You’ve Got Mail (1998)

youveDirector: Nora Ephron

Writer: Nora Ephron, Delia Ephron (Screenplay) Miklos Laszlo (Play)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Greg Kinnear, Parker Posey, Jean Stapleton, Steve Zahn, Heather Burns


Plot: Two business rivals who despise each other in real life unwittingly fall in love over the Internet.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Charming Romantic Comedy


Story: You’ve Got Mail starts as we see two complete strangers Joe Fox (Hanks) and Kathleen Kelly (Ryan) who chat online every night even though they are both involved in relationships with Patricia (Posey) and Frank (Kinnear). The two set up the rule of not knowing anything about the personal lives of each other and remain friends in New York City.

Kathleen owns a small book shop that is going to have a giant book shop open around the corner from it, Fox Books which just so happens to be run by Joe. When the two business rivals meet the tension between begins but when the two mail each other they still think they are talking to just any stranger.

When the truth comes out the love they feel towards each other online must go against the hatred they have for each other in real life.


Thoughts on You’ve Got Mail


StoryThe old story of falling in love with someone you have never met through conversation. The idea of not knowing who you are chatting to makes this story have this extra spark. We do get a smaller story about business how small family businesses can be closed by dominating force. I will say this story has now become outdated because of the next level of technology but the fantasy idea still works wonders for this film.

Comedy/RomanceThe romantic side of this story is all good showing how you could fall in love with someone you least expect. We do get small laughs throughout the film without them overshadowing the romantic story.

Characters/PerformanceJoe was the new age business man, he does care about people outside of work but is happy to squash them when it comes to business. Kathleen was one of the dying breed of shopkeepers who cares about their customers offering them the best service in New York. We do have supporting characters who are mostly all involved to advise our Joe and Kathleen.

This film has two brilliant performance from Hanks and Ryan who showed they have excellent chemistry together and you can see that in the romantic or the arguing scenes. I do think everyone else does everything they need to do working with the leads.actors

SettingsLooking in the settings we are have New York which is perfect choice because we get to see how small business would suffer next to the big store, it also plays into the effects of meeting someone even in the busy streets.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most enjoyable romantic comedies you will have seen, it is accessible for all and will bring a smile to your face.


Overall: Sit back and enjoy this sweet charming love story.




Sunshine Cleaning (2008)

sunshineDirector: Christine Jeffs

Writer: Megan Holley (Screenplay)

Starring: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, Jason Spevack, Steve Zahn, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Clifton Collins Jr


Plot: In order to raise the tuition to send her young son to private school, a mom starts an unusual business — a biohazard removal/crime scene clean-up service — with her unreliable sister.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Charmingly Delightful Comedy Drama


Story: Sunshine Cleaning starts as we follow single mother Rose (Adams) who works as a cleaner just to make sure her son Oscar (Spevack) gets everything he needs while dealing with the teachers telling her he needs special attention.

Needing to put her son into a private school Rose works with police officer Mac (Zahn) who sets her up with a job cleaning up crime scenes with her slacker sister Norah (Blunt) and the two-start seeing the money fly in as Sunshine Cleaning business is born.


Thoughts on Sunshine Cleaning


StoryThe story being told here is a story that shows that people out there will work hard to make the life they want they may need to go through difficult stages of life to reach it. We see two sisters whose lives clearly haven’t gone the way they had planned them out both feeling like they are just grinding to make ends meet rather than having their chance to live. The story is put together perfectly to tell what is needed from the story that can be enjoyed by all.

Comedy/Drama The comedy drama mixes together to make light of the serious side of the story where we can get the laughs coming from everyday life rather than forced life situations. This story will make you laugh, smile and cry with the characters.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters of Rose and Norah are great examples of two sisters struggling through the whole story, we get good laughs from their father looking after Rose’s son but otherwise all the characters do end up feeling like they could all be everyday people. When you look at the performances Adams and Blunt are brilliant as the sister with chemistry to burn between them proving they are two of Hollywood’s heavyweights.

SettingsEach setting is a different crime scene in need of cleaning which is where our characters get to see just the different lives people have lived. The settings are just as important as the two relationship between the sisters which shows the struggles the girls are both going through.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the sweetest and nicest dramas you will see, it is filled with real life struggles everyday people go through.


Overall: Brilliant drama that people should go out there way to see.




Captain Fantastic (2016)

capDirector: Matt Ross

Writer: Matt Ross (Screenplay)

Starring: Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Samantha Isler, Annalise Basso, Nicholas Hamilton, Shree Crook, Charlies Shotwell, Trin Miller, Kathryn Hahn, Steve Zahn, Ann Dowd, Frank Langella, Missi Pyle


Plot: In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Wonderful Story


Story: Captain Fantastic starts as we meet Ben (Mortensen) who has been raising his six children Bo (MacKay), Kielyr (Isler), Vespyr (Basso), Rellian (Hamilton), Zaja (Crooks) and Nai (Shotwell) in the forest of Pacific Northwest away from society. Ben is teaching his children in his own way so they could be ready for the anything life be it, self-defence, educational material or just plain old music.

When Ben has to go back into the real world he takes the recently completed boy to man Bo but is only treated to tragic news about his wife. Ben reluctantly takes his children to his wife’s funeral against the orders of her family. Over this time, we get to see how Ben learns that everything he thought was correct might not actually be right for his children.

Captain Fantastic is a wonderful story that gives us the idea that we always know what is right for our own children might not actually be correct. We see how family wants to support any decision but there will always be that tension within. Viggo Mortensen gives a heavyweight performance that could easily being contention when Oscar season hits and all six of the children are brilliant in their roles. I will say this has moments of being slightly too slow but in the end each scene comes off fascinating to see where the characters will be going next.


Overall: Brilliant story, brilliantly acted and the real outside shot for the Oscars.




The Good Dinosaur (2015)

good dinosaurDirector: Peter Sohn

Writer: Meg LeFauve (Screenplay) Peter Sohn, Erik Benson, Meg LeFauve, Kelsey Mann, Bob Peterson (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, Marcus Scribner, Raymond Ochoa, Jack Bright, Steve Zahn, Anna Paquin


Plot: In a world where dinosaurs and humans live side-by-side, an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Ice Age Pixar Style


Story: The Good Dinosaur starts when the asteroid that killed the dinosaur’s misses Earth, millions of years later dinosaurs still live on Earth. We meet a small family of dinosaurs where you have Poppa, Momma and children Buck, Libby and small dinosaur Arlo who doesn’t fit in with the rest of his family.

When Poppa dies, Arlo tries to step up only to find himself chasing the early human that caused the Arlo to fail that leads him to fall into the river and washed away from his family. Arlo has to find his way home but makes an unlikely friend along the way. The young human named Spot teaches Arlo to be brave as they have the adventure of a lifetime.

The Good Dinosaur gives us a fresh look at how dinosaurs could have lived on after the asteroid that killed them missed Earth, they all start acting like early humans. The story of adventure to survive against the odds needing to step up also really works well. Unfortunately, we just get a spin on Land Before Time and Ice Age which doesn’t give us enough fresh. This is a good film for the kids to see but doesn’t have enough for a wide audience.


Character Review


Arlo: Arlo is the smallest of the dinosaur siblings, he struggles to fit in with the rest of his family on their farm. One day he gets given a chance to prove himself only to fail leading to his father’s death, trying his hardest to step up he becomes lost in a world he has never faced before and it is now he learns to put his fears behind him. Arlo is a good leading character which is important to see a character needing to show how taking chances will make a difference,arlo

Spot: Spot is the young human boy that is alone in the world, he scavenges food wherever he can to survive, he becomes friends with Arlo as they search for a way home. Spot is a good sidekick character that is like a dog but works against the dinosaur

Butch: Butch is a father of his own T-Rex family that helps Arlo along his way home, they teach him to be brave no matter what. Butch is a good twist on the T-Rex character.butch

Thunderclap: Thunderclap is the leader of a group of pterodactyls that use the storms to help hunt critters, they become the villains of the story. Thunderclap makes for a generic villainous character.

Support Characters: The Good Dinosaur has a generic supporting character list which all works for story.

Director Review: Peter SohnPeter gives us a good film but only one for the family to watch together.


Adventure: The Good Dinosaur does give us a great adventure story for the characters to go through.

Animation: The Good Dinosaur has typical high standard animation you would expect from Pixar.

Comedy: The Good Dinosaur does a few laughs but is too serious to get enough laughs.

Family: The Good Dinosaur is one for the family to watch with the kids enjoying the most.

Settings: The Good Dinosaur creates beautiful settings for the adventure to take part in.
: The Good Dinosaur is one for the family to see with the kids. (Family Film Time)


Best Part: Twist on T-Rex.

Worst Part: Arlo and Spot get high.

Favourite Quote: Poppa ‘You’ve gotta make you mark’


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Could have one.

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Land Before Time, Ice Age


Awards: Nominated for 1 Golden Globe.

Oscar Chances: Likely to get a nod for best Animation

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

Tagline: Tiny but tough


Overall: Land Before Time Meets Ice Age with a dash of the Croods


Knights of Badassdom (2013)

logoDirector: Joe Lynch

Writer: Kevin Dreyfuss, Matt Wall (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Kwanten, Steve Zahn, Peter Dinklage, Summer Glau, Jimmi Simpson


Plot: Live-action role players conjure up a demon from Hell by mistake and they must deal with the consequences.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Fun Comedy But Not Fantastic


Story: Knights of Badassdom starts by explaining about an ancient book that brings demons to life and that has been hidden for years but has been found by a group of role playing friends Eric (Zahn), Hung (Dinklage), Ronnie (Simpson) and more. Their ritual is interrupted by some paint ballers who then open the book.  Next we meet Joe (Kwanten) you everyday slacker who enjoys death metal and lives in a castle with the rest of the guys and gets dumped by his girlfriend.

Eric and Hung help Joe get over his break up by getting him high leading to him to pass out and take him to a role playing event against his will. Ronnie still has a grudge with Joe and as he is hosting the event as the gamemaster he is putting thing together. For Joe to be able to compete in the game he must have a ritual performed on him giving him a chance to have a real sword again, but the group ends up summoning a real demon. The missions are lined up and the three friends are joined by the beautiful Gwen (Glau) as they have a fun filled time while the demon starts taking out the people taking part in the weekend. The remaining members of the game players have to team up to beat the demon which has left bodies all over the game.

Knights of Badassdom gets to make light of the idea of role playing events that people do enjoy, it might not be for everyone but the people who do it do get enjoyment which is shown in the film. The film also keeps things very simple with the story of two friends trying to help another get over a girlfriend only for him to meet a new love interest and prove himself in combat. The film doesn’t take itself too serious and is very easy to watch, the fans of Big Bang Theory will enjoy the comedy but otherwise it will look strange at time. This is one story that will be easily forgotten but equal enjoyed. (6/10)


Actor Review


Ryan Kwanten: Joe the run of the mile slacker who gets dumped because he wasn’t growing up, his friends take him to a role playing weekend only to end up having to fight a real demon. Ryan takes the lead role and fits the reluctant hero idea well without really shining. (6/10)


Peter Dinklage: Hung friend of Joe’s who makes him go to the weekend and explains the rules, but he doesn’t last as long as we would have liked which is a huge disappoint because he is the biggest name in the dam film. Peter does well for his short time on screen making a laugh happen with every line. (7/10)


Steve Zahn: Eric the sorcerer of the group of friends who upon finding a new book actually brings a real demon to life and has to figure out a way to send it back to hell. Steve shows he is always a good comic relief character here and usually has the funniest lines. (7/10)


Summer Glau: Gwen the beautiful warrior that looks completely out of place in the event but also proves to be one of the best players in the game. Summer does a good job a continues to show she will always appear in geek themed films. (7/10)


Jimmi Simpson: Ronnie Kwok the game master for the weekend who has been planning the event for months but everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Jimmi brings his unique style to this film well and makes the quirky role his own. (7/10)


Support Cast: Knights of Badassdom has a supporting cast that is most the rest of the players in the game that all face the demon and most lose.


Director Review: Joe Lynch – Joe has openly said he has disowned this film and I would like to see how his vision of the film really went before making him work. (NA/10)


Comedy: Knights of Badassdom does have some funny moments but not enough to make it a real comedy of memorable levels. (5/10)

Fantasy: Knights of Badassdom takes us into a real fantasy world of role playing which works for the idea of the film. (7/10)

Horror: Knights of Badassdom enters into the real tongue in cheek world of horror, where things happen but they are just bloody not scary. (6/10)

Settings: Knights of Badassdom ends up putting us into a real isolation idea for the horror with nowhere to run and no one to call. (7/10)
Special Effects
: Knights of Badassdom has basic effects you can tell how fake some of it is but that also helps because it makes it all look like part of the role playing. (7/10)

Suggestion: Knights of Badassdom is one to try but I can’t guarantee everyone will enjoy it. (Try It)


Best Part: Demon destroyed.

Worst Part: The terrible song to beat the demon.


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

Tagline: ‘Tis about to get medieval up in here.

Trivia: The main cast went through Live Action Role Playing sessions before filming and Peter Dinklage was declared the most successful out of everyone.


Overall: This is a real just simple fun film that never really gets to the full level it could achieve.

Rating 60