Abigail Breslin Weekend – Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

Writer: Michael Arndt (Screenplay)

Starring: Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, Steve Carell

 

Plot: A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus.


Tagline – A family on the verge of a breakdown

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Amazingly Charming Movie

 

Story: Little Miss Sunshine starts as we meet our family, motivational speaker Richard (Kinnear), hardworking mother Sheryl (Collette), depressed teenage son Dwayne (Dano) who has taken a vow of silence, hyperactive young daughter Olive (Breslin), veteran grandfather Edwin (Arkin) and Uncle Frank (Carell) who is fresh out of a hospital after a failed suicide attempt.

The six go on a road trip across America to enter Olive into the Little Miss Sunshine competition and along the way the family must deal with their own ups and downs to help their youngster member fulfil her dream.

 

Thoughts on Little Miss Sunshine

 

Characters – Olive is the youngest member of the family, cute but never going to be able to truly compete in the beauty contests, but this is her dream and the family will come together to help her achieve her dream. Richard is the father of the family, a motivational speaker who believes he has the next big catch for a book, he always encourages his family to believe they will succeed over just trying. Dwayne is the eldest son in the family, taking a vow of silence until he can become a jet pilot, he hates everyone with the only one he will help is Olive. Grandpa Edwin has been kicked out of a retirement home and living with the family, he swears and enjoys a drug or two. Sheryl is the mother of the family who will do anything for her kids which involves taking Olive across country for the contest. Frank is the suicidal genius brother of Sheryl, released under her care in case he tries it again, he sees the family for their flaws and even takes Dwayne under his wing on the journey.

PerformancesWe have six fantastic performances here, we had the established stars, Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette and Alan Arkin shining and the star making performances from Abigail Breslin, Paul Dano and Steve Carell who was the it star of 2006.

StoryThe story follows a dysfunctional family that must travel across America to enter their youngest member to a beauty contest. We get the characters with their flaws that can be worked on through the film which gives us a natural feeling about the family. It does have the idea that family will need to come together no matter what gets in their way. This is a fun enjoyable story that can be enjoyed by everyone.

ComedyThe comedy here is delightful it hits on every level and does mostly come from real life moments.

SettingsThe road trip moments give us the idea of how far the family will go and we see this in the settings.


Scene of the Movie –
The dance routine.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The colour-blind test is fake because I am colour blind and I could see the test, when normally I haven’t been able to.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the greatest comedies of all time, it is just delightful on every account with wonderful performance from the whole cast.

 

Overall: Wonderful throughout.

Rating

 

 

 

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

star warsDirector: J.J. Abrams

Writer: J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Arndt (Screenplay) George Lucas (Characters)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Max Von Sydow, Peter Mayhew

 

Plot: Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a rag-tag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: This is the Droid we were Looking For

 

Story: Star Wars Episode 7 The Force Awakens starts by giving us the information about the time between Return of the Jedi and now, 30 years have passed and Luke Skywalker (Hamill) has vanished while Princess Leia (Fisher) is trying to locate him to stop a new threat to the galaxy The First Order.

We meet brilliant fighter pilot Poe Dameron (Isaac) who is locating a map to Luke’s location which he entrusts to droid BB-8 before he gets captured. He gets rescued by Stormtrooper Finn (Boyega) who decides to go against the training he has received only to lose him after they crash land. Meanwhile we meet scavenger Rey (Ridley) who finds the BB-8 but also grabs the attention of the First Order lead by Kylo Ren (Driver).

Rey has to team up with Finn and the familiar faces of Han Solo (Ford) and Chewbacca (Mayhew) to take down the First Order and find Luke Skywalker before the galaxy is placed back into a dark era.

Star Wars Episode 7 The Force Awakens brings us the story we were waiting for since the end of Return of the Jedi. We get to meet three leading characters that are fresh throughout but sadly I did feel the villain came off overly moany, not reaching the levels we had with Darth Vader. This has a great feel about it with the returning characters not taking over the story. My only disappointment with this is the slight loose ends about how everything came about being where it is when you thought everything was going to be peaceful after the end of Return of the Jedi.

 

 

Actor Review

 

Daisy Ridley: Rey is a scavenger that lives on the remote planet that BB-8 is from, she is waiting for her family to return and can handle herself in a fight. She is also able to fix anything with minimal tools at her disposal.  She has a connection to the force which gives her the reason to finally leave and stay away from her home planet where she even catches the eye of Han Solo as a potential successor to his Millennium Falcon. Daisy gives us a brilliant performance that could be the best leading character from an original Star Wars story.rey

John Boyega: Finn is the former Stormtrooper who was plunked from his family before being turned into a mindless Stormtrooper. He seems to relapse from his training where he wants to do the right thing which includes helping Rey and Poe against the First Order. John is great in this role as a character we wouldn’t have ever thought about seeing before.finn

Adam Driver: Kylo Ren is the leader of the First Order, he has the power of the force but not the presences of Vadar. He throws tantrums whenever things don’t go his way as he is still battling his good side with his dark side. Adam does a good job in this role even if I wasn’t the biggest fan of the character’s action.kylo

Oscar Isaac: Poe Dameron is the brilliant pilot tasked with finding Luke Skywalker, he is loyal to Leia and the leader in the battle. Oscar gives a good supporting performance as a character we would like to learn more about.poe

Harrison Ford: Han Solo returns to reclaim his ship but once on board he gets to finish his own personal battle that he has found himself running from for years. Harrison gives us a good performance returning to the levels we would expect.han

Support Cast: Star Wars Episode 7 The Force Awakens has a good supporting cast that include returning faces and fresh that all feel like they are part of the Star Wars world.

Director Review: J.J. AbramsJ.J. brings us the sequel needed to bring us back to the Star Wars world we love.

 

Action: Star Wars Episode 7 The Force Awakens gives us good action from start to finish be it chases, combat or light saber battles.

Adventure: Star Wars Episode 7 The Force Awakens gives us a great space adventure from start to finish.

Sci-Fi: Star Wars Episode 7 The Force Awakens brings us back to the galaxy far, far away a place that people call home.

Settings: Star Wars Episode 7 The Force Awakens each settings makes us feel like we are just back to where we were when Return of the Jedi finishes.
Special Effects
: Star Wars Episode 7 The Force Awakens has brilliant special effects from start to finish that never look out of place in the universe.

Suggestion: Star Wars Episode 7 The Force Awakens is one for the fans of the original saga to all enjoy. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Having the guts to do what Avengers doesn’t.

Worst Part: Villain sometimes comes off moany.

Action Scene Of The Film: Attacking the First Order.

Funniest Scene: BB-8 and Finn arguing while Rey fixes the Falcon.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Has plenty lined up for the future.

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Star Wars A New Hope

 

Oscar Chances: Could get a few technical awards.

Budget: $200 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 7 Minutes

Tagline: Coming to your galaxy this winter.

Trivia: This film takes place 30 years after the Return of the Jedi. The film itself is released 32 years and 7 months after the previous film.

 

Overall: The sequel we all wanted that will make all the fans happy

Ratingcard

Toy Story 3 (2010)

logoDirector: Lee Unkrich

Writer: Michael Arndt (Screenplay) John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich (Story)

Starring: (Voice Work) Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, New Beatty, Don Rickles, Michael Keaton, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger

 

Plot: The toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it’s up to Woody to convince the other toys that they weren’t abandoned and to return home.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant third instalment

 

Story: Toy Story 3 starts by the toys trying to get the attention of a now 17 year old Andy, resigned to being put in the attic the toys prepare for their move. After mistakenly being put out for trash the toys decide to go to Sunnyside day care centre but Woody knows the truth and tries to stop them. The group end up feeling welcome to the new day care centre but it turns out not everything is as it seems. The leader of the group Lotso wants the new toys to be played with the younger children who mistreat them and after Buzz is reset the rest have to try and escape, while Woody plans a rescue mission.

It took time get this third part to the story and boy were we treated to something special. We get a very real effect too, we get to see how a child has grown up and now will be moving on with his life leaving things behind. Another big part is see how the dog has gone from puppy to very old which shows us the time between the films. This is a very real look at things that will happen to all of us in life, we will have all grown up and changed things in our lives. Even though this feels like a fitting third for the fans of the series it will still appeal to the children just getting into the film. Overall we get a great story that is an improvement again. (10/10)

 

Character Review

 

Woody: After witnessing where the toys are being put he has to talk them all into returning to Andy’s against everyone he just wants to stay loyal to Andy. When Woody gets taken home by nice sweet little girl he learns that Sunnyside isn’t what it seems and goes back to rescue his friends. Woody is a great character and this time he goes on to show loyalty to his friends. (10/10)

 woioody

Buzz Lightyear: Our space ranger who steps up to lead the group after Woody leaves, but after he gets reset he keeps everyone captive for the evil Lotso. Buzz also gets the extra laughs over Woody and his Spanish mode makes you laugh the whole time. (10/10)

buzz

Lotso: After coming off as nice welcoming leader of Sunnyside he shows a much darker side when it comes to the new toys but it all stems back to his origin story. He keeps our heroes captive until they have served enough time and most likely get damaged. Lotso makes a great villain in what looks like an innocent world. (10/10)

 lotso

Ken: Scene stealer who falls for Barbie who also shows everyone around but his love for Barbie conflicts which side he wants to help. Ken would be the most recognizable addition to the series and has a laugh every time he is on screen. (10/10)

 

Support Characters: With the largest selection of supporting characters in the series they all offer something unique to the story that will give extra laughs throughout.

 

Director Review: Lee Unkrich – Brilliant directing to create the most emotional addition to the Toy Story series. (10/10)

 

Animation: Toy Story 3 is a Pixar film showing how they have grown to the top level of animation this is one of the best you will see. (10/10)

Comedy: Toy Story 3 Has plenty of laughs but could have a higher level of comedy if it wanted to. (8/10)

Family: Toy Story 3 is perfect for the whole family to enjoy. (10/10)

Settings: Showing different location that toys could naturally end up in with the day care centre. (10/10)

Suggestion: Just out the DVD/Blu-Ray in and enjoy Toy Story 3. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Spanish Buzz

Worst Part: Nothing.

Action Scene Of The Film: Landfill scene.

Funniest Scene: Spanish Buzz

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: By the end you might with the final scene (7/10)

Chances of Sequel: There are plans for one.

Post Credits Scene: We what happens to Sunnyside after Lotso under Ken and how our heroes settle with their new owner.

 

Oscar Chances: Won 2 Oscars, including Best Animated Feature, and Best achievement in music.

Box Office: $1 Billion

Budget: $200 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

Tagline: No toy gets left behind

Trivia: There are 302 characters in the film.

 

Overall: Stunning Conclusion to Andy’s Childhood

Rating 97

Oblivion (2013)

logoDirector: Joseph Kosinski

Writer: Karl Gajdusek, Michael Arndt (Screenplay) Joseph Kosinski (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Melissa Leo, Zoe Bell

 

Plot: One of the few remaining drone repairmen Jack (Cruise) assigned to Earth, its surface devastated after decades of war with the alien Scavs, discovers a crashed spacecraft with contents that bring into question everything he believed about the war, and may even put the fate of mankind in his hands.

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning

 

Story: Earth is destroyed and what few survivors have to do one final Hail Mary to save the rest. Been there, seen that. Seems like a routine story that has been done before, but with some very clever twists and turns along the way and engaging performances from the actors, keeps this very thin story very interesting. Not much happens but you have to see how this story unfolds. (8/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Tom Cruise: Jack the engineer who goes out on missions to keep the drones patrolling the area up to scratch after they constantly get attack by Scavs. Jack has been getting conflicted with his dreams that leave he wondering what will become of his home planet when they final leave. Good performance from Tom giving solid lead without being over the top. (8/10)

 cruise

Morgan Freeman: Beech the leader of the underground humans still fighting for their planet, he recruits Jack to expose the truth and save them. Good supporting performance showing that he can turn up when he wants and be the man. (8/10)

freeman

Olga Kurylenko: Julia, Jack’s wife who appears from a crashed spacecraft but he doesn’t full know who she is, she motivates him to support the underground humans and become free. Good supporting performance. (8/10)

 olga

Andrea Riseborough: Victoria, Jack’s technician who helps protect him from the safety of the base, she follows rules and just wants to leave and start her new life. Good supporting performance. (8/10)

 vicky

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: Sykes the leader of the units under Breech who dislikes Jack and questions why they risk it all for him. Good performance stepping up from Game of Thrones.(8/10)

 sykes

Director Review: Joseph Kosinski – Good visionary direction showing how he wants to create something different to what we are used too. (8/10)

 

Action: Most action is just fire fights but when they happen they are very good. (8/10)

Mystery: Being left to wonder what has happened is a big mystery and each new character introductions adds an air of mystery. (8/10)

Sci-Fi: Great look at a future world after an intergalactic battle. (10/10)

Settings:  beautifully put together settings to create some stunning visual effects. (10/10)
Special Effects
: Great special effects using both brilliant scenery both Earth and outside of it. (9/10)

Suggestion: I think this is only one to give a go, many because it could be very slow for some people, but visually you will be rewarded. (Give It A Go)

 

Best Part: The world is brilliant.

Worst Part: Slow building, nearly an hour before you meet the human underground.

Action Scene Of The Film: Jack is nearly captured.

Believability: The only thing that seems real is that a potential war could happen. (1/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $286,168,572

Budget: $120 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

Tagline: Earth is a memory worth fighting for.

 

Overall: Brilliant Visually, Slow Narrative Though

Rating 81

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

logoDirector: Francis Lawrence

Writer: Simon Beaufoy, Michael Arndt (Screenplay) Suzanne Collins (Novel)

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jena Malone, Sam Claflin, Edgar Wright

 

Plot: After surviving the 74th Hunger Games Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) and Peeta (Hutcherson) have to go on tour around all the districts. Winning the games has caused the first rumblings of a rebellion throughout the districts. President Snow (Sutherland) threatens to expose the truth about Katniss and Peeta if Katniss doesn’t convince him they are the real deal couple. After she defies Snow he calls for a Quarter Quell where he can hold an edition of the Hunger Games with all the districts previous victors face each other, putting friends against each other but joining together with other districts could be their only chance.

 

Verdict: The saga continues to roll on

Story: Picking up right where we left off following the victors around the other districts and seeing the different reaction to the winning this works well because this offers up the chance to see the revolution build up. While having the Hunger Games was a bit more of the same, with added content involved in them. This one’s strong point is that it is the builder to the final instalments where the final parts of this film will get fully explained. (8/10)

 

Actor Review: Jennifer Lawrence – Katniss the girl on fire who just wants her life back to normal but her standing up to authority has changed that for her. Jennifer gives a great performance which continues on from what she built up from the last one. (9/10)

 jenny

Actor Review: Josh Hutcherson – Peeta, Katniss’ fan friendly partner in victory with whom we have to deal with the same watching him crush over Katniss while she only plays along for the camera. Josh does well with what he has to work with but never gets to show much of his abilities. (7/10)

peeta

Actor Review: Liam Hemsworth – Gale, Katniss’ boyfriend back in district 12 who has to help protect her family. Good performance in a small part which hopefully will become more important in the final parts. (7/10)

 

Actor Review: Woody Harrelson – Haymitch mentor to the tributes with a slight drinking problem, he knows how to play the crowd well but is also willing to let the tributes let their hair down. Woody really is the scene stealer here you just want to watch his character. (9/10)

 woody

Actor Review: Donald Sutherland – President Snow controls all the districts and if you don’t follow his rules you are wrong and he will make you pay with death. Good villainous role showing how power gets to characters heads. (8/10)

 sutherland

Actor Review: Philip Seymour Hoffman – Plutarch the new games runner who creates one of the best games in the history, has motives for creating his game. Good performance from the late actor who role will become much more important in the next chapter. (8/10)

 hoffman

Actor Review: Elizabeth Banks – Effie Trinket the wildly eccentric leader of district 12’s tributes who always has an outfit that will be centre of attention. Good performance in a smaller role but always knows when she is on the screen. (8/10)

 banks

Actor Review: Jena Malone – Johanna Mason another one of the tributes who sides with Katniss to create a team that will be a force for anybody. Jena character sure makes an entrance that you won’t forget in what is a good performance that again will be bigger in the next chapter. (8/10)

jean

Actor Review: Sam Claflin – Finnick tribute who helps Katniss and protects her from the more deadly tributes. This is Sam’s best performance to date as I was wonder how he got roles before but this time he shines. (9/10)

sam

Director Review: Francis Lawrence – Creates some great direction and I will be looking forward to see how he ends the saga. (8/10)

 

Action: With fewer fights that the first one we get some more intense scenes but not too many that stand out. (8/10)

Adventure: The middle part will always be hardest to put together and cut off at the right time the adventure is only half way through right now. (8/10)

Special Effects: Good special effects throughout. (8/10)

Believability: Not believable but good story. (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No(0/10)

Settings: The dark depressed districts are great setting to show how the world has turned out but it is the setting for the games that really shines. (9/10)

Suggestion: I think this could be the must watch trilogy of the recent films that have tried to make something for all. It has the elements of changing the world for the better but will have the twisted style to suit all. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Katniss wedding dress trick

Worst Part: I know it is only building but more explanation at the end would have been nice instead of having to wait for the next film.

Action Scene Of The Film: The start of the games

Kill Of The Film: A tributes sacrifice.

Trivia: Was highest grossing film in 2013 in North America, it was also the first film with a solo female lead to top the annual box office since The Exorcist.

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes two part conclusion to the saga

Similar Too: a tame Battle Royale

 

Overall: Action Saga Continues With Fine Form

Rating 88