About a Boy (2002)

Director: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz

Writer: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz, Peter Hedges (Screenplay) Nick Hornby (Novel)

Starring: Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult, Toni Collette, Natalia Tena, Rachel Weisz

 

Plot: A cynical, immature young man is taught how to act like a grown-up by a little boy.


Tagline – Growing up has nothing to do with age.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant British Comedy

 

Story: About a Boy starts as we meet Will Freeman (Grant) who lives the perfect life in his head, no job because of his father’s royalties, no responsibilities and no relationship, he can jump from woman to woman and now he has learnt about single mums, he new target. Marcus (Hoult) is a young boy whose single mother is battling depression and when the two become unlikely friends.

As the friendship builds between Will and Marcus, the two learn valuable life lessons with Will finally learning the serious side to life, one he had coasted over through his life.

 

Thoughts on About a Boy

 

Characters – Will is the playboy bachelor who has gone from woman to woman never taking responsibility in anything in his life, at the age of 38 he isn’t getting any younger and wants to look to a new location to meet women, which finally gives him a chance to look at his own life errors and start to make something from life. Marcus is a bullied young boy, his mother is battling depression and he never fits in at school, he sees a male role model in Will and starts to becoming friends with Will where he can starts to learn how to be who he should be. This character is drawn up wonderfully because he doesn’t understand the problems his mother is going through, while he is aware there is a problem it reflects in his everyday life. Fiona is the mother of Marcus, she is battle depression in her life while trying her hardest to stay positive for Marcus, a battle she isn’t always winning. Rachel is the woman that shows Will a new meaning to life, only she is the one that could shatter his new look too.

PerformancesHugh Grant is easily one of the most British actors out there, he gives one of his best performances here that will make you like his bad character. This role could easily be a look at the person people believed he would be in real life. Nicholas Hoult gives one of the greatest breakthrough performances for a young star and by seeing just how far he has gone since this shows the early talent he showed. Toni Collette gives us a supporting performance that is just as difficult to watch because of her characters problems that it is an essential performance to see. Rachel Weisz is good in her supporting role, she doesn’t need to do too much with her character though.

StoryThe story here plays out as a middle-aged man needing to grow up, a young boy who needs a male role model and understand that life isn’t going to be perfect no matter how much you want to believe it. The growing up side of the story is the one that we get to focus on the most and is everything you expect it to be. There is however a much deeper and stronger side to this story we see, that comes from seeing how young Marcus doesn’t completely understand his mother’s depression and just wants somebody to talk to, while finding his own way to fix her. Now this is important because the mental health issues are a bigger talking point now and showing it through the eyes of an innocent young boy shows how difficult it can be to talk about and deal with, with him never truly understanding what the problems are.

Comedy/RomanceThis film did get me laughing a lot, this is usually hard for any comedy movie, this has so many clever visions on life through the shallow nature Will has. The romance is the backburner because it shows us just how Will is trying to find women, even if one does change his life.

SettingsThe film is set in London, we get the see the home environment, which for the most part are empty, the social life and everyday life, nothing is new.


Scene of the Movie –
Be a Godfather question?

That Moment That Annoyed Me The generic bullies.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant comedy that gets everything right with the way the comedy is handled, we do get a big issue covered and is a film that people need to look back on and watch.

 

Overall: Must watch comedy.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – Y – Yorgos Lantimos – The Favourite (2018)

Director: Yorgos Lantimos

Writer: Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara (Screenplay)

Starring: Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, Nicholas Hoult

 

Plot: In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: For the Costume Lovers

 

Story: The Favourite starts as England is winning the war against the French in the early 18th century, Queen Anne (Colman) is happy to continue the war, while Lady Sarah (Weisz) her most trusted friend governs the country. When a cousin of Sarah’s Abigail (Stone) arrives searching for a job, she must first earn her spot.

When Abigail starts becoming a favourite of Lady Sarah, she is used to help care for Queen Anne, while dealing with the advances of Harley (Hoult), is she up to something or just a pawn in the game of the ladies.

 

Thoughts on The Favourite

 

Characters – Queen Anne is getting older and sicker, she has always turned to Lady Sarah for advice and help, even if she is tired of her stricter ways, she keeps rabbits which keep her occupied, while learns that Abigail is becoming a younger version who will keep her entertained. Lady Sarah has always been by the Queen’s side, she deals with the responsibilities the Queen doesn’t want to get through, she offers her cousin a chance to work in the mansion, only to become jealous of the relationship the two have. Abigail is the maid hired because of family connection, she shows her intelligence which makes her dangerous to anybody who crosses her. Harley is the son of one of the famous people working under the Queen, he will befriend Abigail to get closer to the Queen to learn about her decision-making process.

PerformancesFor the performances all I have seen is how wonderful the performances are from the three ladies, the performances from Colman, Weisz and Stone a great though we have seen better through the year.

StoryThe story follows a young maid as she tries to rise up through a royal household to reclaim her family name, she will do anything to push the rise through which sees her clashing with the Queen’s most loyal friend. This does feel like a game to stay ahead of the other which is fine for story, though it just tries to be too upper class with how everything unfolds and you can’t help but feel none of this remotely happened.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic side of this story does leave plenty of questions to be asked as you just don’t see any of these actually be possible. The comedy involved in the film is quirky and will only appeal to certain people.

SettingsThe settings in the film are easily the highlight of the film because everything looks completely authentic for the time.


Scene of the Movie –
Stop playing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me To stuck up for the most part.

Final ThoughtsThis is a quirky film from a director who is easily one that can split the audience, it is another film that will get wild praise and another one I just don’t get along with.

 

Overall: Quirky just not fantastic.

Rating

 

 

Disobedience (2017)

Director: Sebastian Lelio

Writer: Sebastian Lelio, Rebecca Lenkiewicz (Screenplay) Naomi Alderman (Novel)

Starring: Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, Alessandro Nivola, Bernice Stegers

 

Plot: A woman returns to her Orthodox Jewish community that shunned her for her attraction to a female childhood friend. Once back, their passions reignite as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality.


Tagline – Love is an act of defiance

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Long and Dull

 

Story: Disobedience starts when photographer Ronit Krushka (Weisz) returns to her Orthodox Jewish community after her father’s death, she isn’t remembered by the community after her past, she stays with Dovid Kuperman (Nivola) and his wife Esti (McAdams) as they experience the grieving process together.

Once back together Ronit and Esti’s love is reignited their position in the community as Esti is now in respected member of the community, teaching the next generation, following the rules of the faith, can they be together or not.

 

Thoughts on Disobedience

 

Characters – Ronit is a photographer that was shunned by her religion because of her attraction to a woman, she returns after her father dies and sparks between her and Esti start again, she hasn’t followed the traditions like Esti and doesn’t mind being out of place with the rest. Esti settled down and started following the rules of the faith, the return of Ronit lets her experience a love she hasn’t dealt with in years. Dovid is the husband of Esti, one of the most respected of all of the community, he is strictly following all the rules of the faith.

PerformancesWhile he performances are good for the most part with Weisz and McAdams being the true stars, even if they don’t make us become fully engaged with their characters.

StoryThe story here follows two women who are in love, one has been banished from the community, while the other put her love aside to follow the traditional faith of everything. we follow how they get a second chance and how the lives will be thrown upside down for going against their religion. Sure this is a solid enough story about going against the normal, but the pacing is so slow and not much truly goes one through the film

RomanceThe romance of this film shows us just how difficult falling in love can be, if it is against the faith others will judge you, this is important to see how it is dealt with but not the most interesting when it comes to actual romance.

SettingsThe film shows us the settings that the community would be in and how together the people would be in everyday life.


Scene of the Movie –
Nearly getting caught.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pacing.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the films which I feel with split the audience down the middle, some people will say it is important others will say it is boring, like myself.

 

Overall: Too long and not interesting enough.

Rating

 

 

The Mercy (2018)

Director: James Marsh

Writer: Scott Z Burns (Screenplay)

Starring: Rachel Weisz, Colin Firth, David Thewlis, Mark Gatiss, Andrew Buchan, Anna Madeley

 

Plot: The incredible story of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst and his solo attempt to circumnavigate the globe. The struggles he confronted on the journey while his family awaited his return is one of the most enduring mysteries of recent times.


Tagline – Based on the true story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nicely Paced, Lacks Impact

 

Story: The Mercy starts when inventor Donald Crowhurst (Firth) who has been working on boating equipment for years decides he wants to try and circumnavigate the globe alone, with no experience of sailing behind him. His wife Clare (Weisz) supports his decision believe he knows what he is getting himself into and Rodney Hallworth (Thewlis) handling the press and Mr Best (Stott) financing the trip.

While on the adventure, plans don’t go to plan and alone Donald must make a difficult decision to cut the corners to both save his life from danger and break the records set out on front of him. When his journey gets studied questions arise and soon the mystery about his pace come to light.

 

Thoughts on The Mercy

 

Characters – Donald Crowhurst has been inventing equipment for boats for years, the one things he desires more is to go around the world, which he puts into motion by building the fastest boat, but with no experience can he do the impossible? Clare is his wife back home and mother to their children, she faces the anxious wait for him to return from his journey, while dealing with the idea he might not make it back and the increased public spotlight thrown on the family because of his success. Rodney is the press officer arranging the sponsors for Donald and bring in the press to tell his story to the world, he becomes more involved the better and faster Donald does.

PerformancesColin Firth is the star of this show, he does much of the work in solo takes showing the endurance he is facing in the middle of the ocean, the moments of beauty and the moments or loneliness shine through in his expressions. Rachel Weisz is good and shines in a couple of scenes, but doesn’t show her full skills. David Thewlis is always an excellent supporting performer too.

StoryThe story follows an unlikely sailor taking on one of the riskiest and most dangerous journey a sailor can take alone. He brings hope to any sailor with the idea, but the truth will leave that hope shattered in one of the biggest mysteries in the sailing world. this is based on a real-event which is interesting to see unfold, my problem with the way the story is told, is that we don’t really know what happened and never get any real evidence either way, which by the end leaves you playing into theories over the truths.

Adventure/BiopicThe adventure plays into the idea that Donald could be going on a journey that could inspire anyone. The biopic side of the film shows how the family was dealing with the journey, but what Donald did on the boat can’t be answered.

SettingsThe film creates the time period well and the time spent on the boat feels like the adventure it was meant to be.


Scene of the Movie –
The wildlife shots.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not knowing the truth.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting biopic that shows a mystery that was never truly solved, it is paced nicely but lack that point of solving the mystery only making suggestions.

 

Overall: Solid biopic with great performances.

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