Widows (2018)

Director: Steve McQueen

Writer: Gillian Flynn, Steve McQueen (Screenplay) Lynda La Plante (Based on Widows)

Starring: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Jacki Weaver, Carrie Coon, Robert Duvall, Liam Neeson

 

Plot: Set in contemporary Chicago, amidst a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.


Tagline – Left with nothing. Capable of anything.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thriller of the Year

 

Story: Widows starts when Harry Rawlings (Neeson) and his crew are killed on their latest heist, their widows, Veronica (Davis), Linda (Rodriguez), Alice (Debicki) and Amanda (Coon) are left to grieve alone, seeing the consequences of their husband’s actions. Veronica is confronted by political campaigner Jamal Manning (Henry) who is trying to challenge the Mulligan reign in their neighbourhood, with Jack (Farrell) following in his father’s Tom (Duvall) footsteps.

Jamal wants his money back which is forcing Veronica to bring the fellow widows together to complete a job which will solve all their financial problems. Can they complete this heist which will give them a life after their husbands?

 

Thoughts on Widows

 

Characters – Veronica is the wife of Harry, she has been in the teaching union for her life even though she knew of Harry activities. After his dies in the latest job she is broken trying to keep herself together until she is forced into the world her husband was on top of. She is tough and lacks the humour the fellow widows show to deal with her grief. She does have to keep the group together and does love her little Westie. Linda has been running her own company which after her husband’s death she loses because of his problems leaving her and her kids with money problems. She is welcomed to Veronica’s team even if she doesn’t bring as much as the rest. Alice has been living off her husband’s heist money even after dealing with abuse from him, she must learn to make her own money which she can be pushed in the wrong direction for, she does join Veronica’s team which will bring her out of her shell and she fast becomes the one on the biggest learning curve. Belle completes the team and though she isn’t a widow, she knows how hard you need to work for money and she will take her chance with the team. Jack Mulligan is the new political candidate following in his father’s footsteps, he knows how to get a deal done and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty along the way. Tom is the politician stepping down because of his health, his old way thinking has been holding back the district from remaining in his family name. Jamal Manning is the crime lord who has decide to run for office which would be is way to stay on the right side of the law, he still will get his hands dirty when he needs to and lets his brother do most of the dirty work. Jatemme is the brother of Jamal, he is a loose cannon, he will push whatever limits available to get what he wants full crazy mode for the most part. This is the eight main characters that you will understand each decision they will make.

PerformancesWhen he dive into the performances Viola Davis shines in the leading role, she must deals with emotional moments that others simply will never understand why. Michelle Rodriquez gives her best performance of her career here that is simply brilliant and Elizabeth Debicki gives one of the best supporting performances of the year. Colin Farrell continues to show he is one of the best actors out there and demands the screen either against Robert Duvall. Daniel Kaluuya does a fantastic job because each scene he is almost uncomfortable to watch because of his actions. Brian Tyree Henry is wonderful too, it is easily one of the best acted movies you will ever see.

StoryThe story follows an unlikely crew of robbers who are following in their husband’s footsteps in the crime world to give themselves finical security from the other people in the world their husband’s worked in. Each of the widows must face the reality of being alone and learn how to adapt which is important to see and with a shocking reveal you simply won’t see coming makes this enjoyable to watch. This is a story that doesn’t have a wasted frame, it will keep you on edge from start to finish while addressing how political can play the people to get what they want. This is a story that will keep you wanting more and deals with the real problems people will be facing in the world.

CrimeThe crime world we enter shows us just how out of place the widows are to start with and we see how they must learn quickly.

SettingsThe film is set in Chicago which shows us just how easily crime can take place with so much going on in the city, we see the divide between the higher class and lower class.


Scene of the Movie –
Performances fantastic.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Viola Davis doesn’t know how to walk a dog.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best movies of the year, it will keep you on edge throughout the whole film. It is easily a must watch and the performances are simply fantastic.

 

Overall: Must watch movie.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Original v Remake – Magnificent Seven (1960)

Director: John Sturges

Writer: William Roberts (Screenplay)

Starring: Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Horst Buchholz, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn

 

Plot: An oppressed Mexican peasant village hires seven gunfighters to help defend their homes.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Americanised Remake

 

Story: The Magnificent Seven starts as the small Mexican town gets visited and raided by Calvera (Wallach) and his men, they promise to back again for more too. Worried about the future of their village the town goes in search for a defence against the raiders and find seven cowboys, Chris Adams (Brynner), Vin Tanner (McQueen), Chico (Buchholz), Bernardo O’Reilly (Bronson), Lee (Vaughn) Harry Luck (Dexter) and Britt (Coburn) who all come for different reasons.

The gunmen set up a defensive line ready to do battle as the town is ready to go to battle against the Calvera and his men, who will come out on top in this battle to protect a small town.

 

Thoughts on The Magnificent Seven

 

Characters/PerformanceThe seven gunmen all have different reasons for going to this town, but the one thing they all have in common if just how deadly they are with a weapon which is the most important characteristic needed for our characters. Calvera is the villain of the piece and easily a great by the book villain needed for this film.

Performance wise, instead of going through all the actors it would be fair to say each and every one of the cast does a great job in the roles they are playing.

StoryThe story one a small group of gunmen protecting a small town from raiders is a remake of the Seven Samurai, which was one of the most popular films ever made. This version brings the story to the American audience dealing with the cowboys battles which does work but doesn’t change the formula to make anything complicated for the audience.

Action/Adventure/WesternThe action is all big cowboy style which works for the film, the music adds to the adventure side of the film which is fun through a situation that is darker. The western theme also works because it makes it easy to relate to for the American audience.

SettingsThe settings are simple but effective for the film as we know we will be in the old west for this battle.

Final ThoughtsThis is yet another classic film that took me time to watch and it gave us a mega cast of big names, simple to follow story and a western worth watching.

 

Overall: Classic western fun.

Rating

 

 

The Blob (1958)

Director: Irvin S Yeaworth Jr, Russel S Doughten

Writer: Theodoree Simonson, Kay Linaker (Screenplay) Irvine H Millgate (Original Idea)

Starring: Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut, Earl Rowe, Olin Howland, Stephen Chase, John Benson, George Karas, Lee Payton

 

Plot: An alien lifeform consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Slow Builder Horror

 

Story: The Blob starts when Steve Andrews (McQueen) is on his date with Jane (Corsaut) they witness something crash into the ground near them, investigating they find an old man who has found the collision which has a goo like substance inside.

As the goo grows is consumes the man the doctor also vanishes giving the police LT Dave (Rowe) a problem on his hands. Steve and Jane works with other kids in the town as they look to find the answers as the goo that has now turned into a mass blob is growing and consuming the neighbourhood.

 

Thoughts on The Blob

 

Characters/PerformanceSteve is the neighbourhood bad boy with a heart of gold, his night of romance is ruined when a strange blob starts consuming the town and he must convince the town that this is real but his reputation doesn’t do him any favours. Jane is your generic girlfriend love interest character, whose job is to put on a happy face and scream, I know that sounds shallow but that is all she does. LT Dave is a good officer willing to believes the kids are good just as long as they don’t hurt anyone.

Performance wise Steve McQueen shows that he was always going to be a big star carrying this film with his performance with the rest of cast all feeling like they were made for this style of film.

StoryThe idea that something came from space is the great idea for horror as for the time we knew the paranoia around at the time. There isn’t too much to the story as the events all happen over the one night and it almost plays into the idea of don’t cry wolf at times.

Horror/Sci-FiWhen you look at the horror side of this film we get to see the unknown invading with no real answers, the sci-fi side comes from the idea this has come from space.

SettingsThe film is set all in one town, which improves the horror side of the movie as we see how the people panic about what is happening.

Special EffectsLooking at the special effects that were great for the time and budget.

Final ThoughtsThis is a classic in the horror genre that should be watched by all the people wanting to make a difference in horror.

 

Overall: A classic in the genre that is a must watch.

Rating

 

 

The Towering Inferno (1974)

twoer

Director: John Guillermin

Writer: Stirling Silliphant (Screenplay) Richard Martin Stern, Thomas N Scortia, Frank M Robinon (Novel)

Starring: Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain

 

Plot: At the opening party of a colossal, but poorly constructed, office building, a massive fire breaks out that threatens to destroy the tower and everyone in it.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Disaster Masterclass

 

Story: The Towering Inferno starts as the architect of the brand-new building preparing for opening night Doug Roberts (Newman) discovers not everything is quite as he had planned only up to standard rather than up to his desired safety standards.

With the party bringing in the who’s who of the town including the mayor (Collins), Senator Parker (Vaughn) along with a range of celebrity faces. But little do the guest know there is a fire starting to burn in on the maintenance rooms. When Doug discovers the fire, he goes to bring it under control wanting to end the party early but Jim Duncan (Holden) refuses let it be a worry. Fire Chief O’Hallorhan (McQueen) comes to tackle the fire bring the party to an end with the 300 plus guests need to find a way below the fire, but when it becomes clear that Simmons (Chamberlain) has cut corners the safety of everyone in the building it now at risk. We are left to see how the Chief can put together the best rescue possible for everyone inside the building.

 

Thoughts on Towering Inferno

 

StoryThe disaster genre has always been an easy sell on the story and this is no different having group of survivors trapped in a building that is on fire with little to no easy escape, what more could you want? This does have deeper stories because each character has their own story to why they are in the tower and what is waiting if they can get out which draws us into the bigger picture of the story, which is what many disaster films have tried and failed over the years.

Action/ThrillerThe action sequences are planned brilliantly as we see how each moment that could go wrong does go wrong which leads us into the thrilling side as we are left on edge seeing where this story will go next.

Characters/PerformanceDoug the architect is a great leading character because he knows the flaws that are not his fault, Chief O’Hallorhan also makes for a joint great leading character because he controls the men to pull off the rescue mission, having to characters that are putting everything into saving as many people as possible really shines through. Looking deeper into the characters we get plenty of supporting characters we can all enjoy watching their stories as we are drawn into finding out what happens to them.

Diving into the performances I feel Newman was the star of the show with Holden showing just all of the experience he bought to his role. I did find it hard to get pulled into the McQueen performance who feels static in certain scenes with Dunaway doing well without reaching her ability. The rest of the supporting cast all do well and you want to follow their stories through.

SettingsWe have the whole film within the glass tower which becomes the prison for people stuck in the top floor. The setting is used perfectly because at the time the buildings were getting bigger and dealing with a blaze would have be a challenge for any fire crew.

Special EffectsWhen you look at the disaster movie genre one of the main attractions is seeing how breath-taking all the sequences are and this has them with wonderful special effects that make you believe in every sequence going on through the film.

Final ThoughtsWe have here a disaster film that is nearly three hours long and never get remotely dull, now that is something directors should all be learning from.

 

Overall: If you ever want to know how to make a disaster film that tells the story well this is where you start.

Rating

 card

 

Hell Is for Heroes (1962)

logoDirector: Don Siegel

Writer: Richard Carr, Robert Pirosh (Screenplay) Robert Pirosh (Story)

Starring: Steve McQueen, Bobby Darin, Fess Parker, Harry Guardino, james Coburn, Bob Newhart

 

Plot: Small squad must hold off German attack.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dated War Film

 

Story: Hell is for Heroes starts in Montigny, France 1944 where the soldiers are resting. They are all waiting for the time when they can finally go home but when a new soldier Reece (McQueen) turns up the banter gets put slightly out of place. Sgt Larkin (Guardino) and his men Corby (Darin), Pike (Parker), Henshaw (Coburn) and Driscoll (Newhart) along with Reece are sent to a new location before getting final instruction before their next mission.

Reece is going to be trouble as he is straight away very much to himself and likes his drinking. The unit have the hopes of a return home shattered as they get sent out on their new mission. When the orders change it is down to the six men to keep the Germans back without giving away their numbers. What follows is the Americans trying to pull off as many tricks as possible to trick the Germans into thinking they have a large platoon.

Hell is for Heroes is a story that we see in plenty of war films where we see a small number of soldiers overcome the odds to beat a large number, it is tried and tested as everyone likes to cheer for an underdog. This one has plenty of generically easy ideas that all work out nicely and for the time it would have looked like a very good war film. Film has come a long way now and this would not stand next to them anymore but it could easily have been one of the best at the time of release. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Steve McQueen: Reese the rebellious soldier who has been causing problems during the war, he has an attitude but could be the best hope for victory. Steve was the icon and main attraction for this film and he shows why in his performance. (7/10)

 

Bobby Darin: Corby wheeler and dealer who seems to have everything the men would want also he is very much a wise cracker. Booby gives us a good performance and is the character I wanted to see on camera more often. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: Hell is for Heroes has a supporting cast that fills the generic war film types, they all help the story unfold and all do a very good job in their performance.

 

Director Review: Don Siegel – Don keeps everything simple in this film and ends up getting a solid war film still over 50 years later. (7/10)

 

War: Hell is for Heroes comes off as a solid war film for the time. (7/10)

Settings: Hell is for Heroes uses pretty much one setting for the most part of the film and it shows how little area people were fighting for during the wars. (9/10)

Suggestion: Hell is for Heroes is one for the classic film fan to enjoy, I don’t see today’s audience enjoying this film. (Classic Film Fans)

 

Best Part: The end was good and well put together.

Worst Part: Little bit slow starting.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final attack.

 

Believability: Things like this would have happened in the war. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $2.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Tagline: ONLY 6 G.I.’s and they had to hold off the whole German army!

Trivia: According to Bob Newhart’s autobiography, “I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This”, Steve McQueen and Bobby Darin did not get along during filming. When stories of their feud appeared in the trade papers, the film’s publicist was fired. As it turned out, it was Nick Adams who leaked the story. According to Newhart, Adams felt so badly that he chased the publicist’s departing plane yelling, “I’m sorry!”

 

Overall:  For years war films have been used to tell the stories off overcoming odds and this is no exception and would have been one of the best at the time.

Rating 70