ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – R – Remember the Titans (2000)

Director: Boaz Yakin

Writer: Gregory Allen Howard (Screenplay)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris, Ryan Hurst, Donald Faison, Craig Kirkwood, Ethan Suplee

 

Plot: The true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Sports Drama

 

Story: Remember the Titans starts as a typically white American Football team gets assigned a new African American head coach Herman Boone (Washington) even though he is replacing highly successful coach Bill Yoast (Patton). The two have different approaches which involves bringing both the races together for a mixed Football team.

Julius Campbell (Harris) represents the black captain, while Gerry Bertier (Hurst) represents the white captain, the two must learn to put their racial differences behind them and accept themselves as equal and take the league by storm.

 

Thoughts on Remember the Titans

 

Characters – Coach Herman Boone has been breaking boundaries in the racial divided in American Football high school coaching career, not he comes to a white school to continue to break his boundaries bringing the two different races together to try to become champions. Coach Bill Yoast was the coach that ran the team who has championships behind him, but gets drop to assistant coach under Boone, he continues to show his skills running the defence side of the team and learns along with Boone to improve their coaching. Julius Campbell is the black captain that works with the white captain to get rid of the divide between the races to win his own championship. We have plenty of different characters in the team that have their own opinions on the racial divide between the players.

PerformanceDenzel Washington in the leading role is fantastic as the coach that inspires a team to put their differences aside to try and win a championship. Will Patton is great too standing toe to toe with Washington on the side lines with the powerful scenes when needed. The rest of the young cast are great too because we have a lot of stars who went onto have huge career too.

StoryThe story is based on the true story of the African American coach that overcame a racial divide in a sport to turn a team that clashed over their skin colour to become a unit and a force in the league. This story shows how the younger generation who were raised to believe one thing can be taught the right thing when it comes to treating other people, by using sports to put those differences behind them.

Biopic/SportsThe biopic shows the strength this team and coaches had to become fighters when everyone else wanted them to fail. The sports side gives us good moments of American Football, but nothing we haven’t seen before.

SettingsThe settings show us how America was still riddled with racial difficulties during the 70s and different states act differently towards everyone.


Scene of the Movie –
The night they played the titans.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The whole girlfriend of Gerry seems tacked on.

Final ThoughtsThis is another one of the brilliant inspirational story that shows sports can bring people together through the hard times.

 

Overall: Wonderful inspiring sports drama.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action – V – Vertical Limit (2000)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: Robert King, Terry Hayes (Screenplay) Robert King (Story)

Starring: Chris O’Donnell, Bill Paxton, Robin Tunney, Scott Glenn, Temuera Morrison, Ben Mendelsohn, Alexander Siddig, Izabella Scorupco

 

Plot: A climber must rescue his sister on top of K2, one of the world’s biggest mountains.


Tagline – Hold Your Breath

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Edge of your Seat Thriller

 

Story: Vertical Limit starts with the personal climb tragedy that Peter (O’Donnell) and Annie (Tunney) go through, the siblings go their separate ways, three years later work brings them back together on K2, as Annie is part of billionaire Elliot Vaughn’s (Paxton) team planning to climb to the top for an advertising opportunity.

When the weather turns, the crew on the mountain gets thrown into a cave in the middle of the mountain with no escape, Peter will now lead a team to rescue his sister in a race against time and the weather.

 

Thoughts on Vertical Limit

 

Characters – Peter is the brother of Annie, he had to make a difficult decision which led to his father’s death becoming distant from his sister in the process, now a wildlife photographer in extreme conditions which reunites them on K2, when she becomes trapped, Peter puts together a team to rescue her before it is too late. Annie is the sister and just as experienced climber ass Peter, she works on K2 for the billionaire that arranges tours, she has records on climbing the mountain too. She is on the team which gets trapped on the mountain, needing to remain in control while the rest look to survive. Montgomery Wick is the expert climber that has spent years searching for his lost wife on the mountain, he doesn’t work with others unless it is a rescue mission, he will get Peter to his location at the quickest pace. Elliot Vaughn is the billionaire that climbs for money, this expedition is planned as a marketing campaign for his new airline, he doesn’t care about lives as much as the other people on the mountain.

PerformancesChris O’Donnell in the leading role is good, he shows the knowledge while the innocent panic one would have while trying to save a loved one, Robin Tunney shows the strength needed for her part spending most of the film opposite Paxton who once again showed why he could become any role in a film. Scott Glenn gets the strongest scenes because of his outside persona created by his character, which does need a moment of emotional strength.

StoryThe story here follows sibling mountain climbers that have become distant after a tragedy, now one must rescue the other one on one of the most dangerous mountains in the world K2. This is a survivor story which shows how dangerous in the first-place mountain climbing is and just how much more dangerous rescue mission can be. Each character in the film has their own reason for being on the mountain which gives us a reason to follow and support each character through the mission, though this does end up feeling strange when we see what happens to most of the rescue team. For the most part this is a simple to follow story that does the directions most survival movies go without needing to make anything complicated, showing us the good and bad in people.

Action/AdventureThe action sequences in this film are fantastic, clearly the highlight of the film, we see the climbers hanging on for dear life, avalanches and explosion which the teams must survive, which plays into the adventure of climbing one of the most dangerous mountains in the world.

SettingsThe settings in the film only make this more breath-taking, the views from the mountain, mixed with the locations the people are trapped or climbing show us just how dangerous this is.

Special EffectsThe effects are weak though, we have one moment with a helicopter where you can almost make out that it is shaking like a rodeo machine.


Scene of the Movie –
Learning about the explosives in the sun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The forced foreshadowing from the opening sequence.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable survival movie which will grab to the edge of your seat from the moment things go wrong until the gripping conclusion.

 

Overall: Survival Film at its best.

Rating

 

 

Bedazzled (2000)

Director: Harold Ramis

Writer: Larry Gelbart, Harold Ramis, Peter Tolan (Screenplay) Peter Cook, Dudley Moore (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Elizabeth Hurley, Frances O’Connor, Miriam Shor, Orlando Jones, Paul Adelstein

 

Plot: Hopeless dweeb Elliot Richards is granted seven wishes by the Devil to snare Allison, the girl of his dreams, in exchange for his soul.


Tagline – Meet the devil. No one’s ever been able to resist her. Until now.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: Bedazzled starts with Elliot (Fraser) a good natured young man that is lonely in his life, while his co-workers not liking him, he is in love with another co-worker Alison (O’Connor) but doesn’t have the courage to talk to her. Showing his desire to be with Alison it attracts the Devil (Hurley).

Elliot takes up the offer and goes about trying to find the perfect wish to make him happy taking him all over the world and through different scenarios.

 

Thoughts on Bedazzled

 

Characters – Elliot is the lonely leading man, his personality has pushed his co-workers away from him as they just want to avoid him. He meets the Devil who offers him seven wishes to fix his life and get the girl of his dreams Alison. His wishes take him into a string of different lives that his current life could never see him in. The Devil is here to help give Elliot wishes, she plays on his worlds to make each have a game breaking flaw, while pushing him into different direction, looking sexy along the way. Alison is the woman that Elliot loves, she works with him at a higher level. She doesn’t notice him, we don’t learn much about the real Alison as we see her in the different wishes.

PerformancesBrendan Fraser was bursting into the spotlight around the release of this film, he gets to show the comedy skills he has through this film which is fun and enjoyable to watch. Elizabeth Hurley is great in this role, she brings us the sexy seductress the film wants the devil to be. Frances O’Connor does well with what she gets with all the different versions of Alison she is left to play.

StoryThe story follows one man that doesn’t fit in everyday life, he is tired of being alone and wishes for his life to change, bring him into a deal with the Devil. We see how Elliot must learn to make the correct decisions in his life rather than just wish for a quick fix to his own life. This does have meaning and is a remake of a popular film, which could turn fans of the original off, but this is a good modern telling of the story.

Comedy/FantasyThe comedy through the film does have good moments, most of these come from the different wishes that Elliot goes through. The fantasy ideas come from the devil giving out the wishes.

SettingsMost of the film is set in San Francisco giving us another big American City which helps for people to understand where we are, we do get other settings which look correct for the wishes.

Special EffectsMost of the effects work for this film, we mostly see them when we jump between wishes.


Scene of the Movie –
Moving on.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Some of the wishes feel cartoonish.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun comedy that hits more than it misses, we see Fraser at his best and Hurley looks as sexy as we know she can do.

 

Overall: Comedy that can be enjoyable by a modern audience.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – T – Traffic (2000)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Stephen Gaghan (Screenplay) Simon Moore (Miniseries)

Starring: Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Quaid, Catherine Zeta-Jones

 

Plot: A conservative judge is appointed by the President to spearhead America’s escalating war against drugs, only to discover that his teenage daughter is a crack addict. Two DEA agents protect an informant. A jailed drug baron’s wife attempts to carry on the family business.


Tagline – It’s a dirty, dirty war! And no one comes away clean

Runtime: 2 Hours 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burning Crime Thriller

 

Story: Traffic starts by following two Mexican Cops Javier Rodriguez (Del Toro) and Manolo Sanchez (Vargas) who aren’t part of the drug trafficking side of the business, though they must turn a blind eye. America is trying to clean up the drug war by hiring judge Robert Wakefield (Douglas) to take the battle to them, while DEA agents Ray Castro (Guzman) and Montel Gordon (Cheadle) are dealing with an informant. As a drug lord is taken away his wife Helena (Zeta-Jones) must deal with the consequences of her husband’s actions.

With the four sides needing to think of their futures, Javier makes a desperate decision, Robert needing to deal with his own personal problems including his daughter crack addiction, Montel wanting to be on the front line without losing more people and Helena wanting to continue her husband’s business either after being watched by the authority.

 

Thoughts on Traffic

 

Characters – Javier Rodriguez has been working on the Mexican side of the drug battle, one of the good cops that gets pressed into making a big decision which could affect his partner and his own family. Robert Wakefield is being lined up to lead the battle on the drugs from the American side of the war, his promotion is huge for his career, but his own teenage daughter has become a drug addict spiralling out of control, leaving him in the position of needing to win the war or save his family. Montel Gordon is the DEA agent that has been on the ground trying to get to the truth about who is behind the drug deals going on. Helena is the wife of the drug lord who wants to keep the business alive even after her husband is taken to jail, knowing her kids will need the money for their own futures.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are good through the film, while most of the big character barely ever connect with each other, the separate performances from Bel Toro, Douglas, Zeta-Jones and Cheadle are all strong for the film.

StoryThe story here follows separate stories involved in the drug war going on between Mexican and American sides of war as see the people on the ground, the people in political officers and the dealer’s family. We do jump between the stories a lot which can make it hard to keep up with everything because the jump between them and lack of connection can be disconnecting for the audience. It does give us an insight to the drug war that is on going between the countries and how the people can be drawn to extremes to get their own fixes. The cops will be pushed too far without having any power when it comes to taking down the criminals without crossing the lines. With plenty of questions being asked it would have been nice to have more answered.

CrimeThe crime world we are thrown into shows us just how the criminal world of drugs operates be it with the deals, the legal system or the users and how the problem is looking to be solved.

SettingsThe film does take us to many different locations as we get to see how everything operates, we see the Mexican dealer’s life of luxury home, to the political offices taking on the war to the dens where the users get attracted too.


Scene of the Movie –
Seth is being excused today.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many stories going on.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong look at the drug war, it does have too many stories going on at once which can drag you down because each character feels like they are meant to be important in their own way.

 

Overall: Over saturated movie

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – P – The Patriot (2000)

Director: Roland Emmerich

Writer: Robert Rodat (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs, Chris Cooper, Techeky Karyo, Rene Auberjonois

 

Plot: Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin is driven to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution when a sadistic British officer murders his son.


Tagline – Some things are worth fighting for. 

Runtime: 2 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Long War Epic

 

Story: The Patriot starts where peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin (Gibson) sees the American Revolution coming towards his doorstep with his eldest son Gabriel (Ledger) fighting about the British. When the British reach his doorstep they end up killing one of his sons, Col William Tavington (Isaacs) makes an enemy he can’t prepare to fight against.

Benjamin prepares his own militia to fight back against the British, one that has experience fighting on this land, one that has already won a war, all this to get revenge on the man that took his son in a cowardly action.

 

Thoughts on The Patriot

 

Characters – Benjamin Martin was once a feared general in the military, now he is a quiet farmer looking after his children after his wife’s death. when the American Revolution comes to his home, he loses a son to a ruthless Colonel. Returning to the force he leads the militia in battle against the English showing all the tricks he has learnt through the years, in his mission for revenge. Gabriel is the eldest son of Benjamin’s he is the first to go into war and after it returns home, he will serve under his father to show the pride he has standing next to him. Charlotte is the sister-in-law that protects the children from the war while the men go off to fight. Col William Tavington is the man that kills Benjamin’s son in cold blood, he doesn’t want to give a calm peaceful end to the war and is willing to and wants to kill anyone against him.

PerformancesMel Gibson might well have a few personal demons, but when it comes to this style of film, he never looks out of place on the big screen, easily be the star of this film. Heath Ledger continued to show the world just how talented he was going to become with a wonderful supporting performance and Jason Isaacs gives us a villain from a war movie we are going to hate.

StoryThe story follows a once deadly war general who is forced back into battle after his son is killed during the American Revolution, this follows his revenge in the battle which does give us a fictional story to a real war that changed America at the time. Now this does have a reality in how the men would be losing family members to the ruthless British, though this does make out that the British were the worst of the worst when it came to battle. This is a movie designed to make the American audience feel extra patriotic and does show the two sides of war, the respectful way and the dirty tactics people will use to win.

Action/History/WarThe action is large scale war sequences, each one gets bigger with the number of bodies piling up as we go along. The historical side of the film focuses on the real war over the real people involved in the war which is fine, we only need the historical side as a backdrop for the personal battle.

SettingsThe film does make the realistic settings for the time the war took place in each location does play a key part in the film be it a battle, the moment which will leave people wanting revenge or safety.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Being overly patriotic.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the long war epics that is designed solely to make America look great, it does end up going down the revenge line which gives an edge to the battles, which will be the highlight of the film.

 

Overall: Patriotic 101

Rating