The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019)

Director: Gideon Raff

Writer: Gideon Raff (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Evans, Haley Bennett, Alona Tal, Michiel Huisman, Ben Kingsley, Michael Kenneth Williams, Alex Hassell, Alessandro Nivola, Greg Kinnear

Plot: Israel’s Mossad agents attempt to rescue Ethiopian Jewish refugees in Sudan in 1977.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Amazing True Story

Story: The Red Sea Diving Resort starts as Ari (Evans) an American Ari (Evans) working for the Israel Mossad agents rescues refugees from Ethiopia with his latest mission seeing Kabede (Williams) rescued. Ari does become grounded, but isn’t willing to let more innocent people murder, he comes up with an idea that could see thousands rescued.

Ari puts together a team including Rachel Reiter (Bennett), Jake (Huisman), Max (Hassell) and Sammy (Nivola) with the plan to lease a hotel known as the Red Sea Diving Resort to use it to get refugees out of Africa back to Israel. This is one of the riskiest rescue attempts tried and one that will bring history to life.

Thoughts on The Red Sea Diving Resort

Characters – Ari Levinson is leading an Israeli group of agent, who are trying to rescue Ethiopian refugees by taking them through Sudan, giving them their only hope to make it out alive. He is willing to risk everything to make it happen by taking a mission which will risk their own lives to lead them out to see, remaining calm through the operations which will see them become targets of the local generals. Rachel is one of the team, just by being a woman she is risking even more than the rest, though her language skills are key to the whole operation. Kabede Bimro is the connection with Ari that leads the refugees to him, he becomes one of the most wanted men because of his actions, but will risk everything for his own family. Ethan Levin is the one that tries to control Ari on his mission, he doesn’t agree with most of what he does, knowing if he was to get caught it could create an international incident.

PerformancesChris Evans takes his first major role since leaving the role as Captain America, he does show he can handle the serious side of acting even though his character does feel like branch of what Captain America stood for. Haley Bennett is strong throughout, in a world that her character shouldn’t feel safe in. Ben Kingsley does what you would expect in his authority role, while Michael Kenneth Williams is the most interesting character though we could have spent more time with his character.

StoryThe story here follows an Israeli agent that risked everything to try and rescue as many Ethiopian refugees as he could using a Sudanese hotel as a cover to hide them and move them through to safety despite heavy pressure from the military forces in the country. This is another incredible story of how somebody and their team would do the right thing for the human race that would be left facing a future which would see them killed or forced into slavery if they couldn’t get free. It should be seen to highlight the continuing problems in the world along with the incredible work that was done. We are kept waiting to see how many will get rescued and how they will overcome the obstacles placed in their way, though it would be fair it wouldn’t be a story if they had failed.

HistoryThis is a moment in history which showed a country reaching out to help in secret when another country would rather butcher their own people.

SettingsThe film creates the realistic settings that only make this feel like we are part of the era it is set in, we see how much was being risked in what could be considered a calm location of a hotel.


Scene of the Movie – Runway.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The fact that his behaviour actually still happens in the world.

Final Thoughts This is a highlight on just what was risked to save thousands of stranded refugees, it has top class acting and shows that we can achieve great things if we worked together.

Overall: Brilliant look at bravery.

Rating

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ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – Z – Same Kind of Different Me (2017)

This has be selected for Z because of Renee Zellweger.

 

Director: Michael Carney

Writer: Michael Carney, Alexander Foard, Ron Hall (Screenplay) Ron Hall, Denver Moore, Lynn Vincent (Book)

Starring: Greg Kinnear, Renee Zellweger, Djimon Hounsou, Jon Voight, Olivia Holt, Austin Filson

 

Plot: International art dealer Ron Hall must befriend a dangerous homeless man in order to save his struggling marriage to his wife, a woman whose dreams will lead all three of them on the journey of their lives.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Touching Drama

 

Story: Same Kind of Different as Me starts when international art dealer Ron Hall (Kinnear) gets caught out cheating on his wife Debbie (Zellweger), needing to make up for his mistake, he must help Debbie with her charity work at a homeless shelter, which includes helping Denver Moore (Hounsou) better known as suicide.

Ron ends up befriending Denver learning about his story, why he is like he is, learning that her work with the homeless makes her good fortune be placed into perspective and learns to give back to the world.

 

Thoughts on Same Kind of Different as Me

 

Characters – Ron Hall is an international art dealer, he only cares about himself and his family looking down on the people below him in the class system. When he makes a mistake by cheating on his wife, he must do everything to make it up to her, which includes helping in a homeless shelter, meeting homeless people learning about their stories, with Denver becoming his closest friend. Debbie is the wife of Ron, she admits the two have become distant, she helps out at the homeless shelter which see her bring him there to open his eyes to the world more, before facing her own battle. Denver is a homeless man that is aggressive towards anyone that tries to help him, it takes time for him to trust Ron, but once he does, he tells the incredible story that he has been through in life. Earl is the strict father that doesn’t like the new friendship with Denver.

PerformancesGreg Kinnear is great in the leading role, his character is filled with regret in life from his mistakes and wants to help make things right. Renee Zellweger shines in the supporting role too, with Djimon Hounsou proving to everyone just how strong of an actor he truly is.

StoryThe story follows the Hall family whose lives are turned upside after an affair, with the regret there, they do what they can to fix things, which sees them give up time to help people less fortunate than them, helping them put their lives back together and in Ron’s case, learn that everybody has a story from their lives. This is based on the real people and you can see just how much they helped change both sides of the lives for the best. This story does only seem to focus on one homeless man when it hints heavily early on that we might meet more people to learn their stories. It shows us the audience just how people who have fallen on hard times could have has normal lives before losing everything and just need helping back up again.

BiopicThis film uses the biopic genre to show just how difficult life has been for the Denver and how Ron needed to learn more about life and the best way to live his own.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us the different life styles the people have, be it the casual rich person life or the homeless life being lived.


Scene of the Movie –
The story of Denver’s life.

That Moment That Annoyed Me One side story seems to get dropped quickly.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful drama that shows just how you need to learn to treat people equal no matter where they have come from or how they got there.

 

Overall: Wonderful drama.

Rating

 

 

As Good as It Gets (1997)

Director: James L Brooks

Writer: Mark Andrus, James L Brooks (Screenplay)

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, Cuba Gooding Jr, Skeet Ulrich,, Shirley Knight, Yeardley Smith

 

Plot: A single mother and waitress, a misanthropic author, and a gay artist form an unlikely friendship after the artist is assaulted in a robbery.


Tagline – Brace yourself for Melvin.

Runtime: 2 Hours 19 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderfully Charming Drama

 

Story: As Good as It Gets starts as we meet arrogant obsessive disordered ridden author Melvin Udall (Nicholson) who hates his gay neighbour artist Simon (Kinnear) and his dog Verdell, he goes to the same diner needing to keep the same seat with the same waitress Carol Connelly (Hunt) who has her own problems with money and her sick son.

After Simon gets brutally attacked by burglars Melvin is forced into looking after Verdell which opens up his life to being nice to other people including Simon and Carol.

 

Thoughts on As Good as It Gets

 

Characters – Melvin Udall is an author that has a perfect routine to keep him happy, he OCD is clear with how he enters rooms, lock doors, he doesn’t get on with his neighbours and drives the people in his life crazy. Once he is forced to look after his neighbour’s dog he starts being nice to those important in his life, learning that there is more to life. Carol Connelly is a waitress in a Manhattan diner she has waited on Melvin for years even with his difficult behaviour, she has a sick son at home that she has never been able to get proper medical care for him, leaving her constantly worrying about him instead of focusing on her own life. Simon Bishop is the gay artist neighbour that clashes with Melvin on a daily basis, he gets brutally attacked in his own apartment leading to him facing financial ruin and needs to try and make up with his parents.

PerformancesJack Nicholson won an Oscar for his performance here and clearly show why he is such a talented actor, he takes on a performance unlike most of his normal performance we know him for. Helen Hunt shines and with her Oscar winning performance that showed her at the very top of her game. Greg Kinnear is also fantastic in the supporting role, he might have missed out on the Oscar he shows us just the talent he has.

StoryThe story here shows us how three people from different lives can meet and help each other with their problems. We mostly focus on Melvin and how he hates everybody not in his normal routine, we get to see the arc for him to become more open while still dealing and learning to overcome his own problems. We get a woman that has never been give help offered a lifeline which could help save her son and a staving artist learn about the risks he must take to become the artist the world will remember. This is a story that shows you can change people’s life by just listening to their stories, it has charm about how things unfold and just leaves you with a smile on your face by the end.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in this film works with you getting plenty of laughs through the film and it does give us a good romantic angle about needing to learn to take a chance with love.

SettingsNew York city, well how often do I say this is a wonderful setting for anything to do with inter-connecting lives, this delights with seeing people in different backgrounds coming together.


Scene of the Movie –
The dog walk.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not taking the dog on the trip for extra laughs.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful movie that can be enjoyed by everyone, it has brilliant performances from the three leads and hits the comedy romance throughout.

 

Overall: Brilliant film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – L – Loser (2000)

Director: Amy Heckerling

Writer: Amy Heckerling (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Biggs, Mena Suvari, Zak Orth, Thomas Sadoski, Jimmi Simpson, Greg Kinnear

 

Plot: A college student, branded a loser by his roommates and booted from the dorm, falls in love with a coed who has eyes for their condescending professor.


Tagline – Dare to be different

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: Loser starts as small-town boy Paul Tannek (Biggs) gets a full scholarship to college in New York City, he struggles to fit in with his roommate and his friends Adam (Orth), Chris (Saboski) and Noah (Simpson) not liking him. The only student that gives him any time is Dora (Suvari) who is involved with their professor Edward Alcott (Kinnear).

When Paul gets moved out of his dorm, his roommates she it as an off-campus party place as they continue to use his kind nature, while he learns about Dora and her secret. We get to see how Paul must learn to deal with college life.

 

Thoughts on Loser

 

Characters – Paul is from a small town, he is over trusting of people which gets him in trouble when his roommates take advantage of him, Dora isn’t the most honest with him and must learn about the busy college life. Dora is the love interest for Paul, but she is dating her professor, she plays into the idea that she is being controlled by her authority figure that is clearly using her. Professor Alcott is the teacher for both Paul and Dora’s subject, he is using her knowing he would get fired if it ever became public. We do meet the roommates that mostly just use Paul to have parties while they try to drug women at the parties.

PerformancesJason Biggs was the king of teen comedies in the 2000s this might well be his least known role, but it sure was just what he was great at. Mena Suvari also came from the American Pie and while I hated her character in this film she showed she was a great go to girl for teenage comedies. Greg Kinnear gives us a good douchebag professor and one we could all hate.

StoryThe story follows one small-town college student that must get used to big city, people with different attitudes that will abuse his good nature while he falls in love with a girl that doesn’t notice him. This does have a thin story if we are being honest, as it does show the balance between college romance, and the shallow party lifestyle and not much else. If you want a simple romantic comedy you will enjoy this one even if the supporting characters can frustrate at times.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy isn’t on the same level as the other college films of the time and the romance story is here but it is frustrating to see how Dora doesn’t notice Paul that way for most of the film.

SettingsNew York makes for a great setting for any movie as I always say, this time it works because of the new busy location that isn’t filled with honest people that Paul must get used.


Scene of the Movie –
Music.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Dora is a dumb girl.

Final ThoughtsThis is a teen comedy I did enjoy back in the day, it does deserve more praise even though it feels like I have just moaned about it, I love the music, I like that we see our main character Paul learn about his mistakes through the film and become tougher for the next stage of his life.

 

Overall: Good Old Teen Comedy.

Rating

 

 

Abigail Breslin Weekend – Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

Writer: Michael Arndt (Screenplay)

Starring: Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, Steve Carell

 

Plot: A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus.


Tagline – A family on the verge of a breakdown

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Amazingly Charming Movie

 

Story: Little Miss Sunshine starts as we meet our family, motivational speaker Richard (Kinnear), hardworking mother Sheryl (Collette), depressed teenage son Dwayne (Dano) who has taken a vow of silence, hyperactive young daughter Olive (Breslin), veteran grandfather Edwin (Arkin) and Uncle Frank (Carell) who is fresh out of a hospital after a failed suicide attempt.

The six go on a road trip across America to enter Olive into the Little Miss Sunshine competition and along the way the family must deal with their own ups and downs to help their youngster member fulfil her dream.

 

Thoughts on Little Miss Sunshine

 

Characters – Olive is the youngest member of the family, cute but never going to be able to truly compete in the beauty contests, but this is her dream and the family will come together to help her achieve her dream. Richard is the father of the family, a motivational speaker who believes he has the next big catch for a book, he always encourages his family to believe they will succeed over just trying. Dwayne is the eldest son in the family, taking a vow of silence until he can become a jet pilot, he hates everyone with the only one he will help is Olive. Grandpa Edwin has been kicked out of a retirement home and living with the family, he swears and enjoys a drug or two. Sheryl is the mother of the family who will do anything for her kids which involves taking Olive across country for the contest. Frank is the suicidal genius brother of Sheryl, released under her care in case he tries it again, he sees the family for their flaws and even takes Dwayne under his wing on the journey.

PerformancesWe have six fantastic performances here, we had the established stars, Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette and Alan Arkin shining and the star making performances from Abigail Breslin, Paul Dano and Steve Carell who was the it star of 2006.

StoryThe story follows a dysfunctional family that must travel across America to enter their youngest member to a beauty contest. We get the characters with their flaws that can be worked on through the film which gives us a natural feeling about the family. It does have the idea that family will need to come together no matter what gets in their way. This is a fun enjoyable story that can be enjoyed by everyone.

ComedyThe comedy here is delightful it hits on every level and does mostly come from real life moments.

SettingsThe road trip moments give us the idea of how far the family will go and we see this in the settings.


Scene of the Movie –
The dance routine.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The colour-blind test is fake because I am colour blind and I could see the test, when normally I haven’t been able to.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the greatest comedies of all time, it is just delightful on every account with wonderful performance from the whole cast.

 

Overall: Wonderful throughout.

Rating