Original v Remake – Pete’s Dragon (2016)

Director: David Lowery

Writer: David Lowery, Toby Halbrooks (Screenplay) Seton I Miller, SS. Field (Story)

Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oakes Fegley, Oona Laurence, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Isiah Whitlock Jr

 

Plot: The adventures of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just so happens to be a dragon.


Tagline – Some secrets are too big to keep.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Huge Improvement

 

Story: Pete’s Dragon starts when Pete (Fegley) loses his family in a car accident, he ends living the next six years in the woods with his pet dragon Elliot, this changes when he sees a local park ranger Grace (Howard) who is watching over a logging company chopping down the woods, when Grace’s daughter Natalie (Laurence) discovers him.

Grace takes Pete into her family to learn the truth about what happened to Pete’s family, all while Elliot watches over him, which grabs the attention of the local hunters that want to try and capture a dragon.

 

Thoughts on Pete’s Dragon

 

Characters – Pete is the young boy that loses his family in a car crash, he ends up hiding out in the woods for six years with Elliot the dragon, he isn’t interested in returning to the modern world, even after being offered a way back to live a normal. He wants to protect his dragon, which will see him going through a much darker story than the original film. Grace is the park ranger that discovers Pete, offers him a home with her family as they look to figure out who he is, she ha always listened to her father’s stories about the dragon in the woods and doesn’t know what to believe before she sees him. Meacham is the old member of the town, he has seen the dragon before, but unlike the original, he has been turned into a character that brings knowledge, rather than just a drunk. Natalie is the daughter of Grace, she brings Pete a friend that he hasn’t had in years, being somebody that wants to enjoy the legend too.

PerformancesOakes Fegley in the leading role is the highlight of the film, he shows how emotional trauma his character has been through. Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford both give us the strong supporting performances with Wes Bentley and Karl Urban complete the main cast well too.

StoryThe story here follows an orphaned young boy that befriends a dragon in the woods before getting found and offered a chance of a normal life. This is a remake and it does take a much better direction for the story telling side of the film. we have darker moment with the ideas how Pete is dealing with his own trauma, the hunting for the dragon is different, while it might still be for money, it isn’t a scammer like the original film. each new theme does add a lot of realism to what Pete is going through, with the exception of the dragon of course. We do get moments that do feel slightly preachy though, with the villainous figures being lumberjacks taking too much of the local woods away. The grounded realism in this story is what does improve it.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure in this film shows how Pete has been living in own adventure to deal with his own trauma. The comedy does seem to have been taken out of this film for the most part.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town of hard working people, they have a legend of a dragon, this helps the settings show how together the people will be.

Special EffectsThe dragon is the effects in this film, which is always looking amazing for film.


Scene of the Movie –
Fly Elliot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It would have been nice to have more of Meacham

Final ThoughtsThis is a hugely improved remake that builds on the original concept which grounds the story in realism for young Pete.

 

Overall: Remake that works well.

Rating

 

The Old Man & The Gun (2018)

Director: David Lowery

Writer: David Lowery (Screenplay) David Grann (Article)

Starring: Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, Tika Sumpter, Ari Elizabeth Johnson

 

Plot: Based on the true story of Forrest Tucker and his audacious escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 to an unprecedented string of heists that confounded authorities and enchanted the public.


Tagline – This Story is Mostly True.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Crime Comedy

 

Story: The Old Man & The Gun starts as we see how Forrest Tucker (Redford) would do his bank robberies, casually walk in and politely ask for the money before calmly walking out and escaping, only on this latest job he meets Jewel (Spacek) a widow who he wants to charm.

After another robbery that happened to have cop John Hunt (Affleck) who didn’t even see it happen, John decides to investigate Forrest robberies where he learns about the lifetime of crimes and the myth behind the man who escaped multiple prisons and returned to a life of crime, can he finally be caught for good?

 

Thoughts on The Old Man & The Gun

 

Characters – Forrest Tucker is a career criminal that has been committing robberies his hole life, he never hurts anyone and is always a gentleman about how he goes around his robberies. Even in his later years he still loves the crime, he does want a relationship with Jewel and sees her in the same lonely situation she is at times. John Hunt is a detective that starts to investigate the robberies after being in the bank when one of the heists goes down, he seems to enjoy the chase over the capture, giving his life new meaning. Jewel is a widow that has seen her children grow up and is living in a remote farm, she sees Forrest as a charmer who could bring her new zest for life and lets him into her life. Teddy and Waller are the partners in the crimes called in for the bigger jobs.

PerformancesRobert Redford is wonderful in the leading role which is meant to be his last and he goes out on top showing that his skills are permanently.  Casey Affleck gives us a good performance that is shows how withdrawn his character has become with his life. Sissy Spacek is great too showing us just how lonely she has become with her life. The supporting cast are good too all fitting the story very well.

StoryThe story follows the later robberies of Forrest Tucker one of the most notorious criminals in America, he escaped prison multiply times and continued to rob banks just to keep him entertained while never resorting to violence. We follow one cop that decides to investigate other robberies connecting the dots to learn who the man behind them really is. If you liked ‘Catch me if you Can’ the story is told in the same style which helps us find comedy in moments which could have been calm. The time jumps showing the pure number of robberies happening can be blink and you miss them and if you don’t know your American states you won’t be able to connect them quickly.

Comedy/CrimeThe film is told in a way that makes everything become light-hearted which helps make the crimes seem like they weren’t as bad as they were.

SettingsThe settings are the weakest part of the film if you don’t know where or how close cities and states are because we see so many robberies that just show us the place not saying how far away they are.


Scene of the Movie –
What Forrest did next.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does feel too similar to Catch Me If you Can.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good crime comedy that gets the fun comedy moments while telling a true story about how one man was addicted to robbing banks.

 

Overall: Fun true crime story.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – S – Spy Game (2001)

Director: Tony Scott

Writer: Michael Frost Beckner, David Arata (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, Catherine McCormack, Stephen Dillane, Larry Bryggman

 

Plot: Retiring CIA agent Nathan Muir recalls his training of Tom Bishop while working against agency politics to free him from his Chinese captors.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Spin on the Thriller

 

Story: Spy Game starts as CIA spy Tom Bishop (Pitt) gets captured in China on his latest mission, back home America is panicking with his retiring former handler Nathan Muir (Redford) bought into the fold to learn about his character.

Nathan finds himself being interviewed to understand the mentality Tom has, which leads to flashbacks as we learn about how Tom was recruited and his ability to make new assets as we go through the cases he worked on with Nathan. This all goes into the race against time to make the decision on whether to trade or leave Tom to rot in Chinese jail.

 

Thoughts on Spy Game

 

Characters/PerformanceNathan Muir has worked a decorated career for the CIA handling spies searching for assets around the world. He is about to retire but his last day he must do everything to save one of his best recruits Tom Bishop. Tom Bishop is the spy that has been captured on his latest mission, we learn through the film just how skied his ability as a spy was as we also learn his strengths and weaknesses. Elizabeth Hadley has a past with Tom which might be the reason why everything has gone down.

Performance wise, Robert Redford and Brad Pitt are both great throughout showing us just how the two can play the mentor student kind of relationship through the film.

StoryLooking at the story we get to see how a mentor in the CIA must recount his relationship with one of his best student turned spy, this gives us a nice mix between training even when Tom is experienced in the field and seeing how Nathan is looking back at his career. We also have enough spy material to keep us on edge throughout.

Action/Crime/ThrillerThe action in this film is very calm, it is the thrilling side of everything that keeps us on the edge of our seats as we are left to wonder if there is a crime going on or not.

SettingsThe settings show us just how the world of spies can be left open to anything and everything.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good thriller that keeps us on edge through the whole film with great performance from Redford through the film.

 

Overall: One for the thriller fans to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

The Discovery (2017)

Director: Charlie McDowell

Writer: Justin Lader, Charlie McDowell (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Robert Redford, Mary Steenburgen, Brian McCarthy, Riley Keough

 

Plot: A love story set one year after the existence of the afterlife is scientifically verified.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fascinating Sci-Fi Mind Bender

 

Story: The Discovery starts in a world where DR Thomas Harper (Redford) believes he has proven there is an afterlife, one year after this announcement the suicide rating in the world has sky rocketed with people believing they will ended up in this afterlife free of the problems they face in the real world.

Thomas’ son Will (Segel) a neurologist returns to his research facility on a remote island where his other brother Toby (Plemons) has been working on collecting more evidence with other volunteers who believe this afterlife is real. Being joined by Isla (Mara) the latest suicide failure to join the course Will is left to face the reality that not everything is as cut and dry as he believes with all of his science and medical beliefs. Will finds himself working with Isla to learn about a mysterious recording that came from the mind of a dead man, searching into his own past coming to a conclusion to everything.

 

Thoughts on The Discovery

 

Characters/PerformanceWill is a neurologist that is living in a world where people believe there is scientific proof of the afterlife, he still doesn’t believe in his own father’s discovery. He gets to investigating in a scientific mentality hoping to get to the bottom of everything. Isla is one of the people who had planned to kill themselves to get to this afterlife, she finds hope in searching for the answers with Will. Thomas is the doctor who believes he has discovered an afterlife, he has people working for him in a cult like situation while he is still trying to get the complete truth.

Performance wise, Jason Segel is brilliant here showing he isn’t just a comical actor and can handle the serious performances, Rooney Mara is good as always in the supporting role with Hollywood Icon Robert Redford giving a performance that is great for a supporting one.

StoryAn idea that we are in a world where we could know there is an afterlife is truly fascinating, it offers up questions never once asked before because there is no ‘if’ it is a ‘when’. The film does claim to have this question with our main character Will looking to prove this wrong, which again is good because this is a scientific discovery. This story will keep you guessing from the start to the finish and leave you going ‘What’ even though you can understand the ending.

Mystery/Romance/Sci-FiThe mystery is would you believe and is this discovery real, the sci-fi from the story comes from the discovery itself, as it offers up what is a scientific idea to the afterlife. The romance comes from Will and Isla story as they search for the truth.

SettingsThe one weak point I found in this film I would say is the settings, they do add up to the final story which is good but the film has the beach which is important and the lone mansion where the believers live.

Final ThoughtsI love a film that makes you think, this will do that, I love seeing actors who have been typecast to one genre prove themselves, Segel does here. I love watching how scientific ideas are posed to the audience offer us a question on what we would do in the situation. This is nearly everything I like to watch in a film, this should have been a cinema release not Netflix.

 

Overall: One of the hidden gems of the year.

Rating

 

 

Indecent Proposal (1993)

indiDirector: Adrian Lyne

Writer: Amy Holden Jones (Screenplay) Jack Engelhard (Novel)

Starring: Robert Redford, Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson, Seymour Cassel, Oliver Platt, Billy Bob Thornton, Rup Taylor, Billy Connolly

 

Plot: A millionaire offers $1,000,000 to a young married couple for a night with the wife.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Little Drama

 

Story: Indecent Proposal starts as we meet young newlyweds Diana Murphy (Moore) and David Murphy (Harrelson) who have been high school sweethearts who believed everything was going to go their way but once the recession hits they find all their dreams shattered with money becoming the serious problem after they both lose their jobs.

Wanting to make the money quickly they head to Vegas where they learn the good and bad side of gambling industry where they lose their remaining money after making it big. Their fortunes change when they bump into high roller billionaire John Gage (Redford) who shows them the life of luxury.

Gage offers the young couple $1 Million for one night with Diana, this gives the couple an almost impossible choice but we are left wondering just whether they could come to a deal or not. Making the deal we get to see how David and Diana deal with the night and the consequences of this decision.

 

Thoughts on Indecent Proposal

 

StoryThe story does give us one of the ultimate moral questions that any married couple could face to solve their monetary problems. We also get to see how they could become broken once the night is done. We get to see how the love between two people can be tested to the extremes as they need to solve their problems. The major issue I have with this story is that this couple have set an unrealistic dream in the first place putting themselves in the mess they find themselves in which a normal person wouldn’t end up finding themselves in.

Drama/RomanceWhen you look at the romance side of this story you get to see how a married couple with all the love in the world can be led astray by someone catching their eye even if it is the money that draws them apart. We get to see how undying love with always prevail whatever you have been through.

Characters/PerformancesDiana and David are the typical Hollywood couple with their unrealistic attempts to make their life the dream even though their love is all they need. John Gage is a man who believes he can buy anything but must learn that he can’t buy the one thing he wants. When you look to the performances everyone is great here with Woody Harrelson has the broken man, Demi as the naïve women dreaming of more and Robert Redford as the business man who can get all.

SettingsThe settings show us the difference in the lifestyles of the married couple and the billionaire which are used brilliantly as we see how Diana gets to look at a different life.

Final ThoughtsI see this film as one of the interesting films from the past that could be done on so many other levels with new technology but can be enjoyed by all.

 

Overall: Good drama about love, money and decision making.

Ratingcard