The Contender (2000)

Director: Rod Lurie

Writer: Rod Lurie (Screenplay)

Starring: Gary Oldman, Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Christian Slater, Sam Elliott, William Petersen, Saul Rubinek, Philip Baker Hall

 

Plot: Senator Laine Hanson is a contender for US Vice President, but information and disinformation about her past surfaces that threatens to de-rail her confirmation.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Political Thriller

 

Story: The Contender starts as President Jackson Evans (Bridges) is in search for a new Vice-President after the death of the previous one. When senator Jack Hathaway (Petersen) witnesses a car crash but is unsuccessful in rescuing the victim, this eliminates him from the race for the Vice-President role because it will show failure in his character.

President Jackson selects who he wants in Senator Laine Hanson (Allen). It isn’t long before Shelly Runyon (Oldman) the judge of the committee of the confirmation procedure and young upstart Reginald Webster (Slater) to try and expose the secrets of Laine so they can select Hathaway as Vice-President.

As the confirmation committee continue their questioning Laine’s personal life is opened for all to see, leaving her to find herself folding on her own morals or fight back against the people exposing her life’s decisions.

 

Thoughts on The Contender

 

Characters/PerformanceLaine is a senator who gets thrust into the public spotlight as the lead contender to be Vice-President, she has led a life that does have secrets but nothing illegal, she wants to stand by her morals if she is given the role even though she is going to get her past exposed. Shelly is the man trying to plan his own decision on who will be the next Vice-President, he has been planning to get one over the President’s choice.  President Jackson is a strong man, a leader who keeps his cards close to his chest but also knows how to keep the people he is scouting near him to learn their motives. The rest of the characters are all great throughout to work within their roles in how the events will unfold.

Performance wise, Joan Allen is fantastic in the lead role of this movie showing all the integrity needed for a Vice-Presidential candidate. Gary Oldman as always is fantastic in his role that you barely even know it is him. Jeff Bridges even in a supporting role is gripping to see as we do just want to see where his performance will take us. Each and every supporting performance is great through this film and completely worth watching as one of their best.

StoryA story that focuses on the ideas of what would make a good Vice-President, we see how events in their lives are not important to where they are now, we also see how their beliefs shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to making the right decisions for the country. We see how the contenders can go out of their way to make something happen but most importantly we see how they can be honest when it comes to making the right choices.

ThrillerThe film does keep us on edge throughout the story unfolding as we are looking to see what the next secret could be and if it could damage the campaign.

SettingsThe settings all come off how you would expect with the story unfolding, we have the White House, the courtroom and her own personal home where each detail is learnt about.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to political thrillers this is easily one of the best you will see, it is a must watch for the fans of the genre and the heavyweight performances show us this.

 

Overall: Political masterclass of a film.

Rating

 

 

Our Last Tango (2017)

 OUR LAST TANGO will be released in UK cinemas on 22nd September www.ourlasttangofilm.co.uk #OurLastTangoFilm

 

Director: German Kral

Writer: German Kral, Daniel Speck (Screenplay)

 

Plot: The life and love story of Argentina’s famous tango dancers Maria Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes, who met as teenagers and danced together for nearly fifty years until a painful separation tore them apart.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Dance Documentary

 

Story: Our Last Tango starts with our 80-year-old dancers Maria Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes telling their story of how they met as teenagers and how their styles just clicked, we learn how they were just the perfect match when it came to stage and dancing for 50 years.

We learn how the two did have their difference on and off the stage but did take Tango to a new level for a new audience, we see how their own personal lives affects life decisions which eventually led to the break-up of the dancing partnership.

 

Thoughts on Our Last Tango

 

StoryThe film here shows us the way tango evolved to keep up with more popular or modern dance trends from the 1950s right up to the modern-day times, we learn how the two most iconic dancers from the field went from small venues to bring invited around the world to show off the tango. We do learn the personal effects of the long-term dance partnership on the two stars, we do get to follow this story like the students and journalists interviewing the two icons which helps us relate to the learning process too.

Documentary/MusicWhen you watch a documentary you want to learn about the subject matter, that happens here, while you don’t learn how to tango, that will require lessons, you will learn how it became popular in the modern culture.

Final ThoughtsTango will always be a dance people will talk about, not many can master and this will give you the lessons about the two icons of the dance that helped bring it into the modern world even after their own personal differences.

 

Overall: This is a good watch for documentary fans.

Rating

 

Argentina, Germany 2015
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Runtime: 85 minutes

 

OUR LAST TANGO premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in 2015 and also screened at Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Japan and the Berlin International Film Festival.

Director German Kral was born in 1968 in Argentina and moved to Germany in 1991 to study film at the Munich Film School. A former pupil of Wim Wenders, between 1993 and 1996 he worked with Wenders on the feature film A Trick of the Light. His film Música Cubana (2004), executive produced by Wim Wenders, had its international premiere at the Venice Film Festival and has been sold all over the world.

 

OUR LAST TANGO Key Production Credits

 

Production Companies: Lailaps Pictures, Horres Film & TV, German Kral Filmproduktion

Screenwriter / Director: German Kral

Producers: Nils Dünker, Dieter Horres, German Kral

Co-producers: Birgit Rothörl, Josef Brandmaier

Executive Producers: Wim Wenders, Rodrigo Furth, Jakob Abrahamsson

Director of Photography: Jo Heim BVK, Félix Monti ADF

Costumes designer: Giselle Peisojovich, Cecilia Belsito

Production designer: Matías Martínez

Sound: Celeste Palma

Sound designer: Jörg Elsner

Music composer: Luis Borda, Sexteto Mayor

Editor: Ulrike Tortora

Cast: María Nieves Rego, Juan Carlos Copes

 

 

About Celluloid Circus and the Argentine Film Festival

 

Celluloid Circus is a film events and promotions company championing the most exciting films from around the world including outstanding Spanish-language films such as Ciro Guerra’s Oscar-nominated Embrace of the Serpent and Damián Szifron’s BAFTA Best Foreign Film winner Wild Tales.

 

In 2012 Celluloid Circus launched London’s first Argentine Film Festival to provide a showcase for the best contemporary films from and about Argentina, and in 2016 celebrated their fifth festival with Argentine director Pablo Trapero in attendance at special summer edition across Curzon and Picturehouse Cinemas in London’s West End.

 

2017 will see Celluloid Circus take a new direction with this, it’s first theatrical release of a Spanish-language title into UK cinemas.