Robin Williams Weekend – R.V.: Runaway Vacation (2006)

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Writer: Geoff Rodkey (Screenplay)

Starring: Robin Williams, Cheryl Hines, Joanna ‘Jojo’ Levesque, Josh Hutcherson, Jeff Daniels, Kristin Chenoweth

 

Plot: Bob Munro and his dysfunctional family rent an RV for a road trip to the Colorado Rockies, where they ultimately have to contend with a bizarre community of campers.


Tagline – One family. Eight wheels. No brakes.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Serviceable Comedy

 

Story: R.V.: Runaway Vacation starts as businessman Bob (Williams) is facing the reality of seeing his kids about to start preparing for their next steps in life, he decides to cancel their Hawaii vacation to take them across country in an RV. Bob must convince his wife Jamie (Hines) and children Cassie (JoJo) and Carl (Hutcherson) this trip is going to be good.

As their journey continues we get the usual series of mishaps along the way as Bob is fighting to keep his job by secretly doing his work while the others sleep, just what else can happen in the family’s adventure.

 

Thoughts on R.V.: Runaway Vacation

 

Characters – Bob Munro is an officer worker always on his boss’s good side, his family is growing up and about to move on with their lives and he decides to take them on a cross country trip to keep his job. Jamie is his wife that isn’t happy about losing the Hawaii vacation but understands he wants to spend time with his family. Cassie and Carl are the children with their own growing up problems that Bob has been ignoring for the most part.

PerformancesRobin Williams is the main star of the movie, he gets to do a watered-down version of his comedy which is serviceable for the film. Going into the supporting cast we don’t get too much that stands out as most of them are playing off what Williams does.

StoryThe story follows a family vacation in an RV which takes them on a series of unfortunate events. The story does feel weak for the family growing dynamic because too much of the movie is focused on the father’s problems rather then looking at how the family needs to come together. This will pass as a comedy level story which is fine and never becomes the importance a lighter comedy could achieve.

Comedy/FamilyThe comedy is hit or miss, it is mostly material we have seen before and even with Williams in the leading role, it doesn’t always hit.

SettingsThe film takes us across parts of America which is fine, we get the beauty spots in certain places.


Scene of the Movie –
The reason why the trip happens.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The weakness of the comedy.

Final ThoughtsThis isn’t the best comedy, it has moments but in the end it will become one that you do end up forgetting.

 

Overall: Forgettable comedy for the most part.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – I – Ils (2006)

Director: David Moreau, Xavier Palud

Writer: David Moreau, Xavier Palud (Screenplay)

Starring: Olivia Bonamy, Michael Cohen, Adriana Mocca, Maria Roman, Camelia Maxim, Alexandru Boghiu

 

Plot: Lucas and Clementine live peacefully in their isolated country house, but one night they wake up to strange noise… they’re not alone… and a group of hooded assailants begin to terrorize them throughout the night.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Addition to the Home Invasion Genre

 

Story: Ils starts as we meet our couple, school teacher Clementine (Bonamy) and aspiring writer Lucas (Cohen) who has relocated in Romania with an isolated house so Lucas can focus on his work, the next night turns into a nightmare when the couple get visited by a group of intruders/

The intruders set out to make their night hell by forcing them to hide in their own home wondering just what the motivation for the actions are and being prepared to fight if things get out of hand.

 

Thoughts on Ils

 

Characters – Clementine is the school teacher that is getting used to the new school and country, she lives with her husband in the isolated home where when they get invaded must fight to survive. Lucas is the writer partner of Clementine that spends his time at the home while she works, he works with her to escape the intruders that visit the home. We don’t learn much else about these two characters or even about the intruder’s other than they seem to be experienced in confusing their prey.

PerformanceThe two leads both do well but they only have to do the look scared and desperate to survive routine, it isn’t going ot be that difficult to pull off.

StoryThe story here is also minimal with it focusing on the idea that a couple get terrorised in and around their home by uninvited strangers. We are left to wonder just what are the motives but the simplistic idea behind this story makes it stand up to be counted in the story side of things.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror comes from how the couple get invaded by the strangers and being as clueless as us to just why. We also get the thrilling side of the film from this as we are left on the edge of the seats waiting to see where things will go.

SettingsMost of the film is set in the house which works but while it still stays intense the idea of leaving to the random tunnels loses the point of the film.

Scene of the Movie – Building space.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You kind of want to know more about the intruders.

Final ThoughtsThis is a short sweet home invasion film which keeps us on the edge from start to finish.

 

Overall: Good home invasion film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – A – Apocalypto (2006)

Director: Mel Gibson

Writer: Mel Gibson, Farhad Safinia (Screenplay)

Starring: Rudy Youngblood, Dalia Hernandez, Jonathan Brewer, Morris Birdyellowhead

 

Plot: As the Mayan kingdom faces its decline, the rulers insist the key to prosperity is to build more temples and offer human sacrifices. Jaguar Paw, a young man captured for sacrifice, flees to avoid his fate.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brutal Adventure Film

 

Story: Apocalypto starts as we meet a peaceful Mayan tribe living in the jungle, using it to survive the hardship as a unit, we have our hero of this story here Jaguar Paw (Youngblood) with a family, wife Seven (Hernandez) and a young child.

When morning comes Zero Wolf (Trujillo) sends his tribe into to attack and capture Jaguar Paw’s tribe, killing many and leaving the children to fend for themselves, but Jaguar Paw does get Seven out before she can be captured. The women are sold into slavery but the men they have been selected for ritual sacrifice to the Gods to solve the famine running through the city.

When it comes to Jaguar Paws sacrifice an eclipse happens and the people believe no more are needed force the captures to use them as target practise game, this gives Jaguar a chance to escape into the jungle and return to his wife.

 

Thoughts on Apocalypto

 

Characters – Jaguar Paw is our leading man, he is just a hunter for his tribe, but one with the forest, when his tribe comes under attack, saving his wife and child is the most important for him before he gets captured. He shows he will be the hardest to deal with and given a chance to escape he takes it using his knowledge of his forest to defeat his enemies. Seven is the wife that spends most of the film in the cave waiting for her husband to return. Zero Wolf is the leader of the hunters that take Jaguar Paw’s tribe captive for his own gain hoping to use them to sacrifice to the Gods, he does command the best from his men.

PerformanceNone of these actors were that well known before this film and that is an excellent thing because the performance do feel natural through each of the moments in the film, the situations show the horror, the pure desperation and harsh reality of the world they are living in.

StoryThe story shows the Mayan culture, the calm life they did live mixed with the heavy beliefs they once had which was considered one of their downfalls. We mostly just follow one man Jaguar Paw as he is taken into slavery but escapes to return to his wife before he becomes a sacrifice, it is a brutal adventure showing how barbaric the Mayan’s were when it came to sacrifice but it is also an intense experience seeing the struggle to survive.

Action/AdventureThe action is mostly surrounding the final third which follows the chase back to Jaguar Paw’s forest and how he must defeat the enemies chasing him using his knowledge, which does end up feeling like an adventure at times too.

SettingsThe setting all look fantastic, mostly jungle sequences with one temple based town which does have elements of CGI about it but does still look good through the film.

Special EffectsWhen you look at the effects we have good use of practical ones as we see the brutal kills throughout the film

Scene of the Movie – Waterfall.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This is one film that does suffer with the subtitles, which in all honesty weren’t needed to tell the story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brutal bloody action adventure with the ones desire for our character to get home, back to safety with his family.

 

Overall: An intense experience worth watching.

Rating

 

 

Justin Long Weekend – Accepted (2006)

Director: Steve Pink

Writer: Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Mark Perez (Screenplay)

Starring: Justin Long, Jonah Hill, Blake Lively, Adam Herschman, Columbus Short, Maria Thayer, Lewis Black

 

Plot: A high school slacker who’s rejected by every school he applies to opts to create his own institution of higher learning, the South Harmon Institute of Technology, on a rundown piece of property near his hometown.


Tagline – When every college turned them down. . . they made one up.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun

 

Story: Accepted starts when serial slacker Bartleby (Long) fails to get accepted into any colleges when his high school run concludes. Bartleby isn’t the only one that lost his chance to go college, he decides to join Sherman (Hill) and Daryl (Short) in creating a fake college South Harmon Institute of Technology.

To make his parents believe this is a real college, he works with his friends to refurbish a building to be a college, only for the college to take off having numerous students turn up leading to a battle with the local real college.

 

Thoughts on Accepted

 

Characters – Bartleby is the student at high school everyone turns to for fake ids, he is a slacker at heart, not knowing where he wants to go and getting rejected by all the colleges that he applied to. To keep his parents happy, he creates a college only for everything to get out of hand he needs to use his quick-thinking ideas to keep the cover on. Sherman is the only one of the group of friends that did get into the college he wanted, he helps Bartleby get the college up and running while trying to keep everything in his own future together. Monica is the love interest for Bartleby, always been the girl that he dreams off, she has her own passion, which her college isn’t going to give her. We get plenty of characters that are struggling to find their place in the next stages of their life and the rich students who get into college without any problems.

PerformancesThis movie has a big cast of actors that would be great picks for any teen comedy in the early 2000s. Justin Long takes the leading role and he is great because the character he plays is the one we are seeing him play a lot. Jonah Hill gets good laughs from his role, but this is before he transformed his comedy to hit more often. Blake Lively is a good love interest for the film, the whole supporting cast does well through the film.

StoryThe story is about one student that creates a fake college to cover up the fact he never got accepted into any college and things get out of hand. The story is told in a comic tone, even though it does tackle the serious problem school students face when it comes to the end of their run, before college, what happens if they don’t make it, what if they do make it and can’t handle the pressure. In fairness the telling of the story is done well for a teen comedy and is easily one that can be enjoyed by the fans of the genre.

ComedyThe comedy in this film does work for the most part, it is mostly teen comedy material which is fine to enjoy.

SettingsThe film is a college set movie, it gives an idea of creativity the characters will be facing.


Scene of the Movie –
The case.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t get enough focus on why so many students got rejected from other colleges.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the fun modern college movie, it tells an important message about dealing with the added pressure of college life.

 

Overall: One for the teen comedy movies.

Rating

 

 

Abigail Breslin Weekend – Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

Writer: Michael Arndt (Screenplay)

Starring: Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, Steve Carell

 

Plot: A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus.


Tagline – A family on the verge of a breakdown

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Amazingly Charming Movie

 

Story: Little Miss Sunshine starts as we meet our family, motivational speaker Richard (Kinnear), hardworking mother Sheryl (Collette), depressed teenage son Dwayne (Dano) who has taken a vow of silence, hyperactive young daughter Olive (Breslin), veteran grandfather Edwin (Arkin) and Uncle Frank (Carell) who is fresh out of a hospital after a failed suicide attempt.

The six go on a road trip across America to enter Olive into the Little Miss Sunshine competition and along the way the family must deal with their own ups and downs to help their youngster member fulfil her dream.

 

Thoughts on Little Miss Sunshine

 

Characters – Olive is the youngest member of the family, cute but never going to be able to truly compete in the beauty contests, but this is her dream and the family will come together to help her achieve her dream. Richard is the father of the family, a motivational speaker who believes he has the next big catch for a book, he always encourages his family to believe they will succeed over just trying. Dwayne is the eldest son in the family, taking a vow of silence until he can become a jet pilot, he hates everyone with the only one he will help is Olive. Grandpa Edwin has been kicked out of a retirement home and living with the family, he swears and enjoys a drug or two. Sheryl is the mother of the family who will do anything for her kids which involves taking Olive across country for the contest. Frank is the suicidal genius brother of Sheryl, released under her care in case he tries it again, he sees the family for their flaws and even takes Dwayne under his wing on the journey.

PerformancesWe have six fantastic performances here, we had the established stars, Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette and Alan Arkin shining and the star making performances from Abigail Breslin, Paul Dano and Steve Carell who was the it star of 2006.

StoryThe story follows a dysfunctional family that must travel across America to enter their youngest member to a beauty contest. We get the characters with their flaws that can be worked on through the film which gives us a natural feeling about the family. It does have the idea that family will need to come together no matter what gets in their way. This is a fun enjoyable story that can be enjoyed by everyone.

ComedyThe comedy here is delightful it hits on every level and does mostly come from real life moments.

SettingsThe road trip moments give us the idea of how far the family will go and we see this in the settings.


Scene of the Movie –
The dance routine.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The colour-blind test is fake because I am colour blind and I could see the test, when normally I haven’t been able to.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the greatest comedies of all time, it is just delightful on every account with wonderful performance from the whole cast.

 

Overall: Wonderful throughout.

Rating