ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – A – Allied (2016)

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Writer: Steven Knight (Screenplay)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris

 

Plot: In 1942, a Canadian intelligence officer in North Africa encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested by the pressures of war.


Tagline – Deception is an art. Truth is a test. Is love a lie?

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks the Suspense

 

Story: Allied starts as Canadian Intelligence Officer Max Vatan (Pitt) lands in Morocco to work with French Resistance Fighter Marianna Beausejour (Cotillard) as they pretend to be married as they complete their mission. The two fall in love for real and return to London to get married against the his superior Frank Heslop (Harris) opinion.

After a year of marriage Heslop comes to Max believing Marianna is indeed a spy, this leaves Max questioning, which side of the story to believe and what is the truth.

 

Thoughts on Allied

 

Characters – Max Vatan is Canadian intelligence working in Africa, highly skilled he can blend into his environment, but he does fall in love with his undercover wife. When he gets informed she could well be a spy, his life is turned upside down with doubts about what is the truth. Marianna is the French resistance fighter working with the Canadian Max as his fake wife, but she also falls in love with Max and returns to start a family with him. We don’t learn too much apart from that she is a loving wife and mother though.

PerformancesBrad Pitt is good for the opening mission, you believe his every decision, but when he becomes the family man, he just doesn’t reach the levels you know he can. Marion Cotillard is good without being her breath-taking best in this role.

StoryThe story here follows love and spies during World War II, we see how two people from different sides of the war fall in love and they must decide which side of the war they are supporting. This film doesn’t become as intense as it could be because seeing it from both sides could have heighted the experience and by the end it just doesn’t feel like it reaches the levels it should.

Action/Romance/WarThe action during the film is tame with very little being used or looking overly real. The romance doesn’t feel whirlwind like you think it should be either, but the war side comes off strong as we see how the tension between the sides cause most of the issues in the lives.

SettingsThe settings look authentic for the time, which does work well for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just fizzles out in the second half of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a war romance film that just never reaches the levels it should do, it just seems to go on and becomes one of the average films that you forget by the end.

 

Overall: Average and disappointing.

Rating

 

 

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1941 (1979)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale (Screenplay) Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, John Milius (Story)

Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Ned Beatty, John Belushi, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Christopher Lee, Tim Matheson

 

Plot: Hysterical Californians prepare for a Japanese invasion in the days after Pearl Harbor.


Tagline – As They Roared Into Battle, Only One Thing Was Missing…The Enemy!

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simply Not Good Enough

 

Story: 1941 starts in the aftermath of Pearl Harbour, The Japanese are searching for Hollywood for their latest attack, while the army are planning to create a defence on the Californian coastline, Sgt Frank Tree (Aykroyd) leads his men in preparations while pilot Captain Wild Bill Kelso (Belushi) travels the country to support his troops.

The preparations bring us comical happenings which lead to what is going on between the Americans and the impending Japanese.

 

Thoughts on 1941

 

Characters – We have so many characters in this film it is hard to pick out the main ones, we will though, Sgt Frank Tree tries to keep peace between his soldiers and not letting them fight with the locals. Ward Douglas is the man that sees it has an honour to host the army for prime location for defence. Captain Wild Bill Kelso is a pilot that enjoys a drink, he heads across country to join the battle. Where we have too many characters it is hard to see which one we are meant to be follow the most.

PerformancesThe performances are affected by the mass cast because no one gets to show their best skills, we have the comical actors that want to joke, only for them to miss, then the serious actors not hitting their moments either.

StoryThe story follows the Americans as they plan for a potential next attack on America from the Japanese in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbour attack. The problem I see with this story, it showing us how we make light of a devastating moment in history with the Pearl Harbour attack and shows how America did panic but didn’t seem to take the events serious, well that is what the film gives us.

Action/Comedy/WarThe action plays into the comedy which gets basic laughs but most of the laughs seem to have dated badly and even just give us toilet humour, all with the backdrop of World War II.

SettingsThe film puts us in LA for the events of the film which shows how Hollywoodland would react to the impending war.


Scene of the Movie –
Plane sex.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the biggest misses of Spielberg’s career, it has too many characters and doesn’t manage to balance out the comedy and action well enough.

 

Overall: Disappointing throughout.

Rating

 

 

What Lies Beneath (2000)

beneahDirector: Robert Zemeckis

Writer: Clark Gregg (Screenplay) Clark Gregg, Sarah Kernochan (Story)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Remar, Katharine Towne, Miranda Otto, Diana Scarwid

 

Plot: The wife of a university research scientist believes that her lakeside Vermont home is haunted by a ghost – or that she is losing her mind.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Chilling Thriller

 

Story: What Lies Beneath starts as Claire (Pfeiffer) and Norman (Ford) Spencer seem to have the perfect marriage as they witness their only daughter Caitlin (Towne) head off to college. They have recently had new neighbours Mary (Otto) and Warren (Remar) who Claire believes Warren has harmed Mary.

Alone in the house Claire starts to try and investigate what happened only to find herself haunted by strange goings on including her front door randomly opening. Claire starting to question her own sanity believes she is being haunted by a ghost and she thinks it is the neighbour she thinks got killed but the truth will leave her shocked.

What lies Beneath is the type of horror I love to watch where it is a ghost trying to communicate with a living person to get to the bottom of their death. The stand out thing is that we don’t have a slow build up we get straight into the paranoia level for Claire to end up in through the film. We are left guessing which is great as we do get a false lead to where the story is going. The fact this keeps us on edge makes this a top horror mystery to be enjoyed with all the chilling side.

 

Actor Review

 

Michelle Pfeiffer: Claire is the wife of Norman and mother of Caitlin who has moved to college, she finds herself alone in the house at times where she finds herself being haunted by a ghost who is trying to communicate with her and the truth will leave her wondering everything about her life. Michelle is great in this role filled with fear throughout.cliare

Harrison Ford: Norman is the university professor working in the field of genetics who has been leaving his wife in their home alone. He doesn’t believe she is being haunted and in fact thinks she is just reacting to being alone. Harrison is great as we are left wondering about his true nature throughout.norman

Diana Scarwid: Jody is the best friend of Claire who helps her try to get to the bottom of the hauntings in the house, she helps with the ghost hunting and is the supportive friend needed. Diana is good in the supporting role.

James Remar: Warren is the neighbour that Claire first suspects has killed his wife, he comes off abusive making him an easy false subject. James is good in this role which is only a supporting one.

Support Cast: What lies Beneath has a supporting cast that only help with trying to solve whether Claire is sane or not.

Director Review: Robert ZemeckisRobert gives us a horror mystery that keeps us guessing throughout with plenty of twists and getting straight into the action.

 

Horror: What lies Beneath has wonderfully built up horror with scares that use the jump scares correctly.

Mystery: What lies Beneath does keep us guessing to what will happen next through the film as we see everything unfold.

Thriller: What lies Beneath has you on edge once you learn the truth about what is happening.

Settings: What lies Beneath uses the lake house setting for the film which shows how isolated Claire really is feeling during her experience.
Special Effects
: What lies Beneath has good effects when needed but really uses the build-up for effects.

Suggestion: What lies Beneath is one for all the horror fans to watch (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Surprise in Harrison Ford Character.

Worst Part: Certain final effects look weak.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $100 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

Tagline: He was the perfect husband until his one mistake followed them home.

 

Overall: Mystery horror that just keeps us guessing from start to finish

Ratingcard

The Walk (2015)

walkDirector: Robert Zemeckis

Writer: Robert Zemeckis, Christopher Browne (Screenplay) Philippe Petit (Book)

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Don, Clement Sibony, Cesar Domboy, Mark Camacho, Steve Valentine, James Badge Dale, Ben Schwartz

 

Plot: In 1974, high-wire artist Philippe Petit recruits a team of people to help him realize his dream: to walk the immense void between the World Trade Centre towers.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thrilling Biography

 

Story: The Walk starts as Philippe Petit (Gordon-Levitt) who dreams of walking between the Twin Towers, but of course he wants to give us his back story as a street performer in Paris who learns about the construction of the Twin Towers setting out on the adventure to America while going through other landmarks of the world first.

We watch as Philippe met people along the way to help him achieve his goal including the beautiful fellow street performer Annie (Le Bon) and photographer Jean-Louis (Sibony). Along with the training of Papa Ruby (Kingsley) the four head to New York to work out the plans to make the ultimate high wire performance happen.

The Walk tells the incredible story of the daredevil hire wire who walked between the Twin Towers. This was a remarkable achievement that will never be repeated but I do feel we have seen the documentary Man on Wire which tells the same story in a much more interesting way as we see the real people involved discussing what they experienced. The problem with the story here is that the film focuses on the special effects over the story.

 

Actor Review

 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Philippe Petit is the hire wire daredevil, we watch from his early stages of his performing on the streets of Paris where he learns of the construction of the Twin Towers. Philippe becomes obsessed with crossing this dream as he puts together a team to make this dream a reality. Joseph is good in this role but you never believe his French accent.philipp

Charlotte Le Bon: Annie is a fellow street performer that because the love interest and biggest supporter as Philippe is going for his impossible dream. She keeps him grounded when he starts to get tested by his mental state before the walk. Charlotte is good in this supporting role but doesn’t feel strong enough in the role.

Ben Kingsley: Papa Rudy teaches Philippe every he knows as he comes from a long family of hire wire walkers, he treats him like a son trying to protect him but deep down he knows that Philippe is just as daring as he once was. Ben is good in this supporting role but I do feel like he could have seen more from him.

Clement Sibony: Jean-Louis is the second member of the team after Annie, he is a photographer who Philippe makes his official one, he helps Philippe plan his walk giving fresh ideas on how to make it a reality. Clement is good in the supporting role but falls into the background to easily.

Support Cast: The Walk really has a supporting cast that all blend into one in the background of the story going on.

Director Review: Robert ZemeckisRobert gives us a visually great film but when it comes to the small screen it loses all the effects it has created.

 

Adventure: The Walk shows us the adventure Philippe went on to achieve his dream.

Biographical: The Walk cuts out a lot of the important back story of how Philippe got to the Twin Towers.

Thriller: The Walk puts you on edge through the high wire scenes.

Settings: The Walk recreates the settings brilliantly to make us feel like we are with the characters on the trip.
Special Effects
: The Walk uses the effects to create the world trade centres and make the high wire scenes wonderfully.

Suggestion: The Walk is one to try but I would say watch the documentary first. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The Walk.

Worst Part: Misses too much out.

 

Believability: Based on the real story of Philippe Petit.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Man on Wire

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $35 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

Tagline: From the director of Forrest Gump, Cast Away and Flight.

 

Overall: Good thriller but Man on Wire offers a lot more about Philippe.

Ratingcard

John Hurt Weekend – Contact (1997)

contactDirector: Robert Zemeckis

Writer: James v Hart, Michael Goldenberg (Screenplay) Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan (Story)

Starring: Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Skerritt, David Morse, William Fichtner, James Woods, Angela Bassett, John Hurt, Rob Lowe, Jena Malone

 

Plot: Dr. Ellie Arroway, after years of searching, finds conclusive radio proof of intelligent aliens, who send plans for a mysterious machine.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: It Is All What You Think

 

Story: Contact starts by showing us Ellie Arroway (Malone as young and Foster as main) as she spends her life searching in space for answers especially after her father Ted (Morse) dies when she is young. She clashes with fellow scientists who try to make her show her own potential in David Drumlin (Skerritt).

After Ellie and her team make the discovery that will change the world forever she gets thrown into the world of politics rather than her comfort zone of science. The world has come together with this new discovery and once they uncover the message the worlds smartest minds have to build the machine while selecting the one-person pilot to finally answer the questions being sent through space and time.

Contact is a sci-fi film that gives us the idea of communication from outside our own known radio waves. I liked how this only looks at the science versus the religion, there is no silly looking at destroying like most alien films. There is a lot of science talk which is one of the few negatives in this film but it is needed. When it comes to films like this I can see people getting bored even though it I a rewarding watch by the end.

 

Actor Review

 

Jodie Foster: Eleanor Arroway has spent her life searching space for any sort of communication, many scientists in her own field question her motives as they see so much potential and wasted talent. When she finally makes contact she is forced to team up with the very people that tried to stop her but she will finally get the answers she has been looking for. Jodie does a great job in this role as we see her clash with different obstacles in her way.ellie

Matthew McConaughey: Palmer Joss is an author who has been working on a book trying to question science’s impact on the religious world. Believing in different things than Ellie the two make for a very interesting couple. He gets left with a big decision which could change his relationship with Ellie. Matthew does a good job in this supporting role without really exceling.

Tom Skerritt: David Brumlin is the head of scientific research that knows Ellie has potential even after pulling the plug on her work. When the discovery happens he tries to take the praise and ends up going up against Ellie to be part of the mission. Tom is good in this role playing a character that is always out for himself.

John Hurt: S R Hadden is the financer behind all of Ellie’s work, he is very secretive but is willing to make appearances to fill in the gaps on her works. John gives us a very good cameo like performance as the mysterious millionaire.

Support Cast: Contact has a big supporting cast that all offer different opinions on the situation at hand, we get to see how each opinion could affect what is going on.

Director Review: Robert ZemeckisRobert brings his brilliant style to this film to tell a story that could become complicated or even boring but flows lovely throughout.

 

Mystery: Contact gives us plenty to question as we wonder are we alone in the solar system.

Sci-Fi: Contact enters us into the idea that space isn’t as empty as we once thought.

Thriller: Contact does pull us in as we simply don’t know what will be found going into the machine.

Settings: Contact uses the settings well to show us in the scientific world would be dealing with if everything became a reality.
Special Effects
: Contact uses great effects to show how the machine actually works but otherwise doesn’t turn to them.

Suggestion: Contact is one I will always recommend as I like to see how people will answer the question. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Journey.

Worst Part: Slightly long

Favourite Quote: Ellie ‘I’ll tell you one thing about the universe, though. The universe is a pretty big place. It’s bigger than anything anyone has ever dreamed of before. So if it’s just us… seems like an awful waste of space. Right?

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Interstellar

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for one Oscar for Best Sound.

Box Office: $100 Million

Budget: $90 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 30 Minutes

Tagline: A message from deep space. Who will be the first to go? A journey to the heart of the universe.

Trivia: Just like their characters in the movie, in real life Jodie Foster is an Atheist and Matthew McConaughey is a devout Christian.

 

Overall: Scientific film that truly will keep you wondering about what you want to believe

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