ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – E – Erin Brockovich (2000)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Susannah Grant (Screenplay)

Starring: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, Aaron Eckhart, Marg Helgenberger, Cherry Jones, David Brisbin

 

Plot: An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city’s water supply.


Tagline –  She brought a small town to its feet and a huge corporation to its knees.

Runtime: 2 Hours 11 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Performance Biopic

 

Story: Erin Brockovich starts as we meet Erin (Roberts), a single mother of three trying to find herself a job but only finds herself involved in a car accident. This forces Erin to get herself a lawyer in Ed Masry (Finney) to get her compensation. When the claim goes badly Erin decides to push for a job there where she gets to work on her own small project.

The case she starts investigating for Ed involved a city power company that has been infecting the water around the planet, causing the people to get sick. Erin strikes a nerve and with Ed go on to take on the power company.

 

Thoughts on Erin Brockovich

 

Characters – The characters in this film are based on the real people, Erin Brockovich is a single mother of three children with two ex-husbands to her name and next to no money to her name either. Erin’s strength is a fighter and when she takes a job at a law firm she ends up getting involved in a case which could become the biggest in American history. Erin doesn’t come off as the nicest person who does seem to want to walk over people to get to the position she finds herself in. Ed Masry is a good lawyer who has been working his whole career doing the right thing on every decision he has made. George is the neighbour that sparks up a relationship with Erin but also shows how difficult it is for Erin to make a professional career happen with a personal one.

PerformancesJulia Roberts won an Oscar for her performance in this movie, you can see why because she does carry the film. Albert Finney and Aaron Eckhart are both good strong supporting performances throughout the film.

StoryThe story follows our driven Erin Brockovich who while just trying to make ends meet with her family ends up being involved in one of the biggest legal cases in history of America. The film shows what she had to sacrifice to make this case happen with the relationships she built to make the case go through to the courts to give her clients the biggest settlements.

BiopicWe get to see the work Erin put into the case while trying to balance being a single mother of three kids, this shows how hard she would work to achieve everything.

SettingsThe settings are used to show most of where Erin lives, works, her clients live and the company she is trying to takedown. This all works well without being the most important of things in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The results.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I couldn’t help but find Erin slightly selfish at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great biopic that shows that hard work can achieve great results even without the training others might have in the same film.

 

Overall: This is a great film with a powerhouse performance.

Rating

 

 

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The Contender (2000)

Director: Rod Lurie

Writer: Rod Lurie (Screenplay)

Starring: Gary Oldman, Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Christian Slater, Sam Elliott, William Petersen, Saul Rubinek, Philip Baker Hall

 

Plot: Senator Laine Hanson is a contender for US Vice President, but information and disinformation about her past surfaces that threatens to de-rail her confirmation.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Political Thriller

 

Story: The Contender starts as President Jackson Evans (Bridges) is in search for a new Vice-President after the death of the previous one. When senator Jack Hathaway (Petersen) witnesses a car crash but is unsuccessful in rescuing the victim, this eliminates him from the race for the Vice-President role because it will show failure in his character.

President Jackson selects who he wants in Senator Laine Hanson (Allen). It isn’t long before Shelly Runyon (Oldman) the judge of the committee of the confirmation procedure and young upstart Reginald Webster (Slater) to try and expose the secrets of Laine so they can select Hathaway as Vice-President.

As the confirmation committee continue their questioning Laine’s personal life is opened for all to see, leaving her to find herself folding on her own morals or fight back against the people exposing her life’s decisions.

 

Thoughts on The Contender

 

Characters/PerformanceLaine is a senator who gets thrust into the public spotlight as the lead contender to be Vice-President, she has led a life that does have secrets but nothing illegal, she wants to stand by her morals if she is given the role even though she is going to get her past exposed. Shelly is the man trying to plan his own decision on who will be the next Vice-President, he has been planning to get one over the President’s choice.  President Jackson is a strong man, a leader who keeps his cards close to his chest but also knows how to keep the people he is scouting near him to learn their motives. The rest of the characters are all great throughout to work within their roles in how the events will unfold.

Performance wise, Joan Allen is fantastic in the lead role of this movie showing all the integrity needed for a Vice-Presidential candidate. Gary Oldman as always is fantastic in his role that you barely even know it is him. Jeff Bridges even in a supporting role is gripping to see as we do just want to see where his performance will take us. Each and every supporting performance is great through this film and completely worth watching as one of their best.

StoryA story that focuses on the ideas of what would make a good Vice-President, we see how events in their lives are not important to where they are now, we also see how their beliefs shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to making the right decisions for the country. We see how the contenders can go out of their way to make something happen but most importantly we see how they can be honest when it comes to making the right choices.

ThrillerThe film does keep us on edge throughout the story unfolding as we are looking to see what the next secret could be and if it could damage the campaign.

SettingsThe settings all come off how you would expect with the story unfolding, we have the White House, the courtroom and her own personal home where each detail is learnt about.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to political thrillers this is easily one of the best you will see, it is a must watch for the fans of the genre and the heavyweight performances show us this.

 

Overall: Political masterclass of a film.

Rating

 

 

Memento (2000)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Christopher Nolan (Screenplay) Jonathan Nolan (Short Story)

Starring: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Boone Junior, Russ Fega, Jorja Fox

 

Plot: A man juggles searching for his wife’s murderer and keeping his short-term memory loss from being an obstacle.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Masterpiece Thriller

 

Story: Memento starts as Leonard (Pearce) a man with no short-term memory, but has come up with a way to cope with the situation where he leaves notes on his body which will give him answers to his wife murder. Assisting him on this investigation is Natalie’s (Moss) and Teddy (Pantoliano) but with Leonard’s handicap are people taking advantage of him?

We are left to wonder just who did kill Leonard’s wife because each scene points him in a different direction to who was behind it all.

 

Thoughts on Memento

 

Characters – Leonard is a man who is investigating his own wife’s death but with his own short-term memory problem Leonard is finding it hard to figure out who to trust, with only the answers tattooed on his body. Natalie is a woman that Leonard meets who has also lost somebody and she does help him. Teddy is the other main person that is helping Leonard through the situation.

PerformanceGuy Pearce does give the performance of his career showing the full emotion his character is going through. Carrie-Anne Moss is good with her limited screen time. Joe Pantoliano is brilliant in the supporting role as we never know the truth about his character.

StoryAt the core of this story we have a mystery that needs to be sold, but the story is told in a different order than we would expect, even though this film is told in reverse the twists are still coming through thick and fast leaving us wondering about the characters involved from start to finish.

Mystery/ThrillerThe mystery comes into play early as we are giving the idea that someone has killed Leonard’s wife and now we want to know where things are going even though things are in reverse the clues keep popping up.

SettingsThe settings show us just where the characters are getting through with no big set pieces but just the crime world the characters find themselves in.

Special EffectsWe have a few effects but we don’t need too many for the story to unfold.

Scene of the Movie – So, I am chasing this guy’

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment I am picking the slightly under written character of Natalie as the picky point.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the great thrillers ever made, it truly will keep you wondering even if the beginning is the end of the story.

 

Overall: Must watch for the Nolan fans.

Rating

 

 

DJ Qualls Weekend – Road Trip (2000)

roadDirector: Todd Phillips

Writer: Todd Phillips, Scot Armstrong (Screenplay)

Starring: Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scott, Amy Smart, Paulo Costanzo, DJ Qualls, Rachel Blanchard, Tom Green

 

Plot: Four college buddies embark on a road trip to retrieve an illicit tape mistakenly mailed to a female friend.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun Teen Comedy

 

Story: Road Trip starts as Josh (Meyer) and Tiffany (Blanchard) childhood sweethearts who have gone their own separate ways with college, they communicate through phone and video messages, yes this is a movie from 2000. When Josh doesn’t hear from Tiffany he stats getting worried and with the beautiful Beth (Smart) flirting with him Josh is pushed to enjoy the college experience by his friends EL (Scott) and Rubin (Costanzo).

When a drunken night where Josh records his night of sex with Beth he finds out Barry (Green) has sent the wrong tape to Tiffany. Josh finds out why he hasn’t spoken to Tiffany and now must travel 18,000 miles in 3 days with EL, Rubin and Kyle (Qualls) the shy student that hasn’t come out of his shell, but he has a car. What follows is the wacky adventure the four students travelling cross-country.

 

Thoughts on Road Trip

 

Characters/PerformanceLooking at the characters we get to see the traditional college students, Josh is the ‘good’ boyfriend who has planned his life, EL is the party animal that will most likely just make it in life with minimal effort, Rubin is a student that isn’t challenge by college and whose genius is above them all, while Kyle is the shy timid student that gets to be let out of his shell on this adventure with EL pushing him the most to enjoy his life. Beth is portrayed to be the new girl in Josh’s life, she doesn’t know he has a girlfriend but feels just as used by the night, we don’t really get to learn enough about this character all around.

Performance wise Meyer is good in the leading role, with Seann William Scott continue his highlight performances in the teen comedies, Amy Smart is good but doesn’t get enough time to shine. Tom Green does bring his unique form of comedy that you are either going to love or hate. This is the first film performance from DJ Qualls and you can see him breakout in this performance.stars

StoryThe story is simple, guy records sex tape sends to girlfriend and must travel cross country to stop her seeing it. Yes, we do get a road trip that only student get to experience with partying going on through the trip. This is easy to follow and you do get moments of self-discovery for the guys on the trip.

Adventure/ComedyThe cross-country adventure is all good but I do feel like I would have liked to have seen more than just colleges, the comedy I would say is hit or miss, when I was younger I loved it but now certain jokes just miss for me.

SettingsWe get to see a lot colleges across America but considering how far they travel they seem to miss all the major landmarks.genre

Final Thoughts – I was a big fan of this when I was younger and being released the same time as American Pie this fits in the boom the teen comedies had, with this easily being one of the better ones.

 

Overall: Teen comedy that hits all the point it needs to for the target audience.

Ratingrating

 

 

Owen Wilson Weekend – Shanghai Noon (2000)

noonDirector: Tom Dey

Writer: Miles Millar, Alfred Gough (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Lucy Liu, Brandon Merrill, Roger Yuan, Xander Berkeley, Jason Connery, Walton Goggins

 

Plot: A Chinese man who travels to the Wild West to rescue a kidnapped princess. After teaming up with a train robber, the unlikely duo takes on a Chinese traitor and his corrupt boss.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Odd Couple Comedy

 

Story: Shanghai Noon starts as we Princess Pei Pei (Liu) not wanting to marrying her father’s choice for her and runs away to America only to become kidnapped, the Emperor sends his selected Imperial Guards to bring her back including Chon Wang (Chan).

On the travels in America Chon Wang finds his Uncle killed by the outlaws led by Roy O’Bannon (Wilson), but when he gets double crossed the two have to form the unlikeliest of partnerships to save Princess Pei Pei and become a hero of the western world.

Shanghai Noon came out at the perfect time when Jackie Chan was first making his impact on the action comedy scene. Changing up the partner from Chris Tucker to Owen Wilson works because we get the wise talker but in a different laid back attitude. The action is what you expect and the historical references work if you understand the western genre. This is a fun watch but does end up coming off slightly longer than it needs to be.

 

Overall: Great odd couple comedy that hits all the marks.

Rating80