ABC Film Challenge – Romance – C – Chalet Girl (2011)

Director: Phil Traill

Writer: Tom Williams (Screenplay)

Starring: Felicity Jones, Ed Westwick, Bill Nighy, Brooke Shields, Bill Bailey, Tasmin Egerton, Sophia Bush


Plot: Former skateboard champion Kim wants to make more money after her mother’s tragic death. She joins the elite posh servicing company, which sends her off to Austria.

Tagline – How to marry a billionaire.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Sweet, Delightful and Enjoyable


Story: Chalet Girl starts as we meet Kim (Jones) a skateboarding icon that has vanished from the circuit following the death of her mother, working in a burger restaurant caring for father Bill (Bailey). Needing to make more money Kim takes a chance to work as a chalet girl for an elite posh household in Austria, giving on the basic training from fellow girl Georgie (Egerton), she gets to start a new direction.

The family includes father Richard (Nighy) that is willing to give anyone a chance, his son Jonny (Westwick) who is happy to accept Kim, his girlfriend Chloe (Bush) and mother Caroline (Shields) are quick to judge. Over her time in the slopes Kim finds that she is a natural snowboarder and learns to love this new life, but struggles to shake her own demons.


Thoughts on Chalet Girl


Characters – Kim is a common English girl whose talents are great for home life and is now hiding from his potential from the world after the death of her mother. She has always been safe even though her skateboarding career doesn’t seem so safe, she takes a job she clear would never fit in around the clients, she soon learns that she is a natural snowboarder, but will need to overcome her past nightmares to continue her life. Jonny is one of the household that visit, he catches Kim’s attention, but has a girlfriend, he is open to giving Kim a chance in this world even if she isn’t from the posh background like the normal girls they get. Richard is the owner of the house, he welcomes any help as long as they can do the job without any problems.

PerformancesFelicity Jones broke onto the scene with this role, she is fantastic as the common girl, never letting her performance look glamorous and making it easy to connect to her real-life issues. Ed Westwick is good in his role looking the part of the rich attractive guy. Bill Nighy and the rest of the supporting cast are all great through the film with Bill Bailey does get the most laughs.

StoryThe story follows a young girl about to take on adulthood with her first long-term trip away from home, she must learn how the high life live, while battling her own past which haunts her to this day and become the star in the sport she never knew she had the talent for. This is one of the strongest points in this movie, the other side of the film is watching how she falls in love with a guy from this other world, which I feel takes away from just how important her journey needs to be. For a popcorn rom com this is a by the book story that can be enjoyed and doesn’t seem to go in any direction you wouldn’t imagine it going.

Comedy/Romance For a comedy this gets plenty of laughs from the whole cast, while romance side of the film is by the book, but does take away from the bigger story.

SettingsThe film takes Kim from start in her normal common life, to live a life she had never imagined in Austria.

Scene of the Movie –
Snowboard run.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The commentator for the snowboarding event.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable rom com that does have a deeper meaning for our leading lady Kim, this will leave you with a smile on your face and can be enjoyed by all.


Overall: Leaves you will a smile on your face.




A Monster Calls (2016)

monsterDirector: J.A. Bayona

Writer: Patrick Ness (Screenplay) Patrick Ness (Novel)

Starring: Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Ben Moor, James Melville, Liam Neeson


Plot: A boy seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mother’s terminal illness.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Emotional Knock Out Punch


Story: A Monster Calls starts as we meet Conor (MacDougall) a boy who is dealing with his mother’s (Jones) terminal illness by having to take care of himself while still attending school where he finds it hard to concentrate.

Conor’s night gets interrupted by a tree monster (Voiced by Neeson) who has come to tell Conor three stories in exchange for one from Conor. With his mother’s condition only getting worse his grandma (Weaver) wants to offer him a place for when the worst happens.

As the story continues we see how Conor must deal with a change in his life that will be something no child should have to go through as he learns one of the hardest lessons in life.


Thoughts on A Monster Calls


StoryThe story here is clear for everyone watching, this is one family a son, mother, grandmother and dad dealing with the impending death of a loved one. We get to see how Conor the son deals with everything in his own way that means he doesn’t get punished for anything, we get to see how the mother must stay strong for her son until the very end and how the grandmother must deal with the upcoming death of her daughter while being the only one there for grandson. This will make you cry it is as simple as that because his is one of the hardest hitting emotional punches you will ever receive.

Fantasy We are thrown into a fantasy world that Conor creates to help him deal with the tragic events that are happening within his life, we are left to decide for ourselves which side of the story is real or not with the fantasy element too.

Characters/PerformanceConor is a character that we could see in so many situations when a parent is terminally ill, he struggles to find his place when he knows his future but can’t face it. When we look at the adults we get to see the struggling mother with her health, the father who isn’t around and the grandmother who doesn’t really know how to act because she will be losing her daughter but needing to be strong for her grandson. The tree monster is a great character in its own right, even if it is created to help Conor deal with the problems in his life.

When you look at the performance youngest Lewis MacDougall is brilliant in this role going through the full range of emotions while the bigger name actors let him take the centre stage.

SettingsThe settings used make us feel like this is just a normal family that has had to deal with its ups and downs but now it will be taking on the biggest down. We don’t get any iconic settings but we get everything we need to feel the pain the characters go through.

Special EffectsThe special effects here are brilliant making us fully believe there is in fact a monster with Conor helping him through this difficult time.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most heart-breaking films of the year but shows just how difficult the situation would be for a young boy.


Overall: Bring your tissues to this film that will leave you emotional exhausted by the end.




True Story (2015)

trueDirector: Rupert Goold

Writer: Rupert Goold, David Kajganich (Screenplay) Michael Finkel (Book)

Starring: Jonah Hill, James Franco, Felicity Jones, Maria Dizzia, Ethan Suplee, Conor Kikot, Charlotte Driscoll, Stella Rae Payne, Rbert John Burke


Plot: When disgraced New York Times reporter Michael Finkel meets accused killer Christian Longo – who has taken on Finkel’s identity – his investigation morphs into a game of cat-and-mouse.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Slow


Story: True Story starts as we meet Michael Finkel (Hill) who has been working for the New York Times for years and has risen up the ranks but his latest story leaves him disgraced. Searching for a new story which could bring him back into the spotlight he gets drawn into the story of Christian Longo (Franco) who claimed to be him after killing his family.

Michael hears the story and starts to write a book on the events while Christian has to wait for his court case but this soon becomes a battle of the two minds who try to prove the truth.

True Story gives us a film that is filled with so much potential but because it is based on the true story it loses all the twists it could have. I do feel we could have had more but by the end it is just something we have seen before and sadly just comes off very slow and not shocking one little bit.


Actor Review


Jonah Hill: Michael Finkel is a journalist who has become disgraced for fake evidence in a story. looking to get back into work he finds out about a killer who used his name while being arrested and this story could give his career the second chance. Jonah is good but never reaches the levels we know he is capable off.

James Franco: Christian Longo is being charged for killing his family but for some unknown reason he gave Michael’s name when arrested. Christian becomes friends with Michael as he tells his story but is he just trying to get off the charges or does he really need help? James is good but like Jonah is capable of much better.

Felicity Jones: Jill Barker is the wife of Michael who is supporting his through his transition between jobs and his interactions with Christian. Felicity is solid but doesn’t get true screen time to make the impact her character could have got.

Support Cast: True Story doesn’t have the biggest supporting cast but the ones we have are just involved with the final story.

Director Review: Rupert GooldRupert gives us a slow moving film that lacks the moments that makes us go wow which this story needed.


Crime: True Story does put us into the middle of a crime story where we have to decide ourselves if Christian is guilty or not.

Mystery: True Story gives us a mystery to solve if it wasn’t Christian but never really gives us a chance to solve anything else.

Settings: True Story keeps the settings within the ones you would expect a court case and interview with a potential murder to be held.

Suggestion: True Story is a real slow burner of a film which just doesn’t get started before it finishes. (Try It)


Best Part: Hill and Franco do work well together.

Worst Part: Too slow really.


Believability: Based on a real story.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline: Some stories are beyond belief


Overall: This films lacks the moments these style of films need to reach all of the potential behind them.




Rogue One (2016)

rogueDirector: Gareth Edwards

Writer: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy (Screenplay) John Knoll, Gary Whitta (Story)

Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen


Plot: The Rebel Alliance makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Franchise Filling


Story: Rogue One starts Galen Erso (Mikkelsen) and his family hiding on a planet from the Empire with Orson Krennic (Mendelsohn) hunting them down. Jyn (Jones) rescued by Saw Gerrera (Whitaker) grows up to be captured by the imperial guards.

With Jyn broken out of an Imperial labour prison by the rebels who want to use her to find her father who could be working on the Deathstar. Cassian Andor (Luna) is leading an attempt to stop the final preparation of the Deathstar with the connection with Saw Gerrera being important to finding her father.

What follows is the adventure before the saga begins, as the unlikely rebels must steal the plans for the Deathstar to stop the empire from rising to complete power in the universe.


Thoughts on Rogue One


StoryThis is the prequel to the loved trilogy that is actually a sequel to the disliked trilogy. We only get a snippet into the world of Star Wars with mentions of the force but nothing much going on around the force which is a good plus. This is does feel like a darker story to anything we have seen before with it feeling like a gritter side to the battle rather than the lightsabre action we are used too. Now I don’t want to be a negative person but if this was the first story in the saga I feel it wouldn’t be up to scratch with where the franchise goes, but if this was just a standalone space film it would feel empty of the final impact needed.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is all grand and what you would expect from the Star Wars universe with the adventure being something we are also used to seeing. The sci-fi world is all fine even though the film tries hard to stay serious and down to Earth throughout.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters do all feel like they are from the middle of a rebel fight all coming from different worlds to fight which is all good, the lead character Jyn well she is strong but she is no Rey so don’t go in there expecting a character that strong. The most annoying character to me was voiced brilliantly so nothing against Alan Tudyk but the robot character felt like it had been stolen from Interstellar’s Tars.  When it comes to the performances everyone does a good job throughout so I can’t complain or criticise them in anyway.

SettingsThe settings do all feel gritter making us feel like we are in the war without the force powers going on later in the saga but we do have too many planets to keep on top of which are relevant to later chapters in the story.

Special EffectsYou can’t fault any of the special effects because it is all brilliant like you would expect from a film of this reputation.

Final ThoughtsStretching the universe once more filling in the gaps that didn’t need filling to cover up the wait until the next chapter in the main saga. This is an easy watch but in the end, will struggle to make the top 3 of any Star Wars fans list.


Overall: Franchise filler that didn’t need to be made that doesn’t capture the spirit of this franchise.




Inferno (2016)

infernoDirector: Ron Howard

Writer: David Koepp (Screenplay) Dan Brown (Novel)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Omar Sy, Irrfan Khan, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ben Foster, Ana Ularu, Ida Darvish


Plot: When Robert Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Dr. Sienna Brooks, and together they must race across Europe against the clock to foil a deadly global plot.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Good Addition to the Franchise


Story: Inferno starts as we follow the charismatic preacher Bertrand Zobrist (Foster) who has been preaching about how the human race has been over populating the world and that ‘Inferno’ is the cure but his beliefs have got him in trouble leading him to have only one way out suicide.

We move to meet Robert Langdon (Hanks) who has been through a traumatic experience which has left him with amnesia waking up in hospital. Suffering nightmare visions Robert discovers he was being in hospital because of a gunshot and people are still trying to kill him, teaming up with his doctor Sienna Brooks (Jones) the two must unlock his mind.

On the run from the police, World Health Organisation and an organisation run by Harry Sims (Khan) with both Christoph Bouchard (Sy) and Vayentha (Uaru) both looking to cover up what looks like a potential viral outbreak. Can Langdon remember why he is in Florence before it is too late and save the world from the Inferno that could kill half the world’s population.

Inferno is the latest chapter of the Robert Langdon adventure in which he must use ancient clues to solve a mystery that could cull half the world’s population. This is a brilliant choice for a villain’s motivation because the world is suffering from an overpopulation problem and using this gives us the situation which would have people to support his motivation. The story keeps us guessing as to which side of the choice everyone who is hunting Langdon is on and this moves between characters a lot through the film.

Tom Hanks is as always is a good lead without truly excelling like other films this year as he is a good narrator style character which Langdon comes off as. Felicity Jones gets to have the trademark fun sidekick whose characters gets to live her dream of working with Langdon on a puzzle solving mission even with an extra dimension to her decisions. The rest of the characters hunting Langdon come off average with the film jumping between who is good or bad too often. Ben Foster is the shining light of this film even with most of his scenes being flashbacks or video recordings but his character is one of the most interesting villains in years.

This is the first of the instalment that I haven’t read first and while it does keep changing who we are meant look at as the good characters it is the step towards a much bigger threat which makes this film all the more interesting.


Overall: Twist filled addition to the complex historical charged mystery thriller