Malcolm X (1992)

malcolmDirector: Spike Lee

Writer: Arnold Perl, Spike Lee (Screenplay) Alex Haley, Malcolm X (Book)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Albert Hall, Al Freeman Jr, Delroy Lindo, Spike Lee, Theresa Randle, Kate Vernon

 

Plot: Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Denzel’s Powerhouse

 

Story: Malcolm X starts as Malcolm X (Washington) himself tells us all about his childhood and troubles with the white clans men his parents had. We pick up his story as he works with Shorty (Lee) during ‘war time’ (I am not sure which war though). We see how Malcolm starts working for gangster West Indian Archie (Lindo) who enjoys how street smart Malcolm is.

Betraying Archie, Malcolm finds himself trying to go out on his own only to find himself in jail and this is where he gets taught the ways of Elijah Muhammad (Freeman Jr) who teaches him the way of God and Islam so when he is free from prison he can preach against the white men in America. Malcolm X went onto become one of the most iconic figures in the equal rights movement even if he ways were different to Martin Luthor King.

Malcolm X is an extremely long look at one of the iconic men in the equal rights movement in America. We get to see his full transformation from gangster to preacher to revolutionary leader. The story is extremely detailed but it would be fair to say we could have had a lot cut out from this film so it doesn’t take nearly 3 and half hours to get through. This is a good history lesson in the end but I would say it is only a one-time watch.

Denzel gives us a brilliant leading man performance showing all his potential to be one of the biggest stars in the industry. When you look at the supporting cast we don’t get too much out of most of these characters which is disappointing as their story is just as important to Malcolm’s and with a film this long we could have done more to create a more equal story for these characters.

 

Overall: This is a good even if long history lesson.

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Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

hacksawDirector: Mel Gibson

Writer: Robert Schenkkan, Andrew Knight (Screenplay)

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Hugo Weaving, Teresa Palmer, Vince Vaughn

 

Plot: WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Absolutely Amazing

 

Story: Hacksaw Ridge starts as we meet a young Desmond Doss who along with his brother Hal must deal with their abusive father Tom (Weaving), once Desmond reaches his early twenties Desmond finds his calling in life to become a doctor after saving a local man’s life, even though he hasn’t the education to do so.

Meeting beautiful nurse Dorothy Schutte (Palmer) he falls in love but like his brother is drawn to support his country in World War II. Desmond wants to be a field medic refusing to carry a weapon which Sgt Howell (Vaughn) and Captain Glover (Worthington) use to turn the company against him with Smitty Ryker (Bracey) leading the ribbing.

With everyone against Desmond he must fight for his right to go to war to save the soldier’s lives without using a firearm through court before he joins the forces in Japan. What follows is the incredible story of Desmond Dobbs as he risks his own life to save as many soldiers as he can during the battle for Hacksaw Ridge.

 

Thoughts on Hacksaw Ridge

 

StoryThe story we are shown is of one man’s act of heroism during the Battle for Hacksaw Ridge, we do get to see how hard Desmond had to fight to get the chance to even serve his country against all the odds. The film is split into two stories with the first being about being able to go to war and the second is for battle. You hardly notice the time pass through this film either.

History/WarThe film gives us a look into one of the many brutal battles through World War II this one on Hacksaw Ridge as we follow the hero of the battle who saved countless lives. The war side of this story is realistic throughout showing the full brutality of the events.

Characters/PerformancesDesmond Doss is one of the most heroic characters we have seen in any film and the fact he was a real hero makes this man more than just any hero. With most of the other characters all being the expected levels for a war movie. The performances are brilliant with Andrew Garfield giving a performance that will re-define his career. I think we get brilliant performance from both Sam Worthington and Vince Vaughn showing they both have all the ability given the right direction and I finally think Luke Bracey gives a great supporting performance as another member of the unit.

SettingsThe settings are used to show how brutal the battle was, everything is put together to make this feel like one of the most realistic war movies you will ever see.

Special EffectsWhen you look at the effects used to re-create this battle you are left to see just how difficult the battle was and just how brutal the combat would have been for the soldiers.

Final ThoughtsThis is by far the great war film I have seen in my life when it comes to the battle side of the film.

 

Overall: Breath-takingly amazing that cannot stop grabbing your attention.

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Patriots Day (2016)

patriotsDirector: Peter Berg

Writer: Peter Berg, Matt Cook, Joshua Zetumer (Screenplay) Peter Berg, Matt Cook, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson (Story)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, Michelle Monaghan, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist, Kevin Bacon

 

Plot: An account of Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis’s actions in the events leading up to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the aftermath, which includes the city-wide manhunt to find the terrorists behind it.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Intensely Thrilling

 

Story: Patriots Day starts as we meet Tommy Saunders (Wahlberg) a police officer dealing with consequences of his past which has seen him needing to walk the beat on the latest Boston Marathon to get himself out of the dog house with Commissioner Ed Davis (Goodman).

Patriots Day arrives as we see a host of people getting prepared for the marathon including Tommy, Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese (Simmons) and the Tsarnaev brothers Dzhokhar (Wolff) and Tamerlan (Melikidze).

With the marathon, underway and the celebrations started the Tsarnaev brother arrive to turn this celebration into a tragedy that shocked the world by placing bombs on along the finishing straight. With the chaos of the scenes the police and rescue teams work to help as many people as possible before a nationwide manhunt searching for the brothers who the police are unaware of as they work with the FBI led by Special Agent Richard Deslauriers (Bacon).

 

Thoughts on Patriots Day

 

StoryThis is the story of the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings as we see how the police, FBI and city of Boston come together to search for the terrorists behind the crime. So the story is well known but the details behind everything is truly shot here to near perfection keeping you on edge from the opening sequence to the conclusion at this is over 2 hours long. The story telling process within this film is easily one of the most intense thrilling experiences you will have all year long.

Drama/History/ThrillerThis will always be known as one of the most successful capture of domestic terrorists within America even though we have the tragic loss of life. This is easily one of the most thrilling stories you will see this year because it literally just doesn’t stop.

Characters/PerformanceEach character is based on the real people involved the ones that were victims, the police officers hunting the suspects, the suspects themselves and even the political members involved trying to do the right legal side of the story, it would be unfair to question any of the characters within the film because they are real. The performances are all fantastic fulling portraying the people who were involved in the tragic event.

SettingsThe settings re-create the Boston streets for the events with each looking just like it was everyday scenes, we see the peace before the events and the aftermath of the attack.

Final ThoughtsThis is bar far one of the best thrillers we have had on the modern day true stories and true 2-hour edge of your seat thriller.

 

Overall: Brilliant thriller that just never lets you take a breath.

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John Malkovich Weekend – Empire of the Sun (1987)

empireDirector: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Tom Stoppard (Screenplay) J.G. Ballard (Novel)

Starring: Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers, Joe Pantoliano, Leslie Phillips

 

Plot: A young English boy struggles to survive under Japanese occupation during World War II.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant

 

Story: Empire of the Sun starts in 1941 China as we follow an English family the Graham’s Mary (Richard), John (Frazer) and boy Jim (Bale) who find themselves in the middle of the tension between China and Japan. While trying to get out of China during the first invasion Jim finds himself separated where he returns home waiting for his parents to return all while having to fend for himself.

Jim meets American Basie (Malkovich), British couple Mrs Victor (Richardson), Mr Victor (Gale) and Dr Rawlins (Havers) as he has to survive in conditions his privileged lifestyle isn’t used to as a prisoner of war.

Empire of the Sun is a war drama that follows one boy during a war outbreak. This shows his struggle and search for anyone who will help him. I do like how the story decides to stay away from showing the actual conflict of war showing the human effects of what is happening. Also seeing the story from the boy’s point of view helps us understand the struggle he is facing even if he does come off annoying in places. This is one of those films that hasn’t dated at all even though it is reaching the age of 30 this year.

 

Actor Review

 

Christian Bale: Jim is the English boy living in China during the outbreak of World War II, he has lived there for his whole life. He gets separated from his family he has to fend for himself from within a Prisoner of War camp. I will say this character comes off very annoying having been taught nothing by his parents and never knowing when to shut up but that can’t be taken away from Bale’s performance. Christian shows all the shines that he was going to go onto become the star he is now with this brilliant performance.

John Malkovich: Basie is an American wheeler and dealer that reluctantly takes care of Jim during the wartime partly because he knows how to find him a deal, he gives him motivation to carry on while always looking for his own escape. John gives us the performance that is great and shows us he is a main stay of Hollywood.

Miranda Richardson: Mrs Victor is one of the British woman that take care of Jim in the prisoner of war camp, she does get tired of his stories but knows she is trying her best to protect him. Miranda is good in this supporting role without being over used.

Nigel Havers: Dr Rawlins is also at the prisoner of war who offers Jim time within the hospital caring for the sick during the time of war. Nigel much like Miranda is a good supporting without getting enough time to be over used.

Support Cast: Empire of the Sun has a good supporting cast with what I would say the only bad thing is we never feel like anyone is a really bad guy character.

Director Review: Steven SpielbergSteven give us one of the best wartime drama of all time that doesn’t focus on the actual conflict.

 

History: Empire of the Sun shows us what the prisoner of war camps would have been like during World War II filled with sickness and dealing to make it all bearable.

War: Empire of the Sun is a great look at how the children or in this case a single child was effected by the conflict breaking out in a new country.

Settings: Empire of the Sun makes each setting come off realistic be it the cities or the camp to make us see and feel the struggle Jim has to go through.  
Special Effects
: Empire of the Sun uses the effects when need and they all come off very well.

Suggestion: Empire of the Sun is one I do think everyone should watch at least once. (Watch)

 

Best Part: While annoying Bale is brilliant in this role.

Worst Part: Slightly long.

 

Believability: While the story is fictional I do think elements could have been real.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 6 Oscars.

Budget: $35 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 33 Minutes

Tagline: To survive in a world at war, he must find a strength greater than all the events that surround him.

 

Overall: One of Spielberg’s best films.

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Inferno (2016)

infernoDirector: Ron Howard

Writer: David Koepp (Screenplay) Dan Brown (Novel)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Omar Sy, Irrfan Khan, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ben Foster, Ana Ularu, Ida Darvish

 

Plot: When Robert Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Dr. Sienna Brooks, and together they must race across Europe against the clock to foil a deadly global plot.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Addition to the Franchise

 

Story: Inferno starts as we follow the charismatic preacher Bertrand Zobrist (Foster) who has been preaching about how the human race has been over populating the world and that ‘Inferno’ is the cure but his beliefs have got him in trouble leading him to have only one way out suicide.

We move to meet Robert Langdon (Hanks) who has been through a traumatic experience which has left him with amnesia waking up in hospital. Suffering nightmare visions Robert discovers he was being in hospital because of a gunshot and people are still trying to kill him, teaming up with his doctor Sienna Brooks (Jones) the two must unlock his mind.

On the run from the police, World Health Organisation and an organisation run by Harry Sims (Khan) with both Christoph Bouchard (Sy) and Vayentha (Uaru) both looking to cover up what looks like a potential viral outbreak. Can Langdon remember why he is in Florence before it is too late and save the world from the Inferno that could kill half the world’s population.

Inferno is the latest chapter of the Robert Langdon adventure in which he must use ancient clues to solve a mystery that could cull half the world’s population. This is a brilliant choice for a villain’s motivation because the world is suffering from an overpopulation problem and using this gives us the situation which would have people to support his motivation. The story keeps us guessing as to which side of the choice everyone who is hunting Langdon is on and this moves between characters a lot through the film.

Tom Hanks is as always is a good lead without truly excelling like other films this year as he is a good narrator style character which Langdon comes off as. Felicity Jones gets to have the trademark fun sidekick whose characters gets to live her dream of working with Langdon on a puzzle solving mission even with an extra dimension to her decisions. The rest of the characters hunting Langdon come off average with the film jumping between who is good or bad too often. Ben Foster is the shining light of this film even with most of his scenes being flashbacks or video recordings but his character is one of the most interesting villains in years.

This is the first of the instalment that I haven’t read first and while it does keep changing who we are meant look at as the good characters it is the step towards a much bigger threat which makes this film all the more interesting.

 

Overall: Twist filled addition to the complex historical charged mystery thriller

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