ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – O – Richard Jewell (2019) Movie Review

This is under O because of star Olivia Wilde.

Director: Clint Eastwood

Writer: Billy Ray (Screenplay) Marie Brenner (Magazine Article)

Starring: Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm

Plot: American security guard Richard Jewell saves thousands of lives from an exploding bomb at the 1996 Olympics, but is vilified by journalists and the press who falsely reported that he was a terrorist.

Tagline – The world will know his name and the truth.

Runtime: 2 Hours 11 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Shocking Trial by Media

Story: Richard Jewell starts as we meet Richard Jewell (Hauser) a man that has always wanted to work in law enforcement, starting in a mailroom where he meets lawyer Watson Bryant (Rockwell) before moving into security just in time for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, while on duty he discovers a suspicious package, which turns out to be a bomb, saving thousands of lives.

With no idea who left the bomb, FBI agent Tom Shaw (Hamm) is leading the case, which starts to look into Richard, while ambitious ruthless reporter Kathy Scruggs (Wilde) is looking to get the story first, Richard turns to Watson to help him prove that he is innocent after the press turns on him.

Thoughts on Richard Jewell

Characters – Richard Jewell is a man that has always dreamed of working in law enforcement, he will always follow the law even too close to the line, never over it. He might rub people the wrong way, with his honest persona, which Watson is the only way to see through. He is always wary on his duty as a security guard, which is why he discovered the bomb, saving people, he wants to clear his name because he knows he hasn’t don’t anything wrong. Watson Bryant is the lawyer that represents Richard after the two have had friendship in a previous job. He sees that Richard is bring framed by a media trial and will do everything in his power to defend him. Tom Shaw is leading the investigation, he also leaks the idea they are looking at Richard, which puts his job on the line, with him needing to find the suspect fast. Kathy Scruggs is the reporter that is always looking for a juicier story, she gets the story about Richard out there being the one that leads the goose chase. Bobi is Richard’s mother that has raised him well, honest and to work hard, she is left distraught by the stories about him knowing just how honest he is to the world.

PerformancesPaul Walter Hauser is brilliant in this leading role, showing the calm the man shows despite the pressure thrown on his character. Sam Rockwell once again shows us to be a wonderful supporting actor, while Jon Hamm and Olivia Wilde are strong throughout, Kathy Bates is fantastic too showing all the added stress and trauma placed on her character.

StoryThe story here shows the security guard that saves thousands of lives from a bombing that the media decides to turn into the prime suspect despite his innocence, where he needs to prove his own innocence before the case just gets framed onto him. This story is based on the real events, which saw thousands saved from certain death, only shows how the panic to solve the case saw one person accused of being guilty of the crime, even though he saved them. It shows how the media has become judge and jury at times, which can be more damaging than the crime itself. This does highlight just how sudden somebody can be turned from hero to villain, though it would have been interesting to see and learn a little bit more about the full investigation.

Biopic/CrimeThis film uses the real event to show Richard Jewell’s life just before and just after the bombing, showing us how the crime was focused on the wrong person, sadly, we don’t spend enough time trying to solve the crime.

SettingsThe film uses a few main settings, the bombing locations, which is the horrors of the events, the home which shows us the loss of privacy the Jewell family received and the offices where questioning takes place.

Scene of the Movie – The private hearing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not looking at solving the crime.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fascinating drama that showed us the shocking story of trial by media of an innocent man with impressive performances throughout.

Overall: Fascinating.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) Movie Review

Director: George Roy Hill

Writer: William Goldman (Screenplay)

Starring: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross, Strother Martin, Henry Jones, Jeff Corey, George Furth, Cloris Leachman

Plot: Wyoming, early 1900s. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid are the leaders of a band of outlaws. After a train robbery goes wrong they find themselves on the run with a posse hard on their heels. Their solution – escape to Bolivia.

Tagline – They’re taking trains… They’re taking banks… And they’re taking one piece of baggage!

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: True Classic

Story: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid starts in the 1900s where Butch Cassidy (Newman) and his outlaws, including his trusted best shot The Sundance Kid (Redford) are looking for their next score, which sees them doing a double on the same train, the second robbery sees them needing to go on the run from ruthless bounty hunters.

Butch and Sundance go to their normal haunts to escape, which this time just don’t work, they look to head to Bolivia for freedom, only to learn that the toughest lawman and the best tracker are hot on their trail.

Thoughts on Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Characters – Butch Cassidy is the leader of the outlaws, he knows how to talk himself out of any situation, keep his gang in order and he won’t kill anybody unless the situation calls for it, he wants to not leave a trail of bodies behind him. The Sundance Kid is the quickest shot in the land, he never misses his target and is loyal to Butch. The pair together are a lethal combination that will get the robberies done is the most efficient manner. Etta the lover of Sundance, a school teacher who is still single at 26, which has already put her in a bad bracket for the society, she doesn’t get involved in the robberies, but does join them when they go on the run.

PerformancesPaul Newman and Robert Redford are both fantastic giving career highlights in their roles, they have wonderful chemistry which shines through the film and helps on the adventure the two characters find themselves on. Kathrine Ross completes the main cast which sees her standing toe to toe with the male leads.

StoryThe story here follows the notorious outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid who have been robbing banks for years until their latest job does wrong and sees them needing to go into hiding in Bolivia, with trackers and lawmen after them. This is one of the classic movies of all time, it does show one of the most famous outlaw partnerships in American history and we get to follow them when they are at the peak of their reputation, where they must deal with consequences of the people that want to end their robberies. Like most of the westerns for the time, we get the outlaws that come off charming for the most part, which does seem to be the way, lets make the criminals the popular ones and the lawman the villainous figures, sure the pair didn’t kill people and their reputation is key to how the country thought of them. It is a fun watch with comedy playing into how the story is told, which is fun to see.

Biopic/CrimeThe biopic side of the film is how the film is loosely based on the real story behind the two outlaws, it shows us just how the two went on the run after getting caught too deep in the world of the crime that they had become famous for.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us the world that the two men would be operating in, first the American side as well as the Bolivian side of their adventure.

Scene of the Movie – The last stand.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have learnt more about their robberies before the one that went wrong.

Final Thoughts This is a fun western that shows us two of the most famous outlaws in the land, it has excellent chemistry between the leads and flows wonderfully.

Overall: Must watch classic.

Goalie (2019) Movie Review

Director: Adriana Maggs

Writer: Adriana Maggs, Jane Maggs (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark O’Brien, Kevin Pollak, Georgina Reilly, Eric Bruneau, Steve Byers, Ted Atherton, Janine Theriault

Plot: Biopic of the life of legendary NHL goaltender Terry Sawchuk.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Surprising Look at Sports Conditioning

Story: Goalie starts as we see how Terry Sawchuk grew up under the shadow of his older brother who was waiting for scouts to give him a chance in the big time, only his father Louis (Atherton) needed him to work to keep a roof over the family. After his brother sudden death, Terry builds up his own reputation as an ice hockey goalie.

Terry gets signed by Detroit under coach Jack Adams (Pollak) while remaining humble in his new found fame, where his reputation continues to grow, as he continues to play through injuries to make history as one of the most legendary goaltenders in the game.

Thoughts on Goalie

Characters – Terry Sawchuk came from a struggling family, where he idolised his brother a young ice hockey goaltender who is meant to have a big future, after his brother’s death, Terry takes the role and builds himself a reputation which sees him signed to the big time after an injury to the current goaltender. Terry becomes the best tender in the league, though not a price, he plays through injuries that should be rested, which sees him going through addictions to cover up his own pain. Jack Adams is the Detroit coach that gives Terry the big break, he sees him as the star of his team, but also knows that he needs a goaltender fit and ready, whenever one gets injured, he searches for a replacement instead of a temp, which does create tension between the two when the injuries start catching up. Pat Morey is the woman Terry marries and starts a family with, she does deal with his problems that he is facing standing by him while keeping their children safe. We do see the players that all admire the goaltenders and have more fun during the season, because of the lower number of injuries they suffer from.

PerformancesMark O’Brien is wonderful in this leading role, he shows us every emotional problems Terry went through, the pain he feels through the season, in his head and the delight when things go his way. Kevin Pollak does bring some star power to the film, making a big impact in his scenes, while Georgina Reilly shows us how to do the supporting spouse who might not take everything that comes her way.

StoryThe story here follows the career of legendary ice hockey player Terry Sawchuk who was considered one of the greatest goaltenders the sport ever saw. The story does show more of the personal life, which showed how difficult being a goaltender was, with clubs only have one and an injury meant you were axed, this increased the pressure on the player who would have to work through injuries just to keep his job, way before the union was involved in the sport. We don’t seem to learn too much of the pure joy of success or how much he wins, which could have been made clearer, while it also doesn’t paint enough of the importance of the union being included, just how much it changed the later stages of Terry’s career. The focus is solely on his personal battle to stay in a team and giving up his own health, family and future to keep his role in the team, no matter how good he was considered in the sport.

BiopicThe biopic side of this film only shows the personal struggles that Terry went through, but not enough of the joy of success on the ice.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the era that we are going through, with the locker room being key to how Terry’s mind was going forward.

Scene of the Movie – Terry gets involved with banter.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not seeing or feeling the success felt by the players.

Final Thoughts This is a good look at how sport evolved after seeing a player suffer for so long with the effects it took on his body and his mind.

Overall: Biopic 101.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – H – A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood (2019) Movie Review

We Have this film under H because Tom Hanks is considered a front runner for an Oscar this year.

Director: Marielle Heller

Writer: Micah Fitzerman-Blue, Noah Harpster (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Christine Lahti, Matthew Rhys, Susan Kelechi Watson, Tammy Blanchard, Wendy Makkena, Enrico Colantoni, Chris Cooper

Plot: Based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Enjoyable

Story: A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood starts as journalist Lloyd Vogel (Rhys) has built up his own reputation of being an aggressive journalist that will usually put together articles that don’t show the person in the best light, he has one last chance for his latest piece, with loved children’s host Fred Rogers (Hanks), who is the only person who agrees to be interviewed by him.

As Lloyd learns more about Mr Rogers, he starts to believe he is the nicest person in America, he shows incredible patience, while the people around him might panic, he remains calm, he starts to show Lloyd the values of life and what he could achieve by being that little bit calm, opening him up more to his relationship with his wife Andrea (Watson) and his estranged father Jerry (Cooper).

Thoughts on A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood

Characters – Lloyd Vogel is a journalist who has given himself a reputation of writing articles that don’t show the person in the best light, his reputation has made him unpopular with celebrities that are now refusing to talk to him, except one Mr Rogers. He grew up in a dysfunctional family after his mother’s death and his father’s behaviour which has made him cold to the world and with his own marriage hitting a few rocks because of his own distant relationship with his wife, his time with Mr Rogers opens up his eyes to his own mistakes in life and learns to take a step back to people. Fred Rogers is the loved children’s television host that has bought forward life lessons in his show, pushing children and adults to talk about their own feelings as they start to struggle with them, he is always calm, always polite and always finds time for people, including Lloyd who he sees is having his own problems. Jerry Vogel is the estranged father of Lloyd, he walked out on him when his mother was dying, which has always caused tension between them, he is trying his hardest to reconnect after years of mistakes. Andrea is the wife of Lloyd that is getting tired of the behaviour of Lloyd, she wants to support him in his achievements and wants him to improve his relationship with his father, to become the father, he didn’t think his own was to him.

PerformancesMatthew Rhys is in the leading role, he does a wonderful job with it being his character that needs to go through the biggest arc. Tom Hanks playing the nicest guy in America, while also being one of the nicest guys in the America is easy for him. Chris Cooper and Susan Kelechi Watson in the supporting roles all work well through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a journalist on the verge of losing his career that gets a piece to work on that will let him explore his own troubles by meeting Mr Rogers, where he learns to tackle his own problems in his life. This is a story about self-discovery through meeting somebody who has a completely different look at the world. The story does put the highlight on family, forgiveness and futures, which is important for Lloyd to discover. Where the story can fall slightly short at times, would be not spending enough time with Mr Rogers, outside of America, he isn’t well-known, so it isn’t easy enough to connect with just how inflectional he was to the people he affects. We do also fall into the same tropes that we know will always need fixing in a relationship within a family.

BiopicThe biopic side of this film does show the time when the two meet, with Lloyd needing this chance encounter with Fred Rogers.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show everyday life for both characters as well as the iconic location used for Mr Rogers show.

Scene of the Movie – Christmas Dinner.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Mr Rogers isn’t well enough known outside of America.

Final Thoughts This is a pleasant viewing experience with wonderful performances that is all about finding your ability to embrace your feelings in life.

Overall: Pleasant Throughout.

Charlie Says (2018) Movie Review

Director: Mary Harron

Writer: Guinevere Turner (Screenplay) Ed Sanders, Karlene Faith (Book)

Starring: Hannah Murray, Matt Smith, Sosie Bacon, Marianne Rendon, Merritt Wever, Suki Waterhouse, Chace Crawford

Plot: The tragic tale of an all-American girl who was transformed into a cold-blooded killer in the summer of 1969.

Tagline – Dreamers. Victims. Murderers.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Been There, Seen This

Story: Charlie Says starts as we meet the three women Lulu (Murray), Katie (Bacon) and Sadie (Rendon) who are serving their sentence on death row, without a death penalty being allowed, graduate student Karlene Faith (Wever) who has been offering lessons to other female prisoners, is given a chance to offer the women something to do.

This leads us to meet Lulu, when she was still Leslie, first bought into Spahn ranch and learning the methods of Charles Manson (Smith), as he ended up offering up a free love idea, which shows us how close they are and how controlling he is with the people.

Thoughts on Charlie Says

Characters – We follow Leslie as she joins the family and becomes Lulu, we see how she gets to learn how the family operates becoming on of the followers, as she learns about the family, we learn about them. Katie and Sadie are two more of the followers that have all been locked up for the murders, they teach Lulu and in prison they still believe in the theories of Charlie, while being offered a chance for a future. The three main women are shown just how they are easily controlled and become devoted followers that would go onto do a horrendous crime. Charles Manson is the cult leader that drugged, controlled and forced people into doing his actions, fighting back against society that he felt controlled people, he is still one of the vilest people to walk the Earth.

PerformancesThe performances here have three women in, Hannah Murray, Sosie Bacon and Marianne Rendon who are all fine, they don’t get do much that we haven’t seen before, while Matt Smith as Charles Manson is the same as everyone else’s idea of the monster.

StoryThe story here follows three members of the Manson Family who have been put in prison after their murder, as we see how they are given a chance at education, while we learn how they became part of the family under the controlling monster. It is getting close to the time where we need to ask why we need to keep telling the Manson family stories, we know they were monsters who used drugs as an excuse to commit horrendous crimes, we do try to follow the revival of their humanity, which on the outside would have been very interesting, but we spend too much time just watching the brainwashing and actions behind what Charles did to them. It offers very little to what we know, unfairly paints the women as the victims, rather than the monsters they were.

Biopic/CrimeThe biopic side of this film is trying to put a light of sympathy onto the three women, as we learn how they tried to remember their time in the Manson Family, no matter how difficult remembering would have been, while we know the crime, we seem to focus more on the aftermath, rather than the horrendous action itself.

SettingsThe film uses two main settings, the ranch, where Charles controlled the women and the prison where they didn’t have any control.

Scene of the Movie – Most of Karlene’s struggles.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We focus too much on the ranch.

Final Thoughts This is another needless version of the Manson family, putting more spotlight on the people who don’t deserve it, instead of condemning them for their actions.

Overall: Needless.