Tag Archives: 2002

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – M – Mr Deeds (2002) Movie Review


Director: Steven Brill

Writer: Tim Herlihy (Screenplay)

Starring: Adam Sandler, Winona Ryder, John Turturro, Allen Covert, Peter Gallagher, Jared Harris, Erick Avari

Plot: A sweet-natured, small-town guy inherits a controlling stake in a media conglomerate and begins to do business his way.

Tagline – Small town kid, big time right hook

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Mr Deeds starts when Preston Blake a billionaire dies, leaving his inheritance to his long-lost nephew Longfellow Deeds (Sandler) a small town sweet-natured guy. Deeds is taken to New York where Chuck Cedar (Gallagher) and Cecil (Avari) look to handle the affairs for he newly found fortune of $40 Billion.

When the news teams look to learn more about the mysterious Longfellow Deeds, Babe Bennett (Ryder) poses as a shy school nurse to get close to him, leading to him to fall in love with her, as he learns the harsh reality of the big city.

Thoughts on Mr Deeds

Characters & Performances – Longfellow Deeds comes from a small town where he always looks after every member of the town, knowing what they love in life, bringing a smile to everyone. He learns that he has inherited a fortune and must travel to New York to decide what to do with his new found wealth, his kindness can get taken advantage of while he is where falls in love and must try to do the right thing for everyone. Adam Sandler might often get a lot of stick, but in this one, he keeps the calmness levels down, giving us a nice guy character. Babe Bennett is a reporter looking to make a story out of the newly found billionaire, getting close to him pretending to be a romantic interest, she is left in the middle of this where she doesn’t know how to handle the situation, she has found herself in. Winona Ryder does a good job in this role, showing both sides of her character well. Chuck Cedar is running the business while the takeover happens, he is always looking to create the problem to make sure he ends up with all the money. We get to also meet the people Deeds helps out along the way, showing that an act of kindness will give someone a chance to find something better in life.

StoryThe story here follows a kind natured man that inherits a fortune, one that will change his life, but it won’t change the way he treats people in life, always showing his true kind nature despite how many people try to take advantage of his new found money. This is a remake of a much-loved movie, which does have the Adam Sandler take on it, he isn’t insulting in this film, giving the character a big heart that only wants to do the right thing in life for everyone. It is an important story about being good to people who are on a different financial level to you, which will everyone the series important of life.

ThemesMr Deeds is a comedy that takes a person from a small town to a big city where they will get the chance to use their kind nature to try and change people, with the loose romance side of the film not giving much substance to the importance of being nice to people.

Final Thoughts Mr Deeds is a fun comedy that will give us an important message about life.

ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – P – Bend it Like Beckham (2002) Movie Review


This is under P because of star Parminder Nagra.

Director: Gurinder Chadha

Writer: Gurinder Chadha, Guljit Bindra, Paul Mayeda Berges (Screenplay)

Starring: Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anupam Kher, Archie Panjabi, Shaznay Lewis

Plot: Two ambitious girls, despite their parents’ wishes, have their hearts set on careers in professional soccer.

Tagline – Who wants to cook Aloo Gobi when you can bend a ball like Beckham?

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Bend it Like Beckham starts when Indian girl Jess (Nagra) dreams of playing football with Manchester United, with her idol David Beckham, playing down the park with her friends, waiting for her time to get married like traditions sees for her.

When Jess meets Jules (Knightley) she is invited to join the women’s team she plays for under injured former professional Joe (Meyers), but she must keep her desire to play a secret, going against everything her family wants for her.

Thoughts on Bend it Like Beckham

ThoughtsBend it Like Beckham is a sports movie that opens up doors and boundaries rarely seen in sport at the time of release, ones that are still only just starting to be taken seriously now. One side of the story is Jess needing to break the culture her family has raised her through, teaching the acceptance of wanting to do something forbidden, this side of the story, is something that is important to see, and something we have seen before, through many movies, showing the English culture mixing with the Hindu ones, causing a clash between the children raised in England and the traditions. The film will put the spotlight on the women’s game, showing first how difficult it would be to be given a chance in it, finding a team or even knowing about a team. When it comes to the games, we get the sexist remarks about the game from the male crowd, a racist remark, which gets waved off, never addressed, which is disappointing to see. When it comes to the heart and soul of the film, this is everything you want to see in a film that focuses on following your dreams and making something of your life. Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley are both brilliant in this film, with a supporting cast the works just as wonderfully throughout the film.

Final Thoughts Bend it Like Beckham is a great enjoyable sport comedy, filled with heart.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – V – The Hours (2002) Movie Review


This is under V because of the character Virginia Woolf.

Director: Stephen Daldry

Writer: David Hare (Screenplay) Michael Cunningham (Novel)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Julianna Moore, Stephen Dillane, Miranda Richardson, George Loftus, Ed Harris, Jeff Daniels, Claire Danes

Plot: The story of how the novel “Mrs. Dalloway” affects three generations of women, all of whom, in one way or another, have had to deal with suicide in their lives.

Tagline – Three Different Women. Each Living a Lie.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Hours starts as we meet the three women, Virginia Woolf (Kidman) writing the story about Mrs Dalloway in her home is Sussex, where she never fitted in the way she wanted with everyone, with her husband often holding back from see more. Laura Brown (Moore) a pregnant woman in the 1950s America, who has been reading the book, finding herself torn in her own life. The final woman we meet is in the present day, well 2002, Clarissa Vaughn (Streep) who is desperately trying to prepare a party for her award winning poet friend.

Thoughts on The Hours

ThoughtsThe Hours follows the three women as they look to navigate their lives with the darkest thoughts of suicide going through their heads. We see the trapped world that Virginia Woolf has been in for years, dealing with the mental health problems that wouldn’t have been addressed properly for the time, Nicole Kidman is excellent in this role, with her character creating the motivation for the other two we meet. Laura Brown is a housewife that gets caught up in her own questions about her own life, struggling to raise her son, dealing with her own troubles in another world where mental health wasn’t addressed. Julianne Moore is excellent too, here, with Meryl Streep completing the perfect casting, in the modern era seeing her friend go through his own struggles. All three stories interweave wonderfully, to give us the same stage each women is going through at the time, getting a rounded off story that will show the importance of the hardest decisions in life.

Final Thoughts The Hours is a brilliant movie that shows the daily struggles in life and the difficult decisions people must make.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – Q – Chicago (2002) Movie Review


This is under Q because of star Queen Latifah.

Director: Rob Marshall

Writer: Bill Condon (Screenplay) Maurice Dallas Watkins (Play)

Starring: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, Richard Gere, Taye Diggs, Colm Feore, Dominic West, John C Reilly, Queen Latifah, Lucy Liu

Plot: Two death-row murderesses develop a fierce rivalry while competing for publicity, celebrity, and a sleazy lawyer’s attention.

Tagline – With the right song and dance, you can get away with murder.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Chicago starts when aspiring performer Roxie Hart (Zellweger) believes that Fred Casely (West) will introduce her to Velma Kelly (Zeta-Jones) to give her a chance at her dreams. Only Fred had been using Roxie who snaps and murders him, landing her on death-row, where she meets a host of women, including Velma who have been placed there after dealing with people who have wronged them.

As Roxie learns how to survive in prison, she befriends Matron Mama Morton (Latifah) who points her in the right direction of a lawyer Billy Flynn (Gere) to use her appeal to get everyone talking about the story, which will create jealousy from Velma, who has been the talk of the town.

Thoughts on Chicago

ThoughtsChicago is the musical version of a court case, showing how jazz singers and dancers would use the art form to tell the story behind the crimes they are accused of committing, showing why they did them, how they were motivated and how the show will draw more eyes to the case. This is a film filled with the razzle dazzle you would come to expect from a jazz styled musical, while keeping the idea that showbusiness will let you get away with anything in the world. The change in characters decisions will add to the story, as we see just how Roxie learns to adapt to fame, while overshadowing Velma who still craves the spotlight. The performances are fantastic from everyone involved, be it the serious side of the song and dance side of what is required.

Final Thoughts Chicago is a highly entertaining musical giving something for the audience in every scene.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – K – Whale Rider (2002) Movie Review


This is under K because of star Keisha Castle Hughes getting the Oscar Nomination.

Director: Niki Caro

Writer: Niki Caro (Screenplay) Witi Ihimaera (Book)

Starring: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton, Cliff Curtis, Grant Roa, Mana Taumaunu, Rachel House

Plot: A contemporary story of love, rejection and triumph as a young Māori girl fight to fulfil a destiny her grandfather refuses to recognize.

Tagline – One young girl dared to confront the past, change the present and determine the future

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Whale Rider starts when Pai is born, with her grandfather Koro (Paratene) expecting a grandson to continue the tradition of the tribe, where the first born will always become the leader in the future, a 1000-year-tradition.

When Pai’s father Porourangi (Curtis) returns, he looks to show Pai more of the world, bring forward his own problems with the age-old traditions, leaving Pai to stand up to her grandfather to break strict traditions for the next generations.

Thoughts on Whale Rider

ThoughtsWhale Rider is a drama that will show how one young girl will look to help break down the walls of traditions within her Māori family. This story will show how strict the traditions are, with only the male members of the family being able to get the honour to lead, with the elders not wanting to break from these traditions, while the younger members have been getting tired of the traditions all together. The story is important, it is another look at a society where people will need to start getting treated as equals if they are to move onto the next stage of their traditions. The performances a wonderful with young Keisha Castle-Hughes getting an Oscar nomination with her performance here. This is an important drama, one that should help show the changes happening in the world.

Final Thoughts Whale Rider is a beautiful drama to show one tradition that continues to change.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – I – In America (2002) Movie Review


Director: Jim Sheridan

Writer: Jim Sheridan, Naomi Sheridan, Kirsten Sheridan (Screenplay)

Starring: Paddy Considine, Samantha Morton, Djimon Hounsou, Sarah Bolger, Emma Bolger

Plot: A family of Irish immigrants adjust to life on the mean streets of Hell’s Kitchen while also grieving the death of a child.

Tagline – One family’s coming of age story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: In America starts when Irish immigrants Johnny (Considine), Sarah (Morton) and children Christy (Sarah Bolger) and Ariel (Emma Bolger) to start a fresh life after the tragedy of losing a son. The family move into a building with a reputation of homing addicts and with a neighbour who constantly screams, this isn’t everything they were looking for.

When the family beginning to start to get used to the new city, they meet the estranged neighbour Mateo (Hounsou) a struggling artist, who will bring different stories of the afterlife and the connection they might still have with lost family member, but the family will need to deal with other problems in life.

Thoughts on In America

ThoughtsIn America is one of the biggest emotional rollercoasters you will ever go on, with the story of a family looking to start a fresh life after losing a child. This will show the struggles of starting a new life, be it work, friends and just a new city, along with meeting a stranger that has become an outsider, but a man that gets welcomed in by the family. It will show that through a child’s eyes, any story can become flipped to something fresh, a place where people can make memories in life, and the innocent naivety that life can have wishes coming true. This is one of the best dramas, you will ever see, one that has such a heart breaking, but positive story about overcoming a grieving process, with five outstanding performances from the lead actors, Paddy Considine, Samantha Morton, Djimon Hounsou and Sarah and Emma Bolger. The New York setting gets to play into the idea that dreams can come true for people who are looking to start a new life, in a location that will give the different cultures.

Final Thoughts In America in one of the best movies of the year 2002, beautiful story and stunning performances.

ABC Film Challenge – Adventure – C – The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) Movie Review


Director: Kevin Reynolds

Writer: Jay Wolpert (Screenplay) Alexandre Dumas (Novel)

Starring: Jim Caviezel, Henry Cavill, Guy Pearce, Dagmara Dominczyk, Richard Harris, Michael Wincott, James Frain

Plot: A young man, falsely imprisoned by his jealous “friend”, escapes and uses a hidden treasure to exact his revenge.

Tagline – Prepare for adventure. Count on revenge.

Runtime: 2 Hours 11 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Entertaining Adventure

Story: The Count of Monte Cristo starts as two French soldiers Edmond (Caviezel) and Fernand (Pearce) search for help, only for Edmond accepting a letter from an enemy, his bravery to save his captain see Edmond promoted to captain, with his life with Mercedes (Dominczyk) ready to marry him.

Edmond is however charged with treason with Fernand agreeing with the charges, locked up on a remote prison to rot, until he comes up with a plan to escape and extract his very own revenge on the people that left him there.

Thoughts on The Count of Monte Cristo

Characters – Edmond is the innocent natured soldier who will often get his unit in trouble with his kind-nature finding him convicted of treason, betrayed by his best friend and locked up in a prison with no escape, no visitors and no hope. This changes for him, when he meets a stranger, another prisoner who asks him to help him escape in exchange for an education. Returning home Edmond looks to extract his own revenge on his best friend, one that will take years to achieve. Fernand is the drunken best friend of Edmond who has always waiting for his chance with his partner, he betrays Edmond for his own jealousy living the life Edmond was meant to have. Mercedes is woman Edmond is meant to marry, only after he is locked away, Fernand takes his place.

PerformancesJim Caviezel in the leading role is a joy to watch, showing us the man that was betrayed, an innocent man, before showing us the more vengeful side to his character. Guy Pearce as the seedy figure is great to watch, you just want to see him pay for what he did to Edmond. In the supporting cast, we do get strong performances too, with them letting Caviezel take the centre stage.

StoryThe story here follows one man who is wrongfully imprisoned for years, where he plans his own revenge on the man that sent him to prison, a plan that will take years to execute. This is from the classic novel by Alexander Dumas, which tells the story of how one man could become consumed by his vengeance, as he searches for some reason to continue living, after seeing his own life taken from him. We do get to play into the idea of hope, while greed will also be a major factor in certain decisions that occur through the film. Seeing how everything unfolds showed us just how quickly can be spun on its head for the victims of the world, but the honest people will always remember the important part of life.

Action/AdventureThe action isn’t as heavy as it could be, with a couple of fights being held off for the key moments, when we look at the pure adventure side of everything, we get to see just how important this world will become to everyone involved.

SettingsThe settings look fantastic, showing us just how the world have been created to make us believe we are in the era the film is set in.

Scene of the Movie – The Count’s first party.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Could have seen more of the rise of Fernand.

Final Thoughts This is a hugely enjoyable adventure movie, that shows us just how one man’s revenge can take time to feel the best.

Overall: Entertaining.

ABC Film Challenge – Sports – Q – The Rookie (2002) Movie Review


This is under Q because of Dennis Quaid.

Director: John Lee Hancock

Writer: Mike Rich (Screenplay)

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, Jay Hernandez, Beth Grant, Angus T Jones, Brian Cox, Rick Gonzalez

Plot: A Texas baseball coach makes the major league after agreeing to try out if his high school team made the playoffs.

Tagline – It’s never too late to believe in your dreams.

Runtime: 2 Hours 7 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Inspiring Sports Drama

Story: The Rookie starts as we meet a young Jimmy Morris who moved around America as a kid, with his love of baseball remaining strong, he never made it to the big time, becoming a local science teacher Jimmy (Quaid) now coaching the local high school team in baseball, reveals his throwing ability, which sees him agree to one thing with his team, if they make the finals, he will try out for the Major League.

After his team perform, Jimmy goes for a try out and proves to have one of the fastest arms in the sport, leading to the major league teams willing to give him a position in his team, only can he perform, or is his previous injuries going to haunt him chances.

Thoughts on The Rookie

Characters – Jimmy Morris grew up playing baseball, he was a natural, but his family moved from town to town, making it hard for him to settle, he grew up to become a science teacher, husband, father and baseball coach, with his team learning on his arm, making a deal with him, which ends up seeing him get a try out for the major league with the fresh out of college players. Lorri is the wife of Jimmy, she has seen him struggle through his injuries and however difficult it might seem, supports his dream of going to have a chance of playing in the big time. Joaquin Campos is the cockiest player on the team Jimmy coaches, he pushing Jimmy into the deal, which sees the team improve.

PerformancesDennis Quaid is the true star of the show, he gives us a clear understand of the conflict he is facing with following his dream or staying professional. The rest of the cast let Quaid shine through the film without needing to get out of comfort zone.

StoryThe story here follows a science teacher and baseball coach that goes for a try out for the big time, only to turn heads with the pace of his arm, becoming one of the oldest men to become a rookie in the major league. This is based on the real achievement of the athlete, so we know that we are going to have a happy ending, we are more focused on the ideas of getting to the landmark, dealing with life choices he must face on whether it will be a good or bad idea. It does have a feel-good feeling to everything that is happen, though it does have everything we would expect to see in the film.

SportWhen it comes to the sport side of the film, we get to see how baseball is being thrown, it shows what it would feel like for one player, even if the sport isn’t the most interesting.

SettingsThe film shows us with the opening how Jimmy moves around a lot, with him finding a home in a small town, it shows how skill athletes can be found anywhere.

Scene of the Movie – The first game.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not learning what the injuries Jimmy suffered were.

Final Thoughts This is a by the book inspiring sports drama, it does everything correctly without needing to be complicated and is an easy watch.

Overall: Sports Drama 101.

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – I – The Importance of Being Earnest (2002) Movie Review


Director: Oliver Parker

Writer: Oliver Parker (Screenplay) Oscar Wilde (Play)

Starring: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Frances O’Connor, Reese Witherspoon, Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Anna Massey

Plot: In 1890s London, two friends use the same pseudonym (“Ernest”) for their on-the-sly activities. Hilarity ensues.

Tagline – Everybody Loves Ernest… But Nobody’s Quite Sure Who He Really Is.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Period Piece

Story: The Importance of Being Earnest starts as two high society men Algy (Everett) and Jack (Firth) are using status to create reputations, Jack is his name in the country with his niece Cecily (Witherspoon), while in the city he is Earnest, where he is in love with Gwendolen (O’Connor), despite not having approval from Lady Bracknell (Dench).

When Algy learns the location of Jack’s country residence, he adopts the Earnest persona to try and win the heart of Cecily, putting Jack in the difficult spot as he continues to court Gwendolen, who believes he is Earnest.

Thoughts on The Importance of Being Earnest

Characters – Algy has always lived in the big city, he has used his status to keep on top of the world, with his best friend, they look to get what they want in life, with his latest target being Cecily, Jack’s niece, he uses the Earnest name to win her heart despite the clash with Jack. Jack is from the country, only in the big city he is Earnest a man with a massive reputation and wanting to marry Gwendolen, needing to prove he is worthy of marrying her. Gwendolen is the woman Jack wants to marry, she has been flirting with each Jack, she will want to marry him, getting caught in the middle of the truth with Cecily. Cecily is the niece of Jack’s she has been given the best education possible, she dreams of love and when Algy appears, the two falls for each other, she isn’t impressed with the truth about the names though. Lady Bracknell will want to pick the best suitor for Gwendolen, which sees her going against letting Jack near her, he will give him a chance to prove himself though.

PerformancesWe have a great cast here, with Rupert Everett and Colin Firth having great chemistry for laughs through the film, while Frances O’Connor and Reese Witherspoon both work very well when they need to work together, Judi Dench is also a joy to watch in the film.

StoryThe story here follows two men that fake their own identities to win the hearts of high society women, they work against each other by using the same identity and must prove they are worthy of loving the women. This is a story about using status to get what people want in life, it shows how both men walk over people in life and how the women are not impressed to learn the truth. This does have a nice flow to the story and shows that people will do anything to get what they want in life, it shows how the high society would always be judging people in life too.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film comes from each character trying to hide the truth about themselves away from the others, with the romance being about how the men want to win the hearts of the women even if they must fake their names.

SettingsThe film puts us squarely in the middle of the high society life that the characters would be coming from, it shows how they would have more money than sense.

Scene of the Movie – Jack and Algy trying to fix things.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Typical high society here.

Final Thoughts This is a fun period piece comedy with excellent performances throughout.

Overall: Enjoyable.