Double Feature: Enola Holmes (2020) & Robin Hood (2018)

Next up for double feature is a pairing of Netflix film Enola Holmes and 2018’s live action retelling of Robin Hood. Two movies that I feel pair up rather well together. Let’s check it out!

Enola Holmes (2020)

Director: Harry Bradbeer

Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin, Louis Partridge, Helena Bonham Carter, Burn Gorman, Adeel Akhtar, Susan Wokoma, Frances de la Tour

When Enola Holmes-Sherlock’s teen sister-discovers her mother missing, she sets off to find her, becoming a super-sleuth in her own right as she outwits her famous brother and unravels a dangerous conspiracy around a mysterious young Lord. – IMDB

*Originally published in Movies and Tea – Friday Film Club*

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.

Robin Hood (2018)

Director: Otto Bathurst

Cast: Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson, Jamie Dornan, Tim Minchin, Paul Anderson

A war-hardened Crusader and his Moorish commander mount an audacious revolt against the corrupt English crown. – IMDB

I’ve lost count of how much retellings and adaptations we’ve had of Robin Hood already whether its TV series or movies. I sometimes hop in and out of the TV and films and they all feel along the same line of thought, but then it all makes sense since its been a story that’s been around for a long time considering Disney’s animated classic was released in 1973. With that said, I was fairly indifferent about this one. On one hand, there’s a lot of familiar faces in cast such as Jamie Foxx, Taron Egerton, Ben Mendelsohn, Jamie Dornan, even though they all happen to actors that I’ve seen but never watch a lot their movies.

Robin Hood has some alright action sequences. The cast itself isn’t really the problem although the characters themselves are a little disjointed. I can’t say that after so many Robin Hood’s that Taron Egerton brought anything different especially since he still has more of a boyish feeling which doesn’t quite match the character of Robin of Loxley for this story. However, one of the bigger issues probably dials down to execution and pacing. Running at almost 2 hours long, the movie spends a lot of time in slow-paced segments that make this feel a little boring to be honest. It actually stretches out this familiar tale and adding some unnecessary changes that doesn’t seem to add too much.

Perhaps the biggest issue is that this film feels like its fairly forgettable. There’s nothing that makes it better than previous versions released. Taron Egerton’s Robin of Loxley feels fairly disjointed. Sure, Jamie Foxx’s character delivers a decent performance with some good dialogue. There’s definitely some issues with this latest version of Robin Hood and the similarities made me think about how other movies might have done it better.

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

The Walled City
By: Ryan Graudin

DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible…

JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister…

MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She’s about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window…

In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out. – Goodreads

Based on the historical location in Hong Kong called the Kowloon Walled City that used to exist as a place with no control from the government where a lot of bad people would live and have very little daylight due to how the buildings piled on top of each other, Ryan Graudin has created a world of her own with this basis changing Hong Kong to Seng Ngoi and using simple Chinese names to easily remember these characters but still have the essence of an Asian territory to make it not a historical fiction but still managing to capture a lot of the essence of this location to bring it to life. The Walled City is an outstanding young adult “dystopian” thriller. In fact, its surprising why The Walled City isn’t used in more stories (whether books or movies) as a background story. Ryan Graudin takes this world and is able to show the gritty and darkness that hangs in its shadows portraying the location really well while also delivering a story about three youths that get entangled in the mess.

The novel is executed with each of the chapters moving between these three characters. Its easy to see the connection of two of the characters but it doesn’t really matter if that was meant to be a minor reveal at some point to make it all piece together. What’s important is that each of these characters represent one part of this closed society. The boy Dai is the only one that knows the countdown element and has motives to deliver some information before he can be free as he works for the kingpin as a runner who pairs up with the second character on a spontaneous run-in, a young girl disguised as a boy Jin looking for her sister who was sold to a brothel by her father for money but also trying to stay out of sight for the street gangs that are after her because she stole a pair of boots from them. Finally, the third character is Mei Yee, one of the brothel girls who wish to find a way out but is approached by Dai to help him find a way to steal the information that he needs in exchange to help her escape. All three of these characters represent their own helpless situation that bond together to try to get out of their own situations.

The Walled City is great because of its writing style. Its vivid writing brings the story to life. Especially with the amount of action and suspense going on, as the story gets deeper and dangerous for the three characters, it builds very well. There’s something really fascinating about bringing a location to life and its characters while exploring somewhere that I’ve always been fascinated about and would love to see more stories based on while also using a novel structure that I’m personally a big fan of. The Walled City ticks a lot of the boxes of a novel that I enjoy reading.

My September Adventures!

September has come to an end as Canada has officially announced the beginning of the second wave of COVID-19. We’re going through regional alert levels where with the past weekends leaps in increase of cases, Montreal (along with two other regions) will enter into maximum alert on October 1st meaning generally that other than shopping centres and retail businesses/personal care services, everything where social gathering can happen (theatres, libraries, bars, dine-in at restaurants, etc) are all closed for the next 4 weeks including all private gatherings. Just a little update on the currents of my whereabouts.

New Restaurants in Town

Perhaps my fave place so far to open would have to go to Shuyi Tealicious where I just love the Jasmine Tea or Oolong Tea with Grass Jelly. Its some delicious stuff in the simplest way. So good. Whereas the husband loves the milk tea with oats.

The first dine-in since COVID-19 and the only one for a while, I’d assume seeing the current state of situation. Either way, this new ramen place was pretty good. Its new so there was a line-up which if it wasn’t for my friend’s birthday, I wouldn’t have lined up for it or chosen to dine-in. Luckily the tables here were spread out pretty good.

With the new restrictions in place, we’re back to hibernating at home and cooking our own food or taking out or maybe trying out some delivery services if we want to try new food. The little joys in life, right?

Fantasia Film Festival Wrap-Up

Fantasia International Film Festival ended on September 3rd with a successful first ever virtual edition which had a very good platform for its movies and loved the mix of live screenings, Q&A as well as the on demand film selection. If only I didn’t have actual work, I’d have done a much more elaborate coverage of many more films. Still, I managed to do a bigger load of movies in a shorter timeframe so I’m rather proud of myself in general plus, I picked some solid choices with maybe only one or two that was a little disappointing. As a final wrap-up since I don’t want to do another post for it, here is my top 10 (which I’m thinking whether it would have been great if I did it in a Youtube video format or even podcast format, right?)

  1. The Oak Room
  2. The Paper Tigers
  3. Sheep Without A Shepherd
  4. Detention
  5. A Mermaid in Paris
  6. A Witness Out of the Blue
  7. Chasing Dream
  8. The Mortuary Collection
  9. You Cannot Kill David Arquette
  10. Jumbo

Movies and Tea Podcast

The latest episode of Movies and Tea Podcast transferred to Youtube is here as Season 2 is in progress of being put up.

We’re in Season 5 David Fincher on the Movies and Tea blog. The latest podcast episode released was our After Hours special for You Cannot Kill David Arquette HERE.

Hiking: La Montée du Dragon

Parc National du Mont-Megantic

Nothing like a little hiking as we return to Mont-Megantic National Park earlier in September. You can check out the hiking recap HERE.

Announcement: Halloween Marathon Starts TOMORROW!!

October is around the corner (tomorrow) so its time for the annual Halloween Marathon! I’ve got quite a nice line-up as we tackle two different franchises. I was only suppose to be one and then I started watching the sequels of another one and finished it so kind of wrapped up another franchise as well. Its the Living Dead franchise (including the remakes) and Insidious sequels (since I already reviewed the first one before). I also have some random movies to slot in between so it should be fun. Living Dead franchise is a little hard to find some of the movies and I didn’t plan it better so I’m hoping that I will find some of them if not I might just skip over it depending on the situation. If you have any horror films that you’d like to recommend for me to watch, let me know and I’ll add it on to my list if I haven’t seen or reviewed it before.

That’s it for this September adventures!
What have you been up to during these crazy times?

The 5th Annual Remembering James Horner Blogathon: The Land Before Time (1988)

The 5th Annual Remembering James Horner Blogathon is going on this weekend from August 21 to 23. You can see what this blogathon is all about HERE.

The Land Before Time (1988)

The Land Before Time

Director: Don Bluth

Voice Cast: Pat Hingle, Gabriel Damon, Candace Hutson, Will Ryan, Judith Barsi, Helen Shaver, Burke Byrnes, Bill Erwin

An orphaned brontosaurus teams up with other young dinosaurs in order to reunite with their families in a valley. – IMDB

The Land Before Time has run over 25 years with 13 direct to video musical sequels in its entire franchise, 1988’s The Land Before Time first movie that started it all is a strong beginning and one worth revisiting years later to see if it lives up to expectations while also, in the heart of the blogathon, discuss the music composed by James Horner.

The Land Before Time is a fun family friendly children’s movie set in the prehistoric times when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. It focuses on a group of little dinos of different herds that end up together because they are separated by an earthquake. As an animated and children’s film, The Land Before Time is pretty good. The dinosaur designs are pretty cute from the color choice of each type of dinosaur and the design of how they show their characteristics when they hatch from an egg and their baby dino appearances to later on when the movie pulls them together on the adventure. Not to mention that each of them are very adorable and they balance each other in personality which makes it a lot of fun to watch.

The children movie elements does bring in a lot of good themes from teamwork and friendship being a big part to include family as well. A lot of the story is about the adventure they go on to get to the Great Valley and finding their way together from meeting the T-rex to getting lost on the way and facing difficulties together. The family element brings in the big scene of the bond of parents and child. All these elements work together to put together a great story. Not to mention the narration by Pat Hingle is really nice and how the story is laid out.

The music in The Land Before Time is also quite nice. The theme is very well-known from now on and fairly familiar. The music is used a lot during the adventure moments to boost the fun elements while having the quiet orchestral music to carry forward the more emotional scenes effectively. At the same time, there is some areas where its used as a subtle background music as well. Every bit of the music adds to the story and tone.

Overall, The Land Before Time remains a great animated family film. Its unique because of its adorable characters, its beautiful music as well as its fun adventurous story.

Previous years of Remembering James Horner Blogathon
Once Upon A Forest (1993)
The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)
The 33 (2015)
The Perfect Storm (2000)

Double Feature: The Net (1995) & The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018)

Next up with the alphabet is the N double feature! Two rather random pairings as I did some last minute changes. The first is 1995’s thriller The Net starring one of my favorite actresses Sandra Bullock and the paired it with one of my Christmas in July Blogathon picks, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Let’s check it out!

The Net (1995)

the net

Director: Irwin Winkler

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Jeremy Northam, Dennis Miller, Diane Baker, Wendy Gazelle, Ken Howard, Ray McKinnon

A computer programmer stumbles upon a conspiracy, putting her life and the lives of those around her in great danger. – IMDB

Technology has advanced in leaps and bounds since 1995 when this movie is set. With that said, The Net doesn’t age as well and suffers as a lot of the cyber and tech elements to a first watch right now with everyone being more tech savvy in general. There’s some bits that absolutely make very little sense. However, The Net still has some entertaining elements to it in terms of a thriller. Sandra Bullock’s character, Angela gets caught up when the game software she was analyzing ended up having a backdoor access to a much bigger scheme by a cyber-terrorist group which ends up taking her identity and turning her life into a dead end where she has to use her own systems analyst and hacking skills to fight back. The premise is an engaging one even if some plot points seem to not work too well.

However, Sandra Bullock is as she always is, just like her Speed days where its a good performance on her part since the movie really focuses heavily on her reactions and how she fights back and uses her wits and brains to figure out what these cyberterrorist have against her, what their goal is and how to turn things around. She’s a tough female lead in a very believable way. On the other hand, the leader of the group chasing her down for a floppy disk (you know this movie is old when we talk about floppy disks…) Jack Devlin, played Jeremy Northam puts in a decent performance as well. There’s some overacting at some points but overall, its a good interaction between the two.

The Net might not be Sandra Bullock’s best movie performance and it might not be a great thriller but it has a few elements from premise to characters and a good performance that makes it a fun watch. Sure, its a little out of the current times and technology but if anything, maybe those games she tests out has some level of nostalgia.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018)

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms movie poster

Director: Lasse Hallstrom, Joe Johnston

Cast: Mackenzie Foy, Jayden Fowora-Knight, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Matthew Macfadyen

A young girl is transported into a magical world of gingerbread soldiers and an army of mice. – IMDB

*Originally posted on Drew’s Movie Reviews for Christmas in July Blogathon*

Disney picks up a lot of these live action children fantasy adventure movies at this point. It’s usually some harmless and visually appealing affair. That’s the best way to describe The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Set on Christmas Eve where Clara goes to a Christmas party and seeks out her godfather to the key to a puzzle that her mother had left her before she passed away takes her to an adventure in another realm through a passage from the mansion. Its quite a fun way to incorporate the elements of Christmas in the beginning and take the elements of a classic story like The Nutcracker and be able to reinterpret some of the characters especially the Mouse King the way that it did. The visuals paired with the score as well as the costumes are definitely the highlight of the film. The story itself is fairly predictable and even the villain which should be a twist is fairly easy to figure out. In the end, this is supposed to be a children’s movie for the most part so it’s not supposed to be complicated for an adult to watch this.

If you look at the cast, its quite a packed one with supporting roles from Morgan Freeman and Matthew Macfadyen. How many times has Matthew Macfadyen been in the same movie with Keira Knightley at this point, right? Keira Knightley takes on a much bigger role as the Sugar Plum Fairy with a high pitched voice and a rather entertaining role. To be honest, the younger roles here who play the lead like Mackenzie Foy as Clara or the Nutcracker Philip, played by Jayden Fowora-Knight are fairly okay. They are still young and have room for improvement for sure especially in some reactions and such but overall, it’s still decent.

There’s a lot of the expected and predictable elements here. For people who enjoy this type of movie, they will still find the joy in it. If you’ve never quite enjoyed these movies from Disney, then its probably not one to catch. It sounds like I didn’t say anything with that comment but this is along the lines of movies like A Wrinkle in Time or Alice in Wonderland where it has a certain level of entertainment and visuals but also a fair share of elements like plot that might feel more formulaic.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen these two movies? Thoughts?

Double Feature: A.M.I. (2019) & Albion: The Enchanted Stallion (2016)

Next Double Feature is here! Its been a while since I’ve gone on an alphabet double feature! This time, I’m going to try to work through both Netflix and Shudder titles for the pairing as much as possible. Its a decision that I made after the A selections though so here we are! A selection starts with 2019 horror film A.M.I. and then followed by 2016’s indie fantasy-adventure film Albion: The Enchanted Stallion. Let’s check it out!

A.M.I. (2019)

A.M.I.

Director (and co-writer): Rusty Nixon

Cast: Debs Howard, Philip Granger, Bonnie Hay, Sam Robert Muik, Veronica Hampson, Havana Guppy

A seventeen year old girl forms a co-dependent relationship with an artificial intelligence on her phone and goes on a murderous rampage. – IMDB

Movies based on AI and possibly corrupted or misused technology is definitely been on the rise. We did recently watch Child’s Play remake (review) and then there’s been a few short films screened at film festivals that had that sort of concept as well. A.M.I. plays with that concept where the AI becomes the mother figure anchor for Cassie, who loses her mother and can’t seem to see eye to eye with her father, grows distant with her friends (who aren’t all that great) and then a scumbag of a boyfriend. With all these factors, A.M.I. turns into her “person” and eventually becomes the manipulating force that drives her to start killing all those that have wronged her.

The story and premise, while not entirely fresh, has a decent foundation. The only issue is that the film is filled with really bad characters. Bad in the sense that they are truly bad people with some really warped sense of friendship, love, relationships, etc. As Cassie breaks down from seeing everyone’s true personality, her character is supposed to have some kind of pity, I suppose but then, the story never gives enough to make her feel that way and instead brings her straight into this rampage that she goes on. The characters here are built so incredibly thin and so unwelcoming that its hard to side with any of them and care about what happens to them either. A part of that might have to do with some overacting on all parts and some ridiculous dialogue.

A.M.I. has a lot of issues that hides the fact that the premise itself wasn’t a bad one and has some creepy parts but the tone it chooses and the characters it uses during this makes it actually a rather funny movie. Perhaps if it didn’t feel like it took itself that seriously, it would have been a fun little movie romp to have a good laugh at some of the ridiculous bits that happen.

Albion: The Enchanted Stallion (2016)

Albion: The Enchanted Stallion

Director (and co-writer): Castille Landon

Cast: Avery Arendes, Stephen Dorff, Castille Landon, Daniel Sharman, John Cleese, Liam McIntyre, Jennifer Morrison

A twelve-year-old girl is transported by a magical black stallion to the mystical world of ALBION, where she discovers that she alone is the key to saving an entire race of people. – IMDB

Albion: The Enchanted Stallion is a fun little fantasy adventure. There’s a lot of creativity here and introduces a new fantasy world that the young girl enters unknowingly on the back of a stallion that she tends to. In this world, she learns that its not all coincidence and yet has something linked to herself and it gives her the courage and bravery to do the right thing and help her newfound friends in saving the people in this magical world called Albion.

Albion is a world split between the good and bad. There are people fighting to regain the balance that once was despite its perils and challenges. Evie is brought into this world and almost doesn’t believe that things that she experiences and tries to find a way back. Its a fun world to say the least. Plus, each of the characters that she meets is rather entertaining as well. They run into their own dangers and while some of the characters could have a little more depth, this is something of a family film (although there are some rather disgusting bits), it satisfies the adventurous tale that it wants to tell. Everyone’s character whether good or bad has its own standout moments. Special mention to Jennifer Morrison who plays The Abbess and her part is absolutely awesome.

Albion: The Enchanted Stallion has its little issues here and there but it executes itself pretty well and its a harmless little film that packs in a lot of fun dialogue and banter and also brings in some colorful characters. I’d definitely say that its something of a hidden gem and a pleasant surprise in the landscape of family fantasy adventure films.

That’s it for the A title double feature!
Have you seen these movies? Thoughts?

The Willoughbys (2020)

The Willoughbys (2020)

the willoughbys

Director: Kris Pearn, Rob Lodermeier, Cory Evans

Cast (voice): Ricky Gervais, Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, Alessia Cara, Terry Crews, Martin Short, Jane Krakowski, Sean Cullen, Brian Drummond

Convinced they’d be better off raising themselves, the Willoughby children hatch a sneaky plan to send their selfish parents on vacation. The siblings then embark on their own high-flying adventure to find the true meaning of family. – IMDB

There’s nothing like a quirky and colorful animated film to bring in some joy. The Willoughbys fills that really well. While its a bit of everything mushed together and incredibly random, (maybe you can call it imaginative), it manages to be clever especially as its full of little references of other popular things from movies and whatnot in their own version that makes it absolutely enjoyable to watch. That’s something that I’ve always appreciated in movies. It starts off with narration a little like A Series of Unfortunate Events and then the story moves on and these children are a little random like the Despicable Me kids and then we move forward the characters they meet including their parents are all very extreme in their own ways. It still manages to be quite entertaining.

The Willoughbys has a decent cast behind it and a few of them are pretty recognizable. First of all, we start of with Ricky Gervais being the narrator who is a cat that lingers in the neighborhood and just like Gervais’s humor, he delivers some funny narration that carries the story from one scene to the next. The parents who love each other so much that they don’t have any love left for their kids is voiced by Martin Short and Jane Krakowski, who are suitably mean for a family film. The nanny is voiced by Maya Rudolph who I’ve always loved and found incredibly underrated but her enthusiasm really carries through into the nanny here and adds so much fun. Then, on their city escape, the kids ends up meeting a Willy Wonka parallel sort of character voiced by Terry Crews whose voice is very unique and wildly entertaining all the time.

The Willoughbys is incredibly silly and at times some of the things that happen are a little absurd however somehow it all works together. There’s a lot to love here with the story progression. The kids themselves are trapped inside their world and each have their own personalities that somewhat balance each other out. They also have the heart to be true Willoughbys and defining what makes a good person and making good choices even if they don’t have the best approaches. At the same time, its a touching story about family whether its between the siblings or the finding them along the way.

You know what The Willoughbys is? Its simply a great time. Its full of laughs and adventures, mistakes and bad decisions and most of all, learning the meaning of family. There’s clever dialogue, fun characters and some pretty great voice cast tossed into the mix. Its charming, clever and colorful: three things that I love in animated films. Totally recommend this one!

Double Feature: Black Panther (2018) & A Wrinkle In Time (2018)

Next Double Feature here! This time its multi-themed, I guess. Both 2018 movies and also part of the Disney movies so we have A Wrinkle in Time and paired with Marvel’s Black Panther. Not the same type of movies or directed to the same audience but I figured it was the best way to pair it together. Let’s check it out!

Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther

Director (and co-writer): Ryan Coogler

Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis

T’Challa, heir to the hidden but advanced kingdom of Wakanda, must step forward to lead his people into a new future and must confront a challenger from his country’s past. – IMDB

Marvel movies are pretty much churning out non-stop at this point with multiple film releases in a year. Black Panther had a lot of buzz and praise. While we had already seen T’Challa show up in a previous Marvel movie, this one takes place after Captain America: Civil War where we did see T’Challa appear in (I think) and while not an origin story is somewhat of the story of Wakanda, their rituals and land as well as how the kingdom is run. It also shows the rise and fall from the kingdom for T’Challa as he finds his way back to the throne. Its not meant to be a bad comment but I actually felt a lot like I was watching the story of The Lion King.

As with the majority of Marvel movies, its the length that really bothers me and its also one of the reasons why its taken so long to catch up with Black Panther. While I still think the movie was a tad longer than it needed to be and dragged in some parts and its still a rather superhero formula type of movie, what stands out in Black Panther is the unique kingdom and clans that surround it and seeing the different characters fall apart or become allies. There’s a sense of true pride with the characters and Chadwick Boseman is really good as Black Panther.

In terms of villains, its somewhat of a two-fold villain where Andy Serkis plays one part of it and then Michael B. Jordan plans the second part of it. Villains are always one of the weaknesses of Marvel movies in my opinion as it has so much focus on the superhero coming out on top that it makes the villain less threatening because it just never has the time to build. In this case, its not exactly great but I’d say that Michael B. Jordan makes for a better villain and it might be simply because the reasoning behind what he does makes sense and has its own backstory that gets revealed and connects everything together.

Overall, Black Panther is decent. I can’t say that I’m running back to watch it mostly for its length. But, in terms of Marvel films, this one falls somewhere in the middle due it having some unique origin story elements, character development and Wakanda “world” building elements.

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

A Wrinkle in Time

Director: Ava DuVernay

Cast: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Chris Pine, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Pena

After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him. – IMDB

Live action fantasy adventure films for family/children is always a little bit of hit and miss when it comes to Disney offerings. A Wrinkle in Time is based on a 1962 novel of the same name that I haven’t read so I have no comparison to source material and really just how it delivers as the movie. A Wrinkle in Time falls somewhere in the middle. Its feels a bit like pieces stuck together so always has that disjointed feeling but at the same time, the new world is fantastical and just like the three astral travelers, they all happen to be a little odd as well. Its really a search for a father who has gone missing as they chase down where he might have gone because of his research and how the planet needs their help in order to battle the darkness which leaks into their own planet and causes negative things to happen, like bullying and envy. With that said, the sentimental elements here are done pretty well in terms of a family film. Visually, the movie also delivers on all the fantasy and sci-fi elements which is where the story itself truly has a lot of fun.

The cast itself is decent as well with a lot of star power behind it. The three astral travelers are played by Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling who each have a little personality that balances each other out and their own abilities. The older kids are played Storm Reid and Levi Miller who does a decent job as well. There are other performances by Michael Pena and Zach Galifianakis. All the characters are a tad quirky and there’s a little cryptic element as they go through this search towards helping save this planet from their dangers. The story is a little messy at times but there is a decent level of imagination in what it presents. To be fair, its not completely engrossing to watch but at the same time, its a pretty harmless family film. You get what you’d expect from a Disney family adventure film pretty much.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen these two films? Thoughts?

Double Feature: The Last Witch Hunter (2015) & Bait (2012)

Welcome to the next double feature! Something of the odd and ends paired up for this one as we look at 2015’s action-fantasy The Last Witch Hunter and 2012’s Australian shark film, Bait, which is coming up in a Movies and Tea’s After Hours 4th Shark Week choice. Before that, I’ll do a little review here since I do love talking about creature features and shark films a lot.

Let’s check it out!

The Last Witch Hunter (2015)

The Last Witch Hunter

Director: Breck Eisner

Cast: Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Rena Owen, Julie Engelbrecht, Michael Caine

The last witch hunter is all that stands between humanity and the combined forces of the most horrifying witches in history. – IMDB

While The Last Witch Hunter wasn’t well-received, I’m not going to lie that I still had hopes of it being a fun watch. Vin Diesel has a reputation to be cast in certain roles and in certain types of characters. In the case of this film, its something along the lines of past movies like Van Helsing which I actually enjoy quite a bit. With that said, there are glaring issues with the movie as its mostly a mindless entertainment and incredible amount of fluff. Its story is not that deep even if it tries to pull out some twists which honestly doesn’t execute all that well and if you think too much about it all, it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense either. Not to mention, there isn’t a whole lot of actual witch hunting so it has a little dragging feeling.

However, being as objective as I can be and fully noting all its flaws, The Last Witch Hunter is for people who enjoy the generally more one liner sort of anti-protagonist if you will that Vin Diesel plays. Not to mention, there is a good cast here with a somewhat cameo appearance of Michael Caine and a supporting role by Elijah Wood and a female lead with Rose Leslie. They all do bring something more to this film. The Last Witch Hunter is understandably not liked by its general viewers and there are a lot of issues with it, not to mention that its pretty forgettable but as a Vin Diesel fan, it still was a passable movie experience. Not something to rewatch but it had its fun moments.

Bait (2012)

bait

Director: Kimble Rendall

Cast: Xavier Samuel, Sharni Vinson, Adrian Pang, Yuwu Qi, Alex Russell, Phoebe Tonkin, Martin Sacks, Alice Parkinson, Lincoln Lewis, Damien Garvey, Cariba Heine, Richard Brancatisano

A freak tsunami traps shoppers at a coastal Australian supermarket inside the building – along with 12-foot Great White Sharks. – IMDB

There are a lot of shark movies. So many of them are just really bad B-movies. As sharks as the underwater predator becomes such a constant use, its easy to be a little desensitized and pickier about how its used and what type of scenario to toss at the characters. In the case of Bait, while it doesn’t do a lot of things that are new, it still has quite the hook of creating a one location movie with a great deal of characters and different types of relationships: family, romance, work. Its set during a tsunami that traps its characters in a underground supermarket primarily setting it within a flooding supermarket and parking garage and two sharks circling those waters while alternating between the two locations to figure out their way out before the dangers surrounding them takes them down, both shark-related and not.

With that said, Bait does a lot of good execution here. One of its best things is using a top down camera to capture the underwater shadow of the shark location which gives the audience more knowledge than the characters and builds tension. At the same time, it doesn’t reveal the shark a lot and just uses the point of view of its characters to create the tension of the unknown, giving the sharks a much more quiet predator that will ambush them. The shark elements here are done pretty well.

If there’s anything to probably criticize a little, it would be its characters which are plentiful so the survival rate is fairly high. That’s not a bad thing but with a movie like this, deep characters usually are already hard to create especially when its a balancing act to not bring in too much petty drama and keeping in sight the bigger problem at hand, like survival. The characters are very basic and don’t really stand out. But then, let’s be honest, I’m not expecting deep characters in a shark movie. Maybe its just my expectations are low to start with and I’m just looking for a thrilling time. On that level, Bait delivers pretty well. Although, I would have liked the shark reveal a little later, just to give it more mystery but there is enough moments to make it pretty exciting to watch.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen these two movies? Thoughts?

Ultimate 2010s Blogathon: The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box (2013) by 18 Cinema Lane

Wrapping up the first week of Ultimate 2010s Blogathon is a review of 2014 fantasy-adventure film, The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box by Sally Silverscreen of 18 Cinema Lane.

18 Cinema Lane is a beautiful movie blog which shares a variety of movie-related posts, not just reviews. While Sally reviews a lot of variety of movies, she does cover a lot of Hallmark movies due to her appreciation for them. Be sure to head over to check out her blog if you haven’t already and give her a follow HERE.


The Adventurer

Take 3: The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box Review

Because I wrote an editorial for the Ultimate 2000s Blogathon, I decided to write a movie review for the Ultimate 2010s Blogathon. The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box is a film I had never heard of until I researched titles for this event. Since it was released in early 2014, I knew it would be a good entry! While learning more about the film, it sounded like a mix between The Librarian trilogy and Sherlock Holmes. Because I enjoy both of those stories, I figured I might get some enjoyment out of this movie! As I’ve stated on countless occasions, I try to use my blog to give lesser-known films the “standing ovation” they might deserve. Talking about The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box definitely fits that goal of mine! But is this movie truly worthy of a “standing ovation”? Please join me on this journey as we’re about to find out in this review!

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: The cast in The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box was solid! I had never heard of Aneurin Barnard prior to watching this film. However, I was impressed with his portrayal of Mariah! His performance was expressive in a subtle way. A good example is when Mariah is explaining to Sacha why he wants to find his brother, Felix. The audience can tell that Mariah is about to cry, but Aneurin primarily relies on expressing those feelings of sadness and loneliness through his eyes. I was also not familiar with Mella Carron before seeing this movie. Like Aneurin, I was impressed with her performance as Sacha! Her overall portrayal was well-rounded. Similar to Aneurin’s performance, she was also expressive in subtle ways. One example is when she’s sharing her problems with Mariah. When she is talking about her father’s troubling behavior, Sacha’s eyes fill with tears, showing how much this situation upsets her. I thought Sam Neill portrayed a convincing villain! I’ve only seen a few of Sam’s films, so I have only seen him portray protagonists or characters that were not villainous. While bringing the character of Otto to life, Sam’s demeanor was arrogant and cunning. These are the qualities you’d likely find in a villain, as these kinds of characters sometimes see themselves as being better than everyone else.

Historical accuracy: The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box takes place in 1885. While watching this movie, I noticed how everything looked and felt like that period in time. The wardrobe and set designs definitely fit within the world the film’s creative team created. The metalwork within the hotel seemed like it came straight from the 1880s. Even the font on posters and signs looked accurate to that time period. The ways this aspect of the film was handled shows that no detail was ignored during any part of the movie’s creative process.

The element of mystery: In The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box, there was a mystery within the main plot. This mystery element was one of the most interesting parts of the film! It allowed me to stay invested in what was happening in the story and to the characters. The mystery also created a sense of wonder as to what would happen next. This element brought intrigue to the overall story!

What I didn’t like about the film:

Lack of lighting: While the cinematography was mostly good in this film, there were some scenes that had little to no lighting. They were so dark, I had difficulty seeing what was on screen. One example is toward the beginning of the movie, when Mariah and Felix are having a conversation outside. This scene was so poorly lit, Mariah face was hidden by the darkness. Whenever this happened, I found it to be frustrating.

A misleading title: As I said in my Halloween Double Feature, a film’s title can act as a promise to a film’s audience. When a creative team makes an effort to put a subject in their movie’s title, they need to deliver on that “promise” to their audience. For The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box, I didn’t really feel like there was an adventure taking place in the story, despite the film being called The Adventurer. There were some scenes that had a sense of adventure to them. But it never seemed like the characters were going on a journey or allowing the audience to go on a quest with them. The majority of this movie took place in one location. This made the story feel condensed. All these elements presented the overall narrative like it belonged to a mystery movie and not an adventure one.

Two separate mysteries: Like I previously stated, I liked the mystery element within this movie. However, I think it was a mistake to feature more than one mystery in the film. In this story, there is a second mystery that exists while the main mystery is being solved. For most of the film, these mysteries were separate from one another. While they eventually connected, this didn’t happen until it was almost time for the film’s climax. The second mystery also felt like it combined with the first mystery out of plot convenience. I thought both mysteries were intriguing. But they should have been in their own separate films.

My overall impression:

The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box is a fine, enjoyable film! There were things about it that I liked, such as the acting and the historical accuracy within the project. However, I can think of movies with adventure stories that were executed better than this one. The fact that this film was light of the adventure was, for me, a disappointment. It also doesn’t help that the film’s title features the word “adventurer”. If you do plan on watching this movie, approach it with the notion that you’re going to watch a mystery movie. That way, the condensed nature of the story and the limited amount of adventure will make more sense. I’m not sure if this film was given a sequel. If it was, I’ll definitely consider reviewing it on 18 Cinema Lane!

Overall score: 7 out of 10

Have you ever heard of The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box? What movie from the 2010s is your favorite? Let me know in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!
Sally Silverscreen


A huge thanks to Sally Silverscreen for sharing her thoughts on The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box, a movie that I’ve never heard of prior to the blogathon!

Head over to Drew’s Movie Reviews next week to catch the second week of the blogathon and see the next guest review!

Find the archive of posts in the Ultimate 2010s Blogathon updated daily HERE!