ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – K – BlacKkKlansman (2018)

Director: Spike Lee

Writer: Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee (Screenplay) Ron Stallworth (Book)

Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace

 

Plot: Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, CO, successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate who eventually becomes its leader. Based on actual events.


Tagline – Based on a true story

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliantly Entertaining

 

Story: BlacKkKlansman starts when Ron Stallworth (Washington) becomes the first black police officers in Colorado Springs, he starts in the record room before pushing for undercover work, which soon leads him to try and go undercover within the Ku Klux Klan, the problem is that he is black, meaning he needs to get a white cop to be him, Flip Zimmerman (Driver) steps into this position.

As the undercover job gets deeper into the Klan, Flip gets to communicate with David Duke (Grace), while Ron starts to date Patrice (Harrier) who is a major player in the Kwame Ture (Hawkins) movement.

 

Thoughts on BlacKkKlansman

 

Characters – Ron Stallworth was the first black police officer in the Colorado Springs department, he gets a plain records room job to start with before wanting to make an impact by going undercover, first within a black student union movement, before finding a way to get involved within the Ku Klux Klan, he uses he words to trick them into believing he is white, white using his partner to go along with the meetings. He wants to make a difference and sees his work as his best chance too. Flip Zimmerman is the detective that works with Ron on the undercover job, he becomes Ron when it comes to the meetings with the klan. Patrice is a woman that Ron meets in the black student union, one that do let Ron in believing him to be part of the movement. David Duke is the leader of the KKK, he is being challenged for leadership, while still be worshipped for his work in the movement

PerformancesJohn David Washington is brilliant in this leading role, showing his strength of his character while making his character feel cool in the what he is doing. Adam Driver shows us once again how talented of an actor he really is by stepping into this role and making it work with ease. Laura Harrier is everything we needed in her role, though we could have had a few more scenes with her in. Topher Grace is a strange choice on paper for David Duke, though he does work out to be a great choice for the role.

StoryThe story here follows a black cop going undercover within the Ku Klux Klan, well doing the talking on the phone before his white partner becomes the member using his name. This does show a law man being put in the middle of the two movements with the black student union group clashing with the KKK and just how he works within both sides to learn if they are going to be a threat to civilians, let alone each other. The story is based on the real man involved, which does put a slightly comical spin on how the action of the KKK plays out which does lighten the mood for a serious situation, which again works for the story which can be enjoyed by all with becoming too serious.

Biopic/CrimeThe biopic side of this film does show on Ron managed to trick the KKK into believing he was a white man that could join them even though he was a black undercover cop. The crime side of the film shows three main groups of people we have the KKK, we have the black student union and we have the police who were all causing problems on different scales during the time.

SettingsThe film keeps the action of the film in the correct looking location which helps with the realism of what we are seeing in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The photograph.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The propaganda in the final shots

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun story that brings a serious issue to the front and centre, it is wonderfully acted, but never preaches the problems like it could have easily done.

 

Overall: Important but laid back biopic.

Rating

 

 

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Malcolm X (1992)

malcolmDirector: Spike Lee

Writer: Arnold Perl, Spike Lee (Screenplay) Alex Haley, Malcolm X (Book)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Albert Hall, Al Freeman Jr, Delroy Lindo, Spike Lee, Theresa Randle, Kate Vernon

 

Plot: Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Denzel’s Powerhouse

 

Story: Malcolm X starts as Malcolm X (Washington) himself tells us all about his childhood and troubles with the white clans men his parents had. We pick up his story as he works with Shorty (Lee) during ‘war time’ (I am not sure which war though). We see how Malcolm starts working for gangster West Indian Archie (Lindo) who enjoys how street smart Malcolm is.

Betraying Archie, Malcolm finds himself trying to go out on his own only to find himself in jail and this is where he gets taught the ways of Elijah Muhammad (Freeman Jr) who teaches him the way of God and Islam so when he is free from prison he can preach against the white men in America. Malcolm X went onto become one of the most iconic figures in the equal rights movement even if he ways were different to Martin Luthor King.

Malcolm X is an extremely long look at one of the iconic men in the equal rights movement in America. We get to see his full transformation from gangster to preacher to revolutionary leader. The story is extremely detailed but it would be fair to say we could have had a lot cut out from this film so it doesn’t take nearly 3 and half hours to get through. This is a good history lesson in the end but I would say it is only a one-time watch.

Denzel gives us a brilliant leading man performance showing all his potential to be one of the biggest stars in the industry. When you look at the supporting cast we don’t get too much out of most of these characters which is disappointing as their story is just as important to Malcolm’s and with a film this long we could have done more to create a more equal story for these characters.

 

Overall: This is a good even if long history lesson.

Ratingcard

 

 

Clive Owen Weekend – Inside Man (2006)

logoDirector: Spike Lee

Writer: Russell Gewirtz (Screenplay)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer, Willem Dafoe, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Plot: A police detective, a bank robber, and a high-power broker enter high-stakes negotiations after the criminal’s brilliant heist spirals into a hostage situation.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: The Best Modern Heist Film

Story: Inside Man starts with Dalton Russell (Owen) who explains the perfect bank robbery from inside a cell. We see how Dalton and his team start their robbery before meeting Detective Frazier (Washington) who has personal and profession problems and his partner Detective Mitchell (Ejiofor). The pair end up getting the call on the hostage situation.

The bank just so happens to be owned by Arthur Case (Plummer) who is worried when he hears about which bank it is. Cue the flash forwards to all the hostages getting interviewed by the police. Arthur calls Madeleine White (Foster) and lady who has the ability to deal with delicate situations and retrieve a certain item.

What follows is the plan unfolding but just who is behind it all is up to the police to discover as each hostage is a suspect. The other question remains what were they after?

Inside Man is a heist film that doesn’t end up making either the robbers or the cops the villains and both do come off as heroes, out villain is a banker showing the feelings we have about them in real life. The film has one of the best twists on the bank robbery genre and you literally don’t know what will happen. I personally didn’t like the flash forward but I did understand that it was needed. I think this could easily be up there with the best heist movies ever but seems to have got forgotten at that level. (8/10)

Actor Review

Denzel Washington: Detective Keith Frazier is the lead on the hostage situation, he has been getting framed in the work and this case is a chance to redeem himself. He tries to let the robbers make the first move but only finds himself being played. He ends up stepping in to make things happen but he just can’t work out who was involved in the robbery. Denzel does a good job in this role without really excelling. (7/10)frazier

Clive Owen: Dalton Russell is the mastermind behind the robbery, he seems to keep calm through every situation, he enjoys playing his cat and mouse battle where he ends up gloating about the outcome from the opening scene. Clive does a good job showing he can go against the biggest names in Hollywood. (8/10)dalton

Jodie Foster: Madeleine White is the professional problem solver who gets called into retrieve an item from inside the bank for the owner, she uses all her skills to get close to the case showing she always thinks she is ready to out smart whoever he meets. Jodie does a good job in a role you wouldn’t expect from her. (7/10)maddy

Christopher Plummer: Arthur Case is the owner of the bank who has a secret locked up in the bank, one he doesn’t want coming out leaving him to called Madeleine to solve his problem. Christopher gives us the standard performance in a villainous role. (6/10)arthur

Support Cast: Inside Man has a large supporting cast that includes many hostages along with small supporting roles from bigger name stars.

Director Review: Spike Lee Spike does give us a good heist film that still ends up putting his own messages in the film. (7/10)

Crime: Inside Man brings us an all new look at the heist genre which should be one of the most popular of recent times. (8/10)

Mystery: Inside Man does keep you guessing to what will happen by the end of the film. (8/10)

Thriller: Inside Man brings you to the edge of your seat from the moment the robbery starts. (8/10)

Settings: Inside Man keeps the setting easy to keep on top of because it stays mostly inside the bank and just outside. (9/10)

Suggestion: Inside Man is a film I think everyone should see at least one time in their life. (Watch)

Best Part: Dalton giving away his exit and following it up.

Worst Part: Goes on a bit after the robbery is complete.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $88 Million

Budget: $45 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 9 Minutes

Tagline: It looked like the perfect bank robbery. But you can’t judge a crime by its cover.

Overall: The best modern heist movie

Rating 80

Oldboy (2013)

logoDirector: Spike Lee

Writer: Mark Protosevich (Screenplay) Garson Tsuchiya, Nobuaki Minegishi (Manga)

Starring: John Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, Samuel L Jackson, Michael Imperiolo, Pom Klementieff, James Ransone, Max Casella

 

Plot: Obsessed with vengeance, a man sets out to find out why he was kidnapped and locked into solitary confinement for twenty years without reason.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic American Remake, Botched

 

Story: Oldboy starts by showing Joe (Brolin) going about his normal day drinking on his job turning up late working on a big job. Joe has been letting his three year old daughter down by missing her birthday just so he can get the advertisement job with an elite client. We learn in just five minutes just how much of a low life screw up Joe really is.

Joe wakes up naked in a hotel room with a selection of different everyday products, the door is locked and there is no way out of the room. Joe’s ex-wife gets murdered while Joe is locked away and Joe is framed for the murder. We continue to see how Joe is locked up and we want and learn the time changing through the television Joe watches as he starts to change.

20 years have passed and Joe is released from his prison and ends up showing the skills he has learned while locked up and meeting Doctor Marie Sebastian (Olsen). Joe goes to the one person he can trust Chucky (Imperioli) and after getting a phone call from the man who has kept him locked up he starts to look into any potential enemies he has. Joe teams up with Marie to search for answers as he struggles to deal with the technology that has come to the world since he was locked up.
Joe finds the location where he was locked up and sets out torturing the man running it Chaney (Jackson) in searching for the one who arranged his locking up. When the mystery man (Copley) visits Joe forcing him to watch murder giving Joe 46 hours to work out who he is and why he locked him up or he will kill Joe’s daughter. We now have to watch Joe and Marie figure out who the mystery man is before learning the terrifying truth behind his motives.

Oldboy is a remake of a classic that with its shock and grit really gathered a hardcore fan base. With that in place we have to wonder how a remake could make an impact, well the only positive I saw was the idea of improved technology, we see Joe solve the problems just by looking on a smartphone while in the original it was a computer. This helps the investigation get fast tracked but that is where the original ideas end. Nearly every scene and twist is a carbon copy of what the original had, we get no shocks because we know what is coming and to take these shocks away would ruin the outcome of the film.

Let’s try and look at this if the original had never happened now. In fairness this really does throw up a very good mystery and I would really like to hear from anyone who has only seen this copy of the film. After seeing the original I can only give this score, but I do think it could be higher if you haven’t seen the original. (4/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Josh Brolin: Joe Doucett starts out as a terrible father, drunk and overall sleaze ball. After he gets locked up for twenty years Joe has to figure out who is behind it and get to his daughter before it is too late. Josh doesn’t reach the same levels the star of the original reaches and never looks as full emotional broken by what happens. (4/10)

 joe

Elizabeth Olsen: Marie Sebastian young nurse who helps Joe with his investigation, she ends up getting caught up in the middle of the battle with a much more sinister motive. Elizabeth does a solid job but really is just a pawn in the bigger game. (6/10)

marie

Sharlto Copley: Adrian/Stranger this is the mystery man who has been making Joe run through hoops while threating his daughter to see if Joe can learn the motives behind locking him up. Sharlto does a solid job as the villain staying very calm through every scene his character is in showing just how twisted his character really is. (7/10)

 mystery

Support Cast: Oldboy has a supporting cast who makes up the victims for Joe to target.

 

Director Review: Spike Lee – Spike is one of the best directors in the business but in the end he just makes a carbon copy of the original. (4/10)

 

Action: Oldboy has the good fight scenes but like most of this film, it doesn’t reach the levels of the first. (6/10)

Mystery: Oldboy gives a mystery that really makes you wonder what will happen and what is the motive. (9/10)

Thriller: Oldboy does give mystery but doesn’t put you on the edge of your seat like the original does. (5/10)

Settings: Oldboy brings the settings back to America but really doesn’t use anywhere special. (4/10)

Suggestion: Oldboy is a difficult film to suggest because if you have seen original you can miss but if you haven’t you could try this one but I can only suggest really seeing the original. (Watch Original)

 

Best Part: Technology speeds the pace up.

Worst Part: It is just a carbon copy.

Oh My God Moment: The End.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $4.8 Million

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

Tagline: Ask not why you were imprisoned. Ask why you were set free.

Trivia: Josh Brolin personally created the title artwork.

 

Overall: Oldboy sums up the problem with American remakes, it just copies something brilliant and never gets the same shock value.

Rating 40

Miracle at St. Anna (2008)

Spike Lee’s war piece starts when a clean cut purple heart winning man just kills a man he is serving at his bank. The mystery grows more when a statue head is discovered in his apartment. That statue head has been missing since World War Two.

What follows is his story about why he killed that man. we meet four African American soldiers who get stranded after a mission in a small Tuscan Village in Italy. They are surrounded by Germans and have found a young boy that no one knows.

What happened in this village to make this man commit the crime he did.

Going into this i knew the basic idea of the story but i really wasn’t expecting too much. I was wrong this has a bit of a Saving Private Ryan feel to it, but i found the friendship between the men much better and the bound with the child is beautifully created. It is also a bit of a guessing game on which one of the soldiers in the one that committed the murder.

I think people will enjoy this film it is a very good watch good addition to the war genre without really have too much blood and gore from other war films

My Rating 82%