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.

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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

 

 

Rocketman (2019)

Director: Dexter Fletcher

Writer: Lee Hall (Screenplay)

Starring: Taron Egerton, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard, Stephen Graham, Jamie Bell, Harriet Walter, Tate Donovan

 

Plot: A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years.


Tagline – The Only Way to Tell His Story is to live His Fantasy.

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Flamboyant Biopic

 

Story: Rocketman starts as we see how Elton John (Egerton) is checking himself into rehab after his years of abuse of alcohol, drugs and sex, in rehab Elton tells his story from when he was shy timid Reggie who was raised by his mother Sheila (Howard) and father who never encourage his talent to be able to pick up any musical sound he hears.

Reggie continues to follow his dreams, changing his name to Elton John where he is team with songwriter Bernie Taupin (Bell) which would see them rise to international fame, where Elton would turn to drink and drugs to cope with hiding his own sexuality from the world, which could see him lose his international fame.

 

Thoughts on Rocketman

 

Characters – Elton John is one of the most famous singers in the world, in this film we see how his timid upbringing would see him turn to music where his abilities have gone to show he can pick up any music and mimic it, as well as create his own sound. We see how he tries to make an impact, working with Bernie Taupin to turn his words into song that will define a generation. Elton has an ability to see how each song can be seen which shows how his drug filled fantasies made the performances easier for him to perform. Bernie Taupin is the best friend to Elton, he writes the songs which will see the stardom come to the pair, he performs to be away from the spotlight, which will see him being the only one that can find Elton a grounded base with his stardom. John Reid is one of the managers that was also a lover of Elton’s, he is controlling with how he makes Elton perform even when he isn’t in the mindset, John is the type of person that we see ruin careers of the best performers from around the war. Sheila is the mother of Elton, she doesn’t show the encouragement you would expect a mother to show towards their child with talents that Elton possess.

PerformancesTaron Egerton is fantastic in this leading role, you completely believe he is Elton John with each and every moment in the film, the serious sides to the performances. Jamie Bell is great too, bringing the calm side to the story which is important throughout. Richard Madden is truly wonderful because he brings this horrible person to life. Bryce Dallas Howard completes the great performance throughout the film which sees her show somebody that doesn’t support their child.

StoryThe story here follows the early years of Elton John to the time he finally is able to get over his addictions that could see his career being over before he has given us the legacy we know he has had. The story is told in the fantasy visions through each song, which is wonderful and the highlight of the story telling process, the career that Elton had was great to see unfold too. The biggest weakness in the story comes from the lack of timeline unless you know Elton’s song history, we do struggle to know just where things are set until you do the maths at the end of the film. the story to watch is pure fun to watch and enjoy.

Biopic/MusicThe biopic side of the film shows how Elton John did go from timid shy young boy to one of the most flamboyant performers in music history, we see his demons start to takeover showing his abilities are slowly heading in the wrong direction. The music side of film shows how the visions of the music come to life with each song having its own unique look.

SettingsThe film shows the different location that would see Elton go from small neighbourhood house, to the mansion he spends his time alone in, as well as the different levels of performances from bars to stadiums.


Scene of the Movie –
Your Song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me No timeline.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the mot flamboyant biopics you will ever see, it turns the songs of Elton into song and dance moments which will only entertain throughout.

 

Overall: Entertaining Biopic.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – Q – Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

Director: Bryan Singer

Writer: Anthony McCarten (Screenplay) Anthony McCarten, Peter Morgan (Story)

Starring: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilyn Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Mike Myers

 

Plot: A chronicle of the years leading up to Queen‘s legendary appearance at the Live Aid (1985) concert.


Tagline – The only thing more extraordinary than their music is his story

Runtime: 2 Hour 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Incredible Career, Poorly Told

 

Story: Bohemian Rhapsody starts as we see Freddie (Malek) working at the airport following an indie band around which has Brian May (Lee) and Roger Taylor (Hardy) in, who have just lost their lead singer, giving Freddie a chance to audition to take over and bring the band to a new level.

We follow the rise of Queen as the three joined by John Deacon (Mazzello) to rise through the ranks becoming one of biggest bands in the world, defining a generation of music makers. We mostly follow Freddie as he does deal with his own sexuality and mortality with his fame and musical genesis being tested.

 

Thoughts on Bohemian Rhapsody

 

Characters – Freddie Mercury is one of the biggest names in music history, we know his story, well how it ends anyway, we know the bands music. In this film we learn how he broke from his family traditions to become a Rockstar and bought a brand new meaning to entertaining the audience, we see his vices and how was only part of bands music history. Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon are the rest of the band and have their moments which show us just how the songs came about, they work well together questioning ideas. Mary Austin is the muse for Freddie, the first love even though she knows he is gay, she is one of the few people that never gives up on Freddie.

PerformancesRami Malek is great in the leading role as you believe he has become Freddie ready to perform to the audience, easily his best performance of his career. Diving into the rest of cast, they are all good and perform in the scenes they need to an impact.

StoryThe story follows the career of Freddie Mercury, from the day he joined the band, to the Live Aid performance which changed the concert. The film shows us the important moments, the times they made the big steps in the career, how certain songs came about and the personal demons Freddie was dealing with. Now the story is told poorly because we only focus on the good in the career, there aren’t any truly bad moments shown here even though we know how difficult and isolated Freddie was feeling. The career Queen had was amazing which should be respected and told in a smarter way.

Biopic/MusicThe biopic checklist is filled out nicely because we get to see the good from the career, the problem is, we don’t see enough of the weakness in the career. The music shows us just how entertaining Queen were and how legendary the songs are.

SettingsThe film shows us the settings that the band went through to become the icons that we know.


Scene of the Movie –
Live Aid.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We only see the good.

Final ThoughtsThis is a biopic that plays everything too safe, Malek is amazing and the songs are too with the performances we all know people enjoy.

 

Overall: Queen fans will love, even though the film has weaknesses.

Rating