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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Natalie Portman Weekend – Leon (1994)

Director: Luc Besson

Writer: Luc Besson (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello, Peter Appel

 

Plot: Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin’s trade.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Assassin Film

 

Story: Leon starts as we see just how deadly of an assassin Leon (Reno) is, you know the usual easy job to show he can pull tricks to confuse the enemy. Leon lives in a small apartment in New York where he has neighbours with middle child Mathilda (Portman) feeling out of place with her abusive father and sister. When we see how her father has gotten them in trouble with Stansfield (Oldman) he murders the whole family.

Leon reluctantly welcomes Mathilda into his home but they soon make an agreement that Leon will train Mathilda to be a ‘cleaner’ just like him so she get kill Stansfield and the men that killed her family.

 

Thoughts on Leon

 

Characters – Leon is the loner assassin that is brilliant at getting the job done and spends his free time keeping his planet in the sun and watching old movies in the cinema. He has a code, no women or children which is why he takes Mathilda in so he can teach her the ways and help her get revenge on the man who killed her family. Mathilda is the 12-year-old girl that has never fitted in her family and is being abused by her family, she sees her family murdered and her only hope is Leon, she wants to be trained to be like him so she can get revenge. We get a lot of different characteristics from this character that acts a lot older than she should but it makes sense because of her childhood being ripped from her. Stansfield is the cop that killed Mathilda’s family, he is a dirty cop with a love for classical music that doesn’t care who he kills to keep his business alive.

PerformanceJean Reno is fantastic in this role, he plays a character perfectly to make us see his kindness to go against his heartless nature as a killer. Gary Oldman makes for a brilliant villain as we see just how emotionless he can be. Natalie Portman gave us her first performance here and it is one of the best child actor performances you will see which makes you understand why she has had such a long career.

StoryThe story follows the idea that a lone assassin teaming up with a young girl who has become a victim of a dirty cop as their friendship blossoms the revenge becomes personal. This is easily one of the best relationship between two people from different worlds coming together for a common goal without anything needing to get complicated.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime side of the film shows the world of assassins, dirty cops and innocent victims as we are left on edge waiting to see what will be happening to our characters.

SettingsNew York always makes for a wonderful setting as we get to see how the overcrowding can let hitmen get away easily.

Scene of the Movie – Mathilda’s Gift for Stansfield.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing, really.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best movies of all times, it shows how to make a lone assassin movie can be one of the best of all time.

 

Overall: Brilliant, masterpiece movie.

Rating

 

 

Wheelman (2017)

Director: Jeremy Rush

Writer: Jeremy Rush (Screenplay)

Starring: Frank Grillo, Caitlin Carmichael, Garret Dillahunt, Wendy Moniz, Shea Whigman

 

Plot: A getaway driver for a bank robbery realizes he has been double crossed and races to find out who betrayed him.


Tagline – Think Fast. Drive Faster.

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Real-Time Action Film

 

Story: Wheelman starts when the latest job for the man only known as Wheelman (Grillo), he gets to and from the robberies and is one of the best in the business. When the job is being done, Wheelman gets a phone call warning him that the crew will kill him after the job, forcing him to make the decision on whether to leave the crew or not.

Leaving the crew Wheelman is stuck in the middle of trying to figure out who he should trust, who to give the money to and how to stay alive this night.

 

Thoughts on Wheelman

 

Characters – Wheelman is our central character, he is every scene, we know he is an ex-con trying to keep some custody for his daughter, he is on his latest job, which doesn’t go as planned, leaving him needing to figure out what he has gotten himself into. Most of the characters come through phone calls, one being his connection, another being his daughter and two being either side of the arguments.

PerformancesFrank Grillo in the leading role carries the film, if he gave us a bad performance we would be seeing a very different movie, he feels like he could be a lead in any action crime film. the rest of the cast are mostly on the phone with the odd scene, so it is hard to judge their work.

StoryThe story is simple, a driver finds himself in the middle of a mob war when he is involved in a bank robbery, he must use his driving skills to keep ahead of the game as he looks to figure out who is the side to trust. This does keep us guessing along the way which does keep us invested in where things will go.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action is good car chases, we watch them unfold from the lead car which we stay in through the whole film, the shows us where the crime has taken place and the mystery surrounding who to trust.

SettingsThe film is set from with the car around the city, most views are car views of the city which is nice, we see what the driver sees.


Scene of the Movie –
Losing the tail.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It can feel like the same after seeing the first chase.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good action film to watch if you have the time, it won’t challenge you much, but will keep you entertained throughout.

 

Overall: Action film fans to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

The Night of the Hunter (1955)

Director: Charles Laughton

Writer: James Agee (Screenplay) Davis Grubb (Novel)

Starring: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, James Gleason, Evelyn Varden

 

Plot: A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he’d stolen in a robbery.


Tagline – The Hands Of ROBERT MITCHUM in “The Night of the Hunter”

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic

 

Story: The Night of the Hunter starts as we meet religious con man Harry Powell (Mitchum) who meets soon to be executed prisoner Ben Harper (Graves) who has hidden $10,000 after a robbery gone bad. Harry sets out to meet the widow Willa (Winters) so he can take the money, but the only people who know where the money is are the children John and Pearl.

When Harry proves just how far he will go for the money the kids must escape him before he takes the money leaving them high and dry, the question remains, can they stay ahead of Harry.

 

Thoughts on The Night of the Hunter

 

Characters – Harry Powell is a religious conman, he moves from town to town preying on the religious beliefs while looking for rich widows he can take for everything. Harry knows how to play people into believing everything he says which is why he is successful in his actions. Willa is the latest widow Harry sets his sights on because of the money hidden by her late husband, she believes what he preaches when it comes to dealing with God and purpose in life.

PerformancesRobert Mitchum is full of the menace for this leading role, he shows how manipulative his character is with every scene he is in. Shelley Winters is good in this role while it is the child stars that shine at times in this film.

StoryThe story follows a conman on his latest attempt to make a quick buck off a struggling family. This becomes a battle for one up each other between the kids and Harry which is entertaining to see, as we learn just how determined Harry is and how the kids will not stop working together when they lose their father.

CrimeThe crime side of the story is following Harry and his actions to make sure he gets the money he desires, we see how calculated he is when looking to achieve this.

SettingsThe settings show us the simple life the family once lived, but soon the turns into a race to stay alive.


Scene of the Movie –
The escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Seems to skip a few important scenes at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is considered a classic and you can see why because it does give you the idea it helped build a side genre in film, the film has unfortunately been parodied too often to keep the impact it should be making.

 

Overall: One classic that should be seen by all.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Another 48 Hrs (1990)

Director: Walter Hill

Writer: John Fasano, Jeb Stuart, Larry Gross (Screenplay) Roger Spottiswoode, Walter Hill, Larry Gross, Steven E de Souza (Characters)

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Nick Nolte, Brion James, Kevin Tighe, Ed O’Ross, David Anthony Marshall, Andrew Divoff, Bernie Caser

 

Plot: Jack Cates once again enlists the aid of ex-con Reggie Hammond–this time, to take down The Iceman, a ruthless drug lord operating in the San Francisco bay area.


Tagline – Here they go again. Only faster. And tougher.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks the Humour

 

Story: Another 48 Hrs starts as Jack (Nolte) is desperately trying to track down the Iceman, a drug dealer roaming San Francisco, but his latest bust goes wrong leaving him up for man-slaughter charges, with only one clue, a picture of Reggie (Murphy) who is about to be released from jail who now has a bounty on his head, placed by the Iceman.

When the Iceman’s hitmen including Ganz’s brother Cherry (Divoff) come after the pair, they must reunite to bring down the deadliest drug lord in San Francisco area.

 

Thoughts on Another 48 Hrs

 

Characters – Jake Cates has continued his grizzled ways, now he has focused on capturing a drug lord known as the Iceman, but finds the Internal Affairs on his back for his reckless behaviour turning to the only person he can trust Reggie. Reggie is fresh out of jail after being framed into a longer stint, but now he is free, he finds himself being targeted by the drug lord forcing him to work with Jack once again. Cherry is the brother of Ganz who is know being paid to kill Reggie for the Iceman, he turns this into a personal vendetta against Jack too. Blake Wilson is the Internal Affairs agent that is searching for a way to put Jack in jail for his reckless behaviour.

PerformancesNick Nolte is solid in this role, he makes us feel like we are watching a man on edge too. Eddie Murphy tries to bring more energy to this performance which only leaves him not reaching the marks we know he could. Divoff makes for a good villain on the same sort of level of Remar as the next level of psychotic. The actors playing the cops are what you expect through the film.

StoryThe story does continue to build from the last film, it shows the consequences from the previous action to build a bigger world, while also falling into more of the same because we are expecting to see something bigger, but it is just odd couple team up to take down criminals. We do have the story about how the two could swap places with Jack facing criminal charges and Reggie becoming free. The final outcome of the film does see strange when you take into account of the original film too.

Action/Crime/ComedyThe action does feel bigger, we get a lot more shoot-ups and moments of chases too, the crime does feel bigger too with criminals coming from different corners of the world. The comedy is the biggest disappointment here, we have fleeting moments of humour, but nothing comes off with any true effect.

SettingsWe stay in San Francisco for the film which makes for a good choice for a crime story to take place in.


Scene of the Movie –
Basketball.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lacks any strong moments of humour.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak sequel to an enjoyable first outing, it does feel rushed and loses the humour the first one had. The crime side of the film does try to world build which is good, but we lose out with a strange ending.

 

Overall: Disappointing sequel that doesn’t hit the marks.

Rating