ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – Z – Same Kind of Different Me (2017)

This has be selected for Z because of Renee Zellweger.

 

Director: Michael Carney

Writer: Michael Carney, Alexander Foard, Ron Hall (Screenplay) Ron Hall, Denver Moore, Lynn Vincent (Book)

Starring: Greg Kinnear, Renee Zellweger, Djimon Hounsou, Jon Voight, Olivia Holt, Austin Filson

 

Plot: International art dealer Ron Hall must befriend a dangerous homeless man in order to save his struggling marriage to his wife, a woman whose dreams will lead all three of them on the journey of their lives.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Touching Drama

 

Story: Same Kind of Different as Me starts when international art dealer Ron Hall (Kinnear) gets caught out cheating on his wife Debbie (Zellweger), needing to make up for his mistake, he must help Debbie with her charity work at a homeless shelter, which includes helping Denver Moore (Hounsou) better known as suicide.

Ron ends up befriending Denver learning about his story, why he is like he is, learning that her work with the homeless makes her good fortune be placed into perspective and learns to give back to the world.

 

Thoughts on Same Kind of Different as Me

 

Characters – Ron Hall is an international art dealer, he only cares about himself and his family looking down on the people below him in the class system. When he makes a mistake by cheating on his wife, he must do everything to make it up to her, which includes helping in a homeless shelter, meeting homeless people learning about their stories, with Denver becoming his closest friend. Debbie is the wife of Ron, she admits the two have become distant, she helps out at the homeless shelter which see her bring him there to open his eyes to the world more, before facing her own battle. Denver is a homeless man that is aggressive towards anyone that tries to help him, it takes time for him to trust Ron, but once he does, he tells the incredible story that he has been through in life. Earl is the strict father that doesn’t like the new friendship with Denver.

PerformancesGreg Kinnear is great in the leading role, his character is filled with regret in life from his mistakes and wants to help make things right. Renee Zellweger shines in the supporting role too, with Djimon Hounsou proving to everyone just how strong of an actor he truly is.

StoryThe story follows the Hall family whose lives are turned upside after an affair, with the regret there, they do what they can to fix things, which sees them give up time to help people less fortunate than them, helping them put their lives back together and in Ron’s case, learn that everybody has a story from their lives. This is based on the real people and you can see just how much they helped change both sides of the lives for the best. This story does only seem to focus on one homeless man when it hints heavily early on that we might meet more people to learn their stories. It shows us the audience just how people who have fallen on hard times could have has normal lives before losing everything and just need helping back up again.

BiopicThis film uses the biopic genre to show just how difficult life has been for the Denver and how Ron needed to learn more about life and the best way to live his own.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us the different life styles the people have, be it the casual rich person life or the homeless life being lived.


Scene of the Movie –
The story of Denver’s life.

That Moment That Annoyed Me One side story seems to get dropped quickly.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful drama that shows just how you need to learn to treat people equal no matter where they have come from or how they got there.

 

Overall: Wonderful drama.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – A – Ali (2001)

Director: Michael Mann

Writer: Stephen J Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson, Eric Roth, Michael Mann (Screenplay) Gregory Allen Howard (Story)

Starring: Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jon Voight, Mario Van Peebles, Ron Silver, Jeffrey Wright, Mykelti Williamson

 

Plot: A biography of sports legend Muhammad Ali, focusing on his triumphs and controversies between 1964 and 1974.


Tagline – Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.

Runtime: 2 Hours 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Boxing Biopic a Must Watch

 

Story: Ali starts on the brink of Cassius Clay (Smith) first title match in 1964, a match he wins to become heavyweight champion of the world, with his place on top of the world ready, Cassius joins forces with Malcolm X (Peebles) becoming a Muslim in the process, changing his name to Muhammad Ali.

With the Vietnam war drafting men from America, Muhammad is drafted, but he refuses to go and fight which leads him to be stripped of the title and banned from fighting in certain states, Ali uses his to create one of the biggest fights in history, The Rumble in the Jungle.

 

Thoughts on Ali

 

Characters – Muhammad Ali is one if not the most famous boxers in the world, in the history of the sport, he help shape the sport to be what we know now, with his charisma and loud behaviour against his opponents, we follow just ten years of his life, from his first title win, through his religious change, the battle against the government about fighting in the Vietnam war, to being part of one of the biggest fights in boxing history. When we focus on the rest of the real-life people we get to see the loyal people in his life, reporter Howard Cosell that seemed to have a wonderful relationship which included banter between the two and the promoters that make the fight possible.

PerformancesWill Smith in the role of Ali is brilliant, this is easily his best performance of his career showing the world that he can have his wise cracking side mixed with the serious side. We have an unrecognizable Jon Voight who is shows us all that how easily he can morph into any role. The rest of the supporting cast are good without being fantastic or taking away anything from Smith in the leading role.

StoryThe story here takes us into Muhammed Ali’s life for ten years, we get to see from the night he first won the title till the famous Rumble in the Jungle match. We do see the obstacles he must overcome to remain the man he was which in itself is an incredible story during late 60s America. My issues with the story come from not seeing everything that Ali went through in this career, mostly the rise to the top, which could have been an even more interesting story. for the story to only cover 10- years is interesting because we could have seen so much more of the legal battle against the government, the religious battles he faced because of his stance on war and action with the women. The truth is, Ali lived an amazing life and there are so many story we could learn about him from his career any film just can’t cover them all.

Biopic/SportsTen years of one of the great boxers in the history of the sport, one of the men that changed the sport almost doesn’t give it enough justice. The sports side of the film comes from the boxing scenes which are incredibly real through the film we do get a couple and they do go on a long time.

SettingsThe film here takes us to the important locations in Ali’s life, the ring of course is the most important one while we get scenes away from the ring to as we look at his church and his personal life.


Scene of the Movie –
Rumble in the Jungle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have like to see more of his life and career

Final ThoughtsThis is one of those biopics which is great to watch and has wonderful scenes, only for it to be missing that big it factor about it. The fights do feel real which is key and the performances are flawless, we could only have learnt more.

 

Overall: Biopic to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Deliverance (1972)

Director: John Boorman

Writer: James Dickey (Screenplay) James Dickey (Novel)

Starring: Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox, Ed Ramey, Billy Redden

 

Plot: Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it’s turned into one huge lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a river-rafting trip they’ll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.


Tagline –  Four men ride a wild river. A weekend turns into a nightmare.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Intense Thriller

 

Story: Deliverance starts when four city man Ed (Voight), Lewis (Reynolds), Bobby (Beatty) and Drew (Cox) head to the Cahulawassee river for a river-rafting trip down the river before the river is turned into a lake, Lewis leads the group being an outdoors man.

What seems like a pleasant enough trip takes a brutal turn when the locals force themselves on Bobby before Lewis kills one of them. The friends now face a race against time to make it out of the wilderness before the rest come for revenge in the deadliest chase of their lives.

 

Thoughts on Deliverance

 

Characters – Lewis is the outdoors man of the group, he is close friends with Ed and you feel like they have been on many an adventure together. He has the plans for the trip believing he doesn’t need to ask for help and when their backs are against the wall he must step up. Ed is the linchpin between the friends, the one they turn to when things are not going their way for advice and almost comfort, he does witness the attack on Bobby, left helpless to only watch. Bobby is an insurance salesman that joins the trip, he clearly isn’t used to being in the outdoors and goes through the worst ordeal of them all. Drew is the final member of the group or tries to play the morale and legal compass when things get out of hand.

PerformancesThe performances here give us four of the best actors of a generation at different stages of their careers, they are all fantastic in what they do too. Jon Voight stands above them all, but you can’t deny they shine in the moments they need too.

StoryThe story keeps things very simple, four friends go on an adventure rafting trip only for a peaceful trip to turn into a nightmare as they are attacked and hunted down by the local hillbillies. We have a moral discussion about what to do when you murder to protect yourself, seeing how difficult it can be for one man to get pushed to the limits of needing to take a life and an environmental discussion around the ideas of what would happen when rivers are being turned into lakes. This is one of those movies where the story never needs to get complicated, you truly believe the peril the characters are in too.

Adventure/ThrillerThe adventure the friends go on, takes out characters on a rafting trip, one that was meant for pure happiness and endurance, they got the endurance, but a race against time too. We are kept on the edge of our seats from the moment the attack happened, because we don’t know how many people are going to be looking to hunt them down.

SettingsThe film takes place in the wilderness of the American countryside, this is used for the beauty of the settings and the peril of the situation with the nature and the locals being the threat.


Scene of the Movie –
The clifftop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel like there would be bigger scars after what happened to Bobby.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the greatest thriller to ever be made, it has four excellent performances and shows that we can have horror in moments that should be calm.

 

Overall: Brilliant from start to finish.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – M – Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Director: John Schlesinger

Writer: Waldo Salt (Screenplay) James Leo Herlihy (Novel)

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles, John McGiver, Brenda Vaccaro, Barnard Hughes

 

Plot: A naive hustler travels from Texas to New York City to seek personal fortune but, in the process, finds himself a new friend.


Tagline – Whatever you hear about Midnight Cowboy is true.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerhouse Performances Classic

 

Story: Midnight Cowboy starts as naïve Texan hustler Joe Buck (Voight) heads to New York City to try his act. Arriving in the big apple things don’t start the way he had planned and after meeting local hustler Ratso (Hoffman) he learns a hard lesson on who to trust.

When the two end up becoming friends they work their act in New York with Ratso trying to save for a trip for Florida, where he see the dream to be. The two on finding a way to get rich and what they gained is a friendship.

 

Thoughts on Midnight Cowboy

 

Characters – Joe Buck is the cowboy from Texas, he has worked the area dry, well he seemed to have had an honest job there, wanting more in the big city he heads to New York, an overly friendly young man gets eaten up in the city to start with before making a friend that tries to teach him how to hustler the big city. Ratso is the New York hustler, he is disabled which makes his role better in the management role which he takes to guide Joe through the situations, though he isn’t well and now needs Joe more than anyone ever in his life. We only focus on these two with their clients that come into the situations they find themselves in.

PerformancesJon Voight in the leading role is fantastic, we see he bring the naivety through in his character that is mostly harmless man trying to find his way in the world. Dustin Hoffman also excels in his role which went against everything people knew about him at the time of the release, showing he was always going to be one of the generations best actors.

StoryThe story here follows a naïve cowboy hustler in the big apple where he learns about trust, friendship and how survive the world of a gigolo. This does show how people will need guidance to understand the world even if it meant giving up everything for that chance. the two friendship is the most important part of the film because we see how Ratso is sick and needs Joe Buck to help him too. We see how the friendship keeps both moving forward in life and that is the important factor in the story.

SettingsWe have the coach journey which heads to New York city which of course is a brilliant because the scale of the city is something Joe Buck wasn’t ready for.


Scene of the Movie –
Coach journey together.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There wasn’t anything.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the true classics in cinema, we have two stunning performances from the leads and a story that teaches us about friendship.

 

Overall: Brilliant must watch film.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Lara Croft Tomb Raider (2001) Revisited

This is a revisited review, I first did this as one of my very first reviews in 2012.

 

Director: Simon West

Writer: Patrick Massett, John Zinman (Screenplay) Sara B Cooper, Mike Werb, Michael Colleary (Story)

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, Iain Glen, Noah Taylor, Daniel Craig, Chris Barrie, Leslie Phillips

 

Plot: Video game adventurer Lara Croft comes to life in a movie where she races against time and villains to recover powerful ancient artefacts.


Tagline – Who Is Lara Croft?

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure Fun

 

Story: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider starts on the anniversary of Lara Croft’s (Jolie) father death, with a once in a lifetime planetary alinement happening, Lara just so happens to discover the all seeing eye in her mansion and now she is involved in an adventure she is interested in. Lara’s connection lead her to Manfred Powell (Glen) a man assigned to locate the eye for secret society that want to use its powers for their own desires.

Once Manfred takes the artefact, Lara must go on adventure showing her tomb raiding skills hoping to stop them powerful device causing havoc on the world.

 

Thoughts on Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

 

Characters – Lara Croft lifted straight from the video game, the Lady of Croft Manor, she has found treasures all over the world becoming slightly bored of the popular location, getting a hidden message from her later father Lara’s interest spikes and soon she will be battle a secret society that are using her latest discovery to hopefully control time. We know she is the kick ass action heroine from the video games, calm through each situation, competitive rivalry with Alex West and the best in her field. Lord Richard Croft had died before the story starts, he appears in dreams guiding Lara as he was the one that trained her, he started learning about this event long before it started. Manfred Powell is hired by an underground society that want control of time, he will do anything to get what he wants to prove his value to the society and doesn’t lift a finger when it comes to searching for treasure. Alex West is the American rival to Lara, he works for money over desire to find treasure even if the two do just have an honest rivalry. Bryce and Hillary are the two most trusted people in Lara’s life, one works on her tech while the other looks after the manor.

PerformancesAngelina Jolie was the perfect choice in the year 2001 for this role, she was the best action heroine for the time, had the look of Lara Croft down to perfection as well as the swagger filled attitude. Jon Voight while only in a couple of scenes is good as the father figure needed for Lara. Iain Glen is good as the calculated villain who can kill just as quickly as Lara, he shows the calmness through the film to stay a threat in the film. Daniel Craig as the rival tomb raider is fine, his accent is his weakness though. Noah Taylor and Chris Barrie get most of the laughs which keeps the story on a lighter note.

StoryThe story gives us one of Lara Croft adventures as a Tomb Raider against the Illuminati. The story shows us an established Lara, accepting her place in the high society with connections in the antique world, we see she is trained in combat and this helps us get right into the story. the story shows us how Lara is almost bored of the generic treasure hunts and this knew one sparks her interest once again. When it comes to the story it unfolds as you would imagine, going from one location to the next location for the next chapter of the adventure as we get the different parts to complete the quest.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is set pieces set up on the different adventures Lara is on, be it in the tombs or in the manor which get bigger as the film goes on.

SettingsThe settings take us from the manor, to the tombs in the jungle and Siberia as well as Venice. Each place would be where you could imagine Lara going on her adventures.

Special EffectsThe effects are a mix of good and bad, for the time however they would have been excellent to watch, with the stone figures in the tomb sequence.


Scene of the Movie –
First Tomb sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain effects have dated.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action adventure bring to life one of the most iconic video game characters in Lara Croft.

 

Overall: Action adventure worth watching.

Rating