ABC Film Challenge – Romance – I – Infinitely Polar Bear (2014)

Director: Maya Forbes

Writer: Maya Forbes (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky, Ashley Aufderheide, Nekhebet Kim Juch, Manoah Angelo

Plot: A father struggling with bipolar disorder tries to win back his wife by attempting to take full responsibility of their two young, spirited daughters, who don’t make the overwhelming task any easier.


Tagline – What it takes to keep a family together

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Mark Ruffalo is Fantastic

Story: Infinitely Polar Bear starts when Cam (Ruffalo) loses his job leading to him having another mental breakdown, his wife Maggie (Saldana) in an attempt to protect their children Amelia (Wolodarsky) and Faith (Aufderheide) forces him into an institute to help him overcome his struggles.

When Cam gets out of the home, Maggie has been struggling to make ends meet, which sees her needing to move from Boston to New York to study, the only thing is Cam must look after the children, working on his ability to get back into a routine, can Cam handle this responsibility for his family or not?

Thoughts on Infinitely Polar Bear

Characters – Cam is a bi-polar sufferer, when he is functional he is a brilliant man, but the pressure of his career brings out the depressive side of his nature, seeing hard to keep down a job and seeing his wife need to move his girls away from him during his darkest days. After seeking help, he must put his life back together which will see him take care of the girls, which sees him getting back into a routine he can handle. Maggie is Cam’s wife, she is trying to hold down a job, but needs to study to get to the next level of her career, she will have to move away for chance of an education, needing to let Cam raise their children, while she must decide whether to get back together with Cam. Amelia and Faith are the daughters of the couple, they both struggle to completely understand what their father is going through as they are being raised in a way, they don’t see their friends growing up in.

PerformancesMark Ruffalo is brilliant in the leading role, he shows how difficult like can be for a depressed to process each day, proving once again that he is one of the best actors around today. Zoe Saldana is wonderful too, giving the balance to show how difficult, but how much love can come from somebody that just wants to be there for somebody. Both the two child stars are great fun, giving us the genuine performance that you could see from youngster in the 1970s.

StoryThe story here follows a husband and father that suffers from bi-polar that can’t functional in everyday working life, which means his wife needs to get a career, while he raises the children, something that wasn’t wildly accepted in the 1970s. This story does look into how mental health wasn’t wildly understood in the 1970s and being in the relationship can be difficult for both sides too. We watch how Cam tries to get back into a functional way to life, while his family needs to face difficult decisions about life for their daughters. This is based on the director’s childhood, so you can see the story having realism in how everything unfolds, without anything being over played when it comes to the mental health side of the story.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy involved in the film, does come off lightly as we look to get a chuckle at times, the romance shows us just how difficult the relationship between Cam and Maggie was, be it the marriage or her attempts to make a career for herself.

SettingsThe settings in the film show the Boston lifestyle the family did have, it shows the quieter lifestyle is helpful for Cam.


Scene of the Movie – Give my wife a job.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It doesn’t show much of the actual treatment.

Final Thoughts This is a brilliant look at how mental health works with a family that didn’t fully understand the difficulties behind it, we get to see just how this family found a way to get through the toughest days in the 70s where Mark Ruffalo shines.

Overall: Brilliant look at mental health.

Rating

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Writer:  Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Jim Starlin (Comics)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Josh Brolin, Danai Gurira

 

Plot: After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe.


Tagline – Avenge the fallen.

Runtime: 3 Hours 1 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Cinematic Masterpiece

 

Story: Avengers: Endgame starts in the aftermath of the actions a Thanos (Brolin) in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, the remaining Avengers and the world are dealing with the consequences of the snap. The Avengers, Ironman (Downey Jr), Captain America (Evans), Hulk (Ruffalo), Thor (Hemsworth), Black Widow (Johansson), War Machine (Cheadle), Nebula (Gillan), Rocket are joined by Captain Marvel (Larson) and Hawkeye (Renner) to go face to face and look to undo Thanos actions.

 

Thoughts on Avengers: Endgame

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie I just don’t want to get into any more details about the story, or characters action through the film. This is however one of the greatest achievements in cinema history, to be able to bring us the 22nd film in a franchise and have the stakes on this high of a level, you are just left stunned by the spectacle of this movie. We easily get the best performances from many of the big cast members including Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans.

We do get one of the finest, most breath-taking scenes in the whole franchise that will bring the emotional factor to a level unlike anything we have see before. This does help us because of the factor of the emotional effect of the snap that we see not just the Avengers, but how the world is dealing with them.

This is one that I want to revisit for a lengthy review, which could include spoilers.

 

Overall: The Cinematic Event that we were Promised.

Rating

 

 

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) Revisited

Director: Joss Whedon

Writer: Joss Whedon (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, Jim Starlin (Comics)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Samuel L Jackson

 

Plot: When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump-start a dormant peacekeeping program called Ultron, things go horribly wrong and it’s up to Earth’s mightiest heroes to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plan.


Tagline – A new age begins

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Action-Packed Sequel

 

Story: Avengers Age of Ultron starts as the full team, Iron Man (Downey Jr), Thor (Hemsworth) Hulk (Ruffalo), Captain America (Evans) Black Widow (Johansson) and Hawkeye (Renner) leading an assault on a secret Hydra base in search for Loki’s sceptre.

Tony recruits Bruce to help him use the sceptre to help create an artificial intelligence that could guard the Earth, making the Avengers be able to rest. When Ultron (Spader) takes control of what Tony is searching for, he becomes the latest enemy to the Avengers as he looks to bring world peace to the planet, using the Maximoff twins Pietro (Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda (Olsen) who has the ability to control their minds.

 

Thoughts on Avengers Age of Ultron

 

Characters – Tony Stark wants to create an artificial intelligence to defend Earth from visitors, he does this with Bruce without telling the rest of the team. He is desperate to find a way to save people however much of a risk is going to be, showing that is still struggling to work as a team. Bruce Banner is reluctantly helping Tony, hoping that once he creates this intelligence it would stop him needing to bring out the Hulk. Steve Rogers still believes he is doing the best for mankind, he will see the good in other people including the Maximoff twins who have sided with Ultron, he understands war can push people to the sides at first. Thor is sadly underused in this film because most of his story got cut from the film, most of his story involves him needing to stop the end of the world coming to his own world. Natasha gets a glimpse into the past she has been trying to forget and she has control over Hulk to return Bruce back into control. Hawkeye has been keeping a secret, this will show just what he is fighting for each time he becomes part of the Avengers. Nick Fury gives us the motivation that the team requires. Ultron is the artificial intelligence that Tony unleashes, he is designed to create peace, which in his eyes is complete destruction. Pietro is one of the twins, he has superspeed and like his sister Wanda who has he ability to control minds has been waiting for a chance to confront Tony for the death of their parents.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner all return hitting the levels you would expect when they do get less screen time. We have James Spader mostly voicing the villain with his tone helping make him feel like the threat he is, while Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen both add to the grand scale of this film.

StoryThe story follows how the Avengers are being tested with their action by wanting to experiment on things they have discovered, idea which only end up bringing a new self-created villain to the world. this story does show us how heroes could easily become villains with their actions which is something we haven’t looked at before, we have an artificial intelligence being the villain here shows how quickly it could spread to be a threat for everybody it come sin contact with and losing the human element can leave it make decision which is sees as the only option. Having the minor conflict between the Avengers is important because it does show the clash of beliefs they will be showing through the years together. This story does only build on just where everything will end up going after the action involved in this film too.

Action/Sci-FiThe action involved here is large scale battle sequences, chase sequences and most notable the final act fight which goes on for an age. The sci-fi side of the film turns to the idea of artificial intelligence become the new threat for the Avengers.

SettingsThe film shows us a couple of different settings which will see the heroes needing to save a city which is literally being lifted out of the ground to be used as a weapon.

Special EffectsThe effects in this film do for the most part seem flawless yet again, the ability to have scenes on these scales is unbelievable.


Scene of the Movie –
Chase sequences.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Thor needed more scene time.

Final ThoughtsThis is the second joint venture for the heroes and this time they must fight their own problems, it is entertaining and deserves the attention of the world building involved.

 

Overall: Entertaining as they come.

Rating

 

 

The Avengers (2012) Revisited

Director: Joss Whedon

Writer: Joss Whedon (Screenplay) Zak Penn, Joss Whedon (Story)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr,  Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson

 

Plot: Earth’s mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fantastic

 

Story: The Avengers starts as Nick Fury (Jackson) is leading the investigation on how to operate the tesseract, which ends up summoning Loki (Hiddleston) who steals it, taking Hawkeye (Renner) and Dr Selvig (Skarsgard) under his control. This leads to Nick Fury bringing the Avengers Tony Stark (Downey Jr), Steve Rogers (Evans), Bruce Banner (Raffalo) and Natasha Romanoff (Johansson) for their first mission together.

When Thor (Hemsworth) joins the group, they must learn why Loki is on Earth this time and stop is master plan of unleashing an alien invader on Earth.

 

Thoughts on The Avengers

 

Characters – Steve Rogers is till adapting to the modern day, he is still as patriotic as he was, he will provide the middle ground between Thor and Tony as he is looking to solve the problem in the simplest possible outcome. Tony Stark is reluctant at help to start with, but learning he could get more information from SHIELD he steps up to help defeat Loki. Thor arrives in hope of bringing Loki back to Asgard to face punishment for his action, he must learn about the other Avengers and how to become closer to the humans he is meant to be protecting. Bruce Banner comes out of hiding to help with the scientific side, only he will need to unleash the Hulk to stay in the fight. Natasha Romanoff will show more of her skills as the agent of SHIELD, we see how she can play people to get the answers required. Nick Fury brings the heroes together to fight Loki after his own experiment goes wrong, he isn’t honest with them which only drives them away. Loki has returned to Earth for the tesseract which he will use to bring an alien invading army to take over Earth. Hawkeye is an agent of SHIELD who gets turns by Loki’s power, he is turned into one of his super soldiers with his deadly accuracy with an arrow.

PerformancesWe have the returning cast from the origin films, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hiddleston and Samuel L Jackson all return continuing to grow into their roles, Mark Ruffalo does make for a great replacement as Bruce, with his more human feel to the character and Jeremy Renner brings us another agent of SHIELD we want to get behind.

StoryThe story here brings the characters from their solo movies together to fight Loki who is planning on taking over the Earth with his alien invaders. This story works wonderfully because we have seen the major heroes Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk have their own movies to introduce us to them, show their strengths and weaknesses, so, stepping into this world we know how each hero knows of to use their strengths to their advantage to help each other in the battle and learn just how far they would go to save the world when the time comes. The bigger inclusion of SHIELD is great too, because we see how the mortal side of the people in the battle will do, what they can to help. Loki as the villain does work well, he always desired power and to rule which is the reason behind his appearance. To achieve the story telling that can reference previous films and eras, to give us a way to bring the superhero unit together for the first time is done to perfection here.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is the large scale battle sequences which include the jet base and the New York battle which shows each of the heroes using their strengths to win. We have the sci-fi side of the world by having the idea of aliens coming to invade Earth at the control of a high power.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well, we have the scattered intro, the base which seems undetectable and New York being the key to the final battle, yes, we have seen New York used in a lot of movies, but it still works for impact and the worlds eyes to see.

Special EffectsThe effects seem flawless through the film, the pure scale of the battles makes this even more impressive, when we see just how all the different powers are used to fight the good fight.


Scene of the Movie –
New York battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You might miss certain references if you have seen the other films.

Final ThoughtsThis is the benchmark for any superhero team up movie now, this film showed us just how it can be done and how done correctly you will be left wanting more.

 

Overall: Must watch superhero movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – E – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Director: Michel Gondry

Writer: Charlie Kaufman (Screenplay) Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry, Pierre Bismuth (Story)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Wilkinson

 

Plot: When their relationship turns sour, a young couple undergoes a medical procedure to have each other erased from their memories.


Tagline – Replace my memory.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dark Look at Relationships

 

Story: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind starts as we follow two strangers Joel (Carrey) and Clementine (Winslet) who meet on a train, fall in love, but darkness soon falls over Joel’s life when for some reason Clementine doesn’t remember him and dates someone else.

Clementine has had Joel erased from her memory, Joel is never meant to know this, but when he learns about this, Dr Mierzwiak (Wilkinson) performs the same procedure for Joel and with the technicians Stan (Ruffalo), Patrick (Wood) and Mary (Dunst) help Joel through the destruction of the memories.

 

Thoughts on External Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

 

Characters – Joel is the man that fell in love with Clementine, but sees his life fall to pieces when she goes through a procedure to erase him. Joel broken up about this follows through with his own procedure and now his mind is living through the nightmare of losing his memories and trying to save them. Clementine is the woman Joel falls in love with, after they break up she has him erased and we see how they had their ups and downs through their time together. Dr Mierzwiak is the man behind the technology and his work makes it possible for memories erased. Patrick is one of the technicians working on Joel, he has done an unethical thing when performing the procedure before. Stan is the main man working on Joel, he sees it as an easy job, but this case because more difficult than he could imagine and his reckless behaviour with Mary the receptionist causes more problems than they needed too.

PerformancesJim Carrey is great in his leading role, we get to see a new level because he shows that his serious ability is taking over now, Kate Winslet works here because she gets to be the quirky girlfriend while also feeling like an everyday real woman. We have an excellent supporting cast that all give great performances too.

StoryThe story here plays into the idea that sometimes relationships don’t go the way you would plan them too, but in this world you can erase the person you have fallen out of love with. This is a smart idea, because how often have people fallen in and out of love with the heartache of the break up holding people back, this answers this with a solution people could turn too. Only watching it from Joel’s point of view is good and bad, because he is the one that must witness the idea of being left, ignored by the person he once loved.

Romance/Sci-FiThe romance side of the film shows us just how relationships can play out, they always start amazing but soon they turn into the normality that can put people off where things are going which leads to what happens. The sci-fi elements are smartly used as we see just how the technology used can create everything that happens.

SettingsThe settings try to keep us in everyday life and memories, which help Joel find the moments he needs to erase.

Special EffectsThe effects are effortless because you barely notice moments as the world falls apart in the memories of Joel.


Scene of the Movie –
Escaping the world collapsing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The technicians are too reckless for me.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of films people are always hyping over, I have struggle to watch this before, but made it through this time and did enjoy for the most part as it looks at how relationships are not always as planned.

 

Overall: Smart romance movie.

Rating