ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – M – Milk (2008)

Director: Gus Van Sant

Writer: Dustin Lance Black (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, James Franco, Alison Pill

 

Plot: The story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California’s first openly gay elected official.


Tagline – His life changed history. His courage changed lives.

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important Figure in History

 

Story: Milk starts as we meet Harvey Milk (Penn) an openly gay man in the 1970s that moves to San Francisco with his boyfriend Scott Smith (Franco) to start a business, he soon becomes a leader for businesses who don’t decimate against homosexuals.

Tired of the abuse they are getting Harvey decides to run for office to help get equal rights for homosexuals, this gets him attention from the haters, who start targeting him. Soon he makes a movement to make gay right count across America.

 

Thoughts on Milk

 

Characters – Harvey Milk is telling us the story of how he rose the political ladder, being a gay man made this difficult because he is not fight just for his rights but for all homosexuals in America, he was a real man that helped change the civil rights in the 70s. Cleve Jones is one of the young men that Harvey takes in to help run the campaign, he has an ability to bring communities together in the movements they want to fight for. Dan White is one of the politicians that opposes Harvey, he doesn’t want to work with him because of his religious beliefs.

PerformancesSean Penn won an Oscar for his performance in this film, you can see why, he is fantastic in the leading role where he commands the screen. Emile Hirsch is unrecognisable in this role which shows us the talent he has but doesn’t always give us. Josh Brolin is good in his role, while the rest of talent is good through the film too.

StoryThe story follows Harvey Milk as he rose to political power in a civil rights movement for the homosexual people. This shows the struggles he must go through to help make this go through and the team that supported him in his battle for this civil right. This shows us how people have always fought for their rights the right way no matter what they must overcome.

Biopic/History/RomanceThe biopic side of this film shows us Harvey Milk and just how important he and his team were to the civil rights movement. It shows us how important this moment in history was for civil rights movements too. The romance side shows how difficult it was for Harvey to keep a relationship while running for office.

SettingsThe settings show how Harvey rose through he ranks, starting with just a street, before a district and moving onto political offices.


Scene of the Movie –
The rallying call.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is a frustration about why people acted like this holding people back.

Final ThoughtsThis is an important movie about how the civil rights movement was important for everyone involved, it needed to change, it did thanks to this man Harvey Milk at his beliefs.

 

Overall: Important drama for all to see.

Rating

 

 

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The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

autopsyDirector: Andre Ovredal

Writer: Ian B Goldberg, Richard Naing (Screenplay)

Starring: Emile Hirsch, Brian Cox, Ophelia Lovibond, Michael McElhatton, Olwen Catherine Kelly, Parker Sawyers, Jane Perry

 

Plot: Cox and Hirsch play father and son coroners who receive a mysterious homicide victim with no apparent cause of death. As they attempt to identify the beautiful young “Jane Doe,” they discover increasingly bizarre clues that hold the key to her terrifying secrets.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Impressive

 

Story: The Autopsy of Jane Doe starts as we see a mysterious body found in a bloodbath of a crime scene, this Jane Doe (Kelly) is taken the Tilden Autopsy room. This autopsy room is run by father Tommy (Cox) and son Austin (Hirsch) who have been in the industry for years. While there is an underline story that Austin might be leaving his father to be his own man.

Back to the main story we see the father and son try to figure out what happened to Jane Doe finding unusual results on first sights with fractured wrists and ankles with a severed tongue. With all signs pointing to human trafficking this is fast going to become one of the most disturbing nights of these men’s life.

 

Thoughts on The Autopsy of Jane Doe

 

StoryThis is one of the most intense horror stories I have seen this year, we do have a thin father son relationship being tested which is fine but this is more about how these two must find a way to work together through an unknown event, the best part of this is that they remain calm and scientific through the night. This will keep you guessing from start to finish.

HorrorThis is easily one of the best horror films from 2016 that doesn’t ever consider stopping with the tension being built up throughout, we have moments of gore with the autopsy as well as events going on through the film and everything mixes together to make it all so shocking along the way.

Characters/PerformanceWhen it comes to the characters nearly everything is about the father and son relationship who have failed to move on since their wife and mother’s death. The rest of the cast are mostly supporting characters while we do have the Jane Doe character stuck in the naked position for the whole autopsy. Hirsch and Cox are good together with great chemistry both giving great performances throughout.

SettingsThe whole film is set inside the mortuary which brings us the isolated location needed for the horror, every inch of the location can be used for the horror and is to the extant needed.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all used perfectly when needed without going overboard in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis could easily be people favourite horror film of the year, it does nearly everything right by keeping us guessing throughout.

 

Overall: This is one of the most surprisingly shocking and enjoyable horror films of the year.

Ratingcard

 

 

The Darkest Hour (2011)

logoDirector: Chris Gorak

Writer:  Jon Spaihts (Screenplay) Leslie Bohem, M.T. Ahern, Jon Spaihts (Story)

Starring: Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella, Rachael Taylor, Joel Kinnaman, Veronika Vernadskaya

 

Plot: In Moscow, five young people lead the charge against an alien race who have attacked Earth via our power supply.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Invisible Aliens Attack Again.

 

Story: The Darkest Hour starts by introducing us to our American’s Sean (Hirsch) and Ben (Minghella) as they head to Moscow for a business trip as they are looking to expand their App. The boys find their idea stolen by Skyler (Kinnaman) so to blow off some steam they head to an elite club. The boys meet fellow American Natalie (Thirlby) and her friend Aussie Anne (Taylor) who enjoy the night out together. The night takes a turn when all the power is lost and these mysterious light clouds descend from the sky dissolving anything they get in contact with. Chaos takes over the streets of Moscow and the four friends find themselves hiding for their lives against an invisible enemy.

Morning comes and the four friends and Skyler seem to be the only survivors of the initial attack and set out to find any other survivors and help. The streets of Moscow are totally abandoned, cars left all over the place and of course the safest way to search the city is in pure daylight where the creatures could find them, you know those invisible ones that they can’t see. When the group finally figure out it will be smarter to travel at night they build a warning device to let them know when the creatures are getting close to them. The group have to find answers and survive in a city where they don’t know the language against an enemy they can’t fight.

The Darkest Hour takes the alien genre and mixes it with a slasher, we get the idea that our main group don’t know where they are either which adds to the horror side of the story. We get to see plenty of terrible decisions being made as always for the genre before we get to meet the traditional generic characters that end up offering nothing new to the genre. On the positive I did like how the aliens did their kills because they are brutal and truly frightening. This ends up being very glossy and could easily be forgotten after seeing what has happened because you don’t really care about the characters. It was nice not seeing purely military trying to stop the aliens and we only see the group trying to survive rather than full fighting. (5/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Emile Hirsch: Sean is the slacker of the two guy friends who can put on a good face to sell anything, he takes up the leader role for the group making all the brave decision for the group. Emilie continues to slip away after his impressive outing in Into the Wild. (5/10)

 sean

Olivia Thirlby: Natalie is our America tourist who happens to find the guys through their App and along with her friend bump into the guys on a party night. She has to group up with after the attack staying loyal to her friend. Olivia tries her hand in this genre but never really stands out. (5/10)

 

Max Minghella: Ben is the smart worrying friend who always sees life going one direction and the whole trip things take him outside his comfort zone. Max looks like he should be the main character which is what is surprising what happens to his character. (5/10)

 

Rachael Taylor: Anne is the Australian friend of Natalie’s who joins in the survival attempts. Racheal is pretty much just a victim in the race for survival and never really gets much time to do anything. (4/10)

 

Support Cast: The Darkest Hour has supporting cast that is very generic we get the asshole that is with them, we get the crazy local who knows what is going on and we also see the warrior wannabes. They help our characters get to the next chapter of their adventure.

 

Director Review: Chris Gorak – Chris does a solid job but never takes the film to the next level of originality. (5/10)

 

Action: The Darkest Hour is filled with chasing and basic weaponry fighting against the aliens but nothing stand out. (5/10)

Horror: The Darkest Hour does actually put us in a horror environment stuck with no way of getting home, lost in a country where they don’t know the language and the brutal alien kills. (8/10)

Sci-Fi: The Darkest Hour uses the alien invasion angle we have seen plenty of times before. (7/10)

Thriller: The Darkest Hour does make you want to know what will happen and how they will escape but you don’t really care which one will die next. (7/10)

Settings: The Darkest Hour uses the Moscow setting with Americans not knowing their way around the city. (8/10)
Special Effects
: The Darkest Hour uses good effects with the alien kills even if the final reveal of the aliens is slightly CGI heavy. (7/10)

Suggestion: The Darkest Hour is one for the sci-fi fans to try, it can be enjoyed by all but don’t expect too much. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Alien kills.

Worst Part: Generic supporting characters.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Vanishing on 7th Street.

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $64.5 Million

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

Tagline: Survive The Holidays

Trivia: Production was suspended for a planned two weeks due to the extraordinary air pollution caused by heavy smoke from the wild fires surrounding Moscow in August 2010. It eventually resumed three weeks later. Even with this precaution, smoke still made it into a lot of shots and had to be digitally removed in post production.

 

Overall: Darkest Hour is very generic but enjoyable sci-fi horror.

Rating 65

Killer Joe (2011)

logoDirector: William Friedkin

Writer: Tracy Letts (Screenplay) Tracy Letts (Play)

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Thomas Hayden Church, Gina Gershon, Marc Macaulay

 

Plot: When Chris (Hirsch) gets himself into trouble he comes up with a morally questionable decision to get himself out of his money troubles. He plans to hire a hit man Joe (McConaughey) to kill his mother and split the insurance money with his father Ansel (Church) and sister Dottie (Temple). After finding out Chris can’t pay upfront Joe offers to keep Dottie as a retainer until he can pay.

 

Verdict: A dark thriller

Story: When it comes to a thriller we usually get an easy to understand good and bad character with a few plot twists thrown in. This tests the moral boundaries for committing a crime for money. The story leaves each scene with you guessing what will happen next, what the character are capable of. Mixing everything together you get a group of very unlikeable characters committing a morally wrong crime to solve a problem that one person has. (8/10)

 

Actor Review: Matthew McConaughey – Killer Joe, a police detective who also works as a hit man. He gets hired and takes a shine to Dottie to complete his job. This is the beginning of the change in direction for Matthew’s career and much darker role than previously seen and he does shine in it. Star Performance Award, Smooth Talker Award, Scariest Character Award (9/10)

 joe

Actor Review: Emile Hirsch – Chris a gambler who has come up with a twisted plan to get the money he needs to clear his debts. Emile creates a very unlikeable character that is something I was not aware he could do after a string a goodie, goodie characters. (7/10)

hirsch

Actor Review: Juno Temple – Dottie she offers a chance to see how blissfully innocent a younger family member can be in the scenario created. Does a great job and creates a performance shines through against all the dark characters. (9/10)

 juno

Actor Review: Thomas Hayden Church – Ansel, Chris father who has been remarried and reluctantly goes along with the plan to help Dottie. Good supporting role but doesn’t shine as well as fellow co-stars. (6/10)

 thomas

Actor Review: Gina Gershon – Sharla, Ansel’s new wife who doesn’t get on with Chris and hides a bigger secret. Good supporting role that creates an even more unlikable character than the rest. (7/10)

 gina

Director Review: William Friedkin – Good direction to create this very dark thriller. (8/10)

 

Crime: Good crime that tests morals. (8/10)

Thriller: The tension builds up throughout and the final twenty odd minutes were edge of the seat. (9/10)

Believability: There would be people this twisted in real life. (2/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: The settings are mixed throughout the only setting that stays the same is the caravan park which shows the type of characters you will be dealing with. (7/10)

 

Suggestion: I feel this is one that will only be for certain audience, it is very dark, bloody and has too much unnecessary nudity. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Most of the final scene.

Worst Part: One part of the final scene awkward and uncomfortable to watch.

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: No

 

Overall: Dark Twist Thriller

Rating 70

Speed Racer (2008)

Wachowski brothers who directed the Matrix trilogy bring to life this cartoon.

The story follows young driver Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) who is coming out of the shadow of his brother Rex who was the best but fell into the wrong racing crew and eventually died in a race.

Speed dreams of being the Grand Prix champion but his family’s small independent team can not match the politics of the bigger controlling team and when they try to talk him into to driving for them he refuses leading to the downfall of his family’s team.

Speed must race one last time for his family’s honour can he change the history of the corruption in the sport?

I would have to say this is a guilty pleasure film so easy to watch and once you get into it, it is edge of your seat stuff. It might have struggled in the box office due to its slightly less adult side but that does give it and added bit of fun. There is a list of well known actors involved in the film with John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Christina Ricci and fresh off Lost Matthew Fix, this could have helped get more viewers.

The race sequences are pretty special being completely over the top filled with spins, weapons, flips and jumps, I think they tried to stay close to the cartoon with some of the feel rather than just make everything real which could have made the appeal of the film go down.

My Rating 89%