ABC Film Challenge – Romance – V – Very Good Girls (2013)

Director: Naomi Foner

Writer: Naomi Foner (Screenplay)

Starring: Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen, Boyd Holbrook, Ellen Barkin, Demi Moore, Richard Dreyfuss, Peter Sarsgaard

 

Plot: Two New York City girls make a pact to lose their virginity during their first summer out of high school. When they both fall for the same street artist, the friends find their connection tested for the first time.


Tagline – When we lose our innocence, we have to find ourselves.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Romance Between Friends

 

Story: Very Good Girls starts as we met two teenagers Lilly (Fanning) and Gerri (Olsen) who are spending the final summer together before they move onto college. With life problems they are facing they do have each other to keep themselves together and make a pact to lose their virginity before they head off to college.

The two friends both fall for the same street artist David (Holbrook) ad between them they both get a different life change experience through the summer.

 

Thoughts on Very Good Girls

 

Characters – Lilly is the quieter of the two friends, we follow her life with her parents fighting, her job before college and what it was like for her to meet her first love before college, she is trying to hold her family together while not telling Gerri al the details of her life. Gerri is the best friend of Lilly, she tends to do all the talking for the two, she wants David but this summer she must deal with her own personal tragedy. David is the street artist that both the girls fall for, he fits the mysterious figure that can draw the attention of the girls. We do have the parents through the situations the girls are going through too.

PerformancesDakota Fanning is solid enough for this role, she doesn’t do anything wrong, but compared to Olsen for age, there are little elements that show her lack of life experience for this film. Olsen is good she is showing us just capable of filling almost any role in a film here. Boyd Holbrook is good even if he does feel slightly too old for this role which sums up the weakness to a lot of the performances, the age of the leading three is too wide with them meant to be around the same age.

StoryThe story here gives us a coming of age tale between the two friends in their final summer before going of to college. The story does touch on real life situations which could need a best friend to be by your side. We get to see how love can push the boundaries of friendships and how hard life can be when you start to realize that college is the next chapter of life that will big the biggest step you will take and nothing will truly prepare you for it.

RomanceThe romance in the film shows us how two friends can have their friendship pushed to the limits when they both fall for the same boy.

SettingsNew York is a setting that I will always praise for the quality for any setting in the story of growing up, finding yourself.


Scene of the Movie –
The photo.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The two girls don’t seem to have any other friends.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple coming of age movie, it fits the check list well, has good acting but by the ending you will feel we needed that one more spark.

 

Overall: Simple Coming of Age

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Jaws (1975)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Peter Benchley, Carl Gottlieb (Screenplay) Peter Benchley (Novel)

Starring: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton

 

Plot: A local sheriff, a marine biologist and an old seafarer team up to hunt down a great white shark wrecking havoc in a beach resort.


Tagline – See it before you go swimming.

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Suspenseful Classic

 

Story: Jaws starts as when a college student goes missing, Chief Brody (Scheider) believes it to be a shark attack and wants to close the beaches, but the Mayor (Hamilton) refuses to allow it, when the shark takes another victim, the town becomes a panic after a reward is put forward.

Quint (Shaw) offers to rid the town of the shark, but for a price, but random hunters from around America turn up to try and capture the shark. Marr Hooper (Dreyfuss) arrives in town to help with the higher level of knowledge even understand the species of shark behind it.

With July 4th around the corner Chief Brody must battle the mayor on whether to keep the beaches open until the latest appearance leaves Brody, Quint and Matt needing to hunt down the great white.

 

Thoughts on Jaws

 

Characters – Chief Brody is the police on the island, he is afraid of the water, he does want to do the right thing and close the beaches, but doesn’t get the support from the mayor, he must work on his fears to hunt down the shark. Quint is an expert hunter, he offers to kill the shark for a higher target, an outsider in society, a drunk, blunt with anyone he doesn’t like, which is most people. Matt Hooper is the expert that comes down to identify which shark species could be feeding off the shores, he knows his sharks and the danger, habits they possess.

PerformancesRoy Scheider is great in the leading role because he needs to be the fear between the three men, while also being the authority. Robert Shaw as the outsider works well, he makes us believe he is an outsider with each action. Richard Dreyfuss is great too which does complete the chemistry the three lead men need for the second half of the film.

StoryThe story follows a tourist island which finds itself being targeted by a shark, wanting to treat it as the new feeding ground. We follow the three different characters, from different fields that must work together to rid the waters of the shark before the tourist industry is ruined for the residents. This is a simple story to follow which is good because that is what it needs to be, it bottles down to needing to deal with a problem the quickest way possible.

AdventureThe adventure side of the film shows the three needing to work together to take on the shark, roaming the waters.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings simple, we have the land island surrounded by water which because the hunting ground of the shark, this could be any water related resort.

Special EffectsThis is where Spielberg became an icon, he knows how to handle the need for the use of effects, which is used only when required.


Scene of the Movie –
Bigger boat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Mayor power.

Final ThoughtsThis is always going to go own as one of thee greatest movies of all time, still feeling timeless which is what we like in our movies, the simple story works and the use of music adds to the tension throughout the film.

 

Overall: Wonderful thriller.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – J – James and the Giant Peach (1996)

Director: Henry Selick

Writer: Karey Kirkpatrick, Jonathan Roberts, Steve Bloom (Screenplay) Roald Dahl (Book)

Starring: Paul Terry, Joanna Lumley (Voice Talents) Simon Callow, Richard Dreyfuss, Jane Leeves, Susan Sarandon

 

Plot: An orphan, who lives with his two cruel aunts, befriends anthropomorphic bugs who live inside a giant peach, and they embark on a journey to New York City.


Tagline – Adventures this big don’t grow on trees.

Runtime: 1 Hour 19 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Magical Family Adventure

 

 

Story: James and the Giant Peach starts young boy James is left orphaned after his parents are killed, he is forced to live with his cruel aunts Spiker (Lumley) and Sponge (Margolyes) who treat him like a slave. When a mysterious old man gives him a bag with magic in he unleashes them by accident to great a giant peach.

The peach becomes a side show for the Aunts leaving James to clean up, until he finds a passage which takes hi into the peach which is know being lived in by a serial bugs Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybird, Spider and Earthworm. The unlikely group head off on an adventure which takes them across the Atlantic to New York City.

 

 

Thoughts on James and the Giant Peach

 

Characters – James is an orphan from a loved family forced to live with evil aunts, he just wants to be a kid and isn’t being allowed to go out and play. His adventure takes him across the Atlantic Ocean to the place he was always due to go with his family New York city. Like a lot of the Roald Dahl books he creates an orphan that is being ill-treated looking for an escape. The different bugs each offer up different parent like advice for James, just what is needed for James in his time of need.

PerformancesPaul Terry is the real James and he is good for a child actor as are the Aunts, most of this film focuses on the voice work which shows the talent of the cast selected.

StoryThe story shows follows one boy and his adventure with bugs to escape the horrible life he has been trapped living. The story enters full levels of fantasy which is great to see, there is no covering up elements of the story, it all happened and everyone sees this. It does feel like it should be the imagination of a traumatised orphan and it should end up being this for the generic following.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure James goes on is everything a lonely boy would imagine going on. This is a family film because everyone can get a laugh of different moments in the film.

SettingsMost of the film takes place in and on the peach, we see the family dynamic on board the peach, this is the only one of its type even if you can see elements of ‘Up’ in this setting.

AnimationThe animation shown here showed us what we were getting from the director, a unique look at stop-motion.


Scene of the Movie –
Rhino in the sky.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It can be dark at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a magical family adventure from the childhood author Roald Dahl that wrote wonderful books, which changed many lives, this is one that people sometimes forget.

 

Overall: Magical and wonderful movie.

Rating

 

 

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Steven Spielberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Francois Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Bob Balaban, J Patrick McNamara

 

Plot: After an encounter with U.F.O.s, a line worker feels undeniably drawn to an isolated area in the wilderness where something spectacular is about to happen.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Close Encounters of the Third Kind starts as a group of planes all have an encounter they can’t or refuses to explain with a UFO. We move to Indiana as the Guiler family get a strange encounter as young boy Barry (Guffey) follows the strange lights and noises in the dark. The area is also suffering from a black out with Roy Neary (Dreyfuss) needing to leave his family to help fix.

As the scientific world is trying to explain the strange noises coming from the sky they must find the location being set to them. Roy becomes obsessed with the vision he has seen but Jillian goes in search for her son that is taken by the lights.

With the government covering up what is about to happen it is up to Roy and Jillian to discover the truth before it is too late but what they find is something completely unexpected.

 

Thoughts on Close Encounters of the Third Kind

 

Characters/PerformanceRoy comes off as the classic crazy person who believe they have been involved in an alien idea, he puts his family life in danger to figure out the message placed inside his head and will stop at nothing to learn the truth, Jillian also suffers a visit but her character is drawn to find her son that is taken. These two work together to get to the bottom of what happen. Claude leads the scientific search for answers and is what you would call the typical scientist.

Performance wise, Dreyfuss is great in the leading role showing his normality between his crazy, Dillon is great too as the concerned mother with the rest of the cast all giving good performances without taking away from the main characters.

StoryFor the time this story was something special, we have an alien coming to visit in a friendly manor which is fine because at the time it was only evil coming from space. When you look at everything that unfolds you are left with the trailblazer for the style of film that has been borrowed from so often. The idea the government can cover up this is believable along with the idea the one person considered crazy will go all out to find the answers does too.

Sci-FiAliens coming to visit, do you get anymore sci-fi that this, no of course not.

SettingsThe settings used in this film show us the aliens would only be coming to small less populated areas rather than big cities as they want to make calm friendly contact.

Special EffectsFor the time the special effects are amazing, in places some of them have dated but they are still good in the most part.

Final ThoughtsThis film was ground breaking for the time, while more recently we have been given Arrival which is strikingly similar with the interactions between the aliens and humans, this is refreshing to see in a world of monsters coming from space.

 

Overall: This is the classic people talk about but I can see the younger audience not enjoying it all.

Rating

 

 

Original v Remake – Poseidon (2006)

poseideonDirector: Wolfgang Petersen

Writer: Mark Protosevich (Screenplay) Paul Gallico (Novel)

Starring: Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Jacinda Barrett, Richard Dreyfuss, Emmy Rossum, Mia Maestro, Mike Vogel, Kevin Dillon, Freddy Rodriguez, Andre Braugher

 

Plot: On New Year’s Eve, the luxury ocean liner Poseidon capsizes after being swamped by a rogue wave. The survivors are left to fight for their lives as they attempt to escape the sinking ship.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Glossy but Pointless Remake

 

Story: Poseidon starts on board the Luxury Ocean Liner Poseidon and we go through meeting al our characters Robert Ramsey (Russell) and his daughter Jennifer (Rossum) who is with her boyfriend Christian (Vogel), we also meet gambler Dylan Johns (Lucas), Elena (Maestro) who has snuck on board to be with her boyfriend Marco (Rodriguez) who works on the crew. Richard Nelson (Dreyfuss) is celebrating his trip away wanting a midnight call from his loved one even though he has had his heartbroken back home with Captain Bradford (Braugher) keeping everything calm. This character introduction feels very rushed and I am not sure if I want to cheer for any of these characters. Actually I want to see Richard’s story.

New Year’s Eve again and the celebrations start the new year before the disaster strikes as a rogue enormous wave strikes the ship rolling it upside down. As if all the characters we met are important they are the ones that survive and go out to search for a way out while the rest stay behind in safety so we have Robert, Jennifer, Dylan, Elena, Marco, Richard, Maggie (Barrett) and her son Conor (Bennett). It would be fair to say this is slightly too many characters to be dealing with so I guess we need to trim them down by having over the top deaths for the supporting ones, there we go it starts.

We are left to wonder which ones of the survivors will make it out alive even if we use the process of elimination we know which ones will make it to the end.

Poseidon is a remake of the classic disaster film and what this film does this time is go for the overkill on the characters that are not part of the main group, be it through the first wave, the survivors who didn’t want to go with the rest or just the less important characters have big, Hollywood style kills. The threat remains good because if your ship gets tipped upside down it is easy to create the peril needed for this film. It ends up being nothing but a Hollywood glorified over the top disaster film with under developed characters.

When it comes to the cast you see Josh Lucas get a leading role in an action film where due to poorly written character he is never good or bad with the way he behaves this can also be said about the Kurt Russell character with neither taking the roles filled by Hackman or Borgnine is the original. None of the other performance stand out with as I said before just being disposable characters throughout the film. This film almost feels like a pointless cash in remake for a film that never need to be remade as an action set piece rather than the quest to survive.

 

Overall: Easy to watch disaster film that lacks character development needed.

Ratingcard