Kevin Costner Weekend – Thirteen Days (2000) Movie Review

Director: Roger Donaldson

Writer: David Self (Screenplay) Ernest R May, Philip D Zelikow (Book)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Steven Culp, Stephanie Romanov, Lucinda Jenney, Frank Wood, Henry Strozier, Kevin Conway

Plot: In October 1962, the Kennedy administration struggles to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis.


Tagline – You’ll Never Believe How Close We Came

Runtime: 2 Hours 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: History Lesson

Story: Thirteen Days starts like a normal day in the Kennedy administration, his assistant Kenny O’Donnell (Costner) joins the President John F Kennedy (Greenwood), his brother Robert F Kennedy (Culp) and advisers from every side for an emergency meeting.

The meeting is called to discuss the appearance of nuclear warheads in Cuba, believing Russia are moving to a closer position which could destroy large parts of America in minutes. What follows in Kenny trying to help JFK make the smartest decision, despite how many different people are advising with multiply options, all leading to one of the most intense stand offs in military history.

Thoughts on Thirteen Days

Characters – Kenny O’Donnell is the assistant advisor to the President, he gives him advice which would see him make decisions which would support the image of the President and the country instead of agree with the fast track answers which would see America go to war, he is the man that people turn to if they are not prepared to challenge the President’s decisions. President John F Kennedy is the man in the middle of the situation, the man that needs to make the final decision after taking on all the advice from his experts, he wants to remain in control of the situation to the best of his ability. Robert F Kennedy is one of the men advising his brother, he knows how John thinks and knows how the help him make the right decisions to remain calm and in control. We do have plenty of different advisors who are trying to offer a plan to what could make this stand off end quicker.

PerformancesKevin Costner is always entertaining to watch in a political movie, this is no different as he plays the pivot to everything going on. Bruce Greenwood as the President is great to watch through the film, with the whole cast looking like they would have been the people they are playing.

StoryThe story here follows the events around the Cuba Mission Crisis, from the point of view of the Americans. This does break down to be a political thriller that does keep us on edge as we see all the potential ideas that were thrown out which could have seen the world in a different place if different outcomes had been used, while this is a 2 hour story, we only focus on the different ideas, which is interesting to see. Each person could have their own agenda which could show the mindset of the public during the events. We could have more intense moments, but it just doesn’t really do that much more, which doesn’t display just how dangerous the event could have been.

HistoryThis is a big historical moment and it does show how the people in power were put on panic station when the events started to unfold.

SettingsThe film uses the political settings for the most part, which does show us just how the people stayed together through the events of the crisis.


Scene of the Movie – Putting the Admiral in his place.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have had more intense sequences.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at one of the biggest stand offs in modern history, we do see how it could have gone very differently and how everything unfolded.

Overall: Interesting look at history.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – S – See You Yesterday (2019) Movie Review

Director: Stefon Bristol

Writer: Fredrica Bailey, Stefon Bristol (Screenplay)

Starring: Eden Duncan-Smith, Dante Crichlow, Astro, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Johnathan Nieves, Michael J Fox

Plot: Two Brooklyn teenage prodigies, C.J. Walker and Sebastian Thomas, build makeshift time machines to save C.J.’s brother, Calvin, from being wrongfully killed by a police officer.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Messy Time Travel Film

Story: See You Yesterday starts as we meet the two teenagers Claudette ‘CJ’ Walker (Duncan-Smith) and Sebastian Thomas (Crichlow) who have been working on their science project to make time travel possible. After they prove they can go back just one day, CJ the brains behind the project, does something reckless, which changes the pass, while dealing with an ex-boyfriend.

The consequences of her actions create a domino effect which sees her brother Calvin (Astro) killed in a police shooting, wanting to make a different CJ works with Sebastian to try and create the ability to go further back, which only ends up creating more problems, the more she tries to fix.

Thoughts on See You Yesterday

Characters – Claudette ‘CJ’ Walker is the brains behind the time travel machine, she however has started to become difficult to be around, causing unnecessary trouble in an already combustible neighbourhood. When the pair get the machine to work, it is her mistake which causes the effects the pair must go through. She is always so desperate to fix the mistakes, she doesn’t even consider the consequences. Sebastian is the best friend that has always helped along the way, he is the one that will ask the questions about the consequences, seeing how reckless CJ has become. Calvin is the big brother of CJ’s, he will always make sure she is safe, whenever somebody in the neighbourhood causes her trouble.

PerformancesWhile the two leading stars Eden Duncan-Smith and Dante Crichlow don’t do anything wrong through the film, they have annoying character traits to bring to life, which doesn’t help what they have to work with.

StoryThe story here follows two high school friends that are trying to prove time travel is possible and soon learn the consequences of trying to change the past. This story does have an important reason for trying to create the time travel, we are placed into a Brooklyn neighbourhood that has been dealing with police shooting, overly aggressive gang mentality and will have signs of poverty. Outside of this side of the story, we are dealing with really bad time travel decisions, even though the characters seem clear of what not to do. We won’t go into the non-ending either, which leaves us with nothing after what has happened through the film, this does just feel like an unfinished script, that really wants deal with topical issues through the film.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film does come from the panic involved once the first incident happens, it is more neighbourhood action, rather anything else, while the time travel might dive into basic science behind time travel, which does work well, it is the behaviour from people that believe they understand it that let everything down.

SettingsThe film is set in Brooklyn which shows the environment the two friends are around, which brings the combustible elements.


Scene of the Movie – See You Yesterday.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Most of CJ’s decisions.

Final Thoughts Messy time travel film, which does deal with big topical issues the best it can, sadly, get caught in the middle of both worlds.

Overall: Missed the point.

Kevin Costner Weekend – McFarland (2015)

Director: Niki Caro

Writer: Christopher Cleverland, Bettina Gilois, Grant Thompson (Screenplay) Christopher Cleverland, Bettina Gilois (Story)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Ramiro Rodriguez, Carlos Pratts, Johnny Ortiz, Rafael Martinez, Hector Duran, Sergio Avelar

 

Plot: Jim White moves his family after losing his last job as a football coach. He sees that some of the students are worth starting a cross-country team and turns seven students with no hope into one of the best cross-country teams.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Sports Drama

 

Story: McFarland starts as high school football coach Jim White (Costner) goes too far trying to motivate his team, which leads him to lose his job, needing find a new job, Jim relocates with his family wife Cheryl (Bello) and kids to McFarland a small town populated with mostly Mexican families.

Moving to this town opens Jim’s eyes to a potential cross-country team to help the children with little hope of a big future to aim for something, he takes Thomas Valles (Pratts) the fastest, Danny Diaz (Rodriguez) the slowest, Jose (Ortiz), David (Martinez), Johnny (Duran) and Victor (Avelar) and attempts to make them a champion cross-country team.

 

Thoughts on McFarland

 

Characters – Coach Jim White is a fallen man having lost his temper with an over privileged team not performing, needing to redeem himself he moves his family to the only place that would give him a chance McFarland a mostly Mexican neighbourhood. Here we see Jim believe he can turn 7 kids into a champion cross-country team using his ability to learn the new culture and give the kids hope they never thought they would get. Thomas is the star of the team, he has natural speed, but he has not been given too much hope with his future after school, he now gets a chance that could bring him a college dream he could never even consider. Danny is the slowest member of the team but he never gives up showing improvement on every single run.

PerformanceKevin Costner shows us here that he does still have it and most of all can handle being the mentor figure for the young actors. The young actors playing the runners all give great performances show us just how anyone could be given a chance to be the next big thing. Maria Bello is potentially the weakest of the main performers but we don’t get too much for her to do.

StoryThe story of one coach needing to get redemption for his actions is one idea we have seen before. It works here and mixing it with entering into a neighbourhood that has been given no hope of a future until they are shown a new way out of the town. This is based on a true story which shows how real people’s actions were important for this community. This shows how people working together can achieve any dreams.

Biopic/SportsThe real people are show in this movie should be used as inspiration for anyone who has dreams and it helps show people can make them happen. The running is chopped together to be fine but isn’t the most engaging part of the film.

SettingsThe small-town setting shows how difficult life would be for this families living here, it also shows just how together the neighbourhood is when supporting any success that could come their way.

Scene of the Movie – Bridge talk.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Due to not knowing Spanish I didn’t understand slight words other people would.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fantastic look at how one man changed the hopes for a small town, it shows how every kid should be given a chance to prove themselves for a future and gives us a true story that could inspire.

 

Overall: Enjoyable, Inspirational story.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – R – Replicas (2018) Movie Review

Director: Jeffrey Nachmanoff

Writer: Chad St John (Screenplay) Stephen Hamel (Story)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Thomas Middleditch, John Ortiz, Emjay Anthony, Emily Alyn Lind

Plot: A scientist becomes obsessed with bringing back his family members who died in a traffic accident.


Tagline – Some Humans Are Unstoppable

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sci-Fi Questions

Story: Replicas starts as we see genius scientist William Foster (Reeves) who has seen his work of bringing people back from the dead in synthetic robots, struggling to achieve the required results, seeing him face the potential of losing his funding. Trying to spend some time with his family Mona (Eve), kids Matt (Anthony), Sophie (Lind) and Zoe (Leabu), they get caught in storm, which sees them have an accident, with William’s whole family killed.

William doesn’t want to accept this, he turns to his partner Ed Whittle (Middleditch) to help him clone and bring his family back to life. As William works on returning his family, he is left to make difficult decisions, while covering his tracks.

Thoughts on Replicas

Characters – William has been working on transferring minds into synthetics, he nearly has this ready to work, but things are always going wrong just when he sees things working out. He is already working on a tight rope and after his family dies in a car crash, he wants to break all the laws of his science by bringing them back to life, meaning he will work day and night to fix the problems, not even considering the side effects of his work. Mona is the wife to William, she dies in the accident and is cloned and has her memories placed into the new body. Ed Whittle is the partner that has been working with William for years, he agrees to help with the revival and will change him on the moral grounds of what he is doing. Jones is the man that William works for, he is pushing him to get everything he wants even if he might have his own reasons for the technology William is working on.

PerformancesKeanu Reeves in the leading role doesn’t do much wrong, but does struggle to show all the emotional trauma his character must go through. Alice Eve doesn’t get a chance to do anything of any difficultly, while both Thomas Middleditch and John Ortiz are both fine with what they do.

StoryThe story here follows a scientist that sees his family die in an accident, only for him to use his own project to bring them back to life even if the technology might not be ready to use. This is one of those stories that does look to dig into the ideas of whether if you could, would you bring family members back to life as clones, we get plenty of the discussions about the ethics behind it and what could go wrong if you got found out, while we do dig into the concept of trying to pick and choose what would be remembered by the loved ones. This side of the story is the most interesting because the final act of the story just seems to be thrown in here to try and make us have an action packed ending to the film.

Sci-FiThe film uses future technology that could be used to bring clones of loved one back to life, showing us just how science is always moving forward and how they could be looked at more in the future, keeping everything feeling like the realms of possibility.

SettingsThe film is set in Puerto Rico which I am guessing is used to try and show us how the laws of science at looser in this country.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are interesting with the synthetics looking unique, but never looking like they are operating correctly.


Scene of the Movie – The choices William must make.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The action tagged on story.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting sci-fi movie that does offer big questions about technology in the future and shows how desperate somebody would be to try and fix something out of their control.

Overall: Sci-Fi 101