Tag Archives: Robert Redford

All the President’s Men (1976) Review

Orlando-Goldman

All the President's Men

Time:  119 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Offensive language
Cast:
Robert Redford as Bob Woodward
Dustin Hoffman as Carl Bernstein
Jack Warden as Harry M. Rosenfeld
Martin Balsam as Howard Simons
Hal Holbrook as “Deep Throat”
Jason Robards as Ben Bradlee
Director: Alan J. Pakula

During the 1972 elections, two reporters’ investigation sheds light on the controversial Watergate scandal that compels President Richard Nixon to resign from his post..

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I’ve always known All the President’s Men as being “the one movie about Watergate”, and I remembered holding off on watching it because it was long, it was from the 70s and I didn’t know if I would be as into it despite the acclaim. However I did watch it, and was surprised at how good it was on pretty much every front.

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All the President’s Men is about the journalistic approach to the story, with Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in pursuit of the news story. The layers of the story are peeled back as the film goes on, revealing the truths about the Watergate Scandal. The writing is great and it really was key to the movie working. It is definitely a slow burn, so you do need to know that going in, but thankfully I found the story very compelling to follow. The scope of this story is large, and the script deserves a lot of credit for making this complex and dry tale accessible and easy to follow for audiences. At the same time, it approaches the subject matter without needlessly adding subplots or other aspects to spice up the movie. It almost plays like a detective story at times more so than a journalism story, and manages to mix dry fact with intrigue perfectly, making sure that we are engaged and never lose the plot. It really lets the audience feel like they’re putting together the pieces along with Woodward and Bernstein. The constant stream of information can occasionally be a little much, but the fact that it is quite accurate to true events and you can understand most of it is impressive. It is a procedural for sure, but probably one of the best procedural films ever. It does feel authentic in both the discoveries made as well as the journalistic process, and I like the amount of detail in what is said and what is shown on screen. For example, you get to see the way that Woodward and Bernstein play out how they try to get certain pieces of information, and how they interact with the people they are questioning; very well done and fascinating to watch. Every scene truly means something and has a reason for being there, despite the long runtime. A lot of the movie is dialogue and its great, especially with the deliveries from the cast. It keeps your attention for the entire runtime and each conversation is right to the point. The film is also surprisingly thrilling to watch at times, despite it being a movie about journalism. If there’s a criticism I have with the movie, it’s that the ending is a little too abrupt, that’s it though.

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The acting from everyone is also great, but it’s the two leads who drive the story and stand out the most. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman are incredible and invested in their roles of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and share great chemistry together. You get completely wrapped up in their motivations and they feel very natural in their parts, never overselling it. The supporting cast including Jack Warden, Jason Robards and Hal Holbrook also do work well in their parts.

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The movie is directed by Alan J. Pakula, and his work here is great, covering this story as effectively as possible with lots of visual and audio details in every scene. The cinematography conveys the scope and size of the story, with everything from landscape shots to shots of a simple phone call looking really good. The editing is quite efficient and gets you wrapped up in the story even with all the details being thrown at you. Pakula’s direction also does well as helping you feel the paranoia that the main characters feel as the story continues.

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All the President’s Men is an astonishingly well made film, efficiently directed, greatly performed by its cast, and with a fantastic script which makes what could’ve been a boring and dull movie, into an engaging and intriguing experience. Even though most of us already know what happens at the end, it was still compelling to watch this whole story play out. For sure one of the best movies about journalism.

The Old Man & the Gun (2018) Review

Time: 93 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language
Cast:
Robert Redford as Forrest Tucker
Casey Affleck as John Hunt
Danny Glover as Teddy Green
Tika Sumpter as Maureen Hunt
Tom Waits as Waller
Sissy Spacek as Jewel
Director: David Lowery

At the age of 70, Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) makes an audacious escape from San Quentin, conducting an unprecedented string of heists that confound authorities and enchant the public. Wrapped up in the pursuit are detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck), who becomes captivated with Forrest’s commitment to his craft, and a woman (Sissy Spacek) who loves him in spite of his chosen profession.

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The Old Man & the Gun was a movie that I was interested in. Not only is it a film by David Lowery (A Ghost Story, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and Pete’s Dragon) and having a cast that features actors like Casey Affleck and Sissy Spacek, it’s also said to be legendary actor’s Robert Redford’s last performance. I will admit watching it, it really wasn’t quite as great as I was hoping it would be given all of what I just mentioned. However, there were still some pretty good parts to it and the movie was decent enough overall.

There’s nothing that the movie does particularly wrong, it’s just not as memorable and I wasn’t entertained/interested as I hoped I would be. I don’t even have that much to say about it except that it’s fine. You do need to go in expecting a bit of a slow burn throughout, because that’s what it really is. It took me a while for me to get really into it, after a certain point I was somewhat interested in what was going on. I guess knowing that this movie is based on a true story and real person does make the movie more interesting at least.

The cast is all around talented and great. I know that this movie is based on a true story and a true person but this role seems perfectly tailed to Robert Redford, that I can’t imagine any other actor playing that role. As the titular Old Man with a gun, he’s basically the main event and this whole movie is surrounding him, and he’s definitely the best part of the movie. While admittedly I haven’t seen a ton of his performances in his career overall, I think this might be one of his best, and a pretty good one to end his career on. Sissy Spacek is good as well as someone who ends up being Redford’s love interest, the two of them have great chemistry throughout. Now 3 time David Lowery collaborator Casey Affleck is good as the cop who’s trying to track down Robert Redford, despite the amount of scenes that he gets however, his doesn’t quite have a resolution to his story. Other actors like Danny Glover and Tom Waits (both of them playing Redford’s accomplices) do well in their roles as well.

David Lowery has proved with his past few films that he’s a really great director and The Old Man & the Gun was again directed pretty well. There’s not a lot to say about the direction all round, I guess it feels like it’s in the 1980s, the production design, costumes and editing was pretty good and it was shot well, the music choices also worked really well for the movie. It’s a very lowkey movie, with the direction not being too flashy.

The Old Man & the Gun I’d say is definitely David Lowery’s weakest movie out of the ones I’ve seen from him but still is pretty decent and isn’t bad by any means. I’d describe it as a pretty good (albeit slow) movie to watch if you’re doing something while watching it. It’s not essential viewing by any means but it might be worth checking out for the performances, especially for Robert Redford’s last performance.

The Discovery (2017) Review

Time: 110 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast:
Rooney Mara as Isla
Jason Segel as Will Harbor
Jesse Plemons as Toby Harbor
Riley Keough as Lacey
Robert Redford as Thomas Harbor
Director: Charlie McDowell

In the near future, due to a breakthrough scientific discovery by Dr. Thomas Harbor (Robert Redford), there is now definitive proof of an afterlife. While countless people have chosen suicide to reset their existence, others try to decide what it all means. Among them is Dr. Harbor’s son Will (Jason Segal), who has arrived at his father’s isolated compound with a mysterious young woman named Isla (Rooney Mara). There, they discover the strange acolytes who help Dr. Harbor with his experiments.

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The Discovery was one of my most anticipated films of 2017. With its talented cast, its very intriguing premise and trailer, it looked like an interesting and unique movie at the very least. After finally watched this movie, I have to say, it didn’t disappoint. The acting, direction and most of the story was great. There were a couple of aspects which didn’t work well but it’s not enough to affect the overall viewing experience in a major way.

The premise about the aftermath after the discovery of the afterlife is very interesting, and I was invested throughout the entire running time. I never felt bored or confused in the movie (I was however confused at the end but I’ll get to that later). Each twist and turn only increased my curiosity in what direction the film was going in next. For the most part this movie works very well. That’s not to say that everything was as good as it could’ve been. The film does rely on a lot of exposition and while I liked it, I felt like there was too much of it. And then there is the ending… I’m still not sure what I think about it. The ending does add yet another twist to the numerous other twists in the movie. It is such a big twist; however the film doesn’t really allow much time for this twist to play out before the movie ends. The twist itself is one that I’m a little confused about, and I wasn’t sure about what the ending meant. Overall, I guess I sort of liked the ending but I do think it should’ve been handled better.

The acting in this movie is great overall but Rooney Mara delivered the most stand out performance out of everyone. Rooney played her role incredibly well, she also had a lot of humorous moments and lines. Her character was the one I was most interested in throughout. She and Jason Segal played off each other and had great chemistry. Segal was pretty good, however he did feel like a weak link, I’m not sure why it feels that way. Possibly slightly miscast, but he wasn’t bad. Robert Redford is always great, and does have quite a presence here. Other actors like Jason Plemons and Riley Keough were good but they were underused.

The direction and cinematography were great, this film is visually beautiful, both in regard to the way that the film was shot as well as the locations chosen. This film also has this almost eerie feel to it, which is helped by it’s score. I don’t know why but this really made me even more invested and interested in the movie.

The Discovery is very intriguing and interesting throughout. The acting was great (especially from Rooney Mara), the direction by Charlie McDowell is really good, and the story was really riveting. There are some problems I have with the movie, especially with the way they handled the ending but what it gets right, it gets right so well. I definitely recommend giving it a view, it’s now on Netflix. Not everyone loves this movie, but it might just surprise you.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) Review

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Captain America The Winter Soldier

Time: 136 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier
Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon
Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow
Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter/Agent 13
Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter
Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
Director: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo

After the cataclysmic events in New York with his fellow Avengers, Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans), lives in the nation’s capital as he tries to adjust to modern times. An attack on an S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague throws Rogers into a web of intrigue that places the whole world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and a new ally, the Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Rogers struggles to expose an ever-widening conspiracy, but he and his team soon come up against an unexpected enemy.

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I said this in the past, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is my favourite Marvel movie. The Winter Soldier is a realistic take (or the most realistic take) on Captain America and is more of a spy/espionage thriller than a superhero film. The Winter Soldier pretty much gets everything right, the plot is very well written, the acting is great, the action scenes are fantastic and this is wasn’t just a filler movie, it changed the Marvel universe as we knew it.

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Without spoiling anything, The Winter Soldier has great consequences of the Marvel Universe. This movie was more spy and espionage than any other movies in the Marvel universe. The tone of this movie is also quite serious, this movie is probably the darkest Marvel movie. With that said it’s not completely dark, the humour was quite good, particularly between Captain America, Black Widow and Falcon. Although the Winter Soldier is in the title of the film, he’s used more as an occasional villain, so the film really didn’t need to be named after him. But I will say that he was used well in the story, especially in how he relates to Captain America.

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Chris Evans once again returns as Captain America and as usual is great. Scarlett Johansson returns as Black Widow and is an even stronger character than in Iron Man 2 and The Avengers as it put her in the forefront of the film. This was the movie that convinced me that there should be a Black Widow movie but it’s probably too late for it to happen at this point, with all of these next movies going big like Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange. There is particularly great chemistry between Evans and Johansson and play off each other really well. Another great addition was Anthony Mackie as Falcon, the film really integrated him well in the story with all the other plot points going on. Other actors like Robert Redford and Samuel L. Jackson also do great jobs. Without spoiling anything for those who don’t know, I’ll say that The Winter Soldier is also one of the better Marvel villains.

"Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier"..Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan)..Ph: Zade Rosenthal..© 2014 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

The action is filmed much more realistically, as the tone of the film is more realistic. I think it’s also worth mentioning the stunt team, the fight scenes were truly great and thrilling. I particularly like how the film incorporated Captain America’s shield into the action. Sure I liked what they did with The First Avenger and The Avengers but as this has a more realistic tone they had to come up with a realistic way of using the shield, and they surprisingly made it work. Captain America’s costume thankfully changed from The Avengers’ fake costume look to a much more fitting and realistic look.

"Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier" L to R: Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) & Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) Ph: Zade Rosenthal © 2014 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is truly a great movie and for me is currently the best Marvel movie. It took a more realistic take on the classic character, had great twists and turns and has great impact on the Marvel universe on the whole. It’s not just a great comic book movie, but it’s also a great movie on its own. This year we’ll have to see if Captain America: Civil War or Doctor Strange can top it, it will not be an easy task.