ABC Film Challenge – Romance – V – Very Good Girls (2013)

Director: Naomi Foner

Writer: Naomi Foner (Screenplay)

Starring: Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen, Boyd Holbrook, Ellen Barkin, Demi Moore, Richard Dreyfuss, Peter Sarsgaard

 

Plot: Two New York City girls make a pact to lose their virginity during their first summer out of high school. When they both fall for the same street artist, the friends find their connection tested for the first time.


Tagline – When we lose our innocence, we have to find ourselves.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Romance Between Friends

 

Story: Very Good Girls starts as we met two teenagers Lilly (Fanning) and Gerri (Olsen) who are spending the final summer together before they move onto college. With life problems they are facing they do have each other to keep themselves together and make a pact to lose their virginity before they head off to college.

The two friends both fall for the same street artist David (Holbrook) ad between them they both get a different life change experience through the summer.

 

Thoughts on Very Good Girls

 

Characters – Lilly is the quieter of the two friends, we follow her life with her parents fighting, her job before college and what it was like for her to meet her first love before college, she is trying to hold her family together while not telling Gerri al the details of her life. Gerri is the best friend of Lilly, she tends to do all the talking for the two, she wants David but this summer she must deal with her own personal tragedy. David is the street artist that both the girls fall for, he fits the mysterious figure that can draw the attention of the girls. We do have the parents through the situations the girls are going through too.

PerformancesDakota Fanning is solid enough for this role, she doesn’t do anything wrong, but compared to Olsen for age, there are little elements that show her lack of life experience for this film. Olsen is good she is showing us just capable of filling almost any role in a film here. Boyd Holbrook is good even if he does feel slightly too old for this role which sums up the weakness to a lot of the performances, the age of the leading three is too wide with them meant to be around the same age.

StoryThe story here gives us a coming of age tale between the two friends in their final summer before going of to college. The story does touch on real life situations which could need a best friend to be by your side. We get to see how love can push the boundaries of friendships and how hard life can be when you start to realize that college is the next chapter of life that will big the biggest step you will take and nothing will truly prepare you for it.

RomanceThe romance in the film shows us how two friends can have their friendship pushed to the limits when they both fall for the same boy.

SettingsNew York is a setting that I will always praise for the quality for any setting in the story of growing up, finding yourself.


Scene of the Movie –
The photo.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The two girls don’t seem to have any other friends.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple coming of age movie, it fits the check list well, has good acting but by the ending you will feel we needed that one more spark.

 

Overall: Simple Coming of Age

Rating

 

 

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St. Elmo’s Fire (1985)

Director: Joel Schumacher

Writer: Joel Schumacher, Carl Kurlander (Screenplay)

Starring: Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Jud Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Mare Winningham

 

Plot: A group of friends, just out of college, struggle with adulthood.


Tagline – The passion burns deep.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Look at Growing Up

 

Story: St. Elmo’s Fire starts as we meet the seven college friends Kirby (Estevez), Billy (Lowe), Kevin (McCarthy), Jules (Moore), Alec (Nelson), Leslie (Sheedy) and Wendy (Winningham) who are freshly done with college now working normal jobs and needing to learn life lessons.

The problems they face including getting used to a daily job, added responsibility, personal addictions, find their place in life and pressure placed on them from parent.

 

Thoughts on St. Elmo’s Fire

 

Characters – Kirby is the qualified lawyer still working in the local bar and hangout of the group of friends, he wants to impress a girl that he once took on a date. Billy is the musician that still wishes he was back at college with the party every night, struggle to find a job and stay sober. Kevin is secretly gay and in love with Alec, Jules sees it in him and he now faces a difficult moment in life about whether to come out or not, this character is way before its time and addresses the taboo subject in the mid-80s very well, even if it shouldn’t have been. Jules is the party animal that all the guys want a night with, she is building debt even with her job where she is dating her boss, planning to use the relationship to make the most of a future. Alec is the confident one of the group planning to marry Leslie even though he is womaniser and is there to try and help Billy find a job. Leslie is the one waiting before deciding whether to agree to marry Alec, she wants to go further with her career first. Wendy is from a successful family and is being forced into marrying well off to continue the family line, nervous through most encounters.

PerformancesThe performances from this cast are wonderful, we have a collect group of young actors that rose to fame in 80s each giving us great performances and it doesn’t feel fair to comment on just one or two of them by saying the same line over and over.

StoryThe story here shows the struggles that seven friends have with life and remaining friends after the ups and downs through life, career or personal issues. We do address important issues as the time unfolds, addictions, secrets and finding yourself. There was one storyline they were taking on which was big, but they pulled this one away for a safer outcome. The story does show how hard life can be after college and how things change suddenly which is always hard to get through.

RomanceThe romance in the film shows us how love can be hard with the drama of life mixing up in the middle, it shows how love can come from anywhere when you least expect it.

SettingsThe film keeps the friends in the same town where they have their local bar, opportunities in life and memories which will stick with them forever.


Scene of the Movie –
The rooftop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not going through with the important story angle.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful film that shows how hard growing up can be when entering the real world after college, friends being tested and life catching up with you.

 

Overall: Essential 80s viewing.

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

 

 

Indecent Proposal (1993)

indiDirector: Adrian Lyne

Writer: Amy Holden Jones (Screenplay) Jack Engelhard (Novel)

Starring: Robert Redford, Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson, Seymour Cassel, Oliver Platt, Billy Bob Thornton, Rup Taylor, Billy Connolly

 

Plot: A millionaire offers $1,000,000 to a young married couple for a night with the wife.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Little Drama

 

Story: Indecent Proposal starts as we meet young newlyweds Diana Murphy (Moore) and David Murphy (Harrelson) who have been high school sweethearts who believed everything was going to go their way but once the recession hits they find all their dreams shattered with money becoming the serious problem after they both lose their jobs.

Wanting to make the money quickly they head to Vegas where they learn the good and bad side of gambling industry where they lose their remaining money after making it big. Their fortunes change when they bump into high roller billionaire John Gage (Redford) who shows them the life of luxury.

Gage offers the young couple $1 Million for one night with Diana, this gives the couple an almost impossible choice but we are left wondering just whether they could come to a deal or not. Making the deal we get to see how David and Diana deal with the night and the consequences of this decision.

 

Thoughts on Indecent Proposal

 

StoryThe story does give us one of the ultimate moral questions that any married couple could face to solve their monetary problems. We also get to see how they could become broken once the night is done. We get to see how the love between two people can be tested to the extremes as they need to solve their problems. The major issue I have with this story is that this couple have set an unrealistic dream in the first place putting themselves in the mess they find themselves in which a normal person wouldn’t end up finding themselves in.

Drama/RomanceWhen you look at the romance side of this story you get to see how a married couple with all the love in the world can be led astray by someone catching their eye even if it is the money that draws them apart. We get to see how undying love with always prevail whatever you have been through.

Characters/PerformancesDiana and David are the typical Hollywood couple with their unrealistic attempts to make their life the dream even though their love is all they need. John Gage is a man who believes he can buy anything but must learn that he can’t buy the one thing he wants. When you look to the performances everyone is great here with Woody Harrelson has the broken man, Demi as the naïve women dreaming of more and Robert Redford as the business man who can get all.

SettingsThe settings show us the difference in the lifestyles of the married couple and the billionaire which are used brilliantly as we see how Diana gets to look at a different life.

Final ThoughtsI see this film as one of the interesting films from the past that could be done on so many other levels with new technology but can be enjoyed by all.

 

Overall: Good drama about love, money and decision making.

Ratingcard

 

 

Danielle Panabaker Weekend – Mr Brooks (2007)

logoDirector: Bruce A Evans

Writer: Bruce A Evans, Raynold Gideon (Screenplay)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, Dane Cook, William Hurt, Marg Helgenberger, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Danielle Panabaker, Aisha Hinds

Plot: A psychological thriller about a man who is sometimes controlled by his murder-and-mayhem-loving alter ego.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Surprisingly Good

Story: Mr Brooks starts by introducing us to Mr Earl Brooks (Costner) a successful business man winning the business man of the year award. Earl has a dark passenger called Marshall (Hurt) who wants him to follow his victim because his dark side is that he is a serial killer. Earl is happily married to Emma (Helgenberger) and has a teenage daughter Jane (Panabaker) who have no idea what he gets up to in his free time.

Detective Tracy Atwood (Moore) has been trying to catch this killer for years and thought the killer had become de-active. When the mysterious Mr Smith (Cook) comes to Earl wit photos of the murder he just committed Earl finds himself being blackmailed into taking Mr Smith on his next kill. Mr Brooks and Mr Smith make a mutual agreement that will have a murder committed in exchange for all the evidence.

With Brooks & Smith plan their murder we see Atwood dealing with power struggle in the police department as her divorce starts getting messy, as well as Jane secret being revealed leave Earl to question his addiction.

Mr Brooks follows us a serial killer who becomes our protagonist of the film rather than just a popular idea of a monstrous killer. We end up having a very slick film where we end up following our everyday killer, his blackmailer and a detective all trying to keep on step ahead of each other. I think this all works for the film because until the final outcome you are total guessing and won’t see what happens by the end. I will give a few negatives and that is following the slow moving interaction between Brooks & Smith. I think this will have to go down as a great story that really should be watched by all. (8/10)

Actor Review

Kevin Costner: Mr Earl Brooks is the serial killer who everyone believes is a mild man business man respected in the community and the city. He is happily married and has a grown up daughter. When he ends up making a mistake on his latest kill, he finds himself being blackmailed by a stranger who witnesses the crime, who he has to take on his next murder in exchange for the evidence. Kevin ends up going against the character we are used to him playing giving us a dark character behind his calm persona. (8/10)mr books

Demi Moore: Det Tracy Atwood is a troubled lady going through an ugly divorce as well as having a serial killer on the loose one that she previously caught. She is hunting down Mr Brooks but has only an idea on how he kills and nothing about his personal information. Demi does give us a good performance but I do feel her character needed one real interaction with Mr Brooks. (7/10)detective

Dane Cook: Mr Smith is the stranger who witnesses Mr Brooks kill a couple and blackmails him to take him on one of his murders, he is nervous about the whole situation but wants to get off with on the thrills. Dane does a solid job but I feel his comic side is desperate to come out through the film. (6/10)smit

William Hurt: Marshall is the dark passenger that keeps Earl on his toes, the pair have been together for years and he is easily the one that pushes Earl into the murders. William does have fun with his role because his character only interacts with one character. (7/10)marshall

Danielle Panabaker: Jane Brooks is Earl’s daughter who has just dropped out of college, she is also pregnant with someone who won’t be around for the baby. She wants to work with her dad but she is really keeping another secret from her father. Danielle does a good job but doesn’t get enough screen time to really explore her character enough. (6/10)jane

Support Cast: Mr Brooks has a supporting cast that only seems to get involved in our main three characters lives, each one tries to stop them getting most of their job done or becomes victims.

Director Review: Bruce A EvansBruce manages to use the three characters brilliantly to create a thrilling story that has plenty of branches too it. (8/10)

Crime: Mr Brooks puts our characters into a serial killer run world where we have one killer, one want to be killer and one character trying to stop them, even with another killer on the lose. (8/10)

Mystery: Mr Brooks keeps you guessing to what Mr Brooks’ plan will be when it comes to dealing with the situation he finds himself in. (9/10)

Thriller: Mr Brooks is a film that holds you attention throughout and just when you think you know what is going on you will be left surprised with the next twist in the story. (9/10)

Settings: Mr Brooks uses everyday settings to make the killer look like he is just part of the background of the lives we all could be living. (9/10)

Suggestion: Mr Brooks is one film that should be watched by all, I feel it offers enough for all the thriller fans out there. (Watch)

Best Part: Costner is great.

Worst Part: The driving scenes sometimes come off slow.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Dexter

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $20 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours

Tagline: There’s something about

Overall: Mr Brooks is one of the most underrated films of the year that really does deliver on every single level.

Rating 80