The Book of Love (2016)

Director: Bill Purple

Writer: Robbie Pickering, Bill Purple (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Maisie Williams, Jessica Biel, Mary Steenburgen, Orlando Jones

 

Plot: Henry is an introverted architect. After the death of his wife in a car accident, he sets out to help Millie, a homeless teen, to build a raft to sail across the Atlantic.


Tagline – How far would you go for a lost love?

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming Grief Battle Drama

 

Story: The Book of Love starts when architect Henry Herschel (Sudeikis) loses his pregnant wife Penny (Biel) in a car accident, broken he needs to take time away from work, he notices homeless teenager Millie (Williams) searching for scraps.

When Henry learns what Millie is planning, he decides to jump in and help her with the project to build a raft to sail across the Atlantic, this gives him a new lease for life, to help someone follow their dream.

 

Thoughts on The Book of Love

 

Characters – Henry Herschel is an architect on the verge of a big promotion to partner in the company, and a baby, his life however is turned upside down when his wife is killed in an accident. Filled with grief he meets teenager Millie who he helps with her project, taking his mind off his loss. Millie is a homeless teenager, well she is forced to live with her estranged Uncle and she wants to build a raft like in the journal she finds. She believes she is doing the right thing as she is dealing with own problems. Penny is Henry’s wife who even after her death gives him guiding light to help Millie. Julia is the mother-in-law wanting the best for Henry as her own way of dealing with the loss of her daughter.

PerformancesJason Sudeikis continues to show that he is delightful to watch in these drama-comedy roles, he shows enough grief and hope to make you believe that he has been the one to lose his wife. Maisie Williams is good for the most part, but she does struggle to maintain the accent through the film.  Jessica Biel and Mary Steenburgen both give us good performances in the supporting roles.

StoryThe story follows a grief ridden man that decides to help a teenager with her own problems in an attempt to cure his own problems only to there to help cure her problems. This does have sweet moments as we see how the lives have been turned upside down by their own tragic losses and the moments where they can help support each other, we do however deal with grief in a realistic way, being left empty in need of something to keep us going. The glaring problem is the repeating of the facts about people dying, we just don’t need this on repeat to get the point, as we know the focus on the story is, enjoy life however difficult moments have been.

SettingsThe film is set-in small-town America, well the suburbs, which shows us how life can change in an instant in this world no matter who or where you are.


Scene of the Movie –
Closing shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Maisie Williams accent.

Final ThoughtsThis is a charming movie that gets the message across well, we get to see just how grief can be processed by the people suffering from it.

 

Overall: One of the dreamers to see where people can make it.

Rating

 

 

Bound by Blood (2015)

Director: Diane Bell

Writer: Diane Bell (Screenplay)

Starring: Jessica Biel, Zosia Mamet, Edi Gathegi, Joe Anderson, Kate Burton, Harry Hamlin

 

Plot: A yoga instructor looks to protect her sex-worker sister from her deadbeat boyfriend.


Tagline – Tied by blood. Bound by lies.

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too Slow

 

Story: Bound by Blood starts when yoga instructor May (Biel) who has been searching for her long-lost step sister, Shiva (Mamet) is that woman, she is a sex-worker that is down on her luck with a deadbeat boyfriend Cody (Anderson).

The two seem to have similar connections, even if they are living different lives. They spend time together learning what they have missed out on in sisters as they start looking at life in a different way.

 

Thoughts on Bound by Blood

 

Characters – May is a yoga instructor, this shows by how laid-back she is with life, but also how organised she is. She learns and helps her long-lost step-sister putting her own relationship on the line. Shiva is the long step-sister who is a sex worker, so she can pay the rent for her abusive boyfriend, she doesn’t want to use May for support even if she will help. Dex is May boyfriend, he has everything together even if he is single minded at times. Cody is the boyfriend of Shiva, abusive, but you can see his love for her too.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are not the most interesting, Jessica Biel in the leading role tries her best, but no one makes an impact in this film or helps drive the story.

StoryThe story here follows two long-lost sisters that meet for the first time and how they help each other, financially or with life. What May does for the complete stranger of a sister is strange because it does seem like a lot for someone she barely knows and we never get to the bottom of the whole abuse angle of the story. it just seems like too much for the first meeting as we also never learn about the beginning of the search for the sister either, like how long, how did she find out etc.

SettingsThe film takes place in a random city, we don’t learn enough about which one and it does fall into the small town problems we might not see.


Scene of the Movie –
Swimming time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Its just dull throughout.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow moving and dull movie, it doesn’t capture the ideas it wants to and seems to throw us too far into the middle of the story.

 

Overall: Not the most interesting film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – S – Stealth (2005)

Director: Rob Cohen

Writer: W.D. Richter (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx, Sam Shepard, Richard Roxburgh, Joe Morton, Ian Bliss

 

Plot: Deeply ensconced in a top-secret military program, three pilots struggle to bring an artificial intelligence program under control before it initiates the next world war.


Tagline – Fear The Sky

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long Sci-Fi Actioner

 

Story: Stealth starts as we meet the three elite pilot squad leader Lt Ben Gannon (Lucas), risk assessment calm team member LT Kare Wade (Biel) and hotshot Lt Henry Purcell (Foxx) who under Captain George Cummings (Shepard) control have become the leading choice in aerial combat.

When the three person team get assigned a fourth member, an artificial intelligence unit things don’t go to plan, when the AI is studying plans it gets the idea to go on its own mission which could bring on World War III, now the human pilots must stop this from happening before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Stealth

 

Characters – The three pilots do have their own personalities, Ben Gannon is the leader that struggles to follow orders, but will die for his crew, Kara Wade is the one that assess the danger the crew might find themselves getting into. Henry Purcell is the hotshot that will show off for any excuse just to do so. Captain Cummings runs the operations trying to do the right thing for his country. We don’t really learn too much more about these characters other than they are considered the elite of the elite of pilots, they should have made Kara a much stronger character than what we get with her.

PerformancesJosh Lucas trying his luck in a leading role, well this didn’t work, be is such an average and forgettable leading man, saying this I do feel if you had swapped him and Jamie Foxx around the performances would have been better because Josh is better at cocky support over leading man. Jamie Foxx can pull off all three of the male roles in this film and is the only one that seems like he is doing a good job. Jessica Biel is written to be strong, but she must show her damsel in distress for the second half of the film, which isn’t her fault though.

StoryThe story follows Americans best pilots needing to fight against an AI unit which was meant to be supporting them but has turned to their programming for answers. This is another be careful what you ask for when it comes to technology film which will soon become one story that doesn’t hold much weight and is all about the explosions, aerial duals and quick cuts.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is shot in such a bad way it is nearly impossible to keep up with, because the planes are going at such velocity it is like watching blurs on the screen at times, this is a side effect of having the ultrafast planes involved in dogfights. The adventure side of the film shows what Ben must go through to win, the sci-fi side of the film shows us how the technology in the planes could bring the next level of aerial combat, the way they would look to stay ahead of the radar and enemy weapons.

SettingsThe most part of the film takes place in the skies with an American crew above their enemy nations, Russia, North Korea which shows how deadly the combat it going to be.

Special EffectsThe effects beings used in the film are for the most part weak, this is because the action sequences have terrible camerawork and feel like we are just watching them in a greenscreen.


Scene of the Movie –
Well this is awkward, to pick anything I did enjoy.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The action scenes.

Final ThoughtsThe is all action, badly shot and no substance behind everything going on, it is too long to get away with this mad action to keep us interest and turns into a bog standard AI turning on humans.

 

Overall: Bog standard.

Rating

 

 

Cellular (2004)

logoDirector: David R Ellis

Writer: Chris Morgan (Screenplay) Larry Cohen (Story)

Starring: Chris Evans, Kim Basinger, Jason Statham, Jessica Biel, Richard Burgi, William H Macy

 

Plot: A young man receives an emergency phone call on his cell phone from an older woman. The catch? The woman claims to have been kidnapped; and the kidnappers have targeted her husband and child next.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Light Hearted Action Thriller

 

Story: Cellular starts by introducing science teacher and mother Jessica Martin (Basinger) going around her normal day, Jessica’s day takes a sudden turn when Ethan (Statham) and his men turn up at her house and kidnap her. Next we meet Ryan (Evans) a surfer who gets easily distracted by the beautiful woman, Ryan is caught up in the middle of a break up with Chloe (Biel) who pretty much tell us how much of a flake Ryan is.

Ryan’s day is about to change too when he gets a phone call from Jessica giving Ryan a chance to prove that he is  starting to show some responsibility. Ryan agrees to hand his phone to the police to help Jessica giving us a chance to meet Sgt. Mooney (Macy) an officer who is looking to retire and start his own business. Ryan ends up not pacing the phone over and having to try and save Jessica and her child on his own.

Cellular is one of those films that knows exactly what it is and never tries to be more. We know the action is going to be simple and the idea easy to follow, we do get a few twists and turns along the way too. We are not expecting to see an over the top moment and we don’t need to see one either. The one downside I would say about this film is the concept would look slightly different now with all the added technology on cell phones and the call on a smart phone wouldn’t have lasted as long. That is just picking something out there because it showed the new wave of obsession about using cell/mobile phones the world was turning into. I would say this is a solid to good action thriller that does what it needs to, entertain. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

Kim Basinger: Jessica Martin is our school teacher who gets kidnapped and uses her knowledge to manage to make a phone call only to find a waster surfer who she has to talk into helping her. Kim does a solid job as the damsel in distress never really shining right through though. (6/10)

 jess

Chris Evans: Ryan is the slacker who gets a talk about needing to grow up only for a chance to present itself when Jessica calls him, Ryan has to race around town trying to save Jessica and her family. Chris does give a good performance in one of his first action roles and just look how far he has come. (7/10)

ryan

Jason Statham: Ethan is the man in charge arranging the kidnapping, he is after something but we don’t know what it is until later, he has a few surprises up his selves that help the story go in different directions. Jason as a villain is always interesting and he does a solid job here but we know he was always meant to be the good guy. (6/10)

 ethan

William H Macy: Sgt. Bob Mooney is the honest cop who just wants to settle down with his wife and open a day spa, he gets caught up investigating the case even when he just wants to get on with his new life. William adds a little bit of light hearted humour to the film with this role. (7/10)

macy

Support Cast: Cellular does have a supporting cast that makes for a complete mix of random characters that end up in the story and they all work well taking away how serious the story could have been.

 

Director Review: David R Ellis – David does a good job giving us what we are expecting from an action film. (7 /10)

 

Action: Cellular has plenty of action but nothing over the top keeping its feet on the ground when it comes to the direction of the action. (7/10)

Thriller: Cellular pulls you in early and never really lets you go until the film is over just waiting to see what will happen next. (8/10)

Settings: Cellular uses it settings well to show the characters in their normal spots and showing how the clash of characters happens with the events of the film. (8/10)

Suggestion: Cellular is one for all the action fans to watch and enjoy, don’t expect too much story but enjoy the ride. (Action Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Chris Evans proving he could do action here.

Worst Part: Not too much depth in the story.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $56 Million

Budget: $25 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

Tagline:  If the signal dies so does she.

Trivia: When Jason Statham threatens Kim Basinger with his belt, her fear is genuine, because she did not know in advance what would happen. Instead, she asked Statham to “surprise her.” They got the shot on the first take.

 

Overall: Cellular is an action film that doesn’t get the respect it should, very easy to watch with a great cast a good popcorn film.

Rating70

Hitchcock (2012)

ogoDirector: Sacha Gervasi

Writer: John J. McLaughlin (Screenplay) Stephen Rebello (Book)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston, Toni Collette, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Wincott, Jessica Biel, James D’Arcy

 

Plot: In 1959, Alfred Hitchcock and his wife, Alma, are at the top of their creative game as filmmakers amid disquieting insinuations about it being time to retire. To recapture his youth’s artistic daring, Alfred decides his next film will adapt the lurid horror novel, Psycho, over everyone’s misgivings. Unfortunately, as Alfred self-finances and labours on this film, Alma finally loses patience with his roving eye and controlling habits with his actresses. When an ambitious friend lures her to collaborate on a work of their own, the resulting marital tension colours Alfred’s work even as the novel’s inspiration haunts his dreams.

 

Verdict: Great Mind

 

Story: With Hitchcock arguable the greatest director Hollywood has seen with all his classic films we get to see how he broke all traditions to make the now classic ‘Psycho’. His choose went against every studio and no one wanted to touch the project. We see how he risked a large amount of money he had earned to make this picture and see how he got his inspiration for the picture.

The film only follows the difficulties Hitchcock struggled with the picture and his personally life which is very good to see instead of watching something that followed his whole career. Psycho could easily be considered his most well-known film which also helps showing how much of a fight it was to make such an iconic film. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Anthony Hopkins: Alfred Hitchcock the great director who is fresh off the back of ‘North by Northwest’ he has no inspiration for his next picture. He has offers coming in all over the place but little to no interest in making these pictures. He finds out no one is interested in a book known as Psycho so he makes this his next project. We see how he gives up his usual style to make the film as an independent picture, he has to keep up his usual high standards while battling his own personal problems. Great performance from Anthony give a performance the great man would be proud off. (10/10)

 hitchcock

Helen Mirren: Alma Reville Hitchcock’s wife who has been working with him and supporting him for decades. She starts becoming over friendly with a writer Whitfield but discovers that he has alternative plans. Great performance from Mirren but when doesn’t she give excellent performances? (9/10)

mirren

Scarlett Johansson: Janet Leigh actress of choice for the leading role in the picture, she has never worked with Hitchcock but finds out he is a true gentlemen who can get the very best out of the actress. Good supporting performance that fits in perfectly with the bigger names. (8/10)

 

Danny Huston: Whitfield Cook writer who wants to have his work turned into a Hitchcock film and tries to charm Alma into working with him. Good performance as the seedy character trying to get what he wants at any means. (8/10)

 

Director Review: Sacha Gervasi – Great direction to show how a great director got his masterpiece completed. (9/10)

 

Biography: Brilliant look at how one of the greatest horror films ever was made. (10/10)

Drama: Great use of the drama storyline showing how simple things in life can be overreacted with consequences that never need to happy. (9/10)

Settings: Brilliantly recreated settings to stay with the time period in question. (10/10)

Suggestion: This is a film to be watching, it has a couple of laughs but most importantly it tells how one of the greatest films ever made was made. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Hopkins as Hitchcock is brilliant

Worst Part: I personally didn’t like the final scene with him looking for inspiration for his next film.

Funniest Scene: Trying to get a certificate for the film.

Favourite Quote: Hitchcock ‘She won’t be nude, she’ll be wearing a shower cap’

Believability: It is how Psycho was made. (10/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for one Oscar for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hair

Box Office: $23 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

Tagline: Behind every Psycho is a great woman

 

Overall: Brilliant Story About Brilliance

Rating 90