ABC Film Challenge – Random – Y – Youth (2015)

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Writer: Paolo Sorrentino (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano


Plot: A retired orchestra conductor is on holiday with his daughter and his film director best friend in the Alps when he receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip’s birthday.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Enjoyable Drama


Story: Youth starts as we arrive in this Swiss Alps luxury resort where retired orchestra conductor Fred Ballinger (Caine) and his best friend film director Mike Boyle (Keitel). Fred uses the annual trip as a chase relax and get treated, Mike is working on the next screenplay with a group of students.

Fred’s relaxing holiday gets changed when Mike’s son divorces his daughter Lena (Weisz) meaning she is spending her holiday with him, he does enjoy this company though otherwise he would be alone. Fred does get requested to perform at Prince Philip’s birthday by Queen Elizabeth II but refuses at first, but the Queen won’t take no for an answer but his reasons will help Lena through her own problems. Fred also ends up having a holiday relationship with young actor Jimmy Tree (Dano) who understands Fred’s frustration because he is feeling them too as an actor.

The holiday will give new feelings, directions and moments for these four, ones that you can only get from relaxing and enjoying yourself once in a while.


Thoughts on Youth


Characters/PerformanceFred Ballinger is a world famous musical conductor that is requested by the Queen to perform, but he has retired now and all he wants is peace and quiet in this relaxing holiday in the Swiss Alps, he hasn’t been the same since he lost his wife and wants to continue he love of music with the next generation. Mick Boyle is a screenwriter and director who is also Fred’s good friend, he is on this holiday to teach a group of students. Lena was spending time with her father before going on her own holiday but those plans fall through as her life is turned upside down and now she needs her father more than ever. Jimmy is an actor who is also dealing with the problem of being remember for only one thing but he is young and wants to be remembered for more.

Performance wise, this is fantastic performance from Michael Caine showing just how talented he is even in his older years, Keitel is also great in the supporting role where we get to see how can be a supporting actor and not take away from the lead. Weisz and Dano are both great too where we can see just how wonderful they are.

StoryThis is a story showing how people of all ages can achieve new things, they have made bad mistakes but most of, you can learn from it all. This is a strange paced movie that does tell a nice story of the four characters down on their luck finding more from their lives.

Comedy/Music/RomanceThe comedy works in places, mostly because of the strangeness going on through the film, the music is all about how Fred finds it anything with the romance coming from the experiences the four have had.

SettingsThe Swiss Alps make for a beautiful setting, with the hotel and spa making it all look complete for the escaping from the reality of their lives.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautiful looking, wonderful acted movie that is well worth watching to learn about moments of life.


Overall: Lovely drama.





You’ve Got Mail (1998)

youveDirector: Nora Ephron

Writer: Nora Ephron, Delia Ephron (Screenplay) Miklos Laszlo (Play)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Greg Kinnear, Parker Posey, Jean Stapleton, Steve Zahn, Heather Burns


Plot: Two business rivals who despise each other in real life unwittingly fall in love over the Internet.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Charming Romantic Comedy


Story: You’ve Got Mail starts as we see two complete strangers Joe Fox (Hanks) and Kathleen Kelly (Ryan) who chat online every night even though they are both involved in relationships with Patricia (Posey) and Frank (Kinnear). The two set up the rule of not knowing anything about the personal lives of each other and remain friends in New York City.

Kathleen owns a small book shop that is going to have a giant book shop open around the corner from it, Fox Books which just so happens to be run by Joe. When the two business rivals meet the tension between begins but when the two mail each other they still think they are talking to just any stranger.

When the truth comes out the love they feel towards each other online must go against the hatred they have for each other in real life.


Thoughts on You’ve Got Mail


StoryThe old story of falling in love with someone you have never met through conversation. The idea of not knowing who you are chatting to makes this story have this extra spark. We do get a smaller story about business how small family businesses can be closed by dominating force. I will say this story has now become outdated because of the next level of technology but the fantasy idea still works wonders for this film.

Comedy/RomanceThe romantic side of this story is all good showing how you could fall in love with someone you least expect. We do get small laughs throughout the film without them overshadowing the romantic story.

Characters/PerformanceJoe was the new age business man, he does care about people outside of work but is happy to squash them when it comes to business. Kathleen was one of the dying breed of shopkeepers who cares about their customers offering them the best service in New York. We do have supporting characters who are mostly all involved to advise our Joe and Kathleen.

This film has two brilliant performance from Hanks and Ryan who showed they have excellent chemistry together and you can see that in the romantic or the arguing scenes. I do think everyone else does everything they need to do working with the leads.actors

SettingsLooking in the settings we are have New York which is perfect choice because we get to see how small business would suffer next to the big store, it also plays into the effects of meeting someone even in the busy streets.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most enjoyable romantic comedies you will have seen, it is accessible for all and will bring a smile to your face.


Overall: Sit back and enjoy this sweet charming love story.




Your Name (2017)

Director: Makoto Shinkai

Writer: Makoto Shinkai (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Ryunosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Ryo Narita, Aoi Yuki, Nobunage Shimazaki, Kaito Ishikawa


Plot: Two strangers find themselves linked in a bizarre way. When a connection forms, will distance be the only thing to keep them apart?


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Just Wow


Story: Your Name starts as we meet small town girl Mitsuha who dreams of getting out of the town and moving to the busy Tokyo, we also meet Tokyo school student Taki who has found himself looking after himself searching for his next stage in life.

With an incoming comet passing over the strange event starts to happen for the two strangers who find themselves swapping bodies and lives, the two start communicating through messages to inform the other what they have been doing, some good other bad, but when the communication is lost, the truth about their connection comes out.


Thoughts on Your Name


Characters Taki and Mitsuha are both fantastic characters, they both come off like normal high school students in the lives they are living, both dreaming off things outside what they see as their reach, both confused but adapting to the body swapping lives they believe to be dreams. The rest of the characters who are part of both lives which does work for our main characters story arc.

StoryThe story brings a fresh approach the body swapping sub-genre, we become invested in the lives of both of the students and the bigger story going on which I don’t want to get too detailed but this story will make you go through a full range of emotions and you will be left shocked with the final outcome of the story.

Fantasy/RomanceThe fantasy side of the film comes from the body swapping elements which does get increased when you learn the twist within the film’s story. the romance comes from how these two people from different worlds can fall in love being part of the others life.

SettingsThe settings for the film show the different worlds the two come from, we get to see the busy streets of Tokyo and small town where families work to support the next generation filled with tradition.

AnimationThe animation is as you would expect almost flawless for telling the story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film I have heard only wonderful things about, those things were not wrong, this is a wonderful story with great leading characters, that will pull on the all the emotions you have through the whole film.


Overall: Truly special animated film.




You’re Killing Me (2016)

killingDirector: Jim Hansen

Writer: Jim Hansen, Jeffery Self (Screenplay)

Starring: Matthew McKelligon, Jeffery Self, Rachel Shukert Mindy Cohn, Christian Olguin, Bryan Safi


Plot: Joe just told his boyfriend, George, that he is a serial killer. George thinks that his boyfriend, Joe, is hilarious… and he just saw Patricia Arquette at Target!!! In the horror/comedy hybrid, ‘You’re Killing Me’, we take a look at the life and death consequences of dating in the age of incessant chatter. Joe and George meet just as Joe is coming out to himself as someone who loves to kill. George, on the other hand, can’t decide which wig to wear for his next YouTube video. As George’s friends start disappearing, one by one, he must face the undeniable fact that Gretchen might not be coming back with crushed ice for his party


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Quirky Horror Comedy


Story: You’re Killing Me starts as Joe (McKelligon) gets to meet his boyfriend’s Andy (Wilkas) friends where he doesn’t fit in the click they have. What Andy doesn’t know is that Joe is a killer. Joe sets his targets on a YouTuber called George (Self), George runs a show with Barnes (Safi).

As Joe enters into a relationship with George he openly admits that he has killed his first victim and is willing to continue to kill only to have George react like it is a form of flirting. When Joe starts to fall in love he starts to take out anyone who gets in their way.

You’re Killing Me gives us a horror comedy with a dark comedy tone throughout. We get a killer just starting out on his spree who is openly admitting that he is a killer which is very different for the genre. We do get the awkward moments when someone starts dating someone new and struggles to fit in the social circles. If we were to go into the negatives the kills would have to be the weakest part of the film.


Actor Review


Matthew McKelligon: Joe is a mental disturbed young man who has been receiving treatment for his problems, when he gets tired of being held back he kills his first victim and enjoys it so much he starts carrying on killing as he falls in love with George. Matthew is great in this role giving an emotionless Dexter like performance throughout.joe

Jeffery Self: George is the YouTube celebrity that gets into a new relationship with Joe who believes everything he says is a form of flirting only to discover that he really is a killer. Jeffrey is good in this role and with the added writing credit shows off two skills.

Rachel Shukert: Gretchen is part of the YouTubing team working with George and Barnes, she is open to the new relationship between George and Joe. She is one of the more open people with Joe trying to offering him a way into the social circle. Rachel is good in this role which works for a supporting role in the film.

Bryan Safi: Barnes is the partner in YouTubing with George, he is happy for his friend to meet a new guy but is also the first one to suspect that there is something wrong with Joe. Bryan is good in this supporting role.

Support Cast: You’re Killing Me has a supporting cast which are mostly just the victims from the social circles.

Director Review: Jim HansenJim gives us a horror comedy that takes the film in a different direction than we are used to.


Comedy: You’re Killing Me has good comedy moments throughout as we see George’s reactions to the Joe saying he is a killer.

Horror: You’re Killing Me has the serial killer involved for the horror side but doesn’t feel scary.

Romance: You’re Killing Me uses the awkward opening of a relationship where the couple all work well but shows how difficult it can be with the friends of a new love interest.

Settings: You’re Killing Me uses the settings to show the characters in a LA style setting.
Special Effects
: You’re Killing Me has poor effects with all the killings which sadly makes them look very fake.

Suggestion: You’re Killing Me is one for the horror comedy fans to watch. (Horror Comedy Fans Watch)


Best Part: Joe is a very creepy character creation.

Worst Part: Special effects.


Believability: The new relationship material is all believable while the killing is not.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: We could have one.

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes


Overall: Enjoyable Horror Comedy


You Can’t Kill Stephen King (2012)

logoDirector: Ronnie Khalil, Monroe Mann, Jorge Valdes-Iga

Writer: Ronnie Khalil, Monroe Mann, Bob Madia (Screenplay) Ronnie Khalil, Monroe Mann (Story)

Starring: Monroe Man, Ronnie Khalil, Crystal Arnette, Kayle Blogna, Kate Costello, Justin Brown, Polly Humphreys, Arthur S. Brown, Michael Bernstein


Plot: A group of friends Monroe (Mann), Ronnie (Khalil), Hilary (Arnette), Nicole (Blogna), Lori (Costello) and Lamont (Brown) visit a lake where horror author Stephen King lives, and start getting killed off one at a time, all the killings start to resemble the killings from the books.


Verdict: Don’t Take Everything Serious

Story: If this was a true serious film the story is actually very good along the lines of ‘Wes Craven’s New Nightmare’. Some of the stumbling blocks to make this special are the low budget, poor acting and awfully stereotyped characters. These traits work for the comedy side of the story though. My biggest problem with this is that idea and comedy don’t mix as well as they could and the death should be from more notable books as the body count increases. Looking at the budget this is good though, it’s simple, easy to follow and a genius idea compared to most horror comedies now a days. (7/10)


Actor Review

Monroe Mann:Monroe the war veteran who leads the group he does have flashbacks from the trauma of war and is trying to balance his relationship with Lori. Monroe should stay behind the camera he has been part of a great creation but isn’t a leading man. (5/10)


Ronnie Khalil: Ronnie the creepy pervert who keeps getting caught checking out the single lady on the trip, he is a King groupie and wants to meet the legend. Playing the supporting guy works for a director and this man plays the creepy guy well. (6/10)


Crystal Arnette: Hilary Monroe’s sister who is along for the ride returning to an old family lake house. Simple supporting performance. (5/10)


Kayle Blogna: Nicole the bimbo without the blonde hair of the group, she has been completely pampered her entire life. Nicole is the funniest character because you will spend most of the film laughing at her misfortunes. Kayle plays the role well could this be the start of something? (7/10)


Kate Costello: Lori the girlfriend of Monroe who along with him as been working on their relationship for this trip. She plays the role well to keep you liking her one moment and hating her next.(6/10)


Justin Brown: Lamont as the open sequences says he is the ‘token black guy’ and he follows every stereotype in the book. Justin does well poking fun at the stereotyping used. (6/10)


Director Review: Ronnie Khalil, Monroe Mann, Jorge Valdes-Iga – Creating the idea is great but the final execution could have been improved to appeal to a bigger audience. (7/10)


Comedy: You will get a few laughs but don’t expect to be laughing out loud. (5/10)

Horror: Not as scary as the idea could have been. (6/10)

Settings: Typical horror setting isolated in the woods works for the film. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Some very basic special effects with most spending time off camera. (6/10)

Suggestion: I think this is one for the horror fans to give a chance, it is not brilliant but you will respect the idea. (Horror Fans Try)


Best Part: The idea

Worst Part: The comedy

Funniest Scene: Nicole tries wakeboarding.

Kill Of The Film: Lamont well built up.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

Tagline: It was a mistake to visit his lake.

Overall: Fun Horror Idea, Cheaply Made

Rating 60