ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – C – Chaplin (1992)

Director: Richard Attenborough

Writer: William Boy, Bryan Forbes, William Goldman (Screenplay) David Robinson, Charles Chaplin (Book)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Geraldine Chaplin, Paul Rhys, John Thaw, Moira Kelly, Anthony Hopkins, Dan Aykroyd, Marisa Tomei

 

Plot: A movie about the troubled and controversial life of the master comedy filmmaker Charlie Chaplin.


Tagline – Everyone has a wild side. Even a legend.

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Biopic

 

Story: Chaplin starts as an older Charlie (Downey Jr) is telling his life story to his publicist George Hayden (Hopkins), we move back to 1894 when Charlie first took the stage, taking over from his mother Hannah (Chaplin) who froze on stage. Charlie and his brother Sydney (Rhys) had to learn to adapt to the rough life in London. Charlie soon became one of the hottest prospects in comedy performance in England.

We see how Charlie moved to America with the dawn of the motion pictures, being given a job on the production of Mack Sennett’s (Aykroyd) movies. We see just how fast Charlie became the biggest name in comedy getting his own studio, while continuing his own vices, young women. Charlie made enemies along the way which would lead to the downfall of his career.

 

Thoughts on Chaplin

 

Characters – Charlie Chaplin is one of the most influential men in comedy history, we follow his life, through his own autobiography, from is tough upbringing for the child labour camps in England, to his break out in comedy in England. He would go on to become a sensation of the motion picture world, only to fail to make adapt to American life when the Talkies came into circulation. He made enemies which would see his career come to an end. Outside the celebrity status, he finds himself drawn to teenage women which would see him go through multiply marriages, never finding true happiness. George Hayden is the one learning the story from Charlie, he is pushing him into going over each of the details of her story. Sydney is Charlie’s older brother, he helped get him started and became his manager, he tries to help Charlie make the right decisions to keep his career in Hollywood. Douglas Fairbank is another one of the biggest actors in Hollywood, he is one friend Charlie never seems to lose through his time there.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr gives his career best performance here, he is stunning as Charlie, be it recreating the iconic moments or the personal life situations. Anthony Hopkins is wonderful too even just in an almost narration role, while the whole cast which is huge makes the impact they need to for their own roles.

StoryThe story here follows Charlie Chaplin’s career from his poor beginnings right up to the moment the Academy finally recognised his work. We get to see his personal life his many marriages which didn’t go to plan because of his work. We do get to see how the films were made, how the Tramp became the biggest character in comedy history. We see how the tension in Hollywood only made him an enemy forcing him out of the country and how his failure to truly adapt to the talkie era saw his career come to an abrupt end. If you want to see the career of one of the greatest comedians of all time, this is how the story comes to the light.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic shows the career of Charlie Chaplin we get to see his professional and personal life through his career to see just how much lost potential his career had. The comedy in this film comes from just how certain moments will get laughs along the way.

SettingsThe film recreates the settings of the world that you would expect when it comes to looking it Hollywood in the early 19th century.


Scene of the Movie –
The Oscars moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of Hoover’s scenes.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best biopics that you will see, it has the life and career of one of the biggest names in Hollywood history and makes us understand the difficulties he will have gone through.

 

Overall: Biopic for a true legend.

Rating

 

 

Evan Rachel Wood Weekend – The Ides of March (2011)

Director: George Clooney

Writer: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon (Screenplay) Beau Willimon (Play)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright

 

Plot: An idealistic staffer for a new presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail.


Tagline – Ambition seduces. Power corrupts.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: All-Star Political Thriller

 

Story: The Ides of March starts as we follow Stephen Meters (Gosling) leading the campaign for presidential candidate Governor Mike Morris (Clooney) under Paul Zara (Hoffman), they are going against Tom Duffy (Giamatti) who is running the campaign for Senator Pullman (Mantell). We are heading into the final week of the campaign as things start to heat up.

When Stephen learns the dirty side to politics, he is caught up in the middle of doing the right thing and getting the win for his candidate, learning that this game is just as dangerous when it gets turned against him.

 

Thoughts on The Ides of March

 

Characters – Stephen Meyers is the ambitious campaign manager who is wildly considered one of the best in the business with his ability to handle the media and remain calm through any situation. His life is turned upside when he becomes a pawn in the dirty tactics involved in an election race and he will need to roll his sleeves up to fight back. Governor Mike Morris is the man Stephen is working for, he is the underdog in the race and seems like the perfect candidate, only he has secrets which could ruin his campaign. Paul is Stephen’s boss, the man who took a chance on Stephen, he values loyalty over anything else and doesn’t always trust the people around him. Tom Duffy is the campaign manager on the opposite side, he does like the ideas Stephen is playing and wants him on his team, he is the first one to play him into his own game. Molly is the intern on the staff that could bring down the whole campaign with her secret. Ida is a journalist that will do anything for a story which will get her on the front page.

PerformancesIn the performances we have a list of all-star actors that show us just how an ensembled cast can make a movie so enjoyable. We have Ryan Gosling taking centre stage, George Clooney playing a role her is perfect for and Hoffman and Giamatti that are just acting masters with these roles showing just how talented they are.

StoryThe story here follows a younger political man o the verge of his biggest campaign victory, when he gets shown the darker side of politics. Now this is an interesting story as we see how the innocent man must get dirty to survive the game and how the seasoned veterans of the game know every trick that will come their way. The mix of this keeps us on the edge of our seat through the film, the weakness in the film comes from the non-Americans struggle to keep up with who is one which Republican or Democratic side of the discussion and what level this is for the presidential candidate races. Unless you know the American political system you might fall short knowing everything going on here.

ThrillerThis film does keep us on edge through the events of the campaign, this is what we want and the twists in the darker side of the political system become clear by the end.

SettingsThe film throws us into every potential political arena you can think of, we get plenty of discussions some in secret others in an open forum to just what goes on behind the scenes of a campaign race.

 

Scene of the Movie – This will be my campaign.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not understand the American political system.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good political thriller that will keep you guessing from start to finish, it has a brilliant cast that all shine too.

 

Overall: Keeps you guessing from start to finish.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – R – The Rewrite (2014)

Director: Marc Lawrence

Writer: Marc Lawrence (Screenplay)

Starring: Hugh Grant, Marisa Tomei, Bella Heathcote, JK Simmons, Chris Elliott, Allison Janney

 

Plot: An Oscar-winning writer in a slump leaves Hollywood to teach screenwriting at a college on the East Coast, where he falls for a single mom taking classes there.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Romantic Comedy

 

Story: The Rewrite starts as Oscar-Winning screenwriter Keith Michaels (Grant) has been struggling to get his new ideas to sale, in need of money he travels across the country to Binghampton to work as a teacher at a university teaching screenwriting.

Arriving in the dead-end town Keith instantly wants to get away but his charm helps him make an impact with the fellow teacher’s Dr Leaner (Simmons), Jim Harper (Elliott) and his rival Professor Weldon (Janney).

Keith doesn’t want to do much teaching early on because he believes you can’t teach the skills but he soon learns to love guiding his students including Karen (Heathcote) and elder student Holly (Tomei) as he learns and finds inspiration for his own writing woes.

 

Thoughts on The Rewrite

 

Characters/PerformanceKeith Michaels is a down on his luck screenwriter whose can’t find any work in Hollywood and must take a teaching job, this job gives Keith the chance to refocus on his own life, career and learn from his mistakes, Keith is self-centred character that evolves as the story unfolds. Holly is the elder student wanting to improve herself, she offers the friendship Keith needs as she has a different worldly experience. Karen is the student that Keith starts dating and ends up learning the hard way how she can get what she wants. Dr Learner, Professor Weldon and Jim Harper all offer us up different kinds of teachers you would find in a university.

Performance wise, Hugh Grant gives the performance he is known for, slightly smug full of himself but he does this so well. Marisa Tomei is good in her role to showing how she can be a glimmer of light in any role she plays. The rest of the cast are all good with their roles with the students all being unique and elder cast members all being good mix for Hugh Grant performance.

StoryThe story focuses on one man that has lost his spark creatively and must turn to teaching and he goes on a journey to discover how he can help guide the next generation of screenwriters. This shows us how people can always teach and learn from life and guide people. This is an enjoyable story to follow.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy comes with plenty of references to movies but isn’t a laugh a minute. The romance side of the film is what mostly gets Keith into trouble and ends up not working the way it should do.

SettingsThe idea of putting a ‘celebrity’ figure into a small town setting is a tried and tested formula and one that works here to help the story flow.

Final ThoughtsThis is a true Hugh Grant rom com, he plays the character we know and love to watch in a new setting with the same results. This is enjoyable though because we do get to learn life lessons.

 

Overall: Solid and enjoyable story to learn from.

Rating

 

 

The First Purge (2018)

Director: Gerard McMurray

Writer: James DeMonaco (Screenplay)

Starring: Y’lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Mugga, Patch Darragh, Marisa Tomei, Luna Lauren Velez

 

Plot: The film will be a prequel that will focus on the events that lead up to the very first Purge event.


Tagline – Witness the Birth of an American Tradition

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Prequel

 

Story: The First Purge starts as scientist Dr Updale (Tomei) has come up with an experiment to let people have a 12-hour crime free night to help unleash stress from the world, with the new government rising, Chief of Staff Arlo Sabian (Darragh) has funded this experiment on Staten Island.

The residents are from the lower class divided between the druggies and the minimum wagers, Nya (Davis) who supports her younger brother Isaiah (Wade) know the hardship of the life of crime, her ex-boyfriend, the King of Staten Island Dmitri (Noel) has thrived in it, however they are both against the Purge. When the Purge starts we get the usual mixed results before the bigger picture becomes clear and Dmitri must lead the war against the invading groups coming to the island, this is just the beginning of the bigger picture.

 

Thoughts on The First Purge

 

Characters – Dmitri or D is the king of the island, running the drug world, keeping the closest to him out of it, he demands loyalty from his soldiers, but grants respect if people don’t get involved in his business. He still has a candle in his heart for Nya and once her learns the truth about the Purge he goes to war to protect his neighbourhood. Nya is one of the lead campaigners against the Purge, she wants to keep the people safe, especially the ones with nowhere to go. Her brother is the most important part of her life and she will not let anything happen to him or let him fall into the wrong crowd, tonight will be her biggest test as her past will become key to surviving. Isaiah soon becomes the one character you hate the most, he is a high school kid (I think) that has tried to enter the life of crime, even with a door open to him to make clean money, he sees the Purge as a chance to get revenge on druggie that attacked him, he is one of the examples of what it would be like if a real purge happened, he would be all talk and not be able to follow through. Dr Updale create the concept, she wants it contained to prove it would be a success, but little does she know the real plan for the idea. Arlo Sabian is the Chief of Staff overseeing the operation and he will get results no matter what happens. In the rest of the mix of characters we get, the friends from the neighbourhood trying to survive something they had no choice but to be a part off, the psychos who come out of the woodwork with Skeletor being both over the top and interesting to watch and we have the gang that surround Dmitri with their own quirks that are never fully used.

PerformancesY’lan Noel for me was the true star of this film, he had to step into the shoes left by Frank Grillo as the bad ass action figure in the film and he shines, it felt at times like we were watching a Blade audition from this actor. Lex Scott Davis is good for the emotional material, but when her character comes to making smart decisions we don’t see her at her best because Nya makes too many horror cliché mistakes. Joivan Wade is fine, but nothing more as are the rest of the cast, Patch Darragh is never as menacing as he should been and Tomei doesn’t get the time to give her character the full development.

StoryThe story here teaches us how the Purge came about, with an experiment in a contained environment, now this is a good and a cad thing, first the good, we do have an early interaction between Dmitri and Nya opening discussion how a drug lord acts with murder everyday of the year, what will the Purge do differently, this was smart, but never followed up on. The whole how with the people react as they need the money thing worked too. The negatives come from the idea the psychos are ready for this night, we understand that for later instalments, but the first one seems strange. The second thing that seemed strange was, diving straight in the political agenda, we know this happens later in the franchise, but if you were to watch the film in order of events, the very first film would feel completely out of place now. As for the most part of the night, we know how these go now, we watch a small group try to survive the purge against the odds and it becomes a wild action ride story.

Action/Horror/Sci-Fi The action once let loose if great, it doesn’t hold back and potentially gave us a new action star. The horror has continued t go downhill in this franchise as it becomes more of an action franchise, we get a couple of jump scares and that is it. The sci-fi used in this film follows a world where a night of killing or committing crime can happen, while this does seem to be the first in the franchise to address the idea murder isn’t the only crime, which is better for the concept.

SettingsStaten Island is the setting, now the contained environment is a good thing, the problem here is, if you don’t know anything about this location, you won’t know what the neighbourhood will mainly contain regarding race and class of the people there.

Special EffectsNow the effects are interesting, the kills, well you can’t complain at all, but when it comes to the contact lenses that make them look like 80s werewolves, well this becomes weird and annoying, even if it makes sense why they are wearing them.


Scene of the Movie –
The tower block.

That Moment That Annoyed Me What happens to Dr Updale.

Final ThoughtsThis is another good addition to this franchise, that does know it is over the top and has continued to keep he social messages on the nose.

 

Overall: Great addition to the franchise.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – W – The Wrestler (2008)

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Writer: Robert D Siegel (Screenplay)

Starring: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Mark Margolis, Todd Barry, Wass Stevens

 

Plot: A faded professional wrestler must retire, but finds his quest for a new life outside the ring a dispiriting struggle.


Tagline – Love. Pain. Glory.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Modern Great

 

Story: The Wrestler starts as we follow Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson (Rourke) a once icon of the wrestling business, still working small events where he is the star attraction but struggling to make ends meet on the payment for his own trailer park home. Randy is close with the everyday people in his life and has his own go to stripper Cassidy (Tomei).

One night after another show stealing performance Randy suffers a heart-attack where he is warned not to continue wrestling or it will kill him. Randy tries to rekindle his broken relationship with his daughter Stephanie (Wood) while balancing the idea that he could have one final big payday, a rematch against his biggest rival.

 

Thoughts on The Wrestler

 

Characters – Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson was once the biggest name in wrestling, now he is nearing retirement where he still performs in small venues. His life is turned upside down after a heart attack where he must decide whether to step away from the limelight or continue performing and risking his health. As a wrestling fan this is an interesting character as it shows just how far someone with go to perform for their fans. Cassidy is the stripper that Randy has become friends with over the years, she keeps her personal life away from the clients but when Randy wants to make their friendship more it turns into a pivotal moment in her life too. Stephanie is the daughter of Randy, he was a terrible father when she grew up, but can she forgive him to start a fresh now, that is the question.

PerformancesMickey Rourke does give the performance of his career here, he breaks away from anything we would know him to make us feel everything we see him go through. Marisa Tomei is great as the stripper with a heart and Evan Rachel Wood continued to show us just how talented she was in her growing career of the time.

StoryThe story follows an aging star of a sport needing to face his own mortality or face losing everything. This is a subject which has always been a popular subject because it is icons who are the ones feel could never finish but once they are gone we miss them. Seeing it from the performers point of view works too because we learn what drives them in the one skill they always believed they had.

SportsThe wrestling sequences do give away secrets of the sport which are well known by now but at the time they were lesser known skills outside the business, but the fights feel as brutal as they seem.

SettingsThe settings show us just how far the once star has fallen from grace, he is now not the man he once was living in trailer park, fighting in small events over the big events he once did.


Scene of the Movie –
Pre-Match Speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me That ending.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the great movies of modern time, it shows the drive performers have to continue doing what they love when they shouldn’t anymore which is why this is a must watch for anyone who has a passion.

 

Overall: Must watch for all wrestling fans.

Rating