Magnolia (1999)

logoDirector: Paul Thomas Anderson

Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, John C. Reilly, Tom Cruise, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jason Robards, Alfred Molina, Merlora Walters, Jeremy Blackman

 

Plot: 24 hours in LA, it’s raining cats and dogs. Two parallel and intercut stories dramatize men about to die, both are estranged from a grown child, both want to make contact and neither child wants anything to do with dad. Earl Partridge’s (Robards) son (Cruise) is a charismatic misogynist; Jimmy Gator’s (Hall) daughter Claudia (Merlora) is a cokehead and waif. A mild and caring nurse Phil (Hoffman) intercedes for Earl, reaching the son, a prayerful and upright cop Jim (O’Reilly) meets the daughter, is attracted to her and leads her towards a new calm. Meanwhile guilt consumes Earl’s young wife Linda (Moore) while two whiz kids one grown Donnie (Macy) and a loser and the other young Stanley (Blackman) pressured to face their situations. The weather too is quirky.

 

Verdict: A Masterpiece drama

Story: A brilliant look into the idea of two men’s last day on Earth who both live in regret and use the one last day to desperately find their long lost children for one last goodbye. Putting together all the stories works perfectly as they all intertwined to fit the overall story. The message of the story is clear and very meaningful, that should be understood by all. (10/10)

 

Actor Review: Julianna Moore – Linda the guilt ridden wife of Earl who thinks she has lived a lie in her marriage. Good performance as a lady who is on self-destruct. (9/10)

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Actor Review: William H Macy – Donnie a former child show quiz winner who is harbouring a secret, while people take advantage of his former fame. Good performance from Macy as a supporting role that really takes notice. (9/10)

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Actor Review: John C Reilly – Jim the friendly religious cop who falls for the daughter of the dying man, the lady is wrong for him as they live completely different lives. Great role from John who really shows his skills here. (9/10)

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Actor Review: Tom Cruise – Frank the seduction expect haunted by his past while refusing to talk to his dying father. Good from Tom filling a role you wouldn’t expect to see him in. (9/10)

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Actor Review: Philip Baker Hall – Jimmy the legendary quiz show host that is dying and wants to make up with his estranged daughter before he goes. Great performance as the man, who has to make up for mistakes before he goes. (10/10)

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Actor Review: Philip Seymour Hoffman – Phil the kind nurse who spends his last shift trying to locate Frank for Earl. Good performance from Hoffman that is played out to be a small role but is a much loved performance. (9/10)

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Actor Review: Jason Robards – Earl the bed stuck dying man whose one last wish is to see his son. Good performance to create a regret ridden dying man. (9/10)

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Director Review: Paul Thomas Anderson – Great direction to create an absolute masterpiece in film. (10/10)

 

Drama: Brilliant drama throughout. (10/10)

Believability: People will be dying with regret every day, but the raining frogs loses the believability. (7/10)

Chances of Tears: Maybe a few. (2/10)

Settings: Each setting is brilliant and adds to the story. (9/10)

 

Suggestion: I think this is something worth watching, it maybe three hours long it is well worth that time. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Musical number with everybody looking on.

Worst Part: It may be too long for a casual viewer.

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 3 Oscars

Chances of Sequel: No

Tagline: Things fall down. People look up, and when it rains it pours.

 

Overall: A masterpiece

Rating 96

Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes (2012)

logoDirector: Corey Grant

Writer: Brian Kelsey, Bryan O’Cain (Screenplay)

Starring: Drew Rausch, Rich McDonald, Ashley Wood, Noah Weisberg, Frank Ashmore

 

Plot: When four documentary film makers Sean Reynolds (Rausch), Darryl Coleman (McDonald) Robyn Conway (Wood) and Kevin Lancaster (Weisberg) head into the woods to expose the Bigfoot hoax. They go to a couple of woodsmen who claim to have seen and killed a young Bigfoot, Carl Drybeck (Ashmore) gives them strict rules but when things start going bump in the night they realise this may no longer be a hoax.

 

Verdict: Found footage, Bigfoot; forest what more could you want? Well a story maybe.

Story: All found footage films rely on how much is going on off camera and how each character is so determined to film everything that is going on. This doesn’t offer too much most of the film is the crew arguing about whether to stay or go and end with one final encounter. (3/10)

 

Actor Review: Drew Rausch – The ambitious television present with one idea to expose the Bigfoot legend and walk over whoever gets in his way. It is a good performance in the role but never really shines in the film. (5/10)

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Actor Review: Rich McDonald – Cameraman spends most of the time behind the camera also motivated by money. Can’t really give too much of a rating on his performance as he was off screen in every scene. (3/10)

 

Actor Review: Ashley Wood – The producer who helps try to ground the ambitious guys but fails to get very far with that. Good performance but more of the attempted good guy figure who doesn’t listen to own advice. (4/10)

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Actor Review: Noah Weisberg – Soundman who has never worked with the rest before and once he learns what they are trying to uncover he wants out. Probably the most convincing of the cast showing more genuine fear but still not too much. (5/10)

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Actor Review: Frank Ashmore – Local woodsman who has killed a Bigfoot and that has only seemed to anger them. He looks the part and acts the part but still doesn’t do enough to convince in the role. (4/10)

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Director Review: Corey Grant – Good directing leaving most of the ideas to the audience minds. I feel we could have had some more of a reveal than we get. (6/10)

 

Horror: Off camera but not scary enough reactions. (3/10)

Thriller:  Tries to build, fails to build well enough. (3/10)

Special Effects: Not many and the ones used come off poor. (2/10)

Believability: depends how much of the legends you believe. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: Good setting for isolation taking the idea of Blair Witch Project and making it about Bigfoot. (8/10)
Oscar Chances
: None

Chances of Sequel: Hope Not

Suggestion: Poor found footage with few scares even the most die-hard found footage fans will find this hard to enjoy. (Avoid)

 

Best Part: I did enjoy the final reveal but it was too late and too little.

Worst Part: poor build up.

Similar Too: Blair Witch Project.

 

Overall: Found Footage we wish was never found

 

Rating 25%

American Hustle (2013)

logoDirector: David O. Russell

Writer: Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell (Screenplay)

Starring: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Louis C.K., Jack Huston, Michael Pena, Shea Whigham, Alessandro Nivola, Elisabeth Rohn, Robert De Niro

 

Plot: Set in the alluring world of one of the most stunning scandals to rock our nation, American Hustle tells the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Adams) is forced to work for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Cooper). DiMaso pushed them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that’s as dangerous as it is enchanting. Carmine Polito (Renner), the passionate, volatile, New Jersey political operator caught between the con-artists and Feds. Irving’s unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Lawrence) could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down.

 

Verdict: A Con Artist Film With Twist

 

Story: When you have a con artist film you need to be anticipating some twist in the heroes favour. This has that and you are left to figure out how he will pull it off, what happens between is very familiar with the differences between the hero and the guy he has to complete the job for. What is not familiar is that the hero starts to support the guys he is meant to be conning, mix in a love triangle and you do get something more original. The film never tries to take its self too serious which is what makes it good, but in the end you won’t be left thinking I have to watch this again. (7/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Christian Bale: Irving the con-man who has to help his partner get off the crimes, keep his wife happy and work with someone he clearly doesn’t like. Good performance from Bale who takes a big step away from many roles he would be more know for. (9/10)

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Bradley Cooper: Richie the FBI agent who wants to take as many people down as he could, stepping on whoever tries to stop him. Good cocky performance showing he doesn’t always have to play the good guy. (8/10)

cooper

Amy Adams: Sydney the partner in crime of Irving who gets caught, but will work with her partner to take down enough people to get off the crime, smart, sexy she has to put up with being Irving’s piece on the side due to his marriage commitments. Good performance as always from Adams showing she can fit in any role given to her. (9/10)

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Jeremy Renner: Mayor Carmine the man they are all trying to catch, along with all his fellow big names who take money under the table. Good performance from Jeremy showing he can step into less serious roles after a string of action based films. (8/10)

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Jennifer Lawrence: Rosalyn, Irving’s estranged wife, they both don’t like each other but stay together for her child, and she is clumsy and never follows instructions, the complete opposite of Irving. Good performance from Jennifer who shows she can fill smaller roles and still steal the scene.(8/10)

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Director Review: David O. Russell – Good direction throughout showing how each character is currently feeling and letting us know how they think about what is going on. (8/10)

 

Crime: Good con artist themes throughout. (8/10)

Settings: Very good authentic settings for the time period. (9/10)

Suggestion: I think this is only one to try, I feel some people will not enjoy it due to its unoriginal con artist themes but they may enjoy the characters. (Try It)

 

Best Part: De Niro cameo

Worst Part: It is kind of slow.

Believability: The corruption involved is real, but the characters are all made up. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for TEN Oscars, but didn’t win any.

Box Office: $251,171,807

Budget: $40 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 18 Minutes

Tagline: Everyone Hustles To Survive

 

Overall: Con Artist time machine to the 70s

Rating 77

S1m0ne (2002)

logoDirector: Andrew Niccol

Writer: Andrew Niccol (Screenplay)

Starring: Al Pacino, Rachel Roberts, Catherine Keener, Evan Rachel Wood, Winona Ryder, Jay Mohr, Elias Koteas, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Jason Schwartzman

 

Plot: When film producer/director Viktor’s (Pacino) latest film starts to fall apart due to creative differences with actress superstar Nicola Anders (Ryder) walks out just when the film finishes shooting. Viktor has to scrap the film or face being sued and his ex-wife and studio executive Elaine (Keener) is forced to let him go. Viktor determined to finish his picture has to come up with a new way to make and finish his film. A chance meeting with a visionary, Hank (Koteas) who has created a way to make the perfect actress through technology.

 

After Hank’s death he leaves the technology with Viktor. Viktor finds out about the technology and uses it to finish his film independently. After it gets rave reviews all around, Viktor is back in the spotlight but not how he thinks, everybody wants to meet his new leading lady Simone (Roberts). When Simone’s fame reaches a new high a reporter Max (Taylor Vince) and Milton (Schwartzman) join the rest of the world to find and meet Simone.

 

Verdict: Good comic tale of Hollywood going mad

Story: The film’s story is completely looking at how ruthless and clueless Hollywood can be. Watching how people react to the new form of celebrity is very true to the way we act now, but it is the look at how hard it is to the stop the machine that changes everything. We get to look at how over the top demands some stars want and what others will say to get what they want. (8/10)

 

Actor Review: Al Pacino – Viktor the desperate director who just wants to make his films but gets caught up trying to keep his lie alive before it gets out of control. Great from Pacino who shows he has a comic side to his serious side. (8/10)

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Actor Review: Rachel Roberts – Simone the creation who became an overnight sensation through Hollywood. Good performance from the debutant providing a very computerize performance which is needed. (7/10)

simone

Actor Review: Catherine Keener – Elaine head of the studio who gets rid of Viktor only to want him back when he and his star become the biggest names in Hollywood. Good performance showing how quickly studio head’s can change their minds. (7/10)

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Actor Review: Evan Rachel Wood – Lainey Viktor’s tech savvy daughter who just wants his father to be back to who he once was. Good performance from the young actress showing she can handle it next to the big names. (7/10)

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Actor Review: Winona Ryder – Nicola the big name actress with an over the top ego that quits and ruins Viktor’s career. Great performance which she gets to have a proper laugh at her own expense and other actors. (7/10)

 

Director Review: Andrew Niccol – Creates an interesting look at the Hollywood system. (8/10)

 

Comedy: Pokes fun at the Hollywood system very well without being too silly comedy levels. (8/10)

Fantasy: The creation of a star is very good use of fantasy elements. (7/10)

Special Effects: Simone is a very good creation using special effects over a real actress to look computerized. (9/10)

Believability: The idea Hollywood will make us believe what we want is true but how far he goes is not. (2/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: Great settings throughout to make Simone come off a real person. (8/10)

 

Suggestion: This is one to try it will appeal to those who think the Hollywood system is flawed but the gentle comedy levels will make all enjoy. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Viktor trying to destroy Simone is good

Worst Part: I can’t believe everyone would believe she was real.

Oscar Chances: None

Chances of Sequel: No

Tagline: A Star Is … Created

 

Overall: Smart Comedy Look at Hollywood

Rating 73

Stand Up Guys (2012)

logoDirector: Fisher Stevens

Writer: Noah Haidle (Screenplay)

Starring: Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin, Julianna Margulies, Mark Margolis, Lucy Punch, Addison Timlin, Vanessa Ferlito

 

Plot: Fresh out of prison Val (Pacino) meets back up with his old friend Doc (Walken). Finding out that Doc is now living a very boring life of painting and sleeping, Val decides he wants to party and it is up to Doc to show him the old haunts. These include a brothel now run by the old favourite’s daughter, breaking into a pharmacy for Viagra and a bar.

 

After Doc’s loyalty becomes clear after old mob boss Claphands (Margolis) wants Doc to kill Val by morning, because he blames him for his son’s death in the original heist that left Val in prison. Doc decides to let Val live out one more night of freedom which includes rescuing an old friend and get away driver Hirsch (Arkin) from a retirement home. The three friends have one last night of living their old lives before Doc has to make up his mind.

 

Verdict: A clever comedy

Story: In what is a lovely story following three old friends have a night of reminiscent, we get to see three characters looking at what they have missed by a mistake they all regret in their own ways. A story about taking that final chance before it is too late. Sure this isn’t original but the message is always good and true. (8/10)

 

Actor Review: Al Pacino – Val the ex-con who knows what is coming but wants to live up his final day with his only friend in the world. Good performance from Pacino, showing he can do comedy without acting stupid, but also gets to make fun of what he has achieved as an actor. (8/10)

 pacino

Actor Review: Christopher Walken – Doc the loyal friend who has been trapped by the mob boss who wants him to do one deed before he can go on with his life. Good performance from Walken and much like Pacino gets to have fun without disrespecting his previous work. (8/10)

walken

Actor Review: Alan Arkin – Hirsch the getaway driver who is stuck in a retirement home, who gets to have one more drive in a luxury car with his old friends. Good performance who even though it only a supporting role enters and leaves the picture without looking out of place like the rest of the support cast. (8/10)

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Director Review: Fisher Stevens – Good entertaining direction create a very nice story. (8/10)

 

Comedy: Nice comedy to go next to the serious storyline. (7/10)

Crime: looking back at the crimes committed as well as committing a few more along the way. (7/10)

Believability: The look at how three guys will look back at things is true but the ex-con mob boss not so. (4/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: All good settings that make each moment look like an old memory. (7/10)

 

Suggestion: I personal really enjoyed this but I don’t think everyone will do. A lot of people will not like either lead in a comedy role, but if you try it you will be rewarded. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The end works well

Worst Part: Nothing really new

Funniest Scene: Hospital scene.

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Tagline: They don’t make em’ like they used to.

Similar Too: Bucket List

 

Overall: Very Touching Comedy Drama

Rating 76