The Pelican Brief (1993)

Director: Alan J Pakula

Writer: Alan J Pakula (Screenplay) John Grisham (Book)

Starring: Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Sam Shepard, John Heard, Tony Goldwyn, James Sikking, William Atherton, Robert Culp, John Lithgow

 

Plot: A law student uncovers a conspiracy, putting herself and others in danger.


Tagline – Two Supreme Court Justices have been assassinated. One lone law student has stumbled upon the truth. An investigative journalist wants her story. Everybody else wants her dead.

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense Political Thriller

 

Story: The Pelican Brief starts when two Supreme Court Justices are assassinated, bring the country to a stand still in shock. Law student Darby Shaw (Roberts) puts together a theory of who was behind the assassinations, which she presents to her boyfriend and professor Thomas (Shepard), one theory that has turned his head.

After the theory is presented to the people investigating, Darby and Tom start getting targeted, when journalist friend of one of the victims Gray Grantham (Washington) start investigating a bigger conspiracy going on within the government, one that will put both their lives in danger.

 

Thoughts on The Pelican Brief

 

Characters – Darby is a law student having an affair with her professor, after the assassinations, she comes up with a theory about who was behind them, which sees her become a target for the people behind it, she doesn’t know who to trust seeing anybody she does get killed, her last resort is Gray. Gray is a journalist that has worked with the victims in the past, he is willing to dig for the truth, he does become Darby’s last resort and works with her to expose the truth which will become the biggest story of his career. Thomas Callahan is the connection between Darby and the people involved, he is a professor, with her theory interesting him at his own risk. We do go through many different political figures in search for the truth here, each one has their own agenda and could be involved.

PerformancesJulia Roberts in the leading role is strong as she gives us a strong independent figure that has been running for her life trying to expose the truth. Denzel Washington was a growing star at the time of release, here he makes us believe that he is a star in the role which is filled with the determination and skill to start ahead of the game. The rest of the cast are all strong with them each getting the moments to shine with them all having the importance to the story.

StoryThe story follows a law student and journalist that must team up to investigate the assassinations of the two members of the supreme court that puts both their lives in danger as it could bring the political system down. This story does give us plenty of swerves along the way as it does keep us guessing just to where everything will be going, it does show us how a political system will be used to gain an advantage and can be used to cover up anything that will incriminate them. The idea of the cover up shows just how corruption can effect so many lives and is ready to be exposed.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of the film shows just how the laws can be bent to help the people who want to make the most money, how much they will do to cover up their secrets and how corrupt they will become. The mystery side of the film show just how the corruption needs to be investigated, how far up the chain it could go too.

SettingsThe film is set in a couple of major cities in America Washington and New York mostly, which show just how the big companies will use the political power to make the most money.


Scene of the Movie –
The video.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too long, with too many characters at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a political thriller that does keep you guessing, it shows how far up the chain corruption can go and how covering it up can be the only option.

 

Overall: Political thriller 101

Rating

 

 

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Abigail Breslin Weekend – August: Osage County (2013)

osageDirector: John Wells

Writer: Tracy Letts (Screenplay)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Margo Martindale, Sam Shepard, Dermot Mulroney, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch

 

Plot: A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Actors Dream

 

Story: August: Osage County starts when Beverly (Shepard) goes missing causing his cancer striken wife Violet (Streep) to get the family back together to help find him, this brings Barbara (Roberts), Bill (McGregor), Jean (Breslin), Charlie (Cooper), Mattie Fae (Martindale) and Ivy (Nicholson) which helps expose all the problems between the family.

When Beverly’s body is discovered the rest of the family Karen (Lewis) her new boyfriend Steve (Mulroney) and Little Charles (Cumberbatch) return home for the funeral as more of the family secret come out

 

Thoughts on August: Osage County

 

Characters/PerformanceThe characters in this film are all different aged members of one big dysfunctional family with their own problems, they all have their own secrets that will be getting exposed through the time together.

The acting performances in this film are all top notch with the stars all giving brilliant performances where they can all show their abilities throughout.stars

StoryThe story is about how the family are forced to go through the good and bad moments from life that get exposed over one week from the moment the father goes missing, through the funeral and the aftermath. There are plenty of stories going on through the film which draw you into want to know what is happening with this family.

DramaThis is a drama through and through where we see how the family have been through all sorts through the years with everything getting exposed in one week when they are bought back together.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in and around the one house where the family must return too, we get to see how the memories come back for the characters involved.genre

Final ThoughtsThis is an actors dream to watch, you get fine performance from everyone but this isn’t going to be for the casual film fans.

 

Overall: A film for aspiring actors to watch.

Ratingrating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – E – Erin Brockovich (2000)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Susannah Grant (Screenplay)

Starring: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, Aaron Eckhart, Marg Helgenberger, Cherry Jones, David Brisbin

 

Plot: An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city’s water supply.


Tagline –  She brought a small town to its feet and a huge corporation to its knees.

Runtime: 2 Hours 11 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Performance Biopic

 

Story: Erin Brockovich starts as we meet Erin (Roberts), a single mother of three trying to find herself a job but only finds herself involved in a car accident. This forces Erin to get herself a lawyer in Ed Masry (Finney) to get her compensation. When the claim goes badly Erin decides to push for a job there where she gets to work on her own small project.

The case she starts investigating for Ed involved a city power company that has been infecting the water around the planet, causing the people to get sick. Erin strikes a nerve and with Ed go on to take on the power company.

 

Thoughts on Erin Brockovich

 

Characters – The characters in this film are based on the real people, Erin Brockovich is a single mother of three children with two ex-husbands to her name and next to no money to her name either. Erin’s strength is a fighter and when she takes a job at a law firm she ends up getting involved in a case which could become the biggest in American history. Erin doesn’t come off as the nicest person who does seem to want to walk over people to get to the position she finds herself in. Ed Masry is a good lawyer who has been working his whole career doing the right thing on every decision he has made. George is the neighbour that sparks up a relationship with Erin but also shows how difficult it is for Erin to make a professional career happen with a personal one.

PerformancesJulia Roberts won an Oscar for her performance in this movie, you can see why because she does carry the film. Albert Finney and Aaron Eckhart are both good strong supporting performances throughout the film.

StoryThe story follows our driven Erin Brockovich who while just trying to make ends meet with her family ends up being involved in one of the biggest legal cases in history of America. The film shows what she had to sacrifice to make this case happen with the relationships she built to make the case go through to the courts to give her clients the biggest settlements.

BiopicWe get to see the work Erin put into the case while trying to balance being a single mother of three kids, this shows how hard she would work to achieve everything.

SettingsThe settings are used to show most of where Erin lives, works, her clients live and the company she is trying to takedown. This all works well without being the most important of things in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The results.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I couldn’t help but find Erin slightly selfish at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great biopic that shows that hard work can achieve great results even without the training others might have in the same film.

 

Overall: This is a great film with a powerhouse performance.

Rating

 

 

Wonder (2017)

Director: Stephen Chbosky

Writer: Stephen Chbosky, Steve Conrad, Jack Thorne (Screenplay) R.J. Palacio (Novel)

Starring: Jacob Tremblay, Owen Wilson, Julia Roberts, Izabela Vidovic, Noah Jupe, Mancy Patinkin, Danielle Rose Russell

 

Plot: Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time.


Tagline – Auggie Pullman will change your world

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Emotionally Moving

 

Story: Wonder starts as we meet the 10-year-old Auggie (Tremblay), he has had 21 surgeries to both save his life and rebuild his face after being born with a birth defect, he has been home schooled by his mother Isabel (Roberts) his whole life, with his father Nate (Wilson) and older sister Via (Vidovic) always there to support him, at home he is like no other 10-year-old.

Auggie is going to be starting middle school for the first time, this is a huge step for the young boy who is used to people staring at him, but now he enters school, where it is kids, who are less likely to accept him at first. Auggie hates school, he gets picked on because of his looks, but over time he learns to accept this and tries to let people in. This is where the story gets smart, we move away from seeing everything from Auggie’s perspective and follow of Via’s life has been affected by Auggie need the attention more, she is starting High School and is feeling just as alone in need of a friend. We follow fellow middle school student Jack Will (Jupe) one of the kids selected to try and help Auggie through school and how he feels about being pushed into being the friend. We finally follow Miranda (Russell) who was Via’s best friend and almost like a sister to Auggie too, she has become distant from Via and we learn her growth through the year.

We follow a school year for these people, the highs, the lows and the moments that will shape their futures.

 

Thoughts on Wonder

 

Characters – Auggie the 10-year-old born with a birth defect, that still has the scares from the surgeries to save his life, he learns about starting school, meeting new people who instantly question his looks, he learns a lot in this year, but most of all people learn a lot from his bravery. He dreams of space and loves Star Wars and uses it to help him through the difficult moments of his days. Nate is the father of the household, he loves his children and wants them to have the best future they can, he puts everything into a positive spin for Auggie. Isabel has home schooled Auggie for his whole life, she gave up her Masters to do this, with him starting school she can continue the work always worried about his well-being. Via the big sister, she does love her brother deeply, but we learn that she needs some attention too, she struggles inside with her problem, ones that aren’t shown, alone in her new high school, she does try to fit in and learns to break free. We do meet the fellow middle school students, we have the main bully who is a by the books character and we get the ones that want to accept Auggie, the ones that are brave enough to do this first, showing they accept the person other the look. Miranda was Via’s best friend, but this year she is different, we learn the reason for her actions through the film, but I do wish we spent more time with this character because of the moments we learn about.

PerformancesJacob Tremblay, you know the kid from Room, he is fantastic in this leading role again, showing us that was not a one off, this kid has talent. Julia Roberts is strong through the film, while I wouldn’t say the character is overly challenging to play I do think Roberts brings it to life in ways only she could. Owen Wilson, where has he been for the last couple of years? This shows that we missed him, he is a great father figure, he has a smile on his face hiding his own fears in every scene and the one scene he is broken, you join him in his tears. Izabela Vidovic mostly likely what get as many people talking about her performances, but don’t take anything away from her, she is great and at times you want to spend more time with her characters story. The rest of the cast do a wonderful job too as we understand every decision the characters are making.

StoryThe story does focus mostly on Auggie and his first day at school, leading into his first year at school, which on its own, is something we have seen before. It is a good go to story because it will teach about understanding people’s differences both physical and mental, this check all those boxes. Where this story is stronger than just that is following the lives of the people around Auggie, be it his sister who doesn’t get an equal amount of attention while having her own problems. A best friend that’s world has come crashing down and has pushed people away or the young boy that already has the pressure thrown on him, now needing to learn to accept an outsider, while he was once that outsider. I think showing how the lives of others have change is just as important for this story to show, the year these characters must go through.

FamilyI do think the family could enjoy this, I think it has enough to make you smile and laugh together and the moments that will make you cry too.

SettingsNew York is the setting, one of the busiest cities in the world and it shows how Auggie will need to get used to the crowds that are out of his control, where people will judge him unfairly, the school is the first steps for him.


Scene of the Movie –
Graduation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While diving into Miranda’s year, we miss that one scene where the two make-ups.

Final ThoughtsThis film will make laugh, smile and cry all the way through, it has so much about accepting people for being different both for their flaws and strengths.

 

Overall: Fantastic, moving, emotional and beautiful movie.

Rating

 

 

Julia Roberts Weekend – Pretty Woman (1990)

Director: Garry Marshall

Writer: J.F. Lawton (Screenplay)

Starring: Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Ralph Bellamy, Jason Alexander, Laura San Giacomo, Hector Elizondo

 

Plot: A man in a legal but hurtful business needs an escort for some social events, and hires a beautiful prostitute he meets… only to fall in love.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Romantic Classic

 

Story: Pretty Woman starts as we see the worlds both businessman Edward (Gere) and prostitute Vivian (Robert) comes from before they meet when as Edward is looking for company. As the time spent together continues Edward wants to keep Vivian around, so much that she would be his date for a business meeting.

While Edward works, he leaves Vivian to shop in the high end of Beverly Hills where she gets treated differently to start with but open with arms wide open once they learn that she has money to spend. The more time they spend together the more they start to fall in love but could anything between these two work out.

 

Thoughts on Pretty Woman

 

Characters/PerformanceEdward is the ruthless businessman, divorced and dumped looking for some company. He hires Vivian to keep him company through the business dealings to keep the love out of the relationship while completing to deal. Vivian is a prostitute that finds herself in a world she is too smart to be part off but it is her only option. She accepts the offer from Edward getting to live a life she never imagined for a week and her shock at each situation comes off genuine throughout.

Performance wise, Richard Gere and Julia Roberts are fantastic here, with Roberts edging the pure quality coming from her performance through the film. the rest of the cast are only in a couple of scenes and are great throughout too.

StoryThe story is mostly about two people from different worlds coming together and falling in love. Yes, this story does show how both the characters could face a change in their lives, Vivian a life off the streets, Edward that not everything is about being ruthless. While most people focus on the love side of the story I liked the change Edward goes through.

Romantic/ComedyThe romantic side of the film is something everyone knows and looks at as one of the iconic moments in the history of film. we have moments of comedy that come from Vivian’s reactions to the high life.

SettingsThe settings are important because it shows how different the two characters come from, the look that Vivian goes through thanks to the settings show how she never imagined this life being.

Final ThoughtsThis will always go down in history as one of the iconic romantic films in film history.

 

Overall: Romantic film for the ages.

Rating