ABC Film Challenge – Best of 2018 – A – A Star is Born (2018)

Director: Bradley Cooper

Writer: Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters (Screenplay) Moss Hart, John Gregory Dunne, Joan Didion, Frank Pierson, Williams A Wellman, Robert Carson (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay, Rafi Gavron, Anthony Ramos, Dave Chappelle, Alec Baldwin

 

Plot: A musician helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Musical Enjoyment

 

Story: A Star is Born starts when rock star Jackson (Cooper) looking for another drink stumbles into a drag bar, he sees working class woman Ally (Gaga) perform on stage, instantly he knows she has talent and learns more about her, bring her on stage for his latest show.

When Ally becomes an overnight success story the two-start performing together which only attractions more record labels who come calling to make Ally the next biggest star in the music world which soon sees her become more famous than Jack whose own problems could bring an end to his fame.

 

Thoughts on A Star is Born

 

Characters – Ally is a hotel worker that performers in a local drag bar after being rejected by record labels before. She meets rock star Jack who encourages to perform, first with him and soon the world wants to see her become the biggest star in the music industry. Ally must learn about the world around her, one she has never stepped foot in before or become consumed by it. Jack is the rock star who sees Ally believing she could become a star, he offers her a chance to perform which sets her on her way, Jack however has his own problems with drinks and drugs would could finish his own career just as Ally’s is about to take off. These two characters do take centre stage for the most part, we do see family that support as well as friends who see their friend get to levels of fame they never thought they could.

PerformancesBradley Cooper gives one of his best performances of his career here, not just on front of the camera, but behind it too. He manages to make us feel like his problems are real, which are problem many musicians could be facing. Lady Gaga was always going to be a wonderful choice for the singing side of the film, it was the acting side people wanted to see if she could handle, she does a good job through the film managing to show the bond the two have throughout the film. the supporting cast are good without needing to be challenged to reach the levels of the lead two actors.

StoryThe story follows the rise of a musician after being discovered by an alcoholic rock star. We know this is a remake, so we know this had been modernised to tell an old story which deals with the modern problems of fame for musicians. We see how one side is taking every opportunity thrown her way and the other than has been watching his career fade away because of alcoholism and drug abuse. This is a great story of how important taking chances are and how success can ruin lives. The story does however become slightly slow paced because we just jump into a song to cover up anything that needs to be talked about more.

Music/RomanceThe music in the film is good with songs that Gaga performs with ease. The romance between the two shows how they can support each other through the lives they didn’t know they would be going through.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the journey that Ally takes from the small venue to awards ceremony showing here rise to fame.


Scene of the Movie –
First song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The rise feels too fast.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great look at how the fame can affect lives in the music industry, we get strong performances from Cooper and Gaga who both shine through the film.

 

Overall: Great Music based movie.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Romance – B – Blind (2017)

Director: Michael Mailer

Writer: Diane Fisher, John Buffalo Mailer (Screenplay)

Starring: Demi Moore, Alec Baldwin, Dylan McDermott, Viva Bianca, Dorothy Lyman, Renee Willett

 

Plot: A novelist blinded in a car crash which killed his wife rediscovers his passion for both life and writing when he embarks on an affair with the neglected wife of an indicted businessman.


Tagline – Love… Unexpected.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Romantic Drama

 

Story: Blind starts as wife Suzanne (Moore) of businessman Mark (McDermott) finds her life shattered after his dealings, which leave her with community service, her time is work novelist and teacher Bill Oakland (Baldwin), blind after an accident that killed his wife.

As the two spend more time together they learn that they have a connection they could never imagine, but how will Mark take this from behind bars?

 

Thoughts on Blind

 

Characters – Suzanne is a happily married woman in the higher society of life in New York, her life is changed when Mark is placed in jail for his business activities, this means Suzanne must do community service for her part where she meets a man that changes her view on her life. Bill Oakland is a novelist who lost his wife and sight in an accident, he still teaches, but at times short-tempered, he lost he desire to write and now his life is open to new things and return to his writing. Mark is the husband of Suzanne, a businessman that has ben jailed for his activities, always staying one step of a situation, dirty as they come.

PerformancesDemi Moore is good in her role, she fits the role well for the age and the draw. Alec Baldwin is also good in his role, he plays the blind character without looking out of place. Dylan McDermott plays the creep well and this is no different.

StoryThe story here shows to unlikely people coming together, finding themselves connecting in a way that can’t be good for anything long term with one being married. The story doesn’t do enough to address the tragic side of Bill’s life, we get a glimpse, but this should be front and centre, until way too lat in the film. It is also hard to see this romance happening and when we get into a supporting character Gavin we need something more about this character’s story too.

RomanceThe romance in this film plays us along the lines of it never being too late to meet someone that will change your life forever,

SettingsThe setting for the movie is New York, which shows us how difficult and how modernised to make it a place that the blind could get around with ease compared to other locations.


Scene of the Movie –
Not over stating the idea he is blind.

That Moment That Annoyed Me He is just a short story, I am a novel, barf

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard romantic movie, it checks the boxes but never reaches any level of memorability.

 

Overall: Ticks the boxes and keeps between the lines.

Rating

 

 

Mission Impossible – Fallout (2018)

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Writer: Christopher McQuarrie (Screenplay) Bruce Geller (Television Series)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby, Michelle Monaghan, Wes Bentley, Alec Baldwin

 

Plot: Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, along with some familiar allies, race against time after a mission gone wrong.


Tagline – Some missions are not a choice.

Runtime: 2 Hours 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Adrenaline Blast

 

Story: Mission Impossible: Fallout starts when Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team Luther (Rhames) and Benji (Pegg) have a mission gone wrong with plutonium falling into the wrong hands. CIA director Erica Sloan (Bassett) wants it back and her team to do the job, but know Ethan has everything lined up she assigns them her best man August Walker (Cavill) to join the team.

The mission is to retrieve the plutonium which leads them to cross paths with old allies and enemies before they can be used as a weapon that would devastate the Earth.

 

Thoughts on Mission Impossible – Fallout

 

Characters – Ethan Hunt is the man, agent the leader of the group, he will go into any situation with a plan, trusting the people behind him, this time his loyalty puts the world in peril and his must prove he can find a way to save the day without comprising his position. August Walker is a CIA agent, a fixer if you like, he will get the job done by shooting first asking questions later, which has led him to clash with Hunt, they have both made mistakes which could have got the job done earlier and now he is the one man you don’t want to fight against. Luther and Benji are the key components to Ethan’s team, they have the know how to get the job done and are two of the only people he will trust. Ilsa Faust returns and this time she crosses paths with Ethan turning up at the same locations on her own mission, still deadly and a figure that you will be on the fence about what side she is fight for. We have our authority figures in Alan Hunley and Erica Sloan who of course are clashing, as well as other figures that would be in the criminal world.

PerformancesTom Cruise, what more can say about this guy, when it comes to action he commits big time and this is no different, the action sequences he puts his body through and even the emotional factors included in this film show just how talented he is, with this easily being one of his best action performances of his career. Henry Cavill, I haven’t always been a fan of because Superman is kind of boring, in this film however, we get to see that this man is a talent, we believe he will kick your ass if you crossed him and the moments of emotionless moments are key to his character. Pegg and Rhames do have great chemistry and the comic relief, while Ferguson returns to keep enough mystery about her character for long enough in the film. Bassett and Baldwin will always make good authority figures and to see Vanessa Kirby fresh from The Crown in a big movie, she is great to watch here.

StoryThe story here follows Ethan on his latest mission, this time we get to see what could happen if the by the book mission goes wrong for his own personal reasons over a traitor in the group like the normal opening. The idea he needs to work with an outside isn’t new, the idea that he could be the traitor in the eyes of the authority isn’t new, but it has been tried and tested. Making this feel like a direct sequel is new though, the previous instalments have always felt like, just another mission, this one references previous stories and that increases the peril even if everything plays out to not completely mock certain aspects, but poke a tiny bit of fun at them.

Action/AdventureThe action, the reason we go to these films, while you do get a glimpse of nearly all the sequences in the trailer, the length and intensity to them isn’t shown there and you will be watching from the edge of your seat just to see where or what Hunt does next. The adventure side of the film does take Ethan across the world to save it before it is too late.

SettingsThe film uses key locations, with have Paris, London and Kashmir, each one offers a different action sequences to take place.  

Special EffectsThe effects show us just how committed or crazy Tom Cruise is, while they are prepared stunts everything is practical and looks it in every single scene.


Scene of the Movie –
London chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The opening credits give snippets of the action we are about to see.

Final ThoughtsThis is another quality addition to the Mission Impossible franchise, it is going to go down as one of the best usages of practical stunts for years to come and shows how they can still be used to this day.

 

Overall: Pure rush of an action film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – G – Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

Director: James Foley

Writer: David Mamet (Screenplay) David Mamet (Play)

Starring: Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, Jonathan Pryce

 

Plot: An examination of the machinations behind the scenes at a real estate office.


Tagline – Lie. Cheat. Steal. All In A Day’s Work.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Drama

 

Story: Glengarry Glen Ross starts as we see how a real estate office is struggling to close deals, Blake (Baldwin) is hired to put down the firm law on the employees, office manager John Williamson (Spacey) tries to be strict with his staff as we see struggling aging expert Shelley (Lemmon), upcomer Dave Moss (Harris) the hot shot Ricky Roma (Pacino) and George (Arkin) that are given one week to make as many closes as possible.

As the pressure gets to the men things only get worse when the contracts are stolen which shows the true characters in the ruthless business.

 

Thoughts on Glengarry Glen Ross

 

Characters – Ricky Roma is the best estate agent in the office, he closes the biggest deals in the office which fills him with all the confidence in the world. Shelley Levene is the eldest member of the office, he has been down on his luck recently knowing this could be his last chance to keep his job. Dave Moss is the hot-head of the office that goes against the ultimatum about the jobs and comes up with a plan to make sure he gets the best leads. George is the timid member of the office but a fantastic salesman, he gets talked into Dave’s plan. John Williamson runs the office handing out the leads while making sure the teams get good sales. Blake is the man that puts the ultimatum down on the office, he is blunt when it comes to doing the deal.

PerformancesThe cast here is filled with award winners, the highest calibre of actor in the industry at that time. Pacino, Lemmon, Baldwin, Arkin, Harris, Spacey and Pryce are all fantastic it is unfair to single anyone out for more praise than any other.

StoryThe story follows 24-hours in life at the office of a real estate agents as the are pressured into improve their sales which includes dealing with a robbery that throws everything up in the air. This is a character driven story as we see how people can react under pressure as it comes from a play and you can feel that about the story all the way through. The story doesn’t get over complicated as we see how things unfold and it shows the desperation man will go for his own greed.

Crime/MysteryThe crime that takes place is partly how the deals get done and how the contracts get stolen which leads to the mystery to just who is the person behind everything.

SettingsThe settings are kept simple, the office, the bar and a house for discussions, this keeps everything grounded through the film from start to finish.


Scene of the Movie –
Truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Blake being in more scene would have been good.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fantastic assembled cast that give powerful performances that just deliver from the first frame until the final frame, simple fantastic cinema.

 

Overall: Fantastic from start to finish.

Rating

 

 

The Boss Baby (2017)

Director: Tom McGrath

Writer: Michael McCullers (Screenplay) Marla Frazee (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Tobey Maguire, Mike Bakshi

 

Plot: A suit-wearing briefcase-carrying baby pairs up with his seven-year old brother to stop the dastardly plot of the CEO of Puppy Co.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Family Film

 

Story: The Boss Baby starts as we meet seven-year old Tim, he has an overactive imagination living the perfect world growing up with his successful parents who work for Puppy Co. When they have another baby, The Boss Baby, Tim finds himself incredible jealous and questions everything about him.

After the two find themselves against each other, the two put their differences aside to go on the Boss’s mission to expose they puppies are stealing all love babies should be getting.

 

Thoughts on The Boss Baby

 

Characters Tim is the typical kid before technology era took over, he makes his own stories using his imagination. He becomes jealous of his little brother but overcomes that to become best friends. The Boss Baby is set to uncover the truth about a puppy company where puppies are become more popular than babies. He is super smart and has never had a normal childhood. Francis Francis owns Puppy Co and has an evil plan to get rid of all the babies in the world. Looking at the character’s you can see some greatly created truths that have been pushed to the next level when it comes to the brother’s bonding.

StoryThe story does play out like how a solo child must deal with a new baby, sure there is a farfetched idea that babies can work in undercover to solve issues. The difference between the two are clear and you can see how siblings can be effected by changes like this happening.

Comedy/FamilyThe comedy works very well with Alec Baldwin seemingly having the best voice possible for this role which helps add to the comedy. The whole family could enjoy this film with jokes hitting for all to enjoy.

SettingsThe settings we find the characters in are all enjoyable and add to the comedy the characters find themselves in.

AnimationThe animation all looks fantastic like you would expect from a big budget animated movie.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that does impress more than I was thinking and I feel the comedy does hit on the levels required.

 

Overall: One of the highlights of the animated films this year.

Rating