ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – T – Tombstone (1993)

Director: George P Cosmatos, Kevin Jarre

Writer: Kevin Jarre (Screenplay)

Starring: Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, Charlton Heston

 

Plot: A successful lawman’s plans to retire anonymously in Tombstone, Arizona, are disrupted by the kind of outlaws he was famous for eliminating.


Tagline – Justice Is Coming

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not as Good as Wyatt Earp

 

Story: Tombstone starts when the successful lawman Wyatt Earp (Russell) has hung up his gun moved with his brothers Virgil (Elliott) and Morgan (Paxton) to Tombstone to follow in the silver boom. Wyatt does get his hands in plenty of pots, helping the town turn to their successful ways.

When the Marshall is killed by the cowboys the mayor turns to the Earp’s with Virgil and Morgan try to bring order to the town Wyatt reluctantly agrees to join them, which will see them come face to face with the deadly cowboy gang who want control of the town.

 

Thoughts on Tombstone

 

Characters – Wyatt Earp’s reputation precedes him as he cleaned up the town of Boulder, now he wants to put his gun away and head to Tombstone to start a business life with his brothers, he knows how the get a deal done, which will see him need to get rid of the cowboy gang running through the town causing chaos. Doc Holliday is the gambler that will and has stood by Wyatt’s side in combat, he will drink a lot even if he does face health problem that will slowly make his life harder. Virgil and Morgan are the brothers that take the roles in the law enforcement which will see them put their own lives at risk.

PerformancesKurt Russell does do a solid job in the leading role, the action scenes are where he shines the best. Val Kilmer does well making his character feel like he is standing out more in the film at times. We do get plenty of actors in this film, most do what is needed without being on the top of their games.

StoryThe story follows Wyatt Earp in his time in Tombstone only which does show how he was trying to live a non-conflict life only to be drawn back into the old ways which saw him become the legendary lawman. The story is difficult to watch after recently seeing the ‘Wyatt Earp’ film, which does cover a larger amount of his life, including the Tombstone time, we just don’t seem to get enough focus on the life outside of the battle in the town, which fails to give the wives required screen time in the story or show us what led to Wyatt becoming the famous lawman. This will give us the simple look at the battle with the cowboys which is good to see, but we would always want to learn more about the character involved.

Action/BiopicThe action in the film does see bullets fly around like we are used to, for a western, the biopic side of the film only shows us the Tombstone stage of Wyatt’s life which does focus more, only it doesn’t explain why he is such a famous figure.

SettingsThe film does create the authentic setting for the western genre, which is does make us feel like we are watching the story unfold with the characters.


Scene of the Movie –
Stand off.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not learning enough about Wyatt’s life before Tombstone.

Final ThoughtsThis is the weaker of the two Wyatt Earp biopics that hit the cinema in the same year, it might have more entertaining action, but it just misses too much of his life out.

 

Overall: Disappointing biopic.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Best of 2018 – A – A Star is Born (2018)

Director: Bradley Cooper

Writer: Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters (Screenplay) Moss Hart, John Gregory Dunne, Joan Didion, Frank Pierson, Williams A Wellman, Robert Carson (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay, Rafi Gavron, Anthony Ramos, Dave Chappelle, Alec Baldwin

 

Plot: A musician helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Musical Enjoyment

 

Story: A Star is Born starts when rock star Jackson (Cooper) looking for another drink stumbles into a drag bar, he sees working class woman Ally (Gaga) perform on stage, instantly he knows she has talent and learns more about her, bring her on stage for his latest show.

When Ally becomes an overnight success story the two-start performing together which only attractions more record labels who come calling to make Ally the next biggest star in the music world which soon sees her become more famous than Jack whose own problems could bring an end to his fame.

 

Thoughts on A Star is Born

 

Characters – Ally is a hotel worker that performers in a local drag bar after being rejected by record labels before. She meets rock star Jack who encourages to perform, first with him and soon the world wants to see her become the biggest star in the music industry. Ally must learn about the world around her, one she has never stepped foot in before or become consumed by it. Jack is the rock star who sees Ally believing she could become a star, he offers her a chance to perform which sets her on her way, Jack however has his own problems with drinks and drugs would could finish his own career just as Ally’s is about to take off. These two characters do take centre stage for the most part, we do see family that support as well as friends who see their friend get to levels of fame they never thought they could.

PerformancesBradley Cooper gives one of his best performances of his career here, not just on front of the camera, but behind it too. He manages to make us feel like his problems are real, which are problem many musicians could be facing. Lady Gaga was always going to be a wonderful choice for the singing side of the film, it was the acting side people wanted to see if she could handle, she does a good job through the film managing to show the bond the two have throughout the film. the supporting cast are good without needing to be challenged to reach the levels of the lead two actors.

StoryThe story follows the rise of a musician after being discovered by an alcoholic rock star. We know this is a remake, so we know this had been modernised to tell an old story which deals with the modern problems of fame for musicians. We see how one side is taking every opportunity thrown her way and the other than has been watching his career fade away because of alcoholism and drug abuse. This is a great story of how important taking chances are and how success can ruin lives. The story does however become slightly slow paced because we just jump into a song to cover up anything that needs to be talked about more.

Music/RomanceThe music in the film is good with songs that Gaga performs with ease. The romance between the two shows how they can support each other through the lives they didn’t know they would be going through.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the journey that Ally takes from the small venue to awards ceremony showing here rise to fame.


Scene of the Movie –
First song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The rise feels too fast.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great look at how the fame can affect lives in the music industry, we get strong performances from Cooper and Gaga who both shine through the film.

 

Overall: Great Music based movie.

Rating

 

 

Road House (1989)

Director: Rowdy Herrington

Writer: R Lance Hill, Hilary Henkin (Screenplay)

Starring: Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliott, Ben Gazzara, Marshall R Teague, Julie Michaels, Red West, Sunshine Parker

 

Plot: A tough bouncer is hired to tame a dirty bar.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Thriller

 

Story: Road House starts as we get to see how Dalton (Swayze) can control a bar from getting out of control. This leads to him being offered a role as a cooler for the Double Deuce owned by Tilghman (Tighe). The bar is filled with the roughest crowd around and Dalton puts in his plan to make the bar run smoother bringing in a sociable night out for people.

With Dalton in control of the bar, he gets rid of the problems within the staff making an enemy with the local crime boss Brad Wesley (Gazzara) who has been using the bar to conduct business. To fight back Dalton calls the best in the business Wade Garrett (Elliott) to put a stop to all the illegal activities Wesley is involved in.

 

Thoughts on Road House

 

Characters/PerformanceDalton is a man with a reputation of being a man people fear and respect within the bar and bouncer community. He gets recruited but ends up finding himself having to battle a crime boss controlling the town, he is a strong likeable character that is filled with regret after going too far once. Doc is the love interest for Dalton as well as being an almost pawn in the battle between Dalton and the Crime Boss Wesley. This isn’t the strongest female character you will see. Wade is the traditional mentor figure needed to explain the skills Dalton has, with Brad Wesley being the villain small town America could easily have.

Patrick Swayze shines in this role where he commands the screen in every single scene, Kelly Lynch is good but not anywhere near the level of Swayze with Sam Elliott giving us the performance we know he can do as the strong supporting friend. Ben Gazzara does a great job as the villain of the piece who enjoys the terror he reigns over the town.

StoryLooking into the story we get an easy to follow story of one outsider going on a crusade against a crime boss. Having only seen this for the first time I can say this does play out in the similar veins of Walking Tall and with that I found myself enjoying this all that much more. You can see the 80’s all over the story though which could turn people off but could also help people enjoy all that more.

Action/ThrillerWe have action with all of the fights going with each fight becoming bigger as the story unfolds. We are left to keep things guessing as to where the story will unfold.

SettingsWe are left in small town America which is nearly perfect for this film.

Special EffectsWe get small amounts of the effects needed in a film which is all the film needs.

Final Thoughts80’s films will always go in two different directions when we get to go back in time, they have either dated, become a cult or a true classic and this is one that still stands up.

 

Overall: This is a fun 80’s classic which is one you can enjoy.

Rating

 

 

The Hero (2017)

Director: Brett Haley

Writer: Brett Haley, Marc Basch (Screenplay)

Starring: Sam Elliott, Laura Prepon, Nick Offerman, Krysten Ritter, Katharine Ross, Doug Cox

 

Plot: An ailing movie star comes to terms with his past and mortality.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Touching Drama

 

Story: The Hero starts as we meet ailing movie start Lee Hayden (Elliott) who has become reduced to voice over advertisement, but his life is about to take an unexpected twist when he learns that he has cancer. Lee is distant from his family now with his daughter Lucy (Ritter) living her own life.

Lee is about to be given a lifetime achievement award and doesn’t want to attend alone, while his daughter is busy it is stranger Charlotte (Prepon) that gives lee a spark in his life and joins him at the ceremony. When Lee gets into a relationship with Charlotte a much younger woman, Lee starts to make headlines after his speech goes viral but Lee must start facing the mortality he is facing when his popularity is at its highest level.

 

Thoughts on The Hero

 

Characters – Lee Hayden is the aging film start whose career is going out in a whimper and the cancer diagnosis helps him sink to the bottom seeing his life going out with a flicker, but when he meets a younger woman he remaining time changes, he becomes an internet sensation and tries to rebuild his relationship with his daughter. Charlotte gives Lee a reason to continue to fight, she is a comedian who is younger than him but doesn’t think age is important. Jeremy is the drug dealer which accidently introduces the two, he has been Lee’s biggest support for years now. Lucy is the distant daughter of Lee’s who has gone onto live her own life but now gets a chance to get everything off her chest.

PerformancesSam Elliott is fantastic in this lead role, carrying the film with his every action, this performance could be an outside shot for an Oscar nomination this year. Laura Prepon, Nick Offerman and Krysten Ritter are all good through the film working with Elliott very well.

StoryThe story of a once famous movie star having his life and career fading away on front of his eyes is something many people in the industry have faced. This is an important look at how people should treat their elders, be it parents or people that paved the way for them in their field. It shows how it is never too late to make up for mistakes.

SettingsThe settings show us how Lee has made a life away from the busy life of LA but can never look out of place in the city too.


Scene of the Movie –
The Audition

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have liked to meet the agent over the drug dealer.

Award Wins: 1 Win Newport Beach Film Festival – Outstanding achievement in Filmmaking.

Award Nominations: 2 nominations for Brett Haley from Sundance and Cleveland International.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most touching dramas that show us how important life is no matter what people have done wrong the family members will love them, the people in the industry will remember them and you must continue to fight.

 

Overall: Very impressive drama that could have moments of tears or happiness.

Rating

 

 

The Golden Compass (2007)

Director: Chris Weitz

Writer: Chris Weitz (Screenplay) Philip Pullman (Novel)

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Dakota Blue Richards, Ben Walker, Freddie Highmore, Ian McKellen, Eva Green, Sam Elliott

 

Plot: In a parallel universe, young Lyra Belacqua journeys to the far North to save her best friend and other kidnapped children from terrible experiments by a mysterious organization.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Been Here Seen This

 

Story: The Golden Compass starts in a world with parallel universes where the human spirits can walk next to humans in animal form known as daemons, with a Golden Compass being the only way to find the different universes. We meet young Lyra (Richards) who lives with her Uncle Lord Asriel (Craig) who is an adventurer that is seeking the Dust which can travel between universes.

With the children getting taken by Goblers Lyra in her high life promises to search for poor boy Roger’s (Walker). Lyra is chosen by Mrs Coulter (Kidman) to help with her research in the North which just so happens to be where Lord Asriel is heading, in what looks like a battle for the dust.

Learning that Mrs Coulter is behind the missing children Lyra teams up with a host of other characters in the Gyptians as they search for the children and her Uncle before Coulter’s research is complete.

 

Thoughts on The Golden Compass

 

Characters/PerformanceLyra is the type of leading child you will need for this type of film, she comes from a rich background, she is curious and brave. Mrs Coulter comes along as the villainous character that believes in the cause she is fighting for with Lord Asriel is the explorer looking to change the future. The rest of the characters do their part well as Lyra goes on her adventure.

Performance wise, Kidman and Craig both do a good job in their roles, but it is Richards that really struggles in the lead role, she is meant to come off posh but too often comes off a common which takes away from the character.

StoryThe story is one I have come to believe was butchered from the book, which when you watch you can see, it gets the basics correct but anything which involved developing a character sadly gets forgotten as the film unfolds. The story ends up becoming slightly messy and focuses on just doing action to cover the lack of story.

Adventure/Family/FantasyThe adventure side of this film should be clear, but it just shows one person’s adventure, I don’t feel the family could enjoy this movie but the fantasy world we find ourselves in does work well.

SettingsThe settings all look good with their own fancy way of saying countries we all know in the world just having slight twists on them.

Special EffectsMost of the special effects all work well, but there are moments which look pretty bad for the CGI.

Final ThoughtsIf you want a cliff hanger that never gets complete, well here is the film for you.

 

Overall: This seems like a solid start to the franchise but we will never see the end.

Rating