ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – Y – You Can’t Say No (2018) Movie Review

Director: Paul Kramer

Writer: Hus Miller (Screenplay)

Starring: Hus Miller, Hamish Linklater, Marguerite Moreau, Peter Fonda, Julie Carman, William Shockley, Annie Monroe, Christopher Redman

Plot: Just days from signing divorce papers, Hank and Alexandra give their relationship one final shot by playing a game with only one rule: no matter what they ask each other to do, they can’t say no.

Tagline – There is only one rule.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: You Can’t Say No starts as Hank (Miller) and Alex (Moreau) are finalising their divorce papers when they agree to try one last thing, a game where the other person can’t say no, leading them to do the things they never imagined trying together, learning they are closer than they thought, but can this save their marriage once and fall all or will it be the end of their time together.

Thoughts on You Can’t Say No

ThoughtsYou Can’t Say No follows the couple about to go through their divorce before they try one more thing to see if it is the right decision, a game where they simply can’t say no to anything the other wants to try, leading to them moving outside their comfort zones and putting them in a better position to know what they want in the future. This story does show what people would do to try and make a marriage work out before deciding to call it quits, while certain things might well be completely outside the box, certain ones do feel like a natural move to make. The acting in the film is strong enough for the comedy to work even with a role Peter Fonda looks out of place for with his reputation. One of the disappointing parts of the film does come from seeing the children almost pushed out of the film for large part even though they could have used one part as a bigger talking point.

Final Thoughts You Can’t Say No is an easy to watch comedy about love and what it makes people do.

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – O – Old Boys (2018) Movie Review

Director: Toby MacDonald

Writer: Luke Ponte, Freddy Syborn (Screenplay)

Starring: Alex Lawther, Jonah Hauer-King, Pauline Etienne, Denis Menochet, Joshua McGuire, Nicholas Rowe, Eros Vlahos

Plot: In the school-set re-working of Cyrano, an awkward but imaginative pupil helps the handsome but spectacularly dim school-hero pursue the fiery daughter of a visiting French teacher.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Live Your Life 101

Story: Old Boys starts as we head to a private British Boarding School where we see the school loser Amberson (Lawther) who is always picked last in sport and bullied by the rest of the boys in the school. Amberson meets the daughter of new teacher Agnes (Etienne) moving in to the local residence, where she gets a sight of the most popular boy in school Winchester (Hauer-King).

Amberson ends up playing the middle man for the romance between the two, as it turns out that Winchester is more about the talk, rather than just being a smooth ladies man and it is actually Amberson that is the smooth one, can he make the relationship work to improve his position in the school?

Thoughts on Old Boys

Characters – Amberson is considered the outsider and loser in the boarding school, he is smarter than most of the other students and isn’t from a rich family like the rest either. He gets woken everyday by a bucket of water, which he must refill and along the way he meets the daughter of the new French teacher, he falls for her, but ends up needing to make a deal with the popular kid in the school to be the middle man in their relationship. Winchester is the most popular kid in the school, he will always have the rest of the school behind him, even though he isn’t as confident as his persona makes him. He needs Amberson to help him and will exchange it for popularity. Agnes is the French daughter of the newest teacher, she is bored following her father around and will get Amberson to help her meet Winchester. Babinot is Agnes father that is the new teacher dealing with his own problems even at his daughter’s expense.

PerformancesAlex Lawther once again gives us a wonderful leading performance where he does show us the confident side to his geeky character. Jonah Hauer-King does a great job playing against the typical character you would image his character looks. Pauline Etienne is great to watch as the young woman that wants to be set free to live her dreams.

StoryThe story here follows a boarding school student that is always picked on that ends up getting stuck as the middle man between the popular student and a daughter of one of the teachers that he has a crush on. This story does like to spin the stereotypes we have seen happening for years, with the popular jock being an uncomfortable figure, the geeky figure being the smoother one with the ladies, which changes how the characters act over how they look. We do see how popularity can spin in a second no matter what people think and that life is about taking chances like no other.

ComedyThe comedy here comes from seeing how the characters interact, with how Winchester is seen by the other students who idolism him.

SettingsThe film keeps the film in the and around the boarding school, which shows how the limited options are there for the boys.

Scene of the Movie – The big game.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The supporting students are clichés.

Final Thoughts This is a fun comedy that gives us the important message about living life to the fullest, we might have seen this idea before, but this film does spin certain stereotypes on their heads.

Overall: Fun Comedy.

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – M – Metal Heart (2018) Movie Review

Director: Hugh O’Conor

Writer: Paul Murray (Screenplay)

Starring: Jordanne Jones, Leah McNamara, Moe Dunford, Sean Doyle, Aaron Heffernan, Jason O’Mara, Yasmine Akram

Plot: There is much rivalry between twin sisters Emma and Chantal, quite different in just about every way, when their mysterious young neighbour moves back in.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Must See

Story: Metal Heart starts as we meet the two twin sisters, Emma (Jones) who is an outsider, while Chantal (McNamara) is the popular one that has a plan for her life, they are both about to start the college stage of their lives, only they have 6 weeks alone after their parents go travelling.

Emma wants to work with Gary (Doyle) to finally get their band off their feet and when she meets Dan (Dunford) a man that used to be in band who could teach her about being in a band and stepping forward in her life.

Thoughts on Metal Heart

Characters – Emma has been the outsider of the twins, she doesn’t have the confidence of her sister, she wants her own path in music, she wants to jump straight into music, without looking at much of a career plan. Emma has the summer to get the band together only after the change of events between her and Chantal, Emma sees her life starting to open up in a new direction. Chantal is the popular sister, she has her life planned out for years to come, she doesn’t always get on with Emma, but she will always try to push her into coming out of her shell, she does get injured and isn’t willing to let her friends see her. Dan is the washed up rocker who befriends Emma with music knowledge, he is older and has his own gambling problems, he only puts the relationship between the sister on a new level of bad, even if he does help Emma come out of her shell. Gary and Alan are both the guys that love the girls, they see the competition from Dan and want to find a way to show their love to them.

PerformancesJordanne Jones and Leah McNamara are both wonderful together, they show the difference in their characters and the changes they both make over the summer. Moe Dunford shows us just how a charmer will get what they want. Sean Doyle and Aaron Heffernan are great too in the supporting roles.

StoryThe story here follows twins who have their last summer together, they have different lives, which change over the summer as they learn more about life just before they take the biggest step in their own lives. This story shows us just how difficult life can be in the shadow of a more popular sibling, despite needing to learn what life is really about, mistakes will need to be made to understand who the most important people in life. There is a lot of heart in the story, with the coming-of-age elements shining through here, the message is clear, make what you want out of your own life.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in this film mostly comes from the guys reacting to everything which works because it doesn’t become too relent on the comedy, with the romance showing us what it would be like to make mistakes and not see what could be.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show how the girls swap positions with Emma going out to the world more, something she wouldn’t normally do.

Scene of the Movie – The party.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – What happened to the dog?

Final Thoughts This is a delightful movie that deserves more eyes on it, we have two great leading performances and a clear message about making the most out of your own life.

Overall: Delightful.

Dachra (2018) Movie Review

Darcha – Eerie Thriller


Director: Abdelhamid Bouchnak

Writer: Abdelhamid Bouchnak (Screenplay)

Starring: Yassmine Dimassi, Hela Ayed, Aziz Jebali, Bilel Slatnia, Bahri Rahali, Hedi Mejri

Plot: An investigation into witchcraft leads a trio of journalism students to a mysterious town marked by sinister rituals. Inspired by true events.

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Dachra starts when Yassmine (Dimassi), Walid (Jebali) and Bilel (Slatnia) start looking into a witchcraft case revolving a young woman Mongia (Ayed) that has plenty of unexplained aspects to the case, which will see them head to the mental asylum Mongia is being kept in.

The further they investigate the case, the deeper the case will take them into a remote woodland area, where they will start to suffer their own nightmare experiences.

Thoughts on Dachra

Characters & Performances – Yassmine is the one leading the investigation, asking the questions, putting the team together, being the face of the documentary, while also being the one that starts to suffer from the nightmares of being on the investigation. Walid and Bilel are part of the team that Yassmine has put together to help her on the investigation, each not finding themselves in the horror situations on the same levels of Yassmine. Yassmine Dimassi, Aziz Jebali and Bilel Slatnia are great in their roles through the film, showing the terror and scepticism towards everything going on.

StoryThe story here follows three journalists that are looking into a case of witchcraft in Tunisia, which will see them find a remote locations that is filled with the horrors they don’t want to be near, despite learning a few answers. This story could easily have comparisons to ‘The Blair Witch Project’ with the three heading into the woods where they end up getting haunting events during their time. The story does offer us something different though, showing us how certain traditions are being kept secret despite them being completely twisted and outdated. The story does end up feeling slightly too long, which could have easily had a little bit more trimmed off the core of the story.

ThemesDachra is a horror thriller that channels The Blair Witch Project for the creepy atmosphere, with the remote settings that will keep us being prepared for fear. It does use the local beliefs from Tunisia which will highlight the witchcraft going on within the country and other areas. We do get plenty of slowly built up scare moments in the film, which will leave you shocked during them.

DACHRA opens in theatres and virtual cinemas nationwide in the U.S. on Friday, July 9th.

Final Thoughts Dachra is a truly creepy horror, filled with atmospheric scares rooted in traditions.

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – A – Arizona (2018) Movie Review

Director: Jonathan Watson

Writer: Luke Del Tredici (Screenplay)

Starring: Danny McBride, Rosemarie DeWitt, Lolli Sorenson, Luke Wilson, Elizabeth Gillies, Kaitlin Olson, David Alan Grier

Plot: Set in the midst of the 2009 housing crisis, this darkly comedic story follows Cassie Fowler, a single mom and struggling realtor whose life goes off the rails when she witnesses a murder.

Tagline – The heat is on. But it’s a dry heat.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Strange Dark Comedy

Story: Arizona starts as we meet single mother and real estate agent Cassie (DeWitt), trying to sell houses in Arizona on the new builds, she is struggling with her own house payments, with work not going well, one day her boss gets accidentally killed by Sonny (McBride), who takes Cassie hostage to clear up what happened.

When things get more out of control, he takes Morgan (Sorenson), Cassie’s daughter, which leads to the race against time to get out of this alive, as Sonny will do anything to get out of jail.

Thoughts on Arizona

Characters – Sonny is a customer who has purchases a home he can’t afford, he wants help, only to accidentally kill the owner, instead of calling the police, he decides to try and cover up the crime, which involves kidnapping and murder, he is a complete loose cannon that can easily spiral out of control. Cassie is the local real estate agent that has been struggling with making sales, she witnesses the accident, which sees her needing to answers correctly to survive and will keep her daughter safe. Morgan is the daughter that gets bought into the middle of this, while giving us all the rebellious teenage daughter traits. Scott is the ex-husband and father that lives away from the family, he knows he made mistakes and is always willing to offer to help in anyway with Morgan.

PerformancesDanny McBride is strange in this leading role because he does give elements of his comedy, while also being psychotic along the way. Rosemarie DeWitt is strong as the mother that will do anything to protect her daughter, while Luke Wilson does get laughs along the way, mostly with his arguments and the rest of the cast don’t do anything wrong through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a real estate agent and mother that must protect her daughter after witnessing a murder by a man that doesn’t want to get involved with the police and goes on a kill rampage. This is a story that needs the element of comedy to work, because of how out there the idea is, we see how each seen Sonny gets more psychotic and dangerous along with how far Cassie will go to save her daughter. It does feel like it could be a music video with how it unfolds, because the comedy edge for Sonny does make this feel less threatening than it is.

ComedyThe comedy in the film is very dark, it nearly all comes from Danny McBride and how his actions unfold, with Luke Wilson getting some laughs along the way with his arguments with his new girlfriend.

SettingsThe film uses the new builds in Arizona to show us the isolation these locations hold and just how far they could make people go if they were to start losing money from them.

Scene of the Movie – Scott Arrives.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It lacks that final punch.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting comedy thriller that does offer up a fresh spin on the genre, one that does make the dark comedy shine through, even if it lacks that final punch.

Overall: Dark Comedy 101.