ABC Film Challenge – Romance – O – The Other Woman (2014)

Director: Nick Cassavetes

Writer: Melissa Stack (Screenplay)

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Kate Upton, Don Johnson, Taylor Kinney

 

Plot: After discovering her boyfriend is married, Carly soon meets the wife he’s been betraying. And when yet another love affair is discovered, all three women team up to plot revenge on the three-timing S.O.B.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Rom Com

 

Story: The Other Woman starts as we meet Mark (Coster-Waldau) who is just starting a relationship with businesswoman Carly (Diaz) but Mark also has a wife back home in Kate (Mann), he has mastered the art of covering his tracks but when Carly goes to surprise him she learns he is married.

Kate starts to have a break down with learn that her husband has been cheating on her and befriends Carly as they struggle with everything going on. They also find out that Mark has another woman on the side Amber (Upton) and the three meet and plan to get revenge on Mark.

 

Thoughts on The Other Woman

 

Characters/PerformanceCarly is a successful businesswoman that has always struggled with love but believe she has found the perfect man in Mark but once she learns he is married she tries to distance herself from the situation but ends u joining forces with the wife to get revenge on Mark.  Kate is the wife that has a break down once she learns he is cheating but soon works with Carly to get revenge. Mark is the husband that has been playing his way through the women, he believes he has everything under control but he is about to learn his lesson. Amber is the young woman that has been the latest choice for Mark and regrets being involved and joins forces.

Performance wise, Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann are good like you would expect in a form of romantic comedy Nikolaj most famous for Game of Thrones suits the character but does seem to struggle with the comedy side of his role. Kate Upton is similar in this too.

StoryWe have seen the husband cheating before in film but the idea of making the women team up to get revenge and expose a potential huge criminal case shows us something fresh in this idea. Sure, this does feel like it is targeted towards a female audience it can still be enjoyed.

Comedy/Romance The comedy does work on certain occasions and is one of the better ones of recent years if not the best while the romance side of the film comes from how the girls have been cheated on.

SettingsThe settings show the different lives the women live so Mark can get away for as long as he did.

Final ThoughtsThis is a rom com that is better than I thought but it still isn’t on the list on the list of my favourite.

 

Overall: Enjoyable rom com.

Rating

 

 

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Any Given Sunday (1999)

Director: Oliver Stone

Writer: John Logan, Oliver Stone (Screenplay) Daniel Pyne, John Logan (Story)

Starring: Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, Jams Woods, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, Matthew Modine

 

Plot: A behind-the-scenes look at the life-and-death struggles of modern-day gladiators and those who lead them.


Tagline – that women would eat her own children

Runtime: 2 Hours 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Football Movie

 

Story: Any Given Sunday starts as we follow a Miami franchise American Football team going through a losing streak, coach Tony D’Amato (Pacino) is now considered old school and after losing his star quarterback Jack ‘Cap’ Rooney (Quaid) to injury he is facing the pressure coming from the owner Christina Pagniacci (Diaz).

Turning to his third-choice quarterback Willie Beamen (Foxx) who struggles at first but soon becomes an overnight sensation as he changes his mind set when it comes to the fame. With the team’s form turned around, Tony is left with the difficult decision as the play-offs approach on whether to have his leader Rooney or the loose cannon Willie, along with the rest of the difficult decisions that goes around being a coach.

 

Thoughts on Any Given Sunday

 

Characters – Tony D’Amato is the coach of the Miami Sharks, he has been for years and has won plenty of trophies, now he is being tested and questioned about his ability as the game continues to evolve. He is given difficult decisions like any coach to make it through the season, the one which could be his last. Christina Pagniacci is the owner of the club, she has gained power after her father’s death and is determined to make her team great again, she is ruthless in business and challenges Tony unlike her father did. Jack Rooney is the legendary quarterback of the team, he does get injured which leaves him questioning his own decision to stay in the game. Dr Mandrake has been keeping injuries quiet from Tony putting the players heath and even lives at risk. Willie becomes the overnight sensation as the replacement quarterback, he starts as the hard working nervous player but thrown into the limelight he thinks he is the real deal turning his back on his loved ones not being able to handle the fame. Julian is a known mercenary player, he will work for the money but not harder than he needs to. We have such a big cast, we can’t go into all of them though, the characters all fit into the American Football world.

PerformancesAl Pacino was already an Oscar winner here so we know he is one of the best in the business, here he shows us why as he is brilliant in the desperate aging coach role. Cameron Diaz shows us all that she is a talent actress in this role where she gives us a dominate performance as the owner. Dennis Quaid is good in his role as the aging star. James Woods plays the role you could imagine him playing in this film style. Foxx makes for a great egotistical player that struggles to handle the fame. The whole cast looks like the person they are aiming to play in the film.

StoryThe story follows a fictional American Football team as they are aiming for the play-offs to regain the status as one of the elite teams in the league. We have the small details about what has been going on in the club, the coach questioning where he stands in the game, the new owner desperate to become a powerhouse in the game, the cocky player the aging veteran and even the medical question marks about what has been putting players lives in danger. This is a unique way of telling the story, it is one man changing the team, but instead we see how the team must come together to become legends in their own right.

SportsThe American Football sequences are the heart and soul of the action in the film, they are as brutal as the game is led to believe to be.

SettingsThe film takes us around the high life of the American Football scene, seeing how they go from quiet moments and the wild parties.


Scene of the Movie –
Pre-Game Speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many cuts.

Final ThoughtsIf you want to see how American Football world operates, this could easily be one of the most important version of the world.

 

Overall: A Must watch American Football Movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – V – Vanilla Sky (2001)

Director: Cameron Crowe

Writer: Cameron Crowe (Screenplay) Alejandro Amenabar, Mateo Gil (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Kurt Russell, Jason Lee, Noah Taylor, Timothy Spall, Tilda Swinton, Michael Shannon

 

Plot: A self-indulgent and vain publishing magnate finds his privileged life upended after a vehicular accident with a resentful lover.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Trippy Fantasy Thriller

 

Story: Vanilla Sky starts as we meet David Aames (Cruise) a playboy publishing mogul that inherited this from his father. He sleeps with beautiful women including actress Julie Gianni (Diaz) but always finds time for his best friend Brian Shelby (Lee). But, his life has been shattered thanks to a car accident which has left him disfigured hiding behind a mask in jail.

While waiting for his hearing David recounts the events which led up to his charges to McCabe (Russell). We learn how David meets Sofia Serrano (Cruz) the woman of his dreams but Julie shows her jealous side causing a car crash which leaves him broken and living between reality and dreams, needing to face his new life.

 

Thoughts on Vanilla Sky

 

Characters/PerformanceDavid lived a life where he could have any women living the life of luxury until this lifestyle catches up with him, leaving him disfigured and in jail, recounting the events between the two moments. Sofia is the new love that David falls for, she has all the chemistry he requires for something different being the motivation for David to fix himself. Julie is the jealous former lover that causes the accident, she is an actress that is filled with self-confidence but all that isn’t everything we have come to know.

Performance wise, Tom Cruise is great in the leading role, not being afraid to make himself slightly disfigured for this role. Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz are both are both also great in the roles of the two women in David’s life.

StoryIn a story that leaves you questioning nearly everything going on even after you believe you have just worked everything out, well this story will keep you all over the place. I do think this does enough to keep us guessing without becoming tiring and will completely satisfied by the end.

Fantasy/Mystery/RomanceThe fantasy world created comes through in the end and it will leave you shocked with the outcome of the film, getting to this stage we are left with a big mystery into just what has been happening with the romance being how David falls in love with Sofia.

SettingsEach setting is used well, but the truly special moment in the New York being empty looks fantastic.

Special EffectsThe effects that are used to create the disfigured looking David all come off great with the other effects all doing the required effect in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis film will test your mind which is always something we like to see in films, yes, it is a remake or reimagination but still it looks fantastic.

 

Overall: This was a true mind bender of morale decision making.

Rating

 

 

Christmas Holiday Weekend – The Holiday (2006)

Director: Nancy Meyers

Writer: Nancy Meyers (Screenplay)

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black, Eli Wallach, Edward Burns, Rufus Sewell

 

Plot: Two women troubled with guy-problems swap homes in each other’s countries, where they each meet a local guy and fall in love.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Feel Good Christmas Film

 

Story: The Holiday starts as we see Iris (Winslet) a wedding columnist who is madly in love with a co-worker Jasper (Sewell) but discovers he is now engaged to a fellow co-worker destroying what she wanted in life. We move to LA where we meet Amanda (Diaz) who finds out her boyfriend has been cheating on her.

Both women want to spend Christmas away from home and the stresses of their lives find themselves swapping homes for a couple of weeks. Both women find themselves like a fish out of water, with Amanda befriending Iris’ brother Graham (Law), while Iris meets composer Miles (Black) and her 90-year old neighbour Arthur (Wallach) who is just as lonely as she finds herself.

With the story unfolding the two women get to learn a new way of life they could never imagine and find themselves learning they could one day love again.

 

Thoughts on The Holiday

 

Characters/PerformanceAmanda is a movie trailer cutter who breaks up with her boyfriend and goes searching for a getaway from her life, she finds herself in England meeting Graham who shows her a new way of life. Iris is an English woman that has found herself trapped hoping that one day she will end up with one co-worker. She agrees to go on the house swap to LA where she meets a man whose getting older and feels forgotten by his work as well as a man in Miles who is going through the same problems is. Graham is a single father trying to balance any sort of relationship with a career and raising his children. Miles is a music composer for movies that offers friendship for Iris but connection on the levels,

Performance Wise, Diaz shows once again she is great for romantic comedies, with Winslet showing here that she can handle comedy, Law shows he is always good for this type of role and Jack Black steps up to go toe to toe with true A-listers.

StoryThe story is about love, how we these women go through a bad patch but will find a way to be stronger once they come through it. While it is all very much created to say there will always be a quick fix after a break up, we do get to experience the joy they go through. By the end of the film you will have said you enjoyed the journey we go through.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy isn’t too heavy but comes off when it needs to, with the romance side of the story tackling break ups, letting people go and most of all taking a chance on someone new.

SettingsThe settings are used well to show the different worlds both Amanda and Iris have come from and how they get used to the new lives they are living for two weeks.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great Christmas film that gives us all hope when it comes to love even when we think we might have lost it all when it comes to hope.

 

Overall: Enjoyable Christmas film for all to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Daniel Day-Lewis Weekend – Gangs of New York (2002)

gangsDirector: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian, Kenneth Lonergan (Screenplay) Jay Cocks (Story)

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Cameron Diaz, Jim Broadbent, John C Reilly, Henry Thomas, Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson, Gary Lewis, Stephen Graham

 

Plot: In 1863, Amsterdam Vallon returns to the Five Points area of New York City seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher, his father’s killer.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Breath-taking Drama

 

Story: Gangs of New York starts as ‘Priest’ Vallon (Neeson) leads an army of warriors into battles against Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting (Day-Lewis) to see who has control of New York City 1846. The battle is a spectacle with Bill coming out victorious with young Amsterdam witnessing his dad’s death. This is arguable one of the greatest opening sequences in film.

Amsterdam (DiCaprio) all grown up returns to New York in one mission vengeance but since he has been gone Bill has risen to higher powers than he left in. Amsterdam gets shown around by Johnny Sirocco (Thomas) who is low ranking member of the Bill’s gang giving Amsterdam a chance to rise through the gang to get closer to Bill ready for his moment to kill him.

Once discovered Amsterdam gets shamed but that only drives him to build his own army to take on Bill like his father did all those years ago.

Gangs of New York gives us one of the most brutal gritty revenge films of all time, but this is more than just a standard revenge film. There is a sense of honour between the men, the final third of the film where the true identity of Amsterdam is revealed to Bill could easily have been the end but Bill’s honour gets the best of him leading to the final battle. We do have a political side to this film that really does have moments that unless you know history could come off outside the main story we are interested in seeing. Overall this is one of those film that really is something special with how it is all made to give us an amazing fight scenes that feel real with every single swing.

 

Actor Review

 

Leonardo DiCaprio: Amsterdam Vallon witnesses his father death in battle against The Butcher as a child, sent away until he returns to New York as he carefully plans his vengeance against Bill. Amsterdam becomes part of Bill’s gang and soon finds himself as one of most loyal men by his side. Leonardo gives a brilliant performance in this leading role giving Daniel Day-Lewis a run for his money.amsteredam

Daniel Day-Lewis: Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting is the most powerful man in New York everyone be it friend or enemy shows respect for him as he takes whatever he wants. He is a man of honour as we see with how he handles Amsterdam’s father’s death. Bill lets Amsterdam come into his gang unaware of who he really is becoming a father figure to him. Daniel gives an Oscar worthy performance here where he only lost out this time around.bill

Cameron Diaz: Jenny Everdeane is an accomplished pick pocket who is one of the only people in New York that doesn’t have to answer to Bill because of the relationship through the time. She becomes the love interest of Amsterdam as they dream of a new life away from New York. Cameron shows that she can pull off the serious side of the film giving a great performance.jenny

Jim Broadbent: William ‘Boss’ Tweed is the man trying to run for control of New York on the legal side, he teams up with Bill to buy votes to show just how corrupt he really is. Jim makes for an ever so reliable supporting actor in the massive cast.

Support Cast: Gangs of New York has a massive supporting cast that has a string of well-known stars including Liam Neeson, John C Reilly, Henry Thomas and Brendan Gleeson to mention a few who all give fantastic performances helping the main characters in their goals.

Director Review: Martin ScorseseMartin is one of the best in Hollywood and this is one of his greatest pieces of work.

 

Crime: Gangs of New York puts us in the middle of a gang war trying to control the streets showing how they work together at times but against each other another.

History: Gangs of New York gives us a look at New York in 1846 while the characters are based on people it is the look of the film which is the stand out historical side of the film.

Settings: Gangs of New York recreates New York for the time making every single shot look like the actual time period in question.
Special Effects
: Gangs of New York uses brilliant effects to make every single swing in the battles seem real.

Suggestion: Gangs of New York is one to watch, it may well be long but one you really need to see. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Opening fight.

Worst Part: Slightly long.

Action Scene Of The Film: Opening fight.

 

Believability: Parts are others are fictional.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 10 Oscars not winning a single award.

Budget: $97 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 47 Minutes

Tagline: America Was Born In The Streets.

Trivia: Bill the Butcher has a scene with every main and supporting character in the film, a symbol of his vast influence in the Five Points.

 

Overall: Stunning gang story filled with magnificent fight scenes

Ratingcard