Journeyman (2017)

Director: Paddy Considine

Writer: Paddy Considine (Screenplay)

Starring: Paddy Considine, Jodie Whittaker, Paul Popplewell, Brendan Ingle, Tony Pitts, Matt Insley, Anthony Welsh

Plot: Boxer Matty Burton suffers a serious head injury during a fight. This is the story about the impact on his marriage, his life, and his family.


Tagline – A snapshot into the life of a struggling boxer

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sensational and Eye Opening

Story: Journeyman starts as Matty Burton (Considine) has finally won middleweight boxing championship, he now has everything with his wife Emma (Whittaker) and new born baby Mia, he is preparing for his first defence of his title against the undefeated Andre Bryte (Welsh) who believes Matty is just a lucky champion.

After Matty wins the fight he returns home to celebrate with Emma, only to collapse from a head injury that he suffered during the fight, he has suffered a serious brain injury. After the operations, Matty isn’t the man he once was, needing Emma to help him around the house with everyday activities

Thoughts on Journeyman

Characters – Matty Burton is a champion boxer, he has spent his career working up to the title and now he has it, he must prepare to defend it and defend it he does. This fight leaves him with a brain injury, which sees everyday function gone, he can’t remember how to do the basics of everyday life and is left feeling helpless, acting out against his wife who is trying to help him. Emma is Matty’s wife, she has always supported his career and with this new injury, she must adapt to life with his brain injury, she is also trying to raise their daughter, with Matty unable to help the way he once did, leaving her in the difficult situation of who she can give more time and care too. Jackie and Richie are the friends from the ring, they start by staying away, but they turn into the only one that can help Matty rediscover himself.

PerformancesPaddy Considine gives us a career best performance, where you see him as a nice guy that must deal with such a sudden change and the pain it causes him is shown on every expressions, he gives us. Jodie Whittaker is wonderful in the supporting role which sees her needing to remain strong through the film. Paul Popplewell and Tony Pitts complete the main cast where they are all both great supporting performers.

StoryThe story here follows a boxer that wins his title defence only to suffer a serious brain injury that makes everyday of his life difficult as he must relearn how to do the basics and must prove he is safe enough to raise a baby around. This is one of the most eye-opening stories you will see, it does show the danger in boxing and how suddenly a punch could change a career and life forever, even in a competitive situation. We don’t focus too much on the boxing, only the aftereffects which shows the difficult early days, weeks or months on the road to recover and how that person might never be fixed, only able to learn to live with their injuries. This is one for the boxing fans to watch or any sports or even anyone that wants to see how difficult brain injuries can be on a family.

SportsThe sports side of the film shows us how the boxing can effect the lives of the competitors when it comes to brain injuries, we do only see one fight, but it is the routine of boxing which helps recovery process.

SettingsThe film is set in the midlands, it does put us in a realistic boxing community, instead of a flashy rich home like we often see in boxing movies.


Scene of the Movie – The return to the boxing club.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing.

Final Thoughts This is a wonderful look at how boxing can change a life through injury and how people need to learn to adapt to the change in life.

Overall: Paddy Considine gives a career best.

Rating

McLaren (2017)

Director: Roger Donaldson

Writer: James Brown, Matthew Metcalfe, Glenn Standring, Tim Woodhouse

Plot: The story of Bruce McLaren, the New Zealander who founded the McLaren Motor Racing team. A man who showed the world that a man of humble beginnings could take on the elite of motor racing and win.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Interesting Documentary

Story: McLaren starts by showing us how Bruce McLaren was born to a family that enjoyed racing in New Zealand, this would see him being given a huge opportunity where Bruce would get a drive in Formula One, joining the Cooper team, becoming the youngest race winner in a championship winning team.

After proving himself in a car including winning the most difficult race in Monaco, Bruce learns that the sport isn’t as friendly after his first major accident, returning he sees one of his closest friends killed before deciding to make his own team McLaren in a new location America, where they would make better money from the sport. With his new success in design his racing career continued to shine, only he own personal illness struggled to improve giving him personal pain on a daily basis.

Thoughts on McLaren

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at one of the pioneers in motor racing, it showed that with talent came commitment, we do get to see parts of his racing career, which is all fascinating to see, though it does only seem to follow the positives from his racing career, minus the one big accident. We don’t get a full look at his formula one career and racing career around the world, instead focusing more on his ability to look to design a successful car in the sport. This does show how hard he went to work on becoming different from the financially more secure teams. The weaknesses in the film come from certain moments of editing which seem to show the film almost stop before heading to the next scene. This will show the basics of one of the most important people in motor sport, but doesn’t show us enough of what could have been seen from a documentary about in important career.

Overall: Interesting, but not as big of a documentary as it could have been.

Rating

Kevin Costner Weekend – McFarland (2015)

Director: Niki Caro

Writer: Christopher Cleverland, Bettina Gilois, Grant Thompson (Screenplay) Christopher Cleverland, Bettina Gilois (Story)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Ramiro Rodriguez, Carlos Pratts, Johnny Ortiz, Rafael Martinez, Hector Duran, Sergio Avelar

 

Plot: Jim White moves his family after losing his last job as a football coach. He sees that some of the students are worth starting a cross-country team and turns seven students with no hope into one of the best cross-country teams.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Sports Drama

 

Story: McFarland starts as high school football coach Jim White (Costner) goes too far trying to motivate his team, which leads him to lose his job, needing find a new job, Jim relocates with his family wife Cheryl (Bello) and kids to McFarland a small town populated with mostly Mexican families.

Moving to this town opens Jim’s eyes to a potential cross-country team to help the children with little hope of a big future to aim for something, he takes Thomas Valles (Pratts) the fastest, Danny Diaz (Rodriguez) the slowest, Jose (Ortiz), David (Martinez), Johnny (Duran) and Victor (Avelar) and attempts to make them a champion cross-country team.

 

Thoughts on McFarland

 

Characters – Coach Jim White is a fallen man having lost his temper with an over privileged team not performing, needing to redeem himself he moves his family to the only place that would give him a chance McFarland a mostly Mexican neighbourhood. Here we see Jim believe he can turn 7 kids into a champion cross-country team using his ability to learn the new culture and give the kids hope they never thought they would get. Thomas is the star of the team, he has natural speed, but he has not been given too much hope with his future after school, he now gets a chance that could bring him a college dream he could never even consider. Danny is the slowest member of the team but he never gives up showing improvement on every single run.

PerformanceKevin Costner shows us here that he does still have it and most of all can handle being the mentor figure for the young actors. The young actors playing the runners all give great performances show us just how anyone could be given a chance to be the next big thing. Maria Bello is potentially the weakest of the main performers but we don’t get too much for her to do.

StoryThe story of one coach needing to get redemption for his actions is one idea we have seen before. It works here and mixing it with entering into a neighbourhood that has been given no hope of a future until they are shown a new way out of the town. This is based on a true story which shows how real people’s actions were important for this community. This shows how people working together can achieve any dreams.

Biopic/SportsThe real people are show in this movie should be used as inspiration for anyone who has dreams and it helps show people can make them happen. The running is chopped together to be fine but isn’t the most engaging part of the film.

SettingsThe small-town setting shows how difficult life would be for this families living here, it also shows just how together the neighbourhood is when supporting any success that could come their way.

Scene of the Movie – Bridge talk.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Due to not knowing Spanish I didn’t understand slight words other people would.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fantastic look at how one man changed the hopes for a small town, it shows how every kid should be given a chance to prove themselves for a future and gives us a true story that could inspire.

 

Overall: Enjoyable, Inspirational story.

Rating

 

 

Ben Stiller Weekend – Dodgeball (2004)

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Writer: Rawson Marshall Thurber (Screenplay)

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, Ben Stiller, Rip Torn, Justin Long, Stephen Root, Joel David Moore, Alan Tudyk, Gary Cole

 

Plot: A group of misfits enter a Las Vegas dodgeball tournament in order to save their cherished local gym from the onslaught of a corporate health fitness chain.


Tagline – Grab Life by the Balls 

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best Sports Comedies

 

Story: Dodgeball starts as we meet the two gym owners, White Goodman (Stiller) who is obsessed with perfection with bodies only accepting beautiful model like members, on the other side of the street we have Peter La Fleur (Vaughn) owner of Average’s Joe a gym that is open to all, with the regulars and staff including Justin (Long), Gordon (Root), Owen (Moore), Dwight (Williams) and Steve the Pirate (Tudyk).

When Average Joe’s is facing a financial crisis with lawyer Kate Veatch (Taylor) preparing to close them in 30 days with White Goodman wanting to buy it and demolish it. The only plan is to train and enter a dodgeball competition where the prize is the money they require, only problem is, White has made his own team of super-athletes to stop Average Joe’s winning.  

 

Thoughts on Dodgeball

 

Characters – Peter La Fleur is a gym owner, he is laidback and willing to let anybody join at their own pace, this mentality has left him facing financial crisis and he reluctantly accepts entering a dodgeball tournament, he can bring the team together as he gives the whole team hope. White Goodman is the owner of Globo Gym he only accepts beautiful people in his gym even offering cosmetic surgery for his members. He is completely over the top believing he is God’s gift to women with his success coming from his family’s money, he will do anything to eliminate Average Joe’s. Kate Veatch is the lawyer that is assigned to study the finances of Average Joe’s, she becomes the love interest for both men even though she has no interest in White, she joins the team to help eliminate Globo Gym. Patches O’Houlihan is the dodgeball expert, he trains the Average Joe’s to help become competitive in the competition. The rest of the cast include the Average Joe’s members Justin, Gordon, Owen, Dwight and Steve the Pirate that each have their own stories behind their characters to help motivate them to compete.

PerformancesVince Vaughn is one of those actors whose comedy can go either way, it is a laidback style which work perfectly for his character here, because he brings us a real person compared to Ben Stiller. Stiller on the other hand nails his completely over the top character that you are meant to be laughing at with everything he does and says. Christine Taylor is good in her role which like the rest of the cast shine, we get a mix of different comedies from the supporting cast which blend together to show the different styles of real life people.

StoryThe story here follows to rival gyms going to compete for a dodgeball tournament to help keep the little gym with no money a chance to stay afloat before the global franchise closes them down. The story does botte down to a simple underdog story which is fine we can all enjoy a story about an underdog, we do get moments in the film from the Average Joe’s characters that help them learn to become more than they are which is the whole point of a gym, to improve yourself in your own way and everything Globo Gym shouldn’t be. If you want a simple fun sports comedy to watch, this is going to be the one for you without a question.

ComedyThe comedy in this film comes from many different levels, we get moments of slapstick with the dodgeball scenes, we get over the top characters in White Goodman and his team and finally each member of Joe’s team has their own quirky to make them funny.

SettingsThe look at the different gyms helps the settings because it shows how people can be intimidated by certain gyms over others, when we head to Vegas for the tournament the competition feels are authentic as you would imagine.


Scene of the Movie –
Most of the dodgeball scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lance Armstrong scene is awkward now.

Final ThoughtsFor a sports comedy this has laughs, heart and quality performances from the whole cast, this is one that will stick with you for years to come and I hope to see everyone else enjoy it.

 

Overall: Sports comedy done to near perfection.

Rating

 

 

Le Mans ’66 (2019) Movie Review

Director: James Mangold

Writer: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Jason Keller (Screenplay)

Starring: Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Caitriona Balfe, Jon Bernthal, Josh Lucas, JJ Field, Ray McKinnon, Noah Jupe

Plot: American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.


Tagline – They took the american dream for a ride

Runtime: 2 Hours 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sporting Classic

Story: Le Mans 66 starts as we see how Carroll Shelby (Damon) made history by winning the Le Mans 24 Hour race only to be forced into retirement because of medical problems, not wanting to walk away from the sport, he starts designing cars and turns to his friend a racer Ken Miles (Bale) to help race the cars.

When Henry Ford II (Letts) sees the sells in his car going down he turns to his team to think of ideas, Lee Iacocca (Bernthal) suggests challenging Ferrari in Le Mans, which sees Carroll hired to build a car capable of defeating them and he only wants Ken to drive for him, can they make history?

Thoughts on Le Mans 66

Characters – Ken Miles was the greatest racer of the era, the problem with him was always his attitude, never wanting to follow rules almost blacklisting him from most teams around the world, his wife wants him to race, his son looks up to him and Carroll knows he is the best man for the job, he help design the car with Carroll and his team and must prove himself on the track to get the drive at Le Mans. Carroll Shelby won Le Mans, retired from the racing side of the sport to start designing the cars, he is considered the best in America and is pick by Ford to design their race car, he will challenge the order of things because he knows he can achieve this, if he is given the chance to select who he wants in the car. Mollie is the ever-supportive wife of Ken, she wants him to drive knowing he will get bored if he doesn’t, she only asks that he is honest with her, she odes also get a great driving scene. we do get to meet plenty of executives from Ford, who each have their own agenda with Leo Beebe being made out to be the villain of the team, while Henry Ford II is made out to be strict, but will accept honesty.

PerformancesChristian Bale and Matt Damon are both fantastic proving to everyone why they are considered two of the best in the business today, they have great individual moments as well as banter between them. Outside of the two big names, nobody does get to reach their level and everybody is a joy to watch in their roles.

StoryThe story here follows Henry Ford II desire to beat Enzo Ferrari in the Le Mans 24-hour race, we see him hire a former winner turned designer to build his car, as the two sides do battle to get Ken Miles behind the wheel, in an attempt to make history. This does show how an American decided he would rather push the limits of his bank than improve the product he was making as we see how Ford changed the racing world that Ferrari had been dominating for decades and how faith in a driver is often more important that having the fastest car. The story is told over a couple of years, we get to see the important turns in the battle between Carroll and Ford’s executives to get the best driver behind the wheel, before letting us just sit back and enjoy the races. It could have had a little bit of the story chopped down to save some time though.

Action/Biopic/SportThe action mixes with the sport wonderfully to give us edge of the seat race moments that will be the highlight of the film, while the biopic side of the film seems to focus more on the car side of things only, while Ken does have a family, we really don’t learn anything else about Carroll outside of his work.

SettingsThe film recreates the iconic race track perfectly and shows us how the time relevant cars were used in nearly every scene of the film, on and off the track.


Scene of the Movie – Le Mans Race.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Give us subtitles for the Ferrari scenes.

Final Thoughts This is a high speed biopic that doesn’t let you breath through most of the action involved, it has brilliant performances from the whole cast and is a must watch for any motor sports fans.

Overall: Motor Sports Fans Must Watch.