Boogie Nights (1997)

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, Don Cheadle, John C Reilly, William H Macy, Heather Graham

 

Plot: The story of a young man’s adventures in the Californian pornography industry of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Drama About Success

 

Story: Boogie Nights starts as we meet high school dropout Eddie Adams (Wahlberg) working in a club for Maurice TT Rodriguez (Guzman) in his disco club. The club brings in porn director Jack Horner (Reynolds) with his number one star Amber Waves (Moore). When Jack sees, and hears the rumours about the size of Eddie’s penis he wants him to be the new star of his movies.

Leaving his home Eddie move in with Jack and it isn’t long before he becomes the hottest property in the porn industry as Dirk Diggler, as he learns that along with the fellow pornstars Rollergirl (Graham), Reed Rothchild (Reilly) and Becky Barnett (Parker) the production company dominates the industry through the late 70’s and early 80’s, but with the success come the darker side of the industry the drinks, drugs and knowing age could be an expire date in the industry.

 

Thoughts on Boogie Nights

 

Characters/PerformanceEddie Adams is the typical high school dropout that lands on his feet entering into the porn industry. The characters sum up how a young star can rise too quickly and become blinded in the overly famous. Jack Horner is the director of the films but also the man preparing the latest talent even if not everything is strictly legal. Amber Weeks is the experienced star guiding Eddie as well moving onto new thing. We do get a couple of well-developed characters in the supporting roles too who we can all learn about as we are invested in their supporting roles.

Performance wise, Mark Wahlberg burst onto the main stream with this impressive performance, Burt Reynolds in the star of the show here dominating the screen whenever he appears. Julianne Moore, Heather Graham, Don Cheadle, William H Macy, Nicole Ari Parker all are great in the supporting roles in this film.

StoryThe story shows the rise and fall inside of the porn industry, we see how some people get out and start a life outside the industry, others get consumed by the lifestyle, others never move forward with the times and others can struggle in the post industry life. I do think this brings us brilliant character development even if the story is slightly long at times but the afterlife outside the industry becomes fantastic viewing.

SettingsThe settings show us the time the film is set, the struggles the people are going through, I think each setting comes off perfect as we get to see the world we are entering.

Final ThoughtsThis is a long film but it is also a rewarding film too, it does a brilliant look into how lives can be ruined by a career choices.

 

Overall: Brilliant, haunting look at the porn industry.

Rating

 

 

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Air Force One (1997)

forceDirector: Wolfgang Petersen

Writer: Andrew W. Marlowe (Screenplay)

Starring: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close, Wendy Crewson, Liesel Matthews, Paul Guilfoyle, Xander Berkeley, William H Macy, Dean Stockwell, Tom Everett

 

Plot: Hijackers seize the plane carrying the President of the United States and his family, but he – an ex-soldier – works from hiding to defeat them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pulse Pounding Action Flick

 

Story: Air Force One starts as we see President James Marshall (Ford) having a proud moment after capturing a terrorist leader and coming out with how he wants to take on Congress. Returning home on Air Force One President Marshall finds his plane hijacked by Ivan Korshunov (Oldman) who wants the recently captured terrorist released.

Once in control of Air Force One Ivan uses the President’s wife Grace (Crewson) and daughter Alice (Matthews) as leverage to push the President into breaking his no negotiations with terrorist’s stance, as he uses his combat skills to take out the terrorists himself from on board. The Vice President Kathryn Bennett (Close) has to control things from the ground potentially having to make the biggest decisions.

Air Force One gave us an action film unlike anything we had seen before because this time the action hero was none other than the President himself and yes I know we did get a strong leader in Independence Day but this time he was the star of the show. We get to see how the President will handle the action pressure as well as the big decisions. Another great part of this film is that we get to see the traitor from the start and always wonder what their next move will be. When we see action films we like to cheer for the guy who is against the odds and this gives us that and plenty more as we watch a nation wait for the news of his safety.

 

Actor Review

 

Harrison Ford: President James Marshall is a medal of honour winning soldier who has bought in a new no negotiation with terrorist stance. He finds his Air Force One under hijack where instead of escaping like procedure he takes a stand as he tries to take out the men taking over the plane. James is one of the best action Presidents in film history instead of being just a by the book nice guy. Harrison is brilliant in this role where he gets to show a new line of stunt work to go with a strong leader and action star.president

Gary Oldman: Ivan Korshunov is the extremist terrorist who has taken over Air Force One, he will kill any hostages to get what he wants which is one extremist leader to be released from prison. Ivan is one of the most memorable villains of the 90s because he is ruthless to the core. Gary is brilliant in this role showing he can play any character.ivan

Glenn Close: Vice President Kathryn Bennett has to make the decisions back in America as she is left helpless with the hijack of Air Force One. She must deal with all the diplomatic decisions as well as helping her President and innocent people on board the plane. Glenn is great in this role showing how difficult the side of this story is away from the action.vice

Wendy Crewson: Grace Marshall is the wife of the President who is on Air Force One, she becomes the leverage for Ivan to get what he wants. Wendy is good even if the character isn’t given the true screen time needed.

Support Cast: Air Force One has a big supporting cast that is filled with known names in the business who all help the story unfold with their different acts of bravery and betray.

Director Review: Wolfgang PetersenWolfgang gives us one of the best action films from the 90s that also gives us glimpses of political decision being made.

 

Action: Air Force One has plenty of action being most of the President taking on the terrorists.

Adventure: Air Force One works for the adventure side of story trying to save the day.

Thriller: Air Force One keeps us on the edge from the moment that Air Force One is hijack until the end credits.

Settings: Air Force One keeps the settings on both Air Force One and White House as the decisions get made for the good of the country.
Special Effects
: Air Force One has good effects for the time but have started to date now.

Suggestion: Air Force One is one for all the action junkies to enjoy. (Action Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Parachute escape.

Worst Part: Political side gets slightly annoying.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Con Air, The Rock

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for Best Sound and Film Editing

Box Office: $172 Million

Budget: $85 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

Tagline: Harrison Ford is the President of the United States.

 

Overall: Brilliant action film that keeps us on edge from start to finish.

Ratingcard

Room (2015)

roomDirector: Lenny Abrahamson

Writer: Emma Donoghue (Screenplay) Emma Donoghue (Novel)

Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridges, Wendy Crewson, Joan Allen, William H Macy

 

Plot: After five-year-old Jack and his mother escape from the enclosed surroundings that Jack has known his entire life, the boy makes a thrilling discovery: the outside world.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Incredible, Wow, a Masterpiece

 

Story: Room starts on Jack’s (Tremblay) 5th birthday, Jack lives in a room with his mother Ma (Larson), they have lived there for at least all of Jack’s life getting what they need from Old Nick (Bridges) who visits while Jack sleeps. The two are imprisoned in the Room where Ma has to lie to her own son about the world to protect him from Old Nick. The truth is easy even if shocking to deal with but once they escape Jack learns about the world for the first time, while Ma has to deal with the changes the world has gone through since she was last outside the Room.ma jack

Room does something not a single before it has ever done, it shows the real effects of what would happen to a mother who had experienced the outside world before being imprisoned as well as showing how leaving a Room for the first time can open up the eyes to the innocent. The film could have only covered the action, thriller mystery side of the story along with a criminal case but this only shows the human effects to our two victims. When it comes to story we get to see something almost perfect that will stick with you for years to come, because this could happen to someone in real life.

 

Actor Review

 

Brie Larson: Ma is the mother of Jack, she has taught him that everything in the room is all that there is until one day she decides to tell him the truth as they look to escape the room and discover the world for themselves. Brie gives one of the best performance of the year throughout here.

Jacob Tremblay: Jack is the young boy just turning five living in the room with his mother. He gives us his version of the world showing how innocent he is even through the situation which he is in happens to be much more serious. Jacob is brilliant in this role for such a young actor.

Support Cast: Room has a supporting cast that all gives great performance helping with the changes that Ma and Jack have to go through.

Director Review: Lenny AbrahamsonLenny gives us a film that will end up being one that sticks with you for years and will be one of the best seen this year.

 

Drama: Room shows the effects that the situation would have on the victims showing just how difficult it would be continuing.

Settings: Room uses the settings brilliantly with the room being the prison and seeing how Jack sees the world for the first time feels innocent throughout.
Suggestion
: Room is a film you simply have to go and watch. (Must Watch)

 

Best Part: I am only going to mention the time it happens as not to give away what it is, just before the Hour mark.

Worst Part: Nothing.

 

Believability: While the story is fictional, the reality this could have happened or be happening.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Nominated for 3 Golden Globes including Best Picture, Actress and Screenplay, along with a string of awards.

Oscar Chances: This is be nominated and should win a few.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

Tagline: Love knows no boundaries

 

Overall: Brilliant, stunning, get my thesaurus to fill in the rest of the superlatives for this film.

Ratingcard

Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995)

This time Rob picked this classic story of one man and his dream that he achieved in a way he never though he could.

rob challengenr hollandDirector: Stephen Herek

Writer: Patrick Sheane Duncan (Screenplay)

Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headly, Jay Thomas, Olympia Dukakis, William H Macy, Alicia Witt, Terrence Howard, Damon Whitaker, Jean Louise Kelly

Plot: A frustrated composer finds fulfilment as a high school music teacher.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Touching Drama

Story: Mr Holland’s Opus starts with Glenn Holland (Dreyfuss) performing his dream conducting performance from his living room. Glenn is starting his new job as a music teacher where he gets to meet the Principal Jacobs (Dukakis) and Vice Principal Wolters (Macy) where he starts with uncomfortable beginning.

When Mr Holland struggles with the teaching commitments as he doesn’t seem to be getting through to his students he gets a shock from his wife Iris (Headly) who announces she is pregnant. Mr Holland tries to change his approach to try and reach his students on a new level.

What starts out as a short four year plan with the summers to compose his masterpiece soon becomes a long term commitment as he starts to love moulding the new minds in music class, all while raising a deaf son.

Mr Holland’s Opus is one of those classic stories that focuses a teacher touching the lives of multiply students through the years. The class doesn’t focus too much how he teaches them but in the end we focus on the few students didn’t get the full attention they could have. When we see how Mr Holland touches these few lives is really touching and see how much he gets out of it all is beautifully done. In the end it all ends up being very touching but on a serious side of the story we see how he struggles to cope with raising a deaf son. I think this is a good story that could easily be watched by all. (8/10)

Actor Review

Richard Dreyfuss: Glenn Holland is the aspiring composer who has to turn to teaching in what was going to be a short term plan, but once his life changes he learns to love teaching and we see how he connects with different teachers through the many decades he ends up teaching, but this only happens due to the trouble he has communicating with his own son. Richard gives a brilliant performance in this role which could easily be his best. (10/10)

Glenne Headly: Iris Holland is the wife of Glenn, who supports his every move but struggles with raising their deaf son in a life where they grow up in music. Glenne gives a good supporting performance. (7/10)

Jay Thomas: Coach Bill Meister is the first teacher who comes to Mr Holland to support him, they help each other along the way supporting each other through the difficult times. Jay gives good supporting performance. (7/10)

Olympia Dukakis: Principal Jacobs is the lady who hired Glenn giving him the chance to teach, at first they don’t see eye to eye but over time she respects his methods as he connects with the students. Olympia does a good job in this supporting role. (7/10)

William H Macy: Vice Principal Wolters doesn’t like Mr Holland style from day one he takes an instant questioning of what he is teaching and is on man who goes against anything he choices. William gives a good performance that shows he isn’t just a comic actor but a serious actor that should be noticed. (7/10)

Support Cast: Mr Holland’s Opus has a brilliant supporting cast that includes the students he inspires and the grown up versions who come back into his life to show him how far he helped them come. We have early roles for Terrence Howard and Alicia Witt in here too.

Director Review: Stephen HerekStephen was one of the best directors in the 90’s and his list of films is amazing and this could easily be the top of that pile. (9/10)

Drama: Mr Holland’s Opus is a beautiful placed drama that shows all the work through teaching. (9/10)

Music: Mr Holland’s Opus has good use a music that also works to explain the year the film is currently set in. (8/10)

Settings: Mr Holland’s Opus keeps the settings all look good for the time setting each story is being set in. (9/10)

Suggestion: Mr Holland’s Opus is one to be watched by all at least once. (Watch)

Best Part: Farewell.

Worst Part: Difficult to have one.

Believability: Teachers would inspire the students to that level but the ending is slightly too much. (8/10)

Chances of Tears: You might have a few in the final scenes. (4/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Dead Poet’s Society

Oscar Chances: Nominated for an Oscar

Runtime: 2 Hour 23 Minutes

Tagline: It’s not about the direction you take. It’s about the direction you give.

Overall: Brilliant Drama that can be watched by all.

Rating 90

Pleasantville (1998)

logoDirector: Gary Ross

Writer: Gary Ross (Screenplay)

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon, William H Macy, Joan Allen, Jeff Daniels, J.T. Walsh, Don Knotts, Marley Shelton, Jane Kaczmarek, Paul Walker, Maggie Lawson

 

Plot: Two 1990s teenagers find themselves in a 1950s sitcom where their influence begins to profoundly change that complacent world.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Story of Accepting Change

Story: Pleasantville starts showing us there will be a Pleasantville marathon showing on TV Time before introducing us to the main character David (Maguire) an awkward teenager. David’s favourite television show is Pleasantville which gives him a chance to watch over the weekend. We continue to learn that David knows everything to know about the show and plans to try and win a contest. David just so happens to have a sister Jennifer (Witherspoon) who see the chance of the house without parents as a chance to impress the cool guy from school leading to a fight between the two.

When the remote control gets damaged a mysterious repair man turns up at the house to fix the problem. As the siblings arguing they find themselves inside the show trapped by the repair man. The two have to learn to get on with life in this new reality where David with thieve but Jennifer has to learn to adapt. The two characters they have been forced to play are the children to George (Macy) and Betty (Allen). The two have to continue to learn to adapt and play along with the new world they are in until they can find a way to find a way home.

Jennifer decides to play by her own rules which starts to change the town bring colour into the black and white world. It isn’t long before the people in the town start being affect by the change before long the town ends up getting caught up in the middle of battle between the coloured and the black & white residents of the town.

Pleasantville is a beautiful story of two different generation clash with consequences that will change both the points of view. We do get the typical two teenagers one being good and one being difficult rather than bad who learn lesson that they haven’t in their normal life. we also get to see how being part of a routine can feel too comfortable and the moment you start breaking it anything becomes possible for you. This also teaches us to treat everyone the same with no expectation and to express yourself in whatever drives you forward. Looking back over the film it is a very good story that can be enjoyed by most people. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

Tobey Maguire: David is an awkward high school teenager who has an unhealthy obsession with Pleasantville television show, when his favourite show is going to be showing a marathon he is extra excited but ends up fighting with his sister and getting trapped inside Pleasantville. David knows how to get along with everything there but it isn’t long before the world starts changing and he must find a way to get home. Tobey gives a good leading performance showing that he was going to be a good actor to turn to for these types of roles. (7/10)

 david

Reese Witherspoon: Jennifer is the popular girl at school and David’s sister who ends up getting trapped inside Pleasantville. Unlike David it isn’t normal to her and she ends up changing the ways of life in the town. Reese showed that she can have range with this role as we get to see the fully transformation of her character through the film. (8/10)

jenny

William H Macy: George Parker is the father of the household inside the Pleasantville life style who can’t cope with the changes going through the town. William gets to play a role we will become used to seeing him performance with this role. (7/10)

 

Joan Allen: Betty Parker is the mother of the house that the kids get trapped in who tries to keep her household together through the changes even when she wants to embrace those changes. Joan does a good job in the supporting role which will make you notice she can play plain supporting roles. (7/10)

 betty

Jeff Daniels: Bill Johnson is the malt shop owner who gets caught up trying to focus on changing because he is too scared to actually change. Jeff continued to show how he was capable to walk away from slapstick comedy and become a good serious actor here. (7/10)

Support Cast: Pleasantville has a supporting cast that includes a whole town and some good early supporting roles from stars who went onto bigger things including Paul Walker, Maggie Lawson and Marlon Shelton.

Director Review: Gary Ross – Gary does a good job directing manage to mix a visual story with a very good story about being different. (8/10)

 

Drama: Pleasantville shows the different between two different generations and just how when they clash both will realize they need change. (8/10)

Fantasy: Pleasantville takes our two lead characters and puts them into a world they have never seen before which works for the fantasy element of the story. (8/10)

Settings: Pleasantville has a brilliant setting showing how simple people once thought life was compared to the new fast forward life we are now in. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Pleasantville uses great effects to mix the black and white characters with the colour characters with only parts in colour throughout. (9/10)

Suggestion: Pleasantville is a must watch. (Must watch)

 

Best Part: The mix between colour and black and white.

Worst Part: You can work out what will happen by the end.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 3 Oscars including Art Direction, Costume Design and Best Music Original Dramatic Score

Box Office: $50 Million

Budget: $40 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

Tagline: Nothing Is As Simple As Black And White.

 

Overall: Pleasantville is a beautifully shot film that is visual great and has a story to match it all.

Rating 80