ABC Film Challenge – Romance – N – The Notebook (2004)

Director: Nick Cassavetes

Writer: Jeremy Leven, Jan Sardi (Screenplay) Nicholas Sparks (Novel)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner, Gena Rowlands, Sam Shepard, Joan Allen, James Marsden, Kevin Connolly,

 

Plot: A poor yet passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman, giving her a sense of freedom, but they are soon separated because of their social differences.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Date Night Sorted

 

Story: The Notebook starts as Duke (Garner) a positive thinking elderly man is getting ready to continue a story to Miss Hamilton (Rowlands) at the home, this story takes us back to Noah (Gosling) who meets the 17-year-old Allie (McAdams), both from different backgrounds, Noah poor and Allie rich.

When the two fall wildly in love Allie’s parent’s don’t want her to spend her life with what they call trash, leading to a break-up of the loving couple. Years fly by the two live their own lives away from each other where Allie falls in love with a man her family approve off. While the two cross paths again the love they felt will always be there, but life always gets in the way.

 

Thoughts on The Notebook

 

Characters – Noah came from the wrong side of town, the side with no money or prospects, he earns everything he has to prove that he can escape this world, he makes it through war but his love for Allie will never stop being there. Allie comes from the rich part of town, she accepts Noah for being different but her parents stop her from following the true love she felt for him, while she does fall in love with another man she will always have that flame for Noah. Duke is the man telling us the story to Miss Hamilton who is listening to the story, we learn that they are a bigger part of the story too.

PerformanceGosling and McAdams both shine in these roles which will always be considered two of their more popular roles of their careers. James Garner and Gena Rowlands are both great in the older roles too.

StoryThe story focuses on two people who fell in love, they face stumbling blocks along the way be it personal or otherwise but the love they feel will be what no other can give them. We do flash between the story unfolding as it is being told that does give us hints to who the elder characters are which at times can be frustrating because the final reveal is the one that plays on the heart strings. This is a fairy tale love story, which the likely hood of every happening seems unlikely, but it gives the audience hope of true love.

RomanceThe romance in this film does show how two people can fall in love and it last forever even through illness, war and everyday situations.

SettingsThe settings give us a clear difference in class the two come from and just how the love they feel can bring people together from different background

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Scene of the Movie – Swans and rain.

 

That Moment That Annoyed Me I think they give away a twist too early.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the all time most popular date night movies, you can see why because it does work on the love side of things.

 

Overall: This is a bitter sweet love story that plays for tears.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Random – W – Welcome to Me (2014)

Director: Shira Piven

Writer: Eliot Laurence (Screenplay)

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Wes Bentley, Linda Cardellini, Joan Cusack, Loretta Devine, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Robbins, James Marsden

 

Plot: When Alice Klieg wins the Mega-Millions lottery, she immediately quits her psychiatric meds and buys her own talk show.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Good Drama

 

Story: Welcome to Me starts as we meet Alice Klieg (Wiig) who idolises Oprah studying all the tapes of her shows, she lives an isolated life but that is going to change when she wins the $86 million on the lottery. Believing the money has changed herself she drops her Dr Moffet (Robbins) who has been treating her for multiply personality disorder and heads off to Vegas with her best friend Gina (Cardellini).

When Alice meets studio team Rich Ruskin (Marsden), Gabe Ruskin (Bentley), Dawn Hurley (Cusack) and Deb Moseley (Leigh) wanting to create her own talk show which Rich sees this as a chance to save their studio. As the money being spend increases the show reaches new levels of popularity but can the studio continue to extort Alice’s mental issues to make money.

 

Thoughts on Welcome to Me

 

Characters/PerformanceAlice is a very unstable woman that has struggled through all her mental health problems for years, but after winning the lottery she gets her own show on television show where she can deal with all her problems, but can she deal with this new fame. Gabe is one of the studio producers that is willing to help Alice, but is one of the only ones that does want to help rather than use her. Gina is the best friend that gets left behind as Alice becomes obsessed with her own show. We also have the rest of the studio team that see this as a big payday.

Performance wise, Kristen Wiig is fantastic in this leading role showing she is capable of the serious performance away from the full comedy she is known for. Wes Bentley continues to turn his career around with another good performance. Linda Cardellini is also good throughout the film and the other highly respected stars also good great jobs with James Marsden being hugely memorable.

StoryThe story shows how people with mental health issues will find life difficult, but if you add money they can’t explain to themselves to the mix they will get taken advantage off by greedy people, but it also shows how money shouldn’t change friendships but it will. This is a film that has a story which is very important to show how difficult living with mental health issues can be.

Comedy/DramaThe comedy works in the limited moments because the story isn’t a full laughing matter. The drama shows the issues Alice must live with along with her new money.

SettingsThe settings are important because they show the world that Alice comes from to where she finds herself with all her money.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good movie that tells a very important message for the people who struggle with the mental health issues.

 

Overall: Very impressive film I feel people might not have heard off.

Rating

 

 

The Loft (2014)

loftDirector: Erik Van Looy

Writer: Wesley Strick (Screenplay) Bart De Pauw (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Isabel Lucas, Rachael Taylor, Rhone Mitra, Valerie Cruz, Kali Rocha, Elaine Cassidy

 

Plot: Five married guys conspire to secretly share a penthouse loft in the city–a place where they can carry out hidden affairs and indulge in their deepest fantasies. But the fantasy becomes a nightmare when they discover the dead body of an unknown woman in the loft, and they realize one of the group must be involved.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Who Dun It?

 

Story: The Loft starts with Vincent (Urban) being questioned by the police where he has to explain the events from within the Loft. Luke (Miller) returns to the loft where he finds a dead body of a girl in the apartment. We continue to meet the rest of the friends who pay for the loft Chris (Marsden), Marty (Stonestreet) and Philip (Schoenaerts).  We flashback to a year ago when the men use the loft and the agreement they all end up being able to use the loft whenever they want.

We flash between the beginnings of the loft as the guys enjoy the idea of being able to cheat on their wives without having to get caught. The surprises they uncover from the loft about which one of them killed the girl in the loft and the police investigation about what really happened.guys

The Loft gives us a massive who dun it story going on between friends, saying this it is annoying having to jump between the time lines. Another part of this film that really disappoints is the final reveal as we have no idea while the characters involved know where the story is going. This story is a bad example for how to act while married with all the men just looking to cheat on their wives. The story does have plenty of twists for us the audience to watch unfold but I do feel the re-watch value is going to be weak.

 

Actor Review

 

Karl Urban: Vincent is the architect that has designed the building and came up with the idea between the friends to have the loft. He has been controlling what is happening with his rules, he can have any woman who gives him a glance but this time it is his flame that could expose all the men. Karl is good in this role which is full of his charm throughout.

James Marsden: Chris is a doctor who is one of the guys who owns a key to the loft, he falls for a woman while leaving his wife at home as well as having to deal with his aggressive step-brother who is also a member of the loft. James is good even if we would have liked to have seen slightly more from his character.

Wentworth Miller: Luke is a member of the exclusive group that can use the loft, he never wants to cheat on his while in the loft. He is the one that finds the body while has his own secret up his selves. Wentworth is good as we don’t fully know enough about his character but for a good reason.

Eric Stonestreet: Marty is the loud mouth of the group, he always ends up biting off more than he can chew and could easily be the one that spills the beans. Eric is good in this role because we see him as the bumbling character.

Matthias Schoenaerts: Philip is the aggressive step-brother of Chris who marries into a rich family but has a drug problem which could also expose the truth. Matthias brings the aggressive character to the table which works next to the calmer characters in the leading role.

Support Cast: The Loft has a supporting cast which mostly includes the wives and girlfriends of the characters involved in being part of the loft.

Director Review: Erik Van LooyErik gives us a good mystery thriller that keeps us guessing throughout.

 

Mystery: The Loft keeps us guessing throughout the film as we wonder who actually is responsible for the death.

Romance: The Loft shows the dark side of love with cheats on loved ones.

Thriller: The Loft makes you wonder what happened to the characters involved.

Settings: The Loft puts one part of the story in the loft as the group figure out what happened while the rest are involved with how the characters got to the stage we find them in.

Suggestion: The Loft is one to try it might be on to enjoy but it isn’t a classic. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Mystery

Worst Part: By the end you will question certain parts of the film.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $14 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

Tagline: The right place to do wrong

 

Overall: Mystery thriller that keeps us wondering from start to finish even with a nap in the middle.

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Into the Grizzly Maze (2015)

grizzyDirector: David Hackl

Writer: Guy Moshe, J.R. Reher (Screenplay) J.R. Reher (Story)

Starring: James Marsden, Thomas Jane, Piper Perabo, Scott Glenn, Michaela McManus, Billy Bob Thornton, Adam Beach

 

Plot: Two estranged brothers reunite at their childhood home in the Alaskan wild. They set out on a two-day hike and are stalked by an unrelenting grizzly bear.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Monster Movie

 

Story: Into the Grizzly Maze starts when Rowan (Marsden) returns to his home town to search for someone believed to be lost in the famous Grizzly Maze. He gets a chance to make amends with his estranged brother Beckett (Jane) who just so happens to be one of the sheriffs in town along with Sully (Glenn). When the hunting teams have been illegally hunting bears, but one bear has been taking humans out in the most violent ways possible.

Douglass (Thornton) a bear expert wants to go and hunt this killer bear while Beckett is against this he needs to go and protect his wife Michelle (Perabo) who is in the maze and his brother but who will make it out the maze alive?

Into the Grizzly Maze really does come to the simple concept of man against nature as we have our small group of survivors trying to get away from a killer bear. The story does come off as a way to try and campaign against hunting which I know I wrong in its own right. I found myself actually cheering for the bear because the most of the human characters are the reason why the bear is acting the way it is. I personally found this an easy watch with the story but found myself getting slightly annoyed with the way the bear only attacks the disposable characters and letting our main characters getting enough time to react.

 

Actor Review

 

James Marsden: Rowan returns to town to find a guide who had been helping poachers that has gone missing in the woods, he knows the woods better than most people but having to spend time with his estranged brother Beckett shows the different mind-set both have about the bears. Rowan wants to get into town and out before anyone he knows, knows he is back in town. James is solid in this role but is never the most convincing in the character’s actions.

Thomas Jane: Beckett is the deputy in town that has been going out of his way to make sure the bears are tagged and protected from hunters. He remained in the town while his brother left, but when the bears start attacking people he must find his wife and brother in the maze and stop the killer bear. Thomas is an actor who has battled sharks but this time he is just the sheriff in the town nothing special.

Piper Perabo: Michelle is the deaf wife of Beckett, she spends plenty of time in the woods trying to stop hunters plans but this is a bad day for here when we learn the killer bear is fighting back. She must use her experience to survive with the rest, but for some reason she reacts to sounds. Piper does ok but sometimes seems to forget her character is deaf as she reacts to the sounds.

Billy Bob Thornton: Douglass is a hunter that has been hunting bears for years, he knows how to track them and stay out of trouble. He hunts for the killer bear with just his horse and gun. He isn’t afraid to kill anything that gets in his way. Billy is good as we only see him in spells because of the nature of his character.

Support Cast: Into the Grizzly Maze has a supporting cast which mostly are disposable with Kaley being there just so the better known actors don’t get hurt early on.

Director Review: David HacklDavid gives us an easy to watch action horror that isn’t the most challenging but simple.

 

Action: Into the Grizzly Maze uses the action side of this for the bear attacks which all come off quite realistic throughout.

Horror: Into the Grizzly Maze puts our characters in the battle for their lives which is the horror side of the story.

Thriller: Into the Grizzly Maze does keep us guessing to wonder what will happen next.

Settings: Into the Grizzly Maze puts us into the middle of the woods which is a great setting for this to take place in.
Special Effects
: Into the Grizzly Maze has average effects, the basic attacks all look good but when we see the kills the CGI is clear.

Suggestion: Into the Grizzly Maze is one to try, it is an easy watch that could be enjoyed by all. (Try IT)

 

Best Part: The bear.

Worst Part: CGI

Action Scene Of The Film: Final act.

Kill Of The Film: Final one.

 

Believability: Parts could happen even though this goes onto a bigger story.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

Tagline: Hunt or be hunted.

 

Overall: Easy to watch monster creature feature that keeps you on edge till the end.

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2 Guns (2013)

2 gunsDirector: Baltasar Kormakur

Writer: Blake Masters (Screenplay) Steven Grant (Novel)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton, Edward James Olmos, Bill Paxton, Robert John Burke, James Marsden, Greg Sproles, Fred Ward

 

Plot: Two hardened criminals get into trouble with the US border patrol after meeting with a Mexican drug lord, and then revelations start to unfold.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Easy to Watch Action Film

 

Story: 2 Guns starts as we see Bobby (Washington) & Stig (Wahlberg) planning their latest bank robbery before flashing back to one week earlier. We learn that Bobby has been undercover working for his handler Deb (Patton) in the DEA who are trying to take down Papi Greco (Olmos). We also find out Stig’s real motives as he is also undercover but with the military.

When the two find themselves being betrayed they must re-team up to take out the people that framed them making everything right with all the people they have stolen from.

2 Guns is an action comedy that is a real jumper because we start in the middle before going to beginning before getting to the end which automatically doesn’t help pull us in. We never really get the idea of how the two first meet and then when everything happens it all become overly complicated. If you want a simple action film this isn’t going to be for you but in the end this will need you to keep attention. Having too many people involved works for a flat out comedy but the overly serious side of certain moments pulls it all down.

 

Actor Review

 

Denzel Washington: Bobby is the undercover DEA agent that is trying to take down a drug cartel with his young partner Stig. When he gets betrayed by Stig he finds himself needing to make up for the crime only to find out he is involved in a bigger picture and having to work with Stig once more. Denzel is good in this role but it won’t be one you will remember.denzel

Mark Wahlberg: Stig is the young partner of Bobby, but he is secretly undercover for the military. When the money is stolen he learns the truth that only puts his own life at risk. He must re-team with Bobby to stop the people out to kill the both of them. Mark is good in this role which is what you would expect him to be in.stuif

Paula Patton: Deb is the former lover and connection with the DEA for Bobby, she has to supporting him whenever he gets the next part of the information. Paula is a solid supporting performance without doing too much.

Edward James Olmos: Papi Greco is the drug lord that both men are trying to take down. He has a reputation of being deadly that makes him one of the deadliest men after our leading men. Edward is solid but is just one of the main villains.

Support Cast: 2 Guns has a big supporting cast that all help with the final outcome of the film without being overly memorable or original.

Director Review: Baltasar KormakurBaltasar gives us a solid action film that could be enjoyed through the eyes of the audience.

 

Action: 2 Guns has a mix of action sequence which involves car chase, fights and fire fights.

Comedy: 2 Guns has good laughs between the two leads but otherwise doesn’t have much.

Crime: 2 Guns puts us through a crime world where we have a group of different men after the money.

Thriller: 2 Guns tries to keep us on the edge throughout but isn’t enough to pull us in.

Settings: 2 Guns has small town settings which are hard to keep on top of where we actually are.
Special Effects
: 2 Guns has a couple of needs to effects but not the best when used.

Suggestion: 2 Guns is one for the action fans to try but otherwise you can miss it. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Car chase between Bobby and Stig.

Worst Part: Too many characters.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Maybe.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $61 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

Tagline: 2 Guns, 1 Bank.

 

Overall: Overly complicated action film that doesn’t have enough to pull us in.

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