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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Elizabeth Olsen Weekend – Liberal Arts (2012)

Director: Josh Radnor

Writer: Josh Radnor (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, Elizabeth Reaser, John Magaro, Kate Burton

 

Plot: When 30-something Jesse returns to his alma mater for a professor’s retirement party, he falls for Zibby, a college student, and is faced with a powerful attraction that springs up between them.


Tagline – Sometimes students make the best teachers.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly High-Brow

 

Story: Liberal Arts starts when 30-something Jesse Fisher (Radnor) gets invited back to his college by his retiring professor Peter Hoberg (Jenkins) party. While returning he loved going down memory lane and gets to meet student Zibby (Olsen) who strikes up a friendship with him, before he returns home to New York.

When the two stay in contact a romance starts to blossom between the two, however difficult Jesse feels about the age difference between the two.

 

Thoughts on Liberal Arts

 

Characters – Jesse Fisher is a 30-something living in New York, reading his way through life, he gets invited back to his college for a retirement party, where he meets Zibby falling for her, seeing a future he couldn’t have in his current life, though he also sees a chance to help a brilliant student who is struggling through college. Zibby is a student in at the college studying drama, she sees something different in Jesse, a mature man in her life away from the usual college student, she likes to let things be and let them unfold. Professor Peter Hoberg is the retiring professor that invites Jesse back, only he doesn’t want to go through with his retirement. The rest of the character include the professors Jesse once studied under and the students he sees his own troubles in.

PerformancesJosh Radnor takes up a few roles in this film, director, writer and his performance is solid enough for the leading role, even though he is might be the weakest performer from his own hit sitcom, this performance feels like what Zach Braff did with Garden State. Elizabeth Olsen is good in her role, while Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney are going to give strength to the supporting roles.

StoryThe story here follows a former college student return to his old college where he gets caught up in wondering why the students don’t understand what life will bring them, be it love and understand underachieving. Now this should be an interesting story, Jesse is a character that tries to explain how life can change in the future and not wanting to waste it, only this is what he is doing himself. The problems mount up as we don’t address the problems strongly enough, where Jesse does get involved, only he doesn’t show any signs of knowing what is going on, we never learn what he does for a living which doesn’t help certain thought processes he could come up with. The story also feels like it is trying to look down on people in places.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy mostly doesn’t get many laughs, the light toned seriousness behind the story doesn’t come off clear enough which also disappoints. The romance is mostly looking at how love can be strange for all those involved in it

SettingsThe film does use two main settings with one being New York, well that is where all Americans seem to want to live, and the college which brings back memories for Jesse.


Scene of the Movie –
Helping Dean.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not giving the Dean side of the story enough focus.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story that tries to take things too seriously which sucks most of the comedy out of the film. The film has a lot to say only to skip over too much of the importance in the messages being talked about.

 

Overall: Frustrating overly intelligent movie.

Rating

 

 

Atonement (2007)

Director: Joe Wright

Writer: Christopher Hampton (Screenplay) Ian McEwan (Novel)

Starring: James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, Juno Temple, Brenda Blethyn, Benedict Cumberbatch

 

Plot: Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a thirteen-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit.


Tagline – Joined by love. Separated by fear. Redeemed by hope

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull and Uninspiring

 

Story: Atonement starts when young Briony Tallis (Ronan) keeps seeing events between her older sister Cecilia (Knightley) and her lover Robbie Turner (McAvoy) from an angle she couldn’t understand believing he is hurting her. Keeping this secret until her cousin Lola (Temple) is raped in the middle of the night, she believes it was Robbie who committed the crime.

4 years later the lives of these people have changed, Robbie is now in the army World War II. Cecilia is still waiting for Robbie, though the effects of that night 4 years ago will never be forgotten between the people involved.

 

Thoughts on Atonement

 

Characters – Robbie Turner is the son of the housekeeper for the Tallis family, he was given an education while starting a romance with eldest daughter Cecilia. When things start getting steamy a misunderstanding derail he life, leaving him going to war and forever wondering what really could have been. Cecilia is the eldest daughter of the family she is involved in a romance with Robbie which is what she has been waiting for, for years, she doesn’t believe the stories against him either. Briony is the younger daughter that misread the situations she sees her sister in, she is the one that uses her creative mind to make stories, one of which would tear the lives apart, she will now spend the time making up for her mistake.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are never going to be in doubt, because we have top class actors. McAvoy shines as the shunned man forced into war, Knightley as the woman who loses her true love to a mistake and young Saoirse Ronan showing us just how talented she was going to become.

StoryThe story here follows one moment in a group of people’s lives which gets misread and tears them apart forever, one tries to rebuild the bridges broken though the damage is done. We do follow three lives that have been changed which seems like it is meant to be important though by then you are just not looking to care about what happened because we didn’t get enough time focusing on the aftermath of the incident.

Mystery/RomanceThere is a mystery, which focuses on who was really the person to be raping Lola, though we don’t investigate this, the romance shows us the damaging effects of a false accusation on two people who are meant to be together.

SettingsThe film is set in England, the first part is just rich country home, when we hit the war side of the film things get more difficult because we see the struggles of war.


Scene of the Movie –
Dunkirk beach.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Isn’t the most interesting story.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the duller period pieces that shows us just how many lives can be affected by a false accusation, we have great performances, though they don’t seem to have much to do.

 

Overall: Not a fan of this one.

Rating

 

 

Deliverance (1972)

Director: John Boorman

Writer: James Dickey (Screenplay) James Dickey (Novel)

Starring: Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox, Ed Ramey, Billy Redden

 

Plot: Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it’s turned into one huge lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a river-rafting trip they’ll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.


Tagline –  Four men ride a wild river. A weekend turns into a nightmare.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Intense Thriller

 

Story: Deliverance starts when four city man Ed (Voight), Lewis (Reynolds), Bobby (Beatty) and Drew (Cox) head to the Cahulawassee river for a river-rafting trip down the river before the river is turned into a lake, Lewis leads the group being an outdoors man.

What seems like a pleasant enough trip takes a brutal turn when the locals force themselves on Bobby before Lewis kills one of them. The friends now face a race against time to make it out of the wilderness before the rest come for revenge in the deadliest chase of their lives.

 

Thoughts on Deliverance

 

Characters – Lewis is the outdoors man of the group, he is close friends with Ed and you feel like they have been on many an adventure together. He has the plans for the trip believing he doesn’t need to ask for help and when their backs are against the wall he must step up. Ed is the linchpin between the friends, the one they turn to when things are not going their way for advice and almost comfort, he does witness the attack on Bobby, left helpless to only watch. Bobby is an insurance salesman that joins the trip, he clearly isn’t used to being in the outdoors and goes through the worst ordeal of them all. Drew is the final member of the group or tries to play the morale and legal compass when things get out of hand.

PerformancesThe performances here give us four of the best actors of a generation at different stages of their careers, they are all fantastic in what they do too. Jon Voight stands above them all, but you can’t deny they shine in the moments they need too.

StoryThe story keeps things very simple, four friends go on an adventure rafting trip only for a peaceful trip to turn into a nightmare as they are attacked and hunted down by the local hillbillies. We have a moral discussion about what to do when you murder to protect yourself, seeing how difficult it can be for one man to get pushed to the limits of needing to take a life and an environmental discussion around the ideas of what would happen when rivers are being turned into lakes. This is one of those movies where the story never needs to get complicated, you truly believe the peril the characters are in too.

Adventure/ThrillerThe adventure the friends go on, takes out characters on a rafting trip, one that was meant for pure happiness and endurance, they got the endurance, but a race against time too. We are kept on the edge of our seats from the moment the attack happened, because we don’t know how many people are going to be looking to hunt them down.

SettingsThe film takes place in the wilderness of the American countryside, this is used for the beauty of the settings and the peril of the situation with the nature and the locals being the threat.


Scene of the Movie –
The clifftop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel like there would be bigger scars after what happened to Bobby.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the greatest thriller to ever be made, it has four excellent performances and shows that we can have horror in moments that should be calm.

 

Overall: Brilliant from start to finish.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – M – Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Director: John Schlesinger

Writer: Waldo Salt (Screenplay) James Leo Herlihy (Novel)

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles, John McGiver, Brenda Vaccaro, Barnard Hughes

 

Plot: A naive hustler travels from Texas to New York City to seek personal fortune but, in the process, finds himself a new friend.


Tagline – Whatever you hear about Midnight Cowboy is true.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerhouse Performances Classic

 

Story: Midnight Cowboy starts as naïve Texan hustler Joe Buck (Voight) heads to New York City to try his act. Arriving in the big apple things don’t start the way he had planned and after meeting local hustler Ratso (Hoffman) he learns a hard lesson on who to trust.

When the two end up becoming friends they work their act in New York with Ratso trying to save for a trip for Florida, where he see the dream to be. The two on finding a way to get rich and what they gained is a friendship.

 

Thoughts on Midnight Cowboy

 

Characters – Joe Buck is the cowboy from Texas, he has worked the area dry, well he seemed to have had an honest job there, wanting more in the big city he heads to New York, an overly friendly young man gets eaten up in the city to start with before making a friend that tries to teach him how to hustler the big city. Ratso is the New York hustler, he is disabled which makes his role better in the management role which he takes to guide Joe through the situations, though he isn’t well and now needs Joe more than anyone ever in his life. We only focus on these two with their clients that come into the situations they find themselves in.

PerformancesJon Voight in the leading role is fantastic, we see he bring the naivety through in his character that is mostly harmless man trying to find his way in the world. Dustin Hoffman also excels in his role which went against everything people knew about him at the time of the release, showing he was always going to be one of the generations best actors.

StoryThe story here follows a naïve cowboy hustler in the big apple where he learns about trust, friendship and how survive the world of a gigolo. This does show how people will need guidance to understand the world even if it meant giving up everything for that chance. the two friendship is the most important part of the film because we see how Ratso is sick and needs Joe Buck to help him too. We see how the friendship keeps both moving forward in life and that is the important factor in the story.

SettingsWe have the coach journey which heads to New York city which of course is a brilliant because the scale of the city is something Joe Buck wasn’t ready for.


Scene of the Movie –
Coach journey together.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There wasn’t anything.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the true classics in cinema, we have two stunning performances from the leads and a story that teaches us about friendship.

 

Overall: Brilliant must watch film.

Rating