ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – Y – Yesterday (2019) Movie Review

Director: Danny Boyle

Writer: Jack Barth, Richard Curtis (Screenplay)

Starring: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Sophia Di Martino, Ellise Chappell, Meera Syal, Harry Michell, Vincent Franklin, Ed Sheeran, Joel Fry

Plot: A struggling musician realizes he’s the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed.


Tagline – Everyone in the World Has Forgotten the Beatles. Everyone Except Jack

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Enjoyable Throughout

Story: Yesterday starts as we meet musician Jack Malik (Patel) who when he isn’t performing, works a dead-end job in a cash-n-carry. Jack gets his first festival in Latitude Festival thanks to his manager Ellie Appleton (James), which makes Jack realise he might walk away from music, until on his way home a shocking event around the world sees all power down for 12 seconds and Jack gets hit by a bus, waking up in a world where The Beatles never existed.

Jack uses the ideas that The Beatles never existed to start singing the songs, which sudden thrusts the spotlight onto the young singer, who sudden burst into international stardom, only can he live with the knowledge of the music he is singing is from the most famous band in the world.

Thoughts on Yesterday

Characters – Jack Malik is a small-time musician who only performs in his own free time, while trying to balance a part-time job in a warehouse. He does have talent, only he hasn’t been discovered yet, he is about to give up when he gets hit by a bus in a freak event around the world. He wakes up to discover he is the only person to have heard of The Beatles and decides to use this knowledge to give music on more crack, where his rise to super stardom is sudden and he must learn to adapt to this new career. Ellie Appleton has been the best friend, manager, rodeo and driver for his music career, secretly in love with him, unable to give up her teaching career to follow his new success. Rocky has been involved in music only he tends to let people down, he is however the only person that Jack can turn to for help for his new stardom. We get to meet Jack’s parents who have always supported him, Ed Sheeran playing himself discovering the new talent in Jack and the manager who takes Jack to the next level with his debut album.

PerformancesHimesh Patel is brilliant in the leading role where he handles the singing with ease as well as the troubles that his character goes through in his sudden rise to fame. Lily James as the girl next door figure is wonderful to watch to, never looking out of place in the manager role. The rest of the cast do nothing wrong, you might see a couple of weakness in some of the performances in the film though.

StoryThe story follows a musician that is involved in an accident only to discover that when he wakes up, The Beatles don’t exist, using this knowledge to make himself a mega star, while dealing with his own love problems. This is a story that does work if things are kept just around the idea of The Beatles not being around, where the story does seem to use as a little joke, other major products or bands also haven’t existed either, they are only used for jokes rather than being proper points in the story. Away from that weak point we do get to see the struggling to deal with sudden fame and the guilt for using the songs of somebody he idolises. This story is one that can be enjoyed even if you are not a Beatles fan too.

Comedy/Musical/RomanceThe comedy in the film will get laughs where it needs to, we aren’t given constant jokes either, with the music side of the film playing into the strengths of all Beatles fans who will get to enjoy their favourites. The romance in the film does take centre stage, with how the two are left to wonder what if through their lives, showing how people are tempted to let people go or not for stardom.

SettingsThe film uses the small town where Jack is from, which shows the struggle of a small town musician, LA where things move so fast and Liverpool where the inspiration can be found.


Scene of the Movie – Wembley.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The other random disappearing products, just being a joke, rather than a point in the story.

Final Thoughts This is an enjoyable comedy musical, that will show the importance of love in the world, how music can make people famous and just how far people will go for a chance of stardom.

Overall: Enjoyable

The Aftermath (2019) Movie Review

Director: James Kent

Writer: Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse, Rhidian Brook (Screenplay) Rhidian Brook (Novel)

Starring: Keira Knightley, Jason Clarke, Alexander Skarsgard, Flora Thiemann

Plot: Post World War II, a British colonel and his wife are assigned to live in Hamburg during the post-war reconstruction, but tensions arise with the German who previously owned the house.


Tagline – In The Aftermath Of War, The Last Thing She Expected To Find Was Love.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Entertaining Romance

Story: The Aftermath starts five months after World War II, Rachael Morgan (Knightley) is joining her husband Lewis (Clarke) in Hamburg in the post-war reconstruction, taking the house of architect Stephen Lubert (Skarsgard). After struggling to adjust, Lewis suggests letting Stephen and his daughter Freda (Thiemann) remain in the house on the top floor.

Lewis knows the troubles between the two sides will still be there, but is understanding and wants to bring the people together, while Rachael isn’t sure who to trust with reputation of the past, which only leads to her question Stephen more about his past, while the two slowly start an affair that could risk everything for the two.

Thoughts on The Aftermath

Characters – Rachael Morgan is joining her husband in Hamburg, she has suffered the loss of their son during the war and isn’t the most convinced about moving to Germany post-war, she doesn’t like living with Germans, only to learn they have suffered the same as she has because of the war. She does start an affair with the owner of the house, one that will see her want to leave the pain of her marriage. Lewis is the soldier assigned to help out in Hamburg, meaning his family would join him, he does have more patience than many of the British soldiers, knowing that the war being over is more important than who killed who in the conflict. He does come off like a genuine person that wants things to change for the good. Stephen Lubert is the man whose house the couple must live in, a once famous architect who lost his wife in the war, he is thankful for being let remain in the house and must convince the British he had nothing to do with the Nazi party, while falling in love with Rachael. Freda is the daughter of Stephen who has grown a resentment towards the British, she is easily led by the younger fighters who still believe the war to be on, getting caught in a position she should never have been put through.

PerformancesKeira Knightley in the leading role is great to watch showing us just how great she is in these roles, she is surrounded by two strong supporting roles from Jason Clarke and Alexander Skarsgard too.

StoryThe story follows a wife that must move to Hamburg to be with her husband as he starts to try and lead the rebuilding of Germany after the war, only to fall in love with a local whose house they are living in. The most important factor to shown in this story is the loss the four main characters have suffered because of the war, the British couple lost a child, while the Germany’s lost a mother and wife, they never got a true chance to grieve because of the conflict, which has caused even more tension between the two sides. When it comes to the affair, it does show that people who have been through the worst can be there for each other. Outside of this, we do get to see how people were truly affected by the war and would do extreme things to get their own revenge for the loss in war too. Only we don’t focus enough on this side of the story, instead it is all about the romance, which is everything you would have seen before.

RomanceThe romance in the film does take centre stage, sadly, because this isn’t anything we haven’t seen before and we did have a lot more interesting side arcs we could have invested in.

SettingsThe film is set in Hamburg and does show the devastation of the war, with the destroyed buildings showing us just how helpless the innocent would be even after the war.


Scene of the Movie – The Ice River.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The romance isn’t as interesting as the story that revolves around Freda.

Final Thoughts This is a nice simple post-war romance movie, it has great performances, even if it does focus on the weaker aspect of the story instead of a more interesting one.

Overall: Nice Post-War Drama.

My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997) Movie Review

Director: P.J. Hogan

Writer: Ronald Bass (Screenplay)

Starring: Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz, Rupert Everett, Philip Bosco, M Emmet Walsh, Rachel Griffiths

Plot: When a woman’s long-time friend reveals he’s engaged, she realizes she loves him herself and sets out to get him, with only days before the wedding.


Tagline – A comedy about finding your heart and losing your head.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Simple Rom Com

Story: My Best Friend’s Wedding starts when successful author Julianne Potter (Roberts) who learns that her best friend Michael O’Neal (Mulroney) is getting married, which turns the switch in her mind that she is still in love with him. Julianne decides to wants to try and break up the engagement, when she learns Kimberly Wallace (Diaz) is completely aware of the position Julianne will have in Michael’s heart.

As Julianne’s plan to try and win Michael back, things get complicated when her editor George (Everett) comes to support her, which leads to her panicking and claiming they are engaged.

Thoughts on My Best Friend’s Wedding

Characters – Julianne Potter is a successful author, she always put her career ahead of love, which is why her best friend is Michael and not her partner, she learns about his engagement and decides she wants to break them up, she is always planning on trying to stay ahead of the game, though she isn’t brave enough to say how she really feels. She doesn’t come off as likeable, which is the point sometimes selfish and always unsure about wanting to commit to anything. Michael is the best friend that is going to get married, he wants Julianne back to celebrate with him and must decide how to take the next stage of his life. Kimberly Wallace is the woman that is marrying Michael, she knows how important Julianne is to Michael, which will see her trying to watch over her action. George is the editor for Julianne that is trying to give her the best advice during her decision.

PerformancesJulia Roberts in the leading role is solid enough, it does seem to go against the nice woman characters that she is used to playing. Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz and Rupert Everett do a simple enough job in the supporting roles.

StoryThe story here follows a woman that wants to break up her best friend before he gets married and must start to focus on her own life. This story does show how love can come and go, but will always be there, it is about whether you take your chances at the right times or whether you want to become the bad person by trying to take somebody else’s happiness. It shows just how far Julianne would go to make something out her past relationship no caring who she steps on. It doesn’t paint the main character as being very nice, because they are purely selfish.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy is basic through the film, it doesn’t get too serious with the laughs. The romance in the film is more about how Julianne believes she loves her friend and will try to fight for his love.

SettingsThe film uses the wedding preparation settings for the backdrop for most of the film, we get to see where the character would be and how they would look to get what they want.


Scene of the Movie – The lesson learned.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Julianne isn’t a likeable character.

Final Thoughts This is a basic rom com, it does show how people can try to make up for their mistakes in love, but in the end, it does end up feeling like nothing much happens.

Overall: Basic stuff.

Jack Black Weekend – Shallow Hall (2001) Movie Review

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Writer: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Sean Moynihan (Screenplay)

Starring: Gwyenth Paltrow, Jack Black, Jason Alexander, Joe Viterelli, Rene Kirby, Bruce McGill, Anthony Robbins

Plot: A shallow man falls in love with a 300-pound woman because of her inner beauty.


Tagline – True Love Is Worth The Weight!

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sweet Little Comedy

Story: Shallow Hal starts as we meet Hal (Black) who was given advice from his father to never settle always shot for the stars when trying to meet women. Now in adult life he is a nice guy but he only targets models, always striking out, even if his friends try to convince him to learn about the women first.

After getting trapped in an elevator with Anthony Robbins a television hypnotist, he pulls a trick on him to see women for their inner beauty, which sees him meeting Rosemary (Paltrow) seeing her as a beautiful women, when she is really a bigger women, somebody Hal would never give a second glance to, Hal’s best friend Mauricio (Alexander) is getting worried his friend has changed.

Thoughts on Shallow Hal

Characters – Hal saw his father die young giving him one piece of advice, never settle when it comes to the ladies. Keeping that in his mind he has only ever tried to date models, without much success. He gets hypnotised into seeing the inner beauty only which to meet Rosemary a bigger woman he only sees as a beautiful woman, which sees him learn the lesson in life that people are not just what the outside shows. Rosemary is the woman Hal sees as a beautiful model, but she is a bigger girl with a heart of gold, which under the spell that Hal is under he doesn’t see, she is reluctant to let Hal into her life, but eventually believes him to be good. Mauricio is the shallow best friend of Hal’s, they have both only tried to date the beautiful women, he sees something wrong with his friend and tries to fix it. Steve Shanahan is Rosemary’s father and Hal’s boss who sees the positives in Hal, but will protect his daughter at any cost.

PerformancesJack Black in the lead of a comedy like this works wonders, he can play both sides with ease being the charmer that isn’t afraid whether he strikes out or not. Gwyneth Paltrow is great too showing she can handle comedy without needing to be the one running with the jokes. Jason Alexander provides fun supporting role that shows his skills in comedy.

StoryThe story here follows a man Hal that believes he can only date models after being raised to never settle for less, when he gets hypnotised he learns to admire the inner beauty in women never seeing any of their outside flaws like the rest of the world, we are left to see if he can learn to just ignore everything once the spell wears off. This is an interesting look at romance, it shows us just how important trying to find love can be and getting to know a person is more important than anything else. This aside we do seem to have one flaw in the story and that is only some of the people change, while others remain completely the same, which does seem strange and it also only seems to show people that volunteer being less attractive, while the career driven women more than men are seen to be ugly inside. That aside we are focusing more on the struggles that Hal’s friend is facing with his change, more than Hal needing to learn about his changes.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy largely comes from Jack Black, while some of the lines seem awkward when we know the difference between the two Rosemary’s he delivers his comedy in such a confident way it shines through, with the romance being about how falling in love can happen with the person you least expect at times.

SettingsThe film is set in the big city and shows how people can be ignored at times, while other times they could be right there in your life.


Scene of the Movie – Leaving Party.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We do seem to imply that women who volunteer are beautiful on the inside, not career women.

Final Thoughts This is a comedy that hits most of its marks, it plays into Jack Black’s strengths proving that giving him the right material he can improve any movie.

Overall: Funny for the Most Part.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – E – Jacob’s Ladder (2019) Movie Review

This is under E because of star Michael Ealy

Director: David M Rosenthal

Writer: Jeff Buhler, Sarah Thorpe (Screenplay) Bruce Joel Rubin (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Ealy, Guy Burnett, Jesse Williams, Nicole Beharie, Joseph Sikora

Plot: After his brother returns home from war, Jacob Singer struggles to maintain his sanity. Plagued by hallucinations and flashbacks, Singer rapidly falls apart as the world and people around him morph and twist into disturbing images. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Another Pointless Remake

Story: Jacob’s Ladder starts as Jacob Singer (Ealy) returns home after a stint in the military, where his brother Isaac (Williams) is killed in action, with Jacob unable to save him, taking up his job in the local hospital as a trauma surgeon, starting a family with his wife Samantha (Beharie), he looks to get on with his life.

Jacob’s life is turned upside down, when he starts meeting deceased war veterans which leads him to find his brother, alive, bringing him home, only learning about the changes he has been through, not being the man, he once knew.

Thoughts on Jacob’s Ladder

Characters – Jacob is a military surgeon that saw traumas of war first hand, including what he thought was his brother’s death, back home he returns to the hospital for work as he starts his own family. It soon takes a twist for the worst when his brother isn’t dead and he starts seeing things that aren’t there, needing to piece together everything. Isaac is Jacob’s brother that he thought died in the war, he comes back dealing with his own problems, needing his brother’s support, being one of many survivors from the war. Samantha is the wife and mother that is always around the brother’s she wants to help them both sort out the problems they are dealing with. Louis is the doctor that has been treating Jacob and his return and wants to try and help Isaac too, being the closest to help they will face after leaving the military.

PerformancesMichael Ealy takes the leading role in this film, he struggles to make an impact here, which might be more because of the awful character twists he must try to go through. Jesse Williams and Nicole Beharie both do what they can with their supporting roles, which are mostly in the background.

StoryThe story here follows a war veteran who has returned from war believing his brother died only to learn his is still alive and he starts seeing his life unravel on front of his eyes. This is a remake of one of the most popular stories ever, we do try to see something different only to give us one of the most confusing stories of the year, where the film throws out a twist that makes zero sense. You will find yourself scratching your head more than often than not, which will only leave you disappointed with any directions we are given.

Horror/MysteryThe horror is more about the imagery that we are put through, rather than being anything that is scary, while the mystery is there, only not interesting enough to solve, seemingly having little to do with what we saw in the original.

SettingsThe film uses the modern-day settings which are meant to show how difficult it is meant to be for a war veteran to return home.

Special EffectsThe effects are not designed well, with most just being disjointed throughout.


Scene of the Movie – Nothing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – That different twist.

Final Thoughts This is a largely disappointing remake that just looks like a mess, doesn’t adding up in anyway through the film.

Overall: Poor and Pointless Remake.