ABC Film Challenge – Romance – C – Larry Crowne (2011)

Director: Tom Hanks

Writer: Tom Hanks, Nia Vardalos (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Pam Grier, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Holmes Osbourne, Taraji P Henson, Rob Riggle

 

Plot: After losing his job, a middle-aged man reinvents himself by going back to college.


Tagline – Never too late in life to start living.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Clichéd Rom Com

 

Story: Larry Crowne starts as we meet Larry (Hanks) a hard-working sales man for a supermarket like company that is let go due to him not having a college education, in desperate search for a new purpose, he heads back to college with one of his lecturers being Mercedes Tainot (Roberts) who feels she is under achieving.

After meeting fellow student Talia (Mbatha-Raw), he learns to fit in with the students and helps him find a new purpose as he reinvents himself.

 

Thoughts on Larry Crowne

 

Characters – Larry Crowne spent years in the Navy as a chef, he has worked his way up the ranks at a superstore, only to find himself laid off because he doesn’t have a college education. Not finding a new job, he heads back to college where he makes new friends and clashes with the teachers, while finding himself. He doesn’t have a bad bone in his body and just wants to help people. Mercedes Tainot is a teacher that doesn’t feel she is achieving everything she could, she enjoys a drink to cover her failings in life with her marriage going down the toilet, she pushes her students while not always caring. Talia is a student that takes Larry under her wing, helps him join their gang and becomes the friend he needs through his college experience. She is the spark in the movie that keeps everything feeling fresh.

PerformancesTom Hanks takes many roles in this film, director, writer and leading man, he is good in this role, where he can play into the comedy he was once known for, but it is far from the best we know he can do. Julia Roberts is good too, she enjoys playing a less complicated character to the ones we know her for too. For me the star of the movie must be Gugu Mbatha-Raw who steals every scene we see her in with her pure positivity. The rest of the supporting cast are good throughout the film with some names that have gone onto bigger things too.

StoryWhen I look at this story it does show us how one man who loses his job, wife and is left facing no future because of his lack of education, it does play out like an important look at the real world, this side of the story is good, the problems I found with the story include how he goes to college, but we never learn what this is to achieve because on of the courses seems like a made up one too. We get a romantic angle which just doesn’t work and while it does show us about taking change in your life in your stride we do see to lose plot points quickly through the film.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film does work, it is mostly light hearted which works well. The romance in the film for me is mostly a miss because we do try to play into what could happen between the two, which shouldn’t be around in this story for Larry.

SettingsThe settings in the film take our main character back to college and to locations he wouldn’t have imagined he would have gone, even with they are cliched as they come.


Scene of the Movie –
Larry’s speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The subplots just seem to vanish through the story.

Final ThoughtsThis movie does want to give us an important message, but by the end it just falls into the clichés we know too often in rom coms.

 

Overall: By the book.

Rating

 

 

The Waiting (2020) Movie Review

Director: F.C. Rabbath

Writer: F.C. Rabbath (Screenplay)

Starring: Nick Leali, Molly Raterman, Laura Altair, Michelle Feliciano, Mark A Marple, Bob Myers

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Beautiful Horror Romance

Story: The Waiting starts when down on his luck Eric (Leali) is looking to get back into dating, with a string of bad dates, but things look up when he gets a new job at a hotel, where Sally (Altair) is also on her first day.

The hotel does have a haunted room, with a reputation that you can only stay in a certain room for one minute, where Eric takes the challenge of going in the room, where he meets the ghost face to face.

Thoughts on The Waiting

Characters – Eric is a positive man that finds his love life not going well, jobs hard to come by, he is given a chance at a hotel, where his friendly nature sees him fit in with ease, Eric learns of the haunted room, which sees him try to solve the mystery behind it, showing he has a kind nature to both people in this life and after it. Elizabeth is the ghost that lives in the room, she has haunted it for years, until Eric starts to listen to her pain, she needs to escape the room going forward, only she is attached to the room in the afterlife. Sally is the fellow new member of staff on the cleaning team, she is scared by the stories about the room, which leads her to get Eric to try the room, she does see the good in the ideas about the actions. Steve is the manager of the hotel, he will take it easier on the staff once he hears about the bigger ideas for the hotel.

PerformancesNick Leali in the leading role is great, he brings to life a genuine nice guy that is always looking to help someone. Molly Raterman as the ghost figure gives a performance that is all about facial expression and body movement, which leaves you understand each emotion her character is going through. The rest of the cast are strong too, bringing about the extra twists in the story.

StoryThe story here follows a happy-go-lucky man that gets a new job in a hotel which is haunted, where he befriends the ghost to try and help understand its story to why it has remained in the hotel. This does bring a fresh spin on the haunted hotel room idea, as we know there are haunted hotel rooms around the world, we don’t get an overly aggressive ghost, we don’t have the investigation equipment, we have an attempt to communicate and learn the reason the ghost is here, with a story that has sadness involved. We do have twists along the way, when it comes to seeing how people have been acting, the idea of trying to do the right thing is going to come through strong.

Comedy/Horror/RomanceThe comedy does come from the nature of Eric, even if criticised, we will spin the reason into humour, the horror is with the idea of the haunted hotel room, though we don’t go to in depth with the horror elements. The romance circles around first Eric’s unlucky times in love and why the ghost is still in the hotel.

SettingsThe film does use the hotel as the one main location, the different rooms, be it the security room, the room 101 which the ghost occupies and where the other guest enjoy their stays at the hotel.


Scene of the Movie – The first ghost appearance has the best reaction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have gotten an extra scare on a guest or two.

Final Thoughts This is a delightful horror romance that shows the bigger picture of dealing with understanding why a ghost could be haunting a room in a hotel.

Overall: Horror that brings a light to haunting.

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – B – The Bounty Hunter (2010)

Director: Andy Tennant

Writer: Sarah Thorp (Screenplay)

Starring: Gerald Butler, Jennifer Aniston, Gio Perez, Joel Marsh Garland, Jason Kolotouros, Matt Malloy, Jason Sudeikis, Adam Rose

 

Plot: A bounty hunter learns that his next target is his ex-wife, a reporter working on a murder cover-up. Soon after their reunion, the always-at-odds duo find themselves on a run-for-their-lives adventure.


Tagline – It’s a Job. It Isn’t Personal. Well, Maybe a Little 

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Rom Com 101

 

Story: The Bounty Hunter starts when bounty hunter Milo Boyd (Butler) is in need of money gets given a chance for a new bounty, his ex-wife reporter Nicole (Aniston) who has skipped bail for an assault charge.

Once Milo catches up with Nicole, he goes through the difficult task of getting her across country, while her creepy work colleague Stewart (Sudeikis) tracks them and the story Nicole is investigating has people trying to clean it up before it gets released.

 

Thoughts on The Bounty Hunter

 

Characters – Milo Boyd is an alcoholic bounty hunter and former cop that gets his latest assignment, his ex-wife, his gambling and drinking problems cause problems along the way as the relationship between the two only takes them off guard. Nicole is a reporter that is looking into a suicide that doesn’t add up, she has gotten herself in trouble over an assault charge and by not attending court a bounty is placed on her head, she is determined to uncover the truth in her story even with her ex-husband tracking her down to put her back in jail. Stewart is co-worker that believes he is in a relationship with Nicole sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong. The rest of the characters are the people involved in the case.

PerformancesGerald Butler and Jennifer Aniston were two of the biggest rom com stars at the time of release, they are both good through the film without doing anything great. The supporting cast add the laughs where needed without any of the character being too quirky for the film.

StoryThe story follows an ex-married couple who are thrown together as the husband must bring in the wife who skipped bail to investigate a story for her paper. We get the typical bickering between the couple which gets laughs when needed, we have a side story about what is being investigated which could have been give a lot more spotlight than it gets. We also deal with people trying to track down both of the couple for other reasons and by the end it all ties together to be watchable for the audience. It would be fair to say we have one too many side stories going on and the bickering gets old quickly showing us why they should never be a couple in the first place. we also miss out of learning more about what drove Milo to bounty hunting over his police job which he is clearly very good at.

Action/Comedy/RomanceThe action is a mix of chases and accidental gun fights which is fine we don’t need the action to be too intense in this film. the comedy comes from the romance side of the story which shows us just how difficult the couple can be at times.

SettingsThe film takes place in different American cities, none of them do feel that iconic with most just becoming generic city number one then two etc.


Scene of the Movie –
Strip club.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many side stories going on.

Final ThoughtsThis is a watchable rom com, it does the basics well uses the star power well and will entertain without being the best of the year.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – A – Along for the Ride (2000)

Director: John Kaye

Writer: John Kaye (Screenplay)

Starring: Melanie Griffith, Penelope Ann Miller, Patrick Swayze, Richard Schiff, Annie Corley, Lee Garlington, Michael J Pollard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Plot: A schizophrenic romantic tracks down her college sweetheart to help her find their son she gave up for adoption sixteen years ago to the dismay of his new wife.


Tagline – First Love Lasts Forever

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Feel Good Movie

Story: Along for the Ride starts when schizophrenic Lulu (Griffith) leaves her home to find her college sweetheart, Ben Clifton (Swayze) who has gone onto become a television screenwriter and married to Claire (Miller) with them both having a happy life together. Lulu comes in search of Ben to drop a bombshell on him, they have a child and that is the reason she left the home to see him on his 16th birthday for the first time.

As Ben reluctantly agrees to go on the trip, Claire is left torn with their own past dealing with the grief the two experienced between the two.

Thoughts on Along for the Ride

Characters – Lulu is the schizophrenic woman that has lived in a home to help her manage her condition, until she decides to leave without any warning, she wants to find Ben to face something from their past, a child she had kept secret for years from everybody else, she has been managing her condition, but her outbursts are clear that she can’t handle being alone in life, with the moment potentially being the biggest challenge of her life. Ben is a screenwriter that is happily married despite having their own tragedy in the family, she is Lulu’s ex from decades before and learns the bombshell they have a kid and must travel across country to meet him with Lulu, putting his career and own marriage on the line. Claire is the wife of Ben who gets even more concerned about him running of with Lulu, she has been dealing their own person problems her own way, which is why she is even more worried about Ben and wants to stop something she thinks is going to happen, happen.

PerformancesMelanie Griffith is great in the role, playing a difficult character and showing both sides of her character’s personality with ease. Patrick Swayze is great too, showing us just how difficult grief can be for people. Penelope Ann Miller as the wife who is concerned about her marriage is everything you want from a character that is feeling distant.

StoryThe story here follows a schizophrenic woman that turns to an ex-lover to travel across country to meet their son, one he never knew they had, putting his own career and marriage on the line to help his former partner. This story does show how much love can last forever, no matter how long you are apart and that a mother will always give everything to show love to their child even if they haven’t been able to spend any time with them. We see how a marriage could be put in a difficult position because of a tragic event that nobody involved could have planned for. We have a mix of a road tip and reconnection and dealing with the past in this story, which is all handled well, with the schizophrenic character showing us just how easily it can be switched on and off without any control.

RomanceThe romance side of the film follows the idea of what once was there and what could have been there more, along with how people move on a fall in love again. We look into more adult relationships rather than the whirlwind that comes from first falling in love.

SettingsThe film does have a road trip setting which sees the characters travelling across America, we don’t go for any big landmarks, which at times doesn’t help understand the scale of the distant being travelled.


Scene of the Movie – The Hustler screening.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Freddie.

Final Thoughts This is an enjoyable road trip movie that has an excellent cast, with strong performances throughout, one to be watch by the fans of the stars.

Overall: Enjoyable throughout.

Tobey Maguire Weekend – Labor Day (2013) Movie Review

Director: Jason Reitman

Writer: Jason Reitman (Screenplay) Joyce Maynard (Novel)

Starring: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire, Tom Lipinski, Maika Monroe, Clark Gregg, James Van Der Beek

Plot: Depressed single mom Adele and her son Henry offer a wounded, fearsome man a ride. As police search town for the escaped convict, the mother and son gradually learn his true story as their options become increasingly limited.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Lifeless

Story: Labour Day starts when single mother Adele (Winslet) who has become depressed hiding from the world with her son Henry (Griffith) who is used to her routine, on the latest trip to the store, the pair meet Frank (Brolin) an escaped criminal looking for somewhere to hide out.

Instead of continuing his escape plan, Frank ends up staying with two, as she starts to show Adele a good time, showing he is a nice guy, only the known murder charge left on his head, is only putting a toll on the relationship between Adele and Henry.

Thoughts on Labour Day

Characters – Adele is the depressed single mother that has seen her husband leave and start a new life, leaving her with their only son, she doesn’t like to leave the house and when she does, she will follow a strict routine, until Frank starts to show her something different in life. Frank is a criminal who escaped from prison while receiving medical treatment, he uses Adele and Henry to hide out, where he shows himself to be a nice person capable of being part of a family, giving Adele hope she never imagined. Henry is the teenage boy that has been helping his mother through her struggles, he does spend one day a week with his father and now he is starting to find himself in a position where he might be getting replaced by Frank, leading him to feel insecure about his own future with his mum.

PerformancesA film that has Kate Winslet in the leading role should be elevated, while her performance does this, she can’t save the film, neither can Josh Brolin who fails to make the big impact required. Gattlin Griffith does well for the youngster next to the big names, being the most interesting of the characters in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a depressed single mother that takes in a convict on the run and the two start to fall in love, helping her get out of her slump in life. This story isn’t the most interesting with the idea being that two people from different worlds could make each other happy even though we can see how many problems them being together could have with them being together. The story is told from a grown up son’s point of view, which shows how at the time he doesn’t understand everything, but now he understands everything that is going on.

RomanceThe romance side of the film shows the two falling in love slowly despite being in different stages of life.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the family home, with Frank being unable to be seen outside of the house, this keeps everything together for what is going on without needing the usual over the top romantic gestures.


Scene of the Movie – Cooking.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Pacing.

Final Thoughts This is a dull romantic drama that even with a-list stars, just doesn’t save this from being enjoyable.

Overall: Dull throughout.