Bombshell (2019) Movie Review

Director: Jay Roach

Writer: Charles Randolph (Screenplay)

Starring: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow, Allison Janney, Malcolm McDowell, Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton

Plot: A group of women take on Fox News head Roger Ailes and the toxic atmosphere he presided over at the network.

Tagline – Based on a Real Scandal

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Brilliant, Yet Shocking

Story: Bombshell starts as we meet three different women who work for Fox News, first Megyn Kelly (Theron) who is at the peak of her career, facing battles against Donald Trump, Gretchen Carlson (Kidman) who has seen her big spot slowly slip away, with her high points of her career going away, believing it is because of how Order Ailes (Lithgow) sees her and finally Kayla Pospisil (Robbie) an up and comer in the industry, who is looking to make it big in Fox News.

All three women are telling the story, which takes a dramatic twist when Kayla learns about Roger’s habits, which is only highlight more when Gretchen is fired, leading her to sue for sexual harassment, waiting for the other women in Fox News past and present to bring their own stories to light, to bring down one of the most successful, but disgusting men in the business.

Thoughts on Bombshell

Characters – Megyn Kelly is the lead anchor for Fox News, she is heavily involved with debates involving the Presidential candidates, including Donald Trump, which sees her own life thrown into the spotlight, when he has a Twitter breakdown fighting her. She has had Roger’s support through the battle and after the lawsuit comes out, she is the pivotal person that doesn’t speak out to defend Roger, when everybody was trying to learn the truth. Gretchen Carlson is the older (well in TV world) host that has seen her star power dwindle after complaining about the behaviour of the men in her work, she puts together the idea of a lawsuit, waiting to pull the trigger once she is released. Kayla Pospisil is the younger of the three, she is waiting for her chance to get put on the TV screen, until she is left shocked by the behaviour from her hero, Roger who would make it possible, she is left feeling helpless, as she doesn’t know what to do after her incident. Roger Ailes is the man that runs Fox News, he built the company up from the bottom, he does support his employees, though he does have a certain level of standard, especially from the women in his company. This is how he ends up being left with nothing to defend himself when the scandal about his actions come to life. We do meet plenty of employees that all have different reactions for what happened, lawyers that are calmly trying to get to the truth or at least a settlement and just how the reactions all happen.

PerformancesCharlize Theron is wonderful in the leading role, you could barely recognise her either, but her confidence in the role is important to the story unfolding. Nicole Kidman is wonderful too, in a supporting role, but out of the three leading ladies Margot Robbie steals the show with two of the most memorable scenes of the film, which are both shocking and painful to watch. John Lithgow isn’t getting the praise he deserves for the film, because he brings this character to life with ease.

StoryThe story here follows the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Roger Ailes the founder and showrunner of Fox News, which is told through the eyes of three different women, in different parts of their careers. Where this story really does shine, comes from seeing how to start with is seems to show Roger is a positive light, with how he is supporting Megyn, with her Donald Trump problems, he does give us hints the Gretchen could have been considered difficult to work with and bitter about losing her headline job and is shows the naivety of Kayla trying to get up the system quickly, all these hints show us just how important it is to see how nobody would talk, because they thought they would have been the only one. Once the floodgates open we do learn the truth, but the idea of showing us how easily sexual harassers could get away with their actions for so long, is interest and important to see. Where the story can sometimes lose momentum, is having so many different victims with their own stories, we don’t get enough time to digest what has happened to them after what has happened.

BiopicWhile certain names have been changed, it is going to take some research to figure out who hasn’t changed, it does show how a victim will trying to spin the story to being their own fault, showing how the real victims didn’t know what to do, in a world left shocked by the truth.

SettingsMost of the film is set in the News Studios, it shows how closely the people worked together, how certain safety plans were point in place to left Roger get away with his intentions and how everybody would hear, see and be involved without even knowing the truth.

Scene of the Movie – Kayla’s late night phone call.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Slightly too many characters.

Final Thoughts This is an important, brilliantly acted movie that shows just how predatory Roger Ailes was with his staff and how speaking up changed the world.

Overall: Important Movie.

Mean Streets (1973)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Martin Scorsese, Mardik Martin (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, David Proval, Amy Robinson, Richard Romanus, Cesare Danova, Victor Argo

Plot: A small-time hood aspires to work his way up the ranks of a local mob.

Tagline – You don’t make up for your sins in church. You do it in the streets.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Scorsese 101

Story: Mean Streets starts as we follow small time criminals, Charlie (Keitel) and his boys Michael (Romanus), Tony (Proval) and Johnny Boy (De Niro) as they go through their normal days of threatening people for money and trying to reclaim the money the loaned out, all while doing their wheeling and dealing.

Charlie is trying to get his men involved in bigger jobs, despite the local crime bosses not liking all of his work, we follow them to see what they will do to stay relevant in this criminal world.

Thoughts on Mean Streets

Characters – Charlie is the ambitious criminal businessman, he mainly does small robberies with his crew and follows this up with scuffles in bars, he has dreams of moving up the ranks of the criminal underworld with his crew and this is his chance to make that happen. Johnny Boy is the reckless partner in crime for Charlie, he is usually the first one to swing a punch, though he can finish without anything stopping him. Tony is another member of the crew, he owns a bar and doesn’t want any illegal activities happening in his bar. Teresa is the girl next door and partner of Charlie, he reputation puts Charlie’s rise to power in doubt.

PerformancesRobert De Niro and Harvey Keitel are both wonderful in the leading role, showing the tough nature his character requires to become a threat in the film. The rest of the cast all feel like they are part of this criminal world too.

StoryThe story follows two criminals trying to put themselves on the map within the criminal world, trying to impress the local gangster, which sees them finding themselves getting in more trouble than it is worth. This story does show the old school criminal activity world which sees how the people in this world are trying to make a name for themselves by impressing others, we mostly follow them around the city as they try to cause troubles and stop anything getting out of hand, though it isn’t that much to deal with.

CrimeThe crime side of the film puts us into the underworld that the characters will be operating in.

SettingsThe film is set in Brooklyn that shows that we are in a tough neighbourhood where the criminals will always be fighting for control.

Scene of the Movie – Pool hall hustle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not that much going on.

Final Thoughts This is a typical crime world film that shows how criminals are all operating through the film.

Overall: Simple and basic crime film.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch Up 2019 – H – High Life (2018) Movie Review

Director: Claire Denis

Writer: Claire Denis, Jean-Pol Fargeau (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Andre Benjamin, Mia Goth, Agata Buzek, Lars Eidinger, Claire Tran

Plot: A father and his daughter struggle to survive in deep space where they live in isolation.

Tagline – Oblivion awaits.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sci-Fi That Offers More Questions Than Answers

Story: High Life starts as we follow lone astronaut Monte (Pattinson) who is on his mission with a baby Willow in tow, he completes the routine daily tasks to keep the space flying through deep space. Monte flashes back through his time on board the ship as we learn that he was one a selection of prisoners given this mission to cover their jail time, with Dr Dibs (Binoche) performing experiments on them.

As the truth gets reviled, we get to learn just why Monte is the last crew member and what happened to the previous members of the crew along with where Willow came from including who her mother really is.

Thoughts on High Life

Characters – Monte is alone on a spaceship with a baby, he is doing everything he can to keep his daughter alive, as we learn about his past on the ship and why he was selected. He was a prisoner that was given this chance to escape jail time and learnt how to survive amongst the crew. Dibs the scientist running the experiments of the crew, she is trying to prove or find a way to get humans to reproduce within space, she controls the crew for her every need though, which sees her needing to protect her experiment while going against the morals of her mission. Tcherny and Boyse are two of the other members of the crew that have been selected, they both have motivation for being there, while Boyse doesn’t settle on the levels of the other crew members.

PerformancesRobert Pattinson is the star of the show here, once again proving that he is in fact one of the best actors in the business today. Juliette Binoche shines too, which with this cast and their performances, is filled with wonderfully powerful performances.

StoryThe story here follows a lone astronaut that is trying to raise a baby in space on his one way mission, as he looks back at what happened to the rest of the crew over the years they were travelling through space conducting experiments took its toll on the crew. This is going to be a story that will easily divide the audience, it does show how Monte was able to adapt to his situation and learn how to survive, rather than trying to cut corners or act on his criminal ways like others do. The way this will divide the audience will come from the idea that this is just one mission of what could be many with each having different experiments, which is something we could have seen more from, understand the full ideas behind the missions. There is a lot of the story, which will be left for the audience to work out what has happened, or is happening without needing to spoon feed the answers.

Mystery/Sci-Fi The mystery side of the film is all about why Monte is alone with a baby and just what happened on the mission, which is a space mission which takes the characters through space.

SettingsThe film is set nearly entirely on the spaceship which does show the isolation of the mission, showing the crew must work together more than anything because they have nowhere else to go.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are mostly look towards the darkness of space, there is one black hole sequence that didn’t look as strong as it should have been.

Scene of the Movie – The second ship.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain characters did seem to just vanish.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting sci-fi mystery that will offer up plenty of questions that will let the audience make of what they want from the story being told.

Overall: Interesting Sci-Fi that will make you think.