Franchise Weekend – The French Connection II (1975)

frenchDirector: John Frankenheimer

Writer: Alexander Jacobs, Robert Dillon, Laurie Dillon (Screenplay) Robert Dillon, Laurie Dillon (Story)

Starring: Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Bernard Fresson, Philippe Leotard, Ed Lauter, Charles Millot

 

Plot: “Popeye” Doyle travels to Marseille to find Alain Charnier, the drug smuggler who eluded him in New York.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Conclusion to Story

 

Story: The French Connection II starts as Doyle (Hackman) has gone to France to track down Alain Charnier (Rey) who left him looking stupid with his escape from New York. Henri Barthelemy (Fresson) is the connection with the French Police who are happier to push him off the trial leaving Doyle to work on his own in a country he doesn’t understand the language and sticks out like a saw thumb.

After Doyle gets captured by Charnier and his men they force him onto drugs for three weeks before realizing that this is making their operations hard when the police are all over the streets looking for Doyle, could this really have been the first miss-step in Charnier plans that will lead him to get catch.

The French Connection II does end up just continuing the story and how it ended last time around. We do get a much more personal story for Doyle with the drug abuse he is forced to go through. The style feels very similar as we have plenty of foot races through the streets. We do get plenty to look forward to but the base story is just one man chasing down the criminal.

 

Actor Review

 

Gene Hackman: Doyle is the New York police detective that travels to France to try and capture his nemesis Alain Charnier, unwanted by the French police he is giving the corner like desk and followed around the town before he gets captured by Charnier and force into drugs for three weeks before having to go through withdrawal before he can finally take down his enemy. Gene does good returning to this character who has to go through a lot more than his previous outing.

Fernando Rey: Alain Charnier is the man who escaped from Doyle hands in New York, he continues to run his enterprise in France but now the games are on his home soil. He takes things to the next level to get Doyle to leave him alone only to find himself against an even more determined Doyle. Fernando returns as this character but doesn’t feel as strong as previous film.

Bernard Fresson: Barthelemy is the inspector in France who tries to push Doyle away by just letting him do his thing but ends up team up with Doyle to take down Charnier once and for all. Bernard does good job in this role making him good supporting character.

Support Cast: The French Connection II has the typical supporting cast you would see in most cop dramas.

Director Review: John FrankenheimerJohn does well to continue the story even though he doesn’t reach the full intensity of the original.

 

Action: The French Connection II has plenty of chase sequences through the film but mostly foot ones.

Crime: The French Connection II continues the crime story created from the first film to finish the personal battle.

Thriller: The French Connection II doesn’t manage to pull you to the edge of your seat like the previous outing.

Settings: The French Connection II uses all the French settings which works for the film giving us beautiful backdrops as well as tight streets.
Suggestion
: The French Connection II is a film that you should watch after seeing the original. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Final chase.

Worst Part: Bit slower that original

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

Tagline: THE FRENCH CONNECTION was only the beginning-THIS is the climax

 

Overall: Climax that answers all the final questions

Ratingcard

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2015 Awards – Best Film

Through the month of January I will be looking back on 2015, I will be looking at a range of subjects where I will be picking my best or worst in separate posts.

Today I will be look at Best Film of 2015, I have decided to make this a top 15 list in order of how I ranked them by score. I have decided not to explain my reasons and a lot of the first mentioned films all got the same score so they aren’t in any order

Mentions that could have been number one;

·         The Danish Girldanish

·         The Martianmartian

·         Southpawsouthpaw

·         Me and Earl and the Dying Girlme earl dying girl

·         The Kingsmankingsman

·         Mad Max Fury Roadmad max

·         Ex Machinaex machina

·         Inside Outinside out

·         Carolcarol

·         The Hateful Eighthateful

·         Brooklynbrooklyn

·         Spotlightspotight

·         The Revenantrvenant

·         Beasts of No Nationbeast

My favourite

·         Roomroom

Franchise Weekend – The French Connection (1971)

frenchDirector: William Friedkin

Writer: Ernest Tidyman (Screenplay) Robin Moore (Book)

Starring: Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider, Tony Lo Bianco, Marcel Bozzuffi

 

Plot: A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Classic

 

Story: The French Connection starts by establishing Jimmy Doyle (Hackman) and Buddy Russo (Scheider) as rough and tough cops, we also get to see the criminal enterprise in France run by Alain Charnier (Rey) and just how they will never leave a loose end.

As Doyle and Russo enter into one of their games of following what seems like a nobody in Sal Boca (Lo Bianco) they discover he is too clean leading to them to investigate him uncovering themselves a criminal activity going on unlike anything they have come up against before.

The French Connection brings us into the original feel of what a cat and mouse type chase would be between cops and criminals. Yes that does make it very simple as we do get to learn the vices of all the characters while uncovering the truth about them. We also get to see how investigation were done before everything was computerised with real leg work which creates the multiple chases that bring you to the edge of your seat throughout.

 

Actor Review

 

Gene Hackman: Jimmy Doyle is the nonsense cop who will push all the boundaries while on the job to get answers. He stumbles upon an international drug deal going on and along with his partner has to watch over the potential suspects involved in the deal. Gene gives a great performance in this leading role showing pure determination throughout.doyle

Fernando Rey: Alain is the leader of the criminal syndicate from France who has come to America to complete on big deal, he enters into a cat and mouse game with Doyle which he seems to have the upper hand on. Fernando is good in this role thinking he always has the upper hand over Doyle.

Roy Scheider: Buddy Russo is the partner of Doyle, he comes off as the slightly more responsible one of the two and when it comes to good cop bad cop he will fill in as good cop. Roy does well in this supporting role letting Hackman take the centre stage without being just a standard backup character.

Tony Lo Bianco: Sal Boca is the man trying to get the deal done from the American side of things, it is him that grabs the attention of Doyle starting off the epic game of cat and mouse between the sides. Tony is good in this role with his extra swagger in his movements.

Support Cast: The French Connection has good supporting cast even if the characters are ones you would have come familiar with in the genre.

Director Review: William FriedkinWilliam gives us one of the film that has stood the test of time and will always be one of the benchmarks for great crime thrillers.

 

Action: The French Connection has great action scenes with the famous car chasing down the train being the highlight of the whole film.

Crime: The French Connection puts us into the middle of a crime world with one deal taking place but filled with secrets.

Thriller: The French Connection does keep us guessing to what will happen next throughout.

Settings: The French Connection uses the settings of New York to bring the action to closer rather than on the open roads.

Suggestion: The French Connection is one I think most people should have seen at least once through the life span. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Car, train chase.

Worst Part: Cliff-hanger ending is slightly frustrating now.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Won 5 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director

Budget: $1,8 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

Tagline: Doyle is bad news – but a good cop.

Trivia: The car crash during the chase sequence, at the intersection of Stillwell Ave. and 86th St., was unplanned and was included because of its realism. The man whose car was hit had just left his house a few blocks from the intersection to go to work and was unaware that a car chase was being filmed. The producers later paid the bill for the repairs to his car.

 

Overall: Classic that will forever be one of the best

Ratingcard

Oscar Debate

Time to chip in on the Oscar diversity debate.

Having seen all of the films that have been up for Oscar contention there have only been 3 with black actors in, Concussion which is a good performance from Will Smith but the overall film comes off very average, Michael B Jordan is great as Creed and it could be debate that he could have had a nomination over Bryan Cranston but how can the Academy not nominate a guy for playing a character they blacklisted for his beliefs. The final movie that should have been looked at is Beasts of No Nation which is an incredible film but due to it being a Netflix film it has been over looked or not considered for judgement.

When you look at the best picture nominations you need to look at the studios that have gone heavy on the true stories involving white characters, The Revenant, The Big Short, Spotlight, Bridge of Spies, The Danish Girl, Steve Jobs and Joy. You also look at the fact Mad Max was an established character. this leaves on Room which they picked who they thought was the BEST ACTRESS for the role, The Martian a character written as a white character, and Brooklyn which is about an Irish girl meeting an Italian in America.

The question remains do the academy just nominate a minority to keep everyone happy even if the performances are not good enough?

We look back on the years and see in 2015 and see a Mexican director won Best Picture (Birdman) in a year where yet again the studios made true white people stories the big films, American Sniper, The Imitation Game (which in its own right is telling a very important story of one man’s troubles against the world because of his sexuality) The Theory of Everything, Foxcatcher and Selma which was a brilliant performance that DID get ignored.

2014 12 Years a Slave won Best Picture and Chiwetel Ejiofor only missed out to a brilliant Matthew McConaughey and Barkhad Adbi for Captain Philips also only missed to Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club. Lupita Nyong’o DID win Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years a Slave and a Mexican Won Best Director.

The next question is how do we solve this diversity problem Hollywood seems to be going through.

Option one – we have a larger number of films for best picture nowadays between 8-10 each year, why not have 8 for each category this gives a larger number of actors/actress to get their work noticed, the problem with this is that some of the selection will only be placed in this category to fill the numbers.

Option two – Open up the Oscars to different genres so the more commercial films do get the praise the audience they receive being considered Best at something. The problem with this is the acting isn’t always brilliant in these films and it will turn more into the MTV Awards.

Option three – Accept that the BEST performances have been chosen over any race, religious belief or prejudice. This is the controversial pick but what if the best performance has been picked and selecting anybody because they are different is disrespectful to them and the person that misses out.

 

My final closing points would be that no Asian actor has been nominated for much longer period of time, or any Asian film except for Studio Ghibli.

 

Is there a racial problem in Hollywood? Yes but it is the studios that start this problem, we also need to look at human history as see how badly Black people were treated in the past, We see Hollywood make real life stories but because of history we don’t have enough stories about the Black persons struggle that are recorded while the White man flourished with the stories of accomplishment that were recorded. I am not saying anybody’s stories are more important but this is going to take time to change but in a world where people still look at each differently instead of one species we need to treat each person as the individual they are not the colour of their skin, sexual preference or religious belief.

2015 Awards – Best Popcorn Film

Through the month of January I will be looking back on 2015, I will be looking at a range of subjects where I will be picking my best or worst in separate posts.

Today I will be look at Best Popcorn Film, for this award I am picking the best films you should just enjoy, the stories are not difficult subjects and they just offer pure entertainment for the audience.

Mentions that could have been number one;

·         Kingsman kingsman This is the most fun you will have watching a spy movie of recent years.

·         Furious 7 furious The franchise that is all about switching your brain off and enjoying bonkers actions doesn’t disappoint.

·         Jurassic World jurassic The return of the iconic series delivers with a bang, yes it has flaws but it is an easy watch.

·         Mission Impossible Rogue Nationmission This is would end being called the most series of all the film on the list but still it is just breath taking stunts from start to finish.

·         Star Wars The Force Awakens star warsThe film everyone seems to have been looking forward to and now most enjoyed, this doesn’t fail to give the fans what they want.

My favourite

·         Mad Max Fury Road mad maxJust a wow a film that everyone seems to enjoy and you can see why.