Casey Affleck Weekend – Manchester by the Sea (2016)

manchesterDirector: Kenneth Lonergan

Writer: Kenneth Lonergan (Screenplay)

Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges, CJ Wilson, Tata Donovan, Matthew Broderick, Gretchen Mol, Heather Burns, Stephen Henderson


Plot: An uncle is asked to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Casey Affleck’s Powerhouse Performance


Story: Manchester by the Sea starts as we meet Lee Chandler (Affleck) handyman for apartment complexes. He lives a very isolated life that he is happy with but when he gets a phone call he needs to leave town after his brother Joe (Chandler) suffers a heart attack.

Lee needs to return to Manchester to tell Patrick (Hedges) what has happened to his father but returning to Manchester means memories of his ex-wife Randi (Williams) and daughters Suzy (Dixon) and Karen.

Lee’s life is turned upside when he learns Joe’s will leaves him as the guardian to Patrick with enough money to re-locate in Manchester the town he had left all those years ago, Lee must figure out what to do and what is best for Patrick.


Thoughts on Manchester by the Sea


StoryThe story is a simple follow showing how one man must face his past to help his family, a past he never wanted to go back to. This comes off like an everyday family having to deal with what happened which is great to see because we support them through their struggles. This is a story you will need to be in the right frame of mind to see but if you do you will be rewarded.

Characters/PerformanceLee is such a brilliant character who has his own demons while having to face a new life with his nephew, he keeps to himself to himself but facing these demons on poses a challenge in his life. Patrick is a teenager who does think he is better than the other students and hates his Uncle but is mostly reacting to what has happened with his father. The rest of the characters are all part of the past and present of these two. Casey Affleck does give a career best performance that is so withdrawn from the world the other characters are living, while Lucas Hedges shines next to Affleck with ease. All the other performances are great throughout.

SettingsThe settings in this film make you fully believe that this is just a normal family that has been struggling with problems in everyday life which is very important through this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the hardest watches of the year, the story is not going to be for everyone. I will be saying you should be watching if you are a film lover.


Overall: Outstanding drama that keeps everything very simple for the characters involved with a powerhouse performance.





Oscar Season Challenge – Carol (2015)

Rob and I have decided to make a twist on the challenge where we will be looking at Oscar related films first before moving into going back to look at different Oscar winners from the past.

carolDirector: Todd Haynes

Writer: Phyllis Nagy (Screenplay) Patricia Highsmith (Novel)

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler, Jake Lucy, Sarah Paulson, John Magaro, Cory Michal Smith


Plot: Set in 1950s New York, a department-store clerk who dreams of a better life falls for an older, married woman.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Wonderful Romantic Story


Story: Carol starts as we fellow department shop clerk Therese (Mara) getting ready for the Christmas rush in the toy department, she has herself a boyfriend Richard (Lacy) who wants her to marry him but she just isn’t ready yet. Her life gets turned upside down when she meets the older woman Carol (Blanchett) who is also going through her own problems with her husband Harge (Chandler) trying to take her children away because of her lesbian liaisons.

With both their partners putting pressure on them the two go away together for Christmas as they have to keep their relationship hidden from the world who would frown on it in 1950’s America.

Carol shows the difficulty in any potential relationship between the same sex during the 1950s, it also tackles the ideas of different ages between any relationship too. We get to see how without technology people would different ways to expose affairs. While this really is just a love story and a good one at that it is it will show how different times were for something that wouldn’t even get looked at twice now a day.


Actor Review


Cate Blanchett: Carol is the married woman who has had a family but isn’t interested in the attention of men even though her lesbian tendencies are frowned upon by in the 1950s. she is going through messy divorce which leaves her in a position of losing her children, but Therese gives her a chance to be happy while all these things are going on. Cate gives us yet another brilliant performance proving she always gives the best performance year on year.carl character

Rooney Mara: Therese is the young department shop clerk who isn’t sure where her life will go next, she has a boyfriend who wants to marry her but when she meets Carol she automatically gets the desire to be with her. She ends up having a Christmas holiday learning something new about herself and life along the way. Rooney continues to show her talent in this role where she shines next to one of the best in the business.therese

Kyle Chandler: Harge is the husband of Carol who is tired of all her affairs but wants to keep the children in the right set of mind being raised correctly, that is until he reaches his final straw and wants to take away her children. Kyle gives us a good supporting role even if we would have liked to see slightly more in the character.

Sarah Paulson: Abby is a former lover of Carol’s who’s almost become part of the family, she questions the desire behind the desire to Therese but remains loyal to Carol for all the personal issues going on. Sarah is good in this role giving a good supporting role.

Support Cast: Carol has a good supporting cast that all do their jobs well through the film.

Director Review: Todd HaynesTodd gives us a very good romantic story from start to finish.


Drama: Carol shows the difficultly of being involved in this type of relationship during the 1950s.

Romance: Carol has a beautiful romantic story that goes through all the problems that could be around during the time period.

Chemistry: Carol shows great chemistry between Cate and Rooney.

Music: Carol uses the music very well through the whole film.

Settings: Carol creates the settings that make you feel like in the 1950s from start to finish.

Suggestion: Carol is one to watch but I do understand that some people will find this not their cup of tea. (Watch)


Best Part: Cate and Rooney’s performances.

Worst Part: Subject isn’t for everyone.


Believability: While the story is fictional the difficulties would have be true.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Awards: Nominated for 5 Golden Globes including Best Picture Two Best Actress and Best Director.

Oscar Chances: Could easily get nomination and wins when it comes to Oscars.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

Tagline: Some people change your life forever


Overall: Wonderful Love story against all the odds


The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013)

logoDirector: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Terence Winter (Screenplay) Jordan Belfort (Novel)

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Joanna Lumley


Plot: Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio) wants to be rich and as he enters the cut throat world of stockbroking he takes a meteoric rise to the top. Jordan and his partner Donnie (Hill) start making more money than they could have ever imagined but with that money comes, drug, sex and drinking addiction that drive them and slowly take over them. With FBI agent Patrick Denham (Chandler) tracking down their wrong doings we see how long they can stay at the top before it all comes crumbling down.


Verdict: Good drama that shows how money controls people

Story: All I have heard is how brilliant this is and in all honesty I don’t get the hype. For the whole biographic side it is good and I do understand that they were out of control, but there is way, way too much drug use for the sake of it. I found myself just wanting some scenes to end and move on to the next chapter and other storylines were just, he is now dead. In conclusion I found the story too long. (8/10)


Actor Review: Leonardo DiCaprio – Jordan playing his rise and fall. Leo is brilliant having to go through all sorts of emotions and different reactions to every scene. He dominates the screen whenever he is on it, this will be added to his fine performances he always puts out. Star Performance Award (10/10)


Actor Review: Jonah Hill – Donnie the guy Jordan started the business with and gets to the top with him. It a great supporting role as he becomes more of the loose cannon of the team. (9/10)


Actor Review: Margot Robbie – Naomi Jordan wife who enjoys the high life with him. It what is one of her first major roles she is great as the good side to Leo’s drive but doesn’t get enough screen time. (8/10)


Director Review: Martin ScorseseHe is the master of the epic films and this is great but it focuses way too much on the wrong things that are going on in the story. (7/10)


Crime: We see all the crimes they are committing but only hear a small parts what consequences of the crimes are. (8/10)

Believability: True Story (10/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: Nearly every setting is an expensive idea showing how well the rich are doing. (9/10)

Suggestion: It is long so if you don’t want to sit around and watch a film for three hours then you can easily miss this. The diehard fans of the stars will have to watch but I feel this isn’t something you really have to watch. (Try It)


Best Part: The moment when Jordan gets a small time job and shocks everyone with his selling ability.

Worst Part: Too much drugs

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 5 Oscars

Chances of Sequel: No


Overall:  A long biopic that will leave you disappointed

Rating 80

Super 8 (2011)

Director: J.J. Abrams

Writer: J.J. Abrams

Starring: Joel Courtney, Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee, Gabriel Basso, Zach Mills, Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Noah Emmerich


Story When six friends Joe (Courtney), Charles (Griffiths), Cary (Lee), Martin (Basso) Preston (Mills) and Alice (Fanning) are filming a zombie movie at a train station disaster strikes. A car comes onto the track and drives straight into the train causing a horrific train crash. The six friends are lucky to escape unhurt but as they escape the Air force turn up.


The friends decide to use the train wreck for background on their movie. In their town strange things start occurring like electrical equipment going missing and all the dogs running away. After the Sheriff goes missing it is up to Deputy Jackson (Chandler) to find out the truth and Nelec (Emmerich) the leader of the Air Force tries to obstruct his investigation.


With a potentially alien creature roaming this small town can the residents make it though the situation? Is the creature dangerous or friendly?

Verdict This sci-fi thriller drama coming of age tale has everything. When things are getting to the edge of thrilling the drama pauses not stops the action and just as the drama gets to an emotional level the thriller comes off pause and picks up right where you left off. The young cast all shine in a realistic environment. The way the creature is hidden through the whole movie and only getting glimpse adds to the huge suspense. This has all the coming of age of Stand By Me mixed in with a monster movie is great effect. I think this movie shines by not having an A list star in letting each of the actors shine on screen, This movie has absolutely everything for all fans of every genre to see truly is a great.


Story Mark 10/10 Has everything


Action Mark 9/10 Some great action scenes incredible train wreck scene too.


Character Development Mark 9/10 Learn who each character is and more and more about the creature as the story unfolds.


Friendship Chemistry Mark 10/10 can all be seen to be best friends all the way through.


Special Effects Mark 9/10 Very effective special effects through out.


Star Performances Joel Courtney as Joe Lamb playing a child who mother has recently died and best friend and driving force of Charles determination to make the movie,


Elle Fanning as Alice being almost bossy but really just trying to fit into the group knowing an awkward moment needed to be spoken about.


Favourite Characters Charles reminded me of my favourite character in The Goonies Chunk but with a more sensible side.


Cary way to into his explosion very funny character


Joe determined nature that will do anything for his friends even after what has happened,


Best Part The train wreck is pretty special but its hard to pick an actually best part of a near perfect movie.


Best Quote after the driver is nearly asleep from drugs Cary goes ‘He’s too stoned!’ Martin goes ‘Oh, Drugs are so bad!’


Similar Too – Stand By Me, Cloverfield, The Goonies, E.T


My Rating 98%

The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008)

Director: Scott Derrickson

Writer: David Scarpa

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Kathy Bates, Jaden Smith, John Cleese, Jon Hamm, Kyle Chandler, Robert Knepper.


Story When an object from space looks like it heading straight to Earth Helen Benson (Connelly) is drag from her home and stepson Jacob (Smith) to help solve the problem. Helen is picked by Michael Granier (Hamm), he knows her previous research would be key to the solution. The object starts to slow down as it reaches Earth and it soon becomes apparent that it is some form of space ship.


A huge beam of light lands in Central Park and from that beam of light emerged a Orb. The Orb is the host for an alien figure and a giant organic machine with the ability to control power sources. The alien figure is shot and now the government must try to save its life. With its protective layer being removed a human figure emerges Klaatu (Reeves).


The President goes into hiding leaving Secretary of Defence Regina Jackson (Bates) in charge of the country’s action in this time of crisis. Klaatu soon tells how he wants to meet the world leaders, only Regina refuse and starts to question Klaatu’s reasons for visit. Klaatu escapes and gets to see how different humans act not just to their normal lives but also to a new alien invasion. Helen must try to talk Klaatu that Earth is worth saving before time runs out.


Verdict This big budget remake of the 1951 classic comes over strong without really shining to the level it could have. Keanu Reeves as the emotionless alien Klaatu is perfect for his acting style, but Jennifer Connelly as widowed step mum scientist isn’t the best choice as if it was her own son she would care that little bit more. The Government are as clueless as always which makes Klaatu come over as the enemy when he simple comes in peace against Earth. The overall lesson that we must learn to live in peace rather than use war for it is a done concept that is good one that should become more important to the real world. 

Story Mark 8/10 Already written story that’s gets big budget treatment simple story that is a good watch

Action Mark 9/10 The few action scenes are good and the nano byte bit sticks out though.

Special Effects Mark 9/10 Nano byte special effects are very special especially when they start eating through objects.

Star Performances Keanu Reeves as Klaatu emotionless alien with no facial expression needed perfect fit

Favourite Character Colonel (Knepper) in charge of the army but runs out of ideas funny part of a serious scenario  

Best Part Nano byte destruction scene

Worst Part Government’s intelligence

Best Quote Klaatu after being asked why he came to our planet by Secretary of Defence ‘Your planet’

My Rating 81%