A Street Cat Named Bob (2016) Movie Review

Director: Roger Spottiswoode

Writer: Tim John, Maria Nation (Screenplay) James Bowen, Garry Jenkins (Novel)

Starring: Luke Treadaway, Bob the Cat, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt, Anthony Head, Darren Evans

Plot: Based on the international best selling book. The true feel good story of how James Bowen, a busker and recovering drug addict, had his life transformed when he met a stray ginger cat.

Tagline – Sometimes it takes nine lives to save one

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Delightful

Story: A Street Cat Named Bob starts as we meet homeless addict James (Treadaway) who spends his days singing for enough money that could get him a meal and a fix, when he overdoes, Val (Froggatt) gives him a chance to get emergency living to clean up with act. James is willing to make this happen and he ends up meeting a stray cat.

Reluctantly James decides to keep Bob the cat and learns to grab a new lease for life and that as a double act they could achieve things he could only dream of as a musician, as well as finding love in one of the neighbours Betty (Gedmintas).

Thoughts on A Street Cat Named Bob

Characters – James is a homeless drug addict who has an overdose. He is given a big chance to go on the path to recovery with an emergency home, where he meets a cat and suddenly he starts to see his life turn around, his busking lifestyle sees him make money, he meets a new woman and can support himself, he will need to go through the toughest test of his life, if he wants to break free of his addictions. Bob is the ginger cat that turns up in James’ life, he won’t leave his side as he helps him clean up his act. Betty is the neighbour that becomes James only human friend, she will show him about vegan life becoming a love interest, even though she has seen how being an addict has taken away somebody in her life before. Val is the person that pushes James into the program, believing he can change and will change, she supports him through the whole process.

PerformancesLuke Treadaway in the leading role is brilliant to watch, he shows us just how desperate James is to turn his life around and what he must go through. Ruta Gedmintas and Joanne Froggatt are both great in the supporting roles in the film too.

StoryThe story here follows a homeless drug addict that gets his life turnaround thanks to the help of one person and a mysterious ginger cat that gives him happiness. This is based on the real story of the man James and Bob the real cat, we see the recovery process, just how difficult it can be for somebody who is trying to turn their life around. We can see how the ending will come about because there is a book about the turn around, even though it does become entertaining throughout the film.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic side of this film does show how James does turn his life around, it is shown in a way that could see the struggle he will be facing. The comedy of the film does give you a couple of laughs with how Bob interacts in life.

SettingsThe film is set in London which does show how the culture of the homeless people being able to survive around town that is filled with a drug culture that could end their fight.

Scene of the Movie – First day out with Bob.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing really.

Final Thoughts This is a delightful little comedy that brings to life one man’s journey to salvation with his new friend Bob the cat.

Overall: Feel Good Movie.

Rachel Weisz Weekend – Denial (2016) Movie Review

Director: Mick Jackson

Writer: David Hare (Screenplay) Deborah Lipstadt (Book)

Starring: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall, Andrew Scott, Jack Lowden, Caren Pistorius, Alex Jennings

Plot: Acclaimed writer and historian Deborah E. Lipstadt must battle for historical truth to prove the Holocaust actually occurred when David Irving, a renowned denier, sues her for libel.

Tagline – The whole world knows the Holocaust happened. Now she needs to prove it. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Courtroom Drama

Story: Denial starts when acclaimed writer and historian Deborah Lipstadt (Weisz) has her latest book about the horrors of the Holocaust being released, only her in her book to slams historian and renowned denier David Irving (Spall). David Irving has built up a reputation for being able to fight his case and decides to sue Deborah for libel.

After the years or preparation Deborah watches how Anthony Julius (Scott) and Richard Rampton (Wilkinson) look to make a trial where Deborah will win, without having to put the holocaust on trial, they want to keep it together for argument, with the case being about proving David’s research, rather than whether the holocaust happened.

Thoughts on Denial

Characters – Deborah Lipstadt is an acclaimed author that has made her career out of writing about the horrors around the holocaust, this has created an enemy in David Irving, that she has always been denying the holocaust happened. She must defend her own accusation against him, putting her trust in a group of lawyers to fight the case, despite the fact she would like to put the spotlight on the events, over the facts being disputed. Richard Rampton is the lawyer that is running the case in the courtroom, he has methods that Deborah doesn’t like, until she sees how he has truly been planning the case. Anthony Julius runs the case behind the scenes, he has a huge reputation with his previous work which made headlines and must be strict towards Deborah over what she wants to happen in the case. David Irving is the famous Holocaust denier, he has made a career out of his theories, which has given him a huge following, he decides to sue Deborah for criticising his beliefs, where he uses his natural charisma to get people behind him, despite his anti-Semitic behaviour being clear to see.

PerformancesRachel Weisz in the leading role is great to see, she shows just how helpless Deborah looks during the case, that puts her own reputation on the line. Timothy Spall steals the show with his depiction of David Irving, showing how he is the more colourful character in the case. Tom Wilkinson shows he will always be able to bring a quiet character to life in the moments he needs to shine, while Andrew Scott proves that his rising star will get involved in the major performances.

StoryThe story here follows Deborah Lipstadt who has her own book sued for libel by holocaust denier David Irving, forcing them into a court case, which will be about whether he has been making up the truth for his own benefit or whether she had the right to question his beliefs. The story is an interesting one to follow, seeing an conspiracy theorist being put in a courtroom to prove his fictional story about the truth is fascinating to see, having a court case just about whether something as horrific as the holocaust is bad enough, but seeing how everybody seemed to have a fine balance between who could win, was also interesting. The story does struggling to start with, because of the large number of time jumps, with it starting in 1994, before the case happening in 2000, with small scenes in the build up to the case, through the years, but once we get into the courtroom, we are grasp by the story.

BiopicThe biopic side of the story focuses more on the case, rather than the people involved, which could take away just how much the case did take out of the people involved.

SettingsThe film does use the courtroom as the main location for the story to move forward, with most of the external locations being ideas of where the story could end up going, with most being office, apart from the haunting trip to Auschwitz.

Scene of the Movie – The court case.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The early time jumps, we seem to have one scene, then jump two more years down the line.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting courtroom drama, that shows how the truth managed to get all the way to a courtroom, when it was clear it happened, showing even conspiracy theorist could challenge the truth.

Overall: Interesting, but not Intense drama.

Emma Stone Weekend – La La Land (2016) Movie Review – Revisited

Director: Damien Chazelle

Writer: Damien Chazelle (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Callie Hernandez, Sonoya Mizuno, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons

Plot: While navigating their careers in Los Angeles, a pianist and an actress fall in love while attempting to reconcile their aspirations for the future.

Tagline – Here’s to the fools who dream.

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Delightful

Story: La La Land starts as we meet jazz singer Sebastian (Gosling) who has always had his own vision of what he wants his music to be which sees him struggle to keep jobs in Hollywood, let alone pay his bills. Mia (Stone) is an aspiring actress that is going through auditions, while working as a coffee shop on the studio lot.

After a couple of chance meetings, the two start a whirlwind romance that sees both their dreams start to come true in Hollywood, only at what price, can success in love and dreams work together?

Thoughts on La La Land

Characters – Sebastian loves jazz music, he has always had his own style when it comes to the music he is expected to play, he doesn’t understand how people don’t like jazz either, he has jumped between jobs because of his style and once he gets involved in a relationship with Mia, he must decide whether to have a secure gig or continue chasing his dreams of opening his own jazz bar. Mia is the aspiring actress that goes to countless auditions without getting much success, working on the studio lot, until she starts to take her own chance with her one person show. These two characters show the fairly tale dream chases that always believe they could make it and with each other in their lives they achieve more than they imagined.

PerformancesRyan Gosling and Emma Stone are truly fantastic in the lead roles of this film, they show us just how easily somebody’s passion can take a toll on their lives.

StoryThe story here follows an aspiring musician and an aspiring actress who meet, fall in love right as their careers start to skyrocket in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. The story does show how dreamers can be led down paths which would see them push people away in their lives, we are left to see how this does feel like a giant fantasy between the two, after one maybe encounter to show how love and careers just take off, which I have always believed is in their heads, rather than in reality. This does have a fairy tale feel to it, which is nice to see and will be you entertained through the film.

Comedy/Musical/RomanceThe comedy in the film comes from the natural conversations the pair go through, with the romance showing how we see love being difficult to understand at times. The musical side of the film is the way everybody is willing to sing and dance around town.

SettingsThe film is set in Hollywood, which reflects the idea of the dreams that the characters have.

Scene of the Movie – The 5 years.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t get enough out of the supporting characters.

Final Thoughts This is a beautiful fairy tale of life in Hollywood, it puts everything out there in a dream like reality of a life we all wish we could live, one that lets us follow our dreams.

Overall: Beautiful Fairy Tale of Hollywood.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – # – 20th Century Women (2016) Movie Review

Director: Mike Mills

Writer: Mike Mills (Screenplay)

Starring: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, Lucas Jade Zumann, Alison Elliott

Plot: The story of a teenage boy, his mother, and two other women who help raise him among the love and freedom of Southern California of 1979.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Life Can Change For Everyone

Story: 20th Century Women starts with Dorothea Fields (Bening) with her son Jamie (Zumann) witnessing their car on fire, Dorothea lives with Abbie (Gerwig) and Julie (Fanning) during the late 70s, in a world where a divorced single middle-age woman isn’t seen in the same way as now.

Dorothea starts seeing a change in Jamie and turns to the ladies in house to help raise Jamie, using their experiences in life to help guide him, trying to prove that you don’t need a man to raise a man.

Thoughts on 20th Century Women

Characters – Dorothea is a divorced middle-aged woman raising a teenager son with two other women renting rooms in her house and starts to see a changes in her son, she turns to her women to help teach him, trying not to make it an issue that she doesn’t have a man around the house. Julie is the 17-year-old friend of the family that has grown up with Jamie, she is older and is acting out against her mother, with her own problems, never wanting to be more than a friend with Jamie. Abbie is the lady renting the room in the house, she as lived a free style life even if she has been held back by her own medical battles. Jamie is the teenage son that ends up starting to rebel against his mother, he is still open to discussions, though he does start to learn more about the world through the ladies in the house, he is learning to become smarter when it comes to preparing for life.

PerformancesAnnette Bening is wonderful in the leading role, she proves that at this stage of her career, she is arguable the best of her age group too. Elle Fanning continues to show she is going to be a force in the acting world for years to come, while Greta Gerwig is strong with her down to Earth character. Lucas Jade Zumann is also strong for being the least experienced in the film, showing the kinder side to his character.

Story The story here follows a single mother trying to raise her son with two other women around his life, she has broken certain trends for the time, which has reflected onto her son, which would make him a better man for the future world, with equal opportunities for all. This story does show how important the change in how women would be seen in life and one of the best ways to show and create an equal minded man, would be to raise him to be one, we do get to see how people need to learn to open up about everyday issues people will go through in life and how confusing it could be for somebody new to this moment in life. We get to see how life and experience can be seen in a very different light.

ComedyThe comedy side of the film is told in a light hearted manner when it comes serious issues being discussed.

SettingsThe film is set in a normal town, which does show us just how behind each door, there could be a different story to what you would be expecting to see.

Scene of the Movie – The drunk talk.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The stopping of the story to rewind on a back story.

Final Thoughts This is an insightful look at how life changed views on how people look at the world, how it can be taught, though both sides need to learn the change is happening.

Overall: Life Changes Through Many Eyes.

The Dwelling (2016) Movie Review

Director: Jeff Maher

Writer: Cody Calahan, Jeff Maher (Screenplay)

Starring: Colin Price, Alysa King, Gwenlyn Cumyn, Dennis Andres, George Krissa, Hamza Fouad, Alex Loubert

Plot: Four twentysomethings find themselves stuck on a haunted antique bed where leaving means suffering a gruesome death. Plagued with frightening hallucinations, they must figure out the bed’s secrets before they are ultimately picked off one by one.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Twist to a Genre

Story: The Dwelling starts when four friends look to stay in a hotel for the night Ren (Andres), Fred (Krissa), Sandy (King) and Nancy (Cumyn), they stay in room 18 and have all been murdered, Virgil (Price) is leading the investigation into what happened, as we get to flashback to the events of the night.

As the night unfolds, Virgil tries to unlock the truth, when we see how the four friends had become trapped on an antique bed, where if they leave they will get picked off by something unknown and add in the spin that the friends start to communicate with Virgil from a different time.

Thoughts on The Dwelling

Characters – Virgil is a detective that is given the crime scene, he has his own tortured past which has seen him turn to substance abuse and his alienation of the rest of the team, he does figure stuff out the rest of the team doesn’t seem to pick up on and when he starts to speak to one of the victims, he finds himself trying to save them. Sandy, Nancy, Ren and Fred are the four friends that are in the hotel room, what starts as a night away, soon takes a turn when they become trapped, drawn towards something from their past or from their fears. Most of them have small additions to their character, but nothing overly memorable within their actions.

PerformancesColin Price as the detective is the strongest of the performers, he does make us think that we are going to see him look like an outsider through the film. When it comes to the four trapped in the room, not everything is as strong here because we don’t seem to feel the natural chemistry of the characters on screen.

StoryThe story here follows a group of friends that find themselves trapped on a bed in a hotel room, where if they get off the bed, they will die, until a cop gets in contact with them and starts to try and guide them out of the situation, which has seen them die. This is an interesting spin on the trapped genre, because we open the film knowing people have died in this room and now it is about cleaning up and solving the situation, but seeing the communication between the two sides shows how things have gone in a different direction to the normal. This does seem to start off seemingly like it is going to be a ‘saw’ like story, before turning more into a psychological story that will keep you guessing.

HorrorThe horror comes from seeing just what will be happening to the friends if they stay in this room for too long, we get moments of gore, but most in playing into the mindset of the characters.

SettingsThe film keeps most of the film inside the one location, a hotel room, mixing between the two different times with the events of the film.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are used well when needed, but this film doesn’t want to turn them too often.

Scene of the Movie – The first incident.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The four friends don’t seem to have much about their characters away from this night.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting spin of the trapped genre in horror and will keep you on your toes, even if some of the performances are not the strongest.

Overall: Genre Spinning