Cert: 15 Runtime: 119 mins Director: Craig Gillespie Cast: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Julianne Nicholson, Caitlin Carver and Paul Walter Hauser
You fuck dumb. You don’t marry dumb.
Margot Robbie has received wide acclaim for I, Tonya. Tonya Harding is someone I know little about, but I have heard a few crazy stories. All I have gathered from the trailers is that it’s like The Wolf of Wall Street. So what is it all about you ask? Based on the unbelievable but true events, I, TONYA is a darkly comedic tale of American figure skater, Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie), and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history. Though Harding was the first American woman to complete a triple axel in competition, her legacy was forever defined by her association with an infamous, ill-conceived, and even more poorly executed attack on fellow Olympic competitor Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver).
The film is sort of told from a mockumentary perspective as if key characters are being interviewed. The film also utilises breaking the fourth wall where characters in a scene would talk to the audience. I thought this was interesting and separates itself from being a standard biopic and gives this film a real comedic depth. Some wonder why the film was made but it kind of helps you identify with Tonya. She suffered physical and psychological abuse from both her foul mouthed mother and her rage filled husband. Her hands may not be completely clean in what happens to Nancy Kerrigan, but she is also just a victim of circumstances. The first-hour is solid & gets into Tonya’s world & the people involved with a wicked sense of humour. The second-hour is a little disappointing & overlong, and the sub-plot involving the 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan, Harding’s rival and Olympic teammate, offers less impact. The Writing isn’t always compelling & takes away some glory from the film, overall.
Normally, actresses got an Oscar for emotional performances, and without any doubt, Margot does brilliant emotional acting in the movie “I, Tonya”. But at the same time, you also have to consider the difficulty of the physical performances.Allison Janney was just as good. Sure it already was a showy part to begin with but Janney even put something on top. You never knew if you should just straight up hate her or if there is something good in her. Very cynical, very sarcastic performance. Does the film excuse Harding’s behaviours or paint her out to be a victim? Not really and if it had, the film would have been a waste of time. What it does do is help you at least understand who she was and why she did what she did as she was more than just an intense competitor.
Cert: 15 Runtime: 137 mins Director: Angelina Jolie Cast: Jack O’Connell, Takamasa Ishihara, Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund and Jai Courntey
If you can take it, you can make it
Jack O’Connell seems to be the rising star in the world at the moment. He was an award contender at one point in time, but it all went wrong. Personally I didn’t really want to watch this film but we must solider on with these things I guess. What is Unbroken about then? As a rebellious youth, Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) is encouraged by his brother Pete (Alex Russell) to channel his energies into running. But war puts a stop to his Olympic track career as he volunteers for the Air Force. Following a crash landing in the Pacific, Louis and his two fellow survivors spend 47 gruelling days adrift in a life raft, at the mercy of sharks and the elements. But his ordeal is only just beginning. Captured by the Japanese, he’s taken to a series of brutal prisoner of war camps.
Unbroken is a mixed bag. On one hand, it feels like extreme Oscar- bait and over done, but on the other, it feels like it shows potential in Angelina Jolies’ directing skills and I don’t think it should be completely torn apart like a lot of people are doing. I think the strongest thing about this is the general story. It’s based on a true story, and it really is incredible. Much respect to the actual men who went through this, because it obviously takes a strong person to get through it. Obviously this is the theme of the film. Staying strong through tough times and being “unbroken” so to speak. But sadly a good performance from Jack O’Connell and some occasionally nice cinematography and directing by Jolie isn’t enough. The film tries way to hard to be that film that makes you cry because the character is so strong and the whole time you feel the film saying “give me an Oscar! Look! Emotion! Hardships!” instead of straight up showing you a situation that a strong man got through, and that’s its biggest issue. In that sense, films like Rescue Dawn do it much better. This feels to artificial and tries too hard.
Not much in the film itself got an emotional response, EXCEPT for the final words before the credits, that actually show the real Louis Zamperini, running the Olympic torch in Japan. It’s such a strong image to see and almost brought a tear to my eye. But I guess that shows it might have been better as a documentary of sorts.There was also some odd moments throughout. Zamperini and two other men find themselves floating out at sea, and in a really great scene at night we see sharks surrounding them. This builds tension extremely well, but I found it ruined when it climaxes with a kind of laughable jump scare where the shark jumps out at a character. The character of Watanabe is supposed to be a terrifying Japanese internment camp leader, but occasionally comes across as weird of laughable. I guess that sums up a lot of sequences. Could have been really moving or shocking, but kind of came across as weird.In the end, I thought it was okay. The runtime of 2 hours and 17 minutes feels more like 3 hours and 17 minutes because of some dragging, but I’m glad I learned about Zamperini and his story, because it’s worth hearing.
Cert: 12A Runtime: 134 mins Director: Bennett Miller Cast: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller and Vanessa Redgrave
Coach is the father. Coach is a mentor. Coach has great power on athlete’s life
Bennett Miller is known for his real life movies Capote and Moneyball are great films, once I heard of Foxcatcher my intrigue got the best of me. Prior to watching the film I did do some research on Foxcatcher wrestling, John du Pont and the Schultz brothers. This really did wet my appetite, my only issue with the film was the casting of Steve Carrell (we shall delve into this later) What is Foxcatcher about? Despite being an Olympic gold medal winning wrestler, Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) feels frustrated. He has always lived in the shadow of his brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo), a fellow wrestling Olympian. A way out of poverty and into sporting history beckons when he is summoned to meet eccentric multi-millionaire John Eleuthere du Pont (Steve Carell). The tycoon invites Mark to move onto his sprawling estate and train with his Team Foxcatcher for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Desperate to win the respect of his disapproving mother (Vanessa Redgrave), the unstable du Pont is determined to assemble and coach a world-class athletics team. But this is to have ultimately tragic consequences.
My main issue Steve Carell became my main positive, he is nothing but astonishing. This is a trillion light years away from Date Night. He has achieved what Jim Carrey and Robin Williams have done over the years. That being jumping from comedy to drama freely. John du Pont was a loner and clearly had mental issues. From my research on him Carell truly has nailed the characteristics of du Pont. The transformation with prosthetics is a great help also in Carell’s performance. One would imagine award nominations will follow this performance. Hopefully this is a new chapter in Carell’s career. Mark Ruffalo as always for me gave a great performance, him and Tatum had great chemistry. He is the real main supporting character in the piece. As Carell and Ruffalo play a tug of war for Tatum. Channing Tatum wasn’t that great in Foxcatcher, he is the kindling that begins the fire on this journey. I found him to be very hollow and bland. It takes more then slapping yourself and head butting mirrors to bring a character to life. When it comes to the casting I can’t really imagine anyone else playing him.
Foxcatcher felt like Dallas Buyers Club for me, it was more of a character driven story then it’s context. The story was rather muddled and didn’t have such clear vision. The momentum builds and builds, but it flattens by the final third of the film. It potentially been cut by 15 minutes. Bennett Miller’s direction is very smooth, his vision is there but it’s about 80% successful. There are some great shots used here and it feels very authentic. The score by Mychael Danna is very haunting, maybe one of the best I’ve heard in a film this year. His composition just fits so well in this world and the situation, it really sets the tone for the whole film. Foxcatcher is a film that I don’t think I will be re-watching anytime soon or maybe never again. It’s a powerhouse in the acting but it was rather flat at the same time. But no doubt it will receive a lot of award buzz over the next few weeks and months.