Rose Byrne Weekend – Juliet, Naked (2018) Movie Review

Director: Jesse Peretz

Writer: Evgenia Peretz, Jim Taylor, Tamara Jenkins (Screenplay) Nick Hornby (Novel)

Starring: Chris O’Dowd, Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, Phil Davis, Lily Brazier, Denise Gough, Ayoola Smart

Plot: Juliet, Naked is the story of Annie (the long-suffering girlfriend of Duncan) and her unlikely transatlantic romance with once revered, now faded, singer-songwriter, Tucker Crowe, who also happens to be the subject of Duncan’s musical obsession.


Tagline – What if you met the man of your man’s dreams?

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Charming & Delightful

Story: Juliet, Naked starts as we meet Annie Platt (Byrne) who had to give up her dreams to take over her family business of running the local museum, she is living with long-term boyfriend Duncan (O’Dowd) who is a teacher and has an obsession with musician Tucker Crowe, even running a fan site in his name. when Duncan receives a new unreleased album, Annie comments on his website, which sees her getting an email from Tucker (Hawke) himself.

When Tucker and Annie become long-term pen pals, Annie starts having telling new stories unlike before, just as Duncan starts becoming even more distant from her, putting her in a difficult position of being involved in a friendship with her partners idol.

Thoughts on Juliet, Naked

Characters – Annie Platt did study art history, but gave that up to take over the family business of running a small-town museum on a seaside town, she is dealing with her partner’s obsession with Tucker Crowe until she gets an email from Tucker starting a new friendship, giving her a chance to give up what she sees as a lonely life. Tucker Crowe is a one-hit wonder that has gathered a small cult like following, he has gone off the radar for years and emails Annie after her comment on a board about his album, he starts a friendship with Annie, while dealing with his past which sees him have children with different women and is facing the reality of becoming a grandfather soon. Duncan is Annie’s boyfriend, he is a teacher by day and by night he leads the Tucker Crowe fan club online, idolising him, his obsession with Tucker does make him distant from Annie at times. He does end up leaving Annie and ends up becoming instantly jealous of Annie’s new friendship with Tucker.

PerformancesRose Byrne is a delight to watch in this film, we see her bring to life this character in ways that make us understand her position in life. Ethan Hawke will always be great in roles which see him playing somebody who has been struggling with life choices, he knows how to make this character his own. Chris O’Dowd is great too completing the main cast with his ability to nail the comedy moments.

StoryThe story does follow a couple that are torn apart after one’s affair, leading to the other to start a relationship with his idol, opening her eyes to the bigger world out there. This is a story that is about how to find love in people and in life, figuring out what would be best for you and not letting everyone else in your life controlling you. We do get ideas of how difficult it could be to meet your idol and what would happen if you ex started hanging out with that idol too. We see how life can become easy to pass you by and how important it can be to make up for your own mistakes and spend the future making things right.

ComedyThe comedy in the film plays into the drama of everything going on, most of the laughs will come from Duncan’s obsession with Tucker.

SettingsThe film shows us the settings by use the quiet seaside town, where life can be safe and how the big city could be an escape you could on dream of having, or stay away from out of fear.


Scene of the Movie – Dinner scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The sister character seems to be here just for laughs, not for plot.

Final Thoughts This is a delightful comedy that will get laughs and will reflect the reality of how difficult life can be.

Overall: Sweet comedy drama.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – J – Julie & Julia (2009)

Director: Nora Ephron

Writer: Nora Ephron (Screenplay) Julie Powell, Julia Child, Alex Prud’homme (Book)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, Linda Emond, Helen Carey, Mary Lynn Rajskub

 

Plot: Julia Child’s story of her start in the cooking profession is intertwined with blogger Julie Powell’s 2002 challenge to cook all the recipes in Child’s first book.


Tagline – Passion. Ambition. Butter. Do You Have What It Takes?

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Inspirational and Sweet

 

Story: Julie & Julia starts as we follow Julia Child (Streep) and her husband Paul (Tucci) starting to find her place in the world in France, where she finds a new passion for cooking, meanwhile in 2002 Julie Powell (Adams) moves to Queens with her husband Eric (Messina) who is getting tired of her everyday life, decides to start a blog, challenging herself to cook all the recipes in Julia’s cook book within a year.

The two stories run next to each other with Julia studying cooking before getting a chance to teach and write the book that Julie is working from, while Julie starts to see a spike in interest for her blog, with people wanting to see just how far she gets into her challenge.

 

Thoughts on Julie & Julia

 

Characters – Julia Child is one of the most famous chefs from the 1950 and beyond, here we get to see how being a bored housewife that turned to cooking to keep her entertained, first studying it before writing the book that saw her take years to write with her co-workers. We only follow her time getting to the position of getting the book published. Julie Powell believed she had a bright future, now turning 30 she is stuck in a cubical job feeling out of place in life. Deciding to set herself a challenge, she wants to prepare every recipes in Julia Child’s book within a year. Julie does see the success of her blog skyrocket with people wanting to see how she experiences the dishes through the year. Paul Child and Eric Powell are the supportive husbands of both the women, they both let them get on with their projects, stepping in only when they are feeling down about moments in life.

PerformancesMeryl Streep and Amy Adams are both truly fantastic in their roles, they bring both real people to life by making both their characters filled with life in different generations. Stanley Tucci and Chris Messina both manage the supporting roles with ease, helping the two leads hold the spotlight, but stepping in when they need their characters to make impacts in the lives.

StoryThe story here follows the early days in the cooking world for Julia Child as she starts to use her hobby to bring a new joy to her life, we also follow a small time blogger looking for a challenge, using the book to make a name for herself in the world as a cook that enjoys the challenge. The story manages to balance the two ladies challenges to make an impact, with Julia Child needing to go against traditions of male chef to get her book released, while Julie wants to prove she can complete something in her life. The tone of the story is told in a way that keep everything feeling calm and enjoyable and seeing what both the women achieve is a delight to see.

Biopic/RomanceThe biopic side of the film shows two different sides of the lady’s lives, seeing how they both had to overcome their own problems to achieve the challenge. The romance shows us just how the two women turned to their husbands to keep them strong.

SettingsThe film uses two main locations, one was Paris with Julia seeing how a new vision for cooking, while Julie is stuck in a small apartment, which does show us just the book could be achieved by anybody whatever size their kitchen.


Scene of the Movie –
The final chapter of the blog.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not a thing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a delightful story about two women that used their passion for cooking to tell and bring new their stories to the people of the world.

 

Overall: Delightful

Rating

 

 

Judy (2019) Movie Review

Director: Rupert Goold

Writer: Tom Edge (Screenplay) Peter Quilter (Stageplay)

Starring: Renee Zellweger, Rufus Sewell, Jessie Buckley, Michael Gambom, Finn Wittrock, Gaia Weiss, Bella Ramsey

Plot: Legendary performer Judy Garland (Renée Zellweger) arrives in London in the winter of 1968 to perform a series of sold-out concerts.


Tagline – Judy Garland: the legend behind the rainbow.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Zellweger Shines

Story: Judy starts in the late 1960’s where screen legend Judy Garland (Zellweger) has been running low on money, struggling to keep a roof over her children’s heads, she must let her ex-husband Sidney Luft (Sewell) look after them, while she travels to London, where she has a fan base dying to see her in sell-out concerts.

In London Judy is managed by Rosalyn Wilder (Buckley) who must make sure she makes the shows, Judy is trying to make the money, while experiencing the flashbacks of her time working on the Wizard of Oz, being order into certain diets, being controlled. She does make new friends and learns about her own personal problems.

Thoughts on Judy

Characters – Judy Garland is the screen legend, she has been struggling in the mid-40s with a reputation that claims she is difficult, needing to find a way to have an income, she moves to London for a string of shows, which soon sell out, giving her a chance at recovering her career, only her demons will continue to haunt her. Sidney Luft is the ex-husband that wants to have custody of their children back in America. Rosalyn Wilder is trying to manage Judy on the London, she does what she can, getting the most out of her. Bernard Delfont is financing the concerts, he is left disappointed with Judy, echoing what it was like for her as a child star. Most of the supporting characters don’t get much to do, while we focus a lot more on Judy’s life.

PerformancesRenee Zellweger is fantastic in this leading role, completely controlling the scenes, making us feel every emotion that Judy would go through. Rufus Sewell, Jessie Buckley and Michael Gambon are all strong, though they don’t get much to work with.

StoryThe story here follows Judy Garland’s arrival in London for a set of concerts, hoping to revive her career, only her past demons and reputation come back to haunt her once again. The story might show more of her time on the big stage in London which is all fine, but the tragic side of her story only comes in small flashbacks, these scenes are filled with pain and would have been a lot more interesting to see, just how badly she was treated at a young age by the blossoming Hollywood system. We don’t see much between The Wizard of Oz and 1968 either, which is where her bad reputation comes from, this would have also been nice to see, what caused this reputation, was it fair etc. we just seem to skip a lot, despite how interesting the loneliness Judy is experiencing in London would be.

BiopicWe only get to see a couple of moments from Judy’s life, part of the making of Wizard of Oz and then her 1968 concert tour in London, different stages of her career, different problems in her life.

SettingsThe film has a couple of main settings, the set of Wizard of Oz, the stage in London and the hotel where she was staying in her time in London, they show her strength, her weakness and the place that broke her early in her life.


Scene of the Movie – Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not learning enough about why Judy became difficult to work with.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting biopic, where we get to see a difficult stage of her career, Zellweger is fantastic and elevates this film to new levels.

Overall: Nice Biopic, With Something Missing.

Journeyman (2017)

Director: Paddy Considine

Writer: Paddy Considine (Screenplay)

Starring: Paddy Considine, Jodie Whittaker, Paul Popplewell, Brendan Ingle, Tony Pitts, Matt Insley, Anthony Welsh

Plot: Boxer Matty Burton suffers a serious head injury during a fight. This is the story about the impact on his marriage, his life, and his family.


Tagline – A snapshot into the life of a struggling boxer

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sensational and Eye Opening

Story: Journeyman starts as Matty Burton (Considine) has finally won middleweight boxing championship, he now has everything with his wife Emma (Whittaker) and new born baby Mia, he is preparing for his first defence of his title against the undefeated Andre Bryte (Welsh) who believes Matty is just a lucky champion.

After Matty wins the fight he returns home to celebrate with Emma, only to collapse from a head injury that he suffered during the fight, he has suffered a serious brain injury. After the operations, Matty isn’t the man he once was, needing Emma to help him around the house with everyday activities

Thoughts on Journeyman

Characters – Matty Burton is a champion boxer, he has spent his career working up to the title and now he has it, he must prepare to defend it and defend it he does. This fight leaves him with a brain injury, which sees everyday function gone, he can’t remember how to do the basics of everyday life and is left feeling helpless, acting out against his wife who is trying to help him. Emma is Matty’s wife, she has always supported his career and with this new injury, she must adapt to life with his brain injury, she is also trying to raise their daughter, with Matty unable to help the way he once did, leaving her in the difficult situation of who she can give more time and care too. Jackie and Richie are the friends from the ring, they start by staying away, but they turn into the only one that can help Matty rediscover himself.

PerformancesPaddy Considine gives us a career best performance, where you see him as a nice guy that must deal with such a sudden change and the pain it causes him is shown on every expressions, he gives us. Jodie Whittaker is wonderful in the supporting role which sees her needing to remain strong through the film. Paul Popplewell and Tony Pitts complete the main cast where they are all both great supporting performers.

StoryThe story here follows a boxer that wins his title defence only to suffer a serious brain injury that makes everyday of his life difficult as he must relearn how to do the basics and must prove he is safe enough to raise a baby around. This is one of the most eye-opening stories you will see, it does show the danger in boxing and how suddenly a punch could change a career and life forever, even in a competitive situation. We don’t focus too much on the boxing, only the aftereffects which shows the difficult early days, weeks or months on the road to recover and how that person might never be fixed, only able to learn to live with their injuries. This is one for the boxing fans to watch or any sports or even anyone that wants to see how difficult brain injuries can be on a family.

SportsThe sports side of the film shows us how the boxing can effect the lives of the competitors when it comes to brain injuries, we do only see one fight, but it is the routine of boxing which helps recovery process.

SettingsThe film is set in the midlands, it does put us in a realistic boxing community, instead of a flashy rich home like we often see in boxing movies.


Scene of the Movie – The return to the boxing club.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing.

Final Thoughts This is a wonderful look at how boxing can change a life through injury and how people need to learn to adapt to the change in life.

Overall: Paddy Considine gives a career best.

Rating

Just Mercy (2019) Movie Review

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

Writer: Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham (Screenplay) Bryan Stevenson (Book)

Starring: Michael B Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson, Rob Morgan, Tim Blake Nelson, Rafe Spall, Marcus A Griffin Jr, O’Shea Jackson Jr

Plot: World-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner.

Runtime: 2 Hours 17 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Eye Opening

Story: Just Mercy starts when Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) learns the struggles of the poor, mostly black men on death row for crimes they didn’t get proper representation in court. Gaining the funding to start helping these men, one case Walter McMillian (Foxx) takes centre stage.

Bryan must battle a legal system that doesn’t seem to want to let a black man have a fair trial, to prove that Walter never committed a murder that was convicted on just one witness statement, no evidence was false, to save a man’s life and change the system forever.

Thoughts on Just Mercy

Characters – The characters here are based on real people, which shows the incredible work they went through, Bryan has just qualified as a lawyer and is willing to give up massive paydays to help the men trapped on death row, to get a fair trial and save lives. He will risk his life, reputation and career on proving, fairly that Walter isn’t a murderer. Walter McMillian has worked hard his whole life, his one mistake made him an easy target for the police who wanted to frame a black man, now on death row, he doesn’t have much faith of getting out, until he meets Bryan who shows him that somebody is willing to fight for him, even though he has always claimed his innocence and helped keep the fellow inmates believing they could get out. Eva Ansley works with Bryan, she leads more of the campaign, while helping study the law side, not fighting in the courtroom, she is the person that keeps Bryan going through it all, though not seeing her involved more in the courtroom, is slightly disappointing.

PerformancesMichael B Jordan steps up here to prove he will be able to take leading roles in a more serious environment once again, he shows all the calm his character needs during the testing times. Jamie Foxx is wonderful as the wrongly convicted killer, showing how the system has beaten him down more than anything else. Brie Larson gets great scenes, but it is a mix of her character not getting enough scenes and seemingly more we don’t learn about her character which leaves us wanting more.

StoryThe story here follows the young lawyer that wants to fight for the rights of the men on death row, with his first major case being defending Walter McMillian, a man believed to be wrongfully convicted a crime he could never have committed. This is an important story, it shows how hard the people worked to campaign to give people a fair trial in a system which has shown countless cases of corruption, he shows all the struggles they would face and how the law will always hold people back from getting the truth out there fairly. We focus on one major case, while it does feel like we could watch many cases this man worked on, just to show us how unfair the law can be on the poor.

SettingsThe film uses a few settings, the prison for the interviews, the courtroom, which as you all know is one of my favourite settings in film, offices and homes which show how hard everybody worked to get this story out there.


Scene of the Movie – The supreme courtroom.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The law being this bad.

Final Thoughts This is a wonderful important look at how the law works, not always as fairly as it should do, we have a massive story and brilliant performances from the cast.

Overall: Important.