ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – C – Chaplin (1992)

Director: Richard Attenborough

Writer: William Boy, Bryan Forbes, William Goldman (Screenplay) David Robinson, Charles Chaplin (Book)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Geraldine Chaplin, Paul Rhys, John Thaw, Moira Kelly, Anthony Hopkins, Dan Aykroyd, Marisa Tomei


Plot: A movie about the troubled and controversial life of the master comedy filmmaker Charlie Chaplin.

Tagline – Everyone has a wild side. Even a legend.

Runtime: 2 Hours 23 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Brilliant Biopic


Story: Chaplin starts as an older Charlie (Downey Jr) is telling his life story to his publicist George Hayden (Hopkins), we move back to 1894 when Charlie first took the stage, taking over from his mother Hannah (Chaplin) who froze on stage. Charlie and his brother Sydney (Rhys) had to learn to adapt to the rough life in London. Charlie soon became one of the hottest prospects in comedy performance in England.

We see how Charlie moved to America with the dawn of the motion pictures, being given a job on the production of Mack Sennett’s (Aykroyd) movies. We see just how fast Charlie became the biggest name in comedy getting his own studio, while continuing his own vices, young women. Charlie made enemies along the way which would lead to the downfall of his career.


Thoughts on Chaplin


Characters – Charlie Chaplin is one of the most influential men in comedy history, we follow his life, through his own autobiography, from is tough upbringing for the child labour camps in England, to his break out in comedy in England. He would go on to become a sensation of the motion picture world, only to fail to make adapt to American life when the Talkies came into circulation. He made enemies which would see his career come to an end. Outside the celebrity status, he finds himself drawn to teenage women which would see him go through multiply marriages, never finding true happiness. George Hayden is the one learning the story from Charlie, he is pushing him into going over each of the details of her story. Sydney is Charlie’s older brother, he helped get him started and became his manager, he tries to help Charlie make the right decisions to keep his career in Hollywood. Douglas Fairbank is another one of the biggest actors in Hollywood, he is one friend Charlie never seems to lose through his time there.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr gives his career best performance here, he is stunning as Charlie, be it recreating the iconic moments or the personal life situations. Anthony Hopkins is wonderful too even just in an almost narration role, while the whole cast which is huge makes the impact they need to for their own roles.

StoryThe story here follows Charlie Chaplin’s career from his poor beginnings right up to the moment the Academy finally recognised his work. We get to see his personal life his many marriages which didn’t go to plan because of his work. We do get to see how the films were made, how the Tramp became the biggest character in comedy history. We see how the tension in Hollywood only made him an enemy forcing him out of the country and how his failure to truly adapt to the talkie era saw his career come to an abrupt end. If you want to see the career of one of the greatest comedians of all time, this is how the story comes to the light.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic shows the career of Charlie Chaplin we get to see his professional and personal life through his career to see just how much lost potential his career had. The comedy in this film comes from just how certain moments will get laughs along the way.

SettingsThe film recreates the settings of the world that you would expect when it comes to looking it Hollywood in the early 19th century.

Scene of the Movie –
The Oscars moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of Hoover’s scenes.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best biopics that you will see, it has the life and career of one of the biggest names in Hollywood history and makes us understand the difficulties he will have gone through.


Overall: Biopic for a true legend.




Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)

Director: John Carpenter

Writer: Robert Collector, Dana Olsen, William Goldman (Screenplay) H.F. Saint (Book)

Starring: Chevy Chase, Daryl Hannah, Sam Neill, Michael McKean, Stephen Tobolowsky, Jim Norton


Plot: After a freak accident, a yuppie turns invisible and runs from a treacherous CIA official, while trying to cope with his new life.

Tagline – Women want him for his wit. The C.I.A. wants him for his body. All Nick wants is his molecules back.

Runtime: 1 hour 39 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Invisible Comedy


Story: Memoirs of an Invisible Man starts when a cocky businessman Nick Halloway (Chase) tires to catch a nap during a busy meeting, that he has no interest in, he finds himself caught in the middle of an experiment gone wrong, by being turned invisible. This brings CIA agent David Jenkins (Neill) in to investigate, with Nick becoming a wanted man, only he can’t ask for help because even he doesn’t understand why he is invisible, he tries the people he trusts in hopes of finding out the way to reverse what has happened to him.


Thoughts on Memoirs of an Invisible Man


Characters – Nick Halloway is a fast-talking businessman that has been getting away with slacking through his job for years now, after another session on the drinks, he looks to skive off, only to get caught in the middle of an experiment which turns him invisible, Nick must figure out who he can trust to help him after the CIA look to hunt him down to use him for their own benefit. He isn’t the most interesting character, he doesn’t come off as funny as it seems he should be either. Alice is the new woman that comes into Nick’s life, she is the one he turns to for help as she is prepared to listen to his story over most other people. David Jenkins is the man hunting down Nick, he is a CIA agent that will do whatever it takes to add to the security of the country, seeing Nick as the next generation of secret agent.

PerformancesChevy Chase does feel slightly mis-cast in this role, he doesn’t seem to handle the comedy on the level it is meant to be coming from his character. Daryl Hannah does all she needs to as the love interest, she doesn’t need to do much either. Sam Neill is highlight of the performances with just how he handles the evil agent.

StoryThe story follows a man that gets turn invisible in a mysterious event, seeing him being chased down by the government while he tries to figure out how to get out of his situation. This is an interesting spin on the invisible man story, it does try to make the story a comedy which is where the story falls short, because it is an unlikable character that gets turn invisible rather than somebody whose experiment going wrong. Nick doesn’t just anything to help himself, which disappoints, it does feel kind of cheesy and by the end you will feel like not everything is answered.

Comedy/Sci-FiThe comedy misses more often than hitting, it just doesn’t seem smooth. The sci-fi elements don’t get bought to the front with incident happening and that being it.

SettingsThe film is set in San Francisco which does always make for a solid back drop for any movie.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do feel great for the time with certain moments, the make-up shot is the highlight because of camera angle.

Scene of the Movie –
Let’s try make up.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The comedy.

Final ThoughtsThis is a comedy that does miss a lot of the jokes and ends up feeling flatter than it should have been.


Overall: Disappointing comedy.




Maverick (1994)

maverDirector: Richard Donner

Writer: William Goldman (Screenplay) Roy Huggins (TV Show)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James Garner, Graham Greene, Alfred Molina, James Coburn, Dub Taylor


Plot: Bret Maverick, needing money for a poker tournament, faces various comic mishaps and challenges, including a charming woman thief.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Tiresome Comedy


Story: Maverick starts as Bret Maverick (Gibson) finds himself at the end of noose recounting what left him in this awkward predicament. Maverick looking to enter a poker tournament and goes on a string of miss-adventures as he finds himself constantly in trouble to make this happen.

Maverick is joined by thief Annabelle Bransford (Foster) and Marshal Zane Cooper (Garner) but also finds himself having a bounty on is head. Will Maverick make it to the game on time along with finding the money to enter the poker tournament


Thoughts on Maverick


StoryThis story just seems to be a repeating formula of Maverick finding himself in trouble only to be coning everyone involved. The film actually feel like a series of short episodes after all it is based off a television show but in the end just doesn’t strike all the points it needs to.

Action/Comedy/WesternThe action is based from the comedy going on in the film which is a rinse repeat formula all set to the western backdrop.

Characters/PerformanceMaverick feels like a true con-artists like character that always just escapes from what he finds himself in. Annabelle is made to be a clumsy woman which gets boring after a while with the rest of the characters just seemingly being involved in the wild adventures Maverick finds himself in. when you look at the performances they are all fine but they all get tiresome after a while.

SettingsEach setting throws us back to the old west in a bright colourful way for once as we see all the different locations that Maverick finds himself in. They all help push the film into the direction it is needed for the final game.

Final ThoughtsWe have seen this in other genres and in this one we seem to get the same gag over and over while there is a twist in nearly every scene too.


Overall: Not the best and could easily be better.




Marathon Man (1976)

marathongDirector: John Schlesinger

Writer: William Goldman (Screenplay)

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Roy Schieder, William Devane, Marthe Keller, Fritz Weaver, Richard Bright


Plot: A graduate history student is unwittingly caught in the middle of an international conspiracy involving stolen diamonds, an exiled Nazi war criminal, and a rogue government agent.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: True Thriller


Story: Marathon Man starts as we see infamous Nazi criminal living in New York involved in a car accident even though he has long been thought dead, we go on to meet student Babe (Hoffman) who spends his time studying and running. We go on to meet Doc (Scheider) who is on a government mission working for Janeway (Devane).

The story takes a twist when we learn that Doc is the big brother of Babe but his mission brings the Szell (Olivier) back to New York and a reunion of brother’s brings us into a position where Babe can learn the truth about his brother.

Babe finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy where it is his own brother that drags him into the mess and he has to deal with the consequences and threat that Szell offers.

Marathon Man is a crime thriller that mixes our innocent everyday student into a world of international war criminals and a diamond heist. All of these elements come into the film to work perfectly to create the tension and twists needed for the style of the film. There really won’t be much else to say fresh that people haven’t already said about this film.


Actor Review


Dustin Hoffman: Babe is just a student living in New York City, he meets a girl while dreaming of being able to take part in a marathon. When his brother returns Babe finds himself being tortured by Szell for information. Dustin is great in this leading role having to deal with just not knowing anything throughout.

Laurence Olivier: Szell is a former Nazi war criminal that has information on all the hiding war criminals but when his brother dies he wants his diamonds back and he will do anything to get them back using all of his torture techniques on Babe. Laurence is deadly calm while being equally terrifying throughout.

Roy Scheider: Doc is a secret agent dealing with all the problems the rest of the government don’t want to get involved in. He is the big brother to Babe and his latest mission leaves him brother’s life at risk. Roy is good in what comes off like a cocky James Bond like figure.

William Devane: Janeway is the partner of Doc working on his latest job but when we learn his true colours we get an extra person for Babe to dodge for his freedom. William is good in this role where we get to see this corrupt character running through the film.

Support Cast: Marathon Man has a supporting cast which does includes Elsa the love interest of Babe while the rest are just henchmen. The smaller cast helps the film focus on our main characters more.

Director Review: John SchlesingerJohn gives us a tension filled thriller that plays on paranoia as well as the idea of not knowing the truth about one’s own family


Crime: Marathon Man puts us into the middle of a crime world where international war criminals are trying to get freedom.

Thriller: Marathon Man keeps us on throughout the film as we see the innocent Babe try to outsmart the criminals.

Settings: Marathon Man keeps most of the settings very simple not taking away from the performances of the actors in the process.
Special Effects
: Marathon Man has good practical effects when needed for the kills and fights.

Suggestion: Marathon Man is one I do think everyone should see at least once because it shows how to make a real thriller. (Watch)


Best Part: Hoffman’s character shows real development unlike most thrillers.

Worst Part: You may not want to attend the dentist for a while.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: Nominated for Best Supporting Actor

Budget: $6.5 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes


Overall: One of the best tension filled thrillers ever put to film.




Halloween Kingathon – Hearts in Atlantis (2001)

Banner-3logoDirector: Scott Hicks

Writer: William Goldman (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Anton Yelchin, Hope Davis, Mika Boorem, David Morse, Alan Tudyk, Tom Bower, Celia Weston, Adam LeFevre

Plot: A widowed mother and her son change when a mysterious stranger enters their lives.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Truly Touching Film

Story: Hearts in Atlantis starts an adult Bobby Garfield (Morse) receiving news of a childhood friends death John Sullivan in military service. The bad news continues as Bobby finds out that the other member of the three friends Carol has also died, leaving him to take a trip down memory lane.

Wee move back to when Bobby (Yelchin) was 11 years old with his best friend Carol (Boorem) and Sully. Bobby’s mother Liz (Davis) struggles for money making his birthday present disappointing but he is happy with being able to spend time with his friends. To help with money they rent out a room and their new tenant Ted Brautigan (Hopkins) who comes in full of mystery.

Ted offers Bobby a chance to earn some money by simply reading the newspapers and keeping an eye out for people who are to get him as he knows everyone in town. As the mystery about Ted grows Bobby gets a chance to grow up in a way he never thought it could.friends

Hearts in Atlantis is a drama that brings us the coming of age tale in a subtle manor, it shows how looking back on childhood will be amazing because things will have changed. It also puts us in a position of wondering just whether to believe Ted’s story as we learn about his abilities as it also plays into the ideas of government ideas. Somehow without being the most amazing story this film always gets me with its simple side or just how the little things were important in growing up. I personal really enjoy this one for all those reasons. (8/10)

Actor Review

Anthony Hopkins: Ted Brautigan is the mysterious stranger who moves into the spare room at the Garfield household. He has the ability to read minds but is on the run from something he doesn’t let us know who is after him. Anthony gives us a good performance where we see him in a stable role. (7/10)ted

Anton Yelchin: Bobby Garfield is the 11 year old boy who lives with his single mother who is happy with the friendship he has with Sully and Carol. When Ted moves in he starts to learn life lessons while working on trying to protect him an unknown enemy. Anton shows that he was going to be a bigger star one day. (7/10)bobby

Hope Davis: Liz Garfield is the mother of Bobby who is always struggling for money but we really see she looks after herself when it comes to money. Hope gives a good dimension to this character. (7/10)

Mika Boorem: Carol Gerber is the first love Bobby, they grew up as youngsters and we follow this period of her life with Bobby as they experience the first chapters of the romantic lives. Mika does a good job showing she was going on to something more. (7/10)

Support Cast: Hearts in Atlantis has the supporting character you would expect to see in a coming of age story as well as the old Bobby played by David Morse.

Director Review: Scott HicksScott brings us a beautifully shot film that will touch you. (7/10)

Drama: Hearts in Atlantis uses the coming of age angle for the drama side of the story. (7/10)

Mystery: Hearts in Atlantis does keep you wondering what Ted really has done or his ability. (9/10)

Settings: Hearts in Atlantis re-creates the look of the time period in question well. (7/10)

Suggestion: Hearts in Atlantis is one for all the coming of age movie fans. (Coming of Age Fans Watch)

Best Part: The fun fair scene.

Worst Part: I can never find one.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $31 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: What if one of life’s great mysteries moved in upstairs?

Overall: A wonderful coming of age film.

Rating 80