Martin Scorsese Weekend – Raging Bull (1980)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Paul Schrader, Mardik Martin (Screenplay) Jake LaMotta, Joseph Carter, Peter Savage (Book)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent, Nicholas Colasanto, Maria Gallo

 

Plot: An emotionally self-destructive boxer’s journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside it.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over Hyped Boxing Film

 

Story: Raging Bull starts in 1941 the Bronx, New York City where we meet boxer Jake La Motta (De Niro) and his promoter, sparing partner and brother Joey (Pesci). The two look to set up the next fighter even though the married Jake spots the 15-year-old Vickie (Moriarty) who has connections with the mob.

Through the 40’s Jake remains unbeaten and marries Vickie and on the verge of a potential title fight. With his career taking off, his personal life is starting to fall apart as he becomes paranoid about what Vickie is doing with his violent side coming through.

 

Thoughts on Raging Bull

 

Characters/PerformanceJake is a brilliant boxer, one of the best of his generation but his out the ring temper causes more problems in his life as he is insecure about his wife’s loyalty, his brother’s loyalty and the people in his life. Vickie is the long-suffering wife that must deal with the temper of Jake while trying to retain a personal life against his wishes. Joey is the brother of Jake who also trains and books his fights but the two are always at conflict with each other.

Performance wise, De Niro is great through this film and you can see why people rave of his performance but I feel and we know he is capable of even better now. Pesci does a good job in what must have been a break through role for him. With Moriarty in her debut hanging with the big names very well.

StoryThe story does follow the career of Jake La Motta from small time boxer to champion to what happens to him after his career in the ring is over, we follow his paranoia in his personal life which comes out in his aggression. If you are into your boxing history you will enjoy the story otherwise you might not connect as well.

Biography/SportsLooking at the career is interesting but I do feel other boxing films are painted a more interesting career, the boxing itself looks fantastic through the film.

SettingsThe settings show us the time we are seeing the events unfold in which is done well throughout.

Final ThoughtsThis is a boxing film that I have heard huge things about, but I didn’t find myself getting engaged with the story in the way I was expecting and found elements of this film kind of boring.

 

Overall: This is one of the most popular boxing films of all time but it won’t make the top of any of my lists.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – R – Rock the Kasbah (2015)

Director: Barry Levinson

Writer: Mitch Glazer (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Leem Lubany, Arian Moayed, Scott Caan, Danny McBride

 

Plot: A down-on-his-luck music manager discovers a teenage girl with an extraordinary voice while on a music tour in Afghanistan and takes her to Kabul to compete on the popular television show, Afghan Star.


Tagline – Opportunity rocks when you least expect it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mostly Weak Comedy

 

Story: Rock the Kasbah starts as a former top draw music manager Richie Lanz (Murray) has only one major client who performs cover songs for him, learning the Afghanistan could put her on the map opening for a megastar, he takes Ronnie (Deschanel) to Afghanistan, where the world is different and Ronnie goes on the run.

Richie is joined by two Americans that have made a business in the country as he goes searching for Ronnie only to discovery Salima (Lubany) a brilliant singer living in Afghanistan, who he wants to make the next big star.

 

Thoughts on Rock the Kasbah

 

Characters – Richie Lanz was once a great music manager, now he is forced into conning people out of their money with his acts only being tribute bands, learning he could make money away in Afghanistan he heads over there, where a series of events lead him to meet the next biggest star in the music industry. This character is no different to any of the Bill Murray characters we know, he is mostly sleezy and uses his charm to get out of situations. Bombay Brian is one of the men that helps Ronnie escape, he however expects money from Richie in exchange. He seems to be a loose cannon which makes him unpredictable. Merci is a local prostitute that all the American soldiers go to for their needs. Ronnie is the singer that Richie takes with him, she decides to run away from gig and get back to America.

PerformancesBill Murray is just like every film he is in, he never looks completely involved, while being the centre of the film. Bruce Willis is fine in the support role without being one of his mailed in performances we have see of late. Kate Hudson and Zooey Deschanel are both good enough in their roles without needing to do too much.

StoryThe story follows a sleezy music manager that discovers a new talent in Afghanistan and he must fight for her to get a chance in a nation where women can’t perform. This tries to breakdown walls for equality in a country which doesn’t accept it, which is important to see, but sadly doesn’t work with who and how they approach it, we can’t just throw an American into a country to change their mindsets, we need them to learn themselves. This isn’t the most engaging storyline and will be forgotten quickly.

Comedy/Music/WarThe comedy in the film misses for the most part because we are dealing with too serious a subject for laughs. The music side of the film isn’t as interesting either because we could have had a lot more going on during the wartime situation.

SettingsThe film is set in Afghanistan which is never going to be the best setting for this type of movie because of the subject matter of everything we go on to see in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
First hearing the talent.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It just isn’t that engaging.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing and board line overly controversial idea for a movie that just doesn’t hit the marks it could have.

 

Overall: Not that appealing.

Rating

 

 

Martin Scorsese Weekend – Silence (2016)

silenceDirector: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Jay Cocks, Martin Scorsese (Screenplay) Shusaku Endo (Novel)

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, Ciaran Hinds, Issei Ogata

 

Plot: Two priests travel to Japan in an attempt to locate their mentor and propagate Catholicism.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tough Watch

 

Story: Silence starts in 17th century as father Ferreira (Neeson) is in Japan where he witnesses the torture the catholic believers will go through to keep their faith while Ferreira apostasy himself. Leaving only a letter two priests Rodrigues (Garfield) and Garupe (Driver) refuse to believe Ferreira would apostasy himself they travel to Japan to learn the truth being the last two priest to travel there.

As the hunt to find any Christians in Japan continues Father Rodrigues and Father Garupe continue to spread the faith around the villages as the villagers gain the strength to stand up for their own God. Rodrigues on his journey learns that Japan is dealing with the Christians in a different way to what he was lead to believe but can he finally learn the truth about what happened to Father Ferreira.

 

Thoughts on Silence

 

StoryThe story here is hard to get through even if it is easy to follow because what the Priest have to go through for what they call faith is difficult to sit through. The idea this is how people were treated is terrible and as a non-believer who is open to let people believe in whatever they want I think it is wrong. Make sure you are prepared going into this one though because it is long.

HistoryWe look at the historical side of this story as we see how Christians were treated by the Japanese in the 17th century.

Characters/PerformanceFather Rodrigues is our main character who wants to know what happened to his mentor, he is idealistic for the time and open to listen to anyone who wants to follow Christianity. Ferreira is the one being search for who has given up his faith for the people there. Father Garupe is a good supporting character that works well with Rodrigues. When you look at the performances they are all fantastic from the while cast.

SettingsEach setting is truly authentic for the time period and Japanese culture. We are left to see the struggle each character must go through on a daily basis with the Christians hiding from the Japanese looking to rid the country of them.

Final ThoughtsOne of the hardest films to get through this film because of all the religious aspects going on through the film, it is rewarding but also very long.

 

Overall: Long but rewarding historical drama.

Ratingcard

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – Q – Quartet (2012)

Director: Dustin Hoffman

Writer: Ronald Harwood (Screenplay) Ronald Harwood (Play)

Starring: Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins, Michael Gambon, Sheridan Smith, Andrew Sachs

 

Plot: At a home for retired musicians, the annual concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday is disrupted by the arrival of Jean, an eternal diva and the former wife of one of the residents.


Tagline – Four friends looking for a little harmony

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Drama

 

Story: Quartet starts as we head to Beecham House retirement home for musicians, where Reggie (Courtenay), Wilf (Connolly), Cissy (Collins) are preparing for their latest show for Verdi’s birthday with director Cedric (Gambon). We follow their everyday life at the home before an icon of their industry Jean Horton (Smith) arrives causing old wounds to be opened for Reggie.

The four must rebuild their friendship to bring their once famous quartet back to the stage for the concert, but some bridges are harder to build for Reggie compared to the others, can they forgive and forget before the concert.

 

Thoughts on Quartet

 

Characters – Reggie is the calm member of the quartet, he has lived in the home for a few years with two of his former members Wilf and Cissy, he conducts himself well and teaches when the students visit, but his life is pushed when his ex-wife arrives leaving him resenting being there needing to learn how to forgive his former love. Jean is the biggest name from the former quartet, but now she is left alone in the world needing to get used to her new environment, where she is forced to come out of retirement for one final recording. Wilf is a horny former musician, he flirts at every opportunity, he gets the funniest lines through the film because he knows how to use his charm to enjoy the moments in their lives in the home. Cissy is the absent minded member of the group, it is her age getting to her but Reggie keeps her mind in the right track when needed to be directed the right direction.

PerformancesMaggie Smith is great in this role, this great British actor shows she can handle any role with grace and ease. Tom Courtenay is great too being the strong leading role where he shows the dignity his character requires. Billy Connolly is the perfect choice for the added comic relief of the film, he gains a laugh in nearly every scene, even the serious ones you know he can pull off the laugh needed. Pauline Collins rounds off the leading quartet and she is great throughout the film too, the cast gives us everything we want from their performances.

StoryThe story shows how the once respected performers reaching the retirement age, will need to find something to do in the retirement home to continue their love of music. The main group we follow have their problems between them but to have that one final moment in the spotlight drives them all to perform. The four have sacrificed during their lives to be known as the best, including families which they regret at times but wouldn’t give up what they achieved in their limelight.

ComedyThe comedy comes from how Wilf looks at life and the everyday life within the retirement home.

SettingsMost of the film is set in and around the retirement home, this shows us how the members are still enjoying life, now with like-minded people in their later years.


Scene of the Movie –
The performance building.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While funny, sometimes Wilf is just seemingly there for comic relief.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable light hearted comedy drama showing us just where people can be enjoy their passions at any stage of their life.

 

Overall: Nice touching drama.

Rating

 

 

Open House (2010)

Director: Andrew Paquin

Writer: Andrew Paquin (Screenplay)

Starring: Brian Geraghty, Rachel Blanchard, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Tricia Helfer, Gabriel Olds, Jessica Collins

 

Plot: A couple on the verge of a nasty divorce attempt to sell their empty love nest and move on with their lives, separately. After a successful open house they are horrified to discover, days later, that a potential buyer didn’t leave their home. While Alice is being held captive in the basement, the unannounced house guest moves in upstairs. She senses her capture is being kept a rebellious secret. She knows her way out, if only she can get out alive.


Tagline – Welcome to the neighborhood.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Unsettling Thriller

 

Story: Open House starts as Alice (Blanchard) is getting divorced and is looking to sell the couple’s home, things are not going well, but with her friend’s support she believes things will go well. Things take an early drastic change when Alice is held captive by David (Geraghty) and Lila (Helfer).

David and Lila decide to make the home their own, killing anyone that questions them about Alice, how long can they keep this up and how often have they been doing this?

 

Thoughts on Open House

 

Characters – David is the man that keeps Alice captive, he is being controlled by Lila, while also thinking for himself deciding to keep her alive against the wishes of Lila in look for companionship. David seems to be easily manipulated into doing what Lila says. Alice is the owner of the house, going through a divorce and looking to sell their home, she is held captive by the couple who want control of the house. She must follow the rules David gives her in a hope of making it through the ordeal. Lila is the woman who has moved into the house, she uses David to get what she wants and seduces any men that come near the home. The rest of the characters we meet are used to show what David and Lila are capable of, while have a connection to Alice.

PerformancesBrian Geraghty gives us an unsettling feeling throughout the film, he makes it difficult to put your finger on this character. Rachel Blanchard does a solid enough job, though she is mostly needing to look scared or be tied up. Tricia Helfer is good as the seductive woman controlling the situation. The rest of the cast don’t get much time on screen which disappoints when you see some of the talent we had.

StoryThe story follows a man and woman that hold a homeowner captive in their house while they make their own and continue their killer ways. Now this does bring us into the idea that somebody would take over your own home after a open house with people around you expecting you to be leaving you won’t get the support you would imagine. The pacing for the story is one of the weaker moments because we follow David’s interactions with both the women and it is very hard to put your finger on what he is up to through the film. the story however is better than 2018’s Open House which was just too slow.

CrimeThe film uses the crime elements because we see the man and woman killing people, talking like they have been doing this for years and know when to get out of the house before getting captured which is an interesting way to look at the story.

SettingsThe film takes place only inside the house, the place you are meant to feel safe, this is good for the story and easily the strongest part of everything.


Scene of the Movie –
Opening the freezers.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While it is implied, they have been killing for ages, it would have been nice to have it spelled out from how David is acting through the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid addition to the late night horror movies I like to promote, it is an easy watch you can enjoy it even if it doesn’t use the biggest names in the film to the best of their abilities.

 

Overall: Late night Crime Horror film.

Rating