ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – J – Julie & Julia (2009)

Director: Nora Ephron

Writer: Nora Ephron (Screenplay) Julie Powell, Julia Child, Alex Prud’homme (Book)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, Linda Emond, Helen Carey, Mary Lynn Rajskub

 

Plot: Julia Child’s story of her start in the cooking profession is intertwined with blogger Julie Powell’s 2002 challenge to cook all the recipes in Child’s first book.


Tagline – Passion. Ambition. Butter. Do You Have What It Takes?

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Inspirational and Sweet

 

Story: Julie & Julia starts as we follow Julia Child (Streep) and her husband Paul (Tucci) starting to find her place in the world in France, where she finds a new passion for cooking, meanwhile in 2002 Julie Powell (Adams) moves to Queens with her husband Eric (Messina) who is getting tired of her everyday life, decides to start a blog, challenging herself to cook all the recipes in Julia’s cook book within a year.

The two stories run next to each other with Julia studying cooking before getting a chance to teach and write the book that Julie is working from, while Julie starts to see a spike in interest for her blog, with people wanting to see just how far she gets into her challenge.

 

Thoughts on Julie & Julia

 

Characters – Julia Child is one of the most famous chefs from the 1950 and beyond, here we get to see how being a bored housewife that turned to cooking to keep her entertained, first studying it before writing the book that saw her take years to write with her co-workers. We only follow her time getting to the position of getting the book published. Julie Powell believed she had a bright future, now turning 30 she is stuck in a cubical job feeling out of place in life. Deciding to set herself a challenge, she wants to prepare every recipes in Julia Child’s book within a year. Julie does see the success of her blog skyrocket with people wanting to see how she experiences the dishes through the year. Paul Child and Eric Powell are the supportive husbands of both the women, they both let them get on with their projects, stepping in only when they are feeling down about moments in life.

PerformancesMeryl Streep and Amy Adams are both truly fantastic in their roles, they bring both real people to life by making both their characters filled with life in different generations. Stanley Tucci and Chris Messina both manage the supporting roles with ease, helping the two leads hold the spotlight, but stepping in when they need their characters to make impacts in the lives.

StoryThe story here follows the early days in the cooking world for Julia Child as she starts to use her hobby to bring a new joy to her life, we also follow a small time blogger looking for a challenge, using the book to make a name for herself in the world as a cook that enjoys the challenge. The story manages to balance the two ladies challenges to make an impact, with Julia Child needing to go against traditions of male chef to get her book released, while Julie wants to prove she can complete something in her life. The tone of the story is told in a way that keep everything feeling calm and enjoyable and seeing what both the women achieve is a delight to see.

Biopic/RomanceThe biopic side of the film shows two different sides of the lady’s lives, seeing how they both had to overcome their own problems to achieve the challenge. The romance shows us just how the two women turned to their husbands to keep them strong.

SettingsThe film uses two main locations, one was Paris with Julia seeing how a new vision for cooking, while Julie is stuck in a small apartment, which does show us just the book could be achieved by anybody whatever size their kitchen.


Scene of the Movie –
The final chapter of the blog.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not a thing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a delightful story about two women that used their passion for cooking to tell and bring new their stories to the people of the world.

 

Overall: Delightful

Rating

 

 

Meryl Streep Weekend – The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Director: David Frankel

Writer: Aline Brosh McKenna (Screenplay) Lauren Weisberger (Novel)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci, Simon Baker, Arian Grenier, Tracie Thoms

 

Plot: A smart but sensible new graduate lands a job as an assistant to Miranda Priestly, the demanding editor-in-chief of a high fashion magazine.


Tagline – Hell On Heels.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Funny Comedy

 

Story: The Devil Wears Prada starts as newly graduated journalist Andy Sachs (Hathaway) gets a chance to work as the second assistant to editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly (Streep) at a high fashion magazine. Andy is one of many applicates only she doesn’t have the knowledge of the fashion world, unlike the first assistant Emily (Blunt).

Andy must learn to get through the cold nature of Miranda who always looks down on her and everybody, to get through a year which could put her in a position in the journalist world she has always been dreaming off.

 

Thoughts on The Devil Wears Prada

 

Characters – Miranda Priestly is the feared editor-in-chief of a fashion magazine, her presence makes her employees dress to impress, everybody in the industry respects her opinion and for some reason she decides to take on Andy, she pushes Andy to the limits to see if she is good enough to work or her, like all the employees. Andy Sachs is a journalist graduate who is looking to a job in any publication, she doesn’t understand the fashion industry with this job being her gateway to her dream job, but she must learn fast or face being eaten alive in this industry. Her time in the job sees her change who she once was, pushing her friends and boyfriend away. This one-year job could see her future open, but her friendships vanish. Emily is the first assistant under Miranda, she knows the ins and outs of the business and has been waiting for this role for years. She doesn’t like Andy because she doesn’t have the same desire in the fashion industry. Nigel is the only person in the office that Andy gets along with, he does help put her on the right track for success under Miranda.

PerformancesMeryl Streep is fantastic in this leading role, she brings a horrible boss to life, without making her seem like a truly horrible person, just somebody career driven. Anne Hathaway is wonderful too, to start with it seemed weird that she wasn’t considered the right body shape for position in the fashion world, but it does make perfect sense with how this world is working. Emily Blunt brings what should be a small role, to be one of the most interesting and entertaining part of the film. Stanley Tucci is a delight in the supporting role being the moral compass for the Andy character.

StoryThe story follows a recent graduated journalist that takes a job working under one of the most notoriously difficult editors in the industry, here she must learn the industry to stand a chance to above water in this world, while gaining the experience she requires for her own success. This story first shows how difficult finding the first job for experience could be for any former student trying to get int the industry, it shows how fast the learning curve could be, how you can be looked upon as a replacement for others job too. It shows us how careers can take over lives if you let them which is important for how Andy changes through the story. most importantly it shows us just how you should never forget where you came from and the people that were there for you when you needed them. You will also get to have a laugh at how the fashion industry is considered to operate at the pace which could make or break careers in no time.

ComedyThe comedy in this film come from seeing how the world operates, seeing Andy needing to learn fast, the relationship with Emily and just how everyone can act over the top about the smallest detail.

SettingsThe film is set mostly in New York, it shows how the business lives can move at such a pace it would be hard to keep up.


Scene of the Movie –
Andy sees a real side of Miranda.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not understand brand names.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable comedy with wonderful performances from the whole cast.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy.

Rating

 

 

Meryl Streep Weekend – Suffragette (2015)

Director: Sarah Gavron

Writer: Abi Morgan (Screenplay)

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff, Meryl Streep

 

Plot: The foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State.


Tagline – Mothers. Daughters. Rebels.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brave & Important Story

 

Story: Suffragette starts in 1912, woman still don’t have the right to vote, but the battle for equality continues to wage on with Emmeline Pankhurst (Streep) pushes the campaign through. We follow Maud Watts (Mulligan) who finds herself witnessing one of the campaigns with Violet Miller (Duff) bringing her into their movement.

When the latest campaign gets rejected scenes get violent and Maud finds herself in the middle of the fight, facing time in jail, forced to give up campaigning for equal rights. Now the movement is stronger than ever will look to get the equality for women through.

 

Thoughts on Suffragette

 

Characters – Maud Watts is a quiet laundry employee, married with a child, she gets caught in the middle of one of the campaigns for equal rights, she ends up joining the movement as a foot soldier knowing what is right for women everywhere. Violet Miller is one of the foot soldiers that recruits Maud, she has been fight for a while now and knows that she wants the best for her daughter. Edith Ellyn offers a cover for the meetings to make things right for women, she has been campaigning for years next to the leader, Emmeline Pankhurst has been in hiding for years as she keeps the movement going strong to make sure women can get the right to vote. Inspector Arthur Steed is trying to stop the movement from taking over, he puts the women to the test to see who the strong ones are.

PerformancesCarey Mulligan is great in the leading role, we see her confliction with Maud’s decisions being made. Helena Bonham Carter is great too which puts her in a supportive role. Anne-Marie Duff is the actress I hadn’t heard of before and she goes toe to toe with the bigger names. Meryl Streep does have a small role in this film, but that doesn’t hide her importance to the story. Brendan Gleeson makes for a good law man in any movie, this is no different.

StoryThe story shows the struggles British women had to get the chance to vote, just vote something men had been doing for years. It leaves you to wonder just how this took such a long time to change in a world where we are all meant to be equal. The bravery these women showed shines through because they faced being shamed by their families, the main story follows how Maud Watts went into the world and how it affected her life. While I do understand this is looking at the women’s battle, you do feel like there would have been male supporters in this fight too and them speaking up would have been just as taboo to the ones who wouldn’t look down on them.

Biopic/HistoryThis is a moment, a movement in history that should never have had to happen, but the importance to what it achieved is remarkable.

SettingsThe settings show how the everyday location were important to make this movement happen, we feel like we are in 1912 London.


Scene of the Movie –
The speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You would think men would have supported this too.

Final ThoughtsThis is a look at an important moment in time, it shows how women worked, fought and battled to get equality in Britain.

 

Overall: Important look at history.

Rating

 

 

Abigail Breslin Weekend – August: Osage County (2013)

osageDirector: John Wells

Writer: Tracy Letts (Screenplay)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Margo Martindale, Sam Shepard, Dermot Mulroney, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch

 

Plot: A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Actors Dream

 

Story: August: Osage County starts when Beverly (Shepard) goes missing causing his cancer striken wife Violet (Streep) to get the family back together to help find him, this brings Barbara (Roberts), Bill (McGregor), Jean (Breslin), Charlie (Cooper), Mattie Fae (Martindale) and Ivy (Nicholson) which helps expose all the problems between the family.

When Beverly’s body is discovered the rest of the family Karen (Lewis) her new boyfriend Steve (Mulroney) and Little Charles (Cumberbatch) return home for the funeral as more of the family secret come out

 

Thoughts on August: Osage County

 

Characters/PerformanceThe characters in this film are all different aged members of one big dysfunctional family with their own problems, they all have their own secrets that will be getting exposed through the time together.

The acting performances in this film are all top notch with the stars all giving brilliant performances where they can all show their abilities throughout.stars

StoryThe story is about how the family are forced to go through the good and bad moments from life that get exposed over one week from the moment the father goes missing, through the funeral and the aftermath. There are plenty of stories going on through the film which draw you into want to know what is happening with this family.

DramaThis is a drama through and through where we see how the family have been through all sorts through the years with everything getting exposed in one week when they are bought back together.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in and around the one house where the family must return too, we get to see how the memories come back for the characters involved.genre

Final ThoughtsThis is an actors dream to watch, you get fine performance from everyone but this isn’t going to be for the casual film fans.

 

Overall: A film for aspiring actors to watch.

Ratingrating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – K – Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Director: Robert Benton

Writer: Robert Benton (Screenplay) Avery Corman (Novel)

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander, Justin Henry, Howard Duff, George Coe

 

Plot: Ted Kramer’s wife leaves her husband, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple’s son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.


Tagline – There are three sides to this love story!

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Masterclass

 

Story: Kramer vs Kramer starts as Joanna Kramer (Streep) walks out on her businessman husband Ted (Hoffman) leaving him to raise their child Billy (Henry). Ted must learn how to be a single parent while also keeping his career on path because he is on the verge of one of his biggest moments of his career.

15 months later Joanna reappears in the Ted’s life wanting custody which leads to a heated custody battle between the parents while Ted must deal with his own career problems.

 

Thoughts on Kramer vs. Kramer

 

Characters – Ted Kramer is a busy marketing man whose wife walks out on him leaving him to raise his child alone, the added responsibility of raising his son, his work starts to get comprised but it is when his wife returns, where Ted must fight for full custody of his own son. Joanna is the wife that walks out on the family, when she returns she wants to have custody of her son again, we don’t learn much else about her during the time which disappoints. Margaret is the neighbour that is there for Ted during his tough times. Billy is the child that finds himself in the middle of the custody battle after 15 months with just his father.

PerformancesDustin Hoffman gives us an acting masterclass here showing he can give us an Oscar worthy performance given the right material. Meryl Streep is fantastic in the supporting role showing us just how good her talent was going to be. Justin Henry gives on of the best child actors performances too in this film.

StoryThe story follows one man needing to learn to be a better father once he is left alone with his son, before turning into a custody battle, which has become an all too often event in the modern world. Seeing how the custody battle unfolds brings us into the reality of how difficult a job being a single parent holding down the job on demanding success level can be. We learn how wrong the system appears to be in one of the most powerful films you will see.

SettingsThe New York setting shows how busy the lives of the people involved would be.


Scene of the Movie –
The aftermath of the case in the park.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel we could have learnt a lot more about Joanna’s motivation during the 15-months too.

Award Wins: Won 5 Oscars

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most powerful, perfectly acted movies you will ever see, the emotions you will feel will leave you broken for what is one of the best films ever made.

 

Overall: Easily one of the greatest films of all time.

Rating