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Film Review: TOY STORY 4 (USA 2019) ***1/2

Toy Story 4 Poster
Trailer

When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.

Director:

Josh Cooley

Writers:

John Lasseter (original story by), Andrew Stanton (original story by) |8 more credits »

As in all Disney film, reviewers were cautioned not to reveal any spoilers like key plot points or plot twists.  Disney has nothing to worry about here as there aren’t that many in TOY STORY 4 though the story gets a bit darker that the other films in the franchise.  Eve the film’s poster is a tad darker.  The appearance of multiple “Chucky” looking dolls, the ventriloquist dummies create a scarier animated feature though no less entertaining.

Number 4 already and the TOY STORY franchise is still going strong.  John Lasseter still works in TOY STORY 4 (he directed the fist two) here serving as executive producer and one of the writers.

TOY STORY 4 starts where number 3 left off.  Andy has given his toys including Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) to Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw).  When Bonnie attends kindergarten orientation, she creates a new toy from a plastic fork which she names Forky.  This is when the trouble begins.  Forky (Tony Hale) suffers from an existential crisis about being a toy, which the others try to help him understand how to be one. As Bonnie and her family go on a road trip, Forky escapes and Woody goes to save him, becoming separated from the group near a small town.  As Buzz and the others try to help find Woody, Woody finds Bo Peep (Annie Potts) among other toys in the town’s antique shop, and she gives him a new outlook on what being a toy is really about.

The story cleverly avoids any pitfalls like a boring and unnecessary romance.  The bond between Woody and Bo Beep is played  delivering the message and in offering a different outlook on their arguments, but expect no kisses from the couple.

TOY STORY 4 bungles at the start, with the setting upon the story running in a slow moving rather boring part.  It picks up after the first third and confidentially accomplishes what all the other 3 TOY STORIES do best – all the toys rallying together to work for their owner child human masters, serving their purpose as a toy, which even in animation terms is a thankless and  tiring job.  The film slides in a few messages as well, such as the importance of loyalty. 

The film contains an impressive list of voice characterizations including the old school Carol Burnett, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner with Keanu Reeves stealing the show with his “I Canada” as Canadian motorcycle stunt man Duke Caboom.                 

The introduction of the ventriloquist dummies that obey the huge villainous doll Gabby Gabby’s (Christina Hendricks) every bidding is the film’s prize. No wonder they are called dummies.  Gabby Gabby looks like Chucky with very sad eyes. 

The film’s look, at caravan/trailer park and the the dodgy amusement parked does not paint a wealthy and healthy look of America, but a glum one, full or conmen and suckers.  Still the film has a happy ending with a message for all.  Who can complain?

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmiIUN-7qhE

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Film Review: THE POST (USA 2017) ****

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The Post Poster
Trailer

A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between journalist and government.

Director:

Steven Spielberg

An ideal time for a picture such as THE POST to be released is this day and time when the majority of Americans are dissatisfied with the Trump Presidency.  No matter how much President Trump tries to make it right or criticize media, he is still made fun of every night on the talk shows, and especially on SNL by Alec Baldwin.  

The timing is also relevant for two reasons.  The film is Meryl Streep’s comeback at Trump after he made the remark of her being the most over-rated actress.  he demonstrates her acting prowess at taking down the Nixon Presidency or any other Presidency for that matter.  The second is the banding of critics and other publications to take down Disney when the studio decided to ban the L.A. Times in retaliation for a scathing article written against them. 

Spielberg, director of 50 or so films as of date, goes for theatrics, clearly from the start of the film to the end.  Meryl Streep is given the grand theatrical entrance in the bedroom scene where she coughs and papers get thrown on the floor.  The camera concentrates on the performances on both Hanks and Streep, as if it were begging them to be noticed for Oscar nods.  The actual crime, the incidents of the coverups of the four governments are only briefly mentioned, with hardly any details.  The opening sequence of one failure attack in Vietnam is supposed to do the trick.  

THE POST is the drama about the unlikely partnership between The Washington Post’s Katharine Graham (Streep), the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks), as they race to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades and four U.S. Presidents.

The script goes on to push all the right buttons to give the audience a feel-good feeling of elation.  “The Government has lied about the Vietnam War for 30 years.  The way they lied has tone brought out into the open.” says  Bradley. The government is then pursuing the security breach.  The announcement of the result of the court as to whether the Washington Post would be acquitted is grandly staged.  Even the words of the judge are quoted as coming from there American fore-fathers.

It is interesting to compare Spielberg’s other political entry on American Presidents – LINCOLN.  In that film, President Abraham Lincoln was treated with respect and grandeur while in THE POST Nixon is considered nothing more than two-faced rat.  Nixon invites no Washington Post press for his daughter’s wedding as a result apart incident and later bans the Post from the White House showing him not only guilty of being a sore-loser but one craving for revenge.  His revenge is shown at the closing of the film as he Watergate scandal begins, as everyone knows.  But the scene is still a satisfying one.

THE POST and the upcoming THE GREATEST SHOWMAN are 20th Century Fox’s Oscar hopefuls, both opening at Christmas.  Both are crowd pleasers and it will be interesting to see what happens.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrXlY6gzTTM

 

 

 

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Film Review: CALIFORNIA TYPEWRITER (USA 2017) ***

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California Typewriter Poster
Trailer

California Typewriter is a story about people whose lives are connected by typewriters. The film is a meditation on creativity and technology featuring Tom Hanks, John Mayer, Sam Shepard, David McCullough and others.

Director:

Doug Nichol

 

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Happy Birthday: Tom Hanks

tomhanks.jpgHappy Birthday actor Tom Hanks

Born: July 9, 1956 in Concord, California, USA

Married to: Rita Wilson (30 April 1988 – present) (2 children)
Samantha Lewes (24 January 1978 – 19 March 1987) (divorced) (2 children)

Second actor to win back-to-back Best Actor Oscars, for his work in Philadelphia (1993) and Forrest Gump (1994). The first was Spencer Tracy, for Captains Courageous (1937) and Boys Town (1938).

TOP 40 TOM HANKS Movies videoWATCH – TOP 20 TOM HANKS VIDEOS
MOVIE POSTERSPLASH!
1984
dir. Ron Howard
Stars:
Tom Hanks
Daryl Hannah
MOVIE POSTERBACHELOR PARTY
1984
dir. Neal Israel
Stars:
Tom Hanks
Tawny Kitaen
MOVIE POSTERTHE MAN WITH ONE RED SHOE
1985
dir. Stan Dragoti
Stars:
Tom Hanks
Dabney Coleman
MOVIE POSTERVOLUNTEERS
1985
dir. Nicholas Meyer
Stars:
Tom Hanks
John Candy
MOVIE POSTERTHE MONEY PIT
1986
dir. Richard Benjamin
Stars:
Tom Hanks
Shelley Long
MOVIE POSTERNOTHING IN COMMON
1986
dir. Garry Marshall
Stars:
Tom Hanks
Jackie Gleason
MOVIE POSTERDRAGNET
1987
dir. Tom Mankiewicz
Stars:
Tom Hanks
Dan Aykroyd
MOVIE POSTERPUNCHLINE
1988
dir. David Seltzer
Stars:
Tom Hanks
Sally Field
BigBig
1988
dir. Penny Marshall
starring
Hanks
Elizabeth Perkins
MOVIE POSTERTHE BURBS
1989
dir. Joe Dante
Stars:
Tom Hanks
Bruce Dern
MOVIE POSTERTURNER & HOOCH
1989
dir. Roger Spottiswoode
Stars:
Tom Hanks
Mare Winningham
MOVIE POSTERJOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO
1990
dir. John Patrick Shanley
Stars:
Tom Hanks
Meg Ryan
MOVIE POSTERTHE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES
1990
dir. Brian De Palma
Stars:
Tom Hanks
Bruce Willis
MOVIE POSTERA LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN
1992
MOVIE POSTERPHILADELPHIA
1993
dir. Jonathan Demme
Stars:
Tom Hanks
Denzel Washington
MOVIE POSTERSLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE
1993
movie posterFORREST GUMP
1994
dir. Robert Zemeckis
Starring:
Tom Hanks
Robin Wright
MOVIE POSTERAPOLLO 13
1995
dir. Ron Howard
Stars:
Tom Hanks
Bill Paxton
MOVIE POSTERTOY STORY
1995
MOVIE POSTERTHAT THING YOU DO!
1996
dir. Tom Hanks
Stars:
Liv Tyler
Charlize Theron
MOVIE POSTERYOU’VE GOT MAIL
1998
dir. Nora Ephron
Stars:
Tom Hanks
Meg Ryan
MOVIE POSTERSAVING PRIVATE RYAN
1998
TOY STORY 2Toy Story 2
1999
THE GREEN MILEThe Green Mile
1999
Cast Away
2000
revengeBest of BAND OF BROTHERS

SEE TOP 100 TOM HANKS PHOTOS

and Daryl Hannah
and Daughter
and Denzel Washington
and Drunk Guy
and Emily Blunt
and Emma Thompson
and Family
and George Bush
and Halle Berry
and Jackie Gleason
and John Candy
and Julia Roberts
and Kevin Bacon
and Leonardo DiCaprio
and Meg Ryan
and Rita Wilson
and Robin Wright
and Son
and Steven Spielberg
as Charlie Wilson
as Dennis Miller
as Jim Lovell
as Michael Sullivan
as Robert Langdon
as Walt Disney
as Woody
Beard
Before and After
Big Movie Tuxedo
Big Piano
Close UP
Crying
Curly Hair
Drag
Emmy Car
Eyes
Face
Fat
Feet
Funny
Glasses
Hairstyle
Handsome
High School
in A League of Their Own
in Apollo 13
in Bachelor Party
in Big
in Bosom Buddies
in Captain Phillips
in Cast Away
in Catch Me If You Can
in Dragnet
in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
in Family Guy
in Family Ties
in Forrest Gump
in Green Mile
in Happy Days
in Joe vs The Volcano
in Larry Crowne
in Nothing in Common
in Philadelphia
in Polar Express
in Punchline
in Road To Perdition
in Saving Mr. Banks
in Saving Private Ryan
in Sleepless in Seattle
in Splash
in That Thing You Do
in The Burbs
in The Da Vinci Code
in The Ladykillers
in The Money Pit
in The Terminal
in Toy Story
in Turner and Hooch
in You’ve Got Mail
Kiss Cam
Moon Quote
Mustache
No Eyebrows
Nose
On Scooter
Oscar
Persistence Quote
Rapper Son
Red Carpet
Running
Signature
Smile
Straight Hair
Teeth
Typewriter Letter
Volleyball
Wallpaper
Wedding
Young
Road to PerditionRoad to Perdition
2002
MOVIE POSTERCATCH ME IF YOU CAN
2002
MOVIE POSTERTHE TERMINAL
2004
THE POLAR EXPRESS
2004
MOVIE POSTERTHE LADYKILLERS
2004
dir. Coen Brothers
Stars:
Tom Hanks
Marlon Wayans
MOVIE POSTERTHE DA VINCI CODE
2006
SydneyWhiteCharlie Wilson’s War
2007
MOVIE POSTERTHE GREAT BUCK HOWARD
2008
dir. Sean McGinly
Stars:
Tom Hanks
Colin Hanks
Angels and DemonsAngels and Demons
2009
Toy Story 3Toy Story 3
2010
MOVIE POSTEREXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE
2011
MOVIE POSTERLARRY CROWNE
2011
MOVIE POSTERCLOUD ATLAS
2012
MOVIE POSTERCAPTAIN PHILLIPS
2013
MOVIE POSTERSAVING MR. BANKS
2013

Movie Review: A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING

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

ahologramfortheking.jpgA HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING (UK/France/Germany USA 2015) ***1/2
Directed by Tom Tykwer

Starring: Tom Hanks, Alexander Black, Sarita Choudhury, Tom Skerritt

Review by Gilbert Seah

Ever since RUN LOLA RUN and WINTER SLEEPERS German director Tom Tykwer has impressed audiences with the desperation of his characters. In his latest collaboration with Tom Hanks after the box-office disastrous CLOUD ATLAS, the desperate protagonist, Alan Clay (Hanks) is sent outside his comfort zone to a new place where he surprisingly finds purpose back into his life in the form of an unexpected romance.

If the plot sounds familiar, the recent animated ANOMALISA featured a distraught business executive (voiced by David Thewlis) in a hotel while attending a business conference and finding love and meaning in his life. Charlie Kaufman’s ANOMALISA has the novelty of the entire film voiced by only three actors as to the executive only two people matter, himself and his new romance and the rest of the world is therefore all one voice. Whilst ANOMALISA is restricted in its claustrophobic environment of the hotel, the same premise in HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING is taken wide out into the open, literally, to the huge desert expanse of Saudi Arabia.

Clay, an IT guy, is sent to close a deal with the King of Saudi Arabia for a huge computer system sale, which he hopes to close by means of an awesome presentation utilizing a hologram (which Brit actor Ben Winshaw appears in), thus the title of the film.

Tykwer’s film, based on the novel by Roger Eggers has lots more to play with than Anomalisa. Though both films contain the baggage of a failed marriage, HOLOGRAM includes a loving daughter who needs her college tuition paid.

An additional feature that adds to the interest of HOLOGRAM is the Kafka-ish feel to the film. The Kafka-ish elements include Clay trying to solve impossible problems. For one, he is supposed to have a presentation with the King who is never there. Every time he is told the King is going to be present, the date is changed. Clay also bears a huge boil on his back which he tries to cut open. And just as in Kafka-ish mode, he is told by his doctor, that he is unfortunately in good health when the boil is non-cancerous. Unfortunately, the audience is told because if it is not benign, Clay cannot blame the boil for all his fatigue, failure and lack of energy.

Tom Hanks plays Clay against type. He is no Captain Philips or class manipulator as in BRIDGE OF SPIES. Hanks for the first time plays an inefficient human being who strives and finally makes good. That is what makes the film works, it is a sad feel-good movie. And Hanks, as usual is pretty good. The rest of the cast are played by international actors. His love interest, the doctor Zahra is played by Indian actress (a regular in Deepa Metha films) Sarita Choudhury. This is not surprising as she bares her breasts in nude scenes, a big no-no if they got an actress from Saudi Arabia. As stated, Winshaw is British and Clay also has a fling with a Danish worker/associate, played by Danish actress Hana Sidse Babett Knudsen (DUKE OF BURGUNDY).

A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING works because of its quirkiness. Tykwer takes his audience for a good roller-coaster ride, like the one at the start of the film with Clay in it singing the Talking Heads song “Once in a Lifetime”. The film shows that the American Dream is not something taken for granted, but one that though achievable needs to be earned as Clay discovers.

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

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