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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Owen Wilson Weekend – I, Spy (2002)

spyDirector: Betty Thomas

Writer: Morton S Fine, David Friedkin (Screenplay) Marianne Wibberley, Cormac Wibberley (Story)

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson, Famke Janssen, Malcolm McDowell, Gary Cole, Phill Lewis, Viv Leacock, Keith Dallas

 

Plot: A professional athlete has to help a U.S. government agent recover a missing jet.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Buddy Comedy Fail

 

Story: I, Spy starts as we meet clumsy spy Alex (Wilson) who get the information about a missing plane that is in the hands of Gundars (McDowell) before meeting cocky boxing champion Kelly (Murphy) who is about to fight his second fight in a week in Budapest.

The mission puts the two opposite men together working with experience undercover operative Rachel (Janssen) in Budapest to locate Gundars and the missing plane.

I, Spy is a buddy comedy that uses both the comic reliefs and forgets to pull off either in the serious role which is so important to make either of them work. We find ourselves going through the same routines over and over with little to no suspense being built up by the characters. The jokes are very hit or miss throughout with the action being very much bog standard.

Wilson and Murphy just don’t click the way Wilson does with Chan or Murphy did with Nolte and nearly all the scenes come off feeling awkward rather than funny between the two. The supporting cast are all average too with no one sticking out in anyway what so ever.

 

Overall: This is a flat buddy comedy with no laughs.

Ratingcard

 

 

Seth Rogen Weekend – Pineapple Express (2008)

pipneappleDirector: David Gordon Green

Writer: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg (Screenplay) Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg (Story)

Starring: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Danny McBride, Kevin Corrigan, Craig Robinson, Gary Cole, Rosie Perez, Ed Begley Jr. Amber Heard

 

Plot: A process server and his marijuana dealer wind up on the run from hitmen and a corrupt police officer after he witness his dealer’s boss murder a competitor while trying to serve papers on him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Stoner Comedy I Enjoy

 

Story: Pineapple Express starts as we see the government have been sampling drugs and a new lethally effective one causing the place to be shut down. We move forward to meet 25 years old stoner Dale (Rogen) who serves papers to people who avoid court while keeping his 18-year-old high school girlfriend Angie (Heard) happy. Having finally agree to meet Angie’s parents he turns to his dealer Saul (Franco) for a quick pick up before dinner.

Dale goes on one last job before dinner which involves him witnessing a murder by a cop leading him to run to Saul’s for shelter. As Dale and Saul go on the run the must figure out who to trust when Saul’s supplier Red (McBride) may well have been compromised.

Pineapple Express is a stoner comedy that works because doing the drugs puts our main characters in the wrong place, we have casual references through the film and while they are stoned most of the time in bottles down to a story of friendship and where these men see themselves in the future. We do get some bad moments but this takes the drug filled action film and sprinkles the right level of comedy into the mix.

 

Actor Review

 

Seth Rogen: Dale is a 25-year-old stoner who is spending his days driving around delivering summons to criminals. When he witnesses a murder he has to go on the run with his drug dealer as he finds himself in the middle of a bigger drug war between two rival sides. Seth brings his stoner character in this film which shows him as a character that gets by somehow

James Franco: Saul is the drug dealer that sees Dale as a friend and always wants to spend time with him when he buys. When he finds out he is the only supplier of the pineapple express leading him to go on the run with Dale. James gives us a comedy performance not many people thought he would be capable off.

Danny McBride: Red is the supplier to Saul, he gets caught in the middle of the battle but isn’t going down without a fight. Danny gets a chance to be in a bigger film showing he has the right comedy style for the comedy supporting character.

Gary Cole: Ted Jones is the drug lord of the town who Dale witnesses kill a man in his apartment, he sends out his men to find Dale to make sure that his secret stays safe. Gary is good in this role as the drug lord.

Support Cast: Pineapple Express has a big supporting cast that all react differently to what is going on with the hitmen partnership being one of the highlights of the film.

Director Review: David Gordon GreenDavid gives us one of the best drug filled comedies of modern time that uses everything perfectly together.

 

Action: Pineapple Express uses the action for a lot of the comedy side of the story.

Comedy: Pineapple Express mixes action, drug use and the crime story to give us a good comedy all around.

Crime: Pineapple Express puts us in the middle of a crime war within the city.

Settings: Pineapple Express gives us a setting that puts us in the middle of the town where the events take place.

Suggestion: Pineapple Express is one for all the comedy fans to enjoy. (Comedy Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Chemistry between Rogen and Franco is brilliant.brothers

Worst Part: Won’t be for the anti-drug people.

Action Scene Of The Film: Car Chase.

Funniest Scene: Reaction to Marry Me.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Always has talks of one but nothing lined up, plus a piss take on in This is the End.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Nominated for a Golden Globe

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $27 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 5 Minutes

Tagline: One hit could ruin your whole day.

Trivia: The first marijuana-themed comedy to gross over $100 million worldwide.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy filled with laughs, thrills and drugs

Ratingcard

One Hour Photo (2002)

logoDirector: Mark Romanek

Writer: Mark Romanek (Screenplay)

Starring: Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen, Michael Vartan, Dylan Smith, Erin Daniels, Paul Hansen Kim, Lee Garlington, Gary Cole, Eriq La Salle, Clark Gregg

 

Plot: Seymour ‘Sy’ Parrish (Williams) is a lonely photograph developer with over twenty years’ experience; he is now sat in an interrogation room being asked questions by Detective James Van Der Zee (La Salle). Seymour explains how he takes great pride in his work, but his pride taken him to obsession level with one such family. The Yorkin’s Nina (Nielsen), Will (Vartan) and son Jakob (Smith) a normal family, Seymour has created a fantasy where he is actually part of the family, but when Seymour starts seeing something wrong with the family he takes drastic action to save the family.

 

Verdict:  Creepy Thriller

 

Story: Looking into the mind of someone who takes great pride in their work but goes too far when taken away from that   work. The story is rather simple to follow as we see an innocent man just trying to show a family the truth about one’s wrong ways. We get to see how an obsession looks innocent but turns out to be questionable for those involved. We also get to see how someone’s mind can easily make up the fantasy rather than face the truth. What is bought up tension wise very well will not disappoint by the end, as what Seymour does is not unimaginable but in fact achievable. (8/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Robin Williams: Seymour the lonely developer who has an unhealthy obsession with the family so much so that he believes he is part of the family, he loves his job and takes great pride in making sure everyone’s memories are developed to the highest level. Stunning performance from Williams, who is unrecognisable in the role. (10/10)

 williams

Connie Nielsen: Nina the wife of the family that Seymour believes he is good friends with and most of his action are to show her the truth. Good simple wife and mother role never needing to be anything more. (8/10)

 connie

Michael Vartan: Will the husband who Seymour doesn’t know as well but tries to build a friendship with so he could be part of the family, fills the role of the villain as such. Good performance but just needed to be a cheating husband without being anything else. (7/10)

 michael

Dylan Smith: Jakob the son of the family that call Seymour Uncle Sy, filled with innocence that shows compassion for Seymour. Good performance from the young actor. (7/10)

 

Director Review: Mark Romanek – Great direction to create the atmosphere to keep the story creepy but not twisted. (8/10)

 

Drama: The interaction between the lonely Seymour show that he has created a world of his own without even knowing it. (9/10)

Thriller: You just don’t know how far he will go once he finally snaps. (10/10)

Settings: Each setting adds to Seymour’s loneliness. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Unused apart from one dream sequence. (8/10)

Suggestion: This is one to be watching, it will shock with how simple people can be so obsessive without be a threat. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Williams.

Worst Part: The Boss

Scariest Scene: The first dream sequence.

Believability: The truth is this could be true. (6/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No, but Williams performance could easily have got a nod.

Box Office: $52,223,306

Budget: $12 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Tagline: He knows where you live!

Trivia:After the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, Robin Williams overheard viewers say that they forgot it was Williams in the lead role 15 minutes into the film. An observation that made Williams Proud

 

Overall: Stunning Performance for Brilliant Thriller

Rating 88