ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – G – Green Book (2018)

Director: Peter Farrelly

Writer: Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly (Screenplay)

Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Maniscalco, Dimitier D Marinov, Mike Hatton

 

Plot: A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South.


Tagline – Inspired by a True Friendship

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Story of Friendship

 

Story: Green Book starts when Italian-American Tony Lip (Mortensen) sees the club he is working at close down for a couple of months, needing to find a job, he gets connected to Dr Don Shirley (Ali) who requires a driver for a tour of the deep south in 1960s America.

While on tour it is clear the two have their differences, with Tony not being fond of black people and believing Dr Don should know about black musicians, and Dr Don wanting to see Tony learn to be more accepting to people and carry himself more professionally in everyday life.

 

Thoughts on Green Book

 

Characters – Tony Lip has been a hired hand in the nightclub scene for years in New York, he has opinions on people that he holds in which does include his racist side, he is facing a couple of months without work which leads him to become a driver for a black musician going on tour in the deep south, Tony must put his opinions aside to get paid working for a man that will give him finically security. Dr Don Shirley is the musician that has built up a reputation for his ability on the piano, he hires Tony to be his driver, he carries himself proudly never letting the racist behaviour drag him down, as he looks to improve Tony’s behaviour. Most of the film follows the two on their journey with the problems they are facing along the way. Dolores is the wife of Tony that stays home while the journey is happening, supporting her husband with his decision.

PerformancesViggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali both give wonderful performances, which when you see the calibre of actor you are dealing with, you would expect, they both show the characters the weaknesses and strengths, so we can understand the struggles they must get through during the film. when it comes to the supporting cast everyone is good, though they don’t have much to do.

StoryThe story follows two men from different backgrounds going on music tour as they teach each other life lessons as they become lifelong friends. We go through the segregation problems that were still going on through America in the 1960s and how both men dealt with the problems in their own ways.  This is another example of just how behind America was about treating people equal no matter what their skin colour or talent is. While this is a personal story between two men, it is slow paced and might not be for everyone to enjoy.

Biopic/Comedy The biopic ide of the story shows us just how the two men became friends even though they came from different backgrounds, while the comedy is basic without being as good as it could have been.

SettingsThe film takes us through the South of America where the racial segregation was still happening, which gives us a road trip feeling through the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Bar performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is the same sort America was behind with racial segregation again.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good friendship movie, it has wonderful performances without being anything overly fresh with its ideas.

 

Overall: Simple friendship movie.

Rating

 

 

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Viggo Mortensen Weekend – A History of Violence (2005)

Director: David Cronenberg

Writer: Josh Olson (Screenplay) John Wagner, Vince Locke (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Ashton Holmes, Peter MacNeill

 

Plot: A mild-mannered man becomes a local hero through an act of violence, which sets off repercussions that will shake his family to its very core.


Tagline – Everyone has something to hide.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Intense Unsettling Thriller

 

Story: A History of Violence starts as we meet mild-mannered Tom Stall (Mortensen) working in his local diner with his own family, wide Edie (Bello) and child Jack (Holmes) and Sarah. One evening two men arrive in his diner trying to rob and kill the people inside, Tom’s quick thinking kills the criminals making him a local hero.

The act of heroism brings gangster Carl Fogarty (Harris) to town who claims Tom is from the criminal underworld hiding out with his older brother Richie (Hurt) waiting for him to return back to the criminal world.

 

Thoughts on A History of Violence

 

Characters – Tom Stall is a quiet man, running a diner having a loving family, he steps up to protect his customers and friends makes him a local hero. Now he has drawn a target on his chest with his past coming back to haunt him. Edie is the wife of Tom, she works in law bring home the bigger pay checks, she supports Tom, until she learns the truth and must decide where she stands with him. Carl Fogarty is the mysterious stranger that arrives in town claiming to know Tom from a previous life, he brings the danger back into Tom’s life with the past he wanted to run away from. Richie is the crime boss and brother to Tom, he has been searching for his brother for years and now sees the chance for the connection.

PerformancesViggo Mortensen is outstanding in this leading role we see how he keeps his character perfectly calm in everyday life and how the switch can make him a deadly killer, this is an ability that not everyone can achieve. Maria Bello is strong in her role as a woman unsure who her husband really is. Ed Harris and William Hurt in the supporting role are fantastic both take over the screen with their presence adding much needed tension to everything.

StoryThe story here follows a mild-mannered man whose past comes back to haunt him after protect people he loves and cares about. This is almost like the story that follows up one of the gangster films where we see someone leave the life only to get drawn back years later against his will. The film like to use the idea of violence being the breaking point for relationships between husband & wife, father & son and two brothers which gets played out perfectly. There is an air of tension from start to finish in the film which leaves us only wanting to see where things would go next.

ThrillerThe film uses the tension to keep us feeling uneasy through nearly each moment in the film never knowing what would happen next.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town which Tom makes safe and happy, if would make sense for his character to be there too, it shows how media can expose anybody’s secret.


Scene of the Movie –
The first crime rescue.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The bullying side which isn’t the most important thing we see.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best modern thrillers you will see, you have four stunning performances and shocks around each corner.

 

Overall: Stunning thriller

Rating

 

 

Viggo Mortensen Weekend – Appaloosa (2008)

Director: Ed Harris

Writer: Robert Knott, Ed Harris (Screenplay) Robert B Parker (Novel)

Starring: Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Jeremy Irons, Renee Zellweger, Lance Henriksen

 

Plot: Two friends hired to police a small town that is suffering under the rule of a rancher find their job complicated by the arrival of a young widow.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid but Slow Western

 

Story: Appaloosa starts as we see just how much control Randall Bragg (Irons) has over this small western town, he murders the current Marshall which brings a new Marshall to town. Virgil Cole (Harris) and his partner Deputy Everett Hitch (Mortensen) come to town with their own laws to clean up the Bragg gang.

When Cole & Hitch do find a way to arrest Randall the courts find him guilty of murdering the former Marshall but on route to the prison the rest of the gang force Cole’s hand by using Mrs French (Zellweger) to force Randall’s release, this leads to them needing to find a new way to eliminate Bragg’s gang.

 

Thoughts on Appaloosa

 

Characters/PerformanceVirgil Cole is the freelance Marshall, fast with a rifle and only killing the men who break the law. His reputation follows him as one of the scrictiest law men out there with a lot of his trust in Everett. Everett is the longtime partner of Virgil that always stands tall next him in battle, completes the long words and is the calm influence between the two. Randall Bragg is the rancher who has control over the town of Appaloosa him and his gang take what they want, kill who they want and reign terror over the town. Mrs French comes to town a widow becoming the love interest for Virgil and we learn what type of woman she is.

Performance wise, Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen both work well together showing good chemistry throughout the film and both play the lawman well through the film. Jeremy Irons always makes for a good villain through the any film and this is no exception. Renee is here but you do feel like her character is almost pointless to the main part of the film.

StoryThe story fills in just what you want from a western story, we have an enemy of the town that out numbers them all but two lawmen come into town to help clean it up in their own way, be it through legal or other means. This was meant to be a start of a series of films which is why you feel the threat wasn’t as big as it could have been but still enjoyable enough to watch.

Crime/Western/RomanceThis is a nice western film with perfect use of the setting for the crimes to take place, the romance side of film does feel tagged on in places though.

SettingsEach setting looks great for the film never taking us out of the time in question for the movie.

Final ThoughtsThis is a western film which is fine, it isn’t bad but isn’t up there with the greatest.

 

Overall: Western fans will enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Prophecy (1995)

Director: Gregory Widen

Writer: Gregory Widen (Screenplay)

Starring: Christopher Walken, Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen, Eric Stoltz, Viggo Mortensen, Amanda Plummer

 

Plot: The angel Gabriel comes to Earth to collect a soul which will end the stalemated war in Heaven, and only a former priest and a little girl can stop him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Religious Battle Film

 

Story: The Prophecy starts as we learn of an ancient war between angels in heaven where Simon (Stoltz) is in search for the only people that can stop the angel Gabriel (Walken) destroying any chance of humans getting to heaven. Former priest turned detective Thomas Dagget (Koteas) leads the investigation into strange amounts of crime striking the city.

Thomas must face his lost faith and the visions that made him leave the priesthood in the first place, as he searches for the one person a little girl Mary (Snyder) that can stop Gabriel’s path of destruction.

 

Thoughts on The Prophecy

 

Characters/PerformanceGabriel is the angel sent from to stop humans rising to heaven, he is cold, calculated and determined to win the war within heaven. Thomas is a former priest turned detective who must now question his lost faith to stop a war he was destined to fight. Katherine is the teacher that must work with Thomas to save Mary and stop Gabriel.

Performance wise, Christopher Walken is an inspired choice for an evil angel because he has the perfect emotionless face for evil. Koteas is good but doesn’t reach the full level of its potential in his performance. Madsen is good in this supporting role in this film.

StoryThe story of waring angels in heaven is always interesting one because we see how the people involved in the battle must question their faith. This one follows Gabriel on his search for the strongest as he goes out to fight his greatest battle and we follow the humans that can stop this happening, simple enough.

Action/CrimeThe action is all very basic because we go through all the things that can’t kill an angel first. The crime side turns into fantasy investigation case.

SettingsThe settings are not made to be anything important apart from the few churches, otherwise it is just random building or deserts.

Special EffectsThe effects are all fine but have dated in places which is sad to see.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting action crime film that enters us into the fantasy world of angels not being the good we think they are.

 

Overall: Easy to watch fantasy action film.

Rating

 

 

The Two Face of January (2014)

twoDirector: Hossein Amini

Writer: Hossein Amini (Screenplay) Patricia Highsmith (Novel)

Starring: Oscar Isaac, Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, Daisy Bevan, Babis Chatidakis, David Warshofsky

 

Plot: A thriller centered on a con artist, his wife, and a stranger who flee Athens after one of them is caught up in the death of a private detective.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Thriller

 

Story: The Two Faces of January starts as we meet vacationing couple Chester (Mortensen) and Colette (Dunst) who are visiting Athens where they meet American tour guide Rydal (Isaac). As the three spend a day together this turns into nothing special.

The film takes a big twist when we learn that Chester is a con artist who has been tracked down by a private detective that he kills but Rydal witnesses this and joins them on their escape from Athens then Greece and the mess they find themselves in.

The Two Faces of January has good without saying special performance from the three leads in the movie, as for the rest of the cast they are just your average supporting cast never doing anything to push the story further than our three leads. Viggo would be considered the stand out of the three as he must play the calm character at times but also show his darker side when needed.

As for the thriller side, we are kept guessing as we do always get the feeling something is going on between the characters without being told this, this happens from the looks but most importantly from the music being used through the film. We get a very loss romantic story going on that doesn’t get a chance to come through enough which disappoints. The settings are all beautiful just like the back drops of Greece would be to any film.

In the end this is a slow-moving thriller that just doesn’t get to pull us in enough even though it has an idea of keeping us guessing what is going on.

 

Overall: This is one of those thrillers that you know there are twists coming but in the end just doesn’t suck you in enough.

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