Original v Remake Weekend – Pete’s Dragon (1977)

Director: Don Chaffey

Writer: Malcolm Marmorstein (Screenplay) Seton I Miller, S.S. Field (Story)

Starring: Helen Reddy, Jim Dale, Mickey Rooney, Red Buttons, Shelley Winters, Sean Marshall

 

Plot: An orphan boy and his magical dragon come to town with his abusive adoptive parents in pursuit.


Tagline – Featuring Elliott, the fearsome, frolicking, fun-loving dragon!

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Family Film

 

Story: Pete’s Dragon starts when orphaned boy Pete (Marshall) is trying to escape from his abusive family along with his dragon Elliot, who just so happens to be able to become invisible. Pete finds himself in a new fishing town, where Nora (Reddy) and her drunk father Lampie (Rooney) take him in, with Nora letting Pete believe the dragon is real, while Lampie has seen it for himself.

When a stranger and con-man Dr Terminus (Dale) arrives in town, he learns about Elliot and wants to dragon for his own reasons, which will see Elliot suffer, can the town and Pete come together for the better.

 

Thoughts on Pete’s Dragon

 

Characters – Pete is an orphaned young boy, he is in an abusive family that makes him to work he isn’t old enough to be doing, he manages to escape with the help of his magical dragon that guides him to freedom, he gets a chance with a new family and town where his stories about the dragon turn the heads of the people. Nora is the kind lady that takes Pete into her home, she lives and operates the lighthouse with her father, while hoping to see her partner return from the ocean. Dr Terminus is a con-man that goes from town to town taking people’s money for false promises of his medicine, he wants the dragon to help him improve his own profits.

PerformancesSean Marshall as the young boy which works without being annoying which his character could easily become. Helen Reddy gives us on of the purest nice woman performances in film. Jim Dale does make for an entertaining villain through the film. Mickey Rooney does bring us the extra comedy though it doesn’t always hit.

StoryThe story follows a young boy with a magical dragon escaping from an abusive family finding a kinder family while escape the clutches of people that want him or the dragon. The idea of the story is delightful because it shows that the magical dragon is here for a reason, to help a young child in need, it does show how people can look at people that could fear change instead of accepting change, only it does feel like certain elements have dated in cultural story. We do get everything needed to hit the emotional factor showing the different nature of humans in the era this is set.

Adventure/Comedy The adventure side of the film shows how Pete has made a friend that most don’t know even exist. The comedy does come from Elliot which can get laughs, while the rest of the humour does come from mishaps going on.

SettingsThe film is set in a small fishing town which sees everyone that lives there knows each other and what is going on in town.

AnimationThe animation comes from seeing Elliot on screen and for the time this made everything looks brilliant.


Scene of the Movie –
Apples.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain jokes feel dated.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful 70’s Disney movie that showed us just how life can be difficult until something magical could change it for one young boy.

 

Overall: Charming adventure.

Rating

 

 

A Late Quartet (2012)

Director: Yaron Zilberman

Writer: Yaron Zilberman, Seth Grossman (Screenplay) Yaron Zilberman (Story)

Starring: Catherine Keener, Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mark Ivanir, Imogen Poots, Madhur Jaffrey

 

Plot: Members of a world-renowned string quartet struggle to stay together in the face of death, competing egos and insuppressible lust.


Tagline – No arrangement is more beautiful…or more complicated.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Performances

 

Story: A Late Quartet starts as we meet the world famous quartet, Juliette (Keener), Peter (Walken), Robert (Hoffman) and Daniel (Lerner) who are planning their next performance, as they like to bring their crowd something new each year.

When Peter is diagnosed with Parkinson’s he is left to make a difficult decision to face retirement, meaning he needs to find a replacement, which sees the rest of the quartet going in search for their own roles in the quartet, while deciding how they can carry on going.

 

Thoughts on A Late Quartet

 

Characters – Juliette is married to Robert and while being part of the quartet, she is going through her own problems after Robert cheats on her, she must figure out whether this choice of a musicians was worth it or not, as well as trying to reconnect with her daughter. Robert cheats on his wife Juliette as he must try to make amends of his error, while trying to improve his position within thee quartet. Peter is the one that becomes sick, he is thinking about retirement and while he is getting his treatment, he learns the rest are caught up in the middle of a relationship mess. Daniel is the most talented member of the quartet, he ends up making his own mistake in life which causes even more problems within the quartet.

PerformancesWe have a stunning cast here with two Oscar winners and another nominee, Keener, Walken, Hoffman all show why they are considered the best of the acting world, while Mark Ivanir and Imogen Poots brings us performances that can keep up with their successful cast mates.

StoryThe story here follows one of the most famous quartets in music, they have 25 years of history together, when the oldest member becomes sick, the remaining three must decide whether to find a new member, while dealing with their own personal problems which could bring about the downfall of the quartet. Sure, some of the relationship drama isn’t anything new, but knowing the couple must continue to work together shows how personal and professional lives can easily clash when it comes to being successful in this field. One side of the story we could have seen more from would be the music side.

SettingsThe film is set in New York a perfect choice for this quartet to be located and performing in.


Scene of the Movie –
The performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t get enough focus on Peter’s illness.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderfully acted drama that shows the lives of a quartet.

 

Overall: Beautifully acted drama.

Rating

 

 

Wild Rose (2018) Movie Review

Director: Tom Harper

Writer: Nicole Taylor (Screenplay)

Starring: Jessie Buckley, Julie Walters, Sophie Okonedo, Jamie Sives, Craig Parkinson, James Harkness, Janey Godley, Daisy Littlefield

Plot: A troubled young Glaswegian woman dreams of becoming a Nashville country star.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Beautifully Charming Movie

Story: Wild Rose starts when Rose-Lynn (Buckley) is released from prison returning to her home with her mother Marion (Walters) and her kids Lyle (Mitchell) and Wynonna (Littlefield), Rose-Lynn wants to continues her dream of chasing to become a country singing star, even though her mother doesn’t want to see her not making the money to support her children.

With Rose-Lynn needing to get a job, she ends up being a cleaner for businesswoman Susannah (Okonedo) whose children hear her sing, Susannah pushes Rose-Lynn to record something, which will leave Rose-Lynn in the toughest decision of her life, chase her dreams, or raise her children.

Thoughts on Wild Rose

Characters – Rose-Lynn has just come out of prison after a year, she has always dreamed of being a country singer, she has the talent to perform, which is never going to be questioned, though she is to take life more seriously because of her two young children, she must find a job, which she does as a cleaner, which opens a massive opportunity for her dream. Rose-Lynn has a way of not giving everybody the truth about her life, which sees her using people to either help her career or look after her kids, that she isn’t prepared for. Marion is Rose-Lynn’s mother that had to raise the children while she was in jail, she has tried to support her daughter and would do anything for her grandchildren, though she just wants her daughter to do something responsible with her life. Susannah is the businesswoman that has Rose-Lynn as a cleaner, she pushes her to follow her dream, even using her connections to give her a big opportunity in her life, though she doesn’t learn everything about Rose-Lynn’s past. To complete the cast we have the children that Rose-Lynn doesn’t give the most amount of time too as well as certain people that don’t learn everything about the past.

PerformancesJessie Buckley is fantastic in this leading role, playing a role that isn’t always the most likeable, but once she gets free to sing, you will become mesmerized by her performance. Julie Walters is one of Britain’s best actresses, she shines in the supporting role throughout the film, showing every emotion required through her facial expressions. Sophie Okonedo in the supporting role is great to watch too, as are the whole cast in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a Scottish country singer fresh out of prison, where she wants to put her life back on track, only she needs to learn what is the most important part of her life, her music or her children. This is a story that is about being able to balance the chasing of dreams with the reality of life, learning to find a balance that can make you enjoy your passion, without giving up on your family, trying to get back on your feet after a stupid mistake. This does have the traditional feeling you will get when you see somebody needing to face this decision, you know there is always a chance for greatness, while it could be just waiting to happen, you must chase a dream. We do get to see how life can find a way for you whether you are from the bottom or starting at the top.

MusicThe music in the film is the country sound that Rose-Lynn enjoys listening to and performing.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in and around Glasgow, this does show us the tougher everyday life that Rose-Lynn was raised in and where she wants to be, the places which have given her a chance to perform.


Scene of the Movie – Glasgow song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Rose-Lynn is selfish character at times.

Final Thoughts This is a delightful movie that shows us just how much dreams and reality need to be balanced to never give up on either, with a stunning performance from Jessie Buckley.

Overall: Wonderful movie.

Stuck (2017) Movie Review

Director: Michael Berry

Writer: Michael Berry (Screenplay) Riley Thomas (Play)

Starring: Giancarlo Esposito, Amy Madigan, Ashanti, Arden Cho, Omar Chaparro, Gerald Canonico, Tim Young, Reyna de Courcy

Plot: An original pop musical film about six strangers who get stuck on a New York City subway together and change each others lives in unexpected ways.


Tagline – Sometimes it Takes a Stranger to Help You Find Your Voice

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Essential Viewing

Story: Stuck starts as the six strangers find themselves in a single subway carriage, we have the homeless man Lloyd (Esposito) that has been people watching on the subway for years, seeing people come and go for years, Sue (Madigan), Eve (Ashanti) who has been having personal troubles, Alicia (Cho) a dancer that has her own stalker in Caleb (Canonico) who has been designing his own comicbook superhero. along with construction worker Ramon (Chaparro).

When the train gets stopped, the six find themselves waiting, with Lloyd pushing them to let out their inner stories of what they are chasing in life, each person is from a different background, culture and ethnic group, where they each get to learn about life through another set of eyes.

Thoughts on Stuck

Characters – Lloyd is a homeless man living on the subway with his cart, we see him doing the everyday cleaning routine, while he people watches, knowing everyone that comes onto the subway. He likes to use song and performance to beg for money as he tries to bring the people together on their stranded time together. Sue comes from a professional job, being from an older generation that wants to accept everyone, but gets caught un in the political correct terms to address them on the subway. Eve is a woman that has found an unexpected twist in her life, suffering from relationship problems being very defensive. Alicia is a Korean dancer that is happy to close herself off from the world to follow her dream. Ramon is a Hispanic construction worker trying to balance three jobs just to give his daughter a better life. Caleb is a young man that is stalking Alicia, while he designs his own comic book about disabled superhero.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances we have six very talented actors, each one from a different age or ethnic background which helps them connect to the story they are telling, we see that these people could be from anywhere and have their own story.

StoryThe story here follows six people that get stuck on a subway carriage, they are from different backgrounds, cultures and ethnic groups, they all have stories to tell, ones that you can only get to learn from talking to people. This story is one of the most important ones you will see this year, it shows you can never judge somebody until you learn their stories, you will never know the truth they are holding inside or the fights they have fought to be where they are. This will open your eyes to just what is out there and becoming accepting to everybody you meet, pass in the street or share a subway with, one that will show people can be there for you in life.

MusicalThe songs sung through the film show us the stories the characters are going through, you can tell the tone of the story through each song

SettingsThe story is almost set entirely on the subway, here we see the strangers trapped and getting to know each other, it is simple and effective to show how a simple conversation can learn a story.


Scene of the Movie – Sue’s story.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing

Final Thoughts This is one of the most essential viewings of the year because of just how easily it shows us that we should listen to other people’s stories in life.

Overall: Absolutely Delightful.

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – N – Notorious (2009)

Director: George Tillman Jr

Writer: Reggie Rock Bythewood, Cheo Hodari Coker (Screenplay)

Starring: Jamal Woolard, Anthony Mackie, Derek Luke, Angela Bassett, Antonique Smith, Charles Malik Whitfield

 

Plot: The life and death story of Notorious B.I.G. (a.k.a. Christopher Wallace), who came straight out of Brooklyn to take the world of rap music by storm.


Tagline – The story of the man behind the legend.

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fans of the Icon will Enjoy

 

Story: Notorious starts with the final moments of Christopher ‘Biggie’ Wallace (Woolard) life, before he flashes back to his childhood, raised by his single mother Voletta (Bassett), getting given a chance to start making money from drug dealing where he becomes addicted to make money, until he gets busted.

At 19 he gets a chance to enter the music industry when Puffy Daddy (Luke) gives him a way to escape the life of drug dealing, however difficult it seems. When Biggie finally get the record deal, he soon becomes an international sensation grabbing the attention from another rapper Tupac Shakur (Mackie) who soon becomes a rival with deadly consequences.

 

Thoughts on Notorious

 

Characters – Christopher ‘Biggie’ Wallace was a rapper from Brooklyn, he started on the streets as a drug dealer, before showing his rapping skills that saw him become one of the biggest rap stars in the world in the 90’s, we get to see how he has to deal with his vices with women chasing his desire to have too much money. The film doesn’t show him to be a nice man, he cheats on his partners, commits crimes and gets violent when he gets upset, it is a shame for somebody with talent to be such a horrible person. Sean Puffy Combs is the man that takes a chance on Biggie even after losing his position in a record company, he had an eye for talent and knew how to make the most out of it. Tupac is a rival rapper that starts with respect, but because of his continuing side business in drugs, the tension grows and Tupac soon starts a war against Biggie which became a bigger story than any of their music. Faith is Biggie’s wife that has the talent he has though she does become the one that stays with him even if they have an abusive relationship toward each other, well that is what the film shows us.

PerformancesJamal Woolard is brilliant in this leading role, he shows the laidback style Biggie presented himself as, while showing just how easily he can snap. Derek Luke and Anthony Mackie are both strong in the supporting roles, while the rest of the cast give us strong performances too.

StoryThe story here follows the life of Biggie one of the biggest rappers of the 90s that wanted to prove music could inspire change only to get drawn into a gang war with another rapper Tupac, one that made the two even more famous. We follow Biggie in and out of the music world, seeing how he was trying to escape a life of crime, but is drawn into relationship problems. The story doesn’t always paint him as a nice guy though, the way he handles the women in his life is getting into the abusive area. Otherwise this shows us how Biggie wasn’t interested in getting involved in the gang war, he just want to make honest money.

Biopic/Crime/MusicThe biopic side of the film shows how Biggie was being drawn towards a life of crime or leaving it behind to become a big music sensation and how his life changed with the new, making him part of one of the biggest rap battles in history. The crime world is showing how Biggie was always trying to get out of this world and give you hope to others that are facing it. While I personally wasn’t a fan of the music involved, it will please the fans of his music.

SettingsThe film is set in the backdrop Brooklyn shows where he has come from and how he wants to stay loyal to the people who supported him.


Scene of the Movie –
Making the choice.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The film doesn’t show him able to treat his women with respect.

Final ThoughtsThis is a biopic that showed how easily a rivalry can start within the business that could end up becoming deadly between two biggest names in the music industry.

 

Overall: Music biopic that defined a decade.

Rating