Archive for Biography

Condé Nast, Endgame Entertainment, Identity Films (I),

Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Tika Sumpter, Isiah Whitlock Jr., John David Washington, Tom Waits, Sissy Spacek, Elisabeth Moss, Keith Carradine, Jordan Trovillion, Augustine Frizzell, Robert Longstreet, Patrick Newall, Kevin McClatchy, Gene Jones, Barlow Jacobs, J. Todd Anderson, Warren Bryson

This is supposedly the true story of Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) and his outstanding escape from San Quentin at age 70. He was a robber, and had a great time confusing the heck out of authorities including detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck) and the general public who was supposedly entertained by his antics. Along the way, he met Jewel (Sissy Spacek) who loved him in spite of his tendency to rob people.

It’s rare that I neither love nor hate a movie. This one left me yawning and I just could not get into or care about anyone in this film. I am not sure what has happened with Bob Redford, but may his politics have gotten him so far out of the mainstream that he can’t determine what is an interesting role anymore. It seems everything he’s been in lately has been extremely bland. This story just didn’t grab me in the least, and i felt tortured sitting though this clunker. Forrest Tucker, if this is a true story, must have been an ass, that’s for sure, and I don’t ever recall Sissy Spacek playing a character that was so devoid of any kind of feelings at all. All in all, this movie just left me bored to tears, and i wouldn’t recommend it. Save yourself some time, and just skip this one!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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FilmNation Entertainment, The Weinstein Company, Faliro House Productions,

Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Linda Cardellini, Patrick Wilson, B.J. Novak, Laura Dern

Dick McDonald (Nick Offerman) and Mac McDonald (John Carroll Lynch) were brothers who opened a drive in restaurant in San Bernardino, California. They were struggling with all the problems that come with Drive Ins, with the clientele and the car hops themselves, and the difficulty of keeping each of the menu orders straight. But the brothers came up with an idea they called Speedee Service where they trimmed down the menu to just Hamburgers, Fries, Milkshakes, and Soda, nothing else, but also a redesigned kitchen that allowed them to fill orders at the walk up window in about 30 seconds. Additionally they did away with all the silverware and dishes, and packaged everything in disposable wrappers in a bag designed to be totally disposable. Meanwhile Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) was a salesman, struggling to eke out a living selling milkshake blenders on the road. But he was a big dreamer, and when he heard of the success of the McDonald brothers, he set out to see it for himself. They made a tenuous partnership and struggled to bring to fruition Kroc’s vision of the largest franchise in history, with a restaurant in every town, the McDonalds we know today. This docudrama tells the story of the recognized franchise king Ray Kroc from the eyes of the two brothers who actually invented the system.

The main character all are excellent actors. Michael Keaton did an excellent job as did Nick and John as the McDonald Brothers. Laura Dern also brought a lot to the movie with her role as Ray’s wife. She added quite a bit to the story as her role is very complex, but but she pulled it off very well. This is one of the better docudrama’s I have seen in a long time. I think most everyone is aware that Ray Kroc was the founder of McDonalds, but few people know the background of where the golden arches came from, originally. This movie is rather interesting because of the unusual path it took. Everyone wanted to tell the story of the McDonald brothers and how Ray Kroc ran over them with a steam roller, but this producer, director, and screen writer realized early on that Ray Kroc is the center of the film, and that it’s not all black and white. Without taking sides, it’s told from the McDonald Brothers point of view, but as you go through the film, there are no heroes and not bad guys, really. Everything is really grey as we come to understand how things happened the way they had to do. I highly recommend this film as I found it very well made, well told, and quite interesting. Give it a shot.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Visible Pictures(II), All Entertainment,

Masey McLain, Ben Davies, Sadie Robertson, Korie Robertson, Bella Robertson, Jaci Velasquez, Jennifer O’Neill

Rachel Joy Scott (Masey McLain) was the first person shot by the Colombine High School shooters, they asked her if she was still a Christian, and when she confirmed her belief, she was viciously shot and killed. Rachel was not a perfect person. Being a High School girl, she had problems and issues, like everyone else, but was a very outstanding young person trying to help others and do the right things. She wrote a journal, and her Mother decided to publish the last few months and weeks of her life to show what a difference her daughter made. This is a biographical story in her own words of how she lived to make the world a better place and to reach out to those who needed her friendship.

This is a Christian movie, certainly. But it’s also very touching and down to earth. Unlike a made up story, this is the real story of Rachel and the struggles she faced. This is not a documentary of the Columbine shooting, although there is actual news footage including President Clinton that is real footage. This is the story of a girl, and her struggles and flaws and her attempts to do good things. In that respect, Masey did a great job of portraying the girl. There are several reasons why people might not like this film, but I think they can be summed up in a few words. One is that it is a Christian movie, and therefore does preach a lot. That turns off a lot of people. Secondly, they are not trying to put down or take away from each of the individuals that lost their life in this terrible tragedy, nor does it do much to explain the psychosis that these boys had that made them do what they did. This is not about the shooting, but is the memory of one person, and a few people that her life touched. So don’t expect a long documentary on the tragedy, as that isn’t here. But if you are able to take the story at face value, it certainly is a great story, and one that ought to be told. It seems each of us ought to have a movie made about our lives and how we made a difference, but sadly only a choice few have that opportunity. If Rachel had been run over by a bus, we never would have known her story and was a decent person she was, and that is sad. But due to circumstances she couldn’t control, she is able to make an impact on each of us. Well done, and a good, very sentimental and righteous story.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Cross Creek Pictures, Demarest Media, IM Global,

Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths, Vince Vaughn

Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield) was the son of a man who was severely tested by World War I. His father was an abusive alcoholic who used to beat his wife and children senseless. Desmond was very religious, and swore never to touch a gun, and never to harm anyone. But when World War II broke out, he was touched by the need to defend our country. But he had a different plan. He wanted to serve America as a medic to protect and save his brothers, but without a gun. Desmond ended up in the battle for Okinawa, one of the most vicious and horrible battles of the war, without a gun, where he saved the lives of a great many of his fellow soldiers. This is a true story, based on the real Desmond Doss who not only survived the battle, but lived to tell the story in his humble manor.

This is an intense story of probably the worst battle of WWII. When the soldiers were sent to capture Okinawa in a necessary step to conquer Japan, they had no idea how many Japanese were hiding in an underground bunker. This film was expertly directed by Mel Gibson, and is a wonderful film. Special notice has to go out to Vince Vaughn who plays Sgt Howell, one tough Sergeant, who has a close connection to Desmond in the end. At the end, we get to meet the real Desmond Doss and some of the other major characters who confirm the things in the story. As near as I can tell, the things that are depicted really happened. This film not only covers Desmond’s childhood which shaped his thinking due to the hardships he endured, but also the difficulties in getting though basic training before finally being deployed. There is no way this guy could have survived what he went through, but somehow he did. The battle scenes in this movie will take your breath away. It is very intense and gives the film it’s R rating which it deserves due to the realistic battle scenes, but it’s also very heart warming as well. One minute you’ll want to cry, and the next your heart is bursting with pride. It is such an amazing story and one that had to be told. Typically I’m not a big fan of War Movies, but this particular one is so very well done, that you have to see this one. The fact that it’s true is a huge plus as well. Make sure to see this movie!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Bron Studios, Creative Wealth Media Finance, Follow Through Productions,

Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley, Penelope Ann Miller, Gabrielle Union, Aunjanue Ellis, Colman Domingo, Dwight Henry, Roger Guenveur Smith, Mark Boone Junior, Esther Scott

The Birth of a Nation is the story of a real character, Nat Turner (Nate Parker) who as a child was found to be an educated fellow who could read and write, even though raised as a slave on a plantation. Nat became a preacher, and was paid to preach to the other slaves to convince them to work hard and listen to their masters to avoid trouble. But after events that turned Nat into a rebel that hated the treatment of his people in the south and caused him to start a bloody uprising that killed scores of white men, women, and children, until a battalion caught up with him and his men and they were all brought to pay for their rebellion. Based on a true character, this is harsh look at the terrible treatment of slaves and former slaves that occurred in the South in 1831 before the Civil war.

This was an interesting film, that is difficult to criticize without casting a very dim light on yourself. First let me say that the brutality and abuse that did occur was very horrible and unexcused, but I’m not sure that this is a completely accurate vision of what in particular happened this time. Historically Nat Turner did head a bloody uprising 1n 1831, but he was despised both in the North and the South due to the killing of little children and women along with the true slave masters. This film certainly does take one side of the story and makes a very shocking story that may be quite a bit embellished as to what really happened in this instance. Nate Parker, who plays Nat Turner, wrote the screenplay and the story and directed the film besides being the primary actor in it. It has a rather weird vibe to it. Though it’s obvious a brand new film, the style and feel of the movie made you think you were watching one of the old 70’s movies, just by the look of it. It wasn’t really very well put together, and it seems to suffer a bit from one guy having to do everything. Perhaps a bigger team would have helped. Still, it’s very touching and moves you to the core, but I’m not sure if we’re being played or if there’s really much truth to this one particular character and his portrayal historically. Likewise, the title, The Birth of a Nation is a political and racial hot button due the to D.W. Griffith 1915 film about the death of Lincoln and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan which is unfortunately a racist white supremacist one sided film that was certainly made to excuse the Klan, make them heroes, and appeal to the racists that existed, and to create many more of them. Now 1915 was a long time ago, but it seemed to be created to stir people up and tell a very incorrect and lopsided tale of who were the heroes and who were the villains. This film, was most likely given the same title to invoke some of the hatred toward the original film and start people off with a particular point of view. I don’t really think this movie is very fairly told either, as I doubt the true character of Nat Turner was really presented here. It was a really flat one sided portrait that simply appears to fire people up to protest. It doesn’t feel like a historical analysis or a documentary, but a one sided attack with no effort to show any balance. Now I can understand how this could happen, as it is a very touchy subject, and one that we really have to deal with in a rational manner. I just feel like this is throwing gasoline on a house fire and doesn’t serve a really good purpose other than to promote hatred. It’s a shame, as I certainly have seen other films that depicted the horrors that happened through a lot of the South at the time, and as a child of the 50’s I’ve seen it in person and on TV and in people I actually know. It’s an ugly thing to judge someone by the color of his skin, but it’s ugly either way, and we need to come together, not try to drive a wedge in to stir up the radicals and make them develop more hatred. With all that’s going on in our nation these days, it’s hard to tell what it all means. Maybe my own fear of being labeled is causing me to feel uncomfortable at this portrayal, and I really wish I had the opportunity to see Nate Parker and find out if he really hates me because of my skin color, or if he’s actually a really nice person who would like to talk to me as well. I would hate to prejudge that, but going by what I see in this film, I don’t think he’d like me very much. Most all ‘isms suck, but racism is one of the worst. In summary, I’m glad I saw it, but I’m just not sure how to react to what I saw.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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