99 Homes (2014)

Director: Ramin Bahrani

Writer: Ramin Bahrani, Amir Naderi (Screenplay) Ramin Bahrani, Bahareh Azimi (Story)

Starring: Michael Shannon, Andrew Garfield, Laura Dern

 

Plot: A recently unemployed single father struggles to get back his foreclosed home by working for the real estate broker who is the source of his frustration.


Tagline – Greed is the only game in town.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Powerful & Intense.

 

Story: 99 Homes starts with hard working young man Dennis Nash (Garfield) trying to keep his family home from being reclaimed by the bank, but he is unsuccessful as real estate broker Rick Carver (Shannon) evicts him from his home with his mother Lynn (Dern) and son Connor.

Desperate for money Dennis turns to Rick who offers him a job involving his construction skills, with this job Dennis starts to learn the trade rising the ranks to become the very person he despised in Rick when he was losing his home.

 

Thoughts on 99 Homes

 

Characters – Dennis Nash is the hard-working construction worker, he works to keep the roof over his family home but when he loses his home he goes to all ends to get a job to regain his home. This means Dennis works for the man who evicts him where he learns the trade to make sure he can his home back become the man he once hated. Rick Carver is a real estate broker, he has been evicting for the bank for years now, he doesn’t believe he is doing anything wrong, but he is following the law. He has made a lot of money in this world and takes Dennis under his wing to follow in his footsteps.

PerformancesAndrew Garfield is fantastic in this leading role, this guy is constantly giving us performances that we are left seeing just how talented this guy it. Michael Shannon is the always brilliant star of most movies, he is calm through every single scene which could have himself getting pushed to the limits. Laura Dern is good too in the supporting role as Dennis mother that questions his work.

StoryThe story here shows one man’s struggle to keep his family home but needing to turn to the enemy to make the money. We see how far he must go just to make a difference, but can he cope with becoming the man he hates. The story gives us hard to watch scenes as we see people losing their homes showing us a darker side to real estate in America. This is one story that is a good watch, he can be hard at times, but the story is rewarding.

SettingsThe settings show us the housing market and how people can be a community when supporting someone’s miss fortune.


Scene of the Movie –
Seeing Dennis question his decision.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We get a lot of law discussion, but a lot can go over your head.

Final ThoughtsThis is a powerful drama that shows how difficult life could be for the people who lose their homes to the people looking just to make the money by taking them.

 

Overall: Strong, powerful drama.

Rating

 

 

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Like Father (2018)

Director: Lauren Miller

Writer: Lauren Rogen (Screenplay) Anders Bard, Lauren Rogen (Story)

Starring: Kristen Bell, Seth Rogen, Kelsey Grammer, Zach Appelman, Paul W Downs, Brittany Ross, Jen Zaborowski

 

Plot: A workaholic woman who is left at the altar takes her honeymoon trip anyway with her overachieving father who left her mother because he believed his family was holding back his career.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sweet Comedy

 

Story: Like Father starts when workaholic Rachel (Bell) still attached to her phone is getting married, her problem is she won’t put her phone down, which leads to her fiancée leaving her at the altar. When her estranged workaholic father Harry (Grammer) turns up at the wedding and offers her a shoulder to cry on.

After a drinking bender together, Rachel and Harry end up going on the Honeymoon cruise together in a hope to help Rachel relax and forget about work for a couple of weeks and learn the lesson about needing to put work on the back burner.

 

Thoughts on Like Father

 

Characters – Rachel is a complete workaholic that has never been able to put her phone down including her wedding day which leads to her fiancée leaving her at the altar. Trying to return to work through the pain it quickly turns into a drinking bender with her father, the man she hates the most because he left her when she was young. She ends up going on her honeymoon with her father, but spends most of the time on the phone too, over the trip she must learn to put her phone away and see the bigger picture of life. Harry is Rachel’s father, he left her when she was a child, but has always watched over her, he sees she is making the same mistakes he did and wants to guide her in the right direction before it is too late for her. Jeff is a divorcee that is on the cruise with his sister to help him get over his divorce, she meets Rachel and the two spend time together as they both have suffered a surprise down in their lives. The rest of the characters we meet include the fellow couples, the twice married couple, the anniversary for the elder couple and the gay couple that complete the 4 couples together.

PerformancesKristen Bell takes the leading role in this movie, she a great to watch as she handles the comedy and the serious moments in the film very well as well has having the good timing chemistry with Grammer. Kelsey Grammer is known for the legendary television run and it has always been hard to see him as any other character, here he does a good job and keeps the calmness you can only imagine from his experience in the genre of comedy. Seth Rogen in the supporting role is good, he doesn’t bring his usual style of comedy letting the two leads take the full spotlight.

StoryThe story show us how a workaholic woman is left at the altar for her overcommitments with work only for estranged father to return to her life to try and build bridges and teach her about the mistakes she is making. The story focuses on needing to learn about taking time away from work to enjoy the little things in life, not making living in regrets that one has been living with since leaving his daughter. The story could go down as one that is generic for the themes circling around needing to put work on the back burner at times and a rebuilding of parental child relationship, it all comes off sweet and enjoyable balancing the comedy and serious moments through the film.

ComedyThe comedy is a mix of situational moments as Rachel and Harry find themselves in the positions in life they would never have achieved without meeting back up again, the support cast get good laughs too.

SettingsMost of the film is set on the cruise with the days off in the beauty spots along the way, it shows how spending time with family however distant can bring people together again.


Scene of the Movie –
Karaoke.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not dealing with the mother discussion.

Final ThoughtsThis is a charmingly sweet comedy, it does have an important message about work and family with a couple of great performances from Bell and Grammer.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-fi – C – Cube Zero (2004)

Director: Ernie Barbarash

Writer: Ernie Barbarash (Screenplay)

Starring: Zachary Bennett, David Huband, Stephanie Moore, Martin Roach, Terri Hawkes, Richard McMillan

 

Plot: A young man whose job is to watch over the Cube endeavours to rescue an innocent woman trapped in one of its rooms.


Tagline – The first experiment in fear.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Never Hits the Levels It Could

 

Story: Cube Zero starts with the latest of the events going down, we watch engineers Eric (Bennett) and Dodd (Huband) watch over the latest game. Cassandra (Moore) is the latest player to join in as she is joined by others trying to navigate their way through the twisted games.

When Eric learns that Cassandra hasn’t agreed to take part in this experiment, he decides to break the rules to help her escape, risking his own life against the very people that have employed him.

 

Thoughts on Cube Zero

 

Characters – Erik is the former boy genius, he works in the engineering office of the Cube complex, he does start to question just what they are doing and enters the game to stop who he thinks is an innocent victim of the game. Dodd is the senior engineer that is trying to keep Eric in line, he is a company man that will do anything to keep his head down. Cassandra is one of the players in the game, she is one person that Eric doesn’t believe should be in the game, she has been taken and forced into playing the game.

PerformancesThis being the third movie in the series tells us something about the level of performances we will be receiving Zachary Bennett is solid enough in the leading role, with Stephanie Moore being the good leading lady in the game.

StoryThe story here takes us behind the curtains of the games we have seen previously, this does return to the darker levels of the original. The idea the victims are placed into a game of life and death is back, but we look at the outside looking in from the engineers point of view. This does add something to the film because we couldn’t just do another version of the game, it shows just how many people would be involved in the game too. This helps and hinders the movie because we do end up following the players at time but this just takes away the puzzle solving side of the film.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiThe horror is good to watch, we have gore filled deaths which the franchise is known for. The mystery of solving how to get out alive is taken away because of us being taken behind the curtain. The sci-fi elements come from the technology behind the game.

SettingsThe film remains inside the enclosed cube rooms with different traps, unlike the previous sequel we return to the dark feeling setting and the officers match this too.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the practical effect kills this movie seems almost flawless, when you look at the CGI moments, you will have to raise an eyebrow at the clear use of the CGI.


Scene of the Movie –
The first kill is gory and memorable.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The game doesn’t feel as original as before.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good chapter in the Cube franchise even if it doesn’t hit the marks it could.

 

Overall: We like the franchise.

Rating