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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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

 

 

Okja (2017)

Director: Joon-ho Bong

Writer: Joon-ho Bong (Screenplay)

Starring: Seo-Hyun Ahn, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Jake Gyllenhaal, Steven Yeun, Lily Collins

 

Plot: Meet Mija, a young girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a massive animal named Okja.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Adventure

 

Story: Okja starts in the year 2007 as Lucy Mirando (Swinton) and her company have created super pigs to help halt the starvation problem the world is facing, these pigs will be raised in different countries around the world too.

10 years later Mija (Ahn) lives with her creature Okja as they live a peaceful life in the countryside. Here we see how the two help each other out through the challenges of a small farming life. The peacefully life is about to change when zoologist Johnny Wilcox (Gyllenhaal) arrives declaring Okja the winner of the super pig contest, wanting to take her back to New York.

Mija leaves home in search of Okja after learning the truth about what the super pigs are being bred for. Mija locates Okja in Seoul where activists ALF led by Jay (Dano) help release her to cause chaos in Seoul. Mija finds herself going on a world adventure with Okja becoming the face of Mirando while ALF continue to look to expose Mirando for what they really are.

 

Thoughts on Okja

 

Characters/PerformanceMija has lived with Okja for the ten years but once Okja is taken to America she sets out on a mission to find her life long friend in an adventure that takes her around the world. This is a brilliantly created vision of innocence, determination and exploitered young girl. Lucy Mirando is the owner of the company that created Okja, this is a PR stunt to help improve the image of the genetic experiments going on within the company. She is a brilliant business mind that is just waiting for her company to come good again. Johnny Wilcox is the expert and face of Mirando who has been working on the project for ten years, but slowly going insane with questionable morals and drinking problems. Jay is the leader of the latest ALF project, his team has been working to release the Super Pigs and expose the Mirando cooperation.

Performance wise, Seo-Hyun Ahn is the latest star to come out of South Korea giving us a brilliant performance in the leading role. Tilda Swinton once again show just how talented to she is even in dual roles. Paul Dano continues to know how to make his character stand out in any film too. It is Jake Gyllenhaal that steals nearly every single scene here with his completely over the top delivery that will have you in stitches everything single scene.

StoryThe story shows us how evil cooperation are willing to create animals just for consumer reasons, we see how the friendship can create an adventure that goes across the globe but this isn’t just a PG adventure this is an adult one. There are plenty of warnings in the story too, mostly around the idea of how to treat animals and not take things for granted. We do have moments of laughter and tears too so be prepared on all accounts.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action side of the film is mostly about the chases to get the freedom that Mija and Okja desire so much with the adventure being the two leaving a small farm and travelling the world. The sci-fi side of everything shows us the warning about the potential food crisis in the future.

SettingsThe settings are used wonderfully as we see the beauty of the home farm and the big city where Mija is lost searching for her friend.

Special EffectsThe effects are great through the film as we do have the CGI Okja and other super pigs that just seem to blend into the worlds perfectly.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the films that is part warning, part friendship and part social commentary as we learn the problems the world will face and how they are thinking of solving them.

 

Overall: One of the must watches of 2017

Rating

 

 

Swiss Army Man (2016)

writtenDirector: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert

Writer: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert (Screenplay)

Starring: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Antonia Ribero, Timothy Eulich, Richard Gross, Marika Casteel

 

Plot: A hopeless man stranded on a deserted island befriends a dead body and together they go on a surreal journey to get home.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One Hell of a Strange Film

 

Story: Swiss Army Man starts as we meet Hank (Dano) stranded on a deserted island about to end his life before a dead body washes up. When Hank learns of the farting this body possess he goes on an adventure to safety with the dead body which he names Manny (Radcliffe).

As the adventure continues Hank starts having full conversations with Manny as the abilities that Manny possess become lifesaving chances for Hank to get back to the life he once lived.

Swiss Army Man is a film that is very difficult to describe what I just watched. The story is easy to follow as long as you switch off any sense on what is going on. The whole thing comes off very unique but I can see how certain people will look at this film and wonder just what the hell this really is about. This film will get a following but really it is just weird and not my cup of tea.

 

Overall: Slightly confusing and weird movie that is too much for even me.

Rating55

 

 

Daniel Day-Lewis Weekend – There Will Be Blood (2007)

bloodDirector: Paul Thomas Anderson

Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson (Screenplay) Upton Sinclair (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Barry Del Sherman, Paul Dano, Ciaran Hinds, David Willis, Kevin J O’Connor, David Warshofsky

 

Plot: A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Stunning Character Driven Story

 

Story: There Will Be Blood starts as we witness Daniel Plainview (Day-Lewis) make the early steps to his fortune from his first pieces of silver to his first oil drilling site in 1902. With 14 minutes of just music and visuals we are drawn into this story.

We move to 1911 where Daniel has gain the reputation of success and with his associate Fetcher (Hinds) and adopted son HW he is always looking for a new opportunity. When Paul Sunday (Dano) comes to Daniel about a new oil dwelling Daniel looks into this report including purchasing the land around the settlement.

Taking advantage of the remaining Sunday family including Eli (Also played by Dano) Daniel looks to take over Little Boston building a new city that will make his fortune bigger than he could ever image.

As Daniel’s greed grows as does his rivalry with Priest Eli Sunday and the two find themselves as Daniel finds himself going to extreme measures to make sure he gets all of his money and Eli starts to question his own faith.

There Will Be Blood is one of those films that tells one of the most intense stories you will ever see, sure this isn’t one you can watch once a week in fact once a year is slightly difficult because it really is a hard watch. Saying it is a hard watch also means it is a must watch too because nothing will ever give you two power house performance like what Day-Lewis and Dano give. The film shows how greed makes a man desperate but also shows the struggle of the turn of the 20th Century for every person to survive.

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Day-Lewis: Daniel Plainview is an oil tycoon who started with nothing, we follow his story from his first find to his first oil strike before he becomes one of the most powerful oil drillers in America. We learn about his methods being questionable as he believes he can just steal the money from people. Daniel is a great business man but his people skills will leave something to the imagination, he can sale anything to get the best deal though. He clashes with the local priest at his latest dig site which pushes him to the level of madness and greed. Daniel is amazing in this role where he rightfully won his Oscar.daniel

Paul Dano: Paul Sunday/Eli Sunday, Paul is the man that sends Daniel to Little Boston while Eli is the Priest of Little Boston that is willing to work with Daniel as long as he supports his church. Things don’t go the way Eli had planned as the two soon find themselves in a bitter rivalry that pushes them both to the limits. Paul was somehow over looked for an Oscar in what is a brilliant performance against Daniel Day-Lewis.sunday

Ciaran Hinds: Fletcher is Daniel’s most trusted man in business, he does all of the jobs Daniel can’t bring himself to do but never seems to get involved in the actually drilling side of the enterprise. Ciaran is great in this supporting role.

Support Cast: There Will Be Blood has a massive supporting cast that all give great performance through the film.

Director Review: Paul Thomas AndersonPaul continues to show that he is a brilliant director with this outstanding film.

 

Drama: There Will Be Blood gives us one of the best dramatic films you will ever see.

Settings: There Will Be Blood recreates the settings for the time period which pulls us into believing we are with the characters in the story.
Suggestion
: There Will Be Blood is one that everyone should have watched at least once. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Performances.

Worst Part: Not the most appealing story.

Favourite Quote: Daniel ‘Did you think your song and dance and your superstition would help you, Eli? I am the Third Revelation! I am who the Lord has chosen!’

 

Believability: Yes

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Won Two Oscars and nominated for a further 6.

Box Office: $40 Million

Budget: $25 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 38 Minutes

Tagline: When Ambition Meets Faith

 

Overall: Stunning drama that really is a must watch for everyone.

Ratingcard