Endings, Beginnings (2019) Movie Review

Director: Drake Doremus

Writer: Jardine Libaire, Drake Doremus (Screenplay)

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Jamie Dornan, Sebastian Stan, Matthew Gray Gubler, Lindsay Sloane

Plot: A 30-something woman navigating through love and heartbreak over the course of one year. During that time, she will unlock the secrets to her life in a sudden turn of events and in the most surprising of places.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Dull Life Drama

Story: Endings, Beginnings starts as Daphne (Woodley) is looking to rebuild her life, having to move in with her sister Billie (Sloane) as she is dealing with the breakup. Daphne does draw the attention of two guys Jack (Dornan) and Frank (Stan) who both look to charm her, when she decides to start a relationship with Jack, only to learn they are friends.

We end up follows Daphne’s life for the whole year as she looks to figure out what she wants from her life.

Thoughts on Endings, Beginnings

Characters – Daphne has had a rough year, she wants to start fresh move away from the problems she had been facing, this doesn’t go as planned when she meets two new guys that she likes and gets torn in the middle of wanting her old life back or making a new life again. Jack is the man that Daphne chooses even though he is friends with Frank, he offers her something new until she finds out about the friendship leaving her feeling strange. Frank is the other guy that Daphne meets, he ends up offering a friendship, while deep down wanting more from life.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are not the strongest, they don’t really have much to work with, with most of Woodley performance being more about contemplating her own life, while the guys are just here as love interests.

StoryThe story here follows a year in the life of Daphne a 30-something-year-old woman who is at first trying to rebuild her life and then gets caught up in the middle of a love triangle. The problem with the story is that it is very slow, it never really gets going, nothing that happens seems to inspiring or showing the troubles she has been through, the decision making by everyone seems odd, not going anywhere either. The pacing is slow with not going in anyway with any pace, just minor events that just become repetitive.

SettingsThe film doesn’t have any notable settings, it will end up using the everyday settings where couples could be found.

Scene of the Movie – There is a dog in one scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing really happens.

Final Thoughts This is one of the most disappointing films you will see, it just doesn’t get going and ends up feeling bland for the length of the film.

Overall: Feels long.

Signature Entertainment presents Endings, Beginnings on Digital HD from August 7th

Liza, Liza, Skies Are Grey (2015) Movie Review

Director: Terry Sanders

Writer: Terry Sander (Screenplay)

Starring: Madison Iseman, Mikey Madison, Kristin Minter, Valarie Rae Miller, James Austin Kerr, Kris Park, Sean H Scully

Plot: A coming-of-age California motorcycle road trip set in the 60’s, combining elements of “Romeo & Juliet” and “The Odyssey”.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Life Experience Movie

Story: Liza, Liza, Skies are Grey starts in the summer of 1966, Liza (Madison) is seeing the changes in the world, with the draft taking her friends, and her relationship with Brett (Scully) is starting to get serious, with the pair deciding to go on a road trip on is motorbike over the summer, enjoying the open country.

As the young couple travel, they get to experience the best and worst of life, knowing these moments are going to be the ones they remember for years to come.

Thoughts on Liza, Liza, Skies are Grey

Characters – Liza is the teenage girl that is starting to experience the first stages of growing up in the 1960s, she want the perfect moments in her life, she doesn’t have the strongest relationship with her mother and wants to experience love with her boyfriend Brett, see the world that might not be there tomorrow, due to the uncertainty the future has with the problems in America. Brett is the boyfriend that has been forced around the country with family members, he will help Liza see the country being one of the honest guys in the world, that wants to give Liza the time of her life. We only focus on the two lovers, with the people in their lives, including Liza mother that doesn’t approve of the couple.

PerformancesMikey Madison does bring the innocent side to her role, showing us just how much it would feel to go further in life, with her chemistry with Sean H Scully who does bring us a bad boy with a heart of gold to life with ease.

StoryThe story here follows two young lovers as they look to escape their lives and have a summer they can remember together and experience life in a way they couldn’t have imagined. The story uses the backdrop of the uncertainty of the future in the 1960s America, with worries about nuclear war and the change environment people are living through, it shows why the couple take their chance, they know it would be their only chance to experience the world, before everything changes. It is a traditional love story one that will create memories that will be the most important part of their lives.

SettingsThe road trip setting helps create the backdrop which gives us spots of beauty along the way.

Scene of the Movie – Any scene that makes you want to stop and explore the landscape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The random thugs, don’t really make the threat they could have been.

Final Thoughts This is a fun life experience movie that shows us just how difficult finding love can make you want to break away from the normal life.

Overall: Enjoyable Road Trip Film.

The Last Movie Star (2017) Movie Review

Director: Adam Rifkin

Writer: Adam Rifkin (Screenplay)

Starring: Burt Reynolds, Chevy Chase, Ariel Winter, Clark Duke, Ellar Coltrane

Plot: An aging former movie star is forced to face the reality that his glory days are behind him. On its surface, the film is a tale about faded fame. At its core, it’s a universal story about growing old.

Tagline – The Best Is Yet To Come

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Touching Drama

Story: The Last Movie Star starts as an aging movie star Vic Edwards (Reynolds) gets offer a chance to be honoured at a film festival, which sees him being talked by his best friend Sonny (Chase) to travel to Nashville for the festival.

When Vic arrives in Nashville, he finds his driver is Lil (Winter) a young woman with her own troubles who is being the driver for her brother Doug (Duke) who is running the festival, only it isn’t the big festival he thought and he ends up using his time to go down memory lane.

Thoughts on The Last Movie Star

Characters – Vic Edwards has had a long career in Hollywood, he has however found himself growing old alone, knowing he doesn’t have much time left and agrees to attend a film festival, only to find it being a small self-funded one by fans, he ends up using the trip to go down memory lane and teach Lil the bigger part of life that she is wasting. Lil is the assistant to Vic for the weekend, she has her own problems, struggling everyday, fighting back against the world. She ends up learning more from Vic that she could imagine, to help her prepare for her life for the first time. Doug, Shane and Stuart are massive fans of Vic who have arranged the festival in his memory to give him a lifetime achievement award.

PerformancesBurt Reynolds is fantastic in the leading role, truly showing what it would be to look back on your life and see the best and worst from his past. Ariel Winter is wonderful too, showing how life can bring even the youngest members of society down, with the two showing a strong bond.

StoryThe story here follows an aging movie star that attends a film festival in his honour, only to use the time to look back on his life, the ups and downs, where he teaches a young woman about the mistakes she could be making and showing her just what life is all about. The story here shows us what is would be like to look back at life at any age, it shows us just how difficult it could be when you live in a life of regret and that you could find the right path in the most unlikely places. We also get to see what it would be like to be a celebrity that would take too much for granted, needing to learn to become more humble to their fans. We have a lot of heart in this film and it will show us that things can always get better.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the memory lane Vic goes on, it shows us just how much everything will mean to him, however small things might be.

Scene of the Movie – The festival speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have seen more about what the festival means to the fans.

Final Thoughts This is a touching drama about being grateful for everything you have achieved in life, no matter how big you become and shows what is will be like to meet the fans.

Overall: Wonderful drama.

Life With Music (2019) Movie Review

Director: Claude Lalonde

Writer: Louis Godbout (Screenplay)

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Katie Holmes, Giancarlo Esposito

Plot: A famous pianist struggling with stage fright late in his career finds inspiration with a free-spirited music critic.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Music Magic

Story: Life with Music starts as aging pianist Henry Cole (Stewart) has started getting crippling stage fright, not being able to return for an encore, Paul (Esposito) does try to help calm the nerves and when he meets music critic Helen Morrison (Holmes) he starts to talk about the thing he loves the most, music.

We follow Henry as he looks to rediscover his inspiration to perform, without the fears that have crippled his later years on the stage.

Thoughts on Life with Music

Characters – Henry Cole is the world famous pianist, he has performed for millions on the years, but has started to see himself dealing with stage fright and wanting to talk away form the spotlight, he has lost his desire to be in the world anymore, though he does have the desire to want to teach the next generation. Helen Morrison is a music critic that has been admiring Henry for years and finding herself getting the intimate time with her idol, helping him make his decision on his future. Paul is Henry’s agent that has always helped him through the difficult times, trying to help him put everything together for his performances, being there are a friend when needed too.

PerformancesPatrick Stewart is delightful in the leading role being everything you would expect from him, Katie Holmes is great too, as is Giancarlo Esposito as the agent who will give motivation.

StoryThe story here follows an aging pianist who is trying to cure his stage fright and find his motivation to return to the stage. This is an interesting look at trying to rediscover ones magic someone once had for their passion and the different people they might meet in life. While this is well acted, the story isn’t as engaging as it could be, focusing more on witnessing Henry looking at what makes life worth living, rather than taking on everything overly serious.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us the different locations Henry would have been to through his career, along with places where he could discover the magic he has lost.

Scene of the Movie – Daniel’s visit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too many shots of Henry wandering.

Final Thoughts This is a good look at seeing how someone could lose the passion for something they love and with Patrick Stewart, you know you have something special in the performance too.

Overall: Passion Growing.

Burden (2018) Movie Review

Director: Andrew Heckler

Writer: Andrew Heckler (Screenplay)

Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Garrett Hedlund, Forest Whitaker, Tom Wilkinson, Tess Harper, Crystal Fox, Usher Raymond

Plot: When a museum celebrating the Ku Klux Klan opens in a South Carolina town, the idealistic Reverend Kennedy strives to keep the peace even as he urges the group’s Grand Dragon to disavow his racist past.

Tagline – Only love can drive out hate.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Important Message

Story: Burden starts as we head to a small South Carolina town, a place where the Ku Klux Klan has been operating with Tom Griffin (Wilkinson) being the leader of the Klan, the town does have a black Reverend Kennedy (Whitaker) who has been trying to bring change to the mindset of the locals to be equal to everyone, only for his plans to become shattered when Tom opens a museum for the Klan.

When one of the klan members Mike Burden (Hedlund) starts dating local woman Judy (Riseborough), he finds him allegiance to the klan being questioned, with the tension between both sides rising in the town.

Thoughts on Burden

Characters – Mike Burden is a member of the KKK, he is involved in opening the museum, which does build up the tension between the groups in the town, he starts to date a local woman, which sees him needing to refocus and see the mistakes in his past, turning to a black reverend for help to live a better life, even though the KKK start to turn on him. Jude is the local mother that works in the local store to make sure her child gets food, she doesn’t get involved in the problems in the town, she will always treat everyone equal, which sees her wonder if Mike can change. Reverend Kennedy is the black man that is trying to bring equality to the town, he has been against the KKK actions for years and is left needing to overcome a new problem, while being willing to offer former members a chance to redeem themselves. Tom Griffin is the leader of the KKK chapter in the town, he lets and encourages the members to target black people for violence, looking to start up his own war in the town

PerformancesWe do have a strong cast with Forest Whitaker being the star of the cast, he brings us the character with the biggest struggle to go through, while Garrett Hedlund brings to life the redemption arc character. Andrea Riseborough does well in the supporting role, while Tom Wilkinson makes us hate his character with ease.

StoryThe story here follows a member of the KKK that learns the errors of his way and looks to correct his mistakes, even if it means he is left with nothing, with the only person that will help him, being a black reverend that he was once assigned to murder. This is based on the real person that went for a redemption, which is all fair enough to see somebody better themselves, only we don’t get into enough of the war between the two sides in the town, it almost seems like the more important part of the story only it ends up being on the backburner through the film. We do have the world created well, showing how everyone involved is struggling with everyday life and needs help, which is why they have created the groups we see both sides involved in.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us that both sides are struggling to make ends meet, they are all on the poverty line.

Scene of the Movie – The redemption.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough focus on the bigger issues going on here.

Final Thoughts This is a strong redemption storyline, only it fails to show the true battle between the KKK and the black members of the town who are always being the victims of their actions.

Overall: Redemption 101.

Signature Entertainment presents Burden on DVD & Digital HD from July 6th