Tag Archives: Tom Hanks

Greyhound (2020) Review

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Greyhound

Time: 91 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] War themes and occasional coarse language
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Commander Ernest Krause
Stephen Graham as Lieutenant Commander Charlie Cole
Rob Morgan as George Cleveland
Elisabeth Shue as Evelyn Frechette
Director:
Aaron Schneider

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Ernest Krause (Tom Hanks) is assigned to lead an Allied convoy across the Atlantic during World War II. His convoy, however, is pursued by German U-boats. Although this is Krause’s first wartime mission, he finds himself embroiled in what would come to be known as the longest, largest and most complex naval battle in history: The Battle of the Atlantic.

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I heard about Greyhound for a little while, I knew of it as a World War 2 movie starring Tom Hanks that was sold to Apple to be released on its streaming service Apple TV. While I was willing to watch it at some point, I didn’t have a great interest in it, really wasn’t expecting much from it. The movie itself is nothing special and a little generic, but overall it was okay.

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Strangely enough, Tom Hanks actually wrote the screenplay of the movie, adapting a historical book called The Good Shephard. Unfortunately, I have to say that the writing is a bit of a mixed bag. First and foremost, there’s really nothing to say about most of the characters, so the moments when some side characters die don’t have any impact at all. The only character that gets any development is Tom Hanks, and even then in his case there’s not much we actually learn about his character. There’s a scene early on with one scene with Elisabeth Shue, which tries to establish some form of characterisation for him, however considering the rest of the movie wasn’t very interested in characterisation, that scene really feels lazy and tact on. I’m not going to act like I dislike movies not having character development, especially when it comes to war movies. I love Dunkirk and I like 1917, and both are war movies with little to no character depth or development. However, those movies still got me somewhat invested in what the characters were doing, even if they were just surviving. With Greyhound however, you don’t really get invested in what is happening at all, it is hard to care about what’s going on beyond them being the main characters, and this is based on a true story mind you. The runtime certainly shows that it is more interested in the spectacle over characters at 90 minutes. Despite that short runtime, it feels much longer than that.

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Tom Hanks is front and centre throughout as the Commander Officer of the Navy Destroyer (called Greyhound). His performance is good, pretty much what you would expect from him at this point, and he was the standout from the movie. As I said previously, the character doesn’t have anything to him. Its completely in Hanks’s solid performance, he has a commanding presence which fits the role well enough, and he portrays well the stress that someone in his position would go through. Everyone else is just fine, no one is bad, but no one is better than serviceable, again though it’s not like they had much to work with.

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Directed by Aaron Schneider, I assumed going in that this would be Greyhound’s strong point, especially with the action, but unfortunately like with the writing it is rather flawed. It seems most of the attention and money has been spent on the large action scenes, however even those are flawed. The action can be pretty good at times, but most of the time it’s unfortunately rather bland. It does try to be tense, but there are some faults in the direction, along with the lack of an engaging story, that kind of takes away from that. The CGI ranged from looking decent to looking a little fake. The colour pallet is rather grey, dark and dull, not that darker colour pallets can’t work (especially if they are trying to go for that grimy war feel), but here it feels rather bland. The editing is pretty standard, and the score is pretty generic. Something that was weird was the use of subtitling random things on screen. It’s not just the text at the beginning giving context going on, literally every time a new ship is introduced to the movie, text will appear above it. I have no idea why they did that. To its credit, the movie does at least aim to be authentic, and doesn’t try to be a typical over the top war movie blockbuster, and as previously mentioned some of the action works. The production value is also good, there was clearly a lot of attention into making the inside of the ship look authentic.

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Greyhound is a mixed bag of a movie. It is rather bland, its script lacks character depth, and it’s not particularly interesting. Even the action which is clearly its focus is at, that aspect is just decent at best, and most of the time it’s just mildly entertaining and generic. The movie is not bad by any means, it does have some good elements to it, Tom Hanks does lead with a good performance, and some moments of the action work. It’s a forgettable 90-minute World War 2 movie, however if you think you’d be interested in it (even just for Tom Hanks), I’d say that it’s worth a look.

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.

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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.

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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.

Toy Story 4 (2019) Review

Time: 103 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Woody
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
Annie Potts as Bo Peep
Tony Hale as Forky
Keegan-Michael Key as Ducky
Jordan Peele as Bunny
Madeleine McGraw as Bonnie
Christina Hendricks as Gabby Gabby
Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom
Ally Maki as Giggle McDimples
Jay Hernandez as Bonnie’s dad
Lori Alan as Bonnie’s mom
Joan Cusack as Jessie
Director: Josh Cooley

Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang embark on a road trip with Bonnie and a new toy named Forky. The adventurous journey turns into an unexpected reunion as Woody’s slight detour leads him to his long-lost friend Bo Peep. As Woody and Bo discuss the old days, they soon start to realize that they’re worlds apart when it comes to what they want from life as a toy.

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Toy Story 4 was a movie I think everyone wasn’t sure how to feel about when it was announced years ago. 9 years ago, we had a perfect conclusion to the series and so it’s difficult to think of a way it could’ve possibly been ended any better. It didn’t help that everything from the trailer just looked like a generic, random and pointless adventure with the familiar characters. So outside of the positive reviews, I wasn’t expecting much going into the movie. To my surprise however, they actually managed to pull it off.

From the trailer Toy Story 4 just looked like a simple adventure, and it is that but it’s pretty entertaining. It doesn’t have a scene even coming close to the incinerator scene in 3 in terms of intensity or emotion. 4 overall feels more like a quieter epilogue taking place after the large scale and epic third act with 3. It has pretty much all that you’d expect from a Toy Story movie, it’s genuinely funny and emotional, and once again works for both children and adults, while not dumbing things down for kids at all. It even has some parts that adults will only pick up, both in terms of story and comedy. They even somehow managed to sneak in a music cue reference to The Shining. It also has a surprisingly fitting end, even more so than Toy Story 3. There’s always ways of bringing back movies for the series, but the way it ends makes it feel like it is final, and it I can’t think of a better way of the series to end.

Much of the main toys that we are familiar with are sidelined, only Woody and Buzz get substantial amounts of screentime. Woody (Tom Hanks) as a character is one of the best parts of each of the Toy Story movies and the 4th movie is no exception. It really focuses on him being sort of a father figure to the character of Forky, and it really shows how far he’s come since the first movie. I’m not exactly on board with what they did with Buzz (Tim Allen) in this movie. He became much less smart, and it wouldn’t be so bad if it was after the first Toy Story, but Toy Story 2 and 3 have established him as a smart leader (even in the first film when he believe he was a space ranger he was smarter than he was here). So it was a step backward for him as a character when he just really didn’t know what he was doing a lot of the time. Bo Peep (Annie Potts) in Toy Story 1 and 2 was just sort of there at the beginning and end of the movies and didn’t get to do anything, in 3 she was completely absent. However in 4, she plays a major role and gets far more to do here. Other than those 3 characters, the newer characters are highlighted more as well. Tony Hale plays Forky, the movie completely surrounds him. In seeing the trailers, I really feel like I wouldn’t like him at all, he seemed like he could’ve been easily annoying. However he surprisingly worked really well, and was certainly something fresh, we’ve seen new toys introduced but not one that was just created. I will say though that it feels like he’s reduced to a plot device in the second half of the movie. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele play a couple of plushies and their great comedic duo extends to animation form as well, they were among the funniest characters of the movie. Keanu Reeves voices Duke Caboom, a Canadian stunt driver toy and is about as great as you’d expect it to be. Christina Hendricks as Gabby Gabby who plays the closest thing to a villain in this movie, and some things happen with her character that you might not initially expect.

With every Toy Story movie, the quality of the animation increases immensely, and 4 is no exception. As an example, you might remember from Toy Story 3 that there was a flashback scene of Lotso that involved the rain, it looked incredibly realistic. Toy Story 4 opens with scene in the rain, and it looks borderline photorealistic. It’s an absolutely stunning looking movie from beginning to end. A lot of the familiar music heard in the series also reappear here, once again done by Randy Newman.

Toy Story 4 isn’t among the best in the series but it’s still surprisingly good and works as a final conclusion. Everything from the characters (for the most part), the animation, to the writing, the comedy and more is here. If you liked the other Toy Story movies, you should definitely check it out, even if you’re sceptical about it.

Toy Story 3 (2010) Review

Time: 103 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Woody
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
Joan Cusack as Jessie
Ned Beatty as Lotso
John Morris as Andy
Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head
Blake Clark as Slinky Dog
Wallace Shawn as Rex
John Ratzenberger as Hamm
Estelle Harris as Mrs. Potato Head
Michael Keaton as Ken
Jodi Benson as Barbie
Director: Lee Unkrich

The toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it’s up to Woody to convince the other toys that they weren’t abandoned and to return home.

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It’s been 11 years since the last Toy Story movie, I remembered seeing it in cinemas but I hadn’t watched it again since. So watching Toy Story 3 recently was the second time I’ve seen it. On top of the animation looking absolutely fantastic, it takes some interesting story turns and directions. For a while it was the conclusion to the series, and it ended things off perfectly, which is probably why most people are so reluctant to the idea of a Toy Story 4, it’s hard to imagine a better ending to these characters and this story.

Considering that it had been 11 years since the last movie, it was very fitting that Toy Story 3’s story would be about Andy being grown up and moving on from the toys. I will say that so far it’s the least memorable of the series, but that’s probably because I’ve only seen it twice. It’s not really as funny as the other 2, but not necessarily because the jokes miss, just seem to be less of them, and I don’t really remember the movie for its humour (the Spanish Buzz Lightyear doesn’t always completely work though). Toy Story 3 is also significantly darker, even before it gets to the third act, and I really liked the places they took the story. The story with Lotso the bear running things at Sunnyside Day Care (where the toys end up) just gets darker and darker as it progresses. It eventually culminating in seemingly a sort of prison escape movie, and I really liked what happened in the movie overall. At an hour and 40 minutes long, it’s longer than the past movies but just as riveting. It also contains probably the most traumatic scene in the Pixar movie, I won’t say what it is for those who haven’t seen it, but it (and many other scenes in the movie) hit on a much deeper layer than the seemingly surface level scare and danger factor. And as for the end, I couldn’t think of a better possible ending for the movie and series.

The returning voice cast and characters return and are as usual good. Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles) and the usual cast, all work in their roles. It was also funny hearing Michael Keaton (who voices a Ken doll by the way) and Timothy Dalton (as a toy porcupine named Mr. Pricklepants) having some voice roles here. Lotso (voiced by Ned Beatty) is by far and away the best and most memorable of the Toy Story villains thus far. While it does the typical twist reveal of the villain that a lot of animated movies do nowadays, on the whole he was handled well in this movie. He is present throughout most of the movie, and has some form of backstory given to him as well.

Toy Story 2 in 1999 today still looks pretty good, not as good as most animated movies released today, but still on its own it looks great. However, you can really tell that Toy Story 3 was released 11 years later. From the very beginning the movie looks incredible, as it shows the scenario of toys being played with, however this time it’s different. We saw toys being played with in the two movies but you always saw what happened in real life, with Andy voicing the toys and all that. Here it’s like we are right in Andy’s imagination as we watch everything that’s going on. Even after that, from beginning to end, Toy Story 3 looks like it came out this year and not 9 years later, I can only imagine how phenomenal Toy Story 4 will look.

Toy Story 3 is a perfect conclusion to the series. It’s incredibly animated, emotionally satisfying and was overall everything it needed to be and more. Although I’m not certain about my ranking of the movies just yet, at the moment I’d say that it’s tied with Toy Story 2 as the best in the series. The Toy Story movies is one of the most consistently good movie series’, we’ll just have to see if Toy Story 4 lives up to its predecessors.

Toy Story 2 (1999) Review

Time: 92 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Woody
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
Joan Cusack as Jessie
Kelsey Grammer as Prospector
Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head
Jim Varney as Slinky Dog
Wallace Shawn as Rex
John Ratzenberger as Hamm
Annie Potts as Bo Peep
Estelle Harris as Mrs. Potato Head
Wayne Knight as Al McWhiggin
John Morris as Andy
Laurie Metcalf as Andy’s Mom
Director: John Lasseter

When Woody is stolen by a toy collector, Buzz and his friends set out on a rescue mission to save Woody before becomes a museum toy property with his roundup gang Jessie, Prospector, and Bullseye.

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Toy Story was such a surprise hit when it released, no one knew that it was going to be as successful as it was. With Toy Story 2 being a follow up to an animated classic, it seemed like it would never even reach the level of the original. Yet against all odds, it managed to top it successfully on pretty much every front, it’s bigger and better.

It would be hard to match what the original movie did, but Toy Story 2 manages to still be a Toy Story movie, while doing some different things and keeping things fresh. Once again, they’ve managed to make an animated movie that adult audiences can like and appreciate (both in terms of story and humour), while still making it very much accessible and entertaining for children. This time it’s about Woody coming to terms with his mortality. Pretty much everything from the story, to the characters, humour and more are back here, and even improved on. And yes, it is more funny and entertaining than the first movie, I haven’t seen the 4th movie but I feel comfortable in saying it’s the most memorable entry of the series. It feels larger scale, with a few exceptions, almost every scene in Toy Story took place between Andy’s house and Sid’s house. This time there are more locations that the characters visit, and they get very creative with the scenarios and set pieces. The rest of Andy’s toys didn’t get a lot of screentime in the first movie outside of the first and third acts, but they are present here throughout. The story on the whole is still straightforward and easy to follow, but it feels like the scope has been expanded just a little bit, it feels like much more is going on. Toy Story 2 is a little longer than the first movie at about an hour and 30 minutes long but the pacing is just as good.

The familiar voice cast return and as usual really deliver. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen once again do solid jobs as the characters of Woody and Buzz. The familiar characters of Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles), Slinky (Jim Varney), Rex (Wallace Shawn), Hamm (John Ratzenberger) and more return. As I said previously, with the exception of Bo Peep (Annie Potts) and Mrs. Potato Head (Estelle Harris), most of Andy’s main toys get a good amount of screentime throughout. We also have the additions of Jessie (Joan Cusack), Bullseye and Prospector (Kelsey Grammar), who add quite a lot to this movie (and the first 2 would of course return to the other Toy Story sequels).

The animation has very clearly improved within 4 years, and you can tell that the moment you first see a dog in the movie. It doesn’t look great but it’s much better looking than the dog in the first Toy Story. All the toys look good, with none of them looking off at any point. Same goes for the human characters, when they are close up to the screen they actually don’t look freakishly lifeless unlike the first movie.

Toy Story 2 is an improvement over the first movie, and it’s especially impressive considering that it actually encountered production problems (and was originally envisioned to be a direct to video sequel). Needless to say, if you liked the first movie even a little bit, you’ll definitely like the sequel. It’s truly a Toy Story movie while improving and expanding on everything in just about every way.

Toy Story (1995) Review

Time: 81 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Woody
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head
Jim Varney as Slinky Dog
Wallace Shawn as Rex
John Ratzenberger as Hamm
Annie Potts as Bo Peep
John Morris as Andy
Erik von Detten as Sid
Director: John Lasseter

Woody, a good-hearted cowboy doll who belongs to a young boy names Andy, sees his position as Andy’s favourite toy jeopardized when his parents buy him a Buzz Lightyear action figure. Even worse, the arrogant Buzz thinks he’s a real spaceman on a mission to return to his home planet. When Andy’s family moves to a new house, Woody and Buzz must escape the clutches of a maladjusted neighbour Sid Phillips and reunite with their boy.

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As the 4th Toy Story movie is out now, I wanted to rewatch the original trilogy beforehand. The first Toy Story was such a massive hit upon its release, it was really revolutionary for its time, and all 4 of the movies are known as one of the best animated film series’. Although I’m pretty sure I’ll like the other Toy Story movies more, the first one is still really good. Dated animation aside, it still holds up well today.

The Toy Story movies are some of the best examples of animated kids movies that even adults can enjoy. They do much more than you think they could with a movie about toys, it’s pretty smart and creative. It is also genuinely funny. There’s even some well placed adult humour that only older people will pick up, and it’s not done in a way that feels forced or inappropriate (like The Cat in the Hat movie for instance), it’s concealed rather well. Then there’s also some way more mature story aspects that children wouldn’t pick up until they are adults. I mean it features a toy literally having an existential crisis after realising that he’s a toy. Toy Story is like an hour and 20 minutes long and works well with its runtime, the pacing is very effective, with not any scene feeling out of place or pointless. Storywise I can’t think of a single problem with it, they keep the story pretty straightforward and simple, and effective like that.

Toy Story has a memorable cast of characters, and the voice cast work perfectly. Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) are the main lead characters and work so well, they embody their characters really well. Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger and more make up the supporting voice cast and also play their roles well, even though their characters are featured much less than Woody and Buzz.

The animations are clearly decades old, and some aspects don’t look that great. But you can tell that with it being from 1995, that it was very revolutionary for its time. Thankfully most of the attention is focussed on the toys, which look better than everything else in the movie. Sure, some of the designs and looks can look very dated (Bo Peep amongst the worst cases, especially when compared to her design in Toy Story 4), but most of them work. When it comes to more familiar looking objects like cars it looks more fake, and the worst of it is when it comes to the human characters (as well as a dog who appears a few times), who really look unnatural, especially when they are close up to the screen. However, all of this is just something that you can come to accept within the first 10-20 minutes of the movie.

Toy Story 24 years later is still an animated classic. It’s great for both kids and adults, and grown ups will probably get more from it than children. If you haven’t seen Toy Story yet, you definitely need to check it out soon, and even if you’ve seen it before, it’s worth a revisit for sure. Even if some of the dated animation bothers you, the script, characters and voice work no doubt make up for it.

The Post (2017) Review

Time: 116 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive Language
Cast
Meryl Streep as Kay Graham
Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee
Sarah Paulson as Antoinette “Tony” Pinchot Bradlee
Bob Odenkirk as Ben Bagdikian
Tracy Letts as Fritz Beebe
Bradley Whitford as Arthur Parsons
Bruce Greenwood as Robert McNamara
Matthew Rhys as Daniel Ellsberg
Director: Steven Spielberg

Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) is the first female publisher of a major American newspaper — The Washington Post. With help from editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), Graham races to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spans three decades and four U.S. presidents. Together, they must overcome their differences as they risk their careers — and very freedom — to help bring long-buried truths to light.

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There is an undeniable amount of talent and potential involved when it came The Post. With it being about The Pentagon Papers, with a cast which features actors such as Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks and being directed Steven Spielberg, it showed some signs of it being really something. However, I wasn’t as excited about it as I wanted to be leading up to its release. The Post is by no means a bad or even average movie, it’s decent enough and has some good aspects to it. However it is missing some aspects that would’ve otherwise made for a consistently riveting movie.

It takes quite a while for the movie to pick up. Focussing a movie about The Washington Post on The Pentagon Papers definitely has some potential, the problem is that it’s a bit of a wait before The Washington Post even get The Pentagon Papers. There are multiple things going on during the movie, not just The Pentagon Papers. One of the aspects is Meryl Streep’s character of Katharine Graham and her running of The Washington Post. I should be interested because it’s an important part of the movie and she is the primary protagonist but I just wasn’t that invested. I was a little more interested in The Pentagon Papers aspect. It does pick up a bit as it goes along, especially after the halfway point and it gets better from there. One problem for me is that I never felt that concerned or worried for what was happening, you don’t feel like you’re necessarily with these people as the events are going on. Of course we know the end results but there are plenty of movies based on real life where you are really wrapped up and riveted in what’s going on. The Post on the other hand just seemed to be showing events, for as hard as the decisions that Katharine Graham has to make, you don’t really feel the weight of the decisions, even if you know why these decisions are difficult for her. The Post isn’t that long at just under 2 hours long and while it can drag at points, the length wasn’t a problem. A lot of people have already called The Post and Oscar Bait movie and I can say that there are some moments where it definitely feels like it, especially with it being directed by Steven Spielberg. It’s also meant to be topical for today and while it is relevant for today, only time will tell whether it will stand the test of time with movies like All the Presidents Men.

The Post has a pretty talented cast with Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Bruce Greenwood and more. They all give commendable performances in this movie but it’s really only Tom Hanks who stood out to me. Honestly the characters aren’t that well fleshed out, so I really wasn’t that invested in them. Meryl Streep is fine, but she’s not even close to being one of the best performances in the film, I can’t tell whether its her acting or the writing she was given but for such a talented actress I was pretty underwhelmed by the performance. There are also some actors that are underused, like Michael Stuhlbarg and Sarah Paulson to a degree.

Steven Spielberg directs this movie competently enough, it’s well pieced together and edited very well. It also does well at setting itself in the 1960s. Really in terms of direction I’ve got no problems with it, it’s at the level that it needs to be, it doesn’t overshadow the plot or actors and is at a pretty high level.

The Post has some good moments, some interesting aspects, pretty good performances and commendable direction from Steven Spielberg but it seems to be lacking some things. It takes for the second half for the movie to pick up and it really didn’t consistently have my interest, though it still had my attention. If The Post interests you, I do recommend checking it out. Everyone else who isn’t interested I still recommend checking it out, but you don’t need to rush out and see it, it’s not one of Steven Spielberg’s better movies.

Inferno (2016) Review

Time: 121 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Dr. Robert Langdon
Felicity Jones as Dr. Sienna Brooks
Omar Sy as Christoph Bouchard
Ben Foster as Bertrand Zobrist
Sidse Babett Knudsen as Elizabeth Sinskey
Irrfan Khan as Harry “The Provost” Sims
Ana Ularu as Vayentha
Director: Ron Howard

Famous symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) follows a trail of clues tied to Dante, the great medieval poet. When Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), a doctor he hopes will help him recover his memories. Together, they race across Europe and against the clock to stop a madman (Ben Foster) from unleashing a virus that could wipe out half of the world’s population.

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The Da Vinci Code/Robert Langdon movie series were pretty good, they weren’t by any means great, but they were enjoyable mystery stories. 7 years after the last movie, Angels and Demons, there is another instalment that I’m not sure even the die hard Da Vinci Code fans were asking for with Inferno. Inferno is such a massive step down from the previous films. Despite Ron Howard returning to direct along with talent like Felicity Jones and Irrfan Khan involved, this film just isn’t good. It’s not one of the worst movies ever but it is incredibly mediocre.

The story is incredibly forgettable. I’ll admit, I can’t even remember what this movie is completely about. I found it so difficult to care about what was going on. I didn’t care about the story, I didn’t care about the characters, I wasn’t really that interested in what was going on. Honestly I don’t think I can comment about the actual story as I wasn’t paying that close attention but it really says something when I’m so not invested in this movie, and I was trying really hard to focus on it. I haven’t read any of the Robert Langdon books and I haven’t read Inferno so I don’t know if there had been any changes or not but either way, I didn’t care much for the story. From start to finish its on a constant unwavering line of meh.

Tom Hanks returns as Robert Langdon and you can definitely tell that he is trying his best here. The problem is that his character operates heavily using his brain as shown in the previous movies. Robert in this movie has amnesia and we don’t get to see what he’s like before the amnesia, so it feels like a completely different character. And no, we don’t get to see much characterisation for Langdon in this movie. Credit to Hanks for trying his best. Other actors like Felicity Jones, Ben Foster and Omar Sy do a decent job with what they have but aren’t used to their fullest potential and aren’t enough to elevate the quality of this movie. The one actor who seemed to effortlessly steal the show was Irrfan Khan but unfortunately he didn’t play that big of a role. He definitely elevates this movie however.

I cannot believe that Ron Howard directed this, he’s done so much better than this. At times the direction is basic and serviceable enough and at other points it feels like an amateur filmmaker tried to make a movie but failing miserably. The dream sequences are done terribly, during these scenes it looks like a made for tv movie with awful CGI. So not even Ron Howard’s direction can improve this movie.

Although it had some potential, Inferno is just not a good movie. Despite some talented people involved, for some reason it just didn’t come together to actually work. The best part of this movie is the performances, and even then its only really Irrfan Khan who shines. I guess if you’re curious enough you can check it out but don’t expect something that great. It’s not terrible, just quite underwhelming and mediocre, there’s not much to really say about it to be honest.

Sully (2016) Review

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sully

Time: 96 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive Language.
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger
Aaron Eckhart as Jeffrey “Jeff” Skiles
Laura Linney as Lorraine Sullenberger
Anna Gunn as Dr. Elizabeth Davis
Director: Clint Eastwood

On Jan. 15, 2009, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) tries to make an emergency landing in New York’s Hudson River after US Airways Flight 1549 strikes a flock of geese. Miraculously, all of the 155 passengers and crew survive the harrowing ordeal, and Sullenberger becomes a national hero in the eyes of the public and the media. Despite the accolades, the famed pilot now faces an investigation that threatens to destroy his career and reputation.

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Clint Eastwood can be hit or miss with his films. Sometimes he can create some truly excellent movies (Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby), other times he makes movies which can be a little underwhelming (J. Edgar). However, I can say this time with Sully, Eastwood really does deliver a hit. The acting from the cast (especially from Tom Hanks) was truly great, the overall direction of the film was solid and I was interested in seeing how this movie would conclude. It’s a pretty good movie overall, and definitely worth checking out sometime.

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Tom Hanks in a scene from "Sully." (Keith Bernstein/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

This movie was quite effective in the way it decides to present events. It doesn’t just show the events in chronological order, we see bits of the event of the plane throughout the film as the story in present day progresses, which really helped as we don’t know the full picture of what happened at the beginning of the film. There’s a question as to whether Sully could’ve found an alternative way of landing the plane safely, and that answer isn’t revealed until the end of the film. One thing I’ve noticed a lot of people complain about is that the film is slow. I will say that it definitely has a slow pace, and you have to know that going in. I definitely knew that and I had a good time with this movie. Thankfully this movie is short at around 90 minutes, and it’s the perfect length for the film. It doesn’t overstay it’s welcome.

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Tom Hanks is great in this movie, which really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, he’s Tom Hanks. He’s very likable and believable in his role as this pilot who after saving hundreds of lives, is suddenly put under investigation. He’s very subtle in his role, it’s not the type of performance where he says “look at me, I’m a great actor”, he’s very subdued and was on point. Aaron Eckhart was also great in a supporting role; he was believable as Sully’s co-pilot. Eckhart really needs to be in more movies. There are other supporting actors in the movie who are also good as well but this really is Tom Hanks’s film.

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Most of the film doesn’t have a lot of ‘action’. The scenes where it presents the plane crash in the film are done very well and effectively, it really puts you in the middle of the situation and it feels very real and tense. The rest of the scenes are shot fine, no real complaint in the overall direction of the film, there’s just not a lot to talk about in terms of the direction. The film’s highlight is mostly the story.

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Personally, I think Sully is worth a watch. The pacing of the film was steady but just right, the acting is great (particularly from Tom Hanks), the writing really was effective on taking you on a journey with Sully and it had a unique way of telling it’s story. It’s not one of Clint Eastwood’s all-time greatest films (it’s not in the calibre of Unforgiven or Million Dollar Baby) and it’s not a film that you absolutely must see immediately, but it is a really good movie, and I do think that it’s definitely worth checking out at some point.

2016 Oscar Predictions

When you look at it in the grand scheme of things, movie awards really don’t matter. There are plenty of movies that should win but don’t, some of them don’t even get nominated, and there are some movies that don’t really deserve to win, but win anyway. So no matter what happens during the awards ceremony, it doesn’t really matter. But still, it’s fun to predict what movies will win and at the same time state what you think should win. Since everyone else is doing it, I decided to give my predictions for the 2016 Academy Awards. I have watched most of the films in the major categories but occasionally there’s a movie like The Hateful Eight which I can’t or just haven’t seen, so just keep that in mind.

* – Haven’t seen yet

BEST PICTURE

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The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room*
Spotlight

Will Win – The Revenant
Should Win – The Revenant
Should’ve Been Nominated – Carol

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Best Director

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Adam McKay – The Big Short
George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamson – Room*
Tom McCarthy – Spotlight

Will Win – Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
Should Win – George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should’ve Been Nominated – Todd Haynes – Carol

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BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

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Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Will Win – Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Should Win – Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

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BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

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Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room*
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years*
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Will Win – Brie Larson, Room
Should Win – Cate Blanchett, Carol
Should’ve Been Nominated – Rooney Mara, Carol (instead of being nominated for supporting)

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BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

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Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Will Win – Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Should Win – Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Should’ve Been Nominated – Benicio Del Toro, Sicario

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ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

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Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight*
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Will Win – Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Should Win – Rooney Mara, Carol

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BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Left to right: Steve Carell plays Mark Baum and Ryan Gosling plays Jared Vennett in The Big Short from Paramount Pictures and Regency Enterprises

The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
The Martian
Room*

Will Win – The Big Short
Should Win – The Big Short
Should’ve Been Nominated – Steve Jobs

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BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

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Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina*
Inside Out
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton*

Will Win – Spotlight
Should Win – Spotlight
Should’ve Been Nominated – The Hateful Eight*

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ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

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Anomalisa*
Boy and the World*
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie*
When Marnie Was There*

Will Win – Inside Out
Should Win – Inside Out

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BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Bridge of Spies – Thomas Newman
Carol – Carter Burwell
The Hateful Eight – Ennio Morricone
Sicario – Johann Johannsson
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – John Williams

Will Win – The Hateful Eight
Should Win – The Hateful Eight
Should’ve Been Nominated – Mad Max: Fury Road – Junkie XL

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BEST SOUND EDITING

Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road

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BEST SOUND MIXING

Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road

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BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

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Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should’ve Been Nominated – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

=============================

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

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Carol
The Hateful Eight*
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Sicario

Will Win – The Revenant
Should Win – The Revenant
Should’ve Been Nominated – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

=============================

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

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Mad Max: Fury Road
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared*
The Revenant

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road

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BEST COSTUME DESIGN

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Carol
Cinderella
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road

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BEST FILM EDITING

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The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Spotlight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should’ve Been Nominated – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

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Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road

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So what are your thoughts, what do you think will win, what do you think should win and what do you think should’ve been nominated? Comment below and let me know your predictions for 2016.