ABC Film Challenge – Romance – H – High Fidelity (2000)

Director: Stephen Frears

Writer: D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack, Scott Rosenberg (Screenplay) Nick Hornby (Book)

Starring: John Cusack, Lisa Bonet, Joelle Carter, Joan Cusack, Sara Gilbert, Jack Black, Tim Robbins, Lili Taylor, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso

 

Plot: Rob, a record store owner and compulsive list maker, recounts his top five breakups, including the one in progress.


Tagline – A comedy about fear of commitment, hating your job, falling in love and other pop favorites.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Story of Finding Love 101

 

Story: High Fidelity starts as Rob Gordon (Cusack) is breaking up with his girlfriend Laura (Hjejle) pushing him into going through his top five break ups and former girlfriends, from high school, college and adult life. Rob owns a small record shop with two employees Dick (Louiso) and Barry (Black) who are always in competition for the music to be played in the story.

Dick & Barry try to help Rob get over his break up by taking him to a local bar to see musician Marie De Salle (Bonet) who has her own unique sound, one that Rob hasn’t heard before. Rob must put his life in order to understand what he is searching for in love.

 

Thoughts on High Fidelity

 

Characters – Rob Gordon is a record store owner who makes top five lists on every possible subject in the music field, he is going through a break up which sees his latest list being his top five break ups, he is looking back at his past relationships to figure out what went wrong and deciding whether to move on with a new love interest. Laura is the latest woman that Rob has broken up with, she is trying to move on, but Rob still sees something with. Dick an Barry are the two employees at the record store, they have different tastes in music which sees them clash at times about what is being played in the store, they also provide friendship for Rob. Marie is one of the woman Rob tries to move on with a musician with new sound. We sees five other women that Rob has been with though his life, ones that have seen things go wrong for him.

PerformancesJohn Cusack in the leading role does bring us a character that is emotional difficult in relationships which works for the film, he has moments of charm and shows his angry mind side too. Todd Louiso and Jack Black both make for most of the comedy in the supporting roles, while Iben Hjejle leads the long list of actresses in the film who are all pick to play the right versions of what we could see them being.

StoryThe story follows one man that has just been through a break up and like a lot of people in break ups looks back at previous relationships to see what keeps going wrong in his life. This story is told straight to the camera, which at times gets annoying, but the idea of looking back at previous relationships does feel like something people do, wanting to know where people are in life too, if they could still miss you, if there is still something between the two. The problems in this film comes from this painting Rob as somebody is can’t find love, but he clearly can, he is just not very good a keeping the relationship together.

Comedy/Music/RomanceThe comedy in the film comes from seeing how Jack Black seems to react to everything. the music in the film shows us just how the record story and music means so much to Rob, while the romance shows us just how love isn’t always the easiest thing to understand.

SettingsThe film is set in Chicago which shows the busy nature of the people, while the record store shows us just it can bring the right minds together.


Scene of the Movie –
Barry’s performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Being spoken to through the whole film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a romance film with a difference, it shows how difficult love can be and just what it means to the people who are going through break ups.

 

Overall: Simple Alternative Romance Film

Rating

 

 

Leatherface (2017)

Director: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury

Writer: Seth M Sherwood (Screenplay) Kim Henkel, Tobe Hooper (Characters)

Starring: Finn Jones, Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, Nicole Andrews, James Bloor, Sam Strike, Sam Coleman, Vanessa Grasse

 

Plot: A teenage Leatherface escapes from a mental hospital with three other inmates, kidnapping a young nurse and taking her on a road trip from hell while being pursued by an equally deranged lawman out for revenge.


Tagline – Witness the beginning of your end

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Another Forgettable Prequel

 

Story: Leatherface starts as the Sawyer family get their children taken from them by Texas Ranger Hal Hartman (Dorff) after they kill his daughter. Ten years later we meet Lizzy (Grasse) a nurse in a mental home where she meets the different patients Jackson (Strike) the talker, Bud (Coleman) the quiet one that doesn’t talk, Ike (Bloor) the short tempered one and Clarice (Madsen) the bully of the female ward.

When Verna (Taylor) the mother of the Sawyer family breaks into the home in search for her son, she creates a mass escape where Ike, Clarice lead an escape with hostages Jackson and Lizzy with Bud along the way, but this gives Hal a chance to go on his own revenge mission to kill Jed who just so happens to be one of the escapees, but which one as Deputy Sorrel (Jones) must do the right thing.

 

Thoughts on Leatherface

 

Characters – Texas Ranger Hal Hartman has his daughter killed by the Sawyer family, he wants blood but knows he can’t so he takes the children away, but with the escape of one of the children he knows it is his chance to get the Sawyer’s where it hurts. Verna Sawyer wants her kid back and will go to any lengths to free him from the mental home. Lizzy is the new nurse to the home that is basically us joining the home being forced to meet the characters in the home, which she does, she does become a hostage when the escape happens. Jackson is the nice patient that makes sure Lizzy is safe during the escape where as Bud is the silent gentle giant with a mean streak that will kill anyone who pisses him off. This gives us a nice selection of who Jed could be and while I suspect it will be one, it doesn’t point any clear fingers at any of the three male escapees.

PerformancesThe performances are fine from the whole cast, the big names get there moments but the performances as a whole are just average at best offering nothing to make this the most unique film of the franchise.

StoryThe story plays out to be an origin of Leatherface, who would have guessed that from the title? We get three main potential suspect to who could be the growing Jed which is about as much of the story we see, because we are trying to figure out which one is him. We do have a Texas Ranger out for blood but to make Leatherface the innocent victim sees strange for the most part. The big problem is the stakes are low and the focus on make the villainous family the characters we are meant to care about is poorly designed.

HorrorThe horror is all blood and gore, just for the sake of giving us blood and gore, there is little reasoning behind it other than to try and shock like the film does.

SettingsNone of the settings stand out to be original for the franchise which again leaves us wondering why this doesn’t feel like Texas anymore.

Special EffectsThe effects do all look practical and for the most part they are the highlight of the film, it gives the artists a chance to show us just what they can do.


Scene of the Movie –
Police car escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Making the villains the heroes confuses me.

Chances of Sequel: A sequel or a reboot or a remake, take your pick.

Final ThoughtsThis is another prequel or addition to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise we didn’t need, it offers little to the original and just falls into generic mistake after mistake.

 

Overall: Disappointing all around.

Rating

 

 

To the Bone (2017)

Director: Marti Noxon

Writer: Marti Noxon (Screenplay)

Starring: Lily Collins, Keanu Reeves, Alex Sharp, Ciara Bravo, Liana Liberato, Carrie Preston, Leslie Bibb, Lili Taylor

 

Plot: A young woman is dealing with anorexia. She meets an unconventional doctor who challenges her to face her condition and embrace life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard But Important Watch

 

Story: To the Bone starts as we meet young woman Ellen (Collins) who has been battle anorexia nervosa, she is given a chance to move in with her father and stepmother Susan (Preston) who arranges for her to see a specialist Dr Beckham (Reeves) whose methods have offered people a new chance to recover.

Ellen goes to stay in an outpatient’s home, where she meets fellow suffers including Luke (Sharp), Kendra (McDowell), Anna (Prescott), Pearl (Eshet), Megan (Bibb), and Tracey (Bravo) as Dr Beckham uses the idea of friendship, desire to live and acceptance of people around them.

 

Thoughts on To the Bone

 

Characters – Ellen is the young lady suffering with anorexia nervosa, while her family does support her they just don’t understand her disease, Ellen goes to a new treatment hospital where she meets more people suffering and it is here she must learn the biggest lesson if she wants to cure herself. This is a very important character that shows how easily a person can hide their problems from family and friends. Dr Beckham shows us a doctor can give up plenty of his own time to treat the people most people don’t know how to deal with. Luke is one of the patients at the home that always seem positive and has made hug improvements but deep down he knows the truth about his future and his confidence hides this. We also have the parental characters that don’t understand how to act and other sufferers that are at different stages of the disease.

PerformanceLily Collins is great in this leading role, she shows us the suffering her character must be going through in every scene. Keanu Reeves does give us a good performance here showing he can be a doctor figure that can help people and doesn’t need true emotional range. Alex Sharp carries most of the energy in this film and shows that he could be a name to watch out for future.

StoryThe story focuses on dealing with eating disorders, it shows how difficult it can be to get people to understand the troubles the characters are going through and how they need to find a way to improve themselves. This is an important watch because it shows how easily this disease can go unnoticed until it is too late and is one people need to go and watch.

SettingsThe settings show that home doesn’t understand, but the hospital home does its best to help the characters get better, this shows us just what is needed to help the people suffering.

Scene of the Movie – The Trip.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The father is a complete asshole and we never see him.

Final ThoughtsThis is an important film that does tackle an important subject matter that people should be seeing but it isn’t just a casual evening movie because of this subject matter.

 

Overall: Important watch for all.

Rating

 

 

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)

mazeDirector: Wes Ball

Writer: T.S. Nowlin (Screenplay) James Dashner (Book)

Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Dexter Darden, Alexander Flores, Jacob Lofland, Rosa Salazar, Patricia Clarkson, Lili Taylor, Barry Pepper, Alan Tudyk, Giancarlo Esposito

 

Plot: After having escaped the Maze, the Gladers now face a new set of challenges on the open roads of a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Didn’t See This Coming

 

Story: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials starts with our survivors from the first Maze Runner Thomas (O’Brien), Minho (Lee), Teresa (Scodelario), Frypan (Darden) Newt (Brodie-Sangster) to name a few. The survivors were rescued by Janson’s (Gillen) men as they see the reality of what has happened to the world with the infected attacking the base especially as our group of survivors are the key to finding a cure from the Flare Virus.grop

Once inside the group learn that there were other mazes with other groups that survivor and Janson is promising to take them to a new land for freedom but when long server survivor Aris (Lofland) shows Thomas the truth they find out just how much danger they are all in again.

After escaping early on the group find themselves coming face to face with the infected enemy where they learn the truth about how dangerous the outside is or the Scorch if you like as they search for a resistance movement to go against Ava Paige (Clarkson).

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials picks up where the first one finished and we finally get to see the world that we only see small parts off. We get to see both side in a war for a cure as well as the threat against both of them with the ‘Cranks’ well zombies really. This is a great sequel to a film that left you thinking, ‘oh come on’ by the end of it. I did say after both Maze Runner and Divergent I would judge the builder film on the sequel, this went the right direction by not over complicating the battle but does show the threat we are witnessing on front of us. Sure this does end up giving us another cliff hanger but we have jumped forward and I could be honest and say you don’t really need to see the first film to enjoy this.

 

Actor Review

 

Dylan O’Brien: Thomas is the reluctant leader of the group from the Glades, he learns about the danger his people find themselves in. he leads their escape as he guides them across the Scorch as they look for the next place of safety. Dylan steps up his game in this outing showing he could become the leading man the film deserves.  thomas

Ki Hong Lee: Minho is the trust best friend of Thomas, he is the combat expert and can match Thomas in any of the running mission. He will become your favourite character because he will be the one that stays to fight while his friends get to safety. Ki gives us a good performance making us want to see how his character does against the enemy.

Kaya Scodelario: Teresa is along for the journey and tries to talk Thomas into returning to the base, something was done to her during their time at the base. Kaya really doesn’t do anything in this film and feels slightly out of place.

Thomas Brodie-Sangster: Newt is the brains of the act but also the guy who wants to make sure everything is done through safety rather than taking any chances. Thomas doesn’t get as many scenes as we need from him but he does a solid in the scenes he has.

Support Cast: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials has a huge supporting cast that includes great performance from Patricia Clarkson, Aidan Gillian, Barry Pepper, Lili Taylor, Rosa Salazar, Giancarlo and Adam Tudyk each character is involved with continuing the story and you fast decide which ones you want to cheer for and boo.

Director Review: Wes Ball Wes gives us a great sequel for the next instalment of a franchise I thought was going to be flat.

 

Action: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials has great action scenes throughout putting all our characters into peril making you wonder which one will make it out of each battle.

Sci-Fi: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials shows a future that ends up showing a world which has been devastated by a virus.

Thriller: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials keeps you guessing to watch will happen until the very end and makes you want to come back for more.

Settings: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials creates brilliant settings for the film showing the destruction that has happened because of the virus.
Special Effects
: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials has great effects with the creation of the Cranks especially with the ones that reminded me of the ‘Clickers’ from The Last of Us.

Suggestion: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is one I think could easily be one to watch and enjoy by all. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Clickers underground.

Worst Part: Teresa really is annoying and under used.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final Fight.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Divergent, Hunger Games

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $61 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 12 Minutes

Tagline: The maze was just the beginning

Trivia: The plot, facts and characters from the movie are wildly different than from the book, including the story arc, the flare and character backstory and development.

 

Overall: One of the best young adult films of the recent Ocean of them

Ratingcard

 

Ransom (1996)

logoDirector: Ron Howard

Writer: Richard Price, Alexander Ignon (Screenplay) Cyril Hume, Richard Maibaum (Story)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Rene Russo, Brawley Nolte, Gary Sinise, Delroy Lindo, Lili Taylor, Live Schreiber, Donnie Wahlberg

 

Plot: Tom Mullen is a millionaire; he built his fortune by working hard. Along the way he learned how to play the game. He has a great family. One day his son is kidnapped. He is willing to pay the ransom but decides to call in the FBI, who manages to go into his home secretly. When he goes to make the drop something goes wrong. The kidnapper calls him again and reschedules it. On the way Mullen decides not to go and appears on TV saying that the ransom he was going to give to the kidnapper is now a bounty on the kidnapper.

 

Verdict: Where are you limits?

 

Story: Ransom starts out as a simple kidnapping with a ransom wanted turns into a thriller unlike anything we have seen before. We see how one man will risk his own son’s life to get the people responsible for kidnapping his son. Our hero goes against every he is told to get his son back, but is he really after some redemption after his errors have caught up with him? The villain comes off very calm but even he isn’t ready for the reaction from the hero. This keeps you guessing what the next step will be from both sides as well as test the relationship between a married couple with the effects of the kidnapping. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Mel Gibson: Tom Mullen a multi-millionaire whose son is kidnapped, while he starts following the instructions he figures out that there is no plan for him to get his son returned, so he goes to extreme levels to out play the kidnappers. Good performance from Gibson showing great intensity against the kidnappers. (8/10)

 mel

Rene Russo: Kate Mullen Tom’s wife who wants to do everything by the book and gets very upset when Tom starts going his own way with the plan. Solid supporting performance. (7/10)

rene

Gary Sinise: Detective Jimmy Shaker the man with the plan that has arranged the kidnap and the exchange to work perfectly. He has back up plans for when things go wrong too. He is very twisted and determined to get his money and will do anything to make sure he gets what he wants. Good performance creating a good villain that not quit. (8/10)

 sinise

Delroy Lindo: Agent Lonnie Hawkins the man called in with his team to help with return of the son. He advises Tom and how to handle each part and tries to change his mind when Tom wants to go his own way. Good performance showing that it has to be done a certain way. (7/10)

 

Director Review: Ron Howard – Good direction taking the thrills to a new level for a story that usually comes off very simple. (9/10)

 

Crime: Ransom is a great test for all law enforcements handling a kidnapping case. (9/10)

Thriller: Ransom uses great thriller aspects that will get keep you guessing. (10/10)

Settings: Each setting used in Ransom works for the next chapter of the story, especially when Tom gets sent to do the trade over. (8/10)

Suggestion: Ransom is one of the best action thrillers you will see, watch this even though Mel Gibson is not the most popular actor anymore. (Watch)

 

Best Part: The first attempted trade over journey.

Worst Part: Generic supporting villains.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Mel Gibson was nominated for Best Actor at the Golden Globes.

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $309 Million

Budget: $80 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

Tagline: This Fall, Pay The Price.

 

Overall: Great Thriller A Must Watch

Rating 89