Emily Blunt Weekend – The Five-Year Engagement (2012)

Director: Nicholas Stoller

Writer: Nicholas Stoller, Jason Segel (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Lauren Weedman, Mimi Kennedy, David Paymer

 

Plot: One year after meeting, Tom proposes to his girlfriend, Violet, but unexpected events keep tripping them up as they look to walk down the aisle together.


Tagline – A comedy about the journey between popping the question and tying the knot.

Runtime: 2 Hour 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Look at Relationships & Careers

 

Story: The Five-Year Engagement starts when Tom (Segel) and Violet (Blunt) get engaged and now must start to plan for their own wedding. The problems soon start to pile up, first when Violet’s sister Suzie (Brie) gets pregnant with Tom’s best friend Alex (Pratt) and must get married first, then their careers start offering them chances they can’t say no to.

When Emily continues to get opportunities to further her career, Tom holds back him problems while waiting for the chance to move away as he sees the life he could have being lived by Alex.

 

Thoughts on The Five-Year Engagement

 

Characters – Tom is a successful chef in the big city, he is in love with Violet and ready to marry her, only the wedding date gets pushed back as he wants to support her opportunity to further her career, however frustrating he finds it living in a small city away from his own career chances. Violet is the fiancée of Tom’s who has been waiting for a chance for her own studies to give her a career opportunity, which happens, only it will delay the wedding, given the chance of a lifetime, she tries to make a career out of her work, knowing how hard it will be for Tom. Alex and Suzie are the best friend and sister of the couple that seem to go into the life Tom once imagined about.

PerformancesJason Segel and Emily Blunt are wonderful in the leading roles, they have great chemistry and they both get their individual moments to get the comedy down, while together they can show us the heart of the film. Chris Pratt is the highlight of the supporting cast, as we get a good comedic supporting cast that get their own jokes in well.

StoryThe story follows a couple that are planning to get married only for their plans to go astray when a career opportunity comes up for one of them, leaving the other to support and watch their own future getting away from them. This story does show us how difficult relationships and careers can be for a couple who both want to support each other and are driven to have their own futures. We do fly through the time which only makes us wonder what is happening through most of the time. Sometimes the film does resort to just going for an extra joke when it doesn’t need to be.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy does hit well through the film, we get most of the jokes from the supporting cast with moments of situational comedy too which does work well. The romance shows us just how difficult relationships can be for the people, even if love does come through in the end.

SettingsThe film shows us the different locations that the couple must live in, the happy life Tom starts with to the tough location he struggles to see his own future in.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Sometimes the jokes go on for one too many extra punches.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful romantic comedy that shows us just how relationships can show the best in people no matter how difficult they might be when it comes to supporting people you love.

 

Overall: Brilliant romantic comedy.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – W – West Side Story (1961)

Director: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise

Writer: Ernest Lehman (Screenplay) Jerome Robbins, William Shakespeare (Play)

Starring: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, Simon Oakland, Ned Glass

 

Plot: Two youngsters from rival New York City gangs fall in love, but tensions between their respective friends build toward tragedy.


Tagline – Watch this shot now. Hey. Shoot, man. Go. Hey, yeah

Runtime: 2 Hours 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Musical Fans Enjoy

 

Story: West Side Story starts as we meet the rival gangs, we have The Jets led by Riff (Tamblyn) and the Sharks led by Bernardo (Chakiris) the rising Puerto Rican gang, the two sides are always involved in brawls and Riff wants to bring it to an end soon.

Bringing the two gangs together at the local dance club, Tony (Beymer) the former leader and founder of the Jets is forced to attend, it is here where he meets Bernardo’s sister Maria (Wood) who steals his heart as the too fall instantly in love. As the two side plan their fight for the street, Maria and Tony must keep their love secret as it could bring an end to the warring gangs.

 

Thoughts on West Side Story

 

Characters – Maria is the new to the town Puerto Rican, she wants to make a life in America, starting with her job and dancing, never understand the battling gangs. She falls for one of the men on the rival side not caring about where he has come from. Tony is the founder of the Jets, he has started to grow out of the gang by getting a job and avoid the brawls. When he meets Maria he falls in love and is torn between helping his gang win or ending the war all together. Riff is the one that keeps the jets together, he is looking for a fight around every corner and knows how to fire up the gang, he knows how to push the Sharks to fight back too. Rita is the best friend of Maria that helps her into any situation which could see her have fun, including the dance.

PerformancesNatalie Wood as Maria is wonderful to watch, she can handle the singing and emotion, though it does seem strange to make her play a Puerto Rican. Richard Beymer is good in his role as the one that has started to see the problems with the ideas of the gangs. Russ Tamblyn does bring the energy to the film which is good to see through his singing and dancing numbers. Rita Moreno completes the main cast well showing us just how the supporting performers should do things.

StoryThe story is known to be a musical version of Romeo and Juliet, we have the gangs in New York that are just petty teenagers always up for a brawl as they don’t want to face growing up in life. It follows the trends of the story as the two star crossed lovers want to break the lines of the warring gangs to be together, only for the war to intensify to cause tragic consequences. The idea to modify this for the now audience for the 60s was a good idea because it does deal with plenty of issue of immigration that wasn’t being accepted in America, causing the battles between both sides. The idea of love and forbidden love at that can drive people to do anything and this could bring the end to a war over nothing.

Crime/Musical/RomanceThe crime is just young men or teenagers fighting over streets in New York, it is mostly brawls that lead to tragedy. The musical side does take us out of parts of the film because singing and dancing around the war on the streets does feel weird. The romance story is one of the oldest in the books, two people falling in love from different sides of a battle, knowing they want to be together and knowing being together could cause problems.

SettingsThe film is set in New York which is great for the different sides of the war showing us just where the two sides have come from.


Scene of the Movie –
The conclusion.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is a film that follows pointless battle between gangs over nothing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a musical that grabbed the audience attention back in the 60s, cleaned up at the Oscars, but now it just feels like another great musical without standing out anymore than any other.

 

Overall: Simple classic musical.

Rating

 

 

Jem and the Holograms (2015)

Director: Jon M Chu

Writer: Ryan Landels (Screenplay) Christy Marx (Animated Series)

Starring: Aubrey Peeples, Stefanie Scott, Aurora Perrineau, Hayler Kiyoko, Molly Ringwald, Isabella Kai Rice

 

Plot: As a small-town girl catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her three sisters begin a journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden.


Tagline – very Generation Needs a Voice

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good for the Target Audience

 

Story: Jem and the Holograms starts as Jerrica (Peeples) is coming to clean to her fans on the internet, we learn how she and her sisters Kimber (Scott), Shana (Perrieneau) and Aja (Kiyoko) become the internet sensations after Jerrica final came out of her shell and is picked up by producer Erica Raymond (Lewis) who wants to make them the biggest ‘It’ of the time.

Jerrica is recreated as Jem she becomes the biggest mystery in music and they become the biggest act in the planet, but can they handle the additional pressure in life.

 

Thoughts on Jem and the Holograms

 

Characters – Jerrica is one of the four sisters, the quiet and shiest one, she is also the most gifted musically, writing songs, performing privately, she creates Jem to be stay anonymous and remembers her father’s guidance everyday. She is telling the story of the rise to fame and how it made her feel. Kimber is the younger sister of Jerrica, she is social media addict, spending all her time posting on social media about anything and everything, she leaks the video of Jem and enjoys coming along to the new role in the band. Shana is one of the adopted sisters, she is a fashionista that always wanted to help the girls of the house have their own unique look. Aja is the other adopted sister, she is the true genius of the four, though she does have a habit to borrow from people without asking and can become the bad girl image. Erica Raymond is the ruthless producer that is always out to make as much money from as many different corners as possible.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances I feel it is unfair to go through any of the four sisters in any different ways because they are all good and you do believe the family chemistry between them.

StoryThe story here shows us how quickly a life of an overnight YouTube sensation can change for the good and the bad. We get to see how the idea of making money to save the family home can bring the biggest divide between the sisters after seeing just how special the rise and first show was for them. For the weaknesses in this film we have a lot, first it based on an animated series I had no idea existed, secondly, it happens so fast we can easily miss what is going on, we never really get an indication of days/weeks or months that we are following. The final negative comes to the issue of trying to show how YouTube can be turned to for fame, it will never happen this quickly.

Adventure/Fantasy/Music/Romance/Sci-FiThe genres this film tries to cross are all getting effected by lack of opportunity, the only one that truly gets the right time is the music side because that is the heart of the film. the fantasy sci-fi side of the film feels like an attachment to the main story.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which is always going to be the right choice for an American film about glitz and glamor.


Scene of the Movie –
The first show.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While it is meaningful, the sci-fi fantasy side story is just left in the back burner.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that will keep the target audience happy, it doesn’t offer too much for the casual fans of the genre and can get lost trying to do too much.

 

Overall: The good and the bad of YouTube success.

Rating

 

 

Elizabeth Olsen Weekend – Liberal Arts (2012)

Director: Josh Radnor

Writer: Josh Radnor (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, Elizabeth Reaser, John Magaro, Kate Burton

 

Plot: When 30-something Jesse returns to his alma mater for a professor’s retirement party, he falls for Zibby, a college student, and is faced with a powerful attraction that springs up between them.


Tagline – Sometimes students make the best teachers.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly High-Brow

 

Story: Liberal Arts starts when 30-something Jesse Fisher (Radnor) gets invited back to his college by his retiring professor Peter Hoberg (Jenkins) party. While returning he loved going down memory lane and gets to meet student Zibby (Olsen) who strikes up a friendship with him, before he returns home to New York.

When the two stay in contact a romance starts to blossom between the two, however difficult Jesse feels about the age difference between the two.

 

Thoughts on Liberal Arts

 

Characters – Jesse Fisher is a 30-something living in New York, reading his way through life, he gets invited back to his college for a retirement party, where he meets Zibby falling for her, seeing a future he couldn’t have in his current life, though he also sees a chance to help a brilliant student who is struggling through college. Zibby is a student in at the college studying drama, she sees something different in Jesse, a mature man in her life away from the usual college student, she likes to let things be and let them unfold. Professor Peter Hoberg is the retiring professor that invites Jesse back, only he doesn’t want to go through with his retirement. The rest of the character include the professors Jesse once studied under and the students he sees his own troubles in.

PerformancesJosh Radnor takes up a few roles in this film, director, writer and his performance is solid enough for the leading role, even though he is might be the weakest performer from his own hit sitcom, this performance feels like what Zach Braff did with Garden State. Elizabeth Olsen is good in her role, while Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney are going to give strength to the supporting roles.

StoryThe story here follows a former college student return to his old college where he gets caught up in wondering why the students don’t understand what life will bring them, be it love and understand underachieving. Now this should be an interesting story, Jesse is a character that tries to explain how life can change in the future and not wanting to waste it, only this is what he is doing himself. The problems mount up as we don’t address the problems strongly enough, where Jesse does get involved, only he doesn’t show any signs of knowing what is going on, we never learn what he does for a living which doesn’t help certain thought processes he could come up with. The story also feels like it is trying to look down on people in places.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy mostly doesn’t get many laughs, the light toned seriousness behind the story doesn’t come off clear enough which also disappoints. The romance is mostly looking at how love can be strange for all those involved in it

SettingsThe film does use two main settings with one being New York, well that is where all Americans seem to want to live, and the college which brings back memories for Jesse.


Scene of the Movie –
Helping Dean.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not giving the Dean side of the story enough focus.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story that tries to take things too seriously which sucks most of the comedy out of the film. The film has a lot to say only to skip over too much of the importance in the messages being talked about.

 

Overall: Frustrating overly intelligent movie.

Rating

 

 

Atonement (2007)

Director: Joe Wright

Writer: Christopher Hampton (Screenplay) Ian McEwan (Novel)

Starring: James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, Juno Temple, Brenda Blethyn, Benedict Cumberbatch

 

Plot: Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a thirteen-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit.


Tagline – Joined by love. Separated by fear. Redeemed by hope

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull and Uninspiring

 

Story: Atonement starts when young Briony Tallis (Ronan) keeps seeing events between her older sister Cecilia (Knightley) and her lover Robbie Turner (McAvoy) from an angle she couldn’t understand believing he is hurting her. Keeping this secret until her cousin Lola (Temple) is raped in the middle of the night, she believes it was Robbie who committed the crime.

4 years later the lives of these people have changed, Robbie is now in the army World War II. Cecilia is still waiting for Robbie, though the effects of that night 4 years ago will never be forgotten between the people involved.

 

Thoughts on Atonement

 

Characters – Robbie Turner is the son of the housekeeper for the Tallis family, he was given an education while starting a romance with eldest daughter Cecilia. When things start getting steamy a misunderstanding derail he life, leaving him going to war and forever wondering what really could have been. Cecilia is the eldest daughter of the family she is involved in a romance with Robbie which is what she has been waiting for, for years, she doesn’t believe the stories against him either. Briony is the younger daughter that misread the situations she sees her sister in, she is the one that uses her creative mind to make stories, one of which would tear the lives apart, she will now spend the time making up for her mistake.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are never going to be in doubt, because we have top class actors. McAvoy shines as the shunned man forced into war, Knightley as the woman who loses her true love to a mistake and young Saoirse Ronan showing us just how talented she was going to become.

StoryThe story here follows one moment in a group of people’s lives which gets misread and tears them apart forever, one tries to rebuild the bridges broken though the damage is done. We do follow three lives that have been changed which seems like it is meant to be important though by then you are just not looking to care about what happened because we didn’t get enough time focusing on the aftermath of the incident.

Mystery/RomanceThere is a mystery, which focuses on who was really the person to be raping Lola, though we don’t investigate this, the romance shows us the damaging effects of a false accusation on two people who are meant to be together.

SettingsThe film is set in England, the first part is just rich country home, when we hit the war side of the film things get more difficult because we see the struggles of war.


Scene of the Movie –
Dunkirk beach.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Isn’t the most interesting story.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the duller period pieces that shows us just how many lives can be affected by a false accusation, we have great performances, though they don’t seem to have much to do.

 

Overall: Not a fan of this one.

Rating