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Flora & Ulysses (2021)

Flora & Ulysses (2021)


6/10


Starring

Matilda Lawler

Alyson Hannigan

Ben Schwartz

Anna Deavere Smith


Directed by Lena Khan


Well Flora and Ulysses is one of those movies you can be sure would not have done magnificently well in the box office. So the movie fits the digital release on Disney+ and I enjoyed the movie regardless of the TV movie feel. The movie does not boast of a huge budget dedicated to CGI effect which can be felt when you see the weird feral cat, but not on Ulysses. Most of the CGI budget were focused on the squirrel.

What the movie does for me is the clumsy character it made of Flora’s dad George played by Ben Schwartz. His performance in this movie is funny, but it is nowhere as cool as that of the lead, Flora (Matilda Lawler). She on her own had the smile and the charisma to keep the movie going and I was thrilled seeing her on screen each time.

The movie plot introduces us to Flora, a very interesting young lady who is majorly into comics. We get to understand that her parents are separated with Flora living with her mum.

I do like the way the movie chose to handle this separation. We can see that Flora wanted her parents back together, but she was not losing sweat over it. The effects of the separation is mostly seen on the parents than the child. So we do not get the same old child acting out gets to meet a pet and it changes her outlook wave of movies like we are used to. Flora in this movie is full of life and she is focused on being real and trying to get to live her life with hope of everything working out well for her in the end.

On her way home one faithful day, she sees her neighbor struggling to keep an automatic vacuum device under control. She goes to help, and the vacuum device goes far much out of control and sucks up a squirrel believing it to be dirt that needs cleaning. Flora finally catches up to the runaway vacuum and saves this squirrel’s life. The squirrel’s experience gave it superpowers – It could fly, has super-strength, could understand humans and has a thing for poetry. Flora named the squirrel after the vacuum, Ulysses. The antagonist in this movie is the animal control man who was called in to capture the squirrel after Flora took Ulysses to an eatery and he got out.

Now Flora and her dad, with Flora’s not blind, but blind neighbor must find away to keep Ulysses safe from the animal control man, and from Flora’s mum.

The movie is based on a series of children’s book of the same name by Kate DiCamillo.

In the end, I feel this is a nice movie to see with your family. It is not one of those classics from Disney that you will want to see over and over again, but it is a good feel.

Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Witness for the Prosecution (1957)


8/10


Starring

Charles Laughton

Tyrone Power

Marlene Dietrich

Elsa Lanchester



Directed by Billy Wilder

This will be my first time seeing this movie, and I was amazed by the amount of twist and turns this movie holds. Until the very end everything you know about this movie or what really happened is up for grabs and nothing ever is certain. The movie’s plot is well crafted to make the viewer lost in either the suspicion of everyone except the defendant. The triumph of this movie is something I have to praise Billy Wilder for. His ability as director twirling this screen adaption here and there is so amazing to behold.

Praises also is due to the cast of Charles Laughton, Tyrone Power and Marlene Dietrich the three were so much in the controlling role of this film that there was no way this was not going to be a hit. The three gave performances that warrants them getting applauded and have awards thrown their way. Along with the three main cast is Laughton’s real life wife Elsa Lanchester who plays a supporting role as Sir Wilfrid’s nurse. A role which earned her a Golden Globe award.

The movie’s plot centers around a man named Leonard Vole (Power) who was being accused of murdering a wealthy elderly woman named Jane French. Vole’s solicitor toke him to a senior barrister named Sir Wilfrid (Laughton) a man who was just returning home from the hospital after being there for a lengthy period with heart trouble.

Leonard claims to not have been around when the murder was committed and his only witness is his wife Christine (Dietrich). Wilfrid at first handed the case to someone else in his firm, but changed his mind when he saw the weird threads tied around Leonard and this case. He decided to be the lead counsel and we watch as he tries to unravel the case and come to a final conclusion as to whether Leonard murdered Jane French or not.

The movie is based on an Agatha Christie’s short story which first had a play adaptation and this being the first film adaptation of the 1925 publication. The movie was both a critical and commercial success and it has been praised as one of the best adaptation of Christie’s works.

It has also been recognised by the AFI (American Film Institute) in the sixth spot in their AFI’s 10 top 10 Courtroom Drama. If not for the Covid-19 pandemic there was talk of Ben Affleck wanting to create a remake of this film in 2020. I do not know if such a desire will ever come to pass, I feel this movie is one of those classics that should just be left alone as it is.

Space Sweepers (2021)

Space Sweepers (2021)


7/10


Starring

Song Joong-ki

Kim Tae-ri

Jin Seon-kyu

Yoo Hae-jin



Directed by Jo Sung-hee



Space Sweepers is a totally entertaining film, a movie that is over two hours long, but it is so intense that you will not notice. The acting and the whole idea of the movie is not something you will see everyday. I like the way the movie takes all the cool ideas of a future from other movies and adds that one common theme from other popular space films, humans moving to the planet Mars.

The acting is very styled and the cast members are from all over. The way the movie then blends all these talents is something you have to watch yourself to appreciate.

Then comes the effects, these hit you from every side as class is dripping on your screen. The space chase scenes are something I think no other movie has been able to achieve in a while, then the intensity of the action itself is so engaging that you are captured in it. The movie plays like a book, I felt like I was reading a book and like every good book, things unravel every where and people come and go. I recall seeing a character and wondering what major role will this character play and later their gone.

Space Sweepers is a South Korean space opera set in the year 2092, where the earth has become almost uninhabitable and a cooperation has built a new orbiting home for humanity. The whole plan of the company is to turn Mars into the new earth and only a chosen few will get to go. Even the orbiting home built only houses a chosen few which the company CEO James Sullivan has chosen as worth.

Everyone else who have not been selected or cannot afford to live in this new orbiting home have to stay back on earth. Many have now found a new way of survival, they are called Space Sweepers. What they do is collect debris of fallen satellite and space junk and sell it for money to feed their family. These collection can be intense, as we see these people pilot their space ships trying their best to capture the largest junk of space debris they could find. They also have to survive the huge taxes and are given loans with ridiculous interest rates.

Our man focus is the Victory crew, which has Kim Tae-ho, Tiger Park, and Bubs (An Android), led by Captain Jang. There is something sinister about James Sullivan, and he is in search for a child and has many negative news about her spreading. Weirdly enough that child ends up in the Victory. Amazed by their find and more amazed when they discover that she is wanted by a terrorist group known as the Black Fox, they decided to cut a deal to sell the child from two million dollars. That deal did not go as plan and now the crew are on the run with this little girl and everyone is starting to get fond of her.

The movie seems to have cost a pretty penny, but it was made with less than $22 million, I guess what I get from this movie is that you do not have to spend over $100 million to make an eye pooping masterpiece.

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018)

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018)


 6/10


Starring

Jack Black

Cate Blanchett

Owen Vaccaro



Directed by Eli Roth



The movie is based on the 1973 novel of the same name by John Bellairs. The book was the first of a series of twelve and I wonder if this movie had been more profitable maybe we would have seen a sequel. The movie is a dark fantasy with just enough comedy, but the gaps in between made way for boredom to set in as you watch. The movie does not strike me as something you must to see, but as one of those movies where the actors did their best, but the material was subpar.

Even the effects will come off as average, better than what you will see in B-movies, but not enough and for a dark fantasy movie. There seem to be less use of effects as I would have expected (except when magic was being done). The movie also had wasted casts which only served one purpose and that was that. Makes you wonder if the movie will not have gotten along fine if they were not there, example being the antagonist’s wife.

The plot is around the life of Lewis (Owen Vaccaro), a young boy who just lost his parents. All he had left of them was a Magic 8-ball they gave him and a picture. He was to now start living with his uncle Jonathan (Jack Black), who is as weird as they come. We also meet someone who seems to come in and out of the house when she wants, it is Jonathan’s neighbor and best friend Florence (Cate Blanchett).

After an odd night, the next night led Lewis to discover that there is something about Jonathan that he is not sharing. When he found Jonathan with an axe and having a go at a wall, his panic led Jonathan to open up to him a little.

We learn that Jonathan is a warlock and Florence too has magic. There is a clock in the house that they are trying to find. Lewis immediately wanted to learn magic and Jonathan started teaching him. There was, but one rule in the house Lewis was to stay away from a locked cabinet. It is not hard to guess that Lewis broke that rule and set all hell loose. We get to see Lewis as a child trying to impress other kids in school so they can hang with him. Then there is Jonathan who has never had any experience raising children, struggle to raise his sister’s.

Lewis’s blunder let loose a dangerous foe, which Jonathan feared will be bring the end of everything as we know it.

The House with a Clock in its walls is one of those forgettable movies that you will see and wonder some time after that happened in it.

Breaking News In Yuba County (2021)

Breaking News In Yuba County (2021)


6/10


Staring

Allison Janney

Mila Kunis

Awkwafina

Regina Hall

Wanda Sykes



Directed by Tate Taylor



I have to be honest the first five minutes of this movie is begging you to turn it off. Who starts a movie with a woman forcing down her own throat positive speech, have her sister (Nancy – Mila Kunis) treat her as insignificant. Add to that her husband Karl, is having an affair plus she books a cake for herself for her birthday and they got her name wrong. A three letter name Sue (Allison Janney) was written as Suc and the store did not give a damn. I myself did not give a damn to continue watching, but the rule of mine to give movies just twenty minutes to impress before turning them off, paid out. This a very overly violent movie that does not care who gets shot or why.

The acting in this movie well, is not bad as you would expect from the cast’s in this film and the plot for the crappy initial five minutes turned out to be very well thought out. The movie has a focus on what happens when a bunch of selfish people who are willing to do anything for attention are let loose.

You will also love the very different characters the movie have, we have Peter’s boss played by Wanda Sykes a woman who just wants to have the adrenaline rush of being a criminal.

Back to the plot, the movie took a turn when Sue catches Karl her husband banging another lady and gets an heart attack. You will think for me the movie would have taken off, when we discover that Karl and his brother Peter have been running a money laundering scheme through the bank where Karl works. The movie took off when, you discover that Sue is not completely well screwed in the brains.

Now the people Peter and Karl have been working for, want them to continue working for them. Peter and Karl on the other hand wanted to turn over a new leaf, but these people (led by Awkwafina) will not let them rest. So Karl takes the money, remember this is happening on the day of his wife’s birthday and takes off to meet his bit on the side.

Sue who actually goes to Karl’s office to confront him on not remembering his birthday, sees Karl drive off with flowers in his hand, and a suitcase (the one Karl filled with money and is taking off with) she follows him. This led to where she catches him.

The movie is very twisted and has all the twisted characters all trying their best to screw up things the more.

And Then There Were None (1945)

And Then There Were None (1945)


6/10


Starring

Barry Fitzgerald

Walter Huston

Louis Hayward



Directed by René Clair



I saw the 2015 BBC TV series adaptation first before seeing this and even though both kind of remixed the ending, the remix in this here 1945 version kind of messed up the book ending for me. The book’s ending is very masterly crafted to portray the killer as a sick man, whose aim to punish everyone who escaped the law was successful. Here in this movie, he was also sick man whose aim to punish everyone who escaped the law was unsuccessful.

Based on one of the most (if not the most) successful mystery thrillers written by Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None in 1939. The movie’s plot is framed on a counting nursery rhyme Ten Little Indians (Christie actually released the book as Ten Little Niggers).

The movie for me fails to tick off all the boxes of a masterpiece, the pacing at times lost me as there were moments of boredom in between. The acting was top notch, but in such a tense situation with your lives on the line, the romantic tension seemed forced. The cinematography was not one of the best I have seen, but it was cool enough to take this movie from start to finish.

The movie plot starts with eight people arriving by boat on an island based on an invitation by a certain Mr. Owen, which it so happens none of them has met or known. On getting to the island, they are being waited upon by a couple Mr. and Mrs. Rogers who were hired by the same Mr. Owen to care for the guest. Mr. Rogers was given instructions to play a record at a particular time and in doing so, the voice from the recorder, listed out the crimes of all the ten people in the room. It so happens there is no getting off the island until the boat which brought the eight comes back, and now we have these people who are accused for being part or perpetuating a plot which ended up getting someone killed.

The group sit around the dinning table and notices figurines which depicted ten little Indians, a counting nursery rhyme. One of the guest recited the rhyme, while the others just lazied about wondering why they are here and discovering that neither knows who Mr. Owen is. After one of the guest plays on the piano the Ten Little Indians via the sheet on the piano, he takes his drinks and dies of poisoning. They move him and soon discover that one of the figurines on the table is missing and this man’s death corresponds with how one of the little Indians in the rhyme dies. Soon, more start to die in accordance with the rhyme depicting how they would and the rest are left to wonder who was committing these crimes against them and how they are to survive.

This is a nice film, but the romantic attraction between two of the occupants and how the movie changed the end, made this not such a grand watch for me and made me prefer the BBC 2015 adaptation better.

Palmer (2021)

Palmer (2021)

 


7/10

Starring

Justin Timberlake

Alisha Wainwright

June Squibb

Juno Temple


Directed by Fisher Stevens


Palmer is a cool movie which played safe by putting the lead in an already made family – Palmer filled in a role already being done by his grandmother. The movie then takes off from there, even though you can already predict the end from the start it is the journey to that end that is the movie I enjoyed. Justin Timberlake gave a fantastic performance, leading the way in trying to make a young boy feel comfortable in his own skin. You get to watch these two characters struggle with the person each has chosen to be then and later permit each to be all they can be.

The whole movie is about second chances, and even though you may have seen enough of that – I feel Palmer for all its worth tried its best to pull tears from my eyes in some places. It is so that it is the most likely places that you will swell up inside and watch the movie finally take shape.

Palmer starts with the character, Palmer (Justin Timberlake) getting out of jail and move in with his grandmother. We can tell he did not have the traditional upbringing and it seemed set that his grandmother raised him.

She was happy to have him back and he had to turn over a new leaf now that he is out face the challenges of getting a job and always have to be careful not to mess up his parole. When he had to take his grandmother to church a young boy joined them named Sam. Sam we get lived with his mother who is a drug addict and goes off on some long trips living Sam to stay at times weeks with Palmer’s grandmother. Palmer was not much of a fan of Sam who wants to be a princess and likes dolls. Sam gets picked on a lot because he also likes things like dress-up, putting on makeup and all that. What was challenging to know in this film is that Sam gets picked on not only by children, even adults too.

When the grandmother passes Palmer is the one left to care for the boy and he did it grudgingly at first, tried to change Sam and soon we get to watch them bond. We watch the challenges of the system which claims it wants to give you a second chance, but will not to a convict. A mother who loves her son, but her drug addiction is making it hard to care for him.

I will say that what carries this film over the bar for me is the acting from everyone in it. They were able to convey the needed joy you get when watching a good film and make you forget that time is passing by.

You can watch Palmer on Apple TV+.