Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Director: Sidney Lumet

Writer: Frank Pierson (Screenplay) Leslie Waller (Book)

Starring: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Penelope Allen, Charles Durning

 

Plot: A man robs a bank to pay for his lover’s operation; it turns into a hostage situation and a media circus.


Tagline – This movie was not dreamed up by a screenplay writer. It couldn’t have — not with all the bizarre things that actually happened that day in a real bank, with real hostages and with Sonny Wortzik – the most unreal person who ever wanted to rob a bank

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tension Biopic

 

Story: Dog Day Afternoon starts as Sonny (Pacino) and Sal (Cazale) attempt to rob a bank, they are polite with how they handle everything not wanting to hurt anybody in the process. What seemed like a simple bank robbery takes a turn when officer Moretti (Durning) calls to negotiate a peaceful outcome.

With Moretti trying to keep Sonny calm we learn just how unprepared Sonny is, as the hostage situation soon turns into a media circus spiralling out of control. We soon learn Sonny’s motivation for the robbery which gains him the support of the public leaving us to wonder how it will end.

 

Thoughts on Dog Day Afternoon

 

Characters – Sonny has planned the bank robbery, but he has only planned for the robbery not a hostage situation, he is working to stay in control as he befriends the hostages never get violent enjoying the media circus that surrounds the situation. His motivations are good and over the course of the movie we start to support his actions. Sal is the partner in the robbery, he doesn’t want to hurt anyone, he is a man of few words and doesn’t seem like he is completely all there in the head. Sylvia is the head cashier, she doesn’t want to leave her girls behind becoming the voice of reason at times between the two sides.

PerformancesAl Pacino is fantastic in this role, he showed everybody just how talented he is, the career he was about to have and how he can control, dominate a 2-hour movie. John Cazale is great in the supporting role, he shows must of his feelings in expressions which is what his character requires. Penelope Allen is strong too, while only being a supporting role she is strong throughout the film.

StoryThe story starts with the robbery starting and finishes with the outcome, we have no build up no aftermath which is what we needed for the film. while I know it isn’t real time it does feel like real time as we follow the events as Sonny and Moretti try to stay one step ahead of each other. This is based on a real event which was the circus event shown in the movie, this is one of the stories that drags you in and makes you want to see where things will go.

Biopic/CrimeThis is a biopic that shows one event on Sonny’s life, this is the only part we need to see because it is the event that changes his life. The crime is a bank robbery which goes from simple to complicated for Sonny quickly.

SettingsThe whole film is set at the bank, this is the only setting we need because it shows how the situation could get out of hand because Sonny has been backed into a corner.


Scene of the Movie –
Attica, Attica.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I couldn’t find one.

Final ThoughtsThis is an acting masterclass from Pacino, this is his best performance of his career, it shows a story that was based on the real events which keep us on edge throughout the film. This is easily one of the best movies of all time.

 

Overall: Brilliant Thriller that stands the test of time.

Rating

 

 

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The Mercy (2018)

Director: James Marsh

Writer: Scott Z Burns (Screenplay)

Starring: Rachel Weisz, Colin Firth, David Thewlis, Mark Gatiss, Andrew Buchan, Anna Madeley

 

Plot: The incredible story of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst and his solo attempt to circumnavigate the globe. The struggles he confronted on the journey while his family awaited his return is one of the most enduring mysteries of recent times.


Tagline – Based on the true story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nicely Paced, Lacks Impact

 

Story: The Mercy starts when inventor Donald Crowhurst (Firth) who has been working on boating equipment for years decides he wants to try and circumnavigate the globe alone, with no experience of sailing behind him. His wife Clare (Weisz) supports his decision believe he knows what he is getting himself into and Rodney Hallworth (Thewlis) handling the press and Mr Best (Stott) financing the trip.

While on the adventure, plans don’t go to plan and alone Donald must make a difficult decision to cut the corners to both save his life from danger and break the records set out on front of him. When his journey gets studied questions arise and soon the mystery about his pace come to light.

 

Thoughts on The Mercy

 

Characters – Donald Crowhurst has been inventing equipment for boats for years, the one things he desires more is to go around the world, which he puts into motion by building the fastest boat, but with no experience can he do the impossible? Clare is his wife back home and mother to their children, she faces the anxious wait for him to return from his journey, while dealing with the idea he might not make it back and the increased public spotlight thrown on the family because of his success. Rodney is the press officer arranging the sponsors for Donald and bring in the press to tell his story to the world, he becomes more involved the better and faster Donald does.

PerformancesColin Firth is the star of this show, he does much of the work in solo takes showing the endurance he is facing in the middle of the ocean, the moments of beauty and the moments or loneliness shine through in his expressions. Rachel Weisz is good and shines in a couple of scenes, but doesn’t show her full skills. David Thewlis is always an excellent supporting performer too.

StoryThe story follows an unlikely sailor taking on one of the riskiest and most dangerous journey a sailor can take alone. He brings hope to any sailor with the idea, but the truth will leave that hope shattered in one of the biggest mysteries in the sailing world. this is based on a real-event which is interesting to see unfold, my problem with the way the story is told, is that we don’t really know what happened and never get any real evidence either way, which by the end leaves you playing into theories over the truths.

Adventure/BiopicThe adventure plays into the idea that Donald could be going on a journey that could inspire anyone. The biopic side of the film shows how the family was dealing with the journey, but what Donald did on the boat can’t be answered.

SettingsThe film creates the time period well and the time spent on the boat feels like the adventure it was meant to be.


Scene of the Movie –
The wildlife shots.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not knowing the truth.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting biopic that shows a mystery that was never truly solved, it is paced nicely but lack that point of solving the mystery only making suggestions.

 

Overall: Solid biopic with great performances.

Rating

 

 

Natalie Portman Weekend – Jackie (2016)

jackieDirector: Pablo Larrain

Writer: Noah Oppenheim (Screenplay)

Starring: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt, Richard E Grant

 

Plot: Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children, and define her husband’s historic legacy.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Look Into Jackie Kennedy’s Life

 

Story: Jackie starts one week after the assassination of President John F Kennedy and Jackie (Portman) wants her husband remembered the way she wants, calling on journalist (Crudup) to write an article on what she will do next.

Jackie recounts the intimate accounts of the aftermath of the assassination as Jackie herself must come to terms with her husband’s murder while the country comes to terms with the death of their President. Jackie wants to make sure her husband gets a funeral a leader of state should receive.

 

Thoughts on Jackie

 

StoryWhen you look at American history there is two shocking assassination we have seen of Presidents and JFK was the first world saw, we have seen how people have speculated, remade the event for years to come but we have never looked at Jackie’s part during the event. This is where the story shines because unlike the nation she is experience the death of her husband who was going to make America a country that was moving onto greatness. Looking at the intimate details of what it was like for Jackie after the event was refreshing and enjoyable to see from start to finish because you fully understand every decision she made.

BiographyLooking into this tragic time for Jackie Kennedy was something we have barely seen before as most of the focus is on JFK’s death. looking at how Jackie has to deal with the tragic events is something this film gets so right we can enjoy she just how powerful she was too.

Characters/PerformanceWe have real people being portrayed once again in this film so it is hard to look past the people’s decision making process through the events. Portman is leaps and bounds above the rest of the cast shining through every single scene she is part of, it is when you look past Portman’s performance you get good performances from the rest of the cast that all do great without being considered to be on Portman’s level.

SettingsEach setting used in the film makes us feel like we are part of the chapter of the life of Jackie Kennedy after her husband assassination. We fully believe this is unfolding on front of us as the story continues.

Final ThoughtsThis is an important look at one of the most shocking moments in American history.

 

Overall: I think this will be a film many people will miss but they will miss out on something very important.

Ratingcard

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Ip Man 3 (2015)

Director: Wilson Yip

Writer: Tai-lee Chan, Lai-yin Leung, Edmond Wong (Screenplay)

Starring: Donnie Yen, Lynn Hung, Jin Zhang, Mike Tyson, Patrick Tam

 

Plot: When a band of brutal gangsters led by a crooked property developer make a play to take over a local school, Master Ip is forced to take a stand.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong but Still Weakest of the Trilogy

 

Story: Ip Man 3 starts as we learn Ip Man (Yen) is now one of the most respected men in town with larger class of students and helping in the community.  Secretly in town Frank (Tyson) has been running a fight club that Tin-chi (Zhang) is the star fighter and Ip and Tin-chi become friends as they fight to protect their children’s school from a gangster and former student Ma King-Sing (Tam) to fight their battles.

Ip must face his most personal battle when his own son is taken as part of the leverage to get his men to leave the school and Tin-chi proves to be a worthy fighting partner even if hi morals are not as clean as Ip’s, but soon Tin-chi becomes jealous of the publicity Ip man gets over him.

 

Thoughts on Ip Man 3

 

Characters – Ip has once again reached the status we first met him in the first film, respect from everyone that has heard of him. This time he must battle a personal battle against gangster and another one that he will not be winning. Cheung the wife of Ip has been by his side through everything but this time she must help Ip man face mortality. Tin-chi is also a Wing Chun fighter that has been fighting in the fight clubs but soon he wants to make a name for himself in battle against Ip.

PerformanceDonnie Yen continues his record of being great as the Ip Man showing the combat needed to handle a higher emotional level than before. Lynn Hung gives her best performance in the franchise to date, but this is because she actually has something to do this time. Jin Zhang is great to showing he could potentially be a next generation of big name fighters to come from China.

StoryThe story here does feel less significate this time around because Ip has his status regain, he is only fighting the odd gangster as one man wants to prove who the Grandmaster in town is, it is the personal story between Ip and his wife that is the strongest part of story but it just doesn’t get the most focus required in the story. of the three this is easily the weakest of the series, it is also the most confusing due to the villains seemingly only lasting for about 30 minutes.

Action/Biography/SportsThe action is fantastic once more and shows how to put together a martial arts movie but just for the biopic part of the film, it does just feel like they are just using the name to make a small story bigger.

SettingsWe continue to move into the future of Ip’s life and the settings show this without them looking out of place in anyway.

Scene of the Movie – Dance, not fight

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lack of true villain this time around.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong trilogy for the action sequences throughout the film but this is the weakest combat story even if it does have the most important personal story for Ip to go through.

 

Overall: Great action set piece.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Ip Man 2 (2010)

Director: Wilson Yip

Writer: Tai-lee Chan, Hiu-Yan Choi, Edmond Wong (Screenplay)

Starring: Donnie Yen, Xiaoming Huang, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Lynn Hung, Kent Cheng, Darren Shahlavi

 

Plot: Centering on Ip Man’s migration to Hong Kong in 1949 as he attempts to propagate his discipline of Wing Chun martial arts.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard Hitting Actioner

 

Story: Ip Man 2 starts in 1949, as Ip Man (Yen) has migrated to Hong Kong to start his own martial arts school, struggle for pupils early on it is Wong Shun-Leung (Huang) who becomes his first student, one of many who want to learn the art of Wing Chun. Ip must also come to terms with the causalities of the war with the friends that are no longer the same.

Ip clashes with fellow Master Hung Chun-Nam (Hung) who also has control of the city, this forces Ip into passing tests to prove himself worthy of being able to train in the city. This soon turns into a city-wide battle between the students trying to honour their masters.

 

Thoughts on Ip Man 2

 

Characters – Ip Man find himself residing in Hong Kong, he looks to pass on his training to anyone who wants to learn but he must stand up for what he believes in against the Master who runs the city to prove he is the true master. Leung is the first student Ip recruits, he is rash at times but his determination is everything needed to learn. Master Hung runs the city, he sees Ip as a threat to his power but over the course of the film the two learn to put aside their difference to face a common enemy.

PerformanceDonnie Yen once again shines in this leading role showing us once again that he is ready to be the biggest name in martial arts films. Xiaoming Huang is also good in this supporting role showing us a student role needed for the movie. Sammo Hung is great in his role as the rival master that grows respect through the film, it plays it all straight throughout. The performance throughout are good though the Brits do feel out of place in the film with their performances that do feel over the top.

StoryThe story does follow Ip Man as he must overcome a foreign enemy as well as one from home. Yes, the enemy isn’t as deadly to the whole country this time but it does show how he will stand up for his martial art form against anyone who is willing to get in his way and gain respect from the people that doubted him. It does feel like the previous formula once more with less of a threat but a deadlier final showdown.

Action/Biography/Sports The action here is fantastic with the combat sequences looking and feeling like the punches and kicks are real, this is also a look at another chapter of Ip Man’s life and what his belief and martial arts style bought to the world.

SettingsThe settings have changed but they still look like we are part of the movie for each of the experience Ip Man goes through.

Scene of the Movie – The massive fish market battle early on, because of the scale of the battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Brits are made to be complete assholes.

Final ThoughtsA sequel worthy of standing tall next to the first and one that can be enjoyed picking up in the middle too.

 

Overall: Must watch again for martial arts fans.

Rating