Directed and starring Clint Eastwood, with Hilarly Swank, and Morgan Freeman, the film begins with boxing trainer Frankie (Eastwood) who has a girl come into his gym to train. He gives her no attention but she consistently trains by herself and then gets some help from the former boxer and janitor Scrap (Freeman). Frankie finally gives her some tips but when his best fighter leaves him, he agrees to make this spirited girl into a boxer. Soon Maggie gets her chance and wins fight after fight with knockouts. At the same time, boxer and trainer grow close since they have no strong family connections. However, in the biggest fight of her life Maggie is dealt a cruel break and her life will never be the same. I have to say that I felt Eastwood’s character did the wrong thing in the end but it shows his humanity. The acting was very good, the story was moving, and Freeman’s narration was a nice touch.
This Italian post-war neo-realist film, directed by Vittorio De Sica, is about a man who has his bicycle stolen and then must find it in order to continue working. Antonio Ricci is a man desperate for a job and he is fortunate enough to get an opportunity. However, he needs a bike and he sold his trying to provide for his family. He gets enough money to buy it back and he starts his days work pasting posters up in Rome. While his back is turned his bicycle is stolen and the culprit gets away. Because it is his livelihood Antonio desperately searches first with his friends and then with his son Bruno. After much looking he believes he has found the thief but with no proof the boy gets off. As the day ends Antonio chooses the one option left with no avail. This film is wonderfully simple and beautifully realistic. You feel deeply for this man who is by no means perfect, in fact he has many faults. But he is simply human. In a sense we are left with a cliffhanger ending that leaves us anxious for him.
Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and Justin Timberlake, this film follows the rise of Facebook as well as its creator Mark Zuckerberg.
The film opens with the nerdy Harvard man getting dumped by his girlfriend and it sets the tone for the rest of the movie. The story flashes forward to two lawsuits where Zuckerberg is being simultaneously sued by two twins from Harvard and his former partner Eduardo. The plot shifts back and forth showcasing Zuckerberg’s programming skills as well as his difficult personality. He then takes the initial idea of the facebook and launches it at Harvard, helping it to quickly become a trend. However, with the help of his acquaintances, he works to expand his idea to other campuses all the way to Stanford. After a falling out with Eduardo, Mark takes his team and heads out to Cali on the urging of an entrepreneur named Sean Parker. Facebook has begun to take off across the globe but not without a cost.
After coming to California, Eduardo learns his share of the company has been diluted while Sean is busted for having cocaine in his possession. We leave Zuckerberg in the present as he sits in front of his lap top, the world’s youngest billionaire, but utterly alone. I cannot attest to how much truth there is in this depiction but I do think it is highly pertinent to this generation. It is impressive that a subject that could potentially be dry, is quite engaging thanks to a great script and solid acting. More than anything I felt sorry for Zuckerberg because he wasn’t really a jerk, he just tried too hard to be one.
One of the great leading men, William Holden was born on this date back in 1918. With his good looks and recognizable gravelly voice, Holden can be remembered for such films as Sunset Boulevard, Born Yesterday, Stalag 13, Sabrina, and The Bridge on the River Kwai. He would make several prominent films later in his career including The Wild Bunch and Network. If you want to see him in a funnier performance catch him at the Brown Derby in the 1955 episode of I Love Lucy. However, out of all the work of his that I have seen I would say my favorite role would have to be Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard. In order not to spoil the plot I would just tell people they should see it. I doubt you will regret it!
Starring Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, and Robert Duvall, this film satirizes the television industry. Howard Beale (Finch) is being fired as a news anchor for the struggling UBS network. On one of his final days on air he begins to rave madly and his industry friend Max (Holden) does not cut him short. At first there is uproar but then a shrewd business man (Duvall) decides to use Beal to boost ratings with the backing of one of the network staff (Dunaway). With her great ambition she moves up and takes Max’s place while becoming romantically involved with him. For a time the network thrives off the rants of Beale. However, he begins to change his tune and ratings begin to plummet. With everything in a shambles, they can him literally. This is a biting satire of television with intense performances and some moments that leave you pondering who the real nutcases are.
Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio with a good ensemble cast, this biopic chronicle the life of Howard Hughes. The story begins when the ambitious young man begins to direct an epic movie that is nearly a disaster. After his success, we witness the life of this director, playboy, and above all aviator. He makes Scarface and then later The Outlaw. He has relationships with Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchet), a young teenage girl, and Ava Garner (Kate Beckinsdale). Then during the war he designs new planes and afterwards Hughes faces his greatest challenge. He is on the brink of disaster in his competition with Pan-Am and he is the subject of a near-damaging senate hearing. All the while his obsessive compulsive disorder gets worse. I found this film fascinating because I knew very little about Hughes. As a director himself, Scorsese also seemed to have sympathy for the man and also admiration for the olden days.
Starring Leonardo DiCapprio with Kate Winslet and director James Cameron, the film opens with an exploration of the submerged Titanic. An interesting discovery puts the explorers in contact with an elderly woman who was there in April 1912. Rose recounts her arrival as a newly engaged 1st class passenger. She felt trapped in her life until she accidentally met Jack, a 3rd class drifter who won his ticket in a poker game. After he saves her life, their forbidden relationship continues as they spend more time together. Jack, who is an artist, even does a charcoal drawing of Rose. However, all too soon the unsinkable ship hits an iceberg and chaos ensues in the following hours. Heroically, once again Jack keeps Rose alive although he himself perishes in the cold. Back in the present Rose now keeps him alive with her memories. This epic romance is fairly good with a semi-autobiographical story, special effects, and a decent score.