Sweet Home Alabama (2002)

Director: Andy Tennant

Writer: C Jay Cox (Screenplay) Douglas J Eboch (Story)

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas, Patrick Dempsey, Candice Bergen, May Kay Place, Fred Ward, Jean Smart, Ethan Embry, Melanie Lynskey


Plot: A young woman who’s reinvented herself as a New York socialite must return home to Alabama to obtain a divorce from her husband, after seven years of separation.

Tagline – Sometimes What You’re Looking For Is Right Where You Left It.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Sweet Rom Com


Story: Sweet Home Alabama starts as we see Melanie Carmichael (Witherspoon) a rising fashion designer in New York, dating the Mayor (Bergen) son Andrew Hennings (Dempsey) who proposes to her. This becomes massive news in the city, But Melanie must return to Alabama to get a divorce from her first husband Jake (Lucas) her childhood sweetheart.

Returning home Melanie gets to see how the friends and family have been living their own lives without her, how the people have changed and just how many people she left behind.


Thoughts on Sweet Home Alabama


Characters – Melanie was a small-town girl, who moved to the big city making herself the hottest name in the fashion industry, she gets engaged, but has one problem, she is still married back in her small town. She must face the people she left behind who show her how the simple life can bring them happiness, facing her husband to get the divorce to carry on with her life becomes more difficult than she imagined as she walks down memory lane. Jake Perry is the husband back in Alabama, he refuses to sign the divorce papers because he knows what that will mean, he grew up as the sweetheart of Melanie believing she is the one, while trying to make something of his life. Andrew Hennings is the fiancée in New York that will go against his mother’s wishes to marry Melanie. The rest of the characters mostly include the members of the small-town that Melanie has left behind, they all have their quirks.

PerformancesReese Witherspoon was the queen of the rom com at the turn of the century, this film shows why this was because she fits the film perfectly. Josh Lucas is good in his role and we completely believe him being from the small town. Patrick Dempsey does have a supporting role which he is good in as you can see him as the higher society guy compared to the small-town people. The rest of the cast get the laughs when you need them and give us the serious moments too.

StoryThe story here follows a woman that recreated herself to be a success, her past comes back to stop her reaching all the potential in this new life, which means she must walk down memory lane before deciding where her future is. This does show us how the past will always be important to your future and you should never forget where you came from. For rom com genre we know how this will play out and we can see the arc Melanie must go through during the film, the story will fill out the check list for the fans of the genre.

Comedy/Romance The comedy in this film comes from how the typical small-town locals are portrayed, we don’t get many psychical comedy moments. The romance leaves one woman needing to face her past love to be with her future love.

SettingsThe film is set in two main locations, the New York one shows us the new life Melanie has, while returning to Alabama we see the slower life she left behind, but loves deep down.

Scene of the Movie –
The wedding.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The small-town characters are slightly too generic.

Final ThoughtsThis might well be generic for the most part, but this works for the rom com genre which shows Reese Witherspoon shinning at what she always did best at the turn of the century.


Overall: Rom Com 101.




Blindspotting (2018)

Director: Carlos Lopez Estrada

Writer: Rafael Casal, Daveed Diggs (Screenplay)

Starring: Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Janina Gavankar, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Ethan Embry, Tish Campbell-Martin


Plot: While on probation, a man begins to re-evaluate his relationship with his volatile best friend.

Tagline – Change The Way You See.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Fantastic


Story: Blindspotting starts ass Collin (Diggs) is released from prison, going on his one-year probation, everything has gone smoothly and with 3 days to go, he has big plans, with his best friend Miles (Casal), on his trip home to make curfew, Collin witnesses Officer Molina (Embry) gun down an unarmed black man.

Collin is torn with what to do about the shooting knowing his background isn’t going to help his case, while Miles keeps getting himself into trouble with his wheeling and dealing ways, his future I put at risk with the final two days of his probation.


Thoughts on Blindspotting


Characters – Collin has just served a 2-month sentence now on a one-year probation, which has gone well for 362 days, he has a job and has kept his head down avoiding any criminal activity or clashes with the law. He has a plan for his time once his probation is over, which get put up in the air when he sees a police shooting in his neighbourhood, knowing that could bring down a dirty cop, he is torn between coming forward or keeping his head down. Collin represents the black man that has committed a small crime, doing his time and being written off by society even if he wants to turn his life around after learning from his mistake. Miles is the best friend of Collin’s that could easily still get him in trouble for everything he does, he represents the life that a white man doesn’t get treated the same as a black man for the same crimes, in the same neighbourhood. Val is the ex-girlfriend of Collin’s that is his boss, she didn’t support him when he was in prison even though she still sees good in hi, she is waiting for him to make the change. Ashely is Miles’s girlfriend that has put raising their child first, until he does do something wrong putting their child before their relationship.

PerformancesDaveed Diggs is truly brilliant in the leading role, we see how he is making his character be so conflicted with what he witnesses, he has the fear of being put into a bracket of a criminal, with the sequence in the basement being one of the stand out scenes and performances of the year. Rafael Casal is equally as top level here, where he shows and reflects the life that Collin could have still been living after never taking punishment for action. When it comes to the supporting cast everybody is great letting the two leads shine on the levels required.

StoryThe story here follows an ex-con needing to survive his probation, which becomes more difficult after he witnesses a police shooting and his best friend keeps getting him into trouble. The idea of following somebody going clean after prison is one that we have seen many times, around the troublesome neighbourhood or the one thought to be troublesome. Watching how he negotiates himself through his final couple of days shows just how difficult this can be in the wrong neighbourhood being black, because people will automatically see you as a generic criminal. We get plenty of social commentary on how image can place people into brackets, no matter what they are like, with the idea that both the black and white man were involved in the crime and only the black man gets punished. The reflection of the two lives, one which has done crime, one that has gotten away with one shows, how prison can help people learn to live better lives. We get to see how difficult it would be to be a witness to a crime by the law, how somebody can live in fear for just being black. This shows use just how big the problem between races is and just how people can’t learn to get on without judging people on their skin colour.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy in this film comes for looking at the new crazes in health that are outside the normal persons finances and Collin trying to keep his head down. The crime side of the film come from the world that Collin and Miles are living in, which is filled with wheelers and dealers who could put Collin on the wrong side of the law while trying to go straight.

SettingsThe film is set in Oakland which shows us just how the neighbourhood operates, we see most of the people there are poorer, we have racial groups that are together, while the police judge on skin colour, we also see how the richer people see it as being cool to move into the neighbourhood too.

Scene of the Movie –
Basement confrontation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Hard to find anything here.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily on of the best movies of 2018, the commentary on life in the poorer neighbourhoods and the racial divide comes through strong here showing just how the world is difficult if you are from the wrong neighbourhood.


Overall: Essential viewing of 2018.




That Thing You Do! (1996)

Director: Tom Hanks

Writer: Tom Hanks (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Steve Zahn, Johnathon Schaech, Ethan Embry, Charlize Theron


Plot: A local Pennsylvania band scores a one hit wonder in 1964 and rides the star-making machinery as long as they can, with lots of help from its manager.

Tagline – In every life there comes a time when that dream you dream becomes that thing you do.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review




Story: That Thing You Do! Starts in a small town in Pennsylvania in 1964, where four young men Jimmy (Schaech), Guy (Scott), Lenny (Zahn) and the Bass Player (Embry) are trying to make a nae for themselves and when they win a talent contest, the band known as ‘The One-Ders’ grab the attention of the state.

When Mr White (Hanks) discovers the band, he rebrands them ‘The Wonders’ and soon their hit ‘That Thing You Do!’ rises up the charts becoming an overnight sensation.


Thoughts on That Thing You Do!


Characters – Mr White is the music manager who takes over control of ‘The Wonders’ he knows how to make them bigger than they are and shows them how to go from small crowds to the main attraction to national success, however he makes sure he keeps them doing the song that made them popular over trying to make them do anything new. Jimmy is the lead singer of the band and along with his girlfriend has always tried to make the band their own style, always trying to find a clever snappy name for them. Guy is bought in last minute to become the drummer and soon becomes the man of mystery in the band, the one that pushes them to up the tempo of the band sound. Faye is Jimmy’s girlfriend that has supported the band from day one, she will follow them on tour.

PerformancesTom Hanks is a busy man on this film taking writing and directing too, he is great as the manager trying to make the band the next big thing, he shows he knows this side of the business with the character too. Johnathon Schaech, Tom Everett Scott, Steve Zahn and Ethan Embry as the band are good they have great chemistry together. Liv Tyler is good with her role slowly turning into the background roll in the film.

StoryThe story follows a young band that rise from small-town band to national success with their one hit wonder song that is filled with good feeling. We see how the band can be led down one the path that is best for their quick success over being shown about lasting success in a cut throat 60s music industry, where everyone wanted to become the next Beetles. The story is shown in a pace which shows the band just loving the success that is coming their direction while they have their own issues which must be put aside to keep the band together and we see how they must learn to handle success.

Comedy/MusicThe comedy in the film comes from the supporting cast where Lenny get the laughs with his enthusiasm about the band. The music is mostly the same song being played, but it isn’t one that gets annoying though.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the small humble beginnings the band has to just how big they becomes with each location becoming bigger to mirror their success.

Scene of the Movie –
That Thing You Do! The song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Bass Player not actually having a name.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good example of how bands can have one song which makes them massive only to see them struggle when it comes to trying to make a name for themselves in a new booming industry.


Overall: Hanks is just as great behind the camera as he is on front of it.




First Man (2018)

Director: Damien Chazelle

Writer: Josh Singer (Screenplay) James R Hansen (Book)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Corey Stoll, Pablo Schreiber, Christopher Abbot, Ethan Embry, Ciaran Hinds, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler


Plot: A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969.

Tagline – Experience the impossible journey to the Moon.

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Beautiful Biopic


Story: First Man starts as we see how Neil Armstrong (Gosling) can solve problems in flight with one of his test mission to the limits of the atmosphere going wrong before he saved it, we meet his family wife Janet (Foy) and children Richard and Karen, we see how they suffered a tragic loss of young Karen, which drove him to apply to become an astronaut.

We follow the astronaut training program which showed Neil’s abilities to solve problems even after seeing his friends around him lose their lives to the pursuit of space. We follow up to the legendary mission he will always been known for as he was the first man to walk on the moon.


Thoughts on First Man


Characters – These characters are and were real people, Neil Armstrong is always going to be remembered as the first man to walk on the moon, we see how this shy man managed to overcome his own personal tragedies to achieve this as we see how he reacts and deals with everything that gets thrown at him until he made history. Janet is his wife, she also suffers through the tragedies, she will give Neil all the support he needs to make sure he will keep his promises to come home, we mostly watch how she must keep the life for their children normal and calm. Edward Higgins White is one of the fellow astronauts, one that becomes close friends with him through the training and the program, he is the one that will offer a shoulder if Neil ever needed it. We meet many famous names from the astronaut programs each gets there moment, we know Buzz Aldrin was onboard Apollo 11 and of the other big named astronauts we know Jim Lovell from the Apollo 13 mission.

PerformancesRyan Gosling gives us a magnificent performance as the icon of astronauts, he shows us how shy, timid and genius Neil was, never making him a cocky man, this simple performance makes you understand each emotion he is going through. Claire Foy sets away from the small screen to give us a flawless performance as the wife who must remain strong, but dealing with anxiety of the unknown through each mission. The rest of the cast are great through the film, each actor gets to pay the respect to the man they are performing as.

StoryThe story here follows Neil Armstrong’s life from 1961 to his moon landing in 1969. We do have plenty of interesting aspects to his life, be it the battle to remain strong after his daughter’s death or the feeling of proving himself worthy of being part of the astronaut program. While these are all wonderful to watch, they do feel like they are being told, like, this is what happened here, then this, then this and so on. It never feels like a smooth story and the movie does make out that Neil was an excellent astronaut, but terrible PR man, he didn’t do anything stupid or risky, he lack charisma that other astronauts had, he was just the right choice for the job. The biggest warning you must have before going in, is that this does follow his life over the space program, yes, we do have parts of the space program and they are the most entertaining parts, but we also follow his life away from this.

Biopic/History8 years in the life of the most iconic man to go into space, we see his lowest point in his life, to the crowning achievement, nobody can ever take away from him. The history side of the film shows us the key moments in the space race, if you know the basics you will know these moments.

SettingsThe film recreates the settings brilliantly, be it the world around the space race, or the cockpits the astronauts get rammed into with little space for any freedom on these deadly missions.

Special EffectsThe effects are mesmerizing, when we are in space we are left stunned by the beauty of the views these men had. The film is also used to make it feel like it is shot for the same time the events took place.

Scene of the Movie –
Apollo 11

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many close ups.

Final ThoughtsAs a space race fan this manages to shed new light on the man who made history, it gave us brilliant performance, effects and shows us there was more behind the man than just the icon.


Overall: Must watch biopic.




Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – Vacancy (2007)

vacanyDirector: Nimrod Antal

Writer: Mark L Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Luke Wilson, Frank Whaley, Ethan Embry, Scott Anderson


Plot: A young married couple becomes stranded at an isolated motel and finds hidden video cameras in their room. They realize that unless they escape, they’ll be the next victims of a snuff film


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Tense Thriller


Story: Vacancy starts as Amy (Beckinsale) and David (Wilson) travelling cross-country, we see early on their relationship has been tested before learning the truth about what has happened the loss of their child. The two find themselves lost in the middle of nowhere with car broken down. With no other options the two spend the night in a motel run by Mason (Whaley).

The night for Amy & David is only just beginning as they find out they are in the real danger as they discover snuff tapes taken from the room and now they find themselves being the next targets of the killers. The two have to uses their brains to make it out of the situation alive by outsmarting the killers.

Vacancy really bottles down to one of the simplest of all the horror genres. Put two characters in an isolated location with nowhere to run against a group of killers which all works for the genre. Having the organised crime being used shows that the killers know what they are doing and careful plan their kills. Saying this I find it extremely annoying that we have what would be consider the couple somehow outsmarting the experienced killers. The build-up leaves us in a non-stop position which works for us as the audience throughout the film without being too believable.


Actor Review


Kate Beckinsale: Amy Fox is the wife of the couple, she is struggling after the death of their child having to take a cocktail of pills just to get to sleep. She has become distant towards David but now has to turn to him to save her. Kate isn’t as strong as we are used to in this role.girl

Luke Wilson: David Fox is the husband who is trying to keep his marriage together after the death of their child. He is putting in a big effort to save their marriage but seems to being coming up short every time. He does everything he can to make sure she is safe during the events of the film. Luke is solid in this role in a genre we haven’t seen him in before.david

Frank Whaley: Mason is the hotel manager who has been running a snuff film racket, he offers his guests a certain room only to have his crew kill them off. Frank makes for a creepy character in the film.manager

Support Cast: Vacancy has a supporting cast that only includes the fellow killers or victims.

Director Review: Nimrod AntalNimrod does a solid job directing this by keeping us on edge from start to finish.


Horror: Vacancy has good horror elements with two people trying to escape human killers.

Thriller: Vacancy does keep us on edge as the film is set over one night.

Settings: Vacancy keeps the couple in one location stuck in the motel area for one night with nowhere to run too.
Special Effects
: Vacancy has good effects when needed but would rather give us the tension.

Suggestion: Vacancy is on for all the horror fans to enjoy. (Horror Fans Watch)


Best Part: Tension building.

Worst Part: One couple brings down the whole ring.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $19 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

Tagline: Once you’ve checked in… The terror begins.


Overall: Horror that is easy to watch that is filled with tension.