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

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – G – God Help the Girl (2014)

Director: Stuart Murdoch

Writer: Stuart Murdoch (Screenplay)

Starring: Emily Browning, Olly Alexander, Hannah Murray, Pierre Boulanger, Cora Bisset, Sarah Swire

 

Plot: As Eve begins writing songs as a way to sort through some emotional problems, she meets James and Cassie, two musicians each at crossroads of their own.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict:

 

Story: God Help the Girl starts as we meet Eve (Browning) she is living in a mental home to help her deal with the emotional problems which have damaged her body. Eve isn’t happy here and when she can, she runs away to watch music, here she meets James (Alexander) who offers her friendship.

With the latest escape, Eve moves into the flat in the same building as James and the two-start helping each other and Cassie (Murray) to write songs, giving Eve the purpose she required in life, before they trio decide to start their own band.

 

Thoughts on God Help the Girl

 

Characters – Eve starts this film in a mental home because of her own personal problems, she needs to learn to rebuild her life after the problems which occurred, we don’t learn completely what the issue was early on. She writes songs to help her through the treatment, before escaping and meeting another musician, starting a band opening herself back up to the world. James is the one of the group who had been part of a band before, he offers Eve friendship as they both learn to enjoy the music once again. He doesn’t want to be a cliché when it comes to music, which only holds up the band from finding their own sound. Cassie is the girl from a rich family, she has always struggled to write her own songs, joining with the rest she can learn to perform to the world.

PerformancesEmily Browning in the leading role shows of the acting skills here with her character needing to deal with the largest amounts of emotional problems with her life. We understand each emotion she is going through and she does hit off the singing too. Olly Alexander and Hannah Murray both fill the supporting roles, where they both get their moments to shine.

StoryThe story is split between three people, the focus on Eve who has mental problems in her life, she is trying to help herself through music, we watch as she needs to put her life back together and see how much she is willing to risk to put herself back into the life she needs to be living, there are many important factors to understand what she is going through, which is the most important part of the story, learning to balance dreams and life can become difficult. The other two characters must learn this with their own reasons holding them back one not wanting to be cliché, the other needing to accept everybody for being the same in life. With the serious nature to the film, the randomness of the songs can sometimes take away the message, though most of the songs are here to express the emotions being felt through the film.

Musical/RomanceThe music in the film has plenty of songs that are showing the emotions that the characters are feeling, which is great, though they don’t feel catchy as they want to be. The romance shows how the lives of these three young people are trying to find love over a summer of music.

SettingsThe film is set in Scotland which gets to show the beauty in the busy streets and open country.


Scene of the Movie –
Final performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The songs aren’t as catchy as you would imagine.

Final ThoughtsThis is a musical that tackles serious mental health issues, while teaching us the ideas of balancing dreams and reality.

 

Overall: Musical that teaches life lessons.

Rating

 

 

We Are Little Zombies (2019) Movie Review

Director: Makoto Nagahisa

Writer: Makoto Nagahisa (Screenplay)

Starring: Keita Ninomiya, Mondo Okumura, Satoshi Mizuno, Sena Nakajima

Plot: Four Japanese orphans form a rock band.

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Beautifully Unique

Story: We Are Little Zombies starts as four children Hikari (Ninomiya), Takemura (Okumura), Ishi (Mizuno) and Ikuko (Nakajima) all meet at the funeral other their parents, they strike up a bond, which sees them become friends instantly, as they all are dealing with the same grief in life.

The four decide to stick together, leaving their new lives behind and setting out on their own lives, which sees them on the verge of homelessness, here they discover their true calling, to be rock stars, using only the instruments from the local dump.

Thoughts on We Are Little Zombies

Characters – Hikari has spent most of his young life alone, he uses video games to get him through his alone time and after the accident which kills his parents, videos games continue to be a big part of his healing process, along with his new friends. Takemura and Ishi saw his parents die suddenly too, with them both having different people they need to impress in their new lives, people they both don’t want to be around. While Ikuko saw her parents murdered, with her one possession she would like back, being her piano. The four are drawn together to remain friends and show their new talents in music, a wave that will take over the country.

PerformancesWe have four wonderful performances from our young cast, Keita Ninomiya, Mondo Okumura, Satoshi Mizuno and Sena Nakajima, show a joyful chemistry that is surrounding their own problems they are going through in life and bring to life a new natural friendship.

StoryThe story here follows four orphans that meet at their parents funerals, they create a unique bond that helps them address their emotionless reaction to what has happened and end up turning to music to look for their future in the world. We have so many themes going on through the film it is one you would need a couple of times to pick up on all the subtle little ones, the major one is about grief and loss, needing to learn how to deal with losing loved ones, we have friendship being important too, we see how fandom can cause more problems for anyone in the spotlight and how people will turn to different ideas to escape the reality of the world. This is such a clever, unique way to tell a story, with the whole experience feeling like a video game, with each chapter displayed like a new level of life.

MusicWe have a musical theme running through the movie, with the orphans making a band, the songs mix video game music to create a unique sound for the band.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the different locations the orphans end up visiting as they look to find their location in the world to fix the pain they are going through.


Scene of the Movie – Little Zombies, the first song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The introduction to the characters is slightly too long.

Final Thoughts This is an utterly unique movie that tackles difficult themes in life for teenagers in a way that you have never seen before in a way that you will never forget the experience it gives you.

Overall: Must Watch Movie.