No. 14 Short Film Ratings
There is a bit of a mix in the films I have watched recently, so there should be a film for everyone in this post. The list includes: J. Edgar, Eddie the Eagle, Lincoln, Hail Caesar, Minority Report, Fargo, Burn After Reading, The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials and Olympus Has Fallen.
J. Edgar 3.5 / 5
(Chosen as one of the Top 10 films of the year by the American Film Institute)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Josh Lucas and Judi Dench.
IMDb Rating: 6.6
The fascinating life of J. Edgar Hoover, the man responsible for the configuration of the F.B.I into the machine that it is now. Hoover fixated on Communists, anarchists and any other revolutionary taking action against the U.S. government. His memories explore his role in high profile cases the FBI was involved in – the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the arrest of John Dillinger – and also showing him to be quite adept at manipulating the various politicians he’s worked with over his career, thanks in large part to his secret files.
Eddie the Eagle 4 / 5
(Highest grossing British film of 2016 so far)
Starring: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Jim Broadbent and Christopher Walken.
IMDb Rating: 7.5
Inspired by true events, Eddie the Eagle is a feel-good story about Michael “Eddie” Edwards, an unlikely but courageous British ski-jumper who never stopped believing in himself – and became one of Britain’s most famous Olympians. With the help of a rebellious and charismatic coach, Eddie takes on the establishment and wins the hearts of sports fans around the world by making an improbable and historic showing at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. A funny and emotional film, which causes the audience to burst with pride as a result of Eddie’s tale.
Lincoln 3.75 / 5
(Daniel Day-Lewis won the Best Actor Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA for his portrayal of Lincoln)
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn and Tommy Lee Jones.
IMDb Rating: 7.4
In 1865, as the American Civil War winds inexorably toward conclusion, U.S. president Abraham Lincoln endeavours to achieve passage of the landmark constitutional amendment which will forever ban slavery from the United States. However, peace may come at any time, and if it comes before the amendment is passed, the returning southern states will stop it before it can become law. Lincoln must, by almost any means possible, obtain enough votes from a recalcitrant Congress before peace arrives and it is too late. Yet the president is torn, as an early peace would save thousands of lives. As the nation confronts its conscience over the freedom of its entire population, Lincoln faces his own crisis of conscience — end slavery or end the war.
I watched this while I was doing my dissertation on the Causes of the American Civil War despite the film focusing on the latter stages of the conflict, I thought it would be a good idea just to get a visual sense of what was to come. I felt that the film would be an excellent resource for people doing a paper on that period of history, to complement primary and secondary sources of course.
Hail Caesar! 3.5 / 5
(Has grossed $63m worldwide since its release in February)
Starring: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum and Michael Gambon.
IMDb Rating: 6.4
Hollywood, 1950s. Eddie Mannix is Head of Physical Production at Capitol Studios. His life is one of non-stop action: casting issues, production issues, keeping the studios stars in line, ensuring the studio avoids negative publicity, dealing with the press, playing matchmaker to the studios stars, among other things. His current main issue is that one of the studios biggest stars, Baird Whitlock, has been kidnapped by Communist screenwriters. But its all in a day’s work for Eddie Mannix. The kidnapping’s effect seemed to have been overshadowed by the other action going on, and thus, failing to excite an audience in that regard. However, there are numerous set-pieces which were excellently choreographed, directed and performed. The busy nature of the film does enough to keep the audience interested despite its main flaw.
Minority Report 4.25 / 5
(Robert Ebert listed Minority Report as the best film of 2002. The film also won numerous awards for acting, visual effects and music.)
Starring: Tom Cruise, Max von Sydow, Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton.
IMDb Rating: 7.7
In the year 2054 A.D. crime is virtually eliminated from Washington D.C. thanks to an elite law enforcing squad “Precrime”. They use three gifted humans (called “Pre-Cogs”) with special powers to see into the future and predict crimes beforehand. John Anderton heads Precrime and believes the system’s flawlessness steadfastly. However one day the Pre-Cogs predict that Anderton will commit a murder himself in the next 36 hours. Worse, Anderton doesn’t even know the victim. He decides to get to the mystery’s core by finding out the ‘minority report’ which means the prediction of the female Pre-Cog Agatha that “might” tell a different story and prove Anderton innocent. Unique and fantastic premise, with a story that fits perfectly together with the premise. A must watch film, especially for those of an action film persuasion.
Fargo 4 / 5
(Nominated and won a host of Oscars, Golden Globes and BAFTA’s. The Coen brothers won an Oscar for their Original Screenplay.)
Starring: Frances McDormand, William Macy, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare and Harve Presnell.
IMDb Tating: 8.2
Jerry works in his father-in-law’s car dealership and has gotten himself in financial problems. The problems are so bad that he sets in plan for two men to kidnap his wife for ransom to be paid by her wealthy father. From the moment of the kidnapping, things go wrong and what was supposed to be a non-violent affair turns bloody. Jerry is upset at the bloodshed, which turns loose a pregnant sheriff from Brainerd, MN who is tenacious in attempting to solve the three murders in her jurisdiction. I personally preferred the TV adaptation, probably because I watched the TV show first, so perhaps I was comparing it to that subconsciously in my mind, and due to the fact that the TV show has several hours more time to create a story compared to less than 2 hours in the film.
Burn After Reading 3 / 5
(Nominated for a Golden Globe, and has made over $160m worldwide.)
Starring: George Clooney, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, Richard Jenkins, Brad Pitt and J. K. Simmons.
IMDb Rating: 7.0
Osbourne Cox, a Balkan expert, resigned from the CIA because of a drinking problem, begins a memoir. His wife wants a divorce and expects her lover, Harry, a philandering State Department marshal, to leave his wife. A CD-ROM falls out of a gym bag at a Georgetown fitness center. Two employees there try to turn it into cash: Linda, who wants money for cosmetic surgery, and Chad, an amiable goof. Information on the disc leads them to Osbourne who rejects their sales pitch; then they visit the Russian embassy. To sweeten the pot, they decide they need more of Osbourne’s secrets. Meanwhile, Linda’s boss likes her, and Harry’s wife leaves for a book tour. All roads lead to Osbourne’s house. Underwhelming was the main feeling I got from this film. Despite a strong cast and an intriguing premise, it failed to deliver a story which kept me hooked, entertained or shocked. Forgettable.
Scorch Trials 3.5 / 5
(Worldwide hit among YA audiences, raking in $330m.)
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee, Rosa Salazar and Aidan Gillen.
IMDb Rating: 6.4
The Maze was just the beginning. Thomas and the others are taken to a facility which turns out to be a WCKD building, leading them to escape and to search for the resistance group known as The Right Arm that is hidden at the mountains. Along their journey, they find the post-apocalyptic world completely destroyed; they meet the Cranks, zombies infected by the Flare virus; they face storm in the desert, a dangerous group of survivors and the pursuing WCKD army. In all honesty, I still have reservations about this one. The action was brilliant, but the lack of character development, especially Teresa was poor, thus leaving me with mixed feelings. The story is undoubtedly an intriguing one, and the action sequences are to a very high standard, therefore making a film which will do enough to keep fans interested and in line for the finale, Death Cure. Teresa’s lack of character development was startling obvious to anyone who watches this film. Her actions in the latter part of the film are not given enough coverage or build up which would have been given in the books, presumably. The absence of this detracts from the impact of some of the things that happen in these scenes as we as the audience don’t have enough of a connection to these characters. Hopefully, this will be rectified in the next film.
Olympus has Fallen 4.25 / 5
(Performed very well at the box-office and has since landed a sequel.)
Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Rick Yune and Dylan McDermott.
IMDb Rating: 6.5
When the White House is captured by a terrorist mastermind and the President is kidnapped, disgraced former Presidential Secret Service Agent Mike Banning finds himself trapped within the building. As our national security team scrambles to respond, they are forced to rely on Banning’s inside knowledge to help retake the White House, save the President and avert an even bigger disaster. Something to quench the thirst for a Die Hard film fan. The comparisons are uncanny, here are a few:
0 A built man who is going beyond his normal duties to become the hero of the film.
0 The hero evading all of the villain’s henchmen.
0 Communication between hero and villain is conducted via radio.
I was thoroughly entertained by this blockbuster of an action film. The premise and threat was strong. The set-pieces were executed were brilliantly. I liked the presence of some humour in regard to Butler’s character. And importantly, the film flowed well enough to keep me on the edge of my seat, and to make sure I’ll be watching the sequel soon!
I hope you’ve found interest in these short reviews, if you have any film suggestions, let me know! 🙂