The Jewell In Biographical Dramas

Richard Jewell Poster

 

Heroes in the world today are fleeting, with so many idols in the form of super heroes, extravagant knights, and political icons.  The real heroes though, the regular joes doing extravagant things that have served so many people.  Yet, these facts get lost to the pages of history and popular culture, which is where movies like tonight’s come in.  The former Western warrior turned director Clint Eastwood is ready to tell one of those tales, in what will hopefully not be a depressing tale he often presents.  Tonight, yours truly reviews yet another film, in hopes of finding the jewel in the rough.  Let’s get cracking as we review:

 

Movie: Richard Jewell (2019)

 

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writers:

Marie Brenner (magazine article), Billy Ray (screenplay)

Stars:

Paul Walter HauserSam RockwellBrandon Stanley

 

LIKES:

  • Decent Pace
  • Strong Acting
  • A Nice Blend Of Facts and Drama, mostly
  • Great Writing and Monologues
  • Hits From Multiple Aspects
  • Emotional Cinematography
  • A True Show Of Friendship

 

DISLIKES:

  • A Little Slow At Parts
  • Some Rather Blanche Tales
  • Overdramatic At Parts
  • Not Quite as Dramatic Or Epic Clue Hunting

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

Richard Jewell’s trailer paints the chance for a dark, epic tale that could be the intense paced Thriller, or the slow, detail oriented biography that is famous of this type of movie.  Well, fortunately the movie found the blend of those two with a decent pace through much of the run time as you dive deeper into the tale of intense bullying.  A strong acted cast leads this tale, many selling their performance as they bring the full on emotions involved with an investigation like this.  These performances should be the gripping factor to pull one into the screen as they try to take the journey with Richard through his trying time.  I feel that Eastwood and Ray met the challenge mostly in blending fact and drama together, making the slower paced film calm to life, but often not straying too far from a believable story.

As such, the writing is also packed with plenty of top writing moments, as monologues come in with powerful emotions to bring that heart punching power that movies have the ability to do.  It’s these qualities that I feel will net most people coming to see this film, but the visuals themselves capitalize and continue to bring the momentum full circle.  There are moments where the makeup, angle, and subtle use of lights really brings the most out of those moments and somehow digs deeper into the psyche without much intervention.  This is true even in the other scenes that try to integrate the big picture of the story and help give you as many angles during this investigation.  Piecing all of these together gives you a more complete story, almost like reading multiple articles when hot pieces of gossip come out.  It’s the combination of all these components that really paints the  tale of friendship, which really struck a chord with me. 

 

As much as I liked this tale though, I’ll admit there are some parts that sort of took the quality down a bit for me.  For one thing the movie does have some scenes that are mostly bloating up the run time instead of keeping the track record running.  This is primarily in the beginning of Richards law enforcement career where the judgement and bullying started.  Other times the other aspects needed to be fleshed out upon, helping advance characters who started out very well integrated into the movie quickly took a dive into secondary character territory, which was highly disappointing in the end.  This was particularly true when it came to Olivia Wilde’s character, who in the trailers had such tenacity and then sort of fizzled out.  In regards to the overdramatic moments, there are times where you can see the tale starting to go down the melodramatic pathway that modern dramas do.  Some of these moments are realy cheesy, but other times the movie magic would have been welcome to help with putting more intensity into the crime.  I had hoped to see more intensity in trying to help clear his name, with clever traps, thought out detective cases, and maybe even some abilities of making the FBI look like fools.  It did not quite do this, instead focusing once more on the facts and realism over anything else. Again this is a strength in terms of keeping things believable, but I do wished there could have been some detective edge added to it.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Eastwood knows how to direct a drama and I was very happy to find that I did not leave out here depressed as I have seen in the past.  It’s got a great heart to it, filled to the brim with the magic of friendship, determination, and what it really means to be a hero.  Fantastic film with acting and great use of cinema skills, the movie will certainly be engaging to those that like biographical dramas.  It’s true that it needs a little fine tuning in the fact vs dramad epartment and could get a little more exciting and complete, but overall, I was very impressed with what Eastwood put together.  While not the most special effects palooza, Richard Jewell has quality that would make the trip worthwhile, but most will enjoy the film in their own homes for this one.  My review scores recommends:

 

Drama:  8.0

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