A Late Quartet (2012)

Director: Yaron Zilberman

Writer: Yaron Zilberman, Seth Grossman (Screenplay) Yaron Zilberman (Story)

Starring: Catherine Keener, Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mark Ivanir, Imogen Poots, Madhur Jaffrey

 

Plot: Members of a world-renowned string quartet struggle to stay together in the face of death, competing egos and insuppressible lust.


Tagline – No arrangement is more beautiful…or more complicated.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Performances

 

Story: A Late Quartet starts as we meet the world famous quartet, Juliette (Keener), Peter (Walken), Robert (Hoffman) and Daniel (Lerner) who are planning their next performance, as they like to bring their crowd something new each year.

When Peter is diagnosed with Parkinson’s he is left to make a difficult decision to face retirement, meaning he needs to find a replacement, which sees the rest of the quartet going in search for their own roles in the quartet, while deciding how they can carry on going.

 

Thoughts on A Late Quartet

 

Characters – Juliette is married to Robert and while being part of the quartet, she is going through her own problems after Robert cheats on her, she must figure out whether this choice of a musicians was worth it or not, as well as trying to reconnect with her daughter. Robert cheats on his wife Juliette as he must try to make amends of his error, while trying to improve his position within thee quartet. Peter is the one that becomes sick, he is thinking about retirement and while he is getting his treatment, he learns the rest are caught up in the middle of a relationship mess. Daniel is the most talented member of the quartet, he ends up making his own mistake in life which causes even more problems within the quartet.

PerformancesWe have a stunning cast here with two Oscar winners and another nominee, Keener, Walken, Hoffman all show why they are considered the best of the acting world, while Mark Ivanir and Imogen Poots brings us performances that can keep up with their successful cast mates.

StoryThe story here follows one of the most famous quartets in music, they have 25 years of history together, when the oldest member becomes sick, the remaining three must decide whether to find a new member, while dealing with their own personal problems which could bring about the downfall of the quartet. Sure, some of the relationship drama isn’t anything new, but knowing the couple must continue to work together shows how personal and professional lives can easily clash when it comes to being successful in this field. One side of the story we could have seen more from would be the music side.

SettingsThe film is set in New York a perfect choice for this quartet to be located and performing in.


Scene of the Movie –
The performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t get enough focus on Peter’s illness.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderfully acted drama that shows the lives of a quartet.

 

Overall: Beautifully acted drama.

Rating

 

 

Incredibles 2 (2018)

Director: Brad Bird

Writer: Brad Bird (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Catherine Keener, Eli Fucile, Bob Odenkirk, Samuel L Jackson

 

Plot: The Incredibles hero family takes on a new mission, which involves a change in family roles: Bob Parr (Mr Incredible) must manage the house while his wife Helen (Elastigirl) goes out to save the world.


Tagline – Back to work.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pixar Sequel Fun

 

Story: Incredibles 2 starts as the Incredibles are still trying to fight crime even if it is against the law, the latest mission sees them caught and needing to close down the program they are using. Winston Denvor and his sister Evelyn offer a chance to bring the superheroes back into the positive light, with Elastigirl being front and centre, leaving Mr Incredible to raise the children this time around.

As Elastigirl continues to fight crime and take on the mysterious supervillain known as the Screenslaver, Mr Incredible must learn how to deal with Jack-Jack’s new powers, which he is struggling to control.

 

Thoughts on Incredibles 2

 

Characters – Helen gets a chance to become Elastigirl in a hope to bring the legalisation of superheroes back for the public, she must leave her family to achieve this and relishes being in this role. Bob is Mr Incredible, but this time he must be the stay at home parent, which he learns to struggle with everyday problems that come with parenting and dealing with Jack-Jack’s powers. Violet and Dash must continue to learn their responsibilities as superheroes and not risk their lives like their parents do. Evelyn and Winston are the people that want to bring the superheroes back into the world, they are giving them a new PR make over which will the world accept superheroes again. Jack-Jack is the baby with new powers which will make him more powerful than the rest of the family combined.

StoryThe story here feels almost like a reverse of the previous film, with Elastigirl getting the chance to go back into the field only to come up against a supervillain with their own motivation to not want superheroes in the world anymore. We have a side to the story with Mr Incredible needing to stay home to look after the children which eventually tries to play into the idea that a husband and father couldn’t cope with the job a mother does with children, which does seem insulting. The biggest pot holes come from just not knowing the time between what happened last time and this film, the fact everyone has forgotten about Jack-Jack’s powers and all the random superheroes that are like the basic Suicide Squad side. If we are honest the story is easy to follow, it feels safe and wants to play into the different sides of the modern world.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe action involved in the film is good and gets to hit levels the live action superhero movies can’t do. The adventure takes our heroes on a new adventure against a new villain, simple and effective. The comedy is good with the Jack-Jack scenes being the highlight of the film.

SettingsThe film shows us the two different locations superheroes must operate in. one with normal life and the other where they are in the spotlight for the world to judge their actions.

AnimationPixar are always on top of their game when it comes to animation, nothing looks bad on a visual side of things which is all we ask from them.


Scene of the Movie –
Jack-Jack costume suit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not remember Jack-Jack has powers after the end of the first film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple and enjoyable Pixar movie, it will get laughs, it has a good story asking if we need superheroes, while being a nice follow on to the previous film.

 

Overall: Pixar sequel that hits well.

Rating

 

 

Oliver Platt Weekend – The Oranges (2011)

Director: Julian Farino

Writer: Ian Helfer, Jay Reiss (Screenplay)

Starring: Alia Shawkat, Hugh Laurie, Oliver Platt, Allison Janney, Catherine Keener, Leighton Meester, Adam Brody

 

Plot: The enduring friendship between the Walling and Ostroff families is tested when Nina, the prodigal Ostroff daughter, returns home for the holidays after a five-year absence and enters into an affair with David, head of the Walling family.


Tagline – Sex. Betrayal. Scandal. Make yourself at home.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Funny Family Drama

 

Story: The Oranges starts as we meet two neighbouring families, the Walling and Ostroff who are best friends, husbands David (Laurie) and Terry (Platt), wives Cathy (Janney) and Paige (Keener) and children Vanessa (Shawkat), Nina (Meester) and Toby (Brody) who all come back together for the first time in years for Thanksgiving.

This weekend goes wrong when David starts having an affair well a kiss with Nina which causes problems as each side when everyone finds out breaking all the relationships between everyone involved.

 

Thoughts on The Oranges

 

Characters – David is the head of one of the two families, he is in a falling apart marriage that sees him staying in the pool house, he is best friends with Terry which sees him jogging plenty of times a week. He gets involved with Terry’s daughter which sees his wife leave him, his friendship shattered and his daughter wanting to turn on him. Nina is the wild child daughter of Terry that has spent years away from home, she used to be Vanessa’s best friend and has spent her time exploring the world. she returns home after a bad break up and gets involved in an affair of sorts with David, this is partly because it is something new and partly to get at her mother. Vanessa is our narrator that is recalling the events, she is the daughter of David that has always planned for a future that hasn’t happened yet, she is the opposite to Nina with her life, not taking the chances she always thought would come her way, she does struggle to deal with new relationship mostly because her life hasn’t taken off. Terry is the father of Nina that is struggling to deal with the new relationship, not only because it is his best friend and his daughter, but ends up finding a new lease for life himself. Paige is the wife that moves out after David’s affair which sees her book up a full bed and breakfast as part of her plan to get back at him. Cathy is the interfering mother of Nina’s that always wanted to see her daughter happy and ends up trying to set her up more than she should.

PerformancesHugh Laurie stepped away from House with his role, he gets to continue to show that he is a talent actor in the leading role and once again showed that he does work very well with Leighton Meester who is also very good in her role. Oliver Platt, Allison Janney and Catherine Keener are staples of any ensembled cast showing they can get their moments in smaller moments in any film and Alia Shawkat gives us a performance which many people can relate to.

StoryThe story here shows us how mid-life crisis happen, they show us what would happen if a father started dating his best friends daughter. It sparks changes in everyone’s life showing how much the parents are getting older and not taking the chances they once thought they had and the young adults learn to take the chances they hadn’t found themselves doing. The story does pose the question about love and whether age should be a problem. We also get to play into the idea of the holiday period being chaos in America with the secrets of family can come out as the strain between them becomes more apparent. It is interesting seeing the effects on the affair on everybody which makes this movie more interesting to watch.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film fits in nicely, it isn’t designed to be a laugh out loud comedy, but have moments that will make you laugh. The romance shows us how an affair between a father and daughter of best friend can be nice to start with and soon show the truth about real feelings.

SettingsThe settings are New Jersey with two houses opposite each other showing us just how close the connection is between the two families.


Scene of the Movie –
Christmas drive.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nearly every character gets development with what happens apart from Cathy which is the only disappointment.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun romantic comedy that shows how one moment between an unlikely couple can easily change lives to go in directions nobody involved could see happening.

 

Overall: Happy relationship comedy drama.

Rating

 

 

Sicario 2: Soldado (2018)

Director: Stefano Sollima

Writer: Taylor Sheridan (Screenplay)

Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner, Jeffrey Donovan, Catherine Keener, Manuel Garcia-Fulfo, Matthew Modine

 

Plot: The drug war on the US-Mexico border has escalated as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border. To fight the war, federal agent Matt Graver re-teams with the mercurial Alejandro.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Excellently Shot

 

Story: Sicario 2: Soldado starts with a terrorist attack on American soil, Matt Graver (Brolin) is bought in to learn who is responsible for getting them into America in the first place, this leads him to the Mexican Cartels. Matt’s assignment is to create a war between the cartels.

Matt brings Alejandro (Del Toro) the best man back for the job which involves kidnapping Isabel Reyes (Moner) the daughter of one of the games, but when the release goes wrong the race to cover up the job is on.

 

Thoughts on Sicario 2: Soldado

 

Characters – Alejandro is recruited once again by Matt Graver to do an off the books job on the border of Mexico. He is the cold hearted killer that we met before, he goes on his own mission through the film which shows just how skilled he is. Matt Graver is the man the government turn to when they need to get a dirty job done, he is like a machine when it comes to decision making and knows to make contacts in his field. He has a much more front and centre role in this film. Isabel Reyes is the target they team goes after as a pawn in the battle between the Cartels. This isn’t the strongest character and we don’t know how often she is willing to use her father’s name. the rest of the characters we meet focus on the government making the decisions, the cartels and the small town smugglers which all come together for the final story.

PerformancesThis is a movie with two excellent performances in from Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin, these two show how talented they are and elevate their performances from the first film. the rest of the cast are good without taking away the spotlight from any of the two leads.

StoryThe story continues to show the war on the cartels in and around the Mexican border, it shows how the government is willing to create their own war to keep the other side out of their problems. The core of the story follows one mission to create a war in Mexico, we know the players in the game from the American side and they are unleashed to go further than before. There is a subplot about a teenager getting bought into the cartel to help with the smuggling, which is important for the story, but the build is very much out of the style of the rest of the film. if you like the dark, brutal side of the original then you will enjoy this one too, though I will warn there are some very difficult scenes to watch.

Action/CrimeThe action in this film is hard hitting, the shoot outs are brilliant and the explosion look as realistic as you could imagine. There is no turning away from the brutality in the action. The crime shows the American government breaking the law to fight the criminals at their own game which is where the film puts out the ethical question about what they are doing.

SettingsThe film uses the settings excellently, this helps with the shots we get that use the camerawork perfectly and show just where this war will be happening.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film show us just what happens when our characters get hit by the bullets flying around, the effects are brutal to watch.


Scene of the Movie –
The dust convoy

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Miguel storyline takes something away from the mission story.

Final ThoughtsThis is an excellent sequel to Sicario, it shows just how deadly the game of creating wars can be and just how dirty people will have to get to achieve this.

 

Overall: Must watch action thriller.

Rating

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – O – Out of Sight (1998)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Scott Frank (Screenplay) Elmore Leonard (Novel)

Starring: George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Catherine Keener, Steve Zahn

 

Plot: A career bank robber breaks out of jail, and shares a moment of mutual attraction with a U.S. Marshal he has kidnapped.


Tagline – Opposites attract.

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Stylish Crime Film

 

Story: Out of Sight starts as we see how Jack Foley (Clooney) a thief that finally gets caught and sent to jail, after working on his own escape Jack gets help from his best friend Buddy (Rhames) to escape, but get mixed up with beautiful US Marshall Karen Sisco (Lopez).

As the escape doesn’t go as planned Jack falls for Karen and the two from opposite sides or the law must put faith in which ever side of the law they want to fight for, before Jack heads off for his latest score.

 

Thoughts on Out of Sight

 

Characters – Jack Foley is a charismatic bank robber that gets his job done without anyone getting hurt, but this latest job ends up getting him caught and in jail. When he escapes he falls for the US Marshall that wants to trail him, while also wanting to get one big score done. Karen Sisco is an US Marshall trying to climb the ranks, when she witnesses the escape she becomes a hostage for Jack as the two fall in love, she must decide whether to give up her career or not to be with Jack. Buddy is the best friend of Jack that helps him escape, while being loyal to her religious sister.

PerformancesGeorge Clooney shows us in his leading role that he was all charisma whichever side of the law he is on. Jennifer Lopez fills her role very well, playing the US Marshall convincingly from start to finish. Ving Rhames completes the leading three stars and just like the rest he hits his role well.

StoryThe story here focuses on a thief who has spent time in jail that puts together a heist which could get him away from the life of crime, but when he falls in love with a US Marshall it puts everything in perspective. This follows the slick style of the heist movies where we see how things are unfolding before we see how our main character has planned things to unfold, this works nicely throughout the film and makes the story an easy to watch enjoyed movie.

Crime/RomanceThe crime side of the film works as a heist like movie, with the romance being between the two that are either side of the law.

SettingsThe settings show us the hot of Miami and the cold of Detroit as the two different worlds of crime meet for the heists to go down in.


Scene of the Movie –
Jack wanting to take a last stand.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too long for its own good.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun stylish crime movie with a twist of the romance angle that work feeling fresh and enjoyable.

 

Overall: Enjoyable crime adventure.

Rating