Tag Archives: Chris Cooper

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) Review

Matthew Rhys (Finalized);Tom Hanks (Finalized)

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Time: 109 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Medium level violence
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers
Matthew Rhys as Lloyd Vogel
Susan Kelechi Watson as Andrea Vogel
Chris Cooper as Jerry Vogel
Director: Marielle Heller

Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) is an investigative journalist who receives an assignment to profile Fred Rogers, aka Mr. Rogers (Tom Hanks). He approaches the interview with skepticism, as he finds it hard to believe that anyone can have such a good nature. But Roger’s empathy, kindness and decency soon chips away at Vogel’s jaded outlook on life, forcing the reporter to reconcile with his own painful past.

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I never really grew up with Mr Rogers but last year I really got to learn about him from the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, a movie I highly recommend checking out. I was then aware of a movie being made about him (this one), I like Tom Hanks and I like the director Marielle Heller, there were some talented people involved. However I didn’t really know what to expect from it. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a lot better than what I thought it would be, and it’s quite great overall.

Tom Hanks (Finalized)

First of all, I have to say that the marketing for this movie was poor and misleading. It made it look like the most basic version of a Mr Rogers movie you could possibly make, and was misrepresentative of the movie. It made Rogers look like the focus of the movie, and while he plays a big part, it’s not really his story. This movie is about the journalist who goes to interview Fred Rogers, and it’s his story. You can tell pretty early on that this isn’t the absolute feel good movie of the year the trailers have been portraying it as, in fact it’s a little more mature and serious than you might think it would be. However ultimately it’s a heartwarming movie, and is genuinely touching and personal. There are some important messages in there that aren’t just surface level. You don’t need to even know who Mr Rogers is to love the movie, he’s definitely portrayed as how he’s usually seen, but it never loses sight of what story it’s trying to tell.

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Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers was a simultaneously fitting and rather boring casting choice for Fred Rogers. While he is talented for sure, the casting made me feel like he was cast also because he was really likable. However this is Hanks’s best performance in a while, he’s truly great here. Sure he doesn’t really look like Rogers at all, but he completely embodies the spirit and character of him, and he’s really compelling. It could’ve been so easy for him to just be an impression of the real man, but Hanks managed to keep him seem human and grounded. As I said before though, this movie isn’t about Fred Rogers, it’s about the character of Lloyd Vogel, played by Matthew Rhys. I haven’t seen Rhys in really anything but he impresses here as an incredibly cynical person who’s outlook in life slowly changes after his meetings with Fred Rogers. Other supporting performances like Susan Kelechi Watson as Llyod’s wife and Chris Cooper as his father also work very well.

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I’ve liked Marielle Heller’s work from Diary of a Teenage Girl to Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and she definitely shows herself once again to be a director to really pay attention to. On paper you wouldn’t think that it would just be directed in a standard way, but Heller makes some certain choices that pay off and really stand out in a great way. The film opens with seemingly a recreation of Mr Rogers episode, but it then it actually makes this movie look like it’s one whole Mr Rogers episode. And it’s not just in the bits where you see Hanks’s Rogers on screen performing on the show, some of the exterior shots of the actual movie are recreated with the miniature models used in the show. On top of that, from watching the documentary I was pretty familiar with the setup for the filming of the show, and the models, props, aspect ratio of the camera and overall look of the recreation of the scenes were on point. I think there was one dream sequence that came across a little too weird for its own good, but it doesn’t take away too much from the movie, it’s just that when it initially appears it really takes you out of it briefly.

Tom Hanks (Finalized)

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is sincere, heartfelt and wonderfully compelling, Marielle Heller’s direction is unique and elevated the movie even further, and the performances from Matthew Rhys and Tom Hanks are great. It’s a surprising biopic that’s a lot more than it initially appears to be. Don’t let the weak trailers sway you, it’s definitely worth seeing.

Little Women (2019) Review

Time: 135 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
Saoirse Ronan as Josephine “Jo” March
Emma Watson as Margaret “Meg” March
Florence Pugh as Amy March
Eliza Scanlen as Elizabeth “Beth” March
Laura Dern as Marmee March
Timothée Chalamet as Theodore “Laurie” Laurence
Meryl Streep as Aunt March
Tracy Letts as Mr. Dashwood
Bob Odenkirk as Father March
James Norton as John Brooke
Louis Garrel as Friedrich Bhaer
Chris Cooper as Mr. Laurence
Director: Greta Gerwig

In the years after the Civil War, Jo March (Saoirse Ronan) lives in New York and makes her living as a writer, while her sister Amy (Florence Pugh) studies painting in Paris. Amy has a chance encounter with Theodore (Timothee Chalamet), a childhood crush who proposed to Jo but was ultimately rejected. Their oldest sibling, Meg (Emma Watson), is married to a schoolteacher, while shy sister Beth (Eliza Scanlen) develops a devastating illness that brings the family back together.

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I heard quite a bit about Little Women leading up to its release, mainly the people involved with making it, and the awards hype surrounding it. Greta Gerwig’s previous movie (and her debut) was Lady Bird, which I thought was pretty decent. I didn’t read the Little Women book, not have I watched any of the previous adaptations of them, so I really didn’t know what to expect from this most recent version. However I found it to be rather fantastic really, and one of the highlights of 2019.

I can’t comment on how well Little Women does as an adaptation as I’m not familiar with the story. However this movie did such a good job at making me interested in at least checking out the version from the 90s. There are two storylines that the movie cuts between, present day and the past. For some it was jarring and indeed there are moments where it feels that way, however I actually liked how they handled it, the use of parallels worked particularly well. It’s a really heartfelt story as we follow this family through their lives. One thing I had heard going into the movie was that the ending was changed. Knowing the context of the original book and considering the main character throughout the story, I actually liked it, and it made a lot of sense. Although it took a bit for me to get into the story at the start, I didn’t feel like it stretched on for too long, even at 2 hours and 15 minutes. I was invested in what was going on from start to finish. A minor but nonetheless distracting thing is the fact that early in the flashbacks, Florence Pugh’s (who is very clearly an adult) character Amy is supposed to be 13, however for whatever reason they had a scene with her in school with actual 13 year olds. That choice was more than a little distracting, but the scene lasted for less than a minute. Outside of that there aren’t many problems I had with the movie.

The cast on the whole were outstanding. Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Emma Watson and Eliza Scanlen play the March sisters, and they all work really well, especially with each other. Ronan gives one of her best performances, and Pugh was a standout. Laura Dern does well as the mother of the March sisters, and Timothee Chalamet gives quite possibly my favourite performance from him. The rest of the supporting cast was solid too, with the likes of Meryl Streep, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk Chris Cooper and others really working.

Greta Gerwig directed this movie exceptionally well. It is larger scale compared to Lady Bird, yet manages to make much of this movie feel very personal. I can’t tell how previous versions handled the story, but her version was done in a way where today’s audiences can easily get into it. Everything for the time period works perfectly, from the costumes, to the production design, and more. It’s such a visually stunning movie and looks great, very well shot by Yorick Le Sauz. The score by Alexandre Desplat was quite good and was also fitting for the movie.

Little Women surprised me by in how great it was. Greta Gerwig has directed and written this exceptionally, and the cast all played their parts well. I have seen some people say that this adaptation of the story has the potential to be a future classic, and I can honestly see that happening. Even if you don’t think you’ll like it, I still highly recommend checking it out as soon as you can, it’s one of my favourites of the year.

The Bourne Identity (2002) Review

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The Bourne Identity

Time: 119 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Franka Potente as Marie Helena Kreutz
Chris Cooper as Alexander Conklin
Clive Owen as The Professor
Brian Cox as Ward Abbott
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Nykwana Wombosi
Director: Doug Liman

The story of a man (Matt Damon), salvaged, near death, from the ocean by an Italian fishing boat. When he recuperates, the man suffers from total amnesia, without identity or background… except for a range of extraordinary talents in fighting, linguistic skills and self-defense that speak of a dangerous past. He sets out on a desperate search-assisted by the initially rebellious Marie (Franka Potente) – to discover who he really is, and why he’s being lethally pursued by assassins.

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The Bourne series is one of the most famous action franchises, and with the 5th instalment of the franchise coming reasonably soon, I decided to start to review the Bourne movies (maybe not Legacy). The first film, The Bourne Identity, is a pretty good and influential action film which spawned a successful franchise. While the other films are arguably better, The Bourne Identity is still a great action film, from its action to its complex and dense plot, it is a must see for action fans.

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The Bourne Identity is a movie that requires your full attention to understand what’s going on, if you don’t, you’ll be completely lost as to what is going on. However with that said, after a few viewings, it wasn’t as complicated as I remembered, it’s just that there’s a lot of details that you have to process. The plot itself is written quite well, and all the details and plotlines structured well. The film does have quite a good balance of intrigue and mystery as well as action and thrills. Now I will say with the exception of Jason Bourne, I did not find any of the characters interesting. They weren’t bad by any means, they just weren’t that memorable to me. That’s really one of the only major flaw that I could find with this movie.

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Matt Damon gives one of his greatest performances in the Bourne series. With this film, he proved that he was action worthy material. He manages to be absolutely believable as a trained assassin in the way that he carries himself, what helps is that there are many action scenes where you can clearly tell that he’s doing a lot of his own stunts. He really is the stand out of the movie. The rest of the cast consists of such talented actors like Chris Cooper and Brian Cox, who are good but none of them really stand out, to be fair though their characters aren’t really that interesting, so it’s not like they had much to work with. One actor who does leave an impression at least to me however is Clive Owen, he’s only in a few brief scenes but he gives off a presence and he was great with the little amount he was given.

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The one thing known about the cinematography of the action is that it’s quite shaky (a technique that director Paul Greengrass would continue in the sequels), however I thought that it’s done rather well. That’s because it’s obvious that it’s not done in order to hide bad choreography like a lot of action movies which use shaky cam today (and you can actually see what’s going on), it’s done to put us directly into the action and to make it feel more realistic. On that note, the stunts are great and made the action even more believable, the action sequences are the highlights of the movie.

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While in my opinion it’s not the best movie in the franchise, the Bourne Identity is still a great action movie in itself. The plot is complicated but interwoven well, Matt Damon really brought his A-game and is completely convincing as his character and the action especially makes this movie. Paul Greengrass gets a lot of credit for the Bourne movies but people should know that it was director Doug Liman who started this series off with a bang.