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

 

 

Paul Newman Weekend – The Color of Money (1986)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Richard Price (Screenplay) Walter Tevis (Novel)

Starring: Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Helen Shaver, John Turturro, Bill Cobbs, Forest Whitaker

 

Plot: Fast Eddie Felson teaches a cocky but immensely talented protégé the ropes of pool hustling, which in turn inspires him to make an unlikely comeback.


Tagline – The Hustler isn’t what he used to be, but he has the next best thing. A kid who is.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Smart Sequel

 

Story: The Colour of Money starts when cocky young pool player Vincent Lauria (Cruise) arrives in Fast Eddie Felson (Newman) bar hustling pool against his best player Julian (Turturro). Eddie takes a shine to Vincent and talks his girlfriend Carmen (Mastrantonio) into going on the road to hustle teaching him the ropes.

As Eddie and Carmen try to control Vincent, Eddie learns that Vincent’s flare will keep taking over as he constantly wants to show off, the game has changed too, but this does give Eddie the desire to make a comeback.

 

Thoughts on The Colour of Money

 

Characters – Fast Eddie Felson is now out of the pool game and moved onto the liquor business, when he see Vincent in a bar he wants to take him under his wing and show him the art of the hustle, he is strict with his instructions and gets dreams of a comeback one day, to a life he walked away. Vincent Lauria is the hot shot young pool player that shines in the 9-ball game, he is overly confident and doesn’t follow instructions given to him with his own decisions being his downfall at making the big money early on. Carmen is the girlfriend of Vincent, she understands the rules of the hustle and needs to learn to control Vincent to achieve the highest return on the investments.

PerformancesPaul Newman returns to the character of Fast Eddie Felson, he returns with a bang and shines from the opening scene to the closing as we see his character go through retirement to getting obsessed with a game that nearly ruined his life. Tom Cruise is great as the overly confident player, we see that he is going to be a big star with this role. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is great too, we see how the she can control her player and stand up and be counted in the mostly male world.

StoryThe story follows the return to Fast Eddie Felson, a man we met in The Hustler, we see how he is out of the game now and still making money in his field as a salesman. We see how he sees potential in a new player to help him get back on the road and hustle again, maybe not the playing side, but the investing side. We get to focus on a veteran returning to the sport he loved to prove he is still the best, proving at any age you can return to the sport you love. Seeing how the game has changed from the straight pool style we knew to the 9-ball is the biggest change.

SportsThe table is the same, the game has changed, the pool is now 9-ball a faster version of pool, one that is a lot harder to hustle in because of the increased lucky involved at times, this doesn’t get addressed enough for me because I know how this game can play out and I will admit there is skill involved, this isn’t as skilful as the straight pool we saw in the first film.

SettingsThe film shows us the different styles of pool halls where Eddie tries to teach Vincent, we get the feeling everyone is a local in the hall too.


Scene of the Movie –
The tournament.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Which I know more money can come from hustling, I never understood why Eddie doesn’t go pro.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great sequel to one of the best films of all time, Paul Newman showed us all that he will always be one of the coolest and best actors we ever had, while Cruise makes the big impact.

 

Overall: Strikes the right buttons all game long.

Rating

 

 

God’s Pocket (2014)

Director: John Slattery

Writer: Alex Metcalf, John Slattery (Screenplay) Peter Dexter (Novel)

Starring: Christina Hendricks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eddie Marsan, Caleb Landry Jones, Jack O’Connell, John Turturro, Richard Jenkins

 

Plot: A blue collar worker tries to cover things up when his stepson is killed in a suspicious accident, but a local reporter senses that something’s amiss.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Drama

 

Story: God’s Pocket starts as we meet the different characters from this small town of God’s Pocket. We have Mickey (Hoffman) a meat salesman who works with Arthur (Turturro) stealing product before selling it as his own, his wife Jeanie (Hendricks) and her son Leon (Jones) along with reporter Richard Shellburn (Jenkins) who has been reporting on the town for 20 years.

When Leon is killed in a work accident the town surround the family with their sympathy. When Jeanie questions what happened it brings Richard to look deeper into the story as well as Mickey using his mob connection to try and learn the truth, but in this small town can secrets be kept?

 

Thoughts on God’s Pocket

 

Characters/PerformanceMickey is a man that finds a way to make ends meet either side of the law, when his step-son is killed he works on finding out the truth but must deal with his own problems with money. Jeanie is the grieving mother that demands the truth about her son’s death, she is also becoming distant from her husband Mickey. Richard is a journalist know all around the town, he has reported on the events of the town for years now and gets called into learn the truth of the events around the death. Arthur is Mickey’s connection to the underworld where the two work on robberies.

Performance wise, Hoffman is great in what was his final complete film, Hendricks is also good throughout the film with Jenkins giving us his best reporter like role. Turturro was also good throughout the film.

StoryThe story shows the three day events leading up to a funeral, we see everyday people dealing with a sudden death as they search for the truth, make their own mistakes and try to cover up their mistakes. This is a slow-moving film that tries to give us a real life series of events that follow the people involved but isn’t a casual watch.

CrimeThe crime side of the story comes from Mickey’s side along with the crime surround the accident. We have the crime world but otherwise this is more focused on the dramatic stories that characters live through.

SettingsWe like the small town setting which helps us see just how well the people of the town know each other.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good drama even if it is slightly slow in place, it is filled with good acting and a story that almost feels like it could come off as a comedy slightly better.

 

Overall: Good drama, good acting but nothing memorable.

Rating

 

 

Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)

logoDirector: Ridley Scott

Writer: Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine, Steven Zallian (Screenplay)

Starring: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Ben Mendelsohn, Maria Valverde, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, Hiam Abbass

 

Plot: The defiant leader Moses rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses, setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bible Studies Round Two

 

Story: Exodus: Gods and Kings starts by explaining about the slave problem going on during Egypt before showing two brothers Ramses (Edgerton) and Moses (Bale) during dealing with advancing enemies. We watch how both overcome the odds in battle while defeating their enemies returning as heroes. We continue to see how the two work together to impress their leader Seti (Turturro) including meeting with neighbouring kingdoms. When Moses meets elder nun (Kingsley) he learns that he is actually Hebrew by descent and is part of the enemy against Seti.

When Ramses ascends to the throne the truth comes back to haunt Moses, as he gets exiled by Ramses. We see how Moses starts a new life and seven years have passed under Ramses has been using larger number of slaves to build his legacy. One Hour into the film Moses finally see the burning bush and gets given a visitor tell him to see what has happened to his people.

Moses pays Ramses a visit demanding the slaves get paid equal or freed leading to the Ramses demanding Moses to be killed along with his family. Unable to find Moses or his family Ramses starts executing families while Moses trains a new army to rise up and claim their freedom. The plagues start to hit Ramses kingdom and somehow only take up a quick flash of the film also explaining how each plague could have been explained.

Exodus: Gods and Kings goes off to tell us the old story of Moses freeing the slaves, anyone who has ever had to go through any bible studies will know the idea behind this story. I do feel like the opening hour of the film is very slow and completely over tiring because all we want to see are the battle and the plagues. When you get past the first hour the film comes into its own but the first hour really will test the audience who want to see a story they know the outline off. The scenes come off very well and I do like the idea of trying to claim the plagues have a realistic idea rather than just being God like plagues. Overall I do think this film is slightly slow and could easily be shorter and get the story told the same amount. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Christian Bale: Moses starts off brother to Ramses but he was only ever the adopted brother, he is a great warrior but when the truth about where he really comes from comes out he gets exiled. Years pass before Moses returns to lead his people to freedom against the tyrant like pharaoh Ramses. Christian does a solid job as Moses but we do get a lot of brooding from his character. (6/10)

 moses

Joel Edgerton: Ramses becomes a tyrant like Pharaoh who over works the slaves to make sure his leaves a legacy to be remembered. When Moses demands the freedom of the slaves he resists leading to the deadly plagues hit the town and his true character finally get revealed. Joel does a solid job but never seems to feel as tyrant like as he should. (5/10)

 ramses

Support Cast: Exodus: Gods and Kings has a large supporting cast but we have generic characters being played by actors you would expect to see in the roles.

 

Director Review: Ridley Scott – Ridley does what you expect by giving us an epic idea that goes on too long. (5/10)

 

Action: Exodus: Gods and Kings has a few action scene but really is mainly the training before the final chase. (4/10)

Settings: Exodus: Gods and Kings creates very authentic looking sets making you feel like you are in the time period. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Exodus: Gods and Kings used for the most part all work very well but the final tidal wave you could see CGI on screen. (5/10)

Suggestion: Exodus: Gods and Kings is one to try but it won’t be one that sticks in your memory for long after. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The plagues look good.

Worst Part: First hour is very slow.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Noah

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $268 Million

Budget: $140 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 30 Minutes

Tagline: Once Brothers, Now Enemies

 

Overall: This is a film that really doesn’t reach the levels it should but once you get past the first hour it becomes interesting.

Rating 55

Trailer Alert – Exodus: Gods and Kings

Plot – The defiant leader Moses rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses, setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.

Starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley, Sigourney Weaver, John Turturro and Aaron Paul, directed by Ridley Scott.

Release Date:  26th December 2014

Questions:

Has the trailer given away the whole story?

Is this just trying to copy the Noah success?

Will this get religious backlash?

Could this be the epic of the year?

Will I Be Watching? Yes

Will You Be Watching?

My Anticipation Rating – 70%

My Guess Rating – 85%

Will It Be Number One In UK? – Yes