ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – U – Unlovable (2018)

Director: Suzi Yoonessi

Writer: Charlene deGuzman, Sarah Adina Smith, Mark Duplass (Screenplay)

Starring: Charlene deGuzman, John Hawkes, Melissa Leo, Paul James, Ellen Geer, Jake McDorman, Gigette Reyes

Plot: A sex and love addicted woman learns what real intimacy is when she starts making music with a reclusive man.

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Friendship Story

Story: Unlovable starts as we meet Joy (deGuzman) who is a sex and love addict, she is constantly scared of being alone in life, despite having a boyfriend in Ben (James), she works in children’s television and has turned to a support group for help.

Reaching breaking point Joy turns to Maddie (Leo) to help her with her problems, which sees her moving to a new apartment for a month where she is cut off from everybody or any temptation, here she meets Jim (Hawkes) and she gets to learn to channel her addiction into music.

Thoughts on Unlovable

Characters – Joy is the love and sex addict, she has always needed a man in her life and even when she has one, she will go behind their back when she is lonely, she seeks help from a support group, but finds it hard to get over her problems until she finds music, which gives her a new outlet in life, to help her move on in life. Jim is the neighbour at the support group, he does have his own problems and cares for his grandmother, his outlet is music and he lets Joy into his world through a new friendship. Maddie is the sponsor at the support group that offers Joy a place to stay to get over her addictions, even if she isn’t happy with the new friendship between Joy and her brother. Ben is the boyfriend that Joy can’t get over, he doesn’t like her cheating on him, but he doesn’t give her the time required, he suggests her to get help.

PerformancesCharlene deGuzman is strong in this film, she does show the addiction taking over her character’s life and the regret after slipping off the wagon. John Hawkes is the best performer in the film, where he shows his class throughout the film, Melissa Leo is great too, showing that her character is going through her own struggles.

StoryThe story here follows a sex and love addict whose addiction has cost her, her relationship, job and house, seeking help she must learn to control her urges and find something to keep her busy in life, which she does in music. This story might well come up a little short in length, but does show us how addiction can control somebody’s life to an extent that it will cost them everything, the friendship angle and bond through music is the strongest part of the story because it shows us that we could find a mutual passion for something outside our own comfort zone. As mentioned the length of the film is short, which does take away from some of the real-world side of the film, like how Joy could afford a new apartment after losing her job, does she get a new job, what is her skills etc.

Comedy/MusicThe comedy does fall slightly short here, most of the comedy comes from Joy being embarrassed more often than not. The music comes from how the two bond.

SettingsThe film is set mostly in one location where Joy goes to recover from her addiction, it does show two people can meet to help each other.


Scene of the Movie – The first song together.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Joy is very nosy.

Final Thoughts This is a good look at how friendship can come from the least likely place, it shows us that we can all help each other through the toughest times in life.

Overall: Friendship drama 101

The Ventures: Stars on Guitars (2020) Movie Review

Director: Staci Layne Wilson

Plot: Documentary film on the #1 instrumental rock group in the world, The Ventures. The story of their rise to fame in the 1960s right up to now, as they celebrate their 60th anniversary of playing the best guitar-rock of all time.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Ventures: Stars on Guitars starts as we get to see how the members of the band Don Wilson and Bob Bogle met and started to bring their own band of music, one which will see them getting a female producer Josie Cotton, which broke the barriers, and see how the band started to gain attention within the music industry.

When the band found their sound joined by Nokie Edwards on guitar, they band became one of the biggest instrumental bands in the industry, challenging The Beatles for popularity, with a style of music transcending language.

Thoughts on The Ventures: Stars on Guitars

Thoughts – Going into this documentary, I can honestly say, I had never heard of The Ventures, seeing the news they outsold The Beatles grabbed my attention and stepping into this movie with the plans to learn about the band. We are not disappointed because we get the full history of how The Ventures managed to recreate songs to appeal to a bigger audience, using the music over the lyrics to appeal to wider audiences. We see how they competed with the biggest names in music through the 1960s, The Beatles, Elvis and still having admirers in the modern era of music that has given musicians the idea to try and recreate the songs of previous artists. We do get into a true technical talk on how the band created different sounds, which will appeal to the true musician out there, but it could go into too much details for people who are more into listening, over playing.

Final Thoughts The Ventures: Stars on Guitars is a documentary that will highlight one of the most influential bands in music history.

DVD/VOD Release Date: 12/8/20



ABC Film Challenge – 80s – L – Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Director: Frank Oz

Writer: Howard Ashman (Screenplay) Roger Corman, Charles B Griffith (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, Tichina Arnold

 

Plot: A nerdy florist finds his chance for success and romance with the help of a giant man-eating plant who demands to be fed.


Tagline – Put a rare houseplant on your television. It talks. It sings. It eats people

Runtime: 1 hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Twisted and Fun Musical

 

Story: Little Shop of Horrors starts when a small florist run by Mushnik (Gardenia) is facing closure, until the nerdy florist Seymour (Moranis) has discovered a new Venus Fly Trap, which he has named Audrey II after his co-worker Audrey (Greene). Audrey II starts drawing in a new audience to the shop as Seymour and Audrey learn they have feelings for each other despite her boyfriend, bad boy dentist Orin (Martin).

The problem with Audrey II comes to light with Seymour, as it turns out that he is a carnivorous plant that needs blood to continue to grow, leading Seymour down a path to find a way to feed the plant, one that includes murder.

 

Thoughts on Little Shop of Horrors

 

Characters – Seymour is a nerd florist that has always looked to find something new in the field, he has saved the business with his latest creation, only he needs to figure out how to keep him under control. He has a crush on Audrey his co-worker never knowing how to approach her to tell her how he really feels. Audrey is the co-worker in the florist, she has always been attracted to bad boys with her latest boyfriend being abusive towards her, she does want a life which will see her with an honest man, like Seymour. Mushnik is the owner of the florist who has seen his business start to go downhill until Audrey II appears to him, which draws in a new audience, he sees money and wants to take advantage of his chance. Audrey II is the carnivorous plant that has a taste for human flesh, he slowly starts to get out of control as his hunger continues to grow.

PerformancesRick Moranis really was one of the greatest comic actors in the 80’s this showed another skill he had with singing too. Ellen Greene is a delight to watch too, Vincent Gardenia makes for the typical strict boss figure the film, while the appearances from the comedy icons of the 80s.

StoryThe story here follows a nerdy florist that has discovered a new plant which turns out to be carnivorous that wants to be fed human flesh. This is a remake story which makes for one of the simple stories out there, the idea of having an expert that has discovered something new which the world isn’t prepared for, we have two people that are in love that aren’t together and the greed of a businessman. Everything mixed together with songs makes for a fun story that will keep you guessing to where things will go next.

Comedy/Horror/Musical/RomanceThe comedy in the film comes from the talent which gets to use their skills to create different characters. the horror involved the man eating plant who is always looking for his next meal. The romance shows the two co-workers that would do anything for each other, but have never told each other how they feel. The musical side of the film does tie everything together in the film, with the catchy tunes that people still sing today.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the florist which sees how the business goes from about to lose everything to an overnight success story.

Special EffectsThe effects are practical which shows just what you can achieve with the right team who bring Audrey II to life.


Scene of the Movie –
Audrey II songs.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Couple of pop culture references have dated.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most enjoyable musical comedies you will see, it has catchy songs, wonderful performances and a creature in Audrey II that will never be forgotten.

 

Overall: Fun Musical.

Rating

 

 

Hamilton (2020) Movie Review

Director: Thomas Kail

Writer: Lin-Manuel Miranda (Screenplay)

Starring: Daveed Diggs, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Jonathan Groff, Chris Jackson, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Lin-Manuel Miranda

Plot: The real life of one of America’s foremost founding fathers and first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. Captured live on Broadway from the Richard Rodgers Theater with the original Broadway cast.

Runtime: 2 Hours 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Beautiful

Story: Hamilton starts as Alexander Hamilton (Miranda) arrives in the middle of the Revolutionary War, where he finds himself as the righthand man to George Washington (Jackson), as they look to gain their freedom from King George (Groff). Alexander is a fighter and finds it hard to step away from the conflict, despite his marriage to Eliza (Soo) and his growing family wanting him to leave the conflict behind.

After the war Alexander is assigned to join George Washington and Thomas Jefferson (Diggs) to try and find a solution to rebuild the country, which only brings more clashes between the men.

Thoughts on Hamilton

Final Thoughts This is a stage version of the largely popular musical Hamilton, one that brings a new look at home the independence of America happened, be it from escaping England’s hold and tries to build themselves are their own country, without the leadership in place. You will need to know the basics of American history before going in, even if this does bring spins to certain parts. When it comes to the music involved, we do get some brilliant songs, that do help cover the weaker songs involved, with the whole cast getting their moment to shine in the musical moments. This is one of the musical that does bring a full range of music, which does have the traditional styles, mixed with the modern music that makes you unsure on what each song will bring you. The opening song isn’t as hooking as many musicals, but once you are past that one, you could find yourself swept away in the play.

Overall: Magical Musical.

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – H – High Fidelity (2000)

Director: Stephen Frears

Writer: D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack, Scott Rosenberg (Screenplay) Nick Hornby (Book)

Starring: John Cusack, Lisa Bonet, Joelle Carter, Joan Cusack, Sara Gilbert, Jack Black, Tim Robbins, Lili Taylor, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso

 

Plot: Rob, a record store owner and compulsive list maker, recounts his top five breakups, including the one in progress.


Tagline – A comedy about fear of commitment, hating your job, falling in love and other pop favorites.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Story of Finding Love 101

 

Story: High Fidelity starts as Rob Gordon (Cusack) is breaking up with his girlfriend Laura (Hjejle) pushing him into going through his top five break ups and former girlfriends, from high school, college and adult life. Rob owns a small record shop with two employees Dick (Louiso) and Barry (Black) who are always in competition for the music to be played in the story.

Dick & Barry try to help Rob get over his break up by taking him to a local bar to see musician Marie De Salle (Bonet) who has her own unique sound, one that Rob hasn’t heard before. Rob must put his life in order to understand what he is searching for in love.

 

Thoughts on High Fidelity

 

Characters – Rob Gordon is a record store owner who makes top five lists on every possible subject in the music field, he is going through a break up which sees his latest list being his top five break ups, he is looking back at his past relationships to figure out what went wrong and deciding whether to move on with a new love interest. Laura is the latest woman that Rob has broken up with, she is trying to move on, but Rob still sees something with. Dick an Barry are the two employees at the record store, they have different tastes in music which sees them clash at times about what is being played in the store, they also provide friendship for Rob. Marie is one of the woman Rob tries to move on with a musician with new sound. We sees five other women that Rob has been with though his life, ones that have seen things go wrong for him.

PerformancesJohn Cusack in the leading role does bring us a character that is emotional difficult in relationships which works for the film, he has moments of charm and shows his angry mind side too. Todd Louiso and Jack Black both make for most of the comedy in the supporting roles, while Iben Hjejle leads the long list of actresses in the film who are all pick to play the right versions of what we could see them being.

StoryThe story follows one man that has just been through a break up and like a lot of people in break ups looks back at previous relationships to see what keeps going wrong in his life. This story is told straight to the camera, which at times gets annoying, but the idea of looking back at previous relationships does feel like something people do, wanting to know where people are in life too, if they could still miss you, if there is still something between the two. The problems in this film comes from this painting Rob as somebody is can’t find love, but he clearly can, he is just not very good a keeping the relationship together.

Comedy/Music/RomanceThe comedy in the film comes from seeing how Jack Black seems to react to everything. the music in the film shows us just how the record story and music means so much to Rob, while the romance shows us just how love isn’t always the easiest thing to understand.

SettingsThe film is set in Chicago which shows the busy nature of the people, while the record store shows us just it can bring the right minds together.


Scene of the Movie –
Barry’s performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Being spoken to through the whole film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a romance film with a difference, it shows how difficult love can be and just what it means to the people who are going through break ups.

 

Overall: Simple Alternative Romance Film

Rating