Groundhog Day (1993)

Director: Harold Ramis

Writer: Danny Rubin, Harold Ramis (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky, Brian Doyle-Murray, Marita Geraghty

 

Plot: A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bill Murray Machine

 

Story: Groundhog Day starts as weatherman Phil (Murray) is reluctantly covering the fourth year in a row Groundhog Day where the people of the small town believe if the groundhog appears it marks the start of spring. O his trip Phil is joined by his faithful cameraman Larry (Elliott) and new producer Rita (MacDowell).

When a blizzard keeps Phil in the town for one more night, he finds himself waking up on Groundhog Day once again, confused about what is happening he makes nothing of it at first, but when the day keeps restarting Phil starts to question his own sanity. Phil starts by taking advantage of the situation using each day to get to know Rita better, but just how many times can he go through the same day.

 

Thoughts on Groundhog Day

 

Characters/PerformancePhil is the weatherman who wants to do more with his career, he is selfish and doesn’t care about what happened to anybody in his life. He does go through the change in the film as he continues to live the same day getting to know the whole town. Rita is the new love interest who is also career minded, Larry is the cameraman and like most of the rest of the characters are largely forgettable.

Bill Murray is the star of this movie, he has to show his range as an actor while the rest of the cast just must go through the motions of repeating their actions.

StoryThe story is good as it shows how one man can repeat one day over again, learning about people who would never take time to get to know. The story shows us just how much the character of Phil could go through he is does go through the same day.

Comedy/Fantasy/RomanceWe have good moments of laughter from Bill Murray but not too many full blown laughs, the fantasy side comes from the repeating the same day with the romance coming from Phil trying to get to know Rita.

SettingsThe film is mostly set within the small town which makes for a good setting for the big cocky weatherman.

Special EffectsWe don’t have many special effects but the ones we do have all work very well for the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is considered a classic and I can understand why but for me a lot of this film is just how great Murray can be.

 

Overall: This is a full-blown Bill Murray vehicle.

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By the Sea (2015)

by-he-seaDirector: Angelina Jolie

Writer: Angelina Jolie (Screenplay)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Melanie Laurent, Melvil Poupaud, Niels Arestrup

 

Plot: A couple tries to repair their marriage while staying at a hotel in France.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow and Painful

 

Story: By the Sea starts as Roland (Pitt) and Vanessa (Jolie) arrive at a small French hotel on the coast, to help Roland find inspiration for his latest novel but mainly to repair their marriage which with Roland’s alcohol problem and Vanessa’s depression.

The two find unity once more when they find a way to spy on the young couple in the room next door Lea (Laurent) and Francois (Poupaud), this brings the two closer as they watch the sexual activities of the pair for a peep hole.

 

Thoughts on By the Sea

 

Characters/PerformanceRoland and Vanessa are literally ripped out of the generic textbook for a struggling married couple looking to rekindle their love, we have the struggle writer and the bored housewife, yawn. The young couple also comes from a textbook of the being similar to our main couple in their younger days.

Performance wise this is all well below average for the big names involved, it is almost like Jolie and Pitt just filmed their own holiday and decided to make their own feature film with it all.stars

StoryThis is a play by play ABC struggling couple using a holiday away to try and save their relationship, there isn’t too much of a draw in this story because it is turns into a middle aged couple just spying on their neighbours for love they can no longer feel for each other.

RomanceJust trying to give us a real-life romance between the two middle-aged people who have started to go their own ways isn’t the most interesting love story by any means.

SettingsThe setting is beautiful with the whole film being set in and around a stunning coastal hotel, which is beautiful to see the scenery.genre

Final ThoughtsThis is incredibly slow from start to finish and you will find yourself struggle to get drawn into this story at any point in the film.

 

Overall: Way to slow for the casual audience out there and dare I say, failed Oscar bait.

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40 Days and 40 Nights (2002)

40Director: Michael Lehmann

Writer: Robert Perez (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh Hartnett, Shannyn Sossamon, Paulo Costanzo, Adam Tree, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Vinessa Shaw, Maggie Gyllenhaal

 

Plot: After a brutal break-up, a young man vows to stay celibate during the forty days of Lent, but finds the girl of his dreams and is unable to do anything about it.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: 40 Days and 40 Nights starts as we meet Matt (Hartnett) who has been struggling with his break up from Nicole (Shaw), this has led Matt to a string of one night stands that lead to him having visions of a black hole. Matt’s brother John (Tree) is in training to become a priest where Matt learns about lent and vows to give up all sexual activity for 40 days and 40 nights.

When his roommate Ryan (Costanzo) decides to spread the news about the vow a betting pool opens up and to make Matt’s life more difficult when he finally meets the perfect woman Erica (Sossamon). Matt has to learn to balance his vow while starting a new relationship where sex is out of the question.

40 Days and 40 Nights is a film I did enjoy watching even if I can see big flaws in the story, this mostly comes from the idea that it is written that every guy is obsessed with sex and couldn’t possible go 40 days without having it. The problems comes where everyone is against Matt rather than having even just one person supporting him through his self-improvement idea. I do however feel the story works for what it is trying to be even if it comes off unbelievable throughout.

 

Actor Review

 

Josh Hartnett: Matt Sullivan is a struggling man who can’t get over his ex-girlfriend Nicole. Running through a string of one night stands he wakes from these with a vision of the world coming to an end. Coming up with the idea to give up sexual activity for lent his life becomes a game for people around the world who has bet on when it will end and the perfect woman come into his life his whole life becomes difficult. Josh shows with this performance he can handle comedy.

Shannyn Sossamon: Erica has been struggling to find the right guy and her job doesn’t help. She meets Matt and see him as a different guy to the normal ones she meets but doesn’t fully understand the vow. Shannyn is good in this role being a strong leading lady.

Paulo Costanzo: Ryan is Matt’s roommate who is always looking to go out and meet girls for sex. He keeps watch over Matt after telling everyone about the vow. Paulo is solid as this supporting friend even if this generic.

Adam Tree: John Sullivan is the priest in training brother of Matt’s who doesn’t believe he can achieve his vow because he knows how difficult it is to go through. Adam is solid but in the end is just another supporting character.

Support Cast: 40 Days and 40 Nights has a supporting cast which includes plenty of different characters that are trying to make Matt break his vow with not a single person actually supporting him.

Director Review: Michael LehmannMichael gives us a fun comedy even if it is very one sided with the reactions and mind set people are meant to be in.

 

Comedy: 40 Days and 40 Nights has moments of comedy which mostly surround people trying to make Matt break the vow.

Romance: 40 Days and 40 Nights does try to tackle relationships by trying to make it more about how sex isn’t the most important part of the relationship.

Settings: 40 Days and 40 Nights keeps the settings around San Francisco which is always a great visual location for a film.

Suggestion: 40 Days and 40 Nights is one to try it does have good moments of good comedy but it also has a story which seems to be very much sex is all people think about. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Hartnett works for comedy.

Worst Part: Not everyone is sex obsessed.

Romantic Moment: No contact date.

 

Believability: The way things go I would say no.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $17 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

Tagline:  It’s Easy to Say But Harder To Do! 

 

Overall: Simple comedy that does work well for what it is trying to achieve.

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The Story of 90 Coins (2017)

Director: Michael Wong

Writer: Bai Xuedan (Screenplay)

Starring: Zhuang Zhigi, Dongjun Han, Jose Acosta

 

The Story of 90 Coins is a short film that has been racking up the awards around the world currently getting about 50+ accolades from international film festivals; which includes the Best Foreign Short & Best Actress at Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards, Best Drama & Best Cinematography at Los Angeles Film Awards, Best Foreign Short Film at Ukrainian International Short Film Festival, Rising Star Awards at Canada International Film Festival, an Official Finalist at London Film Awards, among others.

 

The film follows a young man Wang Yuyang (Han) as he wants to win the heard to Chen Wen (Zhiqi), she has dreams of travelling for work, so he makes a deal, he will give her a coin for 90 days, after that they can either walk away and use the money as farewell drinks or for a marriage certificate.

 

We get to see the outcome of this and the decisions that can come to balance love and dreams showing us just which one becomes most important to our characters, a decision process that could break hearts or damage dreams.

 

Considering this is under 10 minutes long, this film must be considered one of the biggest emotional rollercoasters I have seen this year, you understand both characters decisions and feel the emotions with them, if you don’t have a tear circling your eye at the end I will be surprised.

 

If you want to see a love story this year, you don’t need to look much further than this one.

Come and what this film yourself.

 

The Story of 90 Coins from Michael Wong on Vimeo.

John Leguizamo Weekend – Moulin Rouge! (2002)

moulinDirector: Baz Luhrmann

Writer: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, Garry McDonald

 

Plot: A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Flamboyant Musical Stunner

 

Story: Moulin Rouge starts as a young English writer Christian (McGregor) moving to Paris for dreams where he finds himself having to work on a play Spectacular Spectacular, but he needs to be passed off as a famous writer to impress Satine (Kidman).

When Christian gets mixed up with The Duke (Roxburgh) the two fall in love but when the Duke discovers them they must arrange a new play to prove they are just rehearsing for the latest play throwing Christian into the biggest show in town.

As The Duke becomes jealous he forces the director Harold Zidler (Broadbent) to sign a contract where he has exclusive rights to Satine and the Moulin Rouge, this throws the love between Satine and Christian up in the air because her chance to become the next big actress could be ruined.

Moulin Rouge is a flamboyant romantic musical that opens with all singing and dancing and never holds back from the over the topness of the songs being used. Going in completely blind I was left shocked with the choice of songs which include versions of Nirvana, The Sound of Music and David Bowie which all work apart from the creepy version of ‘Like a Virgin’. The setting is beautifully re-created with each performance embracing the location perfectly. The love story starts with the tragic ending which is against the normal as we are leading to find out what happened.

Kidman and McGregor are both brilliant in the leading roles but it is the supporting character which in places get left behind as The Duke comes off strange with the rest all coming off letting the main to shine in this performance. This is big, bold and breath-taking in places with anybody with the love for these songs finding a way to enjoy.

 

Overall: This is one of the most over the top style films with glorious use of music throughout.

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