Heath Ledger Weekend – Ned Kelly (2003) Movie Review

Director: Gregor Jordan

Writer: John Michael McDonagh (Screenplay) Robert Drewe (Novel)

Starring: Heath Ledger, Orland Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, Naomi Watts, Joel Edgerton, Laurence Kinlan

Plot: An innocent man becomes one of the most wanted criminals the world has ever known.


Tagline – When the law tried to silence him a legend was born.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Biopic 101

Story: Ned Kelly starts in 1871 Australia where an Irish family the Kelly’s have settled in with the eldest son Ned (Ledger) ends up getting into trouble with the law, that has always targeted his family, seeing him placed in prison for a couple of years. Once out Ned does start to try and turn his family’s luck around with his friends Joseph Byrne (Bloom) and Aaron Sherritt (Edgerton), while working for an English family where Ned falls for Julia (Watts).

When Ned gets framed for assault by the constable that has always been out for his blood, his family gets targeted, but not the police are not going to stop until they have his head, forcing Ned to go on the run to protect his family, making him one of the most wanted criminals in the world.

Thoughts on Ned Kelly

Characters – Ned Kelly is a young Irish man that has always seen his family targeted by the law, he has gotten himself in trouble because of this, which sees him falsely accused and becoming a target. Ned refused to back down from the law needing to go on the run, leading to him becoming an outlaw taking from the rich inspiring the poor as he fights for what is right and his family’s pride. Joseph Byrne is Ned’s best friend, he will stand by his side through his battles, needing to do the right thing. Superintendent Francis Hare is the man charged with capturing the Kelly gang, he doesn’t want to hear the story, he just wants them gone. Julia Cook is an English woman that Ned was working for, she is one of the few that will help him seeing the good in his nature, but being held back by her own family.

PerformancesHeath Ledger does a great job here showing how he wanted to break his pretty boy image, this performance makes this happen with ease. Orlando Bloom in the supporting role is strong without being truly great, while Geoffrey Rush feels wasted, with him being involved but not getting too much screen time, same goes for Naomi Watts, she just doesn’t get enough time to shine.

StoryThe story here follows the innocent man that gets forced into become an outlaw who becomes the most wanted man in Australia. This story shows how settlers in other countries would always be unfairly targeted by the locals who saw them as threats, how people’s words could create outlaws because nobody would listen or understand the truths within a world. The story is only really told from Ned’s which will always make him look like the innocent man he was, but we do hear and see that most of the group have served time, so they might not be as innocent as they look (this is only from what the film shows, not what I know about the truth).

Action/Biopic/WesternThe action is everything you would expect from a western, we have seen the shooting like always. The biopic does only show one side of the story and it does feel like there is more to tell.

SettingsThe film utilises the location to show how Ned Kelly has to go into hiding and including the showdown.


Scene of the Movie – The showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does seem one sided.

Final Thoughts This is a by the book biopic that showed one of the most famous outlaws in Australia, though it doesn’t seem to reach an intensity level that it could have.

Overall: Nice biopic.

Kid Cannabis (2014)

Director: John Stockwell

Writer: John Stockwell (Screenplay)

Starring: Jonathan Daniel Brown, Kenny Wormald, Aaron Yoo, Ron Perlman, John C McGinley, Corey Large, Bryce Hodgson

 

Plot: An eighteen year old high school drop out and his twenty-seven year old friend start trafficking marijuana across the border of Canada in order to make money and their lives are changed forever.


Tagline – Everyone wants to be a kingpin.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Story

 

Story: Kid Cannabis starts as we meet high school drop out Nate (Brown) who is telling the story of how he along with his partner Topher (Wormald) become involved in the drug trafficking business. We start at the beginning where Nate learns about the idea that trafficking the drugs across the Canadian border.

We follow Nate who works with Topher and crime boss Barry Lerner (Perlman) to start up the business and just how often the border patrol would pull him over to check whether he is smuggling anything illegal. This was just the beginning of what become a small empire created that changed their lives forever.

 

Thoughts on Kid Cannabis

 

Characters – Nate is a high school dropout working a dead-end job getting high in his free time. He learns about the idea of trafficking across the Canadian border, he uses his intelligence to plan an operation which will see him become an overnight sensation, he does start to get carried away with his new money which sees him needing to fight for his own dominance in the field. Topher is the older friend of Nate’s who can handle the transport with his enjoyment of the wilderness, he can lead the teams across the borders and keep the peace between Nate and the fellow runners. Barry Lerner is the local crime boss that Nate turns to for the investment to the idea, he gives the basic threats and the money rolling in which will keep him happy. John is the farmer in Canada making the product, the best the Americans can get their hands on.

PerformancesJonathan Daniel Brown in the leading role does make for good story teller, he doesn’t look like a drug smuggler which is why it is a more unique story. Kenny Wormald fills the lead runner role well, he makes us believe he is just as desperate as the rest. Ron Perlman and John C McGinley are both here just to have big names in the film, they are mostly just cameo like performances.

StoryThe story follows the high school dropout that built a drug business worth $68 million simply by trafficking the drugs across the Canadian border. This is based on the true story, which does show us through the eyes of the leader just how he pulled the operation off, while preaching about the laws on drugs within America. While it might be an interesting story, it is one we have seen before, it does promote breaking the law, which doesn’t seem like a good thing to be promoting, while relying heavily on the drug community to support the actions of these young men. We do also have too many pointless party scenes, which are clearly here just to put some boobs in the film and fill time.

Biopic/Comedy/CrimeThe does show the drug trafficking side of the people involved in the story, shows how their lives changed with an idea however illegal it turned out to be. It does use the comedy to make light of the situation which is fine because this doesn’t ever feel like it needs to be serious, while the crimes being committed show just how the people involved didn’t care about the punishment they could face.

SettingsThe film is set between the borders of America and Canada, it shows the different life styles that Nate would have had between his time making the money and the environment taken to do the drug smuggling.


Scene of the Movie –
The travelling.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pointless party scenes.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interest look at the true story, it shows how the operation came about, how quickly it gathered steam and how the lives of the people involved were changed forever.

 

Overall: Interesting true story.

Rating

 

 

A Street Cat Named Bob (2016) Movie Review

Director: Roger Spottiswoode

Writer: Tim John, Maria Nation (Screenplay) James Bowen, Garry Jenkins (Novel)

Starring: Luke Treadaway, Bob the Cat, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt, Anthony Head, Darren Evans

Plot: Based on the international best selling book. The true feel good story of how James Bowen, a busker and recovering drug addict, had his life transformed when he met a stray ginger cat.


Tagline – Sometimes it takes nine lives to save one

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Delightful

Story: A Street Cat Named Bob starts as we meet homeless addict James (Treadaway) who spends his days singing for enough money that could get him a meal and a fix, when he overdoes, Val (Froggatt) gives him a chance to get emergency living to clean up with act. James is willing to make this happen and he ends up meeting a stray cat.

Reluctantly James decides to keep Bob the cat and learns to grab a new lease for life and that as a double act they could achieve things he could only dream of as a musician, as well as finding love in one of the neighbours Betty (Gedmintas).

Thoughts on A Street Cat Named Bob

Characters – James is a homeless drug addict who has an overdose. He is given a big chance to go on the path to recovery with an emergency home, where he meets a cat and suddenly he starts to see his life turn around, his busking lifestyle sees him make money, he meets a new woman and can support himself, he will need to go through the toughest test of his life, if he wants to break free of his addictions. Bob is the ginger cat that turns up in James’ life, he won’t leave his side as he helps him clean up his act. Betty is the neighbour that becomes James only human friend, she will show him about vegan life becoming a love interest, even though she has seen how being an addict has taken away somebody in her life before. Val is the person that pushes James into the program, believing he can change and will change, she supports him through the whole process.

PerformancesLuke Treadaway in the leading role is brilliant to watch, he shows us just how desperate James is to turn his life around and what he must go through. Ruta Gedmintas and Joanne Froggatt are both great in the supporting roles in the film too.

StoryThe story here follows a homeless drug addict that gets his life turnaround thanks to the help of one person and a mysterious ginger cat that gives him happiness. This is based on the real story of the man James and Bob the real cat, we see the recovery process, just how difficult it can be for somebody who is trying to turn their life around. We can see how the ending will come about because there is a book about the turn around, even though it does become entertaining throughout the film.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic side of this film does show how James does turn his life around, it is shown in a way that could see the struggle he will be facing. The comedy of the film does give you a couple of laughs with how Bob interacts in life.

SettingsThe film is set in London which does show how the culture of the homeless people being able to survive around town that is filled with a drug culture that could end their fight.


Scene of the Movie – First day out with Bob.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing really.

Final Thoughts This is a delightful little comedy that brings to life one man’s journey to salvation with his new friend Bob the cat.

Overall: Feel Good Movie.

ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – K – The Keeper (2018) Movie Review

Director: Marcus H Rosenmuller

Writer: Marcus H Rosenmuller, Nicholas J Schofield (Screenplay)

Starring: David Kross, Freya Mavor, John Henshaw, Harry Melling, Michael Socha, Dave Johns, Barbara Young

Plot: The Keeper tells the extraordinary love story between a young English woman and a German PoW, who together overcome prejudice, public hostility, and personal tragedy. While visiting a PoW camp near Manchester at the end of WWII, Margaret Friar, the daughter of the manager of the local football team, notices young German soldier Bert Trautmann. 


Tagline – He came as an enemy… And became their hero.

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Outstanding

Story: The Keeper starts with the war ending, the English are putting their lives back together and the German Prisoners of war are helping with the rebuilding process. Jack Friar (Henshaw) a local shopkeeper who wheels and deals with the soldiers, while noticing one of the prisoners, paratrooper Bert Trautmann (Kross) has goalkeeping skills.

Jack offers Bert a place in his shop and being the goalkeeper for his local struggling football team, soon the teams fortunes turn around and suddenly the locals including his daughter Margaret (Mavor) learn that just because he is German, he didn’t have a choice but to fight. Bert builds a reputation which will make him one of the greatest goalkeepers of an era, one whose story will change football in England forever.

Thoughts on The Keeper

Characters – The characters in this film are based on the real people, Bert Trautmann was a paratrooper for the Germans in World War II, he was captured by the English becoming a prisoner of war, waiting for his chance to return home, he must serve around the village where his goalkeeping skills are discovered seeing him sign for Manchester City. Outside of football he must prove that he was a solider with little choice, but to fight for the Germans, he must overcome all the hate that is thrown his way, while falling in love with an English woman, breaking the boundaries of post war feelings. Margaret is the local woman that isn’t happy about having a German around the village, but slowly gets to learn that he didn’t have a choice, as the two slowly start to fall in love, showing how people need to learn to forgive, instead of holding on the hate. Jack Friar is the man who gives the Bert a chance to go in goal for a local team, a place to work away from the camp and lets him into his life, he is a typical wheeler and dealer. Jock Thompson is the Manchester City manager who offers Bert a chance at a major team, he has a bigger job at bringing a city together to support a man that could change the team’s fortunes.

PerformancesDavid Kross is brilliant as the solider turned goalkeeper, he shows us the pain a war soldier would have been through, just showing the hope he wants a new life after it. Freya Mavor is wonderful too in her role, which shows us how somebody would stand up for a change. In the support roles we have strong work from everybody through the film.

StoryThe story here follows the life and career of former prisoner of war, turned professional goalkeeper Bert Trautmann, how he found love and had to build bridges after the war to make history. Before watching this story, I only knew one major part of Bert’s career, the FA Cup final he won with a broken neck, this is shown and is very scary to watch, when you think about the safety in sport now. Outside of this we get to dive into how the English must learn to forgive the Germans for what happened in the war, something that was never going to be easy, but it was the only way to move forward, this is show through the different levels of acceptance Bert must achieve, his personal life is also very interesting to see, with the ups and downs which could have broken any man, showing the horrors war did to him too. This story is a must watch for any of the sports fans out there, it is told in a way that does show people can be good, not everyone is considered to be bad.

Biopic/Sport/WarWe do follow Bert’s time from his POW days to his return to football after his own personal tragedy, seeing this shows how the war can create a divide that needs to be broken and with sport, it gave him a chance to build the bridges.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well, they are kept simple for the most part, with it being focused on the small village and the football stadiums.


Scene of the Movie – The cup final.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain hate filled characters, are just basic with why they are created, a little bit more about them would have given them more reason to hate.

Final Thoughts This is a brilliant biopic about one of the most iconic men to every play football, we see his life which was filled with so much to overcome, he still managed to make history.

Overall: Brilliant Biopic.

Rachel Weisz Weekend – Denial (2016) Movie Review

Director: Mick Jackson

Writer: David Hare (Screenplay) Deborah Lipstadt (Book)

Starring: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall, Andrew Scott, Jack Lowden, Caren Pistorius, Alex Jennings

Plot: Acclaimed writer and historian Deborah E. Lipstadt must battle for historical truth to prove the Holocaust actually occurred when David Irving, a renowned denier, sues her for libel.


Tagline – The whole world knows the Holocaust happened. Now she needs to prove it. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Courtroom Drama

Story: Denial starts when acclaimed writer and historian Deborah Lipstadt (Weisz) has her latest book about the horrors of the Holocaust being released, only her in her book to slams historian and renowned denier David Irving (Spall). David Irving has built up a reputation for being able to fight his case and decides to sue Deborah for libel.

After the years or preparation Deborah watches how Anthony Julius (Scott) and Richard Rampton (Wilkinson) look to make a trial where Deborah will win, without having to put the holocaust on trial, they want to keep it together for argument, with the case being about proving David’s research, rather than whether the holocaust happened.

Thoughts on Denial

Characters – Deborah Lipstadt is an acclaimed author that has made her career out of writing about the horrors around the holocaust, this has created an enemy in David Irving, that she has always been denying the holocaust happened. She must defend her own accusation against him, putting her trust in a group of lawyers to fight the case, despite the fact she would like to put the spotlight on the events, over the facts being disputed. Richard Rampton is the lawyer that is running the case in the courtroom, he has methods that Deborah doesn’t like, until she sees how he has truly been planning the case. Anthony Julius runs the case behind the scenes, he has a huge reputation with his previous work which made headlines and must be strict towards Deborah over what she wants to happen in the case. David Irving is the famous Holocaust denier, he has made a career out of his theories, which has given him a huge following, he decides to sue Deborah for criticising his beliefs, where he uses his natural charisma to get people behind him, despite his anti-Semitic behaviour being clear to see.

PerformancesRachel Weisz in the leading role is great to see, she shows just how helpless Deborah looks during the case, that puts her own reputation on the line. Timothy Spall steals the show with his depiction of David Irving, showing how he is the more colourful character in the case. Tom Wilkinson shows he will always be able to bring a quiet character to life in the moments he needs to shine, while Andrew Scott proves that his rising star will get involved in the major performances.

StoryThe story here follows Deborah Lipstadt who has her own book sued for libel by holocaust denier David Irving, forcing them into a court case, which will be about whether he has been making up the truth for his own benefit or whether she had the right to question his beliefs. The story is an interesting one to follow, seeing an conspiracy theorist being put in a courtroom to prove his fictional story about the truth is fascinating to see, having a court case just about whether something as horrific as the holocaust is bad enough, but seeing how everybody seemed to have a fine balance between who could win, was also interesting. The story does struggling to start with, because of the large number of time jumps, with it starting in 1994, before the case happening in 2000, with small scenes in the build up to the case, through the years, but once we get into the courtroom, we are grasp by the story.

BiopicThe biopic side of the story focuses more on the case, rather than the people involved, which could take away just how much the case did take out of the people involved.

SettingsThe film does use the courtroom as the main location for the story to move forward, with most of the external locations being ideas of where the story could end up going, with most being office, apart from the haunting trip to Auschwitz.


Scene of the Movie – The court case.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The early time jumps, we seem to have one scene, then jump two more years down the line.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting courtroom drama, that shows how the truth managed to get all the way to a courtroom, when it was clear it happened, showing even conspiracy theorist could challenge the truth.

Overall: Interesting, but not Intense drama.