ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – I – In the Line of Fire (1993)

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Writer: Jeff Maguire (Screenplay)

Starring: Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, Rene Russo, Dylan McDermott, Gary Cole, Fred Dalton Thompson, John Mahoney

 

Plot: Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan couldn’t save Kennedy, but he’s determined not to let a clever assassin take out this president.


Tagline – An assassin on the loose. A president in danger. Only one man stands between them…

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliantly Tense

 

Story: In the Line of Fire starts as we meet seasoned veteran of the secret service Frank Horrigan (Eastwood) who wants to get back in the field, granted he returns to protecting the President after getting a mysterious phone call from Mitch Leary (Malkovich) who is threatening to murder the President.

As Frank tries to stay ahead of Mitch, the game of cat-n-mouse starts to catch up with him, as Frank starts to see his career fall apart on political grounds and Mitch now has Frank exactly where he needs him.

 

Thoughts on In the Line of Fire

 

Characters – Frank Horrigan once worked on President Kennedy’s detail, now older he is reaching the age where his secret service work is usually behind the desk or in the field, not around the President, after receiving a threat towards the President he positions himself on the detail again, which puts his experience on the line to protect the president. Mitch Leary is the psychotic man who is threatening the President, he wants to play games with Frank as his master of disguise helps him blend into a crowd. He always believes he is ahead of the game with his planned calculated with each movement. Lilly Raines is the new agent that must work with Frank, she is mostly the question about female agents through the eyes of an older member of the community. Al is the current partner of Frank who has been struggling with the reckless behaviour he has been working with.

PerformancesClint Eastwood in the leading role is great because he is the perfect age for this movie which makes us understand that he is good man still trying his best for the President. John Malkovich is stunning as the villain as we believe each word and action his commits to this role, being haunting and calculated throughout. Rene Russo offers us the young agent role, she does well with what she has to do without taking from the spotlight shone upon the lead two. The rest of the cast are good and know how to make the most of their limited scenes.

StoryThe story here follows the aging Secret Service agent that is caught up in a cat-n-mouse assassination attempt from an anonymous criminal. The story gives Frank a backstory of regret as he was one the President Kennedy service team and he will forever deal with the pain that he couldn’t save him, this adds determination to his character and it also gives Mitch a motive to beat the man who would ne known to have failed twice. This story shows us how to make cat-n-mouse style story where the villain will do anything and will spend time mocking the hero when he fails to capture him. We do get a heavily influenced America is great theme though which in places can be annoying to see. The pacing and use of foreshadowing works well in the film too showing us just what we are waiting to see where things go.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is mixed because most of the scenes involves an aging actor that is meant to not be able to handle the physicality of the job anymore. The crime side of the film is where we get the most interesting side of everything which shows us just how far one man is willing to go to put his name in lights by killing the President.

SettingsThe film uses the settings show to us how compact any situation where the President would be attending can become with threats from nearly every corner.


Scene of the Movie –
The rooftop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too patriotic like no one else could have helped.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great crime thriller that shows us just how deadly a villain can be when they are completely set on completing a mission, we have two brilliant performances from Eastwood and Malkovich that will keep you on edge throughout.

 

Overall: Must watch crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

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Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)

Director: Michael Cimino

Writer: Michael Cinimo (Screenplay)

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Jeff Bridges, Geoffrey Lewis, Catherine Bach, Gary Busey, Jack Dodson

 

Plot: With the help of an irreverent young sidekick, a bank robber gets his old gang back together to organize a daring new heist.


Tagline – Thunderbolt… the man with the reputation. Lightfoot… the kid who’s about to make one!

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Comedy Heist Film

 

Story: Thunderbolt and Lightfoot starts as we meet car thief Lightfoot (Bridges) as he stumbles into wanted criminal Thunderbolt (Eastwood) who happens to be on the run from Red Leary (Kennedy) and Eddie (Lewis) from a previous job.

When the unlikely pairing decide to work together to collect the money from Thunderbolt’s big heist they become friends and start to plan their latest heist with the original crew getting back together.

 

Thoughts on Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

 

Characters – Thunderbolt is the seasoned criminal, that reluctantly takes Lightfoot on his latest heist, he knows how the plan ahead and get away with hiding in plain sight. Lightfoot is the rookie criminal that falls into the connection with Thunderbolt as he helps him escape trouble, he talks his way into the next heist even if his mouth can get him in trouble. Eddie and Red are former partners in crime of Thunderbolt out to get their share from their last job, they have the history with him and will trust him to help get the next job done.

PerformancesClint Eastwood was one of the biggest stars in the industry when this movie was made, he works in the lead role shining next to the younger talent. Jeff Bridges showed us here that he was going to be a huge star, he has great chemistry with Eastwood too.

StoryThe story follows two new partners working on a heist together, in fairness there isn’t too much more to look at here, it plays out like you would imagine and sends the characters o a road trip adventure at times too. It is easy to follow and doesn’t offer many twists which makes this one that could be enjoyed by all.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy in the film does work well without being needed too often which shows that the crime is the focal point of the film as most heist films should do.

SettingsThe film takes our characters on a road trip adventure as they look to escape the bad heist and head towards the next heist.


Scene of the Movie –
The first meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too by the book.

Final ThoughtsEasy to watch and enjoyable heist movie with a great cast that gives us a road trip adventure.

 

Overall: Fun and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

Sully (2016)

sullyDirector: Clint Eastwood

Writer: Todd Kmoarnicki (Screenplay) Chesley Sullenberger, Jeffrey Zaslow (Book)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Valerie Mahaffey, Delphi Harrington, Mike O’Malley, Laura Linney, Anna Gunn, Holt McCallany

 

Plot: The story of Chesley Sullenberger, an American pilot who became a hero after landing his damaged plane on the Hudson River in order to save the flight’s passengers and crew.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simply Brilliant

 

Story: Sully: Miracle on the Hudson starts as we see the dramatic flight through New York haunting the dreams of Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberg (Hanks) as he reflects on what could have been a true disaster. Sully and his co-pilot Jeff Skiles (Eckhart) must go through investigation process to decide whether landing in Sully terms crash in other people terms.

Dubbed a hero at first Sully gets question through the investigation as the investigation starts to look at how dangerous the manoeuvre was as they believe they could have made it back to the airport for a safer landing. As the investigation continues we get to see how Sully’s personal life is becoming difficult as his wife Lorraine (Linney) is struggling to make ends meet.

We get to follow how Sully is considered a hero by the people of America but must clear himself from becoming the villain in the eyes of the airline.

Sully: Miracle on the Hudson is one of the most incredible stories of recent memory, we get to see the hero Sully who saved all his passengers from what could have been certain death. What we follow is Sully’s side of the investigation and how he was dealing with each situation which is great to see but the film doesn’t give us a fair assessment of how everything would have been looked at by the airline side of the story. I do understand how this is meant to look from Sully’s point of view and how anyone who would have gone through this might have questioned each decision afterwards.

Tom Hanks gives one of his best performance of his career in this role and it is great to see him back at his very best. Aaron Eckhart continues to show why he is always a great supporting cast member. The rest of the cast come off like you would expect from any Eastwood movie where they all do great jobs without stealing any of the attention from leading star. This film will always be looked at as one of the most amazing stories of heroism from a pilot in modern history.

 

Overall: One of the most fascinating movies of the year, with a show of true heroism.

Ratingcard

 

 

Leonardo DiCaprio Weekend – J. Edgar (2011)

hooverDirector: Clint Eastwood

Writer: Dustin Lance Black (Screenplay)

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Donovan, Josh Lucas, Dermot Mulroney

 

Plot: J. Edgar Hoover, powerful head of the F.B.I. for nearly 50 years, looks back on his professional and personal life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Moving Biopic

 

Story: J. Edgar starts as we learn that J Edgar Hoover (DiCaprio) wanting to tell his story as he goes back to 1919 when he witnesses the crime being committed against his boss Mitchell Palmer. We see how Palmer give Hoover a chance to search for the communist which are targeting high ranking members of America.

With Hoover’s first act he plans to deport any non-America who poses a threat to the country a new law was born and peace came from the rebel. Being put in charge of the Bureau of Investigation Hoover cleans out the corruption to build his own force as he wants to use new technology to help fight crime. While his professional career shines and rises his personal life where he tackles his own relationship with Clyde Tolson (Hammer) that has to remain a secret. The birth of the FBI is told through this story too.

J. Edgar shows the amazing career and life of one of the most important men in American history as we see how he came to help change how law was thought and studied. This will never be questioned but his methods on achieving this could be questioned as he does push many morale boundaries. It is the look into his personal life which also interests because for a man rising against authority to be homosexual at the time would have been looked down on so Hoover also becomes victim to the personal choice being the thing that held back his career. The problem with this film is not in the performance because DiCaprio shines in this role but the problem comes with the fact that this is slightly too long at nearly two and half hours long we could have easily have had a two-hour film because the whole film feels slow at times.

 

Overall: Slow biopic with heavyweight performances.

Rating55

 

 

Jersey Boys (2014)

jerseyDirector: Clint Eastwood

Writer: Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice (Screenplay)

Starring: Vincent Piazza, John Lloyd Young, Steve Schirripa, Christopher Walken, Kathrine Narducci, Lou Volpe, Johnny Cannizzaro, Michael Patrick McGill, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda

 

Plot: The story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic 1960s rock group The Four Seasons.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sensational Musical Experience

 

Story: Jersey Boys starts as we meet Tommy DeVito (Piazza) and Frankie Valli (Young) two young men who grow up in New Jersey where there is only three ways out, jail, army or become famous but for now they work for local crime boss Gyp DeCarlo (Walken).

Tommy along with his brother and Nick Massi (Lomenda) are in a band but Tommy makes the decision to make Frankie the new lead singer of the band between the prison spells. Tommy, Nick and Frankie bring in new talented musician Bob Gaudio (Bergen) as the group look to make their break and Bob Crewe (Doyle) offers them the first steps into the music world and The Four Seasons are born. The story goes on to show the rise and fall of the one of the most popular bands of the 60s.

Jersey Boys shows the rise and fall of the Four Seasons, four young men from Jersey trying to make their way in the musical world. This shows how management for small bands wasn’t at the level it was for the time they appeared as we see how they find themselves in trouble both with money and personal life. The story handles both the fame and the personal lives with a perfect balance which is always the hard part of one of these films.

 

Actor Review

 

Vincent Piazza: Tommy DeVito is a true Jersey boy always wanting to make a quick buck, Tommy builds the group as well as dealing with the financial side of the band but doesn’t want to let anyone else take control of this part of the band. Vincent is good in this role and I believe is the only one of the four not from the stage version.

John Lloyd Young: Frankie Valli is the voice of the group, he has being cycled by Tommy and Nick’s criminal past but having local crime boss Gyp DeCarlo supporting him giving him all the time needed. He gets married staying away from the party side of the group and even starts getting involved Bob in their own venture. John steps away from stage and gives a great performance in this role.

Erich Bergen: Bob Gaudio gets bought in from outside the main Jersey click because he has all the music writing skills. He is a better business man but has to deal with Tommy making finance mistakes while he tries to pull up his own deal on the side with Frankie. Erich is good in this role stepping away from the stage version.  

Support Cast: Jersey Boys has a large supporting cast with a mix of stage stars and actors all blend into the story perfectly without over shadowing the main band.

Director Review: Clint EastwoodClint does a good job bring this musical to the bring screen putting together the dynamic between the band members and putting together the shows very well.

 

Biographical: Jersey Boys shows us how this band rose to the top only to crumble from within.

Music: Jersey Boys handles the performances the band puts on very well to make us feel like it could be the first time we have seen them.

Settings: Jersey Boys uses the settings to keep us in the time period the story is set in.
Suggestion
: Jersey Boys is one I do think fans of the music world should watch showing just how the behind the scenes can work with the band. (Music Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Songs.

Worst Part: Slightly long.

 

Believability: Based on the real band.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 2 Hour 14 Minutes

Tagline: Everybody remembers it how they need to.

 

Overall: Good look at an iconic band.

Ratingcard