ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – M – Milk (2008)

Director: Gus Van Sant

Writer: Dustin Lance Black (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, James Franco, Alison Pill

 

Plot: The story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California’s first openly gay elected official.


Tagline – His life changed history. His courage changed lives.

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important Figure in History

 

Story: Milk starts as we meet Harvey Milk (Penn) an openly gay man in the 1970s that moves to San Francisco with his boyfriend Scott Smith (Franco) to start a business, he soon becomes a leader for businesses who don’t decimate against homosexuals.

Tired of the abuse they are getting Harvey decides to run for office to help get equal rights for homosexuals, this gets him attention from the haters, who start targeting him. Soon he makes a movement to make gay right count across America.

 

Thoughts on Milk

 

Characters – Harvey Milk is telling us the story of how he rose the political ladder, being a gay man made this difficult because he is not fight just for his rights but for all homosexuals in America, he was a real man that helped change the civil rights in the 70s. Cleve Jones is one of the young men that Harvey takes in to help run the campaign, he has an ability to bring communities together in the movements they want to fight for. Dan White is one of the politicians that opposes Harvey, he doesn’t want to work with him because of his religious beliefs.

PerformancesSean Penn won an Oscar for his performance in this film, you can see why, he is fantastic in the leading role where he commands the screen. Emile Hirsch is unrecognisable in this role which shows us the talent he has but doesn’t always give us. Josh Brolin is good in his role, while the rest of talent is good through the film too.

StoryThe story follows Harvey Milk as he rose to political power in a civil rights movement for the homosexual people. This shows the struggles he must go through to help make this go through and the team that supported him in his battle for this civil right. This shows us how people have always fought for their rights the right way no matter what they must overcome.

Biopic/History/RomanceThe biopic side of this film shows us Harvey Milk and just how important he and his team were to the civil rights movement. It shows us how important this moment in history was for civil rights movements too. The romance side shows how difficult it was for Harvey to keep a relationship while running for office.

SettingsThe settings show how Harvey rose through he ranks, starting with just a street, before a district and moving onto political offices.


Scene of the Movie –
The rallying call.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is a frustration about why people acted like this holding people back.

Final ThoughtsThis is an important movie about how the civil rights movement was important for everyone involved, it needed to change, it did thanks to this man Harvey Milk at his beliefs.

 

Overall: Important drama for all to see.

Rating

 

 

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Only the Brave (2017)

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Writer: Ken Nolan, Eric Warren Singer (Screenplay) Sean Flynn (Article)

Starring: Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Connelly, James Badge Dale, Taylor Kitsch, Andie MacDowell

 

Plot: Based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group of elite firefighters who risk everything to protect a town from a historic wildfire.


Tagline – It’s Not What Stands In Front Of You, It’s Who Stands Beside You

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Man Versus Natural Story

 

Story: Only the Brave starts as we meet Eric Marsh (Brolin)a mountain hotshot firefighter superintendent with his trusted second lieutenant Jesse Steed (Dale) who get their chance to step up to the next level as the prepare for the wildfires which could take homes.

When Eric’s connection Duane (Bridges) gives his new which includes loud mouth Christopher (Kitsch) and recovering junkie Brendan (Teller) trying to prove his value to the team, they get their opportunity to prove their quality to the fire department as they end up battling one of the biggest wildfires in history.

 

Thoughts on Only the Brave

 

Characters – Eric Marsh is the leader of the group of firefighters, he has fought to get his team the chance to become a force known as hotshots, which means on the frontline, he will give everyone a chance to prove themselves, even if his own ideas could cause problems with their chances. His leadership skills make him the inspiration the unit needs. Jesse Steed is the second in command, providing the much-needed answers to questions he might be facing and advice to the crew. Amanda is the wife of Eric, the two have an understanding that shows she is prepared for him to not make it home one day, as she shows the independence needed as she works with helping horses which have been mistreated. Brendan is a young junkie, he becomes a parent and wants to turn his life around by joining the unit, this gives him the direction, mentorship and responsibility he had never focused on before in his life, this is shown with his relationship with Eric and with Christopher, the loud mouth of the unit that is willing to push Brendan as far as he needs to be pushed.

PerformancesJosh Brolin in the leading role fantastic, proving he can keep his performance reserved while showing he is the true leader of the group. James Badge Dale is always great in the supporting roles and this is clear once again. Jennifer Connelly also proves to be a great supporting performer here, even though part of her storyline isn’t as interesting as the firefighting. Miles Teller does continue to build up a reputation for giving good and different performances through the film. Taylor Kitsch also continues to rebuild his career after the reputation he once get branded with.

StoryThe story follows a mountain firefighting unit that prepare to become the next level, before they start battling the wildfires with each one giving them a new task to overcome. This is based on the real crew which became a close unit as they got closer to the action to try and protect the loved ones. This does show a lot of training, battling and preparing for a big fire and shows the bravery these men showed when it came to try to protect their town.

BiopicThe men involved in the firefighting unit are real, they risked their lives to save people and their homes. These men needed their story told and this gives them that.

SettingsThe settings used in the film show us the positions people will find themselves in when it comes to needing to protect their homes, we feel the intensity of the fires they are facing.


Scene of the Movie –
The final 20 minutes are must watch performance work.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly too long.

Final ThoughtsThis is an amazing movie, I wasn’t expecting too much from this movie, but I was left drawn to the screen for the remaining of the film with the final 20-30 minutes being must watch.

 

Overall: Brilliant movie, a must watch for all.

Rating

 

 

John Malkovich Weekend – Jonah Hex (2010)

jonahDirector: Jimmy Hayward

Writer: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor (Screenplay) Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor, William Farmer (Story)

Starring: Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender, Will Arnett, John Gallagher Jr, Michael Shannon, Wes Bentley

 

Plot: The U.S. military makes a scarred bounty hunter with warrants on his own head an offer he cannot refuse: in exchange for his freedom, he must stop a terrorist who is ready to unleash Hell on Earth.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not as Bad as I Thought

 

Story: Jonah Hex starts as we see soldier Jonah Hex (Brolin) has to pay for killing Quentin Turnbull’s (Malkovich) son during the war, branded with a QT on his face Jonah witness his family burnt alive. Going on the rampage to find Turnbull he only discovers he has died and Jonah becomes a bounty hunter that can communicate with the dead.

When Turnbull returns from the grave or never got killed the President turns to Jonah Hex to stop Turnbull and his plan to build the deadly weapon that could become the biggest threat in American.

Jonah Hex is an adaptation from a comic book series which like most I have never read so I can’t judge how accurate the version is. The story is shot like it has been ripped from the pages of a comic because we get very little background story of any characters in more than quick flashbacks. The special effects do come off looking bad in places where you can clearly see the CGI being used throughout. The settings all come off looking like the time which isn’t a problem and potentially the highlight of the film. The action side of the film is all average without a truly memorable scene being used either and the inclusion of the fantasy elements where Jonah can talk to the dead comes off looking good and is something I would have liked to have seen more.

The cast is an interesting one because Brolin as Hex works well, Malkovich as the main villain is like finding a cheap version of Cyrus the Virus from Con Air, Megan Fox clearly brings the sex appeal but doesn’t get much of the actual acting done here. It is Michael Fassbender that stands out in this role where he goes full crazy with his character being the most memorable but I am not sure if it is for the right or wrong reasons. All the other supporting cast are almost wasted in small roles that barely get more than one scene.

 

Overall: I was expecting terrible but this is an easy watch without being great.

Ratingcard

 

 

Sicario (2015)

sicarioDirector: Denis Villeneuve

Writer: Taylor Sheridan (Screenplay)

Starring: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Victor Garber, Jon Bernthal, Daniel Kaluuya, Jeffrey Donovan, Raoul Trujillo, Julio Cedillo

 

Plot: An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by an elected government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Thriller

 

Story: Sicario starts when a FBI SWAT team bust a house where Kate Macer (Blunt) discover the walls are filled with dead bodies. After impressing the higher ups in the FBI Kate gets assigned to work on a task force under Matt Graver (Brolin) to track down the Cartel along with the expert Alejandro (del Toro).

On this task force Kate discovers not everything is going by the book as she tries her hardest to fight to get this done the legal way but even her higher ups want this done the illegal way to stir the pot and expose the criminals.

Sicario is a tense thriller that keeps us on the edge of our seats, it has plenty of twists and turns that keep us guessing to where things are going and who people are. This is slow moving as we only really follow the preparation, execution and questions about each mission without getting to in depth with anything else. It will go down as one of the best thrillers of the year.

 

Actor Review

 

Emily Blunt: Kate Macer is a highly respected leader of a FBI SWAT unit that gets a chance to get revenge on the Cartel that have been causes the deaths of her unit. She ends up on a special task force where she questions every decision being made for being unethical compared to the usual by the book style she works under. We find Kate trapped in a world she doesn’t fully understand but in a place she wants to be in too where she learns how to take down a Cartel. Emily is brilliant in this role showing all her skills through the performance.kate

Benicio Del Toro: Alejandro is the Mexican helping the special unit, he will do the dirty jobs without blinking but still keeps mystery about him from start to finish. Benicio is great in this role which is filled with mystery.alejandro

Josh Brolin: Matt Graver is the leader of the special unit, he is very laidback and doesn’t care what rules they break to get the job down, he also isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty when it comes to getting the job done but would rather leave it up for Alejandro. Josh is good in this role with his style working for the role.matt

Victor Garber: Dave Jennings is the head of the FBI who gives Kate the chance to be part of this task force, he is happy with things being done off the book as long as it gets results. Victor is good in this supporting role without being a major part of the film.

Support Cast: Sicario has good basic supporting cast that all work for the story.

Director Review: Denis VilleneuveDenis brings his own style to this thriller that all works for where the story needed to go.

 

Action: Sicario has good tactical action from start to finish.

Crime: Sicario brings us into the crime war against the Cartels as we see the intense side of the story.

Mystery: Sicario adds the mystery as we just don’t know what the overall plan is, as well as wondering who Alejandro really is.

Thriller: Sicario keeps us guessing to what will happen next and to who throughout.

Settings: Sicario takes us to the location you would expect to see in the world we are a part of for this journey
Special Effects
: Sicario uses great effects to create the kills used throughout.

Suggestion: Sicario is one for all the thriller fans to enjoy from start to finish. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Tension from start to finish.

Worst Part: Slow moving.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Will most likely appear on the lists

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 1 Minute

Tagline: The border is just another line to cross.

Trivia: The thermal vision shots in the film were shot with a thermal vision camera and they were not added in the post-production.

 

Overall: Tense thriller that keeps us guessing from start to finish

Ratingcard

Hail Caesar! (2016)

casting card

 

Plot: A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio’s stars in line.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too Much Going On

 

Story: Hail Caesar! Starts as we learn Eddie Mannix (Brolin) a fixer for a movie studio cleaning up all the problems that signed up stars find themselves in. The studio he works for is Capitol Pictures that are looking to make the movie Hail Caesar! There religious masterpiece with Baird Whitlock (Clooney) taking the title role.

With the picture ready to shoot his final scenes Baird disappears as we know he is kidnapped but the studio thinks he is on a bender. We also see how well respected director Laurence Laurentz (Fiennes) has been assigned a new star Hobie Doyle (Ehrenreich) to star in his new drama with only western experience which causes tension.

We have to watch how Eddie will bring Baird back to the studio dealing with the ransom and the fellow stars and their wild demands.

Hail Caesar! is the latest from the Coen Brothers who have given us some of the best films in the last 30 years, they have always put their own stamp on any genre they tackle. For me this story has all the makings of one of their usual film but I do think everything comes off slightly over complicated with way too many characters introduced seemingly to show off that they got big names in this film. The story seems to be all over the place with small subplots that do all tie into the final outcome as the story seems to be more about the day in the life of Eddie Mannix rather than just the kidnapping.

 

Actor Review

 

Josh Brolin: Eddie Mannix is a movie studio fixer that keeps his stars in line and out of trouble. When his star actor gets kidnapped he must cover it up and pay of the kidnappers while also handling his potential new star Hobie Doyle as they look to repackage him. Josh is good in this leading role where we see him interact with all the major character in the film.

George Clooney: Baird Whitlock is the biggest star in the studio working on the biggest film the studio is producing. When he gets kidnapped and taken to a group of communist writers he must talk through his freedom while waiting for the ransom. George does good in this role where we get to see him play a role against how we would see him.

Alden Ehrenreich: Hobie Doyle is the western star who gets recruited to work on his first drama as he is getting repacked. He struggles with this new role because he is built for the western genre only. Alden does a good job considering how many bigger names are around him in this film.

Ralph Fiennes: Laurence Laurentz is the director of the drama that Hobie gets assigned to, he is one of the most respected in Hollywood and struggles to get what he wants out of Hobie. Ralph is good in this supporting role.

Support Cast: Hail Caesar! Has a huge supporting cast that includes some of the biggest names in Hollywood who all find themselves in the odd scene or two. This shows just how much Eddie has to deal with to make everything run smoothly.

Director Review: Ethan Coen, Joel CoenEthan & Joel put their unique touch on 50s Hollywood with the comedy you expect from them.

 

Comedy: Hail Caesar! Has small moments of comedy which mostly poke fun at how actors and perceived.

Mystery: Hail Caesar! Gives us a mystery as we are left to wonder who has taken Baird.

Settings: Hail Caesar! Makes us feel like we are in 1950 Hollywood in nearly every single scene.
Special Effects
: Hail Caesar! Uses very simple special effects when needed without needing them to make everything happen.

Suggestion: Hail Caesar! is one to try, if you are a Coen Brother fan you should enjoy but otherwise it will come off slightly soft. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Tatum continues to show his range in this supporting role.

Worst Part: Slightly too many characters with almost pointless scenes.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $22 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

Tagline:  Lights. Camera. Abduction.

 

Overall: Overcomplicated Mystery Comedy.

Ratingcard