Taking This One To the Banks!

Brian Banks Poster

 

In an age where political issues swarm like an upset nest of hornets and movements taking place across the world, the movie business is looking to do its own public relations campaign in the form of films. No matter the topic of racism, sexism, or even just moments in history where ethnicity takes a role, we have been subjected to a number of films trying to capture the tales in all their “glory”.  Yet like all films, the art of bringing the class and magic to stories like this can again be a challenge that some struggle with. So my final review this week looks to see if this biography succeeds in telling a story without going too far down the melodramatic, political preaching that these movies sometimes become. Robbie K reviewing:

 

Movie: Brian Banks (2019)

 

Director:

Tom Shadyac

Writer:

Doug Atchison

Stars:

Aldis HodgeGreg KinnearSherri Shepherd

 

LIKES:

 

Acting

Story

Musical effects

Emotional Display

Good Morale Lessons

Good Pace

Interesting Presentation

 

DISLIKES:

 

The question of real vs magic

Not as Much Morgan Freeman

Revealed Ending Early On

A Little Preachy At Times

More of the Lady Lawyers

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

The biography movies require that the character be hopefully represented by someone who not only looks like them, but can act like them.  And for this reviewer they succeeded in capturing the looks of the characters they portrayed. Brian Banks tale has some grade A acting that feels very realistic, but somehow manages to find that passion to sell the emotion and struggles of the events the football player went through.  Hodge in particular steals the show with his ability to take the drama and provide strength with it.  Kinnear on the other hand seems to have the lawyer role down pat, seriousness and stern, yet compassionate and fun.  The chemistry with all the cast really brings the scenario to life and making things feel real instead overly fake and doctored up by the studio.  Despite all the quality acting though, the movie has many other qualities that help bring this political issue to new levels that other movies did not succeed for me.  Some of it has to do with the presentation, primarily in how they take us on the trek of his case for freedom and the events leading up to it.  This film manages to blend the past and present in an interesting manner that is easy to follow, each piece of the puzzle fitting into a nice slot that was placed well during the quest for the truth.  In addition, the pace manages to strike a nice balance, managing to allocate plenty of time for character development, yet not move so slow that you wish the movie to end.  In addition, the film achieves the emotional delivery utilizing well written dialogues, camera work that captures the emotion, and musical editing that somehow manages to blend together and motivate one to become better. Note, I found this case a little more relevant to myself that may have helped, but I was impressed in how well the tale was presented feeling real, but no so real as to be dry and mundane.

 

Yet, the movie still has some things I would have liked to see improved upon.  One is how much of this is realistic vs. magic of the cinema.  For this movie, the emotion can sometimes cloud the evidence and get you caught up in the frenzy, but I feel it struck the equilibrium quite well for real vs. doctored.  Past this point, the movie’s component I would have liked was the better character balance of some of the group they worked hard to show off in the trailers.  The lady lawyers were some of these characters, two women who sort of got things moving, but then sort of got lost in the background.  I would have enjoyed more of their integration and perhaps dive into their lives.  However, the biggest surprise was that Morgan Freeman was not as prevalent as the trailers seemed to promise.  Luckily, he maximizes the time he is on the screen, bringing those same powerful performances he is famous for, still I had hoped the man who influenced so much would have been a little more integrated into the tale.  In regards to the story itself, again its motivational, but the ending is dropped off right at the beginning and thus taking with it the suspense of the film.  As for the morals, as powerful as they are, the movie sometimes drops into the preachy category, deviating too much in the political territory and veering away from the balanced telling I loved about this movie.

 

  As you can see, I loved this biography/drama well and found that the realism and emotion were able to truly inspire me about Brian’s journey and what his determination accomplished.  The film’s story, acting, and presentation accomplish the balance of reality with magic, all utilized well to teach the lessons I think these movies are all about. The movie could have been perfect had there been a little more tightening, primarily in the realm of utilizing Brian’s crew a little better, not giving the ending away in the first two minutes, and not going out of the way to state the political components it was presenting. This treasure will most likely go unnoticed given all the movies being released, but in terms of biography I recommend this one for a theater visit.  If not in the cards, check it out at home release, especially those looking to inspire others to overcome the goals.  Given all this, my scores for this movie are:

 

Biography/Drama/Sport:  8.5

Movie Overall: 6.5

 

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Rocketing To New Emotional Heights And Artistic Portrayals

Rocketman Poster

 

Musical biographies, an ability to take a peek in the lives of the stars many idolize from the music and screens.  In hopes of getting their music and the drama, these films require trying to find a balance that will please many who flock out to see the great wonder.  While usually they take one side over the other, you’ll find that rare treasure that finds the balance.  Today I finish my weekly reviews with the epic film that has been built up for the last several months.  Legendary Elton John and company have put out a film to try to capture the legendary rock icon on his journey to greatness.  What’s the verdict?  Robbie K here to review:

 

Movie: Rocketman (2019)

 

Director:

Dexter Fletcher

Writer:

Lee Hall (screenplay)

Stars:

Taron EgertonJamie BellRichard Madden

 

LIKES:

  • Acting
  • Make Up
  • Costumes
  • Setting/Special Effects
  • Musical Numbers
  • The Emotional Lessons/Moments

 

DISLIKES:

  • Slow At Times
  • Not Quite As Censored
  • Movie Dramatic Moments Over Concert Approach
  • Real Vs. Exaggerated
  • Not The Same Music Impact for me

 

SUMMARY:

To recreate a living legend you have to hire the right person and Taron Egerton killed it with the recreation of Sir Elton John. The mannerisms, the look, and the showmanship are all captured brilliantly in his performance, playing the tormented soul that is the Rocketman.  While the rest of the cast supports and plays their parts well, it is the focus on Egerton that draws everything into the movie. His vocal performance shows off his wide range of skills and he rounds out the full role with his talent.   Hollywood brings the full arsenal of creation into the film, doing wonderful work on the make up as Elton ages, with not only facial changes but hair line. The recreation of his costumes mirror the performers quite well in terms of detail in all the spectacle that they were. Going along so well is an impressive set design and shooting locations that drop us back in time and places that he made famous.  It’s these special effects that help bring you into the full moment of the movie as well as increasing the spectacle of the numbers.  Rocketman’s musical numbers go on the trend of utilizing the song and dance routine typical of a musical and cueing them to potentially hint at the points/events of their creation.  If you love those moments from High School Musical and show tunes of the theaters, then the numbers should get you real good, with similar techniques inspiring and highlighting some of his eccentric works.  It’s a different style compared to Bohemian, but the traditional route should get lovers of the genre smiling and potentially singing in glee.  And to top it all off, this movie really hits one in the heart, as you learn about Elton’s demons and the lessons he had to learn along the way.  The ending in particular gave me goosebumps, and really puts a perspective on someone I never even remotely knew compared to all his numbers.

            Yet, the thing about Rocketman is the approach they chose did not quite have the spunk and energy of Bohemian Rhapsody’s melody. The pace is slow at times, drawing on the drama to fill the gaps rather than the comedy/energy of the numbers.  For those who love the deep dive into the darker aspects of life, you’ve got it in this film, though I could have done more for the censorship myself, especially if it could have led to more concert and musical numbers.  In addition, the analysis of overdramatic vs. real is always a question, especially given how the drama moments take a firm grasp on this movie.  I myself like more of the musical spectacle and seeing that creative process, rather than getting downtrodden at the demons that plague us all.  And while I appreciate these moments quite well, and attempt to learn from this, I missed the full-blown musical edge that I’ve gotten in some other films, especially because those numbers were not interrupted like in this film.  As such, the numbers did not affect me as much as those in Bohemian Rhapsody, despite the mental moments they addressed.

Overall, Rocketman is a beautiful movie, focusing on the artistic side of things vs the full-blown concert relieving.  Utilizing the pain and struggles of the artist, the movie is grounded in the plot of discovery, recovery, and all out creation from the motivations life throws at us.  The special effects and showmanship will have musical numbers and John fans amazed, watching the recreation of the wonders unfold in modern day dynamics.  As much as these moments moved me though, the movie is by far for those with a passion for the drama vs the music itself.  Therefore, this movie is definitely a theater visit, but don’t go in expecting a repeat of Bohemian in terms of straight up musical grandiosity, they may not quite enjoy this as much, especially when the numbers are interrupted. Still a fine musical biography to say the least and worth it for those who like Jersey Boys, Get Up Off That Thing, and musical numbers from theater. 

 

My scores are:

Biography/Drama/Music: 8.0

Movie Overall:  7.0

Fellowship Of Ideas Brings Artistic and Symbolism To Lordly Standards

Tolkien Poster

            The legendary story of adventure, quests, love, magic, and fellowship.  To many, the legendary adventures of Frodo and the game are immortalized in the epic film franchise crafted by Peter Jackson, whose world crafting and adventure were the stuff of legends as the realm of Middle Earth was brought to life.  Yet what about the man who imagined it all up, who came up with the language to give birth to the fantasy world beloved by so many. Well, tonight’s film hopes to give some insight into his life and perhaps motivate us to craft our own tales through the journey he took.  Robbie K here to craft another review as he takes on:

 

Movie: Tolkien (2019)

Director:

Dome Karukoski

Writers:

David GleesonStephen Beresford

Stars:

Nicholas HoultLily CollinsColm Meaney

 

LIKES:

 

Acting

Graphics

Music

Beauty

Symbolism

Picking Out Things

 

SUMMARY: A biopic such as this requires engaging performances to bring the legendary figures to life and fortunately this movie has brought it’s cast together to form its own fellowship.  Hoult’s group bonds with that English wit, full of fun and sarcasm as the brotherhood forms with each passing year.  Lily Collins as the love interest is a usual role for her, but the direction grants her some options to bring out her motivational monologue skills that were a wonderful compliment to the struggles Hoult portrays in the legendary writer. This duos chemistry is impressive, capable of bringing the tale to life.

Of course, we need to see the vision of Tolkien’s mind brought to life so that we can potentially get an idea of how he viewed the world to make his own world.  Director Karukoski achieves this through the use of a number of camera work, special effects and audio tricks to help make this come to life.  The result is that the movie is an artistic wonder, bringing the dark designs of Jackson’s work and simplifying them into a version that seems to match the “hallucinations” of Tolkien’s mind. As the story evolves and more of his journey begins unfolding, the movie continues to evolve the art style to show the beauty of the hero’s journey and the struggles about discovery. All the beauty of the life events and symbolism of what each part of Tolkien’s life meant in relationship to his works makes is captured in the wonderful cinematography and acting, all blending together to portray how the spirts of the art work in the harshest most brilliant ways.  To help add that extra magic, the music they chose in the forms of sonatas, piano work, and dynamic music pieces was something I particularly liked the most. Captivating scores are what add that emotional beauty to me as well, almost mirroring the inner soul of the characters involved.

Yet all the artistic licenses they took in this movie, the thing I particularly liked was the treasure hunt of references to the book in Tolkien’s life.  In his journey for the Hobbit, Tolkien is all about dropping hints of motivation for his world and the characters that inhabit them.  Some of the hints are obvious in the mind’s eye sequences where the beasts and creatures manifest in some weird hallucination, while others are a little harder to pick up, hiding in the common dialogue or background much like the elusive treasure his series is about.  It’s that element that adds a level of fun to the movie for the fans like me to help offset some of the slower parts to the film.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Slow

A Little Too Artistic

Predictable Story

A little disjointed

Perhaps Over Dramatized

Not Quite the Quest I envisioned.

 

SUMMARY:

My fellow reviewers are right in the terms that Tolkien may be a bit boring for the common audience member and much of this has to do with the very thing that makes it beautiful, the artistic presentation.  Tolkien’s pace is about hitting key points of his life and some of these moments don’t have quite the entertainment aspect we’ve come to love as an audience.  Instead the disjointed moments are sort of skipped, tied together in his memories as he goes through the war, are a little too nonlinear causing a semi-coherent story about how he came up with work.  The fact that the ending is predictable makes the constant circling around the obvious ending a little tiresome given the pacing.

Yet the biggest dislikes have to involve the missing that movie magic that makes the entertainment factor for the movies some of the most enjoyable.  I needed that cohesive story and liberties to help glue the story into a cohesive tale that wasn’t so artistic and a little more direct to help capture the spirit of the quest.  I was hoping that we would see more of him walking through the world with an eye for his motivation, sort of seeing the story’s writing as he planned it out. Instead, getting caught up in the life drama and how he struggled to write was not quite the quest I had envisioned upon watching the trailers for this film.  Without this uniting quest and cliché look at the creation, the artistic liberties got a little too in the way of the storytelling which is going to limit the audience scope they may have looked for. 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Tolkien is a beautiful film, showing that much like Tolkien’s journey, artistic splendor is all about the journey to find the strength to create.  It has fantastic acting, great use of audio and visual works to make it a symbolism of beauty and wonder, and does enough subtle hinting with the references to make it the treasure hunt mentioned at the beginning of the movie.  And yet, while it is the strongest part of the movie it also puts a lot of limitations on it as well.  The movie gets lost in the symbolism and artistic license, making the film a little more segmented and denser than what most will look for and limiting the audiences scope.  Therefore, this movies is not going to be for the common fan and would recommend checking this one out at home unless you are a diehard Tolkien fan. 

 

My scores are:

 

Biography/Drama/War: 7.5

Movie Overall:  6.5

 

Will This Break Through The Ice Of Your Faith?

Breakthrough Poster

 

Movies about faith are tricky to make for a general population. In today’s world where such a topic is torn into, with the endless debate often leading to different outlooks on such a historical and personal topic.  And yet, sometimes that type of movie becomes the big hit such as last year’s I can Only Imagine did.  Nevertheless, the religious drama movies are ready to hit big this Easter weekend as tonight looks at another real, miracle event for inspiration.  Tonight, I get the chance to check out:

 

Movie: Breakthrough (2019)

Director:

Roxann Dawson

Writer:

Grant Nieporte

Stars:

Chrissy MetzTopher GraceJosh Lucas

 

 

LIKES:

The Message

The Emotion

The Sound and Video editing

The Music

 

SUMMARY:  In a movie like this, the message is perhaps the central core of the movie, and Breakthrough is not afraid to show you the beliefs of the cast involved.  Unlike the ice to which the character falls into, the belief in prayer and the power of God is the beautifully emphasized in the various scenes and sequences.  The case of faith comes with plenty of emotional moments, monologues and discussions about the various questions that come with the Lord’s work and the explanation of miracles.  As the audience members in my theater showed, those deep in faith became engrossed into the film, allowing the feelings to wash over them and manifest in shouting at the screen in their praise.  The scenes that I think did the most for me, being the robot I am, involved those where sound and editing were blended in the Hollywood magic way.  Using those subtle sound effects that soon radiate throughout the theater with close ups of the patient, brought the power of the prayer to life.  However, the component I think is the biggest supporting power is the music.  Much like the trailer, Breakthrough contains the songs worship that hold an ability of their own to incite the true magic that faith has.  Those moments struck a chord in their beauty, and is the selling point of the movie for me.

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Preachy
  • Cheesy at times
  • A bit Too Forced
  • Selective Audience
  • The Extra Fluff
  • Secondary Character Syndrome

 

SUMMARY: The challenge of these movies is trying to take a tale and expand it into the populace that make up today’s audience. Breakthrough didn’t quite meet that challenge when talking with my friend who accompanied me.  For one thing, the movie takes a little too much turn down the preachy side, utilizing monologues, very staged/forced dialogue, and Hallmark channel like writing that is all geared towards the message.  The various church like sermons hold good meaning, but it’s not the most entertaining movie writing that writers have cooked up.  As such, this forced sermon will sort of force this movie into a narrow alley for audiences leaving general audience members disappointed. Thus, it’s that selective audience that sort of limits the theater visiting component of the film.  Now in terms of the other two dislikes for me it starts again with going a little too far with the story.  Near the ending 25 minutes extra fluff was added that once more held good ideas, but they were in a manner that felt out of place. Breakthrough’s ending just seemed to come a little too late in the movie, potentially suggesting another story arc that could have added more time had they pursued it.  They made the right choice of cutting most of it, they just needed to cut the last remnants to keep the consistency.  And of course the character utilization is key to making the most of your cast.  Breakthrough did a decent job with its primary and secondary characters, at least in terms of big names, but the movie failed to really maximize the other characters that were introduced in the beginning.  I understand this isn’t the theme of the movie, but then don’t waste time doing elaborate introductions to only fizzle out.

 

The VERDICT:

            Breakthrough is timed perfectly for release for Easter and will speak to the intended audience of those with powerful faith. The Lord’s words speak true and the miracles this movie represents are indeed an inspiration to see, especially when the powerful editing and music blend together.  Yet, unlike some of the other faith-based movies, Breakthrough still finds odds with getting the entertainment value in, the preachiness and forced dialogue being the lighthouse for a narrow set of audience members, thus limiting the theater visit.  Throw in some editing and character use choices that aren’t quite all the way there and you again get the limitations of this movie.  Still, a film worth watching at home or in youth group, Breakthrough’s quality is best left at the comfort of your own home rather than the theater.

 

My scores are:

 

Biography/Drama:  6.5

Movie Overall: 4.5-5.0

 

Do You Smell What The Rock Is Producing? A Quality Comedy/Drama

Fighting with My Family Poster

 

Another day, another chance to review a movie, and this morning’s review is an interesting film that held much potential to be fun and unique.  Sports movies seem to be the theme of this week, though this film certainly is not the typical approach to a typical sport that is portrayed in the film.  Robbie K here to take a look at the British comedy about an American sports venue that continues to rake in the dough of Wrestling, and the hidden world that you might not know involved in the theatrical event.  Let’s get started as I take a look at:

 

Movie: Fighting With My Family (2019)

 

Director:

Stephen Merchant

Writer:

Stephen Merchant

Stars:

Dwayne JohnsonLena HeadeyVince Vaughn

 

 

LIKES:

 

Funny

Deeper Story

Training Montages

Casting

Good Utilization of Extras

Good Pace

Unique

 

SUMMARY:

 

Fighting With My Family may not be the typical comedy given a lot of approaches with this movie, but my friend and I both did enjoy the comedy that was presented.  It’s a good mix of dry and wet comedy, utilizing slapstick, with witty English humor to bring some epic laughs to the mix that aren’t shoved in your face.  By not focusing so much on the comedy, Merchant’s work was able to tell a deeper story about the WWE legend Paige, pushing into a number of elements that I had not expected from the trailers.  Character development, major themes of family, friendship, dedication, and many other subplots actually work well to provide an engaging film that isn’t quite the norm for this genre.  In addition, it reveals the hard work that goes into becoming a wrestler, and how physically/emotionally demanding the application process can be in something that many do not even pass a look at. 

The cast certainly does the job of bringing the tale to life with Florence Pughand Jack Lowdencrushing their performances with characters that drive much of the movie, the former in particular being the central pillar to base everything around.  Yet secondary characters played by  Nick Frost, Lena Headey and Vince Vaughn are utilized so well that they not only avoid overshadowing, but really mesh well with the main performers.  Even the tertiary characters have some good involvement in the film, showing that you can utilize the cast well and tell a very good story, even with a super celebrity in the mix.  Needless to repeat, but will anyway, this film utilizes its actors very well, crafting a family component.  And it is all done with a pace that is entertaining to watch, not being too caught up in the drama to be slow, and yet still going slow enough to tell much of the story.  Certainly this is a unique concept, but also a unique example of how a movie can be done.

 

DISLIKES:

 

The Inclusion of the Extra brother

The Rapid Development of Character Relationships at Times

The Rapid Story jumps at times.

Dramatization Vs. Facts

Semi Predictable

 

 

SUMMARY:

Finding dislikes for me was a little harder than I anticipated, but here are few parts of the story that were a little off my element. While the characters were done well, the extra brother that got brought in I don’t think was utilized as well.  Yes, he has his place, but compared to some of the other characters, his arc had some drama and potential, but then kind of fizzled out compared to what I thought they were going to do.  In addition, the movie surprisingly made some good character relationships, but then progressed them a little too quickly.  I was hoping that there would be a little more time with tending to the flourishing relationship they were starting to build.  This is primarily during the wrestling training period where things go from zero to 100% in a relatively short amount of time, and while still good I wanted more development with them in terms of that story arc.  And because of trying to fit the tale in the shorter amount of time, the movie, especially near the end led to some hasty jumps that just as things were starting to develop were quickly transitioned to the next phase.  Again, I would have liked a little more fleshed out conclusions and integrations, but it certainly is not as short sheeted as some other films have done.

In regards to the dramatization, well it works to add that Hollywood magic to jazz up stories, but I do understand that those who know Paige’s story might want more fact than fiction.  I can’t really say I know the story, but the movie works well to blend the structures with that Hollywood magic to make it entertaining.  If you are fans of the story of the youngest Diva though, then brace yourself for some potential divergence.  In regards to the rest of the tale, the semi predictable plot is something else difficult to ignore, though again, the rest of the movie sort of offsets this component so it’s only a minor area of improvement.

 

 

The VERDICT: 

 

            Surprisingly, the movie worked much better than what I was expecting from the trailers.  It’s balanced on many levels, telling an entertaining story, with multiple levels than the typical comedy brings to you.  With great use of characters/actors, comedy that is a bit diversified, and a pace that brings the wrestling world to life, you have a fantastic film to get lost into.  Yet, there are still a few other components still in need of more time than anything else, to take those components they were building and strengthen them further. I enjoyed this film a lot to warrant a trip to the theater, but can understand if you want to reserve your trips to the more special effect frenzy that other films have going for it.  Definitely look for it at home though. 

 

My scores are:  

 

Biography/Comedy/Drama: 8.5

Movie Overall:  8.0

On The Basis Of Girl Power

On the Basis of Sex Poster

 

Historical documentaries always fall victim to the dramatization treatment of the cinema world.  As such, we end up eating them up, except for the purists, as we become enthralled in the spark’s notes version of the historical legacy these people left.  So, in the age and time of politics, let’s pick a supreme court justice as the next one and see what stories are told. Robbie K back on review duty as he checks out:

 

 

Film: On The Basis Of Sex (2018)

 

Director:

Mimi Leder

Writer:

Daniel Stiepleman

Stars:

Felicity JonesArmie HammerJustin Theroux

 

 

LIKES:

  • Acting
  • Use of most characters
  • Makeup and Costumes
  • Good Writing
  • Jargon translated
  • Message towards key demographic

 

Summary:  You can certainly get this from the trailers, but the hallmark of these movies is often the acting, and this film is no exception. Felicity Jones talents continue to soar in her bravado, mannerisms, and wonderful delivery of a lawyer fighting for what’s right.  Hammer as well finds his stride as the supporting character working to help Ruth’s goals.  The rest of the crew have wonderful acting ability, and most of the characters are well integrated into the tale to really bring the most out of the case that would change so much.  And in regards to looks, the makeup and costume department gets special props as they bring the times of the past into history and capture the looks of that era.

Yet while the look is there, does this film have the feel?  For the most part, yes it does.  On the Basis of Sex has good writing behind it, as a grand display of passionate speeches, impressive vocabulary filled monologues, and fiery, passion filled scenes unfold. It’s smart, witty, and quite fitting of the prowess of the woman and probably something the older audience will enjoy.  Not familiar with the law and all the technical terms that come with it?  No problem!  This film has got the spark’s notes version of relevant information there to keep you integrated into the case and not get too lost in all the convoluted terminology. In addition, the film makes use of the speeches to really try to inspire and fire up the young women watching.  It held the heart and soul of the movie and I think was the central aspect of the film.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Pace
  • Not utilizing other characters
  • A little convoluted
  • The Opening’s necessity

 

Summary:  With these types of films, the key is to work hard to make it entertaining and yet truthful.  On the Basis of Sex’s pace was not for me, becoming a little tedious at times as it hobbled along to get to the big case at hand.  This uneven pace brought rough patches that had me fighting sleep, that took away the momentum of the movie.  What helped amplify this component was the convoluted moments where the law jargon took over the movie magic.  While Basis of Sex has interpreted much of the heavy technical terms there may be some very detailed moments that can bring a fog to your brain and potentially tire you out.  Fantastic attention to details, but not the most engaging at times.

In addition, the other thing that also didn’t woo me was some of the characters they didn’t put as much focus on.  Kathy Bates, the legend herself, has little appearance in the movie despite being a selling point for the trailer.  The rivals led by Sam Watterson  were semi-used, but only in the latter half instead of throughout the movie.  The result is taking away some of the heat and suspense I think they wanted to go for. As for the opening moments of the movie, well they are okay.  Yes, they do justice in setting the stage and introducing all the pieces to the puzzle. However, these rather important moments feel a little fast forwarded to me, rushed over and almost feeling unnecessary as much of the focus is on the big case instead of her entire life as the trailers portrayed.  Thus, I think the direction was not all there in terms of how they wanted to bring her entire life into focus.

 

 

The VERDICT:

On the Basis of Sex accomplishes the goal of appealing to its key demographic, showing off the amazing talents of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and waving the girl power flag high.  It’s acting and character to use are fantastic for the most part, with makeup and writing to really bring out the full prowess of the scene.  However, the movie still needs some balance in terms of using all characters, trying to tone down the legal jargon, and figuring out what they wanted to highlight.  As picky as this sounds, the movie was good and has artistic nature to it, but it didn’t quite deliver the ultimate performance they were going for.  Worth a trip to theater? Not so much, but still worth checking out when it comes to home viewing.

 

My scores are:

Biography/Drama:  7.5

Movie Overall: 7.0

Off the Chaney? Vice Review

Vice Poster

 

The world today is a politically charged place and with it comes a war of opinions, views, and media mayhem that many thrive on. So of course we have Hollywood raring to go, bringing a production of its own to toss into the game and hopefully wow.  So Robbie K is here to give his opinions on that movie as he reviews the latest film:

 

Movie: Vice (2018)

 

Director:

Adam McKay

Writer:

Adam McKay

Stars:

Christian BaleAmy AdamsSteve Carell

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • The Makeup
  • The Editing
  • The Presentation, somewhat
  • The Pace
  • The Acting
  • The Explanations

 

Summary:  Hands down my appreciation of this movie starts in the art of making the characters come to life in their looks.  Hollywood’s resources of time traveling makeup artists continue to be abundant as Vice brings their talents to new levels.  Creating Chaney in all his ages alongside his family is spectacularly done, transforming Bale and his colleagues into the various political players of the game.  It’s sleek, it’s beautiful and worthy of an Oscar award in my opinion.

Past that though, the rest of the movie is very well presented at parts to grant you a political biography that is certainly comedic at times.  The editing work of integrating their characters into real life footage is certainly impressive, keeping you immersed into the film without losing too much screen time for the actors.  Speaking of which, the acting is super well done, with Bale obviously getting top billing for how well he matched Chaney’s mannerisms and presentation quite well from the footage I’ve seen.  The rest of the cast supports them well in this semi-political farce working to bring the turmoil of the political warfare into the screen.

  Yet the thing this reviewer appreciates in regards to the presentation, outside of the impressive recreation of events and use of footage, is the sort of semi-narrative taking place to explain what is going on. The history of acts, scandals, and who was involved in what escapes me since leaving high school, but this movie is there to fill in the gaps.  As the narrator takes you through the times in a semi-quick pace, one begins to learn the various acts and ratifications Chaney went through in his supposed goals and plans. As such, one should have a small compass to guide them through all the red tape and get to the end, even if you are not up to date on the latest history of our politicians.  Thus, it’s not too hard or boring to follow.

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • The Presentation At Times
  • Episodic At Times
  • More Integration Of Other Characters
  • The Jaded Energy

 

Summary:  When it comes to artistic style, you give them points for originality and creativity, but that indirect manner sometimes was a little convoluted.  The back and forth between time periods, the representation of Chaney fishing, and the nonlinear presentation muddied up the water for an already heavy story.  In addition, all of Chaney’s historical “triumphs” felt very chopped up, the episodic principles sort of thrown up in the air and landing in bite sized pieces that had just enough sustenance to whet your appetite, but not provide the most power it had for the drama component that I think the trailers painted.

Instead the film focused more on the comedy aspects, sort of looking to point out Chaney’s involvement in politics from a certain point of view. For one thing, the characters were very extreme, grandiose displays of political characters that while impressively acted, was a little lacking in terms of the characters the trailer painted. The comical approach is certainly unique, but I guess I was expecting a little more of the biography component than the farce they chose to approach.  Certainly, the biggest limitation for audience members might be the jaded energy this movie has to offer.  Like the new stations of cable television, this film presented Chaney’s reign from a certain angle, some of which is based on truth and some of which could be Hollywood magic. If you are a particular side of the political spectrum, you might just find yourself angry with the movie, rather than entertained or engaged by the political venue displayed.

 

The VERDICT:

 

The Critics certainly have got the right idea about praising Vice as the work of art in terms of editing, acting, and make up get mad praise for the investment made in these areas.  Yet in terms of the story and drama the trailers painted for me, the film doesn’t quite agree with the atmosphere in the trailer for me.  If you agree with the views of this team, the film will be right up your alley, but depending on your political alignment and your views on Chaney, the jaded presentation may not be the style you want.  So is this movie worth the trip to the theater.  The answer is kind of, but only if you are ready for a dryer comedy version of the Fox or CNN News presentation.  Otherwise, wait for this one to come to home viewing. 

 

My Scores are:

 

Biography/Comedy/Drama: 6.0-6.5

Movie Overall:  5.0