ABC Film Challenge – Random – Y – Youth (2015)

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Writer: Paolo Sorrentino (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano

 

Plot: A retired orchestra conductor is on holiday with his daughter and his film director best friend in the Alps when he receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip’s birthday.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Drama

 

Story: Youth starts as we arrive in this Swiss Alps luxury resort where retired orchestra conductor Fred Ballinger (Caine) and his best friend film director Mike Boyle (Keitel). Fred uses the annual trip as a chase relax and get treated, Mike is working on the next screenplay with a group of students.

Fred’s relaxing holiday gets changed when Mike’s son divorces his daughter Lena (Weisz) meaning she is spending her holiday with him, he does enjoy this company though otherwise he would be alone. Fred does get requested to perform at Prince Philip’s birthday by Queen Elizabeth II but refuses at first, but the Queen won’t take no for an answer but his reasons will help Lena through her own problems. Fred also ends up having a holiday relationship with young actor Jimmy Tree (Dano) who understands Fred’s frustration because he is feeling them too as an actor.

The holiday will give new feelings, directions and moments for these four, ones that you can only get from relaxing and enjoying yourself once in a while.

 

Thoughts on Youth

 

Characters/PerformanceFred Ballinger is a world famous musical conductor that is requested by the Queen to perform, but he has retired now and all he wants is peace and quiet in this relaxing holiday in the Swiss Alps, he hasn’t been the same since he lost his wife and wants to continue he love of music with the next generation. Mick Boyle is a screenwriter and director who is also Fred’s good friend, he is on this holiday to teach a group of students. Lena was spending time with her father before going on her own holiday but those plans fall through as her life is turned upside down and now she needs her father more than ever. Jimmy is an actor who is also dealing with the problem of being remember for only one thing but he is young and wants to be remembered for more.

Performance wise, this is fantastic performance from Michael Caine showing just how talented he is even in his older years, Keitel is also great in the supporting role where we get to see how can be a supporting actor and not take away from the lead. Weisz and Dano are both great too where we can see just how wonderful they are.

StoryThis is a story showing how people of all ages can achieve new things, they have made bad mistakes but most of, you can learn from it all. This is a strange paced movie that does tell a nice story of the four characters down on their luck finding more from their lives.

Comedy/Music/RomanceThe comedy works in places, mostly because of the strangeness going on through the film, the music is all about how Fred finds it anything with the romance coming from the experiences the four have had.

SettingsThe Swiss Alps make for a beautiful setting, with the hotel and spa making it all look complete for the escaping from the reality of their lives.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautiful looking, wonderful acted movie that is well worth watching to learn about moments of life.

 

Overall: Lovely drama.

Rating

 

 

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Pitch Perfect 3 (2017)

Director: Trish Sie

Writer: Kay Cannon, Mike White (Screenplay) Mickey Rapkin (Book)

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Hailee Steinfeld, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, Kelley Jakle

 

Plot: Following their win at the world championship, the now separated Bellas reunite for one last singing competition at an overseas USO tour, but face a group who uses both instruments and voices.


Tagline – Last Call Pitches

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Conclusion to the Trilogy

 

Story: Pitch Perfect 3 starts as the Bellas tired of their everyday lives, reunite for an overseas military performance. Beca (Kendrick), Fat Amy (Wilson), Chloe (Snow), Aubrey (Camp) and Emily (Steinfeld) along with the rest set up to tour and perform with fellow bands for military families.

Arriving the Bellas learn they are not on the same level as the fellow bands which brings the Bellas together to improve their own game and et themselves for their lives.

 

Thoughts on Pitch Perfect 3

 

Characters – Beca has been working as a music producer, her dream job, but she is struggling with the artists, which leads to her going on tour with the Bellas for one last round before trying to find her place in the real world. Fat Amy brings us the jokes through the film, embracing her image and this trip gives her a chance to re-connect with her father. Chloe and Aubrey are both struggling in real life and thrive on bring the group back together. Emily is still the youngster member of the group and this time she does start to fade into the background of the group.

PerformancesAnna Kendrick in the leading role is good in her role where she handles the singing wonderfully and is the role she can handle with ease. Rebel Wilson is always the centre of attention with the comic timing this time she does it solo without Adam Devine to bounce off.

StoryThe story picks up with the Bellas as they reunite again, they are all at pivotal points in their lives and this will be the last chance they have to perform together and once again they must prove themselves to the next level. We do have a lot of sub plots for the girls which can at times feel buried compared to others, but the highlight of the story is the Gail and John character providing commentary to the film, pointing out the problems in the previous films. This will tick all the boxes for the fans of the previous films.

Comedy/MusicThe comedy is a nice mix even if most falls for Rebel Wilson to hit home, the music brings a mix of the popular songs that get great remixes.

SettingsThe settings takes us around certain Europe where we would have military bases showing we are going bigger for the Bellas.


Scene of the Movie –
Riff off.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Trying too hard with side stories that don’t hit because they don’t get enough time.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice conclusion to the Pitch Perfect trilogy, it could easily show growing up with the Bellas as they heading to the real world and finding their feet. The music does hit home well too.

 

Overall: This is an enjoyable movie you can enjoy from start to finish.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – # – 20 Feet from Stardom (2013)

Director: Morgan Neville

 

Plot: Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we’ve had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.


Tagline – Meet the unsung heroes behind the greatest music of our time.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Documentary

 

Story: 20 Feet from Stardom starts as we meet different backup singers that have worked with the biggest names in music, Mick Jagger, Sting and Bruce Springsteen to mention a few, we follow these backup singers that have always wanted to sing, but not perform not giving them the fame the lead singer would get, despite the effect their singer put towards the songs.

 

Thoughts on 20 Feet from Stardom

 

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice documentary about the people that add something to the songs you know and love with their backup vocals, there stories of how they learned from the more famous performers while also aspiring to become the big names on their own stage. This is a documentary that shows that talent comes from each position on the stage.

 

Overall: Good documentary about the lesser known talents.

Rating

 

 

Chorus Line (1985)

This is a movie I got to watch from a special Park Circus Cinema showing in my local theatre.

Director: Richard Attenborough

Writer: Arnold Schulman (Screenplay) James Kirkwood Jr, Nicholas Dante (Book)

Starring: Michael Douglas, Terrence Mann, Michael Blevins

 

Plot: Hopefuls try out before a demanding director for a part in a new musical.


Tagline – One singular sensation

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Musical

 

Story: Chorus Line starts as the latest Broadway musical is casting the chorus line, director Zach (Douglas) and his choreographer Larry (Mann) have 100s of hopefuls that want this big break. We see scores of auditions going on with the numbers whittled down to 16 hopefuls, 8 women and 8 men, with former star of the show Cassie (Reed) trying to get Zach to give her a chance to audition.

We watch how the hopefuls must prove their quality to Zach so they can be in this latest show, we see how they have come from different backgrounds with their own motives for going into this field.

 

Thoughts on Chorus Line

 

Characters – Zach is the director of the show, he needs perfection and knows what he is looking for, he pushes the auditions to the limits, but gives them the motivation they need to improve for their next audition. Larry plays the nice guy, he will put his arm around anyone that needs help, to deal with the short tempered Zach, he has worked with people like this for years and knows the weakness they can hold. Cassie was once Zack’s top dancer, when things have changed she wants to return to be just one of the chorus line, a direction Zack doesn’t believe she should go in.

PerformancesMichael Douglas is now the biggest name in this movie, he does stand out because of his role as the director showing the calmness when looking out for the dancers, but the strictness while putting them back in their place. Terrence Mann is strong in this role too, we see just how important this is to his character. When it comes to the dancers they are all great through the film too.

StoryThe story shows us the routine a group of dancers must go through to try and make an impact on Broadway, we see how they have come from different background with a common dream to break the moulds of what is the normal. The whole film takes place over the one day of auditions which show how the process must go through to be selected and we are left to feel their stories and desperation to make an impact.

MusicalThe musical numbers are enjoyable through the film, with a number of the performers having their own song to make them stand out.

SettingsThe film takes place on just the Broadway location, where we see the performers on the stage, this is nice because we clearly see how this could be a live performance too.


Scene of the Movie –
Paul’s story.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We have slightly too many performers to whittle down for duration.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good musical, that translates well to screen and to the stage, we have good performance and good songs too.

 

Overall: Musical for all the fans of the genre.

Rating

 

 

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Director: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

Writer: Linda Woolverton (Screenplay) Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont (Original Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Robby Benson, Jesse Corti, Rex Everhart, Angela Lansbury, Paige O’Hara, Jerry Orbach

 

Plot: A young woman whose father has been imprisoned by a terrifying beast offers herself in his place, unaware that her captor is actually a prince, physically altered by a magic spell.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Classic Disney

 

Story: Beauty and the Beast starts as we learn the curse placed upon the Beast, who must wait until love can be felt before he can return to human form. In the small French town Belle is different to all the other girls, she enjoys reading and thinking for herself and lives with her inventor father. Belle has caught the attention of the town stud Gaston, the self-centred man that other woman dive at the feet off, but Belle is just not interested.

When Belle’s father goes missing she goes in search of him finding the Beast castle and being kept captive by the Beast and his living furniture. To escape the castle Belle must fall in love with the Beast but back home Gaston leads an attempted rescue for her. Can the fairy tale be cured and love found in an unlikely place?

 

Thoughts on Beauty and the Beast

 

Characters Belle is the typical strong lead female that wants to be independent unlike most of the other women she knows but only to find herself falling in love with the man kept her hostage. The Beast finds himself transformed in this form after not being accepting to other people, he is aggressive, grumpy and short tempered but once he opens up to Belle he could lift the curse. Gaston is the man all the women love and he believes he can have anything he wants and isn’t used to women rejecting him like Belle does, he is always planning to make it happen.

StoryThe story is about love, it is about love coming from a place you least expect it in fairy tale form. It would be fair to say there is a huge questionable flaw in this story because keeping a woman captive who then falls in love with you is creepy to say the least, but for the younger audience the story is perfect about finding a happy ending while being the strong independent woman.

Family/Musical/RomanceThe family can all enjoy this together because of the catchy musical numbers and the simple romance story.

SettingsEach setting shows us the different worlds Belle came from to be with the Beast showing the small-town girl could end up in a castle.

AnimationThe animation looks fantastic which adds to the fantasy animation you saw in the Disney films during the 90s.

Final ThoughtsThis is one film that the princess lovers will always love because it is about a normal girl that gets to be treated like a princess.

 

Overall: Wonderful fantasy romance film.

Rating