The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) Movie Review

Director: Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz

Writer: Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz (Screenplay)

Starring: Zack Gottsagen, Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, John Hawkes, Bruce Dern, Jon Bernthal, Thomas Haden Church

Plot: Zak runs away from his care home to make his dream of becoming a wrestler come true.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Beautiful Movie

Story: The Peanut Butter Falcon starts as we meet a down syndrome young man Zak (Gottsagen) who dreams of being a wrestler, but is stuck in a care home sharing a room with Carl (Dern) under the care of Eleanor (Johnson), he has been trying to escape before and when he finally does, he meets Tyler (LaBeouf) a rebel who is fighting for his place in a fishing world.

As Tyler reluctantly agrees to help Zak, the two go on an adventure through the outdoors to make it to the wrestling school to live his dream of becoming a wrestler like his hero Salt Water Redneck (Church), even though Eleanor is trying to find him before it is too late.

Thoughts on The Peanut Butter Falcon

Characters – Zak is a down syndrome young man that is living in a nursing home with nobody else offering him a place to live, he loves wrestling and wants to make this his dream to become a wrestler, which sees him running away from the nursing home, meeting Tyler and having his first adventure. Tyler is a drifter working on the local fishing area, that has found himself getting into trouble with the locals, needing to go on the run, where he ends up meet Zak, reluctantly teaching him about life. Eleanor is the carer that has always looked after Zak, she has become concerned about his desire to move away and after he runs away, she must go in search of him, needing to learn more about opening up to his own desire in life.

PerformancesZack Gottsagen is wonderful in the leading role showing all the delight and pain his character is going through. Shia LaBeouf is going down the right path here, doing the roles which require him to show his skills rather than cash heavy roles. Dakota Johnson is great too, with the supporting cast that all work wonderfully through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a young down syndrome man who decides to run away from the nursing home he is living in, with dreams of becoming a wrestler where he meets a lost drifter who teaches him more about life, while chasing his dream. This is a story that is similar to the story of Mark Twain with a fresh approach, with one of the clear messages being, not to judge somebody on a disability they have, they can achieve as much as anybody else. This is a joy to watch as a story, seeing how the two bond and just have a life adventure.

Adventure/Comedy The adventure side of this film, sees two unlikely men at different stages of their lives spending a couple of days together learning about life, it is inspiring to see how people might react to life, while getting a couple of laughs along the way, with the friendship.

SettingsThe film uses the back-water locations to show the drifter lifestyle to which Zak has fallen into and one that Tyler can navigate.

Scene of the Movie – The match.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing really.

Final Thoughts This is a delightful movie that can be enjoyed by all, one that has a clear message about treating everyone equal and one that will leave you feeling good by the end.

Overall: True Delight.

ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – P – The Pledge (2001) Movie Review

Director: Sean Penn

Writer: Jerzy Kromolowski, Mary Olson-Kromolowski (Screenplay) Friedrich Durrenmatt (Book)

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Patricia Clarkson, Benicio Del Toro, Aaron Eckhart, Beau Daniels, Helen Mirren, Robin Wright, Vanessa Redgrave, Mickey Rourke

Plot: A retiring police detective pledges to catch the killer of a young child.

Tagline – He may have retired, but he’s still catching the killer

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Intense Thriller

Story: The Pledge starts as the body of a young girl who has been brutally raped and murdered is discovered, retiring detective Jerry Black (Nicholson) wants to help investigate under Stan Krolak (Eckhart), which includes breaking the news to the parents Margaret (Clarkson) and Duane (O’Keefe), making a promise to get the monster behind this crime.

What looks like a cut and dry case, mentally handicapped Toby Wadenah (Del Toro) admits to the crime, dying in police custody. Jerry continues on into retirement, only after another murder that looks similar, he starts to look into the case again, learning that the real killer might still be out there and wanting to solve the case, even without the help of his former colleagues.

Thoughts on The Pledge

Characters – Jerry Black is a detective on the verge of retirement, when the murder happens, he wants to help and after the solving of the case goes smoothly, he heads of into retirement sunset, until he learns about another murder, he wants to reopen the case to solve the a potential serial killer, putting him in the position where he thinks he will cross paths with the killer. When it comes to the rest of the characters, we have a string of police officers at different levels, a couple of parents, some who have seen their children killed, one suffering abuse, but most of this film is focusing on how Jerry is dealing with retirement.

PerformancesJack Nicholson is fantastic in this leading role, he brings us a veteran cop that has always been able to solve a case, and shows how retirement will leave a void in his life. We do have a very good supporting cast of actors here including Helen Mirren, Patricia Clarkson, Aaron Eckhart, Vanessa Redgrave, Benicio Del Toro, Robin Wright and Sam Shepard who all do well with their roles in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a retiring detective that gets involved in one last case, only for him to see it closed easily, but not being convinced the suspect was really the person, trying to continue solving the crime, which he believes is bigger. This is a very interesting story, it does show how crimes could easily be connected and how it could only be one that starts trying to solve the issues he has with the case, while deeper down it shows how one detective could be struggling with his retirement, not wanting to accept that he won’t have cases to solve. Having both of these ideas playing hand in hand is very interesting, which leads to us wondering which is true.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of the film does see a horrible murder being solved, with the mystery about whether it was really the person that was caught or not.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show how Jerry is trying to solve a murder, which could end up being a bigger crime going on, with him looking at potential locations.

Scene of the Movie – The parade.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is left too much to our own to decide the truth.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting thriller that does follow a detective who believes that a crime could still need solving, or he could just be making it up to keep him busy, this is interesting to see unfold with Jack Nicholson shining.

Overall: Brilliant Thriller.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – Z – The Producers (1967)

This is under Z because of the star of the movie Zero Mostel

Director: Mel Brooks

Writer: Mel Brooks (Screenplay)

Starring: Gene Wilder, Zero Mostel, Estelle Winwood, Dick Shawn, Kenneth Mars, Lee Meredith

Plot: Producers Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom make money by producing a sure-fire flop.

Tagline – Once upon a time there was a Broadway producer…who met a “creative” but timid accountant. Together they concocted the most outrageous $1,000,000 scheme in the annals of Show Biz.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Awkwardly Dated

Story: The Producers starts with Broadway producer Max Bialystock (Mostel) who was once one of the biggest producers around, now he is facing hard times and potential financial ruin, until his accountant Leo Bloom (Wilder) poses the idea of producing a flop play, while creating the funds that would see him pocketing the rest.

Max and Leo become producer partners, pick out the play to produce, one that is bound to fail and set up to make the play Springtime With Hitler, the two must go out to make sure the play flops so they can make out with the fortune they dreamed off.

Thoughts on The Producers

Characters – Max Bialystock was once one of the biggest producers on Broadway, he is facing financial ruin now, using his charm to trick older ladies into giving him money and uses his accountant to help make a fortune, he will always find a way to make things worse, as he is looking to produce the worst possible play. Leo Bloom is an honest accountant that believes you could make a fortune, by making a terrible play on Broadway, this does make him a producer even if he lacks the flair Max has to put the money behind the scheme. While most of the film circles around the pair, we do meet the German writer, the elaborate director and the new star of the play.

PerformancesZero Mostel does bring us a character that is truly in the mindset of the producer that we could see doing whatever he wants to get the money he wants, while Gene Wilder can turn a switch from clam to loud in an instant.

StoryThe story here follows to Broadway producers that go in search for the worst possible play in an attempt to make millions from the benefactors, which looks like a flawless plan. This is a story that does show how producers could do something illegal to make sure they get rich, which does see them push the limits of criminal actions. This is a story that does play into stereotypes that would be questioned a lot now, though part of that is meant to placed on the story being told.

Comedy/Music The comedy in the film does feel like it has dated in a way that would have worked at the time, but now the jokes would come off too offensive.

SettingsThe film does use the settings that you would see producers around, it shows how they would operate and how they would need to get onto the big stage.

Scene of the Movie – The intermission.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The jokes don’t work anymore.

Final Thoughts This is a smart idea for a film, it is one that has seen the jokes date badly, though the concept is one that could only work in the era the film is set.

Overall: Classic but dated comedy.

Primal (2019) Movie Review

Director: Nick Powell

Writer: Richard Leder (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Famke Janssen, Kevin Durand, Michael Imperioli, LaMonica Garrett, John Lewis, Rey Hernandez

Plot: Frank’s caught wildlife in the Brazilian jungle incl. a 400 lbs. white jaguar. He ships it on the same ship as an arrested assassin. The assassin breaks free and frees the animals.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Con-Boat

Story: Primal starts as prize hunter Frank Walsh (Cage) captures an elusive white jaguar in the Brazilian jungle and looks to return back to America with the cat. On the ship returning, Frank is joined by US Marshalls who are transferring criminal assassin Richard Loffler (Durand) and Dr Ellen Taylor (Janssen) which sees the ship setting sail.

When Loffler escapes, Frank is forced to work with the Marshall’s as they look to hunt him down, only the animals have been let loose on the ship, making every corridor a danger and Frank must use his own skills to save the innocent people from the deadly animals.

Thoughts on Primal

Characters – Frank Walsh is a hunter that travels the world hunting, not killing animals to sell to the highest bidder, his latest hunt was for a jaguar, only he discovers a white one, which he captures to add to the collection he is looking to bring back to sell. He isn’t the most friendly person, being more interested in helping his animals than the people, with this journey becoming the latest challenge of hunting for a deadly predator. Dr Ellen Taylor is the military person on board the ship, she has history with Frank, with her father being the high ranking officer that once order Frank in the military. Richard Loffler is the assassin that the military trained and now a most wanted man, he has captured and being transported, only he escapes showing his training to pick off the member of the crew to get his freedom.

PerformancesNicolas Cage is on his best action persona role, which is always fun to watch, with moments that are over the top, but do work for the film. Famke Janssen is always good to see on the screen, but her role isn’t that strong for the film. Kevin Durand is great as the villainous figure, who shows the military training for everything.

StoryThe story here follows a prize hunter whose latest catches are being transferred only for the ship to be used to move an assassin, who only escapes with the hunter needing to recapture the animals and stop an assassin from killing everyone on board. This is a simple idea that gives us plenty to work with, we have a range of different animals that could be deadly, while the poster shows the jaguar, we do also have snakes and monkeys, this is an enjoyable factor because you don’t know which animal is going to appear next to come after the people on board, or whether it is the assassin. While fun to watch, we do have flaws, that could easily be picked apart, mostly the weakness in the military doctor character and the marshals not being the brightest.

Action The action might well be focused more on small shoot outs, but the danger is always there which does add to the tension in the film.

SettingsThe film is set on a large cargo ship, which is out at sea, meaning we have no way of escape from either the assassin or the dangerous animals on board.

Scene of the Movie – Feeding time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Most of the side characters are not important enough to be given anything to do.

Final Thoughts This is a fun enjoyable action film that is elevated by Nicolas Cage’s performance who makes this film even more enjoyable.

Overall: Cage Shines.

Rose Byrne Weekend – Peter Rabbit (2018) Movie Review

Director: Will Gluck

Writer: Rob Lieber, Will Gluck (Screenplay) Beatrix Potter (Characters)

Starring: (Voice Talents) James Corden, Fayssal Bazzi, Domhnall Gleeson, Sia, Sam Neill, Margot Robbie, Daisy Ridley, Rose Byrne

Plot: Feature adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s classic tale of a rebellious rabbit trying to sneak into a farmer’s vegetable garden.

Tagline – Born to be wild.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Poor Film

Story: Peter Rabbit starts as we see how Peter Rabbit and his family and friends had a battle with old Mr McGregor (Neill) after they continued to steal from his garden, until he passes away. The next-door neighbour Bea (Byrne) does try to keep them safe the best she can.

When Thomas McGregor (Gleeson) moves into the house with plans to sell it, which sees the war coming back for Peter and his family, this time it might become deadlier.

Thoughts on Peter Rabbit

Characters – Peter Rabbit is the mischievous little rabbit that always gets his siblings into trouble as they always seem to terrorise the McGregor family, that does seem to be the only thing he does each day, making him out to be a horrible little rabbit. Thomas McGregor is a completely by the book toy store employee wanting to get to management, when he loses his job, he ends up following in his uncle footsteps, getting into a battle with the rabbits. Bea is the nice neighbour that has always tried to look after the animals, loves nature and is an artist.

PerformancesDomhnall Gleeson is great along with Rose Byrne are the two main live action stars that both work well with how they act towards the animals. Most of the voice acting is mixed, with the three sisters working well, but James Corden not suiting the character.

StoryThe story follows the adventures of Peter Rabbit against the McGregor’s, which just seems to keep escalating. The story is strange because it doesn’t make Peter likeable at all, he just seems to annoy McGregor and never do anything else, surely there would have been another food supply for him. Most of the story revolves around pop culture jokes, which have dated quickly, but by the end the story just becomes boring more than anything else.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure is just the troubles Peter gets himself in, we don’t seem to go any further, while the comedy is a miss already.

SettingsThe film keeps the action in the country, which does seem to have only show how close the war between the two was.

AnimationThe animated animals looks solid for the most part, but some of the moments seem weird.

Scene of the Movie – Harrods break down.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Peter Rabbit.

Final Thoughts This is a big disappointment because the characters used are loveable for the most part, while this movie just makes them horrible.

Overall: Boring.