Liza, Liza, Skies Are Grey (2015) Movie Review

Director: Terry Sanders

Writer: Terry Sander (Screenplay)

Starring: Madison Iseman, Mikey Madison, Kristin Minter, Valarie Rae Miller, James Austin Kerr, Kris Park, Sean H Scully

Plot: A coming-of-age California motorcycle road trip set in the 60’s, combining elements of “Romeo & Juliet” and “The Odyssey”.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Life Experience Movie

Story: Liza, Liza, Skies are Grey starts in the summer of 1966, Liza (Madison) is seeing the changes in the world, with the draft taking her friends, and her relationship with Brett (Scully) is starting to get serious, with the pair deciding to go on a road trip on is motorbike over the summer, enjoying the open country.

As the young couple travel, they get to experience the best and worst of life, knowing these moments are going to be the ones they remember for years to come.

Thoughts on Liza, Liza, Skies are Grey

Characters – Liza is the teenage girl that is starting to experience the first stages of growing up in the 1960s, she want the perfect moments in her life, she doesn’t have the strongest relationship with her mother and wants to experience love with her boyfriend Brett, see the world that might not be there tomorrow, due to the uncertainty the future has with the problems in America. Brett is the boyfriend that has been forced around the country with family members, he will help Liza see the country being one of the honest guys in the world, that wants to give Liza the time of her life. We only focus on the two lovers, with the people in their lives, including Liza mother that doesn’t approve of the couple.

PerformancesMikey Madison does bring the innocent side to her role, showing us just how much it would feel to go further in life, with her chemistry with Sean H Scully who does bring us a bad boy with a heart of gold to life with ease.

StoryThe story here follows two young lovers as they look to escape their lives and have a summer they can remember together and experience life in a way they couldn’t have imagined. The story uses the backdrop of the uncertainty of the future in the 1960s America, with worries about nuclear war and the change environment people are living through, it shows why the couple take their chance, they know it would be their only chance to experience the world, before everything changes. It is a traditional love story one that will create memories that will be the most important part of their lives.

SettingsThe road trip setting helps create the backdrop which gives us spots of beauty along the way.

Scene of the Movie – Any scene that makes you want to stop and explore the landscape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The random thugs, don’t really make the threat they could have been.

Final Thoughts This is a fun life experience movie that shows us just how difficult finding love can make you want to break away from the normal life.

Overall: Enjoyable Road Trip Film.

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – R – Time Traveller (2015) Movie Review

This is under R because of the director Roland Joffe.

Director: Roland Joffe

Writer: Roland Joffe (Screenplay) Ajey Jhankar (Story)

Starring: Josh Hartnett, Bipasha Basu, Tamsin Egerton, James Mackay, Alice Englert, Simone Kessell, Abhay Deol

Plot: An epic, sweeping and riveting tale of an impossible love set across two time periods and continents.

Tagline – Love is longer than life.
Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Painfully Boring

Story: Time Traveller starts in modern time at Jay (Hartnett) and his partner Laura (Egerton) are diving in search of unseen history when an accident happens, we transport back to the 1700’s where Scottish soldier James (Hartnett) has been operating in the British army operating in India in the middle of an attempt to take the throne.

James must help the Queen Tulaja (Basu) find safety, while her husband continues to hold back the threat, James must use his skills to stay ahead of the threat, using his knowledge of the land to stay alive.

Thoughts on Time Traveller

Characters – Jay is a driver that will do anything to save his love, risking everything free diving to save her, that is about it for his story. James is a Scottish soldier that has mapped India for years and now is charged with escorting a queen across the land in an attempt to get her to safety from a rising enemy. Tulaja is the queen that James must escort who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty along the way. Laura is the love of Jay who dives with him, finding herself trapped. The characters aren’t written very well in this film at all, consider some are meant to show the strength to lead armies.

PerformancesJosh Hartnett does struggle here, he doesn’t hit the accent well either, which seems to let his talent fall, Bipasha Basu does well enough, though the script doesn’t help the performance for anybody in this film.

StoryThe story here follows one man risk his life for love, before jumping back in time to see him again fighting for love in the middle of the British India battle, where he tries to save a queen. Well that is what the story looks like, it is put together very weakly, with most of the story just being bland and uninspiring, with little connection to how anything involving actual time travel, it wants to look more into reincarnation, only doesn’t get properly involved with that either and ends up being a dull experience.

Action/RomanceThe action is most based on the battles between the British and Indians, while not being anything edge of the seat or anything, while showing that the romance is what one person would do for love.

SettingsThe film does use two very different settings, the modern world where the divers would operate and the Indian landscape for the battle between the two nations, it all works for the film.

Scene of the Movie – Free Diving.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Dull story.

Final Thoughts This is a disappointingly dull film that wastes the talent to give us a story that just doesn’t get going and ends up fall flat.

Overall: Dull.

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – Q – Sky (2015) Movie Review

This is under Q because of actress Q’orianka Kilcher starring in the film.

Director: Fabienne Berthaud

Writer: Fabienne Berthaud, Pascal Arnold (Screenplay)

Starring: Diane Kruger, Norman Reedus, Gilles Lellouche, Q’orianka Kilcher, Lena Dunham, Laurene Landon

Plot: Romy (Diane Kruger) is on holiday in the USA with her French husband, Richard (Gilles Lellouche). But the journey quickly turns into a settling of old scores for this worn out couple. After an ultimate fight, Romy decides to break free. She cuts off her ties to a stable and secure life that has become alienating and escapes to the unknown.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Simple Life Drama

Story: Sky starts as French woman Romy (Kruger) is travelling around USA with her husband Richard (Lellouche), the two do have their problems which resorts in Romy needing to defend herself from Richard, killing him in the act, forcing her to go on the run alone.

After learning she didn’t kill her husband, Romy decides to leave him and stay in America, heading to Las Vegas to start a new life, where at first she must find shelter and soon a job, which leads her to rancher Diego (Reedus) who offers her something she hasn’t experienced before, with this new future, will she enjoy the free roaming lifestyle or not.

Thoughts on Sky

Characters – Romy is a French woman that is travelling with her husband around America, the spark in her marriage has started to fade and after defending herself from his advices, she decides to leave him and explore America. She befriends Diego and starts to enjoy her life once again. Diego is the mysterious man that Romy meets in Vegas, he offers friendship instead of just being a man that hits on her, he is so relaxed for who he is and this helps want to let Romy open up more. Richard is the husband that knows his marriage is falling apart, he starts getting defensive and abusive towards Romy. Everyone else that we meet are people Romy meets along her journey, helping her get through it or offering her shelter.

PerformancesDiane Kruger us the star of the film, she does show the emotional impact a loveless marriage can have on somebody and how being free changes thing. Norman Reedus is always one of the better actors for this type of role, he does everything right without being challenged to be more. We don’t really see much more from the rest of the cast, which is a shame because of the level of talent we do see in this film.

StoryThe story here follows one woman who leaves her loveless marriage in hope of finding something more in life with a man that has his own tortured past. This is a story that does the focused idea of trying to not just accept certain parts of life, when you could find more from just putting yourself out there, it doesn’t show that this will be everything you would imagine coming form life, just something you learn to enjoy. The pace of the story is slow and it does seem to point the direction of America only having two main locations, where meeting a stranger in Vegas would mean you get to learn more about life. This isn’t the most interesting story though because it only shows a woman that seems to find love in a location that isn’t always waiting for her.

RomanceThe romance in this story follows Romy as she leaves a loveless marriage in search for new love.

SettingsThe film uses the two settings, with Vegas being the meeting place and the open plains around it being the place where the everyday person would be living in.

Scene of the Movie – Rabbit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It just doesn’t seem to get going.

Final Thoughts Slow moving romance that does have some surprises along the way, but shows that life can be found in the strangest places.

Overall: Life drama for all.

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – M – Maggie’s Plan (2015)

Director: Rebecca Miller

Writer: Rebecca Miller (Screenplay) Karen Rinaldi (Story)

Starring: Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, Julianne Moore, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Travis Fimmel


Plot: Maggie wants to have a baby, raising him on her own, but when she gets romantically involved with John, a married man, things get complicated and all the balance of Maggie’s plans may collapse.

Tagline – Chapter Three: A Change of Heart

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Simple Romantic Comedy Drama


Story: Maggie’s Plan starts as we meet university professor Maggie (Gerwig) who is tired of not being able to meet the right guy has made the decision to inseminate herself, using her friend Guy’s (Fimmel) sperm. While her couple friends Tony (Hader) and Felicia (Rudolph) give her advice, but her life changes when she meets John (Hawke) a professor at the university, who ends up leaving his wife Georgette (Moore) to marry Maggie.

When Maggie and John do get married, they have their own child and the three parents must now work together to raise the children from his previous marriage, Maggie does start to wonder about her decision about going with John as her own career gets held back at times.


Thoughts on Maggie’s Plan


Characters – Maggie is a career woman that has never had any luck in love, she has decided she wants a baby and is happy to go through the process on her own, she does listen to advice from friends and family, she makes a new friend in John that soon steals her heart giving her a family she never believe she would get. John is an ambitious author in a loveless marriage who starts having the affair with Maggie before leaving his wife, it doesn’t take long before he shows that he ends up falling into the same problems he was facing in his last marriage. Georgette is a successful professor that is married to John, she has always put career first meaning John had to put his professional side on hold, she is against most people coming into her life. Tony and Felicia are the friends who have their own family who helps Maggie make her decision.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are good, with Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore all showing they can handle any sort of serious material put on their plates. The supporting cast are strong too without anybody in the film doing anything overly memorable.

StoryThe story follows a professional woman that wants to start a life with a baby, she has a plan she wants to follow which seems simple in her head until she meets John who puts everything in a different direction and as the passage of time rolls on, she believes she might have made a mistake. This does show us how life doesn’t always go the way you plan and no matter how much you plan things, things will go wrong. This story isn’t the most interesting as we see how one woman deals with starting to date a married man before starting her own relationship with him, never truly sure what she wants in life.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy is solid, most of the comedy comes from Bill Hader who can hit dry wit in any film, the romance shows us how one woman sees love and the problems it brings.

SettingsThe film doesn’t give us any clear settings which disappoints, though it does show how it is meant to be everyday life.

Scene of the Movie –
Drunk Bill Hader.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not the most interesting story.

Final ThoughtsThis isn’t the most interesting film, it does have strong performances from a talented cast, it just doesn’t connect with me.


Overall: Strong performances.




ABC Film Challenge – Romance – F – Far from the Madding Crowd (2015) Movie Review

Director: Thomas Vinterberg

Writer: David Nicholls (Screenplay) Thomas Hardy (Novel)

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge, Juno Temple

Plot: In Victorian England, the independent and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer; Frank Troy, a reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood, a prosperous and mature bachelor.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Costume Drama 101

Story: Far from the Madding Crowd starts as we meet the independent Bathsheba Everdene (Mulligan) who works on a family farm, with the neighbour of a shepherd Gabriel Oak (Schoenaerts) who becomes friends, leading to her first marriage proposal, only for her to refuse, wanting to remain independent.

After a tragic twist of events, Gabriel loses his farm, just as Bathsheba inherits her own farm, where Gabriel ends up working on. Bathsheba does continue to turn heads with William Boldwood (Sheen) being the latest man that wants to marry her and things get even more complicated when Sergeant Francis Troy (Sturridge) arrive on the property, leaving Bathsheba having three men wanting her love.

Thoughts on Far from the Madding Crowd

Characters – Bathsheba Everdene has always worked for a living, she has always wanting to remain independent, which sees her reject the first marriage proposal. She always attractions attention, even if that means she becomes everything she promised not to be. She will run a farm and isn’t afraid to get her own hands dirty, wanting to be fair to everybody who works for her too. Gabriel Oak is the quiet farmer that becomes friends with Bathsheba, he asks her to marry him before getting rejected and losing everything he owns, in a twist of events he ends up working for her, being her most loyal farmer, always putting the farm before rank. William Boldwood is a wealthy older man in town that wants to offer Bathsheba a chance to be his wife, he comes off fair with his offer, giving her the remaining independence, she requires. Sergeant Francis Troy is a full of himself soldier that has seen his love not turn up for their wedding, before turning his charm onto Bathsheba making her fall for everything he sells her on, never being the man she could be happy with.

PerformancesCarey Mulligan is great in the leading role, showing she is one of the go to actresses for a costume drama, while Matthias Schoenaerts continues to prove himself as one of the best actors in the business, Michael Sheen shines in the supporting role, while Tom Sturridge makes you want to hate his arrogant character.

StoryThe story here follows the lives of a farmers daughter and a neighbouring father as their fortunes change putting boundaries in their lives, when it comes to love and friendship. This is based on a classic Thomas Hardy novel and puts us into a world before women were allowed to independently think, with Bathsheba designed to go against the trends placed on front of her, only she doesn’t seem to make smart decisions, still trying to play into the traditions of what is known. The three love stories only have one of the three men being a sensible pick, with that same one being the only one with any sort of romantic connection about them. It doesn’t feel like this is anything we haven’t seen before, which just plays into the same old story we see all the time.

RomanceThe romance shows how Bathsheba must make up her mind on three potential partners, all from different background, even though she only has a spark with one of them.

SettingsThe film shows the farming like in the 1800’s and just what it would have meant to the people who run the farms, trying to find love and break boundaries.

Scene of the Movie – The storm.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Bathsheba does everything wrong in love.

Final Thoughts This is a typical costume drama which shows how the love felt should have just been followed, instead of leading us down a trail that was always going nowhere.

Overall: Costume Drama we have seen before.