Taxi Driver (1976)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Paul Schrader (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Harvey Keitel, Albert Brooks, Peter Boyle

 

Plot: A mentally unstable Vietnam War veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, while attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic, Maybe Not?

 

Story: Taxi Driver starts we meet Travis Bickle (De Niro) a war veteran struggling with sleep and finding peace in night shifts as a taxi driver as he becomes fascinated by campaigner Betsy (Shepherd). Travis also isn’t happy with the state of New York City and wants to see it cleaned up.

When Travis decides to get himself protection he starts to look to clean up the streets himself to protect a preadolescent prostitute Iris (Foster) which leads to the violent outbreak of his.

 

Thoughts on Taxi Driver

 

Characters – Travis Bickle is the lonely unstable former marine that is suffering from insomnia deciding to take a job as a taxi driver at night, he wants to clean up the street and his anti-social behaviour makes his isolation become a violent outrage against the city. Iris is an underage prostitute in the city that keeps crossing paths with Travis and is the one that Travis most wants to protect. Betsy is the love interest of Travis, well the woman he takes out twice only to show us how difficult he finds it to socialise.

PerformanceRobert De Niro does carry this film with a performance that could be the best of his career. Jodie Foster is brilliant in her role where she shows how talented she was at a young age. The rest of the cast are good throughout the film as De Niro works with them all.

StoryThe story here looks into loneliness in the Big Apple, a man that doesn’t fit in and wants to clean up the streets which he believes are not going the way he believes he should. We look at the underworld of prostitution and see the colourful characters that come out at night but in the end it just feels like a study of New York itself.

CrimeThe crime underworld being shown in this film is good as we see one man want to clean up the streets in his own way.

SettingsNew York is a setting I always love seeing used for settings and in this film we get to see the darker side of the Big Apple.

Scene of the Movie – You Talkin to Me?

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact the film has been put on the all time greats list.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film I have only ever heard wonderful things about and sure the acting is fantastic throughout, the idea of a man feeling like he needs to clean up his neighbourhood is good to but when you look at the full picture it mostly just feels slow and dated in the storytelling process which spends over an hour building in one direction only to head off into another one for the second half of the film.

 

Overall: Brilliant acting, but storytelling leaves questions marks.

Rating

 

 

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Lies We Tell (2017)

Lies We Tell is released on Digital 2nd April 2018 and will be Exclusively at ASDA on 16th April 2016

 

DVD Extras including

·        Deleted Scenes

·        Cast & Crew Interviews

·        Behind the Scenes Footage

·        Raindance Premiere Footage

 

Director: Mitu Misra

Writer: Ewen Glass, Andy McDermott (Screenplay) Mitu Misra (Story)

Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Sibylla Deen, Harvey Keitel, Mark Addy, Jan Uddin, Reece Ritchie, Gina McKee, Nicholas Farrell, Emily Atack

 

Plot: A trusted driver must deal with his dead boss’ Muslim mistress, her dark past pulling him into a life-and-death showdown with her notorious gangster cousin/ex-husband.


Tagline – The only men who get caught are those who don’t love their wives enough..

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Character Piece

 

Story: Lies We Tell starts with loyal chauffer Donald (Byrne) taking his boss Demi (Keitel) to his secret rendezvous with his mistress, with the busy done, he ends up dying leaving Donald with one last request, clean up the evidence of the mistress.

The mistress Amber (Deen) a Muslim lawyer from Bradford, that has a past of her own which has seen cousin KD (Uddin) become a notorious gangster in Bradford. Amber turns to Donald to help her through the problems she is facing from the streets.

 

Thoughts on Lies We Tell

 

Characters – Donald is the quiet chauffer for a billionaire, he is in the middle of a divorce while dealing with his own personal problems. He is asked to cover up the mistress of his boss only to get drawn into the world of gangsters and Muslim beliefs. Amber is the mistress and lawyer in the city, about to have a big career move, only for her past to come back and cause her problems when it comes to the traditions of her own religion. KD is the cousin of Amber, he has a past that plays darker than you would think, while his part as a gangster is generic, it is his belief in his religion which would cause the darkest side of his character.

PerformancesGabriel Byrne is good in his role, he makes his character feel withdrawn from early on and this is needed for the character he is playing. Sibylla Deen is the unknown of the main cast, she is the star of the film, she balances the characters problems so well through each and every scene. Jan Uddin gives us a villainous gangster figure which is something needed, but his aggressive moments are the best for him.

StoryThis a movie that has a story that doesn’t go in any direction you are expecting, there is a lot more going on when it comes to looking at Muslin marriages that you will be prepared for. While Donald is a man that comes protect and guide Amber, he doesn’t need to turn to violence for this. We are seeing how Amber is trying break from religion and the struggles a woman has to achieve this over a man that can do anything.

Crime/RomanceThe crime world is only scratched on through the surfaces of this movie, we have a gangster that believe he can get what he wants, but from what we can tell Donald and his boss are all legal with their actions. The romance isn’t on the same levels as what you would think, we look at arranged marriages, affairs and lost love over most other things in this film.

SettingsThe main setting for this film is Bradford, this is fresh from just giving us London again, we have the gangs and the traditions that are felt by some and not others on display showing us that they could be anywhere in your own neighbourhood.


Scene of the Movie –
Graveyard driving.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The wedding side of things didn’t seem to make sense by the end. Not because of the tradition, but location.

Final ThoughtsThis is a crime movie that turns to the characters on the highest level of the film, watching what Amber and Donald go through are the driving force and make this different to what you are expecting.

 

Overall: Something different to what you are expecting.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – Y – Youth (2015)

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Writer: Paolo Sorrentino (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano

 

Plot: A retired orchestra conductor is on holiday with his daughter and his film director best friend in the Alps when he receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip’s birthday.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Drama

 

Story: Youth starts as we arrive in this Swiss Alps luxury resort where retired orchestra conductor Fred Ballinger (Caine) and his best friend film director Mike Boyle (Keitel). Fred uses the annual trip as a chase relax and get treated, Mike is working on the next screenplay with a group of students.

Fred’s relaxing holiday gets changed when Mike’s son divorces his daughter Lena (Weisz) meaning she is spending her holiday with him, he does enjoy this company though otherwise he would be alone. Fred does get requested to perform at Prince Philip’s birthday by Queen Elizabeth II but refuses at first, but the Queen won’t take no for an answer but his reasons will help Lena through her own problems. Fred also ends up having a holiday relationship with young actor Jimmy Tree (Dano) who understands Fred’s frustration because he is feeling them too as an actor.

The holiday will give new feelings, directions and moments for these four, ones that you can only get from relaxing and enjoying yourself once in a while.

 

Thoughts on Youth

 

Characters/PerformanceFred Ballinger is a world famous musical conductor that is requested by the Queen to perform, but he has retired now and all he wants is peace and quiet in this relaxing holiday in the Swiss Alps, he hasn’t been the same since he lost his wife and wants to continue he love of music with the next generation. Mick Boyle is a screenwriter and director who is also Fred’s good friend, he is on this holiday to teach a group of students. Lena was spending time with her father before going on her own holiday but those plans fall through as her life is turned upside down and now she needs her father more than ever. Jimmy is an actor who is also dealing with the problem of being remember for only one thing but he is young and wants to be remembered for more.

Performance wise, this is fantastic performance from Michael Caine showing just how talented he is even in his older years, Keitel is also great in the supporting role where we get to see how can be a supporting actor and not take away from the lead. Weisz and Dano are both great too where we can see just how wonderful they are.

StoryThis is a story showing how people of all ages can achieve new things, they have made bad mistakes but most of, you can learn from it all. This is a strange paced movie that does tell a nice story of the four characters down on their luck finding more from their lives.

Comedy/Music/RomanceThe comedy works in places, mostly because of the strangeness going on through the film, the music is all about how Fred finds it anything with the romance coming from the experiences the four have had.

SettingsThe Swiss Alps make for a beautiful setting, with the hotel and spa making it all look complete for the escaping from the reality of their lives.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautiful looking, wonderful acted movie that is well worth watching to learn about moments of life.

 

Overall: Lovely drama.

Rating

 

 

Harvey Keitel Weekend – Corrupt (1983)

corruptDirector: Roberto Faenza

Writer: Ennio De Concini, Roberto Faenza, Hugh Fleetwood (Screenplay) Hugh Fleetwood (Novel)

Starring: Harvey Keitel, John Lydon, Nicole Garcia, Leonard Mann, Sylvia Sidney

 

Plot: A pair of corrupt cops spend their illegal cash on an uptown New York City flat.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Thriller

 

Story: Corrupt starts as we follow two corrupt police officer’s LT Fred O’Connor (Keitel) and his partner Bob (Mann) who use their secret money to stay in a uptown New York flat, but with a cop killer targeting the narcotics division that does these potential victims or suspects in this crime case. Leo Smith (Lydon) has been searching for the corrupt officers within the force looking to hand out his own form of justice.

When Leo tracks down Fred, he finds himself being kept prisoner and claiming to be the killer, but not everything is adding up the way Fred believes it is, leading him to investigate Leo’s past while Leo must wait his fate but with him trapped in the flat is the cop killer off the streets?

 

Thoughts on Corrupt

 

Characters/PerformanceFred is what you would call your typical officers that takes advantage of the situations to look out for himself while remaining a good detective, he gets confused with the Leo character’s story and motives. Leo is a very interesting character because one minute he claims to be the cop killer the next he doesn’t but he gets a control over Fred unlike anyone else has.

Keitel and Lydon both give good performances here both embracing their characters well making sure we are not complete sure of eithers actions.stars

StoryThe story here is following corrupt cops who are searching for a potential cop killer, but where this film goes in a different direction the two parties find themselves having to cover for each other. There are elements of what we have come to know from Insomnia but otherwise the slow nature of this film gets hard to keep up on as everything unfolds.

Crime/ThrillerWe have a crime side of this story with two different styles of criminals one with the law on their side the other without, we are left to wonder what the motives behind everything are but we don’t get sucked in the way we should.

SettingsThis film is set in New York City but doesn’t seem to want to use the iconic settings in any of the backdrops of the film.

Special EffectsWe have limited special effects going on here but the ones we do get all work very well.genre

Final ThoughtsThis is easily a thriller I doubt many people will have heard of let alone seen, I can understand why and I do feel the Keitel fans out there should give it a go.

 

Overall: Slow burner but easy to watch thriller.

Ratingrating

 

 

Harvey Keitel Weekend – From Dusk till Dawn (1996)

fromDirector: Robert Rodriguez

Writer: Quentin Tarantino (Screenplay) Robert Kurtzman (Story)

Starring: George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin

 

Plot: Two criminals and their hostages unknowingly seek temporary refuge in an establishment populated by vampires, with chaotic results.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best Vampire Movies Ever

 

Story: From Dusk till Dawn starts as we meet the Gecko Brothers Set (Clooney) and Richard (Tarantino) who are on the run after a bank robbery on the run to Mexico and safe haven. Also on the road is a priest Jacob (Keitel) who has lost his faith travelling with his children Kate (Lewis) and Scott (Liu) who are on the road after their mother and wife’s death.

When the Gecko’s lose their latest hostage, they find themselves take Jacob and his family hostage as they make it over the border into Mexico to the biker bar known as the Titty Twister where the Gecko’s have arrange to have their meet but they group have to spend the night in this bar with seductive dances and dangerous bikers.

The night takes a twist for the worse when they learn the club is filled with bloodthirsty vampires and all the customers are just their latest victims.

 

Thoughts on From Dusk till Dawn

 

StoryWhen you go into a vampire movie the story doesn’t always need to be all gothic sometimes it can be wildly over the top. This story keeps everything simple by having thieves on the run and a religious man who has lost faith ending up in a shady bar having to spend one night fighting vampires. There isn’t much more to this and that is why it is all so enjoyable.

Action/HorrorWe have plenty of over the top action in the second half of this movie as the survivors take on the new image from horror in the vampires. We can enjoy the action horror throughout this film.

Characters/PerformanceThe Gecko Brothers are strong anti-hero characters and having Jacob as the faithless priest suits the vampire genre. We do get a scene stealing moment from a sexy dancer who becomes one of the vampires.

When you look at the performances Clooney does shine and is one of the most different he ever took on in his career. Keitel is also a good in this role but with the weak point as often is Tarantino’s acting which doesn’t reach the levels of the rest of the cast.

SettingsThe settings are used very well with the travelling sequences in the first half but the Titty Twister bar has become one of the most iconic bar in film history and having the characters trapped there also helps them must work together against the vampires.

Special EffectsThe special effects here are great as you believe each and every one of the kills, fights and attacks the vampires are involved in.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most fun you will have with any vampire movie because when it was released it took the vampire genre in a new direction.

 

Overall: Enjoy the bloody filled vampire classic.

Ratingcard