Casino (1995)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Nicholas Pileggi, Martin Scorsese (Screenplay) Nicholas Pileggi (Book)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, James Woods, Don Rickles, Alan King, Kevin Pollak

 

Plot: Greed, deception, money, power, and murder occur between two best friends: a mafia underboss and a casino owner, for a trophy wife over a gambling empire.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Long Crime Drama

 

Story: Casino starts as we see the rise of mobsters Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein (De Niro) and Nicky Santoro (Pesci) two friends that get involved in the casino industry, Ace is the calm face of the operation keeping the casino in order with the money going to the people it needs to, Nicky does the dirty work beating down the people who go against the casino.

As Ace runs the casino smoothly along with his new wife Ginger (Stone), he keeps the casino clean making more money than he would with other the books work. Nicky continues to do the dirty work as he wants to make as much money as possible from the casinos but his methods brings in the attention of the authorities, getting himself banned from every casino in Vegas.

Over the time the two clash over business as Nicky style flashes the spotlight on Ace, leading to the two friends becoming strained and broken.

 

Thoughts on Casino

 

Characters/PerformanceAce is sent to Vegas to run the books through a casino for the mob, he keeps the business going well but when his friend Nicky interrupts the business, Ace finds himself needing to defend himself through the trial. Nicky is the hot head that joins the casino industry to keep an eye on Ace’s back but soon he finds himself trying to take over Vegas by force which leads to the problems between the two.

Performance wise, De Niro and Pesci both give great performance in what is easily their strengths the crime world, the rest of the cast do great jobs through the whole film.

StoryThe story does balance both the stories of Ace and Nicky but you can’t help but feel this is very long, the film is nearly 3 hours long and is a giant flashback because we see Ace killed in the opening scene. This is a crime story you feel we have seen before and it was nice to see the balance between the violent and the calm reasons for running the businesses.

CrimeWatching how the crime world is run from the calm front and the violent front does come off interesting in places but is slightly rinse repeat.

SettingsVegas always makes for a wonderful setting for a crime story because we all know the vices within the city through the 70s and 80s.

Final ThoughtsThis is too long for the story being told, yes the performances are good but it in the end the drawn out story feels forced throughout.

 

Overall: Long crime drama.

Rating

 

 

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Kelly’s Heroes (1970)

Rob picked this classic war time movie, that somehow I haven’t ever seen, lets see what I thought.rob challenge

logoDirector: Brian G Hutton

Writer: Troy Kennedy-Martin (Screenplay)

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles, Carroll O’Connor, Donald Sutherland, Gavin MacLeod, Hal Buckley, Stuart Margolin

Plot: A group of U.S. soldiers sneaks across enemy lines to get their hands on a secret stash of Nazi treasure.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Good Old Fashion War Film

Story: Kelly’s Heroes starts with the American soldiers Kelly (Eastwood) his men discovering the idea of Nazi gold being hidden and use there hostage to learn where it could be. Learning of the Gold Kelly leads his men across enemy lines t risk everything to steal $16 Million in gold even if it is against the orders given.

The plan involves Oddball (Sutherland) leading his men down one path with Kelly coming from another direction, but can they reach their target without being detected by either side of the war.

Kelly’s Heroes starts off very slow as the watch the team slow get bigger as the heist gets closer, I will admit I found this difficult to get through because it makes the cast rather large. When the second half of the movie happens we get the actual heist which all goes very smoothly and brings you attention of the audience until the final scene. I think this is a movie of two halves and could easily have the first half shortened. (7/10)

Actor Review

Clint Eastwood: Kelly is the soldier who learns about the gold and wants to go against the orders to steal the gold, he has to put a team of willing soldiers together to complete the job. Clint does what you would expect from him, play cool calm and collected. (7/10)

Donald Sutherland: Oddball leads a separate group for Kelly who are looking to clear the path for him. He has a different way of doing thing compared to the rest of the soldiers but he will always get the job done. Donald could easily be the highlight of the film by stealing nearly every scene he is in. (9/10)

Support Cast: Kelly’s Heroes has a huge supporting cast of fellow soldiers trying to get involved in the heist, they all help with the final plan.

Director Review: Brian G Hutton – Brian brings us a classic that shows that ust because there was a war going on not everyone wanted to fight each other. (7/10)

Action: Kelly’s Heroes ha plenty of war time action being used throughout. (8/10)

Comedy: Kelly’s Heroes has some good laugh in the right places without being a full blown comedy. (8/10)

War: Kelly’s Heroes has war for a setting without being too much about the conflict between the two sides even though we do get a couple of battles. (7/10)

Settings: Kelly’s Heroes creates authentic settings through for each scene making use feel like we are in the middle of the adventure. (9/10)

Suggestion: Kelly’s Heroes is one to have watched at least once, it is considered a classic which automatically gets the film the respect required. (Watch)

Best Part: Oddball.

Worst Part: Slow starting.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final battle.

Funniest Scene: Tank is broken.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 2 Hours 24 Minutes

Tagline: Never have so few taken so many for so much.

Overall: Classic what more can you say?

Rating 75

Toy Story 3 (2010)

logoDirector: Lee Unkrich

Writer: Michael Arndt (Screenplay) John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich (Story)

Starring: (Voice Work) Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, New Beatty, Don Rickles, Michael Keaton, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger

 

Plot: The toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it’s up to Woody to convince the other toys that they weren’t abandoned and to return home.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant third instalment

 

Story: Toy Story 3 starts by the toys trying to get the attention of a now 17 year old Andy, resigned to being put in the attic the toys prepare for their move. After mistakenly being put out for trash the toys decide to go to Sunnyside day care centre but Woody knows the truth and tries to stop them. The group end up feeling welcome to the new day care centre but it turns out not everything is as it seems. The leader of the group Lotso wants the new toys to be played with the younger children who mistreat them and after Buzz is reset the rest have to try and escape, while Woody plans a rescue mission.

It took time get this third part to the story and boy were we treated to something special. We get a very real effect too, we get to see how a child has grown up and now will be moving on with his life leaving things behind. Another big part is see how the dog has gone from puppy to very old which shows us the time between the films. This is a very real look at things that will happen to all of us in life, we will have all grown up and changed things in our lives. Even though this feels like a fitting third for the fans of the series it will still appeal to the children just getting into the film. Overall we get a great story that is an improvement again. (10/10)

 

Character Review

 

Woody: After witnessing where the toys are being put he has to talk them all into returning to Andy’s against everyone he just wants to stay loyal to Andy. When Woody gets taken home by nice sweet little girl he learns that Sunnyside isn’t what it seems and goes back to rescue his friends. Woody is a great character and this time he goes on to show loyalty to his friends. (10/10)

 woioody

Buzz Lightyear: Our space ranger who steps up to lead the group after Woody leaves, but after he gets reset he keeps everyone captive for the evil Lotso. Buzz also gets the extra laughs over Woody and his Spanish mode makes you laugh the whole time. (10/10)

buzz

Lotso: After coming off as nice welcoming leader of Sunnyside he shows a much darker side when it comes to the new toys but it all stems back to his origin story. He keeps our heroes captive until they have served enough time and most likely get damaged. Lotso makes a great villain in what looks like an innocent world. (10/10)

 lotso

Ken: Scene stealer who falls for Barbie who also shows everyone around but his love for Barbie conflicts which side he wants to help. Ken would be the most recognizable addition to the series and has a laugh every time he is on screen. (10/10)

 

Support Characters: With the largest selection of supporting characters in the series they all offer something unique to the story that will give extra laughs throughout.

 

Director Review: Lee Unkrich – Brilliant directing to create the most emotional addition to the Toy Story series. (10/10)

 

Animation: Toy Story 3 is a Pixar film showing how they have grown to the top level of animation this is one of the best you will see. (10/10)

Comedy: Toy Story 3 Has plenty of laughs but could have a higher level of comedy if it wanted to. (8/10)

Family: Toy Story 3 is perfect for the whole family to enjoy. (10/10)

Settings: Showing different location that toys could naturally end up in with the day care centre. (10/10)

Suggestion: Just out the DVD/Blu-Ray in and enjoy Toy Story 3. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Spanish Buzz

Worst Part: Nothing.

Action Scene Of The Film: Landfill scene.

Funniest Scene: Spanish Buzz

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: By the end you might with the final scene (7/10)

Chances of Sequel: There are plans for one.

Post Credits Scene: We what happens to Sunnyside after Lotso under Ken and how our heroes settle with their new owner.

 

Oscar Chances: Won 2 Oscars, including Best Animated Feature, and Best achievement in music.

Box Office: $1 Billion

Budget: $200 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

Tagline: No toy gets left behind

Trivia: There are 302 characters in the film.

 

Overall: Stunning Conclusion to Andy’s Childhood

Rating 97

Toy Story 2 (1999)

logoDirector: John Lasseter, Ash Brannon, Lee Unkrich

Writer: Andrew Stanton, Rita Hsiao, Doug Chamberlin, Chris Webb (Screenplay) John Lasseter, Pete Doctor, Ash Brannon, Andrew Stanton (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Annie Potts, Wayne Knight

 

Plot: When Woody is stolen by a toy collector, Buzz and his friends vow to rescue him, but Woody finds the idea of immortality in a museum tempting.

 

Verdict: Keeps Getting Better

 

Story: We start be seeing how united the toys are now and Woody is getting all excited about being able to go to cowboy camp with Andy. After Woody gets damaged Andy doesn’t take him to camp leaving Woody to look after the toys during a yard sale. While Woody tries to rescue a toy he ends up getting toynapped by a man who wants to complete his collection. The toys lead by Buzz come up with a plan to try and rescue Woody, while Woody learns about his history as an iconic television cowboy from ‘The Round Up Gang’.

How do you improve on what was almost perfect, well you start the same you follow similar ideas created in the first. We have the same idea that stepping outside is dangerous, but that it is worth it to save a friend.  The idea that the toys don’t know that they could be part of a bigger collection (which most are) is very important to this and shows through really well. As I will be looking at the third one tomorrow there is some foreshadowing here that we see in the third showing brilliant story telling. This is my least favourite of the three but it also can’t be faulted. (10/10)

 

Character Review

 

Woody: After getting toynapped Woody learns his history and how he was part of a whole television show. He learns that he is part of a collection and without him the collections worthless, Woody is left with the question of returning to his friends or staying with his new collection in a museum. Learning more about Woody works for everything here giving him a chance to show the leader could give up everything for something bigger. (10/10)

 woody

Buzz Lightyear: Buzz leads the group of toys on an adventure to find Woody, they have to race to Al’s toy barn and he shows his leadership skills as well as coming up against an old enemy. This is a great look at Buzz especially when he meets another Buzz and he realizes what he must have been like. (10/10)

buzz

Jessie: Cowgirl who was the star of the show with Woody, she wants to be out of storage but has to convince Woody to stay with the group. She has one of the most devastatingly sad backstories, because of her owner but still keeps her enthusiastic nature. Add the excitement level need being way too happy. (10/10)

 jessie

Stinky Pete: Wise old man who is part of the collection that has never been out the package. He turns into the villain of the piece by making Woody stay after he figures out he should go back to Andy. Showing the jealous that can build up in someone really well to show that everyone could get jealous. (9/10)

 pete

Support Characters: The support characters are all perfectly placed into scenes none more so than Hamm joking about getting a hot dog with extra ham, chips and Rex as the toy.

 

Director Review: John Lasseter, Ash Brannon, Lee Unkrich – Great direction from the three to bring us another great chapter to the animated series. (10/10)

 

Animation: Brilliant animation that has yet to look dated even after 15, yes 15 years. (10/10)

Comedy: Great laughs throughout, with some brilliantly placed references. (9/10)

Family: This one would be for all the family, it isn’t as dark as the first one which means it will be more suitable for everyone. (10/10)

Chemistry: The chemistry between all the characters comes off perfectly. (10/10)

Music: Another master class on music and song selection from Randy Newman. (10/10)

Settings: Placing our heroes into a toy store makes for extra laughs and more characters, but the road crossing works great too. (10/10)

Suggestion: You just got to watch this one. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Road Crossing.

Worst Part: Nope

Funniest Scene: Road Crossing

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: You might get a few from Jessie back story (3/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has one more made sequel.

Closing Credits Rating: Joke outtakes make for extra laughs through the credits. (9/10)

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for One Oscar

Box Office: $482 Million

Budget: $90 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

Tagline: The toys are back in town.

Trivia: According to rottentomatoes in 2007, this is the best reviewed movie of all time.

 

Overall: My least favourite but still an improvement on the first

Rating 96

Toy Story (1995)

logoDirector: John Lasseter

Writer: Joss Whedon, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow  (Screenplay) John Lasseter, Pete Doctor, Andrew Stanton, Joe Ranft (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Annie Potts

 

Plot: A cowboy doll is profoundly threatened and jealous when a new spaceman figure supplants him as top toy in a boy’s room.

 

Verdict: They Got A Friend In Us

 

Story: We start by following our toys being played with like any child would. Things are going to change for one of our heroes Woody as he has all the toys scouting any potential replacements for them at Andy’s birthday party. Everything seems to be going well until Andy receives a Buzz Lightyear toy. Woody’s world is turned upside down because he is no longer the popular toy. As the jealous continues to grow Woody causes an accident leading to Buzz falling out the window. Woody must find Buzz and bring him back to show his friends he didn’t deliberately push him. The two have to go on an adventure through an arcade and past the psychotic neighbour.

It is hard to not over analysis this one, it has so many things going on without you really noticing them. We have the basic of jealously which people will get when they end up meeting new people, which leads to the fear of being replaced. This is easy to see, but I always like to look at how two different children have been raised to treat their possession properly. We have Andy who looks after everything he has and has a loving mother. With Sid we get a destructive child who is basically a serial killer in the making whose parents have let him get away with anything and also let him raise a dog to be a danger to the people. Saying this we all end up with one of the best animated stories everyone knows and loves. (10/10)

 

Character Review

 

Woody: Our lead toy, a cowboy that is loved by Andy, he keeps all the toys united and arranges everything to keep them all safe. When Buzz turns up he gets jealous as he starts to be pushed aside for the new space based toy. Woody is a great character that will grow on everyone but let Buzz get the extra laughs. (10/10)

 woody

Buzz Lightyear: Spaceman sent to save humans, well that is what he thinks. He doesn’t know he is a toy and once he does he goes for a personal crisis. Buzz is easily the most iconic of all the characters in this film and will always been remember from Infinity and Beyond. (10/10)

buzz

Support Characters: All the supporting characters are brilliant, they all add extra laughs and if you watch carefully you will get some very good references.

 

Director Review: John Lasseter – Brilliant directing showing John knows how to make a top animated film. (10/10)

 

Comedy: Top comedy that will have plenty of clever reference and well played out jokes. (9/10)

Family: Even though this has a few dark moments it still works for the family to enjoy. (9/10)

Chemistry: Woody and Buzz have great chemistry even though they start out with their differences. (9/10)

Music: Great use of music and some of the best songs from Disney. (10/10)

Settings: Stunningly created settings to make everything look like a real home the toys are in. (10/10)

Suggestion: Simply put if you haven’t seen it, why haven’t you? (Watch)

 

Best Part: The great escape

Worst Part: Entering Sid’s home creates a horror moment most horror films would die for.

Lessons Learned: Treat your toys well, because they are real.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final Chase

Funniest Scene: The Claw

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has two made sequels and had the fourth announced late 2014.

Post Credits Scene: No even though we are expected to see one from Pixar films.

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 3 Oscars

Box Office: $362 Million

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

Tagline: Hand on for the comedy that does to infinity and beyond.

Trivia: Billy Crystal was originally offered the chance to voice Buzz Lightyear, but declined. After seeing the finished film, he said the decision was the biggest mistake of his career. Upon learning this, John Lasseter telephoned Billy’s house to offer him the role of Mike Wazowski in Monsters, Inc. (2001). Billy’s wife answered the telephone and said “John Lasseter wants to speak to you.” Billy took the telephone from his wife and said “Yes”.

 

Overall: Instant Classic

Rating 96