Richard Gere Weekend – Norman (2016)

Director: Joseph Cedar

Writer: Joseph Cedar (Screenplay)

Starring: Richard Gere, Lior Ashkenazi, Michael Sheen, Steve Buscemi, Yahuda Almagor, Neta Riskin, Josh Charles, Dan Stevens

 

Plot: Norman Oppenheimer is a small time operator who befriends a young politician at a low point in his life. Three years later, when the politician becomes an influential world leader, Norman’s life dramatically changes for better and worse.


Tagline – The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Political Borefest

 

Story: Norman starts as we learn about Norman Oppenheimer (Gere) who is trying to make political connections, his latest target is Israeli deputy minister Micha Eshel (Ashkenazi) who is grateful for the support.

Three years later Micha is now the Israeli prime minister and remembers Norman, but now Norman must use his skills as a fixer to solve a problem as everything changes for him

 

Thoughts on Norman

 

Characters – Norman is a political connections man, he makes the connections for different Politicians while finding a way to talk his way out of any situations. We see his rise and fall in the world where he ends up biting off more than he can chew. When it comes to the fellow characters we meet a host of different political figures that want to make connections with each other.

PerformancesRichard Gere is in the leading role here and he is fine in this role without reaching the levels we know he could, we do have a big cast of talented actors who do the basics well without any of them taking centre stage.

StoryThe story isn’t the most interesting, mostly because we are follow Norman as he makes connections in the political world and over the next couple of years things start getting out of hand and he must keep all his connection happy. The story never draws you in and easily becomes one of the more boring movies of the recent years.

ThrillerThe film here tries to keep us invested only for it to become too slow and disinteresting.

SettingsMost of the film is set in and around New York city as we see how the connections are made and maintained.


Scene of the Movie –
Hard to find one, the shoes scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Its just not interesting.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dull all-star movie which doesn’t hit any of the marks it is aiming for and just ends up being boring.

 

Overall: Boring is being nice.

Rating

 

 

Lean on Pete (2018)

Director: Andrew Haigh

Writer: Andrew Haigh (Screenplay) Willy Vlautin (Novel)

Starring: Charlie Plummer, Steve Buscemi, Chloe Sevigny, Travis Fimmel, Amy Seimetz, Steve Zahn

 

Plot: A teenager gets a summer job working for a horse trainer and befriends the fading racehorse, Lean on Pete.


Tagline – You Can’t Get Anywhere On Your Own

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Coming of Age Film

 

Story: Lean on Pete starts when teenager Charley (Plummer) fascinated by horses gets offered a job by horse trainer Del (Buscemi) he jumps at the opportunity, it does mean he leaves his father Ray (Fimmel) from day to day. The horse they are training is named ‘Lean on Pete’ he isn’t the fastest and is being over worked.

When Charley suffers his own personal loss, he sees that Pete is going to be sold and decides to take him, going on the run with the race horse in search of the only family he knows he has.

 

Thoughts on Lean on Pete

 

Characters – Charley is a 15-year-old, who lives with his father as they struggle to make ends meet, he is fascinated by horses and wants to work with them which sees him running past the track on a daily basis. Offered a job he looks to learn the ropes becoming attached to race horse Lean on Pete. With his father injured, he sees his only friend in Pete and when the trainer wants to sell him, Charley goes on the run, giving him an adventure he could never have imagined. Del is the horse trainer, he has been doing it for years now and is getting tired of the process, he will sell any race horse that doesn’t make him money and does offer Charley the chance to work for him. Bonnie is a jockey that has worked with Del in the past, she tries to teach Charley not to become attached to Pete, only to need to focus on her own future. Ray is Charley’s father that works a basic job just to put food on the table, he gets himself in trouble which leads to him get seriously hurt, forcing Charley into working more.

PerformancesCharlie Plummer in the leading role is fantastic, the story focuses on his story, his problems and Charlie makes us feel each emotion that he goes through. Steve Buscemi, Chloe Sevigny and Travis Fimmel are all wonderful in the supporting roles with each letting Charlie take the spotlight he needs to have.

StoryThe story follows Charley, a teenager who comes from a broken home, doesn’t have much of a future and just wants to work with horses, he gets the chance only to make a big decision to steal an aging race horse as he goes in search for his family on the other side of the country. He must learn to grow up fast and that connections are not as long lasting as they should be. For a story about the troubles a teenager must face, this is one of the best, because it shows just how far one will go in search for family after losing everything. we see the bond between man and horse and just how difficult the moment you will face when you need to be alone in the world. the journey across country is good but if you don’t know the size of America you still struggle to understand just how far the journey is.

AdventureThe adventure shows just how far Charley must travel with a horse in search of family, this is a cross-country journey for Charley in hope of finding someone that might not be there.

SettingsThe settings show us the openness that America can hold because of the journey that Charley goes on, the harsh reality of the open road.


Scene of the Movie –
Stealing Pete.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of urgency any of the authorities treat Charley’s situation, making it easy to run.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful coming of age adventure film, it shows one teenager who has lost everything going in search for anybody that could be part of his life with a horse along for the ride. It will tug on the heartstring and you will feel for Charley every step of the way.

 

Overall: Heartfelt and powerful coming of age movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – H – Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)

Director: Genndy Tartakovsky

Writer: Robert Smigel, Adam Sandler (Screenplay) Todd Durham (Characters)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Space, Keegan-Michael Key

 

Plot: Dracula and his friends try to bring out the monster in his half human, half vampire grandson in order to keep Mavis from leaving the hotel.


Tagline – Drac’s pack is back

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Sandler’s Sequel

 

Story: Hotel Transylvania 2 starts as Mavis and Jonathan get married and start a family in Dracula’s hotel, with their child Dennis in a position of being either a human or a vampire, Dracula comes up with a plan to forces Dennis into becoming a vampire, by sending Mavis and Jonathan on a vacation.

As Dracula’s attempts to push Dennis into become a monster, he must learn that the world has changed from the time he grew up and now monsters are accepted in the world

 

Thoughts on Hotel Transylvania 2

 

Characters – Dracula is the hotel owner and still protective father, but not grandfather, he wants to see his hybrid grandson follow in his footsteps over letting him be a natural growing into his natural form. Jonathan is the human husband of Mavis that enjoys the hotel life, he must work with Dracula to stay in the hotel. Mavis is the mother of Dennis, a vampire that is trying to figure out where to raise her son.

StoryThe story seems to follow the ideas of how the world is changing and people from different generations need to learn how to adapt to this new world. Somehow, we get a deeper meaning in a movie which was designed to come off as bringing different monsters together into one movie with a comic side to it. We have another look at how a grandparent is trying to control how their children raise their kids which is fine, it a formula that works well.

Comedy/FamilyThe comedy side of this film comes from how the different monsters can go against the trends of what we have seen in the horror versions of these films, this will also be one of the family to enjoy.

SettingsThe film takes us to the hotel in Transylvania as well as the modern world where Mavis gets to experience things for the first time, we get moments which takes out character down memory lane too.

AnimationThe animation used in the movie is good from start to finish, using the generic images of the monsters to add comedy to the looks.


Scene of the Movie –
Camp time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me One too many Sandler and friends jokes.

Final ThoughtsThis is an animated comedy that does seem to work on levels you wouldn’t imagine it hitting, it will work for the whole family and shows when held back Sandler can make bearable comedies.

 

Overall: Solid animated sequel.

Rating

 

 

Monster House (2006)

Director: Gil Kenan

Writer: Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab, Pamela Pettler (Screenplay) Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talens) Steve Buscemi, Fred Willard, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Lee, Spencer Locke, Mitchel Musso, Catherine O’Hara

 

Plot: Three teens discover that their neighbor’s house is really a living, breathing, scary monster.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great but Dark Family Film

 

Story: Monster House starts as we meet DJ a boy who lives opposite the neighbourhood crazy old man Nebbercracker who terrorizes anyone who comes into his yard. When his parents go away for the weekend, DJ and his best friend Chowder find themselves trying to retrieve a lost ball only for Nebbercracker to have a heart attack.

With Nebbercracker away from the house DJ, Chowder and local girl Jenny start seeing the house coming to life but with no adult believing them, the three start to investigate. The three find themselves inside the house learning the truth about the house and the monster that is inside it.

 

Thoughts on Monster House

 

Characters DJ and Chowder are you typical best friends that are reaching the age where they need to look to grow up, DJ is ready to take that step while Chowder isn’t, the two work well as a team. Jenny plays into the idea that a girl can come between best friends and is the brains of the trio. Nebbercracker represents the neighbourhood crazy that once you get to know has a good reason for being like they are. The adults are always looking down on the children which is fine as for the story the children need to learn to grow up. The characters here, while not special all help tell the story well.

StoryThe story that plays into children’s imaginations to a new level, we all know children can create stories of the crazy person in their town and this takes that story and runs with it. It shows that the stories could be real but also have a reason for the stories that you should learn about a person’s past. There is also a story about children reaching the age to grow up which is greatly told for the kids.

Comedy/Family/FantasyWe have plenty of laughs from how the children see the adults, the family side works because we can see the whole family can enjoy with the fantasy side of the story coming from the idea that a house can come to life.

SettingsThe film is set all within a small town with it coming off as all in one day within one street as kids can come and play. This works for the house’s reputation within the neighbourhood.

Animation The animation is very impressive having it’s own style compared to other animated films around the same time.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good family film that can be enjoyed by all, it does have moments of darkness but comes off original which is very important.

 

Overall: Good film to be enjoyed by all.

Rating

 

 

The Boss Baby (2017)

Director: Tom McGrath

Writer: Michael McCullers (Screenplay) Marla Frazee (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Tobey Maguire, Mike Bakshi

 

Plot: A suit-wearing briefcase-carrying baby pairs up with his seven-year old brother to stop the dastardly plot of the CEO of Puppy Co.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Family Film

 

Story: The Boss Baby starts as we meet seven-year old Tim, he has an overactive imagination living the perfect world growing up with his successful parents who work for Puppy Co. When they have another baby, The Boss Baby, Tim finds himself incredible jealous and questions everything about him.

After the two find themselves against each other, the two put their differences aside to go on the Boss’s mission to expose they puppies are stealing all love babies should be getting.

 

Thoughts on The Boss Baby

 

Characters Tim is the typical kid before technology era took over, he makes his own stories using his imagination. He becomes jealous of his little brother but overcomes that to become best friends. The Boss Baby is set to uncover the truth about a puppy company where puppies are become more popular than babies. He is super smart and has never had a normal childhood. Francis Francis owns Puppy Co and has an evil plan to get rid of all the babies in the world. Looking at the character’s you can see some greatly created truths that have been pushed to the next level when it comes to the brother’s bonding.

StoryThe story does play out like how a solo child must deal with a new baby, sure there is a farfetched idea that babies can work in undercover to solve issues. The difference between the two are clear and you can see how siblings can be effected by changes like this happening.

Comedy/FamilyThe comedy works very well with Alec Baldwin seemingly having the best voice possible for this role which helps add to the comedy. The whole family could enjoy this film with jokes hitting for all to enjoy.

SettingsThe settings we find the characters in are all enjoyable and add to the comedy the characters find themselves in.

AnimationThe animation all looks fantastic like you would expect from a big budget animated movie.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that does impress more than I was thinking and I feel the comedy does hit on the levels required.

 

Overall: One of the highlights of the animated films this year.

Rating