Abigail Breslin Weekend – Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

Writer: Michael Arndt (Screenplay)

Starring: Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, Steve Carell

 

Plot: A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus.


Tagline – A family on the verge of a breakdown

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Amazingly Charming Movie

 

Story: Little Miss Sunshine starts as we meet our family, motivational speaker Richard (Kinnear), hardworking mother Sheryl (Collette), depressed teenage son Dwayne (Dano) who has taken a vow of silence, hyperactive young daughter Olive (Breslin), veteran grandfather Edwin (Arkin) and Uncle Frank (Carell) who is fresh out of a hospital after a failed suicide attempt.

The six go on a road trip across America to enter Olive into the Little Miss Sunshine competition and along the way the family must deal with their own ups and downs to help their youngster member fulfil her dream.

 

Thoughts on Little Miss Sunshine

 

Characters – Olive is the youngest member of the family, cute but never going to be able to truly compete in the beauty contests, but this is her dream and the family will come together to help her achieve her dream. Richard is the father of the family, a motivational speaker who believes he has the next big catch for a book, he always encourages his family to believe they will succeed over just trying. Dwayne is the eldest son in the family, taking a vow of silence until he can become a jet pilot, he hates everyone with the only one he will help is Olive. Grandpa Edwin has been kicked out of a retirement home and living with the family, he swears and enjoys a drug or two. Sheryl is the mother of the family who will do anything for her kids which involves taking Olive across country for the contest. Frank is the suicidal genius brother of Sheryl, released under her care in case he tries it again, he sees the family for their flaws and even takes Dwayne under his wing on the journey.

PerformancesWe have six fantastic performances here, we had the established stars, Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette and Alan Arkin shining and the star making performances from Abigail Breslin, Paul Dano and Steve Carell who was the it star of 2006.

StoryThe story follows a dysfunctional family that must travel across America to enter their youngest member to a beauty contest. We get the characters with their flaws that can be worked on through the film which gives us a natural feeling about the family. It does have the idea that family will need to come together no matter what gets in their way. This is a fun enjoyable story that can be enjoyed by everyone.

ComedyThe comedy here is delightful it hits on every level and does mostly come from real life moments.

SettingsThe road trip moments give us the idea of how far the family will go and we see this in the settings.


Scene of the Movie –
The dance routine.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The colour-blind test is fake because I am colour blind and I could see the test, when normally I haven’t been able to.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the greatest comedies of all time, it is just delightful on every account with wonderful performance from the whole cast.

 

Overall: Wonderful throughout.

Rating

 

 

 

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Christopher Walken Weekend – Last Man Standing (1996)

Director: Walter Hill

Writer: Walter Hill (Screenplay) Ryuzo Kikushima, Akira Kurosawa (Story)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Bruce Dern, William Sanderson, Christopher Walken, David Patrick Kelly, Karina Lombard

 

Plot: A drifting gunslinger-for-hire finds himself in the middle of an ongoing war between the Irish and Italian mafia in a Prohibition era ghost town.


Tagline – In a town with no justice, there is only one law… Every man for himself.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoy the Simple Film

 

Story: Last Man Standing starts as the lone gunslinger John Smith (Willis) rolls up in the small Texan town of Jericho, it two battle gangs the Irish and the Italian during the prohibition era, they are at peace for now but both sides are trying to get the upper hand, trying to recruit John to work for them.

As the battle between the mobs intensifies we are left to see what the motives of John are as he continues to keep one step ahead of the mobs even after the must deadlier player in the game Hickey (Walken) arrives in town.

 

Thoughts on Last Man Standing

 

Characters – John Smith is the unknown gunslinger that rolled into Jericho, he makes an instant impact by taking out a high ranking member of one of the mobs but his motives remain a mystery to us all. Sheriff Galt turns a blind eye while taking a little something on the side to keep quiet about anything going on. Joe Monday is the bar tender in the middle of the battle, he is simple-minded which keeps him in the neutral zone for the mobs. Hickey is the deadliest member of either mob, he has the shortest temper and is considered a myth with his stories of what he has done to people.

PerformancesBruce Willis is good in this role, we get to see part of what he went on to use again in Hartigan for Sin City but he isn’t all one liners like we have seen in the Die Hard films too. Bruce Dern gives us a reserved performance as the sheriff, while William Sanderson add the only moments of light humour in the film. Christopher Walken is the star of the show here as we see just how calculated his character is.

StoryThe story follows to waring gangs that have a mysterious man come into the middle of the war only to intensify the war as he seems to be in business for himself. This is an action story, so we are left a guessing upon just what the motives behind John are which entertains, while the gangs are painfully generic on how they are treated. If you like a battle between gangs with a lone man being the biggest problem in the peace breaking process this is one for you.

Action/CrimeThe action is plenty of shoot them up moments, we see bullets flying, bodies falling and punches thrown in the crime world we enter following the two rival gangs.

SettingsThe small town of Jericho gives the film isolated feeling it requires for the illegal activities going on, it gives the film a modern western feel too.


Scene of the Movie –
New in town.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You might feel let down for Smith’s motives in the end.

Final ThoughtsThis is a tidy action crime thriller, the shooting scenes are intense but otherwise this is easily one film you would have seen elements of before, it is fun though.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable action crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

 

Lies We Tell (2017)

Lies We Tell is released on Digital 2nd April 2018 and will be Exclusively at ASDA on 16th April 2016

 

DVD Extras including

·        Deleted Scenes

·        Cast & Crew Interviews

·        Behind the Scenes Footage

·        Raindance Premiere Footage

 

Director: Mitu Misra

Writer: Ewen Glass, Andy McDermott (Screenplay) Mitu Misra (Story)

Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Sibylla Deen, Harvey Keitel, Mark Addy, Jan Uddin, Reece Ritchie, Gina McKee, Nicholas Farrell, Emily Atack

 

Plot: A trusted driver must deal with his dead boss’ Muslim mistress, her dark past pulling him into a life-and-death showdown with her notorious gangster cousin/ex-husband.


Tagline – The only men who get caught are those who don’t love their wives enough..

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Character Piece

 

Story: Lies We Tell starts with loyal chauffer Donald (Byrne) taking his boss Demi (Keitel) to his secret rendezvous with his mistress, with the busy done, he ends up dying leaving Donald with one last request, clean up the evidence of the mistress.

The mistress Amber (Deen) a Muslim lawyer from Bradford, that has a past of her own which has seen cousin KD (Uddin) become a notorious gangster in Bradford. Amber turns to Donald to help her through the problems she is facing from the streets.

 

Thoughts on Lies We Tell

 

Characters – Donald is the quiet chauffer for a billionaire, he is in the middle of a divorce while dealing with his own personal problems. He is asked to cover up the mistress of his boss only to get drawn into the world of gangsters and Muslim beliefs. Amber is the mistress and lawyer in the city, about to have a big career move, only for her past to come back and cause her problems when it comes to the traditions of her own religion. KD is the cousin of Amber, he has a past that plays darker than you would think, while his part as a gangster is generic, it is his belief in his religion which would cause the darkest side of his character.

PerformancesGabriel Byrne is good in his role, he makes his character feel withdrawn from early on and this is needed for the character he is playing. Sibylla Deen is the unknown of the main cast, she is the star of the film, she balances the characters problems so well through each and every scene. Jan Uddin gives us a villainous gangster figure which is something needed, but his aggressive moments are the best for him.

StoryThis a movie that has a story that doesn’t go in any direction you are expecting, there is a lot more going on when it comes to looking at Muslin marriages that you will be prepared for. While Donald is a man that comes protect and guide Amber, he doesn’t need to turn to violence for this. We are seeing how Amber is trying break from religion and the struggles a woman has to achieve this over a man that can do anything.

Crime/RomanceThe crime world is only scratched on through the surfaces of this movie, we have a gangster that believe he can get what he wants, but from what we can tell Donald and his boss are all legal with their actions. The romance isn’t on the same levels as what you would think, we look at arranged marriages, affairs and lost love over most other things in this film.

SettingsThe main setting for this film is Bradford, this is fresh from just giving us London again, we have the gangs and the traditions that are felt by some and not others on display showing us that they could be anywhere in your own neighbourhood.


Scene of the Movie –
Graveyard driving.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The wedding side of things didn’t seem to make sense by the end. Not because of the tradition, but location.

Final ThoughtsThis is a crime movie that turns to the characters on the highest level of the film, watching what Amber and Donald go through are the driving force and make this different to what you are expecting.

 

Overall: Something different to what you are expecting.

Rating

 

 

Jessica Chastain Weekend – Lawless (2012)

Director: John Hillcoat

Writer: Nick Cave (Screenplay) Matt Bondurant (Novel)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jason Clarke, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Gary Oldman

 

Plot: Set in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a trio of bootlegging brothers are threatened by a new special deputy and other authorities angling for a cut of their profits.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Standard Historical Crime Story

 

Story: Lawless starts as we meet the three brothers Bondurant, youngster Jack (LaBeouf), Forrest (Hardy) and Howard (Clarke), the eldest two have a reputation of being indestructible, the three are bootlegging alcohol during the prohibition era in America. Business is great and their reputation keeps people away from.

This changes when Special Deputy Charlie Rakes (Pearce) arrives looking to clean up Franklin County, Virginia, this helps Jack learn how to be part of the business in the violent side of the business. This leas Jack to make a deal with the deadliest bootlegger Floyd Banner (Oldman) and the war begins between gangs and cops.

 

Thoughts on Lawless

 

Characters/PerformanceJack is the youngster brother, he has always looked up to his brothers to do the dirty work but now he wants to get out there and get his hands dirty, Forrest if the toughest member of the family, he the one conducting most of the business and he will also be the muscles when someone messes with them. Howard is the eldest member of the brothers, he survived the war and now looks for fights while drinking. Charlie Rakes is the man trying to shut down the bootlegging business, he will kill the people involved to send his message. Floyd Banner is the biggest name in the business and now he works with the brothers but will kill anyone who crosses him.

Performance wise, Shia is good in the leading role fitting the part of lead well, Hardy is the best performer where here as the ruthless member of the team, otherwise the rest of the cast are all good throughout the film all doing what you would expect from the genre.

StoryThe story follows the bootleggers during the prohibition era in America, we see the rise of one, the downfall of another an mostly just how things went down in the battle to be the men that get turned too for supplies. This isn’t the most interesting story as none of the characters are overly likeable.

Crime The throws us into a crime world of the prohibition era which shows us just what this would have been like for the men involved.

SettingsThe settings show us just how shady the operations were on the back-country roads on America.

Final ThoughtsThis is fine, nothing special movie that can easily be forgotten when it is all set and done.

 

Overall: Fine but nothing special.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – L – The Lobster (2015)

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Writer: Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou (Screenplay)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Barden, John C Reilly, Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw

 

Plot: In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strangely Delightful

 

Story: The Lobster starts as David’s (Farrell) wife leave him meaning he must attending a hotel to find a new partner. David is welcome to stay for 45 days and if he doesn’t find himself a partner he will be transformed into a beast and sent to the woods, David does keep his brother who is now a dog as company for now ad David’s choice of animal is a lobster.

When David breaks the rules inside the hotel, he finds himself on the run with the other ‘loners’ roaming the forest that he once had to hunt down, here he meets the Short-Sighted Woman (Weisz) and the leader of the loners (Seydoux). This shows David the difference between the worlds as they see just how different the ideas between the two worlds can be.

 

Thoughts on The Lobster

 

Characters – David is recently sent to the hotel to find himself a new partner within the 45 days, he struggles to meet someone and ends up breaking the rules and becoming one of the loners hiding in the woods. He sums up what it is like to be grieving and alone in the world. Short-Sighted Woman is telling us the story and is one of the loners in the woods. We have strange group of characters that all interact with David

PerformanceColin Farrell is brilliant in this role which goes against anything we believe him to be able to do, you are kept on edge to learn what he will do next. Rachel Weisz makes for a great supporting performance showing us all the skills we know she is capable off. The rest of the cast all give great supporting performance throughout the film too.

StoryDescribing this story does become very difficult, the words unique, strange and different would be the best ones to use. We have a world where you must be matched up or be doomed to being transformed into an animal or live in loneliness in the woods. This is a strange view on love but it does work perfectly for the world created.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy is filled with dark comedy that will make you laugh at times with some being about just how crazy the idea is with the romance side of the film being a different world view on romance.

SettingsThe hotel gives us one unique setting for everything happening, with the woods showing the loneliness the characters will face if they don’t match up.

Scene of the Movie – Hide and Seek practice.

The Moment That Annoyed Me While unique in everything I did find that I would have like to have seen more about the transformation process.

Final ThoughtsEasily one of the most unique movies you will ever see, difficult to describe but wonderful to watch.

 

Overall: Strange, weird and wonderful.

Rating