ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – J – Barry Jenkins – If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)

Director: Barry Jenkins

Writer: Barry Jenkins (Screenplay) James Baldwin (Novel)

Starring: Kiki Layne, Stephen James, Regina King, Colman Domingo, Teyonah Parris, Michael Beach

 

Plot: A woman in Harlem embraces her pregnancy while she and her family struggle to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime.


Tagline – Trust Love All the Way

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant, Emotional and Memorable

 

Story: If Beale Street Could Talk starts as Tish Rivers (Layne) is just breaking the news to her love Alonzo ‘Fonny’ Hunt (James) about her pregnancy, the problem is that he is in jail. Sharon (King) is ready to support her daughter, while Joseph (Domingo) only worry is about his daughters age.

Tish wants to bring the baby into the world, first they must get him out of jail with his case being one that will only see the black community looking guilty off. We get to see how the case unfolds and how the two lovers feel in love through their lives.

 

Thoughts on If Beale Street Could Talk

 

Characters – Tish is the young woman whose life is about to change forever, she falls in love and becomes pregnant, she is about to embrace the next chapter of her life, only her partner is put in jail. She must find a way to get him out of jail ready to be the father the baby will require. She might not be the smartest or most skilled person, though she is filled with all the love required to be a mother. Fonny is the man in jail on a rape charge, he isn’t coping well in jail as we see just how friendly, genuine and hard working he is trying to become in life. Sharon is Tish’s mother, who will do anything to make sure her daughter and Fonny are together to raise their child, showing the most support of either sides family. We get to meet the people who are big parts of both Tish and Fonny’s life both before and after the incident to see their reactions to everything that does one.

PerformancesKiki Layne is fantastic in the leading role showing the innocence of the change in her life, the love her character is feeling and the uncertainty of her own future. Stephen James is wonderful to in this role of the wrongfully accused man. Regina King gets the most difficult scenes which will see her in search for the truth which will explain why she is the Oscar nominated star of this movie. The rest of the cast complete this movie wonderfully well bring their strength to each scene they are in.

StoryThe story here follows the pregnancy of a young woman in Harlem, while the father is falsely imprisoned waiting for a trial. We get to flashback to how they first met, fell in love and how they are continuing to support each other through the current situation. We do have to face the idea that we need to learn what really happened with the crime, who it was that committed the crime and why Fonny was the one expected to take the fall. The pacing of the story flows by as we do get to see just how difficult the lives of the people involved would have been. It is the subtle look at how the racist nature was still around, but how the families would continue to give themselves their best life.

Crime/RomanceThe crime idea of the film deals with how people would have been just framed for a crime. The romance is the most important part and the strongest part of the film as we see how the two lovers would have done everything to be together.

SettingsThe film shows us just how the black community would be together in locations around America, they became closer and stuck together when they see how they are treated from outsiders.


Scene of the Movie –
The tension of the police meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough focus on the criminal case.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful story of love, commitment and the difficult times faced back the black community in America.

 

Overall: Beautiful movie.

Rating

 

 

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Tom Hiddleston Weekend – I Saw the Light (2015)

Director: Marc Abraham

Writer: Marc Abraham (Screenplay) Colin Escott, George Merritt, William MacEwen (Book)

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, Bradley Whitford, Cherry Jones, Maddie Hasson, Wrenn Schmidt, David Krumholtz

 

Plot: The story of the country-western singer Hank Williams, who in his brief life created one of the greatest bodies of work in American music. The film chronicles his rise to fame and its tragic effect on his health and personal life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks That Interest Factor

 

Story: I Saw the Light starts as we see Hank Williams (Hiddleston) slowly making his name in the music industry in the mid 40’s, his new marriage to Audrey (Olsen) does get questioned because she doesn’t have the singing voice he does and this shows early on when he must decide whether to supporting her singing or make his own career.

We follow how Hank continued to rise in fame but struggled with his own alcohol problems, his rocky marriage and his womanising, which led to his early death.

 

Thoughts on I Saw the Light

 

Characters/PerformanceHank is the famous country singer who rose to fame in the late 40s to become an icon, he has his own personal demons of drinking, womanising and rocky marriage. Audrey is the wife of Hank, she does want to be part of the singing but she doesn’t have the talent Hank has with brings a strain to their marriage.

Performance wise, well where do we start? Hiddleston is fine in this role as is Olsen and do the best with what they can with the story.

StoryNow I like watching bio-pics even if I don’t know who the film is centred around. I don’t know who Hank Williams is or what his most famous song was which I am not using as an excuse for not enjoying this film. I found the story way too long with very little happening and no focus on the music Hank has been making.

Biography/MusicThe story telling takes away from where the bio-pic side of the film should be focusing on where the music is all fine without being anything special.

SettingsThe settings are all fine for the time period in question which is all we need from the story of late 40s early 50s.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very weak bio-pic that doesn’t give us enough to like about the musician Hank Williams to look back and go, he was an interesting guy. The storytelling side of the film comes off confusing and doesn’t give us enough time on the music side of the film.

 

Overall: Weak bio-pic that lacks everything that is needed.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – I – In the Line of Fire (1993)

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Writer: Jeff Maguire (Screenplay)

Starring: Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, Rene Russo, Dylan McDermott, Gary Cole, Fred Dalton Thompson, John Mahoney

 

Plot: Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan couldn’t save Kennedy, but he’s determined not to let a clever assassin take out this president.


Tagline – An assassin on the loose. A president in danger. Only one man stands between them…

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliantly Tense

 

Story: In the Line of Fire starts as we meet seasoned veteran of the secret service Frank Horrigan (Eastwood) who wants to get back in the field, granted he returns to protecting the President after getting a mysterious phone call from Mitch Leary (Malkovich) who is threatening to murder the President.

As Frank tries to stay ahead of Mitch, the game of cat-n-mouse starts to catch up with him, as Frank starts to see his career fall apart on political grounds and Mitch now has Frank exactly where he needs him.

 

Thoughts on In the Line of Fire

 

Characters – Frank Horrigan once worked on President Kennedy’s detail, now older he is reaching the age where his secret service work is usually behind the desk or in the field, not around the President, after receiving a threat towards the President he positions himself on the detail again, which puts his experience on the line to protect the president. Mitch Leary is the psychotic man who is threatening the President, he wants to play games with Frank as his master of disguise helps him blend into a crowd. He always believes he is ahead of the game with his planned calculated with each movement. Lilly Raines is the new agent that must work with Frank, she is mostly the question about female agents through the eyes of an older member of the community. Al is the current partner of Frank who has been struggling with the reckless behaviour he has been working with.

PerformancesClint Eastwood in the leading role is great because he is the perfect age for this movie which makes us understand that he is good man still trying his best for the President. John Malkovich is stunning as the villain as we believe each word and action his commits to this role, being haunting and calculated throughout. Rene Russo offers us the young agent role, she does well with what she has to do without taking from the spotlight shone upon the lead two. The rest of the cast are good and know how to make the most of their limited scenes.

StoryThe story here follows the aging Secret Service agent that is caught up in a cat-n-mouse assassination attempt from an anonymous criminal. The story gives Frank a backstory of regret as he was one the President Kennedy service team and he will forever deal with the pain that he couldn’t save him, this adds determination to his character and it also gives Mitch a motive to beat the man who would ne known to have failed twice. This story shows us how to make cat-n-mouse style story where the villain will do anything and will spend time mocking the hero when he fails to capture him. We do get a heavily influenced America is great theme though which in places can be annoying to see. The pacing and use of foreshadowing works well in the film too showing us just what we are waiting to see where things go.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is mixed because most of the scenes involves an aging actor that is meant to not be able to handle the physicality of the job anymore. The crime side of the film is where we get the most interesting side of everything which shows us just how far one man is willing to go to put his name in lights by killing the President.

SettingsThe film uses the settings show to us how compact any situation where the President would be attending can become with threats from nearly every corner.


Scene of the Movie –
The rooftop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too patriotic like no one else could have helped.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great crime thriller that shows us just how deadly a villain can be when they are completely set on completing a mission, we have two brilliant performances from Eastwood and Malkovich that will keep you on edge throughout.

 

Overall: Must watch crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

IO (2019)

Director: Jonathan Helpert

Writer: Clay Jeter, Charles Spano, Will Basanta (Screenplay)

Starring: Margaret Qualley, Anthony Mackie, Danny Huston, Tom Payne

 

Plot: As a young scientist searches for a way to save a dying Earth, she finds a connection with a man who’s racing to catch the last shuttle off the planet.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Sci-Fi Movie

 

Story: IO starts as the Earth has become on the verge of uninhabitable, ships have gone into space to produce a colony in space by Jupiter’s moon Io, while back on Earth Sam (Qualley) is doing final research to see if the Earth is returning to better days. When a new safety zone planet is discovered the mission in space changes and Sam must rush to the final mission into space before she is left on Earth forever. Joined by stranger Micah (Mackie) who is in search for her father Harry (Huston) the pair work together to decide their own futures.

 

Thoughts on IO

 

Characters – Sam is one of the few remaining humans on Earth, she has been working on research which could prove there is still hope on Earth, even though her research gets destroyed, she must make the decision to find her love in space, when the last mission off the planet get announced. Micah is the stranger that came to the research site, searching for Harry, he reluctantly decides to help Sam out, while harbouring his own secret for his journey. Harry is the father of Sam, one of the few scientists that told people to remain on Earth, we only see him through flashbacks and video clips though.

PerformancesThis is a two-person performance, with Anthony Mackie in the supporting of the two, we know his talent which he gets to show off here. Margaret Qualley is the new name for me and she does everything needed to make us care about her characters isolation on Earth.

StoryThe story here follows two of the remaining survivors on Earth after an evacuation has seen mass number move deeper into space in search of a new home, one that hasn’t been destroyed. Now we don’t focus on any of the space side of this film which is something you need to prepare for. We focus on the idea of the last few survivors must make the decision on what to do next, leave or stay, this is shown through a series of conversations about what is left, what could change if they left and could Earth be ready to change back to a habitable environment. This is nice to watch because these types of questions are what can drive plenty of real-world questions too. Certain character decisions are however questionable and by the end it just feels like we had something of nothing by the end.

Adventure/Sci-FiThe film uses the adventure side of the film to show just how far the survivors would have to go if they want to leave Earth, the sci-fi side of the film poses the questions about what would happen if Earth became uninhabitable, think part of what Interstellar offered us without showing us the space missions.

SettingsThe film is set in a lone research location, it is in a known safety zone, with the danger zones needing masks to survive in, this is a very much dust covered world which helps us feel like part of this world.


Scene of the Movie –
The landing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Character decisions.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thinking sci-fi film which does help us understand what is going on, there isn’t much action going on here, but will ask the audience questions.

 

Overall: Thinking sci-fi film.

Rating

 

 

Incredibles 2 (2018)

Director: Brad Bird

Writer: Brad Bird (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Catherine Keener, Eli Fucile, Bob Odenkirk, Samuel L Jackson

 

Plot: The Incredibles hero family takes on a new mission, which involves a change in family roles: Bob Parr (Mr Incredible) must manage the house while his wife Helen (Elastigirl) goes out to save the world.


Tagline – Back to work.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pixar Sequel Fun

 

Story: Incredibles 2 starts as the Incredibles are still trying to fight crime even if it is against the law, the latest mission sees them caught and needing to close down the program they are using. Winston Denvor and his sister Evelyn offer a chance to bring the superheroes back into the positive light, with Elastigirl being front and centre, leaving Mr Incredible to raise the children this time around.

As Elastigirl continues to fight crime and take on the mysterious supervillain known as the Screenslaver, Mr Incredible must learn how to deal with Jack-Jack’s new powers, which he is struggling to control.

 

Thoughts on Incredibles 2

 

Characters – Helen gets a chance to become Elastigirl in a hope to bring the legalisation of superheroes back for the public, she must leave her family to achieve this and relishes being in this role. Bob is Mr Incredible, but this time he must be the stay at home parent, which he learns to struggle with everyday problems that come with parenting and dealing with Jack-Jack’s powers. Violet and Dash must continue to learn their responsibilities as superheroes and not risk their lives like their parents do. Evelyn and Winston are the people that want to bring the superheroes back into the world, they are giving them a new PR make over which will the world accept superheroes again. Jack-Jack is the baby with new powers which will make him more powerful than the rest of the family combined.

StoryThe story here feels almost like a reverse of the previous film, with Elastigirl getting the chance to go back into the field only to come up against a supervillain with their own motivation to not want superheroes in the world anymore. We have a side to the story with Mr Incredible needing to stay home to look after the children which eventually tries to play into the idea that a husband and father couldn’t cope with the job a mother does with children, which does seem insulting. The biggest pot holes come from just not knowing the time between what happened last time and this film, the fact everyone has forgotten about Jack-Jack’s powers and all the random superheroes that are like the basic Suicide Squad side. If we are honest the story is easy to follow, it feels safe and wants to play into the different sides of the modern world.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe action involved in the film is good and gets to hit levels the live action superhero movies can’t do. The adventure takes our heroes on a new adventure against a new villain, simple and effective. The comedy is good with the Jack-Jack scenes being the highlight of the film.

SettingsThe film shows us the two different locations superheroes must operate in. one with normal life and the other where they are in the spotlight for the world to judge their actions.

AnimationPixar are always on top of their game when it comes to animation, nothing looks bad on a visual side of things which is all we ask from them.


Scene of the Movie –
Jack-Jack costume suit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not remember Jack-Jack has powers after the end of the first film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple and enjoyable Pixar movie, it will get laughs, it has a good story asking if we need superheroes, while being a nice follow on to the previous film.

 

Overall: Pixar sequel that hits well.

Rating