The Highwaymen (2019)

Director: John Lee Hancock

Writer: John Fusco (Screenplay)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Woody Harrelson, Kim Dickens, Emily Brobst, Kathy Bates, W Earl Brown, John Carroll Lynch


Plot: A pair of police officers come out of retirement to catch the infamous outlaws Bonnie & Clyde.

Tagline – This March, there are no High Roads.

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Nice Crime Hunt


Story: The Highwaymen starts with Bonnie and Clyde’s spree going on for two-years, Governor Ferguson (Bates) is running out of options as the two have become celebrities because of their action. Facing little options Lee Simmons suggests turning to two former Texas Rangers Frank Hamer (Costner) and Maney Gault (Harrelson) to track down and end the spree.

With Frank having no other choice after more law enforcement officers are killed, he turns to Maney who has been struggling in the afterlife of being a ranger, he has different beliefs to Frank, which will see them needing to figure out how to eliminate the threat with the honour they are used to acting in, can they stop the murderous pair and their gang.


Thoughts on The Highwaymen


Characters – Frank Hamer is a legendary Texas Ranger, force into retirement with new laws in place, but landing on his feet, he gets turned to for help hunt down Bonnie & Clyde, he must accept that he would be going against what he used to do, return to killing, but most importantly turn to a former partner. Maney Gault is one of the best partners that Frank hand, the force retirement was harder on him with drink being he solution, he is the last resort on skill level, but the first one Frank turns too, he does have standards on how he beliefs on how he handles killing, only once shot upon, he becomes a kind of mentor for a young officer on the hunt. Ma Ferguson is the governor that recruits Frank and Maney to hunt down Bonnie & Clyde, she is reluctant at first wanting to follow more legal causes. Lee Simmons is the one suggesting that the Texan Rangers to help capture them, he puts his neck on the line for it.

PerformancesKevin Costner and Woody Harrelson are two of the best actors in the business, they can play any of these law men with ease and they make each their own with ease. The two are front and centre for most of the film, the supporting cast are solid enough without struggling.

StoryThe story follows the two Texas Rangers that hunted down Bonnie & Clyde who were on the killing spree over. The highlight of the story comes from following the law enforcement instead of the criminals, we should do this more often with the people that hunt down the criminals and not make the criminals to idols of the story. this is mostly just the two reflecting on their careers, what they did before retirement, what they might need to do once they catch up to the criminals. It does pace well enough, we don’t over focus on the crimes, only the reaction to them.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of the film is the hunting down of Bonnie & Clyde, we see how the Texas Rangers track down the criminals. The mystery in the film comes from just how the hunting down was being done.

SettingsEach setting takes us around the open roads in the American where the criminals would have been operating in.

Scene of the Movie –
Costner & Harrelson reflect on one of their biggest mission.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Why were Bonnie & Clyde idolised?

Final ThoughtsInteresting look at one of the biggest take downs of criminals in American history, we have strong leading performances and don’t focus on the criminals.


Overall: Smart way to study a big case.




The Founder (2016)

founderDirector: John Lee Hancock

Writer: Robert Siegel (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Linda Cardellini, B.J. Novak, Laura Dern, Patrick Wilson


Plot: The story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who turned two brothers’ innovative fast food eatery, McDonald’s, into one of the biggest restaurant businesses in the world with a combination of ambition, persistence, and ruthlessness.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: McDonalds Advert


Story: The Founder starts in 1954 as milkshake machine salesman Ray Kroc (Keaton) is performing his sales pitch around the diner scene. His luck is about to change when Dick (Offerman) and Mac (Lynch) the McDonald brothers order eight machines which grabs Ray’s attention as he visits to hear the story of the first ever McDonald’s and how the service revolutionary idea behind 30 seconds’ food service.

Seeing the operation Ray wants to franchise the idea against the brother’s wishes. When Ray finally gets his way he makes McDonalds the fastest growing business in America but the backlash falls when the brother’s want their share of the business they created leading to a law case getting everything messy between the two sides.


Thoughts on The Founder


StoryThis is an interesting story of where McDonalds came from which is fine but my issue is the lack of a real-time scale of the events, I also didn’t like how the end credits show certain important elements of the story which barely get touched on in the film. in the end the story is just another story about a ruthless business man who took advantage of the real brains behind the idea.

Biography/HistoryThis is a good look back at how McDonald’s is founded and it shows part of the history where a business man took advantage of the real workers.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all based on real people with Ray Kroc coming off as the ruthless businessman who just doesn’t give up, while thee brother’s being portrayed as the suckers who wouldn’t believe his business mind. The rest of the characters are all only bit parts in the film with them only being part of Ray’s life.

Performance wise Keaton does shine with Offerman and Lynch both being great as brother’s, it is hard to say a bad thing about any of the performances in this film.

SettingsThe settings used all reflect the time the film is set in, with the iconic McDonald’s logo being the most iconic moment in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is could easily have been just a documentary that would have been a lot more interesting as an all-round story.


Overall: We have seen this before and in the end it brings very little new.




Saving Mr Banks (2013)

logoDirector: John Lee Hancock

Writer: Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Ruth Wilson, Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, B.J. Novak, Jason Schwartzman


Plot: When Walt Disney’s (Hanks) daughters begged him to make a movie of their favourite book, P.L. Travers’ (Thompson) Mary Poppins, he made them a promise, one that he didn’t realize would take twenty years to keep. In this quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But as the book stops selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney’s plans for the adaptation. For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman Brothers Robert and Richard (Novak and Schwartzman), Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the prickly author doesn’t budge. He soon begins to watch helplessly as Travers becomes increasingly immovable and the rights begin to move further away from his grasp. It is only when he reaches into his own childhood that Walt discovers the truth about the ghosts that haunt her, and together they set Mary Poppins free to ultimately make one of the most endearing films in cinematic history.


Verdict: A delightful story behind a classic

Story: With Mary Poppins being a classic learning the back story to the author’s motivation for the tale and determination to have it done her way rather than Disney’s way. The conflict to make it personal to her works well and using the flashbacks to ultimately reach the point where we see where Mary came from and what was learnt from the characters in the film. (9/10)


Actor Review: Emma Thompson – P.L Travers the stubborn author who wants her book done her way, with no exceptions, confrontational but hiding something that no one has got close enough to understand. Brilliant from Thompson, who clearly is the star of the show. (10/10)


Actor Review: Tom Hanks – Walt Disney trying to keep his promise to his daughters to make Mary Poppins who pulls out all the stock to make it happen. Good from Hanks who shows great charm towards Travers character. (8/10)


Actor Review: Colin Farrell – Travers Goff the father in the backstory to create the whole story. Great from Colin, who shines as the loving father with personal demons. (8/10)


Actor Review: Paul Giamatti – Ralph the personal driver who builds a friendship with Mrs Travers who keeps a positive outlook on life even when it has tested him. Great supporting role performance from Giamatti. (8/10)


Actor Review: Bradley Whitford – Don DaGradi the screenwriter that Mrs Travers has to work with and has constant conflict with ideas. Bradley does well in the role showing great supporting qualities. (8/10)


Actor Review: B.J. Novak – Robert one brother in the music composer who has to come up with the music to go with the words. Good supporting role who gets some good laughs. (8/10)


Actor Review: Jason Schwartzman – Richard the other half of the brothers who compose the music. Good supporting role who gets the laughs too. (8/10)


Director Review: John Lee Hancock – Beautifully directed mixing together the past and present scenes to come to the final outcome. (8/10)


Comedy: Gentle comedy throughout. (7/10)

Drama: Great drama to show how the characters are affected. (9/10)

Believability: Based on the untold true story. (8/10)

Chances of Tears: Maybe a few for some. (3/10)

Settings: Great recreation of the two different time periods with Disney in the 60s and an Australian outback for the childhood scenes. (9/10)


Suggestion: I would suggest watching this as it will fulfil all the needs from film fans. (Watch)


Best Part: My favourite part is Ralph and Mrs Travers getting to know each other by building a castle out of leaves and sticks, very touching moment.

Funniest Scene: Mrs Travers first arrives in the hotel.

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 1 Oscar

Chances of Sequel: No

Tagline: Behind the beloved book is a story beyond words.


Overall: Brilliant Story That Shows Disney’s Magic

Rating 92

Snow White and The Huntsman (2012)

logoDirector:  Rupert Sanders

Writer: Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini (Screenplay) Evan Daugherty (Story)

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Sam Claflin, Sam Spruell, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones, Johnny Harris


Plot: When Queen Ravenna’s (Theron) power finds out the mirror states that Snow White (Stewart) is now the fairest of them all. After Snow White escapes the kingdom the queen sends the Huntsman (Hemsworth) after her. After he locates her he ends up fighting to protect her from all of the evil Queen’s forces and army’s. Upon meeting the dwarfs Snow White has a new group of soldiers to help her take back the kingdom that is rightfully hers.


Some of the Dwarf Warriors

Some of the Dwarf Warriors

Verdict: Dark action packed spin on the classic fairy tale.

Story: We all know the basic outline story to Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, this shakes things up. We have warriors in the huntsman and the dwarfs are not happy singing miners but fighters. In the end it tries to take some of the magic out the story and replace it with more fighting. (7/10)


Actor Review: Kristen Stewart – Snow White at her, not so best. She is locked away for years before running away before building an army to take back her throne. Fresh of the back of the Twilight film Kristen is an ‘it’ girl as studios know she can sell seats. This doesn’t mean she is a good actress and this proves it, she starts well but when her character changes she doesn’t. Poor Performance Award (5/10)

 snow white

Actor Review: Chris Hemsworth – The alcoholic huntsman who has lost his wife leaving him with nothing to fight for. Snow white gives him a chance to fight for something again. Shows he has some acting skill behind his muscles can put together some great fight scenes and continues to grow a good reputation in the business. Action Star Award, Kick Ass Award, Lesley’s Stud Muffin Award (8/10)


Actor Review: Charlize Theron – The evil queen who wants to stay young forever and has succeed in achieve this for years until Snow White gets in the way of her next attempt she stops at nothing to get her back. Charlize shines in this role and you know that she is a great actress who steals the show here. Star Performance Award, Scene Stealer Award, Babe Watch Award (9/10)

Queen asking the mirror the question

Queen asking the mirror the question

Actor Review: Sam Claflin – Long lost brother of Snow White who goes into hiding when Ravenna takes over the kingdom. He comes out fighting once he learns that she is still alive. This is a much better performance from the young actor but still has a lot to learn to be a dominant presence on screen. (6/10)


Director Review: Rupert SandersIn this directorial debut he has a lot to work with and manages to put together a good film without it being great. (7/10)


Action: Some good fight scenes. (8/10)

Fantasy: Using some good fantasy elements throughout. (7/10)

Special Effects: Some good effects used to show some aging on Ravenna and creations to be used in the fight scene. (7/10)

Believability: Good fairy tale and that is it. (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: Fantasy world works very nicely for this setting. (8/10)
Oscar Chances
: Got nominated for two Oscars.

Chances of Sequel: There is one in the works.

Suggestion: It is a good action adventure but I think it is fair to say nothing is truly stand out here so if you like the genre you will enjoy the film but maybe it won’t be the first one you pick up to watch. (TV Viewing)


Best Part: Charlize’s performance

Worst Part: Snow White’s painful motivation speech.


Overall: Fantasy Tale that doesn’t shine too much

 Lesley’s Rating 90%

My Rating 73%