ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – T – Titanic (1997)

Director: James Cameron

Writer: James Cameron (Screenplay)

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Gloria Stuart, Bill Paxton

 

Plot: A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic.


Tagline – Collide With Destiny

Runtime: 3 Hours 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Masterpiece in Cinema

 

Story: Titanic starts as treasure hunter Brock Lovett (Paxton) and his team are searching the Titanic wreckage for any remaining treasure that could make them rich, on their latest voyage they find a picture of woman wearing a long-lost necklace, the heart of the ocean. With this picture becoming international news Rose (Stuart) comes aboard the ship to tell her story of her trip in the doomed ship.

Returning to 1912 we follow Rose (Winslet) from a rich family using the trip with her fiancée Cal (Zane) to return to America to start their life together. Jack (DiCaprio) on the other hand wins his ticket in a poker game to be a passenger on the ship, in the third class.

As the two get involved in a chance meeting, Rose is shown the life that is care free away from her prim and proper lifestyle that she has only ever been shown, the two fall in love in their short time together but after the ship hits the iceberg, they must battle to survive the fateful night as the panic of the tragic event occurs.

 

Thoughts on Titanic

 

Characters – Rose is shown to us in two different times, we first meet the modern day one, well 1997 where she has lived the life she had always dreamed off, now she gets to return to the Titanic wreckage to tell her story of events on the maiden voyage that will be remembered forever. The other Rose we meet is the younger one, the 19 year-old that is moving to America to start her life of luxury with her fiancée Cal, at this age she isn’t sure this is what she wants and meeting Jack shows her a new look and even a new love in life, she takes risks that she would never have even imagined taking before meeting Jack. Jack Dawson is a drifter, artist and traveller of the world, winning his ticket in a game of poker, he sees this as his chance to return to America with his new craft, he falls for Rose and his carefree lifestyle shines on her and he is shunned by anyone in the first class of the ship. Cal is the fiancée of Rose, he has used his wealth to get all the benefits in life, he looks down on anyone not from the same class as himself and takes an instant dislike to Jack, he tries to control Rose’s every decision making him the villain of the piece. We have the controlling mother, the fish out of water with money in Molly who steals nearly every scene being the only one that can relate to Jack and the portrays of the real people behind the ship tragedy.

PerformancesLeonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet became international A-Listers after this movie, their performances are fantastic and showed the world the talent they both had at this early moments of their career. Billy Zane does make a great villainous character through this film and you will find yourself hating his character. Kathy Bates is fantastic too in a role you could have watched all day long. The whole cast is fantastic in this film and their performances show us just how good they are.

StoryThe story shows us one of the most tragic moments in modern human history, this sinking of the Titanic, an accident in which no one was prepared for, seeing the supporting characters who are based on the real people is fascinating to see how they were to believed to have acted, saying this the love story does feel very forced and having one person telling the story doesn’t give us the understand how she would know what other people were doing at the times without her in the movie. Clocking up at over 3 hours, this story never seems to find a low point well telling the story of this tragedy.

RomanceThe weakest part of the film here, because this event didn’t need a fictional love story which in all fairness is a by the book routine love story of the rich meets poor.

SettingsThe creation of the Titanic for the setting is fantastic, as we follow the journey you feel like you are part of this doomed voyage which is filled with the beauty of first class and the cramped conditions of third class.

Special EffectsThe visual effects used in this movie were ground-breaking at the time, they stand this test of time and deserved any credit the team working on this got.


Scene of the Movie –
The search for survivors, is haunting, disturbing and tragic.

That Moment That Annoyed Me How would Rose know what people were doing in her story.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the greatest movies of all time, a record breaking in its own right, career making, career defining and moment in history that will forever be stuck in tragic events.

 

Overall: Brilliant, and a must watch

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – S – Scent of a Woman (1992)

Director: Martin Brest

Writer: Bo Goldman (Screenplay) Giovanni Arpino (Novel)

Starring: Al Pacino, Chris O’Donnell, James Rebhorn, Gabriele Anwar, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Benture, Bradley Whitford

 

Plot: A prep school student needing money agrees to “babysit” a blind man, but the job is not at all what he anticipated.


Tagline – Col. Frank Slade has a very special plan for the weekend. It involves travel, women, good food, fine wine, the tango, chauffeured limousines and a loaded forty-five. And he’s bringing Charlie along for the ride.

Runtime: 2 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Special Drama

 

Story: Scent of a Woman starts as prep school student Charlie Simms (O’Donnell) takes a weekend job caring for blind veteran Lt Col Frank Slade (Pacino), with Charlie’s future on the line at school after a prank by the rich kids on the headmaster, he wants the weekend to help him focus.

Frank has other ideas, he wants to go to New York for one last weekend of living the highlife before killing himself, he needs Charlie to be his guide on this journey. This weekend will change Charlie’s life as he gets the guidance he needs to help him through his difficult time.

 

Thoughts on Scent of a Woman

 

Characters – Lt, Col, Frank Slade is a short tempered blind veteran, he loves a drink and can identify a woman’s fragrance with the slightest smell in the air. He knows the people in his life don’t care about him much anymore, but Charlie gives him the guide he needs for this one last adventure. Charlie Simms comes from a poor family of hard workers, he earnt his place in the school with a scholarship, this is now at risk if he covers for the rich kids, but his Thanksgiving job of looking after Frank gives him a life lesson he could never learn in a classroom. The rest of the characters we meet are people that Frank wants to see once more, Charlie’s classmates and the women that Frank believes he can impress.

PerformancesAl Pacino won his Oscar with this performance, he commits and convinces throughout this film, showing he can break out from the cop or gangster roles you could see him being known for. Chris O’Donnell is great here too showing he was one of the main young actors waiting to come in the early 90s. the rest of the performances are great through the film showing us that the host of talent knew how to make an impact in a small amount of screen time.

StoryThe story follows a school student that must look after a blind veteran who wants to commit suicide after one last weekend. This story gives Charlie life lessons that he needs as he approaches a dog eat dog world, but also shows Frank that not everyone has given up hope on him and the service he gave to his country. This shows us how one weekend can change lives, an adventure that is unlike anything Charlie could have imagined.

SettingsThe film takes our characters from a smaller town to the big apple, this as I say a lot if always a wonderful location for learning about life in a way you could never imagine.


Scene of the Movie –
Ferrari

That Moment That Annoyed Me Charlie doesn’t seem to have any real friends at school and you feel this should have been addressed.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful drama that deserved the praise it got, it has brilliant chemistry between the two leads as you understand both their problems in life. This is one of Pacino’s best performances and a must watch for any of his fans.

 

Overall: Must watch drama.

Rating

 

 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Weekend – Stop-Loss (2008)

Director: Kimberly Peirce

Writer: Kimberly Peirce, Mark Richard (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, Abbie Cornish, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Victor Rasuk, Timothy Olyphant, Ciaran Hinds, Rob Brown

 

Plot: A veteran soldier returns from his completed tour of duty in Iraq, only to find his life turned upside down when he is arbitrarily ordered to return to field duty by the Army.


Tagline – The bravest place to stand is by each other’s side.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Must Watch Movie

 

Story: Stop-Loss starts as we see the army unit that is touring in Iraq, they come under attack losing men, Brandon King (Phillippe) and Steve Shriver (Tatum) return home with their unit for a weekend of leave with Tommy (Gordon-Levitt) and Eyeball (Brown).

The weekend in Texas shows the effects on war has had on the soldiers, Steve becoming a violent drunk, while Tommy is suffering from losing his best friend on that last mission, Brandon tries to keep them in line while he is about to eave himself. Brandon gets stop-loss meaning he must return to Iraq, but he isn’t going to return, going on the run AWOL from the army with Michelle (Cornish), Steve’s girlfriend, as he wants to find a way to leave the army, while also showing the effects of the war on him.

 

Thoughts on Stop-Loss

 

Characters – Brandon King is the squad leader of his unit, he losses men on his latest tour of duty, but believes he is out with this latest tour, he must remain calm for his men back home while clearly suffering from PTSD from the events. He gets ordered to return to Iraq which he isn’t having leading him to go on the run, searching for answers to stop his return to war. Steve is Brandon’s best friend and fellow star of their home town, he returns home to get married, but his suffering is clearer to see and this puts his relationship with Michelle in the air. Michelle is Steve’s girlfriend, they are meant to be getting married, but when Brandon goes on the wrong, she supports him as her relationship with Steve get worse. Tommy is another member of the unit, he loses his best friend on tour and never recovers, he drinks to get through his nightmares which shows the PTSD he is suffering from, only Brandon can get through to him and with him on the run Tommy is a danger to everyone.

PerformancesRyan Phillippe gives his best performance of his career in this role, he shows the strength his character needs while the weaknesses inside are tearing him up. Channing Tatum broke away from the pretty boys roles first with this role and shows that he does have skills. Abbie Cornish is strong in her role through the film and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is fantastic in the supporting role as the PTSD in his character feels the most destructive.

StoryThe story follows the effects of war on three soldiers returning from a tour of duty in Iraq, they are all suffering from different levels of PTSD and shouldn’t be returning to duty, when one gets Stop-loss he goes on the run, ones behaviour stops him going back with this being the only thing he wants and the third who wanted out but decides he wants to return. While the story shows one man trying to get away from his duty, it shows the larger effects of soldiers that are returning with PTSD and how easily they can just break. This is an important story about treating soldiers with respect by not forcing them to return if they are not mentally capable off because of what they have seen, done or been involved in, and how to support them as they try to return to normal lives.

WarThe war side of this film is shown in what happened to these soldiers and the aftermath of what happens when they return without the support required.

SettingsThe settings show both the world they have been living in Iraq and the home back in Texas as they are in desperate search to get on with their life.


Scene of the Movie –
Brothers fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of support the soldiers get.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most impactful movies when it comes to tackle war, it shows how difficult life away from the tours can tear the soldiers apart in a war they didn’t need to be fighting. This has career best performances from the three lead actors and a story which could easily be a reality to any soldier returning from active duty.

 

Overall: Must watch war story.

Rating

 

 

Joseph Gordon Levitt Weekend – Snowden (2016)

snowdenDirector: Oliver Stone

Writer: Kieran Fitzgerald, Oliver Stone (Screenplay) Anatoly Kucherena, Luke Harding (Book)

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nicholas Cage, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Shailene Woodley, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Olyphant, Scott Eastwood, Rhys Ifrans

 

Plot: The NSA’s illegal surveillance techniques are leaked to the public by one of the agency’s employees, Edward Snowden, in the form of thousands of classified documents distributed to the press.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important but Slow True Story

 

Story: Snowden starts as we follow documentary film maker Laura Poitras (Leo) and journalist Glenn Greenwald (Quinto) meet Edward Snowden (Gordon-Levitt) who is a private contractor for the NSA giving his interview to why he did what he did.

The story begins back when Snowden was training to be a soldier only to be discharged on medical grounds and entering a career into the CIA. We see how Snowden meet his love Lindsay (Woodley) but on the other side of this life he gets to see how the minds of different people inside the CIA work leaving him questioning each decision within before he went onto exposing all the secrets from around the world.

Snowden is the story of one of the biggest whistle-blowers in American history, he gave up his whole life to show the secrets of America and other intelligence communities. This is an important part of history we haven’t fully seen the effects of yet which makes this film almost feel too early. The film moves at a steady pace but can get complicated when certain technological talk going on.

Joseph gives his ever-reliable performance as Snowden without ever looking out of place in the role. When it comes to the reporters exposing the story they all come off great without shining or coming off badly. The rest of the government characters all work well too. The truth is no one lets the film down on performances it is another film that can get caught up on tech talk.

 

Overall: This is an interesting look at how one of the biggest leaks in intelligence history happened.

Rating

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ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – P – Philadelphia (1993)

Director: Jonathan Demme

Writer: Ron Nyswaner (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Roberta Maxwell, Buzz Milman, Karen Finley, Antonio Banderas, Jason Robards, Mary Steenburgen, Ron Vawter, Robert Ridgely, Charles Napier

 

Plot: When a man with HIV is fired by his law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit.


Tagline – No one would take on his case… until one man was willing to take on the system.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Drama

 

Story: Philadelphia starts as we meet two rival lawyers, Joe Miller (Washington) who fights for the innocent and Andrew Beckett (Hanks) a company man who has risen up the firm to become an associate partner, but Andrew has been fighting a sickness, aids.

When Andrew gets fired from the law firm, he turns to Joe to sue for wrongly termination from the firm after he believes he was sabotaged because of his illness, but Joe’s own homophobic mindset and his questioning how contagion aids is. Joe eventually puts aside his prejudices and takes the case against the law firm, but it becomes a race against time for Andrew.

 

Thoughts on Philadelphia

 

Characters – Andrew Beckett is the brilliant lawyer on the rise within his firm, just after he gets a promotion, he finds himself getting sacked for having aids and being homosexual. He has always been good to the staff he works with and wins his cases but now he battles his illness and wants to sue for wrongful dismissal. Joe Miller is a homophobic ambulance chaser, he wins cases for personal injuries, he is reluctant at first but decides to take the case where he must learn to put his own prejudices aside. The rest of the characters focus around the law firm that dismiss Andrew and Andrew’s boyfriend Miguel as he supports him through his struggles.

PerformancesTom Hanks won an Oscar here, do I need to talk about how fantastic he is in this role, I think not. Denzel Washington also shows how brilliant he was in this role. The rest of the cast also give us wonderful performances throughout the film to make this one of the biggest films of the year.

StoryThe is a story about one man trying to fight against what he thinks is wrongful dismal for his sexual orientation and for having aids.  This is an important film that shows the discrimination people had with both people with aids and homosexuals which should never be a deciding part of whether to keep a member of staff. It is a powerful court room drama that shows us just how people can fight for what is right even if it is against their belief.

SettingsThe film is set in Philadelphia which is a beautiful setting, we are mostly in the courtroom which is now becoming one of my favourite locations for a film to take place in.


Scene of the Movie –
Andrew’s testimony.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This is a difficult subject matter to watch for some.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most important films you will see, it has two truly great performances with a supporting cast that is equally as great throughout the film.

 

Overall: Brilliant drama about the struggle.

Rating