Well, it’s December 31ST and if you are still with me it could only mean one thing and that is that not only is it the end of 2016, but it is also the end of the challenge. To finish up the challenge, I wanted to check out a film from Carrie Fisher (Star Wars: Episode IV-A New Hope) as I had done for so many others that passed in 2016. So, I chose The Man With One Red Shoe for today’s film. A major screw up in Morocco puts a CIA director (Charles Durning) in a very bad spot as his rival Cooper (Dabney Coleman) looks to take advantage of the situation during a senate hearing. To keep Cooper busy, he has one of his men set up a poor unknowing violinist named Richard (Tom Hanks) in the middle of it all. The film also stars Lori Singer (Footloose) as Maddy, Carrie Fisher as Paula, Edward Herrmann (The Town That Dreaded Sundown) as Brown, Jim Belushi (Home Sweet Hell) as Morris, Tom Noonan (Last Action Hero) as Reese, Gerrit Graham (Child’s Play 2) as Carson, David L. Lander (Titan A.E.) as Stemple, Irving Metzman (WarGames) as Virdon, Dortha Duckworth (The Honeymoon Killers) as Natalie, and the film was directed by Stan Dragoti (Necessary Roughness).
I never thought that when I started this challenge 366 days ago that I was actually going to finish only because I had tried before and failed a couple of times. Tom Hanks is one of those guys that you can depend on when watching a film because he is money. That is why when I was searching for a Carrie Fisher film and I saw that he was in this, I jumped on the opportunity. The film is listed as a thriller, but it’s mostly a comedy as you watch these CIA agents struggle to get an angle on Tom Hanks character. One of my favorite scenes in the film involves Jim Belushi who goes over to Hanks’s apartment to confront him about an affair that he is having with Carrie. As soon as he sees bodies on the floor in the apartment, he leaves only to see Hanks on the streets. As he tells Tom all about it, they go inside the apartment and the bodies are gone. Belushi goes to the fridge to grab a drink and sees a body, but when Hanks does, he grabs him a drink and now Belushi believes he is going crazy. It’s the kind of comedy I love and there is plentiful in the film as there are some great names of comedy in this film. Carrie kind of had a minor role in the film, but she makes an impact with her scenes. This is one of those early Tom Hanks comedies that he always did before he got serious in the acting game. The cinematography was pretty good in the film especially with scenes like the train stopping scene which was part of a cool chase scene. As we say goodbye to Carrie Fisher, we also say goodbye to the challenge which has been completed. I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade.
There are stories in the world that truly capture the imagination when you hear them and sometimes it’s so incredible its hard to believe. Then there are miracles that happen in the world that you just want to know the incredible story behind them. That was definitely the case with US Airways Flight 1549 which was a flight that left New York’s LaGuardia Airport and landed in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009 which is explored in the new film Sully. Tom Hanks (Bridge Of Spies) plays former US Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger a.k.a Sully, a pilot who had to make a snap decision after losing both his engines due to birds flying into them on that faithful day. The film explores the aftermath of the event and all of the questioning he faced afterwards as to whether it was the right choice to make. The film also stars Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight) as Jeff Skiles, Valerie Mahaffey (Senior Trip) as Diane Higgins, Mike O’Malley (R.I.P.D.) as Charles Porter, Jamey Sheridan (Spotlight) as Ben Edwards, Anna Gunn (Red State) as Elizabeth Davis, Holt McCallany (Fight Club) as Mike Cleary, Laura Linney (Mystic River) as Lorraine Sullenberger, Molly Hagan (Election) as Doreen Welsh, Ann Cusack (Stigmata) as Donna Dent, and the film was directed by Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby).
Spoiler Alert: There may be information contained in this Article that could potentially spoil the plot of the film so continue with caution or do not read any further if you do not want to know. I have always thought that the story is absolutely incredible and one that should be told for the ages. The film at first focused more on the aftermath of the whole event as it focused on Sully struggling with what happened and the committee not believing Sully. The issue with them not believing Sully is because of simulations saying that they could’ve made it back to either LaGuardia or the airport in Newark. So, the film is Sully’s hunt to prove that he wasn’t wrong and that he made the right choice. They eventually show you what happened on the plane twice which means two different points of view. One showing of the event starts with Sully and co. but then it switches to what the air traffic controller hears the whole time. Then when they are in a meeting, it goes from the point of view of everyone involved inside the plane, but more importantly through Sully. The man was a hero for what he did and the committee was literally treating him like he may have gone senile or had a nervous breakdown. I thought that the film was very good, but not great. It felt like it was just cruising along for the most part and I felt that the landing should have been the focus point of the beginning of the film rather than starting with the investigation. If you never knew about the event, you might have been confused about the beginning of the film. Nonetheless, as I said it was a very good film, but if you plan on flying you may not want to watch this till afterwards. I am going to give the film a grade somewhere between an B+/A- because the acting was great and the story was good.
There are certain actors in Hollywood that when you see their name attached to a film, it’s more than likely that you’re going to pick it up. Tom Hanks (Bridge Of Spies) is definitely one of those actors and hence the reason I chose A Hologram For The King for today’s film. Alan (Hanks) is a failed US salesman that made the ultimate mistake with one company in his past. Things are falling apart for Alan as he is going through a divorce, he has to find a way to pay for college for his daughter, and he has a small lump on his back. In a last ditch effort, he goes to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to present a new technology to the king in hopes that it will save him. What he actually finds there is not what he expected when he took the chance. The film also stars Alexander Black (Tim) as Yousef, Sarita Choudhury (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1) as Zahra, Sidse Babett Knudsen (The Duke Of Burgundy) as Hanne, Tracey Fairaway (Enough Said) as Kit, Tom Skerritt (Top Gun) as Ron, David Menkin (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) as Brad, Christy Meyer (Snowden) as Cayley, Megan Maczko (The In-Between) as Rachel, Khalid Laith (The Devil’s Double) as Hassan, Amira El Sayed (Schleierhaft) as Hana, and the film was directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run).
Before I get into the review of the film, the one thing that I want to get out of the way is that I loved the cinematography. Yes, there is a lot of amazing shots of the desert and what not, but one of my favorite scenes comes towards the end of the film. There is a scene where Tom Hanks is underwater and it just looks absolutely amazing. According to Rotten Tomatoes the critic consensus is, “A Hologram for the King amiably ambles through a narrative desert, saved by an oasis of a performance from the ever-dependable Tom Hanks.” I would have to agree with the critics because it is a rather enjoyable ride through a culture shock. You see Tom Hank’s character grow from someone who doesn’t know the customs of the culture to eventually someone who understands the way their world works. He has to travel around the red tape and navigate his way through their world, but he gets the job done. One of the relationships I loved seeing in the film was the bond of friendship that developed between Alan and his driver Yousef. It starts off a little shaky because Alan just treats him like a crazy driver, but the relationship that soon develops is great and full of comedic gold. One of my other favorite aspects from the film is the soundtrack believe it or not. It features music from The Talking Heads, Chicago, Electric Light Orchestra, and more courtesy of Yousef for the most part (minus The Talking Heads track, that seems to be the overall theme of the film). I really enjoyed watching the film and I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Mr. Hanks. I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade.
I just wanted to start by saying that I hope that everyone has had a wonder Mother’s Day especially all the moms out there. I didn’t choose any films that had anything to do with mothers, but rather I went for a classic in The Bonfire Of The Vanities. The film starred Tom Hanks (Bridge Of Spies) as Sherman McCoy, a hot shot wall street broker whose whole world is about to crumble. You see Sherman has been cheating on his socialite wife (Kim Cattrall) with a very seductive mistress named Maria (Melanie Griffith). One night, they get into an accident when they hit a young black man and send him into a coma. It puts Sherman in a lot of trouble and with the help of a reporter (Bruce Willis) he will try to prove his innocence before he gets put away for good. The film also stars Saul Rubinek (The Family Man) as Jed Kramer, Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption) as Judge Leonard White, John Hancock (A Soldier’s Story) as Reverend Bacon, Kevin Dunn (Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen) as Tom Killian, Clifton James (The Man With The Golden Gun) as Albert Fox, Kirsten Dunst (Interview With The Vampire) as Campbell McCoy, and the film was directed by Brian De Palma (Carlito’s Way).
This was a very different film than I was used to watching, but how can you not want to watch a film that starred both Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis? Bruce at one time was known for doing films other than action flicks and Tom Hanks is just Tom Hanks (that means he’s awesome). I had absolutely no idea that Kirsten Dunst was in this film until I looked on IMDB after I watched the film. I thought that was kind of crazy to see, but not surprised as she let her real stamp with Interview With The Vampire. One of the biggest pluses for this film is the fact that the story is an amazing story. From the beginning all the way to the end, the story keeps you hooked because you want to know what happens to poor Tom Hanks. The film kind of touches on the ideas of racism in the New York area and the way they feel that they didn’t get the fair shake that over-privileged whites did all the time. Then the film shows you how distorted the truth can be when there is too much interest into a issue when there are too many sides that benefit. A mayor who looks at an opportunity to persecute a rich white man to try and gain the African-American vote while a reverend is looking to use the case to cash in. All of the acting in the film was superb and I really had no complaints against anyone in the film. This is a film that is definitely worth a watch even if it’s at least once. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
There are certain actors in Hollywood that when you hear that they are starring in a film, you immediately want to see it because of how amazing they are. The same could be said when you hear a certain directors name and Bridge Of Spies is one of those films that works for both those cases. The film stars Tom Hanks (Catch Me If You Can) and it was directed by Steven Spielberg (Schindler’s List) and it takes place during the cold war at a time when both The Soviet Union and The United States were deploying spies. One day, a Soviet Spy by the name of Rudolph Abel (Mark Rylance) is caught and arrested. James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) is tasked with the duty of representing Abel in a court of law and then he is tasked with having to set up an exchange between the two mega powers. The film also stars Domenick Lombardozzi (Phone Booth) as Agent Blasko, Victor Verhaeghe (The Wolf Of Wall Street) as Agent Gamber, Joshua Harto (The Dark Knight) as Bates, Alan Alda (M*A*S*H) as Thomas Watters Jr., Amy Ryan (Escape Plan) as Mary Donovan, Mikhail Gorevoy (Die Another Day) as Ivan Schischkin, Sebastian Koch (A Good Day To Die Hard) as Wolfgang Vogel, Burghart Klaußner (Goodbye Lenin!) as Harald Ot, Will Rogers (The Bay) as Frederic Pryor, Austin Stowell (Whiplash) as Francis Powers, and Jesse Plemons (Black Mass) as Joe Murphy.
Mark Rylance who played Rudolph Abel, the accused Soviet spy won an Oscar this year for Best Supporting Actor and it was the only Oscar the film won I believe. I have still not seen many of the other pictures that were nominated to really make a critique, but I didn’t think he did enough to earn the win. It was a great performance none the less from the man, but there was more of Tom Hanks than there was of him. I do however understand the point of Best Supporting Actor who is there to support the lead actor. Nevertheless, you are probably wondering what I thought about the film itself. Like I said in the above paragraph, there are actors that you see their name and you do not question it at all. Tom Hanks is definitely one of those guys and he puts on a superstar performance in the film as James B. Donovan. Donovan’s character is very interesting because here is a man representing someone we labeled a spy knowing full well that he was going to be hated because of it. yet, the man kept going and did one of the most unthinkable things later on. I’m not giving away any spoilers because it’s based on a true story. The film is compelling and the story was well written. This isn’t an action film or a psychological thriller, but a drama that is historical and I guess is a little bit of a thriller towards the last half of the film. The cinematograghy in the film was amazing and you have to give it up to the set design and costume department for making us believe we were 1950’s New York and a dilapidated Berlin. I love films that are based on true stories because they are so much more compelling. That is why I am going to give this one an A- for a final grade.
I don’t know how to follow up the amazing Deadpool since that was the best film viewed yet, but we’ll have to try. I continued down the comedy road and chose a film by the world famous Coen Brothers (Fargo). The film is called The Ladykillers and it stars the amazing Tom Hanks (Philadelphia) as Professor G.H. Dorr PHd, a smooth talking eccentric southern man who is looking to take advantage of an old woman named Marva Munson (Irma P. Hall) because her property lies within his master plan. You see, Dorr wants to rob a Casino boat, but in order to do that, he has to build a tunnel underground that leads to the casino with a rather unlikely team and pose as a classical duo in the meantime to fool the old lady. The film also stars Marlon Wayans (Scary Movie) as Gawain, J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) as Garth Pancake, Tzi Ma (Rush Hour) as The General, Ryan Hurst (Remember The Titans) as Lump Hudson, Diane Delano (The Wicker Man) as Mountain Girl, George Wallace (Funny People) as Sheriff Wyner, Stephen Root (Office Space) as Fernand Gudge, Jason Weaver (Drumline) as Weemack, and Walter K. Jordan (Life) as Elron.
I didn’t know going into the film that it was a remake and with that being said I’d actually like to see the original version. The film isn’t super amazing, but it’s actually pretty decent and at times it’s funny. The part that is funny to me is the fact that these are five guys who have really no business being a team and it shows throughout the film. You want to talk about a motley crew, these are definitely them. You have a punk wannabe street thug, a demolitions expert with a bad case of IBS, a Vietnamese general with a smoking habit, and a jock whose dumber than a box of rocks. That is where the real comedy in this film lies and it once it gets towards the last 20 minutes of the film is when it gets really good as it all falls apart. The soundtrack to the film is actually pretty good as it mixes some gospel music with music like The Nappy Roots, and so much more. It was also supervised by T Bone Burnett who you may remember for O Brother, Where Art Thou?. I definitely think it’s a film that is worth checking out if you are a fan of Tom Hanks, The Coen Brothers, and T Bone Burnett. Marlon Wayans was definitely the comedic relief of the film, but Hanks provides some himself. I am going to give The Ladykillers an B for a final grade.