of the war.

Overall: Important Story.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – T – The King (2019) Movie Review

This is under T because of the star Timothee Chalamet

Director: David Michod

Writer: Joel Edgerton, David Michod (Screenplay)

Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Robert Pattinson, Lily-Rose Depp, Joel Edgerton, Ben Mendelsohn, Sean Harris, Thomasin McKenzie

Plot: Hal, wayward prince and heir to the English throne, is crowned King Henry V after his tyrannical father dies. Now the young king must navigate palace politics, the war his father left behind, and the emotional strings of his past life.

Runtime: 2 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Another King Fighting Film

Story: The King starts as the war between the English and the Scots continues to rage on, King Henry IV (Mendlesohn) is getting tired of the bloodshed and disloyalty being found in his own soldiers and with his health getting worse he recalls his son Hal (Chalamet) to his side.

As Hal find himself in a new power, he doesn’t know who to trust, so he turns to Falstaff (Edgerton) to help him in battle, with in latest battle being with the future French king The Dauphin (Pattinson).

Thoughts on The King

Characters – Hal is the young prince that would become King, a role he isn’t ready for, he doesn’t want to see large scale bloodshed like his father’s reign, but finds his country in war from all sides, he wants to end the battles and will look for solutions, which don’t always work for him. Falstaff is the man Hal turns to for advice when it comes to conflict, he thought under King Richard and he knows how to outsmart an enemy, first he must give up his drinking problem though. The Dauphin is next in line to be king of France, he is leading the armies into battle and doesn’t want any part of a deal with the King of England.

PerformancesTimothee Chalamet is strong in the leading role, continuing to put himself on the right path to do anything he wants to in the future. Joel Edgerton is always a great supporting star in any movie, this is no different, while Robert Pattinson as the villainous soon to be king does a great job too.

StoryThe story here follows a young king taking his place on the throne while his country is involved in wars that he never started and now he wants to end, hoping to find a more peaceful way to end the battles, forcing him to learn the truth about the bitter war between the nations. This is one of those stories which once again puts our history out there for the world to see with the English being seen as an all-conquering nation that always believed they were right, the spin is seeing how the young king wants to try and find a more peaceful way to end things, but just doesn’t get a chance to solve these problems. The pacing follows everything we have seen before, not making this standout on any means whatsoever, which just leads us to disappointment once again.

Biopic/HistoryThis is a film that claims to tell the story of a real king and how he was brave, just like every single one through the years, we don’t know what he was like or what the battles were like, we only know the outcome.

SettingsThe settings show us how the kingdoms are beautiful and how the battlefields are covered in blood and bodies.


Scene of the Movie – The battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is the same typical history story.

Final Thoughts This is one of the period piece dramas that does everything it needs to without giving us the complete truth to what is happening with the real history.

Overall: Simple Royalty Film.

Kevin Costner Weekend – Thirteen Days (2000) Movie Review

Director: Roger Donaldson

Writer: David Self (Screenplay) Ernest R May, Philip D Zelikow (Book)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Steven Culp, Stephanie Romanov, Lucinda Jenney, Frank Wood, Henry Strozier, Kevin Conway

Plot: In October 1962, the Kennedy administration struggles to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis.


Tagline – You’ll Never Believe How Close We Came

Runtime: 2 Hours 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: History Lesson

Story: Thirteen Days starts like a normal day in the Kennedy administration, his assistant Kenny O’Donnell (Costner) joins the President John F Kennedy (Greenwood), his brother Robert F Kennedy (Culp) and advisers from every side for an emergency meeting.

The meeting is called to discuss the appearance of nuclear warheads in Cuba, believing Russia are moving to a closer position which could destroy large parts of America in minutes. What follows in Kenny trying to help JFK make the smartest decision, despite how many different people are advising with multiply options, all leading to one of the most intense stand offs in military history.

Thoughts on Thirteen Days

Characters – Kenny O’Donnell is the assistant advisor to the President, he gives him advice which would see him make decisions which would support the image of the President and the country instead of agree with the fast track answers which would see America go to war, he is the man that people turn to if they are not prepared to challenge the President’s decisions. President John F Kennedy is the man in the middle of the situation, the man that needs to make the final decision after taking on all the advice from his experts, he wants to remain in control of the situation to the best of his ability. Robert F Kennedy is one of the men advising his brother, he knows how John thinks and knows how the help him make the right decisions to remain calm and in control. We do have plenty of different advisors who are trying to offer a plan to what could make this stand off end quicker.

PerformancesKevin Costner is always entertaining to watch in a political movie, this is no different as he plays the pivot to everything going on. Bruce Greenwood as the President is great to watch through the film, with the whole cast looking like they would have been the people they are playing.

StoryThe story here follows the events around the Cuba Mission Crisis, from the point of view of the Americans. This does break down to be a political thriller that does keep us on edge as we see all the potential ideas that were thrown out which could have seen the world in a different place if different outcomes had been used, while this is a 2 hour story, we only focus on the different ideas, which is interesting to see. Each person could have their own agenda which could show the mindset of the public during the events. We could have more intense moments, but it just doesn’t really do that much more, which doesn’t display just how dangerous the event could have been.

HistoryThis is a big historical moment and it does show how the people in power were put on panic station when the events started to unfold.

SettingsThe film uses the political settings for the most part, which does show us just how the people stayed together through the events of the crisis.


Scene of the Movie – Putting the Admiral in his place.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have had more intense sequences.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at one of the biggest stand offs in modern history, we do see how it could have gone very differently and how everything unfolded.

Overall: Interesting look at history.