ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – P – Philadelphia (1993)

Director: Jonathan Demme

Writer: Ron Nyswaner (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Roberta Maxwell, Buzz Milman, Karen Finley, Antonio Banderas, Jason Robards, Mary Steenburgen, Ron Vawter, Robert Ridgely, Charles Napier

 

Plot: When a man with HIV is fired by his law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit.


Tagline – No one would take on his case… until one man was willing to take on the system.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Drama

 

Story: Philadelphia starts as we meet two rival lawyers, Joe Miller (Washington) who fights for the innocent and Andrew Beckett (Hanks) a company man who has risen up the firm to become an associate partner, but Andrew has been fighting a sickness, aids.

When Andrew gets fired from the law firm, he turns to Joe to sue for wrongly termination from the firm after he believes he was sabotaged because of his illness, but Joe’s own homophobic mindset and his questioning how contagion aids is. Joe eventually puts aside his prejudices and takes the case against the law firm, but it becomes a race against time for Andrew.

 

Thoughts on Philadelphia

 

Characters – Andrew Beckett is the brilliant lawyer on the rise within his firm, just after he gets a promotion, he finds himself getting sacked for having aids and being homosexual. He has always been good to the staff he works with and wins his cases but now he battles his illness and wants to sue for wrongful dismissal. Joe Miller is a homophobic ambulance chaser, he wins cases for personal injuries, he is reluctant at first but decides to take the case where he must learn to put his own prejudices aside. The rest of the characters focus around the law firm that dismiss Andrew and Andrew’s boyfriend Miguel as he supports him through his struggles.

PerformancesTom Hanks won an Oscar here, do I need to talk about how fantastic he is in this role, I think not. Denzel Washington also shows how brilliant he was in this role. The rest of the cast also give us wonderful performances throughout the film to make this one of the biggest films of the year.

StoryThe is a story about one man trying to fight against what he thinks is wrongful dismal for his sexual orientation and for having aids.  This is an important film that shows the discrimination people had with both people with aids and homosexuals which should never be a deciding part of whether to keep a member of staff. It is a powerful court room drama that shows us just how people can fight for what is right even if it is against their belief.

SettingsThe film is set in Philadelphia which is a beautiful setting, we are mostly in the courtroom which is now becoming one of my favourite locations for a film to take place in.


Scene of the Movie –
Andrew’s testimony.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This is a difficult subject matter to watch for some.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most important films you will see, it has two truly great performances with a supporting cast that is equally as great throughout the film.

 

Overall: Brilliant drama about the struggle.

Rating

 

 

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Phantom Thread (2017)

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Daniel Day Lewis, Lesley Manville, Vicky Krieps, Sue Clark, Joan Brown, Harriet Leitch

 

Plot: Set in 1950’s London, Reynolds Woodcock is a renowned dressmaker whose fastidious life is disrupted by a young, strong-willed woman, Alma, who becomes his muse and lover.

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Battle to get Through

 

Story: The Phantom Thread starts as we meet the eccentric dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Day-Lewis), he is renowned for his quality in his work, he has always had a muse, but when his latest one has become tiresome in his eyes, he needs an escape. This brings him into contact with waitress Alma (Krieps) that has the look he loves for his dressmaking style.

With Alma becoming his new muse, she moves in with Reynolds and his sister Cyril (Manville) in London as they aim to continue the next level of their relationship and design which includes royalty, as time goes by we learn how Reynolds has his own way of doing things and doesn’t like anyone getting in the way of his routine.

 

Thoughts on The Phantom Thread

 

Characters – Reynolds Woodcock is a famous dressmaker, he makes the most desired dresses in London with the rich and famous coming to him for his latest design. He needs a muse to inspire him and order to keep him motivated, without the order, he can’t focus on his work. Alma is just a waitress that captures the eye of Reynold’s this gives her new meaning in life as she goes from shy quiet waitress to part of the fashion industry, still wanting more from her life she tries to inspire Reynolds to take her seriously. Cyril is the sister of Reynolds, that keeps his affairs in order, his routine in place and the right people around him to inspire him.

PerformancesThe performances in this movie are great throughout, we know Daniel Day-Lewis will always be a top performer and this being his last is a nice exit for him. Vicky Krieps is strong throughout the film too, showing that we can get more unknown stars opposite Day-Lewis and not look out of places, while Lesley Manville works wonderfully in the supporting role of the film.

StoryThe story follows an eccentric dressmaker that always strives for perfection in his work, but he always needs inspiration in his work too. This comes from his new muse which only turns him comfort zone against him, as he prepares for his next work. This is a slow moving story, it shows one man’s imprisonment in his work as he blocks out the people close to him, making mistakes in both his lives. In all honesty this does play out in a rather slow and boring style, we learn nothing about dressmaking, which isn’t what I wanted from the movie, but he doesn’t seem to do anything, it is his team that do most of the work, the relationship is weird and not interesting to see unfold even though you do think something will happen.

RomanceThis does have a twisted romance side to the story, which when it all comes out becomes even more disturbing.

SettingsThe settings are mostly inside the house as we see the different rooms for the designing and living.


Scene of the Movie –
Final scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Slowness

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow movie that builds up for an eventually big pay off, the problem is that is takes way to long to get to this moment.

 

Overall: Slow and hard work

Rating

 

 

The Post (2017)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Liz Hannah, Josh Singer (Screenplay)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys, Alison Brie

 

Plot: A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government.


Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Historical Thriller

 

Story: The Post starts as we learn how the Presidents have been involved in Vietnam war, either trying to control the country or sending troops there. With one man Daniel Ellberg (Rhys) taking the top secret pages to expose the truth. When the New York Times start publishing these secrets the President starts to panic.

In Washington the Post owner Kay Graham (Streep) is about to turn her paper over to the stock exchange, her editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) is always up for taking a risk and when he learns of the papers he will stop at nothing to get the story to the people even if the government halts the publishing of the story.

 

Thoughts on The Post

 

Characters – Kay Graham inherits the role of owner of the paper, she takes over after her husband’s death with her position being questioned by the male board as she tries to turn the paper public as the biggest story unfolds. This is a perfect example of a person needing to take a role they are not prepared for. Ben Bradlee is the editor of the Post, he will push to get any story out believing the press should be able to report a story. He was also friends with the Kennedy’s putting him the elite of society. We do meet plenty of other members of the paper and the families of the people involved.

PerformancesMeryl Streep and Tom Hanks in the leading roles, do we need to talk about the performances anymore, we know they are two of the greatest actors in history and they show us just how good they are. The rest of the cast are fantastic too showing that Spielberg can get performances out of any actor.

StoryThe story follows the days before the Watergate scandal which shock America to its knees when it came learning the truth about Vietnam. We focus on just one paper as they were deciding if they should expose the truth which could find them going to jail. We get to see the balance between which is the right or the wrong side of the story which makes this a captivating story to see unfold.

Biopic/History/ThrillerThe people we follow took a massive risk to expose the truth because they new it was the right thing to do as they helped show a moment of history which people will never forget. We are kept on edge of our seat as we see how the story could bring down parts of American history.

SettingsThe film does use the settings well making us feel like we are in the time the movie takes place, we see the different classes involved in the story.


Scene of the Movie –
Deciding whether to publish is not.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Moments of the camerawork feel unnecessarily shaky.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant thriller that helps expose the biggest scandal that hit America and how the press were trying to find a way to expose the truth.

 

Overall: Thriller that brings us in to a biggest secret.

Rating

 

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Prophecy II (1998)

Director: Greg Spence

Writer: Matt Greenberg, Greg Spence (Screenplay) Gregory Widen (Characters)

Starring: Christopher Walken, Russell Wong, Jennifer Beals, Brittany Murphy, Eric Roberts, Glenn Danzig, Steve Hytner

 

Plot: Gabriel returns to try to destroy the human race he despises so much, with the help of a suicidal teen and the opposition of the angel Danyael.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Sequel

 

Story: The Prophecy II starts as the former angel Gabriel (Walken) returns from hell to once again give the angels the upper hand in the battle for heaven. Angel Danyael (Wong) also has plans for this battle which involves impregnating Valerie (Beals), Danyael continues to eliminate Gabriel’s army as the two battle for the upper hand in this battle. Valerie is carrying the child written in prophecy that could help one side win the war but who will walk out of this battle alive?

 

Thoughts on The Prophecy II

 

Characters/PerformanceGabriel is back and even deadlier than last time wanting to take his war back to heaven but he just isn’t as threatening as he was before because he doesn’t understand technology now. Danyael is a hugely forgettable character that is an angel on the good side of the battle. Valerie is a nurse that becomes the mother too be in the battle between good and evil.

Performance wise, Walken just isn’t as menacing as he once was, Wong is forgettable throughout and Beals is fine but not at the level of Madsen.

StoryThe story continues to build on the battle within heaven being played out on Earth, this tries to give us a bigger world battle but in the end it just feels like more of the same.

Fantasy/HorrorWe move into fantasy more here by learn of prophecies and different angels but this doesn’t reach the horror needed for the subject.

SettingsThe settings are once again forgettable and could be used for any film out there.

Special EffectsWe continue to have weak special effects that all come off dated.

Final ThoughtsWeak sequel that just doesn’t capture anything from the first film and you can see how it ended up on DVD.

 

Overall: Poor sequel.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Prophecy (1995)

Director: Gregory Widen

Writer: Gregory Widen (Screenplay)

Starring: Christopher Walken, Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen, Eric Stoltz, Viggo Mortensen, Amanda Plummer

 

Plot: The angel Gabriel comes to Earth to collect a soul which will end the stalemated war in Heaven, and only a former priest and a little girl can stop him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Religious Battle Film

 

Story: The Prophecy starts as we learn of an ancient war between angels in heaven where Simon (Stoltz) is in search for the only people that can stop the angel Gabriel (Walken) destroying any chance of humans getting to heaven. Former priest turned detective Thomas Dagget (Koteas) leads the investigation into strange amounts of crime striking the city.

Thomas must face his lost faith and the visions that made him leave the priesthood in the first place, as he searches for the one person a little girl Mary (Snyder) that can stop Gabriel’s path of destruction.

 

Thoughts on The Prophecy

 

Characters/PerformanceGabriel is the angel sent from to stop humans rising to heaven, he is cold, calculated and determined to win the war within heaven. Thomas is a former priest turned detective who must now question his lost faith to stop a war he was destined to fight. Katherine is the teacher that must work with Thomas to save Mary and stop Gabriel.

Performance wise, Christopher Walken is an inspired choice for an evil angel because he has the perfect emotionless face for evil. Koteas is good but doesn’t reach the full level of its potential in his performance. Madsen is good in this supporting role in this film.

StoryThe story of waring angels in heaven is always interesting one because we see how the people involved in the battle must question their faith. This one follows Gabriel on his search for the strongest as he goes out to fight his greatest battle and we follow the humans that can stop this happening, simple enough.

Action/CrimeThe action is all very basic because we go through all the things that can’t kill an angel first. The crime side turns into fantasy investigation case.

SettingsThe settings are not made to be anything important apart from the few churches, otherwise it is just random building or deserts.

Special EffectsThe effects are all fine but have dated in places which is sad to see.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting action crime film that enters us into the fantasy world of angels not being the good we think they are.

 

Overall: Easy to watch fantasy action film.

Rating