ABC Film Challenge – Romance – K – All Good Things (2010) Movie Review

We are under K because of the star Kirsten Dunst.

Director: Andrew Jarecki

Writer: Marcus Hinchey, Marc Smerling (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, Frank Langella, Lily Rabe, Philip Baker Hall, Michael Esper, Diane Venora, Nick Offerman

Plot: Mr. David Marks was suspected but never tried for killing his wife Katie who disappeared in 1982, but the truth is eventually revealed.

Tagline – The Perfect Love Story. Until It Became The Perfect Crime.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Lacks Focus

Story: All Good Things starts as we see David Marks (Gosling) the son of a property tycoon Sanford (Langella) who meets Katie (Dunst) who eventually becomes his wife, only for the perfect marriage to take a turn when Katie learns David doesn’t want to have kids.

The marriage continues to spiral out of control after Katie gets pregnant, with her disappearance being the reason why David sees his own life come under the spotlight, with people believing her murdered her and he doesn’t help his case.

Thoughts on All Good Things

Characters – David Marks comes from a property tycoon family who could have walked into any job for his father, he decides to go away from this lifestyle, dating a woman before marrying her, which shows a darker side to his nature, or is he just cold, he are never let into see if he is a calculated person or just somebody dealing with the issues bought on from his mother’s suicide. Katie is the woman David marries, she does give up her career and after learning of his own life decision, spirals out of control with drinks and drugs, before disappearing without a trace. Sanford is the father of David who wants him to remain in the wealthy lifestyle following in his footsteps over anything else. We do see many other people who are involved in the lives who have been involved in the lives even if the names have been changed.

PerformancesWe have a brilliant cast on paper here with Ryan Gosling in the leading role, where he really doesn’t show his skills, Kirsten Dunst does the most with her character, only it seems we don’t get the right outlet for the character, where we also seem to waste Frank Langella too.

StoryThe story follows a heir to a successful business that marries a women his family don’t approve of, only for her to go missing, with him being the prime suspect in the disappearance. The problems mount up quickly in this story because we do spend way too much time focusing on the early relationship and not enough time on the investigation to what might have happened, this is clearly the more interesting side of the story that we need to get watching before needing to care that much about their relationship as a hole.

Crime/Mystery/RomanceThe crime is more about if, buts or maybes, with no concrete evidence to what might have happened, which shows in the mystery not being solved in the film, while the romance starts strong before showing why it might not have worked out.

SettingsThe film uses a couple of settings which shows us the luxury lakeside house the couple have, while showing how they interact with people on a social occasion in the big parties.

Scene of the Movie – Strange new friendship.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough focus on the disappearance investigation.

Final ThoughtsThis does feel like a film that gets caught up following the wrong part too easily, we don’t seem to get any clues to what did actually happen, just following the man’s life for large parts both before and after the disappearance.

Overall: Disappointing mystery.

Arkansas (2020) Movie Review

Director: Clark Duke

Writer: Andrew Boonkrong (Screenplay) John Brandon (Novel)

Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Vince Vaughn, Clark Duke, John Malkovich, Michael Kenneth Williams, Vivica A Fox

Plot: Kyle and Swin live by the orders of an Arkansas-based drug kingpin named Frog, whom they’ve never met. But when a deal goes horribly wrong, the consequences are deadly.

Tagline – Kyle and Swin are working their way to the top…but the top has other plans.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Smooth & Calm

Story: Arkansas starts when small town drug deal Kyle (Hemsworth) getting a promotion, which takes him to Arkansas to work for Frog (Vaughn) a man he has never met, with connection is Swin (Duke), putting him on the first transportation mission, where they learn who is going to be their handler, Bright (Malkovich).

When Kyle and Swin decide to try and move up the ranks, they find themselves being hunted down by Frog, needing to use their new desire to keep them on the right side of the ruthless drug lord.

Thoughts on Arkansas

Characters – Kyle is the small town drug dealer that has been waiting for his chance in the big time, which he gets, working with Swin, rising up the ranks, he will get the dirty work done, he is the smarter of the two, knowing how to cover up the tracks and not just run from the situation. Swin is the man that gives Kyle the ins and outs of the area, he does talk more, he makes more reckless decisions. Frog is the ruthless drug lord that nobody knows who he truly is, he is the man that both the men are working for, while he is waiting for his chance to get his own back on the people who stole from him. Bright is the ranger who is the connection between Frog and the guys, he lets the guys know he is in control, giving the threats if they ever try and cross the line.

PerformancesLiam Hemsworth does give one of his better performances here, he seems to have matured to new levels here. Vince Vaughn is always entertaining in the villainous role, he works very well through this film, with Clark Duke not only starring, but directing this film, stepping away from the comedy that has held him back before. John Malkovich gets to be over the top like only he could, being a joy to watch in this film.

StoryThe story here follows two young drug dealers that decide to try and make a move up the ladder against a man they don’t know, seeing how things don’t get as messed as they imagined it would, but needing to solve the problems produced. This does look at how the drug world operates in the country area in America, it doesn’t making it an all out drug war, it plays out more tactical in the approach to dealing with what is going on between the two sides. The story is also told in chapter form, which does give great time to let the characters develop through the film.

CrimeThe crime side of the film follows two men getting deeper into the drug world in the open country area, this isn’t gangsters, just men looking to make money and run a business for themselves.

SettingsThe film uses the country setting very well to show how relaxed the world is, it takes away the full blown guns out approach other drug lord movies include.

Scene of the Movie – The first meeting between the three.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain side stories don’t need to be here.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting new spin on the drug dealers and drug lords movies, everything is a lot calmer on the approach, which does show us just how the world would operate away from the big city.

Overall: Relaxed Drug Lord Film.

Lionsgate UK presents southern-fried crime thriller Arkansas on Digital Download 13 July & DVD 20 July

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – J – Aladdin (2019) Movie Review

This is under J because it is about Aladdin trying to win Jasmine’s heart.

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Guy Ritchie, John August (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnuessen

Plot: A kind-hearted street urchin and a power-hungry Grand Vizier vie for a magic lamp that has the power to make their deepest wishes come true.

Tagline – Choose wisely.

Runtime: 2 Hour 8 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Lacks the Magic

Story: Aladdin starts as we meet the street urchin Aladdin (Massoud) who is always looking to make his meal ticket with his quick hands, saving Jasmine (Scott) who is pretending to be a local, escaping from her strict father’s (Negahban) rules, experience the thrill of the city. Jafar (Kenzari) is scheming to make his own plans for when the Sultan is gone, waiting for make his own move on Princess Jasmine, against her own mother’s kingdom.

After being caught in the act by Jafar forces Aladdin on his own search for treasure, in search of the lamp with will give him power, only Aladdin keeps the lamp for himself, where he meets the Genie (Smith) who grants him wishes, where he must master the power behind it.

Thoughts on Aladdin

Characters – Aladdin is a street urchin that has quick hands which keeps food available for him, he gets a chance meeting with the rebellious princess, falling in love, showing his honest ways, only he is too poor to be considered anybody that could be with her. He gets forced to steal the magic lamp only to be betrayed and left for dead. Once he learns the power of the lamp, he tries to use it to win Jasmine’s heart, whatever the cost, not being like the other princes that try to win her heart. Princess Jasmine has been held away from the world by her strict father who is scared for her life until she marries a prince, she doesn’t want to just marry royalty, she wants to become her own leader to the people of her city. Genie is who comes out of the lamp to offer Aladdin the three wishes, he does explain how the wishes unfold and wants to help Aladdin create the best wishes, using her natural charisma. Jafar is the second in command of the city, he is planning his own rise to rule the city, with or without Jasmine on his arm.

PerformancesThis movie does have a string of performances that have glimpses from Naomi Scott and Will Smith, only we don’t see everything we could about them, while Mena Massoud lacks the spark for the Aladdin we have known, while Marwan Kenzari just doesn’t come off as evil as he should.

StoryThe story here follows a street urchin who finds a magical lamp and uses it to hopefully win the heart of the princess of the kingdom, where he must learn his own responsibility about life isn’t just about the power of three wishes. Being a remake of the animation, we know where the story will go and it doesn’t differ to any major levels and does continue to show the important message, power and money won’t by you happiness, while showing strict rules that could be broken for somebody to have their own happiness when it comes to position in power.

Fantasy/RomanceWe do get the fantasy side of this film follows the idea of a genie granting wishes, which is interesting, only not fully expressed, while the romance is there and is more about breaking down the walls over anything.

SettingsThe film does us the settings to show us the different world that Aladdin and Jasmine are from, with the cave being such a wonderful location too, only we don’t spend enough time there.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film have moments looking amazing, only for them to not look that great all the way through.

Scene of the Movie – The cave.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Aladdin and Jafar just aren’t interesting enough.

Final Thoughts This just is just like a glossy remake that just doesn’t have the magic it should leaving us feel like we have missed out on something bigger and better.

Overall: Simple and not enjoyable.

Arthur & Merlin: Knights of Camelot (2020) Movie Review

Director: Giles Alderson

Writer: Simon Cotton, Jonny Grant (Screenplay) Giles Alderson, Simon Cotton, Jonny Grant (Story)

Starring: Richard Brake, Richard Short, Ronan Summers, Stella Stocker, Olivia Bernstone, Joe Egan

Plot: A much older King Arthur returns home after fighting the Roman Empire. His illegitimate son has corrupted the throne of Camelot. Now King Arthur must reunite with the wizard Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table and fight to get back his crown.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Game of Thrones the Arthur & Merlin Edition

Story: Arthur & Merlin: Knights of Camelot starts as Arthur (Short) has led battles across the land, leaving his illegitimate son Modred (Phillimore) ruling Camelot, Arthur learns the news of Modred’s new ideas and must return with his most loyal men Merlin (Brake) and the knights of the round table to reclaim his throne.

We follow the journey Arthur and his men take, filled with visits from characters who might help or hinder the mission to take back the throne, while Modred is doing everything he can to make sure, his reign will be remembered.

Thoughts on Arthur & Merlin: Knights of Camelot

Characters – Arthur has been fighting for the land of England, he leads his men into battle only to learn his illegitimate son has bought a new rule to England. He leads his most loyal men in a plan to reclaim his throne. Merlin visits Arthur when he needs him most, providing his wisdom in his time of need. Most of the familiar names from the round table are here too, only they don’t seem to do much else in the story, while Modred is the evil ruler who is trying to use his new power to change the land for his own gain against his father’s wishes.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are not the strongest, with most of the cast struggling to make their character feel like they are reaching the bigger impact.

StoryThe story here follows Arthur and the knights of the round table as they look to reclaim the throne from a new toxic leader that wants to cause more war. This is like watching another version of Game of Thrones, we are watching the desire to regain power, while a new ruler is trying to bring a new conflict to the land. It is a battle for power, which does have plenty of side stories that just don’t come in complete connection to everything going on within the biggest story arc, not enough time is given to the small sides of things, while the action is held back more than you would have imagined for a story involving the iconic characters involved here. It is getting to a stage where the King Arthur storylines have been overdone and need to have a rest.

AdventureThe adventure side of the film shows the journey that Arthur and his men undertook to return to Camelot.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to take us back to the era the film is set in, with the massive castle being the target for the journey.

Scene of the Movie – The Lady in the Lake.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough character about the characters.

Final Thoughts This is another one of those King Arthur storylines that tries to bring something new, only to end up feeling like it is just ripping off Game of Thrones.

Overall: Disappointing of Thrones.

Signature Entertainment presents Arthur & Merlin: Knights of Camelot on DVD & Digital HD from July 13th

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.