Night Crossing (1982)

Director: Delbert Mann

Writer: John McGreevey (Screenplay)

Starring: John Hurt, Jane Alxeander, Doug McKeon, Keith McKeon, Beau Bridges, Glynnis O’Connor

 

Plot: Two men want to escape from East Germany, but they will only go if they can take their families with them.


Tagline – The East German border: 836 miles of barbed wire walls, automated machine guns, armed guards, and deadly land mines. On September 15, 1979 two families tried to cross it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brave Story

 

Story: Night Crossing starts as we go to East Germany in 1979, The Strelzyk family, Peter (Hurt), Doris (Alexander), Frank (D.McKeon) and Fitscher (K.McKeon) who are getting tired of not being able to go to the west side of Germany, one they see as fairer. The friendship between this family and the Wetzel’s Gunter (Bridges) and Petra (O’Connor) keeps them strong, while they see the friends trying to escape getting killed.

When Peter comes up with up the idea to build a balloon with Gunter to escape, it will mean working in secret because getting caught will only see him killed. When Gunter leaves for family reasons, Peter must keep the idea within the family for the hope for their future.

 

Thoughts on Night Crossing

 

Characters – Peter is a father that has been living with his family in Eastern Germany, he is getting tired of the lack of change or unity with the Western side and decides he wants to risk his family’s life to escape, he plans to build a balloon which would fly over the borders in place. Doris is the wife of Peter, she is reluctant to help at first, but soon sees this being the only option. Gunter is the friend that wants to help build the balloon, only for his wife to push him into staying behind because of the young age of their children. Petra is Gunter’s wife that doesn’t want to risk their infant children with an escape plan so dangerous.

PerformancesJohn Hurt in the leading role is the strongest member of the cast, he shows that even a common man can have the hope required for his character. Jane Alexander and Glynnis O’Connor are both fitting the wife type of role which doesn’t get much else to do. Beau Bridges completes the cast with a performance that shows just how young men would have been affected in this world.

StoryThe story follows two families that work together to find a way to escape East Germany and get into West Germany in the late 70s, they must risk everything for this, which is failing would see them face certain death. this is a story of inspiration that showed us just how much people were willing to risk escaping a land they couldn’t live their natural life without being dictated too, it shows the patience to make it happen and how family can inspire you to risk everything.

Family/HistoryThis might be classed as a family film that is because of the families involved in trying to make this high risk situation happen, the history of their escape is one that could inspire many who were trapped in the land.

SettingsThe film is set in the harsh living conditions the families would have been living in and how secretive their plan would have been to make happen.


Scene of the Movie –
Are we in the West?

That Moment That Annoyed Me It could have been a lot darker.

Final ThoughtsThis is an inspiration story of two family’s determination to make it out of a life which didn’t offer them a true future.

 

Overall: True story that shows bravery and inspiration.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action – I – Immortals (2011)

Director: Tarsem Singh

Writer: Charley Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides (Screenplay)

Starring: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, Stephen Dorff, Freida Pinto, Luke Evans, John Hurt, Joseph Morgan

 

Plot: Theseus is a mortal man chosen by Zeus to lead the fight against the ruthless King Hyperion, who is on a rampage across Greece to obtain a weapon that can destroy humanity.


Tagline – The Gods Need a Hero

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Glossy Greek Muscles

 

Story: Immortals starts in a world where the immortals battled, the winners became Gods, the loser became Titans and buried under the mountain. With King Hyperion (Rourke) destroying village after villages in search for a stone that will grant him power. An average farmer Theseus (Cavill) trained in combat sees the war come to him, he is destined for greatness as the Gods watch over him with Zeus (Evans) knowing who will win the battle, but unable to interfere.

With the oracles including Phaedra (Pinto) knowing the truth about Theseus, she plans to release him and his fellow prisoners to go into battle against King Hyperion before becoming part of his plan.

 

Thoughts on Immortals

 

Characters – Theseus is from a quiet village that has lived in peace, but when the war comes to him, he must us his fighting skills to defeat the tyrant trying to conquer the land ad fulfil his destiny. He is the man that we see in many of these titles, a man that is meant to bring people together. King Hyperion has been taking control of the land of Greece, his armies are not taking prisoners in their conquering ways. This is a villain we are used to seeing because it is one that will go to any lengths to get what he wants. Stavros is a thief that joins Theseus and with this gets to plant the comical lines in places. Phaedra is the oracle that has seen the paths in which Theseus will take, believe he can bring the country to the freedom is deserves. Zeus is the all powerful God that is watching from the skies, he doesn’t want to interfere in this battle or any of the Gods to with the punishment of death.

PerformancesThe actors all have the look for their roles, so that won’t need discussing anymore. Henry Cavill is fine in the leading role, he doesn’t handle the emotion moments enough, but is saved with the fighting. Mickey Rourke is always good as a villain and he does a good enough job for the film. The rest are fine they just have nobody that sticks out long enough to be memorable.

StoryThe story plays into the idea of Gods and Titans that once ruled Greece, we see how they watched over the world waiting for the war which the humans will bring on themselves, now they must wait to see if the on man can fulfil the destiny. This is sword and saddles with what you are expecting to see after seeing 300. It all works fine but won’t become one of the more memorable within the genre.

Action/Fantasy/RomanceThe action is the highlight of the film, with plenty of big sequences that are left to see elements of the mythology. This dives us into the fantasy world we will be entering and there is a weaker romance side to the story.

SettingsThe film makes us feel like we are part of this world with ease, though most scenes look like they are from the same location and not looking special enough.

Special EffectsThe effects are nice to see because they play into this over the top style the film tries to make its own. Zeus coming to Earth is the highlight moment.


Scene of the Movie –
Hammer time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Feels long.

Final ThoughtsThis will keep the fans of the films like 300 will enjoy this one, this is an entertaining watch if you don’t need to want to think and can be enjoyed.

 

Overall: Simple saddles and swords.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominated – E – The Elephant Man (1980)

Director: David Lynch

Writer: Christopher De Vore, Eric Bergren, David Lynch (Screenplay) Frederick Treves (Book)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Freddie Jones

 

Plot: A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous façade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.


Tagline – I am not an animal! I am a human being! I…am…a man!

Runtime: 2 Hour 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Essential Viewing

 

Story: The Elephant Man starts when Victorian surgeon Frederick Treves (Hopkins) discovers a heavily deformed man John Merrick (Hurt) being used as a side-show freak by Bytes (Jones). Frederick sees the potential in searching for a cure and a break through in science by showing the fellow doctors that he can help John.

However, over time, Frederick learns that underneath all the deformities, John is an intelligent man that is no different than any other man in the world, but not everybody else in the city of London, wants John to have his freedom.

 

Thoughts on The Elephant Man

 

Characters – Frederick Treves is a surgeon that has the respect of London because of the incredible work he has achieved through the years. He learns of John and wants to help him, he soon learns that he is just like him, smart, educated and must learn to teach the world to accept John. John Merrick is the Elephant Man, a side-show freak to the man who hold shim captive, once rescued he learns that not everybody in the world is wanting to laugh or scream at him, some want to help him live a normal life, inside he is a kind sensitive man that only wants to live like any other man. Mrs Kendal is a celebrity in London who is the first to help John in the public light, showing the people just how gentle and intelligent John is.

PerformancesAnthony Hopkins in the leading role is fantastic, show the world that he could pick up the intelligent role perfectly while showing the kind nature behind his character. John Hurt is the true star of the film, he brings the kind nature to the man that others look at with fear, he shows the bravery to be different in the society that only looks down on people that were different. The rest of the cast are strong throughout the film, they show us the emotional impact the film would have on the people involved.

StoryThe story here follows the relationship between doctor Frederick Treves and John Merrick, we see how Frederick saves John from the life of misery, lets him be respected and shows him another side of life away from the freak shows in which he had been trapped in. the story shows us just how cruel the people of the Victoria era were towards people that looked different. Through the story we get to see a fine balance between the men that wanted to use John for financial profit and Frederick that was willing to have him at the forefront of his determination to be remembered for what he bought to science, this one does turn into friendship, but the first impression are clearly there.

BiopicWe follow the time between John Merrick and Frederick Treves as we see the men with similar education and desires in life are both in very different worlds, together they help show the world, just because John looked different, it didn’t make him a bad person, unlike the people that uses him for their own gain.

SettingsThe film is set in the Victorian era London, it shows the difference in class between the people and how the people would have been entertained by seeing someone different.


Scene of the Movie –
I am a human being.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The way John was treated.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful biopic, it shows how cruel the world was towards John Merrick and how the people that wanted a change showed the world he was just like them.

 

Overall: Must watch biopic.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – S – The Skeleton Key (2005)

Director: Iain Softley

Writer: Ehren Kruger (Screenplay)

Starring: Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, John Hurt, Peter Sarsgaard, Joy Bryant, Maxine Barnett

 

Plot: A hospice nurse working at a spooky New Orleans plantation home finds herself entangled in a mystery involving the house’s dark past.


Tagline – Fearing Is Believing

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Little Ghost Investigation

 

Story: The Skeleton Key starts as we meet carer Caroline Ellis (Hudson) who has been working in a home, but wants a change. This leads her to a New Orleans plantation to helps the Devereaux family, Violet (Rowlands) and the paralysed Ben (Hurt) with the lawyer Luke Marshall (Sarsgaard) trying to strike a deal.

When Ben doesn’t seem as disabled as Violet appears to let on, Caroline finds herself investigating the house more, where she finds a secret room in the attic, she turns to her best friend Jill (Bryant) to help who teaches her about Hoodoo which is what could be haunting the home.

 

Thoughts on The Skeleton Key

 

Characters – Caroline is a carer, looking to study nursing, she takes this new role which offers her the freedom needed to do the studying. She starts questioning the strange goings on within the house, which leads her to go into full investigation mode. Violet is the lady of the home, she wants to keep everything the way it was inside the house knowing and believing the curse that roams the house. She doesn’t like people coming to the home disturbing the peace she has created with the ghosts. Ben is the disabled husband that has suffered a stroke, he is the reason why Caroline is hired but not everything is right for him as he tries to communicate without being able to use his words. Luke Marshall is the lawyer putting the affairs in orders for the Devereaux’s, he hires Caroline to help care for Ben while using his charm will get him through any situation. Jill is Caroline’s best friend, she fills the filling in the information at times roles and gives us the character that helps question whether she is making the right decisions.

PerformancesKate Hudson is good in this leading role, she is strong minded character which shows in her performance. Gena Rowlands enjoys her role in the film where she gets to play the twisted character. John Hurt gets to show of his acting skills in the supporting role, he doesn’t get any dialogue in the film just gets to show the desperation he is feeling. Peter Sarsgaard is strong too, in a decade where he was always one of the go to guys in a supporting role.

StoryThe story dives into elements of horror I enjoy the most, we have a new member of the household, in this case a carer, that finds out something is right and must figure out what is happening before it is too late. The film offers plenty off potential options to where the film could go, which is what we like even if it does suggest heavily in one direction, you will need to keep thinking as to where the film will end up going.

Horror/MysteryThe horror isn’t in your face jump scares, it is well created tension filled moments that help us get to the final outcome, the mystery does take centre stage for the genres as we watch this get solved by Caroline.

SettingsThe New Orleans settings helps us understand the Hoodoo idea that is surrounded by the characters involved in the film.

Special EffectsThe effects aren’t used very often and to be honest the ones used don’t seem to come off very well.


Scene of the Movie –
The Final night.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I had an issue with just having one random friend who was only used to fill in the blanks.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good little horror, it is nothing ground breaking, but it has good performances and a solid story that will keep you guessing.

 

Overall: Good horror mystery from start to finish.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – V – Valiant (2005)

Director: Gary Chapman

Writer: Jordan Katz, George Webster, George Melrod (Screenplay) George Webster (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais, Tim Curry, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, John Cleese, John Hurt

 

Plot: Set in 1944, Valiant is a woodland pigeon who wants to become a great hero someday. When he hears they are hiring recruits for the Royal Homing Pigeon Service, he immediately sets out for London. On the way, he meets a smelly but friendly pigeon named Bugsy, who joins him, mainly to get away from clients he cheated in a game of find-the pebble, and helps him sign up for the war.


Tagline –  Some pigeons eat crumbs, others make history.

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Film

 

Story: Valiant starts as small young pigeon Valiant wants to help out during World War II by joining the Royal Homing Pigeon Service, taking his chance a heading to London he meets hustler pigeon Bugsy as the pair con their way into the recruitment process.

Going through the recruitment process the pigeons are sent on their first mission with the danger of the falcons with the evil Von Talon waiting for any pigeons that try to cross the ocean.

 

Thoughts on Valiant

 

Characters – Valiant is a plucky young pigeon that wants to be a hero of war by becoming a carrier pigeon for the royal homing pigeon service, he has the guts even if he doesn’t have the build for it, he will risk his life to save his country. Bugsy is a cowardly con artist pigeon that uses joining the service to escape magpies, only to try to get out of it on a constant basis. Von Talon is the evil falcon that has been hunting the pigeons trying to return home, he is the typical foreign villain for this film.

StoryThe story follows an unlikely group of homing pigeons that must deliver secrets back to the soldiers in England during World War II. This gives you everything you want to enjoy in an animated story, the idea of a character overcoming his weaknesses to become the strongest part of a team, even if this does make light of the war itself, even when it is trying to tell the importance of the animals in the war.

Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe adventure out pigeons go on is life or death and a real one pigeons would have gone on during the war, the comedy does hit well for the British audience which is nice to see with a string of British comedies offering the laughs. This will be one the whole family could enjoy too, having moments that all ages will understand.

SettingsThe settings play into the idea that the animals will be involved in the war and just how they will be seeing the biggest moments too, while also decreasing the scale of everything.

AnimationThe animation looks great in the foreground, while the backgrounds have been scaled down, which is fine, but doesn’t show the busyness around the big cities.


Scene of the Movie –
The crossing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I personally didn’t like how small London seemed to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun animation that can be enjoyed by everyone, though it does have a very British core, certain jokes might miss for a more international audience.

 

Overall: Enjoyable and fun.

Rating