Lady Bird (2017)

Director: Greta Gerwig

Writer: Greta Gerwig (Screenplay)

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothee Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein

 

Plot: In the early 2000s, an artistically-inclined seventeen year-old comes of age in Sacramento, California.


Tagline – Time to fly

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming & Sweet

 

Story: Lady Bird starts in 2002 as Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson (Ronan) is in the middle of her college tour with her mother Marion (Metcalf), Lady Bird is in the position where her family can’t afford a big move, but dreams of leaving the West Coast and heading to the East Coast.

With her financial situation getting worse, Lady Bird tries to go out of her way to secretly get into a college with a scholarship, but needs to improve her studies, while starting a relationship with fellow student Danny (Hedges). We follow Lady Bird’s final year at high school before needing to make her choice on college.

 

Thoughts on Lady Bird

 

Characters – Lady Bird is our leading lady, as we follow her final year of high school before college, she wants to break away to a big East Coast college, but her family can’t afford to give her this chance. she isn’t the most gifted student either. As the year goes past we see how Lady Bird changes her colours to fit in with different crowds, but she only pushes friends away, while hiding from the stress that trying to get into a college can cause a teenager. Marion is the mother of Lady Bird, she is trying to keep the family together including being considered the bad guy in the eyes of Lady Bird. Larry is her father, he tries to make sure everything seems smooth for Lady Bird, while deep down he is struggling with depression. Danny is the guy Lady Bird starts dating when she is part of the drama class, but his secret will end that love, as he must deal with his own problems. Kyle is the next guy that Lady Bird starts seeing, showing us that she will make mistakes when it comes to her choices.

PerformancesSaoirse Ronan is on top form her as she shows why she is one of the hottest young actresses in the business again. She handles each emotion, decision the character makes with ease. Laurie Metcalf is great in the over caring mother role, it was hard to look past her Big Bang Theory role which shares certain similarities.  When you look into the next level of the cast we get great performances from everyone in the film.

StoryThe story follows one girl who is about to go in her final year of high school before going into college, she needs to find a way to make things work out for herself, facing the idea that her dreams might not come true, well not the path that had dreamed off. She needs to learn that the people in her life are equally as important as herself and she can’t be expecting to have everything revolve around her life. We do get to see the struggle Lady Bird goes through, including being led down paths she wouldn’t for popularity over friendship.

ComedyThe comedy drama being mixed together in this film helps get the emotions our characters are going through during this year, it isn’t a laugh out loud comedy, just one that manages to make people smile, when need be.

SettingsThe settings show the small town feeling shows the issues teenagers will be facing when not everything is affordable for the parents and the grades don’t give them the chance to experience everything their potential has to offer them.


Scene of the Movie –
Coach picking the play team.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This is a strange one, but knowing Saoirse Ronan has surpassed teen roles know, because we want to see her take more adult roles.

Final ThoughtsI can see why people are raving over this film, but it does focus too heavily on the America college system and how people’s lives could be affected by this, something not everyone will go through. This is acted well from start to finish, it does show how the system is flawed and how difficult high school can be in this year.

 

Overall: Deserving of the praise, but strangely not for everyone.

Rating

 

 

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Director: Martin McDonagh

Writer: Martin McDonagh (Screenplay)

Starring: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Lucas hedges, John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage, Caleb Landry Jones

 

Plot: A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to catch the culprit.


Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Darkly Humorous

 

Story: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri starts as Mildred Hayes (McDormand) puts up three billboards in a quiet road questioning how Willoughby (Harrelson) hasn’t solved the case of her daughter’s rape and murder. Fellow officer Dixon (Rockwell) who has a chequered past is enraged by the signs, while officer Willoughby tries to clean up the situation and prove there isn’t enough to solve the case, but with his dying he does want to solve the case before he goes.

As the billboards stay up longer, the town starts to become divided on the support in catching the killer and Mildred does to extremes in her battle with Dixon to get the case solved.

 

Thoughts on Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

 

Characters – Mildred Hayes is a mother that has run out of patience when it comes to the police finding the killer off her daughter, she did have the full support of the town, but this stunt pushes the people away even if it could get her the killer to identify themselves. Willoughby is the lead investigator in the case, he has done everything he could to solve the case, but he is now facing his own battle with cancer, while keeping the peace in the town. Dixon is the hot-headed police officer that clashes with Mildred and anyone who supports her in finding out the truth.

PerformancesFrances McDormand shows us that she can reach the Fargo levels whenever the material is given to her, as she shines through as the best part of this movie. Woody Harrelson is great again this year, showing us he can step into any role and be great. Sam Rockwell is wonderful too as we see that this cast is filled with talent character performers.

StoryThe story shows the extremes of losing a child, the stress of noting being able to solve one of the worst cases in the town. This does turn into a character studio on the people involved and how their lives need to move on without a chance of every being able to. It is hard to describe this story in much more depth because it is interesting, it does have a lot going on that keeps us wanting to see where the film will go.

Comedy/CrimeThis does use dark humour throughout as we are seeing the effects of the crime on people’s lives, don’t expect to see an investigation though, we are focusing on the relationship between the mother of the victim and the police.

SettingsThe film takes place in this small town where everyone seems to know everyone, so they have all felt the effects of the crime, this helps when things start to get exposed.


Scene of the Movie –
Window smashing, it is a well shot single looking take.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The answer is frustrating.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dark humour that can be enjoyed by the fans of that genre, it does have a good subject matter but doesn’t get to a level in the story that I enjoyed watching.

 

Overall: Dark comedy through a serious subject matter.

Rating

 

 

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.

Rating90

 

 

The Zero Theorem (2013)

logoDirector: Terry Gilliam

Writer: Pat Rushin (Screenplay)

Starring: Christoph Waltz, Lily Cole, David Thewlis, Ben Whishaw, Peter Stormare, Melanie Thierry, Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton, Lucas Hedges

 

Plot: A computer hacker whose goal is to discover the reason for human existence continually finds his work interrupted thanks to the Management; namely, they send a teenager and lusty love interest to distract him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Asking the Question We All Ask

 

Story: The Zero Theorem starts by Qohen (Waltz) working on his computer trying to find the answers. He enters into the futuristic world with talking billboards controlled by Mancom where Qohen happens to work for. Joby (Thewlis) his boss is trying to keep everything together by Qohen is trying to find the answers to life but wants to talk to Management (Damon). Qohen is trying to get disability time off or working from home but he does get a chance to meet management at a party held by Joby.

Qohen meeting with Management didn’t go as well but upon a second meeting he gets given a chance to work on a special project for Management. The next project means he can work at how and along with hardware tech Bob (Hedges) he starts the job that could take up the rest of his life. Struggling to reach the same levels off work at home, because the project is much harder than first thought. Joby sends help Bainsley (Thierry) to help take his mind off the work and clean up the place. Qohen is searching for answers to make him feeling unique in the world instead of just be part of the system.

The Zero Theorem uses the very core question that gets asked by plenty of people through time ‘what are we here for?’ as I find myself asking this question I could relate to the ideas that Qohen was feeling with the search for answers because without them everything seems meaningless. The confusing side of the story comes with the job these people work on where the search for theorem answers is their main goal. I liked the intereaction between the character showing how top boss will give you a chance the supervisor will pretend to friend you while the young assistants help in their own way. This film will end up making you think which is alway a good thing in a film. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Christoph Waltz: Qohen Leth a lonely man who wants to find a purpose for his life in a world where he is just part of the system, he is good at his job and ends up taking a difficult project to try and help his need to achieve more. Christoph does a good job in this role showing how he always has that thinking look in his eyes. (7/10)

 waltz

David Thewlis: Joby supervisor who helps Qohen gets the task he wants trying to keep things together. David gives a solid supporting performance and clearly becomes the quirky one of the group. (6/10)

joby

Melanie Thierry: Bainsley a call girl who becomes friends with Qohen trying to help him come from outside his shell. Melanie does a good job as the sexy distraction in Qohen’s life. (7/10)

 bainsey

Matt Damon: Management who gives Qohen a chance to prove his worth but demands things don’t done. Matt does a solid job in this small supporting role (6/10)

 

Lucas Hedges: Bob son of Management who is the tech guy who is set to help Qohen keep everything working so he can find his solution. Lucas gives the best performance of the cast as he sums up how Qohen could have felt as a youngster and how he will feel when he is older. (8/10)

bob

Support Cast: The Zero Theorem doesn’t have much else in way of supporting cast anybody else is just small parts that try to help the story continue.

 

Director Review: Terry Gilliam – Terry always gives us something weird and wonderful to watch and this doesn’t let us down. (7/10)

 

Fantasy: The Zero Theorem enters into a potential fantasy future we are not aware of yet. (6/10)

Sci-Fi: The Zero Theorem uses a future world where anything could become possible to create a solid sci-fi element to the story. (8/10)

Settings: The Zero Theorem keeps the reality world settings dark but the fantasy world bright to make a good contrast between the two worlds. (8/10)
Special Effects
: The Zero Theorem uses good special effects to make the fantasy happen. (8/10)

Suggestion: The Zero Theorem is one to try it will make you think which could put people off, but it is worth it in the end. (Try It)

 

Best Part: First beach trip.

Worst Part: Slightly too much thinking.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Brazil

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

Tagline: Nothing is everything.

 

Overall: Finding out the answers to everything is not always what you want it to be.

Rating 72