The Florida Project (2017)

Director: Sean Baker

Writer: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch (Screenplay)

Starring: Brooklyn Prince, Bria Vinaite, Willem Dafoe, Valeria Cotto, Christopher Rivera, Caleb Landry Jones

 

Plot: Set over one summer, the film follows precocious six-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Disney World.


Tagline – Welcome to a magical kingdom

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Drama

 

Story: The Florida Project starts as we meet precocious 6-year olds Moonee (Prince), Scooty (Rivera) and Dicky (Malik) that cause problems in a motel next to the new Disney World, they go on their mixed adventures, while Halley (Vinaite) Moonee’s mother struggles to find herself a job.

Hotel manager Bobby (Dafoe) knows families like Halley’s don’t have anywhere else to go, so he allows the to stay long term, but the kids are starting to cause disruptions with the everyday business. We follow the summer vacation the kids have, needing to entertain themselves.

 

Thoughts on The Florida Project

 

Characters – Moonee is the 6-year-old girl that along with her friends is getting into mischief for the summer vacation where he mother lives in a motel. She must entertain herself and knows every guest in the motel, the good ones and the bad ones. Halley is the mother of Moonee, she struggles to get enough money to stay in the motel, but does everything she can to make sure that she can enjoy her childhood, letting her have the freedom. She is trying to find a job, but it isn’t as easy as it should be. Bobby is the manager at the hotel, he knows the kids are only keeping themselves entertained which gives them harmless with their behaviour, he supports the poor families that are staying there the best he can, while also making sure they don’t end up getting into illegal trouble.

PerformancesBrooklynn Prince is the Moonee and she gives one of the most genuine performances of the year filled with the innocence that her character is all about during this hard time. Bria Vinaite is fresh on the scene here and she is fantastic over the young mum trying her best while also not being prepared for the everyday job idea. Willem Dafoe is fantastic too being the biggest name in this movie you would expect this from the talent he and he plays this role so perfectly.

StoryThe story tells the struggles a mother and daughter are having to just keep a roof over their heads in Florida. It shows the mischievous adventures Moonee goes on while her mother does whatever it takes to make the money all over the summer vacation as the motel manager tries to do the best he can to support them. This is a story that shows us the struggles a single parent can have with money if they started with nothing, the kindness of people who try to support and the innocent adventures children can go on.

SettingsThe settings show the motel that Halley & Moonee must live in, not the best place to be raising a child, this is good, but the down side is not knowing just how much of a shadow Disney World has on this place without going into researching it ourselves.


Scene of the Movie –
Bobby deals with an unwanted guest.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not knowing the full scale of the situation between the motel and Disney World

Final ThoughtsThis is such a sweet story that is shot lovely, with two unknowns in the leads that are fantastic and Willem Dafoe shines. This might not be the biggest flowing story, but it does sum up the difficulties of single parenthood.

 

Overall: Wonderful moving movie

Rating

 

 

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Director: Martin McDonagh

Writer: Martin McDonagh (Screenplay)

Starring: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Lucas hedges, John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage, Caleb Landry Jones

 

Plot: A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to catch the culprit.


Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Darkly Humorous

 

Story: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri starts as Mildred Hayes (McDormand) puts up three billboards in a quiet road questioning how Willoughby (Harrelson) hasn’t solved the case of her daughter’s rape and murder. Fellow officer Dixon (Rockwell) who has a chequered past is enraged by the signs, while officer Willoughby tries to clean up the situation and prove there isn’t enough to solve the case, but with his dying he does want to solve the case before he goes.

As the billboards stay up longer, the town starts to become divided on the support in catching the killer and Mildred does to extremes in her battle with Dixon to get the case solved.

 

Thoughts on Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

 

Characters – Mildred Hayes is a mother that has run out of patience when it comes to the police finding the killer off her daughter, she did have the full support of the town, but this stunt pushes the people away even if it could get her the killer to identify themselves. Willoughby is the lead investigator in the case, he has done everything he could to solve the case, but he is now facing his own battle with cancer, while keeping the peace in the town. Dixon is the hot-headed police officer that clashes with Mildred and anyone who supports her in finding out the truth.

PerformancesFrances McDormand shows us that she can reach the Fargo levels whenever the material is given to her, as she shines through as the best part of this movie. Woody Harrelson is great again this year, showing us he can step into any role and be great. Sam Rockwell is wonderful too as we see that this cast is filled with talent character performers.

StoryThe story shows the extremes of losing a child, the stress of noting being able to solve one of the worst cases in the town. This does turn into a character studio on the people involved and how their lives need to move on without a chance of every being able to. It is hard to describe this story in much more depth because it is interesting, it does have a lot going on that keeps us wanting to see where the film will go.

Comedy/CrimeThis does use dark humour throughout as we are seeing the effects of the crime on people’s lives, don’t expect to see an investigation though, we are focusing on the relationship between the mother of the victim and the police.

SettingsThe film takes place in this small town where everyone seems to know everyone, so they have all felt the effects of the crime, this helps when things start to get exposed.


Scene of the Movie –
Window smashing, it is a well shot single looking take.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The answer is frustrating.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dark humour that can be enjoyed by the fans of that genre, it does have a good subject matter but doesn’t get to a level in the story that I enjoyed watching.

 

Overall: Dark comedy through a serious subject matter.

Rating

 

 

God’s Pocket (2014)

Director: John Slattery

Writer: Alex Metcalf, John Slattery (Screenplay) Peter Dexter (Novel)

Starring: Christina Hendricks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eddie Marsan, Caleb Landry Jones, Jack O’Connell, John Turturro, Richard Jenkins

 

Plot: A blue collar worker tries to cover things up when his stepson is killed in a suspicious accident, but a local reporter senses that something’s amiss.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Drama

 

Story: God’s Pocket starts as we meet the different characters from this small town of God’s Pocket. We have Mickey (Hoffman) a meat salesman who works with Arthur (Turturro) stealing product before selling it as his own, his wife Jeanie (Hendricks) and her son Leon (Jones) along with reporter Richard Shellburn (Jenkins) who has been reporting on the town for 20 years.

When Leon is killed in a work accident the town surround the family with their sympathy. When Jeanie questions what happened it brings Richard to look deeper into the story as well as Mickey using his mob connection to try and learn the truth, but in this small town can secrets be kept?

 

Thoughts on God’s Pocket

 

Characters/PerformanceMickey is a man that finds a way to make ends meet either side of the law, when his step-son is killed he works on finding out the truth but must deal with his own problems with money. Jeanie is the grieving mother that demands the truth about her son’s death, she is also becoming distant from her husband Mickey. Richard is a journalist know all around the town, he has reported on the events of the town for years now and gets called into learn the truth of the events around the death. Arthur is Mickey’s connection to the underworld where the two work on robberies.

Performance wise, Hoffman is great in what was his final complete film, Hendricks is also good throughout the film with Jenkins giving us his best reporter like role. Turturro was also good throughout the film.

StoryThe story shows the three day events leading up to a funeral, we see everyday people dealing with a sudden death as they search for the truth, make their own mistakes and try to cover up their mistakes. This is a slow-moving film that tries to give us a real life series of events that follow the people involved but isn’t a casual watch.

CrimeThe crime side of the story comes from Mickey’s side along with the crime surround the accident. We have the crime world but otherwise this is more focused on the dramatic stories that characters live through.

SettingsWe like the small town setting which helps us see just how well the people of the town know each other.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good drama even if it is slightly slow in place, it is filled with good acting and a story that almost feels like it could come off as a comedy slightly better.

 

Overall: Good drama, good acting but nothing memorable.

Rating

 

 

Get Out (2017)

Director: Jordan Peele

Writer: Jordan Peele (Screenplay)

Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Marcus Henderson

 

Plot: A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s mysterious family estate.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Intensely Tense Thriller

 

Story: Get Out starts as Chris Washington (Kaluuya) a black photographer from Brooklyn agrees to go meet his white girlfriend Rose’s (Williams) parents. Travelling to this quiet country town Missy (Keener) and Dean (Whitford) along with Brother Jeremy (Jones) brings the family meeting together.

Chris is put on edge when he learns the only other black people he meets are the help, in the gardener and maid, after a haunting dream the paranoia continues to grow until he gets a stark warning from the only other black guest he meets at a party. I don’t want to get into much more but we are left wondering just what is going on and why from early on within the film.

 

Thoughts on Get Out

 

Characters/PerformanceChris is a man with a disturbing past, growing up without a parental figure, he is a self-made man with his photography and also understands that there is still casual racism in the world, not wanting to get into any arguments over someone trying to be accepting. Rose is the girlfriend who assure Chris there is no problem with his skin colour to his family. Missy and Dean are the parents trying their own way to get to know Chris both well-educated and falling into the embarrassing style of parent. Rod is the best friend of Chris and clearly is the most interesting, funny and audience feeling character, everything he says is what we are feeling about the situation.

Performance wise, Kaluuya is great in the leading role throughout the whole film, Williams, Keener and Whitford are also all great and I must say just how entertaining LilRey Howery was through the whole film.

StoryThe story is filled with racial motivation in how the characters are treated, Chris is just how you could imagine a black man in the world now, accepted by a large part of the world but still having another group trying to be nice by saying things wrong, casual racist who have no hate in their actions. While that is just the surface of the story it does have twists and turns along the way with most you know coming. I do have my own theory that this is a racial twist on Stepford Wives but the final reasoning does come off slightly farfetched in places but works for the horror when you think about it.

Horror/Mystery The horror is very much an idea that when you think about it, it will stick with you because it is shockingly disturbing what is going on here, I did like the mystery about what was going on too because we are left to work it out and even have a character give us wild guesses too.

SettingsMost of the film is in the small country town where we see how the white residents still only have black people as the help and haven’t adapted to the free world completely.

Special EffectsWe only have a few special effects here and each one adds to the bigger horror involved in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that will stick with you, make you never want to meet the in-laws but also has enough comedy not to be clouding over the big story too.

 

Overall: This is a major contender for the horror film of the year.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Byzantium (2012)

logoDirector: Neil Jordan

Writer: Moira Buffini (Screenplay) Moira Buffini (Play)

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Sam Riley, Jonny Lee Miller, Daniel Mays, Thure Lindhardt, Caleb Landry Jones

 

Plot: Residents of a coastal town learn, with deathly consequences, the secret shared by the two mysterious women who have sought shelter at a local resort.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interview With a Vampire: Homework Edition

 

Story: Byzantium starts by Eleanor (Ronan) talking about how she can’t tell her story even though she spends time writing it over and over. Eleanor tells an elder gentleman the story about how she met Clara (Arterton) and that they are living together but Werner (Lindhardt) is hunting them down. As we continue through introduction we see how both kill their victims but have to leave because of the mess left behind.

New town and same problems Clara enters into the prostitution to try and make ends meet while Eleanor uses the desire to learn about people to help her express herself. After Clara meets Noel (Mays) the girls move into his bed and breakfast called Byzantium where he lets the girls stay. We learn about the code the girls follow to stay safe but Eleanor is desperate to tell people the truth.

We flashback to what happened to Clara 200 years ago we also learn the Eleanor is her daughter that she did in fact give up and we learn about how Ruthven (Miller) put Clara in the life she has now. When Eleanor makes friends with Frank (Jones) she starts to feel like she could open up to someone while we continue to Eleanor pick her victims who are on deaths door. Clara turns the bed and breakfast into a brothel knowing she can make plenty of money from it.

After Eleanor tells her story in the modern day we learn the conclusion of the original story of how the girls become vampires and why they have both been on the run. The past is about to catch up with them but can they out run it this time or will their time finally be up.

Byzantium really does feel like a modern take on the ‘Interview with a Vampire’ idea but puts it into a lost story that is in need of telling. It follows very similar ideas of being forced into the vampire life and also has one character who doesn’t want the story told. It all comes off very nicely and does make for a very solid addition to the vampire genre of films and could easily be enjoyed by the fans of those films too. It won’t go down heavy on blood which certain fans will expect in the vampire genre but it tells a better story of surviving with the curse. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Saoirse Ronan: Eleanor permanent 16 year old who craves the connection of other people and just wants to be able to tell her story to but when she meets a young man she could finally have found someone she could have forever. Saoirse does a good job in the role that showed her continues playing the teenage is good for here. (7/10)

 sairose

Gemma Arterton: Clara mother of Eleanor who works as many different things over the years to make ends meet, mostly prostitution but anything to protect them both from the people who are after them. Gemma does a good job here filling the role of determined minder over the long time span. (7/10)

gemma

Jonny Lee Miller: Ruthven the man who put Clara in the situation she finds herself in taking her from quiet job into prostitution leading her to enter into the world they are in now. Jonny does solid job as the original person that leaves them where they are. (6/10)

 

Caleb Landry Jones: Frank the boy that ends up helping Eleanor open up about her story but ends up putting himself into a situation where he will be in the middle of the war between the girls and the brotherhood who hunt them down. Caleb does a good job in this role that opens up a potential romantic angle. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: Byzantium has a support cast that tries to help the characters but also has people who are after them, they all mix nicely to make us want to see how it ends.

 

Director Review: Neil Jordan – Neil does a good job directing this modern day vampire classic. (7/10)

 

Horror: Byzantium has vampires but really isn’t much of a true horror films. (4/10)

Thriller: Byzantium does keep you guessing as you know that people are after them you just for to wait and see who. (8/10)

Settings: Byzantium uses the settings very nicely and even shows how the characters have been put into familiar location from the past. (8/10)

Suggestion: Byzantium is one to try I don’t think many casual fans will enjoy it but I do think it will appeal to fans of the vampire sub-genre. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The final twist is nice.

Worst Part: Does have slow spells.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Interview with a Vampire

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $8 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

Overall: This is a film that could end up going down as a favourite of some but it is too similar to Interview for my liking.

Rating 70