Street Fighter (1994)

Director: Steven E de Souza

Writer: Steven E de Souza (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia, Ming-Na Wen, Damian Chapa, Kylie Minogue, Simon Callow, Byron Mann

 

Plot: Col. Guile and various other martial arts heroes fight against the tyranny of Dictator M. Bison and his cohorts.


Tagline – The solution.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Action Nonsense

 

Story: Street Fighter starts as the evil tyrant Bison (Julia) has been controlling the country of Shadaloo, Col William Guile (Van Damme) is leading the assault to bring him down after his latest demand is 20 Billion Dollars, to save the hostages he has taken. Chun-Li (Wen) has been reporting the story only for herself to have a personal investment in taking him down too.

Colonel Guile recruits Ken (Chapa) and Ryu (Mann) to go undercover to locate the secret base, before it is too late giving Guile a chance to go face to face with Bison in an ultimate fight between the two men.

 

Thoughts on Street Fighter

 

Characters – Colonel Guile is part of the Allied Nations a soldier that is trying a bring an end to the evil tyrant Bison, he is an expert in martial arts and will put himself in the line of fire in an attempt to stop this man. Bison is the dictator tyrant holding the country hostage, he is willing to offer anybody a chance to fight for their freedom, but his skills are beyond anything any normal person can handle, he is almost waiting for Guile to arrive for a worthy opponent.  Chun-Li is a journalist with her own reasons for hunting down Bison, she is able to handle herself in a fight and willing to take just as many chances as Guile in finding the truth. Ken is involved in his own dealings with one of Bison’s supplies, he is used to get close to Bison to help locate the base of operations, while being one of the best fighters in the world.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme is nowhere near his best in this role, he might handle the fighting, but everything else just looks out of place. Raul Julia is easily the best thing in this film, he is so wildly over the top you just want to see where he takes this character next. Ming-Na Wen does bring her character to life which is entertaining, though she seems to vanish for parts of the second half. We do get plenty of different characters from the history of the games, the performances are mixed as they look to bring these generic figures to life.

StoryThe story follows the Allied Nations trying to bring down a tyrant trying to take over a country with his ludicrous demands, we see the favourite fighters from the game come into battle on both sides as they look to bring the end to the war for the country. This was one of the first attempts to bring a video game to life, we do get the characters, though as I am not a fan of the game, I can’t tell you how accurate the characters are. This isn’t a difficult story to follow, though it does feel like it wants to put all the favourite characters in scenes even if they aren’t always written strongly. This is however a good alcohol story because you can make a drinking game out of it.

Action/ComedyThe action in the film is countless numbers of fights, each fighter does have their own style, only for the scenes not being shot in the strongest style. This film does have comedy, though I am not sure if it is meant to be a comedy or not.

SettingsThe film uses the typical locations with the secret base for the villain being a major part of the settings, it is filled with the gadgets you would expect to see from a video game style location.

Special EffectsThe effects are low budget without being anything that will be remembered for being strong.


Scene of the Movie –
The final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters not getting enough time to shine.

Final ThoughtsThis is the typical video game movie that just didn’t work, we have too many iconic characters that don’t get their time to shine which would only disappoint the fans of the game.

 

Overall: Disappointing video game movie.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Animation – J – James and the Giant Peach (1996)

Director: Henry Selick

Writer: Karey Kirkpatrick, Jonathan Roberts, Steve Bloom (Screenplay) Roald Dahl (Book)

Starring: Paul Terry, Joanna Lumley (Voice Talents) Simon Callow, Richard Dreyfuss, Jane Leeves, Susan Sarandon

 

Plot: An orphan, who lives with his two cruel aunts, befriends anthropomorphic bugs who live inside a giant peach, and they embark on a journey to New York City.


Tagline – Adventures this big don’t grow on trees.

Runtime: 1 Hour 19 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Magical Family Adventure

 

 

Story: James and the Giant Peach starts young boy James is left orphaned after his parents are killed, he is forced to live with his cruel aunts Spiker (Lumley) and Sponge (Margolyes) who treat him like a slave. When a mysterious old man gives him a bag with magic in he unleashes them by accident to great a giant peach.

The peach becomes a side show for the Aunts leaving James to clean up, until he finds a passage which takes hi into the peach which is know being lived in by a serial bugs Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybird, Spider and Earthworm. The unlikely group head off on an adventure which takes them across the Atlantic to New York City.

 

 

Thoughts on James and the Giant Peach

 

Characters – James is an orphan from a loved family forced to live with evil aunts, he just wants to be a kid and isn’t being allowed to go out and play. His adventure takes him across the Atlantic Ocean to the place he was always due to go with his family New York city. Like a lot of the Roald Dahl books he creates an orphan that is being ill-treated looking for an escape. The different bugs each offer up different parent like advice for James, just what is needed for James in his time of need.

PerformancesPaul Terry is the real James and he is good for a child actor as are the Aunts, most of this film focuses on the voice work which shows the talent of the cast selected.

StoryThe story shows follows one boy and his adventure with bugs to escape the horrible life he has been trapped living. The story enters full levels of fantasy which is great to see, there is no covering up elements of the story, it all happened and everyone sees this. It does feel like it should be the imagination of a traumatised orphan and it should end up being this for the generic following.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure James goes on is everything a lonely boy would imagine going on. This is a family film because everyone can get a laugh of different moments in the film.

SettingsMost of the film takes place in and on the peach, we see the family dynamic on board the peach, this is the only one of its type even if you can see elements of ‘Up’ in this setting.

AnimationThe animation shown here showed us what we were getting from the director, a unique look at stop-motion.


Scene of the Movie –
Rhino in the sky.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It can be dark at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a magical family adventure from the childhood author Roald Dahl that wrote wonderful books, which changed many lives, this is one that people sometimes forget.

 

Overall: Magical and wonderful movie.

Rating

 

 

Victoria and Abdul (2017)

Director: Stephen Frears

Writer: Lee Hall (Screenplay) Shrabani Basu (Book)

Starring: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Olivia Williams, Michael Gambon, Simon Callow, Eddie Izzard, Tim Pigott-Smith, Adeel Akhtar

 

Plot: Queen Victoria strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim.


Tagline – History’s most unlikely friendship

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enlightening Historical Moment

 

Story: Victoria and Abdul starts as Abdul Karim (Fazal) and Mohammed (Akhtar) are selected to travel from India to England to present Queen Victoria (Dench) with a gift from the Indian Empire. When Queen Victoria sees something in Abdul, sees becomes friends with him, learning about the Indian culture in a way she could never understand from the English textbook.

While their relationship becoming the talk of the palace, they even start to question whether it is good for her, but the relationship gives Queen Victoria a chance to express the lost loves of her life, a face she could never have on front of her subjects.

 

Thoughts on Victoria and Abdul

 

Characters – Queen Victoria is the elderly Queen of England, Albert has passed on, her children have their own lives and now she goes for countless routines of meeting different people, with most people almost waiting for her to die. When she befriends Abdul she gets a new lease for life and she looks to embrace the Indian culture. Abdul is a clerk from India, he gets selected to present Queen Victoria a gift, he soon finds himself being her closest aid, teaching her about the Indian culture, causing a potential rift in the royal household. He treats Queen Victoria like a person rather than a royal figure which is what helps her enjoy her later life.

PerformancesJudi Dench is fantastic in the leading role, bringing us a performance that could rival her Mrs Brown performance as Queen Victoria too. Ali Fazal is brilliant in the partnership role with Dench, he helps give the light to the role that at times is treated with racial hate. The supporting cast across the board is great too showing all the different levels people treated outsiders.

StoryThe story follows the later years Queen Victoria who became friends with an Indian clerk against the will of rest of the palace. We see how this gave her a new lease for life if only for a couple of years. The story that history wanted you to forget about becomes a fascinating watch because like most interesting moments in history they have faced being erased.

Biopic/HistoryQueen Victoria was one of the great known members of the royal family, the former longest ruling monarch, she had many stories and this is another one that shows us what she was like.

SettingsThe settings all feel authentic for the time showing us what it was like for Abdul to learn the new culture.


Scene of the Movie –
You will respect Abdul speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The end while following history is frustrating to see.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great history lesson on the iconic leader of the country. It has two wonderful performances and enough charm to enjoy for everybody watching.

 

Overall: Enjoyable historical film.

Rating

 

 

 

The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

casting card

 

Plot: A young soprano becomes the obsession of a disfigured musical genius who lives beneath the Paris Opéra House.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Opera Adaptation

 

Story: The Phantom of the Opera starts at an auction at the theatre before we see Madame Giry (Richardson) flashback to the times when the mythical phantom turned up. We see the theatre being sold to Firmin (Hinds) and Andre (Callow) as well as them losing their star attraction Carlotta (Driver).

Facing huge financial loss on the first night they must find a replacement and Christine (Rossum) save the shows with her mesmerizing performance that even caught the attention of the Phantom (Butler). The Phantom takes Christine to his home under the theatre to confess his love for her ability while Raoul (Wilson) must wait another time to win her heart.

When Christine witness with the Phantom he starts demanding how the next show will be run or a disaster will fall on the theatre. While his obsession continues to grow their lives will clash to decide their own futures.

The Phantom of the Opera is one of the most classically loved operas of all time and this is an honest version to make it into a film style adding the effects you could never do on stage. This is one of the love stories that will always be put on the same levels as Romeo and Juliet which is always is one I would like to think people would have heard off. Having never seen but knowing the basic story I feel this does everything really well that people will enjoy.

 

Actor Review

 

Gerard Butler: The Phantom is running the theatre from the shadows demanding the managers follow his rules while becoming fascinated by the next big opera singer Christine and making her the star of the show. He is scared to come out of the shadows because of his disfigurement and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty to get what he wants. Gerard is great in this role even if part of the singing comes off  compared to the rest of the cast.phantom

Emmy Rossum: Christine is the ballet girl given the chance to become the lead in the opera where she stuns the crowd and the Phantom who demands she will always be the lead in the opera. She goes on to have a romance with her old friend Raoul which leads to an engagement but the Phantom has other ideas. Emmy is great in this role where she stands up against the more established stars.

Patrick Wilson: Raoul has returned to the city where he has fallen in love with the beautiful Christine and after he wins her heart he must find a way to stop the Phantom taking over the life. Patrick is great in this role showing he has musical side to his abilities.

Miranda Richardson: Madame Giry runs the ballet side of the theatre who has a past with the Phantom being the one that bought him into the theatre in the first place and it is her one of many looking back at the tragedy at the theatre. Miranda is good in this supporting role.

Support Cast: The Phantom of the Opera has brilliant supporting cast that make you are in the opera with the rest of the cast.

Director Review: Joel SchumacherJoel gives us some beautiful shot moments that bring this opera to life for us all as a treat.

 

Musical: The Phantom of the Opera is one of the most famous ever, and this does it all justice.

Romance: The Phantom of the Opera brings us into a romantic story where we see how obsession can become dangerous.

Settings: The Phantom of the Opera has stunning settings for everything to take place in making us feel like we are part of the film.
Special Effects
: The Phantom of the Opera has great effects to make everything happen through the film.

Suggestion: The Phantom of the Opera is one for all the musical fans to enjoy watching, if you are not of fan of musicals this will become hard to enjoy. (Musical Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Settings look fantastic.

Worst Part: Slightly long.

Romantic Moment: Final Act.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 3 Oscars

Budget: $70 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

Tagline: Listen to the Music of the Night

 

Overall: Spectacular musical

Ratingcard

 

 

 

Amadeus (1984)

amadeusDirector: Milos Forman

Writer: Peter Shaffer (Screenplay) Peter Shaffer (Stage Play)

Starring: F Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Roy Dotrice, Simon Callow, Christine Ebersole, Jeffrey Jones

 

Plot: The incredible story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, told by his peer and secret rival Antonio Salieri – now confined to an insane asylum.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Biographical Story

 

Story: Amadeus starts as an elderly Antonio Salieri (Abraham) admitting that he killed Mozart, leading to him getting taken to the insane asylum. Salieri recounts his story of his small town beginnings dreaming of being a composer and after a moment of fate he ends up in a position where he can learn music leading to him job as head conductor to the king of Austria. Mozart (Hulce) is the world renowned composer that has taken the notice of all around him with Salieri dreaming of one day being as good as Mozart.

We see how Mozart constantly ends up out shinning Salieri with his music leading to the rivalry between the two, with Salieri serious look on life and Mozart’s flamboyant style of just getting through each moment. Salieri moves into the position of being the connection to the Emperor to get his unique work out there but he is really just building him up for failure trying to break him down with criticize of his work.

Amadeus gives us a brilliant look at one of the greatest musical minds in the history of man. We know the basic idea of what happened to him but now we get to see it through the eyes of one of his closest friends even if he is filled with envy for him. What starts as envy is filled with respect and seeing how a talented person can get used by all the people close to him which will drive him into his bad ways. Overall this really is a brilliant drama that is told in a way we can just enjoy.

 

Actor Review

 

F Murray Abraham: Antonio Salieri admits that he killed Mozart, but now he is confessing to how he believes he was responsible for the death from inside an insane asylum. We watch how he got his dreams of working with music and constantly found himself lacking the complete flair and natural ability of Mozart leading to jealous and planning to bring him down slowly. F Murray gives us a brilliant and well deserved Oscar winning performance in this role.seleir

Tom Hulce: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is the flamboyant and brilliant composer who lives life on the edge spending every penny he ever received for his work, he pushes the boundaries to what is accepted even if his work is loved. He gains inspiration from his personal stories which will gain him enemies from his own confident in the government. Tom gives a performance that could easily have won him an Oscar too.morzart

Elizabeth Berridge: Constanze Mozart is the wife of Wolfgang, she supports him in all the work he does but just wants him to actually get paid for the work so they can look after the family, even after she lives him she feels guilty. Elizabeth does a good job in this role.

Roy Dotrice: Leopold Mozart is the overbearing father who pushed Amadeus into this career path making him the puppet when he was younger as he was leading him to become the biggest name in music of his time. After his death we learn about the control he had over Amadeus. Roy is good in this supporting role.

Support Cast: Amadeus has a well performed supporting cast that each hold their own in the characters they are playing.

Director Review: Milos FormanMilos gives us one of the best biographical films of all time.

 

Biographical: Amadeus shows the troubles of the great man and how it was his eventual downfall.

Music: Amadeus uses all the music of the great man and how it would have look on stage for the fans witnessing it all.

Settings: Amadeus recreates all the settings that would have been used during the time the film is set.

Suggestion: Amadeus is one that could have been watched by anyone to learn about a part of history. (Watch)

 

Best Part: The performances are brilliant.

Worst Part: If you are not a fan of classical music you will struggle.

 

Believability: Yes

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Won 8 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Actor, Director and Writing also nominated for a further 3.

Box Office: $51 Million

Budget: $18 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 40 Minutes

Tagline: Everything you’ve heard is true.

Trivia: When the movie won Best Picture at The 57th Annual Academy Awards (1985), Sir Laurence Olivier was presenting the award. He went up to the podium, opened the envelope and said “Amadeus.” The problem was he forgot to read the nominees first.

 

Overall: Brilliant drama about one of the greatest musicians of all time

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