ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – # – 8 Mile (2002)

Director: Curtis Hanson

Writer: Scott Silver (Screenplay)

Starring: Eminem, Kim Basinger, Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy, Evan Jones, Omar Benson Miller, Michael Shannon


Plot: A young rapper, struggling with every aspect of his life, wants to make it big but his friends and foes make this odyssey of rap harder than it may seem.

Tagline –  If the streets had a voice, this would be the story they’d tell.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Nice Rap Based Drama


Story: 8 Mile starts as we head to Detroit to follow Jimmy B-Rabbit Smith (Eminem) as along with his friends David ‘Future’ Porter (Phifer) Cheddar Bob (Jones), Sol George (Miller) are trying to make an impact in the raping world, this world is dominated by the black community though he does have the skills.

The world is filled with gangs that are out for control, Jimmy must deal with his mother Stephanie (Basinger) and her problems as well as meeting a new love in Alex (Murphy), we follow as he is desperate to get out of the town which has held back man before.


Thoughts on 8 Mile


Characters – Jimmy B-Rabbit Smith is a young man who aspires to be a rapper, he is from the wrong side of town in Detroit, where he is given a chance to prove himself in the underground rap battle world, where any wrong move could be his last move with the gangs around him. He has the close friends that will watch his back, while working a dead-end job for any money he can get. Stephanie Smith is the mother of Rabbit, she is dating an aggressive man around he sons age and struggling to pay the rent to keep the roof over her daughter’s head. She does try to do the best things but has her own personal demons holding her back. David is the closest friend to Jimmy, he offers him the chance he wants to reach the next level but also needs to be the one to stop him making the mistakes in his life. Alex is the new romance in Jimmy’s life, she dreams of leaving too, to become a model which helps the to connect on a level unlike what Jimmy is used to.

PerformancesEminem is strong in this leading role, there are a few moments where he does look lost, one second too long for fight sequences, but the emotional levels he shows good. Kim Basinger is good in her role which shows that we have the most experience from her. Mekhi Phifer continued his rise in the early 2000s with this performance where he shows his ability to blend into any film. the whole cast performers well through the film with talent that went onto bigger things.  

StoryThe story shows the struggles of a young man trying to break into the world of rapping in the mean streets of Detroit, he is from the wrong side of the town and the gangs are always dangerous. Seeing the struggles for everyday life is very interesting to see unfold, however I was expecting something different with more rap battles. If you are a fan of the underground rap scene this will be a story that you want to watch.

MusicThe music in the film starts with a battle rap and I was expecting more as the song Lose yourself did win Best Oscar Song.

SettingsThe film shows us just how difficult growing up in Detroit can be, we feel the tension and feeling of abandonment the city is feeling.

Scene of the Movie –
Battle rap.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough rapping.

Final ThoughtsThis is a look at the mean streets of Detroit in the battle rap world where every corner could be dangerous.


Overall: The rap world unfolded.




Pandemic (2016)

casting ardDirector: John Suits

Writer: Dustin T Benson (Screenplay)

Starring: Rachel Nichols, Alfie Allen, Missi Pyle, Mekhi Phifer, Paul Guilfoyle, Danielle Rose Russell, Pat Healy, Robert Lewis Stephenson


Plot: Pandemic is set in the near future, where a virus of epic proportions has overtaken the planet. There are more infected than uninfected, and humanity is losing its grip on survival. Its only hope is finding a cure and keeping the infected contained. Lauren (Rachel Nichols) is a doctor, who, after the fall of New York, comes to Los Angeles to lead a team to hunt for and rescue uninfected survivors.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Non-Stop Action Thrill Ride


Story: Pandemic starts as we follow in first person Lauren (Nichols) who is about to go on her first mission searching for survivors in a virus hit Los Angeles. Lauren is the doctor who can discover who is infected collecting all of her instruction from Doctor Greer (Guilfoyle) as we learn all of the different stages of infection before the ravenous stage.

Lauren joins driver Wheeler (Allen), gunman Gunner (Phifer) and navigator Denise (Pyle) as they look for a large group of potential survivors that are not infected, a journey that will take them through the devastated streets with different levels of infected.

Pandemic is a fresh take on the outbreak subgenre of sci-fi, the film never enters into the idea that we are dealing with zombies but focuses on stages of infection. The time period which the film is set works because it is well after the outbreak but before it is all safe. The story being shot mostly from inside the helmets gives us the point of view as if we were dealing with the event unfolding too. While these are all positives the actual story is very routine and feels like a video game with the go to point A but get distracted into side missions. I do like how this has moments of coming bleak with most moments getting fully answered by the end of the film.


Actor Review


Rachel Nichols: Lauren is the former CDC doctor who has just arrived on the compound of survivors during a virus outbreak. Her new assignment is to go into the field to help search for survivors but her judgement becomes a problem when she wants to find her own daughter and that she isn’t prepared for the world outside the barrier. Rachel is very strong in this role showing strength when needed but weakness from the early stages.

Alfie Allen: Wheeler is the driver on the crew, he is the always out to make sure he lives. He is honest it how he treats the mission being the only one who can drive the bus too. Alfie is good in this role which is a very different role to the Game of Thrones character we know him for.

Missi Pyle: Denise is the navigator on the mission, she has lost her child before the outbreak which keeps her grounded during all of the events around the outbreak. Missi is good in this role very different to the normal quirky characters we are used to seeing her in.

Mekhi Phifer: Gunner is the muscles on the crew he takes care of all of the deadly encounters but wants to locate the previous mission that has his wife was part of. He doesn’t take any shit from anyone but will keep the team together for as long as he can. Mekhi is good in this role that shows him in a different light to his previous outing in a virus film from Dawn of the Dead.

Support Cast: Pandemic has a small supporting cast with Paul Guilfoyle being the only real stand-out character we meet with most of the rest just being infected characters all involved through different scenarios.

Director Review: John SuitsJohn gives us a brilliant vision of being involved during the outbreak.


Action: Pandemic has some of the most breath-taking action sequences involving surviving the infected.

Sci-Fi: Pandemic takes us into a world where a virus has taken over the population leaving the uninfected being outnumbered by the infected.

Thriller: Pandemic does keep us on edge from start to finish wondering where the film will go next.

Settings: Pandemic uses LA as the setting which shows us a heavily populated area being overrun with infected.
Special Effects
: Pandemic uses the first person for the effects in the film along with all of the kills being used.

Suggestion: Pandemic is one I do think the action sci-fi fans will enjoy. (Watch)


Best Part: First person idea.

Worst Part: Some people might not like certain shaky cam moments.

Action Scene Of The Film: The Tunnel because it shows what we will be getting.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel:

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too:


Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

Tagline: You Are Humanity’s Last Stand


Overall: Heart-pounding action thriller




Franchise Weekend – I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)

still knowDirector: Danny Cannon

Writer: Trey Callaway (Screenplay) Lois Duncan (Characters)

Starring: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr, Brandy Norwood, Mekhi Phifer, Muse Watson, Bill Cobbs, Matthew Settle, Jeffrey Combs, Jennifer Esposito, John Hawkes, Jack Black


Plot: The murderous fisherman with a hook is back to once again stalk the two surviving teens, Julie and Ray, who left him for dead, as well as cause even more murder and mayhem, this time at a posh island resort.



There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Pointless Sequel


Story: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer starts as Julie James (Hewitt) is still having nightmares about what happened the summer before. Ray (Prinze Jr) still being the boyfriend figure wants to keep the relationship to mark the anniversary of the accident, break up time. Introduce Karla (Norwood) a new best friend of Julie who is trying to make her come out of her shell by hooking her up with nice guy Will (Settle).

When Karla wins tickets to the Bahamas she offers Julie two tickets with one going to Ray if he can make it the other being Tyrell (Phifer). Julie, Karla, Tyrell and Will go on the holiday because Ray never turns on. Ray escapes from hospital while our guest discover they are on the island in the off season making them the only guest on the island. The friends find out they are not alone on this island when the man with hook returns to finish what he started, but is it the same person?

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer follows up one year later from the last film yet again when we see Julie still struggling but moving on which does work for me because it is what is needed to make the character continue their life. My problem comes that we all know that they got the answer wrong to win the competition so we know it is a trap. Also I find it hard to believe the girls who love the sun wouldn’t know when storm season is. I really find it hard to believe that this horror makes any sense because a character that is watching their back falls for such a simple trick and what Ray is up to is almost comical. This is a sequel we didn’t need to see really.


Actor Review


Jennifer Love Hewitt: Julie James is still traumatised by what happened on the previous two years but is also trying to make something of her life. She has made it through another year of college and is spending this 4th of July on a tropical island with her best friend, only to discover the killer hasn’t finished with her yet. Jennifer is good for the look of this role but doesn’t really do too much in the role.julie

Freddie Prinze Jr: Ray Bronson is the other lone survivor from the first film that is working for a living, he is still involved but getting distance from Julie who invites in a holiday away but never makes it. He has a run in with the killer and has to make his way to the island to save Julie. Freddie gets to work on a random story seemingly through the film.ray

Brandy Norwood: Karla Wilson is the best friend of Julie now and she wins the trip to the Bahamas for the friends to go on. She is always trying to bring her out of her shell but never knew the true story about what happened. Brandy is the standard in this supporting role.

Mekhi Phifer: Tyrell is the boyfriend of Karla who puts up with the issues with Julie to support his girl but even he starts getting tired of the stories once Julie starts acting paranoid. Mekhi doesn’t get out of the basic supporting performance through the film.

Support Cast: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer has big names in the supporting cast that are nearly all used as just extra bodies pilling up.

Director Review: Danny CannonDanny gives us such a basic slasher sequel that really just doesn’t go too far into original ideas.


Horror: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer has basic slasher check mark without being scary in one bit.

Mystery: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer tries to add mystery about who the killer is only to give us an awful twist ending.

Thriller: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer tries to keep us on edge but we only meet the killer late on in the film.

Settings: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer puts out main cast on a tropical island during a storm which does create isolation but also doesn’t seem to make much sense.
Special Effects
: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer has basic effects when it comes to the kills.

Suggestion: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer is one for the horror fans to just give a go, it isn’t brilliant but will give you the basic horror genre something to watch. (Give it A Go)


Best Part: Jack Black is funny.

Worst Part: Nothing original.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $25 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Tagline: Get Hooked Again


Overall:  Basic slasher that we didn’t really need a sequel for.



Sarah Polley Weekend – Dawn of the Dead (2004)

deadDirector: Zack Snyder

Writer: James Gunn (Screenplay) George A Romero (Story)

Starring: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Mekhi Phifer, Ty Burrell, Michael Kelly, Kevin Zegers, Michael Barry, Lindy Booth


Plot: A nurse, a policeman, a young married couple, a salesman, and other survivors of a worldwide plague that is producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies, take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: One of the Best


Story: Dawn of the Dead starts with one of the best opening scenes in zombie movie history, as we follow nurse Ana (Polley) as she finishes work and goes about every week date night with her husband Lewis. All seems normal until the neighbourhood good Vivian turns up in their house, biting Lewis before Ana realizes she has woken up in the Dawn of the Dead as she looks for some form of safety.

Finding the city in complete chaos Ana must find somewhere for safety first by running into cop Kenneth (Rhames) followed closely by Michael (Weber), Andre (Phifer) and Luda (Korobkina). The answer to their problems lies in the shopping mall which security guards CJ (Kelly), Bart (Barry) and Terry (Zegers) have control over.

When more survivors turn up at the mall the group have to put their differences aside to figure out a way to survive once the mall becomes an attraction for all of the undead.

Dawn of the Dead is one of those remakes that works, the first film was incredible popular and this keeps the base story the same but brings the concept into the modern era of horror. No longer are the days of slow moving zombies we get fast paced none stop relentless zombies that become even scarier. There isn’t much to talk about with the story because it really is just about surviving but where this one really shines are in the brave side story with Andre and his bitten pregnant wife. I can’t see a bad thing in this film and it could easily be one of the most perfect zombie horror films of all time.


Actor Review


Sarah Polley: Ana is a nurse before the outbreak, she is the only character we got to meet before the outbreak but becomes a leading member of the group of survivors as her medical skills and human side shine through the animal like behave of the rest of the group. Sarah gives us a true nonsense performance in the leading role.ana

Ving Rhames: Kenneth is the cop that help Ana get to the mall, he only wants to get to his brother but finds himself being distant from the rest of the survivors but only so he can deal with things his own way. He is the toughest of all of the survivors and the most valuable member in combat. Ving is great in this role where he easily the most realistic in the zombie outbreak idea.kenneth

Jake Weber: Michael becomes the reluctant leader of the group, he hasn’t achieved much in his life but sees this as a chance to make up for his mistakes. Jake is good in this role as the reluctant hero showing anyone can lead when time calls for it.jake

Mekhi Phifer: Andre along with his pregnant wife find themselves in the mall, he keeps his wife hidden from the rest of the group because he knows the truth about her but still wants to have the baby. Mekhi gives us one of the most fascinating supporting characters in zombie films.andre

Michael Kelly: CJ is one of the security guards at the mall, he wants it to himself and the other guards, when the rest of the survivors turn up he sees them as a threat. After he gets taught that they are all after one thing and strength in numbers he becomes the go to guy for solutions with his knowledge of the mall. Michael gives a great performance in a role unlike most you will know him for.cj

Support Cast: Dawn of the Dead has a good supporting cast that are all very interesting characters to add to the zombie survival film.

Director Review: Zack SnyderZack shows that he was going to be one of the most popular directors around with this brilliant reimaging of a classic.


Action: Dawn of the Dead is filled with non-stop zombie killing action.

Horror: Dawn of the Dead brings a brand new look at terror through the zombie being fast and a new level of frightening.

Thriller: Dawn of the Dead keeps you wonder just where things will go, who will die and how they will make it out from start to finish.

Settings: Dawn of the Dead using the mall does work because you would have nearly everything you need there.
Special Effects
: Dawn of the Dead has brilliant special effects from start to finish making you feel like you are part of the world.

Suggestion: Dawn of the Dead is a must watch for all horror fans out there even if you love the original you will love this one. (Horror Fans Watch)


Best Part: Pregnant side story.

Worst Part: One thing I noticed that I didn’t like was that one moment the zombies almost pause and wait to pounce, which doesn’t make sense.

Action Scene Of The Film: Rescue Andy.

Kill Of The Film: Chainsaw.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: This doesn’t have a sequel.

Post Credits Scene: During the credits there is a scene.


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $59 Million

Budget: $26 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: 36 billion people have died since the reign of humanity. For the new Dawn, there’s a reunion.

Trivia: Although he had strong reservations about some elements, George A. Romero professed to be surprisingly impressed with the film.


Overall: Breath taking roller coaster ride of a horror film.


Insurgent (2015)

lgoDirector: Robert Schwentke

Writer: Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman, Mark Bomback (Screenplay) Veronica Roth (Novel)

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslett, Jai Courtney, Mekhi Phifer, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Cynthia Barrett, Justice Leak, Lyndsi LaRose, Charlie Bodin, Naomi Watts

Plot: Beatrice Prior must confront her inner demons and continue her fight against a powerful alliance which threatens to tear her society apart with the help from others on her side.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Maze Runner – Science Edition

Story: Insurgent starts with Jeanine (Winslett) with a news report about what happened in the first film making all the Divergent people the villains while the other factors have to follow her. We see Tris (Woodley), Four (James), Caleb (Elgort) and Peter (Teller) searching for help after escaping oh wait dream sequence.

The Divergent people are now living of the land and face a brand new threat when Jeanine finds the message that can bring down the system, Four’s father Marcus (Stevenson) tries to warn Tris and Four and what could happening lead to us to the next battle. With Jeanine’s army after the Divergent Eric (Courtney) the nemesis of Four seems t be leading the pack and showing a higher level of intelligence than the rest.

When the Faction-less lead by Four’s mother Evelyn (Watts) who will try to unite the forces to take down Jeanine and take back over the city and uncover the truth.

Insurgent manages to bring us to the conclusion of the training film which we saw the first time, we now end up coming up with the beginning of the war which I am glad we didn’t get only the build up. But when it comes to the end it was just a joke because it is yeah we won now we see the prize. This feels like such a forced battle that really doesn’t really just go nowhere but has a couple of solid action sequences. (4/10)

Actor Review

Shailene Woodley: Tris is the teenage girl leading the revolution against Jeanine but first she must regroup and find allies in her battles where the truths of the first film will come back to haunt her. Shailene does seem to lower her level because we know just how good see really can be. (4/10)tris

Theo James: Four is the partner of Tris who has to help drive the force to combine the factions, he shows his combat skills in every battle but refuses to make the right decision for the good of the battle. Theo is basically the eye candy for the ladies, he is no leading man. (3/10)four

Kate Winslett: Jeanine is the leader of her faction trying to take over, she has hunted down equipment to add themselves an advantage in the battle but she has to find Tris to unlock that power. Kate brings the best performance to the film even if it is only a supporting character in a villainous role, she does also give the feel she is the teacher to the kids. (6/10)jeaine

Jai Courtney: Eric is the leader henchman for Jeanine who has a personal vendetta against Tris and Four but when he starts taking things too far he ends up falling fowl to his own tricks. Jai does his typical character who should be great but Jai makes it weak. (4/10)

Miles Teller: Peter is the back stabbing friend who betrays Tris, Four and Caleb to guarantee his own safety from the rest, but is it just an undercover job being played by him? Miles was in Whiplash and was incredible but this is such a small supporting role that you know where the character are going. (5/10)

Naomi Watts: Evelyn is Four’s mother who has been waiting for her time to raise the faction-less people in the war against Jeanine. Naomi does a solid job but I think we will see a lot more from her character in the second outing. (5/10)everlyn

Support Cast: Insurgent has a large supporting role that includes all of the factions and the people trying to figure out what is going on and who to side with.

Director Review: Robert SchwentkeRobert gives us a disappointing outing that ends up being just another training video with too many dream sequences. (4/10)

Adventure: Insurgent is adventure, are you sure? (0/10)

Sci-Fi: Insurgent brings us into a world we have destroyed with fancy technology with the lone survivors. (5/10)

Thriller: Insurgent doesn’t keep you guessing because you know Tris will last until the end and you don’t care about the rest of the characters. (4/10)

Settings: Insurgent creates a generic setting for the style of film but nothing stand out. (3/10)
Special Effects: Insurgent uses great effects for the dream sequences and tests. (8/10)

Suggestion: Insurgent is one to watch if you are a fan of the genre but otherwise you will be disappointed. (Fans Watch)

Best Part: Test sequences.

Worst Part: Dream sequences.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Will have one

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $130 Million

Budget: $110 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

Tagline:  One Choice Can Destroy You

Overall: This might as well be technology version of Maze Runner

Rating 30