Bedazzled (2000)

Director: Harold Ramis

Writer: Larry Gelbart, Harold Ramis, Peter Tolan (Screenplay) Peter Cook, Dudley Moore (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Elizabeth Hurley, Frances O’Connor, Miriam Shor, Orlando Jones, Paul Adelstein

 

Plot: Hopeless dweeb Elliot Richards is granted seven wishes by the Devil to snare Allison, the girl of his dreams, in exchange for his soul.


Tagline – Meet the devil. No one’s ever been able to resist her. Until now.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: Bedazzled starts with Elliot (Fraser) a good natured young man that is lonely in his life, while his co-workers not liking him, he is in love with another co-worker Alison (O’Connor) but doesn’t have the courage to talk to her. Showing his desire to be with Alison it attracts the Devil (Hurley).

Elliot takes up the offer and goes about trying to find the perfect wish to make him happy taking him all over the world and through different scenarios.

 

Thoughts on Bedazzled

 

Characters – Elliot is the lonely leading man, his personality has pushed his co-workers away from him as they just want to avoid him. He meets the Devil who offers him seven wishes to fix his life and get the girl of his dreams Alison. His wishes take him into a string of different lives that his current life could never see him in. The Devil is here to help give Elliot wishes, she plays on his worlds to make each have a game breaking flaw, while pushing him into different direction, looking sexy along the way. Alison is the woman that Elliot loves, she works with him at a higher level. She doesn’t notice him, we don’t learn much about the real Alison as we see her in the different wishes.

PerformancesBrendan Fraser was bursting into the spotlight around the release of this film, he gets to show the comedy skills he has through this film which is fun and enjoyable to watch. Elizabeth Hurley is great in this role, she brings us the sexy seductress the film wants the devil to be. Frances O’Connor does well with what she gets with all the different versions of Alison she is left to play.

StoryThe story follows one man that doesn’t fit in everyday life, he is tired of being alone and wishes for his life to change, bring him into a deal with the Devil. We see how Elliot must learn to make the correct decisions in his life rather than just wish for a quick fix to his own life. This does have meaning and is a remake of a popular film, which could turn fans of the original off, but this is a good modern telling of the story.

Comedy/FantasyThe comedy through the film does have good moments, most of these come from the different wishes that Elliot goes through. The fantasy ideas come from the devil giving out the wishes.

SettingsMost of the film is set in San Francisco giving us another big American City which helps for people to understand where we are, we do get other settings which look correct for the wishes.

Special EffectsMost of the effects work for this film, we mostly see them when we jump between wishes.


Scene of the Movie –
Moving on.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Some of the wishes feel cartoonish.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun comedy that hits more than it misses, we see Fraser at his best and Hurley looks as sexy as we know she can do.

 

Overall: Comedy that can be enjoyable by a modern audience.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – T – Traffic (2000)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Stephen Gaghan (Screenplay) Simon Moore (Miniseries)

Starring: Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Quaid, Catherine Zeta-Jones

 

Plot: A conservative judge is appointed by the President to spearhead America’s escalating war against drugs, only to discover that his teenage daughter is a crack addict. Two DEA agents protect an informant. A jailed drug baron’s wife attempts to carry on the family business.


Tagline – It’s a dirty, dirty war! And no one comes away clean

Runtime: 2 Hours 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burning Crime Thriller

 

Story: Traffic starts by following two Mexican Cops Javier Rodriguez (Del Toro) and Manolo Sanchez (Vargas) who aren’t part of the drug trafficking side of the business, though they must turn a blind eye. America is trying to clean up the drug war by hiring judge Robert Wakefield (Douglas) to take the battle to them, while DEA agents Ray Castro (Guzman) and Montel Gordon (Cheadle) are dealing with an informant. As a drug lord is taken away his wife Helena (Zeta-Jones) must deal with the consequences of her husband’s actions.

With the four sides needing to think of their futures, Javier makes a desperate decision, Robert needing to deal with his own personal problems including his daughter crack addiction, Montel wanting to be on the front line without losing more people and Helena wanting to continue her husband’s business either after being watched by the authority.

 

Thoughts on Traffic

 

Characters – Javier Rodriguez has been working on the Mexican side of the drug battle, one of the good cops that gets pressed into making a big decision which could affect his partner and his own family. Robert Wakefield is being lined up to lead the battle on the drugs from the American side of the war, his promotion is huge for his career, but his own teenage daughter has become a drug addict spiralling out of control, leaving him in the position of needing to win the war or save his family. Montel Gordon is the DEA agent that has been on the ground trying to get to the truth about who is behind the drug deals going on. Helena is the wife of the drug lord who wants to keep the business alive even after her husband is taken to jail, knowing her kids will need the money for their own futures.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are good through the film, while most of the big character barely ever connect with each other, the separate performances from Bel Toro, Douglas, Zeta-Jones and Cheadle are all strong for the film.

StoryThe story here follows separate stories involved in the drug war going on between Mexican and American sides of war as see the people on the ground, the people in political officers and the dealer’s family. We do jump between the stories a lot which can make it hard to keep up with everything because the jump between them and lack of connection can be disconnecting for the audience. It does give us an insight to the drug war that is on going between the countries and how the people can be drawn to extremes to get their own fixes. The cops will be pushed too far without having any power when it comes to taking down the criminals without crossing the lines. With plenty of questions being asked it would have been nice to have more answered.

CrimeThe crime world we are thrown into shows us just how the criminal world of drugs operates be it with the deals, the legal system or the users and how the problem is looking to be solved.

SettingsThe film does take us to many different locations as we get to see how everything operates, we see the Mexican dealer’s life of luxury home, to the political offices taking on the war to the dens where the users get attracted too.


Scene of the Movie –
Seth is being excused today.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many stories going on.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong look at the drug war, it does have too many stories going on at once which can drag you down because each character feels like they are meant to be important in their own way.

 

Overall: Over saturated movie

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – P – The Patriot (2000)

Director: Roland Emmerich

Writer: Robert Rodat (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs, Chris Cooper, Techeky Karyo, Rene Auberjonois

 

Plot: Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin is driven to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution when a sadistic British officer murders his son.


Tagline – Some things are worth fighting for. 

Runtime: 2 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long War Epic

 

Story: The Patriot starts where peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin (Gibson) sees the American Revolution coming towards his doorstep with his eldest son Gabriel (Ledger) fighting about the British. When the British reach his doorstep they end up killing one of his sons, Col William Tavington (Isaacs) makes an enemy he can’t prepare to fight against.

Benjamin prepares his own militia to fight back against the British, one that has experience fighting on this land, one that has already won a war, all this to get revenge on the man that took his son in a cowardly action.

 

Thoughts on The Patriot

 

Characters – Benjamin Martin was once a feared general in the military, now he is a quiet farmer looking after his children after his wife’s death. when the American Revolution comes to his home, he loses a son to a ruthless Colonel. Returning to the force he leads the militia in battle against the English showing all the tricks he has learnt through the years, in his mission for revenge. Gabriel is the eldest son of Benjamin’s he is the first to go into war and after it returns home, he will serve under his father to show the pride he has standing next to him. Charlotte is the sister-in-law that protects the children from the war while the men go off to fight. Col William Tavington is the man that kills Benjamin’s son in cold blood, he doesn’t want to give a calm peaceful end to the war and is willing to and wants to kill anyone against him.

PerformancesMel Gibson might well have a few personal demons, but when it comes to this style of film, he never looks out of place on the big screen, easily be the star of this film. Heath Ledger continued to show the world just how talented he was going to become with a wonderful supporting performance and Jason Isaacs gives us a villain from a war movie we are going to hate.

StoryThe story follows a once deadly war general who is forced back into battle after his son is killed during the American Revolution, this follows his revenge in the battle which does give us a fictional story to a real war that changed America at the time. Now this does have a reality in how the men would be losing family members to the ruthless British, though this does make out that the British were the worst of the worst when it came to battle. This is a movie designed to make the American audience feel extra patriotic and does show the two sides of war, the respectful way and the dirty tactics people will use to win.

Action/History/WarThe action is large scale war sequences, each one gets bigger with the number of bodies piling up as we go along. The historical side of the film focuses on the real war over the real people involved in the war which is fine, we only need the historical side as a backdrop for the personal battle.

SettingsThe film does make the realistic settings for the time the war took place in each location does play a key part in the film be it a battle, the moment which will leave people wanting revenge or safety.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Being overly patriotic.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the long war epics that is designed solely to make America look great, it does end up going down the revenge line which gives an edge to the battles, which will be the highlight of the film.

 

Overall: Patriotic 101

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – O – O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (Screenplay) Homer (Poem)

Starring: George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman, Holly Hunter, Chris Thomas King, Charles Durning

 

Plot: In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.


Tagline – Sometimes, you have to lose your way to get back home

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wacky Comedy

 

Story: O Brother, Where Art Thou? Starts when three prisoners Everett (Clooney), Pete (Turturro) and Delmar (Nelson) escape from prison, going on a race across country in search of a treasure before it goes for good.

Along the way the three must figure out how to stay ahead of the law which puts them in a series of comical events along the way until they run into a salesman Big Dan Teague (Goodman) who is puts them against their match.

 

Thoughts on O Brother, Where Art Thou?

 

Characters – Everett is the brains of the three, he isn’t the strongest with this either, he tries to keep the guys together as they need to stay away from the law, he pushes them to take risks along the way too. Pete is the other fellow escapee that wants to be in charge, he will follow Everett as long as he can follow his dreams to get to the money. Delmar is the dumbest member of the group he makes all the mistakes along the way putting the friends in a bigger problem in search for the money. Big Dan is one of the many characters they meet along the way, one that makes a big impact on the adventure.

PerformancesGeorge Clooney is good in the leading role, going against the typecast of a pretty guy which he has been making a reputation for himself, John Turturro showed us once again that he can make any role work well, with Tim Blake Nelson getting the best lines which shows he can hang with the biggest names in Hollywood. The rest of the cast do bring us plenty of the laughs with the extremes of the characters.

StoryThe story follows three criminals in search of treasure and their hapless journey across country to locate it. They meet a string of colourfully people along the way, some who help and others than hinder.  This does follow the trends of comedy films which leaves our character into a mixed of events to make a simple journey never going the way they are planning them to. We do get a few twists along the way which change our opinions on the characters too.

Adventure/Crime/ComedyThe adventure takes our three convicts across country meeting the colourful characters along the way, this shows us the criminal world they are from and dealing with the people from, we also get the comedy involved in the film from just what happens along the way.

SettingsThe settings take us across a string of different Southern America towns which plays into he backward way of thinking the people in the area would have.


Scene of the Movie –
The KKK rescue.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t see enough of the lawman after them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wacky crime comedy that will see people in the audience laugh at times, it will however turn people in the audience off too.

 

Overall: Crime comedy with enough laughs along the way.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominated – B – Billy Elliot (2000)

Director: Stephen Daldry

Writer: Lee Hall (Screenplay)

Starring: Jamie Bell, Jean Heywood, Julie Walters, Gary Lewis, Jamie Draven

 

Plot: A talented young boy becomes torn between his unexpected love of dance and the disintegration of his family.


Tagline –  Inside every one of us is a special talent waiting to come out. The trick is finding it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One for all the Dreamers

 

Story: Billy Elliot starts as we meet Billy (Bell) a young boy in Durham, England during the miners strike in the 80’s, his father (Lewis) wants him to compete in man sports like football or boxing, but when Billy sees ballet being performed and wants to learn it himself.

Showing how talented he could be the instructor Mrs Wilkinson (Walters) lets him take the class seeing how he could be the next big thing, but Billy’s dad forbids him from dancing, leaving Billy to need to find a new way to practise behind his father’s back.

 

Thoughts on Billy Elliot

 

Characters – Billy Elliot is the 11-year-old boy that dreams of becoming a ballet dancer, but must learn behind his family’s back because they see it as not manly enough for him to be doing. Billy’s Dad doesn’t want his son doing dancing, he is in the middle of the miner’s strike trying to prove just how tough the likes of his men are, he must learn to accept his son’s talent to let him free from the rough lifestyle he could be raised through. Mrs Wilkinson is the dance instructor that gives Billy the chance to take up dancing, teaching him the discipline needed to be the talented he could be.

PerformancesJamie Bell broke onto the scene here, he is fantastic as the young boy drawn to dancing, he showed everyone that he was going to be a star. Gary Lewis is good as Billy’s dad needing the aggressive side when needed while also showing the passion to support his family too. Julie Walters is great as the instructor showing us the desire to see someone succeed.

StoryThe story of the young boy going against tradition to become a ballet dancer when his world is considered closed of true opportunities. This is a tested formula with other sports or skills based movies before and is one that is enjoyable. The backdrop of the miner’s strike helps show how far away from hope he could be but most of all this film shows how to follow your dreams.

Musical/Romance The music side of the film shows how important the music is to ballet with the romance taking a back step but also being everything you would expect for the era the film is set in.

SettingsThe small town where the miner’s live shows us how depressed the environment would be for the family’s living there, it shows how important the escape is going to be for Billy.


Scene of the Movie –
Showing Dad the moves.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The change in his dad’s mind seems too sudden.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable drama about the struggle to take part in something you love. This is one you could enjoy to understand a moment in history too.

 

Overall: Must watch dream drama.

Rating