ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – G – Gambit (2012)

Director: Michael Hoffman

Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (Screenplay) Sidney Carroll (Short Story)

Starring: Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Cameron Diaz, Tom Courtenay, Mike Noble, Cloris Leachman


Plot: An art curator decides to seek revenge on his abusive boss by conning him into buying a fake Monet, but his plan requires the help of an eccentric and unpredictable Texas rodeo queen.

Tagline – A fake masterpiece. The perfect plan.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Quirky, But Flat Comedy


Story: Gambit starts when art curator Harry Deane (Firth) and his partner The Major (Courtenay) who head to Texas in search for PJ Puznowski (Diaz) in an attempt to pull off revenge against his boss Shabandar (Rickman).

Harry has a perfect plan in his head one he thinks he can pull off, the problem comes from nothing seems to go as smoothly as he planned and Harry must go figure out how to get the money he wants from Shabandar.


Thoughts on Gambit


Characters – Harry Deane is an art curator that is tired of the abusive nature of his boss, he wants to get revenge and in his head he has a perfect plan. He remains confident in his plan even after everything seems to go wrong and we soon learn he is the one needing to become desperate. Shabandar is the boss who collects the rarest pieces of art, he is feared by his employees and knows how to get a deal done. PJ Puznowski is the Texan cowgirl that is being used by Harry to get the con done, she however seems to be larger than life full of bubbles which only makes the job harder than Harry has planned. Her character does feel a stereotype of Americans. The Major is the forger that has been working helping Harry make the money, he does worry about his friend’s decisions.

PerformancesColin Firth is fun in the leading role of this film, he gets to have fun in the leading role keeping a straight face through the comedy in the film. Cameron Diaz enjoys playing the generic American getting to poke fun at the stereotype. Alan Rickman as the bad boss is also good for his part getting to look at disgust at the people involved in the film. the problem with the performances comes from the characters not being a true as they deserve to.

StoryThe story follows an art curator that wants to get revenge on his employer and plans an elaborate plan to con him with his weakness, art even though not everything goes to plan. The story breaks the traditions of a con movie because usually we have an ultra smooth calm leading man, this time we have one trying to hold everything together to get the job done. This is a nice twist it does work, though with a heist movie we do like the confident lead to fill us with enjoyment. The villainous boss never comes off as evil either which again doesn’t help us want to see him get his. This is a problem that does go through the film a lot.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy relies on the use of innuendos which the first time are fun, though they become tiresome quickly, the crime focuses on the art sale which never feels like it isn’t going to happen.

SettingsThe film uses the setting of London to show how the businessman conducts himself through everyday life which only makes us see how PJ is enjoying the new country and lifestyle she is thrown into.

Scene of the Movie –
Security system.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Innuendos getting tiresome quickly.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the crime comedies that does miss more than it hits, which is a shame because it has an excellent cast.


Overall: Simple Crime Comedy.




Ben Stiller Weekend – There’s Something About Mary (1998)

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Writer: Ed Decter, John J Strauss, Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly (Screenplay)

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller, Lee Evans, Chris Elliott, Lin Shaye, Jeffrey Tambor, Markie Post, Keith David


Plot: A man gets a chance to meet up with his dream girl from high school, even though his date with her back then was a complete disaster.

Tagline – Warning: The guys who did ‘Dumb & Dumber’ and ‘Kingpin’ bring you a love story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Comedy


Story: There’s Something About Mary starts back in high school Ted (Stiller) is an outsider at school with a giant crush on the school beauty Mary (Diaz), he is lucky enough to get asked to the prom which only ends in disaster after an accident.

13 years later Ted still wants to know about Mary, he hires a private investigator Healy (Dillon) to find out about her, only for him to fall for her and he tries to get her using all the secrets he has learnt from spying on her, which drives Ted down to Florida to try and win her heart first.


Thoughts on There’s Something About Mary


Characters – Mary is the beauty woman that the guys are all attracted too, she is good-hearted helping the community including her brother, she however can’t settle on the right guy, attracting the wrongs one too often. Ted is the high school student that suffers an unfortunate accident on prom night, he never got over not knowing about Mary and sets out to learn about her 13-years later, he continues to have accidents in life, but is an honest guy. The nice twist on these two characters is that, Mary is the big sports fan while Ted doesn’t seem that interested in sports. Healy is the private investigator that is hired to learn about Mary, he falls for her and uses the information he has learnt to try and win her heart. Tucker is a friend of Mary’s that also loves her and will do anything to stop the guys dating her.

PerformancesCameron Diaz was the perfect choice for this role she has the looks which was important, but she shows us all that she has the comedic timing too. Matt Dillon as a creepy investigator works great too, this plays into his strengths in the comedy genre too, while Ben Stiller shows us just how good he is at playing to loveable loser figure, apart from his terrible fake crying. The supporting cast get their laughs too, which works well throughout the film.

StoryThe story follows multiply men that fall for Mary, they are going to try different plans to win her heart and certain ideas do work. This doesn’t paint the intelligent doctor figure of Mary very well, but we tend to focus on the guys plans over her decisions. Ted is the nice guy that mostly wants to make sure she is doing well in life only to become part of her life again, while others turn to lies to play into her favourite traits. For a comedy this story works very well, it will give you the laughs along the way even if the characters for the most part are turned into desperate people that will lie to get a woman.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in this film gets laughs throughout the film, certain people will be offended by certain material though. The romance shows how people will fall in love and how far people will go for love.

SettingsMost of the film is set around Florida, which gives us the sun filled background to make this easy on the eyes.

Scene of the Movie –
Learning the truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The depiction of mentally handicapped people.

Final ThoughtsThis is a funny comedy that does make us laugh more often than not, we have great performances from the whole cast and you will be happy to watch this again.


Overall: Enjoyable comedy.




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.




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.




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.