Marriage Story (2019) Movie Review

Director: Noah Baumbach

Writer: Noah Baumbach (Screenplay)

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Merritt Wever, Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, Julie Hagerty, Alan Alda

Plot: Noah Baumbach’s incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together.

Runtime: 2 Hours 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Powerful

Story: Marriage Story starts as we meet theatre director Charlie (Driver) and his wife actress Nicole (Johansson) they are about to go through a separation, with Nicole starting a new life in LA where she is trying to return to the television or film, moving away from the New York theatre lifestyle.

With the lives going on completely different directions, Nicole is pushed into getting a lawyer in Nora Fanshaw (Dern) which sees the two looking at a divorce, something neither thought would come their way, where they end up seeing the darker side of a break up even if they want to remain friends for their son.

Thoughts on Marriage Story

Characters – Nicole is an actress, mother and wife, she is given a chance to leave the theatre and return to television, while the couple are going through a separation and her moving to LA. She has given up a lot of her dreams for her marriage in the past, which is one of the reasons why she wants to get a divorce. Charlie is the theatre director, father and husband in New York, he wants to stay in New York running his theatre company. He is more stubborn that he wants to admit. Nora Fanshaw and Jay are both the lawyers hired to represent the divorcing couple, they show their ruthless sides whenever the two are trying to get the upper hand.

PerformancesAdam Driver gives us one of the best performances of the year, where he shows one that suddenly sees his whole life come crashing around him, showing the signs of his anger of everything happening. Scarlett Johansson is fantastic too where we see how she is escaping from a trapped life showing her character start a new life. Laura Dern and Ray Liotta are both great in the supporting roles usually getting the bigger and louder scenes.

StoryThe story here follows a couple that are going through a separation that turns into a messy divorce as they expose the problems, they both had through the years. The best way to describe this story is brilliant, when we break it down, it shows how relationships can break down and how two people want to end things calmly and for the right reasons, remaining friends for their son. It shows us how things can get out of hand when lawyers get involved and how everybody seems to know best apart from the two who are going through the breakup. We see how lives can change, people can move on and how holding on can be heart breaking. It is watching how both Nicole and Charlie are reacting to how everything is spirally out of hand which is easy for the highlight of the storytelling.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film is brilliant, it does get a perfectly laugh when needed, while staying straight when it doesn’t, the romance does show us how love can go from the heights to the end.

SettingsThe film uses the two main settings of cities, New York and LA, the locations are used to show how the lives will need to be changed, not just for Nicole and Charlie, but their son too.


Scene of the Movie – Let’s try and talk this through without a lawyer.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The timeline isn’t the best.

Final Thoughts This is easily one of the best films of the year, it shows us how love can end and how a divorce can spirally out of control, the two lead performances are easily within the best of the year too.

Overall: Awards Guaranteed.

Ben Stiller Weekend – There’s Something About Mary (1998)

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Writer: Ed Decter, John J Strauss, Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly (Screenplay)

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller, Lee Evans, Chris Elliott, Lin Shaye, Jeffrey Tambor, Markie Post, Keith David

 

Plot: A man gets a chance to meet up with his dream girl from high school, even though his date with her back then was a complete disaster.


Tagline – Warning: The guys who did ‘Dumb & Dumber’ and ‘Kingpin’ bring you a love story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Comedy

 

Story: There’s Something About Mary starts back in high school Ted (Stiller) is an outsider at school with a giant crush on the school beauty Mary (Diaz), he is lucky enough to get asked to the prom which only ends in disaster after an accident.

13 years later Ted still wants to know about Mary, he hires a private investigator Healy (Dillon) to find out about her, only for him to fall for her and he tries to get her using all the secrets he has learnt from spying on her, which drives Ted down to Florida to try and win her heart first.

 

Thoughts on There’s Something About Mary

 

Characters – Mary is the beauty woman that the guys are all attracted too, she is good-hearted helping the community including her brother, she however can’t settle on the right guy, attracting the wrongs one too often. Ted is the high school student that suffers an unfortunate accident on prom night, he never got over not knowing about Mary and sets out to learn about her 13-years later, he continues to have accidents in life, but is an honest guy. The nice twist on these two characters is that, Mary is the big sports fan while Ted doesn’t seem that interested in sports. Healy is the private investigator that is hired to learn about Mary, he falls for her and uses the information he has learnt to try and win her heart. Tucker is a friend of Mary’s that also loves her and will do anything to stop the guys dating her.

PerformancesCameron Diaz was the perfect choice for this role she has the looks which was important, but she shows us all that she has the comedic timing too. Matt Dillon as a creepy investigator works great too, this plays into his strengths in the comedy genre too, while Ben Stiller shows us just how good he is at playing to loveable loser figure, apart from his terrible fake crying. The supporting cast get their laughs too, which works well throughout the film.

StoryThe story follows multiply men that fall for Mary, they are going to try different plans to win her heart and certain ideas do work. This doesn’t paint the intelligent doctor figure of Mary very well, but we tend to focus on the guys plans over her decisions. Ted is the nice guy that mostly wants to make sure she is doing well in life only to become part of her life again, while others turn to lies to play into her favourite traits. For a comedy this story works very well, it will give you the laughs along the way even if the characters for the most part are turned into desperate people that will lie to get a woman.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in this film gets laughs throughout the film, certain people will be offended by certain material though. The romance shows how people will fall in love and how far people will go for love.

SettingsMost of the film is set around Florida, which gives us the sun filled background to make this easy on the eyes.


Scene of the Movie –
Learning the truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The depiction of mentally handicapped people.

Final ThoughtsThis is a funny comedy that does make us laugh more often than not, we have great performances from the whole cast and you will be happy to watch this again.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy.

Rating

 

 

This Is Our Home (2019) Movie Review

Director: Omri Dorani

Writer: Rob Harmon (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeff Ayars, Drew Beckas, Riggsby Lane, Simone Policano

Plot: A struggling couple’s weekend getaway goes awry when a child arrives in the middle of the night claiming to be their son.

Runtime: 1 Hour 13 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Lacks the Spark

Story: This Is Our Home starts when Cory (Ayars) and Reina (Policano) go on a weekend getaway at an old family home to put some of the struggles of life behind them. The two are trying to start their own family, without having much success until one night on the getaway when a knocking comes from the door, by a child, a child who claims to be their own.

Zeke (Beckas) claims to be their own child, that Cory has hurt him, the two take the boy in and offer support as they try to figure out if and where Zeke has come from. As the night continues the couple both starts acting stranger through the night.

Thoughts on This Is Our Home

Characters – Cory is the partner of Reina’s that has become distant in life, he does want to support his wife with this trip being a chance to try and make up for his mistakes. He gets accused of hurting the child that says he is their son, something he denies, and it wouldn’t make sense if he had. Reina is the partner of Cory and medical student; she has a weird thing she likes to do with her partner to practise and is returning to her own family home, where the dark secrets are what scare her most. Zeke is the boy that turns up at the doorstep claiming to be their son, he does seem to have an ability to make Reina believe this, as he tries to put himself into the family using the innocent child to help his case.

PerformancesThis is a hard film to judge the performances, mostly because everything is kept relatively simple with story, Jeff Ayars and Simone Policano both make themselves look like a struggling couple, showing both the best and worst moments from a relationship. Drew Beckas does bring the child character to life well and does make you wonder if there is more to his character or not.

StoryThe story here follows a couple that get a strange visit from a child claiming to be their own when they know they haven’t had any children. This story is strange because it does seem to lack that moment that could take it from this is unusual to, that makes sense. The couple are struggling which is clear to see, the child does seem to have some control over them, but it isn’t made clear why or how, add in the mysterious room that is key to everything, we are left with more questions than answers by the end of the film. The story never reaches the interest level of what is could have been which leaves it feeling disappointing more than anything.

Horror/RomanceThe horror seems to be slow building moments that just don’t pay off, while the romance is more about the relationship between the two and how much they have been struggling.

SettingsThe film is set in an old family home which shows us just how the couple needed the escape, it has a mysterious room which should hold more answers too.


Scene of the Movie – The arrival.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – No real answers.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that has all the questions lined up and fails to answer enough of them by the end of the film, it will leave you asking more than we got.

Overall: Disappointing Horror.

Maggie Gyllenhaal Weekend – Secretary (2002)

Director: Steven Shainberg

Writer: Erin Cressida Wilson (Screenplay) Mary Gaitskill (Story)

Starring: James Spader, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jeremy Davies, Lesley Ann Warren, Stephen McHattie, Patrick Bauchau

 

Plot: A young woman, recently released from a mental hospital, gets a job as a secretary to a demanding lawyer, where their employer-employee relationship turns into a sexual, sadomasochistic one.


Tagline – Assume the position.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strangely Intriguing

 

Story: Secretary starts as young woman Lee Holloway (Gyllenhaal) gets released from mental home after her self-harming went too far, released to attend her sister’s wedding, she returns to her self-harming techniques, not in a suicidal way though. Wanting to be part of the world Lee gets her first job as a secretary for lawyer Mr Grey (Spader).

Working for Mr Grey gives Lee a new lease for life, she stops self-harming, while letting Mr Grey giving her the punishment she desires.

 

Thoughts on Secretary

 

Characters – Lee Holloway is a troubled young woman, she has been self-harming for years now, it has put her in a mental home for a time too, now she is ready to enter the world to have a normal job. She gets obsessed with BDSM which her boss punishes her with, the one thing that stops her self-harming. Mr Grey is the lawyer that Lee starts to work with, he demands the best from his secretary and doesn’t mind giving her punishment to make her better, he hides from problem clients and seems to live a lonely life. Peter is the potential new boyfriend for Lee that tries to have a normal relationship, while she is on her own voyage of self-discovery.

PerformancesMaggie Gyllenhaal is fantastic in the leading role, she is by far the star of this movie and showed us all the abilities she had in the acting field. James Spader is great too, he has always been able to walk into these types of roles well.

StoryThe story here follows one woman that wants to find comfort in the world, where the only comfort she has had before has come from her own self-harming, she has problems which will be getting fixed as she enters the real world. this shows how mental illness can create a way for voids to be used to help create moments of peace in lives. This does give us the important discussion to be made, which is fine because people need help to understand the problems people can be fighting with.

Comedy/RomanceCertain moments do have a comical tone to them, while the romance of the film is mostly about how Lee became obsessed with Mr Grey.

SettingsThe film is set in a big American city which shows how the people in each life can have their own personal interests which can come off stranger from the outside.


Scene of the Movie –
The cheque.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Lee and Peter relationship is strange.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good movie that tackles mental illness that people are living with everyday, we have a brilliant performance from Gyllenhaal that put her name firmly on the map.

 

Overall: One to be watching.

Rating

 

 

Legend (1985) Movie Review

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: William Hjortsberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert

Plot: A young man must stop the Lord of Darkness from both destroying daylight and marrying the woman he loves.


Tagline – “No Good without Evil. No Love without Hate. No Innocence without Lust. I am Darkness.” 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Typical 80s Fantasy Film

Story: Legend starts when a young beautiful princess Lili (Sara) spends her time into woods with the handsome Jack (Cruise) she gets too close to the unicorns, touching them, breaking the rules of the land. Lili is taken by the lord of darkness to become his bride, while Jack must go on an adventure in a land that has changed because of the events to save his love Lili.

Thoughts on Legend

Characters – Jack is the handsome young man that thrives in the woods, he knows every creature and how to communicate to them, he has been teaching Lili, only he won’t give up every secret. When we see what happens he will do everything he can to try and save her from the darkness that is looking to consume her. Lili is a princess who doesn’t want to be part of the royal life, she enjoys the woodland area only her curiosity only gets her in trouble when she touches a unicorn bringing darkness to the land, being taken by the dark lord to be his wife, she is torn between being seduced by this new world and escape to the world she enjoys being part of. Darkness has been waiting for somebody to make the mistake, now he has a chance to rule by marrying Lili bringing the darkness to the world forever.

PerformancesTom Cruise does show the world that he was going to be as an actor with this role that showed his skills to the world. Mia Sara does show us that she was one of the best actresses of the 80s. Tim Curry does add the class to the role as the villain.

StoryThe story here follows a young man that must travel across a mystical land in hopes of saving his love from the darkness which has taken her. This is typical fantasy styled story that does show us how the different levels of status within the people and creatures and how the legends of the area, must be obeyed or it could affect everyone. We see how one will put a group together to risk everything to get what they want from life, with most being escape from a different situation before a showdown with the big evil.

Adventure/Fantasy/RomanceThe adventure side of the film takes Jack and other creatures on the journey to save Lili, overcoming the difficulties coming their way, in this full-blown fantasy world, showing what will be done for love.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the different challenges that face Jack along the way, each one will become an obstacle for him to overcome.


Scene of the Movie – Final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does feel to 80s.

Final Thoughts This is an 80s filled adventure that does everything it can to fit the era of release, showing just how much somebody will do for love.

Overall: Pure 80s adventure.