ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – G – Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

Director: James Foley

Writer: David Mamet (Screenplay) David Mamet (Play)

Starring: Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, Jonathan Pryce

 

Plot: An examination of the machinations behind the scenes at a real estate office.


Tagline – Lie. Cheat. Steal. All In A Day’s Work.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Drama

 

Story: Glengarry Glen Ross starts as we see how a real estate office is struggling to close deals, Blake (Baldwin) is hired to put down the firm law on the employees, office manager John Williamson (Spacey) tries to be strict with his staff as we see struggling aging expert Shelley (Lemmon), upcomer Dave Moss (Harris) the hot shot Ricky Roma (Pacino) and George (Arkin) that are given one week to make as many closes as possible.

As the pressure gets to the men things only get worse when the contracts are stolen which shows the true characters in the ruthless business.

 

Thoughts on Glengarry Glen Ross

 

Characters – Ricky Roma is the best estate agent in the office, he closes the biggest deals in the office which fills him with all the confidence in the world. Shelley Levene is the eldest member of the office, he has been down on his luck recently knowing this could be his last chance to keep his job. Dave Moss is the hot-head of the office that goes against the ultimatum about the jobs and comes up with a plan to make sure he gets the best leads. George is the timid member of the office but a fantastic salesman, he gets talked into Dave’s plan. John Williamson runs the office handing out the leads while making sure the teams get good sales. Blake is the man that puts the ultimatum down on the office, he is blunt when it comes to doing the deal.

PerformancesThe cast here is filled with award winners, the highest calibre of actor in the industry at that time. Pacino, Lemmon, Baldwin, Arkin, Harris, Spacey and Pryce are all fantastic it is unfair to single anyone out for more praise than any other.

StoryThe story follows 24-hours in life at the office of a real estate agents as the are pressured into improve their sales which includes dealing with a robbery that throws everything up in the air. This is a character driven story as we see how people can react under pressure as it comes from a play and you can feel that about the story all the way through. The story doesn’t get over complicated as we see how things unfold and it shows the desperation man will go for his own greed.

Crime/MysteryThe crime that takes place is partly how the deals get done and how the contracts get stolen which leads to the mystery to just who is the person behind everything.

SettingsThe settings are kept simple, the office, the bar and a house for discussions, this keeps everything grounded through the film from start to finish.


Scene of the Movie –
Truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Blake being in more scene would have been good.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fantastic assembled cast that give powerful performances that just deliver from the first frame until the final frame, simple fantastic cinema.

 

Overall: Fantastic from start to finish.

Rating

 

 

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Crime Thriller Weekend – Seven (1995)

Director: David Fincher

Writer: Andrew Kevin Walker (Screenplay)

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, John Cassini

 

Plot: Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives.


Tagline –  Earnest Hemingway once wrote, “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.” I believe the second part.

Runtime: 2 Hours 7 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best Dark Crime Thrillers

 

Story: Seven starts as Detective Mills (Pitt) a cocky young detective joins seasoned veteran Detective Somerset (Freeman) who is on the verge of retirement to teach Mills the ropes in the new city. While the two don’t hit it off because of the clash of backgrounds Somerset doesn’t want anything to do with the latest murder but when Mills take over the case upon the second body, Somerset agrees to assist Mills in the cracking the case.

When the case turns into a hunt for a serial killer who is picking his victims to represent the seven deadly sins, the pair know there are going to have more victims but must race to stop this killer before the victim count gets too high.

 

Thoughts on Seven

 

Characters – Somerset is the veteran detective one week from retirement, who must take short tempered detective under his wing for the final week. Somerset has an old school style along with a gentle tone though the crimes. Mills is the short-tempered detective that moves into the new city and must learn the way of the police there, he is happy to break a few laws to get the correct answer when investigating a crime which goes against everything Somerset stands for. Tracy is the wife of Mills, who is also new to the town, she hasn’t found a job and is finding herself lonely with Mills on the job. John Doe is the man behind the crimes, he is calculated in his every move who is almost mocking the detectives with his actions.

PerformancesMorgan Freeman is excellent choice in the leading role because he sums up calm and gentle nature needed for the role, Brad Pitt steps up to the darker movie with ease because he gets to keep his cocky swagger for the role. Gwyneth Paltrow is good but doesn’t get the screen time we could have gotten from her character. Kevin Spacey is the secret star of this film because when he enters the story you are left to sit on the edge of your seat waiting to see what he does or says next.

StoryThe story is a serial killer building up the number of bodies while two unlikely detectives must put aside their differences to stop the killer. The dark tone going on through the story shows how the killer’s motives are perfectly placed out and it is the detectives are the ones that need to think quickly to stop the next step. If you like a crime story that involves solving the case this will give you one of the best, but the lack of suspects might put people off in places.

Crime/Mystery/ThrillerThe murders are graphic in how we see the effects of what has been done to the victim, the mystery comes from leaving us to wonder why the victims have been selected and we are left on the edge of our seats from the start to the finish of the film.

SettingsThe city is never made clear which shows how the crimes could happen in any town, city, country if the believer is willing to follow through with his beliefs.


Scene of the Movie –
Visiting the suspect.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Hard to find one.

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Box Office: $100 Million (USA)

Budget: $33 Million

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the greatest thrillers of all time, it is edge of your seat material from start until the end even on repeat viewings you will find yourself gripped.

 

Overall: Must watch crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

Baby Driver (2017)

Director: Edgar Wright

Writer: Edgar Wright (Screenplay)

Starring: Ansel Elgort, John Bernthal, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx

 

Plot: After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: So Much Fun

 

Story: Baby Driver starts as we get to see just how skilled behind the wheel Baby (Elgort) is, as he completes the job while listening to his trademark tunes for Griff (Bernthal), Buddy (Hamm), Darling (Gonzalez) for their boss Doc (Spacey). We learn more about why Baby listens to music, because of his medical condition and that he owes Doc one more score to settle a debt.

Baby lives with is deaf foster dad Joseph (Jones) that tries to keep him on the straight and narrow because he sees the error in his ways and the beautiful waitress Debora (James) that Baby has fallen for, gives him a glimmer of light away from the world of crime.

When his final score is settle Baby believes it is time to walk away, but he would be wrong, Doc won’t let him and this next score with Buddy, Darling and loose cannon Bats (Foxx) pushes Baby to his limits, can he escape this world he has become stuck in and live the life he wants with music and the open road?

 

Thoughts on Baby Driver

 

Characters/PerformanceBaby is the young man with brilliant driving skills, killer tunes but his innocent nature and slight mental handicap means he is taken advantage of by the criminal world, he wants to live an honest life and he will have to go and show off his skills to escape this world. I would like to point out that his relationship with Joseph is very similar to what we saw in ‘The lookout’ where two handicapped people live together and the elder tries to guide the younger. Doc is the crime boss that uses Baby because he knows he is the best, he won’t use the same unit twice but Baby is the one he will always turn too. I have mixed feelings for this character because I feel he never leans one way or the either to evil or good, he almost feels businessman like. Buddy is the most interesting of the other criminals because we always see him calm but we are warned about his darker side, which we wait to see unleashed. Darling is the sexy girlfriend of Buddy, he turns heads and will kill anyone looking at her wrong. Bats is a character I felt got old quick, he is meant to be the loose cannon and that is fine, but things all turn into him trying to say something so out there it feels like forced laughter. Debora is the light at the end of the tunnel for Baby, she helps him realize he could get away from crime.

Performance wise, Ansel is great through this film as we get to see how he can blend with the music and action. Kevin Spacey is always good in a villainous role and this is no different. For me Jon Hamm is the best because he just captures you wanting to see what he will do next. Lily James is good too through the whole film. Jamie Foxx at times does seem to be trying too hard to be funny which can get hard to watch and is the only weak point in this film.

StoryThe story is something we have seen before, a person drawn to the criminal world wants out but now must fight against his former partners in crime to be free. The twists in the story come in the character of Baby who has the handicap which requires him to listen to music to stay focus and block out the noise in his head. We do have style in the story which works perfectly for the tone even if parts dip in the middle, but otherwise this is just fun action comedy. One more plus point is that every scene is seen through Baby’s point of view as he is the only person to be in every single scene as certain times we hear the music like he would and the conversations with his head phone in too, this made the film even more enjoyable

Action/CrimeThe car chases are all great and certain parts do all feel fresh too, this is a huge plus for the film. the opening sequence is one that we will all remember too, the crime world shows us just how different the people can be doing the jobs which is also a good plus point.

SettingsThe car chase are used most to show off the settings with most of them offering us new tighter situations to Baby to get out off behind the wheel.

Final ThoughtsThis is just such a fun movie, with brilliant music, wonderful car chase sequences and is one that fans of Edgar Wright will enjoy all the more.

 

Overall: Foot down, music on, play loud.

Rating

 

 

Gene Wilder Weekend – See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989)

Director: Arthur Hiller

Writer: Earl Barret, Arne Sultan, Arne Sulten, Eliot Wald, Andrew Kurtzman, Gene Wilder (Screenplay) Earl Barret, Arne Sultan, Marvin Worth (Story)

Starring: Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder, Joan Severance, Kevin Spacey, Alan North, Anthony Zebre, Louis Giambalvo

 

Plot: Dave is deaf, and Wally is blind. They witness a murder, but it was Dave who was looking at her, and Wally who was listening.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Better Comedy

 

Story: See No Evil, Hear No Evil starts a we meet blind gambling addict Wally (Pryor) and the deaf shop keeper Dave (Wilder), Dave offers Wally a job in the shop but when the man Wally owes money turns up at the shop and gets shot by a mysterious woman Eve (Severence), the two find themselves accused of murder.

When the real criminals Eve and Kirgo (Spacey) try to release Dave and Wally, they plan to kill them but after they escape Wally and Dave must find the real criminals before they either get killed or captured.

 

Thoughts on See No Evil, Hear No Evil

 

Characters/PerformanceWally is the blind man who is trying to get accepted in the world but finds himself holding people pack, he is quick to defend himself with violence. Dave is the mild mannered deaf shop keeper who has only been deaf for the last 8 years. He works with Wally to prove their innocence. Eve and Kirgo are the main villains that both work for the story with Eve being the sexy seductive type and Kirgo being the British villain.

Performance wise, Wilder and Pryor have improved chemistry here and get to show their comedy range but it still feels like a show just for their comic timing. Joan is perfectly cast in the role of Eve looking stunning in a role that is meant to led men astray. An early role here for Kevin Spacey was a surprise for me and you can see his talent here.

StoryThe story works for comedy, a blind and a deaf man must work together to prove their innocence. We get the villains that are out for greed and the police trying to do their job but this does turn into a running joke about a blind and deaf guy routine.

Crime/ComedyThe crime story is routine enough but the comedy is the stand out here which is mostly blind man deaf man gags.

SettingsThe settings are used to show the comical situations the two find themselves in. this does work well through the whole film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good comedy but does fall into the making too much fun of the disabled to the extreme rather than pulling it all off slowly which it should be.

 

Overall: Fun and simple to follow comedy.

Rating

 

 

Jason Bateman Weekend – Horrible Bosses (2011)

horribleDirector: Seth Gordon

Writer: Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein (Screenplay) Michael Markowitz (Story)

Starring: Jason Bateman, Kevin Spacey, Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Colin Farrell, Donald Sutherland, Jamie Fox

 

Plot: Three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: Horrible Bosses starts by introducing us in traditional comedy style as we meet Nick (Bateman) who has been working hard for a promotion from Dave Harken (Spacey), dental assistant Dale (Day) who works for crazy horny dentist Dr Julia Harris (Aniston) and Kurt (Sudeikis) who actually likes his boss Jack Pellit (Sutherland) but his son Bobby (Farrell) is cokehead who takes over the family business.

The three are all high school friends that all now are working for bosses they hate spending each night moaning about how they hate their days. This leads to the three to want to kill their bosses and they look for a hitman and find Dean ‘MF’ Jones (Foxx). The friends must find out a way to make their bosses have accidents to get rid of them.

Horrible Bosses is a comedy circling around the idea of having to work for difficult bosses and how you can go to the extremes and want to kill them. This shows how difficult it can be to work with difficult bosses but is mostly about how friends can bitch about how they hate them. The comedy does work in places even if certain parts are flipped reverse on sexual harassment.

Bateman, Sudeikis and Day do have good chemistry throughout while Spacey, Aniston and Farrell get to have great fun with their horrible boss characters each getting to play against the normal characters we are used to. This does turn into a good comedy that people will enjoy as they can relate to the struggle with difficult bosses.

 

Overall: Fun comedy that hits all the levels it needs too with the subject matter.

Ratingcard