The Irishman (2019) Movie Review

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Steven Zaillian (Screenplay) Charles Brandt (Book)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Anna Paquin, Jesse Plemons, Stephen Graham, Kathrine Narducci, Jack Huston

Plot: A mob hitman recalls his possible involvement with the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa.


Tagline – His story changed history.

Runtime: 3 Hours 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Just Another Gangster Movie

Story: The Irishman starts with Frank Sheeran (De Niro) recounting his time working under Russell Bufalino (Pesci) starting as a meat delivery man, a chance encounter with Russell brings them together. Russell was the guy that if anybody wanted something done, he would give the green light and expect it done.

Frank continued to rise working under the infamous Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino) who was in battle with the Kennedy’s who were trying to find a way to take down his unions, which does see Frank become the president of his own region.

Thoughts on The Irishman

Characters – Frank Sheeran is the narrator who is looking back through his life as he started as delivery driver before finding himself joining the mobs in the Italian neighbourhood, rising up the ranks from the bottom becoming one of the closest members of Jimmy Hoffa go to man, one of the most trusted hitmen in the mob. Jimmy Hoffa is the man that runs the unions, he has the attention of the Kennedy’s who have never trusted his business, he will always find a way to get his side of the story through without ever getting his hands dirty. He expects respect from everybody he deals with and will give it back, before he runs for office. Russell Bufalino is the one that gives Frank enter into the criminal world, a chance meeting opens the door and he will give the instructions Frank to follow. Peggy is the daughter of Frank that has grown up seeing his action become worse over the years.

PerformancesThe performances here are almost flawless, we get three of the greatest gangster movie performers in De Niro, Pacino and Pesci, you simply wouldn’t expect anything less from the three. The supporting cast is also wonderful, where once again the acting isn’t the weak part of the film.

StoryThe story here follows Frank Sheeran’s rise from delivery man to hitman under one of the leaders of the mobs through the 60’s and 70’s America. Most of the story is Frank recounting his career in the mob, seeing how he often watched the biggest moments in the background, only getting his hands dirty when he needs to. We do need to talk about the length of the film because there is a huge problem here, we have so many scenes we don’t really need, we do also end up going through the routine that every single gangster movie does, which just makes it feel like something we have seen before. The timeline does fill in the random deaths with a headline on screen, even if that person is only in one scene.

Biopic/CrimeWe do get to learn the life’s story of a notorious hitman through his own eyes, we see how he isn’t completely good, but he is loyal and always tries to do the right thing in the middle of the criminal world.

SettingsThe settings takes us back to the eras we are going through, we have the glamorous locations for parties, the small street locations that show us where the dirty work gets done and a location which means everything to Frank, where it all started.


Scene of the Movie – The taxis.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is just too long.

Final Thoughts This is a gangster film that gets heavyweight performances in a story that we have seen before that does seem to drag along for way too long.

Overall: Long Drawn Out Gangster Film.

Le Mans ’66 (2019) Movie Review

Director: James Mangold

Writer: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Jason Keller (Screenplay)

Starring: Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Caitriona Balfe, Jon Bernthal, Josh Lucas, JJ Field, Ray McKinnon, Noah Jupe

Plot: American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.


Tagline – They took the american dream for a ride

Runtime: 2 Hours 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sporting Classic

Story: Le Mans 66 starts as we see how Carroll Shelby (Damon) made history by winning the Le Mans 24 Hour race only to be forced into retirement because of medical problems, not wanting to walk away from the sport, he starts designing cars and turns to his friend a racer Ken Miles (Bale) to help race the cars.

When Henry Ford II (Letts) sees the sells in his car going down he turns to his team to think of ideas, Lee Iacocca (Bernthal) suggests challenging Ferrari in Le Mans, which sees Carroll hired to build a car capable of defeating them and he only wants Ken to drive for him, can they make history?

Thoughts on Le Mans 66

Characters – Ken Miles was the greatest racer of the era, the problem with him was always his attitude, never wanting to follow rules almost blacklisting him from most teams around the world, his wife wants him to race, his son looks up to him and Carroll knows he is the best man for the job, he help design the car with Carroll and his team and must prove himself on the track to get the drive at Le Mans. Carroll Shelby won Le Mans, retired from the racing side of the sport to start designing the cars, he is considered the best in America and is pick by Ford to design their race car, he will challenge the order of things because he knows he can achieve this, if he is given the chance to select who he wants in the car. Mollie is the ever-supportive wife of Ken, she wants him to drive knowing he will get bored if he doesn’t, she only asks that he is honest with her, she odes also get a great driving scene. we do get to meet plenty of executives from Ford, who each have their own agenda with Leo Beebe being made out to be the villain of the team, while Henry Ford II is made out to be strict, but will accept honesty.

PerformancesChristian Bale and Matt Damon are both fantastic proving to everyone why they are considered two of the best in the business today, they have great individual moments as well as banter between them. Outside of the two big names, nobody does get to reach their level and everybody is a joy to watch in their roles.

StoryThe story here follows Henry Ford II desire to beat Enzo Ferrari in the Le Mans 24-hour race, we see him hire a former winner turned designer to build his car, as the two sides do battle to get Ken Miles behind the wheel, in an attempt to make history. This does show how an American decided he would rather push the limits of his bank than improve the product he was making as we see how Ford changed the racing world that Ferrari had been dominating for decades and how faith in a driver is often more important that having the fastest car. The story is told over a couple of years, we get to see the important turns in the battle between Carroll and Ford’s executives to get the best driver behind the wheel, before letting us just sit back and enjoy the races. It could have had a little bit of the story chopped down to save some time though.

Action/Biopic/SportThe action mixes with the sport wonderfully to give us edge of the seat race moments that will be the highlight of the film, while the biopic side of the film seems to focus more on the car side of things only, while Ken does have a family, we really don’t learn anything else about Carroll outside of his work.

SettingsThe film recreates the iconic race track perfectly and shows us how the time relevant cars were used in nearly every scene of the film, on and off the track.


Scene of the Movie – Le Mans Race.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Give us subtitles for the Ferrari scenes.

Final Thoughts This is a high speed biopic that doesn’t let you breath through most of the action involved, it has brilliant performances from the whole cast and is a must watch for any motor sports fans.

Overall: Motor Sports Fans Must Watch.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – # – 6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain (2017)

Director: Scott Waugh

Writer: Madison Turner (Screenplay) Eric LeMarque, Davin Seay (Book)

Starring: Josh Hartnett, Mira Sorvino, Sarah Dumont, Kale Culley, Jason Cottle, Austin R Grant

 

Plot: An adrenaline seeking snowboarder gets lost in a massive winter storm in the back country of the High Sierras where he is pushed to the limits of human endurance and forced to battle his own personal demons as he fights for survival….”


Tagline – Never lose hope.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Survival Film 101

 

Story: 6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain starts as we meet the former rising ice hockey star Eric LeMarque (Hartnett) who has thrown his career away because of his drug addiction, facing a trial he decides to stay out of the limelight and head to the mountains for some snowboarding.

When a storm hits Eric finds himself lost in the mountain range, forced to survive on what he has, using his memories as motivation as he continues to battle his own addiction

 

Thoughts on 6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain

 

Characters – Eric LeMarque had a future as one of the top ice hockey players, he threw this away with hiss reckless behaviour which has seen his career all but gone. With his addiction taking over his life, he finds himself hitting rock bottom and needing to find some hope. Heading for a snowboard away from the world he ends up lost in the harsh wilderness doing everything he can to survive in the conditions which will test his desire to get over his addictions and rebuild his life. Susan is his mother, she has always supported her son and will do anything to help him put his life back on track and is the first to notice he hasn’t been heard from for days. Sarah is one of the rescue team on the mountain, she leads the search once they learn that Eric is missing.

PerformancesJosh Hartnett in the leading role does a good job, even if it feels slightly mis-cast because you get the feeling Eric was a lot younger than Hartnett. Mira Sorvino and Sarah Dumont are both solid in the supporting roles as we see them both needing to make difficult decisions.

StoryThe story here follows the incredible survival story of Eric LeMarque as he faces days lost in the snow-covered mountain range without anyone searching for him for days, while also battling his own demons of addiction. The story itself is based on the real events that happened to the man who needed to rebuild his life. This does show us just how hard the survival was, though it just doesn’t become the truly engrossing story it could have been, because anything that happens is something we have seen before, be it wolves or injuries. Eric isn’t the most likely guy either because anyone that throws away a sporting career for drugs frustrates the audience. The rescue side of the film either needed to be a bigger involvement or not involved at all, we simply don’t get enough focus on what is happening on this side of the film.

Adventure/BiopicThe adventure side of the film shows us just what could go wrong for an ambitious rush can turn into a battle to survive. The biopic side of the film shows us the days which Eric is lost in the harsh snowy mountain conditions as he battles to survive and his own demons.

SettingsThe film puts us in the mountain range covered in snow, showing us how easy it could be to become lost and how hard it would be to survive.


Scene of the Movie –
The climb.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Hartnett feels too old for this role.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book survival story, it does show an incredible fight to survive and does give us a form of redemption for a young man who was throwing his life away.

 

Overall: By the books survival film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – N – Notorious (2009)

Director: George Tillman Jr

Writer: Reggie Rock Bythewood, Cheo Hodari Coker (Screenplay)

Starring: Jamal Woolard, Anthony Mackie, Derek Luke, Angela Bassett, Antonique Smith, Charles Malik Whitfield

 

Plot: The life and death story of Notorious B.I.G. (a.k.a. Christopher Wallace), who came straight out of Brooklyn to take the world of rap music by storm.


Tagline – The story of the man behind the legend.

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fans of the Icon will Enjoy

 

Story: Notorious starts with the final moments of Christopher ‘Biggie’ Wallace (Woolard) life, before he flashes back to his childhood, raised by his single mother Voletta (Bassett), getting given a chance to start making money from drug dealing where he becomes addicted to make money, until he gets busted.

At 19 he gets a chance to enter the music industry when Puffy Daddy (Luke) gives him a way to escape the life of drug dealing, however difficult it seems. When Biggie finally get the record deal, he soon becomes an international sensation grabbing the attention from another rapper Tupac Shakur (Mackie) who soon becomes a rival with deadly consequences.

 

Thoughts on Notorious

 

Characters – Christopher ‘Biggie’ Wallace was a rapper from Brooklyn, he started on the streets as a drug dealer, before showing his rapping skills that saw him become one of the biggest rap stars in the world in the 90’s, we get to see how he has to deal with his vices with women chasing his desire to have too much money. The film doesn’t show him to be a nice man, he cheats on his partners, commits crimes and gets violent when he gets upset, it is a shame for somebody with talent to be such a horrible person. Sean Puffy Combs is the man that takes a chance on Biggie even after losing his position in a record company, he had an eye for talent and knew how to make the most out of it. Tupac is a rival rapper that starts with respect, but because of his continuing side business in drugs, the tension grows and Tupac soon starts a war against Biggie which became a bigger story than any of their music. Faith is Biggie’s wife that has the talent he has though she does become the one that stays with him even if they have an abusive relationship toward each other, well that is what the film shows us.

PerformancesJamal Woolard is brilliant in this leading role, he shows the laidback style Biggie presented himself as, while showing just how easily he can snap. Derek Luke and Anthony Mackie are both strong in the supporting roles, while the rest of the cast give us strong performances too.

StoryThe story here follows the life of Biggie one of the biggest rappers of the 90s that wanted to prove music could inspire change only to get drawn into a gang war with another rapper Tupac, one that made the two even more famous. We follow Biggie in and out of the music world, seeing how he was trying to escape a life of crime, but is drawn into relationship problems. The story doesn’t always paint him as a nice guy though, the way he handles the women in his life is getting into the abusive area. Otherwise this shows us how Biggie wasn’t interested in getting involved in the gang war, he just want to make honest money.

Biopic/Crime/MusicThe biopic side of the film shows how Biggie was being drawn towards a life of crime or leaving it behind to become a big music sensation and how his life changed with the new, making him part of one of the biggest rap battles in history. The crime world is showing how Biggie was always trying to get out of this world and give you hope to others that are facing it. While I personally wasn’t a fan of the music involved, it will please the fans of his music.

SettingsThe film is set in the backdrop Brooklyn shows where he has come from and how he wants to stay loyal to the people who supported him.


Scene of the Movie –
Making the choice.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The film doesn’t show him able to treat his women with respect.

Final ThoughtsThis is a biopic that showed how easily a rivalry can start within the business that could end up becoming deadly between two biggest names in the music industry.

 

Overall: Music biopic that defined a decade.

Rating

 

 

The Front Runner (2018)

Director: Jason Reitman

Writer: Matt Bai, Jay Carson, Jason Reitman (Screenplay) Matt Bai (Book)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons, Mark O’Brien, Molly Ephraim, Chris Coy, Alex Karpovsky,

 

Plot: In 1987, U.S. Senator Gary Hart‘s presidential campaign is derailed when he’s caught in a scandalous love affair.


Tagline – Gary Hart was going to be President. Instead he changed American Politics forever.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over-Populated Political Thriller

 

Story: The Front Runner starts after Gary Hart (Jackman) has missed out on the Vice-President position, four-years later in 1987, Gary is running for the Presidency, he is the clear favourite too, his team which includes Bill Dixon (Simmons) knows it is only a matter of time before he wins, while the opposition team is looking for weakness in his reputation.

Gary’s lead starts taking a hit when an early report of a potential affair emerges and before long every single newspaper in the country is trying to cover the story on different levels, some using it as a gossip column while others just want to question his own integrity. This will see Gary’s hope of becoming President come crashing down around him.

 

Thoughts on The Front Runner

 

Characters – These characters are based on real people, which will show certain ones in good and bad lights. Senator Gary Hart is running for Presidency, is has the whole campaign under complete control, which has all but guaranteed he would become the next President of the United States. Gary has the ability to spin any story that is placed on front of him, to show that he could bring America a brighter future. Gary however does have a secret with an affair which the press turn into a big story which sees him needing to try and recover from the spiralling situation he has created with his own wrong doing. Lee Hart is the wife of Gary, she has been part of a previous separation which made her suffer enough, she has however always stood by her man with strict rules for the future. Bill Dixon is the campaign manager for Gary, that wants to keep everything simple only this becomes difficult when the truth starts to come out. The Front Runner struggles with one big problem, we have such a large cast of characters it does make it hard to keep up with the almost nameless characters, we have three or four papers and their staff, the campaign team, the people involved in the potential affair, it just becomes completely keeping up with who is who.

PerformancesHugh Jackman is great to watch in the leading role, if he was given that one scene to try and make his character truly memorable it would have put him into a stronger respected performance for the year. Vera Farmiga does everything asked of her character which she doesn’t do anything wrong with. J.K. Simmons almost feels wasted in his role which should have been larger for what is going on. Most of the performances do seem to struggle for this reason.

StoryThe story here follows a presidential candidate whose life becomes filed with speculation after an alleged affair that both sides denied saw him going from a guarantee winner to needing to withdraw, changing the way politics are portrayed in the papers forever. This story does put the spotlight on the moment that saw a change in how politics and journalist operated, the film even points out in the fact that previous Presidents asked for heads to be turned about affairs, but this alleged one saw the country turn on any person that was willing to cheat. The story does show how the three weeks changed the whole race, only it does try to put way too many characters into the film which does make it hard to keep up with who each person is and what side of the story they really are on.

Biopic/HistoryWe follow a 3 week period in Gary Hart’s life, the three weeks that took him from being the next President to the moment he withdrew wanting to keep the false accusations about him out of the papers, this shows how quickly the public can turn on people and the media can make it happen, this plays into the history side of electing a President because we see how minds suddenly changed after how previous ones had acted.

SettingsThe film does use the authentic settings, show how the press would hide for a story, while Gary would use the public to put an end to the stories being made up.


Scene of the Movie –
Twisting the medias words.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story which does feel like it should be told to more people, only this version of the story is completely over-saturated be characters making it hard to keep up with.

 

Overall: Political Thriller that just doesn’t pack the punch.

Rating