The Front Runner (2018)

Director: Jason Reitman

Writer: Matt Bai, Jay Carson, Jason Reitman (Screenplay) Matt Bai (Book)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons, Mark O’Brien, Molly Ephraim, Chris Coy, Alex Karpovsky,


Plot: In 1987, U.S. Senator Gary Hart‘s presidential campaign is derailed when he’s caught in a scandalous love affair.

Tagline – Gary Hart was going to be President. Instead he changed American Politics forever.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Over-Populated Political Thriller


Story: The Front Runner starts after Gary Hart (Jackman) has missed out on the Vice-President position, four-years later in 1987, Gary is running for the Presidency, he is the clear favourite too, his team which includes Bill Dixon (Simmons) knows it is only a matter of time before he wins, while the opposition team is looking for weakness in his reputation.

Gary’s lead starts taking a hit when an early report of a potential affair emerges and before long every single newspaper in the country is trying to cover the story on different levels, some using it as a gossip column while others just want to question his own integrity. This will see Gary’s hope of becoming President come crashing down around him.


Thoughts on The Front Runner


Characters – These characters are based on real people, which will show certain ones in good and bad lights. Senator Gary Hart is running for Presidency, is has the whole campaign under complete control, which has all but guaranteed he would become the next President of the United States. Gary has the ability to spin any story that is placed on front of him, to show that he could bring America a brighter future. Gary however does have a secret with an affair which the press turn into a big story which sees him needing to try and recover from the spiralling situation he has created with his own wrong doing. Lee Hart is the wife of Gary, she has been part of a previous separation which made her suffer enough, she has however always stood by her man with strict rules for the future. Bill Dixon is the campaign manager for Gary, that wants to keep everything simple only this becomes difficult when the truth starts to come out. The Front Runner struggles with one big problem, we have such a large cast of characters it does make it hard to keep up with the almost nameless characters, we have three or four papers and their staff, the campaign team, the people involved in the potential affair, it just becomes completely keeping up with who is who.

PerformancesHugh Jackman is great to watch in the leading role, if he was given that one scene to try and make his character truly memorable it would have put him into a stronger respected performance for the year. Vera Farmiga does everything asked of her character which she doesn’t do anything wrong with. J.K. Simmons almost feels wasted in his role which should have been larger for what is going on. Most of the performances do seem to struggle for this reason.

StoryThe story here follows a presidential candidate whose life becomes filed with speculation after an alleged affair that both sides denied saw him going from a guarantee winner to needing to withdraw, changing the way politics are portrayed in the papers forever. This story does put the spotlight on the moment that saw a change in how politics and journalist operated, the film even points out in the fact that previous Presidents asked for heads to be turned about affairs, but this alleged one saw the country turn on any person that was willing to cheat. The story does show how the three weeks changed the whole race, only it does try to put way too many characters into the film which does make it hard to keep up with who each person is and what side of the story they really are on.

Biopic/HistoryWe follow a 3 week period in Gary Hart’s life, the three weeks that took him from being the next President to the moment he withdrew wanting to keep the false accusations about him out of the papers, this shows how quickly the public can turn on people and the media can make it happen, this plays into the history side of electing a President because we see how minds suddenly changed after how previous ones had acted.

SettingsThe film does use the authentic settings, show how the press would hide for a story, while Gary would use the public to put an end to the stories being made up.

Scene of the Movie –
Twisting the medias words.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story which does feel like it should be told to more people, only this version of the story is completely over-saturated be characters making it hard to keep up with.


Overall: Political Thriller that just doesn’t pack the punch.





ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – U – Up in the Air (2009)

Director: Jason Reitman

Writer: Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner (Screenplay) Walter Kirn (Novel)

Starring: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Amy Mortonm Melanie Lynskey, J.K. Simmons, Sam Elliot, Danny McBride


Plot: Ryan Bingham enjoys living out of a suitcase for his job traveling around the country firing people, but finds that lifestyle threatened by the presence of a potential love interest and a new hire.

Tagline – From Paramount Pictures comes the story of a man ready to make a connection

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Delightful Comedy Drama


Story: Up in the Air starts as we meet Ryan Bingham (Clooney) whose job involves travelling around America firing people for companies, he loves being on the road clocking up countless air miles. When young analyst Natalie Keener (Kendrick) comes to Ryan’s boss Craig (Bateman) with an idea that could cut the costs by running the process from the office meaning Ryan and his team are grounded.

To prove his value to the company and show Natalie the ropes, Ryan must take Natalie on the journey to show her how personal the process is and how important the job is too him. Along the way he teaches her life lesson along with his new friend Alex (Farmiga) who enjoys a similar lifestyle.


Thoughts on Up in the Air


Characters – Ryan Bingham has a career in travelling around firing people for companies, he has it down to an art form, be in conducting the firings or travelling through the airport. He doesn’t like commitment and when he learns that his job is going to be minimized and grounded from travelling, he sets out to prove to his boss and the young woman who created the idea how importance of the personal approach is during this process. Natalie is the young idealistic woman that believes she can help the company save money by taking the role away from Ryan and his co-workers travelling expense, she has her life planned out, but spending time with Ryan she learns more about what life is really about and how to not take away the personal touch out of the process. Alex is a woman that Ryan meets on the road, she travels as often as he does, they start a relationship and meeting her helps Ryan realize what he wants from life.

PerformancesGeorge Clooney is brilliant in this role, his biggest strength has always been to be the confident guy that excels at his job and he gets to show this in every scene as we learn from his characters decisions. Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick are both wonderful in their supporting roles, they both get to help Ryan understand different generations of goals.

StoryThe story follows one man whose dream job is being downsized for economic reasons as he must look to show a young woman who has come up with the plan for this process. We get to look at a couple of big life issues going on here, first we see how companies are always looking to downsize for financial reasons, second focuses on the loneliness people have when they focus on their careers, and third just how the plans people believe to have can never go as planned. This is one of the most interesting stories that seems like it has got to a newer level than ever before.

RomanceWe have moments of romance which don’t overshadow the dramatic moments as we light-heartedly follow the story unfold.

SettingsThe film takes us all over America to see different reactions from different people about losing their jobs.

Scene of the Movie –
Letting loose.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I did enjoy every moment of this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful and delightful movie that hits all the levels it aims for, for me this is the best Clooney performance of his career and handles the sensitive subject of downsizing and unemployment.


Overall: Truly enjoyable movie.





Juno (2007)

logoDirector: Jason Reitman

Writer: Diablo Cody (Screenplay)

Starring: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Allison Janney, J.K. Simmons, Olivia Thirlby, Rainn Wilson


Plot: Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Nice Indie Comedy


Story: Juno starts by showing our two young lovers Juno (Page) and Paulie (Cera) awkward first time. We follow Juno as she deals with the idea that she is now pregnant leaving her to wonder what to do next. Juno’s first reaction is to call her best friend Leah (Thirlby) before deciding to speak to Paulie who is less than helpful when it comes to making a decision on what to do. At first Juno wants to get an abortion but can’t go through with it.

Juno looks at other options like giving up the baby adoption and she picks a couple Vanessa (Garner) and Mark Loring (Bateman). Before going through with that, Juno has to tell her parents Mac (Simmons) and Bren (Janney) who are disappointed but also supporting in their reaction. After making the decision to let them have her baby Juno goes through the pregnancy process but as the baby grows she deals with all the high school politics and watches the boy who made her pregnant move on, all while she questions whether it is the right thing to do.

Juno is one story that goes straight to the point and though it has relationship issues it keeps the primary teen pregnancy story at the forefront. It does a great job of showing how Juno is too young to really understand the situation she is in, but also shows how she learns as the baby grows. This really is an enjoyable film that will make you feel what the characters are going through over the time period. It also becomes one of the most recognisable stories in recent years. (9/10)


Actor Review


Ellen Page: Juno our quick talking teenage girl who is pregnant and struggles to decided what to do, we see her as she does keep the baby grow and make decision that will affect the peoples involved lives. Ellen gives what will be her best performance in this role and it will always be difficult to beat this. (10/10)


Michael Cera: Paulie the boy who is the father, he is too young to realise the affect it will have on his life and continues on his school and sports life. Michael gives a good performance as shows how unaware a teenager could be when it comes to dealing with pregnancy. (7/10)


Jennifer Garner: Vanessa the wife of the couple who are looking to adopt Juno’s baby, she is career driven but wants to have her own family. Jennifer does a good job and shows how a mother to be acts. (8/10)


Jason Bateman: Mark husband of the couple who is just going along with what his wife wants and also reflexes how unprepared he will be to be a father. Jason gives a solid performance but doesn’t show all his abilities. (6/10)


Support Cast: Juno doesn’t have the biggest support cast, it mostly consists of family members and friends who support Juno with her pregnancy. They all add laughs and the feel of the story.


Director Review: Jason Reitman – Jason does a good job directing this classic film that quite rightly got him an Oscar nod. (9/10)


Comedy: Juno puts a light hearted spin on the subject but never falls into a joke a minute level of comedy. (6/10)

Drama: Juno shows the real problems that would be faced by a teenage pregnancy very well. (9/10)

Romance: Juno would have to come over as an alternative romance film because we do have a romantic angle but it is how people hold back their real feelings. (9/10)

Settings: Juno has good settings used throughout to make the story flow showing the difference in class between Juno and potential parents. (9/10)

Suggestion: Juno is one to watch, it is a delightfully little comedy that will be enjoyed by all. (Watch)


Best Part: Juno and the furniture

Worst Part: It might have been a little bit more if we had seen more of Paulie reaction.


Believability: It tackles some very real issues with teen pregnancy. (9/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: Won Best original Screenplay and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Leading Actress and Best Director.

Box Office: $231 Million

Budget: $7.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

Tagline: A comedy about growing up… and the bumps along the way.

Trivia: Jennifer Garner dropped her A-list salary to a percentage point agreement for Juno when it was expected to be a small, low-grossing indie film, but the decision paid off when Juno became a breakout smash at the box office – giving Garner her best payday yet.


Overall: Enjoyable

Rating 80