Sweet Home Alabama (2002)

Director: Andy Tennant

Writer: C Jay Cox (Screenplay) Douglas J Eboch (Story)

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas, Patrick Dempsey, Candice Bergen, May Kay Place, Fred Ward, Jean Smart, Ethan Embry, Melanie Lynskey

 

Plot: A young woman who’s reinvented herself as a New York socialite must return home to Alabama to obtain a divorce from her husband, after seven years of separation.


Tagline – Sometimes What You’re Looking For Is Right Where You Left It.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sweet Rom Com

 

Story: Sweet Home Alabama starts as we see Melanie Carmichael (Witherspoon) a rising fashion designer in New York, dating the Mayor (Bergen) son Andrew Hennings (Dempsey) who proposes to her. This becomes massive news in the city, But Melanie must return to Alabama to get a divorce from her first husband Jake (Lucas) her childhood sweetheart.

Returning home Melanie gets to see how the friends and family have been living their own lives without her, how the people have changed and just how many people she left behind.

 

Thoughts on Sweet Home Alabama

 

Characters – Melanie was a small-town girl, who moved to the big city making herself the hottest name in the fashion industry, she gets engaged, but has one problem, she is still married back in her small town. She must face the people she left behind who show her how the simple life can bring them happiness, facing her husband to get the divorce to carry on with her life becomes more difficult than she imagined as she walks down memory lane. Jake Perry is the husband back in Alabama, he refuses to sign the divorce papers because he knows what that will mean, he grew up as the sweetheart of Melanie believing she is the one, while trying to make something of his life. Andrew Hennings is the fiancée in New York that will go against his mother’s wishes to marry Melanie. The rest of the characters mostly include the members of the small-town that Melanie has left behind, they all have their quirks.

PerformancesReese Witherspoon was the queen of the rom com at the turn of the century, this film shows why this was because she fits the film perfectly. Josh Lucas is good in his role and we completely believe him being from the small town. Patrick Dempsey does have a supporting role which he is good in as you can see him as the higher society guy compared to the small-town people. The rest of the cast get the laughs when you need them and give us the serious moments too.

StoryThe story here follows a woman that recreated herself to be a success, her past comes back to stop her reaching all the potential in this new life, which means she must walk down memory lane before deciding where her future is. This does show us how the past will always be important to your future and you should never forget where you came from. For rom com genre we know how this will play out and we can see the arc Melanie must go through during the film, the story will fill out the check list for the fans of the genre.

Comedy/Romance The comedy in this film comes from how the typical small-town locals are portrayed, we don’t get many psychical comedy moments. The romance leaves one woman needing to face her past love to be with her future love.

SettingsThe film is set in two main locations, the New York one shows us the new life Melanie has, while returning to Alabama we see the slower life she left behind, but loves deep down.


Scene of the Movie –
The wedding.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The small-town characters are slightly too generic.

Final ThoughtsThis might well be generic for the most part, but this works for the rom com genre which shows Reese Witherspoon shinning at what she always did best at the turn of the century.

 

Overall: Rom Com 101.

Rating

 

 

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

Director: Ava DuVernay

Writer: Jennifer Lee, Jeff Stockwell (Screenplay) Madeleine L’Engle (Novel)

Starring: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Chris Pine, Guge Mbatha-Raw, Zach Galifianakis

 

Plot: After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.


Tagline – Be a warrior

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dragging Adventure

 

Story: A Wrinkle in Time starts when a trouble high school student Meg (Reid) hasn’t given up hope on being reunited with her father Mr Murry (Pine) after his sudden disappearance. Meg has become closed off from the world with her adopted brother Charles Wallace (McCabe) noticing the change in her. Meg, Charles and Calvin (Miller) get visited by Mrs Whatsit (Witherspoon) that opens up the possibilities for answers.

Mrs Whatsit takes the three children on an adventure through the universe with Mrs Which (Winfrey) and Mrs Who (Kaling), who believe they can locate Mr Murry after his research has taken him across the universe unlike anyone in human history.

 

Thoughts on A Wrinkle in Time

 

Characters – Meg is an outsider teenage girl, daughter of two brilliant scientists, with her father disappeared for four years now. She went from the popular out going girl to the shy closed off one. she has never given up hope of finding her father, which does leave questions about her relationship with her mother, she gets a chance to find her father with the will she shows in her heart. Mrs Which leads the three light entities that can help Meg travel the universe to find her father, she isn’t just guiding Meg, but the newest member of the team Mrs Whatsit. Mrs Whatsit is the bubbly member of the light entities, she is on her first mission of guidance which does see her make mistakes along the way. Mrs Who is the third member of the team, she is always positive like the rest only she gets the least amount of time to do anything of the three. Mr Murry is the father that has gone missing, he is a brilliant scientist that has always believed in travel through the universe to be possible and has been searching for a way to achieve. Calvin is the high school friend of Meg that ends up on the journey, he wants to support her even when it shows his own weakness in the world.

PerformancesStorm Reid is the highlight of the film which sees her going on the adventure to find her father, this is a disappointing as we do have a talent cast, only they just don’t seem to shine on the levels you would expect them to reach.

StoryThe story here follows a teenage girl that gets to do on an adventure across the universe in search for her father through the powers of light entities. This is a story that has come from a popular novel and is meant to show the science behind potential travel through the universe and how the power is within us all. This is a story that just drags along, it doesn’t offer anything to the world we are entering. This story could have so much potential and ends up just glossing over too much, making it a hard watch.

Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe adventure side of the film shows the journey that takes the children across the universe to see just where one’s father has gone, this does show us the fantasy elements of the film in the sci-fi universe we end up going along.

SettingsThe film is set in a fictional land where the people can travel to unknown planets in the universe, each one has its own unique look.

Special EffectsThe visual effects used to create the different worlds look beautiful, only they don’t seem to make anything feel as important to the story.


Scene of the Movie –
Understand other people’s problems from behind closed doors.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This story just doesn’t become interesting.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that had so much potential only to fall so short, it has an amazing cast that just don’t get a chance to shine, the story just doesn’t get us going like it should do.

 

Overall: Disappointing.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – H – Hot Pursuit (2015)

Director: Anne Fletcher

Writer: David Feeney, John Quaintance (Screenplay)

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Sofia Vergara, Matthew Del Negro, Michael Mosley, Robert Kazinsky, Richard T Jones

 

Plot: An uptight and by-the-book cop tries to protect the outgoing widow of a drug boss as they race through Texas pursued by crooked cops and murderous gunmen.


Tagline – Armed and sort of dangerous.

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laughless Comedy

 

Story: Hot Pursuit starts as the up-tight career driven police officer Cooper (Witherspoon) that doesn’t get to leave the station much because of a previous misunderstanding. Now a massive case to take down a cartel boss, calls for Cooper to go out into the field and help escort Daniella Riva (Vergara) the wife of one of the key witnesses.

When the husband of Daniella and the FBI agent working with Cooper are both killed, Cooper must prove herself as a police officer as she needs to learn who she can trust to bring the cartel boss down.

 

Thoughts on Hot Pursuit

 

Characters – Cooper has been riding in the back of police cars for years now, following in her father’s footsteps to be a police officer, she is currently behind a desk after a mistake, called into the field for what should be a routine escort of a witness job, she is forced to show her skills to keep the witness alive and bring her family name back to the positive spotlight. Daniella Riva is the feisty wife of the witness in question, she needs to be protected and shows all the stereotypes about Latin women, while she is loud, fast talking. The two clash because they are very different from different backgrounds which plays into everything we see in the film. everyone else we meet are police officers and cartel members that are after Danielle.

PerformancesReese Witherspoon was once one of the biggest names in comedy, though she doesn’t managed to get this to work on any level, this is mainly because of the lack of chemistry between the two leads, Sofia Vergara sure looks sexy, but she doesn’t handle the comedy in anyway.

StoryThe story follows the unlikely cop that must transport a witness that is completely different to her, in what is an attempted buddy comedy. We have seen the outline of this before with different types of people trying to capture or kill the person being transported. The weaknesses are heavy here because the villains are almost non-existent. The idea is too basic and offers nothing new with nearly everything turning into an argument about not understanding the fast talking Latino or look she is short.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action is a couple of car chases and basic shoot outs doing nothing fancy, the comedy is the same joke on repeat which just doesn’t work which gives us the crime world we enter, which is drug cartel needing to be kept quiet.

SettingsThe film takes us across Texas though this doesn’t feel like it at all.


Scene of the Movie –
You have been Coopered.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The comedy gets boring quickly.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak comedy that just doesn’t hit any times which only leaves us feeling bored through the most part of the film.

 

Overall: Mainly boring.

Rating

 

 

Cruel Intention (1999)

Director: Roger Kumble

Writer: Roger Kumble (Screenplay) Choderlos de Laclos (Novel)

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Louise Fletcher, Joshua Jackson, Eric Mabius

 

Plot: Two vicious step-siblings of an elite Manhattan prep school make a wager: to deflower the new headmaster’s daughter before the start of term.


Tagline – What you can’t have, you can’t resist.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Darkly Delicious

 

Story: Cruel Intentions starts as the elite prep school step siblings Kathryn (Gellar) and Sebastian (Phillippe) are planning their next conquests in making the fellow students or authority figures pay for going against them. Kathryn wants to destroy new student Cecile (Blair) for dating her ex-girlfriend, while Sebastian wants to break the new headmaster’s daughter Annette’s (Witherspoon) belief about waiting for sex before marriage.

We watch how the two navigate their way through the elite to achieve their goals only for Sebastian to start to change from his seductive ways.

 

Thoughts on Cruel Intentions

 

Characters – Kathryn is the two faced elite society girl, two the parents she is the good polite guide for their daughters through the prep school, with her brother and friends she plays people however she wants to get things done, she holds grudges and has power over her step-brother, to help her enjoy seeing people fall. Sebastian has a reputation that has seen him go through the girls at the school, he gets what he wants but is bored of the easy girls that can be pushed around. He sets his sights on the new headmaster’s daughter which will give him a new look on life. Annette is the headmaster’s daughter that has sworn off sex before marriage, she is determined not to let Sebastian take advantage of her and break her code, knowing the truth about his past.

PerformancesSarah Michelle Gellar was known for her bad ass Buffy the Vampire Slayer when this movie came out, this performance broke her typecast and showed that she could do a much darker role. Ryan Phillippe is wonderful in this role, you can see how he plans to get ahead at every step of the way believing his confident character. Reese Witherspoon bought us the innocent character we now know her for, we need her to be strong, she is and that look makes her look the part perfectly. This is easily one of he best cast movies of recent years.

StoryThe story takes us into the elite prep school life where the kids are free enough to be planning their next sexual conquest because money is no longer an issue for them. Seeing how the story plans out is interesting from early on to the finish as the plans between the characters and how the step-siblings manipulate the people in their lives is twisted. The pace of the story is great too, it never feels like it lets up from start to finish. It does however show how stupid rich kids can be because they have never learnt morals.

RomanceThe romance in this film is a complete mix, we get to see how romance can be used just for sex and how it can change people to become better people.

SettingsThe New York setting is perfect for this movie, it shows how the elite school kids can get up to the most pointless behaviour because of boredom and belief they have the power over anyone.


Scene of the Movie –
The fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me These kids never go to school.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful dark romantic thriller, that uses the music perfectly, has brilliant performances and is easily one of the most watchable films out of the late 90s.

 

Overall: Special movie that hasn’t aged a day.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – S – Sing (2016)

Director: Garth Jennings, Christopher Lourdelet

Writer: Garth Jennings (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C Reilly, Taron Egerton

 

Plot: In a city of humanoid animals, a hustling theater impresario’s attempt to save his theater with a singing competition becomes grander than he anticipates even as its finalists’ find that their lives will never be the same.


Tagline – Auditions begin christmas

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Animated Musical

 

Story: Sing starts as we follow a hustling theatre owner Buster Moon, looking to save his career, we follow the other animals in the city including say home mother pig Rosita, an underachieving musician mouse Mike, punk rocker porcupine Ash, gorilla about to enter the world of crime Johnny and shy elephant Meena, that enter this competition that Buster moon hosts with a prize of $100,000.

While Buster needs to find a way to make the money for the prize the talent continues to build their performances, learning how the breakout of their average lives being the best they could ever be.

 

Thoughts on Sing

 

Characters – Buster Moon is an ambitious but unsuccessful theatre owner, who has always dreamed of putting on a show everybody would love. He is quick thinking when it comes to getting him out of trouble, he is also ambitious enough to try something new and motive people to try. Rosita is the mother pig of 25 piglets, she has always dreamed of singing but lacks the charisma until Buster gets hold of her. Mike is a wise cracking mouse that is always looking for a quick buck. Ash is meant to be a teenage porcupine that is a punk rocker that needs to change her style to make the impact she deserves in music. Eddie is the only friend Buster has in the theatre, his family has helped fund Buster mad cap ideas before, he is the only one that will stand by him. Johnny is a gorilla that is destining to follow his father in a life a crime, even though he wants to be a singer, he faces the decision to whether to turn his back on his father or not. Meena is the shy elephant with the voice of an angel, she needs to learn to come out her shell to show the world her talent.

StoryThe story follows the group of everyday people, well animals getting a chance to follow their dreams in the music industry from an ambitious theatre owner. While you can look at the story in two directions, one would be poking fun at these countless talent shows on television now and the other being showing people how to follow their dreams however hard they seem to be, if you have the talent you will get the chance. it is sweet and simple story that can be enjoyed by everyone who watches.

Comedy/Family/MusicThe comedy is clear to see in how either the animals could be known for certain types of music or how they act to become something. The family should all enjoy this movie to be honest and the music include has something for everyone, from pop songs to classics, it should check the boxes for everyone.

SettingsThe fantasy settings feels like it is a version of LA with the animals included, it works for the ambition the characters are showing.

AnimationThe animation style used works and never looks out of place for the film, could easily be up there with the best.


Scene of the Movie –
The grand show.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too much Mike, because he does feels like one of Seth MacFarlane creation.

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to watch and enjoyable throughout, it is something I can see many people get a smile from.

 

Overall: Enjoyable throughout.

Rating