Life Partners (2014)

Director: Susanna Fogel

Writer: Susanna Fogel, Joni Lefkowitz (Screenplay)

Starring: Leighton Meester, Gillian Jacobs, Gabourey Sidibe, Beth Dover, Abby Elliott, Kate McKinnon, Adam Brody

 

Plot: Sasha and Paige’s co-dependent friendship is tested as Paige gets serious with a guy for the first time.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Romantic Comedy

 

Story: Life Partners starts as two best friends Paige (Jacobs) and her lesbian best friend Sasha (Meester) spend nearly every day together. Both haven’t had much luck finding a romantic partner until Paige meets Tim (Brody) and the two-start dating, leaving Sasha needing to spend more time alone trying to make the most of her dreams of music.

As life continues to move forward we see how friendships need to move forward as the two learn life lessons about reaching the early 30s of their lives.

 

Thoughts on Life Partners

 

Characters/PerformanceSasha is the lesbian best friend of Paige, she wants to be a musician only nothing has happened yet, she has been struggling with her career choices and potential becoming distant with her best friend. Paige the best friend of Sasha who starts dating Tim, when things get serious she starts to move on with her life leaving Sasha behind as she starts to look to her future. Tim is the boyfriend of Paige that does change her life when she looks to move forward in life.

Performance wise, Leighton Meester and Gillian Jacobs are great in the leading roles of this film as the women going different direction. Adam Brody is good in the supporting role too within the film.

StoryThe story is an important series of life lessons, we all grow up, we all meet new people in our lives be in through romantic or friendship relationships and we all find out who the people we want to keep in our lives really are. This is what this film tells us with the story and I think it does everything in a real world style, nothing is thrown out there to be over the top and the friendship feels real throughout the film.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy is good in places, we all know I am not the biggest fan of comedy but I did find myself enjoying it when required. By not dragging us down with the comedy we get a romantic story as well as a good drama from the story.

SettingsThe settings are used well even if most come off as real world ones which helps this story unfold without being too focused on making any setting too iconic.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film I didn’t expect too much from and found myself enjoying, I like the real world feel to each situation with the lessons the women must learn at this similar age as myself within their lives. This is one I do think and wish more people would have seen.

 

Overall: This is one of the good romantic comedies that doesn’t rely on missed jokes to tell the story.

Rating

 

 

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1000 to 1 The Cory Weissman Story (2014)

Director: Michael Levine

Writer: Bob Burris (Screenplay)

Starring: David Henrie, Luke Kleintank, Beau Bridges, Jean Louisa Kelly, Cassi Thomson, Hanna Marks

 

Plot: Cory Weissman is a college basketball player who suffers a devastating stroke. He perseveres to find new meaning in his life both on, and more importantly, off the court.


Tagline – No odds are too great.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Inspirational Story

 

Story: 1000 to 1 starts as college basketball player Cory Weissman (Henrie) suffers a stroke in the gym, 19-years-old and his dreams shattered, facing first a battle for his life, then a battle to get back into everyday movement. His parents Tina (Kelly) and Marc (Watford) there to support the rehab.

Once out of hospital and rehab Cory must start to look at life a different way, one without his dream of basketball, with his friends moving on and him needing to fight just to go on.

 

Thoughts on 1000 to 1

 

Characters – Cory was going to be a star basketball player until he suffered a stroke, he was a good guy working on his college degree. He now faces a new battle to recover to do everyday routine, walking, talking and once he does try to get back to where he was before, college and then back to the court, never wanting to give up. Brendan is the best friend at college that is there for the rehab through college time trying to help him when he requires it. Coach is the one that is willing to let Cory back with the team for his rehab, not playing just taking part in team activities to help him recover. We do get meet other people that help with the rehab of Cory parents, doctors and friends.

PerformancesDavid Henrie in the leading role is wonderful, he shows the emotional levels Cory goes through, the determination he showed to overcome the problem and handles the disability with ease. Beau Bridges is good through the film as are the whole cast away from David.

StoryThe story here follows on college student Cory Weissman who suffers a stroke and spends the next two years of his life trying to get back to where he once was hoping to get back on the court, along the way he becomes an inspiration for his fellow student and his story inspires others who have been through the same. We see the struggles he must overcome to get back, the downs he must face and the patience he must show.

BiopicThe story of what Cory goes through first with the stroke and then after with his rehab process can inspire anyone that wants to be part of a sport they love or just continue their life after an event.

SettingsThe college setting shows us this could happen to anybody from any field of any athletic background, the settings show us just where people will be through recovery and how everyday life can help just as much.


Scene of the Movie –
The last game.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The times lapse is hard to figure out.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderfully inspirational movie that shows what you can achieve against the odds with the passion needed to succeed.

 

Overall: Wonderfully inspirational movie.

Rating

 

 

Bradley Cooper Weekend – Serena (2014)

Director: Susanne Bier

Writer: Christopher Kyle (Screenplay) Ron Rash (Book)

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Rhys Ifans, Toby Jones, David Dencik, Sean Harris, Ana Ularu

 

Plot: In Depression-era North Carolina, the future of George Pemberton’s timber empire becomes complicated when he marries Serena.


Tagline – Some loves can never let you go.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painfully Slow

 

Story: Serena starts as we see how George Pemberton (Cooper) and his timber empire is struggling with money, meeting Serena (Lawrence) the two are married and her past in the timber industry helps George make decisions which will increase the profit he is making.

When George’s long term friend and first to turn to Buchanan (Dencik) starts to turn away from his ideas to work with the local Sheriff McDowell (Jones) who wants to stop the timber trade and make a national park, the life of George is turned upside down with only Serena to keep his head on straight.

 

Thoughts on Serena

 

Characters – George Pemberton is a timber tycoon, he has built up his empire and the work seems to be going well, though he is in financial hardship, friends turning on him and turning to methods which could bring down his whole empire. Serena is the woman from another world, daughter of a timber tycoon herself who tragically lost her family in a fire, she knows how to get the most out of a profit and stars to help run the business with George. Galloway is a tracker that works to help locate dangers for the crew, on the side job he makes sure that George can hunt the animals he desires. Sheriff McDowell is the man against George, he wants to turn the woodland area into a park which could one day bring tourists to the area.

PerformancesBradley Cooper is known more for his work in comedy, sure he has tackled dramas before and usually done a good job, in this he struggles to make any impact on the film, though he isn’t the only one. Jennifer Lawrence is no where near her best in this film as she struggles to make the impact her character seems to need to be having on the film. Rhys Ifans is the only one that seems to be interesting to watch in this film. I would say most of these comes from the poorly written characters.

StoryThe story here follows a timber tycoon who is about to lose his fortune until he meets Serena who only makes thing even crazier for him. Well that is what I got from the story, I am not going to lie, there isn’t much going on in this film, I don’t know if this is based on a real person who just the depression-era in general or even the time scale of the movie. We do seem to have a storyline about deforestation versus a nature park which for the most part is a back burner while also having a story about love I think. This is one of the weakest stories I have ever seen, it doesn’t capture anything we need to make us enjoy what we are seeing.

RomanceThe romance side of the film is a quickie marriage and learning that love happened before the wife arrived.

SettingsThe film is set in Colorado which was a big part of the timber industry, it works for the film without giving us too much to work with visually.


Scene of the Movie –
George saving the crew member.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of it being boring.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that drags along way to slowly without any meaningful storyline arcs going on, we have unlikable characters and nothing that captures our attention.

 

Overall: Dull is being nice.

Rating

 

 

The Homesman (2014)

Director: Tommy Lee Jones

Writer: Tommy Lee Jones, Kieran Fitzgerald, Wesley A Oliver (Screenplay) Glendon Swartout (Novel)

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter, Jo Harvey Allen

 

Plot: Three women who have been driven mad by pioneer life are to be transported across the country by covered wagon by the pious, independent-minded Mary Bee Cuddy, who in turn employs low-life drifter George Briggs to assist her.


Tagline – The untold story of The West.

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nicely Paced Drama

 

Story: The Homesman starts as independent-minded Mary Bee Cuddy (Swank) steps up where the men of her town wouldn’t and accepts taking three women Arabella (Gummer), Theoline (Otto) and Gro (Richter) across the west back to their homes after their husbands claim them to be crazy.

Mary is join by a lowlife drifter George Briggs (Jones) whose life she saves, with this being payment for saving the life. The journey is going to be filled with perils as we slowly learn what caused these women to act the way they did.

 

Thoughts on The Homesman

 

Characters – Mary Bee Cuddy lives a single life due to her independence she has created, she is branded bossy and is willing to step up, where the men wouldn’t. She agrees to take the three women across the river to return them home where they could get the help they need. This is a journey she is proud to take but isn’t the fully prepared for what she will face, relying on God to guide her. George Briggs is a lowlife drifter who has been left to hang for his crimes, Mary saves him and he becomes the guide through the troubles on the journey. The three women that are being transported have their own reasons for being branded crazy, mostly due to the abuse they have suffered.

PerformancesThe performances in this movie are carried by two powerhouses, Hilary Swank shines in the leading role, something we have seen from her for years now. Tommy Lee Jones takes double duty here, the acting he gives us is just what you expect while his work behind the camera shows that he can do both the roles. The three actresses playing the ill women are good showing their own strain from what has happened to their characters.

StoryThe story follows the journey across America to return three women that have struggled to adapt to new life in the growing America, one woman will risk it all to guide the women home with an unlikely partner on the journey sees him needing overcome the conditions and enemies to make it. We do have a faith-based character driving forward and we look at mental illness before it was considered a known issue in the western land. This does feel like a safe story to be telling, while being just an important.

WesternThe western land has always look beautiful, it has always had character that must look out for themselves, this is no different with how everything unfolds without needing to resort to gun fire.

SettingsTh settings look beautiful, the open plains, the different weather conditions will make this one of the best looking movies of the year.


Scene of the Movie –
Hotel problems.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is slower than you will be expecting.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautiful drama that has a wonderful story to watch unfold, powerful performances throughout and stunning scenery.

 

Overall: Western fans to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Wish I Was Here (2014)

Director: Zach Braff

Writer: Zach Braff, Adam J Braff (Screenplay)

Starring: Zach Braff, Pierce Gagnon, Kate Hudson, Joey King, Alexander Chaplin, Josh Gad, Mandy Patinkin, Ashley Greene

 

Plot: A struggling actor, father and husband finds himself at a major crossroads, which forces him to examine his life, his family and his career.


Tagline – Life is an occasion. Rise to it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Quirky But Flat Comedy

 

Story: Wish I Was Here starts when struggling actor Aidan Bloom (Braff) faces a crossroads in life, when his father Gabe (Patinkin) stops paying for his child Tucker (Gagnon) and Grace (King) to attend a private Jewish school because he is suffering from cancer. Aidan must decide to follow his dreams of being an actor or finding a way to educate his children.

Aidan decides to home school his kids and learns he must deal with their growing pains issues, while his father’s condition only gets worse, he must look to figure out what is best for his family and pass on only following his own dreams and see the bigger picture.

 

Thoughts on Wish I Was Here

 

Characters – Aidan Bloom has been trying to make a new for himself as an actor for his whole life, he has a family which has been able to get by with his dream, but now he will need to face the reality of life and will need to make a decision about life, whether to support his family or follow his dream. Sarah is the wife that has been working on the dead end job just to make sure her kids are supported, she needs to look at how much longer she can support her husband’s dreams. Tucker and Grace are the two children, Grace is reaching the age where she needs love and support because she doesn’t understand what is next in life, while Tucker is hyperactive.

PerformancesZack Braff is one of the most interesting comedians in acting, he does have a unique style which is can be hit or miss through his career, this one is what we would expect form his without being anything truly great. Kate Hudson, Josh Gad and Mandy Patinkin give good supporting performance that get the most laughs, while the two younger stars Pierce Gagnon and Joey King both show the potential they have.

StoryThe story follows a struggling actor who must face the reality of life when his father learns he is going to die soon, he needs to sort out his priorities and support his family while his dreams are not as strong as they need to be. This is a life lesson story one that focuses on trying to teach people to balance dreams with reality to learn just what is the most important part of life. We do also get the ideas of needing to have family and learn how to forgive people for their errors of misguided love. The story does flow nicely even if it does end up focusing on the dream like world we are used to seeing Zach Braff do in Shrubs.

ComedyThe comedy is a mixed bad because we get to see moments that get laughs through the film, even if most of the comedy is what JD was going through in Scrubs, only more serious.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which shows us why the dream is more of a reality for Aidan and how hectic life can be here.


Scene of the Movie –
Epiphany.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too much of the dream like comedy moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a quirky comedy that does what it is meant to do, it has the basic done well and wants to show a lot more heart that you think it would, it just doesn’t end up giving us enough to standout from any other film that does the same basic ideas.

 

Overall: Simple comedy.

Rating