ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – Q – The Queen (2006)

Director: Stephen Frears

Writer: Peter Morgan (Screenplay)

Starring: Helen Mirren, James Cromwell, Alex Jennings, Michael Sheen, Roger Allam, Sylvia Syms, Helen McCrory

 

Plot: After the death of Princess DianaQueen Elizabeth II struggles with her reaction to a sequence of events nobody could have predicted.


Tagline – Our Leaders. Ourselves.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict:

 

Story: The Queen starts on the day Tony Blair (Sheen) gets appointed Prime Minister in 1997, he meets the Queen (Mirren) in his appointment following in the footsteps of icons like Sir Winston Churchill. The start of his reign becomes difficult after the sudden and tragic death of Princess Diana.

Tony trying to help the nation mourn the death of the Princess, clashes with the Royal family who want a private funeral, while the people want a public one to celebrate her life. As the public become restless about how the Royal Family have kept quiet about the death, Tony Blair must play the middle man, to keep the country calm.

 

Thoughts on The Queen

 

Characters – The characters in this film are based on the real people, who suffered through a real tragedy, The Queen takes her family to mourn in their own way, by escaping the public life, but soon the decision gets questioned by her public. She must face the public with advice from her new prime minster. Tony Blair is the new prime minister, thought to be the man to bring a new image to the country, he does however find himself being the middle man between the public and the Royal Family after the death of Princess Diana.

PerformancesHelen Mirren won an Oscar for this role, she is fantastic in this role as you believe each and every scene with her. Michael Sheen proves to us all that he is one of the best talents in the acting world with his performance on a par with Helen Mirren’s.

StoryThe story follows one of the hardest weeks in the modern Royal Family history, the death of Princess Diana, loved by the people, mourned in private by the family. This cause minor tension between the two as the Prime Minister must try to balance this tragic event for both sides to be respected. This moment in history will always be remembered by the world, seeing how the private side of the tragedy unfolded is just as fascinating to see, which thanks to my new love for ‘The Crown’ I have start to enjoy watching.

BiopicThe Queen’s life and time is going to be stuff of legends, longest reigning monarch is going to give us plenty of moments of her life to see, this was a glimpse and a brilliant one.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the private locations for the Royal Family through the difficult times, each setting shows us the production design being used.


Scene of the Movie –
The Queen and Blair discussions.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I think Blair should have an Oscar just as much as Helen Mirren.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful look at the royal family at one of their darkest moments and how they get through this week that change the world view of the family.

 

Overall: Wonderful drama.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – N – Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)

This is under N because of the writer Nicole Holofcener.

 

Director: Marielle Heller

Writer: Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty (Screenplay)

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Richard E Grant, Dolly Wells, Ben Falcone, Gregory Korostishevsky, Jane Curtain

 

Plot: When Lee Israel falls out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliantly Acted

 

Story: Can You Ever Forgive Me? Starts in 1991 when struggling author Lee Israel (McCarthy) finds herself out of a job and money is making her life difficult. Lee turns to drink where she meets Jack Hock (Grant) a fellow struggling writer as the two drink their problems away.

Lee discovers a personalised letter in one of her books and learn of the money it is worth, she starts to write her own letters claiming they are from the real authors and making plenty of money out of this plan, until the letters start getting questioned.

 

Thoughts on Can You Ever Forgive Me

 

Characters – Lee Israel is a middle-aged author that has been struggling for inspiration for a couple of years, with her latest books struggling to sell, she lives with her aging cat in a small apartment, turning to drink whenever times get hard. Jack Hock is an alcoholic con artist that turns into a drinking buddy for Lee, he pushes her to take more risks, while continuing his own reckless behaviour. Anna and Alan are two of the many dealers that are put in a position of becoming conned by Lee’s letters.

PerformancesMelissa McCarthy is an actress that goes to weak comedy films too often, this is a change for her in a serious role, we get to see that this actress has talent and this could be a career best. Richard E Grant shines in the supporting role giving one of the best supporting performances of the year. The supporting cast are great through the film where they don’t get as much screen time.

StoryThe story here follows the fraud that Lee Israel created with fake letters and stolen letters from famous authors, selling them to cover her own failures in life. We only focus on the time which caused her to start doing this action, until the moment she gets caught and the consequences of her actions. This does show us how desperate people can become when the reach the end of their means, how naïve the people who buy could be for buying letters just because people say they are real and just how important friends will be in your later years. This does play out in the way you would imagine which keeps it feeling realistic for everything that is going on with the criminal events.

Biopic/Comedy/CrimeThe biopic side of the film shows us just the scandal side of Lee Israel’s action which is all we need to see from her story, it does have moments of comedy which will make us chuckle without being a full blown comedy, it never needed to be this. The crime side of the film is the actions Lee was committing for money

SettingsThe film is set in New York which would be a prime location for authors from around the world would be located in the early 90s.


Scene of the Movie –
Courtroom.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While we do only focus on a small part of Lee’s life, it might have been nice to get a glimpse in the first 40 odd years to see where things might have gone wrong.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliantly acted movie that shows McCarthy is one of the strongest actresses in the business, it shows a true crime story and makes us want to see how far she gets.

 

Overall: Wonderfully acted and engaging story.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – L – Loving (2016)

Director: Jeff Nichols

Writer: Jeff Nichols (Screenplay)

Starring: Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Will Dalton, Terri Abney, Alano Miller

 

Plot: The story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a couple whose arrest for interracial marriage in 1960s Virginia began a legal battle that would end with the Supreme Court’s historic 1967 decision.


Tagline – All love is created equal.

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important Drama

 

Story: Loving starts as we meet our interracial couple Mildred (Negga) and Richard (Edgerton) living in Virginia in the 1960s, the two start a family and get married, breaking the laws of the state. The couple are forced to leave the state or face prison time which turns out to be harder than they thought.

The couple look to fight against the ruling which is a battle which will go right up to the supreme court for one of the most important historic decisions.

 

Thoughts on Loving

 

Characters – Mildred is a black woman living in Virginia, she has a close family and is in love with Richard, she wants to be with him no matter what the law says and will lead the fight for them to be together in there home state. Richard is a white man, a builder for trade who is happily in love, he wants to be able to fight for their love even if the law prevents him. The other characters in this true story include the family members, the people against them and the lawyers that support them.

PerformancesRuth Negga was nominated for an Oscar for her performance, you can see why because she is fantastic, Joel Edgerton also shines in his role which does focus on him bottling in the troubles he is going through. The supporting cast doesn’t get as much time to shine, but they all do good when they are on screen, letting to two stars shine.

StoryThe story follows one of the biggest and most important cases in American law, the married couple that are threatened with jail for getting married if they stay in the Virginia. The story follows a decade of their life from the moment they got married to the moment they have their trial. It would be fair to say we could have seen some more of the cases taking place, but for what their story did for the law, the story is important.

Biopic/Romance This is the real story between Mildred and Richard, an interracial couple that were guilty of marrying when it was considered illegal. The romance shows us just how love can bring people together.

SettingsThe film shows us just where Virginia was during the 60s, though the settings not being overly important to the visual but more about the laws.


Scene of the Movie –
The photo shoot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t see enough of the court case.

Final ThoughtsThis is an important story that shows us how the law in America needed to be changed, it showed us how naïve they were once and how this story helped show us one story that helped change it.

 

Overall: Important drama that shows how backwards America once was.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – K – BlacKkKlansman (2018)

Director: Spike Lee

Writer: Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee (Screenplay) Ron Stallworth (Book)

Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace

 

Plot: Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, CO, successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate who eventually becomes its leader. Based on actual events.


Tagline – Based on a true story

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliantly Entertaining

 

Story: BlacKkKlansman starts when Ron Stallworth (Washington) becomes the first black police officers in Colorado Springs, he starts in the record room before pushing for undercover work, which soon leads him to try and go undercover within the Ku Klux Klan, the problem is that he is black, meaning he needs to get a white cop to be him, Flip Zimmerman (Driver) steps into this position.

As the undercover job gets deeper into the Klan, Flip gets to communicate with David Duke (Grace), while Ron starts to date Patrice (Harrier) who is a major player in the Kwame Ture (Hawkins) movement.

 

Thoughts on BlacKkKlansman

 

Characters – Ron Stallworth was the first black police officer in the Colorado Springs department, he gets a plain records room job to start with before wanting to make an impact by going undercover, first within a black student union movement, before finding a way to get involved within the Ku Klux Klan, he uses he words to trick them into believing he is white, white using his partner to go along with the meetings. He wants to make a difference and sees his work as his best chance too. Flip Zimmerman is the detective that works with Ron on the undercover job, he becomes Ron when it comes to the meetings with the klan. Patrice is a woman that Ron meets in the black student union, one that do let Ron in believing him to be part of the movement. David Duke is the leader of the KKK, he is being challenged for leadership, while still be worshipped for his work in the movement

PerformancesJohn David Washington is brilliant in this leading role, showing his strength of his character while making his character feel cool in the what he is doing. Adam Driver shows us once again how talented of an actor he really is by stepping into this role and making it work with ease. Laura Harrier is everything we needed in her role, though we could have had a few more scenes with her in. Topher Grace is a strange choice on paper for David Duke, though he does work out to be a great choice for the role.

StoryThe story here follows a black cop going undercover within the Ku Klux Klan, well doing the talking on the phone before his white partner becomes the member using his name. This does show a law man being put in the middle of the two movements with the black student union group clashing with the KKK and just how he works within both sides to learn if they are going to be a threat to civilians, let alone each other. The story is based on the real man involved, which does put a slightly comical spin on how the action of the KKK plays out which does lighten the mood for a serious situation, which again works for the story which can be enjoyed by all with becoming too serious.

Biopic/CrimeThe biopic side of this film does show on Ron managed to trick the KKK into believing he was a white man that could join them even though he was a black undercover cop. The crime side of the film shows three main groups of people we have the KKK, we have the black student union and we have the police who were all causing problems on different scales during the time.

SettingsThe film keeps the action of the film in the correct looking location which helps with the realism of what we are seeing in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The photograph.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The propaganda in the final shots

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun story that brings a serious issue to the front and centre, it is wonderfully acted, but never preaches the problems like it could have easily done.

 

Overall: Important but laid back biopic.

Rating

 

 

Tom Hiddleston Weekend – I Saw the Light (2015)

Director: Marc Abraham

Writer: Marc Abraham (Screenplay) Colin Escott, George Merritt, William MacEwen (Book)

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, Bradley Whitford, Cherry Jones, Maddie Hasson, Wrenn Schmidt, David Krumholtz

 

Plot: The story of the country-western singer Hank Williams, who in his brief life created one of the greatest bodies of work in American music. The film chronicles his rise to fame and its tragic effect on his health and personal life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks That Interest Factor

 

Story: I Saw the Light starts as we see Hank Williams (Hiddleston) slowly making his name in the music industry in the mid 40’s, his new marriage to Audrey (Olsen) does get questioned because she doesn’t have the singing voice he does and this shows early on when he must decide whether to supporting her singing or make his own career.

We follow how Hank continued to rise in fame but struggled with his own alcohol problems, his rocky marriage and his womanising, which led to his early death.

 

Thoughts on I Saw the Light

 

Characters/PerformanceHank is the famous country singer who rose to fame in the late 40s to become an icon, he has his own personal demons of drinking, womanising and rocky marriage. Audrey is the wife of Hank, she does want to be part of the singing but she doesn’t have the talent Hank has with brings a strain to their marriage.

Performance wise, well where do we start? Hiddleston is fine in this role as is Olsen and do the best with what they can with the story.

StoryNow I like watching bio-pics even if I don’t know who the film is centred around. I don’t know who Hank Williams is or what his most famous song was which I am not using as an excuse for not enjoying this film. I found the story way too long with very little happening and no focus on the music Hank has been making.

Biography/MusicThe story telling takes away from where the bio-pic side of the film should be focusing on where the music is all fine without being anything special.

SettingsThe settings are all fine for the time period in question which is all we need from the story of late 40s early 50s.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very weak bio-pic that doesn’t give us enough to like about the musician Hank Williams to look back and go, he was an interesting guy. The storytelling side of the film comes off confusing and doesn’t give us enough time on the music side of the film.

 

Overall: Weak bio-pic that lacks everything that is needed.

Rating