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

 

 

Advertisements

Edward Norton Weekend – Primal Fear (1996)

Director: Gregory Hobilt

Writer: Steve Shagan, Ann Biderman (Screenplay) William Diehl (Novel)

Starring: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, John Mahoney, Alfre Woodard, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Terry O’Quinn, Andre Braugher

 

Plot: An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep.


Tagline – Sooner or later a man who wears two faces forgets which one is real.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Thriller

 

Story: Primal Fear starts when the Archbishop is murdered, all clues point to bloody covered Aaron (Norton) as the murderer, he shy stuttering alter boy. When former district prosecutor Martin Vail (Gere) turned defence lawyer sees this as a spotlight for his new career direction and going against former colleague Janet (Linney) and her boss the district attorney Shaughnessy (Mahoney) the case goes to trial.

When Martin learns that Aaron has a split personality disorder with a much more aggressive Roy doing the dirty work for Aaron and the bigger picture of the motivation behind the murder comes to light.

 

Thoughts on Primal Fear

 

Characters – Martin Vail is the lawyer, he once was one of the biggest prosecutors in the city but has turned his back on that career to become a defence lawyer. He sees this case as the one that will give him his big break as a defence lawyer doing this case for free. He has a strong trusted team, he is made out to be a womaniser, though we never see him hit on anyone, only that he once had a fling with Janet in the past. Janet is the prosecutor that is taking the case, she is the one taking over Martin’s role and with a previous relationship with him. She knows this will be a career maker for her and is enjoying going head to head with her former mentor. Shaughnessy is the District Attorney that wants the death penalty and will not let Janet forget this. Aaron is the shy alter boy that is accused of murder but with him being found covered in blood even if you can’t see him doing this murder, Roy is the aggressive personality next to Aaron that knows the truth and seems to be the release of everything Aaron holds in. Shoat is the judge trying to control the case in what lawyers are trying to pull for their wins. Molly is psychologist that is studying Aaron trying to figure out what his mindset learning about Roy.

PerformancesRichard Gere is fantastic in the leading role, you see here how he shows the desperate he is to win this case. Laura Linney is strong in her role which must go against Richard Gere. Edward Norton gives one of the best debut roles of any actor in the history of film, he is disturbed when needed and calm when Aaron and crazed when Roy. The supporting cast are great too without taking the spotlight of the rest of the cast.

StoryThe story follows the trial of a disturbed young man accused of murdering an archbishop. While the court case unfolds like you would expect with twists coming from every corner and evidence coming to light through nearly every witness. As a fan of courtroom dramas this plays into everything I enjoy and I love watching crimes get solved in a courtroom. The story is very well paced and even being over 2 hours long doesn’t feel like you are giving the film this much time.

Crime/MysteryThe crime focuses on the murder and what gave the killer motivation, the mystery plays into the motivation too and just how the shy timid altar boy could have committed the murder.

SettingsThe film uses the courtroom for most of the scenes, we have the location involved in the crime too which shows how the lawyers are operating on both sides of the case.


Scene of the Movie –
The final twist.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would say the side case Martin worked on being touched on through the main case gets slightly annoying.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best courtroom dramas of all time, with a crime which does balance the line between what would be considered a bigger crime and performances that could be considered the career best for members of the cast.

 

Overall: Courtroom delight.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – A – Atlantis: Milo’s Return (2003)

Director: Victor Cook, Toby Shelton, Tad Stones

Writer: Thomas Hart, Henry Gilroy, Kevin Hopps, Tad Stones, Steve Englehart, Marty Isenberg (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) James Arnold Taylor, Cree Summer, John Mahoney, Jacqueline Obradors, Don Novello, Corey Burton

 

Plot: Milo and Kida reunite with their friends to investigate strange occurances around the world that seem to have links to the secrets of Atlantis.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disney’s Bad Spell

 

Story: Atlantis: Milo’s Return starts as we see Atlantis has continued to grow after the event of the first film Queen Kida has bough peace to the land with Milo still lives here. The life does seem calm until a new threat comes to the land, one that Milo and Kida must investigate.

When they learn that they are facing a monster from the deep unlike anything they have seen before the Kraken that has powers of mind control, the battle to save Atlantis is on again.

 

Thoughts on Atlantis: Milo’s Return

 

Characters – Milo is still the adventurer at heart, returning from Atlantis to explore for other Atlantean weapons which are being used around the world. Kida is now the Queen of Atlantis she wants to see the world and protect it from the ancient powers that her ancestors created which are being used in the real world.

StoryThe story brings Milo and his friends into the real world to locate ancient Atlantean weapons that are being used in the real world. the story is designed to be a pilot to a potential television show and you can see this because the film is split into 20 odd minute adventures from different parts of the world, this is weak from Disney because the first film did have a fan base, this will only disappoint them.

Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe adventure takes our characters to new location which should be an adventure to enjoy, the problem is that we don’t spend enough time here in each place, the fantasy shows how ancient idea could being new ideas to treasure hunting but mostly feels like a Scooby Doo episode and the sci-fi shows us the new world that came from ancient powers created modern technology.

SettingsThe settings take us to new locations which does against what we are expecting with a film about Atlantis.

AnimationThe animation quality isn’t on the levels of the Disney movie either which disappoints us throughout.


Scene of the Movie –
The Kraken.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is just not interesting for what we knew from Atlantis itself.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing sequel to the weak Disney movie in the first place, this is sadly just like the pilot to the television show it wants to be.

 

Overall: Poor sequel Disney

Rating

 

 

Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)

logoDirector: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

Writer: Tab Murphy (Screenplay) Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise, Joss Wehdon, Bryce Zabel, Jackie Zabel, Tab Murphy, David Reynolds (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Michael J Fox, Corey Burton, James Garner, Claudia Christian, John Mahoney, Phil Morris, Leonard nimoy, Don Novello, Jacqueline Obradors

 

Plot: A young adventurer named Milo Thatch joins an intrepid group of explorers to find the mysterious lost continent of Atlantis.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disney Standard Adventure

 

Story: Atlantis: The Lost Empire starts by showing the destruction of Atlantis. Flash forward to Washington 1914, where Milo James Thatch who wants to find the missing city of Atlantis and is presenting an idea for a proposal to search for it. Milo has his proposal rejected but a visit from the mysterious Helga Katrina Sinclair who brings Milo to meet Mr Whitmore. Mr Whitmore a friend of Milo’s grandfather gives Milo a gift from his grandfather proving he might have found Atlantis. Mr Whitmore has been arranging his own mission to find it Atlantis and wants to bring Milo along on the mission as one last request to Milo’s grandfather.

The crew together the mission launches off to Iceland that is the believed location of Atlantis. The crew approaching the location suffer huge loses after the ship is attacked by the guardian of Atlantis. The few that make it to the underground location continue their expedition being stalked by mysterious creatures knowing that finding a way out is their only option. When the group find the missing Atlantis they meet the locals, who want the explorers to leave. We learn that Atlantis does things a certain way and isn’t happy letting anyone new into the city, but the city is also trying to struggling to survive. It becomes clear that the team sent on the mission might well have alternative motives and it is up to Milo to fix what he has caused.

Atlantis: The Lost Empire really comes off as a very standard adventure film, it uses the real mythological city of Atlantis to help identify the idea that explorers will look for it to drive the story and give us very little extra motive as people still look for it today. The story falls slightly because it does turn into Treasure Island because of the crews turn and the naïve young man has to save the day. The story offers little in the way of originality and ends up used the same old clichéd ideas we have seen before. I do feel the story is solid but could easily be improved. (6/10)

 

Character Review

 

Milo James Thatch: Milo is ambitious young explorer who wants to find Atlantis but keeps getting rejected by the people who could make it happen. When he gets a chance from a mysterious friend of his late Grandfather, Milo jumps at the chance and becomes the group’s only hope of making it after the ships get destroyed. Milo is a good character but ends up looking like an educated version of Jim Hawkins. (6/10)

 milo

Support Characters: Atlantis: The Lost Empire has a clichéd supporting list with every possible generic character filled nicely and we all know what will happen to each and every one of them.

 

Director Review: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise – The pair gives a us a solid action animation film but nothing more. (6/10)

 

Adventure: Atlantis: The Lost Empire delivers on every level of an adventure film even if we have seen a lot of it before. (8/10)

Animation: Atlantis: The Lost Empire has great animation used throughout to make everything look beautiful when needed and frightening when needed. (8/10)

Family: Atlantis: The Lost Empire might not be the perfect family film due to the high body count the explorers encounter. (4/10)

Sci-Fi: Atlantis: The Lost Empire uses the sci-fi elements really well to make us look at what could have happened to a missing city. (8/10)

Settings: Atlantis: The Lost Empire creates brilliant settings for the story to take place in and around. (8/10)

Suggestion: Atlantis: The Lost Empire is one to try, I don’t think it will give the audience everything they are looking for but can pass the time nicely. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Inspired Avatar.

Worst Part: Inspired Avatar

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $186 Million

Budget: $90 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Tagline: Atlantis is waiting

 

Overall: Atlantis is one of the world’s biggest mysteries and this film just seems to fast forward any real ideas of what could have happened to the people of Atlantis.

Rating 55

The Iron Giant (1999)

logoDirector: Brad Bird

Writer: Tim McCanlies (Screenplay) Brad Bird (Screen Story) Ted Hughes (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr, Vin Diesel, James Gammon, Cloris Leachman, Christopher McDonald, John Mahoney, Eli Marienthal

 

Plot: In a small town in America a lonely boy Hogarth struggles to make friends but that is about to change when a giant robot from outer space crash lands in his town. While the robot is sent here for a more destructive motive his friendship with Hogarth will help him make the decision that will save the Earth. How will the military handle the situation when people are panicking about a potential war breaking out.

 

Verdict: A great animated film that has wrongfully been forgotten

Story: When it comes to animated film you need to be aiming at a younger audience. It doesn’t mean you need to ignore the mature storylines though, this has plenty of them with the overreaction towards something unknown but it also has the childhood feeling of not fitting in. The story shows you can be who you are, who you are meant to be. (9/10)

 

Actor Review: Hogarth Hughes – Hogarth is full of innocence and this gives him a brilliant connection with the giant as we see how two new friends first connect without judging each other. (9/10)

 hogarth

Actor Review: The Iron Giant – With the giant we get a chance to see how a machine can be sent to destroy but with enough chance of learning can become good. Iconic Performance Award (10/10)

giant

Actor Review: Annie Hughes – The standard concerned single mother who has to work too many hours to make ends meet leaving her son to sometimes get up to mastiff. (8/10)

 

Actor Review: Kent Mansley – Kent is against anything that comes into the world that he doesn’t know, he wants to destroy first and ask questions later. (9/10)

 kent

Director Review: Brad Bird – The first steps for one of the best directors in Hollywood today and he shows why.(10/10)

 

Action: Most action is saved for the final scenes with the military against the giant. (8/10)

Adventure: For children the adventure side of the story is brilliant as what boy child wouldn’t want a giant robot. (9/10)

Animation: Great animation throughout. (9/10)

Believability: Some military people will act this way but the overall story isn’t believable. (1/10)

Chances of Tears: You might get some at the end. (5/10)

Settings: The small town in Maine is a good setting but doesn’t add anything to the overall storyline. (8/10)

Suggestion: I feel all ages will enjoy this film, so I would suggest watching. If you have kids this is one that will be enjoyed by all little boys out there. (Watch)

 

Best Part: The missile scene.

Action Scene Of The Film: The chase for the town.

Favourite Quote: Hogarth ‘You are what you choose to be, you choose’

Oscar Chances: No Oscar Nods

Chances of Sequel: No

 

Overall: Brilliant animated film

Rating 88