ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – U – The Untouchables (1987)

Director: Brian De Palma

Writer: David Mamet (Screenplay) Oscar Fraley, Eliot Ness (Book)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Charles Martin Smith, Andy Garcia, Robert De Niro, Richard Bradford, Jack Kehoe

 

Plot: During the era of Prohibition in the United States, federal agent Eliot Ness sets out to stop ruthless Chicago gangster Al Capone, and because of rampant corruption, assembles a small, hand-picked team to help him.


Tagline – The Chicago Dream is that big 

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Crime Classic

 

Story: The Untouchables starts in the prohibition era America, Al Capone (De Niro) has risen to the top of Chicago controlling everything, even with a war between the gangs going on. Eliot Ness (Costner) a federal officer bought into try and tackle the problems.

Learning quickly, he can’t trust anyone on the force, he must make his own team with experienced beat cop Jim Malone (Connery), accountant Oscar Wallace (Smith) and straight out of the academy George Stone (Garcia) fill this roles, as the team look like they have started to put the pressure on Al Capone.

 

Thoughts on The Untouchables

 

Characters – Eliot Ness is from the Federal treasury office to try and tackle the illegal affairs involving alcohol being bought into Chicago. He puts together his own team knowing who he can trust, but he also puts his own family’s lives at risk. Jim Malone is the seasoned veteran that is still just an honest beat cop, he gets recruited to the team because Eliot sees him as one of the few he could trust on the force. He knows the ins and outs of what is going on, using his information to help with the investigation. Oscar is an accountant that joins the team, he knows the best way to get Capone would be to investigate his finances. George Stone comes straight out of the academy to join the team, they know they can trust him because he hasn’t been put in a position to become corrupted yet. Al Capone is the legendry gangster ruling over Chicago with his alcohol trafficking, he will do anything to stay on top in this business, killing anyone that gets in his way.

PerformancesWe have an amazing cast here, with Kevin Costner in the leading role shining through the film, Sean Connery taking the supporting role comes up with one of his career best performances. Andy Garcia showed everything the talent he had with his role in the film and Robert De Niro was still in the prime of his career as one of the best, if not the best gangster character actors in the industry.

StoryThe story follows the events of the prohibition era America when agent Eliot Ness attempts to take down Al Capone and his organisation. We see how the police force must overcome their own corruption to try and stay ahead of the bootleggers and how Capone will just pull the trigger on eliminating anybody that tries to stop his business. We do learn from how the four man team have all come from different backgrounds and will be risking their lives to take down Capone. This does fit into learning about the history of the events and how people will always be looking to profit from somebody else.

CrimeThe crime world we enter sees how the prohibition era America became one of the most dangerous with gangs at war trying to gain control of the situation, how the cops tried to take them down and just how far they would go to keep business booming.

SettingsThe film is set in Chicago with the recreation of the 1930s looking wonderful and like we are part of each and every scene.


Scene of the Movie –
The lobby scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Crash landing is a cheesy scene.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant crime classic that will still be the one getting talked about in the modern era of cinema as one of the best.

 

Overall: Must watch crime classic.

Rating

 

 

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Martin Scorsese Weekend – Raging Bull (1980)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Paul Schrader, Mardik Martin (Screenplay) Jake LaMotta, Joseph Carter, Peter Savage (Book)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent, Nicholas Colasanto, Maria Gallo

 

Plot: An emotionally self-destructive boxer’s journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside it.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over Hyped Boxing Film

 

Story: Raging Bull starts in 1941 the Bronx, New York City where we meet boxer Jake La Motta (De Niro) and his promoter, sparing partner and brother Joey (Pesci). The two look to set up the next fighter even though the married Jake spots the 15-year-old Vickie (Moriarty) who has connections with the mob.

Through the 40’s Jake remains unbeaten and marries Vickie and on the verge of a potential title fight. With his career taking off, his personal life is starting to fall apart as he becomes paranoid about what Vickie is doing with his violent side coming through.

 

Thoughts on Raging Bull

 

Characters/PerformanceJake is a brilliant boxer, one of the best of his generation but his out the ring temper causes more problems in his life as he is insecure about his wife’s loyalty, his brother’s loyalty and the people in his life. Vickie is the long-suffering wife that must deal with the temper of Jake while trying to retain a personal life against his wishes. Joey is the brother of Jake who also trains and books his fights but the two are always at conflict with each other.

Performance wise, De Niro is great through this film and you can see why people rave of his performance but I feel and we know he is capable of even better now. Pesci does a good job in what must have been a break through role for him. With Moriarty in her debut hanging with the big names very well.

StoryThe story does follow the career of Jake La Motta from small time boxer to champion to what happens to him after his career in the ring is over, we follow his paranoia in his personal life which comes out in his aggression. If you are into your boxing history you will enjoy the story otherwise you might not connect as well.

Biography/SportsLooking at the career is interesting but I do feel other boxing films are painted a more interesting career, the boxing itself looks fantastic through the film.

SettingsThe settings show us the time we are seeing the events unfold in which is done well throughout.

Final ThoughtsThis is a boxing film that I have heard huge things about, but I didn’t find myself getting engaged with the story in the way I was expecting and found elements of this film kind of boring.

 

Overall: This is one of the most popular boxing films of all time but it won’t make the top of any of my lists.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – G – Grudge Match (2013)

Director: Peter Segal

Writer: Tim Kelleher, Rodney Rothman (Screenplay) Tim Kelleher (Story)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Kevin Hart, Alan Arkin, Kim Basinger, LL Cool J, Jon Bernthal

 

Plot: A pair of aging boxing rivals are coaxed out of retirement to fight one final bout, thirty years after their last match.


Tagline – Never give up the fight.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: More Heartfelt Than You Would Think

 

Story: Grudge Match starts as we see the history of two boxing legends Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp (Stallone) & Billy ‘The Kid’ McDonnen (De Niro) who has two fights and before The Kid got his rematch, Razor walked away from the sport. 30-years-later after an altercation between the two goes viral, Dante Slate Jr (Hart) arranges one more match between the two.

The two get back into training, Razor uses his old coach Lightning (Arkin) while The Kid turns to a new gym he helped fund run by Frankie Brite (Cool J) but it is his unknown son BJ (Bernthal) that knows how to train, the two go through the press campaign giving everyone buzz about the fight between two fighters past their prime and out of shape.

 

Thoughts on Grudge Match

 

Characters – Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp won the last fight between the two, he then walked away from the sport losing his fortune along the way becoming a factory worker. When the chance to make money by returning for one fight however reluctant he is, he must confront the problems which left him walking away from the ring to be ready for his in-ring return. Billy ‘The Kid’ McDonnen lost the last fight between the two, he wants rematch, but his reasoning behind him losing is the same as Razor leaving the ring. He has his own bar and jumps at the chance of a rematch. Dante Slate Jr is the fast taking promoter that has followed in his father’s footsteps. Lightning is the trainer for Razor he always has been, the old man cliché is all about him in this film. we have Sally who is the woman that got between the two men trying to rebuild her relationship with Razor.

PerformancesStallone and De Niro both have legendary careers where they both appeared in boxing movies, Rocky and Raging Bull respectable, this performance from the both doesn’t mock what they achieved, but does let them have fun at knowing they are older than when those films were part of their highlights. The supporting cast all get to play into their strengths, Hart with his quick talking, Arkin with his grumpy old man persona and Basinger doing the old flame figure.

StoryThe story follows to old rivals in the Boxing ring that get bought back together for the grudge match with the two having one a single match win each. The story shows how rivalries can last for decades and how they both have survived after leaving the world of boxing. We get to see the ‘old man’ in tech heavy world moments as this fight goes viral which works in places but not others. We see how the personal lives of everyone involved has been affected by the rivalry too.

Comedy/SportsThe comedy is solid in most places we get Hart doing his thing most and Arkin do the grumpy old man routine which gets the most laughs. The sports brings us in the boxing world with former rivals.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings in the two boxers home city of Pittsburgh which shows the sport will bring the city together.


Scene of the Movie –
The match itself.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain jokes miss.

Final ThoughtsThis is a comedy that was a lot better than I would expect, the jokes can hit and by the end you will enjoy this movie with two boxing legends finally ending their tie.

 

Overall: Fun sports comedy.

Rating

 

 

Angel Heart (1987)

Director: Alan Parker

Writer: Alan Parker (Screenplay) William Hjortsberg (Novel)

Starring: Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, Lisa Bonet, Charlotte Rampling, Stocker Fontelieu

 

Plot: Harry Angel is a private investigator. He is hired by a man who calls himself Louis Cyphre to track down a singer called Johnny Favorite. But the investigation takes an unexpected and somber turn.


Tagline –  It will scare you to your very soul.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dark Mystery Horror

 

Story: Angel Heart starts as private investigator Harry Angel (Rourke) is hired by Louis Cyphre (De Niro) to locate a man Johnny, we follow Harry as he looks to track down this man using his skills along the way.

As the investigation continues Harry finds himself meeting Epiphany (Bonet) a lady that has a connection to the missing man and also deals in voodoo, taking Harry in a direction he never imagined he would go in, but can he solve the mystery before it is too late as everyone he seems to question ends up dead.

 

Thoughts on Angel Heart

 

Characters – Harry Angel is a private investigator, he gets the job done but is a shady in his methods, he gets hired to find a missing person but soon finds himself as the prime suspect in a string of murders with the people that have a connection to the missing man. Louis Cyphre is a mysterious man that hires Harry to search for the missing man but has an air of mystery about him. Epiphany is a young lady that has clues to the whereabouts of the missing man, but gets involved in a race hating state relationship with Harry while also practising voodoo.

PerformancesMickey Rourke does a great job as the private investigator showing the down and out figure needed for the desperate mindset his character ends up in. De Niro shines in the supporting role here giving a chilling performance where we only see him a few times but we are left haunted by his screen time. Lisa Bonet is great too as the young lady that knows some of the answers.

StoryThe story here does start with a standard looking investigation but it soon takes a twist involving different religious beliefs where one man must question his own sanity about what is happening. The investigation side of the film is what you would expect but the change it takes in the final act is the reward you get because things get built up nicely. This is a good mystery thriller that keeps us engaged from the start to the finish.

Horror/MysteryThe horror comes from the truth that comes out in the final act but the mystery we are watching unfold is what drives this film.

SettingsThe settings take us around America at times as we search with Harry about the truth.

Special EffectsThe effects come in the form of practical as we see just how the kills look once the killer has finished with the bodies.


Scene of the Movie –
Final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I wanted more De Niro.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great mystery horror that does keep us guessing and taking us into a direction you wouldn’t see coming.

 

Overall: Enjoyable Mystery horror.

Rating

 

 

The Last Tycoon (1976)

Director: Elia Kazan

Writer: Harold Pinter (Screenplay) F Scott Fitzgerald (Novel)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Tony Curtis, Robert Mitchum, Jeanne Moreau, Jack Nicholson, Donald Pleasence, Ray Milland

 

Plot: F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s novel is brought to life in this story of a movie producer slowly working himself to death.


Tagline – He has the power to make anyone’s dream come true… except his own.

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strangely Important Movie

 

Story: The Last Tycoon starts as we see how Monroe Stahr (De Niro) is working on the latest film, finding the right points to make it the production company’s next big hit, his superiors including Pat Bray (Mitchum) question this latest method even if the boss trusts his ideas without a doubt.

We follow Monroe as he conducts the business and uses his position of power to seduce aspiring actresses, while his health only continues to worsen by not taking the break his doctors are giving him.

 

Thoughts on The Last Tycoon

 

Characters – Monroe is the hotshot producer that can make any film work for his production company, he sees the little flaws in movies to fix them before they get released, he over works himself, but using his position got find actresses. Rodriguez is one of the starts of the studio that has worked with Monroe for years, the only one that will help him. Pat Brady is the senior production manager or something like that for the studio, he is against Monroe’s decisions at times, fearing for the studio.

PerformancesThe do have an amazing cast for this movie, Robert De Niro takes the centre stage and of course this was when every role he did gave us something to remember. With Tony Curtis and Robert Mitchum taking the main supporting roles we have nothing to fear with performances here.

StoryThe story follows one movie producer as he is searching for perfection on this next movie, while also keeping himself attached to enough women. We see his mental and physical health decline with his over working, but the truth is, even with a wonderful cast this just doesn’t become interesting enough for us to watch.

RomanceThe film claims to be a romance, but I am not sure why, we only meet a womaniser.

SettingsThe film takes place in Hollywood which puts us into the world we are going to be taking on, it works without being anything special.


Scene of the Movie –
Fixing the film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Seems boring

Final ThoughtsThis is an example of older films which would have worked well at the time but doesn’t anymore, the performances are wonderful, but the story drags.

 

Overall: Dated movie

Rating