ABC Film Challenge – Romance – C – Larry Crowne (2011)

Director: Tom Hanks

Writer: Tom Hanks, Nia Vardalos (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Pam Grier, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Holmes Osbourne, Taraji P Henson, Rob Riggle

 

Plot: After losing his job, a middle-aged man reinvents himself by going back to college.


Tagline – Never too late in life to start living.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Clichéd Rom Com

 

Story: Larry Crowne starts as we meet Larry (Hanks) a hard-working sales man for a supermarket like company that is let go due to him not having a college education, in desperate search for a new purpose, he heads back to college with one of his lecturers being Mercedes Tainot (Roberts) who feels she is under achieving.

After meeting fellow student Talia (Mbatha-Raw), he learns to fit in with the students and helps him find a new purpose as he reinvents himself.

 

Thoughts on Larry Crowne

 

Characters – Larry Crowne spent years in the Navy as a chef, he has worked his way up the ranks at a superstore, only to find himself laid off because he doesn’t have a college education. Not finding a new job, he heads back to college where he makes new friends and clashes with the teachers, while finding himself. He doesn’t have a bad bone in his body and just wants to help people. Mercedes Tainot is a teacher that doesn’t feel she is achieving everything she could, she enjoys a drink to cover her failings in life with her marriage going down the toilet, she pushes her students while not always caring. Talia is a student that takes Larry under her wing, helps him join their gang and becomes the friend he needs through his college experience. She is the spark in the movie that keeps everything feeling fresh.

PerformancesTom Hanks takes many roles in this film, director, writer and leading man, he is good in this role, where he can play into the comedy he was once known for, but it is far from the best we know he can do. Julia Roberts is good too, she enjoys playing a less complicated character to the ones we know her for too. For me the star of the movie must be Gugu Mbatha-Raw who steals every scene we see her in with her pure positivity. The rest of the supporting cast are good throughout the film with some names that have gone onto bigger things too.

StoryWhen I look at this story it does show us how one man who loses his job, wife and is left facing no future because of his lack of education, it does play out like an important look at the real world, this side of the story is good, the problems I found with the story include how he goes to college, but we never learn what this is to achieve because on of the courses seems like a made up one too. We get a romantic angle which just doesn’t work and while it does show us about taking change in your life in your stride we do see to lose plot points quickly through the film.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film does work, it is mostly light hearted which works well. The romance in the film for me is mostly a miss because we do try to play into what could happen between the two, which shouldn’t be around in this story for Larry.

SettingsThe settings in the film take our main character back to college and to locations he wouldn’t have imagined he would have gone, even with they are cliched as they come.


Scene of the Movie –
Larry’s speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The subplots just seem to vanish through the story.

Final ThoughtsThis movie does want to give us an important message, but by the end it just falls into the clichés we know too often in rom coms.

 

Overall: By the book.

Rating

 

 

Tobey Maguire Weekend – Labor Day (2013) Movie Review

Director: Jason Reitman

Writer: Jason Reitman (Screenplay) Joyce Maynard (Novel)

Starring: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire, Tom Lipinski, Maika Monroe, Clark Gregg, James Van Der Beek

Plot: Depressed single mom Adele and her son Henry offer a wounded, fearsome man a ride. As police search town for the escaped convict, the mother and son gradually learn his true story as their options become increasingly limited.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Lifeless

Story: Labour Day starts when single mother Adele (Winslet) who has become depressed hiding from the world with her son Henry (Griffith) who is used to her routine, on the latest trip to the store, the pair meet Frank (Brolin) an escaped criminal looking for somewhere to hide out.

Instead of continuing his escape plan, Frank ends up staying with two, as she starts to show Adele a good time, showing he is a nice guy, only the known murder charge left on his head, is only putting a toll on the relationship between Adele and Henry.

Thoughts on Labour Day

Characters – Adele is the depressed single mother that has seen her husband leave and start a new life, leaving her with their only son, she doesn’t like to leave the house and when she does, she will follow a strict routine, until Frank starts to show her something different in life. Frank is a criminal who escaped from prison while receiving medical treatment, he uses Adele and Henry to hide out, where he shows himself to be a nice person capable of being part of a family, giving Adele hope she never imagined. Henry is the teenage boy that has been helping his mother through her struggles, he does spend one day a week with his father and now he is starting to find himself in a position where he might be getting replaced by Frank, leading him to feel insecure about his own future with his mum.

PerformancesA film that has Kate Winslet in the leading role should be elevated, while her performance does this, she can’t save the film, neither can Josh Brolin who fails to make the big impact required. Gattlin Griffith does well for the youngster next to the big names, being the most interesting of the characters in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a depressed single mother that takes in a convict on the run and the two start to fall in love, helping her get out of her slump in life. This story isn’t the most interesting with the idea being that two people from different worlds could make each other happy even though we can see how many problems them being together could have with them being together. The story is told from a grown up son’s point of view, which shows how at the time he doesn’t understand everything, but now he understands everything that is going on.

RomanceThe romance side of the film shows the two falling in love slowly despite being in different stages of life.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the family home, with Frank being unable to be seen outside of the house, this keeps everything together for what is going on without needing the usual over the top romantic gestures.


Scene of the Movie – Cooking.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Pacing.

Final Thoughts This is a dull romantic drama that even with a-list stars, just doesn’t save this from being enjoyable.

Overall: Dull throughout.

The Luring (2019) Movie Review

Director: Christopher Wells

Writer: Christopher Wells (Screenplay)

Starring: Molly Fahey, Michaela Sprague, Jake Katzman, Rick Irwin, Alex Emanuel, Daniel Martin Berkley

Plot: A man tries to recover a lost memory by returning to his family’s Vermont vacation home where an unspeakable act took place leaving him institutionalized as a child.


Tagline – Sometimes We Are Called To The Darkness

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow Thriller

Story: The Luring starts when Garrett (Irwin) heads back to a Vermont vacation home with his girlfriend Claire (Sprague) to look into the memories that he can’t remember as a child, waiting to meet a mysterious woman Jennifer (Fahey) from the internet, that might fill in the gaps for him.

As the time away sees Garrett acting strangely with the visits from Jennifer, while seeing himself start to become distant from Claire, as his past starts to come back to him.

Thoughts on The Luring

Characters – Garrett grew up with a blank in his memory, he wants to try and fill in this gap, which sees him returning to a family vacation home with his girlfriend, he is getting tired of his girlfriend and as the memories return, we see the darker side of his character, the side which may have caused the memory blank. Claire is the girlfriend that is desperate to have a good weekend away, she loves Garrett and is willing to spend her life with him, even if she is already sensing the problems between the two. Jennifer is the mysterious woman that has been willing to help fill in the holes in Garrett’s memories, only for her to have a real reason for drawing him back to the town.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are not the strongest, as some characters do feel overplayed, while others don’t seem to break out, to make their character standout in anyway.

StoryThe story here follows a man that is looking to fix the memories he has lost from his childhood, only for the truth to come out and haunt him more. This is a story that does do the memory needing refilled well enough, only we do seem to get two moments of story that feel completely out of place for the rest of the film. As the story unfolds, we do get to growing distain towards Garrett. We don’t seem to get into the full extend of what is causing everything to happen though, leaving a lot left to the imagination.

HorrorThe horror side of the film comes from seeing how the noises can’t be explained, before we do see one terrifying figure.

SettingsThe film uses the one main location, the vacation home, which has tragedy about it, it will create isolation for our characters through the film.


Scene of the Movie – The stilts.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The two scenes which seem disconnected to the main story.

Final Thoughts This is a horror thriller that doesn’t seem to use the ideas of memories being lost, to create everything, only for most things to end up missing, with exception of the stilts character being truly terrifying.

Overall: Thriller that doesn’t hit all the marks.

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – L – Locusts: The 8th Plague (2005)

Director: Ian Gilmour

Writer: D.R. Rosen (Screenplay)

Starring: Dan Cortese, David Keith, Kirk B.R. Woller, Jeff Fahey, Atanans Srebrev, Naum Shopov, Hristo Mitzkov, Julie Benz

 

Plot: A group of scientists try to stop a swarm of flesh-eating locusts that escape from a top secret government lab in the USA Midwest.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Easy to Watch Sci-Fi Special

 

Story: Locusts: The 8th Plague starts a scientist Russ Snow (Fahey) and businessman Gary (Keith) have been working on a bug eating locust that could help clean out crops in the state of Idaho. When their experiment goes wrong the flesh eating locusts escape into the local area.

Colt Denton (Cortese) and Vicky (Benz) must lead the military into finding a solution before the locusts who aren’t meant to be able to breed, continue a rampage through the state leaving bodies in their path, the race is on to stop them.

 

Thoughts on Locusts: The 8th Plague

 

Characters – Colt Denton has created a pesticide that is environmentally friendly and only need to be used once, he finds himself in the middle of the race to stop the locusts using his knowledge of them and what could attract them. Vicky is the daughter of Russ, she works for the USDA which is responsible for controlling the outbreak, she works with Denton to find a solution. Gary is the man running the company that created the Locusts, he doesn’t want to lose the money he has made through the years, he wants a cover up. Russ Snow the scientific mind behind locusts, he is trying to do this for the right reasons, even if things don’t go as planned, he is left in a position of wanting to stop the spread or taking responsibility for his action.

PerformancesDan Cortese in the leading role show potential in a leading role, his performance fits the style of film. Julie Benz does the best she can with what is basically the damsel in distress role. David Keith and Jeff Fahey fill the villainous side of the film well enough.

StoryThe story follows an experiment to create flesh-eating locusts to help with crops, getting loose and targeting the locals as their neighbours continue to grow. This story does fill the classic b-movie style with ease, we have a creature, in this case locusts that are getting deadlier as they continue to spread across the local area that need stopping. There isn’t too much to talk about with the story, we know how things will unfold, making this a safe and steady story to follow.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror comes from the locusts and just how they will kill anything in their line of fire. The sci-fi side of the film comes from the locusts that have been created with the genetically modified to be the way they are.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town in Idaho, this works because it shows how the problem could start in a small location, only to grow over time.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are low budget and they work for everything they are showing without being anything special


Scene of the Movie –
The plane hangar.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Why is there a car on fire after an attack, the locusts are not flammable.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple and enjoyable sci-fi special movie, it checks all the boxes without doing anything special, one you can just switch on and enjoy.

 

Overall: Simple and Enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark (1980) Movie Review

Director: Charles Jarrott

Writer: Steven W Carabatsos, Sandy Glass, George Arthur Bloom (Screenplay) Ernest K Gann (Story)

Starring: Elliott Gould, Genevieve Bujold, Ricky Schroder, Vincent Gardenia, Tammy Lauren, John Fujioka, Yuki Shimoda

Plot: When a plane carrying various animals makes a forced landing on a desert island, the only chance to escape is to convert the plane into a boat.


Tagline – On a wing and a prayer… they built a legend.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Little Adventure

Story: The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark starts as debt riddled Noah Dugan (Gould) is given a chance to clear some of his debts with a flight for a missionary Bernadette Lafleur (Bujold) who is trying to take some animals to a remote island in the Pacific, knowing how difficult the flight is with animals, Noah reluctantly agrees, unaware children Bobby (Schroder) and Julie (Lauren) have boarded the plane.

When the plane ends up going off course, the plane lands on another island, one that still has Japanese soldiers on believing the war is still on going and they must try and put the differences aside to survive the island.

Thoughts on The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark

Characters – Noah Dugan has left himself in debt to loan sharks that are looking to get their money back, he has 24-hours to find the funds, which sees him turn to every person who could give him a pilot job, with his last resort being Stoney, a flight he doesn’t want to make, but sees as his chance to escape for now. He doesn’t like the idea of animals and once he learns the children have joined it only makes him grumpier, even if he will always try to do the right thing. Bernadette Lafleur is the missionary looking to make a difference on an island colony, she is leaving the orphanage to make this happen, with the word of God by her side, she is the one that always remains calm during each crisis they face. Bobby and Julie are the two children that sneak onto the plane as they want to be with their animals, they just make everything more difficult for the adults.

PerformancesElliott Gould in the leading role is great to watch, he reacts like any normal person through the situations they handle. Genevieve Bujold is strong too being the opposite to Gould through the film, while the child stars do bring the annoying side required.

StoryThe story follows a reluctant pilot and the missionary group he is transporting crash land on an island and they must figure out how to get off the island alive. This story is focused on putting aside differences to achieve things, with the opposite mindset of both Noah and Bernadette needing to show they can both help each other escape the island. It does try to reflect the biblical story of Noah’s ark, which is doesn’t reach the levels of in anyway, but ends up doing everything right for a safe escape from desert island story.

Adventure The adventure side of the film is all about trying to survive the island, it does let the children feel like they are enjoying themselves.

SettingsThe film is set mostly on the desert island, it looks beautiful and has everything you would expect to see on one, working perfectly for the film.


Scene of the Movie – Set sail.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – How did they get the cow in the boat part?

Final Thoughts This is an interesting adventure that checks off the boxes with ease, has a strong lead with a safe adventure to survive.

Overall: Enjoyable Adventure.