ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – O – O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (Screenplay) Homer (Poem)

Starring: George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman, Holly Hunter, Chris Thomas King, Charles Durning

 

Plot: In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.


Tagline – Sometimes, you have to lose your way to get back home

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wacky Comedy

 

Story: O Brother, Where Art Thou? Starts when three prisoners Everett (Clooney), Pete (Turturro) and Delmar (Nelson) escape from prison, going on a race across country in search of a treasure before it goes for good.

Along the way the three must figure out how to stay ahead of the law which puts them in a series of comical events along the way until they run into a salesman Big Dan Teague (Goodman) who is puts them against their match.

 

Thoughts on O Brother, Where Art Thou?

 

Characters – Everett is the brains of the three, he isn’t the strongest with this either, he tries to keep the guys together as they need to stay away from the law, he pushes them to take risks along the way too. Pete is the other fellow escapee that wants to be in charge, he will follow Everett as long as he can follow his dreams to get to the money. Delmar is the dumbest member of the group he makes all the mistakes along the way putting the friends in a bigger problem in search for the money. Big Dan is one of the many characters they meet along the way, one that makes a big impact on the adventure.

PerformancesGeorge Clooney is good in the leading role, going against the typecast of a pretty guy which he has been making a reputation for himself, John Turturro showed us once again that he can make any role work well, with Tim Blake Nelson getting the best lines which shows he can hang with the biggest names in Hollywood. The rest of the cast do bring us plenty of the laughs with the extremes of the characters.

StoryThe story follows three criminals in search of treasure and their hapless journey across country to locate it. They meet a string of colourfully people along the way, some who help and others than hinder.  This does follow the trends of comedy films which leaves our character into a mixed of events to make a simple journey never going the way they are planning them to. We do get a few twists along the way which change our opinions on the characters too.

Adventure/Crime/ComedyThe adventure takes our three convicts across country meeting the colourful characters along the way, this shows us the criminal world they are from and dealing with the people from, we also get the comedy involved in the film from just what happens along the way.

SettingsThe settings take us across a string of different Southern America towns which plays into he backward way of thinking the people in the area would have.


Scene of the Movie –
The KKK rescue.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t see enough of the lawman after them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wacky crime comedy that will see people in the audience laugh at times, it will however turn people in the audience off too.

 

Overall: Crime comedy with enough laughs along the way.

Rating

 

 

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The Ottoman Lieutenant (2017)

Director: Joseph Ruben

Writer: Jeff Stockwell (Screenplay)

Starring: Michiel Huisman, Hera Milmar, Josh Hartnett, Ben Kingsley, Haluk Bilginer, Affif Ben Badra

 

Plot: The Ottoman Lieutenant is a love story between an idealistic American nurse and a Turkish officer in World War I.


Tagline – In a land on the brink of war the most dangerous place to be is in love.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Paced

 

Story: The Ottoman Lieutenant starts on the eve of the First World War, American nurse Lillie (Hilmar) tired of the divide in the hospitals wants to help out with foreign aid in Turkey after meeting Doctor Jude (Hartnett) and against her parents wishes, she heads to Turkey.

Arriving in Turkey she is guided by Lieutenant Ismail (Huisman) who teaches her how to embrace the new culture which is just as divided as back home, in the middle of a war now her heart is captured by Ismail the man doing the right thing in this war.

 

Thoughts on The Ottoman Lieutenant

 

Characters – Ismail is the Ottoman Lieutenant, he is assigned to guide Lillie through the territory to make it safely, he knows how to handle situations of trouble, deals with the knowledge of killing his own kind over religion only to fall in love with Lillie. Lillie is an American nurse, raised in money and wanting to help people who are in need of help. She travels to Turkey to help where she learns the horrors of the war, while falling in love with a Lieutenant as she continues to battle to divide in people who need help. Jude is the American doctor stationed there, he doesn’t want to pick sides in the war and will do what he can to save the wounded.

PerformancesMichiel Huisman and Hera Hilmar are both strong in the leading roles of this movie, it would be fair to say they are not as known as the supporting cast, these two must carry the movie with Josh Hartnett and Ben Kingsley providing solid supporting performance.

StoryThe story follow an American nurse that wants to help change the world, this brings her to Turkey to help in the war which is something we have seen before. This has a love story here is a by the book idea falling for the mysterious stranger in a new world, while we do have the idea of just where people need to tackle the problems with the war going over differences between the two religious beliefs.

WarWe show the war but mostly gets told in commentary about what is happened in this war.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well to show the landscapes that are being used in the battle which looks wonderful.


Scene of the Movie –
The island.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The commentary of the war.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that just is slow paced that shows a love story in the backdrop of war which is only going to be a basic movie to watch with snippets of history.

 

Overall: Slow, but effective enough.

Rating

 

 

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Director: Sergio Leone

Writer: Sergio Donati, Sergio Leone (Screenplay) Dario Argento, Bernardo Bertolucci, Sergio Leone (Story)

Starring: Claudia Cardinale, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson, Gabriele Ferzetti, Paolo Stoppa

 

Plot: A mysterious stranger with a harmonica joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad.


Tagline – There were three men in her life. One to take her… one to love her… and one to kill her.

Runtime: 2 Hours 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best Westerns You Will Ever See

 

Story: Once Upon a Time in the West starts when Jill McBain (Cardinale) arrives to her new home, only to find her whole family killed, husband and children. The fingers point at desperado Cheyenne (Robards) only we know it is ruthless assassin Frank (Fonda) who will kill anyone.

Jill joins forces with mysterious Harmonica (Bronson) and Cheyenne to get back at Frank and the ruthless Railroad Baron Morton (Ferzetti) who has targeting the widow.

 

Thoughts on Once Upon a Time in the West

 

Characters – Jill McBain is a woman from New Orleans, her family has moved to Utah to create a new life with her joining them, only when she arrives her family has been killed. Believing she has lost everything it is the strangers she meets which help guide her to get her revenge on the people who committed the crime. Frank is the assassin working for the Baron, he uses his gang to kill anyone he is asked to kill showing no remorse whether it be man, woman or child. Cheyenne is the outlaw known around the land, he is the prime suspect for the family’s murder, though he has rules to never hurt a child, he helps uncover the truth behind the crime. Harmonica is the mysterious stranger who is in town, he will help Jill get revenge on the men behind her family’s murder.

PerformancesClaudia Cardinale is wonderful in this leading role, in a genre generally dominated by male performers she shines in her role. Henry Fonda as the cold-hearted killer is a join to watch as well, we believe his evil in every scene he is in. Jason Robards is fantastic too as his Charles Bronson with this film easily have four of the best performance you will see in any film.

StoryThe story here follows one woman that loses her family to outlaws and joins forces to learn the truth with to other outlaws. This can be looked at as a simple revenge western which in parts it is, but at 2 hours 44 minutes long you must be thinking how doe the time pass. If we are honest the time flies by and each character gets the chance to develop to give us a full understanding of everything that is going on. This is how you can tell a simple story with interesting characters that get the back story to make you care while still on revealing certain parts late in the film. this is one you need to experience just to understand the masterclass in storytelling we got here.

WesternWestern’s are easily one of my weakest genres to enjoy, in this film we see what a western is all about, moving away from the big city to start and build a new life with the dangers of the cowboys and outlaws trying to take anything from anybody. The music helps us completely understand this is a western with the gunslinging coming from all corners.

SettingsThe film put sus in the middle of the land you would expect any western to be set, desert locations without many resources and the railroad looking to come through the towns.


Scene of the Movie –
The showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Even the length of the film is acceptable, nothing annoyed me.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the greatest westerns every made, it uses the themes wonderfully and gives us four strong characters with proper development.

 

Overall: Must watch western.

Rating

 

 

Oliver Platt Weekend – The Oranges (2011)

Director: Julian Farino

Writer: Ian Helfer, Jay Reiss (Screenplay)

Starring: Alia Shawkat, Hugh Laurie, Oliver Platt, Allison Janney, Catherine Keener, Leighton Meester, Adam Brody

 

Plot: The enduring friendship between the Walling and Ostroff families is tested when Nina, the prodigal Ostroff daughter, returns home for the holidays after a five-year absence and enters into an affair with David, head of the Walling family.


Tagline – Sex. Betrayal. Scandal. Make yourself at home.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Funny Family Drama

 

Story: The Oranges starts as we meet two neighbouring families, the Walling and Ostroff who are best friends, husbands David (Laurie) and Terry (Platt), wives Cathy (Janney) and Paige (Keener) and children Vanessa (Shawkat), Nina (Meester) and Toby (Brody) who all come back together for the first time in years for Thanksgiving.

This weekend goes wrong when David starts having an affair well a kiss with Nina which causes problems as each side when everyone finds out breaking all the relationships between everyone involved.

 

Thoughts on The Oranges

 

Characters – David is the head of one of the two families, he is in a falling apart marriage that sees him staying in the pool house, he is best friends with Terry which sees him jogging plenty of times a week. He gets involved with Terry’s daughter which sees his wife leave him, his friendship shattered and his daughter wanting to turn on him. Nina is the wild child daughter of Terry that has spent years away from home, she used to be Vanessa’s best friend and has spent her time exploring the world. she returns home after a bad break up and gets involved in an affair of sorts with David, this is partly because it is something new and partly to get at her mother. Vanessa is our narrator that is recalling the events, she is the daughter of David that has always planned for a future that hasn’t happened yet, she is the opposite to Nina with her life, not taking the chances she always thought would come her way, she does struggle to deal with new relationship mostly because her life hasn’t taken off. Terry is the father of Nina that is struggling to deal with the new relationship, not only because it is his best friend and his daughter, but ends up finding a new lease for life himself. Paige is the wife that moves out after David’s affair which sees her book up a full bed and breakfast as part of her plan to get back at him. Cathy is the interfering mother of Nina’s that always wanted to see her daughter happy and ends up trying to set her up more than she should.

PerformancesHugh Laurie stepped away from House with his role, he gets to continue to show that he is a talent actor in the leading role and once again showed that he does work very well with Leighton Meester who is also very good in her role. Oliver Platt, Allison Janney and Catherine Keener are staples of any ensembled cast showing they can get their moments in smaller moments in any film and Alia Shawkat gives us a performance which many people can relate to.

StoryThe story here shows us how mid-life crisis happen, they show us what would happen if a father started dating his best friends daughter. It sparks changes in everyone’s life showing how much the parents are getting older and not taking the chances they once thought they had and the young adults learn to take the chances they hadn’t found themselves doing. The story does pose the question about love and whether age should be a problem. We also get to play into the idea of the holiday period being chaos in America with the secrets of family can come out as the strain between them becomes more apparent. It is interesting seeing the effects on the affair on everybody which makes this movie more interesting to watch.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film fits in nicely, it isn’t designed to be a laugh out loud comedy, but have moments that will make you laugh. The romance shows us how an affair between a father and daughter of best friend can be nice to start with and soon show the truth about real feelings.

SettingsThe settings are New Jersey with two houses opposite each other showing us just how close the connection is between the two families.


Scene of the Movie –
Christmas drive.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nearly every character gets development with what happens apart from Cathy which is the only disappointment.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun romantic comedy that shows how one moment between an unlikely couple can easily change lives to go in directions nobody involved could see happening.

 

Overall: Happy relationship comedy drama.

Rating

 

 

Oliver Platt Weekend – One More Time (2015)

Director: Robert Edwards

Writer: Robert Edwards (Screenplay)

Starring: Christopher Walken, Amber Heard, Kelli Garner, Hamish Linklater, Ann Magnuson, Henry Kelemen, Oliver Platt

 

Plot: A New York City crooner plots his comeback.


Tagline – The hardest act to follow is your father’s.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Finding Yourself Movie

 

Story: One More Time starts as an aspiring young music Jude (Heard) returns home to her successful father Paul (Walken) one of the biggest musicians that has faded away. We go through the family dynamics as we learn what has caused problems between them before.

When Pau gets his chance to make his comeback he grabs it and as he is taking his chance he is trying to push his daughter Jude into letting the world see her talent, the talent he thinks the world would love.

 

Thoughts on One More Time

 

Characters – Paul Lombard was once the biggest name in music, he drew crowds from around the world, now his light has faded and he wants to re-create himself once again, the ability he has shown through the years, he is terrible when it comes to dealing with the women in his life and tries to push his talented daughter to follow in his footsteps. Jude is the daughter of Paul, she has the talent but isn’t willing to let the world see her talent, she doesn’t want to take the chance and be branded his daughter, she is lost in life never really knowing where to go next. Corinne is the daughter that has her head screwed on running a business starting a family the complete opposite to Jude. Alan is the long time manager of Paul that has always had his best interests at heart, close friends to the family and even trying to help Jude with her career.

PerformancesChristopher Walken would have jumped at this role with the music side letting him show us his talents, he is good through the film even showing both sides of his character. Amber Heard is good as the lost musician that is trying to find herself. Kelli Garner is strong too as we see the distant her character needs to have from the Paul and Jude relationship. Oliver Platt is good in his supporting role which is one we always like to see him in.

StoryThe story here follows two different musicians from different generations, the father who made his name and lost his fame and his daughter that is trying to figure out her place in the world. we get to go through the family dynamics about sounds they could both have and how they need to put personal problems behind them to make sure they can be the best they could be, but by the end of the film it doesn’t feel like anything was truly resolved with the problems with either Paul or Jude knowing their place in the music world now.

Comedy/MusicThe comedy in the film doesn’t seem to be very effective in anyway, it is here but it doesn’t seem to hit, the music is the strongest part of the film as here different sounds through the film.

SettingsThe settings are used well, but don’t help the film because Paul has the money to support Jude’s dream, it would have been more interesting if he had hit hard times too and they do need to work as well as playing the music.


Scene of the Movie –
Editing the Wikipedia page.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing overly original.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough finding yourself movie, it does help that the family has money behind them so the struggle never feels desperate in anyway, though the music works well.

 

Overall: Solid enough

Rating