Martin Scorsese Weekend – Raging Bull (1980)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Paul Schrader, Mardik Martin (Screenplay) Jake LaMotta, Joseph Carter, Peter Savage (Book)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent, Nicholas Colasanto, Maria Gallo

 

Plot: An emotionally self-destructive boxer’s journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside it.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over Hyped Boxing Film

 

Story: Raging Bull starts in 1941 the Bronx, New York City where we meet boxer Jake La Motta (De Niro) and his promoter, sparing partner and brother Joey (Pesci). The two look to set up the next fighter even though the married Jake spots the 15-year-old Vickie (Moriarty) who has connections with the mob.

Through the 40’s Jake remains unbeaten and marries Vickie and on the verge of a potential title fight. With his career taking off, his personal life is starting to fall apart as he becomes paranoid about what Vickie is doing with his violent side coming through.

 

Thoughts on Raging Bull

 

Characters/PerformanceJake is a brilliant boxer, one of the best of his generation but his out the ring temper causes more problems in his life as he is insecure about his wife’s loyalty, his brother’s loyalty and the people in his life. Vickie is the long-suffering wife that must deal with the temper of Jake while trying to retain a personal life against his wishes. Joey is the brother of Jake who also trains and books his fights but the two are always at conflict with each other.

Performance wise, De Niro is great through this film and you can see why people rave of his performance but I feel and we know he is capable of even better now. Pesci does a good job in what must have been a break through role for him. With Moriarty in her debut hanging with the big names very well.

StoryThe story does follow the career of Jake La Motta from small time boxer to champion to what happens to him after his career in the ring is over, we follow his paranoia in his personal life which comes out in his aggression. If you are into your boxing history you will enjoy the story otherwise you might not connect as well.

Biography/SportsLooking at the career is interesting but I do feel other boxing films are painted a more interesting career, the boxing itself looks fantastic through the film.

SettingsThe settings show us the time we are seeing the events unfold in which is done well throughout.

Final ThoughtsThis is a boxing film that I have heard huge things about, but I didn’t find myself getting engaged with the story in the way I was expecting and found elements of this film kind of boring.

 

Overall: This is one of the most popular boxing films of all time but it won’t make the top of any of my lists.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – R – Rock the Kasbah (2015)

Director: Barry Levinson

Writer: Mitch Glazer (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Leem Lubany, Arian Moayed, Scott Caan, Danny McBride

 

Plot: A down-on-his-luck music manager discovers a teenage girl with an extraordinary voice while on a music tour in Afghanistan and takes her to Kabul to compete on the popular television show, Afghan Star.


Tagline – Opportunity rocks when you least expect it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mostly Weak Comedy

 

Story: Rock the Kasbah starts as a former top draw music manager Richie Lanz (Murray) has only one major client who performs cover songs for him, learning the Afghanistan could put her on the map opening for a megastar, he takes Ronnie (Deschanel) to Afghanistan, where the world is different and Ronnie goes on the run.

Richie is joined by two Americans that have made a business in the country as he goes searching for Ronnie only to discovery Salima (Lubany) a brilliant singer living in Afghanistan, who he wants to make the next big star.

 

Thoughts on Rock the Kasbah

 

Characters – Richie Lanz was once a great music manager, now he is forced into conning people out of their money with his acts only being tribute bands, learning he could make money away in Afghanistan he heads over there, where a series of events lead him to meet the next biggest star in the music industry. This character is no different to any of the Bill Murray characters we know, he is mostly sleezy and uses his charm to get out of situations. Bombay Brian is one of the men that helps Ronnie escape, he however expects money from Richie in exchange. He seems to be a loose cannon which makes him unpredictable. Merci is a local prostitute that all the American soldiers go to for their needs. Ronnie is the singer that Richie takes with him, she decides to run away from gig and get back to America.

PerformancesBill Murray is just like every film he is in, he never looks completely involved, while being the centre of the film. Bruce Willis is fine in the support role without being one of his mailed in performances we have see of late. Kate Hudson and Zooey Deschanel are both good enough in their roles without needing to do too much.

StoryThe story follows a sleezy music manager that discovers a new talent in Afghanistan and he must fight for her to get a chance in a nation where women can’t perform. This tries to breakdown walls for equality in a country which doesn’t accept it, which is important to see, but sadly doesn’t work with who and how they approach it, we can’t just throw an American into a country to change their mindsets, we need them to learn themselves. This isn’t the most engaging storyline and will be forgotten quickly.

Comedy/Music/WarThe comedy in the film misses for the most part because we are dealing with too serious a subject for laughs. The music side of the film isn’t as interesting either because we could have had a lot more going on during the wartime situation.

SettingsThe film is set in Afghanistan which is never going to be the best setting for this type of movie because of the subject matter of everything we go on to see in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
First hearing the talent.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It just isn’t that engaging.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing and board line overly controversial idea for a movie that just doesn’t hit the marks it could have.

 

Overall: Not that appealing.

Rating

 

 

Robin Hood The Rebellion (2018)

Director: Nicholas Winter

Writer: Nicholas Winter (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Freeman, Kristian Nairn, Brian Blessed, Marytn Ford, James Oliver Wheatley, Marie Everett

 

Plot: With his true love captured by the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham, the legendary Robin Hood and his crew of outlaws execute a daring rescue to save her.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Another Weak Robin Hood Outing

 

Story: Robin Hood The Rebellion starts with Robin (Freeman) already at war with the Sheriff of Nottingham (Wheatley), the battles is becoming intense with the Sheriff’s men getting close to Robin’s people. When Maid Marian (Evertt) is taken by the Sheriff’s men, Robin plans his own attack to the Sheriff, first to get Maid Marian back and secondly to end the battle between the two and bring justice to the world.

 

Thoughts on Robin Hood The Rebellion

 

Characters – Robin Hood, we know the name we have seen him come to the screen multiple times, this time he is in the middle of the battle with the Sheriff, the people turn to him for safety and he understands why the people can side with the Sheriff at times, he leads the battle to prevent the people suffering the rulership. The Sheriff of Nottingham is controlling the area, he is forcing people to follow his rules with an iron fist, only he needs to test the people following him to capture Robin once and for all. We get versions of the iconic characters from the stories of Robin Hood too.

PerformancesBen Freeman as Robin Hood is fine, he doesn’t do anything to make him stand out and by the end of the film you will forget anything he does through the film. This is a film being sold on two names, Brian Blessed and Kristian Nairn, both have next to no screen time, it is unfair to criticise the acting because most are fine as they don’t have much to work with.

StoryRobin Hoods battles against the Sheriff of Nottingham have been getting told for decades now, every few years we get another version of the events, each one seemingly trying to make them more realistic, by making them more realistic we lose all of the fun created with them and it just becomes another bland good versus evil battle that could have random names instead of just using the iconic name of Robin Hood. This must be one of the weakest stories because of the fact it is just one singular battle, we learn nothing to what caused the battle between the two, see none of the previous battles between them and by the end you will feel like you have just watched the last episode o the television series over a fan story.

Action/AdventureThe action is just swords swinging and the occasion arrow being fired, its all tight battles which we have seen before, the adventure side of the film feel sucked out of this film because of the none quest idea in the film.

SettingsThe film is set in the woods, which could be anywhere, nothing makes it look like the place of the iconic battles and the second location is the castle which again has nothing to make it stand out from any other castle battle.

Special EffectsThe effects come from the fights mostly wounds that just seem to be the basics for the most part.


Scene of the Movie –
The big man fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing original for the Robin Hood story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak version of the story we have seen way too many times, it just feels like an episode of a television series with way too much missing from the bigger picture.

 

Overall: Disappointing and Dull.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – R – Ravenous (1999)

Director: Antonia Bird

Writer: Ted Griffin (Screenplay)

Starring: Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, David Arquette, Jeremy Davies, Jeffrey Jones, John Spencer

 

Plot: In a remote military outpost in the 19th Century, Captain John Boyd and his regiment embark on a rescue mission which takes a dark turn when they are ambushed by a sadistic cannibal.


Tagline – Bon apétit!

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tasty Addition

 

Story: Ravenous starts as Captain John Boyd (Pearce) is left disgraced during a battle gets set to a quiet military outpost to save face for the army. The Outpost is filled with a mix of different men including Cleaves (Arquette), Toffler (Davies) and Hart (Jones).

When a stranger Colqhoun (Carlyle) is rescued he tells the tale of his journey which saw his men turn into cannibals but he escaped the panic. The men set out to rescue the remaining survivors across the harsh snow-covered mountain range with Colqhoun as their guide. When Colqhoun’s true nature is released it becomes a battle to survive against the blood thirsty maniac.

 

Thoughts on Ravenous

 

Characters – Captain John Boyd is known to the people as a hero, but he is anything but that as survived rather than won his battle. He is relocated to a small outpost where he can work with the quiet group of soldiers but soon he finds himself needing to face his own demons when a sadistic cannibal starts picking off his unit. Colqhoun is the stranger discovered with a story of a cannibal group in the woods, but soon we learn he is a lone sadistic cannibal just looking for more food. The rest of the characters are just other soldiers in the unit that have different drive through the film.

PerformancesGuy Pearce is great in this leading role of a man who must face his own demons while also questioning his own sanity. Robert Carlyle is also great in this film, we see his calm ability to keep people listening to him even if he is the one doing things wrong. The rest of the cast are good without getting too much time to shine on the level of the two leads.

StoryThe story takes us into a world of cannibals and disgraced soldiers, we see how one man is left to battle his own demons while dealing with a sadistic cannibal that no one else is believing his true colours. This is a battle between the two men to stay ahead of the other and as things unfold we get twists on how they will stay ahead of each other too, which does keep us guessing to how this will play out.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy side of the movie comes from the effects of cannibalism on the characters with the horror showing us just how far a character could go to survive, including eating human flesh.

SettingsThe setting helps because our characters feel isolated through everything that happens which helps Colqhoun get around so easily.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to show the horrors of what is happening with the most part being practical effects which helps us enjoy the environment we are placed into.


Scene of the Movie –
Mountain search.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Wasting David Arquette.

Final ThoughtsThis was a good fantasy horror involving cannibals, it does have a few tonal problems mostly with Colqhoun because one minute he is calm but the next he is blood driven and it flicks between the two too often.

 

Overall: Great addition to the cannibal movies.

Rating

 

The Rack Pack (2018)

Director: Thomas J Churchill

Writer: Darrell Rackley, Thomas J Churchill (Screenplay) Darrell Rackley (Book)

Starring: C Thomas Howell, Nico Ford, Hunter Lee Manning, Wyatt Walter, David Schifter, Randy Jones, Cece Kelly

 

Plot: A children’s storybook author reminisces about his childhood adventures with his brothers and friends. In a time before kids spent hours watching television, on the computer, playing video games and texting, they went to the park to play with their friends.


Tagline – It was a bond of brotherhood we called …The Rack Pack.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict:  Fun Family Film

 

Story: The Rack Pack starts as we learn about Darrell’s (Ford) time in the army school with a group of friends known as the Rack Pack, which only allows boys to be a part of, with his closest friends including, Gerald (Manning), Loren (Walter) and the one girl trying to be part of the group Tammy (Kelly).

The boys see Ted (Howell) lurking around an abandoned house after he discovers a secret map which could lead him to treasure, the boys go to battle against this team in an attempt locate the treasure first and have an adventure they love to have.

 

Thoughts on The Rack Pack

 

Characters – Darrell is the leader of the group, he keeps the group in line while letting them have their own entertainment, he is the one they turn to when they need ideas and the one that is telling the story of what happened when he was a kid. Ted is the criminal in search of the treasure, he doesn’t care who he upsets and will do anything to get what he believes he can take. Tammy is the only girl who can be part of the gang, she doesn’t get the same acceptance as the boys, but will do everything she can to be part of the gang.

PerformancesThe best way to look at the performances is looking at the audience the film is targeted for, the performances won’t win any awards, the child actors all look like they are having fun and enjoying getting one over the adults, while C Thomas Howell gives his character enough menace to fit the film well.

StoryThe story follows a group military kids that are always looking for adventure and this time they end up facing real criminals and must save the treasure from the thieves. This story does feel like the first of what could be many stories of the kids adventures in military school and this could easily be a pilot for a long running series. The fact that this film is targeted towards a younger audience makes the story work too because we get to see how they solve the problems and learn life lessons about team work.

Action/Adventure/FamilyThe action in the film comes from the imagination of the kids to keep themselves occupied in the battle against the criminals, this is the adventure they have been seeking only this time things become real. The tone of the film puts us in the family friendly zone even though it is targeted more towards the younger audience.

SettingsThe film keeps us around the military location, the small community that stays together through the times to make sure they are safe.


Scene of the Movie –
The escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The museum scene is to comical in a weak way though.

Final ThoughtsThis is a family friendly film that the younger members of the family will enjoy, it doesn’t always hit the high points it could have with the older audience though.

 

Overall: Simple family film.

Rating