ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – N – Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)

This is under N because of the writer Nicole Holofcener.

 

Director: Marielle Heller

Writer: Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty (Screenplay)

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Richard E Grant, Dolly Wells, Ben Falcone, Gregory Korostishevsky, Jane Curtain

 

Plot: When Lee Israel falls out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliantly Acted

 

Story: Can You Ever Forgive Me? Starts in 1991 when struggling author Lee Israel (McCarthy) finds herself out of a job and money is making her life difficult. Lee turns to drink where she meets Jack Hock (Grant) a fellow struggling writer as the two drink their problems away.

Lee discovers a personalised letter in one of her books and learn of the money it is worth, she starts to write her own letters claiming they are from the real authors and making plenty of money out of this plan, until the letters start getting questioned.

 

Thoughts on Can You Ever Forgive Me

 

Characters – Lee Israel is a middle-aged author that has been struggling for inspiration for a couple of years, with her latest books struggling to sell, she lives with her aging cat in a small apartment, turning to drink whenever times get hard. Jack Hock is an alcoholic con artist that turns into a drinking buddy for Lee, he pushes her to take more risks, while continuing his own reckless behaviour. Anna and Alan are two of the many dealers that are put in a position of becoming conned by Lee’s letters.

PerformancesMelissa McCarthy is an actress that goes to weak comedy films too often, this is a change for her in a serious role, we get to see that this actress has talent and this could be a career best. Richard E Grant shines in the supporting role giving one of the best supporting performances of the year. The supporting cast are great through the film where they don’t get as much screen time.

StoryThe story here follows the fraud that Lee Israel created with fake letters and stolen letters from famous authors, selling them to cover her own failures in life. We only focus on the time which caused her to start doing this action, until the moment she gets caught and the consequences of her actions. This does show us how desperate people can become when the reach the end of their means, how naïve the people who buy could be for buying letters just because people say they are real and just how important friends will be in your later years. This does play out in the way you would imagine which keeps it feeling realistic for everything that is going on with the criminal events.

Biopic/Comedy/CrimeThe biopic side of the film shows us just the scandal side of Lee Israel’s action which is all we need to see from her story, it does have moments of comedy which will make us chuckle without being a full blown comedy, it never needed to be this. The crime side of the film is the actions Lee was committing for money

SettingsThe film is set in New York which would be a prime location for authors from around the world would be located in the early 90s.


Scene of the Movie –
Courtroom.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While we do only focus on a small part of Lee’s life, it might have been nice to get a glimpse in the first 40 odd years to see where things might have gone wrong.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliantly acted movie that shows McCarthy is one of the strongest actresses in the business, it shows a true crime story and makes us want to see how far she gets.

 

Overall: Wonderfully acted and engaging story.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – C – Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Director: Stuart Rosenberg

Writer: Donn Pearce, Frank Pierson (Screenplay) Donn Pearce (Novel)

Starring: Paul Newman, George Kennedy, J.D. Cannon, Lou Antonio, Robert Drivas, Strother Martin, Jo Van Fleet

 

Plot: A laid back Southern man is sentenced to two years in a rural prison, but refuses to conform.


Tagline – Sometimes, “Nothing” can be a really Cool Hand

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Classic We Know

 

Story: Cool Hand Luke starts as war veteran Newman) is sent to a rural prison for cutting the heads of parking metres. Wanting to keep to himself it isn’t long before he starts befriending the leader of the men in the prison Dragline (Kennedy) as they start to pass the times with bets and fights.

As Luke’s two year sentence runs, life catches up with him as he must deal with the consequences of his actions, moments in life that he will miss, forcing him to want to break the rules of the prison.

 

Thoughts on Cool Hand Luke

 

Characters – Luke is the war veteran who in a drunken state destroys parking metres, he is calm while set to prison and knows how to improve his standing with the prisoners, as he plans his own escape from the prison, he misses out on big moments of life, but it is clear he is dealing with the effects of war. Dragline runs the prisoner side of the inmates, if he likes you, you get anything, he keeps the people calm while dealing with the struggles they are facing, he befriends Luke during the time in the prison. We have a large amount of inmates in the prison each with their own characters, we have the strict wardens and owner of the prison who keep the men in line, while befriending them if they follow the rules.

PerformancesPaul Newman shines here giving us one of the best performances of any acting career, we completely understand the troubles he has been facing as the man who needed help from the world. George Kennedy in the supporting role is fantastic while the rest of the cast fill their roles well letting Newman shine.

StoryThe story here follows Luke in his time in prison, he has been sent there because of a minor crime and his problems are clear for all to see, he is a war veteran facing the consequences that had yet to be truly healed when returning home. We see how he tries to escape from the prison as he is ready to try and go against the rules of life which shows us just how broken this man was, we would get a lot more support in the modern era. The bond between the prisoners is strong in the story telling showing how they can become like one to help pass the time, with the wardens and guards even showing moments of sympathy towards the prisoners.

CrimeThe crime side of the film shows us just where a minor criminal will end up, how they must get through the prison routine even if they want to escape.

SettingsThe film is set in the prison, it shows us how isolated this location is, meaning running isn’t going to be the option.


Scene of the Movie –
The final moments.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Bloodhounds seem mistreated.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the classic films, it is one that does stand the test of time and shows just how Paul Newman was one of the greatest actors of all time.

 

Overall: Must watch classic film.

Rating

 

 

Paul Newman Weekend – The Color of Money (1986)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Richard Price (Screenplay) Walter Tevis (Novel)

Starring: Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Helen Shaver, John Turturro, Bill Cobbs, Forest Whitaker

 

Plot: Fast Eddie Felson teaches a cocky but immensely talented protégé the ropes of pool hustling, which in turn inspires him to make an unlikely comeback.


Tagline – The Hustler isn’t what he used to be, but he has the next best thing. A kid who is.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Smart Sequel

 

Story: The Colour of Money starts when cocky young pool player Vincent Lauria (Cruise) arrives in Fast Eddie Felson (Newman) bar hustling pool against his best player Julian (Turturro). Eddie takes a shine to Vincent and talks his girlfriend Carmen (Mastrantonio) into going on the road to hustle teaching him the ropes.

As Eddie and Carmen try to control Vincent, Eddie learns that Vincent’s flare will keep taking over as he constantly wants to show off, the game has changed too, but this does give Eddie the desire to make a comeback.

 

Thoughts on The Colour of Money

 

Characters – Fast Eddie Felson is now out of the pool game and moved onto the liquor business, when he see Vincent in a bar he wants to take him under his wing and show him the art of the hustle, he is strict with his instructions and gets dreams of a comeback one day, to a life he walked away. Vincent Lauria is the hot shot young pool player that shines in the 9-ball game, he is overly confident and doesn’t follow instructions given to him with his own decisions being his downfall at making the big money early on. Carmen is the girlfriend of Vincent, she understands the rules of the hustle and needs to learn to control Vincent to achieve the highest return on the investments.

PerformancesPaul Newman returns to the character of Fast Eddie Felson, he returns with a bang and shines from the opening scene to the closing as we see his character go through retirement to getting obsessed with a game that nearly ruined his life. Tom Cruise is great as the overly confident player, we see that he is going to be a big star with this role. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is great too, we see how the she can control her player and stand up and be counted in the mostly male world.

StoryThe story follows the return to Fast Eddie Felson, a man we met in The Hustler, we see how he is out of the game now and still making money in his field as a salesman. We see how he sees potential in a new player to help him get back on the road and hustle again, maybe not the playing side, but the investing side. We get to focus on a veteran returning to the sport he loved to prove he is still the best, proving at any age you can return to the sport you love. Seeing how the game has changed from the straight pool style we knew to the 9-ball is the biggest change.

SportsThe table is the same, the game has changed, the pool is now 9-ball a faster version of pool, one that is a lot harder to hustle in because of the increased lucky involved at times, this doesn’t get addressed enough for me because I know how this game can play out and I will admit there is skill involved, this isn’t as skilful as the straight pool we saw in the first film.

SettingsThe film shows us the different styles of pool halls where Eddie tries to teach Vincent, we get the feeling everyone is a local in the hall too.


Scene of the Movie –
The tournament.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Which I know more money can come from hustling, I never understood why Eddie doesn’t go pro.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great sequel to one of the best films of all time, Paul Newman showed us all that he will always be one of the coolest and best actors we ever had, while Cruise makes the big impact.

 

Overall: Strikes the right buttons all game long.

Rating

 

 

Cecil (2019)

Director: Spenser Fritz

Writer: Spenser Fritz (Screenplay)

Starring: Sark Asadourian, Jason London, Jenna von Oy, Valeria Jane Parker, Christa Beth Campbell, Aaron Munoz, Avary Anderson

 

Plot: It’s 1996 and 4th grader, Cecil Stevens, is reminded of his terrible lisp every time he says his name. To avoid social travesty, Cecil decides to change his hard to pronounce name to the one and only, Michael Jordan.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Will Make the Kids Laugh

 

Story: Cecil starts when Cecil Stevens (Asadourian) starts a new school, joined by Abby (Campbell) who fills him in with the dos and don’ts of school to make it through the day, which includes trying to help Cecil with his lisp which makes his name impossible to say without showing his lisp. Abby suggests using a different name, the one he picks is Michael Jordan.

Michael soon rising in popularity in the school, which starts a trend for the kids to change their names, while working with Abby to learn a deeper problem within the school hierarchy.

 

Thoughts on Cecil

 

Characters – Cecil is the new kid in school, he has a terrible lisp which sees him becoming an easy target for bullies, he does discover he can change his name, which helps him fit in more. Cecil must learn to accept his difference and being friends with everyone in the school isn’t going to be easy. Abby writes the school newspaper and helps Cecil learn the lay of the land of the school, while she investigates why the school is going through the number of cuts it is. Tim and Lorrie are the parents that are going through their own problems which has led to Cecil needing to change school.

PerformancesSark Asadourian and Christa Beth Campbell as our leading children performers are both strong in their roles because we can see they are enjoying themselves while being these characters. the adult actors know when to be over the top which will help the target audience enjoy the film.

StoryThe story here focuses on the school life of young Cecil Stevens as he must adapt to a new school with a lisp which the bullies are taking as an easy target. We deal with issues such as popularity in school, accepting your own imperfections and the friends who are true to you in life. Sure, the story is targeted towards the young audience, which explains certain storytelling decisions going on through the film. We get to learn about the struggles of personal lives of children who are in the middle of their own parent’s relationship problems too. It would be easy to argue that one of the teachers, Ms Baker is way too much to take for any student.

Comedy/FamilyThe comedy in the film comes from the mishaps from the school, it might not be for the older audience, but the kids will enjoy the laughs coming from the film.

SettingsThe film is set in and around the school setting which shows how big and complicated life can become for any of the kids growing up at the time.


Scene of the Movie –
The name montage.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The principal is completely unrealistic.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the films that hits the perfect target audience, the kids will get the laughs required and learn the life lessons about treating people equally.

 

Overall: The kids will enjoy this one.

Rating

 

 

Christopher Robin (2018)

Director: Marc Forster

Writer: Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy, Allison Schroeder (Screenplay) Greg Brooker, Mark Steven Johnson, A.A. Milne, Ernest Shepard (Story/Characters)

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael, Mark Gatiss, Oliver Ford Davies, Ronke Adekoluejo

 

Plot: A working-class family man, Christopher Robin, encounters his childhood friend Winnie-the-Pooh, who helps him to rediscover the joys of life.


Tagline – Out of the Wood. Into the City.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Absolute Delight

 

Story: Christopher Robin starts when Christopher Robin leaves the 100 Acre Wood as he grows up, saying goodbye to Winnie the Pooh and friends, promising never to forget about them, the years flyby and soon Christopher (McGregor) is married to Evelyn (Atwell) with a daughter Madeline (Carmichael), he goes to and returns from war, becoming a businessman needing to make difficult decisions.

When Christopher is facing the most difficult time in his life, with his professional career facing dismissing staff and his personal life showing how distant he is becoming from his family, Winnie ends up paying him a visit in London, as he searches for his own friends from 100 Acre Wood.

 

Thoughts on Christopher Robin

 

Characters – Christopher Robin is now grown up, not the child we know from the Winnie the Pooh adventures, he is married with his own child and his own responsibilities, he is struggling to balance the two lives showing how his imagination is losing out to the real world. being visited by Winnie, he must look at his life and decide just what is right for him, his family or his career. Evelyn is his wife that has supported him through all his decisions, she is growing tired of Christopher’s actions, deciding what is best for their daughter, Madeline is the daughter that is being pushed down a path that Christopher never did, one with discipline and no imagination. Winnie the Pooh is the lovable bear that loves his honey, he visits Christopher to try and save him from his own misguidance.

PerformancesEwan McGregor is fantastic in this leading role, he shows us just how difficult life can be with the balance as we see how he will show the struggle to be a family man or a businessman. Hayley Atwell is good without having to do that much in her role. Bronte Carmichael gives us a good child actor performance.

StoryThe story shows what happens to Christopher Robin once he grows up and starts to make the same mistakes his own father would make for him. This is a story about needing to learn how to balance a career and personal life to make sure that you enjoy the most part of your own life, bring back the popular figures from the Winnie the Pooh world, it all comes together to make you leave the film with a true smile on your face. This story will connect to people of all ages and play into the love for the Winnie the Pooh characters.

Adventure/Comedy/FantasyThe adventure takes Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh and the rest of the gang on the biggest adventure, one that is important to life, not just enjoyment. The comedy connects well through the film, you will be laughing a lot in this film even with it having serious moments in. the fantasy side of the film shows how these colourful characters are real in this world.

SettingsThe film is set in two main locations, first is London showing how far away from the boy from the 100 Acre Wood has go, the second is the 100 Acre Wood to which will bring the boy out of Christopher.

AnimationThe animation focuses on just bring the animals into the real world and it does hit very well never looking out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
The adventure to work.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a delightful film to watch, it is one of the film that will leave you smiling with pleasure and true enjoyment.

 

Overall: Wonderful.

Rating