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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Fighting with My Family (2019)

Director: Stephen Merchant

Writer: Stephen Merchant (Screenplay)

Starring: Florence Pugh, Lena Headey, Dwayne Johnson, Vince Vaughn, Nick Frost, Stephen Merchant, Jack Lowden

 

Plot: A former wrestler and his family make a living performing at small venues around the country while his kids dream of joining World Wrestling Entertainment.


Tagline – A Comedy About a Family That Fights a Little Differently

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Funny & Inspiring

 

Story: Fighting with My Family starts as we meet the Knight family, father Ricky (Frost), mother Julia (Headey), children Zak (Lowden) and Saraya (Pugh) who are wrestling family, they have their own gym where they put on the shows, train the children from the local area of Norwich. Zak and Saraya both have a dream, that dream is to become WWE superstars and champions.

When the WWE offer them both a tryout with coach Hutch (Vaughn) only Saraya gets offered a place in the developmental brand NXT. Saraya will need to move to Florida at the age of 18 to follow her dream, where she must learn the difficulties of the training and adapting to life in another country, while Zak starts to spiral out of control after seeing his own dream shattered. Can both put their lives back on track to be a supporting and successful family?

 

Thoughts on Fighting with My Family

 

Characters – This is based on the real Knight family, while certain performers and coaches tend to have their names changed. Saraya is the youngest member of a wrestling family, she has been in the ring for years and at 18 she gets her chance to try out for the WWE, getting the job, moving across the world, isolated and alone, she is different to the rest of the other women selected, she has a wrestling background, while they have an athletic or modelling background. We see how she must learn to grasp her chance to follow her dream, which would see her lead a revolution in women’s wrestling. Zak is her brother, he has been working in the ring longer, dreaming that he could make it, he has a child on the way and is the main teacher at the wrestling school, he is left shattered by the idea he can’t follow his dream, closing off from the world, ready to follow in his step-brothers violent reaction to not making the cut. He needs to learn to enjoy his sister’s success and live his own life where he is achieving amazing things nobody else is. Ricky and Julia are the parents that fell in love over wrestling, they turned their own lives around to make something of themselves and push their children to succeed in the ring. Hutch is the coach that selects the potential talents, he is strict with the candidates and knows his decisions will make or break dreams. Dwayne Johnson is playing himself in this film, he gives the speeches where needed and shows that he is the good guy we all know.

PerformancesFlorence Pugh has made a big impact in her short career and this showed her puling off another role that required a lot of physical training to go with the emotional side of the story. Jack Lowden impresses here too, his character deals with the lose of the dream and he shows us this in every scene as the look of disappoint grows as time goes by. Lena Headey and Nick Frost show wonderful chemistry through the comedy of the film, while Vince Vaughn is strong in the coach role, which must be the calming pushing presence. Dwayne Johnson is mainly playing himself and isn’t in too many scenes that you haven’t seen in the trailer.

StoryThe story follows the career of WWE superstar Paige, from her wrestling family in Norwich through the life changing opportunity to be part of the WWE developmental brand NXT, while her brother much deal with the fact he didn’t get selected and must focus on living a life where his dream doesn’t come true. This is based on the real family, the real journey, the real moment bought a tear to my eye watching it live. This does bottle down to the idea of t chasing the dream, taking the chance given to your movie, which is the Saraya side of the film. I did however think the Zak side of the story is handled well because seeing him dealing with losing his own dream and seeing his life feel like he is worthless, his hard work was for nothing shows just how hard the news can be. This does feel like a feel-good story of inspiration dreaming.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic side of this film shows how hard the family has worked to be successful in the wrestling business, it shows the life changing decision being made. The comedy will have you laughing at every joke, with many being British humour.

SettingsThe film does show the different worlds, the small-town Norwich wrestling which could see people falling into the wrong side of the law, to the big glossy heights of the WWE, it shows how you can start at the bottom to reach the top.


Scene of the Movie –
Training.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Skipping the success Paige has in NXT.

Final ThoughtsThis is a feel-good inspirational story that will give you a smile, even if you do know how the story ends, both in the film and the years after.

 

Overall: Delightfully funny biopic.

Rating

 

 

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

Director: David Yates

Writer: J.K. Rowling (Screenplay)

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Zoe Kravitz, Ezra Miller

 

Plot: The second installment of the “Fantastic Beasts” series featuring the adventures of Magizoologist Newt Scamander.


Tagline – The fate of one will change the future of all

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple World Building

 

Story: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald starts with Grindelwald (Depp) escaping prison pulling his forces together as he is going in search for Credence Barebone (Miller) who is now on the run, the Ministry want Credence bought to safety, which gives them a chance to offer Newt (Redmayne) a way to travel internationally.

Tina (Waterston) has been selected to go in search of Credence, which ends up giving all parties interested in search for Credence, the one person who has the power to killed Dumbledore (Law).

 

Thoughts on Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

 

Characters – Newt still considered an outside in the magical world, he is offered a chance to redeem himself to stop Grindelwald from gaining too much power, he still has the connection with the fantastic beasts, is trying to redeem his relationship with Tina and prove himself to the Ministry. Grindelwald has escaped his prison and is now looking to raise an army for a war against the non-magics, he knows how to take down the biggest threat ad is working to get Credence on his side. Tina has moved away from Newt after reading something incorrectly, which sees her leading the investigation into Credence’s location. Dumbledore has a connection the Grindelwald, one that means he can’t track him down and he selects Newt to help him search for his old friend. Credence is the young man that everyone is searching for, he has power that others simply can’t control, he doesn’t know who to trust in any way, leaving him on the run as he wants answers to who his parents are. Leta Lestrange is the former classmate of Newt, she has been put in a position where she can make up for her own mistakes in the past, while dealing with her own secret.

PerformancesEddie Redmayne is solid enough returning to his role, there are moments where he is annoying though. Johnny Depp was solid too even with all the issues around him being cast in this film. most of the cast are just basically solid, nobody does anything to stand out in this movie.

StoryThe story continues the adventures of Newt as he must learn why Grindelwald is searching for Credence. We do see both sides bring drawn out in a war between the two sides, with the different wizards needing to learn pick a side. Where we do have a lot characters we do seem to lose focuses on just what is happening within the bigger picture, as this is only an early chapter in series, it des feel like a building story rather than one that has a beginning or end, which also disappoints. We do however know that the Harry Potter franchise was similar with this, giving us moments which will be used for latter moments in the franchise.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure side of the film does take Newt to new locations with more of his fantastic beasts which is fine, though it just feels like more of the same with the magic being more about who wants power over clever little tricks.

SettingsThe film does use a couple more settings with Paris and London being involved, most of the locations are used to show the secret places where magic can take place.

Special EffectsThe effects are not as strong as previous films though, we have seen a lot of different moments through the film, with this being more of a let-down over anything else even with some of the beasts looks amazing.


Scene of the Movie –
Cats chasing down Newt.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters to follow.

Final ThoughtsThis is an average chapter in a franchise which has gone on for a while now, it has good moments and tries to save itself with a twist, which is here for shock value over any meaning.

 

Overall: Simple chapter building.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – F – First Reformed (2018)

Director: Paul Schrader

Writer: Paul Schrader (Screenplay)

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric the Entertainer, Victoria Hill, Philip Ettinger, Michael Gaston

 

Plot: A minister of a small congregation in upstate New York grapples with mounting despair brought on by tragedy, worldly concerns and a tormented past.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hawke’s Powerhouse Performance

 

Story: First Reformed starts as we meet minster Toller (Hawke) who has a small congregation in the Fist Reformed church one with a big history about the celebrate an anniversary. One of the community Mary (Seyfried) is worried about her husband Michael (Ettinger) who has become worried about the future for their unborn child.

After the death of Michael, Toller starts looking into the climate change problems, believing he is getting ill, only to learn the truth about the local supply which has a connection must close to home.

 

Thoughts on First Reformed

 

Characters – Toller is a minster with a tragic past, he lost a son in war which saw his marriage end and his own problems coming to light. He turned to the bible which seems him getting a chance to help people who need it, he soon learns that his own health is getting worse and the problems in the world are starting to get to him. Mary is a pregnant woman who believes there is something wrong with her husband, she turns to Toller for help an he does all he can to help him through his problems, while she deals with life about to bring a child into the world. Jeffers runs the church in the area, he gave Toller the job and is always planning for investments to the church. Esther is the ex-wife who still works for the church, they do still support each other even if they have been through the problems of losing a child.

PerformancesEthan Hawke gives a career best performance here, he shines on so many levels, he will leave you feeling disturbed by what is going on, while also feel sympathetic to his situation. Amanda Seyfried, Ceric the Entertainer and Victoria Hill complete supporting cast and are good throughout the film.

StoryThe story follows a minster who starts to question his faith and mortality when he learns who is behind the funding for his church, leading him to want to make a rash decision. If we are going to be honest about this story, we must admit that it will split the audience mostly because of how it ends, it won’t keep everyone going home saying wow, it will leave people going what happened, which is always going to put the audience off, sure we don’t always want to get spoon fed answers though. This does have plenty to focus on and does offer a big question about the future of mankind, what people will do to save it no matter what they do for a living.

MysteryThe mystery involved in the film comes from Toller learning the truth about what is going on and just what he will do about it.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town in New York, it shows how businesses will operate around it and how the community will come together through the difficult times.


Scene of the Movie –
Seeing the world in a breath.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The end could be more conclusive.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting movie that has a brilliant performance from Hawke, it brings forward big questions while most of the film is interesting it could have a better conclusion.

 

Overall: Carried by the performance of Hawke.

Rating

 

 

The Flintstones Viva Rock Vegas (2000)

Director: Brian Levant

Writer: Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont, Jim Cash, Jack Epp Jr (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Addy, Stephen Baldwin, Kristen Johnston, Jane Krakowski, Joan Collins, Thomas Gibson, Alan Cumming

 

Plot: In this live-action prequel to the 1994 comedy hit, the Flintstones and the Rubbles go on a trip to Rock Vegas, where Wilma is pursued by playboy Chip Rockefeller.


Tagline – Get ready to rock!

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not On the Same Level

 

Story: The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas starts with Fred (Addy) and Barney (Baldwin) graduate into employment and head out to celebrate. Wilma (Johnston) is looking to escape her life from the rich friends and family she has lived in and finds herself meeting waitress Betty (Krakowski) becoming friends.

When the two friends meet they fall in love with Wilma’s past family being the rich gets the couples an invite to Rock Vegas for a holiday of a lifetime.

 

Thoughts on The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas

 

Characters – Fred Flintstone is the working class citizen of Bedrock, he wants to meet a woman and he does meet Wilma, only to show us that he has a dark side when it comes to gambling. Barney is the bumbling best friend of Fred, which is strange because this time he is made out to be a bigger idiot than Fred. Wilma is escaping her life from the rich which leads her to Betty and then Fred while Betty is a waitress that falls in love with Barney. We don’t get the full character development we need for these characters this time around.

PerformancesMark Addy does fit the Fred Flintstone role well and to be honest the performances are not bad they just don’t have much to work with even if they do look the part more than the first cast.

StoryThis is a prequel and looks at how the couples met, which is fine, but not something we needed to see, we know how this story is going to end which also takes away from the story because we know Fred and Wilma and Barney and Betty end up together, so any mistakes made along the way mean nothing. We also focus on the idea of trying to do too many parodies of modern times.

Comedy/Family/RomanceThe comedy seem thicker than last time out, mostly because it comes too often with too many pop culture references which have dated badly, the family will struggle to enjoy this because there are not enough jokes for the older audience, with the romance being here working even if we know how it ends.

SettingsThe look of Bedrock still looks great and the idea of Rock Vegas works for the fil showing the bigger idea the movie wanted to give us.

Special EffectsThe practical effects do work for the film but when the CGI get used we see the short comings the film has.


Scene of the Movie –
The Viva Rock Vegas number.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Playing a romance angle on characters we know get married.

Final ThoughtsThis movie doesn’t hit on the same level as the first, the performances are fine, but the story just falls flat on its face.

 

Overall: Substandard sequel.

Rating