Sweet Home Alabama (2002)

Director: Andy Tennant

Writer: C Jay Cox (Screenplay) Douglas J Eboch (Story)

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas, Patrick Dempsey, Candice Bergen, May Kay Place, Fred Ward, Jean Smart, Ethan Embry, Melanie Lynskey

 

Plot: A young woman who’s reinvented herself as a New York socialite must return home to Alabama to obtain a divorce from her husband, after seven years of separation.


Tagline – Sometimes What You’re Looking For Is Right Where You Left It.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sweet Rom Com

 

Story: Sweet Home Alabama starts as we see Melanie Carmichael (Witherspoon) a rising fashion designer in New York, dating the Mayor (Bergen) son Andrew Hennings (Dempsey) who proposes to her. This becomes massive news in the city, But Melanie must return to Alabama to get a divorce from her first husband Jake (Lucas) her childhood sweetheart.

Returning home Melanie gets to see how the friends and family have been living their own lives without her, how the people have changed and just how many people she left behind.

 

Thoughts on Sweet Home Alabama

 

Characters – Melanie was a small-town girl, who moved to the big city making herself the hottest name in the fashion industry, she gets engaged, but has one problem, she is still married back in her small town. She must face the people she left behind who show her how the simple life can bring them happiness, facing her husband to get the divorce to carry on with her life becomes more difficult than she imagined as she walks down memory lane. Jake Perry is the husband back in Alabama, he refuses to sign the divorce papers because he knows what that will mean, he grew up as the sweetheart of Melanie believing she is the one, while trying to make something of his life. Andrew Hennings is the fiancée in New York that will go against his mother’s wishes to marry Melanie. The rest of the characters mostly include the members of the small-town that Melanie has left behind, they all have their quirks.

PerformancesReese Witherspoon was the queen of the rom com at the turn of the century, this film shows why this was because she fits the film perfectly. Josh Lucas is good in his role and we completely believe him being from the small town. Patrick Dempsey does have a supporting role which he is good in as you can see him as the higher society guy compared to the small-town people. The rest of the cast get the laughs when you need them and give us the serious moments too.

StoryThe story here follows a woman that recreated herself to be a success, her past comes back to stop her reaching all the potential in this new life, which means she must walk down memory lane before deciding where her future is. This does show us how the past will always be important to your future and you should never forget where you came from. For rom com genre we know how this will play out and we can see the arc Melanie must go through during the film, the story will fill out the check list for the fans of the genre.

Comedy/Romance The comedy in this film comes from how the typical small-town locals are portrayed, we don’t get many psychical comedy moments. The romance leaves one woman needing to face her past love to be with her future love.

SettingsThe film is set in two main locations, the New York one shows us the new life Melanie has, while returning to Alabama we see the slower life she left behind, but loves deep down.


Scene of the Movie –
The wedding.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The small-town characters are slightly too generic.

Final ThoughtsThis might well be generic for the most part, but this works for the rom com genre which shows Reese Witherspoon shinning at what she always did best at the turn of the century.

 

Overall: Rom Com 101.

Rating

 

 

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017)

Director: Macon Blair

Writer: Macon Blair (Screenplay)

Starring: Melanie Lynskey, Elijah Wood, Michelle Moreno, Devon Graye, Jane Levy, Christine Woods,

 

Plot: When a depressed woman is burglarized, she finds a new sense of purpose by tracking down the thieves alongside her obnoxious neighbor. But they soon find themselves dangerously out of their depth against a pack of degenerate criminals.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Quirky Fun Comedy

 

Story: I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore starts as we follow our lonely woman Ruth (Lynskey) who lives her normal routine and finds herself getting stepped on by people but not standing up for herself. When Ruth’s house gets burglarized she struggles to get help from the police.

Ruth recruits her neighbour Tony (Wood) to help her get her belongs back as the two enter underground crime world as Tony meets the man that stole from her Christian (Graye) and the gang he is part off with Dez (Levy) and Marshall (Yow).

 

Thoughts on I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore

 

Characters – Ruth is a lonely depressed woman who does let people walk over her, keeps to herself until her comfy life is shattered when her home is broken into. We see her learn to stand up for herself to collect her belongings and accept people into her life. Tony is the obnoxious neighbour that likes loud music, keeping to himself and his dog Kevin, but learning about what happened to Ruth he steps up into the world showing he just wants to be part of someone else’s life. Christian is the waster who steals to get by with a gang of thieves, not caring who he steps on to get stuff to feed his habits.

PerformanceMelanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood are both fantastic in the leading roles showing both these stars are great and can continue to find success in smaller films. When you look the three main criminal roles we have good performances but none of them seem to offer much to the characters that we have seen before.

StoryThe story of feeling out of place in the world after a crime happen against you is one I feel people will understand, this does talk about how far people could go to get out of the rut by taking a chance on things but mostly it shows how the good people working together could stop the bad people in the world.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy comes from nearly all the scenes with Ruth and Tony together trying to enter the crime world, the crime world shows us the world the innocent side of the story enter.

SettingsWe get a small town setting showing how people’s lives would cross at some point.

Scene of the Movie – The first team outing looking for laptop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does get dark in final third of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is the gem people have talked about, it has all the quirkiness you would expect from the odd crime comedy that works.

 

Overall: Enjoyable and quirky crime comedy.

Rating

 

 

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)

logoDirector: Lorene Scafaria

Writer: Lorene Scafaria (Screenplay)

Starring: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Adam Brody, Melanie Lynskey, Connie Britton, Rob Corddry

 

Plot: As an asteroid nears Earth, a man finds himself alone after his wife leaves in a panic. He decides to take a road trip to reunite with his high school sweetheart. Accompanying him is a neighbour who inadvertently puts a wrench in his plan.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Starting, Powerful Finish

 

Story: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World starts by reports that the final mission to save mankind has failed and the Earth will be destroyed by an asteroid in 21 days. Dodge (Carell) whose wife runs away tries to continue on his normal life, while offers seem to be making the most of the end.

14 days to go and Dodge is going to be alone and his friends Diane (Britton) and Warren (Corddry) try setting him up with Karen (Lynskey) but that just makes him feel awkward. With all that is going on with the end of the world all Dodge just wants to be left alone to get over the fact his wife left him, but when he finds his English neighbour Penny (Knightley) crying on the balcony he offers her a shoulder to cry on. After a failed suicide attempt Dodge finds himself with a new friend a dog called ‘Sorry’ that someone tied to him.

When the riots start happening Dodge, Sorry, Penny and her boyfriend (Brody) try to escape the city but when Dodge tells Penny he can get her home before the end, she steps up her movement and leaves Owen behind. Dodge, Penny and Sorry go on a road trip to find Dodge’s old high school love where they meet a string of unusual people while embracing the idea that they will live for only 12 more days.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World starts off feeling very slow as we can kind of tell the way the story will go. I do think the story drifts between too many different ideas with the apocalypse theme throughout, road trip that starts with a strange character but then just turns into a plain old road trip, it also has a long lost love story. The problem is it never manages to really come off funny but does have a nice romantic side and really does make you wonder what you might do in the same scenario. I believe the story is pretty good and it will be one that I remember after. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Steve Carell: Dodge everyday man whose wife leaves him after the world is going to be destroyed, he starts accept the idea but a chance meeting with his neighbour means he can go after his lost love. Steve gives a good performance and shows how he can play the serious comedy role well. (7/10)

 dodge

Keira Knightley: Penny the English girl who misses the last flight home and ends up going with Dodge after he says he knows about a plane that could take her home. Keira does a good job in the role and makes you think about how hard it could be for a character from overseas with limited time. (7/10)

penny

Support Cast: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World has a lot of cameo performances that try to add in the laughs but most don’t seem to come off as funny.

 

Director Review: Lorene Scafaria – Lorene does a good job in her directorial debut pulling off the serious side of the story very well. (7/10)

 

Comedy: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World doesn’t have as many laughs as it could but I do feel too much comedy would take away from the story. (4/10)

Romance: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World does have a nice romantic story that is slow burner but very touching as you look at how long a perfect romance could have been. (8/10)

Settings: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World uses familiar settings to try and make each scene look like a place people could go in the end of the world. (8/10)

Suggestion: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is one to try, I feel fans of the romantic idea of films will enjoy but this won’t be for everyone. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Record player scene.

Worst Part: Slow starting.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $9.6 Million

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: The first comedy about the end of it all

 

Overall: I feel this is a film that really tests your own look at a potential end of the world situation and how you would react.

Rating 65

Trailer Alert – We’ll Never Have Paris

Plot –A man screws up on a transcontinental level in a noble effort to win back “the one.”

Release Date:  Non set in UK

Stars:

  • Simon Helberg (Big Bang Theory)
  • Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men)
  • Zachary Quinto (Star Trek)

Director: Simon Helberg, Jocelyn Towne

Highlight of the Trailer: Comic Timing.

What Looks Good? I think the comedy the names bring to the show looks very good.

What Looks Bad? It could end up being similar to what we have seen before.

Summary: I do think this will be an enjoyable comedy that doesn’t just try and have joke after joke, I think it will try to build the jokes up for full entertainment. I like the idea of Simon and Melanie in the lead roles because they both offer a good comedy level. I do worry it might be too familiar to the genre leaving it coming off average.

Questions:

Will I Be Watching? Yes

Will You Be Watching?

My Anticipation Rating – 70%

My Guess Rating – 60%

Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

Flags of Our Fathers (2006)

logoDirector: Clint Eastwood

Writer: William Broyles Jr., Paul Haggis (Screenplay) James Bradley, Ron Powers (Book)

Starring: Ryan Philippe, Jesse Bradford, Adam Beach, John Benjamin Hickey, John Slattery, Barry Pepper, Jamie Bell, Paul Walker, Robert Patrick, Neal McDonough, Melanie Lynskey, Thomas McCarthy

 

Plot: In 1945, the Marines attack twelve thousand Japanese protecting the twenty square kilometres of the sacred Iwo Jima Island in a very violent battle. When they reach the Mount Suribachi and six soldiers raise their flag on top, the picture becomes a symbol in a post Great Depression America. The government brings the three survivors to America to raise funds for war, bring hope to desolate people, and making the three men heroes of the war. However, the traumatized trio have difficulty dealing with the image built by their superiors, sharing the heroism with their mates.

 

Verdict: Touching drama

 

Story: With this based on accounts of the men involved we have to give this credit for it not needing to be made up, but I feel it is hard to keep up with both the war scenes and what is happening post war as well as who is telling what story. It feels like each part of the story is told well but not given the full credit it really deserves. Much like most of Eastwood’s films it never tests you rather just lets the story unfold on front of you at a steady pace making sure you take everything in. (8/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Ryan Philippe: John ‘Doc’ Bradley the younger version of the guy telling the story, he is famed for being involved in the flag raising but only part of the second one, he has to travel around with the other two survivors and help raise money for the war effort. Good performance from Ryan who shows he can lead a film that isn’t just commercial. (8/10)

 ryan

Jesse Bradford: Rene the most camera media friendly of the three survivors but relies on his fame to carry his life, but unfortunately doesn’t once the war is over. Good performance from the Jesse putting himself on the map in Hollywood. (7/10)

 jesse

Adam Beach: Ira the troubled reluctant hero of the event, who suffers greatly with alcohol problems while on tour, just trying to cope with the horrors of what he has gone through. Great performance from Adam who really steps up and steals the show. (9/10)

 beach

Barry Pepper: Mike the squadron leader who  takes his men into battle, even though he has been promised a safer promotion, he is involved in the flag raising but failed to make it home. Good from Pepper who continues to make a brilliant support cast member. (8/10)

 pepper

Jamie Bell: Iggy the youngest and most innocent of the unit who becomes Doc’s buddy in war, involved in the original flag rising, but suffers a horrific death. Good performance from Bell taking some early steps in Hollywood with a top director. (7/10)

bell

Paul Walker: Hank is one of the original flag raisers who dies during an ambush. Good supporting performance from Walker. (7/10)

 

Director Review: Clint Eastwood – Confident gentle paced film, the trademark from the director who always gives us quality. (8/10)

 

Drama: Showing the aftermath of the war on the characters really shows how different people did react to everything that happened. (9/10)

History: Good look at the historical event that created one of the most iconic moments in American history. (8/10)

War: The war scenes are well constructed, but a lot of the horrors are off camera. (7/10)

Settings: Good use of settings for the war scenes, but the post war scenes are very genetic. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Great special effects used for the war scenes. (9/10)

Suggestion: I would suggest trying this, if you want to see a bit of history then you will enjoy but the more casual Saving Private Ryan fans may find this very slow. (Try it)

 

Best Part: Ira meets a parent of a lost soldier and just hugs her and cries at a big event.

Worst Part: Very slow

Action Scene Of The Film: The scene where we see what happens to the other soldiers.

Believability: Based on real events. (9/10)

Chances of Tears: Maybe a couple but not sure. (2/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: Real photos used from the war to go with the credits.

Similar Too: Stop Loss

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 2 Oscars

Box Office: $65,900,249

Budget: $53 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

Tagline: All it takes to win is the right picture.

 

Overall:  Great look at an iconic moment in history

Rating 80