The Front Runner (2018)

Director: Jason Reitman

Writer: Matt Bai, Jay Carson, Jason Reitman (Screenplay) Matt Bai (Book)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons, Mark O’Brien, Molly Ephraim, Chris Coy, Alex Karpovsky,

 

Plot: In 1987, U.S. Senator Gary Hart‘s presidential campaign is derailed when he’s caught in a scandalous love affair.


Tagline – Gary Hart was going to be President. Instead he changed American Politics forever.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over-Populated Political Thriller

 

Story: The Front Runner starts after Gary Hart (Jackman) has missed out on the Vice-President position, four-years later in 1987, Gary is running for the Presidency, he is the clear favourite too, his team which includes Bill Dixon (Simmons) knows it is only a matter of time before he wins, while the opposition team is looking for weakness in his reputation.

Gary’s lead starts taking a hit when an early report of a potential affair emerges and before long every single newspaper in the country is trying to cover the story on different levels, some using it as a gossip column while others just want to question his own integrity. This will see Gary’s hope of becoming President come crashing down around him.

 

Thoughts on The Front Runner

 

Characters – These characters are based on real people, which will show certain ones in good and bad lights. Senator Gary Hart is running for Presidency, is has the whole campaign under complete control, which has all but guaranteed he would become the next President of the United States. Gary has the ability to spin any story that is placed on front of him, to show that he could bring America a brighter future. Gary however does have a secret with an affair which the press turn into a big story which sees him needing to try and recover from the spiralling situation he has created with his own wrong doing. Lee Hart is the wife of Gary, she has been part of a previous separation which made her suffer enough, she has however always stood by her man with strict rules for the future. Bill Dixon is the campaign manager for Gary, that wants to keep everything simple only this becomes difficult when the truth starts to come out. The Front Runner struggles with one big problem, we have such a large cast of characters it does make it hard to keep up with the almost nameless characters, we have three or four papers and their staff, the campaign team, the people involved in the potential affair, it just becomes completely keeping up with who is who.

PerformancesHugh Jackman is great to watch in the leading role, if he was given that one scene to try and make his character truly memorable it would have put him into a stronger respected performance for the year. Vera Farmiga does everything asked of her character which she doesn’t do anything wrong with. J.K. Simmons almost feels wasted in his role which should have been larger for what is going on. Most of the performances do seem to struggle for this reason.

StoryThe story here follows a presidential candidate whose life becomes filed with speculation after an alleged affair that both sides denied saw him going from a guarantee winner to needing to withdraw, changing the way politics are portrayed in the papers forever. This story does put the spotlight on the moment that saw a change in how politics and journalist operated, the film even points out in the fact that previous Presidents asked for heads to be turned about affairs, but this alleged one saw the country turn on any person that was willing to cheat. The story does show how the three weeks changed the whole race, only it does try to put way too many characters into the film which does make it hard to keep up with who each person is and what side of the story they really are on.

Biopic/HistoryWe follow a 3 week period in Gary Hart’s life, the three weeks that took him from being the next President to the moment he withdrew wanting to keep the false accusations about him out of the papers, this shows how quickly the public can turn on people and the media can make it happen, this plays into the history side of electing a President because we see how minds suddenly changed after how previous ones had acted.

SettingsThe film does use the authentic settings, show how the press would hide for a story, while Gary would use the public to put an end to the stories being made up.


Scene of the Movie –
Twisting the medias words.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story which does feel like it should be told to more people, only this version of the story is completely over-saturated be characters making it hard to keep up with.

 

Overall: Political Thriller that just doesn’t pack the punch.

Rating

 

 

Anon (2018)

Director: Andrew Niccol

Writer: Andrew Niccol (Screenplay)

Starring: Clive Owen, Amanda Seyfried, Colm Feore, Sonya Walger, Mark O’Brien, Joe Pingue, Iddo Goldberg

 

Plot: In a world without anonymity or crime, a detective meets a woman who threatens their security.


Tagline – Off the grid. On the run.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Thriller

 

Story: Anon starts as we go into the futuristic world where everything in life is recorded, making crime almost impossible to get away with, Detective Sal Frieland (Owen) analyses claims being made for his living deciding if the evidence to back up a story is there. His life is turned upside down when a mysterious girl (Seyfried) appears in his life only for any record being deleted.

When Sal goes undercover to learn about the girl, things start smoothly as they start to follow her movements, but soon take a turn for the worst as she discovers them watching her and turns Sal’s life upside down, to a point where he doesn’t know what is real anymore.

 

Thoughts on Anon

 

Characters – Sal is the detective with a troubled past, he witnesses a strange occurrence in the technology system to look for criminals and soon he goes undercover to track down a hacker who is using their ability to kill people. The Girl is the mysterious woman walking around this world with no known identity, helping people cover up the secrets they have been doing wrong. Detective Gattis is the man that keeps Sal in line, he must do the right thing to keep the peace in the city.

PerformancesClive Owen is good enough in the leading role, he knows how to handle the character but just doesn’t go as far into his character. Amanda Seyfried is fine too, again not reaching her potential we know she is capable off. The rest of the cast are largely forgettable too.

StoryThe story follows a detective investigating a string of murders that involve a mysterious woman that has the skills to make herself invisible to the technology world. The story does put us in an interesting world, but soon it becomes forgettable throughout with nothing much happening, the twists don’t come with any impact, not even giving us a chance to be offered up the question about whether this is a good or bad thing to have in life. The story misses more often than hit and could easily have been more interesting in a longer format.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi world we enter, is an interesting one and does use the elements of the idea well throughout. The use of the eyes to create the idea of what we can see makes things interesting to see, being the only highlight in the film.

SettingsThe film is in a city, we don’t seem to see which one and it could be anywhere too.

Special EffectsThe effects do work for the most part as we see what we are meant to, making most of this seem effortless, but the editing process for visions can be confusing and look weak.


Scene of the Movie –
Seeing how people can see who people are.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Why would two cops cars go in different directions to the same location?

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing sci-fi film that has all the potential in the world and only ends up coming off short on many levels.

 

Overall: Disappoint Sci-Fi Movie

Rating

 

 

Arrival (2016)

arrDirector: Denis Villeneuve

Writer: Eric Heisserer (Screenplay) Ted Chiang (Story)

Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark O‘Brien, Tzi Ma

 

Plot: When 12 mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: This is a Pure Wow

 

Story: Arrival starts meet Louise Banks (Adams) who is a linguistics professor when they arrive. They being 12 mysterious shape spacecrafts that have appeared around the world.

With the world growing with tension about the visitors Colonel Weber (Whitaker) brings in Louise and Ian Donnelly (Renner) to help translate the language the crafts are speaking. The months go past as they search for a way to communicate making baby steps along the way but can they finally get through to each other?

 

Thoughts on Arrival

 

StoryThis is one of the most fascinating stories in sci-fi from out of space in years, it avoids all the mindless destruction to look at a logical answer to what it would be like it we got a visit from space, the solving of the reasoning if you like. The film does also have a twist that just leaves you confused at first but fully understanding everything that happens.

Sci-Fi/Mystery/ThrillerThe sci-fi elements are easy to spot here with the alien introduction with the mystery being all about why they are here with the thrilling side of the story coming from which side of the fence you believe the humans will act, in peace or in violence.

Characters/PerformanceLouise is a very interesting, down to Earth character that can tackle the problem at hand with minimal fuss to make sure that the right thing is done. While Ian does makes for a good supporting character he is happy to take a step back for Louise to take the lead on the case.

SettingsThe settings give us a full look at what it will be like within these spacecrafts as well having the full military presence throughout the film.

Special EffectsThe special effects being used are all fantastic as we get to see a constant use of unease within the spacecraft with the mist while we see the spacecraft look completely as one with the locations we find them in.

Final ThoughtsThis is by far one of the greatest alien incoming movies you will ever see that makes you think about what might happen if we did get visited.

 

Overall: Brilliant story telling, brilliant performances and unbelievable out to this sci-fi thriller.

Ratingcard