ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – S – The Stanford Prison Experiment (2016)

Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez

Writer: Tim Talbott (Screenplay) Philip Zimbardo (Book)

Starring: Billy Crudup, Michael Angarano, Ezra Miller, Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Keir Gilchrist

 

Plot: Twenty-four male students out of seventy-five were selected to take on randomly assigned roles of prisoners and guards in a mock prison situated in the basement of the Stanford psychology building.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Drama

 

Story: The Stanford Prison Experiment starts with Dr Philip Zimbardo (Crudup) is given a chance to prefer an experiment with 24 male students in Stanford psychology building. The idea is half the volunteer students will become prisoners the other half with be the guards.

With the contract stating no harm can be given to anyone involved, it is only the first day when things start to get out of hand as the guards start taking the role too seriously and this experiment heads down a path that even Dr Zimbardo could imagine it to go.

 

Thoughts on The Stanford Prison Experiment

 

Characters – Dr Philip Zimbardo is performing this experiment because he could make his career proving the mentality of the prison system, he doesn’t want to let thing get out of hand but is willing to the rules broken. The students playing both the prisoners and guards both become different types of what you would expect from a prison environment, they don’t get overly as much attention you would think but they are all important to what happens in the story.

PerformanceBilly Crudup is great in the doctor role but the highlight of the film comes from the actors playing the subjects, be it the prisoners or the guards both sides are fantastic with playing their roles.

StoryThe story is loosely based on the real Stanford Experiments which shows us just how twenty-four students get placed into roles of either prisoners or guards over a week long experiment that just gets to the levels of just how far will things go. Seeing how the men act puts us to the limits of wondering just how far things could go as we see things get intense in moments. Having seen the Experiment movie I was expecting certain things to happen but this time none of these appear in the movie, this does disappoint because the film never hits the truly shocking moments it could.

Biography/HistoryThis is a known experiment with different variables involved, it shows us the basic idea and it is still known as one of the most famous experiments in world history.

SettingsThe film is set entirely within the created Stanford Prison, it is either inside or watching from just outside seeing how it unfolds.

Scene of the Movie – The first moment the guards show what they will do.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel this could have an explosive ending.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good tense thrilling character study that shows us just how far people could go.

 

Overall: Tense thriller that pulls you in.

Rating

 

 

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Natalie Portman Weekend – Jackie (2016)

jackieDirector: Pablo Larrain

Writer: Noah Oppenheim (Screenplay)

Starring: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt, Richard E Grant

 

Plot: Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children, and define her husband’s historic legacy.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Look Into Jackie Kennedy’s Life

 

Story: Jackie starts one week after the assassination of President John F Kennedy and Jackie (Portman) wants her husband remembered the way she wants, calling on journalist (Crudup) to write an article on what she will do next.

Jackie recounts the intimate accounts of the aftermath of the assassination as Jackie herself must come to terms with her husband’s murder while the country comes to terms with the death of their President. Jackie wants to make sure her husband gets a funeral a leader of state should receive.

 

Thoughts on Jackie

 

StoryWhen you look at American history there is two shocking assassination we have seen of Presidents and JFK was the first world saw, we have seen how people have speculated, remade the event for years to come but we have never looked at Jackie’s part during the event. This is where the story shines because unlike the nation she is experience the death of her husband who was going to make America a country that was moving onto greatness. Looking at the intimate details of what it was like for Jackie after the event was refreshing and enjoyable to see from start to finish because you fully understand every decision she made.

BiographyLooking into this tragic time for Jackie Kennedy was something we have barely seen before as most of the focus is on JFK’s death. looking at how Jackie has to deal with the tragic events is something this film gets so right we can enjoy she just how powerful she was too.

Characters/PerformanceWe have real people being portrayed once again in this film so it is hard to look past the people’s decision making process through the events. Portman is leaps and bounds above the rest of the cast shining through every single scene she is part of, it is when you look past Portman’s performance you get good performances from the rest of the cast that all do great without being considered to be on Portman’s level.

SettingsEach setting used in the film makes us feel like we are part of the chapter of the life of Jackie Kennedy after her husband assassination. We fully believe this is unfolding on front of us as the story continues.

Final ThoughtsThis is an important look at one of the most shocking moments in American history.

 

Overall: I think this will be a film many people will miss but they will miss out on something very important.

Ratingcard

 

 

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: John Logan, Dante Harper (Screenplay) Jack Paglen, Michael Green, Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett (Story/Characters)

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett

 

Plot: The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Plain Bad

 

Story: Alien Covenant starts with the colony ship the Covenant heading towards a new planet, a crew of 15 and over 2000 colonist on board with just Walter (Fassbender) the android running the ship. When the ship encounters a freak storm in space leads the crew suffering loses they need to let the new captain Oram (Crudup) guide them through the damage to the systems.

When the repairs find a ghost transmission from a planet which appears perfectly habitable Oram goes against first mate Daniels’ (Waterston) opinion to continue their mission and takes a crew to this planet.

While on the planet the crew learn, this planet isn’t as safe as they had thought as they learn the deadly species waiting to be awoken along with a discovery which will give them answers about one of the mysterious of space.

 

Thoughts on Alien: Covenant

 

Characters/PerformanceWalter is the latest model of the androids that joins the mission to do the jobs humans can’t manage he is good natured and understands his mission. Daniels is the second in command after the early tragedy, she doesn’t want to investigate the new planet but soon becomes the one we must rout for once she decides to fight. Oram is your standard captain trying to take the role with his own stamp, also he is meant to be religious. The rest of the crew are what you expect.

Performance wise, well this is where things get interesting, Fassbender is fine but let’s face it he is wasting his talent in movies like these. Waterston struggles to follow in the strong leading action heroine footsteps with Crudup being easily forgettable. This does have known names but nothing that comes off truly memorable in the performances.

StoryThe story looks to follow up what happened after the Prometheus in what just feels like a complete rip off, of plenty of films, we have horribly written characters that just do panic instead of being professional in the role that would remain calm through each situation. This is a rinse, repeat film that ends up being one of the most predictable movies you have ever seen.

Horror/Sci-FiThere is little to no horror in a movie that has ALIENS in which is the whole point. The sci-fi side of the story is all what you have come to expect from the genre without being anything fresh.

SettingsThe film looks beautiful and stunning throughout but they also don’t have anything looking original though.

Special EffectsThe special effects show us the settings looking almost flawless, it is the aliens which come off weak in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor addition to the franchise of aliens, we barely see them and the science versus religion question doesn’t end up getting discussed enough.

 

Overall: Poor franchise addition that is weak in every single aspect.

Rating

 

 

Spotlight (2015)

spotightDirector: Tom McCarthy

Writer: Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Brian d’Arcy James, Stanley Tucci, Elena Wohl, Gene Amoroso, Billy Crudup

 

Plot: The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Factual Film

 

Story: Spotlight starts with a short look at what happened in 1976 Boston where a Priest gets off any charges of molestation. Move forward to 2001 in the Boston Globe where the ‘Spotlight’ team Robby (Keaton), Mike (Ruffalo), Sacha (McAdams) and Matt (James) run an elite segment in the paper. When Marty Baron (Schreiber) comes into the paper people start fearing about their jobs, but one of the first things he does as a stranger to the city is to challenge the Spotlight team to look into the Boston Catholic Church and their molestation case.team

The team of four start looking through the stories from the last 25 years that have all almost gone unpunished and what they dig up will change the way the world sees the Catholic Church forever.

Spotlight is a film that gives us a big history lesson about how corrupt the Catholic Church had become, it shows how easily they could cover up all their wrongs and thought that everything was just fine because of the contribution that made to society. The reality is how big everything got how far up the ranks the corruption within a religious circle things got showing just how bad things were for the innocent victims. This film shows how hard it was to speak up and remember all the things the victims were made to do showing how it has affected their lives forever. If you want a good, no a brilliant history lesson this is one for you.

 

Actor Review

 

Mark Ruffalo: Mike Rezendes is part of the Spotlight team who is liaising with lawyer Mitchell Garabedian who is also trying to take down the Catholic Church on his own, he gets pointed in the right direction as he investigates his side of the story. Mark is brilliant in this role giving us a performance that can go hand in hand with his Zodiac one.

Michael Keaton: Walter ‘Robby’ Robinson is the leader of the Spotlight team who is the one that can confront the higher officials that stand in the rest of the team’s way, he is blunt when it takes on these people. He has the most connections and is one of the most respected people in the newspaper. Michael continues to give brilliant performances after his one in Birdman last time out.robby

Rachel McAdams: Sacha Pfeiffer is one of the Spotlight team who gets to know the victims while being the partner to Robby in the interviews with the Catholic higher ups. She uses her ability to show her empathy towards the victims to help them feel comfortable about their stories. Rachel gives us a brilliant performance in this role where she shows her serious side.

Liev Schreiber: Marty Baron is the man who gets placed in charge of the paper where he comes to Boston to give fresh eyes on the Catholic Church cover up. He tasks the Spotlight team on this story to expose a story he had no idea would be one of the biggest in Catholic Church history. Liev is almost unlike anything you have seen from him before but I would have liked to have seen more from his character.

Support Cast: Spotlight has a brilliant supporting cast that all help get to the bottom of this story.

Director Review: Tom McCarthyTom gives us a brilliant story showing how the world we thought was safe could be filled with so much corruption.

 

Biographical: Spotlight shows just how much hard work had to be put in by a team that trusted each other to come up with their end of the story.

History: Spotlight gives us an example of a power who thought they knew all and could get away with anything and how easy they could be bought down.

Thriller: Spotlight has moments of thrills but it is more about how well the team puts the story together,

Music: Spotlight uses the music to show the moments unfolding without going to heavy on any side of it all.

Settings: Spotlight keeps most of the settings in and around Boston which helps us know where the story first broke.
Suggestion
: Spotlight is one to watch to learn about how the Catholic Church operated, but you do need your serious head on while watching. (Watch)

 

Best Part: The performances are brilliant.

Worst Part: Could be considered too serious for some.

 

Believability: Based on what really happened in Boston.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Nominated for 3 Golden Globes including Best Picture, Director and Screenplay

Oscar Chances:

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

Tagline:  Break the story. Break the silence.

 

Overall: Brilliant history lesson of one of the biggest scandals in Catholic Church history

Ratingcard

Mission: Impossible III (2006)

logoDirector: J.J. Abrams

Writer: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, J.J. Abrams (Screenplay) Bruce Geller (TV Creator)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Billy Crudup, Michelle Monaghan, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keri Russell, Maggie Q, Simon Pegg, Eddie Marsan, Laurence Fishburne

 

Plot: Ethan Hunt comes face to face with a dangerous and sadistic arms dealer while trying to keep his identity secret in order to protect his girlfriend.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Best Mission Too Date

 

Story: Mission Impossible III starts with Ethan Hunt (Cruise) being interrogated by Owen Davian (Hoffman) as he is looking for ‘The Rabbit’s Foot’. Owen has Hunt’s girlfriend Julia (Monaghan) hostage at gunpoint and we get a fully in your face intense start to this Impossible Mission.

Flashback to us seeing Ethan & Julia announcing their engagement we get to see how Ethan is finally living a normal everyday life. Ethan has taken up a new role with IMF where he trains the next agents but when he gets a call from John Musgrave (Crudup) he gets a chance to go into the field once more to save one of his own Lindsey Farris (Russell) who they believe has been kidnapped by Owen Davian. The mission seems to go off a success but Davian places an explosive chip inside Lindsey’s head which they are unable to stop her death.

Ethan goes back into the field to solve the problem with Owen Davian teaming up with an old friend and a new team to search for ‘The Rabbit’s Foot’. Ethan has to put his personally life at risk before going back into the field to face his deadliest opponent to date.

Mission Impossible III has to go down as the best storyline in all of the Mission Impossible films so far, the story shows how Ethan is trying to live a normal life but continue to work for the agency. This works well because all we have seen before is Ethan turn up complete the mission and walk away. I also feel the pure brutality of Owen Davian makes everything much more intense than previous outing and with that opening scene we get to anticipate how the story ends up there. On the negative we get the old used up storyline that shows someone on the inside helping the terrorist which we see too much in these films because no one can be trusted. This is though the slickest, most enjoyable Mission Impossible in the original trilogy. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Tom Cruise: Ethan Hunt is our hero again, this time he trains the recruits and is looking to settle down but when one of his trainees is captured he ends up getting back into the field against the ruthless Owen Davian. Tom continues to show why he is a great action star with this outing but he also gets to show his emotional range when it comes to his wife. (8/10)

 hunt

Philip Seymour Hoffman: Owen Davian is the arms dealer who is devastatingly brutal to anyone who gets in his way and after Ethan has him killed off for show he comes back with a vengeance focusing everything on Ethan. Philip made for a brilliant villain and you literally feel every word that comes out of his mouth and just how much he means them. (9/10)

 owen

Michelle Monaghan: Julia is the wife of Ethan who ends up getting dragged into the criminal underworld where she will become a pawn in Owen Davian’s game. Michelle does a solid job as the damsel in distress but doesn’t get much else to work with. (6/10)

 

Support Cast: Mission Impossible III has a supporting cast much like the previous two films with Ethan’s team, Davian team and the IMF agency questioning Ethan’s motives.

 

Director Review: J.J. Abrams – Mr Abrams does manage to bring the franchise back down to reality with one of the most entertaining action films of recent years that didn’t include a superhero. (8/10)

 

Action: Mission Impossible III has a large amount of action along with its trademark wacky stunt. (8/10)

Thriller: Mission Impossible III manages to pull you in from the opening sequence until the final conclusion. (9/10)

Settings: Mission Impossible III keeps up the idea of using iconic landmarks for the settings to help identify how difficult the missions will be. (8/10)

Suggestion: Mission Impossible III is a must watch for all action fans out there because the best action films have the deadliest villains. (Action Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Bridge attack.

Worst Part: It sometimes pokes fun at itself with the lines.

Action Scene Of The Film: Bridge attack.

Funniest Scene: Simon Pegg’s scenes.

 

Believability: No (/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has two more sequels

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $398 Million

Budget: $150 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

Trivia: After the success of Shaun of the Dead (2004), Simon Pegg was asked whether he was going to be pursuing a career in Hollywood, to which he laughed and replied “it’s not like I am going to be in Mission Impossible III”.

 

Overall: Mission Impossible III is easily the best of the Mission Impossible film that is all action packed pure entertainment.

Rating 83