Tag Archives: Movie

Friday Film Club: A Simple Favor (2018) & Project A (1983)

Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Elwood will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether you’re choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – A Simple Favor (2018)

Based on the 2017 novel of the same name by Darcey Bell, A Simple Favor is a dark comedy thriller about a mommy vlogger who befriends one of the other moms who ends up mysteriously disappearing after asking her to pick her son after school. Using the power of her followers and as a form of journal, she tries to track down her friend and eventually find out what happened to her. 

Starring in the main roles as the mommy vlogger Stephanie is Anna Kendrick while her elegant friend Emily is portrayed by Blake Lively. A lot of the charm of the movie is how it is executed as a fluctuation between the past interactions and the context of their friendship and how their conversations expose their characters, especially that of Stephanie, both having elements that break out of how they are perceived by the people around them while contrasting it with the present search after her disappearance and eventual death which leads to Stephanie trying to figure out what happened while being caught up in it herself. 

Anna Kendrick has always been quite a flexible character as she started off in Pitch Perfect and takes up comedic roles like Mr. Right and now, this one takes it one step further as she catches those dark comedy points really great especially in her dialogue which brings in a bit of embarrassment and unexpected elements that brings out some laugh but still keeps the movie fairly suspenseful. Blake Lively’s Emily is a blunt character, not the conventional polite mom but a powerhouse elegant girl who says what comes to mind and feels secretive but also manipulative which makes her disappearance feel not unexpected but rather more of a mystery of what secrets she is hiding. 

A Simple Favor has the same feeling and tells the kind of story like Gone Girl but perhaps a different angle as it takes a more dark comedy angle while the other is more of a pure thriller. The twist and the story/script all work pretty well as it watches a character feel like she is a naive small town girl just trying to do the best mom she can be even though in reality, both female characters are really  not as perfect as they seem to be whether in their perspectives or the people around them. Not to mention that it has a lovely soundtrack. Its not exactly very complex but it has a good balance between having a decent twist and mystery to fulfill the thriller element while also delivering some great dark comedy. A Simple Favor is simply entertaining and fun. 

Elwood’s Pick – Project A (1983)

After failing to crack Hollywood with the likes of Cannonball Run and Battle Creek Brawl Jackie Chan returned to Hong Kong to team up fellow lucky stars Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao for a real return to form with this film kicking off a string of his most classic movies including Police Story and Wheels on Meals.

Here Chan plays Sergeant Dragon Ma a member of the Hong Kong navy tasked with battling the local pirate menace at the turn of the 20th century while also clashing with the local police force as part of an interservice rivalry which also helps provide the film with one of it’s best set pieces as the Navy and Police forces clash in a high energy brawl, which really showcases the creative approach to fight scenes that Chan takes while also taking on directing duties here allows him the kind of creative freedom he needed for his work to shine. 

Once more Chan plays the every man kind of hero while the plot is paper thin at best with Sammo Hung’s professional thief just appearing rather than getting any kind of proper introduction. The plot however is really just a way of linking the memorable action sequences together of which this film is certainly not lacking. 

A film best remembered for the clock tower hang, itself an homage to the classic Harold Lloyd film Safety Last and a stunt which sees Chan falling through multiple canopies before landing on his head a stunt he did not once but twice as highlighted in the end credit bloopers. Outside of this memorable set piece the action is fast and creative with all three stars getting to showcase thier individual talents while the bicycle chase see’s Chan at his creative best.

Sure the plot might be a mess but like the best Chan movies you don’t come for the plot but instead for the action, spectacular stunts and the pure awe of how this man is still alive.

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday Film Club: Happy Death Day (2017) & Christine (1983)

Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Elwood will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether you’re choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – Happy Death Day (2017)

Riding between science fiction, slasher and dark comedy, Happy Death Day is quite the entertaining romp that its meant to be. Playing with the concept of an unknown time loop that takes our main character Theresa, mostly known as Tree who is a sorority girl with her own issues and a whole lot of enemies that keeps dying and waking up on her birthday as she tries to figure out who is her killer. It becomes quite a fun ride as she makes friend with Carter, the guy that lives in the dorm that she keeps waking up in and then starts connecting with how bitchy of a person she is to the people around her as well as embracing how avoiding her past has made her into this miserable person.

While the time loop isn’t really explained in the movie, it never really feels like it needs to either. Happy Death Day is at its best because of the humor that it delivers and the many different ways that Theresa changes throughout. With that said, Jessica Rothe captures her role as Theresa incredibly well. She has this charm and charisma that really adds so much to how she portrays the character. It also is rather comedic how she is the only one with the memory of all this and wakes up being different every time.

Happy Death Day is a straight forward movie. It delivers a few twists in her time loop and leaving the suspense in the air of whether she will escape her time loop or not. Its not so much that its scary but more that its a lot of fun to watch. Sure, the slasher bits can get a few jumps at the beginning but the threat of her being able to loop really does take away the horror of it. Still, its a different a type of horror film riding the line of horror comedy and really why films that mix genres/subgenres can be such a treat.

Elwood’s Pick – Christine (1983)

While it might seem like one of the more second tier offerings from John Carpenter there is actually alot to love about this film as here he throws his hat into the Stephen King adaptation ring with this tale of an evil Plymouth Fury named Christine seemingly born bad as she is not even off the production line before she claims her first victims.

While it might seem like another killer car movie here we also get the great twist of her corrupting her owner in this case the geeky Arnie to suddenly grow in confidence and morph into a 50’s greaser while the car starts hunting down the bullies who tormented him. Christine doesn’t just limit herself to Arnie’s tormentors as she equally preys on anyone who threatens his love for his car as one potential suitor finds out.

Featuring one of the more subtle Carpenter scores which is something of a shame he more than makes up for it with the visuals for as hokey as killer vehicles might seem, here Christine is an effective vessel of terror especially when she is also seemingly invincible magically restoring any damage done which only makes her eventual demise as much of a crowd pleasing overkill as it is heartbreaking to see such a beautiful car destroyed. 

Sure this might not be Carpenters best work but it’s still a fun time and  a top shelf King adaptation.

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Friday Film Club: Enola Holmes (2020) & Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (2018)

Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Elwood will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether you’re choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – Enola Holmes (2020)

enola holmes

Based on the first book of the series of the same name by Nancy Springer, Enola Holmes tells the story of the teenage sister of an already famous Sherlock Holmes who follows the clues to find her disappeared mother. Using her wits to be evade her older brothers’ tracking in order to put her into a finishing school, she escapes to end up helping a young Viscount Tewkesbury escape from a man sent searching for him with murder intentions. Despite having part ways in London initially, they end up meeting again when she realizes that she needs to help him being murdered and tracks him down.

Enola Holmes are originally set for a theatrical release however due to the pandemic, they sold the distribution rights to Netflix which is how this movie has graced it presence on the streaming circuit. This is one charming movie that boasts a brilliant cast with Millie Bobby Brown playing the young female detective Enola Holmes, Helena Bonham Carter player her disappeared mother and her brothers Sherlock and Mycroft being played by Henry Cavill and Sam Claflin respectively and finally, the young Viscount Tewkesbury is played by Louis Partridge and his murderer by Burn Gorman. Its a very full cast with many names that I haven’t even started mentioning yet. The cast are remarkable in each of their roles especially with Millie Bobby Brown who delivers her best role to date.

One of the best elements of Enola Holmes is due to a script that constantly breaks the fourth wall which makes it very engaging and fun as the character Enola would constantly be reacting at the camera even sometimes for one quick moment to show her true reactions. It makes it all the more charming and entertaining. At the same time, her whole chemistry with Louis Partridge’s Tewkesbury while inching towards a little young romance hints throughout did play very well off each other. Of course, Henry Cavill needs to get a mention especially since Sherlock Holmes has been portrayed by so many different actors at this point over the past decade and he definitely holds up the role fairly well especially as he is supposed to be an older Holmes who is starting to show his more emotional side which is a good different.

Overall, Enola Holmes blends the world of Sherlock Holmes with a young heroine detective story. It has a unique little twist and the execution of the film works in a fun and feel-good way that gives its a lot of charm and well worth a watch.

Elwood’s Pick – Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story (2018)

Being Frank

Growing up in the 80’s there was no shortage of colourful mascots on kids tv and it was here amongst the likes of Ed the Duck and Gordon the Gopher was Frank Sidebottom the giant paper mache head wearing alter-ego of fringe comedian Chris Sievey. Originally introduced as the number one fan of his band “The Freshies” it would soon become a character which took on a life of it’s own soon launched into cult stardom. 

A kickstarter funded documentary, the film sets out to profile the man inside the head utilising the masses of archived material from Sievey’s personal archive from drawings and fanzines through to recordings and video tapes it’s actually pretty astounding how much material that Sievey left when he passed away from cancer in 2010 penniless and facing a pauper’s funeral until his fans raised £21,631.55 from 1,632 separate donations enough to bury and exhume him 10 times over as his ex-wife humerously remarks but it certainly showed the cultural impact that this unique creation had. 

The documentary however doesn’t limit itself to just the impact of Frank and instead sets out to follow Sievey’s many creative ventures from music with “The Freshies” to drawing comic strips for the likes of “Oink” even his experiments with programing for the ZX Spectrum even creating a cypher that the Government code breakers at the GCHQ finally broke in 2019 all to paint a vivid picture of this creative powerhouse who would later struggle to break away from his own creation. 

A truly touching documentary which showcases the man fondly remembered by friends, family and fans alike this is a perfect memorial for both the character of Frank Sidebottom and Sievey alike and even if your connection to the character is through the 2014 film “Frank” it as accessible to the uninitiated as it is the established fans. 

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday Film Club: Hairspray (2007) & Underwater (2020)

Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Elwood will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether you’re choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – Hairspray (2007)

Based on the 2002 Broadway musical of the same name which was based on the 1988 comedy of the same name, Hairspray tells the story set in the 1960s Baltimore about a 16 year old high school teenager who is on the heavy side but has a dream to dance and sing on the Corny Collins Show when a member has to take a leave. After not getting through for her weight, she is given a second opportunity after encouragement by Link, a popular member of the Corny Collins Show and is accepted by Corny Collins himself. Hairspray is a story about fighting for what is right, diversity as called integration as well as being confident about yourself.

Hairspray is a fun musical with a great soundtrack which is very well-executed in both its singing quality as well as its cast. The songs are all easy to love and the performance of each one is entertaining especially capturing the 60s dance moves. The dynamic of each of the characters from the dance choreography to colorful sets and upbeat setting are incredibly fitting. It all goes down to the cast. Both the younger cast members with Nikki Blonsky in the main role to more popular names like Zac Efron, Brittany Snow and Amanda Bynes all add a lot to the film. Even when you look at the older cast with James Marsden, Queen Latifah, Michelle Pfeiffer all bringing some fantastic singing skills along with a female disguised John Travolta being a big surprise paired with Christopher Walken.

Hairspray is just a good time through and through. Its upbeat and fun with a great soundtrack that will get your feet tapping to the music if not dancing to it. At the same time, there’s a few surprises especially with John Travolta’s role as well as keeping both the musical and comedy elements very balanced. For musical lovers, this is one to watch and rewatch over and over again.

Elwood’s Pick – Underwater (2020)

The last film to released under the 20th Century Fox Film header before the name was changed to 20th Century Studios by the Mouse overlord Disney as part of their acquisition of Fox and its assets which also saw them clearing out their vault which saw this film being given a limited release after it had been sat on the shelf since it’s completion in 2017. As such this is a film which seemingly has been forgotten by most of the movie going public which is a shame especially as Underwater Horror is one of the more untapped sub-genres of horror since we had the trio of releases The Abyss, Leviathan and Deep Star Six as Hollywood quickly rushed to tap into their new avenue of horror and quickly forgot about it as film makers returned to more familiar tropes. 

Based at the bottom of the Mariana Trench were a research and drilling station is struck my a mysterious earthquake leaving mechanical engineer Norah (Kristen Stewart) and several of her collegues stranded with no way to contact the surface and leaving them with no choice but to make their way one mile across the ocean floor to another research station only to find that they have more to worry about than the crushing pressure and pitch black water which something might be lurking in. 

The third feature film from cinematographer William Eubank who clearly is not the kind of director whose big on building up his setting as characters as after the opening musing of Norah we are thrown straight into the implosion of the station as Norah scrabbles around trying to deal her rapidly deteriorating surroundings. Much like Norah we as the audience are thrown into this unique situation much less one were the odds are surviving it are heavily stacked against the surviving crew members as they begin their ocean bed trek but not before delivering a suprising moment which might finally provide us a head explosion to rival Scanners.

While Eubank could easily have made the film work as a disaster movie, the choice to add the monster element stalking the crew really adds to the tension alongside some stunning camera work with Eubank’s background as a cinematographer really coming into play as he truly makes the most of the unique environment these characters are in were the danger is ever-present and not just from whatever is stalking them.

Certainly this is a film best entered into blind or with as little knowledge as possible especially the further we go till the big climax which if it wasn’t for the poster might have had more of a pay off but the journey is so much fun not to mention stunningly shot this is a journey worth taking. 

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday Film Club: New Police Story (2004) & Tread (2019)

Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Elwood will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether you’re choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – New Police Story (2004)

Acting as the reboot of the Police Story series and the fifth movie of the franchise, New Police Story isn’t the best of the series but still delivers with a stellar cast of then young and upcoming actors while bringing back some long forgotten faces in the Hong Kong film industry. Helmed by the recently passed away director Benny Chan, it felt right to give tribute to one of his films as he has been responsible for a lot of known titles directing Jackie Chan in a lot of his movies like Who Am I, a previous Friday Film Club pick Gen-X Cops as well as the remake of a 2004 American thriller Cellular. 2004’s New Police Story tells the story of Inspector Chan (Jackie Chan) who loses his team against a group of youths who rob a bank at their hideout full of traps. After a year long leave, he is pulled back into the investigation by his partner Frank (Nicholas Tse) as they start finding clues to track the group of 5 lead by Joe (Daniel Wu), Fire (Terence Yin), Sue (Coco Chiang), Max (Hiro Hayama) and Tin Tin (Andy On) and their next hit point to stop them before they get away again. 

New Police Story isn’t really anything too special. In reality, its far from perfect. However, its an engaging performance because of all the talent and even the rising talent that all deliver some stellar performance. It’s unnecessary at this point to comment on Jackie Chan as he always delivers even in this case where he plays a drunk cop that actually suffers from a lot of guilt towards what happens at the beginning of the film. Nicholas Tse takes on some fantastic action sequences here as he really does step up his acting game. At the same time, familiar faces in Hong Kong like Dave Wong and Charlene Choi (one half of the girl group Twins) also make an appearance while also seeing a return performance from Charlie Yeung. However, what does standout the most is especially the two of the gang members which is with the first standout role from Daniel Wu and Terrence Yin. They delivered a very unhinged performance that was very memorable. Not to mention that with any action movie with Jackie Chan, the action is always directed on point. 

New Police Story does have a few twists in the story to give it a little depth. In reality, it’s a decent action film. It’s a little more dramatic that what we usually see Jackie Chan doing in the 2000s however, it still has some good chase sequences and action and its all around an entertaining time. 

Elwood’s Pick – Tread (2019)

On June 4, 2004 Marvin Heemeyer a master welder and muffler shop owner in the small Colorado mountain town of Granby set out on a rampage of destruction in a heavily armoured bulldozer he’d secretly been fortifying over the course of a year and a half. While this is the sort of story you would expect to make headlines around the world it didn’t thanks to the death of Ronald Reagan the next day. As such it’s a story that would show up on an episode of World’s Scariest Police Chases with Heemeyer portrayed as a deranged lunatic on the rampage with no explanation of what exactly inspires someone to do what he did which is what Paul Solet’s documentary attempts to find out. 

Combining interviews with resident of the town and with Heemeyer’s family, friends and former girlfriend alongside excerpts of his own taped confession which proves key to charting his breakdown sparked from constant clashes with a local businessman and the city council wanting to take over land he owned and over the course of a decade inspired him to have an epiphany while in his hot tub were he felt that God provided him with the solution to his problems. 

Solet’s documentary it could be argued tries to redeem the character of Heemeyer especially as it plays footage of friends describing him as a warm personality who was well respected against the footage of those who Heemeyer was battling against who it’s honestly not hard to blame Heemeyer for reacting the way he did. Added to this are the reenactments of the rampage combined with news footage makes for an gripping finale after the slow burn and meticulous outlining of Heemeyer’s battles against city hall.

While the pacing is a little grinding in places the payoff is worth the journey especially as the documentary moves onto the Heemeyer’s construction of his monster bulldozer. 

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.