ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – B – The Boxtrolls (2014)

Director: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi

Writer: Irena Brignull, Adam Pava (Screenplay) Alan Snow (Novel)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Isaac Hempstead Wright, Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning, Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan

 

Plot: A young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator.


Tagline – Dare to be square.

Runtime: 1 hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun, but Dark Animation

 

Story: The Boxtrolls starts in a rich town, where Lord Portley-Rind wants the town to get rid of the Boxtrolls that come out at night to collect trash, they get Snatcher and his team to hunt them down, when the Boxtrolls raise an orphaned boy Eggs, he grows up to question the behaviour of the town and the Boxtrolls.

When Eggs goes into the human world, he learns that truth about how the world sees the Boxtrolls and must prove to them along with the daughter of Lord Portley-Rind, Winnie, they can bring the end to the battle between the two sides.

 

Thoughts on The Boxtrolls

 

Characters – Eggs was raised by the Boxtrolls, he believes he is one, until he meets a human girl, with this new discovery, he learns why the Boxtrolls are not loved on the surface and his own identity, to whom he must end the war between the two side. Snatcher is the evil hunter that wants a higher status within the town, using the idea that he will clean up the town of the Boxtrolls, however much he is behind the whole problem within the town. Lord Portley-Rind is the highest ranked person in the town, he is completely self-centred, not seeing the biggest picture in the town, including his own daughter. Winnie is the adventurous daughter of the Lord that believes every Boxtrolls legend and the first to see the Eggs, helping his discover the truth. Each of the Boxtrolls has their ow unique look and actions through the film too.

StoryThe story shows us how one town can believe in a legend without ever learning the truth about the so-called evil in the town. We get to see the difference in classes and how they treat different parts of the society, how the lowest community is closer and willing to do everything to work together. We get a big lesson on not treating people different in life while giving us a fun adventure about making it in your own way in life.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure takes Eggs from what he believes in his home, into the big world, where he can discover and put an end to a battle between the people of the surface. The comedy will get chuckles with each of the Boxtrolls action in the film.

SettingsThe film is set in a town where there is a clear class system in place, we see how the different classes treat each other and how they must learn to change for the better.

AnimationThe animation is stop-motion which is always a joy to see just how much commitment went into the film to make it looks so beautiful.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not sure how the Boxtrolls were seen before the event happened at the start.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun animation that will get laughs along the way, it might be darker than it needed to be, which could scary a younger audience.

 

Overall: Stop-motion at its finest.

Rating

 

 

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram (Screenplay) Guy Ritchie, Jeff Kleeman, David C Wilson, Lionel Wigram (Story) Sam Rolfe (Original TV Show)

Starring: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Luca Calvani, Hugh Grant, Jared Harris

 

Plot: In the early 1960s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons.


Tagline –  Two sworn enemies. One common mission.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Average Action

 

Story: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. starts as we follow American CIA Agent Napoleon Solo (Cavill) and Russian KGB Agent Illya Kuryakin (Hammer) must put their difference aside to stop a threat during the cold war to stop nuclear weapon being built which could cause massive casualties. The only connection is the daughter of the scientist Gaby (Vikander) as they search for the Vinciguerra’s with Victoria (Debicki) running the crime operation.

As the two start to put their differences aside they learn skills to make them better agents and learn to work as a team for the first time in their careers.

 

Thoughts on The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

 

Characters – Napoleon Solo is the American CIA Agent, he works for them to clean his robbery charges because he is a brilliant thief, being able to swipe anything with the blink of an eye, he uses his charm to stay ahead of the game. Illya Kuryakin is the Russian KGB agent, he is short tempered and can handle himself in the fight, but sadly he comes off looking like the weaker of the two. Gaby is the daughter of the prime suspect, she works with the agents to locate him in the hands of the villainous Victoria. Victoria has taken over the family business which involves building her own nuclear weapon. Alexander Waverly is a man of mystery who keeps appearing in the lives of the agents but who does he work for.

PerformancesHenry Cavill is an actor I have always questioned and here he does show emotion, charm that is required for the character of Napoleon. Armie Hammer does have a lot of fun in his role which he is good in and anything Alicia Vikander stars in gets extra class and beauty.  Elizabeth Debicki is good in her limited scenes but doesn’t give us anything new for a villain, Hugh Grant gets the few laughs in the film too.

StoryThe story follows two unlikely agents needing to work together to save the world, it sounds simple and is from a television show, so we know where it will go. If you have seen the formula before you will have better options out there but for a simple story that you can see the twists coming and can just enjoy it unfold.

Action/Adventure/ComedyThe action is by the book for the most part having nothing overly memorable while the comedy works at times but isn’t a laugh out loud movie.

SettingsThe film takes us around Europe which is fine for the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are used in film for moments of action but I do feel like it could miss on most part.


Scene of the Movie –
For a special agent, you’re not having a special day.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It did feel long.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid by the book action adventure movie, it doesn’t offer too much new but isn’t the worst, just sadly average.

 

Overall: Average action movie at best.

Rating

 

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – A – Allied (2016)

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Writer: Steven Knight (Screenplay)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris

 

Plot: In 1942, a Canadian intelligence officer in North Africa encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested by the pressures of war.


Tagline – Deception is an art. Truth is a test. Is love a lie?

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks the Suspense

 

Story: Allied starts as Canadian Intelligence Officer Max Vatan (Pitt) lands in Morocco to work with French Resistance Fighter Marianna Beausejour (Cotillard) as they pretend to be married as they complete their mission. The two fall in love for real and return to London to get married against the his superior Frank Heslop (Harris) opinion.

After a year of marriage Heslop comes to Max believing Marianna is indeed a spy, this leaves Max questioning, which side of the story to believe and what is the truth.

 

Thoughts on Allied

 

Characters – Max Vatan is Canadian intelligence working in Africa, highly skilled he can blend into his environment, but he does fall in love with his undercover wife. When he gets informed she could well be a spy, his life is turned upside down with doubts about what is the truth. Marianna is the French resistance fighter working with the Canadian Max as his fake wife, but she also falls in love with Max and returns to start a family with him. We don’t learn too much apart from that she is a loving wife and mother though.

PerformancesBrad Pitt is good for the opening mission, you believe his every decision, but when he becomes the family man, he just doesn’t reach the levels you know he can. Marion Cotillard is good without being her breath-taking best in this role.

StoryThe story here follows love and spies during World War II, we see how two people from different sides of the war fall in love and they must decide which side of the war they are supporting. This film doesn’t become as intense as it could be because seeing it from both sides could have heighted the experience and by the end it just doesn’t feel like it reaches the levels it should.

Action/Romance/WarThe action during the film is tame with very little being used or looking overly real. The romance doesn’t feel whirlwind like you think it should be either, but the war side comes off strong as we see how the tension between the sides cause most of the issues in the lives.

SettingsThe settings look authentic for the time, which does work well for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just fizzles out in the second half of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a war romance film that just never reaches the levels it should do, it just seems to go on and becomes one of the average films that you forget by the end.

 

Overall: Average and disappointing.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – P – Pompeii (2014)

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Writer: Janet Scott Batchler, Lee Batchler, Michael Robert Johnson (Screenplay)

Starring: Kit Harrington, Carrie-Anne Moss, Emily Browning, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jessica Lucas, Jared Harris, Kiefer Sutherland

 

Plot: A slave-turned-gladiator finds himself in a race against time to save his true love, who has been betrothed to a corrupt Roman Senator. As Mount Vesuvius erupts, he must fight to save his beloved as Pompeii crumbles around him.


Tagline – No warning. No escape

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Mindless Action

 

Story: Pompeii starts as the last Celt Milo (Harrington) as slaved turned gladiator gets transported to Pompeii for the last arena to show his power in. while Milo is being prepared for his latest fight against fearless gladiator Atticus (Akinnuoye-Agbaje) who has one last fight before freedom. Outside his prison, Cassia (Browning) is being lined-up for any bachelors from around the world including Corvus (Sutherland) the man that led the army that butchered Milo’s family.

When Milo and Cassia meet they know they are in love, though the different positions making their love impossible, shown the true colours of Corvus, it is the volcano Mount Vesuvius that will decide these characters fates.

 

Thoughts on Pompeii

 

Characters – Milo is a Celt, his family was butchered when he was a young boy, now he is the last of his kind, a slave turned gladiator, one that is unbeaten in combat. He falls for Cassia the heir to the throne of Pompeii and once the destruction starts he must risk his life to save her. Cassia is the heir to the throne, not interested in the men she is being arranged with seeing something different in Milo, she is being forced to marry Corvus to save her family until the volcano strikes and she needs saving by her true love. Corvus is the evil ruler from Rome, he has conquered around the world killing millions, he will do anything to survive including killing innocent people and uses his position of power to do whatever he wants. Atticus is fellow gladiator who fights with honour even though this could be his last fight because winning would me freedom, he becomes friends with Milo as they work together to escape their enemies.

PerformancesKit Harrington freshly out of Game of Thrones step into this role and does a good job without needing to do too much with the fighting being great to watch. Emily Browning is good too which is same for most of the supporting cast, we do have a couple of weak performances and over the top Kiefer Sutherland is one you will laugh off.

StoryThe story here tries to create the normal Roman traditions on the eve of the Mount Vesuvius eruption. So we do need to break this down a little bit more, first the whole gladiator fighting for freedom and the love of the heir of the city is mostly forgettable, it is almost trying to pull a Titanic with this angle for a love story in the mist of a disaster. Once the eruption starts the story gets more interesting because we learn the true colour of characters, though we do know the outcome making certain moments in the escape feel almost pointless including one where Atticus saves a little girl.  For a disaster movie with elements around it, we have an entertaining enough story, just one that tries too hard to give a fictionally twist on a real event.

Action/Adventure/History/RomanceThe action in the film is good to watch and easily the highlight, we have different sword or weapon fights, chase sequences and destruction. You could easily say the adventure side of things is Milo trying to escape which is a fair enough game to be watching. Now the history, this is hard because this eruption was a real event, what was going on at the time isn’t as clear. Mixing the real events with this nonsense romantic angle doesn’t help though.

SettingsThe film does make us feel like we are in Pompeii for the most part, the destruction sequences show us just how much of a panic it would have been for the victims of the disaster.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are mixed, we get moments that could have been better mostly to do with the larger sequences though.


Scene of the Movie –
The eruption.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Milo in the gladiator time, really?

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough disaster movie that does the action well though it has a pointless romance angle.

 

Overall: Simple disaster movie.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Completion Weekend – Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

resDirector: Alexander Witt

Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Thomas Kretschmann, Sophie Vavasseur, Razaaq Adoti, Jared Harris

 

Plot: Alice awakes in Raccoon City, only to find it has become infested with zombies and monsters. With the help of Jill Valentine and Carlos Olivera, Alice must find a way out of the city before it is destroyed by a nuclear missile.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Big, Bloodier Sequel

 

Story: Resident Evil: Apocalypse starts above ground in Racoon City going on with their normal days like nothing has happened but below ground the Hive is reopened and the infected are released upon the city with the important members of the Racoon City board evacuated including Dr Ashford (Harris) but his daughter Angie (Vavasseur) gets lost in the panic.

13 hours later the dead running riot in the city as we meet Jill Valentine (Guillory) the tough and sexy cop with a near perfect shot looking to follow the rest of the city in their evacuation. Here we continue to get introduction to characters including picking up Alice (Jovovich) right where we left her last time, we also get to see rescue team member Carlos Olivera (Fehr) in his example rescue methods and Major Cain (Kretschmann) who is leading the evacuation.

When the infection reaches the gate, Major Cain closes the gates forcing the people stuck inside Racoon City to fend for themselves against the infected. Joining forces Alice, Jill, Carlos and other survivors must locate Angie to rescue her from what is coming to Racoon City, with time counting down the infection spreading this is a race against time for Alice and the survivors with the Nemesis program activated.

 

Thoughts on Resident Evil: Apocalypse

 

StoryJust continuing the story is all this franchise needed, because the first film we get the introduction to the virus now we get the full outbreak starting City wide. We have the same basic story going on though, a group of survivors trying to survive all be it in a bigger world from a deadly infection of zombies that continue to track down enemies. We are left to see our heroes take on bigger enemies as we learn how deep the corruption in Umbrella really is which opens the doors to bigger sequels.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is bigger while over the top with bullets flying everywhere which is similar to how some people would be playing the game, the horror is based on the zombies and is main survival horror again all good. Both works well for what this film is trying to be.

Characters/PerformanceAlice returns with all the fighting skills learnt from the first film and more as the true icon if the franchise. The inclusion of Jill Valentine is big for the fans of the games as it marks the first character from the source material to join the franchise. The rest of the characters are good even though they are generic with the main villain becoming something we will get used to through the series of films.

The performances are all good with Jovovich showing her action skills throughout the film as she makes this her own franchise. I do think the rest of the cast all do a good job throughout the film even if some of the smaller roles are slightly over the top.

SettingsHaving the film set in Racoon City works because we slowly build to a bigger infected world and get to have bigger action spectacles.

Special EffectsYou can’t fault the special effects in this film, bigger, bloodier but more realistic than first time.

Final ThoughtsThis is a bigger sequel that is an proper easy to watch film for all that enjoy switching their mind off while watching films.

 

Overall: Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Ratingcard