ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – C – Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Director: Stuart Rosenberg

Writer: Donn Pearce, Frank Pierson (Screenplay) Donn Pearce (Novel)

Starring: Paul Newman, George Kennedy, J.D. Cannon, Lou Antonio, Robert Drivas, Strother Martin, Jo Van Fleet

 

Plot: A laid back Southern man is sentenced to two years in a rural prison, but refuses to conform.


Tagline – Sometimes, “Nothing” can be a really Cool Hand

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Classic We Know

 

Story: Cool Hand Luke starts as war veteran Newman) is sent to a rural prison for cutting the heads of parking metres. Wanting to keep to himself it isn’t long before he starts befriending the leader of the men in the prison Dragline (Kennedy) as they start to pass the times with bets and fights.

As Luke’s two year sentence runs, life catches up with him as he must deal with the consequences of his actions, moments in life that he will miss, forcing him to want to break the rules of the prison.

 

Thoughts on Cool Hand Luke

 

Characters – Luke is the war veteran who in a drunken state destroys parking metres, he is calm while set to prison and knows how to improve his standing with the prisoners, as he plans his own escape from the prison, he misses out on big moments of life, but it is clear he is dealing with the effects of war. Dragline runs the prisoner side of the inmates, if he likes you, you get anything, he keeps the people calm while dealing with the struggles they are facing, he befriends Luke during the time in the prison. We have a large amount of inmates in the prison each with their own characters, we have the strict wardens and owner of the prison who keep the men in line, while befriending them if they follow the rules.

PerformancesPaul Newman shines here giving us one of the best performances of any acting career, we completely understand the troubles he has been facing as the man who needed help from the world. George Kennedy in the supporting role is fantastic while the rest of the cast fill their roles well letting Newman shine.

StoryThe story here follows Luke in his time in prison, he has been sent there because of a minor crime and his problems are clear for all to see, he is a war veteran facing the consequences that had yet to be truly healed when returning home. We see how he tries to escape from the prison as he is ready to try and go against the rules of life which shows us just how broken this man was, we would get a lot more support in the modern era. The bond between the prisoners is strong in the story telling showing how they can become like one to help pass the time, with the wardens and guards even showing moments of sympathy towards the prisoners.

CrimeThe crime side of the film shows us just where a minor criminal will end up, how they must get through the prison routine even if they want to escape.

SettingsThe film is set in the prison, it shows us how isolated this location is, meaning running isn’t going to be the option.


Scene of the Movie –
The final moments.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Bloodhounds seem mistreated.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the classic films, it is one that does stand the test of time and shows just how Paul Newman was one of the greatest actors of all time.

 

Overall: Must watch classic film.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Best of 2018 – A – A Star is Born (2018)

Director: Bradley Cooper

Writer: Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters (Screenplay) Moss Hart, John Gregory Dunne, Joan Didion, Frank Pierson, Williams A Wellman, Robert Carson (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay, Rafi Gavron, Anthony Ramos, Dave Chappelle, Alec Baldwin

 

Plot: A musician helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Musical Enjoyment

 

Story: A Star is Born starts when rock star Jackson (Cooper) looking for another drink stumbles into a drag bar, he sees working class woman Ally (Gaga) perform on stage, instantly he knows she has talent and learns more about her, bring her on stage for his latest show.

When Ally becomes an overnight success story the two-start performing together which only attractions more record labels who come calling to make Ally the next biggest star in the music world which soon sees her become more famous than Jack whose own problems could bring an end to his fame.

 

Thoughts on A Star is Born

 

Characters – Ally is a hotel worker that performers in a local drag bar after being rejected by record labels before. She meets rock star Jack who encourages to perform, first with him and soon the world wants to see her become the biggest star in the music industry. Ally must learn about the world around her, one she has never stepped foot in before or become consumed by it. Jack is the rock star who sees Ally believing she could become a star, he offers her a chance to perform which sets her on her way, Jack however has his own problems with drinks and drugs would could finish his own career just as Ally’s is about to take off. These two characters do take centre stage for the most part, we do see family that support as well as friends who see their friend get to levels of fame they never thought they could.

PerformancesBradley Cooper gives one of his best performances of his career here, not just on front of the camera, but behind it too. He manages to make us feel like his problems are real, which are problem many musicians could be facing. Lady Gaga was always going to be a wonderful choice for the singing side of the film, it was the acting side people wanted to see if she could handle, she does a good job through the film managing to show the bond the two have throughout the film. the supporting cast are good without needing to be challenged to reach the levels of the lead two actors.

StoryThe story follows the rise of a musician after being discovered by an alcoholic rock star. We know this is a remake, so we know this had been modernised to tell an old story which deals with the modern problems of fame for musicians. We see how one side is taking every opportunity thrown her way and the other than has been watching his career fade away because of alcoholism and drug abuse. This is a great story of how important taking chances are and how success can ruin lives. The story does however become slightly slow paced because we just jump into a song to cover up anything that needs to be talked about more.

Music/RomanceThe music in the film is good with songs that Gaga performs with ease. The romance between the two shows how they can support each other through the lives they didn’t know they would be going through.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the journey that Ally takes from the small venue to awards ceremony showing here rise to fame.


Scene of the Movie –
First song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The rise feels too fast.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great look at how the fame can affect lives in the music industry, we get strong performances from Cooper and Gaga who both shine through the film.

 

Overall: Great Music based movie.

Rating

 

 

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Director: Sidney Lumet

Writer: Frank Pierson (Screenplay) Leslie Waller (Book)

Starring: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Penelope Allen, Charles Durning

 

Plot: A man robs a bank to pay for his lover’s operation; it turns into a hostage situation and a media circus.


Tagline – This movie was not dreamed up by a screenplay writer. It couldn’t have — not with all the bizarre things that actually happened that day in a real bank, with real hostages and with Sonny Wortzik – the most unreal person who ever wanted to rob a bank

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tension Biopic

 

Story: Dog Day Afternoon starts as Sonny (Pacino) and Sal (Cazale) attempt to rob a bank, they are polite with how they handle everything not wanting to hurt anybody in the process. What seemed like a simple bank robbery takes a turn when officer Moretti (Durning) calls to negotiate a peaceful outcome.

With Moretti trying to keep Sonny calm we learn just how unprepared Sonny is, as the hostage situation soon turns into a media circus spiralling out of control. We soon learn Sonny’s motivation for the robbery which gains him the support of the public leaving us to wonder how it will end.

 

Thoughts on Dog Day Afternoon

 

Characters – Sonny has planned the bank robbery, but he has only planned for the robbery not a hostage situation, he is working to stay in control as he befriends the hostages never get violent enjoying the media circus that surrounds the situation. His motivations are good and over the course of the movie we start to support his actions. Sal is the partner in the robbery, he doesn’t want to hurt anyone, he is a man of few words and doesn’t seem like he is completely all there in the head. Sylvia is the head cashier, she doesn’t want to leave her girls behind becoming the voice of reason at times between the two sides.

PerformancesAl Pacino is fantastic in this role, he showed everybody just how talented he is, the career he was about to have and how he can control, dominate a 2-hour movie. John Cazale is great in the supporting role, he shows must of his feelings in expressions which is what his character requires. Penelope Allen is strong too, while only being a supporting role she is strong throughout the film.

StoryThe story starts with the robbery starting and finishes with the outcome, we have no build up no aftermath which is what we needed for the film. while I know it isn’t real time it does feel like real time as we follow the events as Sonny and Moretti try to stay one step ahead of each other. This is based on a real event which was the circus event shown in the movie, this is one of the stories that drags you in and makes you want to see where things will go.

Biopic/CrimeThis is a biopic that shows one event on Sonny’s life, this is the only part we need to see because it is the event that changes his life. The crime is a bank robbery which goes from simple to complicated for Sonny quickly.

SettingsThe whole film is set at the bank, this is the only setting we need because it shows how the situation could get out of hand because Sonny has been backed into a corner.


Scene of the Movie –
Attica, Attica.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I couldn’t find one.

Final ThoughtsThis is an acting masterclass from Pacino, this is his best performance of his career, it shows a story that was based on the real events which keep us on edge throughout the film. This is easily one of the best movies of all time.

 

Overall: Brilliant Thriller that stands the test of time.

Rating

 

 

Christopher Walken Weekend – The Anderson Tapes (1971)

Director: Sidney Lumet

Writer: Frank Pierson (Screenplay) Lawrence Sanders (Novel)

Starring: Sean Connery, Dyan Cannon, Martin Balsam, Ralph Meeker, Alan King, Christopher Walken, Val Avery, Dick Williams

 

Plot: After Duke Anderson is released from prison after ten years for taking the rap for a scion of a Mafia family, he cashes in a debt of honor with the mob to bankroll a caper.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Easy to Watch Crime Thriller

 

Story: The Anderson Tapes starts with Duke Anderson (Connery) being released from prison after his 10-year stretch, he meets his former employees and heads back to his old girlfriend Ingrid (Cannon).

Duke wants to make a score to make up for his time in prison by pulling off his own score with his new team Tommy Haskins (Balsam), The Kid (Walken) and Spencer (Williams) but little does he know that he is being watched by the law, waiting for him and his associates to make a mistake.

 

Thoughts on The Anderson Tapes

 

Characters – Duke Anderson is a safe cracking thief that has done his time in prison, released he wants to use his connections to pull off an honour job with his former employers and uses all the skills he has to put the job together. Ingrid is the girlfriend of Anderson whose flat becomes the base for most of the job. Tommy Haskins is one of the team members, he is the one Anderson trusts the most and can landscape a place instantly for potential. The Kid is another member of the team and the youngest member of it at that, he has the connection but could but he loose cannon of the team.

PerformanceSean Connery is good in the leading role of the team of thieves, we get the first screen role for Christopher Walken here as he shows how he can play character that is always different to the rest of the cast. We also have a good supporting cast that all give us good performance through the film.

StoryThe story follows a former prisoner head out of jail looking to claim what he believes is his. The story shows the team being put together for this job from different backgrounds and the different loopholes to get the green light from the mob to do this job but we also see how the police would be tackling such a crime with the early surveillance technology.

Action/CrimeThe action is pretty tame because most of it is an odd punch but most of the film is about the slickness of the heist going on, we follow everything unfold as the crime gets committed.

SettingsA large amount of this movie is set inside the apartment building which shows how planned out the heist is, outside of this the film is New York streets.

Scene of the Movie – Planning the crime, building visit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The technology noise.

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to watch heist film, it follows the ideas of most very well and puts together a clever way to make the crime happen.

 

Overall: Easy to watch crime thriller with a slick heist.

Rating

 

 

Presumed Innocent (1990)

posterDirector: Alan J Pakula

Writer: Frank Pierson, Alan J Pakula (Screenplay) Scott Turow (Novel)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Brian Dennehy, Raul Julia, Bonnie Bedelia, Paul Winfield, Greta Scacchi, John pencer, Joe Grifasi

 

Plot: When a female D.A. is killed, the D.A. assigns his assistant to handle the investigation. Only problem is that he was having an affair with her. And the evidence reveals that he is the killer. So he suspects that the man who wants his boss’ job is trying to frame him. He turns to Sandy Stern a highly celebrated defense attorney to represent him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Courtroom Drama

 

Story: Presumed Innocent starts when Carolyn Polhemus (Scacchi) an assistant D.A. attorney is killed the D.A. Raymond Horgan (Dennehy) assigns chief deputy Rusty Sabich (Ford) to investigate a case that doesn’t make sense for the cases Carolyn takes part in.

When the case gets complicated it is her past with Rusty that doesn’t make the case easy for him to investigate as what seems like a rape case could turn out to be set to look like a rape case pointing the finger at one of the criminals she had put away.

When Rusty becomes the main suspect for the murder and must turns to his courtroom rival Alejandro ‘Sandy’ Stern (Julia) to take on the D.A. office who have all turned on Rusty using his previous affair as the main motive for the murder.

 

Thoughts on Presumed Innocent

 

Characters/PerformanceRusty is a very questionable character, he has had an affair which takes away any respect you could have for him even if he is a brilliant attorney, Sandy you can see as a brilliant attorney in his own right that goes out of his way to get the case in his direction which is good to see playing about what could be considered the disgraced attorney. Raymond the D.A. does feel like your typical political figure that abuses their power as often as they like.

Performance wise everything is good but not their best work no one does anything that stands out and by the end you don’t think this will be a memorable role for the iconic Harrison Ford or Raul Julia.preumed

StoryI am usually a fan of a good courtroom drama as they can pull us in until the final outcome of the crime. This story flows very slowly with a court cast that does feel like you could see solved with ease. I felt this story just doesn’t pull us in enough to care about the case mainly because our defendant isn’t painted to be the most respectable character in the first place so we just don’t care who if he is innocent or not.

Mystery/ThrillerWe get a mystery but we don’t get many suspects for the crime which disappoints the thrilling side as we don’t get a chance to figure out who could be behind the crime.

SettingsWe have the traditional courtroom settings that show us just how most of the suspects would have understood just how to cover up murders with ease.genre

Final ThoughtsThis just doesn’t capture us like the other courtroom dramas and then could have been a lot more intense.

 

Overall: A Courtroom drama that just doesn’t hit all the levels it could.

Ratingrating