ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – S – See You Yesterday (2019) Movie Review

Director: Stefon Bristol

Writer: Fredrica Bailey, Stefon Bristol (Screenplay)

Starring: Eden Duncan-Smith, Dante Crichlow, Astro, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Johnathan Nieves, Michael J Fox

Plot: Two Brooklyn teenage prodigies, C.J. Walker and Sebastian Thomas, build makeshift time machines to save C.J.’s brother, Calvin, from being wrongfully killed by a police officer.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Messy Time Travel Film

Story: See You Yesterday starts as we meet the two teenagers Claudette ‘CJ’ Walker (Duncan-Smith) and Sebastian Thomas (Crichlow) who have been working on their science project to make time travel possible. After they prove they can go back just one day, CJ the brains behind the project, does something reckless, which changes the pass, while dealing with an ex-boyfriend.

The consequences of her actions create a domino effect which sees her brother Calvin (Astro) killed in a police shooting, wanting to make a different CJ works with Sebastian to try and create the ability to go further back, which only ends up creating more problems, the more she tries to fix.

Thoughts on See You Yesterday

Characters – Claudette ‘CJ’ Walker is the brains behind the time travel machine, she however has started to become difficult to be around, causing unnecessary trouble in an already combustible neighbourhood. When the pair get the machine to work, it is her mistake which causes the effects the pair must go through. She is always so desperate to fix the mistakes, she doesn’t even consider the consequences. Sebastian is the best friend that has always helped along the way, he is the one that will ask the questions about the consequences, seeing how reckless CJ has become. Calvin is the big brother of CJ’s, he will always make sure she is safe, whenever somebody in the neighbourhood causes her trouble.

PerformancesWhile the two leading stars Eden Duncan-Smith and Dante Crichlow don’t do anything wrong through the film, they have annoying character traits to bring to life, which doesn’t help what they have to work with.

StoryThe story here follows two high school friends that are trying to prove time travel is possible and soon learn the consequences of trying to change the past. This story does have an important reason for trying to create the time travel, we are placed into a Brooklyn neighbourhood that has been dealing with police shooting, overly aggressive gang mentality and will have signs of poverty. Outside of this side of the story, we are dealing with really bad time travel decisions, even though the characters seem clear of what not to do. We won’t go into the non-ending either, which leaves us with nothing after what has happened through the film, this does just feel like an unfinished script, that really wants deal with topical issues through the film.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film does come from the panic involved once the first incident happens, it is more neighbourhood action, rather anything else, while the time travel might dive into basic science behind time travel, which does work well, it is the behaviour from people that believe they understand it that let everything down.

SettingsThe film is set in Brooklyn which shows the environment the two friends are around, which brings the combustible elements.

Scene of the Movie – See You Yesterday.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Most of CJ’s decisions.

Final Thoughts Messy time travel film, which does deal with big topical issues the best it can, sadly, get caught in the middle of both worlds.

Overall: Missed the point.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – R – Replicas (2018) Movie Review

Director: Jeffrey Nachmanoff

Writer: Chad St John (Screenplay) Stephen Hamel (Story)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Thomas Middleditch, John Ortiz, Emjay Anthony, Emily Alyn Lind

Plot: A scientist becomes obsessed with bringing back his family members who died in a traffic accident.

Tagline – Some Humans Are Unstoppable

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sci-Fi Questions

Story: Replicas starts as we see genius scientist William Foster (Reeves) who has seen his work of bringing people back from the dead in synthetic robots, struggling to achieve the required results, seeing him face the potential of losing his funding. Trying to spend some time with his family Mona (Eve), kids Matt (Anthony), Sophie (Lind) and Zoe (Leabu), they get caught in storm, which sees them have an accident, with William’s whole family killed.

William doesn’t want to accept this, he turns to his partner Ed Whittle (Middleditch) to help him clone and bring his family back to life. As William works on returning his family, he is left to make difficult decisions, while covering his tracks.

Thoughts on Replicas

Characters – William has been working on transferring minds into synthetics, he nearly has this ready to work, but things are always going wrong just when he sees things working out. He is already working on a tight rope and after his family dies in a car crash, he wants to break all the laws of his science by bringing them back to life, meaning he will work day and night to fix the problems, not even considering the side effects of his work. Mona is the wife to William, she dies in the accident and is cloned and has her memories placed into the new body. Ed Whittle is the partner that has been working with William for years, he agrees to help with the revival and will change him on the moral grounds of what he is doing. Jones is the man that William works for, he is pushing him to get everything he wants even if he might have his own reasons for the technology William is working on.

PerformancesKeanu Reeves in the leading role doesn’t do much wrong, but does struggle to show all the emotional trauma his character must go through. Alice Eve doesn’t get a chance to do anything of any difficultly, while both Thomas Middleditch and John Ortiz are both fine with what they do.

StoryThe story here follows a scientist that sees his family die in an accident, only for him to use his own project to bring them back to life even if the technology might not be ready to use. This is one of those stories that does look to dig into the ideas of whether if you could, would you bring family members back to life as clones, we get plenty of the discussions about the ethics behind it and what could go wrong if you got found out, while we do dig into the concept of trying to pick and choose what would be remembered by the loved ones. This side of the story is the most interesting because the final act of the story just seems to be thrown in here to try and make us have an action packed ending to the film.

Sci-FiThe film uses future technology that could be used to bring clones of loved one back to life, showing us just how science is always moving forward and how they could be looked at more in the future, keeping everything feeling like the realms of possibility.

SettingsThe film is set in Puerto Rico which I am guessing is used to try and show us how the laws of science at looser in this country.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are interesting with the synthetics looking unique, but never looking like they are operating correctly.

Scene of the Movie – The choices William must make.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The action tagged on story.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting sci-fi movie that does offer big questions about technology in the future and shows how desperate somebody would be to try and fix something out of their control.

Overall: Sci-Fi 101

The Wave (2019) Movie Review

Director: Gille Klabin

Writer: Carl W Lucas (Screenplay)

Starring: Tommy Flanagan, Justin Long, Donald Faison, Katia Winter, Sheila Vand, Sarah Minnich, Bill Sage

Plot: A man on the verge of a promotion takes a mysterious hallucinogenic drug that begins to tear down his reality and expose his life for what it really is.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Mind-Bending

Story: The Wave starts when a safe lawyer Frank (Long) is about to get a promotion, he co-worker Jeff (Faison) is trying to push him into partying a little bit more, instead of following his routine with his wife Cheryl (Minnich). When Frank decides to go along with a night on the town, he finds him at a party meeting mysterious strange Aelous (Flanagan) who offers him a hallucinogenic drug that sees him lose track of time.

Waking up alone in a random house, he finds his life falling apart, the big meeting not going as planned and simple journeys just randomly getting skipped, he needs to put his life back together before it is too late.

Thoughts on The Wave

Characters – Frank is a safe worker, he lives his life through a strict routine that never sees him taking any chances, deciding he needs a change he heads to a party, takes a drug and sees his whole life change overnight, needing to figure out what he has gained with his decision to take a drug which sees him lose time. Aeolus is the mysterious man that supplies the drug for Frank, he pushes him into taking the drug which he promises will be different than anything he has had before. Jeff is the best friend of Frank, he pushes him into going on the night out, wanting him to loosen up, only to show concern with what happened. Natalie and Theresa are two women that friends meet that give answers to what might have happened that night.

PerformancesJustin Long is the star of this film, he can always make the routine based character shine and look out of water when they are pushed. The rest of the supporting cast are both strong without taking any of the spotlight of Justin.

StoryThe story here follows a man that has lived his life with a routine until one night he agrees to let loose and party, only for things to get out of control and he finds himself losing his own sense of reality. This story is one that you do need to watch carefully or you will end up missing one of the key ingredients to the outcome, we are left to try and piece together each incident Frank finds himself going through, it does all make sense by the end too. The clear question in this story does come from the idea of how Frank goes from not doing anything questionable, to willingly taking drugs off a stranger. Outside this we can enjoy this story and how everything unfolds.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi side of the film comes from seeing how Frank suddenly starts losing sense of reality and how everything in his life comes crashing down.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to keep us moving around the different incidents that Frank finds himself in, with great transitions between them too.

Scene of the Movie – Boom a car chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The sudden jump to unknown drugs seems to drastic.

Final Thoughts This is a wildly bonkers sci-fi film that could sit next to Donnie Darko or The Butterfly Effect for mind being storytelling.

Overall: Wildly out there.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – I – Iron Sky: The Coming Race (2019) Movie Review

Director: Timo Vuorensola

Writer: Timo Vuorensola, Dalan Musson (Screenplay) Jarmo Puskala, Johanna Sinisalo, Samuli Torssonen (Story)

Starring: Lana Rossi, Vladimir Burlakov, Kit Dale, Julia Dietze, Stephanie Paul, Tom Green, Udo Keir

Plot: A follow-up to the film Iron Sky (2012) in which Nazis plan to take over the world after lying dormant in a secret military base on the moon.

Tagline – Let’s make earth great again

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Bonkers

Story: Iron Sky: The Coming Race starts years after the events of the first Iron Sky, both the Nazi Moon Base and Earth have been destroyed by nuclear war, with the remaining survivors living side by side in the former moon base, Obi (Rossi) loves her title and can fix most problems in engineering, being one of the few people that thinks what might be needed if they needed to leave.

When Vril Wolfgang Kortzfleisch (Kier) is discovered by Obi, who explains the reason for everything that he had planned, his history and how to continue the human race despite the history of war between the people, leading to Obi needing to return to Earth with a team of Sasha (Burlakov), Malcom (Dale), religious leader Donald (Green) and his followers to locate an item, that could save the lives of the people.

Thoughts on Iron Sky: The Coming Race

Characters – Obi is the daughter of the hero of the last movie, she has always lived on the moon, working on using her skills as an engineer to try and find a solution to the people on the moon, which would see her return to Earth in search of the secrets in the centre of the Earth. She goes on this mission in an attempt to save her mother, while giving us commentary to everything that is happening. Sasha is the Russian that arrives on the moon with a ship that barely functioning, he helps Obi on her mission, knowing that if he helps it could give his people a chance to stay. Donald is the leader of a religious group on the moon, if you don’t fit into their perfect world he will kill them, he goes on the mission in hopes of being able to find the great hope for his people. Vril Wolfgang lives on the moon, he fills in the gaps in the world and what has been the plan for so long and how the remaining survivors could make it off the moon. Vril Hitler is still on Earth along with the other evil leaders from history, waiting for his chance to get back it his brother.

PerformancesLara Rossi does a great job in the leading role, we see how she makes us support her character, while keeping the idea feeling like a much more relaxed movie, almost like any reluctant hero in a film. Udo Kier is great to watch as always, while Tom Green doesn’t hit his comedy enough and Vladimir Burlakov does play against generic Russian figure well, but it is too much at times.

StoryThe story here follows up the events of the first Iron Sky by seeing the survivors needing to find a new source before it is too late, which sees them return to Earth and get involved in another battle which will put all the lives at risk. When it comes to the story, it feels like it is too long after the previous one, with the 25 odd years time jump, it does give us the next challenge, which does give us a simple sort of adventure story, which does feel like a Star Trek idea. Where the story might standout more is with the ridiculous ideas that are put in place with the dinosaurs, aliens and everything about this coming to life with a cult of Steve Job worshipers, this added together gives us plenty of bonkers material on the side to work with. It feels like a safe sequel, where you would only watch if you enjoyed the first one, but it won’t be considered bad in any of those conversations.

Action/Comedy/Sci-FiThe action might well use ideas from other films, but it twists them into a way that you haven’t seen before, including an alien Hitler riding a T-Rex. The comedy plays into joking about surviving certain situations that other films take for granted, which does work, but when we try to have other jokes, we do see them miss more often than hit. The sci-fi world created here is wonderful, the idea of aliens creating super villains in history, living in the Earth and with dinosaurs is fantastic and original.

SettingsThe film does make use feel like we are watching a Star Trek story in a Firefly world with the settings, with most places looking beat down, broken, while the Earth creates a paradise you couldn’t imagine.

Special EffectsThe effects are stronger than you would expect for such a low budgeted movie, they show great achievement, even if we can tell the green screen moments.

Scene of the Movie – Hitler riding a T-Rex

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The comedy misses too much.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting idea for a sequel that is willing to break the ideas of the third wall, taking history and spinning it into a giant sci-fi twist on everything.

Overall: Crazy fun.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch Up 2019 – H – High Life (2018) Movie Review

Director: Claire Denis

Writer: Claire Denis, Jean-Pol Fargeau (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Andre Benjamin, Mia Goth, Agata Buzek, Lars Eidinger, Claire Tran

Plot: A father and his daughter struggle to survive in deep space where they live in isolation.

Tagline – Oblivion awaits.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sci-Fi That Offers More Questions Than Answers

Story: High Life starts as we follow lone astronaut Monte (Pattinson) who is on his mission with a baby Willow in tow, he completes the routine daily tasks to keep the space flying through deep space. Monte flashes back through his time on board the ship as we learn that he was one a selection of prisoners given this mission to cover their jail time, with Dr Dibs (Binoche) performing experiments on them.

As the truth gets reviled, we get to learn just why Monte is the last crew member and what happened to the previous members of the crew along with where Willow came from including who her mother really is.

Thoughts on High Life

Characters – Monte is alone on a spaceship with a baby, he is doing everything he can to keep his daughter alive, as we learn about his past on the ship and why he was selected. He was a prisoner that was given this chance to escape jail time and learnt how to survive amongst the crew. Dibs the scientist running the experiments of the crew, she is trying to prove or find a way to get humans to reproduce within space, she controls the crew for her every need though, which sees her needing to protect her experiment while going against the morals of her mission. Tcherny and Boyse are two of the other members of the crew that have been selected, they both have motivation for being there, while Boyse doesn’t settle on the levels of the other crew members.

PerformancesRobert Pattinson is the star of the show here, once again proving that he is in fact one of the best actors in the business today. Juliette Binoche shines too, which with this cast and their performances, is filled with wonderfully powerful performances.

StoryThe story here follows a lone astronaut that is trying to raise a baby in space on his one way mission, as he looks back at what happened to the rest of the crew over the years they were travelling through space conducting experiments took its toll on the crew. This is going to be a story that will easily divide the audience, it does show how Monte was able to adapt to his situation and learn how to survive, rather than trying to cut corners or act on his criminal ways like others do. The way this will divide the audience will come from the idea that this is just one mission of what could be many with each having different experiments, which is something we could have seen more from, understand the full ideas behind the missions. There is a lot of the story, which will be left for the audience to work out what has happened, or is happening without needing to spoon feed the answers.

Mystery/Sci-Fi The mystery side of the film is all about why Monte is alone with a baby and just what happened on the mission, which is a space mission which takes the characters through space.

SettingsThe film is set nearly entirely on the spaceship which does show the isolation of the mission, showing the crew must work together more than anything because they have nowhere else to go.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are mostly look towards the darkness of space, there is one black hole sequence that didn’t look as strong as it should have been.

Scene of the Movie – The second ship.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain characters did seem to just vanish.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting sci-fi mystery that will offer up plenty of questions that will let the audience make of what they want from the story being told.

Overall: Interesting Sci-Fi that will make you think.