The Post (2017)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Liz Hannah, Josh Singer (Screenplay)

Starring: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys, Alison Brie

 

Plot: A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government.


Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Historical Thriller

 

Story: The Post starts as we learn how the Presidents have been involved in Vietnam war, either trying to control the country or sending troops there. With one man Daniel Ellberg (Rhys) taking the top secret pages to expose the truth. When the New York Times start publishing these secrets the President starts to panic.

In Washington the Post owner Kay Graham (Streep) is about to turn her paper over to the stock exchange, her editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) is always up for taking a risk and when he learns of the papers he will stop at nothing to get the story to the people even if the government halts the publishing of the story.

 

Thoughts on The Post

 

Characters – Kay Graham inherits the role of owner of the paper, she takes over after her husband’s death with her position being questioned by the male board as she tries to turn the paper public as the biggest story unfolds. This is a perfect example of a person needing to take a role they are not prepared for. Ben Bradlee is the editor of the Post, he will push to get any story out believing the press should be able to report a story. He was also friends with the Kennedy’s putting him the elite of society. We do meet plenty of other members of the paper and the families of the people involved.

PerformancesMeryl Streep and Tom Hanks in the leading roles, do we need to talk about the performances anymore, we know they are two of the greatest actors in history and they show us just how good they are. The rest of the cast are fantastic too showing that Spielberg can get performances out of any actor.

StoryThe story follows the days before the Watergate scandal which shock America to its knees when it came learning the truth about Vietnam. We focus on just one paper as they were deciding if they should expose the truth which could find them going to jail. We get to see the balance between which is the right or the wrong side of the story which makes this a captivating story to see unfold.

Biopic/History/ThrillerThe people we follow took a massive risk to expose the truth because they new it was the right thing to do as they helped show a moment of history which people will never forget. We are kept on edge of our seat as we see how the story could bring down parts of American history.

SettingsThe film does use the settings well making us feel like we are in the time the movie takes place, we see the different classes involved in the story.


Scene of the Movie –
Deciding whether to publish is not.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Moments of the camerawork feel unnecessarily shaky.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant thriller that helps expose the biggest scandal that hit America and how the press were trying to find a way to expose the truth.

 

Overall: Thriller that brings us in to a biggest secret.

Rating

 

 

 

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Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Steven Spielberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Francois Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Bob Balaban, J Patrick McNamara

 

Plot: After an encounter with U.F.O.s, a line worker feels undeniably drawn to an isolated area in the wilderness where something spectacular is about to happen.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Close Encounters of the Third Kind starts as a group of planes all have an encounter they can’t or refuses to explain with a UFO. We move to Indiana as the Guiler family get a strange encounter as young boy Barry (Guffey) follows the strange lights and noises in the dark. The area is also suffering from a black out with Roy Neary (Dreyfuss) needing to leave his family to help fix.

As the scientific world is trying to explain the strange noises coming from the sky they must find the location being set to them. Roy becomes obsessed with the vision he has seen but Jillian goes in search for her son that is taken by the lights.

With the government covering up what is about to happen it is up to Roy and Jillian to discover the truth before it is too late but what they find is something completely unexpected.

 

Thoughts on Close Encounters of the Third Kind

 

Characters/PerformanceRoy comes off as the classic crazy person who believe they have been involved in an alien idea, he puts his family life in danger to figure out the message placed inside his head and will stop at nothing to learn the truth, Jillian also suffers a visit but her character is drawn to find her son that is taken. These two work together to get to the bottom of what happen. Claude leads the scientific search for answers and is what you would call the typical scientist.

Performance wise, Dreyfuss is great in the leading role showing his normality between his crazy, Dillon is great too as the concerned mother with the rest of the cast all giving good performances without taking away from the main characters.

StoryFor the time this story was something special, we have an alien coming to visit in a friendly manor which is fine because at the time it was only evil coming from space. When you look at everything that unfolds you are left with the trailblazer for the style of film that has been borrowed from so often. The idea the government can cover up this is believable along with the idea the one person considered crazy will go all out to find the answers does too.

Sci-FiAliens coming to visit, do you get anymore sci-fi that this, no of course not.

SettingsThe settings used in this film show us the aliens would only be coming to small less populated areas rather than big cities as they want to make calm friendly contact.

Special EffectsFor the time the special effects are amazing, in places some of them have dated but they are still good in the most part.

Final ThoughtsThis film was ground breaking for the time, while more recently we have been given Arrival which is strikingly similar with the interactions between the aliens and humans, this is refreshing to see in a world of monsters coming from space.

 

Overall: This is the classic people talk about but I can see the younger audience not enjoying it all.

Rating

 

 

John Malkovich Weekend – Empire of the Sun (1987)

empireDirector: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Tom Stoppard (Screenplay) J.G. Ballard (Novel)

Starring: Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers, Joe Pantoliano, Leslie Phillips

 

Plot: A young English boy struggles to survive under Japanese occupation during World War II.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant

 

Story: Empire of the Sun starts in 1941 China as we follow an English family the Graham’s Mary (Richard), John (Frazer) and boy Jim (Bale) who find themselves in the middle of the tension between China and Japan. While trying to get out of China during the first invasion Jim finds himself separated where he returns home waiting for his parents to return all while having to fend for himself.

Jim meets American Basie (Malkovich), British couple Mrs Victor (Richardson), Mr Victor (Gale) and Dr Rawlins (Havers) as he has to survive in conditions his privileged lifestyle isn’t used to as a prisoner of war.

Empire of the Sun is a war drama that follows one boy during a war outbreak. This shows his struggle and search for anyone who will help him. I do like how the story decides to stay away from showing the actual conflict of war showing the human effects of what is happening. Also seeing the story from the boy’s point of view helps us understand the struggle he is facing even if he does come off annoying in places. This is one of those films that hasn’t dated at all even though it is reaching the age of 30 this year.

 

Actor Review

 

Christian Bale: Jim is the English boy living in China during the outbreak of World War II, he has lived there for his whole life. He gets separated from his family he has to fend for himself from within a Prisoner of War camp. I will say this character comes off very annoying having been taught nothing by his parents and never knowing when to shut up but that can’t be taken away from Bale’s performance. Christian shows all the shines that he was going to go onto become the star he is now with this brilliant performance.

John Malkovich: Basie is an American wheeler and dealer that reluctantly takes care of Jim during the wartime partly because he knows how to find him a deal, he gives him motivation to carry on while always looking for his own escape. John gives us the performance that is great and shows us he is a main stay of Hollywood.

Miranda Richardson: Mrs Victor is one of the British woman that take care of Jim in the prisoner of war camp, she does get tired of his stories but knows she is trying her best to protect him. Miranda is good in this supporting role without being over used.

Nigel Havers: Dr Rawlins is also at the prisoner of war who offers Jim time within the hospital caring for the sick during the time of war. Nigel much like Miranda is a good supporting without getting enough time to be over used.

Support Cast: Empire of the Sun has a good supporting cast with what I would say the only bad thing is we never feel like anyone is a really bad guy character.

Director Review: Steven SpielbergSteven give us one of the best wartime drama of all time that doesn’t focus on the actual conflict.

 

History: Empire of the Sun shows us what the prisoner of war camps would have been like during World War II filled with sickness and dealing to make it all bearable.

War: Empire of the Sun is a great look at how the children or in this case a single child was effected by the conflict breaking out in a new country.

Settings: Empire of the Sun makes each setting come off realistic be it the cities or the camp to make us see and feel the struggle Jim has to go through.  
Special Effects
: Empire of the Sun uses the effects when need and they all come off very well.

Suggestion: Empire of the Sun is one I do think everyone should watch at least once. (Watch)

 

Best Part: While annoying Bale is brilliant in this role.

Worst Part: Slightly long.

 

Believability: While the story is fictional I do think elements could have been real.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 6 Oscars.

Budget: $35 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 33 Minutes

Tagline: To survive in a world at war, he must find a strength greater than all the events that surround him.

 

Overall: One of Spielberg’s best films.

Ratingcarrd

 

 

Schindler’s List (1993)

schnidersDirector: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Steven Zaillian (Screenplay) Thomas Keneally (Book)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall, Jonathan Sagall, Embeth Davidtz

 

Plot: In German-occupied Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best

 

Story: Schindler’s List starts as we see the early stages of World War II in Poland where German Oskar Schindler (Neeson) uses this to his advantage by moving to Poland to start his own business with a Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern (Kingsley) where he gives the Jewish people jobs during their exile by the Germans.

Oscar’s business is challenge when the German concentration camps start taking his workers with Amon Goeth (Fiennes) merciless leading the execution of the Jews in Krakow. Oscar has to conduct himself like a business man through this horrific time as he tries all he can to keep as many Jews alive against near impossible odds.

Schindler’s List is always going to go down as one of the hardest films to watch because of the subject matter, but it is also one of the most important films to watch. The film shows the brutality of holocaust during World War II. The fact that this is a true story shows us just how incredible the risk Oscar took to save as many as he could. The direction is flawless the acting is flawless it is hard to say a single bad thing about this movie.

 

Overall: One of history’s most incredible stories shown in full emotional impact.

Rating100

 

 

The BFG (2016)

bfgDirector: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Melissa Mathison (Screenplay) Roald Dahl (Book)

Starring: Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Jemaine Clement, Rebecca Hal, Rafe Spall, Bill Hader

 

Plot: A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because, unlike them, he refuses to eat children.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Fantasy

 

Story: The BFG starts as we meet orphan Sophie (Barnhill) living in an orphanage in London when she accidently witnesses a giant roaming the streets in the middle of the night. The giant in question is the BFG (Rylance) known as the Big Friendly Giant takes Sophie back to giant country.

Back in giant country we learn what the BFG does by collecting and giving dreams but in a more threaten side of story we learn that there are flesh eating giants in this world who want to get back to the human world to feed. The BFG must work with Sophie to protect the humans as they get set to go into battle with the impending giants.

The BFG is a remake of a film that I really enjoyed as a kid, we had musical numbers and full blown fantasy elements which also included an actual threat from the giants. In this version the giants are barely involved with the final story which takes away from any threat as an audience to see. We also get very slow moving moments which just suck the life out of the film which should be pure fantasy. In the end the story is very weak for what the source material had.

 

Actor Review

 

Mark Rylance: BFG travels between the giant world and the human world where he sends dream to the innocent while living in constant fear of being captured by humans and of the other giants who always pick on him. He would like peace between the two sides but knows that won’t happen with the threat of the giants. Mark is good as this giant showing his skills as an actor.

Ruby Barnhill: Sophie is the little girl that gets taken from the orphanage to giant country by the BFG who wants to help him become brave when it comes to dealing with the rest of the giants. She is a dreamer much like any leading character in a Roald Dahl book. Ruby does great in this leading role as a potential new star.

Penelope Wilton: The Queen is who Sophie and the BFG turn to take out the dangerous giants as she opens her doors and leads the assault. Penelope is solid but in the end is very generic in this role.

Jemaine Clement: Fleshlumpeater is the leader of the giants who has been waiting and searching for the route back to the human world so he can finally eat the flesh of humans once more. Jermaine is solid but just doesn’t come off as terrifying as required.

Support Cast: The BFG has a supporting cast which we don’t get to see enough from to truly get an understand of monstrous side of the giants.

Director Review: Steven SpielbergSteven is a director I would expect something even more from because this just ends up being very average.

 

Adventure: The BFG has elements of fantasy but in the end is way too one sided.

Animation: The BFG has great moments of animation but also has so you can see are stuck between the two animation and real.

Family: The BFG is one that I do feel the whole family could make it through but it is slow at parts which lose a younger audience.

Fantasy: The BFG is full blown fantasy with the world of giants which is all good throughout.

Settings: The BFG only has a couple of settings really and that is the giant world and London making it feel like it is all very much within one small part of the world.
Suggestion
: The BFG is one I think people should try but otherwise it isn’t essential watching this year. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Visually great.

Worst Part: Slow moving.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $140 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

Tagline: From the human beans that created E.T. and the author of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Matilda”

 

Overall: Very slow moving fantasy film that really just doesn’t hi all the marks.

Ratingcard