The Book of Love (2016)

Director: Bill Purple

Writer: Robbie Pickering, Bill Purple (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Maisie Williams, Jessica Biel, Mary Steenburgen, Orlando Jones

 

Plot: Henry is an introverted architect. After the death of his wife in a car accident, he sets out to help Millie, a homeless teen, to build a raft to sail across the Atlantic.


Tagline – How far would you go for a lost love?

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming Grief Battle Drama

 

Story: The Book of Love starts when architect Henry Herschel (Sudeikis) loses his pregnant wife Penny (Biel) in a car accident, broken he needs to take time away from work, he notices homeless teenager Millie (Williams) searching for scraps.

When Henry learns what Millie is planning, he decides to jump in and help her with the project to build a raft to sail across the Atlantic, this gives him a new lease for life, to help someone follow their dream.

 

Thoughts on The Book of Love

 

Characters – Henry Herschel is an architect on the verge of a big promotion to partner in the company, and a baby, his life however is turned upside down when his wife is killed in an accident. Filled with grief he meets teenager Millie who he helps with her project, taking his mind off his loss. Millie is a homeless teenager, well she is forced to live with her estranged Uncle and she wants to build a raft like in the journal she finds. She believes she is doing the right thing as she is dealing with own problems. Penny is Henry’s wife who even after her death gives him guiding light to help Millie. Julia is the mother-in-law wanting the best for Henry as her own way of dealing with the loss of her daughter.

PerformancesJason Sudeikis continues to show that he is delightful to watch in these drama-comedy roles, he shows enough grief and hope to make you believe that he has been the one to lose his wife. Maisie Williams is good for the most part, but she does struggle to maintain the accent through the film.  Jessica Biel and Mary Steenburgen both give us good performances in the supporting roles.

StoryThe story follows a grief ridden man that decides to help a teenager with her own problems in an attempt to cure his own problems only to there to help cure her problems. This does have sweet moments as we see how the lives have been turned upside down by their own tragic losses and the moments where they can help support each other, we do however deal with grief in a realistic way, being left empty in need of something to keep us going. The glaring problem is the repeating of the facts about people dying, we just don’t need this on repeat to get the point, as we know the focus on the story is, enjoy life however difficult moments have been.

SettingsThe film is set-in small-town America, well the suburbs, which shows us how life can change in an instant in this world no matter who or where you are.


Scene of the Movie –
Closing shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Maisie Williams accent.

Final ThoughtsThis is a charming movie that gets the message across well, we get to see just how grief can be processed by the people suffering from it.

 

Overall: One of the dreamers to see where people can make it.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – P – Philadelphia (1993)

Director: Jonathan Demme

Writer: Ron Nyswaner (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Roberta Maxwell, Buzz Milman, Karen Finley, Antonio Banderas, Jason Robards, Mary Steenburgen, Ron Vawter, Robert Ridgely, Charles Napier

 

Plot: When a man with HIV is fired by his law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit.


Tagline – No one would take on his case… until one man was willing to take on the system.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Drama

 

Story: Philadelphia starts as we meet two rival lawyers, Joe Miller (Washington) who fights for the innocent and Andrew Beckett (Hanks) a company man who has risen up the firm to become an associate partner, but Andrew has been fighting a sickness, aids.

When Andrew gets fired from the law firm, he turns to Joe to sue for wrongly termination from the firm after he believes he was sabotaged because of his illness, but Joe’s own homophobic mindset and his questioning how contagion aids is. Joe eventually puts aside his prejudices and takes the case against the law firm, but it becomes a race against time for Andrew.

 

Thoughts on Philadelphia

 

Characters – Andrew Beckett is the brilliant lawyer on the rise within his firm, just after he gets a promotion, he finds himself getting sacked for having aids and being homosexual. He has always been good to the staff he works with and wins his cases but now he battles his illness and wants to sue for wrongful dismissal. Joe Miller is a homophobic ambulance chaser, he wins cases for personal injuries, he is reluctant at first but decides to take the case where he must learn to put his own prejudices aside. The rest of the characters focus around the law firm that dismiss Andrew and Andrew’s boyfriend Miguel as he supports him through his struggles.

PerformancesTom Hanks won an Oscar here, do I need to talk about how fantastic he is in this role, I think not. Denzel Washington also shows how brilliant he was in this role. The rest of the cast also give us wonderful performances throughout the film to make this one of the biggest films of the year.

StoryThe is a story about one man trying to fight against what he thinks is wrongful dismal for his sexual orientation and for having aids.  This is an important film that shows the discrimination people had with both people with aids and homosexuals which should never be a deciding part of whether to keep a member of staff. It is a powerful court room drama that shows us just how people can fight for what is right even if it is against their belief.

SettingsThe film is set in Philadelphia which is a beautiful setting, we are mostly in the courtroom which is now becoming one of my favourite locations for a film to take place in.


Scene of the Movie –
Andrew’s testimony.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This is a difficult subject matter to watch for some.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most important films you will see, it has two truly great performances with a supporting cast that is equally as great throughout the film.

 

Overall: Brilliant drama about the struggle.

Rating

 

 

Last Vegas (2013)

lastDirector: Jon Turteltaub

Writer: Dan Fogelman (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Mary Steenburgen, Jerry Ferrara

 

Plot: Four friends take a break from their day-to-day lives to throw a bachelor party in Las Vegas for their last remaining single pal.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming Entertaining Comedy

 

Story: Last Vegas starts as we see where four former friends from Brooklyn have lived very different lives Sam (Kline) married doing water aerobics, Archie (Freeman) recently retired grandfather who isn’t trusted to look after his own grandchild, Paddy (De Niro) who has been widowed for a year now and Billy (Douglas) who is about to get married to a woman half his age.

This brings the four friends back together to Las Vegas to a bachelor party for Billy, giving the three friends a chance live it up like the young men they once were for what could be the last time.

 

Thoughts on Last Vegas

 

Characters/PerformanceThe four lead stars have their own personalities like you would imagine between friends, Billy is living his life with regret, Paddy is filled with sadness, Archie just wanting to escaping his elder life and Sam is trying to figure out where his married life is going. The mix between the four has great chemistry and you could see them all being friends.

The performances are all good from the heavyweights Douglas, De Niro, Freeman and Kline all work very well together. Everyone plays their part to work with the main cast throughout.stras

StoryFour friends coming back together for what could be their last weekend together as they can finally put away their differences. I liked this story it is easy to follow even if it does force feed us that these are old men in a young man’s world of Vegas. We do have plenty of moments which look at moments of life that could happen to anyone.

ComedyWe have good laughs from the whole cast with moments poking fun at the stars past as well as handling the elder characters in the wildly considered youthful party city.

SettingsLas Vegas is always a brilliant setting for the any film so I do enjoy each setting from the film.genre

Final ThoughtsI did enjoy this film more than I thought, it can be enjoyed by all the people watching the film.

 

Overall: Easy to watch and enjoy film.

Ratingrating

 

 

The Discovery (2017)

Director: Charlie McDowell

Writer: Justin Lader, Charlie McDowell (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Robert Redford, Mary Steenburgen, Brian McCarthy, Riley Keough

 

Plot: A love story set one year after the existence of the afterlife is scientifically verified.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fascinating Sci-Fi Mind Bender

 

Story: The Discovery starts in a world where DR Thomas Harper (Redford) believes he has proven there is an afterlife, one year after this announcement the suicide rating in the world has sky rocketed with people believing they will ended up in this afterlife free of the problems they face in the real world.

Thomas’ son Will (Segel) a neurologist returns to his research facility on a remote island where his other brother Toby (Plemons) has been working on collecting more evidence with other volunteers who believe this afterlife is real. Being joined by Isla (Mara) the latest suicide failure to join the course Will is left to face the reality that not everything is as cut and dry as he believes with all of his science and medical beliefs. Will finds himself working with Isla to learn about a mysterious recording that came from the mind of a dead man, searching into his own past coming to a conclusion to everything.

 

Thoughts on The Discovery

 

Characters/PerformanceWill is a neurologist that is living in a world where people believe there is scientific proof of the afterlife, he still doesn’t believe in his own father’s discovery. He gets to investigating in a scientific mentality hoping to get to the bottom of everything. Isla is one of the people who had planned to kill themselves to get to this afterlife, she finds hope in searching for the answers with Will. Thomas is the doctor who believes he has discovered an afterlife, he has people working for him in a cult like situation while he is still trying to get the complete truth.

Performance wise, Jason Segel is brilliant here showing he isn’t just a comical actor and can handle the serious performances, Rooney Mara is good as always in the supporting role with Hollywood Icon Robert Redford giving a performance that is great for a supporting one.

StoryAn idea that we are in a world where we could know there is an afterlife is truly fascinating, it offers up questions never once asked before because there is no ‘if’ it is a ‘when’. The film does claim to have this question with our main character Will looking to prove this wrong, which again is good because this is a scientific discovery. This story will keep you guessing from the start to the finish and leave you going ‘What’ even though you can understand the ending.

Mystery/Romance/Sci-FiThe mystery is would you believe and is this discovery real, the sci-fi from the story comes from the discovery itself, as it offers up what is a scientific idea to the afterlife. The romance comes from Will and Isla story as they search for the truth.

SettingsThe one weak point I found in this film I would say is the settings, they do add up to the final story which is good but the film has the beach which is important and the lone mansion where the believers live.

Final ThoughtsI love a film that makes you think, this will do that, I love seeing actors who have been typecast to one genre prove themselves, Segel does here. I love watching how scientific ideas are posed to the audience offer us a question on what we would do in the situation. This is nearly everything I like to watch in a film, this should have been a cinema release not Netflix.

 

Overall: One of the hidden gems of the year.

Rating

 

 

Leonardo DiCaprio Weekend – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

whatsDirector: Lasse Hallstrom

Writer: Peter Hedges (Screenplay) Peter Hedges (Novel)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Juliette Lewis, Mary Steenburgen, Darlene Cates, Laura Harrington, Mary Kate Schellhardt, John C Reilly, Crispin Glover

 

Plot: After his father’s death, Gilbert has to care for his mentally disabled brother, Arnie, and his morbidly obese mother, which is suddenly challenged when love walks into his life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant

 

Story: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape starts by taking us to the small American town of Endora where we meet the Grape family oldest brother Gilbert (Depp) mentally challenged Arnie (DiCaprio) sisters Amy (Harrington) and Ellen (Schellhardt) and mother Bonnie (Cates).

With Gilbert needing to spend every day looking after his family and most Arnie he finds himself only dreaming of leaving this small town but when he meets traveller Becky (Lewis) he starts with something he never saw coming but is left with the dilemma of can he leave his family.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape gives us a story of a struggling family in America with all of their own problems but the leader of the household is very reluctant but knows he has to stay to hold everything together. The film shows how you need to love the ones closest to you however difficult it could be and it also shows how you can’t let your life be controlled or ever held back.

 

Actor Review

 

Johnny Depp: Gilbert Grape has to look after his family after his father’s suicide, he finds himself stuck in this small town facing a life where he could spend his whole life there. He is well respected through the town but his good nature is what is holding him back because his love for his mentally ill brother shines through his character. Johnny gives us a great performance where he has to keep everything subtle without stealing anyone else spotlight.

Leonardo DiCaprio: Arnie Grape is the mentally ill teenager on the verge of turning 18, he can’t handle the simple day interactions and is always needed to be watched over by Gilbert. The older he is getting the harder he is getting to control but Arnie just doesn’t understand the problems he is causing. Leonardo gives a performance which puts his name firmly on the map and one that gave him his first Oscar nomination.

Juliette Lewis: Becky is a traveller who is passing through only to breakdown in this small town. She shows Gilbert he could have if he didn’t have Arnie in his life giving him the glimpse into the life he could on dream off. Juliette is good in this role coming off like a natural character in this movie.

Mary Steenburgen: Betty Carver is a local lady who has been using Gilbert for an affair, she always asks for him to do deliveries but becomes increasingly jealous when Becky turns up in town. Mary is good in this role but is the only one that has moments where she could look out of place.

Support Cast: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape has a supporting cast which includes the rest of the Grape family with all their flaws and the locals who all have a built in friendship with Gilbert. Each member of the supporting cast shows us how this film all comes off feeling like a natural story.

Director Review: Lasse HallstromLasse is a director you can always trust to give you a touching story and handle all of the characters so well.

 

Drama: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape gives us the drama where we get to see the struggles in a small town America and a family with their own problems.

Romance: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape keeps the romance very simple as we see Gilbert learn that he will need to leave this town to every understand true love.

Settings: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape has the whole film set in the small town in America which helps the story shine through.
Suggestion
: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is one I do think everyone should have watched at least once because the story is so powerful. (Watch)

 

Best Part: DiCaprio and Depp show their star quality in simple roles.

Worst Part: It is hard to find one.

 

Believability: The problems the characters go through could all be considered real problems but this story is fictional.

Chances of Tears: Maybe.

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for One Oscar.

Budget: $11 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

Tagline: Arnie knows a secret. His big brother Gilbert is the greatest person on the planet.

 

Overall: One of the simplest and charming movies you will ever see.

Ratingcard