The Irishman (2019) Movie Review

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Steven Zaillian (Screenplay) Charles Brandt (Book)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Anna Paquin, Jesse Plemons, Stephen Graham, Kathrine Narducci, Jack Huston

Plot: A mob hitman recalls his possible involvement with the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa.


Tagline – His story changed history.

Runtime: 3 Hours 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Just Another Gangster Movie

Story: The Irishman starts with Frank Sheeran (De Niro) recounting his time working under Russell Bufalino (Pesci) starting as a meat delivery man, a chance encounter with Russell brings them together. Russell was the guy that if anybody wanted something done, he would give the green light and expect it done.

Frank continued to rise working under the infamous Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino) who was in battle with the Kennedy’s who were trying to find a way to take down his unions, which does see Frank become the president of his own region.

Thoughts on The Irishman

Characters – Frank Sheeran is the narrator who is looking back through his life as he started as delivery driver before finding himself joining the mobs in the Italian neighbourhood, rising up the ranks from the bottom becoming one of the closest members of Jimmy Hoffa go to man, one of the most trusted hitmen in the mob. Jimmy Hoffa is the man that runs the unions, he has the attention of the Kennedy’s who have never trusted his business, he will always find a way to get his side of the story through without ever getting his hands dirty. He expects respect from everybody he deals with and will give it back, before he runs for office. Russell Bufalino is the one that gives Frank enter into the criminal world, a chance meeting opens the door and he will give the instructions Frank to follow. Peggy is the daughter of Frank that has grown up seeing his action become worse over the years.

PerformancesThe performances here are almost flawless, we get three of the greatest gangster movie performers in De Niro, Pacino and Pesci, you simply wouldn’t expect anything less from the three. The supporting cast is also wonderful, where once again the acting isn’t the weak part of the film.

StoryThe story here follows Frank Sheeran’s rise from delivery man to hitman under one of the leaders of the mobs through the 60’s and 70’s America. Most of the story is Frank recounting his career in the mob, seeing how he often watched the biggest moments in the background, only getting his hands dirty when he needs to. We do need to talk about the length of the film because there is a huge problem here, we have so many scenes we don’t really need, we do also end up going through the routine that every single gangster movie does, which just makes it feel like something we have seen before. The timeline does fill in the random deaths with a headline on screen, even if that person is only in one scene.

Biopic/CrimeWe do get to learn the life’s story of a notorious hitman through his own eyes, we see how he isn’t completely good, but he is loyal and always tries to do the right thing in the middle of the criminal world.

SettingsThe settings takes us back to the eras we are going through, we have the glamorous locations for parties, the small street locations that show us where the dirty work gets done and a location which means everything to Frank, where it all started.


Scene of the Movie – The taxis.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is just too long.

Final Thoughts This is a gangster film that gets heavyweight performances in a story that we have seen before that does seem to drag along for way too long.

Overall: Long Drawn Out Gangster Film.

It lives (2016)

Director: Richard Mundy

Writer: Richard Mundy (Screenplay)

Starring: Andrew Kinsler, Peter McCrohon

 

Plot: A lone scientist maintains an underground bunker for the coming global nuclear disaster. But after becoming prematurely isolated, he slowly begins to question his own reality and whether he is truly alone.


Tagline – Terror in the 21st Century

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Doesn’t Reach the Potential

 

Story: It Lives starts in the near future, where scientists have been set on solo mission to underground bunkers, Roy (Kinsler) is one of these scientists, he must live alone in the bunker follow answers from a computer system that can’t see errors happening and needing fixing.

When the unthinkable happens and the nuclear disaster happens on the surface, Roy is facing years alone preparing to return to the surface, but not everything is what it seems for Roy.

 

Thoughts on It Lives

 

Characters – Roy is the only character we meet, a specially selected scientist to run an underground bunker in case of a nuclear disaster on the surface, he struggles to follow the rules at times and soon finds himself question his own sanity when he believes something isn’t right here.

PerformancesAndrew Kinsler must carry this movie with his performance, well certain moments he is strong, it does struggle to capture our attention to the levels required for a solo performed movie.

StoryThe story here follows a scientist that has been placed in a bunker to prepare Earth for after a nuclear disaster which hasn’t happened yet, he soon starts to lose his mind and question just what is real or not. We are left to wonder along with the character whether this is just a test, or a nuclear disaster does actually happen. This on paper is a wonderful idea, the execution is what holds this film back at times because it soon descends into a story we have seen before offering nothing other than a man losing his mind and running around.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery revolves around why he is in the bunker, mostly what is he doing in there to keep himself occupied before turning into what is he thinking is going on. The sci-fi elements show us just how the world could go if things were to go this way.

SettingsThe film is set within the bunker, it keeps the action in the film feeling contained which is all we want for the most part of the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well and only when we need them, this is another plus for this movie.


Scene of the Movie –
The infection.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t get sucked into this film on the level we should do.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film with a lot of potential, it doesn’t reach it all, but by the end you will be scratching your head.

 

Overall: Just as unsure as Roy.

Rating

 

 

I Spit on Your Grave: Vengeance (2015)

Director: R.D. Braunstein

Writer: Daniel Gilboy (Screenplay)

Starring: Sarah Butler, Jennfier Landon, Doug McKeon, Gabriel Hogan, Harley Jane Kozak, Michelle Hurd

 

Plot: Jennifer Hills is still tormented by the brutal sexual assault she endured years ago. She’s changed identities and cities, reluctantly joining a support group where she begins to piece together a new life. But when her new friend’s murderer goes free and the tales of serial rapists haunt her, Jennifer will hunt down the men responsible and do what the system won’t – make them pay for their crimes in the most horrific ways imaginable. Only this time, no jury may be able to save her.


Tagline – Vengeance is a bitch.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Sequel

 

Story: I Spit on Your Grave: Vengeance is Mine starts as we follow Jennifer, now going by Angela (Butler) trying to get on with her life after the events in the first film, she is haunted by the sexual assault she suffered and has living fantasies about killing any man that comes offensive towards her.

Joining a support group for rape victims, Angela meets Marla (Landon) who wants to make guys pay for their behaviour, while it starts with pranks and minor assault because Angela knows the consequences of full vengeance, though this change when Marla is murdered by her ex-boyfriend that walks for the crime. Angela turns to her vigilante way to get her own revenge for her friend’s death.

 

Thoughts on I Spit on Your Grave: Vengeance is Mine

 

Characters – Jennifer/Angela, is the victim from the first movie that got her revenge on her rapist, now back in the real world, she is still experiencing nightmares from sexual assault and fantasies of killing anyone that shows any sexual interest, be it a look or inappropriate touching. This becomes a reality once her new friend is killed and now she sets out to kill anyone that has victimised members of the rape support group. Marla is the new friend Angela makes, she has been a victim of an abusive ex-boyfriend and gets to show a looser side when working with Angela to get their message across to the guys in their lives. Oscar is a member of the support group that has seen his daughter raped before she killed herself and the rapist walked free, he talks the revenge game, never sure whether to take the step. Detective McDylan is investigating the murder of Marla and tries to help Angela when the suspect gets murdered, this is a generic cop figure.

PerformancesSarah Butler returns to the franchise (that what it is now?) she is clearly the star of the show here and continues to bring us a strong character in every scene. Jennifer Landon is good in her supporting role getting to be wild at times. Sadly, the rest of the cast are just fine, while the characters they are playing are interesting, we don’t get to see much from them as the film is centred around Sarah’s character and interactions with these characters.

StoryThe story here picks up with the life of Jennifer as she has tried to start a new life after the events in the previous film, yes, we skip the second films events all together. This brings us back to the real world where the hate she feels is still strong, though the motive to act on it is being held back, until her friend is murdered and now she needs to get back to her blood vengeance she is going through to help clean up the streets.

HorrorThe horror from this film comes from the horrors that the victims have been through and how Angela goes out to get her own justice.

SettingsThe film being set in the big city, is a big change, it shows us how the city can be filled with people you would never know their darker secrets and how cleaning them up can be difficult.

Special EffectsThe effects in this movie are used lightly, but when they are used they are brutal and effective to show the horror being put on the victim.


Scene of the Movie –
The first real murder, it is graphic as they come.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many dream sequences.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good sequel to a film that didn’t feel like it needed one, showing the lasting effects of what happened to Jennifer is the highlight of the film and something you do want to continue watching.

 

Overall: Nice sequel that works in the right ways.

Rating

 

 

Jon Favreau Weekend – Iron Man 2 (2010)

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: Justin Theroux (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comic Book)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L Jackson, Clark Gregg

 

Plot: With the world now aware of his identity as Iron Man, Tony Stark must contend with both his declining health and a vengeful mad man with ties to his father’s legacy.


Tagline – It’s not the armor that makes the hero, but the man inside.

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Sequel

 

Story: Iron Man 2 starts in the world where Tony Stark’s (Downey Jr) Iron Man has seen the world in peace for the longest time in modern history, the government however isn’t happy with the device and the world is trying to build their own versions of the Iron Man suit. With Tony’s device slowly causing more damage than it should, he is looking for a way to stop the affects being caused.

With Tony searching for answers, he must deal with new member of the law team Natalie Rushman (Johansson), giving Pepper (Paltrow) the CEO position, a rival inventor Justin Hammer (Rockwell) and a jilted victim of his father’s work Ivan Vanko (Rourke) better known as Whiplash, who has his own form of weaponised equipment and wants revenge.

 

Thoughts on Iron Man 2

 

Characters – Tony Stark revealed his identity at the end of the last movie, he has become even more famous as the man that ended conflict in the world, the government want control over the suit and worry that other parts of the world could develop their own version of the suit. He must deal with his own mortality when the one thing keeping him alive, is making him sick. He will also need to fight for his father’s mistakes, pushing his closest friends away. Pepper Potts has been given a promotion by Tony, to CEO, she already runs his affairs, she is now running his company, while trying to control him during his self-destruction. Rhodey is still in his role in the military, he is still challenging Tony, but gets to use his own suit the correct way, for guiding the military. Natasha goes undercover in Stark’s company, she is a member of SHIELD where she uses her skills in combat to keep Tony out of trouble. Justin Hammer is a rival inventor still trying to get ahead of Tony in the weapons business, he has been working on his own Iron Man suit, without much success, he hires Ivan to build him a suit. Ivan Vanko has built his own weaponised suit, he is the son of a rival of Tony’ father, which sees him want to take revenge on Tony for his father’s action, becoming whiplash, the one man that has created a suit that could rival Iron Man.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr is still great to watch, he keeps the charisma required for his role, while bringing an emotional factor which is needed for where his character goes in this film. Gwyneth Paltrow does have a bigger role here and brings us a much stronger performance with her character. Don Cheadle is an improvement on Terrence Howard, bringing Rhodey to life more. Scarlett Johansson has the perfect look for this character which is only first jumping into the franchise. Sam Rockwell as another inventor arms dealer who is filled with the swagger required. Mickey Rourke as the villain has good motives he does everything he can even if he character does grumble a lot.

StoryThe story follows up the beginning of Iron Man dealing with the idea that the military would want control of the equipment and the rest of the world will be playing catch up, with their own versions of the Iron Man suit. This is a strong world building exercise to the Iron Man universe, we get to see how SHIELD are operating in the shadows watching over the potential threats. We have a villain that is competition and another one that is out for personal revenge. We up the stakes in this one, Tony does have to deal with his own problems by needing to improve the suit and we get to set up the position of who is one the good side with teases of the eventual Avengers team up.

Action/Sci-Fi The action in this film relies on a couple of big scenes, we have the racing introduction, the mid-life crisis sequence and the showdown, each has their own way to make an impact. The sci-fi side of the film continues to show the technology advances that Tony is dealing with.

SettingsThe film uses the settings more for the action with one of the most iconic action sequences in the franchise, we continue to see Tony’s lab which tends to get destroyed a lot too.

Special EffectsThe special effects in the film make each fight, drone or Iron Man suit look realistic through the film which is what needed for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Monte Carlo entrance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There is a small pacing issue.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun sequel that continues to build the universe we know now, Tony still needs to learn about his place and how to handle the suit which is important and shows the past could come back to haunt you.

 

Overall: Fun sequel.

Rating

 

 

Jon Favreau Weekend – Iron Man (2008)

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Characters)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Leslie Bibb, Shaun Toub, Faran Tahir

 

Plot: After being held captive in an Afghan cave, billionaire engineer Tony Stark creates a unique weaponized suit of armor to fight evil.


Tagline – Heroes aren’t born. They’re built

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict:  Great Start to the Franchise

 

Story: Iron Man starts as billionaire engineer Tony Stark (Downey Jr) is captured on a routine weapon visit to Afghanistan showing off his latest weapon, his capturer wants him to build a new weapon, but Tony was injured and is in shock at the number of weapons from his company they have.

Tony builds a suit which he will use to escape and save his own life, one which could be used to fight evil, he becomes Iron Man. His long-time friend Rhodey (Howard) is impressed with his new toy, and his partner Obadiah Stane (Bridges) wants to use the weapon to continue the war effort. Tony will have to learn the position he is know in the world to learn to protect it.

 

Thoughts on Iron Man

 

Characters – Tony Stark is a billionaire playboy engineer who has been developing the latest weapons to defend the home land, he looks down on most the people he meets including the soldiers showing around the warzone. He gets captured and designs a weapon that sees him escape, he makes himself Iron Man which will keep him alive, which sees him looking at life through different eyes, where he doesn’t want to supply weapons in conflict. Rhodey is the military best friend of Tony’s he uses the weapons created to help his men, he can get tired of Tony’s partying lifestyle. Obadiah Stane ran Stark enterprise after Tony’s parents death, he has mentored Tony in business, but is left with a difficult decision after Tony’s decision to stop making weapons. Pepper Potts is Tony’s assistant, she handles the affairs while he gets on with his business.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr is fantastic in the leading role, we can believe his confidence and cocky nature that he is showing through the film. Terrence Howard is playing a more grounded character, he would go onto be replaced in this role, he just doesn’t have the complete opposite against that Robert brings. Jeff Bridges is strong as the villainous businessman who is controlled by greed. Gwyneth Paltrow does a solid job as Pepper, where she is going to become a character we get to know through the franchise.

StoryThe story shows us how Tony Stark went from businessman to Iron Man after learning the cost of his weapons which are being used on both sides of the war and must stop the man running his family’s company into the ground with these action. For origin stories we get to see the change in Tony’s mentality over the course of the story which is what will make somebody a hero. We don’t get the completely over the top destruction, with most of the fight scenes blending into the story where we see Tony learning how to control his suit. We get the first steps into the Marvel Cinematic Universe which brings the franchise to life with this just needing to give the hero an early villain that will make him a new hero in the world.

Action/Sci-Fi The action in this film comes war sequences and how Tony learns about his suits capabilities, the first mission shows what we are going to see in the future. The sci-fi elements in this film comes from how the suit is created to keep Tony alive and the new levels of technology involved.

SettingsThe film takes us to a couple of locations, Miami where Tony lives shows his playboy lifestyle, the Afghan locations show how the war is being fought with the two different sides and the same weapons.

Special EffectsThe effects used in this film show us the scale of what Tony will have do to survive, we have the idea of his heart that never looks out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
Iron Man’s first mission.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Rhodey isn’t the most interesting character in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful beginning to the franchise which would go onto change how cinema is experienced, it has the origin of an unknown character to the casual fans of comic book movies, which works for laughs and action, without being a comedy.

 

Overall: Fun, entertaining and enjoyable.

Rating