ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – P – Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017)

Director: Angela Robinson

Writer: Angela Robinson (Screenplay)

Starring: Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, Bella Heathcote, Connie Britton, Monica Giordano, JJ Field, Oliver Platt

 

Plot: The story of psychologist William Moulton Marston, and his polyamorous relationship with his wife and their mistress who would inspire his creation of the superheroine, Wonder Woman.


Tagline – Ever wonder?

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lots of Science, Not Enough Wonder Woman

 

Story: Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman starts as Professor William Marston (Evans) is explaining the motivation behind the Wonder Woman character to Josette Frank (Britton) and the rest of the board. We dive back to 1928 where William a Harvard professor along with his wife Elizabeth (Hall) who selects Olive Byrne (Heathcote) to help with the latest research project.

The research includes studying relationships and social commentary with the idea to help create the lie-detector and only ends up help create the comic book character we know after going for a forbidden relationship.

 

Thoughts on Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman

 

Characters – Professor William Marston is telling the story about his creation of the Wonder Woman character which takes us back to his time at Harvard where he was creating the lie-detector, he has a wonderful relationship with his wife that the two often search for more in love. Elizabeth Marston is just as educated at William, but doesn’t get the accredited title, she is fighting for this right while exploring the research they are working on together. Olive Byrne is the student the two take a liking to, they invite her into their research before getting involved in an even more complicated and forbidden relationship.

PerformancesLuke Evans in the leading role as the storyteller going on to show us just how desperate he is to succeed in his field. Rebecca Hall as the movement supporter shows strength throughout too while Bella Heathcote is great too turning from innocent to forward thinking woman as the story progresses.

StoryThe story follows William Marston, the man who created the Wonder Woman character and his unconventional relationship with his wife and mistress. The story here does have serious pacing issues because we spend well over half the film focusing on the build up to the relationship between the three and not enough time focusing on the creation of Wonder Woman, sure parts of the film are surrounding the ideas of Wonder Woman, but watching the fight to create and continuing publishing the comic book icon would have been a lot more interesting to watch.

BiopicThe biopic side of this film does show how William Marston went from Harvard professor to comic book creator of one of the most iconic characters in comic book history.

SettingsThe settings used in the film show us the different time period from the late 20’s to the mid 40’s, nothing looks out of place for what we are telling, though we do jump the timeline quickly.


Scene of the Movie –
The Rise of Wonder Woman.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too much time building the relationship.

Final ThoughtsThis is a biopic that shows us just how the character of Wonder Woman came to life, it shows the unconventional relationship the creator had with his wife and lover which saw them shunted in life but did end up bring the strongest female comic book figure to life.

 

Overall: Strong but misguided biopic.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – K – Kill the Messenger (2014)

Director: Michael Cuesta

Writer: Peter Landesman (Screenplay) Gary Webb, Nick Schou (Book)

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Oliver Platt, Michel Sheen, Andy Garcia

 

Plot: Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb. The film takes place in the mid-1990s, when Webb uncovered the CIA’s past role in importing huge amounts of cocaine into the U.S. that was aggressively sold in ghettos across the country to raise money for the Nicaraguan Contras’ rebel army. Despite enormous pressure not to, Webb chose to pursue the story and went public with his evidence, publishing the series “Dark Alliance”. As a result he experienced a vicious smear campaign fueled by the CIA. At that point Webb found himself defending his integrity, his family, and his life.


Tagline –  How the CIA’s crack-cocaine controversy destroyed journalist Gary Webb

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Investigation Journalism 101

 

Story: Kill the Messenger starts as reporter Gary Webb (Renner) has been investigating the handling of drug dealers who are fond not guilty in a court of law. This opens the door for Gary to a whole new story about how the CIA had been using drug trade to fund a war in Nicaragua.

The deeper Gary got into the story the more the CIA put pressure on him as he must regain his reputation after the CIA pulls the same tricks to disgrace him.

 

Thoughts on Kill the Messenger

 

Characters – The characters in this film are based on the real people, we are looking at their own decisions which would have put them in the position they find themselves in. Gary Webb is a reporter, he believes he has the biggest story of his career which puts his own family life and career on the line by trying to expose the CIA. Sue is the wife that sees her personal life become part of the sideshow in the press. We do have many other reporters, contacts, CIA agents, lawyers and even the drug dealers themselves who interact with Gary as the story comes to the light of day.

PerformancesJeremy Renner is the star of this film, he does a great job in the leading role dealing with the different situations he finds himself in. the film is filled with great performances from the characters actors we have seen in plenty of films through the years.

StoryThe story here shows us one man’s determination to try and bring a story to life, one that could expose the governments secrets. This brings him into a personal battle against the CIA who are trying to ruin his reputation and destroy his creditability. The is based on the real man and the real story which once again shows us just how governments can become corrupt for their own gain. Though this is based on the true story, it does feel like it is lacking something to truly bring us into the film, we find ourselves just on the side lines of the story which never reaches the levels it could do.

Biopic/Crime/MysteryThe biopic side of this film is the important part of the film, we focus on the man whose story turned people against him even though he was exposing a big crime within the government.

SettingsThe settings do take us around America and even through the North America countries as we see where the truth is being designed to send us to the different corners of the truth.


Scene of the Movie –
Speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Driving looked terribly fake.

Final ThoughtsThis is a biopic movie that does set out to show us the truth about the CIA using the drug trade to fund a war but quickly turns into the CIA trying to discredit the man behind it all, it doesn’t reach the highest levels we are hoping for even it Renner does shine through the film.

 

Overall: One for the biopic fans out there.

Rating

 

 

Oliver Platt Weekend – The Oranges (2011)

Director: Julian Farino

Writer: Ian Helfer, Jay Reiss (Screenplay)

Starring: Alia Shawkat, Hugh Laurie, Oliver Platt, Allison Janney, Catherine Keener, Leighton Meester, Adam Brody

 

Plot: The enduring friendship between the Walling and Ostroff families is tested when Nina, the prodigal Ostroff daughter, returns home for the holidays after a five-year absence and enters into an affair with David, head of the Walling family.


Tagline – Sex. Betrayal. Scandal. Make yourself at home.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Funny Family Drama

 

Story: The Oranges starts as we meet two neighbouring families, the Walling and Ostroff who are best friends, husbands David (Laurie) and Terry (Platt), wives Cathy (Janney) and Paige (Keener) and children Vanessa (Shawkat), Nina (Meester) and Toby (Brody) who all come back together for the first time in years for Thanksgiving.

This weekend goes wrong when David starts having an affair well a kiss with Nina which causes problems as each side when everyone finds out breaking all the relationships between everyone involved.

 

Thoughts on The Oranges

 

Characters – David is the head of one of the two families, he is in a falling apart marriage that sees him staying in the pool house, he is best friends with Terry which sees him jogging plenty of times a week. He gets involved with Terry’s daughter which sees his wife leave him, his friendship shattered and his daughter wanting to turn on him. Nina is the wild child daughter of Terry that has spent years away from home, she used to be Vanessa’s best friend and has spent her time exploring the world. she returns home after a bad break up and gets involved in an affair of sorts with David, this is partly because it is something new and partly to get at her mother. Vanessa is our narrator that is recalling the events, she is the daughter of David that has always planned for a future that hasn’t happened yet, she is the opposite to Nina with her life, not taking the chances she always thought would come her way, she does struggle to deal with new relationship mostly because her life hasn’t taken off. Terry is the father of Nina that is struggling to deal with the new relationship, not only because it is his best friend and his daughter, but ends up finding a new lease for life himself. Paige is the wife that moves out after David’s affair which sees her book up a full bed and breakfast as part of her plan to get back at him. Cathy is the interfering mother of Nina’s that always wanted to see her daughter happy and ends up trying to set her up more than she should.

PerformancesHugh Laurie stepped away from House with his role, he gets to continue to show that he is a talent actor in the leading role and once again showed that he does work very well with Leighton Meester who is also very good in her role. Oliver Platt, Allison Janney and Catherine Keener are staples of any ensembled cast showing they can get their moments in smaller moments in any film and Alia Shawkat gives us a performance which many people can relate to.

StoryThe story here shows us how mid-life crisis happen, they show us what would happen if a father started dating his best friends daughter. It sparks changes in everyone’s life showing how much the parents are getting older and not taking the chances they once thought they had and the young adults learn to take the chances they hadn’t found themselves doing. The story does pose the question about love and whether age should be a problem. We also get to play into the idea of the holiday period being chaos in America with the secrets of family can come out as the strain between them becomes more apparent. It is interesting seeing the effects on the affair on everybody which makes this movie more interesting to watch.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film fits in nicely, it isn’t designed to be a laugh out loud comedy, but have moments that will make you laugh. The romance shows us how an affair between a father and daughter of best friend can be nice to start with and soon show the truth about real feelings.

SettingsThe settings are New Jersey with two houses opposite each other showing us just how close the connection is between the two families.


Scene of the Movie –
Christmas drive.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nearly every character gets development with what happens apart from Cathy which is the only disappointment.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun romantic comedy that shows how one moment between an unlikely couple can easily change lives to go in directions nobody involved could see happening.

 

Overall: Happy relationship comedy drama.

Rating

 

 

Oliver Platt Weekend – One More Time (2015)

Director: Robert Edwards

Writer: Robert Edwards (Screenplay)

Starring: Christopher Walken, Amber Heard, Kelli Garner, Hamish Linklater, Ann Magnuson, Henry Kelemen, Oliver Platt

 

Plot: A New York City crooner plots his comeback.


Tagline – The hardest act to follow is your father’s.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Finding Yourself Movie

 

Story: One More Time starts as an aspiring young music Jude (Heard) returns home to her successful father Paul (Walken) one of the biggest musicians that has faded away. We go through the family dynamics as we learn what has caused problems between them before.

When Pau gets his chance to make his comeback he grabs it and as he is taking his chance he is trying to push his daughter Jude into letting the world see her talent, the talent he thinks the world would love.

 

Thoughts on One More Time

 

Characters – Paul Lombard was once the biggest name in music, he drew crowds from around the world, now his light has faded and he wants to re-create himself once again, the ability he has shown through the years, he is terrible when it comes to dealing with the women in his life and tries to push his talented daughter to follow in his footsteps. Jude is the daughter of Paul, she has the talent but isn’t willing to let the world see her talent, she doesn’t want to take the chance and be branded his daughter, she is lost in life never really knowing where to go next. Corinne is the daughter that has her head screwed on running a business starting a family the complete opposite to Jude. Alan is the long time manager of Paul that has always had his best interests at heart, close friends to the family and even trying to help Jude with her career.

PerformancesChristopher Walken would have jumped at this role with the music side letting him show us his talents, he is good through the film even showing both sides of his character. Amber Heard is good as the lost musician that is trying to find herself. Kelli Garner is strong too as we see the distant her character needs to have from the Paul and Jude relationship. Oliver Platt is good in his supporting role which is one we always like to see him in.

StoryThe story here follows two different musicians from different generations, the father who made his name and lost his fame and his daughter that is trying to figure out her place in the world. we get to go through the family dynamics about sounds they could both have and how they need to put personal problems behind them to make sure they can be the best they could be, but by the end of the film it doesn’t feel like anything was truly resolved with the problems with either Paul or Jude knowing their place in the music world now.

Comedy/MusicThe comedy in the film doesn’t seem to be very effective in anyway, it is here but it doesn’t seem to hit, the music is the strongest part of the film as here different sounds through the film.

SettingsThe settings are used well, but don’t help the film because Paul has the money to support Jude’s dream, it would have been more interesting if he had hit hard times too and they do need to work as well as playing the music.


Scene of the Movie –
Editing the Wikipedia page.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Nothing overly original.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough finding yourself movie, it does help that the family has money behind them so the struggle never feels desperate in anyway, though the music works well.

 

Overall: Solid enough

Rating

 

 

Chef (2014)

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: Jon Favreau (Screenplay)

Starring: Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, John Lequizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Oliver Platt, Bobby Cannavale, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr

 

Plot: A head chef quits his restaurant job and buys a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Food Adventure

 

Story: Chef starts as we meet a once hotly tipped chef Carl Casper (Favreau) working for Riva (Hoffman) in his high-class restaurant. When a critic is due to attend, Carl wants to go big but gets talked down by Riva, this leaves him with a negative review. Carl finds himself becoming an internet sensation with this review by Ramsey Michel (Platt) going viral.

Carl finds himself out of a job but with a chance of big money, but his ex-wife Inez (Vergara) pushes him join her and their son Percy (Anthony) on a trip to Miami hoping to see Carl recapture his love for cooking. Looking to reclaim his reputation Carl gets a food truck to bring his flavours around Miami and this brings him closer to his own son and his true passion cooking.

 

Thoughts on Chef

 

Characters/PerformanceCarl is a chef that had a reputation of being edgy and brilliant but over time he has fallen into a normal routine in a restaurant, he now needs to prove he is still edgy and a food truck will help prove this. Inez is the ex-wife that still supports Carl in his decisions and understanding his problems. Martin is the loyal friend of Carl that gives up his job to follow him on the food trip. The rest of the characters include the boss who is more interested in money that fresh food, the film critic, the son that is feeling left out and the other people that help Carl redeem himself.

Performance wise, Favreau is good in this leading role as well as being great of director, John Leguizamo is always great in supporting roles and this is no different. Emjay Anthony is good in what is an all-star cast to. The cast are all good through the whole film.

StoryThe story shows how one man can lose his reputation but regain it by returning to his routes, so basically like any actor or director in Hollywood. There is obviously more to this film too as we get a father and son bond growing after years of a distant relationship but the food element shows if you are passionate about anything you can enjoy it from any position.

ComedyThe comedy is light and when needed as the film is more of a road trip adventure drama.

SettingsWe get plenty of iconic locations through the film as we learn the different foods that make different parts of America famous.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable food based road trip learning about different famous dishes from around America.

 

Overall: One that is enjoyable for all.

Rating