ABC Film Challenge – Romance – N – The Notebook (2004)

Director: Nick Cassavetes

Writer: Jeremy Leven, Jan Sardi (Screenplay) Nicholas Sparks (Novel)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner, Gena Rowlands, Sam Shepard, Joan Allen, James Marsden, Kevin Connolly,

 

Plot: A poor yet passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman, giving her a sense of freedom, but they are soon separated because of their social differences.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Date Night Sorted

 

Story: The Notebook starts as Duke (Garner) a positive thinking elderly man is getting ready to continue a story to Miss Hamilton (Rowlands) at the home, this story takes us back to Noah (Gosling) who meets the 17-year-old Allie (McAdams), both from different backgrounds, Noah poor and Allie rich.

When the two fall wildly in love Allie’s parent’s don’t want her to spend her life with what they call trash, leading to a break-up of the loving couple. Years fly by the two live their own lives away from each other where Allie falls in love with a man her family approve off. While the two cross paths again the love they felt will always be there, but life always gets in the way.

 

Thoughts on The Notebook

 

Characters – Noah came from the wrong side of town, the side with no money or prospects, he earns everything he has to prove that he can escape this world, he makes it through war but his love for Allie will never stop being there. Allie comes from the rich part of town, she accepts Noah for being different but her parents stop her from following the true love she felt for him, while she does fall in love with another man she will always have that flame for Noah. Duke is the man telling us the story to Miss Hamilton who is listening to the story, we learn that they are a bigger part of the story too.

PerformanceGosling and McAdams both shine in these roles which will always be considered two of their more popular roles of their careers. James Garner and Gena Rowlands are both great in the older roles too.

StoryThe story focuses on two people who fell in love, they face stumbling blocks along the way be it personal or otherwise but the love they feel will be what no other can give them. We do flash between the story unfolding as it is being told that does give us hints to who the elder characters are which at times can be frustrating because the final reveal is the one that plays on the heart strings. This is a fairy tale love story, which the likely hood of every happening seems unlikely, but it gives the audience hope of true love.

RomanceThe romance in this film does show how two people can fall in love and it last forever even through illness, war and everyday situations.

SettingsThe settings give us a clear difference in class the two come from and just how the love they feel can bring people together from different background

s.

Scene of the Movie – Swans and rain.

 

That Moment That Annoyed Me I think they give away a twist too early.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the all time most popular date night movies, you can see why because it does work on the love side of things.

 

Overall: This is a bitter sweet love story that plays for tears.

Rating

 

 

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Game Night (2018)

Directors: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein

Writer: Mark Perez (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Sharon Horgan, Billy Magnussen, Lamorne Morris, Kyle Bunbury

 

Plot: A group of friends who meet regularly for game nights find themselves entangled in a real-life mystery.


Tagline – This is not a game.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Funny Comedy

 

Story: Game Night starts as competitive couple Max (Bateman) and Annie (McAdams) preparing for the latest game night with friends Ryan (Magnussen), Kevin (Morris) and Michelle (Bunbury) when Max’s brother Brooks (Chandler) arrives to put Max off his game.

When Brooks invites the group and Ryan’s trademark random date Sarah (Horgan) to his hosted Game Night, it involves one member of the party being kidnapped and the rest needing to solve the case. The night takes a twist when Brook is really kidnapped by criminals and the friends must work together to stay alive.

 

Thoughts on Game Night

 

Characters – Max has always been competitive when it comes to quiz or game nights, he has his perfect match in Annie, but has always been overshadowed by his brother and now he must be the one to help his brother. Annie is the perfect match for Max, strangely we don’t learn much else about her through the film, which is easily going to be the problem with most of the characters, we enter just one night of their lives, so we don’t need to learn too much back story. Brooks is the brother that has a shady past that has caught up with him tonight. Ryan and Sarah are funny as the first date couple that don’t want to admit their attraction and Kevin and Michelle as the married couple who are going through a situation.

PerformancesJason Bateman gives us one of his best comedic performances of his career and his chemistry and Rachel McAdams who shows she can handle the comedy genre whenever she wants. The supporting cast all get the laughs with Billy Magnussen getting most of the laughs and Jesse Plemons seems to steal every scene.

StoryThe story follows a group of friends that entertain on a weekly game night only for the latest one to take a deadly twist as they must take on criminals. The film takes place over one night which helps the story keep the pacing with each situation the friends finding themselves in feeling legitimate for the story. while we don’t learn too much about the characters we get everything we want from the story unfold which does keep us guessing.

Comedy/Crime/MysteryThe comedy in the film hits on the most part with each character offering different moments of laughs with Billy Magnussen and Jesse Plemons giving the most laughs. The crime twists the game night to what is real or not through the film which increases the suspense and the mystery keeps us guessing throughout.

SettingsThe film is set in one city over one night, which puts the characters that don’t normally attend.


Scene of the Movie –
Nearly every scene with Jesse Plemons.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Tries too much for twists.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun comedy that hits on the laughs more often than it misses and does keep us guessing to where the story will go with characters that will make you laugh throughout.

 

Overall: Comedy film I enjoyed.

Rating

 

 

Doctor Strange (2016)

drDirector: Scott Derrickson

Writer: Stand Lee, Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C, Robert Cargill (Screenplay) Stand Lee, Steve Ditko (Comics)

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg

 

Plot: A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning Origin Story

 

Story: Doctor Strange starts as we see Kaecilius (Mikkelsen) stealing artefacts to help him with his next plan only with The Ancient One (Swinton) tries to stop him in what is an early sign of the reality these characters will be fighting within. We move on to meet the brilliant Doctor Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) who has his own style of performing surgery which always saves the lives of the people he is saving.

When Stephen is recklessly driving his fancy car, he is involved in a horrific car accident losing all the skills he has learned in his hands forcing him into drastic measure to regain his surgical skills. Stephen’s journey takes him in search of an impossible natural cure as he finds Mordo (Ejiofor) who guides him to what he searches for the Ancient One.

This is where his training begins as Dr Strange learns about the different realities we live in and how to make them work to his advantage as he learns nothing he once knew was what he thought it was. We the training continues Dr Strange has to join in the battle against former student Kaecilius who has turned to the dark side to prove his worth to the cause.

Doctor Strange gives us a visually stunning superhero origin story because we haven’t had one of these in about two weeks. The story plays into the bigger reality battle which is a big plus to make this slightly more unique only we have this already with the inclusion of the Thor and Guardians universe. I can see why people enjoyed this but in the end this is just going to have to be another addition to a universe which is already over saturated with characters.

Cumberbatch doesn’t seem to have charisma to play what I feel is meant to be sarcastic character, Mikkelsen is just another villain that we have seen before that never makes the impact on the story but is never meant to be that much for an origin film. Swinton does a good job in her role and Ejiofor is solid as the trainer figure.

 

Overall: Visually amazing but as for origin story we have seen this all before.

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Spotlight (2015)

spotightDirector: Tom McCarthy

Writer: Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Brian d’Arcy James, Stanley Tucci, Elena Wohl, Gene Amoroso, Billy Crudup

 

Plot: The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Factual Film

 

Story: Spotlight starts with a short look at what happened in 1976 Boston where a Priest gets off any charges of molestation. Move forward to 2001 in the Boston Globe where the ‘Spotlight’ team Robby (Keaton), Mike (Ruffalo), Sacha (McAdams) and Matt (James) run an elite segment in the paper. When Marty Baron (Schreiber) comes into the paper people start fearing about their jobs, but one of the first things he does as a stranger to the city is to challenge the Spotlight team to look into the Boston Catholic Church and their molestation case.team

The team of four start looking through the stories from the last 25 years that have all almost gone unpunished and what they dig up will change the way the world sees the Catholic Church forever.

Spotlight is a film that gives us a big history lesson about how corrupt the Catholic Church had become, it shows how easily they could cover up all their wrongs and thought that everything was just fine because of the contribution that made to society. The reality is how big everything got how far up the ranks the corruption within a religious circle things got showing just how bad things were for the innocent victims. This film shows how hard it was to speak up and remember all the things the victims were made to do showing how it has affected their lives forever. If you want a good, no a brilliant history lesson this is one for you.

 

Actor Review

 

Mark Ruffalo: Mike Rezendes is part of the Spotlight team who is liaising with lawyer Mitchell Garabedian who is also trying to take down the Catholic Church on his own, he gets pointed in the right direction as he investigates his side of the story. Mark is brilliant in this role giving us a performance that can go hand in hand with his Zodiac one.

Michael Keaton: Walter ‘Robby’ Robinson is the leader of the Spotlight team who is the one that can confront the higher officials that stand in the rest of the team’s way, he is blunt when it takes on these people. He has the most connections and is one of the most respected people in the newspaper. Michael continues to give brilliant performances after his one in Birdman last time out.robby

Rachel McAdams: Sacha Pfeiffer is one of the Spotlight team who gets to know the victims while being the partner to Robby in the interviews with the Catholic higher ups. She uses her ability to show her empathy towards the victims to help them feel comfortable about their stories. Rachel gives us a brilliant performance in this role where she shows her serious side.

Liev Schreiber: Marty Baron is the man who gets placed in charge of the paper where he comes to Boston to give fresh eyes on the Catholic Church cover up. He tasks the Spotlight team on this story to expose a story he had no idea would be one of the biggest in Catholic Church history. Liev is almost unlike anything you have seen from him before but I would have liked to have seen more from his character.

Support Cast: Spotlight has a brilliant supporting cast that all help get to the bottom of this story.

Director Review: Tom McCarthyTom gives us a brilliant story showing how the world we thought was safe could be filled with so much corruption.

 

Biographical: Spotlight shows just how much hard work had to be put in by a team that trusted each other to come up with their end of the story.

History: Spotlight gives us an example of a power who thought they knew all and could get away with anything and how easy they could be bought down.

Thriller: Spotlight has moments of thrills but it is more about how well the team puts the story together,

Music: Spotlight uses the music to show the moments unfolding without going to heavy on any side of it all.

Settings: Spotlight keeps most of the settings in and around Boston which helps us know where the story first broke.
Suggestion
: Spotlight is one to watch to learn about how the Catholic Church operated, but you do need your serious head on while watching. (Watch)

 

Best Part: The performances are brilliant.

Worst Part: Could be considered too serious for some.

 

Believability: Based on what really happened in Boston.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Nominated for 3 Golden Globes including Best Picture, Director and Screenplay

Oscar Chances:

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

Tagline:  Break the story. Break the silence.

 

Overall: Brilliant history lesson of one of the biggest scandals in Catholic Church history

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Jake Gyllenhaal Weekend Southpaw (2015)

logooDirector: Antoine Fuqua

Writer: Kurt Sutter (Screenplay)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, Oona Laurence, 50 Cent, Skylan Brooks, Naomie Harris, Victor Ortiz, Beau Knapp

Plot: Boxer Billy Hope turns to trainer Tick Willis to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Left Hook to the Heart

Story: Southpaw starts with Billy Hope (Gyllenhaal) defending his Light Heavyweight Title at Madison Square Gardens. When a wannabe challenger Miguel ‘Magic’ Escobar (Gomez) starts pushing Billy into a fight Billy wants to shut him up by demanding his manager Jordan Mains (50 Cent) to make the match happen.

When his wife Maureen (McAdams) is noticing him getting punch drunk from his matches she wants him to step back to spend time with his daughter Leila (Laurence) but Jordan is pushing three more fights.

When Escobar pushing Billy too far at a charity event an all out brawl ensues leading to a gun shot killing Maureen. This is just the beginning to the downward spiral Billy takes as he loses his money, his team and most tragic to him custody of his daughter.

We now watch how Billy must rebuild his life, career and reputation by turning to trainer Tick Wills (Whitaker), cleaning up his substance abuse to get his daughter back.

Southpaw gives us the traditional sports story of redemption but also offers up a fresh look at how our hero Billy reaches his redemption. We get a much more personal battle for Billy to go through which leads us to see how sports stars can lose everything. I will have to question how the story gives us thin sub-plots where we look at certain characters have things happen and everything just get done off camera, be it how the judge just seemed to go have your kid back, Hoopy story gets completely looked over and the promoter who could have been corrupt just getting ignored. On the sports side everything is almost perfect so I can’t complain but in the end certain things end up just getting left to us to go yeah that is ok.

Actor Review

Jake Gyllenhaal: Billy Hope is the light heavyweight champion of the world on top of the world but everything comes crashing down when his wife is killed. He loses his belt, his home and his daughter leaving him no choice but to clean up his act and regain the life he once had through hard work. Jake gives us yet another brilliant performance where he could easily get an Oscar nomination.billy

Rachel McAdams: Maureen Hope is the wife and whole world to Billy, she supports him in every fight while arranging his life. She wants Billy to retire or at least take a break because his style is going to leave him punch drunk. When she is killed the life of her family starts to fall apart. Rachel gives a good performance even if it is only a supporting role.maureen

Forest Whitaker: Tick Wills is a boxing trainer who reluctantly gives Billy a job, a chance to train to prove he is committed before letting him in the ring to learn a new style of fighting that plays to the defensive side Billy isn’t used to using. He has his own past which has lead him to be like Billy giving him the chance to redeem his own defeats in his past. Forest gives us a great performance as the man with a troubled past who gets a chance of redemption.ticks

Oona Laurence: Leila Hope is the daughter of Billy and Maureen who ends up going into custody of family services when Billy can’t handle his life without his wife. She is the motive behind everything Billy does as she is the only thing he really wants in life. Oona gives a brilliant performance from such a young starlet.leila

50 Cent: Jordan Mains is the promoter and manager of Billy who keeps trying to make his fighter continue fighting, he has a questionable motives and once Billy loses everything he teams up with the enemy Escobar. 50 Cent gives us a good supporting role as the promoter we are not sure about through the film.

Support Cast: Southpaw has a supporting cast that offer sub-plots that don’t completely get dealt with but each one does find a way to motive our leading characters.

Director Review: Antoine Fuqua Antoine gives us a brilliant sporting drama that shows how hard redemption can be to achieve.

Action: Southpaw keeps most of the action in the boxing ring giving us the real time fight scenes that all come off real throughout.

Drama: Southpaw brings us into a personal lives of the Hope family as we see them go through tragic events before having to grow and power through them.

Sports: Southpaw makes all the boxing look realistic from the moment they enter the ring.

Thriller: Southpaw keeps you wondering what will happen from the start to finish.

Settings: Southpaw creates all the settings that all work perfectly for the moments in the film from the fall from the top to the rise back.

Suggestion: Southpaw is one of the best films this year and should be watched by all. (Watch)

Best Part: Boxing all looks realistic.

Worst Part: Sub-plots do get forgotten.

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: You could get a few

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: Jake could get an Oscar nod.

Box Office: $35 Million

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 4 Minutes

Tagline: Believe In Hope.

Trivia: Antoine Fuqua had no money to pay James Horner to compose the film due to the films short budget. However, James didn’t care as he loved the idea of the film and decided to do it for free.

Overall: Brilliant sporting drama that is all about redemption

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