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 – 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

 

 

Original v Remake – Poseidon (2006)

poseideonDirector: Wolfgang Petersen

Writer: Mark Protosevich (Screenplay) Paul Gallico (Novel)

Starring: Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Jacinda Barrett, Richard Dreyfuss, Emmy Rossum, Mia Maestro, Mike Vogel, Kevin Dillon, Freddy Rodriguez, Andre Braugher

 

Plot: On New Year’s Eve, the luxury ocean liner Poseidon capsizes after being swamped by a rogue wave. The survivors are left to fight for their lives as they attempt to escape the sinking ship.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Glossy but Pointless Remake

 

Story: Poseidon starts on board the Luxury Ocean Liner Poseidon and we go through meeting al our characters Robert Ramsey (Russell) and his daughter Jennifer (Rossum) who is with her boyfriend Christian (Vogel), we also meet gambler Dylan Johns (Lucas), Elena (Maestro) who has snuck on board to be with her boyfriend Marco (Rodriguez) who works on the crew. Richard Nelson (Dreyfuss) is celebrating his trip away wanting a midnight call from his loved one even though he has had his heartbroken back home with Captain Bradford (Braugher) keeping everything calm. This character introduction feels very rushed and I am not sure if I want to cheer for any of these characters. Actually I want to see Richard’s story.

New Year’s Eve again and the celebrations start the new year before the disaster strikes as a rogue enormous wave strikes the ship rolling it upside down. As if all the characters we met are important they are the ones that survive and go out to search for a way out while the rest stay behind in safety so we have Robert, Jennifer, Dylan, Elena, Marco, Richard, Maggie (Barrett) and her son Conor (Bennett). It would be fair to say this is slightly too many characters to be dealing with so I guess we need to trim them down by having over the top deaths for the supporting ones, there we go it starts.

We are left to wonder which ones of the survivors will make it out alive even if we use the process of elimination we know which ones will make it to the end.

Poseidon is a remake of the classic disaster film and what this film does this time is go for the overkill on the characters that are not part of the main group, be it through the first wave, the survivors who didn’t want to go with the rest or just the less important characters have big, Hollywood style kills. The threat remains good because if your ship gets tipped upside down it is easy to create the peril needed for this film. It ends up being nothing but a Hollywood glorified over the top disaster film with under developed characters.

When it comes to the cast you see Josh Lucas get a leading role in an action film where due to poorly written character he is never good or bad with the way he behaves this can also be said about the Kurt Russell character with neither taking the roles filled by Hackman or Borgnine is the original. None of the other performance stand out with as I said before just being disposable characters throughout the film. This film almost feels like a pointless cash in remake for a film that never need to be remade as an action set piece rather than the quest to survive.

 

Overall: Easy to watch disaster film that lacks character development needed.

Ratingcard

 

 

Leonardo DiCaprio Weekend – J. Edgar (2011)

hooverDirector: Clint Eastwood

Writer: Dustin Lance Black (Screenplay)

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Donovan, Josh Lucas, Dermot Mulroney

 

Plot: J. Edgar Hoover, powerful head of the F.B.I. for nearly 50 years, looks back on his professional and personal life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Moving Biopic

 

Story: J. Edgar starts as we learn that J Edgar Hoover (DiCaprio) wanting to tell his story as he goes back to 1919 when he witnesses the crime being committed against his boss Mitchell Palmer. We see how Palmer give Hoover a chance to search for the communist which are targeting high ranking members of America.

With Hoover’s first act he plans to deport any non-America who poses a threat to the country a new law was born and peace came from the rebel. Being put in charge of the Bureau of Investigation Hoover cleans out the corruption to build his own force as he wants to use new technology to help fight crime. While his professional career shines and rises his personal life where he tackles his own relationship with Clyde Tolson (Hammer) that has to remain a secret. The birth of the FBI is told through this story too.

J. Edgar shows the amazing career and life of one of the most important men in American history as we see how he came to help change how law was thought and studied. This will never be questioned but his methods on achieving this could be questioned as he does push many morale boundaries. It is the look into his personal life which also interests because for a man rising against authority to be homosexual at the time would have been looked down on so Hoover also becomes victim to the personal choice being the thing that held back his career. The problem with this film is not in the performance because DiCaprio shines in this role but the problem comes with the fact that this is slightly too long at nearly two and half hours long we could have easily have had a two-hour film because the whole film feels slow at times.

 

Overall: Slow biopic with heavyweight performances.

Rating55

 

 

Paul Bettany Weekend – A Beautiful Mind (2001)

beatfulDirector: Ron Howard

Writer: Akiva Goldman (Screenplay) Sylvia Nasar (Book)

Starring: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany, Christopher Plummer, Adam Goldberg, Josh Lucas, Jason Gray-Stanford, Judd Hirsch

 

Plot: After a brilliant but asocial mathematician, John Nash, accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn for the nightmarish.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Drama

 

Story: A Beautiful Mind starts as we see John Nash (Crowe) start his time at Princeton University where we meet fellow students Sol (Goldberg), Hansen (Lucas), Bender (Rapp), Ainsley (Gray-Stanford) and his roommate Charles (Bettany). Struggling to find his place in the University it takes an everyday occurrence for John to final start rolling on his theory.

After becoming the brightest student John moves onto becoming a teacher while secretly working for the government on code breaking reporting to Parcher (Harris). While teaching he meets the beautiful Alicia Nash (Connelly) and the two strike it off before starting their lives together.

When it becomes apparent John is struggling to manage both live the people that care about him with Charles returning to his life, Parcher pushing him too much and his wife wondering what he is up to, but this beautiful mind is about to be tested when Dr Rosen (Plummer) a psychologist enters his life.

A Beautiful Mind is a wonderfully drama showing us the story of one of the greatest minds of our generation. We see how difficult the life was for John before learning of his mind being damaged due to his schizophrenia. We follow from his time in school until his Noble Peace Prize. We see John deal and learn with his condition to still go on achieve greatness in his life. This is such a brilliant story that shows how success you can achieve your potential regardless.

 

Actor Review

 

Russell Crowe: John Nash is the brilliant mathematician that believes he has been working for the government cracking codes, but when we and he learns the truth we discover this beautiful mind is damaged in other ways. We see John’s life from early Princeton till his final acceptance in the scientific world. Russell gives the best performance of his career her where he shines in the drama.john

Ed Harris: Parcher is the man John believes works for the government as he lives the life of mystery and code breaking John believes he is part of. Ed is great in this supporting role.parcher

Jennifer Connelly: Alicia Nash starts off as a student of John’s before being the only person that sees there is something wrong with his mind, she supports him through every decision in their lives. Jennifer is brilliant in this role of the patience wife.

Paul Bettany: Charles is the roommate John has at Princeton that helps him break out of the problems he has been suffering through but we learn the truth about Charles once we learn John’s mental state. Paul put himself on the map with this great supporting role.charles

Support Cast: A Beautiful Mind has a brilliant supporting cast that all give performances worthy of this subject matter.

Director Review: Ron HowardRon shows that he can handle the serious films that are important to see the greatest people in human history.

 

Biographical: A Beautiful Mind shows the struggles John Nash had with his own sanity to achieve unlocking all of the potential inside his mind.

History: A Beautiful Mind is one film that shows the mind of someone so troubled achieving so much.

Settings: A Beautiful Mind uses the real life location re-created for the story to be unfolded in.
Suggestion
: A Beautiful Mind is one for everyone to watch at least once. (Watch)

 

Best Part: The Pen scene.

Worst Part: Slightly too much time on the imagined side of John’s life.

Favourite Quote: Dr Rosen ‘Imagine if you suddenly learned that the people, the places, the moments most important to you were not gone, not dead, but worse, had never been. What kind of hell would that be?’

 

Believability: Based on the John Nash and his amazing story.

Chances of Tears: Maybe a few nearer the end.

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Won 4 Oscars including Best Picture, Director and Supporting Actress with another 4 Nomination including Best Actor.

Budget: $60 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

Tagline: The Only Thing Greater Than the Power of the Mind is the Courage of the Heart

Trivia: John Nash is shown smoking in the film. In reality, he was a militant anti-smoker.

 

Overall: Brilliant Biographical film that is a must watch for all.

Ratingcard