ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – J – Julie & Julia (2009)

Director: Nora Ephron

Writer: Nora Ephron (Screenplay) Julie Powell, Julia Child, Alex Prud’homme (Book)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, Linda Emond, Helen Carey, Mary Lynn Rajskub

 

Plot: Julia Child’s story of her start in the cooking profession is intertwined with blogger Julie Powell’s 2002 challenge to cook all the recipes in Child’s first book.


Tagline – Passion. Ambition. Butter. Do You Have What It Takes?

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Inspirational and Sweet

 

Story: Julie & Julia starts as we follow Julia Child (Streep) and her husband Paul (Tucci) starting to find her place in the world in France, where she finds a new passion for cooking, meanwhile in 2002 Julie Powell (Adams) moves to Queens with her husband Eric (Messina) who is getting tired of her everyday life, decides to start a blog, challenging herself to cook all the recipes in Julia’s cook book within a year.

The two stories run next to each other with Julia studying cooking before getting a chance to teach and write the book that Julie is working from, while Julie starts to see a spike in interest for her blog, with people wanting to see just how far she gets into her challenge.

 

Thoughts on Julie & Julia

 

Characters – Julia Child is one of the most famous chefs from the 1950 and beyond, here we get to see how being a bored housewife that turned to cooking to keep her entertained, first studying it before writing the book that saw her take years to write with her co-workers. We only follow her time getting to the position of getting the book published. Julie Powell believed she had a bright future, now turning 30 she is stuck in a cubical job feeling out of place in life. Deciding to set herself a challenge, she wants to prepare every recipes in Julia Child’s book within a year. Julie does see the success of her blog skyrocket with people wanting to see how she experiences the dishes through the year. Paul Child and Eric Powell are the supportive husbands of both the women, they both let them get on with their projects, stepping in only when they are feeling down about moments in life.

PerformancesMeryl Streep and Amy Adams are both truly fantastic in their roles, they bring both real people to life by making both their characters filled with life in different generations. Stanley Tucci and Chris Messina both manage the supporting roles with ease, helping the two leads hold the spotlight, but stepping in when they need their characters to make impacts in the lives.

StoryThe story here follows the early days in the cooking world for Julia Child as she starts to use her hobby to bring a new joy to her life, we also follow a small time blogger looking for a challenge, using the book to make a name for herself in the world as a cook that enjoys the challenge. The story manages to balance the two ladies challenges to make an impact, with Julia Child needing to go against traditions of male chef to get her book released, while Julie wants to prove she can complete something in her life. The tone of the story is told in a way that keep everything feeling calm and enjoyable and seeing what both the women achieve is a delight to see.

Biopic/RomanceThe biopic side of the film shows two different sides of the lady’s lives, seeing how they both had to overcome their own problems to achieve the challenge. The romance shows us just how the two women turned to their husbands to keep them strong.

SettingsThe film uses two main locations, one was Paris with Julia seeing how a new vision for cooking, while Julie is stuck in a small apartment, which does show us just the book could be achieved by anybody whatever size their kitchen.


Scene of the Movie –
The final chapter of the blog.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not a thing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a delightful story about two women that used their passion for cooking to tell and bring new their stories to the people of the world.

 

Overall: Delightful

Rating

 

 

Meryl Streep Weekend – The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Director: David Frankel

Writer: Aline Brosh McKenna (Screenplay) Lauren Weisberger (Novel)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci, Simon Baker, Arian Grenier, Tracie Thoms

 

Plot: A smart but sensible new graduate lands a job as an assistant to Miranda Priestly, the demanding editor-in-chief of a high fashion magazine.


Tagline – Hell On Heels.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Funny Comedy

 

Story: The Devil Wears Prada starts as newly graduated journalist Andy Sachs (Hathaway) gets a chance to work as the second assistant to editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly (Streep) at a high fashion magazine. Andy is one of many applicates only she doesn’t have the knowledge of the fashion world, unlike the first assistant Emily (Blunt).

Andy must learn to get through the cold nature of Miranda who always looks down on her and everybody, to get through a year which could put her in a position in the journalist world she has always been dreaming off.

 

Thoughts on The Devil Wears Prada

 

Characters – Miranda Priestly is the feared editor-in-chief of a fashion magazine, her presence makes her employees dress to impress, everybody in the industry respects her opinion and for some reason she decides to take on Andy, she pushes Andy to the limits to see if she is good enough to work or her, like all the employees. Andy Sachs is a journalist graduate who is looking to a job in any publication, she doesn’t understand the fashion industry with this job being her gateway to her dream job, but she must learn fast or face being eaten alive in this industry. Her time in the job sees her change who she once was, pushing her friends and boyfriend away. This one-year job could see her future open, but her friendships vanish. Emily is the first assistant under Miranda, she knows the ins and outs of the business and has been waiting for this role for years. She doesn’t like Andy because she doesn’t have the same desire in the fashion industry. Nigel is the only person in the office that Andy gets along with, he does help put her on the right track for success under Miranda.

PerformancesMeryl Streep is fantastic in this leading role, she brings a horrible boss to life, without making her seem like a truly horrible person, just somebody career driven. Anne Hathaway is wonderful too, to start with it seemed weird that she wasn’t considered the right body shape for position in the fashion world, but it does make perfect sense with how this world is working. Emily Blunt brings what should be a small role, to be one of the most interesting and entertaining part of the film. Stanley Tucci is a delight in the supporting role being the moral compass for the Andy character.

StoryThe story follows a recent graduated journalist that takes a job working under one of the most notoriously difficult editors in the industry, here she must learn the industry to stand a chance to above water in this world, while gaining the experience she requires for her own success. This story first shows how difficult finding the first job for experience could be for any former student trying to get int the industry, it shows how fast the learning curve could be, how you can be looked upon as a replacement for others job too. It shows us how careers can take over lives if you let them which is important for how Andy changes through the story. most importantly it shows us just how you should never forget where you came from and the people that were there for you when you needed them. You will also get to have a laugh at how the fashion industry is considered to operate at the pace which could make or break careers in no time.

ComedyThe comedy in this film come from seeing how the world operates, seeing Andy needing to learn fast, the relationship with Emily and just how everyone can act over the top about the smallest detail.

SettingsThe film is set mostly in New York, it shows how the business lives can move at such a pace it would be hard to keep up.


Scene of the Movie –
Andy sees a real side of Miranda.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not understand brand names.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable comedy with wonderful performances from the whole cast.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy.

Rating

 

 

The Silence (2019)

Director: John R Leonetti

Writer: Carey Van Dyke, Shane Van Dyke (Screenplay) Tim Lebbon (Novel)

Starring: Stanley Tucci, Kiernan Shipka, Miranda Otto, Kate Trotter, John Corbett, Kyle Breitkopf

 

Plot: A family struggles to survive in a world terrorized by a deadly, primeval species who hunt only with their acute hearing.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painfully Slow

 

Story: The Silence starts as we meet a family father Hugh (Tucci), Kelly (Otto) deaf teenager daughter Ally (Shipka), youngster child Jude (Breitkopf), grandma Lynn (Trotter) and Uncle Glen (Corbett), they are going through an everyday life situation, until the town comes under attack from mysterious creatures that are attracted by noise.

The family go against the advice of the television and look to get out of the city, which sees them needing to face difficult decisions to survive and learning to operate in silence.

 

Thoughts on The Silence

 

Characters – Hugh is the father of the house, he works in construction planning (I think, we get one 10 second scene of his job), he is getting worried about where his daughter will go to college. When the attack starts, he gets his family out of the city and must lead them on the quest for safety, he will have to do the risker jobs along the way. Ally is the teenage daughter who is deaf after an accident, she has adapted to life this way well and she turns out to be one of the few people in the world that can cope with the silence required to survive. Kelly is the mum, she is basically just a mum that is her character. Lynn is the grandmother that is sick, she will need to keep her medication up to survive.

PerformancesStanley Tucci does try hard in this role, only he just can’t get into the role, Kiernan Shipka is never believable in her deaf character role, this is just the beginning of terribly written characters that give nobody a chance to shine.

StoryThe story follows one family as they look to find safety after a new predator who hunts through sound that have taken over America. The story will feel like the early stages of ‘A Quiet Place’ even if this story was written first. Where it follows the first outbreak because it does build the panic, like every single zombie movie, which does make it feel like we have seen it before. The struggles have been done before, this does end up being one of the most done stories we have ever seen, going nowhere fast just becoming boring throughout the film.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from the creatures which almost feel comical as we don’t get to see just how deadly they are.

SettingsThe film is set in the rural area in America which shows where safety is search for.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are poor too, the creatures are all CGI and just out of place on the screen.


Scene of the Movie –
The credits because it was over.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It was nothing new.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor, boring and seen before horror movie that just never reaches the potential it wants.

 

Overall: Disappointing throughout.

Rating

 

 

Logan Lerman Weekend – Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)

Director: Thor Freudenthal

Writer: Marc Guggenheim (Screenplay) Rick Riordan (Novel)

Starring: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Douglas Smith, Brandon T Jackson, Stanley Tucci, Nathan Fillion

 

Plot: In order to restore their dying safe haven, the son of Poseidon and his friends embark on a quest to the Sea of Monsters, to find the mythical Golden Fleece, all the while trying to stop an ancient evil from rising.


Tagline – Where there are gods there are monsters.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple & Enjoyable

 

Story: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters starts as we head back to camp half blood, we learn more about the barrier that protects Percy (Lerman), Annabeth (Daddario) and Grover (Jackson) from the evils of the world. When a stranger Tyson (Smith) a cyclops arrives in the camp the barrier becomes weakened the best warrior Clarisse (Rambin) is selected to search for the Golden Fleece.

Percy learning of a prophecy that shows he could once again save Olympus, he is joined by Annabeth, Grover and Tyson to stop an old enemy that is targeting the same golden fleece which could save the demi-gods.

 

Thoughts on Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

 

Characters – Percy Jackson has now become the star pupil in the camp, only he hasn’t been on any more quest, lost looking for his place in the world, he learns of a prophecy which gives him a purpose in the world as he looks to save the day again with his friends. Annabeth isn’t the warrior we once new from the last film, we do learn more about her past, though she just seems to be standing around letting Clarisse be the warrior figure. Clarisse is the rival in the camp, she is ultra-competitive when it comes to being the best, which sees her selected for the quest. She is very confident that she is can succeed on any quest too. Tyson is the cyclops who arrives in the camp, claiming to also be related to Poseidon, he has been in hiding, considered an outcast for the most part, he does join Percy on his adventure as the two half brothers must learn to bond. Grover does take a back seat more in this film too as he ends up being taken early on during the adventure. Luke is back once again trying to figure out how to destroy the Gods above, showing that he wants to bring Percy onto his side of the battle.

PerformancesLogan Lerman does continue to be strong in the leading role of this film, it is when we look at the supporting roles things start to go downhill, first they waste Daddario and Jackson’s chemistry from the first film, by bringing us two new actors to work with. Douglas Smith doesn’t hit the comedy which is meant to be shown from his character and Jake Abel returning as the villain gets to have fun with the role.

StoryThe story here brings us the next chapter in the Percy Jackson adventures, this time the stakes seem to be higher with the potential return of a deadly enemy, even if we focus more on team work which is important for the characters in the camp environment. This does give us a similar style of adventure and brings more mythology from the Greek history which is always good to see. The biggest weakness of this story comes from the world building we never got to see the next chapter for. The story feels like it could become a wonderful television show which could teach elements of Greek mythology with a modern style which has been the main part of these films.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure side of this film takes us to new locations which at meant to be American versions of the Greek historic location, which is fun to see, with Tyson seeing them for the first time. The idea of Greek Gods and monsters in the real world is always going to fascinate which it what makes this film stand out that little bit more.

SettingsThe film does take us to new locations which could easily be modern versions of the Greek Gods location, be it the abandon theme park with a cyclops in or the oceans giant monster literally eating everything in its path.

Special EffectsThe effects do take a step back, mostly because of the extra amounts needed in this film, we have Tyson which cyclops eye never looks right and the battles never hit home enough.


Scene of the Movie –
Final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact we never get the next chapter.

Final ThoughtsThis is still a fun adventure film that does deliver on what it is trying to give us, it doesn’t hit as well as the first film, but can still be enjoyed along the way.

 

Overall: Fun adventure exploring the Gods.

Rating

 

 

Patient Zero (2018)

Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky

Writer: Mike Le (Screenplay)

Starring: Natalie Dormer, Stanley Tucci, Matt Smith, Clive Standen, Frederick Schmidt, Frederick Schmidt, Agyness Deyn, John Bradley

 

Plot: After an unprecedented global pandemic turns the majority of humankind into violent “Infected,” a man gifted with the ability to speak the Infected’s new language leads the last survivors on a hunt for Patient Zero and a cure.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Promising Outbreak Movie

 

Story: Patient Zero starts as we enter the world with a global pandemic where an aggressive strain of rabies known as ‘Mad Dog’ has taken over the population, it infects within minutes and turns its infected violent. The human race is now in hiding, with the group we follow led by Dr Gina Rose (Dormer) searching for patient zero in hope of finding a cure, joined by bitten, but never infected Morgan (Smith) and surrounded by the military, this is a race against time, that isn’t being won by the humans.

Morgan has the ability to communicate with the infect which helps him search for the answer to just who patient zero is and now they are getting closer than ever, until the Professor (Tucci) turns up with his own agenda from the infected side of the battle.

 

Thoughts on Patient Zero

 

Characters – Dr Gina Rose is leading the search for the cure for the infection, she has been since the first outbreak, she demands to be in control of the base never letting any army member intimidate her. She is however taking her own risk with her love interest on the base. Morgan is a soldier on the base that once got bitten, though he never got infected, with this ability he gained the ability to learn how to understand the language the infected speak. He interviews the infected as they search for patient zero, hoping to be able to save his wife from the infection. The Professor is one of the infected, one that doesn’t act the same as the rest, he gets interviewed and tries to reflect the nature on the humans. The rest of the facility includes infected being interviewed, soldiers that are risking their own lives and would rather pull the trigger and survivors.

PerformancesNatalie Dormer in the leading role is easily the strongest part of the film, we believe her characters desperation to be the one that helps cure the world. Matt Smith on the other hand, well his acting is good, but his accent is horrendous don’t worry he isn’t the only one that loses his accent at times. Stanley Tucci is good to watch in this film, as soon as he appears he grabs your attention. Outside these three we get average performance for characters that were never developed fully.

StoryThe story in the zombie genre of films is always getting people trying to bring a fresh spin, the story here does start promisingly with the idea that this isn’t a full zombie movie it is an infection which causes rage, but can be controlled. Now searching for a patient zero to find a cure is good to watch and having the one man that was bitten and never turned being able to communicate with the infected does bring a fresh feeling. The problems with this story come from the ending which just goes the way all zombie style movies go and you will just lose the interest we have gathered from the early parts in the film. If you did see the movie ‘The Cured’ it touches on similar subjects even if it is further down the line of recovery.

Action/HorrorThe action falls into the generic infected/zombie panic stuff we have seen before. The horror never feels scary because we are focusing on the bigger picture over going for scares.

SettingsThe film keeps nearly all the action in the bunker which makes sense for the whole film, the only time we leave is with flashbacks showing the moments of infection, which are interesting scenes.

Special EffectsThe effects are very simple with the one big moment looks great.


Scene of the Movie –
The bite to the doctor.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The ending is cliched.

Final ThoughtsThis is a promising infection style movie that starts so, well only to fall into the generic style we have seen too often and the less we talk about Matt Smith’s accent the better.

 

Overall: Infection Film 101

Rating