ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – V – Vice (2018)

Director: Adam McKay

Writer: Adam McKay (Screenplay)

Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Alison Pill, Eddie Marsan, Tyler Perry, Jesse Plemons

 

Plot: The story of Dick Cheney, an unassuming bureaucratic Washington insider, who quietly wielded immense power as Vice President to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today.


Tagline – The Untold True Story That Changed the Course of History

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hugely Entertaining Biopic

 

Story: Vice starts in the 1960’s as Dick Cheney (Bale) is about to screw up his life with DUI after getting kicked out Yale, his wife Lynne (Adams) isn’t going to let him screw up her ambition to be involved in politics, a role a woman wouldn’t be able to do in this era. Dick sorts his life out and before long he is learning of Donald Rumsfeld (Carell) and after the Watergate scandal, he ends up landing the Chief of Staff role.

It isn’t long before this role disappears and Dick must rebuild his career, becoming a senator before the chair of the house, his political power is growing and when he meets George W Bush (Rockwell) he will get to a position he could never have imagined.

 

Thoughts on Vice

 

Characters – These characters are based on real people, only loosely though. Dick Cheney was involved in politics from the late 60s under President Nixon, until George W Bush, he took many different roles through the years, but it was his ability to stay out of the public eyes that made him one of the most powerful men in the history of America. Lynne is the wife of Dick, she pushes him into the political career, knowing it is something she would never be allowed to do. Once in his career, she supports him on every decision he makes. Donald Rumsfeld gives Dick his first chance in politics in the white house, the two do work together through the years as Donald sees just how blunt Dick has become. George W Bush is painted to be the President that can be controlled by Dick, put in a place of power which he simply isn’t ready for, he does pick Dick to be his Vice President though.

PerformancesChristian Bale is truly fantastic in this leading role, the transformation he goes through, from his almost natural look to the old bigger Dick Cheney is unbelievable and you can see why he will be up for most of the awards.  Amy Adams, Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell in supporting roles are all wonderful and completely embrace their characters.

StoryThe story follows the life and times of Dick Cheney from his early political run, to his many different roles before being talked out of retirement to become Vice President to George W Bush. This story is told to show the many different accomplishments Dick Cheney had in life, whether he did the right thing in different roles is a different question. We might jump over a couple of issues, but we are mainly here to focus on the Vice Presidency role which is the one he will always be remembered for, this is one that will leave you surprised and not hating the guy as much as you think you will going into the film, which does feel strange. If anything, this will show us just how important moments in history will be when you look back on them.

Biopic/Comedy/HistoryDick Cheney is one of the most ambition men in American political history, this gets to show us just how far he went for his role and how much control he was able to take with little effort. This is told in a comedic tone which does work for the film, mostly because you can’t believe just what he got away with in these roles.

SettingsThe film shows us the different locations that Dick Cheney was in during different times of his life, the film uses them to make each be realistic no matter what was going on.


Scene of the Movie –
The mid film credits.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain moments are skipped over even if we get an introduction to certain roles.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most entertaining biopics of the year, you will want to watch each moment even if he isn’t the best man to be involved in human history, a place where people will look back at his actions with shock.

 

Overall: Must watch biopic.

Rating

 

 

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James McAvoy Weekend – Filth (2013)

Director: Jon S Baird

Writer: Jon S Baird (Screenplay) Irvine Welsh (Novel)

Starring: James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan, Imogen Poots, Brian McCardie, Emun Elliott, Gary Lewis, Jim Broadbent

 

Plot: A corrupt, junkie cop with bipolar disorder attempts to manipulate his way through a promotion in order to win back his wife and daughter while also fighting his own borderline-fueled inner demons.


Tagline – This Little Piggy went to town!

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Offensive Mess

 

Story: Filth starts as we follow foul-mouth sex crazed cop Bruce (McAvoy) as he gives us his thoughts on his department Lennox (Bell) and Drummond (Poots) to mention a few. He believes he is on the verge of the promotion he has been waiting for, for years, but after a trip to Dr Rossi (Broadbent) we learn there may well be a deeper problem is Bruce.

With this going on, we follow Bruce as he looks to solve the murder of a Japanese student by a local gang, his may rival is Drummond who he believes is offering sex for promotions.

 

Thoughts on Filth

 

Characters – Bruce is a junkie, sex addict cop who will use his position to get whatever he wants, abusing his power, while not being mentally stable in anyway. He is desperate to get his promotion while battling his own demons. The rest of the characters are just cops that are just as dirty of Bruce and the random wives we just see Bruce having sex with.

PerformancesWhile James McAvoy does full commit to this role and shows how he can go to the extremes in roles which is soon going to be his trademark. The performances from the rest of the cast are fine, but they don’t get enough time to shine.

StoryThe story just seems to be Bruce going around having sex, collecting drugs, taking drugs and being a general asshole. I think that is the story, there doesn’t seem to be anything constructive going on through the film in anyway, even though there is a clear alternative issue going on which doesn’t seem to get enough attention.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy level is poor with most of the jokes being misses and the crime tries to focus on how the police are just as bad as the criminals.

SettingsThe settings put us in Scotland which work for the accents, but never making anything iconic.


Scene of the Movie –
Dr Rossi Trip.

That Moment That Annoyed Me No direction for the story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a messy movie, the story doesn’t follow any direction, we follow a character with no redeemable qualities through troubles but overall this is just offensive with how it treats women and how men are meant to act towards them.

 

Overall: Awful watch for the whole audience.

Rating

 

 

James McAvoy Weekend – Atomic Blonde (2017)

Director: David Leitch

Writer: Kurt Johnstad (Screenplay) Antony Johnston, Sam Hart (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Eddie Marsan, John Goodman, Toby Jones, James Faulkner, Sofia Boutella, Bill Skarsgard

 

Plot: An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.


Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining at Best

 

Story: Atomic Blonde starts with history about the bringing down the Berlin War being different to how would be it would be led to believe, so we follow Lorraine Broughton (Theron) a British spy being debriefed by Eric Gray (Jones) and Emmet Kurzfeld (Goodman) on just what happened with her latest mission.

Lorraine’s mission is to locate and extract Spyglass (Marsan), she must work with local spy David Percival (McAvoy) to get around Berlin as we learn about the web of conspiracies she must take on.

 

Thoughts on Atomic Blonde

 

Characters – Lorraine Broughton is the British spy, drop dead gorgeous and deadly when it comes to combat, she can handle herself in any situation which makes her a deadly weapon looking to bring down the truth in Germany. David Percival is the partner Lorraine and the man in the know in German, he has researched the area but we sense something not quite right about him, much like Lorraine does. Spyglass is the man that is being extracted with the answers that could end the cold war, Emmett and Eric are both the CIA and MI6 agents that are learning just what went wrong on this mission.

PerformancesCharlize Theron is our kick ass lead in the film, she handles herself in combat and looks sexy along the way. James McAvoy continues to show strength in the supporting roles where he must be over the top at times. Goodman and Jones are perfect choices for the office like roles in the film and they are good throughout the film.

StoryThe story follows a special agent going to Berlin to discover who the double agent is while getting the only person with the information out of Berlin but not everything goes to plan as we are thrown into a world a spies and double crossing. By telling us the most part of this film in a report style story takes away the peril our lead is ever in and by having the number of twists we do it sometimes comes off slightly short.

Action/MysteryThe action sequences are the highlight of this film, we have three main one where we see just how exhausting they are one Lorraine. The mystery is here as we wonder just who the double agent it even if things seem clear from the start.

SettingsMost of the film is set in Berlin which fits the time for the setting and the tension is created with the world where people are on edge.

Special EffectsThe effects are good when it comes to the kills and is only used sparing which works for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Single Shot Escape

That Moment That Annoyed Me Time jumping.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good little action film that hits all the marks, it entertains while it does become complicated at times.

 

Overall: Entertaining Action Film

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – X – X+Y (2014)

 

Director: Morgan Matthews

Writer: James Graham (Screenplay)

Starring: Asa Buterfield, Rafe Spall, Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan, Jo Yang, Martin McCann

 

Plot: A socially awkward teenage math prodigy finds new confidence and new friendships when he lands a spot on the British squad at the International Mathematics Olympiad.


Tagline – True genius comes from opening your heart

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sweet Drama

 

Story: X+Y starts as we meet the social awkward Nathan (Butterfield) whose father is killed in a car crash when he is young, his mother Julie (Hawkins) has struggled raising him with his awkwardness but with former prodigy and now teacher Martin Humphreys (Spall) who helps develop his own skills in maths to get to the level to compete in the Olympiad.

Qualifying Nathan finds himself going to Taiwan to compete for Britain with fellow gifted children from around the UK, guided by Richard (Marsan) in the competition. To help with learning the new country the British team is paired with the Chinese team, this gives Nathan a chance to learn a new culture with a new friend Zhang Mei (Yang). The trip teaches Nathan to open up more in his life, while back home Martin learns to stop make the excuses about his failures to perform in the Olympiad that he failed in.

 

Thoughts on X+Y

 

Characters – Nathan is a social awkward teenager, he has autism which makes it difficult for him to interact and has a gift for numbers. When he gets invited to join the British Olympiad team he must learn a new culture, meet new people and come out of the shell he is in. Martin Humphreys is a teacher that mentors Nathan, he once competed in the Olympiad but didn’t succeed, Nathan gives him hope to carry on his depressed life with his own sickness. Julie is the mother of Nathan, she has struggled with his disability but does the best she can to give him the chances he deserves. Richard runs the British team, he expects to win sometimes putting too much pressure on his team. Zhang Mei is the Chinese competitor that befriends Nathan showing him even after the troubles he has people will open up to him, she also must deal with the pressure of competing for Uncle.

PerformancesAsa Butterfield is great in this leading role, not over playing his characters condition. Rafe Spall gives us a performance that is filled with the regret his character is feeling through the film. Sally Hawkins shines in the supporting role as the supportive mother desperate to connect with her son. Jo Yang connects with Asa’s character perfectly giving us a moving supporting performance too.

StoryThe story follows how one teenager must learn to open up when it gets a chance to compete in a maths Olympiad, he has always struggled with social sides of life but uses maths to escape. Watching a story that shows the struggles of a teenager to find his place while still dealing with his own grief of losing a parent, that gets that chance to meet new people to open the world up for him is something we all like to enjoy.

Drama/RomanceThe drama comes from the troubles Nathan has been through and must learn to move on from, the key comes from the romance side of the film opening his eyes to the world.

SettingsNathan has lived a closed life, when he opens up to more by the travelling he becomes more open to everything in life being able to see things from other people’s point of view.


Scene of the Movie –
The competition in Cambridge.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We focus on moments of problems the other British team have but we don’t see enough of them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that surprised me a lot, I enjoyed nearly every moment of the film and believe it is one I would be recommending in the future.

 

Overall: Delightful little drama.

Rating

 

 

God’s Pocket (2014)

Director: John Slattery

Writer: Alex Metcalf, John Slattery (Screenplay) Peter Dexter (Novel)

Starring: Christina Hendricks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eddie Marsan, Caleb Landry Jones, Jack O’Connell, John Turturro, Richard Jenkins

 

Plot: A blue collar worker tries to cover things up when his stepson is killed in a suspicious accident, but a local reporter senses that something’s amiss.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Drama

 

Story: God’s Pocket starts as we meet the different characters from this small town of God’s Pocket. We have Mickey (Hoffman) a meat salesman who works with Arthur (Turturro) stealing product before selling it as his own, his wife Jeanie (Hendricks) and her son Leon (Jones) along with reporter Richard Shellburn (Jenkins) who has been reporting on the town for 20 years.

When Leon is killed in a work accident the town surround the family with their sympathy. When Jeanie questions what happened it brings Richard to look deeper into the story as well as Mickey using his mob connection to try and learn the truth, but in this small town can secrets be kept?

 

Thoughts on God’s Pocket

 

Characters/PerformanceMickey is a man that finds a way to make ends meet either side of the law, when his step-son is killed he works on finding out the truth but must deal with his own problems with money. Jeanie is the grieving mother that demands the truth about her son’s death, she is also becoming distant from her husband Mickey. Richard is a journalist know all around the town, he has reported on the events of the town for years now and gets called into learn the truth of the events around the death. Arthur is Mickey’s connection to the underworld where the two work on robberies.

Performance wise, Hoffman is great in what was his final complete film, Hendricks is also good throughout the film with Jenkins giving us his best reporter like role. Turturro was also good throughout the film.

StoryThe story shows the three day events leading up to a funeral, we see everyday people dealing with a sudden death as they search for the truth, make their own mistakes and try to cover up their mistakes. This is a slow-moving film that tries to give us a real life series of events that follow the people involved but isn’t a casual watch.

CrimeThe crime side of the story comes from Mickey’s side along with the crime surround the accident. We have the crime world but otherwise this is more focused on the dramatic stories that characters live through.

SettingsWe like the small town setting which helps us see just how well the people of the town know each other.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good drama even if it is slightly slow in place, it is filled with good acting and a story that almost feels like it could come off as a comedy slightly better.

 

Overall: Good drama, good acting but nothing memorable.

Rating