ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – O – O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (Screenplay) Homer (Poem)

Starring: George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman, Holly Hunter, Chris Thomas King, Charles Durning

 

Plot: In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.


Tagline – Sometimes, you have to lose your way to get back home

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wacky Comedy

 

Story: O Brother, Where Art Thou? Starts when three prisoners Everett (Clooney), Pete (Turturro) and Delmar (Nelson) escape from prison, going on a race across country in search of a treasure before it goes for good.

Along the way the three must figure out how to stay ahead of the law which puts them in a series of comical events along the way until they run into a salesman Big Dan Teague (Goodman) who is puts them against their match.

 

Thoughts on O Brother, Where Art Thou?

 

Characters – Everett is the brains of the three, he isn’t the strongest with this either, he tries to keep the guys together as they need to stay away from the law, he pushes them to take risks along the way too. Pete is the other fellow escapee that wants to be in charge, he will follow Everett as long as he can follow his dreams to get to the money. Delmar is the dumbest member of the group he makes all the mistakes along the way putting the friends in a bigger problem in search for the money. Big Dan is one of the many characters they meet along the way, one that makes a big impact on the adventure.

PerformancesGeorge Clooney is good in the leading role, going against the typecast of a pretty guy which he has been making a reputation for himself, John Turturro showed us once again that he can make any role work well, with Tim Blake Nelson getting the best lines which shows he can hang with the biggest names in Hollywood. The rest of the cast do bring us plenty of the laughs with the extremes of the characters.

StoryThe story follows three criminals in search of treasure and their hapless journey across country to locate it. They meet a string of colourfully people along the way, some who help and others than hinder.  This does follow the trends of comedy films which leaves our character into a mixed of events to make a simple journey never going the way they are planning them to. We do get a few twists along the way which change our opinions on the characters too.

Adventure/Crime/ComedyThe adventure takes our three convicts across country meeting the colourful characters along the way, this shows us the criminal world they are from and dealing with the people from, we also get the comedy involved in the film from just what happens along the way.

SettingsThe settings take us across a string of different Southern America towns which plays into he backward way of thinking the people in the area would have.


Scene of the Movie –
The KKK rescue.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t see enough of the lawman after them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wacky crime comedy that will see people in the audience laugh at times, it will however turn people in the audience off too.

 

Overall: Crime comedy with enough laughs along the way.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – The Flintstones (1994)

Director: Brian Levant

Writer: Tom S Parker, Jim Jennewein, Steve E de Souza (Screenplay)

Starring: John Goodman, Elizabeth Perkins, Rick Moranis, Rosie O’Donnell, Kyle MacLachlan, Halle Berry, Elizabeth Taylor

 

Plot: In this live-action feature of the cartoon show, Fred Flintstone finally gets the job he’s always wanted, but it may just come at a price.


Tagline – Yabba-dabba-doo it!

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Film

 

Story: The Flintstones starts as we jump into Bedrock the place we loved as the cartoon, Fred Flintstone (Goodman) helps out his best friend Barney Rubble (Moranis) adopt Bam Bam their first child, in return Barney secretly swaps test scores with Fred leading to Fred getting a promotion to vice President.

Fred finds himself in a role he isn’t prepared for as he is being used by Cliff Vandercave (MacLachlan) who wants to use Fred to get away with stealing from the company and leaving Fred to take the blame, it isn’t long before the two families friendship put to the test.

 

Thoughts on The Flintstones

 

Characters – Fred Flintstone is the loveable idiot with a heart of gold, he works in the quarry, enjoys bowling and always has Barney for company, in this adventure he ends up in a role he can’t handle and his friendship being tested. Barney Rubble is the best friend of Fred’s that helps Fred get a promotion only to suffer the consequences, he wants to keep it a secret which will ruin the friendship. Wilma and Betty are the wives that support in the places with Cliff Vandercave being the typical business minded villain.

PerformancesJohn Goodman in the role of Fred work wonderfully because he first looks the part and secondly knows how to handle comedy. Rick Moranis handles the side comedy wonderfully while the rest of the cast are good without being overly interesting.

StoryThe question here was how do you turn the much loved cartoon into a functional feature length film, the story here does show us how Fred gets himself into a position he can’t handle and shows how Barney is the one to help him out of the position. It does feel like a feature length episode of the show which works well for the story even if it does have a couple of more serious sides to the story. the story is what we have seen in other comedies and won’t be overly testing on the audience.

Comedy/Family/FantasyThe film uses the comedy much like the cartoon does, things feel over the top and do get the laughs required, the whole family can enjoy moments of this film which does know how to offer comedy for all ages.

SettingsThe look of the Bedrock look great and pays the respect to the cartoon where we see the different dinosaurs living with the humans. Everything looks and seems to be practical too.

Special EffectsThe effects show us how practical effects can be used to create a world where the human dinosaur relationship works for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The quarry showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough Dino.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun family film that can be enjoyed by the fans of the original show, it has the jokes and references to what we know.

 

Overall: One for the family.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – E – The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)

Director: Mark Dindal

Writer: David Reynolds (Screenplay) Chris Williams, Mark Dindal (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, Patrick Warburton, Wendie Malick

 

Plot: Emperor Kuzco is turned into a llama by his ex-administrator Yzma, and must now regain his throne with the help of Pacha, the gentle llama herder.


Tagline – Mingin’!

Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: There is a Deeper Story Here

 

Story: The Emperor’s New Groove starts as we meet Emperor Kuzco who has been turned into a llama by Yzma who is trying to take over the Emperor’s jobs, which leads him to fire her, as he looks to demolish a local village where Pachu the llama farmer lives.

When Kuzco is left to go with Pachu, he must find a way to return to his human form, reclaim his thrown and learn the true message of being an Emperor.

 

Thoughts on The Emperor’s New Groove

 

Characters – Kuzco is the young Emperor that gets turned into a llama, he craves power and popularity, leaving him to not care about who he steps on to get what he wants. He must learn to treat his people with respect and become the emperor for his land. Pacha is the quiet llama farmer, head to the village, that wants to stop his village being destroyed and reluctantly agrees to help Kuzco to return to his throne. Yzma is the evil adviser that wants to power and will kill Kuzco to get this.

StoryThe story focuses on an Emperor that needs to learn that he doesn’t need to be selfish to be a strong leader to his people by growing up. We get the usual ideas being used here where nothing comes off overly original and more of the story plays into the stand-up comics routines over telling a story. you do feel like there should have been a deeper story being used more often through the film over the jokes.

Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe adventure put two unlikely people needing to get through a jungle back to safety, which is told through jokes too often, the family could get certain laughs but he adults will not enjoy them as much.

SettingsThe settings don’t seem to show us which country Kuzco is the ruler off, with the random jungle having random animals in.

AnimationThe animation works well for the time it was made, but doesn’t feel as strong as possible.


Scene of the Movie –
Bridge breaking.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many jokes.

Final ThoughtsThis is an animated film that could keep the kids happy for an hour, it isn’t on the highest levels of animation or storytelling.

 

Overall: Basic animation.

Rating

 

 

James McAvoy Weekend – Atomic Blonde (2017)

Director: David Leitch

Writer: Kurt Johnstad (Screenplay) Antony Johnston, Sam Hart (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Eddie Marsan, John Goodman, Toby Jones, James Faulkner, Sofia Boutella, Bill Skarsgard

 

Plot: An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.


Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining at Best

 

Story: Atomic Blonde starts with history about the bringing down the Berlin War being different to how would be it would be led to believe, so we follow Lorraine Broughton (Theron) a British spy being debriefed by Eric Gray (Jones) and Emmet Kurzfeld (Goodman) on just what happened with her latest mission.

Lorraine’s mission is to locate and extract Spyglass (Marsan), she must work with local spy David Percival (McAvoy) to get around Berlin as we learn about the web of conspiracies she must take on.

 

Thoughts on Atomic Blonde

 

Characters – Lorraine Broughton is the British spy, drop dead gorgeous and deadly when it comes to combat, she can handle herself in any situation which makes her a deadly weapon looking to bring down the truth in Germany. David Percival is the partner Lorraine and the man in the know in German, he has researched the area but we sense something not quite right about him, much like Lorraine does. Spyglass is the man that is being extracted with the answers that could end the cold war, Emmett and Eric are both the CIA and MI6 agents that are learning just what went wrong on this mission.

PerformancesCharlize Theron is our kick ass lead in the film, she handles herself in combat and looks sexy along the way. James McAvoy continues to show strength in the supporting roles where he must be over the top at times. Goodman and Jones are perfect choices for the office like roles in the film and they are good throughout the film.

StoryThe story follows a special agent going to Berlin to discover who the double agent is while getting the only person with the information out of Berlin but not everything goes to plan as we are thrown into a world a spies and double crossing. By telling us the most part of this film in a report style story takes away the peril our lead is ever in and by having the number of twists we do it sometimes comes off slightly short.

Action/MysteryThe action sequences are the highlight of this film, we have three main one where we see just how exhausting they are one Lorraine. The mystery is here as we wonder just who the double agent it even if things seem clear from the start.

SettingsMost of the film is set in Berlin which fits the time for the setting and the tension is created with the world where people are on edge.

Special EffectsThe effects are good when it comes to the kills and is only used sparing which works for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Single Shot Escape

That Moment That Annoyed Me Time jumping.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good little action film that hits all the marks, it entertains while it does become complicated at times.

 

Overall: Entertaining Action Film

Rating

 

 

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Writer: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly (Screenplay) John Gatins (Story)

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson, Brie Larson, John C Reilly, John Goodman, Corey Hawkins, John Ortiz, Tian Jing, Toby Kebbell, Jason Mitchell

 

Plot: A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mindless Monster Mayhem

 

Story: Kong: Skull Island starts as we see an instant introduction to Kong during World War II, move forward to 1973 Bill Randa (Goodman) want to lead an expedition to the mysterious island in the Pacific Ocean, one that has only just been discovered by satellite images. Joined by his assistant Brooks (Hawkins) and a mapping team Randa puts together a unit to cover him if the stories are true.

The team includes tracker James Conrad (Hiddleston), photographer Mason Weaver (Larson), San (Jing) and army unit led by Preston Packard (Jackson). Upon arrive on the island Kong destroys all the helicopter killing half the unit, with the scientists looking for a way off the island and Packard out for revenge the two battle within as they face enemies they had never imagined including the monstrous Kong.

 

Thoughts on Kong: Skull Island

 

Characters/PerformanceConrad is a British tracker who we rarely see track, Weaver is a photographer who clashes with Packard a lot on the morale side of her job post-Vietnam, she isn’t just the damsel in distress though. Packard is a war-hero who I believe wasn’t a hero in war, he wants one more chance to go into a battle before returning home, as the film unfolds he does feel very similar to Pete Postlethwaite character in Jurassic Park 2. Bill knows more than he lets on but could be considered a businessman villain. Hank steals most of the scenes here, he is the former WWII pilot who has been stuck on the island for 28 years. Kong is a character all to his own, destroying anything that gets in his way while also showing the most emotion of any character in the film. we also have scientists who are forgettable, and soldiers who are giving basic banter to work with.

Performance wise, Hiddleston does struggling to make much of the poorly written character, Larson starts well but again her character is written weakly, Jackson does what Jackson does well without being his best, Goodman also doesn’t reach his potential while Reilly knows how to steal a movie with limited scenes. Most of the stars all struggle with the same problem, their characters are written very weakly.

StoryThe story here is fine, I liked that is wasn’t the same as the 30’s era trying to bring Kong back to New York, this is just a surveillance job turned race against time to survive. So, this is The Lost World with King Kong in the end. There isn’t too much to say good about the story because I found myself confused a lot, we had ONE ship with about SIX helicopters on it and sudden when they reach Skull Island there is about TWENTY helicopters, the same goes for the number of soldiers, one minute we have the FOUR we know and then when we need people to die there suddenly seems to be another group of disposable ones. These inconsistent annoyed me most.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is very big and sure you can switch off and enjoy it all, the adventure is in the new world unseen and comes off fine throughout, the fantasy comes from battle what should be the impossible.

SettingsI did like that we kept all the action upon Skull Island, I feel this is important to creating the bigger universe they want to.

Special EffectsI also think the special effects are brilliant through the whole film and could barely tell the different between what is real or not.

Final ThoughtsThis is big bad and fun but I feel the character development comes off pointless in places because all we get is a sudden death to a character that doesn’t make sense or it is an unknown character killed to save ones we have got to know.

 

Overall: This will go down in the fun but not great action set piece.

Rating