Ma (2019)

Director: Tate Taylor

Writer: Scotty Landes (Screenplay)

Starring: Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, Juliette Lewis, McKaley Miller, Corey Fogelmanis, Gianna Paolo, Dante Brown, Luke Evans

 

Plot: A lonely woman befriends a group of teenagers and decides to let them party at her house. Just when the kids think their luck couldn’t get any better, things start happening that make them question the intention of their host.


Tagline – Welcome to Ma’s

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Octavia Spencer Steals the Show

 

Story: Ma starts when Maggie (Silvers) moves to her mother’s Erica (Lewis) home town to put their lives back together, it isn’t long before Maggie becomes friends with Haley (Miller), Andy (Fogelmanis), Chaz (Paolo) and Darrell (Brown) who enjoy to party, only they can’t buy the booze yet.

The friends meet Sue Ann (Spencer) a lonely veteran nurse who agrees to help them buy booze, only if they use her basement to party, so she knows they will be safe, only for curiosity to get the best of them after they break the rules and Sue Ann shows a different nature to the caring one she starts with.

 

Thoughts on Ma

 

Characters – Sue Ann is a lonely veteran nurse that starts to befriend the local teenagers after buying them booze and offering them a place to drink in safety. Sue Ann gets nickname ‘Ma’ which makes her feel loved, only she is haunted by the events of her past which sees her starting to slowly show a darker side which puts the teenagers lives in danger. Maggie is the new girl in town, it doesn’t take her long t make friends and find a love interest, it is an unrealistic time scale this happens, she is trying to fit in which means going outside the normal support of her mother, Maggie is a mix of the innocent member of the group and the rebellious teen. Erica is her mother that is just trying to hold it together for her daughter, which means bringing her daughter back to her home town, she is the attempted cool mum that is trying to understand the decisions, but wanting to remain as the best friend figure in her life. Haley is the girl from school that welcomes in Maggie, she does fill the sluttier one of the two girls, she does get a couple of funny lines, but she is just the beginning of the annoyingly written teenagers that are generic as they come, make it seem like all they want to do is drink, get high or have sex, this doesn’t make any of them likeable, making it hard to support them.

PerformancesOctavia Spencer gives one of her bet performances of her career, she breaks away from the wholesome figures we are used to seeing to make us feel uneasy whenever she is on screen. Octavia’s performance completely eclipses the rest of the cast, with most of the younger cast, Diana Silvers or McKaley Miller struggle to keep up with her, while Juliette Lewis, Luke Evans and Allison Janney rounding off the experienced supporting cast well.

StoryThe story here follows a group teenagers that become friends with a lonely woman that offers them a chance to party in a place of safety, only it soon takes twisted turn when they learn about her true nature. This is a story that has plenty of positives and negatives, first the positives, which is the character of Sue Ann, which shows how a woman could balance two different sides to their nature, which is interesting to see which side of her we will be seeing each time we see her, the reveals along the way are supporting the decisions too. When it gets to the negatives, it does have the most generic unlikable group of teenagers, they do have more of a life away from drinking, drugs and sex which seems to be all they care about. Elsewhere on the negative side we get the typical bad decisions in horror which only frustrates throughout.

HorrorThe horror elements of this film comes from Sue Ann’s mental state, which sees her doing actions which just make use feel uneasy, think having Annie Wilkes with a larger amount of people.

SettingsThe film uses the small town setting to show us how everybody has a connection to each other an with the right connection you could have parties in secret.

Special EffectsThe effects are only used very well when needed, we have a couple of moments which has the audience gasp and we don’t just go to the need to nothing.


Scene of the Movie –
Sue Ann finally snaps.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The annoying teenage characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that Octavia Spencer completely steals, it is easily the highlight of the film, because when it comes to the supporting characters around her, we get decisions that just feel out of place.

 

Overall: Octavia Spencer is truly fantastic.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – P – Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017)

Director: Angela Robinson

Writer: Angela Robinson (Screenplay)

Starring: Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, Bella Heathcote, Connie Britton, Monica Giordano, JJ Field, Oliver Platt

 

Plot: The story of psychologist William Moulton Marston, and his polyamorous relationship with his wife and their mistress who would inspire his creation of the superheroine, Wonder Woman.


Tagline – Ever wonder?

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lots of Science, Not Enough Wonder Woman

 

Story: Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman starts as Professor William Marston (Evans) is explaining the motivation behind the Wonder Woman character to Josette Frank (Britton) and the rest of the board. We dive back to 1928 where William a Harvard professor along with his wife Elizabeth (Hall) who selects Olive Byrne (Heathcote) to help with the latest research project.

The research includes studying relationships and social commentary with the idea to help create the lie-detector and only ends up help create the comic book character we know after going for a forbidden relationship.

 

Thoughts on Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman

 

Characters – Professor William Marston is telling the story about his creation of the Wonder Woman character which takes us back to his time at Harvard where he was creating the lie-detector, he has a wonderful relationship with his wife that the two often search for more in love. Elizabeth Marston is just as educated at William, but doesn’t get the accredited title, she is fighting for this right while exploring the research they are working on together. Olive Byrne is the student the two take a liking to, they invite her into their research before getting involved in an even more complicated and forbidden relationship.

PerformancesLuke Evans in the leading role as the storyteller going on to show us just how desperate he is to succeed in his field. Rebecca Hall as the movement supporter shows strength throughout too while Bella Heathcote is great too turning from innocent to forward thinking woman as the story progresses.

StoryThe story follows William Marston, the man who created the Wonder Woman character and his unconventional relationship with his wife and mistress. The story here does have serious pacing issues because we spend well over half the film focusing on the build up to the relationship between the three and not enough time focusing on the creation of Wonder Woman, sure parts of the film are surrounding the ideas of Wonder Woman, but watching the fight to create and continuing publishing the comic book icon would have been a lot more interesting to watch.

BiopicThe biopic side of this film does show how William Marston went from Harvard professor to comic book creator of one of the most iconic characters in comic book history.

SettingsThe settings used in the film show us the different time period from the late 20’s to the mid 40’s, nothing looks out of place for what we are telling, though we do jump the timeline quickly.


Scene of the Movie –
The Rise of Wonder Woman.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too much time building the relationship.

Final ThoughtsThis is a biopic that shows us just how the character of Wonder Woman came to life, it shows the unconventional relationship the creator had with his wife and lover which saw them shunted in life but did end up bring the strongest female comic book figure to life.

 

Overall: Strong but misguided biopic.

Rating

 

 

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

 

 

10×10 (2018)

Director: Suzi Ewing

Writer: Suzi Ewing, Noel Clarke (Screenplay)

Starring: Luke Evans, Kelly Reilly, Noel Clarke, Olivia Chenery, Jill Winteritz, Miles Webb, Jason Maza

 

Plot: A man abducts a flower shop owner and holds her captive in a small, soundproof room in an effort to extract a dark secret from her past.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Effective, but Slow

 

Story: 10×10 starts when Lewis (Evans) watches and plans the abduction of Cathy (Reilly) a flower shop owner in a small town, he locks her in a 10×10 concrete room as he looks to extract information from her.

Lewis only wants to know one thing, Cathy’s real name, he believes she has a past which she is keeping secret and he wants to expose her lies.

 

Thoughts on 10×10

 

Characters – Lewis has been planning the abduction of Cathy for a while now, he has his motivation for doing and has planned on where to keep her until he learns the truth, he was married, but something happened to his wife, he wants the answers from Cathy. Cathy is a popular florist in a small town, she gets on with everybody and is abducted by Lewis, she is keeping a secret from everybody, one that would ruin her reputation showing a much darker side to her.

PerformancesWe do only have two main performers in this film, Luke Evans as the sinister abductor goes through the range as the story unfolds, as does Kelly Reilly, the two have to see their characters take big twists through the story.

StoryThe story follows a man that abducts a woman in hopes of unlocking a secret from her past. This does seem like a simple enough story, it is a simple enough story, you are built into learn that we are going to get a twist on who Cathy is, other wise this whole plan is pointless, the main focus on the story is the Lewis trying to get the secret out and her not wanting to spill the beans. The story could have easily been a man of a televised series of mysteries, if we are honest, it does gets stretch longer than it needs to.

Thriller The film does try to keep you guessing as to what is going on because the idea that a stranger is taken and the only question being asked is what is her name, keeps us wondering what she has done in the past.

SettingsThe settings are one of the bigger disappointments, mostly because of the title of the film, which implies the film will take place in this room only, but we spend a while in the build up, we have a random car trip and most of the action takes place in the house, rather than just the room.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The outside the room feels like false advertising.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting thriller, it has all the strong components required for a good film, it just ends up feeling like it was slightly miss-sold.

 

Overall: Interesting Idea for Thriller.

Rating

 

 

High-Rise (2015)

Director: Ben Wheatley

Writer: Amy Jump (Screenplay) J.G. Ballard (Novel)

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss, James Purefoy, Keeley Hawes

 

Plot: Life for the residents of a tower block begins to run out of control.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not My Thing

 

Story: High-Rise starts with Dr Laing (Hiddleston) moving into a new high-rise apartment, it doesn’t take long for him to meet the neighbours including Charlotte (Miller), Wilder (Evans), Helen (Moss) and the owner of the building and apparent recluse Royal (Irons).

The longer Laing spends in the building he learns all about the difference between people with in the building find some easier to get on with than others but can he cope with all the drama surrounding them.

 

Thoughts on High-Rise

 

Characters/PerformanceLaing is the stranger moving into the high-rise, he tries to stay on the outside of all social standards in the building but finds himself trapped seeing both sides of the battle within the building. Royal is the king of the castle, he wants to open the door to Laing as he is tired of the crowd he finds himself around. Charlotte is a resident in the building, a single mother that is always trying to go in within the building.

Performance wise, Hiddleston is good without being breath taking best, with Jeremy Iron strange king of the castle being the highlight of the film. Miller is solid without doing too much.

StoryThe story focuses on the different levels of social standard within one building from the view of the outsider trying to piece together what he has seen, this isn’t the most interesting story and turns to the quirkiness of the film to try and attract the audience.

SettingsMost of the film is set on the different levels of the High-Rise building that shows us the different social levels each level has as they slowly descend into obsession.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very weird film and I can clearly see an audience enjoy this movie, but for me I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy what was going on.

 

Overall: Awkward and weird to say the least.

Rating