Heath Ledger Weekend – Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Director: Ang Lee

Writer: Larry McMurty, Diana Ossana (Screenplay) Annie Proulx (Short Story)

Starring: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway, Randy Quaid, Linda Cardellini, Anna Faris, David Harbour

 

Plot: The story of a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys, and their lives over the years.


Tagline – Love Is A Force Of Nature

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Absolutely Brilliant

 

Story: Brokeback Mountain starts as we meet two sheep herders Ennis Del Mar (Ledger) & Jack Twist (Gyllenhaal) who are hired for one summer job, the two are from different backgrounds and Ennis even has woman back home. As the two spend time together they find themselves involved in a forbidden relationship.

After the summer the two go back to their lives, Ennis marries Alma (Williams) and starts a family, while Jack meets and marries Lureen (Hathaway). When the two get back in contact they start spending weekends together with the love they can’t have.

 

Thoughts on Brokeback Mountain

 

Characters – Ennis Del Mar is one of the two cowboys, he is from the local area and is a man of very few words, he is married to Alma with two children of his own. After spending the summer with Jack he finds a new type of love, one that is forbidden by the people in his field, despite the love he finds a way to try and balance both loves which he struggles with more than he could imagine. Jack Twist is the Texan want to be rodeo that takes the job, at the time he is single and helps pull Ennis from his quiet ways, enjoying the love they had he tries to get on with his life marrying a woman that isn’t always there, giving him time to reconnect with Ennis and share his love with him, only he struggles with the short amount of time they spend together. The two wives Alma and Lureen are both trying to deal with normal lives with their men going away at times.

PerformancesHeath Ledger was clearly robbed of the Oscar this year, his performance is easily a career best and shows us just how much we miss this talented actor. Jake Gyllenhaal is also wonderful in his role which could easily have picked up awards. Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway are both great in their supporting roles.

StoryThe story here follows two cowboys that after spending a summer together fall in love, but know they can’t be together because of homosexual relationship would be forbidden in the 60’s and have normal relationships to cover up their relationship time together. Following their lives for twenty odd years as we see the two lives they live roll on as their relationship and time together gives them drive to make it to those weekends. This is the one of those wonderful dramas that looks at the relationships and how love can come from the least expected location.

RomanceThe romance and love Ennis & Jack feel is unlike anything they believed they would find and one that you can only experience once, for the time the film is set, you can understand why they were conflicted with their choice.

SettingsThe film gives us amazingly beautiful backdrops to different times the two spend together.


Scene of the Movie –
I wish I knew how to quit you.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just what happens to Jack.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the greatest dramas you will ever see, it has two of the best modern cinema performances from Ledger and Gyllenhaal.

 

Overall: Masterpiece of modern cinema.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – B – The Ballard of Lefty Brown (2017)

Director: Jared Moshe

Writer: Jared Moshe (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Pullman, Peter Fonda, Stephen Alan Seder, Kathy Baker, Joseph Lee Anderson, Tyson Gerhardt, Jim Caviezel

 

Plot: A thrilling and action-packed Western, The Ballad of Lefty Brown is a story about loyalty, friendship, and the relentless pursuit of justice.


Tagline – He never wanted to be the hero.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Western

 

Story: The Ballard of Lefty Brown starts when Edward Johnson (Fonda) is heading to senate wanting to leave his loyal friend Lefty Brown (Pullman) in charge of his ranch. When Edward is murdered, Lefty wants to do his friend justice by hunting down the men that killed his friend and is joined by US Marshall Tom Harrah (Flanagan).

On the journey to learn who was behind the murder, Lefty and Tom leave fellow friend Jimmy Bierce (Caviezel) with Edward’s wife Laura (Baker) as we learn the bigger picture of just who was behind the murder.

 

Thoughts on The Ballard of Lefty Brown

 

Characters – Lefty Brown is the slacker best friend of the senator, he has often been bailed out by his friend which has built trust between the two, he is going to be left to look after the ranch only for Edward to be killed, Lefty wants to hunt down the killer, only he becomes the prime suspect, can he solve his friend’s murder before it is too late. Edward is the senator about to go on a trip wanting to leave his old friend in charge of his land, he has always been the one person to stick up for Lefty through his difficult times. Laura is the wife of Edward that has doubted Lefty’s abilities for a long time falling for the bigger plan in play. Jimmy is the older friend of the two, he has become a US Marshall that will do what he wants to put himself in play for the position he wants.

PerformancesBill Pullman does the best he can with the character which strangely does feel like a character David Arquette would normally be playing. He does give the strongest performance in the film, this is mostly because the rest of the cast don’t get enough time to shine rather than they are bad.

StoryThe story follows a character named Lefty Brown who is considered the weakest member of the team that most have given up on that must figure out who murdered his friend, the one that remain support him, along the way he must prove he wasn’t involved and that he can uncover the truth which is close to home. Now in classic western style we get to follow Lefty as he learns how things unfold and shows that every dog can have his day. It does have twists along the way which you can see coming because we don’t get enough time to be misled along the way. We have a slow pace which does work for the film as we get to learn from the young man Lefty meets about his past which inserts us into the story.

Action/WesternThe action in the film is tame, we get the basic gun firing which for the time the film is set makes sense because we can’t have endless bullets flying, though it isn’t the most gripping. There is a western theme through the whole movie which does make work for the film without being anything overly deeper than it needs to be.

SettingsThe film does have the western theme running through it with the locations being used helping it easier to identify the time the film is set in.


Scene of the Movie –
Lefty gets the truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pace is too slow for me.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow moving western, it does try to recreate the classic tone which just didn’t click on the ways it once did, Pullman is the standout of an average cast with a story that is mostly forgettable.

 

Overall: Western that never really gets going.

Rating

 

 

Agatha and the Truth of Murder (2018) Movie Review

Director: Terry Loane

Writer: Tom Dalton (Screenplay)

Starring: Ruth Bradley, Ralph Ineson, Tim McInnerny, Pippa Haywood, Blake Harrison

Plot: In 1926, with her personal life in tatters and her writing in crisis, a young Agatha Christie decides to solve a real-life murder.


Tagline – Some people have a taste for murder..

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Murder Mystery

Story: Agatha and the Truth of Murder starts as the great Agatha Christie (Bradley) is struggling with her latest novel, with the readers being able to guess who the killer or killers are, going through a divorce, she isn’t willing to sign.

When one of her fans Mabel (Haywood) visits, she asks Agatha to try and solve a real crime on a train, one the police can’t figure out, seeing this as a way to get out of her writers block, she goes to attempt to solve this crime, with suspects that could come out of her own novels.

Thoughts on Agatha and the Truth of Murder

Characters – Agatha Christie is the great author, whose murder mystery novels have the large following, she is struggling to find motivation with her latest novel because her readers can guess the impossible killer. Her personal life is falling apart too, with an unlikely visit giving her a chance to experience solving a real murder. Mabel is the woman that comes to Agatha for help solving her friend’s murder, one that could have suspects from every angle of her real life, she gives her the information and joins in the trying to solve the crime. Detective Inspector Shore is the only real police involved in trying to solve the case, as other members of the gathering start getting killed, as the finger pointing increases.

PerformancesRuth Bradley in the leading role is great to watch, diving into the role of the legendary author. We have a host of British talent in here with Ralph Ineson, Tim McInnerny and Blake Harrison filling out the cast well showing the talent within the country.

StoryThe story here follows the mystery behind Agatha Christie missing 11 days, which have never been explained, showing how she escaped the troubles in her life, to solve a real murder. This does turn into a murder mystery that could have come out of the novels of the author, which will keep us guessing like the detective, in this case herself. We do get glimpses into the real life troubles Agatha was going through, it also shows that post-war life that does have people suffering in private and shows moments of heroism that they achieved in war. If you like a murder mystery, this story is an easy watch that could be enjoyed by all.

Crime/MysteryThe film sees Agatha Christie becoming the detective, like her creations to try and solve murder, with plenty of suspects to keep us guessing along with the mystery.

SettingsThe film here is set in a big house, which shows how the rich would be looking to get the money from the deceased, showing how they are more comfortable in the upper class of society.


Scene of the Movie – The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does feel like any murder mystery that could be in any British murder mystery show.

Final Thoughts This is an enjoyable murder mystery that does keep us guessing while taking a fresh approach to how Agatha Christie might have gotten her inspirations.

Overall: Murder Mystery 101.

Michael Caine Weekend – Is Anybody There? (2008)

Director: John Crowley

Writer: Peter Harness (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Caine, Bill Milner, Anne-Marie Duff, David Morrissey

 

Plot: Set in 1980s seaside England, this is the story of Edward, an unusual ten year old boy growing up in an old people’s home run by his parents. Whilst his mother struggles to keep the family business afloat, and his father copes with the onset of mid-life crisis, Edward is busy tape-recording the elderly residents to try and discover what happens when they die. Increasingly obsessed with ghosts and the afterlife, Edward’s is a rather lonely existence until he meets Clarence, the latest recruit to the home, a retired magician with a liberating streak of anarchy. Is Anybody There? tells the story of this odd couple – a boy and an old man – facing life together, with Edward learning to live in the moment and Clarence coming to terms with the past.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Touching Drama

 

Story: Is Anybody There? Starts as we meet young Edward (Milner) a by that lives in a nursing home run by his mum (Duff), he likes to investigate the existence of ghosts which he gets to witness death in the home. When recently widowed Clarence (Caine) moves into the home, Edward doesn’t like him to start with.

When Edward learns that Clarence is a magician, he strikes up an unlikely friendship, as Clarence tries to teach Edward that he needs to make contact with the living not the dead.

 

Thoughts on Is Anybody There

 

Characters – Edward is being raised in an old people’s home, he doesn’t have any friends away from this world which has seen him turn to investigate the afterlife, he is determined to prove ghosts are real, he sees his parents struggle to hold everything together and Clarence gives him a new reason to focus on life. Clarence is the recently widowed former magician who doesn’t want anything to do with being in the home, with the only person that will give him attention being Edward, he doesn’t want Edward to follow in his footsteps and wants him to learn to make friends with the living. Edward’s mother is trying to run the home, she is dealing with the pressure of just what is going on with work and with her husband, while his father is on the verge of an affair.

PerformancesMichael Caine is the biggest name in the film, he does an excellent job in his role and work very well with young Ben Milner who is strong as the young boy struggle to find his place in the world. Anne-Marie Duff also deserves praise because of the strong scenes she must go through.

StoryThe story focuses on a young boy that has been raised in a nursing home, where he is starting to learn about life after meeting on of the new guests. We see how people need to be shown how to fit in life and just how hard they work to make sure they can go and enjoy life. The idea of them being in a nursing home does make it harder for Edward to make friends which is understandable and seeing the money problems almost taking its toll on the family comes through strong. The story gets to teach the lesson about making sure you enjoy your life and teaching others to not make the same mistakes one did.

SettingsThe film uses the nursing home as the main settings which shows how uncomfortable both Edward and Clarence are being in this position.


Scene of the Movie –
The end of the magic show.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The beginning of the magic show.

Final ThoughtsThis is a charming little drama that teaches the lessons about enjoying life rather than chasing the afterlife.

 

Overall: Sweet and Charming.

Rating

 

 

Freak Show (2017) Movie Review

Director: Trudie Styler

Writer: Patrick J Clifton, Beth Rigazio (Screenplay) James St James (Book)

Starring: Alex Lawther, Ian Nelson, AnnaSophia Robb, Celia Weston, Abigail Breslin, Better Midler

Plot: Follows the story of teenager Billy Bloom who, despite attending an ultra conservative high school, makes the decision to run for homecoming queen.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Flamboyantly Enjoyable

Story: Freak Show starts when gay teenager Billy Bloom (Lawther) who isn’t afraid to show his flamboyant side, which sees him showing off this style at a new high school after needing to move away from his mother Muv (Midler). Billy doesn’t take long before he becomes the target of hate from the school with his only friends coming from a girl he never caught her name, branding her Blah Blah Blah (Robb) who fills him out about who the school hierarchy is.

Billy does make one more friend, Flip (Nelson) the star football player, who is one of the only players that doesn’t torment him, in fact he defends him the best he can, this makes Billy believe he might have found a new crush, which drives him to run for homecoming queen.

Thoughts on Freak Show

Characters – Billy Bloom is a gay teenager, he was encouraged by his mother to express himself however he feels, which sees him struggling to be accepted in his new high school, he refuses to back down however difficult the hate gets him towards him, while trying to get his father’s love, waiting for his mother’s return and dealing with his first attempt of love, while trying to change the world by running for homecoming queen. Flip Kelly is the star of the football team, he does befriend Billy trying to help him through the hate, potentially hiding his own closest homosexual, while being the hero of the school. Blah Blah Blah is the student that supports Billy the most, she will help him despite the fact he doesn’t know her name. Muv is the mother of Billy that has encouraged him to flamboyant and himself, though she does have her own motives for her behaviour. Lynette is the rival homecoming queen competition, she is the most popular girl in school and has been planning for this for years now.

PerformancesAlex Lawther is wonderful in this leading role, he embraces everything his character goes through and never looks out of place in any scene in this movie, showing the intern struggle his character is going through. Ian Nelson does bring the conflicted character who is trying to make a difference without giving away his own secrets in the world well. AnnaSophia Robb is strong though we could have seen more form her, while Bette Midler does do everything she needs to her role.

StoryThe story here follows a openly gay high school student that isn’t afraid to make a statement with his love of fashion, dealing with the hate in the new school, learning to make a difference in the school and in the mindset of his classmates, while remaining himself. Set up to be like most teen comedies about a new kid moving to a new school, needing to learn the hierarchy and usually become the target of bullying, this story follows that arc with ease, with the standing up to make a difference coming through in the end. We get the generic bully figures that spend their time trying to make his life hell, with most of the focus left on the idea of a gay student running for homecoming queen. The core of the story is everything you want, while there are clear problems with the amount of money being spent on trying to become homecoming queen is ridiculous.

ComedyThe comedy in the film feels like most teen comedy material, it might have a less crude jokes, but will look at life with a laugh at times.

SettingsThe film is set in two main locations, the high school where Billy doesn’t fit in and his home where Billy isn’t accepted by his father, both prove to be places where Billy needs to help make the change in mindset, which is important for the message of the story.


Scene of the Movie – The vote, even if the idea of using smart phones in a school is funny.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – People in America put too much money into a popularity contest.

Final Thoughts This is a teen comedy with the important message of accepting people for who they are, no matter what they choose to be in life.

Overall: Important Message Movie.