ABC Film Challenge – Random – N – Night Moves (2013)

Director: Kelly Reichardt

Writer: Jonathan Raymond (Screenplay)

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard, Alia Shawkat, Logan Miller, Kai Lennox, Katherine Waterston

 

Plot: Three radical environmentalists look to execute the protest of their lives: the explosion of a hydroelectric dam.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Slow

 

Story: Night Moves starts as we follow Josh (Eisenberg) and Dena (Fanning) who are environmentalists looking to find a way to change the world before it gets destroyed. Tired of the peaceful protests the couple head off to meet radical Harmon (Sarsgaard) who has a plan for a true statement the world will take notice off.

We watch how the three bring together the equipment to send their message and we are left to wonder if they will go through with it and what impact it could have on the environment.

 

Thoughts on Night Moves

 

Characters/PerformanceJosh and Dena are young idealistic environmentalists that are out on a mission to work with the radical Harmon they sum up the frustrated generation of how the world get mistreated and want to change it in their own way. Harmon is full left field, he wants to enjoy seeing the world change because of what they do.

Performance wise, we know how capable all three actors are, but sadly through this film we don’t get to see just how talented they are. I feel it is the script which holds most of this back really.

StoryThe story shows how environmentalists can push things to the extremes but must deal with the consequences of those action. The story is incredibly slow paced never pulling you into care about these characters or their actions and by the end everything all feels very flat indeed.

ThrillerYou simply don’t get sucked into this story or what is happening because of the poor pacing within the movie.

SettingsThe settings show the nature that these characters want to see live on, we also get to see just what has been happening with the human impact, so this does help us understand the situation the characters find themselves in, in a weird way.

Final ThoughtsThis was a very slow movie, it has a story that doesn’t drag you in and most disappointingly the film really doesn’t go anywhere.

 

Overall: Disappointing and slow film.

Rating

 

 

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November (2017)

Director: Rainer Sarnet

Writer: Rainer Sarnet (Screenplay) Andrus Kivirahk (Novel)

Starring: Rea Lest, Jordan Liik, Arvo Kukumagi, Katariina Unt, Taavi Eelmaa, Heino Kalm, Meelis Rammeld

 

Plot: In this tale of love and survival in 19th century Estonia, peasant girl Liina longs for village boy Hans, but Hans is inexplicably infatuated by the visiting German baroness that possesses all that he longs for. For Liina, winning Hans’ requited love proves incredibly complicated in this dark, harsh landscape where spirits, werewolves, plagues, and the devil himself converge, where thievery is rampant, and where souls are highly regarded, but come quite cheap.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Weird, Wonderful, Mesmerizing

 

Story: November starts as we meet farmers daughter Liina (Lest) who on her farm has a machine known as a Kratt which is a soul of a deceased person that does work around the farm, everyone has one, but they need to be kept occupied or they cause problems. On the day of the Body of Souls (Which could be considered similar to Day of the Dead) the dead return to their families with Liina meeting handsome village boy Hans (Liik). With love being a cruel game, we see how Liina attracted to Hans gets ignored as he sets his sights on the beautiful Baroness (Hermanis), we are left to see just how far people will go to get attentions of the one they love.

 

Thoughts on November

 

Characters – Liina is a farm girl, she will always be a farm girl regardless of how much she hopes for more, she falls in love with a village boy that doesn’t notice her, which leave her to turn to dark arts to win his love. Hans is the village boy that captures the heart of Liina, but he is in love with the Baroness, the mysterious stranger to the area. When we look at the rest of the characters we have a host of colourful characters, from farmers, village, witches and barons, they help show the social status of the characters.

PerformancesRea Lest is the star of the show here, she captures the character wonderfully to leave us fully understand the position her character is in. this doesn’t take away from the rest of the cast that are great through the film too.

StoryWhen we discuss this story we are going to be trying to example something very confusing, but wonderful to watch. The core of the story is a love story about falling in love with someone above your social status in a 19th century world. This is a story you must experience to truly understand how difficult it is to describe though. Just when you think you have the story wrapped up for its direction it does throw you into a position where you are left wondering just what next.

Fantasy/RomanceThe fantasy world we are taken into is original, weird and a place you need to experience, witches, werewolves and spirits. The romance of the film takes us to a place where we see how the people can fall in love with someone that doesn’t notice them.

SettingsThe settings keep us in the small village in the 19th century which shows the different beliefs the people are believing in.

Special EffectsThe effects being used in this film are wonderful, the Kratt creatures look flawless in this universe.


Scene of the Movie –
The opening sequence, because it prepares you for the experience.

That Moment That Annoyed Me If you blink you might miss something important.

Final ThoughtsThis is a unique viewing experience that must be experienced by all film fans, it is beautifully shot and will keep you want to see more of this world.

 

Overall: Must watch viewing experience.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – N – Nebraska (2013)

nebrakaDirector: Alexander Payne

Writer: Bob Nelson (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk, Stacy Keach

 

Plot: An aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Comedy Drama

 

Story: Nebraska starts as Woody Grant (Dern) an elder man who believes he has won the Million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes and wants to travel from Montana to Nebraska to receive his prize. The problem comes where he keeps trying to walk the journey which drives his wife Kate (Squibb) and two adult kids David (Forte) and Ross (Odenkirk) crazy.

After it becomes clear he just won’t give up on this journey David agrees to travel cross country with him in a journey which will bring the two closer than they have been in David’s life. While the story continues to unfold, we learn that this trip means more than the money to Woody and as the news spreads he might have won the money people from his past come out of the woodwork trying to stake their own claim to a piece of it all.

 

Thoughts on Nebraska

 

Characters/PerformanceWoody is an elderly man who just wants to know his place with the people who knew dying and his memory going, Woody just wants to go on this journey to have one last memory of something he achieved in his life. David is the younger son who is the softer of the two brothers, he sees this journey as his last chance to be with his father, learning about his past in a journey he never got to experience as a young boy. Kate is the wife of Woody who is getting tired of all the trouble Woody has been causing, you can see the love between the two as they have been spending years together through the good and bad moments.

Bruce Dern is fantastic in this role that deals with all the problems the character is dealing with. Will Forte who I only knew from comedy was also fantastic in this role with June Squibb getting nearly all of the laughs with her character’s rants.stara

StoryLooking at the story we see one man’s search for an extra memory before he feels he will finally lose his memory. This is a road trip movie that shows the bon between father and son can reach new levels at any age. I feel the story gives Woody a chance to look at where he grows up, where his friends from his youth are and put the past behind him once and for all.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure the family go on while simple is a cross-country journey, we have great light-hearted comedy going on throughout the film.

SettingsThe small town America setting shows how people can live full lives without getting out and when you return you can see how much you have escaped.genre

Final ThoughtsThis is one film I was always unsure of watching, I never got any good vibes from it but this was easily one of the best I have seen from the year of release.

 

Overall: Brilliant drama that you can understand every moment the characters feel.

Ratingrating

 

 

Christmas Holiday Weekend – The Night Before (2015)

Director: Jonathan Levine

Writer: Jonathan Levine, Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Evan Goldberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, Jillian bell, Lizzy Caplan, Helene Yorke, Michael Shannon

 

Plot: On Christmas eve, three lifelong friends spend the night in New York City looking for the Holy Grail of Christmas parties.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Christmas Movie

 

Story: The Night Before starts as we learn why Ethan (Gordon-Levitt) lost his parents over Christmas in 2001, his two best friends Isaac (Rogen) and Chris (Mackie) spend every Christmas Eve together and getting drunk, but as time went by his friends started to move on with Chris becoming a sports star and Isaac starting his own family. With Ethan, still almost stuck in his slump with his life working as a Christmas Elf.

This year has been mutually agreed to be the last one they spend together and Ethan has finally got the ticket to the biggest Christmas Party in town, the one they have always been looking to attended but before that, the traditions need to be celebrated for the last time. How will this night turn out for the friends on what is meant to be their final adventure?

 

Thoughts on The Night Before

 

Characters/PerformanceEthan is a man that lost his family at Christmas, he asks only one thing and that is to spend it with his two best friends, he hasn’t been able to find his path in life while his friends have found success but he knows this is his last Christmas Eve with friends. Isaac is about to become a father which leaves him knowing that he won’t be able to party as often as he can so he gets the chance to party on the last time but can’t handle the trip. Chris is suddenly becoming the big sports star he dreamed off but he finds himself in the middle of making new friends or keeping the ones he loves like brothers.

Performance wise, Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a great job in the leading role playing a role he has made his own in comedy movies, Rogen is what you expect from him but his character is slightly questionable in places. Mackie shows that he can handle comedy on a regular level after Pain & Gain, he proves he can handle the supporting role.

StoryDeep down this story has a story of friendship and just how important it is over Christmas. We get to focus on moving forward in life remember never to forget the people who spent it with you, accepting responsibility for mistakes you have made and finding a way to be ready for parenthood. I think this does have plenty of Christmas message but sadly does get bogged down with the almost pointless drug based side story going on.

ComedyThe comedy does come thick and fast through the film even if certain parts of the film are based the drug usage going on through the characters.

SettingsThe film is set in New York city which shows the hustle and bustle of the town during the Christmas Eve events. It all works for everything going on through the story.

Final ThoughtsI did enjoy the deeper meaning behind this film as the part of the story Ethan goes through but I got slightly tired on the Rogen drug filled character.

 

Overall: This is a great Christmas film that is well worth a watch if you want something non-family based.

Rating

 

 

The Nut Job (2014)

nutDirector: Peter Lepeniotis

Writer: Peter Lepeniotis, Lorne Cameron, (Screenplay) Daniel Woo (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl, Stephen Lang, Maya Rudolph, Jeff Dunham, Gabrial Iglesias, Sarah Gadon

 

Plot: An incorrigibly self-serving exiled squirrel finds himself helping his former park brethren raid a nut store to survive, that is also the front for a human gang’s bank robbery.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bland Animated Film

 

Story: The Nut Job starts as we meet selfish squirrel Surly who lives in the park only ever looking after himself against the rest of the park run by Racoon. When the park animals work on trying to get food together for winter clash with Surly he finds himself exiled from the park while the rest of the animals have to find food for the winter. This is basically going to be A Bug’s Life I am guessing.

When Surly locates a nut shop he is ready for the winter but plucky squirrel Andie is assigned to help feed the park having to team up with ‘heroic’ squirrel Grayson. When the two different side meet they arrange to work together to save the park and see Surly redeem himself and move back into the park.

The Nut Job is a heist movie mixed together to feel like a poor attempt of copying A Bug’s Life where one disgraced member of a group that gets a chance to prove his worth to the rest by helping them get enough food for winter. This is really just lazy story telling that doesn’t have anything original and just has poor slapstick attempts at humour throughout. The voice talents are wasted and in the end this is something I don’t think even children should watch.

 

Overall: Just plain bad reaching the levels of awful.

Rating10