ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – Y – Yes Man (2008)

Director: Peyton Reed

Writer: Nicholas Stoller, Jarred Paul, Andrew Mogel (Screenplay) Danny Wallace (Book)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, John Michael Higgins, Rhys Darby, Danny Masterson

 

Plot: A man challenges himself to say “yes” to everything for an entire year.


Tagline – One word can change everything.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Comedy With Laughs

 

Story: Yes Man starts as we meet Carl (Carrey) a banker that doesn’t like to socialise with his friends, co-workers or seems to always say no to everything. when Carl bumps into an old friend Nick (Higgins) who has turned his life around by always saying ‘Yes’ to everything in life.

Carl ends up joining the same group deciding to take the whole year just saying yes, in this time he meets Allison (Deschanel) a musician who is completely different to himself and gets closer to his best friend Peter (Cooper), one of the few people that still encourages him to go out, the question remains just how extreme everything will go.

 

Thoughts on Yes Man

 

Characters – Carl lives a very restricted life, mostly because of his divorce and life not going any direction he is enjoying. This has made his friendship group dwindle down, after being encouraged to take the risk of the ‘Yes’ motivation group, he starts saying Yes to everything, from helping a homeless person to approving a bank loan to a stranger. Allison is the woman that Carl meets in the year after saying yes to something he never would, she is different to anything he would usually go for, being spontaneous on every opportunity. Peter is the best friend of Carl’s the one that will always try to push his friend to get out there and enjoy his life, he has been let down by Carl before and the friendship is what keeps them close together. Nick is the man that inspires Carl to follow through with the idea to say yes, he used to be like Carl and now he is enjoying his life.

PerformancesJim Carrey in the leading role is good for the most part, the problem with this is that he lets too much of his slapstick comedy going on and this role would have bern fantastic for a straight-faced actor to pull off. Zooey Deschanel is good as the love interest, she always is great to see as the girlfriend and she gets to show her singing skills at times too. Bradley Cooper was continuing to make a name of himself in supporting roles where he once again gets his timing right. The supporting cast all get good laughs through the film.

StoryThe story follows a man who believes his life isn’t going well stuck in a rut which he is happy enough with, when he gets given a chance to take chances he starts saying yes to everything which opens up his life to new opportunities. This does show us the meaning of life even if we see the extremes of it here, we get to see how taking chances with make for an enjoyable life however mad certain parts might be. We do see moments of people who will take advantage of that person, which isn’t ever addressed enough especially when one is a close friend, overall this story shows us just how important living life is, taking chance because you never know what you might find in life.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film comes from the reactions and participation in the events that Carl get put through, we do get laughs from the supporting cast with Rhys Darby as Norman getting the most. The romance side of the film comes from taking a chance, Carl had been divorced and not wanting to take a chance on meeting new people which saying yes offers him.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which is fine, it could have been set in any city because none of what is achieved makes a different to the actual settings.


Scene of the Movie –
Close stage.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Carrey sometimes goes to slapstick too quickly.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun motivational movie, sure it becomes a basic comedy and could have been better with somebody not known for comedy in the leading role, but it does everything it needs to.

 

Overall: Fun comedy.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Horror – Y – You’re Next (2011) (Revisited Spoiler Talk)

This is a Re-visited review, it will contain more spoilers that the normal review, to read the non-spoiler review click here

Director
: Adam Wingard

Writer: Simon Barrett (Screenplay)

Starring: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Margaret Laney, Amy Seimetz, Ti West

 

Plot: When the Davison family comes under attack during their wedding anniversary getaway, the gang of mysterious killers soon learns that one of the victims harbors a secret talent for fighting back.


Tagline – Don’t bother locking the doors. Animals don’t use doors.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There will be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best Modern Slasher

 

Story: You’re Next starts as we follow a couple that get butchered in their remote woodland house, with the window painted with the words ‘You’re Next’ in blood.

We then get to meet our main family, the Davison’s who are celebrating the parents Paul (Moran) and Aubrey (Crampton) 35th wedding anniversary, bring their kids and partners together, Erin (Vinson), Felix (Tucci), Zee (Glenn), Crispian (Bowen), Drake (Swanberg), Kelly (Laney), Aimee (Seimetz) and Tariq (West).

What starts as a family dinner filled with conversations which soon turn into an argument, the family comes under attack, we see how the family comes together to think of a solution to escape, which only leads to the first deaths. Erin shows a different side to her, unlike anything her partner Crispian has seen before, prepared for an attack or at least to defend herself from attackers.

The family is now facing enemies, the number is unknown to them and we need to whittle the cast down a little bit more too, so bring us in the bad decision character, Kelly who runs out into the dark woods surrounding the house screaming for help, this moment feels designed to show us what the killers are capable off, not picking between the men or the women, just looking for the kills.

Continuing to show a darker side Erin sets up the remaining family members to defend themselves, while showing she can put up a fight by being the first to kill one of the killers after he breaks into the home.

We now know just what the killers and Erin are capable off, but a twist changes everything as one of the family members is behind the attack, the only one that is capable of fighting back is Erin and our new hero icon is born.

 

Thoughts on You’re Next

 

Characters – Erin comes off as the girl next door time, former TA to her boyfriend in her final year of her master’s degree, being an Australian actress, we keep this trait for her character too which brings in to the conversation at the dinner part of the film. when the attack starts, her training comes first nature as she looks to defend the family from the attacks, her skills for surviving were not known by anyone in the family before tonight.

Felix is one of the brother’s in the family he isn’t the best at combat and like all siblings argues with the others, he is the one that is behind the attack wanting the inheritance money from his family, Zee is the girlfriend of Felix, in on the plan, waiting for her time to get involved, we have her around a lot, but we don’t see her do much. Crispian is the boyfriend of Erin, the one that bought her to the party, seemingly the eldest brother and the one that disappears through the film, always feeling shady. The rest of the siblings and partners are used for the basic kills to show us just how the killers operate, as are the parents. The killers themselves in a Lamb, Tiger and Fox mask fill the menace required showing zero moments of hesitation when it comes to aiming for the kill.

PerformancesSharni Vinson is fantastic in this leading role, she takes over the mantel of the lone survivor in a horror film, kicks ass throughout the film, she is the true star of this film. when we start looking at the rest of the cast they all know exactly how to play their roles without taking away from the leading lady.

StoryThe story follows a family coming together for a wedding anniversary party only to come under attack from an unknown group of attacks them, it follows the panic and takes a twist which turns the tables on the attackers, with the deadliest threat being one of the members of the house. We do get the bad decisions which comes from the disposable characters which does give us the chance to see the kills impact and we do get a twist along the way about who the attackers are. For the slasher genre this breathed new life into the sub-genre and makes us want to see where the director/writer will go next.

HorrorThe horror elements of the film show us the killers getting the kills which are filled with blood and certain ones are original and will make you remember them, let talk the blender.

SettingsThe film is set in the simple location of one house in the middle of the woods, there is a walkable neighbour, though it does dispose of the people in that house in the opening sequence, which gives us the isolation needed for the attack to take place in.

Special EffectsThe effects used for the film are great, we have unique looking kills which will be ones that you do remember once the film has finished, see the blender again.


Scene of the Movie –
The blender, you will understand why.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The disposable characters while used to show the killers make the annoying mistakes.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best modern slasher movies out there, it can be enjoyed by horror fans, it has blood, gore and twist galore.

 

Overall: Must watch horror movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – Y – Yakuza Apocalypse (2015)

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Yoshitaka Yamaguchi (Screenplay)

Starring: Yayan Ruhian, Lily Franky, Hayato Ichihara, Riko Narumi

 

Plot: In the ruthless underground world of the yakuza, no one is more legendary than boss Kamiura. Rumored to be invincible, the truth is he is a vampire-a bloodsucking yakuza vampire boss! Among Kamiura’s gang is Kageyama, his most loyal underling. However, the others in the gang view Kageyama with disdain and ridicule him for his inability to get tattooed due to sensitive skin. One day, assassins aware of boss Kamiura’s secret arrive from abroad and deliver him an ultimatum: Return to the international syndicate he left years ago, or die. Kamiura refuses and, during a fierce battle with anime-otaku martial-arts expert Kyoken, is torn limb from limb. With his dying breath, Kamiura bites Kageyama, passing on his vampire powers to the unsuspecting yakuza. As he begins to awaken to his newfound abilities, Kageyama’s desire to avenge the murder of boss Kamiura sets him on a course for a violent confrontation with Kaeru-kun, the foreign syndicate’s mysterious and seemingly unstoppable leader!


Tagline –  Once bitten, you’re a yakuza.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bonkers Revenge Thriller

 

Story: Yakuza Apocalypse starts with Yakuza boss Kamiura (Frankly) showing his kindness to the civilians in his neighbourhood, removing any members that wrongfully harm any of his people, with a new understudy Akira Kageyama (Ichihara) we start to see the tension from the rest of the Yakuza before assassin Kyoken (Ruhian) is set to murder Kamiura who just so happens to be a Yakuza vampire that in his dying breath turns Kageyama.

Kageyama must learn how to survive his new abilities to become strong enough to extract revenge on Kyoken and the rest of the Yakuza who turned on his boss by turning everyone into vampires.

 

Thoughts on Yakuza Apocalypse

 

Characters – Akira Kageyama is a member of the Yakuza, he is a good man not following traditions of tattoos and never hurting anyone innocent, which has raised him up the ranks under his current boss. When his boss is murdered, he takes his ability of being a vampire to continue his good nature in the battle while taking out the men that killed his boss. Kyoken is the stranger in town, the assassin sent to kill Kamiura, deadly in combat, he knows how to blend into a crowd.  Kamiura is the respected Yakuza boss that keeps the city in check not letting anything get out of hand, which has made him enemies within the Yakuza with his secret being revelled.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are good throughout, there is a stand out performer in Yayan Ruhian because we know just how amazing he is at combat, Hayato Ichihara is good too in the lead role, but some of the small supporting performances do feel over the top.

StoryThe story here as far as I could tell, was a Yakuza boss being murdered and one of his men seeking revenge with a vampire filled twist, which just makes things bigger and crazier through everything that is unfolding. Then there is the frog costume, well things get crazy here, this is a story you remember, not for being great, but for being weird as they come.

Action/Comedy/HorrorThe action is big and gives us plenty of martial arts material to watch unfold, the horror comes from the different styles of vampires that become Yakuza and the comedy comes from the craziness going on through the film.

SettingsThe film keeps everything in on location of a small city which is now under control from Yakuza, first the kind type and soon the deadly type.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film work well because they show the blood splatter at its very best.


Scene of the Movie –
The frogs arrival.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The tone of the film changes too often.

Final ThoughtsThis is truly a crazy movie which has blood splatter throughout the film even though it does follow a simple revenge plot.

 

Overall: A movie you won’t forget.

Rating

 

 

You Were Never Really Here (2017)

Director: Lynne Ramsay

Writer: Lynne Ramsay (Screenplay) Jonathan Ames (Book)

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, Ekaterina Samsonov, Alessandro Nivola, Alex Manette

 

Plot: A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe’s nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Divisive to Say the Lease

 

Story: You Were Never Really Here starts as we meet Joe (Phoenix) a war veteran that has his own nightmares that uses getting bag over head trick to show him what life is worth being a part off, he lives with his insecure mother (Roberts) and works as a fixer, tracking down missing girls for a living.

Joe’s latest job is to help Senator Albert Votto (Manette) find his daughter Nina (Samsonov) who has a habit of running away. When this latest mission gets out of hand, Joe must seek revenge on the people responsible in the bloody way possible.

 

Thoughts on You Were Never Really Here

 

Characters – Joe is the veteran that is suffering from his own nightmares, traumatised from his time at war, his outlets include a mix of legal highs and searching for missing girls. He is excellent at getting the job done and can get his hands dirty where needed, he has a close relationship with his mother where he tries his best to care for her, but his latest job will show us just how deadly he can be. Joe’s Mother is the one person Joe opens up to, she is the only one that can keep him grounded through his troubles. Nina is the teenager that went missing, the one he promises to help, we don’t see too much from her other than he is part of his motivation.  

PerformancesThere is no question that Joaquin Phoenix is brilliant in the leading role, we know his struggles he is showing us and watch eagerly to see what he does next. As for the rest of the performers, they are good as they are not trying to take the spotlight away from him.

StoryThe story follows a struggle war veteran with the ability to track down missing people getting involved in a bigger picture that he just wasn’t prepared for. As things get out of hand he continues to question his own sanity as he looks to do the right thing for the latest victim. Well I think that is what I read from the movie, I am not going to lie when I say I feel I may have missed what makes this such the iconic special movie people have been talking about. It just seems to go into the you will need to understand every scene to make the answer to what happened as most of the interesting scenes do seem to miss the point.

MysteryThe mystery parts of this film come from just not knowing just where things will be going, just like Joe who is waiting to see what he has gotten himself into.

SettingsThe film shows us just where Joe can stay away from the public eye but can be in the middle of the scene searching for the answers.


Scene of the Movie –
Goodbye.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This movie has been overhyped for me.

Final ThoughtsThis is disappointing for me, because all I have heard is how great this movie is, but by the end of the film it does end up falling very short for me.

 

Overall: Disappointing.

Rating

 

 

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.

Rating