ABC Film Challenge – Sports – U – Undefeated (2011) Movie Review

Director: Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin

Plot: Chronicles three underprivileged students from inner-city Memphis and their volunteer coach who tries to help them beat the odds on and off the field.

Tagline – The game is the easy part.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Undefeated starts as we learn about the Manassa Tigers Football Team where the volunteer coach Bill Courtney is trying to get the losing streak of the team back, trying to teach discipline to his team in a neighbourhood where they don’t believe they have a chance to escape.

We follow the season where we will see the ups and downs, the education the players need to learn and how they can improve not just the team, but themselves by learning to work together for the greater good.

Thoughts on Undefeated

ThoughtsUndefeated is a sports documentary following one season for an American Football high school team, one that comes from a neighbourhood which doesn’t give the kids much of a chance of a future, where the kids can come from broken homes that can’t even consider affording college education and shows us how they look to come together to break and losing streak, learning to work together in the process. Sport has always been a way to bring people together to help each other achieve something out of life, this will highlight that as we see just how far the kids come from fighting between then, to supporting each other through hard times, getting what they deserve from their hard work. It isn’t just the players that learn it is the coach who is using his life experiences to guide them, while learning he isn’t given his own family the time. If we do get into the weaknesses in the film, it would have to be not knowing how often there is between games, knowing next to nothing about America Football, I wasn’t sure if this was a whole school year or just a few months.

Undefeated is an inspiration story about working together to achieve more, even if the results aren’t always going in your favour, learning life lessons through sport.

Red Dog (2011) Movie Review

Director: Kriv Stenders

Writer: Daniel Taplitz (Screenplay) Louis de Bernieres (Book)

Starring: Josh Lucas, Rachael Taylor, Rohan Nichol, Luke Ford, Arthur Angel, John Batchelor, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Noah Taylor

Plot: Based on the legendary true story of the Red Dog who united a disparate local community while roaming the Australian outback in search of his long lost master.

Tagline – Sometimes you pick the dog. Sometimes the dog picks you.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Red Dog starts as we get to meet the different characters who have been living in a remote community in the Australian outback, people from around the world that have come together with their own stories that are all connected to their own lives with Red Dog.

John (Lucas) does take Red Dog in as his own, despite the dog being friends with everyone around, with everyone knowing how important Red Dog is, helping them overcome some of their bigger problems they wanted to escape from.

Thoughts on Red Dog

ThoughtsRed Dog is a story that shows how one community of misfits were bought closer together by a stray dog who was just searching for his owner. The story is told through a series of stories that each member of the community remembers with their encounters with Red Dog, being told to a stranger, each one gets to give the supporting characters their moment to show the pain they have been through and how Red Dog helped them look to move on with life. We do have the main human that Red Dog becomes friends with that brings the added tears that we haven’t seen since Hachi, showing the pure loyalty dogs will show to their masters. The performances through the film are great, showing the different backgrounds the characters have come from and how they needed to escape their previous lives. The locations used show just how far away the community want to be from the world and how far Red Dog searches for his owner. This is a film that will leave you with plenty of tears in your eyes, you have been warned, even with a story of community being the main part of the film.


Red Dog is a tear-jerking experience that any dog lover will be left with floods of tears.

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – N – Our Idiot Brother (2011) Movie Review

This is going under N because of the main character Ned.

Director: Jesse Peretz

Writer: Evgenia Peretz, David Schisgall (Screenplay)

Starring: Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Steve Coogan, Kathryn Hahn

Plot: A comedy centered on an idealist who barges into the lives of his three sisters.

Tagline – Everybody has one.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Drama on Life

Story: Our Idiot Brother starts when serial slacker Ned (Rudd) gets busted once again, needing his family to support him when he gets out of jail, with Miranda (Banks), Natalie (Deschanel) and Liz (Mortimer) taking it in turns to help him get back on his feet.

As Ned spends time with each of his sisters, each with different lives, he helps them with different ideas to get more out of their lives, all while trying to find his own place in life.

Thoughts on Our Idiot Brother

Characters – Ned is the simple brother in the family, he gets in trouble trying to sell drugs to a cop, he needs to try and sort his life of before it spirals out of control, with each of his sisters offering to help him, while he unwittingly helps them change their lives. Miranda is the ambitions reporter, putting her career ahead of anything else in her life, she often looks down on the rest of the family. Natalie is the bisexual free spirited comedian who is trapped in a place in life where she knows she needs to take things more seriously in life. Liz is the sister that got married and settled down, only for her to get caught in the middle of a routine, and questions about her husband.

PerformancesPaul Rudd in the leading role is funny, bringing the harmless nature to his character to life with ease. Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer work very well as the sisters, with the different traits for the stages of life.

StoryThe story here follows a slacker brother that needs his sisters after getting out of jail, only to find himself being part of the changes they need to make in life. This is told in a way where the three sisters are caught in a position of wanting to blame the brother over their own fault or the person who is actually to blame for the problems they are facing. We get the core idea that family is important and you will need to start to listen to them and turn to them for advice in life.

ComedyThe comedy comes from seeing how Ned gets through the days without taking anything too serious, along with how things can get out of hand.

SettingsThe film shows the different houses that sisters live in, which reflects their position in their own lives.

Scene of the Movie – River visits Ned in jail.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Some of the sisters stories don’t feel as serious as the others.

Final Thoughts This is a fun comedy that does everything you would expect, the cast are wonderful and we get to learn the true meaning of family.

Overall: Enjoyable.

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – C – Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) Movie Review

Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa

Writer: Dan Fogelman (Screenplay)

Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Analeigh Tipton, Jonah Bobo, Joey King, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon

Plot: A middle-aged husband’s life changes dramatically when his wife asks him for a divorce. He seeks to rediscover his manhood with the help of a newfound friend, Jacob, learning to pick up girls at bars.

Tagline – This Is Love 

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Brilliant Look at Love

Story: Crazy, Stupid, Love starts when Cal (Carell) gets given a bombshell by his wife Emily (Moore) wanting a divorce after cheating on him. Cal finds himself down on his luck in a bar with his story dragging the atmosphere in the bar down until Jacob (Gosling) a confident womaniser who spends every night in the bar picking up woman, who offers to help Cal get back on his feet.

As Cal starts to learn from Jacob, he starts to reflect on his own life, looking to meet women including Kate (Tomei), as both Cal and Emily look back on their relationship on what could have happened, with Jacob setting his sights on young lawyer Hannah (Stone) who might finally be someone who can help him see life in a new view.

Thoughts on Crazy, Stupid, Love

Characters – Cal is the loving father and husband that gets the news of a divorce, seeing his old life shattered in front of his own eyes. He takes things badly spending his time in the bar moaning about his life, until Jacob shows him how to become more confident again, meeting women and starting again. Jacob is a womaniser who always looks for a different woman in his local bar where he has the routine down to an art form, he takes Cal under his wing to teach him how to get the best out of himself after his divorce, bringing out the confidence in him, while learning to understand how to get the most out of his life. Emily is the wife to Cal that cheats on him before asking for a divorce, it is her way of admitting things have become stale between the two, she does find herself regretting what is going on believing there could still be a chance for the two.

PerformancesSteve Carell is great to watch in a comedy drama any day of the week, he can handle to comedy and serious side of the film with ease. Julianne Moore is great to see too, with Ryan Gosling being the confident guy being perfect for his role in the film. Emma stone is great too in the support role getting the laughs with her characters awkwardness in everything.

StoryThe story here follows a serious of people who are having problems with love, be it the divorcing couple, the confident guy and the person who going to be missing out on true love because of schedule in life. We do get to see how love can make people do stupid things in life and just how it can make people change, where you need to change to understand just how important it truly is to you. We do seem to focus on the male side of love rather than the female side of everything, which can be misleading to how it shows that only men can do things wrong.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in this film comes from seeing how Cal must learn a lot from Jacob, as well as seeing the subplots getting laughs with how things unfold. The romance in this film shows us just how love can unfold in mysterious way, it can make you do silly things, making mistakes and laugh along the way.

SettingsThe film uses the everyday life settings, with the bar being key to showing the change in Cal, with the rest reflecting just how routine his life had become.

Scene of the Movie – The surprise dinner.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It shows only the men needing to change.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable comedy that will get plenty of laughs, along with the romance showing us just how complicated love can be.

Overall: Enjoyable.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – Z – Margin Call (2011)

This is going under Z because of Zachary Quinto.

Director: J.C. Chandor

Writer: J.C. Chandor (Screenplay)

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci

Plot: Follows the key people at an investment bank, over a 24-hour period, during the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis.

Tagline – Be first. Be smarter. Or cheat.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Tense Financially Thriller

Story: Margin Call starts on a normal day in an investment bank, today is going to be different though, because today the company is going to be facing massive layoffs, with Eric Dale (Tucci) being the first to go, leaving just 20% of the work force of his floor left.

Sam Rogers (Spacey) learns that Eric has discovered something that could ruin the company, Peter Sullivan (Quinto) proves it to be right and must turn to his risk manager Will Emerson (Bettany), which brings the boss John Tuld (Irons) in to cover up, the situation which could change the market forever.

Thoughts on Margin Call

Characters – Eric Dale is the man that is let go first, he has managed to discover something which will change the company forever, he doesn’t get to finish or expose this before leaving, with everyone looking for him. Sam Rogers runs the floor and is needing to move quick to get the truth to the boss, trusting the few employees that he has left. Peter Sullivan is the one the proved the problem, he goes to his bosses and needs to explain the problems the company will be facing. Will Emerson is the connection between the employees on the floor and Sam, he advices the younger members of the team and shows how to break down the money he has made through his career. Sarah leads part of the team that is investigating what is happening, while John Tuld is the owner of the company that will demand answers in the simplest form and make the big decisions about the future of the employees.

PerformancesWe do have an all-star cast here with stars from different levels of their generations, Jeremy Irons is the true star, making such a big impact once he appears, Paul Bettany is great to watch with the truly confident performances and Zachary Quinto stepping into the film world never looking out of place. Everyone is great to watch throughout everything that unfolds.

StoryThe story here follows 24-hours in the world of an investment bank company as they look to cover up an error that will destroy their reputations and they look to cash in before it is too late. We do get to see just how heartless the financially world can be, with the people involved will do to save their own backsides. We do get to dive into a lot of the world, though we don’t learn everything about the deal which is going wrong, which is meant to be around a true story, we will be engaged in everything unfolding because we don’t know who will give the most important information along the way.

ThrillerThis is an interesting thriller that does keep us on edge of your seat as we wait to see how everything will land once the storm is done on the company.

SettingsThe film is set inside the main building as we see the meetings taking place, that will be dealing with different ideas, while the people around the floor will be leaving.

Scene of the Movie – John Tuld’s first appearance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not learning about the actual deal that is causing the problems.

Final Thoughts This is a tense thriller that shows us how quickly the banking world can be turned upside down.

Overall: Keeps You Guessing.