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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Kill the Irishman (2011)

Director: Jonathan Hensleigh

Writer: Jonathan Hensleigh, Jeremy Walters (Screenplay) Rick Porrello (Book)

Starring: Ray Stevenson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, Linda Cardellini, Tony Darrow, Robert Davi

 

Plot: The true story of Danny Greene, a tough Irish thug working for mobsters in Cleveland during the 1970’s.


Tagline – Based on the true story of Danny Greene the man the mob couldn’t kill

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Gangster Biopic

 

Story: Kill the Irishman starts in Cleveland 1975 where somebody tries to kill Irish thug Danny Greene (Stevenson) where detective Joe Manditski (Kilmer) fills in the past relationship between the two. We learn how Danny rose from smart worker to take over the union and begin ties with the Mafia John Nardi (D’Onofrio).

As Danny builds his reputation through Cleveland becoming somewhat of a Robin Hood figure, as he tries to leave the life behind even with his connections still strong, it soon becomes the challenge that no one could find a way to kill Danny.

 

Thoughts on Kill the Irishman

 

Characters – Danny Greene is a working man in Cleveland, he makes the connections within the Mafia he becomes one of their thugs before leaving the life to become a real businessman until he crosses them and becomes the target for a bounty on his head. John Nardi is the connection within the Mafia, that one that befriends Danny and offers the guidance he needs. Joe Manditski is the detective that is trying to keep everything in order and with his previous relationship with a younger Danny, he knows the character of Danny better than anyone. Shondor Birns is one up the next step up in the ladder of the Mafia that trusts Danny, only a business deal goes wrong and he puts the first hit out on Danny.

PerformancesRay Stevenson is great in this leading role, this is easily he best leading man performances of his career. Vincent D’Onofrio is good in the supporting role as are the whole supporting cast including Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken and a host of faces we are used to seeing in gangster movies.

StoryThe story here follows the rise through the Mafia of Irishman Danny Greene through Cleveland through the 1970s, his story become big news for the area and some people saw him as a hero, others a criminal. We see how the gangster world is unfolded when the lines between right and wrong are crossed and the self-destruction from within will be their biggest weakness. This does follow most of what we do know from the genre and being based on a real person shows how the world can be easy to become the latest victim off. The time jumps in the storytelling are annoying because we don’t truly get to see just how much success he is having in the film.

Biopic/CrimeThe crime world we enter is what we know, gangster who will kill anyone that crosses them. The biopic is everything we need to see as we learn about Danny Greene.

SettingsThe film keeps us in and around Cleveland with a 70s feeling throughout the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Danny knows what is happening.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Vinnie Jones’ Irish accent.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good look at one of the members of the gangster that’s story helped change thing how the Mafia too.

 

Overall: Good biopic on the Irishman.

Rating

 

 

The Super (2018)

Director: Stephen Rick

Writer: John J McLaughlin (Screenplay)

Starring: Patrick John Flueger, Val Kilmer, Louisa Krause, Mattea Conforti, Taylor Richardson, Paul Ben-Victor, Yul Vazquez

 

Plot: A man becomes the superintendent of a large New York City apartment building where people mysteriously go missing.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Saved by a Shocking Twist

 

Story: The Super starts when Phil Lodge (Flueger) takes a job as a new building super after giving up his career in the police force to raise his two daughters Rose (Conforti) and Violet (Richardson). We see quickly that there is a killer in the building that is killing tenants in their own apartments.

With Phil getting to know the fellow supers Julio (Vazquez) and the strange Walter (Kilmer), the number of people who are disappearing is raising to alarming numbers, this forces Phil to put his police hate back on to learn the truth about this building.

 

Thoughts on The Super

 

Characters – Phil Lodge was a police officer, after his wife’s death he must give this life up to work in a safer field for his daughters. He becomes a super for an apartment building, but soon he must put his detective hat back on to figure out who is making the tenants disappear around the building before his family becomes the latest target. Walter is the strange super that the people believe is weird believing in his voodoo religion, he keeps to himself for a reason and is the easy first suspect behind the disappearances. Beverly is one of the tenants in the building, one that takes a shine to Phil, the two get on as even friendship would help he settle in. Rose is the youngest daughter than does have a habit of going on wonders around the apartment in search of people, learning things she shouldn’t, seeing things she shouldn’t.

PerformancesPatrick John Flueger in the leading role is good, he starts slow being the basic figure, but grows into the role as the film continues. Val Kilmer gives us a creepy role which is what we need from his performance. Louisa Krause struggles to make an impact compared to the rest in this of the cast in the leading roles. Mattea Conforti and Taylor Richardson as the two girls both work well for what we would imagine for the ages to be acting like.

StoryThe story here follows a father that takes a new job as a super in an apartment who must start to figure out what is going on with the disappearances in the apartment which is starting to become alarming high. This does the usual and points the figures clearly at one person while giving us a couple of shady people that could be the killer. This follows the normal traditions of this storyline, though it is surprising to just where everything goes, surprising, great and even confusing when you stop and think back at things. The twist does save the film from become too mediocre for the genre.

ThrillerThis does keep us on edge as we wait to see just where the movie will take things, who is the killer and why, anything film that can keep us guessing is all we want as an audience.

SettingsThe film does take place in the apartment building throughout, which is all we need to keep us interested in just where things can go wrong.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The kills just seem random early on.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller that will keep you guessing throughout, but it is the final twist which will save the film from being too average.

 

Overall: Thriller that keeps us edge after a slower start.

Rating

 

 

Willow (1988)

Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Bob Dolman (Screenplay) George Lucas (Story)

Starring: Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Warwick Davis, Jean Marsh, Patricia Hayes, Billy Barty, Pat Roach

 

Plot: A reluctant dwarf must play a critical role in protecting a special baby from an evil queen.


Tagline – A world where heroes come in all sizes and adventure is the greatest magic of all

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Fantasy Adventure

 

Story: Willow starts as Queen Bavmorda (Marsh) whose evil rule has been hunting for a baby that will one day kill her and end her reign. When the baby is snuck out of her kingdom she ends up floating down the river the dwarf village where Willow (Davis) reluctantly takes her in, but only ends up needing to leave his village to delivery her to a rightful owner.

Willow must team up with lone warrior Madmartigan (Kilmer) to get the baby to safety, with half the kingdom seemingly after them, the true power of the magic inside is about to be released.

 

Thoughts on Willow

 

Characters – Willow is a dwarf farmer that reluctantly agrees to help a baby get to safety, he must go on an adventure unlike anything he has been on before, he will finally get to see if his years of training will unlock his sorcerer ability. Madmartigan claims to be the greatest swordsman in the land, but has been trapped escaping enemies while reluctantly joining Willow on the mission to save the baby. Sorsha is the daughter of the Queen, leading the party to capture the baby, which soon changes when she meets Madmartigan. Queen Bavmorda is the evil ruler of the land and knows the only way to stay in control is to make sure her prophecy doesn’t come true.

PerformancesWarwick Davis is the star of the movie, he must keep his innocence while showing strength through the film. Val Kilmer gets plenty of laughs showing that he could handle both the action and comedy through this film, this showed us just what sort of career we could have seen from him. Joanne Whalley does a good job with what she has but doesn’t get too much time to show u her skills, the same goes for Jean Marsh because we don’t get enough screen time for the evil queen.

StoryThe story is an unlikely hero needing to go on a quest to save the kingdom he lives in from the reign of terror it could fall into under the Queen and her armies. The story does put our hero needing to overcome his own fears, become the strong figure he has been trying to become. It does have moment of fairy tale behaviour but doesn’t reach the levels of the previous years film, ‘The Princess Bride’. This is one that can be enjoyed by all the fantasy fans out there.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy The action is battle sequences which are fun and play out for the characters to get their moments to redeem themselves. The adventure takes Willow on the unlikely adventure for the good of the kingdom while also using his desired magic abilities in the fantasy world.

SettingsThe settings take us to a land of wizard, witches and creatures that could be a threat. It is basic, but it works for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Snow time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Would have liked more of the Sorsha character.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun adventure movie, it sums up the 80’s style with how it unfolds. This is one to enjoy the ride.

 

Overall: Enjoyable throughout.

Rating

 

 

The Snowman (2017)

Director: Tomas Afredson

Writer: Hossein Amini, Peter Straughan (Screenplay) Jo Nesbo (Novel)

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Chloe Sevigny, Val Kilmer, J.K Simmons, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jamie Clayton, Toby Jones

 

Plot: Detective Harry Hole investigates the disappearance of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman.


Tagline – Soon the first snow will come, and then he will kill again.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Twisty Mystery Thriller

 

Story: The Snowman starts as we meet alcoholic detective Harry Hole (Fassbender) a once great detective that is lacking the motivation because of the lack of murders and his break up with his long-term girlfriend Rakel (Gainsbourg). He gets a new member of his team Katrine (Ferguson) who has embraced the latest technology in police work and the two start an investigation into a missing woman.

The two have very different backgrounds and the story does jump back to a previous serious of crimes that were being investigated in a different part of Norway, but as the women continue to go missing we are thrown a list of different suspects and mixing this with the personal backgrounds of the two characters we wait to see who the killer is.

 

Thoughts on The Snowman

 

Characters – Harry Hole was once one of the best detectives in Oslo, his cases have been studied be the candidates in the academy, but he has fallen on bad times with a drinking problem and a relationship ending. When the case does come up he is still the first man selected to lead the investigation, this is where we get to see his true skills. Katrine is a rookie that transferred to the department, she uses the technology to make the work easier but slowly we learn about her past and her reasons for being transferred to this department. Rakel is the ex-girlfriend of Harry who they still remain close due to Harry building a relationship with her son. Arve Stop is a political figure running the campaign to get Oslo the Winter World Cup, he does become one of the many suspects. We do meet at least a total of 6 potential suspects which could all have motive for the crime which is nice, but this also means we don’t focus enough on the mind games between the killer and Hole.

PerformancesFassbender is great in the leading role, giving us what we would expect from him without reaching his best of the best level of ability. Rebecca Ferguson is good too, she doesn’t steal the spotlight like she did in Rogue Nation but shows she does have more to her in ability wise. The rest of the cast do well with what they have to work with, even if they don’t get enough screen time to make the impact they could.

StoryThe trailers made this out to be a true mind games based serial killer versus cop movie, this is in fact a lie, we have the slow processes of trying to solve who could be behind this with plenty of suspects along the way. The tease with the note does feel confusing though because it sets up the mind games but doesn’t seem to follow through on them. We do have a lot of side stories going on including Harry’s relationship with Rakel and her son, Katrine’s past and just who is Arve Stop, which doesn’t help us focus on what should be the biggest factor the killer.

Crime/Horror/MysteryThe crimes do look horrific when we see the full effects of what the killer is doing and his weapon of choice is fresh and terrifying at that. The mystery does keep us guessing through the film but the lack of final punch takes away the horror for me.

SettingsThe settings make this film look beautiful, we have stunning shots of the Norwegian snow cover countryside but once we are in the big cities it all looks the same.


Scene of the Movie –
First learning of the killer weapon.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It was confusing to figure out if the characters were Norwegian or what.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good crime thriller, it does keep us guessing but it does get confusing trying to balance too many side stories, unlike Wind River which deals with the problems head on.

 

Overall: Good but not great snow flake.

Rating