Archives 2020

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “NEWS OF THE WORLD” – 8.5

 

“NEWS OF THE WORLD” – 8.5

 

In a word:  Heroic

 

That “In a Word” refers mostly to the main character deftly played by Tom Hanks, in which the former Civil War captain starts out in a low-key role that lulls the audience until he inadvertently meets up with a lost and fumbling little blonde-haired girl who had been left behind by her adopted Indian Tribe.  Now a travelling preacher/teacher of sorts, Hanks tries many times to leave the mute child with another adult family on the prairie, but her behavior and absence of communication leaves prospective adopters at a loss, thus returning the rejected child back to Hanks, again and again.

     The movie depicts a myriad of struggles, besides the harsh elements in the Texas prairies of 1870 in which the rugged old man and the child face death, destruction, starvation and violent criminals along the way. The two eventually bond which brings the viewer into their hearts.

     This captivating film shows us the profound morality of a returned old military man who becomes a lifesaver for a ten-year old child. The scenic photography in this movie is spectacular from all angles. Hanks, a top-rate actor throughout his career, will undoubtedly be nominated for an Oscar.

     The attention given to the child actress will captivate all audiences, as this young girl, now 12, rises to a level for child acting rarely seen in our lifetimes. Her real name is Helena Zengel, who originally hailed from Germany.  She received various accolades in Europe for her 2019 role in the foreign film, System Crasher, for which she won four Best Actress awards. I foresee her not only being nominated for best supporting actress in this film, she will win.

     Rated PG. There is a scene or two with profanity but it’s not rife. The viewer is also provided a few scenes involving violence, pain and suffering.

     A slow start will bring some ratings down, but the storyline is too emotionally powerful not to give it a high rating.

I give this movie 8.5 out of 10.

News of the World (2020) – IMDb

 

A point of trivia:  What do the following movie titles have in common?   “Sully” … “Saving Private Ryan” … “Captain Phillips” … “Apollo 13” …“News of the World.”  Main stars are all cast as a current or prior military Captain by…(Drum roll please)… Tom Hanks.

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “MANK” – 7.0

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “MANK” – 7.0

 

In a word:  Boring

 

Different strokes for different folks, as they say.  Some people will love this movie, others will walk out at the halfway point.

     In a nutshell, the movie centers on the true-life misery, talent and wit of famed screenwriter, Herman J. Mankiewicz (aka Mank) who was also well known as an unabashed alcoholic.  Played by journeyman actor, Gary Oldman, the plot (if you call it that) centers on the Oldman character, in which he staggers and slurs from scene to scene among the Hollywood elite, including Orson Welles, who was to be the primary actor in the eventually released 1941 blockbuster, “Rosebud.” It would eventually become the signature role for Welles.

     First, the reader here must know that yours truly is in the minority among most reviews of this film, which frequently takes place in Mank’s bed passing out or recovering from a hangover. Matter of fact, there are hardly any scenes which depict Mank pecking on a typewriter, nor does he spend time dictating dialogue to his secretary, who does most of his typing.  That might beg the question; who really wrote the actual screenplay? (stay tuned, that’s coming)

     I was first impressed that the movie is deftly based in a late 1930’s backdrop, presented totally in black and white. That worked great for Schindler’s List, but it slowed down to a crawl in Mank.

      Scene by scene the viewer must discern the constant drone of dialogue, which could probably have been edited for brevity, and still keep the movie of interest.

     I’ve oft complimented Gary Oldman’s acting talents, which now cover a period of nearly 40 years, winning many awards, including an Oscar in 2018 for Darkest Hour, playing Winston Churchill. He now has another six movies in production or pending release.

     It should be noted that Mank did apparently complete the manuscript for Rosebud and eventually shared an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay with Orson Welles.

     This is not a great movie for anyone with Attention Deficit Disorder, because the viewer will tend to wander (mentally). The acting is very good among the entire cast, as are many other aspects of the film, i.e. period and backdrop details, photography, etc.

     I give this film a 7.0 out of 10

Mank (2020) – IMDb

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “HILLBILLY ELEGY” – 10.

“Hillbilly Elegy”  10

 

In a word: Powerful

The movie was based on the non-fiction book of the same title, authored by one of the main characters who actually drives the story, J.D. Vance.

     To begin, we must acknowledge the awesome array of class A actors, each of whom played a critical role in the film. These could not have been easy roles to play. Any of the primary cast members could be worthy nominations and/or Oscar awards, to and including Best Director, Ron Howard.

     The movie is set in two complicated periods of life first in the squalor within Kentucky in the 1990s and then Ohio later on.

     J.D. Vance is a trouble youngster (approx. age 12) constantly searching for acceptance and love in a dysfunctional family that can barely stand each other. The movie flips back and forth from this boys struggle at age 12 to his mid-twenties trying to earn credits to attend college, only to be set back over and over, facing critical episodes of survival when his drug-addicted mother goes off the rails.

     That role belongs to one of the finest actresses now or ever, Amy Adams, who clearly struggles with mental health challenges exacerbated by drugs and alcohol, and whose actions keep the rest of the family in a down spiral.

     The Mammaw role, the rural grandmother to J.D. and his sister, is deftly played by journeywoman Glenn Close, clearly one of her greatest performances ever. I’d say she’s a lock for best supporting actress.

     The main role of J.D. Vance is played (as a young man) by Gabriel Basso, who offers quite a resume, but unknown to me until this movie. He, too, could be nominated for an Oscar.

     Beware: This movie can generate a flow of tears, especially for those who have survived family dysfunction, pain, love and loss.

     Be prepared for a few scenes of violence and a smattering of foul language that fits the story. Much like I wrote in my last review of “Let Him Be,” this is an acting lesson for and by the main characters.

     Director Ron Howard will likely be nominated for Best Director.

     It terms of pure art in the world of movie making, this movie is worthy of a 10.

Afterthought: I do have partialities when it comes to actors. Do I think Amy Adams is one of the great (not just beautiful) actresses of all time?  Guilty!

Hillbilly Elegy (2020) – IMDb

 

NPR Interview with J.D. Vance: 
‘Hillbilly Elegy’ Recalls A Childhood Where Poverty Was ‘The Family Tradition’ : NPR

THE BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT

Theyrrr herre…

 Patrisse Cullors, mentioned in various published articles about leftist politics in America, is the Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter…well known as a devout Marxist. (easily verified).  Fellow co-founder Alicia Garza, openly admits her alliance as a devout Marxist as well.

These are not secrets. They get support from the highest of levels.  

The Marxist clan who lead Black Lives Matter have an extreme agenda which is pointed out in the articles linked below.  No surprise, I’ve studied her and her other co-founders, also Marxists. In political circles it is well-known. This is what Communists have been promising for the last half century…divide and conquer. In another few years, we just might be seeing a full-blown revolution.  When that happens, it’s Bye-Bye to the U.S. Constitution. There will be no turning back.

 According to a recent issue of News Break: 

      George Soros has given Black Lives Matter and the Antifa related revolutionary movement more than $100 million dollars. The Soros run Open Society Foundations is on record with giving Black Lives Matter $33 million dollars this year alone. This is in concert with an array of funding for a variety of Democrat and DNC related left-wing groups across the country.

What’s amazing is how certain organizational elements in America, and private individuals, support their agenda without realizing the ultimate consequences if they succeed. I’m sure many people are well-meaning, but they are also being used, exploited and brainwashed.  Here’s a revealing link about their objectives…and they’ve only just begun.

Black Lives Matter founder calls for Biden to abolish prisons – TheBlaze

George Soros gave Black Lives Matter and Antifa over $100 Million dollars | News Break

 

HONORING POLICE DIVISION CHIEF CHARLES BLACK:

Twas a summer evening in Melbourne, Florida, 2015. We were at home watching TV when the phone rang.  I took the phone to another room, so as not to disturb Suzanne.  I said, curiously, “Hello?”

     After a short pause, the woman said, “Marshall?” She had a soft whispery voice. I knew who it was. Actually, I recalled that voice as far back as 1961 when she worked for the Dade County Sheriff’s Department as a station-house secretary. No words were needed. There was only one reason that Lynda Black would be calling me. I erupted into a cry, barely able to talk. I felt the depth of her heart.

     “Is he gone?” I asked.

     “Yes,” she replied, now crying as well. Then she said, “Last night, I got out of bed around 3 a.m. to use the bathroom. Charlie was sound asleep, snoring. When I returned, he was not snoring.”

     Such is the way Charlie Black would do almost anything: The right way. His credo always stood, “There IS no other way but the right way.”

     I first got to know Charlie Black as my trainer in 1961. He had a fast step and a fluid mind that was a challenge to keep up with. His nature was distant, as though it was a nuisance to be training new officer.

     Charlie rose through the ranks quickly, passing every promotional test at the top of the list. He made a mark in every assignment as the department fell into an abyss after a series of corruption scandals, none of which involved Charlie. He worked mostly in the Intelligence Units. Shortly after the new Director E. Wilson Purdy (former FBI agent) was installed in 1968, Charlie was elevated to chief of detectives at the age of 32. Purdy was squeaky clean and known to thoroughly vet everyone he promoted to the nth degree. He had made a powerful impression on the department and everyone in it.

     I was already working in Homicide. To me, Black was a tough to keep up with and a hard-ass authoritarian. He made many friends, but also some enemies who did not work for him very long.

     I never knew he even noticed me, until early in the 1970’s, when I sat high on the Lieutenant’s list. My Homicide boss hollered at me, “Hey Frank, Major Black wants to see you.”

     Charlie was being promoted to a division chief in charge of Communications, Records and the Crime Laboratory. He smirked, then popped the question: “Marshall I want you to be my right hand man. Come work for me, and if you score well, you’ll be a captain in no time.”

     Thus began 45 more years of close friendship and deep respect. By virtue of being at his side, he taught me about getting a job done by-passing bureaucratic red tape. He stood up for me and helped me through some tough times, on a personal level. Yes, as the saying goes, he was my Rabbi.

     One day, he called me into his office and said, “I want you to bring these papers to the Sheriff of Monroe County. Now!”

     “Okay Boss, it’ll take a few hours to drive to Key West and back.”

     “Forget driving. I’ve arranged the police aircraft to take you down now. They’re waiting for you at Opa Locka airport.”    

     I would compare Charlie Black to the likes of Donald Trump. Yes, he could be pompous at times, bull-headed, domineering and self-ingratiating. But his sights were always lasered on his police agency, to make it the very best it could be. And, he was passionately loyal to the people who worked for him.  Being among those, was a privilege.

     Charlie also personified a term known by many in the Spanish community, he had a set of “cojones.” Intimidated by no one.

     Charlie and I remained friends for life. He and his bride lived in Western North Carolina during retirement. He was extremely devoted to his Lynda.

     Though I could probably write a book, there are many stories I omit here. Yes, he was imperfect. But this should not be the forum to discuss those bumps in the road. He was there for me, and many others, to a fault.

     Thanks Charlie, for being my buddy.

     And by the way; Happy 85th Birthday.