ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – N – Nina (2016)

Director: Cynthia Mort

Writer: Cynthia Mort (Screenplay)

Starring: Zoe Saldana, David Oyelowo, Kevin Mambo, Ronald Guttman, Chuma Gault, Allison Sarofilm, Mike Epps, Keith David


Plot: The story of the late jazz musician and classical pianist Nina Simone including her rise to fame and relationship with her manager Clifton Henderson.

Tagline – Singer. Activist. Survivor. Legend.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Biopic 101


Story: Nina starts as we see Nina Simone (Saldana) performing one of Nina’s iconic songs as we see how the rise and fall of the iconic star happened through the different eras of music, now in the early 90s, she finds herself in a rehab centre needing to clean herself up after learning she doesn’t have al the money she has earnt in her career.

Becoming friends with Clifton Henderson (Oyelowo) who she makes her manager to help keep her appointments in order and keeping her on the right medication, the two fast become friends as Clifton learns about what drove Nina down the spiral she went down.


Thoughts on Nina


Characters – Nina is the iconic jazz and classical musician that broke boundaries, we follow her in the mid-90s where she is considered an icon but has fallen out of the limelight after struggling with her personal addictions to drinks. She hires a new manager to help her try and turn her life around, though her paranoia towards people in her life doesn’t help her and her sickness needs help from Clifton. Clifton is an orderly at the rehab centre Nina stays at, she trusts him, making him the only one she does, he gets recruited into being her manager as he helps to try and turn her career around and bring her back to the spotlight, where she deserves to be. The rest of the characters we meet are family, lawyers, promotors and celebrities that Nina would have met in her life.

PerformancesZoe Saldana did face backlash for her choice in the role because her background isn’t the same as Nina’s, away rom this conversation this is a performance that show Saldana isn’t all action with this being her strongest acting performance of her career. David Oyelowo is great too as he seems capable of stepping into any role he wants challenging Chadwick Boseman for biopic-man title. The supporting cast are great too where they help with the important scenes in the film.

StoryThe story focuses on the real people of Nina Simone and Clifton Henderson as they try to help bring Nina’s career back on track. This is where the story becomes disappointing to see, sure it is great to see how she was aiming to make her comeback, but we don’t learn enough on the first rise, the struggles she faced and what led her down the addiction problems, which are always the more interesting part of any celebrity’s lives.

Biopic/MusicThe music shown here are the iconic songs of Nina Simone’s career and if you didn’t know she sang them you will by the end of the film. the biopic side of the film does show us a crucial part of Nina’s life though it would have been nice to learn more about getting to this stage.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show where Nina heads to recover to get in the mood for her music and creative energy, they do end up looking like locations you could imagine the celebrity would be around.

Scene of the Movie –
The return gig.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not learning enough about her original rise to fame.

Final ThoughtsThis is the standard biopic, we get to see the once famous star try to turn their career around, though we don’t learn enough about their career in the first place.


Overall: Standard biopic.





ABC Film Challenge – Animation – C – Coraline (2009)

Director: Henry Selick

Writer: Henry Selick (Screenplay) Neil Gaiman (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Dakoka Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Keith David, John Hodgman, Robert Bailey Jr


Plot: An adventurous girl finds another world that is a strangely idealized version of her frustrating home, but it has sinister secrets.

Tagline – An Adventure too Weird for Words

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Dark Animated Fantasy


Story: Coraline starts as we meet Coraline Jones, a young girl that moved into a new home with her over busy parents, who never find time for her, her imagination tris to run wild and once she discovers an alternative world where her parents always have time for her, she starts on this new adventure.

The longer Coraline stays in this dream world with her other parents the deeper the truth about this world will strike fear into her, as she tries desperately to return to her real parents.


Thoughts on Coraline


Characters – Coraline is a young girl that needs to let her imagination free, which her parents are not letting happen, when she gets into this new world she goes on the adventure she dreams off only to see what is the most important to her. The parents are too different sides of what Coraline is wanting, one side busy the other side always free to play. We do have the other colourful characters which help Coraline unlock the truth.

StoryThe story plays into the idea that a young child (this time a girl) imagination can run wild leaving them to get into trouble and going on an adventure to save her family. To me this felt like a Studio Ghibli story, with the fantasy elements and the young girl needing to save the day in a world which could contain nightmares. This story does contain large amounts of peril which will keep you wanting to see where things will end up going next for Coraline.

FantasyThe fantasy elements being used in this movie are wonderful to see, as it uses moments and worlds that could easily grace a horror film.

SettingsThe film does take place in and around the one house which shows how the mind can create an adventure that only a little girl could uncover.

AnimationThe animation used looks wonderful and plays into the fantasy elements of the film that are going on through the film.

Scene of the Movie –
Searching for parents.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly too dark for a kids film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful animated movie that knows how to keep the story interesting and keeps us guessing until we get to the end.


Overall: Animation must watch.




The Nice Guys (2016)

niceDirector: Shane Black

Writer: Shane Black, Anthony Bagarozzi (Screenplay)

Starring: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Yaya DaCosta, Keith David, Beau Knapp


Plot: A mismatched pair of private eyes investigate the apparent suicide of a porn star in 1970s Los Angeles.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Enjoyable


Story: The Nice Guys starts as we meet Jackson Healy (Crowe) who does the dirty jobs for people, we also meet PI Holland March (Gosling) who is a single father to Holly (Rice). The two end up crossing paths when Holland’s latest case sets him in search Amelia Kuttner (Qualley) who has a connection with pornstar Misty Mountains (Telio) who has famously died.

The unlikely duo must use both their skills to find Amelia as they learn of a bigger case going on as they find themselves being hunted down by John Boy (Bomer).

The Nice Guys is an action comedy crime mystery that we get an odd couple having to work together to solve the case. We get great moments between the Jackson and Holland as they both approach solving the crimes. The story is one you will have scene before with the conspiracy style without being something overly original but it does help make the characters feel like they fit into the world created. The story balances the comedy and action well without going too heavy on either and none of the jokes are forced.


Actor Review


Russell Crowe: Jackson gets hired to beat people up, he doesn’t ask questions he just does the job and gets paid. When his latest job finds him having to send a warning to Holland only to find himself getting stuck in the middle of the case and having to work with Holland. Russell nails the comedy perfectly while going against certain character traits people see in Russell.

Ryan Gosling: Holland is a PI and single father who has been searching for Amelia, he has his own problems with alcohol and has to work with Jackson to solve this latest case. Ryan shows another side to his skills in this role where he shines.

Angourie Rice: Holly is the teenage daughter of Holland’s who joins the odd couple on their adventure to solve the crime. She is wise beyond her years becoming key to the outcome of the story. Angourie stands toe to toe with the big names in this movie.

Matt Bomer: John Boy is called for to deal with the problem of Amelia, he is a deadly hit man that has to come to finish off the job. Matt is good in this supporting role as we don’t see him until late into the movie.

Support Cast: The Nice Guys has a supporting cast that all come into the story working very well with the main story.

Director Review: Shane BlackShane does give us one of the smash comedies of the year that will be making many people’s favourite for the year.


Action: The Nice Guys has good action moments with the over the top style the film gives us.

Comedy: The Nice Guys has great moments of comedy without trying to be laugh a minute.

Crime: The Nice Guys puts us into the crime story where we join the odd couple solving the crime.

Mystery: The Nice Guys puts us into the mystery of why Amelia is being hunted down by everyone.

Settings: The Nice Guys is set in the 70s where we follow the story and everything work very well.

Suggestion: The Nice Guys is one of the films I do think everyone should be watching. (Watch)


Best Part: Chemistry between Gosling and Crowe.

Worst Part: Couldn’t see one.

Funniest Scene: Party scene.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Could easily have one.

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: Unlikely but could easily be an outside shot for screenplay.

Budget: $50 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

Tagline: They’re not that nice 


Overall: One of the most enjoyable comedies of the year.




Franchise Weekend – The Transporter 2 (2005)

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Plot: Mercenary Frank Martin, who specializes moving goods of all kinds, surfaces again this time in Miami, Florida when he’s implicated in the kidnapping of the young son of a powerful USA official.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Bigger and Bolder


Story: The Transporter 2 starts with Frank Martin (Statham) working as a driver for a rich family driving their kid Jack (Clay) to and from school. Things take a turn when Gianni (Gassman) and Lola (Nauta) kidnap him but us Frank to take him. Frank uses his skills to get Jack back while the Billings Audrey (Valletta) and Jefferson (Modine) are working with the FBI agent Stappleton (David).

We know something bigger is going on and have to watch to see just how big this story really is but this time Frank take no persuasion to take on the criminals he has found himself crossing with.

The Transporter 2 brings the story back to America where we have a low key role for Frank early on. We don’t have any real connection to the first film apart from the inspector adding comic relief through the story. the crime is good because we need to have something for Frank to actually fight for but in the end the kidnapping almost gets forgotten while we watch Frank solve the real crime. This is something that all action fans will enjoy.


Actor Review


Jason Statham: Frank Martin is taking it easy helping out a friend with an easy job being a personal driver for a wealthy family. When their child gets taken he becomes a one man wrecking crew as he searches for the truth behind the kidnapping. Jason shows how much he has improved in the action genre in this role.

Alessandro Gassman: Gianni Chellini is the man behind the kidnapping of the child, he has his own plan to follow with money being hi motivation. I feel this is a huge improvement on the villain side because we actually see just how dangerous this man can be. Alessandro is good as a villain filled with menace throughout.

Amber Valletta: Audrey Billings is the mother of the child taken, she likes how Frank handle himself and caring for Jack. Amber is solid in this role but we never see enough clash between her and the villains.

Kate Nauta: Lola is the sexy bodyguard hit woman for Gianni who enjoys nothing more than hurting people, she flaunts her body at every single opportunity. Kate is good in this role taken the role as sexy hitwoman to all new levels.

Support Cast: The Transporter 2 has a bigger supporting cast that all help on both sides of the battle with more thugs for Frank to take out.

Director Review: Louis LeterrierLouis gives us an action film that is filled with more than the original.


Action: The Transporter 2 has plenty of action going on from start to finish which all is over the top and fun.

Crime: The Transporter 2 gives us a kidnapping covered up as something bigger for the crime side of the story.

Thriller: The Transporter 2 keeps us on edge from start to finish waiting to see who will make it out of this alive.

Settings: The Transporter 2 brings us to America for this story which showed more familiar settings for the audience.
Special Effects
: The Transporter 2 has solid effects until the plane scene which is best not to talk about.

Suggestion: The Transporter 2 is one for all the action fans out there to enjoy. (Action Fans Watch)


Best Part: Statham shows just how far he came.

Worst Part: Those plane shots from outside.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $32 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

Tagline:  The Best In The Business Is Back In The Game.


Overall: Improved sequel that is just as non-stop as before.




Pitch Black (2000)

logoDirector: David Twohy

Writer: Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat, David Twohy (Screenplay) Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat (Story)

Starring: Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Keith David, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Claudia Black, Rhiana Griffith, John Moore


Plot: A commercial transport ship and its crew are marooned on a planet full of bloodthirsty creatures that only come out to feast at night. But then, they learn that a month-long eclipse is about to occur. Criminal Riddick (Diesel) turns out to be the survivors only hope because he can see in the dark thanks to surgery he received inside a dark prison with no lights, but his bounty hunter William J. Johns (Hauser) doesn’t want to lose his bounty. Carolyn (Mitchell) has to take command and stop her passengers from being killed.


Verdict: Slick Sci-Fi Action


Story: Any film set on a different planet with an unknown alien creature hunting our heroes will always be compared to ‘Aliens’ arguable the best of the genre. This lacks some of the shock value of that level but it really works at a fast pace, giving us very little moments to stop once that action gets going. The not knowing what is after them is very similar but this is on a much larger scale of numbers of enemies. Granted this is aimed at the more casual market and the acting is not the most convincing but it really is just a fun sci-fi action film that can be enjoyed. (8/10)


Actor Reviews


Vin Diesel: Riddick the criminal being transferred back to prison, we hear what he has done but it is not until late in the film we really see his combat skills. He has eyes that see in the dark making him important to the final race for survival. Good performance from Diesel but this was only the stepping stone for a much larger and more interesting character. (7/10)


Radha Mitchell: Carolyn one member of the official flight crew who tried to get rid of the cargo bays during the accident and has to deal with knowing she was willing to give up all the survivors lives for her own, she must now fight to keep them alive. Good performance but has moments where she looks out her depth. (7/10)


Cole Hauser: William the bounty hunter who is returning Riddick to prison for a nice fee, he is the only one who knows what Riddick is capable of and has to reluctantly allow him to be free to help with the surviving. Good performance but can’t help but feel McConaughey was first choice. (6/10)


Director Review: David Twohy – Creates a very good sci-fi action film with plenty of fresh creatures and an idea of keeping everyone human abilities without using supernatural. (8/10)


Action: Plenty of action used throughout to create the fast paced story. (8/10)

Sci-Fi: New world new planet new creatures. (10/10)

Settings: The deserted planet creates a great setting as it shows glimpses of what happened before. (10/10)
Special Effects
: The CGI effects can be seen easily but some work well to merge the CGI and real world. (7/10)

Suggestion: This is a must watch for anyone who is a fan of the genre. (Sci-Fi Fans Watch)


Best Part: Riddick versus a creature round one.

Worst Part: Poorly created support characters.

Action Scene Of The Film: Riddick fighting Johns.

Kill Of The Film: Riddick killing a creature.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has two sequels

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Aliens


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $53,187,659

Budget: $23 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

Tagline: A new species of terror


Overall: Great Sci-fi Actioner

Rating 85