Elizabeth Olsen Weekend – Liberal Arts (2012)

Director: Josh Radnor

Writer: Josh Radnor (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, Elizabeth Reaser, John Magaro, Kate Burton

 

Plot: When 30-something Jesse returns to his alma mater for a professor’s retirement party, he falls for Zibby, a college student, and is faced with a powerful attraction that springs up between them.


Tagline – Sometimes students make the best teachers.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly High-Brow

 

Story: Liberal Arts starts when 30-something Jesse Fisher (Radnor) gets invited back to his college by his retiring professor Peter Hoberg (Jenkins) party. While returning he loved going down memory lane and gets to meet student Zibby (Olsen) who strikes up a friendship with him, before he returns home to New York.

When the two stay in contact a romance starts to blossom between the two, however difficult Jesse feels about the age difference between the two.

 

Thoughts on Liberal Arts

 

Characters – Jesse Fisher is a 30-something living in New York, reading his way through life, he gets invited back to his college for a retirement party, where he meets Zibby falling for her, seeing a future he couldn’t have in his current life, though he also sees a chance to help a brilliant student who is struggling through college. Zibby is a student in at the college studying drama, she sees something different in Jesse, a mature man in her life away from the usual college student, she likes to let things be and let them unfold. Professor Peter Hoberg is the retiring professor that invites Jesse back, only he doesn’t want to go through with his retirement. The rest of the character include the professors Jesse once studied under and the students he sees his own troubles in.

PerformancesJosh Radnor takes up a few roles in this film, director, writer and his performance is solid enough for the leading role, even though he is might be the weakest performer from his own hit sitcom, this performance feels like what Zach Braff did with Garden State. Elizabeth Olsen is good in her role, while Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney are going to give strength to the supporting roles.

StoryThe story here follows a former college student return to his old college where he gets caught up in wondering why the students don’t understand what life will bring them, be it love and understand underachieving. Now this should be an interesting story, Jesse is a character that tries to explain how life can change in the future and not wanting to waste it, only this is what he is doing himself. The problems mount up as we don’t address the problems strongly enough, where Jesse does get involved, only he doesn’t show any signs of knowing what is going on, we never learn what he does for a living which doesn’t help certain thought processes he could come up with. The story also feels like it is trying to look down on people in places.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy mostly doesn’t get many laughs, the light toned seriousness behind the story doesn’t come off clear enough which also disappoints. The romance is mostly looking at how love can be strange for all those involved in it

SettingsThe film does use two main settings with one being New York, well that is where all Americans seem to want to live, and the college which brings back memories for Jesse.


Scene of the Movie –
Helping Dean.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not giving the Dean side of the story enough focus.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story that tries to take things too seriously which sucks most of the comedy out of the film. The film has a lot to say only to skip over too much of the importance in the messages being talked about.

 

Overall: Frustrating overly intelligent movie.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – O – O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (Screenplay) Homer (Poem)

Starring: George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman, Holly Hunter, Chris Thomas King, Charles Durning

 

Plot: In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.


Tagline – Sometimes, you have to lose your way to get back home

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wacky Comedy

 

Story: O Brother, Where Art Thou? Starts when three prisoners Everett (Clooney), Pete (Turturro) and Delmar (Nelson) escape from prison, going on a race across country in search of a treasure before it goes for good.

Along the way the three must figure out how to stay ahead of the law which puts them in a series of comical events along the way until they run into a salesman Big Dan Teague (Goodman) who is puts them against their match.

 

Thoughts on O Brother, Where Art Thou?

 

Characters – Everett is the brains of the three, he isn’t the strongest with this either, he tries to keep the guys together as they need to stay away from the law, he pushes them to take risks along the way too. Pete is the other fellow escapee that wants to be in charge, he will follow Everett as long as he can follow his dreams to get to the money. Delmar is the dumbest member of the group he makes all the mistakes along the way putting the friends in a bigger problem in search for the money. Big Dan is one of the many characters they meet along the way, one that makes a big impact on the adventure.

PerformancesGeorge Clooney is good in the leading role, going against the typecast of a pretty guy which he has been making a reputation for himself, John Turturro showed us once again that he can make any role work well, with Tim Blake Nelson getting the best lines which shows he can hang with the biggest names in Hollywood. The rest of the cast do bring us plenty of the laughs with the extremes of the characters.

StoryThe story follows three criminals in search of treasure and their hapless journey across country to locate it. They meet a string of colourfully people along the way, some who help and others than hinder.  This does follow the trends of comedy films which leaves our character into a mixed of events to make a simple journey never going the way they are planning them to. We do get a few twists along the way which change our opinions on the characters too.

Adventure/Crime/ComedyThe adventure takes our three convicts across country meeting the colourful characters along the way, this shows us the criminal world they are from and dealing with the people from, we also get the comedy involved in the film from just what happens along the way.

SettingsThe settings take us across a string of different Southern America towns which plays into he backward way of thinking the people in the area would have.


Scene of the Movie –
The KKK rescue.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t see enough of the lawman after them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wacky crime comedy that will see people in the audience laugh at times, it will however turn people in the audience off too.

 

Overall: Crime comedy with enough laughs along the way.

Rating

 

 

The Way We Weren’t (2019)

Director: Rick Hays

Writer: Brian DiMuccio, Aran Eisenstat, Rick Hays (Screenplay)

Starring: Fiona Gubelmann, Ben Lawson, Tobin Bell, Keith Powell, Amber Stevens West, Alexandra Davies

 

Plot: Two people meet just after their previous relationships have imploded, so in an effort to make themselves more appealing, they exaggerate, fib and outright lie, and after they move in together all the deception unravels.


Tagline – No Couple Has Ever Been This Badly in Love!

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Twist on Love

 

Story: The Way We Weren’t starts as school teacher Charlotte (Gubelmann) breaks up with her non-committal boyfriend ending up in jail. On the other side of the country, Brandon (Lawson) is still struggling to show his commitment with women. When the two decide to take a change on what they look for in partners, Charlotte and Brandon end up meeting, falling in love with their new selves and rush into marriage.

10 Days later, they want a divorce, we flashback to see what happened as the two discover the truth about each other, which is a relationship built in lies, until they can learn to tell each other the truth.

 

Thoughts on The Way We Weren’t

 

Characters – Charlotte is a school teacher who has spent 14 years with her boyfriend, who doesn’t have much in common with her, while not being ready to commit. The break up pushes her to take a chance and becoming somebody different which leads her to meet Brandon, she wants to keep certain parts of her past a secret though, including her jail term. Brandon is a womaniser that can’t commit, his business isn’t going well. Out of a newly failed relationship broke, he wants to meet a new woman for a relationship, He lies just like Charlotte being someone he isn’t, only for the truth to bring him the new positive vision of life. Jerry is the father of Brandon, he is part hippie and has been fighting the system for his and his wives relationship. He knows how to help Brandon without telling him everything. Dan is the neighbour and best friend who reluctantly lets Brandon use his car to impress Charlotte, he gets the best reactions to anything happening to his car.

PerformancesFiona Gubelmann and Ben Lawson are both wonderful to watch, both stars get to show the range of the emotions their character are going through, each has their moment to shine too. When it comes to the supporting cast get plenty of laughs through the film.

StoryThe story brings us a new look at love, it follows the idea of jumping into marriage to prove how spontaneous people have become only to learn, like if most relationships, not everything is as it seems after the early getting to know each other stage of a relationship. This does show how honest should become more important, but that we can always be afraid of what is in our past being judged. While certain sides to the lies or hidden truths could be considered farfetched ones they come out we get to see just how you can misunderstand somebody who has been working towards something.

ComedyThe comedy through the film will get laughs, be it from learning the truth with a natural reaction or trying to hide it from everybody else.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which sees just how far Charlotte will travel for love and to escape the life she once had.


Scene of the Movie –
Garden party.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain support characters don’t seem to have their own lives, which is an issue with a lot of comedies.

Final ThoughtsThis is a funny comedy about love and just how difficult it can be or everyone, this does bring a new twist on the love story too.

 

Overall: Funny comedy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – N – Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)

This is under N because of the writer Nicole Holofcener.

 

Director: Marielle Heller

Writer: Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty (Screenplay)

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Richard E Grant, Dolly Wells, Ben Falcone, Gregory Korostishevsky, Jane Curtain

 

Plot: When Lee Israel falls out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliantly Acted

 

Story: Can You Ever Forgive Me? Starts in 1991 when struggling author Lee Israel (McCarthy) finds herself out of a job and money is making her life difficult. Lee turns to drink where she meets Jack Hock (Grant) a fellow struggling writer as the two drink their problems away.

Lee discovers a personalised letter in one of her books and learn of the money it is worth, she starts to write her own letters claiming they are from the real authors and making plenty of money out of this plan, until the letters start getting questioned.

 

Thoughts on Can You Ever Forgive Me

 

Characters – Lee Israel is a middle-aged author that has been struggling for inspiration for a couple of years, with her latest books struggling to sell, she lives with her aging cat in a small apartment, turning to drink whenever times get hard. Jack Hock is an alcoholic con artist that turns into a drinking buddy for Lee, he pushes her to take more risks, while continuing his own reckless behaviour. Anna and Alan are two of the many dealers that are put in a position of becoming conned by Lee’s letters.

PerformancesMelissa McCarthy is an actress that goes to weak comedy films too often, this is a change for her in a serious role, we get to see that this actress has talent and this could be a career best. Richard E Grant shines in the supporting role giving one of the best supporting performances of the year. The supporting cast are great through the film where they don’t get as much screen time.

StoryThe story here follows the fraud that Lee Israel created with fake letters and stolen letters from famous authors, selling them to cover her own failures in life. We only focus on the time which caused her to start doing this action, until the moment she gets caught and the consequences of her actions. This does show us how desperate people can become when the reach the end of their means, how naïve the people who buy could be for buying letters just because people say they are real and just how important friends will be in your later years. This does play out in the way you would imagine which keeps it feeling realistic for everything that is going on with the criminal events.

Biopic/Comedy/CrimeThe biopic side of the film shows us just the scandal side of Lee Israel’s action which is all we need to see from her story, it does have moments of comedy which will make us chuckle without being a full blown comedy, it never needed to be this. The crime side of the film is the actions Lee was committing for money

SettingsThe film is set in New York which would be a prime location for authors from around the world would be located in the early 90s.


Scene of the Movie –
Courtroom.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While we do only focus on a small part of Lee’s life, it might have been nice to get a glimpse in the first 40 odd years to see where things might have gone wrong.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliantly acted movie that shows McCarthy is one of the strongest actresses in the business, it shows a true crime story and makes us want to see how far she gets.

 

Overall: Wonderfully acted and engaging story.

Rating

 

 

The Wedding Planner (2001)

Director: Adam Shankman

Writer: Pamela Falk, Michael Ellis (Screenplay)

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, Bridgette Wilson, Justin Chambers, Judy Greer, Alex Rocco

 

Plot: Mary Fiore is San Francisco’s most successful supplier of romance and glamor. She knows all the tricks. She knows all the rules. But then she breaks the most important rule of all: she falls in love with the groom.


Tagline – His big day is her big problem.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Rom Com

 

Story: The Wedding Planner starts as we meet Mary (Lopez) a wedding planner, one of the best in the business, she makes the most money and the best ceremonies. Looking to get the biggest deal for company which could see her become partner, she impresses the bride Fran (Wilson) who hires her on the spot, but continuing about her business she finds herself in need from rescue, where dreamy doctor Steve (McConaughey) steps in.

When it turns out Steve is the groom for Fran’s wedding, the new happiness Mary was feelings are shattered, but she must go on with this wedding for her future, leaving her needing to face the rules she swore never to break.

 

Thoughts on The Wedding Planner

 

Characters – Mary has dreamed of planning weddings since she was a little girl, now it is her job, but she has given up any hope of love because of this, until she meets Steve, the groom of her latest wedding to plan. She is scared from a broken relationship which has closed her off from wanting to try again. Steve is a children’s doctor (you spell, I can’t) that saves Mary, the two click, but he is marrying Fran the latest client of Mary. He is starting to have second thoughts after spending time with Mary. Fran is the bride in this wedding, a busy businesswoman too, Penny gets a lot of laughs as the assistant to Mary who gets over excited easily.

PerformancesJennifer Lopez is good in this role, she has the look which could steal a heart, but also the determination needed to not let anyone get in her way. Matthew McConaughey is good in this role, he knows that he can pull of rom com which is why he worked so well at this time in his movie career. We do have a good supporting cast that all hit the marks too.

StoryThe story follows a woman that had given up on love for herself, that has made a career out of making people’s wedding days their greatest memory. When she does get that one chance moment and meets a wonderful guy she ends up breaking her own rules and needs to look at what love is truly about. While this looks like it is going in a certain direction, it does pose the question about how far long is too late to potentially break up an engagement or do you go through with it and regret a missed opportunity. This is nice question to ask the audience.

Comedy/RomanceThe romance comes from all the wedding talk and the idea that you might find someone in the last place you imagine. The comedy comes mostly from the supporting characters over the leads, which gives us good moments to laugh along with.

SettingsThe film takes us to plenty of different wedding preparation locations which does make us feel like we can see the different scale people can go for weddings.


Scene of the Movie –
Doll house.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Trying to figure out if her name is Mary or Maria

Final ThoughtsThis is a delightful romantic comedy that hits the marks it should with it giving the audience an idea of how love can change people’s lives forever.

 

Overall: Love is strange thing for all.

Rating