ABC Film Challenge – Crime – Y – The Yards (2000)

Director: James Gray

Writer: James Gray, Matt Reeves (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix, Charlize Theron, James Caan, Ellen Burstyn, Faye Dunaway, Steve Lawrence

 

Plot: In the rail yards of Queens, contractors repair and rebuild the city’s subway cars. These contracts are lucrative, so graft and corruption are rife. When Leo Handler gets out of prison, he finds his aunt married to Frank Olchin, one of the big contractors; he’s battling with a minority-owned firm for contracts. Willie Gutierrez, Leo’s best friend, is Frank’s bag man and heads a crew of midnight saboteurs who ruin the work of the Puerto Rican-owned firm. Leo needs a job, so Willie pays him to be his back-up. Then things go badly wrong one night, a cop IDs Leo, and everyone now wants him out of the picture. Besides his ailing mom and his cousin Erica, to whom can Leo turn?


Tagline – He’s the target of the most merciless family in New York. His own

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: By the Books

 

Story: The Yards starts when Leo (Wahlberg) gets released from prison, needing to lock down a job his Aunt Kitty (Dunaway) sets him up with her husband Frank Olchin (Caan) who runs a railway construction company in Queens. Without the skills set, he can’t be given a job, but his bag man Willie (Phoenix) who is also Leo’s best friend recruits him to do the dirty work for the company.

When a job goes wrong Willie and Leo both commit an act of violence, only Leo can be identified, he must go on the run while finding everybody trying to hunt him down, trying to expose the truth before it is too late, with only is mother Val (Burstyn) and cousin Erica (Theron) to trust.

 

Thoughts on The Yards

 

Characters – Leo is an ex-con that is released from prison, he best friend and Uncle offer him two different jobs, one he isn’t qualified for and one would mean working against the law. He finds himself on the wrong side of the law after a job goes wrong needing to do anything he can to clear his name, while being considered the most wanted man in Queens. Willie is the best friend of Leo, he has made a career being the bag man for Frank which will see him complete the deals to make the business succeed. He ends up leading Leo down the wrong path, when it is him that makes the biggest mistake. Erica is the cousin of Leo and girlfriend to Willie, she is completing her education and gets caught between who to remain loyal towards. Frank runs the corrupt railway construction company that has nearly every political figure in his back pocket. He keeps himself looking clean, letting his men do the dirty work, leading to him being forced into a difficult decision. Val is the mother of Leo that has always tried to give him everything he could give him in life, left to suffer when he gets blamed for the crimes.

PerformancesMark Wahlberg is strong in the leading role, he gives us a performance that shows his regret, confusion and worries about the future he is meant to have once out of prison. Joaquin Phoenix brings us a performance which shows us just how he can make us hate a character. Charlize Theron in the supporting role shows us everything she needs to without getting the same spotlight as the rest of the cast, while James Caan works in the corrupt businessman role with ease. The rest of the cast are solid without doing anything outside the comfort zones.

StoryThe story here takes us into the world of corruption within the Queens railway service construction company that pays off to get jobs after doing their own dirty work to make others look worse, we follow one ex-con being placed into this world who sees the bad only to become the prime suspect in the investigation of a murder. The story does try to keep us guessing to what will happen and who Leo could trust only for it to become to run of mill in the genre to make it new or original. It might be loosely based on a real case, it however doesn’t offer enough to make things feel like we could see too much going on, rather than focusing on the cover up itself.

Crime/RomanceThe crime world we enter is the political corruption of construction which shows us how quickly people can turn on each other without doubt. The romance side of this story takes a back burner which is here to show how difficult of a position Erica is put into.

SettingsThe film is set in Queen which shows us how the community will come together to work together or turn on somebody.


Scene of the Movie –
The incident.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story is overly generic.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting crime story that does everything by the book without doing anything overly special.

 

Overall: Simple crime film.

Rating

 

 

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Harrison Ford Weekend – Regarding Henry (1991)

Director: Mike Nichols

Writer: J.J. Abrams (Screenplay)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Annette Bening, Bill Nunn, Mikki Allen, Donald Moffat

 

Plot: After being shot, a man loses his memory and must relearn speech and mobility, but he has a loving family to support him.


Tagline – His life was based on power, success, and ruthlessness. Until a bullet made him think again.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Drama

 

Story: Regarding Henry starts as we meet hotshot lawyer Henry Turner (Ford) he closes cases with ease and has the full trust of the partners in the firm, his strict behaviour does return home too with the way he controls his daughter Rachel (Allen), with his wife Sarah (Bening) dealing with reminding him of names at parties.

Henry’s life is turned upside down when he is shot in a head, leaving him with no memory, speech or mobility. Bradley (Nunn) his physical Therapist comes into this life to help teach him again as Sarah must adapt without the income that Henry once bought in. with Henry’s recovery going well, can a return home make him better, both in health and in his own personal standards of treating people.

 

Thoughts on Regarding Henry

 

Characters – Henry is a lawyer, he closes cases with ease, but doesn’t seem to be close to his family or friends, busy working for the most part of his life. When he gets shot in the head, he must learn to recover and learn everything again, this shows Henry a new way to look at life which will make him a better person. Sarah is the wife of Henry, she supports him through the tough time knowing he will remember his life in time. Bradley is the physical therapist that helps Henry break the first hurdles in his recovery.

PerformancesHarrison Ford gives a performance we wouldn’t know him for, he does well for the most part, but there are moments he doesn’t hit the performance like he should. Annette Bening is good in her role through the film with Bill Nunn adding the extra moments needed in this film.

StoryThe story here plays out like a fantasy film in places, we have one man that has a lift changing injury that makes him see life in a different point of view.  We see his recovery process which shows us how the people in his life can change their opinions on one person after an injury impairs their abilities. This does tell the recovery process and clearly shows the changes Henry goes though which are good to see through the film.

RomanceThe romance of the film is standard it shows the life both Henry and Sarah have had before and after the injury.

SettingsThe film is set mostly in New York city, which is great as I always say, which helps show how the busy life of Henry affected his life.


Scene of the Movie –
The rehab.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Moments Ford doesn’t hit the injury the way you believe.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good drama that shows how injuries can affect lives, not just the person that is injured but the people close to them too.

 

Overall: Good Film which shows Ford in different light.

Rating

 

 

Harrison Ford Weekend – Morning Glory (2010)

Director: Roger Michell

Writer: Aline Brosh McKenna (Screenplay)

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Jeff Goldblum, Patrick Wilson

 

Plot: An upstart television producer accepts the challenge of reviving a struggling morning show program with warring co-hosts.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: Morning Glory starts as we follow Becky (McAdams) a new producer dreaming of one day going to the next level, when she believes she is about to get the senior producer role she finds herself losing her job instead. Not one to give up on her dreams to searches endlessly for a new job in the business and it is Jerry Barnes (Goldblum) that gives her a chance to work on saving the fourth best morning news station Daybreak.

Wanting to make an impact Becky fires the demoralising anchor, Becky must find a new anchor and her choice is going after News Icon Mike Pomperoy (Ford) who is under contract but doesn’t want to work. Becky must find a way for Mike to work with her current anchor Colleen Peck (Keaton) while making new friends with fellow producer Adam Bennett (Wilson) offering up a potential love interest.

 

Thoughts on Morning Glory

 

Characters/PerformanceBecky is an ambitious young woman desperate to make a career in producing the news. She gets her chance working on the lowest rated show and must use all of her good spirit and ideas to make the show climb the ratings, all while dealing with her own personal life that she has given up making her career important. This is a brilliant character because it shows how people can put their career before their own lives which is why this is something we have seen before but always good to go back too.

Mike is the difficult anchor to work with, he used to be a draw in the news reporting world but isn’t interested in working on anything he doesn’t think is news worth, he makes the job as difficult as possible for Becky by doing the bare minimum. Colleen is the seasoned anchor that is happy to take a chance on the wild stories that can bring in the ratings. Adam is the love interest for Becky as well as being involved with Mike before so he can give Becky advice when it comes to handling him.

Performance wise, McAdams is great in the leading role, not playing it overly funny which is how you can judge the whole cast, Ford does enjoy this role because it is different to the rest of his normal action material.

StoryThe story following a career driven woman following her dream putting everything she has into making it happen against all the odds if something that is fantastic to watch because we all like to enjoy watching someone reach that goal. Sure, most of this film does go around in the cycle you would expect but if it isn’t broken don’t fix it.

Romantic/ComedyThe romantic side is on the main story which I think works because it isn’t the most important part of the film, the comedy comes when needed without being a constant attempt at laughter.

SettingsThe settings for this film are mostly inside the news studio which shows how close everyone must be to work together. This helps us see how the tension looks between the characters.

Final ThoughtsI wasn’t expecting too much from this film going in, mostly because of the genres but in the end, I found myself enjoying everything as it was unfolding.

 

Overall: This is a good comedy drama that is worth watching.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – J – Joyride (2017)

Director: Matt Murphy

Writer: Matt Murphy (Screenplay)

Starring: Dean O’Gorman, James Rolleston, Ashleigh Cummings, Antonia Preddle, Matt Whelan, Siobhan Marshall

 

Plot: Pork Pie tracks the escapades of a trio of accidental outlaws as they travel the length of the New Zealand in a yellow mini, protesting conformity and chasing lost love, with a posse of cops and a media frenzy hot in their pursuit.


Tagline – The misfits. The Mini. The mayhem.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Little Adventure

 

Story: Joyride starts when Luke (Rolleston) steals a mini escaping from thugs, he nearly hits author who is travelling across New Zealand for a wedding Jon (O’Gorman) and on their journey they pick up feisty young woman Keira (Cummings) as they are running from a past they can’t control.

As the three bond they each reveal why they are on the journey and they three start to guide each other through their problems and their causes, all while evading the law.

 

Thoughts on Joyride

 

Characters – Jon is trying to crash a wedding, not to steal the bride or anything, to try and make up with his ex, who he left at the altar. He wants to make up for everything, though he doesn’t know how to go about it. Luke is the young man who stole the car, he is on the run from some thugs, while dealing with his own loss, he needs somebody to be there for him. Keira is an animal activist that works in a fast food restaurant she joins the guys after learning they are travelling towards a protest, she wants to be part of, showing that she is planning to us the incident to make an impact. Susie is the ex of Jon that was left at the altar, she doesn’t anything to do with Jon, however much he tries to come back to her.

PerformancesDean O’Gorman and James Rolleston are both good in their roles in the film, they manage to have good chemistry and handle the emotional sides of their story too. Ashleigh Cummings completes the main line up with her performance equalling theirs.

StoryThe story shows an unlikely trio travel across New Zealand for different reasons, as they travel they must help each other with their problem as they become outlaws through the country. This does feel like a coming of age movie with the Luke character, a sort your life out movie for Jon and learn about yourself movie for Keira, the three stories mix together to show us how adventure can bring new meaning to life. We get the emotional levels required to make you laugh and cry which can be hard to achieve. This is a story that will stick with you without being one that gets bogged down with too much going on.

Action/Comedy/Crime/RomanceThe action comes from the car chases around the country which are entertaining and like many films include minis. The comedy comes from moments the three go through trying to escape, which shows how the crimes they are committing will only make things worst for the group. The romance is motivation for Jon which shows just how far he would go for love.

SettingsNew Zealand is the backdrop for the movie which shows us how beautiful the country is and how driving across it can be achieved.


Scene of the Movie –
The final car chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The love story takes over too easily.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun film that balance three stories well at times before falling slightly short with concluding a couple of them as well as it should.

 

Overall: Good little action crime comedy.

Rating

 

 

Boys Don’t Cry (1999)

Director: Kimberly Peirce

Writer: Kimberly Peirce, Andy Bienen (Screenplay)

Starring: Hilary Swank, Chloe Sevigny, Peter Sarsgaard, Brendan Sexton III, Alicia Goranson, Alison Folland

 

Plot: Female-born Teena Brandon adopts his male identity of Brandon Teena and attempts to find himself and love in Nebraska.


Tagline – A true story about finding the courage to be yourself.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Shockingly Powerful Drama

 

Story: Boys Don’t Cry starts with Teena (Swank) a young woman that wants to become a man, she uses the name Brandon to go around small American towns looking to pick up women, which has got her in trouble in the past.

On his latest trip she finds a new group of people, with Lana (Sevigny) taking her eye, with her friends and family including John (Sarsgaard), Tom (Sexton III), Candace (Goranson) all welcoming her into the group as Brandon, when her true identity is revealed there will be shocking consequence.

 

Thoughts on Boys Don’t Cry

 

Characters – Teena is a young woman that is preparing for her sex change, before that she is going around as a young man Brandon, trying to meet women. She meets a young lady in Lana, makes new friends, but she is on the run which will soon catch up with her. This is a based on a real person that is going through the difficult process of wanting to have a sex change. Lana is the young lady that Brandon takes a shine to, she lives the dead end life that she isn’t enjoying and Brandon brings a new feeling about it, though she is left in a difficult position when the truth comes out. John and Tom are two of the group of friends that happily welcome Brandon into their group, when they learn the truth, they will go to extreme measures to get revenge.

PerformancesHilary Swank went on to win an Oscar for her role in the film, you can see why because she is fantastic in the difficult role. Chloe Sevigny shows us jus how her supporting role she can make a huge impact in the film. Peter Sarsgaard and Brendon Sexton III both are disturbing in their roles in the film which shows just how they could make to truly disgusting human beings come to life.

StoryThe story here follows a young lady preparing for a sex change, that would go around looking for women, only for her secret to come back when the prejudice locals can’t deal with people somebody they can’t explain in their lives. This is a film way before it own time, even though it is only 20 years old, it is based on the real crime which would easily have been given a bigger spotlight in todays world. we do step into the world of transgenders, which is always difficult to word correctly because it is a sensitive subject. What occurs in the film is surprising and shocking that you couldn’t see happening.

Biopic/Crime/RomanceThe film uses the biopic side of the film to show the romance and crime against Brandon Teena a young transgender that is still wanting to figure out how to get through the sex change.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the locations which shows how the smaller towns can operate and have mindsets that don’t accept people that are different.


Scene of the Movie –
The first night together.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The actions of the men.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most difficult movies you will see, it has a sensitive subject on the table which will show the way people can act towards people.

 

Overall: Must watch movie.

Rating