Michael Caine Weekend – Is Anybody There? (2008)

Director: John Crowley

Writer: Peter Harness (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Caine, Bill Milner, Anne-Marie Duff, David Morrissey

 

Plot: Set in 1980s seaside England, this is the story of Edward, an unusual ten year old boy growing up in an old people’s home run by his parents. Whilst his mother struggles to keep the family business afloat, and his father copes with the onset of mid-life crisis, Edward is busy tape-recording the elderly residents to try and discover what happens when they die. Increasingly obsessed with ghosts and the afterlife, Edward’s is a rather lonely existence until he meets Clarence, the latest recruit to the home, a retired magician with a liberating streak of anarchy. Is Anybody There? tells the story of this odd couple – a boy and an old man – facing life together, with Edward learning to live in the moment and Clarence coming to terms with the past.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Touching Drama

 

Story: Is Anybody There? Starts as we meet young Edward (Milner) a by that lives in a nursing home run by his mum (Duff), he likes to investigate the existence of ghosts which he gets to witness death in the home. When recently widowed Clarence (Caine) moves into the home, Edward doesn’t like him to start with.

When Edward learns that Clarence is a magician, he strikes up an unlikely friendship, as Clarence tries to teach Edward that he needs to make contact with the living not the dead.

 

Thoughts on Is Anybody There

 

Characters – Edward is being raised in an old people’s home, he doesn’t have any friends away from this world which has seen him turn to investigate the afterlife, he is determined to prove ghosts are real, he sees his parents struggle to hold everything together and Clarence gives him a new reason to focus on life. Clarence is the recently widowed former magician who doesn’t want anything to do with being in the home, with the only person that will give him attention being Edward, he doesn’t want Edward to follow in his footsteps and wants him to learn to make friends with the living. Edward’s mother is trying to run the home, she is dealing with the pressure of just what is going on with work and with her husband, while his father is on the verge of an affair.

PerformancesMichael Caine is the biggest name in the film, he does an excellent job in his role and work very well with young Ben Milner who is strong as the young boy struggle to find his place in the world. Anne-Marie Duff also deserves praise because of the strong scenes she must go through.

StoryThe story focuses on a young boy that has been raised in a nursing home, where he is starting to learn about life after meeting on of the new guests. We see how people need to be shown how to fit in life and just how hard they work to make sure they can go and enjoy life. The idea of them being in a nursing home does make it harder for Edward to make friends which is understandable and seeing the money problems almost taking its toll on the family comes through strong. The story gets to teach the lesson about making sure you enjoy your life and teaching others to not make the same mistakes one did.

SettingsThe film uses the nursing home as the main settings which shows how uncomfortable both Edward and Clarence are being in this position.


Scene of the Movie –
The end of the magic show.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The beginning of the magic show.

Final ThoughtsThis is a charming little drama that teaches the lessons about enjoying life rather than chasing the afterlife.

 

Overall: Sweet and Charming.

Rating

 

 

Morgan Freeman Weekend – Going in Style (2017)

Director: Zach Braff

Writer: Theodore Melfi (Screenplay) Edward Cannon (Story)

Starring: Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman, Matt Dillon, Joey King, Christopher Lloyd, Ann-Margret

 

Plot: Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, three lifelong pals risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money.


Tagline – You’re never too old to get even.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Comedy

 

Story: Going in Style starts when Joe (Caine) learns his mortgage payments have trebled, forcing him to talk to confront the bank, this sees him witness a bank robbery, to make matters worse his best friends Albert (Arkin) and Willie (Freeman) are all going to lose their pensions.

Facing a future with no money, the three decide to rob a bank only to get enough to cover what they would be owned and not super rich, which leads them to head down a path meeting the criminals of the world as they try to solve their own problems.

 

Thoughts on Going in Style

 

Characters – Joe Harding has worked his whole life, he has his own home where he lets his struggling daughter and granddaughter live to help with their job and education, this becomes difficult when he learns that he might lose his home after a mortgage hike. He sees a bank robbery happen and decides it is the best option for the friends to get the money they are about to lose. Willie is about to lose his pension, he is sick and needs a transplant, he wants nothing more than to be able to spend time with his family, who are on the other side of the country. Albert is the reluctant member of the friends, but once he learns about where his pension is going he jumps at the chance to get even. We do meet the family they are working to help, though the film never creates a human villain, it is the idea of the bank being the villain.

PerformancesMichael Caine is always a man that can lead a heist movie, this is no different has is smooth delivery gets to poke fun, while remaining strong through the film, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin continue the old man humour which Arkin is has made himself the star of this genre.

StoryThe story follows three elderly men that decide to rob the bank that has been taking the money they haven’t earnt fairly in life. We get to see how a heist is planned out, with the comedy coming from just how the speed element is going to be more difficult for anyone of their age. We see them turning to the life of crime for a good reason and only going after what they need to survive. Having them being honest men who had never thought of turning to crime makes the story stand out too because we can support their actions through the film. This may not be the most original or realistic, but it does entertain.

Comedy/Crime The comedy is mostly a mix of old man humour which surrounds the different actions the three must go through, it works and will get the required laugh. The crime side of the film follows how the robbery is planned and just how they aim to get it done without hurting anyone or getting caught.

SettingsThe film is set in Brooklyn, the bridge shows us that these men have lived through the rise of the area, a place that they call home.


Scene of the Movie –
The alibi.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The cops are made to be dumb.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertaining crime comedy that has a strong cast that know they are having fun as the film unfolds.

 

Overall: Enjoyable Crime Comedy.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Jaws: The Revenge (1987)

Director: Joseph Sargent

Writer: Michael De Guzman (Screenplay)

Starring: Lorraine Gary, Lance Guest, Mario Van Peebles, Karen Young, Michael Caine

 

Plot: Chief Brody’s widow believes that her family is deliberately being targeted by another shark in search of revenge.


Tagline – On Friday June 17, man’s deepest fear will rise again

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Bad

 

Story: Jaws 4 The Revenge starts as we head back to Amity Bay, as Sean (Anderson) now works on the police department with Ellen (Gary) carrying on her life after Chief’s death (off camera), when Sean is killed in a shark attack, Michael (Gust) returns to offer as much comfort as he can.

Michael takes his mother of Barbados for a change of scenery with his family wife Carla (Young) and daughter Thea (Barsi), with an island full of characters including pilot Hoagie (Caine) and local Jake (Van Peebles), when a great white appears in research area, Ellen believe the shark is following and hunting down the family.

 

Thoughts on Jaws 4 The Revenge

 

Characters – Ellen Brody has lost her husband and now she has lost her youngest son to a shark attack, she believes the shark is now tracking down the family in an act of revenge, wanting Michael to give up his job in the ocean. She also starts a relationship with pilot Hoagie that shows her a new look on life. Michael is the eldest son of Ellen, he works in the ocean and has his own family in Barbados, he uses the opportunity to study the shark which has never been located in the waters around Barbados. Hoagie is the pilot and gambler living on the island, that starts a relationship with Ellen.

PerformancesLorraine Gary isn’t the strongest in her role, she had been a weaker part of the previous films and making her the lead doesn’t work for the film. Lance Guest is a forgettable with his performance because we don’t see anything fresh. Michael Caine enjoyed his payday here.

StoryThe story plays out like the shark is now following the family and hunting them down in an act of revenge, the family move to Barbados to escape, but it follow them. This is a low key story, that turns funny for the most part of the movie, it has the typical peril moments but never becomes the film you expect it to be.

Adventure/HorrorThe adventure takes us to a new setting, which is fine, but the horror comes from sitting through the film.

SettingsThe Barbados settings was popular for Michael Caine, it does just end up being more water related location which is all you need.

Special EffectsThe effects are terrible and we even see the failure to remove the use of props for the shark.


Scene of the Movie –
Caine the pilot introduction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The rest.

Final ThoughtsThis was a pointless sequel in an era where any movie that made money should only be made cheap so they can be funny bad, rather than big budget disaster.

 

Overall: Bad is being nice.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – G – Gnomeo & Juliet (2011)

Director: Kelly Asbury

Writer: Andy Riley, Kevin Cecil, Mark Burton, Emily Cook, Kathey Greeneberg, Steve Hamilton Shaw, Kelly Asbury (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Ashley Jensen, Michael Caine, Matt Lucas, Jim Cummings, Maggie Smith, Jason Statham

 

Plot: The neighboring gardens of Montague and Capulet are at war, but the gnomes, Gnomeo and Juliet, are in love.


Tagline – An epic tale on a tiny scale.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Kids Will Enjoy

 

Story: Gnomeo & Juliet starts as we learn about two rival gardens, the Montagues and the Capulets, one has blue gnomes the other has red gnomes and they are at war when the humans are not around. Gnomeo leads the assaults from the blue side while Tybalt attacks for the reds.

When Gnomeo goes out on a solo mission he meets Juliet, a red that has been sneaking around only for the two to fall in love. Can their love bring an end to the war between the two sides.

 

Thoughts on Gnomeo & Juliet

 

Characters – Gnomeo is the leader of the blues he is doing everything to fight for his garden, until he meets Juliet and falls in love, he must continue his fight while trying to stay on Juliet’s good side, risking everything. Juliet is the daughter of the reds, she is forced to stay safe even though she wants her own adventure, she meets Gnomeo and the falls in love wanting to end the war from her side. We do get plenty of Shakespeare based characters with the aggressive Tybalt being the most interesting of them all.

StoryHere with this story we get another example of Romeo & Juliet being told, the waring families and forbidden love, only with gnomes and garden ornaments. The love story is fine, one we know and can learn from no a problem, the bigger problem comes with the idea of this wanting to be Toy Story with garden ornaments, but they just don’t seem to care if they upset their humans, even though when humans see them they stop.  You need to focus on one side and this just felt like something we have seen before with too many puns.

Comedy/Family/RomanceThe comedy is mostly garden puns, which can work at times, but like most puns has you groaning at times. We could see families learning from this which is good to see a proper message to people and the romance is what we know from Romeo & Juliet, you can find love in unlikely places.

SettingsThe film takes place in the gardens which have their own designs, this works for the film and makes this enjoyable to see the different designs people have for their gardens.

AnimationThe animation can’t be faulted here, everything looks the part with no problems for the audience to see.


Scene of the Movie –
That Pixar moment. Though this isn’t a Pixar movie.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The characters not caring about the destruction to the gardens while also not wanting to be seen moving by humans.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable family film, it tells a simple story with moment soft peril and puns all around, it is generic in its telling of the story and has a few funny characters.

 

Overall: Family film night sorted.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – Y – Youth (2015)

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Writer: Paolo Sorrentino (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano

 

Plot: A retired orchestra conductor is on holiday with his daughter and his film director best friend in the Alps when he receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip’s birthday.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Drama

 

Story: Youth starts as we arrive in this Swiss Alps luxury resort where retired orchestra conductor Fred Ballinger (Caine) and his best friend film director Mike Boyle (Keitel). Fred uses the annual trip as a chase relax and get treated, Mike is working on the next screenplay with a group of students.

Fred’s relaxing holiday gets changed when Mike’s son divorces his daughter Lena (Weisz) meaning she is spending her holiday with him, he does enjoy this company though otherwise he would be alone. Fred does get requested to perform at Prince Philip’s birthday by Queen Elizabeth II but refuses at first, but the Queen won’t take no for an answer but his reasons will help Lena through her own problems. Fred also ends up having a holiday relationship with young actor Jimmy Tree (Dano) who understands Fred’s frustration because he is feeling them too as an actor.

The holiday will give new feelings, directions and moments for these four, ones that you can only get from relaxing and enjoying yourself once in a while.

 

Thoughts on Youth

 

Characters/PerformanceFred Ballinger is a world famous musical conductor that is requested by the Queen to perform, but he has retired now and all he wants is peace and quiet in this relaxing holiday in the Swiss Alps, he hasn’t been the same since he lost his wife and wants to continue he love of music with the next generation. Mick Boyle is a screenwriter and director who is also Fred’s good friend, he is on this holiday to teach a group of students. Lena was spending time with her father before going on her own holiday but those plans fall through as her life is turned upside down and now she needs her father more than ever. Jimmy is an actor who is also dealing with the problem of being remember for only one thing but he is young and wants to be remembered for more.

Performance wise, this is fantastic performance from Michael Caine showing just how talented he is even in his older years, Keitel is also great in the supporting role where we get to see how can be a supporting actor and not take away from the lead. Weisz and Dano are both great too where we can see just how wonderful they are.

StoryThis is a story showing how people of all ages can achieve new things, they have made bad mistakes but most of, you can learn from it all. This is a strange paced movie that does tell a nice story of the four characters down on their luck finding more from their lives.

Comedy/Music/RomanceThe comedy works in places, mostly because of the strangeness going on through the film, the music is all about how Fred finds it anything with the romance coming from the experiences the four have had.

SettingsThe Swiss Alps make for a beautiful setting, with the hotel and spa making it all look complete for the escaping from the reality of their lives.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautiful looking, wonderful acted movie that is well worth watching to learn about moments of life.

 

Overall: Lovely drama.

Rating