Martin Scorsese Weekend – Raging Bull (1980)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Paul Schrader, Mardik Martin (Screenplay) Jake LaMotta, Joseph Carter, Peter Savage (Book)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent, Nicholas Colasanto, Maria Gallo

 

Plot: An emotionally self-destructive boxer’s journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside it.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over Hyped Boxing Film

 

Story: Raging Bull starts in 1941 the Bronx, New York City where we meet boxer Jake La Motta (De Niro) and his promoter, sparing partner and brother Joey (Pesci). The two look to set up the next fighter even though the married Jake spots the 15-year-old Vickie (Moriarty) who has connections with the mob.

Through the 40’s Jake remains unbeaten and marries Vickie and on the verge of a potential title fight. With his career taking off, his personal life is starting to fall apart as he becomes paranoid about what Vickie is doing with his violent side coming through.

 

Thoughts on Raging Bull

 

Characters/PerformanceJake is a brilliant boxer, one of the best of his generation but his out the ring temper causes more problems in his life as he is insecure about his wife’s loyalty, his brother’s loyalty and the people in his life. Vickie is the long-suffering wife that must deal with the temper of Jake while trying to retain a personal life against his wishes. Joey is the brother of Jake who also trains and books his fights but the two are always at conflict with each other.

Performance wise, De Niro is great through this film and you can see why people rave of his performance but I feel and we know he is capable of even better now. Pesci does a good job in what must have been a break through role for him. With Moriarty in her debut hanging with the big names very well.

StoryThe story does follow the career of Jake La Motta from small time boxer to champion to what happens to him after his career in the ring is over, we follow his paranoia in his personal life which comes out in his aggression. If you are into your boxing history you will enjoy the story otherwise you might not connect as well.

Biography/SportsLooking at the career is interesting but I do feel other boxing films are painted a more interesting career, the boxing itself looks fantastic through the film.

SettingsThe settings show us the time we are seeing the events unfold in which is done well throughout.

Final ThoughtsThis is a boxing film that I have heard huge things about, but I didn’t find myself getting engaged with the story in the way I was expecting and found elements of this film kind of boring.

 

Overall: This is one of the most popular boxing films of all time but it won’t make the top of any of my lists.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – P – Pride (2014)

Director: Matthew Warchus

Writer: Stephen Beresford (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Paddy Considine, Ben Schnetzer, Andrew Scott, Freddie Fox, George MacKay

 

Plot: U.K. gay activists work to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984.


Tagline – Based on the inspirational true story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant

 

Story: Pride starts in the summer of 1984, the miner’s strikes are on and the Pride movement is taking over London, Mark (Schnetzer) one of the leading campaigners joined by shy college student Joe (MacKay) in a movement known as ‘Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners’ after Mark sees that they are struggling through the same problems from the authority figures.

Dai (Considine) is part of one of the mining communities in Wales, he is the only person that will even consider taking the money raised by the support group, with the group heading to Wales, they are welcomed by some including the head of the committee Cliff (Nighy), but not everyone is as welcoming as the rest.

 

Thoughts on Pride

 

Characters – Mark is the leader of the Lesbian & Gays Support the Miners group, he believes if the two work together they could one day stop the problems they are facing, he inspires his group, builds bridges between the communities become one of the most iconic members of the movement. Joe is a young gay that is still in the closest, he wants to support the group and joins in the activities only to need to keep things secret from the rest of his family. Dai is the man that is willing to listen to the group, he welcomes the group to the village. Jonathan is one of the oldest members of the group, he has lived with the taboo for his whole life and will help the group make the right connections. Cliff is one of the miners that welcomes the group with open arms not seeing them to be different in anyway. Hefina is one of the committee that will push for any rights to help her community that has suffered for so long.

PerformancesBen Schnetzer in the leading role is fantastic, showing the charisma required as well as giving us the feeling that he doesn’t know what will happen. George MacKay continued to show he is going to be a big name in the future with his withdrawn and important performance in this film. Dominic West is good in his role which shows us just how much range he has. Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton both shine in the supporting roles.

StoryThe story here shows us how the Lesbian & Gay community came together even against their own battle to help the minders in their own strike against the government. We are shown how communities would have needed to come together to be given their chance to just have equality in the world, this both frustrates because of what was around and shows the support needed to make things happen and how easily minds can be changed. We get to see the people that made a difference in the world, the people that held them back and just how important each and every person that supports equality can be. This is one that could show us how the country changed, came together and most importantly showed us how difficult the steps can be for the people who are struggling.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic side of the film shows us how the people who were truly involved showed the courage to stand up for what they believe in. the comedy comes from the actions from both sides of the fight and how they remained confident and broke barriers.

SettingsThe film uses two main settings, London where we follow the LGB community with their own fight and in Wales as we see the miner’s village which has been struggling with their problems with the strike.


Scene of the Movie –
The march

That Moment That Annoyed Me Knowing this was still a problem in 80s.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the powerful biopic that shows us just what people can achieve by working together to make a difference in the world.

 

Overall: Must watch.

Rating

 

 

Outlaw King (2018)

Director: David Mackenzie

Writer: Bathsheba Doran, David Mackenzie, James MacInnes (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Pine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Florence Pugh, Billy Howle, Paul Blair, Sam Spruell

 

Plot: A true David v Goliath story of how the great 14th Century Scottish ‘Outlaw King’ Robert The Bruce used cunning and bravery to defeat and repel the much larger and better equipped occupying English army.


Tagline – Based on the Untold True Story

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Brutality of War

 

Story: Outlaw King starts after William Wallace has been defeated and the English have taken over Scotland, accepting the surrounding kings and lords. Robert Bruce (Pine) is ready to take over his father’s role with King Edward I (Dilldane) controlling the land, with Elizabeth (Pugh) being married to Robert.

When Robert kills, he breaks the peace between the two nations with Scotland naming him King, England brand him the Outlaw king forcing him to build a new army to fight back against the English against all the odds.

 

Thoughts on Outlaw King

 

Characters – Robert Bruce is the son of his father’s name, next in line for royalty during a time of peace under English control, his action start a new war where he becomes King and must lead the fellow Scots in battle against the odds. He offers the people a chance to be by his side or against him without holding their decision against them, remaining fair to everyone in conflict. Elizabeth Burgh is the English lady that is forced to marry Robert, the two do get on which helps complete the peace, when the peace is broken she stands by his side and is used to bait Robert out of hiding. James Douglas joins the battle with Robert as he looks to regain the honour his family name deserves. Prince Edward is leading the English army in hunting down Robert and the rebels, he is doing this to impress his father with his place of King in his future.

PerformancesChris Pine gives us a wonderful performance showing us once again how he can adapt to any role given to him, never looking out of place playing a Scotsman. Florence Pugh continues her run in the period piece films, she shows us once again that she does have the talent for someone as young as she is. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is strong in the supporting role, he looks like the desperate man that he is meant to be playing. Billy Howle is strong too, we see how he can make his desire for power be the thing which drives his performance.

StoryThe story here shows us the story of Robert Bruce the Outlaw King of Scotland who fought against the odds to reclaim the kingdom of Scotland from the English. We know how ‘Braveheart’ has its own version of the battle which the English won, this story takes place in the aftermath of the real story which peace couldn’t be kept leading us to battle once again and showed us just how confrontational the two nations were. We get a lot of different titles which can become slightly confusing to keep up on who is what and in what line to become king of whichever nation they are fighting for.

Action/Biopic/HistoryThe action is massive scale battles which are shot in the same style of Game of Thrones, this being realistic is great for effect, but difficult to watch when it comes to see the horses getting slaughtered in the battle. The history lesson and biopic side of the film shows who Robert and his men were along with they would end up becoming.

SettingsThe film gives us locations that feel like they could be from the same time, we get the beauty of the Scottish countryside which only shows how they made their own advantage.


Scene of the Movie –
The battles.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Keeping on top of who is what ranking.

Final ThoughtsThis is a new brutal battle movie, it gives the history lesson needed and shows how people defined the future for people in the world.

 

Overall: Brutal history lesson.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – A – American Made (2017)

Director: Doug Liman

Writer: Gary Spinelli (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Jesse Plemons, Caleb Landry Jones, Lola Kirke

 

Plot: The story of Barry Seal, an American pilot who became a drug-runner for the CIA in the 1980s in a clandestine operation that would be exposed as the Iran-Contra Affair.


Tagline – Based on a True Lie

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable

 

Story: American Made starts as Barry Seal (Cruise) a pilot gets offered a job by the CIA agent Monty Schafer (Gleeson) to fly over different parts of Northern and Southern America to take photos for the CIA, the job is exclusive but as his family grows with Lucy (Wright) having children, he needs more money.

When one if his flights takes him to South America he meets businessman Pablo Escobar (Mejia) and his partners who recruit him to smuggle drug into America. Before long Barry is getting pushed into other forms of smuggling both to and from America.

 

                            Thoughts on American Made

 

Characters – Barry Seal was a small-time cigar smuggling pilot before he gets recruited by the CIA to fly over other parts of the Americas to spy, soon he becomes involved in large scale smuggling across America both in and out, he believes he is working in the CIA but always seemed to be getting slightly in deeper than first thought. He struggles to keep his personal life together with his wife and children suffering his sudden changes in location. Monty is the CIA agent that recruits Barry to smuggle, he believes he is in control of the whole situation as he bails Barry out of trouble and gives him the instructions from the American side of the events. Lucy is the wife of Barry that must deal with his lifestyle but once there is a large amount of money involved she embraces the life of luxury for her family. We do have the drug dealing side of the characters that Barry deals with but we only see them in the dealing side of the story.

PerformancesThis is another Tom Cruise vehicle where he shows just how talent he is, this helps his credibility after the disaster which was The Mummy, this could be his best full ranged acting performance in years. Domhnall is great in his supporting role showing he can work in nearly any genre right now. Sarah Wright is good but we don’t get to see enough of her characters struggle or enjoyment of the money.

StoryThe story follows Barry Seal and how he went from small-time cigar smuggler into one of the most infamous drug and gun smugglers in modern American history. We follow the events from how he remembers them explaining how he just didn’t seem to know how things just kept falling his way but he went with the flow and how the government helped support the international gun trade. This was a lot more interesting that I could imagine showing us just how corrupt the government could be when it needed to be.

Action/Biopic/ComedyThe action comes from how Barry would get the job done, he has edge of the seat moments of when it comes to the flight sequences, the comedy is lightly toned into the story which sounds like a comedy over a real story but seeing the story of Barry Seal and his smuggling makes for an interesting biopic.

SettingsThe film does take us across difference parts America to show where Barry ends up going to which all look like the time being presented in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Emergency Landing

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does make the idea seem like a good thing rather than a criminal in action.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertaining biopic that shows how a smuggler ran a multi-million-dollar organisation that even the government supported.

 

Overall: Enjoyable movie all around.

Rating

 

 

First Man (2018)

Director: Damien Chazelle

Writer: Josh Singer (Screenplay) James R Hansen (Book)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Corey Stoll, Pablo Schreiber, Christopher Abbot, Ethan Embry, Ciaran Hinds, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler

 

Plot: A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969.


Tagline – Experience the impossible journey to the Moon.

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Biopic

 

Story: First Man starts as we see how Neil Armstrong (Gosling) can solve problems in flight with one of his test mission to the limits of the atmosphere going wrong before he saved it, we meet his family wife Janet (Foy) and children Richard and Karen, we see how they suffered a tragic loss of young Karen, which drove him to apply to become an astronaut.

We follow the astronaut training program which showed Neil’s abilities to solve problems even after seeing his friends around him lose their lives to the pursuit of space. We follow up to the legendary mission he will always been known for as he was the first man to walk on the moon.

 

Thoughts on First Man

 

Characters – These characters are and were real people, Neil Armstrong is always going to be remembered as the first man to walk on the moon, we see how this shy man managed to overcome his own personal tragedies to achieve this as we see how he reacts and deals with everything that gets thrown at him until he made history. Janet is his wife, she also suffers through the tragedies, she will give Neil all the support he needs to make sure he will keep his promises to come home, we mostly watch how she must keep the life for their children normal and calm. Edward Higgins White is one of the fellow astronauts, one that becomes close friends with him through the training and the program, he is the one that will offer a shoulder if Neil ever needed it. We meet many famous names from the astronaut programs each gets there moment, we know Buzz Aldrin was onboard Apollo 11 and of the other big named astronauts we know Jim Lovell from the Apollo 13 mission.

PerformancesRyan Gosling gives us a magnificent performance as the icon of astronauts, he shows us how shy, timid and genius Neil was, never making him a cocky man, this simple performance makes you understand each emotion he is going through. Claire Foy sets away from the small screen to give us a flawless performance as the wife who must remain strong, but dealing with anxiety of the unknown through each mission. The rest of the cast are great through the film, each actor gets to pay the respect to the man they are performing as.

StoryThe story here follows Neil Armstrong’s life from 1961 to his moon landing in 1969. We do have plenty of interesting aspects to his life, be it the battle to remain strong after his daughter’s death or the feeling of proving himself worthy of being part of the astronaut program. While these are all wonderful to watch, they do feel like they are being told, like, this is what happened here, then this, then this and so on. It never feels like a smooth story and the movie does make out that Neil was an excellent astronaut, but terrible PR man, he didn’t do anything stupid or risky, he lack charisma that other astronauts had, he was just the right choice for the job. The biggest warning you must have before going in, is that this does follow his life over the space program, yes, we do have parts of the space program and they are the most entertaining parts, but we also follow his life away from this.

Biopic/History8 years in the life of the most iconic man to go into space, we see his lowest point in his life, to the crowning achievement, nobody can ever take away from him. The history side of the film shows us the key moments in the space race, if you know the basics you will know these moments.

SettingsThe film recreates the settings brilliantly, be it the world around the space race, or the cockpits the astronauts get rammed into with little space for any freedom on these deadly missions.

Special EffectsThe effects are mesmerizing, when we are in space we are left stunned by the beauty of the views these men had. The film is also used to make it feel like it is shot for the same time the events took place.


Scene of the Movie –
Apollo 11

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many close ups.

Final ThoughtsAs a space race fan this manages to shed new light on the man who made history, it gave us brilliant performance, effects and shows us there was more behind the man than just the icon.

 

Overall: Must watch biopic.

Rating