ABC Film Challenge – Best of 2018 – A – A Star is Born (2018)

Director: Bradley Cooper

Writer: Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters (Screenplay) Moss Hart, John Gregory Dunne, Joan Didion, Frank Pierson, Williams A Wellman, Robert Carson (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay, Rafi Gavron, Anthony Ramos, Dave Chappelle, Alec Baldwin


Plot: A musician helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.


Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Musical Enjoyment


Story: A Star is Born starts when rock star Jackson (Cooper) looking for another drink stumbles into a drag bar, he sees working class woman Ally (Gaga) perform on stage, instantly he knows she has talent and learns more about her, bring her on stage for his latest show.

When Ally becomes an overnight success story the two-start performing together which only attractions more record labels who come calling to make Ally the next biggest star in the music world which soon sees her become more famous than Jack whose own problems could bring an end to his fame.


Thoughts on A Star is Born


Characters – Ally is a hotel worker that performers in a local drag bar after being rejected by record labels before. She meets rock star Jack who encourages to perform, first with him and soon the world wants to see her become the biggest star in the music industry. Ally must learn about the world around her, one she has never stepped foot in before or become consumed by it. Jack is the rock star who sees Ally believing she could become a star, he offers her a chance to perform which sets her on her way, Jack however has his own problems with drinks and drugs would could finish his own career just as Ally’s is about to take off. These two characters do take centre stage for the most part, we do see family that support as well as friends who see their friend get to levels of fame they never thought they could.

PerformancesBradley Cooper gives one of his best performances of his career here, not just on front of the camera, but behind it too. He manages to make us feel like his problems are real, which are problem many musicians could be facing. Lady Gaga was always going to be a wonderful choice for the singing side of the film, it was the acting side people wanted to see if she could handle, she does a good job through the film managing to show the bond the two have throughout the film. the supporting cast are good without needing to be challenged to reach the levels of the lead two actors.

StoryThe story follows the rise of a musician after being discovered by an alcoholic rock star. We know this is a remake, so we know this had been modernised to tell an old story which deals with the modern problems of fame for musicians. We see how one side is taking every opportunity thrown her way and the other than has been watching his career fade away because of alcoholism and drug abuse. This is a great story of how important taking chances are and how success can ruin lives. The story does however become slightly slow paced because we just jump into a song to cover up anything that needs to be talked about more.

Music/RomanceThe music in the film is good with songs that Gaga performs with ease. The romance between the two shows how they can support each other through the lives they didn’t know they would be going through.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the journey that Ally takes from the small venue to awards ceremony showing here rise to fame.

Scene of the Movie –
First song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The rise feels too fast.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great look at how the fame can affect lives in the music industry, we get strong performances from Cooper and Gaga who both shine through the film.


Overall: Great Music based movie.




Mine Games (2012)

mineDirector: Richard Gray

Writer: Richard Gray, Michele Davis-Gray, Ross McQueen (Screenplay) Richard Gray, Robert Cross, Ross McQueen (Story)

Starring: Briana Evigan, Ethan Peck, Julianna Guill, Alex Meraz, Rebecca Da Costa, Rafi Gavron, Joseph Cross, Lindsay Lamb, Michael Guillod


Plot: A group of young friends make an incomprehensible discovery in an abandoned mine, but the more they try to change the future, the more they seal their fate.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Mind Bending Thriller


Story: Mine Games starts as we follow a group of college student friends Lyla (Evigan), Guy (Peck), Claire (Guill), TJ (Meraz), Rose (Da Costa), Lex (Gavron) and Michael (Cross) going to a camping trip in a cabin in the woods, they are meeting friends Sarah (Lamb) and Matt (Guillod) as they all look to celebrate their break.

As the party happens on the first night the two friends never turn up, the morning after the remaining seven friends end up finding an abandoned mine and of course they investigate it, even with the warning ‘Break the Cycle’ at the opening. Michael had dreams about the mine the night before being his warning.

Things take a turn when TJ and Lex discover what looked like the bodies of themselves and the friends inside the mine. The friends find themselves in a situation where they have no idea what is happening and only investigating can solve the questions but what secrets does the mine have?

Mine Games is a thriller that plays right into what I love to watch in films, it uses the idea of a time loop that our characters get stuck in. We get hints of what is happening through the film but I do find that sometimes we do get spoon feed the final outcome, I will say that this does help clean up nearly all loss ends with only one not really being solved. If you want to see a film that will test you this will but the actor isn’t the best going through the film.


Actor Review


Briana Evigan: Lyla is the good guy of the group as is the case in nearly all horror like films. She supports her boyfriend Michael who doesn’t fully fit in with the rest of the guys and always tries to find the most ratio reasoning behind everything. She becomes the leading lady of the film when the rest of her friends make the horror movie mistakes. Briana is good in this role but doesn’t end up standing out as much as she needs to in the leading role.

Ethan Peck: Guy is one of the friends, he tries to keep everything on a level where it all makes sense to him, not believing anything as he sees them all having the side effects of the drugs being used. Ethan is good in this role but doesn’t get time to show his skills.

Julianna Guill: Claire is the best friend of Lyla and on the trip with her friends, she comes off as the sexy friend compared to the rest of the woman involved. Claire is good but doesn’t get enough time to evolve her character.

Joseph Cross: Michael is the boyfriend of Lyla, he is on medication but we don’t learn why, he never really fits in with the rest of the group making him the prime suspect as the friends try to prevent their own murders from happening. He is the first to start experiencing the visions of the horror inside the mine. Joseph does the best job in the film playing the villainous role even if he gets pushed into it.

Support Cast: Mine Games has a supporting cast that all give the same level of performance throughout with no one standing out as good or bad.

Director Review: Richard GrayRichard gives us a mind bending thriller that is easier to watch than others.


Mystery: Mine Games keeps us guessing to what is happening from start to finish.

Sci-Fi: Mine Games puts us into a sci-fi time loop.

Thriller: Mine Games keeps us on edge as we try to figure out what happens next in the film.

Settings: Mine Games uses two main settings, the house and the mine which are in the middle of nowhere all helping the isolation idea.
Special Effects
: Mine Games has good effects being used throughout the film.

Suggestion: Mine Games is one for all the sci-fi fans to enjoy because of the time loop idea. (Sci-fi Fans Watch)


Best Part: Story idea.

Worst Part: Spoon feeds a few too many things.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Triangle


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $1.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

Tagline: The Deeper You Go, The Darker It Gets

Trivia: After Mikey has gone to bed, the others stay up drinking and playing games. One of the games has each player with a piece of paper whit a person’s name on it stuck to their forehead, and they have to figure out whose name is on it. Guy’s (Ethan Peck) paper says “Gregory Peck,” his real-life grandfather.


Overall: A true sci-fi thriller that keeps us guessing from start to finish


Snitch (2013)

logoDirector: Ric Roman Waugh

Writer: Justin Haythe, Ric Roman Waugh (Screenplay)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Barry Pepper, Jon Bernthal, Susan Sarandon, Michael K. Williams, Rafi Gavron, Melina Kanakaredes, Nadine Velazquez, Benjamin Bratt, Lela Loren


Plot: Construction company owner John Matthews (Johnson) learns that his estranged son, Jason (Gavron), has been arrested for drug trafficking. Facing an unjust prison sentence for a first time offender courtesy of mandatory minimum sentence laws, Jason has nothing to offer for leniency in good conscience. Desperately, John convinces the DEA and the opportunistic DA Joanne Keeghan (Sarandon) to let him go undercover to help make arrests big enough to free his son in return. With the unwitting help of an ex-con employee, John enters the narcotics underworld where every move could be his last in an operation that will demand all his resources, wits and courage to survive.


Verdict: Undercover job, well done


Story: Following one man as he risks everything to save his son, we see it isn’t just his life, his son’s life it also will risk his new wife’s life and daughter as he goes undercover. We get to see how a rookie drug mule ends up tricking some of the biggest names in drug dealing. It fails to offer anything new to the genre it does offer an insight to a based on true events. Everything turns out to be very simple to watch that plays out smart without challenging the audience too much. (8/10)


Actor Reviews


Dwayne Johnson: John small time truck transportation business owner who risks everything to make sure his son gets off prison after being wrongly framed as a distributor. Good performance from Dwayne showing that he can perform in a much more serious role. (8/10)


Barry Pepper: Agent Cooper the lead agent trying to take down the drug lords. Good performance from Pepper who creates an unrecognizable character. (7/10)


Jon Bernthal: Daniel the reluctant ex-con who helps John enters the criminal underworld. Trying to save himself from his past he ends up making everything more risky for himself by helping. Jon gives a good performance and makes a good reluctant hero. (8/10)


Susan Sarandon: Joanne the DEA who will help John but only when she gets what she wants. Good performance from Susan who never needed to push herself. (7/10)


Director Review: Ric Roman Waugh – Good direction putting together a well-paced film. (8/10)


Action: Simple action sequences that work well with the timing of the story. (7/10)

Thriller: Creates a tense build up to the final moments. (8/10)

Settings: The settings are the usual for the genre and don’t make any special memorable ones. (7/10)

Suggestion: This is something to try, it is a well-paced film that will entertain the thriller fans out there. (Try It)


Best Part: The final chase.

Worst Part: It is a bit slow.

Action Scene Of The Film: The final chase

Believability: Based on a true story. (8/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel:  No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $42,930,462

Budget: $15 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

Tagline: How far would you go to save your son?


Overall: Good action thriller