ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – U – Unlovable (2018)

Director: Suzi Yoonessi

Writer: Charlene deGuzman, Sarah Adina Smith, Mark Duplass (Screenplay)

Starring: Charlene deGuzman, John Hawkes, Melissa Leo, Paul James, Ellen Geer, Jake McDorman, Gigette Reyes

Plot: A sex and love addicted woman learns what real intimacy is when she starts making music with a reclusive man.

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Friendship Story

Story: Unlovable starts as we meet Joy (deGuzman) who is a sex and love addict, she is constantly scared of being alone in life, despite having a boyfriend in Ben (James), she works in children’s television and has turned to a support group for help.

Reaching breaking point Joy turns to Maddie (Leo) to help her with her problems, which sees her moving to a new apartment for a month where she is cut off from everybody or any temptation, here she meets Jim (Hawkes) and she gets to learn to channel her addiction into music.

Thoughts on Unlovable

Characters – Joy is the love and sex addict, she has always needed a man in her life and even when she has one, she will go behind their back when she is lonely, she seeks help from a support group, but finds it hard to get over her problems until she finds music, which gives her a new outlet in life, to help her move on in life. Jim is the neighbour at the support group, he does have his own problems and cares for his grandmother, his outlet is music and he lets Joy into his world through a new friendship. Maddie is the sponsor at the support group that offers Joy a place to stay to get over her addictions, even if she isn’t happy with the new friendship between Joy and her brother. Ben is the boyfriend that Joy can’t get over, he doesn’t like her cheating on him, but he doesn’t give her the time required, he suggests her to get help.

PerformancesCharlene deGuzman is strong in this film, she does show the addiction taking over her character’s life and the regret after slipping off the wagon. John Hawkes is the best performer in the film, where he shows his class throughout the film, Melissa Leo is great too, showing that her character is going through her own struggles.

StoryThe story here follows a sex and love addict whose addiction has cost her, her relationship, job and house, seeking help she must learn to control her urges and find something to keep her busy in life, which she does in music. This story might well come up a little short in length, but does show us how addiction can control somebody’s life to an extent that it will cost them everything, the friendship angle and bond through music is the strongest part of the story because it shows us that we could find a mutual passion for something outside our own comfort zone. As mentioned the length of the film is short, which does take away from some of the real-world side of the film, like how Joy could afford a new apartment after losing her job, does she get a new job, what is her skills etc.

Comedy/MusicThe comedy does fall slightly short here, most of the comedy comes from Joy being embarrassed more often than not. The music comes from how the two bond.

SettingsThe film is set mostly in one location where Joy goes to recover from her addiction, it does show two people can meet to help each other.


Scene of the Movie – The first song together.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Joy is very nosy.

Final Thoughts This is a good look at how friendship can come from the least likely place, it shows us that we can all help each other through the toughest times in life.

Overall: Friendship drama 101

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – U – The Unspoken (2015) Movie Review

Director: Sheldon Wilson

Writer: Sheldon Wilson (Screenplay)

Starring: Jodelle Ferland, Sunny Suljic, Pascale Hutton, Anthony Konechny, Jonathan Whitesell, Jake Croker, Neal McDonough

Plot: In 1997 the Anderson family vanished from their home without a trace. No bodies were ever found. For 17 years the house has remained undisturbed… until now.


Tagline – The root of all evil awaits.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Basic Horror

Story: The Unspoken starts with the sudden disappearance of a family, blood covering the walls, 17-years-later there are still no answers and Jeanie (Hutton) and her son Adrian (Suljic) move in to start a new life, with local Angela (Ferland) being offered a job as a babysitter to help around the house as her father has been struggling for money.

On Angela’s first day, she finds herself alone in the house with Adrian, when she gets a visit from her popularity craving friend Pandy (Peloso) which soon starts to see the evil presence in the house waiting to come out and take its latest victim.

Thoughts on The Unspoken

Characters – Angela is the daughter of a widowed man, who has been struggling to find a job, she keeps to herself working in a day-care, when a new opportunity comes her way, a chance to take a more one to one role with a child. She doesn’t care about popularity like her best friend and is always wondering more about her mother’s past. Jeanie is the new owner of the house, she needs help around the house with her child and has asked for Angela, with her being the only one to get through to her child. Adrian is the young boy that does need some extra care, he doesn’t socialise very well and seems to be the main target of the evil. Officer Bower is the one that see strange occurrences around town and does his best to keep everyone out of trouble.

PerformancesJodelle Ferland was one of the icons of scary children in the early 2000’s, with Kingdom Hospital and Silent Hill to mention a few, now she becomes the main character the target of a hauntings as she is everything she needs to be without being anything new. The rest of the performance are nothing fancy, the kid is mostly just there, Pascale Hutton as the mother doesn’t do much and Neal McDonough might be the biggest name in the film, though he has nothing to do.

StoryThe story here follows a young woman who gets given a job as a babysitter for a new family in town and soon strange things start to happen around the house because of the past events in that house. Where this story shines is by having the family happily move into a known murder home, it makes sense by the end, but the rest of the story is a completely flat, with not much going on, any horror is noise, investigate usually nothing, repeat, and the fact this film believes it does enough for a sequel is pure arrogance.

HorrorThe horror in the film is rather flat, we don’t seem to get going with any of the scares, with most just being a noise and nothing else happening.

SettingsThe film uses the idea that we are in a murder house as the setting, where everybody in town is scared of the house, but the new family seems happy to be there.

Special EffectsThe effects are weak with the ghost creation not being the most frightening either, leaving this feeling rather weak all around.


Scene of the Movie – Marbles.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Believing it does enough for a sequel.

Final Thoughts This is just a poor horror that tries to give us more of a shock value with its ending over a decent story.

Overall: Disappointing horror.

Unhinged (2020) Movie Review

Director: Derrick Borte

Writer: Carl Ellsworth (Screenplay)

Starring: Russell Crowe, Jimmi Simpson, Caren Pistorius, Gabriel Bateman, Michael Papajohn, Anne Leighton

Plot: After a confrontation with an unstable man at an intersection, a woman becomes the target of his rage.


Tagline – He Can Happen to Anyone

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Intense Popcorn Flick

Story: Unhinged starts when Rachel (Pistorius) a mother going through a divorce which is making her life more difficult is taking her son Kyle (Bateman) to school when she gets involved in a simple traffic incident, which sees a stranger (Crowe) target her in revenge.

Rachel finds herself being terrorised by the man who is hellbent on making her have the worse day of her life, in what becomes a battle to survive this mad man.

Thoughts on Unhinged

Characters – The Man opens with his substance abuse, before committing a violent crime on his ex-wife, a broken violent man he is, he is waiting for someone to push his buttons, which happens to be Rachel, he decides to terrorise her and anybody who gets near her, not hiding his violence, he doesn’t care how many people see him, he is past breaking point. Rachel is the newly single mother, trying to hold her life together while her divorce is going through, she has already lost a lot from her life and doesn’t need anymore problems, which is what she gets, needing to race to save her loved ones from this mad man, protecting her son becomes the most important thing to her. Kyle is Rachel’s son, he is going through the stage where his mother is not letting him do things, but at least trying to stay strong, while his father just lets him down. We do also meet other loved ones that become the targets of The Man rage.

PerformancesRussell Crowe is brilliant in this leading role, he is one of the most terrifying villains of the year, as we see his physical presence, no care of consequences character shine through this film. Caren Pistorius is strong counter to Crowe, you can see the slow break she is having, even if the character doesn’t always seem like they are in the right film. We do have known names in the supporting role, only they don’t really get to do much.

StoryThe story here follows a woman that accidently insights the rage of an unstable man who decides to make her life a nightmare, as he looks to kill anyone close to her. Road Rage is a good idea for a villainous motivation, we see how the Man breaks so easily and it is just a punch, he will kill, he is twisted in why he targets someone. With the core of the story being a strong idea, one we have seen done with more slow building tension, this one doesn’t want to hold back with the violence. The story does have one major plot hole though, if The Man is wanted by the police before anything happens, why is there so little amount of police presence searching for him, surely we would have police helicopters hunting him down too? Add in the traditional bad decision making process to extend the film, you will find yourself rolling your eyes at certain moments of the story, but switch off and watch Crowe enjoy the villainous mad man role, you will have a lot of enjoyment in this one.

ThrillerThis does create a lot of the edge of your seat moments, because you don’t know what the man will do next, just how deadly he could be.

SettingsWe spend a lot of time on the run through the film, the chases, do feel safe, but the tight streets add something to the sequences, while the different locations the Man finds himself in, usually mean something big is going to happen.


Scene of the Movie – Death line.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Lack of police presence after the Man’s first crime.

Final Thoughts This is a film that gets elevated by Russell Crowe, he takes this film from middle ground to a good time movie, he is terrifying, which makes us scared of what he could do next.

Overall: Crowe Is Amazing.

Under Suspicion (2000) Movie Review

Director: Stephen Hopkins

Writer: Tom Provost, W. Peter Iliff (Screenplay) Claude Miller, Jean Herman, Michel Audiard/John Wainwright (Original Screenplay/Book)

Starring: Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, Monica Bellucci, Nydia Caro, Miguel Angel Suarez, Pablo Cunqueiro

Plot: A wealthy attorney in San Juan comes to the police station for “10 min.” of follow up questions to finding a 12-year old girl’s body in a park. Another young girl was also raped and murdered weeks earlier and the evidence points to him.


Tagline – A hidden past, a secret life, witness or suspect, guilty or innocent?

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Tense

Story: Under Suspicion starts as Henry Hearst (Hackman) agrees to go into see Captain Victor Benezet (Freeman) in a follow up to discovering a dead body on his daily run, only part of Henry’s story doesn’t add up. As Victor and Detective Felix Owen (Jane) start investigating Henry’s story more, they start to see him being the prime suspect.

Henry’s position of power as an attorney makes the case more difficult, as any false story would ruin both Henry and Victor, with each conversation offering new clues to the truth about what really happened to the murdered young girls.

Thoughts on Under Suspicion

Characters – Henry Hearst is wealthy attorney, married to a young wife, respected in the neighbourhood, he discovers a dead body of a young girl, whose story doesn’t add up, making him the prime suspect, he must give details about his personal life, which sees that his life isn’t what everyone else believes, having secrets that aren’t going to help his side of the case, always claiming his innocence to the truth. Captain Victor Benezet has worked with Henry in the past, they have been through cases for years and he knows that if the investigation comes out, he will handle things with more care, only to need to play both sides of Henry, his friend and the cop after a killer. Detective Felix Owen is the younger investigator, he wants the case solved, he will step over the line at time, needing to be kept in place by Victor, while needing to push the boundaries. Chantal Hearst is the younger wife of Henry, she has become distant from him, with his actions driving her away, she could answer a few of the big questions, but doesn’t want to bring her family down, even though she has a grudge about what Henry might have done before.

PerformancesWe do have two of Hollywood’s heavyweights in the leading roles, Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman, who both show why they are on top of most best actor lists, they carry the film with their performances, while being joined by Thomas Jane and Monica Bellucci giving very strong supporting performances too.

StoryThe story here follows what is simply a follow up set of questions about discovering a dead, soon turns into a full blown investigation into the man that could have been behind the murders. This is a story about people on power being able to play this card to try and get out of questioning, though we do balance the guilty or not guilty side of the story very well, showing us who could be behind the crime. The constant switch in stories does help us question everything we are seeing, showing that trust is what will always be the most difficult thing to maintain. The do only see how one man is being questioned to new limits and how this pressure could create differences in stories given too.

CrimeThe crime is two murders of young girls, they need to be solved fast with the police needing to focus on all sides of the story, making sure everything is covered before the killer could strike again.

SettingsThe film is set on an island, which shows us just how the characters are living in luxury away from the big cities.


Scene of the Movie – Henry and Felix questioning.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough investigating into the murders seems to be happening, only the questioning.

Final Thoughts This is a tense thriller that does keep us on the edge of our seat throughout, as we are left to wonder just what is really happened, being carried by powerhouse performances.

Overall: Twist Filled Thriller.

Signature Entertainment presents Under Suspicion on Digital HD July 31 and on Amazon Prime August 3rd

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – U – The Ugly Truth (2009)

Director: Robert Luketic

Writer: Nicole Eastman, Karen McCullah, Kirsten Smith (Screenplay) Nicole Eastman (Story)

Starring: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler, Bree Turner, Eric Winter, Nick Searcy, Jesse D Goins

 

Plot: An uptight television producer takes control of a morning show segment on modern relationships hosted by a misogynistic man.


Tagline – The battle of the sexes is on.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable & Funny

 

Story: The Ugly Truth starts when an uptight television producer Abby (Heigl) sees her ratings on her morning show getting beaten by nearly every show, her show manager Stuart (Searcy) wants to change the show, his idea is to hire Mike Chadway (Butler) a misogynistic man who hosts a show known as ‘The Ugly Truth’ which tells the brutal truth about relationships.

As the two learn to work together, Mike helps Abby in her pursuit for the perfect man who just so happens to move in next door Colin (Winter), where she must learn what men want, while we learn more about Mike real life away from his brash personality.

 

Thoughts on The Ugly Truth

 

Characters – Abby is the uptight television producer that has put her career ahead of her dating life, where she has always been searching for the perfect guy, which sees her scary most away. When she does meet the perfect guy, she must learn to change working with new host of the show. Mike is the brash host of a show called The ugly Truth which calls out relationships and how men should get women and how women should let men in. He sends the ratings for the show way up and helps Abby come out of her shell, showing you can’t judge a book by its cover. This film mostly focuses on the two main characters, we get the assistant, the news anchors and Colin the doctor that Abby starts dating.

PerformancesKatherine Heigl is an actress that did make an impact in the romantic comedy genre, she does a do well in this role, it is Gerard Butler that gets the most interesting performance because we believe his character and just how he has the broken heart in his character with each glance he shows. The supporting cast do add to the comedy in this film for the most part.

StoryThe story follows two career man, with a female television producer and a male talk show host that both have different views on love and they teach each other about how to open their eyes to the other’s view point. While it does follow a traditional storyline it does all work to make the extremes of love feel believable. The only negative side from the story comes from just how the rest of the characters don’t seem to have lives outside our main two characters.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy comes from seeing how the two characters believe in different versions of love which only gets reactions from the characters, this helps with the romance because seeing different views of love could change them.

SettingsThe film is set in a small city that shows that both of the characters want to be away from the busy cities which can see people lost in the shuffle.


Scene of the Movie –
Balloon time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Why order drinks and leave the table before they arrive?

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable, fun comedy that lets the cast shine and shows love.

 

Overall: One to enjoy for rom com fans.

Rating