Never Steady, Never Still (2017)

Director: Kathleen Hepburn

Writer: Kathleen Hepburn (Screenplay)

Starring: Shirley Henderson, Theodore Pellerin, Mary Galloway, Nicholas Campbell, Jared Abrahamson, Hugo Ateo

 

Plot: A mother struggles to take control of her life in the face of advanced Parkinson’s disease, while her son battles his sexual and emotional identity amongst the violence of Alberta’s oil field work camps.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brave Look at Parkinson’s Suffering

 

Story: Never Steady, Never Still starts as we meet Judy (Henderson) a woman struggling with Parkinson’s, her husband Ed (Campbell) cares for her the best he can, while their son Jamie (Pellerin) heads off into the world to find a job before going off to college, he starts in the oil field work camps which leave him feeling out of place.

When Ed dies suddenly, Judy is left to care for herself with just the locals looking after her the best they can without interfering in her life. Jamie’s life isn’t going any better as he is struggling to learn about himself in the harsh working environment.

 

Thoughts on Never Steady, Never Still

 

Characters – Judy is suffering from advanced Parkinson’s she does seem to be in control for the most part, but when her bad moments happen, her husband is there to help, she goes to support groups to help cope with everyday issues, only for her husband to die and leaving her alone to deal with the problems she doesn’t want to ask for help and the snowy conditions only make her life more difficult. Jamie is her son that is being forced to work in the oil fields where he must learn quickly just to make enough money to support himself with any future with college, he is trying to learn about himself which makes his life decisions even more difficult. Kaly is the local shop assistant that helps Judy with delivers while waiting for her boyfriend to return to help her with her pregnancy. Ed is the father and husband that cares for Judy, he always helps her until he suffers a heart attack.

PerformancesShirley Henderson is great in the leading role showing us just how difficult everyday life can be with Parkinson’s she doesn’t overplay the illness, while showing us just how difficult it can be to live with. Theodore Pellerin is good too, though a lot of his scenes are about him not knowing his place in the world which takes away from the difficulties his mother is meant to be going through. Theodore Pellerin is strong in his role though he never gets to the levels of Shirley, which can be said for the rest of the supporting cast.

StoryThe story here follows a woman suffering from advanced Parkinson’s she has support from her husband and has been doing the best she can with the disease, we see how her struggle becomes more difficult when her husband dies and with her son away she must deal with the problems alone in condition that will not make her suffering any easier. This side of the story is the best side because it shows us a real problem that could be faced by people with small families who can’t give up days to support the sufferer. On the other side of the story we follow her son as he wants to figure out his own body while dealing with harsh working condition, this side of the story does drag and because of Judy’s problems we want to see her life rather than his.

SettingsThe film is set in Alberta which does put us in a place with harsh weather condition that the characters must work through, being away from easier support doesn’t help.


Scene of the Movie –
Discovering Ed.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of Jamie’s storyline.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow paced drama that does show us just how difficult living with Parkinson’s can be, it has a wonderful leading lady performance, but might not be for everyone.

 

Overall: Simple and Effective Drama.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – N – The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman (2013)

Director: Fredrik Bond

Writer: Matt Drake (Screenplay)

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Til Schweiger, Rupert Grint, James Buckley

 

Plot: While traveling abroad, a guy falls for a Romanian beauty whose unreachable heart has its origins in her violent, charismatic ex.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Story

 

Story: The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman starts as Charlie (LaBeouf) deals with his mother’s death which pushes him to take a trip to Romania, an idea that the ghost of his mother suggests. On route the Romanian passenger Victor (Caramitru) dies giving Charlie a reason to find his daughter Gabi (Wood).

Charlie meets to Brits Karl (Grint) and Luc (Buckley) who show him how to party in the hostel but the danger comes from Gabi’s estranged husband Nigel (Mikkelsen) a dangerous man in the city. Charlie finds himself in the middle of the cover up that puts his own life in danger.

 

Thoughts on The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman

 

Characters/PerformanceCharlie is a young man who travels to escape the grieving of his mother’s death, he wants to do the right thing but enjoys partying to, it would be fair to say his true motivations and character are never fully shown though. Gabi is the local Romanian girl that catches Charlie’s eye, she is also grieving the death of a parent but her life is a lot more complicated than he can imagine. Nigel is the ex-husband of Gabi that isn’t going to let her go without a fight which brings us to see how dangerous this man could be.

Performance wise, Shia is good in this role, I know people can slam the guy but this works for him. Evan Rachel Wood is also good throughout the film without trying to steal the movie while Mads Mikkelsen is always great in this type of role.

StoryThis story focuses on the one man looking for a moment to get away from his life to grieve, this is all good we have seen this before because it shows how this solo character finds themselves getting into trouble. The idea is basically ABC and it is simple enough to follow.

Comedy/RomanceThe film doesn’t feel too much like of a comedy and the romance side is basically just guy meets girl in new city but girl has background that makes things difficult for them to be together.

SettingsThe setting is good because not many film are set in Romania.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most average films you will see, there are better and worse that cover the same genre.

 

Overall: Not that impressive.

Rating

 

 

The Night Comes for Us (2018)

Director: Timo Tjahjanto

Writer: Timo Tjahjanto (Screenplay)

Starring: Iko Uwais, Julie Estelle, Joe Taslim, Sunny Pang, Zack Lee, Shareefa Daanish

 

Plot: Ito (Joe Taslim), a gangland enforcer, caught amidst a treacherous and violent insurrection within his Triad crime family upon his return home from a stint abroad.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brutal Action Films

 

Story: The Night Comes for Us starts when Ito (Taslim) doesn’t follow through with one of his gangland enforcement jobs, saving a young girl Reina, now the Triads have come for him, with Yohan (Peng) leading the mass number of gang members trying to kill him and clean up anyone that has supporting him.

Ito must continue to do the right thing and it will be his oldest friend Arian (Uwais) that could give him the answers to who he can trust in this world.

 

Thoughts on The Night Comes for Us

 

Characters – Ito is the gangland enforcer for the Triads, he has been away and upon his return he walks into the middle of the war between the leaders, one that will see him witness his crew butchered by the other gangs, where must learn who to trust, just to save an innocent young girl. Arian is one of the gang, the one that has become the highest ranking of the original gang, the one that is left in the middle of making a decision which will help his friends or help his bosses. Chein Wu is the one pushing Arian into his action, he knows he will do the best for his future because he knows if he doesn’t, he will just get killed. The Operator has her own reasons for fighting, they revolve around saving the girl from the enemies coming her way, she is just as deadly as any fighter in this film.

PerformancesJoe Taslim takes the leading role here and he fits in perfectly to this raw, hard hitting criminal world, you believe every punch and kick, he does also show the emotional range to deal with the down time between the action. Iko Uwais is fast becoming the biggest Asian action star of modern cinema, we get to see him do incredible fighting scenes here which is all we want, even if he does turn out to be the villain in this story. Now everyone involved in the fight sequences must be praised, we have unique moments, weapons that are different in each scene and flawless execution when it comes to using the ones at hand.

StoryThe story follows a former Triad leader that gets caught up in the middle of a war between the rising powers as he tries to get out before it is too late. It would be fair to say this film does focus on the action over the story telling process, which is fine, there isn’t too much to tell on the storyline side of the events. We get glimpses into the idea of who to trust or not and who will be loyal to you when the odds are stacked against you. It does show us just how deadly and determined to follow their own beliefs the Triads are and how they will not change their rules.

ActionThe action is why we are all here, the action sequences are amazing with the pure brutality being shown through each fight which only gets bloodier than the previous one.

SettingsThe film takes us around the normal Triad locations which will show us how the people will use the location to their advantage in the fight scenes.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are amazing when it comes to the wounds given to any of the films fight scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
The old club house fight sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Reina’s need to do a violent act never feels as brutal as the rest of the violence in the movie.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most essential films of the modern action genre to watch, it simply won’t let you have time to take a breath once the action kicks off.

 

Overall: Must watch action film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – N – Nina Forever (2015)

Director: Ben Blaine, Chris Blaine

Writer: Ben Blaine, Chris Blaine (Screenplay)

Starring: Cian Barry, Abigail Hardingham, Fiona O’Shaughnessy Mandeep Dhillon, Katharine Bennett-Fox, Barry Castagnola

 

Plot: After his girlfriend Nina dies in a car crash, Rob unsuccessfully attempts suicide. As he begins to overcome his grief, he falls in love with a co-worker, Holly. Their relationship is complicated when Nina, unable to find rest in the afterlife, comes back to life to sarcastically torment them whenever they have sex.


Tagline – A fucked up fairy tale

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Return of the Dead Girlfriend Working Again

 

Story: Nina Forever starts as the employees of a store learn that Rob (Barry) tried to kill himself after the death of his girlfriend, where Holly (Hardingham) a student paramedic finds this to be a turn on wanting to get to know Rob unlike most of the other staff. The two do start hanging out together which does lead to a romantic story between the two.

When the two go to have their first night together things take a turn when Nina (O’Shaughnessy) appears from within the bed, but she is meant to be dead, why has she returned from the afterlife to stop Rob moving on?

 

Thoughts on Nina Forever

 

Characters – Rob is a grieving young man, working in a supermarket as he gets over his ex-girlfriend death, he has tried killing himself but didn’t get very far. He gets haunted by Nina once he tries to start dating again but must face the closure her spirit never got. Holly gets drawn to Rob and starts a relationship but it gets confusing for her once Nina arrive on the scene but it doesn’t scare her away. Nina is the deceased girlfriend of Rob’s who returns whenever he has sex with another woman, she doesn’t believe they are broken up believing they will be together forever.

PerformancesCian Barry is good in his role as the grieving young man trying to move on, he shows how difficult it could be for anyone in that situation. Abigail Hardingham is good in this role where she must show the support needed as well as the innocence for a young woman in her first relationship. Fiona O’Shaughnessy is also good throughout the film as the dead girlfriend that turns up during sex, being almost seductive at times.

StoryThe story enters into the idea of a loved one needing to deal with an undead version of their partner stopping them from starting a new relationship. It plays into a darker comical side rather than the light-hearted nature of other films such as Clinger, Life After Beth or Burying the Ex. This film does try to tackle the more serious effects of what could happen with dealing with the grief of losing a loved one.

Comedy/Horror/RomanceThe comedy comes from the darker side of the story because it takes things on a more serious side than it wants to. The romance side of everything comes from the idea of trying to move on with someone new you could love while still being haunted by the memories of the one that left you. The horror is there but mostly based on the undead being alive and lots of blood.

SettingsThe try to have everyday settings for the building of the relationship but it is the bedroom where the idea of Nina coming back comes from as we see her haunting the new couple.

Special EffectsWhen we look at the effects we will be diving into practical for the most part, we don’t get many either because we need to focus on the story over the effects.


Scene of the Movie –
Nina’s first appearance because it is a surprise for us to see how it comes about.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have liked an extra laugh or two.

Final ThoughtsThis is yet another good addition in this new little subgenre in horror, the dead partner haunting the old partners new love interest. It does work well because it is different enough from the others because this takes a darker tone for the most part.

 

Overall: Nice addition to the dead girlfriend haunting ex-partner.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Romance – N – The Notebook (2004)

Director: Nick Cassavetes

Writer: Jeremy Leven, Jan Sardi (Screenplay) Nicholas Sparks (Novel)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner, Gena Rowlands, Sam Shepard, Joan Allen, James Marsden, Kevin Connolly,

 

Plot: A poor yet passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman, giving her a sense of freedom, but they are soon separated because of their social differences.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Date Night Sorted

 

Story: The Notebook starts as Duke (Garner) a positive thinking elderly man is getting ready to continue a story to Miss Hamilton (Rowlands) at the home, this story takes us back to Noah (Gosling) who meets the 17-year-old Allie (McAdams), both from different backgrounds, Noah poor and Allie rich.

When the two fall wildly in love Allie’s parent’s don’t want her to spend her life with what they call trash, leading to a break-up of the loving couple. Years fly by the two live their own lives away from each other where Allie falls in love with a man her family approve off. While the two cross paths again the love they felt will always be there, but life always gets in the way.

 

Thoughts on The Notebook

 

Characters – Noah came from the wrong side of town, the side with no money or prospects, he earns everything he has to prove that he can escape this world, he makes it through war but his love for Allie will never stop being there. Allie comes from the rich part of town, she accepts Noah for being different but her parents stop her from following the true love she felt for him, while she does fall in love with another man she will always have that flame for Noah. Duke is the man telling us the story to Miss Hamilton who is listening to the story, we learn that they are a bigger part of the story too.

PerformanceGosling and McAdams both shine in these roles which will always be considered two of their more popular roles of their careers. James Garner and Gena Rowlands are both great in the older roles too.

StoryThe story focuses on two people who fell in love, they face stumbling blocks along the way be it personal or otherwise but the love they feel will be what no other can give them. We do flash between the story unfolding as it is being told that does give us hints to who the elder characters are which at times can be frustrating because the final reveal is the one that plays on the heart strings. This is a fairy tale love story, which the likely hood of every happening seems unlikely, but it gives the audience hope of true love.

RomanceThe romance in this film does show how two people can fall in love and it last forever even through illness, war and everyday situations.

SettingsThe settings give us a clear difference in class the two come from and just how the love they feel can bring people together from different background

s.

Scene of the Movie – Swans and rain.

 

That Moment That Annoyed Me I think they give away a twist too early.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the all time most popular date night movies, you can see why because it does work on the love side of things.

 

Overall: This is a bitter sweet love story that plays for tears.

Rating