ABC Film Challenge – Crime – F – Fun with Dick and Jane (2005)

Director: Dean Parisot

Writer: Judd Apatow, Nicholas Stoller (Screenplay) Gerald Gaiser, Judd Apatow, Nicholas Stoller (Story)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Tea Leoni, Alec Baldwin, Richard Jenkins, Angie Harmon, John Michael Higgins

 

Plot: When an affluent couple lose all their money following a series of blunders, they turn to a life of crime to make ends meet.


Tagline – Giving Big Businesses a Run For Their Money!

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Comedy Lacking That Spark

 

Story: Fun with Dick and Jane starts as we meet Dick (Carrey) who is about to get a promotion to vice president of the company he has worked for, for year. The problem comes that this promotion is designed to put the blame on the company’s problems on him instead of the men who really are involved, Jack (Baldwin) and Frank (Jenkins).

Dick loses his job and his wife Jane (Leoni) has quit her job, the two struggle to find new jobs and before long they are facing being evicted, which turns them to a life of crime to save their home.

 

Thoughts on Fun with Dick and Jane

 

Characters – Dick has been working for a company for his whole working career, he has been waiting for a chance to get to the next step which he gets only to see himself become the fall guy, making him unemployable in the field. He can’t get a job anywhere and out of pure desperation he turns to a life a crime to support his family. Jane is the wife of Dick who quits her job with his new promotion and can’t get a new job, she believes in Dick and ends up teaming up with Dick to commit crime. Jack and Frank are the CEOs that have taken advantage of Dick to get away clean after their illegal trading.

PerformancesJim Carrey gets to play into the full energy comedy that he is known for here, this isn’t the best he has given, but his fans will enjoy what he does, Tea Leoni does struggle with comedy and it is clear to see because she just doesn’t work with Carrey’s comedy. Alec Baldwin and Richard Jenkins get to enjoy their roles in the film playing into what they could be for these real people.

StoryThe story follows a couple that are forced into a life of crime after losing everything when a business they are employed with gets closed down with the CEOs leaving the employees broke. This is a remake which has been bought into the modern era of greedy businessman who have taken advantage of their employees only to be left nothing. The story does seem to be going in fast forward with the crime montage flashing over what is happening. This does have a good outcome for everyone involved, but just doesn’t engage for the audience.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy in the film mostly revolves around Jim Carrey bringing in his routine which is enjoyed by people who are fans of his work, the crime side of the film shows just how CEOs can try and get away with things and how one couple looks to crime to survive.

SettingsThe film doesn’t give us any settings which feel overly iconic which the film could have had to make us become more invested in what is happening.


Scene of the Movie –
The first robbery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Crime montage.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book crime comedy that skips over too much of the interesting material only to leave us feeling like we blinked and missed too much.

 

Overall: Basic crime comedy.

Rating

 

 

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Blue Jasmine (2013)

Director: Woody Allen

Writer: Woody Allen (Screenplay)

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Peter Sarsgaard

 

Plot: A New York socialite, deeply troubled and in denial, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister. She looks a million, but isn’t bringing money, peace, or love..

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Low Key Drama

 

Story: Blue Jasmine starts as we meet Jasmine (Blanchett) a New York socialite that’s life is falling apart after her husband Hal (Baldwin) has been found guilty of stealing millions from fake investments. Moving in with her sister Ginger (Hawkins) in San Francisco to try and build her life again.

As we see how Jasmine is remembering the memories with Hal we see how she is must learn to deal with everyday life and working for a living.

 

Thoughts on Blue Jasmine

 

Characters – Jasmine once had everything thanks to her husband, now she has lost everything and needs to learn about a new way of living. Seeing Jasmine learn to work an everyday job while trying to hold on to the class she believes she is from is what we see. Hal is the husband that cheated on and robbed the money from the investors, a full-on crook. Ginger is the sister of Jasmine, she has been working a normal life with a divorce and kids, she has the normal like of worries. We get to meet the generic people from different walks of life, the guys in Ginger’s life who are looked as overworked and slobby while Dwight is the man from a high class that makes it easy to see how things are going.

PerformancesCate Blanchett won an Oscar for her performance in this film, she is great to watch in this role fully committed to the idea of being socialite. Sally Hawkins for me is the complete star of this film as the normal life sister showing us just how difficult life can be and being so strong through each scene. The male actors in the film are good and let the actresses take the centre stage.

StoryThe story here follows a woman that needs to rebuild her life after her husband is found guilty of embezzlement ruining many lives. We flash between the two lives, the one which was falling apart and the one she is trying to rebuild. We try to get a message over about its never too late to start again and family will always be there for you. This story deals with the complications of relationships nicely as we see how people could look to hide the bad ones from the new people in their lives as well as being involved with people themselves not telling the truth. Outside of this we don’t get too much as Jasmine herself is not the most likeable character because of the entitlement she believes she has.

SettingsThe film uses two of the best location for cities in America New York and San Francisco.


Scene of the Movie –
Supermarket scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Doesn’t seem to have a real ending.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good look at how relationships can look strong as to how they can be great, bad and not work depending on how things can unfold.

 

Overall: Relationship based drama.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – S – Still Alice (2014)

Director: Wash Westmoreland, Richard Glatzer

Writer: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland (Screenplay) Lisa Genova (Novel)

Starring: Julianne Moore, Kate Bosworth, Shane McRae, Hunter Parrish, Alec Baldwin, Seth Gilliam, Kristen Stewart

 

Plot: A linguistics professor and her family find their bonds tested when she is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Moore’s Powerhouse Performance

 

Story: Still Alice starts on linguistics professor Alice Howland (Moore) birthday, with her family, husband John (Baldwin), children Tom (Parrish) and Anna (Bosworth), the family is filled with college educations, successful careers and with distant daughter Lydia (Stewart) following her own dreams, we get our normal higher educated family.

With Alice noticing slight mistakes in her life, loss of knowing where she is, loss of words, she starts seeing a doctor who can gives her the news that she has early Alzheimer’s disease, but even worse her children could have the disease too.

 

Thoughts on Still Alice

 

Characters – Alice is a professor of linguistics, one of the most renowned in her field, she has the perfect family of grown-up children following their own careers. She notices her memory going before learning she has early onset Alzheimer’s, she must learn to live with this disease which will make everyday routine a challenge. John is Alice’s husband, he supports her through her tough times, never giving up on her. Anna, Tom and Lydia are her children that have been living their own lives, who come to support her too.

PerformancesJulianne Moore gives the performance of her career, you believe every struggler Alice goes through because of her performance. Alec Baldwin is great in the supporting role as are the rest of the cast, with this being one of the first films to help Kristen Stewart break out of the Twilight fame.

StoryThe story shows us what happens when a once successful professor Alice gets struck down with Alzheimer’s, the strain it can put on the family, her life and leave her helpless for the first time in her life. The idea that families will have to face this similar situation will come through and this shows how it can take away the delights they once had from life and shows how more will need to be done to help people. The support from the family helps, but you can’t help but wonder what it would be like for someone who is alone that is suffering from this.

SettingsThe film shows us the life that Alice and her family have, this brings us into a world of a real family that could be suffering through the same situation.


Scene of the Movie –
The Speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Text talk should have been the first signal for a linguistics expert.

Final ThoughtsThis is a powerful performance heavy film that shows us the suffering the victim of the disease will go through. The struggle the family will be put through as they see a loved one disappear in front of them, something incredibly difficult.

 

Overall: This is one of the best performance heavy films.

Rating

 

 

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

 

 

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