Movie Review: THE FINEST HOURS (2016)

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

the_finest_hoursTHE FINEST HOURS (USA 2016) **
Directed by Craig Gillespie

Starring: Chris Pine, Holliday Grainger, Casey Affleck

Review by Gilbert Seah

Following hot on the heels (or rather on the keel) of Ron Howard’s recently released sea adventure, the critically and box-office flop IN THE HEART OF THE SEA, THE FINEST HOURS follows a crew of men fighting the elements, which is just as intense though without a Moby Dick-type monster. The plus of the two films is the authentic claustrophobic atmosphere in the vessel when the men are sailing, something that will surely discourage those intending to take a cruise some time soon.
The title ‘based on a true story’ immediately flashes on the screen at the film’s start and the film is clear to remind its audience of this fact throughout the film.

The film is a Hollywood account of the daring 1950s rescue mission by the American Coast Guard. An oil tanker, the Pendleton is split in half by a perfect storm. The surviving sailors are left adrift with no means of communication exempt to blast the horn. A member of the nearby community hears the call and a coast guard boat led by the hero, Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) with his crew then risk their lives to find and rescue the sailors. On the tanker’s side, the hero is the chief engineer, Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck).

Director Gillespie spends too much screen time at the start with the romance between Webber and Miriam (Holliday Grainger). All this is to emphasize the heroism and sacrifice of both the men and the women by their side. Gillespie directed LARS AND THE REAL GIRL and therefore uses his past experience in putting in relationships into this film. As in most Disney films, the money making formula is kept to a ’t’.
Romance, action, a happy ending with good heroic dialogue like: “We are all going home.” The problem resulting is a too predictable film.

There is one segment in which all power is lost in the town as a result of the storm and the rescue boat, without a compass needs to find land. I could predict all the cars turning on the headlamps to signal the boat way before that scene occurred.

Once the storm occurs, Gillespie crosscuts between the action in the oil tanker and the action in the Coast Guard boat. It is a 50-50 division. What occurs inn the tanker turns out the more interesting, aided by the fact that the script emphasizes problems between Ray and a disagreeable mate (Michael Raymond McTavish) who has his own ideas on survival. The introduction of a singing cook (Abraham Benrubi) lifts the spirit of an otherwise too serious film.

But one can only endure special effects (not bad ones though) for only so long.

Disney’s THE FINEST HOURS ends up one of the most boring tales of an incredible true mission despite all the enormous effort put in. THE FINEST HOURS is a tad better than IN THE HEART OF THE SEA but that is not saying much.

 

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month:http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

Movie Review: UNDER CAPRICORN, 1949. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

UNDER CAPRICORN, 1949
Movie Review
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotten
Review by Steve Painter

SYNOPSIS:

In 1831, Irishman Charles Adare travels to Australia to start a new life with the help of his cousin who has just been appointed governor…

REVIEW:

Alfred Hitchcock is known as “The Master of Suspense.” It is rare to see a movie made by him without much suspense in it then. Typically the movies that he made without suspense did not do well with critics or at the box office. It was something that Hitchcock had to live with his whole career. He wanted to do more than suspense movies, but he knew audiences would reject them. He learned this tough lesson after making Under Capricorn (1949).

The movie is set in colonial Australia. That might be all you need to know about what type of movie this will be. It is a costume drama. It is similar in some respects to Rebecca (1940). Rebecca of course won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Under Capricorn did not. Based on this alone, there must be a big difference in the quality of each picture.

Under Capricorn doesn’t suffer because of its cast though. Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotton star. It would be the last time each appeared in a Hitchcock movie. Bergman and Hitchcock got into a dispute over her character. This dispute led Hitchcock to never call her again when he was casting a movie. Cotton would appear in a few Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes in the 1950s, but didn’t get another shot in a full length Hitchcock movie.

Michael Wilding plays Charles Adare, the nephew of the governor of Australia. He is visiting the English colony. At this point in time Australia was being used to hold convicts. One of the convicts, who has done well for himself since coming to Australia, is Cotton’s character, Sam Flusky. Flusky has become a respected businessman in the colony and is married to Bergman’s Lady Henrietta, a wealthy woman.

Flusky has been banished to Australia because he has murdered Lady Henrietta’s brother. At this point in time the caste system was in effect, so Flusky and Charles, members of the upper-class, would attend the same parties and host dinners for each other.

Since Charles has arrived in Australia he has heard about Lady Henrietta. He is disappointed when at Flusky’s dinner party she is unable to come down to eat because she is sick. Midway through the meal Lady Henrietta makes an appearance, in probably one of the best entrances in all of Hitchcock. She is an alcoholic and ends up embarrassing herself and her husband at the dinner. This doesn’t stop Charles though, as he has become smitten by her.

Housekeeper, Millie, is not smitten with Lady Henrietta. She acts like she is taking care of her, but she is slowly killing her. First mentally, by blaming all of the household’s problems on her because she is unable to be the lady of the house. Then she begins killing her physically, by giving her poison.

This does not stop Charles from taking an interest in Henrietta’s affairs. He believes that he is capable of reforming her. He seems to be making some progress. The two begin to fall in love. This doesn’t sit well with Flusky. Spurred on by Millie, who is in love with Flusky, he takes a gun and shoots Charles.

Charles doesn’t die, but enough sympathy is stirred in Henrietta that she leaves Flusky for Charles. Things seem like they will end happily for Charles and Millie, as they will both get what they want. Then Henrietta reveals that it was she, not Flusky, who murdered her brother and Flusky took responsibility for the act.

This act by Flusky stirs something in Henrietta and she wants to go back to him. Charles is reluctant to let her go, but he finally does. As a parting gift, Charles tells Flusky that Millie has been poisoning his wife. Flusky takes care of Millie. Henrietta and Flusky finally are able to live a normal life.

Under Capricorn is not a good movie if you expect to see an Alfred Hitchcock-type story. But if you enjoy historical costume pictures, this might be for you. There is enough here to keep you entertained, just ignore the directed by credit.

 

 

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month:http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

Movie Review: RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983)

FAN FICTION Film and Writing Festival

Submit your Fan Fiction Screenplay to the Festival: http://fanfictionfestival.com

Read Interview with Star Wars Storyboard Artist Kurt Van der Basch

RETURN OF THE JEDI, 1983
Movie Review
Directed by Richard Marquand
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Sebastian Shaw, Ian McDiarmid, Frank Oz, James Earl Jones, David Prowse, Alec Guinness
Review by Andrew Kosarko

SYNOPSIS:

The third and final chapter in the wondrous STAR WARS saga is RETURN OF THE JEDI. Luke (Mark Hamill) must save Han Solo (Harrison Ford) from the clutches of the monstrous Jabba the Hut, and bring down the newly reconstructed–and even more powerful–Death Star. With Solo imprisoned, Luke accompanies his faithful droids R2D2 (Kenny Baker) and C3PO (Anthony Daniels) in a rescue bid, with Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) also lending a hand. After they valiantly disentangle their friends from Jabba’s clutches, Luke returns…

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Today’s Twitter Posts: Thursday January 28 2016

WILDsound Festival

Best of Twitter Posts Today: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Original Screenplay. FEEDBACK Film Festival January 28 2016. January 2016 Winning Writers.

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Today’s Instagram Photos: Thursday January 28 2016

Read Best of Interviews with Top Hollywood Film Crew and Festival Directors

WILDsound Festival

Read the best of Interviews this week. 

Interviews from Matthew Toffolo  from WILDsound

Interview with Stunt Performer James Cox (Star Wars VII, The Dark Knight Rise)

Interview with Stunt Performer James Cox (Star Wars VII, The Dark Knight Rise)

Interview with Actor James Wallis (Shakespeare BASH’d)

Interview with Actor James Wallis (Shakespeare BASH’d)

Interview with Graphic Designer Tina Charad (Maleficent, Fifty Shades of Grey)

Interview with Graphic Designer Tina Charad (Maleficent, Fifty Shades of Grey)

Interview with Festival Director Oscar Piloto (Miami Indie Artist Film Festival)

https://festivalreviews.org/2016/01/25/interview-with-festival-director-oscar-piloto-miami-indie-artist-film-festival/

Interview with Festival Director Roger Sampson (Focus International Film Festival)

https://festivalreviews.org/2016/01/25/interview-with-festival-director-roger-sampson-focus-international-film-festival/

Interview with Festival Director Michael Wearing (The Rob Knox Film Festival)

https://festivalreviews.org/2016/01/27/interview-with-festival-director-michael-wearing-the-rob-knox-film-festival/

Interview with Festival Director Onur Yayla (Around International Film Festival)

https://festivalreviews.org/2016/01/27/interview-with-festival-director-onur-yayla-around-international-film-festival/

Interview with Festival Director Charles McNeil (Cape Fear Independent Film Festival)

https://festivalreviews.org/2016/01/28/interview-with-festival-director-charles-mcneil-cape-fear-independent-film-festival/

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional…

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Interview with Festival Director Charles McNeil (Cape Fear Independent Film Festival)

The Cape Fear Independent Film Network is dedicated to promoting independent film and preserving the Cape Fear region’s rich film history.

Go to the film site for more information: http://www.cfifn.org/

I recently sat down with festival director Charles McNeil to learn more about the festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What is the CFI: Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

Charles McNeil: We consider the Cape Fear Independent Film Festival a Filmmaker’s festival. For Filmmakers that attend we ensure that They first off have a good time, but we also like to focus on the networking aspect of a film festival, we encourage all of the filmmakers in attendance to meet the other filmmakers. For those who can’t attend we offer the notoriety of being in the festival, we are a very competitive festival.

Matthew: What would you expect to experience when you attend the festival?

Charles: We are a welcoming festival, those who attend, whether a filmmaker or someone who is just out for some entertainment, should expect to be approached by a member of the festival and engage them in conversation. We also encourage our filmmakers to engage with our audience and our audience to engage with our filmmakers.

Matthew: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Charles: What is most likely to get a film into our festival is its entertainment and engagement value. Our screeners are looking to be compelled to watch the film they are reviewing, and we want our audiences to be compelled also. Short, feature, documentary, doesn’t matter, tell us a good story that draws our attention.

Matthew: Why would a filmmaker be motivated to submit to your festival?

Charles: The Cape Fear Independent Film Festival offers two monetary prizes, $250 for best short and $500 for best feature, however this isn’t the only reason to submit to our festival. Wilmington NC has always been a film hub, since Frank Capra Jr. brought Firestarter to film here over 30 years ago.

Matthew: What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Charles: We do the film festival because we are filmmakers. We have attended festivals as filmmakers and audience members and love the sense of community you can get from some of the really great ones, and that’s what we are doing here. Creating a sense of community for our filmmakers and audience members, it’s great to see the same filmmakers submit again, not only because it’s great to have them visit if they make it into the festival, but it’s great to see the evolution of their craft.

Matthew: How has the festival changed since its inception?

Charles: At it’s heart it’s the same, but when we started we did a lot more screenings in local bars, they embraced us and made it easy for us to put films in front of an audience. We have grown over the years and now we use larger venues. But we are still there to make sure the filmmakers have a good time and network.

Matthew: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Charles: This year we are showing films over 3 days. I would like to expand that in the next few years, our aim is to be a 5 day festival by 2020. More films, more filmmakers, more awesome. But we won’t change the fact that we are a filmmakers festival and want to not only show them a good time, but offer the chance at networking and honing their craft.

Matthew: What film have you seen the most in your life?

Charles: The film I have probably seen more times than any other, and it is my favorite film, is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Dick Van Dyke. People don’t realize it’s essentially James Bond for kids with singing and dancing. Written by Ian Fleming, produced by Albert R. Broccoli, with Desmond Llewelyn ( the original Q) and Gert Fröbe (Goldfinger) as the bad guy. It’s gotten under my skin and I watch it at least a couple of times a year.

Matthew: In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Charles: What makes a great film is it’s ability to hold your attention, horrified, laughing, crying, edge of your seat, the emotion doesn’t matter.

Matthew: How is the film scene in your city?

Charles: With the reduction of the film incentive a lot of productions have gone elsewhere, but we are bringing it back, when NC went from a Tax Credit to a Film Grant it was originally $10 million, but now that has been increased to $30 million. Productions are coming back to North Carolina and to Wilmington in particular. Having a professional base of crew makes for a great independent film scene.

Watch the January 2016 Winning Writing Festival Videos

WILDsound Festival

Watch all of the winning writings for January 2016. 1 novel made into a movie. 1 feature screenplay reading. 2 TV Pilots. 1 Spec screenplay. 4 novel readings. 2 1st scene screenplays. 2 short screenplays. 10 Twitter Short Stories. 12 Poetry Readings.

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca
Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

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Interview with Stunt Performer James Cox (Star Wars VII, The Dark Knight Rise)

Matthew Toffolo's Summary

A stunt performer, often referred to as a stuntman or daredevil, is someone who performs dangerous stunts for the Film and TV industry.

James Cox has worked on over 40 productions as a stunt performer in just the last 6 years of his young career. He’s been a part of the most popular and iconic films and TV shows too, including: Game of Thrones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Downton Abbey, Wrath of the Titans, The Impossible, Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall, World War Z, Spectre and of course Star Wars: Episode VII.

I was thrilled to be able to ask him a few questions about his job and career.

Matthew Toffolo: First off, we need to talk about Star Wars as you were a part of what is going to be the most popular movie of all-time. What was your role in “The Force Awakens”? How many days did you work on…

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Interview with Festival Director Michael Wearing (The Rob Knox Film Festival)

The Rob Knox Film Festival is held annually in Bexley, London. in memory of the actor who played Marcus Belby in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Go to the Film Freeway submission page to submit your film: https://filmfreeway.com/festival/RobKnoxFilmFestival

I sat down with the Festival Director to learn more about this unique festival.

rob_knoxMatthew Toffolo: What is the Rob Knox Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

Michael Wearing: The Rob Knox Film Festival has been extremely successful at identifying talented individuals at an early stage in their career and given them recognition, and a renewed motivation to move on to better things. Perhaps the best example of this is Stephen Fingleton who won his first ever award at the festival. (Best director for the his film Driver). This year he was nominated for a BAFTA award for outstanding debut feature by a British writer, Director or Producer. Another good example is Gareth Fient who won his first award at the festival aged just 15, and now aged 21 is getting regular work as a director and editor from producers in New York, LA and London.

Matthew: What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival?

Michael: The festival exhibits films from around the world, but is proud to ensure that locally made films are screened as well. There’s a real sense of community. Alongside the main awards night we lay on 8days of film related activity, this will include screenings at community venues and workshops. The festival ends with an awards evening and a free networking event.

Matthew: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Michael: We are very keen to experience films of all genres and lengths. The festival is named after and held in memory of Rob Knox who played Marcus Belby in Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince and was murdered a week after filming his scenes aged just 18. His parents are active in the organisation of the festival, so we are mindful of their sensitivities and wishes.

Matthew: What makes a great independent film?

Michael: It’s a difficult question, I’m often surprised by the decision of the judges…. But from my point of view a great independent film will tell a story in no more time than is required to tell the story. We will allow slight imperfections in the visuals but the sound should be of a high quality.

Matthew: What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Michael: My principle motivation is to honour the memory of Rob, and I think that is so with the whole team. A side effect of the festival is the increased networking opportunities it has provided to me and the others involved. I’m also keen to raise the positive profile of young people and so we get them involved in all aspects of the festival…

Matthew: How has the festival changed since its inception?

Michael: The main change is that from being a totally free festival. we have introduced a charge to filmmakers for most categories. This was done to reduce the quantity of entries we receive. The festival is run by volunteers and we were aware that the amount of entries we were receiving would eventually overwhelm the judges. Another change was accepting entries via film freeway instead of requiring DVDs…

Matthew: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Michael: It would be good to get some increased sponsorship, and more volunteers, so that we can increase the offer.. The general format We see as remaining as it is, but we are always open to suggestions on ways to improve.

Matthew: What film have you seen the most in your life?

Michael: I’ve seen many films more than once, a few I would put as having seen 100s of time but there is one film that I have seen thousands of times. And that is Tootsie starring Dustin Hofmann. An incredible piece of writing, I just love the way there are so many sub stories weaved together impeccably.

Matthew: What country (or countries) seem to make the bests short films year after year?

Michael: We get great films from all over the world. I don’t think country comes into it. Our audience is predominately British, but we have had films from Russia, USA, Greece, France, Belguim, Spain, Ireland and Brazil all win awards. We are happy to show films with subtitles..

Matthew: How is the film scene in your city?

Michael: The Rob Knox Film Festival takes place in Bexleyheath in South East London, and part of the reason we started it was because there was nothing going on in this particular area… However across London there is always film related activity going on.

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Fesival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.