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.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – R – The Right Stuff (1983)

Director: Philip Kaufman

Writer: Philip Kaufman (Screenplay) Tom Wolfe (Book)

Starring: Sam Shepard, Scott Glen, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward, Barbara Hershey, Kim Stanley, Veronica Cartwright

 

Plot: The story of the original Mercury 7 astronauts and their macho, seat-of-the-pants approach to the space program.


Tagline – The spectacular story of America’s first astronauts

Runtime: 3 Hours 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Story, Too Long a Film

 

Story: The Right Stuff starts as America is trying to break the sound barrier and not having much success with their men crashing, they turn to Chuck Yeager (Shepard) who excels behind the stick of the plane, soon fellow pilots Gordon Cooper (Quaid) and Gus Grissom (Ward) prove they can hang with Chuck.

When Russia make it into space, the program changes with celebrity pilot John Glenn (Harris) and hot shot pilot Alan Shepard (Glenn) joining forces to take on the race to space as the men from different backgrounds try to prove they are the right men for the mission.

 

Thoughts on The Right Stuff

 

Characters – Chuck Yeager is the pilot that breaks the sound barrier for the first time, he is always going to try to beat any records that are being beaten, though he doesn’t go into the Mercury 7 program. He may well be the best of all of the pilots involved in this story. Alan Shepard is the military man through and through, he likes to take things lighter than the rest and is the first to be selected to go in the test flight. John Glenn is the celebrity pilot that is the clear candidate for the first mission into space, he has the best experience with dealing with press, he is by the books and doesn’t want to take things as lightly as the rest of the candidates. Gordon Cooper is the youngest of the candidates he has always go out his way to improve himself, even if his wife doesn’t like the idea of his job. Guy Grissom completes our main pilot group as the one who wants to use his new position to get more attention and is involved in one of the most unexplained errors o the missions. We do get to meet the wives who have to deal with the press invading their privacy through each mission and in constant worry about their husbands.

PerformancesWe have a brilliant cast here, with Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid and Fred Ward all showing us both sides of the pilots turned astronauts as they were willing to go through the punishment and personal difficulties to become the men history will remember.

StoryThe Space Race was a story that took over America in the 60s it is easily one of the most interesting moments in modern history because of the extremes people were going to go to, to make this happen. We follow the training that the men went through, the risks that were put up to make history and the frustration of the Russians beating them over nearly accomplishment. This is easily one that will appeal to anybody who is a fan of the space race, this will give you a story you will know, but will get to enjoy unfold, if you didn’t know it, you will learn the sacrifices they took. The only problem with the story is the length of the film being over 3 hours, we don’t need the film to be that long to tell the same story.

Adventure/BiopicThe adventure behind this story comes from the real risks the men went through to become names in history, which give us the biopic side of everything too, we have the two sides working hand in hand to tell us the moment in history that changed the space race.

SettingsThe film shows us the settings which are mostly military bases and labs where the work must take place in, it is the shots from the air which show us just how heavenly space travel could be for the men involved.


Scene of the Movie –
Chuck’s new plane.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too long for the story it is telling.

Final ThoughtsThis is an incredible story of what these men went through, it shows us just how intense the space race was and the powerhouse performances helps, the only weakness is the length of the film.

 

Overall: Space Race fans must watch.

Rating

 

 

Uncommon Valor (1983)

Director: Ted Kotcheff

Writer: Joe Gayton (Screenplay)

Starring: Gene Hackman, Robert Stack, Fred Ward, Reb Brown, Patrick Swayze, Harold Sylvester

 

Plot: Ten years after his son went M.I.A. in Vietnam, U.S. Marine retired Colonel Jason Rhodes assembles a private rescue team to find Americans held in P.O.W. camps in Laos.


Tagline – Seven men with one thing in common.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good War Movie

 

Story: Uncommon Valor starts when Col Jason Rhodes (Hackman) recruits for Vietnam soldiers Wilkes (Ward), Blaster (Brown), Sailor (Cobb), Johnson (Sylvester), Charts (Thomerson) and son of a mission in action soldier Kevin Scott (Swayze) to go on a mission in Laos, to free the soldiers in a prisoner of war camp believed to be controlled by the former Vietnamese soldiers.

First he must get them back into shape, before taking them on this mission which could break the bonds that are being rebuilt between the countries and go against the men’s wishes. This is a life or death mission that could be for the right reasons, but deadly for those involve.

 

Thoughts on Uncommon Valor

 

Characters – Col Jason Rhodes had to eave his son in Vietnam while escaping the enemy, never giving up hope of finding his son alive, her learns of a prisoner of war camp and puts together a team to rescue those prisoners and return them to his family, what is a broken man inside but a determined one on the outside we have a leader that will put this team together. Wilkes is the member of the team, still suffering from the nightmares of what happened to him, maybe the deadliest member of the unit, he will be the one to watch out for through the film, the rest of the unit have their strengths and weaknesses which helps bring them together to be the full unit.

PerformancesGene Hackman was always a brilliant choice in a leading role, this is no different because he can control the people well, while also being able to show of his strengths as an actor. Fred Ward shows us a great performance in his supporting role, while Patrick Swayze comes well in this film, he is the rookie character and working in this role we see his strengths too.

StoryThe story came out when people were still feeling the effects from the Vietnam war, American families were not complete and loved ones were still unaccounted for, this story shows us just how far soldiers would go for a loved one with the unit they were close to during the war. While the story is good it does play into what you will expect with an American group of soldiers being better than anyone else, which entertains throughout.

Action/WarThe action is mostly saved for the finally, which does feel safe with everything and is filled with war themed battle going on.

SettingsThe film keeps us in a couple of locations, first the training camp to prepare for the battle, then the mission to the location before the final battle, this works for the film, we don’t need to see more or less from the settings.


Scene of the Movie –
Final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is more of America to the rescue.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good war film that plays everything safe and makes us believe that the war wasn’t over on the first date believed, it was the prisoners of war that still needed rescuing from the impending fates.

 

Overall: War fans will enjoy this one.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Tremors 2 Aftershock (1996)

castin card

 

Plot: Earl Bassett, now a laid-back living legend, is coaxed by the Mexican government into hunting and exterminating the Graboids that are threatening an important oil-refinery. But no amount of explosives could prepare him for what the worms have in store.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Sequel

 

Story: Tremors 2 Aftershock starts as we meet Earl (Ward) alone now an ostrich farmer, he gets approached by Senor Ortega (Tubert) who has been having problems with the graboids in Mexico, along with huge fan Grady (Gartin) gets offered $50,000 per graboid.

Travelling down to Mexico Earl & Grady team up with geologist Kate Reilly (Shaver) to go graboid hunting and they find themselves picking plenty of graboids. When Earl finds himself having to take on too many graboids he turns to his old friend Burt (Gross) who jumps at the chance to kill some graboids. When the graboids evolve we find our hunters chasing something complete new.cast

Tremors 2 Aftershock is what would need to be considered a solid sequel, it keeps the idea very simple with hunting down the graboids and what it does means it gets straight into the action. Evolving the creature also helps because we get a new enemy which turns out not to be so easy to kill. The only drawback would be that we don’t get enough supporting cast members to be put into peril. This is an easy story to follow though.

 

Actor Review

 

Fred Ward: Earl Bassett has blown his chance at fame now living off the last moments alone on an ostrich farm. He gets a chance to make big money by hunting graboids with a new partner Grady. He uses all his skills to take down the graboids with an old friend and a potential new flame. Fred is still strong in this leading role but doesn’t have the same chemistry with Chris.

Chris Gartin: Grady Hoover a fan of Earl and Val and after failing to get Val to help he turns to Earl where he also wants to be part of the hunting team with his ideas of where to market any extra money out of the graboid situation. Grady goes through plenty of scenes where he makes it clear he is the replacement. Chris is good but not reaching the same levels Kevin Bacon did.

Helen Shaver: Kate ‘White’ Reilly is the geologist in Mexico that helps the guys with their hunting mission. She has learnt how to track them which gives the hunters a big advantage. Helen is solid but seems to just be a supporting member of the cast.

Michael Gross: Burt Gummer is also feeling the effects of the aftermath and sees this as a chance to come after the graboids one more time. He comes armed to a military truck and just as eager as before. Michael evolves his character to become the iconic one from the franchise.

Support Cast: Tremors 2 Aftershock has a very small supporting cast with the man who hires them and a few employees being the only cast members in the film.

Director Review: S.S. WilsonS.S. does a good job directing take the film in a different direction as well as opening it out for any type of franchise idea.

 

Action: Tremors 2 Aftershock has a lot more action as we go straight into the hunting side of the story.

Comedy: Tremors 2 Aftershock doesn’t reach the same levels on a comical sense which is slightly disappointing but has a few laughs.

Horror: Tremors 2 Aftershock doesn’t reach all the levels of the horror from the first outing.

Settings: Tremors 2 Aftershock takes the action to the Mexico which works but leaves us wondering why the change in location.
Special Effects
: Tremors 2 Aftershock has good effects throughout with only one questionable moment.

Suggestion: Tremors 2 Aftershock is one to try, if you like the first one you will enjoy this. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Final act.

Worst Part: That one bad moment of CGI.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $4 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Tagline:  The Worms have turned.

 

Overall: Enjoyable sequel that doesn’t quite reach the levels of the original.

Ratingcard

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Tremors (1990)

termoorscasting card

 

Plot: Natives of a small isolated town defend themselves against strange underground creatures which are killing them one by one.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Horror Comedy

 

Story: Tremors starts as we meet handymen Valentine (Bacon) and Earl (Ward) who discuss the freedom and future when they meet student Rhonda (Carter) who has been studying seismic activity in the area. When the two friends decide to leave Perfection they keep running into obstacles with dead bodies.

When we see the worm/snake like creatures in an attack we watch how Val and Earl have to travel by horse too the next town while Burt (Gross) and his wife Heather (McEntire) search for Rhonda. The town’s people must fight off the freshly named graboids who are hungry for flesh.casting

Tremors gives us the checklist needed for a great horror comedy with stereotypical characters, the community feeling and a creature they have never seen before. Mixing this all together we get to see a real mix of horror comedy that pulls us into the survival story. I will say it was good not to have a really high body count because this could easily have ended up just being one or two versus the graboids instead of the community feeling which makes this feel fresher than other survival horrors.

 

Actor Review

 

Kevin Bacon: Valentine McKee is one of the handymen, he has his ideal woman in mind while considering a planned escape from the dead end town the two live in. when the graboids turn up Val must fight them off to protect the town. Kevin is great in this role showing he can pull off comedy action.

Fred Ward: Earl Bass is the partner of Val’s who believes they should leave town too, he tries to push Val into the correct mind set and has to help fight the graboids attacking the town. Fred is an actor I always imagine in a serious role but this shows what he can do with horror comedy.

Finn Carter: Rhonda LeBeck is a geology student spending time studying the seismic activity around the small town, she learns just how many graboids they are up against and how they are hunting, using this she helps the locals try and defeat them. Finn is good in this role where we get to see a smarter female character maybe the smartest in the film.

Michael Gross: Burt Gummer along with his wife are the local gun experts, they have a collection an army would be proud off. He proves to be one of the most important man when it comes to fighting the graboids. Michael is good in this supporting role but we now he will become the star of the show soon.

Support Cast: Tremors has a good supporting cast that all do a good job in this film making us feel how close the whole community of the characters are.

Director Review: Ron UnderwoodRon gives us one of the most entertaining horror comedies of the time which feels fresh throughout.

 

Comedy: Tremors has good laughs which shines through in the chemistry Bacon and Ward have.

Horror: Tremors gives us a new horror creature to see in action.

Sci-Fi: Tremors uses the idea of a creature we can’t explain for the sci-fi side of the story.

Settings: Tremors keeps most of the action in and around this small town in the middle of nowhere, it also builds the idea that they are trapped creating isolation which is always needed in a horror film.
Special Effects
: Tremors uses brilliant practical effects to make the graboids a constant threat.

Suggestion: Tremors is one to watch at least, it is a fun watch throughout. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Bacon and Ward chemistry.

Worst Part: Hard to find something.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final act.

Funniest Scene: Nearly every scene with just Bacon and Ward.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $11 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

Tagline:  The ultimate underground movie. It will leave you legless!

 

Overall: One of the most entertaining creation in the horror comedy genre.

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