ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – N – Night Owls (2015)

Director: Charles Hood

Writer: Seth Goldsmith, Charles Hood (Screenplay)

Starring: Adam Pally, Rosa Salazar, Rob Huebel, Tony Hale, Peter Krause

 

Plot: After workaholic Kevin has a drunken one night stand with the beautiful train-wreck Madeline, he’s horrified to discover that she’s actually his boss’ jilted ex-mistress. When she takes a bottle of sleeping pills, Kevin is forced to keep her awake… and over the course of the night the two begin to fall for each other.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Life Comedy

 

Story: Night Owls starts when Kevin (Pally) has a one-night stand with a mysterious girl (Salazar) and when planning on leaving he learns this isn’t her house and is in fact his boss’s house. Panicked he tries to figure out what to do with his best friend Peter (Huebel) advising him what to do after she tries to commit suicide.

Saving Madeline, Kevin tries to learn her story and the affair she has been having with Kevin a sports star, the two must learn about themselves to get through the night and refocus on their own lives.

 

Thoughts on Night Owls

 

Characters – Kevin works for Will, he has a one-night stand only to find out who the woman is, he tries to help her with her own problems which also helps him address his own problems, he is nice guy middle-aged and filled with regret. Madeline is the girl that brings Kevin back for the night, she has planned on killing herself because of the man she has been seeing until she gets a chance to open up with Kevin to talk through her own problems in life. We do get a couple of supporting character, but most barely in appear away from the lead two characters.

PerformancesAdam Pally and Rosa Salazar are both good at carrying this movie, they are both strong as they are the ones going through the conversations in the film. the supporting appearance are good enough for what they are doing, but they don’t make an impact in the film.

StoryThe story follows a woman who had planned to kill herself to get back at her lover and the man she takes home that wants to help her out of the situation. This is a conversation-based movie which is very interesting as we get to focus on the real problems people are facing in life be it careers, relationship or just being relevant in life. We see how both have problems and spending the night talking to somebody can change your look on life.

ComedyThe comedy in the film comes from little moments that happen between the two, giving us light moments to the serious conversation.

SettingsThe film takes place in one house for the whole time through the night, it shows us talking it through problems can help as we never need to leave the house.


Scene of the Movie –
The pool.

That Moment That Annoyed Me They do seem to repeat the arguments at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good conversation-based movie which is one that can teach life lesson for both sides of the conversation, strong leading performances too.

 

Overall: Life lessons 101

Rating

 

 

No Such Thing as Monsters (2019) Movie Review

Director: Stuart Stanton

Writer: Karen Elgar, Stuart Stanton (Screenplay)

Starring: Angel Giuffria, Georgia Crisfield Smith, Matthew Clarke, David Macrae, Rebecca Fortuna, Michaela Pascoe

Plot: A young couple on a romantic weekend in the Australian bush are terrorised by a psychopathic family.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: No Such Thing As Monsters starts when a couple Mary (Giuffria) and David (Clarke) head off for a camping trip, while Mary is reluctant to go on because of her fears of being in tight locations. The pair find themselves with another family Amy (Smith), Becca (Fortuna), Belly (Pascoe) and Elmer (Fyfe) who use the location for a yearly trip.

The family has other ideas though, abducting the couple taking them to their remote location leaving Mary locked up in the camper van, where she is left to wonder what is happening to David.

Thoughts on No Such Thing As Monsters

Characters – Mary reluctantly agrees to join her boyfriend on the trip away, she isn’t a fan of tight spaces and would prefer a cottage getaway, but she is trying to get used to change. She tries to befriend the other campers, only to find herself locked up in the campervan with no escape in sight. David likes the outdoors, with this being a chance for him to pop the big question, he is taken, tied up and used for the benefit of the women. Amy is the timid member of the family who has been scared, she always covers herself up and is the only member of the family that tries to defend Mary from the others. Becca, Nelly and Elmer are the family members that have taken the couple with plans for their own with them.

PerformancesAngel Giuffria in the leading role does a strong job showing us the hopelessness of the situation she finds herself in, while Rebecca Fortuna and Michaela Pascoe show us the crazy side of the siblings.

StoryThe story here follows a couple that are on a camping trip, only to find themselves taken by a psychotic family, who have plans for them as they suffer through a long ordeal. While this story is pretty much a by the book idea of a couple being taken, it is the length of the ordeal which will make it stand out, we see the days, weeks and months pass by, as they suffer, instead of the quick general escape concept we are used to seeing. It does start to get a little bit repetitive, as we just get caught up spending more time wondering what is happening, over producing the true shock of the truth.

HorrorThe horror in this film comes from first being taken and how the couple are put for their lengthy ordeal.

SettingsThe film uses the remote setting to show how a family could be getting away with the plan they have, showing us you never know what you will find inside the woods.


Scene of the Movie – First escape plan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Dumb decisions.

Final Thoughts No Such Thing As Monsters is an interesting spin on the abduction story, which will show us the horrific lengthy ordeal the couple must go through.



Nomadland (2020) London Film Festival Movie Review

Director: Chloe Zhao

Writer: Chloe Zhao (Screenplay) Jessica Bruder (Book)

Starring: Frances McDormand, Gay DeForest, Patricia Grier, Linda May, Angela Reyes, David Strathairn

Plot: Follows a woman in her sixties who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Nomadland starts as we meet Fern (McDormand) a woman in her sixties that lost everything in a recession, her husband passed away, leaving her with next to nothing, Fern lives in a van, travelling around America in search of work, in a routine, where she meets the same people, while spending months at each workplace through the year, depending upon the season.

Thoughts on Nomadland

Characters – Fern is the new Nomad, she lost everything in a recession, forcing her to travel for work, with a routine selection of roles she will fulfil each year, meeting the same people to catch up, all with their own stories. She does get on with most people she meets through her travels, showing the support the whole community brings together for each other. Most of the other characters we meet in the film are the real nomads, they each understand their lives, making it feel like a lot of the situations could be seen as real stories.

PerformancesFrances McDormand is wonderful to watch in this film, she brings this character to life with ease, showing the sympathy she need, without every asking for it. Most of the rest of the cast are real nomads, that are here to tell their own stories of their lives, showing how they can still find the positives in their lives.

StoryThe story here follows a woman who lost everything and has turned to the life of a nomad, travelling around for work, making friends with the community of nomads, while still finding the best in life. The story here is a reflection of the modern day uncertainties in America today, showing that there will be a generation that will be forced to continue working when everything is suddenly taken from them. While the story isn’t the deepest, it is more about highlighting the community that have been suffering for so long with the current living conditions in America.

SettingsThe film takes us across the American West, showing us the different conditions that Fern sets up in for work, the different working environments she finds herself working in and the adventures she is free to take.


Scene of the Movie – Journeys never taken.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Leaving the dog.

Final Thoughts Nomadland is a beautifully shot movie, with stunning cinematography, sensational performance from McDormand, even if the story doesn’t go as deep as it could have gone.



ABC Film Challenge – Horror – N – Needful Things (1993) Movie Review

Director: Fraser C Heston

Writer: W.D. Richter (Screenplay) Stephen King (Book)

Starring: Max von Sydow, Ed Harris, Bonnie Bedelia, Amanda Plummer, J.T. Walsh, Ray McKinnon, Duncan Fraser, Valri Bromfield, Shane Meier

Plot: A mysterious new shop opens in a small town which always seems to stock the deepest desires of each shopper, with a price far heavier than expected.

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: One of King’s Most Interesting Stories

Story: Needful Things starts when Leland Gaunt (von Sydow) opens up an antique shop in the small town of Castle Rock, the shop known as Needful Things, see the locals visit, with them getting an unusually attachment to certain items in the shop, items that are clearly meant for each individual person, one that strikes a memory.

As the town starts flocking to the shop, it becomes clear that Leland has alternate plans for the town, with Sheriff Alan Pangborn (Harris) needing to investigate a new increase amount of small crimes, which slowly start to build in seriousness before the town turns to chaos.

Thoughts on Needful Things

Characters – Leland Gaunt is the mysterious shopkeeper that arrives to Castle Rock, his shop has everything the people of the town want and he knows everything about everyone in the town. He trades their desires for favours, which mostly involve going against people in the town, he knows how to remain calm through the conversations, knowing just what they want to hear. Sheriff Alan Pangborn left the big city for a quiet life, he is enjoying his life in the town, with his new fiancée, until the crime levels start to rise, which sees him going from dealing with cats in trees, to murders, can he stop the power Leland has over the town before it is too late. Polly is Alan’s fiancée, she runs the local diner opposite the new shop, she doesn’t run in like some of the other residents, which sees her witnessing the changes from the locals. Nettie is a shy former abuse victim that becomes one of the first customers of the shop, showing how easily people can like what he is willing to offer. We do get a string of people that start to get caught in his ideas.

PerformancesMax von Sydow is wonderful to watch in this film, he gives the character the mystery and charisma he needs to seem like a friendly person. Ed Harris is always good to watch, here he does the small town cop routine with ease, playing a good man who must help his people. Bennie Bedelia is strong without getting enough important early scenes to make us understand how disturbed her character’s life is.

StoryThe story here follows a small town that gets a new visitor in a shopkeeper that soon starts giving the locals everything they ever wanted, for a price, which sees the town turn to chaos and the sheriff needing to solve the problem before it is too late. This is one of the most interesting of the Stephen King stories, it looks at human desires taking control over our own sanity, how one town can be turned upside down by the ideas of what could be ours, rather than giving us what we need. The story is shown to unfold at a delightful pace because it shows how the deals are put in place with each deal, slowly starting to growing from disruptive behaviour right up to murder. The story does rely on the idea of town working together to prove themselves.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy side of the film shows just how Leland can bring about whatever the person in the town wants, he can make the impossible, possible, which only plays into the horrors of just what he can do to this world, when people get everything they ever wanted.

SettingsThe film is set in the small town of Castle Rock, this is one location where everybody knows each other, which is one of the trademarks for any Stephen King novel.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are very simple, they do play into the idea of fantasy elements, when we see just what will happen with the power given to the people.


Scene of the Movie – He is a monster.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does feel like it could have gone a lot darker.

Final Thoughts This is easily one of the more underrated of Stephen King’s adaptions, it gives us a perfect moral dilemma and keeps everything feel a lot more grounded for a horror one.

Overall: Entertaining throughout.

ABC Film Challenge – 80’s Movie – N – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Director: Jeremiah Chechik

Writer: John Hughes (Screenplay)

Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki, John Randolph, Diane Ladd

 

Plot: The Griswold family’s plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster.


Tagline – Yule crack up!

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True American Christmas Film

 

Story: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation starts when Clark Griswold (Chase) has decided his family, Ellen (D’Angelo), Audrey (Lewis) and Rusty (Galecki) are going to host Christmas for the whole family this year, as per normal for Clark he goes through a series of mishaps as the family reacts to his action.

Clark will soon learn that hosting Christmas isn’t going to be as easy as he once thought as the series of unfortunate events seem to be piling up.

 

Thoughts on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

 

Characters – Clark is the ever-enthusiastic father, husband and son that wants to impress his family with his first Christmas as a complete family, this soon leads him to make a series of clumsy errors which only he could find himself in. Ellen is the ever-supportive wife of Clark that isn’t sure this will be a good idea, though she supports this decision through. Audrey and Rusty are the children that are seeing their father and his series of events, while we do get to see many of the family members through the year.

PerformancesChevy Chase was always the heart of the vacation movies, his performance shows a comic timing are perfect through the film, while the rest of the cast know how to let him get the most out of his moments.

StoryThe story follows the events of the Griswold’s as they look to celebrate their first Christmas in Clark’s household. This continues the idea of seeing the holidays that the family go on and how they go wrong, while teaching the lesson about supporting your family no matter how different they are, because family is what is important at the holiday time. This doesn’t do anything to that we don’t already know and we have seen many movies try to do this since and failed. This is the one that the Christmas time will call for seeing once a year, at Christmas.

ComedyThe comedy here shows us just how brilliant at timing Chevy Chase is, because nearly every laugh comes from him, we do also get the set-up laugh moments which pay off well through the film too.

SettingsThe film is set in the Gridwold household which shows us how everyone can come together for Christmas.


Scene of the Movie –
Squirrel chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The neighbours is almost pointless.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant America Christmas movie that can be enjoyed by the whole family for years to come.

 

Overall: True Christmas classic.

Rating